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Tommy T
Tommy Tompkins' extreme measures

Wednesday, December 22, 2004
    Meet the Beastles Again

    Mashing up the Beatles might be old news, even if you throw the Beastie Boys into the mix. But DJ BC played god in this collision, and the result - Meet The Beastles - a mashup from a master - is candy for the ears.

    BC's so good that I'm tempted to say that he makes it go down too easily, which is the danger in screwing around with pop genius. You could try to figure out what the folks at Eviltron have been smoking that inspires their brain-twisting, sometimes fabulous graphic design,. Their work is to the status quo what Kevin Garnett's ball-handling skills are to those of Todd Fuller (ask Golden State). They seem to be working on another planet. Don't stop 'till you find Rubic's confusing cube ("Brain").

    Eviltron's game is played out at a higher level and you CAN NOT compete. Ok?

    Artist Nancy Spoelhof stepped up, and Eviltron designed an online gallery for her. The results were quite wonderful. Back to bed.
    posted by TommyT @ 12:50 pm | Permanent link
Monday, December 20, 2004
    The Wire trades bullets for beds

    The Wire's rich street life and a cast led the strongest crew of African Americans actors ever assembled for one series pose an implicit challenge for an industry that hates away games, and for white people who aren't comfortable with anything that isn't white. Maybe that's why the shows creators decided to flip the script in the season-closing "Mission Accomplished." Instead of a shootout between the gang's headed by Marlo and Avon, they put the guns down and with two quick, righteously inflamatory gratuitous sexual encounters from hell - one between lesbians, the other an interracial couple.

    I hope the forces at HBO who want to cancel the series, along with any stray born-agains wound up in the E.R. when they saw Detective Kima Greggs (Sonja Sohn) caressing the nipples of her female lover with her tongue. Then, hopefully, they needed the undertaker, when Rhonda Pearlman (Dierdre Lovejoy) - lying naked, flat on her back, snaked her hands around the hips of a naked Cedric Daniels (Lance Reddick - 0% body fat) lying between her legs, placed them on his ass, and pulled him deeper inside her.

    The white man's burden: Daniels and Pearlman.

    Are the rumors of casualties caused by the stampede of exiting advertisers true? Is it better to burn out or to fade away? I'd suggest HBO hostages and a beheading or two if a pink slip arrives, only they do it all the time in Iraq and those planes just keep on coming.

    posted by TommyT @ 11:08 pm | Permanent link
Sunday, December 19, 2004
    Save The Wire: DON'T WHITEWASH HBO

    Tonight's the last night of the season for the world's best dramatic television series, The Wire. Karen and I have been sending astral projections or something to the show's writers, demanding that the spare Omar, Avon, Bubbs, Kima, Bodie, and various others (they can have Stringer, but we haven't gotten over last season's murder of D'Angelo Barksdale. Anyway, to make a long story short, it turns out the series hasn't been renewed yet by HBO! They simply cannot kill this series - and if they do, I'm going to do talk shit about the station's once-bold programmers until I can't talk anymore. The Wire features great writers, and the best collection of African American actors television has ever assembled on one show. To cancel The Wire would represent an unforgiveable white-washing of television. There's another word for that, too.

    posted by TommyT @ 4:42 am | Permanent link
Saturday, December 18, 2004
    Meet The Press: Bad News (Really Bad)

    So you read the Gary Webb item and you're not convinced? Check out Mike Whitney's report on the media's role in steamrolling the Intelligence reform bill over a slumbering populace. As Richard Pryor once said, "It'll have ya trippin." Pryor was talking about an acid trip at the time, whereas this might make you feel as if you swallowed a mouthful of battery acid.

    posted by TommyT @ 8:16 pm | Permanent link
Monday, December 13, 2004
    The Doctor Is In: Condition Critical

    I'm not particularly sympathetic to the "America is losing its innocence" crowd, although I suppose I'd reconsider if, well, nevermind, it's something that just can't be reconsidered. Anyway, here's a quick glimpse of some guilty motherfuckers, courtesy of the fabulous Dr. Menlo, who dug it up at Nightweed.com, courtesy of Angry Girl. Thanks Doc. Thanks AG. And remember, when it's time to go, make sure you take someone with you.

    posted by TommyT @ 11:03 pm | Permanent link
Sunday, December 12, 2004
    Stringer Bell: Down, Out, Dead, Gone.

    The Wire'sStringer Bell was killed a few minutes ago by Brother Mouzone and Omar Little. Bell was co-founder, with Avon Barksdale, of West Baltimore's most powerful, project-based family business. The pair were best friends, right up to the moment that Barksdale gave him up to be murdered.

    Bell wanted to leave the violent end of the enterprise behind, and to that end had invested profits all over town. Avon, meanwhile, was resigned to being a smart, cool, murderous gangster. There was a message in the murder - because The Wire is just like that, and maybe because murder's just like that. Bell was known for his level head and big-picture vision, but recently had been warned to keep his ambitions in check. As he reflexively fought against anything that got in his way, a local politician counseled that he should crawl, walk, and then, when the time arrives - run. When all was said and done, "Strang," as he was called, couldn't slow down.

    Hit parade: Avon Barksdale (riding shotgun) and Stringer Bell (behind the wheel) share a laugh.

    Via Con Dios Stringer Bell

    posted by TommyT @ 10:07 pm | Permanent link
Saturday, December 11, 2004
    Dark Alliance's Gary Webb Reported Dead

    While we're on the subject of guns, drugs, police, and death, KPFA is reporting the death Friday of journalist Gary Webb in Sacramento, a suicide at 49. In 1996, Webb exposed the since Central American CIA-cocaine smuggling connection for the San Jose Mercury News in a series called Dark Alliance. The LA Times (where a 20-person reportorial team reportedly rallied around a motto that was essentially "let's get his Pulitzer"), Washington Post and NY Times - were embarassed that they weren't on the story themselves, and at the top were equally anxious to protect the plantation. The papers subsequently went after Webb with a vengeance - the kind of effort that they rarely work up on anything, and never put into covering the CIA's grim work in that region. Small problems in the series surfaced (nothing that undercut the essential thrust of the series), reactionary forces were screaming bloody murder, and the Merc caved in. The paper assigned Webb to cover Siberia, and before long he quit. I spoke with Webb several times since then, but never spoke with him for more than a minute or two, a state of affairs that isn't going to change.

    posted by TommyT @ 6:52 pm | Permanent link
Friday, December 10, 2004
Thursday, December 2, 2004
    Theaters To Watch: Add One, Please

    San Francisco's Campo Santo did not make American Theatre list of a dozen "Theatres To Watch." I'm sure that their dozen are great. And I've got one more to put on the list - the aforementioned Campo Santo, the resident company at Intersection For The Arts, San Francisco's oldest living arts space.

    Campo Santo just closed Philip Kan Gotanda's Fist Of Roses a wrenching, imaginative look at male violence. To say the play is a departure for Gotanda is both wrong and right. In the early and mid-'80s he and David Henry Hwang put Asian American Theatre on the map with ground-breaking work. But Gotanda has always been about much more than that - and anyone who doubts that should investigate his work with Campo Santo. He has stubbornly refused to write exclusively about Japanese America, and while it may not pay well, Fist shows what was waiting to come out.

    As strong as Gotanda's play is, Campo Santo's best work had been done with novelist-poet-playwright Denis Johnson. He and Campo Santo crossed paths when Word for Word did a production of two stories from Jesus's Son, which Johnson attended thinking that perhaps they were being staged by a recovery center or something. He met Campo's Sean San Jose, and the results among other things have been the trilogy, Hellhound on my Trail, Shoppers Carried by Escalators into the Flames, and Soul of a Whore.

    The list of playwrights who work with Campo Santo in addition to the two already mentioned, include Naomi Iizuka, Jessica Hagedorn, Dave Eggers, Octavio Solis, Greg Sarris, and Erin Cressida Wilson. The company, working side by side with Intersection's guiding light, Deborah Cullinan, have brought San Francisco living, breathing, incredible theater, the likes of which has not be seen in town in some time - and which many cities never enjoy. Here's to another 10 years of the same.

    posted by TommyT @ 9:27 am | Permanent link


TOMMYT archives

About Tommy
Tommy Tompkins has been on full alert for most of his adult life, looking for art endowed with sufficient power, wisdom, courage, and grace to save a struggling humanity from itself... More

About Extreme Measures
Extreme Measures comes at you at a time when, as a society, we are experiencing a kind of aphasia; language has been so distorted by corruption of aging institutions and the commercial pressures of an all-consuming, popular culture that our range of motion -- our ability to feel, to dream, to rage beyond the toothless dictates of media and capital -- has been critically circumscribed.

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The Reading List
Q: How many Bush Administration officials does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A:None. There is nothing wrong with the light bulb; its conditions are improving every day. Any reports of its lack of incandescence are a delusional spin from the liberal media. That light bulb has served honorably, and anything you say undermines the lighting effect. Why do you hate freedom?



Cheap shots, anyone? Hell yes, like shooting fish in a barrel - Crosby, Stills, & Nash, to be exact in "Second Time Around," my weekly reissue column in the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

The successful selling of Crosby, Stills, and Nash as one of rock's first "supergroups" was, above all else, a marketing triumph. The insipid folk trio with a penchant for predictable three-part harmonies were packaged as a brilliant, innovative rock band and sold, no questions asked, to a generation that would go on to make history for a consumerism as voracious as its perceptive powers were small...

Read on, please...

Crosby, Stills, and Nash
Greatest Hits (Remastered) (Rhino)

I would have rather been in California than anywhere during those days, and in fact I was in California. Nevertheless, though my ass moved, my ears were another story. Take the O'Jays, for instance, whose blue-collar soul music helped me forget about CS&N's lame folk music.

The core of the O'Jays Eddie LeVert, Walter Williams, and William Powell had been together for 14 years when they had their first big hit, "Back Stabbers," during the summer of 1972. Their career had gyrated everywhere except up when they joined forces for a second time with Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff shortly after the songwriting-production team formed their label Philadelphia International...

Essential O'Jays (Epic/Legacy)

The flurry of reissues may be proof the music industry is dying, but it's produced a few sublime moments, like the "Deluxe Editions" of the Wailers' Burnin' and Catch A Fire. This piece, titled "Wailin'," ran in the Bay Guardian with Jeff Chang's take on the new Trojan Records box, "This Is Pop.".

DURING SO MUCH rain, one or, in this case, two bright spots really stand out. Ever since the birth of Napster and the gloomy end of days for the music business, the reissue industry has been going full tilt. It makes sense on both sides of the commercial exchange. For the labels, there's very little overhead and practically no guesswork; deliver Al Green with a couple of mysterious "alternative takes," perhaps a previously unreleased cut, and remixing or remastering another mystery...
San Francisco Bay Guardian Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Brian Jonestown Massacre: And This Is Our Music
Pitchfork Media, July 19, 2004



Sites I like...

L.A. Observed
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American Samizdat
Sasha Frere-Jones's SF/J



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