Friday, July 3, 2015

The Million Year Trip (Vol. 25): When Love Walks In the Room, Everybody Stand Up…!

These are the songs I played from 2:00pm-4:00pm during my DJ show The Million Year Trip on Sunday, June 28th on CHIRP Radio. The show was put together in honor of Pride Weekend, which was being celebrated across the country. [Artist, “Song” (Album)]…

The Pretenders, “Message of Love” (Pretenders II)
New Order, “World in Motion”
King, “Love and Pride” (Steps in Time)
Duke Ellington, “Chelsea Bridge” (Masterpieces 1926-1949)
Indigo Girls, “Closer to Fine” (Indigo Girls)
De Lux, “Living in an Open Place” (Generation)
Jonah Parzen-Johnson, “I Wrote a Story About You, Without You” (Remember When Things Were Better Tomorrow)
[CHICAGO BAND!] Sewingneedle, “scotch ale” (Vote of No Confidence)
Van McCoy and the Soul City Symphony, “The Hustle” (Disco Baby)
[CHICAGO BAND!] The Shifties, “Universe” (Western Automatic)
Lapalux, “Puzzle” (Lustmore)
Azealia Banks, “Idle Delilah” (Broke with Expensive Taste)
James Brown, “Say It Loud (I'm Black and I'm Proud), Pt. 1” (Say It Loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud)
Public Enemy, “Revolutionary Generation” (Fear of a Black Planet)
The Clash, “Revolution Rock” (London Calling)
Zomes, “Fieldplay” (Near Unison)
Elton John, “Little Jeannie” (21 at 33)
Martha & the Vandellas, “Dancing in the Street” (Dance Party)
FFS, “Save Me From Myself” (FFS)
Son Lux, “This Time” (Bones)
[CHICAGO ARTIST!] Jennifer Hall, “Would You Walk Away” (Jennifer Hall EP)
Sylvester, “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)
” (Step II)
[CHICAGO BAND!] Groove Witness, “Below” (Wandering Soul)
Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans, “Zip-A-Dee-Doh-Dah”
[CHICAGO ARTIST!] Frankie Knuckles, “The Whistle Song”

I'll be back on the air Sunday July 5th from 2:00pm to 4:00pm with another set of great music...check it out on CHIRP Radio!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

I Hate Politics: Pluto in Capricorn

I dabble in astrology. It's a fun way to think about life and look at the connections between mankind and the universe. An interesting planetary transit that's happening now is Pluto (the planet of ultimate destruction that leads to new beginnings) moving through Capricorn (the astrological sign of work, business, structure, organization, and achievement).

Ever since this astrological phase began, we've seen fundamental upheaval in what we assumed were rock-solid institutions. Anywhere you look you find orthodoxies being altered, challenged, abandoned, or openly questioned. It's not just protesters marching in the streets. Civic and cultural institutions (governments, newspapers, universities, banks, corporations, the military, The Catholic church, the Boy Scouts, the National Football League, FIFA) are being transformed left and right, facing fundamental questions about their existence and, in some cases, disappearing entirely.

The wave of actions by businesses and governments against the tradition of displaying the Confederate battle flag in the wake of the Charleston AME church tragedy and this week's Supreme Court decisions regarding health care and gay marriage are further examples of how the ground is shifting underneath our feet in real time. For some, this change will provoke backlash, some of which will be violent. For the rest of us, this is America achieving its purpose, which is progress.

Pluto entered Capricorn in 2008 (the historic year Barrack Obama was elected President of the United States) and will be in Capricorn until 2024. We're far from done with massive change. Despite what your local Conservative thinks, that's a good thing.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Marxist Movie Reviews 06: The French Connection

Welcome to Marxist Movie Reviews, a series that attempts to look at modern and classic films from the perspective of what they say about society and social conflict. This kind of analysis can provide anyone who enjoys movies with insights into the messages they deliver.

The Basic Plot: New York cop Popeye Doyle (Gene Hackman) is on the trail of a massive heroin smuggling operation, and will stop at nothing to get the bad guys.

The Best Part(s): Gene Hackman's performance, William Friedkin's directing

Stories about 1960s and '70s New York City cops are legendary, and almost all of them involve corruption and wrongdoing (The Al Pacino film Serpico takes this subject head on). This movie, the first R-Rated film to win an Academy Ward for Best Picture, takes the concept to the extreme by allowing the audience to follow a cop who's so deep into his job he's willing to break any number of rules and procedures to get his man.

Far from being the one to "Protect and Serve," Doyle prowls through the urban jungle like a wildcat, walking over or through anyone in his path, even if they're civilians. ESPECIALLY if they're civilians. The action scenes are exciting, but made me realize that the general public would have been better protected if the cops let the drug dealers go, rather than be subjugated to the violence and corruption involved in the case. In sum, while this movie is at the top of the grime thriller genre that's well worth your time to see, it paints a disturbing picture of law-enforcement agency that's out of control in its methods, and God help any innocent bystanders who happen to get in the way. Parallels to recent real-life events all over the country involving bad cops are inevitable.

My Rating: 8/10 ("Really Liked It")

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Stick This In Your MP3 Player: "The Thick of It" by Broke Royals

I like this Pop-Rock song's Coldplay-meets-The-Shins vibe. In the wrong hands, it runs the risk of blowing away or washing out, but this band has a solid grip on the music despite being relatively new on the scene. I'm looking forward to hearing more from them.


(audio source courtesy of Magnet Magazine)

Monday, June 29, 2015

I See a (Swedish) Ship...

This is a picture I took of a doorway mural outside of Svea restaurant in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago in 2008. It's beautiful work. I haven't been over lately to see if it's still there, but I'm pretty sure it is. Andersonville really is a wonderful neighborhood. Its Swedish heritage/flair is icing on the cake.