Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Race Factor

As always, racism flourishes even in the midst of tragedy. Check out these two parallel photos and accompanying captions about the horrible hurricane aftermath in New Orleans.

Black folks (still at the bottom of the proverbial racial totem pole/hierarchy) be gettin' the short end of the stick. Always. We got lots of work to do, folks.

In Struggle,

Friday, August 26, 2005

He's Forgotten How to Tell the Truth

Anti-war protesters keep insisting that our government and our 'president' tell the truth about the war in Iraq. But I don't think Bush knows how to tell the truth anymore. His approval ratings continue to spiral downwards in the polls, yet our President-Select continues to try to tell us that he 'understands' all about what it feels like to send a loved one off to war. This from a draft-dodging Daddy's and Mama's boy whose own two daughters are sitting comfortably in their palatial home not risking a single hair on their heads for their country's safety or for so-called 'democracy'. Democracy Now gives their take on Bush's refusal to pull out our troops from Iraq.

In other news, at least 20 people have been massacred in Haiti, the first free Black nation in the West. And another jailed and tortured priest from the Lavalas party, Father Gerard Jean-Juste, is contemplating running for the presidency.

Hm, a leftie Afro-Haitian Catholic priest / political prisoner v. a spoiled white rich kid from Texas who's probably never done a lick of real work in his life? I think I'd take Jean-Juste.

In Struggle,

Monday, August 22, 2005

More Than Rumblings

I'm off for a mini-camping trip with some youth from my organization today, but I had a bit of time to check out the Democracy Now web site. I have to say I am ecstatic at the happenings at Camp Casey/Crawford, Bush's Texas ranch. I know that a lot of radical lefties probably dismiss Cindy Sheehan's protest as 'liberal' or 'not enough', I hear more than just the rumblings of an anti-war movement in the news of this ongoing act of civil disobedience, and I say it's about time.

Some highlights of the new protest:

"War is not the answer. Only love can conquer hate. If Bush is right, then Marvin [Gaye] was wrong. If Bush is right, then Mohandas Gandhi was wrong. If Bush is right, Henry David Thoreau was wrong. If Bush is right, Martin Luther King Jr. was wrong. If Bush is right, Jesus of Nazareth was wrong."--Reverend Johnson at Camp Casey

"We want [Bush] to act like an executive officer that he is supposed to be. He represents the whole of the United States. He represents all of those troops that are laying their life down for this country and die for what they thought was the good cause. I think it's just -- I think it's just a moral -- a moral sin against them to have them fighting a war and not know exactly what they're fighting for, because you lied to them."--Andrea Hackett, mother of soldier killed in Iraq

I also have to say that, no matter how much it pains me to admit it, this act of protest would not have been half as effective if some random lefties went out there and lit a candle for the fallen soldiers in Iraq. Only a mass-scale movement of everyday ordinary folks whose lives have been devastatingly impacted by this unjust war have the moral credibility to make this happen. Punto.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Jazz and Blues

Just got back from the San Jose Jazz Festival, which is the biggest free jazz festival in the world. Hung out at the salsa stage and saw/heard Cubanacan, Quimbombo and Candela. They were all pretty good, but I think I liked Quimbombo's funky, eclectic style best. It's not for everyone--they threw in some hip-hop R&B vocals, some rapping, some jazz on one bridge, and other stuff into the salsa mix, but I kinda liked that. Like a rougher, more fragmented Los Van Van sound. I like it when folks try new stuff. Oh, and the lead singer was kinda cute. ;-) The conga player for Candela was off the hook though, and did a lil' solo right before we left that was pretty fierce.

It was good to dance again, especially after seeing Rize last night and getting all crunk about Krump (see, I know the difference!). I even threw in a little Krump action (or at least I tried to) during a merengue song, since that's about the most Krump you can get in terms of music at a jazz festival, methinks.

In other news, I'm saddened to hear about the Greek airliner that crashed, killing 121 people. I know that flying is still supposed to be the safest way to travel, but whenever there are airline catastrophes they just seem so big. Tragedies like this put things into perspective: enjoy life while you can, be thankful of your blessings, I say.


Rize v. Dance 360

Happened to see Dance 360 late last night as we were flipping channels, and then happened to go see Rize at the Parkway in Oakland tonite.

If you don't already know, Dance 360 is a daily half hour dance competition show where a few amateur dancers get to battle it out in front of a big circle of folks (360, get it?), with a live DJ in the background doing special scratches when it's time for them to go solo or 'head to head'. The crowd does an annoying chant each time the contestants have to switch up, and I have to say that, despite their obvious love of dancing, the competitors were just so-so dancers.

Now, if you really want to see some dancing--some real fire and virtuosity and movement innovation--I highly recommend going to see Rize. It's a documentary about some young (and not so young) Black folk in South Central LA who are part of the crazy hip-hop 'Clowning' and 'Krumping' dance phenomenon that is apparently all the rage. This stuff goes way beyond breakdancing and makes Brittney Spears look like a blonde smurf.

These fierce, committed dancers paint their faces, perform at kids' birthday parties, and battle each other in 'Krump sessions' and huge annual 'Battle Zones' (the latter actually held at the Great Western Forum--yes, the one that the Lakers play at), which give them a high-profile outlet for their creative urges, everyday anger and frustration at the oppression of their communities, and basically throw down some amazing moves. There are even some little kids who get in the mix: don't miss 'Little Mama' who gets down in more than one scene with some insane hip-poppin' moves that made my eyes go wide with half-wonder / half-confusion that someone so little can move so big.

So turn off UPN and forget that wanna-be, lukewarm shit that is Dance 360, and head down to your local movie theater to see Rize. It's the real thing.


Monday, August 01, 2005

Finished Dune

And damn, that was a helluva ride. I have to admit I'm a little embarassed that, as an aspiring sci-fi novelist, I'd never read Dune until now. Never seen the movie either. Now I see why they call it 'the supreme sci-fi masterpiece' on the cover. Some amazing shit for someone in the mid-1960s to write. And it's interesting how many 'deja vu's' I experienced reading the book, how many scenes were so similar to stuff from Star Wars, the Matrix, etc. I wonder how much influence Frank Herbert had on George Lucas, the Wachowski brothers, and others. I'm getting a lot of ideas/inspiration/lessons for my novel.

Now I get to watch the movie finally (had to read the book first!).

Ironically, I'm heading off for the desert of New Mexico tomorrow for work. Not quite Arrakis, but I'm sure there'll be lots of sand.