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SUMMER FEST UPDATE ’08: Lollapalooza Wrap-Up

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It is really difficult to accurately recap a destination summer music festival with 120+ acts over 3 days. Something is always going to be missed. Schedules may be released with enough time for any festivalgoer to make careful decisions about where they want to be at any given time, but plans change. A band sounds terrible, so you walk a quarter-mile to another stage where your second choice is playing. You get a text message that something absolutely cannot be missed. Or maybe you just feel like being in the shade instead of the scorching sun with thousands of other people. It’s just how big music festivals are.

(left: James, somewhere in that mass of people, braves the 3-day marathon of music known as Lollapalooza.)

So today I’ll highlight a few of the unexpected delights from Lollapalooza 2008:

There are no surprises when Radiohead presents an amazing light show (because they sure aren’t very entertaining to watch from two hundred feet away otherwise), but it is unexpected when fireworks at Soldier Field unintentionally synchronize with “Fake Plastic Trees.” The sky lights up as Thom Yorke belts out “She looks like the real thing / She tastes like the real thing.” Everyone who’s far enough back to see the fireworks (and not the band member’s facial expressions) gets a little added bonus when a great moment becomes transcendent.

MGMT, Booka Shade, DeVotchka
During one of Saturday’s ridiculous time slot battles between MGMT, Booka Shade and DeVotchka, I plan to catch parts of each. Five minutes into MGMT, they seem overwhelmed by the large audience and the sound-bleed from Booka Shade lures me over. I never make it to see DeVotchka because the Berlin electronic group has pristine sound, a thumping beat and a great crowd–dancing like it’s their business for an entire hour–that may be the best live house music I’ve ever heard in daylight.

Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings
Later on Saturday, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings perform one of the tightest sets of the festival highlighted by one audience member getting his groove on with the 52-year old soul singer and Chicago legend Syl Johnson performing one of his own songs with the Dap-Kings.

Chromeo, Perry Farrell & Slash
Walking to Chromeo on Sunday afternoon, I was distracted by an absurdly large audience at the relatively off-path Kidz Stage. After snaking my way through the crowd for a better view, I noticed Paul Green’s School of Rock performing “Jane Says.” Normally, there’d be nothing extraordinary about this. But when Perry Farrell and Slash are also playing, it grabs some attention. (Is it really a great idea for Slash to be smoking on this stage?)

Mark Ronson
Mid-afternoon Sunday I was informed that Mark Ronson was planning to have numerous guests, basically turning his set into a live Version. Some guests I’d been told about weren’t there, but plenty of others were: Candie Payne, Rhymefest, Kenna, Daniel Merriweather, Plastic Little, Phantom Planet (who even had time to play “California” with Ronson on piano) and Tawiah. Even though Ronson’s name was on the bill, it was the guests, particularly Rhymefest, who made this one of the weekend’s most fun sets.

Kanye West, NIN
Closing out the festival was by far the worst scheduling conflict–Kanye West and Nine Inch Nails on opposite ends of Grant Park. How exactly are people supposed to choose between these two titans?! On one end is a hometown rapper trying to make up for the bad press he received at Bonnaroo. The Glow in the Dark show is scaled back just a bit, but the energy is obviously there and Kanye owns the crowd with “Good Morning” (I’ve never in my life seen so many bodies bouncing) and “Can’t Tell Me Nothing”/”Flashing Lights” back-to-back with the stage lit up so bright that anyone in a downtown sky-rise can see it. Meanwhile, on the other end, Trent Reznor presents an equally impressive light spectacular as he and the band tear through 20+ years of history. He closes the set with “Head Like a Hole” and returns for an encore that features a short statement about the first Lollapalooza in 1991 and not thinking he’d even be alive seventeen years later. The night ends with “Hurt” and “In This Twilight” just as curfew hits. Another Lollapalooza’s in the books.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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