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IT’S LIKE THAT:  Goodbye (photo)

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Two summers ago I was tempted into playing a game of street ball. It actually didn’t take much convincing–the sound of a basketball bouncing off the pavement was enough to lure me in.

(left: It all started with a game of hoops.)

Near the end of the pick-up game I dove out of bounds for a loose ball. Like I skateboarder, I’ve been trained to fall over the years, but on this evening I came down awkwardly on my right wrist. Having just saved the ball from going out of bounds, I rose to my feet, ran down the to the far side of the court, caught a bounce pass, put a left-handed lay-up off the backboard, and cinched victory for my team.

Our win–like many in street ball–was short lived, because the team that had “next” was, well, up next. As much as I wanted to run another game, I just couldn’t. Something didn’t feel right with my wrist.

The next morning, I had my doctor look at it, and long story short, my wrist wasn’t broken, but it was severely sprained with a partial tear in the ligaments. If I was a professional athlete being paid millions of dollars to win a championship for my NBA franchise, I’m sure I would have immediately gone into surgery to have my wrist fixed, but considering my last name was not Wade, James, or Bryant, I was just given a brace and told not to use my wrist until I could comfortably move it.

Fortunately, most of my on-air television gigs that summer were covering skateboard, freestyle motocross, and BMX events. Instead of the brace making me stand out, I actually blended in with most of the banged-up athletes and action sports personalities I came in contact with.

That summer was a rough one, especially walking past basketball courts and knowing that I couldn’t play. I also had to learn how to brush my teeth with my left hand and participate in various mid-summer activities with using only one arm (it’s tough setting a volleyball or playing miniature golf without having both hands at your disposable).

A year later, though my doctors discouraged me from doing so, I accepted an offer from to start up a music blog (Independent Ear). Though I’m not a writer by trade, and considering that typing blog postings is more strenuous on my injured wrist than holding a microphone on television, I decided to give it a go nonetheless.

A few months into the endeavor my injury acted up as I could barely even twist my wrist to reach the enter button (if only that damn return key was on the left side of the keyboard). But like Willis Reed in Game 7 of the 1970 NBA finals or Hines Ward in the most recent Super Bowl, I decided to play with the pain.

A team of doctors advised me that if I continued writing lengthy blog postings day after day, there was a good chance that I would never be able to use my right wrist again and that I could say goodbye to right-handed jump shots, giving people high-fives, strumming a guitar, eating corn on the cob how it’s traditionally supposed to be eaten, running my fingers through my wife’s hair, and putting a binky in our future children’s mouths.

People who have sprained various parts of their body will tell you that sometimes a sprain never fully heals. Two years later, and my right wrist has not been the same since before that fateful pickup basketball game. Because I’d like to do all the things mentioned above (especially eating corn on the cobb)–and though it pains me to say this–today I am officially announcing my retirement from the world of blogging.

I would like to take this time to thank all of you for reading the Indie Ear Blog for the last year and three months. I never did give Perez Hilton or Brooklyn Vegan a run for their money, but if any of you shared a chuckle, learned something about a band, or got turned on to some good new music that you wouldn’t have otherwise, then I consider my time at well spent.

Though many of my blogging days consisted of sitting in a pair of boxers typing out music musings from my apartment, the Independent Ear did give me a chance to do a handful of really cool things. We got to snoop around the Beastie Boys Oscilloscope Laboratories, flew out to San Francisco and hung out with Lars Ulrich in Metallica’s Headquarters, chatted with some brilliantly-minded music folks for IFC’s Independent Music Panels, and got to go backstage at various concerts and music festivals, including SXSW and Pitchfork (where we got free ice cream and burritos, mmm).

I don’t know how much of a behind-the-scenes vibe you get while watching IFC or reading, but I am amazed by how hardworking everyone is here. It seems like everyone does the job of three or four mortals (especially the web staff). A tip of my cap to you who wear many.

Thank you to all the Troys, Petes, Bobs, Joes, Steves, and Grey Russians who have left hilarious comments over the last year. Thanks to Rachel, Sarah, and James for helping me out with blog postings (as you know, it’s not always easy to come up with topics to write about). Thanks to Kent for bringing me aboard (special shout-out to Rex too), and thanks to Alison, Anna, Colin, Craig, Gero, Jesse, Jonathan, Julie, and Melianthe for showing me the way. If I forgot anyone, expect an apology and a fist pound in person.

Thanks to all of you for reading my ramblings–I truly appreciate it. If I weren’t so tone deaf I’d sing Boyz II Men’s “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday” or Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)“, and if my team of highly trained medical experts wouldn’t have advised me against it, I’d wave goodbye to all of you.



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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…


IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.


IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).


IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.


IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.


IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.



IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on and the IFC app.

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