music

Pal playlist

Looking over the past months’ sporadic posting and topics, you can tell that I have been in a bit of a funk. It has gone a little long now and is starting to feel like the funk of forty thousand years so it’s time to slap Nick Cage across the face, make my hair as big as poss Loretta Castorini style and SNAP OUT OF IT. Ima do my best.

One thing that continues to sustain me no matter what bullshizz is happening is my everloving peeps. I am a little bit mad at most of them for living in other states as me (RUDE) but still, they are what keep my boat afloat and my chips ahoy’ed.

One of my local peeps is Eric and he and I text each other a song every now and again. Ok, kind of every day. I love my music text friendship. It is like a little present I get each day from a fave who also happens to know what a jam is.

I thought you might want to get in on this week’s songs we texted. Need a little commute playlist to start your workday tomorrow or something? Listen to our silliness.

 

 

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Sad song self care

Remember a couple posts ago when I went on and on about self care? Well, you know what I say to that person, who wrote that post? HA HA YOU SO CUTE BUT WHAT YOU THINK YOU KNOW ABOUT IT GO ON SAY MORE ABOUT IT YA DANG GENIUS.

I have been sucking at the self care lately, friends. Badly. I don’t know what happened! I used to have it figured out! But now! It’s all gone! Where it go? Why it gone? Sheeeeeeeeeeeet.

I have always been a busy person, a fill-up-my days person, a why do three things when I can do seven things person. So quantity is not my issue, I don’t think, at this point. But these days, it all just feels different. I feel like I have been living inside of a hurricane, and not the middle calm part, but rather the spinny part, and not the spinny part in the fun Right Round Baby Right Round Like a Record Baby part, but rather in the make it stop or else I may puke part. I had a dream one night that I was in a protest and my protest sign just said “U S A! I D K!” Which kind of sums it all up, in a way. There is so very much IDK all around that I am grasping to hold onto the knowns. The Known Knowns, as a certain villain of the past used to say. I want to say that I am tired all the time, but I have always been a person that is tired all the time. I haven’t really slept well since my early 20s so ain’t no thing but a chicken wing when it comes to tired. But these days, my tired at the end of the day is a hazy, glazy tired, where I just feel like what? What happened? Who now? What then? How come? Who dis?

Anyhoozle, on top of all that, I have had a hankering for melancholic music, the kind that has a heaviness you can feel in your guts. Before everything spins into the air, a heavy guts song can be just the thing. Take me down, Ye.

FML, Kanye West

 

Not Dead Yet

Before we do this, let’s listen to this. TRIBE 4EVAH y’all.

Ok. So I made a list of 50 pop cultures that I loved in 2016, but before I tell you about them, let’s close out this ball-kicker of a year right quick.

There was this one time, when my dad was still alive but very sick, where I talked to him on the phone and I said, with concern: how are you? And he said, in an unexpected sort of joke: NOT DEAD YET! And we laughed hard, kind of surprised. It was so not funny, but yet, jeez louise, it was. It may have been the last truly hearty laugh we shared, pops to kiddo, kiddo to pops.

In the time since he’s been gone, there are a few things that have changed about me. For one, my sense of urgency has gone way, way up. I want my days to be as full, my eyes as open, my mind as awake as can be (insert Morgan Freeman voice get-busy-livin quote here). Life is so, so short, y’all. Time is ticking and we are in a sprint. No dicking around! And now, with the world all fucked up and on fire like it is, my shit is even more ramped up in the urgency department. So, now is the time to say the things I want to say, hear the things I need to hear, do the things that are right to do, find the joy, see the art, create, be a good friend, face the painful stuff, listen, make justice happen, organize, and love: truly and deeply and persistently.

My sweetheart and I will sometimes clink glasses and say to each other, as my dad said to me: “NOT DEAD YET!” like, instead of “cheers.” It’s still funny. And not. I look at that beautiful, kind, steadfast partner of mine and feel deep down in my gut how many years we have been together (it’s a lot of years), how fucking great he is, how short it all seems already, how much I want time to stop for us, and how much it can’t. We have things to do, all the things. So let’s get doing.


50 Pieces of Art That Gave Me Joy in 2016

Lizzo Coconut Oil EP is perfect.

And speaking of perfect: Moonlight.

Atlanta! Donald Glover is the only Donald I want to deal with, honestly. See also: Have Some Love, Childish Gambino.

Blk Girl Soldier by Jamila Woods is the kind of song that makes me feel better about the world, which maybe you need right now too, just guessing?

Insecure. Watch the first season and then let’s fight about how we thought things should have turned out.

Your Best American Girl, Mitski. “Your mother wouldn’t approve of how my mother raised me, but I do, I finally do.”

Queen Sugar is beautiful on so many levels but I will just say this: is there a finer man than Ralph-Angel? Good god. FOINE.

Kiss the Sky by Jason Derulo is like, primo wedding reception dancing music. Your kid brother and your grandma will love it.

The night I went from big fan to rabid Beyhive was during the Formation concert tour.

Nadiyah Hussein from Great British Baking Show, I JUST LOVE HER, thas all.

Cranes in the Sky: is there a Solangehive because I would like to join that also.

Two Dope Queens. Your dream BFFs. Or mine, anyway.

I am so Sorry the Beebs makes bangers but we have to stop fronting like he don’t.

Sooo Many White Guys podcast. I may have a medium-to-heavy obsession with Phoebe Robinson.

All We Got, Chance the Rapper. Actually the whole dang album, front to back. Hiphop artists are really bringing the concept of a cohesive album back.

There are so many ways our shit is broken and most of them intersect in OJ: Made in America.

Too Good, Drake ft Rihanna. Work-chair head-bob dancing, wut wut.

I saw Ghostbusters in a movie theater full of 13 year olds, which was kind of the best way to see it.

My parents came from tiny places and did things outside of power structure expectations. Queen of Katwe made me think about that.

Lie 2 My Face. Kari Faux takes me to a very JJ Fadd place, and I love that place. I could live in that place.

Mainstream American Comic, Hari Kondabolu. “Some people ask me why, when I do impressions of my parents, I don’t do their accents, and the answer of course, is ‘fuck you, that’s why.'”

If you said goodbye to some people in your life this year, like I did, Alaska by Maggie Rogers fits the bill.

SJP is so great at being horrible in Divorce. Actually everyone in this show: GARBAGE. Plus the 70s soundtrack is to die.

All Night, SG Lewis. On repeat.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople. THIS KID.

Who’s a muhfucking Starboy? Me.

Loving. This basically happened five minutes ago, history-wise, and we better not forget it.

Spotify science tells me that I listened to Into You by Ariana Grande a lot, and I can’t argue with that. I apologize in advance to those who go to karaoke with me in the future.

Don’t Think Twice. Or as I like to think of it: “I regret everything, party of one.”

Hotline Bling, covered by Ceresia. This was my walk-into-work-from-busstop-song for a few solid months.

Sister Wives. I CAN GIVE YOU A CLASS ON WHY THIS IS A GREAT SHOW BUT YOU WON’T BELIEVE ME SO JUST FORGET IT.

What am I doing Here is a universal feeling sometimes, amiright.

Weiner. Ugh, this guy. But also, ugh, this system. And also, ugh, us, all of us.

Southside with You. People of color don’t get a lot of movies that just show us just dating, romancing, or talking about things as the main plot points.

Death, Sex, and Money are things we should talk about more.

There are lots of things to criticize the Kardashians about, but most people focus on the wrong ones entirely. I hold all the knowledge on this, trust me.

This is cheating because although I Am Not Your Negro was in limited release in 2016 I will not see it until its wider release in 2017 but I CANNOT WAIT.

13th. As an American, this is devastating, required watching.

Kendrick Lamar and Beyonce on BET awards. HOOOOO LORDY

Luke Cage. Bulletproof hoodie-wearing black man superhero? HECK YES.

Get all your cathartic rant needs met via Full Frontal w Samantha Bee and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

Please watch The Fits so I have someone to talk about it with.

Judge John Hodgman is usually right about everything, is the thing, and while always funny, is also often moving in his wisdom.

I Can’t Give Everything Away, David Bowie. *sob*

And this wasn’t released in 2016 but Sometimes It Snows In April. *double sob*

Two days after the election my friends and I had a religious experience dancing to Freedom 90 where George Michael convinced us for a few minutes that we would maybe be ok. *triple sob STOP DYING, CHILDHOOD*

Another Round podcast. If you haven’t listened to these, I am jealous that you get to start.

Lion ALL OF THE TISSUES IN THE WORLD HAVE BEEN USED BY ME BECAUSE OF THIS MOVIE AND MY FACE HAS LEAKED OFF COMPLETELY

Would you like some joy? Here’s some joy. Down by the Singing Sea video by Walter Martin.

Hey, everyone, I guess this is in question these days but SCIENCE IS A THING, LIKE A REAL THING. Listen to Story Collider for stories about it.

2016 out, 2017 in.

All We Have To Do Now

Remember when we used to write about pop culture and artsy farts and stuff? Those were good times. Are we ready to do that again? I say yes, because here’s the thing. This weekend, I had all these plans that I had made before the election, and on Wednesday I was thinking about all those plans and my soul felt like a little kid who has had enough of their day and just decides to go limp. You know how they do that? Just, wilt sag nope I am done I can’t oh the humanity. But many of those plans were with other people, and I didn’t want to be wilty cancellation lady, so I did all the plans. And it didn’t make me all the way better, but this is what it did do.

On Thursday night, I went out for karaoke, and I mean to tell you my ass was dragging all the way there, as grumpy as could be. But my friends and a whole slew of strangers had a religious experience to the tune of You’re So Vain and My Prerogative and Footloose and so many more. Strangers were hugging after songs, everyone was dancing to every song, and there was a point during Freedom 90 by George Michael where we were all throwing up our arms into the air, throwing our heads back and shout-singing ALL WE HAVE TO DO NOW, IS TAKE THESE LIES AND MAKE THEM TRUE SOMEHOW, ALL WE HAVE TO SEE, IS THAT I DON’T BELONG TO YOU, AND YOU DON’T BELONG TO ME, FREEDOMMMMM YOU’VE GOT TO GIVE WHAT YOU TAKE and I felt like maybe things would be ok if there were people like these just out here in the world, and I almost cried.

On Friday I went to see a performance of several Jessica Lang Dance Company pieces. One of the pieces was based off of interviews and artwork that was done by a group of veterans and another one was danced to a set of Shakespeare sonnets and they were the kinds of dances that I just wanted to go on and on and live inside of. When each dance ended and the lights went down, the audience would let out a soft, collective “oh!” My dear Delium said “It’s as if we all got gut punched at the same moment.” True, true, true. Didn’t we just, though?

On Saturday my dude and I went to see Moonlight, and it was so beautiful, and sad, and loving, and cruel, and kind, and delicate, and majestic, and stunning that I started crying fifteen minutes in and I didn’t stop all the way through, not even when the lights came up or when we walked out of the theater. We wrapped our arms around each other and went home, holding on tightly. That movie reminded me of everything that is important, and I am not kidding.

Time to get back to it, everyone. In all the ways.

Freedom 90, George Michael

Bey-vangelicals

Listen, before Hayden and I get to our recap of seeing Beyonce live last week, I just want to say this. There are five thousand million think pieces in the world about Ms. Knowles Carter that talk about the art that she makes, the feminism she touts, the brand that she creates, the politics that she embodies, the Everything that she Everythings. There’s nuanced writing, thoughtful writing, with subtlety, with close-reads, with acknowledgement of the deep strata of her body of work and what she means to the culture at large. What follows here ain’t that writing, y’all. What follows here is us BARFING OUR FEELINGS OF RAINBOWS. Just so we are clear. Ok, I’ll start.

R:As my dear co-blogger mentioned a couple weeks ago, I am kind of an awesome person in that I got her tickets to the Beyonce concert for her birthday. Sure, it would be fair to say that I actually bought MYSELF a ticket to the concert and then gave her one too. But I believe that it was Mother Teresa who said: “give of oneself in a way that makes sure you get your’n also.” I was excited to go because I always have fun with that Hayden lady and also I am a Beyonce fan in general. I had some trepidation about going to an event in a stadium because I do not enjoy sportage so therefore my knowledge of how to even attend such a venue is limited. But for this, I would stadium it up. I figured it would be an awesome concert, like a ten on a scale of ten. BUT YOU GUYS IT WAS LIKE A THOUSAND OR LIKE MAYBE THE SCALE WOULD JUST BLOW UP FROM GREATNESS LIKE I DO NOT EVEN KNOW HOW TO SAY WHAT WE SAW AND HEARD. Ok, first of all, our SEATS. H, tell them about the seats!

H: THE SEATS.
So, we had floor seats, which of course I was excited about.  Who has floor seats to Beyonce? I figured we’d be out in the middle of a sea of seats, and that’s still very cool and better than the nosebleeds. But in fact, there was a main stage area up front, with a longer L-shaped stage sticking out from it. We were right at the end of the L. Which meant that when Beyonce danced out to the end of the L we could ALMOST TOUCH HER. I was sitting next to a high school boy who was there alone, and almost died from joy when he realized how close we were going to be to they Bey. (Side note: I loved that kid.)
There was a structure on the main stage that was about the size and shape of a 6-story building. When we first sat down Rekha said, “Do you think that thing will spin around or something?” And I was all, “Ha ha no my foolish child, it will just have images projected on it and stuff. It’s cute that you think it might spin tho”
Well GUESS WHAT. It did have images projected on it. It ALSO spun around, and SPLIT IN TWO and had TRAPEZE ARTISTS INSIDE, and there were HIDDEN DOORS on the bottom that the dancers could go in and out of, AND. It was nuts.
R: Aside from the spinning 6-story building, there were 20-foot vertical fire sprays you could feel in your face like you were standing next to a dragon and then the stage filled up with water and everyone came floating out on a conveyor belt and IT SOUNDS LIKE I AM MAKING UP STUFF BUT I CANNOT DESCRIBE IT ALL. But honestly, all of that was just a backdrop for Beyonce herself. I don’t know if it was because we were so close to her but she was truly astounding to see, and I mean ASTOUNDING. Like, the power with which she sang was for serrrrrrious. Over two hours straight, no stopping (except for some costume changes that somehow took less than a minute each), every note just so perfect. And also, full on dancey dance and she wasn’t ever out of breath the whole time. We were right in her face and SHE BARELY EVEN SWEATED OR NOTHING. She kicked water right in our faces from two feet away and WE LOVED IT. KICK AT US AGAIN MY DARLING. And there wasn’t no lip-syncing either. I just don’t even know how to talk about it. Hayden, help a chick out. WHAT DID WE EVEN JUST SEE WAS THAT REAL
H: IDK PRETTY SURE BEYONCE IS MAGIC AND THEREFORE MAYBE NOT REAL??
The whole way home I kept saying things like THIS IS WHAT CHURCH SHOULD BE LIKE BEYONCE IS AN ANGEL THANK YOU FOR KICKING YOUR FOOTWATER ON US BEYONCE.
She really is the ultimate performer, but also possibly a perfect human? Like, her hair was always blowing in the breeze in the most photogenic possible way. And she had this way of making us all feel like part of her perfect magic? I don’t know how to explain it except that before this, I was a Beyonce fan, and now I am BEYHIVE TO THE MAX.
R: ALSO. The layering of images and videos and music and dance and poetry was so awesome. Like, there was fun and pathos and politics and it was just so artful it sort of hurt to be there taking it in. And somehow the whole thing felt totally organic and grounded EVEN WITH THE SHOOTING FLAMES AND STUFF. The spectacle was happening but it all felt so simple and not overdone at all. Just gorgeous, top to bottom. The talent and smarts of that lady were just KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF GOOD, AND ALSO YOUR PANTS AND KNICKERS AND BRASSIERE JUST ALL OF IT KNOCKED OFF. I KNOW WE ARE YELLING A LOT IN THIS POST BUT IT WAS LIFE CHANGING. You think we are overstating but I PROMISE YOU. I ain’t never seen no business like that business.
H: Thanks so much for reading through our screamy devotion, you guys. I really appreciate the fact that you didn’t run away like my friends and coworkers have started doing whenever I start talking about Beyonce’s foot water.
And the biggest, hugest thank you to Rekha. I look forward to a future in which I often bore all the nurses in the assisted living facility with my stories of Beyonce’s talent, magic, and abs–and the amazing woman who brought me into the Beyonce light.
This was an incredible birthday gift and you are an incredible friend. Love you, girl.
R: Only half sure that last sentence wasn’t directed toward Bey.

Purple

For those of you who are sort of sick of Prince-talk and are drowning in the internets/media analysis, memories, and general lamentations, buckle up, because you are about to get one more. I’m still rolling around in it, and that’s just the way it’s gonna bes today.

When I was in elementary school, maybe like 3rd grade or so, I remember my parents had some friends over for dinner. Their kids were friends with my siblings and this was a family we hung out with a lot. We were sitting outside on the patio after eating, kids talking, parents talking, sometimes all talking. For some reason, Elvis came up in conversation. The mom from this family started talking about when Elvis died, and as she talked, she got choked up. I think she may have even full on squeezed some tears out. I remember my sister and I looking at each other across the table like: OMG. What sort of old white lady nonsense is THAT. Of course we were too polite to register our lack of empathy out loud, but inwardly, we were assholes about it, in that special way that kids can be towards people who are our parents’ age.

I also remember when John Lennon was killed. Mostly I remember my parents (and us kids too) riveted to the news as it came in. The Beatles were always in heavy rotation in my house since I was a baby and I knew this was big and important and sad, but at that age someone in the Beatles was like, I don’t know. Not a real person to me. Death wasn’t real to me actually. My Legos were real to me.

When Bob Marley died, that was big in my house, mostly for my older brother. I know that now, you probably think about Bob Marley music as something only young dummies like Seth Rogan would be into, but trust me on this one. Outside of the United States, in countries such as the one my family comes from, Bob Marley was like a god at that time. The confluence of the music and post-colonial/anti-imperialist thought was deeply meaningful in a way that pains me a little every time I hear it blasting out of a local frat house today. I remember my brother playing the albums over and over again when he died, but honestly, I wasn’t sad. Mostly because I wasn’t old enough to understand it, and also because Bob Marley seemed immortal to me so his actual dying didn’t seem to register in my brain.

When Marvin Gaye died, that was the first artist death that I felt throughout my community. Being Detroit-adjacent, his death was talked about at my school and by my neighbors in a way that was different than what I had seen before. I remember the young, hip student teacher at my elementary school misting up about it the day after it happened.

As a teen and adult, there have been others that have resonated more than others. There have been deaths that I felt very sorry over, like Aaliyah and Lisa Left Eye, and ones that I have felt the significance of in my head more than in my heart, like Kurt Cobain. Anyone who knew me when I was a child will tell you that I had a deep love for Michael Jackson back in the day, but by the time he passed away I had long put that away. I thought Whitney’s passing was sad, but for whatever reason it didn’t hit me hard.

When Prince died last week, I was in a meeting, with my cell phone sitting on the conference table next to me. You guys, my phone started blowing up like some sort of family emergency was going on. In the past couple of days, my friends, especially my childhood friends, have texted their memories and thoughts back and forth with me. People I know from elementary school, middle school, high school, and college- all talking to each other and sharing feelings about Prince. I think I may have misted up a couple of times when David Bowie died, but I gotta tell you, I have totally for reals cried several times over the last few days listening to Prince songs. I have been trying to think about why that is, when so many other artists have meant a lot to me too. Here’s what I think, and it’s not that original because you can flip to any page on the internets right now and get an eyeful of think pieces saying the same thing. If you were born when and where I was born, Prince busted onto the scene in a major way when you were about five years old and you just started to marinate in it. This kept going non-stop until early middle school, when Purple Rain knocked you out right when your need to hear good music crossed with your hormones kicking you in the pants, your curiosity about sex is at its most potent/confusing, your want for sheer COOLNESS is like a biological need. Carry this into high school and college and times the marination by a factor of 100 if you are a Midwestern kid of color who has always felt weird your whole life and BLAMMO. Prince is baked into your soul.

That lady when I was a kid who was crying about Elvis? That’s because Elvis was hers. For her age, for her demographic, for her sense of place and time, for her sense of self, sex, music, fashion, formation, love, art, all of it: Elvis was hers. Just like Kurt was someone’s and Bob Marley was someone’s and John Lennon was someone’s and Marvin Gaye was someone’s.

Prince though, man. For me and my friends? Prince was ours.

Prince

1999, heard in the 80s
With my older sister driving me around in our brown Chevy Citation, I hear a song on the radio about the impossibly futuristic 1999.
Little Red Corvette
My older brother’s friend Greg played this in his basement rec room and I had no idea what it was about, except that there were horses that run free somewhere in there, I guessed alongside the car? Something bitchin like that.
Delirious
Dancing around my basement with my friend Malin, making hyper robot dances and laughing ourselves sick. There was a lot of hanging out in basements in my childhood.
Erotic City
No idea what erotic even meant, but I liked that they were possibly eating cherries? I literally thought they were eating cherries, you guys.
When Doves Cry
This song/video made me buy fingerless lace gloves and I wore the shit out of them.
Let’s Go Crazy
MIDDLE SCHOOL DANCES
Darling Nikki
At my 7th grade birthday party we listened to this and Jenny told us all what masturbating was and we were like GIRL, WHAT.
Purple Rain
I told my aunt that this was my new fave movie and she rented it and watched it, was scandalized, and we had a super awkward conversation about it that lasted about three minutes.
I Would Die 4 U
I just love this song.
A Love Bizarre
Had it on cassingle, mothersuckazzzzz
Do Me Now
Went through a phase in early high school where all my friends and I would declare our attraction to our young cohorts by proclaiming HE CAN TOTALLY DO ME. When we would see a cutie we would simply say “DMN” to each other, to signify “Do me now.” Most of us knew nothing about doing nobody, but we talked a shit ton of smack.
Sugarwalls
I remember the precise moment my friend Shanelle and I were dancing to this song and realized what sugarwalls were. We both played it off like we had known it all along.
Batdance
This song makes me think about walking around town on a particular summer night at about 16 years old in a large group of homies. Was someone playing this song? I don’t remember.
The Beautiful Ones
SEVENTEEN YEAR OLD HEARTBREAKKKKKKKKKK
Little Red Corvette (again)
My freshman year in college I dated a guy who told me that his dad sang along to this song with the wrong words: “GIMME A BREAK, COLLETTE!”
Gett Off
I got into a huge fight with a guy about whether or not Prince’s songs objectified women or whether they were sex/women-positive or both. I honestly can’t remember who argued what but it was a barn burner.
Nothing Compares 2U
It was only in my early 20s that I figured out that this was a Prince song before it was a Sinead song. Played on repeat.
Raspberry Beret
Went on a date with a guy where he picked me up in his car on a spring day and we just drove around in the country all day, listening to music and talking. This was one of the songs I remember. I liked that guy so much, but it was our only date.
7
Working late at the theater, going to after-show parties, make out musix.
1999 (again)
The year 2000 is here already? At least we have this jam to listen to.
Purple Rain (again)
Re-watched the movie. Ooh dang. PROBLEMATIC.
Sometimes It Snows In April
Shit breaks me down every. single. time.
Pop Life
You may have noticed, the title of this song is the tag line to this blog.
Life it ain’t real funky unless it’s got that pop.

C0nsumables #150 Watching The Good Wife and the Bad Debates

I can’t watch another debate, people. I just can’t DO IT NO MO. What are we even doing to ourselves? It’s like, every damn day with these foolios. I am a politically engaged person and I am being crushed. This can’t be good to entice non-engaged people.

Speaking of deadly repetition, can I tell you a little something about one of my fave shows, The Good Wife? There isn’t much I don’t love about this show; even its missteps are usually more interesting than most tv I watch. However. How many times is Hostile Takeover of the Firm going to be a plot point? I can’t even count how many times everyone and their meemaw wants to hatch a scheme to take over the firm. Diane and Will, David Lee, Cary, Alicia, Louis Canning, David Lee again, Cary again, on and on. There are many things to care about on the show and who is sitting in the big office ain’t a one. Like, what does being the boss of that firm even get you? It is not clear. Anyway, they brought that shit in AH-GAIN last week and I just want them to PLAY A NEW TUNE Y’ALL STUCK ON REPEAT. Anyway. At least they brought in an investigator to distract us with hotness. Not as hot as Kalinda but who is.

I went and saw this lovely singer/songwriter last weekend and now this is stuck on repeat in my earbuds. Now this repetition I can handle. Take a listen. Happy Friday!

Consumables #145: Insomnia Assistance

No sooner had a little time off work helped me Get My Groove Back, I am now knee-deep in work again, which means my Groove has been Removed. How Stella Got Her Groove Removed is something Angela Bassett would never allow I am sure, and who wants to see that movie?

I finally started watching Making a Murderer on Netflix a couple of nights ago which is really probably a bad idea for someone who is getting their groove removed. I watch a few episodes before bed and then I can’t sleep because I keep thinking about it. When part of getting my work grind on again is re-acclimating to waking up at 5am, that ain’t a smooth move, Ex-Lax.

On top of this, I just read Steve Sheinkin’s The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights. It’s about segregated armed forces in WWII and the unsafe and unfair working conditions that caused 320 servicemen to be killed in California while the remaining survivors were threatened with mutiny charges. Also so compelling and vital to know this history but between this and Making a Murderer it’s basically Horrible Garbage Humans Misusing Power times as I go to sleep (or don’t go to sleep) each night.

As long as we are talking about miscarriages of justice narratives (happy new year, guys!), I just have to plug the documentary Brother’s Keeper. So good. I am here to help you with all your angry-insomnia needs.

If you are a weirdo and would rather your documentary films be inspiring (whatever, but ok) I also recently saw He Named Me Malala. I especially loved the way the film illustrated the normalcy of Malala’s young adult life (homework! looking at pictures of Roger Federer on the internets!) as she navigates the more extraordinary aspects we all know about. She’s still a kid, and seeing that side made the movie all the more inspiring.

Here’s hoping your groove stays with you.

Groove Theory, Tell Me

Babe’ll go spastic, hip hop gains a classic

Part of my new year’s festivities included going to the Digable Planets reunion show. There was a time in my baby years that I wanted nothing  more than to be cool like Ladybug Mecca, and I had never had a chance to see them live in their heyday. I dressed up for the cold, grabbed a girlfriend, and headed out.

The show was everything I wanted it to be– I got my dance on (after relocating from where I started because somehow my initial spot was in the Weirdo-Stay-Seated section), and the crowd was joyfully giddy.

As my friend and I waited for the show to begin, there was a guy behind us that looked like Brian Austin Green playing a tv movie role as a raver. Glowing clothes, a jockey hat, knee socks. I immediately began to refer to him as Chuck Biskits because I recently heard this name during Trivial Pursuit and I deem it the best name ever. Chuck Biskits talked in a loud hyper chatter to his friends and his default response to everything anyone said, no matter how unsensational it was: SHUT UP!

Friend: I think Nora is getting a drink- she’ll be up in a minute.

Chuck Biskits: SHUT UP!

Either he was surprised by everyone at all times or he really wanted his friends to shut up, is my thought. The other thing that was cracking us up (yes, we paused our conversation every two minutes to listen to Chuck Biskits), was, well, everything he said.

Chuck Biskits: We should hang out more often. Actually no. Not hang out. We should CONNECT. PERSON TO PERSON.

Friend: Sure thing! We should make a plan this week.

Chuck Biskits: SHUT UP! Yes!

I think Digable Planets may have hired this guy and his friends, just for us, as their opening act. Their band name would be Chuck Biskits and the Shut Ups.

I can say all I want about Chuck, but at the end of the show, my friend and I were walking out amongst the sea of show-goers, and Chuck chased us down, his hand held high over the heads of the crowd, holding my friend’s lost scarf. “I’m so glad I found you guys!” he said, handing her the scarf. Thanks, Chuck. What a lovely thing to do. After making so much fun of you all night, I should probably SHUT UP.