Collaborating Authors

Sammus' hip-hop song about depression and suicidal thoughts that made me cry

Los Angeles Times

But there I was, standing at the back of a cramped venue at this year's South by Southwest festival, doing just that. I don't like crying in public, so it wasn't much solace that a good half of the room was doing the same thing. Sammus, a rapper from Ithaca, N.Y., was performing "1080p," which was at that point her newest single. I'd already watched the video about 10 times that morning. And I'd read the reviews -- writers have called the song "important," "honest" and "powerful."

The grandfather kings of nerdcore


In terms of popularity, nerdcore occupies a space somewhere between underground hip hop and the end of the universe, according to rapper and educator Mega Ran. Nerdcore is a brand of hip hop characterized by a focus on geeky things, which means its subject matter is as vast and varied as Tolkien's Encircling Sea. It's niche but limitless; visible but not known. It's big enough to support the musical careers of artists like MC Lars, MC Frontalot, Beefy and MC Chris, yet it's small enough that even the most fervent Star Wars fan may have never heard of it. Even in an age where geek chic is hot and "nerd" is no longer a vicious insult, nerdcore remains underground -- but its influence on popular culture is showing.

Nerdcore artist Mega Ran takes us on a Gameboy nostalgia trip


Nerdcore artist Mega Ran has a new video out today and it's full of Nintendo nostalgia. KadeshFlow is a fun homage to the 8-bit visual style popularized by the GameBoy in the late 1980s. In the video, Mega Ran and KadeshFlow make their way through a green dot-matrix world full of retro gaming references to battle ghosts at Alex Trebek's house (Trebek has been a favored target of the nerdcore community ever since he called them "losers" on an episode of Jeopardy!). For the uninitiated, nerdcore is a sub-genre of hip-hop obsessed (unsurprisingly) with all things nerdy. Its songs typically focus on pop culture topics like video games, Star Wars, Stranger Things and Harry Potter.

UCLA Archive launches Kirk Douglas Centennial Celebration

Los Angeles Times

This is the year when Kirk Douglas, one of Hollywood's most iconic stars, will celebrate his 100th birthday. To mark the event the UCLA Film & Television Archive has put together a massive series that will run from the beginning of July through the end of September showcasing the range of his films. The series, screening at the Billy Wilder Theater at the Hammer Museum in Westwood, kicks off this weekend with a trio of Douglas' best-remembered films, starting Friday at 7:30 p.m., with Douglas playing Vincent van Gogh to Anthony Quinn's Paul Gauguin in Vincente Minnelli's rapturous 1956 "Lust For Life." That's followed on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with a splendid double bill of two 1951 classics. First comes "Ace In The Hole," directed by Billy Wilder, and starring Douglas as an ambitious reporter (is there any other kind) who is not above exploiting tragedy for his own aims. Also playing is William Wyler's "Detective Story," with Douglas as a police detective whose zeal knows no bounds.

Miike Snow, Zhu to headline the latest CRSSD Fest

Los Angeles Times

The fourth edition of San Diego's CRSSD will take a slightly darker, all-club-music tone. The biannual dance music festival, which takes place Oct. 1-2 at downtown San Diego's Waterfront Park, will sport the Swedish electronic pop act Miike Snow and the brooding house music producer Zhu atop the bill, with a wide range of party-friendly and edgier underground acts throughout the weekend. Bonobo, Thomas Jack, Kanye West's "Wolves" producer Cashmere Cat and Lido are slated for peak sets on the main stages, while Sophie, Maya Jane Coles and M.A.N.D.Y. are billed in the sweatier underground areas. The festival – produced by the San Diego firm FNGRS CRSSD, whose founders have collaborated with Goldenvoice – can hold 15,000 fans for each of its two days, and it has become a popular day trip for LA fans. After a brief experiment with alt-rock (booking the Flaming Lips and TV on the Radio in 2015, where attendance dipped), the fest returned to an almost-all-dance lineup for this year's spring fest and continues that approach this fall.