The Most Real Post You’ll Find Here

2017I’m going to be uncomfortably honest and real right now. So much so that I’m not posting this to social media and you may just want to click somewhere else (SQUIRREL!) on the internet. I was not looking forward to 2017. As much as aspects of 2016 were horrible, the new year brought with it a hard, stern look at my mortality. Or in summary:

There’s a chance I won’t make it through 2017.

No, I’m not suicidal. Please do NOT worry about that. I will keep fighting.

I’ll let you catch your breath now.

As you may or may not know, I’ve been fighting Stage IV melanoma since the beginning of 2015. After two surgeries and four chemotherapies, I’m running out of options. All that’s left is trials (if I can get into them due to being HIV+) and a treatment so intense I’ll be in ICU for a minimum of 5 days. The trials are a shot in the dark. The treatment works for only 10% of patients. The good news with the treatment is, if it does work, I’ll be in complete remission.

The problem is those are pretty much the only options left and I’ve been told seven months is my worst-case scenario. Since I’ve not received any treatment for 8 weeks that seems the clock is technically down to five months. 

Add to that the pity party of what I’m pretty convinced is me being out of “love” luck, too. Man, what does it take to convince a guy to just cuddle on the couch and watch a movie? I could get laid 10x easier. 

I may be down when you see me and these are the reasons why. It’s hard especially since I tend to gravitate towards being jovial, happy, and optimistic. I don’t necessarily want to leave because there are still so many beautiful and wonderful things out there, but I also have to be honest with myself.

We all gotta go.

OSR: Hidden Figures

One-Sentence Review: Hidden Figures

Lovely docudrama full of sweetness, sass, and spirit made strong with outstanding performances and lots of feels.

Rating: Matinee Ticket (7/10)

Rating System: Splurge on IMAX (10), Full-Price Ticket (9-8), Matinee Ticket (7-6), Wait for Digital (5-4), Late-Night Cable Fodder (3-2), I’ve Made Better Films With My Ass Camera (1)

2016 Favorite Playlists

mmxvi…and the playlist of favorite music of 2016 are made! Instead of doing a countdown and then “bonus” tracks at the end, this year’s playlist is an exercise in flow. Hope you enjoy and may your 2017 be awesome.

Listen on Spotify
Listen on Apple Music

Favorite Albums of 2016: #1

1. Santigold – 99¢
On Santigold’s third album — a bright, bubbly, and confident pop confection — she is clearly having fun. At times poking fun at current trends, puffing up her own feathers, or simply slamming an ex, 99¢ continues her genre-blending style of R&B, new wave,  pop, and reggae through the shiny sheen of a cheap plastic commodity concept. Granted, this is no where near a concept album, but the music overall fits starting with the hilarious first track “Can’t Get Enough of Myself.” This perfect little pop song nails the selfie-obsessed culture from the first verse, “If I wasn’t me, I can be sure that I’d wanna be,” and continues with even better lines: “Ain’t a gambler, but, honey, I’d put money on myself,” “Got so much flavor put me on the buffet,” and “So hot they be wiping me down.” The thing is Santigold’s lyrics are key to her music.

Then there is the other book-end song. “Who I Thought You Were” is an outstanding new wave diss on an ex who let fame go to his head: “Hey now take a look at you/Hosed down in a million dollar suit/But I knew you when that wasn’t you/I knew you when you had a clue.” Ah, my favorite track “Rendezvous Girl” though. Hilariously frank and self-assured, this is also one of my favorite songs about being a high-class hooker, “I put a man in a casket/I got another thinkin’ he’s in love/I’ll break it to ’em with a velvet glove” and then the ultimate line: “Got more power/In my calendar/Than the Queen herself.”

However fun 99¢ is, it wouldn’t have any weight without some emotion. “Chasing Shadows” is a beautiful dissertation on the loneliness of fame (“Neon sign goes red/’You are here’ it says/Well, at least someone knows where I am”) and “All I Got” is part melancholy, part revenge tale of working hard for her fame and someone riding that work (“How you get something for nothing at all/Build an empire for yourself/Don’t take this personal, go to hell… Put all I got in your way”). While the rest of the album is not as accessible, it’s still worth the effort especially with tracks like “Big Boss Big Time Business” where she lets you know who’s in charge and “Outside the War” which is all creepy tones with Siouxsie-style cooing.

99¢ basically stayed on repeat this entire year. The fun and sass, the humor and attitude, all made this — for me — a perfect set of songs to get through the year that was 2016. The year overall may have sucked, but Santigold kept things light and grounded which is why it’s my favorite of the year.

Favorite songs: “Can’t Get Enough of Myself,” “Chasing Shadows,” “Rendezvous Girl,” “All I Got,” “Who I Thought You Were”

Listen on Spotify or Apple Music.

Favorite Albums of 2016: #2

2. David Bowie – Blackstar
Seriously, what is left to say about Bowie’s final gift to those of us bound to this earthly realm? Even before his death two days later, I had played the thing multiple times completely impressed that a man this far into this career and his life was still pushing boundaries and experimenting with his sonic palette. Stuffed full with — in hindsight — meaningful imagery of death and rebirth, the beauty of Blackstar is its accessibility. Yes, it’s weird with all the space jazz going on, but never once does Bowie forgot the hooks. He still wants his music flowing into ears with many gorgeous melodies riding the freaky arrangements. Whether it’s the cult-infusion of “Blackstar,” the A Clockwork Orange vernacular in the lyrics of “Girl Loves Me,” or the earnestly frank “I Can’t Give Everything Away,” Bowie’s swan song ranks up there on equal footing of his 70’s output. The world needed David Bowie except we had forgotten. Blackstar reminded us.

Favorite songs: “Blackstar,” “‘Tis a Pity She Was a Whore,” “Girl Loves Me,” “I Can’t Give Everything Away”

Listen on Spotify or Apple Music.