Resolutions for 2014....by pemora

Here are my Resolutions for 2014:
1. learn how to do a cartwheel
2. no new friends
3. don't use 'it's been hectic' as an excuse
4. learn all the words to the roots' 'web'

What are yours?

Most Played of 2013

I always love putting this list together. It's fun to see what my friends are listening to but it is also a cool reminder of how kick-a$$ and different they are. Love my friends. They rock.

Now....on to the list! Following are the songs that we rocked the most this year.

Run the Jewels ~Run the Jewels....big bird
Nothin but Love ~Heavy D and the Boyz.....IMTHATDUDE
Watch Me Work ~Melanie Fiona....thewayoftheid
Get Lucky ~Daft Punk + Pharrell....jayare20k
For The Record ~Torae....Cross Bow
Girlfriend ~NSYNC.....missDTM
Take Me To Church ~Hozier.....dough
Locked Out of Heaven ~Bruno Mars....pemora
Banana Clipper ~Run the Jewels....surnamer
Fine China ~Chris Brown.....paj1
Winter Schemes ~J. Cole + Wale....KevFrumBK
Waiting Game ~Banks.....Thug Hardy
Tapas ~Action Bronson.....savazhe

What did you listen to? Drop us a line here or on twitter!


The nerve of this clown, Peter "PJ" Jackson.  I sat through 161 minutes of dwarves in barrels and elves with arrows, only to find out that Smaug was barely in the flick.  Oh, they talked about Smaug, but that big bastard literally (in that Rob Lowe “Parks & Rec” voice) slept through the first ¾ of the film – and I should have followed his example.  I was actually jealous of a fictional dragon because he got to sleep through this joint and I bet he didn’t pay 18 bucks for it.


Peter Jackson (King Kong, LOTR Series) – Director/Co-Writer
Guillermo del Torro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Pacific Rim) – Co-Writer
Martin Freeman (The World’s End, BBC America’s Sherlock) – Bilbo
Ian McKellan (X Men: The Last Stand, The Da Vinci Code) – Gandalf
Cate Blanchett (Hanna, Blue Jasmin) – Galadriel
Orlando Bloom (The Three Musketeers, Pirates of the Caribbean) – Legolas
Richard Armitage (Captain America: The First Avenger, BBC’s MI5 aka Spooks) – Thorin
Evangeline Lilly (Real Steel, The Hurt Locker) – Tauriel
Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek Into the Darkness, BBC America’s Sherlock) – voice of Smaug
Stephen Fry (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, V for Vendetta) – Master of Laketown



The Wolf of Wall Street

A blatant overabundance of wretched excess.  Drug abuse and drug addled behavior.  Sexual depravity.  Overindulgence of everything under the sun.  This is why ‘they’ hate us.  The Wolf of Wall Street was over the top in every possible category, including the run time and Leo’s pop-locking.  You almost get the sense that Marty and Leo may have been a little bit too close to the material when they filmed this, nahmean?  I kid/I joke.  Sorta...  Put it this way, the profanity in the opening scene has nothing to do with what was said.  Forever seared in my mental rolodex is the indelible image of a normal straw being misused in two of the wrong orifices- it’s filed under “CRAP I WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO UNSEE.” 

Anyway, don't believe the hype about the Wolf.  Spike Lee's Oldboy was better (not groundbreaking but a better movie).

On the bright side, I think the Matthew McConaughey chest thumping humming scene is weird and unforgettable - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iszwuX1AK6A&t=1m48s



Shop Small #4.....by pemora

I am still all about great items from small and/or local stores. Please do drop me a line if you have some favorites of your own. For others to own. See what I did there?

Now....on to the awesome items!


Shop Small #3.....by pemora

If you missed the first or second posts in the #shopsmall series, please check them out. I love shopping as much as the next 'Murrican but I try hard to support small and/or local businesses. According to Sylvia Wyant, "each dollar spend at a local business will return up to five times that amount within your community through city taxes, employees' wages, and purchases of materials, supplies and services at other independent businesses"1

Check out some #shopsmall goods


Thank You

For the 3 of you who support and read this little blog of ours, Thank You. You rock. You're awesome. You would probably be the sole survivor during the zombie apocalypse. And you didn't have a mental and emotional breakdown this week, which means you have 1 up on Yeezy.

And speaking of which, never forget past Thanksgiving Parades.



Shop Small #2.....by pemora

I love finding places/stores/people to support! If you have any suggestions for the #shopsmall movement, holler at us. And if you missed Shop Small #1, check it out here.

Now to the goods.....


Shop Small #1....by pemora

Every holiday season, I like to give examples of great local and/or small businesses to support. If you have any suggestions, please drop us a line either here or on Twitter or on Facebook.

Now....on to the awesome goodies!


The Best Man Holiday

You're sharp enough to read UR, so I'm sure you've probably picked up on the fact that I don’t do sappy well, which is why I enjoyed the first The Best Man movie - largely free of sap.  I rarely like romantic comedies (yes, I think Pretty Woman was stupid very stupid, along with Bridget Jones, Brown Sugar, Love & Basketball, and just about every other “chick flick” date movie out there), but there are exceptions – When Harry Met Sally, As Good As It Gets, The Best Man… any good rule anticipates exceptions.

The Best Man Holiday… well, if the first one was a romantic comedy, this one is a dramedy.  It’s Grey's Anatomy sprinkled with glimpses of the original The Best Man.


Thor: The Dark World

I HATE Chris Hemsworth.  I really do.  Not like I hate Tyler Perry.  I will absolutely go to see a Hemsworth movie (Rush was pretty damned good).  It’s more akin to hating-ON than actual hatRED.  I just don’t want to watch a movie and feel like I need to go hit the dayum gym for self-esteem purposes.   


Alan Taylor (lots of TV – US & British, including Mad Men & Game of Thrones)– Director
Christopher Yost (Marvel cartoon series writer), Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (Captain America: The First Avenger, Pain and Gain – don’t have to see that to know it sucked). 


The Counselor

This was effing AWESOME…. advertising.  I tip my hat to the marketing team.  What a brilliant investment in PR and the marketing team’s job on selling this flick was stellar.  Rarely - RARELY, I say… have I been so expertly manipulated (save for a couple of incidents in my youth) by a trailer and a few respected names in a commercial.  Aside from an almost random story told by the great Javier Bardem’s character, this movie lacked any memorable moments, quotes, scenes, insights, or nearly anything else of any appreciable value.  In fewer, more pointed words… The Counselor sucked.

Cormac McCarthy (Novels - No Country for Old Men, The Road) - Writer
Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Prometheus) - Director
Michael Fassbender (Shame, 12 Years a Slave) - Counselor
Penelope Cruz (Vicky Christina Barcelona, POTC: On Stranger Tides) - Laura
Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men, Skyfall) - Reiner
Brad Pitt (12 Years a Slave, World War Z) - Westray
Cameron Diaz (Any Given Sunday, Knight and Day) - Malkina
Ruben Blades (Do the Right Thing, Safe House) - Jefe
Rosie Perez (Do the Right Thing, Pineapple Express) - Ruth
Natalie Dormer (Rush, TV’s The Tudors)



My love of Oxfords....by pemora

Inspired by Kelley Anne's post on her clogs, I was thinking about my love of oxfords. It all started with these two:

L-R, Bakers + Cole Haan



I should warn you, this is much more testimonial than it is a movie review.  Really, not many of my posts constitute movie reviews – I’m not A.O. Scott.  I’m just a Brooklyn cat with    a hell of a lot of opinions.  Of course it will be difficult, if not impossible, to discuss some of the things that were done from a technical perspective; but this post is more about the timeliness and the emotional response that was evoked by viewing this very important film by rookie feature director/writer Ryan Coogler even by a cynic like me.

Ryan Coogler – Writer/Director
Michael B. Jordan (Chronicle, Red Tails) – Oscar Grant
Octavia Spencer (Seven Pounds, The Help) – Wanda/Oscar’s mother
Melonie Diaz (Be Kind Rewind) – Sophina/Oscar’s girlfriend and babymama

And a supporting cast that donated laudably realistic performances that added to the film’s organic feel, including Ariana Neal (as Tatiana), Trestin George, Destiny Ekwueme, Kevin Durand, and Chad Michael Murray.


Here are the details that are undisputed.  Oscar Grant was a 22 year old black make with a checkered past.  He was riding on the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system after celebrating the New Year with his friends (as so many of us have done in repeatedly).  He was stopped by the BART police after some sort of altercation on the train.  He was face down on the ground and shot in the back by one of the BART police who claimed that he had mistaken his pistol for his Taser when he fired a shot into Grant’s back that proved fatal.  The officer was tried for 1st degree murder and found guilty only of involuntary manslaughter.  Say what you will about the legal system in the US being the “best in the world,” but damn if it don’t seem like the consequences for taking the life of a young black male seem to be pretty insignificant to me – no wonder we kill each other at such a high clip.   

I’m just sayin…

Anyway, this may be THE timeliest film I’ve ever seen.  It is certainly one of the most poignant.  While there are things that could have been better from a writing and performance perspective that would have made this more compelling, it is far wiser not to take liberties when putting something like this on the big screen based on actual, non-ancient people with family and friends still around.  Certainly, I could have done with one or ten less utterances of the word “bruh” from Michael B Jordan, but maybe that’s how Oscar talked.  I don’t know how cats in the Bay area speak – maybe E-40 is a true and accurate representative, fo’ shiggadale.  Then again, maybe Jordan or Coogler had a few too many brehs/brush in the dialogue.  Maybe the film could have ended on a less “artsy” note… Tough call.  Notwithstanding the minor oddities that reminded me that this was a movie, I could not help but think that Fruitvale Station may be the most important movie I’ve seen in a long time.  Up next in the list of potential usurpers to that title is Lee Daniel’s The Butler (as long as he doesn’t go all Precious on us, it should be a great film, too).

I couldn’t have been more tempted to tear up during a film - between the still moment immediately after that shot was fired and the reaction when the doctors tell the family and friends of Oscar that he’s gone… the verisimilitude was crazy, man.  I saw this film at the Angelika Theatre (so there are only between 5-8 other brown people in any of the theatres at any given time) and there were about 2 dry eyes in the house… maybe 3, assuming the guy I saw with the eye-patch was in the same theater as me.  Seriously, damn near the whole theatre got more than a little verklempt.  (Trying to keep it light or I’ll get angry… I mean Incredible Hulk style angry.) This film does a terrific job of being fair and balanced in the anti-Fox News sense of the phrase.  That makes it that much more impressive. 

There’s no way I fail to add this film to my DVD collection when it hits the stores.  You really should find your way to seeing this film at some point in your life.  In the theatre, on-demand, streaming, on DVD or digital download.  Cop this. 
ImTHATdude gives Fruitvale Station:  5


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.


Black, White + Latino? ....by pemora

Recently, this meme quietly made the rounds on my FB feed:

For those who need help with the translation, the title reads “The Indiscreet Latino Racism,” followed by endearing comments for the whitest baby. The two friends who posted it did the online equivalent of nodding their heads, to which other Latino friends just ‘liked’ the post.

Last night, seated next to my husband and holding our 5 year-old son on my lap, I watched the reading of the George Zimmerman verdict. We put our son to bed, and then I cried. My husband, ever the cool-headed one in our relationship, tried to help me understand what may have happened, what the jury might have been thinking. I turned off the TV and went to bed.

This morning, while reading FB and Twitter, I saw posts from people feeling outrage and dismay, some expressing ‘I told you so’s’. A couple of quotes from some of my heroes. A few links to really great articles.

But what is missing in all of this? A real conversation. One in which we, the Latino community, really take time to reflect on our own prejudices. Our own biases. The context of circumstances that led to George Zimmerman, a non-black Latino, murdering Trayvon Martin, a black teenager.

As someone who teaches Latin American History, I understand the complex political, social and historical background of this issue. The fact that colonialism directly shaped the ways in which we view race is something that we have still not untangled. Latinos of every region, national identity, and socioeconomic class have examples of how race has played out in our interactions with one another. Why do we use words like ‘negrita’ or ‘guerita’? How do we treat our Afro-Latino cousins? How do we treat our blonde hair, blue-eyed ones? Why do we not acknowledge skin privilege?

Trayvon’s death is a tragedy. But I hope that Latinos can use this as the opportunity to truly engage in a conversation on race.

Rest in peace, Trayvon Benjamin Martin. 

**edited by @thewayoftheid


Born Sinner [review]....by Charlie Mango

Honestly, I didn’t listen to J. Cole’s debut album, Cole World. Oh, I’m a fan of his, many would argue, classic mixtapes (as classic as a mixtape could be): The Come Up, The Warm Up, and Friday Night Lights. But none of the singles from his album moved, touched, or inspired me like so many of his previous tracks. In fact, his songs were too structured and felt soulless; so, I decided to skip the album all together. I didn’t even download it; I didn’t want to hear him flop after falling off.


MCHG [review]....by Charlie Mango

Once again, Jay-Z sets a new bar (not lyrically, but maybe sonically or financially: platinum before the album dropped, never done before) with his latest offering Magna Carta Holy Grail.  Don’t believe me, pay attention to the black bar through his name and on the artistically statuesque cover, no coincidence. Additionally, the title of the album proclaims a new set of rules will be established, a la Magna Carta, while people search for their Holy grail (cue Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code).


World War Z [review]....by IMTHATDUDE

Fast zombies and swarming zombie walls aside, this was about as dry a zombie flick can get.   To paraphrase Katt Williams - this movie was so THIRSTY it came with a straw. 

WWZ is not a Zombie apocalypse flick.  It’s a thriller.  But it’s parched.  Here are some zombie flicks that were NOT boring (granted 2 of them are comedies) 28 Days Later, Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland, Resident Evil (1), Night of the Living Dead, and Night of the Comet. (yes, Night of the Comet – classic 80s flick with all of its cornball cheesiness).  Each one more likely of being watched again before I see WWZ again. Sorry, Brad.  I’m sure my UR review will have him very upset at the poultry $60M opening and crying himself to sleep in Angelina’s bed.  But Brad, The Walking Dead shows more graphic violence than WWZ (they cut away from Brad smashing in a zombie dome with a crowbar) – that’s amazing that such a watered down flick could be so thirsty.


Man of Steel [review].....by IMTHATDUDE

It’s not that Superman 3 (minus a couple classic Richard Pryor lines) and 4 and Superman Returns all sucked hairy… rocks, it’s just that they were really not good; the latter not as much as the others, but Superman Returns was silly.  How Superman pickup a whole island of kryptonite?  KRYPTONITE!  And Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor sounded like brilliance, but turned out as well as Russell Crowe singing show tunes (Les Miserable performance, from what I heard).  I was a legit fan.  There’s a reason some people have referred to me as Black Seinfeld.  I even named my old crib the Fortress of Solitude – for so many reasons - too many to go into now.  (Now, I just call my place my “Lair.”)


Uncle Charlie....by pemora

If you follow me on twitter, you know that I LOVE these awards shows. Correction: I never particularly like awards shows but celebs do and wear such silly things, that I like making comments. I have a small, but loyal, circle of twitter friends who are hilarious during these shows, so it makes the experience even better.

Last night's BET Awards was no exception. Lots of ridiculous antics (dare I use the most overused word from the last 6 months....ratchet?!) and some questionable outfits (Meagan Good's revealing dress while she talked about the Gospel category). And then, something magical happened. Justin 'Sessy Pants' Timberlake came out to pay tribute to Charlie Last Name Wilson and what happened next was just plain awesome.

This clip does not show india.arie (and her sequin camel toe-inducing jumpsuit...see? Questionable), Jamie Foxx (who does not have a deep range) and Stevie Wonder. But it DOES include Snoop Dogg Lion, Pharrell 'Black Benjamin Button' Williams, JT and Uncle Charlie.

Enjoy, y'all. Enjoy.


Yeezus [review]....by Charlie Mango

   When “Yeezus” first sprang a leak, the internets rushed and gulped it down. Forwarded emails, containing various links to wet transfer and other file sharing sites, were excitedly opened to hear the new Yeezy “Yeezus.” Like many, I downloaded it, but I didn’t listen. Nope. Instead, I went to Twitter, the source of all news and tomfoolery, and looked at the up to date reviews of the barely five minute old unofficial release. And the good folks of Twitter-verse lambasted Yeezus, throwing stone after rock towards this ten-track opus.  These one listen reviews were funny as many proclaimed that Yeezy finally missed, ruining his streak of classic albums. As a result, naming Yeezus the official weed plate (though at the time, no one had a physical copy of the album) of the summer. 


James Gandolfini - The Mexican [Throwback Thursday]...by pemora

Right before bed last night, I thought about which song I would like to post for Throwback Thursday (we still do that? Huh?)....I had it all picked out, when I saw a bunch of my twitter friends posting about James Gandolfini. My heart immediately sank.

I'm not going to wax poetic about Gandolfini...he wasn't my favorite actor of all-time or anything like that. But he was THAT dude. That actor that I felt had one more cool/interesting/dynamic role in him. I was pretty sure that we were going to see him again, whether on the small or big screen.

So, today's Throwback Thursday is a scene from a movie that I love, The Mexican. It is a super cheesy movie but it has Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Gandolfini and a really cute dog. I particularly love this scene and remember holding my breath a little when I first saw it.....


Shopping Haul....by pemora

Clearly, I should be compiling all sorts of items for a really great Father's Day post. Clearly. But there are so many damn sales right now and, well, I can't help myself. And because it would make me feel better if I wasn't the only one buying a ton of crap, I thought I would share. You're welcome.


Fast & Furious 6 [review]....by IMTHATDUDE

Not too shabby.  It was a fun.  Dumb and fun, but sometimes you gotta go that route.  

Pardon the semi-pun, but all the parts are there… (Get it?  Because it’s a movie about cars and car chases and whatnot… all the PARTS are there… Whatevah.)  Guns, gears, girls, and, for the ladies who are into that kinda thing… the other kinda guns a-la The Rock and Vin Diesel.  I’m not hatin’ on those punks, I’m just strongly disliking them for making me feel like I have to get my weight WAY up.

(Oh, and Gina Carano… I see you and I’m disliking you, too, dammit – slightly different reasons though – you ain’t have to do him like that). 



5 minutes Into the Darkness, and you’re hooked – more importantly, 4 minutes in and you realize it is going to be better than Iron Man 3.  Yup… I’m an RDJ fan, but Iron Man 3 was a major disappointment, while Trek Into Darkness was surprisingly better than the trailers suggested.

Technically, in the most unambiguous sense of the phrase, I still 'have a thang for Zoe (and I can hear somebody saying “bowchickabowaaah!” but I assure you I don’t mean it like that – although clearly our offspring would be genetically superior beings, that’s a story for another day – I’m just talking about my love of watching her act)…, the improbability of her hollering at IMTHATDUDE affords me the ability to be brutally honest about any crap films she’s been in (which, so far has been… NOTHING… not even the utterly ridiculous Colombiana was “crap” per se).  Eh… well… maybe “Guess Who” might’ve sorta kinda funked it right on up a bit+ … and maybe… MAYBE… Vantage Point gave me cinematic vertigo (and a touch of nausea)… AND Takers – okay, Takers sucked legumes of a certain sort.  But ain’t one to gossip, so you ain’t heard that from me.  Star Trek Into Darkness was - as we borderline old heads say – “good money.”
(more after the jump)


Real Street Style....by pemora + Peter Pabon

If you are close enough to me to see my feedly account (RIP Google Reader), you know that I am pretty obsessed with fashion blogs and pictures. I always love when sites feature a 'Street Style' segment because I love the idea of seeing what real people wear. Except....

...increasingly, those 'Street Style' segments pretty much only feature models and stylists and designers. And they are all pretty thin and pretty white (sometimes Asian women make the cut. Sometimes). But this idea of "real people" is simply that. An idea.

I have very long winded email dialogues with my loved ones and one of those, Peter Pabon, has been the recipient of my rant. Fortunately for me, he is a super talented photographer and happily fed my interest in seeing REAL people and their style.

If you all (all 3 of you) would like, I would love to make this into a semi-regular thing. So please send me some pics or find me on twitter of #realstreetstyle. Let's take back our fashion.

More pics after the jump


On Washington Heights...by pemora

So I didn't catch the 1st episode of Washington Heights because I was really worried that this was going to be Jersey Shore-esque, with a cast of Dominicans. And that terrified me. (because I'm Dominican and all)

(sidenote: my friend and I totally wanted to film a web series called 'Chocha Beach' in which 7 Puerto Ricans lived in an apartment on City Island and went to Orchard Beach every day. It was going to be hilarious and crazy and epic. I can be hypocritical, you know)

Something told me to catch the 2nd episode and I am so glad I did. I found this group of young people to be complex and hopeful and earnest and interesting. I liked how complicated their relationships were and how vulnerable they were in front of the camera. This wasn't about GTL or neatly wrapped storylines....this was about a group of young people hustling in NYC. And then this happened...

yes, that is me in the red hat. Don't make fun. I don't do fashionable weekends...

Frankie was incredibly kind and funny. How could I not love the show?

(another sidenote: you have to eat at Bronx Ale House. You know, the next time you visit the Bronx)

AND THEN? I saw this video. And I cannot stop playing this song...I promise that it will be one of THE songs this summer.


YOLO by The Lonely Island [video]

I once stated that Electric Zoo was the great Generational Divide but now I am convinced that YOLO is. No one my age says YOLO. Not a one person. You know why? Because life is effing long and it involves bills, stretch marks, Spanx and undereye concealer. So, kiddies, take your YOLO and shove it. Not that I'm bitter about getting old or anything.

Check out this new video by The Lonely Island feat. Adam 'Baby Daddy #2' Levine and Kendrick Lamar. Ha, in yo' face, YOLO!


A$AP Rocky covers Gnarls Barkley

 I am still waiting on the verdict about A$AP Rocky but I can tell you that I freaking love(d) Gnarls Barkley. Can they come out with a 3rd album? Please?

What do you think of the cover of 'Who's Gonna Save My Soul'?

Also, just had to add the acoustic version of 'Transformer' to this because it was SO FREAKING AWESOME when I saw them do it live in Central Park. Happy Sunday, y'all.