The MTV VMAs, 2011

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BLACK AND YELLOW GUCCI GUCCI LOUIS LOUIS FENDI FENDI PRADA!!!1!  YO! MTV gives out VMAs!!

Seriously, this is one of my favorite award shows, if only because it is consistently bonkers.  I mean, most of the time it’s only bonkers in an over-produced, manufactured MTV type of way, but it’s still sort of fun if you don’t think too much about it, I think?  And every once in a while something that’s actually bizarre happens.  I was actually starting to get excited about this earlier today until I remembered that Chelsea Handler was the host [Edit: Wrong.].  UGH THAT DOUBLE UGH.

Anywayz, my wife Johanna and I will be competing in another of our CLASSIC winner-picking competitions.  Luckily, there are only like eight categories tonight (at least on our ballot), so this should be easy enough.  Johanna is also, as usual, in charge of our themed beverage for the evening.  I’ve been singing (rapping?) Kreayshawn all day long, so she’s calling tonight’s drink the “Gucci Gucci.”  We don’t have any Adderall to grind up and put in a beverage, so she’s making a variant of a Cuba Libre because, in her words, “it’s something a trashy girl would drink.”  After her first sip she added, “I’ll only be having one of these.”

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Let’s get going.  Categories and winners in bold.  And if Kanye does anything crazy, it’ll be in bold and also, like, 20 pt font.

9:35 – Hey, guess what!?  Time Warner Cable is the worst!  The tech they use is ridiculously out-of-date and barely functions, and it decided this evening to not record the first 35 minutes of this show!  Now I’m going to use that 35 minutes of my life that they saved me tweeting at them about how horrible they are.

I suppose this means I missed the opening performance (Lady Gaga, I think?), so that’s too bad, but this also means that I have to hear Chelsea Handler talk less, so, win some lose some, I guess?  [Edit: Wrong.]  Oh, well.  Deep breaths, Jared;  it’s just the VMAs.  This will all be online later anyways.

Johanna is hopping on to MTV.com to see the results of any categories that we missed.  Let’s check in.

Best Video with a Message: We both went with Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” and it wins.  1-1.

Best Pop Video:  Johanna went with Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” and I went with Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)”, because we had both forgotten that it was 2002.  Since it is 2002, though, Britney Spears wins with “Till the World Ends”.

Best Rock Video: I went with Foster the People here because I have never heard of them before.  Johanna remembered that it was 2002 this time, so she went with Foo Fighters, who win.  2-1 her.

All right, let’s rejoin our regularly scheduled programming.

9:35 – Jack Black, Will Ferrell, and Seth Rogen are here reprising their roles as the Beastie Boys from this thing:

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The Grammys, 2011

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God, the Grammys are so gross.  I make a lot of jokes about bad award shows, but this is the worst.  Not only are all the nominees just really aggressively out-of-touch and terrible, but half of this crap came out in 2009.  I could swear some of this same stuff was nominated last year.  Plus, there are the oddities like Arcade Fire being nominated in the Album of the Year category but not in the Best Rock Album category.  I don’t even understand what the rules are here.  This is either going to be a lot of fun to laugh at or one of the longest nights of my life.

As always, my wife Johanna and I will be competing in a winner-picking competition.  This should be an interesting one for us, because the list of nominees is so utterly bizarre that we’re guaranteed to not do what we usually do and pick the same people in every category.  I’ve got to tell you, picking winners in this disaster was painful.  It upset my stomach to have to decide between, like, Neil Young and Mumford and Sons.  And not because they are both so good.  [Update: Turns out Mumford and Sons = Not bad!] Johanna kept saying things like “Whatever, whatever, I don’t even care,” as she went over her ballot.

To help ease us through this living nightmare Johanna has whipped up an adult beverage consisting of vodka, cranberry juice, seltzer, and lime juice.  She’s calling it “The Chris Brown” because it really smacks you in the face.  YOU SHOULDN’T MAKE JOKES ABOUT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, JOHANNA.

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Sigh.  Are you all ready to be bored by Lady Gaga’s faux-edginess?  To suffer through some performances by Bruno Mars or someone?  To watch your grandparents’ favorite rockers take home some awards?  Then let’s do this.  In the words of Ken “Hawk” Harrelson, sit back, relax, and strap it down.

8:01 – This is weird.  Doesn’t this usually start with a big musical number?  Like, they just jump right into it?  I know last year started with the Lady Gaga/Elton John/My Nightmares mashup. This year Ladies Love Cool James strolls out to introduce a menagerie of women to sing a tribute medley of Aretha Franklin songs.

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“I’m really into lipdubs right now.” – Johanna

And so am I!  As this video proves, a good lipdub can even (briefly) make me not be annoyed at Lady Gaga or artsy Boston youths.  God, I miss college.  Or at least the imaginary college experience in my head where I participated in things like this.

If I were in a lipdub video, I would be one of the kids who moves through the shot too quickly and is clearly self-conscious and awkward about his or her involvement.  I need to chill out.

[Via Urlesque]

Time Person of the Year, 2010

So, the nominations for Time magazine’s Person of the Year are out.  When did they start releasing nominations prior to the announcement of their choice?  This seems like a bad idea.  I know that, ultimately, the magazine’s editors are still deciding who gets the title, but why even let people pseudo-vote on this?  Why even allow for the possibility of the public influencing editorial decision-making?

Besides, we all know how this is going to go.  Stephen Colbert proved long ago the futility of asking the Internet’s opinion about anything.  If Time had shown me the list of nominees beforehand I could have told them who would end up dominating in the Facebook “Like” race.  Isn’t that right, Little Monsters?

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Don’t get me wrong, I’m not naive; I realize Time is just doing this to drive page views, and obviously it’s working.  I just clicked through all twenty-something pages of the gallery.  Congratulations, Time!  That doesn’t stop me from being annoyed by the whole thing, though.

Also annoying to me, and likely to Time as well, is how people constantly misunderstand what this even means.  It’s not a commendation; it’s supposed to go to the biggest newsmaker or the person with the most influence, positive or negative, in that calendar year.  No, LeBron, this isn’t some sort of global MVP award, you don’t need to be falsely humbled to be included along with the Chilean Miners.

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Someone should tell him that one of his fellow nominees is Tony Hayward.

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(As an aside, who are the six people that liked Tony Hayward’s nomination on Facebook?  What would possess one to do that?  It has to be hipsters “liking” it ironically, right?  “Liking” Tony Hayward on Facebook is the digital equivalent of wearing an old Bryant Reeves Grizzlies jersey to a Wavves concert.)

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The MTV VMAs, 2010

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The VMAs!  I actually didn’t watch them live last year and then regretted it when I ended up spending the next afternoon catching up on the videos of the bonkers performances online and reading all about the Kanye backlash.  I was assuming that MTV and I had mostly diverged in our musical tastes and was overlooking the fact that this isn’t really about the awards, it’s about the spectacle.

Now, with the long-running award show winner-picking competition between Johanna and me, there’s absolutely no way I could miss it.  Filling out our ballots proved relatively difficult.  We both employed a strategy of spreading the awards around to as many artists as possible, because we figure the whole thing is rigged and MTV is going to want to get as many people as possible up on stage.  So, I basically just picked randomly.

Let’s roll.  Since this is the VMAs, Johanna has tried to mix us a cocktail that a young person might enjoy.  She’s combined vanilla vodka with Diet Coke, and we’re drinking it out of glasses we appropriated from our favorite bar in college, Jimmy’s Woodlawn Tap.  She initially wanted to call it the Sorority Slut, but we workshopped it and came up with the Mean Girl, which is more fittingly high school.  As always, categories and winners in bold.  Also, I unfortunately don’t have MTV in HD, so these photos look awful.  Apologies.

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One last thing.  I’m going on record early here saying that I guarantee they have Taylor Swift “interrupt” Kanye’s performance.  It’s going to be awesome.

8:19 – I have the pre-show white carpet on in the background (yes, white carpet), and all of the sudden Sway starts giving out awards!  WTF?!

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Lollapalooza, 2010 (Through the eyes of others)

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As I said in my previous post, all of the videos I took at Lollapalooza were pretty terrible.  I didn’t have my Flip or anything too fancy, so I was just taking them with my digital camera, which doesn’t allow me to zoom in or out once I start filming, and also doesn’t have the highest video quality.  Plus, I’m pretty unwilling to stand with my camera in the air for the entirety of what were, in most cases, my favorite songs by whichever band I was watching.  I’d get one chorus recorded for posterity and then turn the camera off and enjoy the rest of the song in the moment.

Some people, however, are much more prepared/professional/devoted than I am.  YouTube is awash in Lollapalooza videos far, far superior to my own.  For the entry that had all of my personal thoughts on the shows, I wanted to only use my own photos and videos.  But as a follow-up, I thought it would be nice to pick out some better representations of the artists I saw.

The New Pornographers – “Challengers”

Dirty Projectors – “Cannibal Resource”

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Lollapalooza, 2010

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For the third year in a row Johanna and I attended Lollapalooza in Chicago.  It’s become a tradition and a great excuse to return to a city we love.  (As I type this, I’m watching My Boys on TBS.  Yes, I love Chicago so much that I’ll even watch My Boys.)

I thought I would share my belated thoughts on the festival, along with some photos I took and a few terrible, shaky, fraction-of-the-full-song videos that I took.  Because who doesn’t love terrible videos?

Friday, August 6th

4:00 – 5:00 The New Pornographers

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During the first act of a music festival I’m always relatively distracted trying to get my bearings and people-watch, so it’s a shame that we started things off on Friday with The New Pornographers, a band that I actually like quite a bit.  I don’t remember much from their set.  I know Neko Case was wearing a big floppy hat, and I know that they played a nice version of “Challengers.”  That’s about it.

5:00 – 5:50 Dirty Projectors

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Reviews of this performance were pretty mixed, and seemed to be less about the performance and more about how much the individual reviewer actually likes Dirty Projectors.  Well, I like Dirty Projectors and loved Bitte Orca, and I thought they were great.  The tempo of the songs was even less stable live, and several seemed just about to collapse before Dave Longstreth pulled everything back together.  The erratic nature added a nice bit of tension and seemed to snap me to attention, which was good since I’d been sleepwalking during the New Pornographers.

Johanna and I really enjoy this stage because it’s usually easy to get pretty close to the action, and also because we’ve seen some of our best afternoon/early evening shows here (Sharon Jones, Santigold, Band of Horses).

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