Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Giving You the Cordwainer Bird

Harlan Ellison is not dead. Just so you know.

We witnessed the passing of some bright spirits in the last few months, and barring the passing of Chris Whitley, none received any mention here; to be honest, I wasn't entirely sure that I was capable of composing panegyrics sufficient to explain why there should have been a national damn day of mourning when Chris died, or when Buck Owens passed (y'all, I am so thoroughly, completely, utterly through with explaining my abiding love for some classic C&W. You can either choose to incorporate it into your world views or you can, as my boy Luda is wont to say, roll out) or when Wicked Wilson Pickett shuffled off this mortal coil. I have frozen lattices of memory with each of those artists at a particular nexus, and one of the things that I will always thank Hiller for is putting Whitley track after Whitley track on his discount PartyPeople mix tapes until And then I developed my own obsession and the next thing you knew, I was listening... lip deep in my own narotic prayer and seeing Chris in London, in Minneapolis, in Portland, and once, tantalizingly, almost in Charlotte, North Carolina.

I just don't have the words to express what those artists represent to my no-longer-young self.

But I am finally going to take some time to say some words about my girl, Octavia Butler. I managed to be ahead of the social curve for once and hear about an event in time to actually attend it, and so, about five years ago, Fergus and I went to hear her read and answer questions at the downtown branch of the Minneapolis Public Library. She was a commanding presence then, as ever, and although I did not bother to manufacture a question just for the chance to have her look straight at me, I almost wish I had done.

Do yourself a favor, and go read Kindred, and then read the Xenogenesis series, and then read Wild Seed, and then go back and read Kindred again, and then thank God that that irascible ass Harlan Ellison helped get her published.

Butler was one of handful of black SF authors, and one of only two that I read consistently (Sam Delaney being the other). Her work is stark and unsettling and deep. Tales to stop the blood, indeed.

Octavia Butler

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Good, The Bad, and The Trife

1. Dorthe damntrollbaby Troeften --- THE GOOD!

This picayune little hotstepper waded through a very, very "dirty" version of the American body culture chapter (if you don't know what I'm talking about by now, it is far too late to get started. Dammit, I'm turning this thing in on Friday, asshole!) and offered some incredibly useful commentary. This is all the more noteworthy given Trollbaby Troeften's recent successful defense. Trust me, people: if and when I walk out of that dissertation defense with a newly-minted degree in my grubby hands, I'm shaking the dust from this place off my cloak and getting up outta here. I don't have the kind of patience or generosity it takes to give a crap about someone else's dissertation. I barely give a crap about mine. So, for being a better person than I am in all ways except one (I have a half-assed blog! Beat that!), you get the coveted photo spot in today's blog post. I couldn't find a picture of you, so I found a picture of some other "Dorthe" out there. It makes me laugh. As do you.

2. My mothereffing broke-down, cracked-up, baked bean teeth -- THE BAD!

Years of going without dental insurance have finally caught up with me, my lovelies. They look all right, but beneath that [reasonably] white exterior lies painful, worrying trouble. I've been having difficulties with one or two teeth on the left side for a little while now, but never had the chance to go take care of it...because you know what makes health problems go away? Ignoring them. Anyway, there is something seriously, seriously wrong with those teeth now. I can't chew on that side anymore; in fact, that whole side of my face hurts when I eat. On the up side, I will be eating a lot less until this is resolved. Weight loss through excruciating mouth pain!

3. Mark howcouldyouletmedownthisway Lamarr -- THE TRIFE!

Apparently, Mark Lamarr has lost his damn mind. Now, he had been bumped off the list of my British boyfriends for Chiwetel Ejifor a couple of months ago when I finally got around to watching Serenity, but still. Dang, Mark!

Not the Lamarr-ying Kind

He shares the Most Odious And Unfunny 'Comedian' In Britain trophy with David Walliams. It can only be ankle-faced slick-haired unlaugh Mark Lamarr.

When he was on the Shooting Stars tour, he developed a serious crush on one of the young female stage management crew.

One evening before the show, she had to up to his dressing room. She walked in to find him sat stroking his erect c*ck, which was sticking out of his fly.

He said, "When are you gonna sit on this, then?"

She did.

A girl at a messageboard I frequent posted that information because she knows that love[d] Mark Lamarr's chain-smoking ass.

Listen, I can handle someone being sleazy. And I for damn sure can handle someone being kinky. But I can not handle someone being ridicudamnlous. I don't care how much I like someone -- if I walk into a room where they are sitting around polishing the chrome, I'm going to kick it and run.

Saturday, April 08, 2006


Frank in Brooklyn

I'm doing my discount academic thing over at Ambition Adams today. If you're not a nerd like me, there's no reason to go over there. Nothing to see here, people!

Frank Frazetta official site.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Little Orphan Tranny

Remy Ma, H.A.M.

I've been spending a lot of time avoiding my dissertation/hooding out online lately, and let me ask y'all a question. When did "she looks like a man!" "that's a dude!" "Bitch a tranny" or whatever variation become the insult du jour? Am I crazy or is this new? We can only blame Austin Powers a little bit for this "that's a man, baby!" phenomenon, I think. Putting on my bootleg academic hat for a minute, let me say that I have real problems with this -- probably because I hear it primarily directed at black women (granted, I've been spending a lot of time at and lately, actively looking for H.A.M, but still..does this seem new to other people, too? Is it simply due to, I don't know, the increased visibility of actual transgendered/transvetic people? Am I overthinking this? Probably. This dissertation has broken my brain for real.

Anyway, I'll tell you why this seems weak to me. The posters over at Fresh's site (which is so amazing it has to be the whole reason the internet was invented) who said that Hoopz (of Flavor of Love "fame", who was shown shaking like, not a saltshaker...maybe a mostly empty jar of Mrs. Dash) had a "hard ass jawbone" (tm Mochapeach)and looked like "fucking transformer" (tm brownchik) or Optimus Prime (ninjagrrl) were clowning her and being funny. Just calling her a man because you think she's it that deep, people? Yeah, I've had a lot of coffee today. What? What?! Try harder, people!

Monday, April 03, 2006

If I Raise Up, There's Gon Be Trouble. Trouble!

Hey, y'all. I'm coming to you from the third floor of Wilson library, where the theses are thick and dusty, just like these braids that I need to take up out of my head. Ha! Just kidding. I'm getting much better at hooking my shit up, never fear. And even if I wasn't, rest assured that the last thing I will do -- as raggedy as my look has gotten since leaving Portland -- is rock some nasty ol' braids. I can not handle that. I mean, I know that's some big talk coming from a woman who is committed to wearing the baggiest scrubs and tiniest tees that she can find, but I think you will agree that there is something inherently funny about "wack tshirts on a big body chick." C'mon. Rah Digga said it, not me. At least, I think that's what she said.

And speaking of the hood rat messiah, I want to offer a discount panegyric on what just might be the most amazing movie every committed to celluloid, The Player's Club. I think it might have been Ice Cube's directorial debut, and you can tell. But it's got that special charm, like one of your cousin's shifty friends that is always trying to run game but is funny as hell.

Saturday morning I was prepared to leave the house at 10 to walk to campus and spend the day working. You know, investing in my future. But y'all know that cable tv is my kryptonite. I am powerless before it. So when I saw that USA network was showing The Player's Club that morning (and I'm sorry, but why are they showing that grown ass movie at 10 on a Saturday morning? Have times changed so much that Saturday morning is not still prime kid's viewing time? How is a movie about strippers and hos and brutal sexual assault ok for a weekend morning? And, forgive me while I get all Homie D. Clown on you, but don't tell me that a movie that showed that much ass, but starred white women, would have been shown on basic cable before watershed hours. Do not even front like that's the case. I could not believe how much black ass I saw. And titty, too! They can't have edited that thing for tv at all -- oh, except to partially halfway not-even-trying obscure the cursing. The only problem is, that movie is wall-to-wall "motherfucker." If you take out all the "motherfuckers," the script would have been three pages long. So anyway, I was disturbed by the fact that someone in the USA programming department considers The Player's Club to be on the order of a National Geographic special, and just let the titties go. Um, and also, in the online guide description, it was listed as "COMEDY-DRAMA." Now, don't get me wrong, because Bernie Mac and Anthony Johnson are funny like whoa in this movie. But you know what? Again -- I don't think a movie with a horrifying and graphic sexual assault gets to be called a "comedy drama." That's just me. You can have all the I saw damn Kings of Comedy in there if you want to. I don't care.

Ah, The Player's Club...a movie that's bold enough to suggest that, despite all the glaring and aggressive indications to the contrary (Diamond has a stalker who follows her home, Ebony goes to strip a party where she is the only woman amongst a group of thuggish dudes, Luke motherfuckin' Skywalker brings his crazy ass in to the club one night) a woman's real enemy is a predatory female. Ok, hello, sister. If you are buying that bullshit, you have more problems than you think you do. I mean...

ok, let me stop right here to say that, even though it doesn't seem like it, I love this movie. I'm just telling you why I shouldn't love this movie. It's like how I have to admit in the quiet of a darkened room that I almost prefer Aliens to Alien, even though the politics are way shadier and even though I am Ridley Scott's bitch normally...

So, anyway, the story, briefly, is this. Lisa Raye (Da Brat's sister, apparently. What?!) plays a young single mother trying to work, go to college, and raise her son. While working her job at a shoe store one day, ZZ Top come in and give her a makeover -- I mean, she meets two of the hoodiest hoodrats ever, Ronnie and Tricks, who tell her to "use what [she] got to get what she want." Fast forward 4 years later, and "Diamond" is now working with Ronnie and Tricks at The Player's Club, dancing and generally being the stripper with a heart of gold. Oh, and did I mention that she's a journalism major? That is important to remember, because during the film's coda, when Diamond's voiceover clues us in to everyone's whereabouts, she ends by saying "...and as for me, well, you watch the news, don't you?" She is intimating that she has a job as a newscaster, but if you have seen this movie, you know how ludicrous it is that Lisa Damn Raye, with her corny ass blac-cent got a job reading the news anywhere -- even BET, which is where we are supposed to believe she is working. Still, time for confession #2: I love Lisa Raye. I don't know why, and I wish I didn't. But there is something about her that makes me laugh. Much like this brokedown movie!

Anyway, back to the plot: Diamond is doing fine, hustling and schooling and generally making that money not letting it make her (that's one of the many cheesy nuggets of "street wisdom" this movie gives you free of charge!). Cue the entrance of her dumbass cousin, Ebony, and while I hate that the fool in this movie shares my name, I am going out on a limb to say that it could have been worse. Ebony's country tail just wants to make some money and be like her "glamorous" cousin. She starts dancing at the club...

ok, I need to note here that one of the things I was pleased about is the look of the women they got to play the dancers in this movie; there's a real difference in the look of the women who dance in high-end clubs and lower-end clubs, and there's a big difference between the kinds of bodies in white clubs and black clubs. Corny little Ebony, with her tiny tatas but Tinkerbell hips would not get a job at Jiggles. But she would get one at Leroy's. You understand what I'm saying. It would have been very easy for them to get some of those cookie cutter Black Barbies for this movie, but they didn't. In this instance, low budget = accuracy!

...blah blah blah, Ronnie and Tricks reveal themselves to be evil backstabbing hos (and in Ronnie's case, an aggressive and cartoonish and fake-o L!E!S!B!I!A!N) and Diamond gets taken advantage of, Ebony gets taken advantage of, Bernie Mac goes for a couple rides in car trunks, and generally, this movie sends every kind of wrong message it is possible to send. If you want to get into it with me and hear my full assessment, feel free to email me. I'm not going to prolong this post any more than I have, but I will say this: despite all its many faults, I love this movie way more than I should. It might be because it has--

1)a wheelchair-bound villain who has to be wheeled -- slowly -- through the club to shoot it up...and yet, people are still acting crazy and running away and I'm thinking, couldn't you just run behind his chair? The turning radius on those things is not that great.

2) It's got John Amos. Damn, damn, damn!

3) Jamie Foxx (as club DJ, Blue) introducing Tricks: "Comin' to the stage now is a woman who's been in the game since Kunta Kente was big ballin' and shot callin'. They say tricks are for kids and she got four of them mother fuckers! Let's give it up for Tricks!"

Don't act like you didn't laugh at that.