Saturday, August 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Michael

In the summer that everyone has died (Michael Jackson, Farah Fawcett, Dominic Dunne, Ed McMahon, Naomi Sims, Ted Kennedy, DJ AM, E. Lynn Harris, Stanley Kaplan...) and in the week that we also remembered the too soon passing of Aaliyah, we take time to celebrate the birthday of Michael Jackson.

Google's there with us. If you're in NY head down to Prospect Park for the 40 Acres celebration.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Old School Friday: Yep, I know all the words

This week's Old School Friday is a song that people will be surprised you know. I'm random and don't think I really surprise people anymore. At first I thought Journey, "Don't Stop Believing" then realized that everyone knows that song and I just joined the party late in life.

While I don't know all the words to this one, it was a favorite of my elementary school years. Yes, random I know. But who doesn't love Adam Sandler?

Bonus Songs:
Christina Aguilera before she became super famous. Definitely my favorite song straight through high school, much to the chagrin of my friends.

A good friend was obsessed with this song. There was no choice but for me to learn all the words before my Billy Joel phase sophomore year of college.

For more Old School Friday, rules and how to join in on the fun check out href="">"Conversations with Marva"

When I Read: Reading on TV -RIP Reading Rainbow

Just as I finally put up a "When I Read" post and started preparing some more books/stories/poems to share, I find out that one of my three favorite shows about reading (Reading Rainbow, Wishbone, and yes Learn to Read with Famous Amos because I was a cable-less child) is ending. Wishbone, which ended in 2001, was a classic and shared a variety of stories. But as great as the little Jack Terrier was, there was never a comparison to Reading Rainbow. The show, which is older than I, introduced young folk to the love of reading and featured real little kids with their favorite books. For those with a love of books, it opened you up to exploring different types of stories and also exposed young readers to a variety of cultures and historical moments through contemporary children's literature. Wishbone was great for portraying the "Great Books" tome of literature (and ensuring that I would not have to read to sound smart when I reached high school). Reading Rainbow took you beyond the "great books" culture to various communities. There would also be the real life segments and guests that illuminated lessons from the book and applied it to real life.

The line of reasoning for cutting the show, that honestly I didn't know still came on, was because it taught kids to love reading instead of how to read. Apparently educational shows have to teach now, because of Bush's educational policies. Whatevs.

And while I'm sad to say I can't remember one book in particular, I remember my love for the show. I'm also sure it's the only reason I attempted to watch roots when I was little. Kunta Kente? Nah, its LeVar Burton.( Recently I read he was dead broke. this helping him at all).

NPR Source:
Check it out for yourself.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Don't let the Vanity Stop

Happy Monday!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Old School Friday: Prom or something like it.

So I graduated high school after 1999 and in elementary school they randomly decided my year that our prom with our parents invited wasn't "Christian" enough. But I'mma pretned like we had a prom, and that it ws the best eighth grade prom ever.

This was the year in which Spice Girls, Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, NSync and Christina Aguilera all collided. Missy, Ginuwine, Nas, and Blackstreet all released albums that school year. Remembering my elementary school, where we sang round of "No Scrubs" and "No Pigeons" in between Kirk Franklin's "Revolution" and whatever Mr. Vegas song we were deciphering and drumming the beats out on desks, if we chose our prom songs there would have been a nice little mix.

The kids would have probably gone for these choices:

Oh Foxy, your lip gloss was poppin.

Okay, yea no way theyd actually play these songs. This was probably as hype as we could get.

Want more OSF? Check it out here:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My Favorite Scenes: School Dances

So, I'm doing a lot of writing at 4 AM on Monday morning because I'm up and won't be able to update during the week. That being said I got a head start on Old School Friday and this week's theme is prom. You'll see my choices on Friday. First off I wanted to give you some of my favorite scenes from television show dances/proms. I did this very literally. Moesha always had great stuff, but it was never at school. It was always at the one neo-soul..ish cafe that 15 year olds found uber appealing and let rappers and singersw and their ilk come as they like. Why did I think that show was real? Anyway onwards and forwards.

Why did something dramatic always happen at the dance or prom? Why? Didn't people just go and dance? Either someone broke up, got together or a celebrity appeared.

Family Matters had the best school dances, always.

Saved by the Bell : the best of Saturday morning.

California Dreams: Gut Wrenching TNBC with a soundtrack.

The Cosby Show
So this isn't the clip how I'd like it,..but these guys planning their prom entrance was classic. classic....and exactly how every teenager thinks they can get something extravagant and be the best.

Sadly, this is the best I can do right now without my family leaving me. I wanted to do college parties as well. C'est la vie.

Have any favorite school dances memories from tv?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Old School Friday: Not on You Tube

Its 11: 48. I have twelve minutes left to make Old School Friday work. I peeped from last week that it was no You Tube and I was up for the challenge. I thought long and hard this morning until I came up with David Rudder's Panama. I put it in the You Tube search bar and it didn't come up. Every other song I tried..from rap, to soul to R&B to gospel to obscure reggae existed. For anyone who likes calypso, Rudder is up there with top musicians. Panama is one of his biggest hits and oddly not on You Tube.

Panama - David Rudder

My other options were to go with the theme songs for a few of my favorite shows that were canceled too soon (and actually still arent on You Tube...shocking, I know) . But I had no idea where to find the audio for them online, so we'll just be at a lost.

Edit: How do I always forget this part? For more Old School Friday check out for links to more OSF and to join in on the fun yourself!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

When I Read: We Real Cool

A while back I mentioned that I actually read when I was little. Mother's an English teacher so I had no real choice. And while I prized books- especially series about babysitters in Connecticut- I also loved a good poem. Unsurprisingly, most poems I read, memorized and spoke out loud dealt with the African American experience.

Well one Christmas, like any teachers child, I opened up my wrapped books to find a thin paperback copy of black poems. I excitedly read it, and then my sister and I did our first Last Poets-esque piece around the Christmas tree. I don't think the recording ever worked, but I'll always always love this piece.

This You Tube piece also had Digable Planets "Rebirth of Slick (Cool like that)" as the background piece...and I mentioned my admiration of them in this OSF piece.

Happy Wednesday!!!

We Real Cool by Gwendolyn Brooks

We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Do the Right Thing: Celebration Continued Part II ---> The Music Part I

It's a twitter music monday yall. Catch my tunes.

Today's extra hot. I was in the emergency room and saw too many heatstroked seniors. Guess that means its time for another installment about Do the Right Thing, set on the hottest day of the year.

Now any die hard Spike Lee fan will tell you about Joe's Bedstuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads, Spike Lee's 1983 thesis and how that launched Spike's career and yada yada yada. That's your Spike Lee fact for the day. Instead I'm going to focus on Spike and music.

The same year Lee was filming his thesis, hiphop was still in its infant stage and rap was forming a personality of sorts. In 1983, Grandmaster Melle Mel (and possibly Grandmaster Flash..there's some sketchiness with the credits) came out with White Lines. The unofficial music video starred Laurence Fishburne and was directed by none other than Spike Lee.

Immersed in the politics of the day and all the characteristics of hip hop culture: innovation, rebellion, political dissatisfaction and the excited emergence of a new voice for an underclass, Lee merged his art with hip hop music and Do the Right Thing earned its place in hip hop history.

From directing the Public Enemy video which served as the movie's theme:

to the opening sequence:

to the costuming, language, and of course Radio Raheem and that big ol music box blasting hip hop

Lee incorporated hip hop into his work in a manner that had not been done before, epitomizing it as a form of black expression and often contrasting and comparing it to jazz sensibilities with its own culture of innovation, signifying and protesting.

Do the Right Thing isn't the only movie in which Spike has used the dynamics of music to emphasize his point, but the movie and its writer-director have left a clear mark in the hip hop community inspiring pieces such as

and whatever Jermaine Dupri, Ciara and Nelly cooked up for this.

Following my Do the Right Thing Tribute?
Part One: Scary Do the Right Thing Muppets

Friday, August 07, 2009

Old School Friday: Chaka Khan Chaka Khan Chaka Khan Chaka Khan

Chaka Khan, Chaka Khan, Chaka Khan Chaka Khan!

Yes, today's Old School Friday celebrates one of the greats. Everytime I hear the name Chaka, beyond thoughts of fantabulous red hair and extreme outfits(which unlike Diana Ross didn't frighten me) I tend to think of my favorite movie soundtrack Waiting to Exhale and her contribution. The judges on American Idol would definitely agree that she made the song her own.

Then I burst into a panic attack at how I can limit myself to solely one other choice. So I thought back to what could be considered a college classic: Through the Wire, and how that song could never be without

I'm not even touching the Rufus days.

When Whitney Houston redid "I'm Every Woman," I wasnt allowed to sing it. Apparently I would have corrupted my 7 year old mind.

Join in on the Old School Friday fun at Conversations with Marva!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Do the Right Thing: Muppet Style

It's icky. I've finally started using the Air Conditioner. I've been waiting around for the hottest day of the summer to show up to start spewing thoughts on Do the Right Thing, which my slight obsession with has been documented several times on this site. But with the not so hot, but still disgustingly humid summer New York has been having, I realized that it shall be difficult to correspond my coverage with the timeline of the film (which is just the hottest day of the year).

So lets get it started. In honor of the news that the Muppets will be incorporating Mad Men into their show, I bring you the unofficial Sesame Street spoof. Ernie is Mookie and Big Bird is Buggin' Out. Great casting if I've ever seen it. I've never wanted to see Big Bird curse tho :(

The Queen