Entries from July 2008 ↓

Has It Been 20 Years Already?

Turn that noise down…

Hey: If you’re in Chicago tomorrow afternoon, Thursday, July 17th, around 3 pm, come on by the Chicago Cultural Center’s Claudia Cassidy Theater. I’m going to be there with my pals Chuck D of Public Enemy, and Hank and Keith Shocklee of the Bomb Squad, hosted by the Future of Music Coalition, and talking about the creation of P.E.’s seminal album, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, above.

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The Buddha Vanishes?


It is a headline seemingly so odd that, upon reading it, one’s first thought is that it must be incorrect: “In Japan, Buddhism May Be Dying Out.”

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“First, They Wet My Face / Now I’m a Believer / Didn’t Leave a Trace / Of Doubt in My Mind.”

Gurgle, gurgle, gurgle: Christopher Hitchens gets inarticulate

While perhaps not exactly an advocate for waterboarding, journalist / pro cynic Christopher Hitchens has certainly been seen as an apologist for the highly debated technique of “information extraction.”

But no one would accuse Hitchens of being uncurious. So, when Vanity Fair editor-in-chief Graydon Carter asked him if he’d like to be waterboarded, then live to tell about it, the doughy, two-pack-a-day smoker leaped at the chance.

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Give Me a Break.

Barack Opimpa.

Come on: I get it that, right about now, Ebony is probably starving for any kind of contact with Obama, or for any reason to put him on the cover, but seriously….

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Flying Home

God’s glory….

What can one possibly add to this otherworldly image of Golden Rays migrating off the coast of Mexico?

As amateur photographer Sandra Critelli said in the UK’s Daily Telegraph, via BoingBoing,

“It was an unreal image, very difficult to describe. The surface of the water was covered by warm and different shades of gold and looked like a bed of autumn leaves gently moved by the wind.”

No, Sandra. You described it perfectly. Thanks for photographing it even better.

Back In the Day is Back Today

Feel the heartbeat…
The Treacherous Three, Norman Thomas H.S., 1981 by Joe Conzo

Fascination with hip-hop’s history is growing, as a generation that never saw it comes of age. Because of this, photographers who had the pluck to take pictures of the then developing scene are experiencing a renewed interest in their work. (I’ve even been the beneficiary of this new regard, enjoying my own show, last summer, of pictures taken mostly on Long Island, during the White Castle days of what would become Public Enemy.)

Today on my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION, this afternoon, Friday, July 11, at 2 pm ET, I’ll be speaking with Joe Conzo, whose pictures of formative hip-hop sextet the Cold Crush Brothers form the basis of seminal urban work in his book, Born in the Bronx; Janette Beckman, a British photog who, arriving here in NYC during the early ’80s, having exhausted punk, found fresh! inspiration shooting Run-DMC, Boogie Down Productions, and others (The Breaks: Stylin’ and Profilin’ 1982-1990); and Jamel Shabazz (Seconds of My Life), whose touching portraits, mostly of Black New Yorkers, have drawn comparisons to James Van Der Zee and Gordon Parks.

They’ll be briefly preceded by a conversation with Coloradoan jazz singer Rene Marie, whose controversial performance of “The Star Spangled Banner” ten days ago has drawn so much ire.

You can hear the ideas of these thoughtful innovators by tuning in at 2 pm. If you’re outside of the New York tri-state, you can check out our stream on the web. If you miss the live show, check out our archive for up to two weeks after broadcast.

Best. National Anthem. Performance. Ever.

“Oh say can you see…me jack this beat?”
Vocalist Rene Marie prepares to knock one outta the state

Kanye West’s “George Bush doesn’t care about Black people” speech is now officially retired as my favorite “Straight Jack-Move Racial Protest by a Musician in a Public Forum.” It’s now a distant second to Colorado jazz vocalist Rene Marie’s singing the “The Star-Spangled Banner,” July 1st, at Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper’s State of the City address, but, instead of using Francis Scott Key’s traditional words, switching them out for the lyrics to James Weldon Johnson’s “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the so-called “Black National Anthem”!

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“Dag: That’s what they did with Steve….”


That’ll teach those kids to sneak through your rhododendrons: This spastic The Zombie of Montclaire Moors sculpture, by artist Alan Dickinson

will claw his way out of your garden plot or family room corner, pleading for assistance with the most lifelike eyes you’ve ever seen. His macabre expression is captured in such great detail in quality designer resin and finished so realistically that you’ll swear you can hear him breathing!

Plus, wait ’til slugs start crawling out of its mouth!

Life-sized. $89.95 from designToscano, via the unstoppably awesome BoingBoing.

Our Lips Are Sealed.

Not talking, either.
Not talking, either: Cindy McCain on The Today Show

It’s the question that won’t go away. Since The Huffington Post reported John McCain’s foul outburst back on April 7, and MEDIA ASSASSIN followed up with its own post on April 16th, “Does John McCain Suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?”, more and more folks in the blogosphere are asking: Did John McCain once use an unprintable epithet—the so-called “c-word”—in a tirade against his wife?

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“A shame, the way the poor Africans are starving…[sigh]…such a shame. I hope we can help them in some way. Now, what will it be: The supreme of chicken with stuffed thigh, nuts and orange savoury and beetroot foam, or will I have the milk-fed lamb flavored with herbs and mustard, and roast lamb with cepes and black truffle? Does a Chambolle-Musigny go with lamb? And what are we going to do about the poor starving Africans?”

“Maybe I can share my milk-fed lamb with the Africans, mommy!”

According to the UK’s Daily Telegraph, via The Huffington Post, world leaders, meeting in Japan on Monday to solve the global food crisis, stuffed themselves stupid at an 18-course banquet, below, specially prepared for the meeting, calling down, no doubt inaudible, worldwide outrage. (“Meanwhile back at the Vomitorium” stabbed The Daily Kos. “Crumbs from the rich nations’ table” dripped the capitalism-giddy, sherbert-toned Financial Times.)

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