vendredi, décembre 22, 2006


+I went out for dinner and drinks last night in SpaHa and felt myself outside of myself. I'm usually exuberant but I was strangely quiet. I felt unfun and subsequently guilty like I dissapointed the dear ones. I don't really know if I dissapointed I just have expectations for myself that I project onto others. I try to be snappy and fun even when I don't feel like it. I expect others to be snappy and fun and generally hound my dears into gregarity. I guess I'm hoping they will pick up the slack 'cause I'm tired of "keeping the party going."* It's a big responsibility and therein lies my admiration for Christ-the reason for the season. Church.

+Unhinged by the popo's terrorism of Black people (pre and) post murder of the groom, and assault of the groomsmen, Iquo and I marched in the "Shopping for Justice" protest last Saturday. Arriving 5 or 10 minutes before her, I stepped through the police barricade on Central Park South and 6th and joined the tens of thousands of Negroes equally sick of sorrow songs. Still there were tears trailing down the face of a Black woman bystander in the front of the scaffolded Palace Hotel or of the burly Black father and teenage son on 34th. And much more laughter than I'd expected, triggered once by the call of a resourceful young protester: "Out in the streets they call it..." he screamed. We responded, without missing a beat, "Murder." Two twin teen Black brothers with CZ-clasped earlobes and oversized 'fur' bombers marched behind me with a boombox blasting a protest song. Iquo wondered aloud if they recorded it. I responded authoritatively that a handful of rappers were cutting their own response songs before adding that they were probably tuned to the radio. But in a remorseful flash of post knee jerk dismissiveness, I turned 'round and asked the one with the bandana, "Who's that?" He said, "Me and by brother." I quickly apologized to Iquo, "You were right." They passed us looking to share the homemade sounds with other protesters and handed a couple of free discs sharpied 'Twin Life Entertainment" to some interested middle aged black women. We pressed on despite the aghast disgust of onlooking White shoppers.

+Dallas and Joshua have notable year end lists. Dallas' includes songs not released in '06. Brilliant. Everything I came to love-for the most part-was old(er) shit I happened upon. I much prefer lists of the best things listened to in 2006 then the best things released in 2006. It's realer if less utile. Joshua's is indicative of his consumptive breadth. He mines much music spotlighting a ton of clear sparklers and conversation sparking blood diamonds. I find year end lists taxing. Last year, I had difficulty remembering what I liked. This year LastFM helped in the cataloguing but I don't listen to everything via iTunes and some shit I really like I don't listen to that much. And I'm in an apathetic funk for the lack of crackling soul music. What happened to LaToiya Williams? Beyoncé played woman scorned on B'day about as poorly as (I hear) she plays Dina in Dreamgirls. LaToiya captured it perfectly on "Fallen Star." I miss her much. Bilal too. Whereas the ubiquitious and increasingly rabid B' Debbie Allen'ed and screeched for crazy's sake. Bilal's leaked shit* stinks of it. So to did the "The Root", dearly missed D'Angelo's shaky as sanity masterwork. The Boys of "Dial My Heart" fame, friends of L boogaloo, and last I knew residents of Atlanta selling silver Ankhs to earthy AUC co-eds, had this hymn "Call on Ma'At." They invoked Ma'At to illustrate the imporance of balance. If you let my cousin tell it, I'm enchanted by imbalance. Not too long ago she pleasantly but firmly characterized all my friends as crrrazy. Sincerely offended by the blanket condemnation, I watered up and stridently defended those of mine that walk the line. I love odd drama. I like fresh stories. I'm endeared to eccentricity. (I however don't like awkward and I'm ambivalent about corny.) I'm wholly disinterested in normalcy in process or product. I'd prefer that the scales be on tilt and that's where I split with Monie Love in her radio interview with the abominable snowman who I'd more liken to Dorothy's scarecrow than a button nosed stack of balls. What the fuck's so great about balance? It's as useless as consistency. Her argument would be better supported by calls for quality or integrity. A hustle despite its appeal to Negroes who shortsightedly define themselves by it and others who revel in its spectacular coonheartedness is still just a hustle. However many homies in the feds.

+If I had your mailing address, I sent you a Christmas card--I usually send New Year's cards to the non-Christians but I had these cards with a Black angel on them that were too cute (for which) to substitute. If I didn't I'm wishing you fullness this Holiday Season and the rest it precipitates (we call it 'itis) and exceptionality in 2007.
*©Jesus as qtd. by D.L. Hughley

vendredi, décembre 15, 2006

Sean Bell

March for Justice and Against Police Brutality
59Th St. & 5th Ave.


PLEASE CALL (212) 408-8416

More info here.

mercredi, décembre 13, 2006

"Credit is a vector..."

"...we are seeing a new kind of debt trap created. is a vector. Where does that vector lead you to? Does it lead you to particpation in a debt cycle that you can never get out of? I think one of the key issues about credit has to be: is it a debt trap sucking people in to permanent dependence on more and more borrowing?
-Vandana Shiva
Nobel Peace Prize winner and "Microcredit Missionary" Muhammad Yunus has no doubt improved the quality of many Bangladeshi women's lives and his acceptance lecture is necessary reading but Vandana Shiva complicates the issue of Microcredit in this debate with the earnest but outmatched Susan Davis of the Grameen Foundation. To apply Lorde's enduring radical metaphor, this is really a question of renovation (nowhere near gut despite its measurable impact on the developing world's womens lives) vs. demolition A must listen.

And before I forget recently NewsHour with Jim Lehrer tackled the 'Obamanon' to borrow from the Daily Show and negroes, what do you know, they got a White New Hampshire resident on tape saying Obama "speaks well." Chris Rock tackled this a while back when similar comments were made about Colin Powell:
Whenever Colin Powell is on the news, white people give him the same compliments: 'How do you feel about Colin Powell?', 'He speaks so well! He's so well spoken. I mean he really speaks so well!' Like that's a compliment, sh*t. 'He speaks so well' is not a compliment, okay? 'He speaks so well' is some sh*t you say about retarded people that can talk. What do you mean he speaks so well? He's a fuc*ing educated man! How the fu*k you expect him to sound, you dirty motherfuc*er? 'He speaks so well.' What are you talking about? What voice were you expecting to come out of his mouth? 'Imma drop me a bomb today', 'I be Pwez o dent!'."
And I'm not sure if the Matthew Shipp Piano Jazz episode has aired or not but per the podcast snippet it's some funny sh*t. McPartland who called Shipp's playing "interesting" connects his expressed affinity for boxing to what she understands as his brutal playing. He laughs and comes back very diplomatically. Suffice it to say she's not a Shipp fan although she thinks his label's name (Thirsty Ear) is wonderful.

Cultural Vestibularity

52 reconvenes this Sunday in the parlor of Marjorie Eliot...

On Sunday Dec. 17th at 4pm saxophonist David Lee Jones performs at Marjorie Eliot's Harlem apartment (555 Edgecombe Ave, Apt. 3F between 159th & 160th, C train to 163rd or 1 to 157th). This free event is a part of the acclaimed Parlor Jazz concert series (NPR did a story on the concert series a while back.) Here is some background on Parlor Jazz from their Web site.
Every Sunday for the past eleven years, rain or shine, with no vacations, a Jazz concert with some of the City's best musicians takes place in the living room of Marjorie Eliot's home in Sugar Hill. Eliot's weekly free concerts are by now an institution in Harlem and for Jazz lovers city-wide. An actress and musician, Marjorie has devoted her life to the arts, rarely thinking about the time or the money, and it hasn't been easy. Eliot initiated the concerts to honor Philip, one of her musician sons, who passed away in 1992. Despite illnesses in her family and other setbacks, Marjorie has persevered. Each week "the show must go on," and Marjorie finds a way not only to host the concerts but to pay the musicians. After all these years, it has become increasingly difficult for Marjorie to sustain this crucial New York City tradition.

In addition to reveling in the music, we hope that you will contribute to Marjorie Eliot's vision for free parlor entertainment for the people of New York City. Please give as generously as you can to the "Donations Box" at the concert, or give a check to Marjorie in person. In addition, City Lore, a New York folklore center, is serving as a non-profit sponsor for Marjorie. You can make tax-deductible contributions to City Lore, Inc. (72 E. 1st St., New York, New York 10003). An attached self-addressed envelope is available. All the funds are turned over to Marjorie's Parlor Entertainment. We hope that you will help make it possible for this larger-than-life New York City treasure to carry on.
Please e-mail me if you can make it. It's free but hopefully all of us who will attend will donate at least a few dollars to the cause.

On a related note Diane Reeves' Christmas Time is Here has been my Holiday CD of choice for the past two years. She's got a sick version of the "Little Drummer Boy" but I'll always be fond of Someday at Christmas, the Jacksons Christmas comp, the Donny staple, Sounds of Blackness' "Soul Holidays" and Q's star-studded "Hallelujah Chorus" (Mt. Zion tears it up every Christmas service), which reminds me: I need to pick up some Poinsettias on the way home.

jeudi, décembre 07, 2006

Beef Broccoli

With an album named Beef Music Volume 1: Freedom to the Dogs, track titles like "Thunderthighs" and interludes dubbed "Party Over Here" I was a little disoriented by young Jazz guitarist Nikhil P. Yerawadekar's Quintet. I thought of "What's Beef" and couldn't figure out how something like that would work with a Jazz quintet. First impressions and accompanying initial expectations are funny that way. They trigger tentativeness and judgement outside of experience and I'm predisposed to both. So I put the CD aside until now having noticed that Yerawadekar's Quintet is playing Williamsburg's Rose this evening.

Today, I gave the album a good listen and it's a bright and impassioned collection of Yerawadekar compostions (I ended up really liking "Thunderthighs") and that I would certainly recommend checking out in the live format. Tonight Yerawadekar--who is also a member of the AKOYA Afrobeat Ensemble--Seth Paris, Dave Melton, Dave Ostrem and James Windsor-will take the stage at 9pm. Cover is just 5 bones.

Waiting for Santa Claus to Show Up

News & Notes*
: On other fronts, I've been waking to jackhammering on Adelphi every morning at 7am and I'm afraid this development will disrupt my already iffy cable service. I realize that I am inordinately regimented with how I keep my house. I recently rapped a butcher knife on the kitchen counter when I felt some food remnants on a dish a house guest washed (poorly). I realize that I love the kids despite constant professions of the opposite. I get dangerously invested in people to my emotional and physical detriment, which is why I can sometimes hold back but having just re-engaged the babies I realize how much I miss them and how good I am with them. I like "A Dozen Roses", gauche lyrics and all. Monica's always been a personal fav. Never fail to tear up at listen to "Angel of Mine." I hated my poetry workshop and haven't written anything creative since then. I thought this post was particularly on point. I dearly miss Emerge. I am continually disheartened by Black media (and by the fact that Grammy nominated Akon-"Smack That" apparently impressed the academy--is poised to work with Whitney Houston). YSB was amazing and don't get me started 'bout Teen Summit (Yeah, yeah! Kick the truth to the young Black youth.) I am trying to decide if I'm going to go ahead host this Holiday party. I am extravagant and my parties can get expensive. I am also broke. I would really love to do something for my dears but If I do something for them I won't be able to do something for me and these Juicy Jeans I have on are rather worn down. I also need a new celly. I want the Blackberry Pearl if I decide to stay with T-Mobile, the BlackJack if I jump ship to Cingular. I want these Givenchy boots ("such would astound you") on sale for a little under $400 (marked down from 4 figures) at Century. Really bad. I want this sick silver and black leather braided Chanel watch at Saks. I want a ticket to see Kristel and her recently expanded family. I want reflexology and a flat tummy. Amen.

* I miss Ed Gordon

lundi, décembre 04, 2006

Lost Ones

A lost girl. Not in the film. Boys are more important.

You'd think that after 2 stemless glasses of Beaujolais Nouveau, a 1/2 hour of Billy Ocean soundtracked Everybody Hates Chris and the satisfaction of cleaning my stove, still grease splattered by haphazard Thanksgiving cookery, I'd be good and glad for the evening but the Netflix selection that had been collecting dust on my desk changed it all. Since I finished Season 2 of Lost a few weeks back I've been on docs. The Lost Boys was the latest preceded by Outfoxed and The Fog of War. But I had to pause The Lost Boys 45 minutes in. Santino's talk of African's black Blackness vs. our brown Blackness, the loneliness, and the shaming stares was just too much. And that's not counting David's anger at surviving war and crossing the Atlantic only to daily get got by Black Americans. So to keep their red eyes from watering mine, I'll talk about Ciara. "Promise." Unreasonable weave, suspendered leggings, clownish coquettishness, and long platformed feet gainfully grinding her way into all of our iPod rotations. "Turned Away" just came on BETJ. Flat top, rat tail, prominent synths, obligatory 80's R&B rock riff, more leggings and in the background what looks like a moonlighting Fly Girl (Deidre?). I'm already feeling better. God bless Diane Martel and Chuckii Booker.

Jesus. I think "Looking for You" will be on my 2006 singles list even though the album from whence it came dropped in late '05 and its author is a booty shakin' kiddie porn addict. What else is there to look for? It's no surprise that the Nazarene plays prominent in The Lost Boys. From Sudan to North Dakota or Kansas. From survivors to buck toothed haints who may or may not be too old for school, who will fail drivers test, who will struggle to find friends, who will learn about garbage disposals and electric stoves and deodorant, who will rack up three too many tickets, who will miss friends who are family since family was slaughtered. I'll probably Google a place to volunteer or donate tomorrow and hit up service on Sunday. Jesus saves.

I only found the lost girl above when doing an image search for the lost boys. I assumed she and her sistren were excluded from the film because they were slaughtered along with the boys parents. I didn't know it was willful exclusion although I'm not surprised. Much like my response to Luda's foolishly earnest "Runaway." He really means well. His baby mother's a Spelmanite who used to rock a natural (possibly still does), he shouts out African women in his pimping anthem and now he's confessed to empathy with abused young women. Chicken & fear.

And one more thing to all those with Save Darfur banners stickered to their blogs or emblazoned across tees, who will save you for whom Black is still bad just fashionably pitiable. Too many, stateside Blacks, White and others are pervesely enthralled by the charcoal colored continentals. That way of seeing, instituionalized no doubt, and at its root the cause of the current death knell, has got to be overcome. Let' talk personal transformation.

PS-BETJ is a much watch. Smokey and Rick James are acting very badly in the clip to a video I have never seen and doesn't John Legend recall Smokey in countenance and composure?