Berlin-based songwriter Masha Qrella has announced the release of her long-awaited album, Analogies, which will be out on June 5th with Morr Music. This album marks her first original studio material since 2005, which is seven years too long for fans of Qrella’s diverse and dramatic indie rock. As a founding member of Berlin-based bands Mina and Contriva, Qrella is an old hand at making compellingly catchy tunes that veer all over the musical spectrum from lighthearted pop to breezy folk-inflected tunes to mesmerizing guitar rock. She first stepped out as a singer/songwriter in her own right with the release of her first solo album “Luck.” After two more full-lengths, one of which, “Speak Low,” was a collection of beautifully-rendered Kurt Weill and Frederick Loewe cover songs, Qrella finally returned to the studio. Her latest LP, Analogies, is a timeless album full of lilting tunes and riotous emotions. Whatever Qrella has been doing the last six years, she has imbued these life experience into the new album creating a genuine and more mature work, which will thrill old fans and surely earn her new ones.
Today we are premiering the video for “Take Me Out.” The song is part of the soundtrack for an intense award-winning documentary “Meine Freiheit, Deine Freiheit” about women in prison, which premieres this week after garnering buzz on the festival circuit. The song is pure Qrella, a distinct and thrilling singer songwriter stylishness with just enough pop loops to keep you on your toes and rock beats to knock you over. It’s an impeccable return for Qrella and we hope she doesn’t take another six years before making more music.
Let’s face it: sex is innately funny. Body parts squishing together is always a recipe for potential awkwardness. So it’s only natural that Hollywood has mined the beast with two backs for comedy since the mid-1950s. With Gigi getting her groove back on this week’s Gigi Does It, we thought we’d spotlight the 10 most hilariously awkward sex comedies ever lensed, from scifi parodies to touching teen romances.
Set in the 1950s, Bob Clark’s 1981 hit comedy follows a group of high school kids who want to lose their virginity, and travel to a nightclub in the Florida Everglades to do it. This kicks off a string of comical events that includes a “peeping on the girls locker room” scene that has been endlessly homaged and parodied. Porky’s was a massive critical flop on release, but thanks to VHS and cable airings it became a sweaty ’80s classic.
9. The Virginity Hit
The 2010 comedy The Virginity Hit takes the found footage approach from flicks like Paranormal Activity and transplants it into the much scarier world of high school sex and YouTube humiliation. This underrated movie laid the groundwork for a potential “third wave” of sex comedies.
8. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask)
Woody Allen took a bestselling advice book and transformed it into this episodic comedy that cast a baleful eye on sex in the Free Love decade. The stellar cast (Gene Wilder! Burt Reynolds! Lynn Redgrave!) deliver some of the bits that rank among the best in Allen’s career. The rapid-fire pace lets The Woodman touch on all manner of sexual deviancy, and the movie’s climax — in which the director plays a sperm getting ready to blast off into the throes of orgasm – is one of cinema’s most iconic moments.
South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have never shied away from getting explicit, and their NC-17 sex comedy was an early taste of the duo’s outrageous humor. A young Mormon missionary comes to Los Angeles to try and save souls and winds up getting hired to star in a superhero-themed porno. When his costar invents a ray gun that gives people orgasms, all Hell (and hilarity) breaks loose.
This Judd Apatow-produced hit brought teen comedies into the age of the overshare with its mix of teenage awkwardness, uproarious gags and a healthy bromance between leads Michael Cera and Jonah Hill.
5. American Pie
The second great era of sex comedies kicked off in 1999 with this remarkably ribald ensenble flick about a quartet of friends trying to lose their virginity before they graduate high school. American Pie takes its name from the scene where Jason Biggs gets caught in a compromising position with some pastry, but the movie has multiple unforgettable bits, particularly Alyson Hannigan’s reverie about band camp.
4. There’s Something About Mary
The Farrelly Brothers cemented their position as a comedic powerhouse with this still hilarious Ben Stiller/Cameron Diaz rom com. Rarely has a film that involves testicular injury and unfortunate choices in hair gel been so sweet.
3. The 40-Year-Old Virgin
Judd Apatow proved that sex comedies aren’t just for teens with his breakthrough big screen comedy which cast Steve Carell as the titular middle-aged virgin. Although there’s plenty of erotic tomfoolery in this flick, it’s the real sense of heart and emotional consequence that makes it a classic.
2. The Girl Next Door
The normalization of pornography has drastically changed the way we think about sex, and 2004’s The Girl Next Door wrings tons of laughs from what happens when dirty movies hit a little too close to home. Elisha Cuthbert is the not-so-innocent girl next door who helps Emile Hirsch find new purpose in his life. A surprisingly dark and high-quality outing for a film that was marketed as “American Porn.”
1. The Graduate
Single-handedly responsible for introducing the concept of the “MILF” to American culture, Mike Nichols’ 1967 comedy features genre-defining performances from Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft as a recent college graduate and the older woman he hooks up with. Sex is integral to The Graduate‘s plot and premise — it’s the fulcrum of the emotional conflict, not just thrown in for titillation, making for one of the best comedies of all time.
This week on an all-new Benders, Paul (Andrew Schulz) decides it’s time to renounce beer and give the sober life a whirl. There’s a first time for everything, right? And if it gives him a chance to one up Anthony (Chris Distefano) in a new hockey division, that’s even better. Meanwhile, Karen (Lindsey Broad) hosts a book club and it goes about as well as you’d expect. Who knew book clubs don’t have keggers? See what unfolds this Thursday, October 15th, starting at 10P.
Then on Gigi Does It, everyone’s new favorite bubby decides it’s time to tackle her body image issues. And what better way than to volunteer to pose nude for a local art class? Brace yourself for Gigi’s inner (and outer) beauty Thursday at 10:30P.
Finally, Jurassic World and Married star Judy Greer stops by Comedy Bang! Bang!to show off the unique auditioning skills that have helped her to score roles in every movie and TV show. Plus, Kid Cudi gets into a hockey rivalry. Maybe a Benders crossover is in his future? Find out by tuning into Comedy Bang! Bang! in its NEW TIME SLOT, Thursday at 11P
A great Halloween episode is like terrific fan fiction. Our beloved characters are thrust into a spooky predicament beyond their normal scope of storylines while wearing garish outfits and fearing for their lives. The annual tradition on-screen is a reflection of the holiday’s appeal in real life: A chance to see the familiar skew towards the garish and macabre.
Fun, scary, and memorable, here are the 10 best Halloween episodes of all time.
10. That ’70s Show, “Halloween”
The siren song of an abandoned building on Halloween lures the That ’70s Show gang to their burned-out grammar school where they discover their old permanent records. Secrets and backstories are revealed, such as Jackie’s middle name, Kelso’s real age, and an act of vandalism committed by a 7-year-old Eric which followed Hyde around his entire life.
9. Freaks and Geeks, “Tricks and Treats”
Expertly capturing the dilemma of kids too old to trick-or-treat but too young for drunken holiday revelry (legally, at least), Freaks and Geeks brings us back to the youthful pursuit of making the most out of Halloween. Wannabe freak Lindsay opts for petty vandalism while Sam and his geeky pals are humiliated by their costumed rounds through the neighborhood. On the plus side, Bill makes a very stately Bionic Woman.
8. Quantum Leap, “The Boogieman”
Leaping into a horror writer’s life in 1964, Sam plays detective as the people around him start dying, Al’s not quite himself, and a goat keeps appearing. The grisly plot culminates to a legitimately unsettling climax that’s as scary as it is funny (seriously, it’s hard to describe) and we find out the neighborhood boy goes on to become somebody very familiar.
7. Cheers, “Bar Wars V: The Final Judgement”
On Halloween, the bar’s longtime rivalry with Gary’s Olde Towne Tavern is curiously called off when Gary reveals his heart can’t take it — literally. But Sam, not buying the medical diagnosis, stages an elaborate (and in reality, logistically impossible) prank involving Carla’s holographic head that may have caused Gary to kick the bucket. (There’s a humorous callback to this episode in the following season’s “Bar Wars” episode.)
6. Amazing Stories, “Mummy Daddy”
Over a decade before Wes Craven upended horror movie tropes with Scream, this episode of the tragically short-lived Steven Spielberg-produced anthology series blurs the line between myth and Hollywood when an actor playing a mummy is pursued by (and mistaken for) an actual mummy. Pure pulp fun if only for the image of a mummy riding horseback.
5. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “Fear, Itself”
Mixing a little Scarecrow villainry into the Whedonverse, this episode has Buffy and the gang attending a Halloween frat party where a demon that feeds on fear subjects everyone to their greatest nightmares. A delightful writing exercise that exposes each character’s weaknesses and doubts, “Fear, Itself” is prime Buffy entertainment.
4. MacGyver, “Halloween Knights”
Less of an episode of television than a convergence of all things great, MacGyver is coerced into joining forces with longtime nemesis and super-assassin Murdoc when his former hitman employers kidnap his sister and threaten to execute her at a posh Halloween party. Complete with a booby-trapped funhouse and thinly veiled references to Raiders of the Lost Ark, this is hands down one of the greatest episodes from the series.
3. Roseanne, “BOO!”
Kicking off an annual tradition of Halloween with the Conners, “BOO!” from season two of Roseanne showcases the family’s obsession with the holiday and the lengths to which they celebrate it. For a family just scraping by and the viewers who watch them, it’s a cathartic outlet and an excuse to let freak flags fly. And from the first holiday go-around, it’s instantly clear the show will do it again and again.
2. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, “Who Got Dee Pregnant?”
Narrowly edging out season eight’s stellar, McPoyle-infested “Maureen Ponderosa Wedding Massacre,” season six’s “Who Got Dee Pregnant?” represents the very best of the Paddy’s Pub crew. Dee reveals she’s pregnant and the gang engage in drunken flashbacks Rashomon-style to determine who the father could be. Featuring the sexual exploits of the always-awesome Artemis, as well as Frank dressed as the canon-busting Man-Spider, “Who Got Dee Pregnant?” is top-notch.
1. The Simpsons, “Treehouse of Horror V”
Picking your favorite child would be far easier than picking your favorite Simpsons Halloween special — though they tend to be earlier seasons, don’t they? However, “Treehouse of Horror V” from season six is simply too fantastic to be topped. Between the classic Shining parody, Homer’s time-traveling advice from his father on his wedding night, and Groundskeeper Willie constantly getting an axe in the back, you can’t find a better way to ring in October 31st than this half hour.
Freddy Krueger first grabbed America’s attention with the Nightmare On Elm Street films – and later grabbed cash with a TV series, a Nintendo game, a 1-900 number, toys, dolls, a board game and a pinball machine. But despite the corny spin-offs, the Elm Street movies left psychic scars on a generation of horror fans. Before you catch IFC’s Nightmare on Elm Street movie marathon this Halloween, see how well you know the Freddy films.