Thursday, March 30, 2006

The First Black Astronaut

Just three quick thoughts:

1) I worked really, really hard to make sure this year's Louisiana Film Festival - Student Division would be great. So far, everything has gone swimmingly. However, I fear that no one will be attending to see the kids' movies. It begins tommorrow (Friday) at 4:30 in Kilpatrick Hall on the campus of Centenary College. These are all films created by K-12 kids. Saturday's film screenings, which will last from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, are the high school films. Honestly, they're the best. If you can attend those, please do. If you need directions, or you just want to holler at a committed-ass fool, call me: two seven two one six nine six.

2) I am writing my album right now, at a rate of about 16 bars a night. I am very happy with it so far. I was afraid that the Pillage People album was my lyrical apex, and this would be all downhill. But I seem to still have some fight in me.

3) Busdriver's "Fear of A Black Tangent" is the best "progressive" rap album I have heard since El-P's Fantastic Damage. If you've been as bored with hip-hop as I have been lately, holler at this album. I mean, I know the cool thing to listen to is Spank Rock, but that's kind of the obvious shit to rock, you know?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

New Orleans, before i forget

Heading into New Orleans on I-49.

I just returned from New Orleans, where I attended my first "premiere" event, for the television show "Thief," which filmed in Shreveport. I got to meet some celebrities whose work I respect - most notably Andre Braugher ("Homicide Life on the Streets") and Clifton Collins, Jr. ("Capote"), and I got my first glimpse of what a premiere is like - photographers, people who are dressed much nicer than I, the constant voice going "Should I go talk to him/her? Should I? Should I?!" It was an unusual experience - I'm genuinely in awe of Clifton Collins' work as Percy in "Capote," a film that is as well-acted as any I have ever seen. My hands were I bit sweaty when I finally mustered up the courage to go and chat with him. But they were all incredibly nice.

The more dizzying experience, however, was seeing New Orleans. I can't really express what the Ninth Ward is like - it looks like an atomic weapon went off. It's incredibly, incredibly unnerving to be sitting at a red light, looking at the building to your right, and realize that the building isn't painted two slightly different colors. That's just how deep the water was. To look out and see one building reduced to rubble is always unnerving to me ("What happened to that building?," my brain says to itself, "Did it collapse?") But to look at a whole block, and every building is like that - your head swims. The writing on the buildings - the weird graffiti/heiroglyphs that the rescuers left as they searched each house - is absolutely, profoundly heartbreaking. Actually, I couldn't tell if it was left by the rescuers in all cases - some things read like:

"916-FWE-Dog in house/2 fish"

Every house had similar writing on it. Some had strange things, I remember one in particular which read "Two cats, pretty nice, won't scratch a stranger." My traveling companion pointed out things like "That overpass was used as a boat launch." Whole blocks were completely destroyed, then we'd drive a block up, uphill, and only the roofs would be damaged. So strange that ten feet meant the difference between complete destruction and a narrow escape. Abandoned/burned cars are everywhere. The rear windows either say "FLOOD" or "NO FLOOD" in white paint.

The downtown section of New Orleans, where we stayed (largely alone in the hotel) is largely in tact but also somewhat empty, to an eery extent. To look around you and see a metropolis - huge bank towers, four star hotels, exclusive restaurants - and perhaps a dozen people on the street - gives one a desperate, frightened feeling. The huge palm trees near Canal Place (outside of the Harrah's) had been plucked out of the ground like carrots. Several lanes of the street were closed and huge, new palm trees (about 60 feet long, all wrapped in plastic like they were bought from a store) were being planted by men operating cranes. I stepped into a corner store to buy gum, and wished I'd had enough cash to buy a shirt that read, in trademark New Orleans vulgarity: "A bitch named Katrina gave me an unforgettable blowjob." That's this city, I thought, in a nutshell: take a tragedy of this profound scale and historic impact, and make it a dirty joke. The daiquiri places were open, but empty. Bartenders stood, staring out at the street with thousand-yard gazes.

I've heard it said that no work id being done in the city, and that did not appear to be true at all. The horizon is dotted with cranes. In the Ninth Ward, we had to navigate carefully due to closed streets. Guys in orange vests and hard hats directed heavy equipment, police re-routed traffic so some flatbed trailers could get through, and a team of guys with weed-eaters (strange that they would prioritize cutting the grass) looked hard at work. I saw several teams of what appeared to be Christian missionaries. We couldn't get near where the levee broke along the edge of the Ninth Ward, there were police cards blocking that street. But I could see the rubble beyond them, as we passed over a bridge.

I took some photos, but not many. I realized pretty quickly that this is not something you can photograph. I also want to recommend that anyone who is interested in knowing more, don't just search for photos on-line, just GO TO NEW ORLEANS. We found a great hotel easily, there were places to eat open, and people seemed nice as ever. It's not as if everything is roped off. We drove around the city for quite some time, and bore firsthand witness to everything from the lots upon lots of empty FEMA trailers, to the plaintive, desperate grafitti, to everything. I feel like it was my duty to see all of that, and I wish that everyone could. I've seen some of the most profoundly sad photos of my life since Katrina hit, but just standing on a corner, looking at an overturned snowcone stand, and as far as the eye can see is rubble, that was the first time I really got an idea of the scale of this whole disaster, and the stakes.

Honest Question: When was the last time you cared about a blog?

I'm not trying to hate or anything, but I am so tired of music blogs already. Stereogum is on the Arctic Monkey's dick as well, not to mention I could really care less about some show going on at the knitting factory in NEW YORK. I know all we've done is complain lately at FFF, but JESUS, who gives a shit about blogs lately?

I do actually, and I still make time to read a few. I wanted to share these with you, and get you to hit us back with the ones you dig (I'm talking to all 5 of our readers, mainly Bill)

Wonkette: Left leaning political news from folks who eat live sleep and breathe Washington, D.C. This shit is hilarious, case in point, see Dick Cheney's Rider

Boing Boing: Have you been living under a freaking rock?

The Google Blog: Because I care about techmology.

Infocult: Because Centenary Alums agree, Bryan Alexander rocks the socks.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Honest question: When was the last time you really cared about a band?

Gathering dust on shelves and in i-Tunes music folders everywhere.

So, this is not meant to be one of those frustrated outbursts, it's meant to be an honest question about the state of music right now: Doesn't it seem like we (and I use that "we" precariously, to represent the more web-culture addicted among us) have gotten pretty fucking easy to manipulate? Enough bloggers post about a band and I suddenly find myself just itching to get their CD. I'm one of probably a few hundred hundred thousand blog-rolling hipsters who haven't played that copy of M.I.A.'s "Arular" purchased at a Best Buy last Summer since, like...September. My i-Tunes is a goddamned ghost shipyard. Diplo. A bunch of screwed and chopped shit. Grime. Cuizinier. I don't care about any of that bullshit. For about two days I thought it was the shit, and it was all over blogs like some leaked Elliott Smith or a Jay Dee eulogy. Now I'm sitting there with it highlighted, pondering the fatal right click. And how? Marketing, dudes. I can't name the last album I bought, took home, unwrapped, and sat listening to like it was a message from another planet, then picked up the phone and called everyone I knew to tell them. I remember sitting in a dark room full of weedsmoke (don't worry, it wasn't mine) playing that TV on the Radio album for someone, going "Do you hear this? Do you hear this?"

I just want that to happen a couple more times in my life, you know? Please tell me that it is not a being young thing. Something that good can't have an expiration date.

My head is full of dark matter tonight. I'm that fuckin' black smoke blowing up out of the ground on the LOST island. And I'm here to tell you, THE ARCTIC MONKEYS ARE THE WORST BAND ON EARTH. Don't believe the hype. It's the same people selling us this bullshit, they're just getting their interns to e-mail Bloggers instead of buying a $10,000 ad. Even Robert Trudeau's on the monkeydick. My assistant at work looked over the cubicle divider yesterday and asked me if I'd ever heard them. How does something become unavoidable? Culture is like a virus in more ways than one.

Coming to a cut out bin near you.

Coming to a cut-out bin: you. Me. All of us.

And speaking of me coming: I'll be back in this big fella. I need an outlet right now, like real bad. No, like real bad. So swing by for your dose of emotion, throw ropes in the ocean, hope the smoke is the potion and walk back across the tightrope, slowly.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Not even close to "Magnificent" City

Aceyalone and RJD2 recently released an album-length collaboration called "Magnificent City," which caught my eye because I'm a big fan of a couple of Acey projects ("All Balls Don't Bounce" is one of the few real contributions to hip-hop that the Project Blowed have made) as well as RJ's "Deadringer" on Definitive Jux. I know that these two artists are capable of brilliant work, but you couldn't tell from hearing this album. The thing that really shocked me is how little originality Acey brought to this album, and how little work he really seems to have put into it. A lot of these songs are pretty unoriginal from content to execution, especially the "weed song," "High Lights." Acey delivers some verses that make me wince in pain - it sounds as though he either freestyles a large portion of the album, or he didn't get to go over the songs many times before going into the recording booth. Being an MC myself, I've gotten familiar with how I sound when I'm trying my best to stay on top of the beat because I'm just not that familiar with it. What comes out is a lack of synchronicity, and the vocals sound like one distinct thing, the beat another distinct thing. Like they're not completely aware of one another's existence. That's how this sounds to me. I'm not alone in this: Pitchfork (not that I want to be in their haterrific dugout) gave this album a pretty ballsy 2.3 out of 10.0.

I'm one of the few people I know who has been really disappointed by everything RJD2 has done since Deadringer. I thought The Horror was okay, but "Since We Last Spoke" was about 8 filler tracks served up alongside the indescribably awesome "Through The Walls" and "Making Days Longer". I'm not saying this album is unlistenable, and I wouldn't give it less than a 5.0 if asked to rate it, but it does sound hurried. Having worked with hip-hop for a long time now, this whole album reminds me of the songs that I've made with friends when we didn't have much time - when someone played some beats and I dug up some lyrics that kind of fit the beat and we recorded within a couple of days of deciding to make a song. Just inchoate, somehow. Half-baked and disappointing.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

something about pimping, the level of difficulty involved, and the relationship of both to the geographic location of the pimp

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Live OscarBlog 2006

Famus For Fifteen Live OscarBlog

6:25: Checking in for the first time because Sara and I are making penis-shaped cupcakes in a show of support for Heath Ledger, best actor. Actually I'm torn, it'd be pretty nice to see Terrence Howard win the Oscar, and hear how the symphony handled "Hard Out There For A Pimp". I gotta go check on my schlong-cakes...

6:29: Oh my God, George Clooney is an ice-cold pimp. He is seriously trying to get this woman's panty drawers.

While I was making the penis cupcakes, the following exchange:

Alysia: "Wow, you have enough batter to make a ton of peniscakes."
Chris: "Actually, I'm stopping after this pan. Right now, we have a ratio of like three penis cakes per person."
Alysia: "You can't just throw it all away."
Allison: "I mean, there are kids in Africa who don't get to eat penis."

6:56: It may just be that I drink a lot, but I have no idea who ANY of the people hosting the pre-show are. And all of the questions that they're asking are
ridiculous! Why ask David Strathairn (sp?) if he still smokes? Who are these people?

6:56: Allison Cormier: "I wish I had a butt like the Oscar statue."


7:04 I don't know how it happened

7:08 Chris made the mistake of letting Sara sit in front of the computer. PENIS PENIS PENIS PENIS PENIS CAKES!!!!

7:09 "Not all gays are virile cowboys"

7:10 Bjork couldn't be here tonight because she was trying on her dress and DICK CHENEY shot her.

7:12 Jon Stewart gets the ICE GRILLE from Jamie Foxx. Walk the Line was apparently not the white man's Ray.

7:16 What the fuck is Nicole Kidman talking about? Chris: She is so blunted!

7:18 "I thought that was Dave Matthews" Chris, in response to seeing a picture of Paul Giamatti.

7:23 George Clooney gives his first stump speech, and it's actually really nice. I mean, I'm a liberal, but every time Susan Sarandon opens her mouth I just want to shoot a potato gun at her face.

7:26 Shout out to my dog Hooch!

Ben Stiller, please go die. You are a douche and your stupid skit sucks.

7:32 Awesome, it's Nick Park.

7:35 Naomi Watts looks like a goddamned cavewoman. Whoa, WTF, where the hell did Dolly Parton come from, and why? It's not fair that she gets to do this, but they don't get to do "Hard Out There For a Pimp". Alysia just compared Dolly Parton to an ant, with their sectioned bodies, which is one parts funny, three parts cruel.

The envelopes that the award-winners' names are in look like Netflix envelopes.

7:48 Jennifer Anniston comes out and you can just see the depression seeping out of her every pore. As she walks out, Sara: "Somebody please marry this woman."

7:51 That costume-designing woman just thanked "the people of Japan." That means she thanked
127,417,244 people.

7:59 Alysia just pointed out that the dude who played the Sith Lord looks like Pope Benedict.

8:06 - Rachel Weisz robbed Michelle Williams. Every man in America is thinking the same thing about her chest...oh, who am I kidding? I'm one of like six men in America watching The Oscars.

8:12 - Scott Hearne and Alysia are laughing at Lauren Bacall for all of the trouble she's having getting her lines out, the mean fuckers. The tribute to film noir was really nice.

8:22 - George Clooney is king of the tasty face tonight! And Charlize Theron is queen of the big-ass bows.

8:25 - These penguin dudes can kiss my ass. Murderball was way better.

8:28 - Wow, they put the new Goldfrapp single in a Diet Coke commercial.

8:37 - As Samuel Jackson walks out, Alysia shouts "Snakes on planes! Snakes on planes!"

FUCK YEAH! Howard Beale is in the place.

8:42 - Sara and I are gonna get a pet chicken and name it Gregory Peck. There's an amazing joke going on in the room about having sex in a tent with Itzak Perlman, but there's no way I could really convey it. You had to be there.

8:48 - The guy who wrote the Brokeback Mountain song just thanked "all the Latinos," which is approximately 296.5 million people. That's more than twice the number of people that the costume designer from "Pride & Prejudice" thanked.

8:57 - Dude, why do they keep slamming DVDs? Theater-going = Tupac Shakur, DVD's = Biggie Smalls?

9:00 PM - Someone please feed Jessica Alba. She used to have some junk in her trunk, and it was beautiful. Sara comes through with the vulgarity: "His penis would break her!"

LILY TOMLIN AND MERYL STREEP please shut the hell up. If this were a true Robert Altman-style tribute to Robert Altman, it would go on for four and a half hours and be overrated by everyone. I gave up on Nashville after an hour and a half with no idea what was happening. The Long Goodbye was nice.

9:13 - Robert Altman eats brains.

9:19 - Three Six Mafia is on the Academy Awards. I must be on drugs. I mean, other than the cold and flu medication. I'm so thowed. Why did the stencil quit blogging before this happened?

9:23 - Allison eats the balls first, in case anyone was wondering.

9:28 - Memoirs of A Geisha has been nominated in, like, every technical category. Alysia: "King Kong is sweeping the awards that no one gives a damn about."

9:41 - Jon Stewart: "Martin Scorsese: zero Oscars. Three Six Mafia: One."

9:43 - Allison: "Seriously, if someone is going to thank me from one part of their heart, I'd like it to be the bottom, because that's where the ventricles are and they do all of the work."

10:12 - "Fuck the New Yorker." Allison the Hater.

10:20 Ugh. Hideous graphic design! I mean do we really need the title of the movie 3 times vs. a teeny tiny screen of the movie? Who let the intern design the title cards for Best Director??

10:22 Mother fucking Jack Nicholson in the HOUSE! He is obviously on Valium.

10:23 BULLSHIT? CRASH? Fuck what? I'm horribly confused.

Good Night and Good Luck next year.

From the Same People that Brought you "Lazy Sunday"

For those of you that did not happen to catch Saturday Night Live last night, I bring you the Natalie Portman Gangsta Rap. Yes, that name and those words are in the same sentence, and it's really quite hilarious, at least to me. It features Natalie Portman saying things like "To fuck all night" and "I wanna fuck you too!" I for one am glad that The Lonely Island kids have sort of taken over SNL, as it brings you things like this.


Thursday, March 02, 2006

I remember these.

I used to love these books. One thing I am presently loving in a major way is a website called The Stencil:

So, the organization I work for is showing "Back To The Future" on a huge inflatable screen, outdoors in downtown Shreveport's Riverview Park (on Clyde Fant Parkway), Friday night. Admission is only $1, with all proceeds benefiting Shreveport area not-for-profit organizations. The film should be beginning around 7:00 PM. Please try and spread the word - holler at me in the comments if you need more information.