Street fair season in San Francisco kicked off this this past weekend with the 47th annual Cherry Blossom Festival in Japantown. It tends to focus more on traditional Japanese culture - I arrived just as a Taiko drumming performance was ending - but it's also a precursor to one of my most favorite festivals, also happening in Japantown, later this summer: the J-POP SUMMIT Festival. As the name implies, J-POP is a celebration of all things related to Japanese pop culture - as they put it, "the latest in Japanese music, film, art, fashion, games, anime, food, as well as" (my personal favorite) "niche subcultures" -- and we got a preview in the form of an autograph and photo session with Ayumi Seto. She's a Harajuku Kawaii model turned Aomoji-kei fashion designer, and I spoke with her about just what Aomoji-kei fashion is, as well as about the nerdy influences in her new clothing line, "Aymmy in the batty girls," which takes most of its inspiration from American pop culture. (There are aliens and zombies involved.)
While I am certain - not - that most of you were either partying at Coachella or gettin' down to the MTV Movie Awards, many of your fellow readers were scaring up the usual mess o' stories that we didn't have room for last week. Compiled from the weekend thread with the help of Kyle LeClair, here are your weekend highlights of hilariousness.
Tipsters include: donnaryoko, Anyone00, SlyDante777, Dr.Gonzo82, Gallen_Dugall, Citrus_King, troi, andre_morelloMore >>
"First thing in the morning, what do I see, a pile of shit staring at me."
In an attempt to get people in India not to leave their shit just lying around - literally - the U.N. has hit upon a novel solution - an anthropomorphic cartoon turd who'll lick you in the face. Unlike, say, Senhor Testiculo, Mr. Poo is a villain, as seen in the online game where you have to flush his turd minions away.
Now, if I were to ask you, "Seeing as how this is a campaign intended for an Indian audience, what do you imagine would be the most stereotypical thing they could do to market themselves?" and you said, "Why, a music video full of singing and dancing bowel movements and a disco toilet, of course!" we'd be right on the money.
You wanna see it? Of course you do. It's actually catchy as hell.More >>
UPDATE: Goats win. It wasn't even close.
A while back, some of you suggested you'd like to see "who would win" style nerd battle articles. Many of them, pitting one hero against another, seemed to me like things that had been done already, but when two particular tips came in, I decided they'd be perfect for this new feature.
[I'm also open to better names than "TR Showdown."]
The Battle: Which cover version of the Game of Thrones theme is better?
The Combatants: Screaming goats from other viral videos versus Dave Koz and Postmodern Jukebox's "smooth jazz" version.
Let's begin...More >>
Imagine the Jim Varney vs. Trolls Disney comedy from the '90s...only Ernest P. Worrell is now a flesh-eating zombie, the trolls are pedophiles in rubber masks, and the kids are all potential murderers in the making. The lo-fi video and the eerie metal tune by Creepoid - featuring repurposed soundbites from the original film - add up to something simultaneously cheesy and deeply unsettling, much like Korine's Trash Humpers.
The late, great Varney would probably be appalled to see his kid-friendly character get a horror makeover. I, however, am fascinated. And upset...but maybe in a good way? KnoWhutIMean?More >>
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Although the titular fuzzy-foot takes a bit of a backseat for much of the middle part of this Middle-earth trilogy, the world of the story expands significantly with the forests of Mirkwood, the burg of Laketown, numerous cave-lairs filled with preposterously narrow catwalks over large chasms, and Smaug's big treasure pit. Book purists may object to Ninja Legolas playing as significant a role as he does, but Luke Evans gives Bard more dimension than Tolkien did, and Benedict Cumberbatch is superb as Smaug. A goofily forced finale with Thorin actually surfing molten gold with a shield is admittedly one of the dumbest things ever, but overall there's enough pure fantasy fun here to recommend.
Except...there's an extended edition coming later in the year. But you've been around Peter Jackson movies long enough by now that you must surely know that.
Nurse 3D - You would think I'd be all over a movie about a fetishy vigilante nurse who preys on pervs and makes them suffer. Here's why I never saw it - the only opportunity I was given to watch a film called Nurse 3D was via a watermarked online video in 2D. I know it caused my freelancer Todd Gilchrist to develop several new fetishes, and I assume it uses 3D to primarily exploitative effect. Not having a 3D TV as yet, however, I may find it takes a while before I find out.More >>
Our name for it is better.
Well, I for one was too busy planning a WrestleMania party all weekend to see what other fun things were going on in the world, but if, like me, you missed out, here are some highlights of this weekend's reader-submitted items, compiled with the help of Kyle LeClair.
Tipsters this week include SlyDante777, skrag2112, Dr.Gonzo82, Anyone00, franciebrady27, rkwsuperstar, troi, Gallen_DugallMore >>
Illustration by Matthew Steele
If you've left behind your rock star lifestyle of debauchery, you may recall when Guitar Hero was a huge phenomenon, followed quickly by the Rock Band Era. Including mobile spin-offs and exclusive titles, Guitar Hero currently has 18 games under its belt, and that number jumps to 24 when you include the DJ Hero and Band Hero series. Rock Band boasts a still-impressive 11 title catalogue, proving the rhythm - based model was not one to be tampered with. Both are undeniably great franchises, and deserve accolades for achieving remarkable sales, acquiring some tricky song licenses, and spreading the gaming community to a new audience. However, if we look back a few years, as we often love to do, we can see our old friend Donkey Kong, clapping his hands on the ground and making that strange hiccupping/laughing noise he makes. It's as if he's trying to say, "What about me? WHAT ABOUT ME?!" Poor guy. He asked me to prepare 6 reasons why his band's poster deserves to be on your ceiling instead of...who is that? Slash? Oh come on....More >>