Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Long before people incessantly started posting what they were doing on a social media web site the word twitter was associated with what happens in the springtime. The word twitterpated was first heard in Bambi (I love that movie so don’t make fun of me) when Friend Owl said, “Nearly everybody gets twitterpated in the springtime.” For those who are unaware of this word, twitterpated describes the feeling people get when they are excited about something.
Even the Urban Dictionary provides definitions for twitterpated: 1) to be completely enamored with someone/something 2) the happy jumpy feeling you get that causes you to smile uncontrollably 3) the way birds and other animals act during mating season (as seen in Bambi). See….the Urban Dictionary adores Bambi too.
Anyway, springtime has a lot of perks so it makes sense that people are in a good mood. Here are ten reasons why everyone is excited this time of year:
-The weather is getting warmer and the sun stays up longer.
-Wash Park Volleyball. Enough said.
-Outdoor concert season! Red Rocks! Fiddler’s Green! Botanic Gardens! Four Mile Park! They all have live music and it all takes place outside.
-NBA playoffs – this is fun as long as the Heat and the Nuggets make the playoffs. I’m thinking the former is a shoe-in but following all the Melo-drama the latter’s future is up in the air. Keep your fingers crossed.
-Hiking in the mountains and seeing all the wildflowers.
-Opening Day – for those who love baseball it’s a rite of passage but for those who simply like sports and drinking in the middle of the day it’s nice to have another afternoon activity option.
-Things start getting green again – especially for those of us who live in places where there are four seasons.
-Summer is just around the corner which means there is a whole lot of outdoor fun to be had.
-It’s award season and contest season.
-Patios and rooftops begin to open up which means lots of hanging out and sipping on cool drinks!
-Swimming pools open! Hello tanning, cooling off in the water and grilling on the pool deck!
-People start traveling and Colorado happens to be beautiful in the summer so book those plane tickets.
In the meantime start looking for your flip flops and sunscreen kids – April is rapidly approaching which means it’s just a sleigh ride (water slide?) into summer!
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
For all the tribute band haters our there I have news for you: Tribute bands have made their mark on pop culture and from the looks of things they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. People want to see their favorite music live but if their favorite bands and/or artists are either dead or no longer performing, tribute bands are the only option. As history has pointed out, sometimes tribute bands are so good that members can replace original members of the real band. Remember back in 2001 when Rock Star told the story of when Judas Priest replaced their lead singer with a guy who played him in a tribute band? Miracles do happen.
Obviously that kind of thing doesn’t happen too often but in the meantime there are some excellent tribute bands out there that are actually doing the original bands justice. But first let me point out the different between a tribute band and a cover band: A tribute band strives to capture every aspect of the imitated artist’s voice, actions and appearance while cover bands just play other people’s songs. Also, tribute bands usually name themselves based on the original band’s name, one of their songs or even one of their album titles.
Although initially created to honor the original band, some tribute bands have been around for many years and have earned their own fan base and the best example of that is the all-female AC/DC tribute band called Hell’s Belles. They have been featured in several magazines including Rolling Stone and have toured all over the country selling out venues as they go. I’ve seen them twice and I’m telling you right now that if any members of AC/DC wanted to take the night off one of these girls could take over – they are that good. Lead singer Jamie Nova hits every Brian Johnson/Bon Scott note and her stage presence is infectious. Also, Adrian Conner (with her unmistakable bleach blonde dreads) could trade guitar riffs with Angus Young any day. It’s her show – no question.
More recently I saw Appetite For Destruction and not only did these guys look like the members of Guns N Roses but they sounded and played like them. Seriously. I was so impressed that lead singer Chad Atkins could handle Axl Rose-sized notes while running around in a red bandana and doing the classic Axl back-and-forth, sway-like-a-snake moves. It was like I was back on the Sunset Strip circa 1988. And of course Mike Edington makes Slash proud with the way he shreds his guitar – talk about a tough act to imitate. Wow.
Other tribute bands I’ve seen:
Blue Suede Shoes: The Ultimate Elvis Tribute featuring Scot Bruce and Mike Albert
Badfish: A Tribute To Sublime
All three shows were great it was nice to have the opportunity to see Elvis songs like “Hound Dog” and Sublime songs like “Don’t Push” and of course the KISS anthem “Rock & Roll All Night” live by people who really love the music.
Tribute bands I’d like to see:
Who’s Bad: The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Band
Hot For Teacher: The Van Halen Experience
A few more tribute band fun facts:
The Beatles have the highest number of listed tribute bands – 12!
Strangest tribute band: Dread Zeppelin - playing music by Led Zeppelin in a reggae style with an Elvis impersonator on vocals. (Can’t make that shit up!)
As a whole I’ve had good experiences with tribute bands but there have been a few negative experiences such as 80s tribute band Steel Panther and Metallica tribute band It Should Have Been Lars. I wrote a very negative post about the former on December 20 and I stand by it. They had the look, could play their instruments and the lead singer could nail the notes but all of their incessant chatter was annoying. Also, I wanted them to play songs by Motley Crue and Def Leppard, not their own songs. I’m all for bands creating their own music but that’s not the point of their shows. Meanwhile, It Should Have Been Lars opened for Appetite For Destruction and they were awful. With bad wigs and a bad attitude, the lead singer opened the show by saying: “In case you all were wondering I am old enough to make fun of Metallica. I hate this band!” Wow – thanks for that. If you hate Metallica why are you singing their songs? I should have James Hetfield kick your ass for comments like that.
Keep your eyes open for any tribute bands coming your way – as long as they aren’t Steel Panther or It Should Have Been Lars and you like the music go see them! It should be a good time. When you do please let me know who you saw and what you thought!
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Even though Lady Gaga’s latest single is clearly a rip off of several Madonna songs, it seems that everyone in the world (15 countries to be exact) thinks “Born This Way” is the best thing to come out of music in a long time. With just this song, Lady Gaga broke records held by the likes of Britney Spears, Beyonce and Aerosmith.
-Released as the album’s lead single on February 11, “Born This Way” debuted at the number-one position on the Billboard Hot 100.
-The song became the 1,000th number-one single in the chart's history and the nineteenth song to debut at number one.
-“Born This Way” became Lady Gaga's eighth consecutive top-ten single, first to debut at number one and her third number-one single.
-The song sold 448,000 digital downloads in three days; the most downloads in a first week by a female artist. (The record was previously held by Britney Spears’ “Hold It Against Me”).
-It simultaneously became the first number-one debuting song on the Hot 100 Digital Songs chart to show an increase in downloads in its second week since 2008’s ubiquitous Beyonce single, “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).”
-Subsequently the song has held the number one spot for five weeks making it the only song to debut at number one and stay there for a month since Aerosmith’s “I Don't Want to Miss a Thing” in 1998.
-“Born This Way” went on to break the record for fastest-selling song in iTunes history, selling one million copies worldwide in five days.
-The song has sold over 1.650 million paid digital downloads in the United States to date.
While I can see Lady Gaga’s appeal to any human who has ever liked Madonna, colorful couture, crazy accessories and dance music, I’m shocked by how she continues to turn out hit after hit. With popular songs like “Just Dance,” “Poker Face,” “Speechless,” “Paparazzi,” “Bad Romance,” “LoveGame” and “Telephone” to her name it’s amazing that she has only been in the game since 2008. There are artists who spend years trying to achieve this kind of fame and success in the totality of their careers and this woman has done it in only three years. Although “Born This Way” has proved once again that Lady Gaga is a pop star there is one question that remains: How long will she be able to keep this streak going? Only time will tell.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
I’ve had plenty of discussions with people on the difference between arrogance and confidence and usually the general consensus is a) there is a fine line between the two terms and b) confidence is much more widely accepted than arrogance. That being said, when it comes to the entertainment world, having an ego might help you create your very own wildly popular television show that stars you playing you.
From what I’ve seen, it’s mostly male actors who create television shows where the lead character is loosely based on themselves. Some of these shows are great while others are annoying but nevertheless, they all are or were very popular:
Two and a Half Men: I will start with this one only because it is clear that Charlie Sheen has taken over the world. I think this show sucks and I cannot believe that (until recently) it was one of the highest-rated shows on TV featuring TV’s highest-paid actor. To see what all the fuss was about I turned on a few episodes a few months before Sheen Madness began and although there were a few funny lines the dialogue and storylines were predictable and the sight of Sheen in bowling shirts made we want to never bowl again. As I’m sure everyone knows now, Men was about two brothers and the son/nephew they take care of together. Not only was Sheen’s character named “Charlie” but with all of his womanizing and drinking he played a very PG version of himself in the show. I’m assuming that the fact that Sheen was basically playing himself attracted viewers back when Sheen was considered charismatic and fun – now, not so much.
Seinfeld: The show notoriously described as “the show about nothing” still has a following to this day. Jerry Seinfeld (as himself) and his buddies were a crazy foursome that America could not get enough of for over a decade. I believe that the show depicted Seinfeld as who he really is (the shows usually ended with him doing a stand-up routine) and that the rest of the gang were happy to join in the fun. People refer to Seinfeld lines and episodes all the time and although the show went off the air in the late nineties, it lives on through reruns and people constantly quoting Jerry, Kramer, George and Elaine.
Everybody Loves Raymond: I was never a fan of this show and the few episodes I saw were not only boring but were designed like every other family sitcom ever created. Like Jerry Seinfeld, Ray Romano played himself and I’m sure pulled episode material from his stand-up routines. Except this time he had a whole family acting with him. Either way, this show, like Men and Seinfeld, was extremely well-liked and won a bunch of Emmys over the years. Why? I couldn’t tell you.
Californication: I can’t say enough good things about this show –it’s so clever, well-written, well-acted and David Duchovny is brilliant as writer/alcoholic/womanizer Hank Moody. He is charismatic, funny, too smart for his own good, unapologetic for being exactly who he is and he totally gets away with it. Everyone wants to be Hank even though they are constantly rolling their eyes at him. He is a walking contradiction as he has no edit function, drinks and does drugs, is a father to a terrific daughter, has an undeniable love for music and can’t resist women but is so talented that he can’t help but be successful. In On 2008, it became public knowledge that Duchovny (like Moody) had trouble resisting women and checked himself into a rehabilitation facility for treating sex addiction. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
Rescue Me: Denis Leary is clearly not a fire fighter but there is no question that he is as biting, sarcastic and mouthy as his alter ego Tommy Gavin. Have you ever seen Leary do stand-up? Have you heard his song entitled “I’m An Asshole” or watched him being interviewed on a late night show? He is hilarious – a fast talker who is funny and, most importantly, a great storyteller. On Rescue Me the Gavin family is a big part of the storyline and Leary definitely pulls from his real-life family for these characters – including their names. His character also tells stories on the show that actually happened to Leary throughout his childhood. One of the best shows on TV with one of the most complex and ballsy characters ever, Leary gets it done. I will be sad to see this one go after its upcoming final season.
The reason these shows work is because these guys are good actors – even if they are playing version of themselves. While there are clearly some I prefer more than others, all of these shows have earned critical acclaim. Turns out, writing what you know is an expression for a reason.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
That should be title for Charlie Sheen’s new Twitter and Ustream pages because there is literally no turning back for this guy. What is Sheen trying to accomplish with his crazy talk about warlocks and goddesses while referring to himself as a rockstar? Does he really have this many screws loose or does he just no longer care?
At this point everyone knows that Sheen has gone off the deep end/off the reservation/is having a stage five meltdown and is on the strangest public media tour/trip we’ve ever seen. Everyone also knows that he was not only fired from his television show but also from Time Warner in general. His career – for all intents and purposes – is done.
My question is this: Is he pulling a Joaquin Phoenix? Is all of this craziness about getting attention or has he really lost his fucking mind? I’m still not sure if Phoenix’s weird behavior was real or if he was just doing it to get a rise out of people but if I recall, no one cared as much about Phoenix as they do about Sheen. In fact, while Phoenix was making weird videos and talking about being a hip hop star, Sheen’s face is on every magazine in the supermarket including Entertainment Weekly and People.
Another difference between Sheen and Phoenix and the rest of the nutjobs I wrote about in my February 25th post (such as Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears and Mel Gibson) is that Sheen is entertaining. He is a train wreck in the most bizarre and arrogant way possible and no one can look away. His latest U-stream rant is called “Torpedoes of Truth Part 2” on which he films himself talking to his friend Bob (who is the epitome of an enabler as he laughs at everything Sheen says and tells him he’s brilliant) while smoking and drinking. Sheen calls the bottle of booze a “secret elixir” but makes a point to take swigs off camera because he’s not getting paid for drinking it. Ok Charlie – have another. Or maybe you should put that bottle down before you make an ass out of yourself for the millionth time.
Sheen also says things like “technology is bitchin’” and looks like a crack addict who hasn’t slept since 1988. His hair is going 100 different directions and he literally can’t stop talking nor can he sit still. Instead his eyes dart all over the place as if there are creatures surrounding him – and who knows, maybe there are. Remember this is Sheen’s world – we’re just watching it.
Here are some more gems:
“Their plan is shit, mine is gold.”
“Winner winner, Sheen dinner.”
“Bob, you too have a magic brain.”
“People are trying to interrupt my brilliance.”
“What’s not to love? It’s my life. Winning!”
“We are in the cyber pocket of greatness.”
“Did you notice that the word ‘hell’ is in the word ‘helicopter’? Just sayin’.”
But don’t just take my word for it – see this for yourself. Just know that it aint pretty:
So why have Sheen’s antics taken over pop culture for the last two weeks? Why are we so enthralled? Is it because scripted reality shows are no longer doing it for us and we need a former movie/television star to not only freak out but to record the freak out as well? I’ve heard predictions from people that he will be dead in six months. Who knows. I guess we’ll just keep watching until he is no longer entertaining or until the media stops giving him attention.
After talking about it for months and knowing for sure it was going to win an Oscar for Best Picture, I finally saw The King’s Speech. Everyone I talked to who had already seen it said it was definitely the best movie they had seen in a long time so I was really looking forward to it. Although I really did enjoy the movie there were part of it that dragged – but the best parts of the movies were without a doubt the scenes in which Colin Firth (King George VI aka Bertie who has a severe speech impediment) and Geoffrey Rush (Lionel Logue, his speech therapist) were interacting. The two of them were entertaining, genuine and really fun to watch. What begins as a very awkward meeting (on Bertie’s part) turns into a very cool friendship that lasts the rest of their lives. This friendship reminded me a few other “buddy films” that are nothing short of classic:
Shawshank Redemption – The companionship between Andy and Red is giving me chills as I write this. If the two of them hadn’t met in prison they would have never crossed paths but the mutual respect and camaraderie between them is uplifting even in the worst situations.
Andy Dufresne: If they ever try to trace any of those accounts, they're gonna end up chasing a figment of my imagination.
Red: Well, I'll be damned. Did I say you were good? Shit, you're a Rembrandt!
Andy Dufresne: Yeah. The funny thing is - on the outside, I was an honest man, straight as an arrow. I had to come to prison to be a crook.
Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid – One of my favorite westerns of all time about two buddies who rob banks and end up fleeing to Bolivia when the law gets too close. Paul Newman and Robert Redford are hilarious as their banter reminds me of an old married couple – who carry six shooters.
Butch Cassidy: Well, the way I figure it, we can either fight or give. If we give, we go to jail.
Sundance Kid: I've been there already.
Thelma & Louise – Two badass bitches hit the road in a 1966 Thunderbird after shooting a rapist. Wearing shirts with cut sleeves and cowboy boots they spend most of the movie running from the law – and they are not messing around. (It also helps that this movie features Brad Pitt’s debut as the hottest young southern male to ever wear a cowboy hat).
Thelma: Hey Louise, better slow down, I'll just die if we get caught over a speeding ticket. Are you sure we should be driving like this, I mean in broad daylight and everything?
Louise: No we shouldn't, but I want to put some distance between us and the SCENE OF OUR LAST GOD DAMNED CRIME!
Wedding Crashers – One of the funniest comedies of the last decade, this movie features Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson at their best playing best friends (Jeremy and John) who crash weddings. Very charismatic and always the life of the party, these guys are the epitome of buddies with their back and forth repartee that consist of delivering ubiquitous lines like “You lock it up!”
Jeremy: Have you even shot one of these things before?
John: The whole 17 years we've known each other I've been sneaking off to go on little hunting trips around the world. No, I don't even know what the fuck a quail is!