Welcome to Obsessed, a weekly series featuring everything the KQED Arts gang can't stop talking about. We're bringing the conversation from the watercooler to cyber space! This week, we're freaking out over Richard Simmons' Facebook page, Play-Doh dresses, the Spice Girls leak, and more!
I can barely squeak out the words to explain how excited I am to see comedian Hannibal Buress at the Nourse Theater on Feb. 26. You may recognize him as Lincoln from everyone's new favorite female-driven comedy series, Broad City, or from the recent headlines about Bill Cosby (his material about the rape allegations was a catalyst for the recent media frenzy). I have never laughed so hard as I did when I listened to Buress's comedy albums, My Name is Hannibal and Animal Furnace. So do yourself a favor and check out his performance on The Tonight Show from last year that focuses on his trip to New Orleans, or just lose yourself in the video section on his website. Most importantly, get his albums or tickets to his show (a second one was added due to demand)! If laughter is the best medicine, Hannibal Buress should be paid a doctor's salary.
Richard Simmons’ Facebook page
When I was in high school, there was a moment when my P.E. teacher was in flux and so we had a substitute that, honest-to-God, would use up her class time by putting on tapes of Sweatin’ to the Oldies. At the time I had a metabolism that was equal to hosting a tapeworm so I didn’t need the workout, but I could see the appeal of the long-running series. When watching the scrawny, unabashedly goofy Simmons, clad in sequined tank tops and jogging shorts (emphasis on short), dancing around with a group of people that would never even be considered for an aerobic exercise show today, it was easy to forget the “work” part of “workout” and find that an hour-long class would be over in a flash.
Fast-forward to now, when every trip to a restaurant ends in a shame spiral (yet I still eat out all the time), and responsibilities have sucked away any and all “me-time.” The most consistent interactions with a gym I get nowadays are the photos from Simmons’ Facebook feed, which never fail to exercise my smile muscles, but they also do the favor of reminding me that I should care about myself. So yes, good job, Richard, all of the super weird pics of you wearing outlandish headgear while making funny faces are doing their job and making me want to squeeze in a workout. Thank you for that. Crave a good sweat over at Richard Simmons' Facebook.
New Spice Girls Songs Leak, 15 Years Later
They say you never really get over your first loves. For you it might have been your hot next door neighbor, but for me it was the Spice Girls. The first time I saw their debut music video for "Wannabe", I was floored by how colorful and joyous their empowerment was. It was candy-coated feminism and I was on a sugar high from it for the next three years. My middle-school classmates voted me "Most Likely to Be a Spice Girl" to make fun of me for being gay, but I took it as a compliment. The Spice Girls served as an escape from homophobic jerks and represented an aspiration: that I could someday be as bold as them.
So you can imagine my excitement when four unreleased Spice Girls songs from the '90s leaked yesterday. Are they any good? Does it matter? What's important is that the Spice Girls bring us back to a simpler time, one of girl power and positivity and being whomever you want to be. Twenty years after they first hit the scene, we could still use all of that. Listen to all four songs and rekindle that old Spice Girls flame.
The How Did This Get Made? Podcast
Experience has taught me that comedy podcasts are the best way to make long, tedious car journeys seem shorter, and binge-consuming several episodes of this very funny discussion series about very bad movies made a recent slog down Hwy 1 in one-foot visibility virtually fly by. In each episode, comics Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas (plus special guests) watch a gloriously dreadful movie like The Devil’s Advocate, Anaconda or Neil LaBute’s remake of The Wicker Man, then get together to discuss the burning question of the title: how did something so nonsensical, badly acted or tasteless like this ever get off the ground, let alone onto your screen?
Alongside the incredulous scene-by-scene commentary, there’s some genuinely fascinating "inside baseball" nuggets for movie dweebs like me about the missteps that lead to these cinematic catastrophes. (My favorites so far: Jackie Chan was going to play the Wesley Snipes character in Demolition Man, and there was an apparently quite good Michael Crichton source novel for 1995’s Congo, but nobody involved in the movie bothered to read it.) As a sincere appreciator of this stuff, I cannot wait for my next episode: Nic Cage’s 2011 horror (in all senses) Season of the Witch. Listen up over at Earwolf.
This Wacky Lady Who Makes Play-Doh Dresses for Princess Dolls
Instructional YouTube videos have saved my adult life many a time, be they for replacing an iPhone screen or bleeding a master cylinder, but YouTube user DC Toys Collector caters to a different demographic—specifically, toddlers. 7 Disney Princess MagiClip Collection Tiana Rapunzel Cinderella Magic-Clip Play-Doh-Plus Sparkle is a video that's been viewed nearly 20 million times, which is impossible to believe until you actually watch the thing. Basically, the host plays with Disney princess dolls and makes dresses for them out of Play-Doh. No big deal, right? Except that this stuff is toddler gold, and she's got a soothing, congenial delivery to her voice that's utterly hypnotic for adults as well. Skip to 5:26, listen to her say, "Woooowww, this dress came out really pretty" and tell me you don't want to hear her read every audiobook in the world. The phrase "Woooowww, this ________ came out really pretty" has entered into my everyday lexicon, so if you hear me say it in casual conversation, well...now you know where it came from.
Gary Kamiya's Cool Gray City of Love
If you aren’t already enamored with our fair city, this book will make you fall in love with San Francisco in no time. Author Gary Kamiya takes you on a sight-seeing escapade bringing history, local lore, natural science, politics and street level conversation to life. You will never look at our neighborhoods, parks, and waterfronts in the same way. I’ve been forcing myself to read only a few chapters a night so I don’t devour it in one sitting. When was the last time that you explored a new part of San Francisco? This book is the perfect jolt for the jaded local who calls this city home.
Also, Gary Kamiya is working with Detour, an app that offers audio walks in San Francisco that reveal hidden stories, people and places. Cool Gray City launched on Detour a few weeks back. Can’t wait to take his tour! Check out a review of Kamiya's book from The California Report.
Want more? Check out our past obsessions!