Category: The Arts


I’m a little late on The Arts! but I had to beat the rest of Rhythm Heaven and then Contagion finally released on Steam (I am considering a feature on them, as well, it’s a really good game).

“Ro-Na”

An Outkast “Hey Ya” parody about the current viral plague. It is humorous as it is very accurate.

Wear a mask, stay home, maintain social distance if you have to go outside.

“How Cop Orientations Must Be Like”

I thought this was humorous but what I liked most was how straightforward it was

– How concepts of being okay with brutality and oppression is passed down from seasoned officers to newer officers, pretty much indoctrinating hatred instead of actual law enforcement

– How when newer officers try to do the right thing (and basically their jobs and proper training), it is “corrected” by more seasoned officers because “this is how things are done” and if any make a fuss or correction, shamed and off the force they go. Guess what happens when you fire good cops for being good and keep (as well as laud/promote) bad cops for being bad? Not a decent police force, that’s for sure. And a lot of dead minorities. Oh, and ensuing protests and even a police department that gets torched like a Guy Fawkes wet dream. By the way, did you know you can make a s’more nacho dish? Just take some graham crackers, marshmallows, candies or chocolate, arrange nachos style, place on heat and done. Hard to eat with a mask on but quite delightful. Also available at Target. lol.

– The difference between how non-Black & belligerent individuals are treated (waved off and let go) and Black & reasonable individuals are treated (with great risk of being pretty dead)

I have gotten a lot of stupid White folks writing in because White guilt always creates lack of intelligence. You can probably guess how:

“Can you eeeeeeeeeeducate me? I can most likely recite Shakespeare and Asimov but Dr. King is too commmplicaaaaaated.”

White folks regularly like to paint themselves at super smart, better than anyone even remotely darker (and if they do think another group is smarter – they gotta be weird, odd robots (Hi, Asian America)). They have the books, the colleges, all the smarties – White folks love cementing the idea “White = Smart. No exceptions. We will literally mod and edit history books to uphold this and viciously dismiss/murder all who disagree, no exceptions.” The picture of a genius is a White person, according to them.

Except when it comes to race. All of a sudden, it is next to impossible to understand and they need someone affected to literally slow-walk them through what they need to do and the very concept that a human is still a human, even if that human does not look like them. Because they’re too dumb to get it. Countless books, blogs, movies, documentaries, etc etc, on the subject but still Does Not Compute.

It’s not “Listening to Black people”, it’s the usual, stereotypical “I’m White and I don’t want to do any work, I’ll make someone else do it and benefit/take all the credit” bs that is at an all fever pitch right around now, but with a heavy sprinkle of White Guilt, chased with a gulp of White Saviorism.

For example, there is a 14 hour docuseries called “Eyes on the Prize”. Free to stream in all its entirety. I grew up with this series, it’s really well made. I remember it would play regularly on PBS – but, oh wow, technology! You can now see it whenever you want, as many times you want and for free, been that way for years. It follows the Civil Rights movement during the 1950s to the 1980s. It came out in 1987, the year I was born, so doesn’t cover the Rodney King Beating/LA riots back in 1992 (There is a Sublime song about that, “April 29 1992”), or the Texan hate crime murder of James Byrd Jr in 1998, who was snatched and dragged three miles behind a pick up truck by three White guys (all Klans members). It was considered “Lynching by Dragging”. Or the discovery of Black people hanging from trees in the past month (Robert Fuller. Malcolm Harsch), and the fact that’s been on a visible uptick in the past three years or so.

There is also this forum talk (wear headphones, it’s pretty quiet) where the makers talk about things that has happened between 1987 to 2016, when this forum happened.

 

All these facts, all this very accessible data. Not hard to find.

I have recently gotten a virtual reality system. Why? Because I always wanted one and the idea of quarantine weight was getting to me. After having a horrid experience with Vive (they would tack a steep price on air if they could), I got a Windows Dell Mixed Reality system. It is plug and play for my laptop (which is a gaming laptop, procured specifically due to being VR ready and with a glowing keyboard) and, so far, does everything I want a VR headset to do and at the fraction of the price of a Vive. I despise Facebook so Oculus is an automatic no.

The vast majority of games I have is through Steam. The average price of VR games on Steam is either $10 or $20. Unfortunately, most of the games have White hands, which I dislike. I’m Black, I want to be Black in the virtual world, as well. The hidden tag line of VR should not be “You can be anything you want to be … as long as you want to be White”. So games that had White hands, I avoided (if you are a game creator reading this, let me put it this way: You lost money). Games that had robot hands were fine as long as the game was not leaning to any other race (meaning your options were to be White or be a robot).  So I needed the option to be Black or equal robotic/non-human hands for everyone.

I have a slew of VR games, including historical games (what it was like to be a German coal miner, experience the 1943 Berlin Blitz , the works of Dali, etc – it would be nice if there were more reflections of women and PoC for history and art) but these are the games I really like listed below.

Show It 2 Me

It is a stunning rave-type game that is filled with color and sound. Techno-electronica, I love everything about the game. The falling knives, the lights, the fast and vivacious imagery, everything. There is no point to the game except to dance and have a good time. It’s a sonic party and nothing else has compared to it. Available on Steam for free. Watch me derp about and mostly draw hearts.

Dancing Arrow

I honestly call this game “Korean Beat Saber” because that is exactly what it is, Beat Saber but in Korean. I can be a bit contrarian at times and this is one of those times. I like the idea and look of Beat Saber but it’s too popular for me. And you can’t even add your own music like in AudioShield. Dancing Arrow is very similar to Beat Saber in that you have to make slashing motions in dictated directions to the beat of a song but that’s about it. You don’t have to duck or dodge obstacles flying your way because there aren’t any, which is great for me. Just slash the beats and that’s it. And it is cheaper than Beat Saber at $9.99 on Steam.

I took a video of what it looks like in the game. The sound quality is far better than what was captured on film. I don’t super suck at it so yay.

One caveat – Just about everything is in Korean. The menu, the selection options, everything. I can read and understand Korean so it’s fine for me. If you can’t, go with Beat Saber. I think the interface is relatively straightforward but, again, I know what I am looking at. I don’t know about those who hardly know a word of it.

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaait. I found the language options, it’s buried in the settings and in Korean, so you still kind of have to know Korean to navigate it. So English is possible, you just will have to dink about a little bit.

AudioShield

This is one of the first VR games I ever bought. It looked a lot of fun and I was right. Unlike Dancing Arrow/Beat Saber, you punch the beats with your shields instead of slash them. It is a different experience. I can use my own music, which I really like. Here is a video I took doing “Revolution” by P.O.D..

I aim to do whole albums but the movement will tire you out by song 5. That a good thing, I did get it to get fit, after all. AudioShield is $19.99 on Steam

Plannes

It is an intergalactic squash game. I didn’t want a racket game that was normal because it would bore me so much. And if I am bored, I’m not going to play. I had Space Badminton but this is much better. The virtual play space is in an enclosed space so I that made for a more thrilling game for me. The controls are just like rackets, even if I press a button accidentally, nothing happens. Some games have not considered that part yet, which is annoying.

There are different kinds of rackets, including mahou shoujo (magical girl) ones.

Rackets!

I like the mahou shoujo ones most. They deliver fast balls and are cute. You go planet to planet and play ten games per planet. Here is a vid of one game I played on the Sweets planet using the Stun Rackets.

Available on Steam at $14.99

Path of the Warrior

This is an Oculus game so it is not available on Steam. I got it through the cross platform program Revive and it is a great game for me to practice my Wing Chun, mainly the rolling punches. There are cheaper VR brawling games but this was the only one that had the ability to be Black so I went with it.

 

She still looks off but at least she’s present and she’s shown front and center

 

It’s a fun game but I probably would be benefited with leg tracking but that’s me. It works fine enough and the waves of enemies will tire you out if you’re not used to having a lot of endurance. It will tucker out your arms. I wish it had a better save feature because it sucks going up the level and having to leave the game for whatever reason and have to start back at the bottom again.

 

 

 

The Arts!: The Holidays

It’s the holidays! Winter Solstice/Yule is tomorrow. I shall spend it playing The Sims and be harassed by my cat for food (as she does everyday).

This means TRA-DITION! (Especially since it doesn’t snow on the blog anymore. I liked the snow)

The KRS-One x Lupe Fiasco Christmas Battle! As always, it’s adorable seeing Lupe and KRS battling as Blitzen and Santa.

 

From Wong Fu Productions: “The End of Wong-Fu: A Christmas Story”. I just like the charm of the tale and video.

 

I love My Chemical Romance cover of “All I Want For Christmas Is You”. ‘Tis amazin’!

 

And Payable On Death (P.O.D.) song, titled “Christmas in Cali”. I remember when my local rock radio station would play rock holiday songs all day, maybe I’ll procure the list somehow.

Happy Yule/Winter Solstice!

 

 

I had gone to Dawtas of the Moon last month, it was a good experience. These are the vendors I saw. They are all Black Women-owned brands.

Kaleidadope

Created for Black diviners, these are tarot decks that have a very new and fresh feel for them. I have written in the long past that there are little to no decks made for Black practitioners and the one that stands out to me is Lo Scarabeo’s African-American Tarot deck, which sucks beyond comprehension. It’s full name should be “African American Tarot … as envisioned through the White gaze”. What garbage. It’s nice that now, there are decks for Black diviners made by Black diviners. This means decks that are culturally comprehensive and lovely to look at.

Their site shows all their wares, I really like the cd deck the most, it is extremely imaginative. They also sell candles and oils

 

PeaceCrownD

PeaceCrownD sells satin caps designed for big, natural hair and pretty pillows. Check out this Africa-shaped one!

The caps are designed with banded, rugged elastic not to slip off during sleep. The creator also does customs for those with bigger/longer hair, like dreads. They also do custom pillows!

 

 

Elementals/ Oceans and Rivers

Elementals are flower essence infusions meant for personal practice. It is similar to oil practice but also, some can be taken internally so read carefully and check with professionals on what you can and can’t do if you go the internal route.

There is more on the Oceans and Rivers site than there was at Dawtas, including programs to promote proper emotional and mental wellness in Black girls and women.

 

BrujaTarot

BrujaTarot is a diviner that does paid divination (before you go, read the ethics page: it is very fair and justified) and sells bath pours. They come in the variety of Cleansing, Prosperity, Protection and “Road Opener”. Check them out!

Also, her kitty graces the bottle.

I am a sucker for cats, what can I say?

 

Simplymade x Sope

SimplymadexSope sells infused waters for practice, such as rose water, Florida water, lavender water, etc. I really like her Florida water, it is wonderful and smells magnificent! They also carry oil blends, Simply Loved Oil and Simply Happy Oil.

Check out their line, I really recommend it.

 

9Energy Power

I got the resin I talked about in my previous post from her. She carries quite the selection in her store.

Not only but she also sells wooden wall art, which I find very awe-striking and ornate. I like the Oshun one most, the honeycomb effect is stunning.

In addition to resins and wall art, she sells bath pours and specialty candles that function well for spellwork.

I have been following artist Prinnay on Tumblr for the longest time because of her wonderful and creative art style. It’s a jovial mix of traditional and digital art. I always hoped she would make a webcomic – and here it is! HoverGirls!

HoverGirls is a webcomic about two cousins, Jalissa and Kim, who have just moved to Los Aquaceros from Podunkville. Kim is a bubbly girl who spearheaded the move so she could become a fashion maven. Jalissa is reserved, sporty and much rather keep up on her soap operas. Part of what made her move that one of her favorite shows, All My Gambinos, is filmed there.

One day, little sprites struck them and suddenly Los Aquaceros became under attack by a floating fish. From there, they became HoverGirls.

 

[1st three pages]

 

I really love the art style of the comic and it is wonderfully refreshing to see a new take to the Magical Girl storyline. I’m always a sucker for fun fantasy.

The Arts!: Beat’n Path

I really like martial arts and have practice traditional Wing Chun Kung Fu for over a decade now (I also have discovered it is hard as heck finding a partner of any sort, including total noob, that is female or trans).

This also means I like martial arts media. Why, the only magazines I ever really kept up on the most was Black Belt Magazine and Kung Fu Insider.  (I kinda stopped reading because the articles got boring and how many White guys in gis are you going to shove on the cover?)

Lupe Fiasco went on a journey to China to the various birthplaces of Kung Fu. It is an introspective trip that is full of history, outstanding visuals and demonstrations of Chinese martial arts.

What I like most is that it’s not a version of “Eat, Pray, Love”, Lupe actually is a trained martial artist, has been since he was a kid. So that means he genuinely does appreciate what he gets to see and experience. Martial arts is presented as part of a historical culture, not “a way to beat people up and look cool”. The camera angles aren’t something out of National Geographic or BBC where we feel like we are experiencing the world of the Other through a heavy, orientalist gaze. Nor is it, “Rapper sees martial artists, says a lot of stupid stuff because they treat the experience like it is an extended VR feature of a Wu Tang flick.” It also isn’t depicted as Ip Man 5.

I really like the episodes, I recommend giving it a watch:

Beat’n Path (site)

The Arts: Tierra Whack

A buddy of mine, Femi the DriFish, hipped me to this performer, Tierra Whack. Here’s her music video “Unemployed”:

She’s described as the next Missy Elliot and, frankly, I see why. Her visuals are amazing and creative. She is gifted in rhyming, she put in the heavy work to actually be an emcee, not just another random Soundcloud spitter.

However! That’s where the “Just Like Missy” ends. Whack is definitely her own sound and identity. Look at this conglomeration short film she made of her various songs.

You can also find her on Spotify, FaceBook, Instagram, and Twitter.

I was able to read a digital copy of the manga, Adorned by Chi. It is a magical girl manga based in Nigeria that follows the story of Adaeze, a young, sensitive girl that is trying to make it through college life the best she can. Introverted and shy, she is stumbled upon by a small, puppy-bear creature, Chi Chi, and told that she, Adaeze, is the dividing line between the safety and destruction of the world. A nefarious group, the Order of Nothingness, wants to empty the world of all its joy – and Adaeze is the key to make that happen.

Paired up with her friends, Adaeze fights back against the Order and tries to bring peace back to her world.

Reading the manga, I have to say it is very delightful. I have grown up with mahou shoujo/magical girl stories (Sailor Moon, Cardcaptors and my personal favorites, Cutey Honey and 3×3 Eyes). Adorned by Chi is very similar to these stories but still puts a new spin on and old tale. There are still magical guardians, there is still mythical monsters and there is still an ominous, overwhelming force out to ruin the world/universe. However, the cultural infusion of Nigeria helps revamp the story and keep it from being just another “Magical girl” story.

The artwork throughout the manga is professional level, there are times it feels pulled from the pages of Clamp. There are still some slippies here and there with body structure and perspective but I chalk it up to being new – besides, they managed to avoid yaoi hands and shoujo legs so they’re off to a good start for a first book. The story line is simple but that’s not a bad thing, not everything needs to be read like it was penned by Lady Murasaki. Clamp had very simple stories but they wove together well to make for deep impacts. Adorned by Chi could probably do a little better though by removing the SFX directives (Example: “SFX: Bright Magical Light”) and let the art narrate for itself, it does an amazing job doing so without them. Some commas are missed in a few places, which can slow the story just a touch but, again, this is a new manga that is not backed by a major publisher. I expect it to get better as time goes on.

While there are some imperfections, imperfections doesn’t make for a bad story. Anyone who read One Punch Man when it was just a webcomic would know that deeply.

See what I mean?

The story is captivating, the outfits are amazing, the animal guardians are cute, it is all very satisfying.

Pre-Orders are still available

 

The Arts!: Car Care

This The Arts! is gonna be a teeny bit different but, hey, cars can count as art due to design and features. For example, the 1934 Maybach, the original Mini Cooper (both the rally car from the 1950s and when they came back in the early 2000s), and the modern day Corvette – oh, and the Thunderbird. That and I have been working on my car, thus it is all I can think about. One day, I will get an electric car (I fancy the Mini Cooper most buuuuuuuuuuuut I’m biased because I like mini coopers). I think Teslas are nice but there’s several issues with it, including the techbro ego that I keep running into when discussing with others.

I scour the internet (and my owners manual) for info of repair and maintenance but I have happened upon a fairly decent channel that can also help with basics, such as changing the oil or a tire. When I search for car stuff, I tend to look for women mechanics because I feel the info is more direct and I get to run a lower risk of hearing sexist nonsense when all I want to know is how to boost the engine.

Jessica Chou has been very helpful in this department! She has several playlists and videos about car care that is simplistic and straightforward. Not all cars are the same but she gets you on the right track of what to do.

These are really helpful skills to have if you drive. You never know when your car will give you issues and good maintenance keeps the car on the road longer. While it would be great to have electric cars around because they are good for the environment and are interesting, they’re still big financial undertakings that is out of reach for many people. And then there’s the issues of sensor failure, others hacking the car, the list could go on and on. However, these vids hopefully will provide some help.

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