Let’s Talk about West

I am coming out of my blogging retirement for one man, and one man only….Kanye West.

Mr. West Is In The Building

Mr. West Is In The Building

(Honestly – I’ve been meaning to do this for awhile, so I thank you Mr. West for piquing my interest enough to finally dust off the ol’ Word Press and finally get my fingers moving in a more creative worthwhile way.)

I had a discussion with one of my good friends this A.M about Kanye’s lyric towards worldwide popstar and cat lady Taylor Swift. I won’t disclose said friend but she may be the biggest Swifty I know. (Disclaimer – I too am a Taylor fan, which may be ‘shocking’ to some after what I want to say on this issue). Kanye debuted “The Life of Pablo” during his Yeezy Season 3 fashion show in front of a sold out crowd at Madison Square Garden yesterday, February 11. Can we just take a real quick pause and realize how monumental that sentence alone is. Kanye designed a fashion show to run at MSG. Anna Wintour was at a fashion show at MSG. Olivier Rousteing co-designed the outfits the Kardashian/Jenner girls wore with Kanye and they wore them in MSG. (But where was Saint West??? Does that kid actually exist? I’m invested in this due to the fact we share a birthday and are both ~*SaGiTtArIuS*~). But I digress. Kanye had a lyric about Taylor:

“I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that bitch famous”

Now the internet is set a blaze with rumors, speculation, publicist bullshit and the like. Even Swift’s younger brother threw away his pair of Yeezy’s. HE THREW THEM AWAY. That’s the most sacrilegious thing I’ve seen on the internet as of late and I saw a lot of things recenetly on the internet. But the most common factor is individuals saying that West added this line to the album for ‘shock value’. What Kanye is doing, has done and will continue doing for years is nothing close to shock value. And I say this because people will continue to analyze, cherish and talk about literally everything Kanye does. Can we talk about the time he was trending while eating ice cream? His own beautiful, dark, twisted fantasy

Or playing Connect 4 with Beyonce?

Kanye most likely wins, right?

I’ve done both of these things within the past two weeks. Nothing about it is shocking or of value, but he is KANYE WEST. One of the biggest celebrities of our time, so no matter what he does or who he talks about or what sneakers he passes out to his famous friends, we shouldn’t take it as shocking. He’s simply living his life. He’s innovated. He’s creative. He has no limits, or filters.

During the day, and most nights and most weekends/holidays my job is marketing. Thinking of the best possible way to position brands I work with to get the best bang for their buck. To cause PR moments. To put feelings and emotions behind sports moments to create memories. And you know who I share this job with – Mr. West. Kanye west is not just an artist. He isn’t the top fashion designer in the world. But he is one of the most brilliant marketers and I would feel remiss if I didn’t notice this. The debut of the Yeezy boost took over the internet, and it’s still taking over the internet. I remember where I was when I saw my first pair IRL. I was in St. Petersburg, FL for the first race of the 2015 INDYCAR season and Tampa Bay Buccaneer Vincent Jackson was in the pits. I obviously tweeted about it:

Kanye will always be Kanye. One of the tracks he debuted yesterday had him making fun of himself for “Kanye loving Kanye”. He may not have the highest album sales. Hell – “The Life of Pablo” isn’t even officially released and people are talking about it. Articles are being written about it. The collaborations are being celebrated. And no one can even listen to the album for a second time. The streaming was so horrible via TIDAL because over 20 million people were trying to stream it. I took over a conference room in my office to watch it. And the most fascinating part about all of this – is we have literally no idea what will actually be on TLOP once it hits our favorite streaming service. We knew of some of the featured artists: Young Thug, Future, Rihanna, but some came to us as more of a surprise Andre 3000 (who was just in the studio a mere two weeks ago) and the long awaited return of Frank Ocean. This album release will continue the momentous musically driven first few weeks of 2016. And I, for one, cannot wait. Let us just hope in the weeks to come and when the album is fully finished and available for our listening pleasure people can stop being so butt hurt. I can’t even begin to talk about people crapping all over Beyonce because these people don’t deserve the character count. Long live the creative process, those who push the limits, those who entertain us and those who could care less if we are talking about them or not. (So, yes, you may ask why am I typing this right now? Because I too don’t want to be put into a box! I don’t want things to have to be watered down because of PC culture!)

The Life of Pablo is dropping today with some additional tracks.

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Yeezy breezy beautiful.

UPDATE: Please visit Twitter.com/KanyeWest to see his rebuttal to comments re: Taylor Swift.

House of Cards, a tricky business for the viewer and the characters

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While I will be the first to admit there were about seven times I wanted to tweet about something in the show and then realized “Wait, stop! Don’t be that girl.” This show has single handily redefined the way people can enjoy a television series. Whether it be by binge watching as many episodes as possible, having some sort of super human ability to only watch one at a time or breaking it up in a clock work manner–it is in the hands of the watcher. Netflix really stepped over some lines that have yet to be crossed in the small screen business, one I feel many television writers, directors and actors can get behind. (Not to mention viewers!)

Sure, it has paved a new way for those interested in being the spoiler alert; but in the days where we know where not to look, it’s okay.

I personally am a huge fan of how the show was directed and acted. David Fincher (Fight Club) teamed beautifully with Kevin Spacey (American Beauty). The two must have really been in sync back stage because the way Spacey was able to pull over the one-on-one with the camera was a masterpiece. And that southern accent was superb. But the writing of the show, the twist and turns and the anti-hero in Spacey’s character Francis Underwood was magical. It has been awhile since I can remember a television character at about the same caliber of Underwood. One whom you want to see succeed, but after mania bouts of him pushing others to the edge your cheering turns to quiet mumbles.

But a lot could be said for how easy every thing seems to come and go for Underwood. His control over other members as the Majority Whip is almost scary. And then to continue his control over rookie reporter Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara) is, again for lack of a better term, scary. He fishes and catches everything he wants. But that is only after what he really wants (Secretary of State) is taken away from him.

I believe it is the first political drama I have watched where the President seems second tier. It was interesting to me how much is kept from him, put in front of his eyes and ignored and down right over looked. Either, or, every show about United States politics will have it’s strengths and weaknesses.

No matter what may be argued over the show (lack of creativity, laziness in writing, poorly performed roles) I for one was entertaining by the underlining themes of greed, abuse of power and struggle. Every character added a new twist and turn in the plot.

What I liked most is that everything is an opportunity. Nothing can be simply sat in the corner to let linger. All avenues are explored. And everyone wants something.

As simple as that may sound, and obvious even, there is still so much more to come in the next dosage of the show (coming….???) and I for one cannot wait for it to be placed onto Netflix and to have at the disposal of my fingertips.

Go watch it if you haven’t yet, you’ll find something to like (or hate) about it.

PS; I really barely scratched the surface of the characters within the show.

The Lorax: A Cautionary Tale

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So in the midst of my FUNemployment I’ve been watching a plethora of TV shows and movies. This morning I chose ‘The Lorax’ via Netflix and was surprised at how entertaining I found it. The “Let it Grow” song segment was stellar and I wasn’t as annoyed by Taylor Swift because I didn’t actually see her face (As my friend Shelby said today “I pretend to hate Taylor, but I secretly like her,” and she was right. I do the same thing. Sorry Tay.)

But I took the underlining message of the movie to be more than just an environmental warning. Global warning has been at topic up for debate for years. What is more the surprising part of the movie is the dig at corporate greed and the influence that large corporations have on the environment. Dr. Suess really pulled out all the stops with that one. (Although I’m unsure how much the message would be retained from members of the youth.)

Kyle Ayers, a writer for CBS put it into better words than I could here:

“The fable isn’t subtle, nor should it be. Seuss personifies industry as a whole with the Once-ler, to draw interest and attention to unchecked corporate greed as a threat to nature. The Lorax sounds the warning siren, but is ignored, as environmental groups often are, until it’s too late.”

 

How often do we see environmental groups being pushed to the wayside? Whether it be oil drilling, non-preservation of land resources or the most ignored subject of overpopulation: all these topics do not get as much attention paid as deserved.

The Lorax is not as happily portrayed as much of Suess’ other works are(Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham), but it is realistic and still ends with a optimistic approach. Ayers mentions a fine point: The Lorax is a story talking about the preservation of trees and punishing a man for ruining the tree source. Yet it is a book, and what is needed for books to be produced? Yes, exactly trees.

What is life, Suess’. Can’t please ’em all.

5 Life Lessons from 5 of My favorite TV Shows

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1. You can’t run away from your problems…especially if you have only nine toes.
Although a humorous twist, Ron Swanson could not be more accurate. Running away from problems, whether it be in the office, with friends, family, significant others or in your own personal bubble, is never the best method of recovery. I take the nine toes literally, however, if you don’t have all the necessary parts in check running is only going to make it worse. Live up to your expectations, take time to realize your potential and stop being scared of whats out there for your to learn. (Parks and Recreation, NBC)

2. We are all vulnerable, and we will all, at some point in our lives… fall. We will all fall. From the Pilot episode on, Friday Night Lights taught us the every up hill battle of life. Whether in the high school, college, or Texas football spectrum, there were always going to be obstacles to overcome. But instead of painting us a pretty picture and sending us to bed with a warm glass of milk, FNL taught us that we will at some point fail. Things are not always rainbows and fluffy unicorns. But at the same time, it taught us that with hard work, dedication and determination we can come back from out faults and better it in the end. It is important to stay focused on your goals, and not to let the difficulties override.(Friday Night Lights, NBC)

3. Hey man, they raised me, okay? Proof, pudding. Speaking of pudding, Mother, do we have any tapioca on tap?
Seth Cohen and his parents may have lived in the lap of luxury but they did not rest of their laurels. Taking in troubled Ryan was just the beginning of positives (and often times) negatives this family went though. But no matter the circumstances Seth was a son. And he had Ryan as his brother. The OC taught us that family, above all else, will always be there for you. No matter who you may get in a fight with, how many car accidents or broken teenage hearts: you’ll have your parents to turn to. (life situation permitting of course.) And if not your parents, someone you seek guidance from. And never, ever, be afraid to ask for help. (The OC, Fox)

4. If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.
This one was hard. Mad Men is a master piece of brilliant writing and Don Draper has said umpteen tid bits of genius I could have used, but I chose this one. Often times we may be involved in a conversation, or situation, where something may not be going the way we want it to be. Well don’t just stand there, fix it. Change it up. Eliminate the problem. Make it better. Cliche. Cliche. and other cliche saying. This is life. You won’t always like what you hear, but you better try to switch that up every once in awhile or things are going to get real boring. (Mad Men, AMC)

5. I will never be the woman with the perfect hair, who can wear white and not spill on it.
And honestly, if you are….well…yeah. But Carrie Bradshaw and the ladies of Sex & The City had it right. Explore who you are. Be comfortable in your own skin. You’re never going to be happy with someone else if you aren’t happy with youself. Don’t run off with the first person you meet because you want to get it in under a certain age limit. Just….respect yourself and what you have. An all too familiar saying, but one uncommonly achieved. (Sex and the City, HBO)

Other memorable quotes from SATC:
• “That’s the thing about needs. Sometimes when you get them met,
you don’t need them anymore.”
• “The most important thing in life is your family. There are days you love them, and others you don’t. But, in the end, they’re the people you always come home to. Sometimes it’s the family you’re born into and sometimes it’s the one you make for yourself.”

My Superbowl XLVI Experience

I was born and raised in Indianapolis, took frequent trips to Bloomington, West Lafayette, other towns around Indiana, but mainly stayed pretty settled in my families one-story, Eastside home of which I shared a room with my older sister for several years. I remember traveling to Colts games at the RCA Dome, and Pacers games at Market Square Arena.  I took notice of several USA olympic teams that positioned themselves in Indianapolis (USA Track & Field, USA Diving, and USA Gymnastics) and of course, I was never too far from the sights and sounds of the Indianapolis 500. It is evident that Indianapolis does large sporting events, heck the Indy 500 boost the largest single event crowd. So when I first learned of the Superbowl coming to Indianapolis I knew it would be a success. What I didn’t know, is how successful.

Over the past few days I’ve read article after article about the amazing job and impression Indianapolis left on the country, and I am finally proud that American’s have seen and take in what I am proud to call my hometown.

The streets filled with people on Saturday, the night before the big game.

But my personal experiences and the opportunities I was given throughout the week are too good to be true, and the fact that I was able to be at some of these events is still making me pinch myself.

The first big day: Tuesday night, Pacers vs. Nets game.
For my job with the Indiana Pacers we tend to focus on the human interest side of things, so we cover topics that people can relate to. And who doesn’t enjoy seeing familiar faces in the crowd of pacers games? I was able to meet and interview, along with my co-workers Tricia Whitaker and Hannah Godby, a handful of people who came out to watch a local NBA game.

  • Ron Jaworski (ESPN NFL Analyst)
  • Deion Branch (Wide Receiver for the New England Patriots)
  • Dustin Keller (Tight end for the New York Jets)
  • Maurice Jones-Drew (running back for the Jacksonville Jaguars)
  • Ahmad Bradshaw (running back for the New York Giants)
  • Brandon Jacobs (running back for the New York Giants)
  • Hakeem Nicks (wide receiver for the New York Giants)
  • Mike Epps (comedian/movie star/director)

Mike Epps

And that was all just in a nights work!

But my big events came Thursday night, at the Ea Sports Madden Bowl, and on Friday night at the Superbowl Playboy Party. 

I met, chatted, said hello, touched, stared at, or mildly stalked (yes…mildly) the following:

Ticket into Madden Bowl

  • Merril Hodge
  • Michelle Beadle
  • Colin Coherd
  • Drew Brees
  • Tim Tebow
  • Tim Tebow and Michelle Beadle

  • Jimmy Graham
  • Deion Sanders
  • Michael Strahan
  • Warren Sapp
  • Donavon McNabb
  • Plaxico Burress
  • Nas

Nas & The Roots

  • The Roots

At the EA Sports Madden Bowl

  •  ABOVE was from EA Sports, BELOW is from Playboy:
  • Aaron Rodgers

When I couldn't find Abby...

  • Clay Matthews
  • Jessica Szohr
  • Jon Hamm

Rodgers and Jon Hamm just casually hanging out with us...

  • Mechad Brooks

Hanging out with EGGS from True Blood!

  • Chris Evans
  • Shaq
  • Brandon Smith (Disney star)
  • LMFAO dudes
  • Ne-Yo

After the big game, which I watched at the Pan Am Plaza that overlooked the lovely Super bowl Village, my friends and I wandered over to the after party of Victor Cruz (how this all came about was still somewhat a mystery seeing that we were briefly in a hotel room…but moving on…, the party was spun by DJ Suss One and had a lot of champagne involved. Props to the Giants on winning the Super Bowl. Eli makin’ us proud.

Overall, it was a weekend that despite ALL of that excitement, I still made my way to West Lala to watch the Hoosiers defeat the Boilermakers.

The picture we asked a Purdure fan to take after IU won...obviously he stood up and gave us the best picture quality. Oh wait...

Win-win-win-win of a week and one that is going to make me have to sit out a few of the upcoming weekends to recover.

IU wins at Mackey, 78-61, first time in six years!

PS; as embarrassing as this might be….I think it’s pretty hilarious that of all people at the Playboy party my friends, Annie, Abby, Jessica, and myself made an appearance in the video on the Playboy website. (I warn you…we thought he was taking a picture so our fake dancing is horrendous.)

http://www.playboy.com/nightlife/playboys-super-party

Until the next time I have something half bragging, half embarrassing to post…

It’s Indiana.

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Photo Courtesy of the IDS

In what was unargueably the best night of my college experience thus far…scratch that…of my life, IU upsets Number 1 Kentucky with a 3-pointer game winning shot by Christan Watford to win 73-72. We all know this by now. We have all read the stories. Seen the videos. Given each other high fives. Drank to oblivion. Romp the streets of Bloomington in elation. But with all of that, with all of the excitement and the celebration…I’m still unable to put into words my feelings at Assembly hall on December 10, 2011.

I had balcony seats, but I knew that it would be nothing to be upset about. I knew Assembly Hall would be anything less than pumped up, seeing as a group of students took the efforts to camp out starting on Tuesday. No, the balcony was just as energized and loud as the GA section. Why? Because It’s Indiana. Assembly Hall is the largest student section in the country. The best student section in the country. Proof of that could be seen in the countless videos. and by the amount of noise that came out of that building last night. I still have ringing in my ears.

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Pure Bliss.

Twenty-four hours ago I was standing in my seat at Assembly Hall. Today I’m pinching myself to make sure I’m awake. All through the night students and the town of Bloomington celebrated. It’s back. Indiana Basketball is back. Brice Fox and Daniel Webber were right when they told us to “follow Tom Crean, he’s going to take us back to greatness.” They were right.

After a high energized first half IU went into halftime up by one over the Wild Cats. When the clock hit 0.00 at the end of the game IU won by one. After the ball left Watford’s hand and floated ever so gracefully into the basket I stopped breathing. I turned to my left with tears in my eyes as Colleen and I leaped into each others arms. After three long years of being a student at IU and being a faithful IU basketball fan a night like last night will be something I will absolutely never forget.

I’m so happy for all the players, every single one of them, for this moment and for what they have accomplished. For the coaches, the Athletic Department employees, those who have been with IU through all the ups and the downs, the sports writers, the announces, and of course the students. This is Indiana. (Side note: to anyone who sold their ticket to make money…jokes on you.)

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Photo Courtesy @TomCrean

Reading the articles today from Bob Kravitz at the Indianapolis Star, Terry Hutchens at the Indianapolis Star, Jerod Morris with Midwest Sports Fan, Justin Albers with Inside Indiana, Jeff Goodman with CBSSports, and so on, I got tears in my eyes. Perhaps it is my incredible lack of sleep over the past week (after a 22nd birthday on Monday, exams, work, and traveling to Broad Ripple for a Smirnoff launch party) but my emotions have been running high ever since. At approximately 7:32pm last night I sent my Mom a picture of the court and all the students on it. She assured me she saw it happening on ESPN. I stood peering down, smiling, shaking, sore throat, head pounding, but pleasantly holding up 3 fingers, as an ode to Kentucky fans.

Photo Courtesy of the IDS

You like to celebrate every three pointer made….Yeah, so do we. (If you are unsure what I’m referring to please take the time to read this Mark Titus article on Grantland —> The Tar Heels have No Interest in Defense (And other Observations from North Carolina-Knetucky.)

Loose butt hole monocle.

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Photo Courtesy of the IDS

Nights like last night are why becoming a Hoosier and coming to IU was and will always be the best decision I made in my life. Not only the success, not only the energy, not only the countless times we sang the fight song, but because this unifies a campus. Brings us all together. Encourages us all to remember just how blessed and fortunate we are to be Hoosiers. We, as students, created a memory last night that will not be replaced.

“This is one of the most shared moments, maybe the most shared moment I’ve ever been a part of,” Crean said. “You want to share it with so many people.”

Yes Coach, yes we do.

This game, this night, this team, this shot, this school….this is why I’m a sports fan.

Additional Links to videos dealing with last night:

The shot.
Nicks English Hut watches Win.
Kilroys Sports Watches Win.
Kirkwood after the Win.
Don Fischer’s call on the radio over ESPN video.

Bon Iver Concert Review

A long anticipatory drive sat between me and the Riverside Theatre this time Wednesday (7/20/2011), but after a night out on the town in Chicago with Colleen, we headed up to Milwaukee to meet up with my roommate, Abby, and her long time friend from home, Maddie, as we called a cab and headed into downtown Milwaukee.

The atmosphere as we drove up to the theatre was like no other concert I’ve ever attended. It wasn’t overly loud. People were not stumbling around drunk. The night was warm, with a breeze, as the river sat next to the building to build a beautiful back drop for what would soon be a concert I’ll be hard fought to forget.

No bag were checked. We simply had our tickets scanned, and we walked in. Two bars in the lobby area, to our left and our right. Special item of the evening: tall boy Bon Iver special edition Pabst Blue Ribbon, what else? After all Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett did proclaimed the day as “Bon Iver Day.”

The band was kicking off their 2011 tour. Why not start it in the home state of lead singer Justin Vernon? The Eau Clarie, Wisc. native was greatly with loud cheers. Many “I LOVE YOU” yells. And a standing ovation as the band, including two drummers, three guitarist/violionist, a saxophore/clarinet play, a keyboarder/beat boxer and a trumpet player, assembled along the stage to prepare for a show they has spent months planning.

The halls we walked as we made our way to our seats were scattered with people buying merchandise, catching up, socializing, and anxiously awaiting for the songs to begin.

We took our seats after being led in by flashlight just as the opening act, The Rosebuds, ended their set. We took a few photos, amazed at how smokey the theatre was after the first band had ended, yet how pristine the ceiling and molding created an almost effervescent atmosphere. 

As Justin Vernon’s godfather took the stage to announce and read the ‘Bon Iver Day’ proclamiation the anticpation contiuned to surge up to the upper deck of the theatre.

A slow clap…and then it all began.

The simple, lovely cords of “Perth” began to fill the theatre as the loud drums shook the first two rows. And from then on the lights, the cheers, the standing ovations, the amazing set made for an emotional charged show that the band used as a take off point on their tour.

The last show Bon Iver performed was in the same theatre, and Vernon mentioned that they didn’t really know how to get back in the swing of things so they decided to start back where they left off.

“Happy Bon Iver Day,” Vernon said as everyone jumped out of their seats. And a happy Bon Iver day it was.

Set List:

“Perth”

“Minnesota, WI”

“Towers”

“Flume”

“Holocene”

“Blood Bank”

“Hinnom, TX”

“Wash”

“Beach Baby”

“Brackett, WI”

“Michicant”

“Re: Stacks”

“Calgary”

“Beth/Rest”

Encore:

“Skinny Love”

“Who Is It”

“Wolves (Act I & II)”

Vernon sat alone, strumming the ‘Skinny Love’ specific guitar as the halls were filled with familiar words.

The B’Jork cover “Who is it” allowed for band member Reggie to show off his beat boxing techniques, which served as highly entertaining.

And the last song allowed the entire audience to come together as slowly, and quietly we sang “what might have been lost” and waited for the sign to go crazy. Yes, Vernon specifally saved this moment for last a moment to have everyone become so engrossed in the music we were able to just let it all go

And then it was over.