by Jac Kern
Posted In: TV/Celebrity
at 01:42 PM | Permalink
Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings
Happy YouTube Comedy Week! Celebs, comedians, YouTube sensations and other funny people have created a
ton of content to unfurl daily through May 25. As if the Internet doesn’t provide enough
distractions to laugh at throughout the workday.
I recently watched Parks and Recreation in its entirety over the past two weeks, so if
I cancelled plans with you, it’s not because my cat was sick. I was watching
hours and hours of Netflix. Sorry. It goes without saying that I’m now fully
obsessed with Nick Offerman (Ron Swanson), who, as it turns out, actually is married
to Megan “Tammy Two” Mullally and actually is a
master woodworker. Anyway, Offerman was on Jay Leno last week to promote his
upcoming film, Kings of Summer. He
also performed a song he wrote for his wife (NSFWish), "Rainbow Song." Apparently
he’s sung this ditty on a few other talk shows, but I’ll take anything to get
me through to P&R Season Six — which has been confirmed!
Saturday’s SNL finale was filled with lots of weirdness and sads. Ben Affleck
did a so-so hosting job, but there were a lot of awkward moments from the
start. Ben’s monologue referred back to his Argo
Oscar acceptance speech (is that really as timely as your could get, SNL writers? Oh, wait. There was also a Gigli joke. Oy.) about how he loves his
wife but marriage is work and blahblahblah because I guess some people thought
that was kind of shitty for him to say. Well, Mrs. Affleck, Jennifer Garner,
came out to faux-bicker with him but it mostly came off as a desperate “We’re
married and we love each other, OK?!” confirmation. Was anyone even worried
about them? Also, it really looked like he was crying when he introduced musical guest, Kanye
West. Kim K's baby daddy debuted two songs from his upcoming album, Yeezus, and he was in full performance art mode (also, the censors
let hella N-words slip through the cracks.)
Then came the tears. Last week it was
announced that Seth Meyers will be leaving the show to host Late Night next
year; Bill Hader also said this would be his last season. The two went out with
a bang during a Weekend Update segment with Bill’s flamboyant city correspondent,
Stefon. (Oh, and Amy Poehler co-hosted Update for old time’s sake.) Stefon took
us on a wild ride that included a wedding, Anderson Cooper and all those crazy,
presumably made-up characters from his club reviews (including Menorah the
Explorer and human traffic cones).
There had also been additional reports that
Jason Sudekis and 11-year vet Fred Armisen were heading out. Though Jason
hasn’t made an official announcement, he joined Fred and Bill onstage for a
reprisal of Fred’s fictional Punk pioneer, Ian Rubbish. Fred’s Portlandia co-star Carrie Brownstein,
Kim Gordon, Aimee Mann and others rocked the stage with The Bizarros. :'(
Beyoncé may or may not be pregnant — Gawker
considers all the possible “conspiracé theorés” here. As I go set up Google alerts for an official announcement (and ponder if/how
this would affect her summer U.S. tour, specifically the Nashville concert that
I will be attending), go look up the name of your Destiny’s Child with the Bey Bey Name Generator. And check out her
newly leaked single, “Grown Woman” (the song from that epic Pepsi commercial).
Spinderella cut it up one time! The true
star of Salt-N-Pepa, DJ Spinderella, will be in town at the Aronoff Center with
Shaquille O’Neal and a slew of comedians for Shaq’s All-Star Comedy Jam June 1.
Seriously, that’s a real thing.And here's Taylor Swift being grossed out by Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez's Billboard Awards PDA:
by Mike Breen
Akron's Dan Auerbach cleans up at ceremony, including winning for an album featuring one of Cincy's best
Despite Frank Ocean's deft leg-syncing and Taylor Swift's torture-porn-disguised-as-wholesome-circus, Akron, Ohio's Dan Auerbach and The Black Keys were The Grammys' big story last night, winning five trophies, the most of any artist. While the Keys won the Grammys for Best Rock Album, Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance, Auerbach scored two solo Grammys for his production work, winning the trophy for Producer of the Year (Non-Classical) and also winning one for producing Dr. John's Locked Down, the Blues Album winner. While Grammys for album winners are usually given to the producers, engineers, mastering engineers and artists, hopefully Cincinnati's Brian Olive will also score one for his work on the LP. Auerbach — who has produced albums by both Olive and Cincinnati's Buffalo Killers — enlisted Olive (an original member of Cincinnati's Greenhornes) to work on the Dr. John album. Olive has songwriting credits on every track on Locked Down, and he's also credited with playing guitar, percussion and woodwinds, as well as providing background vocals. (Check out CityBeat's profile of Olive from 2011, about his Auerbach-produced Two of Everything album, here.)Kudos to Mr. Olive! That's him — the handsome feller with big side-burns playing sax (and a little guitar) in this video for the album's "Revolution." Check out all the winners from last night's Grammys here, and click here or here for some extra musings about the show.
Photographer Matthew Rolston features Vent Haven figures in upcoming book
0 Comments · Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Matthew Rolston has taken close-up portraits, startlingly realistic
headshots, of some 200 figures — colloquially known as dummies — at Fort
Mitchell, Ky.’s Vent Haven ventriloquism museum. The results are in a
new book, Talking Heads, to be published next month by Pointed Leaf Press.
by Deirdre Kaye
Posted In: Music Commentary
at 11:33 AM | Permalink
What "Pop music" has become … and why it makes for a delicious snack
You know what I like? Pop music. Some of you may be judging me right now and, for that, I’m judging you in return. There is absolutely no legitimate reason to dislike Pop.Of course, I get it. Most Pop music isn’t the well-written, deeper-than-the-ocean type stuff, but rather easy to understand and anchored by a catchy hook. There’s nothing wrong with that, though. Music isn’t supposed to be unattainable — we’re usually drawn to music because we can relate to it. Pop just expresses our emotions and situations in more simple terms than other genres.Some of you are probably starting to get nitpicky about my use of “Pop” as a genre. To a certain extent, Pop isn’t a genre at all. Historically, Pop was just short for popular, meaning it runs the gamut on genres. Listen to the current NOW That's What I Call Music collection (we’re up to about 4067 volumes, I believe) and you’ll see what I mean. It’s not full of ground-breaking musical experimentation or earth-shatteringly powerful lyricism, but every one of those songs has a damn good hook. Beyoncé wouldn’t classify herself as Pop. She’d call herself Hip Hop or R&B. “Run the World (Girls)” was certainly popular, though. Alex Clare’s “Too Close” is full of drums and synth awesomeness, lying somewhere between Rock and Electronic and yet it’s all over Top 40. Taylor Swift was, at one point, a Country artist. Now, with a little less accent and a lot less acoustic guitar, she’s lasting longer on Billboard’s Top 40 than the Country charts. The structures of their music may be very different, but they all end up on the same station.Pop has very much become its own genre. It’s the genre for all the likable and relatable music from all the other genres. Think of it as the exact opposite of “The Island of Misfit Toys.” Pop is The Genre of the Overplayed. They’re overplayed for a reason, though. Some of those songs are pretty close to genius. The best recent example is “Stereo Hearts” by Gym Class Heroes (and Adam Levine). The idea is simple: Boy loves Girl … a lot. But throughout the entire song, they pull from the same stereo heart metaphor. Whether he’s referring to the trials and tribulations of a relationship via a comparison to an old-school boombox that requires tons of D batteries or the simple idea of a heart beating, like speakers, with every note, they carry the thought all the way through. In my book, that’s pretty impressive.Speaking of Adam Levine, I like “Moves like Jagger,” too. You know what Michael Jackson, The King of Pop, sang about quite a bit? Dancing. You know what “Moves like Jagger” is about? Dancing … sort of. You know what it makes me want to do? Dance. Pop songs are nothing if not danceable. Even the slow ones! If they don’t make you wish for that cute guy across the room to come and sweep you off your feet and twirl you around the room, they’re doing something wrong.Yes. Sometimes Pop can be annoying. A majority of Pop music is made by people with “outside voices.” They always sound like they’re yelling. Often they’re squeaky, too. One Direction is super excited about what makes me beautiful. For someone who adds an unsure “maybe” to the end of her pick-up line, Carly Rae Jepsen's voice is far from a timid whisper. But, I still really like that song.The easiest explanation I can give is this: It’s catchy and easy and sometimes we’re all a little simpleminded.Carly Rae and Taylor Swift may not write the kind of music that would inspire people to become “Band-Aids” or make William Miller, Greil Marcus or Lester Bangs commit their lives to writing about music. They do, however, write songs that are fun to listen to when you’re on the way to see a more substantive show. After a long hard day of deep-thinking and problem solving, what’s wrong with a little light-hearted entertainment?So, for the sake of dancers, the simple-minded, the commuters and the road trippers: Long live Pop!