Why Everybody Should Love CeeLo Green

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With so many platforms with which to access music, it's almost impossible for everyone to be humming the same new tune. No longer are radio DJs or MTV producers the guardians of the sounds we hear regularly. Now you can type any song into your browser and hear it instantly.

While this freedom is great, it also means we, as a society, have lost common sonic ground. People either dance excitedly to songs of the past -- '90s hip-hop and the Rolling Stones -- or just kind of do a limp-arm shuffle to all the "freshest" stuff played at frat parties, weddings, hipster clubs, and quinceañeras. There is, however, one artist in this millennium who not once but twice was the exception to this loose rule: CeeLo Green. "Crazy" and "Fuck You!" got everyone singing the same song and that same quirky name.

In 1995, if you were going to pick an artist in hip-hop who would still be relevant two decades later, you might have named Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest or Andre 3000 from Outkast, but few would have selected CeeLo Green, the rotund member of another Atlanta group, Goodie Mob. Coolio probably even seemed a safer choice.

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Churchill's Pub, My Childhood Drawings, Filth, and Art

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Editor's note: After 35 years, Miami's Churchill's Pub in Little Haiti is switching hands and changing course. An oral history on this legendary venue will be published next week.

More than six months ago, my mom gave me a big bag of papers she was still hoarding from my childhood. In it were things like unsent postcards, ugly crayon drawings of cats, and card envelopes with the word "Lizzy" scribbled on them. Since that day, I neglected to bring this bag into the house, which I suppose says a lot about how I manage menial tasks.

Last Friday night, after one of the concerts held to bid farewell to the now former owner and founder of Churchill's Pub, Dave Daniels, someone threw a concrete block into my car window. They stole the battery and, oddly enough, scattered these papers from my youth all around the 55th Street block of NE Second Avenue.

I spent the next day scouring the filthy streets gathering notes I'd passed to friends in fourth grade and photos from elementary school as they floated down the street -- and yes, I may have grabbed an old receipt covered in pee.

But there was something reverent about these acts, the scattering and gathering of bits of my childhood outside of a place where I spent a solid part of the past dozen years growing into an actual adult.

See also: Churchill's Pub Owner Dave Daniels: Thank You for Everything


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Cher, the Comeback Queen, Returns to South Florida

Categories: Essay This

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It is difficult to believe that when Cher first topped the charts, LBJ was in the White House and America was taking its first steps into the quagmire of Vietnam.

She is one of an elite few in the annals of pop history who aptly deserves to be called a survivor. Her recent album, Closer to the Truth, reached the higher echelons of the Billboard charts, and she performs 49 dates across North America on her current tour. The recent deluge of pop diva darlings is mere perfumed farts in the wind compared to Cher. This lady was rocking it when Lady Gaga was a dystopian nightmare no one had thought of yet. She's won an Emmy, a Grammy, three Golden Globe Awards, and an Oscar and was the first woman to show her navel on national television.

In anticipation of her visit to the BB&T Center on May 17, what follows are some of Cher's defining moments, defying the odds.

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Lady Gaga Kicks Off Tour at BB&T with Something to Prove

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Sayre Berman
Almost three years ago exactly, Lady Gaga performed back-to-back South Florida dates celebrating her immensely popular Fame Monster EP. Gaga seemed within reach of Madonna's Queen of Pop crown.

It was hard to argue the contrary. Hits like "Poker Face" and "Bad Romance" dominated the radio, while her wildly creative visuals brought glamour back to the music video format -- which died the day MTV decided it was preferable to give pregnant teens a reality show. She crisscrossed the globe reintroducing the spectacle back into pop music with her three-year Monster Ball Tour.

See also: Review of Lady Gaga's BankAtlantic Center performance in 2011

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A New Yorker's First Time on the Fort Lauderdale Bar Scene

Categories: Essay This

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Thaymmie/A. Cotto Photography

Living in New York City was exhausting. My wife and I lived there for eight years and loved it. However, its intoxicating alchemy of history, culture, cuisine, and attitude was a fuel that ran low as ever-increasing rents and cost of living hit heavy.

Southward ho we went to the Sunshine State. Now resettled in South Florida, we are eager to plunder its nightlife to see if there's more to this area than sun, sea, and shuffleboard. The neon glow of Miami seems like a culture shock we're not yet ready for. A night at nearby Fort Lauderdale seems like a proverbial dipping the toe in the water.


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In Defense of the Banjo

Categories: Essay This

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Christina Mendenhall
See, the Avett Brothers are doing it.

Probably because of the movie Deliverance (or maybe old Bugs Bunny cartoons), the banjo is still seen today as the instrument of the slack jawed yokel. A stringed tool that can be mastered by anyone no matter how closely related their parents might be, nor how many jars of moonshine the picker might have imbibed.

The second most mocked subculture (after hillbillies) has also lately taken up for the banjo. With the actors Steve Martin and Zooey Deschanel having picked up the instrument, the banjo has developed cache among hipsters along with other old-timey novelties like handlebar mustaches and unicycles. But the banjo has a certain dignity with a long history.

See also: Les Claypool on Duo de Twang: "Expect Two Guys Hanging Around a Campfire, Cracking Jokes and Bullshitting"


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The Pixies' New Song "Bagboy" Sounds Like Weezer

Categories: Essay This

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YouTube

Two weeks ago, I mocked the Pixies for sending out a press release that Kim Deal had quit the band. What was there to quit when the band hadn't toured in years and had only recorded one new song in the past two decades? Then last Friday, The Pixies mocked us back with a new song and corresponding video titled "Bagboy."

Throughout the weekend, I listened to Bagboy over and over struggling to form an opinion on it. My immediate reaction was it sounded more like Weezer with a drum machine than the Pixies.

See also
- Kim Deal Quits the Pixies and Other Meaningless Reports

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What a Would a World Without Bob Dylan Look Like?

Categories: Essay This

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Old fans of Marvel comic books will recall a series titled What If in which Uatu the Watcher, a giant baby-faced alien, would peek into alternate realities and tell readers what the world would be like if Peter Parker was never bitten by a radioactive spider or if Bruce Banner's pants didn't stretch when he became the Incredible Hulk.

Usually the smallest difference would create a butterfly effect that would mold a vastly different world from the one we were used to. In the spirit of Uatu and with the Americanarama Festival coming into town tonight, let's take a look at what our world might look like if Robert Zimmerman had never decided to pick up a guitar and become Bob Dylan.

See also: Bob Dylan, Wilco, My Morning Jacket, and Bob Weir: Their Influence on Culture Extends Way Beyond Music

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Bob Dylan, Wilco, My Morning Jacket, and Bob Weir: Their Influence on Culture Extends Way Beyond Music

Categories: Essay This

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Climb high enough on the tree of American rock 'n' roll history and you will reach two branches, one marked Elvis Presley, the other Bob Dylan. Every band since these two titans first strummed a guitar has been influenced by one or the other.

Climbing higher up Elvis' side, you find rhythm and blues and gospel; higher on Dylan's side is country and folk. One could say the very white Elvis' musical forefathers were black and Jewish Dylan's quite vanilla. Elvis brought the theatricality and showmanship, whereas Dylan brings the soul-baring authenticity.

As polar opposite as these two legends seem, choosing between them is not an either/or proposition; sometimes the branches intertwine. Elvis was also influenced by country and Dylan by the blues. It is easy to forget that the Bob Dylan who seems so confessional is really hiding behind a stage name phonier than any of the dance moves Elvis learned during an impoverished youth in Tupelo and Memphis.

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Chris Brown Is Painfully Tacky, But Always Cooler Than Drake, Even When It Comes to Aaliyah

Categories: Essay This

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No one can deny that Chris Brown is a dude seriously committed to tackiness. But as a Breezy apologist of sorts, we gotta say, he's always less tacky than Drake.

Yeah, Drake dresses more subtly, doesn't get stupid rowdy every time he gets side-eye at da club, and he didn't tat a pic of his ex that he beat up on his neck. But he did tattoo Aaliyah on his back, and that whole obsession is more than a teeny bit creepy.


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