How ObamaCare Created A Nation of Zombie Sluts: An In-Depth Talk With Kennedy

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When Lisa Kennedy Montgomery was 18 years old, her parents gave her an ultimatum: She could either stay home and pay rent, or they would pay her to move out. So Montgomery did the respectable thing and left her home in Oregon, moved to Los Angeles, interned at KROQ (L.A.'s famed alt-rock radio station), became known strictly as Kennedy, and, a year later, landed a spot as a VJ on MTV. For five rambunctious years in the '90s, Kennedy was a Gen-X darling, hosting Alternative Nation and providing the network with countless ballsy and salacious on-air moments (like when she gave the mic a blow job while standing next to then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani). However, most of the wildest antics occurred off the air, and they're very humorously detailed in her memoir, The Kennedy Chronicles. Wednesday night she will be at the Bryant Park Reading Room, dishing it out with Rob Tannenbaum (I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution). We had the pleasure of sitting down with the now-Fox Business correspondent and morning radio host to talk about her new book. And we didn't even go into the whole Michael Jordan/dice incident, but rather more pressing topics such as, among other things, her opinion on alternative music today, her semi-affair with Goo Goo Dolls frontman Johnny Rzeznik (which inspired one of the band's hits), and what it was like having the coolest job on television. More »

"Weird Al" Yankovic To Class Up The Beacon Theater In October


What better way to cap off MTV's 30th anniversary than with an announcement about master pop parodist "Weird Al" Yankovic, whose AL TV blocks encouraged me to stare wall-eyed at various TVs owned by my family members for very long blocks of time, and also to believe in flying hamsters. He's playing a show on October 23 at the Beacon Theater; tickets go on sale this Friday. Above, please enjoy Al's inaugural appearance on Just Say Julie, the MTV staple hosted by Miss Julie Brown that really needs to get its own revival with Beavis and Butt-Head et al; below, the opener to the first AL TV, complete with callout for the AL TV Lost Weekend Contest, which is something that I would totally enter. The common thread in both clips? Sandwiches!


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The Top Five Music Videos Directed By Oscar Winners

MTV turns 30 today. To celebrate, we're running a bunch of pieces on the channel, its legacy, and its future.

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Earlier today, we counted down the best music videos directed by people who took home (or, more likely, left at the podium) the Razzies' "Golden Raspberry" award for worst director. Now we're counting down the best music videos by those directors' raised-brow, Oscar-winning counterparts. Let's get right to it.

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The Top Five Music Videos Directed By Razzie Award "Winners"

MTV turns 30 today. To celebrate, we're running a bunch of pieces on the channel, its legacy, and its future.

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Angelina Jolie in a Michael Bay production.
In the 30 years since MTV first hit the air, the music video has proven itself as a medium able to collapse high and low culture—or, as Chuck D put it in a video of his own, teach the bourgeois and rock the boulevard. Today, music videos have been canonized in art museums around the world, but they are also our generation's pulp fictions, disposable flashes of sex, adventure and cheap thrills. So we thought it'd be fun to compare the best videos made by "winners" of the "Golden Raspberry" for worst feature-film directing with those made by winners (no scare quotes necessary) of the Hollywood's high honor, an Academy Award for best directing. Before we get into the former list, a big dishonorable mention goes to Barry Sonnenfield, who, after botching Will Smith's Wild, Wild West, wasn't even given a shot at directing the music video of the same name.

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The Five "Best" Retired Categories At The Video Music Awards

MTV turns 30 today. To celebrate, we're running a bunch of pieces on the channel, its legacy, and its future.


Would you look at all that postmodernism?
For a multimillion-dollar event orchestrated with the dictatorial hand of all awards shows, there's always been a certain thrilling seat-of-the-pants quality to the Video Music Awards at its best. Maybe it's just the amount of big (and often liquored up) egos in one room, and the potential that one of them might do or say something dumb or funny or unexpected. But even with producers attempting to control every micro-second of the broadcast, viewers at least get the sense that anything might happen, even if 99 percent of the time nothing outlandish (or even very entertaining) usually takes place.

Most of the WTF watercooler moments from past VMAs seem plenty corny in retrospect. (Fiona Apple's mildly profane acceptance speech in 1997, for instance.) Occasionally, though, things get away from the producers to such a degree that clips from the shows can produce a feeling of avert-your-eyes queasiness years later. (Pretty much the entirety of the apocalyptically awful 2007 installment.)

But there's also another kind of awkwardness, the sort that comes with watching a show forced to reinvent itself from year to year; the whole thing can fall flat on its face for reasons that have nothing to do with drugged-out performers or presenters who go off-message. Like every company that attempts to stay on top of the fickle tastes of teenagers and act as both taste-maker and taste-agglomerator, MTV is in a constant race to keep up with the pubescent Joneses. And so, you rarely get more than two VMAs in a row that look or feel much alike.

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I Want My 18-34 Demographic: MTV's Research-Heavy (And Kinda Unhip) Approach To Melding Radio And TV

MTV turns 30 today. To celebrate, we're running a bunch of pieces on the channel, its legacy, and its future.

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via Tacky and Kitsch
Send a self-addressed stamped envelope to the above address, and you could have your own Dial Sticker.

The first 59 minutes of MTV—12:01 a.m. to 1 a.m., exactly 30 years ago today—totally sucked. Not because the upstart cable network opened with the Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star" (which still rules), or because of the clip for Pat Benetar's "You Better Run" that came a few minutes later (ditto). Not because of the affably bland ex-WPLJ DJ Mark Goodman, or how the ads for Mountain Dew, Trapper Keepers, or Dolby sound didn't hit their targets, either. That first hour—which you can watch right here—sucked because nothing made any sense. "All the V.J. segments were out of sequence," founder Bob Pittman later remembered. "They would say, 'That was,' and it wasn't, and 'Coming up is,' and it wasn't coming up. The polarization on the wires was also switched, so if you were listening in stereo, it was fine, but if you were in mono, it was canceling the sound out."

Pittman and the rest of the first MTV staff could be excused for screwing up their first hour of TV (only a handful of cable subscribers in northern New Jersey were watching anyway—even the founders had to head to a Fort Lee sports bar to tune in). These were mostly radio people, after all, trying to find a way to make some money in the fledgling realm of cable television. They picked a good time: the music industry was seeking any strategy to reenergize itself in the midst of a multi-year slump after disco flamed out. Like so many startups that aimed to merge existing ways of doing things, MTV was a kludge in its earliest years, but at the same time it was also a quiet miracle of technological convergence. Venture capitalists and tech geeks take note: MTV was the 1980s' most killer music app.


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100 & Single: The Dawning Of The MTV Era And How It Rocket-Fueled The Hot 100

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What was the first rock and roll song? Ask music historians and you'll get a range of '40s and early '50 candidates, from "Good Rockin' Tonight" to "Rocket 88."

Ah, but when did the Rock Era begin? That's easier. Everybody knows that Bill Haley and His Comets' rendition of "Rock Around the Clock" was America's first-ever No. 1 rock and roll song, topping the Billboard charts in the summer of 1955 and launching the Rock Era as we know it. Occasionally, musical epochs can be demarcated easily, with a bright temporal line.

So it goes with the era of the music video. The promotional-music-clip format is more than a half-century old, dating to the 1940s and raised to a high-pop-art form by such pre-'80s acts as the Beatles and Queen, among others.

But the music video era, better known as the MTV Era, began unequivocally 30 years ago this weekend—on August 1, 1981, the day Music Television went live on cable TV. The No. 1 song on Billboard's Hot 100 that week was "Jessie's Girl," by a guy so telegenic he was crossing over from a soap opera: General Hospital's Rick Springfield. Appropriately, "Jessie's Girl" came packaged with a fairly slick (for its day) music video.

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The Five Best Moments On Yo! MTV Raps

MTV turns 30 on Monday. To celebrate, we're running a bunch of pieces on the channel, its legacy, and its future.

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Debuting during the golden year of '88, Yo! MTV Raps revolutionized TV coverage of hip-hop music. Of course, hip-hop videos existed long before Yo! launched—Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five's gritty street-level visuals for "The Message," peeping Kurtis Blow clad in black leather pants performing in front of a silhouetted Manhattan-skyline backdrop in "If I Ruled The World"—but the show provided hip-hop junkies with rap reportage like never before. Hosted by Ed Lover and Doctor Dre (the lesser-heralded one), who were assisted by Fab 5 Freddy, Yo! MTV Raps didn't just showcase new videos and air interviews; it took viewers inside the worlds of the artists they profiled, which might mean delving down into producer Pete Rock's dingy Mount Vernon basement, trading barbs with N.W.A. in LA, or letting shout-rap oiks Onyx slam dance with Freddy on the Brooklyn Bridge. Here are five of the best moments from its archives.


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Matt Pinfield And 120 Minutes Return To TV; Will The Audience Follow?

MTV turns 30 on Monday. To celebrate, we're running a bunch of pieces on the channel, its legacy, and its future.

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Back when he was a music-obsessed teenager growing up on Long Island, and long before he started the influential music website Stereogum, Scott Lapatine never missed an episode of 120 Minutes. He also had a tendency to procrastinate. This often led to many late Sunday nights in his parent's basement where he would have to multi-task. "I would run from one room with a computer in it and my textbook in my lap to the other room to catch what they were playing on 120 Minutes, and have my mind blown by the latest Porno For Pyros video that they aired," he says with a chuckle.

Along with college radio, fanzines and publications like Spin, MTV's music-video show 120 Minutes was one of the main ways non-mainstream acts found fans in the pre-Internet era. If you get enough music fans of a certain age in a room together, you're likely to hear tales of how this program blew young minds, especially if any of them tuned in the night the program debuted Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit." (This particular writer will cop to pretty much having his young heart rewired upon catching the 120 premiere of Radiohead's video for "Fake Plastic Trees.")

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Beavis And Butt-Head Return To A Racier, More Snookified MTV

MTV turns 30 on Monday. To celebrate, we're running a bunch of pieces on the channel, its legacy, and its future.

You may have heard by now that Beavis and Butt-Head are returning to MTV—a real comeback after years of cruel teasing rumors, none of them particularly believable. Mike Judge announced the show's comeback at this year's San Diego Comic-Con, and MTV released the above clip of new footage in tandem with the announcement.

In a lot of ways, that clip seems like it could have come straight from Beavis and Butt-Head's '90s heyday: bloody mayhem, charming stupidity, Cornholio. But it also came with one crucial difference. When it came time for the duo's much-beloved mocking of music videos, B&B started ripping into... Snooki and Jersey Shore.

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