Hey DJ

Hey DJ (photo)

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Wesley Pentz is better known as Diplo. And he’s better known as a DJ who’s worked with M.I.A., who co-wrote “Paper Planes,” who’s toured with Justice and who brought baile funk to the mainstream masses with a series of nasty-good party-making mixes. But with “Favela on Blast,” which had its premiere at SXSW last month, Diplo’s now also a filmmaker, collaborating with Brazilian co-director Leandro HBL on a documentary about the world from which baile funk comes. “Favela on Blast” goes deep into the teeming slums of Rio de Janeiro, whirling through interviews with producers and DJs to street-level party footage to dance numbers, a pulsating document of both life in the marginalized economic sidelines and of a vibrant and unique music scene.

Where’d “Favela on Blast” start?

The idea [was] for it to be another bootleg street DVD, really simple — it just became a big project. I got into it because I was traveling to Brazil as a DJ and I was into the music that was playing. This scene was really interesting because there had been no documentation of it. It was strictly ghetto. Even in Brazil, people from other cities besides Rio didn’t know what was going on. You see films like “City of God,” favela films, but you never see this — this is what’s happening now. No one was profiling it, but there was such a romance about the favela… There was a film back in the day called “Style Wars,” it was a documentary about hip-hop. Have you seen it?

I haven’t, but I’ve heard about it, sure.

Henry Chalfant did it, he’s a subway photographer. He wasn’t a hip-hop guy, but he just loved the subculture, so he created a documentary. It’s kind of a bible — a lot of kids are like, I love rap and hip-hop, and to figure out the roots, you watch that movie. I wanted to make something like that about funk music.

And what was was your involvement in this film?

The film started as a video clip I did for one of my songs, we shot on 16mm in the favelas on the rooftops, just dancing scenes. It was amazing. It was super easy. We did it in a weekend. I was like, shit, we can do this, we can make a whole movie in two weekends. [laughs]

04152009_favelaonblast2.jpgMy partner Leandro was working in the film industry [in Brazil], and he was my direct relationship there. I’d gone down a year before the film started just to hang out with the people, so I had strong connections there. You don’t just go to the favelas and shoot. My first day off the airplane, I hooked up with the biggest DJ because we were with The Fader magazine and he’s like “You want to see funk? Come with me.” We went to this radio show, ended up in like 20 favelas, guns, drugs everywhere — I’m like, what am I doing here? I was 24, it was my first trip after college, I’d quit my job as a school teacher to try and do some shit with my life and make music. There were a lot of weird moments in the three years [we spent making the film]. Some of our main characters died. People go missing. We had a party where we had to actually pay the police to not bother us and pay the gangsters to not show up.

Once I started the film, I just kept pouring a little bit of my money into it. I had a show in Shanghai, so I went and bought the Sony Z1UK on the black market for $2000. I’m not a filmmaker, so I didn’t have time allotted. I didn’t know what a schedule is like. I didn’t know that we had to keep rewriting a screenplay for a documentary. I thought we just go with cameras and woo, we got a film. We ended up with 100 hours of shit we had to watch. [laughs] We spent a year editing it. We finished around October properly, and I went down to Brazil to do the sound mix.


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.