Friday, December 27, 2013

S.E.'s Best of 2013 Songs

It's that time again for the best of 2013!  This is my Best of 2013 CD mix.  Isn't it pretty?  This was a great year for Americana, pop, and rock.  Next year, I fully expect traditional folk to eat everyone else alive with releases from Seth Lakeman, Emily Smith, Julie Fowlis, Malinky, Fiona Hunter, and so many more.

Read one for why I chose what I did!  Of course I always open and close with upbeat songs, like Patsy Cline always said.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Nine for IX - An Inspiration

Summer Olympics 1996 I was sitting in my preferred spot on our living room floor in front of my family's TV watching in awe. My heroes at the time, The Magnificent Seven (who I'll be calling the M7), had just won their gold medals. The following school year suddenly we all wanted to be gymnasts again. My friends and I had always done cartwheels at recess, but now we were inspired. These girls were our idols. I can remember wanting to be Shannon miller (that hair!) as well as wanting her poster for my wall. (I never did get one - I'm thinking b/c my mother and I had a mutual, unspoken agreement that such a poster would clash with my ballerina decor. Also, it was made very clear that we didn't poke holes in Mom's wall.)

As time went on other figures covered those walls (i.e. NSYNC) and the inspiration I got from Miller, Strug, Dawes, Moceanu and the like was replaced with, well, let's face it, hormones.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Cross-Post: How Admission Breaks Many Molds

Admission isn't your typical book or movie.  It's not just a maudlin love story.  It's so much more.  Tina Fey's character Portia, now in her 40s, is just getting her coming-of-age story where she finally learns to live and to stand up for what's right.  It's about her ability to love and accept love, to connect with her estranged hardcore feminist mother, to balance work and her increasingly unstable personal life, and most of all it's about establishing and maintaining roots.  It's a complex story that aptly divvies out proportions of multiple people's lives in a mere two hours.  We feel like we know the entire characters' histories in this film (I can count five characters that adhere to this, despite Portia being the main character).  The movie's writing by Karen Croner is beautifully stellar, carefully crafted, and knowingly faithful, in essence, to its source by Jean Hanff Korelitz.

(Story originally from Anything You Can Do)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Quitting Time: A Farewell Post to The Office

Tonight marks the end of an era. The Office airs its last episode tonight. The television series, adapted from the British version in 2005, has been on the air for 9 years and has been a Nerdy Pop favorite since we started. Although the series has had its highs (Jam Wedding! Dwight Pranks!) and lows (Jam Fighting. Michael Leaving.) we'd still like to give it a proper send off. Below Auddie P and S.E. Andres discuss the TV series' impact on their lives.

S.E. Andres:
I had always been a dry humor person, and it was easy to find indie movies that I'd love.  Christopher Guest gives me my favorites.  So when The Office came along, it was an instant must.  My oldest brother told me to watch the second episode after he raved about the first and said I'd love it.  (This is exactly how I got into It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Archer, as well.)  And I did.  I couldn't get enough, despite how different the first season was.  As I found out, it was essentially the first season of the original British version with different actors that acted in the same manner and had similar looks.  But I loved it, and I loved every background character that appeared.  I wasn't as vocal about my love for it until we watched it junior year together in Auddie's apartment (before I left to go to English Theory Club, of course).  My fondness for The Office exceeded its humor.  I connected to the characters.  It was like each one was a different part of my personality: Meredith's love of alcohol, Jim's pranking, Pam's gapes, Dwight's entirety (I love bears, I grow beets, and I LOVE Battlestar Galactica), Creed's random musings, Angela's control.  I'm starting to think I am more complex than I might be.

Auddie P:
I remember the first time I watched the Office. Season 2 was airing and the episode was Take Your Daughter to Work Day. If you're familiar with this episode you should understand why, from that moment, I was not exactly hooked. I was so confused by Dwight's strange behavior, Pam's desperate attempts to get the kids to like her and Creed's unusual feet. I didn't understand the show at the time. I found no humor in its awkwardness and ended up wondering what the big fuss was about.
Fast forward a couple months to me passing time at S. E. Andres's apartment and he and his roommate pop in season one. This time I got it and I was hooked. Over the next few weeks I became obsessed, binge-watching before it was a thing. I got caught up with the show in time for the season three premiere, as did my roommates.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Flash: Iris (A fantastic fan film)

Recently there have been a few crackdowns on fan-made films, especially those that have been raising money to make them.  The Wonder Woman fan film by photographer Adam Jay almost succeeded but was shut down by DC/WB.  There's been plenty of trailers, like the newest Wonder Woman incarnation, played by Nina Bergman and directed by Jesse V. Johnson.  But what does it take to make a great fan film, like the brilliant Lazy Teenage Superheroes or the Y: The Last Man fan short? It takes a talented cast of creators from New Orleans, including up-and-coming lead actor (who also served as co-writer) Patrick Flanagan, hair and makeup artist Natalie Shea Rose, and commercial/minor character actor Ada Michelle Loridans.  
Loridans and Flanagan as Iris and Barry/Flash

It's Hip to Be Square, but Rectangle?

Whether they like it or not hipsters have started and championed many trends in the last few years. Skinny jeans are available and acceptable in every color and pattern. Organic foods are easy to find at your local grocery store or farmer's market. Large, black-frame glasses can be seen on everyone from Justin Timberlake to Katie Couric. Vinyl has been brought back from the dead.

Funny isn't it, how a subculture whose M.O. is to go against the mainstream can actually have the power to dictate it? Something tells me, though, the latest trend in the hipster world won't reach the masses.

Indie duo She and Him released its third volume today. I adore She and Him and its female leader Zooey Deschanel but am only about 40% hipster. I'd assume many of the duo's fans are a full 100% so I'm guessing to cater to its fan base, Volume 3 is being released on a turquoise cassette as well as digitally, on CD, and on LP.

From what I understand, Zooey and M. Ward of She and Him aren't the first or only musicians attempting to resurrect the cassette. But, will it take off the same way vinyl did? Will it be worth my while to dig up my now vintage Walkman for the next yard sale?

I understand the romance and the appeal of vinyl. The presentation makes the album a full experience allowing the cover art to, if you're me, double as wall decor. There's a certain feeling you get when you place a record on the player. It feels almost like you're going back in time.

Are cassette tapes capable of accomplishing the same thing? Maybe I'm alone in this, but I just don't see the appeal. Aside from the days when a mixtape was truly a mixTAPE, I don't have many fond memories of cassettes. The cases would easily break, there was always a risk of the tape getting stuck - it's just not the same. 

How about you? Will you be embracing the cassette or is this a trend hipsters can call their own forever?

Monday, April 22, 2013

S.O.S. Save Our Shows!

It's that time of year again. The snow has melted, flowers are beginning to bloom and network television shows are coming to an end. For many shows it's not the true end - only the end of a season. We'll see them again in September. Sadly, the fate of other shows is still unknown.

Many of our favorites here at Nerdy Pop are on the brink of extinction. It's happened before and it's bound to happen again. Brilliant, funny and top-notch series get left behind while shows we've never seen continue to be seen by tens of millions of viewers, apparently.

Luckily, the way ratings are tabulated is beginning to evolve along with the way we all watch, taking social media into consideration. But, in the meantime, we'll still lose shows way before their time. Below are my three favorites that need saving this season.

Emily Owens M.D.
If you're one of the few of us who have even heard of this show, you might be thinking "Um, wasn't this already cancelled?" and technically you are correct. I don't think time of death has been called yet, but not being granted a back 9 by the network pretty much means you're done. I, however, love this show so much that I'm not giving up hope!

Emily Owens M.D. reminds me of the early seasons of Grey's Anatomy, except Emily, for me, is much more relatable than Meredith Grey. 

Emily (played by the fabulous Mamie Gummer) is a hospital intern who knows her stuff, but is also able to connect with patients on a personal level in ways her colleagues often aren't. Although she knows what she's doing at work, in her social life Emily's more unsure of herself.

Yes, it sounds like you've seen this show before. But, it's so well done and Emily grows up so much just in the 13 episodes of season one that it's more believable than many other series that's have tried this angle before. You root for Emily at every turn. After introducing this series to a friend she was raving about it FOR DAYS!

If you haven't watched I encourage you to do so. Maybe we can help it make a full recovery!


By now you probably know how much I love this show. It's been back for a few months and is just as good as ever.

I was concerned at first. It took a few episodes for the new show runners to find their own voice without compromising the Community tone fans are used to. If you ask me, I think by now they've got it down.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Well, Why Not? 2013's Pilot Season

This year promises to deliver a lot of dramatic comedies and some more female leads.  My favorites all lie in ABC's hands.  S.H.I.E.L.D. was already greenlit nearly as soon as its announcement.  So let's take a look at the nerd-centric pilots that could potentially be airing on our TVs in the fall or midseason.

S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC)
Joss Whedon will direct, produce, and co-write the pilot.  His brother Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen will work on the pilot as well and will take the reigns post-pilot.  Jeffrey Bell and Jeph Loeb will also be developing the pilot.  The espionage, peacekeeping government organization will follow a group of its active members.  Some Avengers may show up, as well.  Clark Gregg resumes (and revives) his role as Agent Colson, alongside Ming-Na, Brett Dalton, Elizabeth Henstridge, Ian De Caestecker, and Chloe Bennet.  (UPDATE: S.H.I.E.L.D. was picked up.)

Murder in Manhattan (ABC)
Bridget Regan (eh-hem excuse me...BRIDGET REGAN!!!!!!!) and Annie Potts star as daughter (Lex) and mother (Blythe) as a duo of amateur sleuths.  Lex, described as sexy, works at the Mayor's office by day.  The joy I have at this duo is only exacerbated by the addition of Enver Gjokaj (Lex's best childhood friend Jack) and Brendan Hines (Bylthe's son/Lex's brother).  Jack works for the NYPD and Hine's character works as an Assistant District Attorney, both of whom I'm sure help the mother-daughter sleuths out.  (UPDATE: ABC has not order the pilot to series.  I have been CRUSHED.)
Regan, Potts, Hines; photo courtesy of Brendan Hines (@Brendan_Hines)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Looking Forward 2013: Movies, Pt. 2

Dates to be Announced
The following films do not have release dates yet.

Everything about this is hush-hush except for the basics.  Woody Allen, you better not disappoint!  It would be hard not to with Cate Blanchett, Louis CK, Alec Baldwin, Michale Emerson, Sally Hawkins, and Peter Sarsgaard.

Written and directed by indie-driven Joe Swanberg, Jake Johnson and Olivia Wile star as Luke and Kate, who work at a Chicago brewery and drink and flirt together, though they are both in committed relationships.  Anna Kendrick and Ron Livingston co-star as the significant others Jill and Chris.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

In Defense of the Oscars

Have you ever loved something, but felt like you were the only one? In the last few years that's how I've felt about the Oscars. I call it my Super Bowl, as on the night most Americans gather around the TV to cheer on their favorites I watch movies breaking only for the half time show.

True, this year's production of the Academy Awards didn't go unnoticed. Approximately 40 million people watched and are still talking about the winners days later. However, for me it still feels like I know no one who embraces the event as much as I do. I'm not saying no one else cares, I know many of you do, but I keep my love for it in check. I get REAL excited you guys. On the inside, I'm beaming.

In the last few years I've attempted to watch every Best Picture nominee before the big night. This year I was unsuccessful (blame my fabulous social life I suppose). Thanks to reading and research I figured Argo would take home the prize so I made sur to at least watch it. Three hours before the main event Sunday night I curled up on my couch and pressed play.

Argo really is a great film and deserves all the accolades it received this year. At the end, though, a thought crossed my mind. The name associated with the film is, of course, Ben Affleck. Again, he and his team deserved the award they were given - an award for a film. But still watching the movie I couldn't help but think that the man Affleck portrays in the film, CIA Officer Tony Mendez, deserves praise of his own.

And then I realized that if Argo the film hadn't been made, I would not know who Mendez was, nor the impact he's made on our country's history. That got me thinking of all the other characters portrayed in the Oscar films this year and I came to the conclusion that the Oscars is more than a celebration of the year in movies. It's also a celebration of incredible people.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

IMO: The Most Romantic Movie Scene EVER

In case you haven't noticed, nerds, it's Valentine's Day! What better way to celebrate than with a love story played out on a screen by professional actors?

In cinematic history there have been many romantic moments: Rhett & Scarlet, Rick & Ilsa, Harry & Sally, Jack & Rose. Ask someone what scene is the most romantic they might suggest the moment Noah tells Allie it's not over. Or possibly one of my favorites when Darcy confesses, again, his love for Elizabeth. But it may surprise you to learn that neither of these takes the cake for me.

The scene that does isn't very famous. The movie itself, truth be told, isn't all that great. Time and time again, however I'll watch just this scene and the magic never goes away. Donald O'Connor and Mitzi Gaynor are serenading each other in 1956's Anything Goes. I don't know what it is. The song maybe? The chemistry perhaps? Maybe I just really like Donald O'Connor? Either way I can't watch this and not feel swoony.

So, I hope your holiday has been delovely, nerds. And tell me what do you think is the most romantic movie scene?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Literally a Literary Crush

A post over at one of our favorites HelloGiggles inspired me to write of my own devotions to literary characters.  I wasn't too much of a reader growing up, and females weren't a heavy presence in many of the books I was reading.  T.A. Barron perhaps wrote them more than any other popular young adult/children's fantasy author.  And I found myself reading Louis L'Amour books just to have a quick read so I could meet my quota.  We didn't have a great selection at our school's library.  Books were very much directed towards boys or girls.  It was westerns and sports books geared towards boys and romances and babysitting adventures with girls.  So I typically found my literary crushes in X-Men, because that's where strong females were most present!  Thankfully I met good taste in books at college, where I fell in love with so many great characters.  It's strange that someone who went into college as an English Education major didn't fall in love with books until college, right?

My first literary crush would most definitely be Storm from the X-Men.  Bold, rational by heart, and incredibly strong as a person and a leader, Ororo Munroe ripped out my heart (not co much like she did Marrow's though) with every panel.  Whether she was fighting her possessed friends (it's best when it's Cyclops) or comforting her friends like the beautiful scene between her and Iceman while his dad was in the hospital, Storm blew me away.  Her ties to nature, love of plants, and claustrophobia were aspects of her personality I could admire and relate to.  (I couldn't relate to her goddess complex, though.)  She was a nurturing individual, yet could be ruthless if called for.  I couldn't get enough of her, even with her weird-ass lines in the animated series.  ("I shall meet you at the monorail!")

Friday, February 8, 2013

Geek Chic: Pants A La Petrie

The year was 1961. A new television sitcom was premiering: The Dick Van Dyke Show. Like others before it, this black and white comedy focused on an average family — Dad has his job, Mom has her home. Just your standard, happy wholesome family television show. And then... scandal!

The wife wore pants!

It's true, Laura Petrie, the character Mary Tyler Moore played from 1961 until 1965 was a trailblazer. Until her, the traditional TV housewife stuck to her uniform of dresses and heels. From the beginning, though, Moore insisted Laura wear pants, arguing that all the housewives she knew wore them. Finally, TV housewives were set free! 

We've been through a lot since Laura. There were the flowing peasant skirts of the late 60s, high-waisted bell bottoms of the 70s, acid-washed jeans of the 80s and baggy carpenter jeans of the 90s (oh, how fashion was unkind to me in middle school). Which brings us to today when we find me flipping through the March issues of fashion magazines and I see ads for these:

Yes, they're jeans, but still don't these look familiar? The bright colors. The high hem. Hello stranger.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

So You Still Haven't Seen Community: A Not-Yet-A-Viewer's Guide

We're just two weeks away from the triumphant return of Community, NBC Thursday's little comedy that could. If you haven't been watching what is, in my opinion, one of the funniest, most creative shows on television, I'm here to help. Below is a quick cheat sheet to prepare you for the season 4 premiere on February 7th. In this guide I'll introduce you to the characters, recurring themes or bits, as well as my favorite moments and episodes. 

If you have been watching, how great is Community? I mean, let's talk about it... or maybe we should just move on to the guide.

Community focuses on the everday life and shenanigans of a small study group at the fictional community college, Greendale. The study group first formed when each member attended the same Spanish class. 

Jeff Winger
- Former lawyer is attending Greendale to earn an actual degree, unlike the degree he lied about that lost him his job
- Unofficial  and sometimes reluctant leader of the study group
- Puts a lot of time and effort into looking like it took no time or effort
- Joined the study group to persue Britta
- Hooked up with Britta, has a will they/won't they relationship with Annie

Britta Perry
- Passive activist, more active feminist
- Often annoys the group with her causes
- Psychology major, but acts as if she already has her degree
- Reluctantly hooked up with Jeff, has sexual tension with Troy
- Pronounces bagels like bah-gels

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Clips of Bridget Regan in Frontier

We may never get to see the full pilot of Frontier, a show taking place in the early 1800s as a group heads west to achieve their dreams, only running into various difficulties on the way.  I'm sure that included Natives, disease (dysentery, anyone?), dying animals, and of course interpersonal drama!  But the luckies over at Confessed4Life got their hands on some clips of Bridget Regan with her natural curly red hair gracing the screen.  I'm guessing they have an inside source with the Lady Regan or someone else who got a copy of it.  I wish NBC had stuck with this show.  It could've been great, banking off the success of period pieces for cable and providing a wide variety of programming.  It would've been a great Sunday night show, but with its more adult content, it would be at 9 or 10, not likely to rival Once Upon a Time.  Darn you, NBC and your terrible choices!  We could've had more Regan riding horses and dressing in corsets!

Skip ahead to see the clips.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Why Indiana is the In-Thing...I'm Serious!

I don't know if anyone else has noticed, but many TV shows and movies are taking place in or having characters from Ohio and Indiana recently.  What is the appeal of Indiana, then, to creators?

Perhaps the most notable example is Parks and Recreation, which takes place in a small city/large town of the great Hoosier state. And, being from Indiana, I can tell you, it's the most accurate example of Indiana. Believe me, Muncie is the WORST. Somehow the jokes about Jerry and his wife having a timeshare in Muncie are even better when you lived in Muncie for 4 years, going to college at Ball State. There's even a course at Ball State on how to troll Muncie. I'm positive there is a writer on staff that went there because they know way too much about how Indiana really is, raccoon infestation and all. The celebrity reality show Armed & Famous filmed there, after all. Parks and Rec brings to light that small town atmosphere, both good and bad. And, yeah, a trip to Indianapolis is a big thing! We're a state of a whole lot of nothing, so we have to travel a bit for some big city entertainment. I still call "The City" Cincinnati because I live closer to it than Indianapolis. It was where we had to go for our shopping needs. And believe me, small-town rivalries between both families and neighboring towns are entirely true. These characters on Parks and Rec are relatable on a whole different level than most comedies, partly due to their setting. I have a feeling that Leslie Knope would be completely different had it been set in California. She wouldn't have her small-town mannerisms and the love of community we often have. I'm sure there would also be different matters to take up in the government, rather than building a quality (decently terrible to others) park out of an abandoned lot used for a landfill by locals.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

January Comic News!

A new Marvel NOW! release, just announced yesterday by USA Today is a relaunch of X-Men by Brian Wood in April.  But the main characters all happen to be arguably the biggest stars of the X-Men: the females Storm, Rogue, Psylocke, Kitty Pryde, Rachel Grey, and Jubilee.  Bling! and Pixie guest star in the first issue.  The premise of the book, for the first year or two revolves around Jubilee bringing home a baby that could save or destroy the world, and the X-Men must protect it.  But don't expect it to be just a rehash of Hope's story!  Wood revealed that Jubilee will be the focus, but everyone will get their shine time!  And if any of you read Wood's X-Men run this year, you know he tells a mean story and writes complex and rich characters.  His Storm is absolutely stellar.  Oliver Coipel pencils the first few issues and rotates with Wood's penciler on the former X-Men run David Lopez.  This is the best thing to happen in comics of everytime, everyone!  Pre-order as soon as possible!  This needs to succeed!

Looking Forward 2013: Movies, Pt. 1

It's time for the movie list!  I'll probably update it as I hear about wonderful movies to come out this year.  It's hard to catch them all!  Part 1 is all movies with set or tentatively set dates of release this year.  Part 2 will feature those movies set for 2013 without release date, which means they'll likely be 2014 (for Sundance) or really late 2013 (for award season).

January 18
Jessica Chastain and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau star as a couple whose nieces lived their for five years in the woods, abandoned but raised by someone.  That someone is not a good entity but wants custody of her children that were stolen from her.  this horror film might actually be good!

January 25
Sure, this is one of those ensembles that have every actor you know in one movie, where each separate story ends up being connected to all the other ones in their six degrees of separation game.  But this one seems like it will actually be funny, rather than romantic and gross and terrible.  Emma Stone, Kristen Bell, Hugh Jackman, Chloe Moretz, elizabeth Banks, Gerard Butler, Naomi Watts, Anna Faris, Kate Winslett, Chris Pratt, Justin Long, Jason Sudeikis, and many more star.  Elizabeth Banks, James Gunn, and Brett Ratner are three of the directors!

January 25
I'm so happy that golden aged actors are getting quality roles that are engaging, not just having roles looking back on their lives as they die.  What a tired trope!  This looks to be in the same spirit as Marigold Hotel

Read on for more.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Site of the Week: moviebarcode

This tumblr moviebarcode is friggin amazing, you guys!  Look, look, look!  What's incredible about this is that you can see how a director uses color (or lack thereof) for dramatic and tonal effect.  You can even buy prints of these barcodes!  Let's take a look at the LOTR trilogy!

The Fellowship of the Ring is very interesting in that the colors truly represents the different areas visited.  Look at the beginning with the greens, russets, blues, browns, and purples.  It's very earthy but also light and spritely, just like the Hobbits!  The darkness is then set upon Frodo and the other Hobbits when the Ring comes to Frodo's possession.  Dark hues of night blues and mud browns makes us feel the dark mood.  And it isn't until Rivendell, corely bright wooden browns, that we see light and hope.  The browns are also highly representative of the Rivendell's natural way of life.  While we have hope for the tiniest sliver of time with the bright sky blue, we enter Moria, where once again we return to dark blues and browns.  

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Looking Forward 2013: Music

Every year, I try to get out as fast as possible the year's known releases in movies, books, and music. I'm afraid I just don't have to much to provide in music yet, other than a few select country, rock, and folk artists.

Old Man Markley
Guts 'N Teeth
January 18
Order through their website or other venues.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Best Songs of 2012

As mentioned in my best albums of 2012 post, it's been a wonderful year for music, and I found it so difficult to narrow down the best of 2012 songs.  I tried to not make it all Karine Polwart, so I hope you enjoy its fairness.  This is the mix that accurately represents what I feel are the best songs of 2012.  Listen to all the songs after the jump!