Sunday, November 9, 2008

Tha Darkside Vibe #53

The Election of Barack Obama

Reverend Do No Good reacts

Ringo Starr - asshole

Reality check - The Pickup Artist

Artist spotlight - Nas

Favorite tv theme songs

TV show review - Brimstone

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Yes we can...

I remember when I was 10 years old sitting with my mom on a Saturday afternoon drinking lemonade and listening to Fleetwood Mac. My mother had adopted me and was already in her late 50's but decided to take a strange kid into her home to give him a better chance at life. While we were listening to the music, she turns down the volume and out of the blue asks me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I thought about it for a minute and said several things, an astronaut, a baseball player, a doctor and maybe even President of the United States. She looked at me with the comforting smile and told me I could be anything I wanted to be.

Years later I was home on leave from the Army and was sitting in the living room talking with my mom and we were watching a documentary on civil rights. We had never really talked about the civil rights movement at any length, but started up a conversation about it. What I learned from her that day is that she was involved with the movement and had actually marched on Washington when Martin Luther King gave his famous speech. There was no doubt that I had nothing but love and respect for her, but it grew even more once she told me what she and some friends had gone through during those years. I asked her did she still think a black person could become President...she hesitated for a minute and basically said although she hopes that it would happen, she doesn't see it happening in her lifetime or mine.

My mother passed away several years ago and I wish she was here today to see this historic event. Barack Obama is now President Elect of the United States. The first black person in history to have that distinction. This is truly an historic moment and I can't lie to I type this blog, I have tears in my eyes. Not just tears of pride at this accomplishment, but tears that my mother, who fought through prejudice and was part of the civil rights movement, isn't here to see this with me. I know there are plenty of other people who have similar stories of family members, friends who they wish were here to see this moment.

Watching the coverage and seeing Representative John Lewis, Oprah Winfrey and Reverend Jesse Jackson crying while Obama was giving his speech, said everything to me. I am sure there was a sense of relief in the black community when it was official that Obama won the election, too many times things have been pulled out right from beneath us in the last minute, but not this time. This was our time and by our time, I mean American....everyone. Even though he is a black man, he ran this race strictly as a man, a Democrat and not on race.

I am sure there are McCain supporters and others who are disappointed that Obama won the election, but for just one moment, let that go and realize that you have just witnessed history. We need to come together as a country and let everyone know that we are a united nation and no one will hold us down....this campaign is a testament to that fact.

I think we all will look at ourselves and this country a little differently from now on. This whole situation makes me think of a line from a 2pac song called I Wonder If Heaven Got a Ghetto:

"Although it seems Heaven sent, we ain't ready to have a black President"

Yes we can...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Devil's Playground

Since Halloween has just passed, I thought I would take time out to write about a show that dealt with the Devil and paying for your sins. That show is Brimstone.

Every once and a while, a show comes along that resonates with a core group of people. In this crazy world of TV ratings, demographics and core viewing groups, some shows although excellent, fall through the cracks because they don't post the big ratings that the networks would like. Unfortunately for us, Brimstone was one of those shows.

The basic premise of Brimstone is this....Ezekiel Stone was a highly decorated New York police officer. His wife was raped and when the case went to trial, the rapist was let go due to a technicality. Several weeks later, Detective Stone tracked down his wife's rapist and killed him in cold blood. Months later while on a routine drug bust, Detective Stone was shot and killed in the line of duty. Since he killed someone in cold blood, he was sent to Hell. The show starred Peter Horton as Ezekiel Stone and the brilliant John Glover as the Devil.

Fast forward 15 years and we find out that 113 souls have escaped from Hell and have gone back to Earth. Since Stone was a cop, the Devil makes a deal with him. Send back all 113 souls to Hell and you will get a second chance at life on Earth. I thought this was an excellent concept. The show was created by Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris, who now have the show Eleventh Hour on CBS. Like I said before, great concept, but it doesn't mean the show will work with the general public. The show was to debut on a Tuesday night for FOX. Then president of the network had high hopes for the show and began promoting the show in the 9pm time slot. 2 weeks before the show was to air, he stepped down as President of FOX network to take another job and a replacement took over. This person did not like the dark nature of the show and wanted more programming that was upbeat and light, but decided to give the show a chance anyway. Brimstone was moved to the death time slot of 8pm on Friday nights, paired with another great show Millennium. Without any big promotion or support from FOX, the show aired it's first thirteen episodes with decent numbers. FOX had ordered 6 more scripts of the show, but during post production on episode 14, FOX cancelled Brimstone. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper!

The final episode of Brimstone entitled Mourning After, aired on February 12, 1999. There was no announcement publicly that the show was cancelled, it just stopped airing. After a couple of months, I decided to go on the internet and find any information that I could about the fate of the show. Nothing was on the FOX website, although the Brimstone link was still there. While digging for information, I came across a save Brimstone website. There I found out that the show had indeed been cancelled and that I was not the only fan of the show. After weeks of talking with other people on the site, we decided to start the usual steps to try and save the show. Start writing to FOX, Warner Bros and other stations to see if we could save Brimstone. After 4 months with little head way, we gathered money from people who could contribute and placed and ad in Variety magazine, yes, Variety! It garnered our little campaign some national much so that the head of the SciFi channel wrote to the head of our campaign to state that they were interested in Brimstone. Almost a year later, the SciFi channel picked up the rights to air the original 13 episodes, which was great. We were actually seeing results due to our hard work. We later found out that Warner Bros. would not give the SciFi channel the rights to produce new episodes. So after 6 months of showing the original episodes, Brimstone was taken of the schedule. The campaign was obviously disappointed that the show stopped airing on SciFi, but was happy that we were able to get the show back on the air. I was proud to be part of that campaign.

In February of 2009, will be the 10 year anniversary of Brimstone being cancelled. Over the years I have tried to find copies of the 13 episodes with varying success. Most of the complete sets I found were on VHS and not in great quality. Recently I came across a great site that actually put a DVD set together of the show and I got my copy a couple of days ago. It is by far the best fan made set of the show and the picture quality is a solid A. I watched the episodes from the beginning and it made me remember why I was so into this show. You may be thinking to yourselves, why is this guy so wrapped up in a TV show. Hasn't there been anything that you were passionate about? That you wanted to make sure that people knew about? Well, one of my passions is the show Brimstone. Excellent acting, writing and top notch storytelling that just pulls you into the world of Ezekiel Stone from moment one. It gave you a mixture of humor, drama and fantasy all rolled into one. It made you ask questions about faith, religion and what is truly good and evil. If you haven't seen the show, find it and watch it. If you have seen the show, watch it again.

Remember, nobody beats the Devil....or so I hear.