Tuesday, June 30, 2009

:::Michael Jackson Public Tribute @ Apollo Theater:: 6/30:::

Even though crowds have been gathering underneath the legendary Apollo Theater's marquee for the past 5 days since the news of Mike's death...

(Visit blog to view embedded YouTube video)

...today the general public will be granted admission into the theater for a special tribute. Starting at 2PM, the theater will allow 600 fans at a time into the building to pay tribute to the King Of Pop. Details on exactly what the tribute entails have been foggy. Some sources state that fans will be able to view a compiled video tribute, others state that both the Rev. Al Sharpton and the Apollo Theater president & CEO Jonelle Procope will both deliver a eulogies and testimonies respectively. At any rate, the last group of 600 will be granted admission to the tribute at 8PM. So if you're planning to go...then GO! Word has it that folks were camped out in line in front of the Apollo since last night. More info here.

::Video: How To Moonwalk Video::

This is for all y'all bamas that "forgot." For all y'all sensitive thugs and haters that try to push that s'medium red leather zipper jacket and black studded belt to the back of your closet and act like you never donned the Emperor's new clothes.

(Visit blog to view embedded YouTube video)
...and this is for the unsung originator. Bump the French mime claim...let's give credit where credit is due. Respect to Jeffrey Daniel after 27 years of props in escrow.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

::Cornel West & Carl Dix @ Aaron Davis Hall - NYC 7/14::

Two radical Black men on one stage. Now that's top billin'. What more can I say? Being that the last Cornel West event at Cooper Union sold out almost instantaneously, I-WILL-NOT miss this one. Don't play yourself. Show up. More info here.

Revolution Books presents...
The Ascendancy of Obama-
And The Continued Need for Resistance & Liberation:
A Dialogue Between Cornel West & Carl Dix

Tickets: $20 ($10 with student ID)
Premium Tickets: $100. Group rates also available
To purchase tickets:
From Revolution Books: 212-691-3345
Online: www.revolutionbooksnyc.org/Purchase.htm
From Harlem Stage: 212-281-9240 ext.6, or online www.harlemstage.org

For more information or to volunteer,
call Revolution Books at 212-691-3345
Email: cornelcarldialogue@gmail.com

CORNEL WEST is one of America's most provocative public intellectuals and has been a champion for racial justice since childhood. His writing, speaking, and teaching weave together the traditions of the black Baptist Church, progressive politics, and jazz. The New York Times has praised his "ferocious moral vision." Dr. West currently teaches at Princeton University.

CARL DIX is a longtime revolutionary activist and a spokesperson for the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. Carl was one of the Fort Lewis 6 - six GI's who refused orders to go to Vietnam in 1970. Carl served 2 years in Leavenworth Military Penitentiary for this stand.

:::WESC Alp Horn Headphones:::

Now I've never claimed to be a product whore or a gear junkie...

And I'm always preaching my anti-consumerism shtick from atop my soap box...

But when I saw these joints at the WESC store on Lafayette yesterday...

I fell in "like." Notice I didn't say "love."

Truth be told, the sound on these joints might be questionable. And I've always hated on the Skull Candy cans, being that they're shining examples of style over substance. I'm of the mind of going with reputable names. People who have been making quality audio products for years tend to know what they're doing...and have a good track record to show for it. As far as Skull Candy and WESC...eh. One is a newbie, the other is a clothier. You make the call.

But aesthetically, the Alp Horn joints are funky as hell. On some retro sh*t. Like I should be listening to a portable 8-track player with them. But at $110 (even though the first design and colorways were introduced last summer), I'll wait it out. More info on the Alp Horn headphones here.

Also available in chocolate brown/ yellow.

Friday, June 26, 2009

::Black Girl Ugly @ WOW Cafe Theater::

Sh*t. I hate being the straggler who comes to the party after all the liquor is gone. Well, looks like I'm that dude tonight. At any rate, I feel compelled to let folk know about a little production at E. 4th Street's Wow Cafe Theater called Black Girl Ugly starring Ashley Brockington, Nicole Cain, and Lee Avant. When I first heard about it, I was a bit skeptical. After reading the synopsis, I thought it was going to come off like some pared down version of Ntozake Shange's groundbreaking 1976 stage play For Colored Girls...

But with the revival of Shange's play on Broadway recently thwarted due to loss of funding (despite a cast which included India.Arie), I guess Black Girl Ugly is as close as it's gonna get. But to its benefit, Black Girl Ugly may employ a bit more immediacy, being that it's a contemporary multimedia performance art piece verses simply a stage play. Hmm. Go out and see for yourself tomorrow night. Unfortunately, tomorrow night is also the last performance. So make the trip to the East Village and see these ladies tell their story about the imposition of angular standards of beauty from the other side of the looking glass. More info on the play here. Visit Black Girl Ugly at MySpace here.

Black Grrrlz R Dee-licious presents...
Black Girl Ugly
...a multimedia performance piece investigating Black Girl self esteem.

June 11th through June 27th , 2009
Weekends only: Thursday, Friday & Saturday @ 8pm

WOW Café Theater
59-61 East 4th St.
(between Bowery & 2nd Ave)
4th Floor
F train to 2nd Ave.
Tickets: $10 at the door
For Reservations: 718-419-1094

It ain't easy comin' up Black not to mention female, in these so-called United States. Have you ever considered how difficult it is to cultivate a healthy self-image growing up surrounded by the superficial din of white media? In Black Girl Ugly Ashley Brockington, Lee Avant & Nicole Cain take you into the collective subconscious of Black Girls trying to hold fast to their love of self. Through movement, poetry and song they contrast growing up surrounded by the "truth" of white girl beauty while living in the reality of Black Girl Ugly. True to their legacy these artists offer no clean endings in this story of black girl victory. The contra-fictions linger and always will.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

::Ancestry In Progress::


Your legacy has left an indelible impression on the world-at-large.
Thank you for the precious gifts you bore.
May your journey be peaceful and radiant

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

:::MLK FREE Summer Concert Series 2009 Line-Up @ Wingate Field::Brooklyn, NYC:::

We all know about both Central Park SummerStage and Prospect Park Celebrate Brooklyn's dope summer concert line ups. But if you ain't up on the Wingate Park Martin Luther King Summer Concert Series, you missin' out (Crown Heights, STAND UP!)! For those that like a bit more soul food on their plate (seasoned with a likkle bit curry), this is more your speed. Like clockwork, every Monday evening brings a new free show!

Here's this year's line up:

* July 13: Keyshia Cole & Lyfe Jennings
* July 20: The Ojays, Russell Thomkins, Jr. & The New Stylistics, Jerry Butler, Harold Melvin's Blue Notes
* July 27: Anita Baker & Charlie Wilson
* August 3: Jazmine Sullivan & Robin Thicke
* August 10: Teena Marie, Jeffrey Osborne, Ruben Studdard
* August 17: Yolanda Adams & Israel Houghton
* August 24: Sean Paul & Mighty Sparrow

Shows "start" at 7:30 PM, but if you learned anything from the Erykah Badu & Patti LaBelle shows last summer...GET THERE MAD EARLY!! THE LINE IS BANANAS!!

More info here.

Friday, June 19, 2009

:::DJ Spooky's Rebirth Of A Nation @ MoMa 6/22-6/28:::

DJ Spooky (a.k.a. Paul D. Miller, a.k.a. That Subliminal Kid) is an absolute beast. It has definitely been a pleasant experience seeing this kat evolve from just a quirky Black instrumental electronica artist hailing from D.C. into a progressive, well-versed music intellectual and multimedia artist. As a matter of fact, he's number four on my list of favorite Black music intellectuals (who also double as artists):

1. ?uestlove

2. Greg Tate

3. Branford Marsalis (his brother Wynton is pretty dope too)

But back to Spooky...I was kinda kicking myself in the arse for not being able to catch the premier of his Rebirth Of A Nation audio/ video performance at last year's Tribeca Film Festival. Good thing he brought it back. From June 22nd through the 28th, the Museum of Modern Art will be hosting Spooky's retooling of the controversial 1915 G.W. Griffith classic film The Birth Of A Nation. Ah, yes. When overt racism was king. For more info, go here.

- Clip from DJ Spooky's Rebirth Of A Nation.
(Visit blog to view YouTube video embedded)

In addition, as a part of Brooklyn Academy of Music's (BAM) 2009 Next Wave Festival, another one of DJ Spooky's A/V creations will be produced in December entitled Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica. This creation with a focus on the topic of climate change will not only include Spooky's own bleeps, blips, and sound bites from a recent trip to Antarctica, but also a two-piece string section and grand piano from the International Contemporary Ensemble. Muy interesante **strokes beard**. More info here.

- Clip from DJ Spooky's Rebirth Of A Nation.
(Visit blog to view YouTube video embedded)

:::Butt In Ass::NYC Video Art Exhibit 6/22-7/3:::

Everybody needs a lil' Butt...every now and then. In memory of the seedier NYC of yesteryear, Butt Magazine - in tandem with American Apparel - will unveil a new video art exhibit at Asia Song Society in TriBeCa next week. From June 22nd to July 3rd, roll though and view works from 19 artists shown in buddy booths. I'm guessing the subject matter will vary, but then again the adjective "arousing" says I just may be wrong. Just maybe. I wonder what these folks plan to do to deter sticky seats. The Asia Song Society website says that the exhibit opens this Saturday, June 20th...which slightly contradicts the above info. I'd call in advance if you're planing to visit tomorrow to make sure. At any rate, should be interesting. And although Butt is a gay mag, I've become increasingly intrigued by visual art these days and plan on making a few video pieces myself sometime soon. So I guess I can stand some inspiration. Even if the subject matter is not necessarily...up my alley. Pause. For more info, go here.

Butt In Ass
An Exhibition of Arousing Video Art Screened in Buddy Booths
June 22nd - July 3rd
Asia Song Society
45 Canal Street
Between Orchard and Ludlow

:::Lewis Forever @ New Museum::Thursdays in June Residency:::

The Lewis Family are...umm...unique. Yeah...that's it. Unique. Drawing on their half-Dominican, half-Jewish background, siblings Ligia, Sarah, George, and Isabel have birthed a brand of performance art that captivates, amuses, and perplexes all in one fell swoop.

(Visit the blog to see YouTube video embedded)

After presenting their first performance piece Freak The Room at P.S. 122 last year, Lewis Forever has become a collective on the cutting edge buzzing on the tongues of the press and the art world alike. At present, these folks are artists-in-residence at the New Museum in downtown Manhattan.

(Visit the blog to see YouTube video embedded)

I ventured down to see their performance yesterday evening:

And I must say...I was not anticipating any of the events to come. They integrated audience participation, coloring, cut out dolls on popsicle sticks, operatic swooning, and a quasi-disturbing ode to Barack Obama. Considering that the typical American audience is confined inside the convention of "I paid my money to see you perform," it was quite different for me to be involved in the performance instead of being objectively entertained. But, to my surprise...it shook something inside me to life. Thanks, y'all!

(Visit the blog to see YouTube video embedded)

While their style of performance art may not be for everybody, I encourage you to do something out of the ordinary. Their New Museum residency ends next Thursday on June 25th. Find out more about The Lewis' here.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

:::Love, Peace & Hair Grease:::Murray's 4 Change:::

Now, see. I knew everybody had started cashing in on the Obama merch craze. But Murray's?! I must say, this is the most creative merch I've seen besides the "RUN DC" t-shirt. But apparently Murray's, a mainstay in the African American community since the 1920s, is contributing a percentage of the proceeds of this commemorative limited edition can to three different charities. And to one up this noble assertion, Murray's allows you - the consumer - to personally select the charity that you'd like the proceeds from your purchase to go to! Ain't that grand, folks? Cop the Obama can or T-shirt with the can artwork here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

::Maxwell's BLACKsummer'snight:::Album Artwork & Snippets::

After eight years of silence, the silence is finally broken. July 7th is but weeks away. In the meantime, listen to some snippets here. Chime in.

:::HBO Is Hung:::

Is Hollywood debunking the myth(s)? Maybe so...maybe no.
Tune in June 28th to find out.

Monday, June 15, 2009

::First The Fat Boys Break Up::

Now this. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a divorce petition was filed by Usher in Atlanta this past Friday. Damn. And supposedly Mr. Confessions has fallen head over heals for another chick. Hmm.

Now I ain't no Wendy Williams, but I guess Tameka is getting a dose of that good 'ole what-comes-around-goes-around potion, being that she left her husband to jump the broom with Usher a little over two years ago. And hollywood divorce must be in the air, because just a few weeks ago Nas & Kelis' divorce news hit the streets and newsstands. And she hasn't even given birth to their son yet! Damn...can't NOBODY stay together. SMH.

:::Brooklyn Record Riot::6/28:::

You know what time it is. I think this is like the 4th installment of the Brooklyn Record Riot. It's a decent event, but if you've been keeping up with my exploits as of late (here and here), you'd know that I've totally changed my perspective on crate digging...so I probably won't be attending this time around. IMO, these types of events can take the fun out of the element of discovery. And the prices can vary greatly. I mean...really. But a few of my friends seem to be enamored with stuff like this, so I figured I'd blog about it for the rest of you folks out there too. They'll be serving plenty of keilbasa & beer for those who like to be drunk and full when buying records. This year, there will be 8 DJs spinning throughout the day. Not sure who they are, being that the website is pretty bare bones and there were no flyers this go round (save for some photocopied sheets thrown up at various spots in the East Village).

I personally favor the WFMU Record Fairs that usually hit the city in the Fall. At least during the last few hours before the end of the fair, many of the vendors throw the bulk of their unsold records into a big freebie pile in the corner for folks to ravage through. Granted, it usually consists of beat up copies of Thriller and Donna Summer's Bad Girls...but it's the thought that counts.

Anyway, for more info on the Brooklyn Record Riot go here.

The Brooklyn Record Riot
Sunday, June 28th
@ Warsaw
261 Driggs Ave.
Brooklyn, NY
Admission: $3.00
Early admission (10 am): $20

-55 tables of records & "stuff"
-PLUS...the return of the infamous "Dollar Room!"
-Beer & kielbasa
-8 DJs

Sunday, June 14, 2009

::"Between Coincidences" Photography Exhibit::Fourth Arts Block 6/19-9/12::

Alex Harsley is a tad eccentric. Well...maybe more than a tad. But if you know me well, I tend to gravitate toward the eccentric. Needless to say, this kat definitely piques my interest. His vibe takes you back to a period when free jazz was king and names like Ornette Coleman, Archie Shepp, Sun-Ra, and Art Ensemble of Chicago were left-of-center luminaries in their prime. And with over 50 years of photography under his belt, his expansive portfolio definitely tells tales that most have only read about in books and seen in documentaries. He's photographed celebrities and historical figures alike in the most candid situations. And starting this Friday, Fourth Arts Block will unveil a collection of his works entitled Between Coincidences in an unconventional manner: outdoors on scaffolding. From the vantage point of the Cuppa Cuppa coffee shop, you can view the collection in all its glory on E. 4th Street, between 2nd Avenue and Bowery. The collection of astonishing black & white photos chronicles a city's journey from recreation, ruin, and resurrection over the past half century. In the meantime, feel free to roam over to E. 4th Street and visit Alex's photo gallery/ studio at 67 E. 4th Street for a taste of the exhibition to come. For more on Alex, go here and here. For information on the exhibit, go here.

4th Street (1984)
-Alex Harsley

Opening takes place on Friday, June 19, 2009 from 6:00PM-8:00PM
Exhibition will run from June 19 to September 12, 2009
Viewing hours from sunrise to sunset (outdoor installation)

ArtUp Streetside Gallery / East 4th Street between Bowery and 2nd Avenue
Best viewing spot is in front of Cuppa Cuppa 75 E. 4th Street
Metro: F,V to 2nd Avenue / 6 to Astor Place

Opening reception will begin at 6:00PM at East Fourth Street Gallery, 67 East 4th Street. All guests will receive a FREE FAB Pass, providing discounts to shows, readings, classes, and workshops. Viewers should take advantage of FAB Fridays and purchase tickets to shows as low as $5 for viewing that evening. FAB Friends will receive a complimentary open edition digital print courtesy of Alex Harsley.

::The Roots Weekly Jam @ Highline Ballroom::

I haven't managed to bring myself to watch a full episode of The Jimmy Fallon Show. I've heard good things; I've heard bad things. But the main reason being is that I still haven't fully accepted that The Roots' repertoire now includes holding it down as the house band on a late night talk show. I can't really hate on these kats stackin' some network paper and getting more visibility, though. And besides...one of the benefits of their being in NYC 5 nights a week for this gig is that beginning March 5th, they've started a weekly jam session on Tuesday nights over at the Highline Ballroom to flesh out new ideas and collaborate with other artists in town.

(YouTube video embedded)

This is an extension of their annual Grammys jam session. Word has it that you never know who just might drop by to sit in or get on the mic. It seems like each session is blogged into the stratosphere by everybody and they mama. Everybody but me. **sigh** So, alas, I too have hoisted myself onto this bandwagon. But I only blog about it because I dig The Roots and I'm finally going to go over and check out the jam session this coming Tuesday. C U there?

For more info, go here.

(YouTube video embedded)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

::Art Battles, Red Bull & Alchemy Properties present The Living Art Exhibition:::NYC 6/9-6/19::

It's apparent that there's a twisted oxymoron in the act of showcasing street art in a high brow gallery. The removal of a perceived social deviance from its origin of the public space, where it is typically dealt with and looked upon as a nuisance, into a space of commodity and pretension has always fascinated me. In addition, the fact that much of the contemporary art scene has become IMO increasingly beguiling, yet narcissist and vacant of any valid sociopolitical voice, never ceases to both amaze and anger me (yeah, yeah...I know I'm a sourpuss. So sue me). And if my man Tahir at Staple Crops is as on point as he usually is with his social insights, the conventional avenues of showcasing art are all but antiquated. So with all of the above taken into consideration, what are we self-described purist art lovers and creators to do? It seems Art Battles and Alchemy Properties are toiling away at answering that same question. But until there's a definite consensus, they've come up with a dope little offering in the meantime.

The Living Art Exhibition runs through June 9th to the 19th at SoHo's Red Bull Space. The concept is cool, engaging, and quasi-participatory. I won't go into detail about it here. That's what their website is for. The cost is cool: $15 for a two-week pass ($10 if you cop online), which includes a free year's subscription to Time Out New York magazine and other goodies. Red Bull is really trying to diversify their brand image. First the Red Bull Music Academy, now this. Seems like they're neck and neck with Scion's pursuits. I'm typically wary of corporate interests in underground culture. But if their pursuits don't contaminate the pure intention and intensity of the art, then we real cool.

For more info on The Living Art Exhibition, go here.

::Jazmine Hearts Cotton::

While checking my email today (YES...I'm still on Yahoo Classic!), something in one of those annoying banner ads that I usually ignore caught my eye:

It seems that Philly's princess of soul has gone from bustin' windows to hocking fabric. In a marketing twist for an American mainstay, Cotton Incorporated has lassoed the celebrity power of three notable women in entertainment for their new advertising campaign (Zooey Deschanel, Miranda Lambert, and Jazmine Sullivan). The angle of the campaign is to exhibit the versatility of cotton as an apparel fabric while demonstrating how three distinctly different women incorporate cotton as a fabric into their individual fashion sense.

Each page allows you to peer into the world of each artist and explore their individual wardrobes in relation to different cotton prints and designs. Um...I guess. In premise, it sounds like an interesting concept for marketing a product that seemingly needs no marketing. You have three young women in three distinct categories of musical celebrity (sassy R&B chick, actress/ singer-songwriter, reality competition show-winning country singer) who individually appeal to broad cross sections of impressionable young females with disposable income. However, the pages aren't really consistent. Miranda's page is the most engaging, while Jazmine's is just a bootleg Google map with half the fabric swatches in the StyleMap listing giving a "no street view available" message. If this doesn't deter you from visiting the site, then the song download page just might. Each artist composed a tune incorporating the company's slogan "The touch/ the feel of cotton/ the fabric of our lives" as the chorus. Well...at least it's free?

It goes without saying that this is quite an unconventional marketing choice for Jazmine. Hmm...Zooey too. But Miranda's heartland appeal definitely lends to this type of marketing. And pardon me for pointing it out, but does anyone else feel that there's something inherently ironic yet disconcerting about Jazmine singing about cotton for a Southern-based cotton corporation? Just a thought.

But don't take my word for it...see if for yourself. Check Jazmine's page here. Zooey's page here, and Miranda's page here.

::New Sade Album!!::

HOT DAMN!! First Maxwell, now this! Either Sony BMG has found a way to extort new material out of its most lauded M.I.A. artists or the recession is bringing out the creativity in folk! Either way, I'm just glad to hear the news!! According to a recent Billboard blurb, Sade is set to deliver a new album this Fall! She's reunited with her original flock (Stuart Matthewman, Paul Denman, and Andrew Hale collectively known as Sweetback) and is in the studio working on new material at press time.

All I got to say is...HALLELUJAH!!! Now if someone could just send the memo to D'Angelo and Lauryn Hill that Groundhog's Day is over, all would be well in the land of Oz. Stay tuned.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

:::Soul Power::T-SHIRT GIVEAWAY!!!:::

Wha g'wan, people! Every now and then, I have some goodies to share with my folks. And today happens to be one of those days! Remember the film Soul Power I hipped y'all to last month? To celebrate the July 10th theater release of the Jeff Levy-Hinte concert film Soul Power, Miss Wit Designs (who, by the way, is the official merchandiser for the Soul Power film release - beware of them eBay knockoffs) is sponsoring a T-shirt giveway with Superbizzee Chronicles!!! The shirts feature the text and artwork from the original shirts distributed at the 1974 concert!

Here's the catch...there's a bit of trivia involved. The first person to correctly answer the two-prong question by Friday, June 19th wins!!

The Zaire 74 concert was conceived and organized by two individuals: a musician and a music producer.
A.) What is the name of the producer?
B.) What Grammy-winning pop group did he produce albums for during the 1980s ?

The clock is officially ticking. Submit answers in the comments section and make sure to sign in with your Blogger/ Google ID!

For details on the shirts, go here.

For more of Miss Wit's designs, hit up her site here!


Monday, June 8, 2009

:::NYC High Line Park::Opening Day 6/8:::

It's finally here.

After years of lobbying...


blood, sweat, and tears...

New Yorkers finally have a semi-green refuge from peeing-crapping dogs, noisy skateboarders, and indifferent cyclists & rollerbladers.

Lose yourself in the architecture and quasi serenity of the NYC High Line.

Relax on the 10th Avenue observation deck.

Indulge in environmentally friendly goodies courtesy of The City Bakery offshoot, Birdbath.

Take a sip of cool, refreshing municipal beverage.

Damn...I should consider a career in writing copy.

...anyway, for opening day it wasn't half as crowded as I thought it would be. Entrance and exit points are kinda limited, since only one section of the line is officially open as of now. Do yourself a favor and check the High Line website for visitors information before you stroll over...or call the information line at 212-200-6035.