IT’S LIKE THAT: Sad But True

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Let me introduce you to the “burnout.”

This now rare species roamed the earth from the 1970’s through the 1980’s. They could be easily identified by their untied high-top sneakers, tight pants, and a jean jacket with a patch of their favorite heavy metal band emblazoned on the back. A cigarette could usually be seen hanging from their bottom lip, and when they weren’t inflicting pain on neighborhood children, they could be found waxing their automobiles, while blasting their favorite heavy metal tunes of the day.

I grew up in the same neighborhood with many “burnouts,” and let me tell you–like AC/DC suggested–they made my life a “Highway To Hell.” Now that I look back, I guess I was perfect fodder for a burnout attack. My family went to church two times on Sunday, I wasn’t allowed to listen to anything but “Christian” music, and swearing was strictly prohibited (even the word “fart” was off limits).

(above: The sight of one of these used to send me running home.)

Imagine the fear that shook through me the first time I saw an Iron Maiden patch on a burnout’s back. The band’s skeletal mascot, Eddie, looked like he was going to jump right off the jacket-patch and strangle the life out of me. Then there were the many Metallica t-shirts and icons I encountered on a daily basis: a raised fist with knife in hand coming out of a toilet, a cemetery littered with crosses, and phrases like: Kill ‘Em All, Ride the Lightning, and Metal Up Your Ass. Seeing Metallica’s blocky-font-logo meant one thing to me, RUN!


The neighborhood burnouts inflicted pain on me in various ways. Before the “wedgie” became a pop-cultural punch line, my tormentors used it as their favorite torture technique. And let me say, there’s nothing funny about being lifted off of your feet with a pair of whitie-tighties wedged between your butt cheeks. The burnouts also had access to various weapons. Though they never blew me up with an M80 (as threatened), there were countless times when I was sent running home dodging bottle rockets, bee-bee gun pellets, or rocks being propelled by industrial-strength slingshots.

Was I ever hit? Yes. Did it hurt? Like you couldn’t believe.

The only thing that hurt more than getting shot with a rock was being verbally harassed by the burnouts. They could make you feel like crap in two sentences flat. Change that–they could do it with one word. Like most bullies they reinforced the obvious. Because I wasn’t allowed to listen to heavy metal or swear, I quickly became known as Holy Shearer–later shortened to just Holy. Shearer (pronounced sheer) also rhymes with another word. Take two seconds to figure it out, and that was another choice insult used masterfully by the burnouts.

In high school, my parents loosened their grip as I began listening to secular music. In 1991 I was reintroduced to Metallica via their Black Album, and after a quick burnout flashback, I actually started to enjoy all of the band’s singles: “Enter Sandman,” “Unforgiven,” “Wherever I May Roam,” and “Sad But True.”

In college I managed to befriend a Metallica fanatic and caught up on the band’s entire back catalog, realizing for the first time the genius of Kill ‘Em All, Ride The Lightning, Master of Puppets, and …And Justice For All.

Would the burnouts be proud of me? Probably not. I’m guessing they would have offered something similar to the following: Duh–if you weren’t so holy you would have listened to all of those Metallica albums years ago!

I bring all of this up, because if you don’t believe in karma or the expression, “What goes around comes around,” you will now.

The irony can be cut with a big Metal Up Your Ass knife, cause the boy that was once mocked for not being allowed to listen to Metallica, was invited to their headquarters last week to interview founding member and drummer, Lars Ulrich.

Metallica’s HQ (that’s headquarters for short) is the business and musical brain center of the bay-area-based thrash legends. Oh how the burnouts would have been jealous as I walked through Metallica’s two huge practice spaces, adorned with countless banners fans have tossed on stage over the years. Not only that, but many of the bands old stage backdrops hang across the walls, including the original one used when Metallica toured in support of Ride The Lightning. Hmm, wonder if the burnouts ever got this close in ’84?

Oh, look over there, it’s the set piece Metallica used for the …And Justice For All tour. Wait, is that a box of James Hetfield’s signature black wristbands? Why yes it is. Whoa, look there’s Lars’ drum kit, Kirk’s rack of guitars, and a whole bunch of lyric sheets with handwritten Metallica scribbles all over them. Wow, here’s James’ lead vocal mic. Since I got a second, why don’t I just lean into this and pretend I’m singing “One” in front of a crowd of thousands. Ouch I just stubbed my toe. Damn these vintage Metallica road cases.

Later, during my interview with Lars, he extended me an invitation to watch Metallica warm-up in their Tuning + Attitude room before they play live on their upcoming tour. Suddenly, memories of wedgies and slingshot welts faded to, uh, black. It may be sad but true for the burnouts, but it looks like there is justice for all in Metallica-land–even for a holy kid who wasn’t allowed to listen to heavy metal music.


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.


Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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GIFs via Giffy

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.


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.


Forget Public Wifi

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



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.


Self Defense

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


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