Friday, November 30, 2007

Happy Birthday, Red!

Today is Gingers is the Watchword co-founder Lora's birthday! Known to you all as Red (and to a select few as Triple Threat) Lora is the only actual ginger to write for this site. She shares her birthday with some rather impressive company, including Winston Churchill, Mark Twain and Ridley Scott; some kind-of-impressive company like Dick Clark, Billy Idol, Ben Stiller, Bo Jackson and Sandra Oh; and some not-so-impressive company like Clay Aiken and Elisha Cuthbert.

If memory serves this whole site was Lora's idea to begin with, so blame her and wish her a happy b-day!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Best Albums of 2007

Most “Albums of the Year” lists are totally useless. This one is even more so. In addition to the usual problems of comparing art, needing more time to fully judge a record, etc., I haven’t heard anything close to all the music released this year. My scope is limited. That being said, I love music. I enjoy lists. So since everyone else is doing it, I present: The Top Ten Albums Liz Heard in 2007.

(Feel free to mock and judge).

10. Amy Winehouse: Back to Black
Back to Black was technically released in the UK in 2006, but it was released stateside in 2007, and let’s be honest: U.S.A. #1! Winehouse’s soulful voice is a perfect fit for her music’s new twist on an old sound, just as it is for her train wreck of a personal life. Eartha Kitt could only insinuate what was going on in smoky mid-century jazz clubs; Winehouse lays it all on the table with heartache, humor and the best eyeliner since Bowie.

9. Beirut: The Flying Club Cup
Wunderkind Zach Condon took a trip to Europe in his late teens and returned with a love of Balkan folk music, which he decided to put to an indie rock beat. How pretentious can you get? Well, probably not much more, but what saves Condon's recordings under the name Beirut is that they’re also really freakin’ good. The Flying Club Cup, his second full-length sounds like a hung-over Arcade Fire. In a good way.

8. Lily Allen – Alright, Still
Again, it came out in the UK last year. Again: U.S.A. #1! Lily and Amy are both young British gals with oft-blunt lyrics, but the comparisons end there. Alright, Still runs the pop music gamut with the sounds of British Invasion rock, ska and borderline hip-hop. It comes together into a sugary confection of an album that sticks in your head no matter how hard you might try to fight it. So don’t fight it.

7. Of Montreal: Hissing Fauna, are you the Destroyer?
The sound of a nervous breakdown. And its got a good beat and you can dance to it!

6. Okkervil River: The Stage Names
A great album doesn’t have to be crazy new. Okkervil River took old school folk/rock and played it extremely well. The Stage Names is vaguely a concept album about a band and their personal lives (I think) but all that matters is if it’s fun and interesting to listen to. And it is. Very much so.

5. MIA: Kala
The Sri Lankan/British daughter of a terrorist/freedom fighter who made her name as a visual artist/rapper, M.I.A. has a lot going on. She brings it all into her music, combining Timbaland beats with world music and lyric samples from the Pixies (among others) on her second album. Sometimes it sounds like the soundtrack to a killer rave, other times like a street battle in Falluja. M.I.A. would probably say same difference.

4. Jamie T: Panic Prevention
This album got no love in the American press and the one English person I mentioned it to practically laughed at me. Screw them. London white boy rapper Jamie T’s got a pubescent voice and a sharp eye for the way his peers spend half their lives trying to construct a self-image, only to go drink themselves into oblivion. Some people say they prefer The Streets. I say those people need a pint and a shag.

3. Radiohead: In Rainbows
If people spent as much time on In Rainbows' music as they did its unique payment model, they’d find one of the most accessible Radiohead albums since OK Computer. And for only $However Much You Wanted to Pay!

2. Arcade Fire: Neon Bible
Neon Bible didn’t reach the dizzying heights of Funeral, but there’s undeniably still something about that blend of strings, guitars, organs and militaristic drums that breaks and heals your heart at the same time. Its like going to church – if church actually made you feel better.

1. The National: Boxer
Like a lot of the best albums, this one’s a grower. You’ll think its just average until you find you can’t live without it. It’s basic mid-tempo rock with a few power chords and tinkling pianos thrown in, but singer Matt Berninger’s deep baritone makes everything he says sound more profound, and around 4 pm every weekday, I don’t so much want to listen to this album, as I need to listen to this album. That’s how you get to be #1 on this list.

Daily Rant: Hairspray

So last night, I watched the new musical version of Hairspray. I'd heard great things from everyone who'd seen it in the theaters, and I loved the John Waters version from the 80's, so I was really looking forward to it (I pushed it to the top of my ridiculously long Netflix queue as soon as it was released on DVD). It was fun. The music is terrific, Nikki Blonsky is fantastic as Tracy Turnblad (so charming and really talented), Christopher Walken is always best when he's singing and dancing, and I even kinda "got" the Zac Effron thing for a millisecond (AND who knew James Marsden was so talented?!?!? Sign that guy up for all future movie musicals!) However, I didn't really get John Travolta (what was that accent about?), thought Michelle Pfeiffer has been better and Amanda Bynes should really stay away from musicals.

But, my biggest problem was the focus on, and jokes about, weight. One of the things I liked most about the Waters version was, while it was no secret Tracy was "pleasantly plump," weight wasn't really a big deal. I remember the hot guy liking Tracy because she was so cool and not liking her despite her size. And Edna was just a crazy mom, not insecure because she'd put on a few pounds (maybe I'm remembering it wrong. It has been a few years. (And yes, I realize this is my second post to discuss societies' perception of weight and those of you who don't know me probably think I'm really heavy, but you know what? I don't care)).

This new version of Hairspray sends the message that it doesn't matter what color/size/class you are, we are better when we come together and embrace our differences, and that's, obviously, a totally awesome message, but I think the truly revolutionary films (and, obviously, Hairspray is not trying to be revolutionary in anyway) will come when the leading lady is curvy and it's not even's just the way things are. It's kinda like my problem with the movie Crash. It tried to be deep by talking about race and "aren't we Los Angelenos so complicated and progressive because we talk about how white ladies clutch their husbands when a black guy walks down the street" and that is, pardon my French, bullshit! The truly radical act is to so ingrain ourselves with diversity that it's part of who we all are and we don't have to make a statement about it to feel better about ourselves.

Wow! I just realized this horse is really high. I'm coming down now...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Top 5: TV Moments of 2007

I realize it's a bit early to start the whole year-end-top-whatever-list thing, but if I have to spend one more minute killing time at work playing solitaire (or checking to see if Go Fug Yourself has an updated post) I may kill myself (seriously. Work is so boring right now. Maybe I need a new job. I'd really like to watch movies all day (and I guess write about them if I really have to). This seems like a perfectly achievable goal. So, if you can work on making this happen, that would be great. Thanks).

Anyway, here are my top 3 best and top 2 worst TV moments of the past year:

1. The Sopranos -[spoiler alert: for my cousin because she has somehow avoided hearing plot details of the final season and no, she surprisingly does not live in an Amish village in Pennsylvania.] The final episode was amazing (I was one of the "did my cable just go out" people, but after I realized what really happened I thought it was brilliant (I'm in the Tony got whacked camp, myself)), but the Sopranos moment that really blew me away was when Tony killed Christopher. I've always been a Christopher fan (Michael Imperioli is so yummy) and, though I was disappointed when he offed Adriana, I hoped things would work out for him. Even when he got back on the drugs and started acting like a crazy person (or a drug addict anyway, but really what's the difference) I was rooting for him to turn things around. Then he launched his SUV off the road, pleaded with T to help him out because he was high, and Tony just covered his nose and mouth and ended it. I was really heartbroken. The look in James Gandolfini's eyes was remarkable, as Tony finished off the man who was like a son to him, and you knew it was time to start saying goodbye to the family.

Flight of the Conchords - The show looked funny from all the HBO previews, but I had no idea just how funny it would be...mainly because I had no idea it was a musical. The moment Jermaine broke out into song in the first episode, I laughed so hard I cried. Funniest. Moment. Ever.

Gilmore Girls - When I realized the wonderful and amazing Palladinos, who created the Stars Hollow universe I so grew to love over 7 seasons, were not going to be a part of the series finale of my favorite show (judge if you must), I was pretty bummed. I still knew it was gonna be emotional, so I turned off my phone and wouldn't let anyone come over to watch it with me. When, before the opening credits even, Christian Amanpour appeared in the Dragonfly Inn, I started crying...and pretty much cried through the entire bleeding episode (wow. This is painfully embarrassing). I understand it wasn't the show Amy Sherman-Palladino wanted, but it was the perfect way to say good-bye to Rory and Lorelai and all the Connecticut crazies. Man, I miss that show.


Viva Laughlin - Pretty much the worst thing I've se
en on TV in the past 5 years. I couldn't even make it through the first episode and I watched the ENTIRE season of John from Cincinnati! I mean that's really saying something!

Veronica Mars - The final episode itself wasn't so bad, but the fact that they let Veronica (and Logan and Sheriff Mars and Dick Casablancas) go out without a proper ending (only to have K. Bell appear in a lackluster Heroes season) is truly upsetting. I don't think I'll ever forgive the CW for that one.

So what say you, readers? What were your favorite TV moments this year? Have I lost all my (non-existent) street cred because I'm still heart broken over the Gilmore Girls? Is there anything funnier then FOC? And, most importantly, can you hook me up with a cool job?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Tesla Still Gets No Respect

Over at Pink Hat Nation, Liz started a little column she called Tanked and Friendless which I will now steal and use here.

This weekend, I journeyed up I-5 to Los Angeles...City of people who've had enough work to look like what they imagine Angels look like. A friend of a friend had a going away party at The Edison downtown. Situated between the financial district and skid row, The Edison is leading the nightlife rejuvenation in historic downtown LA and was created in LA's first private power plant. When you enter the bar from the alley (where there is no sign because, as we all learned from Swingers, the coolest bars don't have signs) and travel down into a huge, open room, it's like you've been transported to a 1920's speakeasy, with 3 bars, old movies projected on the walls and plenty of space for lounging. It really is like stepping back in time...when women wore dresses, men wore suits and the most scandalous thing you could do on a Saturday night was drink (there is a dress code at The Edison...not overly strict, but you are expected to dress intentionally. I love this. More places should have a dress code). The creators of The Edison used architectural elements from the power plant (like huge generators) and themes from the dawn of electricity (hence the name "The Edison") to create a truly original bar.

The food is good (I had the four cheese and black truffle Mac and Cheese. Yum. There's also a lobster corn dog that sounds really interesting), the drinks are "hand crafted" (I'm sure they are delicious, but I had beer), and the people are very LA (actors out to see and be seen...I mean, we met a guy who told us he played Lloyd's assistant on Entourage. I've seen every episode of Entourage. I don't remember Lloyd having an assistant), but the real draw is the decor and the feeling that you've stepped back in time. If you are in LA, this is a place not to be missed.

Name: The Edison
Location: 108 W. 2nd St. #101 Los Angeles, CA
Fun Fact: After 10:30, flappers entertain the crowed with terrific numbers from the swing era several times throughout the evening.
State of the Guinness: They don't serve Guinness (I know! The horror!!!), but the Fat Tire is ice cold and delicious.

Friday, November 23, 2007

See This...

The much buzzed about I'm Not There opened this week in San Diego. You know the one...where 6 different actors, including Cate Blanchett, Heath Ledger and Christian Bale, play Bob Dylan at different stages in his life. Or at least that's what I thought it was about. And it kinda is, but not really, does that make sense? I'm Not There is like Dylan's music: beautiful, poetic and all over the place.

The film begins with Dylan as a young, black child called Woody Guthrie (an homage to Dylan's biggest musical hero) who travels in box cars and tells fantastic tales of life during the Great Depression. From there, we see Dylan as the shy young troubadour who becomes the talk of NYC's Greenwich Village. Next is Robbie, an actor who plays the Dylan character as his marriage falls apart (that makes sense, right?). There's also Dylan as Billy the Kid and Dylan being interviewed (and being difficult for the press) as he was in D.A. Pennebaker's Don't Look Back and the Dylan who broke the heart of folk music lovers everywhere when he plugged in an amplifier and "went electric" (one of the most fascinating moments in music history).

The performances are fantastic, but Cate Blanchett, Marcus Carl Franklin and Bruce Greenwood are the standouts. Blanchett is uncanny in her Dylan-ness (Amazing that it takes a woman to really capture the man). Her early Oscar buzz is truly deserved. Marcus Carl Franklin is charming as the young, traveling Dylan. His singing voice (one of the few actors who actually sing) is really fantastic. And Bruce Greenwood (redeeming himself from John from Cincinnati) plays the villain...and plays it very well.

I imagine the movie would be difficult if you don't know anything about Dylan, so I suggest renting No Direction Home and Don't Look Back first...and you should have some time, because until the film racks up some Oscar nominations (and it will) it may not be coming to a theater near you (unless you live in a major American city), but when it does, be sure to check it out. It's unlike anything you've seen...and that's always a good thing.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Top 5: Thankgiving

There outta be a law about working the day before a holiday, as no one actually works anyway and we all just sit at out desks for 8 hours (or so I'll tell my boss) bored out of our minds and dreaming of turkey and mashed potatoes and (my favorite) stuffing. At any rate, here are the top 5 things I am thankful for today:

Project Runway - Back and already cattier then ever.

My Birthday - It's a week from Friday. It's my favorite day of the year.

Fall Movies - So many great things to see, so little time.

30 Rock - I dare you to find a funnier show on TV. The past two weeks made me laugh so hard I cried.

You! - Thanks for reading (and commenting). It makes our lives a little better knowing you are out there.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Calling All Battlestar Gallactica Fans...

The new BSG "movie" Razor airs this Saturday at 9pm on Sci-Fi. From what I understand, it's a prequel of sorts. Hey, any chance to see yummy Jamie Bamber is Must See TV for me...

I just use these pics to distract Dave.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

So good! So good!

Let me tell you something: I love Neil Diamond. I don’t consider this a guilty pleasure; I don’t feel guilty about it at all. Yeah, he’s got some real schmaltzy stuff that’s hard to listen to, but when he’s good he’s amazing. As far as I’m concerned, if hearing “Cherry, Cherry” doesn’t make you want to dance, you have no soul.

“The Jewish Elvis” revealed today that his song “Sweet Caroline” is about Caroline Kennedy. His explanation is mildly creepy, but more importantly I feel like I already knew this. Maybe its just because I’m from Massachusetts where there’s Kennedy obsession in the water and I assume anything about anyone named John, Jack, Jackie, John John or Caroline is about a member of Camelot, but I don’t know, I feel like this may have been rumored before. Was it?

Incidentally, they play this song during the 7th inning at every Red Sox game at Fenway Park, so hearing it always puts an extra big smile on my face. I think what I’m trying to say here is, you go Neil Diamond. You go.

Monday, November 19, 2007

See This...

The Cohen brothers are back. After 2 less then stellar films, Joel and Ethan are back to form with No Country for Old Men, a modern western based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy. NCFOM follows 3 men (Josh Brolin as Llewellyn Moss, Tommy Lee Jones as Sherriff Ed Tom Bell and Javier Bardem as Anton Chigurh) as they traverse the modern American west.

A lot happens in NCFOM, but really, like The Darjeeling Limited, the film is about character and mood, and both are portrayed brilliantly. I've always been a Josh Brolin fan (I had the biggest crush on him when he played Brand in Goonies. I so wanted to be Andy...and not just because she was a cute redhead), but Brolin probably does his best work in this film. He is subtle and smart and wholly believable as a man who finds a huge case of cash and does just about anything to protect it so he can make a better life for his wife (played by Scot Kelly MacDonald, with a perfect southern accent). Tommy Lee Jones plays the quintessential lawman, as he always does, perfectly. He is funny and thoughtful; a lawman of the past, who actually cares about his job and the people he is meant to serve. And then there is Javier Bardem. It's been a long time since I've seen a character as powerful as Bardem's Chigurh. Every moment he's on screen (with his near flawless English which shocked me almost as much as anything) is incredible (He will be nominated for all the big awards. You can take it to the bank). As a complete psychopath who tracks Moss and the money, Bardem is mesmerizing and really scary. The fourth major character in the film is the American west itself. The film opens with shots of the beautiful, desolate country...a rough place where young and old alike struggle to survive. NCFOM is probably the quietest movie I've ever seen. There is little, if any, incidental music and scenes (especially with Moss and Chigurh) have almost no dialog. The sounds of the west make up the soundtrack and it's perfect. As they did with their early work, the Cohen brothers create an atmosphere wholly unique and completely engrossing.

As we left the theater, my friend said he didn't think he "got it" and I said, "I don't think there's anything to 'get'" and it's true. In NCFOM, stuff happens and doesn't really get resolved (which I've read many people are a bit upset about), but trying to figure out what it all means really isn't the point. The point is, you take the bloody, beautiful journey with these characters and maybe come out a little different at the end (not that the subject matter is life changing, but, for me anyway, when I see a work of art on film, it changes me. Maybe that's weird, but it's true) and NCFOM is definitely a work of art and the best film I've seen so far this year.

Friday, November 16, 2007

WriterGate 2007 - I'm Gonna Stop Trying to Track the Date Now

EW is so great. They have a list of when your favorite shows will end due to the Writer's Strike. Last night was the last episode of The Office. So sad (I heard rumors NBC may play the UK version of the show in the 9pm Thursday time slot for awhile, but that seems like wishful thinking to me). And I'm kinda bummed I stopped recording Men in Trees because at least I'd have new stuff to watch for a good while. Thankfully I still have Project Runway and Kitchen Nightmares (on both Fox and BBC America) to fill the impending void...

How am I gonna spend my Schrutebucks now?!?!?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Trainwreck Watch - Amy Winehouse

I like Amy Winehouse...a lot. I think her album is one of the freshest things to come out in a long while (which is funny because her sound is very old), but she really is a trainwreck. Between being arrested in Norway for drug possesion, her father-in-law encouraging people to boycott her until she goes to rehab (which, c'mon, how could she at this point? Her biggest hit would be a complete lie!) and her husband being thrown in jail, the broad's had a rough year (yes. I'm bring "broad" back). Now, looks like her UK tour is already a huge mess. I would feel sorry for her (if her issues weren't 100% her own fault), but I must say, it's nice to have someone fill the void left by a rehabilitated LiLo (for now anyway).

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Go see this!

You don't need to be a fan of Joy Division to enjoy the new film "Control," about that band's doomed lead singer Ian Curtis. It helps if you're a rock music fan, but that's not really necessary either. If you've ever been young and felt like you're drowning, you'll get it just fine. And if you've never felt that way, what good are you anyway?

In 1980, just as Joy Division was helping to kick start Manchester, England's legendary music scene and were on the verge of their first US tour, Curtis did the best thing any rock star can do for his career: he hung himself. In the morbid cult of rock 'n roll this of course made Curtis a saint, but what makes Control so great is that it doesn't treat him that way. It treats him like the confused kid he probably really was. While his band was taking off, his marriage was falling apart and he was collapsing from epileptic seizures. If Joy Division had a song called "She's Overwhelmed" instead of "She's Lost Control," this movie would probably take its name from the former.

Control doesn't let Curtis off the hook and just make him a tragic hero. It acknowledges that he made his own bed. But it also portrays him as a scared boy trying to handle adult responsibility (he was 23 when he died) instead of turning him into a larger-than-life myth. Control doesn't exactly turn the rock biopic genre on its ear (I'm waiting for I'm Not There to do that) but it does a better job than most at turning its fabled subject into a human being.

Point/Counterpoint - American Gangster

Liz and I both saw American Gangster recently. Here's what we had to say about it:

Lora -
Monday was Veterans day and I thought, "What better way to celebrate all those who've served our country then by seeing a movie about a true veteran...of the streets!" So I saw
American Gangster. I remember seeing the movie poster for the first time and thinking it couldn't be bad if it tried...Denzel! Russell Crowe! Ridley Scott! and Jay-Z liked it so much he created a whole album about it! This is gonna be awesome...and it was.

American Gangster tells the true story of Frank Lucas, a hugely successful (if you will) heroin dealer/mob boss in 60's and 70's Harlem, and Rickey Roberts, the DEA cop investigating the area's drug trade. Denzel is, as always, phenomenal. Seriously, he is the perfect actor to play morally ambiguous characters. It's impossible not to like him even as he's raking in millions of dollars from crack heads and killing anyone who challenges his authority. And Russell Crowe is right on as the do-no-wrong cop in a city where 2/3 of the cops accept bribes from the mob. Set against the war in Vietnam,
American Gangster is a war of the streets...dirty cops and drug dealers, good cops and junkies all battle for control, most unsuccessfully.

My favorite scenes were the small moments...the moment when things begin to turn for Lucas because he loves his wife too much to disappoint her; when Roberts tells his boss America can't win the war on drugs because it would put hundreds of thousands of people out of work; when Lucas buys his poor mother a huge new house with furniture recreated from memory from his childhood. Sure, American Gangster is too long, but the performances and subtle emotional moments are worth checking out.

Liz -

American Gangster is a good movie. Its solid. I just didn't think it was great, and that's disappointing because when you've got a gangster movie starring Denzel Washington and Russel Crowe, directed by Ridley Scott, it should be great.

Oddly enough, it didn't feel that long to me, and in a weird way I kind of thought that was part of the problem. It felt like it skidded along too fast, categorizing Lucas' rise in a rapid succession of what almost felt like stock footage from every movie about success in America: the death of the teacher/father figure; the decision to go into drugs; raking in the cash; betrayal by family; the fall. There were a few great details along the way - one you mentioned was when he not only bought his mother a house but he had it filled with furniture that was an exact recreation of furniture they had when he was a kid but that got re-possessed. I feel like we needed more of that. One thing that stuck out in my mind for some reason was after the police raid his house and one of them smacks his wife (I hope I'm not giving too much of the movie away here. I don't think I am, another problem with it is you see these plot points coming a mile away), you hear all about how angry Lucas is going to be, and you assume he was. But it would have given his character and the movie on the whole a lot more depth if we could have seen that. Show us Frank coming home and finding his house torn up and his wife's face bruised.

Whenever I watch movies like this, I can't help but compare it to The Godfather. Maybe that's not fair, but I couldn't help but thinking of all those great moments in that film where a character changes before your eyes or the plot does something unexpected - Michael telling his brothers he wants to kill the The Turk, finding out that Carlo had Sonny set up to be killed, etc. American Gangster uses montages of junkies to show us what Lucas is really doing and cash machines counting stacks of ones to show us how successful he is. While it looks cool, it just doesn't give you the movie the same emotional impact.

Lora -
Interestingly, you are not the only person to think of
The Godfather. George F. Will of the Washington Post actually says American Gangster is a more realistic morality tale and "more mature" then The Godfather because Ridley Scott doesn't sentimentalize crime as Coppola does in his film. I don't know how much I agree with him, but it's an interesting perspective.

Anyone else care to weigh in?

Carry On!

It's back. Everyone's favorite fashion drama fest, Project Runway, returns tonight with an all new season. I am sew excited (sorry. I couldn't help myself). The Bravo website has bios on all the new cast members. I'm picking Jack or Christian to win it all (mainly because Tim Gunn seems to like them a lot and Tim Gunn has impeccable taste. I totally want to be on his makeover show (not that I need a makeover), but I just want to give him a hug and shed tears together about my tragic (made-up) childhood...and hopefully he'd get Austin Scarlett to be my "life coach" and create a gorgeous, costumey gown for me to wear to my (fictional) husband's work gala (because, of course, he's a top surgeon and donates tons of money to charity and thus I get stressed out regularly because I am not as confident as the other surgeons wives and need Tim (and Austin and Veronica) to tell me how fabulous I am for a week straight and then I'll actually believe it)).

But, I digress. I was actually in Bryant Park in NYC just before fashion week this year and it got me really excited for the new season (not that I saw any fashions or anything. I guess big, white tents in a park just really do it for me...or something). Also, re-watching all the drama in Bravo's season 3 marathon this past weekend reminded me of the fun we have to look forward to...Who will be accused of getting outside help on their line at Fashion Week? Who's work will be called "costumey" or "matronly" or "dowdy"? Will anyone top Santino's Tim Gunn impression? Will anyone be as horrible and annoying as Wendy Pepper? And, most importantly, who will really "make it work"?

Monday, November 12, 2007

The kids are alright. At least at dressing themselves.

My new style icon

Remember in all those ‘80s movies like Pretty in Pink and the Breakfast Club how kids used to dress in crazy styles and it seemed like the more original you were the cooler you were? I’m sure this wasn’t entirely true in real life, and even if it was, this culture eventually lead to really unfortunate experiments with spandex, puffy paint and hairspray, but still, in theory it was kind of awesome.

Well, apparently this custom has found a new life … in the fans of Sri Lankan hip-hop.

OK, in addition to being a nerd and a grandma, I am hopelessly white and don’t listen to much of the rap music, so maybe this is the way people dress at all hip hop shows, but last night I saw dance-rapper M.I.A. and while the show was a total blast, the thing that probably struck me the most was the way everyone was dressed. I’m used to the indie rock uniform of tight jeans, beat up Chuck Taylors and distressed t-shirts emblazoned with either an obscure band name or ironic saying. That look had a presence at M.I.A., but so did hats with 18-inch feathers sticking out, bright red boots with fishnet stockings and mini-skirts, oversized t-shirts with huge letters on them, what appeared to be French military jackets, and more fedoras than The Maltese Falcon.

A few years ago I remember seeing big earrings and leg warmers in some stores and freaking out because the ‘80s were coming back and we all know ‘80s fashions were awful and I just didn’t want to see this plague befall us. It never did come back full scale, but I don’t know, after last night I’m thinking it wouldn’t be so bad after all. I’m not saying I’m going to run out and buy as many lace gloves and slap bracelets as I can find, but it was kind of cool to go to a show and have the audience treat it as an event worth getting bedazzled for, rather than a mandatory requisite for keeping up your cool points that’s taking you away from your true love of listening to music alone in your bedroom.

M.I.A. herself (who has a fascinating back story, BTW) was in on the act too. She changed outfits a few times, at one point sporting a pink and purple leopard-print leotard, blue high-tops and some kind of army officer’s hat she’d lined with pink feathers. So maybe the crowd costumes were an homage to her. I kind of hope not though. I kind of hope that it’ll be the hip thing again to get all crazy looking when you go to a show. Of course I’ll still be in the back with my arms folded and my t-shirt that says, “Detroit: Where the Weak are Killed and Eaten,” but you know, cool people will be all dolled up.

All the Right Curves

As a "normal sized" woman (hey! That's what Tyra is calling us now), I love this study which finds curvy women are smarter and produce smarter offspring. It kinda makes sense. I mean, I am pretty sure I am 100 times smarter then Giselle or any of the girls left on ANTM (since Sarah, the "normal sized" model was sent home last week). On the other hand, Liz is thin and one of the smartest people I know, so maybe this study is really just wishful thinking by curvy women, but I plan to tell every potential mate I meet about this study. Between the disappearance of the gingers and my superior, intelligent genes, someone's gonna want to help me out, right?

Scarlett will have the smartest children, like, ever

WriterGate 2007 - Day Something or Other

The writers/actors/producers of The Office explain what the strike is all about:

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Add This to Your Queue

This past Tuesday was Election Day which means a year from now we will have elected a new president. Isn't that exciting!?!? Obviously, there are people I favor over others, but I am really looking forward to a change. In that spirit, here are two political documentaries worth checking out:

No End in Sight - A heady look at the war in Iraq. I won't say it's completely balanced, but it's the most comprehensive and seemingly accurate film I've seen on the war (in other worlds, this is no Fahrenheit 9/11). The film relies on top officials who were actually present in Iraq during the first few years of the war to tell the stories of what went wrong, who made the tough decisions, who ignored intelligence and counsel, who tried to fix things and do what's right. It's a troubling film, for sure, and as it's title suggests, make it almost impossible to see a way out of the war.

Run, Granny, Run - On a much cheerier note, Run, Granny, Run is about a 94-year-old great-grandmother called "Granny D" who decides to run for Congress in New Hampshire when the democratic nominee drops out last minute. She faces a real d-bag in the incumbent republican senator and is a major underdog because of her age, lack of political experience and refusal to take any money from corporations or special interest groups (in fact, at age 92, Granny D walked from California to DC in support of the McCann/Feingold Campaign Finance Reform bill. She kicks ass). However, in the end she comes further then anyone could have imagined. Her story really is inspiring.

These films have really fired me up for the coming year. I mean, c'mon...things can only get better, right?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Oh no she didn't!

This is not the droid you're looking for.

Apparently the ceaseless Jessica Simpson is on the market for a new man, which usually isn't something I would even bother yawning over, except that her lastest priorities are very specific: she wants a guy from Boston.

As a Massachusetts native with a big Boston-shaped place in my heart, this news compelled me to issue the following statement to the son's of the Hub:


Boston is the City of Champions. Date like it.

Heroes, You are Forgiven...For Now

Dear Heroes,

I hereby accept the apology made by your creator Tim Kring and grant you a stay of DVR deletion. This week's episode was pretty good. Hiro finally got out of Japan, Claire and Superboy broke up, and most of the new characters where, thankfully, absent. I think you may be back on track and your realization of the many errors you've committed this season is a sign of real maturity (also, shots of a half naked Milo Ventimiglia will win you points every time).

Of course, there are some stipulations I need to make to ensure you have a life beyond your Dec. 3 finale:

1. More K Bell. One can never have enough Kristen Bell, but please let her do something other then play Veronica Mars with electric hands.

2. The creepy twins, the girl with the crappy southern accent (and photographic memory) and Molly must go. There is no room for negotiation here.

3. Make good on your promise to avoid romance story lines. We want action! We want blood! We don't want people making out on couches while annoying toy dogs watch. That's just weird.

I think we have reached a real turning point here, Heroes. I'm happy you are getting back to form. Now, try not to screw it up.



Tuesday, November 6, 2007

WriterGate 2007 - Day Two

Calling all Lost fans. Looks like if the strike lasts too long you may be in for a very short, only 8 episodes ending with a madding cliffhanger. After waiting until February for the new season to start, this should really piss people off. I'm so glad I never got sucked in...I don't have patience for that crap.

This map makes my brain hurt.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Hip-Hop Report, "Give Kanye his Grammy" Edition

RIP Jay Dee

-The J-Dilla Lupus Walk in SF was this past Saturday. The Detroit producer that revolutionized the 90's sound died in March of '06. In JD's honor, here are some downloads of up-and-coming D-town beatmaker Black Milk. [Spliff Huxtable]

-Aesop Rock's new video for "Coffee" is set to debut on MTV U. His latest album None Shall Pass, is definitely worth a listen. [Def Jux Records]

-Listened to the new Kanye album, and was really surprised, gave it about a 7/10. Well, the world must be coming to an end, because the snob-a-holics at Pitchfork gave it an 8.7. Here is some random Kanye myspace, check out "Homecoming" w/ Coldplay's Chris Martin.

-New addiction: Stone's Throw Records Podcast. Lots of cool re-mixes and classics.

-Arrested Development is releasing a new record, and back with their familiar brand of socially conscious funk/hip-hop. The video of their first single, "Miracles," is already out.

-Went and saw E-40 over the summer, and couldn't believe it when he said on stage that he was releasing a line of sports drinks. Well, "40 Water" is finally here. [Pro Hip Hop]

"Nothing Like This," off J-Dilla's the March posthumous release, Ruff Draft.

WriterGate 2007 - Day One

I will probably get bored with this topic in, like, a day or two, but let's pretend we here at GITW intend to keep you up-to-date with all your Writers Strike news. Here are the highlights so far (with bullets, no less):

  • The strike officially began at midnight last night. Looks like picketing runs from 9-5. How much does it suck to be on strike and still have hours to keep?
  • The strike has already touched the "common man" as my co-worker was very disappointed last week's episode of Back to You was a re-run. However, the strike has yet to effect shows normal people actually watch.
  • Until now...Your favorite late night shows (Conan, The Daily Show, Letterman) will not air new episodes (are they called episodes when they are talk shows?) for the duration of the strike. Leno will also not air, but I just assumed you didn't care anyway.
That's it for now. More to come...maybe...

Further Proof the World is F@#ked

Say what you will about Oprah Winfrey, there is no denying the woman is trying to make the world a better place. Whether it's getting Americans to read Steinbeck or opening a state of the art academy for poor African girls, she has probably changed America (and the world) more than we really understand. That's why the abuse scandal at her school is so troubling. Obviously, bad things happen to good people all the time, and child abuse is abhorrent whenever it occurs, but this seems particularly horrible. I mean, you have young girls who live in pretty terrible conditions thinking they've finally had a spot of luck...their future is brighter because the nice, rich lady from America is gonna help give them an education and then they encounter some perverted old lady who makes them do unthinkable things. It makes me sick.

Africa is a mess. I can't even imagine where one would being to make it better, but people like Oprah (and organizations like Invisible Children) are really trying. However, it's really disturbing when their efforts are thwarted by people who are seriously screwed in the head. Some days I wonder how we're ever gonna make it.

P.S. The next post will be cheerier. I promise...

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Revolution will not be Televised (Unless it's written by non-union writers)

When I think of union workers, I think of dockworkers in scally caps and battered boots toiling in the rain to put food on the table. When I think of Hollywood writers, I think of mansion-dwellers in smoking jackets who drive fancy cars and snort coke off gilded mirrors. For reasons I’ve never understood, my mind’s eye thinks it’s 1924.

But it turns out Hollywood writers are union people too, and this Monday it's almost certain that they’re going on strike! Depending on how long the strike goes on, we could be in for a few months of reruns.

The sticking points appear to be driven by confusion over the entertainment industry’s favorite scapegoat right now – the Internet. Something about producers not wanting to give writers credit for streaming video because it’s considered promotional or something.

My question: Does this mean there’s opening for a writer on The Office or 30 Rock or Grey’s Anatomy? I’d totally be a scab for a chance to meet Tina Fey or fix that horrendous George/Izzie/Callie love triangle.

Add This to Your Queue

I keep journals of interesting quotes (add that to the nerdy confessions this week on GITW). In the mid-90's, these journals were full of awesome lines from My So-Called Life, which is pretty much my favorite television show ever. I think it helps that is starred an awkward Claire Danes (with red hair, no less), experiencing all the horrible/wonderful stages of adolescence while I was going through the same stages. I still have a crush on Jordan Catalano and totally geeked out when I saw Wilson Cruz (aka Ricky Vasquez) at the mall in San Diego, like, 10 years ago. I've been waiting for the show to come out on DVD and, this week, it finally arrived. If you haven't seen this show, you need to watch immediately (especially if you are female or gay or ever felt like an outcast. You gorgeous, popular people probably just wouldn't understand). If you don't love it, you have no soul.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Joss Whedon returns to TV!

Nerd Alert: I LOVE Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Like, own almost every season on DVD and can quote it at length from memory love it. The show's creator Joss Whedon is one of my personal Jesuses. (Jesai?) So you can imagine my excitement that he has a new show coming out on Fox called Dollhouse.

Another fun fact: It's going to star the actress who played one of my favorite secondary characters from Buffy, Eliza Dushku. (She played Faith, the "bad" slayer. [Again, nerd alert].). After kicking ass on Buffy and Angel, Dushku went on to do one terrible TV show (Tru Calling) and several terrible movies (The New Guy, Wrong Turn, probably others*) but I'm holding on to hope that if she teams up with Whedon again she can come back from the dark side. (Plus she's a Massachusetts native and a huge Red Sox fan, so that always wins her points with me).

The show itself, Dollhouse, sounds a little weird. People living in a house who can be programmed to be like other people or something? Whatever. Joss is coming back and all is right with the world.

*Lora reminded me that Eliza Dushku was in Bring it On. That movie is pretty terrible, except for that one scene with the guy who says," Cheerleaders are dancers who have gone retarded" and then teaches them about "spirit fingers."

Yes, this is the creator of some of my favorite shows of all time. I'm often

amazed I have any friends at all.

Pandora's Box of Music

I'm probably late on this (I usually am), but my cousin told me about this music site called Pandora where you punch in your favorite artist or song and it creates a "radio station" with that artist/song and other stuff you might like. It's been dead on with me so far (I've been listening to Ben Folds Radio for the past two days). You can give a thumbs up or down with each song, allowing Pandora to create a perfect (and addictive) station just for you. I love personalized crap! Plus, you can create other stations (so your musicals don't have to rub elbows with Kanye) or add other artists to stations (creating an all Brit station, perhaps?). Check it out. It's free. Everyone likes free!