The Roots joined Elvis Costello for a performance of Get Happy! on Fallon, where he was promoting the second season of the Sundance Channel’s Spectacle.
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On the TV show Project Runway, hopeful designers are given challenges to make fabulous fashions on a shoestring budget. Their faces invariably crinkle in dismay when they find they’ve only got $150 and 24 hours to make a gown worthy of the red carpet. When the results are evaluated, one of the most coveted comments from the judges is that a piece “looks expensive” even though it was created with very little money. The ultimate compliment is when Heidi Klum says something like, “I could walk right out of here and wear that to a party tonight.”
Being an unsigned band is kind of like being a contestant on Project Runway. You might have more time to produce a CD, but not a whole lot more financial resources. Most of the time, the results are a bit rough-hewn, raggedy around the hem, with an exposed zipper or puckered fabric here and there. But every once in a while, a little nobody band manages to produce a CD so good, so cohesive, and so professional that it could sit right beside the cream of popular music, today, as is. San Diego’s own Transfer has submitted just such an album, Future Selves, and if enough people heard it, I have no doubt it could walk right out of here and go to a party with Kings of Leon, Weezer, Muse, and everyone else on Billboard’s rock charts for November 2009.
Public libraries can be a treasure trove of semi-forgotten texts. Recently I was wandering through the Classics section (800s, poetry, philosophy, that sort of thing) and an unusual volume caught my eye.
Winnie ille Pu. Something didn’t seem right. The classic story in Latin. Why else would A.A. Milne, sorry, A.A. Milnei be shelved near the ancient Greeks and other dead languages?
Now, I can’t read Latin, but I was so charmed by this 1960 volume that I took it out. Sometimes an old book needs a bit of fresh air, right? The pictures are all there, and the story I know, but can’t pronounce in this case. A few minutes investigation online told me that you can still buy the paperback version on Amazon, and this translation was actually a New York Times bestseller for 20 weeks following publication, reprinted 21 times!
A 1984 story by Edwin McDowell in the NYT Books section elaborates on the strange series of events that brought this beloved story back into print in a dead language. I’m glad it caught my eye, or I would never have known about what is possibly the only book without a word of English in it to be a NYT bestseller.
The American Music Awards were last night, giving the most popular acts in the country and the suits that made them a venue on which to stage their feverish masturbations. Some highlights: Adam Lambert fell down in between violent simulations of oral sex, J-Lo fell off of a pile of dancers, and Taylor Swift beat out Daughtry and Jason Mraz to win Favorite Adult Contemporary Artist for an album that is 90% about high school, which reeks of manipulation, as if winning five awards focus grouped better than winning four. Scandal at the AMAs! She’s great, suits. Fearless is a beast of a pop album. She doesn’t need the help. What an outrage! If you had any doubts about rampant crimes against humanity at this event, I present this indisputable evidence: the Black Eyed Peas won something.
Michael Jackson was the big winner of the night, taking four AMAs to the big Neverland Ranch in the sky and finally getting some respect for his all-too underappreciated career.
Rihanna’s great, though:
Rihanna - “Wait Your Turn” and “Hard”
More performances after the jump:
Twelve years ago this week: future platinum-selling Modest Mouse released their second full-length album, The Lonesome Crowded West, one of the best albums of the ‘90s. It was a sign of things to come, filled with dynamic shifts, the raw energy of Isaac Brock’s voice, and the dark, eerie sound that they’ve refined so that you can identify a Modest Mouse song in the space about about a chord and a half.
“Out of Gas”