The Yo La Tengo / “Parks & Recreation” Connection Finally Explained

As you might’ve read elsewhere, Yo La Tengo — appearing as the combo Bobby Knight Ranger — are featured in tonight’s season 6 finale of NBC’s “Parks & Recreation”.  Given that many of you know even less about show business than you do fitness, personal hygiene or the importance of getting up before 2 in the afternoon, I’m gonna graciously catalog the various scenarios on how exactly, this TV booking came to be.

1) In 2000, the sleeve to Yo La Tengo’s cover of George McRae’s “You Can Have It All” featured an at-the-time struggling NYC model-slash-actress, Amy Poehler, previously best known for her work on an obscure basic-cable comedy program. Shortly after the release of this chart-topping single, she became a regular cast member on “Saturday Night Live” and has appeared in such Palme d’Or winners as “Deuce Bigelow : Male Gigolo” and “Mr. Woodcock”.

Cynics might say Yo La Tengo inclusion on tonight’s “Parks & Rec” is Ms. Poehler’s way of returning the favor.  And that’s how cynics are, always looking for some shitty reason to diminish any sort of achievement.

2) “Parks & Recreation” co-creator Michael Schurr is one of the founders/main minds behind Fire Joe Morgan.  Yo La Tengo’s name is said to have something or other to do with baseball.  Ask someone who likes sports, we’re a record label.

3) Popular recording artists are frequently asked to appear on television programs  (eg. Roger Miller in “Quincy, M.E.”‘s “On Dying High”, Dave Navarro’s sporadic appearances in “Sons of Anarchy”).

Glad I could clear that up for everyone.

Jay Reatard – Live on FUEL TV’s “The Daily Habit”

The is the first chance most of us have had to see Jay perform material from the upcoming “Watch Me Fall” (pre-order it here). The guys perform first-single “It Ain’t Gonna Save Me”, and also kick out a pretty killer version of “My Shadow”.


“It Ain’t Gonna Save Me”


“My Shadow”

Lou Reed & Hal Wilner : “Berlin” Screening, Q&A Tonight

Julian Schnabel’s ambitious film version of the 2006 Brooklyn performances of Lou Reed’s “Berlin” — the genesis for Matador’s double LP/CD release of ‘Berlin – Live At St. Ann’s Warehouse‘ — will be shown tonight (Friday, December 5) at the 92nd Street YMCA’s Hudson Street Screening Room as part of their 18 Nights Of Inspiration Series.  Following the film, Lou Reed and producer Hal Wilner will field questions from the audience.

In addition, Lou can be seen being interviewed and performing alongside Elvis Costello on the latter’s new Sundance Channel chat program, “Spectacle“.   The episode in question premies Wednesday, December 10 at 9pm eastern.

Shat In The (Linkin Park’s) Van!!

No square inch of scenery left to chew, no square inch of Shatner’s ass to kiss, and no clips of the interview on YouTube yet, but one can enjoy Mike Patton exploring everything that happened in music between The Infectious Grooves and Linkin Park!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tU_15_R578[/youtube]

Kenny gets grief

[youtube]WBbWf-aveR8[/youtube]

The Late Late Show is an Irish institution (like the Magdalene Asylums) which was presented first by Irish broadcasting legend and brave-name-haver Gay Byrne, then latterly by Pat Kenny, the presenter being harassed in this here clip. Of course, the Irish stereotype of the literate drunk irks me somewhat, but I can't help but applaud this heckler. He's hammered, and he still manages to articulate in a concise manner what most right-thinking Irishers think of Pat Kenny.

 

I’d prefer a chocolate teapot for Christmas

paqi.jpg

…but I'll settle for this:

AUSSIE SCIENTISTS INVENT AIR GUITAR T-SHIRT

A team of Australian scientists [That's an oxymoron if I saw one], presumably with too much time on their hands, have created the air guitar t-shirt, which turns air guitarists fake
strumming into real music. The shirt, developed by the Australian
Commonwealth Scientific And Industrial Research Organisation
, has sensors
within the elbows that send information to a computer, which creates music
based on its wearer's air guitaring. Richard Helmer, one of the scientists
behind the t-shirt, told reporters the t-shirt was "an easy-to-use, virtual
instrument that allows real-time music making" and that it could be used by
"players without significant musical or computing skills".

Asked about the new invention, Metro quote Jeff Disaster of UK Air Guitar,
the people behind the previously reported Air Guitar Championships, as
saying: "I would love to get one but I don't think they would be allowed in
air guitar championships. The rule is there can be no guitars on the stage;
this is essentially a midi-guitar, so it violates the main rule of air
guitar".

It's the next step up from playing music from your mobile phone without headphones on all forms of public transport to the delight of everyone around you. What a great way to make friends and keep them.

On second thoughts, don't get me one. 

A Particularly Useless Exercise In Nostalgia

Pundit/comedian/professional douchebag Dennis Miller has landed a new gig with Fox News. For the San Francisco Chronicle’s Mark Morford, “the transmutation is complete”.

Something happened to the once-brilliant Dennis Miller. It started about a decade ago and has since turned the man from one of the funniest and smartest and most intellectually wry observers of culture and political attitude in the country (no one could weave an obscure literary sub-reference into a long joke about, say, the senior prom like Miller) into some sort of warped war-supporting Bush-loving right-wing sycophant.

I have heard bits of his rants in the past few years. There is no joy left in his perspective. There is no sparkle of lightness or pleasure in his eye. It is only dryness and lashing out and death. He used to be the smart-ass cousin of Bill Hicks and Lenny Bruce. But now you hear him and you can’t help but think: Something hard and sharp and ugly has eaten him alive. Miller claims it was 9/11 that changed him. True enough. He appears to have sacrificed his once-nimble mind and forsaken all perspective to drink the Kool-Aid of the Dark Side, and has become a full-blown Republican. And it’s a sad thing indeed.

Political sensibilities aside, this is sort of like harkening back to the days when the Goo Goo Dolls were good. Or recalling the times when Dr. Harold Shipman was fun to hang around with. I’m sorry, Mark. Dennis Miller has always been smug, unfunny and throughly deserving of being shoved down a flight of stairs. He didn’t start sucking after 9/11, he was doing it before he was born.

That said, if nothing else, Jay Mohr’s career path should be clear from this point onwards ; 2010 – delivering copies of the New Hampshire Union Leader.

Coincidently, said paper’s weekend edition features an interview with Lou Gramm of Foreigner. If anyone would like to discuss a long-ago and far-away era in which Foreigner were as brilliant as Dennis Miller, please, take it up with this man.

Freedom Isn’t Free…

….and neither is heavy advertising on Comedy Central.

From the AP :

Following the news early Thursday of a terrorist plot to blow up in-flight passenger airplanes, executives at Paramount Pictures considered scaling back advertising for the new Oliver Stone film, “World Trade Center,” which opened nationwide Wednesday.

Ultimately, with executives and other analysts unable to predict how moviegoers, unsettled by the news events, will be affected, the studio decided not to change its in-place marketing plans.

No decision was reached, however, to pull a unfunny-under-any-circumstances Sierra Mist spot from Comedy Central’s late night programming Thursday, that featured Michael Ian Black’s fruity fizzy drink being confiscated by thirsty airport security staff (played by Jim Gaffigan and Kathy Griffin).

Given the current sensitivity to the issue, we might not see that ad nearly as often in the days ahead. That said, PepsiCo has shown a willingness to have some fun with a serious moment in history, so perhaps we can look forward to a series of comedic vingettes about the long-term effects of heavy benzene consumption.

“If You Have To Spell It Out For People, It’s Not Really Artwork, Is It?”

Everclear’s Art Alexakis vs. Bill “You Make Me Feel Like A Whore” O’Reilly. (link swiped from Stereogum)

I’m trying to program TiVo to make sure I don’t miss Marcy Playground’s appearance on “The Colbert Report”, but the on-screen menus are way too confusing.

When Press Junkets Go Horribly Wrong

(not Anne Heche)

The Boston Globe’s Suzanne Ryan
had the distinct pleasure of attendending a TV critics’ summer conference in Los Angeles recently, a occasion presumably designed so the various networks could showcase their offerings for the upcoming fall season. W.C. Fields’ admonishment, “never work with children and animals,” apparently never reached Anne Heche, but were Fields alive today, “never work with Anne Heche” could well be useful advice for the American Broadcasting Company.

ABC is launching a new drama starring Anne Heche, a New York relationship coach who finds herself stranded in Alaska. In the pilot episode, she is freaked out when she discovers a raccoon in her hotel’s closet.

During a press conference, reporters wanted to know all about the raccoon, whose name is Elvis.

Is that a real raccoon or an animatronic? (Real)

Did you fly him into Vancouver to shoot? (No, a local hire)

Is he a recurring character? (Yes)

In the pilot, Elvis had a STUNT DOUBLE that ran down the stairs for him? (Yes, a DOG NAMED BOOMER DONNED A RACCOON SUIT for a staircase scene since raccoons don’t run, they lope).

Since raccoons are noctural, did you wake Elvis up to shoot? (Yes and Anne pet him to make him feel better)

Later, a Touchstone Television publicist told me with all seriousness that he and his co-workers had tried to anticipate every question we reporters might have tossed out but no one even thought about Elvis.

“We should have brought him here,” he said sadly.