2015: The Year of the Man Bun, Star Wars, Amy Schumer & Courtney Barnett

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2015 was alright, right?

The man bun turned us on, Adele’s voice proved that easy listening may be magnificent, Jennifer Lawrence dazzled, marriages busted up and I continued to stumble across the tight rope of responsible, gainfully employed parent/wife and madwoman with few boundaries.

Pop culture was good to me in 2015; I infuriated all by ridiculing Taylor Swift and her obnoxious squad, I lusted after young men in bad boy bands and I found new loves like Courtney Barnett and Shovels & Rope.

Best Craze- The Man Bun

Celebrities Visit SiriusXM Studios - July 9, 2014

“Game of Thrones” scares me, but this man bun warms my heart. PS- This guy is married to Lisa Bonet (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images)

Is the man bun new or a revival? I vaguely remember, through a haze of 90’s malaise, a Greek God from college who swept his luscious locks up in a haphazard man bun. Oh, those were the days. Now, I creepily engage in a secret game at hipster bars: Rate the Man Bun. I recently spent an evening in Worcester, MA doing just that. While the men talked shop, the women folk gawked over the man buns.

When done right, the man bun is hot. As I possibly suffer from the Wen-inflicted hair loss epidemic of 2015, I latch onto the man bun craze for the sake of my thinning hair. I just know that when Mr. Man Bun liberates his mane from the bun, his follicles smell of sandalwood, sex and youth.

Best New Artist-Halsey

 

“Raised on Biggie and Nirvana,” Halsey declares on “Americana” and I’m automatically sold on her coolness.Hailing from New Jersey with a slight faux British accent and a bad attitude, I’m pretty sure she’s the next big thing.Her debut album, Badlands, isn’t perfect, but Halsey is only 20 and I expect more jarring noises from her.

The Voice Returns

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Taylor Swift- Team Ursula

No, I am not referring to that silly singing show that manufactured the Blake Shelton/Gwen Stefani romance for publicity (are they contractually obligated to produce a child during next year’s sweeps?), I am talking about THE VOICE of Adele.

After a few years off, Adele swooped back in to trample on Taylor Swift’s reign as queen of the rasp. Who else believes that T. Swizzle has a gaggle of scientists working endlessly to clone a shred of Adele’s vocal cords? Taylor wants to get all “The Little Mermaid” on Adele and steal her voice a la Ursula. Adele, do not join the squad, and if you do, keep your DNA close to your body!

 Favorite Pastime: Divorce

Divorce landed in lala land like the bomb that was “In the Heart of the Sea.” Gwen and Gavin; Jen and Ben; Halle Berry and Latest Loser; Blake and Miranda and Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green, that one really hurt. Gosh, if these totally self-absorbed lovers can’t survive holy matrimony, the rest of us are as doomed as Johnny Depp’s new marriage and floundering career.

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Ben gets Batman dark. Image via TMZ.

About Affleck, have you seen his post-breakup monstrosity of a tattoo? My gosh Ben, did filming “Batman” really get that dark? Was marriage so awful that you marked yourself with a freaking phoenix rising from the ashes? Is your Beverly Hills compound the ashes from which you must rise? Dude, that’s deeper than “Good Will Hunting.”

The Good

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Amy Schumer goes there. Getty image.

Amy Schumer– Amy Schumer staggered onto our movie and television screens while making us cringe with laughter. “Trainwreck” was smart, funny and even a little sweet, much like Schumer. “Inside Amy Schumer” is filthy, brutal and bold, also much like Schumer.

Jennifer Lawrence– Celebrity hasn’t spoiled JLaw, she’s still an exhilarating whiff of gin-tainted breath. Her recent 22 minute interview with Andy Cohen included confirmations of making out with Liam Hemsworth for fun, vomiting on Madonna’s porch and  smoking from a bong before an Oscar telecast, to name a few tidbits. Every time JLaw opens her pretty mouth, her agent shaves a year off her life.

 

Best Pop Star-The Weeknd– I dig his darkness, his hair, his humble beginnings as a Canadian raised in poverty by an Ethiopian single mother. He’s now a pop star romancing a Beverly Hills bred supermodel, celebrating a sold-out tour, and oh yeah, he can sing and dance. His upbeat songs conceal lyrics about addiction, violence and depression, but who could tell?

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Jon Hamm in “Kimmy Schmidt” True Story- Hamm was Kempler’s HS teacher. Google it.

Best T.V. Show“The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” Who thought that a show about a woman that emerges from 15 years imprisoned in an underground bunker by a religious nut could be a hilarious comedy? Writer Tina Fey did.  On Netflix, the show blends a perfect concoction of hilarity, satire and nostalgia along with strong drops of darkness to make one hell of a watchable show. Ellie Kempler of “The Office” absolutely radiates optimism and determination in her pursuit of happiness in New York City and in her attempt to never be a victim.

As an added bonus, Jon Hamm shows up as the religious zealot that kidnapped Kimmy. It may not sound like it, but the show is laugh-out-loud funny.

 

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Hello Adam Driver.

Most Deserving Mania- Star Wars: The Force Awakens I loved this movie. It was so much fun watching Daisy Ridley become a star while playing Rey in the finest cinematic debut in ages. Everyone else is terrific, but that Daisy Ridley really rocked my world. Adam Driver, currently wasting his talent on “Girls” was quietly powerful as new villain Kylo Ren.

In case you’re one of the 56 Americans that has not seen the movie, I don’t want to write much, but you must see the movie.

Creepiest Moments of 2015- Every “Game of Thrones” episode Oh, the sheer brutality of it all! Why do I watch “Game of Thrones?” I shield my eyes for the whole hour. If I am not protecting myself from the violence, I am bracing my psyche for another rape. Why can’t I stop?! Is Jon Snow that hot?

Really, I have no idea what is going on in GOT, but I do enjoy it. After every episode, I pat myself on the back for getting through it, then I search for my tranquilizers. After a few deep breaths, I google why everyone’s eyes are turning white. Please, someone explain to me why their eyes are turning white.

Best Song- Beck’s “Dreams” I can’t stop loving Beck; it’s a consistent in my life. I have been changing my underwear, applying mascara and loving Beck for a lifetime. Beck’s freshest masterpiece, “Dreams,” is a hodgepodge of pop, folk and rock. Beck’s year began with Kayne West grabbing his Grammy, and I’m positive that Kayne will be given that opportunity after the rest of Beck’s album is released.

And now, for some parting brilliance from Courtney Barnett:

 

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When the world crumbles, laugh at celebrities.

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When all else fails, make fun of celebrities. In the dysfunctional dinner date of life with news junkies, pop culture is dessert. Just as I can’t tear myself away from reading every drop about the latest act of horror, I turn my attention to Gwen Stefani’s video of self indulgence and am surprised by the smile creeping across my sour face. Yes, Gwen selling her sordid family secrets for a hit, that makes me feel warm and fuzzy. Thinking of her nine year old son watching this video also gives me joy. “It’s, like, art!” says Gwen.

Gwen, you valley girl of contradictions, I remember when I used to love you. It was a brief, fleeting love, like a one-night stand with Blake Shelton, satisfying but so embarrassing. You know the kind, you wake up and spy the tribal arm tattoo and you just want to cry.

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Gwen Stefani, surprise step-mom to British It-Girl, Daisy Lowe

I did not dig Gwen’s premiere hit, “Don’t Speak,” her pouty song lamenting the demise of her high school romance with band mate Tony Kanal. It struck me as silly and the world knew that Gwen and her six-pack could do better. And she did. Kind of. Gwen moved onto Gavin Rossdale, grunge’s whipping boy. They trudged along with Gwen’s red lips, Gavin’s man-bun, and a few failed attempts at reviving No Doubt. Gavin made the amateur tennis circuit rounds and played small arenas hushing people that dared to speak during “Machinehead.” Their marriage even survived the realization  that Gavin was the biological father of Britian’s favorite bad-girl-It Girl, Daisy Lowe. Wowza.

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Man-bun-√; Hot nanny-√

But, we all know how this one ends: attractive nanny enters home, has-been rocker pulls a Jude Law and allegedly boffs pretty nanny. The rest is pop-music history and resulted in a big hit for Gwen. Thanks Gavin.

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I don’t know what’s sadder- that Scott Weiland died at 48 or that nobody seemed surprised. I winced as journalists reported his death with a matter-of-fact sincerity. Okay, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Stone Temple Pilots, but the man was a pure rock star. He dripped sex, decadence, style and charm. And, if my obsession with Kurt Cobain had allowed it, I bet I would have been a Stone Temple Pilots fan.

I care that Scott Weiland died. I loved “Sour Girl” and thought of it as one of my anthems in 2000. I appreciated Weiland’s beauty and yes, his cheekbones. Those cheekbones were jagged daggers of beauty, those cheekbones could pierce your veins. Scott never lost his coolness, he never stumbled into “Celebrity Rehab,” never had a televised intervention, an unsightly weight gain or an embarrassing stab at acting. No, he penned a fine autobiography, Not Dead & Not for Sale that chronicled a sexual assault at 12 that probably contributed to a life stained with substance abuse and failed relationships. Scott tried; he was a father of two teenagers and thrice married. This Christmas, I plan on adding Weiland’s Christmas album, The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year, to my holiday music.