LESSONS FROM MY FREE NIGHT OF WWE

My friend Nathanael got some tickets to WWE Monday Night Raw for Christmas. He asked me if I wanted to go and since the price was right (free) I said yes.  Just like many guys in there 20’s and 30’s I was mesmerized by Hulkamania in the 1980’s . I don’t follow wrestling much anymore but it was fun. I am always trying to learn from every situation I am in so here are some observations from my evening at WWE Monday Night Raw.

  • The demographic was eye-opening. I could do a whole entry on this but let me just say that I don’t believe most churches are reaching these people.  There were so many kids and single moms it was crazy.  The diversity was worth noting too. I think the WWE embodies putting people on their stage who represent those they want to reach.
  • The WWE understands merchandising. I have never seen so many people buy T-shirts at an event. I have been to stadium and arena rock tours and they were nothing like this. Something about their product says “buy me now”.
  • The WWE understands the use of media. Wrestlers always had intro songs but now it is one video after another.  Even between matches they were pitching event and products. Above the ring was a full light rigging that could also compete with any concert I have been too. There were also a ton of pyrotechnics that made me wet my pants.

COLLEGE LIFE-ON MTV

Jeff Bogue told me a long time ago that the day would come in youth ministry when I couldn’t be naturally cool anymore.  When that happens he said you have to study up on culture through TV and other avenues. 

I have a couple shows I follow to do that and another came on my radar this week. It is a new autobiographical/documentary/reality show that MTV is doing called “College Life”.  They gave 4 freshmen at Wisconsin video cameras and follow them as they start their new college lives. 

I can’t endorse the language, lifestyle, or decision making on the show but for better OR WORSE it reflects the decision making and world that I am helping prepare high school students to go into.  I think it is a good glimpse into that world from a few different points of view.

IF YOU WANT CHECK OUT THE PREMEIRE EPISODE COMMERCIAL FREE HERE.

JAY-SEAN?

Anyone who knows me, knows that I enjoy R&B a little too much. On top of that I also like R&B from England a little too much. These two worlds collide more often than you think.  A couple of years ago my friend Raj studied abroad in England and came back and told me about Jay-Sean who was at that time the “Justin Timberlake of England” and he even had a producer Rishi-Rich (who has worked with Britney) who was the “diddy of England”.  Anyway, Jay Sean just got picked up by Cash Money and is coming out with a U.S. album. I am not too happy about anyone I like being involved with Lil Wayne, but thought I would link to the story anyway.

25 ALBUMS-everyone else is doing it

THE MISSION: Think of 25 albums that had such a profound effect on you they changed your life or the way you looked at it. They sucked you in and took you over for days, weeks, months, years. These are the albums that you can use to identify time, places, people, emotions. These are the albums that no matter what they were thought of musically shaped your world.

MY TAKE: I tried to remember all the big ones, but I am sure I forgot some. I put some greatest hits albums at the end to cover my mistakes and help me cop out.
Obviously there could be more but oh well

1. Michael Peace-Vigilante of Hope
2. DC Talk-Nu Thang
3. Color Me Badd-C.M.B.
4. Garth Brooks-No Fences
5. DC Talk-Free at Last
6. Out of Eden-Loving the Day
7. Tim McGraw-All I Want
8. DC Talk-Jesus Freak
9. Boyz II Men-II
10. Cross Movement-House of Representatives
11. Grits-Grammatical Revolution
12. Craig David-Born to Do It.
13. Out of Eden-This is Your Life
14. John Mayer-Room for Squares
15. Daniel Bedingfield-Gotta Get Through This
16. Jay-Z-Unplugged
17. Kanye West-The College Dropout
18. Ne-yo-In My Own Words
19. Justin Timberlake-Futuresex/Lovesounds
20. Brad Paisley-Mud on the Tires
21. Beach Boys-Sounds of Summer Greatest Hits
22. The Temptations-Greatest Hits
23. Elvis Presley-Number 1’s
24. Michael Jackson-Number Ones
25. Mariah Carey-Greatest Hits

2009 GRAMMY AWARDS RECAP

I just walked in the door at 9:30. I promised a Grammy recap but I didn’t watch the first 90 minutes so I will do the best I can by watching the rest of the show.  I got a call at 7:20 for a crisis counseling situation for a family I have already been meeting with and took off out the door.  Wouldn’t trade my job or ministry for anything else so the Grammy’s took a backseat this year.

 

Since I missed the beginning and may never see it (unless anyone Tivo’d it and wants to let me come over) here are some comments my friend and our new correspondent Karyn had to say…

  • Dear Jay-Z…thank you for ruining Lost by Coldplay with your really awkward rap.  Also Chris Martin…please wear a longer shirt. Thanks.
  • please tell me you just saw the performance the U2 just did… did they drop acid before they wrote that?
  • What is Jennifer Hudson wearing???!!! yikes.

 

OK here are my comments…..Just walked in the door in time to see Kanye drop his last verse on American Boy with Estelle.  That song is catchy and you can’t fight it.

  • That is how you know someone is permeating culture when they hit the stage twice at an awards shows. EDIT: I just found out he performed with Al Green at the beginning for a total of 3 times…on an off non-album year!?!
  • I believe T.I. is also gonna get two spots tonight so he had a big year.
  • Adele just won new artist of the year.  It is funny how much her, Jasmine Sullivan, and Duffy all blur together.  I mean each has a different style but meets in the middle of wanna be throwback who was signed on the fumes of Amy Winehouse blowing up a year ago.
  • Morgan Freeman just introduced Kenny Chesney as “his friend”. Really? I suppose Dierks Bentley is friends with David Beckham too?
  • I still can’t believe Herbie Hancock won awards last year.
  • Record of the year-Please read this letter-Allison Krause and Robert Plant.  Here is how they won.  I have long said that the Grammy’s are the awards where old people get to pretend that “critically acclaimed” artists are relevant or good for that matter.  By merging the country and classic rock audiences of out of touch music that doesn’t matter they were able to ride it clear to the top.
  • The NEW rat pack? “Rap” pack guy performing Swagga like us…of course this is my moment of the night.
  • I heard M.I.A. was coming no matter how pregnant she was. It is true in the word of my wife “she just might pop or go into labor on stage”.
  • Man they threw M.I.A. a bone even letting her on stage with them. I am not gonna pretend they are all hall of famers, but even though they sampled (ripped) her song, she is till a one hit girl.
  • And it just happened, that moment when a rap performance ends and even I as a fan think, “wow that sucked”. I mean there has to be more to elevate a performance.  Kanye does it with his stage shows, but that was true to rap’s oldest tradition; bad performances.
  • The good news is that hip-hop fashion is changing.  The tux thing is not a fad, people like Diddy and Jay have so much money that the complexion of the genre is more affluent and high society than it used to be.
  • Paul McCartney could take a dump on an album and they would nominate it for Grammy’s.  That is probably not good for the Grammy’s. At least he did an old school Beatles song when I like them before they were druggies.
  • If we are gonna let people who are great just come back and do random performances for no reason, I think we get groups where everyone can be there…I’m just saying:)
  • Is Jack Black really Charlie Hayden’s son-in-law? That is weird.
  • Pop male vocal performance-John Mayer- “Say”.  Judging by how fast he spoke and got off stage, he knows that he won with a stand alone single on a non album year and someone else should have won.
  • Sugarland and Adele singing together? I suppose next you are gonna tell me Morgan Freeman is Kenny Cheshey’s friend? Adele’s song is good we don’t need Jennifer Nettles echoing back the last line to ruin it.
  • I am just now looking over mtv.com to see what happened earlier in the show
  • Blink 182 is back together.  Somewhere my friend Danny Urban’s 15 year old alter ego is very happy. They just want the reunion tour money and I don’t blame them.
  • Chris Brown and Rihanna were in a car wreck Sunday night and couldn’t perform at the Grammy’s.  Chris is also being investigated for assault.  That is upsetting because I need him to continue to get more famous and feed my ego since I have a picture with him and pretend we are friends.
  • I love how Target paid for commercials during the show as if people still pay money for whole albums from chain stores.
  • Gwyneth Paltrow is married to Chris Martin the lead singer of Coldplay…why did she just intro Radiohead? And did she just say “one of the most influential groups of all-time”? Last I check they were not the Beach Boys or the Beatles but what do I know.
  • Radiohead, I never liked you but I do remember a year when I had friends who cared.  Unfortunately for you, that year is not this year or the last couple. 
  • Samuel L. Jackson introducing T.I. and Timberlake and pretending he is worthy of them…bad news Sam, you made Snakes on a plane.
  • Timberlake pretending he can plan piano worthy of the setting and orchestra behind them…and America is falling for it. But he also took the high road and never got up from the piano so that T.I. wouldn’t be overshadowed.
  • T.I. had two songs this year that were neck and neck and traded places a couple times for number one, but he has to do this one because it had Timberlake in it.  That makes me feel bad for being part of the problem of TV ratings.
  • T.I. just said something to the effect of “Adversity builds character and takes you places, welcome to my road to redemption”.  For a second there I thought he was quoting a Bible passage.
  • Remaking a four tops song with Jamie Foxx and Ne-yo.  This is the same concept I just mocked with McCartney and Dave Grohl. I wanted to like this one but it is no better.
  • If Lil’ Wayne wins album of the year I am going to move to Canada.
  • Neil Diamond….really? This has to be one of the worst Grammy’s in a long time.  I mean other years I have been mad at who won (Dixie Chicks) but these performances of old popular songs are so random.  It is like being at a wedding, I expect YMCA or Hokey Pokey next. I get fired up about something every year though.
  • The encore part is always weird because they honor people who died but were never respected or winner’s of a Grammy.  HOLY COW they just put Larry “the father of Christian rock” Norman in there…that is crazy.
  • Mtv.com is doing a much better job than me at live-blogging the Grammys.  For one reason because I won’t even post this until later so mine is not live, but also because there’s has pictures and is just better. Check it out!
  • This montage BB King, John Mayer, Keith Urban and some other guy is good.  Did Urban play twice tonight too? Now they aren’t even trying to be creative.
  • Is Gary Senise really the one to intro Lil’ Wayne? Or the one to make me compelled to help restore New Orleans from Katrina?
  • Lil’ Wayne is playing it smart.  He has only ever done one song with substance and he is pulling it off with a white guy that old women like and a full band. He will probably have his own sitcom on ABC tomorrow.  Your trick isn’t going to work on me Wayne.
  • He is rapping over his lyrics quite obviously, that is when you know someone is not a respectable musician and just a rapper.
  • Wayne had a big year, rather than doing this awkward big band New Orleans tribute, he should have just done a great medley of his 5+ radion songs and singles.
  • Dear T-Pain your top hat will never be cool or even original, just weird.
  • Rap album of the year-Lil’ Wayne.  I will block this memory by going and getting a Fig Newton upstairs.
  • It is 11:11, looks like the live broadcast will go long.
  • Robert Plant and Allison Krauss had their producer T-Bone Burnett play with them.  Dear T-Bone 1994 Christian Slater called and wants his hair back.
  • Have we really communicated to Coldplay that they are so cool that they will not be held accountable for wearing matching jackets in different colors that make them look like a box of crayons?
  • Plant and Krauss Album of the year-no surprise. I think deep down I would have even tolerated Wayne winning this one just to have an upset that even against my will at least sold albums.
  • Ok to close the show Stevie Wonder (who I really do love) gets to close the show. Making him at least the 5th (Timberlake, T.I. Jay-Z, Keith Urban) person to pop up multiple times, totally negating any bragging statements I made about someone like Timberlake being cool for pulling a couple appearances.  It turns out it just means you have a heartbeat.
  • Good Night! See you next year.

PRE-GRAMMY POP CULTURE WARMUP

  • If you haven’t been to failblog.org yet, we can’t be friends
  • You couldn’t pay me to go to the Elton john/Billy Joel tour.  The only person I hate more than Billy Joel is Elton John
  • Did anyone else know that mom jeans were back in? Rihanna doesn’t lie.
  • I just heard the other day that Greyhound bus did a survey of who people in America would want to ride across the country in a bus with.  The winner was Drew Barrymore and the runner up-jay leno.  I would pick Jay any day, but Drew seems pretty cool too.
  • 50 cent not only has beef with Rick Ross, but now this kid too.
  • Tomorrow night is the grammy’s. I will post my predictions along with the actual result as soon as I can after the show, along with my thoughts of the ceremony.

 

BROKENVOICES.ORG

I recently became aquainted with the guys at brokenvoices.org.  If you have never heard of it I urge you to check out their site. 
Here is a ittle about them in their own words…
Does my life matter? What is my purpose? Is it really possible that my life was meant for something bigger? – Something Greater?
Six friends travel the United States in search of answers to these questions. Living on the road for a month in a borrowed (and crowded) RV, they encounter seven stories of normal people doing extraordinary things with their lives. This morning Broken Voices releases their first full length documentary film entitled “Anthem”. To pick up your copy today click here.