HUMP DAY GRAB BAG: Alternative Alternatives

August 25, 2010

By Max

NOT TO BE A HUGE JERK, but there’s This Pop Singer Who Is Really Famous Right Now and kind of bumming me out. I don’t want to shit-talk cause it’s a total waste of time, but it’s gotten to the point in my life where when people mention how much they love this singer, I feel deep pangs of personal guilt, because it means that the person I’m talking to and I are fundamentally disagreeing on some things. It’s like how in the early 00s (‘member?) sometimes you’d be at a soccer game or the supermarket or a PTA meeting and someone would say nonchalantly that they had voted for Bush, and it would just send up a red flag? It feels like that.

The thing that bugs me about This Pop Singer Who Is Really Famous Right Now is that she purports to be something of a Performance Artist. Now, I’m not going to say that Pop Music and Performance Art are mutually exclusive, but I will say that the kind of Pop Music this singer is making is absolutely antithetical to the goals of performance art. According not only to my, but in fact anybody’s definition of performance art. Performance Art necessarily means something that is expressed / transmitted via (you guessed it!) PERFORMANCE. This Singer’s work is almost always mediated through studio magick, the radio, MTV, YouTube, Fashion Photography, Twitter, etc. It’s deliberately a kind of Art that doesn’t need to be performed live, since it’s readily accessible. Just saying. So when I am getting bugged out about this I figure I can either rage against the dying of the light (incorrect use whatever) or I can offer some alternative to This Pop Singer Who Is Really Famous Right Now. So let’s do that.

So, first: ROISIN MURPHY.

Maybe you already know about her. The thing with This Pop Singer Who Is Really Famous Right Now is that she often claims that the biggest misconception about her is that she’s fake, that she’s artificial, and she wants you to know that she is Always Glamorous, Always In Drag, and very Real. OK I’ll bite: BULLSHIT. This video for the title track from Murphy’s second solo album Overpowered plays with a similar idea, in a much more interesting way (I think). The premise of the video is that Murphy’s stage persona never comes off, that she wears her ultra-bizarre high fashion outfit (Courtesy of Gareth Pugh– Murphy was wearing Pugh long before Kylie, Rihanna, Beyoncé, and the Pop Singer In Question) in cafes, on the bus, etc. as a way of juxtaposing the artificial with the real. It makes an interesting comment on the nature of celebrity culture and beauty. Oh also, this came out in 2007.

KYLIE.

HAD TO GO THERE. The thing about Kylie Minogue is that she’s world-famous everywhere except for the USA. In most of Europe, she’s more famous than Madonna. Madonna has, for those Europhiles (and American Fags) who have been keeping track, been ripping off Kylie for decades. SO while This Pop Singer Nowadays rips off Madonna, she’s actually not even citing the Minogue sources. The almost-Goth, sort of vaguely “dark” aesthetic that This Pop Singer employs was much better used, again in 2007, by Kylie in the video for “2 Hearts”. Other than the fact that this song and video are excellent, the fact that the shiny skull is a reference to Alexander McQueen, the skull itself was actually a symbol of triumph. When this video came out, it was the lead single from Kylie’s “comeback” album X. Comeback, I mean, from breast cancer. Kylie has an authentic right to glamorize the macabre because unlike the Pop Singer Nowadays, who’s whole shtick is utterly devoid of anything involving “the real world” or “obscurity”, when Kylie released this video, singing into a skull microphone, she has just beaten Death. Top that.

GRACE JONES. In your FACE BONES.

It’s no secret that I love Grace Jones. I listen her every single day and she is a totally guiding force in my life. It is with no small amount of disappointment that I continually see This Pop Singer referencing her work. Grace Jones’ eccentricity is best exemplified by the video above (total. personal. anthem.) Unlike the current Pop Singer, who equates randomness and embellishment with intellectual weight, this video shows Grace in what appears to be her natural habitat, running from Keith Haring’s studio to the wardrobe closet to the chiropractor. The message here is that even with this totally unsustainable, unreal level of glamour, she is able to look directly to the camera and sing a love song. The layers of artifice serve to create a distance which the song’s message ostensibly crosses, rather than simply mask the singer’s face. Grace wants you to know that you and her are meant to be.

ROBYN.

Look, one of the things that I don’t understand about This Pop Singer, is how she simultaneously seems to be singing about her “feelings” while denying any trace of actual human emotion. She is bloodless. Does pop music have to be this way? Not if Robyn has anything to say about it. The marriage of a human heart and a dance beat may sound strange on paper, but with Robyn it makes perfect sense.

DIAMOND RINGS

Thought it’d be nice to have a non-girl, non-superstar in the mix. Toronto’s Diamond Rings proves that you can do really cool interesting pop music without a multimillion dollar budget. Look, even Kathleen Hanna is a fan. That ought to be enough. This video is really cool and proves that really, real people can and do succeed at aspiring to glamour and art. Who needs a custom haute couture outfit? Just put a sexy kid in a Karl Lagerfeld t-shirt. Signify, baby. This is what postmodernism ACTUALLY looks like.

So whatever. These are some things you can listen to and watch instead. Check them out.

Stay dry, America. Stay motherfucking dry.

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Shorty got Lo Lo Lo Lo Lo Lo Lo (Ko)

June 9, 2009

By Michelle
Also, a contest!!!!!

srsly, we don't live here why? oh thats right, rampant racism and homophobia...

Alright kids, we all know that Sparks is now defunct. It no longer contains caffeine cuz some lady in the Midwest decided mixing alcohol and energy drink was dangerous. I think she confused the word ‘dangerous’ with ‘fucking genius.’ To quote the amazing Tommy Pico re: new un-caffeinated Sparks “You might as well be drinking Smirnoff Ice.” Ouch.

So on Friday night, when my after-work exhaustion started to kick in, my friend Diego and I decided to hit the bodega for some, dare I say it, Low. Sugar. Red… Bull. I know, I know. But I was tired and just wanted something, anything to ensure that I would not wake up on a strangers couch at 1am while everyone else was at a bar having the most amazing fun ever and likely popping bottles with Jay-Z. As we’re buying our Red Bull and Coors Light (Taste the Rockies motherfucker!) we came across these huge orange cans in the booze section. I don’t remember the exact conversation but I think it went something like this:
Me: Whoa, new Sparks?
Diego: Holy shit, let’s try it!
Me: I hope it makes me vom!
Diego: Let’s split one just in case. (Diego’s really smart.)

This is what we look like to other people.

My compatriot and I then embarked on an amazing journey with our newfound Four Loko (with a K people).  It’s 11% alcohol with Caffeine, Taurine, and Guarana all crammed in a fucking 24 oz. tall boy can! It’s like Sparks on steroids! It also kind of tastes like ass, but what delicious alcoholic beverage that makes you insane doesn’t? We wandered back to the party with our pride and joy and proceeded to chug it, pass it around, and pretty much vibe on all the shared psychotic disorder we were experiencing. “THIS IS AMAZING, THIS IS AMAZING” was all I had to say. 

May I now direct the reader’s attention to the Four website.  Prepare yourself for psychadelic colors, links to Myspace, Facebook, and Youtube (how relevant!) aaaaand girls holding watermelons over their naked boobs while referring to things as juicy and round…?  Ugh, nothing gold can stay.  Also, apparently this drink is huge among dudes who ride motocross, girls with bad hair and trucker hats, and epic date rape faced douchebags, but whatever. You can also submit photos of yrself and yr friends enjoying Four (while driving) and basically documenting the first half of the night, before you all end up on the fire escape putting the weed in the wrong end of the pipe and talking about what the offspring of a kitten and unicorn would look like (hint: adorable). I suggest you also check out last months “Photo of the Month.” Apparently that bro-down pic was ‘daring and titillating’ enough to win? Peshaw! I hereby challenge you all to make it into next months ‘Photo.’ A case of Four Loko waits for you in my closet (you have to share it with me)!

All in all, this shit is the jam. It gets you totally wasted and awake-crazed, but not all the bodegas carry it. We got it from the expensive place on Bedford and N 7th. Obvs we were in Williamsburg, maybe it wasn’t the Four making us dazed and wasted, maybe we were just drunk off our own hip-ness? Either way I give this a 4 outta 5 stars. Minus points for the sexist/douchey website that made me second guess my love for alcoholic energy drinks. Curses.


Let’s go for a Walk: The Other Williamsburg

April 22, 2009

By Laureness

Recently, I’ve become a little bit obsessed with Chasidic Jews and began reading up on different Ultra-Orthodox sects of which there are many. I found out that one of the most conservative of all, the Satmar Chasidim, live within walking distance of my home. So on Easter Sunday, while all of the Gentiles were searching for eggs, this mostly secular Jew decided to put on the most modest clothing she owns and go for a little walk.

This outfit consisted of opaque black leggings, a blue skirt that went down to my knees, a black coat that hit below my butt and covered my neck, and flat black boots. Basically, there was no skin showing and yet I had never felt like a bigger whore in my entire life. Every single woman around me was dressed like this.
satmar
In fact, the woman on the left is kind of pushing the limits and that little girl would sooo not have been wearing a cheery baby-blue coat.

If you too would like to experience this feeling for yourself, take the L to Bedford Avenue. Walk south on Roebling or Havemayer, towards the JMZ stop at Marcy avenue and under the rumbling overpass. You’ll begin to see storefronts with Hebrew lettering (Yiddish actually). Don’t stop now though. Read the rest of this entry »


Crank Talk

April 7, 2009

by Michelle

I’ve be drawn to Crank since day one. I mean the premise of the movie is fucking brilliant. Its basically Speed, but instead of keeping a bus above 88 mph, this dude has to keep his adrenaline above a million drops per minute (that’s an exact number) or else he’ll die. Seriously. Did I dream this? Did I eat hot wings and drink a bottle of NyQuil before bed too?

There are other reasons why I like this movie.

wahwahweewah

Obvs.

Now my brain is finally forming a clearer picture of my never-ending enjoyment of this film series. It’s pretty much just one gigantic ad campaign for Sparks, my other obsession (outside of hairy men, action films, and the occasional finger bang from the former while watching the latter). What these ads are telling me, and correct me if I’m wrong, is that I should be drinking Sparks or I’ll die (or until I die and am thus resurrected by Sparks, Happy Easter everyone).