Tuesday, December 26, 2006

James Brown - Memories That Won't Leave Me Alone

I wasn't going to post for a while. I was feeling overwhelmed with thoughts and possibilities. So I took a small time out to check out the blogging neighborhood. Women bloggers are catching hell in a hand basket. Some are dropping from exhaustion or life commitments.

Some of the women bloggers are being trolled out of existence and some are just frustrated out of words. Ladies, I understand. Take care and do what you need to do to be safe. Re-create your self by any means necessary. Swing if you must and rest if you can. Put on some tunes and stomp away the dark times, if only for an hour or two.

Me? I had the words but there were so many of them fighting to get out I didn't know which group to let out first.

Then Mr. Brown makes his transition to the upper room. Dang. Most of the reports have reduced him down to a soul singer of the sixties with drug problems and a tendency to beat up on women. Not so simple with this man. He was complicated. His life story is a testament of self-will. Re-creation. The penultimate example of "I Am Somebody!" I wanted to say something about what he meant to me.

He defined himself and by extension generations of people. He certainly had an effect on me. The song in question? "Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud." One week I was in school yard fights cuz I was too black and the week that song came out I was in more fights cuz I wasn't black enough.

I was racking up more fights than Ali. I didn't hate James Brown but as far I was concerned he needed to change up on that song quick. Yes please bring that Licking Stick, Cold Sweat anything but that song. It was a tough time. That song was every where all day, all night and god help you on the weekends.

I eventually worked out my problems of identity and where I fit in to the world. But in 1968 America went stone mad. It was in turmoil. It was an extraordinary time in my history.

That song is a life marker for me. It planted seeds of primordial funk that can be traced from James Brown to Sly and the Family Stone, ConFunktion, Ohio Players, Bar-Kays and absolutely Parliament/Funkadelic. It put me on a musical path I can't lose and don't want to.

One of these days in the old folks home I will pull out the hologram and a bunch of us will be dancing to "Get On the Good Foot". They will try to sedate us. They will fail. We have opened up the door and nothing can keeps us from getting funky.

(Pssst...anybody know where I can get a legal copy of the T.A.M.I Show? Note I said "legal" copy. )

Still more stuff:

What the heck is T.A.M.I? and how did this show come about? Check out http://www.learmedia.ca/product_info.php/products_id/1202

Over at NPR you can download an entire James Brown concert.
It is a whopper of a file, 89MB but if you got the bandwidth go for it http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6672632

Terry Gross did an interview with him in 2005 http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6676984

At PBS they did an American Master special on Mr. Brown. You can view the web page where they give an in depth perspective of his life and his contribution to American music http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/database/brown_j.html

December 30, 2006 update: There is a wonderful interview of James Brown and Al Sharpton on Democracy Now. The first section is about the Apollo Funeral Line but when you get past that there are excerpts of an interview conducted 25 years ago conducted by Jon Alpert.

Mr. Brown tells how he was frozen out by mainstream radio and television, the death of the independent record producers by major record companies. Remember, this was long before the Internet. He talks about how certain folks in South Africa did not want him to perform, about self empowerment and what folks should be focused on. http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/12/29/1446218

The video is in Real Player format but if you don't have Real Player you can download an mp3 audio version. My anger is only that of why didn't I and others get to see this before he died. But it is a blessing to have this documentation.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

NYPD Snatches Flux's Camcorder

I'm been meaning to post this and pass this information on to those of us on the stoop so I'm glad the rain is forcing me to catch up with the essentials. Flux Rostrum is a video blogger/videographer in New York.

While recording a protest meeting at the Mexican Consulate his video camera was appropriated, removed from his possession and flat out stolen from him by the New York Police Department. Here is the kicker. There were cell phone cameras and other video camcorders recording the theft.

Now I'd believe this even if there was no video. But there is, check it:

The police and the District attorney claimed that the camcorder was abandoned property.

For more details and to follow up on if Flux ever got his camcorder back visit his main blog at:
or to this specific post http://www.Fluxview.com/NYPD_brutality_Journalists.htm

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

John Edwards - Words About Human Rights

It starts with a question. A woman asked if he felt that in a long term strategy for dealing with poverty in third world countries is birth control?

He said that was a part of the solution, others things could include strengthening their economies and attention to education. He was mentioning that China had a program to teach their children English, and that very soon China would be the largest English speaking nation on the planet. (Wow.)

In this last video he talks about how he tried to bring up human rights abuses in China and had it thrown back in his face that they will not take human rights lessons from "Guantanamo" or America at this point in time. Give a listen and let me know what you think.

If you want more information on John Edwards check out http://oneamericacommittee.com

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John Edwards - Vromans at All Saints Church

Too little sleep, not enough time and I have to go to work. I did want to post this so view it and if you want tell me what you think about what he said. I'm not going to say too much about the video cuz there is good stuff folks need to hear without embellishment.

Judge for yourself the validity of his statements.

Okay, I'm back from the salt mines. Yeah, it was a full day yesterday. Full moon and open trouble. I was up to my belly button in metaphorical lemonade. When I got to All Saints Church and stepped into the speaking area the joint was packed.

Only place to get a good view was along the back. There were wood panels of various heights. I found a five foot 1 and 3/4 friendly section that I just managed to plant myself cuz spots were filling up.

There was an announcement that only the event photographer could shoot pictures of the Senator. No cell phone, digicam or other recording devices were allowed.

Now I had lugged my tripod and braved coming into Pasadena during rush hour so I could record him talking. I didn't want a photo of me and him. Not in the pants that I was wearing anyway. I already had one person asked me to cut a DVD of him talking and others were curious about him.

I doubt if this "restriction" came from Edwards. It could have been a means of crowd control from Vromans or the Church. It is understandable. You don't want a lot of yahoos flinging their cell phones in his face as he tries to talk.

But I was not happy. I didn't want to get kicked out either so I turned my camera into a tape recorder and was gonna podcast. Might still do that.

Anyway, He gets to talking. I notice that KTLA-TV has a camera up and running. There are more people that just the event photographer with high priced cameras. Old faithful is still in the bag recording sound. I'm sick to my heart. He had some good stuff to say.

Then, one by one I see clamshell phones open and close. I'm going from sick to catching envy fever. This is technological injustice at its highest form! Then the regular digicams started coming out and folks were taking their shots. I, like a big A dope still respecting the rules that were stated five or more times.

The straw that broke the camels back? The Rector himself whipped out his cell phone on the dais and snap a few of John Edward. I said "Damn!" (in my head, of course. No reflection on the Rector.)

I'm figure I'll pull it out and see what happens.

Mr. Edwards is partial to folks in the blog land and if I had filled out a form on his site I could have had an invitation from him and his peeps to shoot the video. I would not have don't that but it is nice to be thought.

If you would like to find out more about John Edwards, his book or his activities that seem a lot like a testing of the waters for 2008 you can visit http://oneamericacommittee.com

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Monday, December 04, 2006

Benefit For Josh Wolf - December 7, 2006

Our light of consciousness is still behind bars.

According to his parents, Josh couldn't get a Thanksgiving furlough and it doesn't look good for Christmas either. But if you are in the San Francisco area please consider meeting up at the Balzo Gallery. More information on his blog at http://www.joshwolf.net/blog/?p=279

If you are among the cool kids also consider picking up a "Free Josh Wolf" T-Shirt. Free as in we are trying to free him and we need your support. Check the same link for more details. And give a read to his pop's post on Communication Is An Inalienable Right.