mercredi, janvier 31, 2007

Notes on the UNCF Evening of Stars tribute to the Queen at KING.

lundi, janvier 29, 2007

Field Trips 4 Grown Ups

OK so I found out that the Cherry Lane Theatre offers student rush tickets 1 hour advance of shows so it's quite possible to see Dutch Man for just $11 if you have a valid school ID, so I'm gonna check it out this weekend or early next week. The play debuted at Cherry Lane back in the day and this production has gotten solid reviews. Anybody with a valid student ID or who with the dough to pay full value want to roll? I like group expeditions as the earlier post demonstrates so the more the merrier. E-mail me if you're down.

: ) jb


Judith Sánchez Ruíz photographed by Anja Hitzenberger

This Wednesday 52 jazz listening group will be heading to the Whitney Museum for a free performance of and :

. . . the only personal thing I do. . .
by Judith Sánchez Ruíz and Dafnis Prieto
A Whitney Live commission

Wednesday, January 31 8 pm
Whitney Museum of American Art at Altria
120 Park Avenue at 42nd Street

Emerging choreographer Judith Sánchez Ruíz and Grammy nominated composer/percussionist Dafnis Prieto create a new site-specific dance-music piece in the Whitney at Altria's Sculpture Court. The young -born collaborators present a fresh aesthetic and an integrated approach to co-creating a work. With dancers Neal Beasley, Ermira Gorou, Leah Morrison, and Judith Sánchez Ruíz; Dafnis Prieto, composer/drums, and Dana Leong, cello.

If you'd like to join us, please e-mail me.

jeudi, janvier 25, 2007

No love for Corinne of 'Tasia (pictured above) in today's KING column.

mercredi, janvier 24, 2007

Looking 4 Guidance in the Mirror

apologies for not posting. i am at a loss for words. i don't know why. i wrote a post last week but never published it cause i was ranting and i was wrong. i don't like to be wrong even if it will make me feel better. i can't say that this is the best policy. it's probably why, to my knowledge, i don't ruffle many feathers but it has got me feeling bland. discriminating but tasteless. here and there.

i never completed the Bayard Rustin bio that Courtney gave me. i was into it but it was too heavy to tote around and i do most of my reading on cross borough train rides. i faintly remember--my memory's no good except for slights--a discussion of pacificism. i tried to make it my home but my physical conflict free lifetime is beginning to feel like hamartia. not to mention i am verbally violent with my mom and my sister who i know will never forsake me and often short with an assortment of triflin' powerless nobodies. but, generally i'd call myself compulsively pleasant, polite, peaceful. what i mean to say is that i am pleasant, polite and peaceful to everyone except ma and aisha cause i expect the worse. and that's foul fear. here and there.

but as i feel more and more blah i think it's because i've lost my bite. not to champion cruelty but its a part of life. i've distilled my own ugly ways and directed them towards my immediate family. and i think it's time to distribute them more evenly. everywhere.

And listen to what the shuffle dug up: "Stay" (Jaguar Wright, Denials, Delusions And Decisions)

lundi, janvier 22, 2007

King Hedley
Tix go on sale today at 1 pm for the Signature Theatre's production of August Wilson's King Hedley II. This is the final installment of their three play August Wilson series. Tickets are $15 (instead of $50+) as a result of Target sponsorship. Don't miss out. Their production of Two Trains Running sold out in a few minutes and their production of Seven Guitars was incredibly on point.

Anybody seen Dutch Man starring Dule Hill and under the direction of Bill Duke? I may have to check that out as well.

vendredi, janvier 19, 2007

January 19, 2007
Music Review | Mos Def

A Rapper, Backed Up by Brass

What do you get for the guy who has everything? You give him a sparkly evening to redefine American popular song, of course. But unless the guy is a brilliant performer and a born bandleader, you might want to add some accessories to that gift: a bunch of rehearsals, a merciless musical director.

At Jazz at Lincoln Center's Allen Room on Thursday, Mos Def opened the spring season of Lincoln Center's American Songbook series, giving him carte blanche to frame the subject with his own predilections. In hip-hop terms this is chicken feed, but Mos Def isn't Jay-Z, and the gig had a long profile within certain influential strata: a boutiquey show in New York's most beautiful theater, preceded by weeks of positive chatter. The concert was sold out, with a long standby line in the lobby of the Time Warner Center.

He had a fairly killer rhythm section, with the keyboardist Robert Glasper, the bassist John Benitez and the imaginative hard-funk drummer Chris Dave. He had an easy, tenable concept, combining a quartet with the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, a brass-band octet he's been working with a little; it did exactly what street brass bands are good at, making a powerful arrangement of whatever music is put in front of it. The stage arrangement looked amazing, with the brass players arranged, four on a side, into opposing crescents facing each other, the night sky and blinking lights from traffic visible through the window behind them. It had the steam of righteousness, too: nearly all members on stage were dressed in matching hoodies reading "RIP Sean Bell," referring to the man felled by police bullets in Queens on his wedding day in November.

But after a few good minutes, Mos Def's attention wandered, as if he were a guest performer waiting for his rescue. By the middle, the show was unsavable. The intent was to honor and protest, connecting music and politics. And the show wasn't misguided or convoluted; Mos Def just seemed uninterested in delivering.

The rhythm section started up Screamin' Jay Hawkins's "I Put a Spell on You," and the brass band filed down the steps of the theater to the stage. Mos Def, a middling singer at best, hid out within the folds of the song. Soon the band played an easy ace: a version of "The Grunt," an old churning instrumental recorded by James Brown's backing group. "Float like a butterfly, sting like J.B.," Mos Def mumbled over the funk. "Yes sir/Yes sir/Yes sir. ..." A slowed-down version of the same vamp followed, giving the alto saxophonist Casey Benjamin a long solo.

Mos Def performed his new "Dollar Day," written in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a song with a backing track borrowed from Juvenile's "Nolia Clap"; the horns boomed out the song's thin synthesizer line, and Mos Def crooned reggae style. Hurricane-as-metaphor opened up the possibility for a version of Neil Young's "Like a Hurricane" — inert, badly sung, with an ugly keyboard arrangement.

And then came an endless version of the Stylistics' "People Make the World Go Round," a protest tune worth celebrating, but probably not as bland mounting for long, perfunctory solos. Here Mos Def freestyled for a few minutes, reminding us that he is still a rapper, despite any other aspirations. Tossed off and improvised, it was the most committed part of the show.

By the time he got around to "The Star-Spangled Banner," Mos Def seemed ready to miss an opportunity for provocation, and he did. After that, the De La Soul cover, "Stakes Is High," didn't mean much, as music or as repertory.

jeudi, janvier 18, 2007

Amy Winheouse at Joe's Pub (pic from Joshua)

I (casually) review Amy Winehouse at Joe's Pub Tuesday night over at KING online.
...She took stage in a knee-length embroidered black strapless shift that she kept pulling up over her mashed breasts and hitching up in twitchy fashion throughout the evening. She accessorized the vintagey number with a dangly gold anchor pendant that kept getting caught in her ratty weave, fashioned as a beehive on top with the rest hanging low and tangled past her shoulders. The overall effect was Annette Funicello as chola.

mercredi, janvier 10, 2007


Over at KING today...

vendredi, janvier 05, 2007

This Just In...

Despite my well known ambivalence about the emerald city I love to see it shine. Vote for the town.
For Immediate Release:

MTV Networks have selected Seattle as a finalist in its "Your Block" Video
ContestThe "Your Block" Contest Gives MTV2 viewers a chance to have MTV2
profile their local hip hop scene.

Voting for the contest begins on January 2nd, 2007!! At the following url: . This is an excellent opportunity for Seattle hip hop
to be showcased on a national level. Seattle's hip-hop scene has been
growing on the underground for many years and this attention could provide
the exposure and confidence this city needs. Please go cast your vote at
MTV2. This will benefit the entire Seattle hip-hop community. The video
entry which will be voted upon was edited down to 2 minutes by MTV prior to
going live on its website.


+So so tired and busy but for posterity's sake I must document the embarassment I'm currently feeling for selecting Pharrell & Kanye's "No. 1" from my iTunes library and....playing it. The adlib extravaganza is horrid, I know, but its got a refreshing levity and it's funny.

+My iPod's broken again. I'm still on warranty but it's fucking impossible to get an appt. at that damn Genius Bar. The weather is so nice it's a bitch I can't enjoy a nice soundtracked cross-borough walk.

+Before I forget, anyone know of a relatively quiet public place, restaurant maybe, in the city with an impressive Hudson or East river view? I'm looking for somewhere to sit and journal my intentions for 2007 and I'd quite like to see water-one thing I do love about Seattle.

+I've been breaking out lately and its very uncharacteristic. I think it might be hormonal because I've never had this issue. Is there literature on women changing skin types in their twenties? This is very bothersome. I pretty muched stopped wearing make up when I was 20 (Have I mentioned when I pulled out half my eyelashes after being startled while using a Shu Uemura eyelash curler? Not fun.) since I figured I would look better more of the time if I didn't wear make up since when one wears make-up, one looks better, one inevitably looks worse without it. By not wearing makup there's no worse or better just JB. Plus it saves time in the morn'.

+And here's some info on a free event in Harlem tonight feat. Amiri Baraka. I would go but I'm so so tired.
Body: First Friday Series: Amiri Baraka

Friday, January 5, 2007 @ 5:00 pm

Amiri Baraka, has had a long and distinguished career as a poet, fiction writer, activist, and provocateur. SOH celebrates his new book Tales of the Out & the Gone, a collection of previously unpublished short stories spanning almost 30 years, from 1974 to 2003. AMIRI BARAKA is the author of numerous books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. He was named Poet Laureate of New Jersey by the New Jersey Commission on Humanities, from 2002-2004. His last two books of poetry,

Somebody Blew Up America & Other Poems and Un Poco Low Coup, received tremendous critical acclaim. He and his wife, Amina Baraka, have run the arts space Kimako's Blues People in Newark for the past fifteen years. In 2001, Mr. Baraka was inducted into the American Academy of Arts & Letters. He also won the James Weldon Johnson medal for outstanding contribution to the Arts. Amiri and Amina Baraka live in Newark, New Jersey.

5pm - 7pm. RSVP at 212.234.5944 or 212SOHARLEM

Straight Out of Harlem is located at 704 St. Nicholas Avenue, North of 145th Street
A/B/C/D to 145th Street.