The Friday Hot Sheet

My son learned a new joke -- You wanna hear it?
Q: How come the Pirate couldn't get into the movie?
A: Because it was rated ARRRRRRRRR!
Like my kid needs help being any cuter, but few things are more of a slam-dunk in the "Aww" department than the "little kid tells everyone the same joke and giggles at it more than they do" gambit.

Waitresses especially seem to get a kick out of it -- which is good, since the past seven days have somehow turned into "lets go out to eat" week. Not that I'm complaining -- but between finding a new lunch-buddy at work and the weekly dinner outing with my dad, there's been a lot of restaurant action happening.

Discovering new restaurants (even if they're just ones that are new to me) is a lot like finding new music. The process is exciting. It's an expensive hobby to be sure -- but when you score a hit it makes the whole investment worth it. Good food is an experience that should be shared. Not only for the taste, but for the way it makes conversation flow. Even when it's just me and my little boy, good food gets us laughing and talking about all sorts of things.
Unfortunately, it's also the perfect opportunity for him to tell me this new joke he just learned..
So before I say "Orange you glad I didn't say banana?" -- here are this weeks risers and fallers, and the buzz as it looks from here..
Shrek   The sequel no one asked for -- Shrek Forever After opens this weekend. They say it's going to be the last one in the series -- but I have my fears doubts. There are really no other straight-up family oriented films out right now, and the only other new film opening this weekend is the SNL-skit feature MacGruber (which I've got to admit looks kinda kickass). As a result, I wouldn't be surprised at all if Shrek carries the weekend and puts up huge numbers. Mike Meyers can't seem to buy a non-animated hit anymore (which is a real shame, So I Married an Axe Murderer was inspired brilliance) -- not to mention the fact that every one of the original cast members is still on board at this point (which is rare, especially for a franchise as old as this one). Sure the concept is played out and the jokes are lame, but who really doesn't think there's gonna be another one of these coming out next summer?
 
Daria    Perfectly timed as I'm getting close to finishing up watching Blood: The Last Vampire on Netflix comes word that the long-delayed release of MTV's animated series Daria to DVD is finally here. The holdup apparently had to do with securing the original music licensing rights -- and while I'm glad the creators stuck to their guns to keep the show intact for DVD release, I wonder if all that time past will have an effect. Even though Daria was probably more of a chick show that I'd like to admit, it was for a while one of my favorite things on that network. Beavis and Butthead I suppose was more aimed at me with the metal music and the guy-antics (and I liked that show for what it was), but there was something uniquely cool about the quiet snark of Daria that I always dug a little bit more. At the same time, I can't help but wonder how a show that was so locked into the time frame that it was made in will translate to a viewing now? Will it feel horribly dated, or out of place?
 
Janelle MonáeI'd heard a few Janelle Monáe songs here and there while listening to the Erykah Badu and Outkast stations I keep bookmarked on Pandora. I liked her stuff -- but for whatever reason didn't take the time to get an album or anything. So when I saw a glowing review of her newest disc by Bef over at OHN, I decided to give it a shot and see what all the fuss was about.
Best decision I've made all week.
It's weird saying that considering how glued I already was to the new Deftones and Erykah Badu discs -- but there's a unique flavor to this CD that is so intriguing and fresh that it's been totally overloading on my iPod all week. In fact if anything, I suspect one of the things that I really like about this disc is the exact same thing that others might not enjoy about it -- The ArchAndroid (Suites II and III of IV) is all over the place with different genres and styles.

It's a pop album sprinkled with moments of indie Rock, Crimson and Clover sounding psychedelia, Samba beats, 80's New Wave, Portishead-like melodrama, Lauryn Hill-sounding anthems, Amy Winehouse/Duffy-like Retro Soul, bouncy dance tracks, and even two Orchestral Overtures book-ending each the two individual "suites" that make up the album.
And yet, it all sorta fits together.
In a lot of ways, this is the album I sorta wish Santogold's debut would have been more of. The difference being that Santogold is a band, tied in many ways to the creative limits of their individual members -- where Janelle Monáe is more of a unifying voice swirling above the soundtracks that each of the various producers on the disc (Big Boi, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Chuck Lightning, and Nate "Rocket" Wonder) assembled for her to work with.

For her own part -- Monáe touts The ArchAndroid as the second and third parts of something she calls "The Metropolis concept series" -- which mixes elements of Afrofuturism and science fiction to tell the story of a messianic android featuring lyrical themes of love, identity, and self-realization.
And I know a lot of you are out there thinking, "Oh great,
a hip-hop version of Rush’s 2112. Sounds like a disaster."
But I'm telling you, despite all the different elements and sounds -- The ArchAndroid is light on it's feet, danceable, and addictive as hell. Truth be told, even though the storyline sounds like something straight out of 70's prog-rock -- the "concept" behind the album only surfaces periodically, calling more to mind the use of recurring characters and themes on Parliament Funkadelic albums than anything King Crimson ever came up with.

My only real fear is that this album will fall into the same sort of trap that Gnarls Barkley fell into a few summers back, where the one hit single took off so much that people wanted more and more of that same sound, only to find themselves frustrated and confused by an album that didn't seem to know what it wanted to be, and definitely didn't have another "Crazy" hiding anywhere in it's track listing.
Seriously, if you're looking to get out of a new music rut -- you gotta check this out.
 
Robin HoodI didn't get to this one last week because frankly -- I wasn't all that interested in it either way. But the more I kept hearing about it this week -- the more angry I got about the new Ridley Scott/Russel Crowe version of Gladiator Robin Hood. Much like Shrek, there's a point where you've just sort of got to let things go -- and as much as I love the Robin Hood legend in it's many, many forms -- this just seems like one too many over the line. Remember the Errol Flynn Robin Hood? The Disney version with the Foxes? Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn in Robin and Marian, John Cleese in Time Bandits, or my all-time favorite -- Daffy Duck? This is a story that is meant to be fun. Now it's like a bad joke, which really sucks because it's a story that should be timeless. A story that should be beloved enough to endure re-invention after re-invention. And yet all I could do when I saw the trailers for this was groan.
 
Tell-All   Chuck Palahniuk will always be one of my favorite authors. At best, his work is arresting and thought-provoking, dripping in dark humor and nihilistic characters that seem to slither off the page. Books like Survivor, Lullabye, Diary, and Fight Club dig the reader into stories of characters at personal crossroads who end up taking unusual and frequently anarchic paths to recovery and self-revelation. Unfortunately at his worst, Palahniuk can also appear to be a one-trick pony who revisits themes and framing devices more than a wordsmith of his talent level should ever do. His latest novel hit the shelves a week or so back, and I'm excited to get it -- but ..also pensive. His last few books have (at least for me) been kinda hit or miss. A lot of people say that after a while you should sorta "outgrow" Palahniuk and move on to more mature satirists like Don DeLillo (who rocks) -- But there are few authors out there who can gross me out, make me think, and have me laughing all in the same sentence the way Chuck does. For better or worse, he's been a huge influence on me as a writer, which is why I'm looking forward to cracking the spine on his newest release to at least see where it takes me.
 
MC Chris  For years now, Johnathan Coulton and Parry Gripp have represented alternating beats in the musical heart of Internet nerddom. Their parody songs and video soundtracks have in many ways been the unintentional soundtrack to the rise of viral entertainment (or at least they were until that crazypants ICP song about Fuckin' Magnets [how do they work?] showed up). But to me -- if web geekdom music has a soul, it's MC Chris. From the voice acting he's provided for episodes of Aqua Teen Hunger Force to songs that have been traded back and forth on message boards, he's quietly become a favorite of Star Wars fans, Anime freaks, and stoners the world over. So where does he go from there?
To Twin Peaks, baby.
           

[Listening to:  Jimi Hendrix - "Crosstown Traffic" ]

Comments

unMuse said…
I saw Daria in syndication a few years back and it took me right back to high school - in that warm, fuzzy nostalgic sort of way. In other words, it's still funny and still resonates and tickles inner my inner Jane.
Satorical said…
That's right, I put a Ghostbusters reference in a song about Twin Peaks, now EVERYBODY'S happy!

Woohoo. Outstanding, sir.
Bef said…
I'm so glad you like Janelle Monae...she's full of awesomesauce!!!

I will never steer you wrong in music...

for a person that does not play any instruments....I am quite the music snob
Anitra said…
sick sad world!
JerseySjov said…
the new robin hood was a big "meh" for me, but my friends seemed to like it.

i couldnt remember where i first heard janelle monae but it seems likely it was here :)