Sunday, May 31, 2009
One of the preeminent social thinkers of our time. If you don't know about this kat...shame on ya! Google 'em! At any rate, Mr. Chomsky is going to be speaking at the landmark Riverside Church on June 12th. If you know like I know, instead of messin' around...cop your tix NOW!! Good news is that tix are on a sliding scale, starting at a recession friendly $20 through big baller-shot caller $100+ seats. Read more here. Get yer Chomsky on!
I'm always moping about how most of the contemporary art I've seen from the 40-and-under group is increasingly lacking in sociopolitical zeal. Well, thank god for artist Monica Casanova. In tandem with the Mexican Cultural Institute of New York, Casanova has unveiled a collection of her politically charged works in the exhibition, Zapatista Room. If you don't now about the Zapatista movement in south Mexico, do yourself a favor and Netflick A Place Called Chiapas. Though Casanova, also a fashion designer, has created window displays in the moneyed shopping district of Fifth Avenue (Bergdorf Goodman) and chic Sex In The City-esque boutiques (Patricia Field), her dedication to social movements has remained intact. This installment is a testament. During a time of war and economic turmoil, supersaturating the world with vapid artistic expressions is not a good look. Hopefully, art like Casanova's won't prove to be the exception to the rule. Apparently, the installation is being hosted at an L.E.S. boutique called Live Fast. At any rate, you should go. Be inspired to create positive, progressive change. Viva la Revolucion!!
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Saturday, May 23, 2009
While Knitting Factory NYC's days at its Leonard Street location have come to an end, their moxy seems to be unparalleled. Evidence of such is the three-day Afro Beat festival they're hosting from June 2nd through June 4th. There's some pretty diverse acts on the bill, such as Fela's progeny Femi Kuti and his Positive Force band, South African Fader Magazine rock darlings BLK JKS, and former Soul II Soul dancer Wunmigirl. In addition, Rich Medina will be spinning African funk akin to what his devotees are accustomed to sweating it out to at his lauded Jump N' Funk party. Check out the schedule for a full list of acts slated to perform below:
*June 2, 2009
Geko Jones (Dutty Artz, Que Bajo)
Uproot Andy (Bersas Discos, ZZK, Que Bajo)
Bajah + the Dry Yai Crew
Blue Nefertiti's Paris@Night
Afrobeat Radio djs
Blue Nefertiti's Paris@Night (formerly of Les Nubians)
*June 3, 2009
-Tap Bar -
Afrobeat Radio djs
Jojo Kuo & His Challengers
*June 4, 2009
7:30 PM @ Irving Plaza (17 Irving Place)
KCRW.com & Knitting Factory Present
Femi Kuti & The Positive Force
with special guest DJ Rich Medina
-Tap Bar -
Afrobeat Radio djs
More info at ny.knittingfactory.com
Short notice, I know. Come out t'nite.
I Love Vinyl
May 23, 2009
@ Le Poisson Rouge - Gallery Bar
158 Bleecker St. (West Village)
On the decks:
Friday, May 22, 2009
Being that a good portion of my top 20 movies list consist of road trip films (Motorcycle Diaries, Easy Rider, Into The Wild, etc.), the fact that I'm seriously considering pulling this off doesn't shock me.
The problem is, I need a shotgun partner. And the only kat I know that is A.) a serious biker, B.) a nature enthusiast, and C.) as Gung-Ho and spontaneous as me lives in Cali and is having some problems stacking paper right now. So I'm taking applications. Not sure when, other than in the fall, but I'm trying to traverse the continent on bike. A few blogs I've read on different folks experiences give me an estimate of about 4 months. But let's see if I can't set it up. Cecil Rhodes...EAT YOUR HEART OUT, BEYATCH!!
Thursday, May 21, 2009
I used to cop records via mail order from this dude all the time back in the mid 1990s. If this Record-Rama didn't have it, you'd stand a better chance of seeing pigs fly before you found it. His collection is pretty impressive. Sadly, his sentiments about greater society's indifference to archival media are true and real. Hell, Mondo Kim's couldn't even unload their rare and classic rental collection on a U.S.-based organization when they recently closed their St. Mark's NYC location. Music has largely been devalued in American culture. This process has actually been enabled by the technological advancements of this decade, to the chagrin of many champions of the MP3. And though film can be a more expressive medium, it seems as if it is doomed to a similar trajectory. If I only had 3 mil.
Does speaking off the cuff pay when you're a celebrity whose success is at the mercy of a multi national corporation? Especially when your rant is leveled against the multi national corporation that holds your very career in their hands. IDK. Publicity stunt or a case of real talk? You make the call. Speaking as someone who worked at a company that did some of the national grassroots tastemaker marketing for The Love Experience, it seemed to me that Jive Records never really respected Raheem's "worth" from jump. And at this point in the game, I don't think they really care about this dude anymore. I mean...If they're not even succeeding at selling the latest releases of the more coveted artists on their roster (Usher, Ciara), then sadly there's little hope for this kat. And although I got love for my fellow Washingtonians who make it to the so-called major leagues, I've always felt his material never really measured up to his dope voice. I'd like to see him keep it in the DMV. It would be dope to hear his voice over some Oddisee beats. But that's just my opinion. You make the call.
What are the wealthy conspiring to do now? Are these folks trying to rival the sheer force of the Bilderberg group? Maybe this is just another situation of that group of less-popular kids that didn't get picked for either softball team in gym starting their own club. Either way, I'd like to know what's really good with these folks. Inquiring minds would like to know.
John-John from Sesame Street?
I used to love seeing other Black kids on Sesame Street when I was a shortie. John-John was one of my favorite segment kids. Even though homeboy used to struggle counting backwards, he would always get it in at the end. Being the Google hound that I am, I found a Wikipedia page on this kat. Turns out he's from NYC (which most of the kids on the show were, being that Sesame Street taped in Queens) and is living in Texas with his wifey and kids. That's a pretty normal where-are-they-now ending. Better than finding out he's a disillusioned, washed up b-movie actor turning tricks on Sunset Boulevard to pay the bills.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
If you're a big fan of street art in general, this should give you a thrill. So many artists in the time frame in question have admirably pushed the envelope and reposed the question of what is public space. Chances are if they were influential artists, they'll probably have works on display in this exhibition. You should go. Plus...word on the street is Lee Quinones will be in attendance for the opening. Stay tuned.
Whole In The Wall - Opening Reception
May 28, 2009
9pm - Midnight
@ Helenbeck Gallery (formerly Splashlight Studios)
529-535 W. 35th St.
NY, NY 10001
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Ok, so I've resisted posting about these illustrations for about 9 months now. As creative as this series of drawings is, I thought the humor would be lost on most folks. Or maybe that's just me being a hyper sensitive crate digger trying to protect the sanctity of my practice. Eh. At any rate, it eased my worry when I found out that the illustrator who helmed these pretty dope works, Dutch artist Stefan Glerum, was himself a crate digger. And honestly enough, I can attest to the validity of many of his 13 claims on the "dangers" of crate digging. At any rate, check his blog to see full jpegs of the 13 illustrations and other works of his. He's even gone as far as making 14 X 14 prints of each illustration available for sale. Whether you think he's being too harsh or too reserved with his jesting jabs at the culture of crate digging, it should at least inspire a laugh or two. But one thing's for sure: I've been collecting records since I was a shortie. I wouldn't give a damn if you slapped a surgeon gereral's warning on every used record in the WORLD...ain't nuthin' but NUTHIN' stoppin' me from diggin'!
Check Stefan's blog here.
Man, this kat might have more goodies in the vaults primed for posthumous release than Biggie or 'Pac. Always glad to hear about a new Dilla joint. Be it crate digger-compiled samplologies or official releases, a new Dilla record is a new Dilla record. You gotta cop. Apparently Dilla's moms, Ms. Maureen "Ma Dukes" Yancey, and Dilla's idol Pete Rock oversaw this entire project in tandem with Nature Sounds. The album, entitled Jay Say Paid, features guest appearances from Black Thought of The Roots, Havoc of Mobb Deep, MF DOOM, Pac Div, M.O.P., Blu, and others. The full album is in stores this June, but you can feast your hype beast ears on a sampler mix blended by none other than the Beatjunkies own J. Rocc here. But whatever you do, PLEASE make sure you go out and cop the official (no bootlegs, fam) release when it drops next week. Show your support to Dilla's family. Show your respect to one of the illest that ever did it. One.
There's nothing like the feeling of finding out about something dope WAAAAAY after the fact. Especially if you fancy yourself a tastemaker. Apparently this chic African lifestyle mag has been around since late 2008. Arise Magazine, subsidiary of Nigerian media company This Day, made its official debut to the international market during New York's Fashion Week earlier this year. So far, they've got three issues under their belt.
I'm anxious to see another stylish magazine from the African diaspora, being that U.K.'s Time Out-distributed Untold Magazine shuttered some years ago. Stateside mags like One World, Honey, and the fledgeling Suede also bit the dust within the past few years.
Second issue - March '09
Periodicals are suffering in general, regardless of target demographics. And now with Amazon's Kindle 2.0 and Sony's PRS-505, print media for the first time faces many of the same conundrums that the music industry is floundering in as we speak.
Third issue - May '09
Even though it's a pricey import, I'll shell out the $12 to support every now and then. If you're more familiar with this mag, chime in. For more info, check the Arise website here.
If you ain't up on Landmark's Sunshine Cinema's Sunshine At Midnight series, you're sleepin'. Every month, the Landmark Sunshine (located in the East Village) hosts this on-going series of midnight screenings featuring some of the dopest cult flicks of the past few decades. May 22-24 will feature Walter Hill's 1979 cult classic The Warriors. I must have seen this flick a million times throughout the course of my life. I can recite entire scenes verbatim. Creepy, I know. But this film, in some latent fashion, fueled my interest in moving to NYC. Even though Giuliani's Quality Of Life campaign pretty much sprayed antiseptic on the skid row factor of the city, this film is a great cinematic document of a city in the throes of a beautiful decay with splashes of gang culture and graffiti. I try to see it at least once a year on the big screen. The experience is unparalleled. Tix are only $9, but as with any cult classic...seats may be sold out in advance. Click here to order tix online for May 22, May 23, and May 24.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Since becoming an "old head" (as I was recently made aware in a candid convo with my niece), I have come to appreciate the true outliers of Hip-Hop. It gets me amped to see the art form grow and flourish into positive, healthy spaces. In spite of the desert of a landscape it has found itself in, there lies a few oases within. I'm convinced that Mos Def is one of 'em. This kat keeps taking chances, despite opposing mainstream trends and consistently declining public interest in skillful thought provoking lyricism.
Skimming through the responses on the blogs and sites that posted the track, folks seem to want the old Rawkus Mos Def. They seek the pre-millenium, BlackStar, hungry-in-the-pockets kat from Bedstuy tryin' to establish a rep. That kat that blazed his guest appearances on joints by Bush Babees and De La Soul. Well...I, for one, am glad that he's grown since we've first heard his skills. I don't want an emcee who spits exactly the way he/she did 10 years ago. As long as he or she keeps that raw fire in their spirit that they had from before them checks were in the 6 figures, I'm for evolution into the stratosphere. Who are we as artists, or even people-for that matter, if we don't evolve? Just a thought.
But I won't let this turn into a rant. And I'm sure the mainstream hip-hop crowd will be satiated with his supporting role in the flick Next Day Air:
So, there. We have a lil balance. Check the video and chime in. Very unconventional, I know. But look who were discussing. Download the song from RCRD LBL here.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Henry Chalfant. Martha Cooper. If those two names alone don't perk your ears up and send you scrambling to mark your iCal, then shame on ya! Yeah, yeah. I know it's last minute. But if you're in NYC and have nothing to do after work or need a finals study break, come through to the the relocated Revolution Books and meet the legends who documented Hip-Hop's baby steps Wednesday night.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
I've become less of a cinemaphile over the past few years. So it goes without saying that my attendance at this year's Tribeca Film Festival was minimal. But being a devout audiophile, there was one flick that I knew I had to see. It contained footage that I'd heard about for at least a decade, yet never laid eyes on. Soul Power is the chronicle of the three-day music festival hosted in Kinshasa, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) which lead up to the landmark 1974 Rumble In The Jungle boxing match between Muhammad Ali & George Foreman. It featured performances from African, African-American, and Latin artists: James Brown, The Spinners, B.B. King, Hector Lavoe, Hugh Masekela, Willie Colon, Celia Cruz, Miriam Makeba, and more. This summer, for the first time in 35 years, this footage will finally debut to the masses in theaters nationwide.
This is probably one of the best film-going experiences I've had in quite a while. I got the chance to chat it up with director Jeff Levy-Hinte, who also directed this film's predecessor When We Were Kings, about the film after the screening. And being that most of the legendary performers featured in the film are no longer with us, the historicism quotient of this document is exponential. I mean, the scene of the entire cast in flight to Africa, inebriated and singing along with Celia Cruz while she pounds out a guaguancó rhythm on the airplane roof with her 3" platform heel as B.B. King plays an acoustic guitar. Goosebumps. And when the late Ray Barretto visits a local crafts market and gets carried away testing out African percussion instruments. 'Nuff said. If you own the coveted Fania All-Stars Live In Africa DVD, then you may have seen some of these performances already. But if you love soul music from the diaspora in general, then you owe it to yourself to see this flick. Check the optimized trailer @ Apple here.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
AWWWW, SHUCKY DUCKY!!
It's about that time of year again! DJ Spinna & Bobbito (a.k.a. Cucumber Slice/ a.k.a. Kool Bob Love), in conjunction with Keistar Productions, bring the 11th installment of this annual fete centered around the music of the incomparable Stevie Wonder! I'm kinda glad they're bringing the party back to Brooklyn. Although I've never been to the BK Studio Lofts, I tend to dig loft parties. All those who have ever been to a WonderFULL party, you know the drill. Each one, teach one. B there or B L7.
May 16, 2009
@ BK Studio Lofts
525 Waverly Ave (between Atlantic Ave and Fulton St)
Fort Greene, Brooklyn
Subway: A, C, G to Clinton–Washington Aves
Advance tix available at Fat Beats NYC, Pieces BKYLN, or online for $20
Monday, May 4, 2009
DubSpot will probably be using this jawn in their upcoming FREE workshop at Apple's SoHo store on May 19th. Pencil it in now folks, 'cause I'm sure latecomers and strollers will be turned away due to a heavy turn out. More info here.