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DID YOU READ

Please Allow Me to Re-Introduce Myself

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bio_pict.JPGMuch like John Connor in Terminator 3, I’ve been living “off the grid” of late. Last year I watched all my of co-workers lose their jobs, while I toiled away on a sinking ship trying to sell hand-held video games to impressionable teenage boys–a far cry from what was an endless music-video oasis and a place for musicians to come talk shop about their latest album and tour. I’m not hatin’ on anyone–I’m just saying–that’s how it went down.

After my office was taken away, I was told to sit by the phone and wait for my next assignment. Eventually my mail stopped coming (I’m still trying to figure out who’s listening to all my free CD’s), and getting in contact with acquaintances at record labels soon became a challenging task. It was difficult, I later found out, cause a lot of these record label people also lost their jobs. Seven years into the business (with four years of college radio experience on top of that), and I can tell you, I have never seen anything like this.

I guess it’s both good and bad though. In one way it’s good, because it forces labels to do away with their old business formulas (music should never be a math problem). It’s sad, however, because there are some kids who will never get the thrill of walking through a record store.

I’ve decided to do this site here at IFC because I’m still a fan of music. Regardless of business models, social networking sites, or sales figures of MP3 downloads, there will always be kids picking up a guitar for the first time, 40-somethings playing in front of eight people at the local dive bar, or someone getting goosebumps from hearing a song they believe was written specifically for them. There’s a reason we all listen to and love music.

So yeah, I’m excited to be back in the game. There are a lot of artists I’m looking forward to reconnecting with and some new ones I can’t wait to meet. Also, your comments, suggestions, questions, opinions, turn-ons, and turn-offs (within good taste of course) are always welcomed.

Before I get knee deep into the blogging here, I wanted to post my bio. Fear not, this is the short version (don’t make me break out the three-page epic detailing my childhood in Pittsburgh, PA).

Hopefully, this will put some things in context, and if I ever refer to past experiences, you’ll get some idea of what I’m talking about. I know a lot of us have crossed paths before, but if you have no clue about who I am or where I came from, this should help clear things up:

JIM SHEARER (The Four Paragraph, Short Version Bio)

With four years of college radio experience under his belt, eight years of running a ‘zine, and 10 years of performing in various hip-hop and garage rock bands, Jim Shearer was offered an on-air VJ position for MTV Networks at the end of 2001. His early duties consisted mostly of introducing music videos for MTV2 (the sister channel of MTV that boasted a 24-hour music video playlist). Shearer’s role was expanded once the channel began producing original content. Not only did Shearer host many of these new shows, but he also became MTV2’s go-to man for anything music related.

In March of 2002, a teenage dream came true, when Shearer began hosting 120 Minutes, the hallowed alternative and indie-minded music show that began airing on MTV in 1986. The legendary program evolved into Subterranean in May of 2003, further giving Shearer the chance to meet various up-and-coming independent musicians, as well as revered music veterans like Radiohead, Robert Smith (The Cure), Sonic Youth, Dave Gahan (Depeche Mode), Beck, PJ Harvey, and The Flaming Lips.

In 2004, Shearer’s role further expanded, as he began hosting MTV2 Rock, the channel’s mainstream rock-music show. Around the same time, he was also handling the on-air duties for MTV’s Advance Warning, a monthly half-hour program highlighting emerging music acts.

In Shearer’s six-year tenure with MTV Networks he also acted as Master of Ceremonies for MTV2’s $2 Bill Concert series, was a live correspondent during 24-Hours of Love and 24-Hours of Foo (day-long programs respectively featuring Courtney Love and the Foo Fighters), hosted a live MTV show with the Beastie Boys, Live to the Five Boroughs (another teenage dream come true), and got to interview David Bowie, Public Enemy, Weezer, Green Day, Snoop Dogg, David Lee Roth, Dave Matthews, Noel Gallagher, Bright Eyes, Coldplay and a slew of other influential recording artists.

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

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Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.

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IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

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IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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