Archive for the ‘Entertainment/Culture’ Category

Here we go again, Hollywood…*sigh*

Zoe Saldana is set to play Nina Simone in the forthcoming biopic for Ms. Simone .

Ummmm…no, no, no, Hollywood!

This selection justifiably raises some eyebrows. While Zoe is a terrific actress, getting her to play Nina is not right. So much of Nina’s identity as a strong, outspoken and controversial artist stems from  her upbringing as a dark-skinned “plain (yet unconventionally beautiful) featured” woman in America’s turbulent Jim-Crow through Civil Rights eras (an image that evokes the human bondage that preceded those years). This was a time when her image was striking and defiant for the era (her dark skin, pre-popularity “Afro” hairstyle, (at times) African garb, and head-wraps).

Nina was a very proud dark-skinned woman who didn’t smile much (in the subordinate “aww shucks” way that a woman of color was expected to “back in the day”)…and Simone didn’t suffer fools well (even in her later years). There wasn’t much to smile about in those times. The rare smile from Simone was noticeably a minor victory for the (mostly) white journalist who interviewed her (and they were never able to conceal their utter joy  (relief) at seeing her as a “human being” that was capable of non-confrontational emotion). It was wonderfully subversive to have them seeking her approval in many ways.

Nina Simone held a freshly polished and buffered  mirror to America’s ugly past and (what was at the time) America’s present. It was born of a pissed-off, oppressed, and highly intelligent woman maligned and eventually (through hard work AND legendary stubbornness) highly respected for her personal appearance and demeanor.That look and those features went hand-in hand-with her personality. It was a package deal (and when you get down to it, “cause and effect as well”).  Her image and outspoken character, was as radical as the Sex Pistols (yet she was light-years beyond them in eloquence and musical “chops”) in her own way.

I believe this casting choice is such an image departure in the telling of her story, it effectively “whitewashes” Nina. I think it whitewashes her to such an extent , that (I think) it would have deeply bothered Nina. I could imagine her saying (because I am supremely imaginative (and humble, lol) )  in that  husky/academic voice of hers:

“[She] is a very BEAUTIFUL, young, (and gifted) woman of color…but I fear her appearance is more “acceptable” (in America) than mine is/was…and the essence of who and what I am will be lost in this translation… that appearance (her appearance) is not in line with an effective (or even) rational retelling of my journey and career…was Angelina Jolie too busy to play this version of “Nina”?

hmmmm. It makes me wonder: “Was Angelina too busy?”

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Well…Well…Well.

M(ha!)TV’s annual VMA awards show is finally upon us this year and I can BARELY contain my excitement…

Yeah…my “excitement”.

This year’s line-up has SOME star-power but what does it all mean ? I mean : Green Day, Alicia Keys and  Pink. They are all great and all…but where are the current crop of Pop’s “Tops”? Plus, if you are going to pull some of the “new old-guard” out for this type of thing…can’t you do better MTV? Sorry, It had to be said. These artist are all very good but they are kinda irrelevant nowadays.

Yeah, I said it.

Maybe their new albums (the real reason they are even going to be performing in the first place) will justify this line-up? Maybe not.

Either way, It leads me to the same spot/thought that I find myself in every year the VMAs roll around : do I watch it and be disappointed again ? Or do I watch it and be bored (but expected to be bored in the first place)?

Decisions…Decisions.

It is no secret that the VMAs  have been regularly crappy (on and off)  for nearly the last 10 years . The last really good VMAs that I can remember was the 2006 VMAs . The one where Britney Spears choked and nearly ruined her career and Rihanna took the “Pop Princess” crown away from her. Britney has since bounced back in a VERY big way (even though some damage was done) but the VMAs themselves have been in a rut. Besides some great individual  moments scattered over the last few years (Lady Gaga’s superstar-making performance is the most obvious…along with Pink’s high-wire act when she was a little more “relevant”) the VMAs have been a SNOOZE-fest.

Am I getting too old? Is this why the VMAs don’t have the same magic anymore. I would like to think that this is not the case. I still LOVE and OBSESS over music (always will) so I seriously doubt that my passion for the IDEA of the VMAs is the cause of my lackluster reaction to the yearly event. I think the real culprit is MTV’s general lack of interest in music nowadays (and they focus on reality television which is SOOOOO profitable now). MTV isn’t invested in music anymore and it shows.

Where is Nicky Minaj? Lady Gaga? Adel? M.I.A (who is LONG overdue to be given her chance to ROCK the VMA stage)? Hell even Madonna and Kylie Minogue are more relevant that Pink and Keys (no disrespect to either one)…Where are the cool new rockers ? I know and listen to them .

Bring in some Brits dammit.

I know that I am going to watch the show tonight. Call me a hopeless devotee to the idea that music and MTV still matter.

I might be wrong .

Here is a status update  to my Friends on Facebook today:

“Dear America,

Fifty Shades of Grey!? Fifty Shades of Grey!? come the F*CK on! Haven’t we seen this before? It’s CALLED “EROTICA” and the “SEX” book! Isn’t this the same type of fantasy stuff that got Madonna forever hated by some people? That’s it! America has finally managed to make bondage and various “kink” uncool….Now it has become Oprah book-club soccer-mom bullshit!? What the hell!

That is all.”

As you can probably tell, I have finally emerged from my NBA basketball coma and have directed my attention to what is going on in  pop-culture/the world at large.

What the hell is happening to people with this “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy crap?

Is America really this horny all of sudden? Fifty shades of Grey. Magic Mike. Vampire Orgies on True Blood. Mainstream coach-potato America is getting comfortable showing off their sexual curiosities in public? It is as unsettling as watching your parents drunkenly make-out at a family reunion…and probably even more rote looking! It all seems so artless AND raunch-less at the same time. It occupies that BORING grey area that America seems really good at finding. It’s that banal/mediocre area that is searched out like a truffle and gorged on by the masses.

I can’t wait for the Fifty Shades empire and branding to come next: Fifty shades curtains, fifty shades butt plugs, fifty shades soap for washing away the “shame” and fifty shades Ray Bans  (I got a million ideas for them… 🙂 ) . All of this will happen until we “shoot” our collective load on this type of stuff and “walk-of-shame” our way back to pretending that we don’t think of this stuff all of the time…again.

Ultimately that is what really bothers me about this little KINK/FETISH  phase America seems to be going through right now. We don’t know how to handle incorporating sex into our society in a mature way . So we end up seesawing  between “sexy” and “saints” . Until we can learn how to incorporate sex into the pop-culture  without the stupid shame dance afterwards…we should leave the kink to the Germans and French (not to mention the Dutch).

No one likes a mere “Tourist” into dark/different territory!

Bad! Bad America!…you “dirty little whore”!  lol!

I am all for people exploring a little more. Only if this is all SHAME FREE, though. No one wants a bunch of psychologically damaged straight-laced people with regrets walking around, condemning everyone because they couldn’t handle it.

lol 🙂 !

You know what?

Everyone’s  talking about the ‘Zombie Apocalypse’ and all…but am I the only one that’s thinking…”FINALLY!”?

 We have been watching Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead,  28 days later and scores of other zombie flicks for decades. Secretly, I think we  have always wanted this to happen. We have a television series called “The Walking Dead” for “crying out loud”. 

I (for one) welcome our flesh-eating overlords…and this is f*%kin “sweet”! I hope we get at least one more Michael Jackson “Thriller” dance out of this!

For those of you that are still clueless, like I was a “scant” few days ago, here is the deal:  Zombies are slowly (how else?… 🙂 ) invading American cities and  all are doomed…sort of.

Beginning a little over a week ago, grisly reports have been surfacing throughout parts of America. First, there was face-eating in Miami (what else is new?).  Then, cannibal moms were reported  in Texas (isn’t that the way it goes down there, though?). In Maryland, one student  chewed someone’s brain and heart out then  told everyone about it (hey, college can be rough). Finally, in New Jersey, a man cut himself open for all to see and couldn’t be stopped… even by pepper-spray (that’s just The Jersey Shore “kids”, right?)…

Standard stuff for America nowadays OR ithere something to all of this Zombie Apocalypse stuff being tossed around?

Either way, I love it . 

Finally, we get the Zombie Apocalypse that we have been promised since George Romero’s Classic “Night of the Living Dead”. That Classic film drew parallels between those flesh-eating creatures and SOUL SUCKING racism of the Civil Rights Movement . Add that  to Vietnam War & Feminism stuff…hell, all of the turbulence of the 60s was brought to us in cinematic form. The Ghosts and Ghouls of the past infecting  the present and trying to destroy youth and progress. It was very heady stuff from Romero back then…and STILL managed to be  a damn good horror movie without sounding like  a term paper.

It’s Hard to balance…ask the Wachowski Brothers (I love the Matrix films…all of them). Which makes me wonder whether this is all some  super-metaphysical    scenario of  life imitating  art…in this case, “calling” on it like an actual archetypal memory through the only shared history we can all readily “call upon” and “trust” (in this information drenched society)…Movies and pop-culture.

That’s another blog, another day.

But I digress… 

Are we finally getting our Zombie Apocalypse ? I hope so…Will it Be like the  Zombie Land movie? Will it be Night of the Living Dead? Maybe it will be  Dawn of the Dead…who wouldn’t want to raid a mall with all of the gadgets we have nowadays…oh no…consumer culture has got me too!!! ahhhhh! It feels more like Shaun of the Dead for me (and I bet the rest of you) right now because: a.) we’re kind of plugging along doing the daily grind and b.) we’re vaguely aware of these horrible stories about zombies and not paying THAT much attention to it. If anything, I think our new “Zombie Apocalypse”  would end up like 28 days later…government thugs terrorizing us all while the world dies. 

“Wanna know” why I welcome the “Zombie Apocalypse”?

I welcome the “Zombie Apocalypse” because of the opportunity to destroy and rebuild…Let the best and most decent of us rise and work together to forge a better world. Let’s destroy all of the “old-world” values and rebuild in earnest… free of the past’s ghosts and Zombies. That…and wouldn’t it be fun to blast your zombie-fied enemies? You know you want to . 

All jokes aside, this is all probably just doomsday jitters (because of the Mayan, to name one of the doomsday “prophets”,  predictions)

Well, here’s hoping…I’m about to take my bath…errr…make that a shower!!!!!!!!!! SHOWER!!!!!!

I’ve heard verses from Peril P since he was a VERY young kid and it is a definite pleasure to see his progression into a very LEGIT rhyme-slinger and upcoming artist. The Florida-born Rapper (Orlando) has certainly been doing some serious growing and could easily break nationally with the right team…

He has always had raw talent (even at the pre-teen level) . Now he has definitely pulled it all together and matured into a full-fledged artist.

Recently on Soundcloud (an online Social/Artist’s network community ) I listened to a snippet of one of Peril P’s songs titled “I ain’t got the time” and a full-length song titled “Yeen know”.  Both of these songs flow with a down-south swagger and self-confidence that leaves most also-rans in the dust. Peril is on full-display here with clever punchlines and twisty metaphors that shows true promise on a larger scale (think early Lil-Wayne meets a bit of Big Boi from Outkast meets…Peril P). The backing tracks are solid (if standard) down south boom-bap…but with his clever rhymes and abundance of confidence, I personally feel that Peril can branch-out from this and tackle different topics and sounds. All in all, a good introduction to a very solid talent. I am absolutely sure this won’t be the last piece I write on this guy…

[Catch Peril P performing in Orlando, Florida  (@ the Central Florida Fairgrounds) at the 7th Annual Zoe Flag Day Bash on 5/19/2012]

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***A little slice of what goes on on my familyFB***

Marvin Gaye is the MAN! Major musical genius and not only his love songs! My favorite albums : “What’s going on?” his epic take on the world he saw aroud him…from politics, the environment and social problems….And I also LOVE “Here My Dear” a painfully confessional album about his rocky (major understatement) relationship…that album is the real “confessions” (sorry Usher)…and he spared no one , including himself….check these albums out fam!! Very cool upload, Auntie. #joeisawalkingalbumreview (lol)

The MASTERS/Innovators of modern Electronic music as we know it….set to return with a new album soon (2003’s Tour de france was NICE!—Micro House was featured on that album ! electronic/dance music sub-genres suck sometimes but Kraftwerk always brings the goods). I’ll be getting the album! Here is a video showing off their new app!