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Exclusive premiere: State Radio “Big Man”

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State Radio marked the anniversary of the Occupy Movement in September by releasing “Big Man,” their rock and roll indictment of the 1%, cigar puffing, pension killing, corporate welfare types who so endeared themselves to the country in recent years. The song also calls out to the Tunisian fruit vendor who committed suicide by setting himself on fire in the street to protest economic inequality in his country — which set off the so called, Arab Spring.

Economic injustice knows no geopolitical boundaries, and here in the big man’s office where every little whim is indulged, knows no bounds. People toil for the man in a grim dystopian setting where sweat and misery fuel the man’s material pleasures.

 

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“Big Man” is off the band’s “Rabbit Inn Rebellion,” out this past October on Ruff Shod/Nettwerk Records.

Are you toiling for the man? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter or Facebook!

Soap tv show

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: Frightened Rabbit “Here” – The Highlands Film”

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Though Frightened Rabbit are a Scottish band, and proudly so, they had never gotten the chance to take their minstrelsy up into the Highlands until earlier this year. This was no jaunty weekend trip either, no they went on a deep tour of all the old Pictish outposts, premiering and practicing new songs from their upcoming, “Pedestrian Verse,” to small rooms of eager, small town fans. Dunoon, Aviemore, Ullapool, the tremendously woolen, vowel-heavy names of places set in a stunning landscape of crisp water and rugged mountains where bands don’t normally venture.

“It had been an ambition of mine since I started the band to take to Scotland’s outposts to play shows,” singer Scott Hutchison said. “The opportunity took its time to arise, so when it did, it felt silly not to document the whole thing in some way.” It was a dead brilliant idea and a lovely side effect was the panoramic short, “Here,” that they came away with.

“We all felt that the country itself should be the lead in this film, and Scotland did not disappoint,” Hutchison recalled wistfully. Many of their northern kin, fans since the beginning, may have waited five years to see the band live, living so far away and isolated from tour destination cities like Glasgow, the band’s home. “Wonderful people, breathtaking scenery and damn good shows. I feel lucky to have this film to remember it by.” Haste ye back, Frightened Rabbit.

 

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Just a few weeks ago the band announced “Pedestrian Verse,” tracks from which are already proving the album will not live up (or down, as it were) to that name in any literal sense. The songs glimpsed in “Here” are testament to that, especially Hutchison’s solo performance of “State Hospital,” which he gives mid way through this gorgeous film, with verse as powerful as the Highlands are in their vista, looming over the little Scottish town where he sang it.

The album will be out Feb. 5th on Canvasback Music/Atlantic Records.

You haven’t wanted to visit the Highlands more since Christopher Lambert wore a kilt, right? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter or Facebook!

Exclusive premiere: The Cult “Elemental Light” (SALEM Remix)

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The Cult’s Ian Astbury is a deeply visual guy, so when he had a vision of “an eagle being ripped out of sky” by some man made machination, it had to become integral to his next marriage of sound and vision. Director Kostas Seremetis turned the idea into more of a gallery wall piece than a music video, echoing some similar sentiments from an earlier 2007 collaboration between the two called “The Resistance.”

“The sentiment of this film captures the loss of wilderness, and a generation trying to make sense of the trash heap they have inherited,” Astbury said, not pulling his punches. “It evokes nature versus man, that struggle [and] desire to control nature and ultimately death.”

The Cult reached out to SALEM and asked if they’d like to do a remix from “Weapon of Choice.” Remarkably, Astbury said he just used the the email address on an EP he had. It was a shot in the dark for a band notorious for not giving a damn, but then I suppose when some legends come calling, you answer.

 

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Do you feel like you’ve inherited a trash heap too? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter or Facebook!

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