TIME russia

Watch Dozens of Passengers Help Push a Frozen Russian Plane

A group of intrepid passengers helped push a plane stuck on a Russian tarmac despite freezing temperatures

Though it sounds like a punchline of a joke, scores of passengers at an airport in Igarka, Russia, located about 100 miles north of the Arctic Circle, tried to push a frozen aircraft that was stuck on the tarmac on Wednesday. It wasn’t an easy task. The New York Times reports that the temperature in Igarka was -47.2°F (-44°C) and the aircraft, a Tupolev-134 jet, weighed 70-tonnes.

Oksana Gorbunova, a spokeswoman for the West Siberia Transportation Prosecutor, told Tass news agency: “In order to deliver the plane to the taxiway, the passengers were invited to leave the plane and move to a bus parked nearby. After that, some of them arbitrarily left the bus and approached the plane trying to assist with the use of physical force.”

A video of the mission was recorded and uploaded to YouTube where it quickly went viral.

Though there have been conflicting reports on why the plane broke down — and who was responsible for the mishap — the transportation prosecutor told the New York Times in a statement that the aircraft’s braking system had frozen and another key part had stalled. The statement added that prosecutors “will assess the legality of the actions of all those involved.”

[NYT]

MONEY Shopping

Barbie Is No Longer the Most Popular Girl at the Toy Store

Disney Frozen Snow Glow Elsa and Disney Frozen Sparkle Doll
Anthony Harvey—Getty Images

Princesses Elsa and Anna will now share the crown

For the first time in over a decade, Barbie is no longer the most popular girls’ toy of the holiday season, the National Retail Federation reports. This year, that honor will go to the stars of Disney’s blockbuster movie Frozen, princesses Elsa and Anna.

One in five parents say they plan to buy Elsa and Anna merchandise for their daughters, the NRF’s survey found. Just 16.8% plan to buy Barbie dolls.

“It is no surprise that Disney’s Frozen has taken the top seat as children have had it on the mind as far back as Halloween,” saidPam Goodfellow, consumer insights director at Prosper Insights & Analytics.

MORE: The new “normal” Barbie comes with an average woman’s measurements—and optional stretch marks

For decades, critics have suggested that Barbie dolls promote negative body image and sexist stereotypes. Disney’s Frozen, on the other hand, has been praised for its strong female leads.

The latest reason some parents might prefer the Frozen sisters? Controversy over Barbie’s career. In a recent book, Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer, Barbie was portrayed as an incompetent worker who needed boys’ help with everything. VP of Barbie’s Global Brand Marketing Lori Pantel told TIME that the book was published in 2010 and that “since that time we have reworked our Barbie books.”

For now, Elsa is queen. Barbie’s just going to have to let it go.

Related:

TIME viral

Breaking Bad Gets the Perfect Frozen Parody: ‘Do You Want To Build A Meth Lab?’

Walter White makes for a surprisingly emotional Disney princess

In this parody by Animeme, the Frozen song “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” gets the Breaking Bad treatment with Walter White knocking on Jesse Pinkman’s door, pleading, “Do you want to build a meth lab?”

In a style that owes much to South Park‘s epic musical numbers, the most unsentimental topics — meth, money and murder — ooze sentimentality. When Walt pleads, standing outside Jesse’s closed door, “We built this empire together — it’s all we have,” it’s hard not to get a little misty-eyed. The video captures a great deal of the five-season story arc in three short minutes, staying true to the shots in the original Frozen scene.

If only Jesse could have traveled back in time and said no.

TIME Books

New Jonathan Franzen Novel Purity Arriving September 2015

Jonathan Franzen pose at Axel Springer Haus on Nov. 8, 2013 in Berlin.
Jonathan Franzen pose at Axel Springer Haus on Nov. 8, 2013 in Berlin. Timur Emek—Getty Images

The celebrated Freedom author's new novel is a departure from his previous work, his publisher said

Next fall is already shaping up to be a good one for lovers of literature. Jonathan Franzen will release his fifth novel, Purity, in September 2015, the author’s publisher announced Monday.

Jonathan Galassi, the president and publisher of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, said that the story of a young woman working to uncover her father’s identity is somewhat of a departure from Franzen’s previous work, the New York Times reports.

“There’s a kind of fabulist quality to it,” Galassi said. “It’s not strict realism. There’s a kind of mythic undertone to the story.”

Franzen’s last two novels, 2010’s Freedom and 2001’s The Corrections, have each sold more than one million copies. In 2010, Franzen was the subject of a TIME cover story, becoming the first author to do so since Stephen King did a decade earlier.

[NYT]

MONEY Shopping

Why Barbie Is Stuck on the Shelf

Mattel's iconic Barbie doll is in a sales slump as kids increasingly look to electronics and other toys to occupy their time.

TIME Music

Idina Menzel Doesn’t Understand Why Her Christmas Album Is Out in October

Idina Menzel
Idina Menzel Robin Wong

The Broadway star talks "Let It Go," Love Actually and her new Christmas album, which she says is out way too early

Winter must really be Idina Menzel’s season. Last year she taught the world how to “Let It Go” as the voice of Elsa in Disney’s Frozen, and on Oct. 14, she’s releasing Holiday Wishes, a Christmas album covering classics from “All I Want For Christmas Is You” to “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” The Broadway veteran, who’s currently starring in the musical If/Then, tells TIME about her holiday plans.

TIME: Have you always wanted to make a Christmas album?
Idina Menzel: My parents split up on Thanksgiving, so holidays can be hard for me. I’ve always felt that Christmas albums were a sensitive thing. To sing happy music in peoples’ faces is sometimes not always the way to go. I wanted to make sure I did something that covered everyone’s experience during the holidays.

The album is mostly Christmas songs, though you’re Jewish.
Most of them were songs that I’ve always wanted to sing. “Do You Hear What I Hear?” is a song Whitney Houston sang back in the ‘80s. Her version is incredible. I’ve always loved that song. If Barbra Streisand can make a Christmas album, I can.

What are your holiday traditions?
I celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas. I do like to decorate a tree. I do collect ornaments. I’m excited that my son probably won’t take them and throw them on the ground and break them. Now he’s 5, so he might understand the importance of a good ornament. That’s something I’m looking forward to doing with him, and buying a couple new ones that represent the year. Just decorating a tree with him. And putting on music — not my own. God, I couldn’t listen to myself, that’d make me crazy.

Some of these songs, like “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” have pretty iconic versions. Were you nervous about finding your own spin on them?
I was, actually, because I grew up listening to Mariah’s version. But the thing is, Walter Afanaseiff is my producer — he wrote that song with her. It was fun for me to say, “Let’s do your song.” There was an arrangement he always had in his head that he didn’t do that he thought would be really cool.

That song is also featured in Love Actually, which is a polarizing holiday movie.
Not to me! I love it.

So for the record, you’re Team Love Actually?
Definitely Team Love Actually.

That’s a bold choice. How do you defend it to people who don’t like it?
I don’t know why they don’t like it! All these movies are so honest, and they’re a little bit more idiosyncratic. They’re not perfect, I don’t think. I just love the actors. That hits the nail on the head for me.

Do you have thoughts about when it’s okay to start playing Christmas music ?
I have very strong feelings. The album comes out October 14. I think that’s ridiculous! I don’t understand. I’ve been asking the label to tell me why. Apparently that’s when people start buying stuff for Christmas. Okay, that’s cool, but I’m barely into Halloween with my son! I completely understand if people aren’t ready for it until Thanksgiving. That’s when Christmas comes alive for me. My record label will hate me for saying that, but it’s the truth!

What will you be for Halloween?
I’m one of those curmudgeons that’s never into Halloween. Maybe because I’m in a show right now, currently eight shows a week — the last thing I feel like doing is that. But because I have a child, it’s fun. He’s going to be Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon. I’ve got his costume all made from scratch. I feel like I can get into it with him. I don’t need to put on a costume.

That’s fair.
I sound like the Grinch of Halloween!

You could always go as your Wicked character Elphaba — no one would guess it was you.
No one would think I’d be so stupid as to put that makeup back on my face, right? That’s funny.

Can you believe we’re coming up on one year since Frozen?
It’s just a remarkable thing. Usually you do a project and it has its moment. This just feels like it keeps going. Every day there’s some parent or friend with a video of their daughter singing. We just worked on a short for Frozen. I’m always asked to perform the song.

There are so many covers, remixes and parodies of “Let It Go.” Which one is the most memorable?
There are so many I wouldn’t even pick a favorite.

Not even the awesome dance remix?
The club version! Don’t you love it? I love that. When it first became successful I was like, “This has to have a club version — and a gay club version.” It’s the anthems of all anthems.

A version of this story appears in the Oct. 27 issue of TIME, on stands Friday.

MONEY Tourism

Disney World Tests a No-Line Ride

In a move designed to speed up theme park lines, Disney is running a test to make the Toy Story Mania ride a FastPass-only attraction.

TIME Television

Ben Affleck Cannot Sing ‘Let It Go’ From Frozen

To his son's disappointment

Apparently being Batman isn’t enough to appease Ben Affleck’s son, who would much prefer his dad to perform the song “Let It Go” from the Disney movie Frozen.

Unfortunately, the actor is no Idina Menzel — as he demonstrated when he tried to sing a line from the famous song.

Affleck is soon to be seen in Gone Girl, and will be playing Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which is set to be released in 2016.

TIME celebrity

Watch Ellen DeGeneres and Kristen Wiig Completely Butcher ‘Let It Go’ in the Best Way Possible

So bad, yet so, so good

There’s this song you might have heard of, from a movie you might have heard of. It’s called “Let It Go” and it’s from the movie Frozen. Sound familiar? Well, it seems there are exactly two people left on Earth who may not be familiar with this tune: Kristen Wiig and Ellen DeGeneres.

On The Ellen Show this week, the comedians both claimed that they weren’t acquainted with the song and then decided to tackle it in a blissfully ignorant performance which mostly consisted of them fumbling through the lyrics, waving their arms and gesticulating in unison. The best part is when Wiig briefly breaks character to assert, “Kids don’t what fractals are.”

It seems pretty much impossible that they really had never heard (or sung) the song before, but we’re willing to overlook it. For the sake of comedy.

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