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Origins: Giving the songwriter proper credit.

In today’s climate of constant media being streamed at us from all directions, it is difficult to comb through it all to find the good stuff.  “Good” being a subjective term (being of one’s personal opinion) as opposed to factually or universally good.  The difference between fact and opinion is blurred on a daily basis in social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) Internet born – Generation Y’ers (born in the late 80’s) think that the media they are seeing for the first time is the original version of … well.. EVERYTHING!

Sorry to burst your bubble kids, but that song isn’t new… it’s a cover from the 70’s or 60’s or hey go ask you grandparents about it.

Looking at this from a musical perspective and being a professional musician, it often pains me to see pop songs being released that were written by someone other than it’s performer, and the songwriter does not get proper credit.  Even worse, no one is taking the time to correct them or do any research or fact checking.  I guess iTunes doesn’t include liner notes.

This happens a lot in the Hip-Hop world.  It’s a form of stealing in my book.  Thankfully I don;t care for Hip-Hop, even the original stuff.  With the exception of a few Beastie Boys and Run DMC tunes (they borrowed plenty from 70’s hard rock – but gave credit where credit was due.)

In the pop music world, songwriters may get credit, but kids hearing a revamped version of an older tune for the first time assume that the performer wrote it. Case in point ~ Adele’s version of “To Make You Feel My Love”.  This song was plastered all over Facebook and Twitter, preteen girls posting lyric quotes from Adele, as her parents smirk to themselves, knowing that the song was originally written by Bob Dylan.

Maybe it takes too much energy to correct them, maybe they will find out later, maybe correct information isn’t important anymore – just as long as we get out information INSTANTLY!  I’d personally rather wait a few minutes while you do some fact-checking and some research before you go posting something in the Associated Press and having to correct it later when a prick like me posts complaints on your Facebook and Twitter pages.  :)

This happened to me recently when an AP reporter wrote that Nine Inch Nails singer Trent Reznor performed at a benefit concert in Philadelphia and closed the show with a cover of Johnny Cash’s song ‘Hurt’.  When in fact, the song is Reznor’s song and it was Johnny Cash who covered it on his multi-album ‘American Recordings’ project with producer Rick Rubin.

But I digress.  I want to post a few songs that stick out in my mind that fit this criteria. I will post the popular version the the original and my opinions on both.

Herrrrrre’s Johnny!

and now the original – NIN

When Trent Reznor was asked if Cash could cover his song, Reznor said he was “flattered” but worried that “the idea sounded a bit gimmicky.” He became a fan of Cash’s version, however, once he saw the music video.

Here’s one from the pop/Hip-Hop set: Trick Daddy – Sugar (gimme some) 2005

Original Track: Talking Heads ‘Sugar on my tongue’ (1977)

Adele’s version of ‘Make You Feel My Love’

Original Songwriter: Bob Dylan

They Might Be Giants – Istanbul (not Constantinople) – 1991

This particular instance doesn’t fall into the missing credit category, it’s more of a distance from the original version. “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” is a 1953 swing-style song, with lyrics by Jimmy Kennedy and music by Nat Simon. The lyrics comically refer to the official 1930 renaming of the city of Constantinople to Istanbul.  “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” was originally recorded by the Canadian group The Four Lads on August 12, 1953. This recording was released by Columbia Records as catalog number 40082. It first reached the Billboard magazine charts on October 24, 1953.

Four Lads Version here:

Rod Stewart – ‘Downtown Train’ – 1990

Original Version – Songwriter: Tom Waits – 1985  *Rain Dogs album.  I’m a BIG Tom Waits fan – I suggest looking him up and listening to as many tunes as possible.  Many popular artists have covered his songs from Eagles, Bruce Springsteen, Shawn Colvin, Everything But The Girl and of course Rod Stewart.  I prefer Tom’s version.

And probably the most famous lifted or sampled track in recent memory – Rob Base and DJ Ez-Rock’s 1988 classic ‘It Takes Two’. Unsurprisingly, their sample was lifted from a 1969 James Brown produced track by Lyn Collins entitled ‘Think (About It)’ which featured the distinctive “Woah! Yeah!” as screamed by Brown.  This sample was used in numerous Hip-Hop songs and dance tracks.

Here’s where that sample came from: Lyn Collins – ‘Think (about it)’ – James Brown’s famous yell happens at 1:22 – Enjoy and consider yourself properly schooled.

Feel free to comment or suggest any other tracks that fit this criteria.

Thanks and have a MANTASTIC Day!

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“For the Love of Exotic Brunettes” or (white girls are boring) Part 2

I’ve always preferred brunettes, and as I’ve aged my tastes have been getting more and more exotic. So here is a list of even MORE celebs (in no particular order) that I’ve enjoyed looking at over the years that embody that exotic look I go for.  Dark brown eyes, high cheek bones, defined jaw line, beauty marks, full lips, perfectly arched eye brows and the power to ‘smolder’…   Enjoy!

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Zoe Saldana

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The amazing Sarah Shahi! She is both a Facebook friend & Twitter follower of mine for what it’s worth. :)

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Sarah is so nice, I had to post her twice – watch her in the last season of “Sopranos” and the “L Word”.

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Fellow “L Word” alum and star of a little 80’s movie called “Flashdance” – the gorgeous and never-aging Jennifer Beals!

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One more from “the L Word” – (man I loved that show). The beautifully exotic, Karina Lombard.

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What can I say about Olivia Wilde, amazing cheek bones, perfect eye brows, green eyes, she is stunning!

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Olivia Munn – funny-sexy-nerd goddess

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I happen to know this beautiful woman personally. Although she isn’t a celebrity (yet), she has all the attributes on my list and is just as lovely as anyone here. :)

That’s all for now – again please feel free to comment and/or suggest other brunettes that fit the criteria.

May you have a MANTASTIC JOURNEY!

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The Book of Men (Book Acquired, 10.25.2013)

Mantastic Voyage:

Book of men.

Originally posted on Biblioklept:

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The Book of Men  is curated (and not, curiously, edited, which is the word I thought we used, but hey, whatever) by Colum McCann. Publisher’s blurb:

To help launch the literary nonprofit Narrative 4, Esquire asked eighty of the world’s greatest writers to chip in with a story, all with the title, “How to Be a Man.”

The result is The Book of Men, an unflinching investigation into the essence of masculinity.

The Book of Men probes, with the poignant honesty and imagination that only these writers could deliver, the slippery condition of manhood. You will find men striving and searching, learning and failing to learn, triumphing and aspiring; men who are lost and men navigating their way toward redemption. These stories don’t just explore what it is to be a man or how to achieve manliness, but ultimately what it is to be a human—with all of…

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“For the Love of Exotic Brunettes” or (white girls are boring)

It’s Fall 2013 and it is time for a new blog post.  Sorry I haven’t posted in a while (over a year) sometimes life happens…

With the cooler weather comes thoughts of hearty meals, sweaters, extra blankets, deeper colors in the wardrobe, et. al. ~ this also means (at least for me) a paradigm shift in what attracts the gentleman’s wandering eye.

Summer is all about blondes, tan skin, bikinis, water, drinks, that friend with the boat, etc.  But Fall and Winter are the seasons where Brunettes prevail.

If you ask me, I’ve always preferred brunettes, and as I’ve aged my tastes have been getting more and more exotic. So here is a list of celebs (in no particular order) that I’ve enjoyed looking at over the years that embody that exotic look I go for.  Dark brown eyes, high cheek bones, defined jaw line, beauty marks, full lips, perfectly arched eye brows and the power to ‘smolder’…   Enjoy!

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Sofia Lauren – Classic Italian beauty, cats eyes & great figure. No wonder Fellini and many other directors fell in love. She practically melted any camera she got in front of.

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Raquel Welch – Hour glass figure, smoky eyes and still looks great today.

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the famous swimsuit

Looks a lot like Eva Mendes in this one

Looks a lot like Eva Mendes in this one

Eva Mendes - perfection!  Ryan Gosling is a lucky guy.

Eva Mendes – perfection! Ryan Gosling is a lucky guy.

One of my Top 5! Rosario Dawson

One of my Top 5! Rosario Dawson

Rosario's RENT co-star Idina Menzel

Rosario’s RENT co-star Idina Menzel – smolders with the best of them

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I fell in love with Lena Olin in 1988 when I saw “Unbearable Lightness of Being” she ‘smolders’ like no other!

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GINA GERSHON

GINA GERSHON – Super hot! – easily in my Top 5

olga kurylenko

Olga Kurylenko – Gorgeous!

Olga Kurylenko - Gorgeous!

Olga Kurylenko – Gorgeous!

Penelope Cruz

Penelope Cruz

Angelina - circa 90s  "Gia"

Angelina – circa 90s “Gia”

Angelina kinda looks like Aisha Tyler in this one

Angelina kinda looks like Aisha Tyler in this one

Aisha Tyler is yummy!

Aisha Tyler is yummy! – also in my Top 5!

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Gia Carangi – this is where the “smoky eye” came from.

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Gia Carangi – 80’s Super model

Gia Carangi

Gia Carangi – 80’s Super model

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Gia’s first Vogue cover

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They called Cindy Crawford “baby Gia” when she started modeling because of the resemblance.

Theyu called Cindy Crawford "baby Gia" when she started modeling because of the resemblance.

I think she looks like a mix of Eva Mendes & Gina Gershon  in this one – are you seeing a pattern here?

One my new celebrity crushes - the lovely Kerry Washington!

One my new celebrity crushes – the lovely Kerry Washington!

no list would be complete without the always stunning - Halle Berry - this woman doesnt' age!

No list would be complete without the always stunning – Halle Berry – this woman doesn’t age!

*Whew – OK people please feel free to comment and suggest any brunette beauties I may have overlooked.  Maybe we can add some “Honorable mentions” to the blog.

Have a MANTASTIC day!

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FRIDAY NIGHT VIDEOS

It is time once again for another installment of Friday Night Videos!  Sorry I have been slack with the posts lately – I am working two jobs and one of them is the night shift – so my schedule is a bit weird now so I will post when I can.  I apologize to all my Mantastic Voyagers out there if you missed me.

This past week marked two events in music – the passing of the legendary Dick Clark and the 50th birthday of one Robert Smith of The Cure.

The videos in tonight’s segment (or at least one of many segments) will reflect both of these events respectively.

First up ~ a few from The Cure.  (Can you believe Robert Smith is 50??  kinda tough to pull off the goth makeup at his age)

Enjoy!

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Books vs. Movies

I was in my favorite cafe today having a celebratory basket of sweet potato fries.  (I do that sometimes when I things go my way…)  I scored a new job recently and a voice-over client purchased a slew of spots for an upcoming advertising campaign!  $$$$ ~ Whilst enjoying my feast, I overheard a group of young ladies discussing a certain film they saw recently, and to what degree this film differed from the book it was based on.  (something about “games” and being hungry – I didn’t catch all of it…  I’m just happy it wasn’t another teenage/vampire/werewolf/book-to-movie vehicle…)  Another girl joined the conversation asking about the difference between the book and the film.  This particular girl had read the book but had not seen the movie yet.  She was debating on paying for a full price ticket now, or waiting until it is released on DVD.  (DVD is usually my method of choice… pause buttons work much better for bathroom and or snack breaks…)  A server at the cafe overheard and joined in at that point.  Conversely, she had seen the movie, but has not yet read the book.  She doesn’t read much and “totally hates it when the book is so different from the movie.”

UGH!

At that moment, my sweet potatoes tasted different.  I felt like Charlie Brown feels when someone in the class gives the wrong answer and it affects his stomach.  It took all the strength I had not to say something to these ladies about Intellectual Property laws, Copyright laws, the difference between owning the rights to a published work and adapting a screenplay based on a published work.  The list goes on and on.  I could bore you out of your minds with all the legal jargon… (don’t worry I will link some of it here for all you legal geeks – for all you Juris-philes out there… is that a word?  It is now…) however, in most cases, there is a huge difference between the story we see in print, for those of us who like to read, and the story we see on the screen.  

There is an old Rudyard Kipling quote I love using whenever possible – “Never the twain shall meet”.

Ok maybe not “never meet” but you have to admit, it is a rare occurrence that the screenplay is exactly like the book it is based on.  It all depends on who owns the rights to the original story, how old the published work is, if the screenplay is in fact an “adaptation” of the book or, if the author worked closely with the filmmakers to make  sure his or her work is preserved to the author’s original work.  A good way to tell if the movie is going to be a carbon copy of the book is this ~ if the author of the original work is credited as an executive producer or if he or she wrote the screenplay themselves or co-wrote it.  (A good example:  Stephen King works along side many directors to make sure the films that are based on his books are just as confusing, long-winded and as cliche’ as the original…  just kidding – but not really…)  But why would you want to see a movie that is exactly like a book that already exists?  Just like with annoying couples ~ if two people are exactly the same, one isn’t necessary…

Attention Movie-goers! ~ Here are some things to look for when watching a film that is also a published work (book or play).

If in the opening credits you see the phrase “based on the book…”, “based on the novel…”, “based on the play…” then what you are about to see has been adapted for the screen, written in screenplay form for the movie.  The characters in the movie are based on the same characters in the book. (if you read said book)  You may notice that similar things happen in the movie that happened in the book. (again… if you read it…)  But then, at the end of the movie,  something happens.  That very thing that the young ladies in the cafe were talking about.  That thing that we don’t want to hear until we see the film ourselves – the dreaded SPOILER ALERT!  Or, in this case, the Spoil itself ~ THE ENDING IS TOTALLY DIFFERENT FROM THE BOOK!  How could they DO that??  Ruin it like that for me???  (Not me personally, I meant proverbial “me” ~ as in all of You.)  If the ending is the same, then major plot points are missing or characters from the book are killed off or are missing completely – you get the picture.  Either way you have disgruntled book readers who regret seeing the film.

The thing about an adapted screenplay is ~ it becomes an original work in the eyes of the law if enough changes have been made from the material is was derived from.  However, you would have to see the deal on paper as to how much of the original material they choose to use.  (hey ~ that rhymes…)  Which brings us to the difference between Exclusive Rights and Fair Use (here comes the legal jargon…)  Exclusive Rights: In the U.S., the author of the original material has exclusive ownership rights to the material for his or her lifetime plus 50 to 70 years after death.  Click Here for some awesome copyright law jargon.  That being said, if a movie studio offered a huge sum of money to an author for the rights to his or her material (this happens alot in hollywood kids…) based on the agreement, the studio either owns the rights to the material or will use certain characters from the material and make a movie based on characters and events from the material but ultimately having a different story altogether. ~ Fair Use.  

Which is why they changed the ending to your precious book  – also this is the cheaper way to go.  Another cheap way to go is to simply wait (a really long ass time in many cases… it all depends on where the author of the original work comes from ~ check this out – copyright terms differ from country of origin – I learned something new today) After a published work has reached the time limit for copyright term it becomes public domain.  Once the copyrighted work enters the public domain it can be used freely or exploited by anyone.  (~Scary thought isn’t it?) That being said, if a movie studio has enough money, and enough time has elapsed from the original copyright date, they can make any movie they want to make and give it a real cheesy hollywood happy ending.

I am a book reader, I am also a film lover.  I actually enjoy dissecting what material the movie makers left out and having discussions about such things in a cafe, or with a friend or in a blog post of all things.  (can you imagine??) Some books I keep sacred because I, like the author, want to preserve what I imagined the main characters looking like in my head. The sound of their voice, their mannerisms, etc…  Which is why we read books in the first place.  We learn how to use our imagination from childhood reading.  We fill in the gaps with our own cast of characters.  I dare say that it is by this same method that young movie directors get inspired to tell stories.  Not all films were based on books you know – that is why they have awards for Best Original Screenplay each year at the Oscars.  (but that is a whole different blog post for another time…)

~ I am happy to report that I refrained from embarrassing the young ladies at the cafe.  On any other day, they would have felt the wrath of one of my award winning rants about the origins of things, the importance of original intent, and a bunch of other stuff that would have spun off into anger about pop culture in general and the dumbing-down of our society – blah blah blah  – real angry George Carlin type stuff.  (but I digress… and I thank them for giving me some new material to blog about – I find inspiration in the strangest of places)   

Now go read a book (kindle, nook or some other digital format you crazy kids are using these days)  – or watch the adapted version on Netflix  – but don’t spoil the ending for me  – odds are I haven’t seen it.

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Originally posted on The Modern Minion:

There is something undeniably iconic about the vintage pin up girl. She’s beautiful, feminine, sexy, and yet classy enough to earn respect as well as admiration. Women wanted to be her and men wanted to, well you know.

When I stumbled across this 1940’s print ad of Rosemary La Planche (left) and Alma Carroll (right) at an antique mall earlier this week, I was immediately drawn to its color and subtle sexiness. The swimwear featured inspired me to hunt down some modern pieces patterned after suits from days gone by. Anthropologie, known for its vintage, feminine feel, offers these beautiful, simple swim suits worthy of being pinned on any wall (or blog).

Nothing says femme quite like these gems.

A special thanks to my friend and photographer Erica from Erica Lee Style for her helpful tips on women’s swimwear, of which I knew nothing about.

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You Monsters Are People.

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The Fashion Medley

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” Coco Chanel

literary flotsam & jetsam by an attempted human

Mixed Tape Masterpiece

an ode to the songs that shaped my childhood

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Street Photography, Photo Journalism, Photography, Inspiration, Rants, Raves, and Everything Leica

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Endless Frame Photography

Photography by Frank Cademartori

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