Posts Tagged ‘ lady gaga ’

Grammy Fashion Do’s and Do Not Do’s

Ah the Grammys! Always night for some badass fashion. (Lenny Kravitz. Need I say more!?) Some celebs reallllly nailed it! My other top choices:

  1. Pop princess Selena Gomez who killed it in a gold J. Mendel. What a beautiful girl seriously, stunning.
  2. Ryan Seacrest’s babe Julianne Hough rocked a bold printed Malandrino number.
  3. Everyone should consider entering his or her next party in an egg. That’s all I’m going to say.
  4. J.Lo . Dang! Girl worked it in a long-sleeved silver Pucci. Those legs! A real woman right there.
  5. Jennifer Hudson in Versace. She’s looking soooo good lately. The dress, the hair, the shoes, the jewelry.  Amazing.

However… some just didn’t impress:

  1. Really Nicki Minaj? (Lady Gaga: ’09 ACE gala anyone?) Its been done. As much as I love Givenchy… just no.
  2. Although I’m quite the fanatic for shear clothing, I really didn’t enjoy Rihanna in John Paul Gautier. (but ask any male and they’d probably have a different opinion…)
  3. Miranda Lambert failed miserably. That dress. Ohhh that strapless dress did not fit her… at all.

Speaking of Miranda Lambert failures, that performance of  “house that built me” was just so boring. Snooze fest indeed.  My favourite performance on the other hand, even as short as it was, was John Mayer, Nora Jones, and Keith Urban’s take on “Jolene”. Ugh it gave me chills I loved it SO much! The Rihanna, Eminem, Skylar Grey, and Dr. Dre mashup was super good too, along with Mumford and sons who were amazing as always! Totally upset me though that they lost for best new artist to… wait what was her name again?

To sum the night up, the fashion (for the most part) was a hit and the performances impressed. But Seth Rogan totally stole the night for me. Ohhhh Miley.

– Steph Martyniuk

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Jay Leno vs Conan

Written By: Chris D’Alessandro

Jay Leno is not funny.

Now, I didn’t really weigh in on the Leno vs. Conan thing last year because honestly, I didn’t care who the host of “The Tonight Show” was. I didn’t grow up with it. I grew up with lots of different late night talk shows with lots of different hosts and while Conan was my favourite, I would usually just pick the show with the best guests that night. The jokes are all super lame no matter which show you’re watching so it was just pick your poison and enjoy your hack. This was why I really couldn’t understand the huge fuss about getting to host “The Tonight Show”. People tried to explain to me the significance of the show and the importance of the time slot but it didn’t matter to me; I never even watched “The Tonight Show” at night anyway, I usually caught a rerun the following afternoon.  I was fairly bummed out to not see Conan O’Brian on TV anymore, but now I understand what the real fuss was all about. It was because Jay Leno is not funny.

He isn’t. Seriously. There was a reason his show (cleverly deemed “The Jay Leno Show”) tanked like it did. Nobody with a brain wanted to watch “The Jay Leno Show” because it wasn’t funny. If you screw up your own show, you do not get to host “The Tonight Show”, especially after you were already booted off. I can literally watch his monologues with a straight face, he ripped off ‘Jay-walking’ from Howard Stern and ‘headlines’ are spelling errors not jokes.  Worst of all the most interesting guests they’ve had on in the last year have been the cast members of” Jersey Shore” which are, of course, not interesting in the slightest. Those people may be entertaining on a reality TV show, but they have literally nothing of even mild interest to talk about.

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From the Editor’s Desk: What’s Next?

The editor indulges in all things related to the new issue. Which is, er, What's Next. Click to read print version.

There’s a number of routes I could take here. I could wax nostalgic. I go get all philosophical and up my own ass. I could lament and expose. Truth is, I’m not sure how to sum up this issue. Or this magazine for the past couple of years. It’s damn hard.

Of course I need to thank the Sheridan Student Union. It’s unbelievable that they have continued to give us full creative freedom on this student-run publication. To allow students to steer such an important vehicle and give a voice to the student body is unheard of. It doesn’t happen all too often.

I, personally, have learned a lot from TRAVIS. This magazine has taught me more than the Internet has. This magazine has become part of me, part of my being, part of my identity. This magazine has cemented my desire in pursuing the badgershit-crazy world of magazines. This magazine has welcomed me to the strange and wonderful world of stupid-talented designers, illustrators, writers, photographers and helpless dolts. This magazine has literally made me bleed, cry and vomit. This magazine has been recognized on a national playing field—and on Wikipedia. This magazine has actually had more than 24 people read it. And this column alone broke the news to my parents that I crashed my red sports car. And that I wasn’t a virgin.

And this column alone broke the news to my parents that I crashed my red sports car. And that I wasn’t a virgin.

I owe you one, TRAVIS.

It’s with looking down the bumpy road of the future that we put together the What’s Next issue. As technology pushes forth at a headache-producing speed, what’s next with Apple? As Avatar easily became the top-grossing flick ever and revolutionized the way we’re entertained, what’s next in movies? As Lady Gaga continues to wear cigarette-burning sunglasses and redefine clothing, what’s next in fashion? As Dr. Jeff Zabudsky takes the throne, what’s next for Sheridan? And as you graduate, leaving Sheridan’s training wheels behind, what’s next for you, dear TRAVIS reader? Doesn’t matter, you have a Sheridan diploma in your paws. Allow me to pinch your cheek and say, “You’ll be just fine.”

Truth is, I don’t freakin’ know what’s next for this magazine. I’m no Nastradumas. Hell, I don’t know what’s next for me. (I do know that fame and David Duchovny-like status is in the cards, though. That much is clear.) I have a shitload of hopes for TRAVIS, of course. I hope that I continue to be involved with this art collective in some manner. I hope that more students note TRAVIS’ importance and continue to write polemics and paint the president’s face blue. I hope that it continues to grow, get better and push the envelope on what is expected from a “student-run” publication. Well, I know that last point is going to happen. But that’s all I got.

So, you tell me, what’s next?

–RYAN BOLTON

TRAVIS Chats with Hilltop Hoods [Online Exclusive]

Here are the boys behind Australia's Hilltop Hoods: (L-R) Suffa, DJ Debris and Pressure. Michael Burton Photograph.

by RYAN BOLTON and MICHAEL BURTON

So here it comes: Underground Australian hip-hop. We had the chance to sit down with Suffa, one of the genial and constantly laughing MCs behind Hilltop Hoods, the platinum selling artists from Down Under to discuss the hip-hop industry, their longtime lifespan in said industry, Lady Gaga, the importance of Jay-Z, the brilliance of Blackroc and why P. Diddy does a lot of cocaine. We also got to check out their live show, and damn were we taken aback. Never had we seen something so intense as an underground hip-hop show. Lee’s Palace was filled to capacity and the crowd — and the performers — didn’t let up. Here was some pre-show action. Or questions, whatever.

TRAVIS: Well, welcome to Canada. I know you guys have been traveling across Canada since February, so how’s it been so far?

Hilltop Hoods: Amazing. It’s our fourth time back here and the shows – except for Ottawa – are all sold out. We’ve just had an amazing time. The last time we were here it was with Classified. And the time before that, I think we only went to Whistler, which is just Australian territory anyway.

TRAVIS: Yeah, I go out there every year and it’s all Aussies. Running the lifts, working in the shops. You’re everywhere.

HH: Yes, we run Whistler. [Laughs.]

TRAVIS: For us here in Canada, Classified as you just mentioned, is pretty big in the Canadian hip-hop scene, especially with that new song “Oh Canada.” And of course we have our k-os and Drake – who came out of nowhere. Can you describe more of the Australian hip-hop scene in comparison?

HH: It’s not dissimilar to the Canadian scene. One thing that is probably missing is the commercial side to the hip-hop scene. There’s no auto tune, none of that. I think maybe the scene is too young. Too much of a burgeoning scene for that… Relatively, the trends tend to follow a little slower. Less slower now with the Internet, but still to a degree. And maybe it will never happen; real commercial will never happen. [Laughs.] It’s the same with the underground scene. You could kind of describe us as the Classifieds back in Australia.

TRAVIS: I find that you guys have really kept that ’90s hip-hop sound. Like Classified says here, “Grimy and off-beat.” But you guys mix a lot with samples. So being at the vanguard of the Australian scene, how do you nurture that musical environment?

HH: I think it’s good to influence the younger kids. You are what you eat is relative to music as well. What kids put in their ears is not dissimilar to what they are putting out their mouths. So it’s good they are hearing sample-heavy hip-hop; hip-hop that has the DJ. Hopefully that keeps it traditional and keeps it to the roots of the culture…

TRAVIS: Jumping to your new album, you guys have a lot of influence from zombie films to talking about the hip-hop industry to the “Chris Farley” song. Wide range of influence on the song variety, can you speak on that?

HH: I can only speak for myself, but I guess I’m a bit of a pop culture geek.

TRAVIS: So where is Lady Gaga on the album?

HH: [Laughs.] No, I’m not that much of a pop culture geek. Wish she was under my foot. I read a ton of blogs every day. I like songs with eclectic subject matter, like [the U.K. punk band] Doom or something like that. I think you got to mix it up with the subject and I guess it comes with being a fan of pop culture.

TRAVIS: So being a songwriter and producer, when you are getting into the mindset, do you look all over the place for inspiration?

HH: I guess it’s just being into hip-hop because you can steal and take what you like. [Laughs.] You can be watching a TV show and be like, ‘I like that.’ And you can take that, add some piano to that, take the concept from the TV episode or whatever, you know what I mean. I think that’s an advantage of being a hip-hop artist, you can draw from everywhere.

TRAVIS: What really got you into hip-hop when you started as a musician?

HH: Public Enemy. They were a huge influence. Same with Ice T, Schoolly D, Big Daddy Kane, BDP, WZ and PRP and all those sort of anagrams. I think it was probably the same here with skate culture, and bike culture and b-boy culture, it was all intertwined under the umbrella of hip-hop.

TRAVIS: But why hip-hop, specifically. Why aren’t you in a rock band, jazz band or punk band? What’s the thing about you and hip-hop?

HH: Well, first of all, I can’t play an instrument. [Laughs.] I’m not really a hand-eye person. I don’t know, it’s just something that appeals to me. And the core really appeals to me. Like, I love monotonous reoccurring samples. I can sit in a room and listen to a beat non-stop. We listen to all sorts of music, but it has always been hip-hop for us. And we got inducted into it. We went to high school with 1,500 kids and 1,400 probably listened to hip-hop. It was weird.

TRAVIS: What have you seen since your time in the industry with the changing of music?

HH: It’s weird. The sub-genre-ing of music. The partioning of the music into 40 subsections. That’s something that has been weird to me. I guess the bastardizations of music. And sometimes it works and sometimes not. Some of it can fuck off, but some of it works like M.I.A. When you are taking a bit from hip-hop, a bit from dub, a bit from dance, and what she does is meshes it together.

TRAVIS: Have you heard of Black Roc yet? The guys from Black Keys—

HH: It’s unreal. It’s amazing. Mos Def. RZA. Raekwon. MOP. Brilliant.

TRAVIS: There’s an example of someone that do it right. Yeah, it was a perfect fusion right? Not like that stupid Linkin Park-Jay-Z crap.

HH: I think what the aim was there, well, for Jay-Z primarily, was to sell records and reach another market. I don’t think he would ever tell someone that was an artistic decision.

TRAVIS: Yeah, Jay-Z is on top of the hip-hop world, what do you guys – as hip-hop stars – think of him?

HH: Jay-Z is Jay-Z. He’s one of those people that across the board, everyone likes. I was listening to him when he first appeared on The Jazz records. He did a track called “The Originators” really early on. And I used to listen to that album again and again. Then he brought out Reasonable Doubt, The Blueprint and all those records. I’ve been a fan all along. There’s been some definite dips. Not that I was hating on his music, it just wasn’t for me. He’s just a gifted person. That’s all you can say about Jay-Z is that he is Jay-Z.

TRAVIS: On the contrary, what is P. Diddy? I don’t get him.

HH: Here’s where we come full circle to me being a fan of pop culture. Diddy cracks me up. I watch Diddy Blog. That shit is crazy. He’s just so awesome. I’m glad we have him around, like that character. It’s just funny to me. I wouldn’t go out and buy Young Money, his new project, but I watch his blogs and piss myself, you know. And good on him.

TRAVIS: Well, let’s wrap up the formal questions. As “Still Standing” suggests, you guys have been at it a long time. For young artists that are just coming up, what’s your trick? With a lot of these up-and-coming bands they get a single out and are spit out just as fast as they got in, especially in the college market. What do you say to the young guys that are just coming up?

HH: You can only control what you can control. So, you can control that you make your live show is as good as you can. You can control that your Internet presence is as good as it can be; your management is as good as it can be. You can only control that shit. The rest of it comes down to the phone. Like we have had terrible support around us and still made a good song. But at the same time it comes down to luck and timing. If someone else had brought out something similar to us around the same time in Australia, well you know. There is so much luck involved. It’s something intangible. You can only control the one percenters. But that’s all you can control.

TRAVIS: Well, to just bring it to a close, we want to throw a couple things at you and you give us whatever is off the top of your head. 2pac or Notorious B.I.G.?

HH: Notorious B.I.G.

TRAVIS: Britney Spears or Lady Gaga?

HH: In the sack or in my ears? [Laughs.] I’m going to go ahead and say Britney.

TRAVIS: ‘Nsync or Backstreet Boys?

HH: Which one was Timberlake in? I’ll take them.

TRAVIS: Who’s going to win the most medals in the Winter Olympics? Canada or Australia?

HH: That would be Kanakastan [made-up country by our research].

TRAVIS: Lincoln or Cadillac?

HH: We don’t have either in Australia. [Laughs.]

He drives a Ford Explorer.

Lady Gaga’s The Fame Monster: Garbage

If Lady Gaga doesn’t have the melody, the lyrics, or even the sex appeal; well she will just have to be equal to a pop-stylized Marlyn Manson, just way worse.

Her tastes in fashion deserve a review itself, but lets take a listen to her new record.

For someone who grew up on music, the entire album is an embarrassment to her upbringing. The record is doused in electronic drum beats, and synthesized vocals. I question how much of the record was actually recorded with real instruments. Probably none of it. It’s over produced; and this will translate to a poor live show that lacks the energy and excitement any real band can bring.

The record is no step up from her previous effort, with this go-around being much darker, and less catchy. No Poker Face, no Just Dance, songs that I actually like. It’s all weird, sex-infused tracks that are boring which leave me wondering what she was thinking.

As for the message behind the record, well I get it. Your a messed up bi-sexual free-spirit, who likes to play dress-up. Get over yourself.

“He ate my heart, and then he ate my brain,” you have inspired me, inspired me to puke my brains out.

A wannabe Madonna, a pop-singer who is ogled at for a living. Gaga is doing a good job of course, having her butt vacuum sealed into outfits that shouldn’t fit on any human being. We still keep talking about her.

The singers attire is intended to be shocking. It’s supposed to leave people thinking, and thus keeping Gaga unforgettable.

I also wish Gaga had more sex appeal in her closet, and less freaky Halloween costumes. At least I would have something to look at while her vocals are auto-tuned live.

I compare Gaga to Manson just because of the fashion behind the diva. The real difference between the two; Manson will always be a significantly better singer, song-writer, and musician; despite his shock tactics.

The masses are buying this, and Gaga is selling records, or else Interscope would have dropped this garbage faster than the time I dumped my last girlfriend. I just wish Rolling Stone had more sense than to give this record a positive review.

At least Lady Gaga is nowhere near as horrible as artists like Jeffery Star, she hasn’t stooped that low.

It’s only a matter of time when Gaga stops getting this attention, and has to start biting heads off bats and stabbing her eyes out on stage. Please Gaga, please, stab mine out first.

A Random Number of Words About Culture:

Swimming Through the Cultural Cynicism

By Ryan Bolton

Click to view the print version online.

Click to view the print version online.

It’s getting pretty thick, isn’t it? Tougher and tougher to wad through our culture’s waning artistic relevance. We are getting weighed down with culturally vapid artists, singers and hipsters alike. We have all been waiting together with fingers crossed. “Come on,” we say in unison, “bring us the next Picasso.” Or we quietly whisper to ourselves that this Dan Brown hack is not Hemingway. It’s like comparing a Hummer and a Tiger Tank; one is actually good at what it does, the other just a showy rip-off and piss poor attempt to get chicks. And thinking of that, Hemingway was a longtime ago. And so were the Beat Poets. And likewise for the Hunter S. Thompson’s. Pity, we think as we stroll through the new releases section at the bookstore. And then we turn to music and gasp at the screaming lack of a cultural imprint. So yeah, we had the big guys mix things up on a mainstream stage. Sinatra. The Beatles. Led Zeppelin. Rolling Stones. Tupac. Nirvana, of course. And then we hit Radiohead. But what else do we have now that is unique, brilliant and authentically artistic? Lady Gaga maybe? 

What is this feeling, you muse? It’s our cultural malaise.

With the wickedly public passing of Michael Jackson, many questioned if we had hit an impasse with such an internationally popular artist. When Jackson’s albums dropped, at least in the early days, they didn’t just go to the top in America; they peaked in Greece, Russia, Brazil and South Africa, too.  His music touched such a vast swath of humanity. And now we have Katy Perry and Timbaland topping the charts.

But when we look for a cultural band-aid to heal the gaping lesions of our generation, we always come up short. Hence the hipster. Really now, it’s not the hipster’s fault. If anything, we should all have empathy. We feel it too, of course. Looking to define oneself in a vacuous culture, the hipster simply turns to the trendy relics of yesterday. Gaudy eyewear. Fanny packs. Moustaches. Tape cassette players. Neon shirts. Pabst beer and so on. Some kind of a shitty attempt at cultural revitalization in a semi-ironic manner. And part of the reason why we get so upset at the hipster is that yes, they’re acknowledging the fact that nothing mainstream is actually creative, mind-expanding or relevant, but their proposed solution just exacerbates the problem in the first place. It just adds to the fact that we’ve passed post modernist art and have no other options. We broke all the conventions in music, art, film, and writing, so now what? We did the avant-garde as a society together. The Beatniks howled at us from the rat-infested gutters and we stopped and listened. Nirvana showed us what commercialism will do to a genius. And the hipster is now showing us what happens when we run out of cultural alternatives. We’re just left with a cultural malaise in which we’re not breaking any new ground in any medium. In fact, we’re breaking down the foundations to our mediums. Newspapers ring a bell?

Now there is always an ebb and flow with everything, culture included. We can all be assured of this. But the wait is a killer. When can we expect an art piece that will move us all? Something that both the old and the young will look at from all angles and together conclude it’s a masterpiece. Like, say, Edvard Munch’s The Scream? Or Van Gogh’s Starry Night? Maybe those times have come and gone with the brush strokes of Andy Warhol. Maybe that’s the thing – old and young will always be divided on what’s culturally relevant and what’s not. What makes for bunk and what makes for a magnum opus. One thing, though, is for sure: We’re just going to have to wait and see. Because at this cultural juncture, we’re borrowing from the worst of the 80s and it’s not getting any better.

I was recently attending a cocktail party downtown Toronto. I was chatting with the founder of the Fringe Festival about the cultural relevance of Michael Jackson’s demise and its social commentary on the current state of music. And although he agreed we might not see such a heavyweight for some time to come, he kept assuring me that today’s cultural cynicism will indeed pass. Yes, the Jonas Brothers are absolute shit. Yes, the Twilight series is ridiculous. But we need the shit to pile up until we can acknowledge that we are drowning ourselves. That we have starved ourselves of anything substantial. And it will be then that the next art movement will commence. That long-awaited artistic and cultural renaissance we all pine for, hipsters included, because, really, do you think they like looking like the offspring of Weird Al Yankovic and a goat farmer from Alabama?

But first, we should recall and start with the words of the late JFK, who said: “If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him.”