Archive for April, 2015
After a long, cold, and snowy winter the sun is finally beginning to show its face in Western New York – and there is no better feeling than driving fast with the windows down to some new music. The rap genre is definitely not for everyone, but there is one artist who has surpassed the stereotypical genre-bonds that formerly held him, and produced an album even the most casual music fan can appreciate. The album is titled, Sincerely, Mr. Wonderful, and it is a delightfully wacky, articulate, jazz-infused, rap album from Action Bronson that solidifies him as a genuine star in the musical world.
Arian Arslani, better known as Action, Bronsalino, and many other monikers, is a loud, large, and sweaty Albanian from Flushing who has the same amount of talent in the kitchen as he does the recording booth. Before even listening to his music, head to YouTube and watch a couple episodes of “Fuck That’s Delicious” from the Vice Media subsidiary Munchies. You’ll see the bodacious Bronson eating amazing food, traveling the world, and performing to crowds of ravenous fans from every country. To some, the rise of Bronson might seem meteoric – but that is not exactly the case. Action Bronson has been cutting his teeth in the musical game for the better part of five years with a number of well-received mixtapes and is just beginning to reach the potential I believe he has. I would, without question, recommend his earlier works Dr. Lecter and Well-Done. The lyricism and care-free flow displayed on some of these early tracks surpasses even some of the best bars in Mr. Wonderful.
No, you won’t be finding Mr. Wonderful playing in any clubs and you’ll be lucky to hear it on the radio. I’m no music expert, so this isn’t a song by song breakdown by any means – but when something strikes me like this album has it is near impossible not to share my feelings about it. Bronson showcases his lyrical talent and penchant for obscure food, sports, and celebrity mentions in the goofier songs like “Brand New Car” and “Falconry.” There are also serious tracks that touch on the darker parts of becoming famous, love, and loss. Bronson described the middle of his album as a sort of musical that separates the fun from serious content. “City Boy Blues,” “A Light in the Addict,” and “Baby Blue” are all unique tracks with their own specific message and tone. This three-track series is one of the better ones in recent memory for myself, and these aren’t even the best songs on the album. Not to mention the singles Bronson released prior to the album like “Actin’ Crazy,” “Terry,” and “Easy Rider.” I’ve found that picking and choosing songs to listen to from the album doesn’t quite work – Mr. Wonderful evokes an entirely different feeling when listened through from beginning to end. Overall, this album is a beautiful piece of music that rises above the stereotypical rap genre and is something I would recommend to any casual fan of music. Listen to it while you make dinner with a joint, as Bronson himself no doubt intends, or just take a drive with the windows down and let the songs tickle your eardrums from start to finish.
In his newest documentary film Deepsea Challenge, acclaimed director James Cameron takes viewers on an awe-inspiring ride to the deepest point in the world’s seas– over 30,000 feet down in the Pacific Ocean. The film, which can now be found streaming on Netflix, begins with Cameron’s quest to build the submarine you see above – the Deepsea Challenger. It is a one-of-a-kind vessel that he describes as nothing more than a vertical torpedo, one containing a hardened steel pilot’s sphere intended to protect the crew of one from thousands of pounds of pressure per square inch. A few minutes into the film, you begin to realize that getting to the deepest point in the ocean is a lot like going to the moon, except a lot fewer people have been there. This documentary bridges the gap between Cameron’s talents as an epic movie-maker and a truly unrivaled modern explorer. It is something to behold, and more importantly to inspire. While the tension in Hollywood films ultimately rests on suspension of disbelief, Deepseas Challenge does not. It’s success rests on the fact that the audience really understands that if one thing goes wrong, the director and star will perish in an instant.
As I was perusing the depths of the internet for something to write about this week, I stumbled across the unbelievable story of one Lutheran Reverend David Wendt. Mr. Wendt was the leader of the First Evangelical Lutheran Church in La Crosse, Wisconsin before an email emerged in which the Reverend suggested horrible atrocities be waged upon a local Milwaukee blogger.
The blogger in question, Claire Van Fossen, posted a thoughtful piece very much attuned to the voice of the nation in which she criticized the effectiveness of police. Van Fossen published her piece one day after a young State Trooper was shot and killed in a bank robbery incident, although she had been writing the essay for some time before that. A direct quote from Van Fossen’s blog reads, “They threaten us with violence and incarceration and target the most oppressed and vulnerable people in our society. By blaming ‘crime’ and ‘criminals’ instead of systemic oppression for society’s ills, the police exacerbate societal problems, harm citizens, and bar the people from liberation by maintaining the capitalist social order.”  This statement is not her own, nor is it one that defies reason and explanation considering the events of the last six months in our country. Yet what does defy reason and rational thought was the explicit email Van Fossen received from the “man of the cloth” David Wendt.
Wendt penned an email to Van Fossen in which he referred to her as, “the dumbest (expletive) liberal (expletive) I’ve heard yet.”  Wendt went on even further to allude to some kind of revenge for Van Fossen penning her open and honest thoughts about a timely and important issue in society today. He wrote, “Get off the drugs, (expletive), and go check yourself into rehab. … Or better yet, you’re pretty hot. So how about if I come over and rape you with a few of my friends. WHEW! At least I won’t have to worry about you calling the police.”  Those disgusting words were written by the same man who proclaims that his voice is that, “of god,” and leads a congregation every Sunday. This is not a considerate man, this is not a thoughtful person, and this is most certainly someone undeserving of ever having a shred of credibility again. Wendt has since gone on to tender his own resignation – although, to me, implying the act of gang rape against someone seems like an offense that should result in jail time. I only know that I would be looked at the same if I said something about Wendt being the dumbest fucking person I know for believing in medieval fairy tales and an omnipresent deity in white robes. If God was real, I doubt he’d be impressed by a man of the cloth gang raping an innocent woman for something she said – unless, you know, he’s into that sort of thing.
All information taken from article posted online at the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel by Annysa Johnson