Sunday, October 31, 2010

Margaret Fabrizio on Creativity and Going Forward

Margaret Fabrizio is working on a quilt project. She is an artist, a vlogger and a bit older than I am. If you are watching this on a day after October 31st then you might be confused.

It is the questions. Always the dang questions that leads us to enlightenment. But not before you get kicked in the tush with lessons.

Warming Up for Vlomo10 or Am I Freaking Crazy?

On November 1, 2010 those that are in need of honoring the muse are gonna give it go for National Novel Writing Month. Those caffeinated jar heads are gunning for 50,000 words of literary adequacy.

It doesn't have to be a great novel. Just a novel. So you can say with pride and conviction, "Yes, I have written a novel."

National Novel Writing Month
For web video folks we pay tribute to the spirit of the challenge and go them one better by trying to produce 30 days of video. National Videoblogger Posting Month has been invoked and I gotta try to answer the call.

Okay, others can do the 30 days. I think I might have done all thirty days. Once.

I think.

I have been pondering what the heck can I do? Any spare poetry videos will certainly be conscripted to the cause. That will get me about five days or so.

Here is what I want to do. There has been a lot of female body bashing lately. If folks ain't stomping on a head or two then there are attacks about the female body imperfect, i.e. those of us that are soft, round and ample.

Hips don't lie but at Marie Clare magazine people with hips like mine seem to provoke loathing. The kind of loathing I usually reserved for slimy overcooked Okra.

I get the itch just thinking about it.

I'm not linking to the article because at this point I do believe they are working the link bait side of the street. Personally, I think it is straight up booty-hate, booty envy and booty mis-education.

In 52 years I have collected a booty full of experiences. There are other 52 year old women but many of them won't admit it. I'm taking a risk as well. I'm about to loose a few folks because I am "this old."

A half century plus two.

So I'm thinking that I should represent the eclectic 52 year old woman with access to a video camera. What I could do is try to do is find examples of what it was like then and now. Or tell you. Or show and tell.

Not sure how this is going to work out or even it I can do it. I'm not even sure I should do it because this would require me to put prior mentioned ample derriere on the line.

Being visible is tough but being a visible older women is even tougher.

The answer is yes. I am freaking crazy.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Lazy Bones on the Finally Friday Freakout

The intersections between Black folks and White folks is a precarious one. There are those that proclaim "I don't see color, I see people." That is acceptable until the person with the color on the skin speaks up.

Then folks get agitated.

Why can't you be like me? Why must you be different? Why must you speak different and what is up with the hair thing? My faith is all you need to know; anything else is blasphemy. There is only one true American and it ain't you because you don't look like me.

At the time this clip was created the only visibility in commercial films for African Americans was as domestic employees. Dancing, singing or just mugging it up for joy employees. Employees that perform the almost impossible but not really a part of the scene. They flicker in and out.

Unless you lived in the southeastern section of America in the 1940s where scenes like this was usually cut out.

The "I see people folks" would have seen the girl and man servant. They didn't call black men butlers in American movies. Nor did they do so to Asian domestic employees as well.

In this clip we enter a world of the Interlocutor where it is permissible to occupy the same space, just for a moment. Women can be frisky, Hoagy can be cool and Peter Ray and Dorothy Dandridge can almost make you forget you have Mr. Carmichael tinkling those keys.

One can see the other but the line is never crossed. I'd thought I watch this as a refresher course as we race backward in time. I hear the 1773 celebrations are busting out out all over and the election is just a formality to restoring America to what it was.

I think the guy's house that was allowed to burn down by the fire department in Tennessee is a real good example of just how much limited government some people want restored.

I know about Hoagy Carmichael from the movie To Have and Have Not. Historically, I know about Dorothy Dandridge and the tribulations she had in Hollywood. I know nothing about Peter Ray. A quick surface search led to zip. I can't find anything.

This is why we need a museum for musicians, women folks and dancers. To be on the safe side, we need a museum and library for every adjective person on the planet. That way nobody is left out and visibility is assured.

I'm not feeling hopeful about next week. I do want folks to vote. I don't care about your politics as much as you perform your civic duty and vote. For the love of god and country you political slackers have got to vote.

(Ok, I do care about the pot initiative. California, y'all know folks can't drive while texting, applying make-up or tuning satellite radio. Why do you want to add ganja to the mix? It is a badly written law. Hemp yes, straight up MaryJane no. Vote No 0n 19." )

In other news, I just can't understand how Delaware citizens can put up a candidate that seriously did not know the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievance.
Not, good. So not good, We are in deep, holding on praying expectantly for my change shall come. Dame doesn't know diddly about U.S. Government she is trying to represent... I don't understand...

(An actual logic loop freakout is occurring...I'll be ok in a couple of hours.)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Dan Roan - Bank Bonus Explaination from BNet

So the dude from Countrywide is gonna beat the rap. Not even go to trial?

Not even gonna pay the fine because Bank of America will pay the bulk of the fine for him per a prior agreement?

Tell me again how crime doesn't pay? Unless you have an excessively white collar you seem to do just fine and dandy.

This is a video that I found on BNet a year or so ago. I meant to post it but it seems like this is a good time to remind folks why we are in the mess that we are in.

One reason is that is a serious separation between legitimate earnings and greasing the wheel to turn in order to generate bonus money activity. You slice and dice and damn near kill the company or the economy but you still are banking money.

It is not illegal. But is it ethical?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Two Tribes on the Finally Friday Freakout

My head hurts. It has been a week of media personalities, companies and politicians acting badly. What is the difference between this week and any other?

There are some potentially unintended repercussions. At this point, it almost does not matter. I think I have an ache in my heart too. When I was thinking out the video of the week it didn't take long for me to remember this stunner from 1984. The band is Frankie Goes to Hollywood and this is Two Tribes.

I am a passionate believer of freedom of speech. I have found myself supporting really noxious people because no matter their behavior people still have the right to voice an opinion, a thought or a feeling.

There are exceptions. There are situations where I'd be the first to say go get the plank. I'm not sure that this is one of those times.

I am not a fan of Juan Williams. I don't seek out his reporting or commontary. If I heard him on NPR Weekend Edition I tended to tune him out within a minute of his analysis.

I don't watch commercial television anymore but if I did I sure as hell would not watch FOX News. Ain't that much antacid in the world.

And yet. There was a wrong done here. I don't think he should have been fired.

Yes, he should catch all the heat and borne the responsibilities of making those comments.

I am not supporting what he said. Nope, never and uh-uh. Bill O'Reilly said the similar things on ABC's The View. He still has his job. Rush says it as his mantra and clocks dollars by the second.

You can take to the bank that if a thought begins with "I'm not a bigot" you have got a problem. Remove the word Muslim and exchange it with Black, African-American, Woman, or any other descriptor of "the other."

Hey Juan, it was a fear based bigoted remark. Don't matter how many other people you think feel that way. It doesn't matter how nice you put it was a bigoted remark just the same. You can be exceedingly polite and still hurt a group of people.

I think I need medicine for the pain. Here is the thing. Mr. Williams was giving his opinion on how he felt on an airplane. His personal opinion. He has the right of the expression of that opinion.

Even if I disagree with it. We all have that right. That right is not negotiable.

Now free speech ain't free. You say it, you own it. It can cost you a job. It can separate you from friends and family. That is also a part of the freedom. The responsibility of honoring and speaking your words can get you into trouble.

Do you mean those word enough to stand by what you said? Are you willing to listen as other tell you that perhaps you are wrong, misguided or a bonehead?

Or do you suck up in glory how great you are when people who agree with you co-sign and lift you up as the poster child of clarity.

All of that is included in the freedom.

There is more to this story but it is beltway journalism. It is the part that I'll never know. Not sure I'm that interested. Juan Williams will do fine. I heard he just got hired at FOX News full time.

To each his own.

I do care about the future of NPR. I care that conservatives and extremists are salivating that this is a good time as any to remove any government funding of NPR and PBS.


I care that KCET, Los Angeles will no longer be a PBS television station as of January 1, 2011. I really care that this might give ideas to other PBS stations that want to leave and give it a go on their own.

If that happens we will lose an imperfect but necessary resource for community information, both local and international. If it is true that they do want to communicate with and work with the independent creative community in Los Angeles that would be great.

Not sure the corporate foundation supporters are gonna like it so much. True independent media that might have something to say about what is happening in Los Angeles. We all have cameras now.

It is too much. My head hurts some more. I need to Relax.

This is the uncensored version that I didn't know about. There are no 100% nekid people but there is a pound of leather, a tiger and well, happy men. If happy men dancing horizontally and vertically bothers you don't watch the video.

Charles Bukowski Exhibit at the Huntington Library

If you have never been to The Huntington Library this is your chance to make it up to yourself. It is physically beautiful place and crammed to the rafters with books, art and a plant or two.

If you can, stroll in on a sunny weekday so that you can take your time getting lost in the stacks or in the botanical gardens.

Charles Bukowski

Here is another good reason to head over to The Huntington. From now until February 14, 2011 there is an exhibit of his life and work. The library has posted a biographical guide the exhibit.

For those that are asking Bukowski who? I say shame on you and your English teacher too (Elementary through 11th grade English teachers are exempt.)

Admission to The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens is $15 during the week and $20 on the weekends. The weekends, depending on the weather, can be very crowded.

This is the kind of place you want to take your time to explore so plan on a good three hours to do the short version. The library is located on 1151 Oxford Road in San Marino, CA.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Poetry In Plain Sight - Nancy Shiffrin

I purchased Nancy's poetry book called The Vast Unknowing. It is a journey into Jewish identity, living in Los Angeles and the fears that bind all of us if we are honest.

This is a poem with multiple levels of depth. The intersections of youth and culture mixed in with straddling living in America when you were born elsewhere. How do you fit in? How do you understand freedom?

For me it is loving the poetry of Rumi and finding out "Wait, there are others poets I should know about?" Of course there are other Persian poets and people I should know about. A poem gives you a chance to expand your world view, if you are open to hearing about the lives of other people.

Not everyone is willing.

Nancy has a new collection of poems called Game with Variations. If you would like to purchase her book you can e-mail her or visit the Unibook web site.

I generally try to only post one poem per poet but this one is short. I have to post this video to represent for those of us still longing for the touch and refusing to give it up, no matter what society says.

Poetry In Plain Sight - Rick Smith

A poet is rarely just a poet. I don't want to affirm the poverty mentality of fiscally challenged poets but it is a tough slog trying to get non-poets to pay attention or come to a poetry reading.

When you do take a chance to attend a reading or performance good things can happen.

Rick Smith is a poet, musician and a bunch of other stuff. In this video Rick tells a tale about how fame can smack up an ego upside the head and reads one of his poems about blues harmonica players.

His new book is Hard Landing. There is an separate audio CD that has extracts from the book.

An unexpected musical pleasure was that Rick gave a little taste of his musical talents. This is a sample of what Rick can do with his harmonica.

Poetry In Plain Sight - Karineh Mahdessian

It is raining. This means I'm going to be very productive today as I can't go any where. Sorry for the delay of posting poetry videos. I had a wicked cold/flu thing that made anything more than basic functioning impossible.

Ok, on with the goods. This is Karineh Mahdessian reading her poem, Manic Monday. Karineh's poem appears in the San Gabriel Valley Poetry Quarterly, Summer 2010.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Los Angeles BWN Business Career Networking Forum

I get the Black Women's Network brochure every year. I usually can't go because it is on a weekday. This year it is on a Saturday. They almost had me until they said the LAX area. Los Angeles airport to the out of towners. Just can't do and make other commitments that day.

This is a bit of the history of the network from the web site:

Black Women's Network (BWN) was formed in March 1979 as the result of the energy of the Black women who attended a regional career conference in Los Angeles, California. Many of these women in attendance realized the potential strength that could be derived from creating a supportive organization that could serve as a vehicle for addressing the specific needs of professional Black women.

There will be a vendor marketplace, speakers and exhibitor booths. If you are in the area and you would like to check it out visit

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Professor, Aluminum and Red Sludge

I have a subscription to the Periodic Tables videos from the University of Nottingham, UK. Professor Martyn Poliakoff, his team and videographer Brady Haran have created 118 videos about each element in the periodic table.

The videos are usually fun, informative or explosive. And I do dig the professor's hair.

They are moving on to minerals. However in this video Professor Poliakoff wanted to explain about how the situation in Hungary got started and where the trouble is going to end up, possible in the Danube.

Many of the broadcast news channels have gotten ride of actual science reporters. Those reporters that remain are either mangling the story or choosing not to report it as it is not American centered.

That is a mistake. I won't hold my breath waiting for corporate to see the light and higher science reporters. The BBC has a good summation of what is in the sludge.

Leonard Lopate has an interview with two scientists and a representative of the World Wildlife Fund in Hungary.

If we do not learn that there are long term penalties for irresponsible waste management, land use and environmental stewardship then we will spiral down the bowl.
The professor might be a little dicey on his geography but not about the effects of what will be dumped into various waterways.

Friday, October 08, 2010

The Sounds of Blackness on the Finally Friday Freakout

I bought the cassette of the first album of the Sounds of Blackness. Side one was so good it took me two years to remember to flip to side two. I took inspiration anyway I could get it.

I watched Joseph Campbell on TV, even the re-runs of the program with Bill Moyers. The story about the man, the kid and the glass of milk still rattles me.

Les Brown was coming up at that time. Flipped through Science of Mind magazine to check out that action. Taking Yoga classes when I could afford them. Reading new age and thought type magazines.

This is a representational video of side one of that album. Special bonus that Roger Troutman of Zapp in spoofing in some of the video. Sadly, I don't think groups like the Sounds of Blackness could get radio time today.

Really, we do need more fun, danceable and singable tunes. I wouldn't mind a song or two that aimed a little higher than crotch level.

I don't know about you songs like "I got mine and I'll kill you for yours" does not help me move through my day.

Never did.

So a mini love letter to those musicians that want to play a different song. Go for it. We are waiting for you.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Chocolate Salon at Pasadena Civic Center

A room full of chocolate and a few dames. We're talking the good stuff. Cacao powered chocolate. Chocolate with spices, vodka or a fruit or two. This is a advertisement for the event. It is time once again for the L.A. Chocolate Salon.

I went to the event a few years back. I had never been surrounded by chocoholics before. It was amazing; women were calling their friends giving reports on various confections they just tasked.

I was planning on going but something came up and I yield the floor to a chocophile that can take up the slack.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Poetry In Plain Sight - Charles Harmon

A person, place or thing can inspire a poem. I have memories of chomping down on Ticonderoga #3. For those of us that have a different take on getting the lead out this poem is for you.

This is Charles Harmon reading his poem, A Day in the Life of A Pencil.

Don Kingfisher Campbell is the publisher of the San Gabriel Valley Poetry Quarterly. If you want more of Southern California poetry or would like to purchase a chapbook then scoot over to the blog.

Coming up on October 9, 2010 is another poetry reading by some of the areas known poets as well as an open reading. Scheduled to appear are Jon Edward Epstein, Jeffry Jensen, Don Newton plus special guest Rick Smith. As always, folks will gather at Santa Catalina Branch of the Pasadena Public Library on 999 E. Washington Blvd. between 3 to 5 p.m.

Poetry Off the Shelf

I have been listening to the Poetry Foundation's Poetry Off the Shelf podcast for a couple of weeks now and I think I'm falling in love with it. It is like a poetry espresso shot when I need a hit of poetry.

There have been some excellent episodes like discovering the poems of Eleanor Ross Taylor, the one about Actors vs Poets reading a poem, and a look back at Anne Sexton's work with poet CA Conrad.

Honest, it isn't stuffy unless you hit upon a stuffy poet. I haven't heard a clunker as yet. Give the show a chance.

If you need something to get you through the down times this could inspire something wonderful to spark up in your brain cells.

Friday, October 01, 2010

I Will Survive Doing It My Way on The Finally Friday Freakout

We will survive if we can endure. I wish I could have told that those young souls who ended their lives because of bullies. Suicide is not a good option. It is final but the pain that is left behind for others to carry is too much.

There are people that want to do better but first, a musical interlude to mellow us out after a tragic week that will pass into time but not without a handkerchief of tears.

This is Chantay Savage with her rendition of I Will Survive (Doing it My Way)

If you never experienced being bullied as a child or a teen you really don't understand. There are adults who call it teasing, kids being kids or any other word used to explain away one or more people targeting another person.

Age is not an excuse. Youth is not an excuse. We've had elementary school students tease other children into suicide. There is something profoundly wrong here.

If you have never had 15 kids make fun of you in stereo then you do not know what hell on earth is like.

It can be physical. Verbal. It can be emotional. It can be a two for one deal that last for years. Let me emphasis that last part, "for years." That is after you tell the parents, after you tell the teacher, the principle and any other adult.

Some adults will act and some will tell you to suck it up or fight back. Some of the incompetent adults will laugh and join in on the attack because unbeknown to the young person an internal cage is being rattled.

Adults who hear stories of young suicides ask how did their pain get bad? Because the student in question had no place or person they could turn as a resource. There is embedded sexism, homophobia and all kinds of sanctioned body abuse.

Sustained abuse is either internalized, reciprocated or medicated. Death is the ultimate pain killer. Seriously, don't do drugs and don't kill yourself.

Survival and Coping

We as straight, gay, lesbian, transgendered, queer and asexual adults have to put out more emergency soul repair kits and mental life rafts.

We have the power to inform and counteract the negativity and the misinformation.

I like Dan Savage's idea about creating a video channel telling gay youth that there is another side if they can hang on because it does Get Better.

The Twitter hastags #stayalive #itgetsbetter has some good idea such as the repetition of the suicide prevention hot line for LGBTQ youth 886-488-7386. Other folks are offering coping ideas, music and resources.

The Gay Lesbian and Straight Eduction Network has an anti-bullying resource page students.

It doesn't matter to me if you are a teen or an older person trying to hold on praying expectantly or holding on 'til your change shall come.

It might mean actively looking for positive mentors. Artists, poets, dancers, sports folks. It might mean reading or searching for your historical pathfinders to figure out how they moved forward.

Deep breaths. One moment at a time.