Rufio’s Def Poetry Jam

All children of the ’90s who watched the movie Hook remember Rufio. A flava-ful Asian kid with a skunky red-tipped mowhawk, he looked awkward enough to make me cringe, even though I was only in grade school.  As leader of Neverland’s Lost Boys, Rufio spoke in ebonics, wore mid riff exposing shirts, flirted with Robin Williams in a way that would make members of NAMBLA blush, and is most often remembered for yelling the word “bangerang” (pronounced bang-er-ang).  Like many brown people, he was also good at swinging from vines.

What many don’t know about Rufio, however, is that he is also an adept in the art of floetry. With a mostly underwhelming film career under his belt, it seems only natural that 36 year old Filipino wigger Dante Basco would make the jump from the world of acting to slam poetry.  Since doing so, Basco has appeared on Def Poetry Jam, where he performed an emotionally charged poem about an encounter with a stripper.  In his characteristically high pitched voice, Basco lamented that he was unable to effectively beat and choke the exotic dancer, per her request.

And when he’s not gently beating on strippers or doing performance poems about the experience, Basco actually hosts his own slam poetry event called “Da Poetry Lounge” every Tuesday evening in Los Angeles. My friend Joe, an LA resident, who first told me of the Lounge’s existence, describes it as “a high school gym with a stage and microphone.” Joe also mentioned that the open mic performers left a lot to be desired, though in my opinion, that could be said of any venue where dashiki wearing gurus of the spoken word are present.

As someone who tells stories to audiences regularly, I cannot stand watching people do slam poetry. Whenever some slow talking would be Erykah Badu or Russell Simmons starts spitting verse at me, I feel like attacking that person with a cheese grater. I don’t like the obsessive rhyming, the painfully dramatic pauses, the incorporation of r&b song lyrics (always sung off key acopello by the poet or poetess) , or the word “revolution,” as it tends to occur in most of these race or identity themed monologues. In short, there is nothing “bangerang” about the national slam scene.

And yet, while Rufio/Basco is no less irritating than any other slam poet I’ve encountered, I must say, I can’t stop watching him “drop poems” from his living room on YouTube. Maybe that’s because for some reason, all of his slam poems seem to be weirdly sex themed. Like this one for instance, where he pays homage to his ex-girlfriend’s pussy and its “gravitational pull.”

Or this one, wherein he ruminates on the dangers of internet porn.

Or finally, this little number in which he relates the history of his entire sex life, concluding with a revolution err “revelation” that the “dynamic between man and woman is creation.”

In any case, I guess it’s good to know that Rufio gets laid. This poetry slamming thing does appear to be the perfect calling for him. And if it doesn’t work out, he can always keep selling his t-shirts.

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Swastikool

In high school, when I was a punk rocker, I liked this song by the Dead Kennedys called “Nazi Punks Fuck Off.” In it, singer Jello Biafra warned against punks who’d adopted a Nazi type of look, stating that, “you aint hardcore if you spike your hair when a jock still lives inside your head.”

In particular, Jello took issue with the swastika, that equilateral cross of infamy which had always been present in punk since the days of Siouxsie Sioux and The Sex Pistols. In another lyric from that song, he chided members of the punk public, asking, “So you still think swastikas look cool?” and insisted that in a real 4th Reich, these fashion conscious fascists would be the “first to go.”

Having had quite a few years to mill this over, I eventually reached the following conclusion. It’s actually more of an objective fact. You don’t even need to be an Aryan Nazi jock in order to agree.

The truth is, Jello, that swastikas DO look cool.

So cool, as a matter of fact, that in 1910, a female hockey team called the Edmonton Swastikas made the symbol into their official uniform logo.

So cool, that Hitler and the Nazis used it to create one heck of a flag (and some rather fetching arm bands as well). So cool, that today in Germany, you can be arrested just for displaying one. And ultimately, so cool that anti-fascists all over America love to wear them, just to show you how un-cool they are.

I mean, lets be real. Isn’t it funny how these alleged anti-Nazis go out of their way to walk around wearing the largest anti-swastikas they can find? Isn’t it possible that they might be overstating their case, just a bit? Maybe if they feel so strongly about this peculiar 20-sided polygon, they should just drop the no symbol from in front of it and rock the swastika. It honestly looks a lot cooler without that dumb circle and line running through it.

Well maybe on this shirt it doesn’t. But usually, it does.

After all, maybe I’m missing the point here, but where is the threat in someone displaying a swastika today? Is it really as inherently dangerous as groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center would have us believe? Furthermore, how many of these alleged swazi-haters have actually stood toe to toe with an actual Nazi? My guess is, not very many. Chances are, if you live in America, you haven’t even met one. Not unless, like my deceased grandfather, you were imprisoned in a Nazi POW camp, or like my grandmother, you watched all of the stuff in your house get smashed to pieces on Crystal Night.

I mean, sure, they’re around. The last one I saw was this shirtless, old guy with a chest full of white power ink, playing an arcade machine at the beach. But was this old dude actually posing any physical danger to anyone? What makes his swastika tatts any more threatening than the hammer and sickle? Or some snotty kid’s Che Guevara t-shirt?  Is anyone concerned about a Stalinist uprising on account of these symbols and their popularity?

The point is that banning the swastika doesn’t really do anything for the so-called “advancement” of human kind. It doesn’t change anything that already happened, and it also won’t stop genocide as it continues to occur throughout the world. I don’t think that we need to do some hippie-fied “reclaiming” of the swastika as a symbol of Hinduism/Buddhism/Jainism. The bad connotation of the symbol in western culture really adds to its appeal for me.

Just do yourself a favor the next time you happen to see one and admit that it looks nice.

These Witches Give Me Nightmares

According to this article in Stylist UK, Sigourney Weaver would like to be queen of everything for a day. Presiding over the citizens of the world from a greenhouse, Queen Sigourney’s main objectives would be to save the oceans, banish bigotry, and rule alone (because, according to her, women are better at “team building”). In addition to these decrees, Queen Sigourney wants her adoring public to know that she is actually very nice. She even goes so far as to refer to herself as “a pussycat!”

Well, that’s all fine and good, but I can’t be fooled. While I’m willing to acknowledge that Sigourney Weaver has a pussy, I tend to think of her as more of a witch.

How could I think this? Just look at her picture and then compare it to her photo from the 1997 Snow White movie. It’s clear that the creepy crone in the latter image is living just beneath the skin. Maybe it’s just me, but neither of these pictures seem to plead “save the sea turtles.” I’ve always gotten more of an “I want to eat your children,” kind of vibe from her.

This dread of witches dates back to when I was a kid. Ever since I saw the movie The Witches, and read the novel of the same name by Roald Dahl, Witches (or lets say creepy looking older women), have always both fascinated and scared the shit out of me.

In my adult life, having dated a woman who was a lot older than myself, I suppose this could be interpreted as some kind of psychological issue I have. All the same; whenever I see certain kinds of older women, that is, ones who look really psychotic or demented, I am filled with equal parts terror and awe.

So, with this in mind, here are four such women whom I’ve often suspected of witchery.

Though she was known in her day as somewhat of a Hollywood starlet, Piper Laurie aged into roles that were much more witchy in nature. In Carrie, her portrayal as a religious maniac dwelling in an ordinary suburb was very convincing, and still prevents me from opening the door to any church lady, ever. Whenever I leave the bathroom, I’m certain she’s standing outside of it, ready to stab me in the back with a kitchen knife. She also succeeded in making me scared of closets.

Years before that rhinestone covered rag doll, Gaga was mugging for attention with the gays by insisting she was “born this way,” Diamanda Galas was the one true hag of the fags. Not only does she look like Morticia Addams with a crack habit, but the avant-garde opera singer has a demonically possessed voice as well. With a three and a half octave vocal range, Galas can conjure some sounds that probably exist only in the depths of Hell. Even the people who don’t like her music would likely agree. Though she is famous for her AIDS activism, she’s also said that she hates liberals, and dissed the Live Aid concert by telling Axl Rose to suck her ass. That might make her the best witch on this list.

Like Galas, Jarboe is a witchy songwriter. Most remembered for her work during the 80’s with the bleak post-punk outfit Swans, she has since recorded solo material in which she does a good deal of snarling and growling. Her singing voice is equally haunting. Kind of like the last thing you hear before you off yourself. I once knew a guy who, after eating a lot of acid and attending a show of hers in Seattle, tried to do just that. (He is dead now, though not on account of the Jarboe incident.) Sometimes, when I’m trying to sleep, one of her songs will show up on my iTunes playlist shuffle, and I’ll get up out of bed just to switch the track. I should probably just remove her from the playlist. Here she is below, sporting an S&M diaper/chastity belt thing she had designed just for herself.

Lastly. I am including Susan Sarandon too. Not much to say about that, since at this point, her true nature is widely known. I merely submit the following for official photo documentation.