I made this.
Like most things I post here, it was supposed to be funny, but just wound up being sad.
I made this.
Like most things I post here, it was supposed to be funny, but just wound up being sad.
In the late 90s in Eugene, Oregon, this was one of the few songs that rap snobs and drunk teens could always agree on:
It’s by the superb underground rap crew, Latyrx, who just released a new album.
If you don’t follow comedy or cultural news or listen to Terry Gross or read the AV Club, you might have not heard of Tig Notaro. I can’t blame you, there’s a ton of internet out there and only so much time in the day to waste on it. However, if that’s indeed the case, then I have the great pleasure of introducing you to Tig Notaro – one of the coolest, funniest people on the planet (If you already know who Notaro is, you can skip this part). Tig is a longtime stalwart of LA’s cool comedy scene, that’s centered around small, non-cheesy clubs and home to comedians that all the critics think are great but whose pilots usually don’t get picked up by Comedy Central. What’s make’s Tig unique is she has this wry, mischievous, deadpan delivery that helps her sell jokes that are usually just silly. She went on Conan and spent a third of her set moving a stool around the stage. AND IT KILLED. She’s great. I’m saying.
“You’re circling failure in a rapidly decaying orbit. That’s the reality as we talk now. But you can change that. It’s in your power to change that. Yes, you’ll have to work hard, you’ll have to do things you haven’t done before and still your chances are very slim. But still, you can change it.”
-Garry Marshall’s “Chairman of CBS character” to Louis CK’s “Louis CK” character in the first episode of Louie‘s three episode “Late Show” arc. I thought the three-part arc was pretty great. Nicole thought it was whatever. Either way, hearing Garry Marshall say this to Louie, was goosebump-ey. You can watch the whole scene here.
I recently got a short-term gig at a reality show production company. It’s been a fun little trip, because, while I’d worked in TV before, I’d never done pure reality production and wanted to see what it was like. Truth is, it’s probably not for me, but for the short term, it’s been super interesting. And despite having my first full-time, need-to-go-into-the-office-every-day gig in 9 months, I still spent most of my free time thinking about my generation and how growing up is weird. So, putting both of them together, I came up with a few ideas for reality shows about new adults/non-adults that I might like to watch, but no network might like to make. These aren’t shows about weird families who run a dark, dirty business, or formulaic looks at terrible wives or ex-wives or cretinous rural children. This is the real shit, the shit that you and me are living in, which is why they probably won’t be on TV anytime soon.
My Super Sweet 30th Birthday Party
The holy grail of reality development is finding an easy-to-recreate format, that will drive a narrative and keep viewers watching for the whole show. This show, apes the format from another reality show (another common practice in reality development), My Super Sweet Sixteen, but instead of showing obnoxious, rich teens’ birthdays, would depict young adults as they reached a different milestone.
The first act would introduce us to a character, upset about hitting an arbitrary aging milestone, depressed about where they are in their lives and just feeling generally old. Then, we follow them or one of their friends, as they plan to get all their soon-to-be-30-year-old’s friends together from around the country for a blowout party weekend in some exotic party locale. It could be anywhere from New Orleans to Vegas to Dubai to Aspen to a cabin in the middle of nowhere, as long as there’s booze, women and scenic landscapes for interstitial shots.
There’s a transition act, where the friends all meet up to travel to wherever they’re going to party, drinking in airport bars, eating at roadside diners, reminiscing about their twenties. And the payoff would be the party, which would ideally include drunken shenanigans, interactions with random strangers, gratuitous hook ups, food fights, fist fights, dancing injuries, D-list celebrity cameos and all kinds of puking. It would be the best kind of exploitative TV.
“This shit special!!!!!!!!” DJ Khaled bellows in his reverb-twisted voice on the intro to “Hip Hop”, a track off his sixth album. After several verses, when the track is winding down, Khaled says it again. If, somehow, the listener had forgotten that the shit was special, Khaled is there to remind us that this shit, indeed, special. Between contributing this grammatically incorrect but still somehow appropriate line, Khaled’s contributions to the track are hard to pin down. He doesn’t rap on the track; that’s handled by hall-of-famers Nas and Scarface, each doing a somber take on Common’s hip-hop-as-a-woman motif. Nor does Khaled produce the beat for the song; the beat was produced by young fruity-loops virtuoso Lex Lugar. There’s even some token old-school scratching. Was that Khaled on the Serato? Nope. That’s DJ Premier, also a hall of famer. Khaled’s only clearly manifest contribution to the song is saying “This shit special,” twice. And that’s what makes him kind of awesome (emphasis on the “kind of”).
As an avid drinker, quite possibly a future alcoholic (but probably not – I kind of have my shit together) and having spent a fair amount of my professional career in marketing, I’m always interested in how alcohol brands are trying to “hook the young people.” Some will use an evocative catchphrase or create a fictional Hemingway Montalban character to serve as their spokesman. Lately, my Hulu streams have been interrupted by commercials for a curious, new-ish beer from the genius scientists at a
feisty little microbrew giant/evil beer conglomerate, MillerCoors. The beer is called Miller 64, because it has 64 calories per 12 oz bottle. The commercial features a catchy jingle that sounds like an old Irish sea shanty. Except it’s about dudes on diets, the subject of soooooooo many old Irish sea shanties.
You can check out a video of the commercial after the jump, but it’s a beer commercial. Even without seeing it, you’ve already seen it, because by age 25, you’ve already seen a million of them. Literally. The spot has oversaturated lifestyle shots of youngish, aspirational twentysomething guys and the pretty bikini models who hang out with them. However, the message of the ad is less, “drink this beer and your life will be awesome” and more “drink this beer because you’re getting old and fat and need to exercise more.” With lyrics like the following, they’re aiming clearly at the calorie counting and newly “gluten-intolerant”:
We run a mile before breakfast/ Sure I had a salad for lunch/ But a Miller 64 for dinner/ Oh yes, because I’ve worked off my paunch/
So, after seeing this ad enough times for the message to seep in, I finally paid a little bit of attention to it and said to myself, “Wait. What?”
There’s this party photographer, named KIRILLWASHERE. He’s a pretty cool guy. Not “cool” as in someone you’d want to hang out with, because they’ll watch your back for you in the shady underground casino or lie to your fiancé about what happened at the bachelor party. I mean “cool” as in, he hangs out in Paris with A-Trak and is on the guestlist at clubs. Like, that kind of cool. Anyways, besides doing party pics, à la Cobrasnake-circa-2005, KWH, an admittedly good photographer, started his own little tumblr meme, called “Champagne Facials”.
Take a second to peruse the site. I’ll wait. Oh, you don’t want to open up another tab on your smartphone’s web-browser? Ok. I’ll take a second to describe it to you. It’s pictures, apparently taken at New York City clubs, of pretty New York City-girls getting champagne poured all over their faces. There’s something vaguely sexual about these photos. And by “vaguely”, I mean extremely. If you look at these pictures and don’t immediately think of the money shot at the end of most porn, you haven’t seen much porn (or you have just have seriously non-traditional taste in porn).
Anyways, being the astute generational critic that I am, I couldn’t just look at a sensational site such as this and NOT consider the cultural implications of the thing. Here’s a few observations about what “Champagne Facials” means:
Does this get adulthood right?’ is a blog series where a yr an adult writer watches or re-watches or reads a cultural work about adulthood and consider whether it’s depiction of adulthood is reflective of real life. Past entries can be read here.
What’s the thing called? Girls. (You’re on the internet, so you’ve obviously heard of it)
When was the thing made? The showed debuted earlier this year, first to wide pre-release acclaim than to wide pre-release-acclaim-backlash, satirized BRILLIANTLY by my favorite writer in this hilarious blogpost (If you don’t bother clicking the link, the joke is I link you to my post about Girls. I’m my own favorite writer). The show just finished it’s first season and has been picked up for a second.
What’s the thing about? The show is about a small group of white 23/24-year-old girls, who are living out their post-college/pre-career lives in and around Brooklyn. They have weird friendships, pseudo-relationships, job troubles, uneasiness about their lives, petty disagreements. The show, ostensibly, over the course of several seasons, will depict it’s characters development from complete fucking idiots, to actual grown-ups. But for this first season, Girls has mined the humor of those first couple years out of college for the broken, silly depravity that marks the transition many middle-class college grads go through after college, but before they know what the fuck they are doing.
The characters are led by Hannah, an entitled, self-conscious wannabe personal essayist, in the mode of Sloan Crosley (if you don’t know who Sloan Crosley is, please don’t look her up. She’s the worst). Hannah thinks she’s the voice of her generation and is stuck fawning for most of the season over her weird/awesome fuck-buddy Adam. The other “girls” in the show are Hannah’s shallow rooomate Marnie, their naïve/oddball/virginal friend Shoshana, and self-styled manic pixie Jessa. Each episode follows their various misadventures and the series succeeds (in my mind) because it presents its character with a TON of flaws, and mines those flaws for humor.
Last night, I wandered down to see Action Bronson at the Independent in San Francisco by myself. It’s maybe the third or fourth time in the last year I’ve gone to see a hip-hop show by myself, and I’ve found that as long I show up at the right time, 5-10 minutes before the headliner starts, and don’t feel let myself self-conscious about flying solo, I can really enjoy myself. In my teens/twenties, going to see music wasn’t about seeing music, it was about having a night out on the town with friends, drinking, carousing, trying to sneak backstage to meet the artist, getting all kinds of high and trying/failing to hit on girls.
Nowadays, however, I drink plenty enough as it is. And most of my friends, aren’t into the same music as I am, so I’d be dragging people who weren’t interested, thinking that one live show could convert them into rap (or experimental electro or vintage soul or Belle & Sebastian) fans. I remember once, in college, taking my friend Tom, to a rap show across the border in Burlington, Vermont, two hours away. As we drove home, after four hours of various 2001-era underground rappers yelling at the audience to put their hands up and demanding to know who was getting high, Tom said, “Well, that should do it. I have seen all the live hip-hop I will need to for my whole life.” To be fair, at this age, I wouldn’t sit through four hours of that kind of show, either. I don’t care how high you are. It’s fucking boring. Especially, I assume, by yourself.
When I see a commercial aimed so blatantly at new adults in my general demographic (twentysomething media-types), I can’t help but analyze whether the spot was successful at speaking the language of the brand. So, if you take the time to watch the below spot, you’ll probably feel like George Zimmer, the old dude who has been the old dude in Men’s Wearhouse commercials since I was a kid, is, for the first time in your life, trying to talk directly to you. He says that now, the dudes who wear suits are the hip, young creative types. “The digital guys.” Check it out and meet me below.
Last night, impromptu, I had myself a little date-night at the Kabuki Theater in Japantown. And what’s better for a date-night movie than the new Wes Anderson film, still in limited release? It’s positively quintessential! Now, I don’t like to review new movies here ar yr an adult, because there are already so many great places for quality new-release reviews, but I do like to the rundown all the weird, ADD-thoughts that run through my head when I’m watching a film in the theater. I will say that I liked the movie, as I like almost all Wes Anderson movies, and that I agree with the reviews that say this is one of his best. I mean, he makes beautifully framed, nostalgic, funny films about the loneliness of growing up. That shit is obviously right up my alley. So I hope you enjoy reading my thoughts, and I hope you see the movie. Also, fear not spoilerphobes. There will be no spoilers.
The crowd for a Wes Anderson movie at the Kabuki Theater in San Francisco is the most stereotypically Wes Anderson crowd in the whole world. The Kabuki is one my favorite movie theaters. It’s an expensively designed, Sundance-branded cinema that plays a mix of art films and blockbusters, you reserve your seat online in advance, they sell microbrews at a reasonable price and the affable guy who checks your id name-checks a movie that came out the year you were born (i.e. “1982, I saw Fast Times at Ridgemont High that year). The average age of the audience member was 27 years old. Everyone was either dressed like a tech person trying to dress like a creative or an actual creative trying to dress like a creative (read: skinny jeans, thoughtful sneakers, “cool” t-shirt/jacket combos, angular haircuts, etc…). It was a profoundly white, SF-crowd, filled with exactly who you’d imagine goes to see Wes Anderson movies in the theaters.
A couple months ago, I wrote a blog post about how I didn’t want to read TV recaps anymore. I still stand by the basic argument, that reading an article about what happened in a TV show you just watched is a waste of time/brain energy. However, like many things in life, the knowledge that I shouldn’t do something doesn’t necessarily make me stop doing it. Especially when the thing that I shouldn’t be doing is an impulsive click of a link away. Here’s a few reasons why I can’t quit the reading-about-tv game: