Posts tagged with "Netflix"

Netflix – Cuties

By Cassandra Yany

One of Netflix’s newest films, Cuties, has garnered much attention and backlash since its Sep. 9 release on the streaming platform. The coming-of-age film depicts a young girl as she tries to navigate her life as a pre-teen growing up in a Muslim family living in Paris.

Many critics have spoken out against the film, which currently holds the no. 7 spot in Netflix’s ‘Top 10,’ for its depiction of 11-year-old girls dancing and behaving in an indecent manner. According to the New York Times, the movie was first deemed controversial in the U.S. in August when Netflix released the promotional artwork. The original marketing for the film displayed an image of four young girls in skimpy dance costumes posing provocatively.

This, along with the trailer, prompted opposers to start petitions online and call for the removal of the film from Netflix’s catalog. Netflix apologized and changed the artwork for the film to a more innocent photo of the same four characters walking down the street with shopping bags, donning bras and underwear over their clothes.

Last week’s release of the film has sparked conversation once again amongst parents, politicians and others, causing #CancelNetflix to trend on Twitter. Lina Nealon, the Director of Corporate and Strategic Initiatives at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation has spoken out against the film saying “While we commend Director Maïmouna Doucouré for exposing the very real threats to young girls having unfettered access to social media and the internet, we cannot condone the hypersexualization and exploitation of the young actresses themselves in order to make her point.” She called for Netflix to cut the “sexually-exploitive” scenes from the film, or remove the film from the platform altogether.

On Friday, Hawaii Rep. Tulse Gabbard tweeted, “@Netflix child porn ‘Cuties’ will certainly whet the appetite of pedophiles & help fuel the child sex trafficking trade. 1 in 4 victims of trafficking are children… Netflix you are now complicit.”

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz penned a letter to Attorney General William P. Barr Friday calling for the Department of Justice to start an investigation into the production and distribution of the film to “determine whether Netflix, any of its executives, or anyone involved in the making of ‘Cuties’ violated any federal laws against the production and distribution of child pornography.”

Cruz wrote that “the film routinely fetishizes and sexualizes these pre-adolescent girls as they perform dances simulating sexual conduct in revealing clothing, including at least one scene with partial nudity” falsely claiming that there’s a scene exposing a “minor’s bare breast.” The Associated Press reported that one of Cruz’s representatives, Lauren Aronson, said that the senator has not seen the film.

According to the Washington Times, some critics are even calling on the Obama’s— who have a production deal with Netflix— to take action against the film. Deadline stated that “The reality appears to have been lost in the storm, and the truth is very few of the people reacting so strongly will have actually seen the film.”

Netflix told USA TODAY “‘Cuties’ is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children. It’s an award winning film and a powerful story about the pressure young girls face on social media and from society more generally growing up— and we’d encourage anyone who cares about these important issues to watch the movie.”

Director Maïmouna Doucouré defends the film, saying that it works to shed light on these issues so they can be fixed. Cuties first premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 23, where it won the Directing Jury Award for the dramatic film category. According to the New York Times, the movie did not stir up much conversation in France after its theatrical release (as Mignnonnes in French) in August.

Deadline reports that Doucouré did not see the promotional material prior to when it was circulated on the internet. She said that she received death threats as the outrage grew over these images. She told the news site that the film is not apologetic about the hypersexualization of children, but instead is her “…personal story as well as the story of many children who have to navigate between a liberal western culture and a conservative culture at home.”

Cuties was Doucouré’s feature directorial debut. Similar to the film’s main character, Amy, Doucouré is of Senegalese descent and grew up in a Muslim culture in Paris. In an interview at Sundance, she said she first had the idea for the movie after attending a neighborhood gathering in Paris where she saw a group of 11-year-old girls doing a stage performance of a “sensual” dance. She was shocked to see girls that age dance like that in short clothing. “We can’t continue to close our eyes about that,” she told the interviewer.

Doucouré researched for a year and a half, meeting with hundreds of pre-teens who told her their stories. She learned about their ideas of femininity, and how their self image is affected by the emphasis of social media in today’s society. According to IndieWire, the young actresses’ parents were on board with the project to spread awareness of the issue, and there was a psychologist working with the girls throughout filming who is still helping them throughout the release process.

The film is centered around Amy, an 11-year-old girl who has recently moved to a housing development in a poor suburb of Paris with her Senegalese, observant Muslim family. She looks out for her brothers, takes care of responsibilities around the house, and is in the process of being taught how to ‘be a woman’ by  her aunt.

One day after prayer, Amy walks by the laundry room and sees a girl her age dancing to music playing from her phone. In a subsequent scene, Amy is seen trying to straighten her hair with a clothing iron, burning part of it off as a result. 

Amy learns that her father, who is still in Senegal, has taken a second wife and will be coming to Paris soon to have the wedding. Her mother, Mariam, tries to hide her reaction to the news, but Amy sees her grow upset and take her frustrations out on herself. This is where Amy’s behavior begins to shift; she starts to reject her culture and identity, and instead tries to conform to fit in with the other girls at school. 

At school, Amy is teased for her clothes and lack of fashion sense, so she begins to wear her younger brother’s t-shirt to match the crop tops that her classmates wear. After seeing a group of girls her age dancing after school, Amy steals her cousin’s iPhone to learn how to dance, herself. She comes across their social media accounts and begins taking selfies, imitating what she sees on their profiles. 

Amy finds herself a spot in the girls’ friend group and dance troupe, and as a result, begins to neglect her responsibilities at home. Amy starts to show more self expression, wearing her hair natural rather than pulling it back. She also begins to explore the internet more, finding videos of almost-naked women dancing rather suggestively and moving their bodies in ways that an 11-year-old probably shouldn’t be watching. 

Taking what she found online, Amy practices dancing with her friends and teaches them how to twerk. This is where the movie begins to make viewers slightly uneasy. It was jarring to see these young, innocent girls tainted by this inappropriate content and doing dance moves that they didn’t understand the implications of. It appears that this was the intention of director Doucouré, as she stated in an interview with Netflix that the film is “…a mirror of today’s society; a mirror sometimes difficult to look into and accept but still so true.”

Some of the scenes, frankly, are very disturbing to watch. These include the girls dancing provocatively for two older male workers at a laser tag facility so that they wouldn’t get in trouble for sneaking in, as well as Amy beginning to undress for her cousin once he found she had stolen his iPhone in an attempt to smooth over the situation. Perhaps the most disturbing scene is when Amy takes a picture of her genitals to post on her social media profile so that people at school would think she’s mature. While there was no nudity shown in this scene, the implied action was horrifying to watch. 

At the end of the film, Amy performs with her dance troupe at a local competition. Dressed in revealing outfits, they dance immodestly in front of a crowd of people who quickly seem unsettled. (This is the scene from which the original promotional photos were taken.) Toward the end of the song, Amy freezes as she begins to think about her mom, then runs off the stage crying. She goes home where she asks her mom not to attend her father’s wedding. Her mom continues to get ready for the event, but tells Amy that she doesn’t have to go.

Instead of going to the wedding, Amy steps outside and begins jumping rope. This scene depicts a mixture of her two identities: she is wearing jeans and a crop top with her hair down, but is surrounded by people of her culture dressed in traditional garments. After suppressing her family’s background for a majority of the movie, Amy is finally able to find the balance where her multiple cultures intersect in order to be her honest self. 

After watching Cuties, it is evident that it is not meant to promote this behavior among young girls, but instead provide commentary on what is happening today and warn the adults who see the movie. The harsh reality is that more pre-adolescents are exposed to this type of content than we think. Any child who has access to a smart device and social platforms have the potential to see a video not meant for them. Take TikTok for example: racy dances to Cardi B and Meg Thee Stallion’s “WAP,” as well as a recent trend where women make “thirst traps” to Beyoncé’s “Rocket” are some of the most popular videos on the app right now. Young TikTok users can easily see creators on their For You Page enjoying themselves while engaging in these trends, causing the young viewer to want to do the same.

When speaking to Deadline, Doucouré said, “What happens is young girls see images of women being objectified, and the more the woman becomes an object, the more followers and like she has— they see that as a role model and try to imitate these women, but they’re not old enough to know what they’re doing.” In a separate interview, she posed the question, “Isn’t the objectification of a woman’s body that we often see in our Western culture not another kind of oppression?”

Overall, Cuties shows the dangers of uncensored media for young children and displays how impressionable they can be. It also shows the journey of Amy’s self-discovery and learning how to blend her multiple cultures in order to shape her identity. Unfortunately, the risqué nature of the film overshadows the storyline and the message is lost for a number of audience members.

In various articles, Doucouré is quoted discussing the meaning of the film in the broad context of femininity and what it means for young girls to enter womanhood in this digital age. During her aforementioned interview with Netflix, she stated “The real question of Cuties is can we, as women, truly choose who we want to be, beyond the role models that are imposed upon us by society?”

Julie and The Phantoms: Season 1 Soundtrack

The soundtrack from Netflix’s new musical series “Julie and The Phantoms” is available now via Columbia Records. Julie and the Phantoms: Season 1 (From the Netflix Original Series), executive produced by Kenny Ortega, features 15 standout original tracks from the show including the single “Edge of Great” – see below for full tracklist.

Stream and purchase the soundtrack here.

High schooler Julie (Madison Reyes) lost her passion for music after her mom died last year. But when the ghosts of three dreamy musicians (Charlie Gillespie, Owen Patrick Joyner, Jeremy Shada) from 1995 suddenly appear in her mom’s old music studio, Julie feels her own inner spirit beginning to reawaken, and she’s inspired to start singing and writing songs again. As their friendship with Julie grows, the boys convince her to create a new band together: Julie and the Phantoms.

From Emmy and DGA Award-winning director and choreographer Kenny Ortega (High School Musical, Descendants) and choreographer Paul Becker (Descendants, Mirror Mirror) comes a fresh and exciting new musical series about embracing life’s ups and downs, following your dreams, and discovering the power of your own voice. Dan Cross and David Hoge (The Thundermans, Pair of Kings) serve as showrunners and executive producers on the series, with executive producers George Salinas and Jaime Aymerich of Crossover Entertainment, as well as Michel Tikhomiroff and Fabio Danesi for Mixer Entertainment. Based on the original Brazilian series Julie e os Fantasmas written by Paula Knudsen, Tiago Mello and Fabio Danesi.

Julie and the Phantoms: Season 1 (From the Netflix Original Series) Tracklisting: 

1        Now or Never
2        Wake Up
3        Bright
4        This Band is Back (Reggie’s Jam)
5        Wow
6        Flying Solo
7        I Got the Music
8        The Other Side of Hollywood
9        All Eyes On Me
10      Finally Free
11      Perfect Harmony
12      Edge of Great
13      Unsaid Emily
14      You Got Nothing to Lose
15      Stand Tall

Follow Julie and the Phantoms

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MasterClass × Queer Eye’s Tan France Teach Style

MasterClass, the streaming platform that makes it possible for anyone to learn from the best, announced today that esteemed fashion designer, television personality, and author Tan France will teach a class on style for everyone. France will teach members confidence-boosting tips and tricks to discover their own personal style.

VIEW NEW TRAILER HERE

Now available at MasterClass.com, members can subscribe for unlimited access to all new and existing 85+ classes through the All-Access Pass. MasterClass categories include business, culinary arts, film & television, music & entertainment, photography, sports and more.

“[France’s] mastery lies in his ability to transform people’s lives through personal style, self-discovery, and confidence,” said David Rogier, co-founder and CEO of MasterClass. “His MasterClass peels back the curtain on his process and offers practical tips for members to come away feeling inspired to find and develop their own style to feel like the best version of themselves.”

France started his career working for some of the world’s leading brands before launching his own successful women’s clothing company, Kingdom & State. Best known for his role as fashion expert for the Netflix series Queer Eye, he became one of the first openly gay Muslim and South Asian men on a mainstream television program. France is also the host of the digital series Dressing Funny, where he styles some of the world’s most popular comedians. In 2019, France released his memoir, Naturally Tan, which became a New York Times bestseller in Hardcover Nonfiction and a Sunday Times bestseller in the U.K. France resides in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his husband, Rob France.

“An investment in style is an investment in yourself and your happiness,” said France. “I’m excited to help members find their own confidence by looking into their closet and discovering who they want to be and how they want to feel. It’s different from anything I’ve ever done before.”

For members who are just beginning to approach style for the first time or those who feel stuck in a style rut, France’s MasterClass offers practical tips on how to find and develop their own personal style to feel like the best versions of themselves. Drawing from his experience styling on and off camera for the past 20 years, France dives into the fundamentals of style focusing on two easy-to-follow rules⁠—knowing proportions and knowing yourself. Building on the foundational tools of proportion and fit, he also explores how to create a capsule wardrobe and how to confidently mix and match color, pattern, and texture. Members will learn practical lessons on how to shop for clothes, dress for work, and navigate fashion trends as well as get a behind-the-scenes look at how France works his transformational magic on Queer Eye. Through simple, straightforward guidelines, members will leave feeling inspired to find the most stylish, confident version of themselves.

France’s MasterClass joins the 85+ classes taught by world-renowned instructors on culinary arts, photography, writing, performance, and much more. Each MasterClass has digestible video lessons sized to fit into any part of your day and cinematic visuals with close-up, hands-on demonstrations that make you feel one-on-one with the instructor. The All-Access Pass gives you access to every MasterClass and new ones as they launch. Learn on the go with mobile apps or in the comfort of your home with Apple TV®, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV and Roku® devices. Subscribe to greatness at MasterClass.com.

ABOUT MASTERCLASS:

Founded in 2015, MasterClass is the streaming platform that makes it possible for anyone to learn from the best. With MasterClass, step into Kelly Wearstler’s design studio, Ron Finley’s garden, and Neil Gaiman’s writing retreat. Improve your serve with Serena Williams, perfect your pitch with Shonda Rhimes, and leave the atmosphere with Chris Hadfield. Hundreds of classes from 85+ of today’s most brilliant minds are available anytime, anywhere, on iOS, Android, desktop, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, and Roku devices with the All-Access Pass ($180/year). Subscribe to greatness with MasterClass.

MasterClass’s current roster of courses includes:

Business, Politics & Society: Jane Goodall (conservation), Bob Woodward (investigative journalism), Karl Rove and David Axelrod (political campaign strategy), Paul Krugman (economics and society), Howard Schultz (business leadership), Anna Wintour (creativity and leadership), Sara Blakely (self-made entrepreneurship), Bob Iger (strategy and leadership), Doris Kearns Goodwin (U.S. presidential history and leadership), Chris Voss (art of negotiation), Goodby and Silverstein (advertising and creativity), RuPaul (self-expression and authenticity), Robin Roberts (effective and authentic communication)

Culinary Arts: Gordon Ramsay (cooking), Alice Waters (home cooking), Thomas Keller (cooking techniques), Wolfgang Puck (cooking), Dominique Ansel (French pastry), James Suckling (wine appreciation), Aaron Franklin (Texas BBQ), Massimo Bottura (Italian cooking), Gabriela Cámara (Mexican cooking), Lynnette Marrero and Ryan Chetiyawardana (mixology), Ron Finley (gardening)

Film & TV: Werner Herzog (filmmaking), Martin Scorsese (filmmaking), Ron Howard (directing), Spike Lee (filmmaking), Mira Nair (independent filmmaking), Jodie Foster (filmmaking), Ken Burns (documentary filmmaking), Helen Mirren (acting), Samuel L. Jackson (acting), Judd Apatow (comedy), Aaron Sorkin (screenwriting), Natalie Portman (acting), David Lynch (creativity and filmmaking)

Lifestyle: Bobbi Brown (makeup and beauty), Kelly Wearstler (interior design), Brandon McMillan (dog training), Tan France (style)

Music & Entertainment: Steve Martin (comedy), Christina Aguilera (singing), Usher (performance), Reba McEntire (country music), Herbie Hancock (jazz), Deadmau5 (music production), Armin van Buuren (dance music), Hans Zimmer (film scoring), Tom Morello (electric guitar), Carlos Santana (art and soul of guitar), Timbaland (producing and beatmaking), Penn & Teller (magic), Itzhak Perlman (violin), Danny Elfman (music for film), Sheila E. (drumming and percussion), Jake Shimabukuro (ukulele)

Writing: James Patterson (writing), Shonda Rhimes (writing for television), David Mamet (dramatic writing), Judy Blume (writing), Malcolm Gladwell (writing), R.L. Stine (writing for young audiences), Margaret Atwood (creative writing), Dan Brown (writing thrillers), Neil Gaiman (storytelling), Billy Collins (poetry), David Baldacci (writing thrillers), Joyce Carol Oates (short story writing), David Sedaris (storytelling and humor)

Design, Photography & Fashion: Frank Gehry (architecture), Diane von Furstenberg (how to build a fashion brand), Annie Leibovitz (photography), Marc Jacobs (fashion design), Jimmy Chin (adventure photography), Will Wright (game design)

Sports & Games: Serena Williams (tennis), Stephen Curry (shooting, ball-handling, and scoring), Garry Kasparov (chess), Daniel Negreanu (poker), Phil Ivey (poker strategy), Simone Biles (gymnastics), Misty Copeland (ballet), Tony Hawk (skateboarding)

Science & Technology: Chris Hadfield (space exploration), Neil deGrasse Tyson (scientific thinking and communication)

For more information, please visit www.masterclass.com.

Netflix CEO illustrated by Maria Soloman for 360 MAGAZINE.

Netflix Co-CEO on Ads

by Justin Lyons

Netflix co-founder and co-CEO Reed Hastings sat down with Variety recently to discuss his new book and everything regarding Netflix. From business strategies to hiring strategies to creative strategies, Hastings seemed to be quite open about his ideas for the streaming service.

One of the biggest questions everyone seems to have about Netflix revolves around its revenue strategy. The home of shows like “Stranger Things,” “Orange is the New Black,” “House of Cards” and other award-winning, binge-inducing shows has been ad-free since its inception.

Hastings said the decision to rely entirely on a subscription model is more of a judgement call than a strict rule for Netflix.

“You know, advertising looks easy until you get in it. Then you realize you have to rip that revenue away from other places because the total ad market isn’t growing, and in fact right now it’s shrinking,” Hastings told Variety.

Hastings went on to say there’s more opportunity for growth in the consumer market than there is in the advertising business, also citing 20 years of success to back his point.

A 2019 report from eMarketer said Google, Facebook and Amazon received upwards of two-thirds of advertising dollars in the United States, so it would make sense to believe the room for growth in advertising is limited.

The New York Times reported in April that Netflix gained nearly 16 million subscribers early in the year, pushing the total number of subscribers to more than 182 million.

Hastings also touched on production during COVID-19’s shutdown, saying Netflix was able to shoot some originals, like the fourth season of “The Crown,” before shutting down production. He added that Netflix is currently producing in Europe and Asia.

While producing in Europe and Asia is more practical than producing in the United States right now, it also goes along with goals Hastings has for Netflix.

He said he wants Netflix to become a first-class developer all around the world, not just in Hollywood. Hastings said shows like “Dark,” from Germany, and “La Casa de Papel,” from Spain, have aided that movement.

On the future of Netflix, Hastings said, “What’s next is becoming a great Turkish developer of content, becoming a great Egyptian developer of content and sharing that with the world.”

He closed the interview with a discussion about other streaming platforms. Hastings compared Netflix to Starbucks, serving a specific product, while Amazon is more of a Walmart, serving every need.

With the number of streaming services growing exponentially, it might be easy to assume doom for the original streaming platforms. Even with Disney+ reaching 60 million subscribers, Hastings isn’t worried, calling the streaming industry a “healthy situation.”

“Because you’ll continue to push each other to innovate and entertain people. It’s only in the old communist states of the 1960s when you’d have a single network. No one wants to create that,” Hastings said.

A rising tide lifts all boats, right? There is no doubt that Netflix remains king of the streaming industry, and we can probably assume we’re safe from ads on Netflix for now. That, along with the possible development of more content from other countries and cultures, makes it an exciting time to be a Netflix subscriber.

For now, we’ll continue to rely on Netflix’s ad-free experience while studios that rely on theatrical releases are slowed down.

To read the entire interview from Variety, you can click right here.

Julie and the Phantoms on Netflix Sep. 10th

WATCH THE SERIES TRAILER HERE

Columbia Records and Netflix have collaborated to release the soundtrack from the new musical series “Julie and The Phantoms.”  The soundtrack will be available on September 10 in line with the debut of the series. Julie and the Phantoms: Season 1 (From the Netflix Original Series), executive produced by Kenny Ortega, features 15 standout original tracks from the show including the single “Edge of Great,” see below for the tracklist. Check out a teaser video of “Edge of Great” performed acoustically by the talented cast here.

High schooler Julie (Madison Reyes) lost her passion for music after her mom died last year. But when the ghosts of three dreamy musicians (Charlie Gillespie, Owen Patrick Joyner, Jeremy Shada) from 1995 suddenly appear in her mom’s old music studio, Julie feels her own inner spirit beginning to reawaken, and she’s inspired to start singing and writing songs again. As their friendship with Julie grows, the boys convince her to create a new band together: Julie and the Phantoms.

From Emmy and DGA Award-winning director and choreographer Kenny Ortega (High School Musical, Descendants) and choreographer Paul Becker (Descendants, Mirror Mirror) comes a fresh and exciting new musical series about embracing life’s ups and downs, following your dreams, and discovering the power of your own voice. Dan Cross and David Hoge (The Thundermans, Pair of Kings) serve as showrunners and executive producers on the series, with executive producers George Salinas and Jaime Aymerich of Crossover Entertainment, as well as Michel Tikhomiroff and Fabio Danesi for Mixer Entertainment. Based on the original Brazilian series Julie e os Fantasmas written by Paula Knudsen, Tiago Mello and Fabio Danesi.

Julie and the Phantoms: Season 1 (From the Netflix Original Series) Tracklisting: 
1          Now or Never
2          Wake Up
3          Bright
4          This Band is Back (Reggie’s Jam)
5          Wow
6          Flying Solo
7          I Got the Music
8          The Other Side of Hollywood
9          All Eyes On Me
10        Finally Free
11        Perfect Harmony
12        Edge of Great
13        Unsaid Emily
14        You Got Nothing to Lose
15        Stand Tall

Tate McRae – Don’t Be Sad

MTV VMA’S Push Best New Artist nominee Tate McRae releases her newest track and music video, “don’t be sad” today via RCA Records (listen/watch here). The track was written by Tate, Larzz Principato (Dua Lipa, Halsey) and Jeremy Dussolliet (Anthony Ramos) and is another step up in showcasing Tate’s personal songwriting abilities.

Tate’s current single, “you broke me first” currently has over 100 million streams worldwide. The track continues to receive top tier pop playlisting at Spotify and Apple including Spotify’s Today’s Top Hits and Apple’s A-List Pop and many more. Both “you broke me first” and “vicious” will be featured on Tate’s upcoming EP due out this fall.

Earlier this month, Tate received a nomination for an MTV Video Music Award for Push Best New Artist. Fans can vote daily at http://www.mtv.com/vma/vote/.

About Tate McRae

Named YouTube’s next Artist On The Rise, singer/songwriter/dancer Tate McRae released her debut EP all the things i never said, in January and features her standout tracks “stupid” “tear myself apart,” “all my friends are fake,” and “that way.”  She also wrapped her completely SOLD OUT all the things I never said pt 1 tour which made stops in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto, London, Berlin and Amsterdam. 

Tate has received early praise from a variety of publications with TheInterns.net claiming she is, “going to be one of the hottest names in music” while Idolator voted her one of 40 artists to watch in 2020. E! included her as one of 15 newcomers you need to know. She has also garnered early press from Fader, i-D, Wonderland, NME, Young Hollywood, ET, Billboard, & more.

Tate launched her YouTube channel and her “Create with Tate” music series where she has been consistently releasing original music (check out some here). In just over a year, she has over 2.4 million subscribers and over 230 million video views on YouTube and has over 450 million combined on demand streams to date.

Tate McRae hails from Calgary, Canada after living in Oman until she was 6 years old. She made a name for herself as a competitive dancer placing second runner up on Season 13 of the FOX series So You Think You Can Dance, achieved the “The Best Dancer” honor three times at the prestigious Dance Awards, and hit the stage for performances on Ellen, The Teen Choice Awards, and beyond. Not to mention, she lent her voice to NETFLIX’s animated Lalaloopsy in the role of Spot Splatter Splash.

Dont Fret New Street Art

Dont Fret, one of Chicago’s most recognizable street artists, today unveiled a new, large-scale art installation on the Chicago Riverwalk. Titled The People in Your Neighborhood, the installation is located at the Riverwalk’s most western point, known as The Confluence between E Lake St and N Franklin St, and features 55 portraits of Chicagoans, all portrayed in Dont Fret’s inimitable sardonic style. The unveiling is accompanied by the release of his new book, Dont Fret: Life Thus Far, now available for purchase.

Offering a microcosmic reflection of Chicago’s scrappy and hard-working residents, the portrait subjects of The People in Your Neighborhood range from the well-known to the obscure. Designer and restaurateur Kevin Heisner stands alongside Claudio, Chicago’s beloved tamale vendor, who in turn rubs elbows with Maria, longtime owner of Maria’s Bridgeport and Howard Brown Health doctor Abby Baus. Each is depicted with both comedic and piercing insight, caricatures that are reminiscent of the archetypical Chicagoans who have lived in the city for generations. The portraits and subject bios can also be seen on Dont Fret’s Instagram page.

“There are certain character traits that I think define a true Chicagoan. Tough, full-browed with a sense of ingenuity and midwestern humbleness, but always toiling, working, moving forward with an almost absurd laugh and grin about this crazy, wonderful city,” said Dont Fret. “I was asked to paint 55 portraits of Chicagoans who I think contribute to the hard work that defines our city, although it can only scratch the surface of the millions of stories moving through our streets. These are the people in your neighborhood.”

“Dont Fret’s proposal for celebrating everyday Chicagoans who make our City go – from the beloved Tamale Man to artists to bridge engineers – was really appealing to enliven a long stretch of the Riverwalk that otherwise fades into the background,” said Lydia Ross, Director of Public Art at the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. “The artist’s distinctive style isn’t intended to capture an accurate portrait, but rather the heartfelt spirit of the great people that surround us, some of whom we know, some we recognize, others we may be more attuned to looking out for…it was conceived pre-COVID but felt even more resonant to celebrate people in the midst of social distancing.”

Dont Fret’s unpolished aesthetics paired with pithy one-liners are recognizable features of Chicago’s built environment, in addition to being painted and wheat-pasted on buildings around the world, from New York to Berlin, Miami, São Paulo, London and Helsinki. Don’t Fret: Life Thus Far, the first comprehensive survey of the artist’s work, showcases a decade of his street and gallery work and features memories and anecdotes from fellow artists and friends including Louder Than A Bomb founder Kevin Coval, artist Cody Hudson and rapper Vic Mensa.

In the 256-page monograph, the figures and texts of consummate wise guy Dont Fret skewer the obvious and reflect the normalized-until-numbed issues of the city back at the passerby experiencing them firsthand. While his work populates city streets worldwide, he remains a true Wicker Park native, digging into the character(s) of Chicago—the stew of down-and-out and up-and-up, the meatpackers, the artists, the street-wise, and the stupid. Featuring 216 color images, this monograph also includes a foreword by writer and Brooklyn Street Art co-founder Steven P. Harrington.

In addition to The People in Your Neighborhood, the Chicago Riverwalk also recently unveiled a mural by Chicago-based artist Kate Lynn Lewis,The Radiance of Being, which celebrates 100 years of Art Deco. Lewis is also one of the 55 Chicagoans portrayed in Dont Fret’s installation.The Chicago Riverwalk has been going through a phased reopening which included the Community Marketplace opening July 17. Vendors are open by reservation for contact tracing purposes, walk-ups are welcome and will be asked for contact information. Vendor details are available at www.chicagoriverwalk.us.

About Dont Fret

Dont Fret is an artist born, raised, and currently working in Chicago. In addition to his wheat pasting, his practice includes drawing, painting, sculpture, performance, and installation-based work both on the street and in the gallery. He has produced large-scale public murals in a number of American cities, including Chicago, New York City, Miami, San Francisco, Grand Rapids, and Denver, as well as internationally in such cities as São Paulo, London, and Helsinki. His work has been in a number of galleries nationally and internationally, with shows in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and London. Dont Fret’s work was also featured prominently in the Netflix original series Easy.

Today, Everybody Loves an Outlaw have released two remixes of their viral hit “I See Red.”

Everybody Loves an Outlaw

Today, Everybody Loves an Outlaw have released two remixes of their viral hit “I See Red.”The dark country/rock duo enlisted Albert Harvey and Tut Tut Child to rework the track with each artist putting their own spin on the original. Listen to both remixes HERE.

Everybody Loves an Outlaw is Texas-bred, Colorado-based husband/wife duo Bonnie Sims [voice] and Taylor Sims [guitar]. For nearly a decade, the couple slogged it out in various projects, logging thousands of hours and countless gigs in bars, clubs, theaters, and anywhere else with a stage. In 2017, the musicians officially launched Everybody Loves an Outlaw. Many more shows followed before they hit the studio with producer Robbie Nevil during 2018 to record what would become their independent debut EP, I See Red. Along the way, they landed high-profile syncs in shows such as Vampire Diaries. Their quiet grind has paid off in a big way the past couple months: “I See Red” piped through a key and climactic scene in the unexpected NETFLIX smash 365 DNI, which dominated the streaming platform.

In a matter of weeks, the original version of “I See Red” tallied over 21 million Spotify streams, spent nearly two weeks at #1 on Spotify’s Global Viral Chart, topped Spotify’s US Viral Chart, trended on Apple Music, and received widespread acclaim. Idolator pegged it as a “Future Hit, and Rolling Stone dubbed it “one of the film’s most iconic tracks. Defying the rules, Everybody Loves an Outlaw turned a traditional come-up into a decidedly modern phenomenon.

Sabrina Carpenter illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

Sabrina Carpenter – Let Me Move You

Singer, songwriter and actress Sabrina Carpenter releases new track Let Me Move You (from the Netflix film “Work It) today. The Netflix film, in which Sabrina stars and executive produced, premieres August 7th.

In 2014, Carpenter released her debut album Can’t Blame a Girl for Trying and booked a recurring role as Maya Hart on Disney Channel’s Girl Meets World. From Broadway to films, to TV to music, the 21-year old Sabrina Carpenter will only continue to surprise with her many talents.

Follow Sabrina Carpenter: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube

Sing Illustration by Mina Tocalini

To All The Music

Awesomeness Films, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS, and Capitol Records today announced To All The Music, a virtual concert event celebrating the vinyl release of the To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You original soundtrack, premiering on Saturday, July 18, at 5 p.m. PT on AwesomenessTV’s YouTube channel.

Hosted by Lana Condor, who stars as Lara Jean Covey in the Netflix film, To All The Music will bring the movie’s cast and musical artists together to perform hit songs from the soundtrack and give fans an inside scoop behind the music and movie, spilling secrets and surprises along the way. The special will also feature original ‘love letters’ to give fans exclusive insights about the songs created for the film. In addition, Awesomeness is partnering with Save The Music Foundation to help raise money toward restoring public school music programs across the country. Throughout the special, viewers will learn about Save The Music’s mission and be invited to donate through the YouTube stream if they wish.

Awesomeness is also making a $55,000 donation to fund a J Dilla Music Technology Grant at a high school in the U.S. Said Condor, “Playing Lara Jean has brought so much joy to my life and a huge part of what makes our To All The Boys universe so special is the music. I’m so excited to bring together the cast, musical artists and our amazing fans to celebrate the songs behind To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You and share some fun surprises too, all for a great cause!”

Cast appearances for To All The Music will include Anna Cathcart (Kitty), Janel Parrish (Margot), Madeleine Arthur (Chris), Trezzo Mahoro (Lucas), Emilija Baranac (Genevieve) and Sarayu Blue (Trina). Remote performances will include: Lana Condor and Anthony De La Torre – cover, “I Like Me Better” by Lauv Janel Parrish – cover, “About Love” by Marina Chaz Cardigan – “As I’ll Ever Be” Cyn – “I Can’t Believe” The New Respects – “You Should Be Dancing” Ashe – “Moral of the Story” Bad Child – “Candy” Anna of the North – “Lovers” Bahari – “Crashing” Music supervision by Laura Webb and Lindsay Wolfington. To All The Music is produced by Awesomeness and Skipper Creative. The special is part of Awesomeness’s Summer of Awesomeness multi-platform initiative, which provides Gen Z entertainment and engagement all summer long from the safety of home.

Recently-announced shows include What It’s Like, a monthly Gen Z discussion series, IGTV series Spark The Convo, which addresses timely topics like allyship, implicit bias and coming out; and new episodes of ATV Daily Report, which covers the pop culture space through a Gen Z lens. More new shows to be announced in the coming weeks.

About Capitol Music Group (CMG)

CMG is comprised of Capitol Records, Virgin Records, Motown Records, Blue Note Records, Astralwerks, Harvest Records, and Capitol Christian Music Group, as well as Capitol Studios and the company’s independent distribution and label services arm, Caroline. Capitol Music Group is based in Hollywood, California in the iconic Capitol Tower. Artists that record for CMG labels include: Erykah Badu, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Beck, Bee Gees, Jon Bellion, Rosanne Cash, Christine and the Queens, City Girls, Fletcher, Neil Diamond, Halsey, Don Henley, Hillsong United, Niall Horan, Tori Kelly, KEM, Lil Baby, Lil Yachty, Charles Lloyd, tobyMac, Paul McCartney, Migos, NE-YO, NF, Norah Jones, Queen Naija, Katy Perry, Gregory Porter, Maggie Rogers, Calum Scott, Bob Seger, Tiana Major9, Troye Sivan and Chris Tomlin. For the U.S.: Bastille, Disclosure, Empire Of The Sun, MNEK, and Sam Smith. About Save The Music Save The Music Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that helps students, schools, and communities reach their full potential through the power of making music. Founded in 1997, Save The Music partners with school districts and raises funds to restore music programs in public schools. Since inception, we have donated over $58 million worth of new musical instruments and technology to over 2,159 schools in 276 school districts around the country–impacting the lives of countless students. Learn more about us and our efforts HERE.

About Awesomeness 

A subsidiary of ViacomCBS, is a media company focused on serving the global Gen Z audience through its digital publishing, film, and television studio divisions. Awesomeness has become the destination for youth culture, cultivating a loyal audience with hit programming on the world’s biggest streaming services including Netflix (smash-hit film series “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before,” “Trinkets”) and Hulu (Emmy® award-winning “Zac & Mia”, Emmy® nominee “Pen15”), along with the company’s immensely popular short-form programs on YouTube (“Brent Rivera’s Dream Vacation,” “My Dream Quinceañera,” “Malibu Surf”), that garner hundreds of millions of views. As a leading media brand, Awesomeness’ worldwide distribution footprint spans owned, social, and premium SVOD platforms. The company also includes a creative agency, creator network, and brand partnerships division. Founded in 2012, Awesomeness is headquartered in Los Angeles, with additional offices in New York.