out this week, 8/2 & 8/9: Tig Notaro...the next great female comic...

Posted by Brad Schelden, August 18, 2011 12:15pm | Post a Comment
I have been a huge fan of strong female comedians since I can remember. My first memory is probably of Joan Rivers on the Muppet Show or in The Muppets Take Manhattan. If you have not yet seen her recent documentary A Piece of Work, you must do so right now. Amazing stuff.

I can't remember a time when I didn't love Bea Arthur. I was too young to watch Maude, but I was instantly in love with The Golden Girls. I think I honestly just wanted them all to be my grandmothers. How awesome would it be to go to Miami for the weekend to stay with Blanche, Dorothy, Rose, and Sophia. I am sure this was not every kids dream. But it was mine. I didn't have some Harold and Maude type fantasy. I was gay after all. But I just wanted to hang out. Talk about current events. Make fun of celebrities or people in general. I loved that sarcastic and humorous outlook on life. And The Golden Girls might have been the first show that I remember to feature gay characters. There were other shows of course. But not many. Dorothy's old friend visits and turns out to be lesbian and falls in love with Rose. Blanche's brother visits and comes out to her in his golden years. And of course the very first episode features a gay housekeeper. My favorite character was of course Dorothy, played by the amazing Bea Arthur. If there is one celebrity I could go back in time to hang out with or have dinner with, It would probably be Bea Arthur. She was hilarious and sarcastic. But also brutally honest and warm and sincere. She loved her friends and her family more than anything. But she understood a good joke and could never be mad at anyone for too long. She was sort of my role model. And she also got me in love with the female comic. Gay guys have always flocked to the female comic. There just are not that many out gay male comedians. At least there weren't in the '80s and '90s. So these comics were all we had to relate too. And honestly, they were a whole lot better than any of the gay male comics that I had seen or heard about. Female comics were sort of outsiders just like the gays.  Bea Arthur probably opened the doors for a lot of these women. At least the TV comic. There would probably be no Roseanne without Bea Arthur. I seriously can't imagine my life with either one of them.

What Bea Arthur did for the TV female comic, Joan Rivers did for the stand up comic. Joan Rivers was also brutally honest. Like Sophia on The Golden Girls, she never held back. She said what was on her mind. I don't think there could be a Kathy Griffin, Janeane Garofalo, Wanda Sykes, Sandra Bernhard, Margaret Cho, or Sarah Silverman without Joan RIvers.

There are obviously different styles of female stand up comedians. Most of the good ones end up with their own sitcom or talk show, which is sort of the goal -- a stable job that doesn't involve the crazy kind of travel needed to be a stand up comic. Sarah Silverman ended up creating one of the most brilliant shows ever. The Sarah Silverman Show, unfortunately, didn't last long enough. But she and Brian Posehn together is magic. Ellen DeGeneres and Rosie O'Donnell ended up with two of the most successful daytime talk shows. Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar ended up hosting The View. Joy Behar also has a nighttime news show. While I am not a huge fan of The View, I am a huge fan of the comedy of both Whoopi and Joy. Whoopi Goldberg has been in some of my favorite least some of my favorites of the '80s. She gave us Jumpin' Jack Flash in 1986, and Burglar and Fatal Beauty in 1987. Ghost in 1990. Sister Act in 1992.

Ellen DeGeneres was the star of a very successful sitcom and now that Oprah has left us, Ellen probably has the most successful daytime talk show. I was never really a fan of Kathy Griffin until her reality show started. I just didn't really know much about her, and I was not about to watch some sitcom starring Brooke Shields. But how can you not love somebody who is such a supporter of the gays? And so hilarious. I was hooked after the first time I saw her perform. Going back much further, I do have faint memories of Phyllis Diller -- probably from Scooby Doo or The Mad Monster Party -- but I did always love her. She got her start at the Purple Onion in San Francisco, so how can I not love that? I was also obsessed with Lily Tomlin. Two of my other favorite movies as a kid were 9 to 5 and The Incredible Shrinking Woman. Lily Tomlin was another stand up comedian that I just somehow related to.

I have also always loved the female comedians of Saturday Night Live. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are two of the best comedians that show has ever seen. They now star in two of the best sitcoms on television, 30 Rock and Parks & Recreation. Kristen Wiig is one of the funniest people to ever exist and one of the main reasons to still watch SNL. She is already a movie star; please watch Bridesmaids if you have not seen it! I also see a TV show in Kristen Wiig's future, but maybe not for another ten years. SNL has also give us the brilliant Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch, Molly Shannon, Ana Gasteyer, Jane Curtain, Laraine Newman, Gilda Radner, Jan Hooks, Cheri Oteri, Nora Dunn, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Janeane Garofalo and Sarah Silverman may have not had the most successful careers on SNL, but they were both cast members that just happened to go to do amazing things afterwards. Some actresses went on to better things and some did not, but they have all done amazing comedic work at some point in their life.

Continue reading...

out today 11/17 & 11/23...them crooked vultures...annie...adam lambert...

Posted by Brad Schelden, December 1, 2009 04:50pm | Post a Comment

Wow, everybody. It is officially December! The last month of the year. The last month of the decade! Most people complain that time goes by too fast. I usually say that myself -- but it has been a long decade. Remember Y2K? That really does seem so long ago. I don't think that the 00's will ever be remembered as such a decade as the 70's or 80' or 90's. It really seemed like all of those decades got smashed together to form this last decade. But does anybody ever really talk about the 1900's? Or even the 1910's? It really is all about the 20's! It will be interesting when the 2020's come to an end. I guess the 1920's might be forgotten by then but still, you will have to be specific when you say the 20's...although not that many people think you are referring to the 1880's when you say "80's."

The 80's came back in a big way these last 10 years -- the music and fashion for sure. The 90's will always be remembered by me for certain genres of music. I will always remember it as the decade of raves and electronica. I got into all this music in this decade and it reached the height of its popularity in the 90's. Britpop and Teen Pop also took over. I was into listening to Blur, Suede, Pulp, Gene, Elastica, and Oasis while most everyone else was listening to The Spice Girls, N SYNC, The Backstreet Boys, Christina Aguilera, and Britney Spears. The beginning of the decade was really all about grunge though. Nirvana and Soundgarden somehow faded into Britney and The Spice Girls by the end of the decade.
american idol
This decade will be remembered for American Idol and reality TV. It all started with shows like Survivor but now everybody has a reality show. It will be remembered for digital music and Ipods. DVD and Blurays. I think that indie labels really took over this decade too. Labels like Matador, Sub Pop, Touch and Go, and Secretly Canadian put out some of the best music of the decade. Indie music of the 2000's sort of came out of the Alternative 90's. It will also be the decade that marked the end of most chain Music Stores. I think the early 00's were probably the best time for most records stores -- or at least the very late 90's and very early 2000's. However, the good times did not last long. In the second half of the 00's, many indie stores closed down as well. Still, many have survived and these last couple of years have even seen new small indie music stores popping up all over the place.

This decade has maybe seemed long for me because I moved so many times. I moved down to Los Angeles in August 2001 to help open up the Hollywood Amoeba. A year later I moved back to San Francisco, spent a good 6 years up there and then moved back to Los Angeles, again, a couple of years ago. It is always kind of hard to look at a decade right as it is ending. I never really thought of the 80's as a decade when I lived in it. And I really never thought of 90's music being "90's Music" until well into this current decade. It takes a while to reflect back on a decade. You need a couple of years' distance to know what stays with you. Albums and movies that may have been super important to you at the time might not mean so much in a couple of years. Other albums may not have seemed so important to you at the time but 10 years later they become so much more important. The albums and movies that you experience get attached to memories and people and become more important because of the other memories that they are attached to.

I always work on my top 50 albums of the year in December but this month I am also working on my tops of the decade. I am gonna do a list of my top 100 movies of the 00's. I did one for the 70's and 80's already. I also have one for the 90's that I never posted on the blog. I am also doing my favorite albums of this last decade. I will probably do a list of 100. At this point it seems so much easier to do a top 100 albums of the 90's, so maybe I will just do that list instead. I think it will be easier to do a top 100 of the 2000's in a couple of years. We will see how much I can get done in these next couple of weeks. I would also like to do a review of my favorite concerts and live shows of the last decade. Maybe I will even have time to make a list of my favorite TV shows of the decade. 

Every year around this time the music releases slow down. It is sort of the exact opposite of movies. If an album has not come out by now it usually is not coming out this year. There are always a couple of releases that sneak in to the end of the year but not many. Susan Boyle's I Dreamed A Dream... came out last week and might end up being the quickest selling album of the year. R. Kelly comes out this week. Alicia Keys comes out 12/15. Mary J. Blige comes out 12/21. And that is it. You have to wait until next year for your new Beach House, Vampire Weekend, Goldfrapp. 2010 will also have new albums from Spoon, The National, Liars, MGMT, LCD Soundsystem, Interpol, Massive Attack, Magnetic Fields, Joanna Newsom, Beck, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Arcade Fire, Glass Candy, CSS, Xiu Xiu, !!!, Panda Bear, The Shins, Sigur Ros, Four Tet, Hot Chip, Frightened Rabbit, The Hold Steady, Los Campesinos!, and maybe a new Radiohead! So yeah...there is a lot to look forward to next year. But there have also been some great albums out this year too. You will see my list soon enough...

The end of the year is always the best time for movies. This is mostly because of the way the Oscars are run. All the Oscar hopefuls come out at the end of the year. It is always better to be fresh in people's memories when it comes time to pick the Oscar nominees. This is not always the case. Maybe people forgot how bad Crash was. That might be how it walked away with Best Picture a couple of years ago. This last month has already seen the release of Precious, Where the Wild Things Are, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and The Road. This weekend will see the release of Brothers, Up in the Air, and The Last Station. On December 11th we get Invictus, The Lovely Bones, and A Single Man! December 18th brings Avatar, Nine, and Crazy Heart. December 25th is Sherlock Holmes! I have already decided that A Single Man and Avatar will be two of my favorites of the decade. I am just basing this on the trailers and what I have heard about these movies but I don't think I will be wrong.

So I might not be listening to many new albums this month but I will be in the movie theater a couple of times a week all this month. And I will be listening to my favorite albums of the year trying to figure out what to put in my top 10. The hardest thing for me is to figure out what is #10 and what is #11. It is an important transition point in a list. It will be keeping me up at night. 

There really has not been a whole lot out the last couple of weeks. But here are a couple of things that got my attention...

also out 11/17...

Don't Stop by Annie

Two Suns-Special Edition by Bat For Lashes

Beak by Beak

Swords-Deluxe Version by Morrissey

Them Crooked Vultures by Them Crooked Vultures

Bird-Brains by Tune-Yards

also out 11/23...

Fever Ray-Deluxe Edition by Fever Ray

Daptone Gold

Ghostly International Presents: Moongadget

Not Fade Away (BOX SET) by Buddy Holly

For Your Own Special Sweetheart (REISSUE) by Jawbox

Catalogue (BOX SET) by Kraftwerk

For Your Entertainment by Adam Lambert

Precious Soundtrack

Rated R by Rihanna

She Wolf by Shakira

Medusa Dare To Be Truthful

Posted by phil blankenship, November 10, 2008 02:53pm | Post a Comment

Columbia TriStar Home Video 93683

Since When Do I Enjoy Kathy Griffin?

Posted by Miss Ess, July 24, 2008 06:52pm | Post a Comment

Kathy Griffin?
! Somehow I never thought I would say I enjoy Kathy Griffin. I know, I know-- considering the fact that I: a) have been referred to as a fag hag on many an occasion and also that I: b) actually live in the Castro, this should come as a shock to some.

Forgive me, for I have caught on: with latest season of her reality show My Life On the D-List airing regularly, color me hooked.

I applaud Kathy for being so unabashedly herself. She knows what she is good at (making fun of others, but also herself) and she knows her fans (mainly gay men but also middle aged straight women), and she has no qualms about catering to them. In the near-past I had always thought of her as sort of irritating and uncreative. Now I see that she is both of those things at times, but plenty of others the rest. She knows she is merely a comedic commentator and she knows she is an attention whore, so why not live it up? She is a woman of many faces-- whatever it takes to continually secure her place on the D-List, and I support her in her quest.

Now I am scrambling to pick up Season One on DVD! I should never have underestimated my enjoyment of poking fun at celebrities. What have I been thinking all this time? Kathy has been there with her gays and her snarky humor all along, and here I was shunning her for no real reason other than her copious plastic surgery and her copious need to talk about it! For shame! Once again, I have learned not to judge a book by its cover...I'll let Kathy do that for me in her stage routine, so I can laugh along! 

I even enjoy her assistants and her mother. I'm touched every time she has a semi-bawdy yet also informative discussion with her mom about what a Bear is, or about Australian Mardi Gras, and it also reminds me of conversations I've had with my grandma about the same stuff. (But my grandma is NOT obsessed with Bill O'Reilly, thank god!) Kathy, all these years you've been there, loving Oprah and The View in precisely the same way I do and I have turned the other cheek!

I've seen the light now and I am a total convert. Kathy, I may have missed your onstage performance this year at the International Bear Round Up down the street from my apartment, but it won't happen again.

This is a clip from a recent episode of the show, where Kathy headlines a 14 hour Pink Flight to Australia from San Francisco on Air New Zealand. I have a feeling if I had been on this flight I would have been able to forget about my fear of flying...

(In which Job & Corey brave the California wilderness.)

Posted by Job O Brother, November 27, 2007 10:17am | Post a Comment

(Has nothing to do with this blog entry.)

I wish I didn’t like Kathy Griffin so much. It’s such a cliché – me and my boyfriend, Corey, on our way to the foreign country known as Orange County, to see Ms. Griffin perform at the (and how’s this for a cute name) Orange County Performing Arts Center’s Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall (I think I’m naming my kid that, you know, if it’s a girl).

It was Friday and Corey picked me up, fresh off a typical eight-hour shift in the soundtracks department of your favorite record store. It took about fifteen minutes before I realized that the man sitting next to me was my boyfriend and not someone hoping for a restroom, a wall-item, an “Amoeba buck”, or the “I’m Not There” soundtrack. I relaxed immediately and we discussed matters that are none of your business in amorous tones. Also I ate gum.

Have you tried this stuff yet? The Orbit “sweet mint” flavor? It tastes exactly like chocolate-mint ice cream and is so sumptuous it makes me barf a little, spiritually. Don’t ever try it unless you like being weirded out by deliciousness. I wish it had never been born. I need a piece now. Excuse me…

(That's me there, next to the dude with the thing.)

…Okay, so we made it to the Orange County Performing Arts Center’s Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in plenty of time, despite getting lost a while (we were distracted from following directions by a heated conversation about thantophobia and Scrabble). We saddled up to the uncozy Orange County Performing Arts Center’s Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall bar for cocktails and a quick trip to the Orange County Performing Arts Center’s Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall restroom for men.

Because Corey is press, we got fantastic seats. The venue itself reminded me of a much cheerier version of that auditorium in “Dark City” where the evil dudes with bad dental hygiene gather to be wicked. And exchange recipes.

"Can you help me find row F-8?"

Kathy exploded on stage to an ovation. She performed for over two hours without a break, her material never dull, her energy never diminished. She is the Bruce Springsteen of stand-up comics.

Since you weren't there (I know, I looked for you) here's footage from an earlier tour. You can pretend you're sitting next to me. And I'm totally pulling that "yawn, stretch, put my arm around you" move.

At one point she made a joke about kids with MS that caught me so off-guard that I choked on my own spittle and almost asphyxiated. If I had been chewing gum I would surely have perished… in the Orange County Performing Arts Center’s Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.

After the show, confused staff sent Corey and I from the green room to the lobby and back again before we were finally rescued by Tom, Kathy’s assistant, famous in his own right for appearing on the TV show “My Life on the D-list” as Tom, Kathy’s assistant.

We filed in, along with about fifteen other people, into the Orange County Performing Arts Center’s Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall green room.

Now, it’s not often I get to say this, but the green room of the Orange County Performing Arts Center’s Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall is actually smaller than my apartment. Wow.

When I read the listing for my place, it boasted “New York-style apartment”. I thought this meant it had high ceilings and a wall of exposed brick – which it did – but it also meant there was about enough room for me, a small bed, and… maybe a Cheeto.

Not a whole bag. Just une Cheeto.

Kathy entered the green room and graciously spent time with individuals; each one smiling so big and tight in anticipation to meet her you’d think we were a support group for people with bad face-lifts.

Corey seemed to be the only one there in any kind of work-related capacity. Others were either friends/employees of Kathy and their friends, contest winners, and, as one confessed, an actual stalker.

Kathy looked great and was personable – pretty much exactly what you’d expect. She’s attractive up close, but don’t tell my boyfriend I said that.

What is it about her that I love? Much of it is because I feel like celebrity culture is deconstructing – pop will eat itself, right? – and Kathy is this kind of “celebrity middle-class”, taking us by the hand as she ascends the ladder to greater stardom, exposing the folly and effort involved. She is the Eva Perón of stand-up comics.

"Did you hear the one about two nuns, a Jew, and Courtney Love?"

Celebrities tend to be alienated from the rest of us (I’m assuming, dear reader, that you are not Sharon Stone or Larry King) and sometimes they’re separated from us in a way that feels unfair. Movie stars especially are the U.S.’s royalty. Is it any wonder then, when they’re treated with such privilege for sometimes no greater feat than looking pretty, that we delight in seeing them led to proverbial guillotines?

Honestly, wouldn’t we rather see Britney slosh around stupidly on the VMA’s than see her give a great performance? (I’m assuming, dear reader, that you are not Britney Spears.)

Anyway, seeing Kathy both on and off stage was swell. For those of you who don’t appreciate her comedy, I hope you can at least appreciate her impact. I, for one, am ready for our Revolution.

Kathy Griffin's stand-up performances and TV show "My Life on the D-List" are available at Amoeba Music. Orbit "sweet mint" gum is not.