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DID YOU READ

Exclusive Video Premiere: A Short Film About Frank Fairfield

Exclusive Video Premiere: A Short Film About Frank Fairfield (photo)

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The 25-year-old California musician Frank Fairfield has toured in support of Fleet Foxes and Cass McCombs, two bands at or near indie rock’s recent crossover metastasis. But Fairfield doesn’t approach the twisting folk-pop of Fleet Foxes or the elliptical escapades of Cass McCombs. Rather, Fairfield plays banjo, guitar, fiddle and, quite often, the floor with his feet as he stomps out the rhythm of American songs that sometimes date beyond the century mark. Fairfield is an old-time musician, a passionate and untiring searcher and syndicate of song. He finds his tunes on old 78s or from fellow travelers in the antediluvian world of oral tradition, and he reenergizes them with an enthusiasm and an earnestness that’s very much about how these songs fit right now.

Or, as he puts it in the new short but strong documentary Frank Fairfield, “You know, this is popular music, and these are popular songs. I don’t think they’re old songs. They’re here. They’re now songs. … All there is here and now.”

The 12-minute film follows Fairfield through a series of performances–street corners and flea markets, in a lonely brick hallway and on a sylvan stage at Pickathon, the Oregon music festival that appropriately began as a banjo and old-time convocation. Greg Vandy, a Seattle DJ for the influential public station KEXP, began pondering the film after Fairfield appeared on his show, The Roadhouse–“any ‘boomer’ definition of roots-rock turns classic-rock,” he says. What’s more, it fit into the work Vandy was considering for his website, American Standard Time, an archive of interviews and videos featuring some of the promising talent he brings to his shows.

“We had an in-studio session in 2009,” remembers Vandy. “He’s such a compelling character. There’s as much to see and to be introduced to beside the audio with Frank–his personality, his persona, his intellect, his whole way of thinking is equal parts to the music he makes, which is also incredible.”

Fairfield recently released his second album for Tompkins Square Records, a New York label that’s become a supreme outlet for acoustic sounds old, new and–as in Fairfield’s case–a little of both. Indeed, Out on the Open West finds Fairfield recanting own his early indications that he didn’t consider himself much of a songwriter. Most of these songs are actually his, though he explores his own words with the same use of old forms and modern vitality he offered on his perfect 2009 debut. It’s a steady and smart expansion of his catalogue, an indication of an artist that’s going to develop far beyond the conduit appeal of his debut.

“It’s a guy who understands what traditional music is all about. He knows all the songs, and he knows all about the interpretation of those songs. It’s like what I imagine a performer from the Anthology of American Folk Music would sound like,” says Vandy. “But I want to avoid the whole time-traveling thing. Frank doesn’t think that way. I’m not sure he even appreciates that aspect of time.”

Frank Fairfield has recently been accepted into several film festivals, including South by Southwest 2011 and the 2011 L.A. Film + Music Weekend. It will stream exclusively at IFC.COM for one week.

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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.