Muppet Video Week

If you’ve been forwarded a strange trailer for the fictional film “Green With Envy” this week, don’t worry; it’s just a teaser trailer for the upcoming movie, The Muppets.

Jason Segel is behind the script and stars in the movie alongside Amy Adams. Noticeably absent from the trailer?: Statler & Waldorf providing a final, biting commentary on how terrible the trailer is. (Hint: it isn’t).

Also making their way around the intertubes this week is a two-part interview of Andy Samberg conducted by none other than Sesame Street resident (and serial co-habitator) Bert. The videos were posted to YouTube from the official Sesame Street account but I can’t really see a child enjoying these as comedy, but maybe I didn’t really understand the parody of Kermit the Frog interviewing “Miami Mice” either.

Conversations with Bert: Andy Samberg, Part 1:

Conversations with Bert: Andy Samberg, Part 2:

Whatever the case may be, I think the videos definitely appeal to parents who either currently watch Sesame Street with their kids (or DVR it) or who will potentially do so in the future. I’m in the latter camp and I’m wondering what’s taken me so long.

Either way, enjoy the videos. They may not be the joint Elmo/Ricky Gervais interview from a few years back, but what is?

I think it shows the enduring popularity of the characters Henson created and the ingenuity of the rights holders (CPB & Disney) to use the internet in novel ways.

Enjoy the videos and I hope to see you at the theatre this Thanksgiving!

Telling Stories

In which I show you some videos

As someone with the twin loves of This American Life and trying to become a better writer, I love the fact that I just rediscovered Ira Glass’ Storytelling video(s) today.

Here there are if you haven’t seen them before:

Part 1: On the basics …

Part 2: On finding great stories …

Part 3: On good taste …

Part 4: On two common pitfalls …

In which I link to some things that make writing easier

If you’re reading this blog for more than the first time or if you follow me on Twitter, you know I’m trying to become a writer. Or become a better writer. Depends upon the day.

First, if you’re an aspiring writer and you haven’t already tried it, join 750words.com right now and start writing.

Every day.
750 words.
Do it.
Now.

Second, if you’re more the type who wants to curate stories – to tell stories using perspectives/voices that aren’t your own (and you like journalism) – you should give Storify a try. It was down earlier, but hopefully it’s all better now.

In which I tell you all about Chuck Wendig’s blog (and link there 3 times)

I’ve also been doing a bunch of writing driven mostly by a blog written by Chuck Wendig. Hopefully you’ve seen some of my flash fiction challenge entries, but Chuck’s blog is where those all started.

Here come the three things:

So I don’t know if I’ve done a particularly good job of telling a story through my YouTube embeds and list of links. Talking about process is usually a great way to kill your momentum and make you rethink all the fixes to your problems. You know, that thing you called process?

Anyhow, here’s hoping we all become better writers in the process of writing.

Happy Tuesday!

End of Summer Jams

The hit of the last fortnight has been Cee-Lo Green’s “Fuck You” (both the text-only version and the newer official version).

The hummable (if not singable) nature of the song and the amazing videos (as different as they are) got me thinking about another great tune with a stunning video: Her Morning Elegance by Oren Lavie. If you haven’t seen already (or it’s been a while and you want a refresher) here you go:

Petapixel posted an amazing “making of” video today that shows just how the process of creating the video came to be. Check it out:

There’s even a traveling art exhibit of the stills that make up the stop motion video OR you could own a piece of creative and buy one of the photos yourself for $250.

Anyhow, the Cee-Lo stuff (despite the completely opposite sentiment and presentation) got me thinking of Oren Lavie.

Enjoy your holiday weekend!

Making Athens, Georgia Proud

I’m only recently aware of Allison Weiss and her music, but I’m wowed by her sound, her aesthetic and her approach to making music and connecting with her fans.

I’d actually heard of her before – on Twitter – through a semi-acquaintance brokered by an ex-professor. Quite random, I know.

Her main appeal at the moment is for folks – you or me – to donate to the creation of an EP. In exchange for our cash, she’ll give us (assuming we participate) access to cool exclusives and, for a price, inclusion in the liner notes and beyond (depending on the amount).

Here’s her video explaining the whole deal with Kickstarter:

This is an ingenious way for an obviously talented, albeit cash-strapped college student to raise the funds necessary to pursue her dreams. I know I’ve got a few dollars burning a hole in my pocket to contribute to the cause. For another perspective on an artist doing her own thing and connecting with her fans, check out David Meerman Scott’s interview with Amanda Palmer of Dresden Dolls.

I won’t be able to catch her Quest For Glory tour in Atlanta or Athens due to a vacation, but I may try to make the “internet” date. ;-)

All of this is made that much better for me because of the Athens, GA connections (see above: professor, semi-acquaintance & Allison herself) involved.

My Alma Mater.
My Other Mother.
My home away from home.

And if you need further proof of Allison’s bonafides, here she is doing a cover of Elliott Smith’s Between The Bars:

Additional props to Athens for getting top-billing on Boston.com’s Big Picture blog. Lightning downtown never looked so eerily cool.

Have I mentioned that Football is only 38 days away? Go Dawgs! [Via Georgia Sports Blog]

Hope you’re having a wild, wacky Wednesday, just like me.

Rubbing Elbows with Hobnobbers

After hearing Rufus Wainwright’s cover of Puttin’ On The Ritz on last week’s So You Think You Can Dance (a Summer guilty pleasure and a better-produced dancing reality competition than Dancing With The Stars), I tweeted about the song this morning.

Here’s a live snippet of Rufus’ interpretation of the tune in case you can’t get to the blip.fm version:

For those of us who grew up in the eighties, we probably all remember the synth-influenced version by Taco. Or maybe you recall Gene Wilder & Peter Boyle in Young Frankenstein. Fewer still would have caught Fred Astaire’s performance in Blue Skies.

No matter where you’ve seen it or heard it (or tried to sing yourself, all misheard lyrics and bad syncopation [it can’t just be me]), you’ll never forget it.

In my most recent listening, the phrases “rubbing elbows” and “hobnobbing” popped into my head and couldn’t be dislodged.

Which is all a very long intro to the following blog post.

To “rub elbows with” seems to carry the kind of well-to-do, upper-crust society, urbane connotation I was envisioning:

There’s nothing like rubbing elbows with the rich and famous, or At the reception diplomats were rubbing shoulders with heads of state. Both of these terms allude to being in close contact with someone. [Mid-1800s]

Another source thinks the idiom is a little less haughty/aristocratic:

Fig. to associate with someone; to work closely with someone. (No physical contact is involved.)

So we’ve got some conflicting reports there, but it seems like the use I’m thinking of did in fact originate from the kind of close quarters party-style mingling one might do at a fancy soiree. It’s possible that there are now less hoity-toity uses for the phrase, but I think most folks (like me) hear a certain air and arrogance to the phrase.

I could be wrong; let me know.

Which brings us to hobnob (and/or hobknob, which I assumes was the correct spelling).

The always enlightening Urban Dictionary cuts right to the chase:

Hob-knobbing is how socialites spend their days.

Please note the spelling as well.

Other sources:

Etymology: from the obsolete phrase drink hobnob to drink alternately to one another
Date: 1813

1 archaic : to drink sociably
2: to associate familiarly

And:

–verb (used without object)
1. to associate on very friendly terms (usually fol. by with): She often hobnobs with royalty.
2. Archaic. to drink together.
–noun
3. a friendly, informal chat.
Origin:
1595–1605; from the phrase hab or nab lit., have or have not, OE habban to have + nabban not to have (ne not + habban to have)

Hobnobbing, it seems use to have something to do with drinking/toasting and may “have” to do with “haves” and “have nots”.

Although it sounds more posh, hobnobbing might have started out as the less “loaded” phrase, but now carries more of the connotation that both words certainly share.

In the end, I think the song – whatever form or remake or cover – it takes is far better than my wordy middling.

I still think those folks on Park Avenue who were Puttin’ on the Ritz were likely both hobnobbing and rubbing elbows, but I’ll let you be the judge.

Until next time.