Friday, March 27, 2009

This types of Schiff Happens...not to suck

All kinds of stupid shit sucks, but here is some of the stuff that positively did not suck this week. If you're not on the list, try to do better on Monday.

[You're fuckin out!] Eastbound and Down ended its first season, which was the farthest thing from suck on TV in a long time. The show needs a second season to fully run its course, so here's to the glorious return of Kenny Powers (that week, whenever it happens, will also not suck). Something that kind of sucked was the end of Flight of the Conchords for what, in my opinion, will be forever (until they make a movie, which will definitely not suck). I'm glad I was on board for the entire run of this show, and will miss them when they're farming in England or whatever.

[They Took 'er Jobs!] This week's South Park was, I thought, the best it has been in a while. It certainly did not suck. I blogged about it a little for Pink Slipped, and I'm too lazy to get into many details right now. All I'll say is South Park solved the economy--it still doesn't make any sense. That and, "They took our jobs!" This was my favorite scene.

[Teaching Shaq To Twitter] I can only assume I'm not the only one of Shaq's 430,000something followers who crossed over to the Twitterverse to learn from its most Shaqtastic big man. Naturally I have incredible respect for Kathleen Hessert, founder and president of Sports Media Challenge, but most importantly "The woman who taught Shaq how to Tweet." From the bottom of my heart, Kathleen Hessert, thank you. Without you, there would be no games of twag, insomniac bathroom breaks, or gems like this from the Big Aristotle. Our lives are forever richer for it.

[It's Funny Because It's Twue] Speaking of twitter, this cartoon also helped fill our week with something other than suck. That fail whale is one scary fish. Mammal, whatever.
(It's actually so on point that it hurts a little bit if you twitter. Which...some of us do...)

[Fists Full of Childhood Awesome] The only thing that sucks about this item is that I'm the last person to post it. But let's not have such a sucky attitude about it. You've already seen the Where The Wild Things Are trailer, but you haven't seen it here yet, and you know you're going to watch it every time you see it somewhere for the first time because this trailer is effing beyond. It's just beyond. Maybe the best children's story ever, directed by Spike Jonze, beautiful footage edited seamlessly to Arcade Fire's "Wake Up." For real for real--can I coin #WTWTAFTW ??
I'll tell you this much right now: Schiff Happens birthday party = Where The Wild Things Are.
(I'll be psyched for this at 26, which speaks to what a masterpiece Maurice Sendak's book is. But imagine if I were turning plain old 6 in October. BEST birthday party EVERRR!)

[Winner] Flying sucks. Flying with this guy doing the safety announcement sucks a whole lot less. Well done, sir.

And this has been stuff that didn't suck this week. You know what's not making next week's cut? This post. Schiff, out.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bonnaroo comedians and artist additions [For me to poop on!]

If you haven't visited this spot in a minute -- and judging by the attendance, you haven't! -- you may not know that I have been whining for several days now that Bonnaroo needs to announce their comedy lineup, and specifically that Flight of the Conchords should be amongst said lineup. I could have saved myself the trouble by simply checking the Bonnaroo site and seeing that they were there in 2007, and even as I was whining I knew an email/announcement would come today, but I got indignant about it anyway and so I felt extra psyched when I saw this update on the Bonnaroo site earlier:
We are proud to announce several additional artists for the 2009 event, rounding out an already stellar lineup. Festival producers, Superfly Presents and A.C. Entertainment are also proud to announce another incredible lineup of today's top comedians!

Public Enemy
Ani DiFranco
Amadou & Mariam
Shadows Fall
Heartless Bastards

Tony Rice Unit
High On Fire
Passion Pit
Dillinger Escape Plan
Wailing Souls
The Itals

White Rabbits
Janelle MonĂ¡e
Pretty Lights

We are also proud to feature a dynamic host of national headlining comics in its ever-popular seated, air-conditioned comedy venue, “The Comedy Sweet,” presented by Butterfinger.

Jimmy Fallon
Triumph the Insult Comic Dog Presents Bonnapoo 2009
An Evening (or Afternoon) with the Daily Show featuring John Oliver & Rob Riggle
Michael Ian Black & Michael Showalter
Aziz Ansari
Kristen Schaal
Arj Barker
Todd Barry
Rory Albanese

Wayne Federman

Nick Thune
Nick Kroll
Kurt Braunohler
Amy Schumer
Kumail Nanjiani
Pete Homes
I'll get to music in a minute, but I have to say a little something on comedy first. Comedy at Bonnaroo has definitely come along way since it was first added in 2005. Coincidentally, that was also my first (and only) Bonnaroo experience, and my lone memory of the comedy tent is tweaking and running away because the opening comic's 5-minute bit of nothing but fart noises was just not making nice time with the happy place my mind was in. I never did see Charlie Murphy's act, which I regret to this day every time I crack up at his impeccable performances.

That was a long time ago, though. Bonnaroo has done such an excellent job incorporating comedy into the festival scape, that the comedy card is now almost as much anticipated as the music lineup. And despite my impatience and aforementioned whining, this year's comedy slate (air-conditioned comedy slate!) is as good as any, in my opinion, for both its quirky variety and star power.

So I didn't exactly get my wish of Flight of the Conchords, but I got the Third Conchord (Todd Barry), Dave (Arj Barker) and the Fan base (Kristen Schaal). For reals, Mel! Sweet, psychotic Mel! I love the Evening (or Afternoon) with the Daily show and the late night war at the top of the bill between Jimmy Fallon and longtime Conan favorite Triumph the Insult Dog. You may not like him on Late Night, but the Bonnaroo stage is one that Fallon should be able to own. Will ?uestlove and the Roots crew appear to help him slow jam the news? Smellson, any rumors? And what about Triumph? BonnaPOO--genius! Who saw that coming? The abundance of Springsteen's New Jersey fans should give Triumph a chance to revisit one of his funnier moments of all time, embedded for your delight below as a reminder that we stand a mere 77 days from Bonnaroo.

Thanks to Wednesday's artist additions, the list of words and phrases I will spend all of Bonnaroo weekend screaming has grown from "BRUUUUCE," "BEEEee-eaAAT....DROP!" and "CACTUS!!" to now include "FOR ME TO POOP ON!" and... ::sits down, takes deep breath::


Public Enemy, bitches! This year's 'Roo lineup already had me all in, but the chance to see your boy Flav live and in person is one of those artist additions that just puts a festival over the top. Winner.

Though there are other artists among the additions that make Bonnaroo extra awesome, Public Enemy is the biggest deal to me personally. I cannot wait to witness Chuck D's powerful flow and Flava Flav's batshit crazy, creeper status antics live on stage. I really can't think of a better venue for a Public Enemy set than a 90,000 person festival.

If I wasn't hyped enough for Bonnaroo, they go and bring out the greatest hype man there ever was. Now if we could only find Elliott a slot on one of the small stages and reunite these two great showmen...

I think I just blew my own mind.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sean Singletary still matters, even if the Hoos still suck

Much like the time I had to defend Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, to a couple of guys who claim to be from New Jersey, on Friday night I had to defend the greatest Hoo ever to a guy I was once proud to call a fellow alumnus.

I can only attribute this to the fact that he was wasted and had just finished watching a crazy end to the first round of another NCAA Tourney bereft of our beloved UVA. It wears on you when your alma mater is mired in mediocrity, but not so long ago there were good times, of which the Rossman and I vociferously tried to remind this Wahoo wannabe. Times when a man wearing number 44 roamed the backcourt and willed the Cavaliers to glory time and time again. "That team was good!" we protested. "He was All-ACC First Team three times!" we shouted. But it felt like our former friend didn't want to hear any of it, as if all the losing and lack of direction had worn him down to the point of apathy.

After completing one of our worst seasons in recent memory and firing our head coach, those times really do feel like glory days of long ago, and I'll admit that it makes me start to wonder if things will ever turn around for the Hoos. And this is sad, because as trivial, or "jocular" like our current University President likes to say, as you think sports may be, one should never have to speculate (as Rich and I sadly did Friday night, if only for a moment) whether he will live to see his favorite sports team win a championship (or in the college hoops scheme, make a Final Four run). Sadly, right now, I'd be happy just to be still watching Wahoo basketball, even if it meant we were stuck in some meaningless, you weren't even average enough to make the NIT, consolation tournament.

I just really want to believe that it's worth it to stick with my Hoos. I wouldn't give up, but I don't view it as a choice. To me, being an alum, is akin to being married -- you're stuck in unquestioning loyalty for life. UVA will always have my love and support, but I need to know that Sean Singletary mattered, that what he achieved won't flame out for nothing and future generations of Wahoos won't be mired in the same old mediocrity.

And what do you think I found to restore my faith? That's right, the commentary of a self-righteous, obnoxious, inflammatory and 86% hilarious sports blog. Imagine how reaffirming it must be to Bradley fans everywhere to see the headline "CIT Tournament Not Completely Useless." "Because the most-thrilling endings only happen in games that aren't televised," snarkitizes Dashiell Bennett. Lofty words. True words.

Words that reminded me of another one of the greatest college hoops moments you never saw, another reason why it still matters--another reason to keep blind faith alive: The time when Sean Singletary scored 6 points in 23 seconds to put the Cavaliers into the semifinals of the innaugural College Basketball Invitational. That's right, the CBI. This happened, my friends. May you, and I, and drunken UVA alums who have forgotten what a man Sean Singletary was never forget it. Hold onto your regular boring old shoes (as opposed to the dancin' variety), because you're about to witness a great moment in pointless, made up postseason college basketball tournaments!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Flight of the Conchords, Easbound and Down end, one maybe forever? [the one without music, kind of]

Even as I watched last night, I knew that Flight of the Conchords might be coming to an end (SPOILER ALERT...damn I hate that "spoiler alert" bullshit. Am I really spoiling anything? You're gonna watch it or not regardless. Bah, anyway). I dutifully watched on, and I have to say that if their tale ends where it started -- as two lonely deadbeat shepherds, tending their flock in the New Zealand countryside with nothing but the music inside to guide them -- then godspeed, Conchords. I will miss them if they're gone, but I consider my life enriched for having joined them for their short time on my HBO.

The (potential) ending of Flight of the Conchords... forever (reviewed here). <---That would be the previously alerted spoiler. I claimed lack of funds when tickets for their Radio City shows went on sale, and now that we may have said our final goodbye to HBO Conchords, I'm kind of wishing I were going to see Live Conchords in April. I haven't received an email from Bonnaroo in about a week, and they still haven't announced any comedy acts, so this will be my Bonnaroo mention for the day (no artist countdown today. Schiff Happens may have been a musical collection back in the day, but I don't want anyone to feel like they can't come here and read something without me telling them what music to listen to). It's something I've said before, but since this could be the last time I see New Zealand's fourth most popular folk comedy duo, I must say it again. Bonnaroo, do the right thing and get Brett and Jemaine on the comedy stage. The fanbase will definitely show up.

If Flight of the Conchords is indeed over, then I hope that its end means the beginning of what I want to believe will be a great comedy series, Eastbound and Down. After spending this entire first season trying to get behind the notion that the down on his luck, sack of shit, John Rocker-inspired Kenny Powers could actually redeem himself, we find out that the lowest depths of his loserdom are yet to come. I can't wait to see what kind of hell he's capable of raising when he's truly down. Plus, I gotsta see me some more of April Bigcannons (who by the way lost a bunch of weight by the end of the season. Way to go, Katy Mixon, you are indeed a babe--6:10 is the magic mark in the link, best YouTube has to offer). I'll be tuned in the next time that mullet rolls back into town.

Kenny Powers is a winner. He's a fucking bulletproof tiger. And that's why he'll be back on top, soon enough.

The best part of HBO, of course, is that there are no commercials. However, there are 2 commercials out right now that I will watch any day:

The McDonald's filet-o-fish commercial might have almost worn out its welcome during the first 2 rounds of the NCAA tournament, when it was on incessantly, but when great intellects from Wale to The Chad tell me they can't get enough of this, I'm forced to pay attention.

Tell me you haven't found yourself alone in your home, doing some mundane task, and without warning letting out a rendition of that time-honored hook. "Give me that fiiiish!"

Next, my childhood hero has been reduced to a chocolate-shilling, slightly doughier version of his former self, but Patrick acts the same way he played -- with the heart of a warrior. "What's up, Ryan?" That's how you dominate.

How can you not love the center, at seven feet from Georgetown, throwing it down in full knee pads?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The one where I see David Byrne's Big Suit

Great day for Los Schiffs Saturday. Baby bro turned 16, which just blows my mind. He got a classic 16th birthday present: his first electric guitar. Both middle bro and I got a visit from the Papa Schiff Chuck Wagon, and the whole family roadshow kept it rockin with a visit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Annex in Soho.

I've visited the Rock Hall in Cleveland, but never the one on Mercer Street, despite the fact that I have walked past the Annex many times on my way to and from work. It was a fun little space with many great artifacts to look at. The tour is accompanied by a headset which reacts to sensors around the museum exibits and plays songs by the artists you're looking at. My favorites, not necessarily in order:

1. Bruce Springsteen's '57 Chevy, purchased in 1975 for $2000
2. Johnny Cash's spangled n' studded black leather cowboy boots
3. Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel's letters to each other from Camp Lake Vu in New Brunswick, NJ.
4. John Lennon's piano (with "Imagine" playing in the headphones. I stood and stared, dumbfounded, at this for several minutes)

Stop Making Sense is probably my all-time favorite concert movie. I was mesmerized by it from the opening strains of "Psycho Killer" and dove face-first into the Talking Heads immediately after the final notes of "Crosseyed and Painless." It was an incredible joy to turn around a corner at the Annex and see David Byrne bending and bouncing around as the movie played on what I thought was just a big screen embedded in the Talking Heads exhibit. But my heart truly went aflutter when the image of the film faded to reveal behind a glass window... the suit!

During said Talking Heads obsession, I developed a pretty mean David Byrne impression and eventually developed a not so secret desire to dance around in the big suit and bust out "Girlfriend Is Better." Mr. Byrne himself will be performing a set at Bonnaroo this year, and though I wouldn't dare try to upstage him by wearing his iconic outfit to his set, there's another artist on the bill who welcomes and encourages costumed audience members. Bonnaroo just keeps giving me more and more signs that this is the year I must return.

I admit that I definitely need to brush up on Byrne's solo work, and I'm excited to get into it. That being said, he's bound to bust out a few choice Heads jams, and I'll cheer loudly. Hey solo David Byrne, what do you think of Big Suit David Byrne? I'd like to write a song about hairdos...

I said it last Sunday, and I'll say it now since the season (series?) finale just wrapped up not too long ago. Flight of the Conchords need to stage their hit B'way show at B'roo. Hippies won't care if you're illegal immigrants -- they have their own priors to worry about.

Also, open of tonight's Eastbound & Down finale, FTW!!