Friday, March 29, 2013
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Minutes later we’re at our darling center courts the site of last years Young Guns finals appearance. I jumped from Sully’s whip and pounded #’s into the payphone. I’d mesmerized DES calling card # just like him. I looked back over my shoulder at those courts. I could see Santo screaming, slapping, tapping full of live. His big bright smile back to life, I accounted for everyone, Spec was home in Boston living his other book, and for just a few seconds we waited, the sound of silence never before had been so deafening staring at the center courts. “Yo, center courts, get down here.” They were a series of quick conversations. I looked at Magic, shaking the black Krylon can of spray paint I’d walked out with. “Let’s do it.” Magic finger rolled his approval on my idea, and that was it.
Once we arrived in the 2AM dead of night at our now vacant student parking lot I snapped into action. And just like those precious moments on the court when I was “zonen” I’d move quickly and purposefully without thought. Dancing WITH EFFIECIENT grace OVER THE CHORDS OF YET ANOTHER ugly act there was no time to be distracted. “Stretch.” “Yeah C.” Replying eagerly in his southern drawl that always made me think he was retarded anytime we spoke. He being the savior I kept this to myself and Magic and Monster and B-Dawg. “Come here, boost me ten fingers here, to get on that overpass.” With the six foot eight the past problems of getting onto the overpass which allows you to simply trek to the top of the field house was mitigated. “That was sure easy.” Stretch remarks as all watch faceless. I needed another assistant up here with me while the rest of the crew worked on the lower ends of the schools south face spray painting anything and everything that came out. “Yo Stretch boost Monster up here with me.”
“Fuck yes!” Monster was excited to get up to the top of the field house, which once seated at sixteen, having seen such few places, you felt looking over Madison that you peered over the entire world. Monster offered a cigarette, it was peaceful and a great view I was able to share with MONSTER FOR THOSE FIVE MINUTES. SILENCE HAD NEVER BEEN SO GOLDEN. I never thought it possible. And maybe this was because we’d never seen the center basketball courts or the high school football field from such an angle. I started with a simple, Santo YG, #22.
And with that simple breaking of the ice the session began and then ended when we had finally run out of spray paint. Being hoisted down from the top of the field house that claimed the last teenage life in Madison (1977, fell through the then glass roof) before our beloved son, we stood back and marveled at our field house all tatted up. Where there was once no graffiti now there was a lot of it. My hands had blackened as that of my crew. It just happened. We couldn’t get pulled over. Monster was deliberant focused angry, Magic when his chance to cop the bottle arose appeared relaxed and dutiful. When my turn came I went big. “YG #22’s” “Santo we love you!” “#22, today and forever” “UNLV.” “YG will never forget #22 Santo” “Legend, #22.” Once saddled back in our two modes of transport we decided to head over to Bridge school (clay cliffs) and smoke dope, which actually seemed quite healthy at that point. Mr. Fullerton (Scully) coming from the party had a bag and given his acute attention to detail pertaining to certain activities he’s a savvy veteran in the world of joint rolling. But he plays second fiddle to Monster who’s cornered that market of skill and random acumen surrounding skills that for whatever reason are deemed vital to the teenage world. On the high school level joint rolling was an artful science commanding big props from the Ben and Jerry’s crowd. For the one handers out there like Monster a high degree of social respect is bestowed upon those that can “roll tight, but not too tight” with one paw, especially when in a car over a bumpy topography with limited spillage. His was a skill akin to my freestyle rapping both universally appreciated.
“Light the fucking thing for Christ sakes.” I’m annoyed and been ready to spark. “Would you hurry up?” Monster took years to do nothing unless it was destructive. “Dude shhh.” The boy knew my buttons. He loved controversy but not tonight. Monster nodded his head fixing his eyes like lazers on the last leg of his one handed, joint rolling magic. “OK, lick that shit, we’ve got about five misdemeanors going on in here fuck face, I’m the guy on probation Monster.”
“Relax Mr. Easton.” Mr. Fullerton aka Scully says, smiling for the first time for any of us licking the end seam of his own joint. “Nice.” Another joint was always welcome. I’d recently begun inhaling and got the then presidents excuse. But my ADD and my rapping seemed to benefit from weed. Plus everyone always had the best time smoking it. I’d remember Santo pulled “tubes” and his participation knocked down an early wall facing my own participation. And he was now dead.
If we barely could musk the might to feign the façade of moderate interest in general, this incident sealed our, “I don’t give a fuck” casket. The truth was I did care and hadn’t accomplished a god dam thing. The joints smoked that night made all of us content with the idea of fading away. I just didn’t care. “I’m not going to kill myself, but I will OD.” Monster speaks straight forward in dead monotone. It was only a handful of times that Monster spoke with resolve. I smiled overlooking his long dirty blonde lettuce. “I love you dude.” I had to say it. He made me crazy. “Same dude.” And since family as far as I could see was everything. And because mine had abandoned my mother, sister and myself I’d created a gang and inherited the best kids in my grade. It was like a lottery. Outliner’s taught us that everything matters. Where you were born, what you look like, when in times history did your “coming up occur?” And part of that golden equation, in my own microcosm because everything matters chasing outliers was, who were the kids in your grade? My dad carried only a few absolutely essential keys to life. And at the top of that list was the company that you keep. I’d seen my sister’s grade besides Magic and I were Hayden protégé’s aware of each and every classes rank over the last decade. This was according to the guys we then worshiped. And maybe that’s why adolescence is scary when you think about it, how dangerous is it idolizing men working in a gym? But I didn’t give a fuck. My private mantra to myself was I’d never have any regrets. Do it and try and get away but now was the time. And the other side of, that, was never change, be real, get older but never ever change. I’d grown up on hip hop tapes, and I believed them all. Scarface, Too-$short, Wille D, Ice T, they were right, and I knew it. I believed that I was chosen. And that’s only ever dangerous if you can command a stage audience or various so inclined unstable youths. That was power, money was the other side of that, I liked power better. I was a Star War kids but just by default growing up around so many successful people in Madison I knew I’d already cooked that goose. Magic was to be our politician. And watching Monster in the tail end of wrapping our get away leafs into something to be smoke, I thanked god for him. I knew my sister faced the same challenges and her friends sucked. I knew always my situation was different. My draft class on the NFL year of graduation tip was a deep pool.
“We’re ready.” Monster commanding a snap to command a light which decorum stated he sparked the session and Scully wanting to confirm in unity to timeless indulgent traditions provided it as fast as pulled trigger delivers exhaust, smoke. And at that moment there were no books in the future, the past had lost its trace, there was right that second. On the cold concrete and damp grass a froth, chilly night just me my brothers minus one back at the elementary school where it all started. And we were in Madison MA. Our elementary school had a beach, a reservoir not only were we “goosed” insulated but our town commanded the nod of where America started. And our basketball program had become one of the state’s top 5 nestled beside gritty urban classics. We had it all. And with that came expectations.
“Fuck life.” our new mantra. I observed Scully next to me drilling M. Red smoke after the other. “We should go and get Stretch.” Scully reminds us. Scully was a crew guy, I’d never forget those moments as the architect building just that from the boys I’d staged (*life) out with. Looking up again, it was 5:00 AM and the sun was coming up. Never to split apart we headed to Denny’s for some breakfast. It was now Sunday and as all sit starving no one was able to eat. And then it was time. It was time for us to visit the accident site, where just hours before Santo’s life was taken. Boys don't cry but I'd in a long life of crying amongst zip codes whose promise was that with money, premium, history here, this would never happen, exploded. I'd lost more than anyone in any house or zip code I'd ever known. But I didn't sweat it, I had faith from the lawnmower and I had METCO to drill in my first lesson, it could be worse.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Friday night, my junior year, the Final four, two parties, I was at home, benched. It was like the “old days” just my mother and I. Muffin had a girl’s night, Stretch was doing a couple’s thing with Santo while my sister Brooke was out with DES and the Madison brat pack undoubtedly indulging a pre mature, excessive existence. My mother had ACE’S in her hands they were her right to worry cards, she was dealt the hand that no mom ever wanted. She kept them close to the vest. And sometimes she’d allow anyone to see sometimes she’d discard. She’d played her last hand, the hand no kid ever wanted. We played backgammon. My sister was slipping away from us and she knew it. Theirs was an increasingly fractious relationship.
I couldn’t see it. I saw my mother though, her wisdom and hustle. I’d always been thankful I’d been spared a vagina. It was difficult to endure my sister’s junior high skating career with my mother at the helm. Too much everything, it was clearly unhealthy. It was one thing I never bothered blocking out. My sister was going to have some issues down the road. And as she naturally gravitated towards our father in those early teenage years, he’d left. And had a new family, a boy and a girl, step kids three and four, re set button. And I wasn’t mad at him someone was going to jail for something if he’d stayed. He’d cut his wrists instead of the Turkey on Thanksgiving 88. And you didn’t need the therapy I’d been conned into five years ago at that point to get that.
And like boys, I’d grown closer to my mother. And through basketball and the ACE program she found our best home yet. She loved the Young Guns while praying I stopped hanging out with seventy five percent of them. That was our battle. She’d discovered an ally in the Big Guy whom referred to most of my friends along with Coach Sullivan as “dopes.” My mother and I were teammates. And she’d have to balance that survival mentality as it lived into my vehicle against the common practice of parental guidance. It was often blurred. But she’d always have my back. It’s all I needed. Some mothers in Madison turned their sons in for illegal behavior. Not the one’s in survival mode and never my mother. It was security even though I never got caught. And through her neurosis I’d learned to safe house any shred of something I’d never want her to come into contact with. I had Enrico’s basement and my clubhouse Sugar Ray’s.
Sugar Rays had made a nice transition into our junior year. She was re claimed. A safe-house, beer and dope spot. It had a classical story. It’s where B-Dawg lost his virginity for $20’s and a vanilla milk shake. It’s where I recorded both my demo’s, 2-$mooth and adolescent along with $mooth Adolescents, LP. It was far from their main house. The couch was a bed when I had escape next store. It’s writing covering all of my years, and dreams, and friends gave it a classic feel. It was all ours. Point is I’d learned precaution and filled in the blanks.
My mother was smart enough to know meeting certain acquaintances weather they were real or not real trouble or real good kid cause you know every hustler is a good kid. And therefor she’d foreseen grave danger for the both of us. She couldn’t stop us now and there was no oversight. My sister and I were the worst candidates for such a situation. And skating was over summer was coming, Young Gun’s and our senior year. She knew that was my ticket. She rightfully held those 4 ACES of worry, still, not ready to drop one. She worried about Brooke, forever, and was happy that night I’d stayed in. She knew the spring was my danger zone. There was also a party hosted by our class president whose freshmen year bash had gotten myself, Santo and Well’s into the Big Guy’s office in the first place. “Living it up freshmen year.” I’d always remember the arrival of beer from some curtains of age that had delivered five cases to her doorstep. I loved that not knowing of the permanent damage the chase of legendary high school status how inflicted on so many under my nose. Anyway I was left off the invite list along with the usual cast in our click. It was her father’s house, an even nice town adjacent. And I didn’t blame her. I wouldn’t want the bunch of us in a very nice place. Reflect: I loved being a freshmen it was better than 11th, 10th or even the storied 12th grade. After freshmen year you’d never be the youngest again (high school). And in 1993 that glorious youthful revolution on American culture started by our parents generation was full blown again and the strides were staggering. It’s why we aligned with Michigan’s Fab 5. UNLV had graduated their roster in fitting scandals and shadows. I believed that Larry Johnson missed the free throws, shaved the points. I’d known I’d made the right decision when a week after we first filled a 76 Bus, copping thirty UNLV hats Larry Johnson and Stacey Augmen appeared in 3 piece suits and gangster hats and feathers on the Cover of SI, I’d made a perfect decision. I even think Larry Johnson might have been holding a semi automatic hand held, sick cause once again times were changing. And hip-hop banged anthems for that type of shit. I was now sure with no wars and a recovering re boom we were born at the perfect time and place. My dreams were like lottery tickets tools to crutch away thoughts of root causes and repairs. I took big chances. We’d collectively all taken our biggest risks as freshmen. The stakes rose with age, the track and question, where would life take you? But not for me and I had to be careful, Black and Hank, expelled. Naturally UNLV or us Young Guns gravitated to the Fab 5 that spring. Fuck you pay me.
And there were huge walls left which the establishment borrowed at least one familial trait from my own pretending those walls weren’t there. It was so very Jim Crow. It wasn’t even conscience but it was there, living wildly undercover. I’d seen the lengths one had to go to change the course of fear and stereotypes in my own house. Of all kinds but nothing elicited more fear and programming than black. And then as history as far back as it was recorded taught us, the darker, the scarier. And Bryant, “Kool-Aid” once upon a rhyme again at Sugar Rays a then recording studio (Casio SK-1 boom box, two-button press, blank tape a mic, record) had made sense of it all. I’d said it. A post recording conversation on racism in America with my band had started out with me playing devils advocate turned into my father’s conviction rising further and further to the top. I loved arguing and his voice was a compelling one. This was America.
We’d truly show our whole hand as temperatures rose. “Bryant it’s not like a kid is in preschool is learning colors, looks at the wheel and says that’s black, I’m black, that’s not good, I’m fucked.” “I don’t even have to say anything, you just said it yourself.” And how could I see it. It was America. I had blonde hair and blue eyes. I lived in Madison and could grab the rim. I thought about that allot in Sugar rays after his dad, the civil rights attorney in the air force picked them up to head back to the base. There were still walls. And the pioneers of the early 90’s smashed them down thunderously day after day. The antics as always grew with real power and wealth.
Ice Cube (who J Edgar Hoover would’ve HATED the most), NWA, the Fab 5, just a few. The other side of grunge was the golden era of hip hop proving once again that economies define everything, money, money, money. It was the silver lining of recession, better music. And for teenage spitters taking cues from Charles Barkley on down a now complete lack respect regarding traditional channels of authority pervaded our personas. The irony in all of this of course was that I was white. I just hadn’t figured it out yet. My biggest lessons were still on the table. “Carl, hunny wake up Carl, Carl, Carl, Carl wake up,” It was a touch after midnight, I was dead asleep, and my mothers soft hand was rubbing my head. “Ma?” I was puzzled as my mother thanked the lord every night I was home early, home safe. My father measured a man’s success by how much sleep you got.
“Ma – what time is it?” “Shh, shh, Carl oh god Matt, your friend, well” The tears now rumble unable to be held back, the pain of having to tell me something she knows will evict the compass I’d found in the ACE program amongst the Big Guy. She took a breath and courageously honored her duty, “and he died.” “Santo?” Come on. The nod. “What!” I yelled like Mel Gibson and sprang up from Star War sheets. Tears swelled my mother’s light brown eyes. I stared intently at her jaw line as she wept and wrangled a half hug out of me horizontally. I’m so glad Jesus gave me your nose. Muffin told me it’s an amazing feature, thanks yo please, please Jesus no matter what happens, thanks for keeping them blases away from this face!.
My ADD my mind floated elsewhere in an instant. My mother knelt and was crying hysterically over something. I rubbed her head. I stared at my Isiah Thomas poster. The Pistons, the bad boys. I loved that team. I loved Isiah after all he had his own Sunday night Disney movie I’d filmed on a blank VHS cassette as it aired on ABC years ago. I’d seen it a hundred times. I love that film, dam, Chicago.
“Carl! Carl, listen, shh, I’m so sorry Carl, I’m so sorry.” Listen and shh were two steadies I got regardless.
Knowing not what to do I tightly clenched my fist and punched a wall in my bedroom. Seemed appropriate. The worry in my mothers face observing the train wreck of my adolescence always caused worry. She needed a Zanex. I was trying mightily not to think, I always knew this going to happen. Just not Santo I’m a big problem….
Repression was underrated and I had an audience. Fuck that. I punched the wall giving in to the anger that both Monster, Skeetah also sought out in a desperate attempt to balance out suicidal tendencies.
“Oh Carl, we all loved Santo so very much. He was just over the house on Wednesday playing with little John.” Holding my mother and stroking the back of her neck filtering my fingers through her recently lightened brown hair I still had nothing to say. She was already reflecting. He was dead. I punched the wall again hard. I liked pain. I had a unique pain perspective. I was silent, this is some shit.
Soon in the darkness of my bedrooms night the illumination of car headlights scanned across my walls. Sniffing up emotion that a second ago was not present a small tear fought gallantly to be exposed. My mother looking up notices this first real tear and asked, “what is it baby?” “that’s Magic.” Now I knew it was true. “I love you mom, I’ll be OK, let’s go downstairs.” She knew it was magic, I had to go. My mothers tears so instantly replaced by that reigning king of all emotions, fear, “Oh Carl your not going out? It’s almost 1 AM?” “Shhh, mommy, lets go downstairs, lets see Mike. I love you” “I love you” we walked downstairs to find Magic just walking through the door like he had so many thousands of time throughout childhood into our kitchen. “C,” he was revved astonished. “Did you just find out?” “Yeah.” I sadly replied as my mother sat down at the kitchen table, grabbing her token Zanex bottle and lighting a cigarette I’m looking eye to eye with magic before he breaks the silence. “Carl, this is one of our best friends, 5th Grade Bridge school! He’s dead, Santo’s dead.”” “yeah” “I know” “we went back to the 1st grade” “Yeah” “we know him as well as anyone on the planet, this is nuts.” “I don’t know what to say” “Carl, Santo is dead – that’s what we’re dealing with.” “alright Mizz, let’s break.” Mizz was a sick nickname I called Magic partially in tribute to our two idols growing up, Sean and Lloyd MHSD basketball 88. My mother jolted in life like a wartime Palestinian child she’d existed from one explosion to the next subsequently stammered out, barely. “Be careful ple, please boys.”
“Don’t worry Ms Easton, we’ll be OK, we’ll be together.” “Don’t worry.” Shortly there after we brought it in leaving the house it was the first time I’d seen Magic hug my mother. My house sat back against a rolling front lawn. The center of which had twin maple Oak’s whose backside was fortified by a sweeping row of flowery shrubs. There was a dogwood tree. It was our perfect Suburban house. We looked so good on paper. I slammed the front door sliding into shotgun. Magic started the engine. And we were silent. Magic, “so we’re supposed to go to Chrissy’s house right now, you know Chrissy, our class, lives by the high school, nice body. You’d bang her, so would I.” “Yeah I don’t even need the name to know that geee-uy.” We laughed. It was timely the medicine of comedy and its barely researched benefits. I deplored being instructed as to what to do, that I was now hearing it from my best friend on the heels of a shift in the my earth’s gravitational plates only combusted that which itched desperately to piss it all away. I was still holding on that this was all some sort of enormous Tommy Boy-esque misunderstanding, but why?
I mentally retreated to Luke’s situation in Jedi telling Yoda, I can’t. Magic appreciated the laughter knowing the hard sell behind it. “We gotta check in at this house.” “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me, you know there’s no way you’ll ever see me there, now, curtains, therapists, Magic.” “First of all your under a microscope. And fucking Santo is dead. You have you go.” “OK for a second” listen, my mom got a call from” Cutting off parent esque “Magic” due to an all too sickening familiarity with Madison MA instant hot lines and “safe” houses I deaded it, no way. “Take me to the center courts.” A shoe line in the footprint of my undercover social revolution at Madison high entitled, upsetting the order contained provisions for teachers + parents not just the typical senior class waiting in the wings over the decades in my metal head town I disdained. “Fuuuuuck that, who the fuck is going to tell us where to go, fuck that, who the fuck is going to tell me where to go, we don’t even know this shit is true!” Magic poked a judicial glance AT MY MUG LIKE A JUDGE THAT HAS studied for years a law I’ve misinterpreted and recently hollered at with arrogance. A face does paint a picture and a thousand words. “We’ll just make an appearance. This is, I’m in shock. I promised my mother. We’ll be quick” Magic saying that was different than coming from me there was a resolve and a respect something devoid in relationships of white boys.” “Who called you? What happened?” And Magic passed along what he knew as pulled up. “OK Santo was seeing her, that lives here, right?” Parked. Doors slam. “I think so.” Conversation dropped as our breath became our soundtrack. I feel vaguely settled and seconds later we’ve arrived. Sauntering into this assigned sanctuary we suddenly begin to understand the magnitude of our boys existence. Surveying the scene, the house, yard, candles and random kids in windows I’d seen in high school halls I kick save a deep breath saving myself from losing it, This is a fucking joke this is a fucking joke.
Cars lined the street. And as we walked past the barn and inside this colonial masterpiece all heads turned. Whispers floated and eyes were transfixed on Santo’s teammates on me and Mike, Magic and the Dream. I saw many faces, knew a couple names. All eyes were on us. Be careful what you wish for. I turned my toe left and saw smack dab, the Big Guy. Wearing a navy and gold Madison colored sweater he said in his famous deep tone, “Come here boys, I know, it’s OK, get it out, it’s OK its OK.” Opening his giant arms we’d broke like a women’s water at birth, tears flooded over psychological dams of denial, Santo you see was dead. Certainly a moment easy to block out but impossible to forget we could’ve easily cried in his arms another lifetime. But this was really happening and we were two of many, Santo was ubiquitous in Madison we never knew it until right at this moment. It got me thinking about my own funeral, Magic’s, hmmmm. And for their first time I wasn’t so sure of death, it was just a line.
“OK, toughen up, say hello to the others kids here, be nice.” And we dried up like a mouth post bong, chronic. I was a soldier. We were varsity basketball players. And in Madison that meant something. And we carried out orders proving to the Big Guy we’re capable of whatever he wished. Our sniffling stopped and the press tour commenced demonstrating the checkmate status our basketball coach held over us. The game I disdained I’d cop no problem for coach.
We quickly worked the room and said hi to a choice couple of our same grade peripheral peers. And under many watchful eyes however numb and confused it’s exactly what we did, just like varsity lettermen for about ten minutes. It was shock. A scene we’d never quite ever witness again. The kids in our community we’d grown up with. All here. Shocked and saddened. We found Wells. Our captain. This was his crowd a captain in many ways to the breadth of Madison teenagers destined for good schools. We’d known since grade school Well’s would play basketball or baseball at Harvard and probably be our valedictorian. John Wells had grown up across the street from Santo. We knew he was in good hands. And he knew that we needed to go. His brain had crashed but at least he was safe. After a full circle and huddling with the few people we had some sort of comfort level with, we needed an exit. “Any word on the fellas?”
“Yeah anything to get out of here.” For standing in that corner wondering where Scully was only made me aware that my friends were rapidly disappearing. It was important for a roll call, B-Dawg, Monster, Hatty, Grimly, Goldy, Well’s, Stretch, Skeetah, my boy C, Pos, Limerick, “It’s time.” “Shh.” Magic was trying to do the right thing and grappled with it only a second longer. As dozens of kids dissented on the home of Santo’s last known girlfriend we had cover in the chaos even principal Graff had entered the premise. “Quite the event.” Magic was hit with a sigh.
“Yeah, let’s just go.” And then sounding a bit like Mr. Miagi Magic says after Daniel pleads the same request inside the Cobra DoJo, “wait not yet.” He was waiting for the Big Guy to step out for a moment possibly longer. Soon Goldy + my boy C, showed up but we were still very short. I had my preppy bandits to round up. And still needed to know exactly what fuck happened.
To me the therapists called at “a minutes warning,” made absolutely no sense. Annoyed to new extents that overwhelmed Magic assured that we’d agitate the gravel in proper format. We’d had no word on Scully. I’d called his house and his mom was freaking out. This was our excuse to leave. “Beep me later.” Plans were made to re-convene at the center courts in an hour, get as many Young Guns as we could find go from there. “Mizz the worst part, there’s no one to go after, no one to blame, not even.” “That’s a good point.”
“Stop by the center courts, let me flush out some pages. We need a head count.” We darted to Scully’s after our first stop in seconds pulling into his cute cottage in the “manor” section of our colonial town. We had to get Scully. Santo looked up to Scully in a way. Scully had already caught two no hitter’s John Well’s threw. Santo was the centerfielder. Santo liked Scully so much they hung out while attending rival junior highs it was the only example of this happening. Everyone loved Scully everyone loved Santo the two of them along with Magic helped balance the PR fight while forever pledging a stance of unlawful retaliation at anyone that attempted to poison a Young Gun.
“Hello?” We never knocked and walked right into Scully’s kitchen within seconds the English teacher charged towards us crying. As she hugged us both and we begin crying as a unit. I thought about that last time I’d cry on her lap along with her son (Scully) during the 4th grade little league semi final the fight, Santo’s dad, little league held some fond memories. And Santo wasn’t a bully but he had that temper. And I knew, that night it blended with some bad luck and got the best of him. Huh not invincible after all.
“Where the fuck is this guy?” Snapping out of it I again asked Magic steamed I couldn’t pour myself a cocktail, “I’m sure he’s out late night hitten White Hen blazing it up with Skeetah.” “Of course.” All of a sudden we heard a car drunkenly plow into the driveway utilizing those last skills of hand eye coordination in a teenage inebriated state. Scully’s Ma up from the counch looked at us, cupping her mouth, “that’s him (she again places her hands over her mouth in a panic) I don’t think he knows yet.” “He’s hammered.” Mike whispered on a lean. This frightens his mom to no end simply because her son is such a zilla. This is a kid who like me has put his hand through a window during domestic disputes on many an occasion to stop the moment and change direction. And Scul came through his front door. Doing next weeks drinking a tad early he’s advertising his choppers. His broad smile indicates he’s delighted to see us at his crib at such a late hour for a night cap. It’s neither Magic’s nor my place to speak and none of my dysfunctional moments could compare to the uncharted territory that we’re currently standing in.
“What guys?” He gave that hiccup chuckle holding onto his smile and dimple just as long as he could. Magic and myself both look down, like Yoda as Luke walks into the cave armed in Empire. Silence persisted and each second that stretched heightened the uncomfortable nature of this moment. My skin was crawling like American soldiers in the brush on the hunt for Viet Cong, slow, calculated, nervous fright. “What?” Now his smile is gone, frustration over our appearance and apparent silence has triggered his annoyed tone. Finally Mrs. Scully the almost nun focused and like a clutch free throw blocked everything out in order to stabilize and say what had to be said.
“Sweety, Santo died tonight in a car crash tonight,” and that was it, she had lost it just like my mother, she fights to push out falling sentiment, “we’re so sorry for you guys.” And just like my mother had harked back to her own hurt over a boy she loved, “Oh Matt I’m so sorry.” Scully’s parents were both teachers and would give him space for his natural emotions and decisions to play out. Mike wasn’t at my house right when I heard rather it was a moment between a mother and a son. I wasn’t with Mike when he heard. Now here, now, for this first shock, all’s we could do was look at the floor. Magic stayed stern as Scully ran into the living room and smashed a kitchen plate on the floor. Followed by a serious of upper cuts to his living room wall and another broken glass it was clear that Scully is not stable. He doubled back into the kitchen and smashed a plate onto the floor. “:Arrrrrrrgggggggaaawwww” Scully had lost it. His parents stepped back, this according to chapter 16 of the book they were raising him stipulated as much. Boy did I, do I get a kick out of therapy and it’s ever changing back and forth. Parent’s try
Scull looked like he’d suddenly added a chromosome to his count. My Edison’s cross those of Magic’s in “Bart eye format” caused the breakage of the plate, a certain serious and damaging moment to start tickling me. Oh fuck no. This feeling with Magic, it was akin to throwing up, I now only had a couple of seconds before I burst into laughter. I bolted outside trying to contain my laughter at least until I heard the side screen door slam. All houses were entered through the side screen door. The front door was pageantry. I hit front lawn hear Magic right behind, door slams shut and I go liquid. I was crying not able to contain myself. Magic now blotchy barely fails a sentence, “Dude” and that was it. We were done. This was able to last upwards of an hour if I didn’t, at that moment, immediately get the fuck away from Mike. Attempting to quietly see if we were able to be around each other without being laughing, I cautiously approached. Cautiously tip toeing kitty cat style ten minutes later, “Shh, shh, shh, Mizz,
“shh, I know.” And as we descended towards the delicate task of being serious at the most essentially such moment of our friendship at the home of another, YG’s, on the heels, fucken get it right, grow up as he father would famously roar in aw of our stupidity. “OK, it’s, Santo died, sh, sh.” And we heard something, not sure what it was, but we heard something either being shattered or displaced? Liquid again. We turned on dime and sprinted away from each other in opposite directions as fast I we can. Laughing myself retarded I pause Nope not ready I let out breathe held in cause I was trying not to do that, my burst, dominoes, Magic’s blotchy state and within seconds we’re back to being thirty five yards apart.
Ten minutes later after regaining our composure we walked back into the house Scully, drunk, shocked, now breathing with two hands held, clutched behind the back of his head, in Madison on the hoops scene this is how we were taught since a young age to catch our breath on a basketball court. His mother stood to the side just to give his space, I love this mutha fucka so much no one is ever gonna hurt my dude I say to myself before rolling over to him, “Yo come here dawg.” He turns, and I UNLV bear hugged my man Matt Scully. He sobs, as I rub the back of his head, not going to cry myself. I’d learned, and went through this, he’d just heard, I had to pay forward my experience. I was feebly indestructible Magic walked over and hugged us both. I kick saved a massive breakdown.
ADD FlashBack: “I promise three more Candy machines and no school on Friday!” To a thunderous applause, excerpt from what I believe many of the campaign themes were for the Junior High candidates running for class office in my day our first experience in American politics, over promise and under deliver.
We stood together and even in our “worst situation imaginable” carried each other. Like we always had, “Yo, its OK, still got us.” We all needed to hear that. And it was true in my mind at the time we’d never be not together for the rest of time. “Mrs. Scully may I use your phone?” “of course hunny, would you like.” Knowing where this went I cut her off, “no thank you, I just need a head count on this guys. Actually I’ll take a twix, yo Stretch, yeah, I’m at Scully’s, Monster, C, OK we’ll be right there.” AND we were off to the center courts to round up the fellas. There would be no more safe houses for Young Guns. I assured mostly Mrs. Scully we were retreating to an assigned sanctuary, and that the Big Guy was there, and the principal. This calmed as she finally asked, “Carl please don’t do anything crazy honey.” “We won’t.” I smile and assure. Walking to Magic’s car it felt good to be together. “Dude?” Scully said this to me freaking out. “I gave him a beer.” “Shh, calm down, just one?” “Yeah” “well you got anymore?” “ah yeah got a little more than a twelve pack in my trunk.” “OK good, I’m grabbing a couple and riding with you, don’t ever repeat that.”
Tapping on the hood to Magic’s mom’s Toyota, “Center courts.” I said loud, “and stop by Walgreen’s” I mentioned quietly to Scul-Dawg. I needed spray paint. I stole a can of spray paint. I was hoping for an employee to say something to me. I felt like Dally in the last scene of the Outsider’s, complete detachment wanting the smallest excuse to snap. I rarely paid for anything in Madison in homage to my on going series it pays to be white in America.
Monday, March 25, 2013
Friday, March 22, 2013
PO Pringle aka Decatur, aka that chocalte retar 2 the bar. Pos finds himself back in the spotlight once again, the man is OTHELLO! And here he comes slick with his latest track, well done SON.
Also - Postell Pringle | Performer of the week - kid's cajun !
Othello: The Remix at Chicago Shakespeare Theater Photo: Michael Brosilow
Othello is one of the meatiest roles in Shakespeare’s canon, and he gets a hard-hitting hip-hop makeover in the Q Brothers’ Othello: The Remix at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Played with ferocity by Postell Pringle, this Othello is a hip-hop mogul whose life falls apart when he makes Iago the opener’s opener on a new tour. A native of Decatur, Georgia, Pringle performed in high-school theater to meet girls, but didn’t have designs on a professional career when he enrolled at Bates College. After a short-lived college basketball career, he chose to pursue theater after being in a directing class scene. He met Q Brother GQ when they were visiting Bates College as high school seniors, and they stayed friends after GQ moved to New York to attend the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. Pringle performed on the East Coast before moving to Chicago with the Q Brothers to understudy Royal George’s production of The Bomb-itty of Errors in 2001. He is now a Q Brothers company member, regularly performing with the other three Othello: The Remix cast members as the Retar Crew. Pringle talks to us about the adaptation process, his hip-hop influences and how his music career has informed his acting.
Do you have any role in the adaptation process?
Yeah, definitely. This one started with a version of the play that G started, then J jumped in, and once they had a script they brought [Jackson Doran and me] in. It was very different, and we tried us playing different characters that the ones we play now, but as soon as we had a script, Jackson and I were brought into the room. As a unit, Q Brothers is J and G but now includes myself and Jackson as company members, and we now all write these plays together. We’re a band called the Retar Crew, and because of us knowing each other over the years and all the work that we’ve generated together, there’s a familiarity in terms of their writing for me. They know that because I’m from the South, I can bend certain words that a New York rapper wouldn’t. They know my cadences. The know Jackson’s sense of humor and they also know that we know their strengths as rappers and actors. Raptors as we like to call ourselves. [Laughs.] Seriously, we have a joke where if one of us says, “I think you need to make a different acting choice,” we have to say, “Wait wait wait, excuse me? We’re rapting.”
Once we had the script, we came into the room and tried different things. It’s very organic and workmanlike. Literally, we take a page and we go through and say that joke works, that joke not so much, that line can be stronger, this scene looks like it should have a musical number as opposed to just the rhyming book we do. We consider the rapping throughout the whole show the book, and then we start to inject the musical numbers. In this case, Jackson and I would be like, “I would say something more like this,” and “What if this line were changed?” Because it’s G and J’s baby, they have the final say how it goes, but they also know they’re trying to write to our strengths, and that’s what we do in all of our work. We write for each other all the time.
Did you look to contemporary hip-hop artists for inspiration or listen to any music to get in character?
Not necessarily. We’re real hip-hop heads, so we marinade the story in our own knowledge of hip-hop as it stands. We don’t necessarily take any contemporary artists and use that as inspiration. However, we make correlations to current artists, for sure. When we were in one of the first two workshops for the play, late night having some drinks, J and I were discussing this Othello, him being a guy from the street who came from poverty and pulled himself up from the bootstrap to rise to actual fame and fortune. Originally, I was thinking him more in the vein of Jay-Z, and I was playing it that way. Even though Jay-Z comes from the projects in Bed-Stuy, he immediately had a certain polish to him, and he had a certain sophistication that he both aspired to and emoted in his music. Which automatically separated him from other people because he felt like something to aspire to even when he was just 25. But it was also him trying to aspire to be that kind of person, to be the polished, classy mogul as opposed to the hard street sound. When I was interpreting the character, I was doing a lot more smooth stuff. I wouldn’t say I was doing anything like Jay-Z, but that was in my mind. We had a talk about it, and then we figured out that my Othello was less like Jay-Z and more like the Game. He emotes a certain sophistication too, but there’s something much more sharp and gritty about his sound. His language is less moneyed. He talks less about affluence and just more about life as a kid in gangs and stuff like that. His cadence is much more precise; it’s less languid and he doesn’t play with space as much as Jay-Z. I didn’t go and listen to Game songs, but because I’m already a fan, I changed my cadence to become something much sharper and matching my voice to be something more unsophisticated, which I thought helped bring out the purity of this Othello character. He isn’t a guy that aspired to be a mogul or anything like that, he is actually a street kid with an amazing talent, and he got to the point that it cut through everything because of how pure it is. It took him to the top, and because of how good he is, he gets torn down.
Have you found that your time as a hip-hop artist has informed your work as an actor?
Hell yeah, definitely. (Laughs.) It’s really interesting, I can’t separate the two. My boy J, anytime we have a talkback, he always says that all he ever wanted to do was be a rapper when he was a kid. And it’s funny that we ended up in a realm that isn’t necessarily for rappers, and we found a way to still rap for a living. I was the same way. I started making hip-hop when I was in high school. I was in a band and I made a bunch of mixtapes and records throughout college, and when the theater bug bit me, I remember I got to a point where I wasn’t enjoying my personal growth as a hip-hop artist. So I was like, “Let me just stop making hip-hop and try concentrating on just theater and that art.” I’m a bit of an idiot, but I thought that I had to stop everything altogether, so I stopped making hip-hop. I took two years and concentrated on just acting, and I did it. And the funny thing is, at the end of two years, a friend of mine made some beats and asked me, “Yo, you wanna pop in on a song? Just come on over.” So I came over and ended up writing this song and then the next day I was just like, “Let’s make some more songs.” I couldn’t stay away. It’s like Al Pacino in The Godfather. Just when I think I’m out, it pulls me back in.
The funny thing was, I discovered that something about my clarity was different. My voice, which I never used to like, felt more mature on the track. I could do more things with it. And my approach to the actual attack of the line and getting punchlines and the arc of the storytelling within the song was all different. I realized that it had to do with the fact that I had just been working on acting, working on playing characters. I say all that to say that I wouldn’t be as good of a rapper if I hadn’t spent all that time working on just acting and just theater. And it ended up being vice versa. I always thought they were two fields that I had to separate and be good in one or the other, and the truth is one informs the other. So it only makes sense that as soon as G called me about doing Bomb-itty and we started working on Funk it Up…, by then it made complete sense to me. Here’s the chance to do the two things I want to do.
Othello: The Remix runs through April 28 at Chicago Shakespeare Theater (800 E Grand Ave, 312-595-5600). Read our review of Othello: The Remix. Comments (0) Categories Music, Performance, Performance & entertainment, Theater Good For Conversation, Local talent, Notable talent Keywords GQ, Jackson Doran, Jay-Z, JQ, Othello: The Remix, Postell Pringle, The Game, The Retar Crew
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
one half of the legendary Q brothers currently knocking down Chicago Shakespear theatre with there punchout performance of Othello, the remix. These guys, write, star and direct their very own global theatre splashes. it's safe to say they've sucked as much $ out of the theatre game as humanely possible.
Watch this play BLOW them up again. http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/stage/18944348-452/othello-the-remix-a-brilliant-hip-take-on-shakespeares-classic-tale.html
And dear, dear readers all of you that know me, heard of me, follow this GDD shit, well, u know about our G mutha fucking Q! GQGQGQGQGQGQGQGQGQGQGQGQ. I've been repping his younger brother J.A.Q. within the first ten minutes I met him via Nice, on the north side of things, until now. And we go on. If your YG, Legendes, #94, Chi Tizzle, village bound, orphan Annie our crew, this is the G shout out. And because they are black, I mean back, wait, you hear that? Listen close, yup, there she is, the bandwagon. Hear it? And it happens all the time in art and in sports on the silver screen and March hoop shorts, the mind fucking, nut hugging, deplorable, adorable, formidable, high, holy, all mighty merry bandwagon. The nature of their business to a lesser degree life something we all want to be associated with, winners. Rappers and athletes, art and ENTERTAINMENT, but listen again,. can you hear it? The bandwagon powered by unicorns, the Big Guy, my high school basketball coach used to always say "can you hear that? That's the bandwagon." all of a sudden, your 10-0, #1 ranked Boston Globe and everyone's back. Phones ringing. People stopping - people, literally popping out of the wood work, it's been a long time since we left you, Let the nut hunging commence ! Honestly it's the only reason I tried a hand at that game ! Right? that and avoiding responsiblity. And unfortunately I still gotta chase them corporate payments, it could be worse (footnote, Grommits, nut pleaser for the houchies too). But ain't that about a THANG? Say god dam now to yourself like your an aging, overpaid crappy 39 year old right fielder for anyone in MLB whose out of shape bloated ass just popped himself a haMMIE in the spring, god dam! And grab it. And I say god dam! Over the fickle nature against the transparent odd's of art and enterainment groom fans, and it's grown bigger like the earths population. It cracks me up. I loev crazy. As most of you know, Tupac Shakur alive and well, presides, chief exec over everything you see on this cold, cold bitch (GDD). Refridgearator. If you catch that must see, Pac movie MTV put out in the theatres he laments as much (bandwagon) "the same girl, the same club, same even fucken outfit, a year earlier and I wasn't hot. I barely got in the club, bitch wouldn't even tell me her name, then, about a year later, I'm cajun, me against the world is #1, and this bitch wanna suck my dick, bitch wanna give me things for free , introduce me to her parents and friends, it's crazy." Yeah cheif Malike aka JQ, aka Jeff Forte running a proper chi town family, gangster but legal, X Y kids manning it up. much love, RIP, SRC It's the life we chase. And have always chased. And it's the fantasy not the dream.
And in the center of that shit in many ways for many reasons stand the Q brothers. Chi Town's finest. And in chi town the Q brothers and worldwide, and the entire GDD fam these two and Pos, Jack SON! THE MUTHA fucken Retar Crew remain in the center of everything we say, publish and do. And that's the Board of Trade, Bobby pink, try out's, lex Vegas from Vegas, c-Rat, Cabrini G, Nice, Joey bag of doughouts, SRC (RIP FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!) and bam, J.A.Q. And BAM (Batman)his brother G. The older / younger brother G to the Q. The OG original grafter of the Bombitty of Error's. The play that changed it all. And that's big when your not 9 or 11 but nineteen and twenty three! It was so perfect. And Jeffey (as we affectionately refer to him from first tap whom smartly avoided my aDVICE to claim that as his hip hop handle back in 1996) told me it was going to happen. "Rat we're going to blow up and it's just the beg" And boy, man, did I believe do, to just be around the kid, you had to.
And I'd seen it happen already. I'd partnered with Ha$ back in Lex Vegas on wax and mic (92). I'd watch his brother T, (Terry Yancy, DJ T) explode as the Funky Bunch out of Boston. They went worldwide. I knew it could happen. And had already reaped the auxillary benefits of merely being close to a classic situation. And I was hooked. And as I witness a sixteen year old JQ spring up from a headspin with a blunt smile and gurantee as much, I was sold. Too much swagger in hip hop? Sorry that's life, if your judging you need to pump that shit ! confidence is everything.
ADD, THIS post is about GQ in a new series we'll be doing per Pac entitled finding, Othello, the remix. Our boy Steve would've been so proud. It's the track you never want or poke fun at due to lots of saturation and less sense - getting shit is a parody in our crazy United States of America. But I have to put that in print. Our sister city of Chi lost 1 of it's original bridges to Boston. Bobby Pink survives along a wild side of history, brotherhood and free market naked capatlism. It 's something you don't forget and as you wet your beaks and I write + reflect kicking in my head to aN OLD JQ BEAT, I GOTTA HOlla.
ADD part 9,125,846. GQ , OK, the first time I met GQ the man after years of Nice And Jeffey was New Years day, 2000, NYC. That's right folks the day that was never suppossed to happen I, along with childhood buddy Monster somehow pulled my shit together to attend a matinee @ 45 Bleaker street in the heart, the heart, of the west village (NYC), 01/01/2000 Bombitty of Errors. "dude?" I awoke New Years day on a sidewalk. These are the black out blues. We'd hit rock button. And the funny thing was Monster was working on Wall St and I had a broker gig in DC slanging foreign money. So why did we wake up, literally on a street corner? Our youthful recklessness never went away. We woke up faded on the side of the street at 6AM.
It was 1999, 2000, we smelled reckless, we were zillas anyway. I'd for the first time in my life gone on that ectasy run I'd heard about. And Monster such a zilla together we stood so far away from wisdom on a unfounded yet unshakable confidence that we're indestructible in America. We're white and subsequently ate all the X at a party we were ventually "chucked" from. I went into double figures the one and only time. And the biggest reason i never "ran it" back was because, "Paco" an old school Lex Vegas head pocketing 400K a year on Wall Street informed us we had an outstanding $650 drug bill. Unbeknowst to our memory bank Bolivian marching poweder had of course also entered into our menu of a night, a page turned. We had the black out blues. "Fuck! What time is it? Where are we? What do you remember last? Nothing? Same. Fuck. keys, wallet, cell. Let's go. I gotta call Mi's MA, we have a lunch invitation and a play! Fuck dude - what did we do?"
And off a west village sidewalk we collected ourselves, smoked a ciggerrette and found Monster's sparkling new apartment. He'd recently defied gravity and somehow got a job with Goldman beating out, you'd think a THOUSAND OTHER Ivy league kids with his paltry academic performances in both college and high school. He ended his last interview, sealed it on this. "Hire me. I'm good. people love me and let's face it, I'm great looking, I mean look at me." Sounds crazy? it works. And thus began chapter three of Monster, Manhatten Monster I. Part of the charm of Manhatten is you can really play cards. And that means people, places, needs, whatever, you gotta appreciate 10 million people 7 million people on a seven mile island. It's palpable, play with it, if you were born with utmost pretension, shh, confidence we ran around Manhatten as kids with artillery. And were loved.
So the story, right, right we showered. We threw up. I'd already read American Psycho (SRC, thanks) and assualted Monster's high end lotion cabinent he was neurotic about. We grew up together me and Monster, we loved stealing shit in general but also from each other. That family code, you could joke about my ma but you? Hahaha much love to mom's and Richard Pryor. I borrow one of Monsters high end outfits he puts together, "I'm going to make you look cool." "Settle down guy." secretly I loved it. We were HURTING having copped just a couple hours of sleep via the street. I was depressed. My head pounded. I had anxiety over what bridges we'd burned the night before as we roared threw what had alreaDY BEEN A PRETTY EVENTFUL EXISTENCE. "OK, let's go." I puked on the way to lunch. My best friend from college, I was the 2 he was the point guared, fucken NASTY, his Mom was a knockout, a former buyer, model, even had her own steak and cheese hush ass spot in lowere Manhatten. Anyway she had my man young and was still SOOOO hot. Manhatten for us Boston boys just nailed down how ill our own shit was. After all NYCV was just down the street. And before we knew and regarldess, "we hated the Yankee's" and "did OK" (Dom) JEff!) Side note: Getting sober (which I'm currently NOT) get's you a handle on that ever elusive reality of time , it's not a concept dawg.
And we had lunch. Sheryl cooked. Always. We gosppied in that uppitty manhatten splendor of absolutely nothing. We'd honed our skills of hiding our true hinderences. And Sheryl could tell we were banged up but never suspected we slept on E street. She had an "artsy" friend over and the meditarrian fish calmed me. I had a drink and popped a Xanex, talking our our friends and the Q brothers afternoon play settled my demeanor. I was excited for Monster to see this play that the new York Times recently plugged with a two word review, "word up!" And with that we hobbled towards the theatre. We'd lost pete-Nice and now were back on-line + schedule meeting him at the Will call 1/4 of 1PM. "What the fuck happened to you guys?" Pulp Fiction had been released years earlier, we felt him. "don't ask." We'd been through enough already to understand that glorious rule of blissful ignorance. Plus we remember nadda. And as we entered into the theatre to our front row seats, Monster digging through his pocket discovered a pill, "Dude look at what I found, how'd this not get eaten?" He questioned in his sardonic tone. "Dude, chuck it, going to hurl just seeing it." Monster faked the "chuck" and deveroud it in seconds. We were stunned. Monster a drug addict at this point instantly jumps up and down and rubs his hands togerther quickly as if he might start a fire. He knew he'd soon be back setting up a larger and later eventual crash. I was disgusted. But we were Americans. it's all short term. Nice's face flushed amonst such hard lining zilla antics. And towards the end (Monster LOVED the play more than anyone that ever saw it) GQ shouted out "and much love goes out to the ADD crew." That was us.
My army of bandits were always ermedial (C!) slow classes, resourse rooms and re tars (get it?) - and GQ in many ways our fearless leader having overcomed disabilities that were like my brethen pinned on him early. It's a great American story, see only you decide who you are, who you will be and what's to come. It's a powerful lesson. And less than a year after that show, GQ moved to LA, as a kid! Him and his younger brother become part of that kid actor crowd whose lives inexoribly shuffled back and forth between the East Village and the beaches of something with santa in front of it. GQ scored movie after movie and would shower the small screen with timely, tight cameo's. And through it all we watched, helped, hugged and witnessed a greatness whose air when amongst by default you always pick up something meaningful, it's why you take Ritalin. Life can move fast
And now their back on the stage. Theatre is a bit like street ball, it's the place to earn your stripes, garner chops, if you kill a live audiance on theatre, everything else is a piece of cake. So to you GQ! The white ninja from Drumline. Below see footage of our hero being recognized from his films outside of the white house in my own Washington DC. We were there bowling alongside former super bowl champion Justin Hartwig, silly. GQ + The Ring + The Retar Crew + The QWig + Bowling #WhitehouseDC
cool friends. Retar Crew warming up at my pad before that night's show. Check out how easily JAQ delivers the perfect beat box to assist in his brother.
And later that night, live performance of this, Retar Anthem
DReam, bitch ! Art's and entertainment, March madness, Q brothers are back. And GQ, pour feature, full length of the day. Important
stay on this FAM ! missed the supacallafragilessdeeeppseealladopeshit!
burt fear not - much , much, much more on the way. "I'm in my prime." Doc Holiday Tombstone. watch G to catapult back in to the bigger and smaller screens as this thing soars. cajun Here's the boys standing Ovation in London for othello, the remix aka bandwagon is back! here's the trailer. we love you GQ, and Jeffey, Pos, Jacks and everyone else - u know def who u r. Go get em boys. JOIN US NOW RUNNING THROUGH 4/28 - TICKETS $20-30 A POP.
a hip-hop adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Othello written, directed and music by GQ and JQ developed with Rick Boynton Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare March 12–April 28, 2013 produced by Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Richard Jordan Productions Ltd
>“Highly recommended! To cut to the chase: the 90-minute, lightening-fast, hip-hop version of Shakespeare's tragic tale is absolutely brilliant and immense fun!” –Chicago Sun-Times
“This heart-pounding musical mayhem journey of discovery is perfect for any audience. Everyone leaves entertained and eager for more.” –Northwest Indiana times
This fresh urban take on Shakespeare’s tragedy returns home for a limited engagement on the heels of an acclaimed world premiere at Shakespeare’s Globe in London, and wildly successful tours to Germany and Edinburgh. The CST-commissioned hip-hop adaptation of Othello is spun out and lyrically rewritten over original beats by The Q Brothers—America’s leading re-interpreters of Shakespeare through hip-hop (Funk It Up About Nothin’, The Bomb-itty of Errors). Whether you’re looking for a rockin’ night of rhythm and rhyme or a new way to think about Shakespeare, Othello: The Remix delivers an intense, high energy spin like no other.
Recommended for mature audiences (contains adult language)
Approximate Running Time: 90 min (includes intermission)
The Chicago engagement of Othello: The Remix is presented in The Carl and Marilynn Thoma Theater.
And here's 1 for the old school heads hahahaha - yes they had their own TV show at one point - b-b-b-b-b- onkers. Much love T, Franchise, the she G - Q, whole northside fam.
U R LOVED
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
This small clip says it all in our own short love letter to the program and the man. Happy Tuez
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Monday, March 04, 2013
#1 Song in the Country Informer - Snow Accidents, Accidents, Accidents April 1st, 1993 “It’s spring again.” Biz Markie
The Black Knight had been expelled. I knew it was coming. He’s stopped playing sports. And that was his downfall. It was so easy to see. “Aight C. We’ll talk, this ain’t nothen.” And that was it watching him walk off campus that day at noon to get a bus to a subway to go home it was easy to think I’d never see him again. In the inner city no one gave a flying fuck if a kid ditched a class, Mr. Robinson never came looking for you. I’d say a prayer for him, “There it is, dam, gonna miss you homy.” I’d clap my squeamish, broken right wrist against his giant black paw and that was it. Time went on and I had to get to class. I’d think of Joe Clark, Kid Ray, Lean on Me, “you’ll be dead in a year.” I shrugged it off, I knew dude, block it out as always, Black’s invincible, besides I had bracket’s to update. I’d schooled my boy C, now my vice president of gaming (I adored titles) on my annual march madness grab we had brackets to update.
And walking towards ACE I couldn’t help but think about my dirty little secret I’d forever keep from the Big Guy. After all I wanted him to love me. The centerpiece of my script, hoops, I’d sabotaged. It was a bitter pill to swallow. It was my idea that dam party at the air force base the night before our state tournament game at Salem. I’d remind myself mentally to check in with my guidance counselor Mr. Conant, he being the anytime audience for Keith (Black Knight) and myself to air out our seemingly vastly different lives as we unraveled the world around us. We knew the expulsion was coming. He’d stopped caring, the sirens of the streets too much of a lure to even try and con the various house administrators forever on his tail. I’d gifted him a .38 out of the box pistol a couple days before he left. I’d now via Enrico and the guy whose name you can’t mention come into brand new .38’s and glock 19’s. They were three and six hundred accordingly. I’d move a few within the ACE program. My margins were a hundred on .38’s and two on the Glocks. And maybe I was living out my own rap fantasy. And maybe I was dealing with post-traumatic syndrome. Or maybe I was still insecure confused as to the limits of loyalty and what a family constituted. In reality my latest leaps had more to do with a new founded anger watching my abandoned mother, my one true teammate once again slip back into depression and obesity having ditched secretarial work due to the nature of her anxiety to cleaning houses in and around the painfully wealthy community of Madison MA. The historic town my father had grown up in. But whatever it was my I saw no boundaries, had a limited understanding of right and wrong and consequently had no taking the un-sanctimonious leap into selling firearms to teenagers that would probably use them. Counterfeit money was right around the corner. And I was unknowingly along with my sister, lost. Our mother was sick and we hadn’t seen our father for quite sometime. We had one side of the family, my father’s side and no one ever called. “I don’t give a fuck.” My savior, I’d say over and over again thinking about my mother’s condition cleaning floors for dollars. Get rich or die trying (50 C)
Guns? This wasn’t me. But Black I trusted with everything. We were one shady team. And ever since Enrico brought the idea of a “ten thousand dollar federal credit card scam” it sounded sexy consequently we’d become soldiers in a larger camp I was sacrificially, ignorantly playing both sides of via my little gambling operation. We’d never caught a whisper of the credit card thing after Enrico had extended the offer that fateful afternoon last summer at the center courts. We’d taken matters into our own hands. We got paid. Our shopping cart triumphs had inspired a credit card stealing frenzy amongst the guy whose name we can’t mention underlings. We’d heard a recent story about a forklift unearthing an entire US postal service drop box. It was in the center of town. We heard then read about it in the police log. “Wow.” I couldn’t fucking believe it. “At least fifteen in there.” I’d opine to Enrico eyeing catalogues stuffed with shit we coveted to steal. Only basketball saved me from these connections and my own shady virility. My sister and I continued to dress prep for school and held the illusion of a true double life far away from the docks of normalcy.
Our family motto of “repression is underrated” tethered along side the old UNLV and now YG motto of deny, deny, deny prohibited me, at that point from understanding the gravity of sin I was now involved with. It just wasn’t me. I sang my dead cocker spaniel to sleep along side my mother to the ballad, “Reggie go night, night.” Followed by three kisses on the forehead this just wasn’t me. Along with my sister and mother I too had no loss all sense of reality. I’d convince myself simply I was filming a movie, still perfect, the bumps were part of it and I’d get away with it all in this rich highly educated but down right stupid yuppie town. And I hadn’t seen my dad in quite sometime but I was selling newly minted “straps” to friends that were black and had never or in Black’s case died many moons since dimmed. The depression at home was back my mother could easily see the negative influences my sister and I were surrounded with. And my sister Brooke now squarely in love with my mentor DES helped accelerate and already fast track are legs clicked increasingly faster back and forth on.
The parties, drinking, I’d even begun smoking cigarettes at select gatherings to heighten my image, anything to block out the basketball, Blacks expulsion as well as my increasingly brazen behavior. And at sixteen I’d already seen it all, the sickness of both the inner city and the disease of my upper class suburbia. I’d found a family for me, but not for my mother and we were a package deal. I’d found a family for my sister however there were limits as well as a sucker component to loyalty. The role the mirror always let me know would never, ever be this king. But that word “family” something everyone in the ghetto or the glitz of Madison seemed to have was elusive. It’s the most important word in life. It made sense we craved and sought out this term for our own. But it also set us up. We were young and my mother for all intensive purposes for the unfortunate experiences for so long she endured rendered relatively her, the same as us, kids. Something had to give and we were all stubborn, we were all right.
Also in the tradition of my favorite game to play with my mother called, “I’ve never done anything really wrong” the loss had little to do with the brawl the night before. “One night in a hotel?” I could hear the Big Guy after our trip to Fairfield CT last year for a high profile scrimmage. I blocked it out, but it was a reel that was tough to mentally stop. The Fairfield Marriot, the lobby, the sign, 99 days to graduation, slipping out under the Big Guy’s deep snore. The party, the lie, the lies, breakdancing, fifties dancing which my godfather long ago told me was so easy laying a queen that I should endeavor more of a challenge, and all the beer. I loved it I was my own movie star, we had on sock ties. I’d made out with a number of college girls whom I’d revealed our exciting covers that found me “fucking adorable.” I looked around as 2AM approached and a number of us were visibly disabled. And thought, “so this is college.” Yo C, you, hahahaha. I couldn’t even get my own self-stroking out via myself the lay of all lay-ups.
The unshakable reality is that I was a vital component to the same unraveling that undid the legendary nineteen eighty-eight squad. My sworn idols and intelligent pact I’d made to myself in the face of that shocking, heart breaking loss, control the things you can, at the very least. And almost every coach on the planet would’ve let that slide in the name of victory, their players as well as their own careers but not the Big Guy. He was old school, part of an ear that associated high school and college basketball players as clean cut if only because they valued victory over loss and that’s what it took. Kids knew what to do. It’s just that most don’t want to. Doubling down on the shady stuff stopped that reel from playing in my head. It was too much to think, that party, my idea, my calls, 12 deep, Perry’s “doink” and my subsequent falling out with my former boy band the $mooth Adolescents. Kids I loved were now posting up various threats on my own landline as well as through the teenage rank and file. The celebration at Friendly’s.
And five of us were on the team. I laughed thinking of what Kevin and his brother Lamont, “Spec” had pulled off. It was our own western. But we lost the next day. We had the team, and a chance to advance to UMASS Boston for the first time since 1988 for a right to win it all in the Boston Garden. And we went out. And we repeated history. And we lost. And I was growing. My height, weight and appetite for legendary status along with the shadier male influences that now surrounded me.
The only thing real was my mother, Coach Sullivan and the Big Guy. And nothing was real about Madison MA except the houses. And the only reason I wasn’t suicidal with the mental reel of our state tournament loss was because we weren’t seniors. It was like the casino. I still had chips. In my mind the movie was still in tact. I believed I would get away with it all. We’d win a state title and I’d put 25K in my savings. I’d report it as income from my failed start up, “Nice and Neat Lawn services.” I’d already witness a classmate drop out of high school and start a landscaping business. I would never do that senior year was my sole justification for last seasons melt down, occurring again during our most critical hour. I was ahead of my era and had a look, and hustle that people followed, that’s why I was dangerous and precisely the reason why I believed I had it all figured it out.
In reality behavior of that kind would never constitute a champion in my story. I was designed a comedian a salesman. This allowed me to juggle the falsehoods inherent to rationalization. I conned myself. I had been in some capacity cheating at solitaire on some level for quite some time incidentally one of my great reminders to my classmates in the ACE program during group therapy. “Remember Derek, lying to your therapist is like cheating at solitaire.” I had chips, I was the new “All-American” kid my story was for lack of a better word, sick sellen me to me all day. I was a junior Even with a few setbacks I still thought how perfect the script rolled out. I knew the fire that was coming next year, I knew the curse we were birthed to break, and I was excited to be rewarded for all our hard work. I’d always tell my mother what a great story for the Boston Globe my lawnmower accident would make. After we bagged state champs it would be a great trailing story I rationed. I did it with one tendon from my right foot! Hyperbole, it was all over already. And I still believed I was black man stuck in a white kids body. I still believed I could “fall back” on rap. My comedy game with a year in ACE under my belt erupted. I found it the easiest way to turn a foe into an ally. It was spring and in school there was only a month left before Summer League, Young Gun’s and the start of our senior year and I was the master of our destiny sans a couple slips. I still got time.
“Yo C! You hear about Hank?” Before first bell, I had learned along with many other Young Guns that Junk Box was being sent away to a reformatory slash rehab slash any other place other than public high school in Madison MA. Fuck I saw that one too, I loved that mutha fucka I thought to my self in sad reflective remorse. He fell into the role yo, he left us not a one of us got even the chance to say good-bye to the kid. Why the fuck couldn’t he just got with us These were my many thoughts. Pound for pound even though the shortest (next to Monster) he was the toughest white kid we had in UNLV. But UNLV was over we were young Guns now and Hank wasn’t with us. I felt spoofed, like a father in the fifties doing the dishes on the Pleasantville tip. Reaction? There was none, highlighted by the fact that an absolute stranger had just told me this. I nodded my head downward, took a deep breath expanding my cheeks which always made me not cry, as I pace the packed main hall drenched in the kind of sulking solidarity that drapes your shrine when close friends disappear unexpectedly. I tucked my gold chain underneath my sweatshirt thinking only how desperately I needed a thinker one. The energy and roll, now of things not in the script was deftly troubling. Jesus yo stay with me dawg.
I bumped into Scully and judging by his detachment of face I think to be psychologically on the same plane. This calmed my chaos as we collided and for a chilling moment froze. “Good morning sir, I’m guessing you’ve heard the information about our dear friend Hank?” “Yo, I mean, fuck Scully!” I’m now becoming jacked with emotion and then not. “I just wish I could’ve gotten a chance to say peace.” Matt Scully replies, “understandable. I certainly do, (nodding viciously) I wish the same.” “fuck it what could we do?” “Times it seems are a changing Mr. Easton” It’s an old quote so I guess this is nothing new. Exiting I give Mat Scully the kinda of hug that loyalty makes concrete. “love you buddy,” a formal handshake and my sides are sauntering my legs forward lazily. I was depressed, confused and loved walking the halls. I needed my old dog Reggie from “Reggie go night-night” fame whom I’d given to Hank on asthma concerns stemming from Brooke. Reggie through no fault of Hank’s died his first night there. He just wanted to go home, ironic home meant little friends meant everything.
Saying I didn’t give a fuck was my first protection, whenever any doubt exposed personal shortcomings I’d say this to myself, I don’t give a fuck I don’t give you’re the fucking craziest mutha fucka in your entire high school. You ain’t scared of nothen, fuck life No matter what saying it always put me back on the yellow brick road. Walking into school, typically the first act of the day was to check the main hall and put my ear to the cajun wire for the latest Madison Mass gossip feed. More bad news I had conceded my first capitulation to Jesus after Black Knight and didn’t think the second would occur until much later in my forties. After the yachts, state championship and my one hundred thousandth blowjob is when the second “dent” would go down. Of course with tides seemingly turning this wasn’t the case. Yet another soldier in my “firm.” Living as the Dream from Madison MA I didn’t think this was possible, two friends gone like that. Old football buddies. A hustling companion and a fellow delinquent in my first gang, it shattered my always fragile state. Mulling over mordant thoughts of loss and life, I had to focus on Hank, a kid I’d broke bread with, played football, baseball, slept over and traveled to Florida with. Hank’s family wealth was impressionable and only added confusion. How’d that happen?
At some point the craftsmanship of adolescent delinquency gives way to the paved roads of teenage indulgence. And when drugs and alcohol replaced so much of what we did, Henry found a home and a temporary ally that repressed what he was fighting so desperately to escape. His parents didn’t care. They were rich. The cure for it all in my eyes never did shit for him. He’d soon find older kids that gave him time, dope and prop. An “in” on gigs and leeched his bank account and feasted on his now burgeoning drug fetish. Henry my childhood friend had went against us our one mantra. He gave into the requisite that wasn’t us. It hurt watching a talented kid drown in drugs with kids that he thought were his friends, he didn’t give a fuck, just wanted to get high, die and forget about all of that money. All’s it did was remind him of how broke he really was.
And today with basketball completely crumbled, Black Knight gone as I’m trying to work my way into the spring and not repeat the disappearance act of last year, I get another direct hit. Mr. Robinson confirms absolutely this, my mutha fucken Pop Warner star teammate He was just a few steps from shooting dope and incarceration and the Black Knight too except for slanging and not shooting the shit. Black and white, Madison and Mulberry (the hood) same exact result. The undoing of both Black and Hank on subsequent days was a college thesis staring me right in the face. Extreme wealth had the same detrimental effect on casted youth as abject poverty. You sprinkle in a lack of love in Hank’s case or of family itself with Black having lost a brother and a father and you got the same results. This is what I thought about not history, English, math or science. You can’t walk with fire and not expect to get burned. I was living in denial.
I dragged through the day. I didn’t bring up an explanation or reason for my sullen semblance because I didn’t want to hear what I knew the Big Guy would say, “Hey we’re dealing with thieves what did you think would happen? The best thing you could do all day is stay up here all day, go to the gym after school then home to your mother. And that’s it. And it’s enough.” “whatever” I thought non-creatively to myself. He’s heard and was forever bruising me on the idiocy of my out of the gym associations.
The fact I still missed more classes than most attended spoke volumes of how far I still had to go. But I could sell people and even now in ACE as long as I wasn’t egregious I could always talk my way out of a tow. I knew and studied the system I hustled kids for pocket change and was raised in a pond of very different influences. ACE had birthed me a monster advertisement of good publicity, and with that publicity I was able to work the chains, it was very apparent to everyone involved ACE had been a good thing. For the first time in my life the Big Guy had provided me with trust. Perhaps unintentionally but I had broke new ground and I began to realize with the real freedoms came a heavy premium. Anything more you gain you stand to lose and it’s always like that. I still had zero respect for the capacity of the town police or school faculty to ever catch me doing anything I wasn’t supposed to. Set on the fact I was disturbed enough over Hanks expulsion on the heels of the Black Knight’s, and the realness that things of this nature spawned, I needed one thing, strawberry milk. I needed some sort of egg product, a game of bathroom craps, I had to find Monster, venture down the main hall towards Crenshaw Av. for dice play and a $5 fade from the Black Knight in C House, Fuck he’s gone
I had to get my head straight. I had been too influenced on too many levels to just show up to class, study and be a good kid. So I headed to my favorite happy place, the couch in the ACE program and right away brought Coach Sullivan up to speed on my day. I’d begun smoking pot with Tick, Santo and Monster had assured me we had a treat for 2nd lunch. “I even asked Mr. Savage if I could call him at rehab or wherever to at least let him know the crew is bond. “
“Yeah what did he say?” Coach Sullivan asks in ACE?” “I asked him as a friend not an administrator” “Yeah well what did he say?” “He said rather than worrying about a kid people call Junk Box and the Black Knight you should be more concerned about what’s going to happen to you.” The Big Guy exploded in laughter as all the coaches thought that was a good one, “Eh he’s right, you love the losers, they’d never do for you what you’d do for them.” And it was that quote, right there that knifed into our biggest argument, the reality of loyalty and myth of friends as family. And like the famous blame game with my mother over our failures and isolation I refused to net even a little in his way regarding that. They were all I had. And that’s just the way it was. After school I returned home early to pray. I’ was confused and insecure and that is when I prayed. I needed to tell Jesus I think it might be happening to me as well. And at that moment my pretend panic didn’t seem so funny.
Jesus I’m not talken garden variety panic either. I mean the best part about you is just that, that your Gods son and if that falls through? Well Jesus if that falls through than what the hell credibility do you have? OK, that’s why you suck hairy donkey crack. Now let me tell you why you’re a star. You’re a star because even if you don’t exist we’ve had some great conversations. You’ve given me one person to talk to about everything when there’s no one else. If you do exist than we’re kinda friends. If you do exist than basically you got the best connect eva, God is your pops. Wow and maybe I’m a dreamer and you’re like some figment of everyone’s Newton imagination but if it really is true why can’t you give me a sign? Anything for more than anything I believe. A brother just needs a little somethen, somethen to believe it’s all true, dig? Peace out J-strong. I’m tired and want to nap before going to the movies night.
I couldn’t fall asleep though, stories of the young, restless and the retarded. Tonight my plans were to go to a movie with hoop teammates Magic, Santo and Wells the latter was driving. The crew was the crew and everyone had a best man which was defined by the one in the crew, YG, UNLV that lived a few doors down. Magic and myself were examples just like Hatty and Monster, Scully, Goldy and Tick were all on top of each just like Wells and Santo. It was the difference between walking over to a house X-Mas morning, comparing presents and seeing you later at the gym or on the trail lighting fires and breaking windows. Wells and Santo out of all us sans our newly minted center Stretch were the only true scholarship guys amongst us. Magic and I knew at this point we’d have to qualify for showcases hoping only to play D3 somewhere. A state title would make us legends I knew I could parlay that into something more than basketball. I didn’t think I needed college to make money.
To make matters worse these were my two toughest old school partners. And now they were gone. I saw sliding door moments flash across that digital brain scan that is your mind. I had no idea what would happen but at sixteen they were young enough to stand on the cusp of problems and games one were taught at all costs to avoid. Junk Box would move towards H as Black sprinted towards it’s profitable disbursement. Both could end up dead. One would OD one would be shot in no time at all. Their futures were dire and not anyone’s guess. Sad thoughts instantly replaced by immediate ones as I’m genuinely excited for tonight’s roster as well as hyperactive situations. I had a movie date with the fellas, not only YG but varsity YG, magic, Wells and Santo. “Eh you know I don’t even have to say it.” The Big Guy said as the final bell sounded that Friday before our first spring weekend. It was April second, 1993, Madison MA, it was cold and still had a thirty five foot snow bank that bunkered in the parking lot designed just for us students.
New Rochelle stuns Mt Vernon boys basketball - HELLO MARCH - MOST IMPROBABLE BUZZER BEATER U'LL EVER, EVA SEE !!!
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