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by Tyler Gould

30 Nov 2009

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists dispel rumors that Sully Sullenberger is the Highlander with “Even Heroes Have to Die” from their upcoming album, The Brutalist Bricks, which we’ll get a look at in March of the new year. This song and “One Polaroid a Day” are enough to get you in a Ted Leo mood, all digging up his back catalog and throwing it on repeat all day.

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
Even Heroes Have to Die [MP3]
     

by Matt Paproth

30 Nov 2009

Previously on The Hills: Heidi and Spencer got married; at the last minute, Lauren decided to attend the wedding, before leaving the show to pursue life in the real world; Kristin returned to town to shake things up, causing a completely unrealistic wave of whispering and gossip among the other weddings guests; and we all stopped caring and forgot that this show existed.

Yes, the sudden reappearance of Kristin Cavallari, whose presence can only be considered a return for those of us who started watching all of these awful people on Laguna Beach, was the jump-the-shark moment for many viewers. Ratings for the show have plummeted this season, down more than 33 percent from the previous season. As Lauren Conrad went off to try to define herself apart from the show (how is that working out for her?), the obvious engineering of Kristin’s return veered the show even closer to WWF-levels of unreality. In addition, the scenes of Heidi and Spencer had become so obviously scripted, and they failed so utterly to sound like actual humans, that viewers were unable to suspend disbelief any longer. 

I too vowed that the show had crossed that line for me, and so I am proud to say that I survived the past two months without watching a single second of the new season. Then, a funny thing happened. My wife was in the shower, I was flipping through the channel listings, and I saw MTV’s afternoon lineup of “The Hills / The Hills / The Hills / The Hills….”  Like many people (right?), I have never been able to resist a Hills marathon. Even when I watched the show religiously, I regularly spent Saturday and Sunday afternoons lazing on the couch re-watching the same characters engaging in the same conversations about the same things. Had I seen this episode already? Did it really matter? The irony, of course, is that every episode of The Hills is basically the same. Characters hook up, text each other about it, go to a party/opening/concert/fashion show where they fight about it, and then engage in the most sublimely incoherent conversations about everything that has gone on. Each episode ends as we fade out on an appropriately sad/angry/happy song by Kelly Clarkson/Britney Spears/some-crappy-band-the-show-is-obviously-promoting.

So, when I saw those hours of unseen Hills episodes staring me in the face, I could not help but feeling overcome with curiosity for what I had been missing.  And what has been going on, you might ask?

Exactly what you might expect. Kristin is desperately trying to graft herself onto the scene by screaming at every female on the show and hooking up with every male on the show, Speidi continue their rapid descent into obscurity (shown here renting a house, bickering about marriage, and contemplating – seriously – bringing a child into the world), and the ancillary characters continue to orbit the cameras and the leads, keeping the plastic surgeons of Los Angeles afloat as they try to make themselves good looking enough to have their own storylines. Stephanie Pratt is, at this point, approaching Michael Jackson territory. 

I will not lie and pretend that I did not fully enjoy watching this marathon. There were plenty of shouting matches, scenes of obvious acting, and WTF moments to keep me thoroughly entertained. And, as always, there were several sublime moments where I could not help but giving thanks for living in America in 2009. For example, after standing Kristin up for the second time, Justin-Bobby texted the phrase “Sorry boo, strike two.” That actually happened (or, well, you know, it kind of actually happened).

Overall, there is a lot to watch for in The Hills finale on Tuesday night. Will Kristin choose Brody or Justin-Bobby? Will Heidi succeed in her secret plan to get pregnant? Will anyone show up to the “live after-party” that MTV kept promoting during the marathon?

Who knows. I guess the rest is still unwritten.

by Angelos Koutsourakis

30 Nov 2009

The 2009 Cinecity Film Festival in Brighton opened with a preview of Micmacs à tire-larigot, the first film from Jean-Pierre Jeunet since 2004’s A Very Long Engagement. The film proclaims itself to be a satire on the world of arms trading. The official press release states:  “Is it better to live with a bullet lodged in your brain, even if it means you might drop dead any time?  Or would you rather have the bullet taken out and live the rest of your life as a vegetable?  Are zebras white with black stripes or black with white stripes?  Is scrap metal worth more than landmines?  Can you get drunk from eating waffles?  Can a woman fit inside a refrigerator?  What’s the human cannonball world record?  Find out answers to these questions and more.  A comedy in the vein of Delicatessen,  and Amélie.”

by Andrew Martin

30 Nov 2009

1. Jay-Z - “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)”

by Allison Taich

30 Nov 2009

Grateful Dead members Bob Weir and Phil Lesh joined forces with John Kadlecik (Dark Star Orchestra), Joe Russo (Benevento/Russo Duo), Jay Lane (RatDog), and Jeff Chimenti (RatDog, The Dead) to create the next chapter in Grateful Dead history. The band unleashed their craft at the Fox Theater in Oakland, California this past September. After much hype and anticipation the band is finally hitting the road, playing limited cities across the U.S. Stream some music over at their site, and check out the tour dates after the jump.

 

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