jeudi, juillet 26, 2007


Rethinking my opposition to capital punishment after listening to Part 1 of Laura Sullivan's important 2-part series on rape, murder and indigenous women e-mailed to the masses by Ned Sublette. According to Sullivan's piece, which was sparked by an Amnesty International Report, non-indigenous men are raping and murdering indigenous women at unheard of numbers with virtually no impunity. The Bureau of Indian Affairs has no authority over non-native people and the federal government doesn't care leaving indigenous women's lives circumscribed by the LIKELIHOOD of rape and torture. It's abominable. Indigenous American peoples' reservations are playgrounds for rapists and murderers. Per a glance at Amnesty International's report the suggested step to "take action" is by urging "Congress to improve safety and justice for Native American and Alaska Native women." That's all well and good but given the U.S. government's history with these peoples, I don't place much faith in them and what of the women who are being raped and murdered now! They can't wait on legislation or increased allocations, which as they stand now will add 50 total police officers total. Yes, indigenous women's lives are that motherfucking cheap. I'm interested in what concerned indigenous peoples, women, and their allies are doing. If people are suffering now, they need help now, not when the US government decides to change their genocidal policies towards the indigenous and by extension the most vulnerable of their populations, women and children. When I get home, I will research what concerned people are doing for these people but if anyone has any relevant information, please advise. The outrage must translate into action. I mean, I'm so appalled, vigilantism is starting to sound more and more viable.

I recommend Laura Sullivan's April report on the subject as well.

mercredi, juillet 25, 2007

Jazz Times

It's an exceptionally good week for jazz. A few of my favorite artists are playing:

+Robert Glasper will be at the Vanguard all this week. I checked his trio out last night and posted a review at Hello, Babar. I can't overemphasize how good this guy is. He's got the chops, or so many of the jazz gods say, but he's also super approachable. Even if you are new or indifferent to jazz, you'll probably like his stuff. His newish album, In My Element, is very good, but I prefer his first on Blue Note, Canvas. Much has been made of "J Dillalude," a collage of Glasper's trio tackling Jay Dee instrumentals but "F.T.B." is also sick and it's unfortunate that his Radiohead/Hancock fusion doesn't get more love either.

+Soul singer Ledisi plays a free set at the Seaport this Thursday at 7PM in support of her new album on Verve, Lost & Found. Whether you liked her 2 indie albums or not, the singer/actress is a beast live. When I first saw her, folk bowed and/or trampled other audience members in a hustle to get the last of her CD's. 'Shamed to report that I was one of them.

+Gretchen Parlato has got the voice of a seraph. I've lauded her before but it's worth mentioning again, especially since she's playing at the Neighborhood Church of Greenwich Village (269 Bleecker Street) this Friday at 8PM for free!!!(My jazz listening group caught her there last fall.) She's a jazz singer with a real multicultural sensibility; I've heard her enchant in West African languages with her frequent duet partner and recent Blue Note acquisition Lionel Loueke and Portuguese. She's a must hear.

jeudi, juillet 19, 2007

BWEtv is killing me. Alex Blagg on what will transpire when he finally gets a hold of the final Harry Potter book:
I place the book upon my bed with the gentleness and sensitivity of a doctor nursing the wounded, and move to the stereo to select the appropriate music to set the mood for this intimate encounter. I select Silk's 1992 R&B classic Lose Control, and the first notes of "Freak Me" set a smooth, seductive tone for the lovemaking that is about to take place. After lighting a few candles, and changing into my velvet robe, I join the book in bed, and stare deeply, passionately at its covers. After only a few moments of this wordless intimacy, it's clear we have no choice but to submit to the carnal desire that attracts us to each other like an electromagnetic force. The lovemaking is painful at first, likely due to the fact that I'm having sex with a book that doesn't have genitals and whose unread pages are sharp, but I remain focused and determined, and before I know it the papercut pain goes away and I lose consciousness, floating in a void of orgasmic esctasy, my thoughts and feelings replaced with a joyous euphoria that overtakes me completely.
Click here to ready his fantasy in full.

mercredi, juillet 18, 2007

And the Nike's on my feet...

There was a time when I was convinced that Nike was exploiting school-age third world* children to manufacture their kicks and then I came upon Air Rifts and no longer cared. It was June of 2000 and I picked up a rare grey pair with white, red, and black accents at Transit. There were like three people rocking toe separators before me; I was a real trailblazer. I remember later pilgrimaging to Alife Rivington Club and all those L.E.S. sneaker spots I'd discovered sitting on my Morehouse brother's couch in Atlanta reading his GQ (or was it Esquire?). I was wholly dissapointed when I saw their shoddy Rift stock. Paris, on the other hand, did not dissapoint (various shops on the latin quarter's Rue Mouffetard had phenomenal color combos and I even happened upon some Royal Elastics toe-separating tennies) but Europeans always seem to fare better than us when it comes to fashion. All that said, I'm not that into sneakers just Rifts (11 pairs and counting) and the occasional Bally bowling shoes. Still I'm surprised that Nike is just getting around to giving a female artist, the graf writer Claw Money, her own shoes (pictured above). No, I'm aghast. But if exploited Indonesian Tsunami orphans** can't get me to boycott them, neither will past evidence of sexism.

*I would have said "in the developing world" but wanted to avoid prepositions.
**Ahistorical, I know.

mardi, juillet 17, 2007

The Illusionist

When Common raps "while white folks focus on dogs and yoga" on "The People," MTV2 bleeps him. When Hurricane Chris raps "white folks, gangstas and them thugs" on "A Bay Bay," MTV2 doesn't bleep him. What's so different? Common's context is Black nationalist, Hurricane Chris's is Black slackness. Makes me wanna up and join MXGM. I dare say this disparity (seen before in other contexts) speaks to current day concerns about race, power and media. Visibility is not it. That's why I offer no kudos to this one or that one for "getting his" as so many of us are inclined to say. What is it that you are getting, Chris? More opportunities to post up and snap pics in the DJ booth? And Common, I love ya, but a message broadcast and subverted?

Black crusaders, mount up!

And last but not least a little something to ride to: "Racism (Blues in Double B-flat Minor)" - Gary Bartz [MP3]

(All of this was observed in an unfortunate and unpremeditated 10 minute viewing of MTV2's Sucker Free at just after 8 PM, 7/17/07.)

dimanche, juillet 15, 2007


+So in the process of composing this post on Luther V. at Hello, Babar, I came across a favorite from my favorite, Big Sexy:

+As witnessed above, sometimes we run things, other times things run we. Nikki Giovanni expounds in one of her brilliant melancholic poems, cited in this post again at Hello, Babar.

+And then there is this. A song about running that's always struck a little too close to home.

+And why not throw in some Pharcyde for good measure:
"Runnin' (Jay Dee extended mix)" [MP3]

mercredi, juillet 11, 2007

It's been 4 years since "Until", Raheem DeVaughn's 'sweep around your front door' advisory set to the Isley Brothers "Footsteps in the Dark" pulled my coattails to the DC bred soul singer* and 2 years since his very memorable full length debut but I didn't get around to hearing him live until just last night. More on his B.B. King Blue Club set and opener Julie Dexter at Hello, Babar.

*I'd gotten a taste of DeVaughn's voice a year earlier on Asheru's "Mood Swing" but didn't connect the voice to the person until some time later.

Can't Make This Up

Juror faces jail for listening to MP3 player under hijab
From Times Online-July 9, 2007

A Muslim juror faces a possible prison sentence after being discovered listening to an MP3 player under her hijab headscarf during a high-profile murder trial.

In what is considered the first case of its kind, the woman was arrested for contempt of court after another member of the jury passed a note revealing the indiscretion to the judge, Roger Chapple.

The judge - who previously suspected that he had heard "tinny music" in the background, but dismissed it as his imagination - called the woman into court on her own, and said: “You are going to be discharged from this jury. You will play no further role.”

A police officer then stepped forward and escorted her from court. Outside the woman - who is in her 20s, but cannot be identified for legal reasons - was searched, the MP3 player was found and confiscated, and she was arrested. Contempt of court carries a maximum sentence of an unlimited fine and indefinite imprisonment.

Outside the court Ben Maguire, a barrister representing the prosecution, said that it was a "bad contempt" and prison would be the "likely outcome".

“It is unique for all those who are connected with this court to experience a situation where the juror is suspected of listening to a MP3 player under her Islamic headgear," he said.

“Also, it is exceptional for a juror to appear entirely uninterested in the evidence. It is a bad alleged contempt. If contempt is upheld, I would have thought that prison would be the likely outcome,” he said.

The arrest of the juror - which is considered so rare as to be almost unheard of - took place last Wednesday, although it could not be reported until today when the judge lifted a news blackout on the case.

When caught listening to music she was meant to be hearing vital evidence from Alan Wicks, a former businessman on trial for brutally bludgeoning his disabled wife to death after 50 years of marriage. He was later found guilty.

During the trial, members of the jury sitting on the case had become increasingly concerned about the behaviour of the woman, who it emerged had repeatedly tried to avoid legal service.

Weeks earlier, she managed to postpone her first summons. She then answered a second, only to successfully plead toothache two days later.

When the third arrived, and she learnt she had been selected for the Wicks trial which she was told could last up to five weeks, she asked to be excused so she could go job hunting. She mentioned a nursing course she was interested in, but after failing to provide details, she was ordered to serve.

However, problems were reported to have started almost immediately with the first of a number of late arrivals at court, prompting Judge Roger Chapple to repeatedly asked her to change her ways.

The woman continued to arrive late, and left lawyers wondering whether she was “in a world of her own”. Some of those in court became convinced she was doodling instead of reading important documentary exhibits distributed to her and fellow jurors. Neither did she bother putting them away into lever arch files provided for the purpose.

On Tuesday last week, prosecutor Peter Clarke QC asked for her to be discharged, but the judge rejected his application, pointing out the “random selection of jurors was a very important aspect of the trial process”.

Then, last Wednesday, it emerged that she had been listening to her MP3 player, and was discharged and arrested. She was later bailed until July 23, when her case has been listed for a directions hearing before Blackfriars’ senior resident judge Aidan Marron QC.

via Boing Boing

lundi, juillet 09, 2007

Buttercup Baby

Pot of Gold
10 years ago I was on the other side of the world enjoying a life of Hob Nobs, long naps, poetry, bike rides, CDeejaying, study and mild depression. (I don't falter even in despair. Keep that Negress running.) Now I'm where I always wanted to be--the big city--it's as exhilarating as it is annihilating. I often wish I was somewhere else and I can't imagine leaving. Mucked and mired or vice versa.

An hour ago I was in Soho saying farewell for now to a member of my extended family, a city financial analyst who's been transferred to the London office of his investment bank. I was as excited for him as I was disheartened for myself. I haven't left the country since 2003. I feel the need to get away but I don't know how I can make the money or the time or if the change of scenery would fell the carrot for good.

I have always wanted what I haven't got and often got what I wanted to little satisfaction. Dr. Robin?

: )

The Smyrk is, for laziness to think of a better word, awesome. Their lead singer, Doron Flake, is hot, not rockstar hot but all American hot, which I think is better. Although they only entered my purview a second ago, quite a few of their songs maintain heavy rotation on the iPod, i.e., "That Ain't Lake Minnetonka", from their debut EP, Monsters on Maple Street. Here are some pics of their performance at this past First Saturday.


jeudi, juillet 05, 2007

Doo DooDoo Doo DooDoo


The very funny Michelle Collins of VH1's Best Week Ever blog on the poster for the new Alvin & the Chipmunks movie poster:

Top 10 Things Wrong with the New Alvin and the Chip-Punks Poster

9. Alvin has no eyes, and might very well murder your first born.

8. NO, REALLY, DOES ANYONE HERE REMEMBER ALVIN LOOKING LIKE EMINEM'S BALLSACK? If I were walking down a dark street, and Alvin and his thuggy friends were walking towards me... I WOULD CROSS THE STREET. And they are animated chipmunks.

7. Jason Lee's mutant eye-brow. I've never seen a bigger cock(ed brow) in my life!

6. The tag line "They're Back and Bigger Than Ever" is worrisome... how big are these little Thug-munks going to be? Look, at a foot tall, they can still be sort of adorable, but anything over 4 feet will induce the sort of childhood nightmares not seen since Follow That Bird. Perhaps they had to adjust Chipmunk size because of the tall and lankified Jason Lee? Where is Danny Devito when you need him?
For the top 5 see the BWE blog.

lundi, juillet 02, 2007

Punk & Funk

Party People

Re-cap of Afro Punk Block Party over at Hello, Babar.