Posts from — June 2012
There’s little than can be written about Watch The Throne itself that hasn’t already been shared, blogged or tweeted in the 11 months since the highly anticipated Jay-Z/Kanye West collab was released, properly, following perhaps the most miraculous non-leak of the post-Napster era. And nothing about Friday’s tour closer in Birmingham, U.K. — the final gig of a 57-date jaunt that spanned nearly eight months, 12 countries and two continents — was all that different from the string of much-buzzed-about performances that preceded it. Well, besides Beyonce and Kim Kardashian watching it from the floor, of course. (Encircled by a gaggle of linebacker-sized bodyguards, natch.)
Yet there was a sense of profundity, if not history, to the final recital of what could very well be remembered as the finest hour of arena hip-hop, since it’s hard to imagine where the genre, if that’s what we’re calling it, can possibly go from here. The dizzying floor-to-ceiling lasers during “All Of The Lights,” the pitch-perfect pyrotechnics during “Otis” and “Dirt Off Your Shoulder,” the epileptic light-spasms during “N*****s in Paris”: all of it was informed with a greater sense of occasion for nearly two-and-a-half hours on a chilly night in the West Midlands, the tour’s fifth show in a U.K. market that’s helped propel overall receipts past the $50-million mark.
The LG Arena, a hip 16,000-seat multi-purpose venue with interiors that marry elements of A Clockwork Orange with Back To The Future Part II, was packed to the gills by the time Jay-Z and Kanye emerged from opposite ends of the space on hydraulic powered cubical platforms that slowly elevated more than 40 feet, making each performer a prototypical spectacle while prompting an arena-wide starscape of camera phones. The artsy visuals only built from there, from the Givenchy-designed American flag during “Otis,” to the provocative (yet knowingly meaningful) juxtaposition of Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World” against discomforting archival footage of prepubescent Ku Klux Klansmen.
June 23, 2012 Comments Off
Formula 1 is coming to the New York area in June 2013 and I had a chance to drive the 3.2-mile course with Sebastian Vettel, the 24-year-old German who’s captured the past two championships.
June 14, 2012 No Comments
My report for SI.com on Manny Pacquiao’s highly controversial loss to Timothy Bradley (with a Storify of my impressions from ringside). Earlier in the day, I attended pre-fight mass with Pacquiao at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
June 10, 2012 No Comments
I collaborated with the photographer Michael M. Koehler on an multimedia photoessay for SI.com called “Day Of The Fight,” which documented middleweight boxer Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin throughout the day leading up to his June 2 bout with Winky Wright using still photography and audio interviews. The concept was loosely based on a photo feature Stanley Kubrick shot for Look magazine in 1949.
June 5, 2012 No Comments