Thursday, October 20, 2005

Thursday October 20, 2005 - 11:30PM

Some Random Thoughts about some not so random things:

1. On David Stern's implementing a dress code for players in the NBA; amongst other things, that they can't wear headgear to the arenas or sweat suits or bling it up (they must wear suits and ties), and all that represents, i have this to say...

when the league needed these brothers blinging to make the league relevant once again to the hip-hop generation they embraced the tattooed Iverson, corn-rows, medallions, baggy shorts etc etc but now there is the threat of losing white viewership (as happened in the early to mid 70s when black power afros and brothers draggin' their minks on the floor were the run of the NBA, until smiling ass Magic and country ass Larry Bird brought 'em back), so now they'll find a suitable (house - did i say that out loud?) basketball negroe to represent something new and all-American and acceptable, until a new generation of high-flying, uber-ballin urban youth demand by their style and innovation that the game be relevant again - round and round the mulberry bush...

2. On Amiri Baraka's phenomenal feature at Bar 13 this past Monday

...And it is possibly exactly this that we had hoped for, or at least dreamt we'd be able to accomplish one day when we started hosting a series at Bar 13 - the chance to one day grow our own art enough, and with enough of a sense of responsibility, that we affect the way people choose to think of their lives (not that we might claim the ability to make folk take to the streets in the thousands) but that we might make people think of the decisions they make, or as Baraka, quoting Bertolt Brecht said "to think about the causality between things", so that change begins to happen, on the edges, where change always take place.

200 plus folks showed up to see Amiri Baraka at the groove NATION segment of the series on Monday night. They lined up (some as early as 6:00PM for the 7:30 start) and the open mic list was 20 names strong by 7:05PM. The usual louderARTIST suspects graced the open-mic; Lynne Procope, Rich Villar, Marty McConnell, Fish Vargas, Ray Medina, Abena Koomson as well as uber-regulars Rachael, Ngoma, Kamilah Moon, Samantha Thornhill including a super-duper pantoum by Jai Chakravarti in which a Black man, an Indian man and a Jewsih man debate the relativity of their oppression (sic).

Then, proceeded by a dig-down-deep, plant-some-rust-in-your-belly, harvest-up-some-pain rendition of Strange Fruit, by Amina Baraka, followed by some poetic wizardry of her own, Amiri Baraka took the stage. Amiri has been heard to say (in response to questions of poetry and craft) "Fuck Craft!", but it was clear that after 50-odd years of study and writing, even Baraka's most political (if such a thing exists) work, couldn't avoid the tightly woven craft of his own unflinching, uncompromising poetics. For 45 minutes, Baraka challenged, entertained and awed the audience, even when it was clear some of his lines made them uncomfortable. In the live post-interview, Baraka spoke to the necessity of struggle, the need for the work, of what we build (like the series itself) and what we struggle towards as we write. He spoke to the aforementioned "causality between all things" and the need for its examination; and still he left room for the outrageous "...pennies are your money - brown and they put Lincoln's face on it so you don't forget and when you get five pennies you get to be whote and be a nickel"... but that was the tip of Baraka's formidable iceberg. When a friend says "Baraka amde me re-think the entire way i live my life..." we know we're doing the right work in what we're trying to build. This coming Monday, we try to put more windows in the edifice - Derrick Brown author of "If Loving you is Wrong, i don't want to be Wrong" is coming to town. He is hilarious, and a brilliant writer/thinker to boot. Don't miss it.

3. Martin Espada also rocked the hell out of our south Bron feature last Thursday so now louderARTS Project just thinks it's the shit (just as everyone has suspected).

4. Tyehimba Jess' book Leadbelly, a collection of poems (mostly persona) chronicling the history of the legendary blues singer is fly as all hell. Run and get it. The reins on these poems' craft are held so remarkably tightly that it is a wonder that the pieces achieve the movement and authenticity of voice that they do. he doesn't make it seem easy, so much as he makes it seem like flourish of the most extraordinary kind. check it out.

i've more to say but i have to get up at 6AM to go do a concert with VIA at Hofstra University and i have to drum (djembe) and sing, so i'm a little scared. i'm getting some tylenol PM and going to bed.


Blogger Queue said...

I am commenting so you don't ever think no one is listening - I check you rblog several times a week and am glad when I see new entries- do post when you are coming to St. Louis I would love to see you here..

9:23 AM  

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