DID YOU READ

IT’S LIKE THAT: Eulogy For the Virgin Megastore

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Losing a record store is a difficult thing to go through, even ones founded by an eccentric billionaire. Yes, the Virgin Megastore lacked the ma-and-pa charm of an independent record store (if you couldn’t tell from the latter part of its name)–the ones operated by college drop-outs, who know everything about anything and diligently hand-print band names on every CD placard in the shop. But, the Virgin Megastore never pretended to be a consumer electronics and appliance retailer masquerading as a place to get new music. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the Virgin Megastore never wrote up the price of washers and dryers so they could sell CD’s at a cheaper price. (I’m sure they wrote up other things, but at least they didn’t sell washers and dryers.)

(above: Today we remember the Virgin Megastore.)

Working in New York City, the Virgin Megastore was the ideal place for killing time. If I ever arrived early for a meeting, I could duck into the Times Square or Union Square outlet and quickly kill an hour (or two, or three). I can’t tell you how many New York City tours I’ve given to friends and family over the years, and trust me, the Virgin Megastore is a refuge amidst the Foot Locker, Toys ‘R Us, Swatch, Planet Hollywood, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, and people asking you if you like stand up comedy lining the crowded streets of Times Square.

In 2000, the Virgin Megastore was the last place I purchased a cassette tape–the Deftones’ White Pony album. Because the Megastore was opened late, I could always get my favorite new releases the midnight before they came out. Sometimes I would even bring a boom box, buy an album at Virgin, and listen to it on the steps of Union Square as skateboarders did kick flips and ollies over me.

We live in a new era though. The most popular form of listening to music doesn’t come from circular pieces of plastic or vinyl anymore, but from digital files containing countless amounts of 1’s and 0’s. If the Megastore–which outlasted Tower Records in New York City–can go under, anyone can. Years ago, if this happened to Virgin, I might’ve pumped my fist in the air and said, “Yeah, stick it to the man,” but as more and more record shops closed their doors for good, I was rooting for Virgin to stay alive. Alas, it didn’t. The Times Square location died on April 1, and the Union Square outlet is currently on life support and will have its plug pulled on April 30.

We say goodbye to an era:

Goodbye to autograph signings. Goodbye to in-store concert appearances (say what you will about the corporate backing of the Virgin Megastore, but even an I’m-better-than-you indie kid has to agree that they had some kick-butt performances, especially in the Union Square location). Goodbye to an entire room dedicated to dance/electronic music. Goodbye to myriad listening stations where you could preview a CD long before you could do it on your home computer. Goodbye to the $10 sale (a great chance to stock up on CDs from the past). Goodbye to vinyl, import, indie, and international sections. Goodbye to the easiest record store to commute to in the city. Goodbye to the way we used to do things.

Union Square won’t be the same without a music store, and I’m too afraid to think of what Disney-like attraction will take the place of the Times Square Virgin Megastore.

If one day, Virgin Megastore, we meet again in the afterlife–I’m gonna be honest here–I probably won’t even walk inside your doors, cause c’mon, there’ll be too many other awesome record stores to choose from (the ones that, maybe, you help put out of business). But, hey, at least you got this eulogy out me. Peace out and thanks for the memories.

(Pause for a moment of silence.)

Alright everyone, the wake’s at my house. We’re gonna eat a cold-cut platter and two-day old lasagna while we listen to my White Pony cassette tape–

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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.