History as Fan Fiction: A CTRL+ALT Panel on Hamilton

Back in November, we recorded a live edition of Hard NOC Life from the NOC Reading Lounge at CTRL+ALT — the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s pop-up culture lab in the former Pear River Mart location in SoHo. Hamilton superfans Constance Gibbs, Kendra James, and Kevin T. Morales joined Keith to nerd out over the smash Broadway hit musical Hamilton.

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Farewell Major Tom

“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”

Nearly a year ago today the music died.

Actor, rockstar, musician and suspected otherworldly being David Bowie passed away one year ago, three days after his birthday which is today.

As we celebrate Bowie’s life and legacy, I’m reminded of the fact that it was roughly around this time two years ago that we lost Leonard Nimoy.

Much like Nimoy, when I think back on Bowie, I realize that he was an influence on me in ways I never considered.

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What Artists Can Learn from the Trump v. Hamilton “Distraction”

by Timothy Yu

Mike Pence went to see Hamilton. He got booed. The actors read a statement from the stage. And our president-elect tweeted a demand that the cast apologize for their “harassment.” Just another day in the dawning Trump Era.

There was plenty to say. Some pointed out the irony of Donald Trump, scourge of political correctness, complaining that the theater should be a “safe place.” Others pointed to the chilling precedent of our incoming president demanding that artists apologize to an elected official. But what most surprised me was seeing some of my friends — many of whom are themselves artists, writers, literary scholars — repeating the argument that the Hamilton controversy was “just a distraction” from Trump’s other problems.

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What’s Beef for $1,000? Alex Trebek vs. Nerdcore

It’s been an interesting 24 hours, to say the least.

On Wednesday evening while on tour, I got a few tweets linking me to an episode of Jeopardy!

I not only learned that day that the show was still on the air, but that Alex Trebek had taken a really small poke at the genre of music in which I make my living: Nerdcore Hip-Hop.

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Luke Cage: Dig a Little Deeper

My sister, Dr. Tara Betts, dropped the Luke Cage syllabus over at Black Nerd Problems. It is a must read. I wanted to add to this wealth of knowledge by offering my own “special features” companion piece to Cage. I will present the following without description as I do not want to taint anyone’s experience. This is only a small amount if what is actually out there. I mentioned other books in my reflections on the series. You can read it here.

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Japanese Twitter Account Displays Bruce Lee and Freddie Mercury as the Best of Friends

Bruce Lee was a cultural icon who revolutionized martial arts films. Freddie Mercury was the front man for the legendary rock group Queen and considered one of rock’s greatest all-time entertainers. Both of these artists sadly left the world too soon. But, thanks to a Japanese Twitter account, their memory lives on through a pair of action figures.

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Cindi Mayweather: Behind The Music

Originally published at Black Sci-Fi.Com in June in honor of Black Music History Month and LGBTQ Pride

“I imagined many moons in the sky lighting the way to freedom.”

She is one of the most the critically acclaimed musicians out today. Between her successful albums, films, award nominations and collaborations with everyone from the late Prince to First Lady Michelle Obama, one thing is certain for Janelle Monae; her rising star is only getting brighter.

But who is Janelle Monae?

While researching the chanteuse, I uncovered a most profound discovery. Everything we thought we knew about Monae is a complete work of fiction. For starters her name isn’t even Janelle Monae. It is an alias and part of her cover. In actual fact, Monae’s true identity is Cindi Mayweather; an android from the future.

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One In A Million: Remembering Aaliyah

It was 15 years ago today that we lost an icon, an extraordinary young gifted artist, Aaliyah Haughton, known to fans simply as Aaliyah.

In the spirit of Prince, David Bowie, and Janelle Monae, Aaliyah possessed a larger than life persona that ironically was fueled by her mystique. Dark clothing, trademark hair over one eye, the enigmatic chaunteuse had an almost ethereal presence which also could be found in her music.

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Green Arrows and Ham: Five Hamilton Stars who Should be in the DC Universe

If you follow this site, you know there aren’t many things we obsess over more than The CW’s DC Universe and Hamilton. And since most of the original cast of the Broadway phenomenon has moved on — or is about to move on [sadface] — I figured why not mash up our favorite things and imagine which DC characters the Hamilton cast could play in the Berlanti-verse? We all know how much they love casting Broadway talent on these shows in the first place. Besides, Lin himself has said we should expect these guys on our favorite shows anyway:

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