Archive | March, 2013

The Ultimate Road Trippin’ Tunes

29 Mar
Over in Japan, Spring is in the air. The cherry blossoms are blooming, I don`t want to die when I sit on a cold toilet seat, and I just had my first road trip of the season. Is there anything better than getting into a car with a bunch of your friends, rolling down the windows and hitting the open road with the music blasting? Okay, I could probably think of a few things but all of them are dirty and involve Ryan Gosling and a chocolate fountain so let`s not get into it here because my mom reads this blog (Hi Mom!).
Oh and one last thing. My friend Molly and I have started a twitter account that is basically the greatest/most awful and inappropriate things we chat about on g-chat. The tweets are pulled from actual g-chat conversations we’ve been having for months while being bored at work. We thought it was rude to keep all of this hilarity to ourselves so in the spirit of Easter and giving – we bring you Assholes on G-chat https://twitter.com/chataintright. Follow us, promote us to your friends and when we’re famous we’ll totally pretend we remember your name.

Anyway, the weekend road trip has inspired this week’s entry — ultimate road trippin’  songs! So without further hesitation – my list. Please feel free to add your favorite jams in the comment section. Looking forward to getting a few new ideas for my next trip!

Road Trip Tunes (In No Particular Order because I am not spending two hours making you lazy jerks the perfect playlist)

No Diggity – Blackstreet – I feel like this one hits particularly with those of us who remember wearing Calvin Klein t-shirts and mini-backpacks we bought at Claire’s  to middle school dances in the mid 90s. But for real. I dare you not start singing this when you hear the words `Shorty get down, good lord…` Impossible.

The Chain – Fleetwood Mac – Really any Fleetwood Mac song will suffice on a road trip because they are amazing but there is something primal and intense about this one. You can tell that some serious hate fucking was going down when Lindsey and Stevie wrote this. I particularly recommend the version off the live album The Dance. Just yell singing `Cha-aiiii-aiinnnnnnn — keep us together!` over and over again is so fucking great. Bonus – there are amazing opportunities for epic air bass and air guitar.

Ooh La La – The Faces – For those of you not up on your Rod Stewart before he went solo then basically this is the song that goes `I wish that I knew what I know now…when I was younger. I WISH.THAT. I knew what I know now. When I was stronger` and he sings Oooh La La  quite a few times too. Basically, it`s as close as Rod Stewart ever got to perfection outside of his beautiful 80s mullet.
You're welcome ladies. Enjoy that Kentucky waterfall.

You’re welcome ladies. Enjoy that Kentucky waterfall.

Always Be My Baby – Mariah Carey – Sing it with me ladies (and men who are comfortable with their love of Mimi) -” Doo doo doo doh, doo doo doo doo doo doo doh. We were as one babe, for a moment in timmmmmme. And it seemed everlasting that you would always be minnnnneeeeeeeee.” Let`s just all flashback to listening to Mariah on our portable discmans on the back of the school bus and smile. Thank you. Great sing-along for a girl road trip because erryone knows the words.

Ignition (Remix) – R. Kelly – Please. If you don`t instinctively go “Awww yeah” when you hear the beginning of this song then we probably aren’t friends and will never be friends. Also, let’s just all admit that at one point in time in college our AIM away message was “Sippin’ on Coke and Rum. I’m like so what I’m drunk. It’s the freaking weekend, baby I’m about to have me some fun.”

Laid – James – This is that song that you always heard in the dive bar you went to in college about getting laid. If you don`t think you know it, I guarantee you do. It starts with `This bed is on fire with passionate love, the neighbors complain about the noise from above…`. Basically what is great is that this song is super dirty and catchy and ends with everyone trying to go into their falsetto to sing `LaaaaaIDDDDDDDDDDDDD, LaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIID` and it is a beautiful moment. Go for those high notes y`all, the windows are down and your friends are hopefully not a pack of dogs.

Sympathy for the Devil or Gimme Shelter – The Rolling Stones – The Jim Beddall classics of my car ride. Because sometimes you are on a road trip with your dad from Pennsylvania to Florida and musically what you can both agree upon is how great both The Roots (yes, my dad loves the Roots) and The Stones are and then you put on Let it Bleed, start up Gimme Shelter and both start shout singing `War, Children. It`s just a shot away. It`s just a shot away!!!!!!!!!!!` very loudly on I-95. And if Gimme Shelter isn’t your thing then Sympathy for the Devil has a great rhythm section at the beginning and then you get to do all the “doo doos” if you don`t really know all the words. Road trip perfection.

Basically anything by Prince – Do I even need to explain how great singing Prince in the car is? I hope not but in case you aren’t convinced just add When Doves Cry, Kiss, Purple Rain, Raspberry Beret or Let’s Go Crazy to your mix and watch your whole car go crazy.

The best.

The best.

Say It Ain’t So – Weezer – I know this shows up on my ultimate karaoke jamz list too, but seriously guys, everyone seems to know the words to it and you don’t need a particularly good voice to sing along. Plus it’s so satisfying singing the chorus – `Say it ain’t soooooooooo-whooooooaaaaaa`.

Lovefool – The Cardigans – Dear I fear we’re facing a problem if you love this song no longer. Easily one of my favorite (and best) pop songs of the late 90s. If you don`t know all the words to the song like I do after listening to the Romeo and Juliet soundtrack a LOT in seventh grade then I guarantee you can at least join along for the chorus of `Love me, love me, saaaaay that you love me. Fool me, fool me, go on foooool me. Love me, love me, say that you love. Leave me, Leave me, just say that you need me. I can’t care about anything but you`. Candy pop perfection.

I Believe in a Thing Called Love – The Darkness – This song reminds me of living in Ireland my sophomore year of college (shout out to the Dublin crew). The Darkness were insanely big in Europe and the minute I heard this song I knew I was destined to shout sing it from my little Tercel on all future road trips. Not only do you get to sing in a faux British accent, you also get to shout sing in a high Freddie Mercury style falsetto and have the opportunity for really intense air guitar solos. Sing it now – TOUCHING YOOOOUUUUUU, TOUCHING MEEEEEE! Yeah, done and done.

Hey Ya – Outkast – Another not quite old school but almost old school crowd pleaser that everyone knows and can seat dance to. We all like shaking it like a Poloroid picture and the Ladies and Fellas shout-outs in the song because they are magical.

Say My Name – Destiny`s Child – Another repeat off the karaoke jamz list but that is only because it is so magical. If your car is full of ladies you can try for the harmonies and Beyonce is pretty much perfection whether she is flying solo or heading up DC. No playlist is complete without Queen B.
I totally forgot there used to be four of them!

I totally forgot there used to be four of them!

Gin and Juice – Snoop Dogg – Okay, so when I wanted to throw some old school rap on here, what I really wanted to put on was Juicy by Biggie because that is my personal preference. Biggie’s flow is obvi the best in the biz but the more popular and easily sung to rap was chosen and the D-O-double G wins the day. Plus, it’s a really great rap song and it`s about rolling down the streets smoking and drankin.
Blister in the Sun – Violent Femmes – Everything about this song. Everything. The fact that your voice doesn’t even need to be close to great to sing it, the fact that it’s what Angela Chase danced to after she realized she was finally over Jordan Catalano, the fact that it is so perfectly 90s and that people both 15 years older and 10 years younger than me can universally agree that it`s great to shout/sing is enough for me. LET ME GO ONNNNNNNNN…..LIKE A BLISTER IN THE SUN!
This youtube clip of Claire Danes dancing to this song pretty much goes to show that Claire Danes has always and will always rule.

And now for the songs that I recognize aren`t for everyone but are undeniably for me. If you don`t like it, then get outta my car jerkface.

Ex-Factor – Lauryn Hill – This song just makes me put on my sunglasses so you don`t see me cry, grip my chest like I am having a heart attack a few times and just really belt the pain. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was THE album of my mid teenager years and will never die. I whipped this out on road trip this weekend and I think I made one friend feel pretty uncomfortable with all my emoting and another friend was just as into it as I was. Know your audience, or be like me and not give a fuck.
THE album of my teens.

THE album of my teens.

Anything by Paul Simon – Graceland, Late in the Evening, Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes, anything in the Simon and Garfunkel collection. Paul Simon is pretty much one of my favorite singer/songwriters of all time and I can guarantee that he will be on my road tripping playlist. I recognize he is not for everyone, but I also recognize that a lot of people have terrible taste. Paul for the win! My personal favorite Paul road trip song is Graceland because it`s just so beautiful and perfect.
The Rat – Walkmen – I like to get a few good angry sings in while I drive and this song by The Walkmen is full of fury and break-up rage but is also extremely catchy and not like MegaDeath angry. A perfect pop-rock ripper.
Anything by Rilo Kiley/Jenny Lewis/Fiona Apple — Sometimes I gotta get my girl angst out and feel my feelings for two seconds. Any song by Rilo Kiley, Jenny Lewis or Fiona Apple will usually suffice. I usually don`t do this with gents in the car — so broads in my car — it`s happening. We can sing our feelings. It will be great.
Time After Time – Cyndi Lauper – See above. Except I have no problem singing this with dudes in the car. Ya been warned.
Parks and Rec knows what's up.

Parks and Rec knows what’s up.

What’s on your road trippin’ playlist? Please share in the comments or on my twitter (https://twitter.com/eebeddall) or facebook because I love hearing from you. Smooches. Get ready for our Game of Thrones recaps starting next week!

My Week in Pop Culture

22 Mar

It’s almost Spring in Japan which means perfect weather, cherry blossoms and road trips are just around the corner, but as of now I’m still sleeping with my electric blanket on most nights and waking up freezing my ass off. Soon enough I will long for the days where I’m not sweating like Chris Farley after the timed mile in gym class, but for now, I want warm weather. While I’m still cold and cursing living in the mountains I have had time to catch some new shows and tunes.  Here’s what I’ve been listening to and watching these past two weeks.

Oh and hey – do you guys do the whole twitter thing? Because Brem and I totes do. Follow us on twitter – Brem posts great tweets about music she is seeing or listening to and I am generally an asshole who comments on random things.

Me – https://twitter.com/eebeddall

Brem – https://twitter.com/bremily

What I’m Watching

Top of the Lake

So this is a 7 hour mini-series starring the amazing Elizabeth Moss (Peggy Olson on Mad Men) as a New Zealand detective looking into the case of a twelve year old girl who is pregnant and then disappears outside of Queenstown, NZ. The missing girl is the daughter of the town thug and her brothers, father and several other creepy townspeople are suspects in the crime.

Top of the Lake

Top of the Lake

Moss’s character is back in her hometown from Sydney to take care of her ailing mother when she receives the call about the girl and goes in to help question her. The whole case is being handled with an air of indifference (the dudes in this town are highly sexist) and she quickly takes charge and attempts to help the frightened girl.

Moss is steely and strong but also vulnerable and sympathetic in the role and I have to say she is one of the best actresses on the small screen these days. Her character has some sort of history with the girl’s older half brother and there are hints that something really bad happened to her that led her to become the avenging angel and badass detective she is today. This all works because Moss holds a little back and we’re never quite sure exactly what is going on in her mind. I  look forward to the reveals about her past, her family and her relationship with Tui’s (the missing girl) half brother.

Most badass lady on TV.

Most badass lady on TV.

Basically this show is everything the Killing wishes it was. Not that the The Killing was bad, in fact, there were parts of the first season that were riveting until the writers shit the bed and created all of these crazy plots and then decided not to reveal who the killer was until season 2. But I digress. The town is full of eccentric oddballs and menacing killers and has a vague Twin Peaks feel to it, which I obviously love.

Holly Hunter and a group of strange women trying to mend their broken hearts offer some levity to the series. Hunter plays a prophet sort of character who has a sort of hippie commune for women who are trying to get their lives together and they happen to be living on  land apparently owned by Tui’s volatile father. The women take Tui in when she initially runs away but she disappears before they learn much about her. The women are great and Hunter is always a delight. There is a story about a woman who was living with orangutan that literally made me snot chocolate milk out of my nose (sounds weird, but it was a great scene – trust me).

Tui's creepster bros.

Tui’s creepster bros.

The setting of the show is also gorgeous as it is filmed in creator/director/writer/Oscar nominee Jane Campion’s homeland on the south island of New Zealand. I loved watching the first two episodes and have high hopes for the final five.  It’s airing on Sundance Channel in America and also can be streamed online if you know the right websites. I definitely recommend this mini-series very highly and it’s not like I’m telling you to invest in a whole season of television here — just seven hours spread out across three or four weeks. Let me know if get the chance to check it out.

Game of Thrones

The season hasn’t started yet but I am already dying and have watched all of the trailers at least five times each in anticipation. The third book is my favorite so I hope they do it justice. Just seeing clips of Brienne and the bear, the dragons and Jon Snow and Ygritte in the cave (ow ow!) are making me salivate with excitement. If you still somehow haven’t watched Game of Throne or think you’re too cool for it, then get off your high horse because it rules. Catch up on Seasons 1 and 2 so you can join Brem and I in our weekly recap discussions.

Archer

I need to preface this whole thing by saying I’m not a cartoon person, not even close. I’ve seen about three episodes of The Simpsons in my life and I’m not into the Family Guy unless I’m completely wasted. I once was out with a guy who endlessly quoted The Family Guy and tried doing the vocal impersonations and I’ve never wanted to punch someone in the face so much in my life. So when I asked for show suggestions (and thank you for those that gave them — I’ll be checking out Luther soon Colleen), my friend Molly https://twitter.com/MollyTRex (who has similar tastes to my own — aka very good taste), suggested Archer.

The Dutchess

The Dutchess

This wasn’t the first time I’d heard about this show as it’s basically a partial Arrested Development reunion in the fact that it has Jessica Walter voicing the role of Malory Archer, a caustic alcoholic withholding mother and boss of spy agency ISIS, Jeffrey Tambor as a director of a rival spy company and once paramour who is still in love with Malory, and Judy Greer as Cheryl Tunt (yep – great names) – who is basically playing Kitty from AD all over again as the vapid and sexually inappropriate secretary to Malory. Arrested Development in cartoon form — sign this girl up!

Danger Zone!

Danger Zone!

Rounding out the vocal performances are H. Jon Benjamin as the pompous ladies man/asshole/super-spy Sterling Malory Archer, Aisha Tyler as the sexy, no-bullshit super spy and former lover of Archer – Lana Kane, Chris Parnell as the hapless accountant/sex addict/nerd Cyril Figgis, and Amber Nash as the hedonistic, ridiculously amazing HR rep Pam Poovey.

My favorite asshole on tv right now.

My favorite asshole on tv right now.

This show is fucking amazing you guys. The  jokes are fast and furious and super inappropriate and because the characters are cartoons, the violence, sex, and shenanigans are way more insane and hilarious because they can get away with so much more. The more I watch this show, the more I love it and all of the characters. Characters I thought I was going to hate have turned out to be my favorites (Pam, Cheryl).  This show really appeals to my inner twelve year old except it is slightly more sophisticated than twelve year old me, only slightly. The voice-overs are great, the editing is amazing and the show is worth your precious viewing time. Thanks Molly — good call.

What I’m Listening To

Foxygen – We are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic

Yes, I recognize how positively ridiculous this album title is, but the music is legit. It’s my soundtrack to spring right now. I am not sure how to describe the sound exactly – it’s like a bit of 60s California Rock mixed with Belle and Sebastian sensibilities. The lead singer sort of reminds me of a young Mick Jagger and Bob Dylan and I really thoroughly dig it. I also really enjoy the full album as a listen which is sign of good music to me.

http://grooveshark.com/s/San+Francisco/50xyHW?src=5

http://grooveshark.com/s/No+Destruction/50KpI2?src=5

Although we currently live in the age of singles and digital music – I often will burn a whole album to CD to listen to while I drive (I have a half hour commute to work each way and drive often) and there are not many albums that I feel like play well all the way through. I give each album I burn at least three listens before deciding whether or not it will get regular play on my drives to work. Foxygen passes the test. My favorite tracks off the album are – San Francisco, No Destruction, and Shuggie.

Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience

I am gonna need a minute because I feel like I’ve been waiting for this album for forever and that’s because it has been seven years since Justin released FutureSex/LoveSounds onto the earth. I missed him and his slick dance moves and sexy falsetto and terrible lyrics but amazing musicality.

I have finally listened to the full album two times and I give it two thumbs up and am also wondering why he released Suit and Tie as his first single. There are way more catchy tunes on this album that I look forward to dancing around to it sans pants in my living room once it gets slightly warmer.

Yes please.

Yes please.

You know he’s amazing because he even takes a song titled Strawberry Bubblegum and makes it great – it starts with some Barry White voice stuff at the beginning and combines it with JT’s most beautiful falsetto. I don’t even care that the lyrics are like “She’s smacking that strawberry bubblegum” because the song has funk and soul and weirdly sounds like amazing elevator music during a break down. Not even mad, so good. Good god.

The music is great and happy and soooo danceable – but none of that dub-step shit that shows up in most everything these days. Listen I love a good dancing song with some dub-step bidness every now again but once Taylor Swift starts throwing dub-step breakdowns into her songs it has officially been overused and overplayed. This album is like a mix of 70s soul (the horns on That Girl, Pusher Love, etc — great stuff) with some terrific rhythmic beats underneath JT’s soaring voice (good call on collaborating with Timbaland).

Jessica Biel is one lucky betch.

Jessica Biel is one lucky betch.

Some song make me want to dance (Let the Groove Get in, Body Count) and some make me want to get down and then smoke a cig (Tunnel Vision, Dress On).  Favorite Tracks – That Girl, Tunnel Vision, Mirrors, Let the Groove Get In — damn, this is hard, pretty much all of the songs are pretty great. Do you think Jessica Biel just high fives herself in the mirror every morning because she knows this whole album is pretty much JT singing about how much he loves her. Lucky bitch.

http://grooveshark.com/s/Tunnel+Vision/54MJk4?src=5

http://grooveshark.com/s/That+Girl/54Kpbo?src=5

http://grooveshark.com/s/Mirrors/54KprR?src=5

Have a super weekend everyone.

Thanks for reading!

SXSW music! Part 1!

22 Mar

I’m back! And I’m cold.

Last week’s trip to Austin was everything I’d hoped it would be. And reminded me that I’m ready for spring. It was sunny and warm. That isn’t even close to important and perhaps I’m writing that because it’s the second day of spring and I’m fucking freezing. And a little sad the whole thing is over.

So our trip started with a funny (haha) little snafu on our part.  When we got to the Philly airport on Wednesday I said to Brad “So, I think I saw that we are flying into San Antonio?”. He looked at me funny and said “No, why would you think that?”. I looked at him blankly and said “I don’t know, maybe I made that up?”.

I didn’t.

We had originally booked our flight to Austin then needed to change it because of Brad’s work schedule. It seems that at some point during the switch we were offered “nearby airports”. 80 miles away. Which required renting a car to drive to Austin, park the car in Austin, come back to San Antonio the night before our return flight at 8am, rent a hotel in San Antonio (and ditch our already paid-for hotel in Austin).  So car+parking+gas+additional hotel ended up costing us about $700. FUUUUUCK. And that was after the $300 fee for switching the flights. What a waste.

We remained upbeat.

We had originally planned on hitting a Cold War Kids show at midnight on Wednesday, but after our little detour we weren’t able to make it.  Probably my biggest regret.  But then things got good.

Here’s one thing I learned about myself: I have absolutely no gauge on how popular bands are, apparently.  I find music from word of mouth, xpn, and random music blogs, buy music online and mostly see the same local bands over and over.  I guess this has lead me to have no clue whether a band is very popular or not.  Also, I think the number of shows and variety of venues at SXSW lead to crowds that are not necessarily representative of how many fans they have. I guess? I was repeatedly surprised.

Also, we had no SXSW badges to get into any official showcases – this really didn’t cramp my style at all and I don’t regret that decision one bit. This could actually be quite an affordable trip if you find the right place to stay and plan parties to get food and drinks (and don’t fuck up your travel plans to the tune of an extra grand).

Another fun fact: I drunkenly deleted all my pictures from my memory card on Thursday – the wise people from the internet say that I can get them back since I haven’t taken any more pictures on that card since, and hopefully I will.  I can be rather lazy. Cell phone pics for now, because if I try to wait and edit all that shit, we’ll be 6 months out and I won’t remember anything.

Thursday:

Cheers Elephant

We showed up about 2 hours early for a band I was sure was going to have a line wrapped around the block only to get a table with a waitress 15 feet from the stage, with about 20 other people there.  The band members were sitting at the table next to me.  While coming back from the bathroom I nailed my arm into the lead singers chair and felt like an awkward dork (he was very nice though).  I got a pretty nasty bruise on my arm which I consider a battlescar (in the war of me vs. clumsiness). The show was lots of fun and the perfect way to get started. High energy, small but fun and enthusiastic crowd, perfect sunshiny warmth, slight buzz. Ahh.

I also took an accidental 7 minute video of the girl-in-front-of-me’s butt. It’s very avante garde.  My 4 year-old niece thinks it’s the funniest movie she’s ever seen. Sorry, girl.

afterlight

Ali Wadsworth

We left and rushed over to Rachael Ray’s Feedback House Party at Banger’s – a really cool outdoor venue, to see a few of my favorite local acts.  Ali is actually an old friend of mine from when I was a camp counselor, and she is just fucking great. Banger’s was a converted house with a huge fenced in yard with looong picnic tables and cornhole and buffet. Free food, free drinks, free music. That part of SXSW was incredible – free shit everywhere.  Ali is an incredible singer and mixes some fun funny drinking songs with some huge, monster songs that will blow your hair back. She’s working on an album and I can’t wait for it.

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Toy Soldiers

I’ve probably seen them more than any other band in my life, and just couldn’t miss ’em down there.  Great show, as always, a little more low-key than usual – the frenzied crescendo that ends most shows was notably muted – but it was the middle of the day, with most people sitting and eating at that time, so I can see why.

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Jonny Fritz

I saw him as a “surprise” guest a few weeks ago and loved him – I honestly enjoyed his acoustic duo at the house show more than the full stage act, but still a really talented guy, with seriously quirky songs. He just seems like a super odd guy, but way talented and genuine. I talked to him a bit after the show and told him I contributed to the kickstarter he had for his wedding (I told you, odd!). He seemed almost apologetic about it (said he had to cancel a bunch of shows in order to do it, plus the total amount they were trying to raise was only $1500 – I donated 5 bucks to get the postcard they had as a perk!) and told me he just met her that week. I wasn’t sure what was true, but he was really nice. I was pretty drunk and ended up buying a copy of his CD that I already owned. Corndawg!

photo(5)

So we stumbled back to the Convention Center to catch our shuttle (R&R shuttles, which worked pretty smoothly overall), I promptly accidentally deleted all the pictures from my big camera, and fell face down into the bed fully dressed. Success.

Friday:

ALT-J

So again, I misjudged the popularity of a band and started our day with a 1.3 mile walk (which included a long detour through some neighborhoods thanks to crap maps on Brad’s phone [they were beautiful neighborhoods, though]) we ended up at Waterloo Records headquarters to see Alt-J. No way. Hundreds of people wrapped around the place, long lines, people yelling at us that we couldn’t block the sidewalk. No go. Walk away. Ok, sorry – I had no idea they were that popular. We are not worthy.

Joe Fletcher with Jonah Tolchin and other guy with great big beard and smiley face

My goal was to see David Wax Museum and we showed up during the proceeding act, Joe Fletcher. I figured this show would be huge, I would be late and was ready to give up on the whole day after walking an extra 2 miles the wrong way across town again (Um, The Tap Room on 6 was… not on 6th. that’s some tricky shit.). It was 2:30 and so far the whole day was FAIL (well, except the flautas. Tex Mex food agrees with me). We showed up to the venue and it ended up being a smallish, open concept bar, uncrowded and perfect. These guys were fun, solid folk with harmonicas blazin’. Brad was lukewarm (his folk sensibilities are not quite as folky as mine), but I liked them. Not love, but maybe it was because I was SO! EXCITED! for:

DAVID WAX MUSEUM!!!!

This show was hands down my very favorite performance of the entire trip. AHH! I discovered David Wax Museum after shazaaming a song I heard on the radio, and quickly fell in love.  I hadn’t ever seen what he looked like though, so as I stood there waiting for him to take the stage I google image searched him and started looking around the bar for him. Yeah, he was right behind me on the balcony, watching me google him. STARING ME IN THE FACE. HA! He happens to have the bluest eyes I have ever seen, and somehow reminded me of a killer, so I was seriously freaked out. I can’t describe it. I was really uncomfortable.  He was making a very serious, murderer face.

BUT THEN! They started. With BIG, HUGE ADORABLE grins on their faces, obviously enjoying themselves more than possibly anyone I’ve ever seen on a stage, and just killed it. They describe their sounds as Mexo-Americana,  folk mixed with Mexican Son music. They play about a million different instruments. Suz Slezak (David Wax’s main partner in crime) was possibly the most adorable human I’d ever seen, as well as being sick talented. I was obsessed with her. There were a few parts of the performance when I literally laughed out loud – a thing my friend Mandy does when a band is unbelievably awesome, which I never understood before. Now I get it.

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Hacienda

We headed across town to see a friend and ended up catching a few songs from this band. I didn’t know much about them at the time, but later found out they’ve opened for the Black Keys, Grace Potter and and the Nocturnals and Dr. Dog.  Liked them a lot but I really wish I would have listened to them before. I spent too much time processing to really enjoy myself. Solid show to accidentally catch, for sure.

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Michaela Ann with Jeff Malinowski

Jeff was another friend of mine from when I was a camp counselor in Maine, many moons ago. He commented on a photo I posted on Instagram and mentioned that he would be playing in Austin the next day, so of course I had to go see him.  He was playing guitar with a friend, Michaela Ann at a cool place on the East side of town. A bit of a hike, but it was cool to see another side of town – artsier, scrappier, with even more personality than downtown. They were great – female vocals + country isn’t usually my favorite, but she had a lovely, soothing voice and seemed like the sweetest human being on earth. The show was in the front yard of the place, and the street quickly clogged up with people stopping to watch her. Lovely. Jeff mentioned before I left that he was sure our paths would cross again, and he hoped it wouldn’t be ten years this time (FORESHADOWING!).

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Jim James

We left and tried to hail a pedi-cab to take us across the lake to Auditorium Shores – a free “official sxsw” concert at a huge outdoor venue. The bike cab driver told us no – he said it was pretty much the furthest place you can go and maybe we could ask around to see if anyone else would do it.  After a long day of walking and sun we were fairly burned out but decided we’d hoof it.  It really wasn’t that terrible. We crossed the river lake with about a million other people and entered the venue – it was pretty well organized and hassle free. We got as close as I could get Brad to go (until he started hissing “we don’t need to be in the front!” – sorry, love, but we will just have to agree to disagree on that one) and Jim James started right away.

So I knew him, I knew he was in My Morning Jacket, and knew a few songs from his new album and liked them. I had no idea that many people would have gone to see him. I want to say it was in the tens of thousands.  Another big surprise in the “how many people will show up” arena, though I’m sure that The Flaming Lips playing after had a bit to do with it. Or I’m just totally out of it.  Anyway, I love the song New Life and was a little tipsy and swirly at this point and the sun was setting  and it was great. Wow, that whole paragraph was not actually about Jim James. Good thing I’m not a music critic, shiiit.

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Flaming Lips

Holy Moly. I don’t believe I can say that I was surprised by the antics that went on during this show, but I can say I found it absolutely grotesque and bizarre, horrendously painful and also relaxing and beautiful.  Wayne Coyne came out wrapped in cords of lights, with an incredible light show – carrying a baby doll. Cradling the baby doll. Kissing the baby doll. Talking about the baby doll. For at least an hour, while playing their new album (that no one has heard yet) – mid-tempo outer space rock. I hate to say it, and tried to be open minded, but whooosh. It was boring and creepy. When he said he had one song left I asked Brad if he wanted to leave. Brad, The Oracle, in his INFINITE wisdom, said “No, maybe he’ll play a good encore.” (In my defense I was really asking in case Brad was dying to leave. Crowds are pure torture to him, and he had been an amazingly good sport with all my rushin’ around). And then, there it was: 5 songs from Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (starting with my absolute favorite Lips song: Fight Test. It’s my “song I never get tired of”. Check it.) and ending with Do You Realize?.  Everyone around me sang and danced like they were tripping. Actually I knew some of them were tripping, because I overheard them say it (come on, they were one foot from my face). The one dude right in front of me kept turning around and looking at me, and for some reason I knew I was reassuring him – he would smile a tiny bit with a scared look on his face and when I would smile and nod he would visibly relax and turn around again. I had no idea exactly what was going on in his mind, but I was glad to be of help. It happened like 7 or 8 times (and again, he was less than a foot from my face, so it was probably weirder than it even sounds).  I saw him in the crowd while walking out and he stopped dead and stared at me – I had no idea what to do so I just said “See ya later!” and ran off.  Oh, drugs.

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So that’s the first half – this shit is getting looong (2nd time I’ve used the word looong in this post, btw) so I think I’ll kill it there, and make a Part 2. Hopefully with real pictures. I haven’t even looked at them yet. Could be magic! Congratulations if you made it this far! Even if you just looked at pictures, I still love you!

Girls S2E10 – I Can’t Be the Only Thing You Like

19 Mar

First, I must say it’s been a pleasure watching this season with all of you. Your comments, personal e-mails sent to me about episodes or characters and interaction with me via this blog have been really rewarding and I often feel that half the reason I love to watch Girls is because I love to talk about it. Last night after finishing the finale I felt a whole mix of emotions – frustrated, a little angry, a little happy, and ultimately hopeful for next season.

Everyone is a MESS!

Everyone is a MESS!

I was initially pretty pissed that everything turned out just fine for everyone (relatively speaking) even though it felt really unearned (esp. the Marnie sitch — yikes) but I think we need to look at this finale as a pause in action — not the end of a romantic comedy (despite the last ten minutes). We’re going to see next season what happens when everyone gets what they think they want — and I suspect it won’t be happily ever after for long.

I was able to talk out my feelings with a friend via an hour long g-chat about the episode where she pointed out that Girls must be doing something right because we just spent double the time of the episode talking about it. Truth. So let’s get to talking. I’m less angry than I was last night, but still feeling like this season could have gone in a different and more satisfying direction. So to the recap.

Hannah

Hannah is still in a downward spiral she can’t pull herself out of. I could talk about how annoyed I am that the OCD we never really heard about before three episodes ago has factored in so heavily in the end arc of Hannah’s story this season, but I will refrain. It’s almost like it’s a weird device being used to make us feel sympathy for Hannah when I really don’t want to feel bad for her. And then I feel bad for her a little and kind of hate myself for it.

Get serious about life Hannah!

Get serious about life Hannah!

Hannah’s in the same shirt we saw her in last episode and her hair is so greasy it looks like she combed a pork chop through it. She’s a mess and dodging doing her work and hiding from the world. Part of this definitely can be attributed to her fragile mental state, but part of it is that Hannah is the worst and is using her illness as a crutch to avoid her responsibilities. She gets an angry call from her editor (whom I love just for looking at/narrating pics of Chloe Sevigny while waiting for Hannah to pick up) basically demanding pages or else she’ll be sued and she flies into panic.

Here’s the thing. The editor is right. He paid Hannah for her pages and she needs to start producing them – because that is what writing for a living is. This guy trusted Hannah and she is jerking him around. The threat of being sued naturally freaks Hannah out so she calls her dad and asks him to loan her money to pay back her advance so she can be “free in her creative process”. Bleh.

Love him.

Love him.

And in the best move ever – her dad calls her out and says he babied her too much as a kid and let her skip school to dodge out of things and has made excuses for her for too long. He tells her she needs to stop doing this and live up to her responsibilities, he isn’t bailing her out and he won’t be manipulated by her again. Nicely done dad. You’re doing the right thing. Cut the cord dude, Hannah needs to fail without rescue in order to get her ass in gear.

Later in the episode Marnie comes to check on Hannah at the apartment since she hasn’t been returning her texts (I guess it’s a good sign that they are still sort of in touch). Hannah runs and hides when she hears Marnie’s voice. Marnie comes in and yells around the apartment looking for Hannah, knowing that she is there. She tells her she is worried as she looks around the clearly messy and disgusting apartment. She refuses to look for Hannah under the bed and then she sees what I thought would cause her to stay and really talk with Hannah – she sees that Hannah is planning to write about them. “A friendship between college girls is grander and more dramatic than any romance.” This friendship break-up has been rough on both of them and instead of staying to talk – Marnie takes a candelabra and books it out of there. Yikes.

Hot mess express. Ticket for one.

Hot mess express. Ticket for one.

Sorry for this tangent but….

I’ve been thinking that one reason why I really loved this show last season was because I loved the way the ensemble of characters bounced off each other and how the girls (while they could be shitty to each other as friends sometimes are) genuinely were there for each other and had affection for each other. It emphasized the importance of these friendships and relationships in their life and I remember the roomie break-up of Hannah and Marnie seeming worse than any romantic break because it meant so much more.

This season each girl has existed in her own vacuum of a story line. No one really hung out and they became increasingly isolated from each other instead choosing to get their “love” and support from the dudes in their lives. This has lead to them having really shitty years – Jessa and Thomas John was a disaster, Hannah’s myriad of lovers brought her no happiness or sanity, Shosh’s whole life started revolving around Ray and Marnie let her break-up with Charlie and relationship with Booth define her life. UGH. This made this season really hard to watch. See the video below for evidence

Watching these girls define themselves by the men in their lives was difficult though I know it’s something a lot of girls in their 20s go through. We all have had that friend who defines herself by who her slampiece is or who disappears when she gets a boyfriend – it’s not uncommon, but I guess I just wanted more from these four.

Okay, so back to Hannah. After Marnie leaves she decides to continue to eat Cool Whip, read magazines, and give herself a haircut instead of doing her work. She tries for a Carey Mulligan look and botches it completely which leads to her going to Laird’s apartment for help. Laird fixes her up so she looks slightly less terrible.

Looking very Girl, Interrupted here.

Looking very Girl, Interrupted here.

Hannah explains that she doesn’t want to clean up her own mess and how she just wishes there was someone there to help her. Laird is kind and tells her he cleans up his own messes too and it’s a difficult thing to do and it hurts sometimes. It’s a genuinely sweet scene until Hannah nearly passes out from not eating/anxiety and tells Laird to be gentle but she’s too weak to fight him off sexually. Presumptuous much Hannah Banana?

Laird’s exchange with Hannah is the best. He tells her he doesn’t like her like that anymore after seeing how she treats people and that her insides are rotten. He tells her she is the most presumptuous and self-absorbed person he has ever met and that he thinks the scene in her head must be pretty dark. Well done sir (or should I say Councilman Jamm from Parks and Rec).  And as Hannah apologizes for not seeing Laird as person before, I feel the mix of both loathing and empathy for Hannah all at once that is a real signature of this show. Great scene.

Laird - speaker of harsh truth!

Laird – speaker of harsh truth!

Hannah then returns to her apartment to call Jessa and freak out on her for bailing on her and basically says she has no friends and no one to talk to about the shit going on in her life (even though she has been burning bridges all season and shouldn’t be surprised). She calls Marnie an anorexic, Shosh becomes “fucking Shosh” and Adam is her “stalker ex-boyfriend”. Way harsh lady.

In the end she calls Adam (who is totally the season’s MVP) via Facetime and he comes to her rescue as he runs down the street and stays on the phone with her. Yes, it’s absurd and romantic and had I not been completely frustrated with Hannah at this moment then I would have loved it more when Adam beat down the door and came in to scoop her up. This was like a cliche rom-com happy ending that I couldn’t get on board with. Not because I don’t love Adam and think its perfectly plausible he’d ride the subway with no shirt, but because this romantic reunion sort of comes out of nowhere. For a moment – Hannah is “rescued”.

Adam is the best, but does Hannah deserve this?

Adam is the best, but does Hannah deserve this?

I guess I feel like I should have felt more here, but I didn’t. It was sweet and I love Adam but I also know that a real relationship between these two is going to be a lot more difficult than breaking down someone’s door and scooping them up. Hannah’s still going to get sued most likely, she still has OCD and a bad haircut, and she still will have problems with Adam. She is back to square one, but hopefully manned with a little more knowledge from her many mistakes this season. I’m interested to see where she goes next even if she is totally the wound of the season.

Shosh and Ray

First of all, that sex scene was so painful. Fellas you know there is trouble in paradise when your girl is wearing a hoodie during sex and essentially not into it at all and tells you she doesn’t want to finish. Yikes. Shosh brings up yet again that she wants Ray to have ambition and to want something because she can’t live like this.

Adorably, Ray goes to Grumpy’s to quit and get back on track finishing his PhD in Philosophy (of course!). Colin Quinn (Grumpy) tells him that his girlfriend doesn’t want a doctor of philosophy but rather someone who is going to be able to provide for her and buy her croissant shaped fancy purses. He is opening a new Grumpy’s in Brooklyn Heights and wants Ray to run the new store and build it from the ground up. He tells Ray he can make a good living out of it and that he can pursue his passions on the weekend. Ray takes the job but asks for a more impressive title for Shosh’s benefit and it’s all oddly sweet.

So Colin Quinn has been running Grumpy's since leaving SNL. Cool

So Colin Quinn has been running Grumpy’s since leaving SNL. Cool

Ray comes home with the good news but is met by a less than enthusiastic Shosh who begins to try to break up with him in what I would call the best acted scene of the night. Adam Driver might be the MVP of the season, but Zosia Mamet is a very close second. Her breakdown over how Ray doesn’t like anything she likes and the list of things he hates including the sound of children playing and going out to dinner (which Shosh LOVES) and ribbons is both heartbreaking and hilarious all at once.

She tells Ray she can’t grow into the person she is supposed to be with his black soul hanging over her, she needs experiences and positivity. Ray asks if there is someone else, some adult blonde male waiting in the wings. But Shosh says there isn’t and that maybe someday he’ll change and she’ll grow and she can love his black soul, but not now.

I can't be the only thing you like.

I can’t be the only thing you like.

With that ends the relationship between my two favorite weirdos – Shosh and Ray. Ray takes his Andy Kaufman cut-out and storms out and Shosh breaks down in tears in that amazing butterfly dress. Shosh did the right thing, no matter how much I love Ray. She was right and she told him what she wants. I look forward to seeing Shosh out in the world next year – figuring her shit out. You know she has more amazing things in that weirdo brain of hers than just thinking about/dating Ray.

Emmy nomination please and thank you.

Emmy nomination please and thank you.

Of course the end montage shows Shosh making out with an adult male blonde who looked like Rolf from Sound of Music, but that’s cool. Homegirl needs to be twenty-one and crazy and enjoy college and do fun shit. Get it Shosh. And Ray – I hope you find happiness and life direction and that you get therapy like Shosh suggested.

Marnie and Charlie

Easily the worst of the story lines and the one that chapped my asshole the most. Seriously — suddenly Marnie wants Charlie and thinks she is over everything she’s been going through? The answer is in being with Charlie. It seems pretty obvious to me that Marnie is still in her downward spiral by feeling like she has to cling to the one person who has and will always love her unconditionally. She even convinces herself she loves him and wants to have his little brown babies because it’s better than the alternative of having no job, no friends and no boyfriend.

Casual sex Marnie

Casual sex Marnie

So Marnie and Charlie are doing it. A lot. The scene were he is making a meal out of Marnie is actually pretty funny because she won’t shut up and needs to know when he got so good at this. I actually laughed out loud when she smacked his head and interrupted him to demand this knowledge. But then we’re at brunch with them and Marnie tells him she loves that they are both over their little misadventures and are finally back together like old fogeys. Charlie is like “What the fuck?” with his face and Marnie reads this reaction as they are just having casual sex and freaks out. This is not the rules according to Marnie, she expects Charlie’s love and adoration. She storms off and yells “Do you want to date me or not? Last chance”. UGH!

Charlie chases her down, she tells him she is coming off the worst year of her life and then that she loves him and all she wants is to wake up next to him and make him snacks and have his babies and watch him die. Then Charlie softens and tells her that he always have loved her and always will and that everything good he’s ever done was for her. You guys, I felt like I was in a bad Lifetime movie during this scene. I liked it better when Charlie was a little bitter and Marnie knew that Charlie’s brand of suffocating love wasn’t going to bring her happiness. I felt like these two were playing at being grown-ups in love and reading from a script.

Wait, we're dating?

Wait, we’re dating?

I was pretty pissed that Dunham got these two back together but we all know it’s because Marnie is floundering around so much (last week’s cover of Stronger proves this) that she clings to the only thing she can count on – Charlie’s smothering love for her. This makes me really loathe Marnie, which is hard to write since I was pulling for her all season. She is doing this and going through these motions because it was the life she had planned for herself — marry a good looking (and rich) guy who could support her and she’ll have his babies and live a good life.

You're welcome ladies. Fine as hell.

You’re welcome ladies. Fine as hell.

I know Marnie is more than that, or at least I hope she is and I hope she snaps out of this domestic fantasy. It’s hard to grow up and realize that your life might not go as you had thought or planned it would, but I hope Marnie realizes that this plan she had for herself isn’t going to make her happy before she ruins Charlie’s life more. I think the comment about the money offers a bit of foreshadowing and obviously indicates that Marnie doesn’t necessarily want Charlie but the idea of being taken care of so she doesn’t have to figure her shit out. Just like Hannah. Parallels y’all. Anyway, this storyline was absolutely my least favorite and I am over it already. The reunion speeches they gave each other had me rolling my eyes.

Adam

Adam, why would you leave a total fucking catch like Natalia for a total fucking mess like Hannah? I mean, I think I know why, but it makes me so sad because Natalia is balls out amazing. When they are having sex and she tells him she likes his cock, etc. and then he calls her a whore she becomes my hero when she tells him “Don’t say that. I can like your cock and not be a whore”.  PREACH. I love this broad. She calls Adam on his shit behavior and knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to say it.

We're gonna miss you girl!

We’re gonna miss you girl!

It’s nice to see a woman be assertive in the bedroom on this show in a positive way. Adam listens and then tries to go fast, but she tells him to go slower and isn’t afraid to speak up. Get it girl! But in the end we know this is killing Adam because he is kinkier and more violent than that in bed and this chick won’t give him what he wants sexually and will judge him. This is why I think he misses Hannah. She is more submissive, more understanding of his sexual needs, and more in need of rescue.

Adam - being the best.

Adam – being the best.

While I don’t think Hannah necessarily deserves his grand gesture at the end – I love Adam for recognizing that she really wasn’t well and needed someone and stayed on the phone with her because he was genuinely worried about her and has feelings for her. I died a little when he broke down the door and leapt over the couch before scooping up Hannah and holding her. I think I would have felt more if Hannah hadn’t been so horrible this season, but still — Adam Driver – I love you and think you are the cat’s pajamas. Let’s make out, I don’t even care that you have the face of an old timey criminal.

You've made me love you, I didn't wanna do it, I didn't wanna do it.

You’ve made me love you, I didn’t wanna do it, I didn’t wanna do it.

So ends the season in a montage of love – Hannah safely ensconced (for now) in Adam’s arms, Marnie and Charlie on a yuppie grown up date and looking happy, and Shosh tonguing Draco Malfoy at the bar. But as I said above I was mad at first that the show tied up all the plots in this perfect little bow (and it seemed really rushed that they did it within the span of the last ten minutes of the episode), but we all know that this isn’t over. Our girls are happy…for now. We know that tomorrow all of their problems, hang-ups and issues with both each other and their respective beaus haven’t and won’t go away until they put their lady balls on the table and really talk and grow up. Here’s to season 3.

Winner of the Episode – Shosh, Adam, Hannah’s dad and his freakishly ripped arms

Wounds of the Week – Marnie, Charlie, Hannah

Winner of the Season – Shosh

Wound of the Season – Hannah

Vote for your Wound of the Week

Thanks again for reading. Please follow continue following Brem and I as we take turns recapping Game of Thrones and I start recapping Mad Men once both shows return. Our readers are the best and we appreciate you.

Girls S2 E9 – Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

13 Mar

Good god, I can’t tell you the last time I physically cringed and squirmed so much during an episode of television. This episode had it all — an ear drum puncture from q-tip digging, a splinter in the ass, the most embarrassing party performance ever, an alcoholic falling off the wagon, super agressive and creepy sex (complete with cum shots – yikes), and some mortifying flirting. I actually had to look away from the screen more than once because I was dying for these characters. This is not to say that I thought this was a bad episode by any means, it was just a really uncomfortable one.

Hannah

I was worried they were going to introduce this anxiety and OCD plot and then never really follow through with it after Hannah got medicine at the end of the last episode. Things are still not going well for Hannah in the mental health arena as we can see as she rides the elevator to her publisher meeting and is still displaying various tics.

To say her meeting does not go well is an understatement. Her editor asks her if her hymen grew back and also tells her he didn’t finish her pages not because he was too busy, but because he just didn’t like it and was bored. He tells Hannah to get her shit together and start writing about her sexual escapades – less Jane Austen more EL James. Sex with a teenager? You had him at barely legal. What a total creep. Hannah leaves feeling even more anxious than before and goes home to attempt to write the next great e-book sex novella.

Did your hymen grow back?

Did your hymen grow back?

Whilst at home she slides across the floor and gives herself a massive ass splinter. Not sure why we needed this scene – it seemed gratuitous and weird since the splinter was an accident and she handles it well by getting tweezers, and peroxide and disinfecting the wound post splinter and bandaging it up. I think there might be a Lena Dunham has to be naked in every episode clause in the show’s contract. But then the ass splinter leads Hannah to buying q-tips and she begins to clean her ears.

I just can't.

I just can’t.

It was like watching a horror story – seeing Hannah plunge the q-tip further and harder into her ear. I looked away, I yelled at her to stop, it was awful. And she didn’t stop until she seemingly perforated her ear drum and screamed. God, is there anything more awful than watching things like people aggressively cleaning their ear, cutting their nails too close, popping a zit, or tearing a scab off? I mean, these are things that we all have probably done at one point in our lives – but seeing someone else do it makes it super horrifying.

Hannah ends up at the hospital after a phone call to her parents (I get that, I call my mom before going to the doctor sometimes too, even though she doesn’t have a medical degree) advising her to go there since they are in Michigan and can’t do anything for her.

Dark times for this girl.

Dark times for this girl.

The doctor at the hospital is pretty hilarious and rattles off some good one liners while Hannah explains her anxiety and why she did this. My favorite is when she asks if she can keep the q-tip and the doctor is like ” Certainly, I suggest you frame it”. He probably gets minor crazies like Hannah in the ER every day.

On her way home Hannah (sans pants, naturally) runs into Adam who is escaping the engagement party of Nat’s friend for a few seconds. It’s all kinds of weird and sad. She was going to try and hug him, he rebuffs her. He calls her kid and tell her to get her shit together. She tells him this meeting is making her feel sad and strange. She also tells him about the book deal and he reacts in a very nonchalant way that suggests he has really moved on.

Awkward street encounter.

Awkward street encounter.

Hannah is thrown by the fact that he has a new girlfriend and this girlfriend is a together enough person to have friends who are getting engaged. She heads home – sad, surprised and still anxious. The episode ends with a long shot of Hannah sitting on her tub and looking forlorn. It zooms in on her and then we see her compulsively stick another q-tip into her uninjured ear. Dark stuff y’all. Dark stuff.

You guys, I’m officially worried about Hannah. She has no friends (Shosh and Marnie haven’t really hung out with her much, Elijah’s gone, Jessa’s off the reservation, Adam is cold to her), her book is a mess, she is rocking some serious anxiety and OCD — please tell me this season isn’t going to end with a suicide attempt. I can’t handle this. C’mon Hannah – stop backsliding into your old ways and get yo shit together!

Shosh (& Ray)

I’d like to first address how amazing it is to see Ray in a purple girly snuggie when we first get a Ray/Shosh scene. Shosh is taking care of a slightly sick Ray by doing some “geisha shit” and going overboard to be accommodating to him. He notices she has been acting weird (the guilt of the doorman make-out is eating her up), but he feels bad and apologizes for the geisha comment.

Snuggie enthusiast and dabbler in the Macintosh arts

Snuggie enthusiast and dabbler in the Macintosh arts

Shosh notes that Ray never apologizes and in that moment we can feel just how invested Ray is in his relationship with Shosh. He is doing things that are out of character to make her happy, including helping Marnie lay down her track on Garage Band because he’s a known dabbler in the Macintosh arts (great line and delivery Ray).

We don’t see Shosh and Ray again until they are at Charlie’s AMU celebration party and Shosh is rocking the most magnificent side bun in the universe. It’s like a cinnamon roll is atop her head — it’s so very Shosh. Shosh goes on to flatter Charlie and yammer on about how great he looks and  Ray becomes hostile (and clearly jealous of Charlie’s success) and leaves to grab a shitty beer. Then Shosh actually flirts with Charlie – openly and awkwardly!! What is this behavior young lady?! I know that the doorman makeout unleashed something in you, but flirting with your roommate’s ex is where I’d like to draw the line.

Shosh's hair. I die.

Shosh’s hair. I die.

Shosh continues to circulate around the room – oozing confidence and flirty sex appeal and attracting boys with her half a Princess Leia hairdo much to Ray’s chagrin. Ray is being a jealous boyfriend but with good cause. And he is the only person who applauds after Marnie publicly embarrasses herself (more on that next) so I give him props.

In the end he confronts Shosh on avoiding him and being weird. He asked her point blank (Ray style is the best — he just says what he means) – if she doesn’t like him anymore. She confesses to “holding hands” with a doorman but tells Ray she still loves him and he doesn’t mind. The thing is, Ray isn’t stupid. I kind of think he knows there was more to it than “hand holding” but he is just so desperate to hold onto the only good thing he has in his life that he overlooks the transgression.

Shosh’s face as she tells Ray she still loves him and then gives him a hug is definitely indicative of stormy weather ahead. I’ll slap myself in the face if they aren’t broken up by the end of the finale next week. It’s too bad, they are good for each other, but not good for each other right now. Like so much of life, it comes down to timing.

Marnie

Speaking of timing – Marnie’s is the WORST. We find out that Marnie is taking Ray’s advice and trying to pursue singing. She is attempting to “lay down tracks” on Garage Band and is hoping to add “a little bassoon” to her current jam — What.The.Fuck.Marnie? In more “What the Fuck Marnie?” news — WHY are you trying to have a lunch date with Charlie? Seriously? What’s wrong with you? You basically couldn’t stand the sight of him last season. You’ve pushed him away, acted weird, broke up with him while he was inside you — what the fuck is wrong with you? Leave this dude alone. End rant.

Crazy eyed psycho.

Crazy eyed psycho.

Anyway, Charlie has forgotten their plans because his company now has 20,000 average monthly users or as Shosh would just say “amus” and he is celebrating and forgets the lunch. And would you blame him? At this point I’d stop having anything to do with Marnie, esp. because Charlie is looking fine with a capital F. But because Charlie has a smothering savior complex – he can’t resist the slightly damaged and manic Marnie. He half-heartedly invites her to his company party that night and she accepts.

And now the scene that had me squirming in my seat. I mean, I almost can’t write about it. Marnie brings her ipod, interrupts the DJ and takes the microphone to dedicate a song to Charlie and the company. I was already dying before she even started singing. “Noooooo! Don’t do it. Walk away!” I yelled at the screen. But she didn’t listen. Marnie breaks into the WORST cover of Kanye West’s Stronger that I will probably ever hear. I don’t even know if I can listen to the regular version of Stronger any more after this.

And she just keeps going. Read the room, Marnie! She doesn’t stop. Everyone looks embarrassed for her and she has no idea. How can someone lack that much self-awareness? Is that even possible? She finishes the song — and the awkward silence is only punctured by Ray kindly clapping and cheering.

I'm still dying.

I’m still dying.

In the aftermath of the most cringe inducing performance ever, Charlie pulls Marnie into his office and asks if she is manic. She is still totally clueless and says “It wasn’t that bad, right?” and Charlie gives her the truth and says “Well, it wasn’t good.” THANK GOD. And then Marnie realizes that Charlie pities her. And he does, because at this moment, Marnie is the lowest we (and Charlie) have ever seen her. Her shit is a mess. She needs to hear this. She is flailing.

And as Charlie dealt her some harsh truth – I really liked him AND that he was a stone cold fox. But then, he suddenly becomes the worst when after Marnie asks him not to pity her, he starts making out with her. STOP IT MARNIE AND CHARLIE! This is totally stupid and self-destructive for both of you. And then they start banging on his desk and I just cover my eyes. This isn’t hot, it’s pathetic.

Marnie — I love you and I understand you’re lost and confused — but this is just a terrible idea. And Charlie – you really need to get over your whole “fixing broken girls/damsels in distress” fetish. It’s kind of creepy.

Adam

And once again Adam Driver absolutely owns an episode of Girls. Things with Natalia are going very well. Adam is doing normal boyfriend things like seeing Sandra Bullock movies and staying over at her house. I really like Natalia – she tells Adam she is ready to start having sex with him and then tells him exactly what she likes and doesn’t like. I think it’s great to finally see a woman on this show tell a man what she wants sexually in a way that is totally normal and casual. Adam likes it too and tells her so and she gives the best response “I didn’t know there was another way.” She’s the anti-Hannah, and I’m into it.

Before things went horribly wrong.

Before things went horribly wrong.

Adam likes this girl so much that he even says yes to going to an engagement party even though things like that (or Sandra Bullock movies for that matter) are definitely not his thing. At the engagement party we can see how out of his element Adam is as a bro comes out of the bathroom is like “So pissed we’re missing the game for this” and Adam is like “Yeah” but not interested at all.

Adam also is put through the “meet the friends and get judged” wringer by the hilarious Amy Schumer who is playing the engaged friend. She is a super hilarious stand-up comic btw — check her out. She meets him by flashing her ring, telling Adam she’ll kill him if he hurts Nat, and then tells him about when Nat blew her cousin. SO that’s the kind of night Adam is in for. Schumer and Nat also have the best exchange ever about Adam’s looks as they walk away – “God, he has the face of an old-timey criminal” “No he doesn’t, he looks like Peter Pan!”. TRUTH!

The face of an old timey criminal!

The face of an old timey criminal!

Adam steps outside for air and to escape the party and then runs into Hannah. He seems totally together and fine during this interaction (detailed more in the Hannah section up above) but then goes inside and proceeds to order a drink. I screamed at the screen – NO ADAM! No Jack and ginger!

And what the fuck is wrong with Natalia? Isn’t her mom a recovering alkie? Why would she be totally okay with her alcoholic boyfriend falling off the wagon? How is this a good idea? If you really cared for the dude, you’d tell him you don’t have to stay at the party and then leave together. BUT she doesn’t — what the hell man?

The proceeding montage of dancing and drinking leads me to believe that Adam gets at least a little tipsy before bringing Natalia back to his apartment. She reacts to his place the way any normal human being would – which is mildly terrified and disgusted. I mean – it looks a prop room for Saw and is not the cleanest. Then things get weird and creepy fast. Adam tells Natalia to get on all fours and to crawl to his bed. There is a force behind his voice that we haven’t heard him use in any scenes with her thus far.

Why did you let him drink?!?

Why did you let him drink?!?

Natalia crawls to the bed while rightfully whispering under her breath about getting tetanus and how dirty the floor is and how the situation is weird. Then she asks Adam what the hell is going on and he scoops her and throws her on the bed. For a split second I thought it would go back to being playful and normal after Adam realizes that Natalia isn’t the kind of girl who is into this shit.

Instead the scene takes a dark turn as Adam tells Nat he wants to fuck her from behind and she bewilderingly obliges. He immediately starts banging her and it seems violent and not enjoyable at all, judging from Nat’s face. And all the while Adam is talking and asking questions like “Do you like this? Do you like me now?” and generally being absolutely horrible. Then he pulls out, flips Nat over and finishes himself off on her tits (holy cum shot Batman — I can’t believe HBO can show that and I’m super grateful I don’t watch this show with my parents).

The face of an old timey criminal.
The bed of relationship destruction

Nat looks upset, disgusted and terrified. While I wouldn’t classify this scene as rape as some on the interwebs sites are suggesting – it was definitely a violation. Adam knew Nat wouldn’t be into what he was doing but he did it anyway. I applaud Nat for telling him immediately with tears her eyes that she didn’t like that at all. I’m happy she spoke up because no one deserves to get treated that way.

The most devastating thing about this whole scene is that Adam seems to have done this on purpose. He has willfully sabotaged this nice relationship with this great girl because he thinks he doesn’t deserve it. It sort of breaks my heart, even though I thought Adam was a major asshole and pig in this moment. When he looked at her and said “I guess you’re done with me now”, you could feel his shame and his resignation. Man, Adam Driver is the acting MVP on this show.

So that’s the show for the week. Next week is the season finale and I’ll be bringing you my last Girls recap of the season. What do you think is going to happen?

Here’s what I’m thinking – Hannah — nervous breakdown or suicide attempt, Adam – gets back in touch with Hannah — continues to drink, Marnie – casually sexing with Charlie — maybe he turns the tables and dumps her or maybe she starts pulling herself out of self loathing spiral and starts to get her shit together, Shosh – breaks up with Ray and hopefully gets a lil slutty. Ray – figures out what his passion is and starts pursuing it – I still think he’d be an awesome therapist even though he’s sort of a dick, Charlie – grows a set and dumps Marnie. Jessa – is she still on this show?

Winner of the Week – No one. This was an all around total bummer/cringer

Wound – Everyone? Is that possible?

Early Nineties Nostalgia – Saved by the Bell

11 Mar

Bayside High ruined high school for me. If you grew up in the early to mid nineties then I feel fairly certain that we could sit down and have an intense conversation about the greatest Saturday morning show ever — Saved by the Bell. I’m not talking about the Miss Bliss Years or the College Years and especially not The New Class. I’m talking about the OG SBTB with Zack, Kelly, Slater, Jessie, Screech, Lisa and Mr. Belding.

Just pretend Tori isn't a part of this awesome montage.

Just pretend Tori isn’t a part of this awesome montage.

I don’t know that I can compare it to anything on tv now because it didn’t center around wizards or web series stars or famous singers pretending to be normal like certain Disney shows my niece and nephew are now growing up on. This show centered around a group of normal high school friends in the southern California town of Bayside trying to navigate high school while still pulling the most awesome pranks and generally being the coolest people ever. And while it was about high school, it was silly and not too grown up. It was something for those of us not quite old enough for 90210 but not quite young enough to still watch Tiny Toons.

But back to SBTB ruining high school. You see, eleven year old me really thought that this what was high school was going to be like. I thought the coolest boy in school was going to be as handsome and charming as Zack Morris and that it was absolutely possible that his best friend would be the dorkiest guy in school because they grew up together and you don’t just walk away from that.

The whole gang and power couple Zack and Kelly.

The whole gang and power couple Zack and Kelly.

You could imagine my disappointment when I slowly started to realize that life was going to be more complicated than what kind of shake to order at the Max and that the brainiest girl in school wasn’t going to be dating the class jock. Or that the coolest guy isn’t a jerk and is best friends with a huge dork.

There was a character everyone could relate to or at least have their first crush on. There was the cool, charming, excellently coifed and handsome Zack, the nerd with a heart of gold Screech, the beautiful and cool fashionista Lisa, the brainy and competitive Jessie Spano, the wholesome, kind, prom queen Kelly, the well meaning, sexy meat head jock Slater and the tough but loving Mr. Belding.

Look at that hair. Absolute 90s perfection.

Look at that hair. Absolute 90s perfection.

I was more of a Zack girl than a Slater girl but I fancied myself a Jessie Spano since Lisa was too cool of a dresser and Kelly bored me to death. I recall squealing with delight when Jessie and Zack “accidentally” made out during Snow White rehearsals (twice!). Let’s face it y’all – it was totally the hottest kiss ever on the show – just see the youtube clip below – sorry for the sort of crappy quality – it was all I could find.

There was totes tongue going on. And Jessie was a role model for young girls – showing us that it was cool to be smart and competitive and a feminist who yells at her boyfriend for calling her “mama”.

Hottie with a naughty body (and a sweet mullet)

Hottie with a naughty body (and a sweet mullet)

This show explored serious issues such as addiction (via the super famous “caffeine” pill addiction breakdown compliments of Jessie Spano), drugs (that episode where the movie star pulls out a joint a party), drunk driving, broken hearts, and failure.

But it also was fun and gave us an Oklahoma! themed prom, a rapping/hip hop school play in Snow White and the Seven Dorks, a dance-off hosted by Casey Kasem, and other amazing hi-jinks that I was sure I’d be getting up to once I was sixteen. The show never really talked much about sex, except for the occasional “ooooohs” that would happen when two characters chastely kissed.  It was good wholesome fun that didn’t seem like it was pandering to my very mature eleven year old self.

Buddy bands yo!

Buddy bands yo!

I know this sounds silly to say, but man – they just don’t make em’ like that anymore. While there were romances (notably between Zack and Kelly and Jessie and Slater) – it never felt like that was what the show was about. It was about friendship and having fun. The characters didn’t always all get along and they didn’t always do the right thing, but they learned from their mistakes. Plus, they had the fatherly figure of Mr. Belding who was guiding them, disciplining them, and provided the sort of eye rolling “Oh adults. So out of touch” moments for us.

The best.

The best.

So yep, My name is Erin and I am a Saved by the Bell addict.

Things I learned from watching Saved by the Bell

1) Caffeine pill addiction is no fucking joke. It will make you think you missed the geometry test you already took, be late for Hot Sundae’s gig at the Max and will result in spontaneous singing of “I’m So Excited”.

2) Zack Morris’s hair was perfection.

3) Even though he had a mullet perm – Mario Lopez was bound for future hotness

Get in line ladies.

Get in line ladies.

4) There’s No Hope (clap) with Dope!

5) Just because you say “Time Out” doesn’t mean that everyone is going to freeze like you’re Zack Morris. Trust me, I’ve tried.

Time out!

Time out!

6) There is nothing cooler than high-waisted jeans, Cosby sweaters and giant cell phones.

The fashion was truly the best.
The fashion was truly the best.

The fashion was truly the best.

7) Access to the Principal’s office is as easy as opening a door that looks like it should be a storage closet.

8) Bayside rules and the Valley Bulldogs suck.

9) Meat heads will always have nicknames like “Ox”.

Ox lugging Slater away.

Ox lugging Slater away.

10) It’s entirely possible for a tv show to introduce a character (Tori) and then make her disappear like she never happened in the next set of episodes.

11) When guys have a sleepover they wear coordinating neon socks, tank tops, and sunglasses and do choreographed dances to “Barbara Ann”

Sleepover!

Sleepover!

12) Oil spills are something that can happen on your high school football field.

13) Dating or crushing on older guys never ends well (cough – Jeff)

14) Don’t use your first name as part of your band’s name – you’ll jinx the band and then they’ll break up. I have a Zack Attack t-shirt to remind me of the better days.

Yes, I owned this shirt. Stop judging me.

Yes, I owned this shirt. Stop judging me.

15) If you want your opening credits to be amazing – use as many “cool” clip art pictures as possible (skateboards, sunglasses, ice cream, etc) – along with a catchy theme song.

16) You knew something dramatic was going down when the electric guitar background music got real sad and intense (the youtube clips prove this). Conversely – awesome things happening meant amazingly upbeat electric guitar music.

Favorite Episodes

-The famous caffeine pill episode because it also featured Screech dressing as a woman janitor to secretly record the girls singing in the locker room. Also it features a music video by Hot Sundae (Lisa, Kelly, and Jessi) which mostly looks like a workout video.

– The episode where the boys take the girls for granted and the girls get pissed – prompting a dinner at the Max and the boys performing “What I Should Have Said Theater”. Extra points for this because Screech plays Kelly in drag and Slater rips off his clothes to reveal a unitard and dances ballet.

– The Dance-Off episode where Lisa sprains her ankle before Casey Kasem comes to town and opts to perform with Screech and they invent “The Sprain” dance and win the contest.

– All of the episodes where the crew works at a beach resort for the summer. It introduces my favorite of Zack’s girlfriends – Stacy Carosi – an east coast college broad with a mouth of sass and a secret vulnerability.

Leah Remini was the bomb.com

Leah Remini was the bomb.com

– The Zack Attack episode – which I am pretty sure inspired VH1’s Behind the Music.

– The graduation episode because it made me cry when I was a kid.

– Snow White and the Seven Dorks episode – for the above stated reasons. That kiss. Woot. You just KNOW they had to have been doing it in real life.

A high school musical that was completely rapped? Yep, I'm in.

A high school musical that was completely rapped? Yep, I’m in.

South By Southwest: WTF am I doing?!

6 Mar

So, for my 30th birthday, my super nice husband said “Surprise – we’re going to Austin!”.  He had planned the trip for 2 weeks later, which would have put us in the last week of February. I was obviously excited, as we’d always heard that Austin was cool, but I was actually quite bummed that the trip he was planning didn’t include either of the two major music events in Austin (one being Austin City Limits, the other South by Southwest, or for short “SXSW”. Apparently really cool people call it “South By”, but I realize I’m not there yet and most likely never will be). Anyhow, his work schedule got all fucked up, as it tends to do when you work for a pile of dicks, and we had to reschedule. I saw this as my opportunity to mention that what I REALLY wanted to do for my birthday was sxsw! BAM!

sxsw-01

photo credit

Sxsw, which in case you don’t know, is huge and has hundreds of free concerts scattered up and down 6th st., in conjunction with a conference for music industry professionals. The amount I have learned about this event in the past few weeks is incredible, because it’s COMPLICATED AS FUCK! I knew that it wasn’t like other music festivals (get a ticket, find a spot).  Apparently there are official and unofficial showcases – and there are badges, wristbands and people (like me) with nothing.  For some shows you need a badge, many the people with badges are given priority and some don’t rely on badges at all. A lot of showcases require you to RSVP – an absolutely all consuming task where I search for events online through a million different channels then end up on a million different sites trying to sign up for parties that I don’t even really know if I want to go to or if I’ll be able to get into.  It’s nuts.  I’ve made a ridiculously intricate spreadsheet of events that even I can’t understand.

I’ve been reading a lot of blog posts about people’s sxsw experiences (people are seeing 150 bands in 5 days!) and I am trying to set some small goals – maybe pick a short list of bands I’d like to see and a few Austin sights and not be disappointed in how it goes down. My biggest hope is that my husband likes it. He hates crowds, so this is a big question mark. I am actually very afraid I will be dragging him from place to place and forcing him to wait in long lines and pack into venues and he will be miserable. I hope I’m wrong on this one!

Since I have never been there before, I can’t really tell you how it all will go down, but I will tell you what I anticipate, my hopes and dreams and what bands I would really like to see, and then I’ll let  ya know how my dreams compare with reality after next week!

  • Eat at food trucks. I hear they have incredible food trucks in Austin and I don’t care if I don’t sit down for one nice meal (besides that Shady Grove Trailer Court, of course. My friends got me a gift certificate there and it looks incred. Can’t wait to gain 8 elbees!).
  • Make an attempt to see Cold War Kids (Brad’s favorite, so this is our #1 goal), Dawes, Foxygen, Cheers Elephant, Houndmouth David Wax Museum and Gringo Star. There are a few bigger bands I will try to see but won’t be surprised if I can’t, due to my non-badged state (Flaming Lips, Vampire Weekend, Frightened Rabbit, among others). I’m really bummed J. Roddy Walston won’t be there despite previously released information. Dick move, J. I have about 80 more on my list but, it’s too overwhelming to think about.
  • Go see my old reliable Toy Soldiers and Ali Wadsworth. I know they are local and I’ve seen ’em a million times, but I think it will be awesome to see ’em tearin it up at SXSW. Brad thinks that’s kinda dumb and that we should be seeing bands that we won’t be able to see another time. I get it. But I can’t miss ’em.
  • Hike at Town Lake. Apparently a beautiful spot for nature and enjoying warm weather.
  • Wear summer clothes, drink heavily and be happy that I’m there.

If you have any tips, suggestions, band recommendations or are going to be there, I’d LOVE to hear from you! I have no fuckin clue what I’m doing and would love to hang out with people – send me a message!

Up, up and away….