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Coolio vs. Thanos

I am a cheap bastard, and usually well contented to marinate my ears in locally produced music, but occasionally I like to spike my broth with sounds from the greater diaspora. In this expansive spirit I feigned celebration of Cinco de Mayo by going to Aura to see one of my formative influences, the rapper Coolio.

Before my analytical skills were honed by life, Coolio gave me a taste for righted wrongs with the finesse of his well-flexed songs. Because I’m a lame white boy, I got there super early. This gave me a chance to catch up on my reading and to chat about the venue with general manager Mark Curdo. Before its $9 million renovation last year, the club was called Asylum and had a reputation as a place where shit got crazy (in a fun, non-lethal sense). It’s owned by three sisters: Valerie Levy, Krista Newman and Laurie Willey. Mark said the sisters are about the coolest people he’s ever worked for. He said they’re strongly invested in the community and recognize there’s more to be gained through cooperation than competition.

The opening acts included Jarv (whose super-fast jumble tongue gave me whiplash), JDG, Ill by Instinct and Human Speakers. Just before they gave the stage to Coolio, they had a Rap Night–style open mic that pressed all my buttons!

Coolio knows how to work a crowd, but I was most impressed by the man’s humility. One of his co-rappers was his grown son, who was about the age Coolio was when he got famous. Also on stage was a percussionist giving hell to the drums and a saxophonist sending the lyrics to the people on a cool wave of brass. I was surprised the venue wasn’t filled to capacity. After his set, Coolio came out into the audience and shook hands with everyone. That kind of class leaves a lasting impression.

And now it’s time once again (groan) for Cory’s Mournful Movie Review! This month: Avengers: Infinity War. The movie is a fan favorite, but its basic premise is absurd in the extreme. (WARNING: spoilers and vulgarity ahead.)

Before the universe was born, there were six “singularities” that got condensed into what became known as the Infinity Stones. They each control a different aspect of existence, and possessing a stone enables you to manipulate the fabric of reality. Our heroes — Iron Man, Captain America, Black Panther, Thor, Scarlet Witch, Dr. Strange, Bruce Banner and The Guardians of the Galaxy — have to face off against the questionably motivated bad guy, Thanos. Thanos wants to possess all six Infinity Stones so he can kill half of the universe. Why? So that overpopulation doesn’t reduce everyone to impoverished misery.

This is an extremely shoddy foundation on which to build a plot. It has more in common with the passive victimhood of 18th century economist Thomas Malthus than with the findings of modern science and ecology. Thanos gets all the Infinity Stones and halves the population of the universe with a genocidal snap of his fingers. An evil genius Thanos is not! Sanctimonious motives aside, Thanos’ idiocy is what molds him in villainy. Once he possessed God-like powers, why the hell didn’t he just snap his fingers to make everyone more mindful of their use of resources, or to just stop being greedy dicks? Our world’s population is roughly double what it was in the 1960s, so by halving the population Thanos only kicked the doomsday can down the road by about 50 years or so. Some fucking solution! Despots and lazy thinkers are usually unwilling to invest the effort required to understand a problem, so we get two-dimensional, tribal solutions. There are a lot of fucking suns out there! That is a lot of energy for a lot of unborn souls, so if Thanos had half the brain of a mouse he would see that there isn’t a lack of potential prosperity, just a lack of delicious judiciousness.

Also, I don’t mean to poke the beehive with a stick, but everybody was raving about how realistic the animation of Thanos looked, and I thought it was one of the worst parts of the film. I understand that computer animation is a fun new toy that Hollywood loves to show off, but I’ll be glad when the initial crush is over and directors temper their enthusiasm for it. Thanos was all shiny — he looked like a freshly minted coin or a freshly oiled model in a 1980s bodybuilding magazine. I’ve always preferred my coins old and rare, and I prefer my male models to be elsewhere.  Will all movies in the future be written by AI? #INQUIRINGMINDSWANTTOKNOW