Monday, March 31, 2008

the new journalism

The Daily Iowan will soon be taking a new approach to da news. Personally I think this could be really great.

In other news (HA! punny!)(not really though), the word "chillax" has yet to come into style since my last post about this subject on January 29. In case we missed the memo, this word was banned that day. We'll go ahead and file this one in the same drawer as Napoleon Dynamite quotes, Anchorman quotes, people who wear Crocs (exception: my mother), complete tools on the Cambus who yell into their cell phones, people who think Garfield is funny (not Garfield without Garfield though.), girls who make kissy faces in pictures in a not ironic way, and girls who take their own Facebook profile pictures a la Myspace style (also done not ironically). Barf.

Just 4 u:
Go watch these movies:
Michael Clayton. Into the Wild.
Go listen to these songs:
"Hard Sun"- Eddie Vedder Into the Wild
"I am the Walrus"- Bono with the Secret Machines from Across the Universe
"Black Thumbnail"- Kings of Leon from Because of the Times

One last thing before I sign off and go ace my next Portuguese quiz: how cruel is it, really, that we have to wait until APRIL 23 for a new LOST episode? Holy smoke monsters and polar bears.

Be still my arts & culture hormones, be still.
-Ann, who fully advocates the free use of Benadryl and all diuretics as coping mechanisms

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Hate homework? Love music?

So my GPA may have met one of its biggest threats last week when I rediscovered the Daytrotter website's free mp3s while doing research for the upcoming DI Mission Creek series. I subsequently ended up spending the next two hours downloading as much music as possible instead of working on the many more pressing items on the day's agenda.

In case you don't remember the DI article on Daytrotter from September, Daytrotter is a music/entertainment website out of Rock Island, Ill. that records special sessions of musicians' songs and releases them online for free. The mp3 count is now up to 925 songs and includes many artists coming to Iowa City this week for the Mission Creek Music Festival. If you're unfamiliar with some of the artists playing Mission Creek - such as Fourth of July, Baby Teeth, Headlights, These United States, Poison Control Center, The Walkmen, or White Rabbits - Daytrotter offers a quick four-song sampling of all of these artists to download. This is a really easy way to get yourself up-to-date on the Mission Creek lineup, but beware the Daytrotter addiction that may ensue.

Just go to and block off the rest of your afternoon.

See you at the shows!


Friday, March 21, 2008

Times and the Timeless

It's sort of a treasure when you hear something that is worth quoting at a later date. It's like you nabbed a special little something that you can reveal whenever you chose, provided no one else was listening in. And even when others were listening, for instance: quoting movie lines i.e. "Rule #41, 'No Excuses. Play like a champion," you can't help but throw that in conversation at the most inopportune moment. 
But I think we can all agree on this one. A poorly placed "That's what she said" can ruin any ones night.
Repetition aside, I was scouring Facebook today (like I know we all do when we're home alone for Spring Break instead of in Cancun getting trashed or whatever), I came upon a great line from Ms. Coco Chanel. Let's face it, the woman is a legend. A guru on all things chic, but I had no idea that she was so articulate when it comes to life mottoes.
Drum role please — "A girl should be two things: Classy and fabulous."
Personally, I think I'm well on my way thanks to a both classy and fabulous Christmas cadeaux from two of my brothers: Coco Chanel Mademoiselle perfume.  C'est parfait!


SUP PIZZA PEOPLE. jarrett here with another positive blog post. not. if i have to get stuck home for spring break in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, where it is currently SNOWING i am going to bring the pain in this blog post. You might remember "Let's Not Shit Ourselves: A Haters guide to 2007" from a few months ago, which is just enough time to grow a new crop of annoyances. I am going to arrange them in a 8-"team" tournament format of what sucks more, in honor of march madness basketball. Lets do this.
#4 Seed: Drake Bell
This kid sucks so bad. This picture was probably his idea. I was mildly annoyed by his show with his rotund comic sidekick "Josh", but I figured that he would quickly fade into obscurity and I would never have to see his stupid Flowbee-created haircut again. WRONG. I saw him on Conan last night, attempting a style that could only be construed as taking James McAvoy, Shia LeBouf, Tobey McGuire, and Ryan Gosling a.k.a all young actors who are taken seriously by the industry, and stealing their looks. He looked like an absolute idiot. I tried to find the picture but you'll have to take my word for it.
#5 Seed: Stuff White People Like (Blog)
I may have chuckled a few times at this blog in the past, but then I found out it was made by an actual whitey. Here is probably #1 on the list of what white people like: "Thinking they have an elevated consciousness where they transcend the un-hip, unfortunate trappings that most white people fall into, and that they are the ones entitled to make such edgy observations". EXPOSED.



Example: Charlie Brown never got the time of day from the little red-haired girl, thus was forced to hang out with debbie downer Linus.

Unrequited love is a thorn in everybody's side all year wrong, but it's even more painful once spring rolls around. ANGUISH.



I don't see why people still watch these challenges. They've been on for over four years. It was fun at first to see the cross-over of our "beloved" housemates, but the novelty has worn off completley. Now the contestants weren't even on any of the real programs, but instead you get "Timmy from the gauntlet II"! HES SUCH A HARDBODY!!!! These people have been milking this shit for fame and college bar tours for years. I hope a horrible accident results from one of their needlessly complex bungee jump challenges.

Winner: Real World Road Rules! WHAT AN UPSET


Cough: Ra Ra Riot. you treat your female string players like a loving sister on stage, but i know you look at their boobs when they aren't looking backstage.


#7 Seed: Facebook Bumper Stickers

Self Explanatory. I had the hots for this one girl in my class until i saw how obnoxious her bumper stickers were. Actually i still do. but, If you hang out with girls who find the phrase 'party like your vagina is on fire' funny, Dr. Tounge will deny you an appointment.


wait, didn't i see you dudes when i was at john's grocery? sick macbook.

(First off disclaimer: People might say, jarrett, you look like a hipster. WRONG. I LIKE PEARL JAM and have seen them live twice. that is the end, all be all, band that hipsters would never admit liking. the end.)
This scene is alive and well in iowa city as well. Hipsters are smart as hell, i'll give that to them. How do you create a buzz-tastic career when you have no talent as a rapper or producer? I know...this minimalist beat isn't's just totally FRESH and RETRO 80s!!! I'm a shitty rapper...but my slow and uncreative! yeah that's it. Throw on some fresh clothes (i aint hatin on those) and you're packaged and ready to play pitchfork. If jazz greats hate on wynton marsalis for killing the spirit of jazz by reverting to only the past, hip hop heads should be pointing their targets at these cats. Hip hop is all about respecting the past, but the genre is dying in terms of creativity, and it's your duty to push it towards the future.



he sucks








Thursday, March 20, 2008

i'm from the lou, and i'm proud

When I first came to Iowa, I remember that announcing that I came from Illinois seemed to beg the immediate follow-up, "Oh, which suburb? How long does it take you to get to The Loop?"

In fact, my hometown is a good five hours by train from Chicago. To tell the truth, for as much shit as I tend to talk about Missouri, the truth is that I've always related more to the Show-Me state than anything up by Lake Michigan. Both familial roots begin there, and my parents and I tend to take in most of our big-city-culture by way of St. Louis.

St. Louis is a town that doesn't often get mentioned in a positive light, at least not that I've ever heard. But I cheer for the Cardinals, I've been up in the Arch more times than I can remember, and the STL Science Center has always been one of my favorite museums in the world.

Which is why I remember feeling so stunned seeing this video for the first time, jesus, was it really 8 years ago?!

Is he wearing a Blues jersey?! He shouts-out STL in the opening line of his song? Who is this guy?

Hipster cred be damned, that is an amazingly catchy song, and I love it to this day. (Also, I defy anyone who was in grades 7-12 when "Hot in Herrre" dropped to not have at least one hilarious and/or traumatizing school dance memory associated with that track.)

Thus, it is with a fairly heavy heart that I bring to you Nelly's latest single, "Party People," featuring no less that the Duchess herself, Fergie-Ferg:

If it sounds familiar to you, look no further than the producer behind the track, Polow da Don. As you can see, he's been responsible for a whole boatload of club hits in the past few years, including "Throw Some D's," "Buttons," and "London Bridge." For me, though, his production style seems to be wearing thin...this track is nowhere near the kind of massive hip-hop hits Nelly was once capable of creating.

I'm still hopeful, though, that Cornell Haynes, Jr. can regain his former glory and bring pride back to St. Lou. Lunatics, is ya'll ready?


honey i'm afraid to say you deserve everything

The most awesome thing I've done over Spring Break:
Discover this YouTube video montage of JD and Eliot breaking up in Scrubs, set to Rilo Kiley's "Breakin' Up" off Under the Blacklight — perhaps the best breaking up song ever.

I'm not ashamed of this.  Seriously, it's that good.

See you back in Iowa City in a few days!

Monday, March 17, 2008

What Were We Thinking (I watched this show, constantly)

Instead of writing a long medium on the merits and faults of ABC's Dinosaurs, I will provide some key phrases for you to Mad Lib it out.

The Muppets.
Cross-cultural homogeneity (that should never occur)
Disney World
People under 10
People over ten (with psychoactive substances)
Land of the Lost

and lastly

1990's TV-depicted home life = so mundane a velocaraptor cannot make it interesting


Monday, March 10, 2008

i'm an empty grocery sack!

I've always hated "Garfield." I find it one-note and boring, and pretty much every time I open my comics section and see it, I feel a jolt of rage that God has allowed it to last, while "Calvin and Hobbes" fades farther and farther into the past.

That said, meet my newest obsession: garfield minus garfield. It's pretty self-explanatory, but here's an example:

As the website's description says, "Who would have guessed that when you remove Garfield from the Garfield comic strips, the result is an even better comic about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and the empty desperation of modern life?"

Now I only wish that some newspaper would be brave enough to run this version of Jim Davis's strip.

-Anna, who relates to Jon Arbuckle a little bit more than she'd like to talk about.


This is truly promising to be an orgasmic week.

Let's start with the fact that Nintendo Wii has announced the development of a new game for the Wii gaming system — "Iron Chef America: Supreme Cuisine." I mean, seriously, could it get any better than Iron Chef on your Wii? I think not. Finally one of my favorite competitive TV shows has been transformed into life-less robotic looking creatures that I can swing my little thinger around to make them cook the secret ingredient. (That sounded like I wasn't ecstatic. I am.)

Just to give you a taste, here's a shot of the chairman:

And if that wasn't enough - which it shouldn't have been - here's a brief commercial for the game: Iron Chef Wii.

Yeah, obviously I'm stoked. I'm considering buying a Wii solely so I can play this game. (That first Wii cooking game, Cooking Mama, was okay but certainly not extraordinary. When Iron Chef for Wii is released, expect an open invitation for a cook off at my place.

Onto the second half of my orgasmic week, the premiere of Top Chef Season 4 on Wednesday night. I haven't missed an episode of the intense Bravo series featuring the pure beauty of goddess/host Padma Lakshmi. (Who occasionally eats spaghetti by the noodle while lying in bed in black lingerie. Fine with me.)
The few details we know — that it was filmed over the summer in Chicago, that there will be 16 cheftestants instead of 15 or 12, and that the initial quickfire challenge involves creating a signature deep dish pizza — have looked promising, and I have little doubt that anyone will be disappointed by season 4.

The judges are back for round four as well — Padma, Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons, and Ted Allen. And it's in Chicago - what better place to have a culinary competition? Maybe they'll be broadcasting the season finale live again this year and I can snag a few tickets... Yeah, keep dreaming, buddy.

All in all, it seems to be a pretty awesome week when it comes to the food world.

...except that David Lebovitz's newest ice cream flavor is bacon. I'm a fan of all things bacon, but I don't know about that one...

-Brian, who doesn't technically work for Arts but bleeds fois gras.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

the same old shit, the same old life

I cannot stop listening to "I Still Ain't Over You" by Augustana.  The new album Can't Love, Can't Hurt (which is, coincidentally, the theme to my life) is due out April 29.

Supposedly the song is written for lead singer Dan Layus' fiancee.  That's nearly the only clue this song has a happy ending. With lyrics like "love will wash away the bruise," I think this song was penned after 2 a.m., when the crazy sets in and even the most outlandish schemes seem like great ideas.
What a bunch of sad looking boys?  Love it.  Can I be sad with you?
Does he want her back?  Or does he simply miss her, even though logically he knows the relationship never had a fighting chance?  "The same old shit, the same old life, but I still ain't over you" makes me believe the latter.
OK, so even if you aren't the sappy type, give this song a chance.  The opening guitar riff makes it worth your while.  As of now, "Still Ain't Over You" is available only on iTunes (and only poor quality live versions on YouTube), but if a 30-second clip isn't enough for you, perhaps I could help you out...
The new single "Sweet and Low" is available on the band's myspace, as is "Boston" from 2005's All the Stars and Boulevards.

— Susan

Friday, March 7, 2008

It's Kind of A Live Blog, and Also A Diary Entry

I hope everyone out there has heard about 80 Hours on Air, the arts staff's radio show on KRUI. Every Friday from 5-6 p.m. on KRUI 89.7 FM, the arts staff takes over the airways to regurgitate all things popular culture and highlight stories from the previous week's DI arts section. In case you missed this week's show, I've live blogged it for you hear, but don't let it happen again. This show is too entertaining to just read about, be sure to stream it online at www. if you don't have a radio. I promise, it's the perfect way to kick off your weekend.

Friday, March 7, 2008

5:03 p.m.- Louis calls Paul a racist (for what reason I don't know) and becomes even more my hero. OK, upon further investigation, Louis didn't call Paul a racist but in fact called himself a racist. And my little heart is broken :(

5:06- Jarrett throws on his interviewing hat and talks to a composer from the upcoming UI Composers Workshop. (Read his brief on the event in the DI).

5:08 - Paul takes over. What a good host. Way to moderate :))

5:08- We hear "High Pressure," a piece by the composer (whose name I forgot, SORRY!). It was good. It had lots of strong brass sounds, which I think everyone should be a fan of.

5:12- Paul reminds our composer that there's no vulgarity allowed on air. Ah, the irony, Paul telling someone not to be vulgar. ( That might not be ironic as much as semi-hypocritical).

5:13- Louis tips his Madre Cody story. And I wait with baited breath as we hear some music.

5:21- Paul referred to himself as "me." So comforting.

5:21- Paul just said he knows how it feels to be a minority, because there are only four guys on the Arts Staff. And legions of non-whites just rolled in their graves. I hope Paul never tries to convince anyone he isn't ignorant, and if he does, they should be directed to this blog.

5:21- The men of the Arts staff discuss making a seasonal calendar, since there's four of them. I'll be first in line to buy! Oh please let this happen.

5:23- Louis called his (and Diablo Cody's) hometown, Lemont, IL, a thimble. LOVE IT. That's right, he's just as witty in life as he is in 80 Hours!

5:23- Louis and Jarrett discover a bond because Jarrett played Lemont with his band in high school, and thus more arts staff connections are bond.

5:23- Paul feigns feminism by attacking Cole for saying the most important thing about Diablo Cody is that she was a stripper.

5:24- Paul talks about how he wants Diablo Cody's arc for his own career. AWKWARD.

5:25- Paul addresses the Juno backlash. Something he contributed to significantly. Scroll down for evidence.

5:27- Louis makes a Juno/Fargo crossover reference. And a bunch of unemployed writers just opened new word documents.

5:28- Paul is literally retelling a conversation we had over Facebook, and I'm going to sue for royalties and fair use.

5:29- Cole asks what makes a film indie. Way to jump in, resident Bluegrass expert!

5:30- Paul brings up the sameness between indie-films and studio films because the budgets are going to be the same.

5:31- Paul says that Juno was the first focus group indie film. I disagree, but it's a decent point.

5:32- Louis gives a shoutout to Liz Phair- cool. Paul makes a Phair/fair weather pun - hokey.

5:33- The boys of the DI Arts Staff play "Jealousy," a track from Liz Phair's album Whip Smart. These may be the coolest guys you'll ever know, if for no other reason than putting on a 14 year old gem by a now-sucky artist.

5:36- Don't get me wrong, I love listening the music of KRUI, but I wonder what's going on in the studio right now...

5:37- Paul drops some "Meant to Live" lyrics in honor of the Switchfoot show coming to the UI.

5:39- Cole and Jarrett fight about bad rappers. Kris Kross and Ron Artest come up, and Jarrett becomes a little more awesome in this conversation.

5:39- Jarrett and Cole discuss how downhill Veisha at Iowa State has gone. As a tribute to Blessid Union of Souls, who will be playing Veisha this year, Jarrett sings a little "Hey Leonardo."

5:40- Louis' absence is discussed. And the show loses a little spark. Mission Creek conversation quickly fills the time.

5:42- Jarrett talks about his band, Birth Rites, playing a fraternity talent show at Marquette University, and how when the audience members heard that they weren't Christian rock, covered their ears and were very confused...

5:42- Paul says "Fix You" by Coldplay is "such a bad song. Why would you play it anyway?" And Paul becomes one my least favorite people EVER. In this one moment.

5:43- Paul reveals his spite towards Marquette because he didn't get in. He also calls Milwaukee a second-rate Chicago, and Cole says how scary he finds Milwaukee to be, which is sheltered and vaguely adorable.

5:44- A public service announcement (looking out for those with mental illness) and a song from Sunset Rubdown.

5:54- Jarrett acknowledges the decline in the show's quality during its last moments.

5:55- Cole's writing his first Medium! He wants to write about The Life Of Ryan. Paul reveals his eternal uncoolness by admitting he has no idea what Cole and Jarrett are talking about.

5:56- Paul brags about (sorry, "previews") his interview with John Irving.

5:57- One last song to bring the show to a close.

All in all, the boys of the arts staff brought it to the radio show. I think they should do a show like this once a month, especially in light of Paul's feelings of being disenfranchised as a male on the arts staff (even though he's an editor). Nice work, team.

-Meryn, who thinks anyone doing radio is far cooler than she :))

Thursday, March 6, 2008

almost there, going nowhere

The Starting Line broke up today. Well actually, if you want to get technical, they're on an "indefinite hiatus." What's up with that? I already have plans to catch their (now) reunion tour when they roll through Des Moines in a couple weeks.
Nearly all of the bands I loved in high school have broken up.
Coincidence? Probably not.

Most anticipated reunion shows:
• Midtown
• Something Corporate
• The Format
• Ben Folds Five
• Amber Pacific
• Taking Back Sunday (with John Nolan)
• Spitalfield
• Finch
• Gatsbys American Dream
• Acceptance
Oh Kenny Vasoli.
I'll miss you and your silly ridiculous hair.
Warped Tour, August 2007.

- Susan

Monday, March 3, 2008

There's Something About Farelly

Well, sometimes what's old is new again. And sometimes things are just "Unhitched." The new sitcom, executive produced by the Farelly Brothers (Peter and Bobby, of There's Something About Mary and Fever Pitch fame), is full of stereotypes and plays almost as if it's a dumb parody of what made the Farelly Brothers so popular.

While the Farrellys are not credited writers on the two episodes that I watched (the first two of the series, which will air on Fox), their stamp is all over it and not just because of the directing credits they receive. There's gross out humor in the form of a shrimp-like skin tag on an otherwise perfect woman's back, there's picking on the handicapped and short people (though neither of those populations are really the butt of the jokes) and there's just enough heart at the end of each episode to remind viewers that without the compulsory hug, the Farrelly Brothers' projects would just be sick.

"Unhitched" plays like a lighter and less funny "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" which is a problem. The reason the latter show is on FX instead of broadcast sister Fox is because of it's dark humor and inappropriate situations. Cable=risks. Diluting the most salient parts of a sitcom, and changing the location (Boston for Philadelphia) and cast, doesn't produce the same results. Oh, and this time the cast are joined by their failed marriages (hence the catchy title).

The cast isn't strong, but I can't decide if it's the weak material or their obvious disinterest in it that weighs the show down. Straight-man and plot anchor Craig Bierko is obviously very talented, and his resume speaks for itself. But on "Unhitched" he comes off as part Jay Leno with his rubbery face and part a less-charming C-grade George Clooney, which is unfair to Bierko's overflowing talent.

And then there's Rashida Jones. My personal choice for "It Girl" of the past two years, will someone PLEASE give this girl a good starring televison vehicle? Not only did she date John Krasinski in real life (which I'm slowly getting over) but she held her own with television's strongest ensemble as Karen Fillapelli on "The Office." She walked into a situation where everyone should have hated her, after all she kept Jim and Pam apart for another heart-breaking season AND she was from the Stamford branch, and walked out with half of the show's fans begging her to stay. She left for "Unhitched" and I hope she can persuade Michael Scott to give her another shot (she could transfer back from Utica?). Jones has all the makings of a star, and seeing her play the resident hot chick friend is just further delaying her success and wasting her potential.

But there's diversity in the cast, coming in the form of an Indian friend to round out the ensemble. He's a doctor with a thick accent who doesn't understand easy American pop culture references (like Van Halen) and is just learning to tell jokes. In the first two episodes he is frequently left out of the core ensemble's storylines, instead having his own plot. He is consistently faltering with women and provides comic relief. In short, he's almost buffoonish. Way to go on the inclusion front, "Unhitched."

"Unhitched" has some clever one liners and quick wit, but it simply isn't enough to keep this viewer coming back week after week. The humor is supposed to be "edgy," but is so sanitized it just comes off feeling flat, much like Johnny Knoxville's cameo in the pilot as a pimp. I'm honestly not sure if the show is supposed to be missing a laugh track or if the studio audience was as unresponsive as I was.

If the show can figure out how to utilize the strengths of its cast and tone down the broad humor in favor of more subtle comedic turns, "Unhitched" could last another season or two in this shark-infested waters of network sitcoms. If not, be preapred for "Are You Smarter Than A Dancing American Idol Gladiator" or whatever genius Fox has in store for us.

-Meryn, who is so jealous of Rashida Jones it makes her hair hurt.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

give me my money back, you bitch.

It goes something like this:

Ask a girl what went wrong in the relationship. She'll say:
1. He couldn't commit.
2. He was abusive.
3. He was a douche.

Ask a guy and you'll get the same answer every time:
The bitch went nuts.

Listen to "The Bitch Went Nuts" from Ben Folds yet-untitled new album, release date TBA.

This song was definitely one of the highlights from tonight's concert. "The Bitch Went Nuts" sounds like a good new addition to the collection consisting of "Bitches Ain't Shit," "Rock That Bitch," and my personal favorite "Song for the Dumped." You can listen and download other new Ben Folds songs on HypeMachine.

- Susan