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BACKSTAGE WITH MARIAN
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Story outtakes, celebrity confessions and the latest pop culture news in the Bay Area

About Me
I'm a pop music writer for the San Jose Mercury News. I cover pop, hip hop, punk, rock, dance, and ethnic - well, basically everything you can dance to.

My Articles

MY PICKS
CD: Common:"Be"
Music Video Eminem: featuring Triumph the Insult Comic Dog
Trailer: The Year of the Yao
TV: Harvey Birdman
Videogame: Fable

MERCURY REVIEWS
Art: The New Art of India
Bar: Boswell's
Book: Jill Scott
Club: Forum
DVD: Kinsey
Movie: Cinderella Man
Music: Sleater-Kinney
Restaurant: The Melting Pot
Theater:The Mambo Kings

SICK SITE
Earth and Sun Kiss

MY PLAYLIST

1. R. Kelly: "Trapped In The Closet"

2. Weezer: "Hold Me"

3. Bright Eyes: "First Day Of My Life"

4. Ringside: "Miss You" and "Criminal"

ENTERTAINMENT RESOURCES
  • Billboard Charts
  • Encyclopedia
  • iticket.com
  • Moviefone
  • Music Dictionary
  • MTV
  • Pollstar
  • tickets.com
  • Urban Dictionary
  • ticketmaster.com
  • VH1

  • BLOGROLL
  • Adisa Banjoko : San Jose's Bishop of Hip hop
  • Angry Asian Man: Asian American media watchdog
  • Berkeley Blogs
  • Black Electorate : Inside Cultural, Economic and Political industries
  • BLT's Parry
  • Crayone: the trials and tribulations of a graffiti artist
  • Dan Gillmor : Grassroots Journalism
  • Dat Phan : Last Comic Standing season 1 winner
  • East Bay Livin' : Ellen Lee's EB hunt
  • Davey D: Hip Hop Daily News
  • Fortt: black american gen x journalist musician multicultural christian technophile
  • Jeff Chang: fellow Asian hip hop writer
  • Joe Grimm : Ask the Recruiter
  • In Passing : Random Street Conversations
  • Pacific Standard: Bay Area hip-hop
  • Pop And Politics
  • Pop Licks : O-Dub, a cultural critic
  • Scape: San Jose graffiti artist
  • SiliconBeat: News about tech money and innovation
  • Monday, June 06, 2005

    Consolidation

    In an effort consolidate all the blogs at the Mercury News - my blog will now be hosted here.

    It'll offer more bang for yer buck!
    Friday, June 03, 2005

    PostSecret and the car show in San Jose with Too Short and Rappin' 4-Tay

    Thank goodness it's Friday!

    Before I go into what spots are hot this weekend, here's some more serious thoughts.

    Ch-check out the site: http://postsecret.blogspot.com

    It's a sobering site, an "ongoing community art project where people mail-in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard."

    Many of the secrets are very dark, things you would even hesitate to tell your therapist - like about suicide or incest. While others are silly - like a person who collects all of his/her used staples in a box at work. (It weighs about a pound and a half!)

    The neat theme about the site, is that even though these postcards come from all over the world, it makes you realize that people really aren't so different.

    So I suggest reading it when you're down - it makes you feel less alone.

    OK, onto happier things. Ch-check out what to do this weekend!

    SATURDAY

    Free Concert in Santa Clara
    WHERE: The Claran Lounge (1251 Benton Street in Franklin Mall), Santa Clara
    WHEN: 10:15 p.m. Saturday 6/4
    TIX: 21+; free
    WHY: Red w/ Envy(10:15)(rock and roll)
    Called to Ruin(11:00) (rock and roll)
    Kungfu Vampire(12:00) (swing/jazz/horror soundtrack/hip hop)
    Shoguns(12:45) (surf/classic rock/funk)
    G Willikers(1:15) (poetical/acoustic/experimental)

    Grand Opening of Monte Cristo
    WHERE: Monte Cristo (4 Embarcadero Center)
    WHEN: 10:30 p.m. Saturday 6/4
    TIX: Free b4 10:30pm, $5 discount after w/RSVP
    WHY: house, hip-hop, mash-ups at SF's newest spot with DJ Frenchy le Freak

    SUNDAY

    San Jose Super Show
    WHERE: San Jose Convention Center, 150 W. San Carlos St., San Jose
    WHEN: 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday 6/5
    TIX: (408) 920-0997; http://www.streetlowmagazine.com
    WHY: StreetLow Magazine 2005 Tour featuring Too Short, Rappin' 4-Tay, Jay the Butcher, car hop contest and a bikini contest
    Thursday, June 02, 2005

    Hip Hop's Top Ten Albums of All Time

    Recently hip-hop journalist Davey D pointed out the controversy MTV is stirring up when they put out a top ten of all-time hip-hop album list - because it begs the question - What is hip-hop? Social commentary? Gangsta rap? Political strife?

    With hip-hop now a global phenomenon over 30 years old - the age and hometown of the list-maker must be taken into account as well.

    This is MTV's list:

    10 Public Enemy - "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back"
    9 Tupac - "The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory"
    8 Ice Cube - "Death Certificate"
    7 N.W.A - "N---az4life"
    6 Jay-Z - "Reasonable Doubt"
    5 Run-D.M.C. - "Raising Hell"
    4 Notorious B.I.G. - "Ready to Die"
    3 Dr. Dre - "The Chronic"
    2 Nas - "Illmatic"
    1 Eric B. & Rakim - "Paid in Full"

    And this is the list that hip-hop journalist Davey D came up with:

    10
    De La Soul - "Three Feet High and Rising"
    9 Wu-Tang Clan - "Enter the 36 Chambers"
    8 Lauryn Hill - "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill"
    7 Notorious B.I.G. - "Ready to Die"
    6 2Pac - "All Eyes on Me"
    5 A Tribe Called Quest - "Low End Theory"

    Personally, I agree with MTV on Nas but maybe not so high as #2 and I like Jay-Z but I am still debating where he should go as well. Mr. Hova called MTV demanding that he be higher, reports Davey D.

    As for Tupac, I definitely like Davey D's choice of album over MTV's. But I also know that my taste in hip-hop tends to be more pop than grit and gangsta and also very West Coast biased.

    Anybody else have any thoughts on who should be in the top ten of all time hip-hop albums?

    As for tonight, ch-check it out:

    Let's Get Hyped Thursdays
    WHERE: Club Max, DoubleTree Hotel, 2050 Gateway Place, San Jose
    WHEN: 10:30 p.m. tonight
    TIX: $5 before 10:30 p.m.; www.dtsj-clubmax.com
    WHY: G-Dub, an intensely political emcee out of San Jose, will be performing at 11 p.m. The rapper also is in talks with Activision to do a video game called Skills about freestyling and dancing.


    Wednesday, June 01, 2005

    Sean Penn, Naomi Campbell in San Francisco at the Mambo Kings

    Last night, I caught the opening night of "the Mambo Kings" musical.

    Sitting across from me in the next aisle was none other than Sean Penn and Naomi Campbell. I don't know why they were together but they were. Penn wore a smoky dark suit complete with a little goatee. And, Campbell wore a flowy black dress.

    I saw nothing that would make wife Robin Wright mad, but Campbell was drop-dead gorgeous. (Wow, Usher lost out.)

    Maybe the connection was that Penn worked with the one of the lead singers from the musical - Esai Morales (of NYPD Blue fame) starred in his first film with Sean Penn in "Bad Boys."

    The musical was OK. Karen d'Souza, the Mercury News theater critic has a full review out on this link - but her initial thoughts were that it was too sitcomy.

    Here are my gut thoughts coming out of the film:
    • The music was beautiful but the lyrics were a bit hokey. Although, the central song about Maria really warms your heart.
    • David Alan Grier subbed in for the part of mean music mogul that originally Billy Dee Williams (of Lando Calrissian from Star Wars fame) was supposed to play. The Mad TV alum was hard to take seriously, and I wasn't sure he was supposed to be fully evil, or crusty on the outside, and soft on the inside.
    • There was also an unnecessary scene where he argues with his wayward assistant, and on the side two female assistants start to get it on.
    • The sets were amazing. The neon lights transport you to some balmy club.
    • Also the dancing was breathtaking - they move so fast, they take your eyes for a spin.
    As for tonight, ch-check it out:

    A Celebration of Revolutionary Music, Art, Culture, & Vendors
    WHERE: Studio Z, 314 11th St., SF
    WHEN: 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. tonight
    TIX: 21+ $5 before 10 p.m., $7 after
    WHY: Artists include - reMo'Conscious, Orukusaki, and the artists from Colored Ink Theater Group, plus there will be a vegan dessert bar.
     
    Photo of Marian Liu by Stephanie Grace Lim, Mercury News
    You can e-mail me at mliu@mercurynews.com.