Actually, we haven’t moved. This is just an archive of older blog posts from the original BadAzz MoFo site, which was hacked back in December 2011, forcing me to rebuild it. If you want to read more current posts, click HERE.
Exactly one year ago today I was being rushed to the emergency room with severe pain in my chest and down my left arm. I was coming off an extreme case of pneumonia, and the night before I’d had a fever just under 103. Somehow I felt the pain in my chest was related to the pneumonia, even though I didn’t know how. At the same time the pain was so bad—unlike anything I had ever felt—that I figured it was best to go to the hospital (even though I had no insurance). At the hospital the doctors ran some tests, and told me I’d had a heart attack. I was in denial, in part because less than two years earlier I’d had a heart stress test that came back perfect, but also because I couldn’t afford an extended stay in the hospital.
After several days in the hospital, and some very expensive tests, it was determined that I didn’t have a heart attack, but myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle brought about by an infection from the pneumonia. I felt relieved that I hadn’t suffered a heart attack—and was even dismissive when one doctor had told me I was lucky to be alive. As far as I was concerned, it was only myocarditis, and not anything to really worry about. But the truth of the matter is that myocarditis is a lot like having a heart attack. As the website Medicine Net describes it, “Patients who have had myocarditis are at some risk for sudden unexpected, potentially fatal, heart rhythm abnormalities.” In other words, myocarditis can kill you just like a heart attack can kill you. And had I waited much longer to go to the hospital, there’s a chance mine could’ve killed me. Read the rest of this entry »
When I was a kid, more than anything, I wanted to be a superhero. This desire was fueled by syndicated reruns of Batman starring Adam West, and my inability to comprehend that what I saw on television wasn’t necessarily real. But then I turned five, and reality set in, and I knew that not only was I not going to be a superhero, I probably wasn’t going to be bionic either (which only left me the possibility of being a kung fu master). I know that many other people wanted to be superheroes as well—inspired by the same comic books and television shows and movies that sparked my imagination. And most people let the bitter pill of reality shatter their childhood dreams and squash their hopes of someday putting on a costume to right the wrongs perpetrated by evildoers on the innocent and weak. But then there are those who were not deterred by common sense, laws against vigilantism, and, in some cases, a healthy dose of reality; and these people are the subject of the new documentary Superheroes. Read the rest of this entry »
A little over 15 years ago I unwittingly embarked on a journey that would forever shape who I am. For those of you who have been following my work for any length of time, you’ve probably heard this story—or at least bits and pieces—so I’ll try not to be too boring in recounting it for those who don’t know all the details. The story really starts in 1994, when I decided to make a documentary about blaxploitation. I had spent the better part of ‘94 and ’95 doing research for the documentary, which included watching tons of movies. After a while, I’d seen so many movies that I started getting confused. I couldn’t remember which Pam Grier movie had better nudity, Foxy Brown or Coffy. I knew Speeding Up Time was one of the worst movies I’d ever seen, but kept getting plot details confused with Nigger Lover, which was almost as bad, and The Bus Is Coming, which was terrible and boring, but in completely different ways from the other two. There were so many details to so many movies, and I needed to keep track of so much stuff, that I decided to start taking notes. Read the rest of this entry »
I recently watched a video on Youtube entitled Boycott Black People that had been posted by a young black man deriding other black people. Many of the people I know who watched the video disagreed with this guy, but to be honest, he was spot-on with about 85% of what he had to say. The problem was how he was saying it—his message was not all that well articulated, and he seemed to be struggling with the larger point he was trying to get across. Here is a link to the video, which you should seriously consider watching before reading any further. Read the rest of this entry »
There weren’t a lot of viewing options back when I first seriously became interested in spaghetti westerns. In those days you watched these movies on VHS, often times in poorly made copies with German, Greek, or Japanese subtitles. The picture quality was almost always bad, and the transfers were either fullframe and terribly cropped, pr ineptly pan and scanned, and either way you never got a true idea of what the film was supposed to look like. Most of the time this was a nuisance, but every once in a while, when the movie itself was really good, it felt like a cinematic crime. This was especially true of director Giulio Petroni’s Death Rides a Horse, one of the best spaghetti westerns of all time, with one of the worst home video transfers. For many years I’d been trying to a copy of the film that was just plain decent, and by decent I mean one that was widescreen, without washed out colors, and no Turkish subtitles. Well, after almost two decades of looking and waiting, and feeling the painful sting of bitter disappointment by terrible transfers, there is finally a DVD with great picture quality, thanks to Wild East Productions, the leading distributors of quality spaghetti westerns on home video. Read the rest of this entry »
When I first heard of the documentary Reel Injun: On the Trail of the Hollywood Indian, I was more than a little bit excited. I’m a sucker for docs about film, especially those that examine aspects of cinematic history that are seldom discussed. So for me, the subject of how Native American Indians are portrayed in film—something I have been obsessed with and written about at length—was exactly what I’ve been waiting for. And in some ways, Reel Injunis very much what I was looking for, while in other ways it falls short of some expectations. Read the rest of this entry »
The most difficult part of growing up without a father was always Little League Baseball. I know that my dad played Little League, because everyone in the family told me, and I loved baseball when I was a kid. Looking back, I’m sure that I was trying to make some sort of connection with a man I had no memories of. But the problem with Little League was that I didn’t have a dad to come watch my games, or to play catch with me. The coaches would always tell us to practice at home with out fathers, because that was the best way to become a great ball player, and I would be crushed. There was no way I could become a great player, because I didn’t have a dad around. Yeah, my mom tried to practice with me, and she came to the games, as did my grandparents. But it wasn’t the same as having a dad to come to those games. And so, even though I played Little League Baseball for many years, trying in some way to have a relationship with my father, it was all a miserable failure. I’m sure a good therapist would say that my dislike of baseball springs from that childhood trauma. Read the rest of this entry »
After watching the video Not Disappointed by President Obama by Jake Lamar, I was motivated to write some of what has been long-developing in my mind. Despite some policies and actions that I have not agreed with, I still support President Obama. Lamar, who I have been a fan of for many years, succinctly drives home my feeling about Obama, and gives voice to much of what I think and feel. But at the same time, Lamar has not addressed one of the key issues surrounding Obama’s presidency that to me is obvious, but not exactly something people want to tackle. Some might argue that it is a topic best left for historians to address, though I would disagree. History is riddled with inaccuracies, and is often written purely to make the reader feel good. I, however, am not interested in making anyone feel good. Instead, I would much rather talk about what so many of us are thinking about, and perhaps discussing in small conversations amongst our close friends, but not coming out and actually saying. Read the rest of this entry »