TIME Pop Culture

Nik Wallenda to Stroll Atop 400-Foot Spinning Orlando Eye

Nik Wallenda Press Conference
Noam Galai—WireImage/Getty Images Nik Wallenda announces his plans to walk on top of the Orlando Eye Ferris wheel on April 13, 2015 in New York City.

A "stunt for the ages"

Daredevil Nik Wallenda announced on Monday that he will take a stroll on top of the Orlando Eye, a spinning, 400-foot tall observation wheel.

Wallenda, a seventh-generation highwire performer who famously walked a tightrope between two Chicago skyscrapers last year, will once again attempt the walk without a harness or a safety net. He plans to perform the stunt on April 29.

“My whole life is about facing death in the eyes,” Wallenda said at a news conference, according to NBC News. “Do I think of death? Often.”

The Orlando Eye’s management celebrated the announcement on Facebook, calling it a “stunt for the ages.”

TIME Pop Culture

Identical Triplets in Brazil Get Married at the Same Wedding

They wore matching dresses too

It’s not every day you see three brides walk down the same aisle in the same dress and same hair style.

And yet, that was the case for Rafaela, Rochele and Tagiane Bini, who all got married at the same time at the Nossa Senhora Aparecida Catholic cathedral in their hometown of Passo Fundo, Brazil on Saturday, according to a BBC video.

The 29-year-old brides didn’t plan to match hairstyles or makeup. In fact, they went to their appointments with the intention of not matching.

“We tried a number of styles, but we all liked the same one,” Rochele told the Daily Mail. “It’s not even worth trying, it always ends up like that.”

The female guests were pleased to have three opportunities to catch the bouquets, which matched the color of each of the 18 bridesmaid’s dresses to the corresponding bride.

The only thing that helped their guests and grooms – Rafael, Gabriel and Eduardo – distinguish between them was their different colored bouquets.

The brides admit to sometimes deliberately confusing their fiancés, said Rafael, who married Rafaela.

But on their wedding day, they didn’t have a problem spotting their true loves.

“Oh yes, I knew which one was mine, for sure. I knew as soon as she entered the church, she was the most beautiful,” Eduardo, who married Tagiane, told the news outlet.

Rafaela met Rafael 10 years ago in college, and a year later Rochele met her future husband Gabriel. After Tagiane and Eduardo got engaged, their parents, Pedro and Salete, suggested that the girls get married together.

When it came time to decide how Pedro was going to walk all three daughters down the aisle at once, it was settled that he would walk halfway down the aisle with all three and then take one at a time to the altar.

Pedro walked Tagiane, the first born, down the aisle first.

“I tried to hold back my emotion, but I couldn’t,” Tagiane admitted. “To see my dad there, at that moment, was a feeling I can’t explain.”

This article originally appeared on People.com.

TIME remembrance

Monopoly Turns 80: Everything You Didn’t Know About the Iconic Game

Monopoly Game 1935
Hasbro Monopoly Game 1935

The longest official game of Monopoly lasted 70 days

On Thursday, Monopoly celebrates its birthday. Can you guess what number birthday it is? No?

Well, it’s a big one: The game that brought families together – and then slowly tore them apart – with the healing power of capitalism is turning 80 this year. To celebrate, the good folks at Hasbro have provided us with not only scads of trivia about the game, but some photos that show how the now-iconic board game has evolved over the years. Enjoy, and do not collect $200.

Monopoly Game 1936

The game’s inventor, Charles Darrow, first developed Monopoly in 1933, from materials in his own home: the cards were handwritten, and the houses and hotels were made from scraps of wooden molding.

Monopoly Popular Edition Game 1936

Parker Brothers initially rejected the game for “52 fundamental errors” that included the game’s length, theme and complexity. After Darrow successfully sold the game at local Philadelphia department stores, the company reconsidered and negotiated the rights to the game.

Monopoly in 1957

Within a year of its release in the U.S. (it was initially sold for $2), 35,000 copies of the game were being made per week. To date, it’s been published in 47 languages, sold in 114 countries and played by over 1 billion people worldwide. There have been more than 300 licensed versions of the game, including a Braille version and one made from chocolate.

Monopoly in 1962

The longest official game of Monopoly lasted a nightmarish 70 days. The largest took place in 2008, when nearly 3,000 fans united to play the game at the same time. The most expensive version of the game was created by San Francisco jeweler Sidney Mobell in 1998 for $2 million.

Monopoly in 1976

The first Monopoly World Championships took place in 1973 in Liberty, New York. The winner was Lee Bayrd, of the U.S. The last time someone from the U.S. won the World Championships was in 1974. Since then, the games have been held in locations like Tokyo, Monte Carlo and Toronto. The 2015 Monopoly World Championships will be held in Macau, China.

It would be nice if someone could bring the championship back to the U.S. for the game’s 80th birthday. Maybe it’s you.

This article originally appeared on People.com.

TIME Music

Kendrick Lamar Just Dropped His New Album, To Pimp a Butterfly

The album was supposed to be released on March 23

Kendrick Lamar surprised the music world just before midnight on Sunday by dropping his new album, To Pimp a Butterfly, a week early.

With little fanfare, and in similar fashion to Drake’s album release in February, Lamar simply tweeted out the album title along with a link to the iTunes purchasing interface. The album was slated for release on March 23.

There may, however, have been some miscommunication between Lamar’s Top Dawg label and Interscope Records. Top Dawg CEO Anthony Tiffith let loose with an expletive-filled Twitter rant aimed directly at Interscope, who did not respond but did retweet Lamar’s original release post.

In early February Lamar released the track “The Blacker the Berry,” which you can listen to below.

You can purchase the new album here.

Read next: Björk Looks Like an Alien Dandelion in Her ‘Lionsong’ Video

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Pop Culture

The Barbie Doll’s Not-for-Kids Origins

Barbie Sings!
Hulton Archive / Getty Images A girl in pigtails sings along with a 7" record called 'Barbie Sings' which plays on a portable phonograph player, 1961.

Mar. 9, 1959: The Barbie doll is first introduced by the Mattel toy company

The precursor to the Barbie doll was not meant for children.

Born in Germany in 1952, the inspiration for America’s most famous doll was a saucy high-end call girl named Lilli. First created as a comic-strip character in the Hamburg newspaper Bild-Zeitung, the Bild Lilli doll became so popular that she was immortalized in plastic — and sold as an adult novelty, according to Robin Gerber, the author of Barbie and Ruth.

“Lilli dolls could be bought in tobacco shops, bars and adult-themed toy stores,” Gerber writes. “Men got Lilli dolls as gag gifts at bachelor parties, put them on their car dashboard, dangled them from the rearview mirror, or gave them to girlfriends as a suggestive keepsake.”

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Science & Society Picture Library / Getty ImagesBild Lilli doll, German, 1955

The proto-Barbie was just shy of a foot tall, with bulging breasts and a platinum-blonde ponytail, made up for a night on the town with red puckered lips and blue eye shadow. Although Barbie’s curvy proportions are modeled after Lilli’s, the German doll’s heavy makeup and suggestively arched eyebrows didn’t carry over to the American version. The dolls also have tellingly different feet, according to M.G. Lord, the author of Forever Barbie: The Unauthorized Biography of a Real Doll.

“Unlike Barbie, Lilli doesn’t have an arched foot with itty-bitty toes. She doesn’t even have a foot,” Lord writes. “The end of her leg is cast in the shape of a stiletto-heeled pump and painted a glossy black.”

In the comics, Lilli was witty, irreverent and sexually uninhibited. One strip, summarized by Lord, shows Lilli covering her naked body with a newspaper and explaining to a friend, “We had a fight and he took back all the presents he gave me.” Another shows Lilli in a bikini; when a policeman tells her that two-piece swimsuits are illegal, she says, “Oh, and in your opinion, which part should I take off?”

Nonetheless, Lilli dolls were soon coveted by children as well as adults. They caught the eye of 15-year-old Barbara Handler on a 1956 vacation in Switzerland with her mother, Ruth — a co-founder of the Mattel toy company. Ruth Handler brought three of the dolls home with her to California, per TIME. Three years later — on this day, March 9, in 1959 — she introduced her own adaptation at the American International Toy Fair in New York. The new doll was named Barbie, after Handler’s daughter.

By the time Barbie turned 50, in 2009, Mattel had sold more than 1 billion copies of the doll, partly by “cultivating its wholesome image,” according to TIME. But Handler acknowledged that Barbie was undeniably sexier than most American dolls of her day. She didn’t see anything wrong with that, according to her 2002 obituary in the New York Times.

“Every little girl needed a doll through which to project herself into her dream of her future,” she said in a 1977 interview, as quoted in the obituary. “If she was going to do role playing of what she would be like when she was 16 or 17, it was a little stupid to play with a doll that had a flat chest. So I gave it beautiful breasts.”

Read a 1962 article about the toy company, here in the TIME Archives: All’s Swell at Mattel

TIME Media

See the Most Memorable New Yorker Covers Over 90 Years

The magazine, known for iconic and controversial covers, celebrates its 90th anniversary this February

There are few magazine-world traditions as instantly recognizable as the cover of the New Yorker, a space that’s only grown in prestige the further it moves from the actual contents of the magazine.

Most magazines use their covers to advertise a particular story within the issue, but the New Yorker—which is celebrating its 90th anniversary this week with nine different covers—uses its often-jokey covers to promote a general sensibility: Tuned-in but as often as not divorced from the news cycle, witty in an often absurd way, self-consciously erudite.

From the magazine’s first cover, which featured the foppish mascot Eustace B. Tilley, through editor Tina Brown’s announcing her buzzy presence with a cover depicting a Hasidic man kissing a black woman amidst racial tensions in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights, on to the recent era of sharply critical engagement with stereotypes around the Obamas and the misdeeds of Anthony Weiner and Chris Christie, the magazine’s cover has crystallized both the news and something more ineffable: The culture.

Here are some of the most memorable moments of artistic greatness from the New Yorker‘s history.

TIME movies

The Breakfast Club at 30: Read TIME’s Original Review

Cover Credit: THEO WESTENBERGER The May 26, 1986, cover of TIME

The classic teen flick was released on Feb. 15, 1985

They’re not teenagers anymore: the adolescent archetypes who populated The Breakfast Club turn 30 this weekend — the film was released on Feb. 15 in 1985 — and are celebrating with a planned theatrical rerelease.

But, when the movie was originally released, their teen-dom wasn’t necessarily their most salient feature anyway. In a piece for that week’s issue of TIME, critic Richard Corliss took a look at the fact that there were “too damn many” movies for that age group, and that the flood showed no sign of stopping. (It was more than a year later that Breakfast Club star Molly Ringwald would be featured on the cover seen here, proof that the reign of the teen queen was yet to peak.) However, he also found that some “teenpix” transcended their demographic bounds, and that Breakfast Club was one of them:

[Filmmaker John] Hughes must refer to this as his ‘”Bergman film”: lots of deep talk and ripping off of psychic scabs. But this film maker is, spookily, inside kids. He knows how the ordinary teenagers, the ones who don’t get movies made about them, think and feel: why the nerd would carry a fake ID (”So I can vote”), and why the deb would finally be nice to the strange girl (” ‘Cause you’re letting me”). He has learned their dialect and decoded it for sympathetic adults. With a minimum of genre pandering—only one Footloose dance imitation—and with the help of his gifted young ensemble, Hughes shows there is a life form after teenpix. It is called goodpix.

Read the full story here, in the TIME Vault: Is There Life After Teenpix?

See the Molly Ringwald cover story here, in the TIME Vault: Ain’t She Sweet?

TIME Pop Culture

See the Best Impersonations of Presidents From Saturday Night Live

A look back at how some of the greatest comedians impersonated the Commanders-in-Chief on the iconic late night sketch comedy show

TIME Sex

Fifty Shades of Grey and How One Sex Act Went Mainstream

A cultural evolution, from 'Fanny Hill' to 'Fifty Shades'

In 1976, a survey was distributed to American women through magazines like Cosmopolitan. The questions it asked were personal — very personal — and the answers, compiled in The Hite Report, were a landmark insight into female sexuality. Women were asked to describe their experiences, desires and disappointments. In a 1987 story, TIME praised the report’s author, Shere Hite as “the doyenne of sex polls” and “liberator of the female libido.”

(Read more from TIME’s archive on Shere Hite and her research on sex in America.)

In their anonymous responses, women vented and raved about both sexual practices and social attitudes. One of the findings that might shock audiences today, however, was actually one of the least “free love” of all. Buried in the section about receiving oral sex (and not even listed in the index), was a question about fellatio. One woman’s comment (expressed in blunter language than can be used here): “I would consider [it] with a loaded gun at my head. No other way.”

Reading that line, I wondered where that woman is now. Perhaps she’ll be one of the millions of people off to see Fifty Shades of Grey this week: the story of a young woman’s sexual awakening in which said act accounts for some of the tale’s least provocative moments. Advice about it is now a staple of Cosmopolitan today; indeed, today’s readers are told that it’s basically “the kickoff…for sex.”

How did attitudes change, and so quickly? As recently as the 1970s, this was certainly not something that a gentleman would expect. Today, the act is something more like bread before dinner: noteworthy only if it’s absent.

But there’s more to the history behind that change than a simple move toward permissiveness — and, it turns out, the ubiquity and “standardness” of fellatio is perhaps not as widespread as one might believe.

***

Fellatio has been happening for as long as humans have been around, and there are references to it from ancient Peru and classical Rome. Cultures and religions, however, have not all taken—and still do not take—the same attitude towards it.

I went to the Kama Sutra, thinking that would be an obvious starting place for historical ideas about the topic, but its discussion of fellatio is fairly brief, associating it with dirty and loose women. (Interestingly, the Kama Sutra spends much longer on the erotic quality of using one’s fingernails to impress dents in a lover’s skin.)

That classic of the dirty book canon, 1748’s Fanny Hill, makes no reference at all to fellatio, which suggests it wasn’t something commonly offered in London brothels at the time (or else that it wasn’t something that the clammy-handed readers of smut novels were expected to want). In American legal texts of the early 1900s, fellatio was clearly for fellas. The statutes referring to it, originally falling under the vaguely defined idea of “unnatural acts,” were about catching gay men. Hetero oral sex tended to get passing references in pre-World War II sex manuals, the kind that talk about the need for a man to “instruct” his presumably virgin bride. Apparently some healthy couples indulged in this kind of thing, the message ran, but it’s not part of most people’s repertoire. In 1919’s Sexual Truth Versus Sexual Lies, Misconceptions, and Exaggerations, the author wrote that cunnilingus and fellatio “are very common in the less worthy marriages.”

In his 2000 study, The Social Organization of Sexuality, sexual behaviorist E. O. Laumann theorized that oral sex became more popular in the 1920s. Laumann’s surveys, which describe the sexual histories of various age cohorts, show a big jump in oral sex right about the time when the baby boomers started hooking up. The sexual revolution brought fellatio into the public consciousness, via its most famous practitioner, Linda Lovelace.

Despite the counter-cultural frisson of the subversive act going mainstream, there’s indication that not everyone was on board with it at this point. Women started to write about fellatio, but as something they merely did, much more rarely as something they enjoyed. The narrator of Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying (1974) references it, unpleasantly. Indeed, as Samantha, the most liberated of the group on Sex and the City, consoled a friend, “there’s a reason it’s called a job.”

The act is barely depicted or mentioned in mainstream films at all before the 1990s, when the act itself became a well-known activity in the Oval Office. Bill Clinton made famous the notion that fellatio is “not sex”, and 60% of teenagers today agree with him. (The idea that it is “not sex” could go part of the way to explaining why people tend not to use protection for it.) At the time of the Starr Report, Newsweek warned readers that some of the activities described would make readers “want to throw up”, which does suggest that their readers in the 1990s (or at least the editors at Newsweek) were still not of the view that the President’s predilections were “standard.”

***

Even today, the “everyone’s doing it” attitude that prevails in sex writing is not entirely accurate.

Perhaps the reason we’ve come to believe that everyone is into oral sex is because it’s most common among white people, and it’s white sex writers who are saying that it’s universal. Yes, 75% of white college women reported in 2001 having done it at least once, according to a 2001 study called “Race, gender, and class in sexual scripts,” but only 56% of Latina and 34% of African American college women say they have. (Of these groups, only 55, 46, and 25%, respectively, describe performing fellatio as appealing).

Other research over the last twenty years bears out these ethnic differences. Among college students in the ’90s in Canada, whites were more likely than Asians to participate in oral sex. In the U.S., a national survey in 2002-2003 of women ages 15 to 44, showed that 84.3% of white women had engaged in fellatio at least once, while only 60% of Hispanic women, and 57.4% of black women had. (That’s “ever in your life,” not “regularly.”) That study’s authors found that whiteness correlated highly with practicing oral sex: “White race, age of 20-44 years, being married and having higher numbers of life time ex-partners were related to having ever given oral sex.”

In addition, though the act is much more common than it once was in mainstream films and TV, not every pop-cultural depiction has caught up with the idea that it’s standard. In some cases, it’s still used as shorthand to suggest that the man receiving it is a jerk. He’s an adulterer, a corrupt cop, or from Wall Street. The message to viewers is disregard for these scumbags mixed with (depending on the film) some level of reluctant admiration for this jerk who manages to be on the receiving end. The message is generally less mixed for the woman involved. For her, the transaction is degrading. Even Tony Soprano thought that it was only for a certain type of woman: when asked why he had a mistress, he explained that his wife “kisses my kids with that mouth.”

In the 2013 film Don Jon, which is hilariously honest about casual sex, the main character describes his girlfriend (played by Scarlett Johansson) as too hot to need to give oral sex—as though that were something only unattractive women have to do, to compensate for their other failings.

Indeed, fellatio is often seen in pop culture as the act of a desperate supplicant begging for favor (see: every single joke ever about a woman earning a promotion on her knees), a source of homophobic innuendo or simply as some kind of punishment.

So how can something that almost “everyone” is doing also be something bad? After a century of rapid evolution in attitudes toward fellatio, we’ve arrived at the warped mindset that something that is seen as degrading and awful is also often seen as obligatory for straight women — and perhaps made even more disturbing by the fact that we ignore the people who prove it’s not obligatory at all.

These cultural differences and paradoxes are ignored in the “this item is standard” mindset. I spoke to several friends while writing this piece, and one told me of having the offer of fellatio declined: the man is from a culture where that just isn’t done. By normalizing a predominantly white practice—and not even one that all white people do—the message is “your culture is having sex incorrectly.”

It’s hard to reconcile a sex-positive attitude that was supposed to allow women freedom to express their needs with the mindset that says oral sex is compulsory. In fifty years, fellatio has gone from a niche (and in many places illegal) sexual activity—which at least would have offered the frisson of an illicit thrill—to something not only normal, but also presented by mainstream culture as obligatory.

And as attitudes toward the one act have changed, that progression has perhaps created space for other acts to move from niche to mainstream (see porn, Internet). And other formerly-rare practices among heterosexuals seem to be heading towards that tipping point. Just look at Fifty Shades of Grey. If you’re looking for a hint that bondage and sadomasochism have breached the mainstream, how about an R-rated movie that breaks ticket presale records? Though Anastasia Steele’s oral-sex choices might have once scandalized audiences, today they’re just filler before the real action begins.

TIME Television

Grey’s Anatomy Creator Opens Up About What’s Coming Next

Grey's Anatomy cast pose with their awards during the 2015 People's Choice Awards in Los Angeles
Danny Moloshok—Reuters ABC drama series Grey's Anatomy cast (L-R) Kelly McCreary, Ellen Pompeo, Sarah Drew and Camilla Luddington pose backstage with the awards for Favorite TV Drama and Favorite TV Character We Miss Most during the 2015 People's Choice Awards in Los Angeles, California January 7, 2015.

Quick summary: More men

The ABC medical drama Grey’s Anatomy is returning to the screen with some doctors kindling new romances and others shifting off-screen.

Shonda Rhimes, the creator of the show, says that the series will not be set in two different places as Meredith Grey, played by Ellen Pompeo, attempts to reconcile the trials of a long-distance relationship with Dr. Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey).

In fact, Rhimes says the neurosurgeon may be spending more time off the screen than on it. Rhimes acknowledges that the show may need a greater male presence and says she is “bringing in some men,” according to Entertainment Weekly.

Read the Entertainment Weekly exclusive with Shonda Rhimes here.

[EW]

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