Thursday, June 30, 2011

Play Review: "The Motherf*** With the Hat"

On the same night that President Obama went to see Sister Act on Broadway my boyfriend and I went to see “The Mother***** with the Hat”, also on Broadway. And isn’t that what’s great about New York? Plays about singing nuns and plays about motherf*ckers within blocks of each other. Little old me and President Obama, both taking in a Broadway show on the same night. How ‘bout that! Here is what isn’t great about New York though…The ticket prices. But I digress.

This is a play starring Chris Rock that has been out for a few months now and just because it’s Chris Rock on Broadway I wanted to see it. So here is my unofficial review.

If you don’t like profanity, vulgar sex talk, coarse Bronx Puerto Rican accents and plays about recovering addicts this play is not for you. But who doesn’t like that stuff? If you can handle it then you will be entertained, you will get some great laughs (but it’s not technically a comedy) and you will also find yourself clutching your pearls and gasping. It’s a good time. I know why this play didn’t win any Tony awards. It’s not a great play. But I also know why the theatre was packed. Who doesn’t want to see a Broadway play with Mother***** in the title? At one point the words “dick” and “Aquavelva” were used in the same sentence and I leaned in and told my boyfriend I may be too young for this play. After the first act he commented simply “that was dope!” it was his birthday so I was glad I made the right call in getting the tickets.

Besides Chris Rock, the play stars Bobby Cannavale, Annabella Sciorra, Elizabeth Rodriguez and Yul Vaquez. All actors I have seen in various places before except for Elizabeth. And if you can’t quite place them, then that’s what the bios in the play bill are for. Chris Rock commented during a few interviews that he realized that he knew nothing about acting until he did Broadway and he has actually apologized for all of his previous movies. So if you hated any of his movies or his acting he’s sorry.

On the ugotthejuicenow rating scale I give “The Motherf*** With the Hat” two and a half out of four cups of juice. 2.5 cups for shock value, laughs, authentic accents, a great cast and a good rotating set.. I docked 1.5 cups because it has no universal appeal at all and I just know there are better written plays out there. But who cares.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hard Core Rap Fans.. Extinct?

Most rap fans I talk to these days have concluded that the only place to go for real rap music is to head underground. And I realized that names like Jay Electronica, Phil Ade, Action Bronson, B.I.G KRIT and others are the ones producing rap music. And Nikki Minaj, Drake, Lil Wayne and Rick Ross are producing popular music songs. Which are exactly what that genre title implies. The issue is that people of a certain age are used to the now "underground" rap music being the stuff that was main stream rap music in the 90’s and early 2000’s. A sound like Wu-Tang or Mobb Deep was our rap music. But today it’s underground or (cringe) old school. And it makes me sad. First of all I’m not sure I can keep up with all the underground artists, it’s not like there is one distribution channel for good underground artists. And there are a million rappin ass niggaz out there and how can I weed through all of them to find a good one? ipods make me less patient and less likely to commit to listening to someone’s entire album like I once did when their CD was in the CD changer. So I’m missing that intimate relationship that I used to have with a particular artist or a particular album. I no longer really know what song is coming next on the album and I no longer memorize all the lyrics like I used to. Very few artists (I use the term “artist” loosely) have playbackability (I heard that term from someone else and it was perfect so I jacked it). Even the artists that I do like, I don’t actually play their albums over and over like I used to and I’m not sure why. It could be:
  • That the music isn’t as inspiring
  • I’m getting too old
  • ipods are hurting my ability to focus on one album
Maybe it’s a combination of all of those factors. I actually found myself wondering at one point if I was even a fan of rap music anymore because I had gone such a long time without caring to hear any rap albums. But then I was introduced to some good underground stuff that re-awakened the thirst in me and I knew that girl was still there. The girl who incorporated Jay-Z and Biggie lyrics into answers to high school essay questions. The girl who went to Virgin with her brother at midnight to get Jay’s latest album as soon as it dropped. The girl who was so impressed with Beanie Siegal’s first album that she had to recite a few lyrics for her friend in a Loyola College dorm elevator full of amused and possibly mortified Caucasian peers. The girl who wrote her own rhymes to past time while studying abroad, then recorded her rhyme over a 50 cent instrumental and mailed it from Bangkok to NY so her brother could hear it ASAP (I also taped a pic of myself to the cassette case so I would have a makeshift album cover. It was called Live from Thailand. Inspired by Live from NY by Raekwon I think). The girl who was so excited to hear that Lil’ Kim was going to have a follow up album after Hard Core that she pulled the car over, found a pay phone and called a friend to tell her the new single was coming on the radio right now (yes the album was terrible and no I had no cell phone at the time). I won’t go on. But you get my point.
I miss being a hard core rap fan.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Happy Birthday Tupac

I came of age with Tupac. He was the first “grown” man that I fell in love with and I think I was probably 13.. His voice and his passion for whatever he was saying had me hooked. And my choosing him was important to me because my brother didn’t. And my brother taught me all I knew about hip hop. But Tupac was mine and no one else around me was really a fan but I loved him anyway. I fell for him when my aunt took me to see “Poetic Justice”. And do not ask me to recite all of his lines from "Juice".. because I will. “Strictly for my N.I.G.G.A.Z” kept me company and allowed me to maintain my angry and generally unimpressed teen age persona during long road trips with my family at that age where you are too young to opt out but too old to enjoy it. A friend gave me a Pac t-shirt with the image above on it. My parents wouldn't let me wear it outside. I still have it. I was in dance class on a Friday the 13th (of September) night when my hip hop dance teacher said “Yo, you heard about your boy?!” I hadn’t. I didn’t want to hear him and he seemed just too damn happy to tell me Pac was dead. So I just kept dancing and that night at home I cried. I had had a pretty rough day leading up to the announcement (rough for a girl 12 days away from turning 16) so I guess I had to let it all out using the news of his death as the straw that broke a teenage camels back. Sometime after that I found a huge, velvet, black light poster of him and it stayed next to my bed until about my sophomore year of college. Pac travelled with me. And then I let him go. I don’t care to ponder how he would have been now or what he would have thought about rap music or Barack Obama. I just know what he meant to me. Coming into my own, developing my own taste in music and in a man. I need a man with a voice! I knew that much at least. And being fine doesn’t hurt. I wasn’t na├»ve. I knew about his criminal issues but he was what he was.

Happy Birthday Tupac! Or should I say. Rest in Peace.

Monday, June 13, 2011

My Situation with The Puerto Rican Day Parade

The Puerto Rican day parade was yesterday. I have never been. So this is my perception and my cynical and often haterific (informed hate. Not just hate for hate’s sake) take on the situation. I had to use an image of Diddy at the parade because who loves Puerto Ricans more than Diddy?

I have always resented the fact that the non-Puerto Rican, black community (yes there are black Puerto Ricans and I hate that I had to add that but I did) loves this parade so much. Mainly black men who want to check out lots of Puerto Rican girls all in one place. As I have gotten older it doesn’t annoy me as much as it used to. But that is more due to my general older person fatigue with the issue and not because I don’t still think that black people’s (mostly men) worship of this parade is bullshit. Black people like Puerto Ricans because they aren’t black, yet they are more accessible than white people. They have flavorful food and music and sometimes similar style and similar societal issues to black people so you can’t really be accused of selling out if you date a Puerto Rican.  They are people of color but not black (not the ones they are looking at anyway) so it’s like this perfect middle ground. But how come black people don’t run to the African American day parade in droves? How come so many don’t come from out of state for the Caribbean day parade? (My cousin and some of his cousins once drove up from Maryland and stayed at my parent’s house to go to the Puerto Rican day parade. But he was half Puerto Rican so it’s ok.)

I once heard a radio DJ say Puerto Ricans and Blacks should stick together because we are all the same. I’m paraphrasing of course but um… NO. If you are a dreamer then you can say all people are the same or all people are children of God or we are all brothers and sisters if you are into that kinda thing but why just blacks and Puerto Ricans? Black people want to claim anyone that ain’t black because it just seems better than what we have going for ourselves. Maybe it’s partially due to our insecurity about not having our own language (don’t say ebonics..i’ll kill you, and Spanish doesn’t belong to Puerto Ricans but you know what I mean. The Spanish might say that Puerto Ricans don’t know Spanish either but that’s another post for a different person to write) or maybe it is because we are uninformed about our own culture and history because it was stolen from us and most of us haven’t really tried to get it back (I am by no means suggesting one should try to trace their roots back to Africa. But acknowledge that you have your own roots and stop trying to latch on to other people’s). It’s part of the same insecurity that makes Caribbean’s cling so hard to their individual island identities or that makes Africans terrified to be associated with black Americans. Puerto Rican people don’t walk around saying yes we are black it’s the same thing. And their Puerto Rican daddies don’t want their daughters with black dudes. They don’t even like Dominicans but that too is another post for another person to write.

I have love for all cultures and I like to learn about and enjoy aspects (mostly food) from other cultures.. I have no beef with Puerto Ricans. I spent my 30th birthday in Puerto Rico and had a blast. I think pride for your own culture is a beautiful thing but Black people should explore why they love Puerto Rican and other cultures so much more than they respect their own.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Die Hard

A few weeks ago I heard a news story about a newborn that was thrown 8 stories down a trash shoot in an apartment building and survived. It got me to thinking… If his teenaged mother didn’t want him then I can only assume she didn’t make regular doctor’s appointments, take pre-natal vitamins, go to Lamaze classes, switch to a diet of organic fruits and vegetables (she’d be hard pressed to find them in the hood anyway) and cut out caffeine. But despite the presumed lack of attention in the womb, lack of medical care, an unassisted at-home delivery AND being dropped 8 stories into garbage (I would want to bathe in a boiling tub of anti-bacterial gel and I’m no newborn). He Lived. And it made me wonder if it’s foolish to think we can control something like conception, pregnancy and birth. What I mean is, someone like me would have been careful and healthy to the point of obsessive and annoying if I were pregnant. I would want to do everything in my power to make sure I am healthy and the baby is healthy and people who are like me still have miscarriages or problems getting pregnant. Although I am not religious I know that doing “everything in my power” is all I can do and there is a large part of it that clearly isn’t in my power. It almost seems like if a baby gon’ live he gon’ live (almost) no matter what you do. And a control freak like me hates that idea. But the evidence is astounding (evidence meaning what I've heard, I have not performed any official studies). I recently read a book about a woman who was addicted to alcohol, promiscuous sex and drugs and had three abortions (she was white. Stop stereotyping!) and she still had a healthy child at like 40 years old. I am sure you have just as many similar examples. Look at Keyshia Cole’s momma. Seven healthy kids all while she was abusing crack. REALLY?! It’s almost maddening. But it’s one of the most humbling realizations that any of us can have. This is not meant to disregard the millions of babies born with complications due to improper care in the womb. But still. We aren’t really in as much control as we’d like to think we are. That’s not to say I’m not going to keep trying to be.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Anthony Weiner is our friend

Just because Anthony Weiner got caught sexting or sex tweeting or using social media to fulfill his need to be admired, looked at or desired in his draws, doesn’t mean he is over. Bill Clinton wasn’t over and he got real oral sex in the Oval office. If anything I think that maybe his constituents can relate to Weiner even more. Isn’t everyone abusing social media these days? Doesn’t this make him more of the everyday guy? During the 2008 election a co-worker and I were discussing Obama’s “Special Olympics” joke and the co-worker chuckled and commented that he thinks it makes him like Obama more. I knew it was because it made him more relatable when you realized that he cracks “retard” jokes just like you and your friends do.

I think a similar argument can work for Weiner. At the very least he should get more younger voters to support him because young people know all about posting something on facebook or twitter that they accidentally sent to the wrong person (or to everyone). Heck! I have done that over my company Instant Message service…. Twice! (but it wasn’t a photo of me in my Vicky Secrets so I didn’t stress it). We shouldn’t bash Weiner. We should embrace him for being as flawed as any other dude. And for being a liar about it like any other dude. The republicans are always trying to play the “ordinary people” angle. Why can’t Weiner? His situation is more comical to me than despicable. I don’t think he needs to resign. I think he should run for mayor.