What do you get when seven guys who work in the music industry pile in a van? It sounds like the build up to a joke, but when the seven guys in question are Rostam Batmanglij (Vampire Weekend), Vijay Iyer (Vijay Iyer Trio), Ashok Kondabolu (Das Racist), Alan Palomo (Neon Indian), Amrit Singh (Stereogum), Himanshu Suri (Das Racist), Anand Wilder (Yeasayer) and they are on the road looking for the best dosa in New York City, you know this is serious business.
The trailer for Amrit Singh’s forthcoming film “Dosa Hunt” was just released today and, whether it is due to the cast of characters, or because I haven’t eaten lunch yet, the film looks like something to really sink your teeth into. While you can’t tell much from the trailer, it looks like the dosas — the crepe-wrapped southern Indian street food — steal the spotlight, as they should in a film called “Dosa Hunt.” The other thing you can tell from the trailer, is that the movie looks like the most fun seven guys can have in a van outside of some don’t-come-a-knockin’ scenario that our respectable website would never write about. Ha ha ha, we would totally write about that. But this movie is not that. This is the greatest hunt for south Indian food in NYC ever committed to film and that’s just what you’re going to get. “Dosa Hunt is an independent film (and the directorial debut) by Amrit Singh, for which he worked with fellow filmmakers Sam Carroll and Zoe Schack.
Catch the classic sitcom Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.
Posted by Luke McKinney on Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures Television
The soap opera is the indestructible core of television fandom. We celebrate modern series like The Wire and Breaking Bad with their ongoing storylines, but soap operas have been tangling more plot threads than a quilt for decades. Which is why pop culture enjoys parodying them so much.
Check out some of the funniest soap opera parodies below, and be sure to catch Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.
1. Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman
Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman was a cult hit soap parody from the mind of Norman Lear that poked daily fun at the genre with epic twists and WTF moments. The first season culminated in a perfect satire of ratings stunts, with Mary being both confined to a psychiatric facility and chosen to be part of a Nielsen ratings family.
2. IKEA Heights
IKEA Heights proves that the soap opera is alive and well, even if it has to be filmed undercover at a ready-to-assemble furniture store totally unaware of what’s happening. This unique webseries brought the classic formula to a new medium. Even IKEA saw the funny side — but has asked that future filmmakers apply through proper channels.
When you’re parodying ’80s nighttime soaps like Dallas and Dynasty , everything about your show has to equally sumptuous. The 1986 CBS miniseries Fresno delivered with a high-powered cast (Carol Burnett, Teri Garr and more in haute couture clothes!) locked in the struggle for the survival of a raisin cartel.
Soap was the nighttime response to daytime soap operas: a primetime skewering of everything both silly and satisfying about the source material. Plots including demonic possession and alien abduction made it a cult favorite, and necessitated the first televised “viewer discretion” disclaimer. It also broke ground for featuring one of the first gay characters on television in the form of Billy Crystal’s Jodie Dallas. Revisit (or discover for the first time) this classic sitcom every Saturday morning on IFC.
5. Too Many Cooks
Possibly the most perfect viral video ever made, Too Many Cooks distilled almost every style of television in a single intro sequence. The soap opera elements are maybe the most hilarious, with more characters and sudden shocking twists in an intro than most TV scribes manage in an entire season.
6. Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace
Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace was more mockery than any one medium could handle. The endless complications of Darkplace Hospital are presented as an ongoing horror soap opera with behind-the-scenes anecdotes from writer, director, star, and self-described “dreamweaver visionary” Garth Marenghi and astoundingly incompetent actor/producer Dean Learner.
7. “Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive,” MadTV
Soap opera connoisseurs know that the most melodramatic plots are found in Korea. MADtv‘s parody Tae Do (translation: Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive) features the struggles of mild-mannered characters with far more feelings than their souls, or subtitles, could ever cope with.
8. Twin Peaks
Twin Peaks, the twisted parody of small town soaps like Peyton Place whose own creator repeatedly insists is not a parody, has endured through pop culture since it changed television forever when it debuted in 1990. The show even had it’s own soap within in a soap called…
9. “Invitation to Love,” Twin Peaks
Twin Peaks didn’t just parody soap operas — it parodied itself parodying soap operas with the in-universe show Invitation to Love. That’s more layers of deceit and drama than most televised love triangles.
10. “As The Stomach Turns,” The Carol Burnett Show
The Carol Burnett Show poked fun at soaps with this enduring take on As The World Turns. In a case of life imitating art, one story involving demonic possession would go on to happen for “real” on Days of Our Lives.
11. Days of our Lives (Friends Edition)
Still airing today, Days of Our Lives is one of the most famous soap operas of all time. They’re also excellent sports, as they allowed Friends star Joey Tribbiani to star as Dr Drake Ramoray, the only doctor to date his own stalker (while pretending to be his own evil twin). And then return after a brain-transplant.
And let’s not forget the greatest soap opera parody line ever written: “Come on Joey, you’re going up against a guy who survived his own cremation!”
12. Acorn Antiques
First appearing on the BBC sketch comedy series Victoria Wood As Seen on TV, Acorn Antiques combines almost every low-budget soap opera trope into one amazing whole. The staff of a small town antique store suffer a disproportional number of amnesiac love-triangles, while entire storylines suddenly appear and disappear without warning or resolution. Acorn Antiques was so popular, it went on to become a hit West End musical.
13. “Point Place,” That 70s Show
In a memorable That ’70s Show episode, an unemployed Red is reduced to watching soaps all day. He becomes obsessed despite the usual Red common-sense objections (like complaining that it’s impossible to fall in love with someone in a coma). His dreams render his own life as Point Place, a melodramatic nightmare where Kitty leaves him because he’s unemployed. (Click here to see all airings of That ’70s Show on IFC.)
14. The Spoils of Babylon
Bursting from the minds of Will Ferrell and creators Andrew Steele and Matt Piedmont, The Spoils of Babylon was a spectacular parody of soap operas and epic mini-series like The Thorn Birds. Taking the parody even further, Ferrell himself played Eric Jonrosh, the author of the book on which the series was based. Jonrosh returned in The Spoils Before Dying, a jazzy murder mystery with its own share of soapy twists and turns.
15. All My Children Finale, SNL
SNL‘s final celebration of one of the biggest soaps of all time is interrupted by a relentless series of revelations from stage managers, lighting designers, make-up artists, and more. All of whom seem to have been married to or murdered by (or both) each other.
Georges Méliès is having a moment. Not only was his 1902 science-fiction classic “A Trip To The Moon” heavily referenced in Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-nominated film “Hugo,” but his original film was recently restored from the lone remaining hand-colored print. To celebrate this remarkable feat of film preservation, Air was invited to create a soundtrack for the film prior to its presentation at Cannes last year. It was an opportunity that band members Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel jumped at and then managed to knock out in less than a month. Inspired by the project, the band also just released a full-length album, Le Voyage Dans La Lune (for sale here) featuring guest tracks from Beach House’s Victoria Legrand and Au Revoir Simone. We sat down to chat with AIR about George Melies, how to find the perfect sync, and when a soundtrack isn’t really a soundtrack.
How did you get involved with the project?
Nicolas Godin: We had a request from the foundation and they wanted to have AIR doing the music for the film and they were in a rush because they suddenly realized that the movie was ready and that Cannes would be okay to project it. So they asked us to do the soundtrack really really fast. And when we saw the movie, when we became conscious of the exposure, and the consequences of doing it, we accepted and we directly went on to work. The day after they asked us, we said yes we were going to do it. We started working that day. We had one month.
One month? Wow. Do you normally work that quickly?
NG: People think we are perfectionists because of the music we do, when you hear it, it seems so neat and perfectly recorded, but we don’t like to spend too much time on one song. We like to work really fast. We get bored really fast. We could do a lot of songs in one time, but not all of them are good. But we don’t like to spend a lot of time on one song. We like to be spontaneous.
Had you seen the film before?
Jean-Benoît Dunckel: No. We knew so well the image of the moon and the rocket that we thought we had seen the film. But when we saw the film we said, okay, we have never seen it. So many people were inspired by that movie. So many directors stole some stuff, some elements, from the movie and used it in their own productions. So I think the movie has much more influence from the people who got inspired by it than from itself.
I was struck by how well your soundtrack was synced up to the film. How many times did you watch the movie to achieve that?
JD: [laughs] Lots. Lots. Lots. Like all day long for like one month. It was the key to success, this synchronization. It was a big gift for us. We knew it was the final edit of the film. We knew nothing would change so we could get really crazy about synchronizing sound. We knew no one would betray us, that no one would change anything. So for us it was a big opportunity. I think it was the key to the success of the music with the film.
You made your album Moon Safari several years ago. Do you think the producers remembered that and when it came to a lunar movie they knew it had to be AIR doing the soundtrack?
JD: I think it was more about the design. More about the style. It is inspired by Jules Verne and HG Wells. The symbols. The stars were characters. It came from the Jules Verne thing. We were really attracted to that. And for Moon Safari it was the same thing. We were really attracted to that because of the Martian Chronicles by Bradbury. It’s old science fiction culture. The idea of how wrong they were. These mistakes transform into poetry and it is this poetry that adds to the music.
When you were composing your soundtrack, how did you ensure that the music was so perfectly synced to the action on the screen?
NG: When you work you have the image on the screen on the left and on the right screen you have your recording station and you test things. You throw more ideas and then you test things. You see if it works or not. Sometimes you have a great idea and you test it and it doesn’t work and you say, “Oh shit.” So then you test and test and you can tell right away if it’s going to work or not. You just see it right away. It’s very easy in fact.
Smashing Pumpkins’ “Tonight Tonight” video was based on the Melies film. Had you seen it? Or is it just one of those questions that plagues you in interviews now?
JD: Yeah yeah we had seen it. It was crazy! But it was on MTV. It was on TV all the time. You know, before YouTube. It was a great video. Really dramatic.
JD: Yeah they did! Metropolis too. I forgot about that.
When you were making the soundtrack, they were in a rush so they could show it at Cannes. How was it received?
JD: The movie was a blockbuster. Even among the Americans, even though it was by a French filmmaker. What we saw from our side was a lot of press speaking about it. There was a huge response from the French press. We had a lot of articles. They thought the style of AIR with Melies was worth writing about. But some people were shocked by the anachronism that our music is modern and the movie is old, but I think it’s a good thing, actually. To run some risk. It’s good to do a sort of new make up to the movie.
You also did the soundtrack to Sophia Coppola’s film “The Virgin Suicides,” do you enjoy making soundtracks?
NG: Each time is so different. “The Virgin Suicides” was such a special movie and “Le Voyage” was, too. And if we did another movie compared to that it would be so strange. If we did a silent movie after this one, it would be strange. And after “Virgin Suicide,” it matched so well, the movie and the music matched so well it’s like we touched something, we achieved something amazing. We are concerned that if we did something again that it would have a strange taste. Like it was not as good as what we did. We prefer to do new experiences all the time. Whenever we work on a side project we prefer to work with new people from different backgrounds. So after “Virgin Suicides,” we worked on choreography. We did something with contemporary art. We just finished video game music. When we do an experience on the side, we like to do things that are so special that after it’s hard to repeat it. That’s why we didn’t become soundtrack composers.
It’s really strange the fact that Melies is called a soundtrack when the Virgin Suicides is called a soundtrack when it’s not the same process and its not the same result. It’s a totally different world. It’s the same word “soundtrack” but it has nothing to do with each other. When Sophia needed a theme for the movie, so you write a theme and then you arrange it in different ways throughout the movie. We approached it so differently. But this, it’s a silent movie. The music is the dialogue. The music tells the story. It’s completely different. You have to make different music for each scene, for normal movies you make a theme and you put it in all the scenes. So that’s why I don’t think we like doing soundtracks. I don’t think it’s something we plan to do as a way of life. As a job. We are not film composers. It’s a really intense job. If you decide to do that, you have to organize yourself to do that. You can’t go on tour, you are at the service of someone, and you are not the boss. You have no freedom. But on this project we were completely free. Basically we were writing the music the day before Cannes, so no one could say a word about it. It was a blank screen. We could do whatever we wanted.
Was that liberating? To have a blank screen and be able to do whatever you wanted? Or was it daunting?
NG: It was freeing. We knew, if they don’t like it’s going to be my responsibility. But normally when you do the music for a scene, the next day the scene would be longer or shorter then all your work would be betrayed in a way. That’s why it was so important for us that we knew this was the final edit of the film. That we could sync things very precisely. Like someone building a watch.
You took the soundtrack you created and turned it into a full length album
JD: The other way around. We took an album and turned it into a soundtrack. It’s a hybrid. We had some parts of everything before but we created some original recordings for the soundtrack and added some tracks on to the album and we edited the version of the soundtrack to the album. The result is that when you see the movie you see a lot of heart and emotion because it’s made to be shown with those pictures, but on the other hand if you don’t have access to Melies, if you are listening to the album you will understand where we were and what’s going on. It’s very special. Also tracks were driven by scenes of the movie, if it’s supposed to be a fight or a sad, it will give an emotional impulse to the music. That’s why it gets really crazy at some points. That’s why we have crazy solos at some points.
It seems like Melies is really having a moment right now what with “Hugo” and this film.
NG: Yeah, it’s amazing. I have no idea, this thing with Scorsese. Especially Scorsese, because his film is all about the moon and the rocket. Hugo has this notebook from his dad with directions to build a robot that will draw that moon with the rocket in the eye. It’s this quest throughout the movie. Then at the same time the original movie comes back to life with this restored version. It’s crazy. Wherever he [Melies] is now he must be … He was ignored by everyone and now he’s back! We are really happy to contribute to this phenomenon. I think he deserves that. We wanted to make his movie as entertaining as possible, because for too many years it has been considered a piece of museum work, something to raise your culture, but you would not see that movie for entertainment. But now with the color and the music, you really watch the movie for fun. For us that was the key of success. If the music was successful it was not that we were making great music, but that you watched the movie without any second thought. That would be the key of success, if we managed to do that it would be a good job.
As we approach the festive holidays, surely one of the most important questions is what exactly to pick up your gadget-loving relatives. Luckily IFC is here to help. We’ve sorted through stacks of movies, music, video games, comic books and gadgets to filter out the best gift offerings of 2011. From the return of George Lucas to the original “Walking Dead” and touchscreen-compatible winter gloves, prepare your wallets and take a gander below.
Spacecamp’s very first music video is a heavy dose of impressive superimposition mixed with collage, claymation, stop motion, and oil painting. Director Philip Di Fiore gives the piece a timeless feeling combining a love for old Blue Note record covers with magnificent manipulations of light and perspective.
The song, which comes from the band’s debut EP, “Alibi,” is equally as enthralling. Lyrically, it tells the tale of a boat captain who is running guns and narcotics from Brazil back to the States via the Florida Keys.
Nothing off about that, but then our boat captain is betrayed by his lover. “His boat is boarded by a group of very good soccer players,” the band explains. “They carry golden revolvers and fight valiantly for their heroine (not the drug), Sister Crystalline, also the Captain’s fraudulent bed-mate.”
Who would guess that a gal named Sister Crystalline wouldn’t be on the up and up? An extremely smooth bass groove seems to level things out, but the plot is further complicated, “by the fact that she is the leader of an ancient-mystic-shamanistic-psychotropic religious society.” Spacecamp assures us that, “She probably means well, even though she behaved badly.”
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Vampire Weekend, Yeasayer, Das Racist and more go on a “Dosa Hunt”
Like “Miko D.T.B.” the other songs on “Alibi,” will leave you feeling like you just spent some quality time with The Police, The Clash, and The Talking Heads. Check out a full stream of the band’s EP which released Nov. 22nd on Modern Records, here.
Want to see more Spacecamp? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter or Facebook!
Detroit’s Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr, aka Josh Epstein and Daniel Zott, went to a remote village in Iceland, and after touring the environs in cozy sweaters shot this video in nostalgic hues within the community church. An hour outside of Reykjavík, the village of Sólheimar was founded by a woman in 1930, to be a self-sustainable community. Perhaps the most brilliant aspect of this place, and it’s eco-buildings nestled harmoniously with the natural landscape, is that people of all backgrounds, including the “so-called able and disabled,” are given an opportunity to thrive there, together.
They make what they need within the village at six workshops including a candle maker, potter, weaver, and an herbal workshop that makes all their soaps, and shampoos. Take a gander at this incredible village, through the lens of director Claire Marie Vogel, it’s immense wood chimes, and it’s people amid their organic greenhouses, cafes, and craft workshops to Epstein and Zott’s wonderfully minimal, “Nothing But Our Love.”
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“It’s A Corporate World” released on Quite Scientific Records in conjunction with Warner Bros. in June, building on Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.’s DIY release, the Horsepower EP, which the band recorded in Zott’s basement studio using a single microphone.
Watch for the band hitting the road with Fitz And The Tantrums in January, and on Conan on Jan. 30th.
Did you know that race car driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr endorses the band? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter or Facebook!