Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sam Cooke Would Be Proud

Of this:



And this:



Okay, so "proud" is probably a bit hyperbolic. But, in spirit, what's the difference between those two and this:



I say, "Not much." All of 'em are just singing about dancing and having a good time. And, really, when it's Saturday and you're at the club what else do you want people to sing about? I think too many folks take music (and entertainment) too seriously. Some of that shit is supposed to be fun and that's it. Long as no one is explicitly speaking about committing an act of evil, what's the harm in the subtly nefarious?

Now, if we're talking about sheer musicianship, there are very few singers in the history of life--the first two included--who can stand with Sam Cooke. But we're not talking about craft here. Just purpose. And, far as I'm concerned, ain't much difference between what the King of Soul is is talking about and what is said in 2 of the 10 songs you're most likely to hear at any club in the world last month.

Post-Script: If you haven't read this, add it to your list. Trust me.

Americans Suck

Specifically the Americans who write the copy for the promos on Yahoo's home page:


Really? That's like saying Michael Jordan is a famous gambler. It's Zidane, man. He's, like, one of the top 5 football players EVER. Like, seriously "ever," too. Not just the fake "ever" we all use as a verbal underscore.

To Yahoo's credit, the story that teaser directs to is fairly substantive.

Personally, I think it'd be pretty sweet to have the Frenchman come over. He's way past his prime, but he'd be a logical bookend to the story of Europeans invading the MLS. (If you count Becks as a European, that is.)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

There Are Some Kick-Ass Stamps Coming Out This Year

Yeah. You read it right. That's exactly what I meant, too.

There's a journalist series that includes Ruben Salazar:


A Black Cinema series that includes Duke Ellington's first movie:


A series honoring the Eameses:


A Linus Pauling stamp:


And a Latin Jazz stamp:


So...if you're expecting snail mail from me in the next 12-15 months, you can expect to see one of those on your envelope.

And if you're not expecting mail from me, then cop a couple series for yourself 'cause cool kids use cool stamps on all their correspondence.

Least that's what they do at my school.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

I hope...

...that the people wearing purple in this picture got their asses kicked immediately after the camera went click:


Especially the chick.

Just like this:

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Mary J is Not the New Aretha

Time is rarely kind.

Especially the kind of time that musicians keep. Not even the clean-living among them elude the wear and tear of touring or the damage done by ridiculous and fundamentally irregular recording schedules.

Take Aretha for example:


God Bless her life 42 times over for Rocksteady alone. But please remember her as she was when the cover art for Young, Gifted and Black was still drying. Not, so much, as she is.

Then there's Mary J:


Photoshop helps. So does a trainer and a nutritionist. Maybe even a visit to the doctor's office. But there's only so much that can be done to combat time.

At least, I thought there was.

Maybe that's really why people want to be rich.

Wonder if that kind of rich has any room for jerked chicken and baked macaroni and cheese? Probly not. And that's probly why Aretha is just fine as she is.

Guess Mary J will have to settle for being a different kind of jerked.

Monday, January 07, 2008

F__k The Wire

I couldn't sleep last night. I'm feeling some combination of grumpy and hopeless, today. And I know exactly why.

It's all David Simon's fault.

If you watch The Wire, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

And it's not just because everybody and they mama was 10 kinds of pissed off and/or 3 degrees of depressed in the first episode of Season Five. It's 'cause all of the characters on that show and all of their stories feel ultra-real and acutely timely.


Like, you may not work for the Baltimore Sun or the West Baltimore Police, but you know exactly what it feels like to trudge into your own office feeling insulted, unappreciated and underpaid. Before the first pot of coffee is even warm, you might check your email and wonder how you're going to survive another eight hours (or twelve) carrying the weight of the disrespected and desperate. That does, after all, comprise a significant chapter of every person's working life. Some of us are lucky enough to know it for a mere week or two. Others suffer through job after job wearing their disenfranchisement on their nearly tattered sleeves hoping against hope that tomorrow will suck less than today.

And that is what The Wire has always been about: the treachery of everyday living. It's not escapism. It's not s'posed to be. At its best, it entertains from the most tragic of all places. At its worst, it empties barrels of sad gasoline onto the embers of depression that smolder within all of us.

Or, maybe, it's just the best shit on TV. Ever.

And, maybe, I'm just a poor mook with a platform.

It probably doesn't matter. As long as ole boy playing the City Editor keeps chewing up scenery. And as long as Omar is still lurking. Somewhere.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Allen Iverson Was Framed

By Nelly:



Not sure if I should take a late pass on this one or not, but I just discovered IFC/Reebok's Framed series last week. If you haven't seen it yet, Framed is a descendant of Sundance/Grey Goose's Iconoclasts series--which makes it an intriguing concept that is prone to veering into the prententious.

There's no better indication of how it can take itself too seriously than its episode synopses.

Which teaser would be more likely to make you watch that show:

A) "Hip hop star Nelly directs an unscripted short film about his friend and NBA icon Allen Iverson. Everyone is in on the challenge of watching two superstars, used to their own rules and schedules make a short film in two days about Iverson's competitive spirit, both on and off the court."

B) "Grammy winner Nelly and NBA MVP Allen Iverson are friendly rivals. So, who is the better fisherman? The better Spades player? The maker of more half court shots? You'll have to watch this episode of Framed to find out. And if that's not enough for you, AI talks shit on OJ, too."

If I were you, I'd vote for (B). But that's just me.