YOU KNOW THE DEAL
Do I need to tell you to vote tomorrow?
YOU KNOW THE DEAL
ROLL ON YOU BEARS
HOUSE OF REMIX RAY
IGNORANCE IS BLISS
I'm sure the afterglow of the Sox victory will linger on for a bit but next Tuesday pulls us back to reality (unless there's some kind of Massachusetts magic that Kerry can feed off of).
The Program on International Policy Attitidues at the Univ. of Maryland released a study last week which states some of the following:
HOLY FUCKING SHIT: THE RED SOX WIN THE WORLD SERIES
ELECTION 2004: FLORIDA AGAIN?
I'LL TAKE 14 CARDS, PUT 'EM IN A LINE
THE GAME DONE CHANGED
Apart from my obvious love for music, I spent a good deal of time watching, thinking and writing on film: as a scholar (I annually teach Asian American film at UC Berkeley), as a journalist and as a member of a film festival screening committee. I take great pleasure in wearing all these different hats but I have to also have to admit the downside: there's just some appalling cinema out there.
Blame it on the declining cost of access. With the relatively affordable price of DV cameras and efficient editing software that almost any PC can run, becoming a filmmaker isn't the heady, expensive task it once was. While that's great for the wanna-be auteur, it also has the consequence of creating an unfathomable amount of bad movies. You think there's a lot of bad indie hip-hop out there? At least your average DIY rap 12" doesn't cost $20,000 to produce. What I find amazing about crappy films is that they're made at all: the costs of production can be so prohibtively high, the fact that you can still blow tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on a terrible end-product is mindboggling.
Two that I'm going to quickly highlight:
1) I recently watched one film (and I'll be nice enough to leave its name out of the discussion since it's still looking for distribution) that cloned its plot right off of Ang Lee's The Wedding Banquet: a young, Asian American woman is pressured into marriage by her traditional parents and convinces her gay, white friend to pretend to be her fiancee. They end up getting married. Hilarity (presumably) ensues.
I'll put aside the fact the film's amateur production qualities already make it unwatchable. I'm still reeling from how remarkably unoriginal the film's premise is, especially when it fails to do anything different (let alone better) than anything Ang Lee accomplished. Seriously - who in the chain of production ever thought this would make a good film? I'm all for the expansion of the Asian American filmmaking community (this was made by a Vietnamese American director) but not if that means offering polite applause for a poor product.
This is only the tip of the iceberg. I see dozens of films a year where I know within the first shot that it's going to be terrible. That might sound harsh but believe me - bad films announce themselves from jump and never get any better from there. I'd name more names but that'd be impolitic for fledgling movies, still trying to get some attention on the festival circuit or from distributors. Films that have already gotten out there more though, that's another story, leading me to:
2) Nathan Kurosawa'a The Ride recently opened the 5th annual San Diego Asian Film Festival. In comparison to #1, this was actually a fairly well-made film (cinematically speaking) with a fantastic premise: Kurosawa makes a bio-pic about Duke Kahanamoku, better known as the father of modern surfing. It's about high-time that The Duke got more recognition (and if you watch films like Stacy Peralta's recent Riding Giants, he gets the nods he deserves) and The Ride does an admirable job of trying to capture Hawaii of the early 1900s, long before its transformation into a tourist economy.
The problem with The Ride is that instead of making a film about the Duke, where the story is told about him and through him, the lead in the film is actually David, a white, world-class surfer with an asshole attitude to match who gets magically thrown back to the Duke's time era during a surfing accident. It is by returning to surfing's early days and meeting and learning under The Duke that David becomes a better person and when he returns to "real" time, he is a changed man.
I can't speak for Kurosawa but I can only assume that he put a white guy at lead because he figured that he couldn't sell a surfing movie with a Native Hawaiian as the center of attention. As commercially justifiable as that may be, it's a weak, narrative device not mention insulting, watering down of the Duke's story. This is like Mississippi Burning - a film about the African American-lead Civil Rights Movement that makes two white FBI agents out to be the real heroes. What's next? Why don't people make a bio-pic about, say, Cesar Chavez but let's film it from the perspective of white college student who spends the summer volunteering in the fields? Or maybe they should have made Ray with a white music critic telling the Genius' story? Bottom line, nowhere, in the world, do we need another film where either 1) people of color help redeem white folk or 2) where p.o.c. are forced to play second chair to a white star because filmmakers don't have the confidence that they can sell their movies without a haole. (By the way, this is precisely why Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, for all its juvenile, sexist humor, is practically revolutionary).
ENTER THE JIN
WHAT MORE CAN I SAY?
DO YOU BELIEVE?
HATERS, FALL BACK
Look, I know some people just don't get Sox love but I'm going to try to explain it like this...
I have my own personal reasons, having grown up outside of Boston from age 0.5 to about 7. Then there was 1986, a World Series of such excrutiating heartache that it either turned you off from ever wanting to follow the Sox again or endeared you to their plight for life. I fall in the latter. I'm not remotely the biggest booster in the Sox Nation. I can't quote you stats on the players - hell, I didn't even realize Nomar got traded until the Olympics - I can't spell Carl Yamstremsky's name right.
But, I'm also endeared to them because people I hold dear are endeared to them. So much so that after tonight's 14 inning marathon, ended only after Ortiz (again) won the day, they call each other and have the phone call equivalent of a group hug. And that might sound sappy to you but their mutual love for the Sox is so great that it gives them an excuse to visit each other (despite not living in the same state), take road trips with one another, invent little superstitions to alter the team's karma and in general, build on bonds that were already tight but are now just that much tighter. It's hard to articulate but it's a wondrous thing to see, especially in a time when work and distance often serve to sever friendships.
Believe me, I know other sports nuts - a good friend bought his baby daughter a mini Kobe jersey which I think is karmically risky, but he's that big of a Lakers' fan. But let me just tell you: Sox fandom transcends that. By that, I don't mean that these are people who paint their chests with red paint, wear those foam hands, or take trips to the BX just to urinate on the Yankees' stadium. Yet, rooting for the Sox is something my friends do with such complete passion that I often can only spectate in awe.
After all, in my humble opinion, to be a Sox fan means being on the side of despair, frustration and disappointment year after year after year (being a Cal fan is much the same but that's another story) and without making too much of this: some of us can appreciate that feeling because we experience it in profound ways far outside just the realm of sport. I can't speak for others but I think the sensitivity to often being on the losing side of the good fight is precisely what makes rooting for the Sox so great...because occassionally, like tonight or last night, they'll actually pull it out and in that instant, a whole world of possibilities and potential opens up. Theeeennnn, usually, they'll go out and get destroyed in the most inexplicable or embarassing ways but hey, that's the cycle that's got folks hooked. God forbid the Sox should go out and do something crazy like win the World Series - I don't know if fans could handle it. Maybe they'd all become Cubs fans to get that feeling back.
Anyways, 3-2, back to NYC. Shouts out to the Astros too - Jeff Kent stand up!
NOT SO DEFINITELY
DAY OF REST
JUST FOR THE RECORD
This has been a bizarre week. Over here, it's been raining all kinds of hate.
Thanks to what I can only describe as a half-funny, half-horrifying smear campaign being conducted by one very determined blogger with a grudge, I find myself in the ridiculous position of having to assure people - including good friends of mine - that I have NOT been sending out racist emails to anyone. I'm sure said grudge-bearer is cackling with glee at the success of his libelous endeavor and even I have to admit that his week-long Bash-A-Thon has had moments of brazen brilliance. Alas, some of his followers aren't quite as clever as they've used this as an opportunity to unload rather ugly, anti-Asian comments made both here and elsewhere. It's ironic actually: I haven't called anyone a "n*****" but I have people call me a "faggot" and a "chink." All this over taking someone off my blog roll.
(By the way, if you're just tuning in and have no idea what the hell is going on - consider yourself lucky.)
Anyways, that isn't the only craziness going on around here. I had a very nice conversation with hip-hop producer Camu Tao of SA Smash yesterday afternoon after both of us found ourselves the target of an elaborate but juvenile practical joke. Someone claiming to be Camu called me - on my home # no less - the other night to complain about a negative review I had written about SA Smash in URB. Faux Camu proceeded to dole out the standard "I don't like negative reviews, you're taking money out of my pocket, blah blah blah" rant that I've gotten from other indie rappers but what's funny is that I've never written on Camu or SA Smash before and Real Camu never even knew who I was until this incident sprung up. You can imagine both our confusion.
One wonders why anyone would go through all the trouble of claiming to be Camu in particular - not that he's not worthy of clonage - especially since they were too lazy to fact-check that I've never wrote on him or his group to begin with. In any case, Real Camu and I had a very good laugh about the whole thing. Five minutes on the phone with him and it was instantly obvious that he'd never be that kind of dude who would harass writer over a review. In fact, Real Camu has even more of a vested interest in knowing who's pretending to be him, especially when they're putting words in his mouth and potentially creating problems for him because of the subterfuge. If there wasn't a mad rapper before, there is now.
By the way, let's just consider this again: someone claiming to be a real rapper calls me up to complain about something I didn't write.
Forget about raining hate, it's raining crazy.
CHASING THE BLOGERATI
It starts with
But usually ends up
They say because of
But better to be in the playoffs than to be
Pop Life will be rooting with these dudes.
But alas, not him. And it's hard to tell who he is going to root for. Just in case things go bad though, you can always accept this wisdom.
By the way, big gas face goes out to
...though in all fairness, we had a legitimate shot and couldn't make it happen. After all, it's not everyday we can pull off