Christina's Still Got It
I know this might seem out of the blue, seeing as though we've never met and, well, your lawyers have told you never to respond to my requests, but I was wondering if, you know, I could maybe swing by this weekend for Naked Sunday.
The way I understand it, you and your hubby, Jordan, like to use the day to just chill out while, um, stripped. If I come on over, though, it would be like way cool if you kicked him out for the day since I'm not into the naked-dude thing. Please don't think this request makes it all a sex thing either. No, Christina or is it still Xtina? my affection for you has nothing to do with how smoking hot you are, the trucker's mouth you like to use, or your affinity for assless chaps.
My affection, which I like to think is my heart's true voice speaking, instead has everything to do with the way you've handled your career over the past eight years. I still remember when you entered this business during the height of the bubblegum pop craze, surrounded by look-alikes Jessica Simpson, Mandy Moore, and, of course, that strumpet Britney. Don't get me wrong, you're a strumpet too, but it's the real you. It's not something you feel dirrty about. You're OK with what a girl wants, and that makes you beautiful.
I got off track there. I was telling you why I want you for more than, you know, your one-of-the-guys vibe. It's the way you risked commercial and critical failure to relaunch your career with Stripped, a move that could have ended it just as quickly. The way you insisted on being a genre-pushing artist first and demanded respect, as your hero Aretha Franklin might have said, instead of waiting for others to give it to you. You beat them all, including Sinead Spears, by simply doing what felt right and going Back to Basics.
And speaking of au natural, that's why I want you to reconsider Naked Sunday. Hell, I'll just sit on the couch fully clothed, and you can, like, sing and be naked while I just watch, if you want. Just remember, I only want this because of the artist you are inside. Ain't no other man gets that about you baby, I promise.
PS: Do you still have those chaps? Cole Haddon
Christina Aguilera performs Saturday, May 5, at the BankAtlantic Center, 1 Panther Pkwy., Sunrise. Danity Kane and the Pussycat Dolls are also on the bill. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $55 and $85. Call 954-835-8000, or visit www.ticketmaster.com.
Berkeley author Jeff Chang follows his American Book Award-winning Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation by editing and curating a new anthology exploring hip-hop's artistic achievements beyond the beats and rhymes. Total Chaos traces the genre's impact on visual art, literature, film, theater, and dance. But, more compellingly, it looks at the music through underrepresented and sometimes oppressed groups within the culture, from women and indigenous people to the gay/lesbian/bisexual/ transgendered community. While Chang is a more-than-qualified cross-cultural theorist to discuss these topics, the book's authenticity is cemented by the participation of a few dozen writers, artists, and activists lending their voices as authors and panelists in written roundtables.
"All in all," Chang writes, "this collection [of essays] is loose, ungainly, contradictory, volatile, unstable." This honest self-critique is a valid charge to level at Total Chaos; these same qualities will challenge readers with short attention spans who attempt to process the academic concepts at hand. It takes time and patience to penetrate this dense material note-taking is recommended. But it's worth wading through Chaos to discover underlying concepts of how hip-hop threads together so many different people and artistic disciplines.
Beyond the theorizing panelists, some of Chaos' most exciting moments are the pure expressions from the heart: a Palestinian-American poet's ode to her borough (Suheir Hammad's "Brooklyn"), a Bay Area native's nostalgic yarn about our local mixmasters' soul foundation (Robert Karimi's "how I found my inner DJ"). Even these chapters, though, are best digested slowly. In reading a book called Total Chaos, paying close attention is required. In that respect, Chang and company channel the diverse spirit of the culture they document. Tamara Palmer
Jam Out With Your Clam Out
The newest and coolest sound gear was on display at the recent National Association of Music Manufacturers trade show in Anaheim, California, and Fort Lauderdale's own Ramones-style singer and guitarist, Alexx Calise, was there inking endorsement deals and finishing her debut LP, Morning Pill. The 21-year-old graduate of Deerfield Beach High School, who says she got her chops by locking herself in a room for a year when she was 16 and playing nothing but blues, talks shop with Outtakes.
Outtakes: How many guitars do you have?
Calise: Right now, I have about 17. The master bedroom in my house is completely full of gear, from amps to guitars to strings. I have ten endorsements now, so I'm always getting free stuff. It's crazy. EV is building me my own signature guitar. Hughes and Kettner amplification is building me a signature series amplifier. The amp that I use... you seriously need two or three people to lift it.
How did you get all these endorsement deals as an unsigned musician?
Some would call it mad skills. [Laughs] Just a lot of perseverance, and they just really dig the music. It's been quite a year. They find me. Just the other day, MTV contacted me via MySpace about licensing my album on the reality show Next. So a lot of it has to do with MySpace and just hustling.
You have over 40,000 friends on your MySpace pages. Would you like to be like Tila Tequila?
I think that MySpace is a very useful tool, but I wouldn't say it's the end-all, be-all, but it's a great forum for networking. A lot of Internet radio stations have contacted me through there; MTV contacted me through there. It's very useful, but I wouldn't stake my career and future on it. Tila Tequila might receive some backlash if MySpace ever goes under. You can't put all your eggs in one basket. I'm not just affiliated with MySpace, but it's definitely helpful for independent artists.
How did you get your songs on iTunes?
I can't give away all my secrets.
How do you pronounce your last name?
It rhymes with police. I used to have a saying: "It's Alexx Calise. Call the police!" My new catch phrase is a little risqué: You've heard "rock out with your cock out"? Well mine is "Jam out with your clam out." Makkada B. Selah
Alexx Calise's Morning Pill CD-release party takes place Saturday, May 5, at Roxanne's, 3148 NE 12th Ave., Oakland Park. The show starts at 10 p.m. Weszt is also scheduled to perform. Call 954-567-9552, or visit www.alexxcalise.com.
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