Owning movie props or collectible reproductions isn’t anything new, but buying a replica of a sculpture shaped like a penis that was used as a murder weapon in a dystopian film may be taking the concept too far. Medicom Toy Life Entertainment has produced a commercially available reproduction of “The Rocking Machine,” which is apparently the actual name of the sculpture that everyone has referred to as “that crazy penis sculpture from A Clockwork Orange” since 1971.
For the low, low price of $1,836, a copy of the piece can be yours to display in the creepiest private gallery possible. It may come from a brutal murder scene, the turning point in Alex’s story that sends him over the edge and leads to his transformative jail term, but there has to be some ghoulish superfan out there with too much walking around money. Viddy well, little brother.
It’s been two-and-a-half long years since the last season of The Venture Bros. ended with a disastrous home-school prom and some real growing up for Hank and Dean Venture, but the fifth season is finally set to begin June 2. For those new to the series and intimidated by its intentionally complex mythology (which includes several bureaucratic supervillain unions) or anyone simply looking to refresh their memory, Adult Swim has put together an eight-minute summary of the entire run of the show.
The summary does a pretty good job of laying out all the character relationships and important plot events over the course of the last 55 episodes. Best of all, it’s narrated in podcast form by Gary, nee Henchman 21. It’s missing a “Sphinx! (Sphinx!)” joke or three, but with two long weeks before the season starts, we’ll take what we can get.
In Stop The Presses! we share some of the more ridiculous press releases we receive at The A.V. Club.
There are ridiculous press releases, and then there’s a 9,420-word transcript of a press call with Ray J. The rapper/reality-TV star/sex-tape enthusiast is hosting something called Bad Girls All Star Battle, a spinoff that takes “all stars” from the trashy reality series and adds the element of physical challenges to win a $100,000 grand prize—all under the watchful, supportive eye of Ray J. Ahead of the show’s premiere, Ray J hopped on a conference call with writers to answer questions like “Do you agree with Kanye’s statement at the Met Gala that Kim K. is awesome?” and “How does it feel to be as popular as you are at this point?” and “You are the perfect fit because they are the baddest Bad Girls and you are the baddest bad boy. So can you elaborate on that a little bit more?”
Many of them attempted to get Ray J to talk about other stuff, but he stayed remarkably on-message—regarding Kardashian, “Independent women are awesome”—greeting them with salutations like “All love ...
Back in 2011, the brave citizens of Detroit (along with a bunch of assholes on Kickstarter) raised enough money to erect a giant RoboCop statue somewhere in the motor city. More than two years and a string of “where the heck are we going to put this thing” battles later, the statue is finally close to completion. The 10-foot-tall statue is currently in its foam components stage and should be bronzed in the near future. Once that’s done, Imagination Station, the statue’s makers, will perfect its look and then, hopefully, place it somewhere in the city by late next summer.
Imagination Station posted a series of pics of the statue in progress online over the weekend and, honestly, it’s goddamn majestic. Once bronzed and mounted on some sort of base, the completed work should keep Detroit free from crime for all eternity—or until someone spray-paints it.
Belgian electro-rock group Hooverphonic has been around for almost 20 years now and has released a number of excellent trip-hop records, like 1998’s Blue Wonder Power Milk. The group’s The Night Before, is out June 4 on Sony Music, and includes a never before released track, “Harmless Shapes,” as well as an absolutely lovely cover of Massive Attack’s “Unfinished Sympathy.” The latter is streaming exclusively below, and the group is playing a number of dates in Europe this summer with a full orchestra.
Yes, Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories is now available for streaming online, but so is The National’s Trouble Will Find Me. Take a break from all the daft funk and check out a little mope rock. Trouble isn’t out until next Tuesday, May 21, on 4AD, but the whole thing is available now on iTunes.
The record is the follow-up to the group’s excellent 2010 record High Violet and features guest contributions from Sufjan Stevens, St. Vincent’s Annie Clark, and Sharon Van Etten.
The National is also going on tour this summer. A full list of dates is below.
The National tour 2013
May 16—State Theater—Ithaca, New York &
May 26—Boston Calling Festival—Boston, Massachusetts
June 4—Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel—Providence, Rhode Island &
June 5—Barclays Center—Brooklyn, New York *
June 6—Merriweather Post Pavilion—Columbia, Maryland^
June 7—Mann Center For The Performing Arts—Philadelphia, Pennsylvania^
June 8—The National—Richmond, Virginia
June 10—Red Hat Amphitheatre—Raleigh, North Carolina^
June 11—Stage AE—Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania^
June 13—Lachine Canal—Montreal, Quebec
June 14—Yonge Dundas Square—Toronto, Ontario
June 15—LC Pavilion—Columbus, Ohio #
June 16—Bonnaroo—Manchester, Tennessee
Way out Oakland act Shannon And The Clams is dropping its new record, Dreams In The Rat House, next week, but The A.V. Club has an exclusive stream of the whole thing starting today. The trio might look a little rockabilly, but it’s more vintage-styled space rock than rebel yell. Tracks like “Rip Van Winkle” would be perfectly at home at Back To The Future’s Enchantment Under The Sea dance, for instance. Listen below, vibe out, and pre-order the record through Hardly Art.
After nine seasons and 184 episodes worth of tangential clues, including a yellow umbrella, a bass guitar, and a copy of The Unicorns’ Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone?, How I Met Your Mother has finally revealed “The Girl With The Yellow Umbrella,” better known as The Mother: Cristin Milioti.
As Alan Sepinwall pointed out last night, it’s an interesting casting choice for several reasons: She’s unknown compared to Sarah Chalke, Rachel Bilson, Jennifer Morrison, and other various contenders through the years, which removes any preconceived notions carried over from previous roles. But though Milioti isn’t a known quantity as a television actress, she’s had a number of notable roles that demonstrate her range.
Most familiar to television viewers would be Milioti’s guest role on 30 Rock as Abby Flynn, the new female cast member who's hiding from her psychopathic ex-boyfriend in the fifth-season episode “TGS Hates Women.” Her best scene from that episode also features Chicago comedian Hannibal Buress as a homeless man.
She’s an accomplished stage actress, garnering a Tony nomination for originating “The Girl” in the Broadway musical adaptation of John Carney’s Once with music and ...
Mondo is far and away the best place to find high-quality pop culture-related artwork. This week the Austin-based gallery unveiled a series of Paul Thomas Anderson retrospective prints curated by Aaron Horkey. The series covers all of PTA’s films going back to Hard Eight up through There Will Be Blood, to go along with Laurent Durieux’s poster for The Master from a few months ago. It’s always a crazy rush whenever Mondo one-sheets go on sale, but keep an eye on their Twitter feed for onsale information. We’ve got dibs on that Magnolia print though, so keep your grubby mitts off it.
Before he combined the conspiracy theories of a hundred Geocities sites with the point-and-click puzzle-solving of a dozen CD-ROM games, thus creating literature, The Da Vinci Code’s Dan Brown was a pop singer. Like a clue in one of his bestsellers, Brown’s musical past was hidden in plain sight, with it being easily accessible Wikipedia knowledge that he released two CDs—including one called Angels And Demons, its title and cover art later reworked into a thriller that helped so many pass the time on the bus. Still, recorded evidence of this early career false start remained scarce. Until today, when the sun hit the Internet just right, and BuzzFeed cracked open to reveal the song Dan Brown wrote about phone sex.
Titled “976-LOVE,” a testament to Brown’s lasting fascination with numerology, the song is earnest in that early-‘90s soft-rock sort of way, boasting the requisite saxophones and Michael Bolton-esque rasp that once shucked so many an acid-washed jean. But it’s also evidence of Brown’s already adept way with symbols: “I take you to bed and push the phone to my head / You make me feel like a man,” Brown says, cleverly symbolizing jacking ...
Stop working and grab those headphones: Daft Punk’s new record, Random Access Memories, is now streaming in its entirety on iTunes. The record won’t be out until next Tuesday, May 21, but all 13 tracks, including the ones featuring Nile Rodgers, Julian Casablancas, Pharrell Williams, Giorgio Moroder, and Panda Bear, are online right this second.
The record is also available for pre-order.
Daft Punk’s very first American show was at a rave in a wet field outside Madison. The French duo played the Even Furthur fest in 1996, long before their helmeted personas emerged. Spin has an excellent and very complete oral history of the gig on its site, but for anyone averse to actual reading, Consequence Of Sound just posted an old video of the group’s set to its site. The 30-odd minute long VHS dub leaves a little to be desired, soundwise, but Electro-Blog has a slightly better recording of the show, albeit without the accompanying baggy t-shirt and pacifier-laden visuals.
The usually word-enthusiastic Morrissey posted a photo of himself smiling alongside Tom Jones and Mel Gibson yesterday, with no comment attached. Those who've followed Mel and Moz's various rants over the years should be quick to make a connection between them: Mel has gone off on massively anti-Semitic rants, while Morrissey has referred to the Chinese as a "subspecies" because of their treatment of animals. Where does poor, innocent Tom Jones fit into this equation? Does the smooth Welshman even know who he's standing with?
Rä Di Martino
The Internet is full of interesting things to read outside of The A.V. Club—no, really! In our periodic Read This posts, we point you toward interesting or noteworthy pieces that caught our eye.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that when they’re not created out of thin air with CGI, the places in films are real sets that have to be built and then dismantled—or, in the case of the original Tatooine sets for Star Wars, left to rot in the desert. Sammy Medina at Co. Design details the recent discovery of those neglected sets, which include the Skywalker ranch and Mos Espa by New York photographer Rä Di Martino, who found the sets in Tunisia by accident on Google Earth and eventually tracked them down with the help of locals.
Di Martino has now immortalized the crumbling remains of Tatooine in two series of photographs: “No More Stars,” which focuses on Luke Skywalker’s homestead, and “Every World’s A Stage,” which uses the rest of the sets, including Mos Espa. The sets really do appear to come from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away—they've become visibly run down ...
Last summer, Minnesota kiddie band Y.N. Rich Kids owned ears and the Internet with their single “Hot Cheetos & Takis.” Despite its six million plays on YouTube, though, the members of the group never really saw any money.
Thankfully, the group has released two new songs, both of which are so, so great and will hopefully blow up and pay for college for all these little rugrats. First up is “My Bike,” which has a menacing recorder thing going, but is still pretty young and charming. The kids take their bikes all over Minneapolis, cruising the Target Center and the Vikings practice field. Twins mascot T.C. Bear and rapper Brother Ali even make appearances.
The second song, “Khaki Pants,” is by NSJ Crew, an all-boy group featuring many of the same Y.N. Rich Kids. That song bemoans the burdens of having to wear boring school uniforms while trying to look cool. There’s even a burgeoning dance craze, the “khaki dance,” housed within the song, so watch out. It’s infectious.
While most people know The Bangles’ version of “Manic Monday,” the song was actually written by Prince for the group Apollonia 6. The Purple One wrote it under a pseudonym, Christopher, and originally recorded a demo of the song with Apollonia 6 as a collaboration before deciding their version didn’t really work. Fortunately, the 1984 demo still floats around on the Internet and while the Apollonia 6 gals certainly doesn’t have the pipes to carry the track, Prince’s vocal flourishes help make the cut palatable. Listen below before the track gets yanked from the web forever. [via Doom And Gloom From The Tomb via Buzzfeed]
In the interest of science, creativity, and the science of creativity, we're posting a film or TV still every week, and we're going to ask you to come up with a clever caption. Whoever's caption gets the most likes will win some kind of nonsense prize fromThe A.V. Club office, most likely a Simpsons toy of some sort. I've been terribly lax about posting these in the last few weeks, so my apologies. The winner of the last contest, featuring a very chill Iron Man, was The Artist Formerly Known As Yeah Avatar Right, with the very clever, "No one stopped to think how hard the death of Margaret Thatcher hit Iron Man."
Make sure you post your caption as a new comment, not as a reply, so we can sort out the winner. And though we know you'll be tempted to go for the easy, gross joke, remember that our commenting policy isn't out the window here. This week’s still comes from The Great Gatsby. Here's one to get you started:
"I told you, I am perfectly happy to pay extra for triple pepperoni. Just make sure it's ...
Anyone who’s heard Marc Maron’s stand-up comedy or his WTF podcast, or read his new book, Attempting Normal, should understand all too well that the guy is a pathological over-sharer. Expect more of that in his new series, Maron, which debuted May 3 at 10 eastern on IFC. In anticipation of it, we looked into some of our favorite over-sharing moments in pop culture.
George Costanza does the opposite, Seinfeld (1994)
Unemployed, living at home, and generally miserable, George Costanza (Jason Alexander) has come to realize that every instinct he’s ever had has been wrong. At his nadir, he decides to go against his natural tendencies, and in the process turns his life around.
Chunk spills his guts, The Goonies (1985)
Captured by the Fratellis and held against his will, Chunk (Jeff Cohen) has only one way to survive: confess. “Tell us everything,” says Joe Pantoliano in his best threatening voice. “Everything.” In a classic comedy trope, Chunk interprets this as an order to cite every bad thing he’s ever done, not simply tell his captors where his friends are hiding.
Tommy explains why he sucks at sales, Tommy Boy (1995)
After yet another humiliating sales ...
Sometimes you've gotta laugh to keep from crying, which is why God or Buddha or Vishnu or Chance delivers guys like Charles Ramsey, who not only helped free four kidnap victims from unspeakable horrors, but also gave an incredibly silly interview about it. And of course, no sooner was that original interview making the rounds than The Gregory Brothers—the group behind Auto-Tune The News—turned it into a song. It's already got damn near four million views, but if you aren't one of those four million, you might want to watch "Dead Giveaway" right now. And then go hug your loved ones.
For those of precisely the right age, there's no better John Cusack movie than Better Off Dead, the absurd 1985 comedy directed by "Savage" Steve Holland. Practically the whole damn movie is ripe for quoting ("and to drink... Peru!"), and it feels like the type of comedy that could never happen again. (Insane paperboy, check. Skiing competition, check. Weird Asian drag racers, check. Claymation burgers, check.) Screen Crush gathered photos of the major characters, then and now—so if you were wondering what the "I want my two dollars!" kid was doing, the answer is in the link above (looking creepy).
Third Man Records might be making LP covers out of laser-cut wood, but software designer Amanda Ghassael has made an actual LP out of the same material. Ghassael used a 3D printer to cut three songs into wood discs—Radiohead’s “Idioteque” into plywood and The Velvet Underground’s “Femme Fatale” and “Sunday Morning” into a maple. There are limitations to the process—the grooves have to be about 10 times wider than they are on normal vinyl, for instance—but soon, everyone with a 3D printer or laser etching capabilities should be able to ruin their turntable needles with ease.
Ghassael detailed her whole process for Instructables, and it’s pretty nerdy. She found that the tracks that work best (and work is a relative term here, because the songs just sort of sound okay on wood) are “very full in the lower to mid range, but also very sparse overall.”
With the Community season (series?) finale tonight, there’s no time like the present to listen to Donald Glover talk about what records he likes. Acting in his role as rapper Childish Gambino, Glover stopped by Amoeba Records in LA to buy (or have the store buy him) some stuff, and then tell a video camera why he bought what he bought. Tough job, right? Listen to him extol the virtues of Wreck-It Ralph, Funkadelic, and Italian prog act Goblin in the video below.
After that’s done, poke around some of Amoeba’s other “What’s In My Bag?” videos, including recent chats with The Wire’s Andre Royo (Bubbles!) and 30 Seconds To Mars fanatics Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim.
Listen to a beautifully remastered version of Paul McCartney's "Blackbird" and enter to win the deluxe new Wings Over America box set
37 years after its initial release, Paul McCartney And Wings’ amazing live album Wings Over America is getting a deluxe reissue. The three CD, one DVD set comes complete with a remastered version of the live set, a bonus disc recorded around the same time at San Francisco’s Cow Palace, a DVD of the TV special Wings Over The World, and four hardbound art books, including a commemorative tour book, a tour diary, a book of the late Linda McCartney’s photography, and a book of sketches of the band by artist Humphrey Ocean.
Wings Over America is one of the best-known live records of all time, having gone platinum and spawning a hit live version of “Maybe I’m Amazed.” Though the original’s been around for a while, The A.V. Club has the premiere of one of the album’s recently remastered heartbreakers, “Blackbird.” Acoustic and intimate, it’s a lovely take on one of McCartney’s best songs.
The A.V. Club also has a copy of the deluxe Wings Over America box set to give away before the album’s May 28 release. Interested parties need only e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject ...
Listen to a new track from Mark Mulcahy, singer of Miracle Legion and The Adventures Of Pete And Pete's Polaris
Mark Mulcahy might be most familiar to some A.V. Club readers as the frontman of Polaris, the house band for The Adventures Of Pete And Pete, but the singer-songwriter fronted the band Miracle Legion for years. He’s also got a ton of A-list fans, from Thom Yorke to Michael Stipe, all of who participated in the 2009 tribute record, Ciao My Shining Star: The Songs Of Mark Mulcahy. Now, the “Hey Sandy” singer is back with his first new solo record in eight years, Dear Mark J. Mulcahy, I Love You, and The A.V. Club has the premiere of one of the album’s best tracks, “Let The Fireflies Fly Away.” With Mulcahy’s vocals right up front, the track should please fans of Polaris and Miracle Legion, as well as anyone with a penchant for jangly indie pop.
Mulcahy is on tour this summer, and a full list of dates is below.
Mark Mulcahy tour 2013
June 22—Solid Sound Festival—North Adams, Massachusetts
June 26—Johnny Brenda’s—Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
June 27—Mercury Lounge—New York, New York
July 12—Spaceland Ballroom—Hamden, Connecticut
July 13—Iron Horse Music Hall—Northampton, Massachusetts
July 25—The ...
The Internet is full of interesting things to read outside of The A.V. Club—no, really! In our periodic Read This posts, we point you toward interesting or noteworthy pieces that caught our eye.
Pieces about how realistic fiction is are always interesting, and there are two today that caught The A.V. Club’s eye. First up is Wired’s investigation of Game Of Thrones’ ice climbing technique. While Game Of Thrones isn’t based entirely in fact (dragons!), this Sunday’s wall scaling scene left mountaineering expert and GOT fan Katie Mills out in the cold. While the Wildings used a running belay, for instance, real ice climbers would never attach themselves to each other, lest one climber’s fall cause everyone to tumble. And while Orell had some trouble cutting Jon Snow and Ygritte free, in real life the rope would be so taut that it would instantly sever if a knife even grazed it. Mills makes a couple other good points in the piece, though she fails to question why the Wildings never wear winter hats.
There’s a grand tradition of breaking the fourth wall throughoutanimation, particularly in the Chuck Jones shorts “Duck Amuck” and “Rabbit Rampage.” But stop-motion short “Maker vs. Marker” takes the creator-against-creation battle literally, depicting a standard 2-D fighting game sequence between a Street Fighter-based character and the hand that drew him on a dry-erase board. It’s the stop-motion equivalent of the Master Hand boss battle in the Super Smash Bros. series. Check out the video below.
While Late Night With Jimmy Fallon is a post-midnight haven for televised hijinks most evenings, guest John Krasinski took the show’s tomfoolery to a whole new level last night with a lip-sync battle he suggested. The Office’s Jim went head to head with Fallon acting out dramatic ditties by everyone from Melissa Manchester to Das EFX. The highlight really comes when Krasinski takes on Boyz II Men’s “I’ll Make Love To You,” but his version of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” is pretty great, too. [via Uproxx]
David Bowie’s last music video had him cavorting with Tilda Swinton, but for his new clip, the Thin White Duke has doubled his celebri-quotient. “The New Day” features a robed Bowie crooning to a bar full of clergy and whores, including bishop Gary Oldman and stigmata-prone prostitute Marion Cotillard. Directed by Floria Sigismondi, the clip was written and conceived by Bowie and is just about as dark as that notion suggests. Watch below and repent.
Boldly going where no commercial has gone before, Zachary Quinto and Leonard Nimoy have teamed up for a new Spock-themed Audi ad. After Nimoy beats Quinto in an online 3-D chess game, the two decide to race to the country club (Quinto in a prominently featured Audi) where the loser will buy lunch. Trekkies will appreciate the Wrath Of Khan reference, Nimoy fans will appreciate the “Ballad Of Bilbo Baggins” reference, and everyone will appreciate the Audi’s five–link front suspension. The commercial is pretty charming and even manages to land a nice comedic beat at the end.
Secret Colours’ latest record, Peach, isn’t out until May 28, but The A.V. Club has the premiere of the band’s new video today. Dark and smoky, “Blackhole” aptly visualizes a track that ably bridges ‘60s psychedelia and ‘90s Britpop. Blissed out and full of haircuts, the clip is equal parts Dandy Warhols, Beta Band, and Kula Shaker. Bonus points to the guy in the gas mask.
Catch Secret Colours on tour this spring. Dates are below.
Secret Colours tour 2013
May 22—Melody Inn—Indianapolis, Indiana
May 23—The Smiling Moose—Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
May 24—Pianos—New York, New York
May 26—Kung Fu Necktie—Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
May 27—Cake Shop—New York, New York
May 28—Black Whiskey—Washington, DC
May 29—Zanzabar—Louisville, Kentucky
June 8—Empty Bottle—Chicago, Illinois