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The Refrain: highlights and musings

The Refrain: highlights and musings (photo)

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It’s my birthday (well, last night it was) and I’ve decided to take some liberties today reflecting back on some of my favorite revelations of the past months. Blogs move quickly, sometimes too quickly and I know from experience following my own bookmarked blogs that I miss a ton.

Have a look see at some things you may have missed while my “legally” blind ass heads to an eye doctor appointment. These are just things that amused me the most, not necessarily the most valuable contributions…

Adam Goldberg Interview
I’ve always liked Adam Goldberg and his characters but was a bit surprised to discover I liked his music too. I had a weird dream about him drawing my leg hair and then talked to him (in real life) about his band LANDy. He gives great interview. We premiered his great looking video for “BFF!” too, it’s all linked there.

Hans Zimmer’s Teutonic electronic flatulence
I can’t fathom why Zimmer ends up on generally reputable people’s best composer and best score lists. His work is the epitome of over produced, big budget, gas bag scoring.

Timothy Saccenti
I had a satisfying conversation with photographer/director Timothy Saccenti who’s impressive work in the music world has many in awe. His beginnings in photography lead him down a path crowded with artists like TV on the Radio, Erykah Badu, The Rapture, Animal Collective, and Black Mountain. I talked to him just after he’d shot the video for Chairlift’s, “Bruises.”

Bad Lieutenant
Calling Herzog’s inappropriately titled comedy for what it was early on. Expectations count for a lot, we don’t experience films in a vacuum. Usurping Ferrara’s legacy was a fatal mistake, though it has proven to be that of the chuckle head producers, and not herzog himself – who made an entertaining (though inferior) movie.

Michael Penn
My conversation with musician Michael Penn about current projects was quickly derailed into a verbal melee of social criticism, of which we were both on the same side. I couldn’t print it all (would have been outrageously off topic and really long) but we got some good tidbits down. I’d hate to be on the wrong side of the Penn’s, like his brother, you get the feeling Michael could murder you with a look as easily as he could charm you with a gesture.

“District 9”
Describing director Neil Blomkamp as the new onomatopoeia for the sound of success ™. And nailing it.

Hotel Chelsea, Stanley Bard, Sam Bassett
You can still have a grand adventure at the hotel Chelsea.

Alexandra hope

I love this video for her song “The Mirror,” and it was a pleasure premiering it.

Carly Simon
Following WNYC’s lead on revealing (partially) who Simon is singing about in “You’re So Vain,” after all these years!


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.