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All photos Getty Images - Justin Sullivan; Jason Merritt; Michael Buckner for SXSW; Jamie McCarthy for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon; Michael Buckner; Jason Merritt

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Nude Celebs; Expendables 3

In Episode 145, Germar gets you all caught up on the hacked and leaked photos. He forgot to mention that some of the girls might have been minors when the photos were taken (if they were taken at all). Then, Germar discusses The Expendables trilogy and threequel.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Millennial News: Can Miley do anything right?

by Melissa Scott, Writing Intern

Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for MTV
Last Sunday (August 24), Miley Cyrus usurped attention again at the 31st annual MTV Video Music Awards show. This time it wasn't a self-promotional move. No twerking took place. This year, Cyrus elected to raise awareness for the millions of homeless youth in the United States. When her “Wrecking Ball” single was announced as the winner of the Video of the Year, it was instead Cyrus’ handsome and unassuming date, Jesse Helt, who took to the stage.

Helt nervously but clearly urged a live audience, and a nation of television viewers, to support homeless youth. Dressed in a simple black suit, he read from a handwritten speech, explaining the situation he and many other invisible homeless individuals face on a daily basis. “I am accepting this award on behalf of the 1.6 million runaways and homeless youth in the United States who are starving and lost and scared for their lives. I know, because I am one of those people,” he announced to the hushed crowd of celebrities and fans. “I have survived in shelters all over this city…The music industry will make over $7 billion this year, and outside these doors are 54,000 human beings who have no place to call home.”

Helt admitted that while he was from Oregon, he was currently homeless and living on the streets of Hollywood. “I’ve cleaned your hotel rooms, I’ve been an extra in your movies, I’ve been an extra in your life,” he stated, while Cyrus stood nearby in tears. He ended his speech pleading viewers to learn more about homelessness by going to Cyrus’ Facebook page, where she launched a campaign during the broadcast to stop youth homelessness.

Cyrus’s (and Helt’s) statement met surprise even to the people of MTV, who had no idea that Cyrus would be sending Helt to accept the award. According to Mashable, only rapper Juicy J, who was seated next to Cyrus during the show, knew what was coming.

PR reps reported that Marlon Brando inspired Cyrus by his actions at the 1973 Academy Awards. Brando sent Sacheen Littlefeather to accept his award for Best Actor for his role in The Godfather. But unlike the general applause Helt received, Littlefeather attempted to read Brando’s statement on boycotting the ceremony, in protest of Hollywood’s treatment of Native Americans, amidst vicious taunts. In fact, throughout the relatively brief history of music award ceremonies, onstage protests from winners register a surprisingly small number. Past bands famously declined entrance to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but only a handful of artists managed to walk on stage and use their award-winning moment to make a political statement.

Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images
Rather than allow Cyrus to take the spotlight of something worthwhile for once, the media remained resolute in finding something wrong with her efforts. With intent to derail, the attention turned instead upon Helt. People Magazine went so far as to obtain his court records, which showed an arrest warrant from November 2011, after Helt violated his probation for the third time, resulting in a six month suspended jail sentence should he falter again. The probation stemmed from an incident in October 2010, when he tried to rob the home of one of his drug dealers. Helt pled guilty to the robbery, and was later convicted of attempted burglary and criminal mischief. Inside Edition also spoke with an Oregon court official about Helt’s criminal history, and Billboard contacted the Salem police department and confirmed the 2010 incident. The media outlets showed no mercy towards Helt (or Cyrus), sharing his charges publicly last Tuesday night.

Cyrus responded to the criticisms of her VMA date with outrage. She argued that attacking Helt individually completely missed the point of her message, and what she tried to accomplish for homeless youth.  She tweeted, “People who are homeless have lived very hard lives, Jesse included... I hope this can be the start of a national conversation about homelessness and how to end it.” Cyrus further inquired, “Does looking down upon the homeless help people excuse their inaction? The media never fails to disappoint. You’ve chosen to go after Jesse instead of covering the issue of youth homelessness.” Finally she concluded, “While they obsess over one homeless man’s legal issue lets help the other 1.6 million homeless youth,” and added a link to a contest, where fans can donate $5 or more to help the charity, My Friend’s Place, a homeless center for young people in Hollywood.

Luckily the media’s fervor to ceaselessly put Cyrus in a bad light did not attenuate the reach of her message. Within 24 hours of Helt’s speech, donations to My Friend’s Place poured in, and continue to do so despite news of an alleged criminal past. Helt even turned himself in and posted bail at the Polk County Jail in Dallas, Oregon last night, August 28.  He received support not only from Cyrus, but the local Dallas community, who announced their continued commitment to working alongside Cyrus and Helt to help the other 1.6 million youth who experience homelessness in America each year. The media may have missed Cyrus’ point, but viewers did not.

Indie Music: Vision the Kid & Tru "Somewhere in a Dark City"

by Germar Derron

I thought “Macklemore and Ryan Lewis” before I ever saw a picture. I think that’s a good thing.  In a world where the name Macklemore is tossed around in reigning king conversations, this could work. Throughout the album (Somewhere in a Dark City), the good and bad components remained consistently good and bad. 

Vision the Kid is a versatile lyricist.  That’s all I want for Christmas and most other days of the year.  I love Eminem, L.L., Tupac, Lauryn Hill, and even Fresh Prince because on any given track, album, or day they might sound like a different person. Fortunately, all of those persons are dope. VTK is not there yet, but “there” is a possibility.

Everything on the album, outside of VTK’s lyrics and delivery, is fairly problematic. Tru is a good producer, but this just may not be a match made in heaven. The album reminds me of standing in an Arizona club on "Yeezus and Hov Night."  The music was hot, but we all stood there looking around like, “what do we do.”  You can’t really dance to that, and it’s difficult to get a good bounce going. So, I stood in the corner with my girlfriend and a couple of other girls, yelled the lyrics I knew and moved awkwardly.  I wouldn't bump Somewhere in a Dark City at a party, and maybe not in my car – that’s a problem.

Like much of indie music, the hooks here are bait-less.  The best hook may come courtesy of Lizzy Fontaine and a beautiful guest vocal on “All Goes Away.”  I thought “Sunday Morning” was easily the hottest track at that point in the album, but then the hook happened . . . . 

“Lucky You” seems straight from the Macklemore playbook.  It contains one of the best choruses, and some serious instrumentality. 

This album may fit the genre too well. The best thing about indie music, is hearing the rules break, and the passion pour out . . . the true artistry. Here, that’s lost a bit. This sounds like the offspring of any major label smash hit, and every underground sound of the last 20 years. It’s a recap, where I’d prefer groundbreaking and groundbreaking feels possible.

“Roll Call” reminds me of a young D12.  I hear it and see friends on a corner passing a mic.  This isn't “Control” or even “Forever.”  It feels more like a crew and one that’s better than any I've heard in a while.

While the album didn't blow my mind, I wouldn't mind adding it to my iPod.  I’d give it three of five stars.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

In Episode 144, Germar quickly reviews the Sin City prequel-sequel. Additionally, hear about his new job, roommates, and life in Hollywood. It's a short one! (At least he's honest) SPOILER-FREE


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

True Blood Sucks

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Episode 143 is a good one! First Germar rants about public transportation in Los Angeles. Then, Germar rants about the worst show that he's ever seen from start to finish. Oh, and he also says "Pam," when he means "Tara" a couple of times. And you're welcome.
Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images
Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for HSN

Monday, August 25, 2014


Germar with three girls that are not talked about
in this podcast . . . or are they?  No, they aren't,
but maybe
Episode 142 is another personal one, but feel free to listen, share, and advise.  Really, Germar wants your awful and awesome opinions on his love life.  If you're a regular listener, you know Germar has really close wholly platonic female friends.  But is he in love with one of them? Three of them?  And we begin the podcast with an original classic RnB hit from our host that is quite appropriate for the subject.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Lucy and the Strokes at the Chelsea

In Episode 141, Germar reviews Lucy, starring Scarlett Johansson, and fondly recounts the greatest night of his life.
Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for T-Mobile
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Taylor Swift shakes into the Appropriation Olympics

by Melissa Scott, Writing Intern

Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” debuted as the lead single from her fifth studio album, 1989, on August 18.
Photo from Flickr
Yahoo! Live Stream first played the song for fans around the world. The attached quirky music video received over six million hits on Youtube within a few days. But while her song advocated little more than a hearty disregard for “the haters,” the implications of her video sparked some controversy.

In the video, Swift played around with a gimpy, awkward image of herself.  She adopted a number of personas, including a Lady Gaga knockoff, a ballet dancer, a cheerleader, and a rapper. Her efforts to imitate the surrounding dancers in the different genres was abysmal. 

“I love the idea that you could tell who someone is by how they dance,” Swift explained during a 30-minute live stream with Yahoo on Monday. “My idea was that life itself and who people actually are, can be greatly reflected in how they dance. And I don't mean how good you are; I mean your willingness to dance,” she continued. “We basically decided that we would get this huge group of incredible, professional, dancers, of all different types of dances, and throw me into the middle of them and see what happens.”

However, the video frequently returned to shots of Swift dancing alongside twerking, break-dancing African American back-up dancers. Although she may have intended to mock herself, people spoke out about a perceived mockery of African American culture.

Rapper Earl Sweatshirt, from hip hop collective Odd Future, voiced his resentment towards Swift’s latest video performance. Earl tweeted three unflinching objections to her portrayal of the dancing. “Haven't watched the Taylor Swift video and I don't need to watch it to tell you that it's inherently offensive and ultimately harmful.” He added indignantly, “Perpetuating black stereotypes to the same demographic of white girls who hide their prejudice by proclaiming their love of the culture.” . . . “For instance, those of you who are afraid of black people but love that in 2014 it's ok for you to be trill or twerk or say n---a.”

Earl’s bandmate, Flan Emoji, dissented in the Daily Mail, “You know what this Taylor Swift video is missing? Some nice graffiti by Bieber. Let's be urban, everyone!”

In addition, women’s interest blog Jezebel griped that Swift “picked the wrong week for this sappy, ready-made Target commercial cut where she celebrates her true self by crawling through a bridge of brown and black women’s butts.” Prachi Gupta of Salon also denounced the video. “[She] may not be twerking, but she is participating in racial cross-dressing, blanketed in gold chains and sporting a tight updo, a white woman dressed as a caricature of a black woman, leading a team of black backup dancers,” Gupta argued. “The image is jarring, and is hard not to wonder if this is what Taylor Swift thinks it means to ‘be black,’ and if so, how troubling that is.”

Youtube personality Lilly Singh disagreed. In response to Sweatshirt’s criticism, the Indo-Canadian Singh tweeted “SMH to people thinking @Swiftswift13 new video is racist. I'm going to rent out an entire theatre so you can take SO many seats. #stop.” She persisted, “I speak ONLY on behalf of myself but when @selenagomez wears a bindi in her music video, I'm not upset. Culture should be shared.”

Lilly referred to Selena Gomez’ portrayal of Indian classical dance in her “Come and Get It” music video.
Miley Cyrus - photo from Flickr
But Selena’s video incorporated the dancing as a tool for empowerment, and audacity. She enfolded herself among a group of dancers, perfectly synchronizing their movements. Selena “shared” Indian culture in a positive light; she made it alluringly superior.

Meanwhile, in her video, Swift deviated from the cultural dance moves and infused inanity with each step. Her tone insinuated ridicule; Selena’s tone shouted liberation. They couldn’t be more different. Lilly’s encouragement of shared culture is fair enough, but the representation of the cultures separated the two videos.

Swift’s video poked fun at herself, but also at African American culture. An unspoken theme could be “look at these stupid dance moves.” So was the message: African American dancing is stupid? The video’s appropriation of black culture merited a critical eye, but I’m not sure Swift is to blame. Miley Cyrus’ installation of “white girl twerking” sparked an adoption of a subtext-like mockery of African American culture. Swift’s controversial video mirrored the attitudes of too many people treating “black” culture as a joke. Earl and Flan made noteworthy points: are we overstepping racial boundaries, or simply being “urban?”

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

In Episode 140, Germar gives a very unspoilery review of the new "Ninja Turtles" movie. But first, he's back from Vegas and it was very much time spent in Vegas.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

If Black People Said The Stuff White People Say...