Thursday, April 9, 2009

Just a fond memory of my childhood...

Thank you, Burger King, for reviving my childhood memories. Anyone remember Sir Mix-A-Lot? I sure do. I had all his CDs. At least, his first three. After that, if he made any more, I was unaware of his continued existence. But I think most of us remember his classic one-hit wonder tune, "Baby Got Back". What drove me nuts about Mix-A-Lot, years ago, was that he was a very articulate man with some insightful political ideas, and he had the capacity to write a really biting, clever, and powerful political song. And he did, once or twice. However, he preferred to write tunes like "Put 'Em On The Glass", and "Mack Daddy", and "Baby Got Back". All of which were fun, and thumping, but not exactly intellectually brilliant.

Now the irony. "Baby Got Back" was yanked from video channels in 1993 because it "promoted sexuality"...or, in other words, it featured female bums in bathing suits, and that could offend children who happened across the video. Oh, how times have is Sir Mix A Lot, appearing in a Burger King commercial that promotes the brand new Burger King Spongebob Squarepants themed Happy Meal for 99 cents. Presumably, this commercial is to run during episodes of Spongebob. Go, Mix-A-Lot! I, for one, am glad you're still alive.

Because just releasing an album is no reason to slow down.

I know, I know. Neil Young just released Fork In The Road on Tuesday. He took Wednesday off to rest on his laurels. Now, however, it's Thursday. And he has posted a movie online. Not just a video, but a 43-minute movie called Get Around. It features him singing every single track from the album, as well as the bonus song called, appropriately, "Get Around".

It's free, it's temporary, so watch it now. Or don't. I can see how some people might be sick of Neil Young by now. I sure ain't one of them though.

Because I like to plug my own stuff...

Unlike Billy Bob Thornton, (see below), who doesn't like to get any kind of exposure at all, apparently. Operation Go Home is hosting a Night At The Races at the Rideau Carleton Raceway, and wee need people to buy tickets! So I'm advertising here on my blog - tickets are $50 each, and all the money goes to Operation Go Home, where we try to help homeless kids get off the streets and get jobs and get housing before they spend their entire lives homeless. A great cause, and a great event. April 24th at 5:30.

Your ticket gets you a meal, a betting voucher, a lottery ticket, and there will be CHEZ door prizes and auction items. (All the auction items provided by CHEZ are DVDs from my personal collection of overflow items from my Cynical Cinema reviews, so TV box sets and the like. Some of those will be door prizes as well.) You must be 19 or older to participate in the event, since there will be alcohol served. Call 613-230-4663 and speak to Karine to purchase tickets.

There are also, for you high-rollers, sponsorship opportunities. For $500, you get two meals, and your company's name in the program, which is distributed to all on-track betting patrons, as well as to all off-track betting outlets in the teletheatre network in the area. Your name will be broadcast to all fifteen of those locations announcing your support of Operation Go Home and sponsorship of your race. And, if you like, you can have your picture taken with the winning horse and driver from the race you sponsored.

That's it. That's my plug. 613-230-4663. It's on April 24th (a Friday) at 5:30. Buy tickets, it's a good night for a good cause!


The best sign I've seen. Sent to me by Steve Colwill - in keeping with the whole blinders-on, totally silly "teabag" business - the sign just below the Barney Frank one is the best.

A Cynical Cinema tribute to Marilyn Chambers.

Because I can put pictures on my blog, and I can put audio on the Cynical Cinema page, but I can't figure out how to put audio here or pictures there, this is a half-and half tribute to the most famous woman in the history of dish-soap endorsement. Click this link to hear the audio portion of that tribute:

Best written smackdown...ever? Well, in a long time.

Not a lot of people know this, but Roger Ebert is an absolute master of the written smackdown. Not just the world's foremost movie critic, but also a scathing wit who has delivered some of the greatest jabs against those with inflated egos of all time. (The title of one of his books, Your Movie Sucks, is taken from perhaps the greatest of them all, his slam of Rob Schneider for Deuce Bigalow.) Now, he has come up with yet another brilliant smackdown of another inflated egomaniac, Bill O'Reilly. Love O'Reilly (and I hope you don't) or hate him, you must read this:

References to Conrad Black are nice and poignant, but Squeaky the Mouse? Fantastic.


You may have heard that Coldplay is being sued by Joe Satriani because they ripped off one of his songs. Their "Viva La Vida" is apparently too close to Satriani's song "If I Could Fly". I really can't comment on the validity of the lawsuit - I haven't heard either song, mostly because Satriani's song is obscure and I try to avoid Coldplay music at all costs. However, I found this tidbit to be rather telling...yesterday, the argument advanced by Coldplay is that they should not be found guilty of stealing from Satriani - because the guitar legend's song, and the part that sounds so similar to theirs, is "not very original". Just think about that for a second. And there you have Coldplay.

Billy Bob Thornton acts like a jerk.

Q radio host Jian Ghomeshi interviews Billy Bob Thornton, as Thornton is in Canada for a six-date mini-tour with his band, the Boxmasters. Thornton had apparently issued strickt instructions for the interviewer, saying that he was not to, in any way, make reference to his film career. The idea of telling someone, before you are interviewed, what they can and can't ask, is OK (to some degree in some situations), but really then you're just doing a commercial for yourself. And this may well end up being the worst commercial Thornton could ever have done for himself. What a jackass!

Thornton also makes time to bash Canadian audiences (at the 11:30 mark of the video), and generally comes off like a douche. The idea that he doesn't want to make reference at all to his film career really IS bizarre. After all, I would speculate (and this is of course just speculation) that his band would not have chosen him to be their frontman if it weren't for his famous name...and how did he get that famous name?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

March badness.

Just about the only time I watch basketball is during March Madness. I love the bracket system, I love the intensity of the games, and I love how every stage - the Sweet Sixteen, the Elite Eight, the Final Four - has a snappy nickname and ups the intensity. And I was decidedly jealous of my buddy Dave who got to go down to Michigan to watch the Final Four. However, I must say that this year I had a pretty tough time getting into it. Mostly because there was little drama, there were few upsets, and the whole thing was boring. After the first round, only one team seeded lower than 5th made it through. Two brackets had their 1-2-3-4 seeds advance. I love March Madness for the unexpected. And the upsets, and the buzzer-beaters. I have been into it since I happened across that Duke game where Christian Laettner hit every single shot he took, up to and including the incredible buzzer-beater.

And last year was OK, despite the fact that all four #1 seeds made it to the Final Four. At least the games were exciting. But the North Carolina beatdown of Michigan State in the final game underscored what was a very underwhelming tournament this year. I'm still jealous of Dave. And I'll still watch next year. But this March Madness sucked.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Demand KISS!

As of the posting of this blog, Ottawa sits in 26th place on the list of possible venues for KISS to visit during their North American tour. Demand that they play Ottawa, here:

We can do it! And my girlfriend will be so happy...

Neil's new album. A (p)review.

I have been listening to Fork In The Road all day now, starting yesterday at 9:00. I have seen all his videos, and he has been posting about one a week. The record hits stores today, and I hope people pick it up. It isn't as good as Living With War, but then I absolutely loved Living With War. This one is a little dirtier, a little grungier, and has a lot more to do with his car. Which I think is awesome also. A quick track-by-track review:

1. When Worlds Collide - Opens with a pretty standard, pretty self-explanatory mission statement about Neil's trek across the U.S. in his LincVolt. "Takin' a trip across the USA, Gonna see a lot of people along the way..." Grungy, dirty, but not quite a rocker. It's a cool song about how he loves his car the way the kids once did in the 60s. Only, his doesn't suck up "all the peoples' fuel".

2. Fuel Line - If Neil Young were the Beach Boys (and, of course, he is not) this would be his "Little Deuce Coupe". Only it's a lot grungier, rocks a lot harder, and is, possibly, more cheesy. But I love this kind of cheese. His ode to the LincVolt "the awesome power of electricity, stored for you in her big battery" - really, it gets no cheesier than a line like that one. But Neil Young manages to walk a fine line between sweet, demented old man and earth-shaking social awareness changing rock star. And never more so than in this tune.

3. Just Singing A Song - Neil slows things down here, in what could possibly be considered the "ballad" of the album. Still talking about his car, and the quiet energy with which it rolls, he basically says "just singing a song won't change the world". Maybe just driving a car won't change the world either, but Neil is trying, as best he can.

4. Johnny Magic - Sounds a little like the "Johnny Rotten" from "Hey Hey My My", the repeated chorus. Again, about his LincVolt, Johnny Magic is perhaps the person who was born to create the eco-friendly car, then have it burst from his garage.

5. Cough Up the Bucks - The spoken-word-chanted chorus is a little irritating, but the song is fun. In it, he says "it's all about my car". If we hadn't got that point yet, by track five, we were never going to get it.

6. Get Behind the Wheel - Guess what this one's about? A fast-paced rocker, this song is perhaps the most melodic of the album. So, Neil's "Fun Fun Fun"?

7. Off The Road - Another driving tune...this one slower and more ballady than the others.

8. Hit the Road - And...more car stuff! Again, an ode to his car - "she looks so beautiful with her top down", and more environmental messages "bumper to bumper in a giant cloud of fumes"

9. Light A Candle - A hopeful song. Like, maybe just maybe the world is moving in the right direction. "What we do now will always be with us". It's almost clunky, but Neil remains very cool through what could be a rather maudlin tune in the hands of someone else.

10. Fork In The Road - The best tune on the album. Shades of "Rockin' In The Free World", and it wraps up the album nicely with a dirty, powerful rocker. The car, the environment, the message of hope, and the timeliness - Neil even talks bailouts!

Monday, April 6, 2009

More Genie photos. And exactly what is wrong with the Genies and the people covering them. Yes, I include myself among their number.

This couple showed up on the red carpet. Immediately, people began talking to the guy in the fur coat - no one in Canada, and few in the media, know what any of the stars at the Genies actually look like, so they asked him who he was. His name is Biz, it turns out, and he is a rapper from Montreal. They said, of the woman beside him, "is this your girlfriend?" and he said no, she is just a friend, also from Montreal. And he then had his picture taken by everyone, with everyone, including Larry O'Brien. The girl patiently waited, off to the side, while Biz did his thing in his fur coat, then accompanied him down the red carpet until they reached the backstage area.

Here is "Biz"'s just-friend, not-girlfriend, Chloe Bourgeois. She is standing with Yves-Christian Fournier, who has just accepted the Claude Jutra award for directing his first feature film, the magnificent Tout Est Parfait. Which starred Chloe Bourgeois, in a fantastic performance. And no one interviewed her.
I must admit, I fell into the category of the rest of the media, who largely ignored Ms. Bourgeois. I saw her in the film, but she looked nothing like she did on the red carpet, and I did not recognize her. I am kicking myself now, because she is one of the few people there I would love to have interviewed. Then again, I clearly wasn't alone. Besides, the guy she was with was wearing a fur coat!

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

You all know who was inducted on the weekend (Metallica, Jeff Beck, etc for those who don't), so I will just put up some videos.

Another Neil Young video! Because he never stops...

Because Neil Young is simultaneously the hardest-working man in show business, and also the man who appears to be putting in the least effort, he is constantly the coolest musician around. Here is more Neil coolness:

It's amazing that the man can shoot eleven videos during one car trip from his house to the supermarket. Love it!

Some Genie pictures...

These pictures were sent to me by Penny from the Manor Park Chronicle. She was my "partner in crime" on the Genies red carpet (although we committed very few actual crimes). Thanks Penny!

Sarah Polley shows up in a dress...she walks around...

Sarah Polley stops to talk to me briefly before being whisked away by that dude behind her. At first I thought he was standing behind her to make fun of my questions. Then I realized he was making some kind of "wrap it up" sign. Perhaps I would have understood if I worked in television.

Gordon Pinsent poses with the Mounties. The red-carpet-ready, photo-posing mounties. Pinsent is a very cool older man. Very nice.

George Strombolopolous stops to pose for a picture with me and Penny. He seemed used to the whole picture-posing thing. I appear to be more taken aback.

George Stromboluppagus answers my Tragically Hip questions. I told him I thought the Hip's newest album was their best one in years. Technically, that was true.

Dave Foley stops for a picture. He was tough to nail down - running around a lot, talking to everybody.

Kristin Booth stops to pose with the two posable Mounties. She was the most fun of anyone on the red carpet, and when she won Best Supporting Actress, she gave the best acceptance speech of anyone. (Anyone notice that although Global TV managed to bleep the title of her movie, Young People F**ing, when the nominees were announced, and when the winner was announced, but missed the bleep when she walked up on stage and said "I'm so f***ing excited"?)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Genie Awards...a very long post.

OK, the very long post isn't here, it's on Cynical Cinema. I threw out my back yesterday, doing some silly things where I was lifting far more weight than I should have been, and after standing in my suit for four hours at Gearhead and then standing for three more hours at the Genies red carpet, I was in excruciating pain and had to come home early before the ceremony began. But I was there long enough to get a couple of interviews, which I might use in the next couple of days, and to see a few entertaining people. To read a very long post about the Genies and what I liked and what I hated (and I hate many things about the Genies), click here:

If not, I won't continue to clutter up my blog with such silliness!