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Genius thy name is Die Antwoord. Probably NSFW unless you work on Mars, but if you’re gonna get fired for inappropriate Yoo Toobing, this is the one to do it to.
RELATED: Christian television personality Pat Robertson stoked controversy today by telling a female caller that disobedient wives should be spanked by their husbands. On a segment on the long-running 700 Club the 83-year-old Robertson explained to a woman seeking relationship advice that an occasional slap in the rear is the clearest path to marital bliss. “Ma’am, with all due respect, it seems like the problem in your marriage is disobedience,” he told the caller. “When a wife disobeys her husband the holy bond between the two starts to disintegrate and all sorts of problems start to crop up. “The apostle Paul tells us in Corinthians the importance of submission. And when you lose that submission in a marriage, there’s only one solution: a sound spanking on the bottom. “Wives must be spanked by their husbands. It’s the only way to keep biblical order. Nothing too hard, just enough to let her know he’s the one in charge. So I have to ask, when was your last spanking dear?” MORE
“Mick ‘Rock N’ Roll Circus’” by MICHAEL HOUGHTON
The Rolling Stones play the Wells Fargo Center tonight and again on Friday.
FAKE MICK JAGGER: We practiced day and night out of some unspoken impetus, innocent suburban boys abruptly living quite near the edge of a dark milieu. This brings me to Brian, who played guitar very well and was a brittle devil. We knew that because of many things, not least that he spent an inappropriate amount of time beating up his girls in the next room. I’m not proud of that. Keith gives himself (too much, I think) credit for rescuing Anita, eventually, from Brian; but that of course was years later. Earlier, we both listened to or watched his cruelty, in the bedroom and elsewhere; we paid no attention to the half-dozen kids he’d fathered and ignored the savagery he accomplished on tour. We didn’t know better; we were priapic jackals ourselves, fucking even one another’s girlfriends if they got left, as it were, unattended. But it was wrong to have let Brian do that, and Keith should have owned up to this in the book.
I supposed it is a karmic justice for Brian that we continued to watch as he descended from there to hell, harried by the police and increasingly incapacitated artistically, which further estranged him from us. Oh, that’s not true; we didn’t just watch. We ushered him along, ridiculing him, you might say, to death as he began to lose his ability to contribute. Again, we were young. What were you doing at 25? We didn’t know about depression, insanity, addiction, or what acid might have done to him. It’s unclear to me whether the drugs diminished his ability to contribute or whether the drugs were in effect a way to cover up something that wasn’t there. The first song Keith and I wrote was a hit single; Brian couldn’t write a song to save his life, literally. And let’s remember that he was a total asshole.
I’m digressing but I’m trying to explain where we came from. We didn’t have a template. Nothing against Steven Tyler, but there’s a difference. We felt around in the dark; we were famous within weeks; and, in the end, we left a body or two behind us. We did these things, good and bad, together; we were friends.
The second important thing is Keith’s talent. We took it for granted, in a way, as he says. We felt it was our duty to get together and write a song, one good song each day we worked. He is kind to say I could take what he gave me and run with it. But he is the one who gave me the actual song to write the lyrics to. He wrote a dozen Top 10 hits in five years, and, after the band added Mick Taylor and essentially grew up, he wrote most of Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed. Again: What were you doing at 25? It’s interesting to me how no previous song we’d recorded would have a respectable place on those albums; and any song on them would have seem out of place even on Aftermath or Between the Buttons. Keith’s lurch forward was amazing. As a pure rock (not folk or pop) songwriter, I think he is not just without peer. I think he is unrivaled in depth and growth, from “As Tears Go By” to “Satisfaction” to “Jumping Jack Flash” to, I don’t know, “Gimme Shelter. ” “Monkey Man.” “Street Fighting Man.” The primal feel of the chording. The musicality of the intros and breaks. The innovation of the recording—cruder, no doubt, but I will argue far more emotionally powerful than the Beatles’. The winding, intermixed guitars he almost desperately loved. Without him, what would I have been? Peter Noone?
It is hard to use a word like integrity about a band as compromised, as self-bloodied, as we were. But for some years, unlike any other group, the Beatles included, we declared war on that silly, hypocritical, repressive, and arbitrary society in which we lived. The only ammunition we had were Keith’s songs. The lyrics, I confess now, may have been in their defiance just épater la bourgeoisie and in their poesy derivatively Zimmerman-esque. Even when they weren’t, no one would have paid attention if the chords weren’t arresting, irrefutable. The songs spoke primarily through their music, not their words. Keith’s doting fans nattering on about the ultimate avatar of rock ‘n’ roll authenticity irritate me, it’s true; but he may to this day be underappreciated.
So those two things I think, are important. Our bond; his talent. We blink at that point, and go 40 years forward, and he has written a book that says, essentially, that I have a small dick. That I am a bad friend. That I am unknowable. MORE
PREVIOUS: THE COLONEL REMEMBERS: Me & Keef
PREVIOUS: BOOKS: Keef’s Life Sentences
PREVIOUS: REISSUED: Exiles On Mainstream
Photo by PETE TROSHAK
Very few groups could make one album then take a decade off and have a devoted audience still waiting for them, The Postal Service is one of them — in fact, probably the only one. The side project of Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard and producer Jimmy Tamborello (Dntel), The Postal Service made only one album, 2003′s Give Up, and played a brief tour before the duo returned to their regular jobs. Give Up brought electronic music to a new generation of fans and transplanting heart into what is often a soulless and nihilistic genre of music. The group is back together, celebrating the tenth anniversary of their album with a couple of new songs and a tour with indie chanteuse Jenny Lewis reprising her role from the album and original tour as the third member of the group. Monday night at The Mann they played 16 songs for an adoring packed house as a kaleidoscopic light show swirled around them. They kicked things off with a hymn-like “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight” and followed that with a loose, rocking “We Will Become Silhouettes” that drew from the Shin’s reinvention of the song. The group was set up on stage in a triangle, with Tamburello in the back triggering beats and samples and laying the foundation for the music, Lewis singing behind a bank of keyboards and Gibbard delivering his haiku lyrics while alternating between guitar and bashing a set of drums off to the right side of the stage. One surprise was a groovy cover of Beat Happenings “Our Secret” that featured Lewis pounding out a primal beat on drums and Gibbard playing a slashing guitar solo. New songs “Turn Around” and the bouncing “Tattered Line of String” didn’t disappoint, sounding like classic Postal Service and keeping the attention of the crowd which hung on every note and never left their seats during the eighty minute set. The song everyone was waiting for arrived late in the set, “Such Great Heights,” a song Gibbard was quoted as saying is the only positive song he ever wrote about love. Monday night the band took the crowd on a soaring swooping ride through the joys of love for four minutes of electronic pop bliss that closed out their set. They returned for a two song encore: “(This is) The Dream of Evan and Chan,” i.e. the first song Gibbard and Tamborello ever collaborated on, and “Brand New Colony.” The latter found Gibbard and Lewis strolling to the center of the stage, mics in hand Johnny- and-June style, exhorting the crowd and leading them in a joyous sing along of a song about being there for each other and making a new and better world. Amen to that. — PETE TROSHAK
BY WILLIAM C. HENRY Should we be overly concerned about government surveillance and secrecy? After all, history shows that such CYAs and free speech damping devices have served and sustained despots and dictatorships exceedingly well for millenniums. One of the most proficient in their use was a chap by the name of Mohammad Rezā Shāh Pahlavī, better known as the Shah of Iran. I like to use him as an example because for decades he was America’s man in the Middle East. As a matter of fact, he would never have been able to maintain one of the scariest “government support organizations” the world has ever known without the continued support of the United States. He was our boy in that part of the world and we were determined to see to it that he was able to sustain an iron hand. Well, at least until his subjects became so terrorized, tortured and entombed from the results of such oppression that they finally amassed sufficient anger and hatred to give him, us and Israel — yes, national security has been known to make for some really strange bedfellows — the boot. Shortly thereafter our government began asking the question, “Shah who?” We’re funny that way.
It’s no wonder our government has cozied up to secrecy and surveillance so keenly over the years. Hell, we’d been helping friendly tyrants establish and perfect their self-protection paraphernalia for nearly a hundred years. I’m guessing it didn’t take awfully long for leadership in this country to come to the realization that if those fellows could succeed so spectacularly utilizing such methods, maybe it would behoove them to look into creating a few tactical variations for themselves. And, sho’nuff, before you could even spell terrorism, let alone use it in a sentence, we had an FBI, a CIA, and an NSA. But, being the enterprising nation we are, we didn’t stop there. We decided to amass the largest data collecting and analyzing capability ever imagined by the mind of man. Eat your heart out, Mr. Orwell! Holy Bill of Rights, Batman!
Let’s talk basics here at home. They’re spelled NSA and FBI. I’ll assume you’re already pretty familiar with the FBI’s long history of abuse of power (at least I hope you are), and the CIA is primarily foreign oriented (emphasis on the “primarily”), so I’ll concentrate on the NSA (that’s “National Security Agency” for you folks in Sheboygan). It’s America’s largest domestic spying apparatus and, believe me, it’s a real humdinger. The headquarters in Ft. Meade, MD cover some 350 acres, 68 of which constitute the main structure (that’s the size of 4+ U.S. Capitol buildings under one roof). Apparently that has proved to be insufficient floor space, however, because they’ve recently added (grand opening in September) a TWO BILLION DOLLAR, 1,000,000 SQUARE FEET edifice in Utah just south of Salt Lake City. Various experts believe that that will now give the government the technical wherewithal to ascertain literally everything about you that you have not already voluntarily divulged through Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and a half dozen other major social media sites, and provide second to second monitoring of every single update you post thereto, as well as access to the content of every single communication regardless of type other than verbally whispered person-to-person — that one is yet to come, but fruition is said to be just around the grapevine — you initiate or receive. Pretty cool stuff, huh?
Well, evidently most of you must think so since you’ve recently indicated that you don’t mind how or to what extent the government surveils you so long as it keeps you “safe.” Well, believe you me, if the term “safe” has ever been used in a more incongruous sense, I sure don’t remember it. The truth of the matter is that mass surveillance doesn’t keep us safer, and that altogether under-publicized fact is one of our government’s best-kept dirty little secrets. I’m not going to go into great detail here as to precisely why that’s the case, but if you’re really interested in learning the truth, I strongly recommend you start by reading this. And while you’re enlightening yourself about the mass surveillance myth, you might also want to look into this. It all adds up to precisely the way Justice Douglas nailed it years ago when he observed, “Big Brother in the form of an increasingly powerful government and in an increasingly powerful private sector will pile the records high with reasons why privacy should give way to national security, to law and order [...] and the like.”
So, where’s the outrage? Where are the protests in the streets? From what I’ve read of late, many in positions of national leadership are far more interested in eviscerating Edward Snowden and leaving his carcass to be feasted on by vultures than in protecting their constituents from the abuse of power he and others were brave enough to expose. It has always amazed me how a citizenry that has paid such a horrendous price to protect its freedoms is now seemingly willing to abandon them — or, as Michael Kinsley mused, “will even notice when they’re all taken away” — in the face of the perception or pretense of threats to its “safety.” How quickly and conveniently we’ve forgotten the likes of Joseph McCarthy, J. Edgar Hoover, and Richard Nixon. The witch hunts and the fear, the dossiers and the blackmail, the power and the arrogance. How easily we shrug it all off. Certainly Thomas Jefferson knew what it was all about when he wrote, “Experience hath shown, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.” That was some two hundred and fifty years ago. Trust me, human nature hasn’t changed one iota in the interim. Can I get a “bah”?
RELATED: Edward Snowden Answers The Questions Your Government Doesn’t Want You To Ask
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Fed up early stage septuagenarian who has actually been most of there and done most of that. Born and raised in the picturesque Pocono Mountains. Quite well educated. Very lucky to have been born into a well-schooled and somewhat prosperous family. Long divorced. One beautiful, brilliant daughter. Two far above average grandsons. Semi-retired (how does anyone manage to do it completely these days?) and fully-tired of bullshit. Uncle of the Editor-In-Chief.
Artwork by MREYECANDY66
Recently we got The Girl With The Most Cake on the horn to talk turkey in advance of her show at the TLA on June 20th. DISCUSSED: Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Pete Doherty, Keith Richards, Julian Schnabel, Led Zep, Cheap Trick, Stooges, Jane’s Addiction, Marianne Faithfull, Celine Dion, Pussy Riot, Huggy Bear, Frances Bean, Twilight and smokeless cigarettes. Look for it tomorrow on a Phawker near you!
PHAWKER: Courtney thanks for coming on the blog today, the first thing I wanted to ask you about is this exchange on Twitter with Anthony Jeselnik, who is like the Jim Jarmusch of standup comedy, and Amy Schumer who I adore, who I think is the…
COURTNEY LOVE: [sounding groggy] What?
PHAWKER: I wanted to ask you about is this exchange….Can you hear me okay?
COURTNEY LOVE: Yeah. Exchange on Twitter with who?
PHAWKER: Anthony Jeselnik. The comedian.
COURTNEY LOVE: [perking up] The comedian?
PHAWKER: Yes. You Tweeted, “Hoes before bros, Amy Schumer is mine for the night. But then again you are fucking hot too xc.” And he responded with, “You are the most rock ‘n roll cunt of all time. You can have us both!”
COURTNEY LOVE: Huh?
COURTNEY LOVE’S PUBLICIST: Can we get the questions more on Philadelphia and the tour?
PHAWKER: [to publicist] Okay, are you going to be listening in and picking and choosing my questions the whole time?
COURTNEY LOVE: Your level is really low Jon, I can barely hear you dude.
PHAWKER: I will talk a louder, the reason its low is because we are on a three way with your publicist. OK scrap that question; let’s talk about music. You have retired the name Hole and will be performing from now on under the name Courtney Love, is that right?
COURTNEY LOVE: Yeah, I figured for this tour that was easier, more efficient and [guitarist] Miko has a place called Surf Lodge in Montauk [Long Island] and we are writing new songs and then we are playing a secret show, you know, I can’t say what day; we are playing a secret show at the end of the week here. We are like right on the water in Montauk and I am actually about to go see my friend Julian Schnabel who has, believe it or not, incredible guitars at his house, two Martins that are amazing. He’s an artist and a director but he also…[talking to someone in the room] Hey Miko!. [to me and her publicist] Hang on a sec, guys. [to Miko] I’ll be done with this in like five minutes.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: A five minute interview? This is news to me.)
PHAWKER: I’m sorry, did you say you are collaborating with Julian Schnabel on music? Is that what you are saying?
COURTNEY LOVE: No I’m going to go visit him. I’m not collaborating with Julian on anything. I was going to go visit him with Miko my guitar player. Julian has really amazing guitars at his house.
PHAWKER: Good to know.
COURTNEY LOVE: No, if I had ever done anything with Julian, he taught me a little about art, actually a lot about art and he tried to help me with my accountant one time and he is a really gifted filmmaker who I really think could handle me so someday. I would really like to work with him as an actress.
PHAWKER: So I wanted to ask you about the new Yves Saint Laurent campaign. You are widely regarded as the inspiration for the new line and the photos are amazing, I love the shot of you wearing that skinny, pin-striped suit and you are kind of like crouching down and strangling a guitar…
COURTNEY LOVE: Yeah, it was fun. [Hedi Slimane], the guy that designed it left fashion like seven years ago, he was designing Christian Dior Men and it got to the point where Christian Dior Men was being worn by women including myself because it was so well-designed and then he took off and he hated fashion and then he came back and the first shoot he did was I think of Pete Doherty, and then Marianne Faithfull, then he did three of me, for the, to shoot and then Keith Richards and then Frances, my daughter, then he went back to fashion and he’s so sort of powerful that it’s not longer Yves Saint Laurent, it’s just Saint Laurent, they wanted him back so bad he got everything on his terms. He gave me some killer clothes, I have to say.
PHAWKER: The NJOY electronic cigarette ad is hilarious, do you really use the electronic cigarette? Is it as satisfying as regular cigarettes?
COURTNEY LOVE: They want to kind of give you a choice, I can be in a restaurant or I can be dealing with lawyers in a tall building and I don’t have to go in the bathroom and then get a complaint and break a law. I can just fucking whip out an enjoy or an e cigarette and it gives me a choice. Because every time I’ve ever been to a deposition or some corporate meeting in a corporate building I always get complaints about smoking in the bathroom and these things are like great…they’ve help me cut down definitely, I haven’t quit. I’m not claiming that it does help you quit but I can stand inside, just like the video, in any social arena I want except for airplanes, they are not big on them on airplanes.
PHAWKER: How you would describe the new music that you are doing now compared to what came before.
COURTNEY LOVE: Well we wrote one yesterday that was actually very bluesy it was kind of like Black Keys meets PJ Harvey and then we wrote one the day before that, just Miko is really brilliant and it was like kind of almost a Zeppelin song, but like a pretty like a…I mean, it wasn’t as complex as a Zeppelin song, it was simple but really hard hardcore I mean that you have to have a real light touch to do, the songs that we recorded are coming out on the new single which is coming out not imminently but sometime before the first of the year. One is called “California” and the other is called “Wedding Day” and that one is really really hardcore, I think it is the best song I’ve ever written, I came up with that with Miko. They are complete opposites, one is like complete punk powerpunk but with like a really poppy, poppy, Stooges meet Cheap Trick. And the other one is like, I don’t know, it’s got this almost John Frusciante element to it, a little bit, and a little bit of Jane’s Addiction, early Jane’s Addiction California. But “Wedding Day” is…I don’t know…the people at K-Rock and Clear Channel really like “California” but the English people that I have played “Wedding Day” for, they have all liked them both but they liked “Wedding Day.” They are both A-side. I’m recording seven songs so I decided why don’t I just release the two excellent ones and leave the semi-okay or mediocre ones on the table. The standard the people hold me to is so much higher than everyone else, like a new band can get away with one good song and like six tracks of shit but older bands can’t do that. If you are a familiar voice, everything has to be really impeccable.
PHAWKER: I think we can all agree that rage is your metier, as it were, and you are very good at articulating it.
COURTNEY LOVE: What’s my metier?
COURTNEY LOVE: Oh yeah, I guess that’s my sales pitch, yeah.
PHAWKER: Do you disagree with that statement?
COURTNEY LOVE: No! I wouldn’t. I read Marianne Faithful’s biography and so Broken English which is like ‘78 or something had a lot of rage in it but she didn’t want to stick to that as her métier. It is my metier but I also have a soft, squishy side, as well.
PHAWKER: I understand that but hang on I haven’t gotten to my question yet, I’m curious if the reasons you were angry 25 years ago are different from the reasons you are angry today? Assuming you still are angry.
COURTNEY LOVE: Are you asking me this because I don’t have a Dylanesque arc where I become a Christian? [laughs] I haven’t released like 26 albums, I’ve only released one, two , three, four, five. They tend to be of the same theme because I am made of the same stuff so it is not a matter of age it is a matter of, I mean I really don’t know how to write a love song properly, that’s like a codependent Celine Dion/Dianna Warren love song. I don’t know how to do that, I’m not that interested in doing it, I’ve tried writing ballads and the ballad that I wrote with Linda Perry was an amazing, amazing ballad, really good but it was in the same theme as they always are, I’m comfortable where…you know sometimes I like to leave my comfort zone but generally I’m in a place where…it’s not Rage Against The Machine, you know, political, but it’s sort of, I don’t know, songs that no other woman has explored the same themes which I think is kind of odd, I mean in the 90s they did but in the last amount of years, I really haven’t noticed many women picking up the axe and grinding it.
PHAWKER: What about Pussy Riot? Do you have an opinion on them?
COURTNEY LOVE: Yeah, Pussy Riot is really not that good. That is a terrible, terrible thing that happened to them and as you can imagine from Newsweek to the New York Times I got asked to write about it and every time I went to write about it I came to the conclusion that two years in a gulag is better than having all your money stolen and it wound up being all about me and I don’t know, and I was like ‘I’m not publishing this it isn’t even sympathetic to them’ which of course I am sympathetic to them but I found a really good piece in the London Guardian where a band called Huggy Bear had, it wasn’t a church but they basically invaded this television show called The Word topless, and it was lauded as the greatest piece of anarchy since the Sex Pistols. That was back in the Riot Grrrl/Bikini Kill day. I think the date is about ‘92 or ‘93. So it was such a change, I mean you’re talking about Russia as well which is a whole different thing…but that just sucked I can’t believe that this happened to those girls. It just shows how much the culture has changed that they can’t pull a prank like that without going to jail? I mean, wow!
PHAWKER: Why do you think you are such a polarizing figure, my girlfriend is one of your great defenders and she thinks it is because you have committed the crime of being smart and spoken while having a vagina, do you agree with that?
COURTNEY LOVE: I would prefer to say uterus but yes and also because at an archetypical level, I’m a widow and a widow of a guy who is canonized as sort of a saint and that polarizes people, definitely. That’s definitely a part that I attribute that to.
PHAWKER: Is it true that Francis Bean was offered the lead in Twilight when she was like 13?
COURTNEY LOVE: When she was 15, let me clarify that. She was offered for her first lead in something else when she was 13 but she was offered the role of Bella when she was 15 and I actually wrote to Arianna Huffington because, who I am friendly with, because there was a person there questioning that. It was an offer, it’s really not a big deal. I know a kid in England who was offered the Robert Pattinson part that had no acting experience either but he comes from an extremely high profile family and is extremely good looking. Frances had been offered several films previously to that so it really was no big deal, she was 15 when that happened and I called an agent who is about the biggest agent in LA and also the father of her best friend and he was like, ‘what are you a fucking Momager?’ I was like, ‘No.’ He was like, ‘If she wants to act she can after she is 18 and then she can call me.’ She didn’t want to do it so it was like, she doesn’t want to do that. She went to summer camp for acting for three years and she was very very interested in pretty much every school musical because she is really really good but she is over it now, she doesn’t want to do it.
PHAWKER: What does she want to do? I just started following her on Twitter. She’s got great taste in music.
COURTNEY LOVE: She wants to be an artist or she is an artist. She is trying to figure out a way, I don’t want to violate her privacy, but she is just figuring out a way to differentiate herself because she is not leaning on her mother or her father and it is kind of an impossible task and she is trying to figure out a way to do it.
PHAWKER: What is the status of your relationship with Maer Roshan, the guy from The Fix, or formerly from The Fix, who wrote Courtney Comes Clean? I was wondering if you read it, and what you made of it, if the book was fair, if the book was bullshit.
COURTNEY LOVE: First of all I didn’t read it, Maer is a tragic junkie who ripped off a lot of people with that thing and recorded me surreptitiously and I have no comment past that. He was also fired I think. It is not a credible, it’s not something that I would give any credence to.
PHAWKER: What are you listening to these days, what are you excited about music-wise, old or new?
COURTNEY LOVE: I’m excited about touring, I’m so fucking bored I really can’t wait to tour, I’m so fucking bored you have no idea, idle hands are the devil’s workshop. Stick a guitar in my hands and I’ll be a much happier camper. And it’s hot in New York and I don’t have air conditioning in my house and fucking I just need to be on a [tour] bus.
THIS IS THE END (2013, directed by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, 107 minutes, U.S.)
BY DAN BUSKIRK FILM CRITIC The most intoxicating summer blockbusters are those that really capture a cultural moment and have their way with it. As the previews ran before Iron Man 3 a few weeks back, it was depressing to discover that for the umpteenth summer we’ll yet again be treated to multiple visions of apocalypse. It was all death and devastation and the audience watching could hardly be bothered to yawn. It is as if we lack the imagination to solve our barrage of societal problems so instead Hollywood is calling out for Biblical disaster to descend post haste. In this context, the arrival of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s audacious spoof This Is The End seems almost heroic; let’s hope the “End Times” epic will finally wither and die under the ridicule of this particularly biting cosmic comedy.
As the film dismantles the apocalypse genre it also dismantles the personas of the impressive list of young-ish stars involved, all playing slightly unhinged versions of themselves. As it opens, actor Jay Baruchel (the skinny pal from Knocked-Up) is dragged by Seth Rogen to a house party at James Franco’s mansion when the earth opens up and delivers Biblical-scale wrath on the Hollywood Hills. Death lurks along the brimstone-choked streets as Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, and latecomer Danny McBride hole up in Franco’s pad and strategize their survival.
Like a big-budget episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, This is the End undercuts our worship of celebrities by revealing them as petty and self-absorbed as teenagers, and the End Times just bring out the worst in them. James Franco in particular has a ball playing off his reputation for eccentric behavior, he’s charming, conniving, and clueless along the way, and much like in real life, we are never quite sure how to take him. But it is the whole ensemble that really shines; Hill, Robinson, McBride and the rest have really bloomed into a dream team of comedy and the film pays off with every ludicrous development and side-trip.
Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg were guests on Marc Maron’s podcast this past week where they discussed their disappointing Green Hornet film from 2011. They commented that once the studio’s budget and enthusiasm grew for the film, they had less-and-less control over the picture. Here at a surprisingly thrifty $25 million, the film feels true to the goofball aesthetic the writers Goldberg and Rogen have established. As the duo also takes the director reins for the first time (aided by Rob Zombie’s cinematographer Brandon Trost) their offbeat comic timing is allowed to find its pace and the punchlines hit their marks again and again. The only speed bump this comedy hits is an odd preponderance of shameless product placement, as characters stop everything to express their love for fast food chains and crappy candy bars. If this truly were the end, those product endorsement checks would never arrive.
Rogen and Goldberg’s tone is so fresh, we have no idea where their story is headed and how euphoric it feels to have a summer blockbuster torn free from predictable conclusions. Even though too many of its gags are revealed in the film’s trailer, the film is filled with jokes that depend on their shock value, and I worry that your friends will find it irresistible to reveal some of its funnier riffs. When I say This Is The End is the perfect comedy of the moment, it means you should visit your theater like a hellhound is on your trail, before your friends spoil the apocalypse for you.
NBC PHILADELPHIA: In a final message before taking his life, the lead building inspector responsible for a Center City building that collapsed last week said he was to blame for the deadly disaster. “It was my fault. I should have looked at those guys working, and I didn’t,” Ronald Wagenhoffer said in a video recorded on his smartphone. NBC10 Philadelphia has learned the 52-year-old veteran Philadelphia Licenses & Inspections staffer recorded the one-minute long message for his family. Wagenhoffer was found dead around 9:30 Wednesday night of an apparent suicide, city officials confirmed at a press conference Thursday. Law enforcement sources say Wagenhoffer shot himself once in the chest inside his pickup truck along a wooded section of the 100 block of Shawmont Avenue in the Roxborough neighborhood of Philadelphia. That’s less than a mile from his home. In the video, Wagenhoffer says he couldn’t sleep and blamed himself for the building collapse at 2136 Market Streets that killed six and injured 13 when the building collapsed onto a store on June 5. He admitted he never inspected an adjacent work site after a citizen complained about safety concerns, although he reported there were no violations found. “When I saw it was too late. I should have parked my truck and went over there but I didn’t. I’m sorry,” Wagenhoffer said in the message. City officials said Wagenhoffer was sent to the demolition site of 2134 Market Street on May 14 — that’s adjacent to the building that collapsed at 2136 Market Street. The inspection was set to take place after Center City resident Stephen Field complained to the city’s 311 call center about a lack of safety equipment on workers and adequate protection of the sidewalk. The city has been saying for a week that no issues were found. MORE
Artwork by SCOTT RHODES
NEW YORK TIMES: The Supreme Court ruled unanimously (9-0) on Thursday. The decision is likely to reduce the cost of genetic testing for some health risks, and it may discourage investment in some forms of genetic research. The case concerned patents held by Myriad Genetics, a Utah company, on genes that correlate with an increased risk of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. The patents were challenged by scientists and doctors who said their research and ability to help patients had been frustrated. After the ruling, at least three companies and two university labs said that they would begin offering genetic testing in the field of breast cancer. “Myriad did not create anything,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the court. “To be sure, it found an important and useful gene, but separating that gene from its surrounding genetic material is not an act of invention.”
The course of scientific research and medical testing in other fields will also be shaped by the court’s ruling, which drew a sharp distinction between DNA that appears in nature and synthetic DNA created in the laboratory. That distinction may alter the sort of research and development conducted by the businesses that invest in the expensive work of understanding genetic material. The decision tracked the position of the Obama administration, which had urged the justices to rule that isolated DNA could not be patented, but that synthetic DNA created in the laboratory — complementary DNA, or cDNA — should be protected under the patent laws. In accepting that second argument, the ruling on Thursday provided a partial victory to Myriad and other companies that invest in genetic research.
The particular genes at issue received public attention after the actress Angelina Jolie revealed in May that she had had a preventive double mastectomy after learning that she had inherited a faulty copy of a gene that put her at high risk for breast cancer. The price of the test, often more than $3,000, was partly a product of Myriad’s patent, putting it out of reach for some women. That price “should come down significantly,” said Dr. Harry Ostrer, one of the plaintiffs in the case, as competitors start to offer their own tests. The ruling, he said, “will have an immediate impact on people’s health.” MORE
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If you’ve just thawed out from the deep freeze of a cryogenic pod, having spent the last eon rocketing to the far reaches of Alpha Centuri, welcome back spaceboy. Let us get you up to speed. Really all you need to know about the last 10 years is that Ben Gibbard from Death Cab For Cutie teamed up with producer Jimmy Tamborello on an electro side project called The Postal Service. The resulting album, Give Up, is the biggest selling Sub Pop album since Nirvana’s Bleach. (NOTE: Nirvana was a very popular boy band with great dance moves and awesome hair care products) Why was Give Up such a smash? Hard to say, except that it’s the kind of dance music-derived record that rockist indie boys can get a boner over without embarrassment. (Strange but true trivia fact about The Postal Service, via Wikipedia: In August 2003, the United States Postal Service sent the band a cease and desist letter, citing its trademark on the phrase “postal service”. After negotiations, the USPS relented, allowing the band use of the trademark in exchange for promotional efforts on behalf of the USPS and a performance at its annual National Executive Conference.Additionally, at one point the USPS website sold the band’s CDs.) Gibbard and Tamborello, along with Rilo Kiley’s Jenny Lewis, are currently touring in support of the 10 Anniversary reissue of Give Up. They play the Mann on Monday with Ra Ra Riot and we have a pair of tickets to give away to some lucky duck Phawker reader. To qualify, all you have to do is sign up for our mailing list (see right, below the masthead). Trust us, this is something you want to do. In addition to breaking news alerts and Phawker updates, you also get advanced warning about groovy concert ticket giveaways like this one! After signing up, send us an email at FEED@PHAWKER.COM telling us a much, with the words POSTAL SERVICE in the subject line. Please include your full name and a mobile number for confirmation. The 10th Phawker reader to sign up for the mailing list and send us an email wins! Good luck and godspeed!
This is f*cking hilarious!
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