Wednesday, February 27, 2008

In Memory of Gospel of Colonus

3/16/09 Update - Had a rough week, needed a little touch-up. The DVD still rocks the house: love the part where Oedipus is trying to sing his way into Colonus.

10/17/2008 Update
- Hell must have have froze over because WNET and PBS are releasing the DVD of the Philadelphia performance. By the time you read this I will have pre-ordered my copy from and will be dogging the UPS guy something fierce. Thanks so much to Ivan in Jersey for the head's up.

The following is my original post on the play. Sadly the YouTube link is history but hey, do the right thing and buy the DVD.

PBS Great Performances aired this play twice about 20+ years ago. It was an Off-Broadway play and a recording was made of one of the performances. For those that saw the play it invokes passion. Mr. Morgan Freeman is lyrical to the Nth degree as the Narrator.

Let me repeat this, this is a drama set to music based on the Greek story of Oedipus. It is not a gospel play. But this production had members of the Blind Boys of Alabama, J.J. Farley, Jevetta Steel, Sam Butler, Robert Earl Jones (with that wonderful voice) and a chorus that is just amazing.

In this selection, our man Oedipus has arrived at Colonus. He is petitioning for temporary residency. The locals are hesitant. These are the opening negotiations.

For those of you who have seen any version of the play I'm sorry to tell you that there is no legal DVD or VHS copy available. Even the bootleg action is kinda shaky. Um, not that I would know about that kind of thing.

I don't. Really. I got nothing for you. I checked the Great Performances' web site and in the FAQ they state that due to the cost of paying for clearances for the music and the performers there is no way for them to release it for sale.

PBS has no current plans to re-air the program. And after 20+ years I don't think they are about to budge on this point. Not that it hasn't stopped at bunch of you from asking. Myself included. But seriously, if they want to make some money re-run this at pledge time.

PBS said that a cast album is available on You can hear other samples from the performance. I'm sure quiet a few folks have it on VHS tape in their closet from the original on air recording. Be very, very nice to those people.

And for the low life SOB that has taken another person's copy and didn't give it back a pox upon your soul.

Other Resources:

In Honor of Barbara Seaman - Health Information Blogs

During March it is important to note those women who helped us along the path. Barbara Seaman was one of those women. She was an advocate of things we take for granted today; warning labels on medicine, patients rights and questions about the testing and quality of hormone replacement for menopausal women. You can read more about her at tribute at Our Bodies, Ourselves:
I saw that Barbara's questions went to the heart of the same issues troubling many birthing reformers: How was drug safety established? Why did women know so little about drugs they were given, and have so little to say about what they took into their bodies? Who controlled decisions at the FDA? I had also followed the career of Bostonian Dr. John Rock, one of the "fathers" of The Pill, and even organized a meeting where he spoke, so I knew that fear of women's fertility and world overpopulation were his driving motives, not women's safety.
So in that spirit let’s take a look at one of her legacies, providing healthcare education and information. There is a lot of health information out there. Some of that information comes from pharmaceutical companies, from fraud and tricksters and from legitimate medical and information sources.

These blogs and websites are written or reviewed by health care professionals or medical librarians. I’ll also toss in a few that deals with health topics from a news or ethical perspective.

Nurse Practitioner Barbara Phillips writes at with information targeted to middle age and older women. If you have just crossed over and seeking info on midlife issues, staying healthy or how to do the best by your changing body she has a few ideas on the subject.

Rachel Walden is a medical librarian with two health related blogs. The first is Women's Health News which brings attention to health news that certainly would be of interest to BlogHer readers. An item like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists trying to float a statement on Conscientious Refusal or the right to deny care or treatment based on their personal, religious or ideological beliefs. Spooky, isn't it?

The other blog that Rachel toils at is Our Bodies,Our Blog. Along with Christine Cupaiuolo she touches on the medical and health headlines of the day such as Alabama arresting pregnant women who are drug users and a cross link with a response from the National Advocates for Pregnant Women.

Women's Bioethics Blog from the Women's Bioethics Project makes you think on multiple levels. What are the ethics of a transgender legally male person caring a child?

That was my starting point. There was an article about the right to die with a photo of her life before and after her disease. I'm not a fan of euthanasia but this courageous soul had the right to make that decision. Or did she? There is a CNN article on Chantal Sebire as well as a Time magazine article as well.

One of the articles that I was intrigued by was an attempt to defend the right to sell milk with rBST/rBGH funded by Monsanto.

This is even after most consumers and many retailers do not want to purchase milk with this growth hormone. Sabrina W. makes this point:
The central question at the heart of this issue is whether we should make an exception to the paradigm of consumer-driven marketing that is supposed to be a mainstay of a capitalist and free-market economy. Yes, producers should be free to choose whichever methods they like to make their product, so long as it is within basic safety standards established by federal regulation and is accurately labeled to allow consumers to choose their products. But in the end, it is supposed to be the consumer who is allowed to choose which brand and which type of product they exchange their money for to take home. In other words, you have a right to sell whatever you want, but you don't have a right to make other people buy it if they don't want it – Capitalism 101.
So thank you Barbara for the path that we now follow to continue to ask questions and seek valiantly for the answers.

This is a cross post on an article I wrote for BlogHer.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Construction - A Shot of Los Angeles

Maybe I should quit this vlogging thing. There, I said it. I don't mean it but sometimes it is frustrating. The idea in my head and the execution does not always match.

I want to tell stories. I want to show stories. I want to show a bit of video and let you make your own stories.

There are days when I have to be the grown up and I get so tired of that. What am I saying, I've never liked it. I don't mind being an adult. I like being a woman, you couldn't pay me enough to relive my childhood and teen years. But being the grown up sometimes means you can't take the opportunity to see the life around you.

Last Tuesday I got that chance. So for the next couple of posts I want to show you what I saw when I opened my eyes and saw hidden in plan sight views of downtown Los Angeles. So this is your opportunity to take time and just watch, see what you can see.

I've missed three weeks of making videos because of duties and responsibilities. I have to find a way. You'd think I'd have this figured out by now. It keeps changing. I keep changing. Ok, if you have every read "Writing Down The Bones" you will understand what I am getting at. If not, no worries.

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Nina Simone - A Memory for African American Heritage Month

When I was a kid back in the day African American Heritage Month was called Black History Week. You spent that week learning about slavery, about George Washington Carver, Harriet Tubman and Sojurner Truth. Basically it was every dead black person who did something good and that took about a week. Then the next week you relearned everything that contradicted the week before.

This was also the time of the Nation of Islam whose participants went around the neighborhood selling bean pies, The Call, and dispensed knowledge at each and every opportunity. It was a time when folks in my neighborhood would read The Philadelphia Tribune, Jet, Ebony and other black publications to get the true scoop on who we were and were we came from.

The musical artists at the time did not just rock beats or pine in the sea of love. Some of them wrested with styles of communication that was lyrical and a heart ache away from madness. Let no one fool you. The sixties were a form of madness.

I would hear Nina Simon on the radio but not very often. Her voice was powerful. She could mess you up quick. Even if she was singing a tune like "I Put A Spell On You" she could discombobulate you when you least expect it. Truth be told I was a Funkateer long before the Age of Funkenstein so it would have been a hard sell to get me to listen.

I did not know until I started researching her background information that she had been banned from New York and Philadelphia radio station for her song 4 Women because of the implications of acknowledging variations of skin color and the reason therefore, as and by.

This is a 29 minute documentary of Nina recorded in 1969. It is extraordinary in that we get a glimpse of her process of performing, her fears but most of all her talent. This is but a brief introduction.

But I don't want to leave you with the story of a talent performer that has passed on. Because in addition to her many musical gifts she left us with one more. Here name is Lisa Simone Kelly, her daughter. Her daughter can sing. She has a new album about to come out but you can take a listen and hear for yourself, you can visit her website.

"And the beat goes on, and just like my love, ever lasting."
The Whispers

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Guilt of Finding Somebody to Love

On this day of commerce inspired reflections on love I first offer a musical interlude:

It has been a hard week for single women. Name calling, back-bitting and comparisons with bovine animals have been suggested. It is nothing new, let's call this round 98,343 in the "My Life Didn't Turn Out Like I Planned So I Blame The Women's Movement."

Lori Gottlieb wrote a column for the Atlantic Magazine about her desire to have a husband and kids. Nothing unusual about that, many folks want to have that experience. Got no problem with people wanting to be good parents.

It was the reasons she listed and the conclusions she derived from her experience that had folks banging their heads up against the wall. You'll have to go over that web site cuz I'm not going to interpret what she said for you. You have to come to your own understanding.

Ok, maybe one thing. On page three of the web article. If I wanted to date and I wanted to have a kid I need to make choices. If my desire to have a kid is stronger than the desire to date and find a guy then I have to accept all of the responsibilities for that choice.

What got my head rattling was that she chose to have the baby first. Ok, you are now a single parent. What part of parent did you not understand? You are going to be tired, time challenged and you might not smell that good either.

With a new baby you are not going to have the energy or time to date a guy. Did you not understand that? I'm a single woman with no kids and I understand that you can't put the kid on the shelf and then party on like nothing happened. You made a frigging choice! A decision.

Not as you said you had too many choices, you made this specific choice. And there are consequences that you will have to deal with for the next 18-21 years.

Aggh! My head hurts. Oh, yeah at the beginning of the article. Straight up No, I ain't dating no guy with halitosis. I ain't that needy. How do you kiss a guy with profound bad breath? Ain't no bank account big enough for me to approach him with a smile. There are things that are non-negotiable and that is one of them.

The inability to communicate verbally is another. I don't do grunts, snorts and "whatever".

Oh, and I am not so fearful about my future that I would sell my body for financial security. No knocking those that do, that is your business but she was advocating other women to consider it. That is my interpretation anyway. And to financially exploit men for your emotional needs, lordzy where do I begin with that one?

There have been responses. There is a doozy of one at Feministring which is a response to a conservative group perception of what feminist women have done to V-Day.

Even the some of the men folks are a little stirred up. Go read Lance's post on this.

I would be ticked too, being hunted by a bunch of disgruntled sperm snatcher money grubbing bio-clocks waiting to explode (My words on this particular concept and not of any actual living person).

It is too late for me. I was told years ago that I had a better chance being hit by a car, bus, boat and plane that to expect that anyone would love me once I crossed 30. I proved the f--ckers wrong but where do I go for the retraction?

So do the best you can. Own up to your choices. Marry. Don't Marry. Have premarital nookie. Or not. Like He-Man said, You Have the Power!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Caroline Kennedy, Education and Suport for Obama

Caroline Kennedy does not endorse candidates very often. In fact I think this is the first time in my memory that she has done so on a national level.

In this clip she offers her reasons why she support Barack Obama. Some of those reasons include support for early childhood education and financial support for college; which in this case means $4,000 for tuition provided you render service to your community.

Folks my technique was a little shaky during recording so for those with queasy stomachs I offer a audio version of the video.

For the specifics on Barack Obama's Education platform visit his site.
For the specifics on Hillary Clintons' Education platform visit her site.

Other Voices

Learning By Heart has an blow by blow evaluation of McCain, Clinton and Obama's education proposals.

Authentic Education is a group blog but one of the post caught my eye, the one having to do with early childhood education and parental involvement. This was something that Caroline touched upon in her speech. You can't be involved if you have to go to work and have no flexibility on your child care needs.

If you are a parent, homeschooler or interested in how to teach the youngest of the young you can visit Kimberly's Pre-School Lesson Plans. This will give you a good idea of what to expect if looking for a quality preschool or teachable moment ideas to keep the brains a buzzing.

Oprah's Obama UCLA Rally Video

I wasn't planning to post this video of Oprah. But I listened again and I heard something different.

I hadn't heard this aspect of her voice before. She was testifying. For those of you safely outside the realm of church in this instance testifying means she is affirming her truth and her faith in belief that Barack Obama would make a great president.

Oprah also did something else. She affirmed that she is a free woman. I thought about this for a moment. Didn't she get the memo during Black History Week back in the day? That Emancipation Proclamation and two year later Juneteenth? I think she was talking about something else. The freedom from preconceived expectations from friends and relations.

Choice. The ability to choose without restraint. In this clip from the UCLA Rally Oprah talks about how she is free from the boundaries of race and gender to choose who she feels is the best candidate for president.

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Rally Spirit With Mayor Norma Torres

One thing I occurred to me was that I usually don't get to hear politicians say their whole spiel. This isn't something that is usually encouraged because they can yack on for a spell or two.

But with televised sound bites you rarely get to hear the full context of their speech unless you are in the room. Now I'm not naive, just because you are in the room doesn't mean you are going to hear solid talk. It just means you have the opportunity.

The other thing that occurred to me is that I rarely hear from Latina politicians. I didn't even know that Pomona had a Latina mayor. So let me introduce to you Mayor Norma Torres and by extension, the California earthquake stomp. She is making her case why she think Obama is the one.

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Monday, February 04, 2008

Why Do I Have To Choose?

Ah, the joys of rendering video. In the meantime I have photos and a wee bit of commentary on them.


It seemed as if I was in a constant state of waiting. Not blaming anyone in particular. Leaving at 8:00a.m. it took me about 2.5 hours to get to UCLA. Actually that is really good time on the bus. Thank goodness for the Rapid Lines.

I got there about 10:00 a.m. There was a line of folks wrapped around the Pavilion and the doors didn't open until 11:30am. I have to be honest. I didn't feel very social. I felt out of place because I wasn't a supporter. I came to hear why I should vote for this man.

Plus, there was this guy behind me yammering on about how frigging great New York is to Los Angeles. His friend did try to school him, "Manhattan is a smaller place. Things are more expansive out here. You are comparing apples or oranges"

It got old after 10 minutes and like I said we were standing out there for an hour and half. There was a diverse set of folks but not too much cross chatter. Folks were pretty much tribal.

We got inside and it was a bum rush for seats. A lot of folks headed for the floor area. I had a wee bit of problems navigating the steps so after scoping out a decent vantage point I plunked down and waited. And waited with loud music. And waited some more. The event didn't get started until 1:00 p.m.


This was the only protester I saw after the rally. Part of the reason for my headache actually. It seems that despite our higher goals it comes down to race and gender. Or race and loyalty. Or gender in the mist of making history.

The focus has shifted from who is best for the job to "Who is going to be the first "?" in the White House". Not the right question.

None of which has to do with electing a president. Here is what I want. Somebody who can think independent of other people. Someone who can listen to others and make up their own mind. I'd like a book worm quality but people skills are essential.

There is a huge honking national debt. Infrastructure work is needed in every state in the Union. The "Recession" word gives me the willies. We can't keep ignoring immigration reform.

I don't care if the next president is faith based or not, I don't need to know about it. I don't want the next president's faith attempting to remove any of my rights as an American.

And most of all I want substance over rhetoric. Inspire, yes. But I want action on day three.

Both the Democratic candidates can talk a mile a minute with grace and intelligence. Their spouses are forces of nature and not to be dismissed as the "husband" or the "wife".

I still don't know who I am voting for in the primary. I do know that this country has a lot of work to do and it must re-united itself or we are cosmic toast. It isn't the President that has to do this work.

It is the citizens that need to transform our thinking. I'm not sure we have a collective clue on how to make that happen.

Michelle Obama on the Soul of Responsibility

Taking a break from the rain inspired Doo Dah parade review I want to share with you a series of videos taken at the Obama Rally at UCLA on February 3, 2008.

For those that don't care for politics please feel free to skip my next couple of posts. I want to show what is not being aired on American news programs. I currently endorse no particular candidate but I do believe in being informed. The sound bites provided by mainstream media are insufficient for our current needs.

Michelle is a powerful speaker. This clip gives a glimmer of that but I got more stuff to share. One of the things she has touched on was that the separation that has occurred within the past 12 years has truly damaged our collective identity of who we are as Americans. I've felt this ways for quite some time but this is the first time I've heard it identified in a political sense.

I have a bunch more videos to upload so hang in there and tell me what you think.

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Friday, February 01, 2008

Election Reminders for California Vloggers and Bloggers

I hear there is a little whoop-ti-doo next Tuesday. Something about a primary election. Now I know folks are itching to record the start of a truly historical presidential campaign (like the last two didn't mean anything?).

I know photobloggers and video bloggers are going to cover this seven different ways from Sunday but I gotta remind the California folks of the Election Code 18540-18548 specifically section 18541c which states:

18541.  (a) No person shall, with the intent of dissuading another
person from voting, within 100 feet of a polling place, do any of the
(1) Solicit a vote or speak to a voter on the subject of marking
his or her ballot.
(2) Place a sign relating to voters' qualifications or speak to a
voter on the subject of his or her qualifications except as provided
in Section 14240.
(3) Photograph, videotape, or otherwise record a voter entering or
exiting a polling place.
(b) Any violation of this section is punishable by imprisonment in
a county jail for not more than 12 months, or in the state prison.
Any person who conspires to violate this section is guilty of a
(c) For purposes of this section, 100 feet means a distance of 100
feet from the room or rooms in which voters are signing the roster
and casting ballots.
Now, lets get real. TV News crews will be taking photos and video recordings of people and polling places. You will see this on television and in your daily paper.

There will be folks from community newspapers and school newspapers snapping photos in polling places. Don't get me started on the cell phone and mobloggers contingency.

Depending on the polling place, the time of day, how busy it is and how attentive the poll workers are you may or may not have a problem. Here is what I have found to work:
  1. Be polite.
  2. Ask the person in charge of the polling place if it is ok to take a few photos. If they say yes, score. If they ask is this for a newspaper or report you can say "Yes, I'm writing/shooting photos about the election". The "Blog" word is scary to some and you don't want to scare anyone on Super Tuesday. Am I telling you to lie. No. Tell 'em your a blogger/vlogger if you want. But it might go easier if you flow with the writers/photos on this one day
  3. Be respectful and don't disrupt the election process. You can and will be arrested if you delay or inhibit other folks ability to vote. The poll workers get to decide if you are disrupting the process. They have that power. Don't provoke them into using it.
  4. If they say no then thank them for the answer and move on.
  5. No kidding, be really polite even if the poll worker is acting like a power prince/princess.
  6. If you are taking photos of voters (more than 100 feet way from the polling place mind you) you need to obtain their permission. Make it written permission. Have your photo/video release ready. Seriously.
It is not impossible. You can get great shots/stories on Tuesday. There will be people dying to talk about voting either for an old guy, a Mormon, An African-American or a Former First Lady.

Who am I voting for? Dang if I know.