Summer Wedding Jam

Summer wedding season is right around the corner, if it isn’t here already, and to kick it off, our own bdoyk has an article in Elle this week entitled “A Single Girl’s Guide to Surviving Wedding Season in 9 Easy Steps.” Note step five: “Commit to having a great time on the dance floor.” By way of saluting bdoyk on her article and assisting everyone in carrying out step five this summer, wherever and however attached you may be, this week’s Jam is offered, and it’s sure to have you making the right moves:

Michigan On Top

bpbrady and I were, in fact, at the football match between the University of Michigan Wolverines and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. There are so many things to say about this game so I guess I’ll jump right in.

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Super Bowl XLVII Recap: Where do you go when the lights go out?

Everyone saw the game and it was a few days ago, so here are just a few points to put a wrap on this sports year*:

  • On that (historical) topic, I’ve been critical of Beyoncé in the recent past, but I thought her performance at halftime was just right for this setting. A no-holds-barred pop experience by one of the top musical celebrities of the day is what the Super Bowl halftime show should be.
  • (On that note, I finally saw the infamous Janet Jackson performance for the first time this week, and there is no possible way that wasn’t an intentional move by Justin Timberlake. How did he get away with that?!)
  • As for the no-call on the fourth-and-goal pass to Michael Crabtree:
    1. Based on where the ball landed, I think the pass was uncatchable, so the no-call is correct.
    2. For what it’s worth, Mike Pereira agrees with me, though for a different reason.
    3. There’s something sort of ironic about the 49ers complaining about a lack of a pass-interference call on the last play of a playoff game, or at least Falcons fans think so.
    4. If you really want to Zapruder the thing, click here and have your heart contented.
  • Also for Crabtree, he intercepted Colin Kaepernick’s first-half touchdown pass to a wide-open Randy Moss, so he probably should include that play in his analysis of the game.
  • Penalties, early and late in the game, really are what doomed San Francisco.
  • I think it’s fair to ask whether we should’ve seen Alex Smith in the game at some point.
  • Who told you about Frank Gore?
  • Who told you before kickoff the Ravens would win?

Thanks for tuning into our Super Bowl coverage. Onward.

*It really feels like the “sports year” ought to run from Super Bowl to Super Bowl, so we’re going to treat it that way around here. I’m not really sure what we’ll touch on between now and the Daytona 500, but there are a few items in the pipeline, so don’t worry. The slowest sports day of the year doesn’t come until July anyway.

How do you solve a problem like Beyoncé?

We write a lot about Grantland here, but I can’t say I’m surprised that it’s one of our readers who first received mention in those e-pages (not counting friend-of-the-site Jalen Rose, of course):

As for any actual official confirmation, the Times said that “a publicist for Beyoncé … did not return several telephone calls and e-mail messages on Wednesday from a reporter requesting information. Matt House, a spokesman for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, which staged the swearing-in and Beyoncé’s performance, also declined to comment.”

In case your Martin Luther King Day observation took you away from the C-SPAN/WSJ.com live feed on Monday, Beyoncé sang the national anthem at President Obama’s inauguration, and she did an absolutely marvelous job of it. Citizens responded with some horror, though, when news came out that Destiny’s first daughter had lip-synched the anthem.

Whatever phase we’re on now of the process of coping with this news apparently involves Grantland’s Amos Barshad’s denial staked entirely on the facial expressions of Vice President Biden, which, while trustworthy in most things, seem a little irrelevant here, however heavily Barshad wants to rely on his past experience as a writer for the Arkansas Times. He also relies on “a British audio engineer named Ian Shepherd,” who may be a fictional amalgamation of Ian Stewart, Ian McLagan, Ian MacDonald, and Ian Anderson, but who definitely is British and therefore de facto, de jure, and de bellum unable to critique any presentation of the American national anthem whatsoever in any fashion. Barshad finally comes to rest on a line from Slate: “If she was indeed lip-syncing at the inauguration, give her the Nobel Prize in mime.” Because if there’s one thing that doesn’t creep out the American public, it’s mimes. (Never mind that Chaplin was British himself.)

Also irrelevant is whether this administration has Nobel Prizes to spare, as well as whether weather was a factor. (That “the weather down there was about 46 or 44 degrees and for most singers, that is just not good singing weather” is no justification. The Constitution mandates a January inauguration, and absent an acceleration in global warming or a move to an indoor venue, such conditions always will obtain at that time.)

What is relevant is that this aggression towards genuinity shall not stand. Strip away the competing symbolism– political, patriotic, historical, celebritiotic– at work in this setting and acknowledge that this is not acceptable. If you are a singer of songs, then you must sing those songs, and if we are all here together, then you should sing your song here, right now, with us, together.

Otherwise, what’s the point? Just pipe in an acetate of Betsy Ross working out the song on a jaw harp. Save us all a lot of trouble, and save Queen Bey’s voice for the Super Inauguration Bowl next week in tropical New Orleans.

Did Beyoncé phone it in on Monday? We may never know for sure, but we sure do know that if she did, by which we mean she didn’t, that she was in the wrong, and that we would be in the wrong for accepting it.
(And really, truly, the American people are an accepting people, especially when it comes to their celebrities, and if the wind was bad, or the band was bad, or the sound system was bad, or whatever, then we would’ve understood. We wouldn’t have been mad. And we all know that)

UPDATE: The esteemed jazz archivist Monk Rowe has weighed in on this topic. At his Jazz Backstory blog, he writes:

Even now this current controversy seems to have many variations. Beyonce sang live. She didn’t sing live. The band played but the voice was recorded. The whole thing was a recording. She sang live but with a prerecorded track. The most perplexing combination of observations was that she lip synced because there was no opportunity to rehearse with the Marine band. A widely circulated photo showed Beyonce in the recording studio with members of the band. They produced a recording without a rehearsal? My own opinion is that the rather intricate arrangement written for Beyonce was not nearly as straight ahead rhythmically as most of her pop music; that she was concerned about messing up the performance and thus her image. I am aggravated to think with all the technology in this day and age that a singer can’t stand next to the conductor by the Marine band, and have the band play and sing the song. Is this too complicated?

Most people know that lip-syncing is not a new phenomenon in the music business. It was standard practice on Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand” for years. As a fan of early rock ‘n’ roll, I note that Jerry Lee Lewis was one of the few artists who insisted on performing live during his performance on that show. Thank you Jerry, for not trying to lip sync to your own wild recordings.

Perhaps after a few more inaugurations and Super Bowls, the press will breathlessly write about a diva who had the temerity to sing live, as if she wasn’t concerned enough about the performance to have a recording created to which she could mime. Maybe what we should do is simply honor the practice. The Grammys have an endless list of award categories, a few more wouldn’t hurt. They could hand out a Grammy for “Best Lip Syncing Performance at a Political Event,” “Best Lip Syncing as a Group,” “Best Instrumental Syncing on YouTube,” and so on. Then all the nominees could prerecord their acceptance speeches, lip sync them, and prevent any image-damaging spontaneity. Beyonce could receive a Lifetime Achievement Lip Syncing Award, because one thing is apparent: she does a hell of job at it.