Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

If there’s one thing MTV’s Woodie Awards can almost guarantee their audience, it’s variety. The Woodie Awards, which recognize the best in music as voted by college students, made a splash at SXSW on Friday night. Aside from the award show’s two biggest performers — Big Sean and Fall Out Boy — there were also performances from British singer-songwriter James Bay and electronic pop trio Years & Years. If you weren’t able to make it to the Woodies, here’s a recap of some of the awards you might have missed.

Hall of Wood Inductee — Fall Out Boy

Back in 2004, the Woodies became the first award show to recognize Fall Out Boy. 11 years and five albums later, the award show marked another milestone in the band’s career, making them the first ever inductees of the Hall of Wood. In honor of their induction, the band performed a medley of hits spanning all of Fall Out Boy's career. The performance lent itself well to a heavy dose of nostalgia for both dedicated fans and casual performance attendees. After accepting the award, bass-player Pete Wentz thanked the award show for it’s continued support of emerging artists.

Woodie of the Year — Porter Robinson

Despite being nominated in the same category as the seemingly unstoppable Sam Smith, DJ Porter Robinson took home the Woodie of the Year. When the self-taught producer accepted his award last night, it reaffirmed what many people already knew — electronic music is on the rise. The 22 year-old DJ thanked Skrillex for providing a platform for artists like him and said he is confident electronic music has a beautiful future.

Artist to Watch Woodie — Years & Years

From Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s “Can’t Hold Us,” the Woodies have been the place where audiences can hear the coming year’s catchiest song first. If the trend continues, you should expect to hear the trio’s song, “King,” all summer. Before receiving their award, the band recreated their music video for “King” in spite of the rain.

Best Video Woodie — Childish Gambino, “Sober”

Rapper Childish Gambino faced strong competition — FKA Twigs for “Pendulum” and of course Beyoncé, a force to be reckoned with by virtue of her being Beyoncé, for “7/11.” Gambino beat both of them out, showing off his smooth dance moves in his music video. Though Gambino couldn’t make it to the show in person, he accepted the award by video, and said he couldn’t believe he had beat Beyoncé.

Co-Sign Woodie — Hoodie Allen feat. Ed Sheeran “All About It”

Rapper Hoodie Allen was recognized for his song with Ed Sheeran. Hoodie's rapping took a back seat in this song, especially compared to some of his other well-known tracks. “All About It” combined Sheeran’s fast-paced vocals with Hoodie’s signature catchy hooks. Though the rapper said a personal emergency kept him from being at the show, he thanked the award show for giving him his first award ever.

Best Cover — Taylor Swift “Riptide”

Swift’s cover of “Riptide” wasn’t particularly inventive, though it was enjoyable and comparable to Vance Joy’s own version.

Justin Timberlake will perform tonight at the VMAs. Photo courtesy of Associated Press. 

Photo Credit: AP Exchange | Daily Texan Staff

As a college student on a budget, it's no surprise if you prefer online streaming options to cable TV. Forgoing the monthly cable bill doesn't necessarily mean that you have to miss out on the biggest shows of the year. 

Tonight's MTV Video Music Awards features performances by Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Kanye West, Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake, *N SYNC and others. You can watch the entire awards show and pre-show activities from multiple camera angles along with social media updates, behind the scenes footage, and a map of the venue here: 

MTV VMAs 2013 Live Stream

Catch all of the pre-show action and red carpet arrivals now:

In case you have the luxury of cable TV access you can watch the awards show beginning at 8:00 p.m. CT on MTV. For those of you new to campus, MTV is channel 74 in the on-campus dorms.

Nickclette Izuegbu and Mykal Monroe perform Lynn Nottage’s play “Intimate Apparel.”

Photo Credit: Cassandra Gholtston | Daily Texan Staff

Lynn Nottage’s play “Intimate Apparel” is the 1905 equivalent of MTV’s “Catfish”.

The UT theatre department’s production of “Intimate Apparel” focuses on the life of Esther Mills, an African American seamstress working in Manhattan. Esther has recently turned 35 and realizes that something is missing from her life as a ladies’ lingerie seamstress. She longs for love and marriage, and dreams of opening a salon to pamper African American women.

However, Esther’s luck seemingly changes as she begins a letter correspondence with George Armstrong, a laborer working on the Panama Canal. George eventually comes to New York to marry Esther and, little by little, the couple realizes they are not who their letters presented them to be.

“Intimate Apparel” opens with Esther at her sewing machine, creating unmentionables for yet another female acquaintance that has beat her to the alter.

“In terms of character, Esther is very different from me,” said Mykal Monroe, who is playing the lead role of Esther. “I’ve had to find a darker, more depressed avenue of my psyche, which at times is actually not that fun but is very necessary to accurately portray this woman.” 

Monroe’s portrayal of Esther, while gravely serious at times, is anything but depressing. Esther may be mild-mannered and level-headed, but her secret ambitions really bring her to life.

Attachment to Esther deepens throughout the play, felt especially in the audible gasps of the crowd as Esther’s world begins to unravel.

The romantic tension between Esther and Mr. Marks, a Romanian Jewish immigrant who shares her love for fabric is equally stinging. In an age where we are taught that love will overcome all, the audience is forced to swallow the pill and accept that a marriage between these two people in 1905 is impossible.

“I love comedy, and this is not a comedy,” Monroe said. “With comedy, there is an interaction that I have with the audience that definitely feeds me in a way ... It’s going to be much more silent than I’m used to in a live show. I feed off the laughs.”

Even with Monroe’s warning to the serious nature of the play, the tension is broken with plenty of laughs. The entire cast never misses a beat and is, most importantly, utterly convincing.

Making a story set in 1905 relevant to an audience in 2013 wasn’t as difficult as it sounds according to the play’s director, Melissa Maxwell. 

“It’s because the play is set in a time when letter writing was the main form of communication,” Maxwell said. “What’s so funny is that email has brought that form of communication back. People will text rather than pick up the phone and call each other. People will often meet online and spend a little time getting to know each other through written words rather than face to face, or via the phone.”

While “Intimate Apparel” feels very 1905 with background ragtime music and corseted costuming, the use of video and strobe lighting warp the sense of reality created by the play. These surreal effects could have been a distraction but blend into the story and offer a break from the overwhelming despair of Esther’s story. 

The intimate set design, with the audience seated on three sides of the stage, mere feet away from the actors at times, creates a voyeuristic fly on the wall feeling that heightens the audience’s engagement.

With such professional execution from the entire cast and the engrossing atmosphere created by the production team, UT’s “Intimate Apparel” will leave the audience reeling.

Published on March 4, 2013 as "Play achievs 20th century feel". 

Syndicated dating and sex columnist Dan Savage's new show "Savage U," visits 12 college campususes to answer students question about sex and relationships. The show premiers on MTV U tonight at 10 p.m.

Tonight, syndicated dating columnist Dan Savage of the Savage Love column and podcast will premiere his new show, “Savage U,” on MTV U. The series brings Savage’s notorious wit to various college campuses to answer questions and address concerns on the sex and relationship lives of students.

The show features question-and-answer panels by Savage and his producer and co-host Lauren Hutchinson conducting one-on-one talk sessions with students looking to find answers to their relationship and sexual concerns. Each episode devotes itself to one campus, including Auburn University, University of Maryland and Texas Tech University (sorry, no UT yet).

Savage brought Hutchinson as a co-host on the show not only to monitor his rambling-prone mouth, but also to challenge him and provide another opinion to the show.

Savage, who attended University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the ’80s, was openly gay in college and admitted that his dating options were pretty limited to a gay bar near campus.

Hutchinson, who attended Boston University, said she had an interesting experience because she considered her university a city school with a concrete campus that made it difficult to meet people. As a result, she witnessed a lot of her peers resorting to the “hooking up” style of dating, where many of the people she knew in relationships met only after hooking up that first night.

Both the hosts agreed that as they traveled through the country, the willingness of students to discuss a diverse array of sexual topics varied from region to region.

“At Cornell, for example, we got ‘varsity level’ questions like ‘How do I tie someone up the right way?’ or ‘What’s the right way to go about having a threesome?’” Savage said. “But then we’d go to other places that were more ‘junior varsity,’ like ‘How do I approach a girl?’ or ‘How do I get a boyfriend?’”

Other taboo or “varsity level” topics that were addressed on camera? Just the usual female ejaculation, anal sex and bondage, of course. But you won’t catch Savage referring to these topics as taboo.

“The word ‘taboo’ speaks to some hang-up, and however off the wall your fantasies may seem to someone who doesn’t share them, it’s fine so long as you pursue them with someone who enjoys them,” he said. “Often, what’s considered to be taboo becomes more alluring.”

Savage noted that the most recurring topic was concerned students who tried to edit themselves to attract a potential partner. Savage said that holding back from who you truly are in front of a person you hope to date creates a facade, which can leave you discouraged before you ever even date someone.

“Among this overarching theme of how to communicate better in a relationship, there was this idea of ‘at what point is it time to stop playing the game?’” Savage said.

Though the topics varied, Savage felt that every university he visited shared a common curiosity for answers to reinforce the universal need to feel normal. Despite this common curiosity, Savage also mentioned that students are usually hesitant to discuss sexual topics. Savage tracked this back to the idea that being ignorant about sex is considered to be a virtue in our culture.

Savage feels that when our culture discourages young adults from asking questions about sex, they are left having to figure it out on their own, which can often be confusing and make them feel vulnerable.

“When people are intimidated by something, they act brave and bluff it,” he said. “There’s this idea that it all should just kind of happen, but we need to approach sex thoughtfully and with information.”

UT’s health education coordinator Guli Fager is excited about the show’s potential impact to remind society that college students are often neglected and forgotten in the sexual education debate. She believes that Savage’s 20 years of experience as a columnist and his funny approach to sex is easy for the college audience to relate to.

“I think this show is a good reminder that while sex is something to enjoy there are also really scary parts, and a show like this is an opportunity to talk openly about sexuality,” Fager said.

Psychology junior Holly Kerr is the president of the Longhorn Advocates for Communication, Education and Sexuality, which promotes sexual health on campus. Kerr is a reader of Savage’s column and looks forward to the premiere of “Savage U.”

“I think in the United States, most parents shelter their children from their own sexuality,” Kerr said. “With the right resources, young adults will be able to learn a lot more about their sexuality, how to be sexual safely, and how to truly enjoy it. I think this is the message that Savage is trying to get across.”

Savage said that he would love to see a sex-ed overhaul in the United States. He said that when sexual education promotes only abstinence, it consequentially makes people’s sex lives more dangerous, as they often don’t realize the potential repercussions of their actions until they actually happen.

The approach Savage would take instead? You’d be surprised at how he describes it.

“I take a very Catholic approach to sex-ed and sex information. Anybody who reads more than two to three of my columns knows that at the heart of it, I tell people that you should do unto others as you would have them do to you, in every sense and consideration, to be loved and respected,” Savage said.

For Savage, the best information about sex and relationships stems from being honest, having integrity and telling the truth, all of which are cornerstones of the Catholic faith.

“Sometimes it makes the Catholics angry when I tell them part of what inspired me to do this was being a Catholic,” Savage said of his career.

Savage said that the the goal of “Savage U” is to speak the same way about sex and relationships on television as he does in his column and on his podcast. Savage calls it a “reality-based” approach to sex.

So will the sexpert be heading south for an episode at UT? Savage said that right now, they’re waiting for the green light on season two, and hoping that colleges will be less reluctant to host the show’s Q-and-As. Only time and the UT administration will tell.

Stacey (as played by Elisabeth Hower), Eric (as played by Jordan Carlos), Tina (as played by Kim Shaw), Jason (as played by Peter Vack) in “I Just Want My Pants Back”. (Courtesy of MTV)

It is difficult to dismiss a show like “I Just Want My Pants Back,” but it is even harder to praise it. The show, which premiered on MTV Feb. 2, is an ensemble comedy revolving around the lives and loves of four slightly witty, slightly convoluted 20-somethings. A “Friends” for the Urban Outfitters crowd, the show explores Jason’s (Peter Vack) played-for-laughs neurosis pitted against that of his best friend Tina (an unassumingly beautiful Kim Shaw) and their ‘mature’ grad school friends Eric (Jordan Carlos) and Stacey (Elisabeth Hower).

Needless to say, a scripted television show called “I Just Want My Pants Back” is bound to be lacking in plot and overall narrative ambition. Even though Jason’s jeans are stolen from him after an overly saccharine one-night stand, this action doesn’t really drive the story: it’s just an excuse to introduce the characters and their “Garden State”-influenced world, full of excessive, self-serving diatribes and a painfully obvious lack of plot.

“I Just Want My Pants Back” seems made to cater to a certain demographic: the elusive and slightly abstract young-adult crowd. The show might do well with teenagers (if solely on the basis of explicit sexual content) but those in their mid-20s will find it an inaccurate, contrived and ultimately naive imitation of their own experience. Even though witty dialogue and incessant bursts of brilliant comebacks is a staple of prime time television, nobody truly talks like that, and if they were brilliant enough to do so, they wouldn’t be unemployed like Jason.

The show feels like MTV’s take on “Seinfeld” (or anything Larry David ever produced for that matter); the problem with that is MTV cannot replicate “Seinfeld’s” distinctively charming brand of neurosis because beautiful, healthy would-be adults tend to be a bit lacking in that department (and sadly there’s no college-level substitution for George Costanza).

Based on the novel by David J. Rosen, the show is produced and directed by director Doug Liman (“Swingers,” “Mr. & Mrs. Smith”). Liman’s extremely canny sense of pace is one of the show’s biggest assets because, after all, there are some aspects of the show that make it worth watching. Kim Shaw, a manic-pixie-dream-girl archetype if there ever was one, is fantastic as Tina. A stunning combination of morbid wit and heartbreaking looks, Shaw’s character is vibrant and livid but still realistic. She somehow manages to avoid the cliches of the archetype and consequentially her character is the most grounded and the better played of the lot because of it.

The writing is also very sharp at times. Even when the story is dull and nearsighted, the characters never fall short of a punch line. When Jason is approached by a girl who says, “I like your shirt,” he retorts, “I like your potentially clouded judgment.” As is to be expected, Tina always ends up having the most fantastic one-liners, like: “a hand job is a man’s job.”

However, even though the dialogue is clever, at such a brisk pace it ends up feeling overtly contrived and self-aware. This is also what’s wrong with the pop culture references: They simply try too hard to be relevant for their target audience by bashing embarrassing remnants of a Clinton-era infancy like “Dawson’s Creek.”

The ultimate problem with “I Just Want My Pants Back” is that the characters’ biggest objective is for life to replicate a hit show on television (or a “Garden State” sequel). However, this is the state of the generational zeitgeist which the characters embody all too well.

Romantics at heart in desperate need of slightly sad and slightly awkward situations, Jason and his friends seem all too aware that their lives have to be interesting enough, which only leads to an uncomfortably self-aware viewing experience, as if everything and anything that happened to them would be interesting enough for other people to  watch. This heightened sense of awareness ultimately leads to a feeling that you are, in fact, watching a television show not only custom-fit for one’s generation but also painfully conscious about their life-as-a-sitcom aspirations.

Printed on Thursday, February 16, 2012 as: 'Pants' tailored to fit college generation

Mike Judge’s “Beavis and Butt-Head” returned to MTV a ratings success 14 years after going off the air. (Photo Courtesy of MTV)

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Before Oct. 27, it had been 14 years since new episodes of “Beavis and Butt-Head” last aired.

After watching the first four episodes, it’s clear that reviving the series is the best decision MTV has made since they got rid of Carson Daly.

The revival of the show about two bawdy, snickering teens picks up right where it left off 14 years ago without missing a beat. Beavis and Butt-Head still meander around the fictional town of Highland, Texas, participating in idiotically idiotic acts of idiocy. The only real major difference between the show’s old and new formats is that instead of solely watching and criticizing music videos, as was a cornerstone of the original “Beavis and Butt-Head,” the two now mostly lend their unique brand of sardonic commentary to MTV’s reality lineup — shows like “Jersey Shore” and “Teen Mom.”

It’s the kind of brevity MTV has been in dire need of since the first manipulative piano melody was laid over some wide shot of Lauren Conrad walking on a beach in an effort to make you feel things about her white girl problems.

Mike Judge created “Beavis and Butt-Head” in 1992 for two animated shorts that later aired on MTV’s “Liquid Television” — an Emmy Award-winning animation showcase that ran from 1991-1994. MTV gave the dim-witted duo their own series in 1993 — its popularity sparked the 1996 feature film “Beavis and Butt-Head Do America” and the spin-off series “Daria.”

Beavis and Butt-Head’s middle-aged neighbor Tom Anderson also served as the precursor to Hank Hill, the main character of Mike Judge and Greg Daniels’s long running animated series “King of the Hill.”

The show has retained a cult following in the years since its cancellation, but over the past decade, the series’ mainstream popularity in youth culture faded. The belated release of a series of three-disc DVD sets beginning in 2005, though, did a lot to turn that around and lay the groundwork for the second coming of “Beavis and Butt-Head.”

Prior to this, “Beavis and Butt-Head” possessed an essentially non-existent home video presence largely due to the legal complications of obtaining the rights to the music videos that were lampooned by the aimless juveniles in the series. Syndication had trailed off by the 2000s and Judge noted in a 2005 interview with the Houston Chronicle that not even he knew the whereabouts of all 200 original episodes, saying that some of them probably only exist on VHS tapes at people’s houses.

The release of what MTV and Paramount Home Entertainment labeled as “Beavis and Butt-Head: The Mike Judge Collection” introduced the series to a new generation of apathetic teenagers. Since 2005, the series has cultivated its popularity anew, rising out of the dustbin of 1990s nostalgia beyond the majestic Furby and all of the movies with excessive amounts of Melissa Joan Hart to a renewed position of relevance.

MTV reported that the season premiere pulled in 3.3 million total viewers — a ratings hit according to the New York Post.

“Beavis and Butt-Head” airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on MTV.

Published on Thursday, November 10, 2011 as: 'Beavis and Butt-Head' returns, recaptures audience of original

Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino poses at GQ magazine’s 2010 “Men of the Year” party in Los Angeles.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

NEW YORK — The Situation doesn’t usually require a lot of motivation to lose the shirt. But Abercrombie & Fitch wants him to go one further — the company has offered to pay “Jersey Shore” cast members to stop wearing clothes carrying their brand.

The preppy teen retailer said Tuesday it would pay a “substantial payment” to Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino or any cast member who stops wearing its clothing on the popular MTV reality show because the series is “contrary to the aspirational nature of the brand.”

“We are deeply concerned that Mr. Sorrentino’s association with our brand could cause significant damage to our image,” the retailer said in a press release.

It may seem strange that a brand that employs half-naked models to stand outside its flagship stores and courted controversy with racy catalogs has come out with such an aggressive campaign against the hard partying cast of “Jersey Shore.”

But the audacious approach is getting the teen retailer tons of publicity during the crucial back-to-school season, the second biggest shopping period of the year. The CEO says it’s having fun with the ploy, and marketing experts say the company may wind up laughing all the way to the bank.

“It gets their name further out into the marketplace with one of the hottest brands on TV right now at the peak of the back-to-school season,” said Wall Street Strategies analyst Brian Sozzi. “It’s free marketing. Because the approach is so ridiculous, everybody’s talking about it.”

Brands usually embrace celebrities or performers who adopt their products in an unsolicited, organic way because of all the attention it can drum up. But sometimes they can have an uneasy relationship.

When hip hop stars unofficially adopted luxury champagne Cristal as their drink of choice several years ago, for example, the relationship seemed cozy at first. But after a company executive made derogatory comments about hip hop culture, high profile rappers like Jay-Z boycotted it.

Still, unexpected adaptation can be beneficial. When an urban audience adopted ultra-preppy Tommy Hilfiger clothes, the brand ended up expanding massively. And now Tommy Hilfiger’s son even is a rapper.

The cast of “Jersey Shore” don’t exactly consist of the kind of role models most brands covet. Now filming its fifth season, the show has won millions of viewers who tune in to watch a group of hard-partying, foul-mouthed 20- and 30-somethings hanging out, hooking up and behaving raucously.

Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino is one of the most popular, and outrageous, cast members, boasting of a “gym-tan-laundry” routine and lifting his shirt to show off his abs at every opportunity.

Abercrombie CEO Mike Jeffries said the offer to pay cast members came about when someone alerted him Sorrentino was wearing Abercrombie & Fitch on the show. In an Aug. 11 episode, Sorrentino wears neon green AF-label sweat pants.
Abercrombie has not disclosed the offering price. But Jeffries struck a light tone about the offer.

“We are having a lot of fun with it,” he said in a conference call with analysts Wednesday.

MTV called the move a “clever PR stunt” by Abercrombie. “We’d love to work with them on other ways they can leverage ‘Jersey Shore’ to reach the largest youth audience on television,” the network said Wednesday in a statement.

The news came as Abercrombie, based in New Albany, Ohio, reported strong second-quarter results, fueled by international growth.

Sorrentino did not return requests for comment and there was no word at press time whether anyone in the cast accepted the offer.

Printed on Friday, August 26, 2011 as: Retailer asks Jersey Shore stars to change their clothes.

Editors Note: This is the second in a three-part series profiling designers participating in this year’s Austin Fashion Week, which began Saturday and runs through Aug. 21.

It would be a big mistake to write 20 year-old Sabra Johnson off as a fashion designer and model who looks like a sweet and innocent Taylor Swift or Blake Lively. Her designs are a mash-up of flowing, free-spirited gowns and darker elements straight out of a Marilyn Manson concert. While the two don’t seem related, for Johnson it’s about playing with creativity in multiple forms.

Growing up in Huntsville, Texas, Johnson got into beauty pageants ten years ago and was quickly picked up by Disney Channel and MTV, then moved to print modeling and is now designing her own clothes. Johnson will showcase her line of gowns on Friday night at Aces Lounge.

Daily Texan: Have you had any training?

Sabra Johnson: My mom and my grandmother both did gowns. My main focus is gowns but I have picked up jewelry work. My style is more hippie-vintage, so I’ve been making metal headdresses or little “head thongs” as I like to call them. I also imported some blue and pink fox fur for hats that will be worn with my gowns on Friday.

DT: How did you get to being on television?

SJ: I started doing child beauty pageants when I was 10. One day we went to this rinky-dink mall and there was a pageant going on. I guess it was the thing to do there, and I really fell in love with it. So then I did Oprah, Dr. Phil and “Good Morning America,” because I did a lot of child beauty pageants. Then A&E did a biography on my life. Disney signed me after that, then I switched to MTV when I was 16. But after that, MTV was following me to my high school and classes and I thought it was too much. I was getting to the point where I was about to start college. So I decided to do something less stressful and went into print. After that I modeled for the fashion industry and then decided to design for the fashion industry two years ago.

DT: When did you first start designing?

SJ: Last year I played with it but this year I really want to put myself out there. Last year I threw a fashion show for my birthday with mohawks and sequined bras and thongs. It was very scandalous, but I loved it.

DT: Who are your influences?

SJ: The darker side definitely appeals to me. I’m a total metalhead. I listen to Necrophages, Dying Fetus, Cannibal Corpse, you name it; it doesn’t even look like me, but I love it all. When people see my collection it’s kind of like I just threw up everything on the collection. It’s a mix of all these gorgeous hippie gowns while the girls walk to these Marilyn Manson songs. Then I told my make-up artist I wanted them to look like they were heroine-chic, like they’re coming off of doing heroine for four days straight and they’re starting to sweat.

DT:How do you see all these disparate things connected?

SJ: My head is a jumbled mess of everything. So when I put things together, it fits for me. I’m the kind of person who will wear anything out in public. If it’s wild and out there then I love it. That’s why my collections are wild with the giant hats and gowns.

DT: What’s next for you?

SJ: I have a collection all planned out in my head that’s just black. It’s definitely not the softer side of me. This is still my learning year, but next year I plan on come out with balls blaring. I still don’t know everything, and I’m kind of still finding my freak factor.


WHAT: Sabra Johnson
WHERE: Aces Lounge
WHEN: Friday at 9 p.m.
WHO: 18 & up