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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Race in the Workplace

 

In Episode 558.5, Germar won't be fired? Here, he presents three takeaways from his life as a Black man working in a white world. Follow Germar everywhere @GermarDerron.

Rankings: the Theeuhtahr [Updated: 9/22/20]

 You love lists and Look to the Cookie doesn't do enough of them. Plus, Germar's life has shifted from music, to film, to . . . stage. And because he sees so many theatrical productions, he will rate and rank them here. Additionally, you're going to click this link because you want to know where your production ranks. This list does not include grade school or "junior" productions.

And remember, a score of 5.5 does not equal 55% or failure. It means that the show was better than 55% of all shows.

26. The Wizard of Oz (2013, Southern Arizona) 7.2/10 Monkeys flew, witches melted--an all-around technical achievement. But it was also three hours long and you know how it ends.


25. It's a Wonderful Life (2018, East Central Indiana) 7.2/10 The leads dazzled. But you really have to love this era of storytelling, to love this show, in 2018.

24. Willy Wonka (2019, East Central Indiana) 7.2/10 It's always all about the Oompa Loompas! It was Wonka . . . wacky and colorful and kid-friendly.


23. The Little Mermaid (the 2020 pandemic, Michiana) 7.2/10 Full disclosure: Germar works on most of these productions. He failed this production. Amazing performances, but inconsistent tech and art direction. #maskup  

22. Harvey (2020, Central Indiana) 7.2/10 Each cast member played their part to perfection. Also, see above: It's a Wonderful Life.

21. Mamma Mia (2019, Michiana) 7.3/10 This Sophie SANGS. Beautiful cast. The director and choreographer put professional stamps all over this thing.

20. Tarzan (2019, East Central Indiana) 7.3/10 They used a real baby! They swung on vines and climbed trees. Go-ril-las stole the show. 


19. Scrooge: The Musical (2017, East Central Indiana) 7.4/10 Classic and timeless tale, done by a big diverse cast. Costumed fun.

18. Into the Woods (2019, Central Indiana) 7.4/10 Talented cast. The set designers and builders optimized, and creatively utilized, a tight space.


17. The Music Man (2019, Michiana) 7.5/10 The best ensemble performance ever. 


16. West Side Story (2018, East Central Indiana) 7.5/10 Every time Maria was on stage was the best thing you've seen on a stage. Rosalia . . . Anita . . . . Tony.



15. Now and Then (2019, Michiana) 7.6/10 Casual and modern. And by the end of the show, it's life-changing.


14. Cinderella (2018, Tour) 7.6/10 Beautiful set, world-class dancing, but no soul.

13. Into the Woods (the 2020 pandemic, Farmland Indiana) 7.6/10 Pitch perfect ensemble singing. 

12. The Little Mermaid (2018, East Central Indiana) 7.6/10 Ariel nailed it. And the magic of the sea was felt throughout the performance.

11. Big River (2019, East Central Indiana) 7.7/10 I can't decide if the show is a story about:   1) two cons on the run; 2) crazy Tom Sawyer; or most likely 3) a love story between a white boy with a heart of gold and a runaway slave. Five outstanding performances made this a tough call.


10. First Date (2020, Michiana)  7.7/10 A show for people, born after 1984, who would rather see a movie than a play. A home-run from the director.

9. Of Mice and Men (2019, East Central Indiana) 7.7/10 Tough tough show, made better and worse by excellent performances.    

8. Animal Farm (2012, Southern Arizona) 7.9/10 Beautiful, moving, and important. When those pigs started walking around in their overalls, you couldn't help but feel the hopelessness of the cycle. 

7. Peter and the Starcatcher (2018, East Central Indiana) 8/10 Odd. And one of the best stagey mcstage plays of all time. And who doesn't love Peter Pan?


6. Sister Act (2019, East Central Indiana) 8.5/10 F.U.N. Also, it's sexy (or it could be), funny, and colorful. Everyone in the cast got a chance to shine.

5. Matilda (2020, East Central Indiana) 8.7/10 Story? Weak and common. Writing? Random and superfluous. 8000 kids dancing in perfect sync, and singing in perfect harmony with perfect pitch in perfect Harry Potter accents? Nailed that shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

4. My Fair Lady (2017, East Central Indiana) 9/10 The perfect Eliza. Perfect direction.


3. Rock of Ages (2018, East Central Indiana) 9.3/10 If you like the 80s, or listen to the same 10 songs on some wack work FM stations, you'll love this. Plus, it's sexy and makes no sense.

2. Annie (2018, East Central Indiana)  9.5/10 THIS is cheating. Cute little girls, performing classic choreography, to Jay Z's most popular song.

1. Beauty and the Beast (2019, Farmland Indiana) 9.6/10 Everyone sang everything like Whitney sang The Star-Spangled Banner. Plus, they DANCED--DANCING in a show, in Indiana!!! I guess when you collect a check, you get the steps right.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Indie Music: "BLAC AMERIKKKA" by J'Moris ft. D. Hewitt, 254 Assassin

 

by Germar Derron

This one is personal. This one is important. "I'm a Black man before I'm anything."

There always seems to be a concern that social justice-powered content, at a time like this, might not be born of the best intentions. I don't know J'Moris, D. Hewitt, or 254 Assassin, but I vouch for them. Their words are my thoughts and feelings. And likely, those words reflect the thoughts of most of "BLAC AMERIKKKA."

Tracks like this are difficult. They are often difficult to write or perform because of the content. Sometimes they are difficult to hear or listen to, regardless of your personal political leanings. And even the best words, in the worst times, don't necessarily lend themselves to good music. Here, these fellas imparted a necessary message, while also delivering a very listenable track. 

The beat is nice. It's smooth, but rough. It's complex, but not so complex that you can't feel when to bounce and nod in rhythm. And they're actually rhyming. They aren't just preaching a corny contrived message from the world's tiniest soapbox (like that out-of-work celeb you just thought of). The hook is on brand for the song, but just different enough to break it up. It prevents that listener's lull that flows from monotony.   

The gritty black and white video is the perfect partner for the music and message. Flashiness wasn't needed here. The visual style erases that line between the consumer and performer. We're in that field with them, pissed, drinking, smoking, and ready to react.

I don't give ratings anymore, but if I did, "BLAC AMERIKKKA" would get 5 out of 5 stars.

Black. Lives. Matter.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

The DEFINITIVE BLM Epi - Share It

Whenever someone says anything about Black Lives Matter, post this episode. Also, stop saying whatever version of "we can still be friends, we just disagree." It's not always that simple.
 

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Listen, then Do Better

In Episode . . . 556?, Germar is mad. But that's likely irrelevant. Here, he provides a final thought on his racist "friends." And--for hopefully the last time--he explains why you're wrong about communication. Follow Germar everywhere @GermarDerron.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Revisiting Racism, Racists, and "Hamilton"

In Episode 554, Germar can't stop calling everyone "racist." What's wrong with him?!? Plus, he revisits Hamilton, and that friend with the racist friends. Follow Germar everywhere @GermarDerron.

Friday, August 14, 2020

That Racist Responded


Episode 553 is important and NSFW. That racist, from Episode 552.5, responded. You don't have to wait, you can do the right thing right now. One of the right things is to let go of your racist friends. If you can't do that, let go of your POC friends. Follow your host everywhere @GermarDerron.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

White People Cling to their Racist Friends

Photo by Life Matters from Pexels
In Episode 552.5, Germar is somewhat NSFW. If you maintain your friendships with racists, you don't have friends that are people-of-color. Follow Germar everywhere @GermarDerron.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Power Rankings: Superhero TV [Updated 8/12/20]

You love lists, and Look to the Cookie doesn't do enough of them. So here are the rankings and reasons for the 26 modern comic-based super-powered television series (Marvel and DC). The list is updated as seasons conclude and series premiere.

Jace Downs/CW

26. (23) Batwoman 4.5/10  So far, no good. She's flawed; that's good. The villain is her sister--ummm--okay. The diversity is nice. And I really mean that. But the shows just not very interesting . . . yet? And then an antagonist was gay, and somehow that diminished her extreme villainy . . . . Ruby Rose is out; Javicia Leslie is in.

25. Inhumans 5/10 Years of optimism, anxiety, and backtracking resulted in this, universally agreed upon, worst part of the MCU. Scott Buck may be MCU's kryptonite. Please, Marvel, don't let him ruin another series (e.g., Iron Fist). 

24. Agent Carter 6/10 Yes, I hosted the show about the show, but it always felt like a lukewarm Marvel offering. The pieces fit snugly, and Hayley Atwell shined, but did anyone even watch the second season?

23. (22) Iron Fist 6/10 No one likes this show. And no one fears the surfer dude-voiced, Ramen noodle-haired, prince of privilege no matter how many times he says he beat a dragon or calls himself "immortal." Colleen Wing and Bakuto almost saved this atrocity. And I almost worked at Fox Sports. Cue that Brandy song. And then he improved slightly in Defenders and season two of "Cage." And the second season of Iron Fist was almost fire because they decided to focus on all of the amazing women while diminishing the lead. Ultimately, it got the ax anyway.  


22. (21) Swamp Thing 6/10 Alec Holland > Swamp Thing. So far it's shaping up to be baddie of the week; that format sucks like when there's no flavor left in the blue Icee. The swamp-Cajun feel is cool. That beautiful doctor drives the show. And it only got worse and is canceled . . . .


21. (20) Gotham 6.1/10 Gotham will probably be really good once it's all on Netflix, and we all finally decide to watch it. The first season got everything wrong--especially allowing Jada Pinkett to perform like an amateur starring in a Spelman College production of Wicked


20. (19) Legion 6.5/10 Is this a period piece? Style over substance? Maybe, but beautiful still, plus ambitious. It's not a great show yet, but it's better than almost all of the X-men movies.

19. (13) Krypton 6.6/10 So far, so good. They did it. They borrowed from the beautiful Man of Steel opening, and made their own Krypton. The black Zods are awesome and their story has stolen the show. Plus, it sets up Zods better than any previous source. Seg-El is that dude. -.1 for that wack-ass Lobo.

18. The Gifted 6.7/10 This is the best way to realistically represent, on television, the best team of heroes in the history of comics. No, they're not the X-men. But if the X-men X-isted they'd be a lot more like The Gifted than that awesome Saturday morning cartoon. It's inconsistent at best, but there's definitely something there.  And now it's better, but, still somehow, exactly the same.

17. Black Lightning 6.8/10 It's only the most important show in the history of television in the United States (in season one). They deal with everything, better than most shows deal with anything--race, violence, cops, sex, LGBT matters, relationships, schools . . . and superpowers. "This one's for the streets." So far season two has not matched season one, but they remain "the people's champ." And season two continues to disappoint, but the "racist hicks" story-line was somewhat refreshing. AND season three continues the misses of season two. BUT the story is a powerful and important one. CRISIS.


16. Legends of Tomorrow 6.8/10 If you don't like this show, you don't like smiles, fun, or good times. Remember when The Avengers was the best thing to happen to the '10s? DC decided to do that with 200th of the budget, but weekly. And now, maybe it's a little too much fun. I'll still ride the wave, but this could fizzle fast. CRISIS.

15. Arrow 6.9/10 Arrow has quickly become the can miss DCTV CW show of the week. But we keep watching. I look forward to its ending, followed by frequent character cameos on the other shows. It started too fast and left little room to grow. Team Arrow was Justice League lite before we got the Legends, Team Flash, or Supergirl. Pacing. And now they may be taking the street justice a little too far OR maybe just far enough. And in it's EIGHTH?!?! season, (which may be its last) they're really going for it, while staying true to its origins. CRISIS. Thank you to the cast, crew, and especially Stephen Amell. 

14. Doom Patrol 6.9/10 They're not heroes, like at all. It's hard to call their unique qualities "abilities" or "powers." And whatever they are, they aren't super. But as wacky as this series is, it feels real. It's unique and not for uniqueness's sake. Titans isn't a fluke; DC Universe is coming for Marvel's head. The season one ending was meta af, but ultimately meh. Season two is season one, but somehow more so.   

13. (12) Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 7/10 Its debut was a meandering mess. But for the fans that stuck around, Agents of Hydra/Agents of Nothing got good fast. And more recently, we've been gifted the best live action Ghostrider, top notch action, intelligent political commentary, and the best possible "what if"-styled virtual world story. Now, Agents is a secret gem. And for this final? season, cue that Huey Lewis track.

12. (11) Runaways 7.1/10 At the episode three mark, this show is far better than anything on this list. Performances, cinematography, drama, use of powers, relationships, representation--perfection. The problem with being on top . . . is that long tumble down. How will they handle powers or the discovery of the teens' discovery? How will they handle the budding and realistic romances? And is this really the MCU? Did it need to be? (3 months later . . . show was dope) And in the second season so much happened . . . on the way down. Season one was too good. The worst thing about being at the top? There's only one way to go. The sexy non-aging Spanish-speaking dude was super cool though.

11. (10) The Defenders 7.1/10 The first four episodes were the highlight of my year. The Defenders are to the Avengers what the X-men are to the Justice League. They are the heroes we might be, not the gods that save us. They blended four distinct tales better than I imagined possible--style and mythos. To enjoy: 1) ignore the villains' plot; 2) remember that we witnessed an even more annoying Iron Fist earlier.

10. (9) Supergirl 7.5/1She got pants now bitchessss! Every week entertains. Each episode plays out like an updated, less whiny, less soap opera-y version of Smallville. The weird episode where she was "kid" Supergirl was weird. Pro tip: Superman is your problem, not your solution. [Each] season [goes] deep on race, LGBT matters, relationships, and it remained a top comic book-based show. Kudos. CRISIS. Post-crisis, this floundered--they all floundered.

9. (8) The Flash 7.5/10 So maybe skip the second season. And maybe they do the same arc each season. But this is the most pleasant series on the list. It's like a '90s Saturday morning cartoon for grown-ups. This is the team that every Millennial would join if given the opportunity. And I'm in love with little Flash-et junior - sue me. CRISIS.

8. (7) Jessica Jones 7.5/10 Two Js is da realest! She single-handedly saved The Defenders (literally and also from us critics). In her debut, she overcame the #1 true villain in the MCU (twice). She also laid out Luke Cage. And maybe she can fly. And then the second season sucked hard. The former #1 has dropped like the best beat. And the the third season redeemed in a way most shows never can. #podcastcomingsoon


7. (6) Luke Cage 7.5/10 Cage, one of the strongest characters on the list, started weakly and ended weakly. But that midsection does work. Ummmm. Cottonmouth is the King. And if you're black, this should feel like a moment . . . for us . . . because it is. And in the second season, a strong show got stronger. It's a shame this moment is partially wasted on Mike Colter. Bushmaster saved the series and washed the diamond-backed taste from our mouths. Annnnnnnd it's canceled. A record-breaking black-ass show that did impossible numbers for Netflix is gone.


6. (5) Cloak & Dagger  7.9/10 I want to love the show, in the way I love its young stars. And I might, if I could stay awake. I think they realize they have superpowers in episode five . . . I think. Who's this show for?--moody-artsy-poetic-horny-virgin 13-year-olds? I'm guessing. They get bonus points for flipping the most common racial stereotypes. And like all of the best things, once it ended, I begged for more. Cloak & Dagger may have something just yet. The second season began like the first, and then something happened--something good. Ish got real, real cultural, real racial, real domestic . . . real. Now, this show matters. CANCELED.

5. (4) The Punisher 8/10 It's nothing like other shows on this list. They chose to ignore the superhero world setting. It works, but may have worked better as a standalone. Ultimately, it was more predictable than most comic book-based shows because it was a lot like every gritty revenge, PTSD flick we've ever seen. And then in season two they created one of the most beautiful pieces of art in the history of time. It was not like anything anyone has every seen. There were TWO antagonists, and they both had unconventional, unpredictable, realistic endings.

4. (3) Daredevil 8/10 Hallway scenes started here. It's a shame they didn't end here. Foggy is as whack as Charlie Cox's accent (both improved by season 3). If you are anti-shadowy fight scenes, then Kingpin kept your interest. This series was redeemed by the Punisher's arrival. Ssssooo many ninjas. And then season three was maybe the best thing I've seen "on TV." Yes, Daredevil season three is "Wire," "Sopranos," "Lost," Breaking Bad"-good.

3. Stargirl 9/10 If they maintain this level of writing, action, effects, and performances over multiple seasons it will be the top superhero show of all time. The cast is legit: Amy Smart, Luke Wilson, and Brec Bassinger as the perfect Stargirl. The diversity gets a chef's kiss. And the gray-area politics presented have us questioning everything.


2. Titans 9/10 We saw that corny-ass trailer and scoffed. The first episode wasn't much better. But Titans has become my #1 must-see-TV each week. If this dropped Netflix style, I wouldn't have left the seat. It would've been my first "diaper show." Starting with the Hawk and Dove episode, this is the grittiest, most realistic, non-fantastical fantasy show (read: best) of all time. This is not our Teen Titans (coming soon). It's not like the Titans as seen anywhere before. That black Starfire that you hate is one of the best characters on TV this year. DC should stop making movies. They really get television. And season two is even better.


1. Watchmen 9.6/10 It's the best show on television. And like many of our best shows, it deals with race (and in the best way), so you didn't watch it. Go watch it--NOW. 

Rankings: the Theeuhtahr [Updated: 8/12/20]

You love lists and Look to the Cookie doesn't do enough of them. Plus, Germar's life has shifted from music, to film, to . . . stage. And because he sees so many theatrical productions, he will rate and rank them here. Additionally, you're going to click this link because you want to know where your production ranks. This list does not include grade school or "junior" productions.

And remember, a score of 5.5 does not equal 55% or failure. It means that the show was better than 55% of all shows.

25. The Wizard of Oz (2013, Southern Arizona) 7.2/10 Monkeys flew, witches melted--an all-around technical achievement. But it was also three hours long and you know how it ends.


24. It's a Wonderful Life (2018, East Central Indiana) 7.2/10 The leads dazzled. But you really have to love this era of storytelling, to love this show, in 2018.

23. Willy Wonka (2019, East Central Indiana) 7.2/10 It's always all about the Oompa Loompas! It was Wonka . . . wacky and colorful and kid-friendly.


22. The Little Mermaid (the 2020 pandemic, Michiana) 7.2/10 Full disclosure: Germar works on most of these productions. He failed this production. Amazing performances, but inconsistent tech and art direction. #maskup  

21. Harvey (2020, Central Indiana) 7.2/10 Each cast member played their part to perfection. Also, see above: It's a Wonderful Life.

20. Mamma Mia (2019, Michiana) 7.3/10 This Sophie SANGS. Beautiful cast. The director and choreographer put professional stamps all over this thing.

19. Tarzan (2019, East Central Indiana) 7.3/10 They used a real baby! They swung on vines and climbed trees. Go-ril-las stole the show. 


18. Scrooge: The Musical (2017, East Central Indiana) 7.4/10 Classic and timeless tale, done by a big diverse cast. Costumed fun.

17. Into the Woods (2019, Central Indiana) 7.4/10 Talented cast. The set designers and builders optimized, and creatively utilized, a tight space.


16. The Music Man (2019, Michiana) 7.5/10 The best ensemble performance ever. 


15. West Side Story (2018, East Central Indiana) 7.5/10 Every time Maria was on stage was the best thing you've seen on a stage. Rosalia . . . Anita . . . . Tony.



14. Now and Then (2019, Michiana) 7.6/10 Casual and modern. And by the end of the show, it's life-changing.


13. Cinderella (2018, Tour) 7.6/10 Beautiful set, world-class dancing, but no soul.


12. The Little Mermaid (2018, East Central Indiana) 7.6/10 Ariel nailed it. And the magic of the sea was felt throughout the performance.

11. Big River (2019, East Central Indiana) 7.7/10 I can't decide if the show is a story about:   1) two cons on the run; 2) crazy Tom Sawyer; or most likely 3) a love story between a white boy with a heart of gold and a runaway slave. Five outstanding performances made this a tough call.


10. First Date (2020, Michiana)  7.7/10 A show for people, born after 1984, who would rather see a movie than a play. A home-run from the director.

9. Of Mice and Men (2019, East Central Indiana) 7.7/10 Tough tough show, made better and worse by excellent performances.    

8. Animal Farm (2012, Southern Arizona) 7.9/10 Beautiful, moving, and important. When those pigs started walking around in their overalls, you couldn't help but feel the hopelessness of the cycle. 

7. Peter and the Starcatcher (2018, East Central Indiana) 8/10 Odd. And one of the best stagey mcstage plays of all time. And who doesn't love Peter Pan?


6. Sister Act (2019, East Central Indiana) 8.5/10 F.U.N. Also, it's sexy (or it could be), funny, and colorful. Everyone in the cast got a chance to shine.

5. Matilda (2020, East Central Indiana) 8.7/10 Story? Weak and common. Writing? Random and superfluous. 8000 kids dancing in perfect sync, and singing in perfect harmony with perfect pitch in perfect Harry Potter accents? Nailed that shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

4. My Fair Lady (2017, East Central Indiana) 9/10 The perfect Eliza. Perfect direction.


3. Rock of Ages (2018, East Central Indiana) 9.3/10 If you like the 80s, or listen to the same 10 songs on some wack work FM stations, you'll love this. Plus, it's sexy and makes no sense.

2. Annie (2018, East Central Indiana)  9.5/10 THIS is cheating. Cute little girls, performing classic choreography, to Jay Z's most popular song.

1. Beauty and the Beast (2019, Farmland Indiana) 9.6/10 Everyone sang everything like Whitney sang The Star-Spangled Banner. Plus, they DANCED--DANCING in a show, in Indiana!!! I guess when you collect a check, you get the steps right.

 
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