Friday, March 30, 2012

Celebrity Apprentice Fantasy-Scenario recap - Ep 6 - Party Like a Mock-Star

This week I'm going to try something a little different with the formerly titled Celebrity Apprentice hair recap. Since I've recapped all the celebrities' hair at this point (and lack of, Arsenio Hall), I thought I'd place Trump in a few fantasy scenarios. He's bigger than life and loves to say, "You're fired!" Let's see how that plays out from the far reaches of my imagination.

First, a brief run-down of this episode. The teams were in charge of throwing a FUN mocktail party for Crystal Light's new faux alcoholic beverage flavors, Peach Bellini and Pomtini. I feel pity for these celebrities. Mocktails? Crystal Light? Fun? It is such a very tall order.

But Clay Aiken and Aubrey O'Day step up as project managers and promise to host the ultimate in Crystal Light shindigs. Apparently no one on the men's team goes to parties. Arsenio Hall claims to be a recluse who hasn't had anyone over to his house in 20 years. And now I love him more than ever.

Not to be deterred, Clay decides that Life's a Beach (Peach), so the men set up a beach party in an NYC storefront, with sand, umbrellas, girls in bikinis, matching Hawaiian shirts, and a big limbo stick. It's a lot like a dorm party being thrown by the nice, nerdy guys that live down the hall. And against all odds, it looks fun. Arsenio starts a Soul Train dance line. There's a couple of extremely limber limbo enthusiasts that Clay determines must be "genuine freaks." Clay's loyal fans, the Claymates, show up in bathing suits and everyone drinks their Peach Bellinis with gusto. I wouldn't be surprised if Clay has been a paid guest-of-honor at a few Claymate private parties. When the Crystal Light reps show up and sing along with Clay to "Under The Boardwalk," I was pretty sure the men had this wrapped up.

But don't count out Aubrey's elegant mocktini soiree, with the ladies in red cocktail dresses in the Garden of Eden, stirring their crystal desires. Or something along those marketing lines. Miss Universe, Dayana Mendoza, provides some beauty-queen friends in gowns, sashes and tiaras, and I must say, every party should have some of those. Dirty comedian Lisa Lampanelli keeps up a steady stage patter while Debbie Gibson performs an original Crystal Light theme song that Aubrey claims will be stuck in our ears for at least a month. Patricia Velasquez will not be micro-managed and so her graphic designs are not heavily featuring the Crystal Light logo enough. And this will haunt her forever, or at least until the next Pomtini party commences.

In the boardroom, Aubrey is absolutely 150% positive that she's won the challenge and so she cries buckets when that is not the case. Apparently the clients wanted more emphasis on Crystal Light and not on Pomtini in the signage. The men win the challenge and Clay Aiken's charity, The National Inclusion Project, will get $50,000. Good deal. Aubrey blubbers to the point that Trump offers her charity, Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network, $10,000. That's a good deal too.

Everyone got along pretty well in this episode, which made for two decent parties, but in the boardroom, Aubrey decides Dayana and Patricia are on the chopping block for not offering enough creative ideas per challenge and not allowing work to be proofread, respectively. Dayana points out that even though Aubrey and Lisa come up with most all the ideas on the women's team, they've only won two challenges. Aubrey argues that creative people are the most valuable, even if their ideas aren't marketable. Actually, I added that last caveat. There's more crying. "Don't cry," advises Dayana, "You'll look ugly." Aubrey manages to curb her bullying tactics for most of this episode, which is good, since she's representing an anti-bullying organization. Trump decides that even though Patricia is a most elegant woman, she's fired, and she is gone, leaving Dayana to fend for herself for another week. Oh dear!

And now, fantasy-scenario situations!

Donald Trump attempts to fire sleestaks who are attacking his offspring in a cave from "Land of the Lost." Good luck with that, Donald!

Ivanka and Donald, Jr. rely on their father to remove the offending creatures from the boardroom.
Trump fires both Oliver Hardy and Stan Laurel for general incompetence and mismanagement. You should see how they trashed their hotel suite during their last brainstorming session!

Trump attempts to fire a fluffernutter sandwich for being unpopular and comical in scope.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

SCTV plays the hits

We're all sick and lazy around here this week. Wandering the Internet today I link-stumbled upon some SCTV classics. I used to watch this show religiously as a teen (thanks for the syndication, PBS). I think it's probably influenced most of what I do and how I handle life ever since. Even years later, when I owned my first cat and lived at my Grandma Tocha's in between overpriced San Francisco apartment rentals, SCTV kept me going through the tough times.

The before-mentioned cat, Caz, had a thing for the late John Candy, placing his white, furry paw upon Candy's face each time he was on one of my Grandma's multitude of TV screens (I think she had at least five TVs—I would lose count). I don't know if reincarnation is a viable concept, but the timing was such that Caz could have been a reincarnation of John Candy and was trying to tell me something. Most likely my kitty, like me, shared an affinity for the intensely menacing yet jovial comedic stylings of Candy.

But how do you pick a favorite SCTV cast member? An abundance of riches came from that troupe and will have my heart for life. Thank you for helping me get through the temporary miseries of adolescence, SCTV, through the magical medium of television.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Celebrity Apprentice Hair Recap - Ep 5 - I'm Going to Mop the Floor with You

I'm a week late, but can you blame me? What were Mark Burnett Productions and Donald Trump thinking, going up against the new season of Mad Men on Sunday nights? After a 17-month hiatus for Mad Men, I guess NBC programming forgot all about Sunday-night ratings. Either that or they just don't care much about Celebrity Apprentice, its desperate host, his offspring, the cast, or their charitable causes.

None of that explains why I'm so late with this hair recap. It's just that Mad Men does a good job of "leaving them wanting more," whereas Celebrity Apprentice is like slow reality-TV torture. If I fall behind it's because those boardroom antics are painful to sit through, just like many business meetings featuring Teresa Guidice, just sitting there, staring straight ahead blankly. Plus the hair is getting thinner as one by one, C- and D-list celebrities fall to Trump's scowling demeanor and firing pointing finger.

On this episode, the teams had the unenviable task of making a viral video for O-Cedar's somewhat-disposable mop. As anyone who hangs out on the Internet or who mops a floor knows, that's a tall order. But Lou Ferrigno and Tia Carrere step up as project managers due to their being called out on their under-the-radar status each week.

Highlights include Clay Aiken successfully getting under Penn Jillette's skin by calling him "condescending." Clay is good at stepping up for a challenge when needed, as when he gives Lou speech guidance for the video, or undermining a strong teammate like Penn, in order to make himself out as a leader type. I'm putting my money on Clay. The male rep for O-Cedar pops by and tells the women's team to make the mop "sexy." The female rep tells the men's team to make the mop the hero. Penn condescendingly explains to Lou that she doesn't mean to make the mop a superhero, just ever-present in the video. Both teams are told to come up with a catch phrase for their video.

Paul Teutul, Sr. throws out, "I'm gonna mop the floor with you," and Lou decides to star as himself against type by wearing a frilly apron, dancing with mop in hand. Dee Snyder, gigantic finger cast aloft, directs and edits. Everyone else pitches in or stands around, like in a typical video shoot. Except for Penn, who sulks after shooting down all of Lou's ideas beforehand.

Meanwhile, the women's team is squabbling and clique-ridden. This time Lisa Lampanelli, Aubrey O'Day and Debbie Gibson band together against pretty much everyone else on the team, including Tia. They argue that they are the creative force for all their challenges (most of them lost) and the other ladies are pretty useless. "Huh? News to me!" says Tia in the boardroom, who was under the impression she had a true team behind her. Yeah, Tia! Sisterhood!

The women settle on the idea of how many lovers they've had, comparing the lovers to mops. It's dumb. But it means they almost all get to be on camera, spouting innuendos about sex and mopping. There is dissidence of the underhanded sort that ends up in a boardroom of fussing and fighting. Aubrey, especially complains, saying she and some others are just sitting there throughout most of the shoot. Welcome to the world of filmmaking, Aubrey; now visit the crafts service table and shut up.

O-Cedar picks the men's video as the winner. Lou's charity, the Muscular Dystrophy Association will get a $50,000 donation. Good deal. Tia takes it on the chin and volunteers to be fired, rather than name two members who sucked at the challenge. She will not back-stab in the name of charity. A victory in real life—a loser on this show.

Let's get to the hair!

With her cutting remarks ("O-Cedar's been around for 100 years, and so has Tia."), and camera-hogging, Aubrey O'Day is the true villainess of the show. Since an AVClub commenter once noted that she looks like a bad anime drawing, I can't get that image out of my head whenever she has screen time (which is often). So here's Bad Anime Aubrey—long may she reign.

Could be a fight coming up between Clay Aiken and Penn Jillette. Clay fights with psychological warfare and nervous laughter. Penn with sarcasm and furrowed brow...

Lisa Lampanelli did some weird things with her hands to describe how her teammates (namely beautiful Miss Universe Dayana Mendoza) are desperate for camera time, saying that just because you have a face, it doesn't mean you get to talk, or something like that. I can't do her hands justice. Trust me—it involved her smooshing her face with her fingers splayed in a tentacle-like fashion. Patricia Velasquez had an off-part-thing going on with her flat-ironed hair during confession time. Both ladies weirded me out this week in different ways. Good work, ladies!

Trump offspring, Eric, has perfected the slicked-back "American Psycho" look, perfect for big-game hunting in Zimbabwe with brother, Donald Jr.

Trump—how much more can I draw of this guy's scowling countenance? He kind of reminds me of The Thing from Fantastic Four, so here's Trump as The Thing. I feel for whatever comic-book artist is in charge of drawing The Thing week after week. The guy is made from orange rocks and he's very detailed for a superhero. Imagine if he had to deal with Trump's hair on top of everything else?

I'm not going to draw Lou and Tia again even though they both have very nice hair. Here's the viral videos instead. Which one makes you want to tell your friends about the O-Cedar ProMist Spray Mop? First up, Lou.

Here's Tia's team.

Lou's video has 2,000 views. Tia's has almost 200 views. I think the winner is clear. None. None is the winner, especially our nation's landfills with all these disposable and semi-disposable cleaning products filling them up in the name of profit margin. Now, let me climb down off my soapbox (actually, I'm sitting on a vinyl exercise ball) and say this: I wish Tia had stuck around longer and showed Trump her stuff. I'm talking about fire, witchery and never-say-die attitude, as seen here in this clip from "Kull the Conqueror." I'm talking: invincible Tia.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Six Million Dollar Man and Bionic Woman - The Return of Bigfoot (1976)

I just thought I'd blow your mind with fight scenes from The Six Million Dollar Man "The Return of Bigfoot" episode. This one had it all: Bionic man and woman, running to the rescue in incredible slo-mo, Sasquatch (played by Ted Cassidy) under the control of John Saxon as "Nedlick"—who heads a team of visiting space aliens while wearing a lavender jumpsuit, and an exploding volcano that resembles an elementary-school science project—oh, it's chock-full of surprises, people!

Jaime Sommers must take evasive action and is eventually rescued by her cohort, Steve Austin. Feminism only went so far in 1976. I especially like the details of this episode, such as Sasquatch's home-perm hairstyle (his original Six Million Dollar Man body hair had a more unkempt style). Also the way Jamie adjusts her hair before racing toward a sea of molten lava. Plus Sandy Duncan's helium-like line readings, in keeping with the end-of-the-world sci-fi action-adventure scenario. And of course Jaime's delightful send-off to Sasquatch: And you! You get a big bionic hug!

Here's Steve Austin's first encounter with Bigfoot in "The Secret of Bigfoot," snappy dialogue and flanger sound-effects all on display. Andre the Giant played Bigfoot, giving kids nightmares for weeks afterward.

I would have loved to have been a foley artist on this show—the crew member who adds all the sound effects, post-production. Foley studios had crates full of percussion instruments, old junk, and homemade contraptions to make sounds like ticker-tape machines, jangling fire alarms, Model-T engines, crackling fires, or whatever was needed to complete a film.

Now most of it is on computer, of course, so it's not as wacky. But during this show's run, there were plenty of ol' fashioned crunchy, poppy, boomy, screechy sound effects that might have been honed from scratch. Put me in charge of Bigfoot's arm being ripped off! Here, they went with an explosive BOOM! I would have added some seam-ripping noises—subtle. That would be my trademark—subtle.

The Bionic Bigfoot doll was definitely cranked out fast and furiously. The bionic wires and gears are behind the removable chest piece, but they don't blink or whir or anything. A plastic disappointment. (As seen on the Rue Morgue site.) Did you know Jamie Somers had a bionic German Shepherd? I'm telling you, this series had it all.

Speaking of sound, VFX sound master, Ben Burtt, demonstrates some classic analog sound effects that went into the making of "Forbidden Planet" on this Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences link. Click on the video of Ben in the right column of the page. If you ever have a chance to see Ben Burtt give a demonstration, go. He's funny and brilliant. His work on Wall-E is mind-boggling.

[I update this post annually to keep up with copyright infringement situations on YouTube.]

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Chow Down (at Chick-fil-A) - Willam Belli, Detox, Vicky Vox

A Chick-fil-A is scheduled to go up nearby us. I've already made a house rule that we can't ever eat there because it's owned by evangelical Christian bigots who donate money to anti-gay organizations. With perfect timing, this video was just released and no, these ladies don't want you to chow down at Chick-fil-A. But you knew that, right?

Willam Belli (Chynna Phillips) has more videos of satirical fun:
Tranny McGuyver
The Vagina Song

Willam Belli is definitely NSFW and was just kicked off RuPaul's Drag Race for breaking an as-of-yet unknown rule. But isn't that what it's all about—breaking the rules?

(Thanks for the link, Jorge!)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Celebrity Apprentice Hair Recap - Ep 4 - Failure to Launch

Ooookay. We're back with Celebrity Apprentice hair recap, episode 4 - Failure to Launch. This is about the time I start seriously questioning my commitment to ridiculous recap concepts, in this case, hair. But while this show is fraught with personal tensions and marketing missteps, the actual drawing of celebrity hair continues to leave me refreshed, calm and in a deeply meditative state. For one thing, celebrity hair is so shiny and with the television lights, it's even more so. It's also expertly colored and conditioned and that means lots of multi-hued highlights, plus bouncy waves aplenty! All this makes for much quick-sketching fun. Where was I? Oh yes, this show.

This was a stressful outing with the two teams in charge of a Buick Verano presentation and Q&A with a live studio audience. Adam Carolla steps up as project manager for the men's team while "perfect fit" race-car driver Michael Andretti hangs back due to his lack of marketing background. That doesn't sit well with the Trump clan at all. But Carolla actually knows about cars, having hosted a car podcast in the past and being kind of a car-head guy as well as a performer, so the men shrug and let things plow forth.

Debbie Gibson puts on her shiny face as project manager, even though she and none of the other women know anything about cars. As long as there will be singing, she's game. Van-driven meetings, team-member exclusion and exciting Andretti-fueled test driving fill up the hour. The Buick marketing team warn Carolla not to go "beer commercial" with the humor and he asks if that means former Buick spokesman Tiger Woods references are out of the question. The marketers' stony silence sets the tone for Carolla's somewhat suicidal mission to drive "the shirts" to grim-faced distraction. That's what makes him so beneficial to this show.

Aubrey O'Day of the amazing fluorescent hair assures us watching at home that she's always been a part of the "cool van" when it comes to splitting up her team by think-tank van. Also, that without her creative input, the other women would lack any ideas whatsoever. She's full of pride for making the in-studio audience grieve over her dead-from-a-car-accident mother, which never actually happened—she just made up that story to sell a Buick. I cannot wait for her to be fired. But I will miss drawing her hair.

The presentations are both awkward in distinctly excruciating ways. Gibson's presentation is unfocused and lacks technical expertise. Carolla's team relies on the concept of heckling for a car brand hoping to appear elegant and timeless. There's laughter during presentation, even among the suits, but also that grim pursed-lip facial expression that precedes heads rolling.

And rolling along into the boardroom, Trump drags this one out, trying to get the celebrities to turn on one another, which they do. This show is not exactly entertaining--more of a "there for the grace of God..." experience. But I must admit that tonight over a humble meal of vegetarian chili, my husband brought up a managerial-issue work story that was very similar to some of the scenarios and questions that Trump poses in his boardroom meetings. Could this show actually reflect something out of real life?! I'm afraid it does!

Buick picks the women for the win. Debbie's charity, Children International, will get $50,000, courtesy of the show and Buick. Good deal. The men, having lost, must pick upon one another like vultures on carrion. Adam Carolla refuses to name two team members that he would fire and for that Trump punishes him by firing Carolla and Michael Andretti. Andretti has that shocked "I was here as a favor to my son who couldn't fulfill his duties due to personal tragedy, and now this?" look as he enters the elevator of shame and town car of purgatory. The men all thinks Lou Ferrigno should have been fired, because of his propensity of wanting to rip his shirt off for every challenge, and referring to himself in the beloved third person, as in "Everybody loves Lou Ferrigno." We shall see...

On to the hair:

Tia Carrere is under-utilized by her team and it's not fair! Debbie Gibson is ever-ready for the Buick spotlight.

The AVClub recapper thinks Clay Aiken has something up his sleeve. What makes her think that I wonder? Aubrey O'Day channels my sadistic fourth-grade teacher with her frightening bouffant and spiderweb dress.

Michael Andretti and Ivanka Trump keep it simple and straightforward with their hairstyles. Trump's girlish tresses make her doubly scary when she sternly accuses Andretti of avoiding the perfect challenge for him: a Buick account.

Adam Carolla's rumpled persona and wisecracks will be missed. As someone who has worked in many offices, I will say that those traits will only get you so far. And that's why there are no comedians in the boardroom.
Carolla cannot contain his disgust over boardroom shenanigans.

Trump has a weird, almost Shakespearan conversation with Arsenio Hall about hair before the firing commences. After complimenting Hall several times on how good he looks, Trump points to Arsenio's shaved head and admits that sometimes he thinks of doing that himself, just "shaving the whole thing off." All of us in the TV audience and no doubt those in the boardroom sucked in our breaths, imagining this scenario for a brief moment. Arsenio broke the tension by saying that it was best to let "God decide when the hair will go." Trump nodded sagely but avoided shouting, "My kingdom for a decent head of hair!" or anything of that sort.

I'm sick of drawing Trump's super-crabby "firing face." So here's his hair, floating in space, where it belongs.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Movies You May Have Missed - Together (Tillsammans) (2000)

Looking for a Swedish film about a leftist commune set in the Stockholm suburbs in 1975 where ideology, family and cultural boundaries swirl and clash amidst a stellar ensemble cast in an earth-toned world of bittersweet yearning for human connection? Lukas Moodysson's Together (Tillsammans) recreates a lost time when people tried to bust out of their set cultural roles and build an utopian ideal with minimal squabbling and strife. Of course, the inability to get along with people in close quarters is pretty much a given, but that doesn't stop idealists from trying. And that's subtle comedy gold in this 2000 comedy-drama.

Together could have gone in several satirical directions, but it plays it straight with unflashy camera and flat lighting—giving the commune setting a muted, old-photo look. Occasional whip-pans and blatant zooms zero in to show the true feelings on the faces of its cast, even as they spout politically correct rhetoric, or try to act cool during heated situations. The conceit of Together is how messed up and apart its characters are and how that will play out throughout its meandering storyline. It's a true 70s vision and surprisingly sweet-natured for those unfamiliar with Moodysson's award-winning first feature, Show Me Love (originally titled Fucking Åmål—about the relationship between two teenage girls in the small town of Åmål).

Moodysson is a director who uses his camera in subtle ways to define alienation and connectedness. We are dumped into a family crisis in the opening scene. Elisabeth (Lisa Lindgren) is leaving her alcoholic brute of a husband, Rolf (Michael Nyqvist), and taking their children, Eva and Stefan, to her brother Göran's commune after Rolf has beaten her. Göran (Gustaf Hammarsten) is a gentle soul, living amongst malcontents.

It's 1975 in Sweden and ABBA's "SOS" is called for
His young girlfriend Lena (Anja Lundkvist) pushes him for an open relationship so she can bed the obsessed Marxist Erik (Olle Sarri).  Passive-aggressive fallout ensues. Separated couple Lasse (Ola Rapace) and Anna (Jessica Liedberg) continue to live in the house to be close to their small son, Tet, who sneaks sips of wine when no one is looking, which is often. They are constantly bickering due to Anna's politically motivated decision to become a lesbian. Lasse takes his bitterness out on the more ideological members of the household, while housemate Klas (Shanti Roney) pines for him from across the living room while sitting at his weaving loom. A grim-faced couple, Signe and Sigvard, watch from the sidelines, becoming more alienated from the group over decisions involving veganism, over-crowding, and the purchase of a forbidden television set.

Elisabeth flees her modern apartment—a grid of geometric separateness
The Together commune—rambling, overgrown beacon of hope...?
Elisabeth and her children are elements of change to this household in disarray and Moodysson conveys gentle irony to show how rigid rules and regulations as well as a lack of boundaries can do more harm than good. Elisabeth's children are initially friendless and miserable; Eva is introverted and Stefan is shunned for being bad at sports. Both are completely at odds with their new setup, Eva's room is a storage closet and Stefan can't abide with meatless meals and rules disallowing plastic toys in the house. Soon the equally friendless misfit boy from the uptight household next door is making overtures toward Eva. And Tet is delighted to be allowed to play with Stefan's forbidden war toys, inventing a game of "torture" involving pretend Pinochet and pretend explosives. Plastic guns and army men are the conduits to new-found childhood joy.

In a film with multitudes of closeup head shots, the camera eventually moves back for two-shots and group-shots within a single frame, as characters bond over shared experiences.

A rare group shot and bonding moment
We wonder how all these relationships will play out. Will Anna succeed in seducing Elisabeth while instructing her on the feminist principles of not shaving her armpits? Will Lasse stop bashfully pushing Klas away? Will Stefan be allowed to play with a Lego set not made of wood? Will Erik ever not be grimly political? Is television evil or can it soothe the troubled soul when reality gets to be too much? What are the healing aspects of an impromptu backyard soccer game?

Neighbors, soul mates
Stefan doesn't have to be good at soccer because nobody is
Who would like this film: 
-Europeans and the European-ish.
-Fans of ABBA who thought Mama Mia too cloying.
-People who acknowledge emotions, including genuine pathos and momentary joy.
-Jean Renoir film fans.
-Anyone who grew up in the 70s and lived to tell the tale. This includes my brother who would probably enjoy this if I bribed him a big bowl of popcorn.

Who would not like this film:
-Connoisseurs of the slick and the shallow.
-Subtitle haters.
-The uptight.
-Genre-film fans unwilling to branch out a bit.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Celebrity Apprentice Hair Recap - Ep 3 - How Much is That...

...Celebrity in the Window? If you have to ask...

This week on Celebrity Apprentice, the women were looking for a win, so Ivanka Trump stepped in and pretty much handed it to them by hosting a living window-design contest, featuring her fashion line, of course. Comedian Lisa Lampanelli sums up the proceedings by advising, "Suck it up, buttercup." And we're off!

George Takei—the entire reason I started watching this show in the first place—is one dignified (and hilarious on the Internet) project leader. Too dignified for the likes of this show. He delegated tasks to his man-team, but didn't follow through when he probably should have micro-managed. This was particularly problematic in the choosing of the clothes for the men's day-to-night theme. Arsenio Hall dressed and styled the models, demonstrating that he's never worked in an office, or apparently attended an elegant red-carpet event. He is a sweetheart, though—I give him that.

Takei's presentation of the windows was also botched as he struggled to describe the ill-chosen clothing designed by his Trump-spawn judge. So while the men had a clever idea: hiring twin models for two different looks, the overall concept wasn't as fashionable as the women's side. Not even Paul Teutul, Sr.'s excellent custom signage, which Ivanka wants to feature in future displays, could save the men's team this time. Teutul is like a character out of Middle Earth, with his near-magical ability to manufacture sleek-looking machine-made items on the spot.

Over on the women's team, they had the advantage as their project leader, Miss Universe, Dayana Mendoza, is stunningly beautiful AT ALL TIMES. This was evident as she modeled a Trump dress in the window, her hair blowing in the artificial breeze. Aubrey O'Day, who has been described on the AV Club's comments board as "a badly drawn anime character," didn't quite pull off that classic look in her white pantsuit. And the framing of the windows hid all the models' Trump shoes, but no matter! The women showcased the clothes, handbags and jewelry more prominently than the men, despite their cluttered design. Dayana's charity, Latino Commission on AIDS, gets the $20,000 win. Good deal!

In honor of George Takei's ongoing civil-rights activism—using humor as an effective weapon, this Celebrity Apprentice hair recap will be an all-brunette post. Not to separate the hair colors, but there's just such fine batch of brunette hair on this show. Takei was fired in this episode, but he's #1 in the boardroom of my heart.

Trump to Takei: "You're a terrific guy and you're fired!"

The Trump kids seem like good eggs, particularly Don Jr.

At a certain point during your lifespan, inky black hair looks forced, therefore, Lou Ferrigno could stand to let some grays show. George Takei in the boardroom wishes he was elsewhere.

Drawing Real Housewife Teresa Giudice's abundant tresses has exhausted me. I'll have to get to Tia Carrere, Patricia Velasquez and Penn Jillette next time. I can't believe I just typed that sentence.

I can't do Dayana Mendoza justice. She's physically perfect—take my word for it.

George Takei in the town car of purgatory—philosophical, possibly relieved.

George's charity, the Japanese American National Museum, is a worthy cause if you're looking for one.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Pop Music Untruth in Advertising

I have no qualms about musicians and composers making money off their music through advertising, but sometimes the concept is taken to ridiculous extremes. Such as this use of "Price Tag" by Jessie J featuring B.o.B. (I feel stupid just typing that, but that's what it is). This is a sweet-natured "message song" encouraging us to forget about the price tag because "it's not about the money money money." It's a positive notion—forgoing our current obsessions with materialism, status and bling, and instead aiming for danceable bliss and living in the moment.

But hold on a minute—looks like Hasbro, maker of the classic Monopoly board game, have bought the rights to "Price Tag" for their latest TV commercials. And in order to fit into the Monopoly theme, they've changed the lyrics so the song means exactly the opposite of its message. Now it's ALL about the ka-ching ka-ching and the ba-bling-ba-bling. A complete turn-around! My son even prefers this version over the original. Stupid, powerful, successful advertising!

If I can't beat them, I'll join them. Let's listen in on an important ad exec meeting where we go over a number of musical possibilities to push product right to the emotional core of the sons and daughters of Mr. and Mrs. USA.

Ad Exec #1: Check this out! We take Bob Dylan's version of "Blowin' In The Wind" but change the lyrics to, The answer my friend, is watching CNN / The answer is watching CNN...

Ad Exec #2: It's been done, in the UK already.

Ad Exec #1: But not for CNN.

Ad Exec #3: I'll get Bob on the phone today. I was an intern on his Cadillac spot in '07.

Ad Exec #1: DO IT! OK, I'm looking at the Arrid Extra Dry account—how about Tracy Chapman's "Talkin' 'bout A Revolution" but we change the lyrics to Talking about your perspiration...

Ad Exec #2 (tentatively singing): Finally got a hot date tonight. / Talkin' 'bout your perspiration. / Now you're up for that big promotion. / Talkin' 'bout your perspiration... 

Ad Exec #1: We end on a massive close-up of Arrid Aerosol Antiperspirant with a fist raised in solidarity to dry underarms!

Ad Exec #3: Uh, not sure Chapman will go for this...

Ad Exec #1: Just get her on the phone. She can't stay underground forever.

Ad Exec #2: OH MY GOD! I've got it! I've got it! Neil Young: "This Note's For You" ... FOR THE BUDWEISER ACCOUNT!

Ad Exec #1: You mean change it to Neil singing: This Bud's for you...? You're brilliant, bro!

Ad Exec #2: And Neil's got integrity, man! The kids'll really listen to him.

Ad Exec #3: Uh... guys...? Ah shit, never mind... (shrugs, pulls out cell phone, starts dialing)

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Santigold, Davy Jones, and musical influences

I wanted to post something today but it's been a little busy around here lately, which is good. Busy doing work that is appreciated is always good. Santigold has been busy too (do you like how I led right into that--oh, that was clever, plus I get to vaguely compare myself to Santigold--what an ego boost), working on her follow-up album for what has it been now--four years? There's nothing wrong with taking your time. Most musicians rush that second album, hence the moniker "difficult second album" and it shows.

Don't know how "Master of My Make-Believe" will compare to the quirky weird-greatness of "Santogold." Let's take a peek and form opinions. Note: the music video has been taken down within a day due to copyright issues--that was fast! Here's a "making-of" video of the new album cover with the song playing throughout. Santigold, you charmer:

Santigold, genre-buster.

I'm very saddened by the death of Davy Jones at 66. I had such a crush on him when I was eight years old, watching Monkees reruns throughout the 70s. He truly was my first teen idol, although David Cassidy was much appreciated as well. There was something so appealing about Davy Jones. He always looked great on camera and he could laugh at himself, despite his good looks ("I am standing up!" was his catch phrase on the show). He was little and so very non-threatening to children. He had that British accent--kind of garbled and musical at the same time. And he could really swing a heartfelt tambourine. Mostly he was adorable.

While Mike ultimately was my favorite Monkee (I loved deadpan humor at a very early age), Davy caused much excitement, just being on my TV. Plus the show itself was wacky and good-natured in the extreme and perfect for the times--late 60s, early 70s--which needed that wackiness to offset the economic and environmental angst, political strife, rampant drug use and shifting family values. The songs were catchy but not irritatingly so and of course the composers and musicians who worked on The Monkees were top-notch. For an initially pre-fab band, the product was world class.

Thinking about musical influences, The Monkees--the show and their collaborative music--are right up there with the best bands. I'm sure as a child I very much decided that being in a band would be an excellent and worthwhile past-time full of friends and surreal hijinks, due to The Monkees. While the Rolling Stones and the Beatles had the authenticity thing going for them, the Monkees fulfilled the fun factor every week for a half-hour in my living room. This powerful blend of pop-music overload  probably inspired untold future musicians, composers and singers. I know it worked for me, a disgruntled classically trained pianist who quit lessons at age 13 to follow my muse, starting with the purchase of sheet music for piano of Sweet's Fox on the Run (gotta start somewhere).

Kim Gordon says it better than I can in her blog of note, Sunset Gun. Just read that. An appreciation by David Browne is also worth a read. Farewell, Davy Jones, Monkee of great renown

Monkees-penned song featuring Davy on vocals, Neil Young on guitar (thanks for the link, Neo).

This was the only episode of "The Brady Bunch" I ever missed. Every time it was on reruns I missed it then too. I decided that the Davy Jones episode of The Brady Bunch was cursed for me, probably meaning that I would never get "the cute guy" once I started dating. I had a fatalist streak. To this day I've never seen this episode in its entirety. But I have managed to date some cute guys and in fact ended up marrying one, so maybe this was a reverse curse or something.

Marcia was so lucky.

Go, tambourine man, go! A fine all-around performer and by many accounts, a really good guy.