Monthly Archives: January 2013

Doves of Peace? Beautiful. Doves of Peace Fighting Off Seagulls? Hilarious!

So, leave it to Pope Benedict to try for some theatrics in St. Peter’s Square that went a bit awry. Let’s turn to Time, which did a brilliant job writing this up. We’ll start with their first paragraph:

“The release of a white dove is a traditional symbol of peace and tranquility. Like the olive branch, and more recently the peace symbol, the white dove is recognized worldwide as an icon of hope, love and friendship. That is, until it almost gets eaten by a seagull.”

They headlined the article, “Pope’s Dove of Peace Attacked By Seagull of Irony,” which is hilarious. And, to make it a happy ending, the dove fought back and successfully fended off the seagull. (Making it, you know, a Dove of Only In Self-Defense. So, sort of a Mr. Miyagi dove.)

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Least Shocking Development From a Super Bowl Media Day Ever

What do you mean, a retiring, controversial-yet-beloved NFL player doesn’t want to talk about new allegations about using performance-enhancing drugs or old allegations about his role in a double murder? Really, Yahoo! Sports? (Related: Jim Harbaugh wears a Sharpie as a necklace? Tell me more!)

Chris Brown: Worst Person Alive Campaign, Chapter 43

So I guess we’re not terribly surprised that Chris Brown tried to throw down with Frank Ocean over a parking space?

Which led The Onion to this brilliance.

“Sometimes You Need a Nap and You’re Nazis” — A “Live” Review of Sorts

Note: Since these are personal reactions to a show I attended, I’m temporarily abandoning the royal we for I, so we refers to either collective audience or the me-and-my-friend duo who attended the concert together.

Last night, Cat Power played a live show at ACL Live in Austin. Despite past accounts of unsteady, mercurial live shows due to a variety of bad influences, she’s allegedly more consistent live now than she’s ever been, and her new album, Sun, is more winsome, positive, and actualized than anything she’s done to date.

Then again, that doesn’t mean her FANS are keeping it together.

I can’t imagine that row H in the ACL Live balcony is a representative row of showgoers, unless there were two people passed out in every row. But that’s what we had up in H — someone in my seat (perhaps 25, female, buzzcut dyed great, nosering) who had to be revived before she moved, upon which she instantly started hating me. (I have this effect on people.)

Then, a little later, as a couple was trying to get seated, there was another woman a few seats over who was passed out. The usher revived her, and escorted her out — at which point, Buzzcut and I had a brief conversation.

Buzzcut: That’s normal.
Me: Yeah, for this row.
Buzzcut: Well, sometimes you just need a nap and you’re Nazis.

My friend got lumped in with me as a Nazi, though she really had nothing to do with it. As with this reviewed “hypnotic” show the night before in Dallas, the show was heavy on atmosphere-absorption and rapt attention, and not so heavy on “motion” or “getting into it.” We got shushed talking during a song, christened the one guy-in-motion we could see moving in the GA standing section up front as “Nodding Guy,” and spotted only six people (out of several thousand) clapping along with Chan Marshall during a song late in the set.

Apparently, sometimes you need a nap far more than you need a rock concert.

Would You Go On a Crazy Blind Date? (Not Shockingly, Not Everyone Would)

So, OKCupid, which is probably the least creepy of the online dating sites, created a new site called Crazy Blind Date, which allows you to set up random dates with random people — even more so than the regular OKCupid site. How it works — you register, it “scrambles” your photo unconvincingly, you pick locations, dates and times where you’re willing to meet, and then the magic will or won’t happen.

Venture Beat’s Christina Farr tried it out and documented it for the site — the highlight might be telling prospective first-daters to “step their game up” and suggest something better than Dunkin’ Donuts for a first date. She also mentions that all the user photos for OKCupid went dark for a day to promote the new venture — we do know, possibly from empirical evidence, that one photo ended up being LeVar Burton as Tuvok from Star Trek: The Next Generation. (We might have contacted that user just to let her know that was happening.)

First (Critic-Jaundiced) Look at the Coachella Lineup

Randall Roberts, at the typically-solid Pop & Hiss column at the Los Angeles Times, gives this view of the just-announced Coachella 2013 lineup, with an interesting question framing it: since this is going to sell out, do we give the people what they want or what they need? Which leads to intriguing question about promoters Goldenvoice — do they really have the sense of what Coachella attendees want or need, or are they just making best guesses through the amalgam of influencers and narrowcast websites and strategic album release dates (for the sake of illustration here, I’m just going to say album) that we all make a habit of peeking at fervently?

More questions: How much of a curatorial hand is in this festival lineup? How much more or less is there conscious curation here than in other festivals? And what does that say about our music consumption patterns and our collective vs. fractured senses of audience — exhibited most clearly in what bands we align ourselves with, and under what banners we come together under?

(Pondering this mainly because the article points out that younger fans know Lou Reed solely from the failed collaboration with Metallica, and that’s just too depressing on three different levels to even contemplate.)

Shetland Ponies in Sweaters: We Can Feel the Internets Breaking

As part of an innovative marketing campaign from VisitScotland (tasked with the unfortunate mission of getting tourists to visit Scotland), they’ve seized upon a campaign involving two delightfully-small Shetland ponies, photographed standing on pastoral Scottish landscapes in TOTALLY ADORABLE KNIT SWEATERS, Y’ALL.

The people of the Internets have noticed. They’ve totally noticed. Oh, have they noticed.

(They really are adorable.)

Date a Rock Star (Or, At Least, A Kill Rock Stars Recording Artist)

So, kind of a weird move for the label that’s the de facto home to the Riot Grrrl Movement, but we’re kind of enamored by it. So, New York-based Marnie Stern (think of a more in-tune version of labelmate Thao With The Get Down Stay Down) has an album coming out on Kill Rock Stars called — wait for it — The Chronicles of Marnia (GROAN), and to celebrate, gentlemen in the Tri-State Area have the chance to win a date with her.

You can’t be a vegan and must live within subwayable distance to do the date — the not-at-all-intimidating questions include “List any anti-depressants you currently take” and “What would your most recent ex-girlfriend say about you? Can we get her email?”

You’d be taking her out on the release date, March 19. I think this is going to work out really well.

Michelle Obama vs. John Boehner, As Seen By Gawker

Oh, if it were only so. The typically-awesome Gawker found a GIFed moment from the Inaugural Dinner in which First Lady Michelle Obama gives a major dismissive eyeroll to House Speaker John Boehner. Or, as the kids call it, “throwing shade.”

The new hypothesis emerging today is slightly less fun — that it was a response to Boehner apparently joking with the Still-President about his on-again/off-again smoking and how the little lady won’t let him smoke anymore. (“Wives! They put the kibosh on fun! Amirite?”)

While a wholly plausible hypothesis, it’s much more fun to imagine the shade-throwing is more a function of the First Lady being generally dismissive of Boehner rather than specifically dismissive. (Though an eyeroll for his spray-tanned complexion would be warranted as well.)

Inauguration Day: The One Day Every Four Years Americans Hear A Poem

Poems. Some of us read them, listen to them, even write them. But for a great number of Americans (and no, greeting cards and wall posters of “Footprints” do not count as poems), poems are not something regularly experienced. In fact, it’s only on Inauguration Day (during the inauguration of a Democrat not from Texas or Georgia since 1960) that a great number of Americans hear a poem.

In 1993, Maya Angelou (who Americans have heard of) delivered this poem, and poetry got the 1993 equivalent of a Twitter trend. In 2009, Elizabeth Alexander was introduced as an American poet (so as to not get booed?) and did this to the English language.

This year, the inaugural poem was writ and delivered by gay Latino Cuban-born poet Richard Blanco. (Way to hit all the left-leaning categories, Inaugural Committee!) Here’s Gawker’s assessment of what he did to the English language. Here’s footage. (Note: “Kindled” is in the first line — did Amazon pay for inaugural poem product placement?)

Note: We’re actually big poetry fans here. We’re not sure the inauguration does poetry any favors.