Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hottest Party of the Year

I've been wanting to host an Oven Party since midway through college. Last weekend my dream finally became my reality.

We canvased our North Beach apartment entirely in aluminum foil. Walls ,ceiling, floors, and everything in between. We replaced everyday light bulbs with calescent red ones. We added a vaporous fog machine (which periodically triggered the smoke alarm and the line "the oven is overheating"). People freak out, then get the joke 5 minutes later. Throw in a strobe light for good measure and we're good to go - in a virtual Oven.

Wasteful: unfortunately quite. 100% Awesome: absolutely.

4,500 sq. ft ($200+ of foil), 500m of tape, 8 packs of putty, one keg, 300 bottles of beer and 8 people laboriously setting up for 8 hours and we're good to go.

This is the point in the post where I write about what people had to say about the event. Suffice to say, "Best House Party Ever," "Epic" and "You guys are out of your fucking minds," pretty much covers it.

Unfortunately, now the house party high bar is set at Olympic height and we're racking our brains for a way to equal or best the cooker carousing.

Theme recommendations are welcome and will be taken into consideration for our next hullabaloo in May.

What Would This Flavor Be Called?

Earlier this month Reebok released Kool-Aid scented shoes. That's right, sneakers that smell like Blue Berry Yum Yum, Rock-a-Dile Red and Solar Strawberry Star Fruit.

When this link was sent to me, I didn't really know what to think? Is this bizarre, outlandish, irrelevant, or sheer cross-promoting genius? We really won't know until I speak with our resident shoe expert Aron Glatzer on the particulars of this release.

What we will know is that after a day of walking Upper Haight and scavergering through throwback haberdashery at Wasteland, the mustachioed quasi-hipster wearing these shoes will have their sweaty feet accented with a hint of melon or berries.

As a beverage, Kool-Aid was awesome when we were five years old and got revved up on sugar instead of Reb Bull Blasters and adderal. It was also great in middle school when we sucked down packets of sugar on the bus ride home. But, imbibing or even purchasing Kool-Aid at this age is an absolute crime. Not even for novelty reasons, because thats just to obvious.

You've heard the bit from ubiquitous Dane Cook where be goes on and on and on about the Kool-Aid punch bowl smashing through walls with kids drinking fruity blood from its straws. Its some of Cook's funniest material within a catalogue of overt arrogance, crass opinions and loose generalizations. Regardless, HERE is an animated video of "Not So Kool-Aid" that was made to go along w/ the routine. Really quite funny.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Sunday Afternoon Music

Thought many of you would enjoy this acoustic set, by Shins front-man James Mercer, performed at the Moonshine Festival in '04. He performs mostly Shins cuts, but does a few covers, including Neil Young's Harvest.


A blog about blogs - Updated

Updated: OK, so it seems that it would be a disservice for us to not pass on Stuff White People Like. This is just about the funniest thing out there right now and is almost literally an overnight sensation. Little introduction is needed, but dive in and enjoy. Also if you want more information, check out the NPR and LA Times stories on the blog.

Also - this is great stuff. Turns out Barack Obama is a Blazers fan.

To kick of the second installment of the blog about blogs, I have to go to the well and shout out for the blog of another Zers big man (and former Pac 10 power) Channing Frye. Some
classic stuff in here include betting on the Super Bowl and losing, then losing a double whammy on who would cut their hair first, him or Oden. He now has short hair again, and has to walk Oden's dog, Charles Barkely McLovin "his little rat dog."

The Kitsune Noir, tagged as Eat. Drink. Design., claims to be a blog about design. Sure enough, there is some great design, but it also encompasses movies, music, art, apparel, etc. Check it out regularly and know about the cool shit first. Oh, and in case you're wondering, according to Wikipedia, Kitsune is the Japanese word for fox, so take that for what it's worth.
Great blog, though, enjoy.

Rounding out the week is the Indexed Blog. A fun little time waster with a great explanation, in the usual blog language (slightly melodramatic and self-conscious, but funny nonetheless): "This site is a little side project that lets me make fun of some things and sense of others." If you're not sure what to make of it, think back to the regression graphs of the rap life.

On a side note, I got the Indexed Blog from LA's If you aren't on board with this yet, get on it. Think of it as a book marks bar saved on the internet that you can share with others. In case the QLE doesn't waste enough of your time, this is a quick way to flush some more minutes down the drain. I have just gotten started, but you can check it out at

Made in the Dark Review

Hot Chip's latest, Made in the Dark, plays like a great date: fun, upbeat, high energy, beautiful at times - and what begins at at the club eventually makes its way to the bedroom.

A follow up to the whimsical yet slightly disquieting The Warning, Hot Chip dials up the experience with a heavier synthesized sound and up tempo beats. The same catchy, enjoyable and poppy nature is amplified, creating an album that frequently encourages reckless decibel levels and constant movement while listening.

They showcase digital abilities and creativity, seamlessly blending varied rhythms, heavy beats and whimsical noise to create tracks that are not only fun to listen to, but could easily find their way onto a very respectable dance mix.

Made in the Dark
encourages straight through listening,
and the progression shows that this is not solely a synthesized, electronic effort; there is a definite human element that will please even the die hard indie rock fan. The resonance and a genuineness of Taylor and Goddard's delivery brings an emotional, human quality to the project.

empo shifts and divergent sounds play as complementary and come together effortlessly for Hot Chip. On "Touch Too Much" the combination of up tempo, syncopated rhythms and electronic noise suddenly resolves into a mellow, singsong one-minute interlude with a very personal, intimate feeling. Just as suddenly, the beats are back and the introspective mood of moments ago is a distant memory.

Fun, versatile, upbeat, and diverse, Made In The Dark stands up well to repeated plays and will welcome new fans and reward Hot Chip loyalists alike with a great mix of sounds and experiences.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The White Room

Sometimes I feel bad about playing this little game of lies and deception. But, ultimately, these oblivious people have it coming to them and need to be exploited.

For 6 years now, I have been dressing up as a character from the movie The White Room and going to parties. I'll grab a buddy, fill him in on the gag and we'll rehearse the premise for five minutes on the walk over. Frankly, sometimes its just too easy, but people out there are just so naive and if they don't know that they're being made fun of, does it really matter?

The setup: Wear some wacky shit, come up with a bogus name, and make up a generic sounding movie title. Go around telling people that you're acting like the characters from the classic 80's psychological thriller and mention how there were some also-run B-List actors playing key roles in the movie. Tell everyone this is your FAVORITE MOVIE. Make up four or five, what you deem to be memorable quotes, and proceed to run them into the ground all night long. At some point, some overly drunk girl will overhear you say, "Don't take the tube after dark," and she'll remark "what movie is that from?"
The answer is: The White Room

And it never fails, play this game for a few hours at a house party and there will be that person that will eventually say that they either remember that movie, or that they LOVE that movie.
Last weekdend, The White Room was in full effect.

The premise was that being stuck in The White Room was a euphemism for one's inability to break away from the social norm and forge a path through the jungle of life. The two key actors in the movie, Mr. Robert (Meeps) and Zach Blain aka "The Man" (Cross) were two college friends from Minnesota trying to grasp the reality of being outcasts from a small town trying to break into the new city.

"Get in there," exclaims The Man. "Get over here," replies Mr. Robert. "I love that scene," remarks an unnamed guy who just walked into the kitchen reaching ice to take the edge off his Red Bull blaster.

Another successful night out for my own personal box office.

In a funny side note, it has come to my attention that there is indeed a movie that goes by The White Room, and that, in fact, ends up being a psychological thriller. Imagine that. Here is the trailer.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Music Videos

According to the Buggles, video killed the radio star, but I blame Jonathan Murray and Mary-Ellis Bunum for killing the video star. In less than one generation, we have seen the meteoric rise and fall of the music video. The ignominious end hastened by the likes of Puck, Pedro, and recently, a long line of undereducated, over served frat dicks, flaming homosexuals and girls with a severe shortage of self respect and strong moral foundation.

Most QLE readers remember (or almost remember) the beginning of the music video era:

And for the next twenty years or so, the music video became the ultimate marketing vehicle. Disturbing, funny, entertaining, or a downright work of art, the music video allowed for a whole new interpretation and experience of the music you loved.

As MTV digressed into programming so shitty you can't even watch it stoned, videos were pushed over to MTV2, and eventually to a small suite of channels that comes with the Digital Deluxe Silver Subscriber Package, hidden in the upper 400s. However, the video has persevered, with the best of the best becoming viral internet phenomenons.

I will include a couple more of my favorites below, but I would like to create a forum in the comments section of this post to try and create a list of the best music videos of all time. Find them on youtube, post them, and let's see what we can put together. Fight back, bring back the music video!

Here are links to more as I remember them:
Pretty sure I am STILL in love with both of these women from this video.

A scary one...

Videos that are short movies

I remember being SHOCKED by the lyrics of this one

So Sick

More Biggie

Something a little newer

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Superman That Ho. Really?

Cheryl Miller, do you have any idea what it means to Superman That Ho? As you stand there, congratulating Dwight Howard on his epic dunk (or just throwing the ball through the hoop) and he is going on about how much he loves that song, Superman That Ho, you continue to grin and nod like an idiot, conducting another one of your awkward, uncomfortable All Star sideline interviews. Seriously, you're terrible. And I don't think it's cute or endearing that you refer to Reggie Miller repeatedly as "little brother."

The Urban Dictionary offers a couple graphic definitions of what it meanst to Superman That Ho. Scientifically put, to "Superman" would be to ejactulate on a womans back during intercourse, then allow the fixative properties of dried semen to attach the bed linens to her back, making her appear to be wearing a cape, similar to the superhero Superman. Combine that with referring to the unwitting superhero as a "Ho" and you've got a real banger of a filthy sex joke, broadcast on TNT for families all over America to enjoy. Good job all involved.

There were some highlights to this year's All Star Saturday night:

Rudy Gay asked America to post their best dunks as inspiration for his appearance in the dunk contest. Needless to say there was some insane stuff. 720 in a game and 360 under the legs.

Charles Barkley, as usual put on a show. While introducing Karl Malone as a judge of the Slam Dunk contest, he said the Mailman was the 3rd best power forward of all time. When asked who numbers two and one were, he replied matter-of-factly, me and Tim Duncan.

And, just in case you forgot since last year, Jason Kapono is still a bitch.

This Beer Tastes Like Nu Shooz

If you've ever had a new pair of sneakers, fresh out of the box, you know that smell. You love that smell. Its "new shoes" and I think its actually built into the cost of those $100 Nikes.

I love the smell of new shoes. If there were an air freshener shaped like an Air Jordan, it'd be a top seller. At one point in my youth I remember actually purchasing a spray at Foot Locker that smelled like new shoes. Supposedly, it was for use on shoes to keep them minty fresh. However, it ended up sprayed on the tree hanging from my rear-view mirror, my locker room, and even my torso. In ninth grade I remember coming out after a track meet and my buddy wondering/exclaiming, "something smells like new shoes." Someone smelled like new shoes.

Along with baking bread, that cooler at the grocery store that holds all the flowers and a fresh mowed lawn, for me, new shoes was one of life's great aromatic wonders. Until last night, when I tasted that smell for the first time.

I purchased a 6-pack of Peroni, on sale at $6.99 on the corner mart last night halfway through my buddies 27th birthday party and C-List Celebrity themed extravaganza. Beer bought, cap popped and upon the first swig, there was that smell, in the form of a flavor! I was drinking new shoes! Immediately, I passed around the green bottle and it was agreed: Peroni tastes like New Shoes. But, the stark realization soon crossed my mind. The smell I so longed after in my youth is, in reality, nothing more than a skunky, out of balance, thin and grainy beer. That new shoes smell is Peroni Nastro Azzurro. New Shoes, ruined forever.

Out of nowhere, I hear a friend from Portland exclaim, "I just loved that band Nu Shooz, much better than this beer." Nu Shooz, like Quarterflash were one hit mega wonders from Portland, OR in the 80's, known for their hit I Can't Wait. You may not remember the husband and wife dance music duo but you'll surely remember the song and probably their epic video. Whoever would have thought that the smell of those Air Max 95s, a revered Italian beer and an 80's classic from my hometown would forever inauspiciously be linked.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Noise of Naptown

Being that my relocation to the east coast is imminent, and hopefully will provide the QLE with some sort of editorial and geographical counterweight, I think it's best here to present a very brief summary of what goes on, aurally speaking, in my beloved home for 27 years, Indianapolis.

Having been an active musician in the city for ten years or so, I must confess it's truly a sad scene (hence the move to Brooklyn). No big college in town, no real history of big names, no chance for a visit by any big A&R rep. However, something interesting and creative intermittently arises from the Midwestern mire, before either disbanding or relocating.

A modest analogy: If Indy's music scene is a Chili's Triple Dipper appetizer, then truly the Boneless Shanghai Wings are Margot and the Nuclear So and Sos, a chamber orchestra of enfant terribles perhaps most easily comparable to the Arcade Fire (for instrumentation purposes, if nothing else...). They are on a major label, which is unheard of 'round these parts, and have a new album coming out soon. This video of "Quiet as a Mouse" is worth a watch if you are a fan of moody music, paper animation, or cartography.

The Southwestern Eggrolls are State, a former hard rock power trio that is currently retooling and recording something big and new. "She Dreams of You" absolutely kills. And the Reservoir Dogs meets Grace Jones workout tape video is a lo-fi treat.

And because I truly believe that real music actually gave up the ghost around 1974, I offer, as the palate-cleansing hot spinach and artichoke dip, a boogaloo funk cut from The Highlighters, "The Funky Sixteen Corners." This one-time local chart-topper lingered in milk-crate obscurity until some British DJs over at the Stone's Throw label resurrected it and made it a fitting soundtrack to accompany teenage Ecstasy binges in Manchester.

And finally, for a great central coast perspective on national music, My Old Kentucky Blog is stellar. Mp3s for days. Hipster, to be sure, but administrator Dodge always seems to find a few great artists that Pitchfork, et. al, overlook. And if you are a true music perv, type in "Covers Project" on the search, listen to 20 versions of "When Doves Cry" or "Suspicious Minds", and then reflect on another wasted Saturday afternoon.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Thom Yorke Gets Hyphy

Bay Area Producer/DJ Amp Live from the duo Zion I is a huge Radiohead Fan. Who isn't? When I like a new album, I play it in my car. When DJs dig albums, they remix and mash 'em. So, Amp Live goes out, gets some yay area hiphoppers to guest on the tracks, makes a great album and drops it in cyberspace for free distribution. Boom. Rainydayz Remixes
The only catch: you had to have bought the Radiohead In Rainbows album from the band's website within the first few days of release. Everything's good, right? He's in line w/ Radioheads ideology of supporting the music and not the beauracracy.
The Mixtape is posted, everyone loves it, rave reviews everywhere. Music fans are stoked, Amp Live gets good pub, starts playing the interpretations at his shows. People are, well, AMPED.
But, hold on!
Amp neglected to contact Radiohead and their publicist sends a cease and desist. So, Fuck! Nobody gets around to downloading the album, but there is still hope as the band agrees to give it a listen.
Low and behold, they like it, like everyone else, and realize he's not trying to profit off the sales.
It ends up that the whole issue stemmed from a likeness of Yorke being used on Amp's website and thats, evidently a big no-no.
But, alas, the album is now up for grabs, ITS FREE, and its probably your only chance to get tracks of Too Short, Del and Chali2na rapping w/ a bass and a snare over a Radiohead song.
Don't loose your head....

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Best Minute and Half in Grammy History

I don’t watch the Grammys. I want to start my first addition to the QLE by making this known, but I do have a girlfriend so...

This year they did the Grammys right. Performances. No boring speeches thanking people you and I don’t know. Three and a half hours of performances, one of which blew my mind and gave me a semi.

I couldn't believe my ears, “And next, Kayne West performs with Daft Punk.” They couldn’t be there…. I mean, the American Music Association is not only recognizing DP but letting them play the Grammys?

The next two and a half minutes slogging through John Legend Target ads and discussing that "not so fresh feeling" seemed like an eternity. Was Middle America really going to see the robot suited French men electrify a triangle? I had my doubts, but sure enough, there was the pyramid. Not quite the enormous monolith that blew my mind in the desert, but a lighted pyramid, nonetheless.

Kayne, not to be out done by French men in EL robot suits (or anyone for that matter), popped the performance off with a robot “control panel” lit suit, and glowing stunners.

Eruptions of steam, light and fire surrounded Kayne as he bounced around the Krypton inspired stage, but still no DP. I began to stare intently at the pyramid wondering if Jimmy Jam had thrown the millions of DP fans a wicked curve. What if the Wizard was simply a CD deck on which a pimply faced intern pressed play.

Two minutes in, breaking a sweat, I found myself screaming NO each time he kept asking, “Is this what all you been waiting for?!”

Then it happened: we were in U.S.S. Daft Punk privy to a rare look since DP surfaced at Coachella in ’06, a view of their control panel. Although the Grammys set was a smaller version of their normal set-up take this taste, and if you are ever within one hundred miles, go, dance your face off and witness history.

And as far as the Grammy’s go ….. Amy might make it, CBS is shameless (Thanks Joe Mantegna), and Vince Gill is funny.

An Author in Full

Believe it or not, there was writing before the internet. Although the QLE tends to deal mostly in all things flat-screened, we recognize that there is more out there. In order to be well rounded we better start writing about books (literature?) lest we be perceived as undereducated rubes of the internet generation.

I have had a couple friends ask me in recent weeks for book recommendations. Although very different tastes , I found myself suggesting to each the author Tom Wolfe. You have heard of Tom Wolfe. Your parents read him, and you may well have been assigned his one his novels in high school. He has been writing since the 1960's, and his work spans generations, decades, issues and subjects like few other authors have.

1960's: The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. A nonfiction screamer in the genre known as "hysterical realism." Loaded with history of the bizarre and punctuation to match. Follows the Merry Pranksters on their trips of all varieties. Ken Kesey, Hunter S. Thompson, The Greatful Dead , Bob Dylan, Alan Ginsberg, The Hell's Angels, and Jack Kerouac all populate Wolfe's factual account of the long strange trip of the 60's. If you like it, check out Hunter S. Thompson's
Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs to see another account of many of the same people and events from a different angle.

1970's: The Right Stuff A nonfiction account of the Project Mercury astronauts and test pilots. Set against the space race and the Cold War, Wolfe tells the story of the men who NASA strapped on to the rockets they shot into space and how they and their families lived and dealt with the insane risks they took to win a largely symbolic war.

1980's: The Bonfire of the Vanities The first of Wolfe's fiction novels, it was originally published in installments in Rolling Stone. A story of wealth, power, race, sex and crime told through the lives and interactions of people from different classes of society. Wolfe's fiction novels are long, but he has a penchant for accurately capturing dialogue and culture that is consistently entertaining. He uses the length to great effect, creating rich, full believable characters I found myself identifying with and caring deeply about.

1990's: A Man in Full. In my opinion, similar to Bonfire in scope and style. Another satire of the politics of sex, money, power and race, this time focused on a self-styled ruler of his own domain in Atlanta.

2000's: I Am Charlotte Simmons. I expect this book will speak to many people around my age. The book came out in 2004 and tells the story of the culture and sexual politics of college life in the early 2000's. Despite being in his 70's when he wrote the book, his grasp of the diction, dress, music, and the issues facing young college students is stunning. The story is fantastic and seeing the world of my college years through Tom Wolfe's eyes and described by his words will be worth reading a couple more times.

Oh, and for those of you who like to wait for the movie? Add these to the que:
The Bonfire of the Vanities starring Tom Hanks
The Right Stuff with Ed Harris and Dennis Quaid
And a big one to look forward to: The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (2009) directed by Gus Van Sant and written by Dustin Black (Big Love). Oh baby, look out for that one!

Monday, February 11, 2008

A blog about blogs

There are a ton of great blogs out there. There are approximately 1,000 times as many bad blogs, and maybe double that are horrible. Most of the worst are just plain boring. Sometimes you come across blogs that make you want to blog, or at least bookmark them. Well, we are going to start keeping track. Check back if you need to kill 15 minutes before you sneak out for the weekend!

Some though are pleasently surprising: such as Greg Oden's blog. Although it's kind of old news, you develop an ongoing interest, plus you never know when he is going to drop a pearl like: "My new family member. His name is Charles Barkley McLovin... I love him already. All he does is cuddle and sleep and he is quiet. I just wish he would stop eating grass." That's gold, solid gold.

Carl Zimmer is just a nerd. He has a blog where he writes about nerdy stuff and the nerdy things he thinks about. One of his topics was science tattoos - which apparently was such a hot topic that he started a Flikr photo sharing album to catalog them. Honestly, this is fascinating. If you, like we at the QLE, loathe unoriginal tattoos, then this is right up your alley. I am not kidding, there is some amazing stuff on there, so get on and check it out. Some of the reasons behind the tattoos are great as well. Referring to an ankle to thigh DNA sequence, Kristin says, "It codes for a snippet of an exon from the sonic the hedgehog gene."

How about this one, the TSA has a blog, called the Evolution of Security. As if the 15-150 minutes you spent waiting at airport security wasn't miserable enough, they want you to log on to to their site and read a little more about the lazy, surly people that make your work travel just that much less comfortable (oh, and the skies safer, right)? And to justify their 3-1-1 liquids plan (day late and a dollar short, as usual) they decide to just terrify you a little with their catchy tag line:
"Terrorists Evolve. Threats Evolve. Security Must Stay Ahead. You Play A Part."

You are missing out! Your life is not complete!

Cut Copy's recent EP So Cosmic is 100% awesome.
Download the mixtape and groove for an hour + of psychedelic-futuristic-disco raddness music as your introduction into their world.

Not familiar with Cut Copy? The boys from Melbourne have creatively and surprisingly accurately labeled themselves as "Indie/Dance." With mellow vocals and foot tapping, head bobbing, body moving beats they offer a nice nonthreatening intro to the world of electronically created music. Their first album, "Bright Like Neon Love" is, in a word, sick. It's rare that you can find a group that fits equally well on your workout, working it out and novel writing or skiing mix, but Cut Copy fits the bill.

The mixtape is a collection of dance tunes and records from the last three decades that inspired their new album, In Ghost Colours, due out in March. Throughout are snippets of new tracks remixed w/ Cut Copy's signature beats, synth and drum rolls.

The mix uses samples and tracks from Aphex Twin, Panda Bear, Giorgio, Fleetwood Mac and Holy Ghost to name a few. So, basically its all over the register, but it works swimmingly.

Click HERE, download and pop it on your iPod and your ready for your next hour of expense reports, Harry Potter reading, a mountain bike ride in Muir Woods and the weekend house party - my uses in the last few days.

The Face of the Grammys

WTF is going on w/ the Grammys?

This year featured great performances by musical icons such as Jerry Lee Lewis and Tina Turner and an awesome colabo by Kayne and Daft Punk. All were overshadowed, though, by the mess of a woman in this picture.
Congratulations Any Winehouse.
Let us digress a little and recap the '07 rap sheet of the Grammys' golden girl.
Admitted to problems with eating disorders and appearance anxiety. Walked the streets of London, bloodied and bruised after a row with her new husband revolving around her getting high with a call girl.
Reports that she was videographed smoking crack turned out to be true and also yielded one of the least interesting celebrity tapes to date.
Eventually her dad moved in with her, which apparently precipitated Winehouse falling further apart and ended with her, fittingly, in rehab.
Her husband is incarcerated and waiting trail for assault and witness tampering. The latest rumor on him, via Winehouse's Pop, is that her Hubby, Fielder-Civil, is paranoid of a possible relationship between his bride and her super-producer Mark Ronson.
Then, to top it all off our girl Amy was hit with a (generous) #2 ranking on Robert Blackwell's list of 2008 Worst Dressed People.
So how do the fine people of the music industry react to such a dubious year? They reward the songstress with a near sweep of the top awards: Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best New Artist, Best Pop Vocal Album and Female Pop Vocal Performance.
And where was she to cap off the wins with a live performance? Well, she was denied a visa for obvious reasons. Then upon realizing that Winehouse was of some notoriety after her appeal, she was granted entrance. By this point she decided that she was over it and stayed at home even though she had three days to make the trip out to LA.
Regardless of all that, she still had a pretty good album. Thanks primarily to Ronson who was able to not only harness her vocal pipes but keep her away from the crack pipe and in the studio long enough to lay down 12 pretty solid and soulful tracks.
You can download "Rehab" remixed by Hot Chip here.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Bored, sick, traveling or tired of the writers strike?

It's time to start renting TV on DVD. As far as I'm concerned it goes: Gutenberg Press, TV, Gameboy, TV on DVD. This is clearly the natural progression of human entertainment evolution. Throw one in the queue while the weather is still bad and try not to get too hooked.

Best Network Show (Non Nerdy): The Office - NBC. The special features on these DVDs are great. Commentaries by Rainn Wilson and Angela Kinsey are fantastic and there are enough deleted scenes, outtakes and other random comedy that these go in the own-not-rent

Best Drama: Six Feet Under - HBO. An amazing, beautiful story that examines all the hardest parts of life, and how people deal with them. Loses some focus during the 3rd season, but finishes with a stunning, perfectly complete and crushing finale.

Best Comedrama: Weeds - Showtime. Short, easy to digest, very funny episodes. An insane storyline, great cliffhangers, and Kevin Nealon make this one can't miss. Careful not to get the opening song stuck in your head.

Best Epic: Sopranos - HBO
. This one needs no introduction. Regardless of whether you have seen any of this one or all of it - sit down, start over and watch it. It's deep and complex enough that it's worth it.

Best Show Canceled after one Season: Lucky Louie - HBO. High moments of the series (and contributions to current nomenclature) - calling his four year old daughter an asshole, the phrase "go suck a bag of dicks" and of course, the creation of the term "blowie."

Best Basic Cable Show: Nip/Tuck - F/X. It's a sick world, and this show captures the sickest, dramatizes it and has a bunch of dead sexy people act it out. A true exercise in excess: each season gets weirder and farther fetched - that turns some people off, but it keeps me coming back.

Best Reason Not to Vote for Mitt Romney: Big Love - HBO. Bill Paxton is phenomenal as an awkward, in over his head patriarch of 3 families in a Polygamist sect. The drama is constant and the double crosses more complex than you can imagine. Three wives is three times more awesome, right?

Best Network Show (Nerdy): LOST - ABC.
Numbers, puzzles, supernatural mysteries and that
oh-so-sexy Kate. The show sucks on TV, but love it on DVD where the only downside to the cliff hangers is that it's 2 am and you have to be at work in the morning!

Best Awkward DVD: Curb Your Enthusiasm - HBO. Larry just keeps getting better (worse). The improv is spot on and the scenarios are ridiculous. And just when you think things couldn't get any worse - Larry opens his mouth.

Super Bowl Roundup

General consensus says that was pretty boring.  Most people are now hungover or feeling sick from that incredibly poor decision to dunk the Double Stuff in the Chili Con Queso during a mid afternoon blackout.  That was almost as dumb as Big Bill going for it on 4th down instead of kicking the field goal.

In a bright spot, the Robot did get its ass kicked by the Terminator, so I guess it wasn't all bad.

I still think Eli Manning is a punk bitch, but hey, he's got a Super Bowl ring and I've got a blog so I guess we know who wins that one.

The ads were by and large uninspiring.  Either no one has any money, or no one wanted to take risks after some great (albeit risky commercials) received less than favorable reviews.  

In case you were foolish enough to go pee during the interesting part of the game (commercials), you can check out Time's review and watch the best ads.  Consensus here is that the FedEx ad was among the best, and a certain sales leads company who I refuse to give any pub to, sucked the worst.  

My personal favorite, though, appears below.  It's just way too close to the experience of being on Mr. Meeps' speed dial...

The Electronic Gladiator

Jay Maynard is the self-dubbed Tron Guy.
Jay Maynard is in the running as the Worlds Biggest Dork.
Jay Maynard is 100% Awesome!

In case you missed his rise to internet stardom during the last 3 years, here is what you need to know: A computer programmer with portly physique and no shame what-so-ever, Maynard pieced together a skintight outfit with electroluminiscent embedded lighting inspired by the 1982 Disney Sci-Fi movie Tron. Tron , as you may remember, explores the world inside a computer! Then, he put up a website to chronicle the trials and tribulations of the monumental undertaking of building the Tron suit (among other suits... be sure to surf around, you won't be sorry you did).

EL Lighting? Life in a computer? Human after all? Sounding familiar? The question begs to be answered, did Daft Punk get their inspiration on their last tour from Tron Guy?
Definately check out the video of Maynard getting his 15 mins of Fame on Kimmel.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Vampire Weekend: Amoeba record store 2/1

If you listen to black metal Vampire Music like Cradle of Filth, then these four Upper West Side Columbia Grads, Vampire Weekend, are not for you. Further, if you really do listen to black metal, this is probably not the right blog for you. Instead, we suggest: Vampire Hunters Union.
However, if you like indie pop rock and being on the forefront of what's happening, then you'll definately enjoy the music of Vampire Weekend.  
Last night I trudged through the rain and navigated the gauntlet of street kids, neo-hippies and crackheads to arrive at the long-standing San Francisco music store Amoeba on Upper Haight for a gratis show. 
They played a simple and clever set of 7 songs that dipped into their new wave and African sound, blasting out over the CD racks.   The crowd was about 400 eager listeners who had read one or all of the bazillion positive reviews of the self-titled debut album in the blogosphere during the last few months. 
They band quickly showed off their talent, playing poppy, catchy and short songs that are easily and earnestly likable.  Although fun, most will wear thin after a few times through the album.  Don't tell that to the dreadlocked co-ed who wouldn't stop dancing or the 40-year old virgin holding up the phone for his buddy during the final song. 
More than one occasion (4 times) I overhead someone in the store referencing their sound as similar to the Paul Simon album Graceland. Not bad company. 
On a side note, if you own a woven scarf, v-neck cardigan and skinny jeans, then this is your band. If you have even just one of the before mentioned, then you'll probably like them too. If you love that Paul Simon album then you are sure to enjoy Vampire Weekend. 
Newly famous as the "blog band" de jour of 2008, VW will probably rise from the Ivy League to the forefront of music this year.   A combination of internet hype and endless touring (The so called Arctic Monkeys and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah model) VW appears prepped to reap the benefits of the new wave of music marketing.  No longer undercover, (and demonstrating sign #13 that you have "made it") last night they performed crowd favorite ditty A-Punk, on Letterman
Vampire Weekend could end up being just another solid indie rock quartet that lingers for the next decade and spawns uncountable and less enjoyable side projects. Or they'll be the next big thing. One positive indicator for future musical growth is the quirky, preppy New Yorkers signed with XL recordings, home of QLE favorites and boundary pushers Radiohead, Sigur Ros, M.I.A. and Ratatat. 

Friday, February 1, 2008

January Videos - Updated

January was a tough month for movies. I am not sure what led to this, but a couple Tuesdays I got the stifled snort from the Blockbuster guy when I threw a couple DVDs down on the counter, but seriously, eff him! They're free - Total Access, bitch!

The King of Kong: A Fistfull of Quarters - I may have jumped the gun when picking the January DVDs before January was over. The last Tuesday brought this pleasant surprise. You will laugh, you might cry, but you will definitely want to punch Steve Sanders and Billy Mitchell. There are some amazing characters (Mr. Awesome) and the film stops short of being a school yard geek pounding and shows some respect (restraint) in their portrayal of the passion of the nerd. It's short, it's fun, but most importantly, it's hip and it's indie-cine, so you really can't afford to remain in the dark on this one, can you?

3:10 to Yuma
. Maybe this one is a bit obvious. I mean, after all,
that Christian Bale is so hot right now. Let me tell you, Russell Crowe is no slouch either. Don't count on a nonstop shootout (The Quick and the Dead this is not...). But there is enough going on that you won't be bored. Throw in some stunning vistas and and the super creepy performance by Ben Foster (he may have creeped you previously as Russell in 6 Feet Under or as strung out Jake in Alpha Dog) and you have a for sure winner.

Shoot Em Up. Ever wondered what would happen if a bunch of stoner video g
ame makers got their hands on a room full of monkeys with typewriters, a kilo of blow and a Hollywood budget? My thoughts exactly: 86 minutes of awesome-ness. Somehow they got Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti and the oh-so-sexy lactating hooker Monica Bellucci to sign on and I am pretty sure they all made it up as they went. Almost every line is chortle-out-loud funny and Owen's carrot obsessed sharp shooting appears to be the only unifying plot line, but really, what else do you need? I WILL watch this again.

Sunshine. This may be a stretch for some of you. It is, in fact, a deep space sci-fi thriller. There are two kind of people in this world: Nerds and Anti-Fantites. For better or worse, I'm a Nerd so roll with me on this one. For the most part, like being left handed, you are clearly one or the other.
Directed by Danny Boyle (28 days Later), this one puts you on edge from the beginning. Shit has gone seriously wrong. The Sun (and by association, the Earth) is dying. 8 good folks strap themselves to (literally) the worlds larges nuclear bomb (that's NUU-CLEE-ehr) and try to jumpstart the sun.
Again we find Boyle teamed with Cillian Murphy, who is great, but who also automatically sets me on edge. He's weird and is always somewhat crazy (or completely crazy in Batman Begins). Combine that with a deep tension and a pervasive fear of the unknown and imminent death, and it's got you on the edge of your seat. And that's the first 8 minutes. Things build to an insane crescendo showcasing the best of Boyle and his refusal to be confined to a conventional or predictable style of film making.

And the winner for the WORST DVD of the month goes to: Death Sentence. Granted, I do have some long-standing anger toward Kevin Bacon. He ruined one of my favorite movies in high school - Wild Things. Oh baby, how I love you Denise
Richards. But why, oh why, did they decide to wipe out all of the sexy swimming pool makeouts dancing merrily in my head with a protracted, full frontal shot of Kevin Bacon?
But back to Death Sentence. As the movie builds toward its third and final climax, Kevin Bacon goes loony. In the hospital, he decides it's "really" time for revenge. And this time, it's serious. He indicates his ferocity with the slowest eye-narrowing-while-turning-to-face-the-camera shot I have ever seen. I am pretty sure that James Wan was channeling a certain Youtube Clip when providing the direction here... (Thanks CLOVE).
So, do yourself a favor, skip this one and save yourself [insert punny reference to a "death sentence" here].