Posts tagged ‘music’

May 5, 2011

The Pretenders: “Boots of Chinese Plastic”

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May 3, 2011

Paolo Nutini: “Last Request” live

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April 21, 2011

Bell X1: “Velcro”


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April 16, 2011

The hardest button to button


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April 13, 2011

“Bad Reputation” and Stewie Rah Rah, the #1 King of Fun


This morning on “Oprah’s Farewell Season,” which has the same resonance  as Cher’s Farewell Tour, given that Ms. Winfrey is not really “leaving” any medium, featured duets with a female legend of rock paired with a younger generation artist. The most curious and cognitively dissonant was the pairing of Joan Jett and Miley Cyrus,  the former being a true  ground breaker in the world of punk with her band The Runaways, the latter being a manufactured Disney princess currently struggling with how, in full view of the tabloid addicted pop cultural landscape, to translate her outsize marginal talent into a respectable adult career.

For Ms. Cyrus this made their duet of “Bad Reputation” both a declaration of defiance and primer on the impotence of defiance if what all you ever were is a randomly entitled tween queen.

This all reminded me of the hullabaloo over that preciously entitled princess Donald Trump (see Vanity Fair portrait ca. 2006) and his bid for the Republican nomination for president in 2012.

He also began the rehabilitation of his image on “Oprah’s Farewell Season,” there to prove what a family man he was because as Oprah ( gamely playing along) declared “we don’t think of you as a family man.”  He appeared with all of his children from all three of his babymammas and his current wife, barely older than his daughter Ivanka, about whom he once said was so pretty that if she weren’t his daughter he’d be hitting that.

Needless to say, he didn’t come off  as a family man.

He did however come off as feudal lord, as you heard every one of his children and his child bride repeatedly (and solely) describe their relationship with The Donald as “a job to do.” (At least Melania was being honest.) This was enough to convince Elizabeth Hasselbeck on “The View” to declare that “Donald Trump has created more jobs than President Obama.” (When the ladies of “The View” complain about what a stalking thin skinned sourpussy you are, what is Hu Jintao going to think of you?)

Needless to say, he did manage to turn his seedy personal life into an economic issue and that alone is a resounding victory in a political landscape in which every social issue is being framed as an economic one. (See Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich.)

Donald, lest you think is trotting only the birther argument as a means to prove his authenticity (as in everyone is quite certain he is an American citizen), is pulling out all the stops to prove his superiority to anyone who dares disagree with him. In responding to Gail Collins’ column in The New York Times he wrote:

Even before Gail Collins was with the New York Times, she has written nasty and derogatory articles about me.  Actually, I have great respect for Ms. Collins in that she has survived so long with so little talent. Her storytelling ability and word usage (coming from me, who has written many bestsellers), is not at a very high level.

Forget the syntax for a moment. “Not at a very high level?” Wow, now that’s word usage! With all this authenticity and career trajectory fur flying around,  Mr. Trump betrays the existence of  ghostwriters as Miley does of AutoTune when she sings live. But given  the level of sophistication each presumes of their audience, their talent is unquestionable. Just ask them. Though to be fair, even institutions of higher learning  like Rutgers  are earning their bad reputation these days when they pay more for a lecture from Snooki than they do for  Toni Morrison. Who’s he you ask? Never mind.

All irreverence aside, you will be happy to know that the serious camp in charge of Mr. Trump’s presidential aspirations is  being run by none other than a man commonly known as  Stewie Rah Rah, the #1 King of Fun.

What more can I say?

April 11, 2011

Calculating Geometry

Op Art inspires me. Let me count the ways.

Josef Albers, Homage to the Square, 1951. albersfoundation.org

Raf Simon’s 5th anniversary collection Spring 2011 for Jil Sander.

April 10, 2011

Never work with children, animals or Cher

“I’ve been 40 and I’ve been 50. 40 is better.”

You don’t seem any smarter than the last time that I saw you.”

What I love about Cher is that she’s part of a rare breed of celebrity who is authentic; she tells it like it is and always has.  Whether she’s discussing fame and wealth, love and sex, body image and aging, mental health or politics one thing is perfectly clear: Cher shoots from the hip. She is thankfully unaffected by a chromosomal abnormality I like to call “Up Syndrome.”

Watch this 2008 interview, especially between minute 5 and 6. Think very carefully when you think to yourself that she’s wrong. She’s not!

I have often quoted from this piece which I saw when it originally aired.  I found it today on YouTube. I bet you start quoting some of what you hear too.

April 5, 2011

Sara Ramirez sings “The Story” on Good Morning America

As if to make up for the Britney Spears concert fiasco the day before, GMA brought on someone who can actually sing. Sara Ramirez, who won a Tony Award for the musical Spamalot, also plays one of the doctors on the night time medical soap opera “Grey’s Anatomy.” This past week, they cast sang the soundtrack instead of having it  piped in as aural wallpaper.

Not only does she look gorgeous out of her scrubs but  sings the daylights out of Brandi Carlile’s ballad “The Story” in the clip below. You should also check out her excellent new EP on iTunes which contains 3 additional tracks.

March 29, 2011

Femme Fatale: Britney Spears “live” on Good Morning America

To promote the release of her new CD Femme Fatale today, earlier in the week Britney Spears  performed 3 songs in front of a live audience in San Francisco. “Good Morning America” devoted its entire second hour this morning to the pre-taped  live concert event.

“Pre-taped live concert event” pretty much describes all of Britney’s work, so it wasn’t particularly odd to see on live morning television.

No, the oddity here was Ms Spears’ lethargic attitude, which regrettably brought to mind the fried chicken/Dunkin Donuts/rehab addicted Britney at the MTV Awards a few years back.

The choreography generally had the energy and complexity of a chair aerobics class at a senior center though at it’s peak it did mimic the artistry one sees at the finale of a 70’s themed performance at a respite center for the developmentally disabled.

As for her “solos,” Ms Spears stood almost in a haze, bending over or rocking back and forth from side to side, often gyrating her neck in order to whip her hair into motion, thus appropriating the entire  repetoire of a dancer with a C section at a Gentlemen’s Club around 2pm on any given weekday.

Despite all of this, there was some good news to report. If one thinks about it, counter-intuitive as it may be, it is quite heartening to hear her declare on her new single that she plans to keep on dancing “Till the World Ends.

She could use the practice.


February 22, 2011

Congressman:Turn Off The Dark (or What a Wicked Web We Weave)


Note to the producers of Spider-man: Turn Off The Dark

How disheartening it must be for you to have put on a $65 million dollar musical and have the critics universally trash it. “As directed by Julie Taymor, who wrote the show’s book with Glen Berger, and featuring songs by U2’s Bono and the Edge, “Spider-Man” is not only the most expensive musical ever to hit Broadway; it may also rank among the worst,” wrote Ben Brantley.

I mean, the people responsible for the film versions managed to turn them into one of the most lucrative movie franchises of all time, but you came up with something which Peter Marks of  The Washington Post noted:

“The 8-year-old boys in the audience might be able to key on the Cirque du Soleil-style stunts on wires and video-game graphic elements, and probably not worry too much that Spider-Man is a tangle of disjointed concepts, scenes and musical sequences that suggests its more appropriate home would be off a highway in Orlando. Come to think of it, the optimal audience might be non-English-speaking.” 

It must also be disheartening to learn that for all the similar pre-production skepticism that accompanied  the premiere of “Anna Nicole”–yes, as in tabloid trainwreck Smith–  in London, “it proved a weirdly inspired work, an engrossing, outrageous, entertaining and, ultimately, deeply moving new opera,”  according to Anthony Tommasini in The New York Times. “This was an improbable triumph for Covent Garden.”

Clearly you need some help and I’m here to help. Scrap the incoherent everything and start from scratch. I propose to you:

CONGRESSMAN

Turn Off The Dark

It’s the story of New York congressman Chris Lee, a 46 year old married father( pictured, left)  and his  web alter ego lobbyist Chris Lee, a divorced  and buff 39 year old (pictured, right).

Lobbyist Chris fights his arch nemesis unprepossesing, mendacity prone CL Man by sending shirtless photos of himself to a woman  on Craigslist who implores in song: “Will someone prove to me not all CL men look like toads?”

By day congressman Chris is a family man and one of the 50 richest members of Congress. The lobbyist Chris fancies himself a “fit, fun and classy guy” who promises “not to disappoint.”  By night lobbyist Chris battles CL Man who frustrates his mission to meet only  the hot gullible women without access to Google  and who populate the  “women seeking men” ads on the web.  Cue the production number  “She was not as advertised,”  a lament in which lobbyist Chris details the pain caused him by dishonest damsels who got caught in his web.

Meanwhile, in a flashback sequence, congressman Chris, on the campaign trail, lectures teenagers against the dangers of using the web and social media inappropriately: “responding to what may seem like a friendly e-mail or an appealing marketing offer can have serious consequences. Private information and images can so easily be transmitted to friends and strangers alike.”

It turns out to be prescient advice. Cue the dancing algorithms which fly atop the audience in high tech harnesses.

Clearly, at the heart of the story is the  how  this man–and by implication all of us– can use social media to create  any number of new realities, the search for the meaning of it all– or just a cheap thrill–  just an engine search away. What is identity, authenticity and privacy in the vast darkness of the new frontier of the web?

The production will also feature the Queen of reality television Kim Kardashian, about whom Lynn Hirschberg has written “can’t sing, act, or dance but she’s found the role of a lifetime playing herself.” (Tony nomination anyone?)

Ms. Kardashian will appear in a parallel storyline in which she plays a vixen who  continuously complains that she doesn’t want to be famous for taking off her clothes but just can’t stop herself from doing exactly that at every opportunity. Her character will be known as “The Lying Queen.”

And since you still don’t have a showstopping number to end the show, no need to further humiliate Bono and The Edge to come up with yet another listless one. They’ve already written the perfect song long ago. It begins:

I have climbed highest mountains
I have run through the fields
Only to be with you
Only to be with you
I have run
I have crawled
I have scaled these city walls
These city walls
Only to be with you

But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for
But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for