Posts from January 2019

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

For Your Wednesday Listening Pleasure: “No Scrubs” by Weezer

Definition of "scrub" to follow…

Definition of “scrub” to follow…

Hey, ‘member last year when Weezer put out a cover of Toto’s “Africa” after being bugged to do it by a twitter account?

Well, it was so successful that they decided to suprise-release an entire cover album. It’s a very “middle-aged karaoke” selection of songs, and they’re all recreated rather faithfully, just with fuzzier guitars and punchier drums (and Rivers Cuomo’s voice). One of the songs that got the most buzz is TLC’s “No Scrubs.” Well, here it is.

It’s an interesting time for cover albums, what with this Weezer Teal Album and Jonathan Coulton’s Kickstarted Some Guys cover album of 70s soft rock. Take a look at the promo for that one.

You have partaken and enjoyed!

Categories: Music, Wednesday Listening Pleasure.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

For Your Wednesday Listening Pleasure: “We Are the Crystal Gems” by Steven Universe

We'll win the fight and then go out for pizzas…

We’ll win the fight and then go out for pizzas…

Did you watch the big, huge, new, hour-long Steven Universe that premiered on Monday night? If not, stay the heck away from this post! Heck!

Anyhoo, the episode, “Change Your Mind,” sure seemed to be the culmination of 5 years and 100+ episodes of the show. It brought to a close pretty much all of the major storylines, and it ended, as it should, with a song: a reworking of the opening theme song of the show itself. Take a watch/listen for yourself!

Actually, my previous paragraph was not entirely truthful. The show didn’t end with a song; it ended with two songs. After all the problems are solved and everything has calmed down, Steven sits on the beach with the three people (well, sentient lesbian space rocks) with whom he began this journey in Episode 1, and sings a little coda to the whole series. It’s very simple, but it’s exceedingly sell-sung by Zach Callistan. It is, like the episode itself, called “Change Your Mind.” Here you go.

I don’t know what Steven Universe can do from here. I know there’s a movie coming out later this year, and the possibility of another season. But the whole arc of the show has now been wrapped up; the diamonds have been “defeated” and the corrupted gems have been uncorrupted. There are some dangling threads, like will the diamonds be able to successfully dismantle their horrible, oppressive dictatorship? Will gem society be able to adjust smoothly into a free society? Will Pearl ever go out on a date with the Mystery Girl? So we’ll just have to wait (for a long time, per usual with this show) to see what happens.

Categories: Cartoons, Music, TV, Videos, Wednesday Listening Pleasure.

Monday, 21 January 2019

Fools Play in Olympia in January 2019

It's live, even though I'm asleep on this poster…

It’s live, even though I’m asleep on this poster…

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOH it’s that time o’ tha month again. Time to hoof it on down to Olympia to see Fools Play Improv be funny live!

Fools Play Improv Olympia in January (website)
Saturday, January 26th 2019, 8:00 PM
@ Gravity Yoga
623 5th Ave SE, Olympia, WA 98501 (map)
All-ages (mostly), Only $7.00

I wiill seee yoooou theeeeere!

Categories: Concerts/Shows, Fools Play, Olympia.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

For Your Wednesday Listening Pleasure: “Will You Dance?” by The Bird and the Bee

C'mon, hurry up and dance, Patton's really gotta get in there…

C’mon, hurry up and dance, Patton’s really gotta get in there…

Hey, listen up, I really love The Bird and the Bee. Alright!? I know they haven’t released a new album since 2015, but I’m really jonesin’ for some of that sweet, sweet, jazz-inflected, dreamy, electro-exotica pop.

Here’s the video for their first single, “Will You Dance?” from their most recent album, Recreational Love. It stars Simon Helberg and Patton Oswalt! How can you beat that?

Gosh, I’d love it if they’d put out more music. Here’s a fun thing to do: go to Pandora and make a station based solely on The Bird and the Bee. Do you hear all of that music? That’s my favorite kind of music!!

Categories: Music, Videos, Wednesday Listening Pleasure.

Monday, 14 January 2019

Warren Dunes Birthday Beach Party (at the Aquarium!!)

It's beachy keen…

It’s beachy keen…

Hey-o! This Thursday night (I know, how inconvenient is that?), January 17th 2019, there is a great-big Warren Dunes party happening at the Seattle Aquarium!

According to the Seattle Aquarium:

Adults take over the Seattle Aquarium for this 21+ event featuring animal experiences, music, a cash bar and more.

Shake the winter off at the Aquarium After Hours BEACH PARTY! Dress in your favorite Aloha wear and bask in the indoor sunshine while exploring exhibits and learning more about our Hawaii research.

And here’s more info from Warren Dunes if you can stomach nonstop aquarium-themed puns:

This is your O-FISH-AL invitation to the winter party everyone will be CLAM-oring over this month!

This show will include not one, not two, but THREE sets from yours truly! Your $25 ticket includes the show as well as access to all of the exhibits in the Aquarium!! It promises to be a WHALE of a time!

Also, it just so happens to be Julia’s birthday and all she wants from you is your PRESENCE!!

After Hours: Beach Party (Get Tickets Here)
January 17, 2019 at 6:30-9:30pm
@ The Seattle Aquarium
1483 Alaskan Way, Pier 59, Seattle, WA 98101 (map)
21+, $25 (Discount available to Seattle Aquarium members)

If you can swing it, you should bring it!

And by “it” I mean “yourself to the aquarium on Thursday night to hang with Warren Dunes.” Except not the first “it,” that one means “going out on a School night and being able to afford $25 per person.” Yeah!

Categories: Concerts/Shows, Seattle.

Friday, 11 January 2019

TV Review: She-Ra and the Princesses of Power

"I am Adora, He-Man's twin sister, and defender of the Crystal Castle. This is Spirit, my beloved steed. Fabulous secrets were revealed to me, the day I held aloft my sword and said, 'For The Honor Of Grayskull! I AM SHE-RA!!!'"

“I am Adora, He-Man’s twin sister, and defender of the Crystal Castle. This is Spirit, my beloved steed. Fabulous secrets were revealed to me, the day I held aloft my sword and said, ‘For The Honor Of Greyskull! I AM SHE-RA!!!'”

This new She-Ra show is absolutely brilliant at showing the difficulties of navigating interpersonal relationships. It is, however, still firmly ensconsed in a younger “Saturday morning” genre of shows.

The story follows the same basic beats as the original She-Ra. Adora was kidnapped as a baby (though no mention is made of a manly brother) by the Horde and groomed to be its next great leader. When she discovers the horrors of what the Horde is actually up to she defects and happens to find a sword that can transform her into She-Ra.

Where this show differs wildly from the original is in its depictions of the relationships between all of the characters, particularly the villains. What once were one-dimensional evil caricatures are now fully fleshed-out, unbelievably sympathetic people. The main thrust of the whole show is the sisterly relationship between Adora and Catra, who were both raised as basically sisters by Shadow Weaver, who is (let’s be frank) a pretty terrible mom. Shadow Weaver constantly raises up Adora while denigrating Catra. And even though Adora deeply loves her adopted sister and tries to help her, the fact that she has to rely on Adora so much makes Catra feel weak and resentful.

Because of Shadow Weaver’s parenting style, Catra never bought into the whole Horde thing. She was more cynical and self-serving. But all of the feedback that Adora got growing up made it so that she was pretty gung-ho about striving to be the best for the Horde. So when Adora does defect, Catra doesn’t feel betrayed because Adora left the Horde; she feels personally betrayed because Adora left her. Shadow Weaver spends much of the series trying to get Adora back because she believes Adora would be an amazing general in the Horde. Catra tries to get Adora back because she misses her sister.

Similar care is taken with most other villains (except Hordak, who remains a mostly-offscreen, distant ruler figure). Most fascinating are Scorpia and Entrapta. Scorpia is actually a princess whose family surrendered to the Horde rather than fight. She is rather simple, and doesn’t seem to actually buy into the Horde philosophy. Indeed, she doesn’t even seem to really understand it. She just believes she’s friends with Catra, and wants to help her with her plans because that’s what friends do, right? Entrapta is also a princess who is basically a mad scientist. She’s so in love with experimenting that she never thinks about the consequences of her experiments, and indeed doesn’t seem to see them as anything other than data points to incorporate into future experiments. As such she creates huge amounts of chaos not through malice, but carelessness and tunnel-vision. She joins the Horde simply because Catra encourages her reckless experiments and the mayhem they cause.

Also wonderful is Adora’s relationship with her new, non-horde friends, the feisty Glimmer and the upbeat Bow. Glimmer (who has the ability to teleport) is at first guarded. She has a lot of pain in her past because when the Horde originally invaded they killed her father (the only mention of a death in the whole series—more on that later), and now she’s pretty desperate to move out from both his shadow and the shadow of her immensely powerful, important, and protective mother. Glimmer wants to prove herself on her own terms. Bow, on the other hand, is almost completely unflappable in his optimism and happiness. Its his sunny outgoing-ness that reaches out with childlike naiveté and pulls Adora into the group. He wants to help! He wants everybody to be happy! It’s completely charming.

There is some interesting world-building as well (with reservations—see below). The world is divided into kingdoms (princessdoms?) that each house a very powerful crystal. These crystals form kind of a worldwide power network that the princesses can tap into, and allows them to use their unique powers. She-Ra isn’t a person so much as a global defense system. Adora is not the first She-Ra, she simply becomes the latest one. There are hints and signs pointing to deeper things that will (hopefully) be further developed in subsequent seasons.

Where the show falls short is in its handling of the more violent subjects. The Horde is ostensibly waging a war against the rest of the world, but the logistics of the war are nonsensical. And there is also a real problem of scale. Before the events of the show, the rest of the world (led by the princesses) joined together as a Rebellion and stood up to the Horde. It did not go well. The Rebellion disbanded with each princess going into isolation to protect only their own corner of the globe. But the Horde does not seem to have done anything to press that advantage in the ensuing 15 years (or so). There is no warfront. There are no armies. Indeed, at the climax of the series when the Horde army invades Glimmer’s kingdom, it seems to consist of about 12 tanks and maybe 20 soldiers, and the Rebellion consists entirely of half a dozen people. I wonder if there were budgetary problems that prevented showing larger conflicts? The newer Voltron cartoon handles the scope of war in a much better way. Also nobody ever gets hurt (in any serious way), and except for mention of Glimmer’s father, it is an absolutely deathless war. She-Ra has a gigantic sword that never cuts anybody.

It’s reminiscent of the original A-Team show that had in some episodes showers of machine gun fire that never hit anybody. It’s this feeling of being held back that makes the show seem aimed at an incredibly juvenile audience even at the same time that its handling of relationships is incredibly mature.

Categories: Reviews, TV Reviews.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

For Your Wednesday Listening Pleasure: “Gudetama’s Busy Days” by They Might Be Giants

A Lazy Groove for a Lazy Egg

A Lazy Groove for a Lazy Egg…

Hey, did you know that my all-time favorite band They Might Be Giants released not one, but two new albums (technically two, but in reality three because one of them contains a “bonus disc” that’s as long as a full-length album) right before the holidays? C’est vrai! They just kinda sneaked ’em out.

Here’s “Gudetama’s Busy Days” from the album My Murdered Remains, which is apparently about the “lazy egg” Sanrio character of the same name? As with many TMBG songs, it’s hard to tell what it’s actually about. But partake and enjoy anyway!

Seriously, though, those are some excellently lazy grooves in that song. Tasty.

Notice how I very purposefully didn’t say “egg-cellently lazy” in the previous paragraph! You’re welcome! An enjoyment has occurred!

Categories: Music, Videos, Wednesday Listening Pleasure.