An Entertainment Hodge-Podge

My Guilty Pleasure

September 14, 2009
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I have an embarrassing confession that I keep a secret from almost everyone I know.

Last week, I wrote about the upcoming TV season and some of my favorite shows. I neglected to mention another show I enjoy watching on occasion. Sometimes I need to watch a mindless, drama filled show like Gossip Girl, which premieres tonight on CW and 8:00 pm CST.

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Seasons one and two were quite addicting, and I have similar expectations for this season. Season two ended when Gossip Girl sent out an email blast during the commencement ceremony for the St. Jude’s graduation, stirring Serena to develop a plan of attack. Blair’s reign as Queen Bee draws to a close and the mean girls coax Jenny into succeeding Blair. Lily and Rufus are still patching up their relationship after Lily’s gruesome betrayal, while things start to heat up between Blair and Chuck

Tonight’s premiere will continue where season two left off. The summer is drawing to a close, and Blair and Chuck are

getting used to being “in a relationship.” Based on how Gossip Girl works, I don’t quite expect their “relationship” to resemble an actual relationship in any form. Serena returns from her summer abroad with a lot of secrets and some complications in her relationship with Carter. Likewise, Nate returns with a mysterious brunette, Bree. Though Rufus,

Jenny, and Dan didn’t go abroad for the summer, they had an eventful time in the Hamptons quickly getting adjusted to the glamorous lifestyle.

Tune in tonight, or watch it on the Internet tomorrow! .


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Video Drama Mama

September 13, 2009
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And, yet again, celebrity drama will be the focus of many conversations tomorrow.

It all began with Taylor Swift’s thanks speech for winning the Best Female Video. The 19 year old singer-songerwriter was ambushed by Kanye West when, in the middle of her speech, snatched the microphone out of her hands. And, he didn’t grab the microphone to congratulate or thank her.

Rather, he said, ” Yo Taylor. I’m really happy for you. I’mma let you finish, but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time. One of the best videos of all time.”

The shocked Swift didn’t say anything after West handed her microphone back.

Now, when I saw this, I decided to do some more Internet surfing and stumbled upon this lovely photograph.

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West seems to be enjoying a nice bottle of Hennessy. Did he finish any of the bottle before he interrupted Swift?

However, Beyonce Knowles handled the situtuation thoughtfully and tactfully. When she was called to the stage after winning Video of the Year, she handed over her thank you speech to the young Swift.

“I remember being 17 years old, up for my first MTV award with Destiny’s Child, and it was one of the most exciting moments in my life. So, I’d like for Taylor to come out and have her moment,” said Knowles.

And, to what looked like a standing ovation and millions of screams, Taylor walked out onstage and was able to have an acceptance speech.


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The Modern Vampire

September 12, 2009
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The vampire myth has gone through numerous changes and developments. With the advent of film, the vampire image changed from scary freak of nature to a sexy, alluring, bloodsucking lover known as Dracula.

However, in the 60s and 70s, the vampires image evolved once again. Soon the sexy vampire image that belonged to males also became a female trademark with Barbara Steele in The Mask of Satan. Often times, these female vampires were featured and fanged lesbian sex kittens. The films during the 60s and 70s reflected the time period because they became more overtly violent and sexual. The fear of sex and nudity no longer existed, and film makers experimented with this in films like The Vampire Lovers and, later, Vampyres.

The 80s created a new vampire that was time appropriate. Like everyone else, the vampire dawned a new 80s style. Whether they were grungy bikers, like in Near Dark, or the hip greasy haired vampire gang, like in Lost Boys, these vampires lived, breathed and sucked up the 80s culture.

The 80s lead the way for the vampire of the 90s. Vampires became tormented souls, stuck with the same patterns and thirsts for all time. Vampire Louis de Pointe du Lac, played by Brad Pitt, became the epitome of the tormented soul. While Claudia, his vampire creation, became the coldest night creature because of her crazed homicidal tendencies at such a young age.

My heart is still with the tormented vampires of the 90s. I haven’t been able to attach myself to the new Twilight vampires. The vampires of this generation seem to lack the maturity and depth of the previous. And, our culture spent decades developing this myth. So, why do we throw it away on some teenage scum?

However, I have heard good things about the HBO series True Blood. Hopefully, that will live up to the violence, sexuality, maturity and depth of previous vampire characters.


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I want to suck your blood…?

September 11, 2009
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What is it with this new vampire craze?

The obsession with vampires isn’t a new thing, but their depiction as sexy, alluring, seducing creatures is.

Even though vampire legends have passed through the ages, the majority of vampire myths originated from the medieval period. But, during the 18th century, vampire sightings swelled to a new high. These sightings ceased once Empress Maria Teresa of Austria sent her physician to determine whether vampires were real. He said the weren’t.

But, with the invention of film, the vampire mania began anew.

Nosferatu–a 1922 German film–depicted the first Dracula on the big, silver screen. However, this was no sexy beast. I would make a mad dash in the opposite direction if I saw that Dracula (with hairy eyebrows, a bald head, pointy ears and long finger nails.)

But, soon the scene would change, and the vampires would bring sexy back.

Bela Lugosi, who had played Dracula on stage, recreated Dracula’s image. In 1931, Lugosi played Dracula in the movie Dracula. His costume, a cloak with a tux, became Dracula’s standard wear. Even today, when people dress up as Dracula, they usually create his costume. But, Lugosi did more than create Dracula’s wardrobe. He made vampires sexy. If you’re on the market for a Latin lover who likes a little blood on the side, Lugosi’s Dracula is the man (or creature?) for you.

To be continued…


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How to get the complete Beatles Rockband set for $150.

September 10, 2009
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I have formulated a brilliant idea, which I would love to share.

The Beatles Rockband is something that I have been looking forward to since it was announced on October 30, 2008. The game has 45 songs ready for you to play. The creators picked here and there to include songs from A Hard Day’s Night, Revolver, The White Album, Abbey Road, Sgt. Pepper’s, and many more.

Not to mention, the guitars, drums and microphones from other music video games are entirely compatible with The Beatles Rockband.

And, the game venues are all famous venues where The Beatles made music history.

So, when the game finally debuted on Sept 9, I spent time figuring out how to get the entire set for cheaper than $250. I found a way, but it doesn’t include the special edition Beatles’ instruments. (However, it does work for any game system that supports Rockband.)

First, look on Ebay or Craigslist for the Rockband 2 set. I have found that you can get the entire set with a game for roughly $70 to $90.

Now, if you already have one piece, like a guitar, and want to buy the rest individually, you can do that. You may not be able to get the Rockband 2 game, but you’ll be getting it for the Beatles game. Usually, each individual insturment sells for $20, but on Craigslist you can occasionally find the pieces for less than $20.

(Since the game is 100 percent compatible with Guitar Hero World Tour, you can also substitute Rockband 2 parts for World Tour parts. However, the going price is usually more expensive. I haven’t found it cheaper than $90 on ebay.)

Now, once you have all your instruments, go forth and buy the game. Yes, it you still have to spend $59.99, but you end up spend about $100 less for an entire set.


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The Sky Is Falling!!

September 10, 2009
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The apocalypse is at hand. In 2012, on the winter solstice, the human race will cease to exist unless we participate in the Institute for Human Continuity’s (IHC)  “survival lottery.”

At least, that is what Sony has created in order to promote their apocalyptic film 2012.

In an effort to excite the Americans about the year 2012, Sony launched a website that claims a horrible astrological or geological event will occur. However, IHC has been preparing. They have built “celestial colonies” and “floating cities,” but you must enter a lottery to be saved.

We are obsessed with the apocalypse. Always have been and always will be.

The Hebrew and Christian Bible are overflowing with visions of the apocalypse. That is the main purpose of the Book of Revelation. People have been claiming the world is about to end for thousands of years.

However,  now instead of people prophesying the end of the world, we have the entertainment industry do it for us.

Our movies are filled with apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic themes.

I Am Legend: A deadly plague destroys the majority of life and turns humans into zombies. Post-apocalyptic.

Knowing: The end of the world is depicted through a series of number which gives the date of the disaster and how many people will die. Apocalyptic.

Wall-E: An animated cartoon that follows a whimsical robot trying to clean up the earth because human have left it uninhabitable. Post-apocalyptic.

Left Behind: Also a book, it depicts the rapture as described in the Book of Revelation, and it begins the process leading to the apocalypse. Apocalyptic.

Oh, and don’t forget the Matrix Trilogy, Children of Men. the new post-apocalyptic movie produced by Tim Burton–9–and the television show Heroes, where every season the world is going to end.


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The Premiers on the Tube

September 9, 2009
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The new TV season is finally approaching. And, I must say, I am incredibly excited.

Starting next week, season premiers will find their way into our homes through televisions (and computers.) I like to pick one comedy, one action and one girly drama to watch religiously throughout the season.

The first show on my watch list? The Office (my comedy.)

The Office premiers Thurs, Sept 17, at 8pm and, according to the gossip on the office page “Michael searches for office gossip to share while Andy struggles with heterosexuality.” Who could blame Andy considering the fiasco with Angela last season. (Angela, while engaged to Andy, cheated on him with Dwight, a former boyfriend.)

Will the season answer some open questions? Like, when are Pam and Jim getting married, and what about the hinted baby at the end of the last season? Also, what will unfurl between Michael and long-lost girlfriend Holly?

And, if you happen to plump down on your sofa 30 min before The Office premiers, then you can watch the Parks and Recreation premier at 7:30pm, Thurs, Sept 17. (Click here for the Parks and Recreation preview.)

For my suspenseful, action-filled, mind blowing show, I choose Heroes.

Heroes premiers Mon, Sept 21, at 7pm. I have high hopes for Heroes. Their season three finale was lacking creativity. I didn’t feel the intensity of season one and parts of season two. But, Heroes still has me hooked. The characters with their super hero abilities are interesting and well developed.

And now, with Nathan dead and Syler convinced he is Nathan, will Syler figure out his true identity? Also, I never received closure with the visions of the future that depict a world of chaos. We never figured out if this future was prevented. Have the saved the world once again? All we got was a “to be continued.”

And the girly, dramatic, guilty pleasure show is Grey’s Anatomy.

With Katherine Heigl (Izzie Stevens) gone, I don’t know if the show will be as entertaining. However, at least the sarcastic, spiteful Sandra Oh, who plays Cristina Yang is still a cast member.

Now that Derrick and Meredith are finally together for good, where will the relationship drama take us next? Cristina is in love for the Iraq soldier–Owen–suffering from nightmares that could kill her, and Calli is still experimenting with her new found love, Arizona, a female pediatrist.

And, just in case none of those interest you, 30 Rock is a great comedy to follow and will be premiering on Oct 15.


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Saving Journalism? A Solution?

September 5, 2009
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Slate V pleas with America to support journalists.


The Future of Journalism-Is it worth Saving?

September 5, 2009
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This semester I am taking two journalism classes. And, a scary, common, reoccurring theme keeps creeping into our discussions: What is going to happen to journalism?

My first assignment for my journalism II class was to read a MotherJones pieces titled “Black and White is dead all over.” The article lists facts that I find incredible horrifying and worrisome.

Nearly 1 in 5 newspaper journalists has lost his or her job since 2001,” wrote David Gilson, author of the article. These aren’t good prospects for my future.

But, what is even more frightening is the loss of coverage. “1/3 fewer newspaper reporters are dedicated to covering state capitols today than in 2003,” and “nearly 2/3 of newspaper executives say they’ve cut foreign coverage in the past 3 years.”

So, how do we save journalism?

Walter Isaacson from Time Magazine suggested a iTunes approach in his article “How to Save Your Newspaper.” Instead of giving away news for free on the internet, the papers could charge $0.99 per piece. But, even though iTunes is a great success, the music business is also suffering from the same problems as journalism. Music artists are finding it harder to get people to pay for music, so would they pay for news? Knowing America, one person would pay for it, and then copy it into his blog, where everyone could read it.

A classmate suggested a Netflix approach, where you pay a small monthly fee. But, if the New York Times starts charging, readers will start reading the free Washington Post. It seems that the only way that model might work is if all newspapers did it at the same time, but the same blog problem would still exist.

However, we could begin going the way of ProPublica or the soon to emerge Texas Tribune. These news organizations have chosen a completely online, non-profit model. But, other problems could emerge. Who’s to say that donors don’t try to become too involved in the news or that the recessions stops donations? Our news shouldn’t stop because our economy is going through rough times. (Yes, these would be extreme cases, but they are still something to consider.)

So, what should we do to save journalism?


Austin’s Late-Night Caffeine Joints

September 5, 2009
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Late-night coffee shops are something Austin students can’t get enough of, so here are my top picks for late night hangouts or study time locations.

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Bennu, located at 2001 E. MLK Blvd.

1. Bennu-If you need a great place to study or just want to get out of the house at 2:00am, Bennu (open 24-hours) is a perfect place for you to go. It offers good coffee; some great loose-leaf tea; fun, eclectic, literary-themed mochas, such as the Moby Dick or The Great Gatsby; and  wonderful, personable workers.

2. Epoch– Another 24-hour coffee shop that is a great place hang out but doesn’t usually double as a great study place. The coffee is good, but their tea is o.k. Also, the place can get really loud between the people and the music. But, it is a good alternative if you live in Hyde Park and are not close to MLK (which is where Bennu is located.)

3. Spider House Spider House, although it closes at 2:00am, is another great hangout spot. Usually they host events, such as episodes of Saved by the Bell. Their big outdoor porch is a great place to relax on a nice evening. However, since most of their seating is outside, if it rains (which may seem impossible in Austin,) your screwed. The indoor seating is very minimal. Also, it’s not a great study place because of the noise from the crowd and music and the low-lighting.

4. Halcyon– Located off of W. 4th street, Halcyon is a fun, exciting place for weekend nights. Since it doubles as a coffee shop and bar, you can decide between having a drink, having a caffeine fix or both. (Yes, this is something Spider House offers as well.) However, if you want to come here late a night to study, I wouldn’t. The place is always loud, louder than Spider House and Epoch. But, it’s a great place to observe the weekend night crowd if clubbing and bar hopping is something you don’t enjoy doing.


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