DID YOU READ

Exclusive premiere: Madi Diaz “Let’s Go”

Exclusive premiere: Madi Diaz “Let’s Go” (photo)

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Nashville’s Madi Diaz appeared in the 2005 documentary “Rock School” (which later inspired Richard Linklater’s “School of Rock”), but she first caught my attention only last year with an incredible Stevie Nicks cover and then a sweaty performance of “Let’s Go,” shot in a van at the dangerously intemperate, Bonnaroo festival. She’s just finished a proper collaborative video for the song with director Matt Amato — much of the footage shot by herself and her pals using the retro-digital Harinezumi camera, which purposely lends a nostalgic image quality by mimicking the charm of super 8. I asked her about this, but that was really just an excuse to get her to talk about kissing and Fleetwood Mac.

Tell me about the origins of this infectious pop song, from what place did it spring forth?

I’m not sure, but I think it was on my basement ceiling just wandering, floating around waiting for someone to walk head first into it. I could hear something in the foundation that my guitar player, Kyle Ryan, was building on his home studio that was just begging for something playful to be laced over top. It was our first home in Nashville and that basement was magical. Too bad the rest of the house was kind of in shoddy shape.

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Who are you kissing?

I have no idea. Kissing sure is fun though, right? Actually…I think his name is Erik…Erik with a “k”. Yeah that HAS to be it, why would I remember such specific spelling otherwise? He was a very sweet guy. A gentleman even. I had never kissed on camera before and he was very forgiving.

You shot some of the footage too with a Harinezumi? What was it like collaborating with Matt Amato on the finished video?

Matt. I could never ever say enough about Matt Amato. He has an indescribable presence; this warm loving serene calm with intense interest and excitement bubbling beneath his exterior. He’s some sort of amazing mind reader and balances it with his trust in you and yours in him. Example, that kiss was not planned (at least not to my knowledge) and yet I felt like it was somehow almost our idea together. Shooting the footage together was just one big adventure day. A getting-to-know-you adventure day. There were 7 of us shooting the Harinezumi’s all over the place. Actually, because all of the footage was so fun and unique and filled with story and adventure, we decided to create vignettes for each camera navigator to give a little more of an in depth look at how much work went into shooting this video. So many different incredible perspectives and such absolutely stunning work by all, it would’ve been such a major shame to only use enough to make a four minute music video! It was truly such a wonderful experience and so, so fun to be apart of a visual artist’s world for a moment.

If you could go anywhere right now, where would that be?

Late summer, 7:30 pm in the middle of a massive pine forest lying on a huge, thick bed of red pine needles looking up at the sky with my eyes half closed. The prettiest light in the world. And not one sound — only forest sound. No cars, no planes, no highways, no people, no white city noise, just pine tree forest noise.

That Fleetwood Mac/Stevie song you did with Keegan Dewitt is almost traumatizing it’s so beautiful, and I don’t normally care for Fleetwood Mac covers. How did you two piece that one together?

Thank you! Funny you should say, but before Keegan showed me “Wild Heart” (during his super heavy Fleetwood obsession phase) I didn’t spend much time on it either. But whoa, watching the video of Stevie Nicks just singing her heart out during her backstage photo shoot and her voice just soaring over everything just made my heart jump over and over. Keegs was putting together some material for a session he was doing in town and asked me to join him on this song, and I grabbed a little toy plunker piano that we had strapped a little Casio buddy to and we cracked down. We used the progression straight from the video as that was the one that made us both swoon so hard. Still makes us swoon.

Diaz’s EP “Far From Things That We Know” is out September 20th on tinyOGRE with a full-length slated for early 2012. She kicks off a tour today (with Keegan Dewitt on most dates). Check out her website for some free tracks.

Madi Diaz Tour Dates:

8/8 @ Imogene & Willie, Nashville, TN
8/10 – St. Louis, MO @ Old Rock House*
8/11 – Columbia, MO @ Mojo’s*
8/12 – Lawrence, KS @ The Bottleneck*
8/13 – Lincoln, NE @ Bourbon Theatre*
8/17 – Albuquerque, NM @ Low Spirits Bar & Stage*
8/18 – Tucson, AZ @ Solar Culture Gallery*
8/19 – Mesa, AZ The Nile – Basement*
8/20 – San Diego, CA @ Bar Pink*
8/22 – San Francisco, CA @ Cafe du Nord*
8/23 – Santa Barbara, CA @ SoHo
8/25 – Los Angeles, CA @ Hotel Café*
8/28 – Los Angeles, CA @ Sunset Junction
8/30 – Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge*
9/1 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry*
9/2 – Evanston, IL @ SPACE*
9/3 – Maquoketa, IA Daytrotter Barnstormin/Codfish Hollow Barn

*co-headlining with Keegan DeWitt

Are you swooning? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter or Facebook!

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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