Ever since I became obsessed with I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER?, I've wanted to make a kittah/LOLcat/cat macro of Winston. I finally came up with one that I think captures him well. Click to enlarge, if you're into that sort of thing:
1. I'm going to be taking part in the New York Underground Film Festival's Tube Time event Saturday (March 31) at the Anthology Film Archives in Manhattan. The event starts at 10 p.m., and is basically a viral-video battle. Since I am a mere participant and not the conceiver, I'll defer to the official description of the thang:
Famous, sexy and funny NYUFF celebrities go head-to-head, competing to put the most outrageous videos they find on the Internet onto the silver screen. That means fucking crazy. Your applause will crown the new champ.
You can read more about it here. Tickets are available here for $9.70 a pop. And really it's a steal to be able to relive some of (what I consider to be) highlights from my deleted YouTube account. Halcyon lives! Oh shit, did I just give away my strategy? Rest assured that I have a never-before-seen (at fourfour, at least) trick up my sleeve, or two.
Anyway, if you have the time, the moves and the motion, come and clap for me. But whatever -- I'm going to mop the floor with my competitors, no matter what. In fact, on second thought, don't come. I'll feel that much better knowing I kicked ass without planted support.
2. A few people have asked me about recapping the endlessly amusing Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll. At first I was wary of doing so -- I don't want to be writing about two CW shows in the space and look all monopolized. As a compromise, I've started writing about the show as part of my new-ish day job. I'm now writing for the recently launched VH1.com blog. I'm still doing tons of Celebreality stuff, but now my responsibilities have expanded to general pop culture/gossip coverage. I figure Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton are sadly neglected and need to be picked apart more on the Internet.
But yeah, so you can read my recaps here (don't expect sprawling, extravagant posts like my ANTM ones, though -- I need to get some sleep). Really, I couldn't possibly miss the chance to write about something that provides something like as a matter of course:
I wrote over 1,000 words on some movie last night for a post here. It was so rambling that, really, the best way to use it is as a sign of my current brain fatigue. And so, I'm hitting the snooze button for the rest of the week. I'm just feeling tired and I want to watch Re-Animator and maybe Freedom Writers (no lie!), so I'm gonna go do that. See you next week, when, hopefully, I'll be a better blogger/person.
Oh, but I'll leave you this because it's maybe my favorite thing I've seen all year:
I've never met Sarah Lewitinn (the woman best known to the world as the A&R rep and DJ Ultragrrrl), and I'm not sure I'd want to. I don't hate the girl from afar or anything -- she just sort of exists in a different world of schmoozing and championing bands whose music I wouldn't know from (or enjoy much more than) the sound of 3 a.m. vomiting echoing through a public bathroom. I can't imagine I'd have much to say to her beyond, "OMG, I sweatalot, too!" I've never read or heard anything from her that's been remotely witty (quite the opposite, generally, ahem). But ultimately, I respect the fact that intellect isn't really her medium. If she is talented (and I'm not saying she isn't, I'm just saying that it's arguable), it's a singular sort of talent -- she has this way of spinning hipness and pluck and zazz and what appears to be genuine enthusiasm into (again, what appears to be) a cushy lifestyle. As hustles go, you can't really knock Lewitinn's.
I think about her from time to time as she's prone to come up when you think about New York or the way people listen to music today. I've thought about her a lot tonight, thanks to this week's Village Voice cover story, "In Defense of Ultragrrrl," by Tricia Romano. Idolator has assembled a bulleted Cliff's Notes-type of post on the epic piece. I have some bullet points of my own. Here are some facts you should know about Sarah Lewitinn:
Her taste-parade-as-literature, The Pocket DJ, sold enough copies (38,000) to secure her a second book
She's appeared as a talking head on VH1
VH1 honcho Micahel Hirschorn sings her praises ("I'm sort of in awe of her")
She attends business meetings that find her seated next to Jay-Z
One time, L.A. Reid once bowed to her in a Island/Def Jam office hallway, proclaiming himself "not worthy"
It's hard to scare up shit-talking about her from industry types
"People who actually do know me like me a lot," she says
She regularly hangs out with musicians that moisten the panties and tear ducts of many a teen
She pays her legion of haters no mind: "I feel like the person that they talk about isn't even me. Maybe that's kind of sociopathic, but I recognize they are so far off they obviously don't know who I am, so I can't be offended."
She isn't afraid of failure
The culmination of all of this is that it seems that during every waking moment, Sarah Lewitinn is doing what she loves. And so, I ask seriously, because, after reviewing the facts again, my mind is boggled: what the fuck does Ultragrrrl need to be defended against? Isn't she, like, winning at life and lunching with greatness? Romano's literal and thus fawning piece never really gets into it to any convincing degree. Sure, Stolen Transmission has yet to make good on Lewitinn's reputation as the world's most supreme tastemaker, but whatever. Lewitinn has faith that it'll happen (and you know that she'll be fine even if it doesn't).
So why so defensive? It comes down to anonymous hate. Message-board and blog comments mock Lewitinn's appearance (to the degree that makes Romano's heart bleed: "...misogynist and hateful remarks that no male writer or executive would ever have to endure"), her decidedly anemic writing skills, her label's lack of sales and, really, her entire existence as a young, successful pop-culture phenomenon. Big. Deal. When you're visibly successful, you're going to have people who hate you. When you write a blog further heightening your success' visibility and otherwise blathering about your fabulous lifestyle, you're going to have more people hate you. When the subjective, even elusive condition of being cool is your bread and butter, for as many people as you convince, you're going to have at least an equal number of detractors. That's life.
While I do detect a smidge of saltiness on her tongue, I give Lewitinn credit for grasping this (in the article, she calls herself an "easy target"). I really hope that she believes what she says about not being offended by what her online detractors say (even if some of her comments, also online, suggest otherwise). She shouldn't be offended by it. It is ultimately meaningless. The Internet can be a funhouse of emotions, where people feel free to distort, gushing or seething at the blippiest of passing fancies because ultimately, succinct, precise writing is hard, damn it. And besides, it's easy to exaggerate when you aren't looking someone in the face. The transfer of emotions in an online setting is some telenovela shit. It would translate to high camp in person. But if being removed from the subject you're commenting on summons a unique level of boldness, I wonder what good is it if it fades so quickly when the walls come down. (This phenomenon, btw, is probably true of all writing, it's just that, as usual, the Internet speeds up and magnifies the process.) During his appearance on 20/20 last year, Perez Hilton told a story in which Nicole Richie stormed into the Coffee Bean and demanded that he call her anorexic to her face, since he did it freely and often on his blog. He refused. The unfiltered, self-proclaimed "Gossip Gangstar" online became a tongue-tied pussy in person. Who would have guessed that Nicole Richie could so swiftly and even eloquently draw the line between online and real-time communication?
Obviously, I believe in the power and potential truth of the Internet, otherwise, I wouldn't waste my time on this blog. Still, I wonder sometimes if I'm just adding to the noise of a world that rarely amounts to more than nonsensical cacophony. It's hard to resist being seduced by the sound, especially if it's directed to you -- maybe that's Romano's implicit point (and it would make sense given that Lewitinn's livelihood is based on people's response to her decisions). Lewitinn gives a lot of her haters a free pass, saying that she doesn't need the talent that they question, anyway ("I got this far without it"). But for being able to filter out the nasty noise not let it affect what puts wax on her turntable, Lewitinn is skilled. Good for her. She doesn't need to be defended; she does a fine job herself.
What's weirder: that a girl who believes in etiquette ("I think there's always a time and a place to have fun...") made it past casting, or that the same girl would be kicked out of a modeling competition for seeming 15? Even when this show has the unreal reality of the modeling industry handed to it, it drops the ball. America's Next Top Model: what a country!
The drought is over and it's all because of Ne-Yo. The lead single from his upcoming Know Me album, "Because of You," has been the soundtrack of my life for the past two weeks (at 110 bpm, it's a great track to hustle around the city to, and if you want me to stomp down 180 stairs...). That propulsive beat is 4/4, which makes "Because of You" this weird hybrid of disco and MOR R&B (is that arpeggiated keyboard mimicking a harp?). To me, it sounds like it was written slower and the disco element was some ingenious afterthought -- the pre-chorus bridge (starting with: "I got a problem..."), wherein Ne-Yo calls and responds to himself, is exhilarating because for a moment, it seems like he's not going to fit in everything he needs to say, that his own beats are planning to stampede their master. Sonically, this track is about as bizarre as music you can listen to with your mom gets.
But then, like "I Want Your Sex" or the moany breakdown of Jade's "Don't Walk Away," you might not want to listen to it with your mom, after all, for backing up the sonic discord is a lyrical one. Ne-Yo has the voice of a goody-two shoes, sweetly competent and never aggressive, which means he can get away with a lot. Last year's single "When You're Mad" was basically about sexual masochism ("Everytime you scream at me / I wanna kiss you / When you put your hands on me / I wanna touch you"), and similarly, "Because of You" takes on sex addiction. Though the "you" of the title is probably supposed to be a woman, he's really singing to a vagina. Certainly, he's singing about it: "Think of it every second / I can't get nothing done / Only concern is the next time / I'm gon' get me some / Know I should stay away from / 'Cause it's no good for me / I try and try but my obsession / Won't let me leave." If you think this is a song about general co-dependency, I have a patch of Melody Beattie's pubic hair that I'd like to sell you.
Ne-Yo is an asset to R&B on his songwriting ability alone -- he loves pre-chorus bridges that strike tension so that the chorus becomes this pay-off. His songs feel good. They're catchy, but more importantly, singable, which makes his appeal probably have more in common with that of Stevie Wonder than anyone else actively shaping R&B today. Factor in the subtlety subversive subject matter, and Ne-Yo is like Stevie with a surprise in his pocket. A surprise like a shiv. Or, I don't know, precum.