Lady Gaga. She’s this generation’s Madonna. I will even admit, some of her music is pretty catchy. (And some of her music that isn’t even completely her music is also pretty catchy: let me direct you to DJ Tripp’s mashup of Just Dance and Don’t Stop Believin’.)
(An aside: What the fark with this whole "mashup" business? What the hell was wrong with calling it a "remix"? Where’s my onion? Get off my goddamn lawn.)
Anyhoo: Gaga’s gimmick seems to be to do her thing (and "her thing" seems to range from "performing in concert" to "going to the store for oatmeal") wearing the most unwieldy, whacked-out outfits imaginable. (Yes, that second one isn’t a ‘Shop. Platform hooves.) Some suggest this is some kind of real-time performance art on her part, an ironic commentary on the tragic state of celebrity in the public eye or some silly nonsense like that. Others suggest she’s just an attention whore. I figure, hey, she’s not hurting anybody, if she wants to go out dressed like she’s hoping to hell Monty Hall will walk up to her out of the blue and offer her $500 or whatever is behind Curtain Number Two and call it a social statement, more power to her.
In the last week, though, I think we’re starting to see the Implosion of Gaga. Which brings us to the grand revival of our 7-ElevenGolden Slurpee Award.
Let’s start here:
"Another whacked-out outfit, so what?" you say. This is how she showed up a couple of days ago…to HER SISTER’S HIGH-SCHOOL GRADUATION. Nope, couldn’t just go and be normal JUST ONCE and let her sister enjoy her special day, she has to show up looking like a sexually-confused Raiden. Klassy-with-a-Kapital-K.
But this one is the kicker: Just yesterday, she decides she wants to go take in a baseball game. Wonderful, nothing wrong there. Apparently nobody told her that she was seeing the Mets and not the Dodgers, since she rolled in during the fifth inning. Fine, she’s a busy girl, probably at the podiatrist getting her arches checked out or something. Let’s look in on her, shall we?
Yep, that’s what ol’ Gaga wears to the yard.
And, as you would expect, photographers at the game immediately turned their attention to her. Time for today’s quickie quiz: How do you suppose she reacted? Did she:
a) Ignore them b) Smile demurely, showing off her oh-my-god-I-am-so-outrageous outfit, or c) Get pissy, retreat to a luxury box, and spend the rest of the evening flipping off anyone with a camera
Well, with apologies to Peter Sagal, one of the erstwhile photographers in attendance provides us with the answer to that question:
Sorry, sweetie, no. If you want to sit in Row B of Citi Field, right behind the plate, dressed like you’re about to attend the annual Hell’s Angels Beach Getaway, you do not get to complain when people want to take a picture of you. This has nothing to do with you being famous, and everything to do with you looking like a goddamn freak at the ballpark.
At least pick up a Mets hat at the concession stand first.
From the Coolest Thing I’ve Seen All Day files: “Still Alive”, the song from the end credits of Portal, done as a typographical video:
Whatever they have Jonathan Coulton do for Portal II (and really, if Valve doesn’t have JoCo write another end-credits song for Ellen McLain to sing at the end of Portal II, they should get out of the games business immediately), they could do a whole lot worse than to present it as something like this.
I fully realize that, when my two favorite bands are Duran Duran and Def Leppard, I’m in no position to criticize. I have never paid dues to become a member of the Union Of The Snake, I have no idea why the Reflex is an only child, and I am still not fully sure if love is in fact like a bomb.
But isn’t the idea of music that it connect with you somehow?
I’ll explain: This morning I’m watching The View (because Price Is Right repeats just don’t hit me where I live), and one of the guests was Hilary Duff.
Now, I admit going in that my opinion of Miss Duff isn’t exactly sparkling. In fact, I place her a step below the original Hoe Down herself, Ashlee Simpson, on the ol’ Vapid Actress/Singer Food Chain. She is quite possibly the most evil creation of The Mouse, more artificial than The Monkees (because at least Mike Nesmith had some talent), and yet, somehow, her CDs fly off the shelves.
And right now she’s pimping her greatest hits album. Let me repeat that, because I sure as hell know that I had trouble processing it the first time I heard it: Hilary Duff has a freakin’ GREATEST HITS album.
As a result, I’ve had the misfortune of hearing her “perform” the same song (which is also the music used for an ad playing incessantly on television trumpeting her affiliating with the Kohl’s department store chain) around the talk show circuit, on Jay Leno and whatnot. It’s a little ditty entitled “Wake Up”. Which, as near as I can tell, is about how it sucks being famous and how she would just like to escape. To, and I quote, “London, Paris, maybe Tokyo.”
And this reaches the teenyboppers that make up the majority of her fanbase…how? Have we all become jet-setting millionaires?
The sad part of this whole thing is: I can’t get the freakin’ song out of my head.
Excuse me, I have to see if have something sharp and pointy around here that I can plunge into my temple…
Much like “Trekkie”, “Durannie” is the somewhat derisive term assigned to the fans of the quintessential 80’s band Duran Duran. Unlike “Trekkie”, however, we don’t get a bug up our collective asses and insist on being called something even dippier like “Duranners” in a desperate effort to save our remaining self-esteem.
Anyhow, I’ve been a fan for a LONG time. Technically, “Rio” is the second album I’ve ever owned, but it was the first one I actually cared about enough to take proper care of it. (The first was Queen’s “The Game”, which I was foolish enough to leave within grasp of the exploring hands of my well-he-would-have-been-about-three-year-old younger brother. Little kids LOVE pulling the tape out of cassettes. You see where that went. To his credit, he replaced it for me as a birthday gift over a decade later.)
Best? Song? Ever? “The Reflex.” I literally hunted down the 45RPM single for that song for YEARS, because, as all Durannies know, the version on “Seven And The Ragged Tiger” sucks rocks. (The 45 is the version you hear on the radio and MTV. When MTV plays videos. Which isn’t often anymore.) I finally found it in a Musicland in Salinas, California, my first exposure to the glory that is the Sam Goody chain. Had I known at the time how much money I would hand over to that company in the fifteen-plus years to follow (they own Best Buy, you know), I’d have framed the receipt.
Anyhow, one of my more disappointing purchases was their “Arena” album. Mind you, I was still such a fan that it furthered my quest in owning anything Duran, but the main reason I had it was for “The Wild Boys”, the studio single. The live stuff was…well, kinda poor.
I remember Live Aid, July 13, 1985. I watched ALL DAY for Duran Duran’s set in Philadelphia. And finally, around 5:30P Pacific time, they came out….and they weren’t that good. By all evidence, I was forced to conclude that Duran Duran was a crappy live band.
And as a result, despite several opportunities, I have avoided seeing them in concert. (To wit, over the same time period, I’ve seen Def Leppard four times.) Until a week and a half ago.
See, after the Live Aid show, the band effectively broke up and started pursuing other projects – Andy and John Taylor did the Power Station thing, and Nick, Simon, and Roger did their Arcadia project. Then Roger left, and John reformed Duran Duran with Nick and Simon, but it was never the same from that point.
But in 2001, rumblings of a reunion started cropping up..and were confirmed. Then they started playing shows again, and then they went back into the studio and recorded their current album, “Astronaut”, which they released in 2004. The REAL Fab Five (FUCK those Queer Eye guys. In a figurative way, of course) was together again.
And, in touring to support that album, they came through Everett a week and a half ago. And in celebration of their reforming, I lifted my self-imposed boycott on live Duran concerts and paid a truly disgusting amount of money to take myself and a friend (and fellow fan) visiting from out of town.
Worth. Every. Penny.
The Arena album should be taken off of the market, and their performance stricken from the Live Aid DVD set, as unrepresentative of their work. It is my hope that anyone else who has formed the misguided opinion that Duran Duran is a poor live band read this post and decide to give ’em a shot when they come through your town, because I promise you they will not disappoint. They were simply AMAZING, especially Andy’s guitars and Roger’s drums, which I found particularly interesting because Duran Duran has always been known for their synthesizer sounds, and Roger in particular always seemed to be along for the ride.
And while they were there to support “Astronaut” (they played no less than five tracks from the new album, which made me get my copy out in the last few days to give it a second listen, and I’m glad I did), they know where their bread is buttered, and they played most of the oldies, too.
Not including, alas, “The Reflex”. Which is OK, I hear that sucks live….
This morning I sent in my absentee ballot on the way to work. No, I’m not gonna tell you who I voted for, except to say that it WASN’T BUSH.
As an amateur comedian, I look upon voting as my a renewal of my licence. I have no right to gripe about the people running the country if I don’t take part in the process. Neither do you. So if you’re not already registered to vote absentee, get out to the polls Tuesday and vote for the candidate of your choice.
(Unless you’re Republican. Then you can stay home.)
If hearing it from me isn’t enough to convince you, watch this video. But do me a favor, REALLY watch it. Make an effort to listen to the lyrics. (If you can’t understand them, they are transcribed in the comments on the linked thread.) I dunno about you, but between that and the song he did for 8 Mile, my opinion of Eminem over the last year or so has pretty much done a 180. The man has flat-out TALENT.
The great philosopher and all-around hot piece of ass C.J. Cregg once said on “West Wing”: “Decisions are made by those who show up.” Go show up. It you think the system is broken, staying home and compaining ain’t gonna fix it. At least it won’t be your fault.
Wayyyy back in 1987, my buddy Dave called me. He had an extra ticket to the Huey Lewis And The News concert at Laguna Seca, and did I wanna go?
Huey? HELL YES I wanted to go! But at 16, one must acquire the permission of one’s parental units before taking on such endeavors. Mom said she was fine with it, as long as Dad was. Well, okay.
Dad said “No.” Didn’t want me exposed to the type of people who go to rock concerts.
AT A FUCKIN’ HUEY LEWIS AND THE NEWS SHOW. Even today, I don’t think there is a more clean-cut band on the PLANET. Bill Gibson STILL wears a suit behind the drum kit, I think.
I haven’t forgiven him for that one. And the day of the show (yeah, it was a daytime show, too, to boot), Dad sees the footage from the show that gets aired on the local TV news and says “Ya know, I was wrong, I probably should have let you go.”
Thanks, Pops. ‘Preciate it.
So the next summer, I get the same call from my friend Derek. Def Leppard is playing the Shoreline Amphitheater. And let me tell you, at the time I was a Leppard FANATIC. I had received “Hysteria” for my birthday that year, and the tape was already well on its way to being worn out.
Well, seeing as Dad owed me one from the summer before, I didn’t ask this time, I told them I was going, and that was that. I received no argument. :) And it was an incredible show. To this day, Def Leppard is still my absolute favorite band, and “Hysteria” is still the best album in my collection.
And the reason I bring all of this up: Last night, fifteen years (FIFTEEN YEARS!) after that first concert of August 22, 1987, I saw Def Leppard for the fourth time.
And it was amazing. It’s been at least nine years since I last saw them live, and eleven since I last saw them live at an indoor venue. And they are MUCH better indoors. I think it has something to do with the reverb of the building or something. They played ’em all, simple as that, and they played arrangements I’d never heard live before, and it was just incredible. It wasn’t the best show of theirs I’d ever seen (it would be almost impossible to beat the show in Oakland in 1992, when they were in the round, at the top of their game, in all of their laserriffic glory, and I was 30 feet with direct line-of-sight to the stage, over everyone on the floor), but it was a close second.
The thing I most enjoyed, though, was the people who came. Face it, we’re all getting old. A lot of us who listened to Leppard when they owned the world in the late 80’s have kids now. And quite a few of them took their kids to this concert. There was a mom over in the arena bowl seats from me (I was on the floor), who was wearing the trademark Leppard Union Jack shirt, ‘cept it was sequined, and you could tell she’d had it for a while. (If you’ve seen the videos for “Photograph” or “Now”, you know the shirt I mean.) She brought two kids with her, the oldest of which could not have been conceived when “Pyromania” was originally released. And all three of them had a great time. I thought it was the greatest thing. Mom, if yer watching: rock on.
Assuming they make it (and there’s no indication that they won’t, if you can kill off a guitarist and rip the drummer’s arm off, and they still keep going, what would stop them?) to 2005, they will celebrate 25 years together as a band. The Beatles lasted, what, 12? Fifteen, tops?