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by Sarah Zupko

21 Apr 2009

‘80S NEW WAVERS BACK TO RULE THE CHARTS

Depeche Mode: Sounds of the Universe
Pet Shop Boys: Yes

Both of these artists began their lengthy careers in Southern England back in the early ‘80s, 1980 and 1981 respectively. Their 30-year careers have been punctutated by stylistic shifts, most notably in the case of Depeche Mode who began life as among the poppiest of new wave’s synth pop bands and steadily turned darker and rockier over the years. Both artists return this week with new albums that will be competing heavily for attention among Generation Xers.

by Evan Sawdey

21 Apr 2009

Ever want to be immortalized in a song? Or, more critically, do you have a spare $150 laying around?

Say Anything, for the uninitiated, is a surprisingly literate, self-consciously humorous emo-rock act fronted by Max Bemis, a young man who has a strong, distinct personality that stands out amidst the sea of generic Alternative Press flavors-of-the-week that come and go every month without much notice.  Bemis’ “official” debut album, 2004’s excellent … is a Real Boy, was a theatrical, intelligent affair that got all the attention it deserved: few emo-rock albums carry as much pop-savvy or emotional heft as this album did, never once leaning into overly-poetic (see: indulgent) lyrics, simply because Bemis was so self-deprecating to be nailed with heavy criticism. Though his follow-up disc (2007’s double-disc affair In Defense of the Genre) was predictably bloated, Bemis showed no signs of slowing down his Pollard-like output, contributing to last year’s Punk Goes Crunk album (a cover of Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s “Got Your Money”) and releasing a full-length album from his Two Tongues side-project just a few months ago.

by Thomas Britt

21 Apr 2009

The State (a sketch show that aired on MTV in the early 1990s) had a rabid following in its day, but its unavailability has inspired an even more intense devotion in the years since the show went to CBS to die. Its creators and cast members graduated to many other successes in film and television, but this DVD set of the complete series is something to celebrate, as it represents the starting point for the creative forces behind Stella,Reno 911!, Wet Hot American Summer, Role Models, etc.

That the set (to be released on July 14) exists at all is noteworthy. But if the MTV show site is to be believed, the five-disc release will be “jam-packed” with special features. If the set really is as impressive as advertised, perhaps fans will someday admit that this was almost worth the decade-plus wait.

Read more here.

 

by L.B. Jeffries

21 Apr 2009

I thought I’d take a break this week and vary things up a bit from our usual programming. After all the fuss over GDC I decided it was time to check out another game designer convention. So last week I went to GDX at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) to get another look at life on the other side of the fence. Ranked as one of the top ten game design schools in the world, SCAD students are impressive because the arts focus means they’re required to take courses in drawing and art history on top of their game work. The conference kicked off with two lectures by graduating students. The first was by Brian Shurtleff on applying the rule systems of improv groups to games. Rule number one is always make your partner look good. Building on that system were a lot of really interesting ideas on how to build co-op experiences while referencing shows like ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’ to give examples. Downstairs I caught the tail end of Jim Sidlesky’s thesis work with Machinima. I was already familiar with the history of the genre but have lost track of the latest stuff. He has put together an intense depiction of Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘Annabell Lee” using The Sims 2 engine and some music a Goth band in Florida loaned him. The most interesting new Machinima artist he introduced me to was Friedrich Kirschner, whose innovation with texturing and art is astounding. Outside of his excellent music video based on Channel Zero Comic, you can catch this clip of his capturing the animation of a robot submerged in milk using legos, a spoon, and a lot of milk.

by PopMatters Staff

20 Apr 2009

The Girlfriend Experience
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Cast: Sasha Grey, Chris Santos, Glenn Kenney, Peter Zizzo
Opening: 22 May 2009 (New York / Los Angeles)
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures

 

Plot summary: Set in the weeks leading up to the 2008 presidential election, The Girlfriend Experience is five days in the life of Chelsea (adult film star Sasha Grey in her mainstream film debut), an ultra high-end Manhattan call girl who offers more than sex to her clients, but companionship and conversation—“the girlfriend experience”. Chelsea thinks she has her life totally under control—she feels her future is secure because she runs her own business her own way, makes $2,000 an hour, and has a devoted boyfriend (Chris Santos) who accepts her lifestyle. But when you’re in the business of meeting people, you never know who you’re going to meet…

The 20th film from Academy Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh, The Girlfriend Experience is a sexy, gorgeously shot time capsule from the not-too-distant past. [Magnolia Pictures]

//Mixed media
//Blogs

In Defense of the Infinite Universe in 'No Man's Sky'

// Moving Pixels

"The common cries of disappointment that surround No Man’s Sky stem from the exciting idea of an infinite universe clashing with the harsh reality of an infinite universe.

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