Sunday, May 31, 2009
image source here
Well, we knew it'd be epic, but jesus christ. The done gone and brought it folks. Should be one amazing summer ahead.
The band opened by singing the Star Spangled Banner acapella on the pitchers mound. Then they tore the monster down:
Sample in a Jar
Bouncing Around the Room
Limb By Limb
Wading in the Velvet Sea
Down With Disease
Time Turns Elastic^
You Enjoy Myself
Good Times, Bad Times
^ = first time played
more to come with confirmations from phish.com later tonight.
Here's some shitty cell phone video of Moma Dance for those of you who just can't get enough.
Courtesy of Jamtopia.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Beyond booking some of the most amazing venues ever (Fenway, Fox Theatre, The Gorge), Phish also has a new studio album in the works, with the single, "Time Turns Elastic," being released on itunes earlier today (for a full preview of the track, since itunes can't do a 13 minute song justics, visit Phish's myspace page). So far so good if you ask me. It sounds like the break may have given them the clarity they needed to put out another 20 records. Suffice it to say, I'll be eagerly awaiting the July 28th release of their next studio effort, which has yet to be titled.
In any event, it promises to be an epic summer, one which this heartbroken editor may not even get to catch a single phish-related-show. But I'm making up for it with tickets to Phoenix, Death Cab for Cutie w/ the LA Philharmonic (plus New Pornographers and Tegan and Sara), Andrew Bird, and Coldplay. And don't you worry your pretty little heads...if I can get to San Fran to see the show, I will. The thought that I may not see them has me depressed as all hell. So hopefully it will work out!
Friday, May 22, 2009
I can't believe the list of cancelations I just saw on yahoo. Some of them I knew, but some of them were still up in the air and come as quite a shock. Either way, it's a sad day on Gloria Estefan Parkway for Kath Day and her bratty daughter Kim.
What irks me most is the comment on Kath & Kim from the above article (which by the way is listed as being written by Yahoo TV Staff):
Though the Australian version of the show became quite a hit in Australia and both Shannon and Blair were spot-on as the wacky mother-daughter duo, the American adaptation was apparently lost in translation for U.S. audiences as many critics considered it unfunny and practically unwatchable -- something comedies, um, should not be.
Hey Yahoo TV Staff, if that is your real name: maybe it's just me, but using the word "um" in an article, despite your pitiful attempt to be funny, makes you look like you have a limited vocabulary or you don't know how craft a joke. Either way, not good. If you really wanted to stick it to us, you could have easily said:
...something comedies *clears throat* should not be.
That's even a bad pitch too, but it's better than making you look like you didn't even collect your thoughts before you chastised a show you probably never watched to begin with. Why not just leave out the "um" and spare us your editorial candor?
In Yahoo's defense, if the Yahoo TV Staff is just a cover for some beta-tested tv critic robot, I can't squarely place the blame on them. After all, what do robots know?
Yesterday, we here at Great Scott had the chance to take in the new Star Trek movie. While it wasn't half bad, it did raise some eyebrows with it's casting choices. It got me thinking about all the poor casting I'd witnessed in the past, especially in the Sci-Fi genre, and it lead me to an interesting conclusion, a series of follow up questions, and the creation of a new column: WHO WAS WORSE.
Who was worse intends to take two similar things (whether they be Family Guy and American Dad, U2 and Coldplay, The Jetsons The Flinstones) and decide which was the worst of the two. In the case of Family Guy vs. American Dad, I'd say we've got a tie. (and to clear up the other 2, U2 is far worse, and the Jetsons and Flinstones were both awesome, so shut it.)
Today though, we explore 2 very similar roles from 2 very similar films: Tyler Perry in Star Trek and Samuel L. Jackson in Star Wars I-III. Before we can completely understand who was worse, I think it's important we look at the big picture: the two films as a whole. In this case, I am calling all three of the new Star Wars movies 1 movie, since, essentially, they were. Actually, it probably would have been a lot better had Lucas made it one film, but anyway.
Star Trek was pretty good. Not as good as everyone keeps saying it is, but entertaining, a fresh take, and a film primed for franchise. Plus, save for Tyler Perry, it was very well cast. That idiot from Heroes did a great job as Spock (though it seems like the same role he plays on heroes, just with pointy ears), and Jim Kirk was awesome. That kid was channeling Shatner, which, after writing, I'm not sure if that's good or bad. Shatner isn't exactly a bastion of great acting, though he has his moments.
Star Wars, on the other hand, was not only terrible, but relied on CGI for actors! What the hell! Even Yoda in the earlier three films was a puppet! And it played better on screen than any CGI character ever will. Now? They got Jar Jar Binks and 2 Natalie Portmans. Not enough. Plus Hayden Christiansen is at his worst in those movies, a feat which I didn't think he could pull off, but then he went for the 3-peat like Jordan. Why do it wrong once when you can do it wrong for 3 films straight!
But the films, and all those other actors aren't the topic of today's post. Instead, we're deciding who was worse: Sam Jackson or TP. I think we all know the obvious (and correct) answer: Tyler Perry. Get Madea out of my cinneplex! What idiots go and see those movies! At least Samuel L. Jackson has done some spectacular movies in the past. What has Tyler Perry done, save for make me hate him more with each passing second, and waste precious air time for his brand of so-called "comedy."
Let's see...people claim he's the savior for black cinema. I contend that legitimate black cinema ended the second Spike Lee picked up a camera. Okay, so what else? Well, Tyler Perry did manage to ruin the steam TBS had been picking up with not 1 but 2 crappy sitcoms that are essentially the same show. Granted, they apparently do gang buster ratings for TBS, but you could have fooled me! Every time I see that show on my guide, I immediately switch away. I forever have and I forever will. One time I had left my TV on TBS...I came home the next day and turned it on. Tyler Perry was on the screen. It was as if I was watching that movie from the Ring. My roommate's been missing since.
That's not to say Jackson wasn't without his blunders as well. After all, he did decide to do the Star Wars movies, a foolish decision by his agent. Plus, they cast him as a Jedi, which, by definition, should mean that he plays a balanced rational man. I've never seen Sam Jackson play anything but crazy characters, whether it be the subdued yet sarcastic computer programer in Jurassic Park, or the scientist with a heart of gold in Deep Blue Sea. He just doesn't do movies where he has to play a bored character. Star Wars was his one fault, but at the same time, you can't really blame the guy for wanting to be a part of one of the most successful franchises of all time.
So then what was it about Tyler Perry in this film that rubbed me so raw? Why was he worse and will always be worse than Samuel L. Jackson? I guess it's the fact that casting him was really just a play to pander to the African American audience, which, not to generalize, isn't all that in to Sci-Fi. Marketing wise, that may have been a good move, sure. But when I saw his obnoxious mug on the big screen, all I could think was "another movie ruined."
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Thanks to those good folks over at Showtime, and my friend Nic Schiller, I present a brief history of marijuana. Though I've never seen a single episode of Weeds, I've always heard good things and can see why. There's no defending the fact that this is entirely pro marijuana, but it did help me to pose this interesting question:
Given the monetary value of marijuana as a cash crop, and coupled with it the annual cost of the war on drugs, shouldn't capitol hill rethink their stance against the drug and it's users in this recession?
Kind of makes you wonder, doesn't it? Not that we could ever use the money to funnel into education (after all, when a child gets off the school bus and asks his mommy, "why can't daddy smoke pot, but pot pays for my school?" it gets a little tricky to justify), but there's another quick band-aid for this country. I mean, some kids here in California only go to school 4 days a week. Some three. Granted, they're called Kindergartners, but still! I kid. Some high school students only get 3 days a week out here. It's shocking. Especially to then force the false hopes of continuing their education at a higher level when they haven't gotten the education they need to prepare them for it!
I strayed off course a bit here, but my message is genuine. While I can't really say marijuana does any good for the world at large, the money generated from it sure could. Plus it's a hell of a lot more fun than drinkin'!
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Last night, Spike TV premiered it's new reality series 4th and Long, a show giving 12 potential football stars the chance to go to Dallas Cowboys training camp this summer. Hosted by Michael Irvin, who can't seem to find a wardrobe change to save his life (literally, he wears the exact outfit in both of these pictures for the entire first episode, which, wouldn't bother me, but supposedly the episode takes place over several days. So is he lazy, or does he just really really like the size of that collar on his unbuttoned black shirt? And I digress...), the show actually provides some much needed football in an otherwise football free time of year.
And thank god! After HBO announced that The Bengals would be the subject of this year's season of "Hadknocks," I was afraid I was actually going to have to wait until August to see people cracking heads. Luckily, Spike came along and filled the void nicely, recruiting hall of fame coaches and players from Cowboys history to add more legitimacy to this series out of the gate. After all, where does your mind go when you see a commercial that simply features a shot of Jerry Jones asking Irvin to "Bring me a ballplayer," in his most drawled voice to date? I didn't expect much. It seemed very "reality" to me, that being half the reason to tune in to begin with: we rubber-necking Americans love a car crash.
Since the genre's inception, we've come to recognize most reality shows for what they are: fame hungry whores and douchebags "competing" (I use that word loosely) for a prize that is forgotten when the show ends. Sure, there's 12 guys (6 defensive backs, 6 wide receivers) vying for 1 spot, but really it's just 11 weeks of someone getting cut. And that's why we watch. Hell, I half expected Donald Trump to pull up, purse his lips, and thank Mark Burnett for producing the show. Not so though, thank god, though the music sure had me thinking otherwise. Instead of a mansion, they stay at the Cotton Bowl. Literally, sleeping in press boxes and locker rooms, eating, living and working all at the same place. And just in case it seemed too "tv show" for you, Irvin said explicitly "I don't want to hear any shit about how this is a reality tv show. This is a football try out for the Dallas Cowboys." (Great. Now if you could just change clothes, maybe I'd listen.)
Whether or not that turns out to be true, it's left me wanting little more from the franchise thus far. If they keep at this pace, this show has a chance to become one of my favorites of the year.
Monday, May 18, 2009
We here at Great Scott just got word of Tony Cornholer leaving Monday Night Football, a fact which this editor could not be happier about. His replacement? None other than former Tampa Bay Bucc's coach Jon Gruden.
I always thought there was no justice in the world, but now I see things starting to level out again. And since we love music here, I only think it's fitting:
na na na na
na na na na
hey hey hey
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Every so often a show, or series of shows come along to make you wish you'd been a part of them. Pink Floyd at Giza Plateau. Led Zepplin or David Bowie in LA some 30 plus years ago now. The Dead at Cornell in '77. Hendrix at Woodstock. Icons.
Sadly, most modern shows don't even come close. I was fortunate enough to be at Big Cypress in 1999 when Phish played for a whole night (literally, from midnight til sunrise). But that's about it for me. Nothing has come close to that experience (though seeing the now-infamous "Moby Dick" set at Deer Creek in 2000 could really give it a run for it's money.)
Short long of all this? My friend Steph recently asked me to re-up the Phil Lesh and (super) Phriends shows from 1999. While I wasn't at these shows, they are easily some of my favorites to listen to. And for any of you heads out there that always wanted to see your two favorite bands collide, well, that was your chance. I was a junior in high school living in Missouri, what's your excuse?
Comprised of Phil Lesh, Trey Anastasio, Page McConnell, Donna Jean Godchaux-MacKay and Steve Kimmock (to name a few), it was easy to assume these shows would be memorable ones. What everyone didn't expect was just how damn good they were going to be. After the setlists, follow the link for download.
Viola Lee Blues
Big Railroad Blues
Wolfmans Brother> Space> Uncle John's Band> Jam
Like a Rolling Stone> I Know You Rider
Not Fade Away
Encore: Mr Tambourine Man
Help On The Way (Trey)> Slipknot!> Franklin's Tower (Page)
Wish You Were Here
Tennessee Jed (Trey)
Stella Blue (instrumental)
*Bertha (Trey and Donna)
Prince Caspian (Trey)
St. Stephen> The Eleven
Chalkdust Torture (Trey)
Mountains of the Moon
*Scarlet Begonias (Trey and Donna)> *Fire On The Mountain (Trey and Donna)
Encore: Ripple (acoustic)
Dark Star (instrumental)> It's Up To You (instrumental)
Days Between> Dark Star (1st verse)> My Favorite Things (instrumental)
*Bird Song (Page)
Terrapin Station> Down With Disease> Dark Star
Friend Of The Devil
Casey Jones (Trey)
Morning Dew> *Going Down The Road Feeling Bad> And We Bid You Goodnight
Encore: Box Of Rain
Are you as excited to hear these as I first was? Yeah, thought so. download here and enjoy!
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Far be it for me to say, "neener neener neener" to the tune of 'Ring around the Rosies,' but Hallelujah! It's about damn time Oprah apologized to James Frey for completely ruining his career and making a mockery of his name.
I'm not here to flat out hate on Oprah. That's not what I do. She's got a lot of good things going for her, and does a whole heck of a lot of good for the world. But sometimes I feel like what she does comes with a sense of sumgness. Like, she's saying "look at what I did and you didn't." That was her motivation to oust Frey. "Look what I dug up. Not only does this make me look like I'm on the side of good, but if I talk about it before anyone else does, it doesn't tarnish the god-like name of OPRAH." And since the majority of her viewing audience is lemmings, they regurgitate whatever she says as the word of God. "Did you hear? That book is LIES! LIES I TELL YOU!" They cackle and steal away into the night woods. But they come creeping back out every day at 3 pm for their fix.
But anyway. Listen: we get it. And Oprah? We're impressed, okay? You're tough. Quit flexing. What you did to Frey is a perfect example of just how absolute your power is. And now you know just how awesome it can be. So I plead with you, for the future, don't just hang people out to dry if you think it can save your reputation/television program. His book helped people. Legitimately. And when a book helps someone, the fact that it may partially be fictitious becomes completely irrelevant.
Furthermore, you should personally pay Frey back all the money he's owed. Give the man his life back. After all, he had one before you took it away. Make it a big gesture. Cut a ribbon. Put it on your show. He can help dedicate a school in Namibia.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Friday, May 08, 2009
A video put together by Chris Ware for our spring 2009 event "This American Life -- Live!" -- in which Ira Glass hosts an actual episode of the radio program, performed onstage by some of our favorite contributors. Dan Savage, Starlee Kine, and Mike Birbiglia told stories; David Rakoff and Dave Hill conducted a ‘special investigation. Plus, additional visuals by Arthur Jones, and a very special appearance by Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer!
You'll be able to hear the episode online here.
The song in this video is "Eugene" by Andrew Bird. Animation by John Kuramoto. Permission to post this video has been granted by the contributors.
Save for the fact that this is a silly local news piece, there's actually quite a story here, and an excellent amount of restored footage of nuclear bombs exploding. Something about nukes always leaves me in awe of the man made world. It's the same treatment I give to space. There's just something about it so beyond me, yet it has the capability to destroy us all.
Fun thoughts for a Friday, huh gang? Enjoy!
Thursday, May 07, 2009
Last week my boy The Big Sea released a new mix tape. Filled with funk, soul, and samples galore, it's been on repeat in my stereo for days now. For those of you who've never gotten into the sound, this is a great way to whet your appetite. I wish I could say more here, but I'd rather let the music speak for itself.
For those of you in South / North Carolina, Sea is also always down for booking, so if you want to holler at him or have him play your birthday party / ladies night, give me a holler and I'll put you in touch. In the meantime, enjoy the tunes.
Download A Loyal Friction
Monday, May 04, 2009
NBC announced a portion of their fall schedule this morning, much to the delight of yours truly, having worked on the "100 Questions" pilot. A lot of the "Kath & Kim" world landed on "Community," so I couldn't be happier about everyone finding a home for 2009.
More details will come as we learn more about their schedule, but for the time being, we're all very excited! Enjoy the above video and more at nbc.com
For full coverage of NBC's fall schedule, check out Variety.com
Saturday, May 02, 2009
This past Wednesday, I had the unique opportunity to see David Sedaris speak at UCLA's Royce Hall. The consummate literary comedic voice of our generation was on point, delivering stories, essays, and journal entries from the past 5 years or so. In addition to that, he very plainly mentioned his new found love of all things Ambien, while frequently requesting pills from the celebrity-peppered audience. Instead of succumbing to his wishes, I merely sat in awe as the storyteller went on, at length, about the way he sees the world (nothing new to those familiar with his literary depictions of family life, social culture, and the foreign view on the U.S.).
Among the most intriguing of his essays, Sedaris mentioned a trip to Australia where he met a guide so rooted in her ways, it was hard not to acknowledge her message as a narrative arc. Her theory: success is a 4-burner range, and one must shed at least half of their obligations from that burner to truly achieve success. The four tenets of success inhibition you wonder? Family, friends, health, and love I think? Maybe exercise? The last is escaping me right now, which totally ruins my point. But I could really relate to what he was saying and found his words hauntingly true.
Conversely, one thing becomes clear after seeing Sedaris: his comedy, whether he knows it or not, is for the "haves" and not the "have nots" in today's society. None of the jokes would even play to someone who's living the blue collar life. Between his backhanded contempt for the common man to his lack of ever piloting an automobile first-person, Sedaris leaves a few questions of life's most pedestrian and mundane moments to be answered. Why? Because he hasn't experienced them himself. That being said, can he really be the comedic voice of the people when he inadvertently places himself in such high regard? Does attending his lecture only affirm his status as the voice of an educated-well-off-liberal-white left that I myself categorically fall into? You could certainly surmise as much. I did. And I left more confused and affirmed as I'd ever been.
More importantly, his knowledge of the English language (the way words work, the way they play together) is only topped by his knack for performance (his father cited that Sedaris was always "a better performer than a writer," an opinion I urge you to attempt to prove true). Indeed, Sedaris has landed himself in the center of the white-educated-elite, but he is certainly a writer first and a orator second. If Joyce did comedy, Sedaris would certainly draw parallels.
Check out Me Talk Pretty One Day and tell me what you think. It's my contention that Sedaris has the ability to tell stories so true and personal that even if we haven't experienced what he has, he makes us feel like we were there all along.