Tuesday, March 30, 2010

BATTLE FOR SUPREME FUNNY HOTNESS


Chris Hardwick and Daniel Tosh have a couple things in common. In terms of television, they have basically the same show, only on different networks. Web Soup and Tosh.0 could only exist in our current internet-infused society - in short, Hardwick and Tosh look at particularly embarrassing viral videos and make fun of them. It's a simple concept, but trust me - these guys are professionals (videos are at the end of this post, if you don't believe me).



In addition to being hilarious, they're also both ridiculously attractive. If you like nerdy, slender, witty guys. Which...why wouldn't you? If you didn't, I'd be shocked that you're even still reading my blog. Anyhoo - it seems that people are hard-pressed to choose a favorite, and I don't blame them.

I knew Web Soup first, but I also saw the latter tape live. And since Daniel stripped and touched himself (twice) during said taping, he's kinda got the slight upper hand:



And despite having never seen Chris do this, I do enjoy his frequent guest appearances on Chelsea Lately (and he was super nice for the hot minute I met him at the booth at Comic-Con '09). It seems that he must've heard about Tosh's little stunt though, because yesterday I came across this photo, from Attack of the Show:



And since these awesome fellows even manage to look hot fully clothed, I'm going to use it as an excuse to post a couple more photos. Click to make 'em bigger:




And in closing, the promised video clips. I managed to find two concerning the same topic, each with their own unique perspective:







Web Soup airs Wednesdays at 8pm on G4 with Chris Hardwick. Tosh.0 airs Wednesdays at 10:30pm on Comedy Central with Daniel Tosh. Make a night of it, and decide for yourself who wins the battle for supreme funny hotness. Or just watch, laugh and drool. Totally your call.

Monday, March 29, 2010

MIX-N-MASH MONDAYS: 03.29.10



No matter how happy you like your music, every now and then we all need something a little more...dystopian. I would venture to guess that a lot of DJs become DJs because they hear a song and feel like they may be able to improve on it...or even downright change it up entirely.

Today's track is from Rihanna, who is no stranger to the dancefloor - at clubs both gay and straight alike. Her newest single "Rude Boy" gets a bit of a darker spin, courtesy of Disposable Culture. In terms of relative style, it reminds me a lot of DC's "Carry Out", from the first Mix-N-Mash Monday. It's a bouncy (almost silly) song, that just needs a bit more of an edge. Have a listen to a darker RiRi:


Rude Boy (Disposable Culture Remix)
Rihanna
Download Now

Here's hoping everyone's week is off to a good start. I feel that I should mention that this post was written from my balcony, whilst taking advantage of another paradise-like weekend in Los Angeles. Why did I have to mention it? Well...wouldn't you? Later gators!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

ALL-PURPOSE PARK



Last weekend I spent a lovely Saturday afternoon at my local Starbucks, enjoying several iced teas, writing, and completing the 2010 Census (I can't believe I procrastinated like I did for a form that took me about 15 seconds to finish).

Before I continue, I have to note that this was the first time I actually sat at a coffee shop by myself and did something. There's obviously a stigma attached to people that sit there with their laptops (it's called "pretention") but I'll admit that I totally see the appeal.



But I digress. As I was waiting on a refill, this notice caught my eye on the community bulletin board. I was initially drawn to the words "ART FAIR", but upon further inspection noticed the teeny tiny letters to the left of it, which spell "EROTIC". Fine, so maybe the imagery below it should have tipped me off, but whatever. This is West Hollywood.

It got me thinking about all the different events that I've attended (or stumbled into) at West Hollywood Park, and how it really can be whatever the city needs it to be. Here are just a few situations I've found myself in...asterisks indicate that I may have been under the influence:
  • LA Pride *
  • Pet Adoption Fair
  • Russian Culture Festival *
  • Prop 8 / Marriage Equality Rally
  • Children's Book Fair *
What can I say? The park is right next to the bars. And it's nice to do something outdoorsy!



If nothing else, no one can ever accuse West Hollywood of lacking in variety. My hat is off to the city for making sure there's never a shortage of park adventures for its citizens and visitors to partake in - especially with the aforementioned drinking establishments just a few feet away. See you at the Tom of Finland Foundation Erotic Art Show!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

THE WORST EFFING GAME EVER PLAYED



Lessons Learned:
14 Minutes of Gamer Edition


Editor's Note: Yes, I really only watched the first 14 minutes of this movie before turning it off. Maybe it turned amazeballs after that, but I wasn't sticking around to find out. I watched Sorority Row instead, which was way better.

1. Gerard Butler's biceps have reached a now-uncomfortable diameter.

2.
Logan Lerman (of
Percy Jackson 'fame') controls Gerard Butler. It's nowhere near as hot as you think it has the potential to be.

3.
The Sims is pretty much going to be the downfall of our society. Sorry, Skynet!

4.
Michael C. Hall is a redneck gazillionaire who invented the game...and may be more than he seems!


5.
Kyra Sedgwick and Ludacris play equally important roles.


6.
In the future, everything has a corporate brand attached to it. Hey, wait a sec...


7.
Ruthless death row killing machines with names like "Kable" are always - of course -
wrongly convicted and doing it for their families!

8. John Leguizamo with wooden and gold teeth is so much more terrifying than you think.

9.
Your fate could one day lay in the hands of a teenager sitting at a computer
NOT looking at porn.

10.
I mentally lost almost an entire grade level watching this...even before the title card.


Monday, March 22, 2010

MIX-N-MASH MONDAYS: 03.22.10



I truly think that some of my favorite creations in this burgeoning musical genre of mash-ups are classic songs mixed with modern fare. There's something fun about trying to identify from which era different sounds are coming from...and sometimes it's harder to do than you think.

Today's special is an oldie (but goodie) smooshed together with a radio mainstay of recent months. Soft Cell's single "Tainted Love" is a song that will always hold a special place in my heart, and now Disposable Culture has added some friends to the party - in the form of David Guetta and Akon, from their single "Sexy Bitch". Check out the result:


Tainted Bitch
(Tainted Love + Sexy Bitch)
Soft Cell vs. David Guetta featuring Akon
Download Now

And since we're on the subject of sexy...did everyone else in the world know that David Guetta was super hot? 'Cause I just found out while working on the artwork for this mash-up, and I'm a little miffed that no one told me sooner. Oh well - enjoy!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

OBSERVE AND REPORT



Last night I decided on a whim to drive up to the Griffith Observatory. It's truly one of my favorite places on the planet, and always a great place to clear my head/collect my thoughts/plan my next bold move.

Last night was their monthly Star Party (where you can hang out with astronomers), which is held with the assistance of the Los Angeles Astronomical Society. Basically it's a bunch of people with fancy telescopes, and they'll talk to you about space as much as you want. Love.


In the midst of all my communing with the stars, I missed the last planetarium show for the evening, but I didn't mind. The GriffObs is kinda like my superhero headquarters. My 'Fortress of Solitude', if you will. Even when there are hundreds of people there - like last night - I still feel like I'm on my own, letting my batteries re-charge.

I took a handful of photos in between my space nerd conversations with the volunteer staff, so I figured I'd share them for those who don't have the luxury of driving 20 minutes to such a magical place. Click to make 'em bigger:


The Tesla Coil, product of the brilliant work of David Bowie (kidding).


The ceiling mural from which the pendulum swings.




Photos of the pendulum in action. I decided grayscale would be neat for these.


Down in the amazing and cavernous Gunther Depths of Space area.


One of the mini exhibits in the 'Hall of Questions'.


A grayscaled pic of the main dome, from the outdoor level of the East wing.


A marvelous view of the City of Angels.

If you've never been to the Griffith Observatory - what the devil are you waiting for? Admission is free (save for the planetarium show, which is under $10), and they're open Tuesday through Friday from 12pm-10pm and Saturday & Sunday from 10am-10pm. All the other deets can be found here. Get out there and explore your universe, without having to eat astronaut food!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

NO CAKE IS AN ISLAND


Sometimes people will tell us, "Celebrities are just regular people, too". And aside from the fact that TV and movie folk make a considerably higher wage than me, I pretty much agree with this statement. Case in point: (some of) the cast of Lost. Sure, they get to shoot on location in Hawaii and hang out with Nestor Carbonell...but they also like cake.

I think Elizabeth "Juliet" Mitchell's rendition may be my favorite. Don't you just want to give her a big hug after she says it and giggles? I do. And then I want to sit her down over a couple of iced teas and have her tell me everything about the aforementioned Nestor Carbonell. Yeah...I'm almost as one-track-minded as the
Losties in this video. Deal with it.


Mmm...Richard Alpert.

Monday, March 15, 2010

MIX-N-MASH MONDAYS: 03.15.10



As promised, Mix-N-Mash Mondays returns today after a brief one-week hiatus. It was easier than waiting for Glee to come back, right?

Today I've got a brand new remix from Disposable Culture, and it's a unique one. Matthew Paul Miller - better known by his Hebrew name Matisyahu - is a Hasidic Jew Reggae musician. He's known for combining traditional Jewish music with reggae and hip hop, and now he's been given the remix treatment:


One Day (Disposable Culture Remix)
Matisyahu
Download Now

As a side note, you can also vote for this particular remix in a contest sponsored by Indaba Music by clicking here. Show your love for independent DJs and remixers...and for Disposable Culture, to be more specific. So listen, enjoy and vote!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

THE LOOKING GLASS HAS TWO FACES



There are few films about which I can say that I've been waiting (close to) my whole life for, and not have it be an outrageous hyperbole. So when I tell you that I've been waiting this long for a live-action Alice in Wonderland, you should know that I'm as serious as Johnny Depp is about squeezing every last dime out of Disney.

When I was little, Disney's 1951 animated Alice in Wonderland was my absolute favorite of Walt's classics. I remember - even as a child - admiring this movie for daring to be different. Not just because of the "unique" source material, but more because it was a Disney movie that didn't involve a princess. There's no romance in Alice, unless you count Alice's love affair with her own curiosity. Add to this the fact that I was fully enthralled by the notion of Wonderland and its inhabitants, and I'm a huge AiW enthusiast. Always have been.



There had been rumblings for years that Tim Burton was interested in telling his version of Lewis Carroll's classic story. While some balked, I was a quiet proponent. Wonderland is a place where logic itself is an abstract idea, and without it...well, there's an opportunity for things to turn dark; even malicious. I've always trusted Tim Burton (almost without question after 1992's Batman Returns) to deliver a style of film that I would enjoy, no matter what the material.

As details concerning the plot became public, I realized that not only was I going to get the live-action
Alice I had been waiting for - I was going to get a version reminiscent of my most treasured film from Disney's 80s period of swing-and-misses: Return to Oz. Without getting too much off topic, I will simply say this - it's a dark masterpiece. And just as Dorothy returned to an Oz that was bleak and in ruins, Alice would now be returning to a Wonderland in a very similar state.

I very much enjoyed this
Alice in Wonderland. Based on the previous paragraphs, I realize that I haven't given any reason for you to believe that I'm an impartial judge. But I think that it's my love for all things AiW that really helped me to see this film more clearly...as well as see a few of it's flaws.



I think it's pretty out in the open now that this is not a remake. It's a sequel (or technically the third part of a trilogy) to Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Alice Kingsley - note the presence of her surname - is now 19 years old, and truly believes that her memories of Wonderland were nothing more than a dream...one that is now recurring. She's also about to be proposed to by a hideous ginger, until she sees the White Rabbit and gives chase. Enter rabbit hole, and enter Wonderland.

From the moment she arrives, she doesn't remember a thing. The film uses this plot device as an opportunity to recycle some of the original story's iconic moments (The room of doors, the key, Drink Me elixir, Eat Me cakes), while at the same time drawing attention to the fact that we've seen this before. At one point the White Rabbit even says, "You'd think she'd remember this from last time." But Alice continues to be played as a little thick, to the point that the White Rabbit - who apparently brought a few other Alices to Wonderland in looking for the real one - still doesn't think he's got the genuine article. You see, Alice is here for a singular purpose: She must slay the Jabberwocky and defeat the Red Queen in order to return Underland to its former beauty.



You may have noticed that I referred to it as Underland instead of Wonderland. This is where I feel that the film really succeeds in bringing something new to the table. As I mentioned earlier, Alice is given a last name in this AiW. But it doesn't stop there! The Red Queen is Iracebeth, The White Queen is Mirana, The Mad Hatter is Tarrant, and the Caterpillar is Absolem. When I first heard that the characters were going to be given actual names, it was my first sign of apprehension. But the explanation is both simple and masterful.

When Alice was first in Wonderland, she was approximately six years old. A child in an unfamiliar world is going to refer to the things and people she sees as best they can. And given Alice's slight center-of-the-universe complex, it's unlikely that she would have taken the time to really get to know anyone. Hence, the royal sisters with their distinct color palettes would become The Red Queen and The White Queen, and so on. It's only now, as a young adult, that Alice begins to really examine the world around her. Screenwriter Linda Woolverton really seals this deal in a conversation between Alice and Absolem, when he recalls (quite sardonically) that the last time she was here, she "...went on and on. Even called it
Wonderland, I believe." Some may view it as a monumental retcon, but the revelation that Alice (and readers/viewers) has been wrong this whole time was very edgy. And it worked.


Obviously, The Mad Hatter plays a very important role in this film. Disney called on their go-to weirdo Johnny Depp to step into the role, and I won't lie that it made me nervous. Call it Depp Fatigue or what have you, but the Mad Hatter has also always been my favorite character. Which is why the marketing materials annoyed me slightly. The movie isn't called
The Mad Hatter in Wonderland - why was Alice taking a backseat to a heretofore peripheral character? I will say however, that my harsh critique of this aspect is now limited only to the ads and posters. Johnny Depp, for all the reasons I think he's overrated, did a fantastic job at bringing this character to life - and also bringing him more depth. His accent, his mannerisms (not just a rip-off of Jack Sparrow!) and the emotion in his enormous eyes all combined to make something special. And a brief flashback to a time when Tarrant the Mad Hatter was simply Tarrant the Hatter? For a split second I saw shades of Smeagol/Golem in The Lord of the Rings, only the descent into madness was anything but malevolent.



For all my praise, I have one less-than-positive thing to say. The only way in which
Alice in Wonderland doesn't knock it out of the park is the film's lack of urgency. Even with clear cut goals, established conflict and larger than life villains, none of it seems especially...important. I even dare say that it felt like setup for an even more extraordinary sequel (pretty please?). We know that The Red Queen controls Underland, but as far as I could see there were few people imprisoned or subject to slavery. In other words - the place looks like shit, but everyone's still basically doing their own thing. I chalk this up to possible Disneyfication. It's almost as if the Mouse didn't want Helena Bonham Carter to be too evil, so instead they simply had her scream "Off with their head!" over and over. And over. She's a capable actress, but she doesn't have a lot of nuance. She simply excels at "playing" crazy women. It's clearly not much of a stretch.



But save for these minor quibbles, the film overall delivers splendidly. As soon as I got home from the theater, I immediately wanted to watch it again. It's definitely a feast for the senses, and the 3D really helps immerse you in this fantastic world. Perhaps my favorite character in the movie was the Cheshire Cat, voiced exquisitely by Stephen Fry. Something about the vanishing feline's demeanor really surrounded you with the spirit of the story, which at it's heart is benevolent madness. The absence of logic doesn't create evil, it just opens the doors to any and all behaviors. Tim Burton has always grasped this, and there's a definite reason why he is now referred to as a "visionary director". It's quite a vision he's given us with
Alice in Wonderland, and it's a trip I look forward to taking again soon...and often.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

SHAMROCK MEMORIES



Today - as I walked to Starbucks for my afternoon iced tea - I passed by McDonalds, and saw that it's that very special time of year again. Most people mark the approaching St. Patrick's Day with excessive drinking...but when your social life involves so much of that anyway, it can be difficult to keep track. This is why I depend on McDonalds. Not for their food so much anymore, but their marketing.

Seeing this ad recalled in my mind a fateful March day 3 years ago, when I officially stopped drinking Shamrock Shakes.

What you have to understand about Joe circa-2007 is that I would have tried anything to lose a few pounds - except for join a gym. Or exercise at all, for that matter. They were lazier times, you see. During this particular period, I decided that diet pills were the way to go. Great idea, right? What could possibly go wrong?


Well, on the day in question...something went wrong. I had just started taking my "vitamins" a few days prior, and I was doing my best to pretty much stop eating lunch. And since I haven't eaten breakfast regularly since 1998, I figured that eliminating one more meal couldn't be so tough. I then decided that - having eaten nothing all day save for an off-brand diet pill - I would drink the largest Shamrock Shake that McDonalds would sell me. And that would be my substitute for lunch.

If there are any of you out there expecting a happy ending to this story, you may want to click away now.

What happened a couple hours later was something that has only happened a total of 2 times in the history of my current employment. I ralphed at work. And I ralphed hard. What's more, the combination of my pill/milkshake consumption resulted in a color green that I never, ever wish to see again. As long as I live.

So here's the moral of the story, gentlemen and ladies: DIET PILLS ARE NOT THE ANSWER. Seriously, just go to a gym. Otherwise, you could end up losing the taste for one of your favorite foods. Or beverages. Or whatever a Shamrock Shake can technically be classified as. I am your cautionary tale.