Thursday, December 31, 2009

Jeff Buckley

Jeff Buckley died on 29 May 1997. On that day, I was 14, he was 30. I remember hearing about it on MTV news, much like the passing of Kurt Cobain, and like Cobain, I knew of the man, but had no connection or understanding of his life or work at the time of his death. The news was memorably upsetting mostly because of the way he died; drowning in the shallows of the Wolf River in Memphis, while a friend stood on the banks, helpless, just a few feet away. It is believed his body was pulled under by an intense current caused by a passing boat, one where even the strongest of swimmers wouldn't have stood a chance of survival. The world lost something incredibly talented and beautiful that day.

It wouldn't be until about a year later, while I was cleaning my room on a warm day, windows open and the breeze causing my curtains to billow, carrying the sound of National Public Radio throughout the house, when I would finally be introduced to the sounds that would change music for me forever. That day I was more concerned with the radio acting as company during my tasks but it was then that I heard the song, the voice more specifically, which stopped me in my tracks. The sound which poured from my speakers that day was unlike anything I had heard before. The most impassioned, spine tingling-ly beautiful voice accompanied the tune. Then his name popped into my head for the first time since reports of his death. Just like that I had found a piece to the puzzle I didn't even know was missing. THIS was Jeff Buckley. It just had to be. I don't know how I knew but I was certain before the announcer could confirm this as fact. This became my first and official introduction to one of the most virtuosic and soulful musicians I would, and likely will, ever hear.

Always enamored with music and the people who created it, it took no time at all before I procured a copy of Jeff's debut album, Grace. I wore that album out yet never tired of those 10 tracks and it is, to this day one of my all time favorite pieces of music to listen to. Without intending to, I taught myself to be a better singer by listening along to his advanced vocalizations, soaring from rich tenor to the highest heights of falsetto without coming off as campy or overdone. His voice was a true gift and I've never heard another quite like it. Jeff was born to make beautiful music and did so with apparent ease and, well, grace.

You may be taken aback by his stunning good looks but Jeff likely took all that with a grain of salt. He had an extreme beauty both inside and out, a true artist and something of an amateur comedian. Whether you listen to and love him or are newly introduced to Jeff's work, the experience cannot be complete until you hear live recordings including his stage banter. He was a master of impressions and off the cuff improvisation and the only thing that saddens me about listening to the recordings is that we will never hear any new jokes or experience the goofball antics that could and undoubtedly would take place with any given Jeff Buckley performance.

It's really hard, near impossible for me to pick a favorite track of his to share. Unfortunately, what video exists of him is limited as he passed before reaching the height of his stardom. A few music videos were created to accompany Grace, the only full length studio album that was released during his lifetime. Of that album, I tend to lean toward "So Real" as my favorite track, likely because of the hard to ignore passion that exudes from his voice while singing a phrase as simple as "I'm afraid".

See for yourself:

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Pee-wee's Playhouse

I don't care what anyone says about Paul Reubens. I love him. To me, he will always be Pee-wee and Pee-wee will always be a HUGE part of my childhood memories. I watched this show religiously and even had my own miniature playhouse, complete with a Cowboy Curtis, Miss Yvonne, Chairry, Pterri, Magic Screen and the rest of the gang. I can thank my mom for introducing me to "Playhouse" as I think she enjoyed watching it almost as much as I did.

Why don't they make children's television like this anymore?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Dr. Dog

Dr. Dog are easily my favorite band, their sound is amazing, THEY ARE AMAZING. I know, I am like so prolific right now. The reason I bring them up AGAIN is because I seeing them AGAIN, tonight at a sold out show in a bowling alley in Brooklyn. I have no idea what to expect except that I will fight my way tooth and nail to the front because, well, because I haven't really thought this part out all the way just yet. Maybe I am planning on climbing on stage and maniacally bopping along with the rest of the band during their set, or maybe I'll get saucy and be that asshole who shouts in between every song: WOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOO! or Play "Say Something!", "SAAAAAAAAAAAAY SOMETHING!" as though they don't know the names to their own damn songs and don't have a perfectly stellar set-list already figured out and really lady? just save your breath because no one enjoys your shrill banshee scream not to mention that nobody paid good money to hear your big mouth, so shut it.

I have yet to decide on how I'm going to embarrass myself. The only thing to be certain of is that I will.

Everything I read about Dr. Dog likes to say they sound a lot like the Beatles. And they do. Not JUST like the Beatles though, I hear some Beach Boys and Dylan in there as well and just to be clear, people get all caught up in bands needing to get their "own sound" or whatever. I think that’s total hogwash. We are all inspired by the works of those we admire, so not to confuse the issue, Dr. Dog may sing luscious harmonies that could make Paul McCartney weak in the knees, but these guys are nobody's band but their own. And it's not like the Beatles weren't influenced by others. Lest we forget, I count Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly and Bo Diddley ALL as significant inspirations especially for their early sound, just to name a few.

So while I get ready to fan-girl out tonight, I wanted to share this video I found while scouring footage of Dr. Dog on YouTube. I had never heard "I'm In The Light" until I saw this in-studio performance captured by Paste Magazine in 2008. WOW. That's all I can really say. I love all things "Dog" related and I have basically worn out all the recordings I have of them. I was beginning to wonder if anything else could live up to what I already know and love. And then I heard this song. It's beyond beautiful and I am LOVING their use of found instrumentation, especially the vocal vibrato/distortion tubes.

I've skipped right over impressed to completely and totally in AWE of this band.

I. Just. Love. Them.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Trouble With Ms. Jolie

Oh, Angie. You are in the news again (have you ever left?) and this time the poo is being flung all over your pretty face. Not that you are a stranger to this kind of thing but this might be just the kind of veritable shitstorm that you have worked so tirelessly to avoid these past few years. And girl, I don't know how you did it. What with out-and-out stealing a hugely famous woman's husband and in the front and center of the public eye no less. I guess adopting a small army of children and doing a ton of charitable work can make anyone come out smelling like a rose. And that's great, what you've done is great, the problem I have is the way you went about it. I think even you may be in over your head now.

I don't know about you, but I can remember when Ms. Jolie was anything but revered for her saintliness. Remember the brother on sister open mouthed kiss at the Oscars? Not really as big a deal as it was made out to be but WEIRD, right? Remember when she and then hubby B-Bob showed up to a red carpet event boasting how they had ravaged each other in the limo on the way over? C'mon people, gag with me now. Remember how she wore that creepy old turtle's dried blood as a necklace and she wouldn't let anyone touch it because it was just soooooooo symbolic? Yeah, even I was lost with that one and I pride myself on being left of center.

I began my Angie love affair after I first viewed Hackers sometime in the mid-90's which basically changed my outlook on physical human perfection. I'll admit she overpowered my senses like she does most everyone else and I'm not proud to say that I would often attempt to measure myself against her standard of beauty however destructive and altogether upsetting that proved to be. Unlike most hormonal teens I didn't want her so much as I wanted to be her. The face, the eyes, the lips, the rail thin yet curvy figure. What sort of devil-made deal did this bitch sign to get her hands on the full package? That's how it seemed anyway. Then I realized: The devil ain't no fool.

this thumbs for you! (because seriously, I don't want it)

All I'm trying to say is that Angelina is, as well as the rest of us, flawed. Perhaps not in the exact same ways that we are, but maybe just so. Look, even Megan Fox has a clubbed thumb (which is likely the least of her problems), but let us not overlook these imperfections since we all need to be reminded that even the most "blessed" aren't always without defect. However, Angie's issues seem to be mostly internal, since people seem to be most off put by her current "holier than thou" persona. As I said before, I think her message is a good one, my problem is with the delivery. I mean, I'm not fooled. She reeks of crazy. I can say this with conviction because I too, am crazy, and I can recognize a sister in psycho anywhere. She seems to be collecting children with such rapidity that it makes me wonder if she feels the need to go overboard in this way to negate her past missteps. It does seem awfully calculated, no?

Sort of like the way she is posing on these magazines:

mmmmmmmmmm, fingers taste GOOD!

Whatever though, I don't hate her. I kind of feel sorry for her actually. It must be quite a life to live when you are known as the world's most famous home wrecker. Even I was Team Aniston after that debacle. That being said, I miss the old Angie, with the bloodletting and devil-may-care 'tude. Now it seems like the only baddassery she puts out is on the screen and for her, that never-ending role is beyond tired. See: Gone In 60 Seconds, Tomb Raider (the first one), Tomb Raider (the other one), Taking Lives, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Wanted, etc…

She can still bring goodwill toward men and promote peace to the war-torn, I'm all for it. I just wish she didn't come off as so affected and soul-less while doing it.

Come to think of it, she's always seemed sort of taken with herself. Can you blame her?

[Psst! The answer is: YES]

R.I.P. to my favorite Angie era

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Deeply Disturbed Darling

DEXTER. I'm talking about Dexter people. Please tell me you watch this show and DO NOT tell me that you don't watch it because you can't afford Showtime because I'm as cheap as a dollar store christmas card but even I decided we had to spring for the movie package because I couldn't be without "America's Favorite Serial Killer". That tagline makes the show sound worse than it actually is. Actually, it makes it sounds both better AND worse because, let this be said now, the show is no pleasant stroll through the park. There is often very violent, visceral, gut churning subject matter not to mention imagery but good LORD if that doesn't make it one of the most original and well written shows out there. Hell, how many cable shows get picked up by a network to run the show in syndication just after the first season wraps? I don't actually know the answer to that question but what I CAN tell you is that CBS picked up Dexter to repeat it's amazing first season the summer after it originally aired and I'm pretty sure that doing so secured a whole new set of eyes for the show. Because it's awesome.

Four seasons in all and Dexter has rarely left an opportunity open for disappointment. Yeah, the 3rd season lost my interest just a bit but that was mostly due to the fact that everything had become so convoluted at that point and the big shocks of Seasons One and Two just weren't there anymore. Well well well, my comrades in skepticism, you will be pleased to know (if you don't already) that Dexter BA-RAWGHT it this season. Who knew that "domestic" Dexter would get himself in more trouble than ever before? John Lithgow as the Trinity Killer (more like Quad Killer after last episode's revelation) has added an amazing degree of crazy to the mix. Lundy dies, I mean SERIOUSLY? Can Deb even begin to catch a break romantically? Girl is doomed. The biggest thorn in my side, and has been the same since about Season Two when she started to get an attitude (and possible reconstructive facial) adjustment, is Rita; Dexter's dopey, doting, ever-so annoying wifey poo.

She WAS perfect for him in Season One, allowing him to go about his killing in peace with few questions asked along the way. Then she seemed to get a full on make-over (botox and 50's housewife chic, oh my!) in Season Two and went from the sweet and understanding, good natured, if not a complete doormat Rita, to supreme holder of the bitch-face Rita, and in some regards, rightly so. So, Dexter had his tryst with Lila. It was a bad call on all counts. He took care of that problem though, didn't he? I have no sympathy for a cheat, but even I had a hard time begrudging Dexter after that one. Rita got all know-it-all and pushy and made Dexter join NA even though no one in their right mind would ever mistake Dexter for a heroin addict. Rita just, well, really sucked and this season she took suck to a whole new level. But Dexter loves her and the kids and if she's cool with Dex then I guess she doesn’t need to meet the inside of industrial strength plastic wrap just yet.

Dexter is the perfect good guy's bad guy. Trust me, you want this killer on your team. He has a soft spot for kids, likely because he was left soaking in 2 inches of his mother's blood for 2 days as a toddler. See? He's got issues just like the rest of us. His tend to lean toward the extreme and horrifyingly tragic than most of us have been exposed to but pobody's nerfect. Dexter is more than just cunning as a killer, he is downright genius. The man passed up a medical license to work in forensics as a blood spatter specialist because it's his passion NOT because he doesn’t have the brains for biology.

Dexter is also the owner of the best theme music/opening titles on television. But don't take my word for it. You be the judge…

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Home Movies

Have you seen this show?

If you answered 'no' to that question then O.M.G! Get thee to an entertainment emporium of choice immediately! Purchase said DVDs, plug in, sit back and laugh your ass off at what might be the funniest animated show made in the last 10 years. Home Movies, the brainchild of Brendan Small (who went on to co-create the death metal cartoon Metalocalypse) follows Brendan, Jason & Melissa, a trio of not yet 10-somethings on their quest to create a piece of homegrown film magic in each episode. They encounter many detractors and obstacles (usually in the form of the hapless, yet loveable, meany Coach McGuirk) along the way, often under a gross lack of parental guidance. For the most part the kids have a better grasp on life than the adults do and that's part of what makes this show SO damn hilarious.

I asked the bee, off the top of his head, what his favorite HM moment would be and he presented me with a rambling list of highlights ranging from "When Jason tries to get the phrase 'We-Ow' into the local vernacular, the speech Jason & Brendon give at Camp Campingston Falls dressed as the "evil" camp directors before they perform 'Welcome To Hell', the song Brendan & Jason sing in the episode 'Starboy and the Captain of Outer Space', and finally the scene from the wedding episode where Brendan breaks out in hives and locks himself in the bathroom while Jason & Melissa try desperately to coax him out". I realize that if you've never seen the show than none of what I've just said makes any sense, but that just means that you have all that more to look forward to when you finally DO see this amazing piece of television!

Here is a clip from the episode "Director's Cut" where Brendan is pressured to produce Duane's (he's the Joey Ramone clone) rock opera "Franz Kafka", an adaptation of Kafka's The Metamorphosis.

If you are familiar with the show, what are some of your favorite moments in Home Movies history?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Dutchess & The Duke

The Dutchess & The Duke are comprised of Seattle-ites Kimberly Morrison and Jesse Lortz and are yet another band discovered via Subterranean with their video for "Mary". The song appears to cover the issue of emotional abandonment by a parent, in this case, Mary, from the point of view of the scorned child. The scars caused by a mostly absent parent, pass into the narrator's later life, showing itself in his romantic insecurities. Here is a sampling of lyrics that seems to point at this interpretation:
And all the days I lost track
When you never came back
With my heart in your sack
And you put the fear in my mind
That what I would love would just leave me behind
The song plays warm and hummable and more than a little heartbreaking once you realize the lyrical implications, the final verse kicking in with the harmonious chant "But I ain't gonna say your name no more…" Its wounded message speaks as a loud "Fuck You" to someone you can never really leave behind because they "put the blood in [your] veins"

Upon first listening to their debut disc, She's the Dutchess, He's the Duke, it's impossible to deny the uncanny musical homage to an early Rolling Stones ( I say early, because there is nothing remotely "Has Anybody Seen My Baby" about their sound). From start to finish, their album draws you in with their "campfire punk" sing-along vibe. Folksy, crass, and hauntingly melodic, this group gets major love from this fangirl.

Their newest album, Sunset/Sunrise, dropped just last week and already it's earning its place as a favorite in our musical rotation. The sound is a little darker, less hand clap heavy, with vocal arrangements on "Hands" showing hints of Fleet Foxes, apt since the bands toured together throughout much of 2008. My favorite track may be the reverse title track "Sunrise/Sunset", vocals led by Kimberly Morrison which opens with disembodied moaning, and a deconstructed "Paint It Black"-esque guitar part. LOVE it.

So whatcha waiting for? Go forth and buy or download, however you do. The future of good music depends on you.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Blood, Sex & Vampires - Revisited

So I felt that I had to make good on some scathing words I spouted a few months ago. My venom was directed at none other than vampires I slagged off as being "fake" or at least, IMHO, just not up to snuff. WELL WELL WELL. Didn't I have to eat my words just a bit. It started by watching True Blood and dagnabit if I'm not hooked, patiently waiting for the 2nd Season to be released on DVD already so I can watch it all in one clip like I did with Season 1. However, I feel I must make it clear that I believe this show to be about sex first, and vampires second (or third, or maybe fourth, not sure but sex definitely has the #1 slot). The fact that about half the cast is a vampire reads as completely un-shocking when paired with the ridiculous amount of sex being had by most every major character. For those who aren't getting busy, Jason Stackhouse makes up for their lack by bedding a different woman in each episode. Who doesn't have a soft spot in their heart for a slutty dingbat?

After finding considerable enjoyment in True Blood I moved on to my next target, Twilight. So reading Twilight started out well enough, I was really enjoying the build up for introducing Edward as this mysterious, vampire superhero type. How dashing! I'll admit it, I would be completely smitten as well however TOTALLY unrealistic the scenario is from soup to nuts. I thought the initial tension between Edward and Bella was spectacular. I found myself really engaged and couldn’t wait to see how their desire for each other would pan out. And then it did. [insert sigh of disappointment] They started dating and all of a sudden the lustful pursuit which kept me captivated in the beginning, just left me with a cheesy taste in my mouth. I know, gross thought, but if I had to live through it then I'll be damned if you don't! The whole "We must! But we shouldn't…" and "I'm here to protect you! But I'm what you need protection from…" thing grew very tiresome very quickly. I mean, I GET it. He's dead, she's not, the logistical issues are apparent AND I understand that the whole "will they? won't they?" factor makes for greater conflict. Still, I think I would have preferred an abridged version, one with less gooey sentimentalism in every piece of dialogue between the protagonist and her suitor. Like, is it really necessary that Bella be almost COMPLETELY helpless, weak and clumsy ALL THE TIME? Ugh. SO not my idea of a stand-up female role model. Boo! Hiss!

Long story short, I WILL tune in for subsequent seasons of True Blood because I have not had my fill of impassioned cries for "BEEHL!" or "SUKEH!" and likely WON'T bother reading any of the Twilight sequels. I may check out the movie and see if the film adaptation is more tolerable than the text was, you know, as research, not because I'm into sparkly vampires or anything…

Thursday, October 8, 2009

So Funny, It Hurts...

I am a total sucker for funny people. I love when someone can make me cry with their comedy and these dudes do just that aaaaaaaaand they are cute to boot! So for that, I say: BONUS! Give me a geek in glasses with a penchant for self-deprecation and I'm yours…

Andy Samberg

Andy is one of the best reasons to still be watching Saturday Night Live. He is smart, goofy AND ambitious. Together with his childhood friends Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone, they are The Lonely Island, responsible for crafting the hilarious Digital Shorts you see on SNL. One of my favorite skits that Andy starred in was "Ras Trent". Andy assumes the role of a white suburban kid who has stumbled onto Rastafarian culture and does an amazing job at completely skewing its message. I can't help but crack up when he refers to himself as a "Rude Boy living in the shanty dorms" or how he tells his "Bumbaclot parents [that] he's switching religions".

His poseur ignorance has me LOL-ing out loud.

Martin Starr

Martin may be best known for his work as Bill in Freaks and Geeks (SUCH an amazing show) but he became more recognizable after he appeared in Knocked Up as the character, get this, Martin, the dude with the beard and pinkeye, or was he just high? He has successfully cultivated his dry, acerbic humor for the masses and usually plays those hopelessly loser-ific characters your heart can't help but break for. He has recently shown off his acting chops in Adventureland (which I have yet to see, g-d it!) and is currently featured in one of my favorite new shows on the tube, Party Down.

Check out this clip of Martin's character, Roman, attempting to mark his territory when threatened by the new guy on the job.

Jemaine Clement

Jemaine is one half of the New Zealand duo known as The Flight of the Conchords. This past season, Jemaine (unsuccessfully) attempted to prostitute himself when he and his cohort Bret fell on tough times and on another occasion (albeit unknowingly) slept with an Australian. Oh, the scandal. Anyway, my true love and devotion really stems from (my favorite recent movie) Eagle VS. Shark. Jemaine plays a doofy, douche-y character named Jarrod (the eagle), a socially awkward man-child with major familial issues and, despite his shortcomings, a devoted love interest, Lily (the shark). His actions are fairly repugnant throughout but his cluelessness and broken little boy back story grants him redemption in the end.

In this clip Jarrod threatens his high school bully over the phone. Have I mentioned I looooove this movie?

James Franco

Ok Ok, so he's more known for being a dreamy dreamboat. Let's give the guy credit where credit is due, he IS, BUT he's also hilarious and mostly because it seems like he's not even trying to be. Another Freaks and Geeks alum, James first caught my eye there playing bad boy Daniel Desario, the 80's answer to Jordan Catalano. Are you swooning yet? In response to his character being told he's completely unreliable he bites back with: "Well, you're certainly reliable, you're always a BITCH!" Funny, right? Really, it's OK to laugh. ANYWAY he convinced the non-believers he could, in fact, be a comic actor when he took on the role of Saul in Pineapple Express playing the loveably clueless dealer and friend to the reluctant Dale.

This scene CRACKS. ME. UP.

Charlie Day

I may have saved the best for last. Charlie stars on It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia where he plays the aptly named Charlie, one of five, mostly reprehensible, characters in charge of running "the worst bar in Philadelphia". The gang, as they are referred to throughout the show, are morally corrupt, ignorant and downright hilarious. Charlie is actually the most redeeming character, at times displaying the show's ONLY source of empathy or decent judgment in the face of the gang's usual duplicitous schemes. Though no angel himself, Charlie has stooped as low as pretending to have cancer in order to score the sympathy of "The Waitress", his unrequited love. If you AREN'T watching this show (for some insane reason), you really need to do yourself a favor and just watch it already.

This is probably my favorite Charlie moment:

The "Sunny" gang are branching out with their talents and recently put on a select city tour of their original musical: The Nightman Cometh which I was lucky enough to see live AND in Philadelphia, no less!

I also scored some pretty sweet footage, thanks to the bee, which you can check out here.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Elvis Perkins

I first discovered Elvis Perkins during an ill-fated move to North Carolina where I spent most of my free time watching TV. One of the few shows still allotted for music videos is Subterranean on MTV. It's had a few time changes in the last few years but for the most part it is 1 hour of new, "indie" music videos played laaaate at night. Apparently actual music must be relegated to the most undesirable time slot for fear the slobbering masses won't get enough reality TV during waking hours. Can someone please tell me WHAT has happened to music television?! Anyway, most of Subterranean ends up getting "bo-booped" through on my Tivo for not being totes my thang but I'll never forget the day I first saw the video for "All The Night Without Love". WOW. It was like being transported back in time. The scene looks like something filmed surreptitiously (by a ceramic Native American?) in the early 70's. The band plays in a room adorned with old furniture and folks heaped upon couches and stairwells, watching with serene pleasure as the band graces them with their percussive reverie. Color me hooked.

Elvis, the son of Anthony Perkins of Psycho fame, bears an uncanny resemblance to his famous father but without a doubt stands on his own with his anachronistic styling and immense musical talent.

His first album, Ash Wednesday brought the melancholia in a big way. It was an emotional album without being sappy or a whine-fest. It is a truly beautiful piece of work, sad and uplifting all at the same time. It has been said that the second half of the album, tracks 7-11, were written in direct response to the untimely death of his mother, Berry Berenson, who perished on 9/11. For more on Elvis' back story, check out the wiki page dedicated to him..

For his second album, entitled Elvis Perkins In Dearland, the backing band became more than featured players, the group honed their craft and boy do they ever deliver. The sound of this album is rich, pounding, ceremonial and haunting. The sadness is still underlying but this time around the mood is mostly joyous.

I was lucky enough to see Elvis TWICE this year, so far, once in NYC and a few months later in Philly and got some cool shots. You can check them out here and here.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Shirt Tales

Blast from the past, kids!

I have fond memories of this show, though I would have been VERY young when it first aired through '82-'84. I can clearly remember having a Shirt Tales card game and always wanting to get the Pammy Panda card, probably because she was the "pretty" one. However pretty a cartoon panda bear can be...

So here's my question - What exactly IS a Shirt Tale?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Thoughts on the 2009 VMA's…

Let me start off by saying I basically watch the VMA's anymore for the same reasons one feels the need to gaze somewhat morbidly at an accident on the side of the road. I don't have a vested interest in the brand of entertainment or who is up for an award anymore. It is no longer the same show it once was and I know it. Perhaps it's the inner adolescent inside who simply refuses to accept defeat and grow up and away from a cultural staple of my youth. Last night's show proved to me that I should have walked away a long, long time ago.

First things first. Let me just list a few MAJOR problems I have with the show and its production value:

1. They are called the VMA's. NOT the VMA awards. It makes absolutely no sense to call it that and I heard both Russell Brand (the presenter) and Taylor Swift (the first award winner) use the redundant terminology within the first 45 minutes of the show. I know Brand, as a Brit, may be less than familiar with the linguistic formula for this particular award show but he's the fucking presenter and should have, at the very least been prepped with a few VMA basics.

2. While we're on the subject of Brand as the presenter of this awards show, can we really even consider what he did as "presenting"? He was used more as a comic (albeit poorly crafted) filler between performances and awards. Now, I actually like Brand. I think he's funny in an overtly but not seriously offensive sense using his charming pervi-tude to gain notoriety and carve out a niche for himself. However, I still don't understand why MTV thought to bring him back after last year's wholly unfunny spectacle. Are the people at MTV purposely sabotaging their programming?

3. So, this is an awards show, or so it was some 10-15 years ago. Funny though, I watched the majority of the 2+ hour show and saw about 5 awards given out. I can remember when the show had SO MANY awards that they couldn’t fit their presentation into the allotted time and would give them out many in the pre-show. I can also remember a time when I knew like ANY of the songs/performers being applauded in the evening. Damn you, old age. Here's a flashback moment: Do you remember when they used to have artists perform on the top of the Radio City marquee during the pre-show? I can remember the first year they did it with Silverchair in 1995 (I think) and boy oh boy how I luuuuuuurved Silverchair. The next year they had No Doubt on the marquee, the following year Foo Fighters. All of those bands being just totally the shit to me at the time. I suppose I'm at least 10 years out of MTV's median demographic these days but I can't help but feel like music just used to be better then. Which leads me to my next point…

4. I don't think I'm all THAT old yet but I certainly feel so after watching that mess last night. I suppose this may speak more about my personal musical tastes than the quality of programming on MTV anymore (or does it?) but I can honestly say I had never heard (in their entirety) any of the songs nominated under the Best New Artist category. That's right, I can genuinely say I've never blessed my ears with the full club version of Lady Gaga's "Poker Face". I may be the only one left. Hey, at least she won that category because I had no CLUE who the rest of those people nominated were.

5. Here's where it gets tricky… You see, I'm not trying to say that all the music honored last night was trash. I have my opinion and I suppose the millions of MTV watchers have theirs but boy-o do they differ. That's fine though, the world would be extremely boring if we all agreed the same things were interesting. There is one infallible declaration that needs to be made here: Kanye West is a 1st Rate, Prime Cut brand of all American Douche-Nugget. That guy totally sucks. I'm not even talking about his music, which does little for me personally, but as a person he resides at the highest summit of suckery. This isn't the KMA's buddy, so sit the fuck down and deal with the fact that life is just so damn unfair! hmmpf!! waaaaa!!! Go tell it to someone who cares. Also, wtf was the deal with the dude with the headseat who so awkwardly ushered Taylor Swift offstage while the production team (uselessly) tried to cover it up with the Tracy Morgan/Eminem skit after that whole debacle? Like, couldn't they have just cut the feed to the mike, killed the lights and had someone discreetly take Taylor off the stage and away from His Rantness? No, and you know why? Because this is all MTV lives for anymore. They no longer have any music credibility so they need to fluff their content with as much self-made drama as they can cram into a pointless evenings worth of events.

ANYWAY, the highlight of the show last night, for me anyway, was the speech Madonna gave in tribute to MJ. Let me preface this by saying that I basically stopped being a fan of Madonna's somewhere after her Bedtime Stories album, which I loved ~mmmm mmmm, something's coming over meeeeeee, my baby's got a secret…~ Yeah, that was good stuff. She's since become more a caricature of herself then anything resembling the Madonna I used to know AND I don't really dig her new muzak either but I think what she had to say about MJ was extremely sweet and touching and although I think the media AND public (that's right I'm blaming everyone here) have really turned his life and tragic death into a circus, it was nice to hear a sincere word about the man from a true peer.

All in all, I thought the show was pretty crappy. Not that I'm too surprised. I'm just salty because I miss the old brand of crappy that the VMA's used to display. You know, like dropping a saggy assed Howard Stern onto the stage as Fartman or I dunno, when they used to honor actual music and not laud praises to artists who over use auto-tune. Ugh. I'll only win this argument in my mind. I am up against a new generation of pop music and apparently pop culture because I couldn't really give a damn about the new Twilight trailer either.

I fear the unavoidable silence following this statement but puh-leese tell me I'm not alone here…

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Devil Will Be Airbrushed

In lieu of having anything new, fresh or hip to offer the cool kids on the innernets, I present you with a never addressed letter that was written (almost one year from today) by yours truly to the one and only spectacularly talented and all around 1st rate genius, Brooke Hogan. This letter was constructed in response to the truly thoughtful and mind bending quote the Brook-enator spewed at a reporter when asked her feelings on the prospect of the USofA having a female President:

You know what? I am actually not that much into voting. I think it's kinda crazy that a woman is running, because I think that women deal with a lot of emotions and menopause and PMS and stuff. Like, I'm so moody all the time, I know I couldn't be able to run a country, 'cause I'd be crying one day and yelling at people the next day, ya know?

Oh dear, sweet, pea-brained Brooke. You spout such wisdom, and it's like you don't even try! I liken you to a modern day Susan B. Anthony, rocketing the female sex to new heights of empowerment, what with your wholly inappropriate need to pole dance publicly in front of your father and gracing us with not only a contemporary musical masterpiece, but allowing us to view the true work of art which is the album cover.


Let us pray...

Dear Brooke,

Lately I have been reading about your disinterest in voting for a candidate in our upcoming Presidential election. Typically I would find this assertion abhorrent and completely irresponsible, but in this particular instance, I fully support your choice to abstain.

PLEASE, I beg of you, DO NOT vote if you have no idea what is going on in the country that you reside. PLEASE, do not subject our nation to any further damage by casting a ballot out of blind ignorance. We do not need another term of misguided rule sponsored by the union of a complacently unaware America.

I feel very sorry for you and your indifference towards your personal right & responsibility to vote that many have fought so tirelessly to obtain for you and the rest of the citizens of our country. It seems a shame that in a modern, supposedly forward thinking culture such as ours that someone, like you, chooses to live in simple oblivion.

Do yourself a favor, pick up a book or read a paper (you could do as little as open up the main page on AOL to obtain even the most basic news information pertaining to the world we live in) and stop making such a fool of yourself.

Why do I bother spending my time writing this? Perhaps I was once as careless as yourself; maybe I just want the world to be a better and more informed place and figured you were as good as any fool to attempt to reason with.

As the older sister of an 11 year old, I fear for her and the many other nubile young minds of America who may, so unwisely, look to you and the rest of the cele-brats as some sort of role model. Is intelligence passé in your circle of friends? If so, be a trendsetter (for once) and add “use brain” to your list of important things to do, you know, squeeze it in somewhere between “live off daddy’s fame 4-eva” and “check implants for leaks”.

So, when you sit at your computer to check your MySpace page and "Google" yourself for the day, I hope this letter will find you and you won't be so much offended as inspired to make a personal change.

Now go forth Brooke Hogan! Find some self respect and get a REAL life (preferably one that people won't laugh at.)

Best of luck!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

18 Kids and ENOUGH Already!

The Duggar family seriously needs to QUIT IT. I'm not even referring to their need to propagate and fill the world with as many baby Duggars' as their overworked reproductive organs can manage. That being said, the first utterance that escaped my lips after hearing Monday morning's Today Show teaser of "We've got the Duggars' here and they've got some BIG news!" was a guttural "UGGGHHHHHH", followed by an under-the-breath "fame whores". Now, my feelings stand that as long as the children are being provided & cared for adequately it's really none of my business how many millions of children they decide to pop out. But, SERIOUSLY? Do these people actually need to announce the conception of every one of their children/grandchildren on national television? Furthermore, how is this news? Aren't we just to expect that any BIG news from the Duggars' is, in one way or another, baby related? Sheesh.

I've never felt the need to say word one about the Duggars' and their lifestyle or their show for that matter. I actually watched an episode once and it wasn't the worst thing I've ever seen on TV and while we're on the subject neither was My Name Is Earl so exactly what kind of crap are you trying to pull, NBC?! Oh shoot, I've lost my train of thought again... all aboard? Ok, so they are totally less fame whore-y than Jon & Kate and Nadya Suleman combined but they are still riding that same gravy train. Oh man, two train idioms in one post is choo-choo much! (Have I mentioned I'm a bit of a dork? No? But you could tell anyway? Thought so…) Now that we've established this let's get back on track… aaaaaaaaand that makes three and I am officially insufferable. Now maybe their initial intentions for documenting their lives on camera were NOT to whore out their family but 1 TLC series, 5 birthing specials & too many to count televised birth announcements later, I can't help but wonder if all that payout isn't turning the Duggars' greedy for the profits from yet another mini money maker.

You know what I think would make better television? A family who, much like the Duggars', has the emotional & spiritual health and fortitude to raise a huge brood, but decide after having say half a dozen biological children, that "Hey, we love kids, right? We'd like to have an absurdly huge family, eh? Well, aren't there literally THOUSANDS of babies & children who are already born who need a loving home and family? I know, let's adopt!" The Duggars' claim that they are following God's plan by having copious amount of children by eschewing any and all birth control methods. All I'm saying is, if you want a slew of kiddies, that's fine, but how about being a little more selfless and a lot less irresponsible (God's plan or no, if everyone ascribed to the Duggars' methods, pro-Lifers would be A LOT busier) by adopting a child who needs you instead of becoming the human baby mill?

Apparently I DO have an issue with the Duggars' and their "come what may" attitude to reproduction. I can't help it, I think it's a tad on the selfish and unnecessary side. I don't think they are bad people and I applaud them for doing what seems to be a decent job in raising a gaggle of children all at once. To date it seems the biggest detriment unearthed of growing up in the Duggar house is not getting to make-out with anyone prior to your wedding day. That is pretty brutal but who knows what kind of psychological damage the children of the decidedly screwy Nadya Suleman and the Gosselin's will have in store? Just think, if Octomom (god, that name is repulsive) had decided to adopt 8 children instead of paying for her IVF doctor's 3rd condo in Boca, people would still regard her as a nut job but an admirable nut job (with a penchant for bad plastic surgery). That and she'd be this much closer to living her dream of becoming the clone of St. Angelina the Holy Savior of the Orphaned.

Praise be.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Today's Special

Not sure where my love for department store dummies and their after hour hijinks began, but I'm thinking it occurred somewhere around 1988 when Mannequin hit the regular rotation on HBO & when this show was at its peak on Nickelodeon...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Blood, Kinky Sex & the Teen-aged Vampire Mom

I just do NOT get it. I think the new obsession with sparkly, sex-crazed vampires is officially OUT. OF. CONTROL. I mean I get vampires, I LOVE vampires actually, but I do not get why, as of late, the bandwagon is seemingly chock full of those I would deem as VAMPIRE IMPOSTERS *

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

In truth, it may be completely unfair for me to make this statement since I have neither read the Twilight books nor seen the movie and have only attempted to view True Blood once (I'll get to why later). HOWEVER, I do know a bit about what goes down in both stories, the first being about a young girl who gets all swoony and starry eyed over an Undead prettier than a pegasus. They have this ongoing thing where she is torn between good/evil and in the end gets knocked up by said vampire (and although a fictional series I cannot help but have issues with the plausibility of this act) which all comes from a series of books directed towards CHILDREN and young adults. As you can tell, there are a few issues here which bother me. 1.) How exactly does one of the Undead inseminate a living human? and 2.) PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell me how this is appropriate content for the targeted audience of young pre-pubescent girls who are already inundated with age-inappropriateness via the Miley Cyrus' and Brat's dolls of our popular culture? I mean, is it such a good idea to put the idea of teen pregnancy as romantic refuge into the mind of an already highly hormonal young person? (According to my extensive research; i.e. yahoo answers and wiki, Bella, although married, is 18 in the final book and therefore very much a teenaged vampire mom. So I repeat, WTF?)

Ooooooooookay, onto True Blood. Let me just say that I was as excited as the next Vamp-O-Phile (yes, I AM a total loser) when the ads started running and word was spreading that this was the coolest new show, blah blah. Yeah, well first off, we don't have HBO anymore, we must have at one point though, maybe it was a free trial, ANYWAY we must have because we started watching the pilot episode right around the time it first aired. Now, I recall only half watching it, I think people were over and it was on in the background but I was definitely sitting on the couch and the TV was in front of me and within 20 minutes or so the show went from: I might be able to get into this. Louisiana Bayou locale? Check. Copious blood sucking? Check. Rampant Skin-emax worthy gratuitous sex action? Che-WAIT!!! Just wait one bloody second. What is this show about exactly? Then a wave of understanding washed over me. Oh ok, I get it, it's soft-core set to a vampy backdrop. Yeah, these vampires suck blood AND have sex! Well, how nice for them. I'm not Prudence McChaste or sexually repressed or anything but I just can't get with sex-having vampires. Also, I found what little I saw of the show to be kind of boring… SOR-RY.

I can't help that I am old school in this regard. I read all of the Anne Rice Vampire Chronicles and one of the first things you discover is vampires don't have sex, not because they wouldn't like to, they physically CAN-NOT. Which also means that vampires, preternatural creatures of the Undead variety, cannot impregnate anyone. Do you hear me Stephenie Meyer? Now I know, I KNOW, vampires are all make-believe but just follow along with me here for a moment while I try to make some sense out of the fictious and absurd. So the Anne Rice vamps are decidedly evil and blood-lusty. That's right, their lust manifests itself in the blood taking and its pursuit. It's abstract and veiled and subversive. There is even a particularly steamy scene in the book Pandora in which the title character, not yet "changed" meets up with her old lover, a newly made vampire, and attempts to get it on with him. He explains that her attempts are futile as his "member" too, is dead much like himself and they proceed to passionately bleed and feed. Personally, I prefer this type of imagery compared to the lurid visuals of flesh pounding on flesh a'la True Blood. If I wanted to see that, I'd just watch porn.

* I know I'm going to make like ZERO friends and most likely alienate the ones I currently have with this declaration but I'm sticking with my words. For now.

Filmic vampire portrayal I approve of:

Interview with the Vampire (Queen of the Damned - not so much, sorry Aaliyah R.I.P.)
Near Dark (first vamp flick I ever saw, left an indelible impression although the ending IS pretty cheesy)
Let The Right One In (possibly the BEST vampire movie I have ever seen)
30 Days of Night (the Bee will consistently change the channel to this movie everytime it's on the tube)
The Lost Boys (2 Coreys + a Sutherland = I'm sold.)
Dracula (Gary Oldman? Yes, please!)
Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (Kinski is the ultimate creep and I say that with the utmost fondness and love)
Blade (he's like Buffy only more badass bc he's 1/2 vamp)
What are some of YOUR favorites?

In a twist of the fates, I received the first season of True Blood (on Blu-ray, no less) as a gift just one day after this post was written. I have already begun to eat my words since yesterday we started watching and so far, so good! Still, I am not entirely sure if I am crazy-in-love with the characterization of the vamps in the show but I will admit that I am starting to wish I had HBO...

Friday, August 21, 2009

All Hot & Bothered

I'm feeling lazy today and distracted and needing to make some more progress on my book so what day better than today to write something relatively easy on the mind AND the eyes? It's also swelteringly hot here in NJ so it seemed appropriate to feature some of music's most smokin'-est chicks. These ladies all get an A for AWESOME.

Amanda Palmer

This woman is truly a Jane-of-all-Trades. She sings, she plays, she does performance art, she blogs! and she inspires fans with her originality and passion. She writes ridiculously honest content, she likes to get naked A LOT and she just DOES NOT care what you think about her.

Amy Winehouse

I know she's kind of the poster child for Hot Mess as of late but this nor any other unsavory trait of hers will stop me from loving the shit out of this girl. She is truly unique & beautiful and possibly the most talented vocalist I have ever had the pleasure to hear. She's sexy and a badass and is the person on this list most likely to cut a bitch.

Gwen Stefani

She has been my idol since the first time I saw the video for Spiderwebs. The bangs, the lips, the abs! That bitch! I'm envious and awed all at the same time. She has always had such a distinctive style and vocal delivery and I've been working for years to emulate her brand of cool. Plus, she has produced two of the cutest kids in the universe.

Jenny Lewis

I wish I had an OUNCE of this woman's talent. She produces some of the most clever, smart and heartfelt music I have ever heard. She has a voice like a kitten and a canary mated and the result was this gorgeous red-headed creature with a voice to put the mythical Sirens to shame. Only girl is real and I am J.E.A.L.O.U.S.

Meg White

Holy boobs, Batman! Meg, usually demure and the quieter of the duo which brought her to fame, is definitely a sexy music lady worthy of mention. Her drumming was one of the biggest inspirations for me to pick up the sticks and attempt to bang it out in a style like her own. Even Ray LaMontagne wrote an ode to her and it rocks:

It's Friday bitches! Let's take a moment to thank whomever for that fact…
Now.......... enjoy!!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Out Of This World

I LOVED this show. I'm well past age 13 at this point but I haven't given up hope that I'll get my time freezing ability, eventually. The idea of being half alien and loving it seems, well ALIEN, but I can remember being a kid and thinking if I could be a pretty blonde girl with the powers to gleep and teleport, then sign me up!