my brain is exploding

so much i’m thinking about y’all, and i have no concept of where to start, going into a space where i suppose less cell phone waves are in the air, and you have to go to the public library to get online, has provided enough space for some thoughts to occur. like:

– its the 60th anniversary of the japanese surrender all over minnsota public radio this weekend and we just listened to this radio show about the decision to bomb hiroshima and nagasaki. it was a 50 year old dramatized radio poem and i dare say a lot of it didn’t resonate with me but in the end it was a wish for peace too, from soldiers. i find every two years i have to go back and read hiroshima, and then meditate on my father’s entire military career which has been focused on holding it down in germany as was agreed at the end of world war ii, and now he is in japan. this and other stuff i didn’t know while i was a child and in the mix of it. germany was bratwurst and gummi bears. now i meditate on such a force of destruction as gas chambers and bombs called ‘little boy’ and ‘fat man’…now i know in person germans and japanese and white folk. i think on  whether peace is the natural exhale after such acts, such centralized acts of obliteration – 90,000; then 70,000 more…i think of those strapping silly young American boys, many of whom would have called my father a nigger, but they were just getting scraps of hair on their chins and chests when they became killers. forgiveness, japanese forgiveness, or jewish forgiveness, or black forgiveness always astounds me. and white forgiveness! self-forgiveness, poor forgiveness; all these iterations make me wonder how possible it is to forgive and live to tell about it.

but of course, i’m being naive again. war is the most romanticized version of death, cause this shit happens every day. just this past week i listened to two black men from very different circumstances explain the death threats they’d encountered, and one went on to give me a list of shootings that had left him without friends and family. he asked me how i would feel in the situation, if it was really a ride or die situation, cause he doesn’t doubt that i mean what i say, but he says he wonders if i know exactly what the things i say mean.

i know i’m not joking but…at my grandfather’s house this past week i picked up one of his many guns – he hunts still, shoots poisonous snakes and that new rat: deer. and with it heavy and undeniable and cold in my hand i wondered once again, just what are we all talking about, all these different people with different plans who are all striving for self-determination. perhaps its time for a rewind, time we should all learn to shoot and pray.

– on a whole other path of thought, i’ve become convinced i am channeling my grandmother elouise, my father’s mother who died when i was 9. i got this foot-in-yo-back urge to write the other day and all that comes out are stories i’ve heard of her, and i see her everywhere, and i think in my life that maybe i’ve been echoing her spirit in my choices of men, vice, love.

my grandfather said if i keep up this pace of travel i’d never marry. i laughed – hahaha, like i want to get married! i’m free as a bird! but then again, just the other day i was telling some friends about this man i would marry, tho he ain’t studyin me, and one friend said – no adrienne, he’d need a virtuous woman. Virtuous! i don’t know what that means, but i looked at my face in the reflection of a lake yesterday and i don’t think its been virtuous for a while.  my list of lovers is shockingly short, my list of kissed lips is adventurously long, still in my heart i’d rather live it (love) than wonder. i think that may have been elouise’s motto also…she never ran from love even when it trapped her in a bottle. can i choose which parts of the legacy to indulge though?

– not to mention, i woke up the other morning wondering about a woman, not that eligible man of virtue…this woman who is older and i am trying to play it off to myself but when i hear from her it makes me giggle like…chale why! i don’t know that i am cut out for all this you know. the idea of myself as someone who travels and is never tied down and never caught up and never turned out is one i cherish. i like having dinner in ny and dessert in the bay and breakfast in atlanta and just a little icy pop in vancouver or whatever. have y’all ever seen that episode of the office where the boss sings his song: free love on the free love highway! that resonated with me! AND YET – seriously my grandfather and my sister and several other messengers have gotten angelic light behind their heads while saying to me in one way or another – be satisfied! be humble! you cannot in fact have everyt’ing and expect life to be irie! lol…seriously though. i am at the point where i could go in any direction given the right invitation.

– also i just had to share this as someone who gets hiccups all the time, from my boy joshua gabriel:


Like all human beings, I am thoroughly displeased when I find myself trapped in the hiccup zone. I have heard of many techniques for stopping the hiccups – holding your breath, drinking a glass of water while holding your nose, breathing into a paper bag, etc. We’ve all heard these and I’m sure we can all agree that none of these techniques work in the least. But several months ago, whilst attending the college graduation party of my friend Dan (aka Deadly D), I was told a cure for the hiccups which seems to be full-proof.

When the party winded down,  the core group of us gathered round the kitchen table to – how shall i say this? – smoke marijuana. After much talking eventually the subject of the hiccups came up. Dan’s uncle (dang i forget his name) said he had learned how to stop the hiccups for good while working as a medic in the Army back in the olden days. He explained to us that you strike a match, toss it into a glass of water and IMMEDIATELY take a gulp (be careful not to swallow the match). Apparently the sulfur bursts some sort of air bubble in your diaphragm or something like that. Dan’s uncle calmly stated that this technique works every time. I was skeptical, but the next time i got the hiccups I tried it out, and it worked. Immediately. Not one more hiccup. Since that graduation party i have gotten the hiccups about 8 times and every time I have done the match trick and every time it has stopped the hiccups cold.

OK time to go jump in a lake…kisses and hugs and i miss everyone!

in minnesota

i miss you all

i can’t get to a computer but for one minute

i canoed today and am about to go jump in a lake

everyone is saying to me thru music and prayer that i can’t have everything, that i must humble myself to see what is meant for me.

i love the world from up above.

i’m tired and love my family.

my phone doesn’t work here – its an abyss, no modernity, no music….

i spent the night listening to a hood storyteller the other night

i’m channeling my generous alcoholic beautiful grandmother…

kisses! love love love


from hotlanta

Ok so I am on the road and how to even tell what is happening. Spinning and aspin…here’s a short list:

– conference was DOPE. Quote from one Pittsburgh organizer “that was the best weekend of my life in terms of being productive and having fun” – I got to talk to the people I love and respect the work of more than anyone in this country about how to stay healthy!

– I had perhaps the hottest make-out since high school! Actually…to be honest, it was just a special night cause the party was so intense and everyone was grinding and rolling all over each other and feeling both spiritually explosive and physically reclaimed – back in my body. Do y’all ever feel out of body, not in and into your body? Anyway, I came back into it and it feels good.

– I’m in ATL on my way to everywhere…

– I’m homesick but I love the road.

– I heard of harry potter porn. WHAT???!!!??? Yes y’all, you can not make some things up.

– I love Milwaukee boyz period. Haven’t met one yet that isn’t heaven on a stick.

– My sweetheart calls and writes and calls and writes. Like – is on point with the pursuit! I love this world of mine.

– one of my longest lasting intellectual crushes and I are finally making friends  go adjin, its yo’ birfday!

– Gotta run

Black August Film Festival

oh yes! i am seeing/writing love letters to this beautiful woman in the midwest and i am loving it! who knew – on so many levels.

my mom said the leg bruise needs aspirin, elevation and circulation! love having a nurse for a mama 🙂

i found out you can turn off the notifications for this blog in your settings and i won’t be hurt if you do!

now if you’re in ny check this out, looks really good:

P L E A S E     F O R W A R D    W

The Brecht

451 West St. (West Side
Hwy betw Bank & Bethune 1-1/2 blocks north of W. 11th)
NY, NY 10014
1,9,2,3 A,C to 14th st.
(212) 242- 4201


In this email:
August 2     All Power to the People! The
Black Panther Party and Beyond
August 3     Quiet Storm
August 6     A Panther in Africa 
(Discussion with Kathleen Cleaver)
August 11   Machetero
August 14   The Black and the Green   (Discussion
with Filmmaker St. Clair Bourne)
August 16   The Spook Who Sat By The Door
August 17   Ida B. Wells: A Passion for Justice
August 18   Fidel
August 21   Ashes and Embers  (Discussion with
Filmmaker Haile Germia)
August 23   Shorts: Red Eye, Isolated Incidents & The
Adventures of Super Nigger: Episode I, The Final Chapter
August 24   As An Act of Protest
August 30   Two Documentaries on Cuba: Eyes of the Rainbow &
Mission Against Terror
August 31   Sorry Ain’t Enough
Tuesday, August 2
7:30 pm
Black August Festival

All Power to the People!
The Black Panther Party and Beyond

Discussion to Follow Screening

A Powerful, moving and comprehensive documentary on the
resistance of Black Panther Party members against the relentless
attack upon it thru COINTEPRO FBI-led terror tactics. Opening with a
montage of four hundred years of race injustice in America, this
powerful documentary provides the historical context for the
establishment of the 60s civil rights movement. Rare clips of Martin
Luther King, Malcolm X, Fred Hampton and other activists transport one
back to those turbulent times.

Suggested donation: $6/$10/$15
Wednesday, August 3
7:30 pm
Black August Festival

Quiet Storm

Discussion to Follow Screening

A full-length action thriller, Quiet Storm is a controversial
drama centered around four men of African descent determined to set
imperialism’s plunder of Africa straight through acts of
"terror"…or Guerrilla tactics. You decide…. The film was
nominated for a Screen Nation Film Award in the category of
Independent Production/Film in England in September of 2004.

Suggested donation: $6/$10/$15
Saturday, August 6
7:30 pm
Black August Festival

A Panther in Africa

Discussion with Kathleen Cleaver

On October 30, 1969, Pete O’Neal, a young Black Panther in
Kansas City, Missouri, was arrested for transporting a gun across
state lines. One year later, O’Neal fled the charge, and for over 30
years, he has lived in Tanzania, one of the last American exiles from
an era when activists considered themselves at war with the U.S.
government. Today, this community organizer confronts very different
challenges and finds himself living between two worlds – America and
Africa, his radical past and his uncertain future.

Suggested donation: $6/$10/$15
Thursday, August 11
7:30 pm
Black August Festival


Discussion with Filmmaker Vagabond

A brand new revolutionary drama from a young Nuyorican. How do 21st
Century Urban Guerrillas come into being?

Suggested donation: $6/$10/$15
Sunday, August 14
4:00 pm
Black August Festival

The Black and the Green

Discussion with Filmmaker St. Clair Bourne

The Black and the Green is a film about human rights, social
change, the role of religion, specifically in the Irish conflict —
from the unique perspective of African-American observers. Set in
1986, the film describes a journey of discovery by five
African-Americans as they travel to Northern Ireland. Arriving at
Dublin and traveling to Belfast, the group attempts to find the truth
behind the headlines and seek out common elements in that situation
and the Black movement in the U.S..

Suggested donation: $6/$10/$15
Tuesday, August 16
7:30 pm
Black August Festival

The Spook Who Sat By The Door

Discussion to Follow Screening

Adapted from Sam Greenlee’s novel, The Spook Who Sat by the Door is
a cult classic that was named one of the most influential black films
of the 70s. Lead actor Larry Cook plays Dan Freeman, the first
CIA-recruit since the start of the agency. After an intense training
and a mind-strong career of five years, Freeman returns to the ghetto
where he grew up to plot a new American Revolution.

Suggested donation: $6/$10/$15
Wednesday, August 17
7:30 pm
Black August Festival

Ida B. Wells: A Passion for Justice

Discussion to Follow Screening

This multi-award-winning film documents the dramatic life and
turbulent times of the pioneering African American journalist,
activist, suffragist and anti-lynching crusader of the
post-Reconstruction period. Ida B. Wells (1863-1931) was considered
the equal of such well-known contemporary African American leaders as
Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois. Nobel Prize-winning author,
Toni Morrison reads selections from Wells’ memoirs and other

Suggested donation: $6/$10/$15
Thursday, August 18
7:30 pm
Black August Festival


Discussion to Follow Screening

Fidel Castro up close, personal and brilliant as ever–a unique
opportunity to view the man through exclusive interviews with Castro
himself. Alice Walker, Harry Belafonte, and Sydney Pollack discuss the
personality of the man. Former and current US government figures
including Arthur Schlesinger, Ramsey Clark, Wayne Smith, Congressman
Charles Rangel and a former CIA agent offer political and historical
perspectives on Castro and the long-standing US embargo against Cuba.
Family members and close friends, including Nobel Prize-winning author
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, offer a window into the personal life of
Fidel. We see him swimming with bodyguards, visiting his childhood
home and school, joking with Nelson Mandela, Ted Turner and Muhammad
Ali, meeting Elian Gonzalez, and celebrating his birthday with members
of the Buena Vista Social Club.

Suggested donation: $6/$10/$15
Sunday, August 21
4:00 pm
Black August Festival

Ashes and Embers

Discussion with Filmmaker Haile Germia

This award-winning film is the story of a Vietnam veteran who, nearly
a decade later, begins to come to terms with his role in the war and
his role as a black person in America. His transformation from an
embittered ex-soldier to a strong and confident man is provoked and
encouraged by the love and chastisement of his grandmother and

Suggested donation: $6/$10/$15

Tuesday, August 23

7:30 pm
Black August Festival

Selected Shorts:
Red Eye, Isolated Incidents & The Adventures of Super Nigger:
Episode I, The Final Chapter

Discussion to Follow Screening

This evening we will present a selection of strong and creative
short films–some drama, some comedy, some documentary–by young black
filmmakers. Films include:
Red Eye directed by Kevin Gordon. What goes through a person’s mind in
the blink of an eye? Could you let an assumption made in a split
second influence your judgment? Red Eye deals with several different
issues in our culture, including prejudice, xenophobia, in a silent
manner, yet is powerful enough to be felt with or without volume.
Isolated Incidents, directed by retired comedian Kahil Shkymba,
expresses the sentiment of the countless people across the country who
are affected by police abuse of power.
The Adventures of Super Nigger is directed by Alrick Brown. The title
of this film often catches people off guard, but it should be
understood that "Super N" is an allegory about the shooting
death of Amadou Diallo and the title fits into the larger context of
the film and the life of the filmmaker.

Suggested donation: $6/$10/$15
Wednesday, August 24
7:30 pm
Black August Festival

As An Act of Protest

Discussion to Follow Screening

This intense and visceral feature film is a clear ‘line in the
sand’ which demands the eradication of racism. The story follows Cairo
Medina, a young black actor and his journey to escape the
psychological torture of colonization by searching for ways to counter
the effects of racism and police brutality before they destroy

Suggested donation: $6/$10/$15
Tuesday, August 30
7:30 pm
Black August Festival

Cuba Alert: Two Documentaries:

Eyes of the Rainbow & Mission Against Terror

Discussion to Follow Screening

Eyes of the Rainbow (Dir: Gloria Rolando/47 min/color/1997)
documents the case of Assata Shakur, the Black Panther and Black
Liberation Army leader who escaped from prison and was given political
asylum in Cuba, where she has lived for more than 15 years. In it we
visit with Assata in Havana and she tells us about her history and her
life in Cuba. On May 2nd, 2005 the FBI and the New Jersey State
Troopers publicly announced a $1 million bounty for the capture of
Assata Shakur. For information on the Hands Off Assata Campaign, go to or contact:
Mission Against Terror (Dirs: Bernie Dwyer and Roberto Ruiz Rebo/48
min./2004) tells the story of the five Cubans who are currently
imprisoned in U.S. jails because they were working to expose
ultra-right terrorist groups in Miami and stop them from carrying out
violent actions against the people of Cuba.

Suggested donation: $6/$10/$15
Wednesday, August 31
7:30 pm
Black August Festival

Sorry Ain’t Enough

Discussion to Follow Screening

In this independent film by Mental Food Productions, three
lawyers are thrust into the forefront of a legal precedent-setting
case– the case in favor of slavery reparations. Against all odds, and
what many of their colleagues see as sound judgment, this legal team
takes apart the legacy of enslavement and its social ramifications.
With several twists and turns, even a little dissension within their
ranks, they come up with a case that is sure to inspire conversation
and invoke thought.

Suggested donation: $6/$10/$15

on the road

oh i had the best drive yesterday, from ny to pittsburgh. at a certain point it becomes breathless mountain scapes, framing valleys and rivers in a way that made me homesick for germany. i kept telling my passenger – see but there’d be a castle there!

it should have been 8 hours all things considered, but i know when to pick it up and lay it down so we did it in 6ish. twice, the cops creeped up beside us and pulled over the person right in front of us. its all about chillin in the cut.

but there’s little i love more than my bare foot on the pedal with nothing but road before me. celeste was in the passenger seat and we put in mariah carey’s number 1s and were witnessed by many shocked and innocent pennsylvania drivers singing ‘fantasy’ at the top of our lungs. AND ‘when you believe’ with whitney made us hunger for houston.

{side note: i am developing my whitney impression now based on watching ‘being bobby brown’; laughs abound} {side note to that side note, i am secretly really proud of my ability to do an impression.}

also finally gave a real proper listen to zap mama’s album ancestry in progress – we both LOVED it! really listening to an album in a car is probably the best way to judge its freshness.

pittsburgh is a beautiful city and the host committee here are all the sweetest most earnest folks. its going to be a good week.

in sad news, i was taking a shower late last night (that’s not the sad part! holiday inn has the nicest showerheads, ya heard?) and i was deliriously tired, seeing flashing lights, etc. and i go to wash my right leg and there is a massive fist sized bruise on the back of my knee. its black around the edges and bright red in the middle and terrifying to behold. and it hurts a little bit.

i swept through my mind – when could this have happened? i fell down really quite dramatically in ft. green park the other night, but in case you ain’t know i fall down a lot. but not on that part of my body! so i have no idea where it came from. like any good hypochondriac i went to web md and it basically said i was either just clumsy or dying of a horrific blood clotting complication.

i asked hallie to come look at it and she confirmed it looks horrific, and called her twin jenny, who had a book designed for folks with no access to a dr, who said to elevate it, ice it, heat it, and wait a few days. dare i go to the sauna and offend people with this sight? sigh – everybody pray!

now i have to go do the wonderful work i am paid for and make copies for this conference – oh but quickly, my muse has surfaced and left me a testimonial 🙂 hello darling esila!

and for those keeping tabs on the presence of my mother on this blog, she read it again and had quite a lot to say, including the words: "penguins" "space invaders" and "are you blushing yet?"

we are even closer now. her name is jane, and jane rocks.

i was unable

y’all it just never gets any less good. gooder. badder. whateva

i had breakfast with my girl this morning, and when her job called to see when she was coming she said – "i was going to be there at 9:30, but i was unable." and that was it.

thats how i feel in life right now – i was gonna be good, but i was unable.

but i have done all i WAS able to do…indeed, check my frighteningly accurate horoscope:

When planets line up in your 12th house of secrets and the unknown, no one
is comfortable, least of all you. Virgo, more than anyone else on the
planet, needs to know the lay of the land before you’ll feel
comfortable taking action. Well, you’re in limbo land right now, with
your fate in the hands of others, awaiting the outcome on pins and
needles. Breathe. Be still. Practice meditation. Go out into nature and
become One with it. There’s nothing you can do now anyway. The time for
doing was back then, when you were preparing for this moment. You’ve
done what you can do. The moment will be here before you know it. When
you think of nothing else, it seems as though time is standing still.
One thing’s for sure: Your future sure looks bright.

how is one supposed to meditate with this schedule of mine?? listen, the weekend in a nutshell:

– on friday i spent a long time thinking about the fact that people don’t improve on a political level or even a behavioral level. it happens in the heart and the super structure. as i think further on this i will share…
– i took the peerless shane to dinner to celebrate his birth. he is really unprecedented, specially when he decides to break off the truth for you. we acknowledged that though it took a while to get there, we really had love at first sight some 9 years ago on the steps of columbia when we met as freshmen and he said he was a third year med student and i believed him. liar. but marvelous!
– between two people i adore, love was confessed, professed, love songs came to light.
– someone who i love more than chocolate (whose love is better than ice cream and more valuable to me) and thought wouldn’t look at me not only looked but smiled at me and it made me know that things will somehow be ok.
– people took off they panties in the street
– scarface played with all the cursewords under the stars – for all the alkies in the house: ‘your womb is pollooooooded!"
– and did you know habana outpost is solar powered? i am at the zenith of my social pleasure in a location…we spent the whole weekend basically sitting there eating ice cream and watching people look amazing. i would go home and work, then come back. i’ve never had this experience before actually – a solid community, neighbors, regulars, the whole thing. its amazing. my army brat heart is so surprised and pleased by it.
– vancouver was in the house in the form of my girl sarah who i was so happy to see that i gave her a kangol! hurray for canada, y’all
– we invited ryan gosling for fried chicken and jen hugged all over him. i think we have rectified the massive error of our collective ways vis a vis the last 20 minutes of his film which we shouldn’t have ever mentioned to him.
– we stared at jeffrey wright and folks tried to make me the sacrificial lamb to make a fool in front of him and i said hell no. he biked off on a bike with a baby holder on the back and we became jeffrey shaped puddles on the cement!!! but just before that sofia went over and said to him "thank you for belize" and bowed. and what do we give her? two snaps up!
– a certain crush was confirmed as being a two way street. its between the two most beautiful people ever so its truly a joy to watch them both tortured through the pleasure of it all
– i thought of this beautiful person i am getting to know who keeps literally going in my head and pulling my card and reading it to me by whispering it in my ear and laughing. meet me in the middle my sweet.

and then this morning that same person called me. and i wrote a letter that was honest and felt good that at least i am honest. and i think that may be it for today y’all…