DID YOU READ

LIVE: Anti-Flag

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Wednesday, March 26
New York, NY
The Knitting Factory

Last night’s Anti-Flag concert at the Knitting Factory was my first ever “MySpace Secret Show.” I’m still confused as to what a “MySpace Secret Show” entails? Besides a small banner hanging from the wall and some extra room in the mosh pit, you couldn’t even tell the evening was being presented by MySpace.

Um, I think if you add “Secret Shows” to your MySpace friend-list, you get alerted to the concert a couple days before everyone else?? I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about–let’s just get to the performance.

Anti-Flag opened the show looking and sounding like a well-seasoned punk band. All the members of the band were dressed in black (nice), all of them had cool-looking haircuts (nice), Chris #2 clocked some major hang-time with his flying scissor-kicks (nice), and to add to the spectacle, Anti-Flag had flood-lights on their amplifiers that nearly blinded everyone in the bedroom-sized Knitting Factory (double nice!).

Those expecting to see a punk show got one. I’m a fan of the brand of punk inspired by the artists of the late 70’s and early 80’s. Give me a little Ramones-pop, the stage moves, politics, and haircuts of The Clash, and the angry brow of Ian MacKaye and I’m a happy camper. In my opinion, only a handful of current-day punk bands can (sincerely) bring this to the table.

After watching Anti-Flag rip through a few songs, it’s obvious to see why they’re a cut above their punk contemporaries–they’re able to perfectly blend punk, pop, and spit-fire politics, all while bouncing around on stage sounding amazingly tight on their instruments (a talent many young punk bands have yet to master). Bassist, Chris #2, is the group’s high-energy showman, the “yang” to Justin Sane’s “yin” (it was very fitting that his buzzcut was dyed half black/half white). He also did an impressive job playing traffic cop last night directing the throng of kids being tossed up on stage.

Anti-Flag’s new material, “Good and Ready”, “The Bright Lights of America”, “Vices”, and “If You Wanna Steal” fit nicely into their set-list alongside their catalog favorites. In between songs, Chris #2 did most of the talking. A couple times throughout the performance, the banter seemed a little shticky, especially when the crowd was instructed to do a “circle pit” (I’m a firm believer in crowds starting their own “circle pits”), and Chris #2’s liberal use of the word “fuck.” After a handful of times, the mightiest of expletives, lost its impact. I can overlook this though, because I know Anti-Flag’s punk-rock politics stretch way beyond their stage show.

Midway through the set, Chris #2 mentioned, “Usually I’d say Rupert Murdoch was a mother fucker, but he did bring us all here tonight.” Justin Sane followed with, “Rupert Murdoch IS a mother fucker. If we can use MySpace for our gains, then it’s worth it–fuck Rupert Murdoch!” If you didn’t put two-and-two together, Murdoch is the chairman of News Corp., the global conglomerate that owns the Fox Network and, you guessed it, MySpace.

At the beginning of Anti-Flag’s encore, Justin Sane finally took some time to speak to the crowd in length. Because he kept silent most of the set, he seemed to have the EF Hutton-effect (when he spoke everyone listened). Sane spoke of a Free Tibet rally which he had attended earlier in the day in New York City, and also talked about the upcoming election–he’s not thrilled with Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, but fears that John McCain would just be a further extension of the George Bush presidency. After his mini-speech, Anti-Flag played the quintessential Anti-Flag song, “You’ve Got to Die For The Government”, then wrapped up the evening with “The Press Corpse.”

Ah, a nice hearty meal of some good ‘ol wholesome punk rock music.

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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…

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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. 

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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-Craft

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?”

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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).

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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.

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

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.