Monday, March 30, 2009

Lipsynching American Idols

OMG! What's wrong with their mouths?? Awww they're lipsynching.

It's come to light that the group vocals on AI are pre-recorded because the crowd noise and dancing required make it hard to perform it live. OK, whatever. Actually I never noticed it until this season. Did You?
These guys are the worst lip-synchers ever!

A Black Princess for Disney

Disney's new animated movie The Princess and the Frog is set to come out in December and features Disney's first Black princess. How 'bout that!
Good, it's about time.
'The Princess and the Frog' is set in New Orleans in the 1920's. Princess Tiana is voiced by actress Anika Noni Rose and Oprah Winfrey is voicing Eudora, Tiana's mother. Good cast.
But, there is some flack going 'round because her knight in shining animated handsomeness is white. Well he's tan, but not black. Well, he could be Black since I don't know his fictional heritage, but I guess some folks are upset that he just doesn't look black.

Prince Naveen is from Maldonia. Maldonia is a made up place and I suppose it could be made up to be a part of the African diaspora. Naveen is voiced by a Brazilian actor so there may be an accent involved. I don't know.

Disney not brave enough to have a Black Prince along with the princess? Doesn't portraying an inter-racial couple in 1920's Louisiana take some bravery? Hmmmm.
Then there is the toothless antebellum slave talking firefly character in the film. Again, hmmmmm. Well, until I can see it or know more about how it's presented, it's hard to say what Disney is up to.

I do know that the Prince is turned into a frog in the story, so black is not the color he or Princess Tiana are primarily concerned about. You think?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

RuPaul's Drag Race Winner

Congrats! to Bebe Zahara Benet for winning RuPaul's Drag Race. She is the new Drag Queen Superstar!
Bebe is from Cameroon and she represented her West African culture well during the contest. The man behind Bebe is talented, sweet,and caring. Bebe is beautiful, classy, sassy, poised, and strong, and has the dignity it takes to take the torch passed from RuPaul.

If you watched this contest you may have learned a lot about Drag Queens. Drag is a culture of it's own. These people are master entertainers. It requires having the skill of an artist, sculpture, fashion model, fashion designer, actor, make-up artist, dancer, and magician. I say magician because Drag is an illusion. An illusion of a woman. It takes great skill to pull this off. Being a woman is a lot more that T and A. RuPaul's contest allowed us an inside peek at the process of making the illusion we see on stage.

Drag artists are often but not always gay, sexual orientation has nothing to do with it. Drag queens do not want to be women and do not live as women. I am certainly no authority on Drag rules, but my understanding is, Transgendered illusionist must be pre-op. Drag performers are invited to chime in, please.

I've always had a lot of respect for these performer's skills but never realized the time and expense it takes. It's very costly when you consider the makeup, wigs, shoes and wardrobe. Mucho $$$$$$$

In addition to the amazing transformations each week, Drag Race had some creative competitive Survivor like challenges for the contestants that really separated the boys from the queens.

It was also interesting getting to know these men and their backgrounds and how they came to be Drag Queens. Interesting too was how each viewed their drag persona.

From hundreds of applications RuPaul picked nine contestants.
There was a panel of two regulars and one guest celebrity and Rupaul who sat as judges each week. But, Ru made the final decision on who would "shantay you stay" or "sashay, away".

Monica and I loved Drag Race and so did my sister. Moni's favorite part each week, was when Ru tells the bottom two queens, "this is your last chance to impress me" and commands they "lip synch for your life".

In the end it was Bebe and Nina Flowers who had to "Lip Synch for Your Life" to RuPaul's new single "Covergirl (Put the Bass in Your Walk)," Both finalist are in Ru's video.

This show was not only entertaining but featured unique people compared to other generic reality type shows. The personalities were real with cattiness, flashes of jealousy, real bonding, drama, emotion, angst, compassion and lots of laughing and fun. I can't wait until next season when Ru says,
"Gentlemen start your engines, and may the best woman win!"

Nea Marshall Kudi aka Bebe Zahara Benet, the lady from Cameroon.
Bebe said she loves the creative outlet allowed in drag artistry.

Drag Race finalist Jorge before his transformation into Nina Flowers. He considers Nina a piece of art.

Jorge says his Nina Flowers is a wild crazy woman.

Third runner-up Javier aka Rebecca was the youngest contestant. A gorgeous man and gorgeous woman, Rebecca did NOT win Miss Congeniality.

A contestant, fan and judge favorite was the diminutive Ryan aka Ongina. She was witty and creative and had a fierce runway walk.

Forth runner-up Brian aka Shannel is serious and versitile entertainer that felt the judges did not understand her or give her the credit due. I liked Shannel.

Contestant Akashia, took a runway fall but played it off with style and a swirl.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Natasha Richardson

Actor Natasha Richardson has died from an injury she suffered during a ski lesson. It seemed to be just a tumble on the bunny slope and she reportedly seemed OK even laughing and joking right after the fall. But, as we now know, Natasha started to feel ill later and was taken to the hospital. Now this beautiful, talented artist, wife, mother, daughter, sister is gone at age 45. I cannot imagine how devastated her family must be.

I feel very sad about her death. I was hoping so hard that she would recover. Maybe because I didn't want such evidence that life could be so fleeting, so unfair. Maybe because she was so young. Of course, lives end suddenly everyday. There are car accidents, plane crashes, and heart attacks. Here in Chicago there have been 28 violent gun deaths of school children this year so far. Very sad and the reasons for these sudden, ridiculous, heartbreaking losses are complex and troubling.

For Tony award winner Natasha Richardson, granddaughter of British stage legend Sir Michael Redgrave, daughter of director Tony Richardson and Vanessa Redgrave, niece of Lynn Redgrave and wife of actor Liam Neeson, to die from a tumble on a bunny hill, makes no sense. Not a car crash or a plane crash or an illness, not that that would be any less sad for her family and friends and fans. But such a loss from a simple fun day learning to ski seems more difficult, more cruel.

My heart goes out to Natasha's family. R.I.P. beautiful talented lady.

Natasha and her mother Vanessa Redgrave. Both of Natasha's parents are Oscar winners.

Natasha and husband actor Liam Neeson. They have two sons ages 12 and 13.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Although everyone is a wee bit Irish today, I have some Irish ancestry on my mother's side. So, I can authentically bestow an Irish blessing on you all.

"May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again,
May God hold you
In the palm of his hand."

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Generations Connect!

One of the disturbing things I've noticed happening in our society is a lot of disconnections. Disconnections of all kind, but certainly between the generations. We all thought we knew it all and we were the coolest. This video of part of a church service playfully honoring each generation brought tears to my eyes. Just Beautiful, watching these folks remember and express themselves and their generation through music and dance. Every generation got it's boogie on.
I love the titles.
Builders, Boomers, Busters, and Bridges

I'm going to suggest this for my church.
So get up and express your generation with these folks. What songs would you pick for each?
Builders, Boomers, Busters and Bridges!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Never too late to say, I'm Sorry

This nice Argentine Bank ad warms my heart.

Hat tip to Joe. My. God.

Flush Rush?

You want a garbage disposal and toilet combo? Well, check out this superdy duper toilet. Thanks to Dustin who posted this thing.

Wow! Disguised as a normal everyday bathroom fixture but, yall won't believe how powerful this super toidy is.

I thought maybe it would be good for schools or homes with kids. But, ummm no maybe not.
Do you think it could flush Rush? I'd like to try.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

"The Best Music Of Our Lives!"

Chitown has been hit hard lately by losing some of it's icons. Yesterday, we lost Richard Pegue at age 64.
Richard Pegue was a Chicago radio legend, spinning soul and R & B at WVON and other stations from the 60s on into the 00s. He also wrote dozens of commercial jingles, including some classics for Moo & Oink. Richard also spun the hits and dusties at night clubs and Stepper sets all over the southside.

Pegue was the son of a beautician and a Chicago Park District police officer killed in the line of duty in 1946. He met his destiny when his grandmother gave him a reel-to-reel tape recorder for his 11th birthday. He became completely smitten with radio and the rest is history. Truly, Richard was a music, especially Dusties, historian. For all you Baby Boomer Southsiders, here's some names to remember. Richard worked at Del Farm grocery store, the Taste Entertainment Danceclub and at Metropolitan Records on Cottage Grove. I hung out at the main Met on 58th Street where you could take your 45's into a booth and spin them before you buy them. Those were the days. The Met also had the best and largest selection of records for collectors in any genre and their staff like Richard were so knowledgable you could hum a few bars and they'd know the song.
Try that at Best Buy.

Richard was a born DJ. By his teens he was hosting dances at churches all over the south side.
"I discovered I had a gift--I don't know what else to call it--for hearing the music in my head and heart. It's hard to explain, but it's like the metronome was building in my head. I had good timing. I had a fairly fine-tuned sense of rhythm. I could find that rhythm. I could hear how records meshed together. I had a feeling for that critical break between songs, when one fades out and the other fades in and you have to know in your heart which one will mesh perfectly with the other."

Pague got his formal broadcasting training at Columbia College and by age 25 he was Music Director at WVON radio.
Richard Pegue was also one of the famous WVON Good Guys. On April 1, 1963, WVON hit the airwaves in Chicago with a group of handpicked personalities: Franklin McCarthy, E. Rodney Jones, Herb Kent, Wesley South, and Pervis Spann. They became known as "The Good Guys," and Ric Ricardo, Bill "Butterball" Crane, Ed Cook, Joe Cobb, Roy Wood, Ed Maloney, Bill "Doc" Lee, Don Cornelius, Richard Pegue, Isabel Joseph Johnson, Cecil Hale, and McKee Fitzhugh eventually joined the roster. Under the direction of the station's general manager, Lucky Cordell, and its "Ambassador of Good Will," Bernadine C. Washington, The Good Guys held Black Chicago captive for more than a decade and ranked consistently in the top 5 of the "most listened to" stations in the market.

Richard Pague's show was called The Best Music of Our Lives. And it was. He and his voice will be truly missed.

A WVON Good Guys reunion a few years ago at the Chicago Cultural Center was packed to the overflow room to see the Good Guys including: Dr. Cecil Hale, Lucky Cordell The Baron of Bounce, Herb Kent The Cool Gent, Richard Pegue The Best music of Our Lives and Pervis Spann The Blues Man.