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Last Night Rihanna Kidnapped Me, And This Is What Happened
2 Jul 2015
Last Night Rihanna Kidnapped Me, And This Is What Happened

S.O.S., please someone help me!

Hi, my name is Sam, and last night, I was kidnapped to watch the premiere of Rihanna's "Bitch Better Have My Money" music video. THIS...is my story.

instagram.com

So here's where it begins: I was invited to an event — run by Tidal, Jay-Z's streaming service — that somehow involved Rihanna.

So here's where it begins: I was invited to an event — run by Tidal, Jay-Z's streaming service — that somehow involved Rihanna.

That's pretty much all I knew about my evening, officially titled "TidalXRihanna," aside from the event was supposed to run from 7-10 p.m. and I had a reserved parking spot, which I was very stoked about. I didn't know what was going to happen, who was going to be there (though I *assumed* Rihanna because like, DUH), or if I was going to eat dinner (what, I was hungry?!). I truly was going in blind, and of course my mind was racing and coming up with scenarios where I might be partying with BadGalRiRi. But wouldn't you do the same?

Roc Nation

The first question I had when I got to the event was, "What am I getting myself into?"

The first question I had when I got to the event was, "What am I getting myself into?"

The evening started at a nondescript office building in West Hollywood. It was pretty much the exact OPPOSITE of where you would expect BadGalRiRi to show up, but whatever. There, we were served food — pizza and chicken wings, etc., aka the type of stuff Rihanna probably eats after passing that blunt. This is ALSO where the night took its first big turn: WE HAD TO HAND IN OUR CELL PHONES. Yup, no phones were allowed for the event.

But that was just the start.

Sam Stryker / BuzzFeed

We then had to take buses to LEAVE the first location.

We then had to take buses to LEAVE the first location.

We weren't told where we were going, and for a large part of the ride, we were blindfolded. I felt like I was on the Fifty Shades of Grey bus or something. Along the way, we also played Rihanna trivia and guess the lyrics. Also, I totally tried to peak out of my blindfold to figure out where we were going, but the only thing I could figure was we were headed downtown. I'M SORRY RIHANNA, PLEASE DON'T HOLD IT AGAINST ME!!!

Getty Images for Tidal

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31 Kinds Of Musicians You Can Find In The World's Public Transits
2 Jul 2015
31 Kinds Of Musicians You Can Find In The World's Public Transits

You can see an awesome musician in an overpriced concert venue or you can see them on your daily commute.

Do you use your city's public transportation?

Do you use your city's public transportation?

imgfave.com / Via giphy.com

A mini orchestra in Paris, France.

YouTube / Via youtube.com

A complete orchestra in Copenhagen, Germany.

That will literally pop out of nowhere.

YouTube / Via youtube.com

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13 Metal Bands You Didn't Know How To React To
2 Jul 2015
13 Metal Bands You Didn't Know How To React To

You’ll either head bang or cry in a corner, who knows?

Babymetal

A group of teenage girls who rock harder than you could ever dream to.

YouTube / Via youtube.com

Mac Sabbath

That's correct, it's a metal band singing about the popular fast food chain, McDonalds.

YouTube / Via youtube.com

Mayhem

A live show complete with dancing in the blood of a severed pig head.

YouTube / Via youtube.com

The Gerogerigegege (Juntaro Yamanouchi & The Vomit Diarrhea Band)

The lead singer is known for vomiting, shitting, and masturbating on stage to make sure you leave the show either feeling hardcore or scarred for life.

YouTube / Via youtube.com

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19 Songs That Will Calm You The F*ck Down
2 Jul 2015
19 Songs That Will Calm You The F*ck Down

Inhale, close your eyes, and press play.

Alina Baraz, Galimatias, "Fantasy"

Ahh, can you hear the waves...feel the sand? This song will bring you to your paradise. The rest of her album is just as dreamy, which you can listen to here.

w.soundcloud.com

London Grammar, "Shyer"

There has never been a more heavenly voice than that of Hannah Reid's. She's the angel in Disclosure's "Help Me Lose My Mind."

youtube.com

Giraffage, "Feels"

Magical kaleidoscopes. See the colors swirl before your eyes.

w.soundcloud.com

Tokimonsta, "Smoke & Mirrors"

By smoke, Tokimonsta actually means pillowy clouds that will cushion your stressed-out mind.

w.soundcloud.com

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If Debby Ryan's Tweets Were Motivational Posters
2 Jul 2015

EVERYDAY IS NATIONAL CAT DAY.

Alex Wigan / Via unsplash.com

Amanda Flavell / Via unsplash.com

Angela Franklin / Via unsplash.com

Cole Patrick / Via unsplash.com

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This Girl Freestyle Dancing To "Truffle Butter" Will Blow Your Mind
2 Jul 2015
This Girl Freestyle Dancing To "Truffle Butter" Will Blow Your Mind

How?

This video of 10-year-old Sara "Lil' Mini" Phoenix jamming to "Truffle Butter" will make your jaw drop. Be prepared — This girl's moves are INSANE, and you will never hear Nicki Minaj the same.

youtube.com

LIL' MINI.

LIL' MINI.

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IS.

IS.

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QUEEN.

QUEEN.

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You May Never Be Able To Sleep Again After Listening To Whales Sing O Canada
2 Jul 2015
You May Never Be Able To Sleep Again After Listening To Whales Sing O Canada

Return to the sea, children of the land.

For Canada Day, Newfoundland & Labrador Tourism released a video of whales "singing" O Canada.

Whales, of course, don't sing. The creators actually edited together vocalization sounds and added some music. It's meant to be a celebration of Canada and of the whales that congregate in the waters near Newfoundland.

youtube.com

The result is haunting and maybe even a little unsettling.

The result is haunting and maybe even a little unsettling.

Newfoundland & Labrador Tourism / Via youtube.com

Like the whales are calling us to return to sea.

Like the whales are calling us to return to sea.

Newfoundland & Labrador Tourism / Via youtu.be

To dance with them in the cold, dark depths.

To dance with them in the cold, dark depths.

Newfoundland & Labrador Tourism / Via youtu.be

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Prince Pulls His Music From Streaming Services — Except Tidal
2 Jul 2015
Prince Pulls His Music From Streaming Services — Except Tidal

“He never meant to cause U any sorrow, he never meant to cause U any pain…”

Prince abruptly pulled his entire music catalog from subscription streaming services on Thursday — except for Tidal.

Prince abruptly pulled his entire music catalog from subscription streaming services on Thursday — except for Tidal.

KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / Getty Images

The singer did not give an apparent explanation for removing his work from the services, such as Spotify. Spotify still has a page up for Prince, but it just has a note:

The singer did not give an apparent explanation for removing his work from the services, such as Spotify. Spotify still has a page up for Prince, but it just has a note:

Spotify / Via play.spotify.com

Prince's publishers have asked all streaming services to remove his catalog. We have cooperated with the request, and hope to bring his music back as soon as possible.

His music, though, remains on Jay Z's Tidal streaming service.

His music, though, remains on Jay Z's Tidal streaming service.

Tidal / Via listen.tidal.com

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Warped Tour Founder Says He Knowingly Allowed Musician Accused Of Sexual Misc...
2 Jul 2015
Warped Tour Founder Says He Knowingly Allowed Musician Accused Of Sexual Misconduct To Play Tour Date

Warped Tour’s founder Kevin Lyman said he was aware of the controversy surrounding singer/songwriter Jake Mcelfresh, but still allowed him to play Wednesday.

Jake Mcelfresh, who performs under the stage name Front Porch Step, became the center of a huge controversy earlier this year when accusations surfaced of sexual misconduct with underaged fans.

Jake Mcelfresh, who performs under the stage name Front Porch Step, became the center of a huge controversy earlier this year when accusations surfaced of sexual misconduct with underaged fans.

youtube.com

The singer was dropped by his label. He also cancelled all tour plans. A petition was quickly started hoping to have Mcelfresh blocked from performing on the 2015 Warped Tour.

The singer was dropped by his label. He also cancelled all tour plans. A petition was quickly started hoping to have Mcelfresh blocked from performing on the 2015 Warped Tour.

change.org

There have been multiple cases of Jake Mcelfresh talking to underage girls and sending them vulgar photos. He has been asked to stop by these girls every time and continues with the sexual statements and harassment. Being in his 20's it is frankly disgusting that Jake is sending nudes and sexual statements to girls that are 13/14. There are screenshots of texts sent by him to one of these girls attached to this petition. We believe that Front Porch Step should not be allowed to play Vans Warped Tour and be given a national venue where he has access to the young girls who attend Warped Tour. We are asking Kevin Lyman and Vans Warped Tour to take Front Porch Step off the tour before something more than sending texts happens. Do not put your fans at risk, Kevin. Thank you all for signing.

Mcelfresh, however, ended up performing at the Nashville stop of this year's Warped Tour on Wednesday.

youtube.com

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Sexts, Hugs, And Rock 'N' Roll: On The Road With The Teen Social-Media Sensat...
2 Jul 2015
Sexts, Hugs, And Rock 'N' Roll: On The Road With The Teen Social-Media Sensations Of DigiTour

San Francisco, April 28

Hayes Grier is hungry. It’s well after 9 p.m., after a two-hour show and a long day, and the dinner delivery guy is running late, and the 14-year-old’s face is starting to get that wild-eyed, slightly manic look that was all but invented by overstimulated and underfed teenage boys. He can’t sit still but has nowhere to go, so he paces around the narrow green room in San Francisco’s Regency Ballroom, chewing gum and scrolling through his Twitter mentions, which stack up at a rate of dozens, sometimes hundreds, per minute. If you listen closely, you can hear the chatter of 2,000 or so fans, nearly every last one of them a teenage girl, as they spill out of the venue and into the street. But Hayes is single-minded, desperately rooting around the green room for something, anything, to eat. He finds a pack of fruit snacks and tears into them, never once glancing up from his phone.

With full lips, Bieber bangs, and piercing blue eyes, Hayes has the unsalted-butter looks of the love interest on a CW show or the villain in a John Hughes movie. He dresses in the superficially alternative but fundamentally nonthreatening uniform popularized by Urban Outfitters and adopted by every (white) Cool Guy in every high school in America: jeans, skate shoes, graphic T-shirt or baggy tank top with the armholes cut low. He speaks slowly and indistinctly, with a soft North Carolina accent. He has beautiful teeth.

Michael Short for BuzzFeed News

Hayes is one of the world’s biggest social media celebrities — a distinction that, in 2015, isn’t necessarily so far from that of one of the world’s biggest celebrities, full stop. He has a bevy of lucrative endorsement deals, a fashion collaboration with Aeropostale, a packed touring and appearance schedule, and upwards of a million followers on each of the half dozen or so social networks he uses. It helps that his 17-year-old brother, Nash, is arguably the most famous Viner on the planet, with nearly 12 million followers and more than 2.8 billion lifetime loops on the platform.

But the younger Grier’s star is rising swiftly in its own right: His Instagram account, whose shirtless pics and up-close selfies rocketed him to fame less than two years ago, has roughly as many followers — 3.9 million — as those of Neil Patrick Harris and Michelle Obama combined. All told, his Vines — which tend toward Jackass-lite stunts, innocuous physical comedy, and brief snapshots of life on tour — have been looped more than 300 million times. At this point, the Grier brothers are so famous that they can’t go to a mall or amusement park or high school football game without being mobbed. They are so famous that the rest of their family has become famous too, osmotically and apparently without even trying: At the L.A. stop of the tour we’re currently on, dozens of girls (and a not-insignificant number of moms) clamored to take pictures with their father, Chad, better known as “Dad” to many of the fans. Hayes and Nash’s half sister, Skylynn, who’s frequently featured in their videos and photos, has more than 1.3 million Vine followers. She’s 5.

And though this evening’s show, stop number five on a hugely popular 18-city bus tour thrown by a young and lucrative company called DigiTour, featured six other performers — five boys and one girl, each of them social media stars as well — Hayes was clearly the biggest draw. At the show, dozens, if not hundreds, of girls wore bright-red T-shirts emblazoned with his name on them in a blocky, football-jersey-style font, on sale at the merch table for $30 each. When he took the stage — rolling in on a dirt bike that he then dramatically dismounted, tossing those Bieber bangs back as he removed his helmet — the Regency erupted into an otherworldly roar that somehow managed to combine the upper-register shriek of a teakettle coming to boil and the solid, full-body wallop of a moving train coming very, very close to you. The girls rushed forward, mouths open and phones aloft. One burst into wild, jagged, wracking sobs.

Beyond the dirt bike stunt, Hayes doesn’t do much during the half hour or so he spends onstage. Though several DigiTour-ers harbor musical ambitions (and, in most cases, the talent to realize them), beyond moderate charisma and those pop idol looks, Hayes doesn’t seem to — or even purport to — have any of the qualities that one might equate with sell-out-a-theater stardom. He doesn’t sing or act or play an instrument or tell great jokes or even play sports exceptionally well; he just is, and that is far more than enough. As Meridith Valiando Rojas, DigiTour’s 30-year-old CEO, explains later, “Some of these kids, their talent is relating to their audience. They’re the coolest people you know, and they happen to have 5 million friends.”

Michael Short for BuzzFeed News

Perhaps for this reason, the DigiTour show itself seems mostly designed to enable the boys to mug for the crowd as much as possible and the crowd, in turn, to scream as much as possible. All told, it feels less like the kind of event you’d expect to nearly sell out a massive ballroom than it does a summer camp talent show, running through a sort of cartoon version of a typical day at a typical high school in a typical town: First, there’s homeroom (introductions), lunchtime (food fight), cheerleading practice (a goofy, strutty dance sequence set to Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl”). And then, of course, the denouement: prom, during which six girls and one boy are plucked from the audience and matched with a cast member for an onstage slow dance set to Wiz Khalifa's summer funeral banger "See You Again." Between these bits, the more musically oriented cast members sing, covering songs by nostalgia or Top 40 pop acts such as Journey and Drake. Four of the kids do a Fallon-style lip-synch battle, and Hayes and another cast member, Tez Mengestu, rap along sputteringly to Rae Sremmurd’s “No Flex Zone.” But by and large, the cast do not really perform so much as appear. Roughly once every show, a booming voice prods, “Now, let’s — take — some — SELFIEEEES,” in the way another announcer might implore a crowd to make some noise. The fans oblige.

Last year, according to Valiando Rojas, DigiTour sold 120,000 tickets for 60 shows. (In 2013, they sold 18,000.) This year, it’s on track to more than double last year's numbers. Nearly as soon as this tour is over, a slightly new arrangement of stars will gather for DigiFest, a six-city outdoor festival circuit that Valiando Rojas calls “Coachella for the YouTube generation.” After that, a new iteration of DigiTour, with different talent and different tour stops, will rev up: The cycle is endless, because the demand is bottomless. Though Valiando Rojas declined to reveal exact revenue figures, industry estimates suggest that DigiTour will bring in up to $20 million this year.

Other than the dads, who tend to huddle near the bar, exchanging looks of befuddled resignation, there are less than a dozen boys at each show. DigiTour is manifestly, happily, a place for girls — about 95%, mainly between the ages of 10 and 18 — and for a particularly girly-feeling, completely un-self-conscious kind of fandom. It’s a kind of fandom with no irony and no limits, a kind of fandom that seems to be almost exclusively practiced by people old enough to understand the vector of their desires but young enough not to be embarrassed by them.

Michael Short for BuzzFeed News

The show ends, as it always does, with a group number, all seven cast members onstage singing a song by fellow social media stars Jack and Jack, arms around one another's shoulders. And then the floor lights come up, and the fans stream out, and the kids head backstage to wait as the crew packs up and prepares for the overnight drive to L.A. Alec Bailey, an 18-year-old from North Carolina who hopes to use this tour to kickstart a contemporary-country music career, fiddles with his new Polaroid camera. Alyssa Shouse, 19, a YouTube singer and the tour’s only girl, sips water — she’s had a brutal sore throat all day. Daniel Skye — a very young-looking 14-year-old from South Florida — strums a guitar. They chew Sour Bubble Tape and look at their phones and sift through the gifts tossed onstage and nervously passed off by fans: stuffed animals, letters, candy. Finally, at around 10, dinner — burgers and fries delivered from the diner around the corner — arrives at the Regency, and the kids abscond to their tour bus to eat it.

Michael Short for BuzzFeed News

The bus is so comically close to what you might imagine a tour bus full of teens would look like that it almost feels set-dressed. In the narrow, couch-lined area that serves as something of a rec room on wheels, a Costco-grade box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch rests on a counter next to a bottle of vitamin C (everyone on tour “gets sick basically constantly,” a handler explains). A basket of fruit sits heroically on a table, untouched. A beach ball has, somehow, managed to become wedged between a cabinet and the ceiling. Farther back is the narrow bank of triple-decker bunk beds that serve as claustrophobic sleeping quarters for the kids and the handful of twentysomethings that serve as their chaperones-slash-bodyguards-slash-assistants. Beyond that, there’s another set of couches. I am told they play a lot of Mario Kart back there.

After spending four days with them and asking the question as many times and in as many ways as I could, it became clear to me that DigiTour’s talents do not fully understand their own appeal. Or perhaps that their appeal is exactly as simple as it looks. “They just like our videos, really,” Aaron Carpenter, another cast member, tells me backstage in Tucson. Aaron has more than 1.8 million followers on Instagram and gains about 4,000 a day, a figure he can recite from memory. “Like, there's not really any other way to explain it,” he continues. “It's like, uh, it's, like, a phenomena. I don't know. It's weird.”

Michael Short for BuzzFeed News

“Teenage girls like to be obsessed with something,” Alyssa offers authoritatively. She is tiny, dark-haired, entirely sweet, and very pretty, with a Tinker Bell tattoo on her hip and a giant head. It’s not clear if she remembers that she’s technically a member of that group.

But for all this — the tour, the millions of followers, the stuffed animals and letters and candy — the kids don’t consider themselves famous, exactly. “[When] you can go somewhere and every single person is like, ‘Whoa, that's him’ — then you're famous,” explains Jonah Marais, a lanky 16-year-old with cornflower-blue eyes.

Yes and no. They don’t turn heads everywhere they go, but they are famous, at least among a small, very vocal group of people. But they don’t necessarily have mainstream followings or record deals or even Wikipedia pages. In some ways — from the outside, at least — it seems like the worst of both worlds: famous enough to have your life disrupted, not quite famous enough to reap all the perks. For now, the guys prefer the term “known.”

Michael Short for BuzzFeed News

“Famous is like walking down the red carpet at the Grammys,” says Tez, a Vine star and childhood friend of the Griers. “I have followers on social media.” But what social media has done is decentralize celebrity and the celebrity-making apparatus, even while a tour like this employs familiar music biz tropes like long bus rides and screaming teenage fans. Rather than studiously following a worn path to fame, the kids get famous first, while a new infrastructure tasked with figuring out what to do with them gasps to catch up.

The girls are all enthusiasm, all the time. They line up for hours in the punishing, brittle heat of Los Angeles or Tucson or Las Vegas in the early spring, sweating off their makeup before they even enter the venue. They skip school for DigiTour, cash in their allowances for DigiTour, beg their parents to drive them hours from the suburbs to be at DigiTour. In Los Angeles, one will manage to get past security and sneak inside the venue; she will be discovered hours later, curled up under the stage. In Tucson, one fan will show up with two or three dozen apples, apparently inspired by an offhand tweet from Aaron about his appreciation for the fruit (“Apples are so underrated”). In Las Vegas, three of them will wake up at 3 a.m. and camp out behind the Hard Rock Cafe just to see the bus roll up in the dark.

But right now, it’s late and cold and they are mostly subdued, shivering in their brand-new T-shirts behind the barricade, hoping for a glimpse of the boys as they amble between the bus and the venue’s back door, hamburgers in hand.

“It’s my birthday,” one tells a security guard in a nakedly desperate bid to be let beyond the gate.

Everybody says it’s their birthday,” the guard replies, unmoved. And then suddenly the buses shudder awake and roll down the hill, headed for Los Angeles, the girls waving goodbye long after they’re out of sight.

Michael Short for BuzzFeed News

Los Angeles, April 29

Los Angeles is hot in that headachy, too bright way that only Los Angeles manages to be. We’re in direct sunlight. It’s just before 3 p.m., and the talent are preparing for the meet-and-greet portion of the show, which, today, takes place in a Spanish-style courtyard adjacent to Belasco Theater’s auditorium. Hayes’ father, Chad — stoic, broad-shouldered, very nice — stands off in one corner, reminding everyone to drink water. “I coach football,” he offers as explanation.

Basic DigiTour tickets run an allowance-friendly $25, but at $120 a pass, the meet and greet is the company’s cash cow, killer app, and flagship product: The company offers a couple hundred of these tickets at each show, and they typically sell out first. The meet and greet is organized essentially like an assembly line, except the object being produced is Instagram photos, on the order of thousands a night. The talent stands, receiving-line-style, ready for the stream of girls to go from one to the next. About three feet away, a parallel line of seven adults — most of them DigiTour staffers, one for each performer — stand ready to snap photos, passing the phones down the line on pace with their owners.

The interactions themselves are about 30 seconds long. First, the boy offers a greeting and, often, some kind of compliment. Sometimes the girls ask questions; sometimes they’re too stunned to say anything at all. The ones hoping to be discovered sing. Then there’s the picture: Most girls opt for a hug or a kiss on the cheek, but some go bigger and more theatrical — favored poses include boy behind the girl, hands around her waist, prom-style; hands clasped, looking into each other's eyes; forehead kiss; piggyback ride. The most ambitious fans try to leap into the boys’ arms (a practice discouraged by a black-clad DigiTour staffer who strolls up and down the line periodically yelling to that effect). Occasionally, they dive in for a kiss on the mouth.

And then repeat, and repeat, and repeat: 200 to 300 girls for each of the seven stars. The whole thing can take up to two hours and is mesmerizing to watch in the manner of any exercise — synchronized swimming, industrial food production — that is both spectacularly well-organized and also kind of on the verge of complete anarchy.




Lily Allen Just Took Down Kanye Haters With This Literal Burn
2 Jul 2015
Lily Allen Just Took Down Kanye Haters With This Literal Burn

Haters dare not hate if you’re Lily’s mate.

When Kanye West headlined Glastonbury on Saturday night, the haters, inevitably hated.

When Kanye West headlined Glastonbury on Saturday night, the haters, inevitably hated.

Ian Gavan / Getty Images

As well as Twitter being rife with snipes during Kanye's performance, some attendees decided to share their distaste towards the artist on flags, like this one, reading "Fuck Kanye", that Lily Allen has burnt in an act of Kanye solidarity.

In a series of images and videos taken at Glastonbury festival that Lily Allen posted to her Instagram on Tuesday, the singer is seen to remove one of the offending flags from the railings, before burning away its anti-Kanye message in a camp fire.

instagram.com

She wrote on Instagram, "The flag said FUCK OFF KANYE. So I burned it till it said just KANYE."

"Don’t go for dinner at someone’s house and tell them their food sucks," she continued.

instagram.com

She added, "I should be clear that this picture was taken before Kanye played on Saturday," highlighting the tough crowd he faced after over 65,000 people signed a petition to have him removed from the line-up.

instagram.com

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13 Reasons Why It's Actually OK To Not Cut Off Your Wristband
1 Jul 2015
13 Reasons Why It's Actually OK To Not Cut Off Your Wristband

We can keep it on for however long we want, thank you very much.

Adam Gray / SWNS

David Hedges / SWNS

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