Rant: Loudmouths at Concerts

October 9, 2015 § Leave a comment

Why in the world do people go to shows if they’re just going to talk the whole time?!

At the end of July, I attended SummerStage at Central Park. It’s fun because it’s outdoors, and you can bring blankets and food and have a nice picnic along with the music. Dawes and First Aid Kit were billed equally as headliners, but First Aid Kit ended up performing before Dawes; I suppose the latter is more well-known, but I was there for the Swedish ladies.

summerstage

We weren’t sitting that close to the stage (as you can see, that area up front is standing room only), but still close enough to ostensibly be there to hear the music. On the outer edges of the makeshift venue were stands where you could buy food or drinks.

People around us talked the whole time, and using their outdoor voices. The din of everyone’s conversation relegated the opening act to background music. It didn’t help that the volume of the music wasn’t nearly loud enough throughout the whole show.

I didn’t mind so much at first, but once First Aid Kit came on stage, a group of young adults (not pictured) came and sat down at an open spot in front of us. And boy were they having the time of their lives! Just talking and laughing noisily like they were at a bar.

I’m not a confrontational person by any stretch of the imagination, but occasionally I can get going when filled with righteous anger. And no assholes were going to keep me from giving First Aid Kit my full attention. So I stepped over and said to the loudest guy, “Can you guys talk quieter please?!”

It was not my most grammatically proud moment. But at least they finally realized other people were actually trying to hear the music.

It was also — and still is — baffling to me that people would pay money ($37.50 per ticket, not super expensive but not that cheap either!) to go somewhere and just talk over the performers. I get that maybe most of the people were there for Dawes and not First Aid Kit, but what about common courtesy to the musicians as well as the rest of the audience?!

Alas, the same thing happened to me last night at a concert for MS MR. It was a great show with two amazing opening acts (Vérité and Jack Garratt). I was perched at a prime spot on Terminal 5’s second floor balcony.

msmr

Just as Vérité finished their set, this white couple about my age came and stood next to me at the railing. And oh my god they would not stop talking!!!!! They blabbered through Jack Garratt’s entire performance, and I could barely concentrate on how awesome he was due to their loud, inane chatter. Eventually, the guy on the other side of them told them to hush.

Before MS MR came on, the people on the other side of me left, so I moved down the railing to get away from the two loudmouths…but they ended up moving right along with me! And continued their inebriated banalities through MS MR’s first few songs.

Seriously, why were they even there?! There are places where you can go and order drinks and talk loudly and it’s called a fucking bar!

I got so fed up that after a few songs, I leaned over and yelled, “Can you two stop talking for ONE SONG?!?”

The guy was like, “Whooaaaa” but neither of them actually acknowledged me. They quieted down some but continued talking, and at that point I had to conclude that they were just drunk. How else can you be so obtuse?

I can put up with a lot at a concert. Invasion of personal space, like when the woman’s long flowing hair fell into her beer and then somehow wiped that beer on the back of my hand, I won’t make a big fuss about if you’re contributing to the atmosphere of the show by actually enjoying the music. If you’re dancing and bump into me, I don’t care.

BUT WHY WITH THE TALKING??? WHY??

I don’t know if this is a NYC thing, or a young people thing, or a cheap-ish concerts thing, but oblivious assholes like these should just stay away from live shows. I would posit, however, that it does have something to do with age (and booze).

When I went to see Todrick Hall’s Twerk du Soleil show last year, his opening acts were a couple of aspiring pop stars who were basically mediocrely talented teenagers singing covers. But the audience, comprising also mostly teenagers (yes I felt out of place and old), were respectfully quiet during these performances! Or they weren’t drunk enough to not care.

It pains me that my peers see fit to talk over artists with actual talent, like First Aid Kit and Jack Garratt. They deserve better, and so do I.

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Where Are The Women?

August 18, 2015 § 1 Comment

The other day I went to go see Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation and was struck by the 20 minutes of trailers that played before it. Not because they were so long, though it has gotten pretty ridiculous, but because of how testosterone-fueled many of them were.

The two that stuck out most were In the Heart of the Sea and 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi — they’re movies with men, men and more men. In the former, Chris Hemsworth’s wife gets one line, and the rest of the story portrays how the crew of men get stranded at sea by a giant whale.

And there isn’t a single woman in the two-and-a-half minute trailer for 13 Hours. It’s a war movie, so…no surprise there.

Both these films are based on true stories, so arguably there isn’t much the filmmakers could do to include more women. But it’s dull (to me) to see men’s stories told over and over again with barely even the presence of women. (And it did make me wonder what the world would be like if women were in charge instead of men; I’m not saying there wouldn’t be any wars, but I’ve no doubt they would be less destructive.)

The recent study about lack of diversity in movies — “women made up only 30.2 percent of all speaking or named characters in the 100 top-grossing fictional films released in the United States” — rang true in Mission Impossible 5 as well. Other than Rebecca Ferguson, there were only two other women (with or without lines) in the whole film…and they both die shortly after we meet them.

There’s also a scene toward the beginning of the movie where Jeremy Renner and Alec Baldwin are sitting in front of a panel of judges, trying to justify why IMF should or shouldn’t be disbanded. The row of at least eight judges were all old, white men. Only a couple of them even talk! How difficult would it be to just throw a woman on there? Or a person of color?

But no. Men are the default. Every eastern European thug, every security staff member at the secret Moroccan plant, all men.

I would feel so disheartened if I were an actress. Where are the roles in big movies? There isn’t even the excuse that you’re not pretty or white or young enough; you’re a woman, and there’s only room for one or fewer of you.

You Play, I Watch: Video Game Playthroughs

July 26, 2015 § Leave a comment

I first started writing this post two years ago when I was actually going through this phase. Back then, video game playthroughs (also called Let’s Plays) were niche. Nowadays, Pewdiepie is practically a household name, Twitch sold for $1 billion and the phenomenon even got its own South Park episode. What a time to be alive.

Why would you spend your time watching someone else play a video game? is the resounding question from the confused masses. Back in 2013, I told a friend about my newfound pastime and he unflinchingly called me a loser. LOL.

My main reasons were usually a combination of:
1. no money
2. no time
3. no skills/too lazy

But the bottom line is, once you find a YouTube personality that you like, it’s simply entertaining to watch his or her playthroughs. (I don’t watch the ones without narration.) Since I already watched other vloggers on YouTube, it was a natural leap to combine that kind of casual, friendly familiarity with a love of video games. For me, it only works for certain games that have a story worth watching, but with the right narrator, the experience can be just as fun or engrossing as a good movie. And all for free!

Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness

Two years ago, Pokémon XD was inadvertently the first playthrough I watched. I already subscribed to TheJWittz‘s channel and the series caught my interest because I had started but never finished the game myself. This can wholly be blamed on Yawen’s brother, who back in the day somehow managed to delete everything on our Gamecube memory card, thus wiping all my progress. I was too distraught (and lazy) to play through it again.

It was interesting to see the game played from someone else’s perspective and compare JWittz’s battle style with mine. More important, it opened my eyes to the world of playthroughs — no longer did I have to be deprived of experiencing games old or new just because I didn’t own the right console or couldn’t finish a game.

Unfortunately, JWittz got sidetracked by the Pokémon World Championships and Pokémon Rumble U (which I found dull), so he stopped uploading XD videos.

Journey

Weeks later on a particularly boring weeknight, I found myself lying around the apartment and looking up lists of the best recent indie games so I could check them out. I decided on Journey, a beautiful game that I never would’ve been able to play myself because I don’t own a PS3. It’s a short game, and the whole thing lasted about the length of a movie.

I liked GhostRobo’s upbeat narration. He seemed just as amazed with the gorgeous landscapes as I was; it was like we were journeying together!

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Not The Mario Party I Remember

March 25, 2015 § Leave a comment

mario party

I have very, very fond memories of playing Mario Party on Nintendo 64. It combined three of my favorite things: board games, video games and the Mario franchise! I don’t think I’ve owned any since Mario Party 3, but I’ve always tried playing them when I could, even the more recent Wii versions.

Needless to say, I was psyched about the the newest version, Mario Party 10; J preordered it so I could play it on release day. I hadn’t read any reviews, partly because all game-related websites are blocked at work (boohoo) and because I wanted to go into it with an open, unspoiled mind since I was planning to buy it regardless.

Well…I didn’t fall in love with the game. But let’s put good news first. My unexpected favorite thing about MP10 is its badminton game (found under Bonus Games). Why is it there? I don’t know. It doesn’t seem to be a minigame that you could play under normal party mode circumstances…it’s like they just happened to make it and stick it in randomly.

And it’s strangely good! I’ve never had the honor of playing a badminton video game (it’s a fringe sport in this industry I suppose), and I couldn’t get the controls quite right (Peach kept lunging and falling down), but it was fun and evocative of the actual sport. Well done.

That said, here are my least favorite things about Mario Party 10:

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Should You See Britney’s Vegas Show?

February 5, 2015 § 2 Comments

britney5

Yes, if:

1. You sometimes get a Britney Spears song stuck in your head and it actually makes your day better.
2. You’re willing to spend hundreds of dollars (or get someone to spend hundreds of dollars for you) to see your childhood/teenage idol dance to all her biggest hits.
3. You’re thrilled at the prospect of seeing other celebrities in the audience, such as J.Lo (yes, this actually happened to me):

The chick behind her is SO CASUAL HOW

The chick behind her is SO CASUAL HOW

4. You know all the words to “Perfume.”
5. You want to see Britney Spears swinging from a giant tree/prancing through a ring of fire.
6. You relish the thought of seeing your Twitter/Instagram post projected next to the stage where the Princess of Pop is going to perform:

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My Problem With “Frozen”

February 16, 2014 § 6 Comments

Over the weekend, I had the chance to watch Disney’s Frozen with a few friends — well, it was almost 4 a.m. when we started the movie, so we only got through two-thirds of it.

A little background: I absolutely love watching animated movies. Two of my favorite movies of all time are Coraline and The Secret of Kells; one of my favorite films of 2013 was Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2. However, this doesn’t mean I’m not picky about what I watch. Almost none of the other animated features of last year (Monsters University, Despicable Me 2) appealed to me, including Frozen.

Overall, I’d say the movie was charming. The animation was beautiful, and the songs and voice acting were superb. But I couldn’t get over the fact that the entire plot was based on a hugely flawed premise.

I can accept without question that Elsa was just born with magical snow-making abilities. Fairy tales usually have an element of fantasy, after all. But what I cannot wrap my head around is that she has to go through a huge period of her life believing that she needs to hide this superpower.

Frozen

Her parents are largely to blame. It’s strongly implied that they knew about this ability even before the incident and had told young Elsa to keep it under wraps. Why else would nobody in the kingdom know about it? But the thing is…what are they afraid of? They’re the royal family. Can you imagine if the Queen of England had the power to shoot icicles?? Wouldn’t awe and respect of the throne be magnified by a million percent?! Did they think that the police were going to come and cart their daughter off to join the circus?? (Were they afraid ice-haulers like Kristoff would be put out of a job???)

That brings us to the part where Anna’s memories gets erased/replaced. It’s weird enough that we don’t get any explanation (other than a map that falls out of a book?) of why stone trolls are the end-all, be-all of magical maladies. I guess their reasoning was that if she forgot about her sister’s power, then she wouldn’t tempt her to use it and would therefore be safe. Really? The king and queen went with that kind of logic? That whole sequence was basically shoved down our throats in a don’t-ask-any-questions way, but I demand better.

If Elsa were encouraged to cultivate her powers instead of trying to act like they don’t exist, this would’ve been a much better story. Seriously, what kind of parent tells his child to “conceal, don’t feel”?? We as the audience are asked to simply believe that her abilities are automatically bad and to be feared without being given good enough reasons as to why.

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Nickelodeon Radio: 6 Shows We Want To Hear

October 1, 2013 § Leave a comment

Now that Nickelodeon is getting into the radio business in its new venture (Nick Radio) with iHeartRadio, we have a list of potential programs we’d love to hear from the TV network. When you consider the great trove of characters that have appeared on Nickelodeon, the possibilities are endless. Below are just a few we’d request. Nick executives, make it so!

A Spongebob Home Companion

A Spongebob Home Companion: The beloved porous rectangle performs covers of popular songs with the crew (Patrick, Sandy, Mr. Krabs and co.) providing supporting voices and instrumentals. Squidward gets to play clarinet to his heart’s content.

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