06th Nov2015

West Week Ever: Pop Culture In Review – 11/6/15

by Will

photovisi-download5

oie_922142seDasWF9

dreamgirls

When it comes to movies, the only thing I watched this week was Dreamgirls. Sure, it came out in 2006, but I’d never gotten around to seeing it. To be honest, I had absolutely zero interest in watching it when Lindsay put it on, but I quickly got into it. If you’re not familiar, it’s an adaptation of the Broadway fictitious account of the rise and fall of a Supremes-esque girl group called The Dreams. And it was really, really good. I tend not to like Beyonce’s acting, but I thought she did well in her role as Not Diana Ross. And Jennifer Hudson is incredible. If you’re like me, and know your Broadway songs, then I’m sure you’ve heard “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” – THE song that the story is known for. And Eddie Murphy redeems himself from his “Party All The Time” days with some great singing in the film. In all, I highly recommend it.

BTE

In the world of television, Neil Patrick Harris’s Best Time Ever concluded its first season this week. I’ve been covering the show since it started and, while it’s not great, I’d like to see it get a second season. It’s a concept that I think could work with some tweaking. The variety show format needs to be about an hour, but he’s only got about 3o minutes of strong material. If it were up to me, I’d get rid of the Karaoke contest, as well as the opening segment where he awkwardly interacts with a member of the audience. I’d also get rid of Nicole Scherzinger, who doesn’t really bring much to the show. I’d expand the End of the Show Show, and maybe move it earlier in the show to keep the audience engaged. It’s the most awe-inducing part of the show, but it’s a shame that it comes at the end, once the show’s already lost a portion of its audience. In any case, NBC hasn’t decided whether or not there will be another season, but it’s not like they really have anything amazing in development to take its place.

Superstore

Speaking of NBC, while I was watching Undateable Live last week, I saw a commercial for an upcoming sitcom called Superstore. The commercial made me chuckle, but the idea of a comedy set in a Not Walmart just didn’t sound solid to me. So, of course I took to Twitter about it, and I got a reply from one of the writers, Sierra Ornelas. It turns out that a lot of the people behind Superstore actually used to work on Happy Endings. I loved the Hell out of that show, so now I’m excited. She did the impossible: changed someone’s mind via social media. Anyway, NBC announced that Superstore would have a sneak preview airing on November 30th, following The Voice. The show, starring Ugly Betty‘s America Ferrera, will then officially premiere on January 4th – going against Gotham, Supergirl, and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Things already seem questionable for the show, as the episode order has already been cut from 13 episodes to 11, and it’ll be going up against some steep competition.

muppets

In other TV news, The Muppets showrunner, Bob Kushell, has left the show, as it gears up for a midseason reboot. While the premiere was considered a “success”, The Muppets is currently the lowest-rated comedy on ABC and, with the exception of Blood & Oil, is the lowest rated freshman show on the network. I tried watching the first episode, and it put me to sleep. Plus, I’ve just never really been a Muppets fan, so it was never for me. I’ve read everything from “It’s terrible!” to “It’s good, and if you say otherwise, you don’t deserve it!” All I know is that Fresh Off the Boat has risen to become the highest-rated ABC comedy on Tuesday nights. Maybe after they take the show in a new direction, I might give The Muppets another shot.

constantine2

Meanwhile in television, Matt Ryan reprised his role as John Constantine on this week’s episode of Arrow. Now, I never gave Constantine a chance when it was airing on NBC last season because I KNEW it’d get cancelled. That said, I really loved what I saw of Ryan this week, and it kinda makes me wish I had watched his series. Here’s hoping that they find a way to shoehorn him into the upcoming Legends of Tomorrow series.

courtesy of comicbook.com

courtesy of comicbook.com

In other superhero news, Buffy‘s Emma Caulfield has been cast as Cameron Chase on Supergirl. Now, I know I said that I wasn’t watching Supergirl, but they’re really trying to bring me in. I’ve loved the Chase character since her first appearance in Detective Comics. She’s an agent for the Department of Extranormal Operations (DEO), and knows all of the DCU’s secrets. If they end up making her, like, a member of “Team Supergirl”, I’m gonna have to give in and watch this show. If you haven’t heard of Chase, her whole short-lived series has been collected in trade paperback form.

slave-leia-outfit

There’s a story going around that Disney wants to retire all the Slave Leia merchandise. While some folks are upset about it, I’m kinda fine with it. I’m so tired of that costume. Pop culture has just become oversaturated by it, and it’s just gotten kinda played out. I don’t, however, see the need to officially retire the stuff. Just kinda lay back on the production of it. Less is more, and all that.

In what was probably the strangest news of the week, former boybander Nick Lachey was poised to become a drug kingpin. You see, he’s part owner of a 29-acre marijuana farm in Ohio, and the legalization of marijuana was on Ohio’s ballot. Had the vote passed, Lachey and his partners would’ve made over $1 BILLION, ANNUALLY! They had struck a deal where their farm would be the sole provider of marijuana for the state. Sadly for him, Ohioans struck it down at the polls. So, for now, Justin Timberlake will have to remain the richest boyband alum (unless you count The Beatles, which you SHOULD!).

Tevin Campbell, Pauly Shore, Jenna von Oy – not only are those folks extremely associated with the 90s, but they also happen to be in my favorite Disney film, A Goofy Movie. Designed to be a sequel to the television show Goof Troop, the movie has achieved a cult following over the years. Part of its charm are the songs in the film, performed by fictional R&B star Powerline (Campbell). Well, in a cappella circles, the name “Peter Hollens” carries a lot of weight, so imagine my surprise when I found out he’d arranged a medley of the biggest songs from the movie. Check it out:

 

Links I Loved

NYCC 2015: Best of TMNT (Part 1 of 2) – The Sewer Den

The 5 Worst Bond Girl Names – The Robot’s Pajamas

Please, No One Come Trick-Or-Treating To My House This Year, For I Will Be Masturbating To Pornography – ClickHole

Four Words We Only Knew Because of Sitcom Opening Themes – UnderScoopFire

The True Story Behind ‘Zola,’ The Epic Twitter Story Too Crazy To Be Real – The Washington Post

SummerSwap2015 – Stop 7 – AEIOU…and Sometimes Why

The Actor Who Played Jar Jar Binks Is Not Sorry – Vice

Your Show Is Dead (or the Age of Denial in Broadcast TV) – The Hollywood Reporter

Will’s Other Posts Of The Week

Mail Call Monday – SummerSwap 2015

Will’s Really Late NYCC 2015 Swag Grab Recap

trek

The biggest news this week had to be the fact that Star Trek is coming back. Sure, we’ve had a couple movies recently, but Trek in its truest form is on television. CBS announced that a new Star Trek series would premiere on CBS in January 2017, and then move to their streaming service, CBS All Access. Alex Kurtzman, co-writer of the past 2 Trek movies will executive produce, so it seems like this show will live in the NuTrek timeline.

Here are my issues with this announcement. First off,  you’re gonna have to pay $6 a month to watch this show. No dice, CBS! As folks online have joked, this will probably be the most torrented show in history. Apparently CBS All Access already streams all the past Star Trek series, but I’d never even heard of the service before this announcement. Next, I’m something of a starship snob, in that I find it hard to really care about any ship not named “Enterprise”. I made an exception with DS9, but it took some time. I couldn’t do it with Voyager. Since there’s already an Enterprise in the movies, I doubt they’d allow that ship to be used. So, we’re probably gonna end up with some janky, Excelsior class ship that I don’t care about, filled with people I don’t care about. Yeah, I’m not being very open-minded here.

capt worf

You see, they clearly left the established universe in existence for a reason. They may not be doing anything with it, but the movies don’t affect anything that happens there, and vice versa. If the movies are gonna focus on NuTrek, then let this new show depict what’s going on in the “prime” universe. We never did get to see any real aftermath from the Dominion War. Let’s see that. Hell, I’d probably even rather have that Captain Worf show Michael Dorn’s been trying to make over a series set in NuTrek’s timeline.

At the end of the day, however, new Star Trek can’t be a bad thing. I mean, the show could suck, but we don’t know at this stage of the game. So, I’m going to try to adopt a positive outlook for the sake of my inner Trekker. Seriously, 1994 Will would be bouncing off the walls about this news, but 2015 Will is going to be a bit more reserved. Still, for announcing the first television show in ten years, Star Trek had the West Week Ever.

 

07th Apr2013

LOEB Presents Trader Will’s Deal-O-Rama!

by Will

LoEB

So, here we are. If you listened to my most recent appearance on the UnderScoopFire! podcast, then you heard my discussion about the League of Extraordinary Bloggers. Basically, I said that it didn’t do much for me. Don’t get me wrong – it has strengthened relationships I already had, but some of you new cats won’t give me a second glance. Maybe you don’t get my humor, or maybe I’m too “blue” for you, but that’s how I see things. I’ve visited and left comments on your sites, and you’ve never darkened my door with a plate of cookies and a “Welcome to the neighborhood.” So, I guess I’ll just have to buy your friendship.

This week’s League topic is Trading Post, where different members are offering up things they’re willing to trade. Of course this was right up my alley, and here’s some trade fodder that immediately came to mind:

2013-03-25 00.09.14 2013-03-25 00.09.22

If you’re a Hot Wheels enthusiast, then you’ll recognize these are the highly coveted Pop Culture series. They have real rubber wheels!

2013-03-25 02.10.25

If you’re into RPGs, then I’ve got this brand new, hardcover Warcraft Manual of Monsters.

2013-02-04 21.16.09

If you’re a Motown fan, I’ve got this unopened 4-disc set of Motown classics!

2012-01-07 01.09.00

For the goth kids out there, I’ve got this 3-book Lenore set, each SIGNED by creator Roman Dirge!

BUT WAIT – THERE’S MORE!

colpic_1

If you’re not familiar with me, I run a little collectibles site called Will’s World of Wonder. It’s got new and used toys, comics, what have you. Anyway, ANYTHING on there is fair game. ANYTHING.

So, what do I want? Nothing, really. What I mean is that I’m never looking for anything in particular. I just know when I like what I see. So, impress me. Welcome me into this community with your best wares, and let’s make a deal.

NOTE: This deal is only available to LOEB members who participate in this week’s topic.

Here are some other Leaguers offering cool stuff:

Team Hellions – Trading Post

ShezCrafti – For Trade/Sale: My Catwoman Comics

Cool & Collected: Come Visit The Ol’ Cool and Collected Trading Post

04th Feb2013

Black History Month is Back-ack-ack-ack-ack-ack-ack-ack!

by Will

BMHCollageMark

Yeah, I’m being lazy. I should’ve spent the last year coming up with 28 more of these to further bolster my “legacy” or what have you. Then again, we got the same black president again, so why not the same Black History Month post? As they say in publishing, this is a good opportunity for me to “mobilize my backlist”. Hey, at least I slaved (oops!) over that beautiful collage up there!

If this is your first February following me, this is all new to you. If not, sit back and enjoy one of my favorite posts to write. You know the drill: there’s one per day, and I try to tweet them out each day. Still, some days I get lazy, so it might help to print out the PDF at the end of this post.

IT’S BLACK HISTORY MONTH, Y’ALL!!!

1) Today In Black History: Arnold & Willis Jackson became the first poor black kids adopted by a rich white person

2) Today in Black History: Jimmie Walker left his lucrative career in demolitions to become a comedian.

3) Today in Black History, The Eastland School for Girls admitted Dorothy “Tootie” Ramsey as its first black student

4) Today in Black History, the Fresh King of Bel Air was assassinated. The throne remained empty until a long lost son was found in 1990.

5) Today in Black History, Kunta Kinte is accepted into the space program, and it only costs him his eyesight.

geordi2

“Wasn’t my foot ENOUGH?!”

6) Today in Black History, the black girl became the Yellow Ranger, which was only slightly less offensive.

7) Today in Black History, boxer Cassius Clay was bitten by a radioactive Muslim, transforming him into Muhammad Ali

Ali

“I ain’t no damn bean pie!”

8) Today in Black History, the remains of the fabled “Caribbean Queen” were found in the trunk of Billy Ocean’s car.

9) Today in Black History, Devonté Henson became the first black person to scale the Aggro Crag.

10) Today in Black History, a young Tyler Perry put on his first dress. Years later, he would learn that he could be paid for it.

11) Today in Black History, scientists combined the DNA of Morris Day and a pony. The result was Prince.

prince-6

“Purple Rain” was actually his My Little Pony name.

12) Today in Black History, Mr. T pitied his first fool, which is still illegal in most states.

13) Today in Black History, Lt Uhura inspired a generation of black women to work for the phone company.

14) Today in Black History, DeBarge discovered a place where they could dance the whole night away. It was an abandoned T.J. Maxx

15) Today in Black History, the US Government cracked down on music piracy after Rerun snuck that tape recorder into the Doobie Bros concert

16) Today in Black History, the Negro Hockey League was founded. After everyone had a good laugh, the site was converted to a Popeyes.

17) Today in Black History, Magic Johnson opened the first movie theater chain where blacks were encouraged to yell at the screen

18) Today in Black History, George Washington Carver’s lazier brother, Jamal, invented crunchy peanut butter.

19) Today in Black History, Janet Jackson joined the cast of TV’s “Fame”. Critics declared this would be the lowest point for the Jackson family

20) Today in Black History, Dwayne Wayne discovered a parallel universe – a different world, where Marisa Tomei was the only white person.

21) Today in Black History, Frederick, MD was named for Frederick Douglass – known for his love of Walmart and the white women

walmart-customer

22) Today in Black History, Aunt Jemima discovered Uncle Ben’s affair with Mrs Butterworth, thus splitting Black America’s first power couple

Benmima

They were the royalty of the black breakfast table!

23) Today in Black History, Acorn Avenue -an all-black version of Sesame Street, debuted featuring NeGrover & Big Turkey. It would only air once

24) Today in Black History, 16 Soul Train dancers were killed in what has come to be known as “The Cabbage Patch Massacre of ‘91”

25) Today in Black History, Autobot Rosa Sparks gained attention when she refused to transform into the back of a bus. (Courtesy of @OAFE)

26) Today in Black History, Jesse Jackson formed the R&B group The Civil Rights. They were dropped from Motown before releasing a single.

27) Today in Black History, with Knight Rider & The A-Team, NBC became the first network to devote a night to shows starring black vehicles

28) Today in Black History, Republican scientists proclaimed “Shucky ducky!” as they successfully completed secret cloning experiment, Operation: Chocolate Cheney.

IMAG00542-612x1024

“Remember me? Black pizza guy? 999? No? Huh.”

There ya have it – your crash course to TRUE black history! Share it with your friends, leave it on the windshield of your favorite racist, or simply put it up on your refrigerator. And if you hate Black History Month, don’t worry – we only get 28 days, and 4 of those are gone. Have fun with St. Drinky-Drinks Day next month!

01st Feb2012

Today In Black History…

by Will

So, if you followed me on Twitter at this time last year, then you’re already familiar with this whole process. I wanted to do it again this year, but I’m unreliable, and I’ll probably miss a day. Plus, as I’ve acquired more black followers, I’m learning that this isn’t so uncommon. Instead of looking like a “biter”, as they say, I wanted to show that I can roll with the big dawgs! So, I thought I’d blow it out in one fell swoop. Plus, at the end, you’ll find a handy, dandy PDF that you can print out and remember the great contributions that Ne..African Americans have made to our society. There’s a different event for each day, so share it with your white friends, and put a copy up on your Kwanzaa mantle. Yes, we can!


 

 

IT’S BLACK HISTORY MONTH, Y’ALL!!!

1) Today In Black History: Arnold & Willis Jackson became the first poor black kids adopted by a rich white person

2) Today in Black History: Jimmie Walker left his lucrative career in demolitions to become a comedian.

3) Today in Black History, The Eastland School for Girls admitted Dorothy “Tootie” Ramsey as its first black student

4) Today in Black History, the Fresh King of Bel Air was assassinated. The throne remained empty until a long lost son was found in 1990.

5) Today in Black History, Kunta Kinte is accepted into the space program, and it only costs him his eyesight.

6) Today in Black History, the black girl became the Yellow Ranger, which was only slightly less offensive.

7) Today in Black History, boxer Cassius Clay was bitten by a radioactive Muslim, transforming him into Muhammad Ali

8) Today in Black History, the remains of the fabled “Caribbean Queen” were found in the trunk of Billy Ocean’s car.

9) Today in Black History, Devonté Henson became the first black person to scale the Aggro Crag.

10) Today in Black History, a young Tyler Perry put on his first dress. Years later, he would learn that he could be paid for it.

11) Today in Black History, scientists combined the DNA of Morris Day and a pony. The result was Prince.

12) Today in Black History, Mr. T pitied his first fool, which is still illegal in most states.

13) Today in Black History, Lt Uhura inspired a generation of black women to work for the phone company.

14) Today in Black History, DeBarge discovered a place where they could dance the whole night away. It was an abandoned T.J. Maxx

15) Today in Black History, the US Government cracked down on music piracy after Rerun snuck that tape recorder into the Doobie Bros concert

16) Today in Black History, the Negro Hockey League was founded. After everyone had a good laugh, the site was converted to a Popeyes.

17) Today in Black History, Magic Johnson opened the first movie theater chain where blacks were encouraged to yell at the screen

18) Today in Black History, George Washington Carver’s lazier brother, Jamal, invented crunchy peanut butter.

19) Today in Black History, Janet Jackson joined the cast of TV’s “Fame”. Critics declared this would be the lowest point for the Jackson family

20) Today in Black History, Dwayne Wayne discovered a parallel universe – a different world, where Marisa Tomei was the only white person.

21) Today in Black History, Frederick, MD was named for Frederick Douglass – known for his love of Walmart and the white women

22) Today in Black History, Aunt Jemima discovered Uncle Ben’s affair with Mrs Butterworth, thus splitting Black America’s first power couple

23) Today in Black History, Acorn Avenue -an all-black version of Sesame Street, debuted featuring NeGrover & Big Turkey. It would only air once

24) Today in Black History, 16 Soul Train dancers were killed in what has come to be known as “The Cabbage Patch Massacre of ‘91”

25) Today in Black History, Autobot Rosa Sparks gained attention when she refused to transform into the back of a bus. (Courtesy of @OAFE)

26) Today in Black History, Jesse Jackson formed the R&B group The Civil Rights. They were dropped from Motown before releasing a single.

27) Today in Black History, with Knight Rider & The A-Team, NBC became the first network to devote a night to shows starring black vehicles

28) Today in Black History, Republican scientists proclaimed “Shucky ducky!” as they successfully completed secret cloning experiment, Operation: Chocolate Cheney.

Be sure to celebrate responsibly, but let’s get it poppin’ like a Jackson Hewitt commercial! After all, it’s what our ancestors would’ve wanted.

Black History Calendar

 

 

 

 


20th Dec2010

RePlay: The Christmas Experiment

by Will

So, in the DC area, WASH (97.1) becomes the all-Christmas station at this time of year. In recent years, it’s been almost a race to see how soon they’ll make the format switch. It used to occur on Black Friday, but now it happens about a week before that. Many people hate this, and groan “Let’s take care of Thanksgiving first”, but I LOVE it. I love Christmas music. I love the season and everything about it.

Now, I’ve already discussed how there aren’t any modern Christmas classics being released, so I thought I would try a little experiment. I decided to just let WASH play, and then write up a little blurb about the feelings I got from the songs played during that stretch of music. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

Baby, It’s Cold Outside (Any): Winter time Date Rape at its finest

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (Jackson 5): Bitch better not let Joe catch her!

Last Christmas (Wham): A wonderful ’80s classic. I keep this in my rotation year round. I’m actually surprised Diddy never got around to sampling this beat.

Do They Know It’s Christmas? (Band Aid): Those poor savages. I’ll bet they don’t have calendars.

All I Want For Christmas Is You (Mariah Carey): As far as I’m concerned, Love Actually Girl beat Mariah for the championship on this song. No, not really, but I love the Hell out of that movie.

White Christmas (Bing Crosby): If you listen closely, you’ll realize this used to be a Klan propaganda song. As Uncle Ruckus would say, “Look how perfect and white these nice folks is, smellin’ like lemon furniture polish!”

The Christmas Shoes (NewSong): This song takes on a whole new meaning when you realize the kid is just trying to con the store out of a fresh pair of Jordans.

Christmas Through Your Eyes (Gloria Estefan): You realize this is sung from the point of view of a Miami Sound Machine member who was blinded in one of Gloria’s bus accidents, right?

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Any): Silly folks! You can’t make a yuletide gay…unless you send it to prison. Otherwise, it has to be born that way.

Feliz Navidad (Jose Feliciano): The definitive Latin stamp on Christmas. You know Spanish people were as siced about this as black people were when we created a new version of “Happy Birthday”. Still waiting on a remix with Pitbull and Daddy Yankee, though.

OK, enough rambling from me. Until next time, remember to keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars.

06th May2009

Leon On Me: A Brief History of Black Cinema’s Charo

by Will

“Run a web search on the phrase “American Dream” sometime. You’ll get nine million hits, and 95% of them are for real estate. Three percent are for strippers.”

leon1-791299
courtesy: davidruffinbbfaq.ourfamily.com/leon.jpg

Look at that smug motherfucker up there. Just look at him. In the time it has taken you to be mesmerized by his overt smarminess, that dude has just banged your sister. And your mom. In front of you. ‘Cause that’s just the type of guy he is. In every role he has every played, he has either screwed someone OR screwed them over. If you’re not familiar with ’90s Black cinema, or you’ve never had to endure the agony of what was once called the African Heritage Movie Network (sponsored by AT&T, ’cause Black people love runnin’ up a phone bill!), allow me to introduce you to the D-level powerhouse known, simply, as Leon.

Born Leon Preston Robinson IV, his first claim to fame was as “black dude who’s about to get banged by Madonna” in the controversial “Like A Prayer” video (controversial because of the Catholic iconography, not because she was banging a black dude). He went on to pretty much fill out the role of “black henchman” whenever Sam Jackson was busy (this was before Pulp Fiction, of course). If it involved snortin’ coke, womanizing, or just plain sweatin’ a lot, Leon was your man. You may even remember him from the movie that everybody loved, yet nobody ever talks about anymore: Cool Runnings (whatever happened to Doug E. Doug?).

In the mid-nineties, Leon landed a choice role in Robert Townsend’s The Five Heartbeats, the story of a fictional Motown-era singing group. Really showing his range, this role prepared him for his next: a role in The Temptations, a TV movie about a real Motown-era singing group. He followed this up as the title character in Little Richard, a TV movie about…well, you get the picture. After all those singing roles, he decided “Fuck it, I’m releasing an album.” So, he formed Leon and The Peoples, a reggae soul band, starring him and a bunch of people who don’t have the luxury of having their names mentioned in the band’s moniker. This marked the point at which Leon The Actor and Every Role Leon Has Ever Played became one being. This is the reason I’m educating you, so that you’ll be ready when he comes to steal your coke and bang your mom. He’ll do it. I saw it in one of his movies, and he apparently thinks he can really do all the shit he does in movies!

Leon can also be found traveling the country with Black stage shows. You know the kind – they always have names like All That and a Bag of Jesus or You Ain’t Goin’ To Heaven, So You Sho’ Nuff Goin’ To Hell. It would be best to avoid these at all costs. First off, there’s no telling what he might do. Secondly, this is the kinda shit that made Tyler Perry rich, and we just can’t have that happening again.
.

Take this knowledge and use it wisely. He may seem like a poor man’s Wesley Snipes, but he is not to be trusted, nor should you look him directly in the eye. Wait…where are your pants? Didn’t I just finish telling you not to look him in the eye?! Damn, he moves fast…
18th Sep2008

Fall Out Boy Mixtape and An Insider’s View of Diamond

by Will

“We believe in Barack Obama! He loves you and he loves your mama!”

citizensfobmixtape

Could it be? Is that an Obama endorsement from Williambrucewest.com? No, it’s not. But it does lead into this little tidbit: Major props go out to my man, Marcus, for recommending “Welcome to the New Administration”, the new, FREE mixtape from Fall Out Boy. A thinly-disguised prObama project, the collection not only drops snippets of the upcoming Fall Out Boy album, Folie A Deux, but it also introduces you to the music of some of their musical friends, like Panic at the Disco, Tyga, The Cab, and others. The new FOB album sounds tight, and I certainly wanna hear more from Tyga. EVERYONE should download this package, and you can get it free right here: http://www.friendsorenemies.com/web/foe/users/falloutboy/ It’s worth it just for Luda’s interlude alone.

Did y’all realize there’s a rapper named “Niggalas Cage”? I shit you not! In fact, he’s even got a track with Akon right now, called “You’re the Reason”. If you ask me, they should’ve recorded a track called “Kon Air”.

Speaking of Akon, he’s on one of the hottest tracks on NKOTB’s new album, “Put It On My Tab”. I recently posted a Facebook status saying that the album “doesn’t suck”, but after repeated listenings, I’ve got to admit that it’s HOT. It’s got that ‘NSYNC circa “No Strings Attached” vibe going on. And the guests on it are pretty surprising: Akon, New Edition, Pussycat Dolls, Lady Gaga, Ne-Yo. It’s a great dance album, and one of the best pop albums released in recent years.

While we’re on pop, TRL is shutting down. Man, that kills me, but it’s time. The TRL model isn’t appropriate for what passes as “pop” these days. Before, it was a crowd full of screaming teenage girls, clogging up Times Square, for the chance to catch a glimpse of dye-job, curly-q Justin Timberlake. TRL works best when pop is at its most “bubblegum”. Sure, you can still have Chris Brown drop by, but Daughtry and the rest of Top 40 radio are more suited for VH-1. Even the teen stars being cranked out, like Jordin Sparks, are more suited for an older crowd. TRL, like the early WB, used to MAKE stars. Now, it’s merely a shadow of its past self. MTV claims the show is just “going on a break”, but anyone who’s ever been in a relationship knows what that can mean. I think it’ll reappear, though. The UK had a similar show, Top of the Pops, which was on the air for over 42 years (!). Eventually, the formula got stale, and they put it on time out. Like TRL, the BBC promises it, too, will one day return. Maybe their returns will coincide.

That BET R. Kelly interview is priceless! I love the look on Toure’s face. The entire interview, his face is screaming, “Is this nigga for real?!”

So, last night, I watched The Temptations for what must’ve been the 10th time. I don’t know if VH-1 planned to show it all along, or if it was to honor Norman Whitfield, the prolific Motown writer/producer who passed away yesterday. Let’s hope the reason is the former, as the miniseries doesn’t exactly portray Whit in the best light. Hell, I just realized that it doesn’t portray anyone in a positive light…except for Otis Williams. Seeing as how Otis is the only surviving founding member of the group, the movie was written from his perspective. That said, it took me all these years to realize that it is the most masturbatory, self-congratulatory thing I’ve ever seen. There are WAY too many private scenes between Otis and random characters, as they have heart to heart talks where the other person thanks Otis for being the force that holds the group together, or thanks Otis for putting on the pressure when the less-disciplined needed that sort of monitoring. Everyone dies in the most heart-wrenching, tragic ways, even though most of the Temps’ families have disputed the accounts of their relatives’ demise, especially in the sensationalized account of David Ruffin, who’s shown thrown in front of an emergency room, from a moving limo, after overdosing. They say karma’s a bitch, so it Otis did make this stuff up, I’d say he’d better watch his back. Nothing like having 4 ghosts in leisure suits coming to get you, dancing slowly in formation. That reminds me, though – I’ve been working on a Leon/David Ruffin post for the better part of 2 years now. I should probably do something about that.

Watched Baby Mama the other night. This comes as no surprise, but I LOVE Tina Fey. She’s pretty much playing Liz Lemon from 30 Rock, which is what I’ve come to believe is the real Tina. The sexy, smart, insecure funnywoman. This movie, however, not that great. It’s not bad, but it’s not good. I don’t think it makes the most of any of the cast’s strengths, and it could’ve been better, Honestly, it’s about what I’d expect from an SNL movie, but I kinda wanted more, considering Tina wrote it, and she WAS head writer of SNL for about 9 years.

Got a lot on my mind, but I’m gonna wrap things up with this thought: a lot of people go through life with a dream. They go on with their day-to-day lives, but in the backs of their minds, they have a “what if?” idea that they never act on. Now, what happens when you act on that, and you find you’re not good at it? Are you better off knowing that? One of my dreams was to work in comics. I felt that it was something I was BORN to do, and I’d kick ass at it. 2 years later, and I realize I wasn’t that good at it. I always said I’d write a book about that experience, called Diamond in the Rough: My Life in Comics, but I don’t have the patience, plus nobody’d want to read it except those in the industry, and it’s gonna piss off most of them. Instead, I’m sure my ideas for said book will probably trickle onto the site over time.

Anyway, how did I come to this conclusion? Well, if any of you have ever read the Previews catalog (NOTE: Previews is a catalog that ships ever month, informing retailers/fans of upcoming comic books so they can place orders – I used to help make that catalog), you might’ve seen a segment in the middle called “Featured Items”. Those were the 16 items, NOT from Marvel or DC, that we felt “every store should buy”. We’d have monthly meetings where we’d sit down and go to war over who should receive this honor, even though John Q. Public really didn’t give a shit. Us giving an “FI” to Red Sonja #25 isn’t gonna make retailers buy more copies. If Sonja dies, or flashes a tit, THEN retailers are gonna buy more and sell them for 3x cover price right out of the box – they ain’t doing it because of some faceless company in Maryland.

These “discussions” (and I use the term lightly) always got heated because no one respected anyone else’s choice. Plus, there were the politics. Certain publishers are guaranteed a certain amount of FI’s due to their contracts with Diamond, so our hands were a bit tied at times. I can’t tell you how many times we gave an FI to Dynamite for “To Be Determined”. They might have this book ready, but it’s more likely it’s gonna be late, so we’ll give it to Book X. We got into the business of supporting companies rather than books. We were given the explanation that certain companies were poised to be the next Marvel or DC, so we needed to support those. I understand the need for growth and encouragement, but who would replace those companies that were about to “graduate”. We were so focused on Dynamite and IDW becoming the next Marvel and DC, but I always felt we lost sight of the fact that someone would need to groom the next IDW and Dynamite (which ain’t necessarily a good thing – grooming the “new Dynamite” is akin to discovering Super AIDS). I like to think a lot of my FI choices were focused on “the next generation”, yet we were always told that we “weren’t looking at the bigger picture”. Eventually, it got to the point where the meetings were no longer seen as productive, and were done away with. Instead, we had to send our choices/arguments to the team managers, and they would decide based on the evidence we’d provided. Seeing as how this took place behind closed doors, we never really knew what went down. We were simply to trust that they’d make the right decision. That’s how things were when I left.

Well, the other day, I found out that the FI meetings had been reinstated. It seems that the main reason the meetings had been done away with was because the FI picks submitted by me, as well as another former brand manager, weren’t seen as strong or deserving. Now, I don’t know if that’s true, or if I was easy to blame because I’m no longer there to defend myself. Even still, it kind of hurts (and somewhat surprising) that I was divisive enough to derail a process that had been working for years, which is magically reinstated the minute I’m gone. I stand by my decisions, as I think some of the most surprising, engaging stuff is going to be coming from the Oni’s and the First Second’s. Because so many of those situations were presented in vagueries, I had no idea it was my ideas that were hindering the process. If someone had just told me… That said, I still think Scott Pilgrim 4, even though it’s the 4th in a series (a bestselling series, mind you) trumps the adaptation of some videogame sequel that’s delayed by months. That’s how I played the game, and how I felt it should be played. I don’t know if it’s the bloggers or the small press crowd getting to me or what, but I thought I was looking out for the industry, while the gatekeepers of the industry weren’t on the same page. So, was I truly born to work in comics? I don’t know. I don’t think so. If I was, it certainly wasn’t in the capacity in which I was working before. Langston Hughes once pondered what happened to a dream deferred. I, on the other hand, am trying to figure out what happens to a dream deflated…

17th Mar2005

Boston & The West-1

by Will

Zorak, it is OK if you are afraid of me. Most sissies are!”

BOSTON!!!

So, a few weeks ago, Shelly and I embarked upon a journey to America’s chowdah capital. Yes, folks, we’re talking BOSTON, MASS! For the uninformed, this trip was actually Shel’s Christmas present to me, and it was certainly the best present I’ve received in quite some time.

Our adventure began on the morning of February 24th, as we prayed the airports would stay open long enough for us to leave this God-forsaken town. There was more snow blowing around than on a model’s bathroom counter! But we hoped that the planes would stay aloft just to spirit us to our long-awaited, and well-needed vacation.

Either way, we made it to Boston, and received the longest cab tour possible. Way to pad the fare, my man! Imagine our surprise when we pulled up to the fabulous and magnificent Omni Parker House.

This hotel was like a palace! It was beeyootyfull! And my typing “beautiful” like that is exactly the reason we had NO BUSINESS staying there. The staff looked at us like, “What do you all think you’re doing here?” But the joke was on them, for we had reservations. Check-in was smooth, except they conveniently forgot to give us the key to the minibar. A problem we’ll soon rectify.

Anyway, we got started on the room service, a practice that would become quite common and welcome over the weekend. The dude brought the food, and I didn’t know a damn thing he was saying. What kind of weird patois do they teacj you Bostonians? It was like speaking to a drunk Kennedy (was that redundant?). Either way, it’s like a fast, New Yawky slur, topped off with random tidbits regarding the Sox. I was gonna need a Stiglitz guide to understand these folks!

Later that evening, we navigated the T system and found our way to Malden to have dinner with Big T and his sweet lady, Dawn. Tarek met us at the station, and we went grocery shopping with him. Apparently, he was going all Iron Chef that night, and preparing some sort of Mega Feast. When we’d finished shopping, we got to meet Dawn, who was even nicer than she’d come off electronically (after all, all my prior dealings with her had been over the phone or internet). But she’s a great girl and she kicks the ass of any of other Tarek Girl. We went back to their place, and had a HOT swinging session! I keed, I keed! No, they both prepared a lovely feast for Shelly and me, as we educated ourselves on the finer points of Tivo. We also got to meet their pet, who for the moment I’ll refer to as, “The Turtle Formerly Known as Otto Von Bismarck” (For more details, visit http://www.livejournal.com/users/palaedorian )

Tarek should be a chef! If you’d seen the presentation of this meal! Chicken fried rice, served inside a pineapple! Dumplings! Satay Gai! Chicken & pasta! Mint Ice Cream log! IT was all so de-lish! After dinner and the tour, we were off to visit Alisa, Shelly’s friend from high school. Well, the journey wasn’t that smooth. We kinda got lost on the T system. That bitch is confusing! I think it’d be easier to dig a hole to China than try navigating Boston on the subway. (Jenn’s gonna respond to this post, and all she’s gonna do is talk about that very line right there-bet you $20!) We found our way to the surface, but the surface dwellers were of no help. We were in the theatre district, and the patrons did not seem to see us.

So, Saturday was a split-up day: Shelly was gonna have a Girls Day, while I was gonna hang out with T. Originally, I wanted to record. It’s been awhile, and I wanted to throw together a new song to put up on the site. But when I woke up, i wasn’t really feelin’ the singing. Instead, I wanted Tarek to show me “his Boston”. My main sights to see were Cheers and the Harbor. other than that, anything was fair game. Before meeting up, though, I wanted to check out the neighborhood, as well. For starters, our hotel was next to one of the biggest Borders Books that I have ever seen. But I knew better than to explore that without Shelly. So, my mission was used CDs. You see, Boston’s got a lot of colleges. Which means lots of college kids. Which translates into big exchange scene for music. I figured I could find some premium used swag if I knew where to look. So, I hit Strawberries and bunch of other places, totally cleaning out Boston’s Elton John inventory. I’m sure they’re thanking me, and I can’t exactly explain this recent Elton kick. The man is awesome, though! A fucking loon, but awesome! But I digress…

After going in the wrong direction, i finally meet up with Tarek and Dawn. We decided to head to lunch in the North End, where there are more Italian restaurants than day laborers at Home Depot. On the way, we stopped by Newbury Comics. Let me tell ya, Newbury Comics is well-known chain in the Northeast that specializes in music and comics. Did y’all hear me correctly? Music and Comics. I’m gonna need a towel….

After Newbury, we looked all over the North End for a good, cheap lunch. We were in that nexus where restaurants were just finishing lunch and preparing for dinner, so the race was on. We found a nice little place. Kinda cliche. The sort of place you see in movies, where everyone who works there’s related and they’re yelling to each other at different ends of the restautant. Stereotypes be damned, the place was authentic. And I felt like such a fat kid ’cause I ordered a small pizza, but they told me they had a new kid working and the guy had accidentally used the large pans. So, I got a large but was charged for a small. Man, that was a LOT of pizza.

Anyway, we all decided that we’d go for karaoke that night, along with some of Alisa’s friends. I was excited ’cause it was KARAOKE!!! But T and Dawn weren’t so sure. They’re early birds. Didn’t want to mess up their sleep cycles. I gotta respect that. I kinda wish I had a sleep routine. But in a way, they’re like an old married couple. Yup, OLD MARRIED COUPLE!!! I’m gonna get a response for that! Anyway, I also thought it would be a great time to see Austin, an old buddy from Cornell, so i called him and invited him to the night’s festivities. Dawn and T decided they were in for karaoke, too. Shelly and the girls broke off, while the law offices of West, Sultani and Hersey checked out H&M and Filene’s. “You went to H&M on your vacation?” Yeah, I did. I had to check it out. See if they were meeting their standards. And they weren’t. I almost cussed out the bitch responsible for the Men’s dept. ’cause she was SO scared I was gonna mess up the rack! Amateurs… I headed back to the hotel, while T&D Productions headed back to Malden to get ready.

I caught up with Austin, and he was going to meet us at the bar. But When Tarek and Dawn found out how late we were planning on going, they bailed. Understandable, but they missed a good time. We ended up at this little redneck bar, but they took their karaoke seriously. Now, I love me some karaoke, but I’m a crooner. I don’t do “fast songs”. I do “make ya panties wet” songs. Yeah, I said it. Interesting fact: James uses me on his sex CD. Not quite sure how I feel about that…who am I kidding, i fucking LOVE that! So, imagine my chagrin when the ladies told me no slow songs. Apparently, they frowned on that at this particular bar. In the meantime, enter Austin.

Let me tell ya, Austin is one of my favorite people from Cornell. It’s funny, too, ’cause we didn’t start talking until around late junior yr, but he’s definitely one of the rare people who fall into the “I get Will and where he comes from” category. That’s a rare breed. In the past 2 yrs, our only contact had been online, but I knew I HAD to see him before leaving Boston. So, he walked into the bar, and pulled up a chair. And so began the drinking. He hadn’t heard me sing in awhile, and i was feeling a bit apprehensive, so he felt I needed some “lubrication”. He introduced me to Jagermeister. Now, understand if I was a bit apprehensive; no one I know has a good Jager story. they’re always like, “Dude, I had some Jager, and then next thing I knew, I’d killed a guy. Damn, was I sick the next day!”. But it didn’t take much coddling for me to give in. I must say, that stuff was good. We kept pounding them and Jack & Cokes as we waited for my song. In the meantime, Alisa’s friend did a mean rendition of Ice, Ice Baby. Eventually, my song came up: “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg”, by the Temptations. Now, I’ve never attempted that song before but, in my drunken state, I was convinced I’d be able to channel the spirit of David Ruffin. To be honest, I don’t remember much of that performance. People cheered and stuff, but I equate karaoke to college a cappella: there’s a certain audience that enjoys it, and if you’ve got the right group of people, you could shit in a bag and they’ll still cheer for you. Regardless, it was fun and oddly therapeutic. We talked Austin into hanging out longer, and while we tried getting him back to the Omni Parker, he invited us to his place. We felt bad ’cause we didn’t wanna disturb his girlfriend, who was under the weather, but we went back anyway.

At the door, we met Tizer, the best dog in the world! He was awesome! So smart and frisky. Why is his name Tizer? Well, it’s actually short for “Appetizer”, a jab at the totally un-PC notion that Asian people eat their dogs. I thought that was a hilarious way to buck those kinds of stereotypes. Anyway, Shelly fell in love with Tizer, while Austin and I got all philosophical about our Cornell experience. I felt bad leaving Shel out of the conversation, but Austin and I had similar Cornell experiences, and it was so great to finally have someone to just vent to and get a lot of stuff off of my chest. And did we mention how awesome Tizer was? I wanna dog…So, around 4 Am, we bid Austin adieu and got a cab back to the hotel. It was a GREAT evening, and it kinda makes me wish Austin lived closer…

On Sunday, we found ourselves back in the North End, at a different Italian place. The food was INCREDIBLE. I’m not a person who’s used to “good” food in establishments. I can pretty much eat anything, but I rarely walk away thinking, “That was an incredible meal.” It usually borders on, “Man, I’m so full of shit right now!” Anyway, I find myself waking up, longing for that food lately. And I can’t even remember the name of the restaurant. Maybe it wasn’t really there…

We headed to Malden for sushi with Tarek and Dawn. I lost my sushinity and liked what I tried. Spider rolls are the bomb, and i find myself craving them like it’s my job! Philadelphia rolls, on the other hand, kinda suck. Can’t deal with that cream cheese in there. SUCH a weird consistency! Anyway, we went back to their place and watched the Oscars while consuming chocolate cake and Andre. What is Andre? Only the BEST cheap champagne this side of a 7/11! Check it out today! Soon, we were taken back to the T, and said our goodbyes to Tarek and Dawn. We didn’t spend as much time with them as we could have, but I enjoyed what time we did spend together.

On the ride back to the hotel, Shel and I had one final laugh about the billboard up on the train for 1-800-SAFE-BABY (I know that’s too many characters, so I’m sure I got something wrong there), Anyway, we’d seen these ads since our first day in town, and they were always funny in a sick kind of way. Apparently, Boston has a sizaeble newborn abandonment problem. So, if you have an unwanted baby and you’re thinking of dumping it somewhere, you call this hotline, and they’ll tell you where you can take your baby and avoid prosecution. A good service, no doubt, but it kinda makes ya wonder how big the problem is when there are ads for it EVERYWHERE!! I wish I’d stolen one of the ads from a train…

On the flight home, somehow, the flight attendant took an immediate liking to me. I guess that’s what I get for reading a comic/toy magazine in public. All of a sudden, there was an incessant stream of fanboy questions, such as “Which comic movie would you like to see that hasn’t been made yet?” Don’t get me wrong; these are my people, but you’ve gotta deal with them in doses. It’s a different story when you’re a couple thousand miles in the air, with no means of escape, PLUS this person is responsible for your comfort. Better put on a smile. Especially if you want a crack at the liquor cart. He was a nice guy, and I could totally go on for hours about comics stuff, but I had to harness it in public.

Epilogue:

Flashback: While I was in Boston, it was the weekend of the Montgomery County Auto Auction. I couldn’t go, but Mommy was really excited about it. Her mission was to get me a car, She’d always promised, “If you get your license, I’ll buy you a little car.” So, after my cousins had had success at the auction, she decided that she was take that route as well. So, the mission was simple. My only specification? “Don’t buy me anything ugly.” So, all day Saturday, I was tense ’cause I was supposed to be a good guest for Tarek, but i was also wondering whether or not I had a car. So, around 7, I called Mommy and asked how the auction had gone. She sounded kinda distraught, and i was getting worried. She started with some story about a nice Lexus she’d seen and bid on, but how it was snapped up for about $15K. And then she trailed off. I got kinda testy and asked if she’d bid on any other car. She wasn’t cooperating, which just got me more stressed. Finally, she said, “I got you a car.”

There it was in my driveway, lightly dusted with snow. Yup, she got me a 1993 Anniversary Edition Honda Accord, or as I like to call him: the West-1. We’ve still got some work to do, such as buy a new battery and a tire, so the West-1 will be in drydock for a few more weeks, but stay tuned for the unveiling.

And that, folks, is the tale of a little trip to Boston. I’d like to thank Tarek, Dawn, Alisa, Erin, Austin, and the staff of the Omni Parker House.


(not actual car)

22nd Nov2004

Marion Barry and the Gay Bar

by Will

“Watch out, ’cause here I come. It’s been awhile, but I’m back in style!”

Today’s Episode: “Oh No He Didn’t (Oh, YES He Did)!”

A little backstory: I’ve got a couple of friends at H&M who’ve never received “the blog treatment” before. Anyway, Juwan and Bruce are fellow retailers-in-arms, and we tend to have a good time whenever we’re at work together.

So, last night was Bruce’s birthday & he was throwing himself a party at the Banana Cafe. Well, I didn’t really know what to expect, but NOTHING could’ve have prepared me for what the night would bring. NOTHING.

I swear, folks…you’ve read some wacky shit on this site before, but NONE of it holds a candle to this crazy night in SE Washington…

So, a friend and I decided to go together ’cause we didn’t really know where the place was. Let’s see…2 sheltered kids in S.E. DC. I guess we figured they couldn’t kill us both, right? Strength in numbers, and all that jazz…

The party started at 6, but we didn’t roll in until around 10. Bruce was way drunk, bless his heart! He was glad to see us, as he led us inside. Apparently, it was Karaoke Night @ the Banana. So, he leads us up the stairs, and what do we find? A room full of young, Black gay guys. They weren’t all gay, but you couldn’t swing a dead cat in the room without hitting one. Now, when I say this, I don’t mean it in a derogatory sense at all. I say it ’cause I have never seen a room so CHOCK FULL OF BLACK GAY GUYS!!!

I think what struck me, too, was that it wasn’t all stereotype. It wasn’t like the “Men on Film” guys from “In Living Color” (Wow, I’m seriously dating myself here). Instead, it was an array of NBA jerseys and denim jackets. They looked like they were in a G-Unit video or something.

Anyway, my friend and I kinda look at each other; the White Chick & The Straight Guy. We were basically a bad UPN sitcom waiting to happen. But, what the Hell? We’re there to have fun, right? So, we get to the bar and Juwan’s drunk, too. I mean, DRUNK. But it was cute. He was kinda stumbling around. Every so often, he’d yell “Aw, this is my JAM!” and start dancing.

So, we’re drinking our SoCo & Cokes, getting settled, taking it all in. As I look around the room, I kinda start to feel like the last rib at a Black cook-out. There were all these eyes on me, ranging from “What’s he doing here?” to “Where’ve you been all my life, playa?” Now, for you frequent readers, you know that I tend to find myself in these situations ever so often. But this was only the TIP of the iceberg. Let the craziness begin:

A few minutes after we get our drinks, Bruce comes over and whispers, “Y’all will NEVER guess who that is over there!”

I ask who he’s talking about, and he points to a table near the window. Brace yourselves, folks

 

“That’s Marion Fuckin’ Barry!!!”

I look over and, “Holy shit, that IS Marion Barry!”

Yes, the crack-smoking DC mayor-for-life was sitting right there, about 10 feet from me. For all you uninformed, he’s that guy that Chris Rock loves to make fun of. I swear, he’s been milking that routine for 10 yrs….

Anyway, at the table sat Marion Barry and the cheapest, Sandra Clark imitation hoochie I have ever seen in real-life. This is one of those chicks who was clearly an escort. Not a hooker, but an escort. What’s the difference, you ask? Well, a hooker is someone you just pay for sex, while an escort is someone you pay to be seen with you. She might have sex with ya later, but that’s gonna cost extra.

Also, allow me to say that the good mayor looks like SHIT. I mean, during his recent campaign, there was talk of how bad his health was, but I had no idea it was THIS bad. The poor thing looked WRECKED…

“I’m gonna go say ‘hi’,” I said, as I rushed over to the table. Not really knowing what to say to a world-renowned figure, I offer my hand and say, “Congratulations, sir.” Hell, I didn’t really know WHAT, specifically, I was congratulating him on. Was it his recent election win? Was it his ability to find a woman to come out with him tonight? Was it the mere fact that he’s still alive? Damned if I know. I just figured such a phrase would make him feel good about himself or some shit.

He gave me a limp handshake and kind of mumbled something. I figured it was a pearl of wisdom from a man who’d clearly enjoyed a colorful life and career. “I beg your pardon?” I responded. Once again, he mumbled something. I leaned closer and asked, “What?” The third time, I heard him: “Do I have to go up to the bar, or will they come to the table?” Yup, that’s what the old fool asked me. I kinda stammered: “Uh…they’ll come to the table…..Did you need anything?” Yup, I was gonna buy old Marion a drink, but he just kinda waved me away. Yes, the good mayor and I were about to become enemies…

So, I decided to sing something, while Bruce & Juwan chilled on one of the couches. The first song was “A Song For You”, sung by the Temptations, but better known as a Ray Charles song. Surprisingly, the crowd seemed to like it, or they were just blowing sunshine up my ass.

When I was done, all of us kinda hung out together, the whole time trying to figure out how the Hell we ended up in a gay bar with Marion Barry?!!! But wait kids, there’s more!

It turns out Marion’s skank wanted to sing, too. How to describe her… Well, she was wearing an all black catsuit, with a chain around her waist. She thought she was cute, and Marion seemed proud to have her on his arm. That chick had the audacity to try to sing a Mary J. Blige song, and I don’t think she hit a single note in the song. But she was just smiling and singing like she thought she could sing. Marion decided to get a closer seat, but as I’ve said, he’s a bit out of sorts these days. As he started to sit down, his chair was tipping over and almost spilled him onto the floor. If someone hadn’t caught it from behind, he’d have fallen and I KNOW he wouldn’t have been able to get up! So, he sat there, drinking his drink, watching his girl. A couple of the divas decided to help her out ’cause she just wasn’t doing that song justice. When she finished, Marion smiled and clapped.

The entire time, we’re drunk, off in the corner, asking, “Is that REALLY Marion Barry?!!!’ Juwan would scream out, “Why is he HEEERREE?!!!” Bruce came back over, and I asked if Barry was a regular there. His response: “I ain’t never seen his crack-smokin’ ass around here before!” Barry’s like 4 feet away, mind you. I cringe and say, “He’s right there! He can here you!!!!” Bruce replied, “I don’t care! He knows what he is!”

So, the night continues on, and the drinks keep flowing. I decide to sing another song, but what to sing? Well, I went for the “ringer approach” and chose a song I already knew: This I Promise You (Which, btw, can be downloaded from my music section *wink*). So, I chose my song and signed up on the list.

Turns out, “Catwoman” had signed up for ANOTHER Mary J. song before me. I swear! So, I sat back and watched her butcher yet ANOTHER song, but I also noticed Barry talking to the DJ off to the side. Something nefarious was going on. I think he was trying to arrange for her to sing another song. I’ll be damned if I’m gonna watch THAT happen! You see, I was next on the list, and I wanted to sing my damn song.

I kinda got belligerent at that point. Ask anyone on that couch. “What the fuck is he doing?” I asked. ” I will fight Marion Barry! I ain’t scared of no old Marion Barry!” Sure, I wasn’t screaming at the top of my lungs, but I was vocal. That’s what alcohol does. It’s pure science.

I wanted to sing my song and, I’m sorry, there’s a line! Luckily, he didn’t get in front of me. Bruce swears I wasn’t going to do anything, but I don’t know…considering how surreal the night seemed, I kinda thought it was all a dream by that point anyway!

So, I got up and sang This I Promise You. It probably wasn’t the best venue for such a song; did I mention Black, gay, and S.E. DC?

During the instrumental part of the song, I got a little creative. I said, “This goes out to Bruce, on his birthday. And I also wanna give a shout-out to Marion Barry.” People kinda laughed and/or looked shocked. “What? He’s right here. We all see him!” I said. Did I mention that Marion was like 2 ft away from me? No? Well, he was. Yeah, it was dick of me. But in a drunk, funny way…

I think I got a little too into the song, actually. In fact, I think I might’ve been as off-key as Barry’s girl. Why, you ask? Well, this dude came up from behind me and said, “You’re lucky you’re cute.” OUCH. Back-handed compliments. Thanks, boys…So, I finished that song, and I think only one person clapped.

But the night was about to jump the shark. Just when you thought it was safe, what happens next? Well, I’ll tell ya!

When I get back on the couch, who do i see heading up to the mic? I thought he was lobbying for his girl again, but it was something bigger than that. Something more unexpected. Something monumental. Yes, Marion Barry was gonna SING KARAOKE!!!

I’m about to lose my mind here!!! Am I really seeing this? Is he really who he claims to be?!!! It’s all a blur. And what song did he choose for himself? “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay”, by Otis Redding. Yes, I was about about to watch the tides roll away as Barry butchered a soul classic. We’re falling out of our seats in disbelief! We’re scrounging for camera phones and anything else to immortalize this moment. I yell,”Do you know how much Wonkette would pay for these pictures?!!!”.

He was beyond bad. It’s not that he was tone-deaf..it’s just that he wasn’t listening to the background track. Then, his lady decided to join him for the WORST duet….I can’t even….I’m fuckin’ blown! And to cap it off, you know how the song ends with a whistling solo? He sang it! No, he didn’t whistle it; he SANG IT!!! Words can’t explain…

When he finished, the crowd erupted. I guess we were all in awe of what had just transpired and, as they say in the ‘hood, “Marion was getting his propers”…Some of the guys helped him off of his chair, and after a few more political handshakes, Marion and ‘ho left the building. It was like a mass UFO sighting, though. For the next hr, we were all asking each other, “Did you see that?!!” or “Did that really just happen?” or, my fave, “Fucking Marion Barry?!!” It was like, for that night, we were all brought closer due to our shared ordeal. God bless alcohol and fallen celebrities…

The party wound down, we closed out tabs, and laughed about that shit all the way back to MD. I hope this made some kind of sense in print, but you really had to be there. And I’m sure it’ll never happen again, so you missed out. But from this day forward, children around the world will sing songs of the time Crack-smoking Marion Barry Sang Karaoke in the Gay Bar. And if you ever hear them sing these songs, you just tell ’em my name and that I was there on that fateful day.

Marion Fuckin Barry…

25th May2004

“Don’t Look Any Further” – Unsung Sample Hero

by Will

Song of the Moment:

“Don’t Look Any Further”, by Dennis Edwards

Yes, you’ve heard it before. At least some form of it. I’d swear that it’s probably the MOST sampled song in the history of hip hop, but this is the original slow jam. Forget R. Kelly, this is a “satin sheet” song.

Pages:12»