The first episode to this webseries, Entangled With You, which was created by Caryn Hayes, was sent o me via Twitter. Usually I just don't with unsolicited requests to view or review projects - you know, because of integrity (also how do you tell someone, who asked you nicely for a review that watching their poorly drafted series and/or film was about as enticing an idea as brushing my teeth with shit. You can't - or I have yet to find a nice way to do it). However this series has me intrigued. And I definitely want to see more. And now I'm thinking that accepting unsolicited requests for reviews and/or views is not such a bad idea.
Here is the synopsis:
After suffering breakups, a stoic lesbian moves in with a perky straight woman. With nothing in common beyond mutual heartache, the two form an unlikely bond as conflicts with their significant others force them closer.
I can't think of a single situation comedy show, which featured women working through interpersonal relationships in a straight/lesbian binary. That alone makes the series compelling. Also, structurally it's not bad. There are jokes outside of the discussion of their individual sexuality. I'm hesitant in giving a full review yet as there aren't many episodes (episode three should be dropping shortly). I'll probably come back to the series after the first season ends to give you all my full impressions.
In the meantime, check out the first two episodes below and join the Entangled With You Facebook Page
so you don't have to rely on me for program listings and schedules.
“So who was that guy that Mike introduced and stood up? I think his name was Michael something - Was he a boxer or something,” asked a short, stocky white guy with a square head and a gray suit. Is he serious?
“Are you serious,” asked his companion, a taller, slimmer white guy in an equally gray suit. Taller suit man literally took the words out of my thoughts. What kind of blockhead would ask that question? But the bewildered look on his face let us both know that he was genuine. So I bit my tongue.
I wasn't trying to eavesdrop on their conversation; they were walking in the same direction, mere a few feet in front of me. I just couldn't help but overhear them, just like I couldn't help but hear the young couple, sitting next to me in the theater, who asked the same damn thing. In that situation, I wasn't as patient and understanding. “It's Michael Spinks.”
As in, light-weight and heavy weight champion Michael Spinks? As in 1976 Olympic gold medalist in boxing Spinks? As in the dude that Tyson knocked out in 91-seconds Spinks (I know this because the dude behind me yelled “91 seconds” when Spinks stood up to take his ovation from the crowd)? Seriously people, this is what YouTube is for.
But it has dawned on me that there are really people out here in this vast world, who know Tyson more for his life outside of the ring than his actual career. And these people don't all live in the Himalayan mountains. Well, that just plain sucks because the Tyson era was arguably one of the greatest era of boxing ever. I'm talking: Marvelous Marvin Hagler; Tommy Hearns; Roberto Duran; Julio Cesar Chavez; Larry Holmes...Tyson and yes Spinks too.
I guess that's who the Undisputed Truth
is appealing to; those who are more entertained by Tyson the controversial ear biter, face-tattooing, womanizing rapist-funny guy, most known for parodying himself in a remake of Bobby Brown's Every Little Step I Take and in the film, The Hangover. The show definitely had plenty of theatrics, mainly Tyson running back and forth on the stage, being silly and animated. However, this was not totally free-range Tyson. This was a man, for whom you could tell was given a script and was told to practice until he had every line memorized (that person could have been Spike Lee, who served as director or Kiki Tyson, the former heavyweight champion's current wife, who wrote the one-man show for Tyson). However there just isn't enough Rosetta Stone-prepping, which could help him during the times when he flubbed a line – and then clumsily doubled back to repeat it again. Nor could it help resolve his speech impediment, which at times made it hard to understand everything he was saying. And all that prepping certainly didn't help him when a couple of over-zealous audience members, decided to profess their love for him during the show - like this one dude, who tried to "lovely" reassure a tongue-twisted Tyson , with that condescending/ fake concern thing that people do. Basically, Tyson had flubbed a line again and this anonymous dude screamed at Tyson, “take your time Mike.” To which Tyson replied, “Shut the Fuck Up.” Salty. Of course, this had me - as well as many others - cackling like a hens.
The light-heartened of the show certainly had it's appeal. I've seen Tyson in interviews, most recently this interview with Huffington Post Live. He is dark and usually depressing. And this show could have easily gone in that direction. After all, we are just talking about Tyson alone on a stage with a stool and a collection of pictures of his glorious, and not so glorious past, rolling up the wall behind him. That kind of scenario could get pretty gloomy quick. But Tyson made it clear that he did not want this show to be depressing, like the James Toback documentary. Instead he wanted to tell stories; funny ones. Crazy ones. Great ones.
Like the story about being an keeper of pigeons and how he beat somebody's ass over killing one of his beloved birds. And the story about how he met Muhammad Ali at Spofford Juvenile Detention Center (aka The Bridge) and wanting to desperately be in his boxing program; he told the story about meeting Cus D'Amato and him telling him not to be one of those kinds, “who is scared to hit white people”; He talked about fighting (and winning) in smoker clubs at the tender age of 14 years old; and balancing between the hood and the suburbs, all of which made for hilariously tells. One such story revolved around his ex-wife Robin Givens, for whom he obviously doesn't think very highly of. In fact, the mention of her name brought about Tyson dancing to the the chorus of Kanye West nefarious hit, Golddigger. But the jokes weren't all on Givens, or even on her mother Ruth (or as Tyson referred to her as Ruthless). Some of them were on Brad Pitt.
Yeah, that guy. Tyson said that the two first met each other at Givens home. Despite being divorce from Givens at the time, Tyson said that they were both still intimate.
Unbeknownst to him, she had also taken up with the a young Pitt too. According to Tyson, upon seeing the heavyweight champion of the world, the soon to be star of..well, a bunch of shit, started cowering behind Givens and blubbery to Tyson, "everything's cool, man." But despite how anger and hurt he was to see his ex-wife with another man, Tyson said he resisted the urge to beat the crap out of him -mainly because, “I didn't know whether to fuck him or fight him,” he said. But it wasn't all jokes though. At one part of the show Tyson declared infatuatedly that he did not rape Desiree Washington, which drew a large applause from the audience. Tyson didn't go into much detail about the incident, only to point out that Washington allegedly had made similar allegations of sexual assault against another man prior to the Tyson incident. And he spoke about how depressing it is that he has to register as a sex offender, just about everywhere he goes. At this point, you kind of realize that even talking about that incident made him very uncomfortable. And I know for some, who believe that he is guilty of the crime he was convicted of, he deserves to feel uncomfortable. But regardless of how we feel about the facts of the case and his conviction, Tyson is convinced of his innocence and wants to convince us of that too. And that's when the whole show concept begins to make sense.
There was something very insecure about the show. The constant ribbing on himself; the awkward confessions; the mere fact that much of the show's themes centered on his very public controversies; It's like Tyson is trying to get people to like him - or at the least to not view him as the monster he has been portrayed as in the press. And you can't blame Tyson and the team behind the show for that. For one, the idea alone of a one-man Broadway show staring Mike Tyson sounds like something so surreal and laughable - if not just an all around bad idea. Like, we knows if he is going to do or say something crazy, which is probably the appeal for many in attendance anyway. They came to see a train wreck; an emotionally-unstable black man with too much testosterone, self-destruct live on stage. Instead what they got was a lively yet not-as-threatening Tyson. A Tyson we can all feel comfortable around - again.
Overall not a bad show but truthfully, it was not the greatest one neither. I feel like I really didn't learn much new about Tyson and, no shade but I actually prefer the documentary. Also on a few occasions I got lost in parts of his storytelling, mainly because he would go off on tangents, which didn't really lead anywhere and had some very rough transitions between stories. Also some of the stories, while engaging, ran kind of long after a while, which made them flat. One such example of that is the Charlie Murphy-esque retelling of how Tyson got into a street brawl with boxer Mitch Green. I was laughing for the first five minutes and then, after the tenth minute, I started updating my Facebook status. If not for the picture of a bruised-face Green, I probably would have forgotten that story all together.
If I had to give it a rating, I would give it three stars-facial tattoos.
On Friday, I went to check out the Art Encology exhibition
at Vivant Art Collection, which kicked off during the Philadelphia First Friday Art Gallery Crawl.
I actually forgot that the crawl was going on until I arrive above ground from the subway and saw a bunch of people crowded onto 2nd Street in Old City. Over 40 galleries and countless more street artists participated in the crawl. And I have to say that it wasn't all junk – and I mean that sincerely. Like sometimes you go to these arts and/or craft fairs and there is nothing but a bunch of grimy hipsters hawking hand-braided, friendship bracelets while playing Call Me Maybe on the didgeridoo. Oh don't get it twisted, there was some of that poser bullshit afoot. But also, some really thoughtful pieces as well - now that I think more about it, I wouldn't mind seeing someone attempt Call Me Maybe on the didgeridoo. At least for the lolz...
I also overhead that Old City will be hosting a similar event – not just every first Friday of the month but the entire first weekend. So if you missed you still have time this weekend to check out all the wonderful, surreal, abstract and is-that-even-art
-art on display in downtown Philadelphia.
Anyway, the Art Encology exhibition was pretty cool. I actually met one of the artist; her name is Celestine Wilson Hughes and her medium is stained glass & metal. Her contribution to the exhibition was called Spiritual Harmony and, she says, in celebration of black womanhood. Using stained glass, metal, plastic beads and copper, Celestine soldered together what she felt represented the best of black women including nature, heritage and queendom. You can check out Celestine and her piece below, in addition to other highlights from the Art Encology exhibition at Vivant Art Collection.
Celestine Wilson Hughes
Diana Smith: Spirit Juice
Jerminah Kyle Drake: Message in a Bottle to a Blue-Black Baby in a Garage '82
Jerry Gant: Reverend Cilohocla's Crooked Holy Water
Kulture Krochet A Time to Wine & Dine: Tribute to Sarah Baartman
Fernando Carpaneda: Bacchus
Nina Boesch: NY Skyline (made with NYC transit Metro Cards)
Outside of the Philly area or don't think you will be able to make it out this weekend?
Don't fret; I remembered to pack my camera. Check out some of other highlights from the art crawl, right after the jump (Sorry, no hand braided friendship bracelets):
Beata Drozd's I'm Tasting the Stars during Art Enology, now on display through Monday May 6th.
We all like to drink wine - some of you fancy pants out there actually drink it from the bottle (as oppose as the box). However have you looked at a finished wine bottle and thought: Hmm, that might make a great political statement about over-consumerism, social inequality and the environment?
No? Well, I bet you are thinking about it now. And this weekend, the public will get their final opportunity (in the Philly area at least) to see the Art Enology exhibition, which is presented by Vivant Art Collection
and Souleo Enterprises, LLC,
which has managed to turn regular old wine bottles into unique and important pieces of fine art, as told through the vision of celebrated local and national artists.
The exhibition kicks-off this Friday during Philadelphia's First Friday Art Gallery Crawl Reception (Friday, May 3rd, 5pm- 10pm) in Old City and includes the work of 21 visual artists including Suzi Nash, noted LGBTQA activist and Joshua DeMonte, who is one of Smithsonian American Art Museum’s 40 under 40. In addition to the exhibition, both Souleo and the Vivant Art Collection are sponsoring a couple of wine-related events this weekend including Look Like a Collector, Drink Like a Connoisseur (Saturday, May 4th, 2pm - 5pm) panel discussion featuring real-life wine experts and From Picasso to Pablo Neruda: Wine, Art & Poetry (Sunday, May 5th, 2pm - 5pm), which features wine experts, visual artists and poets sipping wine and getting crazy
analytically (about wine) on an open-mic.
Oh and did I mention that there will be wine (sponsored by the Mouton Noir Wines)? In anticipation of opening night, I caught up with New York City-based curator Souleo, (by way of Florcy Morisset, owner of the Vivant Art Collection), to discuss the exhibition as well as get to the root of his fascination with wine bottles: C.B: People do lots of things with wine bottles but turning them into standing pieces of art is not necessarily one of them. Tell me, what inspired an exhibit around wine bottles?Souleo
: This exhibition was inspired by numerous visits to galleries and noticing that wine is always part of the ambiance but never the artistic focal point. I then began to research the topic of wine in art and learned that Picasso did pieces inspired by wine seen here
and that the Metropolitan Museum of Art has displayed ancient wine vessels from China seen here
. Therefore I felt that it was time to tap into this history and bring it forth with a contemporary artistic edge. C.B. What are some of the various themes folks can expect to see and how, as curator, did you choose the artists and themes to include in this exhibition? Souleo:
The artists in this exhibition have truly tapped into their imagination and are utilizing wine bottles and actual wine in ways, which I never conceived of when I first presented them with this idea. We have Beau McCall celebrating wine as a social lubricant and how we use it to mark special occasions. Jeremiah Drake has a profound message in a bottle to a child that he found in the trash in the 1980s in Los Angeles. So Jeremiah is using wine as a libation. Kulture Krochet used the wine bottle to pay homage to Sara Baartman a.k.a. "The Hottentot Venus", an African woman, who was exploited in Europe in the 19th Century for her physical assets. Jeffrey Allen Price was partially inspired by Hurricane Sandy which led him to smash several wine bottles into the shape of Manhattan. This can be read as a statement on environmental concerns and how we are "smashed" by the forces of nature. So the themes range from the fun and celebratory to reflections on political and social issues.
I selected the artists from a pool that I previously worked with during my exhibition eMerge: Danny Simmons & Artists on the Cusp and through visiting galleries and researching artists online. We also had a Philadelphia open call. Since these works are new commissions and the first time that many of these artists are using wine bottles I had to truly trust each artist to understand the concept and fully embrace it. So I reviewed their previous works, we had a conversation and from there I trusted their vision. So as a curator it was a scary process since I wasn't sure what I'd get but each and every single artist has exceeded my expectations.C.B. What kind of conversations/thoughts are you expecting to come after someone has viewed this exhibit?
I am expecting people to be intoxicated by the sheer creative energy on display. These are works that explore the imagination in ways that are universally engaging. I expect people to reflect on how much they enjoy wine, remember their hangovers, learn some history about wine and explore relevant social issues. And if the works on display don't intoxicate you then our servings of Mouton Noir Wines will.
I heard that!
Art Enology will run from Wednesday April 26th through Monday, May 6th, at the Vivant Art Collection gallery, which is located at 60 N. Second Street in Olde City, Philadelphia. For more information about Art Enology or other events at the gallery, you can visit the website here
. For more information about Souleo Enterprises, you may visit the website here
Also, to get a better visual of what you might expect, check out this video of past Art Enology exhibitions below:
I am well aware that the name Wyomia Tyus probably doesn't registered in most households. However, she is a historic track and field figure in both American and American black history, being the first person to retain the Olympic title in the 100 m, which she achieved in the '68 games.
If you recall, the '68 Olympics were also the games where fellow Team America track and fielders Tommy Smith and John Carlos gave the black power salute when they won their medals. Although Tyus didn't give the salute, she did wear black shorts in solidarity with Smith, Carlos and the other members of the Olympic Project for Human Rights.
On Thursday, just a day before the kick-off of the 2013 Penn Relays, Tyus was guest of the Center for Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania for the Race & Sports Lecture, which was hosted by Professor Kenneth Shropshire. Listen below as she not only discusses the controversial '68 games and her historic runs but also what it was like to meet Wilma Rudolph (before tying her world record); the politics of race and gender on and off the track; and why the glory days of sports were happening on HBCU (historically black colleges and universities) campuses.
If you are a serious fan of sports, you should check this out. If you don't like sports but can appreciate Black Women history, you should check this out too.
picture by Charing Ball
Check out this video of Immortal Technique freestyle at the 59th birthday/rally for political prisoner Mumia Abdu Jamal.
The birthday party/rally, which took place at the historic Church of the Advocate, 18th and Diamond Street, was organized by Students for Mumia (with the assistance of friend and teacher TJ Dean) in Philadelphia and featured a number of notable Mumia supporters including Pam Africa, Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, Philadelphia Poet Lyrispect and of course Immortal Technique.
This sign is posted on the top platform of the Broad Street Line at the City Hall station. There were three other identical signs posted at the entrance staircases to both Northbound and Southbound trains. The mere fact that we need not only a hotline but prominently-displayed signage should definitely serve as a wake up call that there are people among us - including some folks waiting beside you for the next train - who are being treated as chattel. Even in 2013 America.
Why doesn't Barack Obama rock his mustache, which, judging by the ever-present five o'clock shadow at even hours of the day, he clearly has?
Better question: what does this have to do with the title of this post? Maybe something. Or maybe nothing at all:
“...Any black person in America who's successful has to be able to speak several different forms of the same language. It's not unlike a person shifting between Spanish and English” - Barack Obama.
Yesterday, I attended a free discussion with H. Samy Alim, professor Education, Anthropology and Linguistics at Stanford University, who presented from the book, Articulate While Black: Barack Obama, Language, and Race in the U.S.,
which he co-authored with Geneva Smitherman. As the title suggest the title book addresses the question of how linguistics played in the election and reelection of President Barack Obama. As someone, who once took a linguistics class and almost got an “A” for my paper on the phonology within the Gullah Language (my poor spelling and grammar prohibited that from happening), I found this discussion quite fascinating. So fascinating that I actually purchased a book – at full price, I might add. I haven't read it yet (of course, because I just got it a few hours ago), however I want to share with you some interesting notes I took from the discussion, particularly how f President Obama is able us
selectively use speaking styles, or as Alim referred to as Obama English, communicated subtle messages both interracial and intra-racial.
For instance Obama's call and response style of interacting with people and using terms in speeches such as "dream deferred," "hoodwinked" and "bamboozled," served as subtle winks and nods to the African American community. Dream Deferred of course, triggers the time-honored poem by Langston Hughes (What happens to a dream deferred
? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore...) while the terms "bamboozled" and "hoodwinked" connects many black folks to Malcolm X, particularly a term he may or may not have actually spoken but thanks to Spike Lee's film X
, has become the synonymous with the slain black leader. So without actually speaking directly to black folks, Obama through the use of these colloquialisms and other gestures (including the now infamous Fist bump) was and is able to convey a message of special camaraderie to the black community, which might not be so obvious to people outside of that experience.
Likewise by drawing linguistically from the “Black preacher,” particularly the slow cadence, pregnant pauses and biblical references, had helped to put Obama firmly into a comfortable categorize for many white Obama voters, who might have been hesitant about, or didn't know what to make of, this Negro with a non-traditional American Negro past (i.e. born of one African parent, lived outside of America, educated in a madrasa, etc...). According to Alim, the topic of articulation is so essential to how one perceives Obama that it had been and still does continue to be referenced whenever folks, in particular white folks, speak about his appeal. This includes Joe Biden ("I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,"
); George Bush (“He’s an attractive guy. He’s articulate...
); former House Majority Leader Harry Reid ("light skinned" African-American "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one"
); Rush Limbaugh (“Obama can turn on that black dialect and turn it off.”
); and Rep. Joe Walsh (...they were in love with him because he pushed that magical button: a black man who was articulate, liberal, the whole white guilt, all of that.”
Alim said that while some writers, in particularly the blogger Undercover Black Man,
have noted that this emphasis on articulation at times does go beyond the Black/White binary, as in the case of former presidential candidate and Senator John Edwards, who during his run for office was too acknowledge often for being “articulate” and “well-spoken,” they tend to still exist in to note some level of distinction. Edwards, while clearly white, is from the South and has longed carried the torch for the folks in the “other America
.” So when folks speak of Edwards being well-spoken, what they really mean is that he doesn't speak like the rest of the poor and white rednecks. I thought this to be interesting as I have always wondered about the distinctions in how Obama's articulations are perceived within the black community? In particular his quoting of Young Jeezy and brushing his shoulders off like in the manner of Jay-Z. While accepted enthusiastically by many within the black community as a whole it is hard to deny that outside of the first black president, a young black man, particularly from a lower class community, quoting Young Jeezy and/or shoulder-brushing would be considered by most as acceptable behavior to emulate, especially in professional settings. I asked the professor if this distinction is addressed in the book, to which he replied: “Good question: Chapter five is for you.” And that is the story of how I ended up paying full price for a book.
So, I will likely delve into the book tomorrow while at the laundromat. I plan on reviewing it or at least doing a first chapter review. We shall see what the final verdict is however you have to admit that the book does seem very interesting.
Oh and back to the mustache thing: Traditionally speaking, black men have used facial hair to acknowledge, if not reclaim their masculinity
, an clean shaven face has also been tied to helping black men appear non-threatening in more corporate
(i.e. white) environments. Of course I don't have any proof that this is President Obama's aim. But I can't help but wonder if his clean shaven face is a matter of personal preference or is meant to articulate a certain level of comfort among folks, who still find him threatening?
Hopefully YouTube would violate this.
I was so ready to call this season a wrap. Seriously, the Walking Dead has long teetered on the line of being some emo-soap opera crap with zombies. And I thought last night's episode was about to cross over to full-fledged Dawson's Creek. I was about ready to move on to watching the replay of the Real Housewives of Atlanta when...holy freakin' crap, shit just got real.
Seriously a walker bomb? How crazy was that?
Usually I try to go in order of appearance on screen however I'm just going to jump right into the last five minutes of the episode, which ended in fire fight between our camp and Woodbury. Yes, it is true that the writers of this series love waiting until the very last few minutes of the episode to deliver on the actual action – a plot device, which will eventually grow tiresome - but I will certainly give them points for getting me with the art of surprise. That shot to the face was gruesomely perfect. Although we probably should have known Axel was a goner the moment they started to humanize the perv. However I will say that this episode was totally about redemption. The pervy guy (RIP pedobear) found his redemption and right in time too because he would hate to meet his maker with all that sin on his heart:
- I am so over the ghost Laurie. I don't really care about her or her strapless white dress. Boooo to her - literally. And I was about ready to declare that Rick be locked away in one of those prison cells – at least for his own good. I mean they let him wander around, outside the fence's safe zone, chasing shadows and shit. But then at the end, he got it together in time to help our heroes defend the fort from the Governor.
- Glenn is on a mission to restore his manhood, which was pretty much taken from him (by way of not being able to defend Maggie from unwanted sexual advances/violations) at Woodbury. Unfortunately, Maggie, who was actually violated, is just not interested in Glenn's feeble attempt at machismo. Between Glenn and Rick, there is way too much of that going on in the prison. And yet, notice how none of the other members of our gang is giving Glenn's leadership any mind? Anyway, he wants it back from the Governor and I have a feeling next episode will be a defining moment for Glenn.
- Shout out to T-Dawg. In the words of Beyonce and her backup singers, “Say my name, Say my name...”
- The contrast of suffering between Rick to Carol is amazing. If anyone deserves to start seeing dead relatives in white strapless dresses, it is Carol. However, she is just rolling along, getting her heart broken over and over again, meanwhile Rick is channeling Lionel Richie and talking to his dead wife on the phone. So yeah, I think it is safe to say that if there is defining martyr archetype on the show, it is definitely Carol.
- I feel for Darrell because his brother is truly an asshole. I'm not looking forward to Merle's redemption. Too many black bitches this and niggers that to ever see any redeeming quality in him.
And that's all I got for this episode. Like I said, the first 37 minutes or so fell pretty flat for me. Andrea, Woodbury and the Governor and his overacting are really starting to bore me. And so is watching Michonne sneak around the prison compound like a damn stray cat. At this point, I am so ready for our crew to move on already.
Prediction for next week: Tyrese and his crew come back and the black girls dies in the final showdown with the Governor; Rick gets another collect call from ghost Laurie, this time, he doesn't accept the charges.