Monday, February 1, 2010

Quick Rant: Team TayTay

So a lot of people have been hating on Taylor Swift saying that she did not deserve the Grammy Award for 'Album of the Year' last night. Most of those who say this say so because they are Lady Gaga or Beyonce fans who think their "artists" should have won. I am, admittedly, a full Lady Gaga STAN (ONTD-speak for stalker+fan) and I would not say that I am the same for Taylor Swift. However, I do enjoy Taylor Swift's music. Is it country music that technically goes against everything I believe in musically? Yes. But Taylor Swift hits a spot in my heart that Gaga, Britney, and even Kylie can't hit. Her raw, emotional lyrics are something that I can relate to and if I can't, I know someone who could relate to them. In defense of her album, "Fearless," it is one of the most cohesive, sweet, well-written albums that I have listened to in a long time.

While I personally think that Lady Gaga's "The Fame" is one of the best CDs that I own, I do not think it is Grammy-worthy for "album of the year." Gaga's impact on American (and world) culture is something that extends far beyond the music from her debut album. The music is, obviously, a huge part of her success and current reign over the pop universe, but she is much more than that. She extracts everything that Americans wish they could be and projects it directly in front of our faces and has thereby been successful. I don't think, however, that the music on "The Fame" is why she is the phenomenon that she is. Her album is a great dance record and I love nearly every track on the disc, but the song selection, sequencing, and production all scream safety on the part of Gaga's record label. It seems like random tracks were thrown in so that they could appeal to the mass American market, which obviously worked. On this note, I would argue that "The Fame" was not able to express Gaga's true artistic, musical talent because record executives were taking such a big risk by releasing her album.

Now, I am in NO WAY saying that I dislike "The Fame" or think that Gaga lacks talent, because I do not think this. I saw "The Monster Ball" 5 times and consider myself a very big fan of Lady Gaga. When people say that Taylor Swift is lacking talent or that she is a "fake bitch," I think it is insulting to someone, let alone a nineteen year old girl, to say that they didn't deserve their awards. It seems to me that there is no commercial motive, other than the obvious that is felt throughout the entire award show, for giving Taylor Swift a Grammy for album of the year. "Fearless" has done a great deal for the music industry and while Lady Gaga pushes herself to the brink of everything expected, Taylor Swift has remained true to herself and has continued to produce great music and to work hard.

If you think Taylor should not have won, it is understandable but I think to say that she lacks talent or to say that she is undeserving, I would argue against that. Again, I apologize for the lack of fluidity in this post, it is a rant and I hope it makes you see why I think TayTay DID deserve the award! (Although so did Gaga!) hehe

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Venting: Heidi Montag on Good Morning America

Above is a video of Heidi Montag discussing her recent plastic surgery that included 10 different procedures. Whatever, you probably know the story. At the end of the segment, the hosts of Good Morning America ask for thoughts on this matter. They are probably expecting a flood of comments from angry moms and "empowered" teenagers criticizing Heidi Montag for her own personal choices to have these surgeries. I have a different take on the matter and it is one that I would hope that many others would agree with.

ABC, it is YOU that is setting the bad example. How horrible is it that you are giving this "story" the time of day. Look, I have NO problem with Heidi Montag because I take her for what she is--a mentally unstable fame whore who pimps herself out and embarrasses herself on a daily basis because of her Twitter babble about her "music career," her dogs, Jesus, and her "hubby." A news show like Good Morning America that has millions upon millions of viewers is unapologetically airing this segment
and attempting to make Heidi look like the bad guy. Who is the bad guy really? It's ABC. ABC and People Magazine, the publication who first published the story, probably accepted some sort of payment from Heidi Montag and her husband in order to get on the program. It is no secret to what extent this couple will reach in order to achieve fame. Heidi Montag does not have legions of fans, she won't pull in ratings. However, it is the human interest aspect of this story that has convinced ABC, Good Morning America, and it's producers that this would be a good story to run on one of their biggest
programs. It is in this instance that ABC, not Heidi Montag, should have made the good, responsible choice to NOT air this segment. It is HUMILIATING that someone like Heidi Montag could have any impact whatsoever over what young girls think is the true standard of beauty. This girl is so moronic and it's truly embarrassing that the hosts of a program on ABC, the American Broadcasting Company, owned by Disney, has the AUDACITY to sit around and talk about Montag as if she is setting a poor example for
American girls while they are the ones flaunting this story and promoting this story. The young girls that ABC fears will see Montag and think that they must undergo surgery to look beautiful do not know how to discern the critical approach of the interviewer as well as the commentators. To me, a 19 year old university student, I can tell that this is a horrible message and that the ABC employees understand this. A girl who is sitting around at 10 AM when this program airs and is brushing her Barbie doll's hair while she awaits her mother's home-
cooked breakfast is observing a girl who looks like an over-inflated balloon and hears her saying that this is what made her feel beautiful. This young girl is witnessing something truly terrifying that I luckily never have had to witness. Why is she seeing this? Not because Heidi Montag has overtaken the American government and forced her image upon every last billboard and television station and so on, but because ABC wants to attract moronic Americans who, for one reason or another, find this story to be of interest.

So in conclusion, if you could even decipher my point through my anger, it is not solely Heidi Montag who should be ashamed of the impression she makes, but ABC. ABC, you sit around and judge this woman but yet you use her to get more money from your advertisers. If I had my way, all of your advertisers would pull funds from this show and it would go off air. It's just so hypocritical and strips this show of any credibility that it had left. Anyways, there are much more important things going on
in our world today but this particularly frustrated me. Don't act all high and mighty when you are the one who is supposed to uphold your morals and standards. Montag never claims to be a role model, but ABC, you do. Thanks bye.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Now This is Luxury

I am not much of a car person. I do appreciate pretty, expensive, shiny ones with leather interiors and other glitzy accessories. This upcoming ad campaign for Mercedes SLS AMG featuring the work of Gareth Pugh combined with the photography of Nick Knight made me convert to a straight man (kind of?) in the sense that my jaw dropped and I started salivating over a motor vehicle.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010, show me your teeth.

Spent New Year's Eve with some close friends at a house party. It was nice to see some faces from the past and celebrate the future. I still can't believe it is 2010. It's kind of fun to type 2010, it makes me a little giddy.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bye Bye 2009

Samantha and me at my going away party

Although I've been prepping for New Year's Eve plans, I haven't really stopped to think what this means. Today is the last day of 2009. I still think of this year as if ten years ago were the 90s. So much has happened this year. I started college. I moved into my first apartment. I've really began to develop a set of personal and professional interests that I truly feel like I can call my own. Living in Berkeley has taught me so much about people, about what I like, about what I don't like, about who I want to be and how to defy what I think others want me to be.

Me at my first college party night
D'arcy, me, and Jade at my dad's wedding

While I feel like I've grown a lot this year, I have still struggled with a lot of emotions. I'm still not entirely comfortable with myself around my family. I'm still self-conscious about everything I do, even though people continue to tell me that I shouldn't be. This may be why this year has been romantically dry. I just need to find my balance between what is reality and what is the fantasy I want to fulfill. Something I can work on for 2010: be more assertive and confident, more easily said than done.

Britney Spears: The Circus

Seika and me at the end of Spring semester

I began taking classes in my major, Media Studies, and fell in love with the subject. I left every class feeling more and more inspired by the world in which we live. I don't really feel as blinded by what I experience every day. I just love it, hopefully I can stay in the major because I truly love it and it would make my Berkeley experience worth while. Something I can work on in 2010: find what else in Berkeley makes me happy so I don't do something irrational and leave.

Front row at Kylie Minogue's first North American tour

Me and Kylie Minogue

I have struggled with a lot of personal relationships this year. I have such a hard time not getting emotionally attached to every single interaction that I come across. I over-think every situation, which contributes to be low self-confidence. I try to come across happy and bubbly, but there are truly very few people who make me happy. Those people who do make me happy, truly do. There are a handful of people, however, who really cause me to go to sleep feeling pretty shitty. Something I can work on in 2010: not letting everything get to me.

Me, Jonathan, and John having a BARE night

Aesthetically, something that means a lot to me, I have matured and developed a lot. I have been able to incorporate my love of pop culture and pop music into a more mature and serious aesthetic. This year, I saw Britney Spears, No Doubt, Kylie Minogue, and Lady Gaga; all of whom have had a tremendous impact on my life. I don't know what it is about pop music and these girls specifically, but I have just always felt a huge connection to them. Seeing them all in the same year really makes this a landmark year. While many would think that it is superficial of me to consider seeing them a pivotal moment, they just don't understand. I think as a boy who spent the first 17 years of his life in the closet, these artists provided a way to express myself without feeling persecuted for being who I am. So seeing them and feeling the same energy they felt, it just means so much to me, making 2009 quite special to me.

Production team photo post-shoot

My Halloween costume: Pop Star on the Moon

I feel like 2009 wasn't amazing, it definitely was an important year for me. There I go again, putting myself down because of my unnaturally high standards. Right now, my high standards and expectations keep me down, but I am hoping that my disinterest in accepting mediocrity will benefit me in the long run.

Zoe and me at Lady Gaga's The Monster Ball

I hope 2010 meets my expectations, it would be a big step for me.

Jackson and me waiting for The Monster Ball

Me and Elana hanging out during winter break, 2009


Monday, December 28, 2009

Bubble Dreams

A performance of Speechless by Lady Gaga. I know she does this song frequently but I love the hair/dress combination and I am loving the launch of the new site Vevo. Ironically, I use the YouTube version, but it's only because I don't like the way that Vevo videos embed on this blog. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

From Madrid, With Love

Today I had the privilege of viewing the visual phenomenon that is Tom Ford's debut film, A Single Man. The film was so much more than I had imagined. Each frame was so beautifully directed and every moment was so gorgeous and it portrayed gay men exactly as they should be portrayed. The trailer is completely misleading in the sense that there is no heterosexuality to be found in A Single Man. Just beautiful men and beautiful acting and beautiful production. One of the highlights for me was the appearance of one of Ford's muses, Jonathan Kortajarena. While only in the film for a few minutes, his presence is truly breathtaking and he provides a shift for the main character George, played by Colin Firth. Below are some gorgeous photos of Kortajarena. I'll post a link to my review of the film when it's posted on the BARE Blog.