Friday, March 16, 2012
Visitors to my apartment always seem surprised that I have an extensive collection of city, state and country refrigerator magnets. What?! It’s the touch of elegance that every kitchen needs.
Family members often bring me magnets from their travels, but I’ve purchased quite a few myself. I sure wish I could pick up an Austin, Texas, magnet personally by being at the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) festival/conference going on there right now. SXSW started out as a music festival in 1987. In the mid-90s, it expanded to the movie and interactive industries. I’m only interested in the music. Big people are playing there. Lil Wayne was one of them. My fellow New Jersey-ite, Bruce Springsteen, performed and brought out the ’60s rocker who has one of my all-time favorite male voices — Eric Burdon of the Animals. The Los Angeles Times wrote of Springsteen:
“He spoke in warm tones of hearing the message of [Burdon’s] Animals — ‘We gotta get out of this place if it’s the last thing we ever do’ — before declaring that those lyrics embody every song Springsteen has ever written.”
“We gotta get out of this place,” was how I felt during my entire childhood in New Jersey (I was born on Long Island, N.Y., but my parents moved when I was very young.) I never listened to Springsteen then because he kept singing about New Jersey! Why — if I’m depressed because I’m living in New Jersey — do I want to listen to songs about being depressed in New Jersey? (Springsteen mentions my hometown of Mahwah in the opening lines of “Johnny 99“: “Well they closed down the auto plant in Mahwah late that month/ Ralph went out lookin’ for a job but he couldn’t find none.”) I never had that, “I want to hear what I live” mentality. I listened to Adam Ant and Duran Duran so I could imagine I was English.
I left Mahwah in 1985 and only went back to visit my parents. Still, the first dance at my wedding in 2001 was to Bruce’s family-friendly cover of the Tom Waits song, “Jersey Girl.” The lyrics include, “But nothing matters in this whole wide world/when you’re in love with a Jersey girl.” I found it amusing. It’s not like I ever denied I grew up in New Jersey. Plus, I figured “Jersey Girl” wasn’t as expected as “At Last” — at least not at a wedding in Manhattan.
Anyway, who cares about Weezy and the Boss. I want to be in Austin to see my friend, gorgeous rapper Gangsta Boo, perform. So bummed I’m missing it! If you’re there, you need to check her out. At least I’ve gotten to see pictures of her flaunting my jewelry all around town, thanks to Twitter. Here is Boo showing off her custom-made WENDYB by Wendy Brandes YEA HOE rings.
In that photo, she’s with WillPower, who produced “Throw It Up,” the Yelawolf song featuring Eminem and Boo that brought Boo to my attention. Do you see how she threw my hashtag ring on her pinky finger in front of the YEA HOE set? If you tweet #YEAHOE, Boo will see your tweet for sure. And if you’re a Boo or Yela fan, you can get your own YEA HOE rings here. They are currently in production overseas — just a few more weeks and they should be good to go.
Boo has some new music out. Here’s her (not safe for work) song “Gun Sprung.”
This mixtape is a follow-up to Speakerfoxxx’s debut, Dope Boy Anthems. That mixtape featured songs that Foxxx says “defined an era for me growing up in Atlanta that not only pushed me to pursue DJing but also largely influenced me to be who I am today.” I always appreciate getting a little history with my entertainment. Dopegirl has more female voices, as you might have guessed, including Boo’s song “Pretty Pussy Lips,” featuring Coco Brown. That song title reminds me that I really, really need to get Boo to New York so I can invite some of my most conservative friends to dinner with us. It will be fun to expand their musical horizons. I just mean conversation-wise; I’m not going to make Boo literally sing for her supper. But I’ve sat through classical performances that aren’t exactly my “cup of fur,” as the character of Diane on Cheers once said of surrealist humor. Turnabout is fair play.
Finally, a new name for you to know is Dillon Cooper. He’s about to blow up big and as soon as he does, you’re going to want to say to people in a jaded way, “Oh, yeah, I’ve been following him since Day One.” He’s the 19-year-old son of my friend Debra — she of the crazy-jacket purchase and Jay-Z/Kanye West concert. Dillon is slightly younger than my stepson. In 2005, Debra and I took the boys to their first concert: Velvet Revolver at Jones Beach. I got great seats thanks to a silent auction fundraiser for Dillon’s school. Both boys were amazed by the volume and somewhat alarmed by the ringing in their ears after the show, but they must have liked it because both are studying guitar in college. My stepson is at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., and Dillon is at Berklee College of Music in Boston. (Money from Jay-Z’s Shawn Carter Foundation helped pay for Dillon’s books at Berklee College.)
Dillon is also a rapper. As of this writing, the video for his songs “Shadows” has been viewed more than 16,000 times on YouTube, helped by a tweet from well-known rapper Jadakiss. The Fresh Heir blog compared that to 2011, when Kanye West tweeted about young Tyler, the Creator, who went on to win Best New Artist at the MTV Video Music Awards. Dillon calls himself and his crew R.A.D. — Ridiculous and Driven. I believe it and expect great things from him.