Thursday, May 28, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
At a later date, I promise I will extol F & L's virtues to a far greater and highly deserved extent. But for now, let's just bask in the goodness of this major highlight of their collective oeuvre.
The Granada television series is being re-released in its entirety on DVD TODAY. For an affectionate review of it in PopMatters, and a nice synopsis go here.
You can watch the first three episodes on YT here. If you want to watch the rest, give me a ring. I've got an earlier edition of the entire series.
To prime you, a jaunty little musical number sample:
Aside from he sheer brilliance of F & L, the edge for the series is that the visual treatment is a pleasure of its own. It hasn't a stylistic misstep that wasn't intentional. The whole thing is menswear heaven. Like, if I were I guy I would covet all the clothes. What little female duds they have going on I absolutely love. If I could live in any time period for the design alone, art deco and the era so nattily depicted in Jeeves and Wooster is my number one pick. We could parse the finer issues of cultural appropriation rife in that school of design, but I occasionally prefer my aesthetic love to suspend its critical knee-jerk. Though it does rear its ugly head again during the blackface episode. It's more than a bit rummy if you ask me.
Don't neglect to read the actual books however. While there are tons of riotous stories told in the TV series, P.G. Wodehouse created so many fanciful frivolous fops and endless schemes and capers not only with the gentleman and his valet, but with host of other colorful personalities. They are not to be missed. Vouching for the virtue of PG Dubs's raconteur chops, Hugh Laurie, Bertie Wooster made flesh, writes how Wodehouse saved his life. Those books certainly added much needed levity to my oft-unfunny high school literary experience too.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Defiling everything from my credo against chain restaurants to my heritage
Yeah, Max's of the Philippines. Their motto is "The House That Fried Chicken Built." To get you in the mood, check out this commercial:
After watching a bunch of these commercials, I kinda have a crush on their spokesperson, Piolo Pascual. Too bad he turns out to be totally cheesy and weirdly into his bible group. But judging from those commercials, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised.
Anyway, back to the food reportage. I went with my childhood buddy Curtis. We are both ABC (American Born Chinese), and while I am only a half breed, supposedly boasting some cred with my other 50% being Filipino, I couldn't even claim to know as much about our eats as Curtis who does have some family/friends that have initiated him into the Flip food club.
Sadly they were out of the lumpiang and the kare kare (oxtail stew in peanut sauce) which were our first choices, but the replacements were hardly a disappointment. Okay, the fried wontons that we got instead were not so great--a bit skimpy on the meat. However, the entree that replaced the kare kare, pinakbet, was a delicious melange of flavors.
It had squash, green beans, bitter melon, okra, pork and bay shrimp in a light sauce. I especially love the treat of all those lovely sharply distinct vegetal tastes contrasting with the saltiness of the meat.
In a major faux pas, I later realized when reciting the meal to my dad that I was pronouncing the dish incorrectly the whole time when I ordered it. I kept saying PINK-a-bet, when it should be Pi-nak-bet. This is what happens when your father teaches you absolutely nothing about the country he was born in and the cultural heritage of our family. Until its too late and you've already embarrassed yourself. Maybe he just likes watching my self-humiliation. I can credit him with teaching me much about music but Asian American stuff...mmmm not so much.
The other dish we ordered was a superstar. I've mentioned lechon in this blog before. Well, lechon kawali is fried pork belly, all crispy skin, fatty ripples, and sinewy meat creating a carnivorous trifecta too good for words. Yet this was not what we ordered.
Nope, we got the Bicol express. Essentially it's lechon kawali, but its bathed in a milky coconut sauce with a hint of chili. I think Curtis and I were gunning for a little more spice as we had requested, but still, this was some mouthwatering ish. Yeah, lechon taken to the next power.
The perfect accompaniment to all this was the garlic rice, laced with shavings of fried garlic.
The menu is so deep and varying that we had a grand slam meal without even ordering their famous fried chicken. Thankfully, there's always a next time.
Not to mention, Rene, a simultaneously feisty and endearing waiter who attentively refilled my coffee when I had a longanisa and egg breakfast with my dad there some many years ago, still works there.
If this is what it means to eat at a chain in a suburb, then I'm all for breaking my own rules.
Friday, May 22, 2009
BritPopCornucopia #16: Pleeeeeese let it be true, please let it be true, please let it be true...
Sure, I've had Graham Coxon put his arm around my shoulder and do feral things(Ask me for the story if you've not heard it). I've certainly witnessed both the Gorillaz and the Think Tank era greatness that is Damon Albarn and co. But never have I ever seen them on the same stage together all at once. It's about damn time.
Let's party people and make it happen!
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
BritPopCornucopia #15: Cocker the Rawker
In honor of his second solo album, the Guardian UK has allowed him to take over their music section for the week, including a sampling of his latest offering. Drive-by opinion: classic Cocker with a more guitar rawk edge.
But let's go back a bit into the Jarvis archives for your viewing pleasure. Here's his little appearance on the Ali G. show:
For the uninitiated, there are a few bits of info you need to know for the above segment, if you didn't already. Cocker was the frontman of Pulp at the time they released This is Hardcore. At the Brit awards show he stormed the stage during Michael Jackson's Earth Song. Oh, also SBC's name check on his nan who drinks Zima? Priceless 90's goodness. My dad occasionally brought a six pack 'o that home. But he prob wouldn't want me divulging that incriminating piece of intel...
I close with a verifiable piece of evidence that Jarvis Cocker is coolness personified: My friend Anna-Helga said she saw Jarvis on a plane once. And he flies coach. He really is one of the common people!
Global Hip Hop: My burning queries answered(?)
While I don't know anything about the launching point of the first post regarding the Korean context, I have to say, much of the commentary and discussion is a more well-thought out version of the debates of "Who 'owns' culture?/Homage or appropriation?" that often ensue in my head.
Read on people, read on!
Thursday, May 07, 2009
The thrill of the Hunt
This dude was so great live.
He is at the cutting edge of blending rock, soul, and pop. Surprisingly, Randy Jackson was in his corner. In fact, on Jackson's iTunes celeb playlist he included one of Hunt's tracks.
Anyway, as an FU for getting dropped, Hunt is releasing an album of previously unreleased material--for free and web-only. I think one of my favorite elements of this album is the multiple variations game on his own song "Anything (to get your attention)", with clever and even funkier/rockier re-hashes of a track off his first album. It just shows that this guy is a great songwriter who is capable of taking his music in so many exciting directions. That surplus of creativity is unbelievable. The whole new thing dropped May 8th. Here's some of that ish to make you get down with your bad self.
Here's the NPR spot on him that got me into his stuff a few years back.
Labels: Van Hunt
All the Idol bloggers are playing Elvis Costello
The unbridled sense of fun, the stage chemistry, the matching haircuts...It was the triumph of the fruitfly-girl and her gay boyfriend! I almost couldn't handle the fierceness. It was like the emos and punketos not only made peace in Districto Federal, but they decided to have a musical love child. Then, they decided to bust it loose and throw the child one huge muthafucken birthday paaaartay. All in just 90 secs, folks.
The week before she did this:
So why is she gone? Oh my gaaaahd. Dude. Maaaaan. It's so crazy.
She is so zany and unrehearsed in her interviews. I love what she represents for girlhood. Mouthy, gravelly-voiced-disarming stage presence, unabashedly 100% herself, lovable but never needing to stoop to cutesiness to endear her to you, strong and emotional all at once, teen star-to-be without all the dubious backstage coaching. Also, not stick thin, radiant with healthy glow, and proud of what her mama gave her. She stood up for herself in a crowd of boys, and doesn't need a boyfriend. Girl said it herself, "I'm too young..." I hope she retains all these qualities as her career progresses.
Here's her exit interview. For those of you who don't watch the show, I apologize in advance for simultaneously subjecting you to the horrors of Jillian Barbiedoll Reynolds:
Here's part two
Oh the injustice, when this performance somehow kept this dude around instead. I keep trying to like him, but he unflinchingly managed to butcher Aerosmith even more than they butcher themselves. In the wise words of Ms. Iraheta, "At least I'm not cutting myself!" Sometimes the American electorate is smart (like when the GOP is at a dismal 22% approval rating),but others times, not so much. There goes the last POC on the show.
Sunday, May 03, 2009
Blasian goodness brought to you by Chimurenga
Here are the two webvert videos.
They also got a great review in the Mail and Guardian.
I'm still waiting for my copy, but trust people, Chimurenga NEVER lets you down. Believe me, Ntone, Rucera, Liepollo, and that whole Chim crew put their big ol' brains, heart, and soul into every issue. And I know firsthand, having spent time working with them.
It is unlike any other magazine you've ever read. It pushes the boundaries, ideologically, aesthetically, literarily, textually, artistically, intellectually...Getting your hands on a copy is like coming into ownership of a small masterpiece, a bound and printed object that you can re-visit and re-read from so many different angles, awakening your mind at every turn.
At the very least, take a look at the website, which is chock full of amazing stuff. There's the Chimurenga library which is loaded with tons of radical (in both the TMNT and political senses) archival swag, the Pan African Space Station (PASS), replete with podcasts and other auditory treasures, and plenty of other things Chim.
What are you waiting for?
Saturday, May 02, 2009
More than a Catwoman
Eartha Kitt was legendary. Here she is with NKC:
What gets me, with both of these folks, is that they can just talk, and it's more musical than most of the stuff that's topping the charts now. Call me a curmudgeon before my time, dagnabbit, but these kids today...
Here's a full hour of Eartha with Marian McPartland. Damn, I want to be this effortlessly cool when I'm a senior citizen.
"...and the crotch-holders, I think are the ones who are making the money."