Posted tagged ‘five out of five’

Let’s Have a Patrick Swayze Christmas…and other MST3K X-Mas fun!

December 16, 2010

Christmas on the Satellite of Love!

Being a Minnesotan, I’ve had the tremendous fortune to grow up surrounded by the unhinged awesomeness that is my state’s contributions to the arts. Believe it or not, my Midwest abyss is home to Prince, the Replacements, Louie Anderson, The Mighty Ducks and X-Pac. I’ve also been lucky enough to grow up at the perfect age to have my entire cognoscente understanding of the world around me shaped by a show called ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000.’ If you aren’t familiar, it’s a program about a guy and his two robot pals who make fun of actual movies while you watch them in their entirety. A brilliant concept, I came for the puppets and stayed for the web of pop culture references I’m half-certain only I get. Also catering to me is their delightful Christmas specials where they hurled insults at the Mexican film where Santa Claus fights Satan known as Santa Claus (available to watch RIGHT NOW on Netflix streaming by clicking here or anywhere in this sentence) as well as the self-explanatory Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. Along with the fun in the theater were the host segments that featured some of my new favorite Holiday standards.

Let’s Have a Patrick Swayze Christmas

Having seen Road House twice in the past week, this song is particular relevant to my topical interests. It’s catchy, fun and uplifting, everything a seasonal carol should be.

Merry Christmas (If That’s OK)

Like I mentioned, MST3K hit its stride as a product of the 90s, a time of overbearing political correctness. Now, I know the past decade has seen the backlash to “political correctness” become tied to people who want to feel justified in any xenophobic comment or unfounded argument they would like to believe as an undisputed fact, but let’s remember that the mid-90s had things getting really out of hand. For example, and I’m not making this up, my grade school was worried the red checkmarks by incorrect answers on tests were hurting the student body’s self-esteem so they were replaced with red “L’s” and the motto “we don’t make mistakes, we make learnings.” Wretched, eh? Well, this sentiment is perfectly captured and made the best of with a Seasonal romp that’s sure to delight you no matter what you celebrate, which I fully respect and support.

MST3K Christmas Essays

I’m convinced this one sketch where the everyone shares their Christmas essays is the precursor to Tumblr.

It’s always good to spend Christmas with some guys in space!

We give Mystery Science Theater 3000’s Christmas Endeavors a Five Out of Five

So until next time…let’s agree to agree!

R.I.P. Fatbeats (J.I.L.S.)

August 25, 2010

The Last Stop for Hip-Hop

As you’ve probably noticed, there was only one update to our site last week. That’s because I’ve honestly been dreading having to write the following post. Continuing our series of Journeys in Liquidation Sales, it’s my sad duty to cover the closing of a very specific beloved hangout and record store known as Fatbeats. I have a lot of emotional investment in this place, so please pardon any diverting from our standard Popular Path.

On September 4th, 2010, the world famous record store FatBeats will close its door for the last time and Hip-Hop will have lost another Mecca. Granted, Hip-Hop is a youth culture whose consistant vibrancy has always come from new kids always doing something completely different from those who came before them, but FatBeats held the distinction of being one of the few locations that would acknowledge the past by looking to the future through the spectrum of a genuine love for the culture. With the ceiling covered with authentic first-run promotional posters of classic albums, the walls lined with classic and current vinyl releases and a special section devoted to autographed promo 8 X 10 of rap’s most celebrated icons and beloved unsung heroes, it was something of a living museum of rap music. The closest thing we have ever had to a Hip-Hop Hall of Fame, it became everything from a tourist destination to a regular hangout for just about everyone that passed through its doors.

Part of me still can't believed this happened. The instore, not the broken nose.

Many are citing its closing as a “sign of the times” and playing all sorts of blame games from the most prevalent “nobody’s supporting record stores” sentiment, to the bitter few complaining FatBeats “didn’t support independent artists.” The latter is a complete and utter fabrication as FatBeats carried plenty of local/underground Hip-Hop, but I’ll get into that in a bit. Most importantly, I want to address the former, and if you take nothing else from the rest of this article or don’t want to hear someone lament the loss of a place that meant a lot to them, please take the next paragraph as the definition of what FatBeats meant.

I moved to New York in August, 2004 where I lived in Washington Square Park. A Sam Goody has just closed, but there were 19 other music stores within a ten minute walk of where I lived including a Tower Records, a Virgin Megastore, a FYE and countless Mom-and-Pops. Six years later, FatBeats has outlived ALL but ONE. Now, think of these large record stores with billion-dollar conglomerates behind them who couldn’t stay afloat in the highest-priced rent area of the most expensive city in the country and realize that this comparatively hole-in-the-wall store that ignored what was popular to ONLY CARRY MUSIC THEY LIKED outlived ALL OF THEM by AT LEAST A YEAR. If that isn’t a sign of unbelievable support from a community, I don’t know what is. They followed an insane business model, which was to follow their hearts, and not only did it work, but it made them the last man standing. As sad as it is that all things must come to an end, the Last Stop for Hip-Hop is going out with the honor and respect that it deserves.

Now, if I may switch things up a bit, I’m going to spend the rest of this post sharing some of my favorite FatBeats memories, in chronological order.

– As I mentioned earlier, I first moved to New York in August, 2004. I moved here for school* and had my first day at NYU on September 7th. That evening, immediately after class, I set foot into FatBeats for the first time for a Rob Sonic instore. It was the release of his album Telicatessen at the height of my 18-year-old indie-rap fandom. Seeing how many artists I had spent so many years listening to back in Minnesota just casually walking through the front door and sharing the same breathing room blew my mind. Not only did I get to meet many of my heroes, I got to know many of the local rap enthusiasts and other NYU students that, to this day, became some of my closest friends. This is also where I met NYC favorite Creature who considered Fatbeats’ storefront his “office” as he educated me on everything there is to know about the scene.

Oh, hi me!

– Soon Fatbeats became the both my hangout as well as the place I would show whenever I would walk near it with anyone. I remember pointing it out during a first date with a girl on Valentine’s Day that year at a pizza place within eyeshot of it, describing it as “a hangout.” She said “It’s a record store, what do you do there?” “You know…rap things.” Those rap things would include two months later when I got to freestyle over an original Evil Dee beat at a Beatminerz instore. There’s somethings you don’t expect to do as an 18-year-old from Minnesota, and that one was pretty high on the list but FatBeats made it a reality.

– Unlike other record stores, Fatbeats didn’t really have a stage or artist area so in-store performances took place right in the middle of the store, allowing for a real one-on-one interaction with artists you really couldn’t get anywhere else. Over the years I got to watch ToneDef autograph my copy of his album by un-ironically filling up the entire cover art with his five-step plan/instructions for how Hip-Hop is to be evaluated and elevated over the next decade, hear first-hand about X-Clan’s Brother J’s admiration of the Kottonmouth Kings, see Brother Ali’s face light-up with the news his album was debuting on the Billboard 200 at #69, enjoy stories from Evil Dee about what a bitch it was to clear samples from overseas artists, pass along a message to Sean Price from the security guard at my dorm that referenced very specific people from the Brownsville project he grew up in, Pack FM demand that I leave the store for referring to a shot he took at Ja Rule’s ‘Blood in My Eye’ album as “disrespecting the g.o.a.t.,” witness C-Rayz Walz give an entire radio interview over the phone with his answers in the form of freestyle rhymes, have one-time Fatbeats staple Percee-P give me his phone number “in the event I ever become a blogger or music journalist and want to do an interview,” out-of-towners Zion-I being unintentionally super-early for their instore by getting there on time, and countless others that either are skipping my mind or that I could never print. (ask me sometime)

– But what I’ll most remember FatBeats for was when I had an instore there. Like I mentioned earlier, there’s a smattering of belly-aching from a few in the scene who think that because FatBeats never stocked them or their boys that they never supported independent artists. Truthfully, it’s because Fatbeats had pretty high standards and through its 16-year existence, you only really made it in the indieground when Fatbeats carried you. It took me three releases until they finally stocked me, and my instore on April 30th, 2008 I’ll always remember as one of the proudest moments of my life. I came to New York four-years prior with no friends, worked really hard and had finally achieved a lifelong dream. The turnout was the third-biggest of that year (only behind Q-Tip and Immortal Technique) and really felt like a graduation or a validation of what I had done over the past decade.

A very good feeling.

So thanks FatBeats for being the perfect idealized record store.

We give FatBeats a Five Out of Five

So until next time…let’s agree to agree!

*and stayed for the pie.

Tay Zonday’s Top Ten Moments: Volume 2 – Tay Harder (C.A.T.T.L.E.)

July 22, 2010

**we move away from the mic forever and ever.

Tay Zonday Week here continues with the Top Five lesser-known item in the Tay-ography. Consider these his Diet Chocolate Rain. Zondaylight has broken, so let’s get right to the Taypole!

That isn't manna you're tapping...

5 ) Start Me Up
http://www.metacafe.com/watch/1223151/start_me_up_rolling_stones_karaoke_by_tay_zonday/
(Sorry, Metacafe won’t embed. More like Lamecafe, amirite?)
After the tremendous success of ZonDay, YouTube tried its hand at honoring other important musical icons by designating April 4th, 2008 as “Rolling Stones Day.” They invited the site’s biggest stars to cover their favorite Stones songs, the most popular being Tay’s cover of “Start Me Up.” With the industrial vocal effects turning his trademark deep voice into a robotic growl, Tay’s muppet-esqe dance moves and proper prop use are only upstaged by hearing him snarl “you make a dead man come.”

4 ) Musicolio

The most recent addition to this list is “Musicolio,” a return to form for ‘Tay-bone.’ Having no real formal training in any style of music, what made much of his early work so endearing is how he would try his hand at countless genres at once, often sounding like the collective blaring radios of a ten-car pileup. “Musicolio” recaptures that ambitiousness while spotlighting the Stick Stickly-swagger of his live performances.

3 ) Never Gonna Give You Up

Many attribute Tay’s status as the internet’s ultimate trump card to how heavily he was shuffled into our decks by sites like 4Chan and Encyclopedia Dramatica. As an acknowledgement of those who helped bring him to the dance, Tay stuck his Chocolate Reign into Rick Astley’s peanut butter resulting in hot meme-on-meme action!

2 ) The Only Way

Debuting at the peak of his popularity, “The Only Way” was removed within weeks after Tay suddenly became self-conscious over it “sounding too much like a brag track.” While there’s still a message or two in the lyrics, you can tell Tay really thought/knew he was the biggest star in the world. “Staccato mulatto, everyday a new motto” indeed.

1 ) Get It Back (Turbotax Rap)

Prior to “Chocolate Rain,” Tay was a runner-up in a Vanilla Ice judged songwriting contest for popular finance software TurboTax. Eating ketchup to save for a “Hummey” never sounded so good.

We give Tay Zonday a Five Out of Five.

So until next time…let’s agree to agree!

WATCH ‘LIONHEART’ WITH ME!

June 18, 2010

This is what an awesome movie looks like.

So here I was, sitting down to write another blog entry when I discovered that Lionheart, starring Jean Claude Van Damme, was available in its entirety on YouTube. Ecstatic, I started making telephone calls to everyone in my parish only to discover the majority of them HAVEN’T SEEN LIONHEART! What sorcery is this? Well, as a public service, I’m going to now introduce you to one of mankind’s greatest achievements.

I’m sure I’ll flush out a full review at a later date, but for right now believe me when I tell you this is one of my favorite movies of all time. JCVD, the greatest actor crotch-puncher of our generation, stars as Leon, an A.W.O.L. French Legionaire who returns to America in order to support his brother’s widow’s family through the organized underground fight circuit. The script was co-written by Van Damme, so the flagrant broken bones and broken english go hand-in-hand. There’s action, honor and awesomeness.

For whatever reason, this is the overseas theatrical release but don’t let the alternate title ‘Full Contact’ fool you, it’s still Lionheart and still arguably the finest motion picture ever made.

Tonight on Chazterpiece Theater…

We give Lionheart a Five Out of Five

So until next time…let’s agree to agree!

The Top Ten Richard Dunn Moments (C.A.T.T.L.E.)

June 9, 2010

RIP Richard Dunn 1935-2010

This is a special installment of Chaz’s Arbitrary Top Ten List Extravaganza where we focus on the late Richard Dunn‘s body of work. If you would like to join me in donating to his funeral and memorial services, you can do so HERE.

Last Friday was marked was the sad passing of comedic actor Richard Dunn. Most famous for his work on Adult Swim’s “Tim & Eric Awesome Show: Great Job,” Dunn was a one-of-a-kind charismatic geriatric who always seemed more than happy to go along with whatever absurd exercise his cohorts were engaging in. It’s somewhat of a challenge to give the man a proper eulogy as his presence our lives were in such entertaining short bursts that defied their own explanations. Yet, the vacuum they exist in succeeded in exactly what Richard Dunn set out to do, and that was to entertain us. In that tradition, I’m going to refrain from commenting on each clip as Dunn’s work largely speaks for itself. In short, here’s ten examples of why it was awesome sharing planet Earth with Richard Dunn.

#10 Encouragement from Pep-Pep

#9 Dunn’s Message for Jackie Chan

#8 Dunnions – Gettin’ It Dunn

#7 Parks and Recreations and Dunn

#6 She Has No Grace

#5 Dunn Needs Your Bones

#4 Tim & Eric Awesome Tour 2009 Intro

#3 Dunn-Prov

#2 World’s Most Handsome Man – Finals!

#1 Dunngeon

We give RICHARD DUNN a FIVE OUT OF FIVE

BONUS BEAT: Dunn’s Debut in Diddy’s “Bad Boy 4 Life”

So until next time…let’s agree to agree!