Friday, April 30, 2010

Words cannot express the genius of this video

This may be the fifteen greatest seconds to ever hit youtube. This is a classic piece of comedic randomness.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The greatest scene in movie history

There are not enough superlatives I can praise upon this classic moment of cinema.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

And another great 80's cartoon parody

The best line is Prime's line to Blaster:

"Blaster....ahhh shit! What's up you motherfucker?!"

ParodyJay is a genius..

I love how of Skeletor's sinister plans in these parodies revolve around getting laid with the Sorceress. No wonder he's the ruler of Snake Mountain- he's got all of his priorities in order.

Treme Season 1 Episode 3- "Right Place, Wrong Time" review

Story by David Simon and David Mills
Teleplay by David Mills

"Without that horn, I can't make a living."- Antoine

The third episode of Treme is setting things in motion beautifully and first and foremost, I saw the opening credits and felt sadness when I saw that this episode was written by the late and great David Mills. RIP David.

LaDonna is still one of the most fascinating and strong characters on the show. With all the things that she has had to juggle simultaneously, it's a miracle, the woman is even able to stand upright. She has to deal with keeping her bar afloat (not to mention the roofer still refusing to finish the work she paid him to do), finding her brother, taking care of her mother, and being a mother for her own children- it's just a miracle that the woman keeps going. And Khandi can portray that toughness beautifully whether it be a look (which she gave the secretary at Bernard's office) or through the bitterness in her voice when she called Bernard (I love how she was able to play up her sugary side on the phone, then without missing a beat, hangs up the phone and mutters, "Motherfucker!"). So far, the search for her brother, Daymo, has been fruitless, but she at least, can trust that Toni is trying to help her.

For whatever reason, Larry seems hesitant to help his wife out. LaDonna states that Larry's family (including Bernard) looks down on her. Could Larry be trying to save face for his family? Does he share in their sentiment? More than likely, he's trying to avoid any possible shitstorm being created by having LaDonna keep distance from Bernard. But, LaDonna is persistent to say the least. And next week, it seems like Anwan Glover (aka Slim Charles from THE WIRE) is in another episode of TREME, so perhaps, he is going to be recurring in this world somehow. I look forward to seeing how he is connected to this storyline with her missing brother.

The women of Treme are very compelling and in many ways stronger than the men on the series (quite a contrast to the male-dominated world of The Wire). I am really enjoying the storyline with Janette, who like LaDonna, is trying to survive after the devastation. First, her meat supplier, has heard that she is on tough times financially, and is cutting her back to week-to-week payments, and then, Janette (after a beautifully played moment of deliberation by Kim Dickens) decides to have sex with Davis again. Whether it was the dinner or the pain forcing her to fill the void (I would say it was a little of A and lots of B), Davis reaped the benefits of spending his check on Janette.

It was nice to see Davis have a one on one with his neighbors regarding his treatment of them. He discovers that his assessment of them is off-base- they are as steeped in the history of Treme as he is. And as natives, they know about the music and culture. But, Davis, can't accept it- and in a moment of pomposity, refuses to mend the fence. He alleges that they are calling the police about his music, which they deny. I believe the neighbors, and I think it's someone else who is tipping the cops off.

Although, I do think Davis' arrest was completely justified. As Albert said in the last episode to Delmond, it's about how you to talk to people. Davis' main problem is that he has no semblance of tact whatsoever. Like Toni stated, you don't tell the National Guard to fuck off. And, it was nice to note that Toni informed him, that they busted David but let his black friend go. So, it's not a simple clear-cut and cliche case of race or class bias.

However, Antoine's arrest was completely unwarranted. Speaking of Antoine, it was nice to see Wendell Pierce open the episode up being the charming Lothario he is, showing the stripper at the club he's playing at, why the refer to his musical instrument as "the bone". And I guess, Antoine had a little left in his tank when Desiree called him out to prove his fidelity by forcing him into another tryst. The look on Antoine's face was comedic gold.

But, there is a beautiful moment when Antoine runs into Sonny and Annie and starts to sing with them. Antoine, in a moment of drunken clumsiness, accidentally bumps into the NOPD squad car with his trumbone, and gets a pummeling for it.

The quote from Antoine about finding and needing that trumbone resonated in me. That instrument is a part of him. It in fact, makes him who he is. Without that trumbone, he won't be able to survive or have an identity. Sounds dramatic perhaps, but I really connected with Antoine's sense of desperation and sense of urgency.

Again, this episode draws the line beautifully of the people who want to stay away from New Orleans (Larry, Delmond) and those who pride themselves in their home and refuse to leave (Albert, LaDonna's mother, LaDonna).

Speaking of Albert, it was nice to see the beating he administered to the kid in the previous episode was referenced through his conversation with Robinette. He seemed concerned for a second about the boy's condition- before turning his focus back to finding a member of his tribe ("Wild Man" Jesse Hurd) and not revealing that he was the one who beat the kid like that.

I knew that Albert and Lorenzo would stumble across Jesse's body. For a second, I had a flashback to the murders in the vacants in season 4 of The Wire. Thankfully, no Chris or Snoop where to be seen. And, I also thought we were going to watch another Albert beatdown on a kid, but sends the boy away after seeing that he was using the place to have sex with his girlfriend. There is a great Clarke Peters moment, when the boy's mother comes to him asking if he can work for Albert. The look Albert gives the boy when his mother isn't looking is priceless.

Sonny and Annie show that their relationship is on very fragile ground with Tom McDermott taking an interest in Annie, and inviting her (and not Sonny) to play at a charity gig. The image of Sonny chugging down the birthday bottle of wine by himself is incredibly painful. And I also like Sonny continuing to entertain anyone within an earshot with false tales of heroism during the hurricane to the easily impressed.

I cannot begin to describe the greatness of Creighton delivering the eyefuck of the century to Davis. Both men seemingly have so much in common, yet are so opposed to each other. Although, I can understand why Creighton doesn't want Davis in his daughter's company.

Speaking of his daughter, I have to remind myself that the series takes place around 2005, when YouTube was in its infancy. Toni's embarrassment over her daughter's obscenity-laced rant of Baton Rouge, is perfectly balanced by Creighton's pride and joy of his daughter embracing her hometown.

The ending was definitely tied to the title of the episode, "Right Place, Wrong Time" (which is from a Dr. John song I believe). The tourist bus wanting to see the homes and tragedy of those ravaged by Katrina interrupt the farewell ceremony to Jesse. Before the bus driver, apologizes and drives away, the passengers are able to snap some photos for their own curiosity. I wonder is that how Simon and company felt that most Americans (not from New Orleans) were when Katrina happened? We as the audience witness the entire event, but the joy and beauty of the ritual is ruined by the invasion of the tour bus. Everything was completely soured.

Next week, not just one but two Wire alums, Anwan Glover and Jim True-Frost. I'm there next Sunday.

Writers Guild Urges FCC to Protect Internet Freedom

WASHINGTON, DC -- The Writers Guild of America, West is urging the FCC to enact rules that protect a free and open Internet. On April 6, the U.S. Court of Appeals called into question the FCC’s power to regulate net neutrality because of the current classification of broadband services. In light of this decision, the WGAW urges the FCC to act within its statutory authority to reclassify broadband services as a common carrier under Title II of the Communications Act.

In its filing of comments in reply to the agency’s October 22, 2009 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), the Guild noted that it was crucial that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) be prevented from discriminating in the delivery of content through online services in both the speed and cost of delivery.

“Network neutrality is essential to our democratic society as the Internet has replaced the town square as the place for public discourse and the exchange of ideas. We must ensure that all consumers have access, and that continued efforts to close the digital divide are not hampered,” said John Wells, president of the WGAW.

In the filing, the WGAW states: “A free and open Internet offers creative freedom and diversity for our members as well as increased choice for consumers. Competition in the Internet market is based on innovation rather than on market power or commercial sponsorship. Without the codification of the principles outlined in the FCC’s NPRM, traditional media conglomerates will be able to use their size and strength to dominate the online marketplace.”

Those principles contain a range of protections for consumers that that includes preventing an ISP from blocking any of its users from sending or receiving the lawful content of the user’s choice over the Internet, and requiring that an ISP treat lawful content, applications, and services in a nondiscriminatory manner.

In response to the question of the compatibility of copyright protection and network neutrality, the Guild believes the two goals are not mutually exclusive. The filing states: “To protect the value of content and the benefits to society that come from the creation of intellectual property, piracy must be addressed. The WGAW is committed to curtailing piracy as a matter of survival. However, we believe that the proper approach to online piracy must focus not on prior restraint but on tools to enforce the law. The WGAW does not believe that the threat of piracy should be used to create new barriers to entry on the Internet, nor to protect deep-pocketed content providers and their business partners from competitive forces. Just as important, piracy must not be used as a diversionary tactic that allows ISPs or huge content companies to enact a potentially discriminatory scheme of widespread copyright filtering.”

The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) is a labor union representing writers of motion pictures, television, radio and Internet programming, including news and documentaries. Founded in 1933, the Guild negotiates and administers contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of its members. It is involved in a wide range of programs that advance the interests of writers, and is active in public policy and legislative matters on the local, national and international levels. For more information on the WGAW, please visit:

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A battle of epic proportions

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, some screenwriter actually got paid for this shit. I'm sure the world was clamoring for Busta Rhymes versus Michael Myers in the same manner people were begging for King Kong Vs. Godzilla.

I guess even "The Shape" is no match for Busta's superior kung-fu skills.

Must we constantly try to ruin the great things John Carpenter did in the original?

And this was another segment of Shaking My Head News.

Ridley Scott + New Alien film= joy

Pulled from by Larry Carroll:

It isn't overstating things to say that Ridley Scott is among the greatest filmmakers of all time, and "Alien" is among the greatest films of all time. So how could anyone not be eager to learn every little detail about his prequel to the 1979 classic?

On Thursday (April 22), we caught up with the "Robin Hood" director to speak with him for next week's MTV Summer Movie Preview. And when he mentioned that he was feasting his eyes upon the latest "Untitled 'Alien' Prequel" script pages, we couldn't help but ask some questions.

What followed might be the most revealing interview Sir Ridley has given thus far on the top-secret project. Read on for exclusive details concerning the prequel's plot, creature design and the woman — not named Sigourney Weaver — who will soon be kicking alien ass:

MTV: We're very excited about your return to the "Aliens" world — what's going on with it at this point?

Ridley Scott: As we speak, I've got a pile of pages next to me; it's like the fourth draft. It's a work in progress, but we're not dreaming it up anymore. We know what the story is. We're now actually trying to improve the three acts and make the characters better, build it up to something [we can shoot]. It's a work in progress, but we're actually making the film. There's no question about it, we're going to make the film.

MTV: Awesome.

Scott: Now it's a matter of, how good can I get the screenplay in the next few weeks so I can get a good ballpark figure of what it will cost. I've already got people working graphically on designs for the various requirements of the film.

MTV: Since this is a prequel, will you need to make the ships more primitive-looking than in "Alien"?

Scott: It's set in 2085, about 30 years before Sigourney [Weaver's character Ellen Ripley]. It's fundamentally about going out to find out 'Who the hell was that Space Jockey?' The guy who was sitting in the chair in the alien vehicle — there was a giant fellow sitting in a seat on what looked to be either a piece of technology or an astronomer's chair. Remember that?

MTV: Of course.

Scott: And our man [Tom Skerritt as Captain Dallas] climbs up and says "There's been an explosion in his chest from the inside out — what was that?" I'm basically explaining who that Space Jockey — we call him the Space Jockey — I'm explaining who the space jockeys were.

MTV: And is the Weyland-Yutani company in existence at this point?

Scott: It's Weyland. Weyland hasn't joined Yutani yet, so they go and see Weyland. [The film] is about the discussion of terraforming — taking planets and planetoids and balls of earth and trying to terraform, seed them with the possibilities of future life.

MTV: We know how obsessive "Alien" fans can get. Are you going to make a film that doesn't require having seen any of the other movies?

Scott: Totally. Yes. [People will still get it], because there's a lot of copying, dude.

MTV: There's a lot of copying of your movies.

Scott: There's a lot of homage. Is that the polite word? Homage? I call it something else. [Laughs.]

MTV: Will Sigourney Weaver have any participation at all?

Scott: It will be before she was born!

MTV: So not even a voice-over, explaining things? Nothing?

Scott: Well, the main character [in the prequel] will be a woman, yeah. We're thinking it could go down that route, yeah. When I started the original "Alien," Ripley wasn't a woman, it was a guy. During casting, we thought, "Why don't we make it a woman?"

MTV: So will you be creating new aliens for your prequel?

Scott: What you have to do is — were there four or five "Alien" films? I can't remember how many followed.

MTV: There were three after you, then the "Alien vs. Predator" nonsense.

Scott: Yeah, the thing about "Alien vs. Predator" is, I know it's commerce, but what a pity. I think, therefore, I have to design — or redesign — earlier versions of what these elements are that led to the thing you finally see in "Alien," which is the thing that catapults out of the egg, the face-hugger.


Scott: I don't want to repeat it. The alien in a sense, as a shape, is worn out.

MTV: Will you consult the original alien designer, H.R. Giger, on these ideas?

Scott: Yeah, he's still around. Once I get more serious and get going, and the big wheels start turning, we'll certainly talk. And maybe we'll come up with something completely different.

MTV: In your mind, when do cameras begin rolling on the film?

Scott: We're hoping to have it in theaters in late 2011, or maybe the best date in 2012.

MTV: Have you given any thought on how you'll feel when you walk on set that first time, how you'll deal with the déjà vu from 1979?

Scott: Yeah, it'll be weird, because I always said I'll never do a sequel. [Laughs.]

MTV: What made you change your mind?

Scott: Honestly? They've squeezed the franchise dry. The first one will always be the most frightening, because the beast we put together with Giger and all its parts — the face-hugger, the chest-burster, the egg — they were all totally original, and that's hard to follow. ... I've always avoided sequels, unless I felt there was something fresh.

I am so excited about the possibilities of this new film. I pray that Ridley is able to turn this franchise around to the brilliance it once held.

Greatest news story I've read in a while...


PERTH, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 22: An unnamed two headed bobtail lizard, a type of skink, is seen at its new reptile park home at Henley Brook on April 22, 2010 in Perth, Australia. The two-headed reptile was rescued from Coogee by the Park and appears to be doing well, despite the life expectancy of such mutated births to be short. It eats from both heads but the larger head has also tried to attack the smaller one, and its movement is difficult as both heads control its back legs. It also has a healthy sibling without any mutation. Bobtails give birth to live offspring, rather than laying eggs. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images) Photo: Getty Images, Paul Kane / 2010 Getty Images

I think this lizard has some serious self-loathing issues, but I am nontheless, fascinated.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Junk Yard Band- "Ruff it Off"

It's always my pleasure to spread some classic go-go music on here, and here is a classic from the legendary Junk Yard Band. I remember this song playing on a constant rotation on WPGC when I was a kid. You could not escape this song, everyone was banging this song on buckets and on bleachers. Enjoy.

Treme Season 1 Episode 2: "Meet De Boys on the Battlefront" review

Synopsis from

Story by David Simon and Eric Overmyer
Teleplay by Eric Overmyer
Directed by Jim McKay

Davis McAlary hosts a live performance of the legendary Coco Robicheaux at WWOZ during which Coco attempts to bring the old Congo Square vibe to the radio station’s relocated “faux French Market” environs by summoning the spirit of Erzulie Dantor. “the beautiful mulattress whose earthly incarnation was Marie Laveau,” explains Coco. “Voodoo Queen of New Orleans…” notes McAlary. As proof of their devotion, Coco sacrifices, off camera, a live chicken.

Antoinette “Toni” Bernette discusses with fellow attorneys Andrea Cazayoux and John Moss how to locate LaDonna Batiste-Williams’ missing brother Daymo in the O.P.P. system. Meanwhile, LaDonna gives her contractor Riley a hard time about not making the roof of Gigi’s his number one priority. She grudgingly hands over more money and warns that the new shingles better be in place by the time she gets back from Baton Rouge the next day.

Albert Lambreaux discusses repairs with a homeowner, urging him to pleaster rather than just sheet rock over the damage. The owner has no flood insurance and is worried about costs. “People do a lot a dumb shit, ‘cause it’s easier,” Lambreaux warns.

Street musicians Sonny (on keyboard) and Annie (on fiddle) play a stirring version of ‘Careless Love’ as three church volunteers, in town to help with rebuilding efforts, look on. Sonny gives them a hard time about only being “fired up” about the Ninth Ward after the storm, and charges them $20 to play ‘Saints’ when they request “something authentic.” “Saints’ is extra,” Annie explains.

McAlary says goodbye to DJ Jeffy Jeff as he leaves with belongings, having been fired for Coco’s on-air antics. He heads to his parents for a loan but his father hooks him up with a new job instead- at a hotel in the quarter.

“Big Chief” Lambreaux goes door to door in the Seventh Ward, trying to round up members of his tribe for practice.

Creighton Bernette bemoans to his grad student the cuts being announced at the University in the engineering departments: “Sure, why would the university train people who know how to build things like, oh say, computer systems? Power grids? Levees? Hey, who needs them?” He wonders whether it’s time to tackle his shelved novel about the 1927 flood: “Couldn’t be more topical.”

Desiree rides Antoine Batiste about the bills piling up, insisting there’s a difference between a “gig” and a “job.” She doesn’t like him “coming home smelling like cigarettes” and strange women. He claims her olfactory sense is wrong- that’s BBQ she’s picking up. “Kermit’s BBQ tastes right, but not that right,” she tells him.

Over family dinner in Baton Rouge, LaDonna’s husband Larry Williams broaches the idea of moving her mother up to Baton Rouge and selling Gigi’s once the roof is repaired. She refuses, not willing to give up on the idea of returning to New Orleans some day.

Delmond Lambreaux tries to talk his father into joining the family in Houston for the holidays, but Albert brushes him off, wanting to stay put. Delmond tells him he’s actually staying in town for a few extra days- for a recording session for Allen Toussaint. “You deigning to play local?” his father ribs. But after that, he’s headed back to New York where there’s a lot of work because of the renewed love for New Orleans music.

Sonny regales a skeptical bar patron with tales of his heroic rescue efforts during Katrina. Out of ear shot, Annie tells the guy she wasn’t there to be able to confirm Sonny’s version of events.

Antoine finds out about a gig on Bourbon Street. “Nothing to be ashamed of… pride on Bourbon Street!” folks assure him. He runs into his old music teacher, Danny Nelson, who lost all his instruments in the flood.

LaDonna shows up at Antoine’s place with a ceramic elephant that their son Alcide made and meets Desiree- and Antoine’s new baby girl. “I’ll tell your sons they have a new half sister…another one,” she says as she leaves. Desiree questions Antoine: “What she mean by ‘another one’?”

At his new job at the Inn on Bourbon, McAlary is coached to refer any questions about dinner reservations to the concierge but he can’t resist and sends the trio of church volunteers off the beaten path to “Bullet’s.” He assures them it’s safe: “Crime’s all gone to Houston.”

LaDonna is furious to see her roof still in disrepair when she returns to Gigi’s but her anger is quickly forgotten when Toni shows up to tell LaDonna they’ve located Daymo. She explains the process for getting him released, warning that because the parishes get FEMA money for every O.P.P. prisoner housed, some of them drag their feet so it may take a few days.

Lambreaux wonders at the security costs associated with keeping squatters out of the habitable projects over in Central City: “Makes no sense.” When he returns to the house he’s working on, he discovers his tools have been stolen. He asks Robinette to ask around.

As Delmond and the musicians wrap up their recording session, they make a plan to head to d.b.a’s to see the funk group Galactic, urging Elvis Costello to join them. But he protests the late hour, citing the difficulties of being a middle-aged rock star. At d.b.a’s , Delmond gets summoned to the stage to sit in. Smoking a joint outside after the set, he gets busted by NOPD and taken in.

A chagrined Benny returns Lambreaux’s tools and reveals he bought them of a kid named Skinny over in Gert town.

After his gig at the Bourbon Street strip club, Antoine heads to Bullet’s for some barbecue and befriends the church workers who are soaking up the authentic atmosphere. Kermit calls Antoine to the stage and a scary looking patron takes his seat and offers to buy the girls a drink.

The next morning, McAlary gets fired for sending the church group kids to the Seventh Ward- they never came back to their hotel and now their parents are flying in and the NOPD are involved.

Janette Desautel has prepared a deluxe meal at her restaurant for her parents, visiting from Huntsville. She asks for a loan of twenty-five grand to tide her over until the insurance money comes in; her father promises six. Later, Desautel goes over the growing pile of bills with Jacques, looking for ways to cut corners.

Lambreaux bails Delmond out and drives his son to the airport. Delmond promises to pay him back for the bond and apologizes for having to leave before Sunday’s practice: “I loved growing up with the tradition but the Indians- that’s your thing. Always was.” Later that night, Lambreaux tracks down Skinny to confront him about taking his tools and finds him ripping out the new copper wiring from a house undergoing renovation. When the boy refuses to take responsibility, Albert beats him senseless and washes the blood from his hands at an outdoor spigot.

The next morning, McAlary runs into the church kids who’ve been for two nights. They thank him for pointing them to the real New Orleans and promise to check in with the hotel staff- after they get some breakfast for their hangovers.

As Creighton heads out with Sofia to drive her back to the boarding school in Baton Rouge, he tries to cheer his moping daughter after her options for returning to a reopened high school in New Orleans.

Waiting eagerly in the visitor’s room at the parish prison, Toni, LaDonna and her mother are devastated when the David Brooks the guard brings out is not their David “Daymo” Brooks.

Alone at Poke’s, Lambreaux is pleased when one member of his tribe, George Cotrell, shows up for practice. “You gotta start somewhere,” notes Cottrell. The two men grab their tambourines and start punching out ‘Shallow Water.’

“I can build a house from scratch- roof to foundation. What can you do? Tear it down? That’s easy.”- Albert Lambreaux

First things first, never take Albert’s tools. If you do, there will be dire consequences as Skinny experienced in this episode. I watched this scene and couldn’t help but think of Lester Freamon delivering a similar beatdown to Chris and Snoop if he happened to catch them in the vacants during season four of THE WIRE.

I think what’s so great about that scene is the sheer release of all of Albert’s anger and frustration. Clarke Peters does such a great job showing how Albert bottles his feelings up. This episode had all of the disappointment released in a vitriolic fit of violence. Albert is a man of great faith and love for his home- but do not disrespect him. Albert’s line of the police having no choice but to lock up Delmond after he disrespected them, was a nice foreshadowing to the violence that Albert would commit later. And not only can Albert build a house from scratch but he is powerful enough to nearly kill someone with his own bare hands.

And Albert’s line about people doing dumb shit ‘cause it’s easier, sounds like something that you could easily imagine Lester Freamon saying as well.

I haven’t seen Khandi Alexander sink her teeth into a role like this since her performance as Fran Boyd on THE CORNER. To watch her verbally bully Riley was great, and you see that LaDonna is not a woman that you want to cross. And you also get a feeling that this woman is working her ass of to trying to stay afloat. There’s an interview with Khandi were she stated that he explained the LaDonna character to her as a woman who has fought tooth and nail to get to the middle class status. I can definitely see that.

This episode did a great job showing how some people are trying their hardest to leave (Delmond, LaDonna’s husband), there are still those fighting their hardest to preserve the home that they know (Albert and LaDonna are two examples).

Antoine has A LOT of the Bunk in him. I think if Wendell Pierce gets work on a David Simon production, you can rest assured that the character will not be monogamous. We learned in this episode that there are other women scattered about that Antoine was with who have his children. The scene at the strip club where Antoine was playing his trombone and giving flirty glances to the stripper were just hilariously charming.

After seeing LaDonna with her new husband, there is a great deal of disconnect between those two- so it doesn’t shock me that she is trying to maintain some connection with Antoine. There is still a great spark between the two, but Antoine blew his opportunity to maybe get back with LaDonna, after she finds out their sons have a new half-sister that he neglected to tell her about.

Wendell Pierce remains the most smooth cad on television. No one is in his league.

I’m liking McAlary more and more. We get to see that yes, he is a douche, but a very well-meaning one who doesn’t make the right decisions. His moment at the front desk where he gave the kids directions was great. He just can’t catch a break right now because he can’t help himself.

Sonny and Annie are an interesting couple- definitely an odd couple. Annie seems to be the more pragmatic of the two. Like everything around them, it seems their relationship is barely hanging together. I don’t see the relationship being able to sustain itself for a long period of time.

Apparently, according to things I’ve read online, it IS more expensive for musicians to play, ‘Saints’.

Elvis Costello’s brief appearance was again very inspired and I loved Elvis’ comedic moment where he was able to wiggle himself out of hanging out with the other musicians.

Nice to see Anwan Glover aka Slim Charles very briefly as the convict who was mistakenly identified as Daymo. Too bad that Anwan’s role won’t be recurring, but it’s always good to hear his gravely voice again.

The ending of the episode with the two man rehearsal seems to be very hopeful- it’s not a huge turnout, but it’s somewhere to start. And that is good enough.

Lance Henriksen Vs Deadly Feline

Lance Henriksen battling a kitty? After seeing this clip, I will definitely check out this wacky THE WITCHES OF OZ film.

Here's the official synopsis:

The Witches of Oz follows the exploits of the grown Dorothy Gale, now a successful children's book author, as she moves from Kansas to present day New York City. Dorothy quickly learns that her popular books are based on repressed childhood memories, and that the wonders of Oz are very, very real. When the Wicked Witch of the West shows up in Times Square, Dorothy must find the inner courage to stop her.

Lance has been defeated by a Terminator, Alien Queen, Predator, and a vicious canine. Add diabolical feline to the list now.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

RIP Guru (aka Keith Elam)

I came into work this morning and one of my co-workers asked me how I felt about Guru- legendary MC of the classic hip-hop band, Gangstarr, dying. I was pretty much startled for a moment. It's funny because I've been playing a lot of Gangstarr at work, and even last week, I stated that I wanted to use Gangstarr lyrics when I answer people's questions.

Oddly enough I was playing, "Mass Appeal" (my favorite Gangstarr track) before I get the news. Guru not only had an undeniable voice but his music had so much depth and substance.

RIP Guru- you will always be a legend and one of the greatest microphone technicians I've had the pleasure of hearing. Below are a few of my favorite Gangstarr tracks for your listening pleasure:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Treme Season 1 Episode 1, "Do You Know What It Means" review

Synopsis from

Written By David Simon and Eric Overmyer
Directed by Agnieszka Holland

New Orleans, LA
Three Months After

A small crowd gathers around a battered edifice amidst the wreckage of a post- Katrina street in the Upper Ninth Ward to witness the first second line since the storm. A few white bohemians, police offers, National Guardsmen, Habitat for Humanity workers and church volunteers are scattered throughout the mostly black group of musicians and locals (many of whom have driven back from Houston or Baton Rouge for the parade.)

Inside the Social Aid and Pleasure Club, leaders of the Rebirth band negotiate their fee with the dancers from the half dozen clubs who have pooled their resources for this event. “Less than two hundred a man? That shit ain’t right.” Hungry to play, the musicians eventually agree to the fee. The music starts and the musicians and crowd blend into a celebratory parade.

Late to the party, Antoine Batiste argues with his cab driver, accusing him of taking a more costly route. Handing over a twenty and promising he’ll find him with the balance later, Batiste takes off, trombone in hand, to join the second line.

Hearing the approaching parade, DJ Davis McAlary wakes, fighting for the first shower with Janette Desautel, who, facing another morning-after blast of cold water, wonders why she didn’t go home the night before. She takes off to tend her restaurant and McAlary joins the parade. Arriving at Desautel’s, Janette discusses options for the night’s menu with her sous chef Jacques, given their limited provisions and a distracted staff.

Albert Lambreaux’s daughter gives him a ride back to New Orleans from Houston. Returning to his ruined home, Lambreaux and Davina survey the destruction. He demands that his daughter take him to “Poke’s.”

As the second liners approach Gigi’s Lounge, their final destination, the bar’s owner LaDonna Batiste-Williams watches from the doorway, surprised to see her ex-husband Antoine amidst the players.

On the levee, Creighton Bernette is interviewed by a British TV crew while his teen-aged daughter Sofia watches. Bernette shoots down the interviewer’s suggestion that what happened to New Orleans during Katrina was a natural disaster. “What hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast was a natural disaster,” he says. “The flooding of New Orleans was a man-made catastrophe, a Federal fuckup of epic proportions and decades in the making.” When the reporter presses him about what whether New Orleans is worth rebuilding he grabs the man’s microphone and hurls it in the river and tries to throw the camera in as well.

McAlary returns home and antagonizes his neighbors, a gay male couple, by aiming his stereo speakers at the garden of their Creole cottage. His neighbors retaliate against his loud Nawlins rap music with their own blast of public radio classic fare.

Back home, Sofia Bernette fills her mother Antoinette “Toni” Bernette in on the number of F-bombs in her father’s levee interview. Creighton starts to defend himself but has to take a call: “NPR…it’ll be fine,” he assures his wife. “The ‘N’ stands for ‘nuance.” Sofia complains about having to go back to her Catholic boarding school in Baton Rouge and her mother assures her she should be able to return by Carnival. From the other room, Creighton’s voice grows louder: “The old city is not below sea level. It never has been,” he explains, unraveling as he realizes the interviewer’s grasp of the situation is not as nuanced as he hoped.

After the crowd has cleared out of Gigi’s, LaDonna feeds Antoine a plate of rice and beans and they discuss her dentist husband who commutes down to see her weekends from their home in Baton Rouge and her brother Daymo, missing since the storm. She chastises her ex for not visiting their sons, Alcide and Randall, more often.

Desautel and Jacques race to keep pace with their patrons. The place is crowded with locals looking for good food and companionship. “I could stay open ‘til midnight every night if I had the staff,” Desautel tells Creighton and Toni Bernette.

Davina calls her brother Delmond Lambreaux, who’s playing a gig in New York City, telling him it’s his turn to come down to try to talk sense into their father, who is now living in Poke’s bar, and cleaning it out.

Demetrius Bray shows up at LaDonna’s bar late, having missed the second line because his car broke down on his way back from Memphis. He asks after her brother Daymo, and tells her he was locked up with him in the storm.

Showing up to take over the late shift at WWOZ Radio, the evening DJ gives him the station’s play list for the upcoming pledge drive, over McAlary’s objections: “One in every three songs from a pledge drive compilation?”

As dawn breaks, Lambreaux, who has worked through the night to clear the debris from Poke’s unpacks a change of clothes and makes his way up the desolate block to his friend Robinette, in search of a bath. “Seem Poke need t’pay his water bill,” he explains. Robinette invites him in.

Antoine wakes to find his cash from the second line gig has already been taken by his live-in girlfriend Desiree for groceries.

McAlary, strolling through the French Quarter, sees that Tower Records is liquidating and storms the store demanding the consigned copies of his brand’s CD, but the security guard throws him out.

A cleaned-up Lambreaux asks Robinette to haul away the debris from Poke’s so he can use the bar for Mardi Gras Indian practice. “I’m asking as a chief, here,” he says. But Robinette refuses, pointing out Lambreaux isn’t his chief- and none of Albert’s gang is even around.

At Lil’ Dizzy’s restaurant, Toni Bernette meets LaDonna, who arrives to fill Toni in on the new lead on Daymo. Toni promises to look into it. LaDonna leaves, and Toni enlists the help of a sheriff’s department captain, LaFouchette, who is also having lunch there.

Antoine promises yet another cab driver he’ll be back with his money and heads into musician Kermit Ruffins’ house to get in on his gig at Vaughan’s that night- and begs for an advance so he can retrieve his trombone from the waiting taxi.

At Vaughan’s, McAlary spots Elvis Costello in the audience and tries to get Kermit to talk to him after the gig, but Kermit doesn’t care. “You’re just standing there telling me that all you wanna do is get high, play some trumpet, and barbecue in New Orleans your whole damn life?” demands McAlary. “That’ll work,” laughs Kermit.

Lambreaux, in the full regalia of a Big Chief of Mardi Gras Indian tribe, comes to chant in front of Robinette’s house. Robinette and his wife emerge from their home to watch. Moved by Lambreaux’s determination, Robinette agrees to haul away the debris.

Toni Bernette waits outside the temporary parish jail for LaFouchette who brings her an up-to-date list of prisoners the parish had in its custody at the time of the storm- no Daymo. She takes the list and head to the Times-Picayune to search their archives for photos of prisoners who were on the overpass when the storm hit.

Antoine returns home with his payment from Kermit’s gig- Desiree says it’ll cover gas and electric. This time he keeps enough to get him to the next gig.

McAlary gets an old friend to let him into Tower Records after hours so he can retrieve his CDs- plus an out-of-print collection of Dave Bartholomew that is “karmatically” his- since his was stolen. He heads to Desautel’s and opens a ’98 Conterno- a $350 bottle of wine- offering the stolen Dave Bartholomew CD as payment. Furious, Desautel has Jacques throw her “kind-of” boyfriend out.

Toni brings two grainy prints she found at the paper to LaDonna, pictures that look like Daymo. Toni heads next to the sheriff’s, willing to wait until he can answer her questions about the missing boy. She gets no answers from the sheriff.

Delmond shows up to try to talk his father out of staying in New Orleans. But Lambreaux orders him to either help clean out the bar or pay the water bill.
Antoine stiffs a cabbie once again as he arrives just in time for a gig with a band playing a funeral procession. “Forty to the graveyard, and forty to cakewalk back, right? Play for that money boys. Play for it,” he says as the band begins its slow step to the cemetery.

I anxiously awaited for this show to debut because not only was David Simon responsible for the greatest television show ever, THE WIRE, but I am a huge fan of the superb GENERATION KILL and THE CORNER. The teaser sequence set up the mood and feel of this series brilliantly. Even though the series is steeped in tragedy- it seems a bit more optimistic than THE WIRE. That could be because of the fact that THE WIRE thematically was modeled after a Greek tragedy- but this show has so much soul and life, even in the wake of the devastation of Katrina.

It was great to see Wendell Pierce introduced as Antoine, who is already becoming one of my favorite characters. The recurring gag with not having enough for the cab driver was hilarious, and you get an idea of what a smooth talker Antoine is. Although, his smoothness cannot help his situation of living hand to mouth- with children from two different women. But, there are few who can spout David Simon scripted dialogue and make it seem downright poetic.

Khandi Alexander, who plays Antoine's ex wife, LaDonna, is shaping up to be one of the strongest characters on the series. For too long her amazing acting talents have been squandered on the CSI franchise she was working on (there's like a million of them). This is Khandi's finest role since her role as Fran Boyd on THE CORNER. You see the strength of this woman as she struggles to keep her bar afloat- but you see the strength wither as she realizes that her brother may be dead. And I enjoyed the one scene where she talks with Antoine, and you get the idea that there is still something there.

The McAlary/Janette relationship reminds me very much of the disastrous McNulty/Pearlman hookups on THE WIRE where it seemed like casual sex on a train to nowhere. Now, what Janette gets out of the sex with McAlary, is unknown- but she doesn't seem to be pining for him since she had no problem kicking him out of her restaurant.

McAlary, is the type of character who some could rally against like I remember certain WIRE fans hated Ziggy originally before his story arc was allowed to play out. But, personally, I love McAlary. Steve Zahn somehow makes this asshole character very likeable. His scenes with Elvis Costello and trying to convince Elvis that he taught Kermit Ruffins everything he knows was absolutely hysterical. And McAlary had that great passionate moment when he tries to convince Kermit (who is completely unaware on who Elvis Costello is) to talk to Elvis because he can be a bigger star. But, Kermit is content with where he is. It reminds me a bit of THE WIRE where no one can think past Baltimore and outside that world.

By the way, thank you David Simon for the Kermit Ruffins love- I have been playing a few Kermit albums all this week. Amazing music. Not to mention the Dave Bartholomew I've been playing at work non-stop. Thanks to this show, I'm going to be playing New Orleans music all week.

I got a bit teared up when I saw David Mills in the opening credits listed as co-executive producer. That guy was one of a kind and is still being missed. RIP Dave.

I always thought Clarke Peters is the type of actor who could have thrived in silent movies. He's an actor who just seemed to be of another era because he does much by saying so little. His role of Lester Freamon on THE WIRE was one of my faves, and his portrayal of Albert is already captivating. He's so dedicated to returning home and fixing his environment- it's very inspirational. Whereas, his kids see nothing to salvage, Albert sees something that is worth saving. This differing of opinions has to deal with the generation gaps between Albert and his kids.

It sort of reminds me of a scene with Proposition Joe and Cheese in the final season of THE WIRE where Joe told his nephew how community meant so much, and how his generation "lost".

Speaking of Albert's kids, it was nice seeing Edwina Findley cast as Davina. The last time I saw her was catching a stray in season 3 of THE WIRE when her character, Tosha, got killed in a stashhouse shoot-out.

But, that scene with Albert cleaning that bar- some of the most compelling tv, just because Clarke does so much with no dialogue. You see the determination in his face, and that determination continues when he dresses up in full Chief regalia, when he implored Robinette to help him. It was such a moment of pride and admiration.

I'm looking forward to seeing where the Albert storyline is going to go.

Also, Robinette's voice is just awesome. We're just talking Keith David type of awesome.

It's interesting how this show seems very character driven so far. I have no clue how Simon modeled the feel of this show, but it still feels more hopeful than THE WIRE.

The music itself is a huge character in this show and every musical moment pulsates with vibrancy and life. You see what is worth saving. The question of, "Who cares?", seems to be the thing David Simon poses and answers throughout the entire opening episode. I have never watched a show that made me just feel so good when I hear a music and the sense of euphoria that can wash over me.

McAlary playing "Shake that Ass" in his window to his gay neighbors were just twenty-four shades of awesome.

It's good to see how this show begins with the Rebirth Band and ends with the funeral procession. There's a certain symmetry to how the episode unfolded- and I cannot wait until next week.

From the superb writing and skilled direction- this is a television show that audiences beg for but rarely ever get. I read that a second season has already been greenlit- which is great news as a fan of David Simon and already of this show. I read something where David wants to get Dominic West to direct an episode next season (Dominic did a great job with THE WIRE episode he directed).

Here's the opening theme song, "Treme Song" by John Boutté. I'm used to "Way Down in the Hole" after all these years, but this opening is very catchy.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

HBO's 'Treme' creator David Simon explains it all for you

HBO's 'Treme' creator David Simon explains it all for you
By The Times-Picayune
April 11, 2010, 5:40AM

In the first episode of "Treme," to be broadcast tonight on HBO, a character will reach into her purse and produce an apple-flavored Hubig's pie. She will do this in late November 2005. With the rest of her dessert menu no longer available, the character, a local chef, will then serve the local delicacy to a patron of her restaurant.

We offer this bit of information freely, as Exhibit A in what will surely become a long list of cited inaccuracies, anachronisms and equivocations through which New Orleanians reassure themselves that not only is our little drama a fiction, but that those who have perpetrated this fiction are indifferent to facts, chronologies, historical possibilities.

True, the Hubig's bakery in the Marigny did not reopen until February 2006, and true therefore, any such pastry found in a woman's purse should by rights be a pre-Katrina artifact and therefore unsuitable for anyone's dessert.

But what you fact-grounded literalists clearly fail to understand is that the pie in Janette DeSautel's purse is a Magic Hubig's. Much in the manner of certain loaves and fishes in the New Testament, or several days worth of sacramental oil in the Old, this Hubig's somehow survives months of post-Katrina tumult and remains tasty and intact for our small, winking moment of light comedy. We know this because we, the writers, imbued the pie with its special powers. We created it. We stuck it in the purse -- or more precisely, the propmaster did. We left it there, waiting for its special moment.

And here's the thing: It won't end with one chunk of pie.

We have trespassed throughout our narrative. And soon enough, the true nature of our many slights and affronts, our intentional frauds and unthinking miscalculations will be subject to the judgment of you whom we have trespassed against.

This is altogether right. Our television drama is taking liberties with a profound, unforgettable period in this city's history. It depicts day-to-day life in New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina, referencing certain real events, real people and places, real cultural reference points known to many, if not most of those who call this city home.

That we will be held to certain standards by New Orleanians goes with the territory. Beginning tonight, you are the ultimate arbiters -- the only ones we really care about -- on the question of whether our storytelling alchemy has managed to make anything precious or worthy from the baser elements of fact.

Your sensibilities matter to us because we have tried to be honest with that extraordinary time -- not journalistically true, but thematically so. We have depicted certain things that happened, and others that didn't happen, and then still others that didn't happen but truly should have happened.

This is a nice way of saying we have lied.

Why? Why not depict a precise truth, down to the very Hubig's?

Well, Pablo Picasso famously said that art is the lie that shows us the truth. Such might be the case of a celebrated artist claiming more for himself and his work than he ought, or perhaps, this Picasso fella was on to something.

By referencing what is real, or historical, a fictional narrative can speak in a powerful, full-throated way to the problems and issues of our time. And a wholly imagined tale, set amid the intricate and accurate details of a real place and time, can resonate with readers in profound ways. In short, drama is its own argument.

Much of our previous work in this regard was set in Baltimore, where we took pains to incorporate many people, places and events that existed and occurred, and where we made equal efforts to imagine a good deal that never happened.

With "The Wire, " we tried our best to be responsible, of course -- to choose carefully where we would cheat and where we would not.

In a given episode of "The Wire, " if we wrote that the police department, for example, was cooking the stats -- an accusation that goes to the heart of that institution's credibility -- we did so only after being provided with ample evidence that this was, in fact, the case.

On the other hand, if we laid dead homicide detectives out on the green felt of a pool table for drunken wakes in an Irish bar, we did so knowing that such a thing never happened -- although, frankly, upon imagining and filming such ceremonial rites, we came to believe that it damn well ought to be the tradition in Baltimore.

If we are true to ourselves as dramatists, we will cheat and lie and pile one fraud upon the next, given that with every scene, we make fictional characters say and do things that were never said and done. And yet, if we are respectful of the historical reality of post-Katrina New Orleans, there are facts that must be referenced accurately as well. Some things, you just don't make up.

Admittedly, it's delicate. And we are likely to be at our best in those instances in which we are entirely aware of our deceits, just as we are likely to fail when we proceed in ignorance of the facts. Technically speaking, when we cheat and know it, we are "taking creative liberties, " and when we cheat and don't know it, we are "screwing up."

But "Treme" is drama, and therefore artifice. It is not journalism. It is not documentary. It is a fictional representation set in a real time and place, replete with moments of inside humor, local celebrity and galloping, unrestrained meta. At moments, if we do our jobs correctly, it may feel real.

Even then, it is important to understand that the writers, directors, cast and crew are not in any way trying to supplant the historical record, or, for that matter, the personal memories and experiences of real New Orleanians. To the extent actual individuals have inspired or informed a character or a moment, we acknowledge that these characters are nonetheless make-believe. Real folks are entitled to real lives, and to have those lives considered distinct from any and all moments in a television drama.

In Baltimore, most sensible viewers figured all of the above out by episode three, though admittedly, a few politicians and high-ranking police commanders struggled with the concept until the very end. No doubt, it may take at least a few episodes of "Treme" for all of us to figure each other out, and in the event the drama lasts no more than a season, any confusion will scarcely matter.

But going forward, unless otherwise instructed, our suggested rule for watching "Treme," should you choose to watch, is to assume in every instance that someone, somewhere sat in a room and made all of this mess up.

Except for the band that is seen playing good, live music in a Bourbon Street strip joint in episode two. That is, of course, a Magical Strip Joint, of no fixed address.

David Simon, New Orleans, April 2010

"Raw Deal" by Lady of Rage

On the hip hop theme, there are plenty of great female MCs in hip-hop (MC Lyte, Jean Grae, BO$$) but there is absolutely no one who can hang with the lyrical murderer, The Lady of Rage. Rage not only outclasses female MCs with her verbal flow- but she can outshine most men as well. She stands out from among the pack.

"You Never Know" by Immortal Technique

This is the ONLY hip-hop song I've heard that has reduced me tears. This is real art. While hip hop is in a state of disarray and blandness- Immortal Technique is standing strong. I would say, he is definitely in a league of his own. If you cannot feel some emotion after hearing this song, you should check yourself for a pulse.

"Baltimore" by Nina Simone

Another selection from my music stash is the live version of Nina Simone's cover of "Baltimore" (by Randy Newman). Nina's version not only surpasses Randy's in every facet but the live version seems more tortured and sad. It just gets to you.

"Tilt A Whirl" by Jimmie Vaughan

This song was the OTHER introduction to the Howard Stern from the 90s. Fred Norris selected this and "In A Mellow Tone" as the openings which furthers Fred's musical credibility and overall good taste. I love the jazzy feel of this song.

Unfortunately, the Stern-picked "Great American Nightmare" replaced this song as the opening and still remains the show's theme. Ugh.

"In a Mellow Tone" by Duke Ellington

Straight from my vault comes one of my favorite ditties- this song was my morning song in the 90s (it was one of the old themes of the Howard Stern Show) and to this day, it still puts a smile on my face.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

'Treme' and 'The Wire' -- Big differences, shared DNA

By David Zurawik

One of the great joys of the HBO's drama "Treme" is watching the way that Wendell Pierce, known to fans of "The Wire" as Detective William "Bunk" Moreland, makes you come to care about his new character, Antoine Batiste, a struggling trombone player trying to make it in post-Katrina New Orleans. Batiste is our point of entry and a guide into the culture of that city.

Pierce's Batiste is featured in a scene in the third episode that some fans of "The Wire" might find a little disorienting. It is a moment, though, that encapsulates the many ways that "Treme" is so vastly different from "The Wire" — as well as some of the deeper ways it is the same.

The action in the scene with Pierce is suddenly and shockingly violent just as "The Wire" sometimes was. And it involves police on the street at night interacting with citizens as they were often did in "The Wire."

But in "Treme," rather than police being characters that viewers know something about, they are faceless brutes. And the guy they are savagely beating is Batiste, a gentle and slightly tipsy musician — played by the same guy who once portrayed a cop himself, a sardonic Baltimore detective given to late night, alcohol-induced philosophizing with his partner Jimmy McNulty.

Out of the great torrent of words that Baltimore writer David Simon has offered up in recent weeks in promoting the series he co-created with Eric Overmyer none are probably more important for ardent fans of "The Wire" to understand as they gather in front of their TV sets for tonight's premiere than these. "It [‘Treme'] is not, in any respect, ‘The Wire: New Orleans.'" Simon said in an HBO interview. "Those expecting a story with a heavy police presence or ruminations on the drug war or a critique of educational policies should return to their ‘Wire' DVDs. We have no interest in telling the same story twice in separate cities. Indeed, even if such a thing were our intent, the notion of beginning this as a crime story would be false and absurd; until the late spring and summer of 2006 – well after the narrative of our first season ends – there was very little crime in New Orleans at all. Most of the crime (and most New Orleanians, in fact) was elsewhere."

Mostly true, but not totally. Let us count some of the ways. How about five ways to be exact (one for each season of "The Wire")?

Leading Characters: In addition to Pierce, Clarke Peters has also made the transition from the squad room of the Baltimore City Police Department to the streets of New Orleans. Here, in an intense and compelling performance as a Mardi Gras Indian chief, Peters' Albert Lambreaux serves as keeper of some of New Orleans' most ancient traditions. Lambreaux is back to try to rebuild his home, neighborhood and continuity with New Orleans' past. There are other great performances from other actors familiar to fans of the Simon oeuvre: Khandi Alexander ("The Corner"), as a bar owner and ex-wife of Batiste, and Melissa Leo ("Homicide: Life on the Street") as a lawyer searching for the brother of the character played by Alexander.

Music: "The Wire" did have its musical moments starting with the title song. Or how about the sing-along at the wake of Ray Cole at Kavanagh's in Baltimore? It is one of the most powerful musical moments I have ever witnessed on TV. But, overall, there is no comparison. As I said in a sneak preview two weeks ago, in 30 years of writing about TV. I have never seen music used as powerfully, organically or eloquently as it is in the pilot of "Treme." From the street parade that opens tonight's episode, to the funeral march that ends it, the music is transcendent. By the way, the viewers will get to hear both Pierce and Peters sing – and they do A-OK.

Tribes: David Simon is the finest anthropologist entertainment television has ever known. Just as he did when he raised his journalistic game to the level of ethnography with the non-fiction books, "Homicide" and "The Corner," so has he used prime-time drama to take viewers into urban American subcultures at a depth no other American TV producer has ever approached. Instead of police, drug dealers, dock workers, city hall, school system and newsroom employees, the tribe explored in-depth the first three episodes here is that of musicians. The series is peppered with real musicians like Elvis Costello and Dr. John. And the ensemble cast includes musicians of all sounds and stripes. Other tribes that viewers get to go backstage with include Mardi Gras Indians and small business owners trying to make in New Orleans.

Locales: The boarded-up houses and collapsed buildings of New Orleans are not that much different than the bleak iconic images of Baltimore in "The Wire." But whereas we were often inside a police precinct station, in the homes and apartments of drug dealers, or on the drug street corners with "The Wire," the action in "Treme" is regularly set in nightclubs, recording studios, rehearsal halls, strip joints and restaurants where music is played. The night club scenes are among the best. But there is still plenty of street.

Language: I had lived in Baltimore for 15 years when "The Wire" debuted, and I still had to record and repeatedly playback large chunks of dialogue to figure out what some characters were saying with all the street and cop shop lingo. There is some of that here, but happily not so much. And what is lost is not so much the result of using a subculture's lexicon, as it is New Orleans dialect. I re-played five times the lines of dialogue uttered by Dr. John in a recording session in episode three, and I still have no idea what he said. But then, I seldom could decipher his lyrics either. And that is again the case with the lyrics in the hard-driving song about Mardi Gras Indians that he sings and plays.

I didn't catch half the words of Dr. John's song, but it reached me at a deeper, more primitive and profound level. "Treme" lives at that level. It speaks to the unconscious. It reaches for our soul.

On TV "Treme" airs at 10 p.m. on Sunday April 11 on HBO.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Give McNabb a chance

On Sunday, one of my close friends from Orlando called me up to congratulate me regarding breaking news concerning my beloved Washington Redskins. Being a Redskins fan, I expect only dismal news- so I prepared myself for the worst. My friend alerted me that the Redskins just snagged Donovan McNabb from Philadelphia in a sudden trade.

I was very pleased to hear this news because I've always had a soft spot in my heart for Donovan. I always wanted him to be a Redskin because I felt that he deserved to wear the burgundy and gold. I rooted against him when the Skins faced him but I always respected him. The guy is the total package- he's poised, has a strong arm, is a leader and can scramble. And he doesn't buckle under pressure. And for eleven years, the guy has had to take bullets from the crossfire.

So, I hope that Redskins fans will give Donovan a fair shake and not demand an immediate Super Bowl berth, because the guy has had enough grief in his career. Since he was drafted, the Philly fans shitted on this guy and booed him. He had to eat constant heaping bowls of crap from the Philly fans, the Philadelphia media and from T.O. and teammates during his entire tenure. And through it all, he maintained his class and composure when lesser players would fold.

Redskins fans around the globe- I implore you: Let's not walk into this season with high hopes. Every season we go into a season with high hopes and look at how well that turns out. Instead, I offer an alternative- enter the season with lowered expectations. If you go into a season expecting only the worst, it will make the great things so much sweeter. Go into the season expecting five wins at least- and cheer for Donovan. Make that guy feel wanted. I cry more for Donovan than I do for the Sarah McLachlan-themed ASPCA commercials.

I'm a long suffering Redskins fan, who pines for another Super Bowl win. We haven't had a good (let alone great) quarterback since Mark Rypien was our QB for the last Super Bowl victory. But, I think Donovan is a great addition and still has something left in him. Personally, I don't know if the Redskins will be playoff bound next season, but at least they will be competitive.

What I am happy for is that the Redskins finally have a quality quarterback who belongs with Washington. Who, in my opinion, always belonged there. So, I implore all Redskins fans, show Donovan some patience and don't turn your backs on him. This guy deserves a good football town and real fans that get behind their athletes. I'm glad Donovan finally is going someplace where he is wanted.

To all the naysayers, shame on you. The Redskins are the Hurricane Katrina of the NFL- it's going to take time for this time to rebuild. I don't expect any type of quick turnaround. But with Donovan in place, I can at least have faith in my QB's reliability and strength. And I think Jason Campbell can still have a career with the Skins and could learn from Donovan, if he chooses to stay and do that. That is entirely up to him.

Welcome to D.C., Donovan. I'm glad you finally have a real home.

The above video is a fine example of why Philly fans are complete assholes. Congratulations on running the one class act out of your town, Philly. Enjoy that Kevin Kolb action.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Just for Easter...

I saw this and could not help but be in awe.

RIP David Mills

I was shocked this week by the sudden loss of a great screenwriter, David Mills. I enjoyed his work on "The Corner", "The Wire", "Kingpin", etc. He was an incredibly talented writer and I loved his musings on his Undercover Black Man blog.

The world may have lost a great writer but I know heaven just got a lot wittier.

One more week....

"Play for that money boys, play for that motherfuckin' money!"

Wendell Pierce reciting David Simon's dialogue is always heaven.