April 20, 2019

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Taylor Swift’s Politics and More: Your Monday Pop Culture Cheat Sheet

Taylor Swift’s Politics and More: Your Monday Pop Culture Cheat Sheet
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Hello! Welcome to your daily roundup of what’s going on in pop culture.

All that internet rivalry between “Venom” and “A Star Is Born” culminated this weekend with record box-office numbers for an October weekend. “Venom” took in about $80 million in North American tickets and “A Star” earned $41.3 million, proof that the Marvel superhero movie is a cultural juggernaut that not even Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s combined star power can match. Not sure how I feel about that, but I’m very happy for Tom Hardy.

• Look what you made me do: Taylor Swift, whose previous silence on politics led members of the alt-right to embrace her as a hero, said in an Instagram post that she would be voting for the Democratic candidate in the tight Senate race in Tennessee next month. [NY Times]

• “We’ve been Banksy-ed.” One of the graffiti artist’s famous “Girl With Balloon” paintings self-destructed Friday night at Sotheby’s in London just after fetching $1.4 million at auction. We still don’t know who the buyer was, or whether they’ll have to pay up. (The shredded painting could be worth more now.) [NY Times]

• “Saturday Night Live” this weekend was hosted by the funny and fun Awkwafina, who talked about waiting outside 30 Rock to catch a glimpse of Lucy Liu when she hosted the show many years ago. The highlight for me, though, was Pete Davidson’s riff on Kanye West’s appearance on the show last week, which Davidson concluded by putting on a red hat reading “Make Kanye 2006 Again.” [NY Times]

Will Vinton, the animator behind the California Raisins and the talking M&Ms, has died at 70. [Los Angeles Times]

• Teenage girls are less likely to describe themselves as “confident, brave and listened to,” but female superheroes can help with that, according to a BBC America study. [THR]

Lil Wayne has scored his fourth No. 1 album with “Tha Carter V,” as well as the second-biggest streaming total ever. (Read the pop critic Jon Caramanica’s review.) [NY Times]

The Guardian’s rundown of doppelgänger actors. Why is Hollywood so creepily obsessed with everyone looking the same? And do Matt Damon and Jesse Plemons really look alike?

• If you want something to watch with kids, consider “Andi Mack.” The title character is the plucky feminist hero dreams are made of, writes the TV critic Margaret Lyons. She’s bright and funny and determined, ethical and creative. Don’t let the fact that the show airs on the Disney Channel put you off. The Season 3 premiere is at 8 p.m.

• Tonight is also the season finale of “Better Call Saul.” In preparation, take a look inside the writers’ room to see how they crafted their character’s moral degradation. Then watch the Season 4 closer at 9 on AMC.

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