Posts tagged with celebs
On the Road with Leonard Cohen
Once “the proverbial family table” is set, everyone comes to “feast,” and the meal in question is the music of Leonard Cohen. So says Cohen’s road manager Joseph Carenza III, who has presided over Notes from the Road since July 2010, chronicling the travels of Cohen and company with photograph after photograph.
In the new year, Carenza wants to take that Tumblr to another level. He says that while actually on tour, there was “no way I could honor people’s time and attention,” given all the things he had to do. Now that he has a bit more free time and a slightly more fleshed-out crew, he’s trying to think of ways to reach “outward.”
Moving the Still: Animated GIF Fest Lauds Best
Moving the Still is the first big-time open-submission curated festival celebrating the art of the animated GIF. After wrapping up the open call (and receiving more than 3,500 GIFs in the virtual mailbox), the fest’s council of luminaries chose their favorites for a live exhibition during Miami Art Week 2012. Check out the animated circle of honorees above. And if you happen to be in Miami, you’re invited to a cool shindig capping the festivities. Say hello to the web’s favorite art form — for the next fifteen minutes, at least.
Trapped in the Tumblr Closet: Jason Mewes
Jason Mewes — aka the Jay half of “Jay and Silent Bob” from Clerks and various other Kevin Smith movies — has been around the block a few times, in his native New Jersey and elsewhere. These days, mostly straightened out and flying relatively right, Mewes is exploring other non-Jay-related acting gigs, doing radio and podcasts with Smith, and boosting his comic store (Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash in Red Bank, thankfully unscathed by Hurricane Sandy). Mewes dropped by Tumblr to talk about his long strange trip and got assaulted by Tommypom for his trouble.
Cumberbitches: Women Who Love Benedict Cumberbatch
This story was produced in partnership with The Daily Beast.
“Throw your boobs in the air if you want some cumberlovin.”
— Cumberbitches, October 8, 2010
Do any of those words make sense to you? They might, if you’re among the thousands of members of “the most glorious and elusive society“ devoted to the appreciation of the “high cheekboned, blue eyed sexbomb” that is Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch, star of the BBC series Sherlock. That “society” is the legion of inordinately dedicated fans of Cumberbatch, a group who call themselves “Cumberbitches” — launching a Twitter profile, Facebook page, Pinterest handle, and, yes, countless Tumblrs, in honor of their beloved star.
Cumberbitch adoration is as hyperbolic as it is earnest. He’s “the biggest thing since Jesus,” writes Alexandra Sokoloff, author of the bestselling crime thriller Huntress Moon. On ”Cumberbitch Problems,” young women riff about what plagues them. (Problem No. 99: Having to rewind interviews because you always squeal when he first speaks. Problem 50: Not knowing what hair color you prefer on a man, because Benedict has had them all.) One Tumblr user, who calls herself Cumberqueen, calls Cumberbatch “a chunk of raw ginger,” followed by an endless series of animated GIFs about his appeal. And indeed, the GIF seems to be the mode of choice for Cumberbatch worship, capturing, on incessant repeat, his most dashing smiles, amid screams of “OVARIES EXPLODING!!” (Tumblr-speak for “ohmigod this guy is hot”).
Hyper-enthusiastic fanbases of other actors have been launching Tumblrs, websites, and Twitter accounts for some time. Oscar-nominated heartthrob Ryan Gosling inspired the “Hey Girl” meme (along with its feminist counterpart), while vaunted Mad Men star Jon Hamm was the debonair catalyst for Emotions with Jon Hamm and Sad Don Draper. But there is a glaring difference between the myriad of internet fan clubs devoted to Cumberbatch and those centered around hunky Hollywood A-listers: Cumberbatch isn’t really that famous. And so, the plethora of web shrines aside, the question likely lingering among most of uninitiated is: Who is this guy?
Benedict Cumberbatch is a 36-year-old British stage and screen actor. His star has been steadily rising across the pond over the past decade — thanks to his performance as Stephen Hawking in the BBC telefilm Hawking, as the leads in the hit miniseries To the Ends of the Earth and The Last Enemy, as well as supporting roles in films including Atonement, The Other Boleyn Girl, and War Horse. But it’s his role as Sherlock Holmes in the BBC series Sherlock, which began airing on PBS in 2010, that’s served as Cumberbatche’s American breakout — complete with the kind of devotion typically reserved for boy bands and Biebers.
In Sherlock, Cumberbatch reconceives Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s oft-portrayed sleuth icon as a modern-day technophile, supplementing his “elementary” skills of deduction with email, texting, GPS, and laptops. With his gangly frame, crisp accent, piercing eyes, and unruly mop of curls, the role fits Cumberbatch like a herringbone deerstalker hat. His show’s second season averaged more viewers than Mad Men. He was nominated for an Emmy. As the series became more successful, the Cumberbitches (and their bevy of tongue-in-cheek memes) were born.
Fans of Cumberbatch all have their own opinions on what it is about him that sparks such intense obsession — unusually intense for a British actor in America who doesn’t star in a film called Twilight or Harry Potter.
“He very much comes across as a quintessential gentleman in the way that other actors don’t exactly,” says Naomi Roper, owner and creator of the benedictcumberbatch.co.uk. “His innate Britishness appeals to people.”
Sokoloff is less coy about what underlies the attraction. “It’s a true physiological reaction,” she says. “It’s very sexual. College kids are as loopy about him as women in their 60s.” That he doesn’t share George Clooney’s rugged handsomeness or Brad Pitt’s chiseled features doesn’t matter — it’s all part of his appeal. “There’s a cachet to being a nerd these days,” Sokoloff says. And Cumberbatch’s most unusual of names? It only helps. “We know what he must’ve gone through with that nerdy name, and now that he’s come out of it,”says Sokoloff. “It’s Revenge of the Nerds and Revenge of the Geeks.”
The intensity of Cumberbatch’s fanbase can, in a large part, be attributed to its cult nature, with each person taking ownership of “discovering” him. (Starring in a BBC series that airs on PBS hardly guarantees mainstream fame, after all.) Yet while Cumberbitches may claim they don’t take themselves too seriously — “The silliness is part of the phenomenon,” says Sokoloff — they remain territorial about their fandom. Some disagree about the title “Cumberbitch.” (“There are other names I prefer, like Cumberbunnies or Benaddicts,” says Roper.) Others simply fight over him like schoolgirls. “People don’t like to share him, and they get in catfights about it,” Sokoloff continues, recalling the nasty responses she received after writing her own article praising Cumberbatch.
As befalls any proper web movement and meme, the Cumberbitches — and their fantasy paramour — are the subject of their own backlash. On Livejournal’s Oh No They Didn’t gossip site, the actor makes the list of “Most Controversially Attractive Celebs,” while posts snark about his following with headlines like “Benedict Has Himself a New Girlfriend, Somehow Tumblr Has Not Had a Meltdown Yet” and “Another Wafflecrisp Cumberc*nt Post.” The site published an item called “Bendydick Cumberslut Calls Friend and Former Castmate Jonny Lee Miller a Sellout” after Cumberbatch made disparaging comments against CBS’s new Sherlock Holmes drama, Elementary, which stars Miller. (Miller and Cumberbatch had just wrapped an intense, critically lauded run swapping roles as the Creature and Dr. Frankenstein in the Royal National Theatre production of Frankenstein.)
You can imagine the Cumberbitch response these attacks elicit — and yet, perhaps Cumberbatch himself is the best comeback yet. Yes, he may be “controversially attractive,” but the man is set to play the Necromancer in the Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy, and star opposite Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts in an adaptation of Tony-winning play August: Osage County. His name is being bandied about as the villain in the next James Bond film, and as Julian Assange in a planned biopic.
As for what the man himself thinks about it all? Well, he’s flattered. “I wish my 15-year-old self had known about my allure to the opposite sex!” he told In Style. Of course, in typical icon fashion, Cumberbatch exhibits a shrewd concern for the cultural responsibility of the “Cumberbitch” term (a feminist Ryan Gosling in the making?). “It’s flattering, though I worry about what it says for feminism,” he has said. His advice? “Cumberbabes might be better.”
Cumberbitches: Hold onto your ovaries.
This Month in Charts: September
September brought Americans together with culture, politics, sports, technology, and — as usual — outrage. I Love Charts brings together the most graphable moments of the month.
Dance Like Nobody’s — er, Grandma’s — Watching
I Love Charts started the month on the ground at the DNC, documenting it all for Tumblr’s official Election blog. While in Charlotte, we were struck by how similar the music selection was to another event:
Breakfast with Kreayshawn: Pancakes & a Side of Girl Power
Having breakfast with Kreayshawn is a little like taking your rambunctious niece out while her parents are away. She orders bacon with a side of “pee and poo.” She wants a pancake with a sad face on it. She needs orange juice, milk, chocolate milk, water, and coffee. Her posse includes Lady Tragik, her friend and collaborator, Isabel, her roommate and sometimes assistant (whose Twitter profile simply says, “sweet hawaiian ganga baby”) and a shaggy haired pre-teen named Baby Scumbag, whom Kreayshawn claims is “her son.”