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Brentalfans, it’s time. After almost 3 years of notoriety on Youtube and nearly 100,000 subscribers, it’s time for me to get a Wikipedia page. If you type “brentalfloss” into Google and let it generate suggestions below, the first suggestion is “brentalfloss wiki.”

It’s time.

Unfortunately, making a Wikipedia page is a pain in the ass, and you’re not supposed to create one about yourself. That’s where you guys come in. Here—within this very blog post—lie all the tools you need. Ideally, the page would be for Brent Black with a “brentalfloss” redirect. Preferably you’re someone who has made Wikipedia pages before; you know, the kind that don’t get taken down immediately?

Here goes:

Fact 1: I am known for adding lyrics to video game music. Reference: The Canadian Broadcasting Company. Here’s the article: http://www.cbc.ca/news/arts/media/story/2010/09/08/videogame-music.html  …I’m mentioned in the ninth paragraph.

Fact 2: I was born on April 12, 1984 in Dallas, TX (I don’t have any websites referencing this. Please don’t tell Donald Trump.)

Fact 3: My subscribers have topped 99,000 Reference: Youtube.com/brentalfloss

Fact 4: My first CD, “What if This CD… Had Lyrics?” was released in the spring of 2010. Reference: http://itunes.com/brentalfloss

Fact 5: My CD, “What if This CD… Had Lyrics?” has had tracks in the top 100 on iTunes comedy charts worldwide. Reference: http://www.music-chart.info/artist/53807/brentalfloss

Fact 6: I attended undergrad at the University of Oklahoma. Reference: http://www.tulsaworld.com/scene/article.aspx?subjectid=272&articleid=20090104_272_D3_Elissa783157

Facts 7 and 8: I earned a masters at NYU for musical theatre writing and wrote an off-broadway show called I’ll Be Damned which was at the Vineyard Theatre in New York City in 2010. Reference: http://theater.nytimes.com/2010/07/13/theater/reviews/13damned.html

The rest is up to you. I’m counting on someone who knows their way around Wikipedia to complete this page. To do so is to enter me into the international lexicon of significance and to legitimize me as an Internet phenomenon. Also, it’ll make me feel ah-so niiiiiice.

Dicks and farts,

-Brent

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[NOTE: SKIP TO THE BLUE PARTS BELOW IF YOU UNDERSTAND TWITTER HASHTAGS]

Occasionally, I really get into a twitter trending topic and start to feel like I’m on a roll.

For those of you who aren’t aware, trending topics are phrases on Twitter that are smooshed into one big word and marked with a pound sign; they are also called “hashtags.”

In the case of funny hashtags, it sort of becomes a game, not unlike the “Scenes from a Hat” improv game from Whose Line Is It Anyway?

So yesterday I discovered a new one called “Higher Stakes Children’s Books,” or #higherstakeschildrensbooks. The idea, if it isn’t clear, is that participating tweeters would think of classic children’s books, but alter the titles to raise the stakes. Anyway, I clogged up my follower’s feed with as many as I could think of. Here are some of my favorites:

Goodnight, Moon. And cruel world.#HigherStakesChildrensBooks

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, He’ll Get Diabetes#HigherStakesChildrensBooks

Are You There, God? It’s Me, Charlie Sheen#HigherStakesChildrensBooks

A Blood Clot in Time #HigherStakesChildrensBooks

Charlotte’s Ponzi Scheme #HigherStakesChildrensBooks

The Lion, the Witch, and their Rough Divorce#HigherStakesChildrensBooks

The Bipolar Express #HigherStakesChildrensBooks

The Little Engine That Couldn’t Produce His Citizenship Papers#HigherStakesChildrensBooks

One Bitch, Two Bitch, Dead Bitch, You Bitch#HigherStakesChildrensBooks

Horton Hires a Ho #HigherStakesChildrensBooks

Green Eggs, Ham, and So Many Tears#HigherStakesChildrensBooks

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Commerce#HigherStakesChildrensBooks

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Poop#HigherStakesChildrensBooks

Ramona Quimby, Dead at Age 8 #HigherStakesChildrensBooks

And special thanks to David Hawley and Corey Schwanz for these two:

Where Did They Bury Waldo?#HigherStakesChildrensBooks

The Incredibly Selfish and Kind of Asshole Tree.#HigherStakesChildrensBooks

-Brent

People often ask what other VGM personalities are like. Here are some 4-word descriptions:

 

THE MEGAS: Blond Californians, also Mikey.

POWERGLOVE: Hug as a greeting.

DANIEL TIDWELL: Nice, and SUCH HAIR.

THIS PLACE IS HAUNTED: Sweet nerds, also Peat.

BRANDO: Laid back; likes sandwiches.

TOMMY TALLARICO: Friendly, intense, and vegan.

MEGARAN: Biggy meets Mr. Kotter.

MUSTIN: This guy deserves five words.

Hey everybody.

As you probably know, a blizzard has struck the northeast United States, crippling air travel to and from the area. As usual, I spent Christmas in Texas where my family lives. Since I’m slated to perform with Video Games Live in Newark, New Jersey on December 29th and 30th, I scheduled a return flight for the 27th; my flight has been cancelled. Luckily, the airline agent I spoke to was able to book a flight to the Philadelphia airport for the morning of the 29th, so I have a very good chance of making it to Newark for both performances (knock on wood).

HOWEVER, I have been trying to contact the Video Games Live people because I’m not even sure THEY’RE going to be able to fly into the city. If they can’t, I imagine the performance will be cancelled.

The reason I’m writing this blog post is to tell you that I will be at the NJPAC in Newark at 7:30pm on December 29th and 30th if AT ALL POSSIBLE. If the Video Games Live show gets cancelled, I’ll be there at the front doors of the NJPAC at 7:30PM on both nights, and if some of you want to show up, we could go as a group and get some food somewhere in the area. I hate the idea of letting you down after promising you an appearance.

SO, stay tuned to my twitter feed [ http://twitter.com/brentalfloss ]  and/or my Facebook page [ http://j.mp/BF-FBfan ] and I’ll make announcements regarding the performances. I really hope to be able to perform alongside Tommy Tallarico and the symphony orchestra, but even if that falls through, I hope I can still have fun with some of my fans.

Cheers!
Brent

A collection of my tweets from earlier today with the hashtag “21stCenturyProblems.” I also include a few retweets from funny followers.

Fool me once, LOL. Fool me twice, FML. #21stCenturyProverbs

Love is legally blind, but there’s always Lasik. ##21stCenturyProverbs

Do unto others in a public forum what you would have them do unto you in a public forum. #21stCenturyProverbs

@assclown_jr: If you can’t beat em,troll em. #21stCenturyProverbs

You can’t have your cake and eat it too without better funding for stem cell research. #21stCenturyProverbs

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him to use the internet and he’ll fap for a lifetime. #21stCenturyProverbs

Where there’s a will there’s a reality show about it.#21stCenturyProverbs

You can’t judge an eBook by its kindle. #21stCenturyProverbs

You can lead a horse to water, but you’re probably gonna want to bring a Brita filter. #21stCenturyProverbs

A leopard cannot change its spots, but it can be upgraded to Snow Leopard. #21stCenturyProverbs

Riku1824: Be a Tweeter not a follower. #21stCenturyProverbs

Every dog has his debut on Youtube. #21stCenturyProverbs

Sticks and stones may break my bones but bullying’s the real danger. #21stCenturyProverbs

Man cannot live by reconstituted rib-shaped rib meat patty alone.#21stCenturyProverbs

 

… Type your 21st Century versions of well-known proverbs in the comment box!

Hey everybody. This post is specifically for people who are planning to attend my December 11 show in NYC. There are only 65 seats in the house, and apparently it’s not the responsibility of the box office to do pre-seating for this event. So I figured out a few ways to do it without the box office. If you’re interested in pre-ordering your tickets, use one of the following much-easier-than-they-sound methods:

PAYPAL
If you have a Paypal account and already have my CD, use this method:
Go to Paypal.com, log in and use the “send money” function to send $10 to “savebrentalfloss@gmail.com”… you can designate it as a “gift” or a “purchase of goods”, whatever you want. At the bottom of the final confirmation page, there is an option to send an email with the payment. Change the subject from “You’ve got Money” to “TICKET” and in the message box, type the name or names of the guests, and I’ll add them to the will call list.

BANDCAMP
This method involves buying my CD. Yes, you actually get a free CD for pre-ordering a ticket to my show (actually, you can pre-order a ticket by buying it… same diff). Go to http://brentalfloss.bandcamp.com/ and click “buy now”. A window will pop up asking you to choose the format of the CD download and “name your price”. Enter a price in a multiple of 10 depending on how many seats you are reserving (10 for 1 seat, 20 for 2, etc) Click the green “checkout” button. Fill out your credit card info and email address. Your payment will show up on my Paypal account. Once your payment has been confirmed, shoot me an email at savebrentalfloss@gmail.com from the same email address you just used on the payment page … the subject should be “TICKET” and the body of the email should be the name or names of the guests; I will check that your email is the same one as in my account and put the name or names on the list. Also, ENJOY MY CD! 🙂

Sorry for the complicated-ness. If someone tries to pre-order after we’ve sold out, it’s very easy for me to refund online, so don’t worry. Thanks, y’all!

Brent

Today I saw a note in my Facebook feed that started with the following text:

“Don’t take too long to think about it. 15 video games you’ve played that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes. Tag fifteen (or more) friends.”

Instead of tagging 15 friends, I’m tagging all of you. Below are my fifteen. Comment with your fifteen!

-BF

1) Final Fantasy IV (Originally Final Fantasy II in the US)

What can I say? Kickass music, a nice twisty plot, and great characters. And–while it’s controversial–I’m just gonna say I like how they kept it manageably short as opposed to the eleventy-billion-page novel that was Final Fantasy VI.

2) Chrono Trigger

You take a kid who likes Back to the Future and RPGs and sit him in front of this game, he’s gonna have a good time. The soundtrack is a bit hot and cold with me, but when it’s good, it’s a-fucking-mazing.

3) The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Classic, yet innovative. It was to the Zelda series what Super Mario Bros. 3 was to the Mario franchise (and not just because it was the third installment). For my money, it’s the only Zelda title that can compete with Ocarina of Time for the title of “arguably the best Zelda game”

4) Thief: The Dark Project

This was the game that got me into PC gaming. No memorable music to speak of, but I can’t think of another game that has ever gotten my heart to race like this game when it first came out. Thief was a pioneer of the “stealth shooter” concept, and to this day holds up as one of the most immersive gaming experiences ever.

5) Deus Ex

The RPG genre has been combined with platforming (Zelda II), action-adventure (Secret of Mana) and even the Disney universe (Kingdom Hearts). But rarely has it been combined with the FPS category. Deus Ex was a groundbreaking mix of both, and the genius of its concept has never been duplicated–not even in its disappointing 2003 sequel.

6) Road Runner’s Death Valley Rally

I’d be afraid to dust this game off today, because it’s probably really bad. In 1993 though, it was one of the only new games I had for the SNES. Basically, this one wasn’t so much life-changingly good as just a game I spent many hours playing.

7) Mega Man 3

This was my first Mega Man game and as far as I’m concerned it has the best title theme of all time. Some of the design choices are questionable, and it’s a frustratingly long game considering the simplicity of the Megaschtick, but it had a great soundtrack, particularly the boss fight themes and the ending credits theme.

8 ) Final Fantasy

I got to Final Fantasy a few years later than most kids. It had sold so many copies that Nintendo Power was giving it away to longtime subscribers. Having played Dragon Warrior, it was easy enough to understand. Delicious but now-obscure tunes completely INFEST the soundtrack, and it’s easy to see how one of the biggest franchises in history grew out of this humbly ambitious game.

9) A Boy And His Blob

Not a perfect game, but definitely one that made you think. It really only had one song looping throughout the entirety of the gameplay, but it must have been good considering how many  nights I skipped homework to be chased around by an obese, candy-addicted beanbag.

10) Civilization

Ultimate jurisdiction. Ultimate oversight. Ultimate power. As a young kid with very little influence on the world around me, I got to exercise plenty of executive decision-making with this franchise. Also Civilization II was the first game I’d ever played that had live-action video as part of the gameplay; at the time it was amazing.

11) Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers

I picked this particular installment in the Street Fighter series because it was my favorite growing up, due in large part to Cammy’s adorable win animation where she shows the player her perfect I-would-eat-scrambled-eggs-off-of-it ass for a few seconds and then smiles. It was a magical time for my wiener and I. Also, over the three-year process of writing the musical I’ll Be Damned, my collaborator and I often rewarded ourselves for a hard day of work by blowing off some steam playing this game. To this day, it’s the only fighter where I feel confident talking trash.

12) Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!

This game is like a big, fun cartoon. It’s got real suspense and white-knuckle moments paired with endless charming details and good tunes.

13) Banjo-Kazooie

I didn’t play many games on the Nintendo 64 because the 64’s heyday was right around the time I was becoming a PC gamer. This game stuck out though, due in large part to its super-fun soundtrack. I also really appreciate the detail and thought that went into the game, made most apparent in the fact that as you walk around a level, different areas have slightly different musical arrangements for the same song.

14) Super Mario Bros.

This is definitely a facepalm entry to any list, but I feel it’s important. Most 80’s babies whose family owned an NES bought the bundle that came with the Super Mario Bros/Duck Hunt cartridge. This shaped our perceptions of video games forever; how would gaming be different today if the bundle game had been Donkey Kong, the original Legend of Zelda, or even Metroid? Super Mario Bros. set a standard of excellence and brilliant simplicity and one could argue that it is chiefly responsible for the early success of the NES, as well as the revival of the home arcade industry.

15) Mario Paint

Picture this: A person with all of the creative potential and urgent need for attention as yours truly. Now imagine that person is eight years old. It was the late summer of 1992, and I had seen the ads for Mario Paint. I had read about it in Nintendo Power. I had to have it. Back before the internet and before every household had a computer, there weren’t as many ways for a kid to express himself through technology. These days, any punkass five-year-old can use a webcam and upload a Youtube video, but in the early 90’s, creativity and readily available technology rarely mixed. With Mario Paint, I could compose my own tunes, draw complex pictures and even animate my own characters. I’ll never know exactly how much of an impact this game had on me as an artist, but I can say with certainty that it gave me a safe place to experiment artistically. In school, you’re always writing and making things that will be seen and reviewed by teachers and parents. Mario Paint allowed me to try stuff I would never do in school. In short, it was a huge part of my creative development and I am thankful that it came into my life when it did.
Those are my fifteen… what are yours?

-BF

Hey brentallovers.

I’ve been doing live brentalfloss shows for about 18 months, and the requests for me to play shows in specific cities continue to roll in. Before I say anything else, please know that it is AWESOME that so many of you want to see me in person; it’s always flattering to be reminded that I have fans all over the world.

That said, I learned a lot of things during my five-show “mini-tour” in August and September. I thought I could play a show across the country and that the sale of CDs at the show would pay for my travel expenses. In most cases, I was wrong and I frankly lost a few hundred bucks when all was said and done. I don’t say that to bitch and moan, only to frame what I’m about to say:

I love doing live shows. In college, I was an acting major and I realized I didn’t love the process—the actual work of  acting—very much. I was also surrounded by people far more talented at performing and dedicated to it. Consequently, I gave up my idea of being a performer and focused on writing. The fact that the “brentalfloss” phenomenon has brought me out of my performing retirement is no small consideration; I always had the soul of an entertainer beneath the mind of a writer, and it is an amazing experience getting to connect so intimately with my audience.

Here’s the thing though: It doesn’t make sense from any standpoint—much less a business standpoint—to lose money when I play shows. I’m working on some new merchandise that may help in the future, but as it stands, there’s no tried-and-true business model that allows me to play a show somewhere and break even. I get requests to do shows in Europe and even places like Australia and South America, and I think to myself “That would be fun, but I’d basically be losing hundreds and maybe thousands of dollars.” While the sales of my CD have been very satisfactory, I’m nowhere near “rich” or even “well off”. There has to be a better way.

And so that’s why I choose to tell you this: while I may occasionally do a show in a city to which I already happen to be traveling, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to personally pay for the travel costs to go farther than, say, five hundred miles away from New York City.

UNLESS someone were to help pay for the travel. Gaming conventions routinely fly internet celebrities out to appear, and there are myriad ways to raise money on the internet. So if you’re one of the hardcore fans that wants me to do a show nearby (casual fans, I love yew guys teww), you might consider getting some cash together and sending me a message via Youtube, or using a connection with a local convention to help fly me there. I will not always be available for a particular date, and I may not be able to travel to each place requested, but for those of you who are serious about seeing a brentalfloss show, the power is yours. If you can pay for a round trip ticket and provide me with a place to stay, I am much more likely to say “yes!”

Just something to think about. As always, I am thankful for the love of my fans.

-BF

“So he thought back to childhood/and how he survived in such a wild hood, then he realized they didn’t hate him/and whatever didn’t break him, that’s what made him.”

–Random, a.k.a. Mega Ran

In recent years, the gaming community has been blessed with a growing number of musicians who pay tribute to the catchy tunes of classic games from the 80’s and 90’s. One of these artists is simply known as “Random” or “Mega Ran”. In his latest outing, entitled Forever Famicom, Random and producer K-Murdock have created an album that transcends the genres of “video game covers” and “nerdcore” and takes them to a whole new level.

Whereas groups like The Oneups and Select Start create clever arrangements of beloved video game themes and bands like The Megas and The Protomen dramatize the mythos of classic franchises, Random’s style in Forever Famicom is equal parts video game nostalgia and autobiography. Some tracks are chapters from his life story laid over enhanced chiptunes, like “Forever”, “Episode III (A New Day)”, and “Player Two”. He creates an engaging and often moving picture of a man who grew up in a rough neighborhood and made it out alive by staying indoors and losing himself in the “little gray box with the red lights”. The third track,“Dream Master”, uses a gorgeous groove from Capcom’s Little Nemo: The Dream Master as a backdrop for the universal and poignant story of a kid trying to fit in. We’ve all felt like outcasts at some point in our lives, and this track effortlessly locates that deep-down part of your heart and reminds you of how bittersweet childhood can be.

A few tracks serve as comments on current gaming culture. “Drop The Load” playfully criticizes the big-budget video game distributors of today, comparing them unfavorably to the era where cartridges ruled and cutscenes were few. One of the funniest tracks, “CONtact”, serves as a helpful list of rules for anyone who attends a comic book or video game convention. It finds a nice balance between his playful rap skills and his abilities as a compelling educator (it should be noted that he works as a schoolteacher as well as being an internet sensation).

Many people will tell you they don’t care for rap or that they’ll “listen to anything but rap”. Personally, rap doesn’t comprise that much of my music library. However, I hope you give this album a chance regardless of what you think your music tastes are, because the majority of the tracks sidestep the classification of “rap” or “hip-hop” altogether and enter a category all their own.

I’ll be honest: Random is not the most meticulous or dazzling lyricist I’ve ever come across*. The music arrangements, while competent and creative, are occasionally too straightforward and don’t always surpass the aural limitations of their chiptune samples. But the reason I’m recommending this album comes down to one word: heart. It’s not just about nostalgia, it’s about a living, breathing human being. I have never met Random, and we have only exchanged a few emails, but after listening to this album I feel like I know him. He celebrates the culture of video game addicts with “For The Gamers”, dips his toes into satirical game parody with “Double Dragons”, and retells the plot of an obscure title with “2k10”, but the lasting elements of Forever Famicom happen when Random opens his heart and shares it with the listener in a way that I don’t think anyone ever has before.

PROS: Great use of both popular and obscure tunes from the golden era of gaming. Heartfelt lyrics, often transcending the genre. Solid mixing and many interesting musical arrangements. Appearances by featured artists spice up the style & vocal sound.

CONS: Lyrics occasionally seem to lack craft, some arrangements rely too much on the original 8-bit or 16-bit audio.

BRENT’S FAVORITE TRACKS: #2 Forever, #3 Dream Master, #10 Epoch, #12 CONtact

OVERALL SCORE: 3 ½ STARS OUT OF 4

——————————————————————

Forever Famicom is available for an $8.00 instant download here.

You can listen to the entire CD before buying it.

*for the record, neither am I.

I couldn’t fit this in a tweet, so I decided to b-b-b-blog it!

On June 27, I’ll be playing a concert in Foxboro, Massachusetts as part of a show that will include performances by Metalli-ham, Jesus Candy, and one of my absolute favorite video game cover bands, POWERGLOVE! It’s the first annual GAME UNDERGROUND VIDEO GAME AND MUSIC FESTIVAL, and it’s gonna be fun on a bun. It’s basically like a one-day gaming con all in one kickass space. Here’s a commercial for it if you’re interested:

Anyway, I’m GIVING AWAY TO TICKETS TO THE EVENT, MOFOS! Here’s how it will work:

Anyone who lives in PA or East of PA in the continental United States is eligible;  if you’re gonna drive or fly from farther away than that, you can probably afford the ticket price 🙂 So if you’re eligible, you can enter the contest by cutting and pasting the following and tweeting it:

I want to see @brentalfloss at the Game Underground Video Game and Music Festival in Foxboro, MA! Check it out! http://j.mp/BFinMA

It’s just that simple. Once you tweet that, you’re entered. Multiple tweets will not increase your chances, although they will increase my ego. I’ll keep track of all the tweople who tweet it, and on June 5th, I’ll draw a random winner who will be able to take a friend and see me play in Foxboro for free!

Good luck, and tweet me with any questions!

-Brent