Sunday, November 30, 2008

You're Doing It Wrong

This is the Republican's next great hope Bobby Jindal.


I got next.

Republicans are salivating on his chances in 2012 (though, I think he'll really come to the fore in 2016 unless Obama has less than a 40% approval rating.)

Jindal is an able legislator with a world class intellect. He's proven his mettle in a small crisis and he's a minority face with the GOP desperately needs.

And yet check out some of his positions:

...steadfast opposition to abortion without exceptions; his disapproval of embryonic stem cell research; his and his wife Supriya's decision in 1997 to enter into a Louisiana covenant marriage that prohibits no-fault divorce in the state; and his decision in June to sign into law the Louisiana Science Education Act, a bill heartily supported by creationists that permits public school teachers to educate students about both the theory of "scientific design" and criticisms of Darwinian evolutionary concepts.

So...the GOP thinks the only thing they need is a smart minority to regain the Presidency. If that's the case, Jindal is the guy. But look at his positions again...those are NOT the positions of most of Americans.

I think the GOP is really missing the point. They need a true social moderate and fiscal conservative, someone like Arnold Schwarznegger or Olympia Snowe. Thier new message shouldn't be "same policies with a browner face"... it should be "we don't care about your personal life and we'll keep your taxes low as hell."

Jindal is an arch social conservative and Obama is just the guy to point this out in fairly effective detail.

Also, GOP friends, if all you needed was an identifying quality to sway Americans to your cause, Sarah Palin would have done it given her ownership of two X chormosomes. People rejected her intellectual incurousity and, I suspect, they will reject Jindal's arch conservatism as well.

America IS getting lefter and browner and younger. Any politics must realize this or die.

---

NOTE: Given the slow growth among certain young groups of promise rings...there is a chance the next generation of Americans could be total social conservatives. Very possible, but if that's the case that still puts Jindal's first chance at success at 2020 at the earliest.

We Need A Name For This

Superbowl Hero Plaxico Burress accidentally shot himself in his own leg with his concealed weapon at a night club.


Oops, heh.

Once again a successful black athlete/entertainer is doing EVERYTHING IN HIS POWER to ruin his own life. We really gotta come up with a name for this occurrence.

Maybe we should just call it OJ SIMPSON'S SYNDROME (or Simpson Syndrome) for short.

I remember when TI did a few months of jail just after his first major hit, he SWORE he'd never go back now that he had tasted a little of the success he had allegedly worked so hard for. Well, we all know how that story ended.

From Michael Vick to Rae Carruth to Mike Tyson to Pacman Jones to Sean Combs...some guys, who know better given their rough backgrounds, insist on destroying their careers...or at least trying their ass off to destroy it.

It's like a reverse rock star syndrome...except rock stars (and Robert Downey Junior) tend to (a) get in trouble for drug use and/or destruction of property which means little jail...unless you're Darryl Strawberry.


Thank God I'm not a black powerhitter out of New York

In the meanwhile black athletes/entertainers like to fuck with weapons and assault charges so they can taste some real time.

Plus, as black men in America, yadda yadda yadda.

So what name can we call this?

1. Simpson Syndrome
2. Take The Man From The Hood's Disease
3. Reverse Rock Star Regression
4. ???

We need a name for this.

Thoughts?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Message to Comic Book Writers: STOP!

It has just been announced that Bruce Wayne will die from a bullet wound to the chest.



Stop killing off superheroes. Seriously, in my lifetime, you have killed off every major superhero and villain, from Batman to Spiderman, Superman to Captain America, Robin to Cobra Commander.

"How long until they kill I, the Boomerang?"

Now some characters have hit a creative dead-end and they need to die (Kraven the Hunter, I am looking at you).
"Why must I die...?"

But if the character has his name on the masthead, I am sorry, there is no reason or right for you (the current salaried writer, not-the-creator writer of a major comic) to feel like you can kill the character we know and love.

In my teens, I was an avid reader of comics. And okay, once I was in college, my readership dwindled to just a few books. Then some genius (Terry Kavanuagh!) pitched the idea that the Spiderman we knew and loved had actually been a clone since issue #150 (20 YEARS EARLIER!)

One of the best selling (and despised) comics of the '90s.

It is SUCH a cynical thing to do, to kill off major characters just to sell books. The only reason I am not more upset is because they tend to bring the characters back. Anyone remember that Batman has "died" before...?



Though, often enough, "killed" characters tend to come back to life in dumber costumes...

"Holy Over-design!"

I'm a purist. If you are going to kill a character, kill them, and let them stay dead ("...we will miss you, Gwen Stacy").

Otherwise, there are any number of superheroes and villain that could die in an interesting story arc that would not disrupt the ENTIRE equilibrium of our superhero universe. Including characters that are derivative...



...dated...

The Awesome Android

...or just plain dumb...

Prince Chaos.

Actually, I take that last one back. Don't kill Prince Chaos. He is one of only a few black characters we have ever had. And truth be told, the bizarre history of Black comic book characters deserves its own, separate post.

To be continued...

(h/t to Heromachine for most of these images)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Isht That's Gotta Stop: Black Friday Edition


This video catches the comedy, stupidity, and tragedy of what's become a post-Turkey Day tradition.

I've never liked shopping, especially at stores. Over the years I've become more cynical and critical about things ranging from ethnic foods at grocery stores to the design of outlet malls. Thankfully, the Web helps me cut through a lot of the B.S. and get to what I'm looking for/need.

But more than anything, the shopping frenzy that comes after Thanksgiving keeps me further away from anywhere with a checkout line. I still have mental scars from a Toys 'R Us experience during the Great Cabbage Patch Shortage of 1984.


"Hold my hand!" Bitches, please.

So it was deeply saddening, but not surprising, to hear about what went down on Long Island this morning. Even less startling, the Walmart is back open tonight.

If this was supposedly a year of change, let's make this change: Let's stop losing our damn minds everytime there's a sale. Let's stop ripping doors off of f--king hinges when we're told 32" flat screens are going to be $399. News flash--It's not really a sale. That isht is only worth $399, if that. The "regular" price is only higher because of a desire for greater profit and the fact some people will pay that much for it. Call me when that TV goes for $75. Then I might be motivated to comptemplate maybe possibly getting up out of my seat to consider trampling you for it.

I know these are tough economic times, but people, please keep your wits about you. If you had to stand in any line this year a day before the doors open, it better have been to your local polling place. Love for those you care for shouldn't be found in discounted goods. I hope you don't have friends or family that are so shallow they'll disown you if you don't get them a Robosapien for Kwanzaa/Christmas/Hanukkah, or whatever other gift giving holiday you celebrate. But if you do, it might be worth it to start giving them a reality check or find some less costly associates.

Flashback Friday

I really wish I'd posted this yesterday.
Hopefully you all didn't do it like the Boys.
Next-day food comas and hyperglycemia aren't cool.



BTW, with all the retro isht that's come out in the past year, why haven't I seen any coon skin caps accompanying the dookie chains?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

John Forte

I was floored to learn that President Bush, in his final limping days, commuted the sentence of John Forte.


For those who didn't know, John got arrested for trying to move some serious amounts of cocaine. Background on the story can be found in this MTV article on the subject.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a little biased when it comes to John Forte. I REALLY liked his album, Poli Sci, and as a DJ, I will still occasionally play "Flash The Message" at gigs (especially gigs where the heads know their hip hop or when a group, say The Message, has their name in the title of the song).

But also, Bashir and I have a friend who has been friends with John for a VERY long time. So I think he qualifies as a friend of a friend.

All those caveats aside, I am curious to know how the rest of you feel about it. I am also very curious what the Bush Administration's rationale was for commuting John's sentence. So far, I have been unable to find an explanation in my searches.

Until I learn more though, I am happy this guy gets to come home. I think a lot of people could make a bad decision that costs them the rest of their lives. I'm happy someone gets a second chance.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

RIP - MC Breed

A few months back I mentioned MC Breed was having health problems. Last night, apparently, he passed away.

Breed had a West Coast sound and did a collabo with 2Pac but dude repped F-L-I-N-T just about as hard as Michael Moore.

RIP.


Paint the White House black? Almost.

The (Potential) Coming Shitstorm

SAG will seek authorization from its members to have strike power.

This move is designed to scare the piss out of the producers and make them realize SAG means business.

A commenter on Nikki Finke's excellent industry blog sums up my initial feelings best.

To wit:

A strike means,

1 - More AFTRA* contracts (you don’t like your terms now SAG actors, wait until you see what AFTRA contracts have to offer….)


2 - More productions moving out of California

3 - More talented below the line** crew members with years of experience devoted to their craft, losing their houses, health insurance, etc.

4- A ton of struggling actors and background actors who vote yes to a strike having a coronary when they realize that if their union strikes they cannot collect unemployment! Wow, you lost your apartment through all of this, but hey Bruce Willis and Julia Roberts are getting better residuals! And the stars of Lost (shooting in Hawaii) are getting a few extra pennies when their show streams on ABC.com! So hey it was worth it huh!

Since Nov. of last year, this town has never been the same and if SAG strikes, it’s all over. Bye, Bye Hollywood as everyone knew it not so long ago…

By the way, what bothers me most is when people talk about strikes interfering with awards shows…Geez. A failing national economy, Hollywood and it’s crews and talent going to pieces and people give a crap about giving each other awards! Remember everyone, make sure a strike does not interfere with the dress up night that give statuettes to those movies and stars that the studios paid the most to advertise in the trades!

And on a final note, start paying attention to the new passport laws, you’ll need one to work in Canada*** when all the productions go back there again like in the early and mid-90’s!

AND YET...

I have done more and more research on this issue and, despite my earlier post about this, any reasonable union head should call for a strike BASED ON the producers behavior. The producers (big studios and big production companies) aren't even paying the writer's guild what they owe and are low balling SAG.

Still, and unfortunately, no one in America will support this right now.

I love you SAG but sorry, (a) I don't think you have the member support to do this so that will look bad when you have to go back to the bargaining table without strike authorization from your members meaning even WORSE terms than you have now and (b) even if you found a way to get strike authorization America would loathe every person in Hollywood more than many of them already do.

I see parallels between this and the prop 8 vote. Hell, I see parallels between this and the Civil Rights Movement.

Is there a such thing as a bad time to do the right thing?

Guess we'll all find out together.

---

*AFTRA is the other actor's union (though it covers more territory than just actors). Their contracts typically aren't worth the paper they're printed on.

** Makeup, hair, set construction, etc.

***Jonathan, if this happens, I don't know if you can even act, but there'll be so much production in Canuck-istan you'll be able to win a Golden Globe just by showing up on set.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Recession Creativity (p. 1)

This video didn't cost much. But it's just great.



See... it's totally possible to be creative with very little money. (can you see where they made the cuts?)

The reason I bring this up is that the recession is looking longer and stronger than we had hoped. That's fine, we'll get through it. We get though everything, that's what American's do.

But I also expect it to come with a boom of creativity. In fact, that is the only positive thing about it. And I am eager to see how artists will respond...I suspect this will cause the wheat to separate from the chaff. And as long as Kim Kardashian has a TV show, that's something that's long overdue.

Should I Should Or Should I Shouldn't

Should I get into THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA?

Everything I've seen/read seems to scream that it's the perfect train wreck of a show and rife with unintentional comedy. Everyone seems to love it. Plus I think Atlanta is the most amazing city in America that has too few shows about it. Plus Diallo was born/raised there (Mays High School, anyone?) so everything about it that's wack I can use against him.

So much upside.


Very Tempting

Then again, the best show on TV right now is a tie between The Colbert Report and Frisky Dingo, but I rarely get t see them. Thing is, even though I work in TV, I don't actually watch a lot of TV (just clips on the web and football on Sundays). And if I get into a show, it requires tons of effort.

So...do you watch Real/Atlanta? Is it worth my time and energy? Does watching it make me gay? Why does every straight guy I know watch Project Runway? What's up with that? Why is Project Runway so good? Have I said too much?

---

NOTE TO SELF: Follow Big Boi's example and install stripper pole in living room ASAP. That is all.

Flashback Friday: The Brits

My playlist lately has featured a lot of British artists.

I trace my UK-philia back largely to one person-- N'dea Davenport. Yeah, she's from the States but the band was British and, in turn, she became the personification of that cool, breezy London acid jazz sound of the '90s. Great voice, great look. This was absolutely perfect for MTV, which, at the time, featured her and her Brand New Heavies mates on their Spring Break program. I can't see that happening now.





But there had do be something that existed before the Heavies and their contemporaries. I found at least one example-- Freeez. I first heard this track on a Kenny Dope compilation and have dug it ever since.





Once again, proof that if it wasn't for the British, black music would be dead.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thanks New York....


You showed us some love and we hope to be back soon.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tonight's Chocolate News

Sorry for the paucity of posts these past few days. Bashir and I are in New York City and these hotel WiFi connections are as slow as the city is fast.

In the meantime, for the next three weeks, you can catch me and Bashir acting in various segments on Chocolate News.

The first one (airing tonight and in repeats this week) has me playing a Henry Louis Gates-esque character breaking down DAG's family tree.



It's my first time on national TV and I hope y'all enjoy it.

Honest feedback, as always, is welcomed.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Sleeper Album...

I'm coming down off a good music high from the past week.

Last Tuesday, I interviewed Phonte and Nicolay and last night I saw them live. I don't know if they're coming to a city near you but if they are, go.

Now that that's over, I have Illa J's Yancey Boys to fill the void.



Yep, that's J Dilla's little brother over some of Jay's previously unreleased tracks. For me, it's a trip down memory lane with the vintage Jay Dee sound that got me hooked in the mid- to late-'90s.

Stones Throw didn't put this album out. Instead, they released an EP with Ghostface and MF Doom rhymes over beats from Donuts the same day as Illa J's effort. Were they trying to steal some of his thunder? Probably. Did it work? No.

Besides Foreign Exchange, what albums are burning your ears now?

Finally...

A Beyonce song that doesn't sound like Get Me Freakum'd Vu, Ladies.
"Video Phone"
And it's actually hot. Sort of Bey's take on "A Milli."

Sunday, November 16, 2008

This Guy IS A Beast (p2)

Justin Timberlake



The first time he hosted SNL I thought it was a fluke he was so good...but nope. Dude is just an all around talent. Which is extremely rare nowadays.

Try and hate if you like...


...it's a waste of time.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Music For Your Weekend: Kanye's "Paranoid"

This blog was one of the first to put you on to Kid Cudi.

Well, Kanye gave him the nod on not one but two songs on the new album.

I prefer this one. It shows Daft Punk and 80s R&B influences.

"Paranoid" by Kanye West feat. Kid Cudi

And here's a better song off the new Q-Tip...



Doing a salsa set at the club tonight, featuring the music of Ruben Blades. Love that mid-70s New York salsa sound. Am I alone?

Have a good weekend y'all.

Rachel Maddow Just F*cking Gets It

(Via DailyKos)



I am sick to death of Democrats living up to their reputation as weak-willed.

If Obama doesn't change the tone, we won't be in office long. Sarah Palin goaded Oprah, saying she deserved a shot on Oprah's show. Oprah said no, kiss my ass...Drudge pushed it for 3 days. Oprah didn't budge and Sarah had to STFU.

DEAR DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSPERSONS,

It's okay to have a pair.

That is all.

Technology for the Urban "Lifestyle"



www.dramatel.com

Please read the "Ask Dr. Drama" section, it's priceless...

The Tragedy Of Dame Dash

The New York Daily News claims Damon Dash is broke.

Wow, that sucks. I remember the images of his bragadoccio from the "Hard Knock Life" tour movie. He was loud and obnoxious, but seemed to understand the importance and urgency needed to maintain an empire. He didn't seem likable, but I admired the fact that he was a Harlem bred, private school educated up and comer.

But...maybe he was nothing except the guy that Jay Z allowed to benefit from his empire. Maybe all his tough talked was backed up by the muscle of Jay's album sales. Maybe he was the PT Barnum and Jay was the Three Ring Circus.

Then Jigga left him.

So...I HAVE to ask.

If Biggie was alive today...

(1) Would he have taken charge of his own career and left Diddy just as Jay Z left Dame?

(2) Would Diddy be broke?

I mean, people like to forget, but there was a time when Diddy was basically hated in hip hop, then, somehow magically, it's turned as he danced to Sting on Biggie's grave.



Somehow...he got greater and greater the more Biggie decayed.

(3) Would Jay Z himself be as big if Biggie was still alive? I know they were boys, and Jay is the most talented rapper of his generation, but Biggie was fucking Biggie and there's only so much spotlight to be shared at the top of the mountain.

I heard Jerry O'Conell say on the radio of his former friend River Phoenix, that River's untimely (or, actually since he was doing heroine, very timely) death allowed the likes of Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt to rise to their current prominence. Not an entirely crazy thought, though probably borne a little of bitterness.

(4) Let's be really real. Given how much they've benefitted, are Jay Z and Diddy secretly happy that Biggie left the scene? Or is that akin to white friends asking if black people, given conditions in the Nigeria, Niger and Ghana, secretly happy about slavery?

Ugly questions, no doubt...but wort considering.

The Man Has Good Taste

So...whenever I'm home in Chicago, one of the first things I do is head to 80th and Halstead and grab a large beef and cheese pizza from Italian Fiesta pizzeria. You have to order thorough bullet-proof glass, in fact, this pic is taken from inside of one of the restaurants...


No, you don't get to see us making the food so stop asking

The food is soaked in grease, the cheese slides off the bread, it's abhorrent to look at...and it's FANTASTIC tasting.

My boy Mike clowns me for it, noting that the word "Italian" is from an entirely different part of the planet than the word "Fiesta".

(then again he's from Miami. Have you had "pizza" from Miami? No? Just go outside and put some discarded fish skeletons on posterboard...yeah, it tastes like that.)

The ONLY other pizza place on the planet that gives Italian Fiesta a run for its money is Not Ray's Famous Pizza in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. In fact, Not Rays is the ONLY good thing left about Fort Greene, Brooklyn...(looking in your direction, gentrification.)

Why do I bring this up?

Barack Obama LOVES Italian Fiesta too, so much so it's being brought to his pre-inauguration expo...damn, he just keeps getting better and better.

CHICAGO PIZZA SNOBS, STAND UP!

----

ps - don't bring up Giordanos. Yes, it's good. But you never get to eat more than two pieces cuz it's too damned thick and you always get severe "the i'tis" afterward. Not worth the trouble.

ps2 - Can't get enough Barry Soetero? Go Here. It's a smorgasbord of O-Dog. Good pics too.

Flashback Friday

Whenever this song comes on I want to break out a broom a la Turbo in Breakin' 2.

But alas, I stopped popping and locking in '86.

At least I can keep my memories...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Caption This

The Latest From McGruder

Aaron McGruder, like Seth Macfarlane, is prolific.

Here's another of his side projects.

BoondocksBootleg



Thoughts?

Diallo and I know Aaron and see him out alot, the last time we saw him it was right before season two and he was so excited about all the stuff they were gonna do...now that Obama is in office, mark my words, Boondocks is gonna have some EPIC episodes.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

STRESS

So...last night I acted on CHOCOLATE NEWS for the first time.

Man, it's been forever since I've done acting in front of a live studio audience. And it was terrifying. I am so much more comfortable when it's just me, Diallo, Nef, etc... and a small crew doing our comedy thing. When we can look at what we've shot and then shoot it over again if it's not funny.

But when you have a live studio audience, it's best NOT to do things over, but to charge on through; mistakes be damned.

So last night, once the Assistant Director grabbed me from back stage and put me in my seat during the commercial break, my head was racing as I waited for the lights to go on.

ME (thought): Okay calm down, you've been acting since you were age 11. You know what you're doing. Holy shit...what am I doing sitting next to David Alan Grier on a TV sound stage?!?!? There's been a mistake. Someone needs to stop this...DAMMIT...okay just look at the teleprompter if you forget your lines...no, don't look at the teleprompter...it'll just confuse you...someone get me out of here...I don't know what I'm doing, I'm gonna fuck this up...just smile and act like a pro, don't look at that...

AD: We're back in three, Two and applause...

ME (thought) FUUUUUUUUUUCK!!!!!!!

And then the lights come on, and the energy from the crowd is overwhelming and...if you're lucky, you can actually remember what you're supposed to do. And then, in a blur it's all over. And the cool thing is, no matter whether you did a good job or sucked, everyone tells you, you did a good job...because, really, why tell you anything different?

I did the scene twice, the first time was okay, the second time, which I hope they use, had some good moments.

We'll see.

But last night reminded me how much I need to get back to performing for a crowd regularly. My heart was thumping in my chest and sometimes one can triumph over nerves, but I prefer to not have nerves at all...that's when I do my best work.

As a writer, one gets kind of lazy. You sit in a room making jokes all day, then go to set and watch, and criticize, the jokes you just wrote. But you're never really in the spot light.

I'm getting back on stage after this.

Some of you don't know what Cleo's Apartment is...but for those who do, we're going back us ASAP.

---

ps - Diallo did a bit on the show as well. We'll hit you up and alert you when it's about to air. Maybe he can share his experience with you guys.

Day 1 of the Simple Life

I've come up with a plan to to eliminate one thing from my life a day for the next month, because without realizing it I like to make things complicated. The first thing I've decided to swear off for the next 30 days is alcohol. I wouldn't call myself a drunk but I've decided that spirits are the root of the majority of my life complications. Prohibition is going to prevent me from: 1) Getting drunk at the bar and buying rounds for people I don't know which leads to CRAZY American Express bills (rewind to Election night) 2) Hangovers which give me an excuse to be blatantly unproductive 3) Drunk dials in which I say wild shit to unsuspecting friends and make poor decisions leading to sketchy liaisons.



Amy... my inspiration for Day 1 of the Simple Life.

I'd love to hear about anyone else who has made the decision to have less in a need-more-world.

Cheers,

tamara

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Caption This

Condi, two nights ago...

Why, Haters, WHY!!

WHY DO PEOPLE HATE?

WHY DO HATERS EXIST?

I know I'm supposed to follow the advice of this man...


BUT WHY?

No...I won't elaborate....but I just need to make headway on a situation that has me flummoxed.

WHY DO HATERS HATE!!!!

what do you think? have you been hated on? how did you deal with it?

Monday, November 10, 2008

What Happened to My Girl L.A.?

I want my girl back. I’m not denying that she’s self-centered, insensitive, inconsiderate and has a host of other negative character traits. I’m not justifying it but as they say, love dies hard. I’m not talking about the hot Brazilian chick that lives across the hall or my best friend from kindergarten. No, I miss that dirty little bitch named L.A.

Los Angeles used to be one of the most fun cities in the world. Extravagant parties, epic nights that never ended, the days when clubs had standards - think Snatch, Prey, Shelter, Bliss (remember Hef and the Bunny’s had their own table!), not to mention after hours at Xenni. I hate to spout off the Gen Y version of “they just don’t make things like they used to” but am I the only one who remembers when Nicole Ritchie was just Paris’ chubby sidekick and all your friend’s stories ended with them getting boozed up in a hotel suite with their favorite actress or athlete? Those were the good old days!!!

How do I say this nicely? We’ve never been as sophisticated as New York and we’re not exotic like Miami but dammit Los Angeles we used to be SWAGG STARS. We weren’t just about aviators, Blackberry’s and True Religion jeans, we were arrogant, overly self-assured, conceited even. Why? Because we were the BEAUTIFUL people. We have sunken so far into oblivion that Forbes.com is now ranking us as the 16th best place for singles; yeah we got our asses kicked by Minneapolis and Dallas. To add insult to injury Travel + Leisure ranked Los Angeles residents #6 in terms of attractiveness this year. I guess I could stomach that if Charleston hadn’t kicked our ass. Sixth place? That’s like being called the ugly step-cousin!!! Someone please tell me, what happened to us Los Angeles?

I suppose there are a lot of reasons that we’ve gotten to this sad state of affairs. It’s expensive as hell to live here, the traffic blows, forget Villa or Foxtail, we are such snobs that out of towners are relegated to hanging out at the Standard on Sunset or even worse Miyagi’s. Not to mention that this isn’t the cleanest place on earth and trying to hold an intelligent conversation with someone in a bar in Hollywood is… well I urge you to try it. However, I really blame our descent into oblivion on the paparazzi, TMZ, Perez Hilton and their network of gestapo-esque informants. What used to be great about this City is that high-profile people were able to move around with anonymity. Paparazzi are ruining our world.

To make matters worse is the rapid gentrification in Hollywood. Apparently, there are now close to 500 liquor licenses distributed between Vine and Cahuenga! And every week a new bar or club opens up, each one more disappointing than the last. Instead of hosting premiere parties as in days past, venues struggling to stay open despite all of the competition which has lowered their clientele standards.

Back in ancient times, after bribing the door guy, calling your connect and flashing a tittie you MIGHT get into the club but once you got in, you knew your evening would be legendary.

Don’t act like you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about. Just last week you were sitting in a played out lounge sipping on your vodka Redbull watching the Wildebeests filter through the front door mumbling under your breath, “What the fuck is going on in this City?”

I hate to be a pessimist about our present state of affairs… after all there’s still Minneapolis if you are missing the hotness.

Cheers,

; - )

tamara

Go See SOUL MEN


Our good friend Nefetari (aka Condi Rice) who was a frequent assistant to Bernie Mac organized about 20 people to go see his new flick SOUL MEN.

You need to go and see this flick.

It's been forever since I've seen two men on screen with as much chemistry as Jackson and Mac. Literally, all I could think the whole time was...damn, if Mac was alive this would be the first of dozens of movies they'd done together.

I mean, it was like watching Ackroyd/Belushi or Pryor/Wilder...I couldn't wait for their scenes together and wished all the scenes that didn't have them would hurry and be over.

The movie was very good with great music. Some production value problems especially at the top, and or a minute I was scared Mike Epps would have a larger role...(ugh)...but that wasn't the case. Every time Mac and Jackson were on screen I felt like I was watching my two uncles tear each other up over Christmas dinner, brutal and gorgeous.

Director Malcom Lee is at his best when he sits back and lets Mac and Jackson go at each other without calling cut.

So if you wanna see what GREAT on screen comedic chemistry looks like from two guys who actually seem like they like each other when the camera's aren't rolling... Go see this movie.

Oh and Sharon Leal is a revelation as the ingenue Cleo: She's like a Kerri Washington minus the annoying.


Star Turn

Sunday, November 9, 2008

'08 Election - Stars Are Born

Barack Obama wasn't the only winner of the twenty month election cycle.

This is my list of the Stars made during this long hard road.

Most of these people I only knew in passing before. Now, they are a part of the political and cultural landscape.

NBC's Chuck Todd

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow

Fivethirtyeight's Nate Silver (and statisticians in general)

The Black Youth (and The Youth in general)

That New Foreign Exchange Album (sort of a soundtrack for the last weeks of the Election)

People All Around The World Who Were Waiting For America To Come To Its Senses And Back To The Table

and Anyone With The Last Name Obama

Who are some other stars you think this election cycle gave birth to?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Halle Berry

Bashir and I disagree about this lady.

I'm pro. He's con.


What do you think?

Flashback Friday

I'm hoping to get into some inaugural events in January.
My wish of all wishes is that President-elect Obama can convince these Chicago natives to come back together for one night.*





If not, I better hear "Baby I'm Scared of You" at least once.

========================

* I know I've been on a steady house kick for a while. But admit it, you know you like it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Tears Of Rage

Check the video of Jesse "crying" over an Obama victory:



(a) Maybe he was overwhelmed by memories of the many discussions he's had with MLK. The late night talks, the long arguments, the camaraderie...and it all came flooding back and he was floored by it.

(b) Maybe he saw the cameras and figured he'd better step up the water works.

(c - and what I think really) Maybe they were TEARS OF RAGE. You ever get so mad about something you cry.

Watch it again as you read along:



"So angry...rage rising...should have cut his nuts...ahhhh...nigger motherfu*ker...I hate him so much...so much hatred in me....bile rising to the back of my throat....can't even think correctly...argh....damn Michelle and them girls...I hate Chicago so much...it's so cold but not as cold as the revenge I'm brewing in my heart...damn Roberta Flack for writing that song about me...hatred so deep...Obama's a terrorist...not even from 'real' America...yellow nigger...hate...hate...hate...hate...hate..."

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Final Word On The Election

I like Barack Obama...but only slightly less than I despise what Bush and his ilk have done to America.

So last night was a moment when I finally felt I was waking from a nightmare. I dreaded the idea of endless war and the stagnant sadness that spread in America, and me after 2004. Further, I loathed the idea that for years to come, we would lose elections and national standing every time someone on the right claimed a terrorist wanted to kill us all in our sleep. We weren't a strong nation, but a constantly scared one. We would cede our liberty and sanity to craziness, because someone kept crying wolf. Paul Krugman put it succinctly today. You should read it. I would have been saddened by a Barack loss, but nothing will compare to the depression I felt in 2004. That we were sinking into the quicksand of national misery and the more we struggled, the deeper we would go.

Last night I felt like myself and my country, finally, was shaken from a dark and gruesome slumber. We woke up. Even better, we were awakened by a man and a campaign that appealed to our better angels.

Oh...and the fact that he's black, obliterating years of unnecessary ingrained existential inferiority complexes across the land as well as shattering the myth that racism is the ONLY quality our country can be consistently relied upon to exhibit, yeah...that ain't too bad neither.

Barack Obama will make mistakes, but his moral compass asserts that country comes before corporations and knowledge and experience is more important than rhetoric. And I am eager, even tearfully so, to have such a person lead our great nation.

----

ps - (as Diallo has been playing the song in the office the past few days) America, Fuck yeah!

Disappointment: Yes on Proposition 8

"Every ethnic group supported marriage equality, except African-Americans, who voted overwhelmingly against extending to gay people the civil rights once denied them: a staggering 69 - 31 percent African-American margin against marriage equality."

A Few Thoughts

Haven't slept much.

1. This guy OWES us...and no one else. He doesn't owe lobbyists, the Clinton machine, the traditional levers of power in DC. Not Jesse Jackson, not Al Sharpton. Just you and me and 60 million of our friends. That's just crazy.

2. Diallo and I agree his speech last night as mildly underwhelming...basically, we think he has a more sober view of the universe. He knows clearly he has a ton of work to do and he will be criticized every second of the way.

3. This, along with Kay Hagen's victory, mean that negative advertising is officially suspect. It didn' work this time.

4. No Sarah Palin. I can't tell you how huge that is for me. I'm among the few Democratic voters that actually didn't think John McCain was the anti-christ. I think he's a good man who made bad choices...and would have governed from the center right, aware that the country can't be governed from the far right.

5. No free pass for Bush. There is now the sincere possibility that they will be held accountable for what they've done to us.

6. The Supreme Court - FUCK YEAH. Roe V. Wade is important, but not everything. The real danger of the courts lurch to right is that, slowly but surely, they were making it okay for the rights you and I have to be subject to interpretation...of the President. Scary as fuck.

7. I have NEVER seen dancing in the streets like last night. It's like we were in Paris in 2000 after the World Cup. I hugged a TON of random people. And every one was genuine. We left the office, drank, and all my friends convened on a bar and just laughed and talked. Line of the evening:

"Tonight we don't card black people." - black bouncer at a usually tough to get into LA spot.

8. What did you do last night? I want details!

Hungover

Expect light posting today.

We did it really big last night.

Some of us got three hours of sleep. Some of us got less (Bashir?!).
I'm still a little in disbelief.

I hope you all laughed, danced and hugged a stranger.

Looking forward to a temporary break from Politics...but I do love these pictures from Kenya.

"First The Game's album flops, now this?! I am too happy!"

I think I have the same TV as these guys.

Diallo's Message to John McCain - "Country Second"

America...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

WE DID IT!

Take a break everyone. We earned it.

God Bless Barack Obama.

God Bless The UNITED States Of America.

HE DID IT!!!



O.

I think Jeezy says it best....

Young Jeezy - "Black President"

Congrats to all of you. Me and B (and Craig and Crescent) are partyin'!
Where are you? How do you feel?

U-S-A! U-S-A!


Get out and vote...

And remember - Country First

(note: there's very little time left to change your vote in the Election poll on the right rail)

Flashback Friday: Tuesday Presidential Election Edition

The title says it all...

Monday, November 3, 2008

What A Leader Sounds Like

(don't watch this near co-workers, it's a three hankie)



R.I.P. Toot.

Simply Brilliant Analysis

(Via Huffpo)

I never would have made this connection.



Maddow has earned her high ratings by being, simply, an excellent thinker and newscaster.

Let me say this loud and clear:

THERE IS NO GOOD REASON WHY AMERICANS SHOULD HAVE TO WAIT MORE THAN 10 MINUTES TO VOTE.

Whether online with a printed receipt you mail or drop off (like boarding passes), at an ATM (as Diallo suggests) or even just by expanding funding for machines and locations...this is a national embarrassment.

And let's keep it real...we don't worry about Obama winning if everyone votes; we worry about

(a) voter waiting to vote stress
(b) broken machines
(c) The Bradley effect
(d) right wing voter suppression/intimidation

I'll say this right now. The majority of Americans want Obama to be President.

But will they all get to have a say?

This is the only issue that troubles me about our elections. We want to win...or we want to lose fair and square. We don't want Florida 2000/Ohio 2004.

And how this isn't treated as a national disgrace is beyond me.

Off to Virginia


Virginia Is For Badasses.

Back in high school I ran cross country. Frankly, I sucked at it. I was a sprinter and had a hard time running distances. During a typical 3.1-mile race, I'd be hurting around 1.8 miles. But as soon as I realized the race had about a half-mile to go, I'd catch my second wind and eventually finish with an impressive sprint to the line.

I see my feelings about this presidential race as paralleling my running days. I started out strong, towards the middle I got tired, and now, I'm ready to sprint to get this isht over with.

I'm headed deep into Virginia to do Election Day work. To say the least, I'm interested in seeing how everything plays out tomorrow and in the days that follow, especially when I just saw a 527 ad with Reverend Wright displayed prominently and voter supression tactics are in effect. We're indeed in the final lap of the most historic/contentious election battles of all time.

I'll see you all Wednesday. Hopefully, the mood will be joyful.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Don't Get It Twisted (p. 2)

More of this shit.

Girl Stoned To Death In Somalia...After Being Raped.


To Wit:

A 13-year-old girl who said she had been raped was stoned to death in Somalia after being accused of adultery by Islamic militants, a human rights group said.

Dozens of men stoned Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow to death Oct. 27 in a stadium packed with 1,000 spectators in the southern port city of Kismayo, Amnesty International and Somali media reported, citing witnesses. The Islamic militia in charge of Kismayo had accused her of adultery after she reported that three men had raped her, the rights group said.

This HAS to end.

This Is Bullshit



SO...

(a) these people are closed minded - yet, the host actually lives there.

(b) this is an indictment of all liberal/New Yorkers

(c) this wouldn't have happened in a Republican stronghold, there's not proof, but it wouldn't have happened...cuz...well, just trust us.

(d) our reasoning and logic is important for America to see.

(e) Mika is appalled...but not appalled at people at McCain Palin rallies across America openly calling for assassination.

Fuckers.

Live From Hollywood, Suckas!

ACT ONE

So...we rarely talk about our day job but I wanted share an anecdote from the writer's room.

As the election approaches we have to write TWO episodes for the day after; One of Obama wins, One if Sarah Palin wins (don't front).

Writing the if Obama wins episode was fun and exciting.

Writing the other one was an exercise in pain management. All the writers were unhappy and tense going through the process. Every bit of anxiety and worry many Americans have about an Obama loss was crammed in that tiny little room; it was actually emotionally brutal...but in the end it was kind of cathartic. And every one hopes it's the best piece of television no one ever gets to see.

ACT TWO

And on David Alan Grier. I have never seen a person in this industry that works as hard as he does. I believe I know now why he's had such longevity. He comes in early, does interviews, writes, researches, rehearses, shoots, edits and never takes a break. He's a machine.

I can tell you FOR A FACT...that for many people in hollywood, the whole point is trying to skate by doing as little work as you can. Not DAG.


Don't Sleep!

ACT THREE

I've had the pleasure of some celebrity encounters that I wanted to share as well. They're all extremely mundane. Which is just how I like them.

(a) Diallo and I had lunch with Tracee Ellis Ross. She knows one of the writers on Chocolate News and joined our table when we all happned to be at the same Cafe. She complemented Diallo on his glasses. I was kind of making jokes about how if Barack becomes president he should have his first affair with Halle Berry...she didn't think it was funny. She's very pro-Barack and told me "I just met you and I hate you".

Yeah...I think she was secretly digging me and didn't know the right words.

Right?


Bashir, why do you make this so hard?

(b) I hung with Vanessa Bell Calloway most of yesterday (some of ya'll know what's up)...she co-producing a sketch show with a friend and I'm taking a small role in organizing it.

She's still as ridic as she was in Coming To America.


Fuego!

(c) Zeus was in the office the other day.

He's only a little taller than me. Which really shows how SHORT people in hollywood are. I never get over how short people in this industry are. I've never met him, but I hear Sly Stallone is no more than 5'4''. That's crazy short...and doesn't that mean Carl Weathers is short as hell too. Oh and Schwarznegger is JUST over six feet. Jeremy Piven and Jamie Foxx, met him a few times, are both about 5'9'' ... and Jada Pinkett Smith is a Elfling from Middle Earth.


What the hell movie is this from?

ACT FOUR

What do you guys think of DL's show?

Great Minds Think Alike

Diallo often says that he'd like to re-edit DIEHARD, and remove all the terrorist scenes to reveal a different kind of movie...one about a man having the worst mental breakdown in history.

Well...someone else applied that logic.

Garfield Minus Garfield

To Wit:

Garfield Minus Garfield is a site dedicated to removing Garfield from the Garfield comic strips in order to reveal the existential angst of a certain young Mr. Jon Arbuckle. It is a journey deep into the mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness and depression in a quiet American suburb.

Go take a look.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Saturday Song Selections

Fresh off an extremely loud Halloween club night, I have a few songs that I would like to get your read on.

This one annoyed me the first time I listened to it, but then I heard played loud on the club system, and it owned.

Rich Boy - "Drop"

Not sure what that sample is, but Polow Da Don might be bringing it hard for the new album.

The new Q-Tip. In a word, I'd describe it as...pleasant. I want to root for Tip, for all his music meant to me as a youth. But it's a little dull. But pleasant.

Q-Tip - "Life Is Better"

On the other hand, Ghostface can't do no wrong in my eyes.

Ghostface Killah - "Computer Love"

I love it when you don't even sample the song, but simply rap OVER it.

And lastly, you got to love the kids. Who can watch this clip any fewer than three or four times.

The Ron Clark Election Rap (to the tune of TI's "Whatever You Like")

FINALLY

A pro-Barack anthem I actually like...

THIS OR THAT



(thanks, Q)

(Dres did his damn thing)