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Sites to See: Against the Mainstream

The Net can provide a creative outlet for those overlooked, just starting out, or a little too firmly planted on the edge for most people to stomach. If some of the destinations listed here show questionable taste and a complete disregard for political correctness, they do at least provide a reprieve from the cookie-cutter entertainment of television sitcoms and Top 40 radio. Viva the Internet!

www.zthing.com

Nothing is more annoying than manufactured teenage pop stars and their insipid little tunes. But help is here, for not even Britney is sacred on the Web. Zthing.com, a Flash animation site, brings us relief with its rendition of "Oops, I farted again". Sure, it's that same old crass humor that's been making you laugh since the first grade, but sometimes it just hits the spot.

www.heavy.com

Bless Heavy's soul for remembering that we all have one. This site provides commentary on all of those marvelously marketed traits that make America so unique. The Sabotage News Network offers a great piece on the GAP in which the announcer ponders "khakis" as the possible solution to the world's lack of brand coherence. Heavy's Behind the Music that Sucks lets you in on the little secrets VH1 never wanted you to know. And The American Suck Countdown highlights the fast-paced world of lackluster music with true Casey Kasem-like pizzazz.

www.planetout.com

Planetout offers several videos and films that deal with a wide variety of issues facing the gay community. But the site also knows when to step outside the serious: In the humor clip Baby Spice with Angel Dust, we're exposed to the trials and tribulations of teenage superstars, through the eyes of an auditioning teen. Life is rough when you're rejected by the Spice Girls.

www.studionext.tv

Studionext.tv is the showcase site for Studionext's digital film production studios. Dealing with Michael Bell, a "reality" series, is considered by some to be the gem in the showcase. The Web show offers a peek into post-college disillusionment, binge drinking, and hapless dating efforts in Manhattan. Bell is a character you can identify with, and his utter lack of false glamour gives the show a much more realistic feel than typical "reality" shows.

www.nakednews.com

While not for anyone with even the mildest of feminist sensibilities, nakednews.com provides an, ahem, entertaining way to catch up on the latest headlines. Nakednews is exactly what the name implies — the reporters and anchors "perform" while they inform. Surely, though, the real draw to the site will be our burning need to know what's going on with the continuing strife in the Balkans.

www.twistedmojo.com

In addition to some twisted news, producer and creator M.J. Butler is responsible for the Internet's very own version of Beavis and Butthead in Dewdz. Unlike their television cousins, the video-game-playing Dewdz are "interactive" — allowing the viewer to tour their virtual world. The site also has a nice biting take on all of those "real world" shows in The Real Whatever. Whatever.

KidStoned Commercial

Ever since Washington, D.C. politicians were first lured by lobbyist loot, it seems, the American public has had the pleasure of viewing commercials promising this pill or that pill will cure everything from thick thighs to a shy personality. Spending an afternoon with a rowdy two-year-old could be enough to make you crave the "kid-strength Valium" touted in the KidStoned commercial, which has been popping up in e-mail boxes everywhere. A search on Google reveals that this clip is available on sites ranging from www.NoFaDz.com to the Society of Civil Engineers Web site.

www.dublab.com

Dublab.com is an Internet radio site that offers live streaming DJ sets from dublab's own labrats, along with guest appearances from well-known DJs spinning everything from downtempo to reggae. Dublab seeks to reinforce a positive, music-driven lifestyle. And while the beats bring joy to your day, you can play with the graphical interface, scrolling over the icons to reveal the navigation features.

www.groovetech.com

Groovetech streams sets from DJs spinning in San Francisco, London and Seattle focusing mainly on house music, but with plenty of trance, techno and breakbeats scattered throughout the lineup. The site also has resident DJs and plenty of guests to keep the mix fresh. Underneath the broadcasts tab, there's a list of archived sets ready to wash away the mid-day work blues.

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