Marc Cabrera has nothing better to do than watch a lot of movies and television, and listen to a lot of music. Luckily, he has a job that pays him to blog about local and national arts, entertainment and pop culture. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Credit to Elliott Wilson and RapRadar.com for this hot, hot, hot video of Jay Elec-Hanukah/Jay Electronica performing at The Knitting Factory in NYC. I think we are baring witness to a legend right here. Have a good weekend y'all. Rest of post here
All Hip-Hop.com reported the death of Anthony Teaks, aka Apache, due to a “protracted illness.” You can read the AHH article here. His most famous song, “Gangsta Bitch,” was released in 1991. He was a member of the Flavor Unit and a close compatriot of Naughty By Nature. He also recorded wit 2Pac on the album "Strictly For My N.I.G.G.A.Z.” I hadn't heard from ol' boy in a while, but I definitely remember him from back in the day. R.I.P Apache. Rest of post here
In what is shaping up to be the biggest celebrity telethon in the history of television entertainment, the lineup was announced for “Hope For Haiti: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief.” The event is scheduled for 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22. A full press release is available after the jump. “HOPE FOR HAITI NOW: A GLOBAL BENEFIT FOR EARTHQUAKE RELIEF” ANNOUNCES LINEUP OF SUPERSTAR MUSICAL PERFORMANCES Wyclef Jean, Bruce Springsteen, Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige, Shakira, and Sting Will Appear in New York City. Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera, Dave Matthews, John Legend, Justin Timberlake, Stevie Wonder, Taylor Swift, and a Group Performance by Keith Urban, Kid Rock, and Sheryl Crow in Los Angeles. Coldplay and a Group Performance by Bono, The Edge, Jay-Z, and Rihanna in London. All Performances to be Available for Purchase from Apple® iTunes® Store with Proceeds Benefiting Select Haiti Relief Funds More than One Hundred of the Biggest Names in Film, Television, and Music to Appear on “Hope for Haiti Now,” Along with Wyclef Jean in New York City,George Clooney in Los Angeles, and CNN’s Anderson Cooper in HaitiAdditional Television, Online, and Mobile Partners Make “Hope for Haiti Now”the Most Widely Distributed Global Telethon in History
NEW YORK, NY; LOS ANGELES, CA; and LONDON, ENGLAND (JANUARY 19, 2010) – “Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief,” today announced its lineup of superstar musical performances. The global telethon will feature performances by Wyclef Jean, Bruce Springsteen, Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige, Shakira, and Sting in New York City; Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera, Dave Matthews, John Legend, Justin Timberlake, Stevie Wonder, Taylor Swift and a group performance by Keith Urban, Kid Rock, and Sheryl Crow in Los Angeles; and Coldplay, and a group performance by Bono, The Edge, Jay-Z, and Rihanna in a newly added London location. All musical performances will be available for purchase for $.99 per song through the Apple® iTunes® Store beginning Saturday, January 23, with all proceeds benefiting Haiti relief funds managed by “Hope for Haiti Now” charities. In addition to musical performances, Wyclef Jean in New York City, George Clooney in Los Angeles, and CNN’s Anderson Cooper reporting from Haiti, “Hope for Haiti Now” will feature more than one hundred of the biggest names in film, television, and music supporting the cause with testimonials and by answering phones during the telethon. The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund and United Nations World Food Programme have joined the list of relief organizations that will benefit from “Hope for Haiti Now,” which also includes Oxfam America, Partners in Health, the Red Cross, UNICEF, and Yele Haiti Foundation. Proceeds from “Hope for Haiti Now” will be split evenly among each organization’s individual funds for Haiti earthquake relief. “Hope for Haiti Now” will be the most widely distributed telethon in history, both internationally and across media platforms. The two-hour telethon will air on ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CNN, BET, The CW, HBO, MTV, VH1, and CMT on Friday, January 22, 2010 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT and 7:00 p.m. CT. “Hope for Haiti Now” will also air on newly added networks including PBS, TNT, Showtime, COMEDY CENTRAL, Bravo, E! Entertainment, National Geographic Channel, Oxygen, G4, CENTRIC, Current TV, Fuse, MLB Network, EPIX, Palladia, SoapNet, Style, Discovery Health, Planet Green, and Canadian networks including CBC Television, CTV, Global Television, and MuchMusic. The event will be live streamed online globally across sites including YouTube, Hulu, MySpace, Fancast, AOL, MSN.com, Yahoo, Bing.com, BET.com, CNN.com, MTV.com, VH1.com, and Rhapsody and on mobile via Alltel, AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and FloTV. "Hope for Haiti Now" will also air internationally on BET International, CNN International, National Geographic, and MTV Networks International, which is available in 640 million homes worldwide. “Hope for Haiti Now” will be the first U.S.-based telethon airing on MTV in China. Facebook and Twitter have signed on as official social media partners to help drive donations and tune-in to the telethon. Based on production needs and venue sizes, all “Hope for Haiti Now” studio locations will be closed to the media. Photos, pool video footage and talent interviews from “Hope for Haiti Now” will be serviced to news outlets immediately following the event. "Hope for Haiti Now" is produced by Joel Gallen and Tenth Planet Productions, in collaboration with Viacom’s MTV Networks and George Clooney.
About MTV Networks MTV Networks, a division of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), is one of the world's leading creators of entertainment content, with brands that engage and connect diverse audiences across television, online, mobile, games, virtual worlds and consumer products. The company's portfolio spans more than 150 television channels and 400 digital media properties worldwide, and includes MTV, VH1, CMT, Logo, Harmonix, Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, Nick Jr., TeenNick, AddictingGames, Neopets, COMEDY CENTRAL, SPIKE, TV Land, Atom, GameTrailers, and Xfire. Read more!
E Sik of Realization is mounting a one-man assault on, well, I'm not quite sure who. But it's impressive.
This week, his crew Central Coast Underground (CCU) checks into the Mojo Lounge in Fremont for a show, featuring E Sik/Realization, Solis Cin and our favorites, Joint Venture (I'll drop a little more on that tomorrow).
E Sik's new album, "Better Days," is slated to drop this month, and to celebrate, he has a mini-t0ur scheduled Feb. 3-6, which will take him to Mountain Charley's in Los Gatos, Checkered Flag Bar and Grill in San Jose, Cypress Lounge in Santa Cruz and Jose's Underground Lounge in Monterey.
I interviewed Junot Diaz today, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao." Cool dude, with some very insightful answers to my sometimes meandering questions.
But man, trying to ask him questions and keep him engaged in a conversation was a taxing experience. A few minutes into the interview, I realized just how sharp the guy was when I asked a question about whether the footnotes in his book were meant as a companion oral socio-political history of the Dominican Republic, his home country.
He answered no and gave a pretty concise explanation as to why they weren't. I felt like I had asked a lame question. My bad.
Later on I asked him what hip-hop he listened to while he was writing the book, and he said he listened to a lot of Lord Quas, which is a really good sign. Or at least I think he said Lord Quas. I should probably replay the tape before I publish this. Oh well, too late
Despite that moment, the interview went well because Diaz is a very lucid and concrete orator. His answers were one-hitter-quitter punchy, deliberate and abrupt. He didn't hang on to elaborate. It was all on to the next one.
Which was nice because my interview fit right into my self-imposed time limit, and I was able to end on a reasonably high note. Interview transcript will come as soon as I get to it (I still have to punch up the Gabriel Iglesias script, which I know you are all too eager to read).
The 2010 Coachella Festival lineup was announced today and once again, I'm impressed.
Of course, seeing Hov as the Friday night headliner is a treat, but I'm also excited that Gorillaz will close out the show. Muse on Saturday night will also be huge, since that's what the kiddies are all listening to these days.
I'm curious about what that Sly and the Family Stone set will look like. Will Sly show up 30 minutes into the set and then vanish a few moments later? Also, I saw Devo buried in the mix on Saturday, while Faith No More is listed pretty high up the same day (I love both bands, but that seems backward to me).
Overall, tons of bands that I love (quick short list would include Vampire Weekend, Grizzly Bear, MGMT, Phoenix, Spoon,) but for at least the second straight year, very short on hip-hop offerings. Besides Hov, you have Calle 13, P.O.S. and Wale on Friday, no hip-hop on Saturday, and De La Soul, B.o.B. on Sunday.
Still, it's a great lineup. Oh, and did I mention Thom Yorke will be there?
Looks like it's been a pretty rough week for Wyclef Jean and his countrymen in Haiti. The SmokingGun.com published an article claiming, among other things, that Jean and his business partner pocketed money and filed late tax returns for the foundation. You can read the article here. Jean released a video to address accusations of profiteering against him and his foundation. Rest of post here
A little departure to close out the week: Arecent report in the journal Public Health Nutrition claims that overweight owners tend to have overweight dogs, but there is no such link between fat owners and fat cats. My question: If that's the case, then where do all the fat cats come from? And who is the study group responsible for this report to begin with? What data collection agency came up with the idea to distinguish fat fat dog owners from fat fat cat owners? And how did they get this study funded? The report brings up more questions than it answers. You can view the L.A. Times story here. Read more!
I had the pleasure of interviewing Gabriel Iglesias earlier this week. Very funny, down to earth and accommodating guy. The interview lasted about 45 minutes, quite long but not surprising. I previously wrote about what a nice guy Gabriel was in this post. His generosity with his time was great. But what was surprising was the details he revealed in his life, particularly relating to his personal clashes with family members and his newfound understanding of how Hollywood stars can burn out so quickly. "I don't judge anyone now," he said when talking about stories of entertainers resorting to alcohol and drug abuse. Even the way that he revealed his secret struggles was a surprise. I asked him if 2009 was his most successful year to date. Career wise, it was the best. In terms of his personal life, it was the worst, he said. Which goes to show that for all entertainers, the pressures of fame and stardom are often revealed when the lights shine brightest, when the crowd cheers loudest. A shame that someone as nice and personable as Gabriel has to endure it, but that's the breaks. Interview transcript coming soon. Rest of post here
Local band Le Vice was recently nominated as one of The Deli Magazine's “Emerging Bay Area Artist of 2009.” The San Francisco-based online magazine nominated the band alongside several other prominent groups, including buzz bands Girls and The Dodos. Another band with local ties, Leopold and His Fiction, was also nominated in the category. Fans can vote online at www.sf.thedelimagazine.com. Rest of post here
The picture is pretty poor quality, but that is Herm Edwards and me in the newsroom. I couldn't resist taking a quick camera pic. Herm was visiting with sports reporter John Devine, en route to the Reggie Jackson book signing event tonight at the Monterey Public Library. I told Herm "The Raiders need you." He grinned pretty wide and said "Those guys with the patches on their eye, huh?" (For the record, I'm absolutely not a Raiders fan, but if anyone could right that ship, why not Herm? ) I also told my editor I'd pay him $20 if he walked up to Herm and said "You Play To Win The Game!" then walked away. No dice. Rest of post here
Just had to say that Conan O'Brien did the right thing by refusing to have his show bumped past midnight, thus turning "The Tonight Show" into "The Tomorrow Show." Above is last night's episode of "The Tonight Show," where Conan goes in on NBC. The man is an absolute genius. NBC doesn't deserve him. Rest of post here
Military man Britton Miller serves in the U.S. Air Force and is currently attending the Defense Language Institute in Monterey. He recently returned from a tour of Afghanistan. He's also a regular at The Rubber Chicken Poetry Slam, which I co-produce each Wednesday night at East Village Coffee Lounge in Monterey. Here's some raw video footage of his performance. Welcome back Britt! Rest of post here
The 2010 season at El Teatro Campesino is preparing for liftoff, as the company announced its production slate today. Leading off the season will be a a special production of “Los Olivos Pits'” directed by R.G. Davis, founder of the San Francisco Mime Troupe. The one-act play “Los Vendidos” will open the show. Directed by Kinan Valdez and written by his father, ETC founder Luis Valdez, the "acto" has never been performed at the company theater before. In March, the teatro will host “Sisters, Spirit and Song,” celebrating spring equinox with a tribute to Las Mujeres. April brings ‘La Esquinta U.S.A.,” written and performed by Ruben C. Gonzalez. The production is presented by the company's "Teatro Lab," which workshops new material. In June, “Corridos: Tales of the Mexican Revolution” will premier with a brand new revue featuring traditional Mexican folk music. Some time in the summer, the company will also workshop their newest venture, “Popol Vuh,” taken from the ancient book of the Quiche Maya. Fall brings “El Fin Del Mundo” in October and for the holidays, “La Virgen Del Tepeyac” their annual Christmas pageant. A full press release on “Los Olivos Pits” is available after the jump.
By STEPHANIE R. WOEHRMANN El Teatro Campesino and Luis Valdez have invited San Francisco Mime Troupe founder, R.G. Davis, to return to San Juan Bautista to direct the Commedia dell’arte play ‘Los Olivos Pits’ adapted from the classic paseo by Spanish playwright Lope de Rueda. The last time Davis worked with ETC in San Juan was 1972. Davis founded the SFMT in 1965 after opening the R.G. Davis Mime Troupe and Studio in 1959. It was in 1964–65 that Valdez met and worked under the direction of Davis. Valdez has cited Davis as one of the mentors who gave him the inspiration to form his own theater company—the world-renown El Teatro Campesino. In the early days, Davis taught mime classes, created performances of Mime (pronounced “meem”) and performed Commedia dell’arte—influenced by Etienne Decroux, modern dance, avant garde art and lessons he learned at the SF Actor’s Workshop. After leaving the SFMT in 1970, Davis was invited to San Juan Bautista to direct a workshop production of ‘Olive Pits.’ Davis chose to revive ‘Olive Pits’ after he directed the piece for the SFMT in 1966, “when the troupe was a radical organization,” Davis continues, “‘because Olive Pits’ is an opportune piece for its timeliness.” The 2010 production of “Los Olivos Pits,” benefits from both the SFMT’s long run from 1966–69 and a bilingual performance of the UFW in 1967. In addition two Teatro actors who worked with Davis in 1972—Rosa Apodaca and Eduardo Robledo Jr.—will be returning to work with Davis at El Teatro again in 2010. In a recent text Davis cites reasons why ‘Los Olivos Pits’ is still relevant for today’s audiences: “With a depression/recession [we witness] shrunken incomes for the middle, lower and working classes. The so called crisis, every 6- or 10 years on the dot—not to mention the Dot com bubble a few years ago—and now the big and little bankers, opportunistic investors, real estate and mortgage bad loans and hustles, offers an opportunity to see through the glass ceiling up into the windows all the way to the back of the bank and through them to corporate trader tricky derivatives. The play doesn’t discuss that matter, but the thought will filter into the new production.” When asked if the play is funny, Davis replies, “No, however, it’s so critical that you better laugh or else you would have to go out and do something almost illegal.” To round out the 2010 season opener performance bill, El Teatro Campesino will also perform Luis Valdez’s ‘Los Vendidos,’ to be directed by Kinan Valdez. ‘Los Vendidos’ (Spanish for “The Sold Ones”) is a one-act play by the Chicano playwright and founding artistic director of El Teatro Campesino. Luis Valdez wrote ‘Los Vendidos’ in 1967 and it was first performed at the Brown Beret junta in Elysian Park, East Los Angeles. The play examines Latino stereotypes in California and how local, state, and federal governments manipulate people. This will be the first time that ‘Los Vendidos’ will be performed at the San Juan Bautista Playhouse. The play is set in Honest Sancho’s Used Mexican Lot and Mexican Curio Shop, a fictional Californian store that sells various “models” of stereotypical Mexicans and Mexican-Americans that buyers can manipulate by simply snapping their fingers and calling out commands. But—buyer beware… In addition to Apodaca and Robledo Jr., Teatro favorites Christy Sandoval and Adrian Torres will be performing in both ‘Los Olivos Pits’ and ‘Los Vendidos.’ The production will conclude with Davis’ ecological paper “movie”—‘Organic Farming in 12 Minutes.’ Previews for ‘Los Olivos Pits’ and ‘Los Vendidos’ begin on Feb. 12, with the shows’ official opening on Feb. 20. Performances are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Special ticket prices for Thursdays—$5, and Fridays—$10. Ticket prices for Saturday nights and Sunday matinees are $12/adults, $10/seniors and students, and $8 for children under 12. Special group rates available for groups of 20 or more. Tickets will go on sale in mid January. For tickets or more information call 831.623.2444 or visit www.elteatrocampesino.com. Box-office hours are Monday through Friday from 10am to 5pm. El Teatro Campesino Playhouse is at 705 Fourth Street in Historic San Juan Bautista.
Look out Hollywood. Here comes Population 5! The Salinas pre-teen rock band, whose members range in age from 11 to 13, is set to perform their second showcase Saturday night at the famed Whiskey A Go Go, on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood. Ernest Griffin-Ortiz, band dad and manager, said a few "music industry people" are expected to be in attendance. Fingers cross people. Population 5 has a fan page set up on www.facebook.com. You can also check them out at www.MySpace.com/PopulationFive. Be on the look out for the band's demo, which will be released toward the end of the month.
Solis Cin was born in the Bronx, lives in San Jose, and reps for the Central Coast! Yeah, it's like that. I had the privilege of performing with him in December, and he brings a variety of weapons and skills to the table. Boy is nice! And his new single, "In The Sky," is available for download. Get it right here. So Listen! Rest of post here
Para La Gente gave their fans a nice Christmas gift this past holiday season, a free download of their last album. You can get the download here. You can also get up to date on PLG info @ www.facebook.com/paralagente. Rest of post here
Junot Diaz, author of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao," will visit CSU-Monterey Bay Feb. 10 as part of the President's Speaker Series. If you haven't read “Oscar Wao,” it's a mesmerizing, poetic tale of immigration and generational divide, but really it's the story of an inner-city geek who fits in nowhere and burns for it in the end. Harrowing. And Real. Read the full press release after the jump. The wondrous life of Junot Diaz Critically acclaimed writer visits CSUMB Feb. 10
Junot Diaz, the 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” and author of "Drown," will visit California State University, Monterey Bay’s World Theater on Feb. 10 as the President’s Speaker Series continues.
“Oscar” describes the recent immigrant experience over several generations through the story of a Dominican family living in the United States. By focusing on four family members, the novel examines the complexity of the immigrant identity along racial, national, ethnic and gender lines.
Oscar Wao – a Spanish pronunciation of Oscar Wilde – is a teenager who buries his broken heart and frustration in sci-fi novels, comic books and Star Trek action figures. The teen, like Diaz, balances two cultures – one in New Jersey, another in his family’s native Dominican Republic.
The novel mixes pop culture, political criticism and characters with street credibility. And it shows off Diaz’ dexterity, demonstrating his geek credentials and his literary scholarship. Allusions to “Dune” and “The Lord of the Rings” bump up against references to Herman Melville and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Diaz, a professor of creative writing at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has had a lot to celebrate since the novel’s publication. Few books have arrived to more acclaim. It was ranked on more than 35 best-book lists. Time magazine called it the novel of the year. It’s a wondrous place Diaz never expected to be.
“I always kind of giggle any time I’m at an MIT faculty meeting,” Diaz told CBS News. “And people are like, ‘I got a Nobel Prize.’ Someone else is like, ‘I got a Pritzker.’ And I’m like, ‘My parents were illegal.’ I love this. You know, only in America.”
Diaz was 6 years old when his family emigrated to New Jersey as part of the wave of Dominicans who came to the U.S. after the death of dictator Rafael Trujillo. The family lived in a housing complex bordering a landfill, because rent was cheap. He escaped the neighborhood by sneaking away to the library. “I was convinced that I could stumble upon the sort of key text that would describe why I was in the United States,” he has told interviewers.
With support from his mother, he found his way to Rutgers University. “I felt like I had finally come home,” he told the television network. He followed that with a master’s of fine arts at Cornell University.
In 1996, at the age of 27, his book of short stories, “Drown,” made him an overnight sensation. The young phenom was then expected to produce the Next Great American Novel.
It took him 11 years.
Besides the Pulitzer, “Oscar Wao” earned Diaz the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and many other honors. For the self-confessed ghetto nerd, it’s a sweet reward for an incredible journey.
Will readers have to wait 11 years for the next book? “I hope not,” Diaz has told interviewers. “I hope I can get it down to five years. That’s the dream.”
CSUMB invited Junot Diaz as part of the President's Speakers Series because the faculty deem his literature to be culturally current and significant. The Speakers Series aims to bring just such voices to Monterey Bay so that the local communities can participate firsthand in the nation's intellectual and creative conversations.
Diaz will read from his works starting at 7 p.m. in the World Theater on Sixth Avenue. A book signing will follow. The event is free, but reservations are requested and can be made at csumb.edu/speakers.
A campus map and driving directions are available at csumb.edu/map.
. . . (Junot Diaz) has written a book that decisively establishes him as one of contemporary fiction’s most distinctive and irresistible new voices. – Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
You could call ‘The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao’ . . . the saga of an immigrant family, but that wouldn’t really be fair. It’s an immigrant saga for people who don’t read immigrant-family sagas. – Lev Grossman, Time magazine