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The Revolution will be heard…

Prince and Warner Bros. reuniting after 20 years? And just in time to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Purple Rain.

The record label announced today a new licensing deal with Minneapolis’ Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, the timing of which points to the approaching 30th anniversary of “Purple Rain.” A first-ever remastered deluxe-edition of the 1984 masterpiece will be the first product of the new/old partnership. More unreleased music from a variety of eras is also now promised.

I have my own “renegade” Purple Rain with extended 12-inch single version “Let’s Go Crazy,” the full-length 12-minute “Computer Blue,” and the b-sides “17 Days” and “Erotic City.” These extras are all hard to find, especially digitally. I’ve also believed a complete soundtrack Purple Rain should include both Time songs from the movie — “Jungle Love” and “The Bird” — along with Apollonia 6′s “Sex Shooter.” The version I have of the latter is a dub of a dub and sounds like it was taped over the telephone. It’s still funky, though.

I’d gladly purchase these songs again if remastered and re-released. Granted, they’re not for everyone — only the sexy people.

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2014 in Pop Life

 

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Oh Snap!

So, I clicked on a USA Today link, which was a mistake in itself, and it turns out the link was broken and this was how a major media publication chose to inform its readers of this fact.

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I have no words. Instead, here are clips of people saying “Oh Snap!” (usually ironically, as it is a fairly dated expression, though if anything can return it to relevance, it’s the ever relevant USA Today).

And this is the band Snap:

This only technically qualifies, but I’m going to include it solely for the sake of thoroughness.

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2014 in Social Commentary

 

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Gabriel Garcia Marquez…

Gabriel Garcia Marquez…

Gabriel Garcia Marquez died today.

I honestly didn’t know this when I titled my last post.

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2014 in Pop Life

 

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Love in the Time of Stupidity…

Love in the Time of Stupidity…

Slate’s Amanda Marcotte writes about a tech startup’s CEO’s experience with sexual harassment.

(Yunha Kim) shares an email she got from a developer she tried to hire, which reads: “I’m pretty happy with current job, but if you’re single I’d like to date you. Perhaps there are some unconventional ways to lure me away from my company (besides stock options) if you know what I mean :)”

Wow.

Yes, he ended an email with a smiley face, but let’s move on to the other, just as egregious, offenses.

His opening sentence is bizarre, even if you don’t read it aloud, as I do, to the tune of Carly Rae Jepsom’s Call Me Maybe.

Kim already has to work with the obnoxious hipsters in the attached photo but now she has to deal with tired pickup lines from someone she’s clearly interacting with in a solely professional setting. (The guy’s first hint would be that he had no idea if she was single or not. I’m not an expert on women but usually if one is interested in you, she lets you know that she is available and won’t respond to your advances by showering in turpentine.)

Also, and forgive the digression, I dislike the “are you single?” question. There are many reasons a woman might not go out with you. Her being involved with someone else is but one of them. But there’s this presumption that if a woman is single, it’s open season, as if it’s out of the question for her to be single by choice or even wish to remain that way.

Isn’t it possible for two people to meet professionally, hit it off, and then choose to pursue a personal relationship. Sure, but out of basic respect, he should conclude their business relationship in a strictly professional relationship, thank her for her time, and then perhaps later reach out to her in a separate email. And instead of cutting to the tackiest chase possible, he could suggest getting together to discuss some non-business related topic that had come up in the previous meeting. It’s likely no such topic came up because the only non-business related topic raised at the meeting was this guy’s penis.

Frankly, I don’t advise attempting the business associate/romantic interest switch. It’s as fraught with peril as the “roommate switch” discussed on Seinfeld.

Oh, and lest we forget the creepy part.

Perhaps there are some unconventional ways to lure me away from my company (besides stock options) if you know what I mean :)

Why do some men think it’s at all flattering to a woman to suggest that she might barter her body for goods, services, or one of the many developers available in today’s economy?

This guy’s come on is not just personally insulting. It is arguably a quid pro quo request, which is classic sexual harassment. The comments, predominately from men, to the Slate piece invariably claim that sexual harassment can only occur if they both work at the same company or if the harasser is in a supervisor position or if it’s flat-out rape, like in the Michael Douglas film Disclosure. I won’t go into the many reasons why these assertions are untrue of why you shouldn’t see Disclosure even for its laughably dated depiction of the Internet.

Even in our “Lean-In” culture, professional women have to deal with not being taken seriously in a business environment or being seen as just a sexual object. There’s also the heterosexual privilege of injecting sexuality into business so freely, while gay men and women, even today, debate whether to display on their desks a photo of themselves and their partners. If a man sent an email like this hitting on a male CEO, it could be a potentially career-ending mistake.

But as the comments to the Slate article reveal, Kim could attempt to blackball this developer but it’s likely that his email wouldn’t keep him from getting another job. Too many men in too many important positions see nothing wrong with what he did.

And the smiley face. Really?

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2014 in Social Commentary

 

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Late Show with Stephen Colbert…

As I predicted/suggested/guessed wildly without facts or data two years ago, Stephen Colbert will replace David Letterman as host of The Late Show when the latter retires in 2015.

I still believe Colbert has the talent and hip maturity of a 1970s-era Johnny Carson. Released from the shackles of his “character,” he can create another character (no talk show host is really being themselves) who won’t feel as compelled to mug or steal the spotlight from his guests.

Colbert himself probably realized there was only so long he could be Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert. I never thought he was that successful as a parody of right-wing punditry. He never really committed to playing the “heel,” to use pro-wrestling terminology, so never truly reflected the bullying nastiness of Rush Limbaugh or Bill O’Reilly. And he couldn’t or wouldn’t turn off enough of his brain to effectively illustrate the earnest cluelessness of Sean Hannity or Joe Scarborough.

I saw a taping of The Colbert Report in July of 2011, and Colbert’s off-camera interactions with the audience were what convinced me he’d make a great host of a “straight” talk show. That same audience loved him so much it was clear he didn’t own the part he claimed to play. Hip New York liberals (along with most of the left-wing political guests) were too in on the joke. I think back to Andy Kaufman’s wrestling career. It wasn’t enough for him to simply play a celebrity wrestler. Kaufman took it to a level where people who knew intellectually that he was merely playing the villain in what they also knew was a fake sport were still provoked emotionally to boo and jeer him. And in that moment, Kaufman had the audience completely. He saw that true unguarded emotional response as evidence of a convincing performance.

Too often I saw my liberal friends at Colbert tapings gleefully high-fiving someone they should detest as much as they reviled Limbaugh. Perhaps Colbert wanted to be loved too much, which will make him a great replacement for Letterman.

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2014 in Pop Life

 

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The Name of The Movie…

The Name of The Movie…

The upcoming Luc Besson film starring Scarlett Johansson has a plot based on the inaccurate myth that humans use only 10 percent of their brain capacity, but that doesn’t bother me.

It also features Morgan Freeman playing the same role he’s played for the past ten years, but the man’s got to work, so I’ll let that slide.

The plot also kicks off with a mashup of the “poor sap drugged and operated on while unconscious” and “forced drug mule” tropes, both of which have been done today, but it’s clear when you see Johansson controlling her environment like Neo at the climax of The Matrix (a film she was not old enough to see in theaters when released) that this is basically a mixtape movie. You don’t complain that a mixtape is a scattered collection of unrelated songs. You just sit back with the lights off and enjoy it while trying to interpret whatever message you think your crush is sending through it.

No, what bugs me is that the movie’s name is Lucy.

Lucy? Really? Is there a scene where she has to wrap lots of chocolates or gets drunk while filming a commercial? (Links below because they’re funny as hell.)

Movies named after characters tell you nothing. You might as well call it Scarlett Johansson Fall Project. Even now, can anyone recall offhand what were the genres of the Will Smith films Hitch and Hancock? One was a mediocre romantic comedy and the other was a mediocre superhero film. Either way, the titles tell you nothing.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer gives us hero, villains, and premise in four words. It also enhances the incongruity of someone named Buffy slaying vampires. Shorten to just Buffy and the title is significantly less interesting.

I dare say, great movies have great titles. It’s not just Kane or Chuck. It’s Citizen Kane. It’s not Travis or Bickle. It’s Taxi Driver, which gives us concept and theme (dehumanization).

And I do somewhat regret naming my first book Mahogany Slade, for the very reasons I’ve listed. If I could think of a better title, I’d still change it. Maybe I’ll rerelease it as Lucy.

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2014 in Pop Life

 

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Why you can’t afford to live in San Francisco…

Why you can’t afford to live in San Francisco…

I stumbled upon this link online.

After interviewing for a job with the Academy of Art and finding out at the end of the interview that the pay is $13.50/hr, I wrote a nice thank you note: “Thanks for speaking with me today. After looking over my expenses, $13.50 will not be enough for me to live on. The average rent for a one bedroom in San Francisco is $2,897, and $13.50 an hour would only amount to $2,160 per month. Only if you increase the rate to at least the living wage, or offer housing, this will not work for me.”

Her reply: “At this time, the pay rate for the role is $13.50.”

My reply: “I suggest your institution reconsider its priorities. As one of the largest landowners in SF with a real estate portfolio worth at least $320 million, and annual revenues more than $247 million, you would think you could spare enough to pay full time labor enough to afford to live in one of the Academy’s overly priced buildings. Just sayin.”

Greed on both sides of the equation, the landlords and the employers, makes for a citizenry forced to depend on loans and credit which, surprise, just funnels more money into the pockets of the wealthy.

This is not a thank-you note. It’s a snarky entitled rant. I have read my share of snarky entitled rants, and this is one of the snarkier and more entitled ones. But because you didn’t question my sexuality (true story), there might be hope for you.

I’d like to think that I’m better at responding to these types of notes now than I was in my early managerial days. Let’s see..

Your expenses are never your employer’s responsibility. This is why they rarely give raises if you suddenly develop a cocaine or gambling addiction. Your compensation is based solely on your value to the company. Negotiating a salary increase is a vital skill when interviewing, but you should restrict that negotiation to what you can bring to the job (experience, dedication, drive, ambition, and so on) that would warrant spending more on your salary than what they’d pay the many other people they likely interviewed.

I’m not sure what your salary expectations were, but if you hoped to earn enough to afford, on your own, a one-bedroom in San Francisco for $2,897, you’d have to make roughly $120,000. Most landlords like their tenants to have an annual salary of at least 40 times their monthly rent. That’s about four times what you were offered. I want to be fair to your point of view, but I am skeptical that you interviewed for a six-figure position. You applied for a job at the Academy of Art University. Any one of those words in a company name usually means freeze-dried coffee in the break room, but all three combined ensures penury. I’m even skeptical that the person who interviewed you makes six figures. He or she probably lives in Oakland and has a crummy commute (an hour in theory, hour and a half… maybe two in practice).

When I lived in New York, I knew thirtysomething professionals who lived in one-bedroom Manhattan apartments for $2,896. They had “esq.” after their names (and significant law school debt). I am the last person to pretend that $13.50 an hour is a ticket to easy street, but I strongly believe it’s insulting to so many who barely survive to equate access to an apartment in one of the most expensive cities in America to a “living wage.” Those of us who advocate for a “living wage” are thinking more of the single mother who skips dinner herself so her kids don’t go to bed hungry or even has her kids snuggle in bed with her because she can’t afford to leave the space heater running at night.

I checked on Glassdoor, which is not the gospel on these matters but provide some insight, and no one is making six figures at this company. And even if they were, a salary adjustment for your role couldn’t occur in a vacuum. It would mean increasing the salaries of everyone senior to you. And eventually, you’d be back where you started.

By this, I mean: San Francisco is a city where lots of people want to live. The vacancy rate is 4.5 percent. When you have limited supply and increasing demand, real estate prices increase. That’s why more middle income residents are being priced out. Heck, there are bankers living in the Mission. Times have changed, so I don’t think it’s accurate to blame expensive real estate entirely on the “greed” of landlords. Unless you resort to lotteries or some Hunger Games scenario, the only way to cope with demand exceeding supply is to raise prices. This has nothing to do with a living wage.

What’s happening in San Francisco is unfortunate, if not inevitable, and I do believe that economic diversity in a city makes it more vibrant overall. However, ultimately, that’s not your potential employer’s responsibility to fix. I’d like to know what your goal was from the “thank-you note”? If the original response had been worded more professionally and focused more on what you could do for the Academy of Art, you might have persuaded the hiring manager to increase your compensation by a reasonable amount. However, you went for a number well beyond any discretionary range the manager might have had (please note, that anyone who interviews applicants for a $13.50 role is usually not in a position to make drastic alterations to compensation structure).

I have noticed a lot of young, talented people resorting to the “mic drop and swagger off the stage” approach to conflict. This won’t help you professionally. This won’t help you personally. This won’t help you at all. You might get a lot of traffic on your site, but I don’t think those people will hire you.

By the way, did notice a studio in Lower Nob Hill for $1,495. You might want to consider a roommate. If it’s any consolation, I shared a one-bedroom in Manhattan with an assortment of roommates until I was 29 and graduated to a studio with a sloping floor and a wet bar sink and dorm room fridge. And I loved it. It was mine.

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2014 in Social Commentary

 

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