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Exclusive video premiere!: Harper Simon’s “Wishes and Stars.”

Exclusive video premiere!: Harper Simon’s “Wishes and Stars.” (photo)

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Sometimes the apple don’t fall far from the tree, and thus seems to be with the case with Harper Simon, son of Paul Simon. Quite thankfully. There are hurdles enough in staking a claim as a singer songwriter in your own right without being the son of a living legend. Were I in his place…Well, I would say that I’m just drifting. Here in the pool.

[Harper Simon. Photo by Autumn De Wilde]

And it seems Simon has done his share of drifting in the past, oh yes. But this was no easy vanity record dropped, just because he could. It wasn’t all simple as a bee/as a melody in C as he sings in this song, but a long journey to this point for a man now in his late 30’s and fresh from a tumultuous past. See and hear for yourself with this viddy for “Wishes and Stars,” directed by Joshua Leonard, off Harper Simon’s self-titled debut album.

“Wishes and Stars,” Director’s cut.

Simon co-wrote this winning melancholy ballad with the poet Ben Okri. There are more wishes than stars. That’s just a tremendous line and a hard truth more recognized today than it was back when Simon’s pops released Graceland and we were all bopping around to “You Can Call Me Al” in our PJ’s. All along, there were incidents and accidents, there were hints and allegations. But don’t let it get you down.

In the end, “Wishes and Stars” is just coming to terms with this as we all do, and we’re all right. Just look at that old guy, the motel owner at the end. See? It’s all right. That’s John Perry Barlow, who used to write lyrics for the Grateful Dead. Those are all various friends of Simon’s you see, actors, artists, writers. The clown that looks like he might lose it any minute is Money Mark best known for his dope keyboard work on Beastie Boys records.

Players on the album include folks like Sean Lennon (who plays celeste on “Wishes and Stars”), Aaron Espinoza (Earlimart), Yuka Honda, and Steve Nieve (Elvis Costello) as well as old schoolers like Charlie McCoy (Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde) and even, Paul Simon. But make no mistake this is the the blood and tears of Harper Simon. It’s also an homage to the 60’s and 70’s and the LP. I’m so pleased about that and his desire to craft an album, something those of us in our 30’s (and 40’s) tend to covet more than most.

“The long playing album is the great artistic medium invented in the second half of the 20th century, [it’s] not just ten songs thrown together randomly. It has an arc. It has a structure,” Simon says. “It is the attempt to make ten songs that are all as good as each other, and fit together in a seamless whole. Long playing albums like Sgt Peppers, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Pet Sounds, Blonde On Blonde, Sticky Fingers — these albums have helped define our culture.”

A culture at risk of being lost, drowned out in a digital din, save for artists like Harper Simon.

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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.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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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:

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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SO EXCITED!!!

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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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.”

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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. 

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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.