AUSTIN -- It's only right that Fantastic Fest's signature event is the potent combination of intellectual discourse, visual culture and blood sport. The Fantastic Fest Debates have become more prominent with each passing year and according to Carrie Matherly, Assistant Director of Fantastic Fest, 2012's crop of showdowns will be no exception.
The premise remains the same: two combatants debate on a topic, and then fight -- or "fight" -- in a boxing ring. This year's crop of four debates includes a couple new twists, in that martial arts will replace boxing in some cases, and the opening fight will feature a woman-on-woman scuffle.
As for the latter, they're siblings -- twins, actually. And both are martial arts experts. And co-directors. And they'll be dressed as Kitana and Mileena from "Mortal Kombat."
Jen and Sylvia Soska, the directors of Fest U.S. premiering "American Mary," will literally kick things off on Saturday at the Debates, on the topic of remakes. "They had a hard time coming up with a topic, because they agree on almost everything," Matherly conceded.
Is Exploding Pants Syndrome a thing?
The undead in slow-motion; gore-stained flesh; firearmed robots; foreign language throw-downs; webby animated fictions; and a documentary about penises. I'm not saying Fantastic Fest attendees can get sick of such things. I'm saying there's something more in case you want it.
Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League and his team have locked down a schedule of genre-driven extra-curriculars from seasonally appropriate hauntings to the famed Debates to having sex with air in a public formum.
And this year, I'm not only soaking in Fantatstic Fest for the first time, but attending the fest for the first time as a newly transplanted Austinite. The upshot to this is that my comfort zone isn't challenged to heartily: the various events essentially take place in the same block at Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar and League's own Highball lounge and bar, the epicenter of post-film playtime in Austin.
When I spoke to Tegan Quin earlier this year about her and her sister Sara's new album, she promised it'd be more radio-friendly. Judging from "Closer," the first single from the as-yet-untitled set, she wasn't joking.
The synth-happy, sex-ready track has a blues structure at times, and without all the tears. Tegan and Sara repeat their sweet refrains twice each, concluding they'd want their lover-to-be "underneath me." "Let's make things physical / I won't treat you like you're typical," they bop over lasers, harmonies and a BPM that winds you up for... whatever.
Aguilera, Usher, Enrique and the rest may outline specifically what they want their bedroom playtime to be in the most explicit terms possible; here, the Quins keep their requests and desires simple, melodically innocent and flirtatious. And no acoustic guitars here.
“It’s me, motherf*cker, I’m knocking on the door.” These are words not entirely unexpected from the same guy who took home a Grammy and an Oscar for “The Weary Kind” nearly three years ago. But the lyrics are indicative of at least the confrontational sound coming from “Tomorrowland,” Ryan Bingham’s new record and the first for his own label Axster Bingham Records. (The quoted track’s called “Guess Who’s Knocking.” Should have started with a spoiler alert.)
The Killers’ last album “Day & Age” was marked by their further embrace of glitter and dance. New “Battle Born,” in a way, is their ignoring the day and age – that is, this current one.
“It hasn’t been easy to transition into being a mom with two kids, having a career,” Corin Tucker said in our recent interview. Sounds like a struggle that any mother with a job has, and – bless the mothers – they gotta have their outlet. Tucker’s creative outlet is her job. Tucker’s job is rock ‘n’ roll.
"It's like a double reunion," Ben Folds says in the making-of video for "Do It Anyway." He's describing the sensation of his band putting out their first album in 13 years, and of "Fraggle Rock" coming back together for their 30th anniversary to help promote the set.
"Do It Anyway," as the rock group said, has a bounce like Muppets composer Paul Williams, so it works here for the video, which also features comedian Rob Corddry as a studio engineer and Anna Kendrick as the front desk ditz.
But, yeah. It's mostly Fraggles, and the imagination of Nerdist's Chris Hardwick. "We're making a Fraggle rock video," he enthuses.
Is this the sign of more Fraggly things to come? If the franchise is on the cusp of 30 years, we certainly hope so: just check out the reaction of all the musicians and actors to the theme song at the end of the clip.
"Do It Anyway" is off of "The Sound of the Life of the Mind," out tomorrow (Sept. 18). Do you like the track? Does the video give your heart much joy? Where's your Boy George tat?
A few hundred words have been written recently about Lady Gaga's Fame fragrance and it's television commercial. A few more were penned this week as she shaved a new 'do onto her head in an apparent tribute. Last night, the full-length "Lady Gaga Film" bowed at a museum.
These all have something to do with each other, but it's mostly just a week of Lady Gaga being Lady Gaga.
Television commercials for Mother Monster's perfume were culled from a longer film, cleverly titled "Lady Gaga Film," directed by photographer Steven Klein. The 5:30-long clip made a full debut at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, which hosted the fragrance's launch with Gaga herself.
More on the party later. First the film. There's some humping motor oil and a mind-graft with black plastic garbage bags. Gaga first appears as a giant gold idol, then later completely naked with her subjects crawling on her bits. There's some German, chanting and sex. It's very expensive. I think it's art? She thinks it's art.
Anyway, she made quite an entrance with her new consumer purchase item at the Guggenheim, and that entrance was also art.
Check that snare! The official drop of Christina Aguilera's "Your Body" has occurred, so clear the floor, and the bed.
As I suspected in the original review of "Your Body," "f*ck your body" has been replaced by "love your body" in that Enrique style the kids love. Aguilera's voice is crisp and up-front in this boudoir battle cry, and the shuffling early '00s beat is prime for any number of potential remixes. I'm personally holding out for the Major Lazer carnivale-reggae take, were such a thing to exist (crossing fingers, looking at Diplo).
The track is a fresh arrival for "The Voice" judge whose show has been rivaling "The X Factor" and "... Got Talent" and the news trickling in from "American Idol." Co-judge Adam Levine may have had a grip on the summer with his band Maroon 5's "Payphone," but this could be Aguilera's autumn with this Max Martin banger.