Excerpts from Electric Degeneration, Degenerate Press' semi-weekly e-zine, free and ad-free. A full episode contains sections for music reviews, upcoming events, blasphemy, classifieds, and anything else we feel like saying. If you'd like to subscribe just contact us.
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EAR PLUGS/FILM FLAM
We got this response to last episode:
"... some of the kids want to be rock stars. Some of them are typical fuck-ups who don't practice and are there because they don't fit in any where else. And some of the kids are there because their parents wanted to be rock stars but weren't so now they hope to live vicariously through their talentless children who struggle with music beyond their capabilities."
I'd have to say that I personally fit into all three categories there. I wanted to be a rock star since the age of 5. My dad was a (folk guitar) star here in the ATL, and I'm sure he didn't want to live vicariously through me, but at some point, he sure as hell started enjoying it and swapping stories, and lastly, I sure was a fuckup who didn't practice. I think most true rock stars were that way. Keith Richards immediately comes to mind. He plays because he loves the music, but I dont think he ever ever thought, "oh shit, I gotta work on my peruvian mondavian scales!"
I'm just sayin...
Though I don't agree with everything the site is about, this is fantastic:
Monday we headed to Midtown Art for a preview screening of Hustle and Flow, the fictional account of a pimp with a golden heart who turns to rap to climb out of his day to day life of drug dealing and driving his ho's around. The acting is near perfect and the direction and cinematography are well done, if not terribly innovative. Despite what you might think of as dark subject matter, the film is surprisingly light and got me to laugh a few times. The "urban" crowd at the screening laughed, cheered and/or gasped at just about every scene. Apparently it hits closer to their homes than mine. But regardless of its "urban" focus, even folks in the suburbs should be able to identify with the lead character, DJay, who struggles inside with his chosen life, and struggles to get beyond the life he has chosen. It takes place in Memphis and features music of the south, both old and new, but I found the scenery and soundtrack to be of little importance. It could have easily taken place in the Bronx, L.A., or East St. Louis. The story has broader appeal than the geography of Dirty South, or the color the character's skin, it portrays.
However, the film does have its weaknesses. If the story has any morals, they seem to be:
1. Bullshit everyone, including yourself, if that's what it takes to move up.
2. Women of any color or class are valuable crutches for men of any color or class.
4. If you want to be famous, find someone more famous than you and beat the crap out of them when they won't give you a break.
The lead character is almost difficult to believe. Could a street hood who makes a living pimping out a skinny white girl from the seat of his beat up Chevy really be such a nice guy? Fortunately the acting makes up for this stretch of the imagination, and the film's somewhat overused plot.
I was reminded of the various Juice/Hood/Menace films of the early 90's featuring black youth trying to make it in a corrupt world, all of which reminded me of Superfly and other blacksploitation flicks of the 70's. The story almost feels a little redundant if you've seen any of the above, or even a Behind The Music documentary about Ice T or NWA, for a more modern reference.
But the acting is so well done you can't help but recognize identify with all the characters, even if you've never met anyone like them. They bring perhaps too much credibility to a story that hardly seems credible.
I recommend seeing it. Hustle and Flow plays this weekend as part of the Atlanta Film Fest. Check out the movie's official site at www.hustleandflow.com.
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