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Wednesday, April 18, 2021

Just when I figured the music album’s days were numbered, along comes Nine Inch Nails and its latest album, “Year Zero”.

The Trent Reznor-fronted band has devised an elaborate futuristic storyline to accompany the songs, to be uncovered via other media:

NIN mastermind Trent Reznor and his operatives have been planting clues that are forming the building blocks of a sci-fi narrative about America in 2022, or Year Zero, when nuclear war, environmental devastation, religious zealotry and totalitarianism have left the nation in ruins.

Dedicated fans are piecing together the puzzle with scraps of data found on T-shirts, phone recordings and USB files left in concert hall bathrooms. They’ve picked up threads in Morse code and spectrographic analysis and, mostly, via a host of baffling websites.

This seems like a sure hook to encourage music customers to pony up for an entire album. If there’s a hidden story or game-like context behind the compilation, fans will forego their usual single-song purchase strategy in favor of immersing themselves in this interactive crypto-quest.

The “Year Zero” storyline is an interesting exercise in dystopia:

In 2009, L.A. is attacked with dirty bombs, the catalyst for escalating tensions and war. After U.S. nuclear strikes on Iran and North Korea, Muslim nations unite against America, which soon imposes emergency measures at home to quell dissent. Protesters are jailed and executed. The population is pacified with drugs slipped into tap water. Africa implodes. India and Pakistan annihilate each other.

By 2018, free elections end. Seattle suffers a bioterrorism attack in 2019. Was it staged by the government? Life grows chaotic and oppressive as the police state tightens its grip, world tensions rise and earth’s fragile ecosystems fray. A weaponized virus kills a U.S. diplomat. Miami is under water. Baseball is a winter sport.

In 2022, a new calendar exists. America is “born again” in Year Zero. In February of that year, The Presence is first spotted.

Honestly, none of those themes is particularly original (which is really a summation of the bulk of Reznor’s creative output, past and present). But this certainly plays to NIN’s goth/industrial fanbase. Besides, it’s the delivery that’s really the point.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 04/18/2007 11:39:19 PM
Category: Creative, Pop Culture
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Time to shelve those corny one-liners and flex the old grey matter, thanks to the latest dating scene fad, in which coupling involves a meeting of the minds:

“Intellidating,” first coined in England in 2002, sprang from “Intelligence Squared,” a live discussion series launched by a couple of British moguls whose professed aim was to make debating “sexy.” Heated debates on topics ranging from “Monogamy Is Bad for the Soul” to “Maggie Thatcher Saved Britain” brought in the London glitterati, including actor Hugh Grant and, until their split in February, svelte girlfriend and socialite Jemima Khan.

The concept leapt across the pond to New York last year with the American version of Intelligence Squared — IQ2US — launched by philanthropist and businessman Robert Rosenkranz. Housed inside the Asia Society building on the Upper East Side, the popular events have lured a following including conservative pundit Monica Crowley and her boyfriend, the venture capitalist Bill Siegel. The cheaper seats are peppered with budding young brainiacs who find heightened stimulation in verbal joust.

So, in a nutshell: Instead of killing brain cells via the bar scene, you stimulate them with some good ol’ intellectual fodder. I think I feel my mind blowing.

To save the embarrassment potential from trolling museums and hitting on lone patrons, you can get started on your smarty-partying with intellectConnect. I guess the site itself represents an IQ test, in that you need to be able to use a computer to access it.

FURTHER THOUGHTS: If a successful intellidate doesn’t present the perfect opportunity to get brain, then nothing will.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 04/18/2007 05:59:33 PM
Category: New Yorkin', Society
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okay, yay
Thanks to his uncommon youthfulness, Louisville senior-year DL Amobi Okoye is constantly asked if he’s really only 19 years old.

I guess I’m showing my own age when the first question that comes to my mind is: Is he related to former NFL running back Christian Okoye, “the Nigerian Nightmare”?

For the record: Despite the Nigeria connection, he’s not.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 04/18/2007 05:17:04 PM
Category: Football
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Think of David Mamet directing a couple of car commercials for Ford Motor Company. Images of a re-imagined Glengarry Glen Ross come to mind, with the dank real estate office being replaced by an open-and-airy car dealership.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite come off that way:

The idea of calling in Mamet, known for writing sparse, choppy dialogue, came from Ford’s advertising agency, J. Walter Thompson Co., said Barry Engle, general manager of Ford Division marketing.

The spots feature two men sitting in Edges, talking out the window about how their vehicles compare with the BMW and Lexus.

Agency copywriters drew up the dialogue in an effort to mimic Mamet’s work, and he didn’t change any of the words, Engle said. But Mamet was in charge of camera angles, lighting and the actors’ facial expressions.

See the stark, staccato sales pitches here.

Mamet made it clear in “Bambi vs. Godzilla” that he considers the Hollywood movie-making business to be a real snakepit. It must be, if it drove him to this.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 04/18/2007 05:06:08 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Movies, TV
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