DID YOU READ

IT’S LIKE THAT: Move Over Air Jordan

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(left: Yes, that’s Kurt Cobain in a Converse ad.)

Some of you may remember the old Nike commercial where Michael Jordan, from various locations on the court, slam dunks a basketball at will. His small sidekick, Mars Blackman (played by a then relatively unknown Spike Lee), was so impressed with his buddy’s incomparable skills, that he came to the only logical conclusion he could think of, “It’s gotta be the shoes.” Cause c’mon, how could somebody be that good? He must be getting a little help from somewhere else, and that somewhere else is–aha–his Air Jordan sneakers.

Kurt Cobain, in many ways, could be considered the musical equivalent of Michael Jordan. In the same way Jordan was rejected from his 10th grade basketball team, Cobain, was rejected from–well–he was just a reject in general. Instead of finding janitorial work and sleeping on the job (wait, Cobain actually did that too), he went on to become one of the most influential recording artists of the last 20 years (much like Mike’s impact on basketball).

Cobain always had one up on Jordan though–he never needed extra help from “the shoes.” Yesterday, however, I learned differently when I saw the late Kurt Cobain gracing a current Converse advertisement. It then hit me like a movie montage, in many of Cobain’s greatest moments (and even in his final hour) he was wearing a pair of Converse sneakers. Perhaps, just like Jordan, “It’s gotta be the shoes.”

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Converse now has The Kurt Cobain Inspired Collection, featuring high-top and low-top Chuck Taylor shoes with scribbled lyrics and sketches of guitars and infants on them (cause we all know Cobain was a big fan of fetus art). Thankfully, Converse didn’t take it one step further by releasing a special edition of the Converse One-Star (the particular pair of shoes Kurt Cobain was found dead in).

Now it’s no secret that many-a-musician have worn the classic Converse Chuck Taylor sneaker. How many pairs of Chucks do you think made their way through the doorway of CBGB’s back in its (gabba gabba) heyday? The cool thing though, was that Chuck Taylor sneakers sold themselves. Seeing a grainy black-and-white picture of your favorite punk rock artist in a pair of Converse was the advertisement. Keep in mind the image of Cobain in the Converse ad is a very popular photograph taken during Nirvana’s now legendary show at the Motor Sports International Garage in Seattle (1990), before Nirvana signed to a major label, even before Dave Grohl entered their ranks. This image has been seen a zillion times and will be seen a zillion more–and yes, Cobain is wearing a pair of Converse.

So why take it any further than that?

Any devote Kurt Cobain and Nirvana fan should be insulted by the Kurt Cobain Inspired Collection. Let us not forget that Nirvana made such a huge impact on music in the early 90’s because they went against the corporate grain. They brought punk rock ethos to the mainstream public while unseating chart toppers like Michael Jackson, who liked to drink Pepsi, and MC Hammer, who loved wearing his British Knight sneakers.

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(right: It’s gotta be the shoes.)

Yes, as a dead rock star, you have little say in how your legacy will be remembered. There is money to be made for the living. It just bums me out that certain memories from hallowed punk rock venues and small college radio stations will soon be replaced (at least in the eyes of today’s youth) by sneaker collections and murals found in Hard Rock Cafes across the world. Move over Jimi Hendrix, here comes Air Cobain.

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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.