It’s time for our year-end TASTY CLIPS FAVES of 2018 edition! In a year seemingly teetering on chaos, we are thankful for the following for the insights and pleasure provided!
MOVIES: “Black Panther,” remains enjoyable through multiple viewings. After the 4K, they can bring on the virtual reality version ASAP! Loved “A Quiet Place,” “The Equalizer II,” “Green Book,” “Mission: Impossible – Fallout,” “Bad Times at the El Royale,” “Superfly,” “Gringo,” “Crazy Rich Asians,” and “Avengers: Infinity War.” Guilty pleasures included “Overlord,” “The First Purge,” “Annihilation,” and “The Last Movie Star,” which was a fitting send off to the great Burt Reynolds.
DOCUMENTARIES: “The Gospel According To Andre,” “Three Identical Strangers,” “Grace Jones: Bloodlight & Bam!” and “Rock Rubber 45s.”
TV: “The Good Fight” was 2018’s most binge-worthy series. Why CBS relegated this hip spin-off of “The Good Wife” to their All Access streaming service is a head scratcher. Then again, that may be why the writing is so topically daring. Have to also give kudos to the second season of Netflix’s now canceled “Luke Cage” (with Alfre Woodard just ruling); the mercurial Jodie Comer in “Killing Eve;” J.K. Simmons’ dual role in “Counterpoint;” that creepy “Teddy Perkins” episode of FX’s “Atlanta;” AMC’s quirky “Lodge 49;” HBO’s “The Deuce;” OWN’s “Queen Sugar” and “Greenleaf;” the Beyoncé at Coachella stream; “Survivor” and “Desus & Mero,” who are thankfully returning on Showtime next year.
ALBUMS: John Coltrane – “Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album (Deluxe Edition)” was a gift from the gods. Also loved Anderson .Paak – “Oxnard;” Sting & Shaggy – “44/876;” Janelle Monae – “Dirty Computer;” Eric Clapton – “Happy Xmas;” Leon Bridges – “Good Thing” and The Suffers – “Everything Here.”
SONGS: “I Like It” by Cardi B with J Balvin and Bad Bunny; “This Is America” by Childish Gambino; “Now For What,” “God’s Plan” and “In My Feelings” by Drake; “Made For Now” by Janet Jackson and Daddy Yankee; and “Pick Somebody Up” by Raul Midon
CONCERTS: Jay-Z/Beyoncé/DJ Khalid/Chloe x Halle – OTR II Tour; Patti LaBelle’s Platinum Tour; Tower of Power’s actual 50th anniversary show at City Winery Atlanta with new lead vocalist Marcus Scott; Chip Crawford and Jon Batiste jamming at Harlem Late Night Jazz; Maxwell’s 50 Intimate Nights Live tour with Marsha Ambrosius; Earl Klugh’s Weekend of Jazz at Kiawah Island; and Michael McDonald’s Season of Peace Tour
DISCOVERIES: Funky Fly Project, four jazzy young men from Pittsburgh; and multi-talented singer/trombonist Aubrey Logan were surprises at this year’s Pizzazz Jazz Fest in Charlotte headlined by Kenny G, Bob James and Dave Koz’s Summer Horns. Also Jada Spices’ Turmeric Salt – Vegan, which is healthy and delicious on movie popcorn and eggs!
BOOKS: “Becoming” by Michelle Obama; “My Love Story” by Tina Turner; “Carla Hall‘s Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration;” “Cook Like a Pro” by Ina Garten; and “The Miles Davis Reader.”
DINING: Passion by Martin Berasategui (a multiple Michelin Star winning chef) at Paradisus Palma Real; Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, which was worth the wait at their Atlanta location; and Superica in Charlotte with their defining Tex/Mex goodness!
And now some FAVES from our esteemed celebrity guests:
LENNY WILLIAMS – Singer/Composer (New single “Fine,” and first holiday recording “The Christmas Song”): MOVIE: “Equalizer 2” Denzel [Washington] never seems to disappoint. BOOKS: “Going The Distance” by Ken Norton and I always read “The Bible.” CONCERT: Ledisi – When she was just kind of bubbling under I went to England with her about 15 years ago. How she’s matured in her shows and controls the stage now was really exciting to see. TV: I’m ashamed to say it but I really like the “Love & Hip Hop” franchise. It’s kind of interesting watching young people trying to get their foot in the door. Also “Ray Donovan.” MUSIC: Migos, Cardi B, Kendrick Lamar, Anthony Hamilton. I listen to what the kids are doing because I’m still recording. TRAVEL/DINING: Italy. I eat anything and everything. I’ve eaten dog in the Philippines. I’ll eat anything once. Every time I go across the Mason Dixon line I like to go to Waffle House.
EMILIO CASTILLO – Musician/Composer (Tower of Power) MOVIES: “Bohemian Rhapsody” – My sometimes tour manager and good friend, Walter Versen was Freddie [Mercury]’s bodyguard in the early 70’s so I’ve heard many stories that didn’t make the movie. TV: “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is extremely creative. It takes place in Lenny Bruce times and the costuming is off the charts! ALBUM: “Midnight Hallelujah” by Jonatha Brooke. Even though I’m a Christian, I absolutely love her song “Mean Looking Jesus.” It’s a killer!!! BOOK: “Paris Trout” by Pete Dexter is a novel from 1988, but I found it in a used book store and enjoyed it immensely. TRAVEL: Tbilisi, Georgia is a city in a country full of passionate people. I’m half Greek and felt a real affinity with these people. DINING: Union Square Cafe NYC – I ate there with my brother in soul music Leo Sacks, who helped me write a couple of songs on our latest CD “Soul Side of Town.” The meal and service were stellar!
BILL DUKE – Actor/Director/Author (“My 40-Years On Screen and Behind The Camera”) MOVIES: “A Star is Born,” “Green Book,” “The Hate U Give” TV: “Black Lightning,” “Shark Tank” BOOKS: “Science of Being and Art of Living” by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield DINING: Tao, Au Lac Vegetarian in Fountain Valley and Katsuya MUSIC: Whitney Houston, Donny Hathaway, Luther Vandross
RAUL MIDON – Singer/Musician/Composer (“If You Really Want” with the Metropole Orkest) MOVIES: “Black Panther” TV: “Murphy Brown” Great re-boot!” ALBUMS: “Ruby” by Macy Gray and Joe Locke’s “Subtle Disguise.” Spoiler alert: I’m on it too. BOOKS: Anything by Michael Connelly! “You Can Heal Your Life” by Louise Hay; and “How To Change Your Mind” by Michael Pollan. DINING: Blue Note Beijing – actually eating in China was a revelation. I think maybe because I’m blind restaurants want to make sure I get the best of what they have to offer. This happened in China often. Membership has its privileges. TRAVEL: I visit Japan often but this year I got to visit a ham radio club there – not the norm – outside of Tokyo on a mountain… I’ve done the same thing in Australia!
LUENELL – Comic/Actress (“A Star Is Born,” “Dolemite Is My Name,” and CD, “I Only Drink At Work”) MOVIES: “Black Panther” and “A Star is Born.” I’m in one and I am of the other. I also really enjoyed “Crazy Rich Asians.” TV: “Greenleaf,” “Queen Sugar.” “Love After Lockup” is sadly hilarious. I liked the documentary Monica Lewinsky did because that girl had a story to tell and she held on to it for thirty years. Aretha [Franklin]’s funeral was a mini-series in itself. I was mad at the people who talked about it was too long. This is Aretha. She deserved every minute of that. You can’t condense her into a 30-minute service. MUSIC: I’m very partial to Bruno Mars. I made an Instagram video which he reposted to like over a million views. He left me tickets to his show, where we met and actually made a video to his song “Straight Up and Down” which went viral. TRAVEL: Cuba and Nassau, Bahamas. BOOKS: “Becoming” by Michelle Obama. I’m obsessed with her. She’s everything. If she has a fault, I don’t know what it is.
As featured in the Los Angeles Wave and Independent, Tasty Clips is one of the leading entertainment newspaper columns on the West Coast, serving nearly one million weekly readers. To reach Bill Vaughan, send email to email@example.com or via Twitter @tastyclips.
By Bill Vaughan