Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Natural World is a Brutal World at the Page Museum - La Brea Tar Pits

I don't want you to think I'm glib when it comes to the circle of life, especially at the La Brea Tar Pits, where the struggle to survive while stuck in a pool of tar is one of the more distressing life's-end scenarios. But some of the Page Museum's exhibits are inarguably campy. Which is fine—it's in the heart of Los Angeles—America's dream factory after all.

It's been a long time since I've visited the tar pits. Money has poured in from somewhere over the years because the museum now features a lovely garden atrium to stroll through and teams of researchers, pulling up buckets of bones from the surrounding grounds and brushing them under microscopes in fishbowl-like laboratories where you, the public, are invited to witness the archiving of ice-age lifeforms. And that's pretty entertaining.

Enjoy this saber-toothed cat attacking a ground sloth animatronic diorama. At some point they'll both be extinct, so it's not like the saber-tooth "wins" ultimately. He or she was simply hungry. And doesn't hunger drive us all? We are all hungry, hungry animals.

Never underestimate the influence of artist Jeff Koons on our natural history museums, especially for large-scale sculpture exhibits.

Here's saber-tooth and a ground sloth fossils, unearthed from the tar, with the atrium in the background. Time keeps keeping on.

What did a wooly mammoth sound like? Thanks to this footage from the Page Museum, now you know.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

How to tell the difference between a song and a jingle

The line between song and commercial jingle is so blurred it's hard to see straight anymore. Songs sound like jingles, are picked up by agencies and used as jingles, and then what are they? And what was the motive for making a song sound that way?

Advertising is one of the last lucrative economic resources for beleaguered bands. It's expensive to be in a band. Here's just a few of the costs of being an independent musician: rehearsal space rental, instrument purchase, parts and repairs, recording, engineering, and production costs, plus time—time to write, rehearse and perfect the craft. If bands are purposefully (or subconsciously) nudging their material into anthemic major-chord peppy jingle territory—who am I to complain?

Because everything sounds like a commercial now.

Fitz And The Tantrums - The Walker

Song or Jingle? Here are your clues:
1.) "City of Angels" reference.
2.) Verse, chorus and bridge are all ear worms.
3.) Song can be easily broken into anthemic 30-second chunks.
4.) There is much whistling.
5.) There is walking in the streets in the official video.

And here we have it: Ellen DeGeneres' Oscars® Trailer.

Brought to you by whatever the hell this is.