DID YOU READ

Exclusive premiere: Dolorean “Black Hills Gold”

Exclusive premiere: Dolorean “Black Hills Gold” (photo)

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Dolorean’s fourth record, “The Unfazed,” brings them to to the kind of rainy, but resolute mood that singer/songwriter Al James seems most comfortable in. Their sound may have been best summed up by bass player James Adair’s father-in-law, as “a mood of acceptance without despair, or should I say, disappointment without resignation.”

In “Black Hills Gold” Al James digs deep into this melancholy while exploring the death of Dennis Wilson — Beach Boys drummer and enduring object of fascination for James who describes him as the “Adonis of the 60s.” The day Wilson drowned at Marina Del Rey in LA he’d been diving for personal treasures which were lost to the sea, thrown in after a fight with his lover years before. Together with director Dicky Dahl, James pays homage to Wilson and the tale of his last efforts to hold on to the pain, and passion, of his past.

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Al James explains the story of Dennis Wilson, the impetus behind the video, and poses pertinent questions for the romantic:

My fascination with and appreciation for Dennis Wilson, the late drummer for the Beach Boys, has continued unabated for the last decade. Dennis is an everlasting Greek God – the blonde haired, blue-eyed Adonis of the 60s and the only Beach Boy that mattered as far as every girl in Southern California was concerned. Everything came easy to Denny – surfing, motorcycles, partying, acting, he even learned to play drums on the fly when the Wilson family formed their band as teenagers. For all his natural talent, Dennis had his troubles. With his 1977 solo album “Pacific Ocean Blue,” Dennis wrestled these troubles and shaped them into something beautiful and personal. In 1983, however, he gave into the darkness and drowned at Marina Del Rey, the dock where his beloved sailboat “The Harmony” was once moored. He spent that day drinking and swimming, discovering bits of his life that had been thrown overboard years before during an explosive argument with an ex-wife. Dennis dove into the ocean over and over retrieving memories of his love and his life that were buried at sea. Ultimately, he dove too deep and was washed out into the abyss.

I wanted to make Dolorean’s first video “Black Hills Gold” as a short film based loosely on Dennis Wilson’s death. My partner in this endeavor was filmmaker Dicky Dahl. Dicky is a long-time friend and the writer and co-producer of the award winning documentary “The Ballad of Ramblin’ Jack” (2000 Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize). No stranger to telling stories about musicians and their struggles with heartache, memories and loss, Dicky and I set out to write a script that talked abstractly about Dennis’s actual death, but presented a scenario that mirrored his confrontation with his past just before dying. What sort of strength did it require for a man to go back, search out his darkest memories and hold them up to the light? Did this act always have to end in death? Why are we compelled to collect the things that are the most painful? We couldn’t have told this story without the talent of actor Matt Helms. For us, Matt embodied the rugged quiet and animalistic magnetism for which Dennis Wilson was widely known. This short film is dedicated to Dennis Wilson, to the passion that defined his life, and his courage in confronting his pain in a very visceral way.

DOLOREAN TOUR DATES:

8/27 Seattle, WA @ Columbia City Theater (with Pearly Gate Music)

9/8 Portland, OR @ Bunk Bar (MusicFest NorthWest w/ Damien Jurado)

9/11 Portland, OR @ Rontoms (MFNW Marmoset Music Party)

9/15 Al James solo / NYC, NY @ Dunderdon (Danner Boots Stumptown Launch Party)

10/14 – 10/15 Al James solo / Phoenix, AZ (AIGA Pivot Design Conference Talk, Q&A and Performance)

10/19 Al James solo / Salem, OR (Willamette University English Dept. Talk and Performance)

Are you compelled to collect the things that are the most painful? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter or Facebook!

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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.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.