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Music

Weird Al’s Early Jobs Included ‘Accordion Repo Man’

ShutterstockAccordionIt’s been a long time since a comedy album topped the Billboard 200 charts. Today, Weird Al Yankovic, the man responsible for that feat, sat down for a radio interview with KFI AM 640′s Bill Handel.

Yankovic started off the conversation by talking with Handel about his earliest jobs. He reminded that while studying architecture at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, he went by the DJ name of “Al Matthews” for an off-campus, paid radio gig.

The man born Alfred Matthew Yankovic also, hilariously, talked about being an “accordion repo man.” He was a teacher at a music school, and when students discontinued their lessons, it was often up to Yankovic to show up at their door and request that they return the loaned musical instrument. “They were more than happy to give it back, for some reason,” Yankovic deadpanned.

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Take It from Weird Al: Irony is *Not* Coincidence

Each music video this week by Alfred Matthew Yankovic has been as clever as the one before it. A fact that is neither coincidental or ironic.

WordCrimesIronyCoincidence

That’s a reference to our favorite grammatical tip from Tuesday’s “Word Crimes” – Irony is not coincidence. A day later, FishbowlNY, as a public service, has checked to see if this portion of Video #2 was taken to heart by those toiling in the content trenches. It doesn’t appear so:

Ironically, the Smartphone is the ultimate social media tool…

Ironically, we live in a truly Golden Age of television…

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Billy Joel’s ‘Uptown Girl’ Gets the Bitcoin Treatment

The URL is bitcoingirl.org; the titular Bitcoin Girl is one Naomi Brockwell; and the goal is to educate folks about the merits of the emerging crypto-currency.

Under the auspices of the Moving Picture Institute (MPI), Brockwell has released a slick music-video spoof of Billy Joel‘s iconic “Uptown Girl.” Coming out the same week as Weird Al Yankovic‘s great Pharrell take-off “Tacky,” it boasts its own solid re-invention by Lana Harfoush of the lyrics and instantly familiar chorus (“That’s when I realized/It is all de-cenbtralized…”).

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Critic Expands on Blurred #AskThicke Lines

RobinThickePaulaCoverIn the summary view of New York Times music critic Jon Caramanica, when VH1 threw open the doors Monday to a Robin Thicke Twitter Q&A, the result was stored-up agita, frustration and discomfort.

But very cleverly, Caramanica does not dwell on the details of this Twitter “tsunami.” Instead, after a brief sampling of the waves, he remarks that very few people focused on the matter at hand – Thicke’s new album Paula – and remedies by asking about two dozen questions that coulda, shoulda been posed.

Here, from that list, are two of FishbowlNY’s favorites:

Have you considered, instead of touring this album, only performing it outside windows in acts of hostile serenade?

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Journo Sings the Praises of Her Much More Talented, Musical Brother

DaveSabinaNot too long ago, ex-New York regional newspaper reporter Susannah Strumfeld decided to take a vacation of sorts. Having quit her job with Spotlight Newspapers in the summer of 2013, she headed west, where she immediately began second-guessing her decision:

I flew to California to travel with my brother Dave and his girlfriend, Sabina, for 10 straight days, the most we had spent together in years. I was skeptical to go at first. I had just quit my job and gotten out of a relationship and here I was, in sunny California, with my brother and his girlfriend – the musical troubadours who were madly in love. I thought my heartbroken self was going to die. They made incredible music together and sang into each other’s eyes and they were healthy and happy and I wanted to kill them.

But then I realized how happy their music made me. And how happy they made me. And how playing music with them was so natural. And how Sabina inspired me to travel like my gut was telling me to. And how their ridiculously complicated love story brought hope to my cynical self.

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Central New York Native Talks About Her ‘#SELFIE’ Stardom

From one DJ to another.

That’s the unusual media slant framing Syracuse Post-Standard entertainment writer Geoff Herbert‘s interview with model Lindsey Diane Alton, the lip-synching star of YouTube music video viral smash “#SELFIE.” The song started out as a joke for the NYC DJ duo of Andrew Taggart and Alex Pall (a.k.a. The Chainsmokres). Eighty-five million views along, this meta ditty has hit number one on Billboard‘s Dance/Electronic charts and, now, garnered coverage from – we’re pretty sure – the only entertainment newspaper writer who is also a deaf DJ. From Herbert’s deafgeoff.com bio:

Let’s get the obvious out of the way – yes, I’m really deaf… I was born with a profound binaural hearing loss and I hear about 10% as well as the average person. However, with hearing aids, lipreading, context and visual cues people often forget that I’m really hard of hearing.

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Cyndi Lauper Sets the ‘She Bop’ Record Straight

Time to update the Wikipedia page! The unusual lineage of the singer’s second most popular single and the now defunct gay men’s magazine Blueboy is currently presented as follows:

Lauper has stated that finding a copy of Blueboy lying around in the recording studio provided the impetus for writing “She Bop.”[citation needed]

In fact, per an interview with Out magazine to mark the 30th anniversary year and special commemorative re-release of She’s So Unusual, Lauper explains that she and her producer Steve Lunt paid a visit to the magazine store downstairs. This after a “tipsy” Lunt summoned her via telephone with, “Cyn! You gotta come here, because I want you to write a song about masturbation. No woman has had this before. You’ll be the first.”

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Boy George Pays Justin Bieber a ‘Beautiful’ Backhanded Compliment

BoyGeorgePromoPicNew York freelance writer Lawrence Ferber logged a fun interview with Boy George for Dallas Voice. Celebrity Q&A’s are ultimately all about the questions, and Ferber asked some fabulous ones.

At one point, Gerber picked up on George’s observation that George Michael was once the “Karma Chameleon” singer’s nemesis, exhorting the performer to “Be Justin Bieber‘s nemesis!” Prompting this reply:

“No, he doesn’t need me to be his nemesis. He’s his own nemesis! I feel kind of sorry for him. He’s a kid. Who’s taking care of him? That’s the question I want to ask. Who’s taking care of this child? He’s clearly in a bad place, so I don’t want to slag him off. I think he’s beautiful, a beautiful boy. Let’s not pretend here. He’s a beautiful boy.”

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Too Many Zooz Rocks Union Square, Reddit

Friday was a BIG day for New York “Brass House” trio Too Many Zooz. Also known as Matt Doe, Leo P and Dave “King of Sludge” Parks.

At one end, their January video of a rip-roaring Union Square subway station performance hit the front page of Reddit. At the other, they were thanking Jimmy Fallon‘s band leader Questlove for having followed them on Twitter.

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NPR Tries to Extract Lessons from Rapper’s Fake NYT Article Stunt

Earlier this month, New York Times reviewer Jon Caramanica’s name was taken in vain by Queens rap artist Shirt. The musician mocked up a fake article with the journalist’s byline and e-circulated it as an upside-down way to promote his personal brand.

NPRTheRecordLogoToday, Brooklyn-based writer Kris Ex very intelligently dissects the lessons in a lengthy NPR.org blog post. There’s no doubt Shirt derived a ton of publicity from the bizarre maneuver. But what does the PR stunt mean more broadly, if anything? Notes Ex:

While Shirt’s stated goals are art and promotion, the rapper (perhaps unwittingly) has made telling commentary about the hip-hop journalism playing field. In the wake of his stunt, he’s generated more thoughtful digital ink than he has in four years of putting out actual product.

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