24.Dec – { Unveiling le Ratchets }

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This goes out to the sophisti-ratchets that don’t think they are of the lowly breed of woman that exude extremely high levels of pure stank.  Whether it’s bragging on the liabilities that plague your progression from your current section ocho state – or the tangerine colored extensions that get caught in your lip piercings (which look like metalicized mouth herpes btw)….I’m going to need you to go ahead and categorize yourself appropriately and police each other in the way of social media.

Far too long have we sat back and viewed your attempt at the english language with words that are infused with numbers replacing letters – and status’ and tweets with you soliciting for the support of the most nonsensical and absurd statements.  Your Wet Seal zeal make you look sticky as you parade about rocking the “original” leopard print leggings rapping the lyrics to the latest song which is more than likely talking about you ….

i need you to chill – America needs you to chill – and ignore the phone call from your dread-locked boo who is probably wearing truckfit/camos and retro-grade Jordans…ignore the call – sit in a corner and think about your life….

 

please

18.Dec { Expensive Free Thought } with Sydney Charles

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So, I haven’t posted in a while, because I have been busy with shows, auditions, and recovering from all of those.  Even as I type this now, I am on vocal rest because I strained my voice and I have an audition in a few hours. GREAT!  This inspired me to bring you NON-performers into my world…I decided to give you a bit of information that will help you better understand all your friends who are actors, dancers, vocalists, musicians, and all artists in general. I feel that this will help you appreciate what it is we go through on a daily basis. It will also help me from kickin your ass when you ask me dumb questions.

1)   No, this is not a “hobby” or an “interest”, this is my REAL JOB! I know in high school, there was drama club, show choir, and band and these things were what YOU did (or tried to do and your access was denied because you’re talentless) to fill in your spare time.  But I’m not 16 anymore…I have decided to pursue this as a career.  I want to bring art to the masses. I love what I do, I do what I love, and I hate desks and all things desk related. I train, I practice, I work, and I get PAID to do this.

2)   I probably do more work during a 2.5-hour show than you do all week. You sit at a desk and play Candy Crush Saga all day…I am either singing for hours on end or dancing the countless moves of choreography until the audience is satisfied. There is no half-assin’ because you were hungover the day before from an office party or because your car died. YOU GET TO WORK AND DO WORK until you pass out or need a defibrillator.

3)   No, I don’t have weekends or PTO or Vacation Time. If I am in a show, that means that probably 6 days out of the week, I am on stage…sometimes, we do the same show twice in one day…crazy right? I can’t “call off” for random road trips or weddings, or baby showers, or card parties. I have to know like 6 months in advance damn near. No I don’t want to kick it with you after my shows, no I don’t want to go to the midweek box social, I want to have a cup of Jameson and pass out and hope I have enough Icy Hot to get me through the run of this show.

4)   Insurance? What’s that? Why don’t you just go to the doctor if you’re sick? Why are you always taking herbs and drinking tea? BECAUSE I DON’T HAVE INSURANCE!!! If I do, it’s because I spend half of my check to pay a monthly premium.  EVEN when I’m not in a show…so either you buy me some ginger or STFU.

5)   No, I probably won’t answer your phone call. I use my voice all day.  Why do you insist on making me use it when I don’t have to do so? Just answer my damn text! I promise I will text you right back, are your fingers tired from playing Candy Crush all day? (See number 2).

6)   No I don’t have any money for that.  While I do get paid for this…until I blow up or at least become very well established in the industry or find a part-time gig that doesn’t require me to lift boxes, pick up dog shit, or sell my ovaries…it is a very humble salary…so no, I can’t go to Vegas, Mexico, or London.  You’re lucky, if I can get enough money in my gas tank to get to Milwaukee. And I’m only going there to AUDITION!

7)   You’re always with your theater friends. You know why? Because I don’t have to explain #1-6 to them…Good day.

 

 

 

 

18.Dec { On the Wall: Views from a Social Media Gadfly }

 

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Most Regular People Say…

By Gabriel Owens

It’s hard not putting celebrities on pedestals.  Sure, we like to think, hey, they put their pants on one leg at a time (maybe Michael Jordan jumps into them, possibly), but they seem so special.  They did something to get them to a higher plain than the rest of us plebeians; they must be so above it all.

If the great social media experiment has taught us nothing else, it’s that no, they really are just like you and me.  Frighteningly so.   All the same dumb thing we do, they do, when plopped unsupervised in front of a computer or smart phone.

1 – They can’t spell.  Seriously.  Now, if they post a blog to their website or publish an “open letter” that they probably get someone to edit (or write) for them, it’s usually well done, free of typos, edit mistakes, and the grammar makes sense.  But social media (especially twitter) allows them to shoot out quick whatevers, and BY GAWD so many of them have the writing style of a 12 year old with a solid D in English.  Actors and athletes especially.  It’s to the point you see anyone with well written screeds on SM, you immediately suspect someone’s writing for them.  It’s REALLY apparent when suddenly they go from perfectly acceptable output to all upper or lower case and run-on sentences where half of everything is misspelled and lacking punctuation.  Obviously, someone went off the reservation from their publicist and are actually posting to their SM accounts themselves.

2 – They’re petty and love drama.  There’s nothing funnier than if you catch twitter at the right time and get to witness to celebrities go back and forth like a text message arguing, fighting, slinging accusations and insults at each other publically over the DUMBEST of shit.  Again, left to their (smart phone) devices and no handlers for a moment, they behave like everyone else.  Airing out each other’s dirty laundry is bonus points.

3 – They believe the same dumb s***.  Now, for some celebrities who are more outspoken about such things, this is not a surprise.  But some that usually keep their mouths shut, social media sees them forwarding the same debunked bullshit, talking about vapor trails, propaganda about Bigfoot and Sarah Palin (hey…I HAVE never seen them in the same room…), etc.  Suddenly exposed, they either get real defensive or fully embrace it, if again, their handlers don’t get to them and reeducate them about SM.

4 – They shouldn’t be allowed near an internet connection drunk.  As a wise man once said, you shouldn’t text or post to Facebook after 2 am with a few cocktails in you.  It’s never good.  Waking up and looking at your text history after receiving a few “what the hell was that about last night” texts at 10 am is a Scroll of Shame.  Or going “what the hell, 80 new notifications on Facebook/twitter, what is everyone going…ooooohhhh…”  Now imagine doing that when you got 80,000 eyeballs on what you said.  Oh, you can’t delete none of that.  That’s screenshotted forever and TMZ already has the story out.

So, it’s certainly amusing to watch it all, and it makes us feel better about ourselves.  I don’t even think in a shadenfreuden way, but just in a “we’re all in this together, we’re all people” kinda way.  Hopefully it keeps on going before publicists and handlers get too strong a grip on their peoples in this still wild wild west world of web 2.0.

–   Gabe out

8.Dec { Plain Clothes Clergy }

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Let us venture if you will – –  back into the days where I spoke on a regular basis, to small and large groups of people regarding Christian faith.  The demographics to most of these events would be 98% black folks, and the other 2% were people that  definitely had the “fever”.

I would show up with the finest of tailored italian suits resting on the skin – and some animal (more often than not – ostrich) embraced my waist in the form of a belt with the shoes to match – I mean to put it plain….I looked like i was ready to tune-up in the key of A…and do my best Rance Allen runs whilst wiping the sweat from my forehead….then one day it happened – Mel and I went to the cleaners and when she came out I asked her a question that I had never asked before…”how much did all of those clothes cost to get cleaned?” ….”$180″ she replied with the typical Mel smile.

I WAS HEATED! – the first thing that came to mind was stewardship…I mean that $180 could’ve went to someone that needed some food to eat, or some clothes to wear….but noooo instead I’m wasting money to keep my clothes nice so I can look cute in front of a bunch of judgmental people…you may wonder why I called them that.  Well… when I declared I was not going to where anymore suits to church, and I showed up to teach dressed way down – I received some of the most intense stares, and one person even had the nerve to come and tell me that they couldn’t pay attention to the message I spoke because I wasn’t looking like a preacher….hmmmmmm

Another interesting thing that happened is when I would visit other churches with our senior pastor…I was more often than not – treated in a very dismissive manner and sat off in some obscure corner of the church – BUT LET YA BOY COME THROUGH WITH THE CLEAN WINDOW PANE PRINT JOINT WITH THE RUST ACCENTS AND BRIEFCASE…now I get escorted to the front of the church and if someone recognized or asked if I were a pastor – then they would insist that I join them in the pulpit…nonsense

Now the reasons I just mentioned should be enough to get it right – and hit you right at home…but that’s not what sealed it for me.  When I learned why black folks dress up more than anyone to go to church – i was taken.

The term is “Sunday’s Best” – in short…the slave masters would have competitions to see who could dress their slaves the best – and they would do this on Sunday’s…hence “Sunday’s Best”….nowadays you hear the excuse “we pay respect to God when we dress up to give him our best”.  I would submit to whoever thinks like that, that you’re thinking of submitting the wrong “best”. Early church writings from Mathetes (interpreted as disciple) to Diognetes would suggest otherwise – in the writing there was an excerpt that described the manner of Christians – and one thing that stood out was that he mentioned that the believers  did not dress different than others…the main characteristic of the first century believers was that they loved each other – and loved people by loving God more than anything.

We all need to work on being a little more plain – especially in the context of corporate worship.

*steps off of soapbox and continues to do hoodrat things with my hoodrat friends.

– Ken

 

7.Dec – { Short Movie Review: “Out of the Furnace” }

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well….well…well –

I decide to tag along with my friend Eric to see this movie – we had just eaten at Ballast Point in Little Italy (get the Calamari if you ever go) – sat there and did some people watching in this feeding ground for hipsters and made our way to the theatre.  Since up until this point I had never heard of the movie – I only expected to see Christian Bale be a bad-arse…i mean because in the movie poster he has a freakin gun…

Well….well….well…to my surprise he wakes up to Zoe Saldana, encounters Woody Harrelson, has conflict with Forrest Whittaker – is siblings with Casey Affleck  that has a weird business relationship with William Defoe – “WHAT THE WHAT?” – this is a star studded cast of people that I like to see act (sans Casey).

All in all – I think what happened was Leonardo DiCaprio found this script, made some phone calls to some people so that they can do some amazing acting, in a pretty …”meh” storyline.  I mean to me the acting was so good – I had to watch, and not mind that this anti-climactic peek into the humanity of Bales’s character was the true thrust of the film.

After the movie Eric and I stood outside of the theatre and gave it two thumbs up – Eric also educated me on the fact that Jason Williams & Randy Moss were from the area this movie was based on – – interested non-important point for the sports heads.

Go see it.

 

– Ken