‘The Shining’: Scenes That Scare the $%&* Out of Me

Who knew two little girls in matching blue dresses speaking in unison could induce such a spine-tingling reaction? The brilliant Stanley Kubrick, that’s who. From blood pouring out of enormous elevators to an a seductress emerging from a bathtub to the horrifying discovery that the same sentence has been repeatedly typed over and over again as part of an alleged ‘novel-in-progress’…This movie was pure genius—down to every detail.  He even made the bartender menacing. And everyone knows that a man who pours you a drink is your friend.

I’ve seen a lot of horror films, but The Shining is my all-time favorite. So, in honor of Halloween, here are [in my opinion] the most bone-chilling clips from this classic thriller:

The Shining: The Original Trailer

Come play with us…

Dyslexia of the dead…

Correcting the family’s behavior…


5 Fabulous Songs to Celebrate National Coming Out Day

Wave your rainbow flags, (no, not you, Chick-fil-a or Newt Gingrich) and show your pride: October 11th marks the official internationally observed National Coming Out Day, which celebrates individuals in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community and raises awareness of the civil rights movement. As a Hollywood/West Hollywood resident, I’ve discovered that there are certain songs that SCREAM “gay.” (Or, at least they do in my 7 am all-male spin class at Crunch.)  Here are five upbeat tunes that will make you want to drink your face off at The Abbey, then watch the drag show over martinis at Hamburger Mary’s in WeHo:

The Weather Girls’ “It’s Raining Men”

Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way”

RuPaul’s “Supermodel”

Abba’s “Dancing Queen”

Diana Ross’s “I’m Coming Out”

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7 Songs More Likely To Induce Clapping Than the Song In the VW Commercial

The omnipresent Volkswagen 2012 Beetle commercial that features the highly catchy “Clapping Song” (‘3-6-9, the goose drank wine’) got me thinking about hand claps in music. From The Game’s “How We Do” intro to Billy Idol’s “Dancing With Myself” to The Black Keys’ “Howlin’ For You,” hand-claps inject a lively punch wherever they spring up in a song. But some hand-clap tunes are so compelling, they arouse the urge to clap along. You can’t fight it. Regardless of how plentiful or sparse the claps are, you must succumb to them. So, I devised a list of these tempting little numbers. Here are 7 hand-clap songs that you cannot listen to without clapping along:

Hall & Oates’ “Private Eyes”—One day, Warren Oates was trimming his burly ‘stache in the bathroom when he got the brilliant idea to throw hand-claps into what might have otherwise been a meh song. Or, maybe it was Daryl Hall and his girlfriend, Sara, who came up with it over pillow talk. Either way, it ended up being #1 on the charts in 1981 for two weeks in a row. Perhaps it was the claps? Regardless, if you can get through this song without clapping along, you are a far stronger person than I.

David Bowie’s “A Space Oddity”—Bowie had a vision when he put on his platform boots, dyed his hair vibrant red and crooned about outer space. And that vision included carefully placing two sets of hand-claps after the bridges of this song.  These genius hand-claps punctuate the helplessness expressed in the lyrics, ‘Planet Earth is blue and there’s nothing I can do…’ And when you hear them, the hold is strong, as if you were kidnapped and anally-probed by an alien. And when you returned to Earth, the first thing you thought was, “Must. Clap. Hands.”

Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust”—Written by Queen bassist John Deacon, this was supposedly inspired by a documentary he saw on the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. But just because it speaks of machine guns ready to blow doesn’t mean it can’t induce massive hip-shaking and funky hand-claps. It’s probably one of Queen’s catchiest tracks. It’s also the song I hear in my head at the end of a bad date.

Bay City Rollers’ “Saturday Night”—These Scots knew how to get the crowd pumped. Even if you hear this on a Tuesday night, you’ll feel like it’s Saturday. This spirited song demands you put your hands together enthusiastically and dance a Scottish jig, while you drink Scotchy-Scotch and chant everyone’s favorite day of the week. When The Bay City Rollers produced this track, they sent a powerful message to a nation of listeners: You, too, can spell and clap at the same time.

Prince’s “Little Red Corvette”—This track has it all, moaning, squealing, simulated sex, and yes, hand-claps.  Proof that Prince is, indeed, a musical genius. When you hear “Little Red Corvette,” it prompts you to do three things: Chuckle when Prince compares himself to a jockey (the Purple One is 5’2,” also the average height of a jockey). Attempt to sing, ‘Girl, you’ve an ass like I’ve never seen’ in Prince’s soulful wail. And involuntarily clap twice rhythmically, every single time he sings the chorus.

Stealers Wheel’s “Stuck In the Middle”—Before Mr. Blonde mangled the cop’s ear in Reservoir Dogs, this bouncy tune evoked images of a discussion taking place across people a dinner table—which was actually Stealers Wheel’s inspiration for the song. (It was written as a jab to the music industry.) Its infectious beat is enhanced by three minutes and thirty seconds of those magical hand-claps.

The Kinks’ “Everybody’s Gonna Be Happy”—Despite having bipolar disorder, a suicide attempt, failed marriages and a turbulent relationship with his younger brother, Dave, The Kinks’ Ray Davies must have been having a really good day when he wrote this.   He sings ‘happy’ ten times, and ‘love’ almost as much. And let’s not forget, there are hand-claps in it. If Ray Davies can be that happy, maybe EVERYONE can be that happy.


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Reason #7 Why I Miss Having Cable: Brickleberry

Brickleberry is a new animated series that premieres this Tuesday, September 25th, on Comedy Central.  It centers around a crew of dysfunctional forest rangers who work at a second-rate national park that might be shutting down, unless a new ranger can inspire them to save it. Daniel Tosh (Tosh.O) produced the show and is also the voice of an irreverent talking house bear, Malloy. Additionally, the show features It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Kaitlin Olsen as the voice for the newest park ranger—Ethel Anderson, a raging alcoholic with questionable morals. Other rangers include a manly woman, Connie Cunaman (voiced by show creator Roger Black), whose vagina growls like a grizzly when she’s excited. Then, there’s Denzel (Jerry Minor from Eastbound & Down), the African-American ranger who isn’t afraid of the woods and Steve (Dave Herman) who is Ranger of the Month. The oldest ranger, Woody Johnson (Tom Kenny, who also did the voice of Spongebob Squarepants) has a military background and a childhood that was above average in the scarred-for-life department.

Will this show be irreverent?  Does a bear sh*t in the woods?  Like everything else Tosh touches, the jokes will tread heavily into the gutter—from Woody’s response to the Malloy’s location (‘Oh, he’s like my dead wife—in the woods somewhere’) to Denzel expressing his love for geriatric ladies (‘I’ve been in more white women than osteoporosis’).  I think the tagline, “Nature Is Filthy,” says it all.

Note: To those with cable, I envy you.

Here’s a clip from the first episode:

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Black Monday: Dragsters In the Punk Lane

If you haven’t heard of Black Monday yet, you will. This fueled-up band emerged from the Los Angeles punk rock scene, playing with such legends as Fear, The Adicts, Agent Orange and The Dickies. Since reuniting last year, they’ve been booking shows throughout SoCal. They also got a brand-spankin’ new frontman, Brian Christensen. And their “Black Hell EP” is due out in October 2012 on iTunes.

Last week, I saw these guys kick it live at the House of Blues.  If you missed the show and/or want a taste of Black, here’s the official video for “Fight,” off their upcoming EP:

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15 Ways to Celebrate Labor Day When You’re Unemployed

A three-day holiday weekend is a welcome reward, especially when you’re unemployed.  All of that sitting around can be exhausting! Just because you are currently between jobs doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate like the rest of the working class. So, get out there and enjoy it. You deserve it. And in case you are at a loss of things to do, here are 15 Labor Day activities for the non-working:

Sleep until noon.

Watch back-to-back episodes of Family Guy while you destroy an epic sandwich.

Sit outside in the sun on a plastic lawn chair and read 50 Shades Darker in an attempt to get two shades darker.

Paint your nails.

Devise a project for yourself—like making pineapple-infused vodka or a constructing an at-home swamp cooler.

Scour Craigslist for potential jobs.  Contemplate responding to the ad seeking a ‘Model with pretty feet for foot fetish videos.’  Imagine telling your friends that you’re a foot model

Update your Facebook status to, ‘Guess who’s America’s Next Top Foot Model?  *Points to self*.

Tweet some smart-ass blurb about how you wonder why anyone would spend over $500 to ‘express themselves’ in the desert orgy known as Burning Man.

Figure out any Nirvana song on guitar.

Calculate how many more months of rent you can still get out of your savings until you absolutely have to take a mundane job that actually pays the same or less than your unemployment benefits.

Sit on your couch and listen to your next-door neighbor hawk lung cookies at a rhythmic pace (approximately once every three minutes). Consider leaving decongestants on her doorstep.

Use your BevMo card to buy a 1.75 ML of top shelf vodka for under $25.  Remind yourself that you can still afford the finer things. Shake up cocktails at home and pour them into chilled martini glasses. Toast to the basil plant you just started growing.

Hit a two-for-one happy hour from 12 – 4 pm or 3 – 6 pm. Really, it doesn’t matter.

Fill out your EDD Continued Claim form.

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What’s the Saga? It’s Called ‘Songs For the Deaf.’

Yesterday marked the 10-year anniversary of Queens of the Stone Age’s third album Songs For the Deaf.  From its 40-second intro, which featured the sound of a key going into an ignition, a car door slamming and an engine running, you knew that you Joshua Homme, Nick Oliveri, guest drummer Dave Grohl and the rest of the crew were whisking you away on an epic adventure in mind-numbing rock. The journey continued throughout the album until they reached their final track “Mosquito Song,” where they allude to their next album title Lullabies to Paralyze in the lyrics. Songs For the Deaf also featured a number of other musicians/friends helping out Queens, including Natasha Shneider, Alain Johannes and Jeordie White (from Marilyn Manson). Rumor has it that Queens of the Stone Age has been back in the studio working on an album that’s set to be released in 2013.  Current drummer Joey Castill let it slip that the album may be called Ultraviolet Robot.  Stay tuned…  

For now, here’s my favorite song from QOTSA’s Songs For the Deaf album:

Go With the Flow

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Heartbroken and Attractive, A Sad, Sloppy Mess

Shellac at Lounge Ax in Chicago

SubPop, Matador, Kill Rock Stars, Merge Records…  During the early ’90s, these independent record labels were amongst indie rock royalty.  From these labels, low-fi, noise and sludge rock pioneers like Sonic Youth, Guided By Voices, Slint, Six Finger Satellite, Pavement, Bikini Kill and many more emerged. Their songs were gloomy, angst-ridden, distorted masterpieces that resonated with me and countless others. I was exposed to a lot of these bands as they hit the scene because my work-study was at our college radio station. Addionally, fellow music-addict friends loaned me CDs or made mix tapes filled with Superchunk, Spinanes, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Sugar, Nirvana, Liz Phair and Girls Against Boys. I filled my head with as many bands as possible. I lived for this music. I could listen to it and/or discuss it for hours. I wanted to see every single show that came through the Midwest, where I’m originally from. I couldn’t get enough of it.

Twenty years later, my tastes have broadened, and my collection has greatly increased. But I still have much love for these bands. Recently, I’ve been on an early ‘90s indie rock kick. I’ve found myself digging through boxes of old CDs and looking up various songs on YouTube. After perusing my mental library of ‘90s indie rock, here are my six favorite songs from this time:

License To Confuse – Sebadoh 

Dissect – Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Summer Babe (Winter Version) – Pavement

Fuck and Run – Liz Phair

Swimsuit Issue – Sonic Youth 

Watch Me Jumpstart – Guided By Voices

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Romance, Bloodshed and Evil, Exploding Birds

If you like horror films that are so bad they’re good, you’ll love this…

The official trailer for Birdemic 2: The Resurrection, written and directed by the Master of Romantic Thrillers™ James Nguyen (yes, he trademarked that), can now be viewed exclusively here on imdb.com

In this sequel to cult favorite Birdemic: Shock and Terror, a flock of eagles and vultures wreak havoc amidst blossoming love in Hollywood, California, leaving bloodshed and destruction wherever they hover. The story features original ‘Birdemic’ survivors Rod and Nathalie, who are joined by new friends—struggling filmmaker Bill, aspiring actress Gloria and several other Angelenos they encounter as they battle angry birds and much more.

Visionary writer/director James Nguyen said his inspiration for the film was the La Brea Tar Pits. “I went to the museum at the Tar Pits, which had an exhibit of ancient eagles and vultures,” he recalled. “And as I walked through it, I said, ‘This is Birdemic 2.’” He added, “The Tar Pits are a major hint why the birds attack LA.”

The original Birdemic: Shock and Terror sold out screenings across the country.  In fact, it had such a huge following that a sequel had to be made—if, for no other reason, than to appease the demand of its fans.  If you watch clips from it on youtube.com, you’ll laugh your ass off.  The birds make high-pitched noises that sound like whining puppies, while their stoic prey, who try their hardest to “act” [operative word] scared, attempt to fight back with coat hangers.  Seriously.  I can only imagine what the sequel, set to be released in select cities in November 2012, has in store. One thing’s for sure: it will certainly keep you guessing.


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How I Celebrated Shark Week

Holy mackerel, what a week!  Every news and pop culture site I perused had a story about The Discovery Channel’s Shark Week.  Friends posted about it on Facebook. Twitter was abuzz with Shark Week tweets. People were hosting Shark Week 25th Anniversary parties. It even found its way onto Pinterest.  Apparently, last week promised to be one epic moment in history. Unfortunately, The Discovery Channel is not in my current cable lineup.  What was I to do? I, too, wanted to commemorate this heart-stopping ode to oceanic killers.  So, I took matters into my own hands and devised ways to add shark-ness each day.  Here’s how I celebrated Shark Week:

I styled my hair in a slick, wedged, heavily-sprayed pompadour.

I went to local swimming pools and, while doing the breaststroke underwater, sought visitors with tan lines and open wounds.

When approaching people at bars, I circled around them, then hummed the theme from Jaws as I slowly moved in towards them.

Each time strangers reached out to shake my hands upon first meeting, I had to fight the urge to chomp into their arms.

I visited Petco and nonchalantly helped myself to the seahorses and clownfish in their tanks.

I yawned and accidentally ate several tiny winged organisms that flew into my mouth.

I pimped my silver-gray Mazda 6 to include a set of hydraulic jaws and personalized plates that said ‘IBITEU.’

I invited my friends over for chum and Cokes.

I went on a feeding frenzy, which required me to make several trips to Ralph’s to buy Starkist tuna.

I developed an affinity for black wetsuits.

I found myself vomiting more than usual.

I listened to a lot of Seal, which was promptly followed by intense cravings for fat.

It felt as if a second row of teeth was growing behind my first row. Must have been the hallucinogens.