The VMAs Are Coming to Brooklyn in August, I’m Taking a Vacation in August

Brooklyn’s Barclays Center is THE place to see a concert these days, even though I haven’t managed to get tickets to anything despite being a ten minute block away. I know lots of people who complained about the bohemoth arena ruining the neighborhood, although I’ve managed to shrug off all of those complaints because it really hasn’t affected my life very much. (Well, there was once some white party, I think, because one night I saw hundreds of people wearing white wandering aimlessly around the Atlantic Center’s shopping compound trying to find the Long Island Rail Road. Since I’m a New Yorker, I ignored them and let them find their own damn way home.) But that might be changing now that the MTV Video Music Awards will take place at the Barclays Center on August 25.

MTV announced the date and location today, and now that there will be a whole slew of famous people of varying degrees roaming around my ‘hood in addition to their fans, I’m a little more weary of Jay-Z’s gigantic stadium so close to home. Of course, I suppose this is a fun treat for the borough, as the VMAs haven’t taken place in New York City for four years. Four years! Who can even remember what life was like back in ’09?!

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, however, is very excited:

"From hip-hop to hipsters, Jay-Z to MGMT, Brooklyn musicians have a long history of dominating the ‘spotlight’ on MTV. Brooklyn is a cultural Mecca — the hippest, coolest place for young people across the country, and has played a crucial role in the careers of some of 2013’s biggest bands, like Fun. and the Lumineers," said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz in a statement.

"Now, it is only fitting that the first time Brooklyn will ever host a major awards show, we are welcoming the most exciting and talked about spectacle in the music industry … I’m so thrilled that I’ll probably get ‘no sleep till Brooklyn’ hosts the VMAs!"

"No sleep till Brooklyn!" I get it! But I have to say, I’m offended that Markowitz does not identify the Coatesies—my weekly awards show that takes place in my bedroom—as an event worth mentioning in his statement. I mean, Beyoncé has been sweeping!

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Check Out a New Trailer and On-Set Photos for ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’

In our upcoming interview with The Place Beyond the Pines director Derek Cianfrance, we spoke about the presence as such an actor as Ryan Gosling. And as the film is indeed a triptych epic drama, filled with "baton passes" between characters, Cianfrance said that Gosling has the ability and the power to exist beyond simply he scenes in he is in—and it’s true. Gosling embodies his character perfectly and when recently speaking to the Huffington Post recently said:

One thing that kind of handed me the key to the character was that I totally overdid it with the tattoos," says Gosling, who has a teardrop inked beneath his left eye in the film. "I said to Derek, `I got to lose this face tattoo. It’s the worst. It’s so distracting and it’s going to ruin everything.’ And he said, `Well, I’m sure that’s how people with face tattoos feel. So now you have to pay the consequences of your actions.’ So I had to do the whole film with it and now see it on posters. It gave me a sense of shame that I feel was inherent to the character.

With the film just one week away, there’s a new thrilling trailer for you to enjoy, plus some more stills courtesy of MTV, as well as the photos, posters, teasers, and other soundtrack bites we’ve teased you with thus far.

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The Only SXSW Recap You Need

Yeah, right: “need.” But even if we made a point of not attending the sprawling, apparently month-long music/film/TED Talk festival, we’re still a little curious about what went down. No? Okay then: here’s a travelogue written by a small, adorable dog.

Marnie is the photogenic pooch of Shirley Braha, the architect of MTV webseries Weird Vibes. She is, naturally, named after guitar goddess Marnie Stern, whom she crashed with in Austin. (By the way, remember when you could win a date with Human Marnie? Well, things took a game show twist and there were three winners, who will have to compete for her affections.)

Anyway, Dog Marnie is just as much a VIP, and has the chance to hang out with some of the coolest artists in town. Small Black! Hannibal Buress! That tears it: if I ever go to another one of these clusterfucks, it’ll be in a Martha Stewart pet carrier bag.  

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Robert DeLong is an EDM Artist on the Rise

Seattle-born, L.A.-based singer-songwriter Robert DeLong has a flare for the alternative. In a good way. The 26 (soon to be 27)-year-old EDM mastermind, dubbed a Young Artist to Watch by MTV, has the music scene in his hands—quite literally. Indeed, among the myriad instruments he manages to maneuver during performances are Wiimotes and Joysticks, rigged like MIDIs and adding edge to his already memorable brand of booty movin’ tunes.

Seriously, though, this whiz kid’s got the chops and multitasks better than the best of us—in front of an audience, no less. He’s a one-man-band who sings, drums, and fiddles with game controllers and keyboards, sometimes going so far as to incorporate guitar, too. His live set is something to behold, a sweaty mid-twenties talent, hair slicked down in an exaggerated comb-over, putting every effort into churning out original numbers while keeping the beat.

“I’m always writing songs,” says DeLong, whose debut album, Just Movement, drops today. Makes sense, since he constantly rocked out in bands back in high school. Now he’s signed to Glassnote, label to the likes of Phoenix and Mumford & Sons.

Recently, DeLong released a video to accompany his catchy track “Global Concepts.” The visual rendition of this f-bomb laden rhythmic ditty features a foggy interior, warehouse-like, smoke somewhat obscuring the agile dancers in the background. Tube lights suspended from above flicker and flash whilst DeLong engages in various aspects of performing, most notably wandering around and gesticulating with Wiimote or drumsticks in hand, or hitting his steel drum to excellent tribal effect as he marches subtly in place. Towards the end, the space is overrun with revelers, morphing into an all-out party you wish you’d been invited to. (The platinum blonde mop you may glimpse amid the shadows belongs to talented dancer James Koroni, the individual responsible for my introduction to and fast fandom of DeLong.)

Another nuance unique to DeLong is his affinity for orange, which he wears with pride in the shape of an “x,” big and bold on a classic black tee, as well as painted with precision on his cheekbone in the shape of a lightening bolt. More on this defining aesthetic to follow.

New Yorkers can catch DeLong in action on February 15 when, as part of a greater tour, he plays The Studio at Webster Hall. Festivalgoers will have several opportunities to indulge as well, from SXSW to Coachella, Ultra to Governors Ball.

Not long ago I sat down with the confident up-and-comer at The Commons Chelsea, one of my favorite neighborhood haunts, where over iced tea we discussed the multi-instrumentalist’s inspiration, interest in hacking HIDs, and what it all means.

What’s it like being dubbed a Young Artist to Watch?
It’s great. I grew up watching MTV, so it’s cool. Wild ride. Exciting. Surreal.

How have people reacted? Any super fans?
Nothing too weird so far. But, it’s definitely getting weirder. After the video came out, all of a sudden friends from high school started reaching out, sending messages. It’s fun to hear from people I haven’t heard from in years. But, it’s just funny.

I bet. Did you always know you were going to go into music?
Near the end of high school I knew I was going to do music. I started out thinking I was going to be in science or something. But, I was better at [music]. I think people knew I was a musician, but I don’t know if people knew I was into electronic music and that I was going to go that route.

What would you be doing if not this?
Since college, all of my jobs have been music related. I taught drum lessons, so that was my thing. If it wasn’t music at all, I guess I’d be going to school.

To become a scientist.
Yeah, I guess. [Laughs]

So, tell me more about this Wiimote rewiring…
You can hack [a] human interface device, anything from Gamepads to Joysticks, and turn it into a MIDI. Basically, the idea is you’re just sending information to a computer and can turn it into whatever you want. It’s the same thing as having a knob, slider, drum pad. It’s all the same if you can hack it and make it work for you. I found out you could do it, it seemed interesting and it’s cheaper than buying a bunch of expensive musical equipment. And it’s fun, people like it.

How many instruments do you have up onstage with you?
Three different electronic things, two computers, game pad, Joystick, Wiimote, six pieces of percussion, drum set, keyboard. Like, 15-20 things. Sometimes I’ll have a guitar. Oh, and two microphones.

Wow. That’s a lot for one guy to keep track of. So, are all your shows like the last time you performed in New York? No pauses between songs, stuff like that?
The show is always continuous and flows together. When I do a longer set, there’s more drumming. I play guitar sometimes, too. It’s high-paced. Jumping around doing a lot of different things.

I’m getting that vibe. You sampled Moby when you last played live in NYC. Have you been a long time fan of his?
When his album Play came out, I was probably, like, 12. That was when I first started experimenting with making electronic music, because it was kind of accessible, mainstream electronic music for the time. It was kind of something I grew up with.

Aww, an audible homage. Thoughts on our fair city?
I love this city, but Manhattan is a little terrifying. And it’s a little colder here. Do prefer the warm. Other than that, it’s beautiful. It’s awesome. Good people.

Who else besides Moby inspired or inspires you?
The songs on the album especially are an amalgamation of a lot of songs over the last four years, so it’s a wide variety of things. I grew up in Seattle, so there’s the whole indie singer-songwriter vibe that I kind of grew up with, like Death Cab for Cutie, The Postal Service, Modest Mouse. I think you can hear that whole Seattle sound in the way I write melodies. As far as things I’m listening to a lot right now, I’m listening to Lucy and Sports. I also grew up listening to a lot of Beatles, Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Talking Heads. Those are some of my constant jams.

Can you tell me what inspired the lyrics behind “Just Movement”?
“Just Movement,” the first track, is sort of the thesis statement for the album. It was written right after college, a time of mental exploring. Just movement: the idea that, if you take this reductionist perspective, everything we do is just atoms moving around. It’s all meaningless. But, once you break it down, where do you go from there? Just movement, the double entendre. Dancing, philosophy. Take it or leave it.

Have you yourself always been into dancing? I’m thinking, too, of “Global Concepts”…
I go out dancing a lot. Do a lot of jumping around on stage. I think that’s an awesome thing. It’s the oldest response to music that human beings had, so it only makes sense to think about that. For a long time I was in the indie scene and no one dances. Everyone looks at their feet.

[Laughs] Shoegaze. How would you describe the music scene in L.A.?
It’s actually pretty cool. There’s definitely a burgeoning DIY electronic scene in Los Angeles. L.A.’s big. There’s always something happening. You can always see new music. It’s good stuff.

So, how did the face painting start?
The whole thing was a group of me and my friends called the Tribe of Orphans, a bunch of people who hang out and go to dance events and stuff. It kind of just evolved over time. My girlfriend Heidi face paint[s] at shows.

So she’s your professional face painter. Does she paint in real life?
Besides face painting she does studio painting and stuff, so it’s great.

Why orange?
Initially? That’s the color paint that shows up the best under black light. It glows the brightest.

Has anyone ever said something to you about your “x” symbol? How it very much resembles the “x” symbol of The xx?
Yeah, people have said that before.

Does it piss you off?
It does a little bit. It doesn’t really. I didn’t even know about them, that that was their symbol. The “x” just was kind of an organic development. My girlfriend had painted it on my headphones probably three years ago or something, so it was before that first The xx album came out. It was just kind of a simultaneous [thing]. We both did it. And then they became famous first. It’s just an “x.” It is what it is.

Emblem wars aside, what’s the greatest challenge of all this?
I think the greatest challenge is to not get sick all the time from running around. But, I have a lot of energy and this is what I wanted to do, so it’s all working out. So far. I get to do what I love. I love playing shows. That’s what it’s all about.

Photo by Miles Pettengell

Big Freedia, Ke$ha Getting Reality Shows

With 30 Rock over, Ben & Kate axed, and Parks & Recreation and Breaking Bad coming to an end in the spring, the latter with its ‘polarizing‘ finale, it seems like we’re running out of TV to which we can look forward. If waiting for Game of Thrones or Mad Men just isn’t enough to tide you over, luckily, the good people at your friendly neighborhood music-related channel have a pair of reality shows that actually sound sort of amazing.

After a scene from Teen Mom where the mother asked for a change in her sentencing so she could go to a Ke$ha concert went viral (she called the “Die Young” singer “her idol” and declared, “it’s not just a concert, it’s Ke$ha!”), MTV’s only natural conclusion would, of course, be to make a Ke$ha reality show. The documentary series, which premieres in April and features footage shot by her brother, Lagan Sebert, shares a name with her recently-released memoir, My Crazy Beautiful Life. The show will focus on her life over the past two years, including touring and recording. Ke$ha says the show’s content will be “not all glamorous, but it’s all real,” so hopefully we’ll find out what really happened in that Record Store Day session with Wayne Coyne.

However, our artist-centric reality show cups had really runneth over upon finding out that New Orleans bounce superhero Big Freedia (the Queen Diva) was getting her own show on Fuse. Much like Ke$ha’s, it will be a documentary series focusing on the New Orleans rapper’s life and music, from recording to touring to the more personal.

"We’re working on a reality show that should come out real soon,” Freedia says in a Fuse interview. “I’m very excited about that, but I’ll be a little scared about it, too. They’ll be in my life a full 24/7. It’ll be all of my music and all of a lot of asses all over the world.”

Freedia’s reality show doesn’t have a premiere date yet, so you should probably just clear your calendars for the next few months just in case. In the meantime, watch this interview for more on her music and bounce’s impact on New Orleans.

Check Out Jennifer Lawrence’s ‘Super Sweet 16’ Promo

Jennifer Lawrence won a SAG award last night for her role in Silver Linings Playbook (I’m basically sitting on my hands to keep from typing disparaging comments about that), and in her speech she mentioned getting her SAG card (these actor types tend to do that) after appearing in a promo for MTV’s My Super Sweet 16. "I remember getting it in the mail and it being the best day in my entire life," she said, "because it officially made me a professional actor." Well, congrats, lady, but if you beat Jessica Chastain at the Oscars, heads will roll. (This is important business worthy of my emotions.) Luckily, the promo is online, so we can all see this great artist from her very beginning. 

[Via EW]

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Linkage: Megan Fox’s Face is Unreal, Victor Garber’s BF is Sexy, and Screech’s Younger Wife

Esquire’s cover story about Megan Fox begins as follows: “The symmetry of her face, up close, is genuinely shocking. The lip on the left curves exactly the same way as the lip on the right. The eyes match exactly. The brow is in perfect balance, like a problem of logic, like a visual labyrinth. It’s not really even that beautiful. It’s closer to the sublime, a force of nature, the patterns of waves crisscrossing a lake, snow avalanching down the side of a mountain, an elaborately camouflaged butterfly. What she is is flawless. There is absolutely nothing wrong with her.” It’s like an advertorial for plastic surgery! [Esquire]

Dustin Diamond, forever known to us all as Screech, gives an interesting interview in which he reveals the other reason older men enjoy the company of younger women: “One of the great things for me is I’ve got a trophy wife. She’s twenty-five and I’m thirty-six. So she’s an entire generation younger, and because of that, there’s stuff I missed that I can go back and appreciate now with her introducing it to me.” (Also, the sex is probably good.) [Splitsider]

Is the music industry too focused on ephemera? That’s what TLC’s T-Boz thinks. “The record business sucks!” she tells The Hollywood Reporter. “Great music, timeless music is hard to come by, but there are some that are like that… Those kind of songs last—your “Waterfalls" or “Unpretty”—but there’s a lot of this "just for the times" music out now, but they don’t last and then everybody’s on the next thing. So I don’t think it will ever be the same, but great music and great musicians still exist.” [THR]

Facebook is gunning to beat Google at the search engine business with the rollout of the new Graph Search, which “offers a massively expanded new way to explore your web social life.” Basically, it means you will never have to ask anyone for anything again, because Facebook will do it for you. It’s good news for those of us who have no intention of leaving our houses. (Heads up, Christine McVie.) [Gizmodo]

Victor Garber is gay, which I admit was NEWS TO ME, and it turns out he looks kinda like a forty-something Williamsburg loft-dweller. But hotter. So good on you, Victor Garber! Keep that shit right up! [Gawker]

There is a group of people now dubbed Male-ennials, they’re sharing “emotional stuff” with each other, they consider Google to be a father figure, and it’s safe to say that I hate all of them. [MTV Insights]

I’m not sure I’m 100% behind the second season of Girls, but I’m 100000% behind Texts From Shoshanna. [Vulture]

Getting the body you’ve always wanted is pretty easy, although there may be some light groundskeeping involved. [The Hairpin]

Lance Armstrong, rug abuser. [Hypervocal]

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Senator Asks MTV Not To Tarnish West Virginia’s Good Name With ‘Buckwild’ Show

West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin has an earnest plea for MTV: reconsider how you are portraying the four-wheeling, gun-shooting state in upcoming reality show Buckwild, which looks to be the Jersey Shore of former coal-mining towns.  

Buckwild stars nine rural West Virginians partying as best they can out in the boonies (i.e. there is no Karma), which means a lot of playing the mud. Sen. Manchin penned a letter to MTV fretting over "ugly, inaccurate stereotypes" in Buck Wild, like young people "drinking" and "swearing" and filling up the back of a pickup truck with water to use it as a pool, Fox News reported.

Certainly this program sounds like it will tarnish West Virginia’s good image. Why, people might start to think the state has a problem with poverty and education!

Buckwild debuts on January 3 at 10p.m. EST.  

Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter.

Latest Installment of ‘Ask A Network Head,’ Now With Serious Real Talk about MTV

Hey, children of the ‘80s/early ‘90s (or, as old people / people who don’t like you / marketing execs call you, “millennials”) MTV will not stand your whiny, tired, vaguely-rockist yearning and yammering about why it doesn’t play music videos anymore. MTV does not care about your music authenticity crusading nostalgia-trip BS.* And they will make it known.

Or rather, Brian Firenzi pretending to be an MTV Networks exec named “Michael Destiny” will make it known. On the latest edition of comedy duo Brian & Maria’s “Ask A Network Head,” a twenty-something asks the head of programming at MTV why they’ve traded in actual music videos for Jersey Shore and its various iterations. And the response, smug and condescending as it is in tone, is some serious real talk in its content. Basically, he argues, you brought this on yourselves. This is why you can’t have nice things. 

“Your generation—not the one before you, not the one after you—your generation decided to steal music, and music videos are more worthless than ever before,” says the exec. “Puff Daddy used to be able to drive a speedboat through an explosion! At least that looked cool.”

He goes on to explain how the people complaining the most about MTV no longer playing music videos are no longer MTV’s primary demographic, and with the advent of the Internet, the average casual music listener has SO MANY tools to discover new music and bands can develop a Twitter following for free practically overnight, so MTV as a medium for music discovery has been rendered irrelevant, and that you’re really just worried about becoming culturally irrelevant and getting old. This isn’t about MTV, is it? It’s about you and your own fear of becoming old and crochety and, Heaven forbid, uncool. Watch.

*Although the recent resurgence of Daria and new episodes of Beavis and Butt-Head may actually indicate otherwise, but that’s only because the nostalgia industry is where all the buttloads of money are.