John Wick (2015)

Don't fuck with the code

I didn't bother to watch this until I learned a sequel's scheduled to drop in February, 2017.  And the main reason I didn't bother was that I don't look at Keanu Reeves and think "actor."  Don't get me wrong; I grew up in the Age of Keanu.  He was young and he was pretty, and I was a huge fan.  He's not young and pretty anymore (though he's looking really great lately).

Off-screen, Reeves is very charismatic and fun to watch (ironic, right?).  And now that he's older and been through the hellish training camps of The Matrix films, he's developed a certain enigmatic maturity which has me intrigued all over again.

It's like he's Keanu 2.0.


On paper, John Wick appears tired and uninspired.  Someone pisses off a retired hitman who goes on a killing spree to get his revenge.  We've seen that before.  Except, with John Wick, it's so much more.

The writers didn't just give us a gloomy revenge flick; they created a whole universe which had me asking all kinds of questions and genuinely looking forward to the sequel.

John Wick introduces its viewers to a society of assassins, with its strict code, its own language, its own currency, and in a manner of speaking, its own "temple".  There's an establishment known as the Continental Hotel, where a man named Charon stands as concierge, tending the needs of his visitors.  The rules are strict and to the point: assassins cannot conduct business on Continental grounds, as management does not take too kindly to it.


At the Bar with Karlton Clay


The Bar Loves Karma, the Web Series

In addition to owning his own production company, Karlton Clay is a writer, director, and showrunner from Georgia, and a part of the independent webseries movement there.  He is also a member of the esteemed Black Filmmakers group on Facebook.

Karlton! Welcome to the Bar!!! What are you sippin’ on?

Right now, I am sippin' on some WATER! I need to drink more! LOL!

You are an independent artist, so there may be some folks in attendance who don’t know you. If you would, please give us a little background.

I was born and raised in Augusta, GA, and I still live here now.


Open Mic Night: #LukeCage

Because you know we had to do it.

This is an open thread, so feel free to talk about what you want pertaining to the show.  I'll start: my favorite scene is when Cottonmouth throws Tone off a building.

My second favorite scene is Jidenna's performance of "Long Live the Chief."  In fact, he needs to just go ahead and make this the song's new official video.

What about y'all?


Toxic Masculinity: The Convo Continues

So there's a bit of writing currently making its round that I felt would be appropriate at the Bar:
"When I was a freshman, my sister was in eighth grade. There was a boy in two of her periods who would ask her out every single day. (Third and seventh period, if I remember correctly.) All day during third and seventh she would repeatedly tell him no. She didn’t beat around the bush, she didn’t lie and say she was taken – she just said no.

One day, in third period, after being rejected several times, he said; “I have a gun in my locker. If you don’t say yes, I am going to shoot you in seventh.”

She refused again, but right after class she went to the principal’s office and told them what happened. They searched his locker and there was a gun in his backpack.

When he was arrested, some of my sister’s friends (some female, even) told her that she was selfish for saying no so many times. That because of her, the entire school was in jeopardy. That it wouldn’t have killed her to say yes and give it a try, but because she was so mean to him, he lost his temper. Many of her male friends said it was 'girls like her' that made all women seem like cock-teases.

Wouldn’t have killed her to say yes? If a man is willing to shoot someone for saying no, what happens to the poor soul who says yes? What happens the first time they disagree? What happens the first time she says she doesn’t want to have sex? That she isn’t in the mood? When they break up?


The Bar Pops Pink Champagne for Star Trek

See Also

"Star Trek", by Abagond

Since I blog mostly on the weekends now, I struggle to pick topics (since there are so many things to talk about).  The 50th anniversary of the Star Trek franchise seemed a no-brainer.

The Original Series

Star Trek: The Original Series first aired back in 1966 on September 8th, same as my younger brother's day.  Side note, I know some of you are like, "Um...K?  You've never mentioned having a brother.  We've heard and seen all about your sisters, but not your brother, K."  I just met him for the first time back in May, y'all.  But that's another topic for another day.

Back to TOS...one of my fondest early childhood memories was watching this show with my father back in our old (and admittedly ratchet) apartment in Austin, Texas.  My father's fandom was what made the experience memorable, not so much the show.

Despite my love for the iconic Spock and the goddess Uhura, I don't really watch TOS anymore (for obvious reasons).  It's just far too dated for my taste, and unlike many Trekkies, I don't like Kirk.  He served his purpose introducing us to the Star Trek universe, but that's pretty much about it.

The Next Generation

I remember exactly where I was when Star Trek: The Next Generation debuted.  I was with my father and older sisters in Institute, West Virginia.  There had been slight confusion; we knew there would be Star Trek on that night but when we heard new music and saw the words "The Next Generation" my father practically exploded with glee.


The Bar Loves Zulaikha Patel

Do you know how many sistas would sell their souls
for a fro like this????

I cannot express just how in awe I am of this tiny human.

I don't even want kids, but if I did have/adopt a baby girl, I would want her to turn out just like 13-year-old Zulaikha Patel, a South African student who fought - and is technically still fighting - for the right to rock an afro so flawless and majestic it rivals Foxy Brown's.


How about we stop defending male perversion?

Couple things. First, it’s not like the news of Parker’s history was on some special Google for stars of Black Netflix or some shit. A regular google would have found everything about the case. It resurfaced in the sense that more people are talking about it now, but it’s always been there.

And more people are talking about it now because more people are talking about Nate Parker now. When he was starring in
Rome & Jewel and Pride and Blood Done Sign My Name, no one — at least no one in entertainment media — gave enough of a damn about him to investigate his past. But he’s a big deal now. And when you’re a big deal with tens of millions of dollars invested in you and your project, everything about you and your past becomes media fodder. Particularly something as serious as a rape allegation. He’s not the first and he won’t be the last person — Black or White; man or woman — to make it big and then have some unflattering details about his life become news. - Damon Young, Very Smart Brothas
As the Blackest year in modern history starts to wind down, let's make a pact that by the time 2017 starts, we will no longer defend men who sexually violate women and girls.

As Nate Parker joins the ranks of Bill Cosby and Shane Sparks, we see the same tired, defensive narratives coming into play.  Folks are talking about "bringing down another Black man", "smearing the messenger", the "fishiness" of the timing, and all that other bullshit.  This has nothing to do with timing, or a conspiracy to bring down yet another Black man.  This has everything to toxic masculinity and its unhealthy fascination with sexual assault.  I don't call it "non-consensual sex" because rape and molestation are not sex; they're a form of assault.  It's crucial people learn to make that distinction.

The stories of Parker, Cosby, and Sparks read like Greek plays, in that each one is the central character whose past actions bring about his own downfall after he attains great heights.  And the catalyst is always the same - each man engaged in some form of sexual assault, and did so with the confidence that his actions would never come back to haunt him.  Nate Parker was acquitted at his rape trial in 1999.  His accuser then committed suicide in 2012.  To your average rapist/child molester, these are optimal conditions.  But now, in Parker's finest hour, in his moment of triumph as an artist, after making multi-million-dollar history at the Sundance Festival, the ghost of his accuser speaks yet again.

That's not conspiracy, children.  That is karma.


#Represent: Danusia Francis at the Olympics

Looks like Jamaica's getting a second representative!

Funny story about Danusia: She was born in Britain, currently lives in Los Angeles and attends UCLA (whom she also competes for).  She was a reserve gymnast on behalf of Britain in 2012, but because she represented Jamaica at the 2015 World Championships, she qualified to test for their Olympic team.  Needles to say, she passed.

I'm really excited that Danusia is at the Olympics because she's known for her flexibility, which I can only describe as, well...insane.

This truly is the Blackest year ever. Someone said this year's Olympic gymnastic event is going to be a bloodbath, and well...yes and no. I'm so glad all these Black and Brown girls are making/going to make history this year, so it's win-win either way. However...they all have eyes on the gold, and they all can't have it.

Let the games begin.


Karen Chen, #Represent


The Bar Loves Nathan Chen (no relation)

If you haven't already, stop by Nathan Chen's GoFundMe page on your next pay day and show the dude some love.  I want him to go the 2018 Olympics, land his quads, and snatch the gold.  Not the silver, not the bronze - the gold.

While you're showing Nathan some love, do the same for your girl Starr Andrews.  Some of you remember when she was a tiny human and did an incredible routine to Willow Smith's "Whip My Hair"; that video has garnered 40 million views thus far. Starr's now a teenager with her eye on Olympic gold in 2018 and 2022.  And since she's the only African American skater with an actual shot, I want her to snatch *clap* that *clap* gold.

In case you didn't get the memo, tonight's theme at the Bar is Melanin on Ice.  *sips vodka and ginger ale*

I stumbled across Karen Chen by accident; I was searching for a specific competition, and noticed there was abundant footage and focus on the White girls, but not the girls with Asian-sounding names in this listing.  The minute I saw "Karen Chen", I automatically starting searching for her videos.