The Berlin-based YouTube channel is proving to be a major launchpad for new artists

Image: YouTube/COLORS

In 1992, Mariah Carey’s management had a problem: The elusive chanteuse wouldn’t tour. Critics began to speculate she was coasting on in-studio support — that her dulcet runs and perfect pitch were musical sleights of hand rendered in post-production, and that her performance on the charts far outpaced her performance on the stage.

Her team booked her on MTV Unplugged, a series that challenged artists to perform on-camera in an intimate setting without the aid of a studio set-up. …


Thanksgiving in Buenos Aires

When I trekked across Berlin at 5 a.m. last February to renew my visa, I waited in front of the foreigner’s office under a light dusting of snow. For all the talk of German efficiency, the process of claiming a residence permit is rigid and primordial. I stood in line outside the wrought-iron gates for three hours in the dark before we were let in, and I saw the rows and rows of tents in an adjacent courtyard. I spent the morning waiting on a work permit — a new lease on my right to continue living the life of…


On White Nonsense, Margaret Cho, and Asian Erasure

Wicked Witch of the Western World

Somewhere high in the hills of Scotland, Tilda Swinton glissandos down an ivory staircase in a robe made of dove down, elvish whispers, and white nonsense. Lithely tapping away at her mobile phone — or This Old Thing My Manager Gave Me, as she knows it — Swinton scribbles out a series of messages to Ms. Margaret Cho.

“Can I be racist,” she exhales, “if I am producing a film with a Korean lead?”

****************

Over the weekend, Swinton was placed under a general side-eye for her ignorance toward the longstanding tradition of whitewashing Asian storylines and characters to make room…

nathan ma

Berlin-based freelancer putting the ‘cult’ in culture writer for The Independent, The Outline, CRACK, Time Out, and more: nathanashma@gmail.com

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