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Taking a Break with Tunde Adebimpe

Taking a Break with Tunde Adebimpe (photo)

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Tunde Adebimpe may be best known for fronting the beloved Brooklyn band TV on the Radio, but he’s a man of multiple talents. Schooled as a visual artist, he worked as an animator after graduating from Tisch. His first acting role was in a classmate’s short, “Jorge” (1998), which became a feature, “Jump Tomorrow” (2001), all years before he ever cut a record. In his latest foray onto the big screen, Adebimpe played the groom, Sidney, in Jonathan Demme’s “Rachel Getting Married.” In a film filled with exceptional, sometime showy ensemble performances, Adebimpe still had a few opportunities to shine — it’s Sidney’s geeky charm during the dishwasher scene that makes its consequence heartbreaking, instead of just cheaply macabre. And one of the most beautiful moments in the film, and arguably the best “I do” in any wedding scene ever shot, is Sidney’s winsome serenade to Rachel during the otherwise tense ceremony. I caught up with Adebimpe over email as he was off on the West Coast making more good things happen.

You’re something of a renaissance man — an accomplished painter and animator [see the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s video “Pin”], an actor and, of course, musician. What grounds you, or do you float freely between these passions?

I feel like I was really fortunate to run into a lot of working artists when I moved to New York in the mid-’90s, and the single piece of advice that all these people seemed to be giving me was, “Do everything that makes sense to you to do, and a couple of things that don’t. Do everything.” And this was when I honestly just wanted to be a cartoonist. I met people who did illustration, made large-scale artworks, films, videos and performance as well, so it seemed like and still seems like a natural mode of operation for me. Also, painting and animation are really solitary pursuits, so the collaborative aspects of music making and acting are pretty welcome sometimes.

Music is omnipresent in “Rachel Getting Married,” and it’s also all live and seemingly spontaneous, drawing the audience in with the characters as if we’re all there together hearing the same thing at the same time. How did that musical set affect your performance?

That set, especially the Buchman household, was bristling with music from the time we showed up ’til we left. There were instruments all over the place, and a wedding band who also provided most of the soundtrack, much of which was recorded live as the action progressed. The way it affected my performance, and I think everyone’s, probably, was that we had this music as another character in the scene to play with, or against. There’s a scene where Kym (Anne Hathaway’s character) breaks away from a very tense conversation and screams “Are they gonna play all fucking weekend?!?”, in reference to what’s essentially the film’s soundtrack. Totally ad-libbed, kinda hilarious, expressing a very real concern.

03052009_tunde2.jpgWhat’s your favorite piece of music in the film?

Zafer Tawil, who composed the soundtrack along with Donald Harrison Jr. plays a really haunting violin piece when Kym has just come home from a rehab center and is going through the rooms of the house she grew up in. It’s super beautiful.

The film treated its diverse characters simply, as people, but I’ve heard criticism of its non-engagement of race. What are your thoughts on these complaints, and what did Sidney’s relationship mean to you?

It’s an odd criticism, primarily because that’s not really the narrative focal point of the movie, and secondarily because I think the film engages race by actually presenting interracial relationships, romantic and otherwise, when it just as easily could not have. It puts a pretty broad cross section of various cultures in one place to interact. Everything after that is in the eye of the beholder, whether that beholder is in the movie or in the audience. Sidney’s relationship, to me, meant that he had found someone to love in Rachel, and she in him, and they were going to try to make it work.


Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.


Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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GIFs via Giphy

Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:


The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.


They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!


Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.


Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.



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.