Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (soundtrack)Image via Wikipedia
The people of Earth are always coming up to Mr. World and asking me for my list.  Everyone has a list, ya dig, and the fine folk out here must be catching on to the fact that I ain't no regular Jack.  Follow me now, I'm talking about your top 10, 20, or even 100 flicks you can get down with the most.  In some cases, to keep it all cool, I'll rattle off a few "must haves" just to keep the flow a go.  But somewhere down the line I felt it was best to check in with The Professor and lay out some classics for my people to vibe on.  After all, it's a need we all gotta feed.  You have to sift through a whole lot of dogs these days to find a purebred. 

So, the Man With the Plan was happy to kick me down his 20 favorites of all time and the World studied his lineup, believe that.   It read like a road map to the real.  Everything was represented, from the birth of the cool black and whites to the contemporary hip thrillers.  Ya see, the trip is, the good Professor and I have a different set list.  It occurred to me that, although everyone needs to quench their thirst, we all drink from a different well.  Of course, the Professor had a solution; take the best apples from all the barrels and bake the people some sweet apple pie.  Huh, you gotta dig that?

Without dropping too many culinary quips, the ingredient I'd like to add to the bowl first is a flick that has been looked over and passed by way too many times: Jim Jarmusch's Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai.

Jim JarmuschImage via Wikipedia
Back in 1999 Jarmusch wrote and directed this cult classic with Forest Whitaker as his lead.  The backdrop to this "character study" is the mean streets of Jersey City, New Jersey.  Now, once you put a new school urban-hit-man (who happens to live by the code of the ancient Samurai) in a mobster flick you've got Mr. World's attention.  Of course Jarmusch, being the innovator of cool that he is, laid in one of the freshest soundtracks of recent times. 

Just when your planet was settled on the fact that white skinned, Italian mobsters generally whacked each other out in Armani suits, to slow playing string arrangements, Jim Jarmusch flips the script big time.  Whitaker plays Ghost Dog; a black, hoodie wearing, contract killer with a thirst for ancient wisdom and a modern hip-hop collection.  RZA wrote the music and it's way too cool for school man.  The supporting cast, mostly made up of quirky mafia fools and a Haitian ice cream truck driver who only speaks French,  are a perfect compliment to this surreal tale.  Whittaker sets out as the unknown hunter but when a hit goes bad, Ghost Dog becomes the hunted. 

The thing I dig most about my man Jarmusch is once you are in his world you are in it to the end.  If you can get down with films like The Professional, La Femme Nikita, and The American, you'll be feelin' Ghost Dog all the way.  It might even rattle your cage.  Now, if you're gonna do it, do it right.  Don't play it on your laptop speakers or watch it on your Iphone people.  Put it on the big screen and let the beats bring you in.  Can you dig it?

-Mr. World 

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Friday, September 3, 2010

Red Velvet visits Amoeba

Amoeba Music in Hollywood, CAImage via Wikipedia
Nothing puts a smile on Mr. World's face faster than having Red Velvet Scrubs come to town.  Red Velvet is my sweet girl from middle America with the heart of a giant and the face of an angel.  The Man gave her both so she could take care of the sick and help heal the hurtin'.  And nobody can make Mr. World feel better that's for certain.  Now if there's one girl who bounces around the Earth as much as Jet Stream Jenny, it might be my girl Miss Scrubs.  Her next stop is Dallas, TX.  That's where she'll learn the skills that will help pay the World's bills.  If you can dig that?  You're probably asking yourself, now who's the Man, Mr. World.  I'll get to that down the road people.  

I told ya'll Red Velvet was sweet and I meant it.  But she's also smooth like silk and sharp as a tack.  My girl is always studying me, trying to figure out what makes me tick.  It's a hard job tryin' to figure out the World.  If I told her I was an alien sent from another planet, that I've taken on a human form in order to save my people from the collapse of the cool, and that the Professor is countin' on Dominguez and I to bring back the hip and restore the funk, well she might just flip and have to skip.  I can see how that might rattle any girl's cage, even Miss Scrubs.  Instead of getting all into that, we play it straight, Velvet and I just take in the best of what this planet has to offer.  Maybe someday I'll come clean, pack my girl up in the Space Caddy and head back home to show her the Whale Tongue Galaxy.  It really is Heaven up there. 

Now the other day my girl and I are standing on the corner of Sunset and Ivar, in the heart of Hollywood.  Velvet turns to me and says, "World, when are you gonna take me into Amoeba?".  I tell ya my fake human heart almost quit on me, I mean it could have killed me and the Mission right then and there.  I don't know how many times Velvet has come my way.  We've seen it all out here; The Strip, The Coast, The Boulevard, you name it, and I've never taken this girl into Amoeba Music?  What a trip!  I grabbed her hand and said, "Hold on tight my love.  We're headin' right into the epicenter of Cool!".  

You see, it's hard to explain Amoeba Music.  To most folks it's a big store that looks like a bee hive for music snobs and movie geeks, but for us soldiers here on the ground it's a sanctuary.  It's a big ass pharmacy where we can all get our fix, a spiritual place where the souls of our fallen brothers and sisters fill the air.  When I was just a little alien bouncin' off the walls with energy, the Professor told me stories about places like Amoeba and the importance of the artists that were celebrated there.  I use to dream about someone pulling my own vinyl or DVD from the shelf; taking it home, diggin' it, and then passin' it on to another cat.  My work spreadin' like a virus you can't wait to catch.    

Of course Velvet, my sweet girl, could see the instant impact Amoeba had on the World's vibe.  My eyes were wide as I thumbed through wall to wall vinyl.  My smile was ear to ear as I studied the vintage concert posters on the wall and picked through hard to find classic films.  She was feelin' it.  For a moment there it was just she and I, standing there amongst my heroes.  There was no outside world, no worries, just a steady stream of peace.  I wanted so badly to tell her that that was my Mission, I had to gather up all I could, and restore balance to my planet.  

Like I told the Vampire on the cliffs of Zion, "There is a flow to the universe, you are either riding high on it or paddlin' up against it.  There are places you can go to feel this energy and catch the flow."  

So if you are swimmin' upstream or you're feelin' the heat of the sun on the back of your neck, strut your ass into Amoeba Music and Cool off.  You'll be right as rain in no time!  Can you dig it?

-Mr. World

P.S.- Big Ups to Twist 'n Shout Music store in Denver, CO for keepin' the Vibe alive.               

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