Sweet Dream or Beautiful Nightmare

There's a fantastic new Beyonce song called "Beautiful Nightmare." It's definitely a world away from anything on B'Day, and could have fit comfortably on recent releases by Rihanna or Nelly Furtado. She makes it completely her own though -- giving this minimal dark pop production a very soulful makeover as only Beyonce could. I love it!

According to Beyonce:
"Yesterday, "Beautiful Nightmare," a demo I've been working on for possible inclusion on my next album, leaked on some websites. I want to thank all my fans for the positive response to the song, but I want to tell you that this is just a work in progress. It is not my time to put out new music."
And she goes on recommending new stuff from her old bandmates, which is quite admirable. What a great "demo"! I hope it stays minimal. I definitely dig the piano bits at around 1:23. It's got a great 80's vibe and offers a fairly new direction for Beyonce.

At first I thought it was a Timbaland production, but from the notes at Prefix, it's by Jim Jonsin and Rico Love. I loved B'Day and thought it was terribly underrated. I've always felt she's got plenty of tricks up her sleeves, and "Beautiful Nightmare" is definitely case in point.


Me as a Teamster Extra in MILK

Photo of Ali by Palmer Lamb.

Photo of Palmer by unknown extra.
Very Juergen Teller, no? Last Sunday I was fortunate enough to be a paid extra in MILK, the Gus Van Sant biopic on Harvey Milk.

I got cast as a 70's Teamster in a scene where Milk (played by Sean Penn) persuades the local union to support him. There was about a four or five hour wait before our scene started filming, and I kept asking myself, "What the hell am I doing here?"

I talked to a bunch of friendly extras, like Palmer Lamb (above), who took the photo of me. It was a pretty cool bunch of guys, and wardrobe was amazing. I had a 70's fashion phase in college, so the whole visual experience was hyperreal eye candy.

When filming started, and I was about 15 feet away from Sean Penn, one of today's greatest living actors, doing his thing, I realized it was all worth it. I'm not sure if I was in the camera angle, but whatever.

At least five people asked me if my beard was real or applique. Sorry, bitches, it's 100% pure Iranian facial hair. Thick and with no graying yet! I would imagine this a major reason why I got the callback to be an extra.


Misc. March Albums

I've been listening to a mish mash of things these past few weeks. Nothing I'm terribly excited about, but some good tracks.

1. Gotta love Kid Creole and The Coconuts. Both Doppleganger and Wise Guy for only $1.99 at Amoeba Records. Total score. New romantic mutant disco that's all smiles. My favorite track has to be "I'm Corrupt" from Side A of Wise Guy.

2. Beck's deluxe reissue of Odelay was kind of an impulse buy. Unfortunately, it hasn't aged very well. There's at least two awesome bonus tracks on here: the ghetto glam throwback "Gold Chains," and "Burro," a mariachi interpretation of "Jack-Ass." Unlike most people who've lost interest in the post-Sea Change Beck, I really enjoyed The Information and am excited about his upcoming album.

3. Polysics' Polysics or Die!!! Vista was a gift from my brother. Fast-paced Japanese electro nerd punk. Great driving music for about a week, but then I got tired of it.

4. Hot Chip's Ready For The Floor has some of my favorite tracks this year, but the album as a whole is sort of a letdown. Things slow down so much in the second half, you forget you're listening to the same album. Their R. Kelly-meets-Jermaine Dupri production on "Wrestlers" is fun at first, but gets kind of annoying. I love "Shake A Fist," "Ready For The Floor" and "Don't Dance."

5. Kylie Minogue's Ultimate Kylie was a bit of an impulse buy as well. I started with disc 2, since it had the tracks I was most familiar with from the last decade. I was living in England when "Spinning Round" and "Kids" came out. Overall, this disc should have been Fever and "I Believe In You." I've been skipping everything else. Loved the fun synth pop from disc 1, songs I was mostly unfamiliar with.

6. Chromatics Night Drive is super awesome horror soundtrack italo disco. I think Johnny Jewel is one of the most creative, minimal electro disco producers today. Amazing that this stuff is coming from Portland/Seattle.

7. What can I say about Vampire Weekend's debut album that hasn't been said? I liked it instantly, but it hasn't been getting played very much after the initial saturation in my CD/iPod player. For a real treat, read this post from Momus, one of my favorite people in the world.