Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sixers shock the world, says Mark Zumoff

Really Mark? Really? Iranians are shooting AK-47's into the sky over the Sixers winning game 1 against the Pistons? The starving children in Darfur turned on their imaginary TV's and cheered the underdog Sixers to a 90-86 victory over the heavily favored Pistons? Shocked the world is a little strong, considering the low attendance numbers pro basketball has been showing all over the league. Those numbers have increased as we head into the playoffs but the NBA is still struggling to garner the type of response from fans that it had in the mid-to-late nineties. And the Sixers are one of the harder sells in the nation; a team with no real stars in a town with a killer baseball team.

But still, props are due. And always a lover of Philly teams, no matter the sport, I gotta give it up for our boys. I hope and pray the excitement of a Philadelphia presence in the NBA playoffs draws me back to basketball. I used to be a massive fan. And the reasons are beginning to pile up.

First of all, ever since Ed Stefanski replaced Billy King as GM, the team has had a spark. They are playing unselfish, uptempo, fundamental basketball. I like to think that is all Stefanski's doing because I used to play basketball with his son and if this team makes history, it will make a great story.

Secondly, my mom loves Mo Cheeks. Always has. My mom has a very endearing quality of never participating substantively to any sports conversation unless it involves someone she either really likes or really doesn't like. For instance, she HATES Jimmy Johnson, not because he was the coach of the most evil team in football but because he left his wife for the game; an unforgivable offense in my mother's eyes. And its not like I needed a reason to hate Jimmy Johnson but it makes me hate him all the more knowing she feels so passionately about it. By the same token, it makes me like Mo Cheeks knowing that my mom does. I don't know exactly what that says about me or the Sixers but he has them playing some damn good basketball so who cares?

Thirdly, the team is very Philly. With not a star among them (say what you want about Andre Miller, no one would call him a star...but if Iverson is a star, I think we can deal with it), this Sixers franchise is usually outgunned, shorter and less

experienced than most teams they face. They win on grit, determination, and hustle. They are an underdog squad battling against stacked odds representing the town that gave the world Rocky. If that doesn't get you on board, I don't know what will.

This leaves me feeling like a bit of a fraud seeing as I have not really watched a game all season. What can I say, the pro game has gotten a little stale. With all the high school phenoms coming in every year, it felt for a while there like the NBA collectively forgot how to make a jump shot. This led to a lot of drive-and-get-fouled offenses to spring up, making for some mundane results.

So if I had one gripe about the Sixers doing well, it would be that I am not prepared. I have wanted to see a championship in Philly since the Phillies lost the series in '93. I have watched all 4 of the major teams make it to the finals in my lifetime only to snatch defeat from the mouth of victory in the final throes.

My biggest concern over the past few years, as my life has grown busier is that if one of our teams does make it, that it will be a team that I am not interested in or have not kept up with. This would make me feel like a fraud for rooting for a team that I have not followed all along. I have never been a hockey fan but Flyers mania got so big in 1997 that I jumped on the bandwagon early enough in the season that I could justify cheering them all the way through the playoffs. But the Sixers caught me completely off guard. Thinking that they would choke right before the playoffs (as has become their custom) I was slow to get into them this year.

But, as you can see, the pros outweigh the cons in this scenario. Give it up for the Sixers. Lets make a run at this thing boys. Make me regret not watching the past few years. And bring excitement, hustle and heart back to the NBA. America will thank you.

Digg this

Friday, April 18, 2008

Obama shouts out Malcolm X and Jay-Z's Dirt Off Your Shoulder, making McCain look like the Eugene Levy by comparison

Let's get this out of the way first and foremost: ABC sucks. There is an entire generation out there who owe a little something to ABC for a slice of TV heaven called TGIF. But that ended years ago. Wanna take a gander at what passes for entertainment over there now? A line-up that should have Fox thinking they can greenlight Man Vs. Beast 2 for May sweeps. It still wouldn't have a prayer of out-shaming ABC. We are talking Dancing With The Stars, Wife Swap, Men In Trees, According To Jim, Private Practice and Cavemen (yes, the Geico Cavemen have their own show...and one hell of an agent) all on the same craptacular network.

So I guess it should come as no surprise that when everyones favorite Greek Midget took the stage with Charles Gibson, a man who looks like Brit Hume with a facelift, they would treat audiences to a debate that had about as much journalistic integrity as a Real World Reunion Show.

Here is a short list of questions asked:

"Would you two pledge here tonight that if one of you loses, you will make the other candidate your running mate. Right here and now."

"Do you think Reverend Wright loves America as much as you do?"

"Do you disown him"

"How would you use George W. Bush?"

"Do you believe in the American Flag?"

I am surprised Hil-Dog and Obi didn't just kick over their respective podiums and walk out. Hilary has yet to fire back (although I hope she will) but Barack proceeded to get gangsta all up on the media, which he has diplomatically refered to as "Washington."

Playing to a friendly crowd, Obama lambasted the moderators of the ABC debate, saying they played "gotcha games" and attempted to "hoodwink" and "bamboozle" the American People. He even proceeded to brush his shoulders off. He turned his gaze to the right of the stage to where some female supporters were standing as if to say "Ladies is pimps too, go on, brush your shoulders off."

But even as he played to the crowd and threw in a few jokes here and there, you could tell he was frustrated with the debate.

And he sure as shit wasn't the only one.

Tom Shales of the Washington Post called the debate "shoddy" and "despicable."

The Boston Globe called it "thoroughly wretched."

The New York Times called the debate "The Battle of the Baggage."

ABC News has been flooded with comments, calling for the heads of Gibson and Georgie Boy. And rightly so. In all, ABC recieved over 17,600 on their website. Many of them reading something like "ABC should be ashamed of themselves," as one viewer was quoted around the blogosphere.

By now the debate backlash, the Obama response and even the quick jabs taken by Bill Clinton against Obama, are old news. What no one seems to be talking about is how this will all affect the general election.

Since Wednesday night, Obama has picked up two new superdelegates, bringing his total count to 231. That means that in order for Hilary to win, she now has to get 75% of the remaining super delegates to win. Wait, it gets worse.

In a piece examining the poll numbers and delagate counts between the two candidates, the LA Times reported the following:

"On Wednesday, when Carter hinted strongly of his intentions, Obama won support
from Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal, who had been appointed the state's U.S.
attorney by Clinton's husband.

Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania in recent days
abandoned plans to stay neutral in the competition between their Senate
colleagues. Both are opting for Obama.

And in an embarrassment for Clinton, one of the superdelegates supporting her,
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.), predicted in an interview with a Canadian radio
station over the weekend that Obama would win both the nomination and the

"I will be stunned if he's not the next president of the United States," Cleaver

Indeed, interviews with several remaining superdelegates revealed that few were swayed by any of the gaffes or missteps over the last few days by either candidate. The New York Times reported that, after conversations with over 15 superdelegates "If there were some moments of concern reflected in the debate — the talk of Mrs. Clinton’s high unfavorability ratings, Mr. Obama’s flashes of annoyance — they all doubted that those moments would be deal-breakers. Instead, most of the superdelegates said they wanted to wait for the results of at least the next major primaries — in Pennsylvania on Tuesday and Indiana and North Carolina two weeks later — before choosing a candidate."

Many voters had said weeks ago that they were concerned that Obama had not been properly vetted and worried about how he would fair in the general against McCain. Clearly, after the low-ball attacks of the ABC debate failed to sway delegates, that worry is over.

And what about John McCain? He has been living it up in the land of the unopposed for some time now. McCain has not yet made any comments regarding the ABC debate with the exception of an interview he gave Andrea Mitchell before the debate took place on Wednesday, in which he said he was "happy with the way the media has covered recent events and will leave the questioning up to them."

McCain recently spoke at an event at Carnegie Mellon University and then at a Wisconsin business summit. Those speeches, if looked at alongside the coverage of the debate backlash, make McCain look tired and sleepy by comparison, leading some to ask the question: is it better for McCain to be unopposed at this stage? Is the ongoing campaign making things better or worse for the Democrats? Does the citizen outrage against the media make Clinton and Obama seem like commiseraters with the American People? Comments like the one above by John McCain certainly make him look more like part of the problem than part of the solution.

Another question I have is which political tack is more effective? You can go on the offensive against the media like Obama. You can attack your opponent like Clinton, saying that the media is an issue but the bigger issue is that Obama can't take the heat. Or you can take the McCain approach and act as if the problem doesn't exist. And I understand all three tactics. McCain is just trying to say as little as possible, saving his attacks for the general. Hilary, who was largely considered to be the victor Wednesday night, has to side with the media, who spent most of the time grilling Obama about associations with everyone from his controversial neighbor to his pastor to his jewelry choices.

Frankly, if I were Obama, I would brush my shoulders off too. In the grand scheme of things, it appears he can do no wrong. After appearing slightly weaker than Clinton on the economy and a few other minor issues, the public reacted with such outrage against the media that the debate seemed to come out a push. But when the dust settled, the actions of Jimmy Carter and some late-released polls seemed to have more affect on delegate counts in Obama's favor. Maybe its time he took a page from another famous musician and "celebrate good times, c'mon."

Digg this

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Does anybody really care what this guy thinks?

So I think it is safe to say that Philebrity has jumped the shark, run back to the tank, replaced the shark with a horse, and is now beating its wet, lifeless corpse. We all know the blog lost all semblance of street cred or integrity long ago (see the above picture) when its creator, professional douchbag Joey Sweeney appeared in a special advertising section for Philly Mag last year. He and his ladyfriend spent a weekend in AC with Infiniti's newest coupe, whispering cheesy, marketable platitudes into each others' ears. Here's a taste:

JOEY: I just like that there was a keyless entry to the car and that it can be turned on with the push of a button. Did you also notice how people treated us nicer when they saw us coming and going in this car?

RUTH: Yes, that about sums it up. I even got hit on at the car wash. Good thing for you I had to give that car back.

Hahaha, isn't life grand? Only one problem, though...if you are going to make your living speaking for the whole boho, living-just-enough-for-the-city, DIY market, doesn't wearing a suit and shilling for Infiniti make you a parody of yourself? (answer: yes, yes it does).

So it should come as no surprise that Sweeney has once again contradicted himself without even realizing it. In a post this week, Philebrity set to its usual task of attacking Sweeney's former employer Philadelphia Weekly and, more specifically, columnist Steven Wells. This is not new. Wells has had an ongoing feud with Philebrity for some time now. This time though, Wells stepped over the line: he attacked Belle and Sebastian.

In his Opening Riff column this week, Wells called the British kings of twee "a freakish cancer on the pop body politic...they’re what all white American boys and girls want to be when they don’t grow up."

This clearly offended Sweeney, a well-known B&S fan (natch!) who fired back at Wells:

"Oh, you poor, sad fucker. Look at you. A grown man, getting all piss-n-vinegar-y (yes, we know it’s your go-to mode) over a band that hasn’t even released an album in two whole years."

Leading inquiring minds to ask 'aren't you hosting a Belle and Sebastian Dance Party?' The National Mechanics party Philebrity's hosting shows that they don't have much of a leg to stand on, talking about a grown man "getting all piss-n-vinegar-y " about Belle and Sebastian. After all, they secured a location and distributed fliers. Sweeney may as well be on their fucking street team. Isn't that a job for wide eyed teenagers?

And while there is no need to explain this, Belle and Sebastian have more than a following. Clearly their influence is felt by more than just aging hipsters. In the article, Wells draws comparisons to The Decemberists and Los Campesinos. He could have also mentioned The Libertines, The Shins, Of Montreal, Ben Kweller, Sufjan Stevens, Clap Your Hands, Say Yeah!, Peter Bjorn and John, Stars...and the list goes on.

But then, Sweeney already knew that. Because reading further into this post, we see what this vitriolic screed is really about.

"Everybody knows PW is a sinking ship, start planning your exit and sucking up to The Guardian for full-time work, and for the love of god, DO NOT SEND THEM THIS PIECE."

This was never about Belle and Sebastian or about Wells being out of touch or even about his piece making a mockery of Philebrity's ridiculous dance party. This comes back to Philebrity's bitterness at PW, their overall attitude toward "mainstream media" (read: stories people actually care about) and their obsession with smarmy gripes (warranted or unwarranted) against their perceived enemies. Philebrity, losing credibility? Anyone having a flashback?

These ill-advised personal attacks bring everything the blog says into question. So here is a recommendation: if you want anyone to respect what you say, you may want to stop going after low-hanging fruit (excuse the pun) like Jay McCarroll.

As readers of Philebrity will remember, the blog picked fights with McCarroll after he won Project Runway's debut season because "he was just suuuuuuch an outsize, raunchy, nasty, mean bitch to us that we’ve been slapping him on the wrists ever since." Its nice to see that the integrity over there has not reached above a high school cafeteria. Look at his picture: there is so much here to lampoon. His actions, the things he says, his personality, these are gossip. Your feud with him is not. God, even US Weekly has the decency to at least make up a reason for stalking celebrities.

So lets wrap this up. If you want to come after Philadelphia Weekly and other news outlets, you might want to just point out the absurdity and humor of this city without actually being a part of it yourself. It just makes Philebrity look like a sad, self-loathing, bitter teenager, angrily posting on her MySpace about all the jerks in her school. Just because no one takes you seriously doesn't mean you should give up the ghost. After all, you still work there.

Digg this

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Band Who Wasn't There

Have you ever soloed like Jimmy Page in the mirror in your bedroom? Ever grabbed a broom and did a power slide across the kitchen floor to the strains of Hendrix? Have you ever strutted like Mick or wailed like Axl after one too many at the karaoke bar? That guy doin the David Lee Roth high-kick, thats Andrew “William Ocean” Litz. And he has made a career out of melting faces with his air axe. After winning the National Air Guitar Championships last year and coming in 11th place at the World competition in Finland, Litz has started the National Air Band Tour. 10 gigs. 5 cities. The aim is to create the ultimate Air Band: bass, drums, singer, horns, keys, and maybe some invisible pyrotechnics. DigPhilly caught up with Andrew as his tour hit two area clubs this week.

How’s life on the road been treating you?

Good, good. We had 10 people audition at the Khyber. Ideally we would get 25 people up on stage for one of these. But you take what you can get. We get people who are totally ready to rock. They have their song and their moves all worked out and you can tell they practiced. You have people who are very timid and don’t know what to expect when they get on stage. And then there are the people who need 5-8 beers and then they are ready to go.

How do you judge the performances?
There are three basic judging criteria:
1. Precision: Does it really look like you are playing?
2. Stage Presence: Are you confident? Cocksure? Do you exude the balsy rocker attitude?
3. The third thing we judge on is not so tangible. Its called Plus. Do you take it to another level? How many pelvic thrusts do you perform? Do you give people an Air-ection? It’s not something you can pinpoint, really. Just like porn. You can’t describe it but you know it when I see it.

It seems like you are looking for rocker attitude and ego from all your performances. Aren’t you in danger of getting into an Air-Behind-The-Music situation? Air drug problems? Air solo projects, that sort of thing?
We spread the love around. We definitely pick songs that get everyone involved. And because of that, we want proficient air musicians who can handle, say, a Jethro Tull flute solo. But we also want guys who are great at staying in the background, who can execute all the background parts realistically and effectively.

Do you have Air Groupies?
See for that, we would prefer real groupies but it gets lonely on the road. Sometimes, air groupies have to do. Usually we get a group of drunk women hanging around after the show that want to get on stage and sing Bohemian Rhapsody or something but no real groupies at this point. We do have an Air Rodie, though.

Do you have a tour manager?
We do. He is the guy who handles setting up all the interviews, the venues, the promotion. He works for Sparks.

Yeah, you have a full tour sponsorship, right?
Yeah, what happened was I really like Sparks and I drink it a lot when I am performing, so a few times I brought it on stage with me and did different things with it in my act. When I was in the nationals, I did this thing at the end of the performance where I flipped onto a can of Sparks, crushing the can with my back. So I went to Sparks and I pitched them the idea. Sparks does a lot of grassroots marketing and sponsorships. They sponsor rock, paper, scissors competitions and stuff. So they agreed to pay for the whole tour. Which is great because they give out free Sparks at all the shows which is a crowd pleaser but it also gives people the confidence they need to get on stage in the first place.

So the winning band will be playing a gig in New York City?
Yeah, the gig will be May 22nd at the Knitting Factory in Manhattan. May 8th is the last audition and then we are going to get everyone’s schedule and set up rehearsal time. The set is only 15 minutes. I don’t think people can handle more than 15 minutes of Air Play.

How did you sell the idea of the full band to these clubs?
The thing just has a great following. Once the band is together, we have been asked to appear at weddings, trade shows and other kinds of events. Recently, I went down to New Orleans for this Miller Lite convention, because Sparks is owned by Miller now. And they asked me to play the convention but it was supposed to be a stunt, like I busted into the convention and forcibly played air guitar. But this was a performance to over 3500 people. Which isn’t even that surprising considering the National Air Guitar Championships sold out the Filmore.

You know who else sold out the Filmore? The Allman Brothers.
I know! When I think that I stood in the same spot as like Hendrix and the Allmans and these rock gods…I mean…people ask me all the time if I have ever thought about playing guitar for real because I have never played guitar before. And I always say why? Do you know how long it would take me to get in front of a sold out crowd at the Filmore? And don’t get me wrong, I have tremendous respect for real musicians. They are my inspiration. But I am not a musician. I am a performer. This is more like theater than rock n’ roll.

Do you have a theater background?
I studied theater in high school and college but I never really found anything that suited me. So I moved to Chicago and that is where I first found air guitar. And since then, I have done really well at it. I have won every regional competition I have ever entered. One national title and a trip to Finland.
Have you ever thought about a reality show or a comedy show of some kind?
We have talked about doing something like following the Air Band in their quest for rock glory or doing the Air Band selections like a reality show and voting people off and the whole bit. But right now, the tour is generating a lot of buzz for us. But if I ever decide that I want to get this Air Band booked a lot more for real, my real job allows me a lot of access.

You have a real job?
I am a corporate event planner. So if this air band thing doesn’t work out, I can always fall back on that.

Digg this

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Go Ninja! Go Ninja! Go!

For males of a certain age, the coolness of Ninja’s is ingrained in you. Starting out small with roles in action films like James Bond’s You Only Live Twice, and evolving to feature-lengtth, Ninja-based actioners like Enter the Ninja and the American Ninja series, the stage was set for a full-blown Ninja explosion, like a roundhouse kick to our collective jaw.

By the late eighties, Ninjas were everywhere. And few were immune from the black, mysterious magic of martial arts espionage. It wasn’t long before it spread to children’s entertainment. From the pages of Japanese and American comic books came heroes steeped in martial arts brilliance and heroic one-liners. Animated shows like G.I. Joe and Double Dragon, video games like Super Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat and, later, feature films like 3 Ninjas and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers saturated the market. But no children’s ninja vehicle succeeded with such overriding, often unimaginable success as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Spawning 4 feature films (3 live action, 1 animated), a long-running animated television series, numerous video games and countless merchandising avenues, TMNT’s pizza-loving-wisecracking teen turtle crime fighters were in every toybox, on every video shelf and quoted across schoolyards for years. Now the turtles have come to DVD.
This particular set, the sixth season, mainly focuses on the turtles battling the Shredder as he has left the Foot Clan to join forces with a brainy evil genius who is, in fact, a talking brain named Krang. With their clumsy, dim-witted, genetic mutant henchmen Bebop and Rocksteady, Shredder and Krang battle the turtles from an underground lair (a rolling spherical ship that looks surprisingly like the Star Wars’ Death Star).

The DVD set itself is a sparse representation, completely devoid of bonus features. Many may see this as an oversight on the Lionsgate distribution team not to include some featurettes.
For example, the cast includes some pretty well-established actors. The Shredder is voiced by James Avery, best known for his work as Uncle Phil on the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. A veteran of trademark Disney characters like Tigger and Winnie the Pooh voices the majority of the Turtles. Interviews with these men would have been cool.
Or they could have included a short doc on the rise of the turtles from comic books to the big screen.

And you may be thinking that, after 5 DVD incarnations of turtle power, the creators have nothing left to say on the creation. But unfortunately for fans of the series, every season to this point have all been straight episodes and nothing else.
So please forgive the above cultural breakdown of the ninja phenomenon but with a total lack of features to speak of, it is tough to write on a DVD set. But if you are a true fan and are looking to add some rare cartoon fun to your DVD collection, the full season (sixteen 30-minute episodes in all) should tide you over until some smart amazing fellow comes along and makes a turtle documentary. We can only hope.

Digg this

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

"Since words are my talent, I must try to express clumsily in words what the pure music would have done better."

Lets give the Fury a rest and listen to the SOUND.

The Black Keys
The Black Keys released their newest yesterday. Attack and Release is the 6th album for these garage rock revivalists blastin blue soul straight outta Akron. This album was produced by Danger Mouse, one half of Gnarles Barkley and the creator of the Grey Album.

Attack and Release started out as a collaboration with Ike Turner, orchestrated by Danger. But when America's most famous wife-beater passed away in December, the remaining material would become the Black Keys' most diverse work to date.

The Danger Mouse touch is more than evident, adding thoroughly nuanced backing elements (flutes, background vocals, psychedelic swirling) to create a sound that is both fresh and shockingly familiar. Check out the crying, Derek-And-The-Dominoes-style guitar coupled with the xylophone on So He Won't Break.


You may think being featured on Rolling Stone's top artists to watch in '08 would mean a guy has made it. WALE is still coming up, but being in the good graces of the Grammy-Award winning supertalent Mark Ronson doesn't hurt things. On his "Mixtape About Nothing," Wale pledges his allegiance to Seinfeld, even enlisting Julia Louis Dreyfus on one track. And with top features from Pusha T and Bun B, this dance-friendly track is being hailed as Kanye without the delusions of grandeur. Check out Back In The Go-Go.

Digg this

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Its classy...thats what I like about it

Hi, my name is Ashley Alexandra Dupre. I am 22 years old. I love to travel and play in the outdoors. Other hobbies include showing my snatch in public and dethroning the Governor of New York.

The most famous call girl in America has a lot to be proud of. After all, she netted top dollar for and this is bound to net her 15 minutes of fame. But her 15 minutes, possibly like Spitzer himself, may have come too early. Bah-Zing.

CNN reported this week that Joe Francis, founder of the Girls Gone Wild franchise offered Dupre $1 million to pose for a spread and join the Girls Gone Wild party bus. "We actually had been dealing with her rep," he said. "Our [offer] was the real deal. We just never made the connection."

The connection he refers to is the fact that Dupre had already been in Girls Gone Wild. It seems the young co-ed had travelled to Miami to celebrate her 18th birthday when she got in an argument with a friend and drunkenly left her hotel to find some fun. She stumbled upon the Girls Gone Wild bus and, after filming 7 full length films chock full of girl-on-girl and full frontal, she signed a full legal release.

"It'll save me a million bucks," Francis said Tuesday. "It's kind of like finding a winning lottery ticket in the cushions of your couch."

Eliot Spitzer has since resigned and has his love of hookers like Dupre to thank for it. I can't help but think if Spitzer would have refused to do the typical fake politico apology alongside his sad-looking wife, choosing instead to lift up his shirt while techno music played in the background, maybe he would have million dollar offers flying at him. Don't fight it, Spitz, embrace!

Hustler publisher Larry Flynt offered Dupre the same amount as Francis but was not optimistic that she would take it, considering he sees a bright future ahead for this crazy slutbag.

"She is no doubt going to do a book. There will probably be a movie," he said. "I think she is going to have so many offers coming in that it will probably be wishful thinking just to get in the door."

Digg this

Could a Mexican Emo witch hunt lead to the next Halocaust?

Stay with me. This week, LA Weekly blogger Daniel Hernandez reported on a wave of mob violence targeting Emo kids. I'm thinking white belts covered in blood, toughguy crazies slashing throats with a splintered Hawthorn Heights CD, pink highlights ripped from the scalps of rock n' roll's most hilarious subculture since glam.

Now you might think that this is just a culture clash between liberal, androgynous fashion and traditional Mexican values. But certain intellectuals believe this clash could lead to something much more dangerous.

It all started Queretaro, a small state 160 miles northwest of Mexico City. According to the reputable newspaper La Jornada, Student music fans identifying themselves as punks or darks had taken to online message boards, mocking the emo subculture and challenging the authenticity of the genre. The anamosity came to a head when the punks crashed a gathering of emo students at Queretaro's capitol city center square.

When the dust cleared, the Mexican department of Traffic and Municipal Guard had arrested 22 minors and 6 adults in a standoff that lasted over 22 hours. A young emo couple was severly beaten by a group of punk students. The punks will be charged with assault in criminal court. The mayor of Queretaro, Manuel Gonzalez Valley, expressed regret that nothing the government did served to fix the problem. " The only thing we did this was to arrest the young and ready. But the discrimination remains."

He was more right than he knew. In just 12 days, riots and beatings had broken out in cities across Mexico, from the booze-soaked wonderland of Tijuana to the massive Mexico City. A Mexican VJ went on a televised diatribe, lambasting emo culture, calling it "fucking bullshit."
Similar incidents have recently been reported in Chile, where the emo kids are called PokEMOnes. All because some punks were not big on skinny-fit jeans and Aiden CD's. But could it be bigger than that?

Ignacio Pineda is the coordinator of the Cultural Forum Alicia, a center for youth culture. Pineda believes that the violence may be part of a government conspiracy.

What I see is a very conservative connotation. The deliberate aim is to divide, because [these kids] can offer prospects for the future." Pineda believes that this unilateral devision has ominous implications.

"Violence among various youth groups is not new, it has always existed, but now it has become massive. This campaign is dangerous and can grow and [turn] against blacks, gays, or women," says Pineda.

Emo culture and the effete, dramatic personalities that come with it are not new to the hispanic community. In August 2002, rock journalist Chuck Klosterman wrote an article for SPIN magazine about a Smiths convention he attended in Los Angeles. Upon arriving at Hollywood's Palace Theatre for the sixth annual Smiths/Morrissey convention, Klosterman realized that the overwhelming majority of hardcore Smiths fans are Latino.

"He speaks to us man," one fan told Klosterman. "Where was the one place Morrissey said he was always dying to tour? It was Mexico man, its where his heart is." This East L.A. 20-year-old is described as being carved out of marble, wore a sleeveless flanel shirt and confessed to listening to "There is a Light That Never Goes Out" and "crying like a little bitch."

The fans Klosterman interviewd espoused several theories as to the connection between effeminate, decidedly asexual, decidedly British emo music and Latin American people. Some believe that the rockabilly costumes and pompadour hairstyle Morrissey often wore are a reflection of Latin "greaser" culture. Some believe it is Morrissey's background as an Irish immigrant. His family moved to England where it is believed they were quite alienated from mainstream culture. This, as the theory goes, mirrors the Latino experience in America. But most people interviewed attribute the passion and emotion in the lyrics and style to the passion often attributed to Latin Americans.

But the most interesting part about Klosterman's piece as it relates to the current anti-emo violence across Mexico is the denial of Morrissey's possible sexual orientation.

"The most confusing aspect of Neo-Moz culture is the fact that just about everyone who has ever seen or heard Morrissey assumes he is gay--except for these Latino kids."

One fan outlines the phenomenon specifically, saying "there is a homophobic vibe amongst many Latin Americans who say "we like him so he can't be gay."

Klosterman goes on:

"Though it is understandable how a culture that invented the term machismo might be uncomfortable lionizing a gay icon, its ironic that Morrissey has now been adopted by two diametrically opposed subcultures. Fifteen years ago, closeted gay teens loved Morrissey because they thought he shared their secret; today future Marines try to ignore the fact that their hero might find them foxy."

So it is not without evidence that Mexican intellectuals suggest that perhaps these riots and beatings come from a cultural conservatism, a fear of difference, an adherence to traditional values. But the anger has to come from somewhere.

Édgar Morin, academic director of Acatlan Studies of the National Autonomous University of Mexico agrees with Pineda that the violence is suggestive of more serious problems.

"In Latin America, there are nearly 30 million young people who have no opportunity to study or work and logically, most believing that survival equals crime, tilts the scale of narcotics, piracy or smuggling.
If the State does not begin to solve the problems of employment and education, there will be more conflict," Morin said.

In several interviews conducted by La Jornada, emo teens confessed being depressed, deadpan and some even displayed suicidal tendencies. But the punks claim this is all an act.
"It bothers me that do not have their own identity, that it stolen from other tribes," a metalhead student named Diego complained. "Its a hybrid. According to them, they hate society but we always see them happy and aware of what they are doing."

Diego accuses emo kids of being superficial, consumerist, and depressive and states that they are not about music or culture but strictly about making a fashion statement.

"The Mexican people are obsessed with appearance," Morin states. "In such a difficult world, being emotional is not taken well. Only the strong survive."

Digg this