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NPR 4 THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When U Can’t

August 18th, 2014



When author Stephan Eirik Clark read Fast Food Nation in 2001, he didn’t know it would inspire him to write a fictional account of the food industry. “Flavorings were like gravity or electricity — something that was all around me but that I had never paid any attention to,” Clark tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. “And as soon as I read that book and its chapter on food product design, I started to ask myself, ‘How important are these to the foods?’ I started to question if I was really eating food or just the idea of food.” Clark started asking himself all sorts of questions that led him to write his novel Sweetness #9. “With these molecules, you can make something taste like grass or roasted chicken, and what is it covering up? What is it supporting? What is it enhancing?” Clark says. “All of these questions and philosophical ideas that sprang out of this simple industry just went off — and I found myself deep into a novel.” Sweetness #9 takes a satirical look at over two decades of food wars, family life and American culture. The main character, David Leveraux, is a flavor chemist who starts his career in 1973 at a company whose new product is an artificial sweetener called Sweetness #9. His job is to test the product on lab rats and monkeys and monitor the health effects. He reports a lot of side effects that are covered up by the company. Sweetness #9 soon becomes the artificial sweetener used in diet drinks, and many other foods, and is also marketed in little packets for use in coffee and tea. When Leveraux sees Americans overcome by the symptoms he found in the lab animals — like obesity, rage, depression — he feels personally responsible for not having blown the whistle on the manufacturer. “It’s not an anti-flavorings novel,” Clark says. “It does, I hope, look at it in a way that includes the complications and the contradictions and the good and the bad.” MORE

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THE YOUNG: Metal Flake

August 18th, 2014

If you’ve ever said to yourself or even aloud, ‘When, Lord, will the kids finally combine the chrome, smoke and BBQ’d hot licks of early ZZ Top, the Plutonian noodling of Dead Moon, and the half-breed hully-gully hullabaloo of Link Wray, with the raw-spleen-on-a-Ritz cracker of Lungfish’s best work?’ your prayers have finally been answered. Their Matador debut, Chrome Cactuse is out 8/25, and they play Boot & Saddle on 9/10. Further proof that Kurt Cobain did not die in vain.

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SIDEWALKING: Sign Of The Times

August 17th, 2014

Ferguson, MO, yesterday, photographer unknown, via TWITTER

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THE MOUTH THAT ROARED: Q&A With Comedian Bill Burr, The Man Who Told The City Of Brotherly Love To Go F*ck Itself, Hard, And Lived To Tell

August 15th, 2014


WARNING: Strong language & adult situations

BY JONATHAN VALANIA It was a day that would live in infamy. September 9th, 2006, was an unseasonably hot day in Philly and the crowd at the Susquehanna Center had been drinking for hours in the sun. The natives were restless. This was not good. The crowd vibed a little bar fight/date-rapey to begin with, lots of buzz-cut hammerheads in Eagles jerseys and jorts and calf tats and the ladies who like that kind of thing. There was a low hum of menace in the air, like things could go 700 Level at any minute. Somebody was gonna hurt someone before the night is through. Somebody was going to lose a tooth. Or maybe an eye. Or worse. The crowd didn’t want to laugh that day, they wanted to draw blood. They didn’t want comedy, they wanted a crucifixion.

The first two comedians got their dicks handed to them and shown the door in a hail of boos. Walking onto that stage was like walking into a den of lions wearing Lady Gaga’s raw meat dress. Most men would go in with a whip, or a chair, or maybe a small caliber pistol tucked into waist band of his jodphurs. But Bill Burr is not most men.

He was standing in the wings when Bob Kelly got booed off the stage, and he was standing in the wings when Dom Irrera got booed off stage. Burr, a Boston scrapper battle-hardened in the Beantown comedy trenches of heckler warfare, didn’t like that. Not one bit. His Irish was officially up. He turned to Opie and Anthony  — this was all their idea after all, Opie & Anthony’s Traveling Virus, a moveable feast of stand-up comedy for The Limp Bizkit Nation — and shouted over the din: “Not me! They ain’t fuckin’ doin’ that to me!” And that’s when he reached for the flamethrower and walked onstage.

He opened with:

“Oh Fuck all you people! Ya know what you fucking losers? I hope you all fucking die, and I hope those fucking Eagles never win the Superbowl. Go fuck yourselves.”

And then he took the gloves off.

For the next 12 minutes he unleashed a torrent of scorching scatological invective and obscene, anatomically-impossible imprecations like somebody opening a valve on the Hoover Dam of Hate. It was to insult comedy what Slayer is to Simon & Garfunkel. He was contractually obligated to deliver 12 minutes and they were gonna get every fucking second of his 12 minutes — 12 minutes of Bill Burr shitting on an entire city and then sliding bare-assed down the Art Museum steps, like a dog with a dirty butt, and then lifting his leg on the Rocky statue. This was D-Day in his personal war on stupid. And this time the good guys are gonna win. Enough is fucking enough you fucking fucks!

He continued:

“Fuck all you motherfuckers and fuck the Flyers. Fuck all of you. Bunch of goddamn fucking losers. Booing Dom Irerra. Suck a dick. All of you. Suck a fuckin dick. You can all lick my fucking red nuts. All of yas…can line up with your Harold Carmichael fuckin jerseys, and one at a time you can all suck my dick.

Eleven more minutes of this!

I hope you all get in your Ford Focuses and fucking drive off the side of that faggot ass Ben Franklin bridge. You fucking one bridge having piece of shit city that no one gives a fuck about. The terrorists will never bomb you people ‘cause you’re fucking worthless and no one cares about you. You are this high above New Orleans. No one gives a shit. FEMA would never show up for you fuckin’ assholes. I hope your mother has herpes in the center of her asshole and you go home tonight and lick it and get it on your tongue and some other horrific shit happens that involves cancer – all of you.

Eleven minutes left!”

And on it went, Burr and his flamethrower, strafing the crowd with a blistering plume of abuse, pausing only to count off each minute, like counting off the lashes of a psychic horsewhipping. By the end it turned into an endurance test, somewhere between ordeal and entertainment. When it was all over half the crowd gave him a standing ovation and the other half wanted to rip his throat out. Some people weren’t even sure what just happened. It would be months if not years before everyone who was there that day realized they had witnessed a watershed moment in the history of comedy. It was the comedy equivalent of watching Hendrix light his guitar on fire–and then beat the audience to death with it.

So we took the opportunity to get him on the phone and discuss The Rant, along with a few other things, like being on some show you probably never even heard of called Breaking Bad ( “I was as big a fan of that show as anybody. So me being on that show was like being sucked into my T.V., or if you were a giant Star Wars fan and all of a sudden you got to play a stormtrooper and all of a sudden you’re standing next to Darth Vader.”) and his appearances on Chappelle’s Show (check out his pitch-perfect performance as the smart-ass ginger sportscaster in the World Series of Dice sketch) and how he got into this racket, and how he earned his stripes and worked his way up from the bottom of the comedy food chain in New York, living on nothing but pancakes, spaghetti and dreams.

But mostly we talked about The Rant, because to do otherwise would be journalistically negligent, like interviewing Dylan and not asking him about going electric at Newport. And he was happy to do it, because although it was nothing personal, Philadelphia, he stands by every word. Every fucking word, you cheese-steak-eating-MOVE-house-bombing-Frank-Rizzo-electing-Rocky-statue-having-Santa-Claus-booing motherfuckers!
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August 14th, 2014


WASHINGTON POST: The events these last few days in Ferguson, Missouri ought to be of grave concern to anyone who believes in the First Amendment, and specifically the rights to free speech, protest, and assembly. As you may have read, last night was particularly ugly, as police arrested a St. Louis alderman, Huffington Post reporter Ryan J. Reilly, and our own Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery. Police also tear-gassed a news crew from Al-Jazeera. There are also reports, video, and images of police teargassing, arresting, and otherwise intimidating peaceful protests all over the town. MORE

NEW YORKER: Nothing that happened in Ferguson, Missouri, on the fourth night since Michael Brown died at the hands of a police officer there, dispelled the notion that this is a place where law enforcement is capable of gross overreaction. Just after sundown on Wednesday, local and state officers filled West Florissant Avenue, the main thoroughfare, with massive clouds of tear gas. They lobbed flash grenades at protesters who were gathered there to demand answers, and, at times, just propelled them down the street. That they ordered the crowd to disperse was not noteworthy. That the order was followed by successive waves of gas, hours after the protests ended, became an object lesson in the issues that brought people into the streets in the first place. Two journalists, Wesley Lowery, of the Washington Post, and Ryan Reilly, of the Huffington Post, and a St. Louis Alderman, Antonio French, were arrested. (The journalists were let go without charges; the alderman, as his wife told reporters, was released after being charged with unlawful assembly.) What transpired in the streets appeared to be a kind of municipal version of shock and awe; the first wave of flash grenades and tear gas had played as a prelude to the appearance of an unusually large armored vehicle, carrying a military-style rifle mounted on a tripod. The message of all of this was something beyond the mere maintenance of law and order: it’s difficult to imagine how armored officers with what looked like a mobile military sniper’s nest could quell the anxieties of a community outraged by allegations regarding the excessive use of force. It revealed itself as a raw matter of public intimidation.

Whatever happened to Michael Brown in the moments before he died has become secondary to what the response to his death has revealed. The name of the officer who shot him remains unknown. Even the number of times that Brown was shot has not been disclosed, despite the completion of a preliminary autopsy. Jon Belmar, the St. Louis County Chief of Police, justified withholding the officer’s name by citing a deluge of threats against the department and noting that he has not been charged with a crime. In the same press conference, Belmar released the name of a nineteen-year-old young man who was shot in the head by a police officer during the previous night, who Belmar said brandished a firearm during a protest. The young man remains in critical condition, but, if he survives, he will be charged with felony assault of a police officer. Belmar stated that he saw no reason to doubt the officer’s version of the events.

Two days earlier, the police department had pledged to investigate Brown’s death while simultaneously stating that the shooting was the result of a struggle in which Brown allegedly went for an officer’s weapon. They had, at that point, not interviewed the witnesses who claimed that Michael Brown was shot down while running away or attempting to surrender. Inside of a week, two black teen-agers have been shot by police and, in both instances, the bureaucratic default setting has favored law enforcement, fuelling a perception that the department is either inept or beholden to a certain nonchalance about the possibility of police brutality. Late in the afternoon on Wednesday, the armored vehicles rolled into place just beyond the charred shell of the QuikTrip gas station that was burned on the first night of protests. Police, some outfitted in riot gear, others in military fatigues, barricaded the streets. At least one of them draped a black bandana over his face; others covered their badges. [...] Ten minutes later, the sound of breaking glass was heard and the police demanded that the crowd disperse. Only seconds after that I saw a half-dozen canisters launch into the air and the streets were bathed in the strobe lights of flash grenades. [...] The day began with questions about why a young man was killed just days before he was due to begin college. It ended as a referendum on the militarization of American police forces. MORE

PREVIOUSLY: At Long Last, The Perma-War Comes Home As American Turns The Machinery Of War Against Its Own People

PREVIOUSLY: Pentagon Preparing For Mass Civil Breakdown By Criminalizing Peaceful Dissent

RELATED: A Complete Guide To Filming Cops Behaving Badly

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THE BLACK KEYS: Weight Of Love

August 14th, 2014

Weight of Love from Theo Wenner on Vimeo.

ROLLING STONE: In the Black Keys’ extremely clever video for “Fever” (off their latest album, Turn Blue) Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney play sweaty televangelists slowly whipping an audience into a flat-out frenzy. The clip, directed by Theo Wenner, precisely captures the look and feel of classic late-night religious informercials, down to the rapturous crowd in Eighties hairdos catching the spirit as the song reaches its bluesy peak. Now Wenner is debuting a short film for another Turn Blue track — psychedelic opener “Weight of Love” — here, as a follow-up to his first Keys video. The two clips are definitely connected and can in fact be watched as two parts of a whole (the Keys’ informercial clip plays in the beginning and in the background at times during “Weight of Love”) but the aesthetic of the film couldn’t be more different. The gorgeous “Weight of Love” takes place in the beautiful serenity of a beach; however all isn’t peaceful. The film stars supermodel Lara Stone, who plays the head mistress of a cult of women who live in a lighthouse. The women live and work on the beach, performing creepily in sync exercises and throwing their arms rapturously into the sky as Auerbach’s scorching guitar solos echo in the background. MORE

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FUNNY LADY: Tina Fey To Do A Good Deed

August 14th, 2014


Before there was “Second City,” “Saturday Night Live,” “Mean Girls” and “30 Rock,” there was Upper Darby Summer Stage where writer, producer, and Emmy-award winning actress Tina Fey first honed her acting and directing chops. Upper Darby Summer Stage was established in 1976 and welcomes over 700 young participants each summer and over 30,000 ticket-holders to then series of family-friendly musicals. Fey returns to Summer Stage this Saturday (August 16th) to host a fundraiser to underwrite the purchase of a new $300,000 sound system. The event will feature the 10th anniversary screening of “Mean Girls” followed by a Q&A session with Miss Bossypants her bad self. Go HERE for ticket info.

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WAX: California

August 14th, 2014

Let us now remember the early genius of Spike Jonze, back when he was just a skate punk who made super-creative, low-budget music videos for the likes of Weezer and Ween, the Beastie Boys, Beck and the Breeders. Like this one.

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PRICELINE: What It Costs To Book The Rolling Stones For Your Kid’s Birthday Party/Bar Mitzvah

August 13th, 2014

Via BUSINESS INSIDER. Go HERE for the complete list.

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ANARCHY IN THE L.A.: Robin Williams’ First Appearance On The Tonight Show w/ Johnny Carson

August 13th, 2014

Kids, that white-haired man behind Jimmy Fallon’s desk is J-O-H-N-N-Y C-A-R-S-O-N, the Obi-Wan Kenobi of Late Night Talk Show Hosts. The year is 1981. The man in black has been struck by lightning. It will take 34 years for the voltage to dissipate.

PREVIOUSLY: The Rest Is Silence: Robin Williams 1951-2014

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CINEMA: Time Is Illmatic

August 12th, 2014


Nas will be kicking off a North American Fall Tour on October 2, 2014 in Rochester, NY (see below for full tour routing), in conjunction with a special screening of his documentary film, Nas: Time is Illmatic. His Tour includes a stop at Keswick Theatre on October 5 that will go on-sale this Friday, August 15 at 12PM. Each show on the tour will be a special event where the film will screen followed by Nas performing Illmatic start to finish. The film will open theatrically via Tribeca Film beginning in New York on October 1st, with a national expansion to follow. It will be available on demand and iTunes starting October 3rd. The tour and the theatrical release of the film will cap off Illmatic’s 20th anniversary celebration.

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THE REST IS SILENCE: Robin Williams 1951-2014

August 12th, 2014

Photograph by ROBERT HAPAK

NEW YORK TIMES: The privileged son of a Detroit auto executive who grew up chubby and lonesome, playing by himself with 2,000 toy soldiers in an empty room of a suburban mansion, Mr. Williams, as a boy, hardly fit the stereotype of someone who would grow to become a brainy comedian, or a goofy one, but he was both. Onstage he was known for ricochet riffs on politics, social issues and cultural matters both high and low; tales of drug and alcohol abuse; lewd commentaries on relations between the sexes; and lightning-like improvisations on anything an audience member might toss at him. His gigs were always rife with frenetic, spot-on impersonations that included Hollywood stars, presidents, princes, prime ministers, popes and anonymous citizens of the world. His irreverence was legendary and uncurtailable. “Chuck, Cam, great to see you,” he once called out from a London stage at Charles, Prince of Wales, and his wife, Lady Camilla Bowles. “Yo yo, wussup Wales, House of Windsor, keepin’ it real!” And yet he never seemed to offend. MORE

TIME: Short, chunky and hairy, driven by angels or demons, Williams followed his dramatic muse to the Juilliard School, where the dean, John Houseman, told him he was wasting his time there and should try stand-up. Playing one character at a time, for months on end, didn’t properly exploit Williams’ unique gift of being everyone at once. His true model and mentor was not an Olivier or Brando but freeform comic Jonathan Winters, who also battled to call a truce with the manifold Genie geniuses in his head. MORE

BOSTON GLOBE: Williams had his demons; this we all knew. His great friendship with Jonathan Winters, a comedy pioneer of a previous generation whose career was both fueled and foiled by bipolar disorder, seemed an acknowledgement of the darkness both men courted to make us merry. Williams came clean on stage and in interviews about his cocaine addiction and abuse of alcohol, which he famously quit in the 1980s. He fell back into drinking after the 2004 death of his friend Christopher Reeve, joined AA, worked at staying sober. Earlier this summer he quietly entered rehab again. This is not proof of anything other than private struggle. But the struggle ran beneath his comedy like a bass note; it ennobled his better dramatic roles while sinking the worst ones with bathos. MORE

ROBIN WILLIAMS: In 1981, my sitcom “Mork & Mindy” was about to enter its fourth and final season. The show had run its course and we wanted to go out swinging. The producers suggested hiring Jonathan to play my son, who ages backward. That woke me out of a two-year slump. The cavalry was on the way. Jonathan’s improvs on “Mork & Mindy” were legendary. People on the Paramount lot would pack the soundstage on the nights we filmed him. He once did a World War I parody in which he portrayed upper-class English generals, Cockney infantrymen, a Scottish sergeant no one could understand and a Zulu who was in the wrong war. The bit went on so long that all three cameras ran out of film. Sometimes I would join in, but I felt like a kazoo player sitting in with Coltrane.

On one of his first days on the show, a young man asked Jonathan how to get into show business. He said: “You know how movie studios have a front gate? You get a Camaro with a steel grill, drive it through the gate, and once you’re on the lot, you’re in showbiz.” No audience was too small for Jonathan. I once saw him do a hissing cat for a lone beagle. His comedy sometimes had an edge. Once, at a gun show, Jon was looking at antique pistols and a man asked if he was a gun proponent. He said: “No, I prefer grenades. They’re more effective.” Earlier in his life, he had a breakdown and spent some time in a mental institution. He joked that the head doctor told him: “You can get out of here. All you need is 57 keys.” He also hinted that Eileen wanted him to stay there at least until Christmas because he made great ornaments. Even in his later years, he exorcised his demons in public. His car had handicap plates. He once parked in a blue lane and a woman approached him and said, “You don’t look handicapped to me.” Jonathan said, “Madam, can you see inside my mind?” MORE

NEW YORK TIMES: I go back even further, to the “Mork and Mindy” television show and an album called “Reality — What a Concept” that blew my eighth-grade mind. Back then, it was clear that Mr. Williams was one of the most explosively, exhaustingly, prodigiously verbal comedians who ever lived. The only thing faster than his mouth was his mind, which was capable of breathtaking leaps of free-associative absurdity. Janet Maslin, reviewing his standup act in 1979, cataloged a tumble of riffs that ranged from an impression of Jacques Cousteau to “an evangelist at the Disco Temple of Comedy,” to Truman Capote Jr. at “the Kindergarten of the Stars” (whatever that was). “He acts out the Reader’s Digest condensed version of ‘Roots,’ ” Ms. Maslin wrote, “which lasts 15 seconds in its entirety. He improvises a Shakespearean-sounding epic about the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster, playing all the parts himself, including Einstein’s ghost.” (That, or something like it, was a role he would reprise more than 20 years later in Steven Spielberg’s “A.I.”)

Onstage, Mr. Williams’s speed allowed him to test audience responses and to edit and change direction on the fly. He simultaneously explained and acted out this process in “Come Inside My Mind,” a two-and-a-half-minute tour de force of manic meta — “I’m doing great! I’m improvising like crazy! No you’re not, you fool! You’re just doing pee-pee-ca-ca, no substance!” But if Mr. Williams was often self-aware, commenting on what he was doing as he was doing it, he was rarely arch or insincere. He could, as an actor, succumb to treacliness sometimes — maybe more than sometimes — but his essential persona as an entertainer combined neediness and generosity, intelligence and kindness, in ways that were charming and often unexpectedly moving as well. In his periodic post-“Mork and Mindy” television appearances (on “The Larry Sanders Show” and more recently on “Louie”), he often played sly, sad or surprising versions of himself, the Robin Williams some of us had known and loved since childhood, which means an entertainer we sometimes took for granted or allowed ourselves to tire of.  MORE

RELATED: Janet Maslin’s review of Robin Williams’ stand up act in the April 13th 1979 edition of The New York Times

NEW YORK TIMES: Mr. Williams was an admitted abuser of cocaine — which he also referred to as “Peruvian marching power” and “the devil’s dandruff” — in the 1970s and ‘80s, and addressed his drug habit in his comedy act. “What a wonderful drug,” he said in a sardonic routine from “Live at the Met.” “Anything that makes you paranoid and impotent, give me more of that.” In 2006, he checked himself into the Hazelden center in Springbrook, Ore., to be treated for an addiction to alcohol, having fallen off the wagon after some 20 years of sobriety. He later explained in an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer that this addiction had not been “caused by anything, it’s just there. It waits,” Mr. Williams continued. “It lays in wait for the time when you think, ‘It’s fine now, I’m O.K.’ Then, the next thing you know, it’s not O.K. Then you realize, ‘Where am I? I didn’t realize I was in Cleveland.’” MORE

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Why Shouldn’t I Work For The NSA?

August 12th, 2014

From Goodwill Hunting. Wow.

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Via BuzzFeed

Check out Ticket Liquidator's Live Toast blog, it's one of the coolest company blogs out there. Not just your usual candy-coated array of dead-end zzzzzzzzz inducing rubbish, Live Toast brings you all the funniest and wackiest original content that you won't see anywhere else on the web. Plus, Ticket Liquidator's team will bring you lots of other articles on concerts, sports and music, including news on ticket prices, plus articles about cool music from firsthand perspectives. All in all Ticket Liquidator is evolving, into a new kind of ticket company. And leaving the rest behind...