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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Louis CK to appear on SNL and other stories

Louis CK to appear on SNL and other stories

Louis CK, aka AWESOME KING OF COMEDY, (the caps lock was intentional to indicate roaring) will be hosting Saturday night live for the first time ever. Apparently, it’s because his show Louie, is taking a bit of a breather. We’re not complaining (we are complaining a little bit. Get Louie back!). Louis CK on the worlds craziest sketch show? Gimme!

Ever since Joan Holloway sashayed into the Sterling Cooper office (Oh, the good old days of season one) she made every other woman on Mad Men look like a steaming heap of horse manure. Well, with the possible exception of Betty Dra- wait no, I take it back. Joan, played by Christina Hendricks is a lovely all woman mass of lovely loveliness, enough to make me forget how to be articulate. If I had a body like that I’d probably make a statue of myself at first and worship it, but no, Hendricks would rather get miffed at someone who called her full-figured. It was a compliment, Joan.

Speaking of Mad Men, here are some beautiful pictures of John Hamm and Jessica Pare shooting for Season 6 in Hawaii.

Ohhhhhh nooooo. Chevy Chase, why do you always fuck up? Apparently, the Community star got all up in the writers shit, about how Pierce Hawthorne’s racism is not cool anymore. Of course his rant would have held more weight if he didn’t just go around saying words that shouldn’t see the light of day. Here, you should just read the initial report. I mean, Damn son!

Quick, what’s more depressing than the depressing life of Amy Winehouse? Answer: A dramatic production of the depressing life of Amy Winehouse. We should have seen this coming – The life of Amy Winehouse on stage at last. Let’s think about the last celebrity who’s short life spiralled downward into a tragic substance induced end. Elvis of course, then Marilyn, Whitney Houston….This is a play I won’t recommend.

What wouldn’t I give to be a fly on the wall, when Omar met Marlo stanfield in a Brooklyn restaurant? No, it actually happened! Micheal Williams who plays Omar on legendary television show The Wire was with Anthony Bourdain who was eating out for an upcoming episode of No Reservations when Jamie Hector who plays Marlo came up to say hi.

– Sheena

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In which I jump excitedly and bite my nails about Homeland

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In which I jump excitedly and bite my nails about Homeland

I spent this entire week racking my brains about what I wanted to write my column on. It was this tough because the only thing on my mind for the past week is Homeland. If you haven’t seen it already, you definitely should. Also, you might not want to read this, it may or may not be filled with spoilers.

What makes a good show great is the acting and what makes a great show spectacular is the writing.  Homeland employs all the basics of a good thriller; intrigue, suspense, forbidden love and the threat of a terrorist attack that will destroy the world (The USA mostly) as we know it.

At the beginning of the new season, Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) was having pretty terrible luck. Fired from the CIA because of the man she was in love with while constantly suspecting that he was a terrorist and having to resort to shock treatment. But four episodes in, and things are looking pretty damn good for her. (If you count escaping bullets and a failed suicide attempt good).

The first few episodes of a season are a pretty good indication of what’s coming. Carrie got her “I was right” moment when Saul showed her Brody’s video (which was followed by a superb crying scene that Danes is such an expert at, replete with a trembling chin) which proved that Saul was not a mole and that unfortunate polygraph incident was just a mistake and now that the CIA was on to Brody, the season would be spent watching him and manipulating him into finding Abu Nazir’s plans. The rhythm and the narrative of any show is almost predictable if you’ve watched enough television.

But, nope. You can’t be predicting anything with Homeland. You think we are going left? Ok, then we are going to turn right to the south of the west and turn around halfway and head to the northeast. Episode four, New Car Smell was an absolute game changer. I bit my nails and almost shut my eyes when Carrie had a drink with Brody in his hotel and might have passed out from stress when she knocks on his door. It was an episode worth a season finale. But it’s only episode four!

But here’s the part that baffles me the most. What do we do now? What, if not proving Brody has been turned, is this season going to be about. Will he confess? Will he talk about Isa? Will he give up Roya (this might be fun considering Estes went on a date with her)? Speaking of which, doesn’t Estes seem a bit suspicious to you guys? Who is the new guy and what’s his role going to be? Did Brody give the blade to his old guard? Something is up with that Max guy, isn’t it? Will Dana and the Vice-president’s boy hook up now, when the world finds out the truth about Brody? Will Mike and Lauder figure out the truth too? What will Abu Nazir do to save Brody? Or does he want to?

So many questions. Not a single prediction.

What if life were more like theatre?

What if life were more like theatre?

If you think the headline of this post is arbitrary, then you obviously haven’t seen Neil Patrick Harris’s Opening speech for the Tony awards 2011. Side Note: It’s getting a little predicable that NPH breaks into song every award he hosts, but I for one am not complaining.

But no seriously, while it’s all very well for us to do high jumps and leap about madly, here’s just my two pennyworths on life being a stage and all of us actors (somebody famous said that; I’m not sure who)

For one, we wouldn’t wait so much, unless we were waiting for Godot. Half our days, years and lives are spent waiting for something whether it’s for something as mundane as a bus or a train or something large like the realisation of a cherished dream. If you listen to Sharanya and I, our days are divided by our actual, desultory lives and waiting for something awesome and magnificent to happen so we can ride the wave of brilliance and land up on the shores of a whole new world. If they wrote a play about our lives it would have to be one of those make-believe, fantasy ones where we wake up afterwards and say “Aw Shucks”.

If life were more like theatre, there would be more epiphanies. We’d follow our actions with lessons about the actions; we’d watch a fellow actor do something or say something that would impact our lives forever. We’d come to horrible, gripping realisations (“I’m a dime a dozen, Pop, and so are you.”- Biff Loman) or say things laced with irony and backstory (“Deliberate cruelty is unforgiveable and the one thing I have never, ever been guilty of.” – Blanche DuBois). We’d exclaim more and better (Stars hide your fires).

If life were more like theatre, we would never have to live down our mistakes and move on. We’d never let bad blood stay curdled and congealed and quiet, we’d excite it so it would bubble to the surface and gush out, making everything infinitely more dramatic. Estranged fathers and sons stay estranged and stony in real life, the prodigal son doesn’t really ever come home but he may end up crashing into a Ferrari and sending the bill to his old man, a best friend turned foe will never really confront you at sword point in the street and when you’re jealous, you won’t really strangle your girlfriend in her sleep.  As characters, we’d all have to be deeply damaged (again, Blanche comes to mind) or crazy, or happy or confused or deliberate or severe and we simply can’t be the confused mudge we are now. The worst thing? There’d be no denouement, no flourishing The End, no applause, no velvet curtain and no getting out of character to a sweet three minutes of audience appreciation (may or may not include roses thrown onto the stage). In real life, there’s just life which follows life which again follows life and it’s a vicious cycle until it ends when we die.

But seriously, like NPH says, wouldn’t it be grand?

Five television mashups we would love to watch

Five television mashups we would love to watch

Boss meets The Wire:

What the city of Baltimore might be under the tightly controlled reigns of mayor Tom Kane? We can only wonder. But if The Wire ever met Boss, we’d pay good money to see this show. Especially, the epic showdown scene between Stringer Bell and him.

Southpark meets Archer:

A secret mission where super spies Archer and Lana set out to foul the evil plans of the Russians. Enter Eric Cartman and some of his token destruction. Plan foiled! Godammit Cartman! Also, more scope to kill Kenny in ways more violent? Bring it.

Modern family meets Full House:

First of all when DJ, Stephanie, Michelle and Uncle Jesse’s twins get together with Haley, Alex, Luke, Manny, Lily, you don’t just get a Full House, you get a house that bursts at the seams. Also we get the feeling that if Stephanie Tanner got into contact with the destruction minister Luke, she’d probably “how rude” herself to death. Come to think of it, Kimmie Gibler would fit right in with the Dunphy Gang. Maybe they could adopt her and take her away from the Tanners. Gibbler doesn’t deserve that kind of life, the poor thing.

30 Rock meets Parks and Rec:

The ultimate women in comedy, the crazy and borderline gross, Liz Lemon meets the ambitious nut job, Leslie Knope. Ron Swanson meets Jack Donaghy. Donna Meagle meets Tracy Jordon. Tom Haverford meets Jenna. Chris Tregar meets Kenneth Parcel. Boom! Boom!

Breaking Bad meets Arrested Development:

The Bluth family can achieve what no one can. Our bet is Walter White shoots himself out of sheer frustration of dealing with the crazy family. Although, it would be great fun to see Jesse and Gob do their magic.

Yash Chopra passes away and other stories

Yash Chopra passes away and other stories

Yash Chopra, responsible for framing our collective idea of romance passed on last night from dengue. I have grown up watching Bollywood’s biggest hits; Deewar, Kabhi Kabhi, Silsila and my personal favourite, Trishul. Chopra heralded a brand of cinema that became a genre in itself. The mountains, snow and Punjab ke khet are branded in my mind as what I would call a quintessential romance. His last directorial venture, Jab Tak Hain Jaan is yet to be released.

For a week now, we’ve been subjected to the most stupid, ignorant, downright offensive and blood-curdling nonsense the Khap panchayats and the Mamta Banerjees having been saying about rape. We’ve read and discussed it all over the internet, but among all the chowmein outrage, we suggest you read this clear and precise piece called What the Haryana Khaps should do by Nilanjana Roy.

“Literary badass” Cheryl Strayed who used to write an anonymous advice column called Sugar Says has been consistently telling lost and desperate souls who write to her to quit their whining  get over themselves and get to work. Drawing from her own life and loss, Sugar writes firm but beautiful advice. Here she talks about her book being selected for Oprah’s book club. If you haven’t read a Sugar column before, I suggest you start with “Write like a motherfucker” and “We are all savages inside”. Thank me later.

And now that you’re sniffling, (If you aren’t, you didn’t read the Sugar columns linked above, did you? And if you have read them and still aren’t tearing up, what is up with you, you heartless rock?) here’s something to make you laugh; Rohan Joshi writes a hilarious Star Wars inspired story of The Robert Vadra drama. 

If you have an hour free, get some tea and read this long and beautiful excerpt from Chinua Achebe’s memoir where he talks about writing and more.

 

 

– Sharanya

Here comes the wedding post

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Here comes the wedding post

After I spent last week ranting about lovelorn romantics on television, this week, I thought about another of my favourite television staples: the big wedding. Oh what fresh hell is this one going to bring? Ruined gown, groom getting cold feet, father of the bride drunk and boisterous? Television’s approach to weddings is usually pretty damn predictable, whether it’s Full House where Jessie lands in jail or Carrie from Sex and the City who puts a bird on her head only to be abandoned at the alter. But there are some, of course, that make me cock my head to one side and go “Aww, I also want.”

This week, I watched a lot of wedding scenes, some because they restore my faith in love and unicorns and some because they remind me of a car crash where I just can’t stop looking.

My viewing started off with one of my favourites; Lily and Marshall on How I met your mother. What makes this wedding so utterly believable is that I can totally imagine this happening to me. Getting carried away by the grandeur of that perfect wedding and then just going for an ‘intimate outdoor wedding; just close friends and an acoustic guitar’. In the follow up to the big day, they make a list of wedding clichés to avoid (slideshow of pictures set to Green Day’s Time of your life, Conga line, the Corinthians) and decide to spend nights away and fail, which of course introduces us to the super cute Night night Lily. Everything goes wrong, Marshall shaves his head, the harpist goes into labour but true love and champagne trumps everything.

The next one is the real life wedding on Keeping up with the Kardashians. There is a perverse joy in watching this episode because listening to them talk about how much they love each other makes me giggle and scream “72 days you guys!” at the TV screen. You just have to register the epic size of this wedding (and Kim’s chest in that wedding gown!) and it’s easy to see why preparations make the bride insane. I mean more insane than usual, of course. Our diva turns so super controlling that Kris starts feeling left out and has to remind himself that he IS on a show where the spotlight will always be on her. It always amazes me that weddings are a license for women to go nuts and men are supposed to be the cool ones. They don’t care about the details; the most they can do is show up. I call bullshit.

Next up; Turk and Carla from Scrubs. The wedding that gets delayed because the groom is stuck in surgery which he opted for so he could get two extra days off for his honeymoon. Though the wedding episode was funny, the dress rehearsal was where it all went down. Turk can’t seem to write his vows and ends up reading the speech from when Harry met Sally (Carla’s evil brother tricks him into it). He saves the day, of course by delivering a beautiful love speech in the end, JD tells Elliot he doesn’t love her any more and all hell breaks loose. Of course, the highlight of the episode (apart from all the love and Kelso calling him Turk Turkelton) is Scott Foley’s entrance.

Of all the things to go wrong and turn your wedding into the most awkward one, nothing beats Margaret Sterling’s wedding in Mad Men. It is absolutely the worst thing for a wedding to be cancelled after all that preparation (like Phoebe and Mike’s almost does in Friends) but to go ahead with it on the day President John F. Kennedy is assassinated? Terrible, terrible move, Margaret. Your dad’s new young wife getting wobble-on-your-high-heels-drunk at the wedding is just a speck of the awfully embarrassing things to happen to you on that day.

I am not the biggest fan of Monica or Courtney Cox but I have such immense love for Matthew Perry and his character Chandler on Friends, that I have watched this wedding episode more times than any couple has had to change their seating arrangements. Predictably of course, Chandler takes off, Rachel lets everyone believe Monica is the one pregnant and Joey shows up late to officiate. I always hope that if this happens to any of my friends, I’d be able to lie better than Rachel’s “ooops, I’ve fallen down” delaying tactic. Of course, they do end up married and in a super follow up episode Chandler loses all the pictures and creates new one’s at a stranger’s wedding. A classic wedding episode, if there ever was one.

The best wedding episode I have seen on television so far, is April and Andy’s on Parks and Rec. A party-turned-wedding with absolutely no thought whatsoever (“I can’t emphasize how little we thought about this.”), this wedding is part hilarious and part super-duper-makes-you-want-to-dance cute. Andy makes everyone his best man and the soundtrack is Simon and Garfunkel. Andy’s speech is beautiful (April you are the most awesome person I have ever known in my entire life. I vow to protect you. From danger. And I don’t care if I have to fight an ultimate fighter, or a bear, or him. Your mom. I would take them down. I’m getting mad right now even telling you) and April is unabashedly sentimental (I guess I kinda hate most things. But I never really seemed to hate you.” So I wanna spend the rest of my life with you, is that cool?). There are dead pigeons, a creepy goth wedding guest that everyone avoids and Jean Ralphio. April’s sister gives an emotional speech, which ends with “Has anyone seen my grey hoodie?” Everything about this episode is so unexpected and not dramatic like you would expect a wedding episode to be; it stays true to the characters and it is the most sweetest and coolest wedding.

Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty?

Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty?

Thank goodness October is coming to an end. What with the late evening monsoon rains and the blistering mornings, I for one, have had enough of this month. November is going to be more fun of course because it starts with the Weekender in Pune. It is finally upon us once again. YAAAAY. Let’s all high five because were so cool and hipster like that. (If you haven’t already checked this years line up, here it is.)

I have been thinking about the weekender and music festivals in general a lot this past week. I love being at a gig because it’s like the whole room is friends with each other. I went to my first concert pretty late in life. I was already in college and Parikrama was playing at MICA, Ahmedabad. The place was packed with a whole load of IIM, MICA and CEPT rock heads while the St. Xavier’s crowd (which included me), tried hard to look less preppy than they were. I’d tell you now, how Ahmedabad’s rock scene is pretty amazing and how we know all about alternative entertainment too, but you’d probably laugh or throw a Himesh joke at me, so let’s move on.

Of course I’ve been to more gigs since then and now I can finally say I’ve cracked the code. Gigs are not really gigs. They’re parties that are disguised as gigs. Live music can set your soul on fire because it’s happening right there in front of you and you can see it being made. I love it when people listen to music together; it makes you feel like you’re all part of something larger. It doesn’t even matter whether the person bouncing about next to you is a stranger or your best friend, when that chord is hit or the artist hits that note, you might as well be from the same womb.

Of course there are gigs that I haven’t enjoyed but the ones I have enjoyed more than make up for it. Some performances stay with me for days and days afterward. When Goldspot played at Blue Frog I smiled for a month.

The weekender last year was like that, only bigger and brighter. I have many memories, some happily obliterated due to excesses of liquid refreshment (Bring on the rum buckets! Aaar) but I especially remember bumping into people I knew from Bombay, trying to make my way to the electronic stage and getting sidetracked into staying at the Dewarist stage for a little longer. And I particularly remember running, racing, sprinting, actually, with a very close friend because we wanted to find someone and bring them to The Dewarist stage. We ran so hard and so far, fuelled by the energy we waste cooped up in day jobs that were the next step to something big, the energy of the cold evening air and the sounds of people having a great time everywhere around us. I hadn’t run that fast since I was a child and my heart was bursting. Music, like books and art, will do that to you sometimes.

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