Coachella 2014 Fashion Wrap-Up

Pull out your 90s jumpers and flower crowns. Lace up your Doc Martens. Grab your dry shampoo, but probably leave that Hipster Indian Headdress at home (it’s kinda offensive, you know?). It’s Coachella season!

The festival is over now, but don’t worry — the two weekends of Coachella 2014 provided enough fashion inspiration – and fashion WTF-ery – to last us the whole year.

Beyonce and Solange

Confession: Although “What Would Beyonce Do?” (along with “How would Beyonce feel about this?” and “What would Beyonce get on her sandwich?”) is the driving question that gets me through my days, style-wise I’m kind of obsessed with little sister Solange. She wears fun prints and boho pieces because screw it, she’s not Beyonce. And her natural hair is to die for.

Coachella is pretty casual, and that means that Queen Bey wasn’t going to wear a bedazzled leotard (on second thought, bedazzled leotards DO sound sort of Coachella). Instead, she was getting her inner Solange on. How fun was it to see these sisters hanging out together, making music, and looking flipping amazing? Beyonce’s purple shift is like a 2010s reboot of the 90s tribute to the 60s mod look (you following?) – and I would gladly trade in half of my wardrobe for Solange’s orange romper. I don’t have children yet, which is good because I would also probably trade my firstborn to have Knowles DNA (or at least that hair).

Haim

Speaking of sisters that make me want to sort out exactly what sort of nature/nurture combo made them so damn cool: HAIM. Este, Alana and Danielle are three twenty-something sisters whose sound is like En Vogue meets Wilson Phillips meets Fleetwood Mac, which means you should be listening to them if you aren’t already. No surprise that their Coachella style was completely on-point. The great thing is that their set was so energetic* that I could hardly find a shot of all three of them on stage. The mesh-knit sweater and especially that cutout dress are amazing, though a week later I’m sure they have some really weird tan lines.

* The full set was online but it’s been taken down now for copyright/IP reasons. On behalf of lawyers everywhere, I’m sorry, we’re the worst.

Jared Leto

How is it possible to have had a 20-year-long crush on Jared Leto? Aren’t I still only like 21? But seriously, I remember that every time I would sneak-read my sister’s Seventeen magazines as a kid – the jig is up now, sorry! – they were always talking about Jared ‘Jordan Catalano’ Leto. The man holds up well.

So, elephant (zebra) in the room (pants): yeah, those are zebra pants. It’s Coachella, which is like Hipster Halloween. But Leto isn’t about the clothes, he’s about the hair, and isn’t it beautiful? He looks like a freaking Haim sister. I’m just saying, if they all collabed on some gloss spray or a leave-in conditioner, I’d probably buy it.

Katy Perry

As I said: Hipster Halloween. Except for the offensive stuff, you can’t really criticize Coachella fashion – it’s supposed to be a bit wacky. It’s just that this reminds me of all of the parts of 90s style I’m not ready to see again, from the Manic Panic hair to the black socks to the DIY’ed weird-fitting dress. But I cannot blame Perry at all for taking her chance to wear something you couldn’t get away with anywhere else – I’d do it too.

Ellie Goulding

The good: this is a really non-Ellie-Goulding look, and Coachella is all about trying new things! And if the weirdest new thing you’re trying is a fashion risk, you’re probably going to make it through the weekend. I’m into all of the cutouts we’re seeing, tanlines aside, and the cape thing is kind of Stevie Nicks.

The bad: the first thing I thought when I saw this was “S&M diaper.” Then I realized that that probably exists. Then I thought about what that observation is going to do to our Google traffic.

Kate Nash

First of all, Kate Nash is so cool. Made Of Bricks was the soundtrack to getting ready to go out or lounging around in the morning when I was in college. Seven (what???) years later, she’s still just as awesome and her newish album Girl Talk is even better. Nash always had a sort of girl-next-door look, so I was surprised to see this Coachella get-up, like when you’d see someone after summer vacation in high school and they’d gone from prep to goth. Then I was immediately unsurprised, because Coachella’s tagline is basically “I Wear What I Want.” Nash’s whole band was in pink too, so it was sort of a fun glam-rock-y thing.

Lorde

A little bit Haim, a little bit Kate Nash. Lorde started her set in a gold lame cape/gown getup, but switched to a casual crop top and harem pants thing. Should we even still say harem pants? That’s probably as bad as “wife beater” shirts.  Whatever you call them, I love these fun baggy pants Lorde has been showing up in lately. Remember: even if you subscribe to old-timey fashion rules about wearing white, it’s already after Memorial Day in New Zealand (uhhh…. is that how that works?).

Pharrell

I thought maybe Coachella would be when Pharrell would bust out some sort of Abraham Lincoln stovepipe hat or a sailor cap, but I gather that he bought a lot of these Arby’s hats wholesale and now dammit, he’s going to wear them. Please note the obligatory hipster scarf, which is probably a utilitarian measure at Coachella – keeps the sand out of your mouth and eyes.  I sort of love that his shorts remind me of something that I would have rocked as a little girl in the early 90s.

Justin Bieber

A head that appears to be facing backwards on his body, like a twerpy male version of the girl from the Exorcist. Cutoff sweat-shorts. A friggin bucket hat.

Justin Bieber would, everybody.

Vanessa Hudgens

If a non-Indian person wears a bindi in the desert, and there’s nobody there to photograph it, is it still culturally appropriative?

(Yes.)

The pink tipped hair is fun though.

Chvrches (/Lauren Mayberry)

Chvrches is a really fun band -they were one of my picks on our songs of the summer playlist last year, but I think this year it might really happen. Lauren Mayberry is, in addition to being a solid musician, somebody you should be listening to off-stage as well.

But this is a fashion post, so I’m going to say it: Lauren Mayberry of Chvrches has the best bangs in the music industry. If my bangs looked like this, I wouldn’t be living in a 27-year cycle of having bangs, growing them out because they never look right, cutting them again, and growing out, etc.

Kid Cudi

My life in crop tops:

Age 5: My brothers’ shady little league coach always wears crop tops. I distinctly remember playing on the dirt pile, watching him walk by and wondering whether the shirt was meant for somebody my size.

Age 15: I say screw it, I’m going to wear a crop top; I feel really skanky about it but if you can’t wear it when you’re 15, when?

Age 25: I wonder if the return of the crop top means I’M supposed to be wearing them; am relieved that I’m old enough that it’s probably not expected of me.

Age 27: Kid Cudi in a crop top at Coachella. It is like my whole life has been leading up to this moment.

See that look of unadulterated glee on Kid Cudi’s face? That is the expression of a grown man who knows that he is successfully pulling off a male crop-top and skinny shorts. Bravo, mister.

Lana Del Rey

I waffle between loving this and thinking it looks too lounge-y. Is Hawaiian print  quite ready for a comeback? It reminds me of being in junior high in 1999 and coveting the items in the Delia’s catalog, and surely that wasn’t THAT long ago.

But when you get down to it, it seems like Lana feels comfortable and happy, and with her crazy-enviable hair, she looks great. Plus it’s fun to see some bright color out there instead of drab summertime sadness-y getups.

Regular Non-Famous Humans In The Crowd

A few of the Coachella staples were on hand, and these looks were sported by the famous and non-famous alike:

Flower crowns: the more bohemian, less offensive alternative to the hipster headdress of a few years ago. I approve.

Hats: Because you’re in the freaking desert.

90s style: How am I old enough for this to be happening??? Basically just dress like if Clarissa Darling went to a music festival.

Somewhere between west coast grunge and Tragic Kingdom-era Gwen Stefani?

Message T’s

I never thought about Rita Ora one way or the other, but wearing this to troll the kiddos at Coachella makes me love her a bit.

Neon: Make Kelly Kapowski proud (Why are all my fashion refs two decades old?)

Native American inspiration (/appropriation?): Proof that white people shouldn’t have nice things

There were a few other trends on hand too: lots of denim shorts, floral print, and heavily tatooed people among them.

In addition, when sorting through the lineup of performers I thought that about 6 of the more unknown men were Macklemore.

None of them was Macklemore.

 

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Taylor Swift Dancing to Cheesy Love Songs at Awards Shows

The Academy of Country Music Awards were on Sunday (I’m sure you all watched it. No? Okay), and we were treated with another installment of “Taylor Swift Dances at Awards Shows”. While the producers opted not to show T Swift the ENTIRE time like other shows have, they waited until almost the final performance to cut to her moving awkwardly. Just when we thought we had escaped her.

If you’re one of the folks that didn’t watch this show, it’s important to note that she’s dancing to Darius Rucker and Lady Antebellum sing Wagon Wheel, a mid-tempo tune that doesn’t reallllyyy warrant this kind of dancing. Just note everybody else in the audience – they’re clapping and singing along, while Swifty is jamming out like it’s Daft Punk on stage.

But then again, she IS the type of person to dance to the beat of her own drum. For example, this (a-mah-zing) gif of her dancing at the Grammys this year to Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons. #WhiteGirlsDancingInTheFrontRow #EveryoneElseIsSittingDown

Since it’s basically proven Taylor will dance to anything, it made me think of how great it would be to see her dancing along to slow jams. Not just any slow jams, but love ballads from the 1980s, when everything was overdramatic and cheesy, filled with teased hair, shoulderpads, and pounds of makeup. The only thing we need is Taylor mouthing the words to these tracks, because she has to also prove she knows every single song in the world by practically unhinging her jaw when singing. We get it. You like every artist and know all the lyrics.

So click on any one of these tunes and scroll through this collection of GIFs:

Up Where We Belong by Jennifer Warnes & Joe Cocker  ♥  If You Don’t Know Me By Now by Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes ♥ Endless Love by Diana Ross & Lionel Richie ♥ True by Spandau Ballet Careless Whisper by George Michael ♥ Tonight I Celebrate My Love by Peabo Bryson & Roberta FlackAll By Myself  by Celine Dion

Or check out the playlist here and view the GIFs super slowly.

*Sidenote: IDK if I am going crazy or sleep deprived or all of the above, but i LIT’RALLY was crying laughing to myself while putting this together. Get a freaking grip.

98% of the time she turns to her friend/Selena while dancing, they’re not paying attention.

she is dancing with the award she won around her wrist

This was the Pinnacle from the CMAs – an award which has only been given to one other person in the history of the show – GARTH FREAKING BROOKS. AND THIS BITCH HAS IT DANGLING ON HER WRIST LIKE A SPARKLY BRACELET YOU WIN WITH 10 TICKETS FROM SKEE-BALL AT CHUCK E CHEESE

O-Town? O-Yes! A Look At The Boy Band’s Criminally Underrated Tracks

This week, the members of O-Town announced they’re getting back together – for real this time – to record a new album and eventually go on a tour.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with O-Town, they are one of those boy band fabricated in the groundbreaking first season of Making the Band in 2000. Five guys were chosen as the winners: Erik Michael Estrada, Jacob Underwood, Trevor Pennick, Ashley Parker Angel and Ikaika Kahoano. However Ikaika was all, I’m not into this and quit (He later formed his own group called LMNT with MTB rejects Bryan Chan and Mike Miller, and MATTHEW MORRISON FROM GLEE HOLY SHIT I HAD NO IDEA UNTIL NOW. They sang this Hey Juliet song, that may sound familiar). To replace Ikaika, the group decided to invite runner-up Dan Miller to the band and O-Town was officially formed.

They were managed by the infamous Lou Pearlman (who also created MTB), and went on to record two albums before disbanding in 2004. They say they wanted to pursue individual endeavors, but really, the only one who had any sort of semblance to a successful endeavor is Ashley Parker Angel, you know the token cute blonde one. And by successful, I mean he had his own reality show, played Link Larkin on Broadway, and now voices a character on Disney cartoon Handy Manny.

Nearly a decade later, the boys are back at it – without Ashley Parker Angel – and going into a ‘new beginning’ of their careers. And here’s the thing – I’m excited to see what they come up with. It’s no secret that I am partial to boy bands, and unfortunately (or fortunately) I wasn’t able to hide my feelings for this 2000s group either. Fun fact: In high school, my friend Sarah and I, on a whim, decided to drive to a local mall where O-Town was having a CD signing, and since we got there kind of late, we were sort of the last ones in line. And when it looked like we just might have our chance, they LIT’RALLY cut us off with one person in front of us, thus prohibiting us from meeting these dreamboats. But Sarah, because she was way more ballsy than I, decided we should just sneak over to the table (that was set in front of a Bon Ton department store) and we managed to get a few of them to sign our CDS.

Anyways, I appreciated their music, and I feel like because of the success of ‘N Sync and my beloved Backstreet Boys, a lot of boy bands cropped up and took over the space, making it nearly impossible to survive if you weren’t either, well BSB or ‘N Sync. I think with O-Town’s vocals, they had potential to be something bigger and better, but just didn’t have the right mix of management, record label support, or good music to back it up.

In saying that, here’s a list of some of O-Town’s best songs you may not be familiar with, but deserve more attention. Yes, they only had two albums out, but there were actually some solid pop tracks on there. Warning: if you don’t like pop music, maybe don’t listen to the first few on the list.

10) Every Six Seconds // O-Town

Well, I liken this song to Next’s Too Close, in that I loved the song and sang at max vol when I listened to it – but I never understood the lyrics. Until I was old enough to actually listen to them. Oops. And looks like Lou Pearlman was trying to sneak in a couple of product placement ads in the song. I see you Victoria’s Secret and Mac.

9) Shy Girl // O-Town

If you want to time travel back to the late 90s/early 2000s, this song will do the trick. Honestly, this is the poppiest pop song and could’ve been recorded by 2ge+her. Their first (and second to last) album was totally a representation of Lou Pearlman and the band he wanted to make on the reality TV show. It was also becoming a copy cat of all the other boy bands, so much so that it was on the edge of becoming a parody of itself. Enter Shy Girl.

8) Sexiest Woman Alive // O-Town

Again, with the lyrics. Absolutely ridiculous. But that beat though. Product placement tracker: Häagen-Dazs & Calvin Klein jeans.

7) Take Me Under // O-Town

Remember when 90s songs had someone talking in the beginning? Yeah, this song has that. Except it’s supposed to be like a sexy woman robot voice? The future was so bright, y’all. Sidenote: I randomly remember them recording this song on MTB, and through the power of YouTube, we can watch it all over again – oversized turtlenecks and OG Mac systems included.

6) Love Should Be a Crime // O-Town

O-Town: not just a boy band, lobbyists against love.

5) You Can’t Lose Me // 02

O-Town’s  second album, O2, was such a different sounding album than the first. It was like they broke free from the Lou Pearlman chains and were like, ‘Screw you, we’re doing what we want… for 90% of the album’. It has more of an acoustic feel than bubblegum pop, and I’ll let’s be real, I still listen put some songs into my iPod rotation to it to this day. This song is the last track on the CD, and kind of gave me the vibe of closure yet open for possibilities in the future… am I reading too much into this? Also please take time to appreciate the Windows Media Player-like graphics in this video.

4) Girl // O-Town

O-Town was particularly good at O2/acoustic songs and R&B/pop tracks, the latter of which is featured in this song. Pair that with an ode to a girl and you’ve got the perfect mix to make the fangirls swoon.

3) Suddenly // 02

It’s songs like Suddenly that make me think they’re channelling BSB circa 2005, which I’m totally okay with. It’s much more bearable than some of the almost unlistenable songs from the first album.

2) Craving // O2

There are a string of songs on O2 that are just on point, and this is one of them. One of the reasons I’m looking forward to them getting back together is the hope that they do more songs like this. If you put this next to Shy Girl, it’s like two different bands.

1) From the Damage // O2

O-Town haters, listen to this before you judge any further. Or just pretend they don’t have the stigma of being a fabricated boy band and listen to it for what it is. The lyrics aren’t hokey, and there’s so much emotion in it, it’s like they finally believe what they’re singing. There’s a reason why this was the first track on the album – they wanted to make it clear they were not the same boy band from the first record. One might think they’re actually full-fledged artists.

How To Throw An American-Themed Party

Nobody does a themed party like American college kids — except, that is, for Europeans parodying American college kids. Somehow I’d never heard of these star-spangled fetes until Buzzfeed featured them last week, but they’re pretty darn awesome:

They’re not just using solo cups, they ARE the solo cups:

For some reason, there are always buckets of popcorn, although I’ve only ever seen those at a movie theater:

And marshmallows on toothpicks because… actually, I have no idea here. Maybe they’ve heard of s’mores and are just getting the “marshmallow on a stick” interpretation a little wrong:

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#americanparty #altmanparty #redcup

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Finally, this bash from Poland is by far the best of all. Gold star, Poland. This is brilliant:

american party

So, you want to throw an American-themed party yourself? We can help! Whether you’ve never stepped foot in “the colonies” or whether you’ve lived here your whole life (which adds a whole other layer of hilarity to the proceedings), we have some tips:

Solo Cups

When people think American party, they think red plastic cups – typically called “Solo cups” stateside, after the most popular brand. There’s actually a reason for this: tv shows and movies avoid showing teens consuming alcohol, and even for adult parties, filmmakers may not want to show specific brands. Boom. Plastic cups – there could be anything in there! It doesn’t even have to be alcohol! (But it’s alcohol.)

In real life, these cups are pretty ubiquitous. There is an American country ode to the Red Solo Cup, so they’re as much a cultural institution as pickup trucks and barbeques. However, the cups also come in blue and yellow, so feel free to branch out a bit. If you have a keg or mixed drinks, you aren’t going to pour the bevs into a proper glass, at least not at a raging party where you’re going to drop it. But there’s an even more important reason that we all used these plastic cups in college….

Games

Drinking games. They have them everywhere, but some of them are as American as Uncle Sam eating a rocket pop on the Fourth of July. Play these responsibly – for liability purposes I should advise you to use water, juice, soda, or iced tea for these games. And plenty of them require solo cups:

  • Flip cup: Form two teams. The teams make lines facing each other. Everyone has an equal, small amount of “beverage” in their plastic cups. The first person in each line consumes the bev, places their cup upside down at the edge of the table, then must tip the cup up from the rim, flipping it over. The next person in line can’t go until the person before them has successfully flipped their cup, with it landing squarely back on its rim. First team to finish wins.
  • Knockout flip cup: same as above, but the losing team must vote to eliminate a member. (THOSE WHO FALL BEHIND GET LEFT BEHIND. AMERICA.  RUGGED INDIVIDUALISM. CAPITALISM. AYN RAND. Et cetera.)  The teams then face off again, and the losing team of that round eliminates a member as well. You keep going until one of the teams – the loser – has no members left.
  • Beer Pong: I’m not going to explain this. Just watch an American college movie. As with all of these games, this is played internationally as well, but your exposure to it will depend on where you live.
  • Civil War: Like beer pong, but with three 10-cup triangles across on each side, three balls in play, and three players on each team.  Any person with a ball can shoot at any time, except when there is a ball in a cup in the triangle in front of you – then you must drink the offending …. soda, or whatever … first. A person is “out” when all of the cups in front of them are gone. The first team to have all of their cups eliminated loses. If a ball falls alongside the table, the players can run for it and, if need be, fight for it. It gets hairy. [I went to college in New York, so I wonder if Southern college kids play this, but call it Beer Pong of Northern Aggression.]

There are also games that don’t require red plastic cups – instructions available online:

  • Kings
  • Never Have I Ever
  • Quarters

Name Tags

Okay, we don’t really wear name tags at parties in the U.S., but why not have name tags and let everyone pick an “American” name? If you are in your 20s or 30s, I suggest these common monickers:

  • Ladies: Jessica, Ashley, Katie, Sarah, Stephanie, Jenny, Nicole, Danielle, Melissa, Megan
  • Gentlemen: Jason, Matt, Mike, Nick, Chris, Dave, Dan, Ryan, Andrew, Jim

You can also pick names of patriotic figures from American history and culture of yesteryear:

  • Ladies: Betsy Ross, Martha Washington, Annie Oakley, Laura Ingalls, sorry we don’t have more ladies but we didn’t let them do stuff for those first few centuries, really.
  • Gentlemen: Uncle Sam, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Johnny Appleseed, Paul Bunyan, Paul Revere, Davy Crockett

Patriotic Recitation Contests or Mad Libs

There are some American songs and speeches that are known world-wide. You could have a contest to see who can come the closest to singing or reciting the correct words to the following. I guarantee that people’s misheard lyrics and wrong guesses will be hilarious:

  • The Star-Spangled Banner
  • God Bless America
  • The Pledge of Allegiance
  • The Gettysburg Address
  • America The Beautiful
  • America (also known as My Country ‘Tis Of Thee, this song cribs the melody of God Save The Queen. When I was trying to figure out what song was called “America”, my brain went to “A-mer-i-ca, my home and native land.” That was wrong. That is Canada’s national anthem, with the word America stuck in front. Sorry, Canada. Sorry, America.)

Or, you could try these super-American children’s and folk songs:

  • Yankee Doodle
  • Take Me Out To The Ballgame
  • I’ve Been Working On The Railroad
  • Oh My Darling Clementine
  • Skip To My Lou
  • Oh, Susannah
  • She’ll Be Coming ‘Round The Mountain
  • Polly Wolly Doodle

Yes, those are all real songs.

You could also do  “mad libs.” Print out a sheet with the lyrics to these songs, but with blanks in the place of some of the words. Then see what people come up with. The funniest entry wins.

Food

Here’s your big chance to find out why we Americans are so fat. We don’t actually eat most of these things at parties … but isn’t that exactly what you’d expect an American to say because we’re sensitive about being so fat? Here are some treats that just scream “USA! USA!”:

  • Hot dogs (or miniature hot dogs)
  • Hamburgers
  • Potato Chips
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Peanut Butter (any American who’s lived abroad and tried to get their hands on peanut butter knows how hard this can be to find! You could make small, party-sized PB&J sandwiches. The PB is peanut butter, and the J is jelly, by which we mean jam. The seedless grape variety is both the most traditional and, in my eyes, the most disgusting.)
  • Oreos and Milk
  • Rocket Pops (red, white and blue Popsicles. It’s not that we eat them often, but they always remind me of summer and Independence Day.)
  • Chili
  • Apple Pie (I don’t even like Apple Pie, and Americans eat far less apple pie than the phrase “American as apple pie” would suggest, but I’d be remiss to leave it off the list.)
  • Boxed Macaroni & Cheese
  • S’mores, if you have some sort of fire situation handy. You can make them in the microwave, but it’s not the same.

Movies

SO MAJESTIC.

I think we should all give a big round of applause to our pals in Poland for their selection, Pocahontas. Truly inspired. Here are some other red, white, and blue gems to play in the background of your party:

  • Baseball Movies: A League Of Their Own, Field Of Dreams, The Sandlot, Bull Durham, Bad News Bears, Angels In The Outfield
  • Iconic American Childhood films: Stand By Me, Now And Then, Little Women, Mrs. Doubtfire, The Little Rascals, Matilda (YES. YES, WE KNOW. But the movie was set in the ol’ U.S. of A.), My Girl, The Parent Trap (because maybe you’d feel more comfortable if half of the action is in London), Space Jam, Home Alone
  • Teen Fare: Grease, Clueless, Mean Girls, The Breakfast Club, Pretty In Pink, Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, 10 Things I Hate About You
  • Patriotic Stuff With Wars In It: The Patriot, 1776, Gettysburg, Glory, Gone With The Wind, Saving Private Ryan, Flags Of Our Fathers
  • The Most American Movie of all: Forrest Gump, obviously. Or basically anything with Tom Hanks in it. Tom Hanks freakin’ loves America.
  • Tom Cruise movies: Top Gun, Mission: Impossible, Jerry Maguire, Risky Business
  • Will Smith movies: Men In Black, Independence Day
  • Westerns: The only person I know who watches Westerns in earnest is my dad, so I’m afraid I can’t help you there. He’d probably recommend stuff with John Wayne in it.

Drink

If it’s supposed to be like an American college party, you can try to get your hands on these cold, brewed fonts of liquid disappointment:

  • Keystone Lite
  • Milwaukee’s Best – The beer so bad that you’re like “Milwaukee. What the heck are you doing?” And the name of the beer, itself, responds “Ugh… My best.” Milwaukee is just doing its best, guys.
  • Busch Light
  • Natty Ice – I think the full name is Natural Ice but I don’t even know.
  • Pabst Blue Ribbon

Or, you could try these non-alcoholic American favorites:

  • Kool-Aid
  • Lemonade (it’s different from European lemonade!)
  • Iced tea
  • Sweet tea
  • Actual tea, but made incorrectly, according to everyone in the UK.
  • Soda (BECAUSE WE’RE FAT. We understand.)

You could also look up American mixed drink recipes, of course.

Wardrobe

Okay, a lot of you are onto it, in a stereotypical way anyway: plaid, jerseys, baseball caps. But let’s get a little more particular:

  • The American Hipster: Facial hair (for men), bangs (for women), skinny jeans, an undersized plaid shirt, Converse
  • The Super-Fan: T-shirt, sweatshirt, and hat for various professional or college sports teams
  • The South-Western Classic: Plaid shirt, jeans, cowboy boots, cowboy hat. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anyone wear this in real life. Maybe at a country concert?
  • The Duggar: A long denim skirt or jumper, very buttoned-up top, clunky ugly shoes, permed hair.
  • The Person Of Wal-Mart: Pajama pants as pants, a large t-shirt featuring a cartoon character (ideally Tweety or Betty Boop) saying something “sassy”, or emblazoned with some other sort of “sassy” saying that’s not all-the-way funny, like “My Boyfriend’s Out of Town!” and then a picture of a kitten, sneakers.
  • The American Tourist: a camera, a fanny pack (yes, we know about that also), oversized sneakers
  • The Face of Yesteryear: Dress like a pilgrim, or an old-timey pioneer
  • The Jingoist: Wear a lot of red, white, and blue. Like, a whole lot.

The Decor

Well, Red, White and Blue, obviously. Because America. But you could make the decor into a game, too!

  • Print out pictures of the American presidents, number them, and tape them to the walls. Each person has a sheet of paper and they write the name of the president that corresponds with each numbered picture. The person with the most correct wins.
  • Same as above, but print out pictures of different American figures, landmarks, and items. For example, things like sports team logos, professional actors, the Statue of Liberty, covered wagons, the St. Louis Arch, Lucille Ball … Google is your friend, here.
  • Print multiple large non-labelled maps of the United States – or one very big map. Provide markers. Let guests label the different states or regions of the U.S. as best they can. Evidence shows that this will be very funny:

    SQUARESIES.

    MIDDLESHIRE. GUNS. Europe’s got jokes. Honestly just go look at all of these.

You can make Americans label maps of other lands. They won’t be good at it. For instance, Just last week my nephew and I were looking at a map of Canada, and he asked me where New Mexico was.  I said “Charley, New Mexico’s part of the United States.”

“Yeah,” the kid deadpanned, “But so’s Canada.”

American Party Archetypes

The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started A Conversation With At A Party – Cecily Strong. Look up the vids, non-Americans!

Most American college parties have the following people present. Please do try to invite them:

  • One drunk girl who is crying, accompanied by one friend who is trying to find out what the problem is.
  • Another friend of those girls who is saying something like “enough of this drama, I just want to dance.”
  • A guy who corners you with his “wit” and “sense of humor,” which actually means that he is quoting lines from comedy films of the past 10 years.
  • The couple who only talks to each other so why did they even bother leaving their house.
  • A person who is looking at or typing into their phone the entire time, even when speaking with you.
  • The person who takes unflattering photos of everyone and threatens to post them on social media.

Music

We already made a playlist of Fourth of July tunes, but there are some genres to consider:

  • Country. Of course. Just be aware that back in the Myspace days, when people used to write what genre of music they were interested in, about 50% of people simply wrote “anything but country” – so it’s not a clear-cut American favorite.
  • Rap. Yes, we know that other countries have rappers. It’s very cute.
  • Old-school 60s Doo-Wop and Motown.
  • Modern indie-folk-country.
  • American icons: James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen, etc.
  • Jazz. Not your typical party music, but it started here first.

Have a great American-themed party! If it goes well – or very, very poorly – send us a link to the pictures. AMERICA FOREVER.

Playlist of the Month: Jock Jams

The 2014 Olympics are in full gear and athletes are already nabbing medals on the podium. But what gets these sportsmen/women pumped before they compete? In 2008, when Michael Phelps was in his prime in Beijing, he was seen listening to something on his iPod, headphones glued to his ears and there was one question on my mind: WHAT THE HELL WAS HE LISTENING TO?

I wasn’t the one wondering, the reporters at NBC were wondering too, and apparently the answer is a lot of techno and rap (Lil Wayne). Even Bob Costas said one of the rules to living life during the Olympics in ’08 was “Crank up your iPod and listen to anything Michael Phelps listens to.”

Michael Phelps chose techno/dance and rap to get pumped, and in the 1990s so did the folks who compiled the popular Jock Jams CDs.

I’m assuming none of the athletes are listening to ‘I Like To Move It’ or ‘ ‘Tubthumping’ in 2014 (although after the techno soundtrack at the opening ceremony, maybe they are), here are a few of our suggestions for a new Jock Jams compilation for 2014.

Listen to the whole playlist on Spotify!

spotify:user:122917273:playlist:2fhbugwUTY4LPdrkQmnPAz

Traci’s Picks

H.A.M. Kanye West & Jay Z

This track says it all in the title: H.A.M. = Hard as a Motherfucker. Go big or go home, guys.

Live It Up by Jennifer Lopez & Pitbull

So as previously mentioned, Jock Jams was a mix of techno, rap, dance, and pop. For me to excited, I also like listening to a song that makes me feel good and happy and positive, and that’s how I feel about this song. Like, how can you not want to dance to this?

Wings by Little Mix

Along the same lines as upbeat, fun songs, I present you with Wings. This was a mild hit over the past year, by Little Mix who won The X Factor over in the UK. You may also know member Perrie Edwards as ‘the girl who stole Zayn Malik’s heart and ruined Directioners everywhere’. Anyways, this song is great and so are they.

Let’s Go by Ne-Yo & Calvin Harris

The lyrics are literally, ‘Let’s go, make no excuses now, your time is running out.’ Olympians, you’ve been training all your lives for this moment. Don’t screw it up.

Work Bitch by Britney Spears

You better.

Molly’s Picks

Shawty Get Loose – Lil Mama

In case you haven’t noticed, we like techno, hip hop, and pop for our jock jams. This track combines all three – and who could forget Lil Mama’s star turn in that TLC tv movie?

The New Workout Plan – Kanye West

Say what you will about Kanye, this song gets you moving.

The Anthem – Pitbull ft. Little John

I think the double Pitbull on this list just highlights how suited he is to the Jock Jam genre.

Je Veux Te Voir – Yelle

The fact that the music vid features gym equipment and 80s aerobic fashions says it all. Nothing like a good smack-talk song for motivation, right?

Get Me Bodied – Beyoncé

Beyoncé isn’t just the queen of everything (so much so that WordPress automatically adds the accent to her name), she’s the great motivator. A Beyoncé song on my iPhone takes my regular elliptical and weights routine and makes me feel like ‘hey, maybe I could be an Olympian or something.’ Like all great Olympians, B is a team player — this track features her Destiny’s Child friends and her sister Solange.

Justin Bieber Mugshot Redux

If you’ve been living under a rock or like a jungle or are an elder in the rural parts of Wyoming, then you know that Justin Bieber was arrested last week for not only blocking off a Miami street for drag racing, but for being drunk and high while doing it.

Of course, the Biebs has had a string of bad luck as of late, under investigation for egging a neighbor’s house, leaving graffiti literally everywhere around the world, peeing in buckets, and mysteriously getting ‘sick’ during concerts and promptly leaving thousands of Beliebers either in tears or so angry they throw water bottles at him.

But it all came to a head last Thursday, when he was brought into jail and his first mugshot ever was released to the public.

The OG:

Mugshot or Proactiv commercial?

There’s really not too much more I can say about this that you’re not already thinking. This kid is ridiculous and clearly needs help. However the people of the internetz, like usual, had something to say about Bieber’s arrest and of course, this smizin mugshot. Here are just a few of the hilarious and perfect reactions the world wide web had to Jail Bieber.

Just hold on, we’re going home (hopefully back to Canada)

I mean at least the kid stays positive? Even though he’s clearly high as a kite…

#TheAccuracy

Get a headstart on your Valentine’s Day cards this year!

I actually just want to know how Macaulay Culkin got to sit at the Plastics table.

Coming up on season 25 of Bad Girls Club…

Might as well try going to Europe, JB.

Because, drag racing.

And finally, perhaps my most favorite of them all. IDK who should be offended more.

In short, Justin Bieber, get your shit together.

Playlist of the Month: Songs from 2013 That Need To Stay In 2013

Towards the end of every year, magazine editors, television producers, bloggers, and miscellaneous people on the internet compile their Best and Worst of Lists. Music lovers tend to release their favorite (and least favorite) songs of the year. And unlike books or movies, songs can carry over into the next year and constantly play on the radio, thus making us want to pull out our hair and also the radios from our cars and throw it out the window if we ever hear that one hit song from last year again. 

In the spirit of hating on tunes, here are some of our picks for songs that should stay in 2013 and never show their face in 2014 – or every year moving forward.

Click here to listen to the entire list on Spotify!

Traci’s Picks:

What Does The Fox Say? – Ylvis

Just like Gangnam Style before it, 2013 needed one of these novelty songs and Norwegian duo Ylvis filled that quota. This song wasn’t even made as a real track – if you don’t know the story, brothers  Vegard and Bård Ylvisåker are hosts of a popular talk show in Norway. They created What Does The Fox Say? as a music video to promote their show, and the video went viral and here we are. But let’s just let the fox and its mysterious sounds in 2013, shall we?

Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke ft. T.I. and Pharrell

I feel like we’re probably on the same page as this, so I’m not even going to explain why this is on the list.

Thrift Shop – Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

“They had a broken keyboard, I bought a broken keyboard, I bought a skeet blanket, then I bought a kneeboard.” This song is nominated for not one but TWO Grammys, y’all. GRAMMYS.

Timber – Pitbull ft. Ke$ha

Sometimes songs grow on me. But then other times it’s Ke$ha and I know immediately that I will be utterly annoyed with the song. This song is no different. Unfortunately for us, this was a late entry to 2013 and it’s probably going to stick around until like June. Also, if Ke$ha sings a song with Pitbull in the forest, does it make a horrifying sound?

#thatPOWER – will.i.am ft. Justin Bieber

When Justin Bieber is 50 years old, he’s going to wish he could do 2013 over again. He’s also going to wish he never agreed to do this horrific song with a Black Eyed Pea.

Molly’s Picks

Radioactive – Imagine Dragons

As I’ve said before, Imagine Dragons sounds like the name of a pretend band created by two eight-year-old boys who are really into Lego. Let’s allow this song to fade into 2013 and just imagine the dragons from now on.

[Note: I’m noticing a lot of these songs were released in late 2012, but they all climbed the charts in 2013.]

Can’t Hold Us – Mackelmore

This doesn’t even make sense. The ceiling doesn’t hold you. The floor does.

Don’t You Worry Child – Swedish House Mafia

Apparently my gym is a card-carrying member of the Swedish House Mafia, because this is on every time I go there. [Also, inexplicably, Miss Independent by Ne-Yo.]

Locked Out Of Heaven by Bruno Mars

So, I’m of two minds on Bruno Mars. On one hand, I think he’s a talented guy who makes catchy music. On the other, he’s responsible for Just The Way You Are, which is the musical version of a Dove Real Beauty commercial. And readers, you do not want me to get started on Dove commercials.

Wake Me Up by Avicii

Start with a kind of 90s, alternative, folksy sound. But then, let’s add some beats. Wait… what about the music video? Can we have an old west sequence, but also a club scene, but also a model, but also a child? With human branding and ambiguous time travel? And maybe, like, The Dust Bowl? Sure. Have it all.

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14 Times Beyonce Proved She Owns Us All

How’s everyone’s Beyonceday hangover going? Still in the haze that is Queen B? As you probably know, Mrs. Carter dropped a surprise record on Thursday night, exclusively on iTunes, complete with a visual album that included music videos for every single track.

I feel like it’s going to be one of those events where you ask people, ‘Where were you when Beyonce was released?’ I was sitting on my couch watching Parenthood, looking at the Scandal live tweets on my iPad, and checking Instagram on my phone (yes, I’m insane) when I noticed B had posted a video with a caption that said ‘Surprise’ and included footage I’d never seen before. Then I went on social media. Slowly but surely, my feeds were being filled with the word BEYONCE, and people were going nuts.

A few things about this release that fascinated me:

A) How did she even get away with recording/filming all these without anyone leaking it?

Apparently only the people who needed to know (producers, songwriters, studio execs, etc.) knew about the album, and it also went under a code name called ‘Lily’.  There was a shifting deadline and she didn’t even finish recording until the week of Thanksgiving. As for the music videos, a lot of the dancers are her own dancers from her tour, but for example in XO, she’s clearly in an amusement park with fans and I wonder if they thought they were just being filmed for fun? Or because it’s Beyonce they didn’t care as long as they got a pic of her?

B) She most likely made more  off this album than if she actually marketed and promoted it.

Besides Grown Woman and Bow Down, which are bonus video clips, all these tracks are brand new to our ears. None were released as singles, which is obviously the tradition in which artists sell their upcoming records. Beyonce is so ‘Beyonce’ that she knows she doesn’t have to pre-promote her album, because people will buy it anyways. It’s the definition of a Bad Bitch. She also explained the whole

“I miss that immersive experience. Now people only listen to a few seconds of a song on the iPods and they don’t really invest in the whole experience. It’s all about the single, and the hype. It’s so much that gets between the music and the art and the fans. I felt like, I don’t want anybody to get the message, when my record is coming out. I just want this to come out when it’s ready and from me to my fans.”

After I read that, I was like, wow that is so true. I judge whether or not I’m going to buy the album based on if I like the single or not. It’s never about the package as a whole, which is how I think most *true* artists want you to intake their music. They’re not out there to make just one song, they’re making music for you to hear an entire story.

Same goes for the music videos she made – I watched it in order, like it was a Beyonce movie and it totally changed the way I listen to some of her songs. It’s exactly what she said  a ‘visual album’. My current fave song is Blow (which is apparently going to be the first single), and after seeing her on roller skates, it hard not to picture it when listening to the song, but it’s the perfect vibe for it.

C) She’s changed the music industry

B single-handedly changed the game. She revolutionized it. She essentially proved that as long as you have a loyal (and large) fanbase that can spread the news quickly, artists don’t necessarily need to spend months doing promo and releasing a single, etc. in order to sell thousands of records. This tactic obviously wouldn’t have worked even 10 years ago. Example: It’s 2003, midnight EST, 9pm PST, Beyonce announced on her MySpace page that she has a new album coming out when the doors to your favorite record store open the next morning, so go and get it. And then tell all your friends. No it wouldn’t have worked. But Beyonce is the first person – and person with enough clout – in this new era of technology and social media and iTunes to come up with the idea and actually follow through. It’s genius. I wouldn’t be surprised if other artists try to attempt something like this from now on.

Alright, enough with the logistics (can you tell I was a marketing/PR major in college?). Is all the hype even worth it? I say yes, yes it is. And here are the reasons why.

+ Her blatant Benjamin Button-ing.

Like how is this woman getting older yet not aging? I really don’t understand. There are shots in these vids where she looks like she’s a teenager. Even in the Grown Woman video where she and Kelly are recreating home videos, it just looks like she got taller. I need your secrets, oh wise one.

+ Being boss enough to get the best people in the biz to work on the album

List of artists who wrote, produced (or both), directed on this record include but are not limited to: Jay Z (obvs), Justin Timberlake, Miguel, Ryan Tedder, Sia, Drake, Frank Ocean, Pharrell and Timbaland. I’ll just pick those names back up for you.

+ The ability to look sexy without looking slutty.

In the music video for Partition, she basically dresses up as a stripper for her Boo, in this case, Jay Z, who is actually in the vid playing her paramour, but they barely show his face. The fact is, her butt is literally going up and down a velvet rope type apparatus and not once did I think it was disgusting.

Screenshot 2013-12-15 23.52.12

+ General ability to make any pose or dance move look really cool and not stupid

Let’s be 1000% honest with ourselves here, folks. If any of us tried to do this pose on half a chaise lounge, we would fall flat on our face and possibly/probably injure something obscure like a pinky, because that’s just how you landed.

Screenshot 2013-12-15 23.51.43

+ Everything about the song ***Flawless

The two previous bullet points being said, all in all, don’t confuse Beyonce for a submissive woman. She is a ‘grown ass woman’ who is in actuality a feminist who just happens to have a husband. She doesn’t need him, she does good enough on her own.

In this song, B includes audio from writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche’s ‘We should all be feminists’ TED talk.

“We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls: You can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful but no too successful, otherwise you will threaten the man. Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. A marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support. But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors not for jobs or for accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are.”

+ Throwing shade at Skeleton Crew

In the same ***Flawless video, it starts off with a short clip from when B and Kelly (and former DC member Lativia) were in a group called Girls Tyme, which lost to a white group of male rockers named Skeleton Crew.

Screenshot 2013-12-16 00.10.25

Girls Tyme ended up getting a 3.00 in this competition (view the performance here) but the fact that Bey even decided to put this clip of them losing is everything. Skeleton Crew, what do you have to say for yourselves now?

+ Featuring her 13-month-old daughter on a track

We all know B & Jay are usually on the low about their private life, especially when it comes to Blue Ivy. But this time, Beyonce not only dedicated an entire song to their daughter, but had Blue sing/speak on it too. For the record, if this album wins any Grammys, Blue will be a Grammy winner at the age of like 3. Blue says something to the effect of, “Hold on to me, hold on / Been-say / Been-say / Mami, mami, mami.” We get it. You’re cute.

+ Making roller skating look awesome

Not since Jessica Simpson’s Public Affair had this kind of influence on me and my desire to go put on some skates and dance around the rink with my besties and some hot pants on. The Blow music video is everything I could ask for and more.

+ Possibly probably being actually drunk for Drunk in Love

The classic B/Jay duet on the album, Drunk in Love, features Beyonce dancing and rolling on the beach, and Jay shows up with a drink in hand and it’s amazing. It’s like a TV bottle episode where they only use one set and all the magic happens there. I hope they were actually drunk, because you know, method acting.

+ Dancing with actual supermodels and still being the flyest of them all

In the gangsta track Yonce, B recruited models Jourdan Dunn, Joan Smalls, and Chanel Iman, but all I kept looking at was Beyonce and her grill and the red .. what seemed to parts of a Herve Leger dress but made into faux swimsuit.

+ Just generally being sexy

It is absolutely absurd that a woman can have this kind of effect on straight men, straight women, gay women AND gay men. She’s defying the odds. Rocket, probs the sexiest song off the record, provides a look into her boudoir – and guess who wrote this jam? None other than the sex singing god himself, Miguel.

+ Guerrilla style filmmaking and freaking fans out

In the XO vid, it looks like she basically ambushed an amusement park (or possibly the Santa Monica pier?) and walked the streets and got people’s natural reactions. You’ve been hit by – you’ve been struck by – a smooth criminal.

+ The art

When Beyonce says she has a visual album, it’s a visual album. The entire album is aesthetically pleasing, but especially in the video for Ghost. The stark quality makes you focus on what she has to say, instead of any other hoopla, and boy does she have things to say.

+ Guest stars galore

Not only does the song Superpower feature Frank Ocean, there’s a small DC3 reunion happening and it’s so subtle that only a few people are talking about it. Pharrell also appears in the same video, and in the first track, Pretty Hurts, Harvey Keitel (movie mobster, also Vince LaRocca from Sister Act) shows up randomly as the beauty pageant host.

A Beginner’s Guide to Childish Gambino

On Tuesday, this guy came out with a new album:
cg because the internet
Yes, this is the actual cover for Childish Gambino’s new record. I bought the actual CD, and not only are his eyes staring directly into my soul, but it’s a HOLOGRAM. Well worth my $10.

BTW, if you don’t know who this is, this is rapper/singer/artist/actor/writer/producer/all around G of all trades, Donald Glover. Most people know him as Troy Barnes on Community (#SixSeasonsAndAMovie), which is how I originally became of fan of him. I caught on to his alter ego’s music circa 2010, when he came out with Culdesac, and his impressive skills and frequent pop culture refs have made me been hooked ever since. Not to mention, he puts on an amazing live show, and I’ve seen him every time he’s played in LA – including the one time I didn’t realize I got pit tickets and was really close to him and watched his Community pals watch him from the sidelines.

IMG_1635

When I almost died after he took his shirt off and we were thisclose from him. If you look closely, you can see Alison Brie in the back!

Now here we are with his new album, a record that shouldn’t even be called a record because it’s so much more than that. In addition to the music, he’s released a 72-page screenplay on the becausetheinter.net website. The music on the album acts as a soundtrack to the scenes (or vice versa). Not only that, but a few months ago, he released a 24 minute movie that supposedly acts as the prelude to the because the internet screenplay/album. In fact, a fan has a theory that over the past year, CG has been incorporating the elements from BTI in his tweets, insta, interviews, etc. You can read more of the theory here, it’s insane.

But before you delve into the new joint, especially if you’re new to the game, it’s important to know where CG came from and how he’s grown as an artist (because clearly, there’s a rhyme and reason to everything he does). So I’ve compiled a few of my favorite tracks of his to get you started.

Sunshine {Pointdexter}

This is off one of CG’s earliest mix tapes and he sounds completely different than he does today, but this track proves that he was just more than an actor.

Do Ya Like {Culdesac}

Pre-Rolling in the Deep, Adele had minor hits off her album 19, and on that same record there’s a song called Melt My Heart to Stone. And CG managed to sample that song on this track. And it’s fucking catchy as hell.

Put it in My Video {Culdesac}

From the very start as the first note drops, you know what’s up. You can not only put it in his video but have a sick dance party (by yourself) or with friends, too.

I Got This Money {Culdesac}

The version below is the acoustic version, which I actually like better than the original, but you might like that one better. S/o to the guitar player, whose name is Ludwig Goransson who is CG’s main music man, not to mention he’s the music supervisor on a ton of TV shows, including Community.

Be Alone – Freaks and Geeks – My Shine – Lights Turned On – Not Going Back {EP}

THE ENTIRE EP RECORD BECAUSE IT IS PERFECT. Really. Every single song.

Bonfire {Camp}

What better way to lead off an album called Camp with a song called Bonfire? From the first note, you get a sense of what the record is, which is … on fire.

Fire Fly {Camp}

Just imagine bumpin’ this song in the summer, ridin’ in your drop top, passin’ by kids playing in fire hydrants… basically imagine if you lived in Do The Right Thing for about 3 minutes and that’s what this song feels like.

Heartbeat {Camp}

From the moment I heard this song, I knew it would be one of my all time favorites. It’s been two years since this album released and I STILL don’t get sick of this song. Hearing it live is even more of an experience – it gets inside your soul (Seriously, see this man live. It will change your life).

LES {Camp}

This song elicits a specific dance move out of me that may or may not look a little like this, and I don’t know why but it does and I’m fine with it.

We Ain’t Them {R O Y A L T Y}

This was the lead single of CG’s 2012 mix tape, and probably my fave of the bunch. That’s all I have to say about that.

Unnecessary {R O Y A L T Y}

CG goes hard. And serves up realness.

Won’t Stop (ft. Danielle Haim)  {R O Y A L T Y}

Danielle Haim of HAIM, you guys. This song is really deep and I appreciate that.

Real Estate  {R O Y A L T Y}

This is a song featuring Tina Fey rapping. Yes, that Tina Fey (PS: If you didn’t know, Donald used to write for 30 Rock – an even won an Emmy for it – so there’s your Queen Tina connection).

IV. Sweatpants {because the internet}

Because I’m old school and actually buy CDs of artists that I love instead of streaming it online days before it’s released, I’ve only listened to the album a couple of times all the way through. That being said, this song stuck out right away. He’s only getting better, folks.

Bonus Tracks:

Break (AOTL)

Because Kanye West’s All of the Lights was so damn good it needed to be incorporated into a CG song.

The Longest Text Message

The phrase “sad face emoticon” are real lyrics to this song, hence Gambino’s mastermind status.

‘The Sound of Music Live!’ Live Blog

I’m having a real Jessie Spano moment right now: I’m so excited, but I’m also so scared. Tonight, Carrie Underwood will be starring as Maria in  The Sound of Music Live!, and like life itself, it has the potential to be either so wonderful or so very, very awful.

So, as we do with all televised events that hold the potential for disaster, we’ll be posting a Cookies + Sangria live blog! Come back tonight at 8:00 EST – it’ll be just like watching The Sound of Music with your friend who really loves cheesy musicals but also can’t help but make fun of things. We’ll see you then!

A Few Ground Rules:

  • With our current WordPress setup, we can’t have our comments show up in real time, so we will be periodically updating the page — probably during commercial breaks. Please refresh the page to see new comments!
  • We really like musicals, so if you do, too, you’re in a safe place. And if you don’t … well, let me tell you a little story. When I was a kid, and the Bills were in the Super Bowl (you can stop laughing… I’ll wait…) a neighbor brought his friend to our house – a friend who was rooting for the Dallas Cowboys. It wasn’t pretty. The whole thing culminated in my dad standing up and shouting “You’re in MY HOUSE and when you’re in MY HOUSE you do things MY WAY!” So, just be advised that you’re in our (blog) house, and it’s a house that likes a good Rodgers & Hammerstein. Also, that I come from a line of people who throw adult temper tantrums, apparently.
  • You can sing along! We can’t hear you, anyway. But extra points if you say the phrase “sound of music” in the style of Chandler Bing:

0:02 AUDRA. When we were discussing this on email, Traci mentioned how nervous she was that Carrie Underwood would slip up (because we love Carrie Underwood). Basically, we want Audra to take all of the parts – just, really Orphan Black it. In the alternative, Tatiana Maslany’s probably up to the task.

0:03 While we do looove musicals, listening to a bunch of nuns sing church songs wasn’t that (read: any) fun back in Catholic school, and it isn’t fun now. Let’s solve that problem like Maria already.

0:04 WOW. Anyone else really thrown off by Carrie Underwood singing in a musical theater voice? She doesn’t sound bad, it’s just kind of throaty. I just hope throaty doesn’t turn … Kermit-y. Hate when that happens.

0:06 Is Maria a postulate or a French maid? Because with this costume, I’m not so sure…

0:08: All of these “problems” with Maria would just be “adorkable” qualities in modern sitcoms. Manic Pixie Dream Postulate?

0:08: T: “Maria, Maria RRRrrrainer” oh my GOD, could you BE any more from Oklahoma?

0:09 Just so we’re clear, all of these nuns are straight-up describing girl crushes on Maria. It’s Carrie Underwood, so I understand, but I guess it just goes to show that some of those nun rumors were true?

0:11 Nope, the phrase “on my knees all night” never doesn’t sound dirty.

Also, Underwood’s stilted musical theater dialogue delivery reminds me of every bad musical I was ever in. And also kind of that Vanessa Bayer character:

The “Star of Tomorrow”? Anyone?

0:13 Carrie’s kind of bringing it with Favorite Things, though. But just when the blocking starts to feel really high school musical-y, Audra’s here to save the day.

0:18 Sorry for the pause but there was a lot of ACTING going on there. When I was a kid, and really into acting, I remember going to my sister’s high school plays and wondering why everyone said their LINES like THIS! Then I learned that they mostly couldn’t act. That’s what this production is sounding like so far.

However — this part of the movie was always really boring to me, too. I have high hopes and I bet Underwood will have great chemistry with the kids and with Stephen Moyer’s cheekbones.

Commercial Break: If you were wondering, here is Carrie Underwood as Maria von Trapp:

And HERE is Swiss Miss, of cocoa packaging fame:

It’s just not the same without Julie Andrews’ Dorothy Hammill haircut.

0:28 Let’s hear it for this soundstage! Or whatever they’re filming this on. I’m serious. It’s great now that they’re indoors. Those mountains and trees were a little depressing. It looked like that one Full House episode when they take a donkey up a mountain.

0:29 There were so many pauses in dialog that I thought someone had forgotten a line.

0:31 Freidrich is kind of adorable? The older girls are coiffed like those dead Romanov princesses:

Once upon a December…

0:35 This has always bothered me about Do-Re-Mi. What sort of dumb-dumb would think teaching a kid how to sing with nonsense syllables is really the best way? Brigitta knows what I’m talkin’ about.

0:37 I don’t care what that one bratty girl says, I think the shirtdress is really working for Underwood.

0:37 T: Carrie needs to practice running while singing more. Breath control is real, y’all.

0:38 Whoever was in charge of the outdoor backdrop clearly blew up the image that’s your great-aunt’s screensaver on her PC. Props to the lighting person, though. Maybe we should get him/her out there to do some acting.

0:39 I cannot with this cheery happy family they have in this ad. We’ve already talked about how the Duggars and Quiver-fillers are secretly creepy, remember.

0:43 Sometimes weird things that are just… not right make me want to throw up. I know it sounds odd, but for instance, there’s this one crosswalk where I get off of my bus, and pressing the button does NOTHING to make the light turn faster. There’s this one guy who presses it constantly, for minutes on end, til it turns. It makes me want to vomit. It’s like he’s trying so hard but is doing a terrible job.

Anyway. That’s how I feel about this outdoor set.

0:45 The way I get through Sixteen Going On Seventeen is pretending that the entire song is totally tongue-in-cheek from both characters’ perspectives.

0:46 Where the gazebo at though?

0:48 A teenaged boy wearing short-pants/hosen in a musical is only hot in Spring Awakening

0:49 DO IT ON THE HILL RIGHT THERE ON THE HILL

0:50 No just kidding nobody’s doing anything on the hill because (a) this isn’t Spring Awakening and (b) Liesl just sang an entire song disavowing her sexual agency

0:51 Why is Maria wearing Felicity Merriman’s nightclothes?

0:54 I think they’re about to launch into My Favorite Things and will somebody please explain me why that’s a Christmas song now? Is it because they say presents that ONE TIME? Because I also get presents at birthdays and graduations and stuff but nobody sings me My Favorite Things then.

0:56 Nope. Lonely Goatherd. Underwood is the least wooden I’ve seen her so far! She actually seems really natural here.

0:57 Ahh the little girl’s yodel-voice is the cutest! Gretl? Brigitta? Tiny, looks like Kirsten Larson? Not sorry for the American Girls Collection references.

Commercial Break: I should mention that Traci might be popping in, but she isn’t here tonight because, well first of all it’s 6pm where she is and she’s working, but also she’s seeing Jimmy Fallon tonight because she lives in LA where that can happen. I live in Rochester, where sometimes your car doesn’t start because it’s cold.

1:04 Stephen Moyer why do you always look like you have to poop really badly?

1:06 Anyone else fill in “damn hell ass kings!” anytime somebody says the phrase “live like a king?”

1:07 We’ve talked about bitchy resting face and how sometimes that is just how your face is, and I think that maybe is the thing with Moyer? See?

1:09 Millionaires with dreams make the WORST musical characters. Yeah, I see you, Daddy Warbucks.

1:13 Guys if I tried to wear a curtain dress I’d be wearing naked because I’m too broke for curtains right now.

1:15 Oh, Frau Schrader. You look like a straight-up fraulein with that sassy hair do.

1:16 I FIGURED IT OUT. Moyer is doing Joey Tribbiani’s patented “Smell the fart acting.”

1:24 See, I usually think they just do dance breaks like this in musical theatre when they’re changing the sets or an actor has a costume change. I don’t know why they’re doing it now.

1:26 There are so many whimsical braided hairdos in this movie that I feel like it was filmed inside of a hipster girl’s tumblr.

1:28 Do you think Maria’s friends are ever all “girl, do you have to wear a dirndl EVERY DAMN DAY!”?

1:31 Maria’s mad that she’s getting moved off of the kids’ table? Kids’ table is the best. I get it.

1:32 The little girl who’s not Brigitta or Gretl (…I’m blanking) is giving off some serious young Dakota Fanning vibes.

1:33 I love So Long, Farewell. If any of you have ever studied abroad, you’ve found two things: (1) that kids speaking foreign languages are ADORABLE, and (2)  you know, yourself, probably.

1:35 Related sidenote: my 3-yr-old nephew says goodnight in a bunch of languages, but he always does guten nacht in an angry German scream-voice. It’s precious.

Commercial Break: Did Jewel get her teeth fixed? And isn’t it so weird when you see people outside of their usual context, like your high school teachers at the mall or Jewel in … not 1997?

1:40 T: Hey guys – Traci here! sorry I’ve been absent – I’m still at work and legit avoiding it right now to do this, so I mean, I’m a star employee. I don’t watch True Blood, but just knowing that he’s a vampire and now playing captain von Trapp is disturbing. wait, he’s a vampire right?(M: Clearly neither of us watches True Blood. Also I’ll add a T before Traci’s posts so you guys can like… picture this, or whatever)

1: 43  T: Fun Fact: I’ve seen Carrie in concert 4 times in concert and i cry every time. EVERY TIME. watching her sing Sound of Music is no different. She’s just that good, folks. She’s just that good.

Fun Fact #2: I played an Asian Sister Margaretta in my church’s production of SoM in like 2001 (honestly can’t remember what year it was). Playing an Asian Sister Margaretta is surprisingly the same as playing White Sister Margaretta. I imagine Audra had this same thought.

1:44 Oh Maria, to ask for the Captain’s heart would be wrong but you can totally come on to Liesl? Yeah, I saw. We all saw.

1:47 It’s like Audra’s face is acting double-time to make up for all of the other non-acting in this production

1:48 T: Also, it’s worth nothing that apparently NBC execs decide to cast former actors from their cancelled shows in live TV musicals. RIP Go On.

Commercial Break: T:

Christian Borle was totally channeling Tim Curry’s Rooster from Annie:

Commercial Break throwback commentary: T: AHH I forgot about how can love survive. It’s finally beginning to feel like a true musical with Christian and Laura. Although that sound you hear is a bunch of SoM movie fans switching the channel to the X Factor because they don’t recognize this song. JK… No one’s switching to X Factor.

1:53 T: Re the first Lonely Goatherd: Umm how comfy does that bed look right now? #things27yearoldsstillatworksaywhilewatchingsoundofmusiclive

1:56 So, I just IMDB’d the kids, and one of them is named Peyton Ella. That’s like, clearly a made-up name, right? It sounds like my/every professional adult’s name on Facebook, because you don’t want your boss to find you. Peyton Ella, you can use your last name. Your future bosses probably aren’t watching.

1:57  T: Per the SoM behind the scenes special I watched by accident last week, the girl who plays Liesl is a junior in college studying like art and some foreign language as a minor… Basically not theater. this is how you do it, kids.

M: “Accidentally?” Girl… okay.

1:59 T: I’ve always wondered why these folks have British accents despite the fact they live in Austria. Am I missing something here?

2:00 T: WAIT. Did Carrie just come back (forward?) from the 1960s? Like did she come in from the set of Catch Me if You Can??

M: As reader Christopher just noted, it looks like polyester.

Commercial Break: T: Also, It’s 7:00pm here, which is the time I usually watch #Scandal at work because I’m a freak and like to live tweet and also watch Parenthood at 10pm PST (because I’m insane).. ANYWAYS – I’’m skipping Scandal to watch Carrie’s bad acting/excellent singing. The struggle is real.
M: I KNOW. Shit’s getting real this week. AND I’m manning Twitter. I’m doing this for you, Underwood.

2:06 M: You know, if you lived in a world where you’d never seen Sound of Music, and therefore didn’t just accept it as normal, would it seem really really weird that everyone’s all “La la la, goatherds! Do Re Mi, Curtain Dresses!” AND THEN THE NAZIS COME?!

… and the fine folks behind Sound of Music are just all:

2:10 T: WERK LAURA BENANTI. WERK. She looks perfect!!!

2:11 M: There’s no reason to dislike Frau Schrader EXACTLY, but auf wiedersehen!

2:15 M: Now we’re setting up the mother Abbess and BRIGITTA?

2:16 T: For the record, Something Good is my favorite song from this show. I feel like it’s often overlooked and Carrie does a beautiful job with it. Julie would be proud.

2:16 M: Agreed! It’s so pretty and Carrie sounds great. But why does she look like Alice in Wonderland…? This wig is killing me.

2:17 T: WHOA. WHOA. WAS THERE TONGUE IN THAT KISS?? THIS IS TELEVISION THERE ISN’T SUPPOSED TO BE TONGUE. I’M OFFENDED (unless there wasn’t tongue, in which case, kudos for making it look real and uncomfy)

2:19 M: This wedding dress looks like it was made either in a high school home ec class (or whatever fake-sounding thing they call home ec now), or in a 10-minute challenge on Project Runway where they had to use table cloths.

2:25 M: Oh no… when you hear “1938” and “new flag” within a minute, you know shit’s getting bad. By the way, that Nazi was wearing a red geometric-patterned tie that looked like my dad’s work clothes in the early 90s.

2:28 T: Huh. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a Nazi on live TV. Refreshing? Nah.


2:29 T:
I’m pretty sure Carrie just broke the 4th wall. This isn’t American Idol.

2:31: M: Oh God. “Love isn’t love until you give it away” sounds like a terrible abstinence-only education slogan. Or, like… maybe the opposite of that? Also, the real adventure begins when you belong to your husband? I’m clearly more of a millennial/ feminist/ curmudgeon than Rodgers & Hammerstein could have possibly envisioned in their audience…

I’m shocked too, Li. I’m shocked too.

2:37 M: SING THE NAZIS AWAY. Why didn’t the allied forces ever think of that?

2:38 T: Oh, so the Nazi stadium is where they’ve been hiding the live audience this entire time!!

2:43 M: Eidelweiss is reminding me that I once read this blog where these American parents were living in like Austria or Germany, and they had to petition the government to name their daughter Eidelweiss. So, I mean, I’m sure your daughter will really appreciate how you stuck it to the man so that you could name her Eidelweiss.

2:43 M: How much did NBC spend on this wig that’s making Underwood look like a live-action, adult version of the Sleeping Beauty cartoon?

2:43 M: Silly Nazis. The von Traps are halfway across the Alps by now.  In their… you know… leiderhosen. I hope they brought warm clothes.

2:55 M: Yep, crouching down behind fountains is always the BEST WAY to hide from Nazis.

2:57 M: When I was in second grade, I thought it would be fun to be a nun because they got to live with all of their  friends. Obviously I just wanted to live in a dorm eventually, and then die alone and unmarried. But anyway, the SoM nuns DO make it look kind of fun.

2:58 There are leaves on the trees and it’s snowing. Although… again, Rochester here. My hair freezes if I go outside at the wrong time.

2:59 The most animated I’ve seen everyone is in the rehearsal footage they showed over the credits. The heck?

3:00 Our friend Tori, via Facebook: “I love Carrie Underwood but that girl is just a single threat.”

Well, that’s all folks. Thanks for tuning in! I will say that as much as we snarked on it, I still do love a good musical. And, say what I will about her acting, Carrie Underwood has a great voice. And, I tended to forget that they were doing the WHOLE THING LIVE , which is impressive.

Will it replace the movie? No, never. But as a weeknight novelty watch, I had fun watching – and blogging. Hope you all liked reading along, too!