Happy New Year!

From the entire UR familia, we want to wish you a grand ol' happy new year. Leave 2011 behind and focus on all of the good that 2012 has to bring. Be safe tonight and enjoy!


Most Played in 2011

It is always interesting to see what people were listening to the most over the course of the year. Of course, this is just a small sampling of friends-to-UR but it is nice to see that no one repeated each others' choices. We rock.

All of the Lights ~Kanye West [Mooks]
Someone to Love Me ~Mary J Blige ft Diddy + Lil Wayne [The Way of the Id]
Wake Up Alone ~Amy Winehouse [MissDTM]
Shiraz ~Action Bronson [Jayare]
F*ck You ~Cee Lo [pemora]
La Cura ~Frankie Ruiz [paj1]
Give Me Everything ~Pitbull ft Ne-yo + Afrojack [DJ Shakez]
Midnight City ~M83 [Pete]
I'm On One ~Dj Khaled ft. Drake, Rick Ross + Lil Wayne [Kev from BK]
Ni**as in Paris ~Jay-z + Kanye [dough]
So Hard ~Joell Ortiz [IMTHATDUDE]



(the stream of consciousness review)
Brutal sexual contact (the kind that makes Tom Dubois from the Boondocks stay on the straight and narrow path), revenge, violence, serial killers, Nazis, graphic female nudity, thin bisexual “Emo” chicks, car/motorcycle chase(s), and the overarching theme of a whodunit - combine to form the American adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s “thriller” The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Sorry, Stieg. I gave the book a shot, but I was bored well into the book and you only get between 50-75 pages to pique my interest. FAIL. Some 30 million copies later, I doubt you’re looking for the approval of ThatDude – but you should be. For those who haven’t read the book (again, I have a copy, if you need it), I hear that it really picks up after the first 100 pages; I just don’t give a Swedish fish. I’m onto the next one.
Inevitably, people compare the American adaptation to the original Swedish version. Conventional wisdom says that I should do the same. Nah, homey. This is America! I aint gotta do nuthin but eat Wendy’s and complain about politicians & “smart” phones. Forget the Swedish version. We got stars like Daniel Craig, Christopher Plummer, Joely Richardson, and Rooney Mara - plus we’ve got the genius of David Fincher at the helm. Who’d they have? Roomi something and Nyqvist… Nyquil… whatever. When it comes to movies, America could tell the rest of the world what Harpo said in The Color Purple “dis here our juke joint!”

David Fincher (Fight Club, The Social Network) - Director
Steven Kaillan (Schindler’s List, American Gangster) - Writer
Stieg Larsson (Dragon Tattoo Series) – Source Writer
Rooney Mara (The Social Network) – Lisbeth Salander – the Girl with the Dragon Tat
Daniel Craig (Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace) – Mikael Blomkvist
Christopher Plummer (Priest, Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus) – Henrik Vanger
Stellan Skarsgard (Thor, Melancholia*) – Martin Vanger
Robin Wright (The Conspirator**, Moneyball) – Erika Bergman
Joely Richardson (The Patriot, TV’s Nip/Tuck) – Anita Vanger
* Aside: Melancholia was depressing, beautifully shot, and a definite competitor for one of the not so good Shammi Awards – so very overhyped.
**Bside: Fellow history-buffs – pick up the Conspirator when you get a chance. Sure, it’s preachy (it’s a Robert Redford flick), but it’s pretty good too.

Blomkvist (Craig) is retained by Henrik Vanger (Plummer) to help him find out which one of his psychotic family members killed his beloved granddaughter some 40-ish years ago. This same killer has sadistically been tormenting Henrik annually since the girl was killed. Blomkvist, an embattled reporter, in turn hires the crafty waif-like super-emo investigator, Lisbeth Salander (Mara) to help him “catch a killer of women.” Lisbeth, an adult ward of the state, is a bit touched herself (you don’t find out the genesis of her psychosis until the sequel), but let’s just say, this poor woman has had a rough like verging on torture porn. She’s like a Swedish-Precious but with access to mad doe (of the non edible variety) and in dire need of a hamburger.
Rooney Mara was AWESOME. Shammi Award worthy, fo sho’, but the rest of the film was underwhelming. Let me say that again, ROONEY MARA was AWESOME! There’s a lot that could and should have made the cutting room floor. I’m not a “purist” when it comes to books. If you want all the stuff that’s in the book, read the damned book again. I think books are books and movies are movies – some things do not translate.
While Stieg’s book may have been literary brilliance, the movie is not the film equivalent. Fincher strikes an appropriate tone for the content, but overall The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is like a mash-up of a Troublemaker and Vivid Entertainment film. Translation: It’s a mash-up of Quentin Tarantino flick with a porn flick (sans the moneyshots). Whether you admit it or not, I guarantee most of you have enjoyed some significant portion of one or the other… but imagine if either or a mash-up of the two lasted for nearly 3 HOURS! Under no circumstances should that happen.
Definitely a decent flick, but BETTER NOT BRING YO’ KIDS!
BONUS COVERAGE: I have nowhere to fit this comment in so I’m just gonna throw this out there – I love WOMEN. The things you critique about other women never ceases to astound. It was interesting how the supposed group of well-read learned female audience goers (on the movie’s release date) were focused on how Rooney’s breasts were still “so nice, especially with how thin she was.” I KID YOU NOT. This was the topic of conversation with not 1, not 2, but 3 separate groups of women I eavesdropped on as I exited the theater. Granted, my eavesdropping powers tend to sharpen around women talking about sex-related stuff, but still... Really, ladies? There’s at least two more important things than those two things for you to discuss, but her boobs and Rooney’s accent are the things that garnered most of your immediate attention? ‘Tis truly a strange strange society we live in.
ImTHATdude gives Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: 3
5 = You should be about halfway to the theatre by now… Well… GET!
4 = Definitely worth the bread. Niiice.
3 = I won’t cuss anybody out and demand my paper back.
2 = Somewhere SOUTH of under-whelmed./I know it has a pulse, but…
1 = Not a good look. They played me AND I played myself.

In My Bag [Pete]

I have not done one of these posts in a long time. Call it the nosey-parker in me but I always love seeing the contents of one's bag. Pete runs the blog The Wasted Talent and if you see him on street, he might even take a picture of you. Check out the contents of his bag...

15" MacBook Pro
15" Chrome sleeve for MacBook pro
1xLeather bound journal
1xSee sunglasses
Matix pouch with USB drives
2x moleskin books
1x micron pen
1x pencil (muji?)
6" Wacom intuos 4 tablet
Mimi Fisher for Roger Water's "wall tour" leather sleeve
Canon S95
Kindle 4

Drop us a line via twitter if you are interested in participating...just dump out your bag + take a pic!


When debating what movie to write a review for first, one of my good friends (my play cousin – bearing the same surname as me) declared emphatically “Sherlock! Sherlock! Sherlock! Sherlock! Sherlock! Sherlock! Sherlock! Sherlock! Sherlock! Sherlock! Sherlock! Sherlock! Sherlock! Sherlock! Sherlock! Sherlock! Sherlock! Sherlock! Sherlock! Sherlock! Sherlock! Sherlock! Sherlock! Sherlock! Sherlock! Sherlock!” That was a pretty convincing argument from my erudite friend whose initials are interestingly MMM.
Guy Ritchie (Snatch, Sherlock I) – Director
Michele and Kieran Mulroney (Paper Man) - Writers
Robert Downey, Jr. (Iron Man, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) – Sherlock Holmes
Jude Law (Closer, Alfie) – Dr. Watson
Noomi Rapace (Girl with the Dragon Tatoo Series – the Swedish ones) – Madam Simza
Rachel McAdams (Morning Glory, Midnight in Paris) – Irene Adler
Jared Harris (Mad Men) – Prof. Moriarty
Kelly Reilly (The Libertine, Pride & Prejudice) – Mrs. Dr. Watson

Sherlock Holmes investigates one of what he believes to be an interconnected series of crimes committed all across the Western world. His chief suspect, Prof. Moriarty – the man he believes to be the mastermind behind these acts of violence and terrorism. That’s all I can or should tell you about the plot. Sherlock Holmes is not exactly the kind of series/movie that is properly given to describing any detailed version of events because doing so would jeopardize the whole scheme. It’s a detective story… you have to watch the movie as they detect stuff.

If you liked the first reboot (yes, there were many Sherlock Holmes films, based on the Arthur Conan Doyle stories, prior to Guy Ritchie and RDJ), you should really enjoy this one. That said, the action was virtually relentless. The comedy was well-timed. The fight scenes although unnatural in their depiction, are so utterly realistic that you have to applaud the fight coordinator for not using harnesses and making these mortals fly about as if they were mutants (that’s another movie entirely). You don’t mind the fact that as my niece said and I quote “Jude Law is NOT a leading man. That’s why he needs somebody like Robert Downey, Jr. in every movie.” Out of the mouths of babes… Wow, she’s growing up sooooo fast.

So, with all the action, the intrigue, and the comedy, one might ask, why would That Dude have a problem with the movie at all? That’s a good question. The answer is simple – homoeroticism. I had to subtract a full point for it. I’m sorry. I know that sounds like I’m a phobe. Let me clarify… I have a real problem with how these movies nowadays have taken to what has become an easy way to solicit a cheap moment of levity. Robert Downey Jr. cross dressing! Aha! That’s funny. Everyone will LOVE it, right? QUALIFIED SPOILER ALERT: Having Jude Law (the irony of him being considered “pretty” is not lost here) and RDJ dodging bullets from a gatling large gun (phallic much???) whilst locked in a spooning embrace on the floor with RDJ - shirtless and in lipstick donning a frilly dress… really, yo? In truth, most of the audience laughed during that scene. So the eff what? Half those people would laugh at a Madea movie. I’m not impressed. Can we NOT find some other way to infuse a moment of levity these days? I hate to criticize a writer – now that I know how difficult it is to put together a good complete script – but this smacks of laziness. Now that I’ve said this, I bet if you think of it, you can come up with a bunch of other TV shows and movies where some homoerotic moment is used as to illicit a laugh. I find these sorts of devices as tedious as fart jokes. That’s not being a “phobe” that’s being an elitist. And that, my friends, is a title I do wear. I mean com’on, son. I nearly expected Jude Law to hit RDJ with an “AY-YO!” when he saw him in that “disguise.” Seriously, this sequence in the flick was only slightly more homoerotic than any recent Jay-Z/Kanye video callabo and slightly less than the “Weezy F. Baby” moniker of Lil Wayne. In other words, I’d have preferred less…
And a much more… Noomi Rapace, Rachel McAdams (still crushing on you, girl), Kelly Reilly, and random crap blowing up. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. (Insert God Bless America instrumental here.) But, so help me God, Buddy/Action/Comedies that use cheap, simple minded theatrical tricks for laughs have to be stopped or else we are as guilty as anybody for the dumbing down of America.

Aside from that, and the unnecessary length (PAUSE?), the movie was pretty damned good. It’s the only movie in the big 3 (Sherlock, Dragon Tatoo, and Ghost Protocol) that never once made me consider taking a peak at the inside of my eyelids. All in all, if you have some time to catch a flick over this holiday season, I think Sherlock might be the most genuinely entertaining & family friendly flick in the litter. Of course, I haven’t seen any of the kiddie flicks – mostly because I find it a bit weird to be a 35-year old brotha in a hoodie (I likes to rock a hoodie to the theatre – it keeps people at least one seat away from me – WHAT!?) copping a ticket for The Muppets or Hugo or Chipmunks – Chipwrecked! and not having any kids or kids with me - hence, the pass.

ImTHATdude gives Sherlock Holmes 2/A Game of Shadows: 4
5 = You should be about halfway to the theatre by now… Well… GET!
4 = Definitely worth the bread. Niiice.
3 = I won’t cuss anybody out and demand my paper back.
2 = Somewhere SOUTH of under-whelmed./I know it has a pulse, but…
1 = Not a good look. They played me AND I played myself.


NYC Tastemakers of 2012....by pemora

There is a bit of a background story here, so please bear with me. This morning, I was reading my daily email from The Daily Love (don't judge) and today's theme was about turning negative emotions into positive outcomes. What does this have to do with the Tastemakers of 2012? Well, I was reading a post about the resolutions of 20 of NYC's Coolest Influencers. Cool, cool. EXCEPT...not a 1 person of color. Well, maybe 1 or 2, but the fact that I had to say 'maybe' says a lot. I mean, this is NY freaking City. How can you NOT have a wide spectrum of diversity on that list?

Ok, back to this morning's email. As I was sitting, making my own list via twitter, I realized that I should just create my own post. Actually, my sister suggested it. But it is a positive outcome, nonetheless.

Here is my list of the NYC Tastemakers of 2012.

1. Alvin Blanco
If you are looking for someone who could be considered THE expert on hip hop, Alvin would be the #1 pick. He is the go-to person on the history, context, gossip, style, news and critical thinking of the genre. In fact, he wrote a book about one of the most influential groups of all time -- Wu Tang Clan. Alvin is also pretty darn funny, which makes it even easier to follow regular updates.

2. Samantha Black
Besides her fashion show receiving guest starring credit in a recent episode of 'Love + Hip Hop', Samantha is on a roll. Her line has major fans in the industry (secret: a certain pregnant diva's little sister loves Sammy B) and she has some big things lined up for 2012, including February's fashion week. Keep your eye on Sammy B!

3. Sian-Pierre Regis
Sian-Pierre is the founder and editor-in-chief of one of my favorite street style blogs, Swagger New York. This site features people who are both off the beaten path and embody NYC. Sian-Pierre also writes for MTV Act, a blog very reminiscent of the Rock the Vote movement. According to his twitter account, Sian-Pierre wants to be Ryan Seacrest 3.0....at this rate, I think people will be saying that they want to be Sian-Pierre 2.0!

4. Carla Zanoni
If you want to know something, anything, about Upper Manhattan, Carla is THE person to follow. Social Media Editor for DNAInfo, she reports on the good, the bad and the ugly of Inwood and Washington Heights. In fact, Carla is usually the 1st person to spread information and has a loyal and interactive group of followers. The great thing about Carla is that she is not content to just sit behind a computer; she attends community board meetings, visits (and endorses) local businesses, and even engages neighborhood police precints. I say -- Carla Zanoni for Manhattan Borough President!

5. DJ Rob Dinero
In full disclosure, Rob is my cousin + faux-twin....but that doesn't make him any less tastemaker-worthy. Name a singer, rapper or reggae artist and Rob has probably worked with them. Rob co-founded AMW DJ's, a coalition of 'America's Most Wanted' DJ's and he regularly works with Japan's DJ Honda. Rob will be spinnig at Abe + Arthurs for NYE but if you cannot make it to NYC, you can catch him on Music Choice network's MC Mixtape Channel.

6. Melissa Beck
A wife, a mother, a supporter of Hello Kitty, and knows both current events + The Real Housewives franchises? Yespleaseandthankyou. This is a woman after my own heart. With her sharp wit + sassy comebacks, Melissa has been on my radar for years. It is hard to believe that Melissa is not a native New Yorker but the city is lucky to have her now. I am anxiously waiting for someone to give her a book deal. Maybe it will happen in 2012?

7. HB Wellington
Lead singer of The Wellington Papers and all-around good guy, HB makes music fun, stylish and interesting.  His songs, especially the infectious 'Jackie', all sound a little familiar but entirely different. Check out one of his shows, where you will both be entertained and you might even get to share a drink with HB! Also, try to get your hands on one of the band's heartbreak stickers or pins...highly coveted in the NYC-area.

8. Mimi Jung
I know, I know, I am a bit obsessed with Mimi Jung. But given my opinion of her, how could I not include her on this list? Mimi runs the fabulous blog and jewelry line Brook & Lyn, which has already been featured in places like Anthropologie and Shopbop. Susie Bubble is also a big fan, showing off her B&L necklace in her Bluefly Closet Confessions video. Santa didn't bring me one of her harness necklaces for Christmas, so if Cupid wants to drop it off on Valentine's Day, I would be one very appreciative chica.

9. The Assimilated Negro (TAN)
If you have not been on his blog or bought his book, you are just missing out. Patrice Evans is talented at making intellectual social commentary while also retaining his wit. He is currently a columnist for Grantland and I am sure he has a couple of other surprises up his sleeve for 2012.

10. Dujeous
True aficionados will tell you that Dujeous has been killing it for a long time and I have to agree (as someone who saw them perform at 95 Leonard in '01). To call them a hip hop group would be oversimplifying their music; they make songs that truly sound like NYC. This year, Dujeous was the house band to Rosenberg's Noisemakers and it was THE ticket to get. Dujeous will be performing on January 18th at Southpaw, so check out their twitter for more details...

This is just a short list and it was hard to pick just 10...anyone you would add? Who is doing it big for 2012?

Honorable Mentions:El Bloombito, Locke be a Lady, DJ Shakez, Francheska, Wes Moore, Elana Aquino, Melissa Fortune, Danielle Lazarin, Naughty Cookies and, of course, Miss DTM.


On Those Concords...by pemora

If you have been living under a suburban rock, you may not have heard about this frenzy over the recent release of the Air Jordan XI Concords. People have waited in line for days, fights have broken out, there was even a faux murder plastered over twitter. Everywhere, I have read the same thing -- they are just kicks! What is the big deal? They are JUST kicks! Well, Alvin Blanco recently tweeted something that has me thinking...

via Animal New York

Jay said something briefly that really hit me in the gut. I tried exploring it a bit here but I don't think anyone has said it so succinctly and eloquently as Jay.

"I came from a poor background, so this is an accomplishment for me"

That's the thing...there is a whole generation of Blacks and Latinos who grew up poor and are now working + have a little cash in their pockets. This idea of being able to finally attain an item that was so out of our reach growing up is huge. It is not just about being a sneakerhead or wanting to look fly while walking down the street but being able to buy one of these re-releases is, exactly as Jay said, an accomplishment.

I realize that this does not apply to everyone but I think it is a sentiment worth giving more than 2 seconds of thought. In full disclosure, I have an appreciation for kicks but would not consider myself a sneakerhead. I leave that to my husband. But I recently purchased the Jordan 3 Cements because, in part, I distinctly remember when they were released, lusting after them and then not even asking my parents to purchase me a pair. Why? Because that would have been a truly LOL moment in my South Bronx household. My dad would probably have choked on his KOOL cigarette. And to now see them again, with the ability to actually buy them for myself, was pretty darn awesome.

Which brings me to a final thought...there are a number of us, who grew up wearing/wanting Timberlands, Polo, Girbaud, Tommy, and Jordans. We ran around the blocks of Bed Stuy, East Harlem, Harlem and the South Bronx. We are Black, brown, Latino, white and Asian. We went to Bronx Science, the Hilltop schools, Stuyvesant. We graduated from fill-in-the-blank prestigious college. And we are working. It would be nice if companies could start marketing to us.


Drunk History Christmas [video]

If you follow me on twitter, you know that I am slightly obsessed with Ryan 'Hottie' Gosling. Who isn't? Check him out in this hilarious video via Funny or Die.


Girl Crush: Mimi Jung....by pemora

For my 3 readers, I hope you don't mind these Girl Crush posts. I love them. I especially love trying to find a diverse array of women; women who might not always be on the cover of blah blah magazine. If you know anyone you would like to shine some light on, drop me a line via twitter.

Anyway, I cannot believe I have not featured Mimi Jung yet. Mimi runs the blog + shop Brook&Lyn. Her style is chic, effortless and always HER. It doesn't hurt that she usually rocks one of her fabulous accessories with each outfit (seriously, fabulous. I am a proud owner of one of her necklaces and I receive boatloads of compliments when I wear it). Mimi has stated that she is trying to move away from the personal style posts, to which I have pleaded via twitter to reconsider. Does that make me stalkerish? I'm not, I swear!

Check out some of my fav outfits:


Girl Crush: Christine Centenera....by pemora

Christine Centenera's pics have popped up on my Google Reader several times...and each time, I am never disappointed. Love her style. It is equal parts Man Repeller and bad-ass chick who smokes cigarettes in a bar bathroom. You get my point.

Christine is currently the fashion editor for Australia's Harper's Bazaar and is consulting with Kanye West on his new clothing line. Of course. Christine just rocks.

all images via Wikifashion