'I Put a Spell on You' and more

Here's a bunch of spooky music videos to accompany your Halloween preparations. Check 'em out. They're fun :)

The first one is a Strange Perspective rendition of the classic previously performed by such greats as Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Nina Simone. The performance is from Halloween at Hell's Kitchen, Downtown Minneapolis a few years back. This video features Dameun Strange on keys, Chris Cox on trombone, Bryan Berry on guitar and Kahlil Brewington on drums.

These next two videos are promo for the show that last video was from, and for the album 'Strange Perspective and the Lost Souls Boys Choir'.

This one  was promo for a project I did with Guante, remixing and imagining his debut" Guante's Haunted Studio Apartment'.

There's more out there if you look, but I thought I'd highlight my favorites here.

Here's to an awesome Halloween this year!

Seven Ways to Not Be an Asshole on Halloween

As Halloween fast approaches and we begin to consider (or in some cases continue the 11 month cycle of considering) what we'll rock to this year's parties, soirees and bar bashes or what have you, here's a few pointers to consider if you'd rather not look like a senseless asshole over the coming weeks. Because no one really wants to look like a senseless asshole...right? It's all gotta just be some kinda misunderstanding...a systemically racist, white supremacist, playing out what we learn from the cycle of socialization kind of misunderstanding. Which of course, is not your fault, but we still need to be accountable for our own actions. Here's seven ways you can help yourself in that never ending quest of not being an asshole.

1. Use your imagination.

Halloween is awesome because it's a holiday of all the the stuff that floods our imagination. The paranormal, the fantastical, even drawing on history can be a super dope way to come up with ideas for a costume. If imagination isn't your thing, you're going to continue to get more and more uncomfortable at these Halloween gatherings now that we're gaining momentum here in the era of the mainstream nerd. Imagination is our greatest and most under-utilized gift. If you have a shortlist of mexican drunk, indian, and oriental dragon lady, you're in trouble; and in more ways than one. Google super heroes, dig through your movie collection, or maybe (and this could be a stretch) you've read a book recently you could draw inspiration from? Hell, make up a character and their back story. Who says it needs to be instantly recognizable? Also, a unique costume is a great conversation starter, and reveals things about you to say...other potentially interested parties.

2. Recognize the difference between a character and a caricature.

...or a type of fictional archetype, as opposed to representing people who actually exist in our world... Wanna be a troll? Tight. Gandalf? Awesome. Gandalf and trolls are both fictional conjurings of the imagination. For example, "Indians" are not the fictional, stereotyped images you see in popular culture and it is not at all awesome to slap on some stupid hippy outfit while brandishing a fake hatchet like you just dropped out of some ridiculous western movie. We are not living in the 1950's where it's cool or acceptable to play "cowboys and indians". People played that game in real life, and it was ugly. It's an especially brutal history, not a stupid John Wayne film. People died, and it was not the way it looked on practically any film you've ever seen. People of the Indigenous Tribes of the America's, or First Nation peoples, or Native American (Or Ojibwa, Dakota, Inuit, or any of well over 500 nations), are real people; living, learning and working all over the world, today. Right now. Remember this example when you think about why you have the impressions you have of certain cultures, and how different people are than how they're portrayed in popular media. If you don't find yourself thinking about why you have the impressions you have about people of color, now is as good of a time to start as any.

3. Take some time to think about where your ideas of people of color come from.

Seriously. Take as long as you need. Also, consider this:

4. Read a damn book

Look. Intelligence is hot. The more you know, the more out of place you might feel in some ridiculous club where people feel like it's ok to put their hands on others, when it never is (do we seriously still need to say that?)... The plus side is that you'll feel right at home in rooms full of beautiful, smart, and charming muhfuckaz who really know the finer things in life and know how to have a good time without oafing around a room like actual real life trolls straight outta Lord of The Rings. Also, the more you learn, the more you know how to dress up for Halloween without being an asshole.

5. Think your costume might be inappropriate? It's probably not cool. So don't wear it.

Ask yourself, "Would I wear this to the Halloween work party or the Halloween edition of my family reunion?" "Would I want to be on TV wearing this costume?" Would I feel less than entirely comfortable wearing this costume at a party who's friendly party-goers are comprised exclusively of people of color?" If the answer to one or more of these questions is no, I feel pretty confident in advising you to rethink it, homies.

6. Understand that what you intend does not dictate the impact it has on the people, or world around you.

Maybe you're dressing up "as a Mexican" because you're a bigoted ass, but maybe you're a really good person who who thinks Mexicans are funny people that you enjoy laughing with at work. You know, someone who just doesn't get why this is so fucked up. If you're in the latter category, it doesn't mean you should continue with your plan; you don't get a pass. Contrary to the content of the greatest single song of this century, wherein the wise LL Cool J and his enlightened friend Brad Paisley so eloquently elucidate on the idea of "accidental racism", this is not a cute, forgettable offense. Racism is still racism, even when you don't mean it. And you will be called out, and you'd be wise to listen. After all, who can better spot racism than the folks who experience it's salty glare, sour words, and aggressive, micro-aggressive or passive aggressive nastiness on a daily basis?

7. Do not "go as" a member of any race, socioeconomic status, or social identity because that, in itself, is a stereotype, and if you're comfortable with this, you're more than kind of an asshole.

"Going as" a person of a targeted social identity is inherently bigoted and totally within the bounds of getting you called out, uncomfortably gawked at, or slapped anywhere you go in public. (btw, here's the definition of a targeted social identity: Members of social identity groups who are discriminated against, marginalized, disenfranchised, oppressed, exploited by an oppressor and oppressor's system of institutions without identity apart from the target group, and compartmentalized in defined roles.)

You've been warned. 

A glimpse of new work: Nunnayoohazzeneekwull from JAWS OF LIFE

This is from a song I dedicate to you. To them. To all of us.

I’ve done my share of embarrassing things Been cold, rude, livin’ in some terrible dream Like the one where you shoutin’ but can’t hear when you scream Or the one where you’re runnin’ only draggin’ your limbs Yeah, like that but a real life scenario in My past, I gotta live with it when memory stings And no matter how justified it seems the arrogance is I’ll look back at every moment that I dared to be a dick and in the last I’ll be haunted. you’ll be there in the mix Barin’ witness to endless spring we barely sipped Carelessly flipped book pages that should nary be missed instead we merrily picked nits from the threads of care and the bliss And I’m not sayin’ we shouldn’t pick out the eggs of the lice just that we should take more care with this egg of this life cuz at the end of the night, we’ll be mendin’ insight reflected in edges of eyes ‘n’ wish we tended to light

From a song I finished yesterday that jumped off a hook I wrote like 7 years ago. I'm calling it 'Nunnayoohazzeneekwull'. Another beauty over a Serebellum One beat for the upcoming album JAWS OF LIFE that has been in the works for about two years. We're currently wrapping up post production and filling in the gaps as we lay out the track listing. This is one of the last few songs I'm writing to put the finishing touches on the ebb and flow, and over all vibe of the album. I can hardly wait for you to hear it. We're still plotting the release, but stay tuned for releas details, as we should have things figured out sometime in the next few months! We're hoping it will be a finished product by November, top to bottom, hard copies in hand, by by December as we continue to plot a release!

Check out the "prequels" to the JAWS OF LIFE album below, a series of seasonal EP's written for, about, and during each of the four seasons in Minnesota.