FOOD IS LIFE :: Ugly Delicious (Series review)

Ugly Delicious
Ugly Delicious
The new Netflix show - Ugly Delicious is getting a Michelin 3-star rating from me right now. Hosted by world-renowned foodie and chef David Chang, the show's 8 episodes spotlight a food or type of food that we all have come to love worldwide - pizza, tacos, home-cooking, shrimp and crawfish, BBQ, fried chicken,  fried rice, and stuffed pasta/wonton ... detailing how each came about, the cultural and regional divide of each, the stereotyping in regards to race and food, and how each is perceived around the world. It's literally the good, the bad and the UGLY on each one of these DELICIOUS foods.

Dave's style is laid back. Yet, his passion for whatever questions he seeks answers to, set the pace for great TV. He includes other chefs, food critics/experts, and celebrities while hopping from place to place in no particular order. There are stories shared and palates challenged.

One particular anecdote is about when Dave tried Nashville hot chicken for the first time. The story is animated perfectly to the narration as Dave describes having an out of body experience from the spicy heat of the chicken.

This show is truly unique. Ensure you have a lot of time on your hands (you'll want to binge) and easy access to food delivery (you'll get hungry!)


WHEN YOU WISH :: The Florida Project (movie review)

The Florida Project
The Florida Project
Some movies just come out of nowhere. I love it when that happens. If you've ever been to The Magic Kingdom or Universal Studios in Florida, you'll be very familiar with the area surrounding the parks. It consists of several long thoroughfares lined with souvenir shops, chain restaurants, hotels, and motels. Some of these motels are definitely lacking and have become home to many transients and those who live there from paycheck to paycheck or hustle to hustle. This is where our story begins, with a group of children just out of reach of the greatest place on earth.

Six-year-old Moonee (Brooklyn Prince) is the leader of the gang, and she is definitely her mother's daughter - full of wit, zeal, and hustle. Her young mother Halley (Bria Vinaite) would not win the contest for world's best mother. She cares about Moonee, but only as much as she can respect and care for herself. They live in a pink motel deemed "The Magic Castle". Monee plays with friends from there and another neighboring motel "Futureland".

The kids days are filled with as much freedom as they can handle, which leads to all kinds of trouble. At the same time the parents, especially Halley, are doing questionable things in order to pay the rent.

There is another surrogate - Bobby (with an incredible performance by Willem Dafoe), the manager of the motel is very protective of the kids. While he gets frustrated with them, he is caught between fixing the issues caused by the guests, the kids, Halley, and others.

Things quickly escalate when Halley turns to prostitution to pay the bills and the fallout that occurs.

Wonderfully directed by Sean Baker, this movie is almost always shot from the viewpoint of the kids. It captures their hopes and the fears wonderfully and the ending is incredibly magical. I don't want to spoil it, just go see it.


ROOTS REMIXED :: Baba Maal - Gilli Men (Auntie Flo remix)

Baba Maal - Gilli Men (Auntie Flo remix)
Baba Maal - Gilli Men (Auntie Flo remix)
Do you remember the first time you heard a song? It doesn't happen with every song, just the special ones. Same with this song, we were hanging out on my smoking porch after hours, It was me, Eric Purdue aka White Buffalo Shamen, one of Atlanta's greatest deejays, and another. The third guy, who I can't remember anymore played this song, but the video was a breakdance competition. It stuck with me. Afterward, I searched Youtube for DJ competition African remixes and couldn't find anything. Apparently, Youtube had taken down that video. I messaged Eric eventually to ask the name of the song and of course he knew right away,

Eric Purdue aka White Buffalo Shamen still spins monthly underneath Starbar in little 5 points neighborhood of Atlanta, it's called Little Vinyl Lounge. Eric has the best taste in music, so I highly recommend it, if you are in the area.


BUMBACLOT BABYLON :: 6 Essential Jamaican Films

6 Essential Jamaican Films
6 Essential Jamaican Films
I'm a big fan of Jamaican culture. From Rastafarians and Reggae, Dub, Roots and Rocksteady to the food, the beautiful parts of the island, the Patwois language, the history - including the Maroon revolts, it's all so fascinating to me. Having been to Jamaica a few times, to watch a movie based on real Jamaica and not Hollywood stereotypes, it really lets me return to the island anytime I choose.

With that being said, I chose some of my favorite Jamaican movies. Almost all of these were produced, directed and made by Jamaicans in Jamaica, utilizing real Jamaican culture of the time. If you can find these movies with subtitles, it's very helpful as most of the dialog is thick Patwois.

The Harder They Come

The Harder They Come is the quintessential Jamaican movie. It put Jamaica in the spotlight for both culture and music in the early 70's. Singer Jimmy Cliff plays Ivanhoe "Ivan" Martin, who moves to the urban city of Kingston after his grandmother passes. He is infatuated with the music and culture right away and decides he will be a successful musician.

He finds solace with a very religious preacher who gives him a job but looks down on his lifestyle. Ivan also falls for the adopted daughter of the preacher which complicates things. He fixes up a bike found on the property and gets a job distributing records for one of the top producers. When the bike is claimed by its owner, Ivan slashes him with a knife - for which he receives lashes.

Ivan then convinces the producer to record his song - "The Harder They Come". After recording, the producer offers only $20 for the song but grudgingly accepts as he doesn't have much choice. The producer tells the stations not to play the song as Ivan is "trouble".

Ivan then gets involved with smuggling ganja with the help of Jose, played by Carl Bradshaw. Carl is one of Jamaica's most famous actors and can be found in all these movies but one. Smuggling ganja leads Ivan to kill a cop. Now a wanted man, his song becomes a hit - yet he never enjoys the fame as he is on the run.

This movie accurately portrays the life of the poor in the ghettos of Kingston. In one scene, a young Bob Marley is shown recording in a studio before he became famous.

If you watch only one Jamaican movie, make sure this one is it.

Third World Cop

Third World Cop was my first foray into Jamaican movies. In this story, Capone (Paul Campbell) - a police officer is transferred to Kingston from the country. He is known for using unconventional techniques to get his man. His first case puts him in Dungle, the poor neighborhood where he grew up. He ends up facing off against his childhood mates including the brother of his best friend who had been killed due to gang violence. Carl Bradshaw is also in this one as "The Don down in Dungle - Douglas Jones ..."

This movie has it all - great one liners, music, and action. Some of the scenes are a tad corny, but this is not hollywood. The name of my site actually references a line in this movie. See if you can catch it.


Rockers is much like The Harder They Come in that it's all about the music industry. Horsemouth, a drummer living in the ghetto of Kingston is looking to use his drumming skills to make a hit record. He borrows money to buy a scooter and also gets a job distributing records and playing in a band. When he scooter is stolen, it leads back to his boss and the mafia and the "Rockers" take matters in their own hands. Carl Bradshaw is not in this movie.

The dialog and scenes are very real in this movie. They pretty much literally followed these musicians around filming them. It also has a great soundtrack and is highly recommended!

Smile Orange

Smile Orange is the comedy of the bunch. Carl Bradshaw is here again and plays Ringo, a waiter and con-man at an important tourist resort. The day to day running of the resort is compromised by the ineptitude of the staff and the management. The humor is mostly cornball, but it's still entertaining to watch.


Like most of these films, Countryman is about the everyman's struggle against the corrupt forces of the oppressive government. What sets it apart is the main protagonist - Countryman is a real root's rasta. He lives off the land, fishes for his dinner and can survive where others can't. He's thrown into a situation where he's forced to square up against a corrupt military Captain named Sinclair. The famous Carl Bradshaw also appears here, as Sinclair's right-hand man. Countryman uses his mystical powers to help those in need and escape capture.

Edwin "Countryman" Lothan was the real deal. Discovered by the directors before the movie was made, he was described as very intelligent despite no formal education. He was also described as a beautiful man, living close to the earth and making it all look so easy. Lothan died in 2016.

The music in this film is equally incredible and includes songs from Bob Marley and the Wailers, Toots and the Maytals, Lee "Scratch" Perry and Steel Pulse.

You can find the full movie at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1I01c6CoOk&t=361s

Wah Do Dem

The last movie is the only one not created by Jamaicans but produced and directed by Americans.

Brooklyn slacker Max wins two tickets for a Caribbean cruise but ends up traveling alone after being dropped by his girlfriend, Willow. The trip coincides with the 2008 US election, which is won by Barack Obama. After docking in Jamaica a series of misfortunes sees him stranded money-less and traveling across the country where he meets several characters, including musicians and a mystic Rastaman.

This might be the best representation of a naive tourist viewpoint of a visit to Jamaica - where you think life is all palm trees and beaches but you get treated to the poverty and yet hopefulness of Jamaican culture.