Tuesday, July 31, 2007

the summer of soul: 40 years later...

heard my man Mark Anthony Neal giving a retrospective on soul music in 1967 the other day on NPR and figured i'd share with anyone who was interested. the music of the time chronicled the social changes that were underway.

one of my favorite periods of music occurred after that, the so-called blaxploitation era. you didn't necessarily have to see Shaft, Superfly, or Foxy Brown to know what was going on in the film - the soundtrack immediately brought you up to speed. it was audio cinema noir, sprawling and symphonic. present-day urban celluloid soundtracks don't work that way anymore. if anything, they're used more as a promotional tool for high-end artists and cats on the come up.

but i'll cut my views on early '70s sounds short for fear of getting off-track. this is about 1967 and the music of that time - particularly soul music and R&B. listen in for Dr. Neal's viewpoints on the Motown Sound, Stax, Atlantic, and much more...


"from NPR's Tell Me More w/Michel Martin

The Summer of Soul was about music that was more hot-buttered than groovy.The songs were a soundtrack for a period of racial tension and politicalchange that still resonates in many black communities."

Listen to Part One - July 20, 2007
Listen to Part Two - July 27, 2007

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Now I Get It: Mater Sings "Oom Papa Mou Mou"

I was walking along a pathway on Riverside Drive in Manhattan (right by the Boat Basin in fact), pretty mad about how the film I was PAing for was experiencing its recurrent logistical problems with location when it struck me, for no apparent reason: Mater from "Cars" doing a rendition of "Oom Papa Mau Mau" as he bragged about being the best at doing, would be extremely twisted. It would also be extremely expensive for Pixar to recreate in their award-winning style of animation, so I'm not surprised they only referred to it. Nevertheless, the thought made me laugh out loud so long and hard, I was nearly arrested by the extras posing as police nearby, waiting for a much-bigger-budget production to begin in the same location we were already filming in. Now do you get it?

I often break out in laughter days after witnessing or hearing something that I didn't necessarily understand at the time. And I'm told that I do the same to other people, so it's a wash. Actually, this is a diversionary epiphany, which happens very often when you're mad about recurring issues you have no control over. Oh, I'll post my ill dreams another time, but I just thought I'd share that. >;)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Dey Shootin'! Dey Shootin!!

Everywhere you go, there you are. Whoever said that was probably lost in the Bronx for quite some time...

My roommate and I were in the cozy comforts of our basement studio (still recovering from the flood, mind you), and as I wandered into the bathroom I distinctly heard the following:

Pow! POW-POW!!

As I checked the back of my pants, my roommate called out in fearful fashion. "Will? What was that? What was that??" Knowing that if I told her the truth, she would likely fret and fit and give me a really hard time, because that's what girlie-girls do in situations like that, I responded, "it was just a car backfiring." I had intended to wash clothes later, but now I was kinda feeling the funk as I pondered whether to find out what happened or just pretend that it didn't happen.

But you see, this is the Bronx. You can never hide from things like this, because it comes around even when you least expect it. My neighborhood is rather quiet and residential in appearance, and it's likely most of us would like to keep it that way. Pretending that it didn't happen is not an option that you should consider, because one day it might come closer to home than you could imagine, and then what... do you want everyone to pretend it didn't happen?

So I gathered my clothes and trekked outside on my way to the laundromat. The first thing I encountered as I went up the driveway leading from the back of the house to the street was the yellow tape. Crime scene tape. There were people standing around in groups, watching all the police wander around the street, entering and leaving the house two doors to our right. The people turned and stared at me, frowning. I considered asking what happened, but the tense looks I received told me to not bother, just go on about my business.

That would have been fine with me, except that as I went along and heard a group of teens laughing as they observed the scene, I became perplexed. Then as I was away from the scene and entered the laundromat, where no one had any notion that anything was amiss, I received the same hard stares I did at the crime scene.

Interesting what our priorities are, eh? But maybe I'm being harsh. If things like this are happening in the last place you would suspect, then I don't blame people for being more than a little tense. Nevertheless, I don't find any of it acceptable, so perhaps the best course of action is to not accept it, and move away from it. I find it difficult to deal with a person or people that accept violence as an unchangeable fact, but we're all entitled to call each other wrong. Right?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Why Live Hip-Hop Seems To Suck...

One of my favorite bloggers, Scott Long; a veteran comedian in the Windy City, posted an interesting query as part of a series that he calls "Please Explain" in which he wonders why certain issues are popular beyond common sense. I've responded on several of his issues before, but this is the first one after having created this blog, so I'd like to share my thoughts on this particular issue at his site. I admire Scott for his thoughtful candor, and though I disagree with him sometimes, I have tremendous respect for him, which I'm sure he is well aware of.

My comment appears as No. 14 >;)

Monday, July 9, 2007

Cartoon Crimmicismm...

I will shortly begin posting my comic strips; I know some have waited with baited breath to see them, and you won't be disappointed. In the meantime, while I'm currently PA'ing on another low-budget feature, I'll be posting some personal analyzes of currently published comic strips, which I will cull from the New York Daily News, as they have the most extensive comics page in NYC (despite the fact they trimmed a whole page and thought no one would notice...)

Now, you might say, "but Chyll, isn't that disingenuous; after all, you're a cartoonist yourself." And you're right in saying so, there's no way around that. However, I hope to be objective enough from a fan's point of view, as I have certainly enjoyed comics longer than I've made them (although the difference is slight, believe it or not.)

I had a mind to do this last year as I hemmed and hawed about building my own site, but I was recently inspired to announce this by recent events in one of my favorite comic strips, For Better or For Worse. Mad props to Lynn Johnston... and who knows, this might turn out to be an important feature down the line, considering there aren't a lot of comic strip critics out there. Film critics, yep, but comic strips, here's my niche >;)

I was reading the paper on Wednesday when I read that cartoonist Doug Marlette was killed in a car crash on Tuesday, July 10th. Marlette was a prolific editorial cartoonist and creator of the strip, Kudzu, not to mention a Pulitzer Prize winner. One of my teammates will have a fuller perspective and review of the man and his works shortly; I for one say it's a surprising and sad loss to the cartooning community. Rest in Peace.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

We Got Rodrigoed!

Yep, it happened to us as well, and it was just a matter of time. Somebody must be reading these posts because we got a post from some guy named Rodrigo, who may or may not speak Portuguese and is obviously a huge spammer. I've heard of programs that scan websites with open comments and automatically sends a form post; in essence another spam technique.

Still and all, it may mean that somebody actually is lurking about. I just know it wasn't any of my Bronx Banter bredren, so... I'm just sayin' >;)

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

a hip-hop pet peeve of mine...

if a rapper's name begins with either "Young" or "Lil'", they already have two strikes against them.

i'm just sayin'...