Monday, February 28, 2005

Soundbytes: The Envelope, Please

ABC Entertainment/AMPAS
Video captures via Jimmy/Austin


TO: The Academy
FR: Me, a Non-Voting
WGA-East Member
DT: 28 February 2005
RE: Black African American People

After 77 years, thanks for discovering us!
Next year, please don't over do it. The key is not to pretend that you're being hip. Just don't be exclusionary.

Now with that being said, let's go on with the show.

"Sit your asses down!"

Chris was doing the damn thang, wasn't he? The AMPAS wanted an edgy comedian to tap younger demos. I'd say Chris Rock'd the Dorothy Chandler Kodak Theatre, no?

Survey sez ... YES. Chris Rock boosts Oscar ratings to a five-year high, Variety reports. The pre-Oscar fears of a black planet host were alarmist; I have to say, I told you so.

Rock's tone was accomodating yet off-the-cuff. Early on, he took aim at the usual suspects—Jack Nicholson, Russell Crowe. No big deal, everyone always talks about them.

The acid-tongued comedian drew some of his biggest laughs with jabs aimed at President Bush, the involuntary star of Michael Moore's biting documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11." That film was shut out of the Oscar competition—basically because Moore and Miramax insisted on campaigning for a Best Picture nomination, as opposed to Best Documentary, the logical category—and was breaking box office records at the time Bush was running for re-election.

Chris' comparison of Bush's job performance to a Gap clerk was hilarious. "Can you imagine closing your register and finding that you are $70 billion short? And then ask for a raise?"

Rock's ghetto-fab jokes weren't so bad; actually some were quite good. Normally, it's irritating to see black comedians mine the race field, especially to primarily white audiences. But his monolgue was clever.

"Black movies don't have real names," he said. "They get names like Barbershop. That's not a name. That's just a location. Barbershop, Cookout, Carwash ... you know Laundromat's coming soon, and after that, Check-Cashing Place." Tru dat, Chris was right.

But Chris was wrong on his skit at Magic Johnson Theatres. Sure, the Academy is often stodgy and out of touch with the hoi polloi. But going down to Crenshaw to get "sound" from the brothaz and sistaz, who are hyping Riddick?

The Albert Brooks ending was unoriginal. Oh well; seeing that Spanglish was given no consideration by the academy, Brooks needed some schtick to appear on-screen.

He's been acting for almost 40 years, has portrayed everyone from the president to God (no George W, they are not one and the same), but Moragn Freeman had to wait until last night to be Oscar.

Morgan Freeman's win made my heart soar. He was so endearing as the Easy Reader on The Electric Company. Freeman's been nominated four times; he should have won it some time ago, for Driving Miss Daisy in 1989 or five years later for Shawshank.

Freeman is fabulous at 67. Even more stunning was his presenter, Salli Richardson Halle Berry. But let me ask: was Chris joking about Catwoman 2? She gave him that get over yourself.

Beyonce's To-Do List
1. World Domination?
2. Sing all nominated Academy Award songs
3. Worldwide Pepsi Commercial
4. Svengali-like boyfriend
5. Catapult to Superstardom

All jokes aside, but does anyone realize that Beyonce has appeared on these pages exactly ONE TIME before? Should I turn my card in? Not my your second quarter dues are overdue WGA card, nor maxed out credit cards or the well-worn metrocard ... but my GBM card. Okay, time to gush:

Beyonce's rendition of Look To Your Path from "Les Choristes" ... well, let's talk about how she looked.

Fab.U.Lous. The camera angles were quite complimentary, the choral arrangement impressive. And mind you, I'm not a huge fan. But it's hard not to admire her beauty. BTW, who is doing her makeup—God? She's flawless.

Now, back to Look To Your Berlitz French in Five Minutes Path. Her range is incredible; she had some problems with le Francais, and the jokes are coming. At one point, one of the little boys looked at her with an expression that could best be described as ... WTF? confused. Beyonce's no Liza Barbra—well, some even say that today's la Streisand is no Barbra, either—but for better or worst, she's my generation's next best thing. Her performance was as good as any non-classically trained pop superstar singer.

Mrs Jay Z Miss Knowles performed three of the five tracks that were nominated for the best song. Polar Express' Believe and Learn To Be Lonely from Phantom were the other two. On the latter song, she was accompanied by Phantom's Andrew Lloyd Weber. That was a classy touch, seeing the two of them together. I'll have to keep that memory in mind when I see B perform with Kanye.

"That son of a ...."

Sofia Okenedo is having a great time, but co-star Don Cheadle wasn't. Everyone knew that it was Jamie’s night—even Ray Charles Helen Keller saw that one coming.

Was Cheadle slighted because his performance was dramatic and well-written in an art-house movie? Jamie's role was good; certainly not great. We're talking about a bio-pic about a famous (blind) singer; that's instant Academy Award buzz right there, regardless of subject. My thoughts: if anyone deserved nomination from the movie, that would be Miss Regina King.

Jamie accepted the award and my first thought was, don't do the Ray Charles thing. But of course, he did, and the largely Bel Air and Beverly Hills audience responded ... lukewarm, shall we say.

Second thought: my, that speech is shorter than expected.

One of these things doesn't belong with the others

Then came the obligatory cutaway to the few other black faces usual suspects.

But the directors were smart. Let's sit all the black folks together so we can find them easier!

Next year: Beyonce performs all the songs in a three minute medley!

Lens: Shower Me

Photo © Veronique Vial

This stunning B&W photo was first published in fall 2001 by InStyle magazine. The image was captured by photog Veronique Vial, and can be seen on page 51 of her coffee table book, Men Before 10 AM Too.

The photographer notes:
When I first met Vin I was impressed by the power of his physique, but by the time I left I was touched by the gentleness of his soul. He plays tough, but inside he has a big heart.

Jockbeat: Tiki Tiki Tiki

Fox News Captures via Jimmy/Austin

Last week you can imagine my surprise when I awoke to find Tiki Barber next to me.

Well, not literally—on the television screen next to my bed. On Tuesday, the Giants star running back made his morning television hosting debut on Fox & Friends. He was sitting in for Steve Doocy opposite regulars Brian Kilmeade and E.D. Hill.

Tiki was great. He was polished, took his cues and funny. Even more amusing: he had his own theme music!

Well, sort of. They played the music from the Enchanted Tiki Room in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. Click here to listen to Tiki's song, which I found via Barry at Things I Can't Say.

It's campy right? You feel like you're listening to some sixties used-car comercial-slash-toy jingle.

Tiki, Tiki, Tiki.

Don't you just love saying the name? Let's sing it with the song one more time: Tiki, Tiki, Tiki.

Maybe because it's so ... unassuming. That's part of the whole Tiki Barber mystique. He's quite approachable. I've seen him at charity functions, he's very active with children and education.

Last September, he and equally gorgeous twin brother Ronde—a Tampa Bay cornerback—wrote a children's book. By My Brother's Side is their story of faith, perserverance and staying in the game. Its written for young sports fans aged 9 to 12.

Great athletes, gorgeous, nice guys, like kids, wrote a children's book. Perfect right? But wait—there’s more! This fall, Tiki's second book will hit the shelves. Game Fever will target the same young audience. Simon and Schuster anticipate an October release.

Tiki, Tiki, Tiki.

Fox News Video Captures via Jimmy/Austin
Tiki Theme via Barry/Things I Can't Say

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Soundbytes: Action Hero

Clubhouse via CBS Productions

Do we really need a reason to post lockerroom pictures of Michael Jai White? Probably not. But here's one anyway: his latest television show has been renewed.

Not Clubhouse; unfortunately that CBS show was cancelled last fall. You may not have heard, but the action star provides voice-over on a Cartoon Network series, Justice League Unlimited. Naturally he voices an action hero, Doomsday.

Jai White's career has been described as "eclectic"; he's done everything from martial arts to action to To Kill a Mockingbird. Personally, I'd rather see more of him; why hasn't he caught on?

He appeared in the Kill Bill trailer when the film was due to be released as one movie; you can catch him in the director's cut of deleted scenes on Vol2. Now he's filming Undisputed 2, and another movie, Getting Played, is in post.

Michael Jai White: Official Website
Michael Jai White: IMDB
Cartoon Network
TV Tome

Pimp My Ride: The Un-Volvo

1965 Volvo P1800
via Svenska Volvo P1800 Klubben

Classic television commercials still resonate with me. Heather Locklear's You tell a friend, and so on, and so on. The famous Life cereal spot, Let's ask Mikey, he'll eat anything. The campy Alberto VO-5 campaign with Rula Lenska, the "famous actress" that no one knew.

One of my favorites: Geoffry Holder's famous long-running spot for 7UP. He was the "Uncola Man" with the massive baritone and memorable "Ha Ha Ha Ha." This weekend, the jingle came to mind while watching The Saint on BBC America. Roger Moore is speeding through swingin' sixties London in the most un-English of cars: The Volvo P1800.

The 18 was not your stereotypical Volvo. The automaker is reknown for safety and durability; it never had much street cred. In the 50s, as the Swedish manufacturer prepared to expand into the lucrative American market, executives believed a sports car would give them cache. They were right.

The P1800 is a remarkable design. It is small, yet with a roomy interior. The car's design is sleek and modernistic, yet fluid with smooth lines. Very un-sixties; everyone else was building huge rolling yachts.

The first pictures of the car were released in 1959. The next year, in 1960, prototypes appeared at car show in both Brussels and New York. Many buyers were annoyed by the long time of waiting. In the USA many buyers who had paid a deposit had to wait for one year until the car was delivered. The car sold was an instant success.

Volvo's plan was to extensively push the car in the States and Europe. The P1800 was not built in Sweden; it was built in Scotland, closer to markets. Several years into production, The Saint was debuting and the producers needed a car for Roger Moore. They wanted a Jaguar XKE, but none were available. Bad decision by Jaguar's notoriously inept management. Volvo was more than happy to provide an 1800, and it sped into history.

The P1800 remained popular through the decade. Unfortunately seventies bad taste struck the P1800 design team. In '71 the car was re-styled and it lost popularity. The P1800 segued into the 1800E and 1800ES; radical changes in rear styling were made with a glass tailgate, impressive luggage area and new taillights. Now the car was sporty wagon. Production was scrapped in '73, but it has always remained a cult favorite.

I P1800

Svenska Volvo P1800 Klubben
The Saint: TV Tome
Volvo USA

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Fan Male: Blame it on the Buddy List

Don't you love those IM convos when people hit you up ... but have nothing to say?

It's the epitome of Conversation 101. First, the poor schmucks are monosyllabic, and can barely progress beyond "wassup" or "just chilling." Next, forget asking where they are from, what they are doing or something; getting an answer would take an act of Congress. But most importantly, these would-be cyber stalkers can never admit how they stumbled across my screen-name.

Invariably, they blame it on The Buddy List.

flexboi: evening
flexboi: how r u doin?
Rod: wassup
flexboi: chilling. u?
Rod: just came in from gym.
flexboi: i'm jus chilling
Rod: have we spoke?
flexboi: i think it was on adam4adam
Rod: nope.
flexboi: i think we did.
Rod: Impossible, yo
flexboi: then it was men4now
Rod: i'm not on that site
flexboi: one of those sites.
Rod: Impossible. I'm not on ANY of those sites
Rod: if u wanna have a convo, we can but don't be lame, yo
flexboi: so i am not too sure how i got yo address
flexboi: lame? i'm not lame. your screenname is on my buddy list
flexboi: how did it get there? you tell me?
Rod: No idea, yo. I never hit up men who call themselves 'boi' with an i.

Hot Type: Sex and the Second Sin City

Viva Las Vegas!

No, not the Elvis-slash-Ann-Margret love-fest. This weekend it's all about the Bernard at Sex and the Second City version.

Make that Sex and the Sin City, because he's spending the weekend in fabulous Las Vegas. Over the next few days, you may want to check in to find out about Bernard's sex luck.

Friday, February 25, 2005

iCandy: Legs and Thighs

That's the notation made in my Palm Pilot for these photos: Blue shorts, yellow stripe, legs and thighs. Forgot his name, sorry. My attention was ... ummm ... elsewhere.

Beats: Free Lenny

Lenny Kravitz and Sarah Jessica Parker
Gap Ad

Good news for Lenny Kravitz fans. He has insisted upon throwing a free concert ...

In Rio de Janeiro.

Juliano at Made in Brazil reports that Lenny has personally asked to perform in a free Copacabana concert. This would be March 21, two days after his scheduled tour ends. Apparently the rocker wants to have an audience of over 170 thousand at the beach. Can you imagine that? Li belli ragazzi!

File this story under Reason #1001 Why I Should Be in Rio ...

I Rio

Lenny Kravitz at Copacabana: Made in Brazil
Official Site: Lenny Kravitz

Lens: Kahn's National Assembly

Dacca, Bangladesh: National Assembly Building
Architect: Louis I. Kahn

"It was not belief, not design, not pattern, but the essence from which an institution could emerge."

That's how architect Louis I. Kahn (1901 - 1974) described his landmark National Assembly in Dacca, the capitol of Bangladesh. As you can see above, the building is a masterpiece. The congress appears to soar out of the water and hover, like some space-age city of the future.

But in fact the Bengali assembly is not futuristic; it was created in the sixties, from 1962-1974, at the tail end of the modernist era . The post-modernist detail and monolithic scope of the project convey an era of futurism that few contemporary projects rival.

Kahn's projects always scream drama, like the Salk Institute at La Jolla CA or the Institute of Public Administration at Ahmedabad, India. Each are dramatic, imposing monoliths that are severe contrasts to otherwise stark surroundings. Also interesting: incorporating water features as essential elements.

The gigantic reflecting pool (close-up above) surrounding the National Assembly is more than simple aesthetics. Certainly the reflection provides a tranquil and poetic element; but it's recreational and functional. People can kick their feet in the waters, wade or even bathe; Kahn's theory was that great buildings should bring citizens together, not separate them.

Kahn died in 1974, the year his masterpiece was finalized. The circumstances of his death were apalling. He was broke and alone, and his body was discovered in a Pennsylvania public bathroom ... three days later.

The Academy Award-nominated 2003 documentary My Architect: A Son's Journey re-considers his life, and death. It was written and directed by Kahn's son, who never knew his father. Nathaniel Kahn interviews friends and colleagues, while visiting each of his father's creations. I saw the film two years ago at the Film Center, and was amazed by the long line of moviegoers. Like me, they were searching for simplicity, purpose and meaning through Kahn's vision. None of us were disappointed.

Louis I. Kahn: Great Buildings
My Architect: A Son's Journey


We'd like to move toward a ... pay per view format.

Well...not literally. A move is being planned, and this site's format will become more streamlined. There's been a tremendous response to the eclectic mix of pop culture, music, hot boys, muscle cars, fashion, politics, media, books, and more. It's been a labor of love, and a delight to present. By trade, yours truly is a television producer and writer; the goal is to try to approximate that same work ethic.

But I need your help.

No, not Pay Pals ... just visit my friends below, or above right. As often as you can, especially from this site. Click on their links, read their fabulous content, and leave comments or drop notes. Some have been very helpful to me, and karma is very important. It's so easy here: each link opens in a new window, because they were (ahem) hand-coded.

Please, whenever you're on my site, visit the Off da Chain or Fam links, or whoever is being written up. If you like this site, you will love some of my friends.

Recently, these sites have been very helpful to me. Return the love, say you found them through me.^10
Made in Brazil
Rosalind Gash
Sex and the Second City

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Jockbeat: Bend it Smell Like Beckham

Gillette Ad via OhlalaParis

David Beckham's hunger for complete world domination of sport, media and entertainment continues—with no complaints here.

Andy at Towleroad gave a heads up that Beckham and wifey Victoria were just signed by Coty Inc., the largest maker of perfumes and colognes.

According to a presser, the new fragrances will be called Not-so-Old Spice Eau du Metrosexual 'Beckham Beauty House'' and will use the couple's names. Beckham also endorses Adidas, and is the face of the Gilette Mach 3 ads. It's a fab razor, have been using it for years.

Why hasn't he taken off more on this side of the pond? Maybe it's the whole football-futbol thing.

Speaking of celebrity fragrances, has anyone sampled Aramis' new cologne Trump? Anyone?

Coty Signs David & Victoria Beckham: Bloomberg
Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe Jeans: Towleroad


Earlier this week, an interview with Flex Deon Blake was promised for Friday.

It will run over the weekend, or next week.

"Sometimes There's So Much ...

... beauty in the world, I feel like I can't take it."
(American Beauty)

iCandy: Track Star

This is an old picture, dated maybe four years.

The model is stunning, no? At the time, he attended college and ran track. There are two other pictures; he is wearing similar Ralph Lauren trunks, but they are red. Never been much of a Ralph Lauren fan until now.

Headlines: Maya Keyes Interview

Coming out is difficult and brave for anyone who is LGBT. But it is even more tough when your father is arch-conservative commentator Alan Keyes, who called Mary Cheney a "selfish hedonist" because she is a lesbian.

Although she had been blogging about her lesbianism for some time, Maya Marcel-Keyes publicly came out on Valentine's Day. This week, Planet Out interviewed her. Among other questions, editor Tom Musbach asked her about right-wing attempts to recruit black churchs into homophobia, and the fight against same sex marriage.

It makes me a little sad, because I look around and think that black people have never before been among those trying to oppress anyone. I don't understand why now [the religious right is] trying to recruit [the black community] into their discrimination.

Keyes also confirmed that her parents have withdrawn their financial support. Luckily, a foundation is now picking up many of her expenses at Brown.

The interview does not discuss her journal; bloggers have identified her site as this.

Maya Keyes Interview: Planet Out

Music Meme #1

Okay, okay I know what everyone is saying: You're writing a meme? Yes, Virginia there is a meme god Santa Claus.!

Just a footnote: I’m not quite the techie, so it took me a minute to organize the first question. Most people could have accessed the info in minutes, just takes me much longer.

Ron tagged me after Bill passed the baton to him, so let’s have at it:

1. Total amount of music files on your computer:

Twenty wav files, 3000 mp3 files, but there are a few dozen files that are on CDRW that need to be converted. There are dozens of CDs that have yet to be downloaded. No high geek rating for me, sorry.

2. The last CD you bought was:

Style by Club 69. A few days ago, Victor Calderone was on my mind. Hopefully later this week, we can discuss Peter Rauhofer so I'm re-listening to some of his earlier music.

3. What is the song you last listened to before reading this message?

Ride in the Sky, Track 7 from the self-titled debut, the Brand New Heavies. This was their first album and ever so delicious.

4. Write down 5 songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you:

i. Dream Come True by the forementioned BNH is always being rocked, all five or six versions that I'm aware of. It's also the only song that I have sang in public, while performing very bad karaoke. I'm in love with the song's message of hope and dreams of love; N'Dea Davenport's voice is stunning. There's also a not-so-well-known version by Linda Muriel on Original Flava that is lovely.

ii. Stay This Way, extended version, also by the Heavies. The lyrics are wonderful: I'm a sucker for well-written love songs.

iii. Whatever, by Miss Jill Scott. She's in love, and talks of going to any length to please her man. :p

iv. Latin Lover, a Masters at Work production performed by the divine Stephanie Mills. Stephanie's voice is sultry and commanding, always loved it.

v. Brazilian Tapestry, none other than the uber-fabulous Astrud Gilberto. For all the reasons mentioned over the weekend.

5. Who are you going to pass this stick to? (3 persons) and why?

First, my blogging buddy Rosalind , because she is quite the techie and never ceases to amaze me. And two new additions to my links list: Brian and Pip. I'd like to hear their tastes.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Beats: MC Solaar

MC Solaar is not merely a rapper; he describes himself as a 'French hip-hop rhymesayer.'

Like many others on this side of the pond, my first introduction to MC Solaar was on Guru's Vol. 1-Jazzmatazz . Hard to believe that was 11 years ago. Jazzmatazz was a landmark album in hip hop history; a fabulous collaborative effort that effortlessly blended jazz, hip hop and funk. The collaboration showcased the best of the old-school and the new, such as Roy Ayers, Ronny Jordan, Carleen Anderson and my favorite, the luscious vocals of Miss N'Dea Davenport. He also debuted a new role: a sort of international hip-hop ambassador with his Le Bien, Le Mal with French rapper MC Solaar.

Solaar is now France's leading rapper. Born Claude M'Barali in Senegal, he later moved to Paris. Solaar released his first single, Bouge de La, in 1990. Two sucessive tracks became certified French hits, and he took off. His first album was Qui Seme le Vent Recolte le Tempo in 1991.

After '93s Le Bien, Le Mal, Solaar's second album was released stateside; that was Prose Combat (above) in 1994. Paradisiaque followed in 1997.

But by far, his best work to date appared in 1999. La Tour de la Question is a live album, and manages to avoid the pitfalls of many other similar efforts: he doesn't skimp. It's a fabulous two-disc release, and he sings in both French and English, mostly the former. Solaar's English has never been great, but it's improved over the years. His lyrics are tight, and style is very fluid, so he more than makes up for the language barrier.

There are 10 tracks per disc, so La Tour has 20 songs. Of note, on the first disc, Zoom is uptempo and danceable. On the second disc, Gangster Moderne is smooth and catchy. Not quite pop, but with great hooks.

There have been several releases since then, but none quite captured the energy and prose of his earlier efforts. Several years ago I was lucky enough to capture Solaar at a live show in NYC; it was an impressive performance, and hopefully the experience can be repeated. Too bad this isn't London; Solaar just performed at the Hayward Gallery for Africa Remix: Contemporary Art of a Continent. It's described as a South Bank Centre-wide season of cultural events, featuring artists, musicians and performers, and adynamic celebration of contemporary African creativity.

MC Solaar Official Site
Africa Remix: Contemporary Art of a Continent thru 17 April 2005.

iCandy: Beach Boy Pt 2

Roland is a model.

He is Canadian by birth, and played college football here in the States. These shots are three or four years old, from a Miami Beach photoshoot.

He has appeared in several commercials. Some years ago he lived in Los Angeles, but that may have changed. He was in a calendar several years ago, and I am trying to find my copy.

Lexicon Pt 3

Do you get some Daily Candy?

The fierce site offers daily nationwide e-newsletters, as well as those specific to Boston, Chicago, Dallas, LA, NYC and San Francisco. Expect fabulous daily doses of fashion, culture, beauty, dining, etc. Go to the site and subscribe, there's something for everyone.

One feature is an evolving lexicon for 21st century, urban gay/faghag/fashionista types. Get to know and use these words. Last week, we gave you part two; hopefully since then, you haven't gone yellular, or hung with a non-tourage.

A long, tedious meeting whose sole purpose is to discuss why a deadline was missed or a project failed, and who was responsible. ("Time for another two hour blame-storming.")

A poorly made java that cost upwards of four bucks.

n. or adj. A significant other who constantly hovers around his or her mate at all times. ("I've never seen Matt without his helicopter" or "I'm going to the john; don't helicopter!")

Involuntary celibacy brought on by bad hygiene. (“Girl, follow your nose. Your two-year dry spell is a clear case of smellibacy.”)

[Definitions via The Daily Candy]

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Beats: Victor Calderone

Vol. 1-E=Vc2
Victor Calderone

Vol. 1-E-Vc2There are two types of dance music aficionados.
Victor Calderone fans. And, Victor Calderone groupies. Many would group me in the latter category.

For years, I've attended many of VC's events, like his fabulous residencies at Roxy or Miami's Liquid where he is part-owner. When he spins at clubs and major circuit parties you don't hear many diva anthems. He is tribal, the beats are heavier and he uses less vocals than the tracks he produces. Victor's best sets in recent memory were at the Hammerstein Ballroom over gay Pride 2001 and 2002. The 2001 party was an crazy Roman orgy theme.

But when Victor began remixing Madonna, like the bass-heavy Club Mix on Ray of Light, or the Extended Vocal Club on American Pie ... it wasn't working for me. The cache was gone. His next hit for Madge, Frozen, was darker and an international club hit. That was truer to his original form.

His first album debuted in 2000. Listening to it right now, the mixing and tracks are still killer. Vol. 1-E=Vc2 is probably one of the better tribal/underground CDs that I can remember. You want to make sure you listen from start to finish, so you can see the build. It's just like listening to him at one of his better Roxy sets—minus long lines, 1000 of your closest shirtless friends, go go boys and up to $25 50 75 admission fee. (Not moi! If I had to pay ... *giggle*)

There are Windows Media and Real Player samples on Vol. 1-E=Vc2, so open up another window if you haven't already. Tracks 1, Pete Heller's Big Love and 4, Fly Life were greatt sleections. Tribal, great hooks and strong bridges.

But the killah track of the disc: number 9, Do It Properly. This was an anthem in 2000 and 2001, and rightly so. It's sooo catchy and jumpy, I'm still hooked. The fierce reverbs and vocals were credited by The Collaboration ... none other than super DJs Peter Rauhofer and Victor Calderone.

More on Rauhofer later this week.

iCandy: Beach Boy Part 1

Roland is a model. He is Canadian by birth, and played college football here in the States. These shots are from a Miami Beach photoshoot that was three or four years ago.

He has appeared in several commercials. Some years ago, he lived in Los Angeles, that may have changed.

Part 2 soon.

Lens: Tim McKenna

Boardwalk at Tikehau, French Polynesia
Photo © Tim McKenna

Tim McKenna is recognized as one of the leading outdoor photographers in the world ...

with an exquisite eye that can capture the dramatic action in surf, snowboard or windsurf sports. His attentive to detail is evident in these breath-taking landscapes. Also a fashion photog, Tim's work appeared in numerous ads, posters and billboards around the globe.

Photo © Tim McKenna

The Australian born photog first travelled to French Polynesia in 1986. Of course, it was love at first sight. The radiant beauty of the landscape, the diversity of culture combined with perfect waves made him decide to settle there.

Tim is based on the island of Tahiti. But he still tours the world most of the year , and in continues to capture the magic of Polynesian life.

Official Site: Tim McKenna

Monday, February 21, 2005

Headlines: Reggae May Be Hazardous to Your Health

... especially if you're LGBT and live in Jamaica.

The latest Village Voice looks at the connection between wicked lyrics and wicked behavior in Jamaica. Entitled Jah Division: Free speech, cultural sovereignty, and human rights clash in reggae dancehall homophobia debate, writer Elena Oumano dismisses claims that the "batty man/chi chi" lyrical craze is simply a battle of the MCs. She finds that homophobia is an entrenched part of Jamaican society, and that human rights groups fear:

widespread homophobia in Jamaica endangers the welfare not only of those at high risk for HIV/AIDS, but also of HIV/AIDS outreach health care workers.

Among other outrages, activists condemn Prime Minister P.J. Patterson's law that mandates up to 10 years hard labour for buggery.

Village Voice
Jah Division by Elena Oumano

Human Rights Watch: Government Should Address Police Violence, Homophobia and HIV/AIDS

Human Rights Watch: All Jamaicans Threatened by Culture of Homophobia

Amnesty International: Address Jamaican Homphobia

iCandy: Words Unnecessary, Part Deaux


Part One was Saturday.
Stay tuned for Tres.

Glossies: Color Details

© Target

The above full-page ad is for Target, found in the new March 2005 Details. You can't miss the magazine: Mr. Britney Spears, aka Kevin Federline is on the cover. He's been painstakingly metrosexualed groomed, looking very WeHo.

There's nothing remarkable about the ad, right? Just your average, flawlessly-produced glossy page.

There's a black model. Actually, in the newest issue of Details, there are a number of black and Latin models in the layouts and print ads. That says a lot.

Last Thursday, this weblog noted New York Daily News columnist Lloyd Grove's critique of Condé Nast's empire. Their slick glossies like the New Yorker, Details, Vanity Fair and Vogue are not famous for recognizing people of color, either as subjects, subscribers or employees.

Certainly that's true. Now, it's welcoming to see the advertising and editorial content of the new Details gradually trending the opposite. Rocawear and Sean John, middle, are featured in prominent ad space. The models are very urban. The above full-page spot is one of several for Izod that feature black or Latin models.

I'm still lovin' last month's fabulous cover of Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson by Associate Editor Laura Brown. Even more so, the seductive black and white photoshoot by Tom Munro.

Also to note: besides ad-space, many of the magazine-produced fashion layouts are becoming more inclusive.

Ads via Details
March 2005, $3.95USD/$4.95CAN


We'd like to move toward a ... pay per view format.

Well...not literally. A move is being planned, and this site's format will become more streamlined. There's been a tremendous response to the eclectic mix of pop culture, music, hot boys, muscle cars, fashion, politics, media, books, and more. It's been a labor of love, and a delight to present. By trade, yours truly is a television producer and writer; the goal is to try to approximate that same work ethic.

But I need your help.

No, not Pay Pals ... just visit my friends on the right. As often as you can, especially from this site. Click on their links, read their fabulous content, and leave comments or drop notes. Some have been very helpful to me, and karma is very important. It's so easy here: each link opens in a new window, because they were (ahem) hand-coded.

Please, whenever you're on my site, point and click to the Off da Chain or Fam links, or whoever is being written up. If you like this site, there are others you will love.

Recently, these sites have been very helpful to me. Return the love, say you found them through me.^10
Made in Brazil
Oh La La Paris
Overeducated and Underemployed
Rosalind Gash
Sex and the Second City

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Hot Type: Spanish Adventures

Photo via Edu/Spanish Adventures

The city never sleeps. Its citizens are quite cosmopolitan, taking in world class museums, dining al fresco at midnight, attending opera...and then, at 5am, dashing off to incredible venues like the nightclub above.

New York? Hardly. It's all about Barcelona.

Spanish Adventures is a newer blog that chronicles life in the famed Mediterranean city. It's a great site, not too much; beautiful pictures like above, and short, punchy content that is easily read it in a few minutes. The weblog is a snapshot of life in one of the world's cultural capitals: art, fashion, clubs, people, dining. Barcelona is a wondrous city, I visited many years ago in the early 90s, and also nearby Ibiza.

Please stop thru and visit Edu at Spanish Adventures. This is yet another site discovered via my new friends Steph & Alek at OhlalaParis—but you’re already reading them, right?

Yea! Spain First to Ratify EU Constitution [Yahoo News]

iCandy: Asian and Masculine

Troy Phillips is a NYC-based photographer.

He has travelled around the world, and spent five years in Asia. These beautiful pictures are from his exhibit Asian and Masculine: A Body of Work. The project features an eclectic mix of twenty-two models from eleven various Asian backgrounds and different walks of life.

The study is subtitled "A photographic exploration of under-represented Asian Male Beauty." Phillips wants his art to challenge stereotypes:

The few spare islands of representation of the Asian male are, I find,unsexualized. The businessman, the effete, the martial artist, all wearing the proverbial fig leaf, or more specifically, devoid of a sexuality, not merely hidden but absent altogether.

The venue is The National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South , New York City. The exhibit began January 31, and ends today February 20.

Troy shoots portraits, beauty, editorial, and fashion. His studio is located at:

Troy Phillips Photography
181 Mott Street
FL 4
New York, NY 10012

Or his website: Troy Phillips

iCandy: Christian Young

Photos via
Christian Young/Norm Lee

Handsome, isn't he? This young man is a NYC-based actor and model, classically trained, having studied theatre at Julliard and the British American Dramatic Academy in London. Christian is also an Ivy Leaguer, a Brown alum.

The actor has appeared on stage and the small screen. You may have seen him in promotions for CNN or Nick at Nite.

Or like me, you may have peeped him on Law and Order: Criminal Intent. The episode was entitled F.P.S., originally broadcast on January 4, 2004. Christian was featured in several pivotal scenes in the first act. His character, Raymond Chan, was a computer hacker who was stealing more than codes and passwords. Slo-mo the scene when he is collared by detectives. In tank top and sweats, he looks very arresting.

The actor also co-starred in Shackleton, a 2002 A&E production.

For more information, please see his website, Christian Young.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

iCandy: Words Unnecessary Pt 1