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jake-the-snake-roberts-interview-04

I’m late to the party on this one, but finally had time to watch ‘The Resurrection of Jake the Snake’.  There are a few documentaries about wrestlers that are legitimately great; this deserves to be added to the list.

Centered around one of the most charismatic pro wrestlers of the 80s, this doc really only uses wrestling as an entry point.  The story here is truly about a man who seems forever stuck in alcoholism and drug abuse, but who manages to turn his life and his health back to some degree of normalcy, with the support and tough love of a friend (in this case, Diamond Dallas Page).

Another icon of 90s wrestling, Scott Hall, moves into the ‘safe house’ and becomes the third piece of this story.  Knowing who these guys were professional adds another level of context, certainly, but again this is a story about brotherhood and about the people who still love you and look out for you when you’re at your lowest.

Must watch for wrestling fans.  Now streaming on Netflix.

 

billyjoel

My Discover Weekly algorithm has correctly identified me as a ‘hopeless romantic of the generation that grew up on blue eyed soul’ and today it hit me with this gem.

Enjoy!

 

kareem

Quite a month for me.

A sports fan dream weekend (minus the actual game) and time spent with two legendary fan bases.  An Indian mendhi and a Muslim wedding in Pasadena.  A black church funeral in Inglewood.  Even by my normal standards, I think it’s very possible I touched on every single element of my personal identity the past few weekends.  It’s been a wild stretch.

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You can’t be all things to all people (and you really shouldn’t even try.)  But I take a lot of pride in the bonds I’ve made and nurtured over a lifetime, all without crossing over to the point of being phony.  And having said that, I know there are still people who I don’t see enough of.  And there are still relationships I’m actively looking to create.  As my comic book alter ego could be described, I can be ‘comfortably alone but never lonely.’

mendhi2

The end of the ‘Malik Fall Tour 2016’ has been an unplanned but welcome visit from my father.  When he arrived, I asked him what restaurant in L.A. he wanted to go to, and naturally he chose Popeye’s.  As we ate in comfortable silence, ‘Let It Be’ came over the restaurant’s loudspeakers.  It drew an amused smile out of me.

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I infamously and truthfully spent years putting other things in front of my health and my personal life.  A job that would ‘change everything’, the next big party, the next object of my lust, the next ‘you only live once’ experience.  And I own all of it.

But it seems even before I course corrected, I was a ‘good enough’ dude to build these meaningful relationships to carry me through my adult life.  I’m reminded often that ‘having people’ is not any kind of a given.  I won’t detail any of it here other than to say I’ve been humbled to the core of my being repeatedly over the past month by those who think the highest of me.  If anything can describe why I push myself the way that I do, it’s because I don’t always feel like I am this person that my loved ones describe me to be, but I’m trying to live up to what they see in me.

(Is that real enough for you?)

Onward and Upward.

 

supercat-2

The weekend. Need I say more?

Enjoy!

 

 

kaep

 

 

raylamon

Still in a family state of mind, I pulled today’s choice right off the #g5qs playlist.

Enjoy!

 

 

royayers

Still in the middle of one of those non-stop stretches of life.  I’d like to ease into the week musically.  Is that alright?

Thank you.  Enjoy.

 

‘Queen of Katwe’

 

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You know how sometimes, something can feel too good to be true, so you underplay your hopes for it?  When I first heard David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong’o were doing a movie directed by Mira Nair about the true story of the young girl from Uganda who became a chess champion, I muted my expectations. Not because I didn’t want it to be good, but you know, you don’t want to be disappointed either.

‘Queen of Katwe’ does not disappoint.

In this film adaptation, Oyelowo takes on the role of the teacher who discovers then nurtures the talents of the children from Katwe as they learn and eventually represent Uganda in tournaments around the continent (and eventually the world).  Lupita plays the mother of the main character.

If you’re a fan of Mira Nair (as I am, I loved ‘the Namesake’), this film carries her mark.  The characters feel like three dimensional people with flaws, none of the people we cheer for as an audience are perfect;  no one standing in the way of the journey is a one note ‘evil’ person.  And as a viewer, you become immersed in the culture of the story.

Which brings me back to my original hopes and fears.  David expressed it best in the Q&A after the screening I attended, but it’s worth noting.  To have the biggest studio in the world put out a movie by a female director with no major white characters, starring two Africans, with an unknown African girl playing the main character…it just doesn’t happen, ever.  The fact that the film is a good, entertaining family film is a nice cherry on top, of course.  But in just about every way possible, this is why representation matters.

‘Queen of Katwe’ opens nationwide on the 30th, definite recommend here.

 

e-vogue

It’s the weekend!

One of my all time favorite ‘morning after’ stories (which I swear is not from my youth) is centered around someone getting up Saturday morning and hearing this on their answering machine/voicemail.

I’ll stop there and conclude with the moral of the story: enjoy yourself but be smart (and treat people well.)

Enjoy!

Batman: the Telltale Game

 

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First and foremost, it’s not the Arkham series.  That’s still the standard for Batman (and probably all superhero) games.

But Batman: the Telltale Series is great in all the ways that it’s different.  It’s not a button masher at all, but still very much a Batman game.

The beauty of this game is in how it makes you consider the ramification for each aspect of the character.  What type of Dark Knight are you?  A completely psychopathic ‘beat all criminals to near death’ like Batfleck, or do you see the Dark Knight as more of a symbol and a scare tactic like Malik Aziz?

Then there’s the public persona of Bruce Wayne.  Do you carry yourself like an oddball recluse like Michael Keaton, or do you lean more into the pretentious, flippant guy in the Armani suits who has a taste for beautiful women, like Malik Aziz?

And there’s the aspect the movies rarely dig deep into: the legacy/relationship of the Wayne family to Gotham.  You’re the oldest of old money.  Your parents were well known philanthropists.  As the last standing Wayne, did your parents’ murder make you into an idealist like Batman Begins Christian Bale? Or are you a pragmatist who understands how the sausage gets made on the highest levels, like Malik Aziz?

The game branches out based on the choices you make, Choose Your Adventure style.  It’s a mental exercise in making important choices on instinct and dealing with the ramifications (like life), not a brawler.  (So you can’t really ‘die’ as much as not finish fights as quickly.  Not like you’d lose anyway, you’re Batman right?)

High recommend here.  Must play if you’re a Dark Knight fan.