Living Large

Notorious B.I.G. D: OK, this is weird. As you probably already know, Violetta Wallace, mother of Christopher Wallace, aka Biggie Smalls, aka Notorious B.I.G., is co-producing a biopic of her son, the rapper who was mysteriously gunned down in L.A. in the late '90s (P. Diddy is another producer). Rather than hire (read: pay for) a known actor to play Biggie, the producers decided to have a video competition, open to unknowns and amateurs, in which aspirants visit and submit their video auditions. The audition videos are available for all to see online, and—more important in today's weird variety show entertainment atmosphere—to vote on (though the producers will make the final call as to who the winner is).

Odd, yes, but odder still—or maybe, sadder still is a better description—is the low-budget audition video of Dallas' very own William Smith (check it out on Smith's acting isn't so bad, judging from the snippet we see—it's subtle and fairly realistic, though he doesn't sound much like Biggie—and his backdrop is humble: a white oscillating fan and a twin bed with no sheets. The masses don't like him so much, though: He gets one and a half stars out of five. Compare that with "Erron" from Chicago, whose production values rival those of the latest Andrew Lloyd Webber work. Erron's all professional and shit, and he's got Biggie's lisp down. He also raps his pitch at the end, freestyling about his résumé. I guess that's OK, but let's go online and vote for William—we gotta represent—and, you know, give it up for Biggie.

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Pleasure Test: Dallas electronica band the Shock of Pleasure has started to climb up various charts with their new single "This Is a Test." The tune is a Portishead-like trance-etonica song, a nicely rendered bit of groove (check it out on their MySpace page or, that has charted at No. 34 on the CMJ chart and No. 15 on the national special radio chart. Now, frankly, we don't know what the hell the latter is—if you care about that stuff, we suggest visiting any number of local blogs that will no doubt provide all the information that you need about charts 'n' stuff—but we know that's good, and we also feel that "This Is a Test" has every chance of making this group famous; it's lusciously downtempo, all sexy lyrics and poppy synth beats, just waiting to—at the very least—make a movie soundtrack.

The unsigned Dallas band Superstring—that strange little collective of Julie Lange, Kell Curtis, Taylor Tatsch, Cooper Heffley and Miguel Fair with a penchant for writing the most radio-friendly songs this side of L.A. (we mean that in a good way)—is apparently a favorite of the Cyberathlete Professional League. For one thing, the CPL has asked Superstring to headline the rock-out that follows the Guitar Hero 2 competition that takes place Thursday, August 30, at the Anatole Hotel. Second, the band will record the theme music for the CPL videogame Severity. We think this is very cool, only we refuse to call gamers "athletes," dammit. If you can smoke during an activity, it's a game, not a sport. But we digress.

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Handstamps: Stayton Bonner drives down the Cadillac Road to release his CD at the AllGood Café on Friday, August 31...Red hot and hard rock Dragna hit up Bar of Soap Thursday, August 30 (The Action Is opens)...Shibboleth and the Tah Dahs take over Sons of Hermann Hall that same night, which also sees the Marilyn Manson afterparty at the Lizard Lounge...Pearl's Dancehall and Saloon in Fort Worth celebrates its fourth anniversary Friday, August 31, with Jake Hooker and the Outsiders...The summer blues festivals continue, Saturday, September 1, when the Granada hosts Freddie King Bluesfest with Bobby Blue Bland and Wanda King...The same night, head to little D to catch Sean Kirkpatrick, History at Our Disposal, War Wizards and New Science Projects at Rubber Gloves.

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Jonanna Widner
Contact: Jonanna Widner