Monthly Archives: March 2006

Reality Check

Quote of the Day: “Simple joys have a simple voice: It says why not go ahead?” — “Simple Joys”, Stephen Schwartz’s Pippin

Well. Check out lil Miss Chloe, winning it all on Project Runway. I came to the PR show late in the game—didn’t watch at all last season and only caught the marathon last week—but I became officially obsessed with it. As obsessed as I was with the whole fashion thing back in the 90s, going to Bryant Park and the parties afterward, chilling with my model friends (shout-outs to Cynthia B. and Veronica and Boxwill and Tyson and Wale and Jeanine and Mirella and all y’all beauties) who taught me that good modeling was more in the carriage than the looks, and (via some others, not them) that some of the most beautiful faces in the world came attached to some of the dumbest people I’d ever met, but I digress. Thought I was rooting for Daniel until I heard Chloe’s backstory about the camps and her family during the Vietnam War. Was still sorta rooting for Daniel, especially after that nice piece he whipped together at the final moment. But I had a little tear in my eye when Chloe took the whole thing. I’ll be back next season; must see Reality TV, up there with Amazing Race, Big Brother, and …

The show that really obsesses me. American Idol. First of all, thank you America, for saving us from the singular un-talent that was Brenna Gathers. Never have I seen such show-boating on such an empty body of water. I knew she was trouble when she told Simon “Let’s make some good TV” on her way out after finding out that she’d made the Top 25 or whatever. I guess sista had to find out: when you’re bringing that kind of ‘tude to the party, you better make sure you have enough breath (or hot air???) to blow out all the candles. After mangling Stevie and Donna songs in back-to-back weeks, America finally said “Enough!” America, I still hold a major fucking grudge against a bunch of y’all for voting Bush in for a second term, but I thank you with all my heart for getting this vote right. So…

You might as well know right now that Elliot Yamin is my favorite of the bunch—the women are, for the most part, rather lacking in luster (other than Mandisa and Katherine). Yeh, I’m not mad at Gedeon’s old-school gyrations and vibrations—though I hate to hear his Seinfeldian slow-talking, like either he’s reading cue cards or he thinks we’re all dumb (or just models?); I like Chris Daughty, though the over-modulated rock shouting might take it’s toll (on him and us) by the time the inevitable Barry Manilow week rolls around; loooove Taylor, with his white boy soul stuff and stiffer-than-my-dick dance moves; I even sorta like my Long Island homeboy Kevin, though he’s probably better suited to a touring production of Hogwarts! The Harry Potter Musical than he is American Idol-dom. Style points to pretty-boy Ace for singing “Butterflies”, one of Michael Jackson’s late-career beauts, but, regardless what Randy and Paula told him last week, his falsetto is, at times, a weak, chaotic mess. Yes, peeps, when it’s all said and done, it’s all about Mr. Elliot for me. Smooth, in control, musical without being melismatic—he had me with one my favorite Stevie songs first week and kept me with “Moody’s Mood” the second week. The Bryan Adams thing did nothing for me, but I was still most eager to hear what he would do with it. How sad is it that homeboy is 90% deaf in his right ear and STILL seems to hear music 95% better than most of the women and half of the men? That’s talent, baby. I even think he’s sorta adorable. I hope he makes it to the end, even thought I know he won’t. But can I make a few suggestions? Can we either get rid of Randy Jackson or buy him a thesaurus? The most inarticulate black man on TV is not supposed to be judging one of my favorite shows. I know he works in the music industry, where you’ll meet some of the most ridiculously dumb and inarticulate people talking loud without ever saying a damn thing worth hearing, listening to or repeating, but come on Randy, change it up just a little, can’t you?

Let’s see, what else has been in the SPB world lately…Still spinning the James Blunt CD Back to Bedlam. “Wisemen” is the track I’m playing most these days. It’s made it’s way to three mix CDs in the last month. A sign of obsession for me, yes. Another song I cannot get out of my mind is “Boston”, by this group Augustana. Pretty as fuck, it builds to a climax of such lovely fury it’s almost scary. Passionate youthful alt-rock without the whininess so common to the genre lately….Back when I was a college kid, I became obsessed with this song called “Forever Young” by a group called Alphaville. I correctly surmised back in 1985 to a group of friends that the song would be our “nostalgic song to remember”, a touchstone of sorts to our crazy, hazy college days. We were the kids who were in elementary school when Happy Days was on TV, in junior high when Grease was a movie hit and in high school when The Big Chill came out, so we knew all about nostalgia, were, in fact, nostalgic for nostalgic things way before we were old enough to have anything ourselves to be nostalgic about. So “Forever Young” resonated with me, with us, and my statement came out of that. Now, I’m old enough to clearly remember the original as I play Youth Group’s cover of it, which gets played all over The O.C.. It’s not bad, lacking a little of the original’s soaring passion and delivery, but I guess that’s apropos for the emo generation, right?

On the book tip, E. Lynn Harris’s newest is about to arrive in my mailbox any day now. Looking forward to taking that on vacation with me. Will also be taking Jackie Collins’ Lovers and Players, in which La Collins tackles the world of hiphop. I’m hoping it’s not as derivative as the title is—Lovers and Gamblers turned me out when I was fourteen—but Jackie can get a little auto-pilot on you when she wants to. But she’s with a new publisher now, so maybe there’s a new spark. And maybe not. But she’s always fun at the least, even when she’s not being the page-turning master of trashtastic fabulousness that she can be. I wanted to be Jackie Collins when I grew up, only with a dick and more urban point of view. I wanted to create a big bold sexy commercial novel like that. I don’t think it’s as easy as it looks, but I still might be giving a try one of these days.

Movie-wise, I’ve sorta been out of the loop. I really enjoyed Something New. Mainly because I love both the leads, Sanaa Lathan and Simon Baker (the hot Australian dude who used to be on CBS’s late lamented The Guardian) and I could see myself as the filling in a nice Sanaa/Simon/Scott sandwich. The flick was better than the critics gave it credit for, funnier, smarter, surer, and way necessary as far as I’m concerned. I heard a lot of peeps say they didn’t see it because we don’t need any movies about black folks in love with white folks. As usual, too many of my beautiful people wanna keep their heads in the sand about something going on in the community, like if we don’t look at it, it won’t happen. Oh well. As far as the love piece goes, we need movies about love period, whoever the partner is, whatever color they are. Which is why I loved Dave Chappelle’s Block Party so much. (See my review at AOL Black Voices here). It was about love. And joy. It was about black people relating to each other and to others. The only cynicism on display came from that Wyclef dude who doesn’t seem to have much to say of any consequence without Lauryn Hill by his side. I’m all about joy these days. Even if ya got something nasty to say? Say it with some joy in your heart and stand by it. I know happiness might be an overrated virtue, and might be hard to come by for some folks, but joy is all around you. Reach out for it. Share it. Feel it.

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