Friday, August 29, 2008

My 99 cents no. 6: Apache




A friend of mine is having an 80s-themed party but then again, who isn't these days? I'm excited, though, because it gives me a reason to once again take up my quest for the perfect faux gold dookie rope chain a la Big Daddy Kane [any assistance anyone can offer would be great] and spend the entire night doing the running man.


I imagine my night at the 80s party could easily turn into slurring the words to 'Like a Virgin' with the friends that vodka and cranberry has won me, but I hope against all hope that that is not the case. What do I want to hear? Hopefully, I'll hear Apache by Sugarhill Gang. A funky song with a built-in dance without the nuances of the 'Crank that Soulja Boy' will definitely get the party started. 'Apache' is one of the singles on the historic group's second album '8th Wonder', released in 1979. It's a crazy dance track that reached new heights of popularity with an episode of Fresh Prince. Oh, what shenanigans Will and Carlton get into! Demonstrated below:


And for the full song, click below:


MixwitMixwit make a mixtapeMixwit mixtapes


Are you ready to dance yet? I am.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

So You're Watching the DNC: Politics for Dummies

As I've said, I know very little about politics, and they say if one person has a question there are probably a bunch of people that have that same question. So I present you with the first in what will probably a series: Now and Later's Politics for Dummies. Learning is fun when we do it together!

Chapter 1: Let's Get Started
We're all watching the Convention now, but there's a lot that went into getting that spectacle up and running. First, the Democratic National Committee has to pick delegates and then it has to organize the events, the speakers, and the general fabulosity of the Convention. Various cities submit proposals and then the Committee selects a city based on whether or not it's built to accommodate all those people. Delegates and alternates are chosen according to rules decided on by Committee to account for things like affirmative action and inclusion. Each state has its own delegate selection plan, chosen based on population and strength of democratic voting.

Chapter 2: The Delegates
There are two types of delegates at the convention: pledged and unpledged. Within the pledged delegates there are district-level delegates, at-large delegates, and pledged leader and elected official [PLEO] delegates.
-District-level delegates: the first to be chosen in each state, these delegates are elected from different districts [usually congressional]. The delegates must support a candidate or can choose not to. Those that don't are called 'uncommitted'.
- At-large delegates: after the primary or caucus in a state, at-large delegates are elected to represent a candidate in proportion to how many votes they received. These are the last delegates that are chosen.
- PLEO delegates: these delegates are state-wide delegates who support a candidate that are chosen based on the state-wide vote. PLEO delegates are usually mayors, state elected officials, state legislature and other local, county, and state Party leaders.
Unpledged delegates are generally referred to as 'super delegates' on the news. These delegates make up about 19% of the delegates at the Convention and include former democratic governors or congress members, members of the DNC [all DNC members are super delegates], and "distinguished party leaders". All delegates are registered voters that identify as Democrats and are involved in a candidates' campaign.

Chapter 3: The Platform
The Democratic National Committee unveils its National Platform for every election at the Convention. Through a lengthy series of meetings and committees, the Platform Standing Committee drafts what it gathers Democrats like and don't like. Read this year's platform HERE, the title of which is "Renewing America's Promise". The main planks of the platform, which, if you've been watching TV lately, you have a pretty good sense of are: A Strong, Respected America; A Strong, Growing Economy; Strong, Healthy Families; and A Strong American Community [pinched directly from the DNC website]. This, of course, is only the bare bones bit and of course the Democrats have planned a multifaceted attack. The damn thing is 94 pages long, but the link is there for you the peruse so as to get into the finer points of Democratic strategy. From what I saw, though, it looks pretty good.

Chapter 4: At the Convention
And now the main event: four days of inspiration [we hope]. On the first day of the convention, delegates have to report the Rules Committee to iron out any last kinks and hear from the Credentials Committee, which addresses seating issues. Typically, Tuesday night at the Convention is about debating the issues and the tactics that should be included in the platform. Wednesdays are about the formal nomination and seconding of the candidate and the roll call of the states. Usually, the presumptive vice presidential nominee speaks on Wednesdays. Between the 50 states, the Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa, there are 4,419 votes up for grabs, made by 4,440 delegates. The numbers don't quite match up because some of the delegates outside of the contiguous United States have only a half vote. A candidate needs the majority of the votes to get the nomination; right now, it takes 2,210 votes to get it. Thursday, the final night of the convention, features the official nomination of the presidential and vice presidential candidates and the presidential candidate's acceptance speech. The whole thing is called to a close until the next four years.


Most of my information came from the DNC website and here. I know this is super late, but I'd started this a couple days ago and just ended up getting really busy. Enjoy, and go watch the speeches tonight!

Night 2 @ the DNC


I really have no business "covering" the convention, as there's so much I don't know about politics, but I'm going to do it anyway. Bear with me.

I missed some of the goings on, but I caught all the big stuff. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick delivered a good speech, but I wasn't terribly impressed. I did really like Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer's speech, though. He looked the part of a rancher turned governor, complete with a lariat instead of a tie. His speech was very forceful and very much in favor of Obama. The analysts had all remarked on the first night that the Democrats weren't going after McCain with enough force, but I think Gov. Schweitzer put that concern to rest.

Hillary Clinton did a fabulous job. She really seemed sincere and as far as I could see and she did a fairly good job of putting the animosity of her supporters to bed. People are stuck in their ways and are going to do what they're going to do, but the open-minded Clinton reporters are going to obey their leader's marching orders, I think. Clinton drove home the point that electing McCain would screw us allA lot of people called into CNN to comment on that night and of the 15 minutes I watched, only one person complained about Hillary, so overall I think it went over pretty well. And by the way, I loved that color she was wearing.

So now what? I hope last night was enough to get the bitter Hillary supporters to suck it up and not vote for John McCain. That crazy old man...God help us.

[Funny joke from my cousin: "If McCain is the answer, then the question must be, 'who has a platinum AARP card?'"]

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Michelle Obama at the DNC!


As most of you know, last night was the first night of the DNC. I didn't get to see a lot of it because I was out seeing Tropic Thunder [more on that later], but I turned on my TV just in time for the montage about Michelle Obama where her family members. former co-workers and husband talked about her commitment to community. After an introduction by her older brother Craig Robinson, Obama came out and oh my goodness. Even the uber cynical analysts covering the convention said they haven't seen so many people with tears in their eyes at any other convention. She was absolutely amazing, and you really felt her speech was coming from her heart, as cliched as that sounds. And of course she's a lawyer, so public speaking is second nature to her, but she didn't sound like a lawyer. Something in her diction sounded more like a preacher or a spoken word poet than a lawyer, read: a lot more natural. Very, very inspiring. She came off as very personable, as relatable, and very intelligent. With her, you feel she covers all bases of modern womanhood: a loving mother, a working mother, and an equal partner in her marriage. Obama did a wonderful job of tying together several very important threads in the interest of party unity and of her position as a black woman: the 80th anniversary of women receiving the right to vote, the 45th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 'I Have a Dream' speech, a well-played salute to Hillary Clinton for "putting 18 million cracks in that glass ceiling", and one to to her husband's running mate, blue-collar champion Joe Biden. Take that, conservatives! Elitism my ass.

I have to say, she was very well dressed. She wore a lovely, tasteful knee-length dress with three quarter sleeves and a turqoise brooch which may or may not have been part of the dress. Not stodgy, not overly sexy: all the qualities we saw in the stylings of Jackie O. I think Mrs. Obama would definitely give former French pop singer and wife of PM Nicolas Sarkozy, Carla Bruni a run for her money as everyone's favorite First Lady. Watch the speech HERE.

Red Hot! part 3


Long, red hair, bedroom eyes, and and seemingly endless legs made Jessica Rabbit one of the scorchingest redheads to cross the silver screen, even if she was a figment of cartoonist Tex Avery's imagination. I know it's a bit odd to include a cartoon in my list of favorite redheads, but I've always loved pin up art and the sexy women in old Tom & Jerry cartoons and the like, especially Red Hot Riding Hood [also created by Tex Avery].

The breakout star of 1988's 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit', Jessica Rabbit is Roger's human wife and is at the top of the list of people who could've framed Roger. The movie is campy good fun with a heavy dose of film noir, though in parts the green screen stuff isn't quite right. No matter. Jessica stops traffic with her fabulous figure and smoky voice, done by Kathleen Turner. I absolutely love her most famous line in the movie:"I'm not bad; I'm just drawn that way". There's a lot that could be read into it about the price of beauty, but I'd rather not get into that now. The way she says that makes you want to believe she's innocent of any crime but at the same time cross your fingers that she's every bit the bad girl she looks. Remember, ladies: gentlemen prefer blondes because they don't know any better.


Links
An interesting take on Jessica & Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Why Don't You Do Right? Sung by Jessica Rabbit

Monday, August 25, 2008

Red Hot! part 2

Raquel Welch
Redhead number 2 is Raquel Welch. Her hair's not terribly red in this photo, but it's red enough for me. Born Raquel Tejada in 1940, Raquel was the product of an Irish mother and a Bolivian father. She made her mark in beauty contests and quickly became one of the queens of the 60s. The people responsible for her career saw great potential in the budding star but were worried about her not being palatable enough for white audiences, so they changed her last name. She fought to keep her own first name, though. Raquel Welch had a body that just wouldn't quite, though many would argue that her body of work wasn't much to write home about. Her turn in One Million Years B.C. featured her in a little leather nothing bravely facing the prehistoric world. Some call her performance in One Million Years B.C. the biggest turn for the bikini stateside. Playboy called her the 'Most Desirable Woman' of the 70s. Raquel Welch is still around now, though in tasteful suits rather than fur and leather bikinis. Actually, she's been known to look back at her career and say that being a sex symbol was at times nasty work. Wikipedia says she was in a CBS show called Welcome to the Captain that started this year. I've never heard of it, but maybe it was good.

Raquel Welch on Wikipedia

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Red Hot!

Wednesday before last, I took the plunge and colored my hair red. I've long wanted to add some color to my dark brown hair, and after having scores of people stop mid-sentence to comment on how much gray hair I have at 20 years old, I decided it was time. I started to get scared, so it's not the vibrant red I'd originally pictured, but it's red enough for the time being, and I think I'll brighten it more later on. In the meantime, I thought I'd honor some of my favorite redheads past and present.

First, though, a historical side note: redheads owe their undeserved reputation as short-tempered in large part to the Vikings. The Vikings in turn were painted with a single, insane brushstroke because of their special ops warriors, the Berserkers. The Berserker lifestyle can be summed up easily: pillage, burn, eat the babies. They were the fiercest warriors and raiders, spurred on despite fatal wounds by hallucinogenic drugs. These Scandanavian warriors spent a lot of time wreaking havoc in Ireland, and carried off many red-haired women, who bred little red-headed Vikings. Who then raided Ireland.

Lucille Ball
Lucille Ball was a powerhouse redhead, though her vibrant color came from a bottle. I Love Lucy is one of the most-watched shows in TV history, and for good reason. It's absolutely hilarious, though as the more I watched it, the more I realized it was pretty sexist. But maybe that's the genius in it; in coddling the sexual status quo she made a killing, and had more control and more clout than a lot of people in Hollywood, male or female. She started off as a blonde B movie babe with MGM but with a little dye and a lot of pluck, became the silly redhead America knew and loved for 30 minutes a week. She became the first woman to run a major television production studio. Thirty years and five Emmys later, she's one of the most recognizable stars of all time. Lucille Ball passed away in 1989.
More about Lucille's fabulous career

Thursday, August 21, 2008

And so it continues + 99 cents

Hello friends. My painkillers make me kind of dizzy and looking at my computer screen for more than a few minutes makes me feel icky and Aunt Flo is visiting, leaving medoubled over in pain, so it looks like I will continue to neglect my poor little blog for the rest of the week. But please, take a look at some of my most-read posts:

Flashing lights [lights...lights...lights]
Mighty morphin good time
Bathing beauty!
Vanity's in the eye of the beholder


99 cents: Since I've Been Loving You by Led Zeppelin (1973). I heard it at my friend's house while we were cooking last weekend, and after the first 30 seconds of the song, I was sold. I love that it starts out with the darker sound of a blues guitar in a smoky little downstairs bar but it really works itself up into all the distortion and the screaming...there's just so much pain there. Until last Saturday, my experience with Led Zeppelin hadn't extended past the fact that 'Stairway to Heaven' was almost always the last song played at all my middle school dances. Was that just my town or did that happen everywhere? Zeppelin is such a stoner cliche at this point that it never really occurred to me to investigate, but I definitely stand corrected. Since I've Been Loving You is on repeat on my iPod. Here it is, plus Stairway to Heaven as a matter of nostalgia:

MixwitMixwit make a mixtapeMixwit mixtapes


Download legally. Better posting coming as soon as the Oxycodone stops making me dizzy. Cheers.

Monday, August 18, 2008

*sad face*

I'm getting my wisdom teeth out tomorrow [Monday], which means I will be out of commission for about the next week. But! There's lots of fun stuff up ahead for when I get back of my feet. So in the mean time, tell a friend to tell a friend and have a nice Monday.


Undergoing MyBlogLog Verification

Friday, August 15, 2008

Julia Child, Spy

Oh, say it ain't so, Julia! Files released this Thursday by the National Archives said that Julia Child, as well as Ernest Hemingway's son, President Roosevelt's son, Sterling Hayden and a bunch of other famous people, worked as spies during WWII. She was neither married nor cooking in front of a television audience when she applied. Her stint as a spy came after walking out on an advertising job, a decision she called "impulsive" in a note attached to her application.

In the summer of '42, Child, known then as McWilliams, started out doing clerical work for the Office of Strategic Services and then later began working directly with the program's Director as a research assistant. She was so good at her job that she received the Emblem of Meritorious Civilian Citizenship. The OSS was absorbed by the CIA after the war.

Julia Child is most known for making meat and potatoes seem trés pasé by tailoring French cuisine for less adventurous American palettes. She became the first woman to be inducted into the Culinary Institute Hall of Fame. After years of creating magic in the kitchen, Child passed away in 2004.

The headline about Julia Child being a spy was in big blue letters on today's Metro. I find it interesting that she made the biggest splash with her clandestine activities when Sterling Hayden, who played Capt. McCluskey in 'The Godfather' and Brig. Gen. Jack D. Ripper in 'Dr. Strangelove', was given only a passing mention in the more complete MSNBC.com article. Why? Because she was a mild-mannered woman working from the two least threatening places: the kitchen and PBS? Because we see her as wonderfully prim and proper? Either way, Julia Child being a spy makes her that much cooler, and I think I'll pick up one of her cookbooks on my way back to school.



Links
Julia Child interview on YouTube
Julia Child on Biography.com

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

This Week at the Movies

Woody Allen's Babes in Barcelona
Woody Allen is continuing his reemergence by releasing the comedy Vicky Christina Barcelona this Friday, August 15. VCB is about Vicky, the engaged girl on her way to stability and happiness, and Christina, the free-spirit filmmaker, getting sexually and romantically tangled up with a spicy Spaniard and his lunatic ex-wife. I'd heard about this movie a while back, but in typical Woody Allen fashion, the movie was more or less a secret until recently. It was shown at Cannes and has gotten good reviews, especially Penelope Cruz's performance as the whackjob ex. I'm hoping it's great, despite the cliche of the hot Spaniard and loose Americans out for holiday fun; some are calling it the best Woody Allen comedy in years. VCB better be good since it has a great cast: Scarlett Johansson, Scarlett Johansson's boobs, Javier Bardem, Rebecca Hall, Patricia Hall, and of course, the beautiful Penelope Cruz. There's supposedly a threesome in the movie as well, so look out for that. I love that Scarlet Johansson keeps popping up in Woody Allen movies (Match Point, Scoop, and now this one), even though she swears she's not his muse. She's not a terrible muse to have, if you ask me, but that's between the two of them.

Vicky Christina Barcelona on IMDb

OMG, Ben Stiller's a Bigot!
Ben Stiller's 'Tropic Thunder' opens today. As you probably know, Tropic Thunder is the story of actors shooting a big budget but shenanigans and setbacks ensue, forcing the actors to become who they're supposed to be portraying in the movie. I saw the trailer for this the night I went to see The Dark Knight, and it looked hilarious. This looks like the best Ben Stiller movie in a while, a movie where isn't the same awkward everyman he tends to play. And movie without *gasp!* Owen Wilson or Will Ferrell! I didn't think it possible, but I'm glad it finally happened.

Tropic Thunder is opening admist protest, but not for Robert Downey Jr.'s somewhat uncomfortable portrayal of an actor who puts on blackface for his role. Groups for the rights of the mentally handicapped are in an uproar because Ben Stiller's character, called Simple Jack in the movie with in a movie, is called a retard on several occassions. Come on, people. You're just now getting riled up over this? I think you'd be hard pressed to even account for all the times people are called retards in comedies like this. Or faggots, or any number of generally offensive things. Stiller says the real point is to lampoon the self-absorbed actors who take mentally handicapped characters and make them warm, fuzzy caricatures to boost their own careers. Joke's on you, Tom Hanks. As for the blackface, I'm suprised, a bit pleasantly at that, that no one has really said anything. Perhaps after the New Yorker's Obama spoof cover, people are taking a second look and appreciating satire. I'll admit that when I saw the blackface bit in the theatre, I had to watch a bit more to make sure it wasn't offensive before I laughed, because of course, blackface has a very ugly history. It's hilarious, though, and I plan to go see the movie, Special Olympics committee be damned. I have a new respect for Mr. Stiller for putting out this movie.

Monday, August 11, 2008

R.I.P. Isaac Hayes

If you haven't heard already, soul singer and composer Isaac Hayes was found unconscious next to his treadmill yesterday. I have yet to find out what he passed away from, but when I find out, I will be sure to let you know. It's been a bad week for entertainers all around--Morgan Freeman's care accident, Bernie Mac's passing, and now Hayes--but this is especially sad and eerie because Tabitha of Cover that Mother commented on my Rick James post that Isaac Hayes is known mostly as the voice of Chef on South Park.

Isaac Hayes, born in a Tennesse shack, was a self-taught musician who had actually wanted to be a doctor when he grew up. He was most famous for his 1969 album 'Hot Buttered Soul' and the soundtrack for the hit movie 'Shaft', starring Richard Roundtree. His theme for 'Shaft' got him an Academy Award, and he was nominated for another Oscar for the score, making him the first black artist to take home an Academy Award in that category. His 'The Look of Love', a dreamy ballad lasting just over 11 minutes has helped boost the careers of some contemporary artists as well: Ashanti used it in 'Rain on Me' and Jay-Z used it on 'Can I Live'. More recently, Hayes worked as the voice of Chef on South Park, but left after becoming offended by the show's pokes at Scientology. Mr. Hayes was only 65 when he passed.

Links
Isaac Hayes on MSNBC.com

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Hodge Podge

Happy Saturday. Blogs seem to be Monday through Friday things, but I might as well post. I guess people will see it on Monday. Just a couple things:

- A couple weeks ago I wrote a post about Barack Obama. A lot of people are really curious about the 'Do You Smell What Barack is Cookin'?' t shirt. You can get it HERE from BustedTees. They have a lot of really cute stuff over there, so take a moment to browse.

- J Records is heralding the triumphant return of Mr. Brown Sugar himself. There's a D'angelo album in the works, set to be released early next year. Let's hope this isn't some sort of nasty rumor.

- The Hitchcock film poll is still going on so please vote! Only a handful of people have voted, and as anyone who's suffered through statistics knows, 12 is not a good sample size.

- Find me on MySpace and check out my Twitter stream.

Enjoy the weekend!

Friday, August 8, 2008

My 99 cents no. 3: Summer Breeze

Announcements:
- I created a MySpace that has all the stuff that I feel would clutter up this blog [sometimes there's too much going on in my head]. Find it HERE and thanks in advance for the add ^_~ More social networking to come soon, I imagine.
- The Hitchcock film poll will be closing this weekend, so vote soon.

Just wanted to end what has been a wet, chilly week for those of us in the Northeast with a little listening that'll get us ready for the return of the sun. Summer Breeze by Seals & Crofts charted at no. 2 in the country in 1972. It's a sweet, lilting song with a touch of sadness and the simple lyrics in the chorus are nifty. As is often the case, I feel like there may be a deeper meaning to lyrics that I'm missing, but it still feels good. Actually, the song itself is as minimalistic as the 70s got [think disco diva strings]. At this point, this song is almost a cliche, and I don't say that to be rude, and you should have it on your iPod if you don't already. Download legally, please.

Enjoy the weekend away from work.

Links
Seals & Crofts on Wikipedia [I think this article's pretty reliable]

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

R.I.P. Rick James

Four years ago today, R&B and funk lost Rick James, who died at age 56 in his sleep of natural causes. It makes me feel so old to say this but yes, it really was four years ago. It seems like just yesterday Rick was waddling down the aisle at the BET Awards singing 'Fire and Desire' with former main squeeze Teena Marie, or as I like to call her, R&B's Great White Hope [even if she is currently signed to Cash Money. Oy vey].

Rick James was born James Johnson, Jr. in 1948 in Buffalo, NY. He made a name for himself in the 70s and 80s churning out raunchy lyrics and some of the funkiest basslines this side of Parliament. He also brought some other artists along for the ride: he boosted Teena Marie's career with 'Fire and Desire', created the girl group The Mary Jane Girls, and let MC Hammer sample 'Super Freak' for 'Can't Touch This'. The two snagged a Grammy in 1990. A nasty cocaine habit and a sexual encounter that was straight out of a snuff film landed James in jail, rehab, and the hospital.

Unfortunately, Rick James is remembered mostly as a coked-out womanhater. He's also distilled to a series of soundbites: the chorus to 'Super Freak', 'Cocaine is a helluva drug', and, most famously, 'I'm Rick James, bitch!' These last two can be attributed to skits on Chappelle's show, where Dave Chappelle puts on a wig and acts a fool [Rick is also in the skits]. I think most deceased artists' careers become a series of soundbites because it fits really nicely into a 90-second [at most] clip on the news. When James Brown died, his entire career was 'I Feel Good' and for contrast, 'It's a Man's World'. The Beatles are the only group that I can think of that have escaped that but that's because they were beyond huge.

My friend told me that she was watching the skit when it first came out in the common room of her boarding school dorm, and everyone laughed when Chappelle went, 'I'm Rick James, bitch!' but then turned to her and went, 'Who's Rick James?' For shame. And then at the BET Awards,
a lot of people of my generation didn't know who that fat old man was in the aisle, but as soon as he got on stage, the first words out of his mouth were, 'I'm Rick James, bitch!' and it all clicked because of Chappelle. I doubt he would've even been asked to perform at the awards if it weren't for the skits. I rock an "I'm Rick James, bitch!" t-shirt on a regular basis, but it kinda stinks that that's really all he's remembered for. The man had an incredible voice [see my Mixwit tape below for 'Fire and Desire', a slow jam duet for the ages].


Mixwit








Adding fuel to the fire:


I couldn't find part one. If you see it on YouTube, let me know.


Links
Video for 'Give it to Me, Baby' on YouTube

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Artist Formerly Known as Camille


If you have Twitter and you don't find me dreadfully boring, may we please connect? No one's following me and I have no one to follow. I am trés sad. See my sporadic Twitter updates in the right side bar.
____________________________________________


A while back, I promised you guys a little something about what some call Prince's feminine side, named Camille. You could make the argument that with all his ruffles, hairspray, and skintight pants Prince didn't need to have a female side, but he did. Prince recorded his vocals at a slow pace and raised them to a female pitch and, like Boticelli's Venus emerging from the sea, Camille was born. Venus Camille was supposed to release her own album in 1986, but it got sucked into some sort of 80s music black hole, never to be seen again. Lucky for us, Camille made her voice heard on Sign O' the Times in songs like 'If I Was Your Girlfriend', a song that TLC later covered. It's gender-bending at its most confusing: Camille is a girl and should have the parts to qualify for a girlfriend i.e. best friend, right? Well yes, but Prince referred to Camille as a boy. 'Girlfriend' is the plea of a man who wants to share the intimacy of gal-pals with a woman he loves [romantically?]. Do you have a headache yet?

After a while, it wasn't enough for Camille to play second fiddle to Prince. At a time when Prince was being accused by his black fans of selling out, Camille slapped the white out of Prince, the product of an interracial marriage, and released The Black Album, a funk odyssey sure to shut up the *duo's* black critics. Prince freaked out, though, and recalled all the albums, explaining the Camille, who was unfortunately under the influence of a force dubbed 'Spooky Electric', had complete creative control. LoveSexy was put out in place of The Black Album, which got released in the 90s anyways. Critics generally choose The Black Album over LoveSexy [a case of 'once you go black, you never go back'? You decide.] although it was a big hit in Europe.

Here's my theory, which may be a bit of a stretch. I think Prince may have been telling us something about how all things is feminine and masculine at the same time and the beauty of the androgynous. Even psychologists have said that people who are best equipped to handle life are ones who have, in equal measure, stereotypically masculine qualities--aggressivity, for example--and feminine, such as compassion. And while we fawn over the Adriana Limas of the world, women all over are cutting their hair a la Rihanna because they know that there's something incredibly sexy and a little unconventional about a pretty face framed with boyish hair. [For the record, I cut my off all my hair way before Rihanna did...can't stand her but even I can't deny she's gorgeous] Camille and the hermaphrodite symbol The Purple one used in place of his name, and as the shape of one of the most immediately recognizable guitars are perhaps a message about something transcendental, spiritual or supercool that we haven't figure out yet. Actually, The DaVinci Code talks about something to this effect and does a much better job of explaining it than I am. Read it.

But still there's 'If I Was Your Girlfriend'. The rhetorical questions at the end of the track are just plain confusing. Genius work of an admitted Gemini? Hot tranny mess? Let Camille tell you about it in his own words:







Mixwit


Monday, August 4, 2008

Vinyl is the new iPod

Vinyl, much like cowboy boots, is something that has only faded in popularity but is now making a very serious comeback. A lot of djs have refused to succomb to the laptop as the method of party-starting, and nerds and baby boomers alike have added to their collections. Some say the only thing that's different now is the fact that major labels are starting to press more records. While tiny, independent stores, bursting with retro charm, have kept collectors in vinyl even after the advent of cassettes, CDs, and finally mp3s, bigger stores are getting in on the action. Some Best Buys having started offering records and Amazon has sold them for most of their 13 years [as of June, the biggest-selling LP on Amazon was Hard Candy by Madonna--go figure].



Die-hard vinyl fans list a number of benefits to their medium of choice: better quality[compression in digital music means no continuous sound like you get with records], liner notes and album art*, and the beauty of an imperfect sound. A newly-converted vinyl fan pointed out that live music is imperfect as well. Food for thought, no?

So this is my plan: buy the Crosley Keepsake Turntable, which is the perfect marriage of old and new. [I tried to talk my parents into giving me their records--that they're not using!--but they said no. It's only a matter of time, though.] You get to convert the records with a handy-dandy USB cable and software but you can also play them on the turntable itself. At $149, it's a steal compared to other systems that get close to $300 of $400 to do the same thing. And Crosley knows what they're doing; they've been in the business of radios, record players, jukeboxes and other old time electronics since 1920. See this nifty item HERE.





*Jill Sternheimer takes the appreciation of album art to a new level with Hi-Fi Bags. She makes purses and totes from actual record covers and puts actual records inside clear vinyl pillows. Very cool. If there's a cover you want to use but you don't see it in the inventory, Jill welcomes you to send in a cover so she can custom make it for you. I'd actually bought a bag from her a few years ago at the Newport [now the JVC] Jazz festival that I used to death. It had the album cover of Marvin Gaye's Live at the London Palladium. People complimented me on it wherever I went, and I have yet to see anyone else with a similar bag. Unfortunately, the straps broke but that just means I have to buy another! I'm contemplating the bag with the cover of Songs in the Key of Life by Stevie Wonder of Purple Rain by Prince. Choose your arm art HERE.



[Now all I have to do is convert my SWV cassette to digital files... ]

Links
Digital conversion on MSNBC.com
Video of records being made. [One of the shots shows a finished Rich Boy-Throw Some Ds record haha]
The End [of CDs] is Near!--WIRED Magazine




Saturday, August 2, 2008

Murder! Intrigue! Glamour!


I just got finished watching Alfred Hitchcock's 'Dial M for Murder'(1954), courtesy of OnDemand. 'Dial M for Murder' is based on the play by Frederick Knott. 'Dial', starring the gorgeous Grace Kelly and Ray Milland, is about committing the perfect murder: how to quietly bump off your wife and get all her money once she's gone? It was great, though I wouldn't call it my favorite Hitchcock because, well, it wasn't scary. I liked how Milland's character worked out his plot to kill Grace Kelly and she did a wonderful job being really distraught and scared. Milland was so cool about the whole business, it was unnerving. Don't want to give too much away, but in the scene where Grace Kelly is being strangled is slightly erotic. Did anyone else notice that? Wonder if Hitchcock did it on purpose? It'd make sense: the cheating wife gets her just desserts much the same way she gets her jollies when hubby's out of town.

Hitchcock walks through a frame in all of his movies. When did he walk by in 'Dial'? I didn't catch it.

But it just wasn't that dark a movie, and I like my movies dark, especially they're by Hitchcock. Even the score wasn't as dark as it was in say, 'Psycho'. Unfortunately, I haven't seen a lot of Hitchcock movies, but of the ones I've seen, I'd have to say 'Strangers on a Train' was my favorite, even if it didn't feature Grace Kelly or Kim Novak, the stunning blonde from 'Vertigo'.

I was talking with some friends, and we all agreed that there wouldn't, couldn't be another Hitchcock and that the kind of movies he did you just couldn't do today. The Birds, for example. For a crazy event like that to just happen with no background information would not fly with audiences that can pull a doo-hickey out of their pockets during the movie and know everything in a few seconds. Scary movies are all gore and special effects these days; the psychological thriller is dead, mostly.

Just for kicks, I'm adding a poll to the sidebar: what's your favorite Hitchcock movie?


Links

'Dial M for Murder on IMDb'
Grace Kelly Bio
Top 10 Hitchcock Movies according to ePinions
Complete List of Hitchcock Films