Monday, April 26, 2010


I've probably seen the video like 8 times today. Too much shit going on right now in the world and M.I.A. is the only person with the ovaries to pull this shit off. Balls are just too over rated.


It's been a hard last three days. Personal, educational and political. This video is a FU to Arizona's SB 1070. Thank you M.I.A.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Nazis' Cocktease Worked!

When hate is used to fight hate, the Nazis end up looking like the well-behaved ones. 
"What? It's called free speech. You're the ones acting like crazies" 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Mujeres that really rock.

Lady Gaga is the music industry's latest attempt at manufacturing artists, at least according to visual and rap artist M.I.A. in the latest issue of NME.

Truth be told, Lady Gaga is definitely something new. New to who? To a generation of tweens who spent more time Tweedin' than readin'. They're too young to remember Grace Jones or even Marylin Manson videos. A reference she's always making in the way she dresses or in videos like "Bad Romance."

Whether the Gaga is an invention that, according to the "Paper Planes" rapper, is a good mimic, we can all agree that there's a je nous se qua about the strange singer. And I use the word strange in a positive light here. 

But she's definitely not the first woman to make an impact or offer something new to the music world. Here are a few of my favorite ones. Not in an specific order. 

M.I.A.-Well let's start with the woman that inspired this blog post. M.I.A. is a force to be reckon with. After being labeled a terrorist supporter by some and even having a few visa problems (who knew that rapping about growing up in a war-torn country would get you in trouble with the U.S. government), M.I.A. went mainstream with her "Paper Planes" song via The Pineapple Express. My respect to an artist who opted to work with a group of Aboriginal kids instead of Pharrell in the name of having the last say on your music. 

BETH DITTO- What can I say about Beth Ditto? This is the woman gave the middle finger to a society who says a women should look a certain way before posing semi-nude for a magazine
It doesn't hurt that she sings with grand soulful perfection. 

GLORIA TREVI- For those of you who haven't heard of Gloria Trevi (don't say it's because you're not Mexican, because this woman was known as the Mexican Maddonna), she's the girl that shook up conservative Mexico back in the day. Late 80s, early 90s to be exact. She sang about fucking and talked about running for president. One of her most famous bits during shows included bringing men onstage and taking off the clothes (insert gasp here). Whether her feminist persona was created by her manager, and alleged leader of a sex clan for which Trevi was in jail for a few years, or it was something that she used her art to distribute, Trevi will always be known as the Mexicana who defied a conservative society with creative lyrical work.

COURTNEY LOVE- Oh Love. This list couldn't be done without you. I discovered Love in her "Malibu" persona. The Love that was dolled up and ready for Hollywood. But the Love I really enjoyed was the one who would put her leg on top of an amp and fucking play a guitar like nobody's business. She is by no means the greatest guitarist or singer in the world, but she made it okay for girls to pick up a guitar and form a band again. She had Janis and Joan to thank.

SELENA- Every March 31st since 1995, we celebrate Selena. A girl with a great singing voice whose life was cut too short. Many put Jennifer Lopez' face whenever they think of Selena, mainly because of a movie that pushed her to super stardom status. Like the women in rock n' roll, Selena made it big in an industry that was greatly nominated by males. Though I find it a bit annoying that every year Univision churns special after special to "celebrate" her death (I wonder how much money they get from sponsors who know that Latinos are just in love with her), it's nice to know that she will forever live in our hearts and in everyone's iPods.

SLEATER KINNEY- It took a little Wikipedia search to find out why Sleater Kinney called themselves Sleater Kinney. Turns out it was a reference to Sleater Kinney Road, close to the place where they used to rehearse. I remember reading about them in Spin magazine back in high school. But I never really got into them until college. "Dig Me Out" is probably one of my favorite records. Colin's voice will touch you if you've ever felt like nobody is listening to you and  you must scream to get your point across.

LE TIGRE- With lyrics like "while you were on vacation/black people didn't get reparations," these lovely ladies let you know what's behind their agenda: social justice via feminist discourse. Good lyrics plus extremely catchy beats made for a great band. They recently worked with Christina Aguilera, who is apparently a fan. I can already see the many hardcore Le Tigre fans being all disappointed.  I haven't actually heard the song or songs they did with Aguilera, but hey, if we can get some socially conscious artists some work in mainstream poop music, why the fuck not?

THE DEAL TWINS- Kim Deal is part of two of the coolest bands to ever grace the music world. The Pixies and, with twin sister Kelley, The Breeders. Although it was released in the late 80s, I must say that Kim's voice in "Gigantic" musically defines the 90s for me. 

TEGAN AND SARA- My reason to wanting to be a lesbian. You see, in homosexual male world, there tends to be a preferable leaning towards the material. The fake. The sexual. Tegan and Sara embody none of that. They are part of a generation of gay musicians that don't really make a big deal out of their sexuality, but of their emotions and intelligence. They're neither Indigo Girls or George Michael. They just are. Their songs make it okay to be that strange person you become when you're in love: A grown person talking like a teen.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Fictitious Band Spotlight: LADY CROONER part 2.

"Lady Gaga has my fucking career right now," Lady Crooner tells me over the phone a few days after she practically kicked me out of her Long Beach apartment. "I have the label head up my ass right now telling me how I should follow in the damn weirdo's footsteps."

She might be right. Lady Gaga is Madonna for the Twitter generation. She is the reigning video vixen everyone is talking about.

"I was flipping burgers and recording demos when she was living comfortably off her parent's money," she says on a non-stop rant about the "Bad Romance" singer. "I'm not jealous. I just want people to see right through her fake weirdness."

When I ask her if she would permit product-placement in her videos, there is a long silence on the line.

"Well, what kind of products are we talking about?" 

I throw a few names. Matel. Play Dough. Home Depot?

"I'd have to do my research," she finally manages to say. "Why? Do you know if they're interested in doing something with me? Because I'd consider it."

Wouldn't that mean following Lady Gaga's footsteps?

She proceeds to hang up the phone. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Fictitious Band Spotlight: LADY CROONER

The wooden floors inside Estela Rodriguez' apartment are cracking. Just two years ago nobody would have cared at all. But nowadays, Rodriguez, known to the world as Lady Crooner, can't get out of her small Long Beach studio to buy some Home Depot accessories without getting recognized.

"It's funny how this fame thing is not phasing me at all," says the 30-year-old electronica R&B singer as she gets on her knees to inspect the cracked wood on the floor. "Then again, I've been doing this for half of my life so I've sort of been preparing myself for it."

Though Lady Crooner's clothes seem to have come out of a Mexican version of Disneyland's Alice in Wonderland and may look silly to the heteronormal eye, she has been doing professional music since the age of 15. 

"I really have tried all genres of music," she says as she finally stops fidgeting with the cracked wood and moves on to the shipped walls. "I've sat in front of label heads who've tried to launch my career as the Mexican-American Britney Spears."

I don't want to ask, but Crooner is obviously tweaked the fuck out. Her attention is not entirely focused on my questions, but on something else. The damned shipped walls. She's almost reading into them. But I guess one can say that this state of mind-alteration is a mirror for Crooner's own career. She has gone from pop to hip-hop to electronica and back to pop. Never settling for an specific genre of music. 

"It would be too boring for me," Crooner says. "As you can see, I cannot stay still. It's the same thing with my music. I just need to change. I need to evolve. I can't do the same thing over and over again because that would just be too easy."

Though she didn't come from the Madonna school of musical evolution, Crooner's real reason for the changes were due to pressures from music labels.

"She will probably give you that my-music-must-change bullshit story," former producer and ex-boyfriend Tony Tony says. "But the girl was getting all this pressure from label heads to change into something that was 'it' at the moment. If it was Britney Spears, they wanted to get a 'Hit Me Baby One More Time' out of her. If it was Shakira, they wanted to bleach her hair as well"

But Lady Crooner never gave in. Well, not entirely.

"If I did what I did it was probably because I so wanted to do this for a living," Crooner says admitting to the fact that label heads did have some influence on her musical ADD. "When you're a damn teenage runaway girl in this industry, people will influence you in ways you had no idea would go against your art."

Lady Crooner's 2005 underground hit "Lip Service" pushed the sales of her Crazy Sex Story album. Like many artists of the Myspace generation, Crooner's popularity grew in part to the buzz generated by the networking site.

"Fuck that," Crooner tells me when I mention Myspace. "I've been fucking working since I was 15 years old. Myspace was only a small vehicle to drive my already blooming talent. I don't need no Myspace to make me. You know what, fuck Myspace. Yeah, you can quote me on that."

Fifteen minutes into our conversation, Crooner asks me to leave. 

Monday, April 5, 2010

Fictitious Band Spotlight: THE LANGUAGE

Raised on Bikini Kill and Sleater-Kinney, and armed with a Woman's Studies degree from Cal State Long Beach, Rosenda Castro decided to form The Language to stop herself from writing on restroom walls. Literally.

"Girls don't mention this often but we love to tag on restroom walls," Castro tells me over coffee at a local gay bar. "I would write these long messages on restroom walls about pay inequality and sexual freedom that eventually turned into lyrics."

Tired of watching the same male-fronted punk bands over and over, Castro recruited the help of guitarist Gabriela "Gabriel"  Lopez and drummer Lori Davis to form a post-dance-techno-punk band. 

"Our sound is quite unique you see," says Davis, who is known for taking off shirts and bras during shows. "We don't have an specific sound per say. We just like to play with the flow if you will."

Although they've been compared to a crappier version of Le Tigre, these girls don't let the critics dictate how they should sound or who they should be. 

"Sure, we've played for like two or three drunk people in the audience," Castro adds while realizing that we're at a bar and she's drinking coffee. "It's this fucking coffee? I asked for tea!"

It's obvious these girls have the smarts and energy to put a good enough show. Too bad their talent is not quite there yet. 

FIFA says no to the Islamic hijab!

Inspired by Jennifer Doyle's blog post on the subject.

*I can't seem to flip the image around. Basically the girl is saying: BAN THIS! and kicking a ball that says FIFA's Law 4, which is the law that the FIFA is hiding behind as an excuse to ban hijabs in the soccer field. 

Ready, set...GRADUATE!

Centerpieces. Centerpieces with little marbles inside of them. On top of the marbles, there will be a picture of me. A picture I will take as soon as I get my cap and gown come May 5. I will take the picture at the mall. I hear they're cheaper there. I will use my biggest smile and I will pay for this picture.

People will come to my graduation party. They will seat in the tables with these center pieces. Like me, they will find it a little strange to find my picture in it. It's silly, I know. But how to stop a mother from wanting to celebrate her son's big day. How do I say to my mom, "I just want to get loaded and dance." 

The family who I know less and less will come from the old country and will happily celebrate this day with me. We'll talk about the latest chisme and they will tell me how proud they are to have another college graduate in the family. 

I will sit back and relax. It's been almost nine years since my high school graduation and I will finally be able to say that I graduated from college! People will leave. They will hug me again and tell me that I have a huge future ahead of me. I will smile and thank them for coming. 

The next day, we'll clean up and return the rented chairs and tables. I will lock myself in my room and look at my hands. Hands that have worked really hard in order to pay outrageous college fees. I will be sad to know that the next day I'll have to return to that job. A job that has been generous enough to keep me in school but one where my journalism BA won't be necessary to use. 

I know that I will eventually be able to use my degree. But not now. Although I may sound so pessimistic about my graduation, I really am not. I couldn't be happier. I just have to accept that there are certain things in life that I cannot change. For now at least....