Saturday, March 9, 2013

Your Questions Answered: The Full-Text and less pithy response to Question #4

Jim D asked:

4. Can we trust those youths who have no meaningful memories of the 1990's?

My original answer was:

I tend to think not. I drive past a high school every day on my way to work, and the kids are starting to dress like they're in a Young MC video or maybe big Madonna fans. I don't think they know that's what they're emulating. The undergrads I see are basically okay, but they're easily distracted and swayed by anything from donuts to sparkley lights. Basically, I don't trust anyone who still has dreams or aspirations.

I work on a college campus.  Almost every day I am surrounded by bright young people who were born between 1990 and 1995.  Many are lovely people, and if I didn't believe that, I wouldn't work there.  But I also know that this is the first time they've stepped away from the helicopter-parenting, special-snowflake environs in which they were raised.  One bubble into another.

I don't know if I'd anchor my answer necessarily to the 1990's, other than that the 1990's were the era in which I passed from teenager to college graduate, and the cultural and historical events of the era no doubt had a huge hand in how I think of things today.

Do I trust a 19 year old telling me about hip new bands?  No, I do not.  I've had almost twenty years to outgrow the bands I liked, understand their influences later on - and stop believing that they sprung from the earth fully formed as geniuses, the like of which the world had never seen before.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

We Finally Watch: On the Waterfront (1954)

Somehow, and I don't really have a good explanation for this considering I have seen Manos: The Hands of Fate at least four times in its entirety (including once in the theater), I had never seen the 1954 Marlon Brando starring classic On the Waterfront.

This is young, virile Brando, who was full of ideas about acting that would change the artform forever and who made the ladies swoon.  As much as I like old, weird Brando, you need context, and between this movie and A Streetcar Named Desire,  it's not hard to see why the name still gets tossed around.

And, before we begin, was Karl Malden just born aged 42?  Because, seriously, Karl Malden.

Your Daily Dose of Good Cheer: Louise Brooks

Whatever Happened to The Girl in the Stop Sign Shorts?

On Wednesday night I posted a comment to facebook about how we don't spend enough time celebrating the dancer in the trademark "Stop Sign" shorts from the Young MC video for "Bust a Move".  I was about 14 when this song was big, and I knew enough then to know that the bassist in the video was Flea from the California-based Red Hot Chili Peppers (who might be a thing one day).

The video is below. You can find the dancer in question around the 1:05 mark.

Well, in 1989-ish, you couldn't not hear this song, and from 1989 until the end of time, you couldn't not like the song.  It's a staple of Gen X music consumption that was sort of universally beloved, kind of like the work of Tone Loc (also written by Young MC) and "The Humpty Dance" by Digital Underground.

It was a different time.

Lets just say that the performer left an impression, enough so that in 2013, if you say "Stop Sign Shorts", I know exactly what you're talking about.

But who was the woman behind the shorts?  (so to speak)

Turns out her name is Cindyana Santangelo.  This is some minor league Google search wizardry, and you can thank me later.

What I didn't know is that she's also the voice from the beginning of the 1990 Jane's Addiction album, Ritual de lo Habitual.  And if you were a sulky kid in 1990, chances are, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Just watch the first part of the video and it'll come back to you here 23 years on.

Well, I assure you that video seemed relevant at the time.

LA must have been a bit smaller of a town than I realized back then, what with all the Jane's Addiction/ Chili Peppers/ Young MC cross-pollination going on.  Oddly, I feel less awkward watching a Young MC video today than I do remembering being really, really into Jane's Addiction from about 1989-1993.

I'm shocked to learn that the two were so close together as, in my mind, they seem incredibly separated, but I'd moved and made the passage to being a bit older and more sullen by the time I was anticipating new Jane's Addiction albums, I guess.  But, dang, we all still loved Young MC!  Everyone find a way to send Young MC a dollar on paypal.

Anyway, point is:  After imprinting herself heavily upon my malleable 14 year old psyche, I now know who this person is (Cindyana Santangelo!) and a wee bit about her. Because she's got a website.  She's an actress!

Look here.

She's apparently been on CSI and appeared on a reality show as a client on Million Dollar Listing and was on a show that didn't get picked up about Housewives of Malibu.

She also appears to run something called "Mermaid Cove Sober Living" in Malibu.

So, wherever you are Cindyana, we salute you.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Your Questions Answered: A Peppering of Questions

My wife asks:

Gorilla vs. Robot. Who wins? (your choice as to how literally you'd like to interpret this question)

bonus question: Lucy vs. Scout. Who wins?

Question # 1:  We do.
Question # 2:  Nobody.

JimD asks:

1. Supes v. Alistair? Who wins?
2. Ten years ago, The League began this blogging thing. If we could transport 2003 League to 2013, what would he say about the world he surveys here?
3. Compare the child reader of comic books in 1986 (who could go to 711 and purchase a new issue) with his 2013 counterpart. What changed, and why?
4. Can we trust those youths who have no meaningful memories of the 1990's?
5. What does it all mean?

Your Daily Dose of Good Cheer: Ann Miller

Your Questions Answered: What if I Had Creative Control of Superman?

Jake asks:

Since this is Superman heavy blog, if you were the publisher or editor in chief over at DC, or even just a writer on a Superman title, what would you do, creatively, with Superman? Assuming you could flush the whole reboot, what would you do (or not do) with the character? Just focus on good, solid storytelling? Make Superman more socially/politically conscious? Introduce him to a wider audience, i.e. kids, women, etc.?

Believe it or not, this isn't something I think about all that much, and maybe that's wrong-headed, but I'm never comfortable with reviews of something that start with "what they should have done was..." or "what they should really do".  It seems like an endgame with little satisfaction.

Usually the question I find myself asking is: why didn't that work?

But rather than dodge the question, let me give it a whirl.

1. Re-Establish a Supporting Cast of Humans

If you've been picking up Superman comics for a while, or, in fact, most superhero comics of the last decade, one of the primary problems I detect is that there is no status quo.  There's no "home base" for the characters to point to and have in mind as they go about their adventures.  Spider-Man lost his with the dissolution of the Mary Jane marriage, Batman is almost never seen as billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne with his youthful ward, and the only writer who seemed to want to put Clark Kent in the Daily Planet for more than two panels every six issues was Geoff Johns, who left the book before his creative imprint could really take hold.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

I am in the awkward position of admitting I liked the 2012 film "Battleship"

So, Jamie's dad had more than once recommended me the 2012 film, Battleship, which he'd seen in the theater.  I had heard some atrocious things online, but Dick was the only person I knew who had actually seen the movie.

A good, brainless movie can really pass the time on the elliptical, so I threw on Battleship, directed by the notable director and producer Peter Berg of Friday Night Lights fame, and starring Taylor Kitsch of FNL fame as well.

If you have high hopes for a groundbreaking film based on a board game, which throws up a title screen that this is a Hasbro movie, and which stunt casts Rihanna, well, you may come away disappointed.

I am not averse to, and am actually a fan of, what my brother calls "hardware porn".  Movies that feature lots of military vehicles, space ships, cannons, what have you...  and in this vein, I am quite excited for Pacific Rim.  It's worth noting that Battleship is probably intended for middle school boys, from the chaste romantic story to the color-by-numbers scrappy-rebel-learns-honor-in-the-military plot.  And, also, the complete fetishization of naval combat against alien aggressors.

Your Daily Dose of Good Cheer: Rita Hayworth