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IT’S LIKE THAT: Is Metallica Worthy of Hippie Love?

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hippie.jpgThe lineup for the 2008 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival (June 12-15) was recently announced. One act in particular caught my eye. It wasn’t Jack Johnson, Pearl Jam, or even Kanye West — it was Metallica. Yes, Creeping-Death-Bell-Tolling-Damage-Incorporated Metallica.

Since its humble beginnings in 2002, Bonnaroo (in many music circles) has been referred to as “the hippie festival”. Each year, I’d watch as my hippie friends and back-pack hip-hop comrades would leave home and venture down south to Manchester, Tennessee. For three days and nights, they would camp out with thousands of strangers on a 700-acre farm of mud. During the day, they could catch their favorite band jamming out on 15-minute songs, then cap off the evening by twirling some glow sticks in one of Bonnaroo’s dance tents. Hemp jewelry stands, amateur drum circles, burrito booths–sounded like a great time to me. That’s why I’d always decline the invite, and wait from the comforts of my own apartment to hear all about their mud-drenched Bonnaroo experience. Surprisingly, everyone always seemed to have a good time (despite having to drop their #2’s in a porta-john and going a weekend without taking a shower).

For the first few years of the festival, it was almost guaranteed that you could catch a performance from Trey Anastasio (Phish), Widespread Panic, Gov’t Mule, and/or Medeski Martin & Wood. Besides having the Grateful Dead or Crosby, Stills & Nash on the bill, what more could a hippie ask for? Though the festival grew in popularity each year, the line-up stayed pretty consistent with the jam-band philosophy (Dave Matthews, O.A.R., Robert Randolph, etc.). Even when Radiohead played Bonnaroo in 2006, it seemed to make sense (Jonny Greenwood, with all his electronic knobs and distortion pedals is pretty much a one-man jam-band himself).

Last year, Bonnaroo’s lineup included both The Police and Tool–sort of a stretch, but I could still rationalize it. Sting, like many of the festival’s patrons, goes barefoot a lot of the time–and going barefoot–is a pretty hippie thing to do. Also, it’s not out of the question to think that some of the young concert-goers could have been conceived while their parents were listening to a Police album back in the 80’s. Then there’s Tool. A lot of their songs clock in over five minutes, and all of their music videos are pretty darn trippy. Judges? Jam-band certified!

Though Bonnaroo has slightly veered from the course over the last couple of years, I’ve been racking my brain trying to justify Metallica’s spot on the line-up card this year. Yeah, I know their new album is supposed to feature lengthy eight-to-nine-minute songs with lots of guitar solos, but with previous album titles Kill ‘Em All and St. Anger and songs like “Seek and Destroy”, “Creeping Death”, and “Damage Inc.”, it’s kind of tough to throw them in that hippie/jam-band category. They do have two Woodstock appearances on their resume, however, during their first one in ’94, James Hetfield was seen walking the concert grounds in a Smith & Wesson (a handgun manufacturer) shirt, and then, we all know what happened at Woodstock ’99.

I have found hippies, at least in my travels, to be a loving, sharing bunch. Among other things, they like to share grilled-cheese sandwiches, beaded jewelry, incense sticks, and of course, music. In the late ’90’s, instead of trading cassettes at concerts, people began sharing music via the internet. Metallica’s drummer Lars Ulrich didn’t take kindly to this practice, so he and a team of lawyers helped put an end to mainstream music file sharing. It’s not like the hippies were downloading Metallica songs, but with Napster out of commission, it probably became more difficult to share rare MP3’s from groups like The String Cheese Incident or Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals.

For the life of me, I just can’t figure out how the patron saints of thrash metal belong at Bonnaroo 2008. Maybe the hippie faithful won’t even notice. To help soften the blow, organizers have also signed on Grateful Dead alum, Phil Lesh and Friends, as well as Willie Nelson, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, The Allman Brothers Band, and college faves Death Cab For Cutie, Sigur Ros, and Iron & Wine. I guess if you have a member of the Grateful Dead playing your hippie festival, things haven’t gotten too out of hand (yet).



Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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GIFs via Giphy

Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”


IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?

Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!

Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.

Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 


IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.


New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…


IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.


IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.


The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”


Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).



Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.


And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.