04th Jan2008

Britney Analysis and The Return of American Gladiators

by Will

“We are going to go America all over their asses!”

First of all, can we please leave Britney alone? Seriously? I get it. It was funny for a while. “Haha, look at the country bumpkin and her poor parenting!” But it’s gone too far. It’s clear this is no longer about publicity or anything vain like that. Plain and simple, she’s got a problem and she needs help. Her family contributed to that, and I’m sure Jamie’s little Spear in the Oven isn’t helping matters. Anyway, Hollywood, paps, bloggers, etc, really need to lay off. You’re not going to stop until she dies, and that’s just not going to be cool. It happened with Marilyn, it happened with Anna Nicole, and it’s cranked up to 11 with Brit. Plus, if she dies, I really don’t want to have to deal with the inevitable release of a Timbaland version of “Candle in the Wind”…

Anyway, I’d like to take a moment to express my sheer and utter joy at the return of American Gladiators! This takes me back to the days before girls and bills, when my life revolved around Saturday morning fare comprised of cartoons, WWF, and AG. Though it probably doesn’t count, I think American Gladiators is the only organized “sport” that I ever gave a shit about. Why? Because it was about the everyman, the little guy, taking his chance against these physical powerhouses. There was just something about seeing a fax machine salesman live out the athletic dream of fighting with a giant Q-Tip against some dude named Kapow or something (near the end of the show, they were running out of onamatapoeia names, so I’m pretty sure there was a Kapow or a Blorrch running around…). So, with that old school love, how does the new version stack up? Let’s take a look inside:

1) The hosts could use some work. I love the Hulkster as much as the next guy, but I always preferred the idea of a sportcasters and former Gladiators as AG commentators. Mike Adamle, Joe Theismann, and Nitro fit the bill nicely on the original series. I don’t know if it’s the family drama (divorce and Nick’s accident) or what, but Hogan is really phoning it in. He’s trying, but his heart’s just not in it. It’s a shame when he’s outshone by Laila Ali, who has never had personality. Laila always seems to get work because A) she’s Muhammad Ali’s daughter and B) she’s easy on the eyes. As far as her delivery, it’s always apparent that “cue card reading” wasn’t part of her GED course. They should’ve gone with Howie Long and Stone Cold Steve Austin. Howie for the “real sports cred”, while Stone Cold would bring in your desired demo. If you really need a woman, throw in Summer Sanders. After all, she spent all those years on NBA: Inside Stuff not knowing why the Hell she was even there…

2) I like the fact that, as far as the Gladiator women are concerned, they went with actual brawn instead of the Trish Stratus fitness model type. I mean, look at these chicks! Hellga is no laughing matter, at 6’1 and 205 lbs! Now, if only she could learn to use her size to her advantage (looking kind slow there in The Gauntlet…). And Crush (AKA, MMA Champ Gina Corano)…155 pounds of Gladiator never looked so good!

3) Who knew your best bet would be the Asians?! Not to make some sort of blanket, racial statement, but we have had 2 awesome, charismatic athletes who came from behind and took it all. Venus had to sub in in the very first match-up, as the original contender was injured. A rehabilitation doctor, Venus came from behind and pulled off an amazing victory at the end. Sure, she looked like shit on toast at the end of things, but she pulled through like a champ. In the next episode, we had Moli, who was jokingly trying to play up the Asian Nerd stereotype so that people would underestimate him. At times, he seemed like a cocky bastard, but he truly was awesome. He pulled off a victory in the end without really breaking a sweat. It also didn’t hurt that his opponent was a 38 year old dad who wasn’t necessarily in the greatest shape of his life.

4) Wolf’s howl is gonna get old real fast. In fact, it’s old now. I’d like to see him gone if there’s a second season. And Toa. What the fuck is up with that dude?

5) If there’s one thing to be learned from AG, never dedicate your performance to your kid. It’s an automatic jinx. Not only will you look like a complete and utter failure as a parent when you lose, but your kids will also hate you….because you’re a loser. When you tell someone, “I’m doing this for you”, and you don’t quite pull it off, well that’s just plain embarassing for all involved. Last night, we had 3 situations of “I’m doing this for my kids; they’re my world!” And how did this pan out?

First, we had Jessie, the toilet paper saleswoman/single mother. Boo-hoo. She’s had such a tough break, so surely she’s going to pull out all the stops and win this to give her kids a better life, right? Wrong! She got sacked & blew out her leg during the FIRST EVENT, and had to be replaced.

Chad, the pro skateboarder single dad, ended up getting CRUSHED as his opponent won with a 30 point (!) lead.

Next, former Marine (!) and Iraq vet, Bonnie, got bested by a life coach, after dedicating her game her to kids. Also, she busted her head on the Eliminator and bled like a UFC contender, but lost all the same.

Finally, we had Jeff, who had earned a spot on the original AG but lost his spot because he was stuck in traffic. Now, this should’ve been “his time”, as he’d waited 13 years at another shot. He dedicated the thing to his little newborn daughter, and he proceeded to get PWNED by Moli who treated the entire thing like it was a game rather than a grueling physical challenge.

6) SO glad they added water under the Joust. Now, it seems like there’s an actual threat, even if said threat is just “wetness”.

7) It really taught me something about myself, as I just couldn’t pull this off. Most of these contestants were either professionals or life coaches (man, that’s booming industry right now; I should look into that), and they all had these cheesy “I’m here to win”, “glass-half full” opinions on everything. You know, “positive attitudes”. I haven’t played a sport in years, but I know “sportsmanship” was never my strong suit. I could just see myself looking at an event like Hang Tough, and saying, “Fuck this shit. I don’t want this badly enough”. Elimidate or 5th Wheel, totally doable, as there’s the possibility of alcohol, a hot tub and some great NSA sex with a really hot, loose chick on national TV. As far as AG‘s concerned, back in the day you just got a couple grand, bragging rights and a gawdy-ass ring. Right now, they’re competing for $100 K and the chance to be a Gladiator next season. First of all, the money’s nice, but that additional prize is a bit of a reach, as we don’t even know if there’ll be another season. Plus, they’re still running out of names! I mean, there’s a “Militia” for God’s sake! “Jihad” can’t be far behind, and that’s just gonna make middle American shit a collective brick…

30th Dec2007

2007 Year In Review

by Will

“I just want a moustache, man!”

So, last night, I found myself in the weirdest party environment. This dude got really drunk and then started apologizing to me for slavery. Keep in mind, I’d never met this guy before last night. He claimed he argued my case for his entire Christmas dinner because his family is backwards. I asked why they had such heavy Christmas dinner conversation. I think the worst part was when he said, “Dude, you’re black! I’m so sorry.” Yeah…

I feel like I should do some kind of year-end, best of 2007 post, but I also feel like I said all I needed to in my San Diego Saga. I mean, that was pretty much the highlight of my year, as far as adventures go. Anyway, I think I’ve got a few more things to say about 07, so here goes:

Top Albums of 2007:
Amy Winehouse – Back to Black
Lily Allen – Alright Still
Rihanna – Good Girl Gone Bad
Timbaland – Shock Therapy
The Pipettes –We Are the Pipettes (US Version)
Fall Out Boy – Infinity on High
Maroon 5 – It Won’t Be Soon Before Long
Leona Lewis – Spirit

Honorable Mention
Britney Spears – Blackout
OneRepublic – Dreaming Out Loud
Mark Ronson – Version

Recent Books Read:
Love Monkey, by Scott Mebus: One of the first lad lit books, I was really disappointed by this one. The main character isn’t very endearing, and the story meanders. 9/11 is thrown in for an emotional beat, and it lacks a fulfilling ending.

Don’t Hassel The Hoff, by David Hasselhoff: If you love The Hoff, you’ll love this book. The problem is that the ghostwriter clearly does most of the work, as British terms and spelling seem to trickle in a LOT. At times, it’s hard to believe that Hasselhoff has such a lofty view of himself, but it’s not cocky – he clearly means well, but it isn’t conveyed as innocently as he would have liked.

Phone Sex, by Miranda Austin: Simply put, it’s the autobiography of a phone sex operator. Not as entertaining as one might think. Interspliced are how-to tips for the aspiring phone sex caller (not operator!). It pretty much outlines the process for beginner/first-time phone sex customers. The book wasn’t that juicy, nor did it have an ending. Plus, Austin’s focus on the fact that she wasn’t exactly attractive or anything like her persona kind of chipped away at the mystique. She pretty much confirmed the stereotype of phone sex operators as overweight and unattractive. It’s like David Copperfield coming out and saying, “Hey, magic’s fake!” Why shoot yourself and industry in the foot like that?

How I Paid for College: A Novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship & Musical Theater, by Marc Acito: Very good read. I try to stay away from fiction because I just don’t really care for that in my books, but this one caught my eye by the cover alone. It didn’t turn out like I thought it would, and I found myself wanting to shelve it early on. What I thought would be a cool, modern lad lit tale turned out to be about a mid-eighties story of a bisexual drama student as he struggles to raise his Juilliard tuition. I’ve got to say that I’m glad I stuck with it, as it’s a pretty funny read. Like I said, not what I thought it’d be, but I’m not disappointed.

I just watched two of the most jingoistic movies of the past 30 years: Rocky IV and Starship Troopers. Rocky IV just screams “U! S ! A!”, as it’s steeped right in the middle of the Cold War. I always felt Apollo deserved to die , solely based on his bombastic James Brown-fueled ring entrance. No good could come from such an audacious start. Meanwhile Starship Troopers touts the difference between a citizen and a civilian. It’s all about how your civic duty is to fight, and while the kids are all from Rio De Janeiro, that’s an afterthought considering they all look like Abercrombie gringos. They should really sell these at Best Buy as a “God Bless America” two-pack.

Best New Shows:

Chuck (NBC)
The Big Bang Theory (CBS)

Favorite Movies of the Year:

Grindhouse (only the Death Proof half)
The Bourne Ultimatum
Black Snake Moan
Live Free or Die Hard
We Own the Night
Spider-Man 3
I Am Legend

You know, people look at me funny when I say this, but if you take out the whole “things come out at night to kill you” aspect, Will Smith’s life in I Am Legend really ain’t all that bad. I think what would drive you mad would be the possibility of survivors. If you notice, he was fine until all this “safe zone” talk. If you thought there was a chance there were others out there, you’d agonize over what might’ve been. But if you decide that you’re the only one left, yet you might be able to cure the converted, that’s a different frame of mind entirely. I already talk to myself, so adding mannequins to the mix wouldn’t really change much. I’ve also wanted to speed through Time Square and use an aircraft carrier as a driving range. It all seemed so tranquil and peaceful. Sure, the rest of y’all would be dead, but “…spilled milk”.

Celebrity of the Year: Britney Spears
Say what you will, no one got more headlines than this crazy chica, and it was a batshit crazy year! Anna Nicole died. OJ returned to his criminal ways. It took 3 months for them to do something with James Brown’s rotting corpse. Lohan spent most of the year in rehab. Imus and the Nappy Headed Ho’s. The Sopranos screwed us over with its “non-ending”. Owen Wilson suicide attempt. Gay Political Airport trysts. A Negro headed for the Democratic nomination. Paris is probably going to lose most of her inheritance. But all of that was trumped by Britney. Anything the world could do, Britney could do trashier. No end in sight for a troop pullout? Who cares? Britney shaved her head! US dollar losing steam on the international landscape? Who cares? Britney’s gonna lose her kids! Global warming’s gonna kill all the polar bears? Who cares? Britney got fat and phoned in her VMA performance! It was a modern-day “We Didn’t Start the Fire”, and Britney was the chorus every time. If someone’s keeping a scrapbook of her escapades, I’m sure they made MANY trips to the Walmart this year to stock up on photo albums!

Award of the Year: Myspace
It’s been a big year for Myspace. They were purchased by Fox, gaining a new lease on life as an inexpensive form of movie publicity. Next, they threw their hat into the Presidential Debate ring. On a more personal note, however, Myspace was *very* good to me and mine this year. I know my boy, K-Bone would agree, as well as several others. In all honesty, I don’t know where my social life or general entertainment would have come from without it. Now, to some people, that might sound sad, but to me, it simply demonstrates the awesome power of the internet. I know that for me and my friends, we salute you, Myspace.

2007 is also the year I started paying attention to song lyrics, so I leave you with this:

So take a bow,
’cause you’ve taken everything else
You played the part,
like a star you played it so well

I will have no problem leaving 2007 behind. Look for a new Will in the coming year. That’s not a resolution; it’s a promise.

See ya in ’08…

14th Dec2007

Dirty Pokemon, Black Snake Eyes, New Knight Rider, and Tribute To Ike Turner

by Will

“I thought you made love like an ugly woman. So present, so grateful.”

Dear TNT,
There are other shows in the world than Charmed and Law & Order. I appreciate what you’re trying to do. You’re going for a whole theme thing. But, really? There’s a whole world of syndicated shows out there, just waiting to be mined. I don’t think anyone’s airing The Fall Guy right now. Or how about that old show, The Wizard, with the midget who made toys that helped him “MacGuyver” out of bad situations? Just a thought…

So, I’ve been losing my mind lately, as Toys “R” Us is now open until midnight for the whole holiday rush. For those of you new to these parts, I work evenings and weekends at Toys “R”Us, or as I like to call it, “my student loan job”. Staying open til midnight can be trying considering that’s just the time at which we start turning away customers. Actually leaving the store is a whole different matter. This past Wednesday, we didn’t get out until 2 AM. Keep in mind that the employees are high school students, mothers, and people with other jobs. It makes no sense to me, seeing as how we have a capable night crew, staffed with baby mama’s and ex convicts. Can’t they clean the store?! But I digress…

During this season, our minds start to wander, and the subject matter of our conversations isn’t exactly suited for our environment. For example, a few weeks back, one of my coworkers remarked that he’s both vulgar and nice. I told him that his Pokemon name would be “Vulgice”. Then, his evolutions would either be Vul-Va or VulGina. Yeah…

Recently, though, we’ve been having a lot of discussions/arguments regarding the upcoming G.I. Joe movie. The guys were remarking that, regardless of how Hollywood decides to fuck it up, the movie won’t be complete without Snake Eyes. Now, this is when one of the guys decided to say that there was a time when everyone thought Snake Eyes was Black, and how disappointed he was when he turned out to be some White guy. Now, first of all, this is a common Black thing to say, as we’re always trying to claim someone in the media. Mariah Carey? She’s ours. The Rock? Yeah, he’s ours, too. O.J.? He’s ours as long as he’s acquitted. Anyway, it was weird to hear this, though, as the assertion was now coming from a White guy.

So, I had to search long and hard and think if there was ever any indication that Snake Eyes was a Black guy. As far as G.I. Joe goes, all Black members have to carry a big ass gun. And rhyme. See: Roadblock; Cross-reference: Heavy Duty. Snake Eyes didn’t rhyme and he carried swords. Not a compelling case.

Then, there’s the fact that Snake Eyes dates Scarlett. Sure, in the cartoon, she was with Duke, but in every other form of media, he’s knockin’ those redheaded boots. Now, have you ever seen a Black guy with a redhead? Have you? For real? If you have, can you find out his secret for me?

Next, there’s the fact that he’s a ninja. I’ll admit that I was surprised he was just a blond cornhusker, myself, as he was a master ninja…who’d fought in Vietnam. This is the real clincher, as I realized there could never be a black ninja. Sure, a ninja might wear Black, but he could never be Black? Why? Because ninjas have to be quiet. There, I said it. You know you were thinking it, too!

A Black ninja would be flossin’ and shit, and would never pull off the element of surprise:
“I’m a ninja, son! Look at this big-ass sword, woadie! I’m ’bout to cut you, fool! You betta check yo self ’cause I’m ’bout to ninja. yo. ass!”

But, knowing Hollywood, if they want to be hip and edgy, movie Snake Eyes will probably be Black. And played by Chris Tucker. Thanks, assholes.

Speaking of Hollywood ruining cool, black concepts, I leave you with this: The other day, I was stalking a friend on facebook, and one of his friends is a page at NBC/Universal. Her status mentioned that she was watching the new K.I.T.T. models roll of the truck. For the uninformed, NBC’s filming a new Knight Rider movie which, if successful, will lead to a new series focusing on Michael Knight’s son. Well, when I saw this message, I almost wet myself. I wanted to send her a message. After all, this woman was like an angel to me; my link to my savior: a talking, condescending car. Just looking at my site, you’ve *got* to see the Knight Rider influence. Anyway, I held off, and decided to find more info on the project myself. And here’s what shattered my childhood memories:


I swear, every night when I say my prayers, I pray that someone would bring back Team Knight Rider. Or at least release it on DVD. On the bright side, at least these producers got The Hoff to agree to come back, which is something TKR never pulled off.

This post is dedicated to the late, great Ike Turner. I believe there are two sides to every story, and poor Ike never got his fair shake. So, I hope he’s in Heaven, slapping and beating up angels…

10th Dec2007

Lindsay Czarniak & “Lad Lit”

by Will

“Nothing beats the hobo life, stabbin’ folks with my hobo knife!”

Man, I couldn’t give a shit about professional sports, but the one thing that could get me interested is Lindsay Czarniak. God, is she amazing! This remark isn’t going to mean much unless you either live in the DC or Miami area, or you used to watch the George Michael Sports Machine. In any case, she has got to be the most beautiful woman in sports broadcasting, and is certainly the most beautiful woman on a DC news team. This month’s Washingtonian Magazine is a treat, as it features Lindsay and Alison Starling (the second hottest woman in DC news), as they tour DC’s hottest happy hours. Give Lindsay more airtime, and I might find out how many touchdowns are in an inning!

So, I’ve been reading a lot of “lad lit” lately. For the uninformed, this is the term given to fiction books that are the male equivalent of “chick lit”. It pretty much started with High Fidelity (well, any Nick Hornby, really), and the ball has been rolling ever since. I actually don’t care much for fiction, as that’s what comics and TV are for. I mean, when reading “real books”, I find that I tend to go more for nonfiction/autobiographical stuff. I’ve always been more of a fan of the “story behind the story”. After all, we are the True Hollywood Story generation. So, it’s only fitting that a nonfiction book would get me started in this genre.

I’ve been on this kick to read at least one “real book” a week. I’ve been knee deep in comics for too long. On top of it, my love of that medium has waned since it became my meal ticket (especially since it’s more like a Happy Meal ticket!). Finally, I just feel like I’m getting dumber. When your reading consists of TMZ, Wizard Magazine, and the latest fare from DC or Marvel, you’re not going to be winning Jeopardy anytime soon (unless it’s Celebrity Jeopardy, in which case you can get all necessary knowledge from a Shoney’s placemat).

I started with millions of women are waiting to meet you: a memoir. Written by British writer Sean Thomas, it details his year entrenched in the crazy world of online dating. You see, he was a writer for Men’s Health, and his boss thought that online dating would make for a good feature story in the magazine. This, of course, was somewhat of a guise. You see, Thomas was 37 years old with no prospects for a wife in sight. All of his friends were married and starting families, while they were all starting to fear for him. They figured he needed a little help, as he wasn’t getting any older, so they stepped up their efforts to keep him from dying alone. Thomas agreed that it would make a good story, so he decided to go along with the plan (it also didn’t hurt that the magazine agreed to pick up the tab for any membership fees he might incur during the story).

Thomas has a specific type, and he views online dating as a way of weeding out those that don’t fit his criteria. After all, the internet was full of millions of women, just waiting to meet the right guy, so he could afford to be picky, right? Wrong. Thomas is that type of neurotic guy, to which I can relate, who does nothing but sabotage his relationships. She’s too tall. She’s too skinny. She doesn’t find my jokes funny. All of these are things that he finds wrong with his dates. As he gets deeper into the online dating scene, Thomas analyzes a lot about himself, and begins to see a pattern in his relationship history. I understood his life so well that I felt I could have written the book myself. Clearly, the whole “manboy” phenomenon isn’t as uncommon as I’d thought: men who are chronologically one age, but simply refuse to grow up.

In the end, he slowly climbs his way back out of the internet, and throws himself back into the real world. Using what he’s learned about himself, he realizes what his friends have see all along: he’s not getting any younger and it’s time to grow up. So, he starts broadening his horizons, and dating women who wouldn’t have previously fit his mold. And what do you know? He finds The One. True story! Yeah, I probably just ruined it for ya, but the people who read this site would either never read that book, or they’ve already read it!

So, feeling like I’d found a kindred spirit, I decided to jump insecurity-first into more books like this. There aren’t a ton of biographies like this because, well, who wants to read about an everyday slacker? However, there’s a wealth of fiction dedicated to this, and that’s where I headed next. My first stop on the lad lit train was Booty Nomad. It had been recommended to me in the past, plus I’d read good reviews about it when it was first released. Unfortunately, it’s been out of print for the past year or so, and I had to figure out the fast-paced world of Amazon to procure it (yes, when it comes to the internet, I can be a troglodyte at times! Who knew how kickass making a wish list could be?). Contrary to what the the title would ahve you believe, the main character is not Jamie Foxx or Bill Bellamy. Written by Scott Mebus, our protagonist is David, a children’s show producer who’s trying to get his mojo back after breaking up with “The Eater of Souls”. They’d had a beautiful 2-year relationship, but she was just too young, and he realized that she was’t exactly what he wanted. While they had great memories behind them, he always felt that something was missing. After a bit, she was no longer cute and sweet. At least, not in his eyes. He began to see her insecurity and her flaws, and he simply saw that she was taking more from him than she gave. He got out, but she was persistent in trying to get back together. She’d leave him several voicemail messages a day, while also harassing his friends to see if he still spoke of her.

David tries to get back into the swing of things, to get over The Eater as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, he doesn’t realize that his lack of closure is getting in the way of things. This becomes apparent when he meets “The Goddess”, a beautiful, witty chick he meets at a party. He beings to obsess over and really wants to make things work out, despite a somewhat foot-in-mouth introduction. At the same time, The Goddess is going through a break-up of her own. As a result, they sort of become each other’s “break-up sponsors”. He’s got feelings for her, as she has for him, but she tells him that it’s too soon for either of them to act on them. Throughout the course of the book, he pursues her, she plays hard to get, and the crazy ex keeps demanding an audience so that she can finally tell him how she feels about him.

The Eater ranges from wanting to tell him off to wanting to prove to him why they should get back together. In the end, based on encouragement from his friends, David decides to grant The Eater her chance for closure. After all, if he’s truly over her, then what does he have to lose? Well, as he sits there, reliving their relationship, listening to her side of things, he finds that he’s actually getting the closure that he hadn’t realized he needed. He begins to see their relationship in a new light. According to her account of things, it was apparent that she loved things he’d done for her, rather than him. She said she knew she loved him when he took care of her on a sick day or sent her flowers, but these were things that could have been done by any guy. There was nothing about him, as far as his qualities, that influenced her love. Once again, he noticed that she was self-centered, and equated love as a feeling she had for those who catered to her. Her love was conditional. Once this revelation opened his eyes, he found that he was ready to go out and conquer the world again. He let The Eater have her say, he got up, left, and noticed that the world looked a little different than it had looked before. And did he end up with The Goddess? No. You see, she’d had “a relapse”, and ended up sleeping with her ex. She just wasn’t ready to move on, nor did she seem like she wanted to. David understood this, but sh’d lost her Goddess rank by that point. From then on, she was simply “Relapse Girl” (David has a thing with nicknames; he’s too in-his-head to remember names, so he makes up nicknames for the women in his life). He’s not sad about it, though, as he’s a little more optimistic now that he knows he can truly move on now.

Reading these books back to back, it was almost as if they were written by the same guy. Witty dialogue, shared experiences, and similar outlooks on life are what made these books enjoyable for me. I really like that David worked for a puppet show. It was one of those jobs where he didn’t know how he’d fallen into it, but it’s the job that he had. It’s not what he wanted to do, but it wasn’t hard, he was fairly good at it, and it was easier than trying to make a life plan. In the meantime, anybody with a “real job” would always think his job sounded so cool. “Wow, you work with puppets? That must be so fun!” Sure, it might sound fun if you’re a receptionist or even an attorney. “Fun” is society’s way of saying “not difficult”. It can be quite difficult and draining, but nobody seems to think that because it’s comic boo…I mean, puppets. See? I told you I related to a lot of it…

20th Nov2007

Video Games, Tila Tequila, and Wedding Shows

by Will

“I can’t wait to get married because nothing’s better than the cheating.”

-How in the Hell does Mario expect to beat Sonic in a race?! And at the Olympics, no less! Sure, if they’re running through pipes, I could kind of understand Mario’s advantage. But he clearly has no clue what he’s gotten himself into. Doesn’t he know Sonic’s origin? The little guy broke the friggin’ sound barrier, which is why he’s blue. BLUE! A blue friggin’ hedgehog, who can break the speed of sound, and some overweight plumber from Brooklyn thinks he has a shot. That’s harder to believe than the Rocky story.

-Anybody been watching MTV lately? What’s the deal with Alicia Keys and the bunny? Sure, it was kind of funny when it turned out to be John Mayer, but what was the point? Was the bunny her stalker? And wow, was she a bad actress! Was she that bad in Smoking Aces?

-Speaking of those MTV bumpers, is there some kind of payola scam going on there? When they started the program, it was for smaller, indie bands & performers. They would let some little act take over MTV for a week, and you’d be bombarded by their crappy live tracks or hear the lame story about how they formed. I wanted to punch that orange-haired chick from Paramore in the face. Anyway, they had Paramore, Chromeo, Rilo Kiley, Teagan & Sara, Common…and Alicia Keys. “One of these things is not like the other”!

-OK, so I’ve found myself dragged into the Tila Army. The show is just so entertaining, but it’s sad when everybody’s more interesting than Tila herself. Every now and then, she’ll interject just so you’ll remember that she’s a part of the show. She’s so damn whiny. “Oh my God, I’m bisexual! You don’t know how hard it is for me.” Blah, blah, blah. Yeah, Tila, it sure looks hard. You’ve got to decide between a whole bunch of guys, and a whole bunch of girls. Plus, it seems like the deck is stacked, as the guys are pretty lame. they’re either gross and/or I suspect they might be gay. If she’s smart, she’ll choose one of the lesbians. Actually, if she’s really smart, she’ll choose Dani; I swear, she’s more of a man than I am, but there’s something likeable about that chick, and she’s got a good head on her shoulders. The hardest part for Tila has got to be the fact that she’s working under a time constraint. After all, who knows when the mothership is going to return to take her back to Tilatron 9?

-While I’m still on this MTV jag, why does everyone in the Real World: Sydney house hate Parisa?! Seriously, since the beginning, it’s been like the producers set forth an edict: make Parisa the bitch. Over the course of the season, we’ve seen multiple housemates get pissed at her, curse her out, and after last night, even knock her down. For the most part, she’s kept her cool. And the one time that she did fight back and stand up for herself, they acted like she was a “crazy bitch”. You know the sad realization? Parisa’s “the black one” this season. You see, every RW house has that crazy black person who either starts fights, refuses to be a team player, and/or gets arrested for public urination. There’s no black housemate this season so Parisa, as the de facto person of color, is now filling that role. The biggest revelation, for me, is that she has never really done anything to deserve this. Sure, she can be a bitch sometimes, but everyone in the RW house is asshole/bitch at some point. It’s called good television. It’s enough to make you want to rewatch old seasons and see if Syrus, Kevin, or Tyrie actually deserved the flack that they got in their respective RW seasons. OK, well Tyrie deserved his…

-Since I’m this far in, I think this is going to end up as a TV blog post. Nothing wrong with that.

-Let me preface this by saying that I am not a gamer. I’ve always seen video games as an expensive game of “Keeping Up with the Joneses”. I’ve only got time and money for one hobby, and that’s comics. That said, I want Assassin’s Creed. The commercial alone makes me want it. The same way the Harry Gregson-Williams’s score for Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty made me want a PS2 (and the game), the commercial for Assassin’s Creed makes me want a 360 (and the game). One of the best uses of Massive Attack’s “Teardrop” in recent years. Plus, it’s designed by Jade Diamond, and she’s hot. At least, that seems to be why UbiSoft thinks we should buy the game. (for recent, hilarious controversy, google: jade, ubisoft, cartoon.)

-For anyone who doesn’t know, I love wedding shows. For reals. It all goes back to my A Wedding Story addiction when I graduated college. that was soon folded into Whose Wedding Is It Anyway?, along with Married Away. Then, I Propose came along last Spring to cap it all off. Always a bridesmaid…Anyway, I’m having problems with Whose Wedding as of late.

I’ve written about this before, in that I believe Whose Wedding… is getting too highbrow for its own good. You see the same annoying planners (I’m looking at you, Donnie Brown!), and there’s too much crossover with Married Away. I get it. These are the favorite planners. Regardless, I still long for the old days, when there was a more eclectic mix of wedding planners. I miss Jim Rich, who runs a storefront wedding chapel in Texas. He’s the planner, minister, and MC of the reception. He does it all. Sure, most of his weddings were shotgun weddings between high school dropouts and Mexican immigrants, but they showed a different side of the wedding game. Lately, all of the weddings have been $90,000-$250,000 affairs thrown by professional New York couples who met in an elevator or the organic food market. The balance is completely thrown off now. And when they do have a “normal” couple, it’s such a hot ghetto mess that I’m ashamed that it’s even being shown.

My least favorite wedding planner right now is Linnyette Richardson-Hall. She handles weddings in the Baltimore area, and calls herself “The Wedding Diva” (Ugh, I hate when Black women call themselves “diva”. It’s SO “A Different World & Livin’ Single early 90’s” to me). She doesn’t like when the couple refuses to give her control, and she’s always cutting corners. She loves turning people away from the reception; it’s a necessary job, but she relishes it. She is not the chick you go to with an unlimited budget, because she’d just spend it all at the dollar store. I recognize that there’s a need for this type of wedding planner, as not everyone has an unlimited budget (I sure as Hell won’t!), but everything is so garish and cheap.

Typically, Linnyette caters to Black couples who’ve been together forever, and decided to get married before he cheats again/goes to jail. Seriously, here’s your average Linnyette wedding: bride and groom are about 32, and they were high school sweethearts. They’ve been on again/off again for the past 10 or so years, but they were on just long enough each time to spit out a few kids. So, now they’re planning the wedding, with their kids in the wedding party. The worst part, though, is their idea of a wedding has been tainted by the Jet Society Page, so they think a regal wedding consists of groomsmen, bridesmaids, junior groomsmen, junior bridesmaids, flower girls, and ringer bearers. All the while, the ceremony and reception are taking place at Bolling Air Force Base. They want to have a classy-ass affair, but we’re talking about a possible 20-person wedding party, for a dude who washes cars and a chick who works at the local check-cashing/seafood carry-out joint. Am I being too harsh? Maybe, but that’s what I do.

Anyway, if you’ve never watched the show, each hour is comprised of 2 different weddings being planned by different planners (although, they do have the rare case where one planner has 2 ceremonies on the same weekend, so she/he’ll get the whole hour). Now, it goes without saying that Linnyette’s weddings look even worse when stacked against a wedding being planned in Martha’s Vineyard, yet this happens more times that I’d like to recall. My problem with Linnyette is that I’ve never really seen her do anything that looked good. I mean, the couples seem happy with the result, and at the end of the day that’s what really matters, but I’ve never seen anything worthy of being televised. It’s almost like she’s an example of “wedding planning don’ts”. I get being “frugal”, but some of those corners. She’s the kind of chick where you’d say, “We need flowers”, so she’d swing by the funeral home and pick up any stray arrangements she found laying around. “We’re gonna need centerpieces”. Well, she’ll go to the dollar store, buy up a bunch of plastic candleholders, and then spraypaint them silver at home. She’s done it before.

A wedding’s a special day that, Lord willing, you’ll only go through once. That said, I wouldn’t want to cut corners. It doesn’t matter if the guests don’t realize the cake is day old from the bakery thrift shop. I would know, and that’s what counts. I feel you should plan according to your budget, and not try to cheat. Don’t try to have an elaborate high society affair in an Air Force bowling alley with some Rock Creek Ginger Ale. Know your limits, people. If you really don’t have a budget, well, that’s what Vegas is for…

12th Nov2007

Retarded Chris Brown, Black Republicans, Van Wilder-less Van Wilder 2

by Will

“Seriously, y’all, I’m punching a bear in the face!”

-Man, am I obsessed with Rihanna Jenkins! (Jeff’s the only one who’s gonna understand that joke). I just picked up Good Girl Gone Bad yesterday, and it is HOT. Just like everything else, I’m 6 months late to the game. I remember when I was jamming to “California Love”, and all my friends were like, “Will, Tupac’s been dead for 2 years.” Anyway, hottest track on this album, besides “Umbrella”, has got to be “Please Don’t Stop the Music”. It’s impossible to *not* dance while that track is playing. I love you, Rihanna!

-Why is it that whenever you see Chris Brown on a magazine cover, he’s always got that semi-retarded look on his face? Exhibit A:

“Kiss Kiss” nothing! Grab your Kleenex, ’cause this boy’s a drooler! You know the type. Their “handler” is always trying to take them to the mall, knowing full well that they’re gonna go crazy and throw a fit in the middle of the damn place. And everyone looks over, thinking, “Why in the Hell did she think she could bring that boy up in here like that?!”

– I really thought the Dewmocracy.com commercial was an Army recruitment video. I mean, the Marines almost got me a few times with their crafty camerawork and use of kickass looking swords. With the covert ops scenes, spliced in with the hints of a dystopian future, I was about to run down to the nearest recruitment office. It turns out they just want me to help design the new flavor of Mountain Dew. Not quite the same thing, but I’m willing to hear more…

I caught the last few minutes of Roadhouse on Spike the other night. Could someone please tell me what the fuck that movie was about? I saw some guy who looked like Santa Claus lying on the ground, and I think Patrick Swayze vowed to avenge him. And then these guys stormed a house, and Swayze beat the shit out of them, even though they had shotguns. And then a polar bear fell on some guy. It was all capped off by the main villain getting shot through a glass coffee table.

Now, I don’t have any old issues of Architectural Digest, but those glass top coffee tables seem to have been a staple of the time, and villains were always being shot or thrown through them. I know everybody wants to be a gangsta, but you have to decorate accordingly. If you’re in a line of work where shoot-outs may occur, you don’t want your home/office filled with glass. It’s just common sense, people. Seriously, though: What the fuck was Roadhouse supposed to be about?

-OK, I know that banner ads are supposed to be in-tune with the webpage on which they’re placed. However, I do believe that some things can go too far. Yesterday, I was trying to catch up on recent events on Sunday Best, so I hopped over to BET.com. Well, immediately, my eye was caught by a flashy-ass ad which could not be ignored: the entire side of the page was consumed by an ad for KFC. I shit you not. I clicked through several pages, but it was still there. KFC must be the biggest supporter of Black Entertainment Television.

Honestly, I hate watching BET (and formerly UPN) at this time of year, ’cause you’d think that all Black people do is eat chicken and shop at Wal-Mart. The hippies can give up Wal-Mart all they want ’cause the Black folks ain’t goin’ nowhere! I swear, Wal-Mart LOVES them some Black folks at Christmas time. The commercials have already started. The latest one is where the Black family buys grandpa a plasma TV. My favorite part is where they reassure him that they didn’t pay a lot of money for it. The commercial is geared toward this ideal: White guy’s response would be: “Well isn’t that great! I can watch the big game on it.” But Black guy’s response is immediately, “Y’all know we ain’t got money for this!” Gotta know your audience…

-Speaking of race, there’s no one who gets my pity more than the Black Republican on Election Night. You better believe that they’re gonna make sure to get him in every camera shot. He’s off to the side of the podium, just smiling and clapping, and every news outlet has to show that the Republican party is diversifying its ranks. The saddest part is that the dude is always out of place. It’s like he’s just not in on the joke. Even when they win, the Black dude is always left out of the congratulations proceedings. Everyone’s trading hearty handshakes, and he’s just still smiling and clapping. Sometimes he’ll even join in when the White guys start doing the whole Arsenio Hall Dog Pound Fist Cyclone (we gave that to them in 1996 when they let us have Mariah Carey). But even when they break out high-fives (for which he immediately feels well-suited), they high-five all around him. Sorry, Negro. Too slow! I swear, that guy must be the most hated guy ever because, for that one night, he’s the ironic victim of equal-opportunity hatred: Black Democrats, White Democrats, Many White Republicans, Green Partiers, Non-voters, his predominantly Democrat family, as well as his White wife’s family.

-How are you gonna have Van Wilder 2 without Van Wilder?! Also, I’m pretty sure Kal Penn is getting tired of faking that accent. It’s such a phoned-in performance, as the movie is more like Kumar Goes to England than it was about Taj. In the first Van Wilder, Taj was pretty fresh off the boat, and had only achieved a shred of cool by the end of that movie. In the sequel, he was the coolest guy ever (like Kal played in Harold & Kumar), while making fun of the British class system. Don’t bother with this movie, as you’ve seen it 25 times before. It’s Revenge of the Nerds meets Old School meets Bend It Like Beckham. If you want a funny college movie, though, you should see Grandma’s Boy. SO much better than people thought…

Well, that’s enough rambling for one day. In the immortal words of R.E.O. Speedwagon, “I believe it’s time for me to fly…”

28th Oct2007

Brody Jenner, Sunday Best, New York Times, and Timbaland/OneRepublic Connection

by Will

“If you can’t sell pussy, you can’t sell anything.”

I swear, I’ve got stories, but they take so friggin’ long to write up, plus I have to process them and break them down to the bare essentials. After all, that San Diego recap is so overdue it’s embarrassing. Anyway, it’s still coming, but here’s another random-things-on-my-mind post.

– I swear, Brody Jenner is determined to be a reality star if it kills him. I don’t think people realize how many times he’s been around the reality-block. First off, he milked his stepfather’s, music producer David Foster, fame when he starred in the short-lived Fox reality show, The Princes of Malibu. Pretty much, the show was about how Brody and his brother were a bunch of layabouts, and Foster wanted them to get jobs. It was basically the male equivalent of The Simple Life. That got canceled after no more than 3 episodes. Then, he popped up as LC’s love interest du jour on The Hills. While he’s still got that gig going, he’s also in his stepsisters’ show, Keeping Up With the Kardashians. After all, his biological dad married their golddigger mom. I swear, I wouldn’t be surprised if his next stop is Big Brother.

-Speaking of MTV stuff, I love how they manage to answer questions that I never knew I had, such as : “What’s it like being the hottest girl at fat camp?” And while answering said question, I’m glad they produced one of the most twisted lines I’ve ever heard: “I will love you more than any boy ever could.” If you can’t understand what’s sad about that statement, then you’re just the demographic their aiming for.

-As much as I love a trashy dating show, I couldn’t give a shit about Tila Tequila. I give her credit for actively lobbying to be “friended” by everyone in the world, but she looks like the result of some crazy Roswell experiment. It’s like some scientists said, “We’re gonna use alien DNA to create a chick with a rockin’ body”, yet they weren’t able to fully extract all of the alien facial characteristics. Seriously, she’s like an anime character with fetal alcohol syndrome.

-I was reading the special college supplement of the New York Times, and I learned about a little place called Occidental College in LA. Do you know that they have some sort of unspoken tradition of going barefoot? Not just around dorms and whatnot, but *everywhere*! Cafeterias, gyms, classrooms, bathrooms! Isn’t that some sort of OSHA violation? I wonder if they’ll see a crackdown following that article. Haha, Occidental! You’ve just been Xposed!

-Can I just say that I hate how pretentious The New York Times is? I hate how they refer to “Mr. So-and-So”. For example, if they wrote an article about me, they’d phrase it as, “Mr. West was found, shivering in a mysterious puddle and clutching a firearm. The firearm was designed by SoHo Jeweler Sol Rubestein.” The whole “Mr” article comes off as condescending, while they always qualify the worst situation with some sort of high society tag, as if to say, “See, there’s some merit to our publishing this, as it pertains, in some way, to the highest of social circles.”

-Man, Britney and Backstreet Boys have albums dropping on the same day. It’s like 1999 all over again!

-Anybody seen Gotti’s Way? The saddest part about that show is that it seems like Irv is the last one to know the game is over. If you pay close enough attention to everyone else on the show, it likes they’ve pretty much given up on him, or they humor him to make him think he’s still got some magic left in him. From his wife to his kids to Ja Rule, it’s like they nod and smile ’cause they know he’ll lose his shit if he ever just sits and realizes the truth. Yet and still, he’s running around, spouting off about his dreams and how he’s gonna take over the music industry.Sorry, Irv, but the market’s changed. I really doubt people are clamoring for that next Ja Rule album, unless it’s got an Akon cameo on it. If he can develop some sort of substance abuse problem, we may have the next Breaking Bonaduce on our hands. VH-1: It’s like middle class NASCAR.

-I’m really digging Sunday Best on BET right now. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s basically the gospel equivalent of American Idol. The catch, however, is that it’s not all about your vocals. Sure, you need to be able to sing, but you also have to be able to take “The Message” back out into the community, and live your life in a manner that proves that you’re “Sunday’s Best”. Wow, that is some muthafuckin’ pressure! With American Idol, you better believe that TMZ and US weekly are gonna drag your shit out into the open. That said, the AI producers really just hope you can keep your shit together long enough to keep the Coke/Ford Focus endorsement deal, and to finish off the national tour. Once that’s over, and you’re left doing auto shows and county fairs, they really don’t care how many times you slept with Paula or stripped to feed your baby. Sunday Best expects you to carry on the tradition long after the competition is over. I’m sorry, Bebe Winans. That’s just too much to ask. Hell, Kirk Franklin’s the host, and he’s addicted to porn! Don’t ya think you’re being a little hypocritical there, Brother Kirk? Anyway, I hope a chick wins, ’cause I can’t wait for her fall from grace following the inevitable King/XXL Magazine photo spreads.

-Yeah, I get that he’s helping to boost OneRepublic to stardom, but I really don’t get why Timbaland is credited as the artist on “Apologize”. That’s a OneRepublic song that he remixed and put on his album, but it is not his song. In a lot of ways, the regular version is actually better than his. All of this “Timbaland, feat. One Republic” shit is starting to bother me. It’s like a song can’t come out this year without having Timbaland’s fingerprints all over it. OneRepublic doesn’t seem to be saying anything about it, but that’s ’cause they know what’s good for them…

OK, I think that does it for now. Sometimes, you just gotta vent!

17th Sep2007

Strippers In Wedding Rings, Soul Train, Amanda Peet’s Breasts, Date Lab

by Will

“There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”

One of these days, I’m going to sit down an have something intelligent/entertaining to say. For now, I just have a few random bits floating around in my head. Maybe I’ll expand some of these into full length posts should the spirit move me. Anyway, here’s what we’ve got:

-There’s nothing quite like sitting in church, looking down at your pants, and realizing they’re the same one you wore to Scores a few nights ago.

-On that note, strippers, don’t wear wedding rings at work. You’re just killing the illusion. Even if it’s a “fake-out” ring, that “Til Death Do Us Part” tattoo across your lower back is also a buzzkill. Just sayin’.

– Lately, Soul Train has been playing The Best of Soul Train, showing all the good ’80s episodes with Don Cornelius. Man, do I miss that era of Soul Train! Last week, their big musical guest was former Soul Train dancer, Jermaine Stewart, with his big hit, “We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off.” Most of you young ‘uns know this as “that Gym Class Heroes song”, which is so misguided of you. Anyway, this was the Soul Train era where people really danced. They were innovative and they were electrifying. Soul Train isn’t like that anymore. Now, the only standout dude is that guy with the cane who just nods at girls’ asses…

-The most dynamic performance of the VMAs, hands down, was Chris Brown.

-I have never met a Prius driver that I liked.

-I never planned to like Rock of Love as much as I do. The same could be said for Life in the Fab Lane with Kimora.

-Considering she has, probably, the worst breasts in Hollywood, Amanda Peet sure does go around flashing the girls a lot. For reference, see Saving Silverman or The Whole Nine Yards.

-My life right now is pretty much the same as it was 4 yrs ago, only now I can drive and I’ve swapped out TNBC for the Disney Channel.

-OK, these engagement announcements have to stop.

-I think the Washington Post Magazine should end their Date Lab column if they can’t come up with any success stories.

-I wish my dreams would catch up to the real world.

-I’m still surprised by how few people use the “we hooked up” friend detail on Facebook. With a few of my recent high school additions, I’m dismayed at how many have opted for the standard “we went to high school together” or “we worked together”. Was that all it was, baby? Was it that bad? Hell, why list anything at all? I usually just skip that step…

10th Aug2007

Virgin Fest Part 2: Meeting Richard Branson

by Will

“You gotta have a ticket if you wanna ride the ride.”

Man, why didn’t anyone tell me that Date My Mom still came on? The things you discover at this time of night…

So, where were we? Oh, right:

Virgin Fest Pt 2: The Meeting

So, at this point, with this being my Star Fucker Summer (the SD post will better explain that), I was determined to meet Sir Richard Branson. That’s when one of my coworkers, Tim, answered my prayers. You see, we had 2-day passes, but none of us really wanted to go on Sunday. The bands were lame (except for the Pumpkins), and we’d really had enough from Saturday. But the owner of my company had requested a meeting with Branson on Sunday, and Tim needed help arranging the meet. This was going to be like a meeting of titans: the most powerful man in comics meeting the most powerful man in modern media? When they shook hands, I imagined that every window in a 1-mile radius would simply shatter. I *had* to witness this, so I offered to help my work bud with the meet.

Sunday, we meet up at the Metro and head on over. On Sunday, the fest was dead. D-E-A-D. Why? Because all the acts sucked except for the Pumpkins, who weren’t scheduled to go on until 8:30. It was now noon. Dead. There were about 12 people in the guest area, when there had been a good 200 at its most crowded point on Saturday. Actually, let me throw in one correction. I did get to see Regina Spektor, and she was adorable. I really only know that once song from VH-1, “Fidelity”., but she’s Russian – it’s my kryptonite. Plus, I’m a sucker for the piano-songstress. After all, there’s still a special place in my heart for Sarah Mclachlan and Nellie McKay. Anyway, back on topic.

Anyway, we get into position. Tim is going to meet Branson and his people, while I was waiting for our guy. Well, I wait and wait and wait. Yeah, he never shows. Now, I’m pissed because I’m determined to meet Branson. Something had to justify that day. I only have one day a week that I don’t work (even though I had blown of the PT gig the day before; it didn’t matter); I was wasting my Sunday, and something needed to make that worthwhile. We went into strategy mode, and texted Branson’s assistant. We told her the big guy was a no-show, but we still wanted to meet Branson. Before we know it, he comes through the guest area again. Finally, we got our chance. I don’t really remember much of it. A bunch of douchebags kept cutting in front of us because they worked for Virgin. We finally got up to him, but Tim did most of the talking. Shot the shit about the comics line, and quickly got pictures. Emphasis on quickly. I took Tim’s first, and it’s a great, well-planned shot. When it was my turn, Branson was clearly trying to move along, so mine didn’t come out as rosy. I’m not posting it here because, frankly, it’s ugly. If you’re on facebook, you’ve seen it. But they can’t take away my dignity!

Apparently, as we were leaving the guest area, Darryl Hannah walked by. Whatever. Billionaires have the weirdest friends. Sure, she’s a actress and all, but she’s always going to be weird to me because of her Kennedy connection. She dated JFK Jr. That makes her part of the Kennedy Curse. The same thing with Sarah Jessica Parker. It’s amazing how much Sex and the City made people forget about her past. If you go back to Square Pegs and Honeymoon in Vegas, you’ll get a hint of the weird. You better believe I think there’s a Kennedy Curse, so I don’t want that bad mojo on me. “No, thanks, man. I don’t want you fucking up my life, too.”

After we accomplished our mission (without the help of a banner-laden aircraft carrier, I might add), we took off. It was all in a day’s work. Kind of an anticlimactic finish, but it’s part of my whole “I wanted something and went after it” attitude that I’m trying to cultivate lately. Sure, he sort of came to us, but that was after we worked pretty hard to make ourselves known. After our dude was a no-show, I don’t think that crew gave 2 shits about us. We could have left, but stuck it out. Anyway, I needed to get that story out of the way for the good stuff. Next up, San Diego Dreaming: A Williambrucewest.com Event Told in (At Least) 5 Parts.

10th Aug2007

Virgin Fest Part 1: Amy Winehouse and Cheap Trick

by Will

“Nah, I spent 2 years in the Cub Scouts & realized its potential to make me queer.”

OK, so we’re working backwards here. Virgin Festival, and then I’ll get to the SD adventures.

First off, there are just some movies that shouldn’t air on non-paid television. Friday, for example. It’s just not worth it. The thing makes almost no sense, considering how drastically MTV/VH-1 edited it. Another one? Showgirls. Don’t believe me? Stay up late one night, and check out your local MyNetworkTv channel. It’s on there, and it’s even worse than the uncut version. Anyway, back to the topic at hand.

Recently, the job has really cranked the perks up to 11. Sure, I may not be able to pay rent anymore, but I’ll never go naked as they seem to hand out polo shirts weekly. To amp that up, though, the vendors have started getting in on the action. One of our newest and biggest accounts is Virgin Comics. A subsidiary of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin empire, the Virgin Comics line primarily conveys classic, Indian stories and mythologies to a Western audience. OK, that’s enough of a plug. So, I met their new head of marketing in San Diego, and he was awesome. In fact, he was going to line up a meeting that you’ll learn about in the SD post. In any case, when we got back to the home office, Virgin had provided us with tickets to the Virgin Festival (with guest area access), being held at Pimlico where Preakness takes place.

Now, I’ve never been a concert guy. Whenever these kinds of music fests come to town, they sound cool to me, but my fear of crowds takes over, and I talk myself out of the idea. Well, here was a free ticket. And I hadn’t really paid much attention to the guest list, but one name caught my eye. Yes, the name of a strung-out goddess: Amy Winehouse.

Anyone following my recent posts and myspace/facebook activity knows that I love this girl. Not necessarily in a sexual way, as she’s a cross between Julie Kavner (the voice of Marge Simpson, who actually looks more like Aunt Selma) and that dude from Dead of Alive (they sang the “You spin me right round, baby” song). Not exactly an erection-inspiring equation. It’s not about the sexy, though; it’s about the tunes, man. Her album changed my life. OK, I won’t go that far. If anything, I think it was the timing of her album.

For the uninformed, Back to Black is an album that Amy recorded during a break in her tumultuous relationship with now-husband, Blake Civil-Fielder. She’s said that she wasn’t exactly inspired, but rather *had* to write those songs. If she didn’t get them out, she simply would have died. Dramatic, non? Sure, everyone knows her because of “Rehab”. Haha, she’s singing about how her label wants her to go to rehab. It’s not exactly funny. She was so depressed, and had abused enough substances to get to that point. Sure, it’s a cool, rebellious track, but it’s also a cry for help (especially if you’ve read an entertainment blog in the past 48 hrs). My point is that her main single is almost a joke track to some, while the real meat of the album is what follows. “You Know I’m No Good” is about her warning that she was going to fuck up her relationship, but still forcing her lover and herself to learn, the hard way, that she was right all along. “Love is a Losing Game” is about her regretting taking a chance on love, as it’s a gamble where the house always wins. Now, I’ve never been a lyrics person, so those were just a bonus. This woman could sing me the phone book, and I’d be putty. She just hit me at the right time. I was like a 15 yr old girl who’d just gotten her first Dashboard Confessional CD after being burned by her first bf at theatre camp (it’s OK, honey. He was gay!).

Anyway, seeing Amy on the card was enough for me to go. Screw the Smashing Pumpkins, or 311, or even the Police. I love all of those guys, but they melted away when I realized I might have the chance to sing “No, no, no!” in the presence of my beehived queen.

People were wondering if she’d actually show up. She’s been blowing off gigs left and right due to “exhaustion” and whatnot. But she came. And she performed. And I’m left with mixed feelings. On the one hand, she was magnificent. She really sang those songs, sometimes better than the CD. On the other hand, performance was phoned in at times, due to the fact that a racetrack was not an ideal venue for her. You need to see her in the small jazz club, where the acoustics take over. She is *not* a stadium performer. So, I think it might have been the deadest part of the Saturday bill, but I still loved every minute of it. I saw Amy! Right before she went into rehab! Lord knows what she’s gonna be like if it takes…

But wait, there are more acts! If you had ever told me that I’d get to see Cheap Trick perform “The Flame” live, I’d have kicked you in the balls. Well, now I would also owe you an apology and an ice pack. That was one of my 80s dreams come true. If they had driven out in K.I.T.T., with Catherine Bach in the passenger seat, I might’ve had a stroke.

I saw Ben Harper, but he was pretty boring, really. And while people might kill me for this, I have to say the same thing about the Beastie Boys. Sorry, dudes. That Jamaican waiter from the old MTV commercials would be glad to know that hip-hop is no longer ruled by “Tree Jewish White boyeez”. Also probably blasphemy? The Police bored me. I’m the fool who likes the Sting solo stuff better than the group stuff. He’s not one of those artists like Peter Cetera or Phil Collins, where it’s next to impossible to tell if it’s a group or solo song. No, the Police stuff is drastically different from “When We Dance” or “Fields of Gold”. Sorry, but a brotha loves his soft rock.

You know who rocked the house? Felix da Housecat! My dance phase was about 8 years ago, but he brought it back in full force. On Saturday, the main party was in the dance tent. It felt weird experiencing that scene with sunlight beaming in, but that didn’t stop the club kids. They were tweaking out all over the place. There was one chick who just sat near the door, pinching air. If you were close enough, and the fates allowed, she managed to pinch you ass. Otherwise, she was just pinching, at nothing particular. E is a helluva drug! Felix was awesome, though. I know he has this huge club rep, but to actually be there, and experience it…

Anyway, the overall festival was cool. It was hot as balls, but every tattooed, under-30, local music enthusiast seemed to be in the house. I just couldn’t believe that Sir Richard actually attended the thing. I was minding my own, in the guest tent, when he just kind of walks by. There he was, like a blonde-haired Jesus, swaddled in PacSun robes. Too quick for a picture, but slow enough for a memory. Man, I should be a friggin’ poet…

To Be Continued…