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DID YOU READ

What Steven Soderbergh and prog rock band Yes have in common.

What Steven Soderbergh and prog rock band Yes have in common. (photo)

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By my count, by 2010’s end Steven Soderbergh will have released or began work on no less than six separate films. Even by his own prodigiously prolific standards, that’s a personal best. “And Everything Is Going Fine” — his fine video memorial for Spalding Gray — is still making the festival rounds, poised to play at Edinburgh next.

While in Australia directing a play he swore he would never restage or film, he found the time to shoot a movie called “The Last Time I Saw Michael Gregg” that he may or may not release, apparently based on his mood. He’s also preparing to direct a horror movie for Warner Bros. (“Contagion”), shooting new footage for a director’s cut of “Kafka,” has finished the mixed-martial-arts thriller “Knockout” and — in his spare time — is still prepping for his long-awaited 3D “Cleopatra” rock musical.

This is complete lunacy — when you’re working so fast you can afford to make movies people may not ever actually see, you’re working at a level most people have never heard of, let alone achieved. But what’s really impressive about Soderbergh is how spread out over the distribution landscape his work ranges, from the widely available and cable-ubiquitous to work that takes real cunning and patience to get your hands on.

To see “And Everything Is Going Fine” (at least until someone decides a 90-minute video montage of Spalding Gray talking is commercially viable — IMDb has it slated to be released direct-to-DVD by Magnolia in 2011) requires proximity to a festival and patience. Being a Soderbergh completist might not actually be possible. You’d need to track down the two TV episodes of mid-’90s Showtime series “Fallen Angels” he directed, take in his TV show “K Street” and find down his 1987 short film “Winston,” not to mention his concert movie 1985 “Yes: 9012 Live.”

06012010_yes.jpgYou could make an analogy between Soderbergh and Yes, a band that has produced approximately 20 million notes in its career in the name of very technical (read: long-winded) goals, collating all of which would basically be a task for a panel the size of the Warren Commission. But I’d rather compare him to a band like The Smiths that would throw away many of their best songs on B-sides and making finding them part of the challenge. Lots of people like to talk these days about telling a story in multiple formats and making viewing more interactive, but the very process of watching Soderbergh’s work is more than enough interactivity to go around.

Here’s the intro to “Yes: 9021 Live.” It’s weirder than you’d expect:

[Photos: “And Everything Is Going Fine,” Magnolia Home Entertainment, 2011; “Yes: 9021 Live,” Image Entertainment, 1985]

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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.