August 3, 2009 § Leave a comment
I had started a post last night about day one of All Points West, but record label Island Def Jam and that silly whore, and I use that word for reasons that will become clear in this post, Mariah Carey had to make news: the liner notes for the upcoming record Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel will feature the launch of the next step in advertainment: placement of brands, and ads for brands, that fit into the garish brand that is Mariah Carey. Tear-away-parachute-pants for when you go on TRL and give that outside-the-highschool-pervert Carson Daly a quarter-assed striptease? Pills for when you go into rehab the next day? The contact info of the genius screenwriters of Glitter? There couldn’t be a more empty vessel that’s still slightly marketable like Mariah Carey is right now.
Lord knows that CD inserts havn’t been clean in years. Even the holiest of holy in hip hop, OutKast, had kennel ads inserted in their albums. This, though, is the full fledged on-the-street, Bristol-Palin-At-The-Convention, absolute whoring of the liner notes, or the libretto, if you’re my dad teaching me a term I’m not sure about anymore. I still buy CD’s and I probably would support artists whose labels weren’t forcing this cockamamie nonsense on them, but I have to say, if an artist who puts a lot of effort, be it masturbatory or not, into their liner notes, like Carey’s record label mate Kanye West does, I’d be saddened. Check this quote:
Carey was “very open” to the concept when Reid showed her a mock-up of the booklet in a magazine format that included brand imagery synonymous with her lifestyle. “I wouldn’t want to do Mariah Carey and Comet abrasive cleaner,” Reid said, laughing. “I wanted things that really reflected her taste.”
If you think of Carey like I do, that jar of Comet makes sense, for when you’re scrubbing your junk trying to avoid getting whatever Eminem must have given her. I get the fact that this is a dying industry, and that we’re all capitalists and dirty commies need to be put down, but if you really want to save the CD, here’s a simple three propositions:
1. Put out great music that lets the Artist speak for themselves.
2. Make the record look like a piece of art. From what I’ve learned in the book industry, a lot of what sells now is what’s packaged to look collectable. And a Mariah Carey cover’d Mini-Elle magazine isn’t collectable, it’s probably something at the bottom of the magazine stack that’s been growing since the nineties.
and, most importantly of all,
3. Respect the audience, and by respect the audience, I mean: do not sell them on crap they don’t need because it’s similar to the genre, by some stretch of the capitalist imagination that used to be the responsibility of MTV back when they showed music in their shows. I remember TRL to be a product pimp as much as 30 Rock jokes to be today.
If this takes over, I’m really going to have strong odds on taking to whatever Jobs has been working on with the record labels, unless those are just as bad with product placement, which, since they’re digital, and that means hyperlinking and popups are completely possible, I wouldn’t put past anybody.
What I’m getting to here is that I think one of two things will happen: 1. I will only acquire music by means that a competant RIAA would scare me from doing, or 2. I’m finally taking the plunge on vinyl.
March 2, 2009 § Leave a comment
People have joked about the coming breadlines and what will happen if the economy really does go to dogshit, life becoming some more populus IAmLegend, a scavenger hunt but everybody’s playing for keeps, and starting in May, when Virgin Megastores leave New York City, buying a music record in the city will be it’s own adventure too.
Post on it’s way about my record store trips yesterday.
January 7, 2009 § 2 Comments
Before I decided to come back to the keyboard to clean this shitstorm of mental cobweb-ery out, I brought out a nice bottle of wine … and this clip. Bissinger vs. Leitch. Watch to get yourself in the mood to rip the old dead world apart.
Throw on that Johnson&Jonson record to bring me back down, and here we are:
There’s a vibe going around right now, this whole big FUCK 08 thing. Sure we lost our economy down a drain more gutter than Amy Winehouse’s breath, but this was a brilliant year if you can look past that, which you might have to, in order to sleep at night. I got to meet people who create stuff I love, and they were all awesome. Hendrik Hertzberg, Matt Taibbi, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Elizabeth Moss, Common, Nas (who gave daps to everyone on the line, including yours truly), Jeremy Piven (briefly, as he had to get back into his SUV to his Nordic looking model girlfriend who must have been treating him for the Mercury Poisoning), and I think I’ve seen Jack McBrayer (30 Rock’s Kenneth The Page) enough on the subways for him to think I’m stalking him.
Oh yeah, and The Giants Won The Superbowl, Crushing Tom Brady & Bill Bellicheat, Ending Their Perfect Season.
Start off where the year jumped off at, the #1 Movie of 2008, pronounced by yours truly Mr. With A Passion:
2008’s Top Ten Movies
1. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days is a movie you probably didn’t see and that’s because it had zero push behind it. The release felt confined to the pitiful location of The IFC Center, which still feels somewhat irrelevant for it’s nabe. 4 Months is the Romanian mindfuck about the odds against anyone in late 80’s Romania who wanted abortion, specifically two college students. The film is as well shot as anything made all year and on a shoestring budget, Cristian Mungiu, the film’s writer and director has produced a time vault level item for a year where the GOP restoked the fires of the pro life culture war army thanks to the fact that Wasillans are as dumb as pissed on dirt.
2. The Dark Knight transcended both the crime and superhero genres, thanks to a stellar cast, most of whom have not received the kudos they deserve, yet that’s still appropriate given the shadow that Heath Ledger’s death, a colossal kick in the jaw to millions, still casts over the first superhero film to possibly reasonably merit, nay demand, an Academy Award (but, fuck, Paul Haggis has a fucking Oscar, so how valuable are they really?). A.O. Scott might have only done this to get someone to carve a smile into his face (I know a pint size powerhouse who will wreak havoc upon voters if this whole Tom Cruise for Supporting Actor in The Five Minutes of Tropic Thunder He Was In Where He Played The All Too Easy Role Of A Fat White Guy Dancing To Rap, and Scott, she’ll find you, too). Eckhart’s Harvey “Two Face” Dent is another villain portrayal that unquestionably made it’s case to be the definition of a decades old character. The older class comes out of this movie even better, as Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Cane all bring their A Game to the franchise, providing a real base for the film, one where characters sometimes get left in the trail to fight scenes, gadgets, and the zigs and zags of a finely tapered plot (not that TDK doesn’t have those three in spades, which it does).
3. Waltz With Bashir snuck in under the wire, on 12/26/08 in limited release. Think Waking Life‘s aesthetic yet less douchey in every regard including characters, the perspective of Full Metal Jacket, but the damn thing is a documentary about The First Lebanon War. The 26 dogs will haunt you as they haunted me, as this is one movie you cannot miss in theaters. It’s probably still over at Cinema Village or something, but you must go out and find it. The power of the images produced deserves more than your tv set, this is not for Netflix, this is why we go to the cinema, to be fucked with by way of our minds expanded.
4. Let The Right One In, is the proof that the Swedes work on levels we can’t even touch. From all the sources I’ve got, it seems that while Twilight is a capable half decent movie, it’s based on a book series of the same quality of Goosebumps. Let The Right One In, on the other hand, is based on a novel, which was adapted for the screen by the actual author of the novel. The result is a brutal depiction of elementary school bullying, and one of the finale fights felt like some sci fi fantasy take on Columbine, and where the blood gets the most perverse laugh out of the audience you will find all year.
5. A Girl Cut in Two, the latest Chabrol film is a great love triangle film, a phrase I don’t find myself saying that often, or ever, really. François Berléand is the kind of actor whose face you’ve known for decades, yet never connected to a name. Here, he plays a renowned author who’s latest fancy is weather girl Gabrielle, played pitch-perfect by Ludivine Sagnier. But their romance isn’t anything to write home about until the nefarious Paul Gardens, a bougie douche who could go toe to toe with the Chuck Bass’s of the world any day, who treats Gabrielle like she’s his birthright. This triangle does not end well, not that they ever do.
6. Wall•E, was possibly the most beloved animated movie since Toy Story, yet this time the adults were more in love with the story than the kids were. This has a lot to do with the film’s (more) mature (than usual) subject matter: We’ve Fucked The Planet Royally & Spend Most Of Our Time As Sedentary Snoozing Schmucks. It was good, but really didn’t grab me as much as the top 5 did.
7. Milk was a great movie. Everything worked, except for the unlikeable character Diego Luna played which felt too close to stereotype. I wonder, though, that if this movie came out at a different time, would it have had the same impact without the election and the passing of prop hate?
8. Frost/Nixon brought Ron Howard to an all too prescient topic and accomplished everything it had to while avoiding the SNL Skit vibe that Oliver Stone’s W. suffered from. Why Mickey Rourke had to make his comeback in the year Frank Langella made an amazingly deserving Oscar performance we won’t know.
9. Synecdoche, New York is for all intensive purposes (Thanks Tavit!) intents and purposes, Charlie Kaufman’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. A film so enamored with itself that the cartoons on tv, which barely have any purpose, point, or use, are also made by the filmmaker. I think it’s good Kaufman got this out of his system so he can move on to make less frustratingly dense films. The last half hour is a bulldozer of mindfuckery that grated all nerves.
10. The Wrestler. I used to watch pro wrestling, and for anyone in a similar predicament, Arronofsky’s small film about the horrors that wrestling inflicts on the human body this is a tough film to watch. Hell, it’s a tough film for anyone to watch, but it wouldn’t have fallen to the 10-er if the Marisa Tomei character had more going for herself plot wise. But I guess that’s why they called it The Wrestler and not The Stripper Who Has An Oscar. Rourke’s performance was so brilliant that he’ll have his own soon enough.
Honorable Mentions: Che, for making 4.5 hours not seem that long; Transporter 3, the best pure action movie I’ve seen in a while; Vicky Cristina Barcelona for giving Woody Allen a reason to give us all a reason to ogle Scarlet and Penelope some more; and Rachel Getting Married, for having Tunde Adebimpe of TVOTR singing at a wedding.
The rest of this closing the books on a year below
August 7, 2008 § 2 Comments
I forgot to bring them with me to work, and now I feel a little less than normal.
I mean, I don’t know about you, but I used to constantly be trying to get all sorts of food out from betwixt my teeth. Now, I have the best solution, as these are tasty as all hell. Also, walking around with a toothpick in your mouth does have the tendency to lead to thoughts of being somehow a bad ass, but I warn you: that is all in your head.
Working in the modern office, where cigarettes are not allowed, it’s hard to feel like you’re getting your true blue Don Draper on when drumming up ideas. With these, you can fiddle, wag, and gesticulate just as if you had one of Don’s Lucky Strikes going; except with these, you’re not doing yourself any harm.
Got ’em for 3 or so at the pharmacy near the Bedford and N. 7 street stop. Tried to look for something like this at the Duane Reade on 14th and 3rd, where they had plastic toothpick bullshit I didn’t even want to waste money on.
July 27, 2008 § Leave a comment
First off: ★ = Original Essay, a la Gruber.
So I went to the movie theater today to see Hellboy II: The Golden Army, with the intent of ripping apart Stephen King’s new piece in Entertainment Weekly wherein he told people that they should feel lucky enough to be GOUGED for concession candy and they should be like him and buy a large popcorn ($7 @ Union Square 14th Street theater), and over-saturate it with the fake butter glop.
What I left with was enough ammo to shell King, as well as a few other ideas about what is going wrong in movie houses these days and having bought this damn domain name, I’ve decided to start a series of articles from the consummate movie goer’s P.O.V.. But this being the first, let’s go back to King.
This moment cemented King as Entertainment Weekly’s John McCain, or to be more specific EW’s Phil Gramm. He is so disconnected with the current state of society, wonder how this is enhanced by how much time he spends in his rich bitch seats at Fenway on the fucking base-line. He mentioned how his matinee seats are only 5 bucks, but I wonder how many people have matinee price theaters near them.
I’m sure that these matinee price theaters aren’t of the major brand theaters (Regal, Loews, AMC, whathaveyou), and he’s not using this article for any noble purpose like telling fans to support mom and pop theaters. This goes to the current debate between Stuart Scott of ESPN and the Deadspinners, wherein with access and the MSM connections come a lack of responsible journalism (see new issue of GQ). Not that EW is where people go for journalism, but this is a font that King has to pontificate, and he should be using it better.
Going back to King’s love of $4.50 gummi bears, the average bottom line attentive consumer knows they can get two different candy items from a nearby newstand for under two bucks. The even more on point movie watchers know to stop by their local drug store and get the same size candies from the concession stand for half the price.
I wonder how many people King is taking to the theater with him, or if he starves himself prior to screenings, because even a small popcorn these days is more than one person needs. If I’d asked for a large, as the guy in front of me did, I would have been handed a giant bucket o’ popped kernels.
This is not just another moment wherein I lose respect for King, but another reason to stop picking up EW. Also: their coverage of Katy Perry in their new issue loses points from their tally while Dr. Horrible coverage replenishes the loss. Next Friday, I’ll have more reasons to read or not to read their publication, and probably another movie to go see and explore the dynamics of the big screen houses. So we’ll have another report from the movie houses next weekend.
And finally, what’s my verdict on how to fix the movie theater? Obviously: Don’t Listen To Stephen King.
June 10, 2008 § Leave a comment
Yep. That’s the cover. Much much more offensive than the Nas album title.
I was in Virgin Megastore for the air conditioning on my way home today. Standing in front of the new releases rack. This sweaty misshapen middle aged liquor stinking white dude looks at Tha Carter III. He picks it up after muttering something to me which I couldn’t decipher. As he walks away, he yells:
Lil’ Wayne! He’s the lollipop man!
Moments like these wonder if it’s time to leave New York, but I bet this happens everywhere.
March 19, 2008 § 2 Comments
So I’m happy with the new Gnarls Barkley record, The Odd Couple, and I’m thinking about buying it. Kind of unsure what means I’m going to use. Brick & Mortar stores have the benefit of supporting a local business, getting a booklet, as well as already having it on disc so you can play it on a stereo sans adapters, Amazon MP3 is plain and easy MP3’s at 256 kbps, and iTunes is the trustworthy stalwart despite it’s warts. Thoughts? Further, it’s not in all B&M stores yet.