Thursday, May 29, 2008

Brooklyn Public Schools and The Post

This happened a few days ago and I meant to post it then, from my roomie, the divine Ms. UnaKariim:

"So right now, I'm trapped inside the school building because the school is surrounded by police and media.

Nothing jumped off today but this rawkus is a continuation of a meelee that ensued several weeks ago and may not die until someone actually dies. Today is obviously safe--nothing will happen with the news and the police around. The NYPost is sort of gossipy and ranks last of top NYer reads---3rd to the Times and the Daily News. What is crazy is that our small school drama that escalated into big drama (in a city of over 8 million people) The Post that has escalated into neighborhood drama is being covered by News4 as I type.

In this case of drama, the parents became involved on multiple levels... Some bringing their kids to school TO fight, some fighting (or bringing other family members to fight, some coming to escort their kids to school and to meet with other parents and the principal to come up with solutions. No solutions were reached, the room was filled with emotionally charged parents talking over one another pointing fingers and no real solutions at the end.

Shootings in and around this neighborhood are common place when it gets warm, and for those who don't know my car, poor thing, was actually caught in random cross-fire last fall.

I don't really worry about losing my life, I just worry about the kids and pray that I don't get maimed or caught up in something crazy.

What is sad is that all of this coverage is happening over escalating violence. However, I doubt that if news were asked to come and cover the horrendous disparities between this school (evident in the filth, the lack of technology and other BASIC resources--i.e. a library and a librarian, class sizes under 30, and host of other disadvantages) and others, they would probably not come---nor would the parents. The sad thing is when anyone asks "what's wrong with education" everyone says "the teachers."

Hopefully this clears up so I can leave. I have 12 more instruction days left and the possibility of transferring next year remains in limbo.

I'll keep you posted and hopefully I can bounce outta here in the next 15 minutes."

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Umm, Where's the Music Paradigm?

Yes, my friends, I am still making music. It's just sometimes these things take longer than one would like depending on circumstances. This last year has been spent "researching material," i.e, living life, encountering loss and profound change, having many happy, joyous and free moments, and working "tree job," like the family on In Living Color.

So, I've been working with my man Pat for a minute, but both of us are in grad school so sometimes it gets hectic. And frankly, I've had a severe case of writer's block for some time. It's slowly starting to lift. It's really part of the process and I've stopped being stumped/aggravated/incredulous by the natural ebb and flow of the mind and creativity. That's "deprivation mind." Oh, damn, ya'll don't know about that. It's a little inside joke between me and a Sandy. And it doesn't translate well virtually.

So, I am working on some songs: spoken word, rhyming and singing and basically listening to shitload of music; all types of music. What I'm really attempting to do is get real and in touch with my own voice or what is marketable or what might fit into some scene or category. At this point in my life and career, I'm not trying to famous. I really want to make and enjoy music and when this shit starts feeling like a job, naw, fuck it.

And I'm not talking about being some hairy-fairy "for the love" or "keeping it real, keeping it grimey" "authentic" art form either. I mean just simply as a person who gets tired, who is human, who wants to rest and chill, who wants a simple life, I'm not trying to run around the globe and sing for my supper. That shit is played for me. AND, I hate sleeping in strange beds, you know, hotels.

I was sort of reminding about why I shied away from "stardom" when I was at my 10 year reunion . So I sang in this group and we were sort of a big deal, on campus, but also we garnered quite a reputation in the college/university scene. A lot of that had to do with our pitch at the time, Hillary, who was/is a phenomenal musician/arranger/composer. And we found the most complicated songs ("Omaha" anyone?) and blasted them.

So I sang this song. It was bizarre that I even auditioned for it, but I did and got it. It became a sort of blessing/curse my entire career at Smith. It as "For What It's Worth." Now I know what you all are thinking: Stephen Stills/Buffalo Springfield? But it really was moving...

anyway, I think my own thinking and "Merchurry" being in "Retro-grate" (it's an inside joke), have contributed to my morose musings. The writer's block has been serious but it seems to be lifting a bit.

So I am writing new music, listening to every sound and reading a great deal and getting inspired from every portion of my life. We shall see what is made of all this.

Until soon...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Two Friends, Two Art Shows, Too Fly!

I have some talented friends and want you to go see their shows:

Next week, my good friend Kesha Bruce has her show opening up, details here. She's Coming to America all the way from France. Well, we met many years ago when she was still living in BK, but one of my favorite things about her is that she is from Iowa. yes, Iowa. I didn't know they had black people there either.Super-fun time will be had by one and all.

Another friend, Sophia Wallace, had an opening Tuesday, which I had to miss, but has a great show that I will be seeing very soon. Check it out.

I'm no art buff, but I am definitely learning more about it and appreciated the visual arts in greater measure. So many of my friends make visual art, I decided it's high time I get into it.

Anyway, I really am packing up my place. Moving day looks to be manana.Fun, fun, fun!

10 Year Reunion

I am not sure how someone who is only 21 yeas old has a 10 year reunion. How time flies when you are a child prodigy genius. HA!

(I just don't want any evidence of my age on the Internet for when I become a famous-for-no-reason starlet. My future publicist will appreciate it).

So, I went to Smith and I loved it and I realized how absolutely out of my mind I was from ages 17-22, uh I mean, 6-11. a-hem. I fell in love an average of 42 times a month and my reputation still follows me. Geez, sue a girl for being young and hormonal. Can I live??!??!!??!

Anywho, it was a total and absolute blast: so great to see and converse with people whom I used to see on a daily basis. Had some really lovely conversations (thanks Liz G!) and much hilarity ensued, especially when Molly, Sheridan, Amy, Marc and I were together. Marc, a distinguished gentleman from LA, had the patience of Job with our insane inside Smith jokes, "center campus" intrigue (center campus were where the "cool" kids lived, i.e., the kids who did all the drugs, scored all the boys and girls, DJed at WOZQ and generally made Smith a party. I was not cool, but lived there), and MOST terrifying of all, he dealt with our Noteables humor/reminiscing, including the list of all of our silly, immature and doomed comments from the peanut gallery. And for those of you trying to clown me, a Cappella was the 90s...on the East Coast. IT WAS!!! We won competitions. Anyway, Sher you have yourself a winner.

The best part of the reunion, I refuse to tell, because it makes me look like an utter jackass, goofball, although Molly and Sheridan re-told the story to whomever would listen. And their families apparently. Thanks "ladies." Let's just say it included me forgetting my name, calling myself Molly, and standing up as if I was a 19th century English countryside gentleman. Sigh, total nerdball.

And then there were the babies...I fell in love with them all, Judy's little girl,who she kept making give all of us kisses; Ayanna's two adorable girl (one of whom I kept referring to as "him" despite the full pink outfit. Thank you Frankie for correcting me gently and Ayanna for just indulging me),and them Amy's little man who fell asleep on my chest at Jake's. I don't know how you mommies do it, but I want one!!! ha ha ha.

For some reason, at the over-priced dinner ($50 for over-cooked asparagus, "fennel," and some sort of portabella mushroom-rice pilaf thing), I was given the award for the one with the most children, despite having none and it being a biological, medical and physical impossibility, due to me missing a few key baby-making portions of my female anatomy. We decided it was racist (why the black lady got to have the most kids? huh? huh? huh?), homophobic (why the lesbo have to have the most kids? huh? huh? ok that doesn't work), ableist (how come the cancer survivor has to win that award? huh? huh? huh?) and all sorts of "ists" and "isms" so good to be be back at Smith. The sad, single, childless homo is always an easy target. Damn you all, damn you all to hell!!

The best part was remembering that I never have before or after met white folks like I have at Smith. It doesn't matter if they are rich, middle-class or poor, American or no, urban, suburban, or rural, black, white or know what I mean: there is one commonality--they are GHETTO! Particularly my class. Example: we had 39% class giving participation and rasised...$13,000. (Opposed to the 1.5 Million other classes raised). And the best part? We laughed!!! Ghettois.

Also, I don't know about anyone else, but our class mix contained such classics as Next's "Too Close," Big Pun's "I'm not A Player," Ginuwine's "Pony," Mary J and Meth "You;re all I need remix" (still the best song EVER) and my favorite Something for the People's "My Love is the Shhh" remix with Trina and Tamara. What white people know these songs??!?!?!?!?!? Thank you Thea, I'm still bumping it.

It was the bizzity, so thank yo all for making it fun. Some of is are going out to night to dance our booties off at Cattyshack..oh dear, I can't wait to blog about it!!

Umm, for you freaks who keep emailing me about Flat Screen TV dates...leave me alone!! This is a blog folks, not real life. Geeez...but if you want to pay for an upgrade, we can talk...No, no, no just kidding...sort of.

Ok, here's Meth and Mary, it's not the remix but still, 1998 was a blazing summer and this kept it heated even though Lauryn Hill overshadowed the best hip hop album ever.

More blogging after I pack some more!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Cuz We Are Living in a Material World...

...I'm not much of a Material Girl. Really I'm not. I'm more of a reformed materialist; a recovering Material Girl if you will. HOWEVER, I've been bitten by the LCD flat screen bug. I have no idea why, now, or from where this has come, but I have some ideas.

1. I'm moving to a new place:
Since I'll pretty much have my own space, I can kick back and watch movies (I don't have cable/Direct TV) without feeling like a total isolationist and having it in my room. My current apartment (for the next little bit) has an old school TV, but it's never amounted to a big communal space. I'm also prone to fits of quiet solitude and don't always find the television soothing. In fact, I like more the way a tv (especially a flat screen) looks rather than how it sounds...BUT, it seems I am driiiiffffftinnggg toward getting one and watching it.

2. I miss TV: well mostly I want to watch HULU and I want my poor Mac to just be it's cute computer self, not double as a TV anymore. Uhh, fine I'll still have to hook up the VGA cable, but it sounds good anyway.

3. Something for the Ladies: That's right, "Do you want to see my flat screen?" gets 'em everytime.

So what will it be:

Well, I went to Circuit City (i.e. Bootleg-ass, Ghetto-ass City) tonight to price them. I decided against the TV/DVD combo, even though it seemed the easiest choice. But I know those combo-things ALWAYS break down quickly. I saw a Samsung I liked: 20 inches, under 300 bucks and super-cute, but no VGA...boooooo. so can't get it.

Then I went to ebay and saw one in my price range and size range. Proud to say I;m not a size queen so it can be between 19-22 inches...oh god, LOL, can you IMAGINE?!!??! Anywho, get your minds out of the gutter children!!!

We shall see. Any of you who have any advice or extra money lying around, hit me up Shante [AT] ShanteParadigm [DOT] com.

and ladies (and some special gents) get ready for some goooood loving opportunities.

This will be one of the gems I'll be watching on my new TV: