The Blog of Young America

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I Guess Today is Art Day: Arcadia in San Francisco


Another art event worth attending: Arcadia. It's an annual benefit for San Francisco's Friends of the Urban Forest. Every year they feature spectacular artist-donated pieces like the one above - "Fragment," by Josh Keyes. The work is auctioned off to support the great work that FUF does.

Keyes writes about how a cross-section of the eart reflects our alienation from the natural world:

This piece was a reaction to a housing development project I saw while traveling across the country. There was a clean separation or break between an area of dense forest and the barren stripped area of earth sectioned off for housing developments. The forest that was removed seemed surgical in appearance, and blind to the cohesive ecosystem that had existed there.

The event is Monday the 23rd in San Francisco -- but even if you don't go, you can bid on pieces in absentia, or simply visit the website and gawk at the beautiful work that artists have donated to help green San Francisco.

Beautiful Katamari!

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Jordan discovered that the second sequel to the greatest video game ever, Katamari Damacy, is on it's way. The game will be called Beautiful Katamari Damacy, and apparently the scale of the game will be bigger than ever -- featuring even rolls across the globe.

If this means nothing to you, buy a Playstation 2, then buy Katamari Damacy. I don't care if you like video games or hate them, buying Katamari is a decision that will change your life.


(Above: a screenshot from the second Katamari game, We Heart Katamari.

La Haine on DVD


I first saw La Haine (Hate) in the theatre, when I was in high school. With the exception of Style Wars, I think it may be the best "hip-hop film" I've ever seen. It tracks three friends in the suburban ghettos of Paris, and anticipates some of the racial and class unrest that we've seen there in the past few years. It's about hip-hop, and youthful alienation, and race, and all that stuff, and is very powerful.

It came out yesterday on Criterion DVD, and I think you should, at the very least, rent it.

Above: one of the film's most remarkable shots, which apparently was achieved using a remote-control helicopter.

Nichols & May: Mother & Son


The legendary Mike Nichols & Elaine May perform one of their classic telephone routines, with Nichols as a NASA scientist and May as his worried mother.

Found after watching this wonderful routine they performed on the 1959 Emmy awards, which was pointed out by recent TSOYA guest Brian Stack. It seems that YouTube user drono2 has stumbled upon a cache of these videos -- anyone know where they're from?

It would be difficult to overstate the importance of Nichols & May in ushering in the modern era of American comedy. It's a horrible shame that Elaine May has acted so rarely since the Nichols & May days -- if you don't believe me, rent the mediocre Woody Allen film Small Time Crooks and catch her brilliant turn.

So, on this topic: should I rent Ishtar?



Rappers are called "rappers." Or MCs. This is because they rap. If you want, you can call them a "hip-hop vocalist," or "performer" but that sounds pretty dumb.

THEY ARE NOT CALLED RAP SINGERS. This is because they do not sing.

Rapping and singing are two different things.

This post was inspired by the news on my local NPR affiliate.

I'm going to go listen to my favorite song rapper, Mel Torme.

I Am 8 Bit

"Battle of the Heroes" by Brandon Bird (Click to Expand)

Our man Brandon Bird, the New Painter of Light, has this wonderful piece in the I Am 8 Bit exhibition at Gallery 1988 here in Los Angeles. I hit up the opening last night, and it was pure madness -- a line of maybe 150 people snaking out the door of the jam packed gallery, all there to see an art exhibition inspired by video games.

Interpretations and styles ran the gamut, though I noticed a particular fondness for Wario and Joust. If you're in LA, it's worth a visit, as the exhibition runs through May 12th.

Brandon Bird on The Sound of Young America

Kasper Hauser LIVE and FREE in LA!

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Our own Kasper Hauser are performing live in Los Angeles on Tuesday the 24th (my birthday!), and the show is absolutely free!

They'll be at the Comedy Central Stage, 6539 Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood. Tickets are free but you must call (323) 960-5519 for reservations. Show's at 8, don't be late!

Podcast: Ted Leo of Ted Leo & the Pharmacists

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Ted Leo is the lead singer and songwriter of the band Ted Leo and the Pharmacists. His songs blend careful songcraft and indie aesthetics with politics and the drive of punk rock. His most recent record is "Living with the Living."

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Not Just the Best of The Larry Sanders Show


A lot of people haven't seen The Larry Sanders Show. It aired on HBO before HBO was known for its original series. The first season DVD release was botched, and there never was a second season release. It ran briefly in syndication, but that was at 1 AM on UPN and whatnot.

But it was really, truly special. Maybe The Simpsons was more important, possibly a little better. Maybe. But besides that, Larry Sanders is the best sitcom of the last 25 years. Perfectly drawn characters, hilariously funny, a truly amazing program.

You owe it to yourself and your family to at the very least buy the new DVD set, "Not Just the Best of the Larry Sanders Show,", which was released today.

Or, to put it another way: if you don't buy it, we can't be friends anymore.

PS: Venture Bros. Season Two came out today as well.

Marco Polo f. Masta Ace - Nostalgia

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Marco Polo's a producer from Toronto, and one of the acts on the new Rawkus Records. Masta Ace, of course, is the New York hip-hop legend, original member of the Juice Crew, and creator of some of the best hip-hop LPs of the 80s, 90s, and of the 21st century.

Here's our interview with Ace, who's as interesting and thoughtful in conversation as he is on record.

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