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Entries in danny mcbride (3)

Monday
Feb102014

In Which Chozen's Homosexuality Is His Main Distinguishing Factor

Selective

by ALEX CARNEVALE

Chozen
creator Grant Dekernion

Chozen (Bobby Moynihan) has entered his third decade in the world, and is recently out of prison. He has no job or qualifications to pursue employment. He is possessed of various abilities and talents encouraged on him by a world that seemed to reward such aims. He is finally, irrecoverably a white, gay man, reminiscent of a more rotund, self-aware Andrew Sullivan or an emaciated Kevin Smith.

Chozen's passion for rap music was inculcated at an early age. His first glimpse of African-American culture came in visual form - the confusing, messy Mad-Maxian landscape of "California Love", constantly promising roads that went to new places. After he gets out of jail, framed for a crime he never committed, he moves in with his sister in her dorm, and there finds a familial understanding he missed while incarcerated. He does return to the aspect of his previous life he did find rewarding the free and easy availability of sexual congress.

His younger sister Tracy (Kathryn Hahn) is the sort of person who has found the clothing and manner she is most comfortable in and sticks to it with a mix of fervent happiness and resigned disgust. She is enrolled at the college, her brother is most certainly not. Chozen navigates the environs of the academic world she inhabits incautiously. The presence of her brother in the place she aspired to at first annoys her, but his innocent dispelling of all academia's silliness and impotence eventually proves useful.

Tracy takes up the direction of Chozen's rap video with aplomb as a class project, reminding us the ivory tower's approach to the concept of learning is far too narrow to be successful with all individuals. Some of us, perhaps even the best of us, are able to learn in a classroom setting, but for others it is a very dreary time indeed.

Troy (Nick Swardson) was raised in a Puritan family that protected him from life's harder elements, but also completely unprepared him to survive without pain in the world as it is. Chozen represents Troy's first homosexual friend. When Chozen is not taking extensive advantage of Troy's financial largesse, he is protecting him from those who might do him harm, chiefly the athletes attending the university, whose fraternities determine most of the social life on campus. This sorry arrangement gives power and prestige to the least intelligent individuals, and places those outside of that scene at the bitter margins.

Chozen shows what a diseased arrangement this is. In many small liberal arts college, athletes are admitted simply to fill spots on teams, regardless of whether or not they meet academic requirements or can succeed in classes. It is strange and disturbing that such crass aims have become completely subservient to a university's nonprofit mission, and the corruption of the campus social life is just as pernicious an effect as the other compromises this reality ensures.

At one point Chozen openly wonders why there are even team or individuals sports in a setting where education and learning is the supposed goal. In his innocent questioning, he shames every university president who has long ago forgotten the reason why they ever entered the cesspool that stands for academia in America.

Fundraising, football and preserving a good environment for the distribution of recreational drugs is all that is left to these fatcats now. Given all we know of what violent hits on unsuspecting receivers do to brain and skull, these ridiculous people have not only failed their primary mission, but are engaged in actively damaging young minds. Chozen exposes how little academia has changed as the world around it grows and evolves.

Chozen's homosexuality is the main distinguishing factor in his act as a rap artist, since it is not everyday a muscled, semi-obese white man speaking African-American slang is so obvious and open with his own attitudes and appetites. At first this seems merely a satire of the rampant misogyny in the hip-hop world, but soon we realize that Chozen is doing the important work of placing homosexual desire on the same level as its heterosexual counterpart.

Chozen normally chooses closeted gays as partners. His honesty with them about what the relationship means from the outset means he never really hurts the feelings of these men, and he is remarkably open-minded when it comes to deciding what potential partners he might enjoy being with. Others seem to draw inspiration from this level of self-awareness, and the two performers who support him onstage, Ricky (Michael Pena) and Crisco (Hannibal Burress) are never at all judgmental about their friend's choices.

What can be done to fix a situation where students are more focused on cradling lacrosse balls than imbibing the knowledge that could actually lead to employment, or at the very least Herodotus references in their rap/rock songs? Chozen suggests that the making of a transgressive art provides all such solutions to these important issues.

In our society, however, it is never the men who are pushing these important boundaries, it is young women who expand our idea of what is possible in the culture. Chozen therefore resonates as a call to arms of sorts, that men need not simply enjoy the rewards of a society white men created to reduce young people to decades of repaying massive debt for no education at all. They can make animated sitcoms for FX instead.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording.

"I Want You To Be Your One Night Stand" - Jeremy Messersmith (mp3)

"Hitman" - Jeremy Messersmith (mp3)

The new album from Jeremy Messersmith is entitled Heart Murmurs, and it was released on February 4th.

 

Monday
Nov082010

In Which Once Jesus Leaves The Building He's Out Of Mexico For Good

Chapter Nothing: The Epilogue

by MOLLY LAMBERT

So I don't know about you, but I thought the Eastbound & Down finale was perfect. People seemed wary of this episode because the penultimate one was already so perfect it seemed mere folly to try topping it. But that's what Kenny Powers is all about; the dramatic gesture, the needlessly flamboyant exit, topping your own prior self-top.

I may have teared up slightly when we found out the baby was Kenny's. I didn't see it coming because I am very good at not jumping ahead in plots. I know everyone else figured it out the moment we saw April was pregnant, but I am kind of an idiot. Or maybe I just didn't want to think about it! Like Joan Holloway's baby being Roger's!

I don't understand anyone who didn't enjoy this season of Eastbound & Down. You will all miss Mexico secretly forever, just like Kenny. Comparisons to season 2 of The Wire are apt. Maybe it is my own personal affection for Mexico borne out of growing up in Southern California but I thought it was just as good as last season. I had no problem adjusting to the new setting and new set of characters. I miss them already. 

The best way around the sophomore slump is a curveball. And after your debut you're always a sophomore. Somebody will declare you over every time you come out. Like as much as I wish the new Kanye album were all Workout Plans I respect that his creative journey zigzags. Although seriously cool it with the guest appearances Ye. And stop trying so hard to impress the elite rich white art world. They're not worth it at all. 

Michael Peña's performance in this season of Eastbound & Down is my favorite thing of all time ever lately. His performance in Observe & Report is also a fucking tour de force, as is Danny McBride's cameo in that film. Several people whose opinions I really respect told me they hated Observe & Report, but they were ALL TOTALLY WRONG. One person who liked it a lot was Quentin Tarantino, another person is Molly Lambert.

jody hill and seth rogenI think Observe & Report is awesome. I think Seth Rogen is not totally right for the part, which seems tailor-made for Danny McBride, but that actually makes him way scarier because Rogen is so believable as a normal repressed guy who's kind of a wingnut. I think Anna Faris gives the best supporting performance in her already stellar career of supporting performances. I could write a sonnet about Jody Hill's direction.

I guess I love Jody Hill's direction so much because it's exactly what I aim for as a writer: sloppy enough that it looks like you're barely trying, but then the sloppiness is actually totally practiced and honed and purposeful. I like Jody Hill's Eastbound episodes a little more than David Gordon Green's precisely because they just fit my own aesthetic so deeply, which I kind of feel is Eastbound & Down's true aesthetic.

David Gordon Green is just more interested in traditional visual composition and nice shots and framing and other film school shit, and Jody Hill is decidedly not and always nails the tone perfectly. Tonal inconsistency is its own kind of tone. Some of the funniest things from the first season involved the complete personality shift in Principal Cutler. Fuck consistency. Fuck a direct route. Take the long way home

I am still thinking about the Mad Men finale weeks later. Mostly I am still thinking about Megan, but that is the effect she seems to have on people. I know I didn't spend this much time thinking about Mad Men after last year's finale, where Don marched into a shitty bachelor hotel on a downtown New York City set in the rain. I don't even know if it was really raining or if that is just my imagination embellishing things.

But this year's finale I have felt compelled to watch again since the moment I saw it, although for whatever sado-masochistic pleasure-delaying reason I haven't watched it yet. Maybe because it will remind me again that Mad Men is over (and now so is Eastbound) and I need to find other things to enjoy in the world in the seasonal interim and I know nothing I replace them with will compare to my two truest televisual loves.

At least there's still 30 Rock, for the time being. And in a just world Parks & Recreation will come back soon. I would like Liz Lemon's next boyfriend to be McNulty. Can you make that happen world, since you have been so decent about granting my innermost wishes lately? God already greenlit a third season of Eastbound & Down, so I'll catch you motherfuckers on the flip next year in Myrtle Beach. I'M FUCKING AUDI.

Molly Lambert is the managing editor of This Recording. She is a writer living in Los Angeles. She tumbls but not all that much, twitters all the fucking time, and is our nation's foremost producer of fuego.

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Download a Kenny Powers mixtape today:

STRIKE 1: Spring Training

STRIKE 2: Regular Season

STRIKE 3: World Series

BALL 4: Extra Innings

STRIKE 5: MEXICAN BASEBALL


Monday
Mar292010

In Which I'm Not Trying To Sound Cocky Or Full Of Myself But I Have The Sneaking Suspicion That I Will Always Be Great

Ed. Note: Today is the first day of our PLEDGE DRIVE, where we ask you to donate if you like the site. We will try to keep the virtual spanging to a minimum, but any donations are much appreciated and would go a long way towards keeping This Recording on the cyber airwaves.

I'M KENNY POWERS

by MOLLY LAMBERT

THIS IS MY KENNY POWERS MIX!!! I'd write this WHOLE BLOG in all caps but I know most of you would find it off-putting. I find PROPER CAPITALIZATION and punctuating to be VERY OFF-PUTTING and that is why I enjoy the internet and KANYE'S BLOG!!!

I identify strongly with Kenny Powers (except for his racism). Maybe the reason we all love cable TV characters like Tony Soprano and Don Draper and Kenny Powers who have such big egos and make such bad choices is because we are all like that deep down at our anonycores. It's just part of being a human being that sometimes you feel like a huge fucking baby who only wants to do whatever the fuck it is you want to do.

So in the spirit of doing whatever the fuck it is you want to do, I made a three volume Kenny Powers themed mix. Three hours and change of seventies rock. I thought about putting some rap in but the playlist kept getting too long anyway so I have restricted it to seventies rock (sometimes early eighties). I'm sorry it doesn't have the Three 6 Mafia song from the steroids doing sequence. I had to make some very tough decisions.

Seventies rock is my favorite genre, and I made this for me. But I also made it for you, and that is why I painstakingly cut up clips of all the best dialogue from Eastbound & Down to thread between songs and make it perfect. There's a lot of Southern rock and yankee/UK takes on Southern rock. There's some random junk too. I do what I want!

This is not the soundtrack of the series, which the MC5's Wayne Kramer put together and you can see a listing of here. This is a narrative mix by me "inspired by" Kenny Powers. Divided into Strikes, the 1st volume is a retrospective of Kenny's baseball career and life leading up to the present, the 2nd deals with Kenny and April's relationship and is love themed, and the 3rd is about Kenny's return to North Carolina.

This is the best thing I have ever done lately. I keep joking that it is my thesis for the last five years, but I am only sort of joking. Is that sad? I no longer care. Certainly when I learned how to use pro tools at the college radio station I did not know my lyfe path would lead me here, to the land of endless blogging and semi-professional online presence having and a horrible recession. There are worse fates than spending your late nights chopping up Ram Jam. Nothing thrills me more than a nice segue.

DON'T YOU DARE COMPLAIN THAT IT IS TOO LONG. THIS IS MY GIFT TO YOU. BASEBALL GAMES REQUIRE A VERY LONG ATTENTION SPAN THAT IS A RELIC OF A DIFFERENT TIME. BRING THAT MINDSET INTO PLAY HERE WHEN YOU ARE LISTENING. IF YOU SAT THROUGH HAVE ONE ON ME YOU WILL SIT THROUGH THIS AND LEARN TO HAVE THE PATIENCE OF A NON-GINGER WHILE I TEACH YOU ALL ABOUT CHOOGLIN.

Eastbound & Down inspired the hell out of me. I dream about making something as fucked up and great someday as Jody Hill and Ben Best and Danny McBride did. If you don't know who Kenny Powers is or don't give a fuck (p.s. if this is you, GET OFF MY BLOG), it's also just a great SPRING AND SUMMERTIME MIX of AM Gold style seventies rock to listen to as you drive/walk/bike around your town or city in coming months. 

I WILL SEE YALL AT SHABOOMS! DJ SHE-BEAR AKA MOLLY LAMBERT

STRIKE 1: SPRING TRAINING

The Joker - Snail

Shakedown Cruise - Jay Ferguson

Sign Of The Gypsy Queen - April Wine

Homesick - Atlanta Rhythm Section

Freeborn Man - Outlaws

Remember The Good Times - Paice, Ashton, & Lord

404 - Ram Jam

Take A Little Word - Hudson Ford

If You Want To Get To Heaven - Ozark Mountain Daredevils

Found Out The Hard Way - Ace

Couldn't Get It Right - Climax Blues Band

Lonesome Loser - Little River Band

Saddletramp - Charlie Daniels Band

(part one alternate link)

STRIKE 2: REGULAR SEASON

Lonely One - Dave Mason

Southern Girls - Cheap Trick

Don't You Know What Love Is - Touch

Jackie Blue - Ozark Mountain Daredevils

She's A Stranger - Mama's Pride

Quite Like You - Nantucket

I Could Be Good For You - 707

Nicole - Point Blank

Feel Like Makin' Love - Bad Company

Fooled Around And Fell In Love - Elvin Bishop

Amie - Pure Prairie League

Sweet City Woman - The Stampeders

Visions Of You - Bandit

Lady Of My Heart - Loggins & Messina

Magnet & Steel - Walter Egan

Keep On Trying - Poco

Outlaw Women - Hank Williams Jr.

(part two alternate link)

STRIKE 3: WORLD SERIES

Going Down - Freddie King

Cheap Sunglasses - ZZ Top

Commotion - Creedence Clearwater Revival

Funk #48 - James Gang

I Got Kinda Lost (Demo) - Big Star

Flirtin' With Disaster - Molly Hatchet

Keep It Warm - Flo & Eddie

Isn't It Time - The Babys

Ain't Wastin' Time No More - Allman Brothers Band

Last Kiss - Fandango

Shambala - Three Dog Night

East Bound and Down - Jerry Reed

Crying in the Night - Buckingham/Nicks

Hold On - Ian Gomm

Fire On The Mountain - Marshall Tucker Band

April Love - Stillwater

Those Shoes (Chopped & Screwed) - The Eagles

(part three alternate link)

Molly Lambert is the managing editor of This Recording. She does a bunch of fucking dumb shit on the internet besides making you awesome Kenny Powers themed mixes. 

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