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Heady Entertainment: Tokyo Graffiti, the “Rapture” of Rap, and Alice Cooper vs. God

Our latest lit litany features hip-hop history on Netflix, mad mermaids with mysterious pasts, and religious acid rock on primetime TV.

by Mike McPadden

by Mike McPadden

Welcome back to Heady Entertainment, MERRY JANE's weekly guide to just-released movies, books, and music — all fresh, dank, and THC-friendly. In specific, we choose our picks based on how they can enhance your combined consumption of cannabis and entertainment.

Our latest lit litany includes '80s nostalgia run blockbuster wild in Ready Player One, intimate hip-hop history on Netflix, mad mermaids and religious acid rock on TV, and the wildest blaxploitation flick ever unleashed on the public (straight from behind the hero's pants zipper). So let's go straight — but not "straight" — to this week's fresh-rolled recommendations.

Movies

"Ready Player One"
Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, TJ Miller

Steven Spielberg, the ultimate '80s geek director, adapts Ernest Cline's novel Ready Player One, the ultimate '80s geek reading experience, into a monumental, unprecedented blockbuster for all geeks of any and all eras. Geek or not, though, just load up on marijuana merriment of your choice before strapping in for this ultimate IMAX 3D sensory onslaught — then just go with it. Hard and, of course, high.

The action follows Tye Sheridan as Wade Watts, a virtual reality gamer who pilots the Back to the Future DeLorean through an online universe of infinite pop culture possibilities. Through his journey, every character, craft, and tripped-out trope from any vintage movie, TV show, and/or video game you've ever smoked to leaps to life on screen and pulls you in alongside them.

We're talking Darth Vader meets Super Mario meets Freddy Krueger meets the Iron Giant meets the T-Rex from Jurassic Park and on and on. Just don't run out of bud before Ready Player One runs out of fantastic icons — so alert your dealer now!

Streaming

"Rapture" Season One (2018)
Creator: Mass Appeal
Watch It: Netflix

Hip-hop culture monolith Mass Appeal teams with Netflix for Rapture, a new documentary series that delves deep and soulfully into urban music icons you only thought you knew.

Pack a thought-provoking strain into your pipe, and then ease back for Rapture's profound profiles of Nas, Dave East, T.I., Rapsody, Logic, G-Eazy, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, 2 Chainz, Just Blaze, and others.

TV

"Jesus Christ Superstar" (2018)
Cast: John Legend, Sara Bareilles, Alice Cooper
Watch It: NBC

Don't crucify us just yet! Before you think we've ditched edibles and we're going Evangelical, be aware that Jesus Christ Superstar definitely ain't what your grandma will be singing along to at Easter services.

The musical itself is a hard, heavy, and at times harrowing psychedelic rock opera wherein the traitor Judas is the hero — that's right, the hero – and the title savior lambastes his Almighty Old Man in "Gethsemane," an epic prog freak-out on par with the freakiest longhair acid-blasts ever recorded (a fitting fact: on the original 1970 concept album, the role of Jesus was sung by Ian Gillan, frontman for metal overlords Deep Purple).

For this NBC production, John Legend should be in fine voice as the messiah, Sara Bareilles is bound to break hearts and blow minds as Mary Magdalene, and, most weed-worthy of all, shock-rock godfather Alice Cooper is set to camp it up as the diabolically decadent King Herod.

"Siren" (2018)
Creator: Emily Whitesell
Cast: Eline Powell, Alex Roe, Fola Evans-Akingbola 
Watch It: Freeform

Mermaids seem to be all the rage these days and horror is hotter than ever. The new Freeform series Siren combines both, with Eline Powell (Game of Thrones) as Ryn, a wild-eyed local from the seaside town of Bristol Cove who didn't exactly grow up there — she came of age and earned her tail in the waters just off the coast.

Siren blends killer performances with searing visual effects and a menacing mystery about whatever happened to the rest of Bristol Cove's dangerously enchanting mermaids. Watching it while passing a bong will, of course, infinitely amplify the show's aquatic impact.

Cult-Classic Reissues

"Assault on Precinct 13" (1976)
Director: John Carpenter
Cast: Austin Stoker, Nancy Loomis, Darwin Joston
Get It: Shout Factory

After helming the stoner sci-fi midnight movie essential Dark Star (1974), writer-director John Carpenter flexed his muscles as a movie-making master of suspense with Assault on Precinct 13.

Set over the course of one long day (and an even longer night), Assault chronicles the South Central L.A. police station of the title as it comes under non-stop attack from members of a psychotic urban gang known as Street Thunder.

Carpenter deftly blends westerns, blaxploitation, horror, mystery, and more into a funky nugget that announced the high-octane arrival of one of smoker cinema's most beloved storytellers.

You've blazed to Halloween (1978), The Fog (1980), Escape From New York (1981), The Thing (1982), Big Trouble in Little China (1986), Prince of Darkness (1987) and other cannabis-inviting Carpenter classics. Now get blitzed to his breakthrough blowout of thrills, chills, and awesomely-inventive kills.

"Welcome Home, Brother Charles" aka "Soul Vengeance" (1975)
Director: Jama Fanaaka
Cast: Marlo Monte, Reatha Grey, Stan Kamber
Get It: Vinegar Syndrome

Vinegar Syndrome has been putting out the catalog of Jamaa Fanaka, a one-of-a-kind independent African-American filmmaker who's most famous for the Penitentiary movies with Leon Isaac Kennedy and a pre-Rocky Mr. T (which are all great). 

Now VinSyn is issuing a deluxe version of Welcome Home, Brother Charles aka Soul Vengeance — which is not just Fanaka's debut and standalone masterpiece; it's the most most audacious and amazing of all blaxploitation films. 

Marlo Monte stars as Charles, an innocent man framed by a racist cop who hates black people because his own penis is so small. Once in prison, Charles is subjected to sick experiments on his groin that inadvertently grant him one insane superpower: his penis can magically grow 15 feet long and move like a snake.

Upon getting sprung, Charles then uses his wonder-wand to strangle those who did him wrong. Read that again: This is the real plot of the movie! Beyond even all that, Brother Charles is an exciting, funkadelic blast that announced Fanaka as a truly original voice in cinema.

Books

"Gwar: Orgasmageddon" (2018)
By Matt Maguire and Matt Minder
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment/Diamond Comic Distributors
Get It: Quimby's Bookstore

Theatrical splatter-metal terror-punk band Gwar goes cartoon to star in Orgasmageddon, a brain-stomping, gut-churning, goo-spewing graphic novel — emphasis, to be sure, on the "graphic."

Banished by the evil Mr. Perfect to an ancient past before history, the "Scumdogs of the Universe" — led by psycho super-siren Vulvatron — maniacally thrash, bash, crash, and slash their through time in every direction.

Roll a fatty and take the ride as Balsac the Jaws of Death, Beefcake the Mighty, Sawborg, Destructo, Pustulus Maximus, and Gwar's other anarchic anti-heroes reconfigure history with sex, drugs, and violence on every page.

"Tokyo Graffiti" (2018)
By Lord K2
Publisher: Schiffer
Get It: Quimby's Bookstore

In Japan, public "vandalism" is a severe crime that comes with draconian punishments. Still, the outlaw spirit is vibrant throughout Asia, and Tokyo in particular is known for attracting the best and brightest bombers from around the globe.

The metropolis's graff scene is immortalized in Tokyo Graffiti, a vivid photo book that depicts just that — as well as the history of illegal street art and profiles of its daredevil creators. Shout-out to WANTO!

Music

"Cycles"
By Throneless
Get It: Black Bow Records

Swedish stoner rock psychonauts Throneless fuel the four-tracks of epic jams on Cycles with weed-conjured journeys beyond any normal limits of time, space, and intoxicated interdimensional enlightenment. You know how to blast off with them.

"The World Is Yours"
By Rich the Kid
Listen on Spotify

Being of Caribbean descent, Atlanta rapper Rich the Kid has ganja in his blood, beats, and rhymes alike. After lighting up the world with early peppers like "Goin Crazy" and "Ran It Up," the 25-year-old Rich Forever Music kingpin continues his cannabis-backed conquest on debut album, The World Is Yours.

The roster of guests alone suggests the title is no exaggeration: Kendrick Lamar, Lil Wayne, Future, Rick Ross, Chris Brown, Quavo, Khalid, Offset, Swae Lee, and Trippie Redd. Notably not there: Lil Uzi Vert, who's actually the target of "Dead Friends" — the most blistering diss track to drop so far this year.

"Venom"
By U-God
Get It: iTunes

Just as we wrapped up reading Wu-Tang pioneer U-God's must-consume-marijuana-to memoir, Raw, he drops Venom — his full-length follow-up to last month's mixtape, Bring Back God II.

Venom's 13 tracks include drop-ins by Scotty Wotty, Nomdig, and U-God's fellow Wu-Tang royalty Raekown and Inspectah Deck. It all adds up to a solo album that's been years in the making and every puff worth the wait.

Follow Mike McPadden on Twitter


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Mike McPadden

Mike McPadden is the author of "Heavy Metal Movies" and the upcoming "Last American Virgins." He writes about movies, music, and crime in Chicago. Twitter @mcbeardo



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