TIME Culture

Why It’s O.K. to Wear White After Labor Day

The dated custom of avoiding it in September is no longer in fashion

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Tradition holds that this is the time of year when wearing white becomes a major fashion faux pas. But it turns out that the history of the “no white after Labor Day” rule isn’t so black and white.

In the video above, TIME’s Archives Editor Lily Rothman explains why Americans stopped wearing white after Labor Day (and also why you should feel free to rock your white jeans well after summer is over).

TIME tennis

What It’s Like to Be a U.S. Open Ballperson

Veteran U.S. Open ballboys and ballgirls relive their best and worst moments on the court

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Zach Rosenblatt works in investor relations at a hedge fund in New York City. Every summer, he spends his vacation days chasing after tennis balls.

But they’re not just any tennis balls — they’re balls that have bounced off the racquets of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and Andre Agassi, just to name a few.

Rosenblatt, 28, is entering his 15th year as a U.S. Open ballperson.

He’s just one of hundreds of athletic young men and women who silently crouch on the edges of the courts, retrieving balls, handing players towels, and shielding them from the sun — with umbrellas — during changeovers.

“One thing that I think the public doesn’t understand is that it’s hard on your bodies,” Rosenblatt says. “You start when you’re 14, but I’m 28 — a lot of us are up there, [in our] mid-20s, and it hurts.”

It could be an unexpected missed ball that pegs you in the chest at 117 m.p.h., or Federer (a former ball boy himself) hitting a ball right at you just to test your reflexes — the range of stories, along with potential injuries, are endless.

But there are rewarding moments as well. Laray Fowler, 30, who’s been a ballperson for 16 years, was on the court the moment her favorite player, Kim Clijsters, won her first grand slam in 2005.

After the game, Clijsters found Fowler, who had been working for all her matches leading up to the final, and gave her a hug.

“We started crying a little bit,” Fowler says. “And I told her this was the best moment of my life, and it’s something I would never forget.”

Understandably, there are also stories that ballpersons would rather not repeat to the press about some not-so-nice players. But the general consensus seems to be that the perks make the job well worth it. Says veteran ballperson Nathan Hollins: “It’s just probably the best seat in the house.”

TIME celebrities

George Takei: ‘Being Optimistic Is Ensuring Your Success’

The star is the subject of a new documentary

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There’s a Japanese word that shows up repeatedly in the new documentary, To Be Takei (Aug. 22) about the life of George Takei: “gaman.”

“Gaman translates into English as ‘to endure with dignity, or fortitude,’” the Star Trek actor tells TIME. Gaman was, he says, a source of strength for Japanese-Americans sent to internment camps during World War II — and he would know. Takei spent his childhood, up until almost his 9th birthday, in such a place. Even after the internment ended, the young Takei found himself in a hostile world, where housing and employment for Japanese-Americans were scarce, and his family, penniless after the war, lived on Skid Row in Los Angeles.

And gaman continued to prove necessary as Takei got older. When he became an actor, his first roles were ones he regretted even before filming them, stereotypical Asian caricatures he says his agent convinced him were worth it for the visibility. And, even after his acting career was established, he faced different struggles as a gay man — first with concealing his sexuality, later with getting the right to marry.

But he endured. As he tells TIME, he did so with a smile.

“I think being optimistic is ensuring your success. If you start out saying ‘I’ve got this problem or I’m angry at that,’ you will not succeed,” he says. “My father said, ‘Be confident of who you are, but also work hard to be the best that you can be.’”

It’s clear by now that his optimism is well-founded. The science-fiction devices he used on Star Trek have become reality (except, he notes, for the transporter), he’s married, he’s enjoying a major wave of popularity — and, of course, he’s the star of a movie about himself.

“The future,” he says, “is today.”

Read more about George Takei in this week’s TIME.

TIME Pop Culture

See How ‘Oh My’ Became George Takei’s Catchphrase

Say it with us now...

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Take a quick peek at the Twitter feed from George Takei — the actor famous for his Star Trek and advocacy roles, and the star of the new documentary To Be Takei — and it’s immediately clear that he has a catchphrase.

He uses it in a sentence:

He uses it as a hashtag:

He even has his own link shortener, which churns out catchphrase-inspired short URLs for him to tweet:

But how did “Oh my!” come to be his catchphrase? Here, Takei tells TIME.

TIME celebrities

Owner of Iconic New York Comedy Club Remembers Robin Williams

The legendary comedian would show up at the famed New York club to support other performers

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When Caroline Hirsch, owner of New York City’s renowned stand-up club Carolines on Broadway, came to know Robin Williams, he was just building his name on TV with Mork & Mindy.

But soon enough, in the mid-1980s, Williams became one of the big stars to appear on the stage of the famous Times Square comedy club. In the decades since then, Hirsch said, he would return to support other performers.

“Who’s going to fill that, that of the comedy world?” she told TIME. “Because we really don’t have that kind of unique person. I haven’t seen it. And I don’t know who will come up the ranks to be that guy, who is always there for everybody.”

TIME movies

VIDEO: Kermit and Pepe on How to Promote a Muppets Movie

The Muppets Most Wanted celebs dropped by TIME's offices to explain how it works

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It’s no secret that when celebrities tell journalists they’d love to drop by a magazine’s office to be interviewed, they’ve usually got something to promote. Which is great, except when that something is a DVD/Blu-ray release, which usually means we already know all about the project from when it came out in theaters. What’s left to talk about?

When those celebrities are Kermit the Frog and Pepe the King Prawn, lots. The two Muppets were in town to gab about the Aug. 12 DVD release of Muppets Most Wanted, so we took the opportunity to get some of those pressing questions answered. How, we wondered, does a Muppet promote a DVD release? How grueling is the promotional schedule? Does it bring up fun memories from filming, or is it a slog?

We did manage to draw some answers out of them—but, as you’ll see in the video above, an interview with Kermit and Pepe doesn’t always lead where you thought it would.

TIME movies

Go Behind the Scenes of Wong Fu’s First Feature Film

An inside look at the popular YouTube team's foray into a more traditional format: feature film

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When I arrive on the set of Wong Fu Productions’ first feature film in Pasadena, CA, they’re in the middle of shooting one of the most emotional scenes in the movie.

Everyone, from the production crew to the hair and makeup artists, is speaking in hushed tones — even though the action is taking place in a separate room.

That’s because we’re actually shooting in the Wong Fu Productions office, where a corner of the space (which, on a normal day, looks like a typical workspace with desks and computers) has been transformed into a mock college dorm room, complete with actual walls, a microwave, a bed, and other furnishings. The door to the room has been propped open to leave room for the camera, and also to prevent the set from becoming too hot.

“The way we do things is pretty unconventional,” says Philip Wang, who cofounded Wong Fu with college friends Wesley Chan and Ted Fu. “I like to say it’s resourceful.”

For Wong Fu, which got its start in 2003 and quickly gained a strong following with the growing popularity of its YouTube channel (which now has over 2 million subscribers), a long day of shooting is nothing new. What’s different this time around is the length of time spent on one particular project.

“Now, we just kind of have this mentality of like, ‘Hey, it’s just like we’re just making 20 shorts, all in a row,'” Wang says. “We do that anyways throughout a year. Now it’s just condensing it all into one.”

Wong Fu is in a unique position as an independent production company for a few reasons: The trio had already begun to make popular videos before YouTube came along — videos were passed around through download links on their website and fans’ instant messenger profiles — and were able to take advantage of the viral potential afforded them by the new platform. Notably, they also feature a primarily Asian-American cast in their shorts; they attribute much of their success to a largely Asian-American viewership eager to see themselves represented in the media. Wong Fu produces character-based short films, which Wang believes is distinct from the typical viral videos that attract views through shock value or cuteness.

In March, Wong Fu raised $358,308 on Indiegogo for their movie, making their project currently the fourth-best funded film on the crowd-funding website.

The film’s plot focuses on two couples at different stages of their relationships, set in a world where “all relationship activity is documented and monitored by the Department of Emotional Integrity (DEI)” and is assigned a number like a credit score.

The young couple featured in the video above is played by Victoria Park and Brandon Soo Hoo. (The rest of the principal cast includes a mix of familiar names and new faces: Randall Park, Ki Hong Lee, Chris Riedell, Aaron Yoo, Joanna Sotomura and Brittany Ishibashi.)

The scene I witness is a tense moment because, for the first time in their relationship, the two have to learn to deal with the challenges of a long distance relationship.

“No one was wrong in that argument,” says Chan, who co-directed the movie with Wang. “We want you to side with both of the characters. That’s one of the real life, relatable elements we wanted to include — that a lot of times, when we argue, there’s no right or wrong.”

Shooting officially wrapped last week, and the movie will be in post-production for the next three to four months. What happens from there isn’t set in stone yet, but Wong Fu plans to submit the film to various festivals as they work out the details of a release plan.

In the meantime, it’s also worth keeping an eye out for a possible upcoming engagement video — according to the movie’s Indiegogo page, one lucky donor claimed a Wong Fu wedding video package for $8,000.

TIME Infectious Disease

Everything You Need to Know About the Deadly Ebola Virus Outbreak

A look at the numbers behind the largest ebola outbreak on record, which has so far killed over 670 people

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More than 670 people have died from the latest outbreak of Ebola, a highly contagious virus that is also one of the deadliest human diseases.

Though it’s been almost 40 years since Ebola was first discovered in 1976, there are currently no cures or effective treatments.

Here’s what you need to know about the unprecedented outbreak.

TIME Music

Go Behind the Scenes With Nico & Vinz at The Tonight Show

TIME chats with the Afro-Norwegian duo, best known for their summer hit "Am I Wrong," before their performance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

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Though you may not recognize their names (yet), their tune is definitely recognizable — Nico & Vinz‘s single “Am I Wrong” is currently sitting at number one on the Top 40 airplay chart.

Earlier this week, TIME caught up with the Afro-Norwegian duo as they headed to the NBC studios to rehearse with the Roots before their performance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

In their down time, the pair both constantly have earphones on, often singing out loud or dancing to a silent rhythm.

“I’m listening to some sketches we did in Norway, songs,” says Vincent “Vinz” Dery during a short car ride, chuckling. “Listening to ourselves.”

But even given the high stakes, neither appeared nervous. “We’re kind of confident because the chemistry between us is great onstage,”says Nico Sereba, the other half of the duo. “I mean, we’re playing with the Roots, which is one of the best bands in the world.”

In the video above, Nico & Vinz sit down backstage before the show to discuss their unique sound and how they balanced work — as high school substitute teachers — and music.

But be warned: their catchy, upbeat song will get stuck in your head for the rest of the day.

TIME Business

Take a Ride on The Newest Record-Breaking Wooden Roller Coaster

Goliath, the Six Flags Great America ride, takes wooden coasters to new heights and speeds

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It may not be as tall as some steel roller coasters out there, but Goliath at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Ill. brings the fear factor to another level.

“It’s really, really intimidating to get on something that looks like it’s made of toothpicks,” says TIME’s Deputy Culture Editor Sam Lansky, who went on the ride not once, but twice.

Goliath, with its 180-foot drop at 85 degrees and top speed of 72 miles per hour, broke three world records for wooden coasters.

Not breaking a sweat yet? Take a look at the video, then see if you think you can handle going on the ride yourself.

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