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Pushin’ Too Hard: The Seeds guest star on a goofy 1968 sitcom
03.27.2015
07:47 am

Topics:
Music
Television

Tags:
The Seeds


 
Many things have changed in America over the last five decades, but the quality of network sitcoms has remained constant. Like death and taxes, you can always count on TV networks’ contempt for their viewers; watch a sitcom that has been moldering at the bottom of history’s shitpile for 47 years and, as William S. Burroughs always says, “the bare lie shines through.”
 

 
Take it from me: when you’re jonesing for a bit of the old Verfremdungseffekt, there’s no trash like yesterday’s trash.
 

 
In 1968, the Seeds guest-starred on an episode of NBC’s The Mothers-in-Law, a Desi Arnaz produced series about two neighboring middle-aged couples whose children elope. In this episode, “How Not to Manage a Rock Group,” the kids convince their parents to invest $500 in studio time for the Warts (i.e. the Seeds). If you’re a Seeds fan and you’ve already seen the clip of the band miming “Pushin’ Too Hard” on this program, you’ll still want to watch the whole thing: Sky Saxon et al. suffer onscreen for a surprising amount of the episode, appearing intermittently from their first appearance at the six-minute mark until the end credits roll. I hope you have a high tolerance for punchlines about the “generation gap.”
 

 
Tell me, readers: are the Seeds wearing authentic hippie drag from the freak boutiques of the Sunset Strip, or does this bold gear come straight from the Desilu wardrobe?
 

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
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Waste your time with this Joy Division/Teletubbies mashup. SERIOUSLY.
03.27.2015
06:57 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music
Television

Tags:
Joy Division
Teletubbies


 
The Internet works so quickly it could give you whiplash. Yesterday, Vanyaland posted this desaturated image of the Teletubbies, noting that the actually nightmarish image could have been a still from the famous video Anton Corbijn made for the Joy Division song “Atmosphere.”
 

 
In no time flat, a YouTube user named Christopher G. Brown uploaded a black and white video of the Teletubbies frolicking to that song. Somehow, the rotund and eternally chipper children’s TV mainstays’ merry (if admittedly kind of creepily surreal) countryside cavorting is a perfect fit with the forlorn, elegiac majesty of the JD song. I can’t even add anything here, just watch it.
 

 
A million thanks to Nerdhole‘s Mary P. Traverse for this day-making find.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Frank Zappa & the Monkees: ‘No, YOU’RE the popular musician, I’M dirty gross and ugly’


 
The Monkees are often referred to as the “Pre-Fab Four” in reference to the fact that they were a TV knock-off of the Beatles, recruited from a help wanted ad in Variety. Still, no matter how “uncool” they were supposed to be, the Monkees casting was a rare example of stroke of genius by committee. It’s difficult to imagine anyone but the four of them having the same chemistry, both comedically and (eventually) musically. And to further refute their “uncool” rep, John Lennon called them “the Marx Brothers of Rock” (he was right about that) and the Beatles even hosted a party for the Monkees in London when they toured England. (Furthermore, Mike Nesmith was present at the Abbey Road recording sessions for “A Day in the Life” and Peter Tork played banjo on George Harrison’s eclectic Wonderwall soundtrack).

Even that most far-out of the really far-out musicians of the day, Frank Zappa himself, made not just one, but two onscreen appearances with the Monkees: First in a TV segment where Mike pretended to be Frank and vice versa (which certainly foreshadowed Ringo Starr’s portrayal of Zappa in 200 Motels) before they destroyed a car with a sledgehammer to the tune of “Mother People,” and again in a brief cameo in Head.
 

 
Zappa’s Head cameo, after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Lose all your money to an Ellen DeGeneres-themed slot machine


 
Ellen DeGeneres is so very likeable that nobody is going to mind at all that she stands to make a huge wad of moolah from the what can in many cases be presumed to be the problem gambling habits of thousands of lower-income Americans.

When your face is on a device that will be used to vacuum all the spare change out of patrons’ pockets, you can’t exactly hide the fact. Ellen announced the new machines last year on her site. Her website also has a “finder” so you can make your way to the slot machines more easily. There are currently four in the San Francisco area, five in the Los Angeles area, two in the Chicago area, and so on.

“From the first spin of the reels, the famously familiar Ellen theme song emanates from each game and players are transported to the set of their favorite TV hour,” says International Game Technology, which its website identifies as “the industry’s leading manufacturer of gaming machines.” Phil O’Shaughnessy, director of Global Corporate Communications for IGT, said the following:
 

If you think about the show, there are so many icons from the show, be it the red chair, the sunglasses, even the boxer shorts. They really lend themselves nicely to a video slot environment. The other thing is, Ellen’s all about laugh dance play, and we really embrace that concept, realizing that some of the elements, such as “Know or Go” or “Wheel of Riches,” would actually make excellent bonus rounds in a slot environment as well.

 

 
There are actually three Ellen-themed games, “Ellen’s Dance Party,” “Ellen’s Know or Go” and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show 12 Days of Giveaways.”

“Casino gambling expert” Al Moe hilariously opines that “the huge Ellen photos are a bit creepy, as her eyes seem to follow you around the slot floor.” However, the San Francisco Chronicle reported yesterday that the new machines are a hit, “drawing crowds”—a representative from some casino indicated that “it’s not unusual to see a crowd standing around the machines, laughing at what transpires while people play,” according to the Chronicle.
 

 
via SFist
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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In bed with Andy: David Bailey’s banned ‘Warhol’ documentary

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Among the reasons given for the banning of David Bailey’s documentary on Andy Warhol were: its possibly breach of the Vagrancy Act and a suggested sex act that was not “conducive to road safety.” These were the stated opinions of lawyer and judge Lord Justice Lawton and the sports journalist and broadcaster Ross McWhirter.

McWhirter was one-half of the famous twin brothers Ross and Norris McWhirter who compiled, wrote and edited the Guinness Book of Records. It was McWhirter who initiated the bizarre events that led to Bailey’s film being pulled from broadcast in January 1973, and temporarily banned until March of the same year. McWhirter was responding to the press previews for Bailey’s film that appeared in the Sunday papers on January 14th that described the film as “shocking,” “revolting,” and “offensive,” with the worst scene (erroneously) described by the Daily Mail as showing:

...a fat female artist [who] dyes her breasts and then rolls about on canvas ‘painting’...

This was Brigid Berlin making one of her famous “Tit Prints,” which was cited by Lord Lawton as a possible source of offense.
 
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Director and subject.
 
David Bailey had spent about a year working on his documentary about Andy Warhol—it was the last of three films Bailey made for Lew Grade’s television company ATV, the other two were profiles of photographer Cecil Beaton and director Luchino Visconti—and he had spent considerable time with the often monosyllabic and elusive artist, and had interviewed many of Warhol’s Factory entourage including Candy Darling, Paul Morrissey, Fred Hughes, Jane Holzer and art dealer Leo Castelli. Bailey had given over directing duties to William Verity, while he spent his time asking questions and getting close to the film’s subject.

When ATV gave a press screening for Bailey’s Warhol, little did they consider that the negative response of the press would lead to the film being banned. When Ross McWhirter read the press previews, he was sufficiently disgusted that he saw an opportunity to strike a blow for the silent majority—for whom he believed himself to be the obvious spokesman. In fact, he was over-reacting to some hearsay about a film he had not seen.
 
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On Monday 15th, McWhirter prepared to take out an injunction against the Independent Broadcasting Authority—the TV watchdog—for allowing Bailey’s film to be screened. On Tuesday January 16th, he issued a writ against the documentary to stop it being broadcast. However, McWhirter’s writ was dismissed during a one-minute High Court hearing. Like all zealots, McWhirter was not one to have the law stop him, and he appealed the High Court’s decision.

McWhirter’s actions gained support from an unlikely quarter: one of the ITV broadcast regions Anglia decided, after is chairman Lord Townshend and two members of the channel’s planning committee had watched the documentary, not to screen the documentary as Bailey’s film was:

...not of sufficient interest or quality.

McWhirter’s appeal was heard at 17:00hours on Tuesday January 16th, the day Warhol was set for broadcast. The Appeal Court consisted of Lord Justice Cairns, Lord Justice Lawton, and was presided over by Lord Denning. Although he had not seen the programme, McWhirter claimed in his writ that the press previews were sufficient to suggest the show would cause considerable offense. Any programme that was considered to be offensive to “good taste and decency” was to be banned under the guidelines of the Television Act of 1964.

Causing offense to the viewing public was not McWhirter’s only concern over Bailey’s film as his writ went on to describe some of its possible dangers:

At one point there is a conversation between a man dressed as a Hell’s Angel and a girl. In that piece, the girl discusses sex with the man and says she would like to have sex with him on the back of a motorcycle doing 60 miles an hour. Apart from anything else, that does not sound as though it is conducive to road safety.

Like McWhirter, none of the Lords had seen Bailey’s film, however this didn’t stop them pontificating about its possible criminal intent. According to the Guardian newspaper, Lord Justice Lawton was deeply concerned over Brigid Berlin’s breast painting:

...the viewers of Britain were to be shown pictures of a fat lady doing something that sounded to him very much like a breach of the Vagrancy act, apart from anything else…

 
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The offending “tit printing” scene.
 
However, it was the IBA who received the greatest criticism from Lord Denning for their perceived failure to view the documentary before transmission. This, as it later turned out, was a major oversight by Denning and co. as they had failed to ascertain whether anyone from the IBA had actually watched the film—which in fact they had. IBA General Director Brian Young, Head of Programmes Joe Wellman, together with their deputies, had all watched Bailey’s film and suggested cuts and had even insisted on the addition of an introductory voice-over.

Still this did not stop the appeal judges voting 2-1 in favor of an interim injunction that temporarily banned the film from being screened on television—a documentary on craftwork was broadcast instead.

Watch David Bailey’s ‘Warhol’ after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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‘The Simpsons Tattoo’ collects the very best Springfield-inspired body art
03.23.2015
05:08 am

Topics:
Art
Television

Tags:
tattoos
The Simpsons


 
The Instagram account The Simpsons Tattoo is surprisingly delightful. I’m not shocked that a lot of people have body art inspired by the show, but it is a little unexpected that 1) these tattoos are done so well (as opposed to tragic crust-punk poke-and-stick) and 2) there are so many deep cuts (no pun intended). Fan tattoos of most cartoons tend to obsess over main characters and pivotal moments, but Simpsons fans may just be a more esoteric breed; so much of the work curated here features secondary, or even tertiary characters. Some of them aren’t even a character, but a bit of iconography (the diagram of the blowfish is particularly inspired).

What’s even more entertaining is your ability as a viewer to identify the most random reference—I haven’t seriously watched the show in years, and I laughed out loud in recognition of some of the one-off jokes that someone was daring and committed enough to permanently adorn themselves with.
 

 

 
More Simpsons ink after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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The world will never run out of ‘newly uncovered’ David Bowie videos
03.20.2015
02:57 pm

Topics:
Music
Television

Tags:
David Bowie


 
One of the questions we used to get asked a lot in the early days of this blog is if we thought we’d ever “run out of stuff” to feature here. After nearly six years if the seemingly bottomless pit of newly uncovered David Bowie videos alone is anything to go by, the answer is a definitive “No.”

Or perhaps I should write “Non” as these two er… newly uncovered clips, via the David Bowie News website, come from France originally. French photojournalist Philippe Auliac first shot Bowie at Victoria Station in London in 1976, the infamous incident (or non-incident as the case seemed to be) where the thin white duke was supposedly doing a fascist salute standing up in a car à la der Fuhrer. Since then he’s shot Bowie several times over the decades and he was kind enough to share his stash of Bowie vids with the world, which haven’t been seen since they were originally aired on French television in the late 1970s. (Two are embedded here, there’s a third, an interview at the Plaza hotel in New York here).
 

 
For your chance to win a print of one of his classic Bowie shots signed by Philippe, (as seen in his David Bowie - Passenger book) click over to David Bowie News and answer this question: On what date was Philippe’s shot of Bowie at Victoria Station taken?

After the jump, two ‘newly uncovered’ David Bowie videos

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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CNN declares war on annoying politicians with its own ‘Too Many Cooks’ parody
03.20.2015
08:59 am

Topics:
Politics
Television

Tags:
CNN
Too Many Cooks


 
OK, this is borderline awesome. On its official YouTube account, CNN yesterday released a pretty darn good parody of Too Many Cooks, the one-off viral video that Adult Swim released late last year that poked fun at cheesy 1980s sitcom opening credit sequences. In CNN’s version, which repurposes both the title and much of the theme music of the original, the video appears to be a comment on what is sure to be a crowded and noisy primary season for the election of 2016. With no presidential incumbent in the race, the Democratic side, in terms of official candidates, features little more than the presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton, although that may change (and there are theoretical challengers floating around), while the Republican side really does lend itself to a “Too Many Cooks” treatment.
 

 
The video is a good excuse to throw every embarrassing clip they could find into a single video—for instance, Marco Rubio reaching for a glass of water, John McCain dancing a weird little jig, and so forth. Since the whole point of the video is to surpass anyone’s reasonable attention span, the video lasts a little under six and a half minutes (about half of the original “Too Many Cooks”) and features pretty much every notable political figure since the mid-1990s who is still active (and a couple that are not).

CNN’s version stays surprisingly faithful to the original, as you’ll see when you give it a look.
 

 
via The Daily Dot

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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‘Pussysparks’ and her NSFW St. Patty’s Day power tool shenanigans
03.18.2015
09:00 am

Topics:
Amusing
Television

Tags:
power tools
Cirque de la Femme


 
TV viewers in Chicago who were expecting local TV channel WGN to celebrate the holiday with the usual panoply of shamrocks and leprechauns draped in green received quite a jolt last Friday morning when Shana Vaughan-Gabor, a performer with Cirque de la Femme, took the stage. Vaughan-Gabor’s thing is, to be delicate about it, simulating the act of pleasuring herself with an angle grinder, an act that generates an impressive stream of sparks.

Amusingly, Vaughan-Gabor’s nickname is “Pussysparks,” and she is also a professional dominatrix. It might have been a good idea if WGN had read her CV before booking her for the show.

In the video below, as Vaughan-Gabor starts up with the sparks, reporter Pat Tomasulo inanely shouts “I’ve been waiting my whole life to meet a woman like this! Lord knows, I can’t do that on my own!” while the off-air hosts say things like “Oh no, stop…. What is going on!?” Even better, after the sparks are overwith, Tomasulo shouts to a group of children gathered around him: “Hey kids, what did you guys think of the lady shooting sparks sparks out of her midsection?” (Answer: “Creepy and stinky.” All right!)

Later, WGN anchor Larry Potash took to Twitter to apologize for the “unintentional porn” that took place during the show. Methinks he doth protest too much: It’s NSFW, for sure, but that still doesn’t make it porn.
 

 
In any event, Cirque de la Femme got some free publicity, which is A-OK with me.
 

 
via Chicagoist

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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‘Broad City’: The early years
03.16.2015
04:28 pm

Topics:
Television

Tags:
Abbi Jacobson
Ilana Glazer
Broad City


 
If you bothered clicking on this link and are reading these words right now, then chances are fairly good that you and I have something in common: we’re both probably fans of the wonderfully loopy Comedy Central show Broad City, created by the very talented and very funny duo of Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer. Admittedly, though, the first episode… I didn’t get it. Then I watched another one—I was stoned—and then another and by the third one I was thinking that Ilana Glazer is probably one of the greatest natural comedians since… Gracie Allen. (Compare and contrast Glazer’s ditzy pothead Bodhisattva with Gracie’s holy fool in this (live) episode of The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show where Gracie sees a psychiatrist and you’ll see why I say that. I’ll also add that I think “Ilana” is one of the best and most originally delineated comedy characters since Chris Elliot’s “Chris” in Get A Life or Julia Davis’ evil hairdresser “Jill Tyrell” in that bleakest of the bleak BBC sitcom Nighty Night).
 

 
Which is not to slight the presence of Abbi Jacobson, the straight woman of the Broad City partnership. Jacobson’s one of the best “reactors” working today—she’s as good as Martin Freeman in that department—and her character’s continuously foiled aspirations in life are some of the greatest examples of a comedy style I like to call “pathetica” in recent memory. Her passive, sighing, trying-to-be-a-good-sport reactions to things like being asked to clean up “puke” and “pubes” at work, the guy who she’s infatuated with wanting her to peg him, and any and all of the ridiculous schemes that Glazer’s character wants her to go along with, are pure gold. Without someone at least semi-reasonable to bounce off of, “Ilana” would simply appear to be a lunatic with no grounding in reality, but Jacobson is so real and her acting so understated that she ends up elevating everything to another level. It’s her “interpretation” of whatever’s happening—seeing the situation through her character’s eyes—that adds another onion skin layer of complexity of what transpires on Broad City. Great comedy is alchemical in nature and Broad City has exactly the right ingredients for greatness.
 

 
Broad City feels wholly organic—Glazer and Jacobson met taking improv classes at the Upright Citizens Brigade—and there’s nothing forced about their chemistry. The brilliant Hannibal Buress—Bill Cosby’s favorite person, NOT—is also a part of the cast as “Lincoln,” Ilana’s friend with benefits, a pediatric dentist.
 

 
If you’ve not discovered the indiscreet charms of Broad City yet, you should, it’s one of the very best comedies on TV today (it’s exec produced by one of America’s greatest Americans, Amy Poehler, surely a mark of distinction out of the gate). If you are a Broad City fan already and you’ve not checked out the Broad City web series that ran for several years on YouTube that led to the TV show, then you’ve got a lot of catching up to do. Actually, it just seems like a lot, but the webisodes are pretty short—two to five minutes each—and you can just watch them one after another. They’re excellent, just like the show but… shorter. Each one has at least one huge laugh.
 

 
More early ‘Broad City’ and more after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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