-- By doubleay
As the resurgence of vinyl continues to develop, there have been more and more contemporary hip-hop releases. Two hot new stand-out pressings are Mick Jenkins’ 2014 mixtape, The Water(s), and 2015 EP, Wave(s). Both are impressive projects from a lesser known artist who exudes prowess and promise. Mick Jenkins may still be fairly under the radar but is making some of the most profound hip hop music over the past two years and at only 24, Jenkins has so much to say compared to any rapper at his tier.
His artistic roots lie in poetry; 17-year-old Jenkins was participating in slam poetry with other Chicago youth. After spending time working towards a degree in law and ambitiously pursuing a career in clothing design, Jenkins found himself needing to focus solely on music. Splitting his time between Alabama and Chicago, Jenkins found Chicago to be the home base for his musical development. He has collaborated with fellow Chicagoans Vic Mensa and Chance the Rapper, who have both blown up in recent years. Showing nothing but dedication and motivation, Jenkins is looking likely to be on the same path. Since completely committing to music in 2012, Jenkins' wave has only grown. He has released five projects and landed a deal with Cinematic Music Group in 2014. Both his 2014 and 2015 releases (The Water(s) and Wave(s)) were well reviewed but not to the level of critical acclaim they ought to have received.
-- By doubleay
The Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival returns to San Francisco's Golden Gate Park August 5-7 with scores of diverse musical acts, comedians, visual artists, and more food, beer, and vendors than you can shake a corn dog at. And now add to that roster of attractions The Muppets' own rock and roll legends, Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, in what is their "first-ever live festival performance."
Just today, the lineup was announced by these far-out puppets in an amazing video, revealing their festival mates Radiohead, Lana Del Rey, Sufjan Stevens, LCD Soundsystem, Grimes, Duran Duran, Chance the Rapper, Beach House, Vince Staples, Lionel Richie, Peaches, Kamasi Washington, and many, many more.
-- Brett Stillo
Hollywood was starting to show its age in 1958. The Old Guard, who’d turned the town into an assembly line of fantasy and illusion in the '30s and '40s, were slowing down. Staring at them right in their faces, was the future: teenagers, Rock n' Roll, and the financial reality of the Saturday night double feature at the Drive-In.
King Creole, which was released in July of that year, straddles the line, one foot planted in old school Hollywood genre storytelling of Film Noir, the other sliding towards the juvenile market of the Rock n' Roll film. The film’s storyline is firmly planted in the former: a guy with a troubled past is just looking to get a break, but fate pulls him into a raw deal that sets him up to take a big fall. However, this particular fall guy is a sneering, hip-shaking teenager, swinging to a rockin’ beat in double-four time. And oh yes, the actor playing said fall guy happens to be one Elvis Aaron Presley.
Presley was a singer who dreamed of being an actor. He idolized Brando and Dean, and King Creole was his chance to show his dramatic potential on the screen. In King Creole, Presley plays Danny Fisher, a streetwise kid living in the French Quarter of New Orleans, trying to support his down-and-out family by working in a tough joint run by notorious gangster, Maxie Fields (played with brutish charm by a seething Walter Matthau).
-- By Brett Stillo
Sherlock Holmes is alive and well today, but you won’t find him at his bee farm in Sussex Downs. He’s still on the case, solving mysteries on the BBC (Sherlock), American television (Elementary) and on the big screen (Mr. Holmes). Crime fighters come and go, but Mr. Holmes is a constant. The master detective has been with us for nearly 130 years and shows no sign of taking “His Last Bow” any time soon. This is truly an exciting time for this legendary character and his legion of fans—but it’s not the first time.
Universal’s Sherlock Holmes movies of the 1940’s were adventure-mysteries fueled by the pulp magazines of the era. The more staid, literary, murder-in-the-drawing-room stories of Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle gave way B-Movie thrills: diabolical plots, fiendish masterminds, nefarious enemy agents, and horrific death-traps, all set in embattled World War II London. These films reside in a macabre realm of shadows and intrigue that lie on the border of two cinematic worlds: Universal’s classic horror movies of the '30s, with their Hollywood-Gothic sets and expressionistic camera angles, and the foreboding dark streets of classic Film Noir of the late '40s. They are bound together by curling tendrils of fog constantly pumped out by studio smoke machines.
|Killer bunny? From Gorleston Psalter, 14th-century manuscript.|
Happy Easter! Even though I grew up Jewish and had no idea what a Resurrection was, I knew I liked bunnies, chocolate, treating eggs like an art project, and finding buried treasure in foliage. I was sold on the whole Easter thing. As I matured at some point in the not too distant past, I realized that there was a whole lot more to Easter than baskets full of candy and huge hats. I learned that it was also about birth and rebirth. The symbolism of eggs, Jesus's triumphant return from the dead, and bunnies multiplying like, well, bunnies all lead us to appreciate the foundation of it all: Spring Equinox, the renewal of life on earth. I'm not sure where the chocolate fits in, but I'm not going to question a good thing.
In honor of everyone who can appreciate longer and brighter days, the rejuvenation of all life on earth, and deadly killer rabbits, I bring you this non-denominational Easter-time movie list for all...
Rebel Without A Cause
Nicholas Ray's 1955 magnum opus of teen angst is considered by most to be the first sensitive and realistic look at troubled, misunderstood youth. Would we have those heart-breaking scene's of Bender (Judd Nelson), Claire (Molly Ringwald), and the gang discussing their troubled home lives in The Breakfast Club without Rebel Without A Cause? I think not. The opening scene in Rebel is set in a police station on Easter night where three high school kids -- Jim Stark (James Dean), Judy (Natalie Wood), and Plato (Sal Mineo) -- meet and an unlikely friendship is born. Much drama and generation gap struggles ensue, ultimately leading to one of the character's death by the hands of the police. Rebel remains James Dean's most celebrated film. It was released a month after his death at the age of 24, thus immortalizing him as a beautiful youth forever.