Flying high over Tupelo, Mississippi, with America’s hottest band … and we’re all about to die.
No, that isn’t how it happened, but, like ESPN columnist Bill Simmons, I’ve always wanted to start an article that way.
The part about being in a plane was true. And the thunderstorm visible from my window seat was eerily reminiscent of Almost Famous, blasts of electricity continuously ripping through the sky outside, off past the starboard flank of the aircraft. I wasn’t, however, touring the country with a bunch of up-and-coming rock stars, though I had been in the midst of some just a few hours earlier.
I’ve always had — and always will have — a special spot in my heart for Limp Bizkit. Please, allow me to explain myself.
I would venture to say I have a pretty broad musical palette. Though some would challenge my claims of good taste — Sun Senior Editor Sammy Perlmutter ’10 discovered six months ago that I like Gym Class Heroes, and he still won’t talk to me — I feel comfortable suggesting I have a fairly respectable collection of songs on my iPod. Genres like indie and hip-hop appear in spades, along with some more accessible examples of electronic and experimental brands of music. Whether you have a hankering for Dem Franchize Boys or Suburban Kids With Biblical Names, I can probably find a song that you would be at least decently satisfied with.
Election season is in full swing, and the Obama-Palin gladiatorial deathmatch has finally reached the home stretch. In a little less than six weeks, we should (hopefully) know who the 44th President of the United States will be, and people are starting to get visibly freaked out by the possibility of the wrong guy winning. (Or, more specifically, the wrong guy winning and croaking, leaving the reins of government in the hands of some lady who shoots polar bears from a helicopter. But I digress.)
Public awareness of the election is at near-historic highs, and everybody has an opinion, including — as always — that venerable sub-section of society with the means to make sure everybody knows what they think: Celebrities.
Drum roll. The audience at the State Theater was absolutely silent — anxious with anticipation — waiting for what would be the grand finale of the Golden Dragon Acrobats’ dynamo performance last Saturday.
“Ladies and gentlemen, what you are about to see is incredibly dangerous. Please, do not try this at home.”
Huh … they’re saying that now? The first two hours of the performance had already seen a multitude of acrobatic feats that, performed by lesser-trained individuals, would have resulted in any number of injuries, as mild as hernias or as severe as broken bones.
Daniel Tosh — who will be performing at the State Theater this Saturday at 8 p.m. — is a funny guy. The comedian has risen to the rank of Comedy Central elite with his own hour-long specials, and has recently appeared as a panelist on Best Week Ever. Last wednesday, I was able to get him on the phone to talk about jobs, belligerent fans and movie cops. Check it out:
The Sun: Hey, how’s it going, Daniel?
Daniel Tosh: Good, man. How are you?
Sun: Awesome. So you did a Comedy Central special last year called Completely Serious. I watched it the other night. I enjoyed it. You’re a funny guy.
Hey everybody. My name is Peter and I’m one of The Sun’s arts-and-entertainment editors. I’m a junior in CALS, but if you ask my major I’ll probably lie, because nobody’s impressed by communication majors. (Whoops.) I’m a huge fan of the New York Giants, Barack Obama and wearing sandals with jeans. And my favorite movie is The Godfather.
Good. Now that introductions are out of the way, I’d like to touch on a topic that has increasingly dominated my thoughts as of late: my career trajectory.
So Gossip Girl is back. And sure, it doesn’t have much of an effect on my life. (I only watched like six episodes, and it was only because Blake Lively is a fox, so it’s not even a big deal that I watched that much, right? Right? *Cough*) But yeah, it’s back, and people are excited about it.
Anyways, I bring this up because over the summer the folks behind the show mounted a massive advertising campaign to promote the beginning of the second season, and, as an intern in Manhattan around that time — who was subjected to no less than 6,000 ads a day during my routine treks through Times Square — I am well acquainted with this much vaunted marketing phenomenon.
Last month, my co-editor Julie Block and I had the opportunity to attend the Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago. Over the course of one insane weekend, we were treated to a veritable smorgasbord of musical offerings.
Maybe the most intriguing band at the festival was Tally Hall, a rock group whose trademark is its matching white button-downs and black slacks (they each where a differently colored tie). That weekend I had a chance to speak with the Michigan five-piece, whose infectious brand of pop-rock has helped land their songs on The O.C. and The Real World. Check it out:
The Sun: So I wasn’t able to catch the whole set …
Joe Hawley (red tie, guitar and vocals): Oh screw this … nah, just kidding.
The following is a breakdown of who rocked, who didn’t, and who lied about Barack Obama showing up at Lollapalooza 2008.
MGMT: Meh. Not that good. Other than “Kids” and “Time to Pretend,” far and away their best songs in general, the performance was pretty weak.
Explosions in the Sky: It was exactly like Friday Night Lights, except instead of football players there were alot of people who hadn’t showered in a fortnight.
Booka Shade: Lots of percussion. Good dance beats. There was a guy in the audience who was doing some sort of a barefoot jig and reminded me of a hobbit. (Oh my god I can’t believe I just made a Lord of the Rings joke.)
Chicago is a surprising city. From within its limits, some of the most influential public figures of the past 100 years have skyrocketed to super-celebrity and/or infamy. In many ways, little has changed beyond the venues of choice; Al Capone’s speakeasies might have given way to Kanye West and the Hard Rock Hotel, but the city has retained its reputation for cutthroat politics and as a hotspot for the pop-cultural avante-garde.
It’s from Chicago that Milton Friedman launched an economic revolution. It’s was in Chicago that Walter Payton and Michael Jordan achieved athletic immortality. It’s also Chicago that now serves as the inspiration for Christopher Nolan’s Gotham City. And oh yeah, there’s some guy named Barack Obama from Chicago too.