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Baby, the stars shine bright.

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You know what fame is? Fame is widespread rioting because fans didn’t get to pay their respects at your funeral. Via Reuters:

Mobs torched buses, attacked company offices and stoned police on the streets of India’s technology hub on Thursday ahead of the funeral of film icon Rajkumar, whose death has triggered widespread mourning.

Officers had earlier retaliated with tear gas and baton-charges as thousands converged on a stadium in Bangalore, home to major Indian and international technology firms, where the actor’s body had been put on view in a transparent coffin.

Kannada megastar Dr. Rajkumar, a veteran of over 200 films, died of cardiac arrest yesterday. BBC has pictures of the masses mourning, while Rediff has a special section with tributes to the actor from fans, family and friends.

It goes without saying that we can come up with exactly zero stars here whose deaths would spark violent lamentation. Few stars could be described as "beloved" these days — if our appetite for the gossip glossies is more ravenous than ever, it’s also at least half schadenfreude: "God, look how awful she looks in this photo!" Stephen Hunter writes in the Washington Post:

Louis B. Mayer used to brag that MGM, the studio he led through its golden age, boasted all the stars in Heaven. In those days, that was something: Stars counted. Garbo, Gable, Garland, just to cover the G’s.
Today, it’s said, the only thing a star is good for is to get you a table in a crowded restaurant.

And it’s true, stars can’t really open films the way they used to; people respond more to Internet buzz, TV ads, movie crit — er, no, Roger Ebert.

Hunter goes on to examine films that make good use of stars ("Inside Man") and others that don’t ("Basic Instinct 2"), and dabbles at explaining the indescribable — what makes certain people "stars" as opposed to "actors" (possibly that they are always more themselves on screen than the characters they’re supposed to play, and that audiences are okay with that?). Over at the Independent, David Thomson also dwells on Ms. Stone, a star if there ever was one, if one who, as Thomson argues, found a great role only once:

I knew people who knew Sharon Stone and they reported that she was fun, grown up, unsentimental, fully aware of the journey she had made to stardom and of how quickly it could end in ashes after the age of 40. She worked for charity. She had a smashing dress sense. She had more humour than half-a-dozen actresses. She even gave one great performance, enough to show that she was more than just a beautiful woman. That role was Ginger in Martin Scorsese‘s "Casino" – a driven slut, a junkie and an addict for jewellery, money and pushing "fuck" and its variants into every sentence. There aren’t many great performances by actresses in Scorsese’s work, and Ginger looks better over the years. Neither that film nor her character were funny, but the hint was clear – that Sharon Stone was equipped to play smart comedy and eager to do it.

And at the London Times, Ian Johns discusses another important star-making quality: divadom:

During a New York press junket for "Demolition Man," Sylvester Stallone refused to mumble sweet nothings into the tape recorders of journalists until the yellow walls of his room were repainted the more eyeball-friendly hue of peach. Perhaps it’s not so different from the days when Joan Crawford would insist that the temperature on the set was a constant 68 degrees and Marilyn Monroe would request that any blonde co-stars dyed their hair a different colour.

Hee, "Demolition Man."

+ Mobs rampage in Indian tech city after actor dies (Reuters)
+ In pictures: Rajkumar’s death mourned (BBC)
+ Farewell, Dr. Rajkumar (Rediff)
+ To Shine, Stars Must Be Aligned Properly (Washington Post)
+ Film Studies: If only Sharon could get back to basics (Independent)
+ I want it all and I want it now! (London Times)

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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