Tuesday

Kreayshawn - Somethin' 'Bout Kreay

Over a year after Kreayshawn's YouTube music video single rose to stardom, “Somethin’ ‘Bout Kreay” was released. Does the album live up to the "ovary-pumped swag" “Gucci Gucci” showed that propelled her onto the scene with? The answer lies with the 3,900 sold copies in the first week, leaving the album with the lowest amount of sold copies from a major label release in recent memory. Even though the album as a whole is lacking, there are star-studded appearances from 2 Chainz, V-Nasty, Dilpo and Kid Cudi that are somewhat enjoyable. “Breakfast” with 2 Chainz is a prime Kreayshawn track where she toasts purple people with everything from wine to swishers. V- Nasty raps on “Summertime” but the White Girl Mob duo fails to impress as a mid- September release date doesn’t seem timely for a summer jam attempt. It seems record sales don't have Kreayshawn too down, though, as her Group Hug Tour is currently on the road and possibly coming to a city near you.  - Adam D.

Wednesday

Miracle At St. Anna by James McBride

Ever get so caught up in someone else's story that you are there? You feel yourself a participant or bystander in the action. Your heart races when danger is imminent and you're awash with relief when the group reaches relative safety. James McBride's Miracle at St. Anna does just that. Descriptions of war and beauty and human suffering that can only be experienced in one's innermost parts reverberate in the mountains and foothills of the Italian landscape. The dramatic, descriptive prose manages to maintain an element of suspense that keeps the reader/partaker feeling as though the novel is perpetually leading up to something (in a good way). The Buffalo Soldiers, like McBride's proud uncle who inspired the book, aren't simply characters, they are undeniably human with flesh that wounds and bleeds red blood, hearts that pound with joy in pleasant moments and sorrow at loss, and minds that are forced by circumstance to grapple with unholy realities. Read Miracle at St. Anna and experience an oft-ignored part of the Good War.


P.S. – Then watch Spike Lee directed movie adaptation released in 2008 with the tagline - World War II has its heroes and its miracles.

Thursday

Kamikaze Picnic 93

Believe it or not, there are still a wealth of artists creating interesting, well crafted, music projects. Most times you're not aware they're available because of lack of proper promotion to compete with countless other things, vying for your attention, online and off. Kamikaze Picnic 93 deserves your undivided attention, not because its the greatest album ever recorded. Because it's not. What it is though, is a very entertaining, intelligent production that anyone with a sense of humor and or an appreciation for genuinely eclectic art offerings will dig.There are a series of life pressing issues on Junk Island, ranging from vampires sharing cells with human inmates to a 'Junk Milk' consumption epidemic. With that said, I invite you to partake in the madness. Enjoy!

Contact Kamikaze Picnic: Myspace Facebook

Sunday

The Under Dog’s Manifesto: A Guerilla Artist’s Path To Independence

Part small business basics manual, part biographical text, ‘The Under Dog’s Manifesto: A Guerilla Artist’s Path To Independence’(Published by Coffee Grind Media) provides a wealth of information to the aspiring artistprenuer or ‘anyone who’s ever felt like an underdog’ as its dedication exclaims. Very impressive is this compilation of true life experience not only from Creature its creator but also a number of successful artists in their own right that contribute real life insight, substantiating the fact that it is indeed possible to not just survive off of your art but to thrive and live well because of it. This back pocket friendly package of pulp discusses topics ranging from making a brand, to being confident in self and realizing if your skin is actually tough enough to survive the initial struggle working independently. Ultimately, it will become easier with time, experience and a bit of fine tuning.

What Dr. Spock Didn't Tell Us by B.M. Atkinson

What Dr. Spock Didn't Tell Us or A Survival Kit for Parents by B.M. Atkinson, Jr. is an entertaining list of afflictions parents and their children acquire quite naturally in the course of living. The book, replete with illustrations (by Whitney Darrow, Jr.) of the bedevilments parents can at best mentally prepare for, succinctly describes these ailments; most are a paragraph long but a few of the more complicated dis-eases take a page to fully explain. Soon-to-be parents, nervous Nellies that they sometimes are, may miss a few hours of sleep over the adroitly named memories most veterans will laugh and cry about. If any of this bedlam is in the traditional parenting books, it surely isn’t presented in such a seriously funny manner. Parents, sit down and enjoy What Dr. Spock Didn't Tell Us, you'll need all the help (and rest and laughter) you can get. If nothing else convinces you, consider the author’s explanation and the remainder of the book’s title: An encyclopedic guide to hitherto uncatalogued afflictions, aberrations, exotic diseases of the American Child. Told ya.

Thursday

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

Bird by Bird is a collected reflection on the writing process. Author Anne Lamott begins with a vignette on the origin of the writer within, then discusses writing styles while adeptly weaving in examples, writing in different instances as a child, for a child, and as an adult reflecting on childhood so her students, er, readers experience the affects of character and narrator on a story. One can appreciate the candor with which the author reveals the realities of a writer's life (although it seems more specific, perhaps a middle-class, sufficiently connected writer's life): the bumps, trips, jealousy, depressions and near breakthroughs and almost made its and little acclaim for all that effort. Though the book attempts to defy categorization, this writer has labeled it a narrative lesson plan for a writer’s workshop with real life illustrations. Lamott may be a sweet but determined gangsta issuing a thinly veiled warning to aspiring writers that this is tough work and her turf or she may be a writer with a deadline and a drawer full of notes (on writing?) jotted on index cards that, with her insistence, arranged themselves into this book.

Wednesday

True Notebooks by Mark Salzman

True Notebooks is the story of high-risk offenders in LA’s Central Juvenile Hall exposing their vulnerable selves in a writing class. This one opportunity to share their thoughts literally gives the few who attend room to breathe and a window to the sky instead of a tenebrous 10 by 12 cell abutting a brick wall. For their efforts, the prisoners unearth pain and fear and find joy and understanding. Salzman pens the sojourn without pity, emitting the raw energy of these prisoners, showing through his eyes and their voices that they are like so many teenagers we know…they think about girls incessantly, they clown around, they make mistakes, they have yet to discover their true selves. The author moves through scenes with dexterity as he shares his journey­ in a world not his own while contextualizing the stories of his students for whom life is a sentence not an abstraction and endings are rarely happy. Read True Notebooks and remember that life is less black and white but so many shades in between.

Plum Bun by Jessie Redmon Fauset

Plum Bun by Jessie Redmon Fauset is a fairy-tale-like story told in the context of the complex realities of early to mid 20th century America. Set in Philadelphia and New York City, this novel is crafted with such subtlety that the casual reader may miss the depth of knowledge and life that brims below the daintily espoused language. Although she approaches despotism at some points, the author, in the voice of the omniscient narrator, builds trust with adeptly evinced setting and insight and, at times, just as deftly misleads the reader. Minor roles are made vital when Fauset presents them with all their flaws and ornament. The word “propinquity,” employed several (or one too many) times, serves as a metaphor for the protagonist and for the novel: while close in proximity and forthright in words and deeds, both are obscured as their deeper selves remain veiled to the inattentive eye. This coming of age novel takes the structure of a nursery rhyme and fills it with the stuff of life—hope, disappointment, irony, wisdom—and reminds us that each moment of the journey is a worthwhile one.

To Market, To Market,
To Buy a Plum Bun;

Home again, Home again,

Market is done.

The Social Meaning of Language by JB Pride

The Social Meaning of Language brings together the sibling sciences—psychology, sociology, anthropology, and all their compound and hyphenated forms—to discuss linguistics as a social science or, as it is now commonly known but was still emerging as at the time of its publication in 1971, sociolinguistics. (Yes, I know. Really.) This book collects and argues the ideas of the –ologists, men today’s students might google on their smart phones just before class. It examines how and why our speech functions range from unconscious to deliberate choices as we attempt to communicate with others who interpret our coded messages as intended and sometimes in unexpected ways. This surprisingly mod little book of complex ideas is valuable as a reminder that many textbook “facts” are not so much facts as accepted notions. Ideas like multi-dialectal speakers and second language acquisition theory—current terms in the field—are postulated and countered by the originators of the conceptions and their contemporaries. Such in-depth discussion will be especially appreciated by the student seriously studying the stuff of language and the social science enthusiast (if there is such a thing). Engage your left temporal lobe and peruse The Social Meaning of Language.

Monday

Compete.com

If you're accustomed to using Alexia to determine traffic received by your website, you may want to consider a new source for that info. Compete.com is a search engine/stats monitoring system alternative for users providing an entirely different model for acquiring accurate statistical data. Unlike Alexia, Compete estimates 'complete people' as apposed to unique visitors. Stats are determined by assessing a consumer based community. No bots, spiders, agents, pingbacks or rss feeds here to contend with; just real human beings visiting your web space. Currently, Compete only monitors US traffic month to month. Alexia tracks internationally on a daily basis. But there’s much more to Compete then merely analyzing traffic. Compete informs a person searching whether or not a site is safe from spyware. It also allows them to select and compare similar sites. Compete alerts you of promo codes that some sites have, to help save you money. Their mission statement is a simple one, to ‘help create a more trusted, transparent, and valuable Internet for consumers’. Obviously they’re doing something right, they have 2 million plus active panel users. Compete uses a normalization methodology, leveraging scientific multi-dimensional scaling (by age, income, gender and geography) in other words their way of the best representation of the U.S internet population.