Tuesday, May 31, 2005

A (Bootleg) (SSSHHHH!) View at the Movies: Unleashed

I saw a bootleg version of Unleashed over a friends' house. No names, I ain't snitchin to the 5-0, cuz! (Excuse the west coast accent and C-walking) Unleashed stars Jet Li as Danny the Dog, Anthony Hopkins as his master, and Morgan Freeman as the blind piano tuner who befriends him. (Yes, I said blind piano tuner. Two things: 1. Build bridge 2. Build bridge to get over previous statement. Thanks, signed, M.Sea)
Okay, a brief synopsis: Jet Li is Danny, a guy who has no memory of his previous life. He has a leash on, like a dog. Bob Hoskins is his master. He runs a protection racket and uses Danny to make sure people pay him their money. When there's trouble, he takes off Danny's collar and he beats the people up. Very badly. I want to make sure you understand me. Broken bones, blood, just an ugly, ugly mess. One job goes badly. Danny is distracted by a piano. Morgan Freeman comes in and teaches him a few piano techniques. Later, a rival faction runs into their car and shoots at them. Danny APPPEARS to be the only survivor. He comes back to the piano man (Freeman) as a bloody mess. Freeman takes him home and we meet his adopted white daughter. Freeman's character married his best friend's widow after his best friend died. Later, his wife died in an accident and he raised her girl as his own. There seems to be a hint of something between Jet Li and Freeman's daughter. Danny learns to be human and how to speak and play piano. He is eventually found by Hoskin's character and is forced to fight people again. Danny eventually had to decide whether to still be the fighting dog or the kinder, gentler Danny that Freeman and his daughter brought out. Danny also learns the truth about his origins. The fight scenes were freakin' awesome! The actual story, however, left me wanting more. The plot seemed pretty formulaic. Also, it seemed like there was something there between Danny and Freeman's daughter. One awkward scene, however, is all we get. I felt cheated. Also, the plot development just seemed weak. I was also beginning to think Bob Hoskin's character had superpowers. He cheats death several times. It's one thing for the athletic, martial arts death machine to beat death-defying odds, but it looks a bit hokey when chubby, old Bob Hoskins does it. Well, okay, great fight scenes and Bob Hoskin's cool British accent and Morgan Freeman's standard cool performance were hampered by a poor, lightweight plot and script. I'll give unleashed 3.5 doggie treats. Get it? Doggie treats? Cause the name of the movie is Unleashed, and...ahhh, forget it. Jet Li needs to step his script selection game up. Be easy.

A (Discount) View At the Movies: Diary of a Mad Black Woman

I saw Diary of a Black Woman at the local discount theatre. Bartlett 10, what! I have long viewed Tyler Perry and his "gospel" plays as crap. I felt Perry was a hack, and that his plays were formulaic. I thought that he was just being hypocritical with all the profanity and talk of sex in his "gospel" plays. I am now issuing a full retraction. I loved this movie! Okay, here's a synopsis: Kimberley Elise is married to a hotshot attorney and their marriage is strained. He leaves in the middle of the night with no explanation. He eventually tires of her and brings home his mistress and throws her out. She goes to her grandma MaDea's(Tyler Perry) house. She encourages her to go back and ransack the place. She also pulls a gun on her ex-husband. It was crazy! It was so hilarious! The MaDea character had me rolling! Kimberly Elise's character also meets a decent , hardworking man(Shemar Moore) who helps her to recover. He proposes marriage shortly after the divorce hearing ends. Before she can say yes, she sees that her husband is seriously injured. She goes to his side and has to decide where her future lies. This is a good movie. I could even tolerate Shemar Moore's metrosexual self. Cicely Tyson is also her usual brilliant self as Elise's mother. Tyler Perry also plays Kimberley Elise's relative who is dealing with a wife that's addicted to crack and raising their two kids by himself after he has to throw her out. Even the subplot was great! Judge Mablean Ephraim from Divorce Court also makes a cameo. I am now eating my words. I may even bring myself to see one of these "gospel" plays. I was pleasantly surprised. Diary of a Mad Black Woman gets 5 pens (for the diary). Be easy.

Memorial Day Weekend Moments

I kicked it this weekend! Friday was the previously mentioned Adams courthouse fiasco. Saturday was the audition and later I went over my partner Bryan's house. He and my boy Paul Briggs were barbecuing. The barbecue was good. I got reacquainted with a dude named Damarcus who I met while working at the University of Memphis. He has dedicated himself to God and is really serious about rhyming. We made a mixtape. Paul brought his DJ equipment. It was live, man. We had a little mic. Damarcus was killing it lyrically. I was..okay. I was a little off beat, and I have trouble thinking ahead when freestyling, which is basically making up rhymes on the spot. It was still fun. I ripped over Jay-Z's "Change Clothes and Go", and 4th Avenue Jones' "Movin' On". Paul and I also collaboed on a track. Paul and I always joke about putting out a full collaboration album. I plan to keep at it. Sunday I went to the movies and saw Diary of a Mad Black Woman. Later on Sunday, Paul and I joined Damarcus and other friends at a restaurant on Poplar and Mendenhall called The Half Shell. We were celebrating our friend Shane's ordination. Yes, Shane's an official minister. Monday I went to a cookout at my boy Bryan's church. I ran into a woman who was one of my student workers at the University of Memphis. She brought her son. I also ran into my boy, Steve Fox. He has a holy hip-hop mixtape out now. We also talked about screenplay and documentary ideas. I like dude's energy. He's a workhorse when it comes to something he's passionate about. Then, I went to my boy Shomari's house and watched some DVDs and had MORE barbecue. Denna, Paul, and I also gave Shomari his birthday presents. His birthday was last week. Shomari calls himself Darth Vader, so I got him a Darth Vader Mr. Potato Head called Darth Tater. Luckily, he got the joke. It was a crazy weekend. I didn't want to go to work today. Of course, I went. Great holiday, and my birthday (June 5) is around the corner. YEEAAAHHH! 29, fools! Deal with it. Or don't. I'm still good, baby. Be easy, dear readers.

Acting Hustle

Time for another adventure from the Memphis independent film world. I decided to assist my friend Rod on Keenon Nikita's film. Keenon is the author of Single Black Father, a book that details his fight to gain custody of his daughter following a divorce. Keenon is making the book into a film. We attempted to shoot at the Adams Courthouse on Friday. We were even in the special room used for divorce hearings. We could not get the blinds down completely and the sun was ruining our shot. We could not light the scene well enough to compensate for it. Also, one cast member brought a different set of clothes than the one she had worn last time, and it was supposed to be the same day. Speaking of days, we had to call it a day. I did meet Keenon and Rod is sure that I can get a role in the film. I also met a guy named Vincent who is working on a screenplay and Rod thinks he can get me a role in that. Aahh, networking, ain't it grand? I also went on an auditon for another movie. I didn't get the part, but I was offered a role as an extra(background person who usually doesn't say anything but does an action). I accepted it, but I just called to decline it today. It conflicts with the Cowboy Up Productions film that I am doing. Cowboy Up Productions, what a great name! Iwill keep hustling. I now have a finished script and a shooting schedule for the Cowboy Up Production movie. That is the name of the production company, not the movie itself. I am now paranoid about copyright infringement, so no more film names. It's cool, though. The eternal hustle continues. I feel good, though.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Acting Redemption

I had originally posted this on Tuesday, but good ol' blogspot was on some malfunctioning crap. Anyway, this is the director's cut. I have really bounced back from "The audition from Heck"(consult the archives). I went to an audition for an independent film called "Third Wheel Date". I was the first person there and had a great audition. I am being offered the part of the Security officer. Also, several of the people there were gonna be extras in this other film called "Of Saints and Sinners". I was an extra in a house party scene. It was great to be around more committed actors. I also networked, because the star of "Sinners" is gonna start filming a movie in July. I gave them my name and number. I've also been e-mailing other indie directors around town. Plus, I will be helping my friend Rod out on his friend Keenon's film "Just the Two of Us". We will be filming at the courthouse on Adams. I also hope to lobby for a role in his film. And, I have an audition for a movie called "Tales From the Black Hair Dialogue". I am auditioning for a spoken word poet named "Retro Brother". I think I can handle it! Man, it feels good to be making moves towards my dream! It's really happening now! Yes! The boy is back! It's so crazy!!! WOOOOOOO!!!!! Forgive my enthusiasm, but the winter was very slow motion in terms of roles. The swagger is back. The world is not ready. Gotta get this indie film hustle on. Be easy.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Rap Wars 3: Revenge of the LyriSith

The title comes from the name of a concert that I went to Saturday night. It was a pretty tight hip-hop show. It was held by the IMC, or Iron Mic Coalition. The IMC is a local collective of rappers in the city that put on shows. The IMC have more traditional hip-hop leanings, ie not a lot of bling-bling and shoot 'em up talk. The first act, Ghetto Youngstas, were a little thuggish, but their stage presence was great. The next act was Black CaviT, they were a very Afrocentric, poetry/hip-hop group. They were pretty cool. I encouraged one of the members to put out a CD. Most of the acts stayed around to support the other acts. This is the side of Memphis hip-hop that is not seen by the national media. Next up was Poisonous Dialect. These guys had tight flows. One MC, Tactics, had breath control that was out of this world. There were also these two Spanish guys that were brothers in the group. The youngest is still in high school, but his flow on the mic was sick. They said they have an album coming out soon. I believe the name is Sadolyricism. I will watch for it. After them, the IMC came on. They were rocking and had the crowd in their grasp. Monsta did some songs. He has a CD that he sells entitled Rhyme Junkie. Monsta has very aggressive, anti-government rhymes. He is from a crew called Masters of Sound, or MOS. This is a veteran hip-hop crew in Memphis. The core members are Milk, Danien aka Derelic, and Atiba aka Duke. They pride themselves on being "revolutionary but gangsta". The pharase fits them perfectly. Jason Harris, one-half of local rap group Contrast, also did the remix to his song "Ridin' on Size 13s". It is a song about the fact that he has an old, beat-up car as opposed to a Bentley or a Lexus. He did the remix over the beat to "Still Tippin", a popular song by southern rapper Mike Jones. They did other posse cuts, which are songs featuring different members of different groups. They also did a cheesy yet entertaining skit where Quinn of the group Fight Klub has a lightsaber battle with Fathom Nine and lures him to the dark side. Later, the crowd "lured" him back to good by calling out the title of one of his signature songs, "You Ain't Hard". "You Ain't Hard" has the bounce of a Dirty South anthem, but he calls out all the flashy chain-wearing, materialistic rhymers in the rap game. Another group song that got the crowd hype was "B-boy stance". The b-boy stance is actuallywhen you stand with your arms folded and to the side, which was a popular stance in 80s hip-hop. As the title suggests, the song is an ode to the good ol' days of hip-hop. I joined several meembers of the crowd in assuming the stance everytime they sang the chorus. Also, one of the encore songs, "Eat Some Chicken", had the whole crowd jumping. "Eat Some Chicken" pokes fun at the sterotype that African-Americans consume large quantities of chicken while humorously detailing their love for chicken. It's a great song with another infectious down south beat. We formed a conga or party line on this one. It was crazy. I literally did not want the evening to end. My boys rocked it. I just wish everybody could see this part of Memphis hip-hop. We're not all about pimps and hustling and big, fancy rims on fancy cars. Rap Wars was another strong tactical strike for the Memphis artisitic underground. This includes poetry acts like Brother's Keepa and Black CaviT, hip-hop acts like Tunnel Clones, IMC, Poisonous Dialect, spots such as Precious Cargo (where this event took place), The Complex, The Marcus Garvey Center, and Nappy By Nature. The true artists are alive and well. It gives me hope for the future.

Monday, May 23, 2005

A View at the Movies:Ep. 3: Revenge of the Sith

Yes, I finally saw the great Episode 3. It was great. The movie starts off with action and fight scenes. Obi Wan Kenobi and Anakin are leading the troops against General Grievous. Anakin and Padme (Natalie Portman's) marriage is still secretive. After a series of events, Anakin and Obi-Wan rescue Chancellor Palpatine. Anakin also gets revenge on Count Dooku, the man who cut his arm off. Anakin has to battle his dark urges. Also, Chancellor Palpatine has tricks up his sleeve. As everyone and their grandma knows, Anakin becomes Darth Vader. The HOW is crazy. Anakin is seriously gangsta in this film. R2D2 is also gangsta in this movie. HE actually spills oil on some troop and sets them on fire! R2's the man! You also see the extermination of the Jedi knights. Samuel Jackson (Mace Windu) finally has a one-on-one battle, and Yoda and the Wookies cut loose. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. Sure, I'm a bit of a geek, but this is a great summer-type movie. Action, adventure, even angst as we see the dissolution of Anakin and Padme's relationship even though she is carrying his children (who are Luke and Leia of the "other" Star Wars trilogy). The movie is very dark and surely deserves its PG-13 rating. It is a very thrilling yet disturbing character study about the temptation of power and being led by emotions. I strongly reccomend anyone looking for a good action film with some psychological undertones to check this one out. I give it 5 lightsabers. Be easy.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Happy Feeling In the Air

Man, I cannot wait for these four hours of work to pass. I get off at 1 today. Me and my buddy Bryan are gonna see Episode 3 (hopefully). And I'm going to the comic book store. YAAAYYY!
And I may go to a party with breakdancers later. Awesome!!! And I am studying for my audition Sunday. YEEAAAHHH! Whaaaaat?! OOOKKKAAAAYYYY!....that burst of excitement sponsored by Lil' Jon and Crunk Juice. I'm feeling good, I'm feeling groovy, it's great to be alive, man! Okay, let me come down. My exuberance is starting to make me nauseous. I think it's gonna be a good few days. Good times, indeed.

PS RIP Frank Gorshin, the Riddler on TV's Batman. Also, props to Reggie Miller. The Pistons ended his basketball career last night. Reggie, I normally rooted against you, but I respect you. The man was a great shooter, and he left it all on the basketball court. It won't be the same watching Pacers game and not seeing Reggie's ugly three-point shot. He also wrote an autobiography called I Love Being the Enemy. Get it on Amazon or something. Be easy.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Dork Side of the Force

I am kicking myself a little bit. My friend, Shomari (he's a guy) and some other friends decided to see Episode 3:Revenge of the Sith last night. I could've went, since they started showing at midnight, but I procrastinated and the tickets were all sold out by the time I called the theater. I feel a little left out, but it's cool. My fault. Hopefully, I will see it tomorrow at the disocunt $3 movie. Yes, faithful blog readers know that I swore never to return to that theater, but times are a little tight (Value Brakes, indeed). And, I will probably see it Saturday as well. This will be the last one. I'm a little sad. I wish George Lucas had gone ahead and did aParts 7-9 when Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford weren't on the AARP list. There are books that continue the story. Luke restores the Jedi order, and trains Han and Leia's twins (a boy and a girl) to be Jedi Knights. Also, Luke Skywalker marries some bounty-hunter type chick. Oh, well, at least we get to see how Anakin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader. It will probably be a sad movie, but it will be cool. Oh, yeah, Lord willing, there should be a review soon. Be easy.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Dustin' Myself Off

I was buggin' yesterday. I'm just frustrated with my acting game. I can't quit, though. Nothing compares to the release I feel when I'm either writing or acting on the stage. I just feel so free, so alive. I can finally release some (but not all) of my inhibitions. I feel alive. So, I guess my love-hate relationship with the arts will continue. I can't stop. I hollered at my boy, Merchas. That's his stage name. He is working on an album and is performing shows in Memphis. He encouraged me to keep "grinding". He also told me to keep hustling. He goes through the same thing on the music side. I like Merchas' stuff. He has that Memphis rap sound, but it's a little more evolved. He has club tracks, but he's also capable of introspection. I'm listenint to some of his tracks now. He has graciously donated some tracks to be considered for use in the movie that has become my bane/neverending quest, "What Goes Around". Also, my girl Demna Greer gave me a pep talk. She said that it was not all my fault. She said to just keep trying. Also, she said start writing. Shout out to Denna "D-Nice" Greer! Thank god for people to hold me down. I am getting focused. There is an audition this Sunday. I will work on the same piece from the audition that I bombed. I will bring it on!!! (With apologies to Kirsten Dunst) I must get ready. I have the touch!!!! I have the power!!!!! Sorry, had to get a Transformers: The Movie reference in there. I realize that I don't want to do my current job the rest of my life. I'm back. The "swagger" (slightly arrogant strut) is slowly returning. Be easy.

PS Support my blog brother Dr. Augustus Q. Fro at blacksupervillain.blogspot.com; also, read newnegro.blogspot.com. The brotherhood of the blog, baby!!!

Monday, May 16, 2005

Hello: Is Anybody Out There?

I'm down, faithful readers. Down in the dumps, that is. I'm putting the "mel" in melancholy right now. Mainly over my current life's direction. I am burnt out at my job, I really need a vacation. My other developing side career, acting, is going through a "dry" period. I can't really do plays because I work the second shift. Many auditions are also on Saturday mornings. Guess who works almost EVERY Saturday from 9AM til 1PM? That's right, it's me. One guy was willing to work with me if I sent in a monologue. My filmmaking friend and I crafted a great audition tape. The only problem was, his VCR was broken so it took him a minute to edit it. And, I got sick so by the time he was finished I would have had to go all the way across town and lug it back. I was REALLY sick. I was barely making it to work. Then, I didn't prepare like I should have and blew another audition. Then, I called one number but never sent my info. Foolish me. I called them today, and they're done with casting. I have a few glimmers of hope. There is a photographer from New York doing lifestyle photos for a project. He and I have been in communication. I sent him some photos last week. Also, I saw another movie audition being held this Sunday. I can do that. I MUST, however, send them my info tomorrow. As for the three movies I shot scenes for last year, two are going through the final editing process. The one where I have the most lines is the one me and my friend, Rod, are working on. (I'm sick of this no names in my blog crap, some people have to be named). I finished my scenes last year; we are STILL shooting! It's not really our fault, people just won't come through. Everybody wants to be an actor, but nobody wants to work. Maybe I should take my own advice. The winter was dry, I checked and checked, but there were no auditions in the paper. I guess I lost my hunger. These rejections and acts of self-sabotage have got to stop. At least I am writing now. Of course, by writing I mean this blog that used to be a lot more frequent and pieces of screenplays and raps, but I am trying to be more productive. I just pray that we can finish this movie and that I kill on this audition Sunday. I'm down...but I'm a long, long way from out! Although I was hoping for a more lucrative career before I staged my first comeback, it is what it is. Operation: Indie Film Hunt is now in effect! Be easy.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

I'm thinking of Assata

As many of you have heard, Assata Shakur's bounty has been raised to a million dollars by the U.S. federal government. This is crazy to me. For those who don't know, Assata Shakur was a member of the Black Liberation Army and the Black Panther Party who was arrested along with other members of the Black Liberation Army for murdering a police officer. Assata claimed that she couldn't have done this because she had been shot twice. Reports also showed that in order for the bullets to have hit her the way she did, she would also have to had her hands in the air. Incidentally, before this case, she had been accused of six other "crimes", and each case resulted in an acquittal or mistrial. Assata was foung guilty and sent to prison for a lenghthy stay. After being imprisoned for awhile, Assata escaped to Cuba, where she has been living in political exile until this day. I feel in my heart that this is garbage, an attempt to silence an "uppity Negro". What a coincidence that this occurred on the same day where they renamed an overpass in honor of the cop that Assata "allegedly" murdered. And, further illustrating the psychotic leanings of some of our high-ranking government officials, Assata was also added to the lists of domestic terrorists. C'mon, now!!! She's 57, for crying out loud! She has been living in peace. The US deliberately did this to drag out the bounty hunters. This is retarded. My one consolation is that a bounty hunter would have to be pretty stupid to try to assassinate her in Cuba. Whether you agree with his politics or not, Fidel Castro doesn't play around. I guess it wasn't enough to have Mumia Abu-Jamal imprisoned after a trial where the details were very sketchy. Also, it wasn't enough to have Geronimo Pratt lose several years of his life in "the belly of the beast" (prison) until his court-ordered release in 1997. I love the opportunities I receive in America, but I cannot turn a blind eye or deaf ear or not speak on the American Injustice System and the Prison Industrial Complex. I understand that the law and justice are two different things. However, it seems that people who speak up and possibly suggest alternate ways of thinking are labeled blasphemous or anti-American. I also realize that some people would say that I shouldn't speak out on these ills or question the good ol' US of A. I can't do that. The God conscience in me will not let me be silent. As Edmund Burke said, "All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing". Martin Luther King said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere". I may not march, but at least my opinions are here in cyberspace. If you disagree with me, please post. That's the beauty of being unique individuals. We can disagree in a kind way and still love each other. But know that my motives behind writing this came from an honest and heartfelt place. The struggle continues. Be easy.

P.S. The title of my piece is derived from the song, "A Song for Assata" on the rapper Common's 2000 release Like Water For Chocolate. If you haven't bought the album, you should. Go on Amazon or half.com or something. If you made it to this page, surely you can do that. I have faith in you.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

A View at the Movies: Crash

I saw the movie Crash last weekend. I was very impressed. It was a brilliant ensemble piece. Don Cheadle plays a detective who is sleeping with his partner. He has a crack-addicted mother who pesters him about looking after his brother, who is a carjacker. Either Larenz Tate or Ludacris are his brothers, you don't know which one in the beginning, and I'm not telling, either. They carjack a hotshot district attorney (Brendan Fraser) and his desparate housewife (Sandra Bullock). There is also an Indian shop owner who has been the victim of a robbery and he decides to buy a gun. And Terrence Howard is a TV producer who is harrassed by cops (Matt Dillon, Ryan Phillipe) after they catch him and his wife being intimate in a car. All these seemingly separate stories blend together into a very entertaining tale that shows how the simplest actions can have lasting ramifications. Ludacris is also very good in this movie. I may have to add him to my short list of rapper/actors worth watching (Mos Def, I see you). The twists and turns in this plot had me intrigued from start to finish. After the movie ended, I literally stood up and proclaimed to my friend, "This is a great freakin' movie!" I was very impressed. I want to see it again. I want this on DVD with director's commentary. I give this movie six stars on a five-star scale. Go see this immediately. Hire a sitter, take a day off from work, rush to the movies and see this. Peace.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Discount View at the Movies: Million Dollar Baby

I know I'm really late, but I finally saw Million Dollar Baby at the $2.50 movie near my house. This film won Clint Eastwood Best Director and gave Hillary Swank her second Best Actress Oscar. It is a very interesting story. Eastwood is a former cut man, which is a person that tends to a boxer's wounds between rounds. He has become a trainer and one of his former fighters who he used to work with, Morgan Freeman, manages the gym. Eastwood tends to hold his fighters back, sometimes to their detriment. One fighter who felt he was being held back, leaves him. Around this time, a thirty-one year old woman from the trailer park (Swank) begins popping up at Eastwood's gym. She pays for six month's membership in advance. Eastwood is very resistant. Morgan Freeman has pity on her and begins giving her some pointers. She continues to pester Eastwood until he finally agrees to train her. He tells her not to expect much, because she is starting very late. Swank and Eastwood train frequently, and they develop a bond. Swank becomes a contender, even earning a title shot. Without giving anything away, their relationship becomes stronger and is tested inside the ring and outside of the ring. Boxing soon gives way to real life matters in a stunning portrayal or loyalty and devotion. Hillary Swank is very believable as the tomboy "white trash" waitress who dreams of something bigger. Eastwood is his usual grumpy, old self, but as usual, he pulls it off and makes the character believable through his flaws and vulnerabilties. Morgan Freeman's character is Eastwood's conscience and we also learn that Eastwood feels partially responsible for Freeman's boxing-related injury. There are other characters in the gym: A cocky, young boxer (brilliantly portrayed by Eight Mile's Anthony Mackie) and a slightly mentally deficient guy who dreams of beating Tommy Hearns (who's already retired) that they call Danger Barch. Million Dollar Baby
is a brilliant work, a classic example of following your dreams despite what logic tells you and the trials that only serve to strengthen the bonds of true friendship. I reccomend this movie, and I give it 4.5 boxing gloves. Be easy.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Musicfest Memories aka Dream Deferred.

There was a 3-day Musicfest here in Memphis. It was at Tom Lee Park. I decided to go on Sunday. I made it there by 3Pm. I caught the end of this Christian rock group Relient K. They were cool, but I didn't get a preachy vibe from them. I don't have a problem with it, but I can see how they are poised for crossover success. At 3:50, I decided to see Lisa Marie. She confessed to not having had a soundcheck, she cursed, and she really couldn't sing. I ran into some friends and we watched War. War was jamming! They did songs like "Slippin' Into Darkness", "Spill the Wine", "Cisco Kid", "Why Can't We Be Friends" and "Low Riders". During their closing intros, they did covers of "Funkin' Good Time" and "Iron Man". I was lovin' it!! Then, we saw Robert Randolph and the Family Band. Say what you want, that man was havin' church. His first song, "Can't Nobody Love Me", was very churchy. It was like a funky praise and worship service. I also liked his rendition of Sly and the Family Stone's "Thank You Falettin' Me Be Mice Elf (Agin)" (That's the way Sly spelled it, figure it out). And one of his final numbers was an instrumental version of Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy". Very cool. I was tired by the time The Roots came up. They're a hip-hop band. They have a rapper and musicians. They took forever getting the instruments right before they came out. Of course, the sound was still terrible. They did "Thought at Work", "I Don't Care", "Everybody is a Star" (Sly Stone cover), and they introed the band. The pronto pups and barbecue nachos were taking their toll on me and I left around the time they got into "You Got Me". My friends who stayed told me they did covers of White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army" and Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal". I hate that I missed that! And their drummer ?uestlove (Hey, musicians spell funny), was gonna do a DJ set at a nearby club after that. Oh, well, maybe I'll come out later next year if I want to see the headliner. I'm a little disappointed. The Roots are one of my favorite groups. Oh, well, sun still shining. Be easy.

Monday, May 02, 2005

New Artist Spotlight: Lynn Cardona

I went to Lynn Cardona'a album release party. She is an up-and-coming artist here in Memphis. She is Puerto Rican, but she has plenty of soul. She's also easy on the eyes. I had seen her perform on programs back at the U of M. I had also heard her song, "Can't See Us" on this compilation called "The Movement". The Movement is a collective of artists that put on shows on a regular basis. These are artists that usually seem to have a little more to say and don't get airplay in my poor, misguided city. She was great. I bought her CD (It was one sale for $7 that day only). She was knocking 'em dead. Her band was live, She did "Can't See Us", "Lovin' You", and "Over You", among others. Her opening act was a reggae band called Soul Enforcers. They did a reggae version of "Rebel Yell". Obvious, but still funky. Lynn also was very chatty inbetween songs. She even had a song with a rapper, but even that felt fresh. The girl is hot, she's got a nice voice, and I hope that she blows up, even though that may mean no more cool local shows at places like Memphis' Hi-Tone on Poplar Avenue. The CD is titled "Lovin' You", and for more info:

www.lynncardona.com : It has a small bio, and the featured song is Jazzabel, which is a cut she produced with my boy Ennis aka Fathom Nine of the Iron Mic Coaliton (Iron Mic Cds can be found at www.thornbox.com) Jazzabel can only be heard on this site right now. It was recorded after the album was made.