Saturday, January 30, 2016

Video Of The Week: Liz Phair

Ah, the 1990s. It was a time where there was an equality of sorts in so-called "alternative rock", which I now realize is regular rock with an open mind, considering women and people of colour seem to have to somehow defend themselves for being musicians nowadays.

None of that makes sense to those of us who grew up in the 1980s and were teens in the 1990s, when people were just people and they could be judged by their character or quality of output. There were signs that women were attending universities at a higher rate then men, so it was believed the one place where gender inequality still prevailed - the workplace - would see a reversal come the New Millennium...

Oh well, so much for that, eh?

These thoughts are in my mind, constantly. And these days, Liz Phair is often in my headphones. So I figured why not add 2+2 and get her "biggest hit" on here to close off January, from 1994's Whip-Smart album, Supernova:

She directed the video herself, and the imagery is somewhat akin to that of The Breeders' Cannonball, which was directed by Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon and acclaimed director Spike Jonze, proving Phair had enough talent in more than one artistic endeavour.

She still tours, to this day, and there are rumours that she will soon embark on a tour headlining for a half-original Smashing Pumpkins acoustic tour (featuring main songwriter Billy Corgan and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, but missing guitarist James Iha and bassist D'Arcy Wretzky).

Sunday, January 24, 2016

When Florida, Hockey, And Stupidity Collide

I know I write about hockey a lot, be it here, on my Collectibles blog, on Facebook, or even on Twitter. I also call out stupid people a lot, particularly when it comes to methheads and/or Floridians, which oftentimes are one and the same.

Here's a case of mixing it up: a player for the Florida Everblades in the ECHL (the third-world of North American pro hockey after the NHL and the AHL), Justin Agosta, was arrested for arson a couple of weeks ago... for a fire that started when he poured gasoline on pictures of his girlfriend and got out of control when he tried to kill it with water and a towel.

Kids, here's a fun science tip: water doesn't stop gasoline fire, it spreads the gasoline out so it can burn more things. Yay, science!

Ice Cube Doesn't Care About Oscar Snub

My favourite quote from Ice Cube pertaining to the fact that Straight Outta Compton "only" got nominated for best screenplay at this year's Oscars is this one: "You can't boycott something you never went to". The rest of his pearls of wisdom are here, including descriptions on how fan and critical reaction was more important than a statuette.

In my mind, there isn't really a snub because it's not like it would have won Best Picture - it wasn't. It was the best biopic of the year, sure, by a long stretch, but biopics by their very definition usually sacrifice artistry and imagination in the name of telling the most accurate story or character personalization possible.

Was F. Gary Gray's (of Friday fame) work as a director worthy of being compared to that of Alejandro G. Innaritu (The Revenant), or even Ridley Scott (The Martian) or Steven Spielberg (Bridge Of Spies), who weren't even nominated themselves? No, absolutely not.

And though he was terrific as Eazy-E, Jason Mitchell's performance wasn't in the same league as that of Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant), who, himself, was leagues ahead of Matt Damon (The Martian), Bryan Cranston (Trumbo) and Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl) this year. Or even of Johnny Depp, whose performance in Black Mass was ignored, probably exactly for the sake of not letting voters hesitate between that performance and DiCaprio's.

There weren't many female parts in the film, let alone any stand-outs that deserved to take on the likes of Cate Blanchett (Carol), Jennifer Lawrence (Joy) or Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn) for Best Actress, nor to challenge Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight), Rooney Mara (Carol), Rachel McAdams (Spotlight), or Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs) in a supporting role.

Which leaves Ice Cube's son, O'Shea Jackson Jr. playing his father, who may have had a shot against Tom Hardy (The Revenant), Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight), and Sylvester Stallone (Creed). Hardy could also have been nominated for Best Actor and Supporting Actor for the same film - British picture Legend. So the younger Cube is the only one who can be deemed a snub - and his own father's like, "fuck it".

Which didn't stop the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to over-react and change its whole voting system to "increase diversity", which could very well prove to be a huge mistake later when less deserving films get awards just so that every shade of the colour and rainbow palette are represented.

Oh, wait, it's the fucking Oscars, the institution that gave Denzel Washington a trophy for the piece of shit that was Training Day instead of Malcolm X; the institution that gave Russell Crowe an award for wearing a skirt in Gladiator instead of his tour-de-force performance in The Insider; the institution that waited until Scent Of A Woman to give Al Pacino the recognition he derserved; the institution that thought Titanic was the best film of 1997 and that Forrest Gump was better in any way than Pulp Fiction in 1994. Oh, yeah, the fucking Oscars. Not rewarding the best piece of art is what they do (see: Birdman last year instead of Boyhood).

They were NEVER about rewarding the best of the indusry, but always about rewarding The Industry.

Cube knows. Cube speaks wisdom. Listen to Cube. Still, it'll be funny to hear Chris Rock tear the Academy a new one for 10 minutes.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Video Of The Week: The Cure

There are a few bands I want to go see live this year, including Pearl Jam and The Cure, whom I have seen before. I've talked a lot about PJ on this here blog, but somehow I'd never featured The Cure, who very well may rank in my top-5 favourite bands of all time (and definitely are alwys in my top-10).

I've covered them many a time (Lovesong being a staple from 1998-2009, Wrong Number in 2005 and 2007), and decided I should feature one of their best songs and biggest hits this week in a video directed by Tim Pope, who later directed the feature film The Crow: City Of Angels:

It consists mainly of lead singer and main Cure figurehead Robert Smith in a cave where The Fraggles (a.k.a. Fraggle Rock) wouldn't have felt out of place. Great song, though.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

AC/DC For One Second

Moments like what you're about to hear are what the internet was made for: every last second/chord of every AC/DC song ever recorded:

Tell me if you think you see a trend...

If it ain't broke...

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Video Of The Week: David Bowie

Look, I admit I'm not the biggest David Bowie fan out there. He has two albums I can listen to through-and-through without skipping any songs: Outside (1995) and Earthling (1997).

From his other songs, say if I go by the two-disc Best Of Bowie release from 2002, there are songs I like: Space Oddity, The Man Who Sold The World, Suffragette City, All The Young Dudes, Rebel Rebel, Young Americans, and Heroes.

As a teen, I also liked Changes, Ziggy Stardust, and Under Pressure, but they were overplayed (by others, but myself as well), so I tend to skip them nowadays.

But I could never listen to The Jean Genie, Fame, Let's Dance and Jump They Say. Not seriously, anyway. I did like his band Tin Machine, however.

Anyhow, all that's to say his passing didn't move me as much as pretty much all of my Facebook friends, though I recognize the man has a strong legacy, and was influential particularly among those who struggled with issues of self. And that's huge.

For me, however, the passing of Lemmy Kilmister of Hawkwind and Motörhead was a much bigger blow. Both died of cancer shortly after their birthdays, Lemmy four days after his 70th, Bowie two days after his 69th... if he died at all.

Sure, his Blackstar record came out on his birthday, and would have made a terrific parting gift; then again, a lead single and video called Lazarus leads a man to thoughts like "well, if Chuck D can doubt of Tupac Shakur's death after his first postmortem album was called Makaveli"...

Time will tell.

In the meantime, here's the video, directed by Johan Renck, who usually specializes in "pure pop" with a resume that reads collaborations with Madonna (Hung Up and Nothing Really Matters), Kylie Minogue (Love At First Sight), All Saints (Black Coffee), Robbie Williams (Tripping and Lady Madonna), Beyoncé (Me Myself and I) and Lana Del Rey (Blue Velvet), among others:

It's a bit dark, more in line with the director's work on TV series such as Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead...