Archive for April, 2009

Ernie Barnes – Rest in Peace

April 30, 2009


It is with great sadness that I report the passing of artist Ernie Barnes. Most of you know Barnes’ work from his legendary painting “Sugar Shack,” which graced the cover of Marvin Gaye’s equally legendary album “I Want You,” and also appeared every week during the closing credits of the television series Good Times. Even as a child I was mesmerized by Barnes’ work, which had a fluid energy that seemed to come alive. I could practically see the people in his paintings move.

For quite some time, a friend and I have been engaged in a long-running discussion on what it means to be black, or more specifically, what it means to be black in America. This is a never-ending discussing that goes in many directions, but I think it’s important to point out that when I think of what it means to be black, I often think of Ernie Barnes’ paintings. With brush and paint, Barnes created images and told stories that have been burned into my brain and have touched my soul, and have given life to parts of a culture that fuels my being. His passing brings sorrow, but that sorrow of course is balanced by great joy in the incredible legacy he has left behind.

Should Texas Secede?

April 26, 2009

There’s been a lot of talk about Texas seceding from the United States, ever since redneck Governor Rick Perry shot off his mouth. Well, despite having friends and family in Texas, I say, if the motherfuckers in the Lone Star State want to go, let ’em go. Robbie Gennet pretty much echoes my thoughts on Texas seceding. Click here to read Gennet’s take on the subject.


April 23, 2009

The work of writer Charles Bukowski can, most assuredly, be an acquired taste. Bukowski was best know for his raw, often brutal, largely autobiographical narratives involving alcoholism and womanizing, written with such uncompromising honesty that some people often mistake is for misogynistic nihilism. The truth, however, is that Bukowski was an incredible writer haunted by personal demons and addictions, who seemed more comfortable fraternizing with society’s underbelly and never straying too far from the working class. This is what he largely wrote about, and he wrote about it exceptionally well, beautifully crafting words to describe the grime and decay that can eat away at a person’s soul. And while Bukowski’s work makes for some of my favorite reading, his work has yet to be adequately captured on film. (more…)

This new job…

April 20, 2009

…is kickin’ my ass. That’s why I haven’t been posting anything. Long hours lead into longs days. I’m hoping to be back on track in a week or so.

dvd review: SPLINTER

April 12, 2009


The concept is about as basic as it gets: a small number of people, taking refuge from an outside force that threatens them. Agatha Christie used a variation of the formula in her classic mystery And Then There Were None (a.k.a Ten Little Indians), Alfred Hitchcock used differing versions of the formula in both The Birds and Rear Window, and most famously in the world of horror, it has been used in everything from Night of the Living Dead to Alien to The Thing. Sure, by now it isn’t exactly the most original premise, but if it is done right, especially under the guise of the horror genre, it can make for a damn entertaining movie. At the same time, when this time-proved concept is done poorly, the result is a laughable hodge podge of tired clichés and predictable conventions. And because this concept is so simple, it is easy for some less talented filmmakers to delude themselves into thinking that following the Night of the Living Dead model will be easy, when in fact, it can be the kiss of death. (more…)