Liars: A Contradiction In Terms

Liars’ image is misleading. The Los Angeles-based revolving door trio, who look partially like a throwback new wave outfit and partially like they might have come in from a job painting houses, is on its seventh album of industrial electronics, Mess.

The threesome took to the stage of Los Angeles’ Fonda Theatre on Tuesday, May 27, 2014, with a simple backdrop of their name and a geometric shape, facing a crowd well-versed in its discography. Vocalist Angus Andrew donned what closely resembled an unraveling ski mask, its signature yarn, the symbol for Mess, like so many clumps of multi-colored, overcooked spaghetti. After a number of punishing tracks, this item was shaken off, or perhaps it simply unraveled, revealing Andrew’s hair, not so different from the spaghetti ski mask.

Given that it is only three people and even fewer instruments creating Liars’ sound, the cacophony is at an obnoxious level. But this is what their audience wants as when the group lowered to a mellower channel, it didn’t take long for them to get back to their clanging, which was much better received. Case in point, the robotic yet rhythmic “Mess On A Mission,” which had the crowd in a downright frenzy. At certain points, however, the performance is just shouting and din. The most cadenced moments of the night were during the encore with the hypnotic “Boyzone” from Mess and the ten-year-old “Broken Witch” from 2004’s They Were Wrong, So We Drowned. The evening of harsh beats was a brutal one for the earplug-less.

In contrast, Liars’ inaugural turn at the Getty Center’s newly minted Friday Flights on May 30, 2014 was an exercise in restraint and subtlety. The monthly event hosts either a musician or cultural tastemaker to curate the evening based on inspiration from one of the museum’s exhibition. Liars’ focus piece was Jackson Pollock’s “Mural.” The nine-foot by 20-foot detailed abstract, which was commissioned by Peggy Guggenheim for the entry to her apartment, is a landmark in Pollock’s career.

“The Getty's proposal was very broad - which made it interesting. They asked us to do whatever we liked as a response to the museum as a whole. The Pollock exhibition was one component of that,” says Liars’ Andrew. “Initially we had several ideas for sound pieces that would play alongside ‘Mural’ but fire code restrictions prevented it. We then approached Mary Pearson Andrew about creating a textile-based response to the painting. We'd hoped to show this work on the floor of the gallery directly in front of ‘Mural’ but this brought up safety issues. Eventually, Mary's piece was shown outside the gallery in the courtyard which was nice because the early evening light enhanced the colors of the material.”

Put together by themselves and select friends whose work they admire but hadn’t had the opportunity to collaborate with, Liars had a number of installations around the museum.

Prior to entering the museum, what looks like an abandoned band set-up plays eerily without any members present, but with a bunch of the telltale colorful yarn of Liars’ Mess. The entrance hall features another installation with an organ and two video screens. The yarn shows up in a fan and a “monster,” as a garden sculpture in an almost hidden corner, and flanking the stage. The stage itself is set up as a living room with intense detail. From meticulously arranged novels (mainly John Grisham) to a rod full of clothes, later in the evening a couple will be playing chess sitting on couch. Behind the couch is the Liars’ Aaron Hemphill who is controlling the understated music being piped into the serene atmosphere of the courtyard. In one of the theatres, a short film about sound and visuals plays, a bit like digital storytelling only more static. Included are microphones capturing the sound of Rice Krispies, water gongs, and a microwave. Additionally, there are two fountain installations: one, with a television screen and speakers, the other, only sound at the Grotto Amphora fountain.

“We wanted the pieces to respond to the vast scale of the place, to inject a certain amount of life into the architecture, which can often feel stark and overwhelming,” says Andrew of the idea behind the Liars’ installations. Of the stage set-up specifically he says, “Our idea was to bring a sense of ‘home’ or familiarity into the museum as a means to offset the very formal nature of the space. Any time we DJ, it’s interesting to uncover some of our more disparate interests in music. Rather than reference the obvious or immediate influences, it’s exciting to go further afield and touch on ideas that seem less relevant though equally important.”

Complementing the Liars’ installations were flags by Kate Mosher Hall, a garden sound installation and projections in the Museum Lecture Hall by John Wiese, sounds by Protect Me accompany Liars’ installation in front of the Entrance Hall, a Pollock playlist by Permanent Records, and the aforementioned rug by Mary Pearson Andrew in response to Pollock’s “Mural.”

“We walked through the museum together discussing the spaces and all the possibilities,” says Andrew of Liars’ collaboration with the other artists. “We wanted them to create work that would help transform the museum and its grounds into a less formal, more visceral environment.”

The next Friday Flights at Getty Center is on June 27, 2014 curated by the innovative storefront shop, Ooga Booga

Words: Lily Moayeri

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Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’ Is Expected To Make $64 Million Opening Weekend

Thanks to Us, Jordan Peele has another blockbuster on his hands. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the highly-anticipated horror flick starring Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex, is expected to have a $64 million opening weekend at the domestic box office.

Peele’s sophomore horror film earned an impressive $7.4 million on Thursday (March 21) night previews, and is forecasted to take in about $27 million from Friday sales. The film is also on pace to knock Captain Marvel out of the No. 1 spot at the box office.

Once final numbers are tallied, Us will likely snatch the third-best opening weekend record for an R-rated horror film behind It, which brought in a whopping $123.4 million, followed by Halloween’s $76.2 million opening weekend last year.

Aside from rave reviews and a genius promo run that included simultaneous screenings in major media markets, Us earned a 95 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The film, set in the mid-1980s centers around a family of four who set off on a vacation that finds them confronting some familiar faces.

Peele recently spoke to VIBE about casting Duke (our April 2019 cover star) in the role of patriarch, Gabe Wilson. “I have to have somebody voice what the audience was saying,” he said. “In the case of Get Out, it’s Rod, like, ‘How have you not left yet?’ [In Us], Winston is largely that voice. There’s one moment where Lupita [Nyong’o] takes a step into the unknown, where black people [will think], ‘I don’t know.’ But to have Winston say, ‘Aaaand she left. Your mother just walked out of the car.’ That’s all we need.”

Duke also opened up about the intricacies of his character. “His function isn’t to see through the veil. His function is to tell the absolute truth how he sees it,” explained the 32-year-old actor. “He’s sometimes there to say the things that other people don’t want to say, but he’s also there to make fun of things to keep it from not getting too heavy, even though it’s real. That was my job. [Peele] respected that. I like to lean into functions. If I’m going to be your antagonist, I’m gonna really push you. If I’m gonna be your clown, funny guy, I’m gonna do that.”

Click here to read VIBE’s April 2019 cover story.

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Cardi B Explains Why She Wants To Trademark “Okurrr”

Cardi B hopes to secure as many “bags” as possible. In response to backlash and burning questions surrounding her decision to file to trademark “okurrr,” the 26-year-old rapper took to social media Friday (March 22) to defend her latest money move.

Since people tend to ask Bardi to use what has become her signature catch phrase, she figured that it was time to cash in. “You think I ain’t gonna’ profit off this sh*t? B*tch white folks do it all the motherf**king time,” she said. “So you gon’ be mad at me ‘cuz I want to get some motherf**king money?

“While I’m still hear I’ma secure all the fucking bags,” Cardi continued before adding that there are a “lot of ways to get rich” in 2019.

The Bronx native caught heat for wanting to trademark the word because she wasn’t the first to say “okurrr.” Cardi already revealed that she started using it after she heard Khloe Kardashian saying it, but the word was originally popularized in drag culture -- most notably by Rupaul’s Drage Race contestant Laganja Estranja, in 2014.

However, Rupaul attributed the word to Broadway actress, Laura Bell Bundy, who used it in YouTube skits dating back to 2010. In the skits, Bundy pretends to be a hairdresser named “Shocantelle Brown.”

Although Bundy caught criticism for her little character, which was deemed racist, she typically gets credit for bringing “okrrr” (different spelling) to the internet a full decade before Cardi made it mainstream.

No matter the origin, it looks like Cardi will be the only one profiting off of “okurrr.”


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#CardiB on why she decided to trademark “Okurr”

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Kanye West, EMI Working Towards Private Settlement

Kanye West and EMI could be close to settling their legal drama. Each party filed documents requesting a stay of the case to “explore the potential for a resolution,” The Blast reports.

West sued EMI in an effort to “gain freedom” from his contract, and to own his publishing. In the lawsuit, ‘Ye argued that his contract ended in 2010 under California law, which bars entertainers from being tethered to an agreement for more than seven years. The multi-Grammy winner, who signed the deal back in 2003, also accused the company of slavery because the contract doesn’t allow him to retire.

“Even if the contract were not lopsided in EMI’s favor (it is), even if its terms valued Mr. West’s artistic contributions in line with the spectacular success he has achieved for EMI (they do not), and even if EMI had not underpaid Mr. West what it owes him (EMI has), he would be entitled to be set free from its bonds,” the lawsuit reads.

EMI hit back with a countersuit filed in New York, instead of California. The suit pointed out that the 41-year-old rapper signed multiple contract extensions, in addition to accepting millions in advances.

According to The Blast, West and EMI now feel that putting a hold on the legal proceedings will be beneficial to both sides “and the Court by enabling the parties to engage in meaningful discussions in an attempt to resolve this action without having to incur the burden and expense of litigation and motion practice.”

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