Currently Listening to Rag N Bone Man’ s HUMAN

So I’m listening to the album HUMAN, which is a phenomenal album, the calling card of a towering Negro voice, that happens to be coming out of a 32 year old, 6’5, Anglo Saxon Britisher named Rory Graham.

It’s am amazing, soulful album, complete with hymns pulled from the land of dixie and cotton and blood. But it is that delivery that really elevates this album. A familiar delivery that comes to me the third listen through, it is the King of Soul I hear, the late, great Solomon Burke even to the pacing and phrasing, and the unbelievable power.

Rory Graham is channeling the great Solomon Burke, but with enough of his own spin to make it not mimicry, but I would like to think homage. Toss in some of the storytelling chops of Nick Cave (Burke himself was a fantastic storyteller) with just enough pop sensability to galvanize the younger, indie crowd, and you have an album deserving of its praise.

A new musical discovery for me, as 2017 winds to a close. And well worth seeking out if you haven’t heard of him.

And make some time to become aquainted with the source of such abundant soul, the source for all of us… the lengthy discography of the late, great, Solomon Burke.

Human

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CBS vs Paramount? Old Star Trek vs Confused Star Trek? ST Discovery = Epic fail? and JUSTICE LEAGUE?!

 

Some Times you wonder how what is seemingly obvious  is utterly lost on people in positions of power.

VALERIAN movie? Great concept on paper , great visuals, the leads are as interesting as watching paint dry. I would not in a million years have chosen those two people to helm that movie. They have no visual interest.

The latest Universal bomb in THE MUMMY, completely predictable. White Egyptians, unless they are Boris Karloff, just never a good idea.

Casting and visuals and chemistry is still a HUGE part of what makes a film or show work and why it is dead on arrival.

It is one reason the JUSTICE LEAGUE movie is despite everything they are trying to course correct and do right, can’t fix intrinsic issues they have done wrong. The comic book decided to put CYBORG in the comic, not because he is a good character, but because he hit three demographics they throught would make for both multiple diversity streams and good merchandising. He was a Black crippled robot.

TRANSFORMERS has proven that robots sell, all day long. On top of that being able to add a character of color to the blindingly white DC universe, ticks that box, and making him a cripple, ticks the handicapped audience. A lucrative and growing segment condsidering how many young men and women this country sends overseas to mutilate and get mutilated.

Here is the issue though. It doesn’t make sense for CYBORG to be in the Justice League, beyond tokenism and a blatant money grab.

From a story point it makes NO SENSE in the comics, and it makes no sense in the movies. I’m all for characters of color toning down the lilly whitness of the Justice League, but not awful characters. The JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED cartoon has shown a great character of color that deserves to be in the Justice League and works great in the Justice League… John Stewart, The Green Lantern, And you know what, he also has kick ass powers and is more than a walking toaster. The late great Dwayne McDuffie made John Stewart a great character, and the Justice League a great AND diverse team without sacrificing quality or common sense. They were great BECAUSE of that diversity and love that Dwayne imbued that series with, that made it great.

Greatness is a thing that seldoms gets said in the same sentence as JUSTICE LEAGUE. Unlike the AVENGERS that has a few notable stories you can hand people to sell them on these characters for live action movies, most notably Mark Millar’s THE ULTIMATES  followed by Steve Englehart’s, Gerry Conway’s, Jim Shooter’s and Kurt Busiek’s runs; the JUSTICE LEAGUE has very little that holds up, or is of appeal to a movie going audience. Outside of deconstructive and apocalyptic stories, the twilight of the Gods type mythology such as KINGDOM COME, and some Morrison work, there are almost no great JUSTICE LEAGUE comic stories. The best the JUSTICE LEAGUE has ever been is in the McDugffie helmed cartoon.

The current comic and the current movie unfortunately, has learned nothing from the late McDuffie’s lead.

Add to that the Cyborg and Flash costumes are crap (didn’t you learn anything from the GREEN LANTERN train-wreck about CGI costumes) and you have a movie that could have been great, crippled by by people who are going to lose dollars to save pennies.  People ignorant or uncaring of the part visual chemistry plays in whether a thing works or not.

And that brings us back to Star Trek.

 

Looking at the cast photo of Star Trek Discovery… that cast has no visual interest, no chemistry. The same issue suffered by THE ENTERPRISE cast, and to a lesser degree the VOYAGER cast. There was no joy or interst or chemistry in this combination of people.

Watching  the latest STAR TREK DISCOVERY Trailer, I find the trailer interesting, however the jury is out on whether that translates into good. There was no excitement in that trailer, a bunch of uninteresting looking people, no visual chemistry or excitement to them, and a general air of uninterst and lack of joy in the whole.

You are in effing space, that should be awe-inspiring to the cast and to the viewer. But all that comes across in that trailer is how dreary everything is. The one male lead, who I know to be a good actor, he perhaps has never been the most rousing actor, and whether lead or not, you need somone immediately that grabs your eye, and you can say, yep, here is a hero or man of action, or somone who can command a screen and command the attention of viewers. Without a doubt great scenery chewing actors is the hallmark of great Star Trek, whether it is William Shatner, or Leonard Nimoy or Patrick Stewart or Johnathan Fraker or Avery Brooks or Michael Dorn.

The star of this series, is a lead actress, and she is clearly charismatic, but you can’t act in a bubble, without that chemistry  of clicking actors around you and fun plots, it is just dreariness. And that’s what came across in the trailer… dreariness.

And a lot of changes for change sake.

The change to the Kilngons… strikes me as… foolhardy at best. THE NEXT GENERATION hit a home run in being able to make an interesting but crude visual race of the Kilingons… better. Not just better, but a rousing transcendent success.  The way the Original Series hit a home run with the Vulcans and the Romulans, the Next Generation hit that Home Run with the Klingons.

You don’t fix what isn’t broken. And in this case DISCOVERY’s redesign of the Klingons just seems change for change sake, that tears down a success, and what could have been an easy inroad to the series for fans craving the popular Klingons, becomes instead a detriment.

Just poor, poor thinking.

Along with that the idea of trying to make American audiences pay to see this series that initially needs as much groundswell of support it can get, is just idiocy. Out of the gate you set an antagonistic relationship between show and audience.

I will, needless to say, not be paying for this show, no more than I had any intest in paying to see VALERIAN or THE MUMMY.

But I will keep abreast of it through online reviews and podcasts, and I hope it can prove me wrong. But if Paramount stick to the visuals and that tone and that cast, that seems clearly set in stone for the first year….you may have an interesting SciFi show, but you arguably wont have a good show, and you definitely won’t have a great Star trek show.

Paramount instued of suing the AXANAR fan film, should have gone with that filmmaker to produce their new show. It is obvious that the fan films have more heart, intelligence, and fun, and understanding of what makes good Star Trek than Paramount has.

PARAMOUNT’s rebooted STAR TREK films, a case of diminishing returns, from the excellence of the first one, to the too self indulgent but still great second film, to the atrocious third film; points to a company that is in desperate need of course correction. And that same folly and arrogant stupidity that highlights their dealings with the fans, mars their handling of this latest television show.

For more on this, I want to direct you to a MIDNIGHT’S EDGE YouTube video, that revealed some of the reasons for Paramount’s mishandling of the latest Star Trek property and where CBS fits in. It’s a riveting and informative bit of reporting.

 

 

 

 

 

8 Reasons to have NetFlix in August 2015!!

Well this August Netflix adds the following shows to their roster, that are worth your time:

DOCTOR WHO SEASON 8 – For those of us who don’t follow cable TV, the long awaited season 8 of DOCTOR WHO makes its appearance, and we get to see how the new Doctor, played by Peter Capaldi, fills the phone-booth vacated by his predecessor, Matt Smith.

BYZANTIUM (2012) – Neil Jordan’s exciting looking take on the Vampire genre, BYZANTIUM, breaks on Netflix shores.

TRANSPORTER SEASON 2 – From an uneven first few episodes, I really grew to enjoy the first season of TRANSPORTER, and this month we get season 2.

WYRMWOOD ROAD OF THE DEAD- I dislike anything Zombie related. I think the concept is badly used and overused. I think the WALKING DEAD tv series is awful. All that said, other people who also are tired of the Zombie trend, review positively this movie, so now thanks to Netflix I can decide for myself.

UTOPIA SEASON 1 – I’ve never heard of before, but is hailed on IMDB as a visually exciting and unique show. So worth a look.

MIND OF A CHEF SEASON 3 – Relaxing, laid back and informative. Part travelogue, part biography, part cooking show.

THE LIVING – Well reviewed Indie Drama/ Thriller.

THE CODE SEASON 1 – Australian espionage thriller

On the last hour of the last day of 2014


Wanted to say more about 2014, meant to post more, say more, do more, but life doesn’t wait. Not for any of us.

So 2014.

What to say about it, that others haven’t said or thought or done…

I guess in a world where everything has been said and done, what matters is how you say it, how you recount those places where you met the world, and what you took from those moments, were hopefully bettered by them.

2014 for many reasons was a good year. For some reasons was a frightening year. And for a good number of reasons was a great year.

2014 for me will always be about Marriage, Travel. Cruise. Bermuda. Bermuda that lonely, spectacular island, 700 miles from anything. Personal things, but it will also be about nightly news buzz words of Haiti and Afghanistan and Venezuela and Ebola and Ferguson that shadowed us all.

It will be about an upstart called SpaceX and the dream of space, VOD and Roku and Netflix and redefining how we consume television and films. And it will be about all of us, in this age of drones, and NSA surveillance, and the ever murkier boundaries of man and machine, holding ever more precious and necessary nostalgic ideas of humanity, and freedom, and caring.

I hope that all of you, however you round out 2014, and round in 2015, know that you are loved and precious, and you spread it on, you have the desire to close out 2014 and storm into 2015, loving and caring and hoping and helping and making others and yourself happy.

Because if we can do this, we win.

We win the only war that matters, the war to be more humane tomorrow than we were yesterday.

God, whatever God you believe in, keep and bless you all, and I’ll see you back here in 2015.

Podcast of the Day : A Black Fantastic Four?!? FLAME-ON!

PODCAST OF THE DAY : House To Astonish 120 – Nice discussion of comic and movie news. A Black actor playing one of the Fantastic Four in the upcoming movie? FLAME-ON! :).

Possibly not the choice that would have come to me, but the actor, script, and director will determine if its a great, inspired idea, or a mediocre one. I give them the benefit of the doubt. Idris Elba in Thor was a great decision, as was Samuel Jackson as Nick Fury, so this could be a great idea too.

Listen HERE!

Indiegogo projects of the Day!

Banned on the Hill

How one artist fought back when the feds tried to shut her up” Help send Banned on the Hill to Vancouver or Washington, D.C.

Organising and Publicising Industrial Workers of the World Through Art

Promote and publicize the Industrial Workers of the World(IWW) through art works such as T-shirts,caps,cups,banners, paintings and batiks.

Rodney Mashia – Debut CD

After 40+ years of making music, it’s time to record my first official CD!

Just Food: Real Food Meals for Tube-Fed People

Just Food provides shelf-stable 100% real food meals for people with feeding tubes. No formula, no corn syrup, no additives. Just Food.


MONARCHS OF MAYHEM : Words and Images Art Photo Book

A beautiful hardcover book that collects, compiles, expands a series of articles/interviews with some of the most exciting creators of Pulp and Weird Fiction.

cenlibep

There are only a limited number of days left on the MONARCHS OF MAYHEM Indiegogo project. Please swing by and contribute (using the link above) and make the hardcover book happen and get a copy for yourself in the bargain. And if you can find it in you, to contribute today that would be great. I’m working hard to get artists and writers and even musicians to contribute and make this hardcover something very special and that we all would be proud to have on our bookshelves, but we need to move the needle. I need to be able to show them, this is serious, people are contributing, this is happening, now get aboard the love train… uh, so to speak. :).

We need to get the project closer to full funding and completion. And it begins with just one of you, just one, contributing at the $35 level (And a 146 people follow you, and this is a done deal. :). But right now I’m only asking you).

We tend to mean to do things tomorrow, but somehow tomorrow is always delayed. So support today and help make a great hardcover book a reality… today. Thanks!