The Cheesy vs. Corny Debate

Cheesy = kitschy; uber faux to be enjoyed ironically, nostalgic – in a good way

Corny  = out of place, outdated, nostalgic –but not in a good way

Feather Accessories = Corny

When I was coming up, the feathers were on ROACH CLIPS and everyone wore them in their hair.  I had no idea what the actual use of the clips was at that time, and I’m glad my mom did not allow me to wear them back then.  Every time I see a young’un wear a feather I chuckle to myself a little and flashback to when I begged my mom to wear roach clip feathers to a roller skating party.  Ah, if only life’s dilemma’s were that simple.

Yacht Rock = Cheesy

Big Earrings = Cheesy

jean overalls = Corny

TV show theme songs/old product jingles = Cheesy

Planking = Corny

TV Land = Cheesy

‘Cosby Sweaters’ = Dare I say BOTH?

What do you find cheesy or corny?  Please leave a comment.

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Pop Culture Life Story

If my life were comprised of movie or tv show plotlines, mine would be this:

Freaks and Geeks (TV) meets Everybody Hates Chris (TV) meets Welcome to the Dollhouse (Film) meets Saved (Film) a pinch of Glee (TV) meets Greenberg (Film) with a dash of Almost Famous (Film) and Cosby Show (TV). That’s eight.  Can you give me your pop culture life story in 10 references or less?

My band broke up and all I got was a lousy, bitter feeling in my soul

I used to rock (I didn’t listen to the haters I grew up with!). Rather, I used to be in a phenomenal band called RIB. We worked our asses off. We laughed our asses off. But we couldn’t agree on the business stuff, and we broke up.  A band really is like a family, and sometimes you just need to get away from your relatives.  Most of the crew is still out there gigging. Me?  I’ll get back to music eventually, but for now I am getting mentally and physically strong. I am incredibly psyched for ’12 and have other aspirations that may take me in a whole new direction.  

What I don’t miss:  The jealousies, ego trips, and insecurity that lead to our demise (guilty of all 3!). 

What I miss:

Engaging in the creative process with like-minded individuals

The inside jokes and cheesy pop song riffs for comic relief

Practicing our assess off

Playing 3 shows in 1 night

Playing to 3 people the night of a snowstorm

Our music – I’m extremely proud of the work we did.   I’ll post links/files at a later date.

So, to my RIB family – I think about you all of the time.  And who knows, perhaps the universe may throw us together again and we’ll be wiser, more secure, better musicians, and more successful.  Whether or not we reunite, I wish nothing but the best for each and every one of you.

Love,

 -D-

Blah Buster

In the advertising world, TV shows are considered “those things that air between commercials”.  In that vein, I must keep reminding myself that work is what happens between life events.  It’s easy to get caught up in a daily routine, which can leave one feeling productive by American puritanical standards, but personally unfulfilled.  If you are unemployed or underemployed, then stress and frustration are added to the mix.  Wanna shake things up and rejuvenate?  Here are 5 (it’s the 21st century, everything moves faster) quick ideas to break your malaise:

  1. Turn off the tech and grab a writing utensil.  Doodle. Make random lists. Draw a cartoon of yourself.  Free associate in your journal.   Write a fan letter. Write a letter to the editor.  Use snail mail to deliver. Support your local postal worker!
  2. Move your body. Perfect your push up.  Walk around the block. Grab your significant other and Get It On!  The endorphins will kick in and boost your mood and alleviate aches and pains associated with depression.
  3. Read a BOOK – you know, that tangible object with pages and with words.
  4. Train your brain. Try writing with your non-dominant hand.  Practice mirror writing like Leonardo Da Vinci.
  5. Take a 20 minute “power nap” or if you don’t have 20 minutes, meditate or sit quietly in your room for 5 minutes.

The point is to engage in an activity where the focus is on “being in the moment”; a happy distraction, if you will.  You may emerge from your moment with an idea for your job search or a new way to approach a problem.

Try it, you may be pleasantly surprised at the outcome.

84th Academy Awards Crowdsource Proposal

I admit it.  I did a little happy dance when I heard that Eddie Murphy was not going to host the 84th Academy Awards, but stopped dancing when I heard who’s stepping in: Billy Crystal.  This could go either very well, or very badly, and I do not want to see America’s favorite Fernando Llamas impersonator go down in flames. I loved him in Soap, SNL, and his 90s films (Norman, Hellooo!), but methinks the young ‘uns may not take to him too kindly.

Here are a few suggestions to keep Mr. Crystal’s hosting legacy alive and well. Crowdsourcing garnered hype for Snakes on a Plane and resulted in an SNL booking for Betty White (Wizard of Ass!).  Maybe Brian Glazer (producer) and Bruce Vilanch (writer) should consider the following:

The 84th Academy Awards: a crowdsource brief initiated by blogger readmyblipps and her readers

Proposed Theme: Team OSCAR®

 Opening (This will work regardless of the NBA season status):

Billy Crystal is the main or “coach” host.  Tonight’s game is at home (Grauman’s) against the Harlem Globetrotters.  (ruh roh Shaggy); The starting 5 Shaquille O’Neal, Aisha Tyler, Steve Carrell, Stephen Colbert, Queen Latifah (it’s time for her to graduate from the Grammy’s before she’s uninvited like she was with the People’s Choice Awards) are announced by Michael Buffer with the catchphrase “Let’s get ready to OSCAR®”; Team Jersey – Black with OSCAR® statue picture on front, player name on back in gold text. O’Neal is injured at the initial jump ball – and wait for it – Elizabeth Hasselbeck substitutes (!)

All of the above have tv experience, and can deliver the zingers without veering into Ricky Gervais territory (for the record, I love the UK and US versions of The Office). And even if they do, which they might, considering the upcoming election, the audience response will probably be, “Oh that, (host name here)!” in an endearing grandmotherly tone.

 Other ideas:

  • White Men Can’t Jump parody “Short, Funny White Guys Can’t Host the Oscars”
  • The Help parody “The Hosts” with Latifah, Tyler and Hasselbeck
  • Superhero team parody “Billy Crystal and the Fantastic 5 Save the OSCAR(S)®”
  • Break dance movie parody “BC and The Fresh 5”
  • “Oscar Hall of Fame” sketch-  homage to Crystal’s SNL old time baseball player mockumentaries
  • Grumpy Old Men  parody “Grumpy Old Hosts”
  • That’s Dancing!/That’s Entertainment movie musical parody “That’s Hosting!”

 What NOT to do:

  • Occupy parody
  • Twillight parody

Your turn…Pass it on

TV Commerical Dudes – Funny, Creepy, or Annoying?

Funny:

Allstate’s ‘Mayhem’

A T & T Taco Party Commercial “I like Tacos” guy

Funny and Creepy:

Geico Rod Serling-esque guy

Creepy:

the Burger King (yikes! – Reminds me of the clown in Poltergeist)

Progressive Insurance Marlboro Man/Stranger in town type guy

Annoying:

Planet Fitness Commercials’ “Bam!” Pec flexer guy and “I pick them up and put them down” guy

 

Comfort Food TV

The latest episode of Once upon a Time (Once) , “Snow Falls” won me over.  From here on out, it’s on my appointment tv list. As a fan of the program LOST, it’s good to see the parallel universe theme again, as well as strong female lead roles.

The basic premise of Once, produced by LOST writers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, is that the residents of Storybrooke, Maine are actually fairy tale characters cursed to a modern realm with no memoryof their former incarnations.

In the “Snow Falls” episode, we learn how Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) met Prince Charming (Josh Davis). There’s no eyelash batting here.  This encounter involves a carriage heist and kicking some major troll butt!  In the modern realm, Snow’s name is Mary Margaret Blanchard, a schoolteacher, and Prince Charming is a “John Doe” coma patient.  Other cast members include Jennifer Morrison, who plays Emma Stone, and Lana Parilla, who plays Regina Mills/The Evil Queen.  I could go more into their storylines, but it’s better if you watch this tale unfold firsthand. Once Upon a Time . To me, shows like Once give scripted OTA (over the air) network progams a good name.

Other fave characters/show/actresses:

Revenge (ABC sleeper hit) – Emily VanCamp and Madeline Stowe go toe to toe in the high class Hamptons

Lisa Simpson, voiced by Yeardly Smith (I still miss Herman’s Head!) – I can never get enough of the Simpson Family’s pearled, socially conscious, and saxophone playing voice of reason.

Conchata Ferrell of Two and a Half Men  –  I would love to see a Berta spin-off!

Mike and Molly – Melissa McCarthy, Swoozie Kurtz, Katie Mixon, Rondi Reed, and Cleo King are a great ensemble

Ditto for Big Bang Theory‘s  Kaley Cuoco, Melissa Rauch, and Mayim Bialik

Christina Applegate (I miss Samantha Who?) and Maya Rudolph of Up all Night

Pawnee’s Leslie Knope (Parks and Rec, Amy Poelher) and Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) of 30 Rock. What the heck, let’s add every former and current female cast member of SNL to the list.  John Belushi was waaay wrong when he said “Women aren’t funny”.

Speaking of funny women, EGOT (Emmy/Grammy/Oscar/Tony winner) Whoopie Goldberg reigns supreme!

Aisha Tyler – the former Talk Soup and 5th Wheel host is the real deal.  Though I would rather see her on The View than on The Talk.

Zoe Saldana – I’m still a little peeved that she was not on the 2010 Young Hollywood Vanity Fair cover, especially after appearing in box office smashes Avatar and Star Trek. She also rocks in Columbiana.

Wendy Raquel Robinson (The Game‘s Tasha Mack thank you very much)

Mara Brock Akil, writer and producer of Girlfriends, The Game, and Cougar Town.

Before the comments start flying, I do realize that the majority of the aforementioned are not women of color.   I chose the actresses because I admire them for their ability to commit and bring believability to their characters, pure and simple. Talent affords some actresses to pick, choose, and even produce their material, options which unfortunately many actresses of color are not offered. Unless you win an Oscar like Halle Berry, and even today she probably has to jump through an occasional hoop. And don’t forget, actresses have to eat (contrary to rumor they do eat) and make rent, which means sometimes actresses of color have to play to “type” sassy mama/round the way girl/wise old black lady roles. That needs to change. ASAP. (See Mara Brock Akil – she’s definitely a game changer, no pun intended). And don’t get me started on Tyler Perry. I’ll save that for another post, along with my thoughts on neo-blaxploitation film Precious, which I haven’t seen and will most likely NEVER see – I love 30 Rock‘s send up of the film in the episode “Emanuelle goes to Dinosaurland”  (Season 4 Episode 21) where Tracy Jordan’s (Tracy Morgan) oscar-bait film is called Hard to Watch: Based on the Book Stone Cold Bummer by Manipulate.

Perhaps it’s time for an “Occupy Hollywood” movement, where the 99%, including working actors/actresses, refuse to participate in, watch, or purchase content produced by the 1% that’s filled with intelligence insulting race, gender, and ethnic stereotypes.  With today’s technology the whole world really is watching. We deserve better.

Rebels with a Cost?

         The counter culture movements of the previous four decades are now nicely packaged and sold to us as retro or vintage. Case in point: hippie, punk and rockstar fashions can be found in any brick-and-mortar or online store today, ad naseum.   (I’d rather go here and here for my punk handbook).

Another example: Mad Men. Don’t get me wrong, the show is magnificently produced by Matthew Weiner and John Hamm is so very yummy, but I hope that the young ‘uns aren’t using it as their only 60s history reference.

Example #3: the line in the film Crazy, Stupid, Love where Jacob Palmer (played by the also yummy Ryan Gosling) says “They lost the battle of the sexes the minute they took pole dancing classes” – sigh, sometimes it seems like we haven’t come a long way baby.

Steve Jobs (RIP) was a rebel in his day, and he built one of the most successful US companies. During the deficit debate this past summer, it was revealed that Apple had more cash on hand than the US Government!

Are there any true rebels out there today? Or do we PC-litely explain it away as an “alternative lifestyle choice”?

I’m intrigued by:

Occupy movement – need I say more?

Steampunk – a growing segment in comic book/graphic novel/RPG fandom.

YarnBombing or fabric graffiti, and Craftivism.

Hackers -Some may argue that groups like Anonymous and Wikileaks are rebels in that they are fighting against what society values/hoards as currency, and in today’s technology driven world the currency is information.

Singularity theory by inventor Ray Kurzweil

Black Conservatives (emphasis on intrigued, do not necessarily agree with them)

I’m going to try to enjoy these movements, warts and all, in their purest form – at least until that W store starts putting ’em on their shelves.

Living in Moderation

As the holiday season approaches and our desire to indulge increases, I’m putting on my Oprah hat and suggest an experiment for the upcoming months.
Using ‘Eat to Live, Don’t live to Eat’ as a base adage, I will attempt to act thusly this season and beyond:

    • Spend to Live, don’t live to spend
    • Exercise to Live, don’t live to exercise and injure yourself (thx Jillian Michaels!)
    • Drink to be lively and engaging, don’t live to drink
    • Live to blog (insert hobby/passion) and blog for a living if you can
    • Resolve to Live and Live to Resolve
    • Live to Give to Others and Give to Others to Live

How would you modify the adage? Please leave a comment.

American Music

        I champion singer/artists/actors/musicians who are left of center (thank you Suzanne Vega!). In the music industry they’re called “crossover” artists, artists that do not necessarily fit the usual performer/audience demographic.

I also consider myself left of center, as one of the few black kids in the town where I grew up in the 1980s, I was teased for wearing a Def Leppard t-shirt (Pyromania), and heard “Black people don’t listen to rock!” countless times by my classmates (black and white) from middle school to college, but I digress.

Think Jimi Hendrix, Beastie Boys, Eminem, Kid Rock before he went southern rock, the 60s band Love, the rock band Living Colour, Prince, Lenny Kravitz, Charlie Pride, Darius Rucker – you get the picture.  Well, I’ve added The Carolina Chocolate Drops (CCD) to my champion group.  They are featured briefly in the PBS fall arts festival documentary Give me the Banjo – yes the banjo. Narrated by Steve Martin, the program succintly explains the banjo’s place in american music from plantation to the Grand Ole Opry to modern folk music.  Do I cringe a little when they discuss how one originator died broke, while another group sold hit records (you have to watch the program if you want specifics)? Yes, but I also value that artists like CCD truly respect and honor the soul and spirit of founding -and I mean it when I say founding- African-Americans, and play instruments.  Check out Give me the Banjo and challenge your preconceived notions of roots music.