Friday, September 26, 2008

On the Road

I am on the east coast from September 27 thru October 11 and won't be updating the blog again till around October 12 or 13.


A Conversation on Black Culture and Criticism in the Arts
Speakers: Ernest Hardy and Esther Iverem
Sunday, September 28, 2008
1:30pm - 2:30pm
Baltimore Book Festival
CityLit Stage, Mt. Vernon Place, 600 block N. Charles St.
Baltimore, MD

Audre Lorde Project and Brecht Forum presents...
Ernest Hardy reading from Blood Beats: Vol. 2, moderated by Kenyon Farrow
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
7:00pm - 9:30pm
Audre Lorde Project
85 South Oxford St.
Brooklyn, NY

Robin's Bookstore, Philly
Friday, October 3, 2008
6:00pm - 8:00pm
Robin's Bookstore
108 South 13th St.
Philadelphia, PA

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Quote of the Day (and Visual Aid)

This is a quote from the recent Time Out New York magazine interview with Jay-Z on what he loves about New York and being a New Yorker...

What about favorite moments?
Jay-Z: Damn.

What comes to mind?
Jay-Z: That’s a difficult one. I always relate it back to music — I don’t have a life outside of that. Playing the Garden, headlining that for the first time, was — Oh! I have my greatest moment! I don’t even know how I forgot this! When I was a teenager, early teenage years — maybe later, I went to see Diana Ross in Central Park, in the rain, the infamous “in the rain.” And it started raining and everyone started running. And I’m running and slid down the entire hill. Oh, it was the greatest day.

Diana was pretty hot. Were you old enough to—

Jay-Z: Yeah, I had hormones. I thought she was fantastic. Her hair was blowing. The rain was hitting her face, and her outfit was, well — It was working for me. And she really braved it out, still trying to go in a torrential rainstorm. I don’t know who said “run,” but everyone started running. I don’t even know — me and my friend. I don’t know what two guys were doing at a Diana Ross concert, but [Laughs] anyway...

Rest of the interview is here and a clip from the concert is below. Very dope entrance. (That's for you Samiya...)

The Death of the Critic

Here's the paper I presented last night at the USC Annenberg School for Communication's round-table discussion on "The Death of the Critic." (Click here and here to get a quick idea of who was on the panel and what its goals were.) I wrote this piece about twenty minutes before my ride (my friend, the lovely & funny Lorraine Ali) picked me up so it's not as developed as I might have wished, but it got a pretty decent response from the crowd.

The Death of the Critic
USC; September 24 2008
By Ernest Hardy

      The thing that most interests me about this panel topic is a question that’s playing out on many fronts in America right now: What happens when resources dwindle and opportunities become scarce, when fear is stoked by diminishing outlets and fewer players on the field? As it turns out, we’re seeing the answer unfold in political, cultural and business sectors. To put it another way, when you look across the field of music criticism right now, in both the mainstream and the allegedly alternative press, you could well be watching a tape of the recent Republican presidential convention. It’s a whole bunch of whiteness and maybe a speck of color on the fringe. It’s as though Pitchfork fucked Vice and now their smug, smarmy progeny are building new plantations atop the rapidly eroding topsoil of access and cultural power. And to continue with the plantation metaphor, the slave shacks of the internet – blogs such as those by Oliver Wang and Jay Smooth; sites such as SoulBounce, with its fusion of passion and intelligence, knowledge and playfulness; and those hip-hop sites that make you want to bash your own head in from the ignorance displayed, but then will dazzle you with a post of such poetic insight that you want to pen a fan letter – those slave shacks are where the music and the criticism are still jumping.
     When I started writing almost 25 years ago, Greg Tate, Nelson George, Lisa Kennedy and countless people of color who were the peers and disciples of Tate, Nelson and Kennedy were making serious, map-shifting inroads into the world of music criticism. We have since devolved, moved backwards. There needs to be serious conversation about the relationship between marketplace volatility and contraction, and who’s then left standing as cultural gatekeepers when shit turns tight. This conversation, of course, is rooted in long problematic issues of representation and privilege in newsrooms, on mastheads, on editorial boards. It’s rooted in long problematic issues of whiteness being at the center of “journalistic standards” and the process of career-building. Because the real problem, much like with the Republican Party, isn’t just the low and shrinking number of people of color; it’s in the mindset that makes the erasure of some and the elevation of others so reflexive and natural as to go barely noticed or commented upon except by those being squeezed out, and their voices are very easily dismissed, their perspectives are undervalued in the first place. That mindset is the old and reigning filter through which much of the criticism written by people of color (those who can even still get writing gigs) is processed, resulting not only in diluted analysis and commentary, but in commentary that circles back to actually re-inscribe a racially privileged status quo and world-view that we should all be dismantling.
     I had a conversation with the great Greg Tate earlier this year in which he observed that many Black folk who in the ‘70s and ‘80s would have been poets and novelists are now going into academia because they have more freedom and possibility to come into their own as creative critical thinkers. I would suggest that the same is true for folks who at one time would have been music or film critics. That’s all great for the world of academia, its various journals and university presses, but it leaves a debilitating and collectively retarding void in mainstream cultural discourse.
     This is America’s fork-in-the-road moment, and the much vaunted “change” has to come about on multiple fronts. I’m often asked by young aspiring critics of color what steps they should take to make it. My first instinct is always to tell them to step in some other direction altogether, for their own sake. Everything is in transition right now and no one has any idea where we’re headed or how we’ll get there. It’s a dicey time for everyone – regardless of race, gender, whatever. But in terms of diversity of voices, politics, perspectives and style, it’s more precarious for some than others. And we’re already seeing what the absence of those multiple voices and perspectives can lead to. I’m not just talking about colored folks having bylines. I’m talking about the texture and vitality of criticism itself. Modern music criticism such as we get in the daily papers, glossy monthlies and fake-alternative weeklies is largely lacking in that vitality. And I don’t want to be the one who discourages a potential Obama, Kucinich, or McKinney of criticism – be they Black, Asian, Latino, Arab, male, female, gay, lesbian, trans-gender mulatto – I don’t want to be the one to step on their dream and the possibility of them pushing this shit into the 21st century, and possibly even pulling it back into relevance.

My upcoming speaking dates:

A Conversation on Black Culture and Criticism in the Arts

Speakers: Ernest Hardy and Esther Iverem
Sunday, September 28, 2008
1:30pm - 2:30pm
Baltimore Book Festival
CityLit Stage, Mt. Vernon Place, 600 block N. Charles St.
Baltimore, MD

Audre Lorde Project and Brecht Forum presents...
Ernest Hardy reading from Blood Beats: Vol. 2, moderated by Kenyon Farrow
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
7:00pm - 9:30pm
Audre Lorde Project
85 South Oxford St.
Brooklyn, NY

Robin's Bookstore, Philly
Friday, October 3, 2008
6:00pm - 8:00pm
Robin's Bookstore
108 South 13th St.
Philadelphia, PA

Buy my books here or:

Order directly from my publisher:

1) Mail your order and a money order or cashier’s check to:

Redbone Press
PO Box 15571
Washington, D.C 2003

2) Phone in your order at: 202.667.0392 (Fax is 301.559.5239)
3) Redbone email is:

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sight + Sound of the Day

Late Pass: Quote of the Day

"It's possible that Republican men, sexual inadequates that they are, really believe that women will vote for a woman just because she's a woman. They're unfamiliar with our true natures. Do they think vaginas call out to each other in the jungle night?" -- Heather Mallick

Read the rest of her withering essay on Sarah Palin here.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

AP Called Out...

In the blog post just below this one, I'd originally included a link to an AP wire story that claimed new polls show Obama is likely to lose the upcoming presidential election because white Democrats are not able to put aside their racial biases to vote for him. The story made a huge internet splash over the last few days and has been blogged about and emailed a great deal. I took my reference to the story and the link to it away after reading this... While I definitely do believe that race is, and likely will be, an issue in America, and while I know that there are lots of white folks who ain't votin' for a niggra, I also believe that a lot of folks working in the media have vested interests in stirring the flames of racial bigotry, of deepening the divides, and in shaping "facts" and "data" in a way that furthers a fucked up agenda. I think there was truth in the AP article, but I also think it was far from an objective hand shaping it. Anyway, check out the link I provided. It's a long, detailed dismantling of the AP piece and of the guy who wrote it. Worth a scan.

NY Times: Half-Assed & Wrong Again

      They shoulda never gave them niggers the vote.

      Look, there's undoubtedly a problem of homophobia in the African American community. I'd be the last to pretend otherwise or to offer apologies for it. At the same time, it's exasperating seeing, time and time again, African Americans held up as the fount, root and face of anti-queer bigotry in this country when you have: Pat Robertson and his ilk blaming everything from 9-11 to natural disasters on the presence of gays and lesbians in the cultural fabric; the insane Phelps clan with their gay-baiting protests around the country; cocksucker closet-case white Republican politicians who create and help enforce rabidly anti-gay laws while going out of their way to prove that the "down-low" is very much a white thing too; a core mindset of All-American prejudice against anything that is "other," a bias which is predictably and productively tapped during every election cycle.
      But there was the NY Times today pimping the bullshit (cut & pasted and linked below.) Before I get to it, though, I will say that it's not surprising that the NY Times would be part of the process of undermining what is truly noteworthy about this political moment, which is the fact that the same black folks being painted monolithically in the article, their thin measure of poll-booth power blown up to monstrously destructive and reactionary proportions, these same black folks have largely rallied to take part yet again in a system that has historically (as in still, today) been rigged against them to steal votes, discard votes, intimidate folks away from voting (see: Ohio, Florida)... These same Negroes are taking yet another leap of faith in a corrupt process to give a second and maybe last wind to a decaying, declining country that doesn't deserve their faith in the slightest. (Wait, that almost makes Negroes sound retarded...) They're doing their part (yet again) to make this country live up to the ideals and promises upon which it was allegedly founded.
      But the Times finds a sinister undercurrent in this revitalized Negro hope and makes it a looming storm of bigotry and misplaced blame. Ooga Booga!
      First, the Times piece and then a nice rebuttal from Bloggernista, who puts the issues of race, power, money and homophobia in a much more complex and revealing narrative than the Times could be bothered with.


SAN FRANCISCO — Could Senator Barack Obama’s popularity among black voters hurt gay couples in California who want to marry?

That is the concern of opponents of Proposition 8, a measure on the November ballot that would amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage, which was legalized in May by the State Supreme Court.

Mr. Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, is against the measure. But opponents of the proposed ban worry that many black voters, enthused by Mr. Obama’s candidacy but traditionally conservative on issues involving homosexuality, could pour into voting stations in record numbers to punch the Obama ticket — and then cast a vote for Proposition 8.

“It’s a Catch-22,” said Andrea Shorter, the campaign director of And Marriage for All, a coalition of gay and civil rights groups that recently started what it calls an education campaign around the state, focusing on blacks and framing the issue of same-sex marriage as one of civil rights.

The Obama/Proposition 8 situation appeals to those opposed to same-sex marriage, who are banking on a high turnout by blacks and conservative Latinos. “There’s no question African-American and Latino voters are among our strongest supporters,” said Frank Schubert, the co-campaign manager for Yes on 8, the leading group behind the measure. “And to the extent that they are motivated to get to the polls, whether by this issue or by Barack Obama, it helps us.”

To blunt that possibility, gay leaders and Proposition 8 opponents have been sponsoring casual events at restaurants in traditionally black neighborhoods in Los Angeles, meeting with black clergy members and recruiting gay black couples to serve as spokespeople on panels and at house parties and church events.

“This is black people talking to black people,” said Ron Buckmire, the board president of the Barbara Jordan/Bayard Rustin Coalition, a gay rights group in Los Angeles. “We’re saying, ‘Gay people are black and black people are gay. And if you are voting conservative on an antigay ballot measure, you are hurting the black community.’ ”

Black voters account for 6 percent of likely voters in most statewide elections, according to the Public Policy Institute of California, while Hispanic voters make up about 15 percent. But taken together, those two groups could easily decide the election, people on both sides of the issue said.

“If the white Christian evangelic movement believes they can do it alone, I’ve got news for you,” said the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference in Sacramento, which supports the measure. “They don’t have the sheer numbers to do it without the minority effort.”

The Obama factor is just one potential element in the battle over Proposition 8.

Both sides said they expected to spend $20 million or more to help blanket airwaves. One advertisement by opponents shows a heterosexual bride on her way to the altar thwarted by various obstacles — a broken door, a clingy child — before the tagline: “What if you couldn’t marry the person you loved?”

Polls have shown Proposition 8 is trailing. A Field Poll of likely voters conducted last week found the measure was favored by 38 percent of voters and opposed by 55 percent. Mr. Obama, who has said he does not favor same-sex marriage, has stated his opposition to Proposition 8, calling the measure “divisive and discriminatory” in a letter to a gay Democratic club in San Francisco.

But opponents are not declaring victory.

“We think there’s 15 to 20 percent that are still undecided on this issue,” said Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California, which supports gay rights. “We do believe that if we can get our message out at least equal to the other side, we will win, but that’s a fund-raising issue.”

Mr. Kors said opponents of Proposition 8 had raised about $12 million so far.

Supporters of the proposition, which qualified for the ballot shortly after the Supreme Court decision, said they had raised about $15 million.

Those donations include money from religious and conservative groups, including $1 million from the Knights of Columbus and $500,000 from the American Family Association, run by the Rev. Donald E. Wildmon. That group’s Web site includes a fund-raising video for Proposition 8 featuring a clip of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. while a speaker comments on the duty of black pastors to speak out in favor of Proposition 8.

Some supporters of the measure also say they sense a newfound enthusiasm in their ranks since Gov. Sarah Palin became the running mate of the Republican presidential nominee, Senator John McCain.

“I think Governor Palin has obviously energized social conservatives and religious conservatives and all types of conservatives,” said Bruce Hausknecht, judicial analyst with Focus on the Family Action, the lobbying arm of Focus on the Family, a conservative group that has spent nearly $450,000 on supporting Proposition 8. “And if that motivates more of them to get out to the ballot box than would have for John McCain by himself that has to benefit socially conservative issues like Prop. 8.”

The black community has long had a conflicted relationship with gay men and lesbians, Mr. Buckmire said, equal parts homophobia and denial.

“For too long, black people seemed to think there were no gay people around, especially black ministers,” Mr. Buckmire said. “They’d say the most insanely anti-gay things, and then the choir would come up and the choir is 50 percent gay.”

Still, the tendency of black voters to oppose gay marriage extends beyond religion. Patrick J. Egan, an assistant professor of politics at New York University who has studied black voting patterns on same-sex marriage, said black voters consistently polled much lower than white voters on approval for same-sex marriage, about 16 percentage points, even when religion was not a factor.

(from Bloggernista)

This [NY Times] article is troubling for a number of reasons:

1. It ties historic electoral enthusiasm among Black voters to an anti-gay proposal put forth by white evangelical conservatives and strongly suggests that anticipated strong voter turnout among African-Americans will have a negative impact on the advancement of LGBT equality. This theme negates the fact that the marriage repeal effort is being lead and funded by white conservatives including leaders within the Mormon Church who have never been supporters of issues that benefit African-Americans and have instead simply seen Black people as a monolithic mass only useful as a constituency to be targeted with fear, lies and anti-gay spin. In similar ways white conservatives have sought to stoke tensions between Black and Latino people as a way of building support for anti-immigrant measures under the guise that providing legal rights and social services to undocumented workers will mean fewer opportunities for African-Americans.

2. The writer of the article seems to forget that whites are a majority of voters in the state and that if the amendment to strip marriage away from same-sex couples is successful it will be because a lot of white voters voted against equal treatment under the law for gay couples. It is true that a majority of Black and Latino voters may end up voting against us on marriage, but according to the Public Policy Institute of California Black voters account for about 6% of voters in most statewide elections and Latino voters account for roughly 15% of votes cast. Together Black and Latino voters account for about 21% percent of votes. Even if every Black and Latino voter votes for Proposition 8, 21% of the vote is not nearly enough for the anti-gay amendment to pass. It would still need strong support from white voters.

For rest of the Bloggernista reply, click here

Here's the link to the NY Times piece.


I've been on a Tracy binge the past few days. The jones has been fed from all corners. Yesterday I heard her pouring from the radio in two different spots (with two different songs) as I ran errands. Lately, her self-titled 1990 debut album (damn, almost 20 years) has really been vibrating its truths, timeliness and, given the dire & fucked up state of this country ("privatized profits / socialized pain"), its timelessness. There absolutely is great and powerful music being made now, so this is not a lament for the present while fellating the (not-so-distant) past. But I do believe that songs like "Talkin' 'Bout a Revolution" have an urgency and poignancy now that they didn't even when they were first released, and I can't imagine anyone in this Clear Channel era becoming a major pop star, especially with a debut album, on the strength of songs like "Mountains O' Things," "If Not Now," "Why" and that great love song of dyke love, defiance, resilience, and criminality, "For My Lover." With "Revolution," I always thought and still think that it is way overly optimistic in its battle-cry that the powers-that-be better "run run run run run run run run run.." (however the fuck many runs she sings) because the poor and down-trodden "are gonna rise up and take what's theirs... rise up and get their share." Mmmmmm... Can't quite buy that. Not when so much of middle-America that has been brutally sodomized by the polices of the Bush administration is now voluntarily face-down/ass-up asking for More! Harder! Faster! ... 'Cause it ain't just the usual-suspect "others" who are the target of contempt and derision by "the man;" it's also those white folk struggling at near-nigger status, who only have the faded (but still potent) promise of whiteness (click here) to delude them into thinking that the "we" the Republicans care about actually includes them.

The fact that anybody could even consider voting for McCain almost makes me give the whole country the side-eye. The fact that anybody could defend and praise Sarah Palin as a legit politician lets me know that this whole experiment is on the tragic side of decline... intellectual, moral, spiritual. Especially given the polling numbers. How is the McCain/Palin ticket even in the double-digits? What the fuck is in the water? Is the educational system really that far gone? But we'll see. There's a sliver of something like hope and defiance and even intelligence that is on life-support but rallying hard. There is. You can feel it beneath the fear and despair. Anyway, here are a few clips of Tracy performing live, plus a bonus of the video for the underrated "Crossroad." (BTW: "Fast Car" is simply one of the most beautiful love songs ever, with its political commentary and short-story detail all poured through the vessel of that emotion-quivering voice that is folk, soul, gospel and just unadorned truth.) Oh, and all of that's followed by a non-Tracy related item: Sandra B. going off in a profanity-laden rip on Palin in a clip from the revival of her one truly brilliant career stroke, "Without You, I'm Nothing." RIP John Boskovich.

Redneck Advertising

Mumia on the crash

And now you know...

Friday, September 12, 2008


I have been in a deep, deep Incognito state of mind these past few days. And this first clip, with the incomparable Jocelyn Brown, is dancefloor crack...


It's A Movement



"COVER" # 2

Jan's New Tour

Back when I was in high school, my friend David Hansor had an insane crush on Janet Jackson. And since we hung out so much I got to know her then-slim discography very well. But I needed no persuading when it came to the tracks "Young Love" and the extended version of "Say You Do," both of which were huge radio hits in Detroit. That was in 1982. I never thought she'd actually drag those tunes out and perform them live again, but she's doing just that on her new tour. I kinda sorta wish I'd gotten tickets.

Cool Blog of the Day

Click here

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Friday, September 05, 2008

Bill T. Jones & Fela... 8 part interview + Bonus clip









Bonus 1

Bonus 2

When Heroines Speak...

Writer Sue Katz interviews the great Barbara Smith in the current issue of Colorlines magazine. Here is an excerpt:

You were one of the first feminists to develop an analysis about the intersection of gender, sexuality, race and class. Is it true that you were involved in inventing the term “identity politics”?

I was a co-author of the Combahee River Collective Statement where the term “identity politics” was used. I’ve tried to track it down, and that seems to be the first use. When we talked about identify politics we were talking about the legitimacy of asserting a political agenda that took into account the multiple identities that we ourselves experienced, including being Black, female, working-class and lesbian. The political perspectives of the Left, the Black male activists and the white feminists didn’t take into account that someone who was female could also be Black. We wanted a politics that addressed all aspects of our identity, which is what our 1982 anthology, All the Women are White, All the Blacks are Men, But Some of Us Are Brave, was about.

The apparent conflicts around race and feminism that surfaced during the Democratic primary campaign seem to indicate that Black women are still not viewed in the entirety of their identity.

It’s déjà vu, the same thing all over again. We’ve seen some really negative responses to an historic primary campaign–with both a Black man and a white woman as frontrunners of the Democratic Party. The assertion that sexism is more pervasive or has worse effects than racism is not only invalid, but it sure alienates women of color from the dialogue. I want to be clear that Clinton was subjected to sexism and that Obama has been subjected to racism, and the recent attacks on Michelle Obama show that she was subjected to both.

The race/gender splits that we saw in the presidential primaries point to the lack of engagement with the complexities of how race plays itself out in the United Sates, especially in tandem with gender. Women from mainstream feminism never had any deep commitment to understanding issues of race or never felt any particular solidarity with women of color as women of color, instead of women painted colors. People who want to get past racism look at Black people as white people painted with color. They don’t look at history, 400 years of white supremacy and the impact that has on people of color to this day in this country.

You are also revered as a pioneer publisher. Why did Audre Lorde, Cherrie Moraga and you decide in 1980 to create Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press?

At that time there were few vehicles for women of color to bring their voices into print. It was the era of the “special issue” of a feminist publication. There were so many of them then; it was an incredibly heady cultural environment. Sometimes they’d produce a “women of color” issue, which was all well and good, but we wanted to have a “press of our own,” to paraphrase Virginia Woolf. Kitchen Table had a strong political stance.

Apparently, things have now improved. There are a lot of younger women of color writers who are getting published in mainstream contexts…but we were unique because of our political, activist, leftist perspective. I stopped being involved in Kitchen Table in 1995, although it continued for another year or so.

Rest of the interview is here

Additional reading:


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Hip-Hop's Cinematic Heritage

      Hip-hop has celluloid in its blood, from the countless song lyrics that reference movies and iconic film characters to the widespread sampling and interpolation of movie dialogue, film scores and soundtracks. It stretches from rap-video homages (Busta Rhymes' nods to Coming to America in his video for "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See" and to The Last Dragon in his "Dangerous" clip are two high-water marks) to the baby-daddy status of movie gangsters in relation to hip-hop gangstas. Then there's hip-hop's impact on the movies, which includes both the influence of its "urban aesthetics" on film style and the number of rappers who have ridden the beat to crossover dreams and forged acting careers. (The Negro caucus of SAG might still be a little salty about the latter.)

      Cinefamily's monthlong hip-hop film retrospective "Word Is Born: Hip-Hop at the Movies, 1979-1984" places certified b-boy classics (Wild Style, Beat Street, Style Wars, Breakin') alongside cool and illuminating rarities that are the true jewels in the series. As an added bonus, there will be postscreening DJ sets from the likes of West Coast cult legend Arabian Prince and L.A.'s own international b-boy (and co-owner of Stones Throw Records), Peanut Butter Wolf.

      If there is one "don't miss" title in this smart, ambitious survey (curated by programmer Gabriele Caroti), it's the 1984 documentary Beat This! A Hip-Hop History(screening on September 25). Made by director Dick Fontaine for the BBC with the intention of introducing hip-hop culture to British audiences, the film is narrated in rhyme, has thick sci-fi overtones in the camp-but-cool appearances of the legendary Afrika Bambaataa, is filled with insightful cameos from a who's who of hip-hop (Kool Herc, Sha Rock, Arthur Baker), comes loaded with film clips and news footage that would cost a small fortune in clearance fees today and, while wildly entertaining, doesn't fail to make salient political points. "Hip-hop doesn't belong to New York, L.A. or London. It comes from devastation," Herc remarks as he drives through an early '80s Bronx that looks like a bombed-out war zone. Another highlight — or lowlight, depending on your point of view — is an interview with British cultural impresario/opportunist Malcolm McLaren, whom Fontaine was reportedly forced to include in the documentary against his wishes. He makes his feelings on the matter crystal clear by introducing McLaren to the viewer right after the film's narrator observes that hip-hop's popularity quickly made it a prime target for "culture vultures." McLaren then opens his mouth and immediately lives down to the scornful tag.

For more, click here

100><100 Art Benefit

100><100 will feature the photographic works of 100 LA based individuals comprised of a diverse mix of artists, designers, CEOs, celebrities, and commercial/fashion/art photographers amongst others. The universal theme of these images will be 100 LA residents’ unique interpretations of “Who is Los Angeles” using a disposable camera.

The resulting photographs will be mounted, displayed, and available in the context of a ticketed event to benefit the contemporary arts programming of LA ART.


Cisco Adler / Cathy Akers / Roger Allers / Eleanor Antin / Rose Apodaca / Edgar Arceneaux / Lisa Anne Auerbach / Alexandra Balahoutis / Pamela Barish / Kelly Barrie / Edie Baskin / Justin Beal / Jason Bloom / Bill Bratton & Rikki Klieman / Sarah Cain / Kristin Calabrese / Clare Crespo / Zoe Crosher / Elizabeth Daniels / Zackary Drucker / Sam Durant / Mark Dutcher / Bret Easton Ellis / Moises Esquenazi / Liseanne Frankfurt / Marc Friedland / Inara George / Piero Golia / Ken Gonzales-Day / Julia Grigorian / Jodi Guber / Sherin Guirguis / Karl Haendel / Jamal Hammadi / ERNEST HARDY / Evan Holloway / Elliott Hundley / Peter Ishkhans / Vincent Johnson / Sharon Johnston / Vishal Jugdeo / Glenn Kaino / Callie Khouri / Chris Klein / Alex Klein / Jeff Kopp / Elad Lassry / Greg Lauren / William Leavitt / Mark Lee / Jenny Lens / Alice Lodge / Shana Lutker / Greg Lynn / Euan Macdonald / Becca Mann / William Mapother / Daniel Joseph Martinez / Kirby McClure / Dylan McDermott / Adia Millet / Chuck Moffitt / Victoria Morris / Sandeep Mukherjee / Dave Muller / My Barbarian / Eric Nash / Austin Nelsen / Kori Newkirk / Amber Noland / Chris Oliveria / Kaz Oshiro / Gregory Parkinson / Anne Ramsay / Brett Ratner / Anne Ricketts / Marco Rios / Ry Rocklen / Steven Roden / Loree Rodkin / Katy Rodriguez / Brigette Romanek / Kathy Azarmi Rose / Mark Rose / Shiva Rose / Jen Rosenstein / Amanda Ross-Ho / Eddie Ruscha / Sammy Silberstein / Cameron Silver / Simmons & Burke / Federico Spadoni / Kara Tanaka / Joel Tauber / Betty Thomas / Holly Vesecky / Jeff Vespa / Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa / Erika Vogt / Kelly Wearstler / Mary Weatherford / Chloe Webb / Juliette Hohnen Weber / Marnie Weber / Steven Weber / Charlie White / Liat Yossifor / Brenna Youngblood / Andrea Zittel and more!

Come out if you can...

Click here for more info

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


I have no idea if anyone is even checking for my blog anymore but I just wanted to drop a quick note to say that I really, really will be updating again soon. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I've been swamped: co-editing the APLA literary anthology I mentioned some time back, working on the Mark Bradford/Hurricane Katrina book project, trying to shape an Obama essay for Flaunt magazine, doing odds & ends reviews for the LA Weekly film section (I'm all but exiled from their music section these days), getting ready to head back east for a quick book tour that starts in Baltimore on September 28th (details forthcoming; cannot wait to be back in Harlem), and frying my brain trying to meet a couple of other deadlines. Sheer madness. I also just realized today that I fucked up royally in writing the liner notes for the re-issues of the Jacksons' Destiny and Triumph albums. Well, just the Triumph notes. In my first draft, while writing about "Hearbreak Hotel"/"This Place Hotel," I wrote:

"The song’s poetically detailed emotional horror show unfolds through nuanced sonic textures and lyric complexities that clearly echo Michael’s solo work on Off the Wall and and forshadow his work on Thriller."

No problem, right?

By the final draft, rushing to meet deadline and to trim the over-long notes so they'd meet the assigned word-count, I ham-fistedly whittled the sentence down to:

"The song’s poetically detailed emotional horror show unfolds through nuanced sonic textures and lyric complexities that clearly foreshadow Michael’s solo work on Off the Wall and Thriller."

Only problem is that Off the Wall (1979) came out before Triumph (1980). For a stickler like myself, this is pure agony. Especially since I sat with all those albums (not CDs, the actual albums) sprawled around me while writing the notes just to make sure I wouldn't fuck up like that. And especially knowing the rabid fans of Michael's who really know their shit inside and out and will spot such a glaring mistake immediately. (I'm braced for the missive I should be getting any day now from the evil queen who sends me a nasty email for every typo that appears in anything I write. I should just mail him some lube and condoms now: Be gentle con mi, papi...) The worst part is that in mangling the sentence for brevity, I did nothing to significantly reduce the word count. Hopefully Sony/Legacy will make the correction in future pressings and y'all who bought the Fuck-up Edition will have, um, collector's items. Yeah.

Two last things before I bounce back to scribing articles and hussalin'. I wanted to give another round of thanks to all the folks who've contributed to my computer fund. Donations have stalled midway between $1500 and $1600, and I'm grateful for that amount. I'm gonna work my natural black ass off over the next several months so I can match it and get the computer I need/have in mind. Which leads me to my last item and last shout-out of gratitude. That new computer will be put to the grind for the afore-mentioned Mark Bradford/Hurricane Katrina book. The book is going to center on Bradford's art installation for Prospect 1 New Orleans, which kicks off November 1st and is the largest international biennial of contemporary art to ever be mounted in America. Over the course of its eleven-week run, Prospect.1 New Orleans [P.1] plans to draw international media attention, creative energy, and new economic activity to the city of New Orleans. Mark's installation, called Mithra, will be an ark that he's having designed and constructed in his Leimert Park studio here in LA. In a few weeks it will be carefully dismantled and shipped to New Orleans, where it will then be installed in the Lower 9th Ward. (Mark's currently in Korea so I haven't had a chance to ask him what effect, if any, Hurricane Gustav has had on those plans.) My book will be centered on Mark's building of the ark and its reception at the biennial but then branch out and use Katrina as a lens through which to look at modern Black America and larger issues. I've already done some in-studio interviews with Mark in which he broke down the ark beyond its obvious symbolism and I'm jazzed to be doing this project. (I love the way his mind works; the conceptual layers he's bringing to Mithra are dazzling.)

Anyway, that all leads back to my final thank you, which goes out to the lovely, amazing-smelling Jenisa Washington. (I'm weak for people who smell good.) She hosted an auction/fund-raiser for Mark a few weeks back at the no-joke home she shares with her husband Isaiah (yes, the actor, and he was very cool) and their kids. I led a conversation with Mark right before the auction of a painting he'd done for the occasion. I can't do the painting justice right now but its gray, heavily textured, abstract surface eerily and beautifully (if that's even the right word) captured the chaos and fallout of Katrina, though Mark says the painting is actually not about that. (By the way, the painting at the top of this blog entry is not the one that was auctioned. The piece here is a 2007 mixed-media collage called "Giant.") The auction itself was a scene right out of a movie, where people with more money than God were casually sitting on the floor or leaning against the walls as they blithely raised their hands to bid. One of the less financially fortunate women provided comic relief when Jenisa, who was the auctioneer, asked if the simmering bid could be raised to $75,000. The woman chose that moment to make a broad hand gesture to someone standing next to her. "Good, we have $75,000," said Jenisa, pointing to the woman. "OH GOD, NO!," screamed the accidental bidder. I literally sat on my hands the entire auction and didn't even blink the entire 15 minutes it took for the opening bid of $5,000 to close at $115,000.
These clips are killing me at the moment. Yeah, Patti is a beast but do not sleep on Ms. Nona and Ms. Sarah: