Monday, July 30, 2012

"Somebody Watch Me Do My Thing" - the "Sign O' the Times" Concert Film

Quick post this week--sorry it's so late this Monday night. In addition to analyzing biographies, interviews and lyrics, I'm also studying Prince's performances for the book. I own several DVDs--and VHS tapes--of his videos and live performances. However, I have yet to buy the classic 1987 "Sign O' the Times" concert film.
I was almost afraid to write about it because it has always been a much sought-after film. I've been listening to the "Sign O' the Times" album a lot this past week. I will be getting the film on payday.

What do you think of this film?

I'm happy to say that I've seen him live on the "Musicology" and "Welcome 2 America" tours. I'm also excited to get my hands on the 1988-1989 "Lovesexy" tour footage.

 What do you consider to be Prince's best tour so far?

Monday, July 23, 2012

“The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” – Mayte on “Hollywood Exes”

So, I finally had some time to check out “Hollywood Exes,” a Vh1 reality show featuring celebrities’ ex-wives. Prince’s ex-wife, Mayte Garcia, who is the rumored subject of his song “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World,” is part of the cast. Unfortunately, the first few episodes are no longer available on, and I haven’t been able to catch re-runs on TV. So, I watched Mayte’s profile video online and some episode clips. 

I enjoyed Mayte's profile video. I pretty much knew everything she talked about from previous biographies, but I really feel the video captures what the books are not able to: her personality. She seems really sweet, fun and down-to-earth.

I didn’t expect to gain any knowledge from the show that is relevant to my book; the ladies are moving on with their lives. However, there are some tiny little anecdotes that I can include. I was surprised to learn that Mayte is friends with Prince’s second ex-wife, Manuela Testolini, who is now married to singer Eric BenĂ©t. It was also interesting to see a little bit of Manuela’s personality, as she is also somewhat of a mystery.

I have to say that the show isn't bad! R. Kelly's ex-wife, Andrea Kelly, is very funny ("Check your e-mail!"). I enjoyed watching her. Also, from what I've seen, there is no "Basketball Wives" type of drama. I will keep tuning in.

If nothing else, maybe my chances of talking to Mayte are a bit better because she’s opening up her life to the public.

I’d just like her to know that I don’t want to pry too deeply into her private life with Prince—I just want her perception of the spiritual themes in his music, and his overall spiritual journey.

What do you think of “Hollywood Exes” so far?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

“All the Purple Hippies” – Shout Out to #TeamPrince, & Other Updates

As promised, here is my second post for the week. I want to start by giving a shout-out to #TeamPrince—a gathering of Prince fans on Twitter. I enjoy interacting with these folks and they always show me love with retweets and replies, whether I’m tweeting about my book or asking random Prince questions:

  1. I am still waiting to hear back from Jon Bream.
  2. Thanks to the help of blog reader Matt (see the comments section here), I am getting closer to interviewing people from Park Avenue United Methodist--Prince's childhood church.
  3. I've made a goal to purchase a file cabinet and organize all of my research in hanging files (I will have a pic soon).
I'll catch up with you on Monday!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"1 + 1 + 1" - 3 Cool Things about Jon Bream's Prince Bio

I know, I know, I’m a day late. I was supposed to post yesterday, but I didn’t make it. To make it up to you, I am going to post twice this week. The good news is that I set out to finish Jon Bream’s 1984 book, “Prince: Inside the Purple Reign,” last week, and I’ve succeeded. I really enjoyed it, and I want to single out a few reasons why:

1.      It’s the predecessor to all other Prince biographies. You may remember that, in an earlier post, I’ve pinpointed three books that I consider the most thorough profiles of the artist to date--"Purple Reign: The Artist Formerly Knownas Prince" by Liz Jones (1998), "Dance Music Sex Romance: Prince: the First Decade" by Per Nilsen (1999) and "Possessed: the Rise and Fall of Prince" by Alex Hahn (2003). Well, while reading Bream’s book, I came across information that I’ve seen quoted numerous times in at least two of the other biographies—Bream’s book is included in Jones’bibliography and Hahn's “Source Notes and Acknowledgements.” A longtime journalist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Bream also claims to have conducted the first one-on-one interview with Prince (excluding the interview that Prince gave to his school paper, the Central High Pioneer, in 1976). There is a lot of interesting information in all of Bream’s early interviews with the artist; they are included in the book.
2.      Bream is the only biographer—that I know of—who interviewed Prince’s mother, the late Mattie Shaw. It’s nice to read about her perspective.
3.      There are a lot of “fun facts” that I didn’t know. I’m sure you hardcore Prince fans are going to roll your eyes at me, but I didn’t know that Tina Turner covered Prince’s “Let’s Pretend We’re Married" in her live concerts. That is awesome! No one touches Tina!

You'll notice that Tina changes Prince's lyric "I'm in love with God" to "I'm in love with life," but I digress...
Also, when I blogged about taking a trip to Minneapolis, I wondered where they actually shot the Lake Minnetonka scene in “Purple Rain.” I found the answer from Bream’s book, if I’m interpreting this passage correctly:

“Most of the rest of scenes were filmed in thirty-two locations in and around Minneapolis. Appolonia went skinny-dipping in near-freezing weather in a lake near Henderson, Minnesota. Some interior scenes were shot on a soundstage in the Twin Cities and others in Los Angeles…"

Overall, I could tell that Bream spent a lot of time doing research for this book. It’s great that he was able to get it finished and published in 1984, during the “Purple Rain” madness. Fans must have been psyched to purchase it during that time.

Like all Prince bios to date, Bream’s book does not cover Prince’s spirituality in depth (you know I’m trying to fill that void). However, Bream does touch on the subject, and I’d like to interview him to get his perception of it, and learn more about Prince’s life in Minneapolis.

Wish me luck!

Does anyone have a story about buying Bream’s book or getting it as a gift back in 1984?

Monday, July 9, 2012

"Hey! Check it All Out" – Book of the Week

Sorry to disappoint, but I don’t have any updates on my progress this week. The good news is that I’m officially settled in my new apartment, and I should have consistent access to the Internet by Saturday. In the meantime, I wanted to give you a look at a Prince book that I am reading this week, “Inside the Purple Reign” by Jon Bream:

As I mentioned before, I’d like to interview Bream, a longtime Prince journalist, when I’m finished with the book. Hopefully, that will be this week.
For those Prince fans who have already read Bream’s book, what did you think?

I promise I’m getting back on track…
Stay tuned!

Monday, July 2, 2012

"Whenever I Feel Like Giving Up..." - Thanks to my Readers!

Hello, everyone! Things are still crazy my way, especially because I'm in the middle of moving to a new apartment. However, I wanted to take time out to say thank you to my readers and supporters! My audience may not be big, but it's growing each week.

I really appreciate your time. I want to share some of your recent wonderful words of encouragement that have kept me motivated (click on the image to enlarge the text):

There have been many other great comments since I started in 2010.

I'll try to come back next week with some more updates on my progress.

Thanks again for cheering me on!