Sunday, April 01, 2007

Random Web Reviews for Random People



Miz BoheMia's Rhapsody

The Bay Area's most famous homesick Spain Dweller Goes Gonzo on European Sex Trade as only she can.

SPAIN (ZP) -- There are very few bloggers out there that can leave me speechless.

Homegirl MizzyB does it constantly.

I've been trying to leave a comment for days regarding this video, but I almost piss myself every time she says the word whores.

A few months ago, she began including video content on her blog, documenting her day-to-day life as a mother and wife to her very chill husband, known only as Loverboy.

The video clips, which Miz Bohemia hosts through YouTube, provide a unique, truly original look at the life of an ex-pat struggling to find a way back home to California, come to grips with various family issues, and, well, even exploring the world of dental repair and chickenpox in ways only a former Bay Area resident can.

Every once and a while, MizB posts a vid to her YouTube account that explores the cultural differences between her more progressive, multinational background and typical life in the small Spanish city she and her husband have been trying to escape for several months.

In her latest installment, she and Loverboy hit the streets of her city's industrial areas, seeking to document the region's legal, working class prostitutes. One part Blair Witch Project and part in-the-moment gonzo journalism, MizB and Loverboy cruise around town, camera in tow, capturing stark images of streetwalkers, brothels, and other elements of the Spanish sex trade.

The conversation between a husband and wife, impishly discussing ways to capture better angles and swapping dialog off-camera, is amazingly comical, pure improvisational genius.

It's actually one of the best reality vlog projects I've seen all year, and Miz Bohemia holds true to her blog reputation as one of the most brutally honest and open bloggers out there.

If Hunter S. Thompson hadn't sucked down live ammunition back in 2005, and happened to be a sexy free-spirited yoga instructor with an equally devilish husband, I'm sure this is the kind of stuff he'd define as true Gonzo.



Virginia's Legendary Demonic Spawn and How The Wisdom of Oderus Urungus Built One Sick and Twisted Librarian

RICHMOND, Va. (ZP) -- Okay. Cool story.

It was sometime back in high school, probably 1995 or 1996. Three friends and I, having decided that beautiful spring days in Virginia were meant for things more important than stupid AP History courses, ditched class to spend a few days hanging out in Richmond's Shockoe Slip and Shockoe Bottom districts with these girls we'd met at a music store.

We were, in all honesty, heavily intoxicated most of the time. We slept in my friend's rusted-out '77 Buick at night, spending a good portion of our time drinking way too much MD 20/20 and Colt 45 malt liquor. During the day, we'd wander the streets aimlessly. We spent a great deal of time hanging out on Monument Avenue, back before that butt-ugly Arthur Ashe sculpture was erected, the one where the tennis great seems to be beating a group of schoolchildren.

At one point, while grabbing some grub at one of Richmond's awesome greasy spoons (the place is probably a Starbucks or Blockbuster now, thanks to the recent infestation of Yuppie Scum), one of my buddies spotted this very un-GWAR-looking dude sitting at a table near ours.

Oh dude! Dude dude DUDE! I think that's Dave Brockie!

Oderus Urungus?

Naw, the guy from Death Piggy!

Oh shit! My cousin hooked me up with a mixtape with their shit. They were like the greatest Richmond Hardcore band ever!

And being young, stoned, and, well, stupid kids, we didn't realize that GWAR's lead vocalist and Death Piggy's lead vocalist were actually the same person. Before adopting the gruesome makeup and shocking stage antics, Brockie was already a local music legend.

The guy at the table was indeed the Legend himself, the No. 1 Scumdog of the Universe, in the flesh and sans gigantic rubber penis or other prosthetics. Oderus/Dave turned out to be one of the coolest cats, more than willing to discuss everything from GWAR's artistry to his being shocked that a bunch of high school kids from rural Southside Virgina actually knew about the Death Piggy days.

Didn't ask for an autograph. Figured the twenty minutes of conversation was worth much more than any signature. Still one of the coolest days of my life.

I've been a very bad librarian here in Oxford, in the very naked now, utilizing WorldCat's advanced search options to assist the youth of America in locating GWAR-related materials.

Not much out there, actually. Who'd a thunk it?

But check out GWAR's awesome web portal, one of the most creative (and nauseatingly original) band sites out there. Very interactive and fun.

And who doesn't love having to scroll over the fingers of a severed arm (image above) to access a web site's navigation controls?



[RU MySpace Music Link]
Bringing the Palestinian Visual Arts and Urban Music Experience from the West Bank to the Western World

RAMALLAH, PALESTINE (ZP) -- I discovered this site a while back, through a friend. For those unaware, I'm a huge supporter of the global hip-hop phenomenon, as the medium serves as a positive, artistic outlet for many folks in impoverished and/or oppressive societies.

One song currently in heavy rotation in the ZenFo Pro apartment, for example, is the R.U.-produced Amputate [MP3], a rocksteady-driven collaboration between Palestinian emcee Boikutt and London-based hip-hop activists, The Unpeople.

And check out the stellar photography of collective member Mohanad. This photograph alone is worth a view or three thousand, capturing life in a region of the world that's been a war zone for almost a century. Or how about this photograph by Collective member Jana, depicting a grinning child in front of graffiti that reads Palestine = One Giant Concentration Camp?

Like the work of their American hip-hop forebears, The Ramallah Underground takes a simple formula and recreates it in their own image, the image of their culture and issues important to their community.

Now that's power. And that's the real spirit of hip-hop, too.

* * * *

Rap music was birthed in the ghettos and inner-cities of America's poorest communities and, like jazz in the 1960s, has become the beacon of hope and musical medium of choice for protest and expression worldwide.

Who needs the worthless mass-marketed, overpriced shit the American major labels are pushing in Moscow when there's the lyrical mastery of guys like Seryoga, who bumps out out the Post-Soviet beats? And Big Black Boots [check out the video for Opasno at YouTube] gets Slavic asses a-grindin' from Kiev to St. Petersburg.


Tanzania still mourns the loss of the late Faza Nelly, a founding member of the legendary X Plastaz. Faza's last music video, completed right before he died in 2006, is probably one of the best examples of how rap music has evolved on the continent, a native-language testimonial on the true face of global poverty.

Or how about Ugandan emcee Tshila? Uganda needs strong, empowered women - all of Africa does. And if there's any one female emcee who embodies this, it'd probably be this Kampala native. If you are brave enough, feel free to watch this video clip.

I couldn't through it without tearing up. Tshila's brand of hope isn't the kind mass-marketed here in the States.

Honestly, listening to the ever-expanding world of hip-hop makes my own country's hip-hop scene look bad. Talk about a collapse of conscience. In 20 years' time, we've seen the mainstream subculture "evolve" from the message of acts like Public Enemy to the almost Amos 'n' Andy aesthetics of Crunk.

While American emcees spent much of last year trying to prove
their worth in Bling, stapling platinum fronts to their grills, and gloating over homes and cars worth more than the GDPs of some nations, Turkish emcee Jonturk was putting together one of the most powerful anti-war protest songs of all time (screenshot, right), an international collaboration that included everyone from Germany's Albino, Irish alt-rockers Cyclefly, Turkish compatriots Sirhot and Elnino, and Greek/Albanian rap act, the Microphone Snipers.

Jonturk and Co. had the downright cajones to create a video detailing just about every major human rights atrocity of the 20th and 21st century. Think Diddy would bother to put forth that kind of global effort, would risk pissing off those affluent neighbors in the Hamptons, the ones who own stock in the very companies that make the war profitable?

In many ways, the parent has become the child. And like many children in the Developed World, it chooses to stay blind to the bigger world around itself, enveloped in a world of self-absorption, too much comfort, and very little acceptance of responsibility.

That may be the enduring legacy of American hip-hop as a mainstream medium. Thank goodness for the rest of the world.

- REVISED April 3, 2007
(Left Sirhot, one of Turkey's big cheese emcees and producers,
out of the graph discussing Jonturk's Refuse, Resist, Say No clip.
Sorry about that.)
~ Jason

# # #


Woeful said...


Dude, how long does it usually take you to compose these posts? Each post is like a short story... And sometimes totally random. Good stuff, just a really eclectic mix from ex-pats, to Gwar, to the Tanzanian music scene.

Miz BoheMia said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The ZenFo Pro said...

Oh lord? Drunk or sober?

Actually, I usually post when I'm sitting at a local wi-fi hotspot/coffee shop, when I'm bored or just thinking about the most random shit. Probably average two or three hours, per post, minus my Oh fuck I really need to edit that horrible grammar post-post editting.

The ZenFo Wire thing evolved out of my almost ADD inability to finish some posts; I started just throwing random stuff together.

Lol, yeah, I've a head like a slingshot, I'm afraid. Put a thought marble in there, and who knows which way I'm shooting :)

Lol, I actually thought you might be pissed with the screenshot. Whew!

It took me forever to get an image that I thought captured your personality and went with the post.

Hey, you and Loverboy are some sexy people :)

As for the review, well, I only speak the truth. You and Loverbody really do make sweet vids - and music - together, and the raw energy is sometimes breathtaking.

Lol, there really are some neat links buried in there, huh? I think I really did end up going on one random-ass journey with this one...

Bohemians to severed cartoon limbs to Russian rappers...


Heh. That Tshila clip is still breathlessly beautiful. Why don't we ever see this stuff in the mainstream? Seriously?

HC said...

oh this is completely awesome man! i'm writing a paper that deals with africa and poverty and the links are actualy inspiring.

hey saw you talking to the blogoofi chick in the library today.

and what's up with your neck dude? were you in a accident or something? looks like a lot of bruises?

Hickies - :P

cooper said...

Good stuff Jason.

You're right on the Bohemia for sure Jason.

I will have to explore further the collective it looks interesting.

The ZenFo Pro said...

Wel, glad I could help. See? Sometimes I talke about more than my sex life :)

Er. No comment. Sorry.

Hey, thanks, chica. You've been on a roll yourself lately.

Woeful said...

Drunk or sober - Haaaaaaa! I understand.

It's all good man. I actually really like the way you format your stuff. You found your voice and you're using it. Keep on keepin' on!

EsotericWombat said...

You nailed it with the review of Miz B. I've always considered blogging to ideally be a continuation of Gonzo. Whether or not it pans out like that is another story. No question where she's concerned.

jess said...

dude big black boots kicks serious ass. and thanks for the gwar link too ha been awhile since something shocked ME :-P

just so you know the abercrombie and fitch shit has been removed from my house and i'm selling the 4runner. you really know how too seriously guilt a chick.

tshila kicks serious ass. made me chock up. same with the kelley guy.

The ZenFo Pro said...

Lol, yup.

Hey, and thanks for the support, too :)

I agree with you. Blogging is, in many ways, a grassroots, basic evolution of the gonzo style. Andrew Sullivan, for example. Just some dude posting about whatever he feels like, short, almost hiaku length posts...

But how far will it be explored? Hmmm... very good food for thought.

Lol, yeah, there's a TON of good rap music out there. Sad that its country of origin seems to be lagging so far behind these days in the genre's actual ARTISTIC areas.

Hell, when was the last time you saw a video on MTV or MTV@ that actually featured an emcee AND a deejay?

Good for you, chica. Sorry I guilted you :( ... nah, not really.

Miz BoHemia said...



At 2:23 PM, Miz BoheMia proclaims...

Oh my Jason... I really and truly do not know what to say. Now it's you who has left me speechless both with regards to your sweet comment in the post below (thank you by the way!) and to your oh-my-god- what-a- SHOCK- to- pop- in- and- see- my- actual- face-there- as- opposed- to-my- alter- ego's sweet, oh- so- blushingly flattering - though - quite- undeserved -by -me (but oh what it does to my fragile ego that a friend and blogger I have grown to love and admire so thinks such thoughts! ) "review" of moi as Mizzy B... thank you my friend. I seriously don't know what else to say but I had to let you know that I am touched beyond words!

As for the rest of your post, I seriously am in utter awe at how many fabulous sites and music links and whatnot you know of! You are the ultimate Zenformation Professional if ever there was one amigo mio! WOW is all I can say!


Oh! And I am loving the Ugandan Queen FO SHO!

Besos amigo mio...

Liz said...

This isn't related to this post ... just want to say thanks, Jason, for listening to (er--reading I guess that is) me on Messenger. I appreciate it so much that I'll try not to accuse you of misogyny again! (I sort of did that a couple times in comments a couple times, didn't I?) Seriously, I appreciate it.

Smurf said...

Hey J... I am back. Just letting you know. :)

The ZenFo Pro said...

Hey, no problem, chica. Any time. After all, what are blog buddies for?

Nah. Kinda like it when you call me a misogynist. Keeps me on my toes, and reminds me of the fact that, lol, this blog might just be the most diverse collection of thinkers ever assembled here in Oxford Fucking Ohio - even virtually.

You're very welcome :)

Hey, thanks for the update! Hope all is well, hon :)