PopCornucopia is all about free associative pop culture tidbits as they strike my fancy, just like kernels of corn exploding into fullness at a random and unpredictable pace. And of course, the cornucopia is the horn of plenty.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Watch your ass Michael Bauer

My pal Vivian is the best food reviewer. For the real gastronomic lowdown on San Francisco , she's your gal.

Here's her original food blog. Now she Yelps.

A fellow SF native, I adore the fact that her reviews are always suffused with homegrown flavor and hardcore local pride.

She pretty much hits it right on the money every time, in a pithy, humorous way. I've been there for many of the food adventures she recounts, so I can corroborate. Her commentary is not only an entertaining read, but she often has some uncanny insight.

And her piccies...She's like Mario Testino for food porn.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

We don't want to make P.Star bubblegum

This documentary, P. Star Rising, looks like a great watch:

Here's the synopsis from the website:

At age 9, Priscilla, an adorable yet precocious little girl, tells her single-father, Jesse,: “I am going to become a rapper and fulfill your dreams of succeeding in the music business.” Moved by Priscilla’s passion and impressed with her natural talent and undeniable charisma, he begins to teach her all he knows about rapping. In the four years that follow there is no question that rapping has brought Priscilla closer to her estranged father, and that her success has made him proud. Before our eyes, this father-daughter duo go from a one-bedroom shelter in Harlem to a 4 bedroom apartment, from food stamps to shopping sprees, from rapping on street corners to sold out night clubs, and from sneaking under train turnstiles without the $2 fare to spare to being driven around in tinted SUV’s. It is further undeniable that Jesse has been reborn, from looking at old photos and bitterly reflecting on how he never was given the respect he deserved in the music business as a rapper himself to finding his own voice and self-respect as his daughter’s overzealous manager. But in the efforts to make her dad proud, Priscilla struggles to remain a child and finds herself trapped in a world of people twice her size and four times her age and doesn't know who to trust. Jesse himself is caught between wanting to protect his daughter’ innocence and exploiting her raw talent to fulfill his deferred dream. All they know is that the ride has just begun.

She busted out this pretty crunk number TWO years ago.

I keep scratching my head, because she is one badass performer. The bravado of this girl is incredible. She's like the anti-Miley.

Whoa, she's also on the new Electric Company (which is done by the same people who did Ghostwriter--one of my PBS faves). WTF, she has a workout video too?

Snap judgment, my favorite joint on the MySpace is "What a Difference It Makes"

She's kinda half-sassy ghetto fabulous, half-worryingly classic child star. Her stage dad totally freaks me out. But I won't decide how I feel until I actually see the film.

Anyone up for it when it comes to a theater near us?



Monday, April 27, 2009

BritPopCornucopia #14: Elvis Does Paddy, Damon does Elvis

Some rarefied "my favorites do my favorites" cover treats for you:

One of my favorite Prefab Sprout songs, and indeed one of my favorite songs ever, "Cruel", covered by one of my favorite artists, Elvis Costello.

And one of Elvis's songs, "Oliver's Army", as covered by Blur.

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

#63 Prettyman

In memory of Bea Arthur:

Listen to this song right here.

One of my all time fave tunes!

Oh, the gays and Golden Girls. Match made in heaven:

Best quotation: "You put it in Bea Arthur's mouth and it comes out gay." Note: Marc Cherry is also the creator of Desperate Housewives.

P.S. I know all the words to this.

Thanks for the memories,Bea.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Jesus, this f***ing neighborhood/BritPopCornucopia #13: Everybody wang Chung tonight! (Well, at least Alex Turner will)

Apparently, Williamsburg is the place to be, people. Just ask the folks at Gossip Girl (or not). Go here for an enlightening visual anthropological look at this Brooklyn 'hood. I've been shopping at Beacon's Closet, which I do like there. The gallery showing Simone's art (FMI see earlier post) is also a winner. The rest of it, not so much. But what do I know, poor San Franciscan simpleton that I am.

Nonetheless, its up-and-coming status just keeps on rising. Especially thanks to all the "stars" that have flocked to its cobbled streets.

E.g. English it-girl/TV presenter Alexa Chung just moved there, as she writes in her column.

Fashion "icon" and femme Carson Daly?

Unknown in the U.S. for now perhaps, but when she starts hosting this rumored TRL-esque show for MTV soon, her name will be on many an American hepcat's lips. Mark my words. Could it be her questionable fashion pedigree, her Arctic Monkeys frontman lover, semi-famous pals (like Daisy " I-once-banged-Mark-Ronson" Lowe), or her plucky persona that caused the transatlantic courting? Indeed, that is the winning formula for insubstantial starlets. Although with her dryly irreverent interview style will she prove to be a coup or obnoxious pain? Sub question: Is she the Nylon to Cat Deeley's InStyle?

Disgrasian seems to like her. And props for being human during London Fashion Week. So she may be a refreshing add to the celebscape here. Or another piece of rubbish. Aaaack. I can't decide. Help please, ambivalence overload.

At the very least her bf Alex "Hobbity-hipster-haircut" Turner and his Arctic Monkeys made one quasi-cool song that name checks my fair hometown:

P.S. Next time I promise to cut out the ubiquitous "scare quotes" and multiple-word-hyphen-strung-middle-names-as-pejoratives business.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

BritPopCornucopia #12: Banana Bread

Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett lift the curtain on Gorillaz in a doccie directed by Ceri Levy (who also produced the Blur behind the scenes drunkfest Starshaped)that takes an insider look at the virtual band, revealing funny moments dicking around as well as insights into the creative process. Levy spent 6 years following them.

Le trailer:

"No disrespect to Pink Floyd, but we've got tunes." Ha.

As the official PR says:

"Babelgum announced last week that "Bananaz",the documentary that removes the secretive, mucky walls of Gorillaz - the cartoon band created by artist Jamie Hewlett & musician Damon Albarn - will have its online and mobile global premiere on Babelgum.com on April 20th 2009.

Bananaz will be available to stream alongside a Gorillaz channel featuring the Demon Days live concerts, videos, two new games, a Go Bananaz fans competition and exclusive preview clips from the documentary

Babelgum announced last week that "Bananaz",the documentary that removes the secretive, mucky walls of Gorillaz - the cartoon band created by artist Jamie Hewlett & musician Damon Albarn - will have its online and mobile global premiere on Babelgum.com on April 20th 2009.

Bananaz will be available to stream alongside a Gorillaz channel featuring the Demon Days live concerts, videos, two new games, a Go Bananaz fans competition and exclusive preview clips from the documentary www.babelgum.com/gorillazgobananaz.

Bananaz is set for DVD release on June 1st 2009 - the DVD extras will include the Bananaz Home Movie Club, which has up to an hour of outtakes from the film including; Clint Eastwood, Live in Japan, The Sneeze, Hello America, Bill Murray featuring The Bees, and Food Chain amongst others.

Bananaz is set for DVD release on June 1st 2009 - the DVD extras will include the Bananaz Home Movie Club, which has up to an hour of outtakes from the film including; Clint Eastwood, Live in Japan, The Sneeze, Hello America, Bill Murray featuring The Bees, and Food Chain amongst others."

My favorites clips from the site so far are the ones with Dennis Hopper. Especially when they talk about the word "castrophony."

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Boogie nights: Idol does disco--some song picks

Next week's Idol theme is Disco week.

I can't help but think first about my fave, Anoop. He might be able work the stage right if he doesn't go apeshit with the prancing and snarling. But as much as I was irked that Kara's rather well-aimed "frat boy" tear-down was kinda on the money, he might take it into consideration,and find the right swagger balance he so desperately needs. I think the the lukewarm-to-negative responses from the judging panel since the finals, and the tepid showing from the voting public indicated by the B3 appearances, makes me think it could be tough for him to muster the confidence. Although his "c'mon Ryan!" on results show night gives me hope that he'll lose it (in a good way). I think he needs an element of rawness and abandon to make a connection and have an electrifying performance.

Oh yeah, and he needs to bust out a really nice dandified suit. The layering thing is not doing him any favors. I love that he is unafraid of color and has (mostly) avoided the vomitrocious screen print graphic trap. But every week I wince when I see his shirt un-tucked and he can't seem to perform in anything but jeans. There are no tailored pieces. No proper trousers. He's been using Kanye as a style inspiration. Time to ditch Kanye and think more Andre 3000. There's a palpable difference between their takes on hip hop prep. A strong sartorial statement may be the best antidote to the disco chesse.

I know the perfect Beau Brummell for him: Ozwald Boateng. Impeccable tailoring mixed with a playful color sensibility, and Black Britannia cool:

C'mon Miles Siggins, Idol stylist(I saw you in the background)! Hook Anoop up with Ozwald like you did with Ryan!

As for song, he could go safe with McFadden and Whitehead's "Ain't No Stoppin' us now." Although it's a song I also see Danny choosing for inspiration purposes. However, I think Anoop could really bring the heat with Earth Wind and Fire's "Fantasy."

While no one can compete with Philip Bailey and co., I think Anoop's got the vocals to handle the song and it will stretch him. I really want to see him do uptempo falsetto ( I know he can). This would be a real risky challenge but, if he did it right, molded it to fit him, perhaps threw a new twist in there by riffing on the slow parts that were originally just music, this could be the breakout for him. Plus he's got the great glory notes at the end if they arrange it cleverly. Moreover, the song is so inherently groovetacular and the non-come-hither lyrics mean that he can't do that "hey ladies" shizz that he doesn't always pull off with aplomb yet.

I sincerely think he could do even better than Clay, for sure.

Okay, this is a strange Me'Shell NdegeOcello cover of it, too schizo for my taste really,but it does show how far you can take the tune.

I think Kris Allen could also pull off EWF's "September" or Patrice Rushen's "Forget me nots" with a a sweet little uptempo acoustic.

Also how great would it be to see Allison rock Evelyn "Champagne" King's "Shame"? It's got a touch of gritty that suits her perfectly. It would also be great esp since Miss King was also a teenage phenom when she did this song. Or my personal fave Cheryl Lynn and her hit "Got to be real" ? Or will Lil attempt it? Could either of them really handle it? I wonder.

Wait...Adam could do it! He can do anything and he will cause combustion into flames of fierceness.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Ching-a-ling: Put out to Pastorious

I was just listening to Jaco Pastorious' "Portrait of Tracy". Here's a live performance of it:

In an arcane twist of musical convergence, I realized that "Pullin' Me Back", a Chingy (feat. Tyrese) jam I had on heavy rotation (yeah, I am sorry but I just dig the hook) samples it! Here's the studio version of "Portrait" so you can hear the sample more immediately.

Like, whoa, I didn't even seek that one out. It just fell in my lap. I love it when that happens :)

Of course, I looked it up just to be sure. And it seems Chingy and producer Jermaine Dupri were also referencing SWV:

Dude, I do love me some SWV too. That one was for you, Jon David.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Glambert is sooo fierce

Yet another reason this season of American Idol is riveting for me: Adam Lambert.

I love that he's genderqueered it up, but doesn't directly reference his sexuality, as much as he doesn't try to deflect or hide it. It's perhaps integral to his appeal.

Here's a NYT article on his sexuality and gender ambiguity that's pretty decent.

One thing missing from this article is the way that genderqueer and other elements of Lambert's presentation and performance is far from a departure of a particular stereotype. In some ways he's the kind of "gay"or "guyliner"-metrosexual that America--at least young America--seems to be at ease with. Witness the success of Scissor Sisters and The Darkness a few years back. Earlier precursors like David Bowie and Freddie Mercury, are proof that glam (which Lambert openly cites as a major influence) is totally well-tread upon ground in the mainstream, and the fact that--as the article points out--many "out" so-called straight men sport makeup and stage theatrics.

Adam Lambert is just the next logical step. Nor was he the first flamboyant male contestant whose wasn't unequivocally straight. Last season's Danny Noriega, and his "ish" was certainly a prior Idol foray into the queer eye of the storm. However, he hardly matched Lambert's vocal confidence and theatrical vision that have led him to perform so well on the show and create so much buzz. Nor is Adam a bitchy queen like Noriega.

In this case, theatricality, flamboyance, and certain cultural touchstones (e.g. male love for various divas, fashion and makeup styles) as proxy for gayness is a easily fashioned into a gimmick. Indeed this is an indication of the triumph of marketing sexual ambiguity and glam/goth/emo aesthetics for this generation. If anything, Lambert's growing success on American Idol is a testament to the way that certain notions of queerness, high theatrics, and vocal acrobatics combine into a viable commercial force, now more than ever. It's hardly edgy. Watch the end of his semi-final performance on Idol and Randy Jackson's comment at the end about his currency is dead-on:

This is hardly the case for other representations of sexuality and gender, which are still not-yet capitalized on in such a massive scale by the the corporate musical entertainment classes yet. Sure, there's righteous babe Ani, K.D. Lang, Melissa Etheridge, etc. But the only kind of lesbianism that's reached the kind of critical mass of American Idol scale is the kind that straight men also love to fantasize about. Not to mention queer folks of color, who have even less exposure.

Furthermore, while a lot people (and most of his women fans--who find him sexy knowing there's severely diminished chance of sexual compatibility, by most accounts) think that his sexuality is immaterial to his talent, others are likely dying to get some sort of confirmation or clearly marked coming out. Those that want to suss him out, not out of homophobia, but more likely out of heterosexism, indicate how much straightness and gayness are assumed and essentialised and that others' need to know in the face of ambiguity is about classification and the need to fit people into boxes, just as people of color are often asked their nationality or ethnic background as a primary "getting to know you" question far more than anyone who's white.

But it doesn't mean its not a step in a somewhat better direction, which again is why Lambert's ascendancy is so fascinating.

Whether it's his OTT dramatic performances (e.g. this week's highly-buzzed cover of Tears for Fears' Mad World) that seem to mesmerize, his off the charts Freddie Mercurial high notes, or his professed love of Gossip Girl or Twilight coupled with Elvisy pinup looks that have captured the cougars and the tweens alike, the boy is on fi-yah!

And no surprise here, Bill O'Reilly is homophobic and behind the times, thinking his "outing" of Lambert was a revelation:

As far as Idol is a barometer of the zeitgeist, Lambert's success (and all that it entails) and his showmanship keeps me tuning in.

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009


One of my top homegirls, Simone, is showing some of her pieces at Like the Spice Gallery, a Brooklyn-based art space in the center/black hole (depending who's side you're on) of the hipster universe, Williamsburg. It's happening Sunday, April 12th. I am so proud of her I could burst. Her work is fantastic. Employing complex imagery of girlhood, otherworldly landscapes, and houses adrift in boats, it's got subtlety and quiet beauty, yet is guided by a firmly anchored ethos and aesthetic. How wonderful it is to have her work on show at such a neat lookin' gallery!

Here she is talking about her art for the gallery's blog:

You can also visit her website to see more of her totally staggering, finely crafted, coolly feminist art.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

BritPopCornucopia #11: You can't go wrong with TONG

Did you know Matt Tong, drummer of Bloc Party, has a father who is a pro chef? Well, they did a little 4-parter vid for Guardian UK Online called "Cooking With (the) Tongs". It was part of the Bloc Party Take Over guest editor series for the website. He is so dry. And the interaction with his dad, who plays the straight man is priceless.

Matty oozes quotables in the first part that's linked, but beyond that I won't spoil it for you. And they make Chinese pork terrine in part 3, which is delicious. My grandma makes it all the time!

Here's a clip of Matt and Kele (the lead singer/rhythm guitarist) in an interview. It's fantastic how clearly apathetic they are about interviews. Way to go, flippin' the bird to the media game, brothers.

Ooh, those shorts...

Check out how checked out Kele is in this interview in Brazil in which they have the gall to ask him how his name is pronounced:

And here's Matt and his bandmate Gordon doing Morrissey:

I watched a few other interviews and I gotta say Matt's wisecracking is the bomb. It totally wins me over, and in addition, his crisp drumming is always tops.

Cool TONG factoid #386: He also went to Bournemouth School For Boys just like Alex James.

What's more, the Bloc Partisans are outspoken feminist allies. Here's what MT had to say on the patriarchy of the rock n' roll orthodoxy:

"I always thought being a musician or wanting to do anything great was recourse to escaping the things about the world that might be hard to digest. I see bigotry all the time in the music industry. It’s still a very macho environment; it’s always been boys in the road swilling Jack Daniel's and womanizing. Rock 'n’ roll and feminine influence have been mutually exclusive. I heartily disagree with that. I constantly meet females who operate in this world who still struggle with archaic and counterproductive attitudes."

It's settled. He's my fave member. All hail the mighty TONG!

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Friday, April 03, 2009

Doggy Defenders

I thought I was so tough because I had two of these puppies:

Spike and Rascal always had my back, poised to gnash their teeth and cuddle at the same time. C'mon kids. I know you want one too now.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

The second coming of K. Cla on American Idol? Perhaps...

Allison Iraheta, you are great. And I totally agree with the American Idol punditry at EW, you gotta stay in the game girl. As the ballsiest girl left standing in a sausagefest, I love that you are bringing the pain and some implicit feminist pleasure. For the year you were born (1992) week here are my picks.

Do a grunge song, either Smells Like Teen Spirit or Under the Bridge, as many have suggested. But maybe do a spare downtempo acoustic version. You can still be raw but show the soft side everyone needs to see.

Or do this as power ballad--so reinvented with your gravelly voice. Cuz I don't think I can make it through Idol without you.

Just make sure you steer clear of this terrifying rendition. *Shudder* He looks like that dude from The Mummy!

The other route is to go full on ROCK, and follow premier Idol champ Kelly Clarkson's lead and do En Vogue's "Free Your Mind":

Dude, this vintage performance is even more blazin':

Rock on ladies. Rock on.

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BritPopCornucopia #10: Raunchy lederhosen with Coxon

Graham Coxon has quite a wardrobe:

OMG, he's so art school sometimes.

I also love that in Alex James' autobiography he says that Graham got really depressed when Audrey Hepburn died. Aw.

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Sweetest Anoop

Dear Anoop,

Please DO NOT do this song for next week's "year you were born" (1986) theme:

I have a sick feeling in my tum-tum that you will pick it. That spells D-A-N-G-E-R -Z-O-N-E (another '86 song, a highway to where you should avoid). You dressed for it last week (erm), so if you're gonna go Maverick on me, you can always do this. But it's one of those things that could either be sheer triumph or absolute suicide.

I know Stevie's your hero, but don't do "Overjoyed." It's overdone. You're smarter than that. Right?

However, I would LOVE to see you do this song:

Soooo easy to make contemporary because of the beats, plus the gender crossover always helps you win easy originality points. Smoldering yet earnest. You can be sexy without all the chest puffing and strutting.

Even Les Nubians gives you something to work with that's more recent:

Languorous enough to show off the smooth vocals, but nice n' mid-tempo to keep the energy up.

Do it baby, slam dunk.



P.S. Found this after the initial post: LOOK! What did I tell you? You got this.

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