Thursday, October 13, 2016

...that Clinton/Trump double standard, though...

Just when I think, no one is saying it so I'll say it -- somebody says it. Beautifully.  Kudos to this guy for summing up this election cycle so succinctly.

Michelle Bachman says God "raised up" Trump to be the Republican nominee, and I think she's right. Because of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton will be our next president -- and because of the Republican senators and congressmen who care more about the GOP than jobs or healthcare reform or anything else that concerns the rest of us, the Democrats will probably take the Senate and the House. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Happy *Rape, Murder, Pillage, Enslave* Indigenous People's Day!

The need to celebrate Columbus Day seems to hinge somewhat precariously on your (emotional/physical/spiritual) proximity to Italian-American culture. Not surprisingly, San Francisco has the oldest Columbus Day celebration and New York City has the biggest.  Once I read what he actually did -- from his own journals, no less! -- I had no more of an urge to celebrate Columbus' life or "accomplishments" than Adolph Hitler. 

If you think that Columbus deserves a holiday, then so does Stalin. So does Atilla the Hun.  Can you imagine? A parade and a paid day off to celebrate Hitler?

Here's some must read stuff. 

  • 7 Myths and Atrocities of Christopher Columbus That Will Make You Cringe
    Here's the one that freaked me out: After several voyages and raping and pillaging, Columbus and his men grew increasingly depraved. When he was replaced as governor of Hispaniola and recalled back to Spain in 1500, he wrote in a casual tone of how he provided sex slaves to his men, some of whom were small children as young as 9, for a high price. Death and Taxes called Columbus “the pimp of the New World.”

  • How badly did Christopher Columbus mistreat the indigenous people he encountered in The New World?
    Here's yet another great reason why Columbus shouldn't be celebrated: Widespread rapes of both women and girls.

    Spanish accounts describe how they preferred raping the 10 year olds because they were "tighter."

    Women and girls to rape were handed out as rewards to soldiers for a job well done. Columbus also ordered the rape of females in front of family members, daughters in front of the father for example, to break resistance and spread trauma.

    Columbus in his own accounts described how he personally raped a "cannibal girl." In his accounts, he convinced himself the girl enjoyed being raped.

  • You Are Still Being Lied To: Howard Zinn's "Columbus and Western Civilization"
    Here's an exerpt: In the standard accounts of Columbus what is emphasized again and again is his religious feeling, his desire to convert the natives to Christianity, his reverence for the Bible. Yes, he was concerned about God. But more about Gold. Just one additional letter. His was a limited alphabet. Yes, all over the island of Hispaniola, where he, his brothers, his men, spent most of their time, he erected crosses. But also, all over the island, they built gallows—340 of them by the year 1500. Crosses and gallows—that deadly historic juxtaposition. 

Here's the good news: there are 16 states and counting!) that don't celebrate Columbus Day unofficially. The states Hawaii, Alaska, Oregon, Vermont and South Dakota do not celebrate it at all. Iowa and Nebraska proclaim the day but don't celebrate it as an official holiday (paid day off, post office closed).

Eventually, this holiday will be phased out, state by state -- and just as it took years to create a national holiday for Martin Luther King Jr, it will be way too easy to look back and see who will remain forever on on the wrong side of history. 

Sunday, October 09, 2016

New York Comic Con 2016!

Here's a few shots from this year's comic con, wherein my niece Fatso comes along to goof off and take pictures of me, pretending to be Darth Vader.


Monday, October 03, 2016

My Fall Bucket List: The NYC Edition

This list is a mere slice of the fun I'll be having this fall.
  1.  New York Comic Con! It's like prom for nerds, so it's only appropriate that I take my niece Fatso, a black STEM girl of epic proportions that looks like a sub-Saharan African supermodel.  (There's got to be a really funny joke in there somewhere.)  We go every year, just about. Together, we will meander our way through the Javits and take a lot of pictures.  As usual, my blackness will be my costume.

  2. Diane Arbus: In The Beginning at The Met/Breuer  Her images are so iconic at this point that a lot of contemporary photography echoes her work -- when they're not flat out imitating it.  Here's my chance to see some of her earliest photographs. 

    And yes, I saw her mammoth retrospective at The Met some years ago.  For a long time afterwards -- too long, really -- I daydreamed about those children frozen in stiff black and white portraits with their blurry twisted faces, like a visual stammer that bounced against an audible one somewhere in the recesses of time and memory and randomness, and I wondered whatever happened to them, and that made me wonder what could have been.

  3. Luke Cage, Birth of a Nation and Insecure. Enough said.
  4. The Pumpkin Flotilla at the Central Park Conservancy Who knows? I might make one this year.
  5. Seedless ThomCord grapes are better than candy. Wild caught salmon skin is better than bacon.
  6.  Juice Press is turning me into a vegan.

  7.  Steely Dan's Beacon Theater Residency in October -- they've got 10 dates, and most of them are themed (October 16th is Aja!)
  8. Manhattan Vintage  This annual pilgrimage must be taken with BFFs who love vintage as much as I do, so we can all flip out over the cool stuff we find, whether we can afford it or not.  Lately, I'm a little giddier than usual because I ca fit into more and more of the incredibly dope old cool stuff in my closet.
  9. Byron Lars Beauty Mark Tackles Size & Inclusion in Fashion  I didn't miss Byron Lars' runway show during Fashion Week in September (I took Fatso but she didn't like it) and I 'm not going to miss this, either -- it's a panel discussion that includes: Liz Black (Journalist-Refinery 29) Michaela Angela Davis (Cultural Critic-CNN & Creator MADFree), Byron Lars (Byron Lars Beauty Mark), Allison McGevna (Editorial Director - Hello Beautiful) and Lynne Ronin (CEO-Nation Design).

  10. ETHEL (and friends) at The Met It'll be nice to lose myself in their take on classical music with MPB -- and since Fatso plays the cello, I'll probably take her, too.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Day 18: Queen Esther & The Hot Five at the Kennedy Center!

On Saturday June 18th, the quintet and I performed a set of 1920s vaudeville blues on Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage, then returned later that night to play 1930s swing music for Jason and Alicia Hall Moran's Forever Gershwin after party.

Our little road trip turned out to be a pretty fun adventure.  We got to see Forever Gershwin, which included selections from Porgy and Bess, and later we noshed on sushi with that indefatigable showstopper Norm Lewis as well as the conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra, whose enthusiasm while gliding the orchestra and the 168 person chorale through It Ain't Necessarily So was nothing short of contagious.  I must say, it took the top of my head clean off to hear that many people scatting simultaneously.  Thrilling, inspiring gut-wrenchingly brilliant stuff. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.

I miss singing in a chorale.  More on that some other time.

I had to post this video to give you an idea of what I saw and heard. So lush! I don't know if I could ever get sick of this song...! 

I'd say this newest addition worked out just fine, wouldn't you?  I'm just relieved that it fits. There's nothing quite like buying something you can't try on before that point of purchase.

To see our entire set of vaudeville blues, click here.