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Julio Torres is the David Bowie of Comedy

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Amazed. Astonished. Breathless. Some will reject this person, and others will worship him.

Julio Torres is the David Bowie of comedy. I have no idea if someone of actual critical merit has already made this comparison or not. I’ve been actively avoiding reviews of his new HBO special My Favorite Shapes because I want my opinion of it to remain pure and strictly my own. I didn’t want my thoughts tainted or made biased by the perceptions of people with respected views.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been listening to an unofficial David Bowie autobiography titled Hero by Lesley-Ann Jones, watched the documentary Finding Fame on Showtime that highlights Bowie’s formative years in music, and played track by track of every album from David Bowie to Diamond Dogs. It’s a lot of Bowie, but could there ever be too much Bowie – that’s a negative.

A few friends had been posting about the special, and I’d seen trailers on Julio’s Instagram feed. Neither spoiled the magic nor artistic brilliance, which is My Favorite Shapes. We’ve been presented with comedy specials that break the format, Hasan Minhaj’s Homecoming King for example. But from the set design to the glitter on Julio’s well-manicured hands sharing his favorite shapes with us all, Torres didn’t just break the mold of comedy – he shattered it and then reassembled the pieces into a gorgeous fountain mosaic at the center of his alternative zoo.

I sat there watching the special, for a second time around, and exclaimed, “this must be how people who saw David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust on Top of the Pops must have felt.” Amazed. Astonished. Breathless. Some will reject this person, and others will worship him. When I was a kid, Earth just happened to be close enough to Saturn that through a telescope I could see the rings around the planet. It was so special, and not something I could replicate a week later. It was the fact that at that moment, on that night, I could see Saturn’s rings. And at this moment in time, on that particular network, Julio Torres’s My Favorite Shapes was contracted into existence without needing the comedian to convince anyone of the concept.

Torres’s past performances can be seen on YouTube. A scavenger hunt of the puzzle pieces that would become his special. In 2016 at a Risk! Live show he discusses that job interview where he blurts out “I love corporations” in more detail. At Paste Studios he goes through impersonations that demonstrates his style which would lead to that bitchy little curtain between first and second class. It was also in 2016 that he had yet to have crafted his sign off, “if there are no further questions,” struggling for a way to end a set. But Julio from the past, you will figure out how to end a set, and it will be perfection. In April of 2017, Daisy Duck makes an appearance in his performance on Late Night with Seth Meyers, and a year later Cinderella’s glass shoe on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy FallonMy Favorite Shapes isn’t an overnight success, like all great art; it has taken years to craft and refine.

David Bowie’s Space Oddity brought Bowie attention, but not the fame and notoriety that would be his legacy. Bowie put out The Man Who Sold the World and Hunky Dory after Space Oddity, and the albums have excellent songs on them, but it wasn’t till The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust was released that Bowie ripped the veil between fame and icon. Julio Torres ripped through that veil with his special; its uniqueness makes it iconic. And not in the way the word is overused today, but in the most real sense of the word – Julio Torres is worthy of adoration, great respect, and reverence. I can’t wait to see what he comes out with next. My only prayer is that the pressure of the artistic success and achievement of My Favorite Shapes doesn’t get into his head and that he will continue to be fiercely true to himself. Write what makes him laugh because his audience will find him. And as he continues to navigate life, he takes influences from wherever he may roam. I can’t wait to see the Julio Torres spin on all of it.

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A New American Anthem

The day David Bowie died, I took the day off of work.

I work for myself, so it sounds more dramatic than it actually was, but I hope it communicates the extent to which I loved Bowie. I grew up listening to the full Bowie catalog, but truth is I never really liked the song Under Pressure. I think Vanilla Ice ruined the baseline for me. So whenever it came on I tuned it out, I just waited for it to be over and move on to the next song. Until today, and I realized, Under Pressure is the anthem America needs right now.

Last year was a dark Christmas, we were all anxious to get out of the misery that was 2016 and then Donald Trump was elected President and it left many of us wondering what new hell have we entered into. And now that 2017 is coming to a close, we’re more familiar with this new world that is Alice’s LCD laced wonderland. Tension is high, civility is low. Humanity has wins like the fall of Harvey Weinstein and the election of openly transgender people to public office and government positions. Yet, the heartbreaking loss of life due to acts of terrorism like the mass shootings in Las Vegas and Sutherland Spring Texas, the vehicles that plowed into crowds in Spain and New York,  leaves us watching the pain and suffering rise, wondering if a tweet will set off a nuclear attack while ordering avocado toast for brunch.

It’s bleak. Despite all the good, there is all this bad and the pendulum continues to swing violently back and forth. Not to mention that the troubles of Americans still hardly compare to those in war-torn countries, so lets all choke on a slice of perspective pie before bitching about the post office or parking this holiday season.

When I finally listened to the lyrics of the song, I felt it outlined our current social environment poetically.  Showing us the woes of humanity, only to give us the one real solution that is universal and stands the test of time – LOVE.

Yup, act in love. Live in love. Be love to those you’re compelled to hate. Give love. Love is the release valve.

So, Under Pressure is my new anthem to keep me accountable for my part in this thing called life.

The pressure is real. How will it be dealt with?

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MIXTAPE : REFLECTION

My first mixtape of 2016! On new years day, I played the David Bowie radio station on Spotify while getting ready for our annual morning hike. I had decided to wear my Bowie t-shirt and dedicate the year to an inspiring man who embodies reinvention; ready to go into 2016 embracing the artist in me and committing to being a fearless version of myself. So when I heard Bowie passed away, I was devastated. Last Monday I was totally distracted and in a haze, but I moved on through the week with WWDBD on my mind, what would David Bowie do. I had been creating this playlist for a few weeks now and just today decided to frame it with two of my favorite Bowie songs, songs that jog some of my earliest memories.

Also, I wanted to share a new years game I play. I always seem to find myself at some point on New Year’s day in my car and I like to use my radio as a fortune teller. Before turning on the radio I ask the universe/ tell the universe the first song I hear will be a reflection of 2016, this year it was “Take Me Home Tonight” by Eddie Money. Read into it what you will.

 

“Fame” – David Bowie / “Take My Home Tonight” – Eddie Money / “Wild Horses” – The Rolling Stones / “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” – Chromatics / “Weird Little Birthday Girl” – Happyness / “There Is Nothing Left” – The Drums / “Class Historian” – BRONCHO / “Dream Talkin”- Family Trees / “Aideu Creature” – Andrea Balency / “Korean Food” – Frankie Cosmos / “Lazy Lover” – Brazilian Girls / “Oh! You Pretty Things” – David Bowie

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My First Friday Favorites … YAY!

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F* dating shows when you have a dating experiment! Forty Days of Dating

READ:
30 UNDER 30 – Refinery 29
I read about every person instead of skimming over it and picking the ones I auto-liked. I’m really glad I took the time to learn about all of them.

favorite quote from article:
What’s the best professional lesson you’ve learned?
“Probably the most useful lesson I have learned is one I taught myself the hard way: Don’t work with people you don’t respect or people who don’t respect you, no matter what the incentive. It’s better to be surrounded by authentic support and intellectual stimulation and be broke than to make more money through situations that are a drag.”

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