There are many different adaptations to the Alraune story of a ravenous woman. My favorite, hands down, comes from Eros Comix. The brief series follows Dinah, a gorgeous black woman that becomes cursed with an insatiable appetite for sex. Dinah must figure out how this curse was placed on her and whether or not she really wants to be freed of it.

I think the fact that I don’t usually stumble upon black adult comics very often is why this stands out for me. What a sexy, smart, and flat out FUN series. If you happen across any of the issues, allow for some ‘alone time’.

Thievery Corporation - The Cosmic Game

Making electronic music that doesn’t fall out of the cookie cutter format is tough. When you deal with dance beats, eventually the noise becomes all too familiar. Thievery Corporation has a unique sound that leaves the listener in a relaxed rage. No, that’s not a typo. Their album, ‘The Cosmic Game’ is best served mid-evening, after a good smoke.

Prepare for socially conscious (yet not overbearing) lyrics like:
We are eternal, made of the creator/ Won’t fall to the soul-less devastators/Divide and conquer, try to separate us/ Up to this day, them still try to rape us
From Warning Shots

The paradox of poverty has left us dismayed/Sliding democracy, washing away/The toil of the many goes to the fortunate few/The revolution solution, oh I’ve come to join you
From Revolution Solution

I never thought politically correct could be so downright sexy……

Amerimacka…..Oh what a beautiful life/Amerimacka…..Is like licking honey off a knife
From Amerimacka

Padre @ Pianos in NYC 5/26

From the lyrical content of Padre’s Left In A Trade it’s obvious the group is a little different from your normal indie rock bands. Who else writes about the transgendered? The group opened Saturday’s show with a song, “Rumors of Recovery,” that included that very topic in its first line, and lead singer Eli Kaplan used his full range of facial expressions to both further illustrate the lyrics and play to the crowd. Kaplan made sure the group’s 45 minute set was full of good times for the entire audience, taking time between songs to speak with the crowd, and at other times to tell us “the floor right by the stage is lonely and wants someone to stand on it” as a way to get people off the wall in the sweaty Pianos performance space and up closer to the stage. It’s always great to see a talented artist having fun while performing and in Padre the audience had the pleasure of seeing just that. It was definitely a great way to spend a Saturday night.


The Measure Of A Man by Sidney Poitier

‘The Measure Of A Man’ isn’t a self absorbed autobiography of an individual that’s accomplished much and chooses to assault us with his greatness. Sidney Poitier of course, is well aware of his contributions to the art of film, playing in a number of pieces with controversial topics that were far more then simply influential on life beyond the silver screen. Indeed, he’s modest to an extent. The most endearing segments of his story are the ones told about his early life as a child on ‘Cat Island’ in the Bahamas. A consistent theme in the book is how his training for survival as a youth on the island was revisited during various moments of significance throughout his seventy plus years. In my opinion the most important concept discussed is one of self analysis that ties directly into self responsibility along with the importance of family. Sidney Poitier covers so much to be considered in this ‘spiritual autobiography’. A great read written by an equally great man.


Chapped Hands Remedy

Guys, there is no reason to neglect your hands. Furthermore, there's absolutely nothing wrong with an occasional manicure (no clear polish!). While you contemplate, I have one suggestion for repairing those moisture deficient digits and that cuticle mess you call manly. C.O. Biglelow Apothecaries, a company established way back in 1838 has developed a lotion called, ‘Chapped Hands Remedy’ for the likes of you. Deemed, ‘The Ultimate Medicated Skin Protectant For All-Year Round Use’ by Bigelow, after personally sampling it at Bath & Body Works, I’d have to concur. At $14.00 for a 1.7 oz tube, the price is well worth it for transforming iguana textured skin into silky smooth (but still strong and masculine) hands that your lady of interest will appreciate and enjoy touching her special and equally silken, sensitive areas.


Dungen - Tio Bitar

Although I may require Pimsleur’s assistance (no need for channeling the dead, there are language tapes available) to decipher the lyrics of Swedish rocker Gustav Ejstes, I’ll gladly take the lessons. 'Tio Bitar', sounds like a crispy, vintage recording pulled from a time capsule buried deep beneath the soil, round nineteen sixty-something. I feel trippy-meadows, grass leaking dew suspiciously-suspect and I need a pair of the darkest shades ever made because that fireball in the sky is working overtime. I like the vibe, dig the frequencies throughout. Ten solid tracks and there’s no filler. Think I’ll skip Pim's method though and find a curvy, Swedish gal to help work the kinks outtah my lumbar region while 'En Gång I År Kom Det en Tår' plays just loud enough in the background from my refurbished Hi Fi.

Official Website http://www.dungen-music.com/


Tales of Eternia - PSP Game

For those that have been wondering why Sony has not released any real quality role playing games (RPGs) for its Playstation Portable system (PSP), well look no further. Tales of Eternia is your answer. Unfortunately this game has not been released in the US, only in the UK and Japan. So you will have to get a copy on Ebay or by other means. Good thing that the PSP is region free, meaning that you can play any Universal Media Disc (UMD) from any country. What makes Tales of Eternia stand out amongst other RPGs is the style of fighting, called 'linear motion battle system'. This basically means that you can cast spells and fight in real time within a 2D side-scrolling environment, kind of like Street Fighter. This makes for exciting battles with various types of enemies as you progress throughout the game. One can end Tales of Eternia in under 50 hours, but if you want to get the full experience - I would say 90 plus hours... easy.

Check out the official site at:


ART Studio V3 Mic Preamp

I'm of the opinion that more bang for the buck cannot be found in a mic preamp. This little unit provides an easy interface from microphone to recording device--be it a computer, a 4-track cassette machine, a digital multi-track, whatever... It's really simple to use and it sounds much better than just plugging the mic straight into whatever you're recording on. There’s a "Voicings" knob that slightly modifies the characteristics of the sound, and the settings are marked for what the manufacturer thinks the settings are good for, but my advice is just tweak it and stop when you like the sound. You can crank the input knob and push in the +20 gain button to get some seriously gritty sounds or back them off and it's crystal clear. I've found this little box to be invaluable, and frankly better sounding and more versatile than similar offerings from other manufacturers. For $70 brand new, there is simply no better way to make your microphones sound better.


The Love Kills Theory - Happy Suicide Jim

Remember when there was this funky little thing called alt-rock? The Love Kills Theory sure does and they’ve created an album, Happy Suicide Jim, that illustrates what can be done with alternative music when musicians get experimental with both their instrumentation and their songwriting. Happy Suicide Jim is a throwback to that small blip on the rock scene during the 90’s when the music was interesting and as a whole the album is a welcome addition to the current music scene. The impressive songwriting of Happy Suicide Jim is also featured in the liner notes with the inclusion of all the lyrics. The Love Kills Theory will definitely appeal to those who remember when listening to the radio meant hearing an impressive mix of music (so basically those folks who are 25 and up), but they’re also a worthwhile listen for anyone who might be interested in hearing what would have happened if a certain small sector of the 90’s music scene had been given the opportunity to fully mature.

Joey Ramone Birthday Bash 2007

My ears are still ringing (I really should have remembered my earplugs!), but what a show it was on Saturday, May 19th. The 2007 edition of the annual Joey Ramone Birthday bash / lymphoma benefit featured a handful of rock icons, tons of old Ramones footage, and a lot of positive vibes. Slinky Vagabond, a band created by Keanan Duffty that’s comprised of him, Glen Matlock from the Sex Pistols, Clem Burke from Blondie, and Earl Slick from David Bowie’s touring band, made their world debut and The New York Dolls headlined the evening with an hour long set. David Johansen and crew are fantastic live performers and it’s great to see a trailblazing band from the 70’s still creating great music all these years later. A New York Dolls show should be required viewing for any rock band, or musical artist from any genre for that matter. Overall it was a fantastic show and a fantastic night in support of a very worthy cause on what would have been Joey Ramone's 56th birthday.

Theory Hazit - Extra Credit

In the past year or so Hip-Hop Is Music has been at the forefront of releasing Hip-Hop albums that have a positive vibe. Theory Hazit in the next in line for the label and his album, Extra Credit, is yet another example of what an MC can do if he puts his mind to attempting to create a better society. Theory Hazit admits he’s made mistakes in his life, speaks openly about them, never attempting to make any excuses, only explaining how doing certain things hurt his ability to do what he really wanted in life. The album isn’t all doom and gloom, however, there are a lot of fun songs on Extra Credit, as well, making it a complete Hip-Hop album that one can listen to from start to finish without skipping a track, and since it’s on Hip-Hop Is Music you can rest assured knowing you can play it in front of kids. We need more artists like Theory Hazit and more labels like Hip-Hop Is Music.

KRS-ONE and Marley Marl – Hip-Hop Lives

Who would have ever thought these two would get together and make an album? I guess it’s true what they say, time heals all wounds. KRS-One and Marley Marl, two of Hip-Hop’s greats, coming together for an album should be regarded as a landmark. Sadly, due to a lack of history, many current Hip-Hop fans might not understand why this is important. The dynamic duo feuded for 20 years, but they’ve managed to squash the issues they had with each other and the album they created, Hip-Hop Lives, is a testament to what Hip-Hop can be. There’s everything from education, to history, to just straight raw skills as both KRS-ONE and Marley Marl prove that age doesn’t have to be an issue in Hip-Hop. It seems every few years KRS does this, releases another album to remind folks that he should still, even all these years later, be listed in everybody’s top ten MCs of all time. Hip-Hop Lives is simply dope Hip-Hop.

Cashis – The Country Hound EP

We’re often told not to judge a book by its cover. One can, however, oftentimes judge an album by its track listing. Chashis’ The Country Hound EP is one of those albums as it features song titles such as “That Nigga A Gangsta,” “Gun Rule,” and “Pistol Poppin.” The Shady Records artist racks up a huge body count for a seven song album and seems completely devoid of any positive thoughts whatsoever. At one point he says a line about police killing blacks, but it’s only after he himself has committed numerous black on black crimes in his music. Cashis will be positioned as the next 50 Cent, but he’s nowhere near him in terms of charisma or talent. After all the violence that’s happened in Eminem’s life over the past few years, most of which he mentions on his guest spot on “Pistol Poppin,” it’s truly a shame he’s pushing yet another artist who glorifies gun violence.


Millers Crossing

I have been a fan of Joel and Ethan Coen since ‘Blood Simple’. ‘Fargo’ may have won the Oscar but ‘Millers Crossing’ is their best flick hands down.

Tom Reagan (played brilliantly by Gabriel Byrne) finds himself playing both sides of a gang war during the prohibition era. Veteran actor Albert Finney is Leo O’Bannon, an old school Irish boss that runs an entire town; from owning the mayors office and police department to having other mobsters pay him kickbacks to stay in business. The underrated Jon Polito is Giovanni ‘Johnny Casper’ Gasparo, an Italian boss that is tired of answering to Leo and thinks he can a win a war against him. This is classic noir and told so well, even people not familiar with the genre will develop a great appreciation and respect for the style. This flick is perfect from the cinematography, set design, to dialogue. You get so caught up in the double crosses, you almost forget to laugh when you hear a great line………and of those there are plenty.

I’ll never be able to say enough great things about Gabriel’s performance. Our hero has the weight of the world on his shoulders but you’d never know it. Tom stays cool in every scenario he's in and you’re left in awe at his ability to play people. This is one for the collection.

The Losers’ Club by Richard Perez

The Losers’ Club takes place in 1990’s NYC, the East Village to be exact, and is the tale of Martin Sierra, a down on his luck writer who has a day job he’s not very fond of and a love life that borders on the non-existent. Martin has been trying his hand at the personals and although the responses are few and far between he has made some friends and gone on some dates because of his ad. The Losers’ Club chronicles those evenings out with his personal ad dates and his life as a struggling writer in NYC looking for not necessarily love, but simply someone he can connect with. Easy to read and thought provoking, The Losers’ Club keeps you rooting for Martin Sierra, all the while giving quite a bit of insight into the life of a creative person. The complete restored edition also features an interview with the author.


Fishbone – Still Stuck In Your Throat

A lot of people like their ska with a bit of an edge and Fishbone has been fulfilling those people’s needs for nearly 30 years. This year they’re back with another collection of songs where partying is most definitely the M.O. The album even features one song, “Party With Saddam,” that implies if we could all just have a good time together there wouldn’t be any more conflicts in the world. It’s a bit of a utopian ideal, but it’s one that illustrates perfectly what the band is all about. The music on Still Stuck In Your Throat ranges from smooth, more reggae influenced, songs to ultra fast rock tunes. Fishbone doesn’t make the type of albums you’d put on as background music for your next cocktail party, they make the type of albums you crank up until the neighbors complain. Still Stuck In Your Throat is exactly in that vein.

Gothic Vampires From Hell

Everyone trying to get on the music industry has felt at some point in time that it was run by vampires. Of course, folks say this in a metaphorical sense, but in Gothic Vampires From Hell it becomes quite literal as we follow four musicians attempting to navigate their way from bar band to world success but are confronted with the calamity of having a record label run by actual vampires (and sexy vamps at that!). The production value of Gothic Vampires From Hell leaves much to be desired (and we’ll ignore the fact that the band somehow became signed to a label without signing a contract), BUT, that being said, the lack of a budget can create some fantastic drinking games (take a shot whenever you hear a witch’s cackle from the 50’s during a scene where a female vamp is getting her suck on, or whenever you see one of the pumps spilling blood out of a character, and you should have a nice buzz by the end of the 90 minutes). A large plus is that Gothic Vampires From Hell is backed by a killer soundtrack, so the combination of good tunes and slight cheese makes for a fun viewing experience.

Gil Scott-Heron – The Paris Concert

There’s not much new that can be said about the legendary Gil Scott-Heron. He’s an artist who hasn’t really received the accolades he probably deserves, but in the pantheon of music history there are few greater. With his Paris Concert DVD fans get a chance to see two hours of live footage from a show he performed at New Morning back in July of 2001. The date of the show is interesting being that songs such as “Work For Peace” and “There’s A War Going On” took on whole new meanings only a few short months later after the acts of 9/11. At only 13 songs in length one might wonder how Scott-Heron manages to create a two hour show, but he does so with aplomb. This is an example of a veteran in his element. That statement not only applies to Scott-Heron, but also his entire band, who gets plenty of time to jam with solos of their own. Sadly, Scott-Heron was sent to jail shortly after this show for a cocaine possession charge, and after serving that sentence he would return to jail in 2006 on a similar infraction. He is eligible for parole in July of this year. Genius usually comes with a fatal flaw. His flaws have been revealed through his legal troubles. Let his genius be seen through his performances. The Paris Concert is great viewing for music fans of all ages.

Gil Scott-Heron – The Paris Concert will be available June 5th.


Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat

In the simplest of terms, ‘Breath, Eyes, Memory’ is a coming of age story. Sophie, born in a poor rural section of Haiti, is raised by her grandmother and Aunt. Her mother lives in New York, trying to make a better life for herself and her family by sending money back home. Sophie is 12 when her mother summons her to New York.

I can’t begin to imagine what it must be like to leave everything you are familiar with and be expected to slip right in to a new culture (that should but won’t accept you). This was not an easy read. While most coming of age story focus on one life changing event, this story tackles the issues of culture change, rape, mental health, and trying to assimilate while holding on to tradition. What made me love this book is the fact that Edwidge didn’t shy away from any of the taboo subjects. Sophie had to endure the humiliation of being ‘tested’ every month. A process where her mother inserts a finger in her vaginal opening to make sure she is still a virgin. Sophie’s mother is jealous that her daughter has not suffered as she has and attempts to thwart any happiness Sophie comes across. This book is raw and real, it ain’t no fairy tale.......so don’t bother looking for the happy ending.

The Police: Message in a Box

The Police.

My favorite Rock 'n Roll band. Period. This box set contains everything they've ever recorded, includes a few B sides, and live performances. During a time when aggression ruled the UK airwaves (Sex Pistols etc etc ), The Police burst on the scene with a mixture of reggae and jazz influenced melodic pop. Their lyrics were honest, playful, and socially conscious. The song 'Driven To Tears' speaks to a growing selfish society that has to be informed when they should be outraged. As you listen through the CD's you will here the bands sound progress, mature, and reach it's peak with 'Synchronicity', which would be there last studio album. After 20 years out of the limelight, they're touring again. They wouldn't be able to sell out every show if they didn't have the goods to back it up. The Police may not be as readily recognizable as The Rolling Stones but their talent is on par (if not better in my opinion).


The Hip-Hop Project

The Hip-Hop Project is the latest in a long line of Hip-Hop documentaries. This one follows Chris “Kazi” Rolle in his quest to both work within the arts scene in New York City and point Hip-Hop in a more creative direction. Starting as a group of kids simply wanting to be involved in rap music, The Hip-Hop Project didn’t set out just to create a group, but rather took years to develop the artists involved and really make them complete MCs rather than one dimensional rappers. The film goes in depth with Kazi and two members of the group, Princess and Cannon, illustrating how everyone has their own struggles and no matter how unique those struggles may be, be they teen abortion (Princess), abandonment (Kazi), or the loss of a loved one and subsequent attempted eviction (Cannon), in the end they act as a common bond that unites us all. The growth these young artists go through in the film is impressive and shows that with a little bit of work, and a little bit of introspection, rap music can be just as strong as ever. Inspiring as a whole, The Hip-Hop Project is worth your time.

For more information check out: www.hiphopproject.com.

Other People’s Property by Jason Tanz

There have been a lot of books written about Hip-Hop but Jason Tanz’s Other People’s Property: A Shadow History of Hip-Hop in White America, takes on the subject from a completely new angle, namely how whites have been influenced by Hip-Hop and how Hip-Hop has been influenced by whites. Tanz starts this task by drawing on his own experiences to investigate the complete white impact, what it means, and how it’s created a litany of subgenres in the culture. Other People’s Property includes a number of diverse stories, including one of a breakdancer who rides the train into a Connecticut suburb to teach kids both how to break and the history of breaking, a chapter that revolves around radio and rap music being delivered to the masses in Wisconsin, and a look at the emergence of white suburban gangsters. The writing style of Other People’s Property is very fluid and easy to read. Tanz interjects a good amount of humor where appropriate, as well, for instance when he writes of one rapper in particular he says “you would have heard him recount his many sexual exploits, including the fact that – and I’m sorry to be the one to have to tell you this – he has had sex with your mother.” This book is for everyone in Hip-Hop, especially those who are worried that what happened to jazz will happen to Hip-Hop. Other People’s Property tackles all the issues and helps complete Hip-Hop’s current story, making it a must read.


Hip-Hop Japan by Ian Condry

Ian Condry did a painstaking amount of research for Hip-Hop Japan, which covers a lot of bases and covers them well. One of the most interesting debates in the book involves the concept of keeping it real. Since we’re in America we have our American version of it, but in Japan they have groups with two differing opinions on the subject, one feeling keeping it real means keeping it American Hip-Hop and staying true to its roots, while the other feels keeping it real refers to the idea of keeping it Japanese and true to one’s own essence. Another interesting item in Hip-Hop Japan is that MCs are taking on the Japanese government which has adjusted history books in an attempt to create a more patriotic country. Hip-Hop Japan also covers the typical battles between commercial and underground, going pop and staying Hip-Hop, and the added struggle for female artists to try to get on. The lone issue I had with the book is that the language used in it doesn’t make for easy reading. You really have to concentrate as the author uses, in my opinion, far too many SAT words and not enough universal language, which is ironic since the entire idea of the book involves globalization. That being said, for anyone interested in how Hip-Hop arrived, spread, and is currently treated, in Japan this is a very informative read.


Screaming Masterpiece

With the exception of Bjork and a few others Iceland hasn’t brought a ton of musical artists to the American mainstream. The country, however, is a hotbed for unique musical talent. Screaming Masterpiece chronicles that Icelandic talent and the recent history of Iceland’s music scene. Live performance clips are interspersed with interviews with prominent artists and some beautiful shots of the country. Many of the artist interviews revolve around the music while others speak about one of the constant underlying themes of the music while Bjork and a few others address the question of nationality and what it really means to be Icelandic. Multiple genres of music are covered in this 80 minute ride through country that seems to be looking to discover itself through their music.


DJ Meddafore: Let ‘Em Know 8

Even though the compact disc is a technology that is universally hailed as better than its predecessor, the cassette tape, mixtape DJs, at least the creative types, can still find using CDs limiting as compared to their stop, rewind and fast-forward forefathers. Back in the cassette tape days Hip-Hop DJ’s created mixes where one side would be one form of music and the other side would be something completely different. For some it would be Dance / Hip-Hop, for others it would be Hip-Hop / R&B, whatever it was it’s infinitely harder to do it on a CD. Philly’s mixtape king, DJ Meddafore, has taken a crack at it, though, with Let ‘Em Know 8, which features 30 tracks, starting with 18 Hip-Hop and closing with 11 R&B. The Hip-Hop side featured Mistah F.A.B.’s instructional track that utilizes the classic Ghostbusters theme and teaches listeners how to ghost ride, while the R&B side features the J. Valentine standout “Church Girl.” Overall Meddafore does an admirable job of attempting to bring back some variety to the mixtape scene. Here’s hoping future Let ‘Em Know efforts also exhibit such musical diversity.

Let ‘Em Know 8 is available now at meddafore.com/store.htm.

Crackheads Gone Wild 2

Let it be known there isn’t very much “wild” about Crackheads Gone Wild 2. There is, however, quite a lot of depressing footage of folks thinking they’re normal when they’re clearly on drugs. Though the voiceovers are at times, very rare times, funny, the main point of this film seems to be to show how delusional a drug addict can get. You have wannabe rappers of all types, people convinced they aren’t an addict because of the few things they claim they won’t do for crack, and some folks who can barely stand they’re so high. Crackheads Gone Wild 2 has the occasional enjoyable moment but at the end of the DVD you’ll more than likely just be depressed that people can live that way and slightly disgusted at yourself if you laughed at a few too many of the scenes.