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Showing posts from May, 2015

Lana Del Rey - Bringing Noir To Music

I've been a major fan of Lana Del Rey's for several years - at least since I first posted about her, with her remarkable music videos, Carmen and National Anthem, in July 2012.

I find her music now even stronger, and her recent videos (below) for her songs Pretty When You Cry and West Coast, are as powerful as the songs themselves.

It may seem an odd comparison, but Lana Del Rey seems perhaps the female answer to Bruce Springsteen, when he is at his best as an American storyteller - his early albums, the magnificent Nebraska and songs like 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy), capture a highly distinctive vision of blue-collar America.




Lana Del Rey is the first musician to truly introduce the concept of noir to popular songs. Her songs are about love and sadness and joy (Summertime Sadness, for instance), but the joy is always tempered with a sense of either foreboding or loss (Carmen), and her videos very distinctly reflect the dark, clutching-redemption-out-of-suffering vision that…

Preggie's Why I Love Or Hate Being Pregnant Video Contest

There are only a couple of days left to enter Preggie's first video contest - Why I Love Or Hate Being Pregnant - and have a chance to win some sweet baby gear.

Preggie is the dedicated free mobile "moms-to-moms" social app for new, expectant and experienced mothers, in which the community as a whole shares experiences, photos, funny stories or emotional vents, and moms answer each other's questions and offer support and advice during what is, for many, one of the most challenging times in their lives.

You can download the free Preggie app for iOS or Android here: preggieapp.com

To enter the contest, just shoot a brief video (you have to be a mom, you don't have to be pregnant!), then check out Preggie's YouTube channel for details of how to submit it, either via Instagram, Facebook or Twitter (make sure to tag the video as instructed on Preggie's YouTube channel) - or share it directly with Preggie via Dropbox by emailing charong@preggieapp.com

Here's Ch…

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Wolf Alice - As Beautiful As The Moon

Wolf Alice are playing the Roxy in LA tonight and, given this very late notice and the fact that they're rightfully sold out, do whatever it takes to get in and see them!


They are the single most exciting band I have heard in a very long time, and seeing them - and briefly meeting them - last week at their gig at The Independent in San Francisco only reinforced my mounting excitement about Ellie Rowsell's beautiful voice, the band's equally beautiful and totally dynamic music, and the explosion of sound, energy and sheer joy they create.


Ellie Rowsell of Wolf Alice. Photograph Copyright © 2015 Alexander Chow-Stuart.

Just check out this YouTube video of their single Giant Peach, from their upcoming debut album, My Love Is Cool (Available to pre-order now on iTunes: http://po.st/MyLoveIsCool), for a taste of their energy:




A London-based British band, with folk-pop origins (though you might not guess it from Giant Peach) and a name from an Angela Carter story, Wolf Alice is at a …

Wolf Alice at the Independent in San Francisco

The most exciting band of the year, Wolf Alice, is playing The Independent in San Francisco this Thursday, May 14. See them if you can!
And listen now on SoundCloud to their truly explosive song, Giant Peach: 
https://soundcloud.com/wolfalice/giant-peach

Poor Nepal Hit By Second Devastating Quake

This was posted from my Twitter feed at 3:30am when I first saw reports of the second earthquake in Nepal on Twitter.
Raw video of the 7.4 earthquake that struck already-ravaged Nepal today:




Mayweather vs Pacquiao? Nope. It's Nigel Benn vs me, a long time ago!

Mayweather vs Pacquiao? Nope. It's Nigel Benn vs me, a long time ago!
This was actually why/how I moved to America from Britain. After my book The War Zone was published, GQ ran a profile on me and said I could write anything I wanted, so I chose to profile Nigel Benn, whom I knew was training in Miami, because I was writing a novel about violence and tenderness. GQ sent me there for a month and threw in a trip to Havana for me to write about that, too. 
I loved South Beach so much, I rented an Art Deco apartment (for $500 a month!) the second week I was there. I was ready to change my life - I had just lost my first son to cancer - and Miami Beach in the 1990s was like a dream! I never looked back. So huge thanks to Nigel Benn, whom I liked a lot. 
For our fun training bout in the ring, he threw one punch at my forehead and had such control that it literally just grazed me. I was out of the ring in a shot! This was all at the wonderfully steamy and seedy, historic 5th Street Gym, whe…

Marilyn J Mosby - A Woman of Great Courage and Integrity

Is Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn J Mosby a future U.S. president? I hope so. We need her.

Her eloquent and courageously honest account of what happened to Freddie Gray in Baltimore, and the serious charges she has brought against the police officers involved, are one step toward healing the wounds of this country.

She comes from four generations of police officers herself. I hope to see a lot more of her. She is a woman of great integrity and courage. 

Here is a Time article that gives more of her background:

http://time.com/3843506/marilyn-mosby-baltimore-freddie-gray-murder-charges/

If for any reason the embedded YouTube video above does not play for its full 21 minutes 22 seconds, please click on the link below for the full account and charges so eloquently and honestly set forth by Marilyn Mosby:
http://youtu.be/w5EIjwn1g6k


All Six Baltimore Police Officers Charged With Homicide

All six Baltimore police officers charged with homicide in the Freddie Gray case:
http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/05/02/us/freddie-gray-autopsy-report-given-to-baltimore-prosecutors.html?referrer=
One Baltimore cop charged with “2nd degree depraved murder.” 
THAT is what is wrong with policing in this country - not every officer by any means, but the few who poison the system with their vicious racism, their violence and their hatred.
Let's hope that Freddie Gray's family - and the city of Baltimore - finds justice.