Woooo, Spring Break! We're not going to lie to you: Even here at the Buzzkills desk, it's hard to be dour when we're on the precipice of SXSW week. Hanging out in our (overrated) town of Austin, mingling with visiting (hipster douchebag) music lovers, listening for hours upon hours to bands (play the empty sounds of watered-down indie rock in order to latch on to an obscure name which we will then lord over you in order to shore up our fragile egos)–we love it all! Seeing our in-boxes fill with the desperate pleas from publicists to write about their shitty roster is kind of like noticing the azaleas are in bloom, you know? So we were all set to blow off this Buzzkills gig and get right to the wankery, but then our colleague Genevieve Koski clued us in to this binary star that's about to obliterate us with a super-concentrated gamma ray. And then we found out that the old saw "pure as the driven snow" is a lie, because snow actually contains disease-carrying bacteria. Neat! Oh, and Patrick Swayze might be dying of pancreatic cancer. Yep, even on the grassy lawns where we were so eager to frolic, it looks like everything's coming up Friday Buzzkills.
- If this were the movies, the news of potential obliteration by a giant exploding star might actually be cause for concern. The United Nations would probably hold a tense meeting about it, where they would gravely discuss the possibilities of mass extinction before coming up with a crazy plan that just might work and assembling a ragtag team of crack pilots about to retire, pompous science geeks, and a black guy to risk his life saving the day. But here in the real world, the United Nations has far more important things to worry about, like cracking down on the likes of Pete Doherty and Amy Winehouse so that kids aren't seduced by their "glamorous" junkie lifestyles. According to U.N. watchdog group The International Narcotics Control Board, world leaders should be concerned with pursuing criminal prosecutions against celebrities caught with drugs and making sure they don't duck in and out of rehab, because it "sends the wrong message to kids." That sounds like an awfully tall order, U.N.! Sure, you may be one of the most powerful international organizations in the world, but how are you actually going to convince the children that this guy doesn't look so fucking cool?
- Of course, we can understand why the U.N. would prefer to busy itself with meaningless tasks rather than attempting to find a diplomatic solution to, say, a crisis that's been going on in China for over 50 years; when it comes to resolving the issue of Tibetan sovereignty versus making sure everyone knows Amy Winehouse is kinda nasty, it's way easier to make mountains out of molehills than make mediations in the mountains. And besides, without the "whole Tibet thing," what would our actors and musicians have to be smugly pedantic about? Unfortunately, thanks to a recent outburst by Björk where she chanted, "Tibet! Tibet!" at a Shanghai concert, China will tighten its controls on all foreign performers from now on, with ominous intones about investigating them "according to the law." Way to ruin it for everybody else, Björk. Don't you know you're supposed to stick to your ideological guns only when you're absolutely sure that the people you're rebelling against can't hear you?
- Stupid singers! Always putting their foot in their mouth when they should just be standing there looking pretty and waiting for Ticketmaster to put another quarter in their jukebox. "Well yeah…That, and writing songs that make life worth living," you say. Pfft! Shows how much you know about the music business! Take it from BMG bigwig Clive Davis, who recently urged singers to stop writing their own songs. Still bristling about the relatively lackluster sales of Kelly Clarkson's much-disputed My December (Only 754,000 sold? Fuck! Maybe Waffle House will take you back)—on which the star had the sheer audacity to co-write some of her songs—Davis says singers should focus on singing and leave the hit-making to the experts. "I don't care how many No. 1's you have written in the past," Davis said. "Have you written a new No. 1?" And people say the music industry has become irredeemably hollow!
- Maybe Davis is onto something, though. Sure, artists like, oh I don't know, The Beatles made their greatest impact precisely because they wrote their own songs and weren't concerned with chasing hits and blah blah blah, but these days everyone knows musicians aren't really "artists." They're just props for Vitamin Water and Pepsi ads–less Rembrandts than brands, you dig? In fact, musicians: Why even make another album at all? Why not just go straight to having your own VH1 Celebreality show? After all, judging by the network's upcoming programming slate, they're pretty much up for anything at this point. According to Variety, this season VH1 will "beef up" its reality programming with all kinds of shit Josh Modell will soon be forced to write about, like Brooke Hogan Knows Best; Luke's Parental Advisory, following 2 Live Crew's Luther Campbell as he juggles the "twin challenges of parenting and producing adult videos;" and yet another chapter in the New York saga, New York Goes To Hollywood, where America's favorite loudmouthed skank tries to become a "professional actress" (we smell a Luke's Parental Advisory crossover!). "Beefing up," huh? Say, we think we know where they got their beef:
- Finally, veteran actor John Bliss died this week at the age of 77. While he wasn't the shiniest star on stage or screen–despite working with big names like Elia Kazan, the Coen Brothers, and Arthur Penn over his very long career–he made quite an impact around the Friday Buzzkills desk, having worked on two of our favorite things in the world, ever: 1952's awesome A Face In The Crowd, in which he made his (uncredited) film debut as the "Barefoot Baritone," and unfairly executed sitcom Andy Richter Controls The Universe, where he delivered the following memorable words of wisdom on our chosen profession:
Have a super weekend!
[Friday Buzzkills will return March 21.]