The Best Prince Post-Eighties Tracks According To Me

I make no secret of the fact that while I’ve been a die-hard Prince fan for 35 years the recorded musical output of his that I enjoy and listen to the most definitely runs through and up to the end of the 1980’s. Once the 1990’s roll around, let’s just say P & I began to move in different directions. There have been some notable exceptions along the way, tho and here they are. And in no particular order.

No annotations, I’d rather folks just listen.
Questions and comments welcome.

I Hate U 1993

Love Sign w/Nona Gaye 1994


Dionne 1998

Somebody’s Somebody 1994

Bonus — Somebody’s Somebody (Ultrafantasy edit)

Joy In Repetition 1990

We Can Funk w/George Clinton 1990

Sexy M.F. 1992

Billy Jack Bitch 1993

Dinner With Delores 1993

Chaos and Disorder 1993

Sleep Around 1994


Eye Can’t Make You Love Me (Bonnie Raitt cover) 1994


Prettyman w/ Maceo Parker 1999


Beautiful Strange 1999

Calhoun Square 1993

The Extremely Specific Essential Aaliyah Playlist

No commentary,except it’s mostly Missy and Timbaland stuff and in no particular order. Otherwise just the music.

At Your Best You Are Love ( Stepper Ball Remix)

Back and Forth

One In A Million

Hot Like Fire

If Your Girl Only Knew feat Missy Elliott (remix)

Hot Like Fire Timbaland remix

John Blaze — Timbaland feat. Aaliyah and Missy Elliott–I cannot find a version of this online

Man Undercover — Timbaland

Stickin’ Chickens — Missy Misdemeanor Elliott w/ Da Brat

Are You That Somebody?

I Don’t Wanna

Try Again

We Need A Resolution

Rock The Boat

More Than A Woman

Extra Smooth

Those Were The Days

My Favorite Movies Of All Time About Texas

I saw The Grand Budapest Hotel tonight and it made me giddy. I’m a Wes Anderson fan and I don’t care if that’s not cool or uncool or whatever we’re supposed to be about movies these days. I like how stylized and formalized his films are. I mean…it’s a thing and for me it is what it is. But an Anderson defense isn’t what this is about.

Anderson’s first film made with the Wilson Bros. Owen & Luke is Bottle Rocket and is one of my favorite movies about my home state, Texas, They are all native Texans and all went to the University of Texas at Austin where I spent years and years as a graduate student. Watching Grand Budapest made me think about Bottle Rocket and what my favorite Texas movies are so I thought I’d list them. As with most of my lists, they are in no particularly ranked order.

Also, for you purists, these may not be the BEST films about Texas but they are the ones I like the most. Also, I am perfectly aware that there are numerous perfectly fine & even great films missing from this list, but again: the ones I like the most. This is it.

1. Bottle Rocket
Wes Anderson’s first film about three guys in the outskirts of Dallas, not doing much of anything, who get themselves involved wackily in a heist. For me, the sensibility was relatable and real. And it’s hilarious.

 

2. Lone Star

John Sayles’ murder mystery that also explores how families from different racial & socioeconomic backgrounds intersect in a South Texas military town. This was one of the few times I ever saw a black family (Joe Morton as the father) depicted centrally in a film set in Texas, much less South Texas where to have media tell it, black folks don’t exist on the Texas/Mexico border. This is clearly not true, so I appreciated Sayles’ attention to that fact.

 

3. Giant

Big oil! Big cattle! Big feuds! Big racism! Rock Hudson, Liz Taylor, James Dean. Epic.

 

4. No Country For Old Men
The Coens’ SECOND time in Texas which they said is a source of evil or something (paraphrase). They sure as hell dug up some evil in Javier Bardem’s Chigurh. The West Texas views are splendid.

 

5. Blood Simple
The Coen Brothers made their first movie in and about Texas. It’s a noir that breaks convention in many ways. Just an amazing film.

 

6. Dazed & Confused
This is special for lots of others in my age group, nostalgia about nostalgia as well as the way high school never stops being the same. So many great early performances and a lotta heart.

 

7. Paris, Texas

By Wim Wenders and yes this is an actual place that exists. It’s kinda dreamy, about family, connection, trying to find home.

Because I am old and I wrote this in the middle of the night and was nodding off, I just now realized that I actually forgot that a bunch of movies I like a lot are actually set in Texas. So I’m adding them.  One list to add to the main one, and an honorable mention list. Blurbage and video to come later.

8.  Days of Heaven

9. Terms of Endearment

10.The Thin Blue Line (NO not the Britcom w/Rowan Atkinson silly)

11. Office Space*

12. Pee Wee’s Big Adventure

13. Rushmore*

*Rushmore and Office Space were judgment calls. Neither film has a specified setting, but Rushmore is clearly made in Houston and Office Space in Austin and both filmmakers are Texans so they count.

Honorable Mention: Reality Bites, Machete, Slacker (I don’t worship at the altar of this movie like many do), Hands on a Hardbody

Ahhh…Spring! And a girl’s thoughts turn to…

Spring comes, it’s still cold, but for some reason my brain starts to act like I might actually be a smart person again. Either that or I have crossed the line officially into madness.

Again using this blog to avoid Twitter rants, develop ideas & questions popping up in my head. I may be nuts, but I’m gonna write this stuff out. I think I’m thinking more productively because I feel better and more confident about my ideas. Recently some people I respect a lot have let me know that my input is wanted and valuable and I haven’t been so sure about that lately. It made me realize that I actually might have something to share and it’s not cool to keep ideas/thoughts to myself if they could be helpful or useful in any way. And if they aren’t then I filled in some time when I’d be doing nothing anyway.

Okay that was a ramble…here’s what I really plan to say:

I’m so frustrated by the resistance to systemic/institutional analyses in public debates around so many things: race, economics, gender, sexuality, and, yes media and popular culture. I’m especially frustrated by the resistance among those who are the most vocal, vehement critics. There is this constant need not only to focus upon individual responsibility, individual stories & narratives, but also to have that ONE person to point the finger at, to blame, to make accountable.

Or on the other hand to identify and point to the, yes, very real and powerful constructs of white supremacy, patriarchy, sexism, even oppression, (and my FAVORITE amorphous overused & to be fair, underexplained concept: privilege) as the causes of social conditions without really explaining HOW.

Yes. individuals are complicit and direct actors and have agency. People create and perpetuate those constructs and they should be taken to task, they are human relics. BUT what is most insidious and most powerful is the way these constructs are firmly embedded within, are reproduced by, almost automatically in many cases, social, cultural & political institutions. That is how and why they work, not just because Joe Blow is a sexist/racist bigot. Joe Blow is an executive in a corporation and has influence & makes key decisions and it has global power and he and it aren’t the only ones.

Ta-Nehisi Coates’ latest piece started me thinking (note: this post isn’t a direct response to much less a critique of his piece but a more general discussion of ideas that it sparked for me.

While yes, he’s right in isolating White Supremacy I can’t help but have the nagging feeling that what’s missing is what Imani Perry & other critics of the president’s young men of color policy have been trying SO HARD to make clear: its not only about individuals but about institutions & how oppression, power & white supremacy are built in, and how they act directly upon people (sorry Foucault). And yes, it’s culture, beliefs, ideas, but those are institutionalized as well.

I sometimes wonder whether Culture of Poverty theories keep popping up over and over and over again because as a society we cannot let go of individualism. Everyone buys into it, even the ones who it doesn’t benefit.

So when those who talk about and advocate for the oppressed discuss issues, we so often still frame in individualistic terms, and don’t emphasize the systems, structures & policies at work. Not just laws, but daily practices that have resulted in today’s continued social realities? And these are numerous, very specific, AND have been researched and documented extensively. For example, the history of housing policy in the US, segregation as practice in loans, redlining is DIRECTLY linked to racial differences in wealth but also educational outcomes & income. I know these issues are written about but I rarely see the links being made and almost never on social and in the popular media.

Believe me, no one has to explain that none of this is sexy or exciting stuff, that readers are drawn to personal stories, sites gotta get clicks, shows need eyes. But it’s not just the mainstream media. All the time critics activists isolate an individual to focus on as a “bad guy”, this person often is pretty heinous, but what is obscured is how that individual is embedded within, a product of and often one of many in a systematic structure that will be there long after that person’s crimes are revealed & they are called out.

I hear time and again and am perplexed by the notion that saying an issue is structural/systemic is just “code” for it’s pointless to try to change it. Where does that leap come from? Systems & institutions are made by and made up of individuals, by humans. They aren’t Borgs. If you feel that you can change things on an individual level then , like eventually on Star Trek, you can make changes in institutions. But in order to do that you have to take the steps & ask the right questions about HOW power & oppression work and have been institutionalized.

And of course this is not nearly as motivating or satisfying as having an individual or personality to focus on. And btw this doesn’t just count for bad actors, but also for those we look to as leaders or to enact change. See: Barack Obama.

I also am perfectly, clearly aware that people experience everyday life as individuals as well as members of groups, and that’s how they relate to the world. But that is kind of an illusion isn’t it? Because it’s not the only way we exist.

I also get the sense of helplessness one feels as a person or group of people tackling what seems to be an untouchable, impenetrable, often inscrutable behemoth like schools, TV, government. And that it gives folks a sense of efficacy to focus on individuals in those structures. But while we may make a dent, and feel triumphant even taking town a bigwig baddie, if what held them up stays in place, how effective are we really? Isn’t that an illusion?

Sure we can use personal narratives to draw people into an issue with sympathy, anger, etc, but why not move beyond to communicate how the issue is systematic? We can do both.

And I’m NOT saying to stop focusing on the individual level on analysis/action. Of course it is important. But there is no reason why it has to be the ONLY perspective & in fact, both support & inform each other in numerous ways. Also some people are better thinkers/actors from one standpoint than the other. There doesn’t have to be an opposition, either/or. Again this is rooted in Western & American beliefs which even the excluded by into.

Finally a gagillion people I can’t even remember have made this argument, participated in some form of this debate since the damn Enlightenment. Also it’s Sociology 101. I can take no credit.

Anyway this is expands and is related to what I was getting at in the blog yesterday about Hollywood and the need for institutional/systemic analysis.

Also everyone should (and CAN) learn Sociology. Would help out a lot.

After Alice in Arabia: Some Thoughts On Why We Should Look Behind The Scenes

20140322-133806.jpg

ABC Family Kills “Alice In Arabia”

Good. This is an example of why I believe strongly that the critical focus should be at the decision making/executive level and not as much as it is at writers, directors, showrunners, actors and other creatives. Critics target them but in my experience knowing, talking, working with creatives, many want to be thoughtful about these issues. But not just that, there is a plethora of projects circulating: screenplays, treatments, pitches, ideas by people of color, Arabs, women, LGBTs, that center their experiences and voices and certainly do not thoughtlessly demean and stereotype. These projects many with great & marketable ideas EXIST.
And we can’t accept the excuse that diverse projects aren’t profitable, that no one wants to watch women (Chuck Lorre lives in his own world) trans, POC, at least on television, and the foreign market argument may be questionable.

Yes, entertainment companies need more diversity in decision making positions BUT those folks, women and POC, religious groups, should be those that don’t end up towing the party line. Meaning, it’s easy to hire those who will fill those slots but still fall into lock-step with the conventional wisdom on representation or who already have mainstream to conservative views. There was a recent study that showed that in many cases, the latter is true. Diverse hires in decision making executive (note: not creative) positions tend to be the latter.

Who the decision makers are determine whose projects get seen, considered, approved, made, and to a great extent, what that end product actually ends up looking like. The Hollywood mythology still presents the showrunner, writer, director & producers as having ultimate creative control, even in TV accepted as more collaborative than film (which actually is collective too). But instead, what audiences don’t see, unless they seek out the info, is the amount of influence entertainment executives, not always with a creative background, have upon what we see on television.

This Alice In Arabia development shows that we can make progress by speaking up loud, but we also have to do more than react, and turn attention to the production process before casting notices are sent out, before a show gets on the fall schedule, before a pilot is aired. It’s important to first understand exactly how TV shows (and movies) are made who and why certain projects move forward and why, when they do, they are or are not diverse. A lot of the process is obscured, is “behind the curtain” from our point of view as audiences. But we should move beyond using media criticism tools that look at texts, visuals, imagery and representation, to asking a different set of questions that consider the processes and the often hidden factors that result in representations.
If we do that, maybe we can see more clearly that shows like Alice In Arabia keep getting made b/c the decisions are made by the same old white boys network that could have different shades, genders & sexualities sprinkled in it here and there, but the same persistent attitudes and prejudices.

My Questionable Classic Movie Advice

Apparently there are people who are under the impression that cause I watch a lot of TV and movies and talk a lot about them it means what I think about them matters even a little bit. Cause I was asked to come up with a list of classic films I’d recommend to someone who’d like to get up to speed. So I made a list of American movies.

At first I was going to just send them the list (which I compiled with the help of the American Film Institute cause my memory isn’t as good as it used to be) but then I figured it might be nice to share it in a blog post. With trailers where possible.

Though I’ve numbered it, the list is in no particular order, it’s just a list of movies I think are essential watches. It’s not a list of my all-time faves, and no, it’s not the most inclusive list. It’s not about social or cultural significance or popularity either. Basically, if you’re going to call yourself a movie fan, these are the ones I’ve seen and loved that, in my mind, exemplify the joy and artistry of the medium of film.

I’ll get around to International films…eventually. Baby steps.

Now I want to watch all of these movies.

You wanna fight about it? We can do it in the comments. Or not.

1. Lawrence Of Arabia

2. All About Eve

3. On The Waterfront

4. Laura

5. Sunset Boulevard

6. 2001: A Space Odyssey

7. Doctor Zhivago

8. Double Indemnity

9. A Clockwork Orange

10. Chinatown

11. Apocalypse Now

12. Taxi Driver

13. A Streetcar Named Desire

14. Annie Hall

15. High Noon

16. Goodfellas

17. The Unforgiven

18. Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?

19. The Philadelphia Story

20. Some Like It Hot

21 & 22. Godfather Pt. I & II

23. Psycho

24 .Rebecca

25. The Manchurian Candidate

26. Bringing Up Baby

27. The Deer Hunter

28. The Maltese Falcon

29. Wuthering Heights

30. Giant

31. North By Northwest

Forever Alone: I Blame It On Prince

PrinceBoyfriendStandards by @ShameusSeamus
PHOTO CREDIT: SÉAMUS GALLAGHER AMAJOR7.TUMBLR.COM

When I saw this pic on Tumblr, I exclaimed “ACCURATE”!! Because recently I had the epiphany that a constant musical diet of Prince and his proteges from the age of seven has contributed directly to my #ForeverAlone status.

But…it’s not exactly for the reason given in the picture above. I think this over-50 track (depending on what’s available on Spotify) playlist might explain it better, musically, than I ever could:

Look, this is how I deal with it…okay?