Monthly Archive for May, 2005

star wars

so its all unveiled. i went to see star wars and its all unveiled. empire is bad, with us or against us is a simple dynamic, and waiting makes everything better. sometimes you have to close your logic and feel your way, but doing crazy shit for love may just leave you with artificial limbs and all crispy. yoda is still the coolest thing ever, and the force is what’s up. go on and see it.

also, its dance africa at BAM this weekend. basquiat’s still up at BMA. brooklyn is still the best place on earth.

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The Blackademics

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Remembering Marc Lappe

please visit the link below and read about the
late Dr. Marc Lappe the father of my friend Anna–who just passed
away.
 

things u should know

- i say updated daily, but by daily i mean whatever days i feel like it so please stop asking me that
- yes that is me giggling on my voice mail, same person
- when i say lyrics of the week or something, please OVERstand that there are no regular features in this blog and don’t come to expect that
- yesterday i was getting on a train and this tall black dude in a suit was getting off and he was like damn and staring at my left hip like it was carved by michaelangelo and he got off and just stood there dumbfounded until the train pulled away. i smiled, half ashamed for him, half merciful, but mostly glad someone appreciated the outfit which included parachute pants and refound boots! today i went into ihop for a meeting and THE SAME DUDE came up in normal clothes looking tall and told me where and when he’d seen me and gave me the number. it was precious. will i call him? no – anyone who’s been following the lyric posts knows adrienne is in a complicated affair of the heart already. still – keith, wherever you at, you made my day. in general there needs to be more genuine moments of being dumbfounded by the existence of others.
- today i was im’ing two people at the same time – one was lamenting her woeful lack of direction; and the other was going on about how much she ADORES and ADMIRES the lamenter. i matchmade, confidence ensued.
- i am shooting the pilot for a youth debate tv show. tv is bizarre. i hope this will provide a space for nuanced progressive conversation – i hope it ever gets seen.

that’s all for today. do this:

> PLEASE TAKE 60 SECONDS TO SIGN OUR NEW ONLINE PETITION to Governor  
> Schwarzenegger urging him to close the youth prisons of the California 
> Youth Authority (CYA).
>
> http://BooksNotBars.org/petition


in the rain

saturday afternoon i needed to be cleansed. lately my goods and bads have been a bit extreme. everyone’s coming at me and going from me and i have no say, not in the plan…i’m on top of my own plan, that lonely efficiency. the family was in town, i adore my family, i need them – for the first time in a long time it felt like 5 people all moving in 5 directions the entire time. the common denominator was to complain about this city of mine, looking past all the places i loved at the end of my pointing fingers. plus work was intense, lots of visitors also somewhat befuddled by these streets and rivers of mine. my favorite ny mysteries suddenly seemed vulgar in show and tell.
and so many of the people i love are leaving the city in a mad dash, i hear secondhand, after the decision is made and the movement has started, tossed over the shoulder – ‘i’m leaving’. i hear doubtful voices of far off loved ones, ‘maybe i will return, but not willingly’. so saturday afternoon i needed to remember why, when everyone’s leaving, i still love this home i’ve chosen, and i came out of the subway to go to an official board dinner and i looked up into a thunderstorm sky, yellow clouds and purple backdrops, the sun off to the left not absent, but to the right near blackness. the wind was lifting up everyone’s cool, grown men and pregnant women could be witnessed elbowing each other for space under awnings as the first drops fell down. i thought i could make it. i stopped for a moment under an awning with an older white couple who argued about catching a cab. i thought ‘what are you so scared of?’, took off my sandals and glasses and walked out into it right when the rain really started to hit the ground. i stepped into the road rivers and landlocked lakes and let the water create a true second skin of all my layered clothes and i slowed down. couldn’t see anything really but the rain, the lights, people huddling away from it. i thanked god for my limited vision and the water and the moment where the city can remember the land underneath it which used to arch into green for such a rain. in new york you can still be shameless, illicit some innocent shock, catch yourself off-guard and pay the consequences. i shivered all night in the restaurant, but i felt fearless. so i am a fool sometimes. fault me. my life is all available to me. i push it away, but then i pull it close just for the scent. so messy, so unfulfilling. life’s constant product is perfect desire. 

_

lyrics for the week:

Tides that I tried to swim against

Brought me down upon my knees

- clocks, coldplay

I keep thinking in a moment that
Time will take them away
- sideways, citizen cope

I level with death even beneath radar
I level with death and she got pretty eyes
Nobody told me death was so damn fine
I go to sleep with that girl on my mind
Wake up in a sea, I wanna fire in line
Grab my heat, then it’s get down time
One day I’ma make that girl all mine
But for now I’m a soldier abidin’ my time
Writin’ my rhyme behind enemy lines
- war, mos def

maybe its the full moon. my friend writes horoscopes at: http://www.itsalllove.com/starry_eyed/starry_eyed.html

charlie chaplin speech i love

This speech, I saw it a few years ago, and its always blown me away that Charlie Chaplin write this in 1937 before the world was fully aware of the power the Nazi regime was building, and that in Hollywood of 1940 this film with this speech in and a full out parody of Hitler (Chaplin plays a Hitler-esque dictator and a Jewish barber who looks just like the dictator and gets mistaken for him)…

Final Speech of "The Great Dictator" (also known as "Look Up, Hannah") by Charlie Chaplin

Schulz: Speak – it is our only hope.

The Jewish Barber (Charlie Chaplin’s character): Hope…
I’m sorry but I don’t want to be an Emperor – that’s not my business –
I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone
if possible, Jew, gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one
another, human beings are like that.

We all want to live
by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to
hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone
and the earth is rich and can provide for everyone.

The way of life can be free and beautiful.

But we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men’s souls – has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed.

We
have developed speed but we have shut ourselves in: machinery that
gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical,
our cleverness hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little:
More than machinery we need humanity; More than cleverness we need
kindness and gentleness.
Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.

The
aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very
nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men, cries out
for universal brotherhood for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is
reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men,
women and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture
and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me I say "Do not
despair".

The misery that is now upon us is but the
passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human
progress: the hate of men will pass and dictators die and the power
they took from the people, will return to the people and so long as men
die [now] liberty will never perish…

Soldiers – don’t
give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you and enslave you – who
regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to
feel, who drill you, diet you, treat you as cattle, as cannon fodder.

Don’t
give yourselves to these unnatural men, machine men, with machine minds
and machine hearts. You are not machines. You are not cattle. You are
men. You have the love of humanity in your hearts. You don’t hate –
only the unloved hate. Only the unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers –
don’t fight for slavery, fight for liberty.

In the
seventeenth chapter of Saint Luke it is written " the kingdom of God is
within man " – not one man, nor a group of men – but in all men – in
you, the people.

You the people have the power, the power
to create machines, the power to create happiness. You the people have
the power to make life free and beautiful, to make this life a
wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy let’s use that power
– let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that
will give men a chance to work, that will give you the future and old
age and security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to
power, but they lie. They do not fulfil their promise, they never will.
Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people. Now let us fight
to fulfil that promise. Let us fight to free the world, to do away with
national barriers, do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let
us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will
lead to all men’s happiness.

Soldiers – in the name of democracy, let us all unite!

Look
up! Look up! The clouds are lifting – the sun is breaking through. We
are coming out of the darkness into the light. We are coming into a new
world. A kind new world where men will rise above their hate and
brutality.

The soul of man has been given wings – and at
last he is beginning to fly. He is flying into the rainbow – into the
light of hope – into the future, that glorious future that belongs to
you, to me and to all of us. Look up. Look up."

tony kushner to graduates

my friend janine sent this for my baby sister's graduation message and 
i read it and wanted to share it. i had lunch with a lovely family today
that included a brilliant 2 yr old who sucked me into his little world. i
had breakfast with davey d - not 2, but brilliant and also with a world to
go into. my family is in their world right now, preparing for the end of
their childrens' college days. my only duty is to smile.

tony kushner says:

"This May I sense hope in the air, and urgency, and as has so often been
the recent case, terrible danger, and so the urgent need of the world is
about to snatch you, ready or not, from this most beautiful brick and
stony womb and begin its demanding: HELP! HELP! HELP! The world is
melting, the world is darkening, there is injustice everywhere, there is
artificial scarcity everywhere, there is desperate human need, poverty
and untreated illness and exploitation everywhere, there is ignorance
everywhere, not native to the species but cruelly enforced, there is
joylessness and hatred of the body and slavery masked as freedom and
community disintegrating, everywhere, racism, everywhere, sexism,
everywhere, homophobia, everywhere, everywhere the world is in need of
repair. Fix it, solve these things, you need only the tools you have
learned here, even if you didn't pay as much attention as you should,
even if you're a mess and broke and facing a future of economic terror -
who isn't, who doesn't? HELP! HELP! HELP! The world is calling, heal the
world and in the process heal yourself, find the human in yourself by
finding the citizen, the activist, the hero. Down with the boodle-minded
misadventurers, after them, you know where they are, I figured this
speech should be nonpartisan in case there are any, you know,
Republicans in the audience but even if you are Republican, after them,
down with the boodle-minded misadventurers, up with the Republic. Duty
calls, the world calls, get active! No summer vacation, no rest for you,
we have been waiting too long for you, we need your contribution too
desperately, and if they tell you your contribution is meaningless, if
they tell you the fix is in and there's no contribution to be made, if
they tell you to contribute by shopping your credit card into
exhaustion, if they tell you to surrender the brilliant, dazzling
confusion your education should have engendered in you, to exchange that
quicksilver polyphony for dull monotone certainties, productive only of
aggression borne of boredom and violence borne of fear borne of
stupidity, they're lying, don't trust them, get rid of them, you know
who they are and where they are to be found and they'll all be happier
back on the ranch in Crawfordsville."
       
--Tony Kushner, Columbia College Class Day, 2004

found poem 2

from a may 2001 national geographic story about jaguars on mexico’s yucatan peninsula:

‘i would like to be the jaguar of your mountains
and take you to my dark cave
open your chest there
and see if you have a heart’

and a song called ‘shelter’ by ray lamontagne:

‘left you heartbroken, but not until those very words were spoken

Has anybody ever made such a fool out of you’

so, this is the found poem in response to a visit from my parents and all that surrounded it (a reminder that for all my lessons sometimes i just can’t believe). i heard the song at dinner, and found the magazine in my hallway in a pile about to be recycled:

you must be the jaguar
coming here so many years, to this dark place
where you open me up
gazing, you ask me to say it again
yes, yes i’m still a fool

or my mountains
you have been standing by for years
i see your hot tears
but even lava could not hurt me
i remain, amazingly, still not perfect

or perhaps my cave
that black place i go to because i cannot lie
where when i speak of love
i mean it unconditionally
you should see the night from here

but i’d have sworn you were my heart
i’ve watched that foolish rhythm smiling
don’t ask me to dance
i still wonder if you are real at all
or a myth to make me less a danger to myself

you, the shelter no one knows i’ve been running to
you, the song i keep singing to myself
this is the world i made
with the gifts you gave me
this is the world i always wanted

my church

sanctuary: central park, aids walk

just got home from the aids walk, which is still my favorite event in the world. its the best gathering of people ever. fabulosity and dogs and babies and folks wearing their in remembrance of shirts and cheerleaders and people singing and hobbling and sashaying and its just the best convergence, i get those humanity-and-god-up-my-spine chills the whole time. each time i have more people to walk for, but remarkably – and perhaps foolishly – each time i feel more human, like i’ve seen more perseverance and innovation. amidst the constant loss there is more life than ever. this time i walked with jenn, piper, naina and shane. it was thick today, the air was literally heavy on us and the sky was holding a storm in her skirt but she let us just make it all the way through and spend a minute on the grass. seeing all those people turn out with the threat of thunderstorms, all the kids, all the families. i never regret waking up for this walk.

hymn – listen to citizen cope ‘my way home':

Sometimes I miss a step
I stumble here and there
I’m findin’ my way home
If I’m lost then I’ll admit
Sometimes i plain forget
I’m findin’ my way home
You can try and stand in my way
You can say what you’re gonna say
But I’m finding my way home

and then go to confession:

http://postsecret.blogspot.com/

hallelujah. amen.

why bother?

written in response to a friend who was asking about the point of integrity if the human race is on a downward spiral:

wow.
this is a lot. i’ve been thinking about this stuff a lot too, and i think when you come to town and we have our date i would love to focus on this, for real. but my short, quick answer is kind of what i wrote in the stop the next war book, which is that two things need to happen. first is that we can’t really survive more of the wishy washy stuff, people need to really develop a revolutionary analysis and those of us who have started on one need to pass it along WITHOUT JUDGEMENT. and the second thing is that we have to WAKE UP with the analysis and find the BEST working strategies, not the same old shit, not the left version of right shit, but the best of all of our times, the best innovations. we have to really work in strategy, not in ideology…and we have to work with real people, not just agree in our academic/activist/artist circles. i think that people who become too deeply mired in only observing and theorizing on humanity in hopes that UNDERSTANDING will change it…they become less real, have a less real human experience. but then again i have been working hard on developing my faith in a power – or i think consciousness is the better word for it – higher and more developed and comprehensive than my own. it allows me to feel i can ask questions that i am not responsible for answering. to have hope when there is no reason. to look for a way when i can see none – and so far the way gets uncovered, the hope fills me up, the constant answer comes back (all is known, all is unknown – these are the constant conclusions of my heart when its open).

all that said, in response to your question as i hear it (‘what good is my good doing?’), one of my most encouraging quotes to return to, and i am paraphrasing, is from octavio paz’s speech when he won the nobel prize, which is this: given what we know of time and human development (that there is a past, present, future – that we look back to some set of people as being in the middle ages) then aren’t we some future generation’s middle/dark age. i think at first that isn’t a heartening quote, but i’ll tell you how it works out in my head – while we are fumbling and feeling earnestly modern, we also grasp at least on a subconscious level the temporary-ness of our times by looking at the arc of our own short histories and how different we are, how differently we see things from when we were ‘young’, teen-agers, and so on. movementwise, in our century alone we can see massive peaks and flaws in how we mobilized, educated and organized populations for change. as far as i can understand it looking back, at almost every point in history it has APPEARED that the whole human experiment was a massive moral failure. and yet the flow and impact of integrity builds – we celebrate integrity, we fashion our created heros out of visions of a moral high ground that holds a reverence for humanity and the planet highest. without necessarily understand why, people still strive for what they feel is good. the issue is perhaps that the standards for good are so varied, come from so many sources – parents, god, teachers, your children, shame…i find that the more media i hear the more hopeless i feel, but the more people i interact with the more i am sure that we are not only preserving but honing the human spirit, even in this period of apparent low.

last of all, and this may sound zen or silly or i don’t know but it does help me…whenever i start to feel as if the work i am doing is pointless or in the wrong direction, i reflect on my necessary insignificance, and i laugh. every ‘hero’ i’ve ever had fell apart upon close inspection. up close its so messy, no matter what your human aim is. wisdom is flighty, few people are remembered, your work is really only important insomuch as you are freeing masses of people from bondage – of mind, body, spirit. and once i swallow my smallness, i examine what i am doing – make sure its the absolute best and most i can do and that it is towards the end of freeing people to seize their own meaning in life – and i get back to work.