Monthly Archives: June 2009

Seriously…Get Your Shit Together.

What a terrible blow.  Just awful awful news on-line today.  It seems like I only just knew them and they get taken away from me.  Why does life have to be so hard?

Sigh…just when I start fully crushing on a band, what do they do?  They throw a strop and split up.  I’m not having it.  Seriously, Yo! Majesty.  I’m not kidding.  Get your shit together.

I was just starting to feel like I was part of something.

89.  Yo! Majesty

Though they’ve been around for about eight years, the Tampa-born trio–and more recently duo–have only really caught fire with their first LP Futuristically Speaking…Never Be Afraid.  (Previous EPs included Yo! and the unbeatably titled Kryptonite Pussy. )  Since 2001, the revolving door of membership has included Windy Baynham (who goes by JWL B–naturally) Shon B.,   Shunda K–with all three of the members either throwing tantrums and temporarily leaving and returning at one stage or another and one of them even serving jail time.  NME mag explains it better (or perhaps as best a recap as we may ever see).  Keep in mind, this is only the most recent episode in the drama:

Let us explain. First there were three MCs in Yo! Majesty: Jwl B, Shon B and Shunda K. By the time debut album ‘Futuristically Speaking… Never Be Afraid’ dropped late last year, Shon B had left the fold. Jwl B and Shunda K then fell out very publicly, suggesting Yo! Majesty was over. Now, this is where it gets complicated. In January, Jwl B did some time in a Florida prison, leaving Shunda K flying solo and claiming her partner-in-rhyme was sacked from the group. Then when Jwl B got out, ignored her and rejoined the tour, Shunda K quit immediately. Shon B returned to take her place. Confused yet? You’re not the only one.

I suppose most people, or at least Beth Ditto, could have seen this break-up coming.  This interview–which was pre-arranged– is a hot mess thanks to Yo! Majesty’s nonsensical rambling.  Pay attention to their response to the ‘what are your star signs’ question:

Naturally, I’m all for their support for the gay community and their ambition to help the downtrodden gay youth of America look up and feel empowered is happy times.  But, there are very few fragments of that session that are coherent.  At any rate, they still look like one of the most awesome acts to catch live–as evidenced by the clips that intersperse their interview ‘answers’.  Here’s what they looked like when all three were playing together nicely–I believe this is put together by their UK-based producers HardFeelings:

It’s the unapologetic blend of punk and hip-hop that makes their music so refreshing and appealing…as well as their general in your face attitudes so very entertaining.

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Beat that Wayne Coyne

Most recently, Yo! Majesty recorded a track for the new Basement Jaxx album.  “Twerk” sounds excellent.  You can listen to it on Yo!’s Myspace page:  Yo! Majesty Myspace Of the experience of working with Yo! Majesty, Felix Buxton –a Basement Jack–says (from BBC news site):

The pair got another shock when rap duo Yo! Majesty dropped by to lay down their vocals.

“We were in this tiny room,” gestures an animated Felix.

“There was a sound engineer shaking his head going, ‘I’ve never seen anything like this ever’.

“It was great. They were a real refreshing slap in the face.”

Apparently in the recording session, at least one of the members of Yo! took off her shirt (probably JWL B as that seems to be her modus operandi).  I’ve tried to ascertain what incarnation of Yo! Majesty contributed to the track.  I’m assuming it’s Shon B. and JWL B. as Shunda K.  is now flying solo.  You can check out the material for Shunda K.’s upcoming album at this link from AfterEllen:  Solo Material

It doesn’t look like the split has damaged the performance ability of either party.  Here’s Shunda K. performing one of my fave Yo! Majesty tracks “Grindin’ and Shakin'” all by her lonesome

The remaining two members also look like they are still a force to be reckoned with:

This is punk excitement at its best but unfortunately, the dyke drama aspect is winning.  The mere fact that they’ve had soooo many problems just when they’re starting to get some attention does not bode well.  If three of them couldn’t make it work, who’s to say that the remaining two are going to survive?

Come on, Yo! Majesty.  The world needs a chance to fully enjoy a Christian lesbian punk-edged–often shirtless– hip-hop trio.  Now get your asses back in the recording studio and get along.

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Everything’s Coming Up de Rossi!

Portia de Rossi is perhaps most recognized as Ellen DeGeneres’ stunning Australian wife.  She’s a lucky woman.  Who doesn’t love Ellen?  She is a long-time hero of mine.  She’s hilarious, warm, and like her name says–generous.  (Or at least seems that way…it’s not like I ACTUALLY know her or anything).

But, Portia has proved herself to be more than just DeGeneres’ stunning and leggy arm-candy (and the 8th wonder of the world for dudes who point blank refuse to believe that a woman with long hair and a pretty face could be gay).

I’m vaguely aware of the fact that she played a fan favorite character on Ally McBeal–Nell Porter.  I didn’t get into that show though.  There was one too many imaginary dancing babies.  I DID thoroughly enjoy de Rossi on Arrested Development however, as Lindsey Bluth Funke.

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Oh please let them make the film version already...

She was pitch perfect as the ridiculously materialistic and insecure Lindsay, but for some reason–even though it was brilliantly written and is one of my favorite shows of all time–it STILL didn’t highlight her as a comedic actress.  Though Lindsay definitely had her moments–waltzing around the prison in a tee shirt that read ‘slut’ being one of my favorites,  it just seemed like she never had the funniest line in an episode.  That typically went to either Gob, Buster, or Lucille.  de Rossi’s latest role lets her have that prize:

88.  Portia de Rossi as Veronica Palmer in Better Off Ted

Better Off Ted is a sitcom that debuted on March 18th of this year, a time when most networks release their dead weight debuts and no-hope investments.  As such, I don’t think many people were expecting it to even be funny, much less draw an audience.  Whilst the rating haven’t been exactly stellar, it has pulled an appreciative fanbase, one that will hopefully grow in time.  ABC aired an initial seven episodes a couple of months back to positive critical response.  I think they were as surprised as I was that a show called “Better Off Ted” could actually be smart and addictive.

Even The Onion‘s super hip AV Club entertainment outlet says:

But it’s clever, and creative, and it has an infectiously boisterous energy that gives a real zing to lines like, “We want to weaponize a pumpkin,” and, “We want to make a metal that is hard as steel but can bounce like rubber. And is edible.” Both of those lines are spoken by Portia de Rossi, playing Veronica, the clipped-tone, cheerfully amoral head of Research & Development at Veridian.”

The typically snarky readers of The AV Club even had nice things to say:

No one ever knows what to do with Portia De Rossi, but this show is definitely taking its best stab at it.”

Wow!  A sitcom on ABC that even the pop-culture intelligentsia can approve of.  I’m hooked and just so happy that the DeGeneres family isn’t in danger of becoming a one-income household.

I bet right now you’d like to see a clip.  Your wish is my command.

Funny yes?  What a relief!  You can buy episodes on Itunes if you want to play catch-up.

The Australian formerly known as Amanda Rogers has the following to say (in an ETonline interview) about the joys of the role:

She is funnier than the character I played on ‘Ally McBeal.”  “It has a similarity in that she’s very strong, very determined, but the dialogue is crisper, wittier and funnier. I’m Australian. I grew up watching the BBC and admiring comedians like John Cleese. So I get a sense of that kind of absurdist hyper-real humor in my character, and that’s what I really enjoy playing in this.” Portia also says that part of what makes “Better Off Ted” so interesting to her as an actress is the fact that it is set in an environment she has never experienced. “We don’t come from this world. We’re actors. We don’t really know what it’s like to work in an office place. I don’t think anyone [in the cast] has really had a job where we all live in cubicles.”

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And from a Diva interview:

I’ve got to tell you, Veronica is my favourite character I’ve ever played, bar none. I’m really attracted to strong women… let me rephrase that [laughs]… Strong female characters. And I love her sensibility. I love how cold and uncaring she appears to be and how focused she is. She’s a very fun, interesting character to play.

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There’s a big part of me that is really rooting for Portia and this show.  I’d root for anyone that was with Ellen–I’m embarrassed to say that I went to see Volcano when she was with that turncoat Anne Heche–but Portia seems especially likeable and they’re such an adorable couple.  Look at this weird clip I found on line.  I’d try to set it up but I  think any verbal description would ruin the weirdy cuteness.

Portia was ranked as number one on the AfterEllen hot 100 survey look here this year (their answer to Maxim’s hot 100).  It just goes to show that the lesbian fan-base is truly a loyal one and we support the ones that come out publicly and speak up.  AfterEllen also reports that Portia is planning to release a memoir in the near future.  It’ll be interesting to hear about the days leading up to her wedding to DeGeneres and the subsequent disappointment when the Prop 8 news was dropped on election day.

At any rate, if you’re a fan of Portia or just sitcoms in general, I implore you to watch this one!  It’s always the good shows that die too young.  Don’t let this be another Arrested Development.  Help Ted live!  ABC aired a repeat on June 16th, but it starts airing a few new episodes next week–a portion of which you can see at the end of this Ellen show interview.

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Back Off Haters!

Do you like feeling like you’re smarter than other people?  You do?  Good.  Then you’re going to love today’s great thing.  For a wee while now, I’ve been enjoying the videos of an Internet singing sensation–one “Miranda Sings”.  Thanks to Ari Solomon for turning me on to this.

87.  Miranda Sings

Miranda is a hilariously terrible singer.  She has dozens of videos up on youtube (and her own website…)  where she tears into both musical theatre songs and current pop hits.  She even takes requests from her “fans”.  I may request something soon.  There’s something special about Miranda’s obliviousness to her own lack of talent.  I wouldn’t call it vanity, I’d call it true tone-deafness.  Here’s a clip:

The comments after each video can be quite cruel–repeatedly calling on Miranda to realize her own suckitude.  Here’s a couple of examples:

–BOOO U SUUCCKKK!!! and yes this is a hate writing on ur STUPID ASS video. And ur not good at singing, infact anything, even talking so if i were and ur stupid ass ugly face, and wired eyebrows i would quite ur singing carrer, thats if u r a sing.. whitch we all no ur not CUZ U CANT SING AND U SINK LIKE FLYS ON SHIT!

–YOU SUCK BIG HAIRY MONKEY BALLS.
THERE IS NO WAY I WOULD BE JEALOUS OF YOUR SINGING!! I sink 100 times better than you. and im not the at good. U go way to high and low your off key. you can hold a not and you R so flat. plus you look scary as hell. learn to but on lip stick you dont glob it on, it called “LIP” stick for a reason. i only seen 1 of your video not even 1 less than half. and NEVER AGAIN! I’D RATHER DIE! the only people who r jealous of you are those who sing worse then u BITCH

The thing is, it’s a complete wind-up.  It’s a bit obvious really.  It’s amazing how rabidly angry some idiots will get about something that’s clearly a joke.  But even the woman behind Miranda Sings, Colleen Ballinger, seems to relish the ‘haters’.  She wallows in the convention of on-line cruelty and shouts ‘back off haters!’ in almost every post.

One of my favorites though has got to be this comment, which demonstrates that it’s not only bored and spiteful thirteen year-olds that fall for this obvious prank.  It’s high school teachers as well.

Wow so this girl is FULL of herself. I love how my choir teacher showed our ENTIRE class this video and said ‘And this is exactly what I don’t want you to do…’ This woman is WAAAAY off.

Yikes…you’re supposed to be shaping our young men and women into the leaders and citizens of tomorrow.  Teach them to recognize sarcasm and parody!  It’s a life skill!  The last thing we need is another generation of idiots who think that Stephen Colbert is being genuine on The Colbert Report.

Adding another layer of delight to this farce is the fact that Colleen Ballinger is actually enormously talented.  Here’s her performing outside of her Miranda persona.

Self-deprecating musical theatre comedy–could there be anything more deserving of a big gay following?  Speaking of which, if you’re lucky enough to reside in/around the NYC area–she’s making an appearance tonight in mid-town.  Check it out!

I would so go to this...

If after reading this, you’re now a fan–and why wouldn’t you be–here’s how you can check out more vids.

As Miranda:  Mirandasings

As Colleen Ballinger:   Youtube Profile

Please take heed that on her website she is now selling tee-shirts.  Anybody out there reading my blog who intends to get me birthday present?  Please get me this.

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It’s a still from my absolute favorite MirandSings video–her tribute to “Single Ladies”:

Ooh, before I sign off, one last reason to join the fan-club.  This is what exists on her twitter account:

  • Bio– I am a professional singer and I didnt want a twitter but I saw that someone is posing as me and I dont like it. so i decided to make a real one of myself.

Followed by:

  1. I am mad because someone else is posing to be me on Twitter. Back off hater.2:08 PM May 12th from web

Excellent!  Twitter is a step too far!  Even Miranda has the good sense to see that.

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I’m a Monster. A Monster!!!

Today I’d like to celebrate some of the best quarters I ever spent.  At the Millcreek Mall in Erie, Pennsylvania, there used to live a pizza parlour named Pizza Boy.

Millcreek Mall: Old Umbrella Sign by hello_gina.

It was situated right next to a tiny mall-based branch of the Erie Public Library.  My Mom liked to end shopping excursions there.  A first grade school teacher, she is a staunch supporter of the library system.  Anyway, after a half an hour or so of rooting through their comic book stash and maybe borrowing a Roald Dahl book or two, we’d head next door.  The pizza at Pizza Boy was satisfying. The big pointy triangles of thin, chewy-cheesed, orange-pooled, curled-pepperoni zestiness–washed down with a fountain coke– was the perfect cap to a Saturday afternoon at the mall.  Often, The Scorpions’ hard rock anthem “Rock You Like a Hurricane” could be heard on the jukebox while the mulleted teenagers plated up your meal.

Just to add sprinkles to the top of a happy day, my Mom would sometimes let me blow a few quarters at the Tilt arcade that was directly across from Pizza Boy.  At Tilt, lived one of my favorite video games ever and today’s great thing:

86.  Rampage

What’s not to like about this game?  It lets you be the monster from 1950’s era horror films.  Created by Bally Midway in 1986, you can play up to three people at a time.  Not that I ever did.  This demolition exercise was a one woman show for me.  It’s not like my Mom or my sister were particularly interested.  So, they would just tolerate me while I played solo for about fifteen minutes.  You can be either George– the Kong-esque gorilla, Ralph–the Werewolf, or an actual girl character(!!!)–Lizzy the Godzilla-type lizard.

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Because I love dogs, werewolves are my favorite monster.  So, I typically played as Ralph, the giant grey-furred Wolfman.  The characters all had a sci-fi back story.   Previously, they were ordinary folks until, that is, they were mutated into town-trampeling beasts!  George, the giant ape, was mutated after an overdose of mega-vitamins (try it, it works!).  Lizzie took a dip in a radioactive lake–naturally, that would transform her into a reptile.  And Ralph?  He ate some bad sausage.

The goal is to stomp through and destroy over a hundred Amercian cities, all the while keeping your strength up by eating things as you get shot at by the military.  One of my favorite things about the rules of this game is that food is described as such:  fruit, roast chicken, or soldiers.  Ha!

Here’s how the original game looked.  This clip is a bit long, but you get the idea after the first couple of minutes:

That clip also highlights what might be the cleverest ‘death’ of a character.  The player shrinks back down to a shamefully nude person that tries to cover their genitals as the sidle off the screen.  How embarrassing.

That arcade game now goes for about 700 bucks.  (Hint hint, my birthday is coming up soon–rich friends).

What the subsequent home-system based sequels have managed to improve on is the location design of your violent destructive tantrums.  The characteristics of Peoria and NYC were finally and markedly different.  No longer did those incredibly opposite two cities look exactly the same.  Actually, playing the most recent version of the game is a great way to take a whirlwind trip across the U.S.  You know…see the sights, taste the people:

It also looks like it introduces several new monsters into the fray.  (Now with more mayhem!)  Though, I’d just as soon keep playing as Ralph (and maybe Lizzie when I’m feeling a bit feminist).

I hope this game continues to prove iconic enough to keep inspiring spin-offs for each new gaming system that comes into our living rooms.  I think it’s got the stuff.  It feeds into our basic need to ocassionally punch a wall, it humorously highlights classic movie monsters, and not least–it lets you eat your favorite American towns.  Amerilicious!

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