Friday, April 30, 2004

Oh, snap! Once again! For the week of 4/30/04:
Top 10 People
A side note? Do people like this top 10 people thing? Or is it just some weird cheap thing? How about this: if five people in the next week e-mail me at and tell me they like this thing, I'll keep doing it. If they don't, I won't. Decide now!

1 - Bridget Mahoney. When I started doing this thing, I said I wouldn't list anyone who I know. Well, I'm breaking that rule right now. Bridget is the reason that the past year and a half has been the best of my life. I've had more fun doing stuff with her than I've had doing anything else ever, and that includes learning how to ride a bike downhill and seeing Avail when I was 16 and that one time in sixth grade when this kid was trying to punch me and I put my had on his forehead and held him away at arm's length and he couldn't reach me so he just kept swinging at nothing, just like in cartoons (that ruled!). She's everything good in my life, and she's 27 yesterday. Happy birthday, baby. I love you.

2 - Douglas Coupland. Hey Nostradamus! is a great book. I'd read All Families are Psychotic and thought it was meh, but now I might need to start checking his older books. Part of it stems from the subject of the book, a Columbine-style high-school massacre, something I find to be endlessly and morbidly fascinating, possibly because Columbine happened the year after I graduated high school and it could have easily happened at my school. But the book takes the massacre as a starting point, and the way it traces its after-effects over the years is just heart-wrenching. The book's second half is weaker than its first, but it's a riveting read all the way through.

3 - Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino seems like an obnoxious cokehead dweeb in his many media appearances, but I found Kill Bill 2: Kill Bill Harder to be enormously entertaining and satisfying. Maybe it's because the weather is getting warmer and the day is getting longer, but I've been fiending for some spectacle-heavy violent whiz-jet Entertainment, and that shit fit the bill nicely. It's perfect Sunday afternoon viewing. A big fuck you to New Yorker dickweed snob critic David Denby for dropping huge spoilers into his review of the movie, seemingly just out of contempt for the movie and anyone who would pay to see it.

4 - Mark Romanek. The "99 Problems" video is an absolute masterpiece: intense black-and-white, ridiculously fast cuts, Vincent Gallo looking way scraggly, black bikers in viking helmets, some dude in African garb in a subway tunnel, insane breaking, gorgeous cinematography. The shots of Jay on the Brooklyn Bridge are just breathtaking, the way the metal arranges itself into stunning geometric patterns behind him. You don't usually see urban decay captured eloquently on TV. The video is very Brooklyn, but if you've ever spent any amount of time in Baltimore it'll all look pretty familiar to you. MTV needs to get over itself and show this video. I can remember seeing an interview with Onyx on the box in like 98, and Sticky Fingaz was like, "In the 'Throw Ya Gunz' video, we had crazy guns in that video! Nowadays you can't even say the word gun!" And now I guess you can't even imply that they exist.

5 - T.I. I usually don't buy hip-hop albums when the first single doesn't move me, and I always thought "24s" sounded dinky and pointless, but I finally caved to the hype and bought Trap Muzik this week, and I'm glad I did. There's a lot more to this album than "Rubber Band Man"; it's a thick-sounding slow roll record, and it sounds great when you're driving. Even better, T.I. deals beautifully with his drug-dealing past, showing the inevitable regrets and inner conflicts that come up. The album has a whole new resonance now that he's locked up for the next three years.

6 - Mike Bibby. It was bittersweet to see my boy Dirk miss his buzzer shot last night. The Mavericks may be my favorite team, but as far as I'm concerned they were sacrificed at the alter of Someone Other Than The Spurs Or Lakers Winning The Championship. I think the Kings are pretty well-positioned to win it now, despite Bobby Jackson being injured, Chris Webber playing like a confused old man, and Vlade Divac apparently actually being a confused old man. If the Kings do manage to win it, it'll be because of Brad Miller and Bibby, who absolutely lit it up last night, hitting six 3-pointers and scoring a ridiculous 32 points. He's just playing like a monster right now, and I can't wait to see how he hold up against ugly Baltimorean Sam Cassel in the Kings/T-Wolves series.

7 - Kazu Mokino. The crowd at the Blonde Redhead/Secret Machines show in DC was terrible, and Blonde Redhead wasn't nearly as good as when I saw them last year. But here's the thing about this tour: these bands are both going for mystery and grandeur, two things that have been missing in indie rock for just about forever. Now, with these dudes, TV on the Radio, On Air Library, and Devendra Banhart and Espers and all the avant-folk dudes, we may finally be done with any festering leftover traces of Pavement. Guided by Voices is breaking up! It's a new era! (I like GBV's live show, but they had to go. We had to move on.)

8 - Charles Barklay. TNT has been doing a great job presenting the NBA finals: great production values, excellent camera work, and announcers who don't miss a thing. Barklay in particular is ridiculously fun to listen to; he hold back absolutely no negative remarks and isn't even a little bit afraid to come off like an asshole. My favorite non-game-related moment of last night's game came when the camera zoomed in on Lance Armstrong and Sheryl Crowe in the crowd at Barklay was like, "What is this!?! He rides a bike! Sheryl Crowe hot! He rides a bike!"

9 - Bun B. UGK may be on hiatus until Pimp C gets out of prison (anyone know when that's supposed to happen?), but Bun seems to be doing OK by himself. He absolutely murdered his verse on "Bezzle" from Trap Muzik, and now rumor is that he's going to collaborate with Dizzee Rascal? Huh?

10 - Jessica Hopper. I love me some tour diaries, and the diary Jessica's got running on her blog right now is what happens when you let a kickass eloquent feminist out on a hardcore tour and then let her write about it. Pure entertainment!