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Terror Cell

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When a friend calls you up and says, "we're making a video for McSweeney's tommorow. Eggers asked if we could do it. You want in?" the appropriate response is, "yes."

That happened to me a few months ago, and this video, "Terror Cell," was the result. James and John Reichmuth of Kasper Hauser, Dave Owen of the SF Sketchfest, some other folks and me got together one day at McSweeney's headquarters to tape this sketch, which was written by Chris Eggers. Dave Eggers was on set, overseeing his troops, and Brent Hoff was running the show.

We basically re-wrote / re-improvised the sketch on the spot, it was a great time, and I didn't hear anything else about it for months and months and months. This was the end result. It's a mixed bag and in some ways reflects the hasty way in which it was thrown together, but I thought I'd share it nonetheless. I hope it will satisfy your insatiable appetite for short films in which I wear an absurd false moustache.

Next time you're making a "Pimp My Ride" joke...

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...think of this performance from Xzibit on Letterman. It's hardly a perfect record, but you have to admit, X really has something.

Free Stickers

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Do you want some free Sound of Young America stickers? All you have do is send me an SASE.

The Sound of Young America
720 S. Normandie Ave. #505
Los Angeles, CA 90005

And by the way, once in a while folks ask me where the photos on the stickers came from. Check out Big Happy Funhouse and Square America for more of these great photos, and thanks to Nick and Ron.

Oh shit, it's days away.

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It's real, and it's about to happen. This is going to be HUGE, folks, and I expect everyone in the TSOYA community to help spread the word.

Days away, friends, days away. PREPARE YOURSELVES FOR A MULTI-MEDIA ONSLAUGHT.

Guess what? The feed is up! I'll post an iTunes link when it's approved, and you will be expected to subscribe, review and reccomend to others.

Joe Budden - Broken Wing Freestyle

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This is brand new (check the Cory Lidle allusion), and it's fantastic. Budden has a bit of Redman, a bit of Jay-Z and a lot of talent. Def Jam has been doing him dirty for almost five years now, but if he keeps making music like this, he'll have a long career.

When you hear Joe you hear the conviction and diction
That open emotion, devotion is different
Real talk of when he ain't have a pot to piss in
He ain't have a car not one rock to glisten
I'm giving 'em non-fiction,
conning his addictions
Ya'll got the easy job, just listen

Link
Lyrics

Hodgmania sweeps into San Francisco, battters TSOYA relentlessly!

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Our friends John Hodgman (right) and Jonathan Coulton (left) are hitting San Francisco tonight for a reading/event to celebrate the softcover edition of Mr. Hodgman's Opus "The Areas of My Expertise."

The event is at the brand new San Francisco branch of Cody's Books, on Stockton street downtown, at 7PM. I will offer my guarantee that it's the most fun you will have at a book reading this year. Perhaps the only fun you will have at a book reading, since most other book readings are hardly fun at all. Edifying, maybe.

Expect a new episode of TSOYA with John and Jonathan this week, as they stopped by TSOYA Studios in Los Angeles the other day to lay down some tracks.

Furthermore, expect John & Jonathan in Baltimore, DC, Richmond, Chapel Hill, Durham, Oxford, and Austin in October.

Below, a sample of the possible hijinks from a Portland show... recognize Hodgman in the necktie, Coulton in the buckskin suit and coonskin cap.

Tom chimes in in the comments today:
I'm happy to report the SF Cody's appearance last night was great. TSOYA listeners should not miss out an opportunity to see John and Johnathan in person. There was music, humor, and quaffing of mature beverages. Note, it was standing room only by 6:30, so you might want to arrive early if you want to sit in the "splatter zone".

The Reviews are In!

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This is interesting but not as good as you'd think it'd be... I honestly cannot tell if the show opening is trying to be ironically cheesy or if it's just kind of cheesy in itself. I came across it and was immediately impressed by the line-up - a lot of things which I agree are "awesome" were listed, from the electronica group matmos to comedian louis ck, to producer allison silverman - but somehow I was surprised by how flat and boring some of the actual shows were. The interviewer has no real presence, and sort of has that fake casey casum type voice, and the "maximum fun", "sound of young america", etc etc, is so ...annoying / dumb ... I just have no idea if that's a joke that just doesn't work for me, or if they're not even trying to be funny. Still, there's some good stuff in there.

Link

I guess I was supposed to dislike "30 Rock"

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...but it sure didn't work out that way.

The weaknesses of the pilot were evident: Fey is no Mary Tyler Moore, for example. Believing Jane Krakowski and Fey were best friends was a bit of a stretch, since Krakowski's character traits seemed to be "pretty, useless, annoying." And as I've written here before, I think Rachael Dratch is wonderful, and really got shafted in the cast shuffle that put her out and Krakowski in.

But all of that having been said, I really enjoyed the first episode of "30 Rock." Here are some reasons why:

  • Tracy Morgan. He's long had his detractors, but I've never been one of them. I even liked him in his family sitcom last year. Luckily, here we have a show built around his amazing talent for making stupid baby faces and voices. When Tracy Morgan said, "yeah... risky HBO style content!" I almost lost it, and as far as I know, that wasn't even a punchline. The show also seems comfortable playing around with race, which is one of the great things about Morgan's comedy. The closing shots of Morgan's character on stage and the audience's rapt attention and rapturous applause were great. "Honky grandma..." (AUDIENCE ROARS)
  • Alec Baldwin. Again, credit to Fey for creating a role perfectly tailored to his talents. Baldwin's utter conviction helps ground the proceedings, despite his absurd behavior. Unlike some people, he's entirely convincing as a network executive, and his pitch to Fey and Adsit ("we need the third heat"), based on oven technology, is mesmerizing in it's bizarro logic.
  • The supporting cast. Honestly, I think I'm in man-love with Jack McBrayer, whose gentle little boy act just keeps getting better. Another great pickup from the talent pool at the IO is Scott Adsit, who I think will be a great foil and friend for Fey's character. It's apparent that these are folks (Fey, et al) who really know funny, so I have high hopes.

We'll see where the show goes from here. As far as "relatable main characters" go, Fey's about halfway there, if she can get another 25%, that'll be plenty good enough. Not everyone is MTM. Hopefully they'll be able to balance the ridiculousness of Baldwin and Morgan's characters with a bit of realism. And I guess it's possible that this new role for Dratch will work, though it sounds like a recipe for disaster to me. Maybe I'm just dissapointed that this isn't her big break.

Who am I kidding? Here's the bottom line: as long as Tracy Morgan is making funny baby faces, count me in.

This American Life Podcasting Free

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Speak of the devil and he shall appear, huh?

This American Life has announced they are now offering a free weekly podcast of the show. The podcast will not have an archive, however, which means that you will only be able to download a show in the week it is broadcast, before it is replaced by the next week's program. The income from Audible and iTunes is important to TAL (as it would be to me, if it existed), so I'd hate to begrudge them that.

Here's the iTunes link
Here's the Podcast feed: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/podcast.xml

GO!

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