Monthly Archives: August 2010

TAMIA,MARIO,CHRISETTE MICHELE – CENTRAL PARK SUMMERSTAGE

Miguel
Miguel

Tamia
Tamia
Tamia

This past Saturday, Central Park’s Summerstage played host to an R&B congregation of rabid fans lucky enough to witness an explosion of soul,pop, & r&b tunes from the likes of MIGUEL,TAMIA,SALT from Salt N Pepa,MARIO, & CHRISETTE MICHELE. Everything else in between, DJ DEE WIZ filled in the cracks with some old school hip hop joint compound & inflamed the crowd something short of a frenzy as his ‘musac’ on the wheels of steel & his crowd participation emcee’ing was off the hook as he got on the MIC before it really got too hot! Everybody was bouncing to Dee Wiz as he spinned classic joints that hip hop fans of the late baby boomers & GENERATION X martians salivated to! Joints like ‘The Breaks’ from Kurtis Blow,’The Message’ from Grandmaster flash & the furious 5,’Friends’ from Whodini, & ‘Rappers delight’ from Sugar Hill Gang got the old school ball rolling as we bounced our domes like bobble heads without a care! Wiz then slipped in E.U.’s ‘Da Butt’ & my fat ass started working off that junk in the trunk, y’all! WIZ didn’t leave any stones unturned as Eric B & Rakim,NAS,Pete Rock & CL smooth,Das Efx,Naughty By Nature,LL cool J,Digital Underground,the 45 King,Fifty,Nice n Smooth,Mary J Blige,Notorious,Special Ed, & many other fevers to the flava were represented! When DEE WIZ dropped Fat Joe’s “Lean Back”, the central park summerstage house…SHOOK! Man, we all did the ROC-A-WAY…Now,LEAN BACK..LEAN BACK! DJ Dee Wiz definitely knew how to rock a party!

The 1st act to perform on summer stage was MIGUEL. I wasn’t familiar with his tunes, but most of the crowd seemed to know his music. Apparently, he gets pretty decent play on 107.5 WBLS. MIGUEL was aight! I got into his song “All I want is you”. Next, on the menu was TAMIA. She really blew my house down at central park summerstage! I think she’s been dormant for a while until this performance in NYC. Lucky us! Tamia looked amazing & her voice was smooth,powerful, & as crisp as when she first surfaced to the scene in the mid 90’s! TAMIA & AALIYAH were my 2 faves in the 90’s to listen to when I wanted to just kickback & chill! TAMIA blessed us by singing her classics like stranger in my house, officially missing you, so into you, imagination, can’t get enough, me, You put a move on my heart, & spend my life with you among other hits! I still couldn’t get over how great she looked & how great she sounded! P.S. her husband, Grant Hill was also in attendance to show support! Tamia has a new album coming out in 2011. Represent, y’all!

Salt from Salt n Pepa
Salt

Mario
Mario
Mario

MARIO was slowly queuing up on stage as the ladies in the audience were definitely very close to conception! I’m not a big fan of MARIO’s but the ladies love Mario as much as the ladies love cool J! To my surprise, Mario sounded real good live as he blasted out his hit tunes like thinking about you, braid my hair, just a friend 2002, & let me love you amongst others. MARIO brought up a young lady that he sang to when he busted out “braid my hair”. He put on a good show & I was surprised he didn’t take off his shirt as the ladies in the audience had requested!

Chrisette Michele
Chrisette Michele
Chrisette Michele
Chrisette Michele

Last not but least, Chrisette Michele was on deck! To be honest, I wasn’t familiar with Chrisette’s music & hot damn, I must of been comatosed or something to miss out on her tunes until now! She’s what you call, having an “old soul”. Chrisette’s got that voice that is so soulful, so blistering, that it cuts very deep with emotions when her voice hits your cranium. She sings about being in love,being out of love,& everything in between! Chrisette’s got that style that reminds me of a hybrid blend of Erykah Badu, Macy Gray, & Mary J Blige! Chrisette performed Golden, epiphany, what you do, If I have my way, porcelain doll, blame it on me, & a few other songs that I can’t recollect. At the end of her performance, Rick Ross joined Chrisette Michele on stage to perform “Aston Martin Music”!

It was a great day of live music full of soul, pop, RnB 90’s style, & hip hop courtesy of DJ Dee Wiz, all for free! You’ve got to love NYC in the summer! Unfortunately, the summer full of free NYC concerts is coming close to an end! JAZZY JAY, DJ SCRATCH, SEAN PAUL, & a few other free jams are still lined up before the summer ends, though! Get your blazin’ hip hop & RnB ON, you SuCkAs!

–MR. C

LITTLE BIG SOLDIER (2010)

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LITTLE BIG SOLDIER starring Jackie Chan was a period piece film of warring states in China. The story had a makeup of an epic tale, but in the end it was a pretty big disappointing soldier in my opinion. It wasn’t because the film wasn’t a classic Jackie Chan movie full of kung fu fighting & stunt proportions. In the contrary, Jackie did little to no fighting in the movie, but he did grace us with a peppering of good old buffoon style acrobatics that only Jackie can lay claim to! I just didn’t feel any emotions for the antagonists or protagonists in the film. I didn’t cheer, hate, or have any passion to root for Jackie’s character or anyone else in the film for that matter. You did feel for him at the end of the movie, but for me it was a little too late. The skinny of the movie is that there is a clash of power in China with the Liang & Wei clans. Jackie is an old clown of a soldier for the Liang family & a General of the Wei clan is the other main character in the movie. The general of Wei & his men were ambushed by the Liang soldiers which was an assisted setup by his jealous younger brother to rid of him in order to be the next heir on the throne. In comes Jackie, when he is a lone survivor in the battlefield along with the wounded General. Jackie captures him & the movie basically goes on a journey between the two. Jackie’s intent was to return to the land of Liang & collect a reward for the capture of the general of Wei. Of course, the two characters go on a path that would have them pitted against a clan of braveheart soldiers, a young lady, a school of sages, & a run in with the prince-younger brother of the General of Wei.
I didn’t like the comedic aspect of the film thrown into the foray of the story. Yes, I know it’s Jackie & it is part of his genetic makeup in filmmaking, but it just didn’t work for me. I felt I would of enjoyed the film if it had more of a dramatic feel & sense of urgency.
Critics of this movie called it one of Jackie’s better films in years & got decent ratings in Planet China. I’m a big Jackie Chan fan myself, but LITTLE BIG SOLDIER didn’t do it for me, but it may for you.

–Mr. C

street art nyc

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The Shepard Fairey mural (top photo) is located at the Cooper Square Hotel on East 5th Street & 3rd Avenue. The A.S.V.P. paste-up (middle) is located on First Ave. in the East Village. The Primo piece (bottom) is located at the old Germania Bank Building located at 190 Bowery and Spring Street.

YOUNG AND DANGEROUS (1995-2000)

youngdangerous

The YOUNG AND DANGEROUS series (based on 7 films) directed by Andrew Lau is a classic chinese gangster-triad tale depicting HK gang life in the 1980’s & 90’s. These flicks provided much talk at the watercooler,in chinese households,teahouses, & dim sum palaces throughout the deadly 5 venoms of the kevin bacon rule! Video stores at your nearest Chinatown profited from bootleg copies of the VHS & VCD variety & barbershops in C-Town profited from the extraordinary requests with the flock of seagulls hairdo when these films emerged! The 1st movie was released in 1995 & the 7th & last in 2000. This film was based on the triad themed comic book,“Teddy Boy”. Young and Dangerous had its share of haters & naysayers in Hong Kong because many believed that these movies heroicized & glorified the triad lifestyle & would steadily influence kids in thinking that joining gangs would be the cool thing to do. Movies like A BETTER TOMORROW, HARDBOILED, THE KILLER, & HONG KONG GODFATHER(Shaw Brother version NOT Andy Lau’s) amongst many others have had a heavy influence in depicting HK Triads & YOUNG AND DANGEROUS would continue on with the tradition. This collection of 7 movies then went on to pass the torch to “Infernal Affairs” as well as give birth to a few spinoffs and 3 headed triad monsters of their own! Young and Dangerous had a heavy hitting cast of Hong Kong eye candy canto-pop stars at the time such as Ekin Cheng,Jordan Chan, & Gigi Lai as well as veteran actors such as Anthony Wong & Simon Yam along with rising star, Michael Tse. These films centered around Ekin Cheng who plays ‘Chan Ho Nam’ & Jordan Chan who plays ‘Chicken’. Chan Ho Nam & his best friend Chicken grew up idolizing the “Hung Hing Society” and one of their “Dai Lo’s”, Uncle Bee. The smooth talking duo eventually gain enough street cred to join the society as they both make a name for themselves in the game by slaughtering a few foes. Things will soon get hot when Uncle Bee gets executed! Chan Ho Nam would prove himself worthy of being the next undisputed belt holder as one of the leaders of Hung Hing to manage the district of Causeway Bay in Hong Kong which spawns a new path with twists,turns,jealousy, & fate. Young and Dangerous will take you on an emotional roller coaster ride to stories of undercover cops playing triad members,sleeping with the enemy,clashes at a funeral,undercover triad members from other gangs,sexcapades,photo-ops,friendships with taiwanese gangs, a relationship with a priest & his daughter, & Sonny Chiba playing a yakuza boss in the last film of the series. Anthony Wong does a tremendous job with the character “Tai Fei” especially in the 2nd movie! Simon Yam plays a cool mofo mob boss of Hung Hing which led him to his exploration of the underworld in Amsterdam!

Some people like watching “24”,“Lost”, & “Sex in the City” TV series, but I would much rather spend my rainy weekends re-watching the YOUNG AND DANGEROUS over a 5 gallon bucket of instant ramen noodles infused with nathan hot dogs,spam,a fried egg, and a bottle of sriracha hot sauce sporting my upgraded flock of seagulls hairdo from a classic mullet! If you are a Hong Kong gangster film buff & you have not watched or god forbid, not even heard of YOUNG AND DANGEROUS then we all know what your next school project is in Chinatown! You dig?!

–Mr. C

Doug E. Fresh and DJ Dee Wiz played Jackie Robinson Park

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Harlem was hopping last night for sure! As soon as I passed Jackie Robinson Park looking for a spot for my car, I could hear the speakers from the stage booming through the adjacent blocks and blasting Eric B. and Rakim and Run DMC…I knew I had found the place to be.
DJ Dee Wiz was behind the turntables and kept the crowd (definitely an older and mature bunch) moving, playing lots of R+B joints from the 80’s and 90’s… Bell Biv Devoe, Luther Vandross, Mary J. Blige, Keith Sweat just to name a few. I enjoyed hearing “candy girl” and “popcorn love” by New Edition. It seemed like there was a lot of stalling to get the “world’s greatest entertainer” on stage, but it was all worth it. Doug E. Fresh took to the stage around 8:45 pm after the legendary Spoonie Gee blessed the microphone with a few tracks. Doug E. Fresh addressed the crowd about the recent rash of violence plaguing the streets of Harlem. An impromptu performance of “Self-Destruction” from the Stop The Violence Movement of the 80’s got the crowd pumped. Before getting too preachy, Doug brought out his nephew who performed a song for the audience. It was definitely a family affair, Doug’s son performed as well in his own rap group, Square Off. I was feeling it… the song got my head nodding. A highlight of the evening was when Doug got on the microphone for a little beatboxing with a harmonica which turned into a sing along of Biz Markie’s song, “Just A Friend.” Throughout the night, songs (or at least parts of songs) such as “La Di Da Di”, “The Show” and “I-ight” were performed. Doug E. also demonstrated some of his dancing skills, while doing the wop, the snake, the cabbage patch and teaching us the Dougie. Lots of people were in the house: Kid Lucky, L.A. Sunshine (of the Treacherous Three), T-Ski Valley and Barry B. The World’s Greatest Entertainer came and rocked us and left us wanting more.

-chocko

unbreak my….

broadway between 11th & 12th…
The wellington papers (pic by mr. c)

THE CITY OF VIOLENCE (2006)

city violence

How on mars did I ever manage to sleep on watching THE CITY OF VIOLENCE? Thanks to a fellow asian cinephile from da Bronx named mondo-curry who gave me some cliff notes & a summer list of Korean & Japanese films that I might gravitate to watch considering my taste of destruction on the Hong Kong side of my palate! Yes, I tend to be monogamous when it comes to asian cinema(Hong Kong) but, I think it’s time to revisit that buffet of pan asian style proportions of movie distortions & have an all out film orgy to appreciate the eclectic reels of flicks that we have available to us!
Today, we focus in on KO-REA & The City of Violence did a full court press on raising adrenaline levels as action after action sequence had me jumping out of my spaceship! The movie was highly predictable as it starts out with a group of friends in their teen wonder years who are young,dumb, & full of cum, but stick together as they fight through the trenches of living in a competitive suburban Korea outside of city proper. Fast forward to the present & one of the members of this ‘rat pack’ turns bad. Let’s call him the brother in law. The brother in law lets greed & power get the best of him when lucrative deals from the President of Seoul entice him to turn his suburban town into a tourist destination with plans of a flagship casino looming in on the horizon. The brother in law takes some of the funds provided by the government of Seoul to start his own crooked business of offering private loans to his fellow town members. What a thoughtful & wonderful guy, huh?! One of the toughest & eldest members of this Korean rat pack unearths the wrong doings of this monster & basically loses his own life to the hands of the brother in law. Other rat pack members converge to suburban korea to pay respects to the elder one, & one of them is a detective named Tae-su who I will call Batman. The brother of the elder one that was murdered will also play the role of ‘Robin’ to unearth the death of Wang Jae. The action & martial art sequences in The City of Violence was ‘good n plenty’! No gunplay was involved but, lots of down & dirty flying fists,kicks, & flips were witnessed as well as street knives,swords, & sushi grade ginsu blades were being slashed around! This one fight scene in the movie was something to behold when the detective, Tae-Su confronts a young punk in a pachinko arcade which then escalates onto the streets. Tae-Su is tae kwan do fighting with amazing grace while performing Jackie Chan like stunts with flips & jumps while using props on the city streets like cars, & sticks to his advantage! Tae-Su faces his 1st obstacle with breakdancers who turn city street dancing into urban dancing on his face! Next comes, the bmx freestylist who uses their bicycle as weapons! Tae-Su turns around & then comes a band of young gunners in school outfits with hockey sticks! He runs around the other corner but, a herd of school girls grasping steel tubes walk briskly to meet him! Tae-Su looks to his back & out comes a nest of young men wearing baseball uniforms wielding baseball bats confront him! What to do?! The action is fierce as fire extinguishers,neon signs,& window shattering ensues! Finally, out pops ‘Robin’, the other member of the korean rat pack to help with the mayhem! Amazing,amazing action sequence, folks! One of the best I’ve seen in a long while! The fighting wasn’t realistic of course, but the action,ebb & flow, & thrill of the moment made it seem real! The convergence of the gangs kind of reminded me of the 1970’s movie, “The Warriors” by Walter Hill! It was real intense! Can you dig it?! I also like the cinematography in the film providing plenty of birds eye view shots of the fighting! I think the birds eye shot really enhanced the view of the fighting scenes to the movie goer especially in respects to the korean fighting style because tae kwan do seems to have a lot of fast, spinning motions to their kicks & stance work. Seeing the moves from a bird’s eye allows you to see the full 360 degree motion with much fluidity & grace! The korean batman & robin soon discover that their childhood friend, the brother in law is the source of all this evil! Gut wrenching side appetizers pop up on the scene when Robin’s mom & older brother discover another fate! The ending fight scene is also a 3 course meal involving Batman,Robin,brother in law, & his band of korean inspired fighting machines! This fight scene reminded me of Quentin Tarantino & Robert Rodriguez’s taste in films! The musical score,sword play, & the set design showed droppings of the works of “Hattori Hanzo”! If “Kill Bill” & “The Warriors” had influences on THE CITY OF VIOLENCE then kudos to the director because those are great entertaining films in their own right! Don’t sleep on The City of Violence, martians! I should of known to pay closer attention to this movie because ‘Dragon Dynasty’ released this on DVD! Dragon Dynasty tends to have pretty good tastes in getting copyrights to re-release exciting asian movies like (e.g. ‘Hardboiled”,’The Killer”,”Fists of Legend”). Now, onto my mission on finding more movies like this!
“Annyong ha saeyo!”

–Mr. C

27th Annual Roots of American Music at Lincoln Center 8/1/10

Rod Harrison as Lord Buckley

Rod Harrison as Lord Buckley


Melvin Van Peebles

Melvin Van Peebles


The Pontani Sisters with some burlesque!

The Pontani Sisters with some burlesque!


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Steve Cuiffo as Lenny Bruce

Steve Cuiffo as Lenny Bruce


David Johansen (New York Dolls)

David Johansen (New York Dolls)


Sandra Bernhard

Sandra Bernhard


Sandra Bernhard as Lady Gaga

Sandra Bernhard as Lady Gaga

–pics by Mr. C

L.A. STREETFIGHTERS (1985)

L.A. Streetfighers

I finally had a chance to watch L.A. Streetfighters again & boy, she didn’t disappoint! The last time I viewed L.A. Streetfighters was from a crummy ‘previously viewed’ VHS copy that I bought from Tower Clearance on 4th & Lafayette by NYU in the early 1990’s. I remembered being inspired by this movie with its chock full of chop socky, sweep the leg, no mercy type of goodness! The cast of characters that resembled something of my skin complexion also added to the win win situation! The 2010 New York Asian film festival had jarred some forgotten memories of L.A. Streetfighters for me since they were screening this film in their arsenal of B rated weapons of mass destruction at the midnight showing in IFC. I didn’t get a chance to see this film on the big screen at the festival, but I did have it marked on my netflix queue! Seeing this film for the 3rd time almost 20 years later, I was curious to see what my reaction was when lightly armed with my new found sophisticated form of movie reviewing!(WTF!). The verdict was an enthusiastic double jump kick followed by a clothes line! The story was a bit wacky, & not focused. The dialogue was a bit choppy & disorienting which created instant cult status on the imperfect level of cinema! Did I say i liked this movie? L.A. Streetfighers is about 2 main characters, Young who is a Korean immigrant & Tony, who is a Korean-American. They both have run ins with local gangs & thugs in their high school led by the formidable, James Lew. The first thing you notice in the movie which made you chuckle was that boy, these high school students look mighty damn old with these mustaches, chiseled physiques, & goatee’s plastered onto their face! That made Dustin Nguyen who played “ioki” in 21 Jump Street look believable! Young & Tony squashed these gangbangers like they were some 2nd rate throwaway kimchi being rejected at bon chon. Jun Chung & Phillip Rhee(Young & Tony) displayed their fine art of Tae Kwan Do on the big screen like it’s meant to be used on the streets! The rest of the story centered on Young,Tony, & a few rag tag friends who earned instant street cred which led them to security gigs at parties & clubs! Show me the money, MOFO’s! Other dashes of MSG & salt added to the wound include Young’s drunk mother, Tony’s thirst for James Lews’ sister, Young’s quench for dirty money, & some brothers hanging out at the liquor store! All jokes,dialogues, & stories aside, L.A Streetfighers was surely entertaining! Maybe, I look at martial arts inspired films differently, but the fighting sequences in this movie were nearly off the meat rack which was good enough for some light grill marks on the bias! The ending of the movie was tragic,though. The display of tae kwan do by Phillip Rhee, Jun Chung, & the hybrid kung fu style displayed by James Lew were something to behold on the screen! You can tell the actors in this film were truly martial artists as opposed to actors trying to learn movements for the movie. The martial arts choreography in this film looked to be carefully crafted as to leave the traditional stances, unnecessary movements, & the formal look of traditional asian martial arts held to a bare minimum while adapting fight movements to cater to the streets. We witnessed feints,leg sweeps,boxing, & great execution with TKD kicks! Great!, more realistic martial arts eye candy for us! Some evidence of traditional weapons did peek through & showed up at the crime scene at the end with a vicious fight between Jun Chung & the samarai yielding his weapon of choice with Jun Chung’s Sai. Bill “Superfoot” Wallace plays his normal villain character along with his badass kickboxing self! All in all, L.A. Streetfighters is a low budget film with an attention deficit disorder type of story bounded by an all star studded cast of martial arts wizards delivering pre-Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Power Rangers action in a naked version of “Big Trouble in Little China” with KO-rean flare, don’t gimme that stare…you suckas! Show & prove, mofo’s!
If you like the 70’s,80’s street gang type of movies casted with A rated martial artists styled with asian fro’s & mullet hairdo’s then this my friend will win you a trip to that asian inspired buffet that you’ve always dreamed of! Enjoy!

–Mr. C