Television Feed

Saturday Night Live's Night At the Gay Bar #rupaul #snl

Rupaul-snl-hostOk so if anyone who has never been to a gay bar has ever wondered what it's like, last Saturday night's episode of Saturday Night Live was, for me, like spending 90 minutes in the Boiler Room in the East Village - there was drag, shade, intelligent conversation, cute guys, some politics, a little game playing, some flirting (and some welcome objectification), and, as happens, philosophizing about the 'good old days' of New York. It seems that even when I've not lived in New York, conversation with my peeps invariably turns to 'well, things were better back then' (that "Old New York" sketch was sadly accurate, but hilarious).

I've also been to bars where they feature some twink performing something unintelligible but the middle aged gays like it because the performer is cute. This is sorta kinda how I feel about Justin Bieber but without the "the performer is cute" part (but I know plenty of guys that think that he's a hottie). My favorite line of the night came from the Facebook as one friend said "how did he go from looking like a 12 year old pretending to be an adult to a 47 year old drug dealer in just three years?" 

Anyway, Ru came to play and she succeeded.. go Ru! (Photo from NBC!)

 

 

 

 


Amazon and the Temple of Unhelpfulness #amazon #amazonfirestick @amazon

AmazonblogHope everyone reading this had a great weekend - we got stuff done, I did some reading, I watched some TV and I cracked open my new Ipad and figured out how to start using it to draw.

Unfortunately I also spent an inordinate amount of time trying to make an Amazon Firestick work that we got from a friend at Christmas. We waited this long to use it because so often in the modern world, these electronic devices are just mass produced and thrown out into the world without any instructions. I guess they figure people will figure it out on their own. But more often than not, we don't. And then when we reach out for help, we are cross examined as though we are on a witness stand for manslaughter. 

I got on an Amazon customer service chat mainly to see if what I was seeing was an error, or the normal process... I ended up being grilled about the order number even though I stated several times that it was a gift and I didn't have the order number. After 20 minutes of that nonsense, I called Amazon customer service and got a similar go round. 

I put it out to Facebook friends, one who suggested a factory re-sent, which I tried to do following their directions and that didn't work either. 

In any event, I've plugged it in the HDMI port on the TV, I get the Amazon and Firestick logos, and then a screen that says it's "optimizing system storage and applications" and to wait for ten minutes. I've seen that screen roughly two dozen times over the past three days. It's like my TV is having a GROUNDHOG DAY  but without Bill Murray. 

As you can imagine, the joy of the gift has faded and been replaced with an undefinable rage at a culture that assumes, I guess, that we're all either 15 years old or have a degree in engineering. Neither is true, just in case you were wondering. 

You know, if someone in NYC was looking for a self-run business and even remotely tech-savvy, they could really clean up being hired to help people fed up with trying to help people figure out these devices.  Just puttin it out there (and if someone does start this business, my payment for the idea is that Im you're first customer).

So we'll continue logging on to our apps through our laptop and then hooking the laptop up by a cord to the TV. It ain't perfect, but everytime we get annoyed when we have to do that, we'll just remember this weekend and it won't seem so bad. 


Lil Nas and the Magic of Now #grammys

NasAs a 55 year old, I am not the target demo for pop music. I'm OK with that. I'm sure my parents were somewhat baffled by the music I listened to growing up (Abba, ELO, Bee Gees, etc) much in the way the Mister and I were sort of scratching our heads last night at various songs/artists who seemed to spew/shout incoherent lyrics to choppy tunes. Although to be fair to my parents, our household was home to a wide variety of music - the Beatles, Mamas and Papas, Broadway musicals, comedy albums, classical, big band, etc. 

But while most of last night's Grammys didn't reflect my musical tastes, some of the performances (like Lil Nas) were inspired. I don't have any idea what he was singing, but man, that performance was a visual masterpiece on a master class level. 12 hours later, I am still thinking about it, and that's what Art should do - stay with the viewer. Drenched in pop culture iconography and very complicated choreography, this is definitely something that will be referenced in the future; I'm very glad to have seen it live. 

It seems, for many people my age, the night was incomprehensible (if my Facebook feed is any indication) but pop music isn't for us, it's for the Now and rather than being all 'get off my lawn' about it, I am choosing to find value even if that value is only to see what is considered popular right now. I like that I can appreciate the magic of now no matter what age I am. 

The other thing that gives me comfort in this is this: when you take away the flash and pizzazz, all of these performers are doing exactly the same thing that legends like Frank Sinatra did - they entertain their peers in a way that reflects the culture. The proliferation of 'crazy/shouty' music last night is sort of disconcerting to me in that context, but, at the end of the day, music is a product and this is what sells. Right now. Ten years from now? Who knows. We could be back to the big band era and crooners wearing suits. Can you imagine? 

 


The Joy of Hate-Watching "Another Life" #anotherlife #netflix #smash #television

YeohOk let's get one thing straight from the get-go: I love television. I just do. I know the original Willy Wonka movie has a whole song devoted to the evils of the thing, but I can't help it. I love stories and I love to see them portrayed especially in a serialized format as modern series do now.

Not only do I enjoy viewing, but I also enjoy dissecting shows although I don't really have anyone to do that with these days - I tried online forums (like Television Without Pity) but people focused more on the 'picking it apart' aspect rather than on the 'enjoyment' aspect. I find it's necessary to have both, otherwise, you're just a crank. And who wants to have a discussion with a crank? 

However, having said that, here I go being a crank. 

Last weekend we watched the first episode of ANOTHER LIFE on Netflix. It's awful. There's really no graceful way to describe it. I'm sorry to all the people who put their heart and soul into this, but it's terrible. Bad writing, bad acting, terrible direction, and even poor costume choices (why are all the women in space wearing FLASHDANCE style clothing?). 

Even the awesomeness that is Katee Sackhoff (so amazing in the rebooted BATTLESTAR GALACTICA from a few years back) is terrible. She should be in a much better show and knows it. Her character leads a crew in space of angry 20somethings who think that everyone over the age of 27 is 'old' (there's literally a scene about this). If Katee was running a nightclub, I could maybe see their point.  There's a reason her character is super cranky, you would be too if you had to manage a day care in space with petulant children. 

The special effects are quite spectacular so I'm assuming that everyone did this with "I'm getting a sweet payday for this" in mind, but harumph, I found myself hate-watching it about 20 minutes in. Sadly, Tyler Hoechilin, who plays Superman so brilliantly on the SUPERGIRL show, is also on ANOTHER LIFE and he is just, well, part of the problem - pretty but unbelievable in every possible way as a respected astronaut. Since he's brilliant as Superman, I can only surmise that the director of this show ordered him to be a bad actor. He succeeds. 

Now, let me say a brief word about 'hate-watch'. I have only hate watched one show in my life and it was SMASH. Oh, it started off innocently - as an ex theater nerd, I thought that this was the show for me. But, as time went on, there was a lot to hate - stupid people doing stupid things for stupid reasons completely ignoring easy solutions.

Usually, if I don't like something, I just stop watching. But then a theater friend of mine and I started talking about it and it became "our thing" to call each other afterwards and complain about it. Then, we started watching it together and complaining in real time. We would have a lot of fun, especially when bourbon was involved. However, even that ran its course and we went from hate watching to just plain hating it. We liked the music, though, but even Debra Messings chunky scarves couldn't save it. 

ANOTHER LIFE is definitely one of those shows that people watch, like BAYWATCH simply because there's pretty people on it running around in skintight clothing ... actually if they'd just gone ahead and called it BAYWATCH IN SPACE I would have some respect for it knowing that they were embracing their aim to be eye candy. In the end, we got through the first episode and were tempted to continue to watch if only to enjoy criticizing it, but then we realized that we have better things to do with our time than watching something we hate. 

If you like sci fi, I highly recommend STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. I had to warm up to it, but learned to love it once I could dismiss the continuity problems. The show features a lot of fun stuff including a young Spock, and a magnificent portrayal of a heroic, moral, and likeable Captain Pike (Pike was the original captain of the Starship Enterprise in the pilot episode of the original STAR TREK, but was replaced by William Shatner as the Captain Kirk we know and love today). Anyway, Pike is exceptional because he's the kind of character we don't get to see much anymore: heroic, engaging, like-able, moral. 

As a side note, actress Michelle Yeoh is fabulous on this show and I hear that she's getting her own STAR TREK down the line. Awesome idea. Michelle Yeoh, by the way, would be amazing as Auntie Mame. She's got the perfect combination of worldliness, fabulousness, and the "I'm sooo over it"itness that Mame should have. Someone please re-make the film and hire her!  

I don't really recommend 'hate watching' as an activity; it's really just giving in to putting more negativity out there in the world and in this day and age who among us needs to feed the frustration we already feel about the world around us by watching something on TV that we don't love? 

 

In case you missed it: 

Review: The Farewell