Joshua Alston

MJ: 'Thriller's 25th Anniversary

Michael Jackson is handsome and charming. He's flirtatious. He's mostly guileless, sometimes a little confrontational. He's magnetic.I don't mean now. Now Jackson is a creepy symbol of the afflictive nature of fame.

The Latest N-Word Fracas

Apologies from D-list celebs (Dog the Bounty Hunter? Who he?) make you wonder: have they become just another career move?

TV Strike: Advice for Viewers

Before you do something drastic during the Hollywood writers' strike—like —we offer some suggestions on staying tethered to your TV.

Fast Chat: Immigrant Injustice?

Documentarian Peter Miller illuminates history's lost stories. In his latest film, "Sacco and Vanzetti," he revisits the tragic fate of two Italian immigrants executed in 1927 for a murder they probably didn't commit.

Snide and Prejudice

Two new sitcoms use such a tired comedic device they're positively prehistoric—and offensive.

The Rich Get Richer

Money never goes out of style, but after a long hiatus, the wealthy-family drama is starting a new dynasty.

Emmy's Night of Surprises

"The Sopranos" swan song hits a sour note as the Academy really, really likes Field, O'Quinn and—can you believe it?—James Spader more than Gandolfini and friends.

Fall TV Preview

Confused about what new TV shows deserve space in your TiVo? NEWSWEEK gives you a day-by-day guide.

TV's 'Hot Ghetto Mess': Too Hot to Handle?

In October 2005, Jam Donaldson found herself on the receiving end of a lawsuit. The charge: that Donaldson had caused a man—apparently an aspiring lothario—emotional distress by putting an unflattering, metrosexual, come-hither photo of him on her Web site, "Hot Ghetto Mess." He wanted $3,000 in damages.

Television: 'Better' Than a 'Mess'

Black Entertainment Television's controversial new show "We Got To Do Better" (formerly "Hot Ghetto Mess") attracted over 800,000 viewers when it debuted on Wednesday night, a healthier-than-expected audience presumably made up of car-crash gawkers who tuned in to see if the show was the racist, classist sideshow its critics have portrayed it as.

'Hairspray' Problem: Segregation Wasn't Fun

If you plan on reading any reviews of "Hairspray," the new movie musical that opens today, prepare to be soaked by the word "fun." And it's a perfectly apt description: "Hairspray" is an energetic, crowd-pleasing musical set in the swinging '60s, so it's replete with bouffants, sherbet-colored culottes and the dangerous, auspicious "race music" of the era.

Smashing Pumpkins Not So Smashing

Between Michael Bay's impossibly awful "Transformers" movie, Thomas Harris's "Hannibal Rising" and the inevitable debut of trans-fat free Chicken McNuggets, it seems lately that there's no  shortage of opportunities to obliterate our positive associations with once-reliable brands.

The Trouble With Political Videos

It was safe to assume that by now there would be numerous reinterpretations of the abrupt, clipped-off final scene of "The Sopranos." It begs to be manipulated, mashed-up and parodied by the video-savvy merrymakers of the YouTube generation.

Is Reality TV Over?

Donald Trump has a natural gift for spinning bad news in his favor. When his reality competition show "The Apprentice" turned up conspicuously missing from NBC's fall line-up, he immediately pounced with a statement saying that he wasn't being fired from the show, he was quitting to work on another "major new TV venture."Trump's "Apprentice" business partner, reality TV's eminent creative mind Mark Burnett, will have much more trouble untangling himself from the wreckage.

Horror: The New Chick Flick?

In 1980, Roger Ebert reviewed the brutal grindhouse horror movie "I Spit On Your Grave," about a woman who takes revenge on the four men who savagely raped her.

TV: The Last of 'Lost'--So Far

SPOILER ALERT: This commentary contains huge spoilers about the third season of "Lost." If you haven't watched it yet and plan to at some point, it might be a good idea to click the handy Back button on your browser.There's good news, more good news and bad news about this "Lost" commentary.

Bjork Breaks Out of Her Shell on New Album

Despite an international cachet and otherworldly aura, Bjork has usually created music that looked inward and created the world as a subliminal snow globe—ornately beautiful, acutely observed, but limited.

TV: Brawling Buildup to a Title Fight

When co-workers ask me, "Who do you like in the playoffs?" or "How about them Yankees?" I usually say something like, "I'm not really into sports." But to simply say that I'm not into sports does a disservice to the depth of my ignorance of the subject.

Is YouTube Losing Its Populist Appeal?

Somewhere in America, there's a young person with a web camera, a broadband internet connection, and an enviable surplus of free time. All that kid was missing was a brass ring to reach for, the goal of having his video—the one of him detailing the reasons why Jessica Alba should marry him—lauded with a shiny figurine and adored by the masses.

Music: Soul on Ice, And a Twist

Amy Winehouse takes a while to warm up to new people, and until she does, she stammers—badly. "I'm. Really. Sorry," she says, pausing for what seems like a minute between each word. "It'll.

Film Review: 'Black Snake Moan'

There's no polite way to describe Craig Brewer's "Black Snake Moan," so let's get it over with. Samuel L. Jackson stars as Lazarus, an old black bluesman who tries to cure Rae (Christina Ricci) of nymphomania by tethering her to his radiator with a steel chain.

Fox Tries Funny

Back when I lived in Atlanta, I spent my Sunday mornings with Ike Newkirk, host of "Open Line," one of the few liberal talk-radio shows on southern airwaves.