30 September 2013

Dark Doo Wop

Listening to: Haim, Days Are Gone. This is a tough one as Haim and Icona Pop both just dropped albums. We've been plugging Haim over at The End Starts Today and rightfully so, as the three Haim tracks I've had in my possession have been on infinite repeat. After just a few quick spins, I can confidently say that Haim's debut album is absolutely essential cruising pop. Basically it's summer in eleven tracks, and even though summer is basically over, Haim has officially arrived.

As for Icona Pop, their lead single, "All Night" isn't quite up at "I Love It" level yet, but it's comparable, which is a huge compliment. Where was this track in July? We could have used it at dance parties everywhere. The song's Paris is Burning vogueing video is kind of killer too.

Last thing, I'm a bit late to the MS MR party but I've been digging their 2012 album, Candy Bar Creep Show. MS MR has got plenty of Florence and the Machine in them and I quite like their semi-new single, "Fantasy." I didn't see the Game of Thrones Season Three trailer their other song were featured in but know all about it now. Who knew moody pop and Westeros went so well together?
If you like anthropomorphic food, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 is the film for you. Maybe I've collected anthropomorphic vegetable salt shakers in the past, maybe I've watched my fair share of Veggie Tales, either way, while I hate nature documentaries that anthropomorphize animals -- ahem, March of the Penguins -- I love it when human personalities are attributed to food!

When I saw the trailer for Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 earlier this summer, I was already one hundred percent in. After watching the film, I can wholeheartedly give it a superior grade. It's absolutely silly, filled with chuckle worthy puns, and for all illiterates out there, no advance book reading necessary. Fun note: The screenplay was co-written by John Francis Daley, aka Sam Weir from Freaks and Geeks.

A bit of research on the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs wiki revealed that there are "foodimals" and then there are "food people." The latter are "sentient food that have developed a higher-level of sentience and sapience, and posses no animal-like traits and instead have human-like qualities and behavior." The former are animal/food portmanteaus like tacodile, hippotatoes, mosquitoast, buffaloaf, and watermelephants. Do you see how amazing this is? The star of the show for me was the leek, who just seems to be screaming in fear all the time. See? Anyways, Cloudy 2 is right up there with Despicable Me 2 for best animated movie of the summer. If you're into laughing and giggling and that type of thing. Otherwise watch Prisoners, which was pretty decent also.

I'm back from San Francisco, trying to catch up on all manner of things online. Basically I'm behind on everything but with the help of some late nights and my reunion with my double computer screens, I'll have everything from 2013 caught up and finished with by, say, 2014? Deal.

I scurried back to New York in time for a live taping of Slate's Cultural Gabfest. As a longtime fan, I was more than excited to see Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens, and Julia Turner in person. I was a little late as usual but settled in on the side of the stage and gazed out into the crowd. It's been awhile since I've looked upon a 99% white people occupied space and been like "Ah, these are my people." However, that's exactly what I said this time, as clearly anyone motivated enough to pay and sit through a Gabfest taping should be my friend immediately.

While I'm here, let me recommend the Grantland Pop Culture podcasts. Grantland split off their sports and pop culture pods and so much the better for it. The chemistry among the hosts are superb and I especially love Chris Ryan and Andy Greenwald's witticisms and references. High recommend.

Also, snuck in a ballet the other day, much to the astonishment of friends and family. My Foursquare blew up with comments. Really? Why does nobody believe I would go to a ballet? Did I not write a combined 3500+ words on Center Stage and White Nights? Was I not pushing a three hour ballet documentary on you just a few short years ago? It's more shocking that I haven't been to the New York City Ballet yet.

We watched Camille Saint-Saens' "Carnival of the Animals" because well, animals. It was pretty good and the costuming and narration -- words by John Lithgow -- were a nice change up from straight ballets. One complaint: Apparently it's de rigueur to bring babies and tiny children to the ballet. To the matinee showing at least. I don't get it. There are spaces where it's highly distracting to hear the constant shushing of a baby or to see the physical bouncing required to keep him/her quiet. The ballet is one of those places. This could be a controversial stance but I'm sticking to it.

Also, Verdi's "The Four Seasons" is not the same as Vivaldi's. Now you know. As in, now I know...