James Brown’s story + James Brown’s music + excellent director and a stellar cast = a couple of blissful hours in the cinema for this funkateer sometime soon.
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I can in no way vouch for the veracity of this, but the big names – included Christopher Lloyd – enlisted for this video make it pretty cool anyway. And really, who hasn’t wanted a hoverboard like the one Marty McFly had in Back to the Future Part 2?
So for now let’s just pretend this is entirely real and we can all soon zip around popping hover-ollies in front of those dorks and their “futuristic” Segways.
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce Andy Allo – Prince protege and certified bringer of funk in the spirit of all the great multi-instrumental/multi-ethnic soul and funk bands that emerged from the late 1960s and early 1970s.
But why is Ms. Allo here today? Not simply because she smokes behind the mic and on the guitar, but because she’s become something of an inspiration.
As a lover of early ’90s alternative rock, it’s practically illegal for me to NOT like Liz Phair.
Oh, Liz, with your girl-I-would-date looks and WAY-out-of-my-league fantastically filthy mind, you charmed me to no end with your ability to wield a guitar and sweet-talk into the microphone with a voice built for power-pop, all while looking … well … like that. *Sigh*
OK, now that you’re good and worn out from chair dancing, let’s talk about the Grammy Awards, where last Sunday, despite a truckload of radio play, Robin Thicke failed to get an award for his super-mega hit “Blurred Lines,” and instead laid the foundation for a future as a Las Vegas lounge act backed by the guys from Chicago (I’ll get to why I started you off with “Tighten Up” in a moment). Continue reading → Funky Friday Writing Advice: Take What Someone Else Did and Make It Your Own
A writer friend, after reading Neil Gaiman‘s excellent The Ocean at the End of the Lane, described herself as “still in a dream state,” days after finishing this slim but weighty novel.
It’s easy to see why.
Ocean is the tale of an adult who returns to his hometown for a funeral and after the ceremony returns to the site of his childhood home, and in the process recalls a series of mystical events that occurred nearby when he was 7 years old. Continue reading → Entirely Biased and Totally Subjective Book Review: ‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane’ by Neil Gaiman
My wife asked me a few days ago if I had any New Year resolutions. My answer, as it has been just about every year of my life, was no.
I do, however, maintain a mental list of things that I always want to do differently or better. Naturally, with the rollover of the calendar, those things fall under the spotlight a bit more, but they really don’t change much from year to year. Continue reading → Happy New Year: They’re Not Resolutions, They’re Just Things I Try to Do
The holiday gift-giving season is here, and one of my favorite ways to say how much I care about someone is to give them a book that I either know or suspect they’ll really enjoy. Usually they turn out to be books I’ve enjoyed myself.
What makes this sort of gift really special is having it signed or inscribed by the author. So if you’ve considered purchasing a hard copy of Immaculate Deception as a gift for someone this year, here’s your notification that there’s only one way to get a custom inscribed and signed copy of the novel, and that’s either by bopping over the Novel Pursuits page to click the “order your very own signed copy” link or clicking here on this very page.
When you click the link, you’ll be redirected to PayPal. To request an inscription, simply type what you’d like me to write in the “Add special instructions to the seller” field, then complete your order. Charges will appear on your PayPal history or credit card statement as Write On Time LLC. It’s that easy!
Please note that since the Codorus Press crew is finished with live events for 2013, this is the only way you can receive an inscribed and signed edition (other than, you know, bumping into me on the street) in time for the holidays. Sorry, but I can’t guarantee that orders placed after Dec. 16 will arrive in time for Christmas Eve delivery, so make your orders soon!
Thanks, and happy shopping!
Yep, a lot of us still have to work this week. And some (like me) might have some ugly, snarling, drooling deadlines looming over us before the annual celebration of feasting, football and family dysfunction begins in earnest.
So here’s a little something from the badass anime swing jazz noir sci-fi files to get you going and help you grab the workweek by the throat like you, too, are a butt-kicking interplanetary bounty hunter a la Cowboy Bebop.
As an extra-added bonus, check out the FULL (and very hard to find) version of this tune below.
Ever since the 1970s, science fiction and the funk have somehow emerged as two great tastes that taste great together.
I suppose we can credit George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic for the concept of the extraterrestrial visitors who descend to Earth to bring us some form of rump-shaking higher knowledge.
By introducing the Mothership and it’s garishly clad crew of funkateers, Clinton managed to combine the self-determination that arose from the civil rights movement of the 1960s with the idea that maybe something bigger was needed to bring about full acceptance of the African American culture that has informed every bit of American life since the 1600s.
Something like … a full-on alien invasion.
The concept of alien visitors bringing about some kind of funk epiphany was new, but somehow it caught on. The Mothership itself appeared in live P-Funk shows and the massive musical collective worked the extraterrestrial vibe to the hilt (everybody say, “Go Bootsy!“). Their rallying cry was, “Free your mind, and your ass will follow.” Well put.
It could have been a one-time thing had young Prince Rogers Nelson not set upon his own journey of funk/rock fusion and become the performer we now know only as Prince, who counted among his early influences Sly & the Family Stone, James Brown, Earth, Wind & Fire, Miles Davis, Carlos Santana, Jimi Hendrix, Todd Rundgren and … Parliament-Funkadelic.
Prince seemed to bring everything along for the ride – space, pan-sexuality, end-of-days prophecy, visions of a post-apocalyptic utopia – all packaged in this surreal mix of pop, rock, funk and old-school R&B. When Prince broke big in the 1980s with 1999 and Purple Rain, it really did seem like he’d come from space like a late wave of the invasion that P-Funk initiated.
Plenty of old-timey “classic rock” guys turned up their noses, despite the scorching guitar solos and the obvious tribute to Jimi Hendrix, probably because it was hard for them to get past the fact that the Little Purple One was black.
Meanwhile those of us of a more sci-fi frame of mind more easily got a hold on what Prince was doing – pushing the envelope that had been shrunk ever smaller by obnixious, prefab arena rock and what was left of those trying to capitalize off the disco craze.
Since Prince curtailed his career and output, there have been few willing to step up and bring the sci-fi/funk connection back to the fore. Until now.
Janelle Monae seemed to emerge from much the same science fictional universe as Prince, and brings even more of that delightful future-funk to the world, especially in her videos. “Dance Apocalyptic” brings us the end of the world, complete with zombies, aliens and humanoid apes, but for purposes of today’s blog, it doesn’t really count as funk, per se. It’s still a damn fine song, and you should still give it a listen.
The best example of Monae’ sci-fi/funk fusion is the song – or more specifically the video – below. While the song isn’t science-fictional in itself, it does propose that the world is a better place when everyone’s being him or herself without worrying about the folks who never can quite get the hang of that.
The video, though, is based on the premise that Monae was the leader of a full-on cultural and social revolution, and that her organization has been frozen in suspended animation in a “living museum” for rebels and radicals – until they are once again unleashed.
Which brings us right back around to the P-Funk motto. Let the funk free your mind, and your ass will indeed follow.