Sunday, March 11, 2007 

Three Kings

"1970 somethin'..."

'72 to be exact. Christopher Wallace was born and ten years ago, on March 9th, 1997 he was taken from us. I've always celebrated his life in my own way but on this 10th anniversary of his passing, my tradition of playing his music all day long was aided and abetted by a few stellar mixtapes. On Thursday the 8th, around 10pm I started by listening to READY TO DIE from beginning to end before putting in Mr. Cee's first tribute mixtape from a few years ago. As the morning of the 9th rolled around, I woke up to BED-STUY MEETS BLUE EYES, the Frank Sinatra/Biggie mashup. During the day, Mr. Cee's latest 10th Anniversary 2-CD tribute was the soundtrack. As the sunlight faded, day turned to dusk and the temperature dropped, Mick Boogie's TRIBUTE TO BIGGIE SMALLS (which crushes that DUETS album that came out in late '05) hosted by Diddy himself ended things on an extremely high note. I listened to the black Frank White's timeless vocals over the instrumentals to recent hits and realized that even though he's gone, he is still the King of NY and yes, we'll always love Big Poppa.


Sometimes "super soldier" serum isn't enough. Captain America is dead, his life claimed by three sniper bullets to the abdomen. The issue hit newsstands this past Wednesday and Marvel, to their credit, was able to keep this Earth-shattering and dramatic turn of events under wraps unlike DC and their Doomsday/"The Death of Superman" debacle back in '93. Steve Rogers wasn't killed by some disposable villian or all-powerful alien but rather a simple, cowardly assassin as he climbed the steps of New York's Federal Courthouse, still clad in his iconic and timeless red, white and blue costume. Rogers was 66.

"He hasn't been living in the modern world and the world does move," says Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Queseda.

Queseda said he wanted to readers find their own meaning in Cap's end.

"There is a lot to be read in there. But I'm not one who is going to tell people, this is what you should read into it, because I could look into it and read several different types of messages," he told CNN.

The CNN story (please watch to get the full story on the current "CIVIL WAR" storyline) also asks how “real” the death is, to which Quesada replied:

"There was period in comics where characters would just die and then be resurrected. And the death had very little meaning and the resurrection had very little meaning," he said. "All I ask of my writers is if you're going to kill a character off, please let that death have some meaning in the overall scope of things."


At a messageboard yesterday I learned that on Wednesday March 7, director Andy Sidaris had succumb to throat cancer and passed away at the age of 76 . Shockingly, a lot of people (at an adult movie forum, no less) didn't even know who he was. I attempted to explain:

"Anyone that spent any considerable amount of time awake late-nights back in the late '80s and early '90s should know his work even if you don't know his name. Without Mr. Sidaris I might not have ever known who Julie Strain was (who, oddly enough, is married to Kevin Eastman, co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).

Director Andy Sidaris, left, and actress Julie Strain during the production for the movie RETURN TO SAVAGE BEACH in this file photo from 1997, in Malibu, Calif. Sidaris started his career in television sports and finished it surrounded by scantily-clad B-movie beauties.

I think my first look at his movies came in '88 at a buddy's house, when I saw PICASSO TRIGGER (and by association, Roberta Vasquez...sooooo my type!) on Cinemax. I followed his "bullets and babes" movies from that point on, right up 'til RETURN TO SAVAGE BEACH in 1998. His casts (consisting primarily of Playmates and Penthouse Pets) intersected perfectly with my growing interest in the Playboy Empire at the time. It was a good time to be a fan of both."

Rest in peace, all of you.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007 

Can I Talk My Shit Again???

"They shoulda never gave you niggas money!!!"

These are the type of news items you see and you don't know if someone is reporting a gross inaccuracy or if a celebrity can really be this excessive or eccentric. I read stuff like this and wonder if today's artists have time to watch VH1's Behind the Music. I mean, c' your money! Fame does not last forever, 'Ye...especially in music.


LONDON - If Kanye West were to walk into the British Raj's dining room and order dinner, it would cost the rapper about $17.50. But since the restaurant is delivering — from Wales to New York — it's going to cost a bit more.

For a feast of onion bhajees, chapati breads, biryanis, pappadums, a specially prepared fish dish and vegetables on the side, the bill will top $3,900, plus travel and accommodation for the restaurant's head chef.

The meal was requested for West and seven guests by a music promotion company, the restaurant said Sunday. The company had previously ordered food from the restaurant near Cardiff, Wales, for an after-show party for a Snoop Dogg concert in London.

But this is different. Normally, they don't deliver outside a 3-mile radius of the restaurant, which is about 150 miles west of London.

"I was horrified when I heard about this request because of the distance involved," said the restaurant's head waiter, Tarik Mohammed. "It's a long way, and our reputation is on the line. We are doing every thing to make sure the food gets there safely and every thing is aboveboard."

The meal will be prepared, cooled, shrink-wrapped and packed in dry ice in the British Raj's kitchens and — along with head chef Kaysor Ahmed — will be helicoptered from Wales to London's Heathrow Airport on Tuesday.

From there, the chef is to hop a flight to New York — monitoring the food's temperature all the way — clear customs, and head for Manhattan, where the meal is to be served during a meeting Wednesday.

The fee was arrived at by estimating the restaurant's takings for two evenings, the time Ahmed will be away, Mohammed said.

Friday, March 02, 2007 

Slipping Into Darkness

THE DESCENT was the best horror movie of 2006. But it's Natalie Mendoza's cave that I wanna get lost in.

I'm not big on horror movies. Scratch that. I'm not big on modern horror movies or at least the movies released nowadays that shamelessly attempt to pass themselves off as legitimate inclusions to the genre. I gave SAW a chance and I'll never forgive the person who was responsible for that lapse in judgement for as long as I live. That's how terrible it was. The fact that a new SAW gets churned out before the previous installment has even finished its theatrical run and people still line up in droves to go see it...well, I guess you could say that's the only thing about the franchise that I find truly frightening. Give me the original TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, THE EXORCIST, PSYCHO, CARRIE and THE SHINING over HOSTEL, HOUSE OF WAX, WOLF CREEK, SILENT HILL or HIGH TENSION any day of the week. Though I will admit to being disturbed for a good while after seeing THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT and I liked 28 DAYS LATER well enough.

Another rarity in modern horror, something original, came along recently and I knew the second that the trailer was over that this British thriller would be right up my alley. THE DESCENT (not to be confused with THE CAVE) takes horror back to the basics (and ups the "personal" horror ante for me by taking place in the Appalachian Mountains much like BLAIR WITCH did by being set in Maryland). There aren't any invincible serial killers, unnecessarily gory or graphic deaths just for the sake of gore and graphic death and most of all, it doesn't rely on cheap musical cues at just the right moment to get you to jump rather than actually startling you. See this and you'll remember what it's like to see a movie that has an actual mood, pacing and that builds up genuine tension. It's just six innocent female explorers hopelessly lost, unceremoniously trapped and short on supplies. In the dark. In an unexplored cave (thus, on top of not having a map of the cavern, any chance for a rescue is out the window). Which is all plenty scary enough by itself. Then the ladies start to run into some really, really nasty and bad things lurking down there. But I don't want to spoil it for you. The director Neil Marshall (DOG SOLDIERS) described it as "DELIVERANCE goes underground." The best way to get maximum enjoyment out of this one is to go in knowing as little as possible (kind of like THE MATRIX). But do remember to recommend it to friends who haven't seen it when it's over.

I'll be honest: THE DESCENT is a great movie and that quote in the trailer about it being a "new horror classic" might not be that far off. But that isn't why I took the time to blog today. Nope. The real reason is Natalie Mendoza (pictured above and below). Natalie plays the headstrong Juno, self-appointed leader of the spelunkers and adrenaline-junkie, thrill-seeking organizer of their little annual field trips. Not only is she a looker and bad as hell appearance-wise but when the shit hits the fan, Juno is the most physically bad-ass character in the movie, too. I just had to throw up a few pictures of Natalie and cross my fingers that we'll see her again in something soon.

By the way, if you do decide to rent or purchase THE DESCENT please, please, please get the Original Unrated Cut. I was talking to a friend who saw it in theaters and the theatrical ending is way more "Hollywood" and reassuring than the original, bleak ending included on the DVD. Lest you think this is simply a "good day gone horribly wrong" movie, know that there is some story here. It begins with all of the girls at a similar get-together, one year prior, where an unexpected tragedy occurs giving us some history, a bit of character development and if you have a sharp eye, a situation or two that come into play later (and possibly justifies some questionable actions). The dynamic between the girls on this expedition shifts and changes due to their past and their level of trust in one another; it brings some of them closer together or possibly turns others against each other. Trust me when I say it's one horror movie that will require repeat viewing to pick up on everything (not to mention the visual similarities and allusions to several great horror classics of the past).

Or just because it's so damn good.

And Natalie. *drools* Don't forget her.