Jan 08

Trailer Jive: THE LAZARUS EFFECT (2015)

the lazarus effect film

 

I was wondering the other day why I couldn’t find this trailer. Evidently Blumhouse Productions was sitting on it. But now we get our first taste of the horror film starring Olivia Wilde, Evan Peters, Mark Duplass and the Gambino himself – Donald Glover.

We all know that when people start playing around with ways to bring animals and people back from the dead that things can go wrong.  They are always trying to cheat death and death don’t like being cheated.  Enter Zoe, Frank and Niko who are experimenting with a serum that can bring life back to a corpse.  But when Zoe dies accidentally they team rush to prematurely try the serum on her.  And hey, it’s works! But not in the way they expected.  Check the trailer and look for the film Feb. 27th.

 

 

 

Dec 30

A List of Black Nerd Podcasts

I’ve listened to a lot of podcasts. I’ve always had an appreciation for the spoken word.  I love to hear all kinds, but there’s some things that I can genuinely relate to when listening to a so-called Black Nerd podcast. The special humor and cultural references make them particularly entertaining. I’m starting this list with the very first podcast that I subscribed to.  It was suggested by a friend who knew I would like a show about Comic artist interviews. And that’s where it all began.

 

Sidebar Nation (Sidebarnation.com) A Four Part Color Conversation about Comics, Art and Pop-Culture Hosted by Swain, Dwight and Adrian. This was the very first podcast I listened to on the regular.  My friend Hulkmad 27 put me onto their show years ago and I’ve been a loyal fan ever since. These three gentlemen focus on interviewing top comic artist and fantasy illustrators and they do a fantastic job. Find them in iTunes under Sidebar.

Geek Syndicate (geeksyndicate.co.uk) – “In 2006, the Geek Syndicate was born. And who came roaring out but a pair of crazy-yet-loveable geeks by the names David “Monts” Monteith and Barry “Nuge” Nugent. Producing a weekly podcast celebrating and commenting all aspects of geek life. It’s critically acclaimed, irreverent, touching, intellectual, nonsensical, fairly drunken, incredibly sexy, hilarious…er…and stuff.” These guys stay cracking me up. And not only do they their own show but they have formed a network of other interesting podcasts under their umbrella. Find them in iTunes.

Black Girl Nerds (blackgirlnerds.com) – A show hosted by Jamie Broadnax, founder of BGN.  She presents a variety of topics from light talk about Sci-fi and Fantasy to more serious social issues about race, gender and more. There are always interesting guests and Jamie puts together great panels featuring her geektastic BGN followers.  You can hear the BGN Podcast live on the TWIB.fm Network on Sundays at 7pm eastern at twib.fm/live.  You can follow on twitter at @BlackGirlNerds and @BGNPodcast or join the conversations under #BGNPodcast

The Black Geeks Radio Show (http://theblackgeeks.com) – A close knit crew of black guys that love Sci-fi and fantasy everything.  Big Baba Rob is the ring leader and is joined by Darth Geekonius, King Phayce, Potbelly Samurai and Ghost.  You will hear all kinds discussions on how good or bad a particular Comic Book film was, or which Star Trek Captain was the best.  It’s always a fun conversation about pop culture, news and film reviews, but the tangents are just as entertaining.  Currently The Black Geeks Radio Show airs Sundays at 10pm est. on Blog Talk Radio. You can find them in iTunes.

KCRW The Treatment with Elvis Mitchell ( http://www.kcrw.com/news-culture/shows/the-treatment) – Every week, host and film critic Elvis Mitchell conducts in-depth interviews with the most innovative and influential people working in entertainment, art, and pop culture.  He’s such a big nerd that he often enlightens his guests on the meaning of their own artistic works.  “I’ve just been Mitchell’d” is what some guest have coined the experience. Find his show in iTunes.

Nerdgasm Noir Network (http://www.nerdgasmnoire.net/) – 5 Geeks, 5 Opinions. These ladies always have something to say about TV shows, films, books and more. Their conversations also tackle issues with equality for gender, race and other disenfranchised groups. You can listen to them live on Tuesdays around 9pm or find them on iTunes and Stitcher.   @NerdgasmNoire

Black Geek Movie Talk (http://www.blogtalkradio.com/blackgeekmovietalk) – “We’re geeky, we’re black, and we love movies!!! We’ll be talking mainly about scifi/fantasy films in what will hopefully be a fun and interesting format.”  Two sisters who love science fiction and fantasy film and give their personal take on big feature and limited release films. You can also find them in iTunes or catch their show Live usually on Sundays.

Cinema Noir (http://www.blogtalkradio.com/cinemainnoir) – “We discuss all things cinema–from a black female perspective.”  These three ladies focus on major and independent film, particularly ones that feature black actors and subjects.  Film Fatale is the biggest nerd of the crew with her love of comicbook films. You can listen live on Sundays at 6 PM, EST on Blog Talk Radio. Follow them on twitter – @CinemaInNoir, @FilmFatale_NYC, @ReelTalker and @reelsistas.

The Black Tribbles (http://blacktribbles.podomatic.com/) – “Everything sci-fi, comic books, movies, video games, cartoons and anything a geek would love gets tossed around by the 5-headed hairy hoard of Black Tribbles. We reveal untold stories of geek history, showcase new and upcoming projects, engage in thought-provoking conversation and provide critical insight into a culture that is often devoid of a black influence; all with a humorous irreverent tone that delights as it educates.”  This group is a collective of talented and knowledgable geeks.  Find them in iTunes and follow on Twitter – @BlackTribbles

Operation Cubicle (http://operationcubicle.podomatic.com/) – A nerd podcast doesn’t get nerdier than this – a scientist named Shareef Jackson and a tech nerd named JP get together and talk about surviving today’s work environment.  But to balance out the nerd talk are great drops of hip-hop. @OperationCube @ShareefJackson

Fanbros (http://fanbros.com/) – “Where the bros are fans, or something to that effect.”  A fun show hosted by DJ BenHameen, Tatiana King-Jones, Chico Leo and Kimsonian.  They keep the show lively with great guests and interesting segments including news, reviews and BenHaMeen’s ‘Comics I Copt.’ iTunes and Stitcher! And follow on twitter @FanBrosShow

Genesis Science Fiction Radio (http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/127374) – “The Genesis Science Fiction Radio features conversations with creators and consumers about relevant topics in science fiction from a black perspective.” Produced by the Black Science Fiction Society and hosted by William Hayashi, the show airs live on Fridays at 9pm est. on Talkshoe.com.  Find them in iTunes.

3 Black Geeks (http://3blackgeeks.libsyn.com/) – “3 Black guys reppin all black geeks everywhere!  We review the best Black movies, action, kung fu, cheesy, anime/manga, comics, and everything that white people thinks that black people aren’t into.” Hilarious and in-depth talks about whatever particular subject they choose.  Find them in iTunes.

The Nerd Element (http://www.thenerdelement.com/podcast-empire/) – This is actually a collection of podcasts. From their site – “The Nerd Element exists to bring people together that “Nerd Out” about similar things. Whether you nerd out about comic books, movies, video games or sports The Nerd Element is the place for you. Welcome to The Nerd Element…The Science of Nerds.” I personally stay on their TVTalk with Natty and Kim, but check out all of their shows. Catch Natty and Kim on twitter also – @willcat12 and . Find them in iTunes.

Blerds On Nerds – (blerdsonnerds.libsyn.com) “We’re a weekly podcast of pure nerd geekdom with an overdose of black nerd bliss! We discuss the past week’s highlights in technology, movies, gaming, and comics while reliving our geek roots with ‘Blast from the Past’ and paying homage to Black Nerds that have or are paving the road for us.” Listen to this energetic pair on iTunes and Stitcher. Find them on Facebook and Twitter – @BlerdNerd

 

I know what you are thinking! “Is that all the black nerd podcasts there are?”  Absolutely not!  These are just some of the shows I’ve listened to for a while.  Come back for my updates and additions to this list. There are plenty more and the list will get longer and longer in no time! And don’t forget to check out my podcast located in the sidebar to the right. Geek Soul Brother and the Nerdy Venoms.

Dec 14

GSB Film Review: TOP FIVE (2014)

TOP-FIVE-POSTER

 

You would think a romantic comedy that deals with the pressures of fame, family, alcoholism and unpaid prostitutes would be too much to fit into a film and actually work. But writer / director Chris Rock packs it all together nicely in his new film – TOP FIVE.

Andre Allen is an international star of comedy. The highlight of his career so far seems to be him playing a most popular character – Hammy the Bear. But now Andre wants to take his acting in a different direction.  He’s also getting married to reality star Erica Long, played by Gabrielle Union. At this point, in steps Times Magazine reporter Chelsea Brown (Rosario Dawson) who is assigned to get the inside scoop on Adrian’s life.

If you are expecting this to be Chris Rock’s stand up routines turned into a 2 hour situational comedy then think again. The film is a hilarious, but also a decently written fictional allegory for an uber famous comedian and his possible struggles.  In fact the strength of this film is in the way Rock had layered Andre’s internal journey – both past and present – with the interactions of the people around him, especially Rosario.  I love romantic comedies and this was a good one.  My screen crush on Rosario has been rekindled, don’t judge me.  The chemistry between Chris’ and Rosario was great.  It added real charm to the story with scenes and conversation making the film feel like an independent feature.  On the opposite side, the cameos of comedic geniuses and legends brought a validity to it.

Bravo to Chris Rock’s directing. Looking at his filmography you can see in TOP FIVE the level of polish and maturity his cinematic eye is reaching. He was taking more time in telling the story then his previous work in I Think I Love My Wife, which I liked. His acting? It was okay. Chris definitely had his on screen moments, but it was hard not seeing Chris being Chris playing Andre if you know what I mean.  But speaking on Rock’s handling of the writing, he showed true finesse in crafting a story that was pretty much a metaphor unto itself.  Basically TOP FIVE was Rock telling the world that he’s ready to venture into new creative and artistic territory through the tale of Andre, and looks to the public to share in his growth as a filmmaker.

Was it a fairytale? A biopic? A crude comedy with gratuitous penal references?  It was all of that.  And this is why I think the film will grow on people that love interesting cinema. Therefore Geek Soul Brother gives TOP FIVE 4.0 out of 5 Cosmic Afros.

4-Cosmic-Afros

Dec 02

Trailer Jive: PREDESTINATION

Predestination Ethan 01

 

Ethan Hawk, somebody called The Fizzle Bomber, and a Time Machine that comes in a violin case.  It doesn’t get more intriguing than that.  Oh wait, temporal agents!  That’s more intriguing.  A critic of a publication said that PREDESTINATION was this year’s answer to LOOPER.  Normally I would scoff at such claims.  But I heard that comparing it to the coolness of Bruce Willis’ time travel feature is putting it lightly.  If fact it may flip your mind even more.  The premiere date is set for January 9th 2015, but only in limited release.  If you’re a Sci-fi geek that loves Time Travel films and you don’t mind your brain turning into mush thinking about them, go see this film.

 

 

Nov 30

GSB Film Review: HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY (2014)

 

hunger_games_mocking_jay

 

When I first heard about The Hunger Games I didn’t know it was a teen book series. I leave that kind of important information to my fellow geek and avid reader Shumara a.k.a. @Illumeenous and other book geeks like her.

My first thought of the original film was that it must be a Battle Royal rip by the looks of it. But after seeing it I gathered the story had much more going for it. The second installment – CATCHING FIRE, with the introduction of other characters and underlying plots, solidified my understanding that the series was a more complex dystopian future than I first realized.

MOCKINGJAY brought the overall story to a whole new level.  The acting and drama were excellent. The story of Katniss stiring the fires of rebellion in the fascist state of Panam matured into a quality political piece which made you forget that this was supposed to be a teen oriented science fiction film.

Hats off to Jennifer Lawrence, who came back to reprise her role with even more gravitas after expanding her filmography in other major Hollywood projects (Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle).  But, as good as Lawrence was, she did not outshine the rest of the cast including Julianne Moore, Elizabeth Banks, Josh Hutcherson and many others.  Hutcherson especially delivered a gripping scene in the third act.

Though a seasoned film-goer would probably see a few of the twists coming, the film worked in keeping the story believable through its intense situations and emotional tension.  Most of this was done by keeping Katniss in the middle of opposing factions, but also keeping her character genuine in light of the previous films. When you thought Katniss was among friends with the rebels you started to get the feeling  that they were only using her to meet their goals. And even though there were plenty of closeups of Katniss and Peta tearing up at each other, and people brainstorming on how Katniss could fan the flames of revolution, the movie had several scenes of life threatening or explosive action.  And a personal note: I liked how director Francis Lawrence mirrored the endings of the second and third film with a closeup of Katniss having all the feels of the moment.

Now that I’ve seen the first part of the final story I can see that the studio wasn’t just doing a cash grab for more box office dollars by spitting the third book into two parts.  They probably needed two films to expand and complete the story properly.  I’m glad they went in that direction because one story might have rushed the plot.  But I’m sure they also wanted more money too. It is a business, right?

You can’t watch this film by itself. It just wouldn’t make sense just dropping you into the middle of it. You have to go back and watch the first two. That’s the only drawback to an otherwise great continuation to the story arc.  In light of that I give THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY a rating of 4.25 out of 5 COSMIC AFROS.

Nov 07

Top 10 Black Directors for Marvel’s BLACK PANTHER Film

Black Panther film

 

Last week Marvel released their slate of films coming out until 2019 including Avengers: Infinity War. Two films that fans were waiting to see were The Black Panther and Captain Marvel.  I’m glad they chose Chadwick Bosemam to play the ruler of Wakanda.  Of course we talked about the news on our podcast in depth.  One of our callers and friend of the show – @Bison4Life asked if Marvel should also pick a black director? We all agreed that it would be cool, but as long as they picked a great director, black or otherwise, we would be happy. Well Marvel, if you so decide on a talented director, that happens to be black, here are my top ten choices (in no particular order). Incidentally, I heard a rumor they were thinking of Reginald Hudlin, who wrote a Black Panther comic story and is an accomplished director.  Mmmmaybe he would be a good choice, but read my list and see what you think.

1. THE HUGHES BROTHERS – Okay, that’s two.  But they come in a pair like an awesome pair of pants.  Well, they used to come in a pair. The directors of Book of Eli and From Hell have said they retired and went their separate ways. Do you think the Black Panther film would bring them back together?  Even if one of them decided to take on the project, I think either of them would be a good choice.

2. ANTOINE FUQUA – He knows his action with films like The Equalizer remake, Training Day and Olympus Has Fallen.  He’s a serious director, but would he be interested joining the Marvel team?

3. TIM STORY – Say what you want, but this brother is the only director that I know of that directed not one, but TWO major superhero films.  Sure we didn’t like the cast, the story plot, the writing and the characters of the Fantastic Four films. But was the directing bad?  If this man had a good story, script and a great cast to work with, what would happen?

4. SYLVAIN WHITE – Another brother that directed a film based on a graphic novel.  Did you like The Losers?

5. MALCOLM D. LEE – He knows how to work an ensemble cast.  And he knows how to bring a range of emotion to a film as seen in his recent work Best Man Holiday.  Lee’s style might not be too unique, but nuance may be the key for directing a Panther film.

6. KASI LEMMONS – Another director that would bring emotion and depth to the Wakandan Kingdom.  Talk To Me is one of my favorite Don Cheadle film. And since he’s already War Machine, maybe we can have a head to head with Kasi directing the epic confrontation.

7. F. GARY GRAY – Action, Drama and Thrillers are under this man’s resume. Gray has directed some classic films and his Panther film would probably be packed with a lot of awesomeness.

8. JOHN SINGLETON – This man knows how to bring the ‘Cocky’ out of a character and T’Challa isn’t anything if he isn’t cocky.  But from that Singleton also tells the story of the heroes journey in his films and the lessons learned from assuming too much too soon, which is a staple for some of Marvel’s heroes.

9. PETER RAMSEY – Director of the feature animation Rise of the Guardians, Ramsey would be a great fit to bring the fantasy of the Panther universe to life.  Working as an artist, he would probably be familiar with the Black Panther comics and the essence of the material the film would be based on.

10. STEVE McQUEEN – He would bring an introspective character portrayal to the Black Panther.  I think McQueen’s Marvel film would be atmospheric and draw you wholeheartedly into the story.  I could see scenes of T’Challa pondering the desperation of some parts of Africa while his kingdom flourishes.

So what do you think?  Are there better choices I missed, like maybe Denzel Washington? Yeah, he’s a pretty good director too. Feel free to add to the list so Marvel can’t say we didn’t try to help them out.

Oct 20

GSB Film Review: DEAR WHITE PEOPLE (2014)

 

Dear White Ppl FB Poster

 

DEAR WHITE PEOPLE follows the stories of four black students at an Ivy League college where a riot breaks out over a popular “African American” themed party thrown by white students.

 

 

Justin Simien weaves an intricate story about the subtleties of how racial issues affects us, and how the entire subject is tenuously defined by the idea of black and white.

There are a few heavy drops of race talk given for the sake of comedy and setup.  But underneath is the true nature of the discussion.  Several points of view were sifted through the storytelling lens.  And in the middle of it all was the observant Mr. Higgins, who didn’t quite fit on any side of the conversation.  Tyler James Williams (Everybody Hates Chris) gave a very good performance as Lionel, a kid trying to find his way as a journalist, but having trouble just being accepted in any facet.  One of the things I enjoyed about Williams’ performance was the many times he commented on the conflicts in the film with priceless facial expressions.  Tessa Thompson and Brandon P. Bell also did a decent job of carrying the weight of the drama in this overall comedy.  They sold me on their characters going from the stereotypical pro-black or integrate argument to revealing their multifaceted sides as they became more three dimensional and emotive.  Kyle Gallner and Justin Dobies also provided good portrayals of the varying degrees to which white people understand or dismiss the open conversations of black people.

Simien also paid a healthy dose of homage to Spike Lee and his classic SCHOOL DAZE.  But this film was a more intelligent look at race relations and how far we have come, or not come, in the current generation.  It doesn’t hide the fact that there are many white people that still have to comprehend the complexity of being a person of color in this society. But the story also provides a view of how some black people struggle to define themselves, or rather struggle with the supposed need to define themselves because that’s what society tells them to do.  By the end you are left wondering if it all means anything.  But you also know that addressing these topics are necessary.  Because if we don’t have these conversations then ‘Hip Hop’ parties will continue to plague us.  You will see when you watch the film.

I wasn’t rolling in my seat with laughter.  Nor was I downtrodden with overt racial themes.  I enjoyed the film because it became interesting in how the characters and their stories became intertwined and culminated into a final climatic outcome.

And I have to say something about the cinematography and directing.  Simien’s use of parallels in the framing of some early scenes were striking metaphors for the polarized interactions of the characters while also reminding us of the backdrop of an ivy league school.  That’s for you film students out there.

DEAR WHITE PEOPLE is an enjoyable film that has some laughs and several good messages that you will mull over in your brain.  It carries on a realistic conversation that I wish was being carried on in reality more often.  Geek Soul Brother gives it 4.25 out of 5 COSMIC AFROS.

 

4.25-Cosmic-Afros

 

Mar 16

METAL HURLANT CHRONICLES Coming to Syfy Channel

Metal+Hurlant+Poster

I was always a fan of the magazine HEAVY METAL, although it did fall off in the nineties for me.  Still it had great adult science fiction stories and the animated motion picture was crazy.  The magazine started in France as Metal Hurlant before it came to the states.  Now Syfy is bringing the modern French TV series to the states. METAL HURLANT CHRONICLES will be premiering April 14th at 8pm est.  But there is already a first season out there somewhere.  And I’m always glad to see Michael Jai White starring in a film or TV show. Check the trailer…


And there is a season two being developed in France.  Hope the first season is a hit over here in the USA.  When I ask people if they have ever read the magazine they usually look at me crazy. And these are Science Fiction and Comic fans. What can you do. lol

 

Metal Hurlant FBLikes

Mar 12

Game of Thrones Mixtape! Not big on HBO’s Intentions, but great Artists!

Any time you want to get an ‘urban’ audience to sink money into your product, and the first idea you come up with is a hip-hop rap, my Afro-Antenna start to sense radio signals in the form of profiling and stereotyping. To me it’s suspect that your first goto for marketing to people-of-color, and your idea of an urban environment, is rap.  I’m not saying that strategy is insulting in itself.  If your product is geared to a city lifestyle, then it makes sense to include culture in your advertising.

But what if your product doesn’t have anything to do with hip-hop, or urban culture, or even people of color for the most part?  What if your product doesn’t have anything to do with this time period, or even reality?  What if your product is simply one of the best fantasy TV shows that is currently on air?  It has great storytelling, and characters that everybody can connect with.  It even has a dude on the short side that people are rooting for when it comes to winning the – GAME OF THRONES.


The Wall Street Journal posted an article last week about HBO hiring rappers, both promanint and underground talents, to make a CATCH THE THRONE mixtape based on the hit TV show.  On the surface, I have no problem with this.  I think it was an interesting and unique creative endeavor.  But from the tone of the article, HBO intentions weren’t only to do something different, but to hopefully use the mixtape to attract ‘Urban / Multicultural’ audiences.  In marketing speak, that mostly translates to African American and Latino people, mostly.  According to the article, the Mixtape was HBO’s way trying to bring up their numbers for the show, where the Black and Latino percentage of viewers are lower than the network’s general viewership.  The logic was that since rap has influenced the buying habits of urban audiences, why not use that power to spread the reach of GoT.  But to be fair, I’m still not sure if it was the sentiments of the article’s author, or actually the network.  I’m going with network.

So here’s what bothers me.  First of all, just because a rap mentions something, doesn’t mean Black people will automatically buy it. I’m not going to say it doesn’t happen.  But despite what other people think, Black people, and Latino people, don’t all act the same.  Nor do they act like economic automatons, hypnotically following what the media says.  I mean, not more than anybody else.

Second, if you want more Black and Latino audiences to watch a show, maybe you should just traditionally market the show to them. Or even better, include some Black heroes in that joint.  And please white brothers and sisters of geekdom, don’t start listing how many Black characters are in the show or books.  I already know.   Don’t be one of those people that can’t distinguish between a side character and a hero.  Or did you think T-Dawg in Walking Dead was on the same storytelling level as most all of the other major characters?  Thank you for bring in Tyrese and Michonne and the others to balance things out.

But you know what? I’m not even hating on the fact that the major players in Game of Thrones are white.  Not a problem.  Because like many Black people, I just like quality shows.  So HBO, don’t hit me with what you think an Urban audience will respond to.   Hit them with what you think ‘People’ will respond to.  Unless you plan on doing another Mixtape for your other series GIRLS.  Definitely not watching that.

TORN FEELINGS

Needless to say, I actually like the Mixtape a lot.  It has Big Boy and Common and other well known artist giving up all kinds of nerdalicious lyrics about the show.  I don’t listen to rap for the most part.  Nothing against it at all, I’m just more of a jazz and instrumental type person. That being said, I can’t get enough of ARYA’S PRAYER by Dominik Omega. And I’m feelin’ several other tracks as well.  If all rap was spittin’ about Science Fiction and Fantasy like this I would be listening 24/7.  Understand, I’m not posting it to spread the word for HBO, but to shine light on these artists and give my fellow nerds something they might enjoy. Odds are you’re already watching GoT if your reading this.

Here’s a clip from Vibe about the production of the mix:

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So yeah, I gave HBO the side-eye for a minute about their intentions of this project, but I think they produced a cool mix with some awesome artists that really appreciate the show. My thinking is the mixtape may not bring a lot of people to watch the show.  But a lot of Game of Thrones nerds are going to be asking for more lyricists to rap about Khaleesi and the Starks.

Jan 30

Fantasy Artist Dave Wilkins Interview

profile_dave_wilkins-d6v0xdk-1IN THIS EPISODE:

Fantasy artist Dave Wilkins has worked for DC Comics, Dark Horse, IDW, Marvel, Warner Brothers Entertainment, Capcom, and recently did a cover for Heavy Metal Magazine #265 that featured the first woman of African decent.  We were honored to have him on the show.  It was a great interview and Dave is a great person to know.  You can find Dave’s artwork at his Deviant Art Page dave-wilkins.deviantart.com.

  • Heavy-Metal-265-221x300How Dave started and taught himself art?

  • Who were his major influences?

  • What advice he had for beginning artists that want to teach themselves?

 

 

 

 

GEEK SOUL BROTHER AND THE 5 NERDY VENOMS airs live on Tuesdays at 10pm at TALKSHOE.COM.  We feature News of a Nerdy kind, Movie and Television reviews, and commentary about Geek Culture.  Join my nerdy friends and I, and special guest for a great conversation.   Make sure you subscribe to the Talkshoe page so you can get emails on upcoming shows.  And you can find us in ITUNES HERE.

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