Friday, December 22, 2006

Oceans Thirteen trailer

I can't find a way to embedd it yet but I wanted to get this out there.

Take a look at the trailer for Oceans 13,
it looks like it might turn out pretty cool.
There is a new addition to the fold that really surprises you.

Click here to find it.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Guy Love

color me wildy amused

Monday, November 27, 2006

Video game Link-Fu

I've been tooling around the net while I was avoiding work and I came upon these clips. they are the hilarious.

Ever wonder what happened to the characters in street fighter?

well, these clips give you Street Fighter: the Later years!
please click on the white spaces to view the clips.

Also hop over to this page for a very funny summary of the marketing campaigns of the different video game companies.

I can also say that no matter how much of a Zelda fan I am I am not as big a fan as this one guy who had a blacksmith create him a replica of the Master Sword. You can read about him here.

and yes I want one...

In the veign of the video game centered convo I will show you what is the most brilliantly glorious runthrough on Super Mario ever.
Behold the awesomeness (courtesy of Razorsmile)

back to the books.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Casino Royale

James Bond has burned me before,
But I’m really looking forward to the new guy.

I hope this turns out to be a good ride, I’ll settle for a solid auctioneer:

PS. I just saw the commercial for ABC’s new game show “Show Me the Money” hosted by the William Shatner. Sometimes it is like all of television is an old Mad TV parody.

Friday, October 06, 2006

And Now Beautiful yet Mindless Violence

And Now, Mindless Violence,

From the entertaining flick Kung Fu Hustle

Monday, October 02, 2006

Am I "Desperate" or "Wire"d

My thoughts on desperate housewives? Well, it is, as before a show about a particular kind of people and their lives. I still hate Terri Hatcher and I think all of their problems are self inflicted by their ignorance and selfishness. I never feel the need to cheer for any of the characters and as a result I willingly bow out of yet another season before it all starts to infuriate me. Last season I started in because of the promise of Alfre Woodard, when I found out that her mental illness solution was to chain a man in her basement I relived I was not going to be investing precious time in a show where not a single person is capable of any moral high ground. I need a little innocence in my drama. Which is why I am digging the Wire.
The wire started slow, introducing a group of children born in the slums of Baltimore while including all the drugs and politics that made the show worth watching in previous seasons, but I wasn’t watching because I was trying to stomach the shenanigans of desperate housewives. Where the housewives toil glibly in a suburban nightmare of betrayal and lust, the kids on the Wire are just infants in the world that hates them with that “aggressive apathy” I so often call upon. Their school system moves them along each year because they don’t have the resources to educate them if they fail a grade. Their streets are lines with fiends and pushers, and their homes are foster care and group homes. But for some reason, in the grime and hurt of that environment I feel right at home with the shockingly stubborn system that herds these children like chattel into dead end lives. I live in that world, I know those kids.
On Wisteria lane the women all fawn and preen in a world of cleanliness and spite. On the Wire the kids sit on milk crates and toss bottles for fun. One world is the world of white privilege where the drama is often self destructive in ways that do not match the pristine polished environment. The other world is the gutters of a lost city where every link in the chain of the system feels held back by the one next to it. Watch as the cops get shuttled off their major crimes unit because of a power play that one of the detectives thought he could pull during an election year. Each department feels the ripples of this one event, and often on The Wire the information is disseminated in quick clips of conversation that only make sense as you listen and pay attention to the tapestry that is being laid bare.
All those chicks with their middle class over the top problems can KMA. I can’t give them another millisecond of my time. I’ll spend that hour hanging out with friends and family while we wait for The Wire to come on. That way I’ll find myself rooting for the real down and outs who need the support and attention. The people that often get forgot as system chases waifs with good credit and bad attitudes. On Sunday nights I’ll be watching the Wire.

Friday, September 29, 2006

This moment was brought to you by Weird Al

This is hilarious
Sadly I understand and appreciate 90% of what he is saying.

Weird AL could roll with me anytime.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Mos Def(inately) standing for what he believes in

Mos Def being arrested at the VMAs

I typically avoid the VMAs as I have little stomach for MTV as an entity. Too much bad blood over there. I blame it largely for what is wrong with America. But I am not here to rant about the network and its large scale brainwashing of adolescence into a whiny self involved group of cynics. (I mean, is it me or is Flavor of Love more an MTV show than a VH1 show? VH1 used to have standards at one time.)

I am here to talk about my man Mos Def and his ill treatment at the VMA's

For all the congratulatory back patting and hand jobs that were going on inside the radio City Music hall there was one person out there that really stepped out and stood for something.

At 10pm Mos def arrives outside the radio city music hall on a flat bed truck with a DJ and proceeds to sing his song "Katrina Klap" which is what the blogosphere is calling a scathing response to the Bush administration's slow response to the tragic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

While it isn't Mos' best song, it has a solid point to it, despite being rapped over the beat that originated from the obviously pointless "nolia clap." A crowd forms as Mos gets about one verse into his song when the show is abruptly shut down by the New York City police department. They state that his concert is causing a crowd to form. Mos is arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and him and several members of his entourage were carted off for a one night stay in jail. He is freed that morning.

There is some speculation over whether or not he had a permit for the show. Some sites say he did, some say he did not. His publicists says that he did not intend to break any laws and that he was attempting to encourage awareness of the plight of those still struggling one year later in New Orleans. Skeptics could call this a smart publicity stunt for Mos little discussed forthcoming album Tru3 Magic. I call it something to make me love the man all the more.

In an age where bling draped professed drug dealers promote themselves as for the people, can any truly deny Mos Def the right to say he stood for something real. Maybe he could have gone about it in a different way. Maybe he could have redoubled efforts to make sure that everything was up to snuff in an easily panicked post 9/11 New York. (When did everything become Post this or that?) But would it have had the weight that this event has in my heart and mind that instead of waiting around to do something he actually did it. And on a world stage no less. I have to respect him for that.

And yet very little was said about it. Instead most of the Post VMA publicity goes to discussing how well Jack Black hosted, and Christina's new look. How did you like that Beyonce performance? I don't know I missed it all, I just found out about this today.

Man that is why I avoid MTV like an infectious disease. Next to BET it is the network that always seems to find a way to turn my stomach.

I found all this out while looking for information on Mos Def's Album, Tru3 Magic, which will be dropping on September 19th.

Back to you in the studio Carol.

For more info: (re. the press release of the event that is repeated ad nausea everywhere else.)

VH1 covers it here.

Here is the YoTube Video of the event. (Notice the NYD's quick response to what is obviously a dangerous criminal attempting to incite disorderly conduct.)

Wondering who Mos Def even is?

I'll save you the trouble of going to Wikipedia for him by linking it here.

And his official Site can be found here.

"I give a damn if any fan recalls my legacy, I'm trying to live life in the sight of God's memory"

-Mos Def-

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Rap Cat

I saw this commercial and thought it was okay.
My brother left me the rap cat message on my phone and now I can't get the darn thing out of my head.

The Full Commercial

Just the Rap Cat

without the artery clogging food shots

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Talib Kweli Video

I love this video.
I am looking forward to the new Talib Video

I also plan to pick up this album as well

Monday, August 14, 2006

Wii vs PS3

I Liked this commercial. It pretty much summed up my slavish devotion to the Wii over the PS3

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Sing a Song of Satisfaction To the World

I love this commercial

Monday, July 31, 2006

My Other Sites

Other Places you might find me on the Web…

My Other Sites:

My Main Page The Hallboy Hideaway Blog

Monthly updated this is where I put my best foot forward and try to blog the meaningful stuff in my life. Created by my girl Nicole it is a work in progress but I really like what I post over there.

My college journal: The Myspace Hub 1.1

This is where I blog the most. I drop random thoughts and ideas here when I have nothing better to do. Sometimes I’m deep, sometimes I am ranting, and sometimes I am just talking bull. Someone should really cal me on it.

My Hub for Entertainment: The Blogspot Hub 2.1

This site is typically updated monthly with reviews or YouTube Clips. I like to talk pop culture and movies over there. Really I set it up so the film clips I reference will be stable instead of being pushed around by the random blogs I post @ Myspace.

My Hub for Writings & Fiction: The Fiction Hub 3.1

This site gets updated about once a month too. I will throw random fiction up. Currently I am hip deep in writing a WebSerial “The Good Neighbor Murder” and planning to post my first crime novel “Bianca Malone.” Check it out occasionally.

My Field Map: The Frappr Map Hub 4.1

This is a page I created for my friends to be able to see where we are in the world. It was a half idea and it hasn’t gotten much play yet. I am patient, I can wait. And despite what Addison says it is not stupid.

My Flickr photobook page: The Photo Album Hub 5.1

This is where I post my pictures. This site is cool and easy to navigate, the problem is that they only offer me to post 200 pics without paying so I slowed down on the posting there and instead decided to build my own site. Coming soon: The Hallpics webgallery!

My Artist & Comics Album page: The Sketch Art Hub 6.1

This page is for my comic related sketches and ideas. I rarely update it because I don’t draw so much lately. Every now and again I will pop in there and put something up. At least I intend to.

My Tagworld page: Tagworld Hub 7.1

This page was started as a whim. It served little purpose at first until I found that it allowed me to display my blogs as RSS feeds, So now I use it as an adjacent hub of sorts for me to read my News Feeds. Typicaly everything on the main page will be a copy of the stuff you see on the Myspace sites.

My RSS Feed Page: News Feed Site 7.2

This page is where I have some of my favorite news sites feed me the news I read. I check this daily to see what it going on in the parts of the world that interest me. Feeds from my Tech Sites, NY times and the Enquirer feed to this page.

My Comics Feed Page: Webcomix Site 7.3

This page is for the RSS feeds of the Web Comics I read. They are pretty good and they update about once every few days. This was way easier than checking ther sites every week for the ones I missed.

My Livejournal Page: The Hallbox Site 8.1

This site is the newest on the list. I created it so that I could talk about comic books and other such geekish topics without having to get ridiculed by my contemporaries over in Myspace. I just go over there to read comics related materials and talk about what I hate about the industry.

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Lucky # Slevin

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingI saw Lucky Number Slevin a month or two ago thanks to a friend giving me free tickets.

It ended up costing me a night of productivity

It was a gangster noir fairy tale where everyone is bad but to varying degrees. Even the guys you think are good are mired in past mistakes.

The Plot: Josh Hartnet is Slevin is an unlucky man who gets mistaken for a friend whose apatment he is currently staying in. Two opposing gangsters at war with each other live in opposing apartments which they never leave out of fear of the other. They both recruit Slevin to off the other, while being manipulated by an enigmatic assassin named Mr. Goodkat.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting At least that is what you think is the plot. Midway through act 2 the bottom falls out and the story careens in a different directions and then slams you to the big surprise and everybody who is anybody in the story dies.
This story seems to happen in that private little world adjacent to the Tarantino universe where everyone who is anyone is super cool, speaks in pop culture smart ass and violence rains down on the wicked, which in a movie where everyone is a bad guy means everyone buys it at the end.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingIt brought to mind the movie Payback staring Mel Gibson, a movie I liked enough to bootleg the DVD, but not enough to outright buy for more than 5 bucks. The movie, which also stars Luci Liu as a mobbed up dominatrix, (a 180 from her role in Slevin,) features a down and out thug who works to tear down a crime organization.
There is a mood conveyed in the lighting and polish of Payback that I see in Slevin. The walls of the apartment Slevin and Lindsey (Luci Liu) live in are art deco cool. The two apartments of the controlling gangsters are posh high rises with stairs and a classy sense of space. This is important in a movie where a plot point is their inability to leave the building. The set designs are great, all the wallpapers and backgrounds are cool and stand out just enough for you to notice.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting The acting in the movie is cool, everyone staying at this charismatic energy level despite occasionally having to make absurd decisions. Bruce Willis is Mr. Goodkat, the high price assassin who seems to be pulling the string of this outfit gets to play dangerous and stoic.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingMorgan Freeman is the boss of the black mob, and plays a little looser than he often gets the chance to be. It is the silver tongued Morgan Freeman who is quick to smile and yet be dangerous like his role in street smart, as opposed to quiet wisdom Morgan Freeman in his soulful best friend roles. (see Shawshank, Forgiven, Million Dollar Baby, Batman Begins).

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting “Sir” Ben Kingsley plays the Rabbi, the opposing boss, as a smart yet brutal man of God who plays it like a shark. (Nicole loved him.) Stanley Tucci also shows up in the movie as a somewhat smaller role as a tough detective. He meets a dark end for old mistakes and one is left to wonder if he had spent any time trying to redeem himself in the interim years. (You won’t know what I am talking about until you see it.) Hartnet holds his own in the movie, playing Slevin as a smart ass everyman in a world of crooks. He doesn’t play too smart or too dumb until he needs to be anything.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingLuci Liu plays cutesy little Asian neighbor that is also Hartnet’s love interest. It is a relationship built on Liu’s quirky cuteness that is a little less presence than the roles she has attempted of before. It is hard to talk about a lot of the story without revealing the double crosses. The movie is neo noir, with the concepts of alienation and human brutality at the forefront. Slevin gets punched in the gut every five minutes or thrown out of cars. The bad guys hold a mysterious power over his life until he turns the tables to fight back. Slevin as always turns out to be the smart little man in a big machine. People get shot and one or two things get blown up. It was an enjoyable time but pay attention until the end or you will miss all the turns in the plot.

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Monday, July 10, 2006

Dave Chappelle: The Lost

Dave Chappelle the lost episodes returned to television tonight. It was funny but not as funny as if Dave was on the show. The skits seem empty without him joking with the audience in between them.

It was appropriate that there was a Tupac skit that made fun of how often Tupac songs come out, and how many think they are relevant to today’s times. I say appropriate because the Dave Chappelle Lost Episodes Season was a lot like the Post death Tupac albums. It is a hallow imitation of the once brilliant artist that could be lost to us in that medium. Sure the old stuff still stands as excellent but it seems like the magic is gone without the benefit of their physical presence. It helps you to understand the actual gravity that personalities like the late great Shakur, and now Dave lent to their material. Dave was an affable guy, whose stand up gives you the impression that he just walked up to you in the supermarket and started telling jokes. His stage routine is like sitting around and playing video games with your best friend whose commentary is spot on hilarious. Without Dave in the room the show just seems like the dropping he left behind. It is like Puffy carving up Biggie outtakes just to squeeze a few more bucks out of a lost legacy. It is sad, and on the one hand I feel like I will take what I can get, but on the other I feel like I am selling the good memories short by continuing to follow this pap.

So, I caught the show. I would review it but I just don’t want to. I remember the first time I found out that Dave was going to have a show. Nicole was living in the apartment in West Wood, the one with the tremendous view of the city. I have loved Dave Chappelle since Robin Hood Men in Tights, which is a glaringly awful movie, but saw him interview for it when it came out and I thought, hey that guy is funny. My friends and I all have running gags from his whole stand up routines like “sprinkle some crack on him and let’s get out of here.” When I heard he was going to have a comedy show I knew I was in for the long haul. I remember hearing those old guys belt the anthem at the beginning and Chappelle walked out and I knew I was in for something magical. The first season rocked, the second season rocked, kicked aysh and then drove me to the hospital and paid for the damages. This illicit third season seems like a bad third date that makes you wonder why she’s acting this way after some really stupendous time together. I know it's not like the guy is dead, but there was this part of him that he was willing to share with us for this brief moment and now it's kinda gone, and we aren't likely to get it back. I hate losing things like that.

I have said it before, but I hate losing things. I really hate losing shows that I am in love with when it is wholly unnecessary for them to be cut down in their prime. I have a limited understanding about why Dave left. I have made my peace with that pain. The new episodes only drudges that pain up for one last kick in the crotch. And, as Rollins and Shatner say on Has Been: “I can’t get behind that.”

I guess I'll stick with my season 1 & 2 DVD's

Friday, July 07, 2006

What I learned from Animaniacs

Listening to the Animaniacs song got me on this kick to go looking for more clips on YouTube. This gave me access to tons of their music and information.
So I repost here what I learned on Animaniacs.
First, the theme songs:

The Animaniacs

Pinky And the Brain

Then the Educational moments:

Be careful what you eat

The US Presidents

The Brain Teaches you... the parts of the brain

Yakko teaches you the planets

The Senses Song

And last but definitely not least, my favorite of all. Yakko Warner teaches you the nations of the world.

I will be honest and say that I learned every one of these at one point in highschool just to be able to recite them. Years later when I had to learn the continents of Africa I did so using Yakko's song. It was way more salient in my head since I had already learned it in High school. I aced that exam.

Pinky and the Brain MD

I am not a super huge fan of House. I watch it sometimes, and everyone else around me seems to love it.
I found this online and it made me crack up. I was a huge fan of pinky and the Brain. That show was brilliantly cerebral for all its silliness.

it makes me smile just to hear the song again.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Messing with Sasquatch

I love this commercial.
especially the part at the very end, where the sasquatch gets his revenge.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Anticipation Continues

I soak up every one of these stupid trailers
I love them
gah, I can'ts stands all the waiting!!!

These Boys are Crazy

Gnarls Barkley performing at the MTV movie awards in full Star Wars Regailia.
Chewbaka on drums, Bobba Fett on the keys
that, to quote Hannibal, is good crazy!

Curtosey of the aformentioned Hannibal...

Com & Ra

Common & Rakhim, together, and freestyling on stage in Chicago

gotta love it

insomnia play

I couldn't sleep so I created this.

I likes it

Friday, May 26, 2006

Because I am a super geek

I give you the Legnd of Zelda independant film trailer

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Super Fuzz

So my Nostalgia was flairing up again and I found myself avidly searching for the theme song to this movie that I saw when was a child so very long ago.
It was the dumbest movie of all time and it involved a cop with super powers who would lose his abilities when he saw the color red
it was trite and illogical
and my twelve year old self was absolutely in love with it.
The movie was super fuzz,

A website devoted to it can be found here


Right click below to download the theme song.

Only I understand this.
pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

And Now, Random Violence

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Aquaman trailer

I was curious...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Adieu Malcom, "the worst life ever for the greatest POTUS ever" (Spoilers to follow)

The series finale of Malcolm in the Middle came on tonight and I have to say I was very impressed.

Malcolm in the middle was a show that was hinged on the suffering of Malcolm. Be it his social alienation at school or his brutal torture by his elder siblings. Malcolm’s life has been a series of laughable misfortunes at the hand of fate all task mastered by his strict drill sergeant harpy of a mother. Tonight, as the show took a bow, you discovered why that was. Malcolm, for all his whining and self pity is being groomed to be the next President of the United States. His mother, for all her discipline and strength had his life planned down to the minutia with a sense for detail that Malcolm himself could be proud of.

They even planned to see Dewey live a life of reckless monetary privilege. The family, held together by their misery and the hope that Malcolm for all his genius will finally make something, not only of himself but of the world. Reece is a lost cause, for all his malaise and violence his dream job is as the janitor at his high school. The eldest son Francis is stuck in a cubicle despite a life of mischief and free spirit roaming. His life of roaming from situation to situation and job to job brought him to the point where he loved the stability of soul drenching work. He has gleefully become his father and he is proud to wear the mantle. This last subplot was deftly handled as most Francis asides were, neatly packed away in the corners of the larger narrative.

And it all closed perfectly. Malcolm’s life was spelled out and looked neat and packaged beneath a layer of refuse that is his life. Forged in the mess of human existence he shall rise as a pearl to lead the unwashed masses in a way that only one humbled by strife can understand. And it all makes sense.
It was one of those episodes built on the strength of the human spirit. Malcolm confronted with the clarity of his fate could not argue with the reality that in the end his mother was right and she always has been.

The show always worked for this reason, when Malcolm, in all his intelligence and planning could not ignore the grim reality that his mother was always right and no matter how hard he fought this brilliant truth he always ended up a better person for it. One of my favorite episodes is when Lois, the mother, visits Hal’s family and is treated sourly as an outcast and has a breakdown where she cries on the floor. The boys, who should enjoy this felling of their ersatz jailer, instead become invigorated to protect their mother. They channel their dangerous pranks into one big blast that shocks Hal’s family and has them banished. I always loved the teamwork and control they could invoke to protect one another. No mater how mean or physically hurtful they could be to one another they would come together whenever there was any outside threat.

I bid you adieu Malcolm, Reese, Francis, & Dewey, your time was harsh and unforgiving, and it was well worth it.

"Lost" could use some real "crazy"

I have tried to not be a fan of lost. I hate a show that builds its secrets so high that they are destine to topple under the weight with no possibility of a clean or absolute resolution. (See X-files)

Still it is damn entertaining television and each time I happen to catch an episode I am enthralled by what it has to say about character and moral ambiguity. I credit the show with being the catalyst for the fall of reality television. Lost is what survivor without the inane unscripted conflict. It is the real world with a director and a script supervisor. It is a show about a bunch of random strangers forced to live on an island and see what happens when people stop being polite and start being real.

By adding drama and true character development the show did something normal people and a bunch of crafty editors can not do, they got everyone who sits to watch the show enthralled by the mystery of it. I will swear till its eventual premature end that the show will go down as a social experiment. It reminds me of the news story I heard about psychologists who petitioned to join the cast of the first survivor on the island in order to learn about the human condition in such a harsh environment.

Watching the penultimate episode of this season's "Lost" I am more assured that the entire set up is some screwed up psychological experiment where the secret cabal of unethical scientists are taking notes on the lives of our beloved castaways.

The black lady with the crazy eyes and the twenty questions routine is obviously a doctor, probably a psychiatrist, you can tell by the cold demeanor. The biggest danger is making assumptions in television means you have to know all the rules, and it is obvious that we don't since sometimes there are monsters, other times hallucinations, and the like. You never know what to expect, which means you can never assume the rules at play in the universe.

Still Walt did say that they "test him," and threatened to throw him in "the room" when he blabbed about them pretending. The room is probably a Skinner box, or something to the effect.

My favorite moment in the show, Sawyer and Jack loading guns and Sawyer confiding about his last moments with Anna Lucia, revealing that he looks at Jack as his only friend.

Yeah, I'd expect that from a person with a severe personality disorder.

I also liked watching the lord of the rings dude throw all the heroin into the ocean. It is not so subtle how the island finds a way to confront each castaway with their individual demons to force them to make choices.

I liked watching Michael's desperate attempt to lure the four castaways into the thick of a jungle trap. I hated him the entire time. I am pretty sure the "others" would not have sanctioned him killing people to make it happen.

They seem to prefer subtle plotting to serve their ends.

I hate how guns make people killers in movies and television.

If Michael wanted his son Walt so bad why didn't he bite the witches nose off and spit it in the bearded guys face. That is what I thought to do. Never trust anyone who bargains with your freedom I say, just go psycho and remain cognizant enough to out crazy everyone in the area. Just do it to see if they will actually put you down like a dog, or will you surprise them enough to gain the upper hand.

But normal people don't think of things like that. Normal people don't read nearly as much crime fiction as I do and understand that a little concentrated crazy at the right time can really tip the scale. Fools gambit I know but crap there are no cops on the island, and playing it safe gets arbitrary innocents offed.

At least thats how I feel about this show, waiting for one of the castaways to think outside the box a little, sort of like Michael did in his swift and shocking murder of Anna Lucia and Libby. Imagine if instead of watching the bearded guy talk about lines in the sand Sawyer just went berserk and sprayed bullets in a wild circle. Tell me they would have saw that coming.

What do you have to lose, you are on a frickin island with these guys.

I am so waiting for next week's season finale.

I am in a bit of a morbid mood today. I am sick of hotel dial up and I need to see my woman. I am ready to go to home.

P.S. Random Spoiler
They killed the female ADA on Law & Order, and Mcoy pulled a bunch of theatrics. I had so much work to do but all these seasons are ending so gloriously that I would hate to miss them.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Seattle Grace High (Grey's Anatomy Season finale)

Sitting mouth agape as the credits role on what has gone down as my favorite show of the year, next to the Shield’s Rock & Roll season 6, Grey’s Anatomy turns the lights out on another season leaving the world in a tizzy as everyone goes to town on the acting front. Grey’s Anatomy is a show you have to know is written by women. All the men say magically romantic lines in soft tones and the women slip effortlessly into adulterous scandal.

I love ensemble shows, just a thrill I get to see personalities interact and team up. I love the moments where the cast is standing in one room each individually reacting to the mess they have found themselves in. Tonight’s 2 hour season finale episode provided me with more than enough examples of what works in ensemble drama

First things first, the cast of the show is made entirely of young and self involved crazy wads who on a weekly basis jeopardize not only their patients but the hospital’s licensing and insurance premiums with each new triumph and failure. I can not imagine a scenario where the entire lot would not have been washed out of the hospital for their shenanigans.
I should also say,

I still hate Meredith Grey with a passion that is only ignited in fervor on a weekly basis. Her capacity for pouty ineptitude is difficult to swallow, but makes perfect sense in a psychologically screwed up realistic sort of way. What friend hasn’t watch a woman opine mercilessly for a lost man who only dumps on her, all the while screaming inside for her to grow a spine and move on.

I am waxing philosophic around the issues at hand here,

Spoilers to follow:

Grey, the silly love happy trollup that she is sleeps with Derrick again after having the charmingly innocent Chris O’Donnell tell her that he sees a future with her. This means that Meredith has now struck down two decent men in her wake, although the final result is not actually displayed in the show it is obvious after her betrayal of O’Donnell’s Finn character that no good can came from what follows. Derrick has now actually cheated on his wife after a year of playing at working things out. Say what you must about Addison Shepard I really enjoy what she brings to the cast when she isn’t playing the needy lover of Derrick’s indifference.

Izzy’s little nervous breakdown finally plays out as she actually gets Denny the heart only to have a minor complication take him out within the same day. I will tel the story of my missing the first hour of Grey’s anatomy due to the hotel’s satellite being on the fritz, but it will convolute my ire. Long story short I could only hear the show while staring at a jumbled digital screen. (The Red Roof inn got several disgruntled calls from me about it and the problem was rectified on the morrow). I could only hear as Izzy began to hyperventilate in Denny’s arms about how he should risk his life to “take care of me, do this for me.” It disgusted me even more than my bile filled hate for the ultra needy Meredith Grey. As a person who is embarking on a career as a public servant vis-a vis Clinical Psychology I am beginning to understand the ethical concerns that arise from attachment to patients and why certain lines must be drawn in the sand to optimize care. Izzy demolished these lines as she sought to worsen the condition of her man in order to steal a heart for him.

The sad and horrible casualty of her action is the husband and father who missed out on the heart that Denny received due to her childish manipulations. When Izzy crossed into self service territory she gave up on what could have been acknowledged as an innocent loving relationship into a schizoid witch who was willing to kill for her goals, or at least one so arrogant to think that she could tempt fate at an opportunity to be happy. Her short life so mired in this event that it seems insanely short sighted. It is fritting that tonight’s episode featured a faux prom where the Chief, like an authoritarian father demands that everyone attend. The interns are all acting like high schoolers trapped in their own perspective, limited by their inability to see outside the walls of Seattle Grace much like many high schoolers deny the existence of life after high school. That limited perspective that leads to arguments over the keys to the car without considering important adult responsibilities like insurance and other drivers on the road. I am delineating the analogy so tell me if you don’t get it.

Even George was not safe from infantile behavior as he apologizes to Meredith for his attempting to sleep with her. I am in no way denying his complicity in the matter but I feel that Meredith never took responsibility for her ignoring George for so long, so

I felt it only necessary recompense that he ignore her. I don’t even think she wants him back as a friend so much as she does not want the burden of having to feel guilty for what she did to him. Georges whole “I love you” thing with Callie was irritating like a paper cut considering my strong love for George as the Ritch analogue in the show. I love how carefully he handled the moment where he held her firm and told her why he needed time. That was one of the most mature moments in the show. It was superseded by Dr. Burkes quiet liberation of Yang in telling her that he will not hold a grudge against her for her inaction.

My highest praise as always goes to the other love of my life Dr. Miranda Bailey who plays the mommy to Chief’s daddy. The panicked look in her eye when she realizes the possible ramifications of Izzy’s actions takes me back to the days when I put my own wonderful mother to the test with my trials. Call Bailey the Nazi bitch all you want to she is the only sane and selfless person in that hospital. While the others huddle and plot their next self involved escapade she has to swoop in and actually remind him that they are not there to play out their little dramas but to instead be about the business of saving lives. She is a powerful motivator in a room full of babies whose heads are so far up their own behinds to remember to do their jobs. I am reminded of the Mad TV parody of the show which featured impersonators all standing around looking interested and solemn while a fiery Bailey impersonator ran into the room every five minutes to yell for everyone to actually work, reminding them that people are dying here. It is Bailey’s most consistent drum and it saddens me that she has to beat it so hard on a weekly basis. I would have fired my intern doctor on the spot if I had to endure the narcissistic prattle they converse about within earshot of patients. It is surprising that the hospital isn’t besieged by lawsuits for their constant negligence.

The show was full of great moments that tugged at my heart strings and at times kicked me in the gut to make sure I still had feeling. I was LIVID and I mean LIVID with unceasing Vitriol when Meredith and Derrick did the grown people dance behind their significant other’s backs in the hospital. I was sad beyond repair to see Karev be the man and pull Izzy’s pathetic little self from the corpse of her pseudo lover.

I loved the Chief’s deft handling of the interrogation of the interns. He knew how to approach each of them and had they not been as riddled with personality disorders he might have made headway. I almost cheered when Izzy quit, wanting her dumb ass to get fired for a month now. And then there was the final scene with Meredith.

And lets not forget about the killing of the dog. Finn, the vet representing an undertaker of the Meredith Derrick estate as he tried to work his way into Meredith’s heart by taking care of the mutt she shared with Derrick. The dog that Meredith bought to get over Mcdreamy, that was scorned by her roommates until she had to give it to Derrick, who took it to keep a connection with Meredith, who then got mad when he found that it lead her to the charming vet who was trying to swoop her off her feet. And then the dog got cancer and had to be put down, much like the relationship between Derrick and Meredith that so screams Ellis Grey to anyone with an ounce of sense. Meredith is then standing at the closing of the show like the puppy in every bad sitcom gambit that is forced to choose between two masters as they each call her name beckoning her to come.

And then the credits roll and it is over, and another season is regretfully put to bed with so many changes to come in the pending year. Goodnight Seattle Grace. Goodnight Derrick and Meredith, you love sick masochists. Goodnight my beloved Geroge Omally, and my respected Drs. Burke and Karev. Goodnight to the borderline heifer that Izzy became, and the stilted Chief. Goodnight to the cluelessly lost Addison Shepard, and to the innocently in love Callie, who is weird enough for me to adore. Goodnight to the lovely Dr. Bailey, whom has stolen my heart. Goodnight you horribly watchable show, you glorious bastard of a drama. I hate you for making me love you so much.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Gnarls Barkley

I discovered Gnarls Barkley this weekend.

Gnarls Barkley is a band spearheaded by Cee-lo, of Goodie Mob, (whose Perfect Imperfections album I played into the ground,) and Dangermouse (from my last favorite album Danger Doom’s the Mouse & The Mask a collaboration between him and MF DOOM,) but you may know him from the controversial Grey album, where he mixed Jay-Z’s Black album with the Beetles’ White Album.

Their new album St. Elsewhere is infectious. Techno like hip-hop style with Cee-lo crooning soulful over issues and ideas and of course lovemaking. I highly recommend at a listen. An important selling point is that despite the occasional adult theme there is no cursing in it, so there’s that.

I have liked Cee-lo since I heard him on Goodie M O B’s classic Soul Food song. I love his voice, craked and syrupy as it may be. Much in the same way that I get a good feeling when Nate Dogg drops a tune. Cee-lo is not the worlds greatest rapper, or singer, but he is a solid performer. I had the benefit of seeing him in concert at Bogart’s. He played before Musiq Soulchild (I refuse to drop the surname.) and he gave one heck of a show.

Dangermouse does a solid job on the boards. His eclecticism is an excellent match for Ceelo’s funkdafied unpredictability. The music is digital pings and chords over a heavy bass.

The album is full of great songs, with addictive hooks. Good songs to listen to are Just a Thought, St. Elsewhere, Transformer, and Who Cares. All great songs that seem nourish in their themes of isolation and alienation that seem to come from an elevated level of introspection and creative expression. They album is a killer.

I am currently addicted to the Song “Crazy.” The Video is included below.

The song seems to sum up my life where it seems like I am working against the world at large. To me the song seems to be about feeling crazy in a world that seems to keep moving when you know too much and feel like everyone else is ignoring the obvious signs of the times. One of my favorite versus is the first

Check out the Lyrics, available at their myspace page.

I feel it when he talks about losing his mind “but it wasn’t because I didn’t know enough, I just knew too much.

Does that make me crazy?”


The video uses inkblots, which psychologists are said to use to test perceptual associations. I see it and think Gnarls is asking us the question of what we see when we see the world, and if we see different things who is crazy?

Me for knowing too much to know I am not in control, or you for thinking you are.

Maybe we’re both crazy,


St. Elsewhere is in stores May 9th.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Block Party Movie

Saw Dave Chappelle’s Block Party the movie…

As you can recall I reviewed the Dave Chappelle Block Party All Star Concert experience here. I know it was too lengthy for most of you to read it.

I will say some “brief” things about the movie:

We saw it at the $2.50 show after driving around all day looking at wedding venues. For some reason the cheap theater started the movie 5 minutes early by my clock so we missed a few minutes of the opening.

There are very few things that can be said about this movie to those unfamiliar with the musical genius of such greats as Common, Mos Def, Kanye West, Talib Kweili, The Roots, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Dead Prez, Cody Chesnutt and of course the incorrigible Dave Chappelle. These musical giants perform on the stage like legends while their performances are intertwined with Chapelle’s journey to bring the block party to life. Those who know what Quamir Questlove of the Roots crew look like will understand why that guy is pontificating about Dave Chappelle. Those with an idea on Mos Def will be shocked to see him tapping the drums as Dave’s straight man in a Jazz comedy routine. The whole experience is tied into a previous knowledge and love of the artists.

That is part of the frustration of the experience because as these people perform their songs and Dave’s clips jump in you get a little irritated because the songs are great, and you want to hear the whole thing. I found myself mumbling the rhymes as the music faded to the background.

The movie is good, I will own the DVD, a promise I do not make as often these days as my collection became very unwieldy some time ago and I had to purge. The movie is a solid flick for those with some inkling of who those artists I named are. Someone unfamiliar with the fugees will be more than a little confused as Wycleff begins the lyrics to Fugee-la from back stage. They won’t know to get goose bumps when they hear Lauryn Hill singing killing me softly, beyond the fact that it is a chilling rendition sung by the one time hip hop superstar.

One sad part of the film was my man Common’s lack of a solo performance. The man is literally in every scene as a hype man that would make Spliff Star jealous with his energy and intensity. He bounces into Kanye’s set like a man possessed and chills quietly on the stage as Mos Def does Umi says. See you have to know who he is to recognize that that smooth brother in the hat is the man who handed Ice Cube his ass in “For the Bitch in you” and told hip hop “I used to love her.” Otherwise you would be wondering who that brother in the cool tie and sweater combo is that keeps jumping up on stage.

The concert is a dream come true for hip hop heads like myself and Nicole who somehow missed our opportunity to attend the concert live. We found about it on the internet and tried desperately to get tickets but Dave Chappelle’s secrecy in not disclosing the location and providing tickets via secret email distribution on the day of made it impossible. Had we known to hang around Springboro Ohio while Dave walked about handing out tickets then we could have stalked him in 2004 for our opportunity to catch these giants on stage. I mean, Big Daddy Kane and Kool G Rap performed with Black Thought. Jill Scott and Erykah Badu freestyled runs on “You Got Me” John Legend croons the hook to “Jesus Walks” while Central State marching band carries the tune. It was a visual and auditory smorgasbord of talent, a virtual who’s who of some of the most artistic and talented artist who rarely get their due in the mainstream. Being Familiar with all the songs I could not help but want to stand in my seat and bob my head along with the music. When they told me to put my fists up I have to admit that I did it with abandon.

In the dimly lit theater all I could hear Nicole repeating was how jealous she was to have not been there. All I could say was that I was glad someone took a camera and filmed it for us to catch a glimpse of it.


Momentary Rant:

One thing that annoyed me when the movie first came out was all the people who reviewed it with absolutely no knowledge of the artists performing. Their biggest deal was how they enjoyed themselves despite not knowing the music, a majority of them admitting that they would never buy the music.

My thing is, why the hell not? If you admit it is good music then why not pick it up for a listen, grab an mp3 on I-tunes or listen to the album on Rhapsody, whatever method you got of getting access to the music. That seems so much more encouraging than immediately dismissing the music after acknowledging the infectiousness of it.

It is good music, go out and get it. Here I will give you a link to some of the greatest hip hop released in the last 5 or 6 years.

My biggest problem is that these are the same people who secretly bought the 50 cent single or some other popular tripe because the zeitgeist influenced them to. You know, that mass move to buy popular tripe so that you can dance to it at wedding receptions or in your car on the way home?

In a world where crunk and chopped & screwed garbage get so many spins (I am not trying to offend anyone but most of that stuff is wack beyond most normal limits of wackness.) It literally makes me want to cry when I hear the kids singing D4L at the orphanage, and that is all they play on the radio now. Really who listens to the radio but poor people and kids under the age of 17? Can the radio really say it is for adults, who mostly rely on their mp3 players and car CD players?

GD viral culture.

My thing is if you are a middle aged white movie columnist and you hear some music you like pick it up instead of remaining sequestered in your little world where my music seems exotic enough to enjoy but not support.

As I am fairly certain that no middle aged movie critics read my blogs I must only rant cranky to you people.

Thank you for listening.

P.S.S. And turn off the radio,

It is trying to kill you.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Why I love The Crown

The Crown: Ascension


I am a sucker for a story with a flying man in it

If you can convince me that a man can fly, I am signing up to be entertained for however long you have to entertain me.

While everyone was complaining about the second Matrix I left the theater with only one scene in my mind:

Neo rocketing from the Architect, catching cars and other debris in his wake as he tore through the city to save his boo.

What does that have to do with The Crown: Ascension?

One thing,

There is a flying man in it

But I didnt know that when I purchased it

I purchased it from Amazon a while ago because I am a fan Of Hannibal Tabu and his other Web Serial Faraway.

I was enamored when it arrived.

It took a few weeks before I could sit down and read it.

I cracked it open in a diner while waiting for my eggs on Sunday.

I did not put it down for the rest of the day. I read until 3 am just to finish it

I was thoroughly impressed.

The Plot: Theres this woman named Tonya who stopped aging at twenty. If you are lucky enough for her to fall in love with you then somehow her love passes super powers to you, and you can run super fast, lift heavy stuff, and best of all, you can FLY.

James is the lucky SOB who gets to fall in love with Tonya, and they unravel her past while kicking butt and taking names of forces that have plagues Tonya for years.

It is hard to discuss this book without gushing or telling you all the stuff to look out for. I will begin with the dialogue, it is solid, and the characters seem real. James is the everyman with a cool demeanor and a sense of humor. He wants to protect his woman despite her long lifespan and tendency to whip out magical spells and techno wizardry.

The situations are of course fantastic, in that, he keeps flying around the room sort of way which is why I love it so much. And they fight Yakuza for mystical objects, and there is a woman made of hair and I cant even get started on Damien Dare, who you will loathe, and love when you meet him. He is the other immortal who is a thorn in Tonya and James side and he is the most enigmatic bastard you will read about all year.

An intelligent piece of fiction with imaginative scenarios dripping with the type of verisimilitude that only nights of research can provide. Hannibal took time to craft this work and it shows in the page. It is a quick read, full of zeal and panache. The characters are earthy and realistic. The world of Tonya and James is inhabited by eclectic people with multiple motivations and fantastic designs that at times Tonya and James are the catalyst for, and other times they are simply along for the ride.

The book isnt for everyone, I mean, I would not suggest it to my mother, who just wouldnt get into the whole flying man thing, but everyone who sees flicks with me and listens to me when I talk television shows should pick this bad boy up.

For those who know and love the Sci-fi, Action movies, Kung Fu, espionage, secret societies, and mythical tales should definitely stop to read the book.

I would say that you would borrow it but I want you to go to and buy it So Hannibal will get the cash, and then he will be compelled to slow down the Karaoke and write more.

I can not say how much I loved this book enough.

Did I mention that James flies?

Did I mention the part about him punching through the roof of a building at 900 mph like a human missile?

Did I mention Tonya is an immortal who also kicks major butt?

You will see more of that in book two where they hunt down some fanatic immortal hunters who want them dead.

I cant even begin to tell you how much I am in love with this book.

How much I know you will love it too.

It is a great read, more than worth the 13 bucks they charge you over at Amazon.

Support the guy, buy the book, and enjoy the beauty that is The Crown: Ascension.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Legend of Zorro

I saw The Legend of Zorro last night.
I didn’t hate it, I didn’t love it like I did the first one.

It struck me as a movie I might sit and watch if I was cleaning the house on a Saturday, which is a compliment. I discovered the original Zorro television show much in the same way. When I was a kid it would play on I believe what is now the WB and soon to be the CW. I would watch the series and revel at the daring swordplay and the manipulations De la Vega had to go through to maintain his secret identity.

I will not say that I am as well versed in the Zorro Mythos, but I appreciated the show, and some of the movies. I know that it has its place in the public consciousness. I am a sucker for a movie where people settle differences with swords.

Watching the Legend of Zorro was a bit of a let down. To sum up the plot, Antonio Banderas as Zorro is still defending the west while a French bad guy steals his wife, the spirited Catherine Zeta Jones. There are several narrative missteps that are necessary for this threadbare plot. Zorro is madly in love with his wife but he does not talk to her for three months after being suddenly served with divorce papers. Zorro being the man of action that he is I would have expected him to knock down the doors of his home to have it out with his wife and refuse to let her leave him.

There are action sequences that go a little too long, and try a little too hard to be daring. What I used to love about the old shows was their cheapness. I long for the movie in the swashbuckler genre that understands what is really at stake. Make Zorro a living breathing man who falls when he gets punched.

Take this one scene in the movie, Mrs. Zeta Jones is being followed by two men and engages them in a quick tussle. After hitting the two repeatedly with a shovel, in a series of moves that was excellently choreographed I will add, they point a derringer at her and the fight is over.

Now, I will say, I am not a secret Pinkerton Agent with an agenda to save the world from destruction by outside forces. I can say that I have been punched in the face with a pillow, and that will stun a man if it comes unexpectedly. The ease with which these men recover from several blows with a shovel amazes me and takes me totally out of the moment.

I am reminded of the horrible movie, The Musketeer. This movie is filled to the jowls with amazing action sequences that just look as though they were filmed on a studio lot covered with little Asian men pulling wires. (It was choreographed by the Wire Work Pioneer that choreographed The Matrix movies and crouching Tiger. In the story Dartagnan balances on rolling beams and flips through the air with death defying precision. The movie completely threw out the plot of the novel and instead filled it with useless explosions and 5 times more action sequences than even the daring Dumas could have envisioned. Later remind me to rend the movie to shreds as I am an avid fan of the Musketeer novels and movies when done correctly.

I am a fan of a well placed flip maneuver, crap Zorro did them every five minutes and there was a part of me that smiled with glee when I saw it. But man, at a point I just remember that a man can not go flipping through the air while fighting on a moving train. It would just not make any tactical sense.

I guess I should say what I am looking for,

Some where along the way Hollywood got lost in all the fight choreography and started thinking it was okay to have two people punch each other for hours on end while neither shows a bruise until the final crushing blow.

I am reminded of the second Matrix movie where, despite the fact that Neo is kicking Agent Smiths about the yard they all keep their stupid glasses on. This is markedly different than the first Matrix movie where, when Keanu lands a blow on Smith, his glasses crack in half.

My thing is getting punched hurts, I know, because I hate to get punched.
I guess I am thinking of old Bruce Lee flicks when he would kick a man and the guy fell and you thought, “Man, I know that had to hurt.” Everyone always forgot that Bruce wasn’t “really” fighting these people. I am reminded of the movie Ong Bak, where the guy steps into the ring for the first time and drops his opponent with one well placed blow. And I thought, yeah, that is how it would go. In a real fight a man hits you in the throat and you don’t want to fight anymore. Very few people are trained pugilists that are aware of their threshold enough to keep lunging at someone who is obviously raining them with hooks.

With a movie like Zorro, I wanted to see that. I didn’t need explosions, I wanted sword fights where one man gets cut and falls down bleeding. Why can’t people get cut in sword fights anymore? That is what happens, you fight a man with a sword and he runs you through like a pig on a spit. And occasionally Zorro will punch a man and the man falls down and reconsiders that whole fighting Zorro thing.

So, the movie is a B- at best. Banderas makes a good scorned lover, and Zeta Jones plays a good fighting mother. One thing I do not think the movie needed was precocious kid who adores Zorro without knowing that the man is secretly the father he loathes. It has been done, and it is not mishandled in the movie. I was more upset at all the obviously stunt manned action sequences the kid got. This kid, raised as an aristocrat was ready to throw down with anyone performing acrobatics and master sword parries. They could easily have filled this hole in the characterization by having Zorro teach his son now to fight, or giving him a good trainer, like he got in the last movie. Sadly you assume that the young boy just happened to pick up his father’s natural talent. It was a made for kids maneuver that bothers me because there is a way to make kids that don’t patronize the kids. I get the feeling that this movie was cribbed from studio notes that insisted there be more of everything but ultimately begins to lack in anything of substance.
The move takes clichéd plot points, like the dirty cowboy who tries to steal a land dead, and does nothing to raise it above anything we have seen before. Zorro arrives, saves wife and child from a burning building only to have the upstanding husband die. Zorro watches the killer ride off but never goes after him. I am left to wonder why he wouldn’t.
The Zorro I know has the fastest horse in the west and would chase the man to the end of the frontier. Instead Zorro stands emasculated while the now widowed woman cries over the corpse of her hubby.
A good point was the next scene where a tortured Zorro finds himself in the chapel yelling at the virgin mother trying to figure out what why he is being punished so. The next moment where Zorro is on his knees praying for strength to fight harder is one I appreciated. That is the Zorro I can love, not angst ridden likeBatman but devoted and passionate adventurer who knows when to pray for the strength to protect his family and his country.

What follows is a lovely scene where Zorro and his wife meet up and fight their way through the bad guy’s hideout and discover his nefarious scheme.

There are times where I like the movie, and times were I am annoyed that it is trying to rush me past the plot holes. The movie is having fun, and it is often genuine. Zorro is a hero who is not afraid to laugh, cry or love with passion and zeal. Tapping more into this humanity would have really elevated the flick.

All in all I would mildly recommend it for a Saturday afternoon viewing if you like popcorn action flicks.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Dragon's Lair

I lost so many quarters to this game

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Woman I love

The Woman I love
Nicole @ Center for Non-Violence Tour (2)Nicole @ Center for Non-Violence Tour (1)Nicole @ AllynsNicole headshot1

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

24: WTF?!?


Just watched 24
A show I try to avoid if I miss any episodes: what’s the point? But I can’t. It owns me 15 minutes in and kicks me out the bed at the end of the hour
Tonight, you find out who is the someone who had President Palmer killed in episode one, and Jack is trying to figure out who,
At the end the new main bad guy is talking to someone, some one you know is high up.
The camera pulls back and you see the president
The guy who only became president when terrorist killed last year’s president
The milquetoast guy who can’t make decisions to save his life
Suddenly he’s Moriarty in this web of deceit
I have to say it surprised me
And I’m not so sure I believe it
But damn did it blow my mind

Monday, April 03, 2006

The Return of the Sopranos

I was skeptic about the return of the Sopranos this year. I was sure that the show was going to either start slow, or start hard. I got a little of both. The first episode of the season seemed like a flip through a photo album. All the characters are posing, and standing in the old spots and it is like snapshots were being taken of their lives to catch us up to where we are now.
And then Tony gets capped by Uncle Junior at the end of the episode and it goes in a different direction.
Aside: I saw someone mention it online, cut I considered it too: if they say that this season did not happen because Tony never emerged from the coma then I am going to drive to California or wherever and kick David chase in the man bag for pulling the Rosanne ending.
Anyway, Tony spends two episodes in a coma and the cast gets to weep and strut acting chops as Tony plays himself but not himself in a dream sequence. The dream was getting on my nerves, as they always do in the Sopranos because, although I love tripped out visuals, I really showed up to see somebody get shot or punched in the eye.
Last night was Tony officially out of the coma, and I have to say it came at a good time because I was ready to chalk up the season like I did with Desperate housewives a long time ago (I can’t stand a show where all the characters are that unlikable, and create their own drama. I really only started watching it because of my crush on Eva Menendes but her character being so shallow and manipulative turned me off to the whole thing. I mean, I will still sleep with her if given the chance, but I will sneak out after with pictures in my camera phone and promptly delete her number. And yes, I know I will never get the chance.)
So Tony is out of the coma and handling business, and the gang is all there. Paully finds out his mother isn’t his Ma, and he gets all down in the dumps. He ends up doing something at the end of the episode that makes sense for the character and the situation but makes me hate him all the same.
Somewhere along the way I realized that these are bad people, who do bad things. I am developing this moral barometer of fictional characters that says if I wouldn’t want you doing that to me, I definitely don’t want you doing that to anyone else. So I stop liking the character, and I start to slowly cash out on the show. I have no idea where this sense of morality is coming from.
So Tony is back, and he is handling his crew, and I like the show again. Carmella tells him about a package, and to watch Vito, and I love her, even if she is worried about not loving Tony.
There is a moment where Tony is talking about how insignificant human beings are in the evolution of the planet and Christopher looks at him in disbelief and says “I don’t feel that way.” It is a brilliant piece of writing. Tony, post coma is having a bit of an existential crisis, he can’t figure out who he wants to be now that he has a second chance at life. He is trying to find his significance in the world. In that one line Christopher basically says it is a question he has never considered. Well done Mr. Chase
Tony has this conversation with a rocket scientist about atoms and quantum theory. At that point the Fiancé turns to me and says: “have these people been talking to you?” and I smile, and wish they had, but realize that we must be sharing the same ideaspace, or we all have “what the Bleep” on our list at blockbuster because the show is taking this very quantum turn in the narrative,
And I love it.
And I am glad to get a chance to see it
And I can’t wait to see how it ends.
Every time they show the preview cut for next week I get this giddy feeling like “I want to see that NOW!”
And I like that sense of anticipation.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Dave Chappelle Block Party All Star Tour

It was a great night
Sure I am now immeasurably behind on a very unwieldy objective, but that does little to erase my huge grin and internal sense of self satisfaction.
I am also dismissive of the predicament caused by my overbearing need to scribe these events as they occurred, and the devastation it will manifest in my sleep time.
What has lifted my spirits and encouraged me to continue on. Why just 4 simple words:
The Dave Chappelle Block Party!!!

Tonight the Fiancé & I caught the last show on the Block Party Tour as it berthed in Dayton. It was a quick jaunt from Nicole’s apartment. We left at 4:30 and got there by 5. She drove because my batteries were low by that time. We had dinner at Olive Garden and shared a few jokes before stepping out into the world of the concert.

Our first and only mistake of the evening: Showing up on time.

Not long ago we attended the Mos Def concert in Columbus to promote his “The New Danger Album”. Mr. Mighty Mos was 3 hours late to that engagement. This meant that the doors opened at 7, we arrived promptly at 7, and Mos did not step onto stage until 10 pm. Sure the man rocked the house until 1am, but people were literally clamoring for entertainment by the time he sauntered out and took control of our souls. To this day I reserve the right to body shot Mos if I ever see him, and follow up with a yell “Respect my time Bitch!” and if his entourage/ security team hasn’t kicked my ass I will try to explain to him the circumstance and how “I love your work and I respect you as an artist.”

Also on the bill was Ms Erykah Badu, who pulled a similar 2 hour late entrance at Bogart’s in Clifton. I am not a domestic abuser so retaliation for Erykah’s indiscretions will have to be left to my more than capable Fiancé.

As an aside: I know I am mister late, but it is rare that I am more than 15 to 20 minutes off, let alone 2 hours (Nicole’s will disagree but she is a different matter all together) and If I have more than 5 people waiting who have paid anymore than $30 to see me then I deserve to get a kidney punch for being so disrespectful. Weddings and Funerals not withstanding.

So we arrive at the EJ Nutter center after fighting for 25 minutes to get through horrible traffic that separated us from our destination by the equivalent distance of approximately 2 city blocks. And we work our way into the building, passing security who made me empty my pockets to be sure I was not carrying a camera= A fruitless effort as many camera flashes accompanied the entertainment of the show. How you can really expect to control cameras in this age of multipurpose camera phones is beyond my comprehension?

So we are seated and ready for a show at 7:00. Club music is being boomed around the very large arena. A diverse group of African Americans and Caucasians are already seated and in motion towards or away from seats around us. The music makes Nicole and I uncomfortable as it is, in no way, indicative of the music that will be played when the concert starts. We are treated to the unedited versions of David Banner’s “Don’t play with me (Run Girl)” C Murder’s “Down for my Ni&&as” and other such contemporary smut. It sparks a lively discussion between us on how it might be inappropriate to play such provocative music in mixed company. I mention that The Program director for the WIZ tried to blacklist D4L’s “Laffy Taffy” song until it became the most requested song on the station. We discussed how this was further confirmation on this idiocy of the masses, and how they seem to crave intellectual depravity and moral debauchery.

The Nutter center was not filled anywhere near capacity, but the mid to high levels are packed with people. Nicole and I notice all the middle to late age white people that are actually a large part of the audience. We note how this will be a problem when they realize that this is a hip Hop concert and not a comedy show. Our concerns were made reality when the white patrons in front of us frequently left their seats during the performances and eventually left early when they figured Dave Chappelle would not return after the Erykah Badu set.

So the crowd is mixed, young and old. And we know that many of them are going to be sorely disappointed by the show. The Fiancé and I are Hip Hop Fans, we came to see Mos Def, who we thought would be performing alone. I screamed like a little girl when I found that Mos would be performing with his longtime Black Star partner Talib Kweli. I have been waiting since 2000 to see Black Star perform together. I would not be disappointed this evening. At the point when Mos decided to branch out into different medium (TV: Def Poetry Jam & Movies: Monster’s Ball, The Italian Job) I was wounded by the possibility that he would not return to hip hop My fears were put to rest when he released The New Danger Album, which took some getting used to at first, but grew on me as a powerful soul classic akin to his first effort: Black On Both Sides, (which also involved a sincere learning curve. The two albums are strong recommendations for those who enjoy the soulful crooning of Mrs. Lauryn Hill, as Mos Def is one of the only other MCs to successfully blend soulful blues and hip hop sensibilities with provocative heartfelt lyrics.)

So we are waiting for the show to begin. I begin to get restless by 8:15 because I have been sitting still for an hour, and I have a ton of work to do, which could have been completed if my laptop had been allowed in the venue. Nicole is also facing similar time crunch challenges and she felt equally as wasteful of her valuable time. I was ready to upgrade Mos Def to a two piece and a biscuit on our fateful encounter when the lights darkened and some random comic came on the floor. The time was 8:45. It was 2 hours and 45 minutes after we arrived in Dayton, and an hour and 45 minutes after we had arrived in our seats. He was the warm up comic, a local guy who really needed to work on his timing. I think his name was Ron something, I completely forgot as he told tired weed jokes and “I was so high” this one time jokes. He played race cards and joked about how smoking with Whites is different than smoking with blacks, and joked how he mistook an air freshener for a tree when he was too high. The guy w as decent but not great.

And then the show started for real. Dave Chappelle was intro’d and walked onto stage in his cool stride. He bent down like he does on stage. I always assumed he did this because the lights are in his eyes up there and he likes to see the crowd. I have never seen Dave in a more intimate setting than a stadium arena so I can never be sure if this bending to his knees is a staple of his posture or simply a habit. So Dave begins to tell jokes. He immediately goes into an obviously rehearsed bit about the seeing Meth Labs, and the time he got into a fight with a Meth crazed racist. I say obvious because I heard the bit before when we saw him in Louisville at the begging of the school year. I was a little worried that the entire show would be a retread of material I had heard before. I was pleasantly surprised but frequently I knew the punch line before he got there. His amiable and unpredictable nature made it a pleasant experience.

(Back in the day when Lou and I were still in school I quickly discovered that Lou had “bits” he would do that he had pilfered from when comedy central used to rotate comedian programming only. I was at first annoyed at how he would repeat jokes so often. Later I began to work on the routine with him, playing the straight man to his charismatic mischief. It became one of those unspoken synergistic moments where we clicked. All I had to do was get on board.)

So he talks about how he fought the meth addict, and I laughed because it is a good bit, made better I guess by frequent practice and work on the timing. He embellished the story a little more. What was before a fight to a standstill ended with Dave inviting the man for food after a 45 minute beat down, under the terms that the meth addict stopped using racial epithets. The racist said he was too high to stop. Dave also joked at the expense of Jessica Simpson and Will and Grace.

And then Dave gave the show over to Dead Prez. Now, I know Dead Prez. Their music was thought provoking and catchy at the same time. The weight of their subject matter served as a rationalization as to why they are as obscure as they are. Their music encourages revolution, and it did not capture the attention of the audience who seemed more than a little disappointed that Dave relinquished his show to a bunch of shouting nobody’s. I loved the set, despite the lackluster crowd participation that sapped the show’s energy. I promised myself that I would make good on my multiple attempts to acquire their CD.

They only did about 20 to thirty minutes and it was sad that the crowd did not feel them because they were actually good. It made me wish, as I always do, that the show was in a smaller venue than an arena. It is difficult to maintain the energy in such a large room if everyone isn’t a hardcore fan. Too many apathetic people drain the energy from the experience which will leave you feeling untouched by the music. It was the Cincinnati Outkast show that taught Nicole and I this lesson. The only show we ever saw hold the hearts and minds of a stadium arena was the 2002 Chronic t our, where Eminem and Dre held sway over nearly 10 thousand people in Ohio States arena.

Chappelle returned to perform again and went into a ribald bit on the harm of using proper terminology to discuss a woman’s genitalia, and how men should never be “woman doctors.” He then passes the show off to one Mr. Talib Kweli.
Talib is quickly joined by Hi Tek and they hits the floor with “Move Somethin” a song from off his Reflection Eternal Album. He performs a rousting rendition of his recent hits “I Try” and “Get By” As he is joined onstage by his Black Star power partner Mos Def. Mos and Talib collaborate beautifully on the song, with Mos overlapping Talib’s lyrics with his bluesy voice. He runs across the final “bye” in the hook to get by and my heart swirls in my chest. I want those two brothers I the studio together so bad I would smack my momma for the chance at a new Album. I mean it, Ethel would literally have to take one for the sake of Hip Hop, and that is not a promise I have ever made before. Mos takes the stage to solo “Close Edge” At this point I was yelling Black Star lyrics at the top of my lungs and I can assume that I severely irritated the white lady in front of me because she left her seat and did not return. I didn’t care. If Mos is onstage singing “Umi Says” then I am singing Umi Says right along with him. That is why we are all here right?

Mos performs dances to an old Aretha song before the beat drops on “Ms. Fat booty” Mos turns the song into a medley incorporating a reggae version of “Bonita Alpplebaum” and a spoken word of the most memorable verse in Pharcydes “passin me by” (My dear my dear my dear, you do not know me but I know you very well, and let me tell you bout the feelings I feel for you…). They also performed a tribute to JDilla who recently passed, playing some of his greatest hits. The one song the most people seemed to know was Pharcyde’s “Can’t keep running away.” Mos at his most entertaining as he wanders the crowd as Talib freestyles over the Kanye “Get em high” beat.

It was here in the show that I wished we were at Bogart’s because my frequent yelling and gesturing would have been lost in the sea of energy in the more intimate venue. Unfortunately I looked like a lone epileptic in a statue garden as the neighbors in the adjoining chairs sat solemn and un-aroused by the realness being broadcast in the Nutter Center at that moment. I wanted to shake every person in the room and yell “do you know when the last time Mos Def & Talib Kweli performed in the same venue? At least 4 years in the Midwest, four years. I found their album in 99 and I dreamed of this union, dreamed of it. Did I tell you I would physically hit my mother for a chance to listen to their next full album collaboration?!?!”

They tore down the house, and then backed away so Dave could return to tell jokes about the Passion of Christ, and exposing himself in public. Dave also revealed that his wife was somewhere in the audience and that he was Muslim. A funny joke was how he watched the passion and wanted to encourage Jesus to fight back due to his difference in religious beliefs.

The funniest joke of the evening was when Dave relished in telling an unruly fan “your momma’s Rick James Bitch, She’s a super Freak, she’s super freaky yeah.” It was spot on and got the room in an uproar.

After all this Erykah Badu hit the stage after a long intro set. She sung “Green Eyes, and scratched a few notes. She later coughed several times which inferred she was not in top condition for the show but she remained theatrical and entertaining. She was in a full hat and coat for the first song, and then removed it to do the “whoo” song, (not sure if that is the real title,) it isn’t even a full song but more a crowd participation exercise, with Erykah demanding the crowd to follow her in chanting whoo to the beat several times. After that Erykah’s did “On & On” from her first album, forming a medley with “…& On,” the equal from the Mama’s gun album. Her swan song was “Call Tyrone” which got the attention of most of the African A merican females in the audience, who got up to dance and throw hands wildly to the beat.

It was during Erykah’s slow start set that the Whites began their mass exodus. It was very disruptive, the speed with which they got their coats and excused themselves through the rows. Dave returned to close the show and plug the movie that hits on Friday. And then the strangest thing happened.

Nobody on stage left. Actually more people showed up. Talib returned, Mos came back, and Dead Pres returned. The stage filled with these musical giants who began freestyling and generally goofing off. It was one of the most unpredictably wonderful moments I could ever have borne witness to. Nicole and I quickly relinquished our mid level seats to get closer to the action. We got up to the rails to the floor, which was as far as the stalwart security would allow us. We rocked out as the Mos drummed on the drum machine and Dave cracked up among the musicians. Erykah and Dead Prez began jamming to “Block on Lock” and the remaining crowd began flailing to the music. Nicole was ecstatic that she got to see the real version of the song performed with the Badu version.

And then it was over. The music began to taper off, and the acts left to return to their entourages and busses. Nicole and I stayed for a moment to see if the crowd would encourage an encore. As previously stated the crowd was not Hardcore, so they quietly began to shuffle away. Nicole and I walked back to the car hand in hand, enamored and giddy at what we had experienced. We wanted to write Chappelle a thank you note for bringing us such a rich musical experience. We talked about it all the way back to the car, and most of the way home.

Truly a great show
Crap, it is 3am, and I have class in 3 hours.
I got to go.
I am going to hate tomorrow
But yesterday was worth it.
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