Two more important ones I learned last night:
1. The Bachelorette is NOT set to record on my DVR. Oops.
2. It is a lot less fun to watch the Bachelorette on ABC's website at six in the morning (limited commercial interruption my dick). Especially when there's so much pretend rapping.
Which we'll get to. But, first, a date with Brooks.
They set off in the baby blue Bentley convertible, saliva streaming from their mouths (or at least from Desiree's mouth - lots of wiping), so Brooks can let his hair air-dry. Oh, but wait it never quite dries. If his look - the hair, the weird ring on his long, spindly finger - is intended to make him look like he recently stumbled away from Skid Row, then it's working.
Now, they're driving up a mountain, but WHERE IS SHE GOING? Please drive off. Nope. The Hollywood sign. It's the 90th anniversary so they're allowing people to have stilted conversations and kissings on one of the Ls. IT'S LIKE A FAIRY TALE. Surely this is a thing they're letting all people do, not just ones that are on ABC. (Fun fact: Tom Bergeron and Chris Harrison live in capsules beneath the Hollywood sign.)
Besides confirming yet again that the collaboratively edited online encyclopedia is a wack source for journalistic research, the rationale behind the deletion struck me as ironic considering how much "success" plays into the theme of the celebrated visual artist's latest collection. All Dat Glitters Aint Goals takes aim at the performance of success in black male culture by holding up a mirror to the absurd proliferation of niggerific images in contemporary pop.
Pecou's own international success in the art world has come largely from his penchant for pointing out such ironies. He tackled the cult of celebrity by turning himself into one. His resulting collection of "Fahamu Pecou is the Shit" self-portraits, painted with him gracing art-magazine covers, served as dual commentary on the art world's air of exclusivity and pretentiousness.
This time, his deconstruction of black masculinity also tests the limits of the fine arts world by taking the exhibit beyond the white walls of the gallery. In conjunction with the art collection, Pecou released a 5-song EP of original hip-hop inspired by, and titled after, the paintings in All Dat Glitters. Though the exhibit debuted last September at the Lyons Wier Gallery in New York, he's recently taken it into overdrive with the release of two new music videos for the project (see below the jump) and the announcement of a mobile app to be released next week. On May 31, the Fahamu Pecou Art app goes live on iPhones and iPads, featuring the current exhibition, accompanying music, and other interactive content.
The combined art and sounds of All Dat Glitters Aint Goals serve as both a cultural critique on the played-out tropes of black masculinity pervasive in mainstream rap and a grand lyrical statement of Pecou's alternative worldview. It's not the first time the artist - who penned his own lyrics for the project - has offered up a meta-rap critique. But while his former dabblings on the mic have come in the form of comic parodies (The Soggy Bottom Boys, Shit Gangsta Rappers Say), the All Dat Glitters EP is a serious work of art. He enlisted the help of a host of Atlanta-based hip-hop heavies, including producer Illastrate, emcees stic.man of Dead Prez, Yamin Semali, Methuzulah, Mike Flo, Ekundayo, DT, Boog Brown, Joe D, Massive, Divine, G.R.E.A.T. Scott, and vocalist Jamila Crawford.
When I visited Fahamu Pecou last August at his Decatur home, he was in his garage studio putting the finishing touches on "Shiny Things," the last painting in his latest collection. He'd just run out of some new glitter paint made out of gold and was planning to make a run for some more before the art store closed. When I asked him if it shined like gold on the canvas, he said it was so subtle that you wouldn't really be able to tell but the effect was still ill. It felt like a cool metaphor for the theme behind the whole exhibit. Below are excerpts from the rest of our conversation, including Pecou's honest query about how Gucci Mane sleeps at night, and his admission that he used to steal his big brother's raps back in the day and spit them at school as if they were his own.
Sounds like perfect fodder for a Wikipedia page, in case anyone's interested.
Can you break down the concept behind the project for me?
Naturally the two of us saddled up at the Little Creek Farm and Conservancy off of Lawrenceville Highway to take a gander at their grounds and consult with Dana McDaniel one of the three resident instructors. Founded in 2004, the conservancy is a 40-acre farm home to over 40 privately owned horses. Steeped in Southern history, the land has played host to less welcome horsemen, as well - General Stoneman's Union Calvary once recouped there before marching toward the Battle of Atlanta. After a brief stint as a dairy farm in the 1920's, the land returned to the horses in 1958 and has remained faithful to them ever since.
We learned the cocktail-shaker trick from Miles MacQuarrie, the phenom behind the bar at Leon's in Decatur. If you want to get all fancy about it, the traditional julep cup can be silver etched with some evocative pattern, but you can use an old-fashioned glass in a pinch. Beyond that, try not to take too many liberties - remember, this is the South, where appearances matter as much as what's on the inside.
What writer in his right mind would publicly demand credit for Tyler Perry's critically panned Temptation? That's exactly what William James did by alleging in a lawsuit filed this week in Indiana U.S. District Court that Perry stole the premise for Temptation from a novel by James titled Lovers Kill.
He claims in the lawsuit that he passed a copy of Lovers Kill to "an associate" of Perry's BFF Oprah Winfrey in the hopes that it might find its way to the film mogul's reading room. Satisfied that it did, now that Temptation has reaped a cool $49 million, James is asking for monetary damages and a change to the beginning and ending credits to read: "Based on the novel 'Lovers Kill' by William James."
I hope for his sake that a financial come-up is worth the risk of ruining his name by association. Apparently, he and Perry have something else in common because James obviously has not been reading the critical backlash sparked by Temptation, much of which has blamed Perry for perpetuating rape culture with his latest morality tale. The story revolves around a young unhappily married woman (Judith) who falls in lust with a horny Internet mogul (Harley) after he seduces-slash-rapes her on his private plane. If you need a plot breakdown, they're all over the Internet - as are the take-downs, this one courtesy Jezebel's Lindy West, which picks up after the rape scene:
On the same day that Korean pop phenom Psy was on his way to breaking another YouTube record with the release of his follow-up video to "Gangnam Style," Atlanta-based spoken word artist Antony Bui was busy garnering his own hype with a verbal smack down of pop culture's decades-long perpetuation of corny Asian stereotypes. In his poem "Bruce Is Back" (above), Bui humorously theorizes about Hollywood's insidious plot to desecrate the Asian American image ever since the 1973 death of "strong," "sexy," "ass-kicking" film and martial arts star Bruce Lee.
"Bruce was just too good of an Asian man prototype," he muses out loud. "Somebody had him killed, and I bet you it was the same douchebag who came up with that small penis stereotype."
Besides serving as a sharp, comical critique on the one-dimensional geekification and desexualization of Asian males by mainstream media, it offers an alternate take on the widespread view that Asians are the most culturally assimilated among non-white ethnic groups in America. Bui won first place with "Bruce Is Back" at the sixth annual Kollaboration Atlanta talent showcase, an Asian American performance artists platform for which I served this year as one of seven judges. After hearing his poem, I talked to the 22-year-old about his thoughts on K-pop, Asian assimilation, and how he (among others) is using YouTube as a burgeoning filmmaker and first-generation Vietnamese American to counter the BS.
Your poem "Bruce is Back" reminded me of the kind of politically charged, conscious spoken word that came out of the African American community in the late '90s. It was refreshing to hear that Asians are pissed too.
Yeah, that's a great way to put it.
Are those the themes you usually tackle?
Typically, no. I usually write just kind of about how I'm feeling. But this was something that I felt like writing after my friend Kavi Vu won Kollaboration last year. She and I kind of have this friendly rivalry and I really wanted to beat her. So I was trying to think of a topic that would really excite the crowd and get a strong reaction.
This is one of the biggest issues for Asian Americans; specifically, I wanted to write something that I could relate to personally so the way Asian American men are portrayed in the media was a great topic.
When you mentioned Psy in the poem, it made me think about how much K-pop regurgitates western culture, even though western culture revels in all the Asian stereotypes you denounce in your poem. What do you think about the K-pop phenomenon and Psy's crossover success?
I think it's great that Psy's broken so many records. I never thought I would turn on [Atlanta's No. 1 urban station] V-103 and hear Korean pop music playing. It's like the craziest thing. My only thing with Psy is I really have to wonder why he got so popular in America. Because I'm not sure if people are laughing with him or at him. He's kind of like a fat guy, he prances around and he's kind of perverted. He's kind of a goofy looking guy. I don't think you would call him sexy. And in that way he kind of fits into the Asian American stereotype of a desexualized person.
"Everything you say is interesting. I don't know what it is but every experience you've had is interesting to me." - Jimmy Kimmel, to Mike Tyson
There's something about Mike Tyson. Especially when he sits down on a couch and the cameras start rolling. Whether he's groveling on Oprah in front of his former ear-bite victim Evander Holyfield or telling Conan about the time he got Las Vegas police to escort him to the dope house while high, he's such an unlikely but highly likable communicator. Sure, his diction is fucked and sometimes he tongue-twists his syllables and says something like "West Vile Nirus" on Jimmy Fallon instead of "West Nile Virus," or lets out a random Neanderthal growl (3:50 mark above) when at a loss for words. Yet somehow he's emerged as an eloquent storyteller, if only because the story of his life is so fascinating.
Emory University might seem like an odd place for the Mothership to land, but in this case, George Clinton would likely approve.
It certainly seems appropriate that an AfroFuturist conference titled "Alien Bodies: Race, Space and Sex in the African Diaspora" would take place this weekend on the home turf of resident ATLiens OutKast and their musical ilk. Even the conference logo is designed by Atlanta-based artist/musician Corrine Stevie, who describes herself as an "oddity."
In the last decade, AfroFuturism has increasingly grown as a field of study among academics attempting to encompass a wide breadth of what Dr. Alondra Nelson of Columbia University calls "black artistic diasporic production."
From the spaced-out free jazz of Sun Ra to Octavia Butler's speculative science fiction, there's a rich lineage of black artists and writers who bridge the historical worldview of African-American alienation and otherness with an undying sense of hope for the future.
In the video below, keynote speaker Dr. Nelson places another resident ATLien, Janelle Monáe, in the context of AfroFuturism. She speaks Friday at 4:15 p.m.
The conference, which continues Friday and Saturday, Feb. 8-9, includes a mishmash of topics related to the state of black identity, especially as performed within pop culture. Just check out some of the provocative titles of papers being presented:
>> "Listening to The Love Below: Outkast's Afrofuturistic Eroticism" (James Ford, Occidental College)
>> "Auto-Tune's pitch syncopation and the alien temporality of blackness" (Matthew Won, Independent Scholar)
>> "Fear Into Fire: Reclaiming Black Male Identity Through the Art of Tattooing" (Nicole Harrison, New York University)
>> "Becoming Wifey: The (Re)construction of Gendered Bodies through Basketball Wives" (Stephanie Jones, University of Georgia)
>> "We have very little in common with the vampires Bram Stoker described in Dracula: Afrofuturist Feminism in Black Women's Vampire Literature" (Susana Morris, Auburn University)
Walking Dead ain't got nothing on Georgia's 'real' zombie fighters:
When the Zombies Come, a nearly 10-minute mockumentary set to air at this week's Sundance Film Festival has already racked up more than 55,000 views since debuting on YouTube less than 24 hours ago. But the setting for the "hardware store in the middle of nowhere" isn't quite as remote as we're led to believe. In fact, it's shot right here in metro Atlanta at an Ace Hardware on Dogwood Road in Lawrenceville.
A store associate named "Joey," who declined to give his last name, said he couldn't comment on the video and referred us to Ace's corporate press office. (We've called, and will update when we hear back).
At least one of the employees is currently on vacation, attending the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
Apparently, Ace Hardware didn't find the video as amusing as the thousands of other folks who stumbled across it online. Shortly after the video was posted to YouTube yesterday, Ace left this response:
No Broch. The DA just works for The Man.
"It nothing more than racism in action, the man is always trying…
It nothing more than racism in action, the man is always trying to keep a…
Boy, what I'd pay to see www's cast emerge from a clown car. Reminds me…
I sincerely apologize for not proofreading.
They are all sociaopaths. Damn good ones at that.