mardi, août 29, 2006

Phyllis Montana LeBlanc displaying the black of the crew tee
"There were two things I asked Spike when we first met," says LeBlanc, sitting in a lawn chair outside her government-issued trailer home in New Orleans—the one she finally received four months after applying for it. "First I asked him, 'Are you going to tell the whole story and make it clear that all black people aren't poor, ignorant looters?' And then I asked if I could cuss." She laughs. "When he said yes to both, I said, 'Hot damn, we've got a deal!'"

Excerpted from "Spike's Katrina", Allison Samuels, Newsweek, Aug. 21-28


I tuned in last Monday and Tuesday. I laughed, cried and cursed the fools responsible for this American tragedy: Nagin, Compass, Chertoff, Cheney, Condie, Blanco, Bush, Brownie, etc... Spike Lee did a helluva job iniating and completing this definitive document. I don't want to overlook the grassroots historiography that has and continues to take place but film is a much more accessible medium. I am not aware of any young MAINSTREAM black talent/artists who would endeavor anything in this spirit. I can't say how much of a generational/ethical shift I have observed between popular Black public figures of yesterday and today.*

HBO will air all four acts tonight, 8-midnight.

*I am reminded of the new Luda video, "Moneymaker", directed by Melina. It's a gimmicky but visually arresting twist on the standard t&a and t-bill backdrop. During the making of the vid, Luda, addressing his new haircut, explains that his fans acceptance of the new look represents the the parallel growth of him and them. He then mimes the get-low-and-make-this-money chorus. I flash back to "What's Your Fantasy" and have difficulty differentiating the thematics of the two. Later him and Pharrell play 'Reverend Brown' to the video girls as 'Ms. Black Awareness' contestants. It's not funny although one particularly eager video girl- the short haired lead- laughs loud and unnaturally.

lundi, août 28, 2006

Hot Buttered Biscuits


About two years ago I was at Aaron Davis Hall for a focus group the venue convened for artist-in-residence Roger Guenveur Smith. He was developing a thematic piece on water. In semi-circle sat maybe 15, a good deal students, to enrich Smith's already keen aquatic perspective. He asked us what came to mind when we thought of water. I said something about hair going back. I wore a cropped curly natural for about 5 years and my mom braided my hair weekly during my formative years but I feel as if I've always pressed/flat ironed my hair straight. For some reason it's become a defining experience. Another student, exceptionaly enthusiastic and theatric mentioned What the Bleep do We Know? She went on and on but I judged her the type of person to get crunk upon anything (Sierra Mist Free, cheese, Ne-Yo) not to mention she was fiendishly self-reflexive and long-winded so I didn't pay her or the movie no mind. For whatever reason people like her bother me. I don't so much want them to curb their enthusiam but gradate it. I need to be less annoyed by ways, ugly or idiosynchratic; it blocks blessings.

I missed church Sunday. But I think that was divined. Instead I caught an hour and a half of this film, which admittedly has some corny animation and hammy acting but by not stumbling upon those deficiencies I was able to receive an important message. One I have heard, in part, before. I create my own reality. I manifest each moment. It's simple but remains a butter pat on a loaf of doubt. But if I was to really sop my life in possibility, wipe the plate clean...

jeudi, août 24, 2006

The World Goes 'Round

A lot is jumping off this weekend including the Jazz thing advertised in the previous post. I've been exceptionally exhausted recently and now my left ankle is swollen and my right knee is straight actin' up (first injured in the infamous heel clicking incident of '98). I recently returned to the gym (the Cobble Hill NYSC) as part of my "Get Right by Next Summer" plan. I'm 15 pounds heavier than I would like and greedier than ever (If you too eat like a runaway house slave throw your hands up with me). I think it has a lot to do with eating bread. I used to never eat bread or wheat or potatoes for that matter but I've started taking my lunch to work to save ends and it's a lot less time consuming to make a faux turkey sandwich vs. an elaborate quinoa and tofu melange with lightly sauteed vegetables. Of course I don't use microwaves so I eat my food lukewarm, (I don't put my food in the office refrigerator esp. since some sundry types drank up my soymilk) which doesn't work for every entree.
Anyway my whole purpose for coming here was to talk about this weekend's pauper- friendly roster of free events:

Tonight Dwele is at Marcus Garvey Park uptown.
I thought he put out one of the best and most coherent albums of 2005. And the extended flapjacks thread was hilarious.

Tomorrow Evening Algebra is at City Hall (with Teena Marie and atrociously bearded Lyfe) "U do it for Me" is a great song!)

Saturday Carol Riddick (straight stole the show on Musiq's Soulstar) et al take over Ft. Greene Park as part of Rhymes, Rhythms & Rituals Poetry Concert. Sounds amazing.

Roy Haynes, who has found his Fountain of Youth, will be at City Hall. That same evening he'll be at Dizzy's for 40 dollars. I would so be here but for the Charlie Parker Jazz fest uptown (see post below).

Jean and Talib take over City Hall at 5

Sunday the Charlie Parker Jazz fest moves downtown to Tompkins Square Park and Sonny Rollins will be at Lincoln Center's Damrosch Park that evening.
I need to clean my apt. (out of town fam next weekend) and do laundry and rest and work. On a related note: I have not taken vacation this summer. I can feel it in my hyperextended knee, swollen ankle and pre-carpal tunnel wrist but what's buffering me today from bouncing off my office walls is "Morris Brown." It's so Atl (country, collegiate, cacophonous, coal black). For someone who came into herself in Southwest it really resonates. "I'm tipping my hat off to you baby."

jeudi, août 17, 2006


The cover of Greg Osby's 1993 album
3-D lifestyles
on which "Raise", a song
that appealed to my kid sensibilities,

Here's the deal. I am starting a listening group/salon. The aim is to cultivate a friendly community of open-minded young Jazz fans. "52" is the name and bi-monthly Jazz outings with the option for tea/coffee/other beverages afterwards is the game plan. Each month there will be an outing to a set at one of the lower cost venues in New York City (sometimes live Jazz can be cost prohibitive) and an outing to a higher end venue in New York City.

The inaugural event will be the first day of the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival. It's FREE, so no excuses.

Chico Hamilton, George Coleman, Sonny Fortune Quartet & Greg Osby
Saturday, August 26, 2006
From 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Marcus Garvey Park

The more the merrier. We will meet at 2pm at Marcus Garvey Park (Directions below). Get at me if interested so you'll know how to find us.
Directions : Located just south of the 125th Street shopping corridor along the axis of Fifth Avenue in Central Harlem, Marcus Garvey Park is easily accessible by public transportation. Take the 7th Avenue Express number 2 or 3 trains; the Lexington Avenue number 4, 5 or 6 trains; or Metro North to 125th Street. The M1 bus passes along the park and the M7, M60, M98, M100, M101, M102 and Bx15 buses all stop just a short walk away.

dimanche, août 13, 2006

What's your locomotive?

I always say "13th Floor."
"Red Velvet" :
It digs like a novice nurse
But "Humble Mumble" I keep with me:
"Humble as a mumble in the jungle
Of shouts and screams
That's the way the cracker crumbles
So I guess I've got to re-route my dreams"
spottie ottie
Just goes to show you what can happen on a morning commute to church. Having pivoted on arrival (the guest minister was benedicting) I peaced to recently uploaded stankness and in the process thought about needing to be liked on account of an e-mail from mdizzy and having just finished So What. There are a multitude of ways to be but it can sometimes just boil down to two: stay the course or double back. As idiotic as the former sounds when W says it, its difficult to translate into "as long as your living" with or without the cracked voice (erykah's or abby's) purring in the background. I don't know how I feel about reroute. Is that defeat?

mercredi, août 09, 2006


Apex Hides the Hurt
Colson Whitehead

Good. Very good. Reminds me of Giovanni's Room Baldwin in the naturalistic manner with which he reveals the race of the characters. The narration aptly mirrors the world view and social location of the protagonist. It can be confusing and that is not a critique. It's short, dense and the writing is lovely. It ends poorly (very Spike Lee ish). He tries to pull everything together, to communicate the book's thesis, which was most certainly not necessary.

Gloria Naylor
I am not done yet. It is a short easy read but very uncomfortable. It's a novel about surveillance and/or paranoia but the back cover blurbs refer to it as non-fiction. It is based on a true story: the author's 1996. I'm having trouble picking it back up. It's obviously struck a chord that, as of yet, I'm unable to hum.

Dizzy: The Life and Times of John Birks Gillespie
Donald I. Maggin

He begins Dizzy's bio with a detailed history of the white people who owned and miscgenated with Dizzy's patrilineal ancestors. It was a poor choice. It centers whiteness. It is otherwise detailed, some times excessively, but there is the titular reference to both the life and times and he certainly fleshes out the times. A lot of musicological language and analysis, which the author takes great pains and pages to explain. I feel like I learned a great deal.

Soul on Soul: The Life and Music of Mary Lou Williams
Tammy L. Kernodle

She could sometimes be a little presumptive with regards to the states of mind of Williams and her family especially the women. There was a lot of choppy historiography on black womanhood that I didn't think was necessary. It's a biography. It suffices to talk about Mary Lou Williams experience (which the author does) without the other extranneous commentary. I feel I learned a great deal about Williams. I read Maggin's bio first and he consistently recounts Gillespie's close relationship with Williams while Kernodle asserts the same she doesn't show it. I wonder what else could be missing. I will be reading Dahl's take soon. (And yes that's Mary Lou Williams bookending my banner.)

Footprints: The Life and Music of Wayne Shorter
Michelle Mercer

The reviews on Amazon aren't good but it's a good read. Mercer writes well. It doesn't particularly seek to be objective. Shorter cooperated and wrote the preface (Herbie Hancock handled the forward.) It's an interesting text on which to reflect on this extended conversation of black quirkiness (i see u moya) and/or black nerds. I recoiled at some of her commentary but generally found it to be a good read. (On a related note: Gretchen Parlato's Juju/Footprints is celestial.)

The Pursuit of Happyness
Chris Gardner w/ Quincy Troupe

Troupe is really good at this. So is David Ritz. A distinctive and credible voice (whether it's the subject's or not) comes though. And Gardner's story is incredible. I found myself more interested in his tales of single fatherhood than the rags to riches storyline. Although I respect the guy for raising his kids I stumbled when I read he kept his toddler son out all night at a blues club or took him to see Purple Rain. Umm, not appropiate.

I was also struck by how forthright he was in conversations about his sex life even the exhibitionist encounters with his kids mother. I wish women public figures could do the same in their stories. It's always this incredible distracting and often distorting silence in their stories.

No Direction Home

I never liked his voice. I still don't but I recognize the salience of his songwriting now but I was much more awed by how fucking quintessentially American he is/was. In the performative sense (I mean). Grandiose and mythic. Self posessed and opportunistic. So smart, elusive and unapologetic yet not one of the people interviewed said anything really bad about him although I sensed that they almost wanted to. He is a template for stardom and individualism.

The Shape of Things

It started so slow I almost flipped off IFC in hopes of doing something demonstratively productive. I am so glad I persevered. It sticks with you and resonates if it digs. It was a play. That fact remains. Melinda & Melinda however clever felt like movie about (two visions of) a play as it intends but The Shape of Things is so a play on film. And Paul Rudd is so fucking capable. Good ass film.

Jon Faddis

Excellent. Wish I'd had the dough to see him at his recent string of dates at the Jazz Standard. Since I'm on trumpeters: I can't seem to get into Dave Douglass.

"Hollywood Divorce"
Outkast feat. Lil' Wayne and Snoop

A thrice day rotation. I like the synths and 'Dre's hook and verse. I wish Big Boi would rhyme about something other than his personal and professional relationship with 'Dre. I don't like DeWayne's stream of consciousness contribution except for " feel different what's the real sense of it." I don't like "cooler than antifreeze" for obvious reasons. His half ass attempt at addressing Katrina makes me sad. Do rappers revise? I know Nas does. That's probably why I like him so much. Snoop's verse is forgettable. 'Dre shouldn't have let these fools get on the track although you can hear them trying their best to do something a little off beat. I'd like to have heard Elzhi on here just cause he's not only nice (with his) but introspective. Actually this might have been better with 'Dre fake singing on it maybe wit Joi and Gipp and Erykah.

"Number 1"
Pharrell Williams feat. Kanye West

Crown Kanye the annoying adlib champ ("Come on, come on."). Diddy and J.D. have nothing on him.

"Looking for You"

Kirk Franklin

I don't like Kirk Franklin but I find him to be very very funny. Listen to his adlibs (that's all he does. Remember?!) at the end of "Stomp." The Busta "Ya Ya Ya" is hilarious and is intensified by the preceding, "And my auntie say." But this song is incredible. I'm so mad his name isn't followed by "and the Family" or "and Nu Nation." This negro doesn't do nothing but booty shake to Gospel music and/or download kiddie porn but he's ridden his way to richesse and fame on the backs of a landry list of chunky black church singers with the exception of that one white girl.

The Salvodar Gabor Project
Funny is hard to do. Here it is done well.

"Pornokarma" is much better than "pyroeroticism" (a term I coined 8 years ago). Perfectly plain perfect prose.

Three of my fav. people are Tauruses. Mama (5/20), L(5/8), and Su the Fijian Gaijin(5/20). Her blog is much much much better than mine.

Nota Bene: Drink your water. Dizziness + Blurry Vision + Nausea = Heat Exhaustion aka me last Friday.

lundi, août 07, 2006

Xtra Firm

I need to get to LA (Inglewood really) soon to see Kris and her and Thomas' new addition to the fam but this is even more incentive. I would so enter the tofu eating contest. I'm not really a fan of soft tofu but for a trip back to SE Asia I'd buck up not to mention I wouldn't mind a little Takeru Kobayashi-type notoriety. LMAO at Blackalicious headlining. My fav hip hop vege' is probably Kris Parker circa "Jack of Spades"; my least fav., Andre Benjamin/3000 back when he was 'Dre, on account of him pushing the homie out the way to get to the front of the line at the Soul Veg. on Abernathy. I guess those Kale bone strips were calling one of his names.

Since we are on the subject my sis sent me this article a few weeks back:

Vegan diet reverses diabetes symptoms, study finds

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science CorrespondentThu Jul 27, 2:34 PM ET

People who ate a low-fat vegan diet, cutting out all meat and dairy, lowered their blood sugar more and lost more weight than people on a standard American Diabetes Association diet, researchers said on Thursday.

They lowered their cholesterol more and ended up with better kidney function, according to the report published in Diabetes Care, a journal published by the American Diabetes Association.

Participants said the vegan diet was easier to follow than most because they did not measure portions or count calories. Three of the vegan dieters dropped out of the study, compared to eight on the standard diet.

"I hope this study will rekindle interest in using diet changes first, rather than prescription drugs," Dr. Neal Barnard, president of the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine, which helped conduct the study, told a news conference.

An estimated 18 million Americans have type-2 diabetes, which results from a combination of genetics and poor eating and exercise habits. They run a high risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and limb loss.

Barnard's team and colleagues at George Washington University, the University of Toronto and the University of North Carolina tested 99 people with type-2 diabetes, assigning them randomly to either a low-fat, low-sugar vegan diet or the standard American Diabetes Association diet.

After 22 weeks on the diet, 43 percent of those on the vegan diet and 26 percent of those on the standard diet were either able to stop taking some of their drugs such as insulin or glucose-control medications, or lowered the doses.

The vegan dieters lost 14 pounds (6.5 kg) on average while the diabetes association dieters lost 6.8 pounds (3.1 kg).

An important level of glucose control called a1c fell by 1.23 points in the vegan group and by 0.38 in the group on the standard diet.


A1c gives a measure of how well-controlled blood sugar has been over the preceding three months.

In the dieters who did not change whatever cholesterol drugs they were on during the study, LDL or "bad" cholesterol fell by 21 percent in the vegan group and 10 percent in the standard diet group.

The vegan diet removed all animal products, including meat, fish and dairy. It was also low in added fat and in sugar.

The American Diabetes Association diet is more tailored, taking into account the patient's weight and cholesterol. Most patients on this diet cut calories significantly, and were told to eat sugary and starchy foods in moderation.

All 99 participants met weekly with advisers, who advised them on recipes, gave them tips for sticking to their respective diets, and offered encouragement.

"We have got a combination here that works successfully," said Dr. David Jenkins of the University of Toronto, who worked on the study. "The message that we so often get with diet is that it is no good because nobody follows it for very long."

Dr. Joshua Cohen, George Washington University associate professor of medicine, said everyone diagnosed with diabetes is told to start eating more carefully.

"That may be among the hardest things that any of us can do," Cohen told the news conference.

The vegan diet "is at least as good, if not better than traditional approaches," Cohen said.

Vance Warren, a 36-year-old retired police officer living in Washington, said he lowered his a1c from 10.4, considered uncontrolled diabetes, to 5.1, considered a healthy level, over 18 months. "My life is much better being 74 pounds (34 kg) lighter," Warren told the news conference.

mardi, août 01, 2006

dirty pretty things

And now we return to scheduled programming...

errybody know "i don't like beyonce." i have said it many times before. its not because she's a black stepford girlfriend. it's because she is so despicably shade sheist. bey, you're a star. you've got a good voice, incredible stage presence, inconceivable drive and discipline, and a knack for creating catchy if inspid singles and this is on top of your fair (and i mean that in the literal sense-fair is not a synonym for beautiful in my book although Beyonce is most certainly pretty) and flawless complexion, 5 figure blond mane and celebrated bootyliciousness. but still, but always, you have been so insecure about your stardom that you allegedly demanded that former members of Destiny's Child tan so you could pop brighter in photos and on stage. your hair doing mother allegedly purposefully damaged other members long (and notably less kinky) hair and your mom and you consistently design outfits that are unflattering on your model thin bandmates but suprisingly incredibly stunning on your non-traditional Popeyes Chicken enhanced body shape (that was pre Dreamgirls master cleanse fueled weight loss). And with regards to your sycophantic sidekick Kelly (who is obviously ever so grateful y'all took her in and saved her from the Hattie McDaniel in Gone With the Wind fate of her domestic mother) I wish she would holler at Iyanla and start over and fully exercise the possibility life outside of your shadow. but to hear of your decision to move up your iTunes pre-order date to coincide with Letoya's release was a shocker. why can't you just be happy and enjoy your luxuriant vacations with the the aged man-boy with whom you have no romantic chemistry? huh. also simulating giving head to your indifferent boyfriend in a video after kicking up dust in an apparent meth fueled African dance exhibition gone wrong is not a good look (also josephine baker was peforming steretotype for her fans because black stardom at the time generally demanded it...she knew what she was doing as troubling as that was but saw little other option...bey, do you have any clue what you are doing? do you even understand how josephine baker's performance was governed by black primitivism?). i'll take britney over you any day and she can't sing* although obviously the only pop star worth listening to, at present, is Aguilera.)

*full disclosure-me and brit were internet buds in the late nineties.

i don't want to talk about lebanon right now but let's reconsider our definition of terrorist which a former Reagan cabinet member explained on DN! was revised repeatedly since the first draft implicitly indicted methods used the u.s. let's meditate on the premature death of the children killed the other day, the civilians, the un aid workers intentially bombed last week. how is the death of children whom israel bombed not israel's fault? as Robert Fisk said on DN! yesterday compare hezbollah to the ira? you think Tony Blair would ever consider bombing the hell out of Dublin to root out the IRA? Hell's no.

and bs apologies aside noone should see another mel gibson film nor should anyone watch the view (barbara walters comments to her black guest hosts are just cherries on top of the racist sundae she spoon fed a stunned lisa ling each morning during her ling's tenure) nor should folk rock shaq jersies-did he ever apologize for that yao ming racist ish? i'm tired of people only getting riled up if those slighted look like themselves. wrong is wrong.

i want to get on here and talk about sunshine, good friends or boy lust (see above vid) but i'm too busy for that so i just get on here when the troubles of the world are too much and i vent. and yes beyonce is a trouble of the world. soon i will be done? probably not.