Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"Daybreakers" Trailer: Now Even Vampires Are Going Corporate...

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

...and werewolves are still the struggling small business owners you know and trust. Support your local monster community!

Aaanyways, I'm sure someone out there (a certain Norwegian, say) is probably at this very moment wondering to himself something like, "Hmm, what's with all these vampire posts? I mean, is there a REASON for them, or is Tyler just some kinda psycho fangbanger? I mean he whines aaaalllll day about Twilight and "ooOooooOoOoohhh glittery glitter boy!" and blah blah blah etc. etc., but he keeeeeps on keepin' on postin' 'em."

Well, let me just cirsumvrent that rude question(s) entirely and instead pose to you another question(s), a hypethical one(s): "If vampires were to take over the world and nearly eradicate the entire human race, do you think Sam Neil would be their poster child? And do you think Willem Dafoe would be the badass with a crossbow ready to lay down some heavy slayage on the bloodsuckers' pale and global doushebaggery? And, well, do you think that Ethan Hawke actually deserves to be in another movie, I guess in appreciation of...um, uh, um...Gattaca?"

If your answer to these questions - er, "hypothetical questions" - was "yes", then you need to watch the trailer for "Daybreakers", which I have conveniently placed below for your viewing pleasure.

Okay, all kidding aside, this movie actually looks pretty flippin' awesome. Mostly because vampires are PURE EVIL, and this flick seems to acknowledge it for the most part. Plus Willem Dafoe and Sam Neil are friggin' perfect for their roles. And Ethan Hawke? Well, he actually looks pretty alright. Now that's saying something!
Read, Kindly Light...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

It's Official: "Heroes" is COMPLETELY unsalvageable, and there is *NO* reason on God's green earth why you should ever watch it ever again. EVER.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

...As if you didn't know that already half-way through Season 3.)

But I'm getting ahead of myself. I'm sure someone out there (probably not a very bright someone, or maybe just a Norwegian someone) must be asking, "Why, Tyler? Why is it that you think Heroes is sooooo bad? I mean, I kinda like it."

Well, Jan, I'll tell you.

The reason why Heroes now sucks AND blows is this:

(Okay, this really happened 3 days ago, but nothing I ever report is actually "New new" News)

Oh, but not to worry, folks! Greg Grunberg, AKA Matt Parkman, AKA Officer Donuts, AKA The Turtle Whisperer, reassures us with these brief but eloquent words:
...The scripts for season 4 and the stories we're about to tell will ROCK YOUR WORLD. BEST. SEASON. EVER.

Well, that's a relief.

But wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. WAIT A MINUTE, folks! Greggy has actually sent us in a little preview, a little sneak peak at the Heroes season 4 premiere! The clip is kinda confusing, so I might need to sort it all out for you before you give it a watch.

In the near future, Sylar has again abandoned his quest to win the Guiness world record for most brains eaten by a non-Fiji-Islander to enjoy the simple pleasures of family life. In this scene, Sylar is walking his "dog", Noah (who's really a shapeshifted HRG!!!!), with his two new best friends and life-partners, Butcher Boy and T-Bone (T-Bone's the guy with the awesome mystical magical Steak-morphing powers). And then...Noah goes nuts and Sylar loses his sunglasses and then....well...then.....um, then, then things just get a little out of hand.

P.S. Jan, I think you're very intelligent, and only slightly Norwegian. But you should have given up on Heroes a LONG long time ago...
Read, Kindly Light...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"THE LAST AIRBENDER" TEASER TRAILER!!!!!1!!@@!1!!!!1@!!!!!!!@!!!!!!!1!!!!1!!!!!!!1

Tuesday, June 23, 2009
This post title deserved WAY more exclamation points than the admittedly !!!-worthy Buffy/Twilight youtube mashup. I'm pretty sure this more than makes up for M. Night Shyamalan's recent mediocrity. In point of fact, it is so awesome that I am going to break my Vow of No F-Bombs.

Everybody! Everybody! Look, look! It's AVA-fucking-TAR!!!

I was so worried this was gonna end up being just another cra-ra-raaaappy little anime adaptation, but this trailer put aside all worries. I mean, this trailer made me swoooon. *Twice.* (once for faithful adaption of Ang's cute little blue arrow tattoo on his forehead, and once again for the faithful adaptation of the Fire Nation's awesome iron ships and their fire-y bombardment!)

Seriously, if you haven't watched the cartoon, go slit your wrists. Afterwards, go rent the DVDs. Then watch this trailer again, and tell me you're not as jazzed, excited, AND psyched as I am.

Read, Kindly Light...

Oh NOES! Not Edward! EDWAAAAARD!!!

This is an amazazazazing youtubey mashup.

(Buffy vs. Douchebag AKA Edward Cullen)

Little Buffy Summers' often annoying "Girl Power" thing has never seemed more right and righteous and awesome than at this very moment.

Read, Kindly Light...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Guest Post: Top 5 Beautiful Actresses Who Star in Bad Movies

Tuesday, June 16, 2009
After reading several similar lists in this vast internet space, I want to submit my own opinion on some select actresses. So, I want to first stat that looks aren’t everything for movie actresses. Some beautiful women have such continuing bad taste (or bad agents) that I want to gag every time I hear one of their new movies is coming out. So I present the Top 5 Beautiful Actresses Who Star in Bad Movies list. This is my opinion, and there are always exceptions, but the actresses who seem to be repeat offenders are as follows:

#5: Jessica Biel
Ah . . . Mary Camden. You were in The Illusionist, which I give mad props for, but that doesn’t make up for everything else. Summer Catch? Texas Chainsaw Massacre? I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry? And—it needs to be said—you’ll always be little Mary Camden from 7th Heaven to some. I just can’t take you seriously when I remember you living with your 20 other siblings, trashing the gym or something. Sorry, but your movie choices haven’t done much to turn you from a hot, athletic babe to a legit actress.

#4: Jessica Simpson
First, I guess I’m using the term “actress” loosely. You can pretty much mention all her movies and they would fall into the bad movie category. Major Movie Star, Blonde Ambition, Employee of the Month, and Dukes of Hazzard are not an acting career, they’re the desperate attempt to cling onto reality-show fame.

#3: Jennifer Lopez
Miss J. Lo has been in too many stinkers to redeem herself. She was great in Selena, and apparently Monster-in-Law was a mild hit—but that cannot make up for such movies like Anaconda, Angel Eyes, and Enough. And do I need to mention Gigli (seriously, you can’t even pronounce that!) or Jersey Girl? She is beautiful, she made curves hot, but her movie choices have been bad enough to make me want to kick her back to her block.

#2: Eva Mendes
Eva . . . you poor thing. You began your poor choice in film with Children of the Corn V. Then you moved on to Urban Legends: Final Cut, All About the Benjamins, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Stuck on You, Ghost Rider, and Cleaner. Those are a lot of bad movies. There were a couple hits along the way: Training Day, (remember her as someone’s girl? Or something equally minor?) Hitch, and The Wendell Baker Story. But these just aren’t enough. Hey, I didn’t invent math—7 bad movies versus 3, maybe 4 good ones? Numbers don’t lie; you need to make better choices. Oh, and The Spirit!? Make that 8 bad movie choices. Tsk tsk. Go pose nude again or something.

#1 Jessica Alba
Let’s see . . . Dark Angel. Honey. Fantastic Four. Sin City. Into The Blue. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Awake. The Eye. And, of course, The Love Guru. Not much to redeem you, poor Jessica, except your looks. And—it needs to be said—you’re a mother. I can’t help but now wonder what your daughter would think to know her mom once played a stripper. To think that my mom might have been a hottie with a body is enough to make me ill.
Read, Kindly Light...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Guest Post: ‘Go Out and Party Like It’s 1999,’ An Outdated Movie Review

Saturday, June 13, 2009

When Tyler asked me to contribute to his blog I was simultaneously flattered and terrified: flattered that he thinks enough of my opinions to include them, terrified that I might be incapable of saying anything interesting to anyone but me. I must admit, I am rarely up-to-date on any subject, entertainment being no exception. I try to read current books but have a hard time finding anything that interests me, so I generally wait for recommendations from friends who stay on top of things; I’m better about webcomics.

I do watch some currently-airing TV shows, but as I usually watch them on hulu.com in between nursing sessions with my three-month-old daughter, even there I am perpetually a few steps behind the rest of the world. The only show I watch religiously as it airs is Craig Ferguson (which Tyler covers more than amply already), and even that will be taken from me with the grand ‘switch to digital’ (I own a digital TV but our apartment complex doesn’t get good reception); I will be reduced to desperately scouring Youtube for clips. Oh, the degredation. All this is by way of saying that I am not going to write about anything new, because I almost never find out about anything new until it is no longer new to anyone but me. I also hate writing reviews.

Anyway, my husband and I have a Netflix account (I could spend an entire post extolling Netflix, but I won’t) and I have decided that this summer is all about Asian cinema. Let me pause for a moment here to allow for snide comments from the peanut gallery regarding manga/manwha, anime, crazy Japanese porn and/or pop music. Take it away, JH and K.



Okay. Instead of going in all directions, let’s talk Zhang Yimou. Most everybody has seen ‘Hero,’ ‘House of Flying Daggers,’ and ‘Curse of the Golden Flower,’ but before you go lumping all of this man’s films into one big ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ lump, let me point out that first of all, Ang Lee directed that movie, and second that there is much more to Zhang’s film repertoire than (admittedly awesome) fighting. I haven’t watched everything yet (my queue on Netflix has about 250 movies of all kinds in quite a jumbled order), but I’ve seen enough to form an opinon, and that opinion is: get off your ass and rent ‘The Road Home.

I liked ‘Shanghai Triad’ pretty well (I think this film was a let-down for me on account of thirteen years’ worth of anticipation; I remember seeing a preview for it when I was about 10 years old and being fascinated by Gong Li), and enjoyed ‘The Story of Qiu Ju’ very much (I recommend it as well), but this movie blew me away. I haven’t read any critics’ reviews of it, and I don’t have to. I don’t need Roger Ebert to tell me that I ought to like this movie because the style and the cinematography and political undertones are blah, blah, blah… I’m not a film snob. I don’t know about film-snobbish things, and I don’t really care about them. I appreciate shit blowing up as much as the next person. I simply enjoy a good story, and I am more than willing to put up with subtitles if I’m going to get one. (Even if you can’t stand subtitles, this one is worth the pain.) I don’t even know how to begin to write a review of this that will convince you to watch this movie, but here goes:

The Road Home’ (1999) is very simple, very tender (not saccharine), and almost reverent story. What is it about? It begins and ends with views of a road, and the title includes the word ‘road,’ so I think one can safely assume that this film is about a road—a very specific Road, in fact, one which leads to a tiny Chinese village. There are two overlapping storylines in the film, one present, one past. The present, filmed in black-and-white, is this: a man’s father has died so he returns to his hometown, where he learns that his stubborn, grieving mother wishes that her husband, the village schoolteacher for forty years, be honored with an old, outdated custom: that his casket be carried by the men of the village down the well-worn road to his place of burial while his friends shout out to him; in this way his spirit might always be able to find its way home. This presents a problem for a village short on men, especially considering that the story takes place in winter in an especially harsh climate. While attempting to find a solution to this problem, the narrator tells, in vivid color, the story of the past and of his parents’ courtship: a love that takes place along that same road, a love beginning when the then-young schoolteacher follows it to an unfamiliar village where a beautiful girl in pigtail braids and a red coat sees him for the first time, a love growing as she shyly follows him down it, day after day, from a distance when he walks his students home, as she finally, in a moment of sheer feminine wilyness, ‘accidentally’ leaves the basket behind for him to pick up and return to her, a love tested when he is called away and she first chases him down it and then waits for him along it, a love fulfilled when he returns to her faithfully as promised. The end of the movie returns to the present, but I won’t spoil that for you. It’s not a shocking plot-twister, but it is better seen than told about.

I was surprised by this movie. It’s not fast-paced, and large periods have little-to-no dialogue, but it doesn’t drag at all—I never even once looked at the clock (this happens to me a lot when watching movies that bore me). The romance isn’t very exciting, but is moving nonetheless. It feels genuine. I think actually that might be a good word to describe the whole movie: it’s genuine, very heartfelt, (again) very reverent. I actually sat down and watched it again, which I never do except with ‘Strictly Ballroom.’ I read that this was Zhang Ziyi’s first movie—that, too, was surprising. She is excellent... and whatever magic Zhang Yimou employs to film as beautifully as he does is well worth it; everything is gorgeous. The movie is gorgeous. If I haven’t convinced you to go see this movie yet, then I will instead command you: go forth and watch ‘The Road Home. I don’t know yet if it’s Zhang Yimou’s best film since I haven’t seen them all, but I’ve definitely marked it on my list of favorite movies.

Read, Kindly Light...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

It's An Animation Celebration! (sorry...)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009
I saw a documentary a few weeks ago called The Pixar Story (available on Instant Netflix). In an interview with Bob Iger (the new CEO of Disney and Michael Eisner’s replacement) he spoke about the troubles Disney has had the past ten years or so.

There's more...

While it is true Eisner presided over the production of some of the best work the Walt Disney Company has ever done, beginning around 1994 he began slowly driving the company into the ground. Eisner is responsible for the departure of Jeffrey Katzenberg (who left to found Dreamworks), the shift of Disney’s focus to The Disney Channel (i.e., Lizzie McGuire, Even Stevens, Hannah Montana, etc.), and, as Roy E. Disney (Walt Disney’s nephew) said upon his resignation, the devolution of Disney into a “rapacious, soul-less” company.

In the interview, Iger recounted how shortly after he took over, during the Main Street Parade at Disney World, he realized which floats were getting the loudest cheers. They were the classic Disney films like Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Pinocchio and the classic modern films like Beauty & the Beast, The Little Mermaid, and The Lion King.

The difference between these and some of the not-so-classic Disney features like Pocahontas, Hercules, and Lilo & Stitch, it seemed to Iger, was quite simply the story-telling. Where Eisner had decided to end all production of traditional animation in favor of Pixar-style 3D, Iger realized the reason Pixar had been trouncing Disney at the box office from the beginning wasn’t the animation style, but that they knew how to create good characters and tell good stories.

Iger said that this epiphany is in fact what led him to end the Eisner-instigated Disney/Pixar feud and effectively merge the two companies, putting Pixar in charge of Disney’s creative side, and the current Disney people in charge of the marketing and business side.

Iger has it exactly right. I think (at least subconsciously) we all recognize the two great eras in animation—the First and Second Golden Ages. The first includes the great early Disney features:

Tell me as you looked through each of those pictures your heart didn't swell.

Disney's work from Snow White in 1937 through Sleeping Beauty in 1957 (or perhaps One Hundred and One Dalmations in 1961) was the best it ever did. This First Golden Age of Animation was not limited to feature-length films, however. This is also the age of Looney Tunes and Tom & Jerry.

From 1957 forward Disney did good work, but it wasn't quite the same caliber as what had come before (perhaps due to Walt Disney's death in 1966). This era saw the release of The Sword in the Stone, The Jungle Book, The Aristocats, Robin Hood, The Rescuers, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, The Fox and the Hound, The Black Cauldron, The Great Mouse Detective, The Brave Little Toaster, and Oliver & Company.

I know some of you are screaming at the computer screen right now. Many of these are near and dear to my heart as well, but I think it is safe to say that, on the whole, they don't carry the weight of a Cinderella or a Bambi.

But we said there are two Golden Ages. In 1989 Disney released The Little Mermaid, beginning a new series of classics:

Earlier we said that it was around The Lion King's release in 1994 that Eisner began the downward spiral--the features got progressively worse: A Goofy Movie, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Mulan, Tarzan, Dinosaur, The Emperor's New Groove, Atlantis, Lilo & Stitch, Treasure Planet, Brother Bear, Home on the Range, Chicken Little, Meet the Robinsons.

Granted, a couple of these don't quite count as they're in 3D and a couple are pretty good, but it's the trend that's important. It's no wonder Eisner decided to focus on The Disney Channel, direct-to-DVD sequels, and merchandise. All I can say is thank God Pixar has taken over.

But, of course, like the First Golden Age, the Second was not limited to the big screen either. The late 80s and 90s saw the best cartoons for television ever produced. It is these that we will consider in the upcoming sequel to this post: "Saturday Morning Classics".

Thank you all for allowing Cowtown & Coolage's Chief Star Trek Correspondant this chance to branch out.

Read, Kindly Light...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Felicia Day acts like a retarded person on camera.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009
I found this hilarious little youtube video of Felicia Day, one of Joss Whedon's many acting groupies, testing out some wiiesque interactive remote-free videogame-thingymajig called "Natal" for the Xbox 360.

The game itself is not all that important.

What IS important is this: Felicia Day looks like she is psychotically kicking and swatting at invisible flies and spiders. It looks like she's being attacked by a whole host of unseen critters. Or maybe she's just having a playful imaginary catfight. I dunno.

Okay, granted, Felicia Day is a lovely and talented actress, I liked her a lot in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. And granted, whatever this "Natal" business is received a lot of hype and good reviews at E3 and actually looks kinda cool.

Again, that's not important.

What IS important is this: You MUST completely mute the volume on your computer to experience the full hilarity of this short little video. Then just watch her. Ignore the silly game in the background. Don't think about what she's actually doing. Just WATCH.

Seriously, guys. It's cute. It's adorable. It's ROFL. It's priceless.

(Felicia Day acts like a retarded person on camera)

Read, Kindly Light...

Monday, June 8, 2009

Oh, LaBamba!

Monday, June 8, 2009
Conan admits that his studio backdrop was totally stolen from Super Mario Brothers.

Read, Kindly Light...

A Song Of Ice & Fire ... via SOUTH PARK.

This, my friends, is all kinds of awesome.

GRRM's NOT A BLOG: "A Change of Plans'

Read, Kindly Light...

Friday, June 5, 2009

Craig Might Be Giants

Friday, June 5, 2009
The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson (June 3, 2009)

"Istanbul (Not Constantinople)"

This is THE BEST THING EVER. Period.

An Awkward & Hilarious Interview W/ Burn Notice's Gabrielle Anwar

"What Did We Learn On The Show Tonight, Craig?"

Read, Kindly Light...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

"The Vampire Diaries", huh? (OoOoOOoOooOOoOoOOh!)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Well thankfully the new vamp story is gonna be on the WB.......er...uh....I mean, the "CW", so you just KNOW it's gonna be gooooood. *Cough*Cough*Coughing up lots of blood* Aaaand *blech!*

Okay, okay, okay. We all know "Twilight TV"......er, um...uh, I mean, I meant, I mean "The Vampire Diaries", yeah...we all know that "The Vampire Diaries" is going to suck big neck...but I still watched this durnded "extended preview" for the show. It's pretty entertaining, but, uh, not in the way it intends to be.

Don't get me wrong, the first minute or so is actually not that bad, it looks quite watchable, in fact -- but then it falls apart like a delicious but crumbly honey butter chicken biscuit from Whataburger. I think I stopped taking it seriously when the good-ish vampire's name was first mentioned. It's "Stefan Salvatore", by the by. Really? Stefan? Really? Salvatore, huh? And you're a Gemini? And you're favorite color is blue, not black and red? Oo0o00oOOooO0Oo00OoOoh!

But this was not even the best part of the youtubess video. What I really wanted you to see was the comments...comments that all seemed to be written by bizarre Sasha Baron Cohen characters. Here are 10 of them, 10 comments I consider to be a good sampling of the whole........

'lovescrayons101' writes:

Well, the Bible did it first.

'notdonebaking' writes:
"The Vampire Diaries were written in the early 90s. How exactly does it rip off a book that came out over a decade before it?

Time travel?

Yep. Ain't it a bitch?

'dubby115' writes:
I am disappointed! Isn't Stephen supposed to be hot?

Nope. Neither is Stefan.

'paowie555' writes:
i always imagine stefan looks like tom cruise with curly locks!

Me too, Powie. Meeee too.

'buuuhja' writes:
"when do i com in tv??"
and then
i meen. when do it come in tv??

For the last time, Buddha, DON'T com in TV!!

'canani02' writes:
why was elena coming out of the guys restroom at 1:00?"


'gossipgirldidi' writes:


"I profered tv series because they wont resume the book in 2 hours... is better this way...."

Yeah, I proffered a few TV series to the networks back in the day.

'NoUCntDoItLykMe' writes:

0 YH, $I$T3R, M3 N31Th3R. 0H M@n! Eye c@N'T w8 2 St@B u 1Nn tHe I & TH3n 3@t @ll ur br8ns.

and finally, my personal favorite --

'darksaphire919' writes:
"shes supposed to be blonde and has lapis lazilis eyes wtf"

Lapis Lazilis eyes
? What the duck?!

Oh. Okay...?

Read, Kindly Light...

Holy Keyser Söze! David Carradine is dead?

He starred in the popular 1970's television series "Kung Fu" as Kwai Chang Caine, he was nominated for a Golden Globe for his work as the eponymous villain of Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill" -- and now, he is dead. According to a Thai police official, the 72-year-old actor was found "...hanging by a nylon rope in a hotel room closet in Bangkok, Thailand." Whether his death was a suicide or a homicide has yet to be determined, but an autopsy is being conducted.

In honor & memory of Mr. Carradine, here is a gallery of his work, and below is the wonderful "Superman monologue" he delivers to Uma Thurman in Kill Bill: Volume 2.

But whether or not you were a fan of his, you should say a prayer for the soul of Mr. Carradine.

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine.
Et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Te decet hymnus, Deus, in Sion,
Et tibi reddetur votum in Jerusalem
Exaudi orationem meam
Ad te omnis caro veniet.
Requiem aeternam dona defunctis, Domine.
Et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine
Et lux perpetua eis.

Kyrie, eleison!
Christe, eleison!
Kyrie, eleison!

R - I - P

Requiescat In Pace.
May He Rest in Peace.

-----> CNN

Read, Kindly Light...

Wokka Wokka!

Okay. It's official. I am in love with Craig Ferguson. I love him. I love him, and I want to make babies with him. I will bear his children.

In an effort to keep myself from finally hijacking my own pop culture blog and turning into a creepy little fansite devoted entirely to "that Scottish Conan guy", I have decided that every night I will post a few clips from the previous night's Late Late Show. Now, as I meant to publish this post yesterday, you, my lucky readers, actually get a double-dose of Craig McFerguson's sexy madness. I'll be posting up bits from last night's show later this evening.

So then...2 nights' previous, Craig had on Dennis Leary as the lead guest, and he was forced to 'bump' the comic who was supposed to follow, one 'Fozzy Bear'. Below is the opening bit from the June 2nd episode, which takes the exact formula of the orignal Muppet Show and makes it extra awesome with a side of rotf.

"Don't EVER touch me. Don't."

"What Did We Learn On The Show Tonight, Craig?"

Pooooor Fozzy.

Go HERE for more Craig. And check out that guy's friggin' wallpaper!
Read, Kindly Light...

"there's a green one & a pink one & a blue one & a yellow one..."

"...and they're all made out of ticky tacky, and they all look just the same."

Recognize those lyrics? That's the last four lines of the first stanza of Melvina Reynolds' ironically cheerful ditty, "Little Boxes," which was made famous as the theme of my new favorite TV show, Weeds. However, that odd, quirky, dark soccer-mom-drug-dealer dramedy deserves a whole 'nother post -- a whole score of other posts, in fact. As you may have already guessed by now, we're just concerned with the Weeds theme song today. You see, one of the many brilliant little details of the show is that during its 2nd and 3rd seasons, each episode began with a different cover of Melvina's "Little Boxes." It is truly an addictive song, a fun and simple melody with catchy lyrics, the kind that get stick in your head forever...but in a good way. Anywhoo, below are a dozen or so of the afore-mentioned covers from some spectacular artists, including Elvis Costello, Regina Spektor, The Shins, Jenny Lewis, Johnathan Rice, and the Decemberists. My only regret is that Zooey hasn't done one as She & Him, seeing as she was the special guest star of 3 or 4 episodes.

Melvina Reynolds - Little Boxes

The original - a happy-go-lucky little tune about cookie-cutter suburban houses (i.e. ticky-tacky little boxes) and the frighteningly happy & squeaky-clean WASP clones that inhabit them. It makes you want to whistle while you work.

Pete Seeger - Little Boxes (covering Melvina Reynolds)

Pete was a good friend of Melvina Reynolds, who at one point said that he played "Little Boxes" so well that most people thought he was the original composer. Listen to all the goofy laughter of his audience in the background.

Roger Scime - Little Boxes (soooooorta loosely covering Melvina Reynolds)

It's obvious that Robert's uh...expanding upon Melvina's song (more like putting a little of his spin to it). I do love the bit about "The Wal-Mart & the Wal-Mart & the Sam's Club & the Wal-mart" and the rent-a-cops. Tarnation, is this not the most whistlable tune ever?

Elvis Costello - Little Boxes (covering Melvina Reynolds)

It's Elvis Costello. Need I say more?

Regina Spektor - Little Boxes (covering Melvina Reynolds)

I love this here piano gal and her rendition of "Little Boxes." It doesn't get much more melodic than this.

Christopher O'Riley - Little Boxes (covering Melvina Reynolds)

Speakin'a pianos, here's the only instrumental version of "Little Boxes" on the list. I was unable to get the string orchestra version, which is of course lovely as well.

The Shins - Little Boxes (covering Melvina Reynolds)

I like the Shins a lot. [sarcasm]I know, I'm original. No one else likes them. That's why I like them so much. No one has ever heard of, much less liked, the Shins. This is a good cover by this young upstart band, a relative unknown.[/sarcasm]

Jenny Lewis & Johnathan Rice - Little Boxes (covering Melvina Reynolds)

I keep tellin' my friends we should play "Six Degrees of Conor Oberst" as he is the indie music equivalent of Kevin Bacon. I first listened to Bright Eyes 4 years ago, and through a love of him, all his collaborators, and their gorgeously unique work, I began seeking out the music of Jenny Lewis, Rilo Kiley, The Postal Service, Death Cab For Cutie, M. Ward, Neva Dinova, Maria Taylor, Johnathan Rice, She & Him, etc., etc, etc. So, Conor Oberst is connected to Melvina Reynolds, Elvis Costello, yadda, yadda, blah, blah, blah. Okay, I'm done.

Linkin Park - Little Boxes (covering Melvina Reynolds)

One tiny shiny bit of poppy goodness. Not a big fan of Linkin Park, but they do a great cover here.

As The Crow Flies - Little Boxes (covering Melvina Reynolds)

Right now, I am in heaven. That is all.

Nara Leão - Little Boxes (covering Melvina Reynolds)

A cover from the only Brazilian singer on the list, and coincidentally, it happens to be in Brazilianese. A beautiful, beautiful version, to be sure. I love hearing "ticky tacky" surrounded by a bunch of exotic-sounding foreign words.

The Decemberists - Little Boxes (covering Melvina Reynolds)

Well, my friends, I have saved the best for last. I mean, my absolute favorite band here in Fort Worth is The Theater Fire, and TTF is basically The Decemberists with a heaping dose of old-school country and a dash of mariachi added to their big group dark folk. This, my friends, is the best cover on the list, the best version of "Little Boxes" aside from the original. Hands down. And here's why, in Chris Funk's own words:
we thought it would be appropriate to have the chord progression shift to a minor key, suggesting a bit of tension and more directly, a darker tone. The song really isn’t that cheery when you dig a little deeper and get past that sweet voice and melody, in reality quite depressing…ah life.

True dat, true dat.

(Hit the jump for the full set of lyrics and one scandalous promo photo of Mary Louise-Parker [the show's star]).

Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky,
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same.
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

And the people in the houses
All went to the university,
Where they were put in boxes
And they came out all the same,
And there's doctors and lawyers,
And business executives,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

And they all play on the golf course
And drink their martinis dry,
And they all have pretty children
And the children go to school,
And the children go to summer camp
And then to the university,
Where they are put in boxes
And they come out all the same.

And the boys go into business
And marry and raise a family
In boxes made of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

Read, Kindly Light...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Craig Ferguson on evil vampires... and their genitals.....

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

FIRST OFF: This is Cowtown & Coolage's 50th post! Yay! Can I get a "woot!"? And it's almost been half a year since I started this blog. Dang. 6 months and only 50 entries? That's like not even 10 posts per month on average. Hell, that's not even 9 posts a month. *Sniff*. I'm so lazy. *Sniff*Sniff*. I guess this is what happens when you are distracted from distraction by distraction.

SECONDLY: Man, how did I miss Conan's first Tonight Show?! He took his rightful place on the 10:30-11:30 slot, and I didn't get to watch it. Damn.

THIRDLY: This pain is partially mitigated, as Craig's visit from "The Rerun Fairy" has ended; now the "Live Fairy" is here to stay on the Late Late Show. And last night was a particularly great episode; Craig was at his goofiest/silliest/angriest/craziest/sexiest/Scottishest. (read: best).

Anywhoo, here's an awesome little video from the youtubes in which Guillermo Del Toro and Craig Ferguson say everything I tried so hard to say in that long loooooong rant concerning those durnded bloodsucking vampires. And of course, Craig Ferguson says it so much better, that funny Scottish Conan basterd!

And now for "What Did We Learn On The Show Tonight, Craig?"

Mmmmmmmmm. 2 Late Late hosts wrestling naked live? OoOooOoOoooOoooOOoOooOOOHhHhh!!!
Read, Kindly Light...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Black Cab Sessions - Cabbies Never Had It So Good

Monday, June 1, 2009

A few days ago I was catching up on a bunch of the music blogs I follow on Google reader, and one of them mentioned some band or another being featured on some website called the "Black Cab Sessions." I was intrigued, so I checked it out. And wow. Just wow. This site is the best little slice of indie pie since Daytrotter, and that, my friends, is saying something, something serious. When I first happened upon the the site, I spent a good hour just cramming and cramming as much musical goodness as I could handle in one sitting. And now I keep coming back for more.

So, what are the Black Cab Sessions? Well, in their own words:


What, then is this great venue? Why, the back seat of a little black cab, of course! What these people do is this: they get in touch with some of the best (and I mean the best) up-and-coming indie bands and catch them just before or after they play a gig. Then they share a cab ride to wherever the bands are headed, and along the way they record the artists as they play a one-song one-take stripped-down acoustic session. I am always in favor of 'stripping down' a set. I figure if a song is really good, then the live acoustic version will probably be even better. That's the Black Cab Sessions' above-mentioned philosophy: stripping a song down to its bare and beautiful essence. And let me tell you, they have be-a-utiful songs to start out with. I mean, Fleet Foxes, Peter and the Wolf, Death Cab For Cutie, Bon Iver, Dawn Landes, Calexico, Daniel Johnston, SpoonMy Morning Jacket, The New Pornographers, Damien Jurado, Doves -- these are just a few of the amazing artists with whom they've shared a taxi. Hell, it almost makes me wanna become a taxi driver just for the off chance that I might get the opportunity to see some of these guys perform some of their best material just a foot away from me. In fact, it makes me go "Oo0o00oOOooO0Oo00OoOoh!"

Long story kinda short, you should go there. Nowish. In fact, you should go RIIIIGHT NOW.

Read, Kindly Light...

I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of-Ah! Aaah! AaaaAaaAaAaAAAaggghk! *Blech.*

I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! starts tonight at 8/7 central on NBC.

So, is "I'm a Celebrity..." torture? Evil? Pure evil? What reality shows have always tended towards anyway? Human sacrifice as a means to ensure a good corn harvest. The end of civilization as we know it? Or the best damn thing ever?

I say: ALL OF THE ABOVE. I'm definitely watching. Hey, TV robbed me of my soul long ago. My vote: STEPHEN BALDWIN. IN A CAGE. WITH A TIGER. OR TWO. OR TEN.
Read, Kindly Light...

Please, Just Stake Me. Please.

I love Joss Whedon, and every single oddball but intelligent geeky TV masterpiece thing-a-ma-bob/jig he creates. Love it, love it, love it, llluuuuuuuuuuvvvv it all. Yep, I'm the kinda guy who fits neatly into the "Whedonite" niche of the "Madatoms' comparative chart of Internet cults."

So, suffice it to say that I was super-duper-uber-Pisssssed when I heard that the got-danged Kazuis were making a "Buffy" reboot WITHOUT JOSS WHEDON(!!!). I actually tried to blog out this rage the day after I read the news, but I was too damn angry to form a clear thought, let a coherent sentence. That's why you're only reading about it now.

On a somewhat related issue, I oh-so-passionately hate "Twilight" and all the hideous and ridiculous destruction of a perfectly valid literary genre for which it stands. I hate it, hate it, hate it, HATE IT. So, I was quite amused when I read this hilarious little comic strip, which fused my love of Joss and my hatred of the Kazuis and the Twilight fad into one brilliant pop-culture insight. I highly recommend it; please give it a read and a few chuckles/giggles.
Read, Kindly Light...