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The 10 Insipid Things We Learn in 'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1'

It's time to end this entire Twilight twaddle, and here are ten reasons the phenomenon should go out with a chuckle, not a cheer.

As critic proof as the product from Pixar or the latest in a long line of unnecessary Underworld/Resident Evil/ Saw sequels, Twilight is getting ready to spin its final endgame in the two-part trial known as Breaking Dawn. Why a film focusing on the marriage of vampire Edward and his mope-about gal pal Bella and their eventual offspring requires four hours to tell its tale will always remains a Harry Potter inspired mystery (Deathly Hallows was a massive finale, book wise). What's even more shocking, however, are the ridiculous lengths that author Stephanie Meyers will go to maintain her disaster-piece's market share. Having already taken the slight premise of her initial novel and blown it up to all manner of illogical proportions, Breaking Dawn drives the over the top elements into the stratosphere, creating a conclusion that's so clueless it's like a teenager taking an Algebra II exam.

While there are dozens of dopey decision made throughout the course of this nutty narrative, at least ten stick out as more misguided than usual. Perhaps they tread all over established cliches only to embrace the truisms later on, or spend their weak-willed ingenuity like so much birthday money before going bankrupt. Whatever the case, we have chosen to preview this piecemeal entertainment by highlighting this collection of laughable logistics. While one assumes a bit of stupidity when it comes to Twilight - scratch that, a LOT of stupidity - the concepts here are more than pathetic. Instead, they show how thin an already wafer-like franchise can be expanded in order to earn more of that sweet, sweet international box office sugar, beginning with some beefcake for the shameful soccer moms in the audience:

10. It Takes Jacob Exactly 30 Seconds to Show Off His Abs

After a title crawl that lasts about 10 seconds, the first shot in Breaking Dawn has actor Taylor Lautner walking out of his rain-soaked home/shack, invitation to Edward and Bella's wedding in his hand. Distraught, he then precedes to rip off his shirt, flex his Tiger Beat pecs, and run off into the woods, canine transformation complete. Talk about giving the spinsters what they want right up front!

9. Vampires Are Tacky!

As she prepares to get married, Bella is faced with one of the most daunting issues in her entire time with the Cullen clan -- their lack of legitimate fashion sense and taste. The entire wedding is decked out in an unusual combination of pristine white and local Pacific Northwest underbrush. It's like being stuck in the middle of a vat of marshmallow fluff that fell into some peat moss. Yummy.

8. Vampire Weddings Allow for Too Many Toasts

Everybody it seems, from Bella's previously under-utilized mother to a couple character BFFs get to stand up in front of everyone at this shindig and make some of the worst nuptial speeches ever. One even sings a song so cheesy that guests confuse it for hors d' oeuvres. While funny in a kind of "aren't these people dumb" sort of way, it more or less explains why Dracula never got hitched -- the reception is just endless...and awful.

7. Wolf Packs Do Enjoy Their Non-Erotic Male Bonding

As they prepare to defend their territory and protect the treaty between vampires and werewolves, our Native American shape-shifters spend their downtime in such noble pursuits as beach-side soccer jags and semi-shirtless wrestling. With only a couple claimed females in the tribe, it seems like a lot of untapped lupine testosterone is being spent in an amiable, asexual way... right?

6. Rio de Janeiro is in Brazil?!?!

This is not actually in the film, but part of something that happened before the screening itself. A local PR person was standing before the audience, offering one of her many Twilight based prize packages when she asked a question about Edward and Bella's post-marriage mating. When a member of the audience shouted out the name of one of South America's most famous cities, she stopped, looked at her answer key, and then queried "Is that in Brazil?" It was the biggest laugh of the whole evening.

5. Vampires are Dangerous Lovers

When Edward and Bella finally "do it" the hokey, wholesome, tastefully tiresome physical exchange is accented by a moment when our neckbiter lets his true "manliness" out. His power is illustrated by a morning after tableau which includes a destroyed headboard, a shredded comforter, and various bruises on Bella's body... and she wants MORE!

4. Even in the Remotest Regions of the World, There's a Superstitious Servant to Call Out the Creatures

As part of their romantic honeymoon on an isolated island off the coast of South America, Edward employees a pair of housekeepers -- one male, one female -- to make sure everything is right in the love nest. Of course, the older, more rickety woman immediately starts calling everyone "DEMON" and worrying over the fate of Bella's unborn. All that's missing from the moment is superfluous signing of the cross...or a couple of chicken hearts.

3. Forget a Spoonful of Sugar… a Styrofoam Cup Makes the Blood Smoothie Go Down Much Easier

As Bella's baby grows inside her -- faster than any mere human child ever does, mind you -- our heroine starts to resemble a Holocaust victim. Her body begins eating itself, the character's already lithe frame becoming more and more emaciated. As usual, vampire and wolf ingenuity win out, and it's determined that Bella's brat wants blood to thrive (really?). But how to make the vein juice more palatable to a mere mortal? Why, a Styrofoam cup and straw, of course.

2. Almost All Monsters Know How to Perform a C-Section

Bella is dying and the unholy offspring in her belly is begging to get out. As luck would have it, Carlisle Cullen has taken this very moment to go out and feed. So the rest of the family has to jump into his in-home hospital set-up (including a machine that goes "PING," one imagines) and start chopping. While at least one of the blood suckers has a hard time resisting our heroine's open wound, the others deliver the spawn with satisfactory surgical focus. Not bad for a bunch of unqualified undead medicos.

1. Imprinting Is a Lot Like a Lame Music Montage

All throughout the subplot of Breaking Dawn, we learn that Jacob's biggest problem with the whole Bella/Edward situation is the lack of a soulmate love to call his own -- otherwise known as "getting imprinted." Fans know what happens the minute he sees the cherubic Renesmee. Director Bill Condon decides to confirm this via an MTV style sequence which makes the latest video from Lady Antebellum look like Citizen Kane. The only thing more ridiculous? Edward's declaration about the import of imprinting to the entire wolf community -- who should already know this, right?

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

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Music

The Best Dance Tracks of 2017

Photo: Murielle Victorine Scherre (Courtesy of Big Beat Press)

From the "shamanic techno" of Parisian duo Pouvoir Magique to Stockholm Noir's brilliant string of darkly foreboding, electro-licked singles, here are ten selections that represent some of the more intriguing dance offerings of 2017.

In June of 2016, prolific producer Diplo lambasted the world of DJ's in an interview with Billboard, stating that EDM was dying. Coincidentally enough, the article's contents went viral and made their way into Vice Media's electronic music and culture channel Thump, which closed its doors after four years this summer amid company-wide layoffs. Months earlier, electronic music giant SFX Entertainment filed bankruptcy and reemerged as Lifestyle, Inc., shunning the term "EDM".

So here we are at the end of 2017, and the internet is still a flurry with articles declaring that Electronic Dance Music is rotting from the inside out and DJ culture is dying on the vine, devoured by corporate greed. That might all well be the case, but electronic music isn't disappearing into the night without a fight as witnessed by the endless parade of emerging artists on the scene, the rise of North America's first Electro Parade in Montréal, and the inaugural Electronic Music Awards in Los Angeles this past September.

For every insipid, automaton disc jockey-producer, there are innovative minds like Anna Lunoe, Four Tet, and the Black Madonna, whose eclectic, infectious sets display impeccable taste, a wealth of knowledge, and boundless creativity. Over the past few years, many underground artists have been thrust into the mainstream spotlight and lost the je ne sais quoi that made them unique. Regardless, there will always be new musicians, producers, singers, and visionaries to replace them, those who bring something novel to the table or tip a hat to their predecessors in a way that steps beyond homage and exhilarates as it did decades before.

As electronic music continues to evolve and its endless sub-genres continue to expand, so do fickle tastes, and preferences become more and more subjective with a seemingly endless list of artists to sift through. With so much music to digest, its no wonder that many artists remain under the radar. This list hopes to remedy that injustice and celebrate tracks both indie and mainstream. From the "shamanic techno" of Parisian duo Pouvoir Magique to Stockholm Noir's brilliant string of darkly foreboding, electro-licked singles, here are ten selections that represent some of the more intriguing dance offerings of 2017.

10. Moullinex - “Work It Out (feat. Fritz Helder)”

Taken from Portuguese producer, DJ, and multi-instrumentalist Luis Clara Gomes' third album Hypersex, "Work It Out" like all of its surrounding companions is a self-proclaimed, "collective love letter to club culture, and a celebration of love, inclusion and difference." Dance music has always seemingly been a safe haven for "misfits" standing on the edge of the mainstream, and while EDM manufactured sheen might have taken the piss out of the scene, Hypersex still revels in that defiant, yet warm and inviting attitude.

Like a cheeky homage to Rick James and the late, great High Priest of Pop, Prince, this delectably filthy, sexually charged track with its nasty, funk-drenched bass line, couldn't have found a more flawless messenger than former Azari & III member Fritz Helder. As the radiant, gender-fluid artist sings, "you better work your shit out", this album highlight becomes an anthem for all those who refuse to bow down to BS. Without any accompanying visuals, the track is electro-funk perfection, but the video, with its ruby-red, penile glitter canon, kicks the whole thing up a notch.

9. Touch Sensitive - “Veronica”

The neon-streaked days of roller rinks and turtlenecks, leg warmers and popped polo collars have come and gone, but you wouldn't think so listening to Michael "Touch Sensitive" Di Francesco's dazzling debut Visions. The Sydney-based DJ/producer's long-awaited LP and its lead single "Lay Down", which shot to the top of the Hype Machine charts, are as retro-gazing as they are distinctly modern, with nods to everything from nu disco to slo-mo house.

Featuring a sample lifted from 90s DJ and producer Paul Johnson's "So Much (So Much Mix)," the New Jack-kissed "Veronica" owns the dance floor. While the conversational interplay between the sexed-up couple is anything but profound, there is no denying its charms, however laughably awkward. While not everything on Visions is as instantly arresting, it is a testament to Di Francesco's talents that everything old sounds so damn fresh again.

8. Gourmet - “Delicious”

Neither Gourmet's defiantly eccentric, nine-track debut Cashmere, nor its subsequent singles, "There You Go" or "Yellow" gave any indication that the South African purveyor of "spaghetti pop" would drop one of the year's sassiest club tracks, but there you have it. The Cape Town-based artist, part of oil-slick, independent label 1991's diminutive roster, flagrantly disregards expectation on his latest outing, channeling the Scissor Sisters at their most gloriously bitchy best, Ratchet-era Shamir, and the shimmering dance-pop of UK singer-producer Joe Flory, aka Amateur Best.

With an amusingly detached delivery that rivals Ben Stein's droning roll call in Ferris Bueller's Day Off , he sings "I just want to dance, and fuck, and fly, and try, and fail, and try again…hold up," against a squelchy bass line and stabbing synths. When the percussive noise of what sounds like a triangle dinner bell appears within the mix, one can't help but think that Gourmet is simply winking at his audience, as if to say, "dinner is served."

7. Pouvoir Magique - “Chalawan”

Like a psychoactive ayahuasca brew, the intoxicating "shamanic techno" of Parisian duo Pouvoir Magique's LP Disparition, is an exhilarating trip into unfamiliar territory. Formed in November of 2011, "Magic Power" is the musical project of Clément Vincent and Bertrand Cerruti, who over the years, have cleverly merged several millennia of songs from around the world with 21st-century beats and widescreen electro textures. Lest ye be worried, this is anything but Deep Forest.

In the spring of 2013, Pouvoir Magique co-founded the "Mawimbi" collective, a project designed to unite African musical heritage with contemporary soundscapes, and released two EPs. Within days of launching their label Musiques de Sphères, the duo's studio was burglarized and a hard drive with six years of painstakingly curated material had vanished. After tracking down demos they shared with friends before their final stages of completion, Clément and Bertrand reconstructed an album of 12 tracks.

Unfinished though they might be, each song is a marvelous thing to behold. Their stunning 2016 single "Eclipse," with its cinematic video, might have been one of the most immediate songs on the record, but it's the pulsing "Chalawan," with its guttural howls, fluttering flute-like passages, and driving, hypnotic beats that truly mesmerizes.

6. Purple Disco Machine - “Body Funk” & “Devil In Me” (TIE)

Whenever a bevy of guest artists appears on a debut record, it's often best to approach the project with caution. 85% of the time, the collaborative partners either overshadow the proceedings or detract from the vision of the musician whose name is emblazoned across the top of the LP. There are, however, pleasant exceptions to the rule and Tino Piontek's Soulmatic is one of the year's most delightfully cohesive offerings. The Dresden-born Deep Funk innovator, aka Purple Disco Machine, has risen to international status since 2009, releasing one spectacular track and remix after another. It should go without saying that this long-awaited collection, featuring everyone from Kool Keith to Faithless and Boris D'lugosch, is ripe with memorable highlights.

The saucy, soaring "Mistress" shines a spotlight on the stellar pipes of "UK soul hurricane" Hannah Williams. While it might be a crowning moment within the set, its the strutting discofied "Body Funk", and the album's first single, "Devil In Me", that linger long after the record has stopped spinning. The former track with its camptastic fusion of '80s Sylvester gone 1940s military march, and the latter anthem, a soulful stunner that samples the 1968 Stax hit "Private Number", and features the vocal talents of Duane Harden and Joe Killington, feels like an unearthed classic. Without a doubt, the German DJ's debut is one of the best dance records of the year.

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