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Aziz Ansari's Modern Romance Tour in San Francisco This Week

Posted by Billyjam, March 31, 2014 02:03am | Post a Comment

Known to many as Tom Haverford - the character he's played for the past five years on television's Parks and Recreation - prolific actor/comedian Aziz Ansari has a lot going on in addition to his hilarious role in that popular NBC sitcom, between acting gigs, writing a book, and of course his active stand-up career. He's landed acting roles in numerous other TV shows and movies including the recently released film Date and Switch. Meanwhile his busy stand up shows have yielded releases including last year's Dangerously Delicious CD (see clip above from this 2010/11 tour of the same name) and 2010's Intimate Moments For A Sensual album- both released by Comedy Central. And likely his current stand up tour, entitled Modern Romance: A New Comedy Tour, will be released as an album and DVD too.

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out this week, 8/2 & 8/9: Tig Notaro...the next great female comic...

Posted by Brad Schelden, August 18, 2011 12:15pm | Post a Comment
I have been a huge fan of strong female comedians since I can remember. My first memory is probably of Joan Rivers on the Muppet Show or in The Muppets Take Manhattan. If you have not yet seen her recent documentary A Piece of Work, you must do so right now. Amazing stuff.

I can't remember a time when I didn't love Bea Arthur. I was too young to watch Maude, but I was instantly in love with The Golden Girls. I think I honestly just wanted them all to be my grandmothers. How awesome would it be to go to Miami for the weekend to stay with Blanche, Dorothy, Rose, and Sophia. I am sure this was not every kids dream. But it was mine. I didn't have some Harold and Maude type fantasy. I was gay after all. But I just wanted to hang out. Talk about current events. Make fun of celebrities or people in general. I loved that sarcastic and humorous outlook on life. And The Golden Girls might have been the first show that I remember to feature gay characters. There were other shows of course. But not many. Dorothy's old friend visits and turns out to be lesbian and falls in love with Rose. Blanche's brother visits and comes out to her in his golden years. And of course the very first episode features a gay housekeeper. My favorite character was of course Dorothy, played by the amazing Bea Arthur. If there is one celebrity I could go back in time to hang out with or have dinner with, It would probably be Bea Arthur. She was hilarious and sarcastic. But also brutally honest and warm and sincere. She loved her friends and her family more than anything. But she understood a good joke and could never be mad at anyone for too long. She was sort of my role model. And she also got me in love with the female comic. Gay guys have always flocked to the female comic. There just are not that many out gay male comedians. At least there weren't in the '80s and '90s. So these comics were all we had to relate too. And honestly, they were a whole lot better than any of the gay male comics that I had seen or heard about. Female comics were sort of outsiders just like the gays.  Bea Arthur probably opened the doors for a lot of these women. At least the TV comic. There would probably be no Roseanne without Bea Arthur. I seriously can't imagine my life with either one of them.

What Bea Arthur did for the TV female comic, Joan Rivers did for the stand up comic. Joan Rivers was also brutally honest. Like Sophia on The Golden Girls, she never held back. She said what was on her mind. I don't think there could be a Kathy Griffin, Janeane Garofalo, Wanda Sykes, Sandra Bernhard, Margaret Cho, or Sarah Silverman without Joan RIvers.

There are obviously different styles of female stand up comedians. Most of the good ones end up with their own sitcom or talk show, which is sort of the goal -- a stable job that doesn't involve the crazy kind of travel needed to be a stand up comic. Sarah Silverman ended up creating one of the most brilliant shows ever. The Sarah Silverman Show, unfortunately, didn't last long enough. But she and Brian Posehn together is magic. Ellen DeGeneres and Rosie O'Donnell ended up with two of the most successful daytime talk shows. Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar ended up hosting The View. Joy Behar also has a nighttime news show. While I am not a huge fan of The View, I am a huge fan of the comedy of both Whoopi and Joy. Whoopi Goldberg has been in some of my favorite movies...at least some of my favorites of the '80s. She gave us Jumpin' Jack Flash in 1986, and Burglar and Fatal Beauty in 1987. Ghost in 1990. Sister Act in 1992.

Ellen DeGeneres was the star of a very successful sitcom and now that Oprah has left us, Ellen probably has the most successful daytime talk show. I was never really a fan of Kathy Griffin until her reality show started. I just didn't really know much about her, and I was not about to watch some sitcom starring Brooke Shields. But how can you not love somebody who is such a supporter of the gays? And so hilarious. I was hooked after the first time I saw her perform. Going back much further, I do have faint memories of Phyllis Diller -- probably from Scooby Doo or The Mad Monster Party -- but I did always love her. She got her start at the Purple Onion in San Francisco, so how can I not love that? I was also obsessed with Lily Tomlin. Two of my other favorite movies as a kid were 9 to 5 and The Incredible Shrinking Woman. Lily Tomlin was another stand up comedian that I just somehow related to.

I have also always loved the female comedians of Saturday Night Live. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are two of the best comedians that show has ever seen. They now star in two of the best sitcoms on television, 30 Rock and Parks & Recreation. Kristen Wiig is one of the funniest people to ever exist and one of the main reasons to still watch SNL. She is already a movie star; please watch Bridesmaids if you have not seen it! I also see a TV show in Kristen Wiig's future, but maybe not for another ten years. SNL has also give us the brilliant Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch, Molly Shannon, Ana Gasteyer, Jane Curtain, Laraine Newman, Gilda Radner, Jan Hooks, Cheri Oteri, Nora Dunn, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Janeane Garofalo and Sarah Silverman may have not had the most successful careers on SNL, but they were both cast members that just happened to go to do amazing things afterwards. Some actresses went on to better things and some did not, but they have all done amazing comedic work at some point in their life.

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The Town Part IV: The Layover's Prozack Turner Talks About His Popular New Downtown Oakland Bar

Posted by Billyjam, August 23, 2010 05:46pm | Post a Comment

Seven years later, listening back to Oakland (aka The Town) hip-hop artist Prozack Turner's funky-infectious, Oakland party rap anthem "Feelin' My Steelo" (DreamWorks, 2003), it would seem that the mic-wrecker turned bar-owner clearly envisioned himself one day running a popular music themed bar in Oakland -- something he does today at The Layover, which opened earlier this year.

"Make some noise! Let me know where The Town at. Hold up your drink now. Let me see you pound that. Home of the Silver and Black, killin' the track," enthusiastically rapped the talented East Bay emcee on the single (from the album Death, Taxes, and Prozack). He was "possessed by the ghost of Bukowski" as if penning the later soundtrack for his popular new downtown Oakland music bar which earlier this month got honored by the East Bay Express when it won the Best of the East Bay Awards for Best New Bar.    

Born Zachary Turner, Prozack has been a familiar figure for many years on both the local and international underground hip-hop scenes. A successful solo artist (producing as well as emceeing), he is perhaps best All That Glitters Isn't Platinumknown as a member of the super-talented but way underrated Bay Area hip-hop crew Foreign Legion along with his partner-in-rhyme Marc Stretch. Originally a trio, Foreign Legion formed back in the nineties along with DJ/producer DJ Design. Their impassioned ode to hip-hop, "Full Time B-Boy," released as a single by ABB Records, was also the opening track on the first Amoeba Music Compilation series, with their lyrics "All That Glitters Isn't Platinum" even lending the various artists Amoeba collection its title. 

Happy نوروز (Nowruz)

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 20, 2009 08:26am | Post a Comment
HAPPY NEW YEAR!


Today, for most observers (but tomorrow for others), is Persian New Year, variously and roughly anglicized as Navrus (Tajikistan), Nawroz (Afghanistan), Nevruz Day (Albania), Nooruz (Iran), Nov Ruz Bairam (Kyrgyzstan), Nauryz Meyrami (Kazakhstan) and Novruz Bayram (Azerbaijan). As with the Lunar New Year, which is often referred to in the media as the "Chinese New Year" (unintentionally marginalizing Koreans, Taiwanese and Vietnamese, who also celebrate the Lunar New Year), Nowroz is often referred to as the Iranian or Persian New Year. In President Obama's Nowruz address, he didn't make that mistake, although he did turn it into a fairly contrived address to the Islamic Republic.


Maz Jorbani on Axis of Evil Comedy Tour

IRAN VS PERSIA

Iran, though related to Persia, is not the same thing. The word Iran comes from Aryānām, literally, "Land of the Aryans." Other Aryan people (who also celebrate Nowruz) include Baloch, Kurds, Lurs, Ossettians, Pashtuns and Zazas. Thus, Nowruz is widely celebrated (in addition to the places already named) in Balochistan, Bosnia, the Caucasus, the Crimea, Iraq, Kashmir, Kosovo, Kuwait, Lebanon, Macedonia, Syria, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The term "Iranian," in contrast to "Persian," includes all people descended from Iran who are just as fully Iranian (at least on paper, though not necessarily in practice) such as Arabs, Armenians, Georgians, Jews and Kazakhs, who are probably less likely to celebrate Nowruz. Though most of Nowruz's celebrants practice Islam, its origins go back much further and the day is especially important to Zoroastrians, as well as Alawites, Alevis, Bahá'í, Ismailis, and other Central Asian people of various faiths. 

   


TEHRANGELES IN FILM, TV AND REALITY

Los Angeles is home to the largest group of Iranians outside of Iran, who make up large percentages of the populace of Woodland Hills and Encino and especially Tehrangeles (centered on Westwood Blvd between Pico and UCLA) and Beverly Hills. In fact, Beverly Hills High, with a 40% Persian student body, inspired the creators of 90210 to create a (lone) Persian character on the show, Navid Shirazi (played by 28-year-old Germanic/Latino actor Michael Mateus Steger). Before that, Clueless was probably the first film to acknowledge the presence of a large Persian populace on the west side. The film alluded to the "Persian mafia" who, it's explained one "can't hang with... unless you own a BMW or Mercedes Benz and a cellular phone," which at the time of its making in 1995, was much less common. Less insightful, but no less hilarious, was 2005's Crash, which made laughable attempts to address inter-ethnic relationships in an unrecognizable Los Angeles, with uninentionally side-splitting results.



NOWRUZ 2009/1388


I'm sure there's lots of stuff going on around Los Angeles, like this party, or you could go to a Persian restaurant. The best Nowruz film is Jafar Panahi's debut, the Abbas Kiarostami-penned The White Balloon (بادکنک سفيد), which long ago passed through Amoeba's doors on VCD. It's one of the best. Happy new year.

Bernie Mac Has Passed Away

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 9, 2008 04:31pm | Post a Comment


I try to refrain from blogging too much about the passing of entertainers, lest I come off like a buzzard, but Bernie Mac was an inspiration to me and many others and I can't let his loss just pass without mention. He was my favorite living comedian and I'll miss his humor.



I always loved his attitude toward children- a mixture of disdain and violent justice. He reminded me a lot of two other late greats, W.C. Fields and Robin Harris (whose character in House Party was shown to be Bernie Mac's brother in the third installment.)



Just like me, he was raised by a single mother who died when he was sixteen. He then moved to Tampa, just as I did. Unlike me, he started getting small roles in films, beginning with Who's the Man? in 1993. In 2000 he appeared in The Original Kings of Comedy, which I mainly watched for Ced the Entertainer. I ended up being blown away by Bernie Mac, though, literally rolling on the floor with laughter at his routine. Next to D.L. Hughley's familiar, cliched "black people are like this, white people are like that" schtick and Steve Harvey's G-rated advice, Bernie Mac shone (despite being really dark).

In 2001, he got his own show. The Bernie Mac Show, like few other comedies, was fairly unique (for network TV) in that it didn't have a damned laugh track, leaving the viewer to figure out what was funny. Whilst toned down from his stage act, he showed he could still usually be funny even without profanity or punching kids in the throat.



He often played irritable characters, easy to anger, and often getting the bested by the source of his annoyance. Sometimes it was hard to tell where the fictional Mac ended and the real Bernie began. I watched him once on Leno. Being a clueless dolt, Leno criticized Mac for his immaculate pedicure. Bernie seemed genuinely puzzled and annoyed by Leno's teasing that getting your nails done is something bizarre for a man. Bernie just kept saying, "Don't go there" to the clueless host. What kind of tool thinks having gross hands is manly? Bernie said he felt sorry for the ex-Doritos shill's wife. I thought it was classic.

Last year, on Letterman, he announced his attention to retire after 30 years. He completed shooting The Whole Truth, Nothing but the Truth, So Help Me Mac. He told Letterman, "I'm going to still do my producing, my films, but I want to enjoy my life a little bit," Mac told Letterman. "I missed a lot of things, you know."

Mac suffered from sarciudisus, a type of lung disease. A week ago he was hospitalized. According to his publicist, he died today from complications arising from pneumonia. He was only 50.  

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