Over the past decade, the event has become a beacon for hot times in the low Southern Californian desert—the mellifluous syllables of its name synonymous with washes of electric guitar and wave upon wave of resplendent hipsterdom. The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which kicked off this Friday, stands as America's preeminent indie music festival, a sprawling three-day extravaganza of alt-rock, hip-hop and electronica that has hosted as many as 180,000 revelers in a single weekend. But in an unprecedented move, Coachella is serving as an opening act for its lucrative two-day country music counterpart (headlined this year by Kenny Chesney and Carrie Underwood) and a heavy metal round-up featuring Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, and Megadeth. Is it possible for all these genres to live in harmony in Indio, California? Chris Lee previews the line-up for those lucky enough to score the sold-out tickets.
Prepare to be thrilled and chilled: the Ghostface killer has been dormant for more than a decade, but Scream 4 hits theaters this weekend, and introduces the horror series to an entirely new generation. But old fans may need a refresher course as well—the first Scream by horror maestro Wes Craven and screenwriter Kevin Williamson premiered way back in 1996 and scared up over $100 million at the box office. (And then Drew Barrymore’s legendary shriek was ingrained in moviegoers’ minds forever.) Mourn the series’ star victims (Henry Winkler! Liev Schreiber!) and few survivors before checking out the latest frightfest.
A few years ago, when the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was invited to show at the German festival called Documenta—it’s the art world’s most prestigious event—his “piece” consisted of the most generous of gestures: he arranged for a visit from 1,001 of his compatriots, who might not otherwise have traveled. So it’s poignant and ironic that on April 3, on his own way out of his homeland, the 53-year-old artist was detained by the authorities. Days later they announced that Ai was a suspect in unspecified “economic crimes”—code for “we hate you, and we’re taking you down.” They also published an editorial that accused Ai of being a “maverick of Chinese society” who likes “surprising speech” and “surprising behavior.” As Ai’s art got more original and daring, it also grew more openly political—making him the latest in a long line of dissident artists to run afoul of the authoritarian regime they attempted to expose. The Guggenheim Foundation has launched a petition to free him. Blake Gopnik writes on the sad history of “surprising” artists following their muse to disaster.