The VMAs of the past, and those of the future; The gory sights like beads on my smallest blog posts–on the walk in Jay Z’s house, and the passage over the river (the B, D, A, or C to the L, which isn’t in service so I switch back to an F); The trains rushing swiftly in richer neighborhoods, and none in the Rockaways; The others that are to follow me, their glances at my blog; The certainty of Tumblr–the life, love, sight, hearing of Brooklyn.
Welcome to the 2013 VMA live-blogging experienco. We’re in Brooklyn this year, which is a place you might have heard of, since that’s where funny mustaches, “mixologists” with suspenders, and Jay Z are from. It’s also apparently where David and Victoria Beckham conceived one of their children, and the first name of Andy Roddick’s wife. I’m sure there’s going to be a fuzzy mid-show package that will remind you that Brooklyn is also home to Coney Island and the Rockaways and they’re still recovering from Sandy, and I strongly encourage you to support the efforts of Occupy Sandy.
One of the things to say straight off is that State Farm Insurance sponsored the pre-show “new faces of pop music” (or whatever) and that tells you some important information about what’s happening here. But I’m not doing the pre-show, so I’ll see you in 15.
Act 1 (pre show): Keeping with the Walt Whitman theme, my colleague’s joke about “Leaves of Chronic” is brought to you by whomever runs the Gaga green room. That’s what wicked faded looks like, kids!
Act 2 (opener): Gaga close-up in what is possibly one of those full-body rubber suits in the shape of a tooth. Smart fans floss! There’s pretty intense booing, possibly because it turns out she’s in a nun’s habit with a square face-framing hat until WHOAH she’s dressed in the black leotard show outfit from A Star Is Born. And then a sparkly blue suit of an Upper East Side accountant out at dinner. That’s off and on with a neon yellow wig and it slowly dawns on us that this is a very silly Martha Graham tribute. Until the moment she comes out in a clamshell bikini which is just as unsexy as you’d imagine it would be after seeing her dressed as a nun, an accountant, and Martha Graham. SCENE.
One Direction in so much black presenting Best Pop Video: Selena Gomez’s first hug is to Taylor Swift who immediately commences the most awkward snake-like dancing I’ve seen outside the Bulgarian Disco.
This commercial break goes out to Time Warner cable who is incapable of providing me with a cable signal that doesn’t skip out the audio for four seconds about once a minute.
Fosse, dammit. The Gaga reference was Fosse, not Graham. (#vmaregrets #likebooking2Chainz)
Someone and someone: Miley Cyrus twerking song starts with a closeup on a big teddy bear which she’s also wearing on her body suit. And the backup dancers are either dressed in bear suits or holding huge bears on their backs. One of whom is throwing candy into the crowd. I bother with the description because a whole group of human beings interested in making money got together and green-lighted this, from the writing of the song all the way down to this pederast’s fantasy. And she got the gig of singing Robin Thicke’s SONG OF THE SUMMER with him, so she chose to strip off the fancy bear corset, and is now grinding into him, tongue out, in a nude leather bikini with one of those rubber sports hand/finger gloves shooting out from between her legs. And now we get 2Chainz rapping up the hallway while Thicke’s dancers are holding up craft (glitter, tinsel) versions of a Picasso and a watch and then a mini yacht paper mache float rolls across the stage and it occurs to me that there might be LSD in my Glenfiddich. Unless you’re seeing this disaster, too.
I’m just going to get this out of the way: I love me some Lil’ Kim. She’s co-presenting Best Hip Hop Video: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. Let’s hope they opine on race relations in America, or possibly Drake’s eyes and/or relationship with Amanda Bynes. “They let some independent hip hop artists up here at the VMAs.” Which, as you can imagine, is the preface to one of those acceptance speeches that one hit wonders often make, e.g., “I. Am. An. ARTIST.”
I don’t know what we can do to repair the damage that Miley Cyrus has done. I don’t even know how you’d begin a conversation with your kids about that, let alone how you’d know when you were done.
Kevin Hart: in which we get a joke about Gaga’s ass and “gams” and then a joke about Miley Cyrus getting a pregnancy test, and then Robin Thicke gets just a regular, not misogynistic compliment. Keep it classy, MTV.
Jared Leto introducing Kanye West. “Strange Fruit” is what he went with? Nothing says “party in Brooklyn!” like lynching? And OHMYGERD they’re bleeping out all the “nigga” variants in the verse, which eliminates all sound.
There’s really nothing to say about that, is there? I mean, that’s not even “stripped down”–one skrim with a photo of a garden, most of the song he’s in shadow writhing around, and the song’s like a neat 3 minutes. Meh.
Oh, dispatch from email: Cee Lo Green is joining the New Power Generation folks at the City Winery show tonight. Doors at 1145.
Pharrell, Nile Rogers, Daft Punk commercial precedes actual appearance on stage in confusing WHICH ONE IS THE COMMERCIAL moment. They’re presenting Best Female Video to Taylor Swift. And she doesn’t miss the opportunity to point out that winning a VMA is her revenge against “you know who you are” who inspired the song.
Ed Sheeran presenting Best Video with a Social Message, WHICH IS A THING? I can’t believe that Miley Cyrus isn’t in the running.
Okay, the Macklemore song about same sex love wins, and that seems exactly right, if “social message” means, “articulating the widely held values in our society.” But “gay rights are human rights” my man. I agree. Hear us roar, Russia. We’re coming for you.
Time to re-up. Tepid performances still enough to melt the drink out of my glass.
On second thought, I’m more happy with the Kanye performance. And super creeped out by Miley.
When did MTV shows turn into an all day Jerry Springer marathon?
Jimmy Fallon brought his black suit to introduce Justin Timberlake, who won the Michael Jackson lifetime award thingie. Calls him “The President of Pop,” which I can’t believe hasn’t already been given out or maybe calls for re-election?
I’m a minute into the performance and the most important question is: is he wearing a dickie? He should really be making more of the fact that those Brooklyn mixologists really stole everything but the mustache from JT’s wardrobe.
I have the sound up so loud that the synth sounds are pilling up like an old sweater, by the way. And there’s the ‘Nsync reunion you read about on twitter. Complete with the “cock the shotgun” move. BYE BYE BYE.
I totally loved this, but I’d have loved it more with fewer shots of Taylor Swift dancing, One Direction drinking a beer, Gaga’s clamshell bikini, and Rihanna nodding off. But I’d keep Jimmy Fallon as my hype man.
It looks like we’re at the 1.5 hour mark and the VMAs will apparently remain, for the whateverith consecutive year, a visual word salad of empty signifiers, a contemptuous treatment of sexuality, and awkward transitions.
My video froze for some reason, but Kevin Hart is yet again talking about Lady Gaga’s ass because nothing says humor like repeating the bad joke, twice.
So they’ve invented “Song of the Summer” because it only look them whateverinth times to realize that was a real thing and would allow them to book an artist and a song that people might actually still be listening to (hear me, Macklemore?). And we get to vote! And somehow One Direction wins for a song that I, as a music effing expert, have heard exactly once. Even though Daft Punk obviously had the song of the summer. This is what happens when you let teenagers vote which is a lesson to you. Keep sending them to war though, ’cause that also really makes sense. They know exactly what they’re doing.
A$AP Rocky and Jason Collins (he’s basketball?) so that the latter can use an anecdote from his grams to talk about bigotry as A$AP Rocky hams it up and prepares to MENTION HIS ALBUM. Jesus.
Mackelmore now gets to sing “Same Love.” And the big reveal is Jennifer Hudson who comes in to sing the final verses. Which is lovely in a sentimental way that I have no tolerance for after the hell I’ve been subjected to, see: commercials, Miley.
Can we discuss these really strange Kia commercials with the skeevy bar/gym rat hampsters (mice?)?
This is the time in every year’s VMA that I realize my life is speeding by and I have nothing to show for it. Not because I should be on stage, but because I shouldn’t be watching.
Artist to watch, aka artists with good PR firms: Austin Mahone? I suppose the award has served it’s purpose since my reaction is a massive who?
T-Boz and Chilli from TLC: possibly another reality show? Introducing Drake. Who starts with a close up shot of his ugly face, amirite Amanda? ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
I do want to know what Rihanna’s friend’s got in that popcorn bucket tho.
Jayden Smith was FREAKING THE F*CK out at Drake, which is exactly what I’d expect from the Karate Kid. Or Xenu.
Prepare for your snoozy overlord.
And because the people I know are wicked, there’s already a funny/smart post on the 7 Things Kanye West might have worn tonight, if we could have seen what he was wearing.
Oh wait, there IS A NEW REALITY SHOW WITH TLC. (I do this for a living folks. Habitus at play.)
Taylor Swift presenting Best Male Video. She’s a great spokesperson to represent respect for men, since she’s involved in a multi-album harassment campaign of every man she’s ever dated. Bruno Mars, “Locked Out of Heaven.” And who’s the Roy Orbison meets Porn Producer friend he just man hugged? Birds want to know who to call.
Eminem is selling Dre’s headphones?
The Challenge Rivals II seems like it gives a really compelling insight into
And there’s a Jackass film.
This is the end of civilization.
Selena Gomez introducing Bruno Mars. I’ve never dug a single song of his partly because he always strikes me as someone prone to temper tantrums. The stamping-foot-on-the-floor type.
Or is he just short?
No amount of lasers and fire bursts are going to make me pretend this song has soul.
If Prince and Phil Collins had a baby, would it be Bruno Mars?
Katy Perry with a boxing robe labeled “Lioness” feels pure Brooklyn, amirite? Like, “32 year old woman gets iPhone stolen in 78th precinct” Brooklyn?
Is there enough of this to go that I need another re-up? I can’t actually send this to a vote because then I’ll be drinking a big glass of One Direction.
By the way, here’s the Smith family watching Miley Cyrus. It is everything.
Video of the year: Justin Timberlake’s “Mirrors.” He’s now wearing a reverse dickey. I hope this dickey issue is in the news tomorrow.
Also, Drake’s 5 Gum edge:
Here we go: Katy Perry on the Brooklyn bridge. ROAR. Other than making money, what exactly is she the champion of? Has she ever stood for anything? Or maybe this is just another chapter in the Neverending Search for An Anthem To Replace Franklin’s “Respect” and/or Parton’s “9-to-5?” GIRLZ NEEDZ ANTHEMS.
Perry just totally did the Bush “Mission Accomplished” thing!
So, that’s it. The war on pop rages, but Perry declares victory.
Maybe we’ll manage some kind of wrap up post tomorrow, or just keep posting screen shots. Thanks to the four of you who chatted, and the hundreds more who sat silently, marveling that an otherwise completely sane and interesting person would live blog this nonsense. See you in 2014.