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Sunday
Oct262014

Brooklyn Vocabulary to Match Taylor Swift's New York Vocabulary.

Breaking News:  Taylor Swift is in love with New York City.

And before the inevitable breakup and subsequent top 20 single about it, she wants to share that love with all of common folk out there, in as awkward a way as possible.

In the video below, she tries to educate the average joe and janes on the world in the terminology of New York City.


In this painfully contrived cross branding campaign with NYC tourism, Swift reads some words hesitantly off a cue card in one take.  Everything about it is pretty painful for anyone that actually lives in NYC (only assholes say "Noho").  It did insipre me, as a resident of the greatest city in the world, to share some important terminology one should know if they ever want to visit the borough of Brooklyn.

"Kings County"

Starting off with an easy one here.  Kings county is Brooklyn.  Like Queens county is Queens, and Richmond county is Shaolin.

"South Brooklyn"

Not to be confused to southern Brooklyn, south Brooklyn is the area south of downtown Brooklyn.  Hoods like Carrol Gardens, Boreum Hill, and Park Slope all help make up south Brooklyn.

"In a minute"

Now, most people are probably thinking, "Hey, we say this too."  Nope!  Anytime someone's saying "It's been a minute" or "I haven't been there in a minute."  They're saying, "It's been a lot of minutes".  Like the exact opposite of a New York minute.

"Pie"

Here's a little language lesson for all you monogloids, "pizza" means "pie" in Brooklyn Italian.

"Hipster"

You know, some of you might think you've got hipsters where you live.  You don't.  Brooklyn is the capital, the Mecca, the one and only place you can find true hipsters.  It isn't just about the clothes you wear, or the music you listen to, its about the lifestyle.  Hipster is one of those words that people use to describe people that isn't necessarily an insult but everybody always means it as an insult.  Most people deny their hipsterdom and if they don't they're usually a massive douche.  Suffice it to say, if someone from Brooklyn is calling you a hipster, you probably are one and they probably don't like you.

Note the pleasure the subject takes at the smell of his own farts.

"Word"

Truth.

"Bougie" or "Bougey"

Slang from the word Bourgeoisie.  Despite its origins it refers to a certain type of upper middle-class citizen becoming more and more common in Brooklyn.  Bougie people are nice, and they like nice shit.  Got a bodega?  Now its a organic grocery.  Got a dive bar?  Now its an artisanal pizza and wine bar.  Shit is extra Bougie in south Brooklyn.

Bougie people LOVE their huge ass baby strollers.

"Go take a ride on the G train."

Go to hell.  (No one says this, but they should).

"Corner Store"

I've been living in Brooklyn four about six years and somewhere along the way I started calling bodegas "corner stores".  Maybe its because no one that runs any of these places are ever hispanic, I don't know.  Everyone knows what I'm talking about when I say them, but I'm not actually sure if anyone else uses this phrase.  Note:  They do not have to be on a corner.

"Prospect Park"

The greatest park in any city anywhere.

"Yo"

Can literally mean anything.

"Fuggedaboutit"

Translation: "You're a tourist".  No one from Brooklyn actually says this anymore.  If someone says this to you, they're mocking you, yo.

So that's it.  Hopefully this guide will help you survive your next trip to the borough of kings.  We out!

Wednesday
Oct222014

Shia LaBeouf Has Made The Greatest Comeback Ever (Without Really Doing Anything)

Six months ago, Shia LaBeouf was public persona non grata numero uno about town.  He'd gotten drunk, punched in the face, did Transformers 3, got arrested, plagiarized, plagiarized again, put a bag on his head, got really drunk, got arrested again, and declared he wasn't famous anymore.

Well, if there is one thing that is true in Hollywood it's that you do not get to decide if you are famous.

This DIDN'T kill his career

In the past I have been back and forth on Shia.  I never thought he was a bad actor, but he did have a knack for somehow always being on an upward trajectory despite appearing in several crappy movies and multiple run ins in the law for dopey behavior.  A favorite thing to say to actor friends on their birthdays was that no matter how old they ever got they would never be as famous as Shia LaBeouf.

But now, without seeing him act in anything since Wallstreet: Money Never Sleeps, I find myself with a new opinion of Mr. LaBeouf:  he's awesome.

Okay, so my actual take on him is a little more complex than that, but there is no denying how entertaining Shia has been of late.  Just by being himself.

I mean, sure, Shia did put out a movie this past week called Fury also starring Brad Pitt and it is getting pretty good reviews (80% of RT).  A lot of what Shia has done the past few weeks in his media blitz could ostensibly be attributed to promoting Fury but upon closer inspection it is clear there has only been one goal:  The resurrection of the LaBeouf.

First there was this charming tale of misdemeanor debauchery on Kimmel:

Regardless of where you stand on his antics, you have to admit, he spins a good yarn.  Even Alan Cumming agrees.

Now this story by itself, coupled with positive buzz around Fury, was enough to get Shia back in the black.  But Shia wasn't done.

Shia lended his name and face to a Rob Cantor live performance that can only be described as transcendent.  A song all about a chance(?) encounter with the crazed cannibal Shia LaBeouf which quickly becomes a battle of life and death in a secluded forest.  It has a gay men's choir, a children's choir, ballet dancers, a woman performing with aerial silks, paper mache heads, and the myth himself.

Watch it below and submit to the reign of Shia LaBeouf.

 

Tuesday
Oct212014

Led Zeppelin is Going to Court, The Uniqueness of Plagiarism in Music

It may be the most famous song of the 20th century, and now it is looking like the people who wrote it are about to go court over accusations of plagiarism.  And it looks like they're going to lose.

Yes, over 40 years after "Stairway to Heaven" was first released, Led Zeppelin is being sued for Copyright Infringement by the band Spirit for ripping off their song "Taurus" for Stairway's opening riff.  (The part in question starts at the 44 seconds mark)

The two guitar parts are nearly identical, Zeppelin had toured with Spirit in 1968 (4 years before the release of Satirway), and after ruled to not throw out the case yesterday it is looking like Zeppelin will be forced to acknowledge the aping.

Considering that Spirit is only looking for a writing credit with consideration for future royalties (and not back pay on the 550 million dollars the song is estimated to have made since its release) it is a bit odd to see Zeppelin so opposed to acknowledging an obvious influence.  What's worse is that Zeppelin's initial defense has nothing to do with songwriting but rather that the case should have been thrown out because it was brought against them in a Pennsylvania court, somewhere they see as having no jurisdiction over the band.  Lame.

The whole case seems pretty cut and dry.  If a school teacher can nail Men at Work for sampling the "Kookaburra" song in their 80s hit "Down Under", Zeppelin really doesn't have much a chance here.  What is interesting is the standard to which music is held on issues of copyright compared to other mediums.

Not one original story ever came from this guy's head.

All artists are constantly stealing from each other.  If Shakespeare had lived today he'd probably spend more time in the courtroom than the Globe Theatre.  In film, knock off pictures (known at "mockbusters") are released every year to try and cash in on projected blockbusters.  The Asylum film production company has made it their sole business.  In literature, stylistic and character thievery is so common it is both encouraged and necessary.  In music, you can't do these things.  

If the notes match, you've got a problem.  Even if the two songs are stylistically miles apart.  It doesn't matter if one song is about the vietnam war and the other is about eating ice cream, if they have a similar chord progression you can expect a law suit.  Just ask Robin Thicke.

Why?  

NOT copyright infringement.

There is a movie out there called Atlantic Rim right now, that is so much like Pacific Rim in every way there is no way you could watch it without thinking of the latter.  But its just different enough.  Maybe it has to do with the idea that music is a one dimensional art form, you can only experience it through sound so similarities are harder to ignore.

Maybe it has to do with the personal level at which most songs are created.  It takes dozens if not hundreds of people to make most films.  Books are rarely released without multiple rounds with an editor and story changes.  But a song is typically written by one person.

Or maybe it is the lack of copyright-able aspects within a song.  You can have a story about a tomb raiding archeologist fighting nazi's just as long as you don't name him Indiana Jones.  Try writing a protest song about growing up in a poor factory down in which your narrator is drafted into military service and then comes back home and is unable to get a job called "Born in Ontario".  Count the minutes it takes before you get sued.

I don't know why it is.  All I know for sure, is that "Stairway to Heaven" is more than likely soon to have an additional songwriter in its liner notes.