mardi, avril 29, 2008

"..and he smokes with cigarettes"

Latarian Milton and his grand "If I thought they wouldn't take me to jail, I'd whip his behind right now" ma are hilarious. Umm, but to the Palm Beach Gardens Po Po's you don't need to get him in the system to get him help. It's clear that he's got some issues with his mother (stole grandma's car 'cause he was mad at his mother, asked if mom could pay for damages instead of grandma) that could probably be resolved or mediated in therapy. No one was hurt. Latarian can still have a bright future.

Source: DListed


I'll be at the Belasco this eve but for those in my 'hood,


A Town Hall Meeting on the Sean Bell Verdict

This Tuesday, April 29, 2008, doors open at 6:30 pm

Brown Memorial Baptist Church
484 Washington Ave. @ Gates Ave.
Fort Greene/Clinton Hill, Brooklyn
Subway - C to Clinton-Washington Aves.

All in the community are invited.

We will begin a dialogue that will
move beyond words to positive actions.

dimanche, avril 27, 2008


From Friday's Sean Bell verdict-centric 106th & Park

I grabbed this screen shot of video posted at Nahright

I wouldn't have expected anything less punkish from the cursed house Bob Johnson built.

I appreciated many of the comments from the show but Mos was especially on point.

vendredi, avril 25, 2008

Unjust. Untenable. Unbelievable.

Given the precedents, I don't know why I'm surprised.
Edit: Earl Ofari Hutchison is not surprised.
April 26, 2008
3 Detectives Acquitted in Bell Shooting

Three detectives were found not guilty Friday morning on all charges in the shooting death of Sean Bell, who died in a hail of 50 police bullets outside a club in Jamaica, Queens.

Justice Arthur J. Cooperman, who delivered the verdict, said many of the prosecution’s witnesses, including Mr. Bell’s friends and the two wounded victims, were simply not believable. “The testimony of those witnesses just didn’t make sense,” he said.

His verdict prompted several supporters of Mr. Bell to storm out of the courtroom, and screams could be heard in the hallway moments later. The three detectives were escorted out of a side doorway. Outside, a crowd gathered behind police barricades, occasionally shouting, amid a veritable sea of police officers.

The verdict comes 17 months to the day since the Nov. 25, 2006, shooting of Mr. Bell, 23, and his friends, Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield, outside the Club Kalua in Jamaica, Queens, hours before Mr. Bell was to be married.

It was delivered in a packed courtroom and was heard by, among others, the slain man’s parents and his fiancée. The seven-week trial, which ended April 14, was heard by Justice Cooperman in State Supreme Court in Queens after the defendants — Detectives Gescard F. Isnora, Michael Oliver and Marc Cooper — waived their right to a jury, a strategy some lawyers called risky at the time. But it clearly paid off with Friday’s verdict.

Before rendering his verdict, Justice Cooperman ran through a narrative of the evening, and concluded “the police response with respect to each defendant was not found to be criminal.”

“The people have not proved beyond a reasonable doubt” that each defendant was justified in shooting, he said, before quickly saying the men were not guilty of all of the eight counts, five felonies and three misdemeanors, against them.

Mr. Bell’s family sat silently as Justice Cooperman spoke from the bench. Behind them, a woman was heard to ask, “Did he just say, ‘Not guilty?’ ”

Roughly 30 court officers stood by, around the courtroom and in the aisles. Detectives Isnora and Oliver had faced the most charges: first- and second-degree manslaughter, with a possible sentence of 25 years in prison; felony assault, first and second degree; and a misdemeanor, reckless endangerment, with a possible one-year sentence. Detective Oliver also faces a second count of first-degree assault. Detective Cooper was charged only with two counts of reckless endangerment.

During the 26 days of testimony, the prosecution sought to show, with an array of 50 witnesses, that the shooting was the act of a frightened, even enraged group of disorganized police officers who began their shift that night hoping to arrest a prostitute or two and, in suspecting Mr. Bell and his friends of possessing a gun, quickly got in over their heads.

“We ask police to risk their lives to protect ours,” said an assistant district attorney, Charles A. Testagrossa, in his closing arguments. “Not to risk our lives to protect their own.”

The defense, through weeks of often heated cross-examinations, their own witnesses and the words of the detectives themselves, portrayed the shooting as the tragic end to a nonetheless justified confrontation, with Detective Isnora having what it called solid reasons to believe he was the only thing standing between Mr. Bell’s car and a drive-by shooting around the corner.

Several witnesses testified that they heard talk of guns in an argument between Mr. Bell and a stranger, Fabio Coicou, outside Kalua, an argument, the defense claimed, that was fueled by bravado and Mr. Bell’s intoxicated state. Defense lawyers pointed their fingers at Mr. Guzman, who, they said, in shouting for Mr. Bell to drive away when Detective Isnora approached, may have instigated his death.

Detective Isnora told grand jurors last year that he clipped his badge to his collar and drew his gun, shouting, “Police! Don’t move!” as he approached Mr. Bell’s Nissan Altima.

Other witnesses, mostly friends of Mr. Bell, said they never heard shouts of “Police!” Mr. Guzman and Mr. Benefield testified that they had no idea that Detective Guzman was a police officer when he walked up with his gun drawn.

And this is why I do not smile at or in any way acknowledge the police.

mercredi, avril 23, 2008

Worth Noting: Geri Allen Snags a Guggenheim Fellowship

I became more familiar with pianist Geri Allen's work due to her retreading/resuscitating the late great Mary Lou Williams' compositions but I still, despite many well intentioned plans, have not seen her live. I'll have to correct that soon. I just learned from Greg Tate's talk at this years great EMP conference that she was a founding member of BRC. I'm gonna have to find a way to write about her soon.
Geri Allen, the pianist, composer, and arranger has received a Fellowship from The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation for Musical Composition. She has begun a work to be titled, "Refractions, inspired and informed by three mighty pianists, Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, and Cecil Taylor.

Ms. Allen has this to say:

I am honored that The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has recognized my work and awarded me a Fellowship which will give me the freedom to create without restriction. As a working mother of three children, this encouraging honor will most certainly fuel the 'creative intention' that all artists need to do their best work.

My composition (a work in progress) celebrates and embraces the continuity of innovation as personified by the three individual, yet connected, universes of modern music's seminal pianist-composers: Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, and Cecil Taylor.

I call my composition 'Refractions' because I will allow the music of these three great artists to pass through me, as through a prism, in order to make something new through my creative imagination.

"Refractions" will be a celebration about what is most inspiring about humanity. Jazz is a music of continuity, a direct outgrowth of the spirit of a people who rose, thrived, and innovated in spite of seemingly impossible odds.

This music will speak to freedom, and the right each and every one of us has to aspire to that ideal.

Source: Jim Eigo

lundi, avril 21, 2008

You've Got Mail

I just read today's unfunny drivel from Nora Ephron at HuffPo and before I could get too worked up about her unsubstantiated (if slightly tongue in cheek) thesis that,
"this is an election about whether the people of Pennsylvania hate blacks more than they hate women,"
I was comforted my the sharp and funny critiques in the comment section. My favorite:
Well at least you've managed to create a cringe-inducing blog posting that's embarrassing to read regardless of your gender or race. Congrats!
Read the offending post in its entirety here.

Also, I quite like Andy Borowitz's post, "Democratic Race 'Too Mean,' Say Swift Boat Veterans." The pull quote:
"When you try to destroy a member of another party, that's swiftboating," said Mr. Klugian. "When you do it to a member of your own party, that's cannibalism."
Switching gears, last week Newsweek's Jonathan Alter and Fareed Zakaria both commented on the Beijing Olympic mess. I read the Alter piece and liked it, especially the oh so appropriate idiomatic remix, "I wouldn't bet the subprime mortgage on it." But Zakaria's piece, which I lost interest in a paragraph or so in and didn't finish, makes this very good point,
The vast majority of Chinese have little sympathy for the Tibetan cause. To the extent that we can gauge public opinion in China and among its diaspora, ordinary Chinese are, if anything, critical of the Beijing government for being too easy on the Tibetans. The real struggle here is between a nationalist majority and an ethnic and religious minority looking to secure its rights.
This is entirely anecdotal but a few weeks ago I brought up the Tibetan situation with a mainland Chinese born, partially Hong Kong raised friend of mine, a budding international affairs expert living back east (in the global sense). In our extended Google Chat, she responded by relaying her cousin's disappointing trip to Tibet last year, a trip which left him with negative view of the Tibetan people's mode of life. I followed up with question after question, careful to demonstrate an impartial curiosity. Tired of elaborating at my behest, she finally said of the Tibetan people, "Basically, they are just lazy." I IM'ed back "LOL"* as I was literally laughing out loud, aghast, at first, but upon some thought, unsurprised. Globally, the same orientations/perspectives inform the way many people interact with the disempowered and or the outnumbered.

*I do not know any Tibetans but I am quite confident that they aren't all lazy. I didn't not speak up on this issue in this conversation due to the tragic circumstances (terminal illness of my friend's family member) that precipitated our Google Chat.

vendredi, avril 18, 2008

On the Media...

I only started reading HuffPo when Ferentz began contributing (although I've been aware of it since its launch) and I kind of like it.

Here is filmmaker Bob Cesca on the debate I didn't watch and my mom and everyone but Tony Kornheiser hated (besos to my sis for introducing me to Kornheiser's radio show) :
We like to joke about the "very serious" traditional media. The truth is that while they claim exclusive lordship over integrity and professionalism -- not to mention a corner on the world's supply of pants made of smarty -- they're really a freak show with serious haircuts and suits. They're a wing of the Republican corporatist conspiracy against America. And the very serious moderators of last night's Democratic debate couldn't have been less serious if they had been wearing clown suits made of dildos while simultaneously tickling each other with monkeys. (Click here to read the post in its entirety.)
Take that Charlie Gibson and former W.J. Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos (who, btw, spun the eve as a success) and gracias to Cesca for making my day. On a related note, I think I'm gonna phonebank for Barry O. this weekend but probably solo since I failed to sign up for one of the fêtes.

jeudi, avril 17, 2008

Things to do...

The 24th is a must. Love Peven. "Surely Shorty" made my bestof list for 2006.

This too. I had the best time when 9th spun at APT a while back. I'll probably hit up Habana's opening earlier.

I can't see myself going to this. I've seen Van 2 or 3x and I'm done. He's fine but not life changing and just doesn't have much stage presence. That said, curious if he'll address his labellessness. Oh and he needs to put his kerchief back on.

mardi, avril 15, 2008


NYC: Wednesday, come hear scholar/writer/blogger Ferentz Lafargue discuss his exceptional memoir, Songs in the Key of My Life, at 7:30 PM at the Brecht Forum.
Ferentz Lafargue discusses his new memoir, Songs in the Key of My Life. Inspired by the seminal Stevie Wonder album, this book explores connections between memorable songs and memorable moments in Lafargue's life. Moderated by blogger and music critic Jalylah Burrell, this event will also include a book signing, and brief listening party featuring many of the songs from "Songs in the Key of Life."

Ferentz Lafargue is an assistant professor of literature at Eugene Lang College, The New School for Liberal Arts. He holds a PhD in American and African American Studies from Yale University. Born in Haiti, Ferentz moved to Jamaica, Queens in 1981 at the age of five, joining his parents who had immigrated to the United States in 1976. His essays have appeared in the collections Starting With I (Persea Books, 1997) and Strong Teens, Strong Neighborhoods (2007), the inaugural issue of Bronx Biannual (Akashic Books 2006), and at Ferentz currently shares his thoughts on contemporary events and politics at The Huffington Post.

Suggested donation: $6/$10/$15
Free for Brecht Forum Subscribers


A, C, E or L to 14th Street & 8th Ave, walk down 8th Ave. to Bethune, turn right, walk west to the River, turn left

1, 2, 3 or 9 to 14th Street & 7th Ave, get off at south end of station, walk west on 12th Street to 8th Ave. left to Bethune, turn right, walk west to the River, turn left.

PATH Train to Christopher Street north on Greenwich St to Bank Street, left to the river.

#11 or #20 Bus to Abingdon Square, west on Bethune

#14A or #14D Bus to 8th Ave & 14th Street, walk down 8th Ave. and west on Bethune to the river

#8 Bus to 10th & West Streets

More at Hello, Babar...

mercredi, avril 09, 2008

Racism, Sexism & the 2008 Elections

I would so be at this but I'll be out of town. On a related note: HuffPo has this piece on if/how feminism informs the decisions of women superdelegates.
Consciousness Raising for Women of Color-Racism, Sexism & the 2008 Elections

Women of Color Caucus Presents

Racism, Sexism & the 2008 Elections

A Consciousness-Raising for Women of Color

Did you vote in the primary? Why or Why not?

Did the race or gender of the candidates factor into your decision?
When: Thursday, April 10, 2008, 6:30-8:30
Where: Joseph S. Murphy Institute / CUNY
25 W. 43rd St., 18th floor (bet. 5th & 6th Ave.)

Join us to compare and analyze our experiences with voting in the 2008 primary. This meeting is open to women of color.

The Women of Color Caucus (WOCC) is an organizing think tank composed of women of color associated with Redstockings of the Women's Liberation Movement and (Florida) Gainesville Women's Liberation. We believe that women of color involved in women's liberation must also meet separately in order to address problems specifically affecting women of color.

samedi, avril 05, 2008

I'm F***ing tired of Seth Rogen

The 40 year Old Virgin was entertaining in spite of itself but Judd Apatow et al are the absolute worst with the exception of Paul Rudd, whom I love* and just now realized was Cher's step-brother in Clueless. No more Seth Rogen (and I agree with the hedging Heigl about the gender trouble in Knocked Up), Jonah Hill and for God's sake, failed rapper Romany Malco. How long is he gonna play the hysterical Negro?! Both the gay and misogynist incarnations are stale and oh so problematic. And Tina Fey, who I never thought was funny on SNL, briefly redeemed herself on "30 Rock," has now demonstrated just how limited her comedic skills are as Baby Mama looks to be inane classist drivel and very very unfunny. Woe unto the fraternity and tiny sister sorority that is Hollywood and the asinine derivative views brought to life by its members.

Edit: Oh and this was my joint back in the day...Oh, the irony! Malco def. knows better:

* Rudd's performance in The Shape of Things and cameos on Reno 911 were particularly charming.

vendredi, avril 04, 2008

The King & I: Notes on the Civil Rights Martyr and My Body Politics

Camptown Ladies-Kara Walker
Camptown Ladies, Kara Walker, 1998. Cut paper and adhesive on wall. Overall size 9 x 67 feet.
So just a few minutes ago, I arrived at my office building on Fifth Avenue in the Union Square Area. I stood in front of the third bank awaiting an elevator. Seconds later, the third bank opened and as I was standing directly in front of it, I stepped in, only to be cut off by a South Asian women to my right, who blithely bumped me hard and entered first.

A few months ago, I washed my hands in the office restroom just after arriving at the office as I had held firmly onto the subway pole on my way in and God knows all the germs nasty Gothamites deposit on them each day. I turned to leave, opened and half-stepped through the door when a white Hispanic office mate, a few paces away, blithely strode through the door blocking me out of my own exit.

A few weeks ago in Battery Park I was blithely bowled over by a white guy on the southern sky bridge connecting the World Financial Center to Church Street.

In all instances, no excuses, apologies or acknowledgments of my existence were proffered. I intervened calmly but firmly. I called attention to my corporeality and the incongruity of what had transpired before inviting dialogue. The elevator woman said, "some people have issues," and laughed with the white elevator riders when I exited. The bathroom women giggled nervously, returned to her cubicle and complimented my brightly colored ensembles in each and every future encounter. The sky bridge man bristled and barked, "What's your problem?!" while the mostly white tourists nearby stared at me like I was stone crazy.

I am not a elevator attendant. I am not a door woman. I am not pavement. I am a person.
Read more at Hello, Babar.