November 29, 2013

Cornucopia III: The 2013 Fall Playlist, Vol. 3

Tis the season to binge on everything from turkey and those episodes of American Horror Story: Coven I've missed thus far.

Sure, binge eating and viewing is all the craze right now, but what about binge listening? There's a gourd-load of tunes out there right now racking up gigabytes on my hard drive, and my iPod is about to burst. Just how many? Enough to quickly follow this up with a Volume 4 (stay tuned).

1. "Do What U Want" by Lady Gaga feat. R. Kelly
2. "Somebody Loves You" by Betty Who
3. "We Remain" by Christina Aguilera
4. "Love Me Again" by John Newman
5. "Wild Child" by Adrian Lux & Marc Schossow feat. JJ
6. "Feel Good" by Robin Thicke
7. "Sleepwalker" by Bonnie McKee
8. "Walking On Air" by Katy Perry
9. "Don't Wanna Dance Alone" by Fifth Harmony
10. "Satellites" by Cash Cash:

11. "Meant To Be" by TLC
12. "Bones" by MS MR
13. "Team" by Lorde
14. "California Soul (Diplo/Mad DeCent Remix)" by Marlena Shaw
15. "Say Something" by A Great Big World feat. Christina Aguilera:

16. "Letting You Let Go" by Paper Route
17. "Loved Me Back to Life" by Celine Dion
18. "Perfume" by Britney Spears
19. "Could This Be Love" by The Wanted
20. "Let It Go" by Demi Lovato

November 19, 2013

'Jagged Little Pill' Becomes a Musical? Welcome Back, 1995.

Hearing about Alanis Morissette's seminal Jagged Little Pill being turned into a Broadway musical was like receiving news that my best friend had built a time machine for us to travel back to 1995 and relive all of our best moments.

How did I not know about this sooner? Why did I have to learn about it through NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast one week after the initial press release? And why do I have no shame in admitting that I subscribe to an NPR podcast?

The Nostalgia Machine revved up once again as I started to search the web for articles on this exciting development. I immediately started flashing back to that fateful day at Iona Preparatory when I borrowed this CD from a friend in Religion class in between "scripture lessons" (the class was more like a free period overseen by a priest who had no problem telling jocks to "quit the bullshit" if they acted up -- ah, Catholic school).

Up until then, my knowledge of this then-angry 21-year-old Canadian chick consisted of the following: she played a mean harmonica, once dated Uncle Joey from Full House, and appeared in a childhood favorite of mine, You Can't Do That On Television. Little did I know what I'd be in for...

Jagged Little Pill is one of those rare albums from the last 20 years that shines as a whole. Every track works individually and forms a cohesive set of tunes that defined an era I was proud to live through. From the personal hopes and desires listed in "All I Really Want" to the devastatingly chilling a capella, hidden track "Your House," JLP is an electrifying opus that works on many levels.

It's safe to say this musical adaptation won't feature any Fosse-like theatrics. This sounds more like a straight-up rock opera along the lines of American Idiot or (maybe) Rent.

And I want a ticket to previews now.


November 14, 2013

13 Things I'm Thankful For in 2013

As we brace ourselves for another smorgasbord of holiday calories, let’s look back at what I thoroughly appreciated this year (2013, where did you fly off to?). Here are the people, places, and things I couldn’t – and still can’t – get enough of. And I am utterly grateful for them.

1. Henry Cavill – We could thank Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan for making this slice of British hotness slip into that Superman suit in Man of Steel, but we’re ultimately grateful for Cavill’s gravitas, smoldering performance…and the pause button on our Blu-ray players.

2. Jenji Kohan – The woman behind the brilliant ‘Weeds’ is also responsible for giving us one of the best TV shows of the year: Orange Is The New Black. It’s undeniably a game-changer, loaded with multiple storylines and a stellar ensemble overseen by one great showrunner (and I had no idea what the woman looked like until I Google imaged her -- she looks like fun).

3. Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter – There’s a new vice on the shelves at one of our favorite grocery stores (I prefer the crunchy kind), and it will please your taste buds on those Friday nights when you’re stuck at home on the couch with Netflix and a bottle of Chardonnay. Try it on a few apple slices and thank me later.

4. Having friends in entertainment industry-related unions – Because there is no way my wallet can sustain the dozens of movies I want to see this holiday/award season. Thank you, friends of guilds, for getting me into screenings or secretly sharing your DVDs of movies that haven't been released yet.

5. – The website is a constant presence on Facebook, helping all of us perfect the art of procrastination by delivering linkable lists and articles like “18 Forgotten 90s One-Hit Wonders” and “21 Reasons Why ‘Hocus Pocus’ Is The Best and Most Important Part of Halloween.” Nostalgia has never felt so good. Or trite.

6. The casting process behind Fifty Shades of Grey – Who knew this much in-and-out drama surrounding the selection of actors for the adaptation of a book I have no intention of reading could be so much fun?

7. Miley Cyrus memes – After delivering the Twerk Heard Around The World, the former Hannah Montana was immortalized in hysterical memes created by some of the most creative interwebbers out there in cyberspace. Thank God for Photoshop.

8. Shazam – I overworked this Godsend of an iPhone app this year while trying to pinpoint the names of songs on the radio that perked up my ears. Thanks to this trusty tool, I now know who sings “The Wire” (new alt-girl group HAIM).

9. Alfonso Cuaron – I knew the director was the real deal after Y Tu Mama Tambien and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – and he really sucked me in with 2006’s mesmerizing Children of Men – but now more audiences are being wooed by his wonderful and innovative filmmaking prowess in Gravity. It’s about damn time.

10. Cronuts – These pastry hybrids are popping up in bakeries across the nation, and I am savoring every flaky crust and every flavored cream filling. Diet, schmiet.

11. Ibuprofen -- I'm currently in need of a root canal (appointment yet to be scheduled), and these little orange-colored capsules have quickly become my friends.

12. Black truffle salt -- Good lord, this stuff is good. Turns any omelette, bag of popcorn, pizza, or piece of meat into a gourmet foodgasm.

13. My embarrassment of travel riches -- Never in my life have I used my passport so much within a year, and I am truly grateful for the opportunities that came my way in 2013, allowing me to jet off to places like Puerto Vallarta, Peru, the Dominican Republic...and San Francisco. Many thanks go out to all of the travel publicists who have hooked me up with some fantastic experiences I will never forget.


November 10, 2013

Let Kelly Clarkson Help You Survive Black Friday

Come November 29, I shall join the millions of crazed Americans as they storm the stores at midnight after Thanksgiving, ready to cut any bitch who gets in between them and the last available purple twerking bear in the toy aisle at Target.

I've made it a tradition to go out to my neighborhood superstores to see what's being snatched off the shelves in the wee hours of the morning. I prefer to go alone so that I can zip through the lines of shopping carts (and strollers) and make my experience as painless as possible.

And helping me this year will be Kelly Clarkson. I'll be blaring her new single from Wrapped in Red in order to brighten my spirits and pump me up for some holiday cheer -- just as long as no one steals my parking space at the mall.

Enjoy the retro-sounding jingle that's sure to be a classic...and give Mariah Carey's 19-year-old "All I Want For Christmas Is You" a run for its money.


November 03, 2013

'Gypsy' Is Easily Lady Gaga's Best Track from 'ARTPOP'

This past weekend was certainly a "pop emergency" for Mother Monster as her fourth studio album, the highly anticipated ARTPOP, leaked all over the interwebs (like that can of green paint that spilled all over the hatchback of my Prius three years ago). The culprit? According to Gaga's angry tweets, it was those sneaky pirates in...Japan.

While the album is the supersonic pop experience we all expected, there's one track that shines bright and stands out: "Gypsy." Starting out as what sounds like a piano ballad with some beautifully evocative lyrics, the song soars into an anthemic chorus custom-made for dance floors around the globe: "I don't wanna be alone forever, but I can be tonight..."

The title refers to the lifestyle the pop icon has adopted, hopping from country to country, longing to have someone accompany her on her lonely journey. It even includes a background chant that lists all of the places she's visited (places like Malaysia, Sweden, and Norway get shout-outs). It's inspiring, it's empowering...

It's basically this era's "The Edge of Glory."

And if it isn't the next single, then Gaga has a lot of explaining to do.


Catfights, Cleavage and Carrie-Anne Moss: 'Models Inc.' Turns 25

In the early 90s, as anyone familiar with the oeuvre of uber-producer Aaron Spelling knows, the successful  Beverly Hills, 90210 begat ...