WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 
by Jac Kern 12.18.2013 125 days ago
Posted In: TV/Celebrity, technology, Movies, Music, Humor at 12:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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I Just Can't Get Enough

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 County) for 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 deterioration 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 by Liev 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. #sitthehelldown 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. Unfortunately 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 12.11.2013 132 days ago
Posted In: TV/Celebrity, Movies, Humor at 11:21 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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I Just Can't Get Enough

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 soon. 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 Panties, btw). 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 11.20.2013
Posted In: Fashion, Humor, TV/Celebrity, Music at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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I Just Can't Get Enough

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* Somebody wake 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 finale. 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 08.01.2013
Posted In: Festivals, Reviews, Music Video at 11:32 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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REVIEW: Pitchfork Music Festival 2013

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 City.  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 different question.) 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 Lollapalooza lineups.) 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 shit.” 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 Saturday-afternoon sun.  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 you down.”  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 speakers. 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 11.28.2012
Posted In: TV/Celebrity at 02:43 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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I Just Can't Get Enough

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.                                                                                Deleted Scene 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!" Speaking of 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! Because EVERYTHING 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: Get More: Watch RuPaul's Drag Race Full Episodes, RuPaul, Logo TV Penny Tration 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. Lindsay, I 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.
 
 

Retreat Back ‘In The Closet’ This Black Friday

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).  

R. Kelly

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 10.17.2012
at 02:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
baby-angel

I Just Can't Get Enough

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 addictive (heh). 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. Remember Dane 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 best. 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."
 
 

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