Saturday, July 29, 2006

Video Victuals

Fluffy Dollars sending out some hits to y'all! With shout-outs!

This one is goin' out to Jenny Rowe! Keep on keeping on!

This one is goin' out to Nick Hennies! We need to do a LT remix of this pronto!:

Friday, July 28, 2006

My Pandora

with music

and without

I love my dog. You probably knew that.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Annoying Boy of the Week: Jason from MTV's "The Hills"

The Hills centers on Lauren, one of the main cast members from past seasons of LB. The credited cast is limited to four women, and the swirl of LA lights and spangly dresses juxtaposed with the interiors of the teen vogue offices (where Lauren interns) and FIDM (where Lauren goes to school) in the show's intro give one the sense that The Hills is a sort of west coast, post MTM, post-SATC saga of four young women. Lauren, while spoiled, seems like a pretty nice person, and the three other women on the show are also pretty likeable. Despite her prissy upbringing, Lauren appears to be a very hard worker and seems genuinely motivated to get her life on track. She also seems like a pretty good friend. Too bad her boyfriend is a monster.

Jason Wahler (aka "Jay-Wall") never talks to Lauren. When he does, he says fucked up shit like "I want you to never talk" or "You keep making mistake after mistake" even though all Lauren ever does is forgive him and buy him expensive gifts like golf clubs and dog tags. His attitude towards her is hardly loving or affectionate or even -- dare I say it -- sexual; he literally treats her like property -- forbidding her to talk to other men, even if it's for her job. He pouts and scowls when Lauren tells him she was sad when he decided to spend his birthday doing lines and partying with high school skanks instead of cuddling with her. His reaction to her articulation of any feeling other than submission is either volatile or sulky. He threatens to break up with her on New Year's Eve because Lauren answered her phone (it was another guy calling), even thought the event happened days before new year's. On Lauren's birthday, he rents a room at the Standard, but then sulks when Lauren wants to hang out in the room instead of going out. I'm sorry, but why the hell would you get a hotel room if you didn't want to take bubble baths together or feed each other strawberries or, I don't know, have sex without your roommates being around. I can only guess that Jason wanted to go out because he needed some blow. Either that, or he doesn't really like Lauren. My hunch is that it is probably both.

I read on a message board somewhere that Jason is bipolar, so that could explain the moodiness. But moody or not -- he treats Lauren like shit and should be held accountable. I also read that he's been in and out of rehab for coke and alcohol, that he never finished high school, and that he used to hit ex-girlfriend Alex M (also from LB season 2). On LB we saw him treat ex-gf Jessica like dirt, then we saw him kiss Jessica in front of Lauren even though he had already started dating Lauren. He's a total ass, and I have no idea why Lauren even got back together with him. One of our friends has speculated that he must be, er, well endowed if you know what I mean. But he's so abusive and so volatile that I'm always half-expecting the crew to drop their cameras and stage some sort of intervention.

The Hills makes me wonder what the current climate of reality tv ethics is really like. When Ruthie, one of the cast members of Real World Hawaii, developed a drinking problem, she was asked to leave the show and get help. On this season of the Real World, there are three women. One of them has been raped, and another one of them physically abused. The one whose boyfriend used to hit her is also suffering from an eating disorder. On The Hills, we see Lauren subjected to Jason's manipulative and erratic behavior episode after episode. Though each conflict is later reflected on as a "silly fight" or Jason just "being a guy," it's hard not to imagine what the long term effects might be. It's sorta like watching someone cut down a tree with a kitchen knife.

This does not seem okay to me, but is it weird that I'm surprised? The irony of living in a such a highly litigious culture has had me thinking that -- despite all the potential for exploitation -- execs and producers of reality shows would not only be wary of endangering their subjects, but would be unable to stand by by idly should a dangerous interpersonal situation develop. But lately I've begun to suspect this notion of mine is incredibly naive. I mean, if producers are not going to step in when people are hitting and punching each other, they're not going to do jack shit about someone's misogynistic and emotionally abusive boyfriend.

So is this evidence that MTV's version of reality totally sucks? Or does it simply confirm that the whole genre of "reality tv" is just plain voyeuristic and unethical and sick? And what about those of us watching?

My sense is that Lauren and Jason's relationship is particularly bad, but I'm worried that the reactionary climate of gender relations depicted on this show (and so many others) is actually more typical that I could ever guess. I find the fact that this behavior is perceived to be normal by Lauren and her friends terribly troubling, and I worry that the show's main audience -- young women -- might also perceive it to be okay.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Long Telegram, NAFTA

The Long Telegram:

and this:

Ten Pounds To The Sound

The NAFTA (TLC) Tratado de Libre Comercio
Farewell Concert

Chris Cogburn . percussion . USA
Juan Garcia . double bass . Mexico
Kurt Newman . acoustic guitar . Canada

Friday, July 21st, 2006
Okay Mountain Gallery
1312 E. Cesar Chavez, Ste. B
(at Navasota - behind the Pinata store)

Gallery opens at 7pm
Music begins at 8pm
admission is FREE
refreshments provided - byob encouraged

In celebration of the deterioration of Late Stage Capitalism and the transition to the rising Western Hemisphere Socialism, Ten Pounds To The Sound is proud to present a farewell concert for two of Texas' most beloved improvising musicians - Juan Garcia (originally from Monterrey, Mexico) and Kurt Newman (from Toronto, Canada). Both are leaving the tender state of Texas later this summer for the sunny optimisms of Arizona and California, respectively.

Juan and Kurt have both given a remarkable amount of time, energy and creativity to those lucky enough to have performed, worked and studied with them. Their contributions to the creative communities of Austin and Houston are invaluable, and will be dearly missed - though often reflected upon and "inspired by"...

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Best Quote Ever!

"If Vincent Van Gogh had my personality, he may not have had to cut off his ear."

-- Santino Rice, on the casting special for Project Runway Season 3

Annoying Boy of the Week: Tyler from Real World Key West

I hate Tyler. It almost seems pointless to even write about him because I find it difficult to believe that anyone actually watches this show. I mean, it's really really boring. While I'll admit that the "content-less-ness" of LB and The Hills is freaking brilliant (the fantasy is constructed by a meticulous collaging of scenery and expressions; I swear, each show has six words or less, and most of those are in the voice overs), whatever is or isn't happening on the real world is so generic and so predictable and so without any sort of style that I think you'd have a hard time getting a pair of shoes or box of tissues to watch this show, let alone any sentient being. But I digress...Tyler.

Tyler is the biggest prick I've seen on TV in awhile. He could give those entourage boys a run for their money, and he isn't even playing a character -- he's just playing himself. He's bitchy, manipulative, and mean as nails. He tortures he roommates for fun, and he especially loves to torture Svetlana (who, btw, is the only cast member who is even remotely interesting and is only 19. Tyler is a prissy 23 y.o. graduate of Tufts.). In the last episode I saw, Tyler compared Svetlana to a puppy who "needs to be that's what I did...I punished her." Yuck. He keeps a log of all the "stupid things" that Svetlana has said (I would counter that Svetlana says totally awesome stuff like "is the Everglades a mall?" and "my cat can say 'hello, Svetlana'"). When Svetlana finds the book, it make her cry, and prompts her to call her mom. At this point, Tyler has done enough grisly stuff to Svetlana to make any mama mad. So of course S's mom tries to comfort Svet by telling her to ignore the behavior of these "low lifes." Tyler, who of course cannot resist eavesdropping, overhears S's mama say this, and cannot resist jumping in. Next thing you know, he's yelling over S.'s shoulder into the phone. Yup, he's yelling at HER MOTHER. WHAT. THE. FUCK???? He then writes S a nasty note -- in which he calls her a "low-life" bitch -- and tapes it to her door. What a nasty freak.

Anyway, you get the idea. I can't really write anymore because I'm starting to feel sick. I'll just note that it's sad that Tyler seems so eager to play into the stereotype of the "mean gay guy." Get a life already.

also, the mtv website is really annoying.

Monday, July 10, 2006

View Blinders

So the whole debacle surrounding Star Jones's departure from The View has been interesting to me for several reasons, but mostly because the conflict and the way it has been reported/represented illustrates the way in which "the catfight" phenom is totally dependent on the surrounding context -- that is, a climate in which women's bodies (Star), sexuality (Rosie), and power (Walters) are constantly subjected to scrutiny. I'm not saying that in an alternate universe these women would be best friends, and I'm not saying that I'd ever want to be stuck in an elevator with one of them or seated next to one of them on a long plane ride, and I'm not saying that they haven't behaved in a way that is unsavory. But I do think that the contours of the the conflict and the way it is being talked about have a lot in common with the way "mean girls" and " the hidden culture of aggression in girls" were being discussed in the media several years ago. It seems people are all to eager to believe that women/girls are inherently "mean" and "bitchy" and that this behaviour has nothing to do with big picture gender-dynamics. Nevermind that all the late night talk shows are hosted by men, that (until very recently) all the evening news anchors were men, and that women are typically expected to be thin and pretty and agreeable and straight if they're going to make it on the big or little screen.

I've been trying to think of comparable conflicts between male media folks/co-hosts. With men, conflicts are often depicted as a "letterman vs. CBS" capitalist/ceo fight or an uber-masculine "Jay-Z vs. _____" heroic-boast Beowulf throw-back fight. Obviously, aggression between men is much more acceptable, especially when it's validated by a quest for the almighty dollar.

Anyway, I've never been a fan of the view. There are times when I've felt it had its merits, though I can't remember what I ever thought those merits might have been. I have this feeling that they've all "sold out;" the show reeks of bush-era complacency/lethargy, and that's disappointing. They're in an industry that they cannot challenge without imperiling their own success. This is true for most people in showbiz, but seems especially true for women. I am curious to see how Rosie will be integrated into the show. The fact that she's out and writes this crazy pseudo-poetry blog make her seem mildly interesting. But I'm not holding my breath.

*btw, if you do an image search for "the view" on google, you mostly get pics of star jones.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

I love Dominique!

If it were not for Aundrea and D. Woods, I wouldn't even watch this season of MTB. Thank MTV I found Dominque's website and her myspace.

Monday, July 03, 2006

my new blog

I haven't had much to say here. I still love the feminism and pop culture, but lately all I want to do is make picturepoems or do weird experiments with type or write rambly prose poems about wood grain and glitter and magnets. So I have a new blog for these experiments called OVARIES and SEQUINS. I'll still be posting here, of course. But if you miss me...