Emcee Spryte

I'd like to take some time out of my normal routine of blogging randomness to introduce you to an ally of mine. Mary Kay came into my life a few months ago and we became fast friends; she is a bright ray of light in what can be a dismal small town. Embarking on a burgeoning hip hop career, this female emcee entrusted me with her Press Kit. She whipped up an emotional bio, and I worked on editing it for the masses.

Take some time to listen to the tracks available on her MySpace, ReverbNation, or ThatsHipHop and hope to see her soon at a venue near you!

Shuffling between family members in rural Pulaski, a small town in Wisconsin laying claim to nearly two thousand people, Mary Kay was swayed by the beat at a young age. As an impressionable child she was captivated by pop stars on music television, and rap music soon took hold. "What really turned me around was RUN DMC. Holy shit; talking over beats... I was hooked" she remembers. At the formative age of nine, a family friend drove her to bustling Milwaukee to see Run DMC perform at Summerfest. "After that, all I could think about was Rhyming. I'd rap at home. I'd rap at school. In sixth grade, my friend Nicole and I did an oral report on the Egyptians. I got the instrumental for the Beastie Boys' "Paul Revere" and rapped about King Tut."

Mary Kay spent most of her Middle School years buying cassette tapes and practicing her timing and delivery over the instrumental b-sides. A barn was her stage, her brother and sister her adoring audience, and a pilfered screw driver her utilitarian microphone. She memorized verses and would recite them for anyone willing to listen. Ice Cube, Too $hort, Tone Loc, the Pharcyde, Beastie Boys, Slick Rick, DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, and EPMD blared through her headphones. She had fallen in love with words, "the way they fall off of your tongue, the way you can add to the beat or effect it with different lyrics or sounds... the quicker, the better". She trusted her Adidas shell tops, baggy jeans, and gray hoodies to bely her femininity in the hip hop game. She was going to be a rapper, and MC Spryte was born.

After her parents divorced, she spun uncontrolled and unchecked. She began to doubt the existence of a higher power in her life, and insisted on testing her own limits. "I started running away from home, smoking cigs, hanging out at dry night clubs, smoking grass, and doing whatever I could to get away from the situation at home" she recalls. By her sixteenth trip around the sun, she had been arrested a number of times. She was running drugs, getting in fights, and quickly learning the cold ways of the streets. She earned her place within the family structure offered by a group of Gangster Disciples, or GD's. They had relocated from Milwaukee to Green Bay, and their home became her safe place.

She was comfortable as the only white face in a crowd because her brothers had her back and her front. "They taught me how to keep my self respect while hustling and being a female. I earned my place in the crew." She continues "I look back now and realize how lucky I am to be alive. I'd had my Jordans taken from my feet, and guns thrust in my face to intimidate me or test my loyalty. Dirt is dirt, and sometime shit gets pretty fucking dirty." It was around this time that she won her first freestyle battle in Milwaukee. It was possibly Hip Hop that kept her newfound family together "I loved sitting on the porch, blazing a blunt, and rhyming with my crew." She earned their respect, and relied on their support.

Being a runaway put strain on her blood ties. The cops would return her to Pulaski whenever she found herself in their custody, and her mother responded with anger and tears. At nightfall Mary Kay would return to her outlaws, on the run once again. Her brother and sister began to resent her for the pain she was unwillingly inflicting upon their mother, and her father didn't seem to mind as long as he wasn't bothered by a phone call from the precinct. "My grandmother Aubrey bailed me out of jail more than once. She always saw the good in me, no matter how much bad I did" Mary reminisces. "When I was seventeen and living back with my mother for the umpteenth time, I ran her phone bill up to a thousand dollars. She pressed charges and had me thrown in jail. I got two years probation plus restitution, and we didn't speak for the following three years." It was a time of turmoil, and money was tight. "I became really good at moving items that made a lot of easy cash. I kept my nose clean, my ears open, and put in foot work like I was told."

By the time Spryte turned twenty, she had turned over a new leaf. The boys she had been running with had all dispersed; had babies, moved away, or found themselves in prison. She began supporting herself through various serving positions, and trusted her mic skills to move her along a new path. "If a battle was abailable in a club, I jumped on the mic to represent women and my hometown of Green Bay." She honed her freestyle technique because in her world, "credibility on the streets is worth more than a multi million dollar deal." Outside of her comfort zone, Spryte was introduced to techno, breaks, and jungle beats. She began collaborating with friends that spun records and created Daydreams, her own promotional company to promote midwest DJ's.

She has made her presence known and shared stages with the likes of Mike E Fresh, Intrepid, DJ Bomber, Rhinogliphics, Frankie Bones, Paul Anthony, Dirty Dave Keup, Danny tha Wild Child, 3D, Jack Trash, Mark Almaria, KCZ, DJ Simple, Jes-One, Woody McBride, and countless other underground talents. She has rocked the mic throughout the midwest, and doesn't back down from an opportunity to battle and be heard. The crowd loves her, and the feeling is mutual. "They relate to my energy and my genuine love of underground music" she elaborates "My fans are the greatest. They support me and help to build through flyers and word of mouth".

Trackmaster T, a reggae singer and music producer with vision and an appreciation for Spryte's specific sense of style and swagger, invited Mary Kay to work from within his independent label based in Green Bay, Tracker Us Records. Together, they released a four song demo, and circulated three hundred copies at Dropfest, a local car show. Always on her hustle, MC Spryte is also working with Lost Voice Recordings out of Appleton, and Penmanship based in Sheboygan. She is currently working with different producers to illustrate her versatility, and can be seen performing with New Found Flavor, a reggae band she has come to claim as her own.

Her first full length album is slated to drop this spring, but rest assured that she is not resting on her laurels. "About nine years ago I found my path to the Goddess, and dedicated myself to Yoga and the study of the Ancients." she elaborates "but to discuss religion and faith we must be face to face. Just know that I am a spiritual being as well as an independent, beautiful emcee". With newfound spiritual guidance and the ability to create her own safe place, Mary Kay aka Emcee Spryte has found a way to overcome the indiscretions of her misspent youth. She has found a way to move forward and keep pushing the envelope that holds our preconceived notions of what it means to be a woman in the rap game. "I finally feel that I am ready to introduce myself to the masses, and not just the midwest; they know me well".

To know her is to love her, and this is a privilege that has been reserved for fans of underground hip hop in the midwest. Her light is set to shine on the masses, so keep your eyes peeled and your ears open for the formal unveiling of the Goddess.

website currently under construction



Whitest Kids You Know

First song about smoking weed with dinosaurs.
You're welcome internet...

Episodes from the newest season of The Whitest Kids You Know can be found at over at IFC.

Chasing Pavements

Adele - Chasing Pavements

Us Placers

CRS - Us Placers (not commissioned)

Drum Sequencer with Balls

This design for a tangible rhythm sequencer interface by student Peter Bennett is sleek & innovative.

Ball bearings are used to trigger drum sounds. Visual feedback is displayed from underneath to indicate the current time and the state of each ball bearing.

Each effect has a track on BeatBearing's plastic screen, and by dropping a ball bearing into a hole you activate that track's effect as a scanning light beam encounters it.

If Pete decides to up it to an eight track sequencer, we could have some hip hop checkers action. Coming to a coffee table near you!


Chocolate Addiction

Chocolate Agency has come up with this multimedia device that snaps on with a slap. The thin bracelet is designed using E-paper technology that’s rather high in contrast. This MP4 player will literally wrap an image around your wrist, and let you unwrap it to reveal a full screen.

No need to worry about batteries either, the E-Paper Slap Bracelet is powered by kinetic energy, so movement from your wrist is all it needs.

Having a touchscreen display occupy most of the front of your phone is one thing, but when you wrap the entire freaking phone -- front and back -- with touchable e-paper technology, you've got something pretty incredible. Enter the P-Per, an impressively simple and sustainable mobile phone combing features that were supposed to be incompatible: simple, advanced, green and unique.

Modeled after the E-Paper slap bracelet, it’s made of only 4 layers of sustainable materials, the “1 function, 1 part, 1 material” rule makes it easy to disassemble the materials for recycling. It has a transparent display for camera mode and a browser that spans the entire surface of the display.

Sadly, it's a figment of our collective imaginations for now...
Eat it, iPhone (eventually)

Irene Williams: Queen of Lincoln Road

The story of a gay man (Eric Smith, responsible for slouch socks) who meets an old eccentric woman in South Beach, the friendship they forge and the wisdom she imparts.

Best part? She's a saucy 'ole minx that makes all of her own clothes...
Quicktime Video

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.



Jennifer Maestre

"My sculptures were originally inspired by the form and function of the sea urchin. The spines of the urchin, so dangerous yet beautiful, serve as an explicit warning against contact. The alluring texture of the spines draws the touch in spite of the possible consequences. The tension unveiled, we feel push and pull, desire and repulsion. The sections of pencils present aspects of sharp and smooth for two very different textural and aesthetic experiences. Paradox and surprise are integral in my choice of materials. Quantities of industrially manufactured objects are used to create flexible forms reminiscent of the organic shapes of animals and nature. Pencils are common objects, here, these anonymous objects become the structure. There is true a fragility to the sometimes brutal aspect of the sculptures, vulnerability that is belied by the fearsome texture."

"To make the pencil sculptures, I take hundreds of pencils, cut them into 1-inch sections, drill a hole in each section (to turn them into beads), sharpen them all and sew them together.
The beading technique I rely on most is peyote stitch."

"I’m inspired by animals, plants, other art, Ernst Haeckel, Odilon Redon, mythology. In fact, it isn’t easy to specify particular sources of inspiration. Sometimes one sculpture will inspire the next, or maybe I’ll make a mistake, and that will send me off in a new direction."


Mark Khaisman Mixtape

"I work on the light easel, applying translucent brown packing tape on clear Plexiglas panels, the layers built up to create degrees of opacity. My main motivation is my love for classics. The images are archetypes derived from the cultural heritage: art, architecture, movies. I am trying to be faithful to the source, but in the process of interpretation all kinds of things happen. The reason is submerged in the shadows, the purpose is absorbed by the light, the cultural icon has become the personal experience."


Panda Bear

High harmonies, simple melodies and woven samples that feel like a kaleidoscope's perspective of Brian Wilson's brain. Although Pitchfork listed Person Pitch as the number one album of 2007, I still can't get enough of it. Damn you, Pitchfork.

Panda Bear - Bros

Panda Bear - Comfy in Nautica

Just because this is probably what you were expecting when you clicked the link; my aim is not to disappoint. Completely unrelated, but unrelentingly adorable nonetheless.

Helium; a noble gas.

I still remember how excited I was when these videos were critiqued by Beavis and Butthead...
Helium - XXX

Helium - Pat's Trick

...and the song that initiated my allegiance...

Helium - Honeycomb


Franz Ferdiwho?

Orange Juice - Rip It Up

Edwin Collins - A Girl Like You

Edwin Collins - You'll Never Know

...thank you Scotland.


My Pirate Disco

When Lisa Hannigan and Damien Rice parted artistic ways this past spring, I was bummed. She gives light to what could otherwise be a dark show. I enjoyed their energies on stage and in the studio, and I think that Rice my be at a loss without her.
Damien Rice feat. Lisa Hannigan - 9 Crimes

Thankfully, we have a peek at what she has been currently working on. This video has been touted as her solo demo, and I've got say that I like where this is going.

Lisa Hannigan - My Pirate Disco (solo demo)


Pantalaine Presents Co-dependent Couture

Pantalaine Family Store in South Bend Indiana is my new Disneyland. They pulled me in with the Couch Dress, and the resulting ten or so minutes felt like a few worth sharing.

The Palantine Family will customize a dress out of as many afghans as it takes to cover whatever size seating unit you toss their way.

Not only that, but they let you pick two flower broaches that are probably smaller than the dress. I bet you didn't even know that you needed one flower broach, but you probably do, and this is your chance to get two.

I know that you're looking at the price tag thinking that it may just be the best deal you've seen on yarn in a while. You are savy, and I am intuitive. The overall value will melt your skull if you consider the broaches and inevitably hilarious fitting session!

I'm crossing my fingers for the possibility of the matching hooded shawl that will dance across my mind's eye as I drift to sleep yearning for a scratchy cumbersome accessory.

Truth be told, this Wind Up Dress Up scares me a little more than the Couch Dress did. The picture reads like an awkward before and after, and evokes feelings not dissimilar to those delivered by the Grady twins. Infer with me, if you will.

Two pathetically sad sisters work in a sweatshop knitting couch dresses in the tool shed next to their ranch home and inflatable pool. The eldest sister, Candace probably, keeps a stiff upper lip so that little Misty is lulled into a sense of false security.

One day, daddy comes home with his newest design! He's dubbed it his "Double Princess Fantasy Dress" and waves it infront of the girls, still grubby from a hard day's work. Some day they will look back upon the iridescent fairy dress. They will remember spinning around until they got dizzy, and holding onto each other in futile attempts not to fall.

They will remember the day that dress-up turned on them. Maybe next year they'll get out of the fast paced fashion industry and start a lemonade stand; bring it back to their entrepreneurial roots.

At this point I'm hooked and need to know what other amazing consumer goods I have been missing out on. Quite frankly, I'm mentally invested in this rag tag mom and pop joint.

If you're still reading, than you are too. There's only one thing to do; let's keep browsing.

I have no idea what is so super about these Super Sweats, or why there are random sleeves attached to one pant leg. Maybe this was a bad idea.

I'm pretty sure the girl with the butt sleeve didn't want to put her hand all the way in there. She's smart. She probably knew this was going to make its way onto the internet, given the lavish nature of the photo shoot.

Everyone looks happy and comfortable (is there some sort of text color that should be used to indicate sarcasm?). The jig is up. It's clear that they were hoping the sea foam green cans were going to sell the crap out of some very odd touchy pants.

What the duck sauce is going on in each and every picture? I clicked further and it hit me. This site is dedicated to selling clothes that are attached to other things. Usually other items of identical clothing, but sometimes couches. There are pajamas designed to facilitate a serious ass kicking via some sort of pillow tail aberration, and polo shirts to cement the already strong lefty solidarity.

Some designs are so quintessentially emo that I want to dig out my horn rimmed glasses, but then I remember how old their prescription is and doubt that its a match for my macbook. It sounds like a one way ticket to migraine city, and I'd rather squint at pictures of shoes that force you to walk like the Monkees or protect your toes during a spicy salsa (wait for it...).

There are pants that allow you to strap a child to the side of your leg, something I had never considered. Think of how much you'd save on a stroller! I'm sure the constant rocking of pops walking lulls the little tike directly into la la land while you are free to pass go and collect that $200.

If you have a few minutes, browse through their site. I found myself a bit more than bemused.

They've been selling this original gem since 1959 (I'm holding out for vintage and banking on eBay).


Dynamite Chicken

Directed by Ernest Pintoff (best known for his collaboration with Mel Brooks on the wonderful animated short The Critic), Dynamite Chicken is self-described in the opening credits as "A contemporary probe and commentary of the mores and maladies of our age.....with shtick, bits, pieces, girls, some hamburger, a little hair, a lady, some fellas, some religious stuff, and a lot of other things." The roster of names in the opening credits includes Paul Krasner, Peter Max, Alan Ginsberg, Al Goldstein, Lenny Bruce, Joan Baez, Malcolm X, The Velvet Underground, and John & Yoko.

To call Dynamite Chicken revolutionary is to do a disservice to the true revolutionaries of the era, many of whom coincidentally appear in the film (however posthumously; as was the case with Lenny Bruce and Malcolm X). During its conception, it required significant effort to cull such diverse voices and images to create an entertaining yet critical take on the status quo, and the resulting film stands as a worthy artifact of the era.

Today, all it takes is a laptop and a handful of YouTube clips to create a film like this.

Consisting of a series of thematic segments very loosely linked by footage of Richard Pryor riffing directly into the camera while wandering around a beat-up playground somewhere in New York, Pryor occasionally slips into bits that would become staples of his standup routine but his presence here is strictly to take us to the bridge.

The material is built for short attention spans (ala the tuned-in turned-on crowd), and the visual freak-outs begin right about the time the drugs would kick in. Psychedelic concert footage (of Sha Na Na, believe it or not) is intercut with old movie clips (e.g., Victor Mature in Samson and Delilah) and seemingly endless footage of naked curvaceous hippies dancing or doing calisthenics (If closeups of the mons pubis is your thing, this is the film for you.). This is supplemented with moments of agit-prop and pop-art; man-on-the-street interviews with toothless patriots talking about the flag, Andy Warhol recording Ondine reading from Warhol's novel a, some Frank Lauria poetry and jazz, and some creepy footage and interviews with workers at one of the first Burger King restaurants that would fit very nicely into Fast Food Nation.

It goes without saying that the sexual revolution is addressed, and Pintoff chose some interesting spokespeople. On the one side, Al Goldstein and Jim Buckley, who (in nausea inducing fish-eye closeups) espouse the theory behind Screw magazine, and on the other some unidentified feminist theorists discussing female sexuality and the use of derogatory language towards women.

Other highlights include shtick from the Ace Trucking Company, a comedy troupe that featured Fred Willard and Match Game regular Patti Deutsch, and a remarkable scene with Ron Carey dressed as priest outfitted in a Joliet Jake hat and shades doing a dance in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral to Lionel Goldbart's God Loves Rock and Roll while somewhere else a nun does a striptease.

I'm ripping the DVD and will have it available for a temporary download shortly...