Friday, October 31, 2008

:::The Future Looks Kinda Bright::The Ron Clark Academy Kids:::

Can you imagine what the youth would be like if they actually put the same amount of money into the public school system in inner city working class neighborhoods as they do in more affluent ones? These shorties from the Ron Clark Academy would probably be a good example of that. Although this is a private school, it could definitely serve as a model of how to look at the potential of a public school system that actually invested in the future of this nation.

Nothing is more refreshing than hearing a group of young Black kids articulate their opinions on politics with a firm sense of agency. Although you can definitely tell they've still got a lot to learn about the ugly side of politics, at least they're some what informed. Though the website makes no mention of the racial make up of the faculty and student body, from the looks of the above video and the pictures posted on the site it seems to be majority African-American.

But, alas, I don't really know that much about this school to sing its praises too loudly. Anyone with younger family members who went here can feel free to jump in and drop some jewels. Check the website here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

::Green Lantern & Russell Simmons present...Yes We Can::

GET AMPED!!!! In exactly 1 week, the most pivotal, momentous, and controversial presidential election arguably in the history of this country will commence. And YOU will be a part of this watershed moment! Here's to the hope that Brother Barack will come through on his promises and be that departure from the partisan politricks which have held this country hostage for decades. Bump this in your trunk and iPods on your way to the polls:

1. Intro
2. David Banner, Busta Rhymes, Talib Kweli - “Black President” (remix - part 1)
3. Barack Obama - “Stand Up”
4. Nas speaks on politics
5. Styles P & Cassidy - “Make It Out”*
6. Jay Z speaks - “The American Dream”
7. Barack Obama - “One Mic, One People”
8. Russell Simmons on Obama
9. Joe Budden, Twista, John Mayer - “Waiting on the World to Change"
10. Angie Martinez - “Yes We Need A Mixtape!!”
11. Kanye West, Malik Yusef - “Promised land"
12. Wale, Rhymefest, Christina K, Royce 529 - “Black President” (remix - part 2)
13. Barack Obama - “My Life”
14. Jay Z - “Lick a Shot”
15. Russell Simmons on change
16. Wyclef Jean - “Obama for President”
17. Charles Hamilton - “The Moment”
18. Find your dreams (interlude)
19. George Bush (highlight reel)
20. Mikkey Halsted - “King George”
21. Obama on hip-hop
22. Joel Ortiz & Dante Hawkins - “Letter To Obama”
23. Akon & U.M. - “Aint No Sunshine”
24. Qadir & Dwayne - “Its My Time"
25. Johnny Polygon & Amanda Diva - “Colorblind”
26. Mavado - “We Need Barack”
27. Jay Z & Gabe Real - “What We Need”
28. Qadir - “Yes We Can”

P.S....check the comments section.

(note: mixtape plays as one continuous one-hour track)

:::An Ode To Fatass-ness::The Re-Up:::

2-layer Choco Mint Cream Puff
Choux Factory

Warm Chocolate Shanghai Soup Dumplings
Rickshaw Dumpling Bar

If loving you is wrong...I damn sho' don't wanna be right.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

:::Doze Green & Blek Le Rat exhibits @ Jonathan LeVine Gallery::October 18-November 15:::

Being that the Outsiders exhibit's extended run has come to a close and the Banksy mechanical animation exhibit will bounce in three days, what is a contemporary street art loving Gotham denizen to do? Well, you can jet over to the Jonathan LeVine gallery in Chelsea to catch new instalations by Blek Le Rat & Doze Green!

Doze has been doing his thing for a minute. This kat started out as an original member of the legendary NYC-based breakdancing clique Rock Steady Crew. From uprocking and bombing trains, he's come up the ranks as one of the more consistent and imaginative contemporary artists in the game.

Blek, on the other hand, is old enough to be Doze's daddy! At 56-years-old, he's seen as one of the main pioneers of stencil art. This dude has been gettin' up since 1981 on the streets of his native Paris! So to all the ill-informed who saw his work, which often features his ubiquitous rat character, and responded with a snobby "Oh, he's bitting Banksy's style"...guess who's bitting who?

Anyway, you should go before it's done in about three weeks. Should be dope:

Jonathan LeVine Gallery
529 W. 20th Street
NY, NY 10011
PH: 212-243-3822
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 11am-6pm

For more info, click here.

More on Blek Le Rat here.

More on Doze Green here.

XLR8R Magazine - November: Issue 122

In the November issue of XLR8R, I give a lil' shine to the Bronx-bred Martinez Brothers. Check out my feature-length story on newsstands now!!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

:::In Remembrance of People I Never Knew::The Hudson Family (R.I.P)::

As I awoke this morning to a new day, I felt an immense joy to have been so blessed with the gift of life. That joy turned cold as I was made aware that 7-year-old Julian King was found dead, ending the 3-day search for the nephew of Jennifer Hudson. Mere words cannot express how much sympathy I feel for Jennifer.

Her ascent to stardom over the past four years reads like page torn from a Cinderella storybook.
Raised in a rough section of Chicago's South Side, Hudson was vaulted from the inner city to the silver screen - taking home an Academy Award and critical acclaim in the process. Yet with all her success as an actress and recording artist, it can be surmised that it will be extremely difficult for her to continue to enjoy the fruits of her immense gifts in the wake of the murders of her mother, brother and young nephew.

It is rumored that following her success, Hudson incessantly tried to encourage her mother to relocate from that very neighborhood on the South Side where Hudson had grown up to more befitting digs. Partly evidenced in what Gil Scott-Heron termed the "Get Out Of The Ghetto Blues" in his song of the same title, one of the main goals of disenfranchised Blacks from lower socioeconomic areas who become economically empowered is leaving the concrete jungle behind for greener pastures. The history books are filled with pro athletes and Hip-Hop artists who have eagerly and unabashedly followed this well-beaten path. Sadly in Hudson's case, it must be a bitter sting to know that her success and good intention could not thwart the violence relegated to the aforementioned areas, and pejoratively termed Black-on-Black crime by the media, from reaching those whom she cherished the most.

Illinois senator and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's office released a statement of consolation in reaction to the news of the murders. Hopefully, fellow South Side Chicagoan Kanye West, who lost his own mother Dr. Donda West last November, will reach out to Hudson to impart advice and offer consolation in light of her loss.

It is undetermined at this time exactly what prompted the murders of Jennifer Hudson's mother
Darnell Hudson-Donnerson:

Her brother Jason Hudson:

and more sadly her 7-year-old nephew Julian King:

I am not here to compose a diatribe against the suspect in these murders, as some blogs have chosen to do. I am, however, compelled to point out a fact hidden in plain sight: we as a global society have become increasingly accepting of the devaluing of human life. Violence has become a disturbingly integral part of American society and popular culture. Individually and collectively, we must restore that value that modern capital has diminished over time. Some may cite the ascent of secularism in society as the cause. I personally believe the culprit is the lack of love we practice for both ourselves and our fellow man.

We must all understand that human life has intrinsic value, far beyond the goods and services it consumes or produces. Far beyond the emotional and physical states it affects. The value lies in both the truth and belief that it is ordained by a higher being. Once society accepts this as the epicenter of its function, the world will be a much better place.

Make it a point to reach out to those you love and cherish the precious moments you have with them.
My heart goes out to the Hudson Family. May you find strength and solace in your love for one another during this time of extreme grief and bereavement.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

::Musiq Soul-less Child jumps the shark::

Wow. I This couldn't have been any more cliche if he had Weezy do a quick 16. I guess neo-soul really is dead. Aesthetically, he's trying to crossfade too many looks. Sonically, it's comes off like a really bad mash-up. I know T.I. is ROTFL right about now. You can tell they didn't even give him a video budget. Looks like he got his little brother from film school to direct it. Bottom line: this is laughable on sooooo many levels. The history books are rife with examples of artists grasping for straws, but damn. Hell, even Ethel Merman's disco album was more forgivable than this.

The track was produced by a new production duo called Black Keys. The production is cool, but this just ain't a good match. On a positive note, I'm diggin' that white hoodie with the black text on the front. Y'all know whose line it is? Respond:React.

::Miles Davis party boo-boo::

Scratch the previous post. I've been informed that the RSVPs are being screened. So if you're not of stature, you will get p'wned. However, I do have a plus one to this event. SO...if you'd like to tag along, hit me up and we can roll together. Early bird gets the worm.

"It turns out that the early reports were wrong. All wrong. Now for that group out there that had such a hard time getting home, sorry about that. I guess the only thing we can do is play you a song."
-Lynn Thigpen, from The Warriors (1979)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

:::Miles Davis Kind Of Blue 50th Anniversary Celebration::Wednesday, October 22nd::FREE:::

Miles Davis Properties, in tandem with Sony Legacy, is throwing a swanky fete in celebration of the release of the 50th anniversary collector's edition box set of Kind Of Blue I was raving about a few weeks ago.

Not affiliated with CMJ, but it's yet another free event. I might roll through, but I have a prior engagement that just might take precedence over this one. But here's the details for all those interested in hobnobbing with classic jazz in the background:

Miles Davis Kind Of Blue 50th Anniversary Celebration
Wednesday, October 22nd
7-10PM @
The Beekman Hotel
Top Of The Tower, 26th Floor
3 Mitchell Place
NY, NY 10017

Complimentary cocktails and hors d'oeuvres

RSVP to:
Karen Sundell:
Lori Lousararian:

::Superbizzee X CMJ 08::

Aw, sh*t!! They done f*cked up now!! I'm 'bout to party like a rock star up in this piece!!

All my folks ballin' on the all-access CMJ tip, holla atcha boy!!

Peep my itinerary here.

For all those individuals on some WTF sh*t, lemme learn ya: College Music Journal.

Monday, October 20, 2008

::FREE Stones Throw CMJ Show::

B there or B L7.

::Ancestry In Progress::



Your legacies have left indelible impressions on the world-at-large. Thank you for the precious gifts you bore. May your journey be peaceful and radiant.

::Living With Legends::

Amiri Baraka & The Kid::NYU - Fall, 2008 @ The Slave Routes Conference

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

::The Repulsive New Age of Celebrity::

Andy Worhol once predicted that the future age of celebrity would produce incremental moments of stardom for the average joe and jane. And though we may look at it as cliche phraseology, his 15 minutes of fame cojecture has come to fruition with a Nostradamus-like certainty. It seems that disposable celebrity culture has been discernably augmented in the past 8 years. Never before have we been privy to the mundane minutiae of the lives of television stars, singers and actors alike. If your Grandmother thought the National Enquirer was naughty, she should be turning in her grave right about now. Trash blogs like, television shows like TMZ, and radio shock jocks like Wendy Williams, have all spawned copy cat dumpster divers who pride themselves on unearthing the most sordid and intimate detailes of celebrity business.

It can be argued that while gossip papers like the National Enquirer preceeded this new craze, the reality show was the ultimate catylist. The fly-on-the-wall chronicle perspective, achieved by the presence of incessant camera crews, seems poised to blow conventional paparazzi photography out of the water. But just as Worhol suggested, even everyday people, from local contestants on shows like American Idol to shows like Extreme Makeover, stand the chance to become disposable celebrites from the reality show phenomenon. And when the new crop of singers and actors seem to have been scavenged, why not reach back and grab some one-hit-wonders? Kings of the art of retro retrospective VH1 and their series Celebrity Fit Club seemed to have cornered the market on that for a moment. Prompted by the success of MTV's Run's House featuring the family of Rev Run, formerly of Run DMC and Snoop Dogg's Father Hood on E!, the Oxygen network proudly presents 90s rapper Coolio in his new show Coolio's Rules.

Hmm. Personally, I've grown tired of the "reality" show. It's come a long way since MTV's Real World debuted in 1992. It set out as a fresh and exciting perspective in television. But now its grown long in the tooth. And the doctored antics and hijinks of the progeny of aging rappers featured on the aforementioned shows is a bit predictable and milquetoast at this point. The irony of it all is that absolutely none of it is reality. All of these shows have teams of writers that craft story lines and fiascos for each episode. Quite often, the families are moved into rented homes for a more pronounced appearance. And the footage that is filmed is then edited down into 20 minute increments to project a specific, calculated image of the subjects in question. There's your reality on a silver plater...with wordrobe, make up artists and lighting.

it's easy to understand why there are so many reality shows. Bottom line: the production costs are considerably cheaper. So when a network gets ratings through the roof on a show on which they spent a fraction of the cost of a conventional television series, it's music to their ears. And no one can argue that television started out as an artform...because it didn't. Their main objective was to aquire as many viewers so that advertisers would spend crazy sums of money to spotlight their products throughout the course of the broadcast day, which was usually in the evening. Now, television doesn't go off. To maximize profits, networks broadcast 24/7 creating a new demographic of viewer: the night owl. In addition, the networks have gone to no end in advertising for these television shows. So when I walked into the subway station in Midtown today, I thought either some Madison Avenue firm had OD'd in hopes of stimulating interest in Coolio's Rules, or that I was in a house of mirrors.

I doubt that Coolio's show will trump any of the other Hip-Hop reality shows in ratings, and I definitely won't be tuning in to find out. But then again, Kanye premiered his "Love Lockdown" video on The Ellen Degeneres Show, so maybe the stay-at-home soccer moms in middle America who tune into Oxygen just may prove me wrong. Stranger things have happened.

Friday, October 10, 2008

:::Puma X Volvo:::

"Give me two pair/ I need two pair."
"Air Force Ones" (2002)

Check the Volvo-sponsored Puma Ocean Racing line here. Oh,'s actually a racing team.


AW, SHUCKY DUCKY!!! It's on like Donkey Kong!! Keistar Productions presents yet another dope fete. For those who have wondered when the next James Brown celebration is or when the next Fela Kuti and afrobeat celebration is...the wait is over! Combining two parties in one, Keistar brings you WHAT THE FUNK?!: Make It Funky meets Jump N' Funk (a.k.a. James Brown vs. Fela) featuring Rich Medina & DJ Spinna!!!

October 30th, 2008
@ Love
179 MacDougal Street (@ 8th Ave.)
$10 w/ flyer OR funky gear!

Anybody familiar with Keistar knows exactly what to expect. Those who don't...get on the bandwagon, dammit! Click on the picture or check the site on the link above. B there or B square!!


Roaming my neighborhood today. Stumbled upon this: is doing its part in stimulating interest in what is arguably the most pivotal presidential election year since 1932. Apparently, if you text the name of the musical icon to the number 303030, you'll get one of these 6 posters for free! Hmm..

It appears that the only posters they're offering are of:
*Jimi Hendrix
*Marvin Gaye
*Bob Marley
*The Who

Not sure how this will work, but if anyone tries it before me...let me know how it turns out. There's much to be said about this "promotion." But since there's another analytical post that I'll be doing soon that involves similar issues, I'll refrain from stealing my own thunder.

P.S. I wonder how Bob would feel If he knew his likeness was imposed on an American flag to promote a capitalist corporation?

::An Ode To Fatass-ness::

Dean & Deluca is the SHIT!!

Coconut Creme donut.

Pumpkin donut.

Dunkin' Donuts can burn in hell!

::Freaks On Parade::

Dennis Rodman @ Sports Authority (NYC - 6th Ave. & W. 19th St.) - 10/10/08

::To Mimi, With Love::

L.E.S., Fall 2008.

Large cup of banana pudding @ Sugar Sweet Sunshine: $6.
Making Mimi squirm with jealousy: priceless.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

:::Jazmine Sullivan::Bust Your Windows (video):::

After about 6 years of false starts and record label limbo, the young illy Philly songstress is finally on parade for the world to see. Jazmine Sullivan's voice is so rich, it's beyond words. She almost reminds me of a young Lalah Hathaway with some Karen Clark-Sheard chops thrown in for effect. Her debut album, in my opinion, doesn't really do her vocal talents much justice. But since record companies are increasingly afraid to take risks, especially with Black artists, their output is resigned to being dictated by trend. But there are some shining moments on Fearless. And while I'm afraid to admit it, this is one of them. "Bust Your Windows" isn't your classic tale of a woman scorned. Sullivan ups the ante, punishing her lover's indiscretions by vandalizing his most prized possession: his whip. Set to a waltz-like production laden with synth strings, the song takes on a mellow dramatic flair.

As effortlessly as Sullivan belts out the lyrics and melody utilizing a raspy contralto that belies her 21 years, there's something slightly disturbing about rocking to a joint that rationalizes destruction of property. But as Jerry Springer celebrates 18 years of circus-like on-air interpersonal dysfunction and the advent of the self-defining victim reaches a zenith, this song doesn't seem so out of place in contemporary society. I wonder how many females will try to use this joint as a defense in court to explain why they stabbed out their boyfriend's tires. Hey, don't laugh, remember the 2Pac-made-me-do-it defense? So with all of the above taken into consideration, I guess I like the song. Even though as a dude, I'm supposed to be at odds with it. I guess that means I'm having a crisis of conscience right now.

My only beef is with the video treatment. They projected her as an archetype "classy chick," gracefully sauntering through a lavish loft space trying her best to wreak havoc on her man's digs. After finding a thong under his bed that obviously didn't belong to her, she does her best to destroy a few of his watches by chucking them in the fish tank, throw some records down the stairs, and spill an entire bottle of wine over the table. But she just seemed too removed from it all to make it believable. I'm sayin'...this is a girl from North Philly. She's supposed to rep this role to the fullest! If you're going to sell it...SELL IT! Not trying to stereotype, but she could have at least put some stank on it like Angela Bassett did in Waiting To Exhale:

So being that the song's main line and name sake was about busting windows out of cars, she didn't even keep her word! But I guess she made her point in a more effective way, being that the Basquiats she spray painted over alone were worth thousands of dollars a piece (assuming they were real).

I'm sure there's something inherently wrong with me wanting to see a Black woman wild out in a stereotypical fashion for the world to see. But I guess that's one of the conundrums you face at the crossroads of art, politics, and commerce. The exploitation factor has so many convoluted layers, it's hard to determine whether you're creating art or making an ass out of yourself and those who look like you. Ask Dave Chappelle.

Damn...I need a drank.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

:.:Lazarides Pop-Up Gallery::NYC::September 26 - October 12th:.:

After commenting on that brilliant New York Sun article, I thought it only right that I give a little shine to Steve Lazarides' "The Outsiders" exhibit at the intersection of the East Village, L.E.S., and SoHo. He's got work from some dope artists on display, so I advise all y'all to go check it out! I plan on breezing through this temporary gallery a few times over the next few days before it closes to transform into a pizza restaurant supply shop.

This is a real throw back to the NYC art scene of the early 1980s where "refined and validated" artists were eschewed for the more raw and equally talented street artists. Ironically enough, this gallery is directly across the street from the temporary Keith Haring mural. Hmm. This word "temporary" worries me. Maybe it's because temporary is often equated with disposability.

While the roster of artists featured range from Borf to BAST, I'm not sure if Lazarides' most notable client Banksy has any art featured in this gallery. Sad face. Anyway, roll through and share your thoughts. I'll post some pics following my visit.

Lazarides Gallery
282 Bowery @ E. Houston
September 26 - October 12


Check the Lazarides Gallery website for more info.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

:::Diesel International XXX Party::October 11th::FREE:::

On some ole' next sh*t, Diesel is doin' the damn thing on a global scale. On Saturday, October 11th, Diesel will execute its XXX party in 17 international cities. Over 20 well known acts will act as entertainment ambassadors to each city, performing at each respective Diesel location. And the best part is...YOU CAN ATTEND FOR FREE!!! New Yorkers, all you have to do is stop by either the Union Square or Lexington Avenue Diesel stores and pick up a free ticket to the festivities on the day before the event (October 10th) at 10am. Invites are limited, so get there early!

Bad news for all those who were under the impression that they lived in the most important U.S. metropolis: New York City is the only spot in the states that Diesel chose as one of the host sites for this multinational fete. Here's a listing of the other 16 cities:

*Sao Paulo

Acts slated to perform are:

*Chaka Khan
*Joel And Benji Madden
*Mr. Oizo
*Junkie XL
*Steve Aoki
*David Holmes
*Pedro Winter
*Sister Bliss
*The Cool Kids
*New Young Pony Club
*The View
*Mark Ronson
*D:U:M Winner
*Hot Chip

Not sure which acts are performing in which cities, but it should be a dope free concert nonetheless. There's rumored to be bartenders on the premises, so come ready to quench your hearty thirsts! For all those poor souls living in cities deemed uncool, you can watch streaming video of the action online.

BTW...Diesel's also got some limited edition denim on sale for $50 in commemoration of this event, so all my fellow clotheshorses and fashion slaves might want to take advantage.

Hit up Diesel's special webpage for more details!

:::Free Angela Davis lecture @ Cooper Union::October 30th:::

Yeah, yeah. I know she's been free for some time. I just thought it was a cool play on words with the pic and all. Hardee har-har.

The last Thursday of this month, the day before Halloween, the distinguished Angela Davis will be giving a free lecture at the esteemed East Village academic institution of higher learning Cooper Union at 7pm. The title of the lecture is Abolition Democracy, and Global Politics. Hmm. With the current state of global affairs, sounds like some subject matter that we could stand to have someone wax poetic on right about now.

I've listened to a few podcasts featuring snippets of her speeches and I've been waiting for the opportunity to see her in person. Looks like that time has finally come. It's advised that you arrive as early as possible to guarantee yourself a seat. The Barack Obama lecture at Cooper Union this past March taught me that lesson.

I'm not going to give you a truncated bio or bullet-pointed Cliff notes. If you don't know Angela's history or significance, Google her. Meanwhile, check the Cooper Union website for more details on the lecture.

Friday, October 3, 2008

::Mutual Exclusivity Don't Exist In NYC::

I was walking (or should I say staggering) home from Santos Party House early this morning and I saw this at the corner of Lafayette and Bleecker:

I started thinking the bartender put a double dose of PatrĂ³n in my cup, 'cause I just knew I was seein' things.
Guest club the gym? Really?! Is this what it has come to?! Bringin' the club to the gym!!

We stay in the club!
We live in the club!
We die in the club!
We get our car washed in the club!
We go to school in the club!
We go to the cleaners in the club!
We never leave the muthaf*ckin' club!
We go to church in the club!
We do everything in the muthaf*ckin' club!
We pay our taxes in the club!
We go to the library in the club!

- Chris Rock
"Chris Rock In Da Club (interlude)"
from Lil' Jon & The East Side Boyz' Crunk Juice (2004)

New York City has a penchant for crossfading all aspects of life. No ground is sacred. In a place where attention spans are shorter than a nano second and prime advertising space is limited and high as a kite, corporations have cultivated creative ways of seizing the few precious moments with this rare breed of metropolitan consumer. And enticing trendy yuppies to get a membership because Danny Tenaglia's spinning on Friday over by the free weights is a prime example of that "creativity." I'm well aware that music high in BPMs does something special for a workout, but is this going a little too far? I'm sayin', what if I don't wanna hear happy hardcore while I'm tryin' to get my bench press on? Hell, I usually just listen to Davey D's Breakdown FM podcasts on my iPod Nano when I'm at the gym.

So I guess Crunch's slant is why go to the club when you can go to the gym and kill two birds with one stone? Well, theoretically speaking. I'm sure they're operating on a premise similar to club promoters who only book DJs based on their following. As long as they don't fall into a genre trap, this might actually be an interesting experiment. Now if they book Masters At Work and Timmy Regisford, I might have to change my gym. Wait...does that make me a hypocrite?

Check Crunch's site for update and DJ schedules.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

:::Blick Art Materials::Canvas Sale!!:::

I went by Utrecht earlier this week and their canvas prices damn near doused my fledgeling brush stroke dreams. But I was roaming around my neighborhood and came up on this:

Yo!!! Any painters and visual artists might wanna get up on this! This sale is un-f*cking-believable!! Blick Art Materials on Bond Street between Broadway and Lafayette must be trying to drive traffic to their store on some real sh*t!

This sale is non-discriminatory: all sizes and shapes of their studio traditional style are included in this sale!

The discount starts at 50% off and can go as high as 70%, depending on the volume you purchase:

For those artsy types who failed general math in high school, they even have a grid to help you calculate your discount:

I'm definitely going to grab a few tomorrow. I've been tinkering with a few ideas since I've been in Basquiat mode these past few months. Actually, Blick (point B on the map below) is located just a block away from his Great Jones loft (point A on the map below) where he passed away in 1988:

Now there's a morbid stroke of irony for you (no pun intended). At any rate, stock up on canvases at Blick. If you don't live in a studio apartment the size of a roach motel, that is. Sale ends October 12th, but y'all should probably strike while the iron is hot.

Blick Art Materials
1-5 Bond St.
New York, NY 10012
(212) 533-2444

::Miles & Nina: A Rebirth::

Went on a rare voyage to Virgin Megastore the other day and saw this:

I immediately flashed back to when my mother used to have to drag me out of the toy stores, kicking and screaming because I was leaving objects of my desire on the shelves.

I stood with this box set in my hand for a good 20 minutes, examining the minutiae of the design and packaging.

"I need it in my life/ I want it in my life."
- Juvenile featuring Mannie Fresh (2003)

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Miles Davis' landmark album Kind Of Blue (and to help fill in their wavering profit margin), Sony's Legacy Recordings is releasing this beautiful, illustrious box set. I think I'm in love.

Specs as follows:
*180 gram blue vinyl pressing of the album with original Columbia label.
*Double CD of the Kind Of Blue sessions (over 2 hours of alternate and live takes).
*DVD featuring new B&W 55-minute documentary and 26-minute televised recording of Miles' performance on Robert Herridge Theatre in 1959.
*12X12 bound 60-page full-color booklet featuring elaborate liner notes and essays, photographs, timeline, discographic info.
*Fold-out 22X33 poster.
*Six 8X10 photos.
*Reproduction of the original 1959 Kind Of Blue promo brochure.
*Housed in a 12X12 deluxe box.

It retails for $120. Boooo!!! However, I see that Virgin has it on sale for $89.99.

Not much needs to be said about this album and its place in the canon of recorded music. My love for these five tracks runs deep. Let's just say that tomorrow...that bitch is MINE! Read more here.

And let's not forget the high priestess of soul. Last Tuesday, Sony Legacy also released a new Nina Simone box set. Seems like this one is striving to be the most comprehensive career retrospective on her yet:

"Come put it in my life/ I'ma keep it in my life."
-Juvenile featuring Mannie Fresh (2003)

To Be Free: The Nina Simone Story

Specs as follows:
*51 tracks on 3 CDs spanning her work from 5 record labels: CTI, Philips, Colpix, Elektra, and Bethlehem. Also includes previously unreleased live tracks.
*DVD featuring a previously unreleased 1970 Emmy-nominated documentary and various live performances.
*Booklet with track-by-track liner notes by renowned biographer David Nathan.

This one retails for about $50.00, but you can find it for $45.00. The Nina box set actually looks a bit more interesting to me, being that I haven't seen any live footage of her. Hmm. I might have to spring for this one too. You can hit up the Sony website for more info, but their page on her sucks. Shame-shame, Sony.

However, they did manage to put together a little 3-minute composite EPK to promote the set:

If anybody has already copped these, let me know your thoughts.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

::Art In Odd Places Festival::October 2008::

Beginning today and all through the month of October, a select group of street artists will be able to display their work without fear of being arrested and ticketed for destruction of property. Novel idea, huh? The Art In Odd Places Festival (AIOP) will feature work from 14 visual artists and 17 performance artists along 14th Street from the East River all the way to the Hudson. Since 2005, curator and director Ed Woodham has sought to revisit the concept of public art in NYC through AIOP every year. And 2008 appears to be of no exception.

From the looks of some the art installations (or outstallations), this should be pretty dope. Giuliani is probably having a fit right now. Looking at the AIOP's list of sponsors, it seems major corporate sponsorship eluded them. Maybe for fear that someone just might be breaking the law; maybe for fear that it wouldn't effectively give shine to their brand. Potato, patato.

This festival, at its core, is seeking to reclaim what is deemed public space in a nation increasingly leaning towards privatization through neo liberalism. I'm going to try to catch as many of these outstallations as possible. Maybe you should too?

Check the Art In Odd Places website for more info, and check out this map of the outstallation locations.

::Q-Tip::The Renaissance::Cover Art & Show Wrap::

Tip (a.k.a. The Abstract) is one of my favorite Hip-Hop artists. This kat lives to take chances and incessantly push the envelope. Only problem is he releases a record once every 10 years on average. The Renaissance has had a few incarnations via internet leaks. But if you check the tracklisting on the cover, a few of these tracks are new. Some of the joints that were on the leak commonly known as Live At The Renaissance (the original name of the album slated for release at various times over the past 3 years) are noticeably absent here. Hmm. Now I really wanna check this joint out. Coincidentally (or not), The Renaissance drops on Election Day - November 4th. Oh yeah...just in case the tracklisting on the pic above is a little hard to make out, here you go:

1. Johnny Is Dead
2. Won't Trade
3. Gettin' Up
4. Offishal
5. You
6. Fight/ Love (feat. Raphael Saadiq)
7. Manwomanboogie (feat. Amanda Diva)
8. Move
9. Dance On Glass
10. Life Is Betta (feat. Norah Jones)
11. Believe (feat. D'Angelo)
12. Shaka

No production credits as of yet, but I'll find out soon!

BTW...If you missed his free show Monday in NYC, you played yourself:

DJ Scratch (formerly of EPMD) warmed up the crowd lovely.

Your man did his thing solo.

His lil cuz Consequence came through with some hot verses.

And his Native Tongue brethren Busta Rhymes jumped up on stage and murdered his infamous "Scenario" verse. Then Busta and fellow Flipmode rhyme slinger Lord Have Mercy previewed Busta's upcoming single "Arab Money."

I'm tellin you. It just don't get no better. Plus, if you were bored as hell and needed some pre-show amusement, you could
text a message from your celly to the screen onstage:

To be honest, I'm really looking forward to hearing this record. ELECTION DAY!!!!