Monday, April 22, 2013

Everyday somebody thinks I'm Beyonce!

Any avid reality TV addict can’t help notice that each season of our beloved weekly indulgence features a few new words or phrases that we dare repeat in our own conversations.  Throughout the dramatic fights, break-ups, throw downs, and verbal lashings, these ladies (and a few men) are notorious for their outlandish vernacular.

Some of my favorite reality starlets include the ladies of Real Housewives of Atlanta, Basketball Wives (LA and Miami), Bad Girls Club, Love & Hip Hop (New York and ATL), Mob Wives, and Braxton Family Values.

In the wise words of the witty Tamar Braxton, this is your guide to reality! Get your life.

Season 3 of Love & Hip Hop New York revealed the trials and tribulations of love in the hip hop music industry.  Actress/Model/Singer Erica Mena can be noted for repeating “feel a certain type of way” in her tumultuous relationship with Manager Rich DollazTranslation: You had some sort of emotional feeling in direct relation to something I’ve said or done. Although… I may not know what that is so I use this vague sentence.

For those of you who tuned into Basketball Wives Miami and can recall the heated dish-throwing argument between firecracker Evelyn Lozada and her bf turned nemesis Jennifer Williams then you remember Lozada’s epic slogan “you ain't about that life”Translation: You’re all talk and you pretend to be someone you’re not.  And my other favorite from miss Lozada is the infamous “you’re a non mother-f***ing factor b****”, which came after she reluctantly divulged to fellow cast mate Tami Roman that she had previously slept with her ex-husband.  Translation: You really don’t matter or didn’t matter at the relevant time you are upset about. 

It seems the ladies of Basketball Season 2 were all about one thing.  Getting “turnt up”Translation: Having a real good time.  Actually the best time, probably inebriated.  But don’t call any of these women “ratchet” because they might get turnt up in a bad way.  Translation: Many people use this word differently but in this case let’s just say this adjective describes someone who doesn’t know how to act, cannot get their fashion right, or will do and say the most inappropriate things at the worst times. 

One stunning woman who would never consider herself ratchet is Kenya Moore of the latest season of Real Housewives of Atlanta.  This former Miss USA really knows how to win her battles with her distinguished twirl and famous line “Gone with the wind fabulous”Translation: I am THE most fabulous person without having to try.  I am timeless, and pretty much amazing.  Can’t nobody hold me down (especially not if you’re Porsha Stewart).

And last but not least are the feisty Mob Wives of Staten Island.  The women of Mob Wives are certainly not a bunch to be messed with- that is unless they are fighting with one another.  Ticking time bomb Renee Graziano, fearless Karen Gravano, and the “sweet until you piss her off” Carla Focciolo can all be quoted threatening “you don’t want to go to war with me”Translation: You don’t want to start a verbal or physical battle with me because I will ruin you. 

There you have it!  The quick guide to understanding the women we can’t help but watch tear each other to shreds each year. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bow Wow in England?

Shad Moss, 24, also known as rapper Bow Wow of Cash Money Records made an appearance in Kingston nightclub, Oceana last Tuesday evening.  Apparently he is making random appearances in London venues, I'm assuming, to promote his upcoming and highly anticipated album "Underrated".  It's been a long time since we've heard from Bow Weezy but can expect to hear new tracks featuring many other artists in the Cash Money family including my favorite lady in the game Nicki Minaj in addition to the Biebs, Chris Brown, Meek Mill, Talib Kweli, and Boyz II Men- just a few to name.

Unfortunately for those who attended the performance at Oceana, we didn't get to hear much of anything new from Bow Wow and instead heard some of his older songs dating back to 2007.  The rapper kept his faithful fans waiting for hours until around 1:30ish am when he decided to grace the small stage space complete with his hype men, DJ, and a random woman who held his coat.

I for one was not impressed and waiting hours in 3 inch stilettos was my first fail of the night.  I forgot that celebrities don't really have any concept of time or consideration when making appearances.  Though my disinterest with Bow Wow seemed extremely apparent, it didn't seem to bother the heaps of female fans who pushed their way to the front in hopes of touching his hand or letting him pour Moet champagne all over their face in attempt to aim for their mouths.

So Bow Wow, I applaud you for coming to Kingston but next time, come with some new material.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Confessions of a uni student

University students are known to get in a bit of trouble here and there but this one student seems to come back with the craziest stories and this is one of them...

The night started with heavy drinking and the possibility of drug consumption before entering Fabric, one of London's popular nightclubs, for a group of young men. This group of young university students is quite an eclectic bunch: mix a hyperactive kamikaze, a lightweight, a fearless/impulsive rule-bender, + two individuals who spend a lot of time with Mary Jane and you can start to see the scene.

The story is told by the hyperactive kamikaze, let's call him "H" for confidentiality purposes.

His mission started Friday: "I was so drunk, I didn't really know what was going on." (Great way to start a story) After the boys left their flat they boarded a Southwest train heading to Waterloo Station and on the way ran into a "raving lunatic of a girl" who persisted to pester H when he came to realise that one member of his wolf pack had a bleeding face after trying to drink vodka out of a plastic bag full of glass.

The train went further and the night began to unfold. The group was one man down after someone got sick and after they reached their destination they lost another. Three were left and only three made it into Fabric, leaving me with the image of sweaty swaying people, strobe lights, dubstep, and acid.

After the club H decided to head back to Oxford to see his mum:
(sometime in the early am)
"I went to the coach station where I missed the coach back to Oxford. I had to sit there in the cold for an hour, luckily a guy called Chris with brilliantly coloured ginger hair turned up looking to get on the bus, he was from Detroit. We exchanged stories about stupid nights we had out, real nice guy. We both got on the coach when it came, slept back to Oxford, said 'farewell' to Chris and headed home.

When I got home I went upstairs to wake my mum but she wasn't home so I thought I'd go to bed. The next day I went to see my cousin. We kicked it at his house with his house mates for a while.  We were watching the football and he won a few bets on the African Nations cup. For a while we sat there thinking of something cool we could buy but couldn't think of anything.

A Russian girl who was at his house suggested we go on a road trip! My cousin automatically said Amsterdam! I was automatically game because that place is awesome. Only problem was my passport was back in Kingston.

We made a few calls and no one could give us a lift, we made a plan to go up to London in the morning and then go to Luton Airport. We both were getting ready to go to sleep when my cousin got a phone call from his friend who said he could take us.

We both sprang up and jumped in the car, about half way through the journey we were coming off the m40 onto the m4 going roughly 70mph and the car started to power slide- it was an unusual feeling-the car was sideways and still traveling!

We thought the car would flip for sure! And if it flipped we would have been dead. Luckily we hit a road barrier which popped the front two tyres making a horrific noise, then the headlights popped and a burst of yellow light covered the front windscreen. The air bags went off filling the car with smoke. My cousin and the driver jumped out of the car, I tried, but the seat was stuck.

I was thinking 'if this car blows up I'm SCREWED'. We yanked the seat out of place and ran up the road. We used the sos phone to call for help and because we were on a slip road the cars were shooting by.  I stood in the middle of the road dodging traffic, waving my hands to try make them slow down. None of the street lamps were working and I had nothing on but black so I nearly got hit a few times.

Two lorries were coming down the road they saw our car and tried to drive around.  The Tesco lorry was going a little too fast, hit our car and stopped- the other lorry stopped just to make sure there was no damage. After 30 seconds a BMW came shooting around the corner, I jumped into the road trying to slow it down and the driver looked at me like 'what a chump'. He then saw the collision. He drove to the right then swerved to the left, hit the Tesco lorry, bounced off it, crashed into our demolished car and then deflected back off onto the Tesco lorry.

He had driven directly into the gas tank of the lorry which contained 250L of petrol. By the grace of god he didn't split it he only dented it quite badly. The drivers got out and ran. I was in shock and couldn't stop laughing.  The driver of our car was organising someone to pick up our write off and my cousin had double vision. The highway patrol came and secured the situation and re-opened the road.

When the salvage truck came he asked who was in our car, we said we were and he replied 'really?' We were puzzled and asked why, he said 'there's nothing wrong with you, you should be massively injured or even dead'.  He then told us he could only drop us off at Heathrow so we had to negotiate a deal.

He took us Kingston where we signed off the car and went back to Halls. We all went inside and put on more clothes and I got my passport, trained back to Oxford and headed to Luton Airport with no sleep.

We completely brushed the whole situation like it didn't happen, we didn't tell anyone anything. We jumped on the plane to Amsterdam where we persisted to chill in baller hotels and smoke up in coffee shops.

Moral of the story: Have fun, but wear a seatbelt."

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Back from a long hiatus...

Today I am re-entering the blogosphere after an almost 2-year hiatus from my beloved platform of expression. Since I graduated from the University of San Francisco in 2010 I have enrolled in a Journalism Master's programme in London and have been taking rigorous courses for the past 5 months, training me for the real working world! In the mean time, I will be posting on "The View" more frequently about my own experiences, relevant news, features stories, short stories and special interest topics that inspire me! Please feel free to comment or make any suggestions as for topics you would like to see on my blog. I am currently working on a few pieces right now so stay tuned :) If you would like to see some of my previous work check out, it is a student-run local news site of which I am a former Editor of the Lifestyle section. I contribute to this news platform frequently, keep up with us on Twitter too @courierkingston. That's all for now. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Edo Hair Salon and Art Gallery

There is one art that is extremely overlooked. It requires precision, an eye for perfection, and even demands a license for professional practice. To be a hair colorist takes patience, strategy, and skill to satisfy every customer who requests specific colors be added to alter their natural hair color. Because hair is a very personal attribute and people take pride in their appearance, it is important that a good hair colorist have impeccable judgment. Hair services in San Francisco are not cheap, so when I decided to look for a hair colorist, I wanted the best. Her name is Marissa Estrella and she is a senior stylist at Edo hair salon located on lower Haight street. Edo was rated “best salon” in 2009 by the Bay Guardian, and the staff certainly live up to their expectations.
Located on the corner of Haight street at Steiner, this quaint salon sits situated between local residences and the fine dining of lower Haight. With a small pink banner that reads “Edo Hair Salon and Art Gallery,” it is easy to overlook the second part of the title. Yes, a hair salon that doubles as an art gallery. Instantly intrigued, I called to schedule my appointment, prepared to shovel out over $100 for a partial highlight. Stephanie who answers the phones was not the most enthusiastic person to schedule a hair appointment with- it was as if my business was not needed. However, upon arrival I was greeted by a very nice front desk staff and offered water or wine while I waited. This is when I decided to check out the art. Currently featured at Edo is the work of Catto Vanessa Houghton, a Canadian born artist who just recently moved to the Bay Area. Her showcased portraits called “Falling Together” resemble pop-art with a more realistic flare. One portrait features a close-up of an African American male with dread locks. The picture looks like a real portrait, capturing the man’s distinct features and incorporating intricate detail. The photos were a great distraction from the fact that Marissa was running late.
As I sipped my red wine Marissa assessed my hair needs and recommended the best plan of attack: light bleach and brown toner in order to create golden bronze highlights. As someone who comes from a family of hair stylists and colorist I have learned to become extremely picky and exact with my hair. Colorists can put color on top of natural hair, or they can bleach the hair- which is essentially starting from scratch and then decide to add color. This is the most difficult part of creating the perfect color and determining if bleach is appropriate for different hair types. With one hair color in mind, Marissa explained adequately how long she would keep the bleach on, then how she would add brown toner to bring out the caramel and bronze in my hair. If I was not satisfied with my hair color, she explained that I could come back for a retouch.
Edo lives up to its positive reviews with friendly and knowledgeable staff. They have a full line of Bumble & Bumble hair products to compliment their services. After my first visit I even received a $10 off coupon as a new customer for my next visit. I am more than content with the result of Marissa’s expertise and would recommend Edo to anyone who needs a great stylist. The cost of my trip: $130, my experience: great, my hair color: amazing. Not only are the services great, there is always an art showcase that changes monthly on display.

My rating: ****1/2

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Urban Unseen- Art Exhibit

Attracting tourists and future homeowners, tightly packed together apartment buildings and Victorian style homes are a trademark of San Francisco. On almost every block of the city, every lot is somehow connected. Are these just closely built homes, or architectural masterpieces? Tanu Sankalia, Architecture professor at the University of San Francisco, examines the overlooked complexities of San Francisco Victorian homes in his art exhibit “The Urban Unseen.” The art exhibit, located in Thacher Gallery on the University of San Francisco campus, explores the spaces between homes and the way they are connected.
Sankalia’s vision was to draw attention to and analyze more than just the façade, but the multiple dimensions of the houses near the university’s campus. Some of these Victorian residential houses on Turk Street were built in the mid to late 1800’s, embodying the style of English architecture during the rule of Queen Victoria. They were also built on top of bedrock so they were able to survive the San Francisco earthquake and fire. During a walking tour, Sankalia explains that he wanted to tell the story of San Francisco in a different way. He asked “How do you look at things that are unseen?” and hoped to convey his conclusions through his exhibit.
Sankalia obtained his undergraduate degree in Architecture in India before he moved to the U.S. to continue his studies at UC Berkeley. He has taught in India and has been a professor at the University of San Francisco, which funded his exhibit, for four years. He is extremely passionate and equally knowledgeable about his project.
The actual exhibit encompasses his findings through various art forms. There are wax sculptures, detailed drawings, video, and photographs of the different spaces that exist between lots. Some homes are connected by a wall, which Sankalia describes as row houses, when two houses share a wall and there is little to no space between them. Other homes are connected by a gate, and some are connected by a wall that begins further back than the first dimension of the house. These are the complexities that the average passerby may never notice which makes this exhibit original and unique. He notes that facades are highlighted during the day, drawing attention away from other dimensions of space. However, as night approaches the visibility of intricate details of Victorian architecture and space becomes apparent.
Sankalia explains that there were four main elements to understanding and expressing his vision. He believes these elements to be observation, mapping, documentation, and interpretation. He began his project observing the streets, spaces, and homes and then mapped his exact focus. Next he used various mediums to document the spaces and created ways in which others could interpret them. He worked along with four other artists to convey these images. Catherine Chang was another architect involved, as well as Pedro Churion who used film to interpret the spaces, and students also participated in creating the art exhibit.
The exhibit is creative, interactive, and most certainly something I’ve never seen before. However, the reason why it may have been so effective is that the concept goes beyond the exhibit. After leaving the art showcase, Sankalia’s idea can be found all over San Francisco. He was able to take a part of a city that unites everyone who lives in a home that is somehow connected to another. Since speaking with the artist and reviewing the showcase, I am constantly aware of the spaces that connect Victorian houses and even my own apartment building. Well done Sankalia, well done.

My Rating: *****/*****

Friday, March 26, 2010

Learn to Be Latina

Learn to Be Latina
Impact Theatre
La Val's Subterranean, 1834 Euclid Ave., Berkeley
Ticket cost: $12-20
Show runs to March 27, 2010
Running time is two hours and 10 minutes

Sitting in a small basement full of cobwebs beneath a pizza place where UC Berkeley students gather to shoot pool, do homework, and drink beer you would never expect to see a phenomenally written and directed play. Up and coming playwright Enrique Urueta did not have a wide variety of venue choices for his play Learn to Be Latina, but the talented cast made the intimate setting work.
Learn to Be Latina is a contemporary comedy that addresses issues of race, sexuality, and identity that seeks to offend and entertain at the same time. 22-year-old aspiring singer Hanan Mashulani, played by Carlye Pollack, brings her demo to a record label where she is told that she will not be marketable because she is Lebanese Will, Bill, and Jill, the label consultants, are vetoed by some kind of “ethnic advisor” Mary O’Malley. Mary O’Malley shines throughout the entire play with her blunt humor, awful Irish accent, Spanglish, and a Cuban hand puppet named Casatina. Mary decides that Hanan should be marketed as a Latina, completely ignoring her Lebanese roots, due to a personal vendetta we later learn of.
Mary points out that Latina artists Selma Hyek and Shakira are both of Lebanese descent yet their Middle Eastern heritage is never highlighted in the media. The music executives make terrorist references to Hanan’s ethnicity and take cover when she picks up her bag. Their comments are extremely racist but the audience cannot help but laugh at their ridiculous assumptions. Urueta calls attention to the tumultuous careers of Middle Eastern ethnic pop stars Tiffany and Paula Abdul, establishing a need to change the ethnicity of Hanan. After a “Latina boot camp” Hañan emerges as a international superstar who speaks little Spanish and takes on a Colombian heritage, that she later confuses with Cuban. She struggles with her identity throughout the play and her sexuality as well when she falls for “Office Bitch,” a.k.a the Chicana office secretary.
No minority group is exempt from Urueta’s humor. He pokes fun at Mexicans, black people, lesbians, gays, Latinos, women, and he even makes fun of white people calling them the “race-less” group. The characters use racial slurs, “politically incorrect” words, they cuss, perform sexual acts, do and say anything and everything to make us feel uncomfortable. As a resident of San Francisco and a product of pop culture, I was not offended. However, perhaps a more conservative, older audience would not have been a fan of Learn to Be Latina.
The small basement theater allowed for a relaxed setting where most of the audience enjoyed pizza, beer, and wine from La Val’s Subterranean (the pizza place above). The lighting was appropriate for the small space that was allotted for the stage, and the sound was just right. The costumes looked as though they were thought out, but perhaps needed to be a bit more flashy for Hañan’s role as a superstar. I enjoyed all two hours and 10 minutes of the up-beat, in-your-face dialogue, multiple dance performances, pop culture references, crude comments, and high energy performance. Overall, I think Urueta’s play was fantastically written and well thought out. His professional partner, Director Mary Guzmán did an equally amazing job at directing the actors and helped put Urueta’s words into action. Together, the two nailed it.
My Rating: ****

* (Yawn)
** Still listening
*** Great acting and solid plot
**** Amazing acting, great storyline, and no one’s sleeping.