GOOD WEEK/ BAD WEEK
Game of Thrones
More than 3 million viewers tuned in to the satisfying season finale of the HBO fantasy series.
Fans were left frustrated by the lack of closure in the AMC cop drama's season ender.
A Pulitzer Stink
The Onion, the satirical newspaper responsible for such headlines as "Drugs Win Drug War" and "Study Reveals: Babies Are Stupid," has launched a campaign to award itself a Pulitzer Prize. Arianna Huffington, Ricky Gervais, Tom Hanks and NPR's Ira Glass have all filmed testimonials in support: whether those are satirical is anybody's guess.
SOUND AND THE CITY
Play it again, New York. The second annual "Pop-Up Pianos" event happens across the city through July 2, with 88 refurbished pianos (like the hot pink one, center at right, decorated by fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi) placed on streets and in other outdoor spaces. Which means tons of opportunities for passersby to render their interpretations of "Chopsticks."
How Do You Say Smurf in Spanish?
Júzcar, a remote village in southern Spain, has caught Smurf fever. The town--which sits in the Genal Valley and is less than 2 miles (about 3 km) wide--allowed Sony Pictures to paint it blue as a promotional stunt for the live-action/animated The Smurfs. In return, Júzcar hosted the film's world premiere on June 16. We hope it was worth it--the entire town is blue.
AMY WINEHOUSE, to a crowd in Belgrade, Serbia; the singer, known for her substance-abuse problems, stumbled her way through the kickoff show of her European tour and eventually canceled the remaining 11 dates
A News Smell
Those lamenting the decline of print can take comfort in a new scented candle called "The Times of New York." Inspired by the Gray Lady, it combines notes of cedar, musk and spice to give off a whiff of newsprint--a smell that kids these days don't even know about.
Here He Is, Rocks You Like a Hurricane
A bare-chested, typically enthusiastic Tom Cruise takes the stage as aging rocker Stacee Jaxx in this first look at the forthcoming Rock of Ages. The pic, posted on director Adam Shankman's Twitter account, is the first we've seen of Cruise in the film adaptation of the Broadway musical, due on the big screen in June 2012.
Bon Iver, Bon Iver
Back in 2008, a falsetto-voiced Midwesterner by the name of Justin Vernon (creative force of the band Bon Iver) released For Emma, Forever Ago, an ethereal album of neo-folk heartbreak recorded over a long solitary winter in a Wisconsin cabin. It sent critics swooning. Since then, thanks to a collaboration with Kanye West, Vernon has gone from hermit to headliner, and his impressive self-titled follow-up ditches the acoustic solitude for a more ambitious soundscape full of strings, horns and soaring electric guitars. If For Emma whispered of a wounded heart, Bon Iver screams joy from the rooftops. The snow has thawed.
--STEVEN JAMES SNYDER