Wassup Rockers


Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the absurd shit category.

Bite the Apple.

This is something my mom told me just now:

My brother queued up this morning to get an iPhone. He went to Fordham, in the Bronx, to do so. While on the line some woman passed by cursing out all the people lining up how they were buying iPhones even though they’re on welfare, blah blah. Obviously annoying but who cares, the woman’s walked past, it’s over, right?

Wrong. She called the cops on everyone on line.

And clearly, this being a situation where there were really expensive items—the iPhones, I mean—involved, a shitload of police officers actually showed up. They show up all worried and ready for a major problem but everyone is waiting calmly on the line. WTF, right?

The lady’s still there cursing everyone out, and the officers find her and they admonish her, rightly so, for calling them onto the scene. Think about it, that’s a serious offense. Causing false alarm may mean that other areas, other people, might have gotten less or much delayed help because they were distracted by this non-situation. That’s what I find most infuriating.

Of course by this point all these officers are annoyed at her, and all the people on the fucking queue are annoyed at her, and being the kind of bitch who calls the police on innocent people instead of minding her own, she’s also the kind of bitch who doesn’t know when to let go so instead she’s like, trying to take a picture of the officers and basically take down their info so she can get them in trouble.

Good luck with that, you asshat.


100 °C.

Oy vey.  Here we go again.  I don’t mean to be such a Frankie Boyle apologist… BUT…

Here’s the joke: “I’ve been studying Israeli army martial arts. I now know 16 ways to kick a Palestinian woman in the back. People think that the Middle East is very complex but I have an analogy that sums it up quite well. If you imagine that Palestine is a big cake, well… that cake is being punched to pieces by a very angry Jew.”

Frankie Boyle made this joke on a radio show called Political Animal in 2008.  The official apology from the BBC in the past week.  The individual complained, it was reviewed, and if I understand correctly, the producers agreed and promised to take preventative measures in the future.  The complainant felt that wasn’t enough so he went higher up and whatever official committee they have handling these matters reviewed it and only now did they issue an official apology.  Full details about the hullabaloo here.

Primero: Just from reading the joke I don’t find it very funny.  I wonder how it sounded, but I’m too lazy to dig around and search for the audio.

Segundo: I’m really irritated by the complainant for a very minor reason.  I understand it is commonly accepted that “antisemitic” is mostly used in relation to Jewish people.  If I’m not wrong, however, Arabs are considered a Semitic people.  So saying that Frankie was being antisemitic doesn’t really fly in this occasion.  Besides, there’s plenty of other negative words we could use in regard to Frankie’s brand of humor.  Heh.

Tercero: Regardless of what you think about the complaint situation, Frankie’s open letter in regard to Palestine got me verklempt.  Seriously, READ IT.  Clearly the BBC apology bothered him enough to actually say something, so I don’t doubt he has thought about this long and hard and means everything he says in the letter.  Probably the most impressive statement made about the continuing Palestinian-Israeli conflict since Jon Stewart invited Anna Baltzer & Mustafa Barghouti on his show.  (Watch here: Part 1 and Part 2)  I’m not saying Israel shouldn’t exist, it’s not about shitting on Israel.  I recognize that there are way too many complex issues that I won’t delve into, but basically, the current situation clearly is NOT and HAS NOT been working for… well, ever since the state was established.  I think the most important thing I take away from Frankie’s letter is the idea of COMPASSION.

Cuarto: I’m also incredibly irritated by the headlines in regard to his open letter, which are most often quoting Frankie’s statement that “the BBC are cowards.”  I feel like one of the downsides of Frankie being pegged as a rabblerouser and for being known as “controversial” is that so many people are going to be focusing on how this is a comedians versus censorship issue.  As inappropriate as he may be, there is heft in his words and I was very touched by the last bit of his letter.  It would be cool if people would take this as a good starting point to educate themselves and to demand a better, non-violent solution from their governments.

Quinto: That said, what the fuck is going on with the BBC?  The whole Brand/Wossy/Sachs shit sent them spinning into a frenzy–it feels like post-“wardrobe malfunction” United States!  What I don’t understand is how it only takes one person to be offended for the BBC to take some official action (even if it’s just a statement).  What does it take to push people into demand such action anyway?  Whatever happened to people just getting a blog and vaguely threatening the lives of comedy writers anyway?

Even more importantly, why is it difficult to understand that something a comedian says is not a reflection of an entire fucking broadcasting corporation and may, in fact, not be a completely accurate reflection of the comedian’s attitude?  In this case it is, but it’s not always so—I mean, let’s not confuse the persona for the person.  Newsflash!  Humor requires close reading too!  You can’t just take words at face value!

I’m not sure why the BBC is quaking in fear at its own audience.  The biggest problem for me is that it seems like they’re just panicking now, to the detriment of the quality of their programs.  Frankie delves into that too.  The suppression of certain perspectives is troubling.  Of course it’s possible to shrug it off when it comes to a comedy show, but it just makes me question how widespread this self-censorship is.  To what degree, for example, does it affect the real news?  This sort of behavior on their part makes me trust them that much less.

Sexto: so, who’s next in line to be offended by something Frankie says?

All in all: READ THE FUCKING LETTER.


Vidas Paralelas.

Uh… just watched the Lost season premiere. Don’t worry, I won’t spoil anything to anyone because I’ve been trying to be spoiler-free myself. People had been grumbling about the interesting narrative device, so it wasn’t much of a surprise when I saw it.

These past couple of weeks I tried rewatching all 5 seasons again before tonight. I only made it through 2.5 seasons. And frankly it’s my first time wading through season 3, because like many I jumped the proverbial ship at that point, and only returned to the show when I happened to watch the season 3 finale and was fucking stunned by it.

This premiere episode was just okay. I did miss 15 minutes of it in the middle so I’m gonna have to rewatch it, but overall I was just happy the show was back. I’m on the fence about the new characters and also the new developments in our old characters. There’s been major shifts in power and in the dynamics among the characters, so I gotta get used to it.

I can’t imagine I’ll be much satisfied with this season as a whole if it keeps this narrative device going for the entire time. I hope they find a resolution even before the mid-way point. But it was nice to get a lot of definitive answers, plus I think there will be plenty of really nicely written episodes that will pack a lot of emotional depth. So speculative of me, I know.


What Is Wrong With Me?

I caved and finally started crying over not owning this fucking box set that Zoé just released. I hate it, I hate feeling so strongly about a piece of fucking pop music. I feel like such a slave to it. I know I should want more important things, like world peace or a cure to cancer. No, instead I’m cranky and frustrated over some vinyl records. I don’t even care how expensive it is, I will pay! I just want a fucking copy… I can’t believe how distressed I am over this. I mean, I was just staring at that Twitter picture, and I just started shaking.

I need sleep.


WFMU Record Fair 2009.

I went to the record fair today, a nice closing punctuation mark to CMJ.  Not that I did anything CMJ-related this year, whereas I seriously waited all year long to go to the fair today.  Thinking I’d learned my lesson last year, this time I decided to budget myself and also made a mental list of things I wanted: God Is For Real, Man, Del Shannon and Roy Orbison, and maybe some Carter Family shit.

So how did I end up dropping $40 on just two records?  Obviously it’s not that much, but I was really hoping to find a shitload of beat up $5 records, so an average of $20 per record is a little much.  I just entered the place and was immediately overwhelmed, as usual.  After sweeping up and down the aisles, I decided there were definitely some things I wanted (and could afford, cos God knows how much shit I really really wanted and couldn’t pay for it).

I specifically want to bitch about this Ska Au Go Go album that I wanted.  I saw it, noted in my mind to come back to it, and kept looking for other cool shit.  (Leonard Nimoy reading HG Wells, anyone?)  Anyway, when I finally finished making my round of all the exhibitors about 20 minutes later, I went back to the spot and looked all through the crate and… it wasn’t there!  No–it was in the hands of some guy standing right next to me.  So I kinda waited a couple of minutes to see if he was gonna let go of the record so I could swoop in on that shit.  Alas, he held on to the LP pretty tightly.  Damn you, dude!!  Heh, just kidding.  I understand how these things go: you snooze, you lose.  That’s okay, I was mostly intrigued that there was a track called “I Should Have Known Better.”  Well I just downloaded that shit, and indeed, it’s a cover of the Beatles song.  Yeah, it’s pretty sweet.  Sigh, if only that record was in my hands…

Well, the more expensive one is a double LP, which inconveniently doesn’t even come in a gatefold sleeve.  It’s just a greatest hits called A Arte de Tim Maia.  It’s hilarious, almost every song sounds fine except for “Não quero dinheiro,” which skips a bit.  I imagine that whoever owned the record first played the shit out of that song, and who am I to blame them?  My dad looked at the record and pointed out that title, to which I asserted, “THAT’S THE BEST SONG IN THE ENTIRE THING!!” even though this statement might not be true.  Anyway, I felt kinda wack about having paid “so much” for the record when I’d gone into the Metropolitan Pavilion looking for deals, but by the time I got to side B of the second LP, I was just crying and crying from the thrill and the honor of getting to hear this seriously beautiful music. In conclusion, it was totally worth the money and I’m very happy with this find, even if it’s a minor Best Of.

The less expensive (but still kinda costly) record is a compilation of Chilean jazz from the first half of the 20th century.  I haven’t listened to it and I’m kind of scared to.  The seller had several records that seriously caught my eye, including a nice copy of a Joe Cuba Sextet record that cost less than the Chilean jazz one, but I wondered, “Which album is more likely to be here next year?”  I understood that Chilean jazz ain’t as in demand over here as, say, bugalú, but at the same time it’s more rare to see a record of Chilean music at all, so I decided to go with it.  Plus, the Chilean record is sealed!  Do I dare open it?  Of course!  I can’t wait to see what treasures it contains.

I don’t know that my experience was wild as previous years–for some reason the whole affair seemed a bit more muted today, did I imagine it–but I still had a lot of fun.  The best genres to check out were the kids’ albums.  My friend and I found a Topo Gigio record!!  He was da bomb.

I’ve been all right, just listening to a lot of this and that.  One of my classmates burned me a copy of The Saturdays’ Chasing Lights, which is surprisingly excellent.  So many of the songs could have been major singles, really!  I’m smarting from the Sugababes breakup fiasco, so at least it’s nice to see that there’s a new generation of pop tarts bringing cute escapist ditties to the masses.  They don’t write their own songs, but they do sing live!

Also, I’ve gone back to obsessing over Zoé.  Mostly because I randomly developed a crush on Sergio, their guitarist?  Mostly because I get the feeling that he’s one of those betas who could really be an alpha if he wanted, but he can’t be bothered because he already knows he’s fucking awesome and doesn’t need that validation?  Regardless, I’ve been going through their old stuff and I’m loving it.  I found an episode of Verdad y Fama on YouTube featuring the band and they pretty much verify that the band members, especially León, are pretty much fried out of their minds, not that it was too hard to tell.

Dude, watch that video!  It’s not even their best song, but look at the way people are singing along.  It’s a huge fucking crowd and they all know all the fucking words.  It’s amazing.  I love this band so much, I wish they’d come to NYC more often.

I’m finally looking forward to stuff, too, after a long funk of not caring about what was next.  First, I can’t wait for the new Shakira, which seems like it’s becoming an unmarketable dud for her label.  I can’t believe “She Wolf” hasn’t really taken off, “Loba” is doing pretty well on MTV Tr3s and I personally fucking love that song. Awooooo…!!  The last English album of hers I bought was Laundry Service, which in hindsight I find a bit blah, but this single has me really excited and I’m totally gonna buy the new album.  I also found out that Gustavo Cerati, god bless his Jewfro’d self, just released a new album and I can’t wait to track it down and listen to it.  Not only that, Javiera Mena is finally gonna release her second full-length (about time!!) and apparently she did a song with Jens Lekman!  Hope it turns out well.  She’s also busy at the moment opening for Kings of Convenience, who also have a new album out and I’m trying to decide whether I want to hear it.  My undying crush on Erlend tells me to do it, but half of the time I find their shit beautiful and the other half I find it boring.

Y’know what I mean?


Let’s Leave the Past Behind.

Since we got cable in our TV my dad has flip-flopped several times on which programming package we want, though I think we’ve finally settled on a Spanish-language + fútbol dealio. This means that I got MTV, MTV2 AND VH1 taken away, but now I have MTVTres and mun2, which are pretty much identical in their content. I’m pretty ecstatic about it. I didn’t realize how much English-language material was included in these channels, but I like that I can get both the “best” of US American pop while getting the “best” of Spanish-language pop.

Anyway, back in those final days of having MTV (so long ago!) the video I used to wait for was Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face,” but these days I wait around a lot more for Daddy Yankee’s “¿Qué tengo que hacer?” The remix for the song with Jowell & Randy has been making the rounds, and the results are pretty spectacular.

I have a love/hate thing for Daddy Yankee, but right now it’s more on the love side of the spectrum. I like that his best wasn’t “Gasolina,” and that he’s kept things interesting.

Daddy Yankee’s not the only one to keep releasing quality shit. Don Omar has been a lot more ambitious in his latest incarnation as some sort of futuristic electro-freak, which kinda makes me wanna LOL but mostly makes me want to track him down so I can shake hands with him for having the balls to change his image so drastically. But the more things change, the more they remain the same! What he’s doing now really suits his over-the-top, melodramatic persona. His current single is called “Virtual Diva,” and has an awesome hook. “¡Chequea como se menea!” he exclaims in his usual booming voice. I’d definitely put it in the running for Song of the Summer. You can catch the ridiculous video ici.

My favorite part is at the end, when he leaves some final remarks:

¡Sencillo! Estamos trabajando encima de sus expectativas… de eso se trata. Algunos años luz antes que ustedes. Siempre voy a vivir ahí–no miren pa’ mi galaxia.

Loose translation: “It’s simple! We’re working beyond your expectations… that’s what it’s all about. Some light years ahead of you. I’ll always live there–don’t check out my galaxy.” Haha. Oh my god, Don Omar is da bomb.


On the Idiot Box.

Hello my treacherous friends!  I am still recovering from watching the season finale of Lost.  Did you feel dicked over by the last shot?  I did!  But after thinking about it and reading a shitload of comments on the AV Club about this last episode of the season, I can gladly say that the rest of this episode was pretty right on!  Especially Michael Emerson’s last scene in the episode, where he just starts bitching–“WHAT ABOUT ME??”  What about you?  You should get an Emmy for that, that’s what.

Watch at your own risk!  (Then again, it’ll probably get pulled soon.)

Seriously, isn’t his hissy fit hilarious?

Since this show has a terrible fondness of dispensing of cast members, I expected a few casualties, but I was pretty pissed about one in particular.  Mind you, he’s not confirmed dead, because this show also has a terrible fondness of faking deaths, buuuuut at the moment I’m mad I’ll have to wait until next January to find out.  Arghh.

Today I gladly rotted my brain on Freaks and Geeks.

If you can’t tell, Bill Haverchuck is my favorite character, and it pisses me off that Martin Starr is not the most successful F&G alum.  Not that I hate anyone in the cast, they were all fucking amazing.  I just didn’t expect Seth Rogen of all people to be considered leading man material.  C’est tout.


Look What I Found in My Files.

nick-cave-rocks

An old Cat & Girl comic I modified… I almost forgot I had it.  I’m not sure what the text was in the original strip.


In Case You Were Curious, Which You Most Likely Were Not.

(1) I decided recently that Roy Orbison is fucking brilliant.  I find his voice quite strange.

(2) A couple of weeks ago I went to the Virgin on Times Square and found out they were closing.  Got some cool shit.  My biggest find was a fucking Man Recordings 12″ that features Deize Tigrona.  I chortled to myself at the fact that no one had bothered to buy it and I was giddy that I had the pleasure to do so.  I was so excited, in fact, that I kinda didn’t want to listen to it, because I was so fucking sure I’d be disappointed.  But I listened anyway.  And let me tell you something–now, I know you’re going to laugh, but I wish you wouldn’t–after listening to it, I was thrilled, but I also couldn’t figure out if I’d listened to it at the right speed.  I know it makes me sound like a moron, but I’m telling you, both sides of the single are so fucking weird, so many miles away from what I recognize as funk, that I am still kinda disoriented about it.  At the same time, this disorientation makes me feel even more excited about the 12″.  The A-side in particular is off the hook.  Hee!  I think it’s gonna be one of those songs, like “Ni Fu Ni Fa,” that I’m gonna listen to years from now and still think that it’s ahead of its time.  Seriously.

(3) I also bought a copy of Scratch half price, and thank the lord cos that shit was mad expensive originally.  I started watching it today, and I couldn’t finish it cos my parents told me to stop hogging the teevee.  I’m telling you, though, it’s really fun and just watching the footage of all those DJs slouched over their turntables is so beautiful.  Okay, the sounds, I don’t care much about the result of the sounds, but fundamentally, I find it really inspiring, because you know that for them to create the music that they do, they need to go crate-diggin’ for the most beautiful sounds to their ears, and they need to learn every element in a song intimately, and I’m awed by the dedication and discipline and pure love of music they show in doing that.  I know that I don’t hear music the way they hear music, and I’m fascinated by it.  I also think it’s amazing how they take a pre-existing work and they really reinterpret it, not unlike a singer covering someone else’s song.

(4) I bought a collection of poetry by Jose Garcia Villa (v. v. hard to abstain from adding accents in his name since I’m so used to it, but he’s filipino and I’m not sure if they use them over there).  I’m only telling you this because it’s National Poetry Month and I’m enjoying the book a lot.  I didn’t know of his existence until recently, when the AAWW had an event about him.  Like Tseng Kwong Chi later on, it appears that Villa was one of those cool kids hanging out downtown who has become nothing more than a footnote in pop culture history, even though both Villa and Tseng were serious artists with significant contributions to the scene.

Anyway, reading the book and enjoying really makes me wonder why I don’t read more poetry.  The dumb and easy answer is that I don’t get it, and I find a lot of other people telling me they don’t get poetry either.  I really feel like we’re not taught poetry very well.  The whole population can’t be averse to poetry–we must have been taught that somehow it’s lesser than other writing forms.  And that fucking annoys me!  In one sense I understand that times change and that different writing forms fall out of vogue.  For example, I’d say–without any scientific proof or naught, but still–we’re transitioning out of the era of the novel and more into some weird sort of non-fiction/memoir era (and I think blogs are helping this!), but it still bothers me that poetry is ignored because I think there’s still a lot that could be said and done with poetry.  Poetry came before the novel and I feel that the less literate people are in poetry, that means that works from hundreds and hundreds of years ago will become lost…  Seguro que yo sueno histérica, y yo sé que lo poesía no morirá por completo, pero me molesta que hay tanta tradición, tanta cultura y arte que la gente no aprecia y lo toman todo por idioteces solo porque alguien (some higher up) decidió que la poesía ya no importa tanto como otros géneros, y así es que las generaciones más jóvenes no aprenden el valor que tienen los poemas…  Bah!  Me duele la cabeza.  And so I make my exit.


On the Watchmen Movie, Mucho Text Avec Spoilers.

A lot of times I know that a movie will be a waste of time, but I still get curious about the usually convoluted plotlines so I go online and spoil myself the movie. It tends to happen with a lot of horror movies, but not always. I had already spoiled myself Watchmen, but it didn’t quell my curiosity because I read about all the changes from the book and I wondered how the fuck everything was gonna pan out, so I was (a) dying for the movie to leak, or (b) waiting for 10 days to pass so I could use a movie voucher to watch it for like $2.

I caved. I went to watch it last night. Paid the full ticket price and everything.

There’s some things I should mention. First of all, I didn’t have a phone on me yesterday, which was awkward because I use my phone as my watch, as most of my friends do. I was fucking blanking out and unsure about whether I’d just left it home, or if I’d dropped it on the street. I was wearing a coat with shallow pockets, y’see. So every few hours I had to get change and look for a payphone to call my own phone, hoping my mom would pick up and thereby confirm that the phone was at home. The whole thing was an exercise in hilarity. First off, it’s ridiculous trying to find a payphone these days, even if I found myself in a tourist-heavy area. (And I do mean the tourists are heavy! HAHAHA okay never mind very rude of me I know…) Second off, my mom is pretty much deaf in one ear, so she really can’t hear my phone vibrate… most of the time she can’t hear her own phone, even though her has a very loud ringtone. Third off, I couldn’t call anyone else because the only phone number I have committed to heart is my own fucking number. I hung out all by my lonesome which suited me fine, but I felt very disconnected to the world.

I was full of win yesterday, really.

It was the afternoon and I didn’t know what to do with myself so I decided to queue up for the West Side Story ticket lottery. Since I didn’t have a watch on me, I just stood in the cold for like a good hour and a half until I found out that I didn’t win. Fuck man, I bet this revival isn’t even all that and it was mad cold yesterday, but there were a shitload of people dying to get a fucking ticket. My god.

Anyway, I peaced out of there but the cold and the hunger was getting to me so I just went into a Sbarro and paid $2.29 for a 20 oz. bottle of water… Jesus fuck. Whatever, I had a fun time people-watching the tourists surrounding me. I wondered if they saw me as a tourist, too. But I peaced out as soon as I warmed up and I walked up to the Lincoln Center area to see if the indie theater had anything good showing at a godly hour. Never mind that I wasn’t even sure what time it was. I wasn’t too interested in the movies showing at that moment, so I walked over to the big chain theater near the Barnes & Noble and bought a ticket to Watchmen.

Okay, I admit it. I was curious about the plot changes, but I have a crush on Patrick Wilson, too. He was one of the highlights of the Angels in America movie for me (and believe me, I wasn’t that enthusiastic about the movie as a whole). I was really puzzled by the fact that he was playing Nite Owl. Nothing on Patrick Wilson’s acting, I think he’s a wonderful actor, but I mean, Patrick Wilson is fiiiiine. And Dan Dreiberg, his character, is totally lame. And has a paunch. So I wanted to see how the hell they worked that out. I was really interested to see Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Jackie Earle Haley, too.

I found out a few days ago that the opening box office for Watchmen was only like, $50 million, so I wasn’t sure how many people would show up for a weeknight screening of the movie. The closer it got to the screening time, though, it filled up pretty nicely. There were a shitload of open seats though; I had a whole row to myself, there was a couple sitting directly behind me, and on the row in front there was a black dude, but he was farther away to one side. You wouldn’t believe my surprise when the lights went out and after a good number of trailers, some dude sits next to me. Or rather, I was sitting in the third seat into the row, on the second seat was my purse, and he sat on the seat closest to the aisle. Well I noticed he had a bag on him so I moved my purse to the seat on my other side. Instead of putting his bag between us, he sat next to me and put his bag on the seat closest to the aisle. See where I’m going with this? I mean from then on I knew there was something odd, right? Like there’s at least a hundred empty seats and you’re like, he just happened to see the seat next to me was empty?

The movie started and everything was okay the first fifteen minutes, but then I realize he was moving a lot. So I peeked over and noticed he actually had his penis out and was masturbating right next to me. There was nothing sexy happening on the screen, obviously, just a sick guy. I didn’t know what to do, because a part of me just wanted to tell him to put it in his pants and just watch the fucking movie. I even considered ignoring him but I realized that I couldn’t concentrate on the movie just knowing that this guy was wanking himself right next to me. In the span of like, four or five minutes, I debated with my course of action and decided that bringing attention to his behavior could bring any number of mostly sucky responses, so I just decided to up and leave. I felt bad about getting in the way of the couple behind me.

Since I was already out of the theater I decided to maybe place a call to my phone. Then I thought, “What the fuck, I paid $12.50 for this shit and I’m gonna watch this motherfucking movie to the end!” Besides, I was kinda worried the dude had followed me out so I thought it was better to be in a room full of people. The row behind the couple whose view I blocked was completely empty, so I sat there. And I hoped the dude wouldn’t show up and give me trouble.

Well wouldn’t you believe it, I noticed that the very row in which I sat was totally empty, too. The motherfucker left after I did.

Anyway, after that I just watched the movie in relative peace, though on occasion I’d drift away and worry that the guy would show up again or something. I mean, maybe if the movie had been more absorbing, I would have forgotten completely about the pervert, but there you go. Watchmen was pretty sweet in pieces, but as a whole, it didn’t gel.

I’m sorry it took me so long to get to talking about the movie. There’s really nothing to say that hasn’t been said already. Yeah, the sex scene was awful. Everyone was laughing and it was probably the biggest laugh in the movie. Listen, I don’t want to hear “Hallelujah” used in a movie or TV show unless it involves Alan Dale dying on-screen of a heart attack, mmmkay? I’m sick of it being used as “emotional shorthand” in the cheapest way possible. Besides, when I read the comic and got to the scene, I thought something like Depeche Mode would play in the background. Sigh.

The changes they made to the characters were really annoying, and sometimes they were fundamental changes. It’s like most of the plot revolving around them stays the same, but there’s so many things about the characters that aren’t fleshed out that would have explained why they did this or that. For example, there’s no real explanation to the complexity in the relationship between Mama Silk Spectre and Baby Silk Spectre, which is such an interesting take on feminism and sexism in superhero culture. And we never see Baby Silk Spectre having this back-and-forth between hating her superhero past and loving it. Instead, she acts as the person who is really way excited about getting back in costume and drags Dan back into his.

Another deep change was that they made no mention of Rorschach’s discomfort with women. We don’t even see the whole thing about why his mask moves and shit. They made Rorschach a lot more sympathetic, and more… I don’t know what word to use, more functional? I imagined Rorschach was in a world of his own, but even in the way he spoke, he seemed like he could still fit into regular society.

And Ozymandias’s plan just seemed like the kind of thing that a regular evil mastermind would come up with, whereas when I read the comic, I was riveted by the level of ridiculousness his plan involved… For all the slow-mo used in the movie, I feel like they didn’t linger on the important stuff, relying more on telling us the important bits instead of showing us and letting us reflect on what was happening on screen. There were so many subtle things missing that I was able to fill in from having read the comic, but I couldn’t imagine how a complete stranger to the movie would fill in those blanks. For example, I wish we’d seen more of Rorschach’s shrink and how he is affected by Rorschach. Part of me wants to watch the extended version of the movie and see how much it improves (or worsens). I also hated that they all seemed to have superhuman strength. Come on, these people have been in retirement! They’re not getting any younger! At least they could have explained that they were secretly still keeping strong, or something.

Worst of all, I never fully felt like there was anything at stake. Or rather, I could see some of what was at stake, but I didn’t feel the depth of how cataclysmic the stakes were. This movie’s failures made me realize how much I loved The Dark Knight.

Yeah, Malin Akerman was mostly wooden. To be frank, for any shortcomings involving the acting, I’m gonna place squarely on Zack Snyder. Not that I’ve seen any of his other movies, but it really felt like he didn’t place acting at the top of his priority list at all, it was like he cared more about replicating the look and feel of the comic a lot more. I don’t know if it was because he thought, “No one’s gonna care, this is an action movie! The fanboys don’t care about beautiful acting, they want to see Rorschach’s capture sequence to be portrayed exactly as it is on the page!” (The sequence involving his capture was, indeed, awesome to watch.) I don’t even know how much prep work they did on the actual performances. But on the screen, it very much felt like it was more about what the actors brought to the table and that Snyder gave them minimal notes on how to maximize the emotion. It’s like he just threw everyone in front of the camera and was like, “Okay, ready? Bring it, y’all!” without talking about the motivations of the characters and blah blah blah. And if a performance was subpar, I can see him going, “That’s okay, you tried, we’ll work on it in post-production!” Am I being unfair to Zack Snyder? Well, if he has beef he can write to me about it. Well, to be nice, I think he would make a really wonderful music video director. He’s got a strong visual sensibility.

Some random shit I did like: the liberal use of fake blood. Whoever gets to press the button that makes the blood squirt out like that must have the funnest job ever. Loved the McLaughlin Group bit in the beginning–I thought it was spot-on. I also enjoyed the opening credits where we see the history of the first generation of superheroes. Mama Silk Spectre’s costume was really cute, even if her boots weren’t appropriate for crime-busting. My favorite moment involving Rorschach was when he’s like, “I’m not locked up with you, you’re locked up with me!” It was a very satisfying moment and I thought Haley’s line-reading was perfect. The movie made me appreciate the Comedian’s complexity more, actually! In addition, there were two funny moments in the jail break out that stand out. First, Baby Silk Spectre unnecessarily kicks some guard’s ass, and Nite Owl’s reaction was priceless. Really nicely done, especially because, even though he was wearing his mask, he conveyed his opinion beautifully. Second, I loved Rorschach’s whole “Need to use the men’s room” bit, especially with the door swinging. I think those were my two favorite moments in the movie. I also thought that 80s NYC was rendered nicely. And I thought they tried to leave a lot of in-jokes for the fans, which I appreciated.

There was one moment in the movie that genuinely surprised me. Just the choice of direction was unexpected. It’s Rorschach’s final scene, and he takes off the mask, and he’s crying. I didn’t remember him crying in the comic, but I looked it up and he totally is. Now, when I saw it in the comic book, I thought he was crying out of anger, frustration, disappointment that his former teammates were willing to settle. But in the movie he seems to be crying in resignation and in fear of death, too. That choice kinda does make sense, now that I think about it, but it makes Rorschach’s exit so much less badass than I originally conceived it in my mind.

I’m sorry this post is such a mess. I said so much but nothing really coheres… I guess some Zack Snyder rubbed off on me. Zing!

EDIT: Oh crud, I forgot to mention, I was totally pumped for some of the trailers they showed before the movie. In particular, I almost died of excitement when they showed the Wolverine trailer, not because of Hugh Jackman, but because I had no idea that Gambit was gonna be in the movie! Holy shit, I do not care how bad that movie is, I can’t wait to see Gambit in action!! I used to have such a crush on him (er, the cartoon version of him) when I was like, 8. Siiigh.


This Post Is Brought To You By The Letters S, T, F, and U.

The Internet gods are smiling down on me.

Some lovely, thoughtful individual converted and uploaded this mofuckin’ remix of Christian Bale’s recent freakout.

Here’s the mp3!!
And here’s the requisite ONTD post about it, if you missed it. But really! HOW COULD YOU HAVE MISSED IT??


Some Notes.

Part I

I just read this post on Moleskine Literario (¿otra vez? ¡pos sí!) about Julio Cortázar’s former spouse selling the rights to three unpublished stories. Iván wrote,

Está claro que Cortázar no decidió publicarlos en su momento por considerarlos equívocos, pero no importa, nadie espera demasiado de esos textos, lo interesante es el legado. Eso sí, el libro será de ultra lujo: solo 100 ejemplares a 260 euros cada uno.

That is, “It’s clear that Cortázar decided not to publish the stories at the time because they weren’t right, but that doesn’t matter, no one expects much from those texts, what matters is the legacy. That said, the book will be an ultra luxury: only 100 copies at 260 euros each.” (My emphases. Also: not a literal translation.)

What really annoys the fuck out of me is that it seems ridiculous to charge 260 euros to get your hands on three unpublished stories. Honestly. This woman couldn’t donate (or even sell!) the works to a museum or a library? Turning the stories into a commodity, a very expensive commodity at that, pisses me off so bad. My dearest hope is that the people who get their hands on this ARE establishments such as museums or libraries that will allow the masses to have some sort of access to them for free, rather than having the copies go to private individuals who, for all we know might use the stories to wipe their asses with them (o lo que sea). Argh. 260 euros! And none of it going to the fucking author, cos he’s dead. So why is it so fucking expensive? Supposedly, it’s just how much it’ll cost to bind the stories in a beautiful volume, and that the publisher won’t be making a profit. Pffft. Okay, even if that’s true, for the consumer, it becomes much more of a “haha, I got one and you don’t” situation. I don’t see why Cortázar’s former wife couldn’t just make it available to a wider mass of people so that we could get a better sense of his writing process and the like.

“What matters is the legacy,” right. But why should Cortázar’s legacy touch only a select few who can afford it? I hope at least one of the people lucky enough to buy the stories just scans the fucking thing and leaks it onto the internets.

Musical Interlude A

“Soch na kya,” from Ghayal, which is a reinterpretation of “Llorando se fue,” better known as the song that inspired “Lambada.” Further proof that this song is bangin’ in pretty much every language and arrangement. Just recently I noticed that “Llorando se fue” actually has Japanese lyrics, which I noted from the use of the words “anata” and “watashi.” Yay for rudimentary Japanese language skills. Anyway, as soon as I realized that I thought, “Geez, I never knew were Peruvian.” It’s just that whenever I think of big Japanese populations in Latin America I think of Peru and Brazil. Heh. But Los Kjarkas are actually Bolivian. Regardless of where they’re from, I’m curious as to why they sing in Japanese in the first place. ¡Qué misterio!

Part II

Words Without Borders updated! Its theme for February is “The Graphic World,” and there’s some sweet translations of comics available. It’s also worth checking out their archives for older translations of comics. For example, there’s an excerpt in English of Fuguet’s “Road Story.” Good shit!

Musical Interlude B

I never made a list of favorite albums of 2008, and I’m so glad because I only listened to Utada Hikaru’s Heart Station recently and I’m loving it. I’m kinda dreading her forthcoming English language album, mostly cos I listened to her newest single and it’s dreadfully boring. But Heart Station is undeniably awesome.

Part III

How do the Kindle fiends do it? How can anyone stare at a screen and just read for extended periods of time? I had a hard enough time wanting to read Colson Whitehead’s “Wow, Fiction Works!” I mean, I opened the page and it loaded in like, five seconds, and then I… proceeded to not read it. Jesus. For like hours and hours I was like, “Oh, let’s put it off for a bit until I’ve finished watching this stupid youtube vid of [insert your favorite pointless youtube time-waster of choice here].” Finally I understood that I wasn’t going to read this essay unless I printed it. Because if I printed it, I wouldn’t be distracted by other open browser pages, not to mention it felt good to have something tangible to read. And it didn’t hurt my eyes to read it! In fact, I was pretty giddy about it. Whitehead is so gleeful in his delivery that it’s infectious.


Things That Are Not Okay.

There are countless things that are NOT okay in this world, too many to catalog all of them on this blog, so here is the one thing that is ticking me off at the very moment.

This video is NOT okay…

(1) … because of the usage of the “N” word.
(2) … because of the sexism.
(3) … because of that embarrassingly wack track.

And maybe he’ll counter and say, “Isn’t this what American hip-hop is all about? ‘Nigga this nigga that and how about them bitches and hos’?” I can’t explain how infuriating I find this video to be. To me, this video makes it clear that this rapper doesn’t give a shit about hip-hop, he’s only looking at the surface, at what’s mainstream and just imitating it. Honestly, the least he could do is show some love and respect to the music, but it’s just nonsense bullshit that was probably slapped together in a matter of 20 minutes. The lyrics are offensive AND lazy as hell.

Actually, I hate that everything this rapper learned came from actual mainstream hip-hop music videos what with the swagger and whatever. Whoever fucking says that the media doesn’t have an effect in our world view, well there you go. Think about all the money that’s thrown at mainstream hip-hoppers, courtesy of the major labels who dictate how these hip-hoppers should sound, because they got so much riding on the success of these “musicians” and since they think “Well geez, sex and aggression and so on sells so let’s just make every track ooze with that bullshit,” the result is that people from the outside see videos full of yo no sé qué, video hos y lo que sea, and they think it’s TOTALLY okay to emulate what they see. In fact, they think it’s fucking COOL to emulate, no innovation involved, no respect paid to the history of this music. Here is a Korean rapper thinking it’s okay to just throw around the “N” word, and the only reason he’s doing it is because he thinks he’s tough shit, no consideration to what he’s really saying, no consideration to who’s going to hear it, no consideration no consideration no consideration.

If you’ll excuse me, I need to go and listen to some Cool Calm Pete and calm the fuck down. At least Pete makes me feel proud to be a Korean. Not to mention he’s a total QT3.14.

Thanks to BicoastalBitchin’ for bringing this video to my attention.


Iván the Awesome.

So there’s this blog called Moleskine Literario, right? Sometimes I’d stumble upon it when I would be looking up stuff about Latin American authors or books, blah blah. Well recently I found out that it’s written by an actual novelist named Iván Thays. In fact, he was named one of the Bogotá 39, a list that fascinates me endlessly if only because of the demographics of the group. (For example, I’m pleasantly surprised about the inclusion of Alarcón and Díaz, whose major works are primarily in English though, admittedly, Alarcón does have a hand in Etiqueta Negra which is very much in Spanish.) Anyways, I have never read Thays’s work, not that I haven’t tried. Today I went to the Mid-Manhattan library to pick up the 25th Hour DVD that was waiting for me and I swung by upstairs to check out the Spanish language fiction section. Nada. Puede ser que hay copias de sus libros en el sistema del NYPL… but if they exist they were snatched by other mofos who are more “in” on the current Peruvian lit scene than I am.

ANYWAY. The whole point is that I like the blog a lot but the website has this annoying feature that, whenever I click on the website the first time I land on the blog, I get a fucking pop-under. Argh. Every time it happens I just want to give Thays a fucking noogie and yell at him to quit that shit. I don’t understand why he’d allow advertising on his personal blog. C’mon, dude. It’s irrimatating. That’s why I don’t actually visit it frequently, I’ll maybe visit it like, once a week and just try to catch up on the first page. And I try to avoid clicking on the first page so that I won’t get the pop-under.

Imagine, then, the surprise at reading this post.

Yo me hice fanático de la serie Candy (sí, tengo mi venus en Libra y tengo mi lado femenino bien desarrollado, ¿les jode?)…

Loosely: “I became a fan of Candy Candy (yes, I have my Venus in Libra and my feminine side is well-developed, does that bother you?)…”

When I read this I seriously cracked up. Shit, I didn’t even finish reading the post, which is about Marx’s Capital in manga form. The comments on the post are hilarious too. It’s just weird hearing a grown dude say he totally loved Candy Candy, and it’s also awesome because it just sparked a nostalgia-fest in my frigid little heart.

Irresistible, no?

Though honestly, I was really into Saint Seiya as a kid. In Spanish, the title was something like, “Knights of the Zodiac.” It really sucked that there weren’t many cool female characters, usually they were very fragile and fey. Seriously, that show was a total sausage-fest. My memory tells me that much later in the series, there were some badass female characters, but I’m not entirely sure. Regardless, I really liked the whole Greek mythology aspect of the story.

Wait, what was I talking about? Oh, Moleskine Literario. Besides the unfortunate pop-under business, it’s a really fun blog, definitely worth checking out if you haven’t already. I wonder what his fiction writing is like?


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A pause in honor of Harold Pinter, who died a couple of days ago. What else is there to say?


Inolvidable.

WHAT. THE. FUCK.

(1) That is Gael García Bernal.
(2) He is singing a cover of “I Want You to Want Me.” In Spanish. Norteño-style.

Is my mind blown? My mind is totally blown. I’m also glad to finally see a trailer of Rudo y Cursi, which has been in production for a very long time. (The music video is some sort of promo for the movie.) Anyway, I found this video on Remezcla, and you can find a trailer for the movie, too. It looks like a comedy so now I’m kinda looking forward to it. But enough about the Gael/Diego film reunion. When is Gael getting back with Ludwika Paleta, that’s what I wanna know. Then again, girlfriend should probably stop doing the whole trashy telenovela thing.

Actually, if you read the credits in the video above, you’ll see Diego Luna’s name in there, too. I think Gael and Diego met on the set of El abuelo y yo. And yes, I used to watch it when I was little and I had no recollection of Gael, so you can imagine the shock of finding out Gael was in that novela. At that point I only watched the show for Ludwika, who was so so pretty and who was well-known among my age group since she had been in Carrusel, which was an incredibly successful kids’ telenovela.

Yes, in Latin America they trained us to become telenovela fiends from a very early age.

ANYWAY. Seeing the norteño version of “I Want You to Want Me” reminded me of another Gael movie with an awesomely weird and unexpected cover, El crimen del padre Amaro. Okay, in that movie, I heard this really great version of “One Way or Another,” and so I tried desperately to seek my soul, but I finally gave up after like a month or two. It’s one of the few songs on which I’ve given up. Another notable song I haven’t found successfully is Ray Charles’s version of “Bein’ Green,” as heard on an episode of The Cosby Show. Argh, remembering my downloading misadventures makes me want these songs even more.

Also, I’m suddenly itchin’ to listen to more norteño shit. It’s that polka bounce… it’s too catchy to be true…


If You’re Looking For a Good Read…

These bloggers decided that December will be National Buy a Book by a Black Author and Give it to Somebody Not Black Month. I know it doesn’t roll right off the tongue, but it’s a really cool idea! Since I’m not black I’m planning on buying myself a little something. Hurray! Make sure to read the comments section for some great reading suggestions.

Maybe I’ll finally get that Nikki Giovanni collection I’ve been itching for.


Pushing Daisies Going Six Feet Under?

There are all these news reports that ABC is going to cancel Pushing Daisies after a shortened 2nd season. I don’t know what ABC is thinking. Oh, how about pumping some money for November sweeps? No, instead they bump the show for two weeks and they’ve only done the most minimal of advertising for the show for season 2. Speaking of ratings, I feel like they’re only considering the number of people watching the show on television at its broadcast time, instead of considering those who record the show, and also the people who watch it on their website. I mean, really? Only an average of 6 million people?

The news of the show’s imminent cancellation is infuriating that there are so many loose threads for the show, and the channel doesn’t have the decency to at least give it a full season so it can die a dignified death. If anything, it would be a nice gesture to the fans who have stuck around, instead of dicking them over. Honestly, the show may only average 6 million viewers, which I know is pretty dismal, but 6 million people is nothing to laugh at. I mean, Gossip Girl only averages about half of those people! (FYI: I fucking love Gossip Girl too.) And what about the critics? The critics love Pushing Daisies! Shouldn’t that count for something, kinda like superdelegates and shit?

What, exactly, is ABC planning to do if the show gets cancelled? I just can’t imagine the replacement show being better than Pushing Daisies. I mean, it might be. But most likely, it won’t be. Because every week, there are dozens of TV shows that I could choose to watch, and they’re all shit. I watch Pushing Daisies because it’s well-written, well-acted, and overall, well-produced. It has its quirks, but at least it’s not some forgettable cookie cutter shit.

I hope for a better future for the show. If ABC wants it, how about just giving it at least until a third season, so that ABC can find a suitable replacement? (Haha, a girl can dream.) If ABC doesn’t want it, I am crossing my fingers that a cable network will have the decency to pick it up. That would actually be the better scenario. It would be kind of fitting, wouldn’t it? ABC lets the show die, and another network brings it back to life. Just like an episode of Pushing Daisies.


It Is No Mystery, We’re Making History.

There’ve been times that I thought I couldn’t last for long
But now I think I’m able to carry on
It’s been a long, long time coming
But I know a change has come

I think the best part of today was waking up and thinking, “Holy shit, we actually DID elect Obama!”  So for my commute to work I put on some choice jams, the very first of which was “A Change is Gonna Come,” since Obama alluded to it in his speech last night and I cried when he did.

See, at work we put on this Sam Cooke best-of on the stereo sometimes, and the last time we listened to it was this past Saturday, on All Saints.  This song already means so much to me but on Saturday the election was on my mind and I really wondered, “Will it really come?”  I got shivers just thinking about it.

So on the train this morning I blasted that shit on my fauxPod, as well as “How We Gonna Make a Black Nation Rise,” “When the Revolution Comes,” “Making History,” and um, “Gotta Work.”  Not that they were particularly political but they’re songs I love and I was totally pumped about being alive and young and an American.

The funny thing is that some dude got on my train and started singing “A Change is Gonna Come.”  And the dude was really doing it to ask for spare change, y’know, “I said brother/help me, please.”  But I just started tearing up even though the mofo couldn’t sing for shit.  It’s just such a special song, isn’t it?

Last night, my dad and I were watching the TV like most of the nation, and we were bien calladitos about the whole thing.  It’s just that we’re not really loud and celebratory about anything.  But we watched the announcement from the media anchors declaring Obama’s win, and my Dad and I exchanged a look, like, “Did we do that?”  My dad said, “Amazing.”  I mean he said it in English, not in Korean or Spanish.  I nodded, stunned, and waited until he went to sleep.  Then I watched the speech and cried because everyone else was crying.  I mean, you see a grown man like Jesse Jackson cry, and you can’t not cry because you see that this man can’t fucking believe that he would ever see this day.  So I cried too, because as much as this election may mean the world to me, I have no fucking idea how good it feels for people like Jackson who remember their struggle for civil rights.

Speaking of struggling for civil rights, I am actually surprised that California voted for the gay marriage ban.

But let’s end on a high note. Here‘s an awesome post from Racialicious, and why not visit the ever-so-brilliant Yes We Can (Hold Babies), which I like to think had a serious effect on Obama’s win, LOL.  No, but seriously, I got kinda teary-eyed reading some of the comments on the Racialicious post.  I feel like this will be one of the most defining days of my life.  ¡¡Lo hicimos, cabrones!!


This Is A Fuck You To That One Dude At The Open Mic.

Apologies if this post is too incoherent.  I tried to make myself clear but I’m so fucking mad!

Tonight was my second time at the AAWW to attend an open mic called Witchdoctors & Assassins, and I enjoyed it so fucking much the first time around I thought I would buy some candy for everyone.  It’s not like I frequent open mics but my friend asked me and I’d always meant to go to the AAWW, so it was pretty fucking sweet to attend last time, and tonight was mostly fun as well.

As you’d imagine with any open mic, W&A has its mix of awkward and awesome, of silly and serious, of sadness and happiness, etc etc.  The great thing about it is that it’s really an open space with a supportive audience, so the readers/performers can push past their comfort zones and get adventurous.  Part of the unwritten deal is that we as an audience respect the readers’ time and the readers’ right to speak up.

Well, this one guy, at least I feel, really exploited our circle of support.  He gets up there, and it’s like he didn’t prepare anything, he’s just responding to some of the earlier open mic participants.  So his statements didn’t have a clear thesis, but what I got from it was that he thought there was a lot of “blaming” going around, that these readers are quick to blame an other because they don’t want to take responsibility for their own culpability, their own roles as victims.  He advised that we should all take care of our individual selves and learn to make ourselves happy with the small things.  I mean, la-dee-da and all, but this argument failed on so many levels that it’s not even funny.

His statements failed because, above all, they lacked empathy.  It’s exactly the sort of thing someone from a privileged background would say.  I don’t know, maybe he got defensive because he felt threatened.  But when I thought about what he said, I don’t think he really listened to the other readers.  The thing that really didn’t help was that he was, in appearance, indeed white and tall and probably in his 40s.  All sorts of privileged.  I’m not saying that I know his life and that he had it easy…  But he was just so dismissive of what the others were saying.  What an entitled motherfucker!

I was horrified when he called out one specific reader’s poem.  The poem by this young man basically said that the author was no longer willing to be submissive in his relationship.  (The poem was more complicated, but I don’t want to get too detailed because I don’t want the author to feel even more on the spot about it.)  It was such a great poem too, visceral thematically but also quite humorous in certain parts.  The older insensitive guy was kinda saying that the young poet should stop the anger and the blame because the young man had obviously put himself in a submissive role.  My heart kinda died.  I mean, what was he going to say next?  That women who wear dresses are just asking to be raped?

This man’s statements just ignored the bigger problems that encompass our lives, that it’s not just about individual choices when in society it’s just agreed that certain types of people are born with disadvantages.  I mean, as much as I may think of myself as American, I know that some people will see me and never think of me as part of this country and will forever see me as an outsider–never mind how well-educated I may be, how well I may speak English, etc.  We’re born into this country thinking that we live in a meritocracy, but let’s face it, that’s a delusion that we’re all taught from our infancies.

Not only that, did this man not see that for the participants of the open mic, by having written these pieces and by having them read aloud, by having shared these pieces with others, was a way for the participants to empower ourselves?  That in fact, these readers were not being as passive as the man was suggesting?  And didn’t he see how much time and thought and effort and courage and honesty it took for the readers to reach the point where they could participate in the open mic.  That young man who got called out, just before the open mic started, he told me how he was nervous.  Unlike the older man, who seemed to be getting his thoughts together on the spot, many of these young participants really reflected about their personal experiences and were so careful in choosing the words they wanted to share and ultimately willed these words into existence.

Another reason this man’s statements failed is because his proposed solution is an unreachable fantasy, and in fact it’s not a solution is worth reaching.  One of the things he emphasized is how each person should find what makes him or her happy.  Well what I understood from the open mic as a whole is that, yes, we value the individual voice, but the open mic is just as much about fostering community, that collective happiness is actually a vital part of creating happy indiviuals.

Moreover, he totally ignored the fact that the things that make each person happy may conflict with other people’s.  If an individual finds happiness in killing other people, should this person be allowed to murder?  FUCK NO!

The worst part?  He didn’t even stay for the entire open mic.  Not that he was listening in the first place.  So I guess it was good riddance.

What is strangest about the whole situation is that, after that man’s little spiel, I still applauded.  I still acknowledged what he said.  I wasn’t the only one clapping, but in hindsight I’m so mad at myself for violating one of the few rules I try to live by: Don’t applaud if you don’t think it deserves the applause; don’t give an ovation if you don’t think it deserves an ovation.  I could lie to myself and say, “Hey, I was applauding the fact that he was finally done and that he was finally shutting the fuck up.”  And yes, it was automatic, because I’d just been trying to be supportive that entire night.  But no, it was wrong of me and I really have to promise to myself I won’t do it again, I have to promise to myself to be a bit more conscious of what I’m applauding and for what reason.

Oh well.  That’s another thing about open mics: sometimes they can be uncomfortable.  But at least you learn.


Huh.

I have a YouTube account and I have music videos uploaded on it. Until today, I had three videos, except I received an email telling me that someone complained about one of my videos. The reason was that the complainant owned the copyright to the video. I know it’s not a unique situation, it happens all the fucking time, but I still find the whole thing quite odd. I didn’t think that the artist of the music video I uploaded would be the sort of bastard who would whine about it (or maybe it was the director??). The other thing is, it took the complainant about two years to bitch about the fact I uploaded this video. Last, it’s not even my most popular music video upload, I doubt it reached half a million (even a quarter of a million) hits during its existence. Honestly, I uploaded that video because I loved the song so much, and I didn’t receive a single miserable penny for plugging that song, so why do I have to be penalized for it?

That said, I’m happy that they didn’t nuke my account in its entirety. Oh well. Lo que será, será.

In more depressing news, I heard Beverly Hills Chihuahua hit número uno in the box office. AGAIN. Really? Who are you people and why are you spending money on stuff like that? I’d rather lose all my money on the stock market than willingly waste it on movies like that.

Upcoming posts include: a reading by two international writers, my first trip to the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, and a night at the theater. Stay tuned!


Ian MacKaye + Thurston Moore @ St. Francis College (Brooklyn Book Festival 2008).

Today was the Brooklyn Book Festival and one of the more unexpected panel offerings was a Q & A with Thurston Moore and Ian MacKaye.  I’ve already seen Ian speak before and I’ve already seen Sonic Youth live, but I wasn’t gonna pass up this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  So I queued up as early as I could to make sure I would get a ticket for this.

Johnny Temple, who used to rock out but now publishes books at Akashic, introduced the two and sat back as people interrogated Ian and Thurston.  Before he gave up the mic, he did state that not a single author at the festival was getting paid to be there, which was amazing to hear, because they had some incredible “gets” (Walter Mosley spoke at the venue right before the Ian & Thurston panel, I saw him exiting the place).  I think only five or six people got a chance to ask questions, mostly because the two dudes had a lot to say.  The introduction by Johnny was really great because he gave out a warning that all panelists should give out at Q & A sessions: don’t ask stupid questions.  Johnny Temple reminded us that Thurston and Ian have been interviewed a gazillion times, so if we had any basic questions we should just Google the information.  I was pleasantly surprised by the level of questioning from the crowd, which mostly consisted of younger (college age?) people.  I just wanna give props to all the people who got a chance to ask questions because they were great.  Even though we were at a book festival, they understandably asked a lot about music and business, like about the “pay what you want” model à la Radiohead, or how bands these days are quick to align themselves with corporate brands that have nothing to do with music in the first place.

Even before anyone asked any questions, Ian just had to rant about how we shouldn’t use Google as a verb and speak of personal music-listening devices instead of iPods and to stop talking about YouTube and refer to them as video streaming websites.  He was crazy serious and he absolutely had a point that we shouldn’t use brand names so mindlessly but I couldn’t stop laughing because before the panel started, my friends and I jokingly bet that Ian would talk more (moore??) than Thurston.

But Thurston got his say, too, such as when he declared his fetishistic love for LP records, and how he and Steve Shelley have had plenty of arguments whether to “sell out” their music for products that are totally unrelated to music.

Above all, I thought Thurston and Ian were hilarious as a pair, in a comedy duo kind of sense. Just picture them.  There’s this one really tall dude with floppy hair and another kinda short dude with hardly any hair. Ian definitely played the straight man, carefully considering the questions posed and giving long answers with lots of anecdotes, while Thurston mostly sat back and looked cool, offering occasional witty comments.

As Ian is wont to do, he told stories about when he was younger and he did so very eloquently.  He spoke of the shock of hearing a mix tape for the first time, how it had never occurred to him that an(y) individual could choose which songs to put into a tape and even draw a little cover for it.  The weird thing is that this story veered into how the person who showed him this mixed tape was some druggy European dude who was a friend of a friend (or something) and how Ian had met said druggy European dude on a ride to see the Ramones in New Haven in 1979.

“What year did you say it was?” Thurston asked him.
“1979.”
“Dude, I was there!”

Those are not direct quotes.  There was this whole exchange with Thurston asking whether Ian did coke with the druggy European dude and Ian bursting out with a resounding HELL NO.  Thurston said he didn’t remember Ian at the Ramones show, but that he sure remembered Ian’s druggy European friend, haha.  I’m not sure if Thurston was just pulling Ian’s leg about being at that Ramones show.  This suspicion was exacerbated by the fact that, nearing the end of the hour-long discussion, when they seemed to forget about the Q & A and just started throwing out respectfully bromantic comments at each other, Thurston spoke about one of the first times (the first time?) he met Ian.  Sonic Youth were playing at the 100 Club in London and Ian was just chillin’ in the audience and then Thurston approached him and was all like, “Yo wassup” and they started talking and how all of a sudden Nick Cave made an entrance and Ian* was “three sheets to the wind” and started bugging out about Nick Cave being in da house and la la la (here Thurston began a priceless impersonation of Nick Cave, except I was laughing too hard to be paying close attention)–which prompted Ian to reply with “That is such a lie!!”  And then Ian started talking about how it wasn’t the first time that Thurston had lied about Ian, except by that point I had completely lost it with the unexpected Nick Cave cameo in Thurston’s anecdote.  When I left the auditorium I was still howling with absolute joy.

To be hyperbolic about the whole shebang: this was one of the most rewarding hours I’ve spent in my life, if only because it was bitchin’ humid outside and it was so delightful to spend it with Ian MacKaye and Thurston Moore in an air-conditioned auditorium with pretty sweet acoustics that allowed everyone to ask questions clearly without a mic.

I’m sure some of those present will read this and say “This is a completely inaccurate breakdown of the event” and I agree.  I didn’t take notes on purpose because I imagined it would be one of those wonderful experiences that I’ll allow to become tainted in my memory with the passage of time.

The rest of the festival, minus the insufferable weather, was fun, too.  Somehow I ended up subscribing to The Dirty Goat, a lit mag that features a lot of non-American authors both in their original language and in translation.  At least… I hope they send me the issues.  I paid good money for the subscription, haha.

EDIT: The One Story posse was at the festival, too, and they just posted a story that various passersby wrote collectively.  It’s kinda sorta hilarious.  I really wanted to get a subscription to One Story but I had to resist their allure because I was short on dinero.  I’d ask my parents to buy me a subscription, but I’m planning to ask them for new bookshelves as a combination birthday/Christmas present this year, and that’s already asking for too much.

* ANOTHER EDIT: Ah shit, my token 90s friend told me that Thurston was referring to Nick Cave as “three sheets to the wind,” which makes a lot more sense.


What Are We Selling Here?

I wanted to point to two commercials from the current Payless ad campaign. The first I’ve seen for a few weeks now, and the reason it caught my attention was because it uses “Van Nuys (Es Very Nice)” by the totally defunct band Los Abandoned. You can see the ad here. I was very pleased to hear it because they never got very big and I feel like they should get a few royalties for their hard work, right? Also, that song is so peppy, I can’t fucking deny its awesomeness. Below, the original video to the song.

Well, more recently I noticed another ad with happy beautiful young people running around in bargain-priced shoes. But this ad uses “Snapshot” by Kinky, who will be playing a free show on August 9 at Central Park. That one surprised me more because it’s an older song. It was never one of my favorites from Atlas, so at first I had to ask myself, “How do I know this song?” I know that Kinky and Los Abandoned are very different bands from very different places, but seeing the two ads, I was pleasantly surprised by two Spanish-language groups featured in these ads. (Actually, I must clarify that both bands had a strong “Spanglish” approach to their lyrics, though.)

I just went to the Payless website and it said that the agency that did the ad is Martin Williams. I wonder if the person who took care of the music thought it was fun and young and appropriate for the demographic they wanted to hit (trendy “cosmopolatinos”??), or if the person just really liked those bands. I also wonder if there are other Payless ads with Latino-friendly bands playing in the background?

Of course, neither of these ads will have as much of an effect as the use of “Paper Planes” in the Pineapple Express trailers and ads. I don’t know how well the movie will fare, which is being released today, but I sure as hell know that the use of “Paper Planes” has affected M.I.A. somewhat positively. I mean, I don’t know for sure if she’s moving more units, but I assume greater exposure to the masses means more chances of selling albums. I was listening to Z100 for the first time in ages, and heard the intro to the song. I wasn’t sure it was the commercial for the movie, but the DJ assured me that I was hearing a “new” track from M.I.A. At first I was really excited that I was hearing her on the radio (don’t ask me why, I can’t explain), but then I was like, “Wait, what about the gunshot sounds??” They tried to mute them, but the song just sounds ridic like that.

“All I wanna do is BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! … and take your money…”


Jamie Lidell, Janelle Monáe, etc @ Central Park SummerStage.

Fui a Central Park pa’ ver el concierto de Jamie Lidell, Janelle Monáe, Little Jackie, José James, y el “dejota” Gilles Peterson. The concert was really loud. I know I keep saying that about every concert or movie I attend, but it just stresses me out. I also hate seeing so many kids running around at these things without any earplugs or headphones on; they’re gonna ruin their hearing like that. For some reason it makes me want to punch their parents, which is a pretty unfair statement because it’s hard enough to be a parent without having some childless douchebag blogger talk shit about you on the internets cos you forgot to cover your kids ears’ at one measly loud show. ANYWAY.

Janelle Monáe totally stole the show today, no offense to el señor Lidell. I think the best non-musical part of her set was when she took the time to tuck her hair back in place. I don’t know how she gets her hair like that, but basically in pictures it always looks impeccable. During the first song I thought it might be frozen in place, but girlfriend shakes it like a Polaroid picture (yay for 5-year-old pop culture references) so her pretty hair got all messed up. Bee tee dubs, Janelle is mad flaquita, it’s true. Like when she would stand in profile she would disappear cos she was so skinny. Nah, nah, I’m just playin’.

I should really talk about her music, right? Okay, well, it was fucking awesome. It was my first time being exposed to her and I’m tellin’ y’all, I’ve caught the virus!! Especially cos you’re like, “Oh, she just crazy, doin’ moves she learned at the James Brown School of Rock, blah blah,” pero then she busts out Chaplin’s “Smile” and you’re like… “Oh, hi. I love you.” [In Oprah voice:] She can siiiiiiing, y’all!!! Monáe really stands out because production-wise, she’s not part of that retro female army that seems to have cropped up post-Amy Winehouse‘s success. Instead, she talks about robots and shit, and is more forward-sounding too. It’s like the “All is Full of Love” robots come to life and singing about their experiences.

Dude, her band was cool, too. What was up with the one dude who was dressed like he was ready to go golfing? He was just pushin’ buttons and shit, but he was so happy to be there, and he knew every word to her songs.

I was kinda offended cos Little Jackie went on after la señorita Monáe. I don’t mean to dis cos I’ve only heard their one single, “The World Should Revolve Around Me,” but come on, Monáe has been hyped so much and she is obviously (1) a fantastic performer and (2) a more interesting musician. Pffft. I held my final judgment until the set ended, but after seeing their set, I couldn’t take the band too seriously. On record, the single is flawed but catchy, but live, it was much more underwhelming. I feel sorry for them. If they’d been stuck with a more lackluster lineup, they might have had a greater effect on me. It’s not that the group didn’t try. The one thing they had was good stage presence. I liked that they had their whole act down, like how the backup vocalists pulled out a lot of girl group moves that were really charming. But if you think about it, there were like six or seven people on stage, and the performance was pretty mild compared to some other musical acts I’ve seen. At first everyone was enthusiastic and still reeling from that high of having witnessed Janelle Monáe do her thing, but as Little Jackie’s set continued, less people seemed invested in cheering on the group. It didn’t help that they have a song titled “LOL,” which had so much more potential to be hilarious, but they delivered it with straight faces.

Having heard the other groups, it was interesting to notice how hard Lidell’s band rocks. I mean, not when he was alone on stage buggin’ out and doing all the crazy electronic shit, but when he’s with the other four awesome dudes in his group, la música suena muy rocanrol. It makes an interesting counterpoint to the vocals which are so much more soul-based. The arrangements reminded me of early rock music. Am I making sense? Whatever.

So Lidell was dressed like mofuckin’ matador, the bassist/guitarist looked like a parachuting Elvis, the sax-y dude was in a robe, the drummer was dressed in all green which reminded me of Peter Pan, and the keyboardist… actually, the keyboardist looked like a regular civilian. It was nice to find out this music works well in sunshine. Just puts a smile to your face, y’know? Lidell’s voice was in tip-top shape. The performance was enthusiastic and fun, and people were very receptive, though I think he would have benefited from a smaller crowd. Even Lidell had to give props to Janelle. (Earlier, he actually watched her entire performance and he just had a goofy smile on the entire time. He was so tickled by her act.) I think the phrase he used was, “That’s the craziest shit I’ve seen in a long time,” but mind you, that’s no direct quote.

I did see the opener, Jose James, but it didn’t leave much of an impression on me. I’m sorry, I wasn’t paying too much attention. He seemed like he was all feel-good vibes yesterday. I don’t really get jazz, so I don’t know if he was “good” or “bad,” but part of me thinks that if he really stood out he would have caught my attention. Is this a fair statement?

And about the DJ, Gilles Peterson… it was a good set, although my music taste doesn’t jive too much with his. Biggest surprise: he mixed Violeta Parra‘s “Arauco tiene una pena” with some really hard techno beat. I was perplexed by the choice. Luckily, he redeemed himself by following the song with “A Message to You, Rudy.”


Nananananananana, Leader!

Shocker of all shockers (NOT): The Dark Knight opened at #1 position in the box office. Not only that, it’s got the numero uno US opening of all time at $155 million, which doesn’t surprise me either. What boggles my mind, then? As of this writing, 12:45 pm on July 21, 2008, The Dark Knight is #1 on the IMDB Top 250!

And to think, I still haven’t had a chance to spend $12 on the movie yet!