August 07, 2014


Aries Mar 21 - Apr 19


Though there's a fun element to the week, you'll also be aware of a difficult issue that needs attention. For instance, the heady enjoyment of romance might contrast with problems around finances, which take the edge off of a date night or special occasion. Things might be made all the more difficult as your motivation could limp along on Thursday and Friday. You'll need to summon your energy and make a determined effort to face up to whatever is bothering you. It's party time over the weekend!




Taurus Apr 20 – May 20


There may be a power struggle going on, so be careful what you say if you want to come out of it looking good. Words can sting, especially at this time when Mars in Scorpio can encourage heated disagreements. Yet with a little diplomacy you'll be able to talk through matters and soothe ruffled feathers. Over the weekend the Full Moon in Aquarius suggests you may be in the spotlight for one reason or another. You'll also get a chance to reflect upon your goals and priorities.




Gemini May 21 - Jun 20


There's a lively social undertone this week encouraging you to pursue contacts, friendships, and memberships. Yet you may need to work hard at communicating with a significant other, particularly if you're not seeing eye-to-eye. Stubbornness could be a major stumbling block if neither of you is willing to compromise. Perhaps you both want the same thing in the end, which you'll find out by keeping the conversation going. Meanwhile, there's a chance of romance over the weekend.




Cancer Jun 21 - Jul 22


Directing your energy into the right channels brings opportunities for success. In this case, brainstorming moneymaking ideas and coming up with creative outlets for your talents could substantially increase your income. When it comes to romance, though, a love interest could be irritable and hard to please. Persuading the person to join you for a social outing or date night could be an uphill struggle. But the weekend Full Moon could be your saving grace in this regard, encouraging positive interaction.




Leo Jul 23 - Aug 22


You're vibrating to the social buzz of summer and eager to mix and mingle with pals and associates. And you're truly in your element with your astrological ruler, the Sun, in your sign. But you could be treading a fine line when it comes to home and family matters. Your upbeat mood could be offset by someone's darker and more manipulative energy. However, the Full Moon on Sunday may push you into saying things you've been holding back - to good effect.




Virgo Aug 23 - Sep 22


Though you may be busy this week, the current lineup hints that this is a good time to relax and recharge. With a focus on your spiritual sector, your inner world and inner life may seem more appealing and even more important than your day-to-day circumstances. Meditating and reflecting on your goals and dreams could be particularly rewarding, especially if you've been feeling uncertain about a course of action. Time out can bring valuable insights and clarity concerning decisions that need to be made.




Libra Sep 23 - Oct 22


With partnership activity stimulated, there may be a few kinks and disagreements to work through before you can make progress this week. At times you could hit up against communication problems that might not yield easily to discussion or compromise. However, with a fabulous social scene showing up, time spent with friends can help ease any heartache. The result will be that you'll begin to see things from a healthier and more relaxed perspective. However, aim for sensitivity when dealing with loved ones.




Scorpio Oct 23 - Nov 21


A fortunate trend provides freedom of action and the chance to showcase your skills and abilities to good effect. With a sizzling focus on career, opportunities abound for enhancing work and business success. However, you may need to clear up unfinished business first in order to be ready for new and exciting projects. There could be a conflict of interest that you'll need to resolve before you can take advantage of the smorgasbord of favorable circumstances on offer. The Full Moon is excellent for partying over the weekend.




Sagittarius Nov 22 - Dec 21


The urge to get away is strong, which could mean getting lost in a daydream, fantasy, good book, or movie. Equally, you'll be eager to travel to new places and explore new horizons. Whether or not you can take a trip now, contemplating one for the future may give you something to look forward to. Watch out for the Full Moon on Sunday, as feelings could be intense. Try not to do or say anything that you might regret at a later date - but do have fun!




Capricorn Dec 22 - Jan 19


An opulent lineup in your zone of shared resources hints at a windfall or increase in business and income. However, there could be a temptation to indulge. It could be all too easy to max out your credit card and come unstuck later. Budgeting may be a way to go in order to guard against this. In addition, your social life looks livelier than has been in some time. Use this opportunity to network with folks who pull the strings and make the decisions.




Aquarius Jan 20 - Feb 18


While it won't all be clear sailing in your career, a more focused and incisive frame of mind can make solid headway possible. When talking to others, you might need to ignore their words and instead go with your gut feelings, particularly when sussing out deals or job opportunities. However, relationships of all kinds continue to flourish. Whether you're in a long-term partnership or looking for love, the week ahead brings all the ingredients together for you to have as much fun as possible.




Pisces Feb 19 - Mar 20

Where your job and lifestyle are concerned, whether you feel a restless stirring within or circumstances beyond your control provide the motivation, it's to your advantage to embrace the notion of change. Passions are strong when it comes to expanding your horizons in general, giving you the courage to make a bold move. The presence of Mars in Scorpio can push you to explore new options. You may be looking for something that speaks to your need for intense experiences that can transform your life.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

August 07, 2014


Just last year, Chadwick Boseman successfully channeled the spirit of Jackie Robinson in “42”, a powerful biopic about the Hall of Fame great who made history when he integrated Major League Baseball in 1947. In Get on Up, the gifted young actor is already impersonating another legendary African-American, the Godfather of Soul, James Brown (1933-2006).


Unfortunately, this revisionist fairytale works better as a jukebox musical than as an accurate recitation of the late crooner’s checkered past. The problem is that Brown simply is hard to portray sympathetically, despite his overcoming abject poverty and a dysfunctional childhood on the road to superstardom.


Yes, he was abandoned by abusive parents (Viola Davis and Lennie James) at the home of an aunt (Octavia Spencer) in Augusta, Georgia who did her best to raise him in the absence of a father figure. Nevertheless, James dropped out of school in the 7th grade, took to the streets, and spent several years behind bars for an armed robbery committed at just 16.


Upon parole, he made a foray into showbiz after joining the Famous Flames, the first of numerous R&B groups he would headline over the course of a career marked again and again by bad break-ups due to disagreements he had over salary with disgruntled sidemen. Brown would also have further run-ins with the law, ranging from repeated arrests for domestic violence against three different battered wives, to embezzlement, tax evasion and bankruptcy, to another three years in prison for illegal drug and weapons possession, assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest. 


Somehow, Tate Taylor (The Help) has figured a way to put a positive spin on the tarnished legacy of this terribly-flawed figure. Rather than have the film unfold chronologically, the inventive director has crafted an oft-confusing flashback flick which jumps backwards and forwards in time in dizzying fashion with no apparent rhyme or reason.


That scattershot approach ostensibly enables “Get on Up” to sidestep the more tawdry episodes on Brown’s resume without appearing to leave gaping holes in his life story. Consequently, the movie sits on solid ground during gyrating Boseman’s lip-synched, onstage performances of such James Brown hits as “I Feel Good,” “It’s a Man’s World,” “Super Bad” and “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud,” but not so much whenever it shifts its focus to its morally-objectionable protagonist’s poor people skills.


A nostalgic indulgence which, like the cinematic equivalent of a fluffy fanzine, eschews serious criticism of a revered icon in favor of a pleasant parade of his most memorable classics.


Very Good (2.5 stars)


Rated PG-13 for sexuality, drug use, profanity and violence


Running time: 138 minutes


Distributor: Universal Pictures


To see a trailer for Get on Up, visit: watch?v=guOS6ev6hQ0

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

July 31, 2014


By Steve Furay

Special to the NNPA to The Michigan Citizen



James “J Dilla” Yancey, the late Detroit music producer whose stardom has grown globally since his passing in 2006, is headed toward enshrinement in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. Dilla’s mother Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey, announced the news at the ninth annual “D.C. Loves Dilla” event on July 17.


The legendary hip hop musician will be represented in the museum by his MPC beat machine and his custom Moog synthesizer.


“It’s a beginning,” said Yancey on stage during the Howard Theater tribute concert that featured N’Dea Davenport, Maimouna Youssef and Pharoahe Monch, “and (there’s) so much more to come now that I’ve been practicing what I’ve been preaching to you guys: That when you’re given something special, it’s made to like, love, share. Love is not made to put in your pocket or your home, it’s for sharing. And gifts are made for sharing. So we’re going to share the equipment.”


Yancey introduced the audience to Timothy Anne Burnside of the Smithsonian Museum, who worked with the longtime Conant Gardens, Detroit resident to secure the contribution of the equipment.


“On behalf of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and from the bottom of my heart, we want to thank you for sharing your son’ legacy with us and for trusting us to share it with the world,” said Burnside.


She stated the two items donated “will be used to tell not just Dilla’s story and not just the story of hip hop, but through it will be a story of creativity, of innovation, of perseverance and of dedication.”


The Smithsonian Museum’s National Museum of African American History and Culture has a tentative opening schedule of late 2015 to early 2016. As part of the Smithsonian Institute, the museum will be a part of the world’s largest art, culture and research complex.


“This museum is the final jewel in the crown in the Smithsonian Museum on the (National) Mall,” said Burnside. “This museum will celebrate African American history and culture through every possible lens, through every experience, through history, through politics, through music, through art, through dance, through fashion, spoken word — you name it, it will be there.


“And I’m here to announce today, that also there, when you walk though those doors will be Dilla.”


J Dilla was long considered a master of hip hop production in Detroit, working with many Detroit hip hop artists from an early age, including Slum Village, Phat Kat, 5 Elementz and others. From his basement studio in his mother’s house in Conant Gardens, he would go on to work with Erykah Badu, Common, The Roots, Pete Rock and A Tribe Called Quest, before finally leaving for Los Angeles.


The donated equipment includes the Akai MPC 3000, a popular sample and beat sequencing machine for music producers, and a Moog “Minimoog Voyager” synthesizer, custom made by the brand’s creator Dr. Robert Moog, a prize of his collection received late in his career while J Dilla struggled with his health.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

July 31, 2014


Aries March 21 – April 19

Although homey affairs may claim part of your time and attention, the main focus is on leisure, pleasure, and enjoying yourself. You'll be in your element if you're the entrepreneurial type. However, a conflict or challenge could require a creative solution. As Mercury moves into Leo on Thursday it adds even more energy to your zone of romance and entertainment. This could be a time of energetic activity if you proceed with caution and don't give in to risk taking or recklessness.


Taurus April 20 – May 20

With a focus on domestic matters and family affairs your home is your castle this week and for some time to come. Mercury's entrance into Leo may encourage planning and organization associated with home-based projects or perhaps a spot of remodeling. However, it helps to confer with a partner before you go ahead. Differences of opinion could mean you clash on essential issues. Home entertaining could be positively delightful, especially this week when you may have more than one good reason to celebrate.


Gemini May 21 – June 21

You may need intense focus to push past obstacles and overcome challenges. Narrowing your focus and concentrating on one goal might be the best way to make good progress. There's a very vital and lively energy showing up in your communication sector. If you're dissatisfied with your job, you might be tempted to look for something else, in which case this could be a great time to apply for jobs or schedule interviews. Be sure to promote yourself on your CV!


Cancer June 22 – July 22

Things seem to be looking up as Mercury joins Jupiter in your financial zone. If previous months have been disappointing, this week and the months ahead may begin to make up for it. Use this opportunity to promote your goods and services, send out CVs, and make use of all your skills. With Mars now zipping through Scorpio, it's likely that creative efforts may have an intensely passionate streak that could earn you a lot of money if promoted in the right circles.


Leo July 23 – August 22

Mercury bops into your sign this week, adding even more emphasis to self-expression, the sharing of ideas, and pursuing personal goals. You may be on fire with plans that you've been mulling over for some time. In fact, your enthusiasm could reach new heights when your entrepreneurial abilities and fabulous business sense go to work for you to reap rich financial rewards. But life at home could be a drain on your energy. The presence of Mars here could be the catalyst that helps overcome any challenges.


Virgo August 23 – September 22

The week ahead could be one of successful activity along with a renewed level of energy. You can do very well if you can keep track of what you're doing without being tempted into risky moves. Paying attention to your intuition and even your dreams may provide helpful guidance along the way. The focus on your spiritual sector makes this a positive time for all kinds of practices, such as meditation, yoga, or anything else that soothes the spirit and calms the mind.


Libra September 23 – October 22

The accent on socializing is very pronounced, making this one of the best times of the year to connect with others, network, or date. As Mercury zips into Leo there will be even more reasons to accept invitations, attend events, and keep your social calendar fairly full. On another note, you could be pouring your energy into fixing your finances, which has to be a good thing. Career matters are also in focus, although you might need to make one or two compromises if you want to get ahead.


Scorpio October 23 – November 21

You can't hide from the spotlight, although you might not exactly enjoy being there in the first place. Mercury's presence in Leo as of Thursday encourages you to focus on self-promotion. If you're hoping to get a new job, explore a different career path, or improve your business success, it's vital to do so. This month in particular offers many opportunities to impress the right people. Mars in your sign suggests keeping your plans to yourself until it makes sense to unveil them.


Sagittarius November 22 – December 21

Can you resist the call of the wild? With a happy accent on expanding your horizons and entering new territory, the adventure may have only begun. This week you might want to commit to travel plans, or at least to exploring various options open to you. You may also need time out to reflect more deeply on personal issues. Giving yourself the opportunity for deep healing and cathartic release could encourage a powerful inner transformation. The ability to let go may be essential in all of this.


Capricorn December 22 – January 19

Mars encourages you to mix and mingle with influential people, so your social life seems to be positively upbeat right now. An accent on business success might encourage you to move in entrepreneurial circles, which is all to your good. This may be one of the best times of the year for upsizing your business plan and aiming for the stars. The only mistake you can make is thinking too small. If you're hoping to make a certain sum of money, add a few extra zeros on the end for good measure.


Aquarius January 20 – February 18

You may be in relationship heaven right now, especially if you're getting attention from all the right people. As folks continue to promote you behind your back, you may find job opportunities rolling in, and contracts, social invitations, dates, and much more. Naturally it won't happen at once, but by now you could be getting an inkling of what's to come. Along with this, your determination to succeed in your career is all to your credit. This is the time when you can aim high and have every chance of getting there.


Pisces February 19 – March 20

Lifestyle issues continue to be in focus, and this includes your job, health, and everyday routines and habits. The cosmos is currently encouraging you to think big - the bigger the better. The next important point is to make a plan to accomplish your dreams. If you can break a key goal into things you can do on a daily basis, there's no reason why you can't achieve it in style. At the same time, you may crave passion and change of the kind that can transform you on a deep inner level.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

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