Before you speak, ask yourself, is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve on the silence? -Sathya Sai Baba

Friday, September 30, 2005

Tonight's Rilly Big Shew

Last minute, I know, but I hope some of you can make it. This promises to be a fun show. I'll be doing some of my poetry with the louderARTS crew, and you know those poets are ridiculously good. Plus, the NY Percussion Quartet! Details below.
FRIDAY, 9/30/05
7-11pm $10 ($6 students)
Dagmar, New York Percussion Quartet, Johnny Divine, and LouderARTS

7 pm sharp: JOHNNY DIVINE -- post-alt rock straight from Philly, hold the demure

8-ish: THE NEW YORK PERCUSSION QUARTET -- powerful, spectacularly intricate tuned and untuned percussion like you've never heard before by four of this planet's greatest percussionists

9-ish: louderARTS ( a dozen+ performance poets slammin' away with film, art, humor, music, DJ and fire.

10:00-ish (maybe earlier, but not a minute later):
DAGMAR -- A new theatricalized music experiment by composer Jim Bauer. A surreal story cycles through the mountain-to-valley music arrangements about a guy who can't get out of bed in the morning and an insect goddess who plunges through the ether to save him. Lucky for our hero in hiding, Dagmar is up for just about anything, as long as it has more than four legs.

70 North 6th Street
between Kent and Wythe
Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY 11211
718 782-5188

From Manhattan by Subway- Take the L to Bedford Ave. (1st stop in Brooklyn), exit on N. 7th and walk down one block to N. 6th, take a right and walk 2 1/2 blocks over. We're between Wythe and Kent on the left side. Or Take the JMZ to Marcy Ave. Walk two blocks west on Broadway to Bedford Ave. Catch the B61 bus and take it to N7 (approximately 5 minute ride).

Thursday, September 22, 2005

As the kids say, werd....

The party is here - folks. Yet another reason to get crazy on a Friday night with {audio genic}, the Warren Commission, all the sexy people we know, and YOU! This is the party avatar of the infamous synonymUS Band, improvising sickness over dope-ass beats provided by wonderful DJ's. Not to mention a beatboxer named Kid Lucky, a wood-synth player named Onyx, free food from 6-8 and a lot of craziness. Come out, make it happen. I'll be the tall guy with the sax in my hand.

Quote of the Day

From one of my current favorite maniacs:

"I believe reality is a marvelous joke staged for my edification and amusement, and everybody is working very hard to make me happy."

- Terrence McKenna

So far, you guys are doing a great job. Keep up the good work!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Hot buttons

Originally meant to be posted 9/16/05. I'll post why this past weekend was so crazy later after I've had a chance to process.

When I find myself talking out loud to no one in particular about a particular issue, I usually know it’s time to post.

Last night at the Urbana Slam, Eliel came up to me before the second round and suggested I do “The Poem.”

I thought he meant “The Journal”, which was the most confessional thing I’d done for the Bar13 crowd (discussing my erstwhile descent (almost) into male prostitution, drugs, and abject, pathetic loneliness, and what happened when a girlfriend found out all the sordid details), and which was sort of a watershed for me in terms of performance. “No,” he said, “The POEM. The White Man Poem.”

Ohhh, THAT poem. The POEM. The scare the crap out of myself poem. I wrote this poem in response to Roger Bonair-Agard’s “Song for Trent Lott” in which he writes about the strength that has come to Black people from being systematically enslaved, tortured, experimented on, etc. The entire history of the relationship between White folk and Black, basically, with a bit of “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, and you do not want to fuck with what you made,” thrown in for good measure.

I’ve thought a lot about that poem since I first heard it. It’s very moving, very intense and exciting. One of the reactions I had as a white person was particularly interesting for me: I found myself perversely proud of the history of rape, genocide, and world domination white people have forged for themselves. I was, in my heart-of-hearts, a little admiring of the bat-shit crazy white folk who bent technology and the world to their will in the pursuit of power, much in the same way that one reads with morbid fascination of a serial killer or watches a slasher film, secretly rooting for the guy in the mask as he impassively slaughters his way through an unmemorable gaggle of pretty vacant teenagers.

This was, to say the least, a disturbing thing to know about myself.

In an effort to understand myself (or possibly just to put my fascist sympathies back in the closet where they would no longer shame me), I came to the conclusion that what I was admiring of was, in fact, a more wide-spread trait: the Will to Power. The desire to dominate, to destroy the “other”, to impose ones will upon the world. I admired this trait because it resonated with a trait that all people had to a greater or lesser degree, and which I had, up to this point, not acknowledged in myself.

So I wrote a poem, first claiming and owning those traits every slam poet and race polemicist since the post-colonialism came into being had attributed to White People, and then pointing up as many instances as I could of the root issue (the Will to Power) manifesting in other races, preferably against their own kind. The idea being that every person has this tendency in them somewhat, and White people just happened to have been better at expressing it during a certain point in recent history, but that if you took a longer and broader view, you would find that that violence and that desire to dominate were universal human characteristics that didn’t pertain to race.

I scared myself. Like when you cut yourself to watch the blood well up – that kind of scary. So, to debut this little gem, I decided to read it at GrooveNation – a series at Bar13 “celebrating poets and poems of the African diaspora.” Just to make it a little bit scarier.

It was fine, of course. I puss-ed out a bit at the beginning by saying that the piece was a persona, which is true, but only sort of. Truthfully, I know that I’m fairly safe at 13, and that it was the right way to do it. The point was fairly well made, but I think it needs editing. Anyway, you can find the poem here.

Do let me know what you think.

I didn’t do it at Urbana, mostly because it’s too long to slam with right now, and I didn’t have it with me or memorized.

I’ll write more about my desire to push myself by putting myself in difficult performance positions later.

Friday, September 2, 2005

Escape from NY - New England's Dreaming

So, in spite of all economic indicators and news sources, we rented a car and drove to NH for a few days of relaxation and business. The folks at Hertz have a deal where you can either fill the gas tank up before you return it, or have them do it at a fee of $x per gallon. Normally, the fee is quite exorbitant, but when they told Steph the price right now (a little less than $3.00/gal, probably a policy that has yet to change from when gas was under $2.00 per) she immediately said "Hells, yes!" I have no doubt, given the recent and continuing unpleasantness in the gulf, that we'll be looking at a substantial savings from the $4.00 or more per gallon that's coming in the next few days.

Since I'm working the publishing thing, I'm writing a lot of the trip off - I went to the NH Secretary of State office and officially incorporated Friendlyfire Press, LLC! We're in business, son! If you're just visiting and I haven't already harrassed you about it and you haven't already, check out the website. The link is just off to the right on the little sidebar thingy. Check it out and buy a book!

I've been keeping up with the news of the rapidly developing horrorshow that is New Orleans through the traditional news sources, and through this fellow's livejournal. He's a tech guy in NO who's doing his best to keep his company's servers up and running during the disaster. He's a friggin' hardcore man, I admire the cool he's been able to keep in spite of what's happening down there, and he's been supplying news from "on the ground" as things have been happening (buildings burning seems to be the latest). Plus there's a live video feed and plenty of linked images. Check it out, and dig in your pockets (like you need me to tell you).

NH is beautiful, and I really am grateful for the amazing luxury I am allowed to live in. I count my blessings, and I hope I can send out blessings to those who are suffering so much in the south. Please God, be with them as they struggle to overcome the stupidity, venality, and short-sightedness of man, and be gentle with them as they learn lessons of their own need for growth.