Urban haps of a grrrl on a mission to be a better writer, a new music master-blaster and a wonderfully brilliant razor-packing, MAC LipGlass wearing feminista...

Monday, January 22, 2007

Love and Basketball

Last Friday night my girl and I went to see the Knicks play the Nets at the Garden. Ever since the Nuggets spanked that Knickerflopper booty last month, the Knicks have actually been playing ball like they want to win; like they want to make the playoffs, like they want some respect. Even though they lost, the game was aight. It wasn't a blowout and so we didn't have to breakout in the 3rd quarter like we did last time we went to a game. And besides they lost to our favorite team. Tish loves Jason Kidd and well Vince Carter can do no wrong in my hoop book.

Every time I go to a Knicks game I'm reminded of three past moments. I think of the time when I worked for the late, great LeBaron Taylor, former Sr. VP at Sony/ CBS Records who was just one of a handful of Black men that really laid the foundation and groundwork for Black Music departments in this music biz mess of an industry. He always said I was an okay assistant but that I was a brilliant mover and shaker and so he would always give me his tix to different events and charity dinners which was so unbelievably thoughtful (I can't tell you how much I learned and how in his own subtle way LeBaron was grooming me for bigger and better things and for that, I am eternally grateful!). Anyway as often as I got tix for events, it was truly once in a blue moon when I would ever get his tix for the Knicks. You see LeBaron loved himself some basketball and would very rarely miss a game that he had tickets for. But I'll never forget the first time he gave me his tickets. I called my basketball bud at the time, Erika, to meet me. Even though it was the last minute she was there and how fricking blown away were we to find out that our seats were on the floor!. Yo, we were seating 3 seats over from Spike. It was UNBELIEVABLE! And hear me when I tell you there is NOTHING like having seats on the floor for a basketball game at The Garden. It's like flying first class. Sweet! I just remember sitting there and Larry "Grandma-ma" Johnson, while waiting for the inbound pass, looking over at us and winking, then waving at us (as if we didn't see his big behind flirting with us). We were like umm you need to be watching the ball. Needless to say the Knicks blew their 17-point lead and ended up losing the game. It was still the best pro-basketball game I ever attended.

Every time I see the Knicks, especially in their recent 6-year slump, I am reminded of the night I can last remember seeing the Knicks in their prime-- when I was a proud fan of the blue and orange. It was 1994 and the Knicks were playing the Houston Rockets for the NBA championship. They were smashing red and white jerseys up and down the court. Ewing was still ill in the gully sense and not in the injured sense that defined his final years in the NBA. The crew had gathered at Drew's, in Chelsea I think, and we were eating great takeout, pouring cocktails and watching the game while Loose End's Zagora played softly in the background. The Knicks were up and Drew and her then R&B boo were reconciling in the bedroom. It was a good night. A night of indulgence, love and basketball. Right in the middle of our fricking high and right in the final minutes of the best game ever, the news interrupts with OJ Simpson on the run in his white bronco. As riveting as that scene was, we were all pissed that we were missing-- the world was missing-- the biggest NYC basketball moment we had had in a long time... definitely in our 20-something lifetime! What a night?! And how ironic that I should hear from Drew last week (through theHotness no less) after being out of touch for like 5 years now.

The last thing I think of when I go to a Knicks game is the second time LeBaron gave me his tickets. This time he gave them to me a couple of days before the game so I was able to invite my dad and we went together. As much as my dad loves basketball and the Knicks and how he single handedly just made me the sports head that I am today, he had never gone to a game before. To be able to take my dad to see the Knicks (and have great seats) is one of the most gratifying moments of my life-- up there with graduating from college and introducing both my mom and dad to Isaac Hayes (which was also because I worked for LeBaron Taylor). And funny enough, in typical form the Knicks blew another 15-point lead and lost that game too in the final minutes. Because my dad is now ill I'm totally getting choked up thinking about that night. I cherish that moment deeply, eternally.

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Friday, January 19, 2007

theHotness Grrrl MySpace Page

Even though I copped the page last October, I decided in this new year that I would really strive on bringing theHotness community together and so on January 1st I added a lil content and started looking for my peeps. Please stop by and give me a shout. Click here for my profile and add me as a friend. Thanks.

Have a good weekend!


Thursday, January 18, 2007

theHotness Grrrl Thinks Very Deeply... Sorta

How fly is Oprah? The Academy she opened in South Africa is amazing? And what's up with all the backlash she's getting about spending HER money in Africa. Some haters are wondering why she didn't give it to public schools here in America? Or my favorite quip: how the school is "too lavish and grand" for such a small number of attendees (152 to start and 450 when all grades are fully enrolled). If it was Barbara Walters opening a school in Milan for aspiring artists and it featured art studios and spas no one would say anything. But a Black woman can't open a 40 million dollar school in rural Africa without folks thinking it's too much. Yeah it's always too much for Black girls to be taking yoga and violin lessons when they should be focusing on their fundamentals like double-dutch and domesticity. Just give them darkies a jump rope and a mop and they'll be aight, seems to be what this backlash is implying. Well now I hope folks like Bill Cosby, Bob Johnson and Jennifer Lopez will show their support and their middle finger by opening up other similar institutions in places like Ghana and Puerto Rico. You rock Oprah! And if you are looking for instructors? I'm so down!

Why are all the guys on I Love New York gay? Is this some down-low reality love ish? And how flavorless is New York? Where is Flavor Flav when you need some really god-awful ebonics and craziness to watch?

What's PM Dawn up to these days? And how good does it feel to know that at one time urban radio (and MTV) was not so caught up in image and payola to spin a song like Set Adrift on Memory Bliss?

Black folks and Mexicans really did their thing last year in film and television (as seen by the noms and wins at this year's Golden Globes). Forest Whittaker as Idi Amin in Last King of Scotland was spectacular. He truly absorbed his character. He's actually now acting as the voice for Where The Wild Things Are (one of my most memorable children's books), which is supposed to be released sometime 2008. Then there's our Dream Girls cast where Eddie, Jennifer and Anika acted their ashes off. And finally Alejandro González Iñárritu and Guillermo Arriaga got recognized for their wonderful contributions to film (for Babel specifically; they also did 21 Grams and one of my absolute most favorite films Amores Perros). Salma Hayek and America Ferrara showed that Ugly is the new hotness and I'm sure Salma had to freaking stand her ground and take a lot of basura for creating a show based on a telenovella. I haven't seen Pursuit of Happyness yet but I hear from everyone including Karen Good who is not a big Will Smith fan that he is totally believable and so worth the $10.75 ticket. I really hope to get a chance to see Volver this weekend because I hear that Penelope Cruz is fantastic in this comedy and I really want to see her in something that shops me she's got all around acting skills.

Why can't magazines created for Black women (and women of color in general) survive in the publishing marketplace (i.e. Honey, Suede, Rebelle, Wink, err maybe even... Vibe Vixen?) Latina is a great mag that is doing well, so why can't the other joints get it together and compete?

Latina as a mag is doing well but why does seem like there is dearth of Latina women out here making (good) music? J. Lo can't be the only Boriqua who can sing? (Big-up to Carol C., Vinia Mojica, La Bruja, Sophia Ramos and Maya Azucena for doing their thing on the underground but dang why can't they get a deal!)

Was I the only one cringing when reading this article in last month's Esquire?

And are Black, umm... urban folks afraid of posting comments on blogs? I've talked to other Black bloggers and we know we have mad traffic but for some reason heads rarely post comments (BitterVibes' blog excluded)? Is this a cultural difference that needs to be analyzed? Like when the Web first came about and White folks would surf the Web while Black said we cruised it?

Hummph, just some thoughts I had today.

Thanks to KJ for using his subtle jedi hijinks to inspire the competitive spirit in me to blog more frequently. His blog is quite nice and surely something worth checking out!

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Alice Coltrane: 1937-2007 to Eternity

On Monday morning I laid in the bed listening to WBLS I think it was. They played this part of a speech by Martin Luther King that I had never heard before, which is really surprising because I've spent so much of my undergrad time studying him and his speeches in one capacity or another. Maybe I just forgot it or something but it was the part of the speech he made the day before he was assassinated that talked about him being stabbed and if he had sneezed how the blade would have punctured his heart, which he then used as a metaphor to talk about the civil rights struggle. I felt so invigorated after hearing it.

As it ended and I made my way to the kitchen I heard the announcer saying he regrets to announce that Alice Coltrane has passed. I was stunned. I went straight from feeling fresh to feeling troubled. My friends that know me know how so very much I love this woman and her music. Todd will tell you how I became totally obsessed with Ebay and getting her albums (A Monastic Trio & Eternity-- this is before Impulse! reissued them as cd's) and how I frantically would try to outbid everyone like it was some crazy Sotheby's auction. Or Imani will tell you about the day she came to my house and how excited I was to receive in the mail-- World Galaxy-- that I had won of course on ebay. As I slid the vinyl on my turntables and Alice's harp played I just sat there on the floor with nothing but the light of candles surrounding me while meditating on life and love. Imani proceeded to sleep for like 2 hours having what she says was one of her best naps ever cause all she heard in her dreams was that beautiful harp. So I am sad. Especially when I look at today's landscape of alleged musical wunderkinds. I'm sorry Ciara, Alicia Keys and Beyonce don't even come close to matching the artistry of Alice Coltrane. And with every passing of Black Music's brightest-- James Brown, Barry White, etc it makes me weary. It has taken me all of three days just to post about this. If you don't know much about her check this site and this one is also really good.

I still have to get Lord of Lords, Universal Consciousness and Ptah the El Daoud (with Ron Carter on bass & Joe Henderson on flute...CRAZY!!!) I must say though that I feel good, fulfilled in the sense that I did get a chance to see Ms.Coltrane live at Joe's Pub in 2002. It was an unforgettable experience to be in such an intimate space with someone so wonderfully awesome. She didn't say much but she didn't need to. The piano spoke for her and when her and Ravi performed Love Supreme together it was truly an outer worldly experience. Rest in peace.

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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Winter Heat

Usually when I think about heat in January I think about the crazy Mozambiquen-like heat that burns from the radiators in my apartment or I think about how I feel cozied up on my cranberry colored couch under my angora throw while watching Sex and The City. But I do not think about getting a vanilla-chocolate twist cone from the Mister Softee truck on 69th and Bway. Nor have I ever been asked if I wanted an indoor or outdoor table for brunch, but that was the flow of my day. Whether you attribute today’s ridiculously warm weather to global warming, the impending rapture or to the death of the Godfather of Soul, y’all have to admit this ish is crazy! Brothers were in Union Square wearing Nike dunks, chanting and handing out booklets on yoga. Weird, but fly! I wanted to go to the Coffee Shop for a Caiprinha but it was just a sea of folks posing and pandering and that was just the outdoor wait staff! So I skipped the cocktail and went to Sharaku’s for sushi and the spicy tuna rolls were huge and the tuna was like butta baby. I had a great day and although I was totally freaked out by this balmy heat, I loved every minute of it, but have to admit that deep down inside a lil snow would make feel a tad bit more chill about Mother Nature and whatever trip she is on.