Google Video pick of the week #016

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I´m starting J School in a couple weeks (cue, Nasir),  so it´s fitting I get into the news media state of mind, for a minute.

You never set out to find great movies on GV, but every now and again, as if the Internet content gods want to prove their might, they drop a gem on you (cue, Havoc).

This week´s pick is among the greatest movies put on celluloid. It won mad Oscars. And yes, it´s better than Scarface (1983) and Star Wars (1977).  It stars a member of the Wild Bunch (1969), William Holden, and even  Mommy Dearest (1981 ).

Playwright/screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky laid it all out like a genius. Here are the words from the iconic moment. (via)

HOWARD

I don’t want you to riot. I

don’t want you to protest. I

don’t want you to write your

congressmen. Because I wouldn’t

know what to tell you to write.

I don’t know what to do about the

depression and the inflation and

the defense budget and the Russians

and crime in the street. All

I know is first you got to get

mad. You’ve got to say: “I’m

mad as hell and I’m not going

to take this any more. I’m a

human being, goddammit. My life

has value.”  So I want you to

get up now. I want you to get

out of your chairs and go to

the window. Right now. I want

you to go to the window, open

it, and stick your head out

and yell. I want you to yell:

“I’m mad as hell and I’m not

going to take this any more!”

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This 1976 movie continues to ring true, in many ways, today. There´s no Howard Beale, but you can flip on some local networks and catch Help Me Howard. Not the same thing exactly, I know. But Chayefsky´s work saw the dawn of the decline, with its satyrical look at the ¨corporatization of the news media¨. Check out this 2004 slideshow, which breaks down who owns the platter your news i s served on. It´s by ex-NYT editor, Doreen Weisenhaus of the Univ. of Hong Kong´s Journalism and Media Studies Centre.

This one is a keeper. Cop one.

Google Video pick of the week #015

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Depending on where you grew up —- say, from the middle school years through high school years — you probably didn´t know a lot of Black kids who were into punk rock.  Not to get all Bill Cosby on you or anything, but when you grow up in certain neighborhoods, falling outside the ¨norm¨ just isn´t tolerated. There´s a whole sect of brothers who think Hendrix is some really exotic stuff, not socially accepted on some corners.

Whatever, homie.

It´s all connected to the same vibe, the same origins and the same angst and rebellion, según yo. That´s why I like this week´s pick, James Spooner´s documentary, Afro-Punk (2003 ). While it´s a bit obvious in places,  I felt it suffered from poor pacing. There were a lot of voices involved in the doc, and some great punk rock artists. It´s most astute on issues related to being Black in a punk environment, tackling some important topics such as the question of Blackness. How can Black kids in Southern California, New York City, Cleveland and Detroit, who are into punk somehow be considered ¨less Black¨? Like in my N.J. town, why do they get beat up and picked on, as they walk from school to their homes, wearing a Bad Brains, Slayer or Metallica shirt, in predominantly Black neighborhoods? Not sure if that still counts with today´s version of those same bullying kids, wearing colorful skinny jeans. Kind of balances things out.

Via the Google Video link:

Afro-Punk features performances by Bad Brains, Tamar Kali, Cipher, and Ten Grand. It also contains exclusive interviews by members of Fishbone, 24-7 Spyz, Dead Kennedys, Candiria, Orange 9mm and TV on the Radio, among others.

Spooner continues his involvement in the Afro-Punk space with a festival in Brooklyn. Check out coverage from last week´s Afro-Punk Festival in the NYT, SPIN, and NY Press.

For a more lighthearted take on what it means to be a punk outsider, watch SLC Punk! (1998).

Google Video pick of the week #012

I´ve never been an extreme dog lover, but last night I gave Beba (feminine form of ¨baby¨) a bath. Beba is one of Mexico  City´s street dogs. She lives in Colonia Roma, on a busy calle dotted with hotels, taco stands and upscale restaurants. She´s not a comedienne, but she can be wildly entertaining, especially when she´s hungry. She´s finicky, though: ham, cheese, sausages or chicken for this perra.

If you´ve traveled around South America, maybe you´ve seen roving packs of dogs. I know I did on trips to Chile and Colombia in the past. Dog populations seem out of control in some places, and I´m always curious about things local governments do to control them.

In Mexico City, I don´t see that problem, maybe in the ¨Establo¨.  There are groups here that look out for these animals. The only reason Beba, whose only consistent home is the patch of sidewalk in front of the garage where she ¨works¨, hasn´t been scooped up by canine enforcement is because she has an i.d. tag on her collar. It reads ¨RAMBO  Beba¨. Either ¨Rambo¨ was her former name, or someone wanted to save a few pesos on a dog tag and reused RAMBO´s.

Continue reading “Google Video pick of the week #012”

Google Video pick of the week #011

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In my neighborhood, when the jack hammers and tractors get rolling at 2 a.m. you know they won’t stop until well after 5a.m.  I try to ignore it, just bury my head under my pillow a little deeper, until I muffle all the sound. I’m not too light of a sleeper, but some nights these past two months, it got hard to sleep. Here’s why. And for that, I’m not trippin.

That is to say … I know that sound.

It’s not  just an annoying 10 ton clatter that makes its way up and down Cuauhtémoc Ave. It’s more than that.

It’s the sound of progress. Road infrastructure, public transit, just .38 cents and you’re home.

It’s that Westside extension putting a hole in Beverly Boulevard.  And it’s something like the Metro Rapid in the Valley, except out here you MUST pay to get on.

It’s also the extension of the Metrobús in Mexico City.

Which brings me to this week’s GVP. I picked the documentary, Bogotá: building a sustainable city, not because Brad Pitt narrates it, but because it’s about Bogotá, Colombia. Maternal lands.

You see, Colombia, along with Brazil were the forebearers to the style of bus service called BRT that Mexico has been recently using. It started out as a model of sustainable design, and now is a way of life that’s growing and costing lots of money.  Colombia’s Transmilenio was the first BRT I ever rode on back in 2006, when I visited.

So, check out the video, below, and learn what Bogotá can be like.  I’ll be fighting mucho ruido trying to hold on to at least a few hours of REM sleep. All in the name of progress.

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3 Day Weekend

It was a rough week. Working for an online sweatshop isn’t good for a guy like me. Rent has got to get paid. I mean, the allure of the gig rests in the fact I get paid on time, and in a super convenient manner. Not feeling those extra charges, though.

Well, who doesn’t complain about his job?

For those of you who hate your jobs, and have this Memorial Day off, let your 3 Day Weekend give you all the rest you need to tackle the beast again on Tuesday. Remember: we gotta pay rent.

I did’t drop a GVP this week, so to make up for it, here’s 3 ways to kill some time this weekend. As always, courtesy of Google Video.

My pops is a fan of this movie. It’s a French neo-urban-noir flick that uses physical expertise at a martial art as its centerpiece. The scenes of Parkour get a little corny in places, but some of those moves are crazy.  District B13 aka Banlieue 13 (2004).

Find a good copy, here.

Continue reading “3 Day Weekend”

Cotton Club Legend

Hand me a late pass, but I would’ve felt remiss if I didn’t dedicate a few blog lines and Youtube clips to this month’s passing of the great Lena Horne.

L.A. culture crit, Ernest Hardy, dedicated a moving and quote-filled post to the lady on his blog, Blood Beats.

For me, she was a face I was most familiar with in the late 70s and early 80s, via episodes of the Muppet Show and the Cosby Show (I was one of those kiddies raised in front of the tube). I figured why not share that cultural memory, while these clips are still available.

The Cosby Show (1985) “Cliff’s Birthday”

Muppet Show Season 1, Episode 11-Lena Horne

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Machete vs SB1070

I enjoy seeing popular entertainment take a stand against injustice.

Last week, Robert Rodriguez released a mock trailer for his upcoming “Mexploitation” film, Machete, and aimed it directly at the home state of SB1070.

One thing that popped out at me was the Jessica Alba  line near the end:

“We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us.”

It also struck a chord with a lot of Spanish-language media. And that was perhaps because it sounded like a line from a 2001 Los Tigeres Del Norte song, “Somos Mas Americanos“.

“Yo no cruce la frontera, la frontera me cruzó”

Here are the translated lyrics to the song.

Of course, me…I immediatley thought of  the Malcolm X line:

We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock, the rock was landed on us.”

You can see it below. As you do, think of what’s going on in Arizona, and the plight of poor people who go there for work, for better opportunities; and then think about what SB1070 is trying to do. Reminds you a little of Jim Crow. Doesn’t it?

Here’s the Denzel version (starts at 07:18-07:32)

Shouts to Cypress Hill for cancelling their May 21 show in Tuscon in protest.

Google Video pick of the week #008

This week´s clip comes via one of the greatest comedic writers of his generation, Paul Mooney.  ¨Jesus Is Black¨ (2007), kicks off its first 10 minutes with ruminations on Mexicans and illegal immigration in California. Funny stuff.

Mooney might lean heavy on his use of the ¨N¨ word,  and makes harsh assessments of race in America his calling card. Still, you have to respect him, because he´s an uncompromised comedic force, who hasn´t been made soft by Disney movies and Hollywood contracts.

For the uninitiated, he may be hard to stomach. Sure, he´s racist, but there´s no denying some of the stinging truths in his work.

You can find  tons of video of Mooney´s work online. From his earlier days writing jokes for Richard Pryor, to clips of his hilarious creations on Dave Chappelle´s show.

Pryor  goes in on Paul around the 5:34 mark of this clip from a comedy roast.  Ending his session by calling Mooney a ¨brilliant writer¨.

¨Brilliant¨ doesn´t seem like an overstatement either, when you consider that Mooney is the man who created Homey D.  Clown.

These guys can save your life

And they even speak Spanish.

This is the Hollywood location of this world-famous multimedia store. It does two types of business with you: buying and selling. Record dealers, collectors and the myriad DVD rental stores who’ve been pushed out of business within the last 10 years know this place. It saved their lives. As long as they had no scratches. I’ve seen Weird Al on the sale line. Strange. But that’s Hollywood. His hair was long, gray and he had a box of cassettes. “My wife said I had to get rid of some stuff,” he said. Anything you made in that stack, I asked. He just laughed.

If you live anywhere on the planet — are into music —  and you come to L.A., then you have to visit Sunset Blvd.

Physically located only in Hollywood, San Francisco and Berkeley. http://www.amoeba.com

Some great performers drop by for their in-stores (live show RSS feed).

Amoeba Hollywood is live streaming an Ozomatli performance on April 20th at 6 p.m.

Google Video pick of the week #006

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La Señora Muerte (1967), is a couture horror flick. It was one of several pictures prolific B-movie director Jaime Salvador made with Luis Enrique Vergara at his Filmica Vergara CineComisiones production banner in Mexico.

This film opens with Marlene’s lover dying after sexing her. While being stricken, he asks for the shady Dr. Farell, an evil mad scientist-like character played by this guy’s dad.  Farell wickedly tells Marlene that he needs fresh blood to revive  her – much older – lover. Of course, to make things even more interesting, the blood has to come from young, fashion-forward women.

The film, while cheesy as hell (check out the mad scientists computer), features some fancy houses in what could be Polanco, and a wardrobe by Mexico’s foremost designer of the 60’s and 70s, Pedro Loredo. It works for the film since Marlene, an eventual killer and the woman of the flick’s title, is a fashion designer.

Her costuming— I presume is also by Loredo, in the credits his billing goes: “Desfile de modas/ diseños de Pedro Loredo/ creador de la moda mexicana.”

Continue reading “Google Video pick of the week #006”