BLACK & WHITE

“Thus, for thousands of years human history has been a magnificently futile conflict, a wonderfully staged panorama of triumphs and tragedies based on the resolute taboo against admitting that black goes with white.” – Alan Watts 

BLACK & WHITE - CJM

By CJM

Present Meets Past

Yesterday, I had to stop for gas on the way home. I thought perhaps I could make it since my light just came on, but I didn’t want to chance anything so I got off at a spot I never do on N. Miami Avenue. I headed towards NW 36th St., the nearest station on my GPS. While pumping gas, I saw a big piece of art I haven’t seen before a block away, a huge princess with her scepter in a black & white dress spreading this purple glow around. She was taking up the entire side of the wall. I had to go take a pic. I finished pumping, drove down the block & parked. There’s lots of art all around that area, in alleys, down vacant streets, on storefronts, and it takes a while & a few visits to see it all. I’ve been capturing them here & there & creating an album. While taking a pic of the princess with purple, I turn to my right & see a purple flower right next to me. Then, I turn around and see a PRican flag waving over a restaurant I’ve never seen called El Bajareque, I parked right across from it without realizing it. I had to take a look inside. I thought I’d have an alcapurria, but the little heating box on the counter was empty. I looked over the menu & the special for Monday was Fried Pork Chops… whadda ya know, Andre’s favorite. We didn’t have plans for dinner so I ordered the chops with rice, beans, tostones, a side of mofongo, and asked how long it would take. The guy, who was super cool & very kind, told me 15 minutes. I figured I’d use the time to drive around the area and check out some more art since I was near the Wynwood Walls. I drove & walked around and took more pics & found myself walking through the Wynwood Doors, an enclosed (but outside) exhibit where all the walls are covered with different pieces, some big, some small & some huge taking up 2-3 walls. It was beautiful, and a spot I’ve yet to see and appreciate. There was so much to take in, the details in each painting. I was happy to find it without even looking for it. There were people having photo shoots, couples just hanging out, families & kids all around. Next thing I know, it’s over 30mins later so I headed back for my food, which smelled so good in the car on the entire ride home with no traffic. The cherry on top… not only was the food great, but it tasted just like my mom’s cooking… the closest I’ve had in the 8 years living in Miami. Andre agreed that if I told him my mom sent the food, he would’ve believed me. All the sudden, my detour became like a short ride back home… my dad & sister with their art, drawings & paintings all around the walls (my sister loves to paint flowers), the kids running around and my mom cooking one of our favorite meals. Everything was symbolic, near but far. Things like that tend to happen when I’m not looking for them, when I break from routine & just let myself go with the flow, uncovering the little things as I go along. My car seems to drive better, and now I have a new place to stop for gas & food on the way “home”, even if it’s a bit out the way, it’s worth the detour.
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By CJM

Sinéad O’Connor

So last night I was randomly watching the Oprah Network’s “Where Are They Now” & there was a piece with Sinéad O’Connor, who we all know & love & who many despise. She was talking about how when she was being signed the executives were very touchy & forward & tried it with her. They told her she would look better if she grew out her hair & wore shorter skirts. That’s when she went to the barber & shaved off her hair. Everything she did was in opposition to who/what they wanted to make her. She said she purposely tried to become as unattractive as she could be as a way to protect herself. I can see why she wrote that open letter to Miley about having more control, which also made her out to look bitter. Fast forward to when she ripped up the pic of the Pope. That was in response to the Catholic Church & the sex scandals & child abuse, which she experienced, but since the news wasn’t out in the U.S. yet, she just looked even crazier when lots of other people understood what she was doing. Mind you she’s a priest & very devout. They were all well aware of it in Ireland but it didn’t hit our news till later, which also shows how they censor things here in the United States, they hide shit & pick & choose what to show or distract you with & can make you believe anything they want with a News Report. And everyone is always plastered to their TV believing in the magic box! She was told that she was mentally ill & (mis)diagnosed by doctors as bipolar (which wasn’t true) & they put her on meds & purposely made her out to look insane. She also used the phrase paparazzi lynching, where they seek out these celebs & take pictures of them “breaking down” & turning it tragic & they use this & other tactics when the people rebel to discredit them & keep them down. Artists are first & foremost there to express themselves. When that form of expression is robbed & controlled, it’s easy to see why someone would lose it & act out. It’s a great reminder of how/what you perceive from watching the media & TV vs. what’s really going on. Of course she encountered controversy; she was speaking out on what she wasn’t supposed to. She wasn’t being a good girl & following directions, keeping her mouth shut & looking pretty. Instead, she was more concerned with expressing her views on organized religion, women’s rights, war & child abuse. She had a few kids which helped distract her, but she suffered a lot & now it all makes sense to me, why she was the way she was & dressed the way she did/does. So kudos to Sinéad for being true to herself & never compromising or conforming. THAT takes strength!

LADY GAGA – ARTPOP (Track by Track Review)

AURA – Sitting in the middle of a dessert with my banjo watching Kill Bill (slash that), starring in Machete Kills! Cool guitar intro into Terminator effects & edgy electronics. Do you want to me see me naked? It’s club ready, spacey, taking off to another planet. It’s perfect for the Robert Rodriguez film & I look forward to seeing the movie, as well as her acting debut. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6qXX82I-Hs

VENUS – We’re dropped off in Venus on Rocket #9 & I feel like I’m in an Austin Powers movie. I want to be taken to the leader; I hope it’s the Fembots! I love the changes in the track & the chorus. Gets a little cheesy when she’s saying all the planets, otherwise, it’s a little out there & I like it. And I do feel very Aphrodite in a seashell bikini while hearing it, or rather, a fierce spacesuit.

G.U.Y. – We’re now watching a live performance via Skype from the planet Eros, God of sexual desire… and the track is just that. Out comes the alien seductress who wants to be his GUY (Girl Under You), b/c she’s from another dimension, role playing & she wants to unearth you! It’s like an old freestyle track, with hyped electrodes & a sensual baseline.

SEXX DREAMS – Now we’re in a underground 80s house party, it’s hot & people are having naughty sex! It’s thumpy, humpy, RnB, dirty, doing nasty things & masturbating … then you’re making love to Optimus Prime… and then you wake up & realize it was all just a dream… or was it?

JEWELS N DRUGS (Feat T.I., Too Short & Twista) –ErrrrrrrrrrT! Featuring… “I’m not featuring it!” What’s this track doing here? Not Gaga at all. She obviously did this one to reach new audiences & compliment the RnB & hip hop aspect but it’s not really working… fast forward!

MANiCURE – It’s Grease & a little bit rock n roll. Is it a salon manicure, or having a man cure you? Oh it’s both? Ok, either way I’m boppin’ away & I’m addicted to love, feeling like a teen-aged cheerleader while rolling on my bed singing into my brush & kicking my feet up in the air, then trying on clothes back & forth in the mirror cause I’m feeling like a mannequin. I thought that was the name of the song & I think it would’ve better & made more sense with the cover of the album & tracks in general.

DO WHAT YOU WANT – I love the slow, deep baseline, simple, not over sung or overproduced & R. Kelly adds some flavor to it. I really can’t take him sometimes but who cares, I’m turned up in the club with a drink in my hand & taking shots in the back. This just hit the radio here in FL(we’re a little behind) & I’m sure it’ll be nice for the winter, time to make some babies. But, what was that performance on SNL?

ARTPOP – It’s grown on me & I’m really digging this Tetris track. It’s very much what she’s about & whatever theme or effect she’s giving really could mean anything if you pay more attention. Perhaps she’s becoming too artsy fartsy for some & losing a few along the way. She did a short film for this she just released yesterday & funny people ask, “What does it mean?” Well, she just told you, just like art, her art pop could mean anything.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1jHhJavMik

SWINE – This one is a bit loud & obnoxious, like the message. I like the words but not the music. She supposedly they say she wrote this for Perez Hilton. On Howard Stern interview she says how Perez was trying to get a place to live next to her & just harassing her & being mean, and lots of people think he’s a pig.

DONATELLA – It’s an upper class, rich bitch runway track… nose in the air feeling fru fru, very Miami & LA. A bit shady, yet complimentary to Ms. Versace. It’s perfect for the next show, which brings us into…

FASHION! – A throwback to David Bowie, now turn to the left, now to the right. I love this track, more in the beginning than in the end. “I own the world, we own the world!” And let’s face it, when it comes to fashion, she really is on top!

MARY JANE HOLLAND –Amsterdam truly does have the most magical herbs, I know! The track is chill, smooth, relaxed & lit up! While everyone else talks about “smoking the best shit”, she’s taking a different approach& actually picturing herself as Mary Jane Holland, a star. It’s as if you were coming into a room with a bunch of the best weed for all your friends &was like, “Ladies & Gentlemen, I present to you… MARY JANE HOLLAND!” And the crowd goes wild… cause you know now-a-days, weed is the celebrity everyone loves!

DOPE – Sounds like I’m sitting at the piano drunk as hell& I wouldn’t doubt it if she was when recorded this one, it’s pretty raw, melancholy, honest & out there. They say the references to drugs on this album prevented some moms from buying it. She pushes the vocals! She’s talking about how she needs her family, boyfriend & fans more than dope. She mentioned it on Howard Stern & I think it’s had some effects on her along the way. It explains the hurting low (inside) from being high for so long (fame& drugs). She lost lots of audience members on the YouTube Awards when she performed this live cause she got all emotional, but she sang the shit out of it, as sloppy, sad & drunk as she appeared, but in an artful &detached way. Then, she performed it again in Brooklyn at the iHeartMusic release after a few words on how she’s still dealing with things & wow, she can really fucking sing & had much more control… it was pretty dope! You can check it out here.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMyfd5w9kF8

GYPSY – She’s on a new path, out on the road, fresh, alive& looking on to the future from a new perspective. She no longer wants to be alone with the night. It also reminds me of one of my favorite movies, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” when the girls wanted to compete in the dance competition… a little flash dance & also reminds me of the studio dance scene in Marry The Night, which I keep hearing.

APPLAUSE – Now she’s back on stage & loving the applause, poking at both sides of it. She explained this one enough, it’s not about the ego of it all (but one can interpret it that way), more about how she does what she does to make people happy & that’s the end result. The video really enhanced the track & I appreciated it more after watching it. You can see the transition from leaving behind the Fame Monster & into a higher artistic form, lighter & more colorful.

Overall, she gives you a bit of everything, one track follows the other & plays along the themes of otherworldly, EDM, rock & RnB, sex, drugs & fashion, so it’s not that out there, just sounds different to lots of people b/c she’s trying to mix up so much. She admitted it was a little heavy but that was time she was going through, so you can feel the highs & lows on this album, as well as in some tracks. It’s my least favorite album from Gaga but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad one. It’s fun, upbeat, laid back & enjoyable if you give it a chance. I’ll give it a 6.5/7 out of 10 stars!

One Love,
Carlos (CJ) Mendez

Björk = Music. Art. Life.

I’m loving this new video!! She’s Earth, growing, changing, moving, erupting, resurfacing & merging to form a mutual core. “As fast as your fingernail grows, the Atlantic shift drifts.” She renews herself, counteracting the dance, the balance, and the key to our continuity. Get into all the gemstones & crystals on her lapel. Her Eurasian Plate is the tectonic plate located under her homeland of Iceland. There’s a yin & yang to everything, the feeling, the music & the video, it all comes together perfectly. Life breeds destruction breeds life, it’s a part of our rhythms & cycles, the calms & the storms. It’s deep & beautiful, as is Mother Earth. And Björk? Well… she’s just out of this world!