Ciara Wants Us To “Level Up”


Pitchforks tells us: ‘Ciara’s first single since 2015’s Jackie, “Level Up” is custom-engineered for virality. The track’s named for a micro-feud she started over an Instagram hashtag on a post with her new husband Russell Wilson, and it’s built on the turbo-shaking bones of DJ Telly Tellz’ “Fuck It Up” a Jersey club workout to which hundreds of people heeded the spoken intro: “No matter where you at, no matter where you from, no matter what dance you’re doing, just make sure you fuck it up to this song right here.” Ciara does, reproducing the countdown intro and hook (“fuck it up” becomes “level up”); it’s as instantly effective a sample as “My Boo” in “Body Party,” and producer J. R. Rotem mostly stays out of its way besides inserting a couple of plush bridges for a break.’

Can It Be? A Sequel To “Silkwood”?

Yes, they were on the red carpet for the new “Mamma Mia” movie, but Cher did play Meryl’s lesbian best friend in “Silkwood,” so I can dream of a sequel, can’t I?

The Romanovs’ Art Of Survival

Anastasia Edel looks at the holdings of the last Russian tsar and his family: ‘Over the twentieth century, the Romanovs produced a vast artistic trove that few are aware of, since most of their creative output was meant for family consumption. Because the family was scattered around the world by the events of the revolution, that collection is currently dispersed among private archives, family albums, basements, under-the-bed boxes and, in rarer cases, museums and galleries. When studied as a whole—in as much as its fragmented nature affords—two persistent themes emerge. One is the Romanovs’ intense, penetrating view of nature. For centuries, nature exploration has been a favorite Romanov family pastime. In those inimitable Russian forests, mountains, and steppe, they found aesthetic pleasure, refuge, and, at times, salvation.’

Nine Weird Iggy Pop Collaborations


Pitchfork tells us: ‘Maybe it’s because he finally gave up smoking pot, but Iggy Pop has definitively entered his elder-statesman phase, even if he does maintain his lifelong aversion to shirts. In interviews, the 71-year-old Stooges frontman, an icon of the louche life since the late 1960s, today touts the pleasures of sobriety and qigong. But the great thing about Iggy as wizened sage is that his nuggets of wisdom are often just as unpredictable, irrepressible, or straight-up wacky as they’ve always been. Take “Bells & Circles,” a new collaboration with UK rave veterans Underworld. (A full EP from the two outfits—sort of a four-track clash of the titans—drops July 23.)’

Madonna Family Photo: Sweet

Madonna posted on Instagram a rare and sweet photo of her and all her kids—Lourdes, 20, Rocco Ritchie, 17, David Banda and Mercy James, who are both 11, and 4-year-old twin sisters Esther and Stella, at her 59th birthday party in Italy. The girls all wore near-identical floral outfits.

Felicity Jones IS Ruth Bader Ginsburg


Felicity Jones transforms into a young version of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the first trailer for “On the Basis of Sex.” The British actress speaks in Ginsburg’s distinctive Brooklyn-inflected accent in “On the Basis of Sex,” which deals with on of Ginsburg’s earliest cases, Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld. She successfully argued before the Supreme Court in 1975 that a widower denied his wife’s survivor benefits under Social Security violated the right to equal protection secured by the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Court: Demolish Or Restore Taj

The Taj Mahal in Agra could be closed unless the Indian government steps in and saves the neglected landmark, says India’s Supreme Court. “Either we shut down the Taj or demolish it or you restore it,” the two-judge committee told state officials last week. In May, the judges said that the white marble monument was turning yellow due to pollution and insect dung, and told the central government that it should seek foreign expertise to fix “the worrying change in color.”