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BECAUSE REALITY HAS A LIBERAL BIAS: Q&A W/ Comedian & ex-Totally Biased Host W. Kamau Bell

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

KAMAU BELL ILLUSTRATION BY TAXALI
Illustration by GARY TAXALI©

BY JONATHAN VALANIA Comedian W. Kamau Bell has been fighting the good fight in the stand-up comedy trenches of San Francisco since the phat pants ’90s. It was there that Chris Rock discovered him and eventually brokered a deal with FX for Bell to have his own TV show. In 2012, Totally Biased, a much-buzzed-about late night sketch comedy show starring Bell and produced by Rock, debuted to strong reviews and a big enough viewership to justify a second season until its ill-advised migration from FX to FXX, subsequent plummet in audience share and ensuing cancellation in November of 2013 after 64 episodes. His response to the bad news was both reasonable and entirely logical: Make a baby and go on tour, in that order. A few weeks ago, Bell became a father for the second time in three years. And on Sunday, his Oh Everything Tour stops at Underground Arts. All of which is easier said than done. Much easier. “I guess I thought two kids would only be twice as hard,” he recently blogged. “Two kids isn’t twice as hard anymore than getting hit by a second train right after the first train is twice as hard.” To mark his return to the City of Brotherly Love, we present this encore version of our 2013 interview with Mr. Bell. DISCUSSED: His days at Penn, the first black president, Trayvon Martin, Edward Snowden, Paula Dean and if and when white people can drop the N-bomb.

PHAWKER: I am calling from Philadelphia, as you may or may not know.

W. KAMAU BELL: Oh I know, I got it written down on a piece of paper. [laughs]

PHAWKER: It’s my understanding that you went to University of Pennsylvania for a time…

W. KAMAU BELL: For a time — I only went for one year. I got there in 1990 and I left in 1992.PHAWKER: What can you tell me about your time here?

W. KAMAU BELL: I was living in The Quad, which is probably the Penn-est part of the campus. I was eating Wawa hoagies. My major was Asian Studies, which I picked because I was a big fan of Bruce Lee. Surprise, surprise that did not work out. I would have liked to have stayed if it was not so expensive and I’d realized I wasn’t going to do anything with the degree. I realized I didn’t want to be a doctor or a lawyer or a businessman, so this is probably not the school for me. But you can let them know that I will accept an honorary degree at any time.

PHAWKER: Next time I see the dean I will mention it. So, I thought we’d talk about some current events since your comedy is very sociopolitical. My first question is do think that the election of Barack Obama aggravated race relations in this country or in fact improved race relations in this country in that it sort of lanced to boil on a lot of thinly veiled racism that’s been seething under for a long time and that all this nonsense about socialism, birth certificates and he’s a secret Muslim is sort of the pus that comes oozing out when you lance that boil…

W. KAMAU BELL: Absolutely. I think you said that very well. Just say I said what you said. As I said before, what’s a better recruiting tool for the Klan than a black president? That’s a lightning rod for racists. Before Obama they didn’t have anything to rally around and then Obama came along and they’re like ‘Now we have a cause! It’s so much better to be a racist now!’ Racists love Obama, despite what they say. They LOVE him! Because it gives them a discussion point with every other racist in the world. They’re like ‘The president is black, isn’t that the worst?!?’ ‘I know!’ Before that is was, ‘Um, that Michael Jordan is kinda annoying.’
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TERROR AT 700 FEET: Russian Daredevils Snap Death-Defying Skywalking Selfies In Hong Kong

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

As someone who has a very rational fear of heights, this is probably the most terrifying horror film I have ever seen.

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Bill Cosby Joked About Drugging Women For Sex

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

VILLAGE VOICE: Cosby’s dozen-plus accusers tell similar stories: that, after having a drink with Cosby, they felt drugged and confused as he had his way with them. Curiously, Cosby himself once made such scenarios the center of a stand-up routine: Witness “Spanish Fly,” a cut from his now-unfortunately titled 1969 LP It’s True! It’s True!. In it, Cosby describes being a kid and hearing about a wonder drug — “Spanish Fly” — that would make a girl go crazy once it was put into her drink. He presents this as a horny/goofy lark of an idea, a myth that kids buy into all over the world. More disturbingly, Cosby then describes his adult interest in such a drug, especially on a trip he took to Spain with Robert Culp of I Spy — both Culp and Cosby, he claims, were desperate to get their hands on some Spanish Fly. MORE

WIKIPEDIA: Cantharidin (etymology: Greek kantharis, beetle) is a powerful irritant vesicant (blister-inducing) substance obtained from many blister beetles, and sometimes given the nickname “Spanish fly”. Cantharidin is claimed to have aphrodisiac 1415684668693_wps_44_Bill_Cosby_invited_the_inproperties, as a result of its irritant effects upon the body’s genitourinary tract, and can result in poisoning if ingested.[3] Ingestion of blister beetles from infested hay causes similar serious toxic symptoms in animals.[4] As it passes through the body, cantharidin irritates the genitals resulting in increased blood flow that can mimic the engorgement that occurs with sexual excitement.[3] For this reason, various preparations of desiccated Spanish flies have been used as some of the world’s oldest alleged aphrodisiacs, with a reputation dating back to the early western Mediterranean classical civilizations. The ease of toxic overdose makes this highly dangerous, so the sale of such products as Spanish fly has been made illegal in most countries. MORE

PHILADELPHIA MAGAZINE: [T]here’s something else, along with the plight of poor people, dogging Bill Cosby. His lawyers have gotten it pushed to the back burner, down to a simmer, and maybe it will amount to nothing, yet there is also the possibility that it will bubble up to destroy him. A young Canadian woman he met in Philadelphia through Temple University is accusing him of drugging her and then, when she was in a near-comatose state, molesting her. It went nowhere legally — the woman, Andrea Constand, waited a year before going to police, it boiled down to a he said/she said (Cosby claimed the sex was consensual, according to ABC News), and the police dropped the case for lack of evidence. But Constand filed a civil complaint in federal court in Philly last year, suing for an unspecified amount of money over $150,000. It is still Cosby’s no against her yes, except for one difference: CosbyRapeFamousThirteen women are waiting to be deposed in the suit; in a court filing, Constand’s lawyer says that all of them — with nothing to gain, with no payout waiting, with their own statutes of limitations run out — have stories about Bill Cosby as well, and some of them will claim a similar drug-and-fondling M.O. MORE

NPR: Two of Cosby’s accusers, Bowman and Tarshis, have noted that NBC is developing a new show starring the comic, intended as a family-oriented comedy, suggesting it shouldn’t move forward. Quickly as media attention can move on these days, there is still a sense that Cosby will have trouble appearing on a major media outlet until he comments further; already, there have been planned interviews canceled on the Queen Latifah Show, Late Show with David Letterman and with The Associated Press. Selling the public on a new TV show or movie requires lots of public appearances and conversations with media figures and journalists. Can Cosby run that gantlet without saying more than he already has? And will TV viewers feel strange watching Cosby play a grandfatherly figure with such ugly allegations still in the public sphere? MORE

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SMUS: And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out

Monday, November 17th, 2014

the_three_rs_by_poasterchild-d50dyh9

Artwork by POASTERCHILD

BY WILLIAM C. HENRY The pundits all crowed that the Republicans won a sweeping victory in the just-passed mid-term election, but in fact the REAL winners on November 4th were, in no particular order:  self-defeating no-nothingness, sociopathic obstructionism, irrational fear of the other, bald-faced misogyny, seething homophobia and above all else, abject racism towards the nation’s SMUSfirst black President and First Lady. Yep, that’s what won out on November 4th. I’d congratulate the American Kakistocratic party (you can call them Republicans if you like) if there was even the teeniest of reasons for doing so, but, uh, well, you get the idea. No, my congratulations go out to the millions of gullible dimwits who helped elect (including all the complacent and/or lazy Democrats — especially the young ones — who were too complacent and/or lazy to vote for anyone or anything) and can once again call a totally gridlocked American government their own.

Yeah, yeah, I know, you just wanted “change.” You were fed up. You wanted to try something, anything, new and different. Well, folks, therein “lies” the bullshit. Here’s a synopsis of the victorious party’s past six years of work on your behalf: ZERO, ZILCH, NADA, NOTHING! NO JOBS BILLS, NO STIMULUS! NO IMMIGRATION REFORM! NO FUCKING ANYTHING! Did I mention that every single Administration/Democrat sponsored bill or initiative that would have in ANY way alleviated the economic or physical pain the nation (especially its dwindling middle class) was suffering was obstructed in EVERY way possible by an intransigent, COULDN’T-POSSIBLY-GIVE-A-SHIT-LESS-ABOUT-YOU, historically racist Republican party. Seldom in the sordid annals of political under-the-bus-throwing has an opposition party so successfully practiced said art on such a grand scale. But, of course, you felt that installing more of these bigoted bottom-feeders would be good for us. Of course it will.
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EARLY WORD: David Bowie Is

Monday, November 17th, 2014

At the Ritz 5 for one night only Wednesday November 17th @ 7 pm.

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THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS: Satanic Coloring Book Shuts Down Bible Giveaway In Florida School

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Activity_Book

 

THE FRIENDLY ATHEIST: In January of 2013, World Changers of Florida, Inc. held Bible distributions at a number of public high schools in Orange County, Florida. No student would be forced to take one, but there would be a table set up where interested students could take a copy if they wanted. This alone could have been illegal, but the Orange County School Board agreed that non-Christian groups could also have a distribution if they wanted. When the Central Florida Freethought Community (CFFC) called their bluff and planned their own giveaways, they were heavily censored. Many of their books, they were told, could not be given away, including titles such as Sam HarrisLetter to a Christian Nation and Ibn Warraq‘s Why I am Not a Muslim.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation didn’t buy their explanations for why the books were censored and filed a federal lawsuit against the district in June of 2013. Before the lawsuit was ruled upon, the district agreed to let the atheists give away whatever books they wanted. Then the fun began. The Satanic Temple announced earlier this year that they would file a formal request to do a giveaway of materials about Satanism, which eventually morphed into a single fantastic coloring book.

After all of this, the Orange County School Board is finally — finally! — considering not allowing outside groups to do book distributions:

Worried about facing national ridicule if a Satanic group is allowed to give out coloring books to children, the Orange County School Board moved Thursday toward preventing any outside group from distributing religious materials on campus.

Another board member was much more blunt about the reasons for the potential change:

Board member Christine Moore also seemed to struggle with the effect of a policy change on Christian groups. “Everyone’s upset about the Satanists and the atheists coming,” she said.

I spoke with David Williamson of the CFFC and he told me (via email) what he thought about all of this:

“Our members, who are also concerned parents of students in Orange County Public Schools, are pleased the school board has finally realized they have a gaping hole in their policy. We expect they will be able to reach a solution that keeps them out of court and focusing on teaching students instead of propping up religious propaganda. MORE

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JEAN-LUC GODARD: Sympathy For The Devil


Naissance de “Sympathy for the devil ” (one+one… by cinocheproduction

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THEE OH SEES: Drop

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

They play Underground Arts Monday November 17th.

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Q&A: Talking Trash, Twitter, ESPN, & Appetite For Self-Destruction w/ Badboy Funnyman Artie Lange

Friday, November 14th, 2014

ArtieLange-72

“Lamentations Of A Jersey Prince” by AUGIE PAGAN

BY JONATHAN VALANIA In advance of his show at the Keswick tomorrow night and in the wake of the The Great ESPN-Twitter Reverse Mandingo Masturbation Fantasy Fiasco, we got badboy fatass funnyman Artie Lange on the horn. DISCUSSED: The Eagles, The Fightins, Riley Cooper, Woody Allen, robbing banks, opiate addiction, the ESPN-TWITTER fiasco, why he’s not backing down, why he shouldn’t, the struggle to stay sober in a business full of “hot babes with blow,” falling off the wagon, John Candy, Chris Farley, his work with Wounded Warriors, the double standard of getting banned for life from ESPN for making a bad joke on Twitter while Stephen A. Smith tells women not to provoke the Ray Rice-style beatdowns they get from their professional athlete boyfriends and he’s still on the air, and  ESPN’s Skip Bayless saying the Kobe Bryant rape allegations gave him “sizzle” and “edge” and helped him sell more sneakers and he’s still on the air, but when a comedian tweets (an admittedly tasteless, ill-advised, and not very funny) joke about a fat-fuck, needle-dick antebellum plantation owner getting his fat ass kicked by Cari Champion it triggers an absurdly over the top and jaw-droppingly hypocritical overreaction of apocalyptic proportions.

PHAWKER:  Before we get into any of the more controversial stuff, let’s talk about Philly sports for a sec. What’s your take on the Eagles this year?

ARTIE LANGE: They look as exciting and they look as good as they looked in recent years, Mark Sanchez if he’s put in the right system he can be the get that gets them to the final four at least, would like to see what he does in the Superbowl. I think there’s a real reason to be excited there for Eagle the fans.

PHAWKER: How about the Phillies?

ARTIE LANGE: I think the Phillies should have snatched that last series from the Yanks in ’09 to solidify a little bit of a really significant era. In the last three or four years I think they’ve been more middle of the pack coming up but you know they got a ring in the last decade, not a lot of teams can say that. Look at the Cubs.

PHAWKER: What is your take on Philadelphia sports fans?Artie Lange

ARTIE LANGE: You better not fuck up in front of them, they do make you play and perform at a higher standard, I’ll tell you that. They pay a lot of money to see these games, so they hold you to it. They’re forgiving if you’re good. Look at what’s his face, Riley Cooper. Sometimes the upper deck of an Eagles game is as close as I’ve ever been to a Klan meeting. But they don’t seem to care what color you are if you’re good.

PHAWKER: Going back to ancient history for a second, in August of 1985 you were arrested for attempted bank robbery when you passed a note to a teller demanding $50,000. You said that you were just flirting with her. I guess my question is who taught you how to flirt with women?

ARTIE LANGE: Woody Allen. I was trying to do a bit from Take the Money And Run, I thought she’d laugh but I was wrong. I signed my name at the end of it. I put ‘act natural’ in the note, that’s exactly what he says in the movie. I was in the bank with my girlfriend at the time she had an account, she was 18, I was 17 and when I saw the teller wasn’t taking it as a joke I was scared to death I grabbed the note and said ‘I’m so sorry,’ threw it in the garbage can and casually left. We just missed the SWAT team that pulled up, apparently the teller stepped on the silent alarm, and when we turned ourselves in we were handcuffed. My girlfriend, an Italian girl, I think her father was connected, he was a scary guy he sat me down and in broken English he said “When you-a rob a bank-a, you no take-a my daughter.” He didn’t have a problem with the bank robbery, he just said don’t take my daughter with you. I begged the cop “Whatever you do to me I don’t care, just don’t do anything to her” and they let her off with nothing. I got time served after spending a couple nights in the joint, I did 25 hours community service and it got busted down to disorderly conduct, but the original charge was attempted bank robbery.

PHAWKER: Wow that’s impressive at 17, man, that’s street cred.

ARTIE LANGE: I don’t fuck up halfway man, I do it all the way, that’s me.

PHAWKER: Speaking of which let’s talk about the ESPN thing, can you just tell me what were the circumstances under which this happened, were you drinking or high or…
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BEING THERE: Animal Collective DJs The Dolphin

Friday, November 14th, 2014

Untitled-1

Photo by MARY LYNN DOMINGUEZ

Last night I set out to accomplish three things: 1.) See 75 percent of Animal Collective play some tunes 2.) Milk them for any AC-related news, and 3.) Make it in and out of the Dolphin alive and not incarcerated.

We started off the night with an Uber driver named Festus, who drove us through the unwelcome November snow showers, and shared with us his grievances about the whole Uber vs. PPA deal. Something, something, current events, the PPA ruled against something and he’s pissed. I tried to follow, but his angry Jamaican accent made it difficult. So I spent the ride drawing smiley faces in the fog of the window and tuned him out. Sorry Festus.

Arriving at the Dolphin was like making it to Mecca for a hardened Animal Collective superfan such as myself —- a dark, dreary, wet Mecca with sweaty hipsters inside. I gave the bouncer my $10 and ID. I got a little DOLPHIN stamp on my wrist, and dipped into the crowd of people. It was already packed for a Thursday night. Inside, the Dolphin was perfectly suited for the event with its tiled walls lighting up in vibrant flashes of color. The music was upbeat and exciting, I would even go as far as to say that there were totally “good vibes,” but that phrase makes me nauseous, so I’d prefer not to.

When Animal Collective finally came on, it was about midnight, and there weren’t three members of Animal Collective as promised, just two: Avey Tare and Geologist. Panda Bear, safe to assume, was busy smoking some weed seaside in Portugal. Although two out of four was not a bad deal, Deakin was nowhere to be seen. I crept up on the DJ booth to enquire about his whereabouts. “HE’S DEAD!” Avey Tare shouted, seemingly undisturbed by this development. I screamed back “Ahhhh!” at him and walked away as my scream faded into the predictably trippy electronica of AC’s DJing.

Over the course of AC’s set, I pulled myself up on the DJ booth several more times, partly motivated by cheap beer, partly by my OHMYGODFUCKINGANIMALCOLLECTIVEISSTANDINGRIGHTFUCKINGTHERE! fangirl impulsivity, and partly because I’m dying to know what the next big AC move is. I talked to Geologist, who was less full of sarcasm than Avey, about AC making music again and he said the year-long solo-project-hiatus is over. They’ve been exchanging snippets of song ideas, but there are no concrete themes nor any shows planned yet. But he DID say that Panda Bear is playing Coachella in April. See you there, PB. I wish.

It was easier to get excited about the new songs they played than Coachella: two unreleased Avey Tare songs, and a Panda Bear song called “Crosswords,” a catchy, rippling little number that will be on his new album, which could potentially blow everyone’s minds when it comes out in January. I probably couldn’t say it enough to make anyone care, though.

When I wasn’t bugging the AC guys, I hung out with the habitués of the Dolphin: the people who spilled their beer on me, the people who asked me to take their pictures (Sorry, no requests.), asked for my business card (I don’t have one.) stomped on my feet with their stupid dancing, and told me I have beautiful armpits. It actually wasn’t all that awful, but after hours of enduring all of that, it was time to go. I let the door of the Dolphin close behind me, leaving with it the music and the maddening crowd, all the while wearing a random jacket that I plucked from the ‘coat check’ pile. Mission accomplished. – MARY LYNN DOMINGUEZ

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CINEMA: Black Hole Son

Friday, November 14th, 2014

Interstellar

INTERSTELLAR (2014, directed Christopher Nolan, 169 minutes, U.S.)

BY DAN BUSKIRK FILM CRITIC No hyperbole has been spared on the arrival of writer/director Christopher Nolan’s new sci-fi epic Interstellar. Like all of Nolan’s recent films, Interstellar triggers an intimidating sense of immense scale, and once again Nolan has delivered a film whose captivating performances and clever design are offset by hose-blasts of sentimentality, self-important bloat and a disagreeable undercurrent of Ayn Rand-ian self-pity. Plus, wise-cracking robots!

The dystopic near-future America of the film’s opening is certainly thought-provoking. From the vantage point of the Cooper family’s rural farm we see a new dust bowl as, one after another, core crops like wheat and potatoes are going extinct. As farmer Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) watches everything wither and go to dust he can’t help but dream that his fate belongs in the stars. Turns out Coop was not only an astronaut but the best pilot NASA ever had, and his skills are needed again when Cooper and his pre-teen daughter Murph (Mackenzie Foy)) discover a secret NASA base hidden nearby. Good thing too, because the future of humanity depends on Coop flying a mission through a wormhole into a new galaxy where we might find a fresh planet to destroy — er, I mean populate.
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Win Tix To See Ira Glass @ The Merriam Saturday!

Friday, November 14th, 2014

ira glass is a rockstar

 

 A long time ago in a public radio galaxy far, far away called 1995, the median listener age was 87, nobody ever said um or like on the air, all stories ran just one way — front to back —  and were narrated with the plummy-voiced elocution of the Founding Fathers, and semiotics was just one more thing Medicare refused to cover.  Nineteen years, five Peabody Awards and 500-plus episodes of This American Life later, all that has changed, thanks to the post-post-modern vision, wry melancholia and casually precise broadcasting style of the show’s host/founder, who, back when he was still a pre-med undergrad on a summer internship at National Public Radio, dared to dream of a new vernacular for telling stories on the radio. On Saturday, The 13th Annual First Person Arts Festival will present REINVENTING RADIO: AN EVENING WITH IRA GLASS at the Merriam Theater, wherein the host/founder of public radio’s This American Life will show and tell how all that trailblazing, game-changing, award-winning sausage gets made. Lucky you, we have a coupla pairs of tix to giveaway to some lucky Phawker readers! To qualify to win all you have to do is sign up for our mailing list (see right, below the masthead) AND follow us on Twitter and then drop us a note at FEED@PHAWKER.COM telling us as much or that you already do. Use the magic subject line SQUIRREL COP. Please include your full name and a mobile number for confirmation. Good luck and godspeed!

RELATED: Q&A With Ira Glass DISCUSSED: The key components of good narrative; his favorite episode of This American Life; how the secret recordings of Carmen Segarra triggered a forthcoming Senate Banking Subcommittee On Economic Policy hearing on consumer protection; what is to be learned from the Mike Daisey fiasco; whether or not journalism, like art, can sometimes use a little white lie to tell a larger truth; why his parents actively dislike public radio; and how all he ever wanted was to dance.

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THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST: Talking Dope, Arson And Iron Maiden With JJL’s Jay Joseph Laughlin

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

JJL BAND PHOTO copy
L-R: Derek Ziglenski, Jay Laughlin, Pete Girgenti/Photo by CHUCKLES

BY JONATHAN VALANIA Jay Laughlin has been a fixture of the Greater Philadelphia music scene since the late ’80s, beginning with the posthumously beloved straight edge hardcore band Turning Point, which morphed into beloved pedal-hopping dream-pop merchants Lenola, which eventually morphed into the electro-psych-pop of Like A Fox. Laughlin’s new band, JJL, marks a return to the devil-horned heaviosity of his gloriously misspent south Jersey youth. JJL will celebrate the release of The Tiger, their debut EP, with a record release show at Johnny Brenda’s tomorrow night. Recently, we sat down with Mr. Laughlin for a look back at his 30-year career in local rock. DISCUSSED: Slayer, Iron Maiden, punk friggin’ rock, straight edge, Jade Tree, weed, wine coolers, My Bloody Valentine, synths and samplers, Super Furry Animals, arson and the kindness of strangers.

PHAWKER: The new album is very Iron Maiden. Big break from what came before, from the electronic-flecked-psych-pop of Like a Fox and the full-blown dream pop of Lenola. How did that happen? Are you re-living your gloriously misspent metal youth?

JAY LAUGHLIN: No, not particularly. Me and my drummer would show up to band practice early, and I would fuck around, playing all of these heavy riffs. We always joked about making another band, and doing that. When Like a Fox broke up, I just started writing heavy stuff and started playing as a three-piece. Stripped away all of the keyboards, all that stuff. It just felt good to get back to really playing, and it’s challenging for me. I iron_maiden_number_of_the_beast_ironmaidenwallpaper.comstarted to get bored with the simpler songs. I just got visceral and started challenging myself to play up to my potential. It feels good.

PHAWKER: Where you a metalhead when you were younger?

JAY LAUGHLIN:Yeah. Big into Slayer and Iron Maiden. I saw Maiden numerous times at the Spectrum when I was a kid.

PHAWKER: Did they have Eddie onstage?

JAY LAUGHLIN: Oh, yeah. That was when they just had the big thing [Eddie costume] with the floppy arms. It was just some roadie. But as a kid, it was the coolest thing I ever saw.

PHAWKER: You said Slayer, too?

JAY LAUGHLIN: Yeah. I learned how to play guitar by listening to Ride The Lightning by Metallica, and Reign In Blood by Slayer. Rewinding the cassettes and stuff. I would learn riff after riff. That’s how I learned how to play.

PHAWKER: How old were you when you started?

JAY LAUGHLIN: Probably sixth or seventh grade. I started playing drums in fifth grade. That was my first instrument.
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NPR 4 THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When You Can’t

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

Jon Stewart illustration

Illustration by CHARLES WALTMIRE

FRESH AIR

listen

When asked about how he reacted to learning that one of his Daily Show satires was used as evidence to torture a journalist in Iran, Jon Stewart says, “I might have uttered the phrase: ‘Are you — with some profane adjective — are you kidding me?’ ” “It’s so surreal and it’s so absurd that it’s hard to imagine it as not farce,” Stewart tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. That discovery led to Stewart making his first film, Rosewater, adapted from a memoir by journalist Maziar Bahari. Bahari was born and raised in Iran. In 2009, he was back in Iran covering the presidential election and the subsequent protests challenging the results that kept President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in power. After Bahari shot news video of the protests, he was arrested. During his 118 days in solitary confinement, he was beaten, tortured and accused of being a spy. The evidence Bahari’s torturer presented to prove he was a spy included a satirical report about Iran that Bahari had appeared in on the Daily Show. In the clip, Daily Show correspondent Jason Jones went to Iran to ask Iranians what makes them so evil. Jones was dressed like a spy in a B movie when he interviewed Bahari in a cafe. “I always assumed that somewhere one of our bits would be used like that — I just didn’t think it would be this one,” Stewart says. “I think it just affirms that sense that you always have that you cannot outsmart crazy. You can’t ever imagine how someone might weaponize idiocy.” MORE

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Via BuzzFeed


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Cost of the War in Iraq
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