Assortments of Thought

Posts Tagged ‘Entertainment

Scary stories and films and such have been favorites for generations. From the monsters of the silent film era to contemporary horror films, and from all the scary tales surely told since the dawn of humanity, of ghosts and goblins, vampires and witches, there’s been something about the dark and the supernatural that’s just too alluring to pass up. Hence we’ve called for the production of all the scary movies and books and such that people continue to enjoy, and today, one man and company furthers this vibrant tradition with everything from stories to artwork, and even music. Indeed, Joseph Vargo has created many stunning works of gothic art, and even more remarkably, he founded and works in the band Nox Arcana–until recently along with William Piotrowski–to bring the world several gothic, instrumental concept albums, in a significant step beyond the typical “Halloween music” that’s more suited for the background than focused listening. He’s also collaborated with various other writers to produce a couple of story anthologies, and has–through his company, Monolith Graphics–made various other gothic items available as well. And so Vargo, Nox Arcana, and Monolith Graphics continue to bring forth a wonderful assortment of spooky and darkly romantic works, just perfect for when allure of the darkness comes tempting … or, for when a little gothic romanticism feels right.

Continue reading “A Tour of the Shadows” …


For various reasons, a lot of people aren’t too fond of rap and hip-hop music. Some simply don’t like the style, of artists rapping over beats. A few, sadly, shun it for its black origins, out of a sense of racism. Many, however, are simply turned away by the subject matter they hear: killing, violence, profanity, drug abuse, cheap sex, disrespect to women, and get rich no matter what schemes. While the artists that focus on these themes are not without talent or skill, it’s understandable that many people aren’t interested in what they have to say. Yet rap is not defined solely by these subjects, and indeed, there is a lot of rap out there that not only avoids them, but even delves into issues like persevering and working hard, setting good examples for kids, and taking life seriously and positively, among more trivial topics. I would therefore like to highlight the lyrics of one rap duo in particular, Blackalicious, that expresses such sentiments, as well as discuss those of Gift of Gab, Blackalicious’ emcee, solo, if only to demonstrate this often-overlooked side of hip-hop.

Continue reading “A Brighter Side of Rap” …

Mention the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll to anyone at all, and chances are they’ll know right away who you’re talking about. For of all the popular musical performers we’ve seen over the decades, perhaps Elvis Presley was and remains the most famous and beloved of them all. He absolutely captivated young audiences back then with his provocative performing style and amazing voice, and even now, thirty plus years after his death, people still visit his old home as if expecting to catch a glimpse of him there, while Elvis impersonators abound in both number and popularity. Yet alongside this public phenomenon was once a very different and personal one in the life of someone who was simply a man before he was a famous singer, a man who likely never imagined the unprecedented status he would achieve, or the prices that would accompany it. For all the obsessive fame and that which sustained it took Elvis from humble and simple beginnings through nothing less, ultimately, than substantially declining health and prescription drug abuse, culminating in his untimely death long before his time. Such is the other side of the Elvis phenomenon, the personal one concerning all the hardship he had to endure in his famous lifetime, and one people might think about just a little more if they’re to truly appreciate all that the King left behind.

Continue reading “In Appreciation of the King” …



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