Tweet-Sized Thoughts on Media-Related Things: p1

In honor of my recent inability to write anything of length, I felt I had to post something for my own sake. So I think I will take a cue from my friend Britt Julious and her Sunday column idea…Though with this blog, it will just be a collection of my recent tweets on Twitter that happen to be media-related. (Note: Hopefully, on another day, some of these tweet-sized bites will grow into essays or articles.)

First impressions of a commercial for Sex and the City 2.

‘Sex and the City 2′ looks like a hackneyed, slightly racist mess. #SATC 8:44 PM May 6th

Update: Solange is still cooler than you, even while singing on one of those LSD-induced kids’ shows.

Dear @solangeknowles: Will you please make a full-length song of this Yo Gabba Gabba! thing? It’s damn catchy. http://bit.ly/cHDOR6 3:45 PM May 8th

A film I revisited and found it’s still one of my all-time favorites: Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas.

“I walked around for months talking to you. Now I don’t know what to say. It was easier when I just imagined you.” Damn good film, Paris, TX 5:31 PM May 8th

Betty White hosting SNL Mother’s Day Episode. I basically live-tweeted the Betty White-hosted SNL episode…along with dozens of my friends. In a nutshell? It was glorious. Undoubtedly one of the best episodes SNL has had in a lonnnnnnng time. Because of Betty White AND the fact that they brought back a lot of the former female favorites for the Mother’s Day episode. They have to know that they can’t really make it any better than that ever again…But we’ll see with the Alec Baldwin episode tonight. (Which, in the promos for, they’ve already made fun of themselves and their one-time success with Betty White.) Key tweets include…

Betty White on #SNL! Awesome already. Just to hear her say, ‘Jay-Z is here!’ 10:40 PM May 8th

NPR ladies!! Muffin!! Betty White!! #SNL 10:49 PM May 8th

TINA!!!! #SNL 11:00 PM May 8th

Jay-Z medley!!! This is the best #SNL episode ever. 11:12 PM May 8th

Omg. Maya’s Whitney impression is always gold. #SNL 11:21 PM May 8th

Cannes Film Festival 2010 starts; French New Wave pioneer Jean-Luc Godard’s new film Socialisme.

The trailers for #Godard‘s new #film just speed up the whole movie in its entirety, instead of highlighting scenes http://bit.ly/9fSymX 10:27 AM May 10th

RT: Racialicious explores Lady Gaga and white privilege.

Great read, fascinating. RT @britticisms Racialicious on how Lady Gaga’s white privilege makes her transgressive: http://bit.ly/gagawoc 2:35 PM May 10th

RT: Salon.com on the 90s MTV show Daria finally being released on DVD.

SalonMedia Remember the old MTV? “Daria” comes out on DVD http://bit.ly/a2ruwh 8:57 AM May 12th

“‘Daria’ could have only happened at that time, during that strange, transitional period after the grunge and gangsta rap of the early ’90s” 9:11 AM May 12th

RT: A friend lets me know about a development in the Polanski case.

DrMcButtcheeks @colleenclaes http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/05/14/polanski.second.accuser/index.html Honestly. Who saw this coming? about 22 hours ago

@DrMcButtcheeks But this just reminds me how I don’t even WANNA know how many old pervo Polanski did this to… about 22 hours ago

And that’s all for now. If you see anything you’d like me to elaborate on, please let me know! (Unfortunately, I don’t think my heart/anxiety can bear doing another lengthy post on Polanski…)

Janelle Monae is an Avant-Garde Film Geek (‘Tightrope’ Video)

Janelle Monae was already promising to be a distinguishable kind of talent with her 2007 EP and her 60s soul sound with a touch of outer space. And the music video for her new song “Tightrope” (to be released on her upcoming album in May) has given us even more to look forward to.

There’s one thing extra special about this video though. Aside from the smooth dancing, awesome energy, and undeniably catchy song, the video features a Maya Deren reference. (Puttin’ my film history cap on…) See those hooded people with the mirrors for faces? That’s from the mind of the renowned avant-garde filmmaker herself. And unmistakably so. The faceless, cloaked people appear in Deren’s experimental short, Meshes of the Afternoon (1943). See the original image at about 3:18 in this video:

Though made in the early 40s with very simple filmmaking techniques, this image alone effectively disturbs me every time I see it, and haunts me after.

As a fan of Maya Deren and her works, the reference came as a gleeful, nerdy surprise. Did someone really just pay homage to what some consider the “grandmother of avant-garde” in their music video?! I decided to do a Google search to see if my finding was novel. (It wasn’t, most unfortunately.) But I was pleased to find that a few other people took note of this.

Janelle and/or this music video director have earned extra points in my book for this. (Not that anyone’s reading my book, but still). For anyone who’s a fan of – or at least familiar with – Maya Deren, this little homage blows all the rest of them out of the water in its total unexpectedness. I hate to use the word “obscure,” but Deren is too often neglected outside of a film history class (assuming the curriculum covers avant-garde). As this guy says on MuuMuse, “Lady Gaga, eat your obscure cultural reference loving heart out.”

He’s right. I’ll take a nod to Deren over heavy-handed Tarantino references any day.

Internet: The New Music Video Platform

I can’t bring myself NOT to write about this. Yeah, that’s right. I’m talking about the now infamous, mixed received “Telephone” music video/mini epic comprised of a million pop culture references by Lady Gaga and Beyoncé. (Sidenote: Funny – the last time I wrote about a music video worth writing about, it was Beyoncé’s “Video Phone” featuring Lady Gaga.)

No, I’m not going to analyze and criticize it scene by scene. (After all, Jezebel and Salon’s Broadsheet already said it better than I ever could.) Besides, all I really have to say is that the acting is atrocious (sorry B, but you are by far the worst of the two), and that there’s an overload of silly product placement, drawn-out and misplaced scenes, and Tarantino references.

What’s more fascinating to me than the video itself is its internet-based success. As of today it has more than 14 million views on YouTube via Vevo. And it was released on Thursday night. Then today, things got really interesting. MTV announced it was “banning” the video from its channel, which officially means absolutely nothing seeing as how MTV doesn’t even air music videos anymore. Back in February, MTV slightly rebranded and removed the “Music Television” from their logo. So what is now basically a network for reality television – but used to be the pioneering music TV channel – has decided to make a statement by banning “Telephone.” Because it’s raunchy? Because it’s 9 minutes long? Or because – as Gawker points out – MTV is trying to reinforce that their decisions still matter in the music video world? Probably the sad but true latter.

When I was growing up in the 90s, my daily life before and after school was defined by music videos shown on MTV. I seriously watched the same videos and premieres of new videos over and over to the infinite degree. Total Request Live replaced the after-school snack for us kids in the decade before the aughts. And then on top of it, we had regular episodes of Making the Video, taking our young minds from concept to film set to final product (and making us want to have Hype Williams’ job when we grew up.) Believe me – there wasn’t one music video I hadn’t seen start to finish in those days.

Now? Well, I hate to say it, but I don’t see a music video (even by my favorite artists) unless I go out of my way to watch it online, or it becomes a huge sensation (like Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies.”) No one watches MTV anymore for music videos. Mostly because they choose not to play them. But also because MTV is completely useless nowadays unless you’re watching the guilty pleasure Jersey Shore, or you’re in the mood for yet another lame and yawn-inducing True Life episode. (“I Have a Summer Share 2″ and “I’m Graduating from High School” are seriously a few of the titles from Season 9… Long gone are the days when Serena Altschul squatted in alleys with heroin addicts.)

But I don’t feel bad for you, MTV. You brought this upon yourself. You’ve turned your back on your original purpose of music videos, which are (sometimes) truly worth watching. And now YouTube and Vevo are garnering millions and millions of views on music videos, and the mini films themselves are premiering on the internet worldwide – not on your pointless, dated channel. The “Telephone” video has made it strikingly clear: As of 2010, music videos are officially spread by word of mouth. There’s no need for an MTV when you have YouTube, countless other video hosting sites, and Twitter.

So now what do you do if you’re MTV? Release a statement that you’re “banning” the most talked-about music video of the year thus far. Sounds like someone just has a spoonful of bitter and regret stuck under their tongues.

UPDATE: Thanks to Robert Brenner for bringing it to my attention, but MTV has – after all – not banned the “Telephone” video, as they reported today. I got that story from more than one popular source, but it appears that a CNN reporter announced it without any kind of citation. MTV says: “Fans can continue to catch the video as we repeat it on-air and online.”

While my rant in regards to MTV banning the video no longer stands, my rant towards MTV on a more general note does.

Music Video Appreciation #1: ‘Video Phone,’ Beyoncé

Artists: Beyoncé featuring Lady Gaga
Song: “Video Phone [Extended Remix]“
Director: Hype Williams

I know I’m a few months late on this, but I’m really blown away by the “Video Phone” music video. It’s strange, sexy, colorful, and enticing. It actually made me appreciate the song (which is also strange, especially for Beyoncé) more because of these visuals. Though it’s not clear why exactly Lady Gaga needed to be remixed into it, I don’t really mind it. I do believe though that the song is just as good on the album without Lady Gaga. (Someone actually said somewhere online that Lady Gaga’s voice doesn’t seem cut out for this kind of beat, and I have to agree.)

But back to the visuals. I love Hype Williams, and this video screams Hype Williams – almost back to his old Busta Rhymes days. I also appreciate the nod to Reservoir Dogs in the opening sequence. Odd-looking guns, even odder-looking outfits, and men with cameras for heads make this video uniquely appealing. So appealing, in fact, that I felt the need to post it. (EDITOR’S NOTE: I am planning on incorporating more music video posts like this a few times a month. Thoughts? Suggestions?)