Posts Tagged ‘hellyeah’

I don’t like Bill Maher. He’s a pompous jackass with some problematic ideas regarding race. But damned if I didn’t nod my neck sore, watching this “New Rules” segment on the Stewart/Colbert rally.

While I only partly agree with his critique of the Comedy Central duo (specifically the false equivalence of the Olbermann/Beck parallels), he’s definitely reading from my most private journal when he rips on the Democrats for waiting patiently for reason to return to the Republican party like a little latchkey kid who swears Poppa will be back any minute now. He just went to buy some smokes. Three weeks ago.

Here’s a bit of what Maher had to say:

“The message of the rally, as I heard it, was that, if the media stopped giving voice to the crazies on both sides, then maybe we could restore sanity. It was all nonpartisan and urged cooperation with the moderates on the other side forgetting that Obama tried that and found out…there are no moderates on the other side. When Jon announced his rally, he said the national conversation was dominated by people on the Right who believe Obama’s a Socialist and people on the Left who believe 9/11’s an inside job, but I can’t name any Democratic leaders who think 9/11’s an inside job. But Republican leaders who think Obama’s a Socialist…all of them.”

To read more and watch the video, check out Mediaite’s take on the the segment:
MEDIAITE: Bill Maher Disses The Daily Show Rally: It’s Better To Have A Rally That’s “About Something”

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Street Fighter 

Ladies and mostly gentlemen (who are we kidding here?)

Step away from the window. Get out of the tub and unplug that blowdrier. Life is worth living again! The good folks at College Humor have blessed us with the highest-quality material we’re likely to see all summer. I’m talking, of course, about “Street Fighter: The Later Years”. (more…)

 vampireWolves

Remember how surprised I was at enjoying last week’s True Blood? Well, I neglected to mention one element that gave me pause: the introduction of werewolves.

Yeah, seriously. Werewolves.

In all the over-the-top madness of the show, I had completely forgotten that it was conceived at the height of Twilight-fueled vampire mania. So I was disappointed at the idea that this show, having finally hit a stride of sorts, would resort to Underworld-esque, teen-baiting trend-hopping. And late trend-hopping, at that.

Then again, I remember being pretty irritated (in a tickled kind of way) at the growing team of Supernatural All-Stars Alan Ball was recruiting to Bon Temps. Vampires and telepathic waitresses were one thing (well, two things), but then we got shapeshifters and a Maenad — an entity they were never quite able to explain properly. Dude, throw in a mummy, and you’ve got the Groovy Goolies.

So you can imagine my dismay at the first mention of the clumsily named “Operation Werewolf”. Did Bon Temps really need yet another supernatural entity? Vampires and werewolves — was there ever a more clichéd combination than that? But then, through the magic of period flashback (a TB staple), we learn that this isn’t just any old band of werewolves. They’re Nazi werewolves!

Seriously, y’all. I don’t see how this could possibly end well. At this point, True Blood has spent more time jumping the shark than not. But this time, I can’t say I’m all that worried. Nay, I welcome this latest plummet into lunacy. I expect demand that it all collapses in one huge, historically inaccurate mess, via the True Blood Period Flashback Machine®, of course. Confederate soldier Bill, disgusted by an encounter with the godless Operation Werewolf nazis, goes rogue and joins the Union army. But this enrages vikings Eric and Godrik, who recruit shapeshifting Sam and the rest of the X-Men for an all-out war!! (Featuring special cameos by Mechagodzilla and musical performance by Justin Timberlake.)

I can hardly wait.

But until then, here’s a preview of what we can expect in the coming weeks:

Janelle on Letterman.

I’ve heard her blow better live, so I’ll blame this on network-debut jitters. Still brilliant.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

And who did Letterman seem more interested in? Sigh.

The ArchAndroid

The last 12 months have seen their share of musical dick-teases — highly anticipated releases from great artists that, despite brilliant singles, leave you wanting. From Maxwell’s BLACKsummer’snight to Sade’s Solider of Love to, arguably, Erykah’s Return of the Ankh (brilliant album, just not quite as incredible as its predecessor), trusted heavy hitters have kinda failed to hit, well… heavy.

Enter Janelle Monáe Robinson, the Kansas native who may well have churned out the best album of the year so far. The ArchAndroid is an exercise in the  familiar — referential without being derivative. It starts strong with “Dance or Die”, a moody workout from the same Afro-influenced, 1980s proto-Hip-Hop realm as Busta Rhymes’ “Dangerous”. As surprisingly unsurprising as it is propulsive, it’s got to be the album’s biggeest highlight, next to “Tightrope”. Two tracks later, the Michael Jackson-inspired “Locked Inside” is introduced with a drum kick straight from “Rock With You”, and grooves with the same exuberance as the Jackson classic.

Not only would Hendrix fans feel nostalgia at tracks like “Mushrooms and Roses”, so will anyone who’s seen the “onstage art class” segment of her stage show. Also familiar to concertgoers is fellow Suite II track “Come Alive”.

Besides the Stevie-esque “Say You’ll Go”, the most eerily subtle yet uncanny references exist on “Oh Maker” and “Neon Valley Street” — records that 1998-era Lauryn Hill would want to make in 2010, right down to the melodic style and meandering vocal runs that echo Hill’s “When it Hurts So Bad”.

And that’s perhaps the most refreshing thing about this album — its contradictions. Yes, she references the greats, but she does so as a truly accomplished student of music — nothing like that damn Keys, who copies off old term papers and gets an A every year because she looks like Little Miss Perfect. And then there’s her look. Finally, after years of waiting, we have a style-driven artist (if her three Vogue features are to be believed) who actually comes with substance. In fact, I’d argue her preference for the B&W tuxedos makes her quite the opposite, in that she chooses to perform in uniform. Either way, most importantly, she’s a style-driven artist who can actually sing. Like, really fucking blow. In the ’80s heyday of Prince, Michael, and Annie Lennox, this may not have seemed like such a big deal. But here we are in 2010, after a decade that brought us everyone from Cassie to Rihanna to Ciara to, yes, the inescapable Gaga, and style and substance seem to have become mutually exclusive in the major-label game.

All in all, it’s a brilliantly written and conceived album, greatly enriched by guitarist Kellindo Parker, with whom Monáe has a special symbiosis. Even the pacing is brilliant in its contradictions. For instance the first three tracks, the album’s most pop-accessible section, turn out to be its least shuffle-friendly. The songs flow seamlessly into one another like in Suite I, but the track-separation points aren’t as cleverly handled. So playing either “Faster” or “Dance or Die” independent of the other ends up in a pretty fractured listening experience — “forget iTunes singles; buy the album.” What it lacks in uniformity of genre, it makes up (assuming that’s a shortcoming) with uniformity of quality. The only possible lowlighht is “Make the Bus”, on which unnecessary guests, Of Montreal, do their best Bowie-as-Stardust impression. (Spoiler: it’s not that good). Still, the song isn’t awful — just poorly executed.

This is one of those albums that become more enjoyable and rewarding with each listen — perfectly achieving the artist’s cinematic aspirations without compromising on plain-old aural stiumlation.

You’ll get her next time, E-Badu.

Following the the brilliant Metropolis Suite I of IV: The Chase EP, Janelle Monáe is set to return this Tuesday with The ArchAndroid, intended as Suites II and III of her Metropolis saga.

I’m excited. You should be too. Here are 5 reasons why: (more…)

“You fucking bitch!”

Oh, don’t mind her. That’s just Anna Wintour. She’s standing on a banquette, head swaying drunkenly back and forth, her left hand on the wall for balance. She raises her right arm, champagne flute aloft as she greets another luxuriously dressed woman. “Babes! Where have you been, you fucking whore?!”, she says, as she plants a huge, wet one on her lips.

This was the vision that floated into my head when I heard about Anna Wintour dancing in the DJ booth with Diddy and Usher at the recent afterparty for this year’s Met Costume Institute Gala. When anyone else (see half of Meatpacking) does shit like this, it’s annoying as hell. Yet, placing A. Wintour in that tableau totally gave me a semi.

Imagine my joy when I realized I wasn’t too far off. There was, in fact, another awesomely powerful woman partying hard in the group, and it was… (more…)