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Published Aug 3, 2012 on Newsday.com’s Pop Cult blog.

Does “EDM” mean anything to you? “Electronic dance music” has built the beat up from its underground roots and dropped the bass on the mainstream music industry, for better or worse.

In the last year the “Electronic Cash Kings,” as Forbes dubs them, have mixed, faded and sampled their way to $125 million.

While its wonderful that people are investing money in music as the industry is recovering and reinventing since it met the Internet, that number is more puzzling upon examining the list.

Tiesto’s brand of EDM is fine and standard, maximizing his mass appeal, which earns him the top spot, raking in $22 million, $7 million ahead of second place Skrillex.

Sonny “Skrillex” Moore, formerly of hardcore-emo fame with From First to Last, manufactures EDM of the “dubstep” genre, which originated in London. When dubstep crossed the pond it transformed into something louder, more distorted and fraternity brother-friendly, aptly nicknamed “brostep” by dubstep purists.

Premier London EDM act Burial mixes dubstep in the original, smoother variety:

 

Skrillex’s version of dubstep seems to be doing well for him; aside from the $15 million he earned this year, he won three Grammys and was nominated for two more.

And it’s impossible to ignore the seventh place earner: DJ Pauly D of “Jersey Shore” fame with a facepalm-worthy $11 million. That’s double digits, people. Perhaps that statistic serves as a reminder that quantity doesn’t mean quality.

Also curious: all of the highest paid DJs are men. Looking for your female EDM fix? IkonikaTokimonstaLaurel Halo and Ellen Allien make quality, innovative beats.

The full list:
1. Tiesto – $22 million
2. Skrillex – $15M
3. Swedish House Mafia – $14M
4. David Guetta – $13.5M
5. Steve Aoki – $12M
6. Deadmau5 – $11.5M
7. DJ Pauly D – $11M
8. Kaskade – $10M
9. Afrojack – $9M
10. Avicii – $7M

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Published Aug. 1, 2012 on Newsday.com’s Pop Cult blog. 

With all of NBC’s innovative live-streaming, tweeting and updates abound, it’s surprising to see the Internet is also the network’s biggest enemy in the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games.

The five-hour time difference between the U.S. east coast and London means all the events unfold long before prime time, and NBC has opted to delay airing major events until the advertiser-friendly 8 p.m. time slot.

In 2012, fans are accustomed to learning news and results in real-time, not in edited-to-death, condensed broadcasts. Bitter fans are tweeting their frustration with the spoiled results with #nbcfail and @NBCDelayed.

It’s easy to blame NBC and chock it up to poor pro-ratings decisions. The fact is, in the best interest of broadcasting the events for the greatest audience, they have made the most realistic sensible choice, as frustrating it is to stumble upon results in the day and lose part of the thrill of watching in the evening. It’s been a problem every year the Olympics take place in an non-U.S.-based time zone. This is the first Games when real-time news results and social media sharing are so prevalent, and the network is taking notes.

NBC is aware of their viewers’ upset with the inevitable spoiling of results and delayed broadcasts, and has made efforts to minimize them, such as a “spoiler alert” warning on “Nightly News” and @NBCNews wordingtweets to say “click for results.” There’s no doubt the network is learning from this push into the digital-meets-broadcast pool, and viewers can look forward to NBC applying the new media knowledge for the Sochi 2014 Winter Games coverage.

Still, NBC’s tact is tested: On the Monday evening broadcast, a promo ran for “The Today Show” featuring swimmer Missy Franklin and her “first gold medal” during the commercial break directly before Franklin was to swim the gold medal-winning 100 m backstroke race.

Disappointed viewers also claim NBC’s Opening Ceremony broadcast was an #nbcfail. The ceremony began in London at 9 p.m. BST, 4 p.m. EST, and unlike U.K. broadcaster BBC’s live, unedited broadcast, NBC chose to air their version of the ceremony at 7:30 p.m. More sources of viewers’ discontent Friday evening: NBC’s sweeping edits, incessant commentary, countless cuts to commercial and omittance of a 7/7 bombings memorial segment in honor of the 52 civilians killed in the 2005 terrorist attacks on London’s public transportation system.

The time results were released of some notable events. NBC did not broadcast these event until after 8 p.m. EST:

Men’s swimming 200m butterfly final: July 31 3:02 p.m. (EST)
Women’s gymnastics team final: July 31 at 1:41 p.m.
Women’s swimming 100 m backstroke final: July 30 at 2:55 p.m.
Men’s gymnastics team final: July 30 at 2:19 p.m.
Men’s swimming 400m individual medley final: July 28 at 2:39 p.m.

Published July 14, 2012 on Newsday.com’s ‘LI Now.’

It’s raining. Water is flooding at your feet. You’re running for your life from massive rock monsters trying to beat out the mob of terrified people who also need to get onto the ark. Noah was right. And then, the ark’s gate closes.

“Spoiler alert: You won’t make it.”

At least that’s what a casting director told Mia Imbesi from Syosset at a casting call for the upcoming Darren Aronofsky film “Noah,” which is set to film on Long Island.

Imbesi, 17, was joined by hundreds of other extra hopefuls at the Greek Orthodox Church in Brookville on Saturday, where Grant Wilfley Casting, Inc. held an open casting call for “Noah” and Martin Scorsese’s latest project, “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

The “Noah” casting notice asked for “men and women with toned-slender runner’s bodies, who are willing to work at night in the rain,” and auditioners dressed the part. Many showed up in bright athletic tanks, running shorts and Nike sneakers.

The potential extras were sat in a room with about 200 chairs. A casting director then outlined the two films and addressed some of the specifics they’re looking for: Men should have long, scraggly hair and facial hair. Clean-cut men were advised not to get a hair cut in the next month.

Auditioners filled out an application which listed the standard questions such as name, age and address. Then there were the not-so-standard questions about tattoos, piercings and pets. Also asked with “yes” and “no” boxes: “Are you willing to do the following: Smoke on camera? Have your hair cut? Grow facial hair? Willing to work in the rain?”

After having their picture taken by casting directors, those willing to do stunt work were directed outside and given scenarios like Imbesi described.

Dolores Doman, 55, from Dix Hills, was also instructed to act as if she was being chased by massive “stone monsters,” with “terror” written all over her face. Others were also asked to mime fighting rock monsters with spears and holding a shield.

Doman had never been to a casting call, like many other hopefuls in attendance.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” she said. “It was awkward but it was a lot of fun.”

Christine Bailey, 47, of Kings Park, heard about the open call on Friday. She was most excited about the possibility to work with the all-star cast of “Noah,” which includes Russell Crowe, Emma Watson, Jennifer Connelly and Sir Anthony Hopkins.

“Who doesn’t want to meet someone called ‘Sir’?” Bailey asked.

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The last of the “Year in Review” and “Best of 2011” lists have just about finished rolling out. Now it’s time to look ahead and see what 2012 will have to offer.

4. Tim Cook’s Apple reign
Now that it’s been a few months since the passing of Apple’s iconic co-founder, former chairman and CEO, Steve Jobs, current CEO Tim Cook has the opportunity to push through the company’s major loss and make his mark on the company. iFans and speculators are curious to see how Cook lead’s the innovation of company’s newest technologies and how he stacks up to Jobs.

5. Baby Jay-Z and Beyonce
Ever since Beyonce appeared at at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards in August flaunting her burgeoning baby bump, entertainment news, fans and almost the rest of the internet have been abuzz with baby speculation. The name and the sex of the baby, as well as what clothes mommy and daddy, who have been married since 2008, will eventually dress the prince or princess of R&B and hip-hip in are among the popular topics talked and tweeted about. In late December Twitter, followed by the blogosphere,exploded with rumors that Beyonce had given birth, but the rumors went unconfirmed and were later deemed false.

11. Rising star: Azealia Banks
2011 was the year of Nicki Minaj, the outrageous R&B, rap and hip-hop popstar known for her various vocal stylings and vibrant costuming. Up-and-comer Azealia Banks, a 20-year-old from Harlem, is now drowning in Minaj comparisons from all the indie authorities like Pitchfork and NME. While it may be unfair to say Banks is the new Minaj, as the latter surely still has much steam left in her career, the hype surrounding Banks mimics the buzz that surrounded Minaj when she was breaking onto the music scene just before her monster hit “Super Bass” dominated the radio waves in 2011. Besides, banks music has a whole different vibe than Minaj’s: Banks manages to blend rap, electro, house and hip-hop, all while letting her sassy, but relaxed edge shine.

12. The world is going to end. Again. 
Last year Harold Camping, a believer of “Rapture,” unsuccessfully predicted the world’s demise to occur in May and October of 2011. This year, the Mayans in 2000 B.C. predicted the end of the world to be December 21, 2012, when their calendar ends. While it could possibly unfold like the 2009 movie “2012” and John Cusack will in fact save the world, based on the track record of previous world’s end predictions, it’s safe to say we’ll make it to next Christmas. Probably.

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