Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sage Francis and Friends at the Granada

I have listened to Sage Francis for years. I heard him first working at a small record store (remember those) in Lubbock, TX.

None of the artist at the Granada were local. This is just a fact.

I always prefer there to be a local group present at a show, because we have a lot of great local acts in DFW. But alas, I am trying to write about a city. I am trying to capture in words my actual experience of this vast, strange, and powerful place.

The audience at the Granada seemed to mostly know who Sage Francis was and have appreciation for him. In case you didn't know it; Sage Francis is one of the worlds premiere hip hop performers, he is an accomplished poet, and one of the popularizers of the Slam Poetry scene. Slam Poetry, for the uninitiated, is urban poetry that is heavily influenced by hip hop. It is also very free form with great rapport for originality. To be a bad ass slam poet you have to charm a room full of curmudgeons who aren't going to give you any sympathy if you aren't fucking brilliant. Sage Francis is one of the best.

People who filled the granada for the most part knew this. It wasn't lost on them. They were connoisseurs, and that a theater full of them was present at the Granada speaks highly of this fucking town.

Though I am pretty sure that the Granada attracts a contingency of SMU douchebags. Not that people who go to SMU are douchebags, its just that some happen to flower there. Rich kids, whose parents give an allowance that could finance a heroin addiction. I had a couple of these kids behind me during the show. I ordered a $5 Paps Blue Ribbon (I think this is the cost of a six pack at the supermarket), and eavesdropped on these kids until they disappeared.

Sage's back up band played first. It had a guy from the Mars Volta in it, I can't remember their name besides that. Enough said.

Next was B Dolan, who I had never heard but I had been told he would blow my mind. He did.

When he played this song:

The SMUnthinking dipshits behind me said B Dolan was going to burst into flame. When he insulted G.W. Bush, the pampered mustangs behind me got notably irritated.

It made me love B Dolan even more.

Its amazing how rock and roll hip hop can be.

Sage was fucking amazing. He came on with a toupe and buddy holly glasses. The back up band gave it a rock feeling, which I know was upsetting some of my old school Sage Francis friends. I ate it up. So did the crowd. He slowly regressed in the show from the new sound to the old sound.

The SMU dipshits were gone, the crowd was ecstatic. I was too.

When Sage finished he ran off the stage and began to hug the crowd. In a strange fit of catholic guilt (though I am a staunch atheist) I didn't hug him. I didn't feel like I deserved it.

My buddy Neil said it best, he went to try to shake Sage's hand and he saw some kid hugging Sage talking about how must Sage's music helped him through his grandmother's death. Thats what I assumed was happening. That was the energy of the crowd.

It almost made me forgive my $5 PBR.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Video Rehab

So this week I had the pleasure of attending Video Rehab, a weekly double feature of cool shit anyone with artistic self respect should know about, and probably doesn't.

The Video Rehab was historically conducted at my favorite bar, Tradewinds Social Club, but now the official Video Rehab event has moved to the Texas Theatre. The Texas Theatre was where Lee Harvey Oswald was apprehended.

This was an irresistible detail for me, and I finally went. The fact that the show was donations only and alcohol provided certainly appealed to me as well. This metroplexian is a cheapskate. Especially this month.

The double feature was The Forbidden Zone, a crazy movie starring the midge(little person) actor who played Tattoo on Treasure Island and was essentially the psychological diarrhea of the Elfman's and friends. Thats right Elfman, as in Danny Elfman of Oingo Boingo. This movie was a sexually tantalizing and molesting you at the same time. It was awesome, and I am ashamed that I had not already seen it. I also drank 3 Shiner Bocks. For free. My friends with me also drank. For free.

The only problem was that the turnout was very small.

It did make the whole thing feel more intimate, but I know there have got to be thousands of people in the area that would have fucking loved this event.

Next they showed the Phantom of the Paradise. The picture that I kicked off this post with is from that movie. The movie is a 70s rock and roll adaptation of the Phantom of the Opera by Brian DePalma. Thats right, the same DePalma who directs mob movies known for excessive violence. The Phantom of the Paradise did not disappoint as far as violence was concerned, though the movie was for all intents and purposes a musical. I hate musicals. I loved Phantom or the Paradise.

I want to dress like the Phantom every day and talk out of his creepy voice box, made by his nemesis, the elusive Swan!

All in all. I had a blast, popcorn $2, free beers and suggested donation for entry $5.

The Texas Theatre had great art on its walls, the people organizing the event were nice and friendly and the few other people I saw in the audience are people I would like to be friends with. Only someone of supreme coolness would turn up and stick around for an event like this.

All in all it was a total plus.

Another point for Oak Cliff as the most bad ass part of the Metroplex.

I hope more people turn out for the next one, I plan on being there after my epic battle with Sylvia Browne.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Sylvia Browne is Coming to DFW

So Sylvia Browne is coming to the Lakewood Theatre, I believe its the 16th of June. I am planning on heading out there and passing out a flyer with the stuff posted underneath. I got all the info from the website Stop Sylvia Browne .

It may seem like I am getting bent out of shape for nothing, until you remember that Sylvia Browne often spills her verbal diarrhea all over people who have lost a loved one. This is the case of Opal Jennings, which is the subject of my flyer.

Has Sylvia Browne Ever Been Wrong in DFW?
By: Enrique Recuero (synopsis and analysis quoted from Robert Lancaster)

Sylvia Browne is a well known public figure. She is considered by many Americans to be a psychic and to have the power to communicate with people who have died and various spirits in a different realm. Wealthy and respectable people like Montel Williams have Sylvia Browne on their shows, she has also been a guest on the respectable Larry King Show on CNN. In spite of all this celebrity attention, Sylvia has been wrong many times, one particularly sad case was near Fort Worth. This is the case of Opal Jennings.

The following synopsis of the Sylvia Browne story comes from
Sylvia Browne watches the video montage of Opal Jo Jennings.

In March of 1999, six-year-old Opal Jo Jennings was abducted from her grandparents’ front yard in Tarrant County, Texas. A state-wide search for her was soon underway, with no success in finding her.
Opal’s grandmother, Audrey Sanderford, decided to come on the Montel Williams Show and ask for Sylvia Browne’s help.
It should be noted that some of the families of missing persons who appear on the show do so not because they believe in Sylvia’s “psychic powers”, but primarily to get the face of their missing loved one on national television, in hopes that someone in the viewing audience will be able to help.
I do not know whether Mrs. Sanderford believed in Sylvia or not.

The Reading
The episode in which Mrs. Sanderford appeared was first broadcast on April 29th, 1999.
A little more than halfway through the show, Montel Williams sets up a clip which introduces the segment:
(MONTEL) WILLIAMS: Well, my next guest is distraught over the recent disappearance of her granddaughter, Opal. Take a look at this.
(A video montage of Opal Jo Jennings plays, with an inset in the lower right of Sylvia Browne watching it. Video and still pictures of her are interspersed with video of the search for her. Her grandmother’s voice narrates the images.)
(AUDREY) SANDERFORD: (Voiceover) On March 25th, 1999, my six-year-old granddaughter, Opal Jennings, was abducted from my front yard and has yet to be found. The past few weeks have been unbearable for me and my family. Even though there is an overwhelming amount of support from our community, police department, the FBI and different forms of media, my Opal is still missing. To this day, I still like to believe she is not (unintelligible). This is too much for my family and me to handle. We want her back. I need to know where Opal is. I can’t stand this. I have made so many pleas to whoever has her, to return our little girl home safely. I need your help, Sylvia. Where is Opal? Where is she?

(Video montage ends.)
WILLIAMS: Sylvia, I have to take a little break before we go into this one.
BROWNE: All right.
WILLIAMS: I’m going to take a break. We’ll be right back after this.
At this point, a commercial break is shown.
WILLIAMS: Sylvia, we just looked at this tape. Please welcome Audrey to the show. Audrey, come on up here. Come up here.
(Mrs. Sanderford enters from audience, sits by Sylvia Browne. There is a brief pause, after which Sylvia Browne speaks.)
BROWNE: She’s… not… dead. But what bothers me – now I’ve never heard of this before, but for some reason, she was taken and put into some kind of a slavery thing and taken into Japan. The place is Kukouro. Or Kukoura. I don’t know anything about it, but…
WILLIAMS: Kukouro?
BROWNE: Kukouro, Kukoura. There can’t be that many places…
WILLIAMS: There’s also a Kuro.
BROWNE: No, no. This is… This is…
WILLIAMS: No, but two…
BROWNE: This is many syllables. Kukouro.

BROWNE: So she was taken and put on some kind of a boat or a plane and taken into white slavery.
(A photo montage of Opal is shown over the following.)
WILLIAMS: You know what I can do for you, Audrey, we can put Detective Joe Culligan on this…
BROWNE: Yeah, do it.
WILLIAMS: … and see what we can find out anything on this.
SANDERFORD: All right. Thank you.
(End of photo montage.)
WILLIAMS: We… we’ll… you see Sylvia, she was playing… Opal was playing out in front of the house, within earshot of Grandma and Grandpa and gone.
BROWNE: It doesn’t… It can be that quick. I know.
WILLIAMS: What… what, did somebody drive by and pick her up? Who is it?
BROWNE: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Uh-uhh. It… Yeah, it was a man. He wasn’t Asian. He was white. And then he sold her, like, on the Asian market of some kind.
BROWNE: And Montel, you know, I’m so afraid. I’m getting more and more of this now.
WILLIAMS: But you know what? I’m going to tell you something. We… we have heard more and more about this.
BROWNE: I never used to hear about this.
WILLIAMS: Child… children are being… you look at milk cartons and you see missing children. Some of them have been taken other places on the planet.
BROWNE: Mmm-hmm. Exactly.
WILLIAMS: Okay. Maybe we… we’ll have to do a show about it. (To an audience member) Yes ma’am. You had a question.

From this point on, Montel and Sylvia take unrelated questions from the rest of the crowd. Mrs. Sanderford is still seated, on camera, and continues looking understandably distraught throughout.
According to friends of the family, despite Montel Willams’ promise of help, the family never again heard from Williams or Browne.

How Accurate Was the Reading?

Typically, when Sylvia Browne does a reading on the Montel Williams show, we have no way of knowing whether she was right or wrong.
Not so this time.
In August of 1999, convicted child molester Richard Lee Franks was arrested and charged with Opal’s abduction. He admitted to having picked her up and given her a ride (the children who witnessed Opal’s abduction say that a man grabbed her, struck her when she screamed, threw her into his truck, and drove off with her).
Franks was convicted of Opal’s abduction in September of 2000, and was subsequently sentenced to life in prison.
In late December of 2003, the skeletal remains of a small girl were found in a remote area near Fort Worth, Texas. The pink Barbie tennis shoes found with the remains matched those Opal Jo was wearing when she was abducted. A few days later, Tarrant County medical examiners announce that DNA extracted from a tooth confirmed that the remains were those of Opal Jo Jennings. The cause of death: blunt force trauma to the head.
Was Opal still alive when Sylvia talked with Mrs. Sanderford? Not according to a friend of Opal’s family, who says “It was determined that Opal was killed by trauma to the head with(in) several hours of her abduction.”
Was Opal in Japan? No. She was found 13 miles from where she was taken, in Texas.
It would seem that the only thing that Sylvia Browne got right in the case was the fact that Opal had been abducted by a white man. Not only is this not a very impressive “hit,” but it was already known thanks to eyewitnesses, and had been reported nationally. It would have been easy for Sylvia to find this information on the news or on the web, and to drop it into this reading to help convince the family she knew what she was talking about.
But no matter how wrong her reading was, Sylvia didn’t have to worry, since the Montel Show would not be doing any follow-up segment.

Sylvia Browne’s supporters like to talk about how much “comfort” she brings to people.
I wonder how comforted Mrs. Sanderford and the rest of her family felt.
It is bad enough that Sylvia Browne gave them the false hope that Opal was still alive. But she planted in their heads the image of their little girl in “white slavery” - which generally refers to forced prostitution - on the other side of the planet, where they would have had almost no chance of ever finding her. They had to live with that thought for the next four years, until Opal’s remains were finally found.
When confronted with failures of her predictions and readings, Sylvia Browne likes to say that she can’t be right all of the time. If that is the case, why on Earth would she ever say something as horrific as this to a family unless she was 100% certain it was correct?
But if Sylvia Browne is simply a cold reader – as I believe she is – then this is about the cruelest, most disturbing example of cold reading I have ever seen.

The above is a very accurate analysis of the show, with direct quotes. I am not giving you anything against Sylvia Browne except for her own words in the case of a local child abduction where her error, for whatever reason, surely caused the family of this child great grief and confusion.
My main motive for distributing this flyer is to try to inform those of you who have just paid hard earned money to see Sylvia Browne, and may be expecting her to solve a tragic and terrible crime that has occurred in your life, Sylvia has been wrong before.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

La Paisanita

North Oak Cliff has delivered yet again.

Taqueria La Paisanita has no website. Hell no! Hell, they probably don't even speak english.

I had heard of this place from the regulars at Trade Winds Social Club, my favorite bar. They said it was the best Taco Place in North Oak Cliff, which is notorious for having the most bad ass of tacos in the metroplex.

La Paisanita is ugly, sketchy looking. Its sign is hard to see, and instead of saying La Paisanita on its neon sign, it says "Ricos Tacos."

When you go there the doors are confusing aluminum gateways that make you feel like you are entering the visiting room of a local jail. Luckily they have big gaps you can crawl out of if you are afraid.

There are flies everywhere. I felt like I was in Ethiopia waiting for Sally Struthers to feed me.

Then the food arrived.

The portions looked very small, though the price was great. The most expensive thing on the menu is less than $4.

Then I dug in, the spices, the onions, the green sauce, and the delicious meat. Oh my goodness, I was in heaven.

The food was so delicious that I felt like the flies crawling on my face where cherubs heralding the coming of the Lord. And the body of Christ was definitely stuffed in my tacos.

The green sauce, oh my God, the green sauce. The green sauce must have heroin as its secret ingredient. I felt the sticky sweetness on my fingers beckoning not to be wasted.

I licked my fingers.

I had two dishes. Two dishes, not because I was hungry, but because I was instantly addictive.

I totally recommend this taco stand as part of the Metroplexian canon. The only excuse to not eat here is vegeterianism.

The place definitely has no vegetarian options, be warned.

But if you are okay with eating other sentient beings, they are exceptionally tasty at this boliche!