Wednesday, August 30, 2006

this, i love

since you know i am fascinated by that one thing that is gentrification and that other thing that is, i think it's just lovely the two interests have collided.

The Delis Are Going to Have to Start Selling Matzoh-Ball Soup

Black guy #1, noticing white guy walking down the street: Aw, man!
Black guy #2: There goes the neighborhood.
White guy: This is the cheapest rent in the city. You better believe my people are going to start moving here.

--Franklin Ave, Brooklyn

via Overheard in New York, Aug 29, 2006

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

to read or not to read

now, i know that it sounds a bit conspiratorial, but it seems to me that the powers that be don't want brooklyn to read. every try going to a library in brooklyn? on a saturday afternoon? if you have, i wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't open. branch libraries in bk are never open when i have free time.

one saturday afternoon from my college days, i remember going on a long, crazy trek to near the last stop on the j-train in bk in search of coxsone dodd, legendary reggae producer, whom we wanted to interview for a class project. we weren't sure what time he would be in his shop, so we just went--and when we got there, we found he wouldn't be in for a few more hours. no problem, we thought, we'll just go to a library and do some work on the project and then go back and talk to him...and when we located the library, we saw that it had closed about an hour before. it was 3pm. we wandered the streets till coxsone came in to his shop, and then spoke to him, and he was as nice as could be.

the point is, it's not just that branch. i also have failed to happen upon a branch near me that is open when i am not working or otherwise occupied. the only library that i know how to locate that is open on saturday afternoons is the central branch...and it's not like that's especially convenient. nevertheless, i made the effort and went out there saturday afternoon...3 trains later, i made it to grand army plaza and entered the library. and got a brooklyn public library card, since the brooklyn public library and the new york public library apparently don't like each other well enough to share a common card. its a lot of work to read when you don't have money to always buy new books, are not inclined to spend much money on books you might not like, and live in brooklyn. anyway, i navigated the system and checked out 3 books...

prep - other than going to the library, i spent the better part of the weekend in bed, fighting/nursing a cold. prep is the story of a girl from the midwest who wins a scholarship to an exclusive boarding school in massachusetts. the rather long novel is all about how she never EVER finds her niche (sorry if that's too much of a spoiler.) while it perfectly pictures many of the stereotypes of prep schools, i'm not really going to debate any of them now, except one: this scholarship girl never EVER finds her niche. from my own experience, i have to say that its highly unlikely that a scholarship student never finds something to excel in at prep school--either you excel academically, or your good in sports, or art, or debate, or something, something, anything. a scholarship student is not permitted to be mediocre, why would a prep school countenance a mediocre student whose parents aren't paying for their education? not saying that an unexceptional student on finacial aid would be put out...i'm saying the administration would put all its effort into helping that student find something to excel in. you may not contribute much to the financial health of the school, but you will find something to contribute to its reputation.

the human stain- i've never read a philip roth novel before, so i thought i'd jump in with this one. i also have the movie on my netflix cue, and apparently wentworth miller is in it. the main character in the book, coleman silk, is a professor at a small college finds himself at the center of a scandal when he's accused of racism by two students. apparently, wentworth miller, when he was at princeton, also found himself at the center of a scandal when he was accused of racism based on a cartoon that he drew for a student publication. wentworth miller plays the young coleman silk. for my columbia alums...sound like an incident we know much about? can't say much more about the book, i'm only a few pages into it.

asphalt-by carl hancock rux. picked it up because i've not read anything about him, but i know that he is supposed to be one of those noteworthy young black writer/performer/artists. felt like i should try and get to know his work.

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Saturday, August 26, 2006

race is such an old hat

but it must get its wear.
in fashion nothing is really new
but every season you have to
talk about it like it is.

so the next season of survivor, the teams will de divided by race/ethnicity: black vs. white vs. asian vs. latino. cbs says that they are well aware that it is controversial, but they are going forward with it.

i have ever been a member of what in the corporate world can be called affinity groups, that is, in college i was in the caribbean students' association, black students' organization, black theater ensemble, etc. and now, i am going to write about why the segregated survivor is not the same as racial/ethnic affinity groups.

but i think that its kind of obvious, given the terms i just used: segregated and affinity. an affinity group exists as organization to support the aims of a group of people with a common trait. it expresses the afinity of these individuals, not just to individuals who identify as they do, but in society in general. and, as these groups are affinity based, there is no one who can tell you that you do not belong, since the basis of belonging is that affinity, not of pre-assigned label. affinity groups are open to anyone who expresses affinty to the group. a segregated group imposes restrictions on who can join, and exists to prove and prove again the superiority of its membership over and above everyone else.

which sounds a bit like what this segregated survivor makes light of. segregated survivor is competition based, and competition between racial/ethnic groups is already fraught with CENTURIES of problems. if the white team wins, does it validate the existing unequal social structure? if the black team wins, its it somehow linked to their inherent athletic prowess? if the asian team wins, is it just cuz they are sooo smart? and if the latino team wins...well, i dunno even know if i can begin to address all of the questions there, given that latino is not a race in the same way that black, white, and asian are (according to the semi-official definitions that are used in the us)....if the latino team wins, i suppose all of the questions i just asked apply, and then some. i fear that segregated survivor is setting back america's collective subconscious by at least 45 years, possibly more. taking us back to the civil rights era, or something. are we next to retry brown vs. board of ed american idol style? call in if you think brown is right, call in if you think board of ed is right? i thought the supreme court already ruled that segregated is inherently unequal, and that segregation has no place in american society. and i have a really good question:

biracial/multiracial/ambigously ethnic people: were they assigned a team, based on appearance? the more i think about it, the sadder this makes me.

i guess i am disappointed that some corporate television suits would pander and make light of the problems of race and racism that persist in society today but throwing caricatures of them onto some deserted island/isolated wilderness and telling them to have at each other. unlike an affinity group, this ludicrous competition supports no one and nothing, promotes no dialogue on real issues. of course they are aware this is controversial, how could they not be? controversy is not a bad thing, but the worst part of this segregated survivor is that i can smell the dollar signs that motivated it. but since i can smell those dollar signs, i guess i shouldn't be surprised by it.

well, i have never watched survivor, i've never had a desire to, so i guess i don't need to mount a boycott of it.

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Friday, August 25, 2006

museum musing: graffiti slavery fashion

a couple of exhibits are currently running in nyc that i'm dying to check out.

graffiti @ the brooklyn museum
all about, well you guessed it, graffiti, which may be the only actually illegal of of the four elements of hip hop* but, if this exhibition at a major institution is an indication, not the most transgressive/subversive. exhibition runs through september 3rd, i'm tryin to check it out this weekend.

legacies: contemporary artists reflect on slavery @ the new york historical society
until january 7, 2007
follow up to the much touted slavery in new york exhibition. to quote one person's thoughts on slavery in new york, that exhibition was a little too positive, meaning that it glossed over some of the true degradations of slavery that we should be learning from, but overall it was very interesting. i'm looking forward to seeing some of these contemp. responses from artists like faith ringgold, bettye saar, maria magdelena campos-pons, carrie mae weems, barbara chase-riboud, and kara walker. ok, i realize i don't mention any of the male artists involved, but i'm really more familiar with the female artists...that presents an interesting problem, but moving right along....

black style now @ the museum of the city of new york
september 9, 2006-february 19, 2007
all about black style, from street to haute couture, especially in nyc. zoot suits, bling, diahann carroll, kangols, all of my favorite things...

*the four elements: DJing, MCing, breaking, and graffiti. no i don't find it to be limiting to say hip hop has 4 elements, chemistry has a certain number of elements and many many combinations of them to form, pretty much, everything we know.

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bearing witness part 2

so it isn't exactly last night as i said it would be when i continued this post. sorry. but about marita bonner, i've decided this is the quote that i really love:

At least you know what you want life to give you. A career as fixed and calmly brilliant as the North Star. The one real thing money buys. Time. Time to do things. A house that can be as delectably out of order and as easily put in order as the dollhouse of "playing-house" days. And of course, a husband you can look up to without looking down on yourself.

the quote comes from "On Being Young--A Woman--And Colored," originally published in 1925. and what is immediately striking is how relevant it still is.

relevance: anybody read that article in forbes advising men not to marry career women? the definition of career woman, according to the article: college educated, makes over $30,000 a yearworks 35 hours or more outside of the home. why, according to this article, shouldn't men marry career women? simple: career women are, evidently, more likely to not want children, to be unhappy if the have children, be unhappy if she makes more money than the man, make the man unhappy if she makes more money, more likely to cheat, more likely to not cook and clean, more likely to finally divorce the man.

that someone would harbor such vitriol, and the publish it in forbes of all places, means that women are still looking for men that they can look up to without looking down on themselves. in truth, when i first heard of the article i just knew it could not be serious. now, i am quite afraid that it is serious.

what is perhaps most unfortunate is that this article seems to imply that happiness, for a man, is a person, a woman, who will have his babies and clean his house and ask him for money. is that what happiness is? shall we all set the bar so low?

i hope not. but if a man cannot, by definition, be happy with a successful woman, its the man who is not happy with himself in life. and perhaps the ego boost of being in control of a woman fools him into believing he is happy.

of course, what do i know? and according to the forbes definition of a career woman, i suppose i am a career woman. so i dunno, if this is what men are thinking then i guess i better really love my books.

o, but i actually do believe men are smarter than that.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

beloit mindset list

so apparently, every year beloit college publishes a mindset list for its incoming freshman class. basically, its a list of cultural facts, assumptions, and givens that have shaped the world perceptions of those particular young folk. they've just published the class of 2010's mindset list, but since i am proudly a member of the class of 2005, i'm gonna do a little throwback and put our mindset list here. (i will say that one of the facts on the class of 2010's list says "milli vanilli has never had anything to say" and i thought that was just priceless. for those of you who'd like to see it: )


1. Most students starting college this fall were born in 1983.
2. Ricky Nelson, Marvin Gaye and Laura Ashley have always been dead.
3. The New Kids on the Block are over the hill.
4. They want to be PHAT but not fat.
5. IBM Selectrics are antiques.
6. Thongs no longer come in pairs and slide between the toes.
7. God has never been a "he" in most churches.
8. Hard copy has nothing to do with a TV show; a browser is not someone relaxing in a bookstore; a virus does not make humans sick; and a mouse is not a rodent (and there is no proper plural for it).
9. Moscow has always been opposed to "star wars."
10. Recording TV programs on VCRs became legal the year they were born.
11. The British Royal family has always behaved badly.
12. There has always been Diet Coke.
13. Artificial hearts have always been ticking.
14. The Social Security system has always been on the brink.
15. There have always been warnings about second-hand smoke.
16. They have never experienced a real recession.
17. A hacker is not just a kid who won't stop fooling around.
18. Grenada has always been safe for democracy.
19. They were born the same year as the PC and the Mac.
20. The U.S. Senate has always had a daycare program.
21. One earring on a man indicates that he is probably pretty conservative.
22. CDs have always been labeled for explicit content.
23. Lethal Weapon in one form or another has always been "at the movies."
24. Boeing has not built the 727 since they were born.
25. Sarajevo was a war zone, not an Olympic host.
26. They don't remember Janet Jackson when she was cute and chubby.
27. Drug testing of athletes has always been routine.
28. There has always been a hole in the ozone layer.
29. They have always had access to email.
30. The Colts have always been in Indianapolis.
31. The precise location of the Titanic has always been known.
32. When they were born, Madonna was still a radiant woman holding a beatific child.
33. Jimmy Hoffa has always been officially dead.
34. Tylenol has always been impossible for children or adults to open.
35. Volkswagen beetles have always had engines in the front.
36. They do not know what the Selective Service is, but men routinely register for it on their financial aid forms.
37. Ron Howard and Rob Reiner have always been balding older film directors.
38. Cal Ripken has always been playing baseball.
39. They have probably never used carbon paper and do not know what cc and bcc mean.
40. Lasers have always been marketed as toys.
41. Major newspapers have always been printed in color.
42. Beta is a preview version of software, not a VCR format.
43. They have never known exactly what to call the rock star formerly and presently known as Prince.
44. They are the first generation to prefer tanning indoors.
45. Survivor is a TV show not a rock group.
46. They have heard "just say no" since they were toddlers.
47. Most of them know someone who was born with the help of a test tube.
48. It has paid to "Discover" since they were four.
49. Oprah has always been a national institution.
50. With a life expectancy of 77 years, they can anticipate living until about 2060.

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bearing witness, part 1

i'm re-reading this book that i stole from the library when i was about ten...well, i think my mother eventually paid all the fines on the book, so i guess, technically, i bought it...but it's called bearing witness, edited by henry louis gates, jr.

what's funny is that i now work for the television station which helped produce his superstar documentary, african american lives. anyway, bearing witness is a collection of excerpts from black autobiography in the 20th century, ranging from fannie barrier williams to itabari njeri. yes, this is the kind of book i stole from the library when i was about ten.

since i only just started re-reading it today, i've only gotten up to the second excerpt by marita bonner. and i'm wondering why schools and study and academia don't make more of marita bonner? her style's so modern and so insightful even though the piece i'm reading is from 1925. I'm at work right now, so i won't blatantly pull out my copy of the book and so that i can post the quote i really want to write about, but i will do so this evening.

o yeah....and today i attend grad student orientation at bk college. i'm....nervous. yeah.

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Monday, August 21, 2006


nothing much to say right now except i'm feelin pretty good about life.

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Saturday, August 19, 2006

couple of movies + 1 book

the netflix rundown and what i'm reading.

manderlay- i loved it. it got some spotty reviews, but i put it on the queue cuz of the premise: a plantation in 1933 where the slaves had never been freed. a woman passing thru stumbles upon the place and undertakes the task of spreading liberty. quite provocative.

dogville-so manderlay is the second movie in lars von trier's meditative trilogy on america. so yeah, i watched them out of order...manderlay first. then i got dogville, and i watched half of it, and then the dvd stopped working. sigh. what i will say is about the lead character, grace - she was played by nicole kidman in dogville, but by bryce dallas howard in manderlay. kidman's grace was much more tentative about life; howard's was much more authoritative. unfortunately, i haven't been able to see the end to see if there is a reason in the plot for the difference.

do the right thing- this movie came out when? 1989? yeah, still soooooo ridiculously relevant. i recommend it to everyone, all those folks who politic about gentrification, all those folks who have no idea what it is, all those folks who want to see vintage spike lee, all those folks who wouldn't know spike lee if he wore a nametag. plus, the action takes place on the hottest day of the year, and it's been HOT round here lately.

and what i'm reading: on the road by jack kerouac. a classic, that i have read many many times. i confess, i really wanted to (re)read junot diaz's drown, but my copy of the book seems to be missing. and it's autographed...i hope it turns up.

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Friday, August 18, 2006

flavor of love? i prefer public enemy

i am embarassed for this show's existence.
flavor flav used to say, fight the power.
flavor flav said, don't believe the hype.
flavor flav once said, 911 is a joke.
now ::sigh:: flavor flav is the joke.
what makes me frown more than the show's
existence is that those people, those kids,
who are only just now hearing about flavor flav,
and only have absolute shuckin, jivin, and minstrelsy
to associate him with, have no idea of what he used to
be about. you know, back in those public enemy days.

ok, flav always brought the levity to public enemy,
and i'm not tryin to say he was an
extra-righteous righteous revolutionary,
but even in that there was more than a hint of being serious
about life. not so with this television show.
i remember being a young one back when, as digable planets
once said, the kids were rockin clocks. and those
leather africa medallions. remember those? well, i'm not
going to berate flavor flav, or vh1/mtv/bet/viacom for
giving him a platform for this nonsense. i'm just gonna
refer to the aformentioned "911 is a joke."
the video was pretty funny (sam jackson's overacting
at it's finest) but if you've ever been in a less than desirable
neighborhood, and had to call the police for some reason or
other, and waited for 2 hours for them to show up*,
you'll understand what i mean when i say that flav
used to actually talk about stuff. fear of a black planet, it
takes a nation of millions to hold us back, he used
to have something to say.

*"i called 911 a long time ago/ dont you see how slow they reactin?" my good friend works at a summer day camp at a church in bk. a child, no older than 7 years old, got some chemical in her eye, and needed emergency care. they called took 30 minutes for someone to arrive.

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Monday, August 14, 2006

everyone loves a black girl?

this weekend, some friends and i were talking about interracial dating, and one of them mentioned something she'd read before - some writer suggested that black women and asian men get together and do some serious coupling, since they are the ones generally left out of the interracial dating world.

and then today, i read this article on slate talking about how, apparently, bob dylan has always had a thing for black women. definitely something i'd never heard before. the article suggests a bit of the fetishism, but then many discussions about interracial dating do the same.

what's most interesting, i guess, is the very fact that it's article-worthy that bob dylan is attracted to black women. funny, funny world we live in-the us census bureau finally allows for people to identify as biracial or multiracial, supposedly indicating a sign of the times, and yet interracial couples are still something of an oddity.

case in point: that movie "something new." now, i haven't seen the movie. but it seems to me that, whenever there is an interracial couple in film/television/media, that film/show/whatever is about the interracial couple. if interracial couples are so common these days, why is it that a couple in a film never only happens to be interracial? when they made that movie hitch, they had to cast a latina as the leading lady because american audiences at large would not go to see a movie where a black man dates a white woman, and only black audiences would go see a movie that featured a black couple.

well, maybe they could have cast halle berry in that role. of course, she is the exception, not the rule-an unthreatening black woman. then again, perhaps they could not afford halle berry? i dunno.

as for the title of this post: it comes from an urban outfitters t-shirt. honestly, i really wouldn't know if everyone loves a black girl....

urban outfitters, despite making the t-shirt, doesn't even love black girls all that much. it was apart of that series, you know, everyone loves and italian girl, everyone loves an irish girl, everyone loves a jewish girl. notice how all of the other shirts reference specific affinity groups? and then we have: black girl. this is not quite the same, after all, urban outfitters did not manufacture a shirt that says everyone loves a white girl, and yet there's nothing that says everyone loves a jamaican girl, everyone loves a sengalese girl, everyone loves a yoruba girl, cuz black girls are treated like they belong to an entirely homogeneous group. and i will admit that black girls are beautiful as a group, but also incredibly diverse...this thing about the t-shirts is pretty tangential, i will admit, yet typical.

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Friday, August 11, 2006

deja vu? the video

so...yesterday while i was {not working} at work, and reading celebrity gossip instead, i came across an interesting bit on msn. apparently, some folks have started a petition against beyonce's "deja vu" video, asking that it be reshot because:

A) There is no clear story or theme to the video
B) The dancing is erratic, confusing and alarming at times
C) The sexual themes and shots between Ms. Knowles and Mr. Sean Carter PKA Jay-Z, are alarming and show unacceptable interactions between the two
D) The fashion in this video, while haute-couture, is unbelievable and ridiculous
E) The editing, while professionally done, causes one to get dizzy and disoriented
F) The overall feel of the video leaves a sense of much to be desired
G) The video is very disappointing and is not a clear representation of any of the songs themes

these reasons were taken directly from the petition. now, while some of the points resonated with me (i really wondered why beyonce's face spent so much time hovering around jay-z's belt area) i really couldn't believe the fact that the petitioners found the overall choreography to be "erratic, confusing and alarming at times."* so i decided to take a little stand against the position here.

the choreography of the video shows a very sophisticated knowledge of west african dance. for instance, didn't anybody else notice beyonce doing a bit of the ostrich dance in there? the ostrich dance is an all but legendary dance originally choreographed by all but legendary dancer/choreographer asadata dafora in 1932. i was really impressed when i saw that, because not only is the video entertainment, it took pains to situate itself in a purely artistic tradition and to honor those who came before. so yeah, i really did catch a little deja vu watching the video. so take that, haters.

and, come on, beyonce's couture looked fierce.

*i also happen to think that, in life, the comma series looks better, more considered, and more deliberate when the conjunction is directly preceded by a comma. so take that, petition writers.


blind translation poems

these are my translations/interpretations of a couple of portuguese poems (i don't know any portuguese, that's why the translation is blind)

The Residues

Oh, at the beginning,
when we loved slowly,
the residue fell
upon us:

to exist
substance of happiness
where autumn is lost
the flower’s light dies:

it invades in a scurry
or pulses drop by drop
code broken:

when they tongue their teeth
alone at night
the sound of music comes
without water

Sometimes Between

Sometimes between shelter and autumn
close to the essence,
the male hibernates,
the silence has also finished heating.

If he wakes and listens to the night,
and makes a quick trip upstairs,
bad news for me.

I never was that strong, she said.
Said he, I never gave birth to anything
that died so young.
Like dry turf.

It looks like snow.

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

difficulty with words

i am finding it difficult to take the word humankind seriously.

i am not a queen of pc. i really, honestly, just don't care to be pc. but humankind is supposed to be one of those pc words right? and really, i think it's beautiful because it implies humanity, which is supposed to be some sort of endearing and ephemeral and compelling quality that connects all folks, man and woman and child and of all races but really....

i read a lot. and when i read, i find that mankind has come up with all kinds of ways in which to hurt each other, to hurt mankindself. i'm saying mankind because man has demonstrated no humanity and woman has not deserved to be separated from the lot (sorry).

there's a war on between ethiopia and somalia. and very few people know about it cuz, well...maybe it's not sexy enough. won't sell enough papers. won't endanger the oil supplies, won't stop students from attending universities, won't stop diplomats from rhapsodizing on unity and lovely cultures. there's also, of course, a war on between lebanon and israel, though i honestly can't fathom why that one is sexy enough to sell newspapers when, in life, it's blood and gore. adn then...the usa is at war with everyone else it can think of save britain and canada. and why?

we have no sense of humanity, perhaps. we have no sense that other folks from other countries are also humans.

although, if one want's to get right down to it, mankind is a pretty awfully inept word as well, because man has lately been nothing kind...unless i'm missing something. and let's not get stated on civilization....

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7 years in tibet

i worked very late last night (got home at around cat was quite irritated at the lateness of her dinner).

so i was in the car, coming home from work, and i was talking to the driver, a very nice man from tibet. i'd asked him where he was from, and he said guess, so i guessed almost every country in asia until he finally, laughingly said he was from tibet. he said that he was a mountain man, and you could tell a tibetan by his ponytail. he did, in fact, have a very nice, longish ponytail. he'd been in new york nine years, and he drove very much like an nyc car driver. so i learned a few facts - tibet is roughly 12,000 feet above sea level. and that brad pitt movie seven years in tibet was actually filmed in argentina.

so, i know there isn't really much to this story, but then i thought, you never really know what all the person next to you has seen in the world, what he or she really knows about the world. and i'd never met anyone from tibet before, and i may never ever go to tibet, but even the things that seem most insignificant to my daily life...

(read: a continuing sovereignty conflict in a small mountain country may or may not have been the/a reason why a man left his home country and moved to another, became a driver, and picked me up and brought me home on a late night at work - yes, that conflict may or may not have put that man in charge of my safe conveyance home, that is, in charge of my life and limb)

...are really not all that insignificant. and what's funny is that sometimes if the news doesn't lead with a story that's happening in brooklyn, i don't even care to watch it.

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Monday, August 07, 2006

surreptitious post

i'm at work right now, so this one will be brief.

now reading: i bought helen oyeyemi's the icarus girl on saturday, and i just started reading it today. i'm only 10 pages into it so far, but it promises to be just as brilliant as all the reviewers say it is.

movie reviews: the squid and the whale - i just didn't get the point.
monsoon wedding - maybe i'm (actually) a sucker for a happy ending. loved the movie.

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Sunday, August 06, 2006

after the deluge

so, today i've decided to be an amateur art reviewer. yesterday, i went to the met to check out the next-to-last day of kara walker's after the deluge exhibition. her stated goal was to explore the horror of hurricane katrina using works from the museum's permanent collection and some of her own work.

upon walking into the exhibit space, i ran into some italian tourists talking - in italian - about hurricane katrina. if i'd ever had any doubts about the incredible scale of the tragedy of katrina, they were laid to rest when i heard these people from another country talking about katrina. granted, i couldn't understand much of what they said other than "katrina," but the fact that they were even talking about...the gulf coast may have been destroyed, but it was not a localized tragedy.

so i took my moleskine and a pen with me to take notes on the exhibition because i was trying to be inspired to write something. i saw that many ms. walker's own pieces in the exhibition were untitled. for some reason, this struck me as strangely powerful...and confident. a couple of years ago, maybe when i was sophomore in college, i had gone to a sunday poetry get-together at abiodun oyeowle's place, and when i told him that the poem i had brought to share with the group was untitled. he responded that my poem is like my child, and a parent that loves her/his child obviously must give her/his child a name. there is much truth to that, but when i saw the strength of ms. walker's work, and that she was confident enough in that strength to believe that the viewer would get the point even without a driving title...

i hoped to get to the place where the words of my poetry would speak for themselves, even without a title. throughout the exhibition, she had placed series of text cards - typewritten 3x5 cards - from her 2001 collection "american primitives." the very first one on display read:

Perhaps Now is the time to
away with
pictures of
trying to

i thought about this little poem for an extremely long time. i felt i had a grasp of what the first 10 lines were saying - the point of this exhibition was not to, say, celebrate human resiliency in the face of disaster. and in light of katrina, some people might have been tempted to mount such a display as a sort of morale boost for the country. after all, that is a big part of the reason why mardi gras went on as before in new orleans.

but the last 4 lines - before/trying to/destroy/them. destroy what? what does them refer to? we are already, presumably, in the act of doing away with these things which engage the pleasure centers, so what are we destroying. i'm still not sure i know. perhaps the them is something that is outside of the language of the poem. i'm still working on figuring it out.

as for the success in evoking a sense of horror - there were definitely pieces on display that evoked that sense of horror more than others. aside from works that displayed the destructive quality of water, there were some that i felt were placed there not because they were horrific, but because they were examples of 19th century cut paper silhouettes, the medium in which ms. walker does a lot of work. then again, there was also an illustrated copy of john warner barber's a history of the amistad captives, and a series of silhouettes by ms. walker depicting the middle passage (a face on a shore waving goodbye and smiling, a person being hurled across a body of water, arriving on a distant shore...) and then i took the entire exhibit to be about the ghost of slavery which haunts america to this day, kinda like the opposite of the bible book of revelation when it talks about the sea giving up its dead...

because it almost seemed, from seeing this exhibition, that the sea sent the hurricane to bring it more bodies.

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Saturday, August 05, 2006

today at the met

decided that it should be nice & cool inside a museum, so i'm going to the met to check out kara walker's exhibit "after the deluge," which is an installation in response to hurricane katrina. the exhibition closes tomorrow.{E4F51062-8A08-4593-8273-8807B8201F95}


Friday, August 04, 2006

frustration is...

...being a girl of my skin tone tryin to find a good foundation at sephora. literally, the color selection ranges from 18 shades of peachy to one shade of dark*...buying one of the peachy ones makes me look like i have a colorism complex, buying the dark one makes me look like i'm in blackface* and the stuff is just too expensive to buy 2 colors and mix them.

there are lotsa colors in between. thank you.

* except for dior. dior only makes 6 shades of peachy. no dark.

**back in the heyday of vaudeville, black people had to wear blackface to get into the minstrel show. i'm not tryin to recall that era with my makeup.

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

scenes of gentrification

the following incidents occurred within moments of each other, as i was walking home from the bus this evening. according to one nyc real estate developer, there are no more bad neighborhoods in new york, and the faces of those so-called formerly bad neighborhoods are changing, rapidly:

#1. a young, white man stands in the foyer of his building, holding the door open for his young, asian girlfriend, who is, with one hand, lifting up some bags that she'd presumably put down while waiting for him to open the door, and with the other hand, is pointing at a bunch of young, black kids playing in the spray of a recently opened fire hydrant across the street.

"see, see!" the young woman says to the young man.

#2. a middle-aged, short white lady walks her small dog up the stairs of the brownstone she lives in. a middle-aged, short black gentleman walks over to her and says,

"hey, did you just get finished walking your dog on my lawn." (no question mark, cuz it wasn't actually a question.)

"yes," she says.

"who's gonna clean it up?"

she hesitates. "she only tinkled..."

dunno how the conversation continues because after that i had walked beyond earshot.
and i was thoroughly bemused.



and i have no real cooling device. it is hot in nyc. so hot that my poor computer, which already has a tendency to overheat, just shuts itself down all the time cuz it's hot, too.

anyway, got 3 new movies from netflix:

monsoon wedding
bee season
the squid and the whale

that's it for now. the computer generates too much heat, so i'm gonna shut it down soon.