Friday, May 29, 2009

Treat from the Video Vault..

This is me on tour with japanese composer & pop artists Ryuichi Sakamoto..
Also in this band are Everton Nelson - Violin, Hiroshi Takano - Guitar, Mori Toshihiko - Keys & Drum Loops, Chris Minh Doky - Bass.. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

CINEMA - Favorite Films

Ok.. you asked for it but I must warn you, this is the condensed list - which is why I hate doing these.. It's impossible to narrow it down to just 10. I'll post more every so often..

01. Jersey Girl 1&2
02. War Games
03. Project X
04. Jerry Mcguire
05. Reign Over Me
06. The Holiday
07. Harry potter 1-6
08. Singles
09. Rush
10. Running With Scissors
11. V for vendetta
12. Matrix 1
13. The Godfather 1&2
14. Sleepy Hollow
15. From Hell
16. Sweeney Todd
17. Chocolat
18. Spanglish
19. Punch Drunk Love
20. The Royal Tenenbaums

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Tillman's Bar and Lounge's Selective (aka Racist) Door Policy..

Reposted from

On Saturday night two friends and I went out for a late night hang. In search of a place where we could chill out and catch-up, I suggested Tillman's Bar and Lounge for no other reason than the fact that it was close to our meeting point and I knew they would be open late. While friend number one searched for parking I got out and asked the bouncer a few basic questions that progressed (or digressed actually) like this:

Q - Can we park on this block after 1(AM)?
A - No. They ticket and tow.

Q - How late is the kitchen open?
A - 2AM, but we're only accepting reservations right now.

Q - Reservations? Er so you mean there is no room at the bar either?
A - No only reservations for the bar too...

Q - So basically your saying we can't get in huh?
A - That's right.

Initially, I wasn't THAT taken aback by the downward spiral of this conversation. I figured the place was packed; unusual yes in these times, but hey you never know. So I tried unsuccessfully to reach my other friend by cell so she wouldn't waste her time searching for a spot but she eventually came strolling up and after hearing that they wouldn't take us, she decided to make a second attempt. At just that same moment, the hostess came out and my friend asked her instead about the availability and contrary to my exchange with the bouncer, she welcomed us all in with a smile.


So we enter the vestibule; not forgetting to give the bouncer a dirty look as we stepped inside. We walk through the short dark hall and right before we pull back the the heavy drapes to enter the establishment, I started preparing for my push through the crowd only to find...Tada! The place was empty!! Ok, OK they had a few bar stools and tables filled, but in no way filled to capacity. You know what I did? I left it alone...I figured I would make a small complaint to the manager on my way out and chalk the incident up to a misunderstanding or misjudgement on the part of the bouncer.

We ate. We drank. We were merry.

Upon leaving we found the manager. I described what had happened and asked him for an explanation. Here's what he had to say (paraphrased of course):

We DO only take reservations on Thursday, Friday and Saturdays.
Management has the right to be selective.
Well you got in didn't you? (More like a question than an answer, but arrogant nonetheless)

No denial. No apology.

My reaction?? I posed this question to myself:
WWOD? What Would Obama Do? (I borrowed this phrase from and give full credit to my best friend Kemba for this one).

Well I really don't know what he would do but the question at least calmed me down enough to keep it moving. Knowing plenty of bouncers and club owners personally, I pretty much know the rules of the velvet rope; no sneakers, no single men, no drunk people and since none of these applied to us, I could only assume that the folks over at Tillman's seem to have found a new one; The "No damn reason at all except for the bouncers' own prejudice and ignorance" policy.

In this day and age; during a time when most restaurants are going under, Tillman's has taken it upon themselves to hold tight to some randomly subjective velvet rope code that only they can decipher.

If one chooses to spend their money wisely (my thanks to AC for the drinks btw) then, I think we too as patrons should practice a variation on Tillman's policy of: Being Selective

I hope you too will join me in Being Selective by "selecting" some other place and NOT Tillman's when making future plans for a night out in NYC.

Ciao for now...
The Katalist

Epilogue - I just got off the phone with my homegurl that was with me that night (I wanted to fact-check what I described above) and she got me all fired up again about what went down only two nights ago. This is MY blog DAMMIT and if I can't write about what I'm thinkin' then WTF! Now for the real deal about all the thoughts I had regarding this incident:

Tillman's Bar and Lounge is a racist Black-owned establishment...That's right I'm taking it there. And for those of you who don't know me...I'M BLACK! and I looked DAMN GOOD that night as did my two friends. So why in the world did this bouncer screen us; no! a better term would be PROFILE us as a "DO NOT ALLOW"?

Believe it or not, I don't have many personal accounts of being a victim of blatant racial discrimination...knowingly anyway. I got a few - security following me in a department store, poor service in a restaurant, job application rejections and not being able to catch a cab, but this one is some bullshit! Why? Because it was my own people who were doing the dirty deed this time. You don't agree with me?? Maybe I'm over reacting?? Listen my anger is a base reaction; meaning, I don't need historical or psychological rhetoric to back me up or justify my feelings. I was insulted and furthermore ashamed by the behavior of two black men who under different circumstances would have probably been friends of mine in a parallel Universe (like Brooklyn or Harlem).

I jest only to alleviate and counteract my pain.

So now it ends (or maybe begins for that matter) with me having to use my powers for evil instead of good. This blog along with a viral e-mail campaign are kindling and I intend to spread the word about Tillman's. I don't care about an apology anymore. I looked for that on Saturday night. I use this vehicle to vent and I've accomplished that BUT if anyone reading this would like to make a comment to Tillman's about their "screening" policies, I've included their contact information below for your convenience....just in case you'd like for them to know your opinion. or

Monday, May 11, 2009

Here's a little something from the vaults.. enjoy!

Happy - Towa Tei feat Vivian Sessoms & Bahamadia..

You may remember Towa Tei from the group Dee Lite (Groove Is In The Heart).
He went on to become a big solo artist/DJ/producer in Japan.
This is a song I co-wrote with him and hip hop artist Bahamadia..

Friday, May 8, 2009

Lost Ones.. an open love letter.. (part III)

*Reposted from

What's up Amus?
Haven't holla'd in awhile so I thought that now would be a good time to re-open our lines of communication.

I have to admit, I stopped listening to your albums. Well, I still listen to FRANK. Sometimes I can't help it. It reminds of me of how it used to be..


Wow. The FRANK LP---those were good times. I remember when you gave me the single for "In My Bed". I was floored. Your jack of Nasir's "Made You Look" had me open. Actually I think I was more amazed by the fact that Salaam "I-Gave-The-Fugees-Their-Hottest-Track" Remi produced a heater for Nasir in 2002 and turned around and gave you the SAME track in 2003. Even greater than that? I couldn't say sh*t---the song was diggy diggy DOPE! Considering the fact that I was kinda disgusted that Nas flipped the beat from "Thief's Theme" and turned around and used it for "Hip Hop Is Dead" (shame on you, Will I. Am). I mean, I'm not against "artistic" beat-jacking---but gottdammit Nas! You jacked your own music for your lead single, ON YOUR VERY NEXT ALBUM....damn you ESCO!!!

I digress. This isn't about Nasty Nas/Nastradamus. This is about you---isn't it, Aim?

[NOTE: I did decipher that you had a "jones" (no pun intended) for Nasir WAYYYY before anyone could put that sh*t together. I mean c'mon; you used his music for your single, on the first album, then on your follow-up album you recorded a song "Me and Mr. Jones". I was all over that shit like gottdamned Magnum P.I. My sleuthing skills are bar none.....with the exception of Shaggy and Scooby.]

(BTW, this is really how you use the word "anyhoo". You internet numb nuts need to get your sh*t together)

As I was saying.....

I was feeling you Amus. 'In My Bed' took me back to a time when a young Mary Blige was rocking over break beats. Whereas Mary marked the evolution of "New Jack Swing" to "Hip Hop Soul", you provided "Retro Soul" as an alternative to Bubblegum/Crunk/Insta-Soul music. [Note: I speak of these terms as phases and NOT sub-genres. I will not make the same mistakes Kedar made.]

I remember when you sent me the link to the Ghostface promo. It was a commercial for GFK's 'More Fish' album. I dug the commercial. C'mon, it was Ghost! In the background of the 30 second spot, somebody was singing. Wait a minute....that ain't Ghost (obviously)?!?!

Hold up.....who's that singing in the background?

Commercial.....Ghostface.....background music.....ol' school sounding...female singer....kinda sounds like Shirley Bassey......hold the hell up! Oh Sh*t!!! Amus, that's you!!! Oh snap!!! That's why you sent me the link! Damn ziti...duh??? I stood there, grabbing my heart like Fred G. Sanford.

December 2006. I copped the 'More Fish' album. I listened to "You Know I'm No Good" a million frigging times. A less than stellar 2006 was redeemed with one supreme collab. Ghostface+Wineface? That was the one-two punch of the year.

January 2007. Your peoples at Universal sent me a DVD. Ahhh, I remember it like it was yesterday; I'd just got home and I really wanted to wolf down the hoagie that Monica, from the deli, made for me. Actually, after seeing Monica, I wanted to jump in the shower and......AHEM (dammit Ziti....get a hold of yerfself)!!! Anyway, I popped in the DVD, opened my sandwich and ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh shitttttttt!!!!! A video! F*cking Eureka! It was for the song "You Know I'm No Good". Even though this version was Ghost-less, I was stunned, nonetheless.

You looked different since the last time we saw each other. You had an enormous bee-hive. You lost a little weight. You had these crazy, biker chick tattoos. One of your tats even featured a naked woman. That put you in good with one of my babes. She secretly wants to have a lesbian encounter. She doesn't think I know. Shhhhhhh.

I loved you. You were a cross between The Supremes and Alanis Morrisette; You had the flair, image and pipes of Diana and the girls. You had the truth and I-Don't-Give-A-F*ck attitude of Alanis. You were old AND new at the same time. You were going to run the second leg of a race that Erykah, D'Angelo and Jill had started. In the video, you were slinking around in that tub, showing off rug burns to a jilted lover. You could sing (or sang --- i.e. "that heifer Amy Winehouse can SANG"). You were going to raise the bar for these other Nickelodeon pop tart singer hoes.

Maybe that was too much to ask for.

*(to be con't..)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Lost Ones.. an open love letter.. (part II)

(*note - reprinted from - feb 2008)

..And what about you D?
How much longer do we have to wait for the next one?
We all know you recorded about 10 albums worth of material when you did 'Voodoo'.
Can't we just get an EP? A single leaked to the internet?? Somethin'?
I've just about played the words of 'Brown Sugar' and 'Voodoo'.
You know you single handedly changed the the sound of R&B music in the nineties, don't you?
There are many others that have done great things in music but you are one of the few that gave us a brand new sound..
New for us anyways..

Let's see... before you, there was Scott Joplin, Little Richard (or) Chuck Berry (don't know which of the 2 of them is credited with bringing rock and roll to the world), Charlie Parker & Dizzy Gilespie, Bob Marley, Teddy Riley and you..
Now there were many other folks who came before you.. Sly Stone, Jimi Hendryx, Miles Davis, Ella & Sarah, Duke, Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, Michael, Stevie, Curtis, Marvin, Al, Earth Wind & Fire, and on & on, not to mention Ludwig Von Beethoven, as black artists who have been groundbreaking and forward thinking but there are only a few that we can truly say started a genre or had a musical term coined after their music..
You are one of the few..

One of the things that makes you different is that you openly admit you've studied and learned from the masters and freely share with us who our masters are and who we should be listening to, if we didn't already know....
Sadly, some of us didn't.
You encouraged us to go back and listen and learn by sharing the adventures of the 'Soulquarians'.
Didn't we all wanna be up in those sessions?
Up in tha' house that Jimi Hendryx built, watching videos of Curtis and Sly, Bobby Womack, Al Green, Donny & Prince, smoking a joint, having a lil' taste of Jesus juice and then jamming for 'bout 8 or 9 hours straight..

You know what I'm sayin'?
Sometimes an artist comes along and makes everybody that isn't black want to be black so badly, if only for a time, just to have that real true black experience of our music , our culture, and being a part of something so soulful... so smoky... so earthy...and beautiful... that when that artist sings their song, black people everywhere look at everybody else with that knowing look in their eyes, their heads cocked to the side like 'we have a secret and the secret is,'s good to be us, you heard that song, you heard what he said, you seen the video, that's what we look like, that's what we do when we party, that represents us and we know you wanna be us!'
'Brown Sugar' is still one of those songs that if you hear it in the club or at a house party, when it starts with tha' 'ba-down ba-down'.. er'body in tha' room gets a crick in they neck (yeah I said 'they',) a hump in they back, arms go up in the air and asses gits up off tha' chair... 'uh uh uh uhhh, oooh wa oooh wa oooooh, clack' you put that song on and even the most unfunky, unsoulful mofo's in tha world become instantly cool as they get transported to the scene of Marvin Gayes 'I Want You' album cover or the 'Got 'Til It's Gone' video by Ms. Janet..

I've only run up to the front of the stage for 2 concerts in my ENtar life..
One was for Al green (there is a hilarious story that goes along with that ep) and yours..
I was at your show with my boyfriend and it was understood that even though HE bought the tickets and I was there with HIM, HE WOULD have to get over it 'cuase I WAS going up to the front of the stage and would kick another bitches ass (I'm usually very loving to my sisters) if she ain't (that's right I said ain't ) move over!

We've been hearing for a couple years now that there's an album in the works..
We hope to God that's true..
That would make my year for music!

Last week I was checking out the October edition of Vibe magazine with Chris Brown on it's cover.
Lot of good stories in there but one that really caught me was the story on the rise and fall of the Debarge family, a most beloved first family of r&b music.
It was a tragic story of fame and drugs followed by a fall from grace, & behind that, an extremely abusive father, a passive mother, lawsuits, prison, death AND underneath all of that...a most beautiful legacy of music that the survivors in the family struggle to keep alive.
Don't be that D, please, we beg of you... don't ever be that..
Don't be that star who shined so brightly and then burned out too quickly leaving us all here with crushing memories of what you could have been, should have been...
Black people live that reality all too often. Our Icons give us hope, someone to look up to, something to strive for.. Especially the musical ones because you give us a song to sing and to put in our hearts, a soundtrack to live our lives to...

*(to be con't..)

*Note - Just heard.. Lauryn Hill posted new concert dates on her website & D'Angelo is planning his new release for the summer!!
Awesome & inspiring..