Happy Lunar New Year! (a day late; but celebrations in China are still ongoing, and events in the city for almost the rest of the month, so whatever!).
May the Year of the Monkey bring us all the luck and good fortune we need (and we need a lot of that).
See here in Time Out New York for more Lunar New Year events.
Gothamist’s Jen Chung on the 8 auspicious foods of the Lunar New Year (well, to Chinese people, anyway).
How cool is that: over at Mashable, photos of Chinese New Year, Chinatown, NYC, circa 1960. A lot of those old landmarks or restaurants are gone and 1960s fashion is what it is, but these photos might as well have been anytime since or before then. (h/t Angry Asian Man‘s Facebook page post).
Speaking of Super Bowl:
Super Bowl Sunday was this past Sunday, with the NFL going all out for Super Bowl 50 (going with the Arabic numerals, rather than the usual Roman numeral of “L”), and there were expectations for the game between Denver Broncos vs. Carolina Panthers. Kudos to Denver; quarterback Peyton Manning got his fairy tale ending (assuming he retires).
I do think one day, quarterback Cam Newton and the Panthers will win a Super Bowl; they were simply great this past regular season and at that NFC Championship game, they scored ridiculously well. But, as Denver showed, defense beats offense.
I was rooting for Peyton and Denver, for sentimental reasons, but toward the last five minutes of the game, I kept wanting Cam and Carolina to make it competitive, even as the defense was putting the nail on the coffin. I’m pretty convinced that the curse of Sports Illustrated lives (since Cam Newton got on the cover and people who get on the cover get cursed; the previous cover was Peyton and Tom Brady, and they couldn’t both lose at the AFC game).
And, as usual, the disclaimer holds: I’m only a casual sports viewer. It’s not like I understood a lot of what was going on.
I was impressed to see all those past Super Bowl MVPs prior to the start of the game.
I understood that the promotions/marketing was all about how this was the San Francisco Super Bowl, and it was at the home of 49’ers, but it was funny how they were actually miles away from Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, and all the other San Fran landmarks. The Super Bowl of New York/New Jersey was at least a less vaguely odd situation; you could still see the NYC skyline from Meadowlands, after all.
I thought the halftime show was colorful. Coldplay had some audio problems, but I liked how Chris Martin, Beyonce, and Bruno Mars (with Mark Ronson in the background) looked like they had fun in the end. Kids were brought out, because of course this stuff is all about the kids (insert sarcasm there). Generally, I agreed with the initial Time Magazine reaction by Daniel D’Addario – it was a decently entertaining halftime show. Also, I generally don’t look for political messages from halftime show performances, and even if Beyonce had been making one, I didn’t think people should have been offended simply because Beyonce has a political opinion – and at least she didn’t let her point of view get in the way of her making a good show and promoting her own brand (and vice versa – she seemed to have made her point the way she wanted to make it; I giver her credit for that).
It’s funny how with each passing year, I’m becoming more convinced than ever that the NFL and the broadcast networks should all apologize to Janet Jackson, because without her allegedly notorious contribution to that halftime show years ago, we wouldn’t have these halftime shows that are so doggedly determined to be campy, celebratory, and entertaining, at the risk of having so much nostalgia for certain bands and brands, and maybe being a tad boring. (plus, Jackson’s so-called nipplegate was also because of Justin Timberlake, yet she still gets blamed; sigh).
The commercials generally disappointed me, not that I really watched for commercials (this year, I really didn’t; I missed most of the 1st quarter commercials and I really tried to pay attention to the game). They were an odd mix, in my opinion. The “puppy monkey baby” commercial for Mountain Dew disturbed me for (a) blatantly hitting all the cute points of a Super Bowl commercial; and (b) that puppy monkey baby chimera did not have the cute parts of a puppy, monkey, or baby. The chimera made me not want to drink Mountain Dew (which I don’t do anyway).
I missed seeing the notorious Doritos commercial, and later saw it online – this is the one where the fetus ejected itself from the womb just for… Doritos. It was disturbing – seriously, fetus: Doritos aren’t that good. It’s not worth risking your life to eat something you can’t even eat yet.
I say this because, as I get older, I find that I can’t eat Doritos endlessly like I used to do. It gets unappetizing after awhile.
But, the movie commercials were impressive. Captain America! Jason Bourne! The commercials made me want to see those two movies in particular (but, I was hoping to do so anyway, so clearly I’m just weak).
And… Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck, who I’ve been deeming “Batfleck”) shilling for Turkish Airlines, to fly us viewers to Gotham City, which Wayne Enterprises has invested to rebuild; and Lex Luther (Jason Eisenberg) also shilling for Turkish Airlines, to fly us viewers to take us to Metropolis, which Luthor’s company has invested to rebuild since the General Zod disaster of “Man of Steel.” Uh huh. Geez, Bruce, Lex: did Gotham or Metropolis really need these ads?
Needless to say, neither of those commercials has persuaded me of a genuine desire to watch “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice” or fly Turkish Airlines. I’d watch the movie mostly to see how Batfleck probably won’t match up with Christian Bale’s Dark Knight (at best, Batfleck will have to be his own man), or how Batman and Superman will really have to get over their testosterone rivalry before they realize they’re much better at being buds. But, hey, corporate synergy!
Speaking of corporate synergy: Ant-Man (with what sounded like the voice of actor Paul Rudd) and his stealing Bruce Banner’s last can of Coca Cola, and Bruce as Hulk going after Ant-Man – that commercial was a much better way to meld brands.
The Toyota Prius commercials about the bank robbers who go on a police chase with their stolen Prius and the cops who use their own Prius to go after the bank robbers – hilarious.
Helen Mirren, via Budweiser, telling us not to drink and drive because she said so – awesome. Although, I’m convinced that she would drink better beer in real life. And, the Bud Light commercial with Seth Rogen and Amy Schumer, along with the Ant-Man movie actors Paul Rudd and Michael Pena: Seth and Amy didn’t convince me of how a Bud Light Party could be an analog for a political party (that kind of party? Come on!), but Paul Rudd and Michael Pena were hilarious. Hmm!
The Audi commercial using David Bowie’s StarMan song (i.e., Commander Tom to Ground Control) was strangely moving to me. I think it was the timing of it – since it came after the passing of David Bowie.
Slate’s Seth Stevenson did a nice rundown of the commercials over at Slate. He was hilarious about puppy monkey baby (and I ditto the weirded out reaction), and about the Bud Light commercial (yeah, America apparently does like Paul Rudd a lot).
Well, that’s what I’ll post for now. Perhaps one of these days I won’t do a combined Lunar New Year and Super Bowl post…