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The newest addition to my to-do list of Internet procrastination is Vulture, New York Magazine’s entertainment blog.  It combines news about the arts and entertainment scene with just the right amount of cheekiness to keep it from taking itself too seriously.

Vulture Devouring Culture New York Magazine

Vulture not only titles its articles with snarky headlines such as “Recording Industry to Quit Suing Downloaders, the Dead” and “Disney Slays Narnia Franchise, Andy Samberg Weeps“, but it also gleefully keeps readers abreast of new ridiculous quotes by the Hollywood set:

“‘We definitely need a kid ASAP.’Spencer Pratt threatens the world with potential devil spawn [MTV]

‘I guess God just wanted to prepare me for this role.’ Diddy on how his past legal problems helped with his role on CSI: Miami [E!]

‘Favorite song of 2008? I haven’t had the chance to listen to anything but my stuff … so, um, “Right Now.” Favorite Album? Freedom. In stores right now.’ Akon [MTV]”

Vulture, New York Magazine’s culture blog

Most recently, Vulture put out a year-in-review list of its most popular articles with readers and bloggers in 2008.  Here are some teaser photos:

Check out Vulture’s 2008 year-in-review list for such gems as a slideshow of Vulture’s Complete Field Guide to the Facial Expressions of Keanu Reeves, a flowchart to help moviegoers decide Which of This Fall’s Oscar-Baiting Holocaust Movies Is Right for You?, and some handy advice on When Should You Take Your Bathroom Breaks During ‘Che’?

One more reason to read Vulture: without it, I never would have discovered this fan video featuring “talented super-nerd” Timothy Edward Smith’s musical score from his fan project Star Wars: The Musical:

when I read Vulture’s post George Lucas Finally Relents, Signs Off on Star Wars Musical.


Tonight, I attended the fall showcase of a UC Berkeley student theatrical group, Theatre Rice.  TR is celebrating its ten year anniversary this year, and always puts on two great shows per semester.  The shows are usually a medley of performances, and in the past, I’ve seen improv, student films, comedy, drama, one-acts, and even a musical.  TR shows are almost always fantastic, and tonight was no exception.

I saw my first TR show as a freshman, and I was hooked, because I haven’t missed a show so far.  This year, Paul joined TR, so I usually go with a group of friends to be his personal cheering section.  The cast is a group of super talented and hilarious individuals, and I give them kudos for being capable enough (and insane enough) to put on two quality shows per semester while juggling classwork, other extracurriculars, jobs, and life as college students.

Here are a few video clips of my favorite performances from past shows.  Please be advised that most of these would be rated about PG-13 or above for language:

“Definition: Normalcy Part I”: An engaged couple, a frustrated job applicant, and a couple with marital problems all sing about pretending to be normal — but what if everyone is a little crazy in this delightful musical?

Highlight: The cleaning aisle song spoofing The Little Mermaid at 2:58.

If you liked this, be sure to see:  Parts II and III of the musical.  Totally great.

“The Girl From Yesterday (Trailer)”: Andrew has a crush on his classmate Kristin, but his bumbling attempts at flirting and her seeming indifference offer more than a few setbacks.

Highlight: Seriously jaw-droppingly gorgeous cinematography of the UC Berkeley campus by student director Huy Vu.

If you liked this, be sure to see: The entirety of “The Girl from Yesterday,” around 33:00 running time.  Huy Vu’s other films with Theatre Rice, including “Darkness, My Old Friend”,  mockumentary “Theatre Rice: Behind the Laughter,” and the trailer for tonight’s film, “Anniversary”.

One clip that I wish I could show you is Theatre Rice’s Experimental Troupe, which has been doing great things this year with percussive dance performances (think Stomp with dining ware and luggage).  Unfortunately, no clips are on Theatre Rice’s YouTube channel yet, but new videos are added periodically.  In the meantime, if you go to UC Berkeley, you simply cannot miss Theatre Rice’s shows in the Spring 2009 season.  I’ll see you there.

Just in case you haven’t yet gotten around to watching to the magical wonderment that is “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog”, I thought I’d write a friendly blog post reminder for you:  Watch it now, damn it.

The sing-along blog is really a short musical film that explores the life of an aspiring supervillain named Dr. Horrible (Neil Patrick Harris).  When Dr. Horrible isn’t plotting to take over the world with his Freeze Ray or fretting over his application to join the Evil League of Evil, he’s awkwardly and adorably crushing on Penny (Felicia Day), the sweet girl from the laundromat.  His plans to rule the world and get the girl are repeatedly foiled by his archnemesis, the hilariously vapid and self-absorbed Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion).

Directed by Joss Whedon, who also dircted Buffy, Firefly, and that great episode of The Office when Dwight thinks Jim is a vampire.

Directed by Joss Whedon, who also dircted Buffy, Firefly, and that great episode of The Office when Dwight thinks Jim is a vampire.

Neil Patrick Harris is just the right combination of earnest and awkward in his role as the title character, and is a surprisingly good singer when it comes to the musical numbers.  I was too young to watch Doogie Howser when it was still airing, so my first knowledge of who Neil Patrick Harris is was from his cameo doing a line of coke off a stripper in “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle”.  (This is only slightly less awful than my friend Ellie knowing Kim Jong-Il as “the guy from ‘Team America: World Police'”.)

An educational film addressing global politics.

Team America is an educational film addressing issues in global politics today.

Just to get you started, here’s a clip of Dr. Horrible singing about his secret crush on Penny, the girl next door:

How could you not be rooting for the villain for once?

The musical is 43 minutes long and is broken up into three parts, so you really have no excuse not to drop everything and watch it legally on right this minute.  Shouts to Ayse, who introduced it to me, and in turn Cheese, who I believe introduced it to her.

I’ve been hearing a renewed buzz about “Spring Awakening” lately, likely because it’s currently playing at the Curran Theatre in nearby San Francisco.  It’s a well-reviewed, Tony award-winning (“Best Music”, “Best Choreography”, “Best Direction”, “Best Musical of the Year”) rock musical with a supposedly amazing alternative/folk rock score written by Duncan Sheik.  The subject matter deals with puberty and discovering one’s sexuality in teenage years, and has been hailed as the new “Rent”, telling a compelling story that has been called “the groundbreaking fusion of morality, sexuality and rock & roll”.

“The musical is not limited to its message, which is more undercurrent than heavy-handed moral. As a whole, the show is memorable, stirring and, on occasion, raucously funny.

Naturally, the vibrant cast deserves some of the credit. Decked out in period clothing, they still manage to leap around the stage in balls-out numbers like “My Junk” and “Totally Fucked.” It’s not all headbanging thrills, though, and they’re equally adept at keeping things subdued when appropriate.”‘

Louis Peitzman, The Daily Californian

Weeds fans will be glad to hear that Hunter Parrish, who plays Silas, will be joining the cast as male lead Melchior.  Here’s a video of him pitching the show:

You can read the entirety of the review in The Daily Californian or visit the official site to learn more, but before you get too attached to the idea of seeing “Spring Awakening” in San Francisco’s Curran Theatre, prepare to have your aspirations cruelly crushed by ticket prices of $100-$200 and the realities of your student budget.