Friday, February 27, 2009

Stompin' In My Air Force One. How will Obama's presidency change hip-hop?

From Slate

By Jonah Weiner

Barack Obama arrived at the Oval Office with a long parade of expectations in tow. One special-interest group with a particularly colorful wish list is the hip-hop community, which has been plotting this moment for years. If Obama makes his policy decisions based on Nas' 1996 single "If I Ruled the World," for instance, he will appoint Coretta Scott King to a mayoralty, fling open the gates of Attica, and grant every citizen an Infiniti Q45. If he follows the Pharcyde's more modestly pitched "If I Were President," he'll buy Michelle some new clothes and treat himself to a new pair of sneakers. If he heeds the urgent lessons of Public Enemy's 1994 video for "So Whatcha Gone Do Now?" Obama will staff the Secret Service exclusively with beret-clad black militants or else risk assassination at the hands of a far-reaching neo-Nazi conspiracy.

Hip-hop fantasies of a black executive have popped up throughout the genre's history, visions of empowerment that speak to a real-life condition of powerlessness. In this sense, they're merely a loftier version of the standard hip-hop fantasies of potency, whether it's sexual domination, VIP access, or street-corner supremacy.

With Obama's win, this dynamic stands to change. For 25-odd years, hip-hop has been black America's main ambassador to the white American mainstream. How will hip-hop see itself now that the most powerful man in the country is a) black and b) a Jay-Z fan? Obama is doubtless the warmest—and smartest—rap critic ever to take the oath of office. When he has praised hip-hop, he has done so with near-impeccable taste. (His admiration for Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Ludacris, and Kanye West would displease no rap blogger worth his RSS feed.) When he's criticized it, he's spoken with none of the condescension or cluelessness politicians often bring to the endeavor. For him, hip-hop is an art form, not culture-war fodder. "I love the art of hip-hop," he told MTV last year. "I don't always love the message." Though it's too early to say precisely how, there are already clues as to the effect Obama's rise will have on both.

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Mindfuck Movies


by Matthew Baldwin

There’s a certain brand of movie that I most enjoy. Some people call them “Puzzle Movies.” Others call them “Brain Burners.” Each has, at some point or another, been referred to as “that flick I watched while I was baked out of my mind.”

But the phrase I find myself employing, when casting around for a succinct term for the entire genre, is “Mindfuck Movies.” It’s an expression I picked up from a college roommate of mine, an enormous Star Trek: The Next Generation fan who adored those episodes when the nature of reality itself was called into question, usually after the holodeck went berserk or Q showed up and hornswoggled everyone into thinking they were intergalactic dung beetles (or whatever…I never really followed the show myself).

Mindfuckers aren’t just Dadaism by another name—there has to be some rationale for the mayhem, even if it’s far-fetched (orbiting hallucination-inducing lasers!) or lame (it was all a dream!).

And they are not those movies where the audience (and the characters) think they know what’s happening, only to discover in the final moments some key twist that turns everything on its head. (Bruce Willis was balding the whole time?!) I love those films as well, but that’s not what we’re discussing. In Mindfuck Movies you know that Something Is Going On. It’s just not clear what.

Here are 16 of my absolute favorites from this rarefied class of motion pictures. And, really, the phrase “Mindfuck Movies” is too crude for such works of arts. These films are sophisticated. They make love to your mind.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Stanely Kubrick’s tour de force is grounded on scientific principles so sound that even now, 40 years after its release, it is still routinely cited as the finest “hard science-fiction” film ever made. (“Hard science-fiction” is defined as “stories in which Han Solo does not saunter around the surface of an asteroid wearing only an oxygen mask and a leather jacket”).

Yes, it’s a meticulously crafted and imminently rational three-course meal of a film. For the first two hours, anyhow. And then, in the final 30 minutes, it serves up a steaming bowl of WTF for dessert.

Why is the ending of 2001 so hard to comprehend? Because it doesn’t make a goddamned lick of sense—unless you read the book, that is. And this is by design. Kubrick and author Arthur C. Clarke intended the film and the novel to serve as companion pieces, to be consumed one right after the other.

Solyaris (1972)
Perhaps worried about the widening “Mindblowing Cinematic Science-Fiction Gap,” the Ruskies released this Solyaris four years after 2001 and doubled-down on the hallucinogenic quotient. Based on a novel by legendary sci-fi maven Stanislaw Lem, the plot revolves around a mysterious water-world and the cosmonaut in its orbit, as they attempt to communicate with one another. Think My Dinner With Andre if Andre were a Class-O Planetoid and the dinner consisted solely of psilocybin mushrooms.

Director Andrei Tarkovsky loved making these kinds of movies—his 1979 film Stalkers is equally fantastic, in both the adjectival and superlative sense. And he could also create a meditative, haunting, and beautiful sequence like nobody’s business...

Mulholland Dr. (2001)
Here are the makings of a fun evening. Step one: Take your parents to see Mulholland Dr. Step 2: Endure the hottest girl-on-girl sex scene in the history of mainstream cinema while sitting a foot and a half from your mom. Step 3: Take your parents out for dinner afterwards, but instead of making chit-chat spend your entire meal staring into the middle-distance while attempting to make sense of the previous two hours.

It’s amazing that this film isn’t a mess. David Lynch originally filmed the story as a pilot of a television series, then re-shot some scenes and cobbled together a feature-length film after the studio executives took a pass. And yet somehow this rejected half-breed wound up as Lynch’s finest work to date.

Primer (2004)The first 20 minutes of Primer are among the most prosaic ever committed to celluloid: four wanna-be entrepreneurs dicking around in a garage, then sitting around a kitchen table stuffing envelopes. We know they are not working on anything new or exciting because the opening narration tells us as much. We know their previous research has proven fruitless because the characters argue about who’s to blame for their miserable lack of success.

And then they invent…something. The viewer doesn’t know exactly what they’ve invented, primarily because the protagonists themselves don’t know what they’ve invented. In fact, much of the film’s remaining 60 minutes focuses on their efforts to figure out what this thing does and how they can capitalize on it.

If the films in this list were arranged in order of ascending awesomeness rather than chronologically, Primer would still occupy the final slot. Made on a budget of $7,000 (seven! thousand!), Primer is one of the few movies I have ever watched twice in a row—and certainly the only movie I’ve ever watched at 8 a.m. after having watched it twice in a row on the evening prior. It’s like a deep-tissue massage for your brain—afterwards you may hurt like hell, but you’ll also feel strangely invigorated.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Impulsivity - The Fabulous Bud E. Love



From time to time, a perfectly sensitive individual will walk up to me and say, "Bud E., it's not working. I'm not getting laid. I'm being sensitive, and it's getting me nowhere. I cry frequently for little or no apparent reason. I admire subtleties in fabrics. I'm unhappy when bugs die. And yet I'm ignored."
I feel bad for these cats. They're trying hard. They're honest men. But they're missing an important truth about chicks: they dig contradiction.

Chicks eat it up when a cat does a 180. Sinatra knows it. Sammy knew it. The Beatles knew it. Trini Lopez was unsure about it. A cat whispers sweet nothings, then yells at the top of his lungs. He's Hurricane Andrew one day - and Andy Griffith the next. One minute you can't get the cat off the couch with a spatula, the next minute he's flipping you first-class tickets to Jamaica - the plane leaves in an hour. Forget the bikini!

What's happened?
He's possessed.
He's in a spell.
And the chick he's with has just turned into putty.

Because the cat is not boring. He's not the same schmuck day after day. He's impulsive. Unpredictable. Impossible to resist.

Practice being impulsive at your place of employment. Walk in one day and give everyone the day off, even though you're not the boss. Park in someone else's parking space. Drive their car home. Call the phone company and have the business number changed. When your boss inquires why you've done these things, say you have no more idea than she does.

Don't be just one cat when you can be a litter. Be mercurial. Be impulsive. But make sure the chicks see you being impulsive. When the babes at your office get wind of the fact that you're Mr. Impulsive, they'll blow into your life like a scirocco.

Excerpted From: You Oughta Be Me: How To Be A Lounge Singer And Live Like One. St. Martins Press, 1993.

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The 50 Greatest Things That Just Popped Into My Head by Jack Pendarvis

From The Believer

50. Ice cream

49. Blue—Don’t try to get creative with your favorite color. We all know it’s blue.

48. Sneeze—It feels great to sneeze. What a relief.

47. Jesus—Love him or hate him, you’ve got to hand it to the Son of God. Over two thousand years old and still going strong. It’s no wonder His name is also an exclamation. Jesus!

46. Oxygen—What a fantastic element! And not just because it’s easy to breathe. There is so much to recommend oxygen. According to scientists, nothing beats oxygen.

45. Bill—A friend of mine. He’s nice. I’m sorry we haven’t kept in touch as well as we might have, Bill. Say hello to Lisa.

44. Lisa—I secretly think you are “hot.” Don’t tell Bill.

43. Windows—You can see what’s outside yet feel safe and protected. It’s all thanks to windows. Who thought up windows? We may never know. But that man or lady had it “goin’ on”!

42. Lists of fifty things in magazines—Thought provoking! Not a waste of time at all.

41. House slippers

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Thursday, February 05, 2009

Best Bar (None) ~ Chris Morris



It's catching! But seriously, it is. Think back to the last time you had a flu - just before you went down, you felt better than cocaine. Why? Because your metabolism peaks as it gears up to fight the germs - before the symptoms kick in...
The idea at Infection is that you're dosed with a superbug eyedrop of your choice (we recommend XenoBac3), and within an hour your immune system's in hyperdrive - high-altitude bacterial cruising all night. And as you leave, spazz the microbes with a free 20,000mg vitamin quadratab.

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