Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Moment of Silence With Lightspeed Champion

Okay this is what silence sounds like in my world.

A lil "Midnight Surprise" by Lightspeed Champion.

I've gotta thank Greg Tate for turning me on! Thanks Greg!

Come to think of it, you're the one to blame. I've overdosed on this video.

This song has wrapped itself around me and my kinship with this GIRL as tall as mountains. Amazing actually.

When you have time, check out the nine minute epic album version.

And don't forget Mitchell A. Martian's favorite Lightspeed Champion vid posted below: Galaxy of the Lost.

American Gangstas

not sure why i wanted to post this.

i was thinkin about jay z's new album.

and suddenly i thought about this photo.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

What Cops Know

What Cops Know by Connie Fletcher

IATM Rating 85%

Ceilings dripping brain matter. Outright wars in the streets. Cat burgulars that shit on your bed while you're asleep. Bodies that have been sitting so long they pop open, spilling their stench for miles.

Dead men walking and talking with knives protruding from their heads. Women kidnapped and raped by entire ghetto apartment complexes, torture crews that force children to suck their father's dicks. Mafia families that hire madmen for enforcers.

DEA agents pinned down by automatic gunfire in a world where the backup never arrives. Serial killers that cut off the heads and hands of their victims so they can never be recognized. Children prostitutes who are more worried about home than the strangers in the cars...

Welcome to the world cops takes a special type to work Homicide...Sex Crimes....and the Street...

Read this book as part of my research for Slasher....

Met with an Atlanta police officer who gave me several key details for the script. He assured me that the horror is real....he told me a story about eating a hamburger while watching a man on the sidewalk die...and began stuttering emotionally, when remembering something that happened to a two-year old...

i didn't probe...

you just have to get numb, he said.

More than working at war, inc.

Wonderful book, frightening world.

But in the midst of it all, you have to remember to laugh.

You have to give the bodies funny nicknames. You have to tell war stories. You have to believe that there is a reason for every drop of blood spilled in the street, and that someday everything--all this madness--will end.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Knocked Up!

Knocked Up


There's been so much happening in Wondaland, I don't even know where to begin.

Let's start here.

Last weekend we all went off to see a little romance film called Knocked Up.

I went first with my girlfriend at the time, ex-girl, it's a complicated taking-two-weeks-off- because-we-fight-so-much-not-sure-if-we're-right-for-each-other-and-
she's-off-for-New-York-in a-month kind of thang...and then I went again with the Wondaland crew...because I loved it.

I saw this film two times in two days. For those that don't know, the premise is that a fat slacker named Ben Stone (played by Seth Rogen) has a drunken one-night stand with a gorgeous career girl named Alison Scott (played by Grey's Anatomy's Katherine Heigel). Alison gets pregnant and of course, hilarity and romance ensues, and finally since Hollywood is Hollywood, love wins the day.

What did I love about it? Let me count the ways:

  1. Writing, writing, writing: Judd Apatow's script was lean, spare, perfect--comedic with the perfect amounts of ennui, despair and postmodern romance glimmering through. My favorite scene was when Pete (Paul Rudd) and Ben Stone (Seth Rogen) sit in a playground and talk about bubbles. There's all these kids chasing floating bubbles. Ben asks Pete (who's already the father of two little girls) if he's gonna be alright, and Pete says no. Then Pete tells him not to ask him for any money, and then expounds on the childhood magic of bubbles. Genius. A comedy film version of the paper bag scene in American Beauty.
  2. The comedy troupe: Everyone in this film is a comedian. Let me repeat: everyone in this film is a comedian. If you blink, you'll miss five gags. Everything is effortless, and the supporting characters are so over-the-top and stellar you have to go back again just to see the whole ensemble in action. It's like watching a comedic symphony. Honorable mentions go out to Craig Robinson, the club doorman, who improvs his way into greatness with lines like: "They only let me let in 24 1/3 black people, so I have to find 24 black folks and a midget..." Brianna Brown who plays a crackpot work associate of Alison Scott. Her "I don't like secrets" and "Yeah, I can't believe it either"s were priceless. Ken Jeong's insane doctor routine was hilarious. Ben's friends (played by Jason Segel, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Martin Starr and Charlyne Yi) were classic. Like a Miles Davis quintet. Charlene was continually high and out of control: "Can we trade boyfriends? Huh, huh. I'm just kidding. Sort of."
  3. The Fantasy: And there's this part. Knocked Up plays to everyone's fantasies in a good way. Women truly want the selfless guy, the guy who looks out into the world and only sees their twinkling eyes. And men...what do we want? We want to get drunk, go to a hot club, meet a girl waaaaaay hotter than us or anyone we know, get her pregnant, and then...get condemned to spend the rest of our lives with her. Like how can I do this, marry Halle Berry?!?I'm ruined, ruined!
Go see it. Take someone you love or want to get pregnant.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Prince Comes Back to Planet Earth

I've been a Prince devotee for so long it's hard to talk rationally about his work anymore.

And to be honest, it's hard to say what you could possibly expect from a genius that is almost 50 and has given you so much.

Unfortunately, I'm not anticipating that his new album Planet Earth will be any better than Musicology or 3121, which made for great tours...when he played the hits and great lost nuggets from his golden era...

It's not that I don't like songs like "Musicology." "3121." Or "Guitar."

I do. They're perfectly fine. They're just not teachin me anything new.

I just expect alien funk sh*t from Prince and lately he's been sounding rather human.

And a little too much like his heroes.

I love Larry Graham and Cynthia and Jerry just like everybody else. But the minute the Family Stone hit Prince's band all his funk songs began to sound less like "Tamborine" and "Houseqake" and more like retreads of "Life," "Fun" and other Sly classics.

And it's been this way since, perhaps Rave Unto the Joy Fantastic, Rainbow Children and One Night Alone Tour, which all had some beautiful moments in them, but not very much in the way, shape and form of new inspiration information. (Actually, I loved the reckless abandon of Rainbow Children, although the redemptive gospel-funk concept wore a little thin.)

It just seems he's gotten rather comfortable coasting on his legacy, taking old ideas and rereleasing them under new titles.

(Check how Guitar's strut seems cribbed wholecloth from Cream. The only thang that Guitar adds is the U2 like- shimmer of guitar on the hook.)

The things I love about Prince today include:

1. He's the greatest performer in the world right now. Period. See the 2007 Super Bowl for clarity on this.

2. He's still a rebel who changes the game: Musicology was brilliant in every aspect. CDs with every concert ticket. Hilarious and innovative.

3. He's the only black guy and the only pop god standing with a guitar. 'Nuff said. (And Lenny plays rhythm, not lead.)

The last great album Prince made was the Gold Album. But who's complaining?

He's still here, still releasing an album every year, and doing amazing shows.

P.S. And why's Prince f*cking with Verizon? I'm waiting for a Purple iPod called The Vault with all of the remastered Prince albums and 300 unrealeased songs from Paisley Park! Oh well....


So Karen O moved from NY to LA.

And the Yeah Yeah Yeah's recorded their second album.

Was it just me?

Or was there something missing?

Anyway, I'm happy to hear from this live track that they seem to be getting their
muscles back again.

Friday, June 22, 2007

How to Get Off the Plantation in 5 Easy Steps (Pt. V)

How to Get Off the Plantation in 5 Easy Steps (Pt. V):

5. The Giant Leap

Remember the Matrix? How one of the biggest tests of being outside of the Matrix was the leap of faith? A leap from the roof of the tallest building in the city. Into nothing but thin air. And a hope and a prayer that you would make it to another roof before you came crashing to the concrete hundreds of stories below.

Leaving your paying job—no matter what the circumstances—is a little like this. Even if you hate your job. Even if you’re merely shining shoes, screwing in lightbulbs in locker rooms, or cleaning up elephant feces in a zoo, the decision to focus on nothing but YOU and everything else be damned is the kind of decision that can lead you to living in your parent’s basement for the rest of your life—without a girlfriend, money, car, or any of life’s other niceties to speak of.

It’s a leap of faith. And there’s no way around it. Don’t kid yourself. Now sure there are certain contracts, business deals, and situations that can make you smile so hard you forget that all of life’s necessities—food, shelter, clothing—in this capitalistic world cost money. Sure, there are certain recording deals, business breakthroughs, and new salaries that will put all the questions to rest and the mind at ease. But remember the more zeros you see, the less control you have—and that doesn’t matter what industry you’re in. Often times “making it" means running from the frying pan into the high priced fire.

And yes, you’ve read that right, I’ve intimated that EVERYTHING CAN BE A PLANTATION. Sorry to break it to you. In the recording industry, if you don’t own your masters, your masters own you. And that’s just the beginning in an industry where your every expense is recoupable, and you only make 8% to 20% of the profit of the net worth of your creations (and that’s not even touching on the well chronicled robber baron accounting practices of the overall entertainment industry). So if you have any sense at all, you will always have that burning nervous feeling in your stomach. And you will realize it’s one small step for you, and a giant leap of faith.

By the way, you entrepreneurs can stop laughing at the music business wannabees. If you need someone else’s money to handle your burn rate, you will quickly realize that your chief job each month will be just to borrow and steal and wine and dine enough greedy investors just to make payroll, pay your programmers and keep your product on the critical path needed for your project to launch on time. And after it launches, guess what? You’ll need more money, more meetings, more calls to your money managers and frantic late night calls to your friends because you’ve heard rumors that the venture capitalist firm you’re working with is putting together a new board and you’re not on it. In the end, there’s no magic profit margin that can ease the situation, more money means more meetings, more hard work, and a need for better planning and execution just to keep up with Joneses who also have big billion dollar budgets and want to watch your house and everything in it come crashing burning down. How did you know that when you left your lax life of steady pay and benefits that you would never sleep again? Did you actually ask for this?

Yes, you actually did. But you’re a dreamer. And dreamers like to jump from tall buildings into the unknown. Just like this. This is the life you asked and begged for. This is what makes your life worth living. Know this and act accordingly. Your life, just like the unknown will always be interesting, and full of revelations, but seldom easy. Just ask Alice. Who realized there was a lot of light—and spinning slivers of darkness—in the rabbithole.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t leap. You certainly should. And the sooner the better. This is merely to say that you should plan carefully, gather your friends, watch your enemies, read all the small print, research your industry endlessly before you jump into it, and be aware that you are millions of miles above the ground without a net. But it’s cool. If you’re a dreamer like me, you wouldn’t have it any other way.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

How to Get Off the Plantation in 5 Easy Steps (Pt. IV):

Some folks think slavery is over.....

How to Get Off the Plantation in 5 Easy Steps (Pt. IV):

4. Kill a thousand birds with every stone.

To truly make it, you have to learn how to kill a thousand birds with every stone. This is simply to say that you need to learn how to find value in every thing you do, as well as learn how to squeeze 96 hours out of a 24 hour day. You will have to work hard in your day gig, and even harder at night to make it. Nothing will be handed to you on a silver platter. In your day gig, glean and steal everything you can to help you in your other businesses. (I mean “steal" figuratively, unless you’re planning a career as a gangsta rapper.) Find your way into a paying gig that brings you not only a unique, complementary skill set, but also contacts and extraordinary experiences, etc. Even if you bake cakes for a living, your job is to plot out how this bakery career can help you get into event planning, investment banking, singing, or whatever your heart desires. Every minute of the day, be professional, and kill a thousand birds with every stone.

The “be professional" adage is more important than any of us can possibly realize in the moment. You never know when you will need someone to help you get a loan, phone number, or into an event. So treat everyone like a king or queen. If you have a boss, work hard to get along with him or her and leave on good terms. If that production deal falls through, you may need some part time work, so be prepared to scrap together all these good relationships and contacts in order to make ends meet. Everywhere you go, you want your name associated with excellence. It takes work to be an accomplished copy editor by day, and a mindbending experimental novelist at night, but guess what? No one said this would be easy.

In addition, be prepared to work on more than one project. At most large companies like Google, they use the 70/20/10 rule. They spend 70% of their time on their bread and butter business (search), 20% of their time on establishing new projects (Gmail), and 10% of their time researching and inventing new opportunities (Google docs). Smart folks work hard, keep taking chances, and keep investing time and money in the unknown because you never know when these new 10% growth markets will become your bread and butter. Ask Apple who now relies on the iPod to drive the rest of its businesses from retail and online stores to the sales of its hardware. So it’s cool to have at least three big balls in the air: I would suggest have at least three brilliant ones, and be prepared to head in any direction at any given time.

Here at Wondaland, we have a holding company named 1954. We have so many balls moving in this company it’s insane. So if you’re going to do something like this it takes a lot of the right eyeballs, minds and hands to keep everything moving in the right direction. But even as a writer, you can practice this same concept. Why not work on a screenplay and a novel, as well as that children’s book you always dreamed about? Spend 70% of your free time on the novel you’re turning in for your master’s MFA thesis, 20% on the fantasy adventure film and 10% on the children’s story. When you get stuck on one, flip around and work on the other. Find a rhythm. Keep it fun. And never feel bad about the 10%, about experimenting, researching new things, doodling with new colors, starting something new.

This is all to say, if possible, integrate everything—all of your dream projects and your present day job—into your long-term plans. In the most simple sense, this means if you must work, search for a career that feeds your passion. For the last fifty years, established poets and writers have taken posts in the academic world, teaching literature and the craft of writing to the next generation of literary stars. But teaching is certainly a reciprocal activity, and certainly on some days these writers learn as much if not more from their passionate students. In a similar sense, turn every conversation, task and endeavor in your life into a reciprocal activity. Find value in everything. See every challenge at work as preparation for your future. Drain every minute of every day for new revelations. And when you leave the plantation, run away with all the weapons you need to win the war.