Tuesday, June 30, 2009

RadioMONDO Reviews: Vanilla Ice

The hype and subsequent fallout over van Winkle's street cred and the vitriol launched at him by haters for his (gasp!) sampling notwithstanding I find this an amusing piece of the 90's mainstreaming of hip hop (that's right, i said "hip hop"). Just like Elvis was promoted to sell rock and roll to a segregated retail public over the black musicians he idolised, Vanilla Ice moved hip hop into the collective consciousness of a demographic that was still segregated in their musical tastes, though less so, in the latter half of the 20th century.

This single was innovative in that it, much like the Beastie Boys, samples white rock music instead mining the black music archives. I think, therein, lies the animosity: to the kid that grew up on what's now termed "classic rock" this was blasphemy perpetrated by one of their own. Hip hop purists dismissed Vanilla Ice as an interloper in a genre they felt was "for us by us". Of course, now all this has little relevance as hip hop has come to embrace all cultures and it's less about who you are so much as what you contribute to the genre.

It's hard for even the haters to deny the impact this song had on a public besotted by MTV and the increasingly corporate-controlled FM radio. I gave it 4/5 stars because, not only do i like the song, there's a reason for it being a #1 Billboard hit.

RadioMONDO Reviews: Te Roopu Tangai

An amazing collection of Maori songs. I took off a half star because, even though these are traditional hakas, over time and missionary meddling some have been given "western" arrangements that incorporate some summer camp sing-a-long style acoustic guitar. Otherwise, the a cappella chants and songs are pretty damn cool. All songs were performed by kids from the Lyttelton High School in Gisborne, New Zealand.
I read that "Ka Mate Ka Mate" is the fight song of the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team.

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RadioMONDO Reviews: Ben Harper

I picked this CD up as the result of hearing one tune on a friend's MySpace page. I'd heard about Harper before but, until then, I hadn't heard his music. Man! I was knocked out of my chair! From the bluesy guitar opener to his rendering of Maya Angelou's "I'll Rise" this CD is an awesome and inspiring ride. Even the throwaway "Mama's Got A Girlfriend Now" serves to lighten the moodiness of the songs on either side of it by injecting a little humor. Standout cuts are "Like A King", "How Many Miles Must We March", "Welcome To The Cruel World", and "I'll Rise".
The only drawback, and it really annoys me, is the "hidden" track that doesn't come up for several minutes after track #13. It's a good song but not so good that I am willing to listen to dead air waiting for it and, if I'm in the car and don't have the time to change the CD, I usually don't wait.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Well, That Clears Things Up a Little

I've been using the same 15" CRT monitor for more than 10 years without much thought as to its technological limitations. A week after I responded to a comment from Matthew Lyons week it, literally, blew up. I'm talking "bzzzzzzzzzz....KA-POW!" So, because i use my computer to keep track of my jobs, i needed a monitor in a hurry and, because i'm a broke ass mofo, it had to be really cheap - er, inexpensive.

Off to the Georgia Avenue Thrift Store i went and, lo and behold, i found a shiny 17" CRT monitor for $20! Okay, so it's a little buggy, like i can't get the window to square up, but the colours and details are incredible! I'm seeing things that were hidden from me before: richer colours, finer, sharper details, smoother fonts, Halle Berry naked! The downside is that a some of the stuff i scanned and uploaded to various websites looks really crappy to me now. I feel like i should start over and scan my drawings again. However, my still life photos may become a lost cause as, in order to fix some of them, i would need to reshoot them. Even "Kenny" the Swainson's Thrush i shot will be different if i reshoot it as it's been in my freezer since last summer and i'm unsure of what will happen if i thaw him out.

Or, maybe, they can all be corrected in Photoshop.

Right now on RadioMONDO:
Tom van der Geld and Children at Play - Patience
Steve Lawrence - Lawrence Goes Latin
The Friends of Distinction - Grazin'
New Order - Brotherhood

Friday, June 19, 2009

Artomatic 10 Favorites

In no particular order my Top Favorite Artomatic Artists that I hadn't heard of before:

Matty Burns - Danny: The Astronaut Deer series
Ellen Cornett - her Re-imagined Tales
Jeanette L. Herrera - just about everything!
Lisa Harkins - beautiful little collages
Patricia Hartnett - Doves series
Ben Nicholson - great work with no info. points off for that, Ben.
Frank Mancino - fabulous realist drawings (think Robert Assael) suffer from cheap framing (a pet peeve of mine having been a framer).
Heather Randell - great work in collage on canvas
Chris Bishop - Robots!
Jamea Richmond-Edwards - very good mixed-media portraits
Asad "ULTRA" Walker - Amazing what graffiti artists can do when they're not vandalising someone else's property
Christian Tribastone - an excellent draftsman. Art on recycled paper bags and cardboard boxes
Malcolm Blaisdell - dark, wacked out realism rules!
Rosina Teri Memolo - Photographs documenting the death of the corner store

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

New Work-In-Progress

Okay, so today I decided that, since I finally got a little time off from work, I should shoot some of the stuff I've been collection over the last couple of days. The photo above isn't quite the way I want it yet so there will be some tweaking in PhotoShop. This is just a working proof as I will adjust the colour balance, sharpness and such. I also shot some orchids today.

I don't use a conventional camera to photograph these flowers and other objects. My cheapo digital died after 2 years of service and my 35mm was stolen last year so now I use an HPScanjet 3570c. I do, however, have tons of 35mm slides and B&W negs that I can finally print because I figured out how to get the scanner's backlight (TMA) function to work in WinXP.

On Mondo's Musical Merry-Go-Round right now:
Verlette Simon - Proof of Life
Swayzak - Dirty Dancing
Oingo Boingo - Dead Man's Party
Midi Rain - One
The Very Best of Dionne Warwick

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Deal of the Day: Charity and Flan

I had seen these guys before near the kitchen where I work. Youngish (well, under 30-looking) Latino guys in jeans and blue t-shirts that advertise Hogar Crea of DE, Inc. carrying 4 or 5 small foil pans. They stop in at all the storefronts on Elkin Street. They are selling flan to help benefit Hogar Crea which is an international organisation started in Puerto Rico in 1968 to help drug addicts break their habits. The program is free but those who enter in to it must adhere to strict house rules as well as attending church every Sunday. According to Wikipedia, 92% of of those who have completed the program have completely stayed off of drugs. That's one hell of a success rate.

In the past, every time these guys would come by I would pass on buying because I rarely have any money on me. Today I had a few bucks left from a cash job I'd had over the weekend. I bought a plain flan. Holy Moly it's pretty tasty! A hell of a lot better than the ready-made ones in Safeway's dairy section. It's denser but still very light and not as sweet as the store bought kind. The coolest thing is that the guys selling the flan also make the flan as a requirement of their stay in the treatment facility. The are also required to wash cars and do other types community service. The guys are really nice, too. From now on I'm going to try and keep, at least, $5 in my car for a flan from them.

You should, too.

Today on DJ Mondo's Wheels of Steel:
David Bowie - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
Oingo Boingo - Nothing to Fear
Vangelis - Opera Sauvage
Mellow Man Ace - Mentirosa (12" Single)