Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Has Gone to the Dogs

Okay so I may be a bit partial but do I not have the cutest dogs, like, ever?!

Coco

Rollo

I mean seriously. Oooh and check them out in their first real snow of this winter. Rollo doesn't walk; she bounds! While Coco just kind of checks it out from the sidelines. I love my girls.

If you've got some adorable pics of your pets, now is the time to share them! And in case we don't see you 'til afterwards, have a dog-gone good Christmas everyone!

Check back for more updates on cute pet pictures.
We'll be editing some more pictures into this post.


And here are some more!

Cleo and Anubis weren't exactly cooperative with the Christmas pics, but I managed to get a couple of them as Santa's Little Helpers:

At times like these, I forget what a troublemaker Cleo is.

Anubis checking himself out

Cleo and Anubis

Also, Lavender has sent us a couple of pics:

Apathy

Apathy and Lady Cuddles

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Don't mess with Tori


check the 2:30 mark


Tori Amos would like to remind everyone to please turn off all cell phones and remain seated at all times. Thank you.

source: TMZ

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Most Awesomely Bad Music Videos of All Time: 2nd Edition

Okay, so last night, it struck me like a rickety ceiling fan falling from the ceiling: No, no, THIS is a better bad video than Journey's "Separate Ways!"

Steve Miller Band--"Abracadabra."



Dudes, I LOVED this song when I was like five. And I still do, although the stalkerish lyrics make me cringe. "Abra-Abra-cadabra. I wanna reach out and grab ya!"

But there are simply NO WORDS for the video! The animated flames! The animated pegasus in the window at :14. (I swear to God!) Our sexy magician's assistant heroine with her big hair (with animated glittery effects), leopard-skin headband, and a pet rat! The cheap and completely unnecessary special effects! And, of course, the band...why does Steve Miller have the black box over his eyes? Why is he in such an ugly t-shirt? Why does he look like such a douche? These are just some of the mysteries posed by "Abracadabra."

Whew. Now that I've got that off my chest, I welcome your continued suggestions. I promise I will present some of them for this series in the future!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Most Awesomely Bad Music Videos of All Time: 1st Edition...

Hi there, everyone!

There is still nothing interesting going on in music, unless you count the fact that Trent Reznor has shown us that he has multiple greyhounds too. (See, [Trent_Still_Reads]!)



See, he's even got an Italian greyhound on the couch...hardy har.

Oh, and he's working on the follow-up to Year Zero or something. Here you can watch Alessandro make a piano sound like a Vegas slot machine.

Anyhoo, I thought it would be fun to revisit some bad, bad music videos of yesteryear. And you guys can post nominations of your own!

Now, the video in question can't just be bad...it has to be awesomely bad. It has to have *some* redeeming quality to its badness.

Here's my first candidate:

"Separate Ways" by Journey



What makes this video awesomely bad? First of all, it's got to be the most low-rent video ever made by a wildly popular (at the time) arena rock band. What is this location? "Hey, Steve Perry, my cousin says we can film behind his warehouse, on like a Sunday or something, when no one's there." At the beginning of the video, you're slightly worried that they didn't have money for instruments, but then they magically appear...via a CAMERA TRICK! There are many of these sorts of CAMERA TRICKS in this video, so watch out!

The icy-hearted love interest has a killer wardrobe: white pumps, pantyhose, black leather skirt, white jacket, long dangly earrings, and really big hair. She walks a lot in this video, completely disregarding lead singer Steve Perry's desperate emoting.

The band look no less impressive in this video. All forms of unfortunate 80s fashion have been brought to the table. Most of Journey's members are sporting mullets, and one even has his mullet permed. There are tight jeans, aviator sunglasses, goofy t-shirts, collars turned up on denim jackets, sportcoats worn with t-shirts and jeans, and porn mustaches. Oh, and they have the most retarded-looking bass guitar I've ever seen.

So there's not a lot going on in this video, re: location, special effects, storyline, wardrobe. But we do have Steve Perry gesticulating dramatically. You can FEEL the anguish. This is also definitely Journey's best song, although "Don't Stop Believing" comes close. And that is what elevates this video from being merely bad to awesomely bad. It's like a little time capsule from 1983...all the things we wanted to forget about 1983, that is.

Any other nominations? Future posts will be dedicated to the most awesomely bad of the bunch.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

What the...???

We interrupt this music blog for a little non-musical hilarity.

Umm...Gabriel? Is that you? No? Alright fine. It's Weston Coppola Cage looking goth-tastic. Just check out that eyeliner job. It's like the anti-Amy Winehouse. Seriously.

I guess I shouldn't make fun. I would probably develop a complex too if my dad were Nicolas Cage. God he's such a douche! This is all your fault, Nicolas. If you weren't such an egotistical ass who had to marry the sushi waitress who is half your age and name the resulting spawn after Superman, your other son might not look like he's about to walk on set for "The Crow: 13 Sequels and Still Going Strong". I mean just look at your boy at the beginning of their marriage. Can we say teenage rebellion?

Stranger Danger!

Dear Readers:

Ahhh...internet access! Our modem crapped out at home, so I was forced to spend a full 24 hours without internet access and nearly died of it. But now I am abusing internet privileges at work so that I can bring you this SPECIAL REPORT:

The Dresden Dolls' Amanda Palmer has clearly never seen Wolf Creek.

I recently received this email from the Dresden Dolls' mailing list:

To our dear dear friends in Melbourne:
Fuck hotels.
Would you like to house some starving artists for ten days? December 5-15.
Let us know!
It's going to be me + 4 members of The Danger Ensemble and we will give you free merch and tickets to the Spiegeltent up the wazoo and turn your home into an art palace. Well, that's a lie. We'll mostly be just sleeping there.
We need relatively comfy accommodations for 5 bodies.
We don't mind sharing beds, but you'd need at least 3 beds.

Wireless and tea kettle a wicked plus. We like cats. We like dogs.

We're willing to get creative.
If you know of anybody leaving town, or with a space in general that can be made hospitable for 10 days, let us know. Even more amazing would be if the space is large enough to move around and rehearse and film in. We like getting jiggy and filming.
Where? Um. The nearer to the venue the better.
The tent is at: The Arts Centre Forecourt, 100 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne. Right downtown.
Walking distance would make us so happy, but if we need to drive to the gigs, we have a van.


Um, what? Amanda, you don't know these people! What if they're serial killers or crazed fans or have a roach infestation that you don't know about until they're crawling all over you in your sleep? You can afford a hotel. Or a hostel, even. Oh wait, maybe that's not such a good idea either.

Have you told your mom about this plan? I can't imagine she would approve.

In the meantime, if certain male rock stars need a place to stay while on tour, I would happily offer up my humble abode. Iris can attest that my couches are the most comfy in the Midwest. Just send me an email at tragicmaise@yahoo.com along with a resume and headshot. Must like dogs.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Nothing Interesting Is Happening In Music.

I know, because I've just checked Idolator.

I defy you to find anything remotely inspiring going on in the world of music because it's not. I'm not eagerly awaiting an album at the moment. Don't have any concerts lined up except for a rescheduled Cure concert in MAY. No decent gossip--even Amy Winehouse is turning me off with her pathological codependency.

Is everyone taking some time off for the holidays? Have I become incurably jaded and apathetic? Or are there some new and exciting developments in the world of rock that I am not currently aware of? (Perhaps Danny Angel will have a dispatch from the world of ancient Egyptian-themed death metal.)

I want to write a funny, thought-provoking post. Really, I do! I'm just kind of at a loss.

So in lieu of actual discussion, here's a picture of our new dog, Anubis. (Speaking of ancient Egypt...) He comes home on Saturday.

Monday, November 26, 2007

R.I.P.

Kevin DuBrow, lead singer for Quiet Riot, passed away this past Sunday in his home in Las Vegas. Cause of death is still unknown at this point. He was only 52. It's kind of surreal to know he's gone when I just saw him in concert barely a month ago.


And while I'm not a fan of Hawthorn Heights it's still a shame to say they also suffered a loss this weekend. Guitarist Casey Calvert passed away in his sleep on the tour bus on Saturday in Washington D.C. Cause of death is unknown in this case also but fellow bandmates/friends say "...with absolute certainty that he was not doing anything illegal. Please, out of respect to Casey and his family, don’t contribute or succumb to any gossip you may hear." He was only 26.

Rest in peace, guys.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

He Was Up Above It

artist rendering by Zeemort

Trent has been all happy go lucky these days from the launch of Saul's new album, becoming label free, and just generally being Master of his Domain, as evident from this artist rendering (drawn from life), but it seems there's a hitch with the new remix album...or the remix album site anyways. From the NIN.com site:

19 November 2007: Copyright Fun

Several years ago I persuaded my record company to let me begin posting my master recording files on nin.com, in order to see what kind of user-generated content would materialize from my music. I had no agenda… the main reason I did it was because I thought it was cool and something I would have liked to do if it was available to me. A lot of really fun stuff started to happen….communities developed, web sites were created, even traditional radio got in the game and began playing the fans' mixes. I felt the experiment, despite not having a specific purpose, was a success. So much so that we're now releasing a remix album that includes some of this fan-created material as well as the actual multitrack master files for every song from my latest record, Year Zero.

One piece was missing to me and that was an official nin.com presence for aggregating all of the fan-created remixes. Several intrepid fans had stepped up and done a great job providing a destination for people to post these, but I felt all along this was a function I should more directly support. So, upon release of this new remix album, our plan has been to launch an official site on nin.com that would provide a place for all fan remix material and other interactive fan experiences.

Or so I thought.

On Saturday morning I became aware of a legal hitch in our plans. My former record company and current owner of all these master files, Universal, is currently involved in a lawsuit with other media titans Google (YouTube) and News Corp (MySpace). Universal is contending that these sites do not have what is referred to as "safe harbor" under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and therefore are in copyright violation because users have uploaded music and video content that is owned by Universal. Universal feels that if they host our remix site, they will be opening themselves up to the accusation that they are sponsoring the same technical violation of copyright they are suing these companies for. Their premise is that if any fan decides to remix one of my masters with material Universal doesn't own - a "mash-up", a sample, whatever - and upload it to the site, there is no safe harbor under the DMCA (according to Universal) and they will be doing exactly what MySpace and YouTube are doing. This behavior may get hauled out in court and impact their lawsuit. Because of this they no longer will host our remix site, and are insisting that Nine Inch Nails host it. In exchange for this they will continue to let me upload my Universal masters and make them available to fans, BUT shift the liability of hosting them to me. Part of the arrangement is having user licenses that the fans sign (not unlike those on MySpace or You Tube) saying they will not use unauthorized materials. If they WERE to do such a thing, everybody sues everybody and the world abruptly ends.

While I am profoundly perturbed with this stance as content owners continue to stifle all innovation in the face of the digital revolution, it is consistent with what they have done in the past. So... we are challenged at the last second to find a way of bringing this idea to life without getting splashed by the urine as these media companies piss all over each other’s feet. We have a cool and innovative site ready to launch but we're currently scratching our heads as to how to proceed.
More to come….

By the way, the potential implications of a lawsuit like this one go well beyond creating hurdles for a Nine Inch Nails remix site. Here is an excerpt from technology site Ars Technica regarding a similar lawsuit Viacom has filed against YouTube:

The DMCA's Safe Harbor provisions aren't just important to video sharing sites; they're important to almost every sector of Internet-based business.
"Nearly every major Internet company depends on the very same legal foundation that YouTube is built on," said von Lohmann. "A legal defeat for YouTube could result in fundamental changes to its business, potentially even making it commercially impossible to embrace user-generated content without first 'clearing' every video. In other words, a decisive victory for Viacom could potentially turn the Internet into TV, a place where nothing gets on the air until a cadre of lawyers signs off," he said. "More importantly, a victory for Viacom could potentially have enormous implications for Yahoo, eBay, Amazon, MySpace, and many other Internet companies, because they all rely on the same DMCA Safe Harbors to protect many facets of their businesses, as well. The stakes are high all around."


Indeed.

All joking aside folks, this is a serious issue. That much is made clear in the lawsuit excerpt. Wish I could elaborate more but a touch of food poisoning has me down. -blech- Damn the man!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Crime Time

Someone's been a naughty, naughty boy. Please, George, tell us you didn't really want to hurt him....



Thursday, November 8, 2007

Review of the Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust!

Alright guys. Let's just back away from the last few posts with all the unpleasant comments they generated and move on to something I'm sure we can all love. Saul Williams's new album:

The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust!


I'll admit I was leery at first because while I liked some songs of his previous album, it was by no means my favorite, but I still wanted to support this new "label-free" experiment Trent and others are working on. I'm happy to say that my fears were completely unnecessary, and this album totally rocks! Download it for free or download it for $5, the choice is yours, but just DOWNLOAD IT! The cover of "Sunday Bloody Sunday" is almost worth the $5 on its own, and you shouldn't cut yourself short in the sound quality on this one or any of the other heavily layered tracks. Free 192kps mp3 = crap -OR- $5 320kps mp3 = much higher quality. Or even go for the $5 FLAC lossless audio, but be prepared to use a conversion program to get it to play.

You can clearly hear Trent's NIN influence in the music, and he is credited on most of the songs. If a person were to listen to Year Zero and this album back to back, I don't think they'd be surprised to learn they were recorded about the same time (both being worked on while Saul was the opening act during the [With_Teeth] tour). Both are beautifully layered with "noise," but where Trent makes his lyrical points blunt with NIN, Saul speaks in wide-ranging metaphors cleverly concealed in catchy, dance-able beats so that his "message" isn't completely overpowering. I recommend listening to the whole album before specifically reading the lyrics; it makes it easier if you can hear the flow as you go. Saul has a sense of humor about studying lyrics so closely though. If you're reading through them in iTunes, when you get to the last song, instead of lyrics you get "enough already. Stop reading and dance" and then a plug to his other book The Dead Emcee Scrolls ("available now in bookstores" he tells us).

While I like all the general topics brought up throughout the songs (standing up for yourself, problems with political authority, self doubt, etc), I wasn't so keen about all the "N" bombs being dropped. It's just not my style and therefore not normally something I even give a chance, but after reading a bit from a document included with the leaked tracks, you realize he's intentionally trying to make you feel uncomfortable.

"The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust! is the lovechild of Trent and me. The NiggyTardust concept sets me free to do more on stage with costume, etc. than one might expect from a regular Saul Williams show. It allows me to put my theatre training to use. I've also thought long and hard about all the discussion surrounding racial epithets etc. and chose this title as a means of furthering the dialogue while also showing how creativity will outlive and outshine hatred of any kind."
He's wanting to change the interpretations and negative connotations surrounding it. That's commendable and should make for an interesting show when he goes on tour to support this release. So our dear RoRo was onto something. Saul's taking it back, y'all.

But like Saul said, "enough already" on over-analyzing words because the music is pretty amazing too. "Sunday Bloody Sunday" has been overhauled into a bouncy, up-tempo beat that is infectious. It started with just tapping my foot, but by the second round of "oh, oh, oh"s, I was singing along. This one sticks in my head all day and is definitely one of my top three picks. While the majority of the other tracks have that NIN-influenced abrasiveness or sound "hard" because of the delivery of the vocals (e.g., "Black History Month," "Convict Colony," "Break," "Skin of a Drum," "The Ritual"), the songs that really stood out and blew me way were the softer and self-doubting "No One Ever Does" and the simply structured "Banged & Blown Through." I love the vulnerability of the keyboards and the soft texture of the vocals in "No One Ever Does." And while the drumbeat of "Banged & Blown Through" is strong, the falsetto backup vocals manage to still make it feel vulnerable and it gets me every time. That's not to say I don't like the harshness of the other songs mentioned above because I do. In fact, I would say it's the perfect set up to make these softer tunes really jump out at you.

I feel the album artwork is also worth mentioning. I felt that leery sense again when I heard Rob Sheridan had a hand in it, but it's not as bad as all that. The booklet is included with the download as a .pdf file, and much of it reminds me of what was briefly shown in Saul's book (s)he, only with color. Even the lyrics, handwritten in most cases, add to the eclectic group of artwork. There seems to be a running theme of Roman-inspired horses, a few images of Egyptian Gods, and this little voodoo-looking guy. You can clearly see him on page 26 of the booklet, but notice that he's also hiding behind a layer of paint on pages 17 & 27. His little eyes peek out at you. Kind of creepy, no? My point here is that anyone concerned with this new manner of music distribution and seemingly inevitable extinction of album artwork or booklets needs only look through the included .pdf file to see that it will be okay. Perhaps that makes me old school, but I like looking through that stuff. It enhances the tone of everything else. I'd like to think of the much criticized ARG as Trent's online (albeit elaborate) version of Year Zero's "album artwork."

Overall, I think that Trent and Saul mesh well together, and I hope they stay close for future projects. Their two styles and passions (music and lyrics/spoken word) compliment each other. It's been fun delving into this album and its layers and layers of content, and I can't wait to see what else is waiting to reveal itself in subsequent listens. Bottom line people: YOU SHOULD GET THIS.

Prince, R U fucking kidding?

So we're all in agreement that Prince is a musical genius, right? Because he is. And like many geniuses, he has always been prone to...eccentricities. But I scarcely have words for this latest bit of news:

Fan sites dedicated to Prince say they have been served legal notice to remove all images of the singer, his lyrics and "anything linked to Prince's likeness," and have vowed to fight what they said was censorship.

The move was a shock to many of his followers and came two months after Prince threatened to sue YouTube and other major Internet sites for unauthorized use of his music and image.

But by targeting fan sites directly, Prince risks a backlash, and the sites have vowed to unite under the banner "Prince Fans United" and take the matter to court if necessary.

"We strongly believe that such actions are in violation of ... freedom of speech and should not be allowed," said a statement from the three sites -- www.housequake.com, www.princefams.com and www.prince.org.

A company helping Prince control his image and music on the Internet said the fan sites had spun the story so that it was "incorrect and misleading."

"At no time is Prince suing his fans and this is not about freedom of speech," said John Giacobbi, managing director of Internet policing specialist Web Sheriff.

"The current issue is one between Prince's record label and three unofficial Web sites and relates to the use of Prince trademarks and photographs, many of which are Prince's copyright," he told Reuters.

In a statement released later, he added:

"These forums have taken it upon themselves to wear the crown of being the self appointed representatives of the millions of Prince fans worldwide, despite the fact that they only represent a tiny fraction of Prince's global fanbase."


I would like to think that this is all a big misunderstanding, or perhaps Prince is receiving the world's worst advice from his representatives because frankly, this whole controversy seems very un-Princelike. This is the man who changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol during a battle with the recording industry, the man who wrote "slave" on his cheek to be displayed during a performance, the man who has taken to giving away free copies of his albums.

But if you go to prince.org, for example, you can see the text of a letter allegedly sent to these fan sites from Web Sheriff, which represents AEG Worldwide, Paisley Park Enterprises, Prince, etc. etc. This letter allegedly threatens the fansites involved with Prince Fans United with charges of libel (libelous statements supposedly being complaints that Prince is "attacking" his fans), and it states: "Whilst writing, we would caution you against communicating any further correspondence or remarks to third parties that could, in any way, be construed as being libellous of PRINCE or that could otherwise constitute a malicious falsehood, injurious to our clients’ business interests."

So, in other words, what Prince and his legal team appear to want is an immediate cessation of all discussion of Prince that could be construed as critical and the immediate takedown of all images of Prince, quoted lyrics, and anything Prince-related. Like I said, either a HUGE misunderstanding...or the worst advice EVER. I mean, how is shutting down fan discussion on the Internet going to enhance one's career as a rock star? Regardless of whether you belive copyrights are being infringed upon, isn't it far more damaging to send threatening legal letters to your biggest supporters? Check out the forums of the aforementioned fansites to read the litanies of anger and betrayal.

Now, over here at Places Parallel, we continue the grand tradition of Wearing These Chains in being extremely willy-nilly with copyrighted images, lyrics, etc. Granted, if a copyright holder ever contacted us to have an image removed, I'm sure that we would quickly comply. However, what we're largely performing for these artists at the same time that we're all wasting time at work is FREE ADVERTISING. Even when we're bitching about something, it is still FREE ADVERTISING. In my opinion, fans should be *encouraged* to express their love for an artist ad nauseam, to ooh and aah over the latest pics, to debate the meaning of the newest lyrics. That is how you ultimately sell merchandise, albums, and concert tickets. There are tons of bands that would KILL for the devotion that these fans have for Prince, even though they wouldn't receive a dime from these websites.

Not to mention the fact that it's not 1984 anymore, so really, Prince should check himself before he wrecks himself.

Prince is a hugely talented and influential artist. Let's just hope that other artists aren't moved to follow suit. Especially you, Trent.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Lou Reed & the Killers

Since my last post brought out the bile in so many, namely Gabriel and his toadies, I'm going for a kinder, gentler Rotard today. (JR, you totally made my day giving me a nickname that sounds like I'm a snooty French whore! D'accord!)

But I've decided to keep with yesterday's Joy Division theme and point everyone in the direction of the Killers' cover of "Shadowplay." So what do y'all think? When I first heard they were covering Shadowplay, my initial reaction was, "Oh, Brandon, no you are NOT!!!" Covers so rarely turn out well, particularly covers of songs that are near and dear to my heart. And really, the only decent Joy Division cover I've ever heard thus far is from Sir Trent himself with "Dead Souls."

But as it turns out, I've been pleasantly surprised with the Killers' take on "Shadowplay." They update the song without changing the general melacholy mood. But they don't veer too off course with their updates either, making the song unrecognizable. It's definitely a more uptempo take on the song, but one that stays true to the source. Of course, Brandon Flowers's nasally voice is quite at odds with Ian's monotone drone and I think competes with the strong bass of the song. Perhaps I'm just too used to Ian's sound, but I find myself wishing it were Ian's voice set to the Killers' instrumentals.

The Killers' new album, Sawdust, comes out next Tuesday, and based on their "Shadowplay" cover and their new single "Tranquilize," I'm excited. Like so many sophomore albums, Sam's Town was less than interesting, especially considering the brilliance of Hot Fuss, which still is in my regular rotation three years after its release.

Their video for "Tranquilize" is pretty interesting, given that Lou Reed not only makes an appearance, but his voice eminates from Brandon Flowers. Sorry, but Brandon aint' got nuthin on Lou. In any event, take a gander.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Ian Curtis: Tragic Figure or Self-Absorbed Twat? A Review of Control


I'd heard about Anton Corbijn's movie Control a couple of years ago, when production was just beginning. As a big fan of Joy Division since I was in diapers, I was excited. No, thrilled is more the word.

So Maise and I, following a fabulous dinner at Carnivale, headed to the Music Box Theater, which my mom referred to as a "rat-infested shithole." And yeah, she was kind of right, but for whatever reason, it was the only theater in Chicago to be showing this movie. But I didn't care about the screen that was approximately the size of my TV or the less-than-comfortable seats because after two years of waiting, here was the tragic story of one of the most beloved bands of my youth. I was psyched.

Maybe too psyched. Honestly, after all that anticipation, I was waiting to be blown away by Ian Curtis's tragic story. But in reality, for the entire two hours, I was pretty bored. The movie, despite its fantastic JD soundtrack, plods along so slowly that at some points, I nearly dozed off. Ninety percent of this movie is Ian being morose: he glumly watches TV; he glumly smokes a cigarette; he glumly bounces from his wife to his mistress and back again. The moments of levity are so few and far between that this whole movie was just one big downer.

Samantha Morton's and Sam Riley's performances are stellar as Deborah and Ian, but the rest of the actors aren't really given much to work with. In fact, the rest of the characters are largely nonexistent. Even Annik Honore's role is rather thinly drawn seeing as she was the source of such turmoil in Ian's life.

Ian's struggles with epilepsy also seem like an afterthought. They are present, but that part of his life takes a backseat to the love triangle he created with Deborah and Annik. This thoroughly surprised me since it's my understanding that his condition was one of the major contributing factors to his suicide.

But my biggest gripe about this movie? Ian is completely unlikeable throughout most of it. When he starts out dating Deborah behind his best friend's back, eventually stealing her away, all I could think was, "That's an asshole thing to do!" Which is is how I felt about most of his subsequent actions. He treats Deborah poorly, expecting her to support his sorry, unemployed ass both emotionally and financially right after giving birth to their daughter. And he expects all of this while he trots through Europe dicking around with Annik. There are some rather touching moments when you think to yourself, "Aww...the poor guy," but there are so few of those moments that I left the movie thinking far less of him than I had previously. I didn't even find it that upsetting when he does eventually kill himself. In fact, I kind of felt relieved for Deborah, who could finally move on with her life.

All in all, the movie paints Ian as a self-absorbed, selfish, depressing bloke who just happened to create some fantastic, highly influential music. Whether this is an accurate portrayal of his life, of course we'll never really know for sure. I realize that Deborah's autobiography Touching from a Distance was the source material for the movie, so of course her point of view is treated most sympathetically. But after watching this, my love for Ian has been torn apart just a little.


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Happy Halloween, Everyone!

Perhaps some of you are too young, but I remember as a wee girl watching Michael Jackson's "Thriller" at the home of a family friend during a party. The entire party stopped while everyone gathered around the TV, and it felt like a momentous occasion, even if you weren't seven years old with a raging crush on Michael Jackson, whose fundamental weirdness had not yet become apparent. The length of the video and the special effects were unprecedented. And even though poor MJ has since become his own horror movie villain, you gotta admit, the song and the video still totally rock.

It's no wonder, then, that in the "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" world of YouTube, there are some memorable renditions and parodies of "Thriller" that Iris and I have dug up for some Halloween fun!

The Internationally Hilarious::

Indian Thriller
One of my students alerted me to the existence of the "Bollywood" version of "Thriller." What I love about it is how the heroine in peril looks more embarrassed and appalled than frightened. And if I even contemplate this video, the song gets stuck in my head for hours.

Indian Thriller #2 Here's another Indian parody of "Thriller." This one isn't quite as well made as the first, I'm afraid, but is that Steven Tyler making a cameo at 1:22?

Dominican Thriller
Here we have the original "Thriller" dubbed in Spanish, sped up, and with a little Salsa flair. Very nice.

Filipino prisoners
This has to be the highest morale prison in the entire world. I laughed so hard when I first watched this one a couple months ago. Pay close attention to the “chick.” Don’t worry if you miss “her” the first time because you were laughing too hard; “she” makes another appearance towards the end. What may be even funnier is the behind the scenes look on how they put it all together. Mr. Maise, the police officer, doesn't think this would fly in an American prison.


Thriller in Uniform:
US Marine Thriller--Hoo ah!
Listen to the other Marines laugh and taunt until they realize this dude knows the whole routine. Not a bad guy to have around when you’re in the middle of a giant sandbox with nothing but time on your hands. I'm beginning to wonder if he was ever stationed in the Philippines.

For Nerds Only:

Harry Potter
No YouTube video collection would be complete without the Harry Potter tribute video, right? There are literally bazillions of these floating around on the Tube. Most are either crap or really creepy (but not in the good way). This one was at least nicely timed to the words of the song.

Final Fantasy
Those of you who are fans of Final Fantasy should enjoy this one. At first I thought this would be just another tribute video with clips from the movie, but I was pleasantly surprised. This should quell any doubts that video game programmers have way too much time on their hands. Check out the dancing Phantoms in the back.

Game Mascots
Further proof that game programmers have too much time. But look at Master Chief go! Go Sir, Go!

With Legos!
Good Lord, I wonder how long it took to stop animate this entire thing! They’ve got a hell of a lot more patience than I do, so I won’t even criticize them that much for it being out of focus.

Danny Angel, Pay Attention!

Wedding
There are loads of these reception videos out there with the results being pretty hit or miss. But hey, it’s better than the Macarena. I’m wondering if this is currently being practiced 5 nights a week and twice on Saturdays to be performed with nothing short sheer perfection for our own Angelman’s wedding. Hmm...

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Break Out the Aqua Net

I take my position here on Places Parallel very seriously, so when I heard that Slaughter, Quiet Riot, and Vince Neil were going to be playing nearby I felt it was my journalistic duty to catch the show (and that makes it tax deductible, right?). Since I had only found out about the show the day of, finding a person to go with was a bit difficult. Not sure why, I mean who wouldn’t want to go see these guys?

Slaughter was up first, but we arrived a little late so we missed most of their set, but I did manage to record “Up All Night,” where Mark Slaughter sang a good portion of the song in the audience.


Now we were a little ways back from the stage but still I have to say that Mark looked pretty damned good. Can’t say the same for Kevin DuBrow though, who was up next with Quiet Riot. I think it might be about time to hang up the leopard print pants and jacket. Or if he insists on wearing them, keep the jacket on because the sparkly scarf isn’t hiding the pot belly. Kevin did have an amusing bit of wardrobe advice for Ms. Spears though before launching into “Old Habits Die Hard.” I have to say I kind of like this song, too.




You’ll have to excuse my inebriated friend for laughing so much but there was a VERY entertaining, completely trashed, Harley Davidson-looking guy in front of us who was completely rocking out. You can hear him screaming “ROCK-N-ROLL” throughout several of the videos, and at one point, he was actually howling at the stage. I wish I could have recorded all of his head-banging and dancing antics. At the end of it all, he’d broken the bleachers, but he didn’t even break a sweat.

Come to think of it, the audience was almost as entertaining as the bands we'd come to see. It seemed most had shown up in their best "metal attire" for the occasion although I heavily suspect many just never stopped wearing it since the days it was in style. There were many women fashion disasters of the crispy bleach blond hair, lace tank tops, and stonewashed jeans variety but the men won out, hands down. There were a few there with long, long hair with 3inch thick folded bandannas (think Axl Rose but without the braids or scary face), there was at least one guy there in his high school class jacket, but the guy who takes the cake had a custom sleeveless shirt, matching wrist and head sweatbands, and a badly highlighted and spiked mullet. 100% total commitment, people. But enough of that, let's get back to the music!

Quiet Riot included “Cum on Feel the Noize” on their playlist, but it seems they were having some problems with the drum set. First it was feedback, and then some other technical difficulty that I wasn't really sure about. Then Kevin got a little cranky with the audience for not knowing the exact timing of the words. Whatevs, man. They finished out their time with the classic “Bang Your Head,” and then it was time for Vince and Co.

Vince and the boys played most of Mötley Crüe’s biggest hits--“Same Ol’ Situation,” “Dr. Feelgood,” “Girls, Girls, Girls,” “Kickstart My Heart,” and “Wild Side.”. Vince seemed to be a little winded at times, and then other times when he seemed lost for the words, he'd just yell, "Make some fucking noise!" All together, they ended up doing three encores. During one of the encores, only Vince left the stage, and the rest of the band did covers of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” and Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs”.

The drummer, Zoltan Chaney, was absolutely fucking insane! I’m not sure how much of it was standard drummer tricks, because most of the shows I’ve gone to the drummer is always hidden in smoke or behind loads of other junk, but this guy was awesome. He was juggling, twirling, and throwing his sticks, kicking the cymbals, and even jumping over the drum set after one song. I found myself watching him more than the rest of the band. If you find a minute in your day, I'd recommend checking out his somewhat crazy, albeit cute, website where you can see a couple more videos of him doing his thing.

My buddy and I had a blast, and it was a totally fun way to spend what would have otherwise been another boring evening. You can check out the pictures here.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

WTF????

WTF.

That acronym came to mind when I saw that The Spiral had sent me an email with the subject line "Niggy Tardust." I was checking my email on my cellphone and couldn't actually read the body of the message. I saw only that the message included "attachments." So I thought, "Hm, it says it's from the Spiral, but there's a weird racially provocative subject line and attachments...some racist must have hacked into nin.com and sent out some crazy virus!" Seriously. That's totally what I thought.

Then I checked nin.com to read what I thought would be Trent's vehement disavowal of anything to do with this so-called "Niggy Tardust" virus and Trent's threats to kick the ass of this racist motherfucker, etc. etc.

Instead, what I see is this:

Big news today!As many of you know, I've been working closely with Saul Williams on his new record. We've spent many hours together in hotel rooms, busses, backstages and studios around the world working on something we knew was great. This is the most involved I've been with any project outside NIN since Antichrist Superstar, and I've been impatiently waiting for the chance for you to hear it.

Well... guess what?

The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust! has arrived!After my own recent dealings with record labels we decided to release it directly to you. Head over to www.niggytardust.com for all the details. Register now and you can download the record November 1st.

Working on this project was a real pleasure. Saul was interested in breaking boundaries / crossing genres / defying expectations and we learned a great deal from one another in the process. When asked about the sound of the record, I've had to resort to "... I really don't know HOW to describe it." That's a good thing more than ever these days.

A word on the way we've chosen to release this.There are obvious similarities in how Radiohead just released their new record and the way we've chosen to. After thinking about this way too much, I feel we've improved upon their idea in a few profound ways that benefit you, the consumer. You obviously will be the judge of this in the end. One thing that IS very different in our situation is that Saul's not the household name (yet!) that Radiohead is, and that means we need your support on this more than ever. If you like what you hear, spread the word.

I hope you enjoy the music,TR
posted by Trent Reznor at 7:56 AM.


Oh, it's Saul. Okay.

Well, that's a relief, I guess.

So then if you go to...God...niggytardust.com, you can see this.



I like the background music, but um, what? There's voodoo and Trent's hand grabbing an English muffin? Can someone tell me what the fuck is going on here?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Maise's New Musical Crush...

I should either be working or sleeping now.

But I thought I'd post this dispatch from the dreary "What's a 40-hour week?" world of Maise. Because there's a new celebrity with whom I need to run away and marry in a bigamous kind of way. And his name is Dhani Harrison.

You know, the son of that Harrison. And my God, there is quite the resemblance.



And he apparently has inherited some musical talent from Pops, although it would be unfair to try to compare the two. Check out Dhani's band, thenewno2, here. It's hard to get a sense of their sound from the short clips posted under "music," but the video posted under "visual" ("Choose What You're Watching") is uber-cute, and the song is pretty catchy. Okay, so maybe the resemblance is uncanny to the point of unnerving, but that's just all part of the charm for yours truly.

But here's the thing, guys. I'm not exactly sure how well this whole "running away with Dhani Harrison thing" would work out in the long term. For one thing, I don't think I'll be able to say his first name properly. Wikipedia says that his first name is pronounced "like Danny but with an aspirated d." Wha??? Maybe I'll just make up some pet name for him and just use that all the time. "This is my new boyfriend, Schnookums. Schnookums Harrison."

In addition, there's that whole "I think you're hot because you look exactly like your father, and your father was super hot" element to my attraction for Dhani that he would most likely perceive as creepy. Not sure how to get around that other than just playing dumb. "George who?"

Feel free to post any suggestions to aid me in my plot to ensnare the heart of Dhani Harrison. Meanwhile, keep watching this space for more about him and his band!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Don't Tell the Hipsters She Wants Revenge Lives!

So I’m about to inspire the wrath of hipsters everywhere when I say this: I like She Wants Revenge. I’ve heard all the complaints lodged against Justin Warfield and Adam 12. They’re cliché and trite. Their lyrics suck. Their songs all sound alike. And worst of all, at best, they’re derivative of Joy Division; at worst, they’re straight up plagiarists.

I understand all of those arguments and, in many ways, agree with them. Their schtick is a bit overdone, to the point of annoyance. Their sound is pretty monotonous. They are too much like the 80s bands they claim to update, stealing stuff from The Great Ones, such as Joy Division/New Order, Depeche Mode, Bauhaus, and the Cure.

And worst of all? They approached their first self-titled album like they were reinventing the musical wheel with Warfield making grandiose statements: “There are plenty of bands operating within a context and genre right now, but if you take away the wardrobe, belts, and make-up, what is really being said? If it's nothing that's okay too, some music is just for dancing or wallpaper. But we are trying to speak to people as we were once spoken to, and whether that results in dancing, crying, or people wanting to f--k to our music, then so be it. We take this very serious.” Sure you do. Too bad no one else does.

But you know what? I still love them. I loved their debut album enough to drag both Maise and Mr. Maise to their concert at the rather shitty Metro during a Cubs night game (the Metro is directly across the street from Wrigley Field, making parking during such events an absolute clusterfuck). I couldn’t get enough of their infectious monotony, to the point where coworkers caught me on more than one occasion rocking out in my office. This was particularly embarrassing when I was caught rocking out to “These Things”, which if you’ve seen the video, you’ll know it’s not entirely appropriate subject matter for the office.

Their second album, This Is Forever, offers much the same as their first album: Lots of insipid lyrics. Lots of monotonous tunes. Lots of riffs plucked straight out of 80s goth-rock. And I still love it. Admittedly, this album loses some of the catchy hooks that had me bopping to their last album, but after listening to it regularly for the last few days, it’s grown on me, perhaps like a fungus. From the industrial-sounding opening instrumental, “First, Love”, to the rehash of “These Things” with the song “She Will Always Be a Broken Girl”, to the catchy close, “Rachael”, the music is fun and oddly addictive, despite its flaws.

Moreoever, if you enjoy SWR’s general kitsch (which I do), you’ll enjoy this album. Just don’t tell the hipsters.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Interpol, Live at the Aragon, Only Slightly Belatedly Reviewed...

Hi kids, it's your Maise--once again, overworked, underpaid, and guilted into a new entry by our own B.C.

BC (02:03:37 p.m.): dude
BC (02:03:40 p.m.): whats up with letting PP slide?
BC (02:03:43 p.m.): no mention of the remix ep?
tragicmaise (02:06:57 p.m.): Dude, I'm plotting an Interpol concert review, and yes, we should cover the remix ep.
BC (02:09:12 p.m.): when did you see interpol?
tragicmaise (02:09:19 p.m.): Last week?
tragicmaise (02:09:24 p.m.): Yeah, last Thursday.
BC (02:09:32 p.m.): you do realize you're writing a blog, right?
BC (02:09:39 p.m.): that immediacy is one of the key features
BC (02:09:43 p.m.): that its not a monthly magazine?
BC (02:09:47 p.m.): ...right?
tragicmaise (02:09:52 p.m.): You do realize that I have a 54-hour work week these days, right?
BC (02:10:10 p.m.): I don't think the readers care.
BC (02:10:15 p.m.): ;)
tragicmaise (02:10:33 p.m.): All right, all right, I'll get back on it!

Last Thursday, Ro and I were happy to escape our respective workplaces, had a lovely meal at a French brasserie in the city, and reported to the Aragon to see Interpol on October 11, 2007. Our lovely meal, involving coq au vin and ravioli with brie, sliced artichokes, chives and a lemon poppyseed fondue, followed by an apple tart tatin and an exquisite "plat au trois chocolats" prevented us from seeing any of the opening act(s). (How's that for journalistic committment?) But fortunately we arrived in plenty of time for Interpol's set.

Ro and I were both very excited for this show and had been looking forward to it for months. I absolutely love Interpol and really enjoyed their set at Lollapalooza, even though it was performed in a driving rain in front of annoying drunken barefoot floozies in sundresses. And I thought that perhaps a more intimate show in one of Chicago's hippest and most famous venues would be even cooler.

Oh, and by the way, this is what happens to our exclusive visuals when Iris fails to accompany us to concerts:

I dunno. Overall, I felt a little letdown by the experience. Sure, all the favorites sounded great, like "Evil," "Slow Hands," "The Heinrich Maneuver," "NARC," etc. But it felt as though very little energy was being generated by either the crowd or the band. It could just be my encroaching fuddy-duddiness, but by 10 p.m., I was so done with this show. And that was before the encore. At one point during the encore, just after "Stella Was a Diver...", Interpol proceeded to jam. Okay, a) I was already fatigued from a long work day and an even longer work week, b) I HATE it when bands jam, and c) we all know that Interpol only plays two notes per song, and while they do that *awesomely* for two to three minutes at a time, they are the last band on the planet who should be jamming. It just fueled my sense that the show was never-ending, and not in a good way.

I know I'm hating on this concert, but I feel like I've seen Interpol perform much, much better. I wasn't any more exhausted after a day at work as I was after 12 hours of Lollapalooza in the rain, so I don't think my energy level was the sole reason for my cranky state of mind.

After the show, as we ran the gauntlet of unwanted flyers and bootleg t-shirts, we were handed free cans of Monster Energy. Oh, if only these could have been distributed before the show!

So, to Interpol I say: Forget the Heinrich Maneuver, it's time for CPR, boys!



Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Free At Last

So if you're not one of those people who still checks in on NIN.com daily, here's the scoop from the Big Giant Head.
08 October 2007: Big News

Hello everyone. I've waited a LONG time to be able to make the following announcement: as of right now Nine Inch Nails is a totally free agent, free of any recording contract with any label. I have been under recording contracts for 18 years and have watched the business radically mutate from one thing to something inherently very different and it gives me great pleasure to be able to finally have a direct relationship with the audience as I see fit and appropriate. Look for some announcements in the near future regarding 2008. Exciting times, indeed.

posted by Trent Reznor at 10:45 AM.


EEK! Trent's totally on his own now and I couldn't be more psyched about the future. We can talk 'til the cows come home about what his new artistic direction might be but what I find myself completely fascinated with right now is how a person (or group) would be able to pull this off from a monetary standpoint. Obviously Trent's going to be saving some money because he's got his own studio that should be pretty well equipped with all the newest gadgets from the Year Zero and [With_Teeth] albums so no out of pocket expense for studio time. Hell he could probably make a bit of cash by selling out his own studio time if he felt like it. And there are still the royalty checks coming in from all the other albums. And I'm sure there's loads of other income sources that I couldn't even begin to imagine but what concerns me is how do you do the world tour and US tours when there's not a record label to shell out that kind of cash for you? What do you use as collateral? Your music catalog? Your studio/equipment/etc? Your soul? And just what is fair market value for an old industrial rocker's soul these days?

It also makes me wonder about record contracts and how much they generally cover in expenses and therefore what Trent will now be picking up on his own. I mean how far did Interscope have their hands into things like the tour merchandise verses how much Trent had to do with it this last time around (and subsequently the profits from said merchandise)? We all know the first website was found on the back of a t-shirt. Interscope wouldn't have had anything to do with that if this was prior to Trent letting them in on the ARG setup. SO how long has he been studying this to make it on his own? Was the whole ARG game just a test run to see how much pull he had with the internet fans? I guess this is kind of getting away from my original point of how Trent or any of the other bands who are starting in on this "label free" bandwagon are going to make it. And, if they're successful, how is this going to change the scene for other people/bands starting out. These are exciting times and I've just got oodles of questions!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Arms Akimbo! The Editors @ the Park West, 09.11.07

Before I talk about the concert, my apologies for posting this so long after the fact. Work’s been sucking my will to live lately. But I’ll be honest: I’ve been lazy. After all, hard work pays off after time but laziness pays off right now.

So yeah, the Editors concert. Held in Chicago’s Park West, this is one of my favorite concert venues in the city. It’s nice to get both relatively cheap tickets and to be able to actually see the performers up close and personal. And thanks to a friend who knew someone working the venue, we snagged a kick ass private booth right up in the front. Rock on!

When we arrived, one of the opening bands, Ra Ra Riot, was on stage. We were only able to catch a couple of their songs before their set ended. They seemed to maintain a good energy with a mostly nonplussed crowd. I haven’t heard a lot of their music, but they seemed fun. I wished they had played second so that I could have caught their entire set, especially after hearing what was to come.

Up next was Biffy Clyro. In a word: YUCK. Basically, the lead singer and bass player played the entire set slumped over so that they looked largely like Cousin It bookends. All they needed was a derby hat to complete the effect.

And it didn’t help that half the band was shirtless when it really would have been preferable to have their scrawny torsos covered. Plus? Their music SUCKED. As my friend pointed out, “That sounds like something my three-year-old nephew would sing.” Word. It was a lot of noise without a lot of substance. They even trotted out some annoying, whiny emo-wannabe ballads. I preferred the screaming to the whining, but really, I just wanted some silence to enjoy my martini and get my buzz on.

The Editors were a welcome relief to the noise that had come before. They did a lively set that included all of the best, most upbeat songs from The Back Room and An End Has a Start. I was concerned that they may focus too heavily on AEHAS as that album tends to be kind of depressing. Some of those songs are quite dirge-like. But they smartly avoided the more depressing numbers in favor of more up-tempo choices, such as “Racing Rats” and “Spiders”. They also included a fair amount of songs from The Back Room, including fan-favorites “Munich”, “Blood”, and “Fingers in the Factory”. All in all, the set was fun and lively though I did wish they’d played “French Disco”, which is my favorite song of theirs. But they definitely earned my money for the evening.

OK…so now for two gripes.

#1. Lead singer Tom Smith REALLY needs to eat a sandwich, or ten. I find his voice to be incredibly soothing, and he’s adorable in an Orlando Bloom sort of way. In fact, I’ve been harboring a huge crush on him for some time now. Look how cute he is!



But seriously? You could see every single bone poking through his fitted white button down. The Scott Weiland-inspired manorexia is NOT an attractive look. It makes me want to stuff him full of my mom’s lasagna and carrot cake.
#2. As much as I love Tom, he needs to tone the arm flapping thing he does way way down. His bony appendages were flailing every which way. I don’t know if he’s double jointed or what, but sometimes his arms went in directions that I didn’t think were possible. And the Arms Akimbo! was made all that much worse by the fact that his arms are skinnier than my wrists.

As someone who tends to talk with my hands, particularly when I’m nervous, I understand the unconscious flailing. But you know what? I sit on my hands so that I don’t pull a Three Stooges triple slap eye poke. I realize that’s not a practical thing for a musician to do (though that would certainly make for an interesting show!), but perhaps a Toastmasters lesson could cure him.


So overall, the show was solid, and I’d recommend seeing them should they come to town. Just make sure to sit at least and arm’s length away from Tom or he may just put your eye out.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Hello again!

Okay, so I know it's been pretty quiet around here lately, and for that, I blame myself. Here's the deal, kids. I'm working a second part-time job--working with THE YOUTH...how noble is that?--and although it's a fun gig, and the extra cash is pretty sweet, the downside is, I am exhausted. Plus, because I have less spare time these days, I actually have to get real work done during the day at my main office. But, never fear, I'm going to do my part to keep our little haven of music, commentary, and incessant shit-talking alive. I just needed some time to adjust.

Fortunately, absolutely nothing interesting is going on in the world of music.

But I did learn something interesting yesterday. You know that horrible, whiny emo ballad, "Hey there, Delilah" by the Plain White T's? It's been torturing me as of late because it's on the radio every five minutes, I hate it, and yet I always manage to get it stuck in my head for hours on end. The lead singer has that Generic Emo White Boy voice, and the lyrics could only be written by some obnoxious, arrogant 21 year old who knows nothing of life or love. I normally would devote NO space to this song, only I learned yesterday that the lead singer never actually had a relationship with the Delilah in question, which kind of puts a weird stalker-ish spin on the song for me now.

I mean, so a guy writes a whiny love ballad to try to get laid. Nothing new, right? But what's interesting is that he's not writing the love ballad from the perspective of "You're so beautiful, and I want to get laid," or "You're so beautiful, and I want to get laid, but you've got a boyfriend, so I'll bemoan my unrequited love." He's writing this song from the perspective of some kind of long-term, long-distance entirely imaginary relationship. "Hey there, Delilah, you be good and don't you miss me..." "Um, okay, I won't." It's so delusional, I almost like it. Except I hate it.

In other, completely unrelated news...could this be the single most unappetizing beverage ever made?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Fade to Black

So we hear the current NIN lineup could very well be at its end. Well I didn't want to see them go without some sort of little tribute so I did what I do best: bad fan art. What? You didn't think I was done with all that nonsense, did you?

In all seriousness though, it's been a job well done, boys.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Checking in with Trent, Part 5

posted by Trent Reznor with the caption,
"even better than the real thing!"


Trent is this some new form of marketing you're doing? Are you going to turn NIN into the next KISS? -shakes head- Well at least Barbie will finally have a bad boy to date and quit having to suffer through it with Ken.

I'd have loads more snarky things to say if it weren't for this damned migrane. Have at it kids.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Viva Las Vegas!


Hi, everyone! If I've been quiet lately, it's certainly not because I don't love you. Mr. Maise and i joined some friends in attending a wedding in Las Vegas this past weekend, and I was in Sin City from last Wednesday to this past Sunday. I would have liked to have been Places Parallel's very own MTV Video Music Awards correspondent, but this proved impossible for four reasons: 1) I'm neither rich nor famous enough to be able to afford to even walk into the places where all the celebrities are staying; 2) my pesky sinuses and my husband's severe hangover prevented us from doing any celebrity hunting on Saturday night; 3) we were leaving Las Vegas early on Sunday, well before the festivities; 4) unlike Kanye West, I couldn't be bothered to give a flying fuck about the VMAs.

But the trip was not without its highlights. The first night, the front desk attendant at Bally's informed us that she did not have a nonsmoking room available, so they offered us a suite for a night. This hotel room was approximately the size of my last apartment. Perhaps larger. It had about seven million couches, a kitchen, a dining room area, an exercise bike, a steam shower, and a whirlpool tub approximately the size of my current master bathroom. It's too bad that we didn't have such accommodations the entire trip, as we could have hosted my friend's wedding reception in there easily.

On Thursday evening, I met up with some friends at Harrah's, and we spent an inordinate amount of time having hilariously inappropriate conversations while sitting at a table in the buffet. Then the husband and I went to dinner at Wolfgang Puck's Chinois (quick verdict: his Postrio restaurant in the Venetian is better) and went to see The Beatles: Love at the Mirage. For those who are unaware, Love is a Cirque du Soleil show set to a specially remixed Beatles soundtrack, and it is fantastic. The music is absolute perfection, the acrobatics and special effects are mesmerizing, and I have to admit that I got a little misty at the end, when we see some filmed footage of the Fab Four. (Confession: George Harrison is only one of two celebrities for whom I have cried upon his/her death. The Crocodile Hunter is the other one.) My husband is not a huge Beatles fan, and he has no patience for the normal Cirque du Soleil artiness, but he loved this show, and I would recommend it strongly to just about anyone on the planet. If it tours, you'd better believe that I would see it again, and I would be strongly tempted to see it again the next time I wind up in Vegas. Afterwards, the husband and I met up for dessert with our very own Ro, who happened to be vacationing with her family, and we talked until the husband was ready to fall asleep at the table.



We had the wedding to go to on Friday, and what a lovely ceremony it was! Notable events included the DJ being fired in the middle of the reception and his subsequent drama and my participating in a "Soul Train line"...badly. Afterwards, the husband and I drank entirely too much, which led to the best gambling moment ever. We were walking out of a fabulous bar, Red Square, in Mandalay Bay, and I drunkenly announced, "I want to play the BIG slot machine!", referring to those enormous slot machines the size of a pickup truck that everyone plays as a novelty. My husband indulged me and gave me five dollars to bet, whereupon I immediately won $90. Gambling and winning is so much more fun when you're drunk and have no idea what's going on. The husband and I partied like rock stars that night, and I didn't get to bed til 4:30 a.m.

But I couldn't sleep in the following morning, as I had a spa appointment. The seaweed goop that was smeared all over me during my "cocoon" wrap allegedly helped me to detox, while my husband detoxed the hard way...with a nasty hangover. Later that evening, I managed to contract a nasty sinus infection, so it was a much quieter night in, and as I mentioned earlier, I couldn't stalk Paris Hilton or whoever the fuck was supposed to be in town that night.

And that's about it...Saturday was followed by an uneventful trip home on Sunday, except my sinuses were killing me the entire time, and the pain was compounded by the changes in pressure. I couldn't pop my ears properly and still feel partially deaf today. We didn't get home til about 10:30 p.m., so I couldn't even see those stupid VMAs.

But I will comment briefly on the only VMA-related topic worth mentioning...the fact that despite all my Schadenfreude tendencies, especially where the rich and beautiful females are concerned, I can't help but feel sympathy for Britney Spears. And it's like, yeah, she's not terribly talented, and she has way too much money and is making a trainwreck of her personal life and has a terrible weave and doesn't have the body of her youth but still runs around in public in a bra and panties (or no panties, depending) and just in general makes terrible, terrible choices...but I just hate the way that everyone piles up on her all the time. Of course her career is falling apart...she can't be sold as the barely legal sexpot anymore, and there's a whole crowd of barely legal sexpots to take her place. Yeah, her performance and that song sucked, but does that mean she deserves to have Sarah Silverman gloating nasally about her failure in the same freaking building?




Clearly, the woman needs Tim Gunn. Don't we all? But it's just so frustrating that someone like Britney manages to make herself look so unflattering all the time. She may not have "the perfect body" these days, but if she just dressed herself well, we'd hardly notice it. And shit, my friend the bride had a better weave than Britney did. And Britney has about 17 gazillion dollars. Why???

Anyone else here feel sorry for Britney, or are there just vast wells of Britney hate out there? Also, how was YOUR weekend?

Sunday, September 2, 2007

YouTube Discovery of the Week, Part 1

YouTube is full of the weird and the wonderful, the baffling and the retarded, complete wastes of everyone's time and, occasionally, works of pure genius. In part 1 of a possible series, I bring you one of these videos, by a pair that I'm dubbing the Ghostland Observatory Kids.



How cute are these kids with their DIY music video? I can't tell if they're boyfriend and girlfriend or brother and sister, but I don't care. They're adorable (even though brothers and sisters who would be this close kind of weird me out sometimes. I think in this case it would be the crotch shots that would bother me). I love the way they're working the polka dots, stripes, matching pink belts, the screwy faces, and the dance moves for the camera. And damn if the song isn't pretty catchy, too.

I think what I like about this most is how it takes me back, like way back, to a time in like 4th grade when I would go over to my BFF's house, and we would do this exactly same thing...sans camera. We would practice our best New Kids on the Block dance moves with "The Right Stuff" blasting out of her boombox in our totally hip denim jackets adorned with the oversized buttons featuring the face of our favorite boy. -sigh- Jonathan was so dreamy and was destined to be my future husband. Obviously, that didn't pan out like I thought.

Ahh...youth. I don't think these two kids have quite as much to be embarrassed about later on down the road as what I have just admitted to, but if they eventually will be, it was a much larger audience who witnessed their youthful faux pas.

Stay tuned for next week's discovery.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Cheer Up Trent, Give Us a Smile...

What happened to that smile we used to know?
Don't you know your grin has always
been our sunshine?
Let that sunshine show.
Come on, Trent
No need to frown
Deep down you know tomorrow is your toy...
When the days get heavy
Never pitter patter
Up and at'em boy
Some day, sweet as a song
Trent's lucky day will come along
Till that day
You've got to stay strong, Trent
Up on top is right where you belong
Look up, Trent
You'll see a star
Just follow it and keep your dreams in view
Pretty soon the sky is going to clear up, Trent,
Cheer up Trent Reznor, do
Cheer up, Trent.
Just be glad you're you.

Okay, so maybe every other entry in this blog is about Trank and his Nails of Nine Inches, but come on, did you really expect anything different from us? Jezebel checks in on Amy Winehouse daily. Defamer always gives us the lowdown on Lilo. Pitchfork pretentiously champions...shit we've never heard of. And Perez Hilton has Fidel Castro.

Anyway, we give Trent a lot of shit here, for his artistic decisions and temper flareups and most certainly his wardrobe, but we just want him to know that we love him and are genuinely sorry to hear that he's having a rough time. I mean, I could have fucking told him he'd reach this point eventually because he's always fucking crabby in Europe and especially in Germany, for some reason, but no matter...the point is that we support you, Trent. And we mean that in a surprisingly sincere and snark-free way.**






**ironic kitten aside

Monday, August 27, 2007

Ugh, Billy Corgan is Still an Asshole

Idolator reports (via NME):

Midway through the set stage [at Reading] cameras panned the crowd, which included a scantily clad young woman, about whom Corgan commented "There's something about a girl who's willing to take her top off so quickly.""American girls are sluts too," he added. "See - isn't it great to be alternative - You can say all those things."

Oh Billy! You know, after three days of Lollapalooza, I had *had it* with the drunken barefoot floozies in their sundresses, but regardless, I don't think it's right for him to be maligning that girl from onstage, nor for him to classify every female in the United States as "a slut." If he's had a lot of experience with "sluts" in his life, he should be asking himself where HIS pants were at the time. I just have no patience for that double standard/virgin-whore complex bullshit.

Some people are saying his comments were misogynistic...I just see him as overly bitter.

And I still haven't bought that fucker's latest album.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Checking in with Trent, Part 4

It figures that right after we decided to put WTC on hiatus, shit starts happening.


Okay so I'm a little behind this morning but thanks to a tip from reader, Persephone, we see some new live performance pictures surfacing. Now I am severely torn by these photos. Half of me wants to say "yes, Yes, YES take me Trent and we can play helpless prisoner/naughty security guard all. night. long.", and the other half wants to seem detached and oh so cool in front of the other hipster bitches here and say "RECYCLED."

But you know what? Fuck being cool. I own half this blog so I can be however I want to be.

Trent, the gloves are still HAWT! Pfffttt...I didn't even make it to the other pictures without 'em. Matter of fact I'm going to go out on a limb here and say they look better now than they did then. I'm not saying I wasn't intrigued by your kinky little fetish getup back then...it's just that skinny guys who look like I could take them out don't "really" do it for me. But now...oh-ho-ho...now you look like you can play the way I like it. And I’m sorry I said I hated you the other day. You know I didn’t mean it! You just...well...you just sounded like shit. But I bet you brought the fucking house down on this night. -sigh-

I wonder if he consciously picked this prison guard shirt and tie combo out knowing how many Year Zero DIY designed panties he would moisten. I can already hear Dierdre saying, "Well, of course he did, Iris. Trent Reznor is always Asking For It!"

Now bring on the hate. I'm waiting...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Checking in with Trent, Part 3

Is it sad that the best part of this performance is when the noise kicks in towards the middle? Trent, honey, you sound way too out of breath, the pitch is all off, you're screechy/screamy in all the wrong places (really the best part of this song is how smooth and controlled your voice is...was...whatever), and are you fucking making a shadow puppet bird in the beginning?

For any of those who want to start shit and say “well NIN live has never completely sounded like the album versions. That’s part of what Trent loves about touring is how the songs get changed up”, just hold up. Some of my favorite songs are the live versions. See pretty much anything off the And All That Could Have Been DVD. Even with all the love in the world for this man, I still have to call it like I see it this time. Goddammit Trent, this was a highly anticipated song to hear live for me too. Dammit, dammit, dammit.

Thanks to Rob for trying to get a closer shot of the stage...even if it didn’t quite work either.

I will say you look cute here, Trent. Short, but cute.


Grumpy Iris out.


Edit: So if you're one of the ones wondering what the fuck I'm complaining about and can't see the embedded video, check the new live performance video on nin.com of The Great Destroyer.

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