by Jac Kern
125 days ago
Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings
The 2014 Golden Globes, hosted by the dream team of Amy Poehler and Tina
Fey, take place Jan. 12 and nominations have been announced. Here we go!
In the motion picture sector, 12
Years a Slave and American Hustle
lead the pack with seven nominations each. The America’s Sweethearts Showdown
will finally play out as Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle) is pitted against Julie Roberts (August: Osage
Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture (along with Sally Hawkins – Blue Jasmine, Lupita Nyong'o – 12 Years a Slave and June Squibb – Nebraska). Yes, I'm really trying to make the J. Law/JuRo(?) rivalry happen.
Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey were rewarded for the physical
they underwent to star in Dallas Buyers
Club — they’re up for Best Supporting Actor in a
Motion Picture and Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama, respectively.
On to television selections, Netflix series House of Cards raked in four nominations, the most of any series.
The HBO film Behind the Candelabra
also garnered four nods, but in three categories — stars Matt Damon and Michael
Douglas are up against one another for Best Actor in a Mini-Series or TV Movie.
Rob Lowe’s amazing work as Liberace’s plastic surgeon/pill pusher in Candelabra gets lauded with a nomination
for the broad Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series or TV Movie
category, but that statue will likely go to Aaron Paul for his performance in
the final season of Breaking Bad.
New-to-2013 shows Masters of Sex,
Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Ray Donovan each received two
nominations. I was totally in love with the inaugural season of Masters this year, so I’m happy to see
it up against some solid series for Best TV Series, Drama, even if it probably
won’t win. I can’t bring myself to watch Brooklyn
(despite my love for Andy Samberg!) because it looks decidedly unfunny, but I
keep hearing I need to check it out, so judgment reserved. Ray was a decent new drama. Jon Voight killed it as the
fresh-out-of-prison father to the titular character, a Hollywood “fixer” played
Schreiber (also nominated). Voight’s Mickey brought the
laughs in an otherwise dark story, from his penchant for big-booty video girls
to the advice he gives to his nauseated grandson: “Maybe you need to faht!”
Noticeably absent are Homeland,
Boardwalk Empire and Mad Men, and I am OUTRAGED! OK, I’m
starting to sound like everyone who’s ever listened to a local band after the
CEA nominations are announced.
But seriously, Damien Lewis’ performance as Homeland’s Brody, while limited on screen this season, was
incredible. He truly has played so many sides and shades of the character. That
detox scene? Haunting. He nailed the deterioration of Brody completely.
I also thought this was one of the best seasons of Boardwalk. Completely biased opinion: John Huston’s Richard Harrow
has been my favorite
character of the series (besides Lucy, played by the incomparable queen of mot messes Paz de
la Huerta, OBVS).
With so many other amazing characters, it’s totally understandable that he
wouldn’t leave with an award, but…Richard! "Hold me."
As for Mad Men, neither the
show nor its actors have won a Globe since 2009, when it was awarded for Best
TV Series, Drama. The show is not suffering — in fact, watching Don (Jon Hamm)
finally crack and start to act like a real human was incredible this season.
Oh, well. There’s always next year’s Emmys, I guess?
Read all the nominations here.It’s almost Christmas, so what better time for another Apple ad to make
you unexpectedly shrivel up and bawl?
Beyoncé blew the top off the Internet late last week, surprise-releasing
14 new songs plus 17 music videos in
a full, mega, meta “visual experience” of an album, leaving most of us with
nothing left on our holiday wish lists. Titled simply Beyoncé, the package features collaborations with Jay Z, Frank
Ocean, Drake and Blue MFing Ivy, sexy-ass songs with some straight up raunch, audio/video
from Star Search and home movies and several shots of Bey’s thonged butt. It’s
perfection. And because no one can ever get enough Yoncé (That’s right, it’s Yoncé,
Mrs. Carter if you’re nasty), she’s also releasing a mini-documentary about the
album in various parts, day by day. Buy the package, watch the videos and get
swept up in the Carter life here.
John Mayer and Katy Perry are totes an item and, in case you needed any
reminders of what a supreme douche J. May is, well, here’s their first couples
interview (gag) — skip to 2:50 for John’s really touching words about Katy’s
craft/to hear him drop an F bomb (edited out, thanks ABC!) while doing so.
your browser does not support IFrames.
R. Kelly(’s PR)
thought it would be a good idea to get #askrkelly trending, to spark a sort of
AMA with Twitter fans, and it was a total marketing fail. In fact, the timing of the backfired publicity stunt led perfectly to
this Village Voice interview
with the Chicago Sun-Times music critic that broke the story detailing R. Kelly’s involvement with
underage girls almost 15 years ago. This journalist, Jim DeRogatis, reminds us just how disgusting of a rap sheet R. has. I guess somewhere
between Trapped in the Closet parts V
and XXVI, we forgot the dude was a legit pedo.
Buzzfeed dubbed Newport Aquarium’s Scuba Santa one of eight “Most Badass
Santas in the World,” not to be confused with “One of Most Extreme Santas in
World,” as reported by basically every other local media outlet (buncha babies).
If there’s just one viral family Christmas video-card (ugh) making its rounds
that particularly makes me want to gouge my eyes out, it’s the Holderness
family’s. Set to the tune of the very current
“Welcome to Miami,” this family of four teaches us what the holidays are truly
about: bragging about the year’s accomplishments. Namely, running triathlons,
appearing in blockbuster films and learning Chinese — in their "Christmas jammies." Fucking white people.
Shia LaBeouf was a child actor, so I guess he never went to school to learn that copying off your neighbor's work is pretty much universally looked down upon. That's the only explanation I can come up with to justify his plagiarizing of Daniel Clowes' comic Justin M. Damiano for his new short film, HowardCantour.com. Read all about the fiasco here, and see the similarities for yourself. LaBeouf said sorry via Twitter, which should be enough, but he apparently lifted his apology off Yahoo Answers. So help us all.
by Jac Kern
132 days ago
Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings
A new channel has found a coveted spot on my television’s favorites
list. The Esquire Network replaced Style in late September, but it took me a
few months to discover the new channel’s diverse entertaining offerings. The
network’s original series feature everything from cooking to travel to style —
lots of culture-y (pop and otherwise) bits. Esquire also airs reruns of popular
shows like Party Down,Top Chef and Parks and Recreation. Find the channel here.
Searching for a new computer game without Facebook notifications,
digital farming or “Crush” in the title? Look no further than Kanye Zone. The object of
the game? Like the song says, don’t let him into his zone.
Speaking of Kanye’s zone, you know it’s officially the holiday season
when the Kadrashians emerge their krypts to kreate their annual Kristmas kard.
Not really sure why they’d spring for a photographer like David
LaChapelle, because every square inch of this piece is so heavily ‘shopped. I
bet they even inserted Kourt’s baby into her empty arms in post-production. And
it goes without saying that this image of Bruce (sealed in glass on the far
right) will haunt all of our nightmares until the end of time.
Move over, Macaulay — "Pug Puppy Home Alone" is even better than the original.
The entertainment gods blessed us with not one but two Major Television
Events recently: The Sound of Music Live!
And the Bonnie & Clyde miniseries
presented by A&E, History and Lifetime. People everywhere have been crying,
“Blasphemy!” over these two reboots of classic stories but, because we’re a
masochistic society, everyone and their mama tuned into both. B&C was deemed historically
inaccurate (Gasp! A Lifetime movie?! Surely not.), and SoM was decidedly awkward as hell, but damn if they didn’t both
attract huge audiences.
NBC’s live production of The Sound
of Music was a hot ass mess. I’m no musical theater connoisseur, so I
totally forgot all the Nazi shit in there, along with the fact that Vampire
Bill was starring in this show alongside Carrie Underwood. I mean, Carrie can sing for sure, but
the 21.3 million viewers
were pretty much all tuning in the same way
they’d watch a train wreck, which is why Carrie says she's praying for all of us haterz. Keep the prayers comin’, Carrie, because apparently we’re in for another live musical here
Here’s probably every movie you meant to see this year but didn’t:
“I Love It” and “Ho Hey” were
noticeably absent, despite being in EVERY PREVIEW EVER this year. Thankfully
(said no one), they didn’t skimp on the dub-step.
In other end-of-the-year news, it’s time again for Pantone to announce
the official color of 2014. Get your eyeballs ready for lots of “Radiant Orchid” next year, whatever the hell that means.
If you’ll recall (as if this important selection hasn’t been ingrained in your
brain), 2013’s color was emerald.
Scary Stories to Tell in the
Dark, the book series of spooky tales and illustrations
every ‘80s and ‘90s kid shared around campfires, on the bus and at sleepovers,
is becoming a movie. CBS Films is working with two Saw
writers on the adaptation. For those in the dark (muahahaha), the Scary Stories themselves weren’t all
that terrifying — it was all about the eerie, detailed, seriously dark images
that accompanied the tales. There’s no word yet on how or if these
illustrations (by Stephen Gammell, who I can only assume is Satan’s nephew)
will be incorporated in the film, and that will truly be a make-or-break
decision. If Hollywood decides to ruin SSTTITD
like everything else and go with a live-action take, I guess they could
just call up Bruce Jenner.
There’s no other way to say it: Bitches lose their shit over Benedict
Cumberbatch. The star of Sherlock,
who portrayed Kahn in Star Trek: Into
Darkness and is voicing the titular dragon in the upcoming Hobbit film, has a loyal legion of fans
— ahem, “Cumberbitches.” Here’s what happened when we read some lyrics off R.
Kelly’s new album (which is freaking titled Black
As captivating and alienesque as Benny may be, like a male Tilda
Swinton, the ladies truly give him the One Direction treatment. And I love me
some Cumberbatch, but can we throw some love/panties Martin Freeman’s way, too?
Jurassic WORLD is happening. Colin Trevorrow, director of the fantastic time-travel
dramedy Safety Not Guaranteed, is
taking on this fourth installment of the Jurassic
Park franchise. Rumored to star are Chris Pratt (clearly Trevorrow likes
working with Parks and Rec stars),
Bryce Dallas Howard (The Help), Jake Johnson (who also starred in Safety) and Nick Robinson, who stole my
heart in The Kings of Summer. This might
actually be a great film, and not just some greedy, lazy sequel.
by Jac Kern
Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings
Apparently Lady Gaga did damn well as host and musical guest on this
week’s Saturday Night Live, because I
keep seeing stories
like this praising her. I don’t know for sure, though, because I fell
asleep on the couch at 10:30 p.m. and woke up just before 1 a.m., just in time to see something that has recurred in my nightmares ever since:
Yeah, that’s Gaga performing “Do What U Want” with R. Kelly, a single
off her new album Artpop. The two engaged
in a really weird sexual…something onstage, and shit just didn’t feel right.
Perhaps it’s not Gaga simulating robotic sex with the R&B star that
troubles me, but the notion of R. “I will pee on you” Kelly announcing that he
will do what he wants to your body. *Shudder*
up Dave Coulier, because Alanis Morissette’s quintessential slice of ‘90s
goodness that is Jagged Little Pill is
becoming a musical.
American Horror Story: Coven has been getting better and better by the week. We’ve seen zombies and
real monsters pulled from history as the witches of Miss Robichaux’s Academy
hone and develop their powers and discover new enemies. But the mellow Misty
Day has been my favorite character so far. The Stevie Nicks-obsessed
necromancer played to perfection by Lily Rabe has been shunned by society and,
thus, doesn’t know much about other witches. She leads a lonely life in a
little backwoods cabin reviving dead swamp creatures and jamming to Fleetwood
Mac. Her role has become abundantly more vital to the story, so it only makes
sense that the witchy woman herself, Stevie
Nicks will make her acting debut on an upcoming episode.
Surprise! A comically wigged Alexander
Skarsgård and Lindsay Lohan (who does not require accessories to play a joke character) played Kenny Powers’ grown
children on the Eastbound and Down series
The Real World is getting even realer next season (not) with The Real World: Ex-plosion. Taking place in San Francisco
(returning for the first time since 1994’s third season with Puck and Pedro),
this 29th (!!!) season will start like every other: with seven strangers — seven
young, attractive, easily influenced strangers — moving into a gigantic house
with an disproportionately small number of bedrooms, furnished by the Target
clearance aisle, perpetually stocked with booze and Sun Drop, conveniently
located within walking distance of a Subway. Four of the seven list
"model-slash-something" on their resumes.
But when the roomies take a trip four weeks into their stay, they will return
to their makeshift home full of their ex-boyfriends and -girlfriends. Because
there really weren’t enough
nonsensical drunken physical altercations in any of the past Real Worlds or challenges.
The annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was last week (to be aired on Dec.
10 on CBS) featuring a dozen or so very
hungry women, one $10 million bra, a liberal definition of angel wings,
Lisa Frank-inspired looks and Taylor Swift. So if you’re a 12-year-old girl,
which clearly should be Vicky’s
target audience, this will be right up your alley. Photos from Jezebel here.
Kanye West premiered his new music video, “Bound 2” on Ellen this week (for real). This vid starts out on
a high note, with several shots of pretty, wild ponies and a lovely sample from
Brenda Lee’s 1959 song, “Sweet Nothings” (“Uh-huh, honey”). But then a fake
motorcycle and a jiggling Kim Kardashian sporting The Rachel cut pop up, and
they all ride off on the Hot Mess Highway. Kim forgot her shirt, so she has to
ride backwards, straddling Kanye, to protect her modesty. They must be in the
middle of nowhere, too, because Kanye does not seem concerned that his driving
vision is severely obstructed by his fiancée's bouncing boobies.
Seriously, though, did they make it in a mall video booth? Super sorry to
the 10-year-old whose birthday was booked right after this session. I could
only imagine it would be really slippery in there.
This week in classic local Craigslist finds, someone in the area is
looking for the best Chewbacca impression. Winner gets $100. Details here.
by Jason Gargano
Chicago's Pitchfork fest thrills with Bjork, R. Kelly, MIA and a wonderfully eclectic lineup
It’s no secret that Chicago is a great place for music.
Pretty much any touring band of note — and no doubt many a musical
outfit that need not be noted — is sure to include a Chicago stop, and
the city’s local scene remains rich and diverse, aided by a host of
nurturing venues and an eager, uncommonly discerning base of listeners.
That it’s only a five-hour drive from Cincinnati makes it an enticing
destination for those of us who yearn to catch shows that skip the Queen
Chicago’s embarrassment of musical riches has only grown
in recent years with the addition of two high-profile three-day summer
festivals: Lollapalooza and Pitchfork. The former needs little
introduction — Perry Farrell’s unexpectedly fruitful brainchild is,
almost undeniably, the inspiration for the explosion of summer fests
over the last two decades, a trend that has grown even more robust since
the turn of the century. Every weekend each summer now features at
least one festival worthy of audiences’ ears. The trend has even reached
Cincinnati, where Bunbury just finished its second successful year —
and shared a headliner with Pitchfork. (Whether outdoor settings, marked
by often difficult weather conditions and bright sunlight, is the best
way to experience the type of music offered at such festivals is a
Lollapalooza is, alongside behemoths Coachella and
Boonaroo, one of America’s biggest and best-attended summer fests,
boasting more than 130 artists and an audience in excess of 150,000.
Pitchfork, meanwhile, has quickly established itself as a singular
presence on the summer circuit, a discerningly curated endeavor that’s
an extension of the influential, taste-making webzine that runs it.
(Chicago-based Pitchfork.com took over the business side of the fest in
2006 after curating 2005’s initial gathering, which was then called the
Intonation Festival). Set in Union Park — a modest city-block space just
west of downtown Chicago — Pitchfork now features nearly 50 artists,
many of which are still unfamiliar to all but the most plugged-in Indie
music connoisseurs. (Ironically, as a champion of cutting-edge acts on
the way up, Pitchfork also serves as an early snapshot of future
This year’s Pitchfork, which ran July 19-21, offered one
of its most curious lineups to date, especially as it pertains to the
headliners, which included Bjork, Belle and Sebastian and, somewhat
controversially, R. Kelly. Sure, there were several typically
lesser-known acts on the bill, but almost all of them graced the Blue
Stage, the smallest of the fest’s three stages. Whether this year’s more
accessible bill might have been a reaction to last year’s fest, which
gave relatively high-profile slots to such interesting but largely
faceless artists as AraabMuzik, Purity Ring, The Field, Big K.R.I.T.,
Hot Chip and Chavez, among others, is anyone’s guess, but a realignment
of sorts from Pitchfork’s powers that be seems plausible.
More proof of a possible shift in booking philosophy:
There were more veteran acts than ever this year. Beyond the headliners,
each of which has been making music for more than two decades, there
was Wire, The Breeders, Swans, … And You Will Know Us By the Trail of
Dead, Low and Yo La Tengo. The only comparable 2012 act in terms of
longevity — admittedly not the best gauge when it comes to creative
vitality, but we’re talking audience-drawers here — was Godspeed You
Black Emperor, which headlined along with Feist and Vampire Weekend. All
are solid acts, but none of them are likely to perk the senses of those
looking for a little “star power.” Enter Kelly, one of the era’s
preeminent hit-makers (more on that later).
As usual, many of Pitchfork 2013’s most interesting
artists emanated from the Blue Stage, which is the most intimate of the
fest’s three stages — the larger Green and Red stages (note the
refreshing lack of corporate branding, another sign of Pitchfork’s
discerning nature), which are but 50 yards (or so) apart, alternate acts
at the north end of Union Park, while Blue’s lineup overlaps with the
other two. Tucked into a tree-laden area of the park’s southwest corner,
the Blue Stage is something of a festival unto itself, its cozy
confines offering a break from the spacious, open-air spots where the
Green and Red reside.
Multiple Blue Stage artists delivered strong sets, including Frankie Rose, a former Dum Dum Girl whose latest album, Interstellar,
is a Synth Pop gem that wouldn’t sound out place alongside Beach House;
Mikal Cronin, a little ragamuffin of a guy whose latest album, MCII,
is a Power Pop keeper; Angel Olsen, whose Americana-flavored songs and
swoon-worthy voice and visage compelled much of the audience during her
late-afternoon slot; Metz, a Canadian trio coming to Cincy for this
year's MidPoint Music Festival in late September, whose terse songs
roared even more righteously in a live setting (think Nirvana on
fast-forward); Minnesota mainstays Low, who seemed oddly out of place
but still effective in the early evening light; and Trash Talk, a
Hardcore crew from Sacramento, Calif., whose long-haired frontman
delivered the funniest line of the fest after noticing a number of “old
people” in the relatively sparse Friday-afternoon crowd: “I like old
people. Old people make the world go around. They fucking had us and
Best of all — or at least the biggest surprise — was
Brooklyn-based Post Punk quartet Parquet Courts, whose playful, twisty
tunes recall everyone from early Pavement to the Minutemen to a far less
trashed Guided by Voices. Frontman Andrew Savage’s voice is thin but
endearing, and his dynamic guitar interplay with fellow frontguy Austin
Brown had more than one rapt audience member shaking their ass in the
One got the sense that the Parquet Courts dudes would have
been just as happy performing on the street corner just beyond the
fence behind them. The fact that they had a much bigger platform to
deliver their slanted gospel is just one example of what has made
Pitchfork so vital for those looking to experience something rawer and
less polished than the acts that dominate other festivals. (Go get
Parquet Court’s recent full-length, Light Up Gold, as soon as possible.)
Even the Blue Stage’s less successful performances were
compelling in one way or another: while Julia Holter, Ryan Hemsworth,
Andy Stott and Evian Christ — the latter three DJs who essentially stand
behind a table — have issues in the area of crowd interaction and
sometimes suffered from spotty sound mixes, each was able to convey its
mood-altering music in ways that, at the very least, provided sonic
respites from the relatively more conventional acts at the bigger
stages, whose roar often bled into the Blue’s.
On to the two main stages, which drew large, unusually
enthusiastic crowds all weekend. Long a champion of adventurous Hip Hop,
Pitchfork again featured some intriguing purveyors of the form, most
notably Sunday sets by Killer Mike and El-P. The pair released two of
the best albums of 2012, and their stellar recent collaboration, dubbed
Run the Jewels, dropped as a free download in June. After a sweaty set
in which Mike ran through songs from his R.A.P. Music — including
strong versions of the title track and the politically cutting “Reagan”
— he joined his buddy El-P for a batch of Run the Jewels cuts that
mixed verbal dexterity with a healthy dose of levity. Their record,
simply titled Run the Jewels, is something of a break from the duo’s doomsday aesthetic as solo artists — Jewels
is an exuberant, sonically diverse fun-ride that makes light of Hip
Hop’s silly preoccupation with bling (the two performed with fake gold
chains around their necks), among other Pop-culture oddities. (El-P
later tweeted, “I’ll just go ahead and say @pitchforkfest is the most
chill, fun ass festival around right now.)
Run the Jewels was an interesting transition into a set
from the ever-vital Yo La Tengo, which mixed choice cuts from its vast
back-catalog (including sweet reworked versions of “Autumn Sweater,”
“Tom Courtney” and “The Hour Grows Late”) with several tunes from the
New Jersey trio’s latest record, Fade. As usual, they didn’t
interact much with the crowd, though frontman Ira Kaplan, who dropped in
several impressive guitar freak-outs, did joke that it was “good to be
opening for R. Kelly again.”
The fest’s most curious social-media-stirring moment
occurred Sunday evening as M.I.A., amid a garishly colorful backdrop of
spinning wheels and neon lights, unveiled songs from her forthcoming
album, Matangi. A sea of cell phones rose to record her entrance;
many stayed aloft throughout. It was a departure in audience etiquette —
somewhat unexpectedly, much of the festival was free of such ubiquitous
use of technological interference.
Clad in a flashy gold top and orange short-shorts, M.I.A.
stalked the stage, often with dancers at her side, as bass-heavy
Dance-Rap arrangements thundered through the ample soundsystem with
almost netherworldly force. The ceaseless sonic assault pretty much
drowned out whatever she might have been trying to convey in her new
songs — which, based on the spottiness of her previous record and the
delayed release of Matangi, might be a good thing. Only when her
set was interrupted by technical glitches did she seem spontaneous or
even all that engaged. It was a weird, disjointed set, the kind of
whiz-bang spectacle that rarely rears its head at Pitchfork.
In contrast, Savages Saturday afternoon appearance was a
model of lacerating intensity. The buzzed-about British quartet — whose
recent debut Silence Yourself is a satisfying blast of
atmospheric Post Punk — was one of the most anticipated acts of fest.
They didn’t disappoint, delivering blistering versions of “I Am Here,”
“She Will” and “Fuckers,” a new song about not letting the “fuckers get
Jehnny Beth is a captivating frontlady, her no-bullshit
stare and frequent high-pitched yelps lifting the music’s familiar
elements — everyone from Gang of Four and Patti Smith to Siouxsie Sioux
and PJ Harvey come immediately to mind — to uncharted heights. More
unexpected was the band’s tendency to evoke ’80s-era U2, which isn’t
necessarily a bad thing. Even more curious was Beth’s evocation of Ian
Curtis, both in terms of her appearance (lean with close-cropped hair)
and in some of her mannerisms (as if the music were transporting her
somewhere beyond the stage).
Michael Gira, Swans’ longtime ringleader, was impressed,
asking the audience, “How about them lady Savages?” before clapping in
appreciation. Gira’s band immediately followed Savages, and it was an
apt pairing, like opposite sides of the same coin. His crew of gifted
Post Punk vets — which includes a hairy multi-instrumentalist named Thor
and a suave German slide-guitar player who looks as though he’d be
right a home in a David Lynch flick — conjured an unholy racket during a
truncated version of “The Seer” and offered an inspired take on
“Oxygen,” which featured Gira doing a spooky Indian-like dance
throughout. While it was odd to witness Swans’ menacing, ebb-and-flow
soundscapes in broad daylight, the outdoor setting still left those in
attendance vibrating long after the band’s final drone leaked from the
That brings us to the three headliners. The festival’s
mission — it attempts to highlight the most adventurous,
zeitgeist-channeling acts on the current landscape — makes choosing an
anchor to each day’s events a challenging dilemma for Pitchfork
organizers. Given the esoteric nature of many such music-makers, there
are only so many high-profile acts that fit the typical “headliner”
criteria. Past choices have included such Alt-Rock mainstays as Flaming
Lips, Spoon and Sonic Youth to more contemporary entries in the canon
like TV on the Radio, Animal Collective and LCD Soundsystem.
Pitchfork even had Yoko Ono headline one year, which makes
the choice of R. Kelly as Sunday night’s festival-closer even odder one
on multiple levels. First,
there’s the fact that Kelly — no doubt one of the most important R&B
artists of the era, and a Chicago native to boot — is the most
mainstream artist the festival has ever booked. Second, and far more
troubling for many, is Kelly’s reputation as a serial misogynist who
never got the legal reprimand he deserved.
The most vociferous critic has been longtime music writer
Jim DeRogatis, who broke the story of Kelly’s indiscretions while
working at the Chicago Sun-Times in 2002. DeRogatis called
Pitchfork’s decision to book Kelly and the subsequent excitement from
“some (not all) paying customers” as being “fueled by irony.”
No doubt there are legitimate questions about how an
artist’s personal issues should impact the way in which we experience
their music, but, for better or worse, those knotty questions were not
going to be answered during Kelly’s Pitchfork set.
In fact, based on the reaction of those in the massive
crowd — probably the festival’s largest ever — irony was not as
prevalent as DeRogatis wanted to profess. The overwhelming majority of
those in attendance, which ranged from fortysomething African-American
couples to teenage hipsters, seemed genuinely excited to be taking in
Kelly’s sextastic jams. The performance itself, meanwhile, was largely
standard-issue R&B stagecraft, as Kelly ran through much of his
extensive songbook medley-style (38 songs!). Not even a steady drizzle
of rain could dampen the mood, as many swayed and sang along straight
through to a set-closing version of “I Believe I Can Fly,” which was accompanied by the release of dove-shaped balloons.
If Kelly’s presentation was fairly straightforward,
Bjork’s closing set on Friday was anything but. Or so it seemed — unless
one was within 75 yards of the stage, it was hard to see what was going
on besides fleeting glimpses of Bjork’s elaborate headgear, which
looked like a porcupine lit up from within. Worse, the two video boards
that flanked the Green Stage were mounted too low, rendering them almost
useless to those they should intend to aid.
No matter: Bjork’s expressive voice was just as fluid and
otherworldly as one would expect on slightly reconfigured versions of
“Hunter,” “Joga” “Pagan Poetry” and “Army of Me.” When rain and pending
lightening and thunder prompted festival organizers to pull the plug
after an hour, Bjork responded with this curio: “It’s calm. I don’t
know. This wouldn’t be much in Iceland, I can tell you that much.”
It also rained on Belle and Sebastian Saturday night, but
not enough to cut short what was the festival’s most overt nod to
nostalgia. The Scottish crew ran through a career-spanning set that
crested early with rousing versions of “I’m a Cuckoo” and “The Stars of
Track and Field,” which had more than one thirtysomething couple
embracing amid all the tuneful sweetness.
by Jac Kern
Posted In: TV/Celebrity
at 02:43 PM | Permalink
Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings
I spent a hefty
number of hours watching Trapped in the Closet this past holiday weekend, thanks to IFC’s
marathon of the R. Kelly Hip Hopera followed by a debut of a new chunk of
chapters. Despite my avid enthusiasm for T
in the C as a teen, I must have lost track of the final few chapters because I totally forgot that by the end of the first two installments, a majority
of the characters (hilarious flowchart here) have likely been exposed to AIDS.
R. Kelly released
18 new chapters last Friday and, in true T
in the C style, few questions were answered and even more now stand. The
quick and dirty: Rosie and Randolph are Pimp Lucius’ parents! R. Kelly played
two new characters: a therapist (who counseled Rufus and Cathy) and a scary
gangster with a fang-like grill named Beeno (for real). Between scenes, the
camera would cut away to interviews with various characters on a talk show (likely setting for the next installment).
There was also a point where Rev. Mosley was shown on a commercial hawking
books — they showed a real, Chicago phone number that connected to a
hilarious recording. Still, no one knows where the hell Chuck is and we never
got any real answers about “the package” they might all have but don't worry — Kelly
has penned a reported 85 additional chapters, some to be released next year,
and look out, Broadway: Trapped is
coming to the stage! "Oh shit!"
marathons of the non-active persuasion, it just wouldn’t be a long weekend
without a good Law and Order marathon
— often with a relevant theme! This summer, I’m pretty sure I saw a Labor Day SVU marathon of episodes featuring women
about to give birth. Ever wondered how all those final court rulings stack up?
Overthinking It (via Buzzfeed) looked into every verdict of the original
series’ 450 court cases over 20 seasons. Check ‘em out!
NEEDS A PREQUEL/SEQUEL/REBOOT NOW, Sam Raimi (Evil Dead, Spider-Man 1-3)
is bringing a fresh take on the classic story of The Wizard of Oz this March. James Franco stars as Oscar Diggs, a Kansas
magician who is whisked away to a magical land where goes onto become the
eponymous wiz. Oz: The Great and Powerful certainly
will be a visual playground for audiences and the storyline — which precedes
both the original book and film — actually seems interesting. Plus, a trio of
top-notch actresses (Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams) portraying
young versions of those infamous witches? I'm in. Watch the trailer:
So, if you were
worried there wouldn’t be a good opportunity to drop LSD at a movie this
spring, fear not.
RuPaul’s Drag Race returns for a
fifth season this January and for those missing out on the fabulosity, it’s
basically Logo’s version of American Idol
or America’s Next Top Model, but with
way more prosthetic boobs and junk tucking. Hosted by the baddest queen of all,
RuPaul’s Drag Race pits drag queens
against each other in various challenges to be judged on makeup and hair,
costume design, on-camera performances, musical acts, comedy and much more. The
show is campy, hilarious and, for a show about men dressed up as over-the-top
women, surprisingly real.
If you need any
more reason to tune into the premiere, local entertainer Penny Tration (real name: Tony Cody) has been cast as
a contestant! Penny was voted onto the show as this season’s Facebook fan
favorite, which is pretty major. See the Cincy star at 0:51 in this trailer:
Drag Race Full Episodes, RuPaul,
performs Saturdays at The Cabaret (above Below Zero Lounge) in addition to
several other regular appearances. Check out a show while you can — Penny’s
‘bout to be mad famous.
It is said that as
one star rises, another falls. And after the debut of Lindsay Lohan’s anticipated role in Liz and Dick, it
looks like that train wreck’s career has suffered a fatal blow. “Did somebody say blow?”
What was —
shockingly — supposed to be a serious tribute to Elizabeth Taylor and her
relationship with Richard Burton turned out to be a Lifetime channel disaster.
Then again, what else was anyone expecting from the network that brought us My Stepson, My Lover and She Woke Up Pregnant? Surely, few had
high hopes for Lindsay and everyone else associated with this mess — Liz
Taylor’s shoes are tough to fill, so it was kind of unfair to put a young and
arguably unstable actress in that position. But all poor writing, directing and
casting aside, Lindsay does need to take some of the blame on this one. If
Cooter from True Blood
was able to mask his New Zealand accent
with a mediocre Burton impression, couldn’t Lindsay have at least tried to
out-act her smoker’s voice? And I’m sorry, but no 26-year-old should be able to
play a woman in her 50s more convincingly that a girl her own age. Somebody,
please, fix that face.
If you'd rather read entertaining reactions than actually sit through this piece of crap, Huffington Post
collected a bunch of Liz and Dick tweets you can read here.
actually am rooting for you, so here’s my advice: Why don’t you go back to your
Mean Girls ginge look, take a couple
years off, get your Eat Pray Love on
in India or whatever and come back to us once you’ve “found yourself” or Disney
decides to cast you as Aunt Vicki in their Parent Trap remake. Whichever comes first.
0 Comments · Tuesday, November 20, 2012
R. Kelly weaved a literary web of love, secrets and betrayal when he released the 22-chaptered Trapped in the Closet
videos from 2005-2007. Five years after the last chapter
descended upon us, R. Kelly has whipped up an additional 18 chapters of
the saga (and, reportedly, another 30 coming in 2013) to be served up
alongside your Thanksgiving leftovers (9 p.m. Friday, IFC).
Nov. 11 • Aronoff Center
0 Comments · Monday, November 5, 2012
R. Kelly has taught me a lot of things over the years. On his song, “I Believe I Can Fly,” he taught me “if I can see it, I can
do it.” Then on his alleged sex tape, he also taught me that rule only
applies to women over the age of 18.
by Jac Kern
at 02:42 PM | Permalink
It’s a good time
to be a Louie C.K. fan. And probably a good time to be Louie C.K., since in the last year
the comedian has nabbed two Emmys, wrapped a successful third season of his FX series
and pretty much single-handedly changed the way performers distribute media.
Where most performers might ride this wave until it crashes, taking on
additional projects and endorsements, C.K. is taking the opportunity to lay low
for a bit. The comedian is taking an extended break from the spotlight, putting
his show Louie on hiatus until 2014.
Yes, it sucks to wait more than a year for a great series, but even his most
devoted fans must wipe their tears and acknowledge this smart move. Instead of
ordering extra episodes, cranking out more material until he gets so burnt out
he pulls a Chappelle, C.K. will be able to take the time to continue producing
(directing, writing and starring in) more hilariously dark shows.
Speaking of good
shows we have to wait so very long for, here’s a fun Breaking Bad dance jam to
get you through ‘til next summer. No spoilers, but I’ll warn you, it’s mighty
Everyone with an
Instagram account and Starbucks latte believes they are a photographer, but
most of us leave the real snapping to the pros, knowing better than to fake
such a talent. Right? When two real photogs discovered an alarming number
of crappy pictures taken by supposed “professionals,” they decided to call
these fools out with one message: You Are Not A Photographer.
The highly anticipated film Skyfall hits theaters next month, but Bond fans are
already geeking out over the new theme song by Adele:
This is the
singer’s first release since her award-winning 2011 album, 21. She’s due to give birth to her first child any day now.
Cook? He was that comedian that was pretty funny for about 15 minutes in 2005
but quickly joined the likes of Nickelback and Ed Hardy enthusiasts in the
Douchebag Hall of Fame. Well, Dane Cook’s still around and he still sucks.
Cook was set to
star in a new NBC sitcom, Next Caller.
Cook played host of a sex and dating-type radio show, “Booty Call,” oddly
paired with a new, bubbly female co-host. I know what you’re thinking. When does
this television gold hit the airwaves?! Unfortunately, NBC found the final
product so dismal, they scrapped the entire series after filming four of six
episodes. So, for the record, NBC felt throwing money in the toilet was a better plan
than giving Cook screen time. I’ll admit, I gave Cook props for appearing on a
second season episode of Louie in
which he faced the accusations that he steals jokes (from C.K., in fact). But
watch the Next Caller post-mortem
trailer and you’ll agree this cancellation was for the
Now, to wash away
that gritty pockmarked face from your memory, enjoy this story about Ed, the
peg-leg pug!Ed is one of Australia’s first rescue dogs to receive a prosthetic limb. Let
this be a reminder to spay and neuter your cats and dogs and support rescue pets over breeders.It was recently announced
that two of my all-time favorite humans will host next year’s Golden Globes.
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will take over for Ricky Gervais, who hosted the
tribute to film and television for the past three years. I could go on at
length about my love for this duo, carefully citing my favorite works (everything they've ever done), but I’ll leave my official endorsement to this:
Bitches get stuff done.
As far as politics
go, I'm pretty sure all we need to know is there was a debate Monday night and Mitt Romney has binders
just chock full of women.
Yes, November is
going to be quite an interesting month. Who’s to say what the outcome will be?
So many insane characters — how can we keep them all straight? Oh, I’m not
talking about the election. I’m referring to the MFing return of R. Kelly’s Trapped in the Closet Hip Hopera. Trapped capped off with 22 chapters
released between 2005-2007. The maestro has composed an additional 20 chapters
to be released on IFC on Black Friday, Nov. 23 — a perfect way to spend your
holiday eating leftovers. Here’s a peek at the latest, Chapter 23. Take it from
R. Kelly, “These next chapters of Trapped in the Closet is gonna be so craaaazy."