Investigating the Public Enemy Files.


Before I started writing professionally, I took pictures of the stuff I was doing and people with whom I was mostly hanging out, the members of Long Island’s Spectrum City mobile d.j. crew. After I became a writer, I stopped shooting to a great extent, put my negatives in bags, congratulated myself on accumulating the world’s largest archive of Spectrum pics, and called it a day.

Subsequently, Spectrum reinvented themselves as the hip-hop crew Public Enemy. Much to my delight, people started asking to see those pictures.

Someone else just did. At 7:30 pm, tomorrow night, Wednesday, April 1, at the University of Iowa’s Iowa Memorial Union, I’ll be speaking as part of the University of Iowa Lecture Series.

For more than 30 years, The University of Iowa Lecture Committee has brought some of the world’s great thinkers to the University of Iowa campus. Speakers have included an impressive roster of national and international figures in science, politics, business, human rights, law, and the arts. Each year the University hosts from 6 to 10 thought-provoking lectures. These events help enrich Iowa’s academic environment and enhance its reputation as a prestigious Big Ten university.

My lecture is titled “Part of the Permanent Record,” and takes its name from the Eyejammie Fine Arts Gallery exhibition of my work in the summer of 2007. Wednesday night, I’ll be screening some of those photographs and talking about the journey through hip-hop I’ve been blessed to make with Chuck D, Flavor-Flav, Bomb Squad leader Hank Shocklee, above, and the rest. (An article in the local Corridor Buzz, previewing the lecture, goes into a lot of that.) I’m really honored to have this opportunity, and I’m looking forward to the talk. If you’re in Iowa, come through. Admission is free.



#1 Ben on 04.01.09 at 12:47 pm

Harry, Any chance of a photo book of this?
I’m just sayin’… 😉

#2 Naomi on 04.01.09 at 11:58 pm

Hi Mr. Allen,

I attended your lecture tonight at the University of Iowa, and really enjoyed your journey through the archives and your photographs. I’m looking forward to the exhibit of them that will be visiting here next year.

Thanks so much for coming to speak and share your experiences. I also especially appreciated your comments on the importance of history and its contribution to people’s understanding of their place in time/space and how not having that understanding can cause all kinds of dissonance.

Thanks again!


#3 wil on 04.06.09 at 2:55 pm

Harry, you should really put out a photo book with these. Would be nice. I’m just sayin’ also!! 🙂

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