Covergirl, Trojan, and Kia Win Big at MTV Video Music Awards!

Categories: VMAs

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My Phone Because the TV Kept Telling Me to Use It
Nicki Minaj
Last night was the 31st annual MTV Video Music Awards, brought to you by State Farm, Covergirl, Trojan, Kia, Verizon and more. In our preview last week, we mentioned the increasing emphasis on interactivity at the awards, but my goodness was last night an absolute social media assault sponsored by sponsors. The criticism of every MTV generation is of its ever-decreasing attention spans, but even as someone who has relished each and every Taco Bell VMA Big Box I consumed this week, it felt like this year's VMA weren't meant to be watched but #watched .

It wasn't a bad show. It wasn't a great show. After last year's all-time classic VMAs, this year had a lot to live up to that it flat-out couldn't. Not unlike the 1998 Video Music Awards, 2014's installment had a handful of cool moments spread across a telecast that was mostly forgettable. Nobody was reunited, reinvented or revolted, it was ultimately an alright award show. Anyone referring to it as the "worst VMAs ever" (and plenty on Twitter did last night) needs to revisit the miserable floating experiment of 2004 where everyone looked miserable, or more recently the 2012 VMAs that were booked opposite Barack Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention that absolutely nobody was at. 2014 was significantly better, so let's look at what memories we'll be taking away to be edited in-between Howard Stern as Fartman and Madonna kissing Britney for future VMA montages.

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H. Jon Benjamin's Absurd Kickstarter Illustrates the Absurdity of Most Kickstarters

Categories: H. Jon Benjamin

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Kickstarter Screenshot
Join This Man's Entry Into the Danger Zone
Two weeks ago we brought you the story of Erick Sanchez, who started a Kickstarter to fulfill every red-blooded American's dream of getting Kenny Loggins to perform in his living room. While he achieved that goal last week, voiceover superstar and all around comedy titan H. Jon Benjamin, whose famed "Archer" character shares Sanchez's zeal for Loggins, decided to get in on the action and started his own Kickstarter, looking to introduce Loggins in Sanchez's living room. Along with being probably the (intentionally) funniest crowd-funding page we've ever seen (Under "Risks and Challenges" he wrote "Yes and Yes"), we spoke to Benjamin about his goals for the cause and what Kenny Loggins means to him.

See also: We Interviewed the Guy Who Started the Kenny Loggins Kickstarter

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The 10 Best Concerts in New York This Week, 8/25/14

Categories: Listings, Live

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Courtesy of Secret Service Publicity
Catch K. Flay at Brooklyn Bowl this Monday
For more shows throughout the week, check out our New York Concert Calendar, which we update daily.

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Is the YouTube Free-For-All Over?

Categories: YouTube

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YouTube star Jenna Marbles in a recent vlog
YouTube is a wonderful tool for procrastination, but often aimless surfing can lead to unearthing new genres and artists you'd never knew even existed. In between these discoveries are always the lovably offbeat videos of amateur acoustic covers or rants about pesky day jobs that make perusing the site feel like peeking into a stranger's living room. This week, however, brought more news of the site's forthcoming paid subscription service, making it clear that this YouTube we once knew is slowly vanishing.

See also: Dirty Girls: How a Bizarre 1996 Film About Santa Monica Punk-Feminist Eighth Graders Became a YouTube Sensation

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Finding the Poetry in Hip-Hop

Categories: Essay, New Yorkers

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Homeboy Sandman | Photo by Lauren Jaslow
By the time I began studying English and creative writing at NYU, I had already started to identify myself as a poet. I lived and breathed poetry; it was the only way I could compute and make sense of my surroundings. Simultaneously, I was also an EDM head, before electronic music had become so wildly and widely popular again, and before EDM was really a term. But I was sick of the scene and asked my roommate to give me some new music. "Here," she said, "Why don't you give this a listen." She handed me a copy of Homeboy Sandman's album Actual Factual Pterodactyl.

See also: Homeboy Sandman Assembles New York Avengers


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Wiz Khalifa Is the Normcore Dad We Need

Categories: Wiz Khalifa

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Credit: Rob Menzer
Wiz Khalifa when he's off-duty as a dad
This week Wiz Khalifa is releasing his third (!) studio album Blacc Hollywood, which follows the similarly pro-black upper class sentiment of his second album Only Nigga in First Class. The album does not deviate too far from the music of Wiz Khalifa's entire career: weed, women and bros. The latter is covered in Chicago drill indebted "We Dem Boyz," the topic of women is heard on the early "Promises" and, well, "weed" is covered by the fact Mr. Khalifa has his own brand (Khalifa Kush) of the stuff. He's got his friends, wife and his own peculiar niche hobby, could he be even more dad if he tried? Wiz Khalifa moved from simply being a highly successful stoner to rap's foremost normcore dad.

See also: Wiz Khalifa Returns Home With Blacc Hollywood

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The Best Concerts in New York This Weekend, 8/22/14

Categories: Weekend

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Credit: Timothy Norris
Arcade Fire will be joined by Dan Deacon, The Unicorns, and Television this weekend at Barclays
For more shows throughout the weekend, check out our New York Concert Calendar, which we update daily.

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Your Guide to the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards

Categories: VMAs

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MTV Networks
It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

This Sunday, one of cable television's most storied traditions, the MTV Video Music Awards, beams from the Forum in Southern California into living rooms nationwide. The VMA's 32nd broadcast, this year's hostless show looks to carry on the quality of well-received recent installments, namely the 2011 and 2013 editions, with a stacked line-up of performances and seriously hard-to-call nominees up for the Moon Men. If you haven't had a chance to catch up on all the recent happenings but have had your curiosity piqued by the advertisements in Taco Bell, we've got you covered with this round-up of what's going down.

See also: Were the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards the Greatest of All Time?

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Austin Mahone - IZOD Center - 8/20/14

Categories: Last Night

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Courtesy of PMK BNC // Credit: Luis Valverde
Better Than: Those summer nostalgia tours featuring the d-list pop rock bands of yesteryear. (Do we really need you, Spacehog?)

When asked to list the loudest sounds on earth, most people have similar answers: explosions at wartime, the constant and consistent shrill of ambulance sirens, jet engines. These people have never seen Austin Mahone live.

See also: One Direction - Izod Center - 7/2/13

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Robyn + Royksopp - Pier 97 - 8/20/14

Categories: Last Night

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Credit: Santiago Felipe
Better Than: Watching a great show while actually being inside a constantly shaking can of sardines
 
For a pop artist -- even one some would condescendingly term an "intelligent" pop artist, as if pop is by nature stupid -- Robyn doesn't really do instant gratification. On her best songs, you have to wait for the payoff, and sometimes even when it comes -- like on the exhilarating "Do It Again," the title track and by far the best song on her recent tag-team, let's-procrastinate-from-making-our-albums EP with Norwegian electronic duo/longtime pals Royksopp -- you never quite get your fill.

 

See also: [PHOTOS] Robyn at Pier 97

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