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Exclusive premiere: Megan Reilly “Old Man and the Bird”

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Watercolors come to life in Megan Reilly’s gorgeous little ditty about a songbird who can’t be caged. The Memphis-born belle moved to New York at age 23 and released two critically acclaimed albums, but her latest, “The Well,” is her first in five years. Director Katie Kapuza created the animation for this duet with folk singer-songwriter John Wesley Harding from 1,100 separate images, taking a photo after each brush stroke.

“Old Man and the Bird is a song about a lecherous old man trying to coax a beautiful songbird through his window and into his cage,” Reilly said. The singer and impressed Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth, who helped guide her through the early stages of her career in NYC, but she has since moved out of the city and had a child.

“It’s a duet with john Wesley Harding who also penned the song and we rehearsed it only once in the studio before recording it,” Reilly added. “I always love singing with him and was ecstatic to have a song of his on my record. I think it’s always a good thing to break out of the mold you create when you write your own songs.”

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“The Well” is out now on Carrot Top Records.

Do you feel lecherous? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter or Facebook!

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As the Spoof Turns

15 Hilarious Soap Opera Parodies

Catch the classic sitcom Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

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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

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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

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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.


3. Fresno

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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.


4. Soap

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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)

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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15. All My Children Finale, SNL

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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.

Exclusive premiere: Caroline “Waltz”

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Okinawa-born chanteuse, Caroline Lufkin (formerly of Mice Parade) is releasing a remix of her “Verdugo Hills” album today, with re-imaginings from her peers including, Eluvium, Dntel, Her Space Holiday, and Mice Parade. To celebrate, we have a video shot in Tokyo from the original record, already out on Temporary Residence.

Director Sunny Peabody (“Beauty and the Beat“) described the video was a “small thank you to Caroline for introducing me to my wife,” and recounted how the singer had introduced them at the Apple store where he worked. “Little did I know that day, I’d sell a computer to the woman I would marry, and also become close friends with Caroline. It wasn’t long before I’d discover that she wasn’t only good at playing cupid but she was an amazing musician as well.”

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Sunny and wife arrived in Tokyo on an unrelated trip, but set aside two days to make the video. “Originally we were going to shoot ‘Gone,'” Caroline recalled, “One of my other tunes, but the gloomy weather clashed with the scenes we had in mind. So, we scraped it all, and the next day Sunny came in with a new plan… I really didn’t know what was happening until we were on set.”

“Caroline and I didn’t discuss to much about the meaning of the song and she left it open for me to interpret as I would,” Sunny said. In doing so he took the intimacy of the song and tied it inextricably with the city of Tokyo. “Many lives have been lived there and you can
feel the presence of an older world under all the newly paved streets and modern buildings. There was nothing eerie about it, but rather comforting knowing that you are surrounded and almost embraced by a spiritual world older and wiser then you. There is just this amazing energy running through the city inhabiting in the people, in the trees, in the air.”

Sunny envisioned Caroline as spirit “in search of a connection to the world she once knew.” She wanders and searches, but ultimately lets go, eventually resting in peace, in Tokyo.

“Giving control of creativity, direction and production to Sunny was exciting and necessary,” Caroline said. “As a visitor, Sunny was seeing Tokyo with fresh eyes and feeling something unique and new. I loved seeing that magic carry over into the video.”

Would you like to remix Caroline too? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter or Facebook!

Exclusive: Elizaveta “Meant”

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Russian-American songstress, Elizaveta, is releasing an iTunes Session EP this morning and for the first time iTunes is also including a live video for each song recorded during the session. We have a peek of the EP opener, “Meant,” showing the singer off at the piano, her pretty head decorated with headphones, full of flowers and vocal power.

“When I arrived at Capitol Studios, I was told that it was Paul McCartney who did the iTunes Live Session the previous week — right there in studio A,” Elizaveta beamed. “Needless to say, I was quite intimidated! Also a year prior I was able to be there, in studio A, watching my producer Greg Wells work with Burt Bacharach on his record. I thought ‘Oh, I would love to record in here.’ And a year later almost to the day — I did. And with strings! So dreams do come true.”

 

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The songs on the Session EP are five selections from Elizaveta’s acclaimed debut album, “Beatrix Runs,” plus a sixth track, a cover of George Michael’s “Hand to Mouth.” Elizaveta opened for Sinead O’Connor in the UK and will be performing July 20th at Rockwood Music Hall in NYC and July 26th at The WitzEnd in LA.

Want more Elizaveta live? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter or Facebook!

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