Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Wait, Wednesday Is Tomorrow? Edition

Three day holiday weekends are tremendous, but they mess with my routine and wind up confusing me. Tuesday was my first day in the office, but it felt very much like a Monday with all its shenanigans and general annoyances. It wasn’t until I got home that it dawned on me that today was actually Tuesday and that I hadn’t even started this week’s pop culture roundup. Usually by now I have about half the post written. Not good. Thankfully Tuesday TV is mostly garbage and I could clean out some stuff on my DVR that didn’t require my full attention while I powered through doing a week’s worth of work in one night. To be honest, the results ain’t too shabby.

So while I hope that I didn’t miss any deadlines or meetings because I don’t know what day it is, kick back and get caught up on some of the pop culture that you may have missed in the last week.

  •  Matt Damon and Ben Affleck – REUNITED!
  • I was so sad to hear that the great Jan Hooks had passed away; SNL gave her a beautiful tribute:

 

  • I am loving Foo Fighters week on Letterman; here’s last night’s performance with Heart:

 

  • What happens when you get a lot of people dressed up as Deadpool in the same room? DANCE PARTY!

 

  • This kid OWNS the final Dirty Dancing dance:

 

  • Amy Poehler’s author photo is everything:

 

  • One one of my many trips to NYC, I couldn’t resist Kripsy Kreme’s Ghostbusters themed doughnuts:

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Time for some trailers…..

  • A new look at the Foo Fighters’ Sonic Highway:

 

  • George Clooney in Tomorrowland:

 

  • A sneak peek at the animated Guardians of the Galaxy:

 

  • Powers – an original program for Playstation:

 

  • Black Sails, season 2:

 

  • The National Theater presents James Franco and Chris O’Dowd in Of Mice and Men:

 

  • Robin Williams in A Merry Friggin Christmas:

 

  • More footage from Big Hero 6:

 

  • Will Smith and Margot Robbie in Focus:

 

  • Another trailer for Foxcatcher:

 

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  • Lane (Keiko Agena), Brian (John Cabera) and Zack (Todd Lowe) from Gilmore Girls got the band back together:

 

  • A new Toy Story holiday special will debut December 2nd:

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  • Claire Danes dropped by Sesame Street:

 

As always, we end with the mashups and supercuts.

  • The Wolf of System of a Down:

 

  • A Robert Downey Jr. supercut:

 

  • The guys at RiffTrax have some fun with It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown:

 

  • Every “bastard” from Game of Thrones in under a minute:

 

  • The Walking Dead meets Welcome Back, Kotter:

 

  • More The Walking Dead fun – The Walking Drunk:

 

  • And finally…the folks on Game of Thrones sure do throw back a lot of wine (Cersei, mostly):

Pop Culture Odds and Ends – A.B.B. (After Breaking Bad) edition

I’m still adjusting to life in a world where Breaking Bad is over. I find that I’m having trouble getting into my Fall TV shows – I’ve already dropped Once Upon a Time, Boardwalk Empire and Modern Family from sheer lack of interest and I’m pretty meh on the new pilots (more on that later this week). Episodes of Sons of Anarchy are beginning to pile up as well and I haven’t bothered to watch the premieres of Revenge or Homeland yet, so their days with a season pass may be numbered. The good news is that this general apathy means that I have a lot more time to surf the web in search of pop culture goodness to share. So really, my loss is your gain. Kick back and enjoy the fruits of my labor in this week’s edition of my pop culture round up

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  • The cover for the upcoming Ron Burgundy memoir has been released.

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  • Peter Dinklage made a stop by Sesame Street:

 

  • Usher and Dinklage’s GoT co-star Lena Headey also recently made appearances.
  • I am not super impressed with Justin Timberlake’s 20/20 Experience, Volume 2. It just sounds like a lot of songs that were (rightfully) scrapped from the first album.
  • Who doesn’t love a Halloween themed programing? TV Tango has rounded up 360 of them airing this month. That seems a little excessive.

 

  • The opening credits for American Horror Story: Coven has been released and they are unsurprisingly terrifying.

 

  • Game shows are becoming sticklers for pronunciation – contestants on Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune were both penalized recently.
  • A new film starring Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges, Alexander Skarsgard and…..Taylor Swift? Be afraid, Skarsgard. Be very afraid.
  • It’s been far too long since we’ve had a new Britney Spears video. The wait is over:

 

  • Construction has resumed on the monstrosity of a home that was featured in the documentary Queen of Versailles. Excellent film if you haven’t seen it.
  • I was a big fan of ALF back in the day. Watch him sing “Berzerk” by Eminem:

 

  • The Avett Brothers played some Metal on Fallon:

 

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Breaking Bad in over *sob* but that doesn’t mean I still don’t have some links

  • Sadly, I did not win tickets to the Breaking Bad finale viewing party. These photos from the event make it look like I missed a hell of a time.
  • This one is for my friend Brigette:

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  • Aaron Paul lends his vocal talents – and his catchphrase – to the single “Dance Bitch”

 

  • I would totally read this book:

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  • My pals over at Grantland put together an In Memoriam video for BB’s fallen:

 

  • See how you do on the Breaking Bad superfan quiz (I got 43/50).
  • A Breaking Bad tribute set to Green Day’s “Good Riddance”

 

  • Glee’s Naya Rivera was a proud sister when her brother scored his first touchdown in the NFL:

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  • You can read an edited excerpt from Dave Eggers’ upcoming new novel, The Circle.
  • Watching Conan play Grand Theft Auto V had me literally laughing out loud.

 

  • The Atlanta Braves did a “Blurred Lines” parody:

I enjoyed it, but I’m still not rooting for you in the playoffs. #TeamDodgers

  • For those of you who don’t normally watch baseball but want to get into the playoffs, GQ compares playoff teams to pop culture to help. Ha – the Red Sox are the Lannisters!
  • I may have to buy this Friday Night Lights fanzine just for the Tim Riggins paper doll.
  • Kelly Clarkson lost her fight for the Jane Austen ring that she won at an auction.
  • Watch The Hound from Game of Thrones sing the Rolling Stones. Wait – what??

 

  • The new Sleigh Bells album is streaming over at Rolling Stone.
  • Characters from Bob’s Burgers, Family Guy and American Dad got Simpsonized:

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Stop! Trailer Time!

  • HBO’s new comedy, Getting On:

 

  • A new trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug:

 

  • The latest from Chris Lilley, Ja’mie King: Private School Girl (I can’t wait!!):

 

  • Aziz Ansari has a special coming out soon on Netflix:

 

  • A Case of You with Justin Long, Sam Rockwell and Peter Dinklage:

 

  • This guy at a Willie Nelson concert apparent subscribes to “dance like no one is watching”

 

  • Guillermo del Toro made the couch gag for this year’s The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror.

As always, we wrap up with the mashups and supercuts

  • A mashup of MacGyver and Archer:

 

  • A mashup of Breaking Bad and Need for Speed:

 

  • Who can resist a Sesame Street mashup? Certainly not me.

 

  • “Get Lucky Wit It”

 

  • And finally – the cast of Breaking Bad sings the N’Sync classic, “Bye, Bye, Bye”

L’eggo my LEGOs

I wish I could tell you what prompted my fascination with LEGOs. It would make much more sense if I could point to a childhood where I used the colorful blocks to build all sorts of wonderful creations that came straight from my imagination. The fact is, though I did have LEGOs growing up, I don’t really remember playing with them all that much. When I did use them, I seem to remember simply building tall towers of them or a wall of interesting color patterns. Nothing all that exciting. In fact, from my early play with LEGOs it is not at all surprising that I never went into a career in architecture. I saw LEGOs as blocks to be fit together in an orderly fashion, not tools for exploration. As I grew older and started babysitting, I would often play with LEGOs with my charges; I still was fairly methodical in what I would build, but I found that putting LEGOs together to create anything – even a boring tower – was incredibly relaxing.

Perhaps it is because I never saw the limitless potential in LEGOs that I’m so drawn to people who see more in the toys than just colorful plastic. I am constantly blown away by how creative people are with LEGOs and have come to appreciate how versatile the toys can be. People are really doing some impressive things out there. Much like interest in golf and stand-up comedy, I am impressed with people who excel at things that I struggle with. These LEGO creations are art; they use these ordinary blocks to create something spectacular and interesting. They see the potential that I can’t and that’s something I’m a little jealous of.  I think my appreciation of LEGO artist was solidified when I saw this LEGO Yankee Stadium:

I would never in a million years be able to do that without a kit (seriously MLB and LEGO – work in it). Creating something like that is just beyond my capabilities, which just makes it all the more spectacular in my mind.

Last weekend, I decided to take a day trip to NYC. I had a few things on my agenda – like getting some banana pudding from Magnolia Bakery – but one of my main goals as to check out “The Art of the Brick” exhibit at Discovery Times Square, which featured works by LEGO artist Nathan Sawaya. As much as I am loathe to go to Times Square to dodge tourists and creepy costumed characters (many of whom may have been extras in Miley’s VMA performance), I was willing to suck it up to see what wondrous LEGO creations Sawaya had made.

I was vaguely familiar with Sawaya from his appearance on The Colbert Report back in 2007, when he made a pretty impressive likeness of Stephen:

He has also made a more recent appearance on Conan and created an equally impressive likeliness of everyone’s favorite red-headed superhero (and Conan’s alter ego), The Flaming C:

I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I went to the exhibit; I wondered if there was a theme for his creations or how big the display would be. Another concern was that this would be aimed mostly at little kids and that I would look out of place wandering around on my own. Between this and the Museum of Play trip, I was beginning to worry that I was regressing.

I needn’t have worried; The Art of the Brick really was pretty impressive. I was far from the only adult there and to see what Sawaya created was simple awe-inspiring. I probably could have wandered around the exhibit all day – there were just so many cool things to look at.

The exhibition was broken into several different sections that each had a unifying theme. The first section featured LEGO recreations of famous works of art. This immediately spoke to me, since am a big fan of classical art; in fact, back in college the art history department tried to poach me to become one of their majors. I can only imagine the look on my father’s face if I came home and told him that instead of possibly going to law school that I’d decided to pursue the lucrative career of looking at old paintings. While I am certainly no art scholar, I have spent more than my fair share of time strolling through art museums. So it was a real kick for me to see some of my favorite works of art re-imagined using LEGOS. These were some of my favorites:

Whistler's Mother

Whistler’s Mother

Starry Night

Starry Night

Mona Lisa

Mona Lisa

American Gothic

American Gothic

David

David

Moai (Easter Island Heads)

Moai (Easter Island Heads)

Little Dancer of Fourteen Years

Little Dancer of Fourteen Years

The Girls with the Pearl Earring

The Girl with the Pearl Earring

The next section of the exhibit featured original creations, which were also very cool. It’s one thing to be able to replicate something that exists, but it takes a whole different kind of creativity to create something out of your imagination.

Swimmer

Swimmer

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The final segment featured recreations of actual objects. This dinosaur was amazing and took up and entire room:

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I dug this Statute of Liberty in front of the Manhattan skyline

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These portraits of Andy Warhol and Alfred Hitchcock were very cool:

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But of course, my favorite of them all was the baseball player:

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I really had a great time strolling through this exhibit and I couldn’t help but notice that everyone else who was wandering around had big smiles on their faces as the pursued the sculptures. Something about LEGOs just speaks to the child in all of us. I was almost tempted to buy the overpriced LEGO sets in the giftshop and start working on my own creations, but the idea of lugging that around NYC all day wasn’t appealing (plus I know that you can get those sets a lot cheaper on amazon.com – I’ve had my eye on the White House set for a while, but just haven’t pulled the trigger). Kids will definitely love this display, but I think most adults will be very impressed as well. If you happen to be in NYC, I recommend popping in to Discovery Times Square to marvel at what can be created with something as simple as a LEGO block. I don’t think you can leave The Art of the Block without being a little impressed and amazed.

The Art of the Block exhibit at Discovery Times Square runs through January 2014. You can find additional information about Nathan Sawaya on his website.