Obsessions, by EDGE
Welcome to Obsessions, by EDGE: a new monthly feature where the editors of EDGE share a few things they've be fawning over the past month, new or old or in between.
In its third feature, arts and entertainment editor Robert Nesti, national news editor Jason St. Amand, women and health editor Winnie McCroy and associate publisher Bobby McGuire detail their love HBO's depressing "The Leftovers," the "Turn Down for What" music video, the classic board game "SORRY!" and an acoustic cover of a 70's classic.
Lake Street Dive's "Rich Girl"
Bobby McGuire: As a kid who grew up listening to AM Top 40 radio, I'm always thrilled to hear the hits of my childhood re-tooled. Such is the case with Lake Street Dive's cover of "Rich Girl," the 1976 Hall and Oates classic ode to the over-privileged.
The smoky soulful vocals by singer Rachel Price backed with the harmonics of the band's drummer, bassist (and eventually trumpet player), driving bass line and jazz trumpet solo elevate this forgotten and maligned classic, proving that a solid melody and musicianship can trump even the most banal lyrics.
Like most obsessions, this lead me to Google to search for "Rich Girl" where I found five bizarre tidbits about the mid-seventies hit, including the fact that Son of Sam killer, David Berkowitz, claimed it fueled his lust for murder. Nice, huh? Still, that fact hasn't deterred me from playing this YouTube over and over again. Enjoy!
"Turn Down For What" Music Video
Jason St. Amand: The music video for the trap anthem, "Turn Down For What," dropped three months ago but it wasn't until last month that I decided to check the clip out while I was at a graduation party my roommate threw for his girlfriend. While everyone was enjoying the grill outside, a friend and I put on some jams on Vevo via Roku, which suggested we watch "Turn Down For What." We both heard the DJ Snake and Lil Jon song on the radio countless times but after a few beers we flipped to the video and we were both blown away. It's probably the best music video of the year.
The vid is directed by filmmaking duo The Daniels and stars one of the directors, Daniel Kwan, whose penis is possessed and has a mind of its own. It controls Kwan and he can't help but booty shake, hump and pop to the trap song. It's insane, absurd, and raunchy, bringing the track's personality to something tangible. The "Turn Down for What" clip is like an extreme LMFAO music video but ends up being the most WTF clip of the past five-years.
HBO's "The Leftovers"
Robert Nesti: What to fill that viewing obsession this summer? Check out "The Leftovers", the new HBO series that imagines the Rapture in real time. It begins moments before 2% of the population mysteriously disappears, then cuts forward three years to look at the aftermath the cataclysmic event has on the townspeople of Mapleton, N.Y. -- a prosperous suburban enclave. The series centers on the town's police chief Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux); though he lost no one in the disappearance, his wife and son have left him to join post-Rapture cults, and his teenage daughter is sullen and distant. His biggest problem on the show's recent premiere is handling the security for a three-year anniversary event, planned by a cynical mayor, that likely faces a disruption by one of the cults -- a nihilistic, silent brood that obsessively chain smoke.
Adapted from the novel by Tom Perrotta, the show doesn't attempt to offer answers for the disappearances; rather it examines how those that stay behind cope. Whether or not a story about aspects of grief will be successful remains to be seen, but it was very easy to get hooked from the pilot. Not only is the premise intriguing, but the multi-generational cast is first-rate and (in the case of the younger actors) most easy on the eyes. Some have compared it to a "Twilight Zone" episode, others to "Lost;" but by focusing less on the reasons for the disappearances and more on its aftermath, the story has resonance all on its own.
Winnie McCroy: Acknowledge the best board game ever created: "SORRY!" The game of sweet revenge. The game was first created in 1929 in England, with following patents granted in the 30s, when Parker Brothers adopted it. Now a Hasbro product, the game's rules remain the same. One to four players pick four pawns of one color and try to move them around the board and back into their home base. Movements are dictated by a deck of cards, with a 1 or 2 needed to move a pawn from Start. Then, it's all a matter of following the card's directions to move your pawn back home. The crux of the game, however, is about preventing your opponent from getting back to their home. You can land on an already-occupied space, sending that pawn back to Start. You can slide, and send anyone on the Slide bar back to start. Or you can pull a Sorry! Card, and replace one of your opponents' pawns with your own, sending them back to Start. The game is genius, as you can sit down with your loved ones to play it, and wreak havoc on them for every slight, real or imagined, that they've delivered unto you since last you played. It's cathartic, it's exciting, and best of all, it only takes 20 minutes to play. Ah, revenge. A dish best served quickly...
"Big Brother 2" Canada
JSA: The latest season of America's "Big Brother" just started last week and I guarantee it will be on my next Obsessions' list. But to hold me over until "Big Brother 16," I binge watched Canada's second season, which ended in March, of the infamous reality show in June, and it ended up being one of the best reality shows I've watched. Of any reality show. Ever.
I blew through all 30-something episodes in just a week. It was beyond addictive thanks to the perfectly casted houseguests, who had widescreen personalities and were a perfect mix of recruiters and BB super fans. There was the sassy Neda, who knew all about the show but stayed under the radar, the sexy bearded Kenny, an openly gay houseguest who played it straight and courted women to his side, and Sabrina, who could cry and throw a bitch fit on command.
A shout out also goes to the producers, who put together a number of exciting challenges that differ from America's "Big Brother." The first Head of House Hold completion found the houseguests competing in an endurance challenge where they had to stand on a block of ice (of course, Canada). The producers also created mini challenges that made the filler episodes more exciting -- something America producers need to note. In one challenge, two houseguests had to get drunk and try and act sober. In another mini challenge, one player had to decide between a $5,000 check or letters from home for the entire house. I won't spoil it for you, but the result and the reactions were incredible.
"Wonder Woman" Episodes on ME TV
WM: Ever since she debuted in the 70s, I've been a huge fan of Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman, the crime-fighting Amazon sent from Paradise Island to keep the U.S. safe. The series, which ran from 1975-1979, is now being broadcast on Saturdays on Me TV, and I just can't get enough.
Using her exceptional athleticism, her golden lasso of truth, her bullet-repelling bracelets and her invisible jet, she helps Steve Trevor and his government agency keep America safe from baddies. In the first season of the series, Wonder Woman was fighting World War II Nazis with the help of her little sister, played by Debra Winger. (Cloris Leachman even played her mother in the pilot). By the second season, quite inexplicably, she was in the 1970s with the son of Steve Trevor (also played by Lyle Waggoner), fighting all sorts of harebrained villains and sundry computer hackers. Although the first season found Diana Prince schlumpy in horn-rimmed glasses and Amish-looking shoes, the plot line made a lot more sense than those in the disco 70s.
Watching it will make you cringe at the disbelief you are forced to suspend (does no one recognize Diane Prince is Wonder Woman? No one??!) but the message of peace and love Wonder Woman shares is worth the muddle. Not to mention the thrill of watching her spin around and end up in her little red, white and blue getup with the metal bra. Get us out from under, Wonder Woman!
RN: The film I haven't been able to stop thinking about since seeing at a recent film festival is "Fort Tilden", a satiric comedy that can best be described as "Girls" gone mean. Set in Lena Dunham territory -- Williamsburg, Brooklyn -- it follows a day in the life of two Millennials: 25-year-olds Harper (Bridey Elliot) and Allie (Clare McNulty). They are introduced at a rooftop concert by a pair of folk-singing twins where they make plans to go to the beach the next day with a couple of guys they meet there. Scoring Molly, they head out on bicycles to a beach in the Rockaways (Fort Tilden), but soon get lost in less gentrified sections of Brooklyn. Along they way they buy a barrel for $200, run down some Gen-Xers with a stroller, lose their bicycles, get shanghaied by a gypsy cab, and find some abandoned kittens (whom they soon dump). Once at the beach, they find the boys they hope to hook up with; but it turns out, like most of their adventure, there's less here than meets the eye. Filmmakers Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers (who co-wrote and co-directed) have an unnerving eyes and ears for the self-absorption of their peers; the result is a stinging satire that is easily one of the funniest pictures of the year. Asked on whom they based their film, the pair replied their friends. It is doubtful they have them anymore if they've seen the finished film.
Naked Chicks on Jacob Riis Beach
WC: Hot time, summer in the city means it's time to grab a bucket of chicken and head to Jacob Riis Beach in New York City's Rockaways. Although the sand is super white, the oceanfront there isn't what the Hamptons set would call pretty; in fact, it's full of sharp seashells and crab carcasses, and the undertow is so strong it's as if Mami Wata herself is calling you back to her bosom.
What's great about this tiny strip of beach fronting a mad spooky former tuberculosis asylum is that it's mega gay. Getting there means a long train ride and a connection to the Q35 bus, but once you walk down the long, sandy path between the fences and head left, you are home! Gays, lesbians and transgender people -- many of them people of color -- rub shoulders and share cocktails in this tiny space we've made our own.
Although it's technically against the law, most of the ladies are topless, and although it's a far cry from a Penthouse forum, you can't help but love the diversity of titties. Tell your friends to bring their own refreshments, and to leave their judgments -- and their swimsuits -- at the door.