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“Steel” Yourself for Vin Diesel Rapping, Breakdancing in the ’80s

“Steel” Yourself for Vin Diesel Rapping, Breakdancing in the ’80s (photo)

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Almost like the midterm elections, America has the opportunity approximately every two years to consider Vin Diesel. He is an elusive movie star, much like Chris Tucker, who has made it easy for audiences to quantify their thoughts about him around the release of the latest entry into the franchise that made them famous and then let it dissipate until the next time around, when the pleasures of the way he says “We got a job” or pronounces “Brazzzzzil” strike the eardrums anew and allow for the air of mystery that’s integral to his appeal as an action star to settle in once more.

So when little bursts of Diesel’s past bubble up to the surface, back from the Manhattan days when he went by Mark Vincent, it’s always a bit fascinating. There was his stint as a nightclub bouncer that led to the name change (and that he subsequently tried to turn into a movie called “Doormen”), the short film “Multi-Facial,” that detailed his struggles as an actor to get parts based on his unidentifiable ethnicity and ultimately landed him his big break in “Saving Private Ryan,” and then today via MSN Movies’ chief film critic Glenn Kenny’s Some Came Running blog, the discovery that Diesel’s gruff monotone was once in service of lines such as “Party people, it’s time to get stupid” as an aspiring rapper.

Hearing Diesel boast “I’m the man of steel” during the three-minute track isn’t exactly a surprise, but as Kenny notes, the idea of him being in the same recording studio as the late experimental composer/musician Arthur Russell in 1986 is. For more on Russell, there’s a wonderful documentary called “Wild Combination,” and since it’s not embeddable, to hear the actual Diesel-Russell collaboration, you’ll also have to proceed to the SoundCloud site of guitarist Gary Lucas here.

What we can offer here is that that breakdancing video Diesel did, probably around the same time (scan to 1:56):

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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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