Sunday, March 21, 2010

Making Mixtapes...with El Secreto

We're back with another "Making Mixtapes..." This time with an entry by El Secreto, co-host and co-creator of "Hour 42," a radio show that covers heroes - on the air, in the air and all around us. The show can be heard live, every Sunday at 9pm CST/7pm PST on Blog Talk Radio. You can also follow him on Twitter (@aboynamedart). ES is, like myself, a fan of making mixes and a fellow geek. He was awesome enough to combine the two to make us geeks an awesome mixtape! I'm gonna quit babbling and let the man take it away:

One of the reasons I appreciate our friend MJ inviting me to submit this tape is, I'm always happy to point out the intersection of two of my passions – geekdom and music. As the former has risen to pop-culture prominence, it's important to remember that our fandoms reach out across the musical spectrum. So consider this collection a small sampler, and a reminder that geeks have moved far, far beyond the BAM! POW! Kitsch of the '60s; we're at the bleeding edge of the cool, and only pushing forward.

INTRO - Revenge of the Nerds: We start by paying respect to the old school. Everybody, clap your hands!

1. Yoko Kanno & The Seatbelts – Tank!: Hands-down, the best opening theme in anime history.
2. GenErik - Doctorin' The Uprising: Eagle-eared Whovians noted a familiarity in Muse's new hit, one that's taken to the next level in this mash-up. In the interest of equal time, you might want to check out the Dalek “response”: Rotersand's Exterminate, Annihilate, Destroy.
3. Anamanaguchi – Blackout City: Don't sleep on this crew, as the band is coming off an appearance at South By Southwest. (Click on the link to play the track, made with a Super NES of all things!)
4. Neil Patrick Harris – Laundry Day: The song that gave the Whedonverse a new hero and made NPH a certifiable renaissance man.
5. Art Of Noise – Close (To The Edit): Post-apocalyptic dystopia never looked so fun.
6. Daft Punk – Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger: Solid beats from the dynamic duo; watch for them rocking it out in the upcoming Tron: Legacy.
7. Soulwax – Compute: Dark, dense and compelling tech-rock, a sort of anti-Daft Punk.
8. Stan Bush – The Touch: Reason #5,347 why Michael Bay's vision can't touch the original Transformers: The Movie. Really, once this song came on you knew Optimus Prime was going to wipe the mat with the Decepticons.
9. Rogue Traders – Voodoo Child: Best musical placement in Doctor Who history, as The Master and his wife danced like the world was ending, because it was!
10. Party Ben – Galvanize The Empire: Darth Vader meets Q-Tip on the dance floor. Funkiness ensues.
11. The Buggles – Living In The Plastic Age: “Video Killed The Radio Star” is bright, shiny and well-known, but the second single from MTV's first artist is actually more ambitious – and eerily prescient.
12. Smashing Pumpkins – The End Is The Beginning Is The End: This relatively obscure item from the Corgan catalog was sort-of featured in not one but two comic-book films, as part of the Batman & Robin soundtrack and its' opposite number, “The Beginning Is The End Is The Beginning” the trailer for Watchmen. Hey, I never said they were good films.
13. The Great Luke Ski – Battlestar Rhapsody: Hilarious tribute/parody from an underrated comedy artist.
14. Weird Al Yankovic – The Saga Begins: And who better to take us home than the geek Elvis?

Is this a “definitive” list? Of course not (Devo fans, trust me, no disrespect is meant). But it just goes to show how expansive our musical reach has become. Hope you enjoy the tape!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

And the winner is...

I LOVE the Academy Awards. For me, they’re as big as The World Series and The Super Bowl. This year’s ceremony gave us not one, but two hosts (Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin). Their chemistry was nice but after their opening things seemed to go downhill for them. I’m surprised since Martin and Baldwin can be so damn funny. It may have something to do with Neil Patrick Harris’ opening number. How do you follow that? I’m casting my vote for NPH as host next year.

I wasn’t at all surprised by Mo’Nique’s win for Best supporting Actress. The woman dominated all other awards shows this year. I was very put off by her speech in which she said she was happy that this year it was "about the acting and not the politics." Ego much? Personally I was pulling for Vera Farmiga. I know that typically when two actor’s from the same film are nominated in the same category they cancel each other out, but I was hoping. Farmiga is one of the best actresses working today. Her turn in “Down to the Bone” should have gotten her an Oscar and her roles in “The Departed” and “Orphan” helped elevate both those films.

Christoph Waltz getting the Oscar was no surprise and was well deserved. Most. Terrifying. Performance. Ever. "Inglorious Basterds" would not have worked without him. I really hope the man doesn't get pigeon-holed as a villain. Though I would totally be on board if he were a Bond baddie.

Roger Ross Williams was Taylor Swift and Elinor Burkett played Kanye West in what was the most uncomfortable moment of the night. Sure, she was a producer and she did win, but he was in the middle of his speech and was pushed aside by Burkett. At least let the man finish. The night's other uncomfortable moment was Farrah Fawcett being excluded from the “In Memoriam” list. Yes, she is primarily known from her television work but she did do film.

Having been one of the few that I know that didn’t drink the Avatar Kool-Aid, I’m happy that the film didn’t win many awards. Was it visually stunning? Yes. But the story was predictable, lame and way too long. I think that, unfortunately, Cameron peaked with T2. Overall this year’s Oscar’s were enjoyable with many moments that will be replayed in future telecasts (Barbara Streisand). I’m already waiting for next years show.

The full list of winners:

The Hurt Locker

Kathryn Bigelow – The Hurt Locker

Jeff Bridges – Crazy Heart

Sandra Bullock – The Blind Side

Christoph Waltz – Inglourious Basterds

Mo’Nique – Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire

Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire, Geoffrey Fletcher

The Hurt Locker, Written by Mark Boal

El Secreto de sus Ojos, Argentina

Up (Disney/Pixar)

Avatar, Art Direction: Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg, Set Decoration: Kim Sinclair

Avatar, Mauro Fiore

The Young Victoria, Sandy Powell

The Hurt Locker, Bob Murawski and Chris Innis

The Cove, An Oceanic Preservation Society Production, Louie Psihoyos and Fisher Stevens

Star Trek, Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow

Up, Michael Giacchino

“The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)” from Crazy Heart, Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett

The Hurt Locker, Paul N.J. Ottosson and Ray Beckett

The Hurt Locker, Paul N.J. Ottosson

Avatar, Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones

Music by Prudence, Roger Ross Williams and Elinor Burkett

Logorama (Autour de Minuit), Nicolas Schmerkin

The New Tenants, Joachim Back and Tivi Magnusson