Pilou Asbæk on “Game of Thrones”: With its reputation for loathsome villains well established, “Game of Thrones” is embracing a touch of camp this season with the help of this Danish actor, who portrays the conniving, frequently water-logged Euron Greyjoy. Best known in the U.S. as clean-cut Kasper Juul from the cult Danish political drama “Borgen,” Asbæk lends a swashbuckling menace to Greyjoy, who in his earliest appearances blends the wild-eyed violence of Ramsay Bolton with the leather-clad, self-aware swagger of the leader of a Stone Temple Pilots tribute band. He’s surely up to no good, but the game is already more fun with him around.
Stanton Moore’s “With You in Mind: The Songs of Allen Toussaint”: New Orleans and American music as a whole lost one of its most distinctive voices with the death of Toussaint in 2015, and this album from the longtime drummer of the road-tested Crescent City jazz-funk band Galactic offers a rollicking tribute to his legacy. Already well known for collaborating across the musical spectrum with the likes of Charlie Hunter, Joss Stone and even Corrosion of Conformity, Moore leads a heartfelt, hard-hitting remembrance of Toussaint’s music on an album that also features Nicholas Payton, Trombone Shorty and Maceo Parker.
Running for office as celebrity must-have: As memorably spoofed in “Get Shorty” some 20 years ago, Hollywood loves cribbing from someone else’s style. With our reality show-host president, all sorts of midrange celebrities want in on the action given recent comments by Caitlyn Jenner and, most ominously, Kid Rock. While current events make this feel both weirdly fitting and yet entirely impossible to laugh about, it would be wise for all of those mulling that reach for the top rung on the American fame ladder to consider the low-lying approval ratings in politics before making such a move. Receiving applause is, after all, the most durable trend of all.
Fan conventions: If you love the biggest branches of superhero and fantasy pop culture, it has been Christmas in July as the Disney- and Star Wars-centric D23 and its spiritual sibling Comic-Con have both roared to life, with the latter wrapping in San Diego this weekend. Though SDCC began as a celebration of actual books and the genre it occupies, it (like the newer D23) exists mostly as a frenzied platform for ads and sneak peeks, which has fed an entitled fan culture that sets the Internet on fire when Doctor Who is female or a Stormtrooper is black. Target marketing and gathering with your tribe are both fine, but the idea that consumption constitutes ownership is the biggest con of all.
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