Friday, September 26, 2008

the sarah palin interview

"when fascism comes to america, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."  -- sinclair lewis

if you haven't seen cbs news/katie couric's interview with vice presidential candidate sarah palin, you should take a moment to watch this. it is, without question, an absolute flaming bombshell of a trainwreck. 

okay, here's my top three complaints/gripes/observations: 

1. i'm really grateful that ms. palin was interviewed by a woman so that no one could accuse the interviewer of sexism -- although i 'm sure they will, simply because she is female.  ms. couric asked the questions politely and respectfully and ms. palin was her usual friendly, attractive, evasive, misinformed, jingoistic, entitled, priveleged nasaly self. 

2. repeating your half-baked answer (which was really only a memorized soundbite in the first place!) to a valid question doesn't give it more substance or embue it with meaning, even when you say it slower and with more feeling and authority -- like ms. couric (and the rest of us) didn't hear it the first time.  ms. palin has a really bad habit of doing this.  her handlers/media wranglers/speech coaches should tell her that it makes her sound like an idiot. either that or they should put some other authoritative-sounding misinformation in her matrix.  

3. an interview on a nationally syndicated news program is not a take-home test.  you are supposed to answer the question fully and completely, when it is asked of you -- especially when it's something that you should already know. 

what are they calling her now -- dan quayle with a ponytail? hitler in high heels? i can't keep up. what's obvious is that this woman is getting a lot of scrutiny because  if john mccain wins this election, it's quite likely that she would have to take over as president sooner rather than later. let's face it -- he is old and he is NOT healthy at all.  that's why i want every media outlet everywhere to grill her like a cheese sandwich.  if she were anywhere near as competent as her republican fan base wants to believe that she is, that wouldn't be a problem -- so why did she fall apart with these easy, simple questions from "america's sweetheart"? 

simply put -- sarah palin doesn't know how to think critically and she doesn't know what she's talking about.  don't you go to a decent liberal arts college to learn how to think critically?  where did she get her degree -- a gumball machine?

 no wonder the rest of the world thinks that americans are idiots.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

a debate watch party!

what a great idea: have a get together to watch and discuss the first presidential debate. 

the apollo theater (in collaboration of CNN and the greater harlem chamber of commerce) will be hosting a debate watch party that's going to feature political analysis, voter registration and entertainment. and yes -- it's free and open to the public.

for information and tickets, call 212 531 5305 or visit their website.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

now, this is encouraging...

this is a bright shining example of what happens when someone in p.r. drops the ball and doesn't surround mcccain with working-class republican cheerleaders (isn't that oxymoronic?) when he's running around stumping for votes. they practically speed walked their way out of there, with the people surrounding them yelling "obama '08" -- priceless.

makes you wonder how often this happens to him on the campaign trail, and what else we're not seeing.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

the NOW poll

there's a poll on the website of pbs' newsmagazine NOW  asks a simple question: do you think palin is qualified? the results so far have been more than just a little unnerving -- but then again, maybe that's because you haven't put your two cents in yet.  

click here to participate.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

the new york reality tv school

if you thought you saw me on the today show the other day, you were right. i was a returning student in the new york reality tv school. (blink and you missed me -- seriously.) the truth is, i've decided that i want to produce and star in my own reality tv series -- that means 6 episodes, folks -- because i think it would be a great way to introduce my black americana sound to the world.

i'd love to tell you more, but from what i'm told, i really shouldn't. so i won't.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

john mccain's health records

why do you think they won't release john mccain's health records? is it because he smoked 2 packs of cigarettes a day for 25 years? is it because he takes a handful of pills -- 6 different medications -- every day to hold himself together? is it because he has had every kind of skin cancer that you can possibly get? is it because in spite of the fact that he's had this skin cancer removed 4 times, he's got malignant melanoma now -- and there's no cure for it?  

we all have the right to keep our medical records private but when you step into the public arena, you surrender that right because your good health is a strong indicator of your competency, and we need to know that you're healthy enough to actually do the job.

degenerative arthritis. vertigo. high blood pressure.  high cholesterol.  recent cataract surgery. allergies.  who knows what else he's got that they aren't letting us in on! there's so much wrong with him that it's almost as though he's disintegrating right before our eyes from the inside out. who in their right mind would vote for that?

he's worse than dick cheney -- and everybody knows our current vice president is one sausage and egg bisquit away from a heart attack.

believe me -- in this day and age of personal trainers and physical fitness for all, there are plenty of spry, vibrant, healthy 72 year olds out there. unfortunately, john mccain isn't one of them. simply put, he is not a well man.  isn't it obvious that he doesn't want anyone to know this?

three bottles of ketchup

first of all, i've got great news! i've finally found the place i want to live. then again, who wouldn't want to live here? yes, it's a penthouse -- and yes, it's in harlem.

nevermind the fact that there are only two bedrooms. it's that 1,000 square foot wraparound terrace with ultra fantastic views of the city that did it for me. (heh.)

and yes, i've finally found a car that i actually want. it's so beautiful and cool and sleek, it's probably going to be the reason i learn how to drive. that's right -- it's the tesla roadster: 100% electric, 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds, 244 miles per charge. and yes, there's more.  clearly, elon musk is a genius.

the last time i was this excited about a car, it had muscles.

and last but not least, thanks to the algae bloom in my aquarium, i want to fill it with really colorful, pretty catfish -- like this one.  having a tank full of bottom feeders for awhile would be interesting. when i move into that harlem penthouse, i'll get a tank full of sharks.

hey -- didn't scarface have a shark-filled aquarium?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Bougie Black Show podcast

i did a podcast with writer/cultural critic stephen jordan III for his podcast the bougie black show that he calls black folks talkin' that basically amounted to just that -- us, sitting in a park in harlem and talking, unscripted and unedited:

Ever wanted to eavesdrop on black folks' conversations? Here's your chance! ! ! This episode multitalented artist Queen Esther joins host Stephen Earley Jordan II for some intense "Black Talk" as they sit along the riverside in Manhattan. They discuss black women and perms, differences between blacks and whites, why black folks are scared of water; Texas hurricane victims; post-traumatic slave syndrome; hip-hop culture vs the n-word and our responsibility to the youth; Whether Michelle Obama a nappy-headed ho; Harlem and its gentrification and more.

Hotline: 206 600 6383

Playlist includes:
1. Get It Right This Time - Queen Esther
2. Revolution - Nina Simone
3. Florida - Diplo
4. Nowhere to Run - Laura Nyro
5. New York City - Queen Esther

stephen says i should have my own podcast. God knows i'd never run out of subject matter. i think it would be a great way to introduce new songs and document these epic conversations i keep having with the brilliant people in my life.

let's see what develops.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

today's sermon

it's sunday, so feel free to watch your sermonette for the day. (don't worry -- it's only 7 minutes long.) of course, if you'd like to go to church with me, click here.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

are you registered to vote?

more than 50% of the eligible voters in this country didn't bother to vote in the last election. with democrats and republicans looking more and more alike with each passing scandal, an antiquated electoral system that refuses to recognize each vote individually and a corporate-driven media machine that condones all of it, it's no big surprise that anyone would refuse to participate. in the meantime, when they aren't absorbing that one-sided jingoistic tripe on FOX news like it's the gospel truth, way too many red state americans self-medicate by shopping and eating themselves into a pre-diabetic stupor as the rest of the world turns. and laughs.

quite a few states believe that it's fair that ex-felons can't vote. i'm not so sure it's such a good idea to disenfranchise any citizen -- especially one that's paid their debt to society and who's paying as much in taxes as everybody else. then again, absolutely everyone has been disenfranchised from the electoral process at one time or another in america's history, except -- of course! -- white men.

i wonder if there has there ever been a moment when absolutely every citizen in this country voted in any election -- presidential, local or otherwise. the next time some bozo starts yammering on and on about how fair this country this is, i'd like to brain them with a few facts. but that's me.

what's the straw that's going to break the camel's back and involve "apathetic" young people in the political process? instituting a draft, perhaps? hey, it worked with vietnam. and like the vietnam war, the entire nation will probably have to take to the streets in protest to end the mess we're in now. because we all know that the government won't bring an end to any of it. there's way too much money involved. and oil.

interestingly enough, senator obama's camp has presented a simple, straightforward way for anyone over the age of 18 to not only register to vote but to vote in absentia and to find your polling location.

just click here to get 'er done.

i imagine mccain is counting on the swing vote to stay home on november 4th. may this be the year that everyone gets to the polls.

Friday, September 12, 2008

9/11 documentary -- did you know?

do i expect you to sit and watch this 90 minute documentary in its entirety? no, i do not. what i would hope is that you would not simply accept anything that the government tells you regarding 9/11 -- or anything else, for that matter -- as fact. then again, i think that the american public has a very hard time flat-out believing what the powers that be have to say about their colossal screw-ups since president kennedy was murdered in office. and senator kennedy's murder. and rev. dr. martin l. king, jr's murder. and malcolm x's murder. and fred hampton's murder .

i know that assassination attempts are made against presidents all the time -- but when was the last time a republican president was murdered? why are they so successful at offing the leaders who want to empower the general populace and who genuinely intend to do the people the most good?

they wiped out virtually everyone in the entire chicago headquarters of the black panther party. and why? because they had a free breakfast program for black children? because after dr. king died, things began to shift from racial issues to social and economic ones? because they were "commies"? think of the leadership we would have in our midst as african-americans right now if that particular massacre -- perpetuated by the chicago police and the fbi and "ignored" by the federal government -- hadn't happened.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

nerdcore hip-hop

my friend -- the ultimate star wars geek -- knows this song cold. (he used to play it at the slipper room all the time.) of course, i'd never heard it before last week. now i think i love it more than he does. i've definitely heard of nerdcore hip hop music, though. i much prefer the hybrids that have sprung out of hip-hop and rap. they tend to be much more interesting and inventive stateside (hick hop), and more political in the rest of the world than anyone in these parts would dare to consider. i'll level with you -- the last hip hop CD i laid out cash money to own was definitely public enemy. and i still listen to all their stuff all the time, because it's just that good -- and still valid. we really do have to fight the powers that be. so there.

now that 60 minutes is doing a story on mc chris and the nerdcore hip hop movement that's been up and running for the past 10 years or so, i suppose the genre really is dead. i admire him because he grew his audience as a voiceover artist/writer with adult swim, all 6 of his CDs are DIY self-released (like most if not all nerdcore hip-hop artists) and selling well, he's doing sold out shows on the warped tour '08.

someone told me once that if i got on tv, i'd have the success i want. i 'm beginning to think that they're right.

here for your listening pleasure is fett's vette, from the album life's a bitch and i'm her pimp. what an addictive whiny sissified little voice he has, and what an irresistably hooky little tune. i'll bet you a dollar and a twinkie you love it as much as i do.

Monday, September 08, 2008

freedom of choice IS pro choice...isn't it?

i don't understand how vice presidential candidate sarah palin expects the government to stay out of her 17 old daughter's decision as to whether she will or won't have a baby because it's "a private family matter," yet she believes that the government should have the right to intrude into anyone else's private family matters to make this personal decision for them.

i'm not pro life or pro choice. i'm anti-fascist.

slowly but surely, this country is turning into a fascist state, owned by foreign interests, and run by american serfs who are too inebriated and overfed and materialistic to know or care about what's really happening. over half the people in this country who are eligible to vote didn't bother to do so in the last election. over one-third of african-americans -- that's 8 million for you counting at home -- are NOT registered to vote. the bottom line is, if you don't vote, you don't count. period.

do you know what the first sign of malnutrition is? APATHY.

check out the video clip above from the daily show, wherein samantha bee asks RNC attendees about the pro life/pro choice issue. no wonder the rest of the world thinks we're stupid.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

a day of prayer

here's what i'll be doing today: prayer in the square, sponsored by the church i attend. they're having an early service at 1pm and then at 3pm everyone will walk en masse to 44th and broadway. guesstimates expect over 10.000 people from over 100 churches in the tri-state area to pray for new york city and the nation. there will be a 180 member choir, simulcasts on the news astrovision screen (the jumbotron!) at 1 times square -- and yes, everybody is welcome.

they're going to broadcast the whole thing on the radio and there's live webcasts, too -- manna for the shut-in crowd and out-of-towners. the whole world can plug into this! here's the details:

Live radio broadcast:
STAR 99.1 FM (New York)
WEVA 105.1 FM (Washignton D.C.)
WFIL 560 AM (Philadelphia)
XM RADIO Channel 170 (Satellite Radio)

Live webcast on:

Saturday, September 06, 2008

oh, terrence...

why go through the hassle and expense of playing to a live audience, especially when you don't necessarily know how to perform?

because it's protocol.

of course, there are plenty of acts who never tour (steely dan) and there are plenty of acts who can't seem to stop touring (dave matthews band) and plenty of high concept acts that were never meant to tour or play live, ever (gorillaz). still and all, it is generally understood that the mark of any true artist is in their live performance. and if you're an unknown quantity, the world will be expecting a live performance from you, in short order -- whether you're famous or not. the process demands that you stand and deliver LIVE, irregardless of your true abilities.

besides -- its understood that if you can put together a live act on your nickel, the money you make when you go out on the road is yours to keep, so for the up-and-coming musician, having a great live show nowadays is more important than ever. most hip-hop/r&b acts don't tour nowadays, because the music is too production heavy -- and if they do, they don't do it consistently. old school r&b assembles package deals that put several groups on a bill and many of them have enough hits to keep them on the road internationally for as long as they want. i would think that if you don't own your publishing or write your songs, you'd bloody well better hit the road, jack. but that's me.

of course, the price of gas has made touring an expensive undertaking for many. the common sense rock n' roll way to handle it is to scale everything down to the minimum initially -- and for most, that means a vocalist and a guitarist, usually one and the same person. sure, you come off like a folk singer/slob but you build up a following eventually, and that's when your band can come along. otherwise, things get very expensive very quickly. and no artist wants that because they know that the label is only fronting the money. the artist is the one that's paying for everything -- sooner or later.

terrence howard has a two album deal with a major label and he's already famous, so no one has to wonder who he is when they hear this material and its assumed that even if a small percentage of his millions of fans buy the album, the label will make their money back and then some. still and all, it's very true that actors who make albums usually don't do very well. usually.

consider don johnson -- sonny crockett of miami vice fame, though i must admit, i loved him best in the brilliant movie a boy and his dog. everyone far and wide knew he couldn't really sing but that didn't stop epic records from giving him a deal. and why shouldn't they? miami vice was massively huge and everyone wanted to cash in on it, somehow. to his credit, mr. johnson knew he couldn't sing, either. but he was smart enough to get ron wood (from the stones, man), bonnie raitt and willie nelson to sing on the album, with tom petty and bob seger writing the songs -- and astonishingly -- the late, great stevie ray vaughn (!!!) on guitar. sure, it's straight-up 80s corporate rock -- but it's credible. the title cut, heartbeat, went to #5 in 1986. in the end, the label makes money, all the musicians involved get a boost in sales by association, and don comes off looking like the musician he's always wanted to be. smart man, that don johnson. so far, he is the bright shining example of an actor that ventures into music and does it right.

it is with these things in mind that i present to you, terrence howard -- actor and musician -- performing live at J & R Music Fest 2008.

hm. let's see if you can get through mr. howard's 3 minute introduction. i couldn't.

at this point, i'm wondering if he's rehearsing or performing. (maybe it's both.) did they mean for all of the instrumentation to drown out his voice? (maybe they did.)

...and then i realize, oh -- this is really what he's like when he's on.

i wonder if mr. howard is going to see any videos of his performances, get someone to set levels at soundcheck, find someone to manage levels in the monitors so he can hear what everything sounds like onstage as he's doing his thing -- or is he just going to assume that everything is gravy and keep it moving?

Friday, September 05, 2008

Steinem gets it right

i was really disappointed in the overall response from feminists at the beginning of obama's campaign. it was flat-out sexist that so many of them were pro-hillary simply because of her gender. in gloria steinem's new york times article, she stated that "gender is probably the most restricting force in american life" -- implying (unintentionally, she says) that white women have it harder than black men. boy, did that kick up some dirt. interestingly enough, geraldine ferraro backed her up and went even further, saying "if obama were a white man, he would not be in this position and if he were a woman of any color he would not be in this position. he happens to be very lucky to be who he is."

not surprisingly, no feminist has mentioned anything at all about white female entitlement.

as an african-american and as a woman, congresswoman shirley chisolm's presidential run in 1972 was the historical first that both parties are appropriating ad nauseum. what really infuriates me is that beyond mentioning her name in passing, no major media outlet has noted this fact. thank goodness for the documentary shirley chisolm: unbought and unbossed. it should be required viewing for anyone who calls themselves an american.

she misfired when she wrote of obama but in her critique of alaska governor/vice-presidential candidate sarah palin, gloria steinem gets it right. here's an exerpt from her article in the la times -- palin: wrong woman, wrong message:

This is not to beat up on Palin. I defend her right to be wrong, even on issues that matter most to me. I regret that people say she can't do the job because she has children in need of care, especially if they wouldn't say the same about a father. I get no pleasure from imagining her in the spotlight on national and foreign policy issues about which she has zero background, with one month to learn to compete with Sen. Joe Biden's 37 years' experience.

Palin has been honest about what she doesn't know. When asked last month about the vice presidency, she said, "I still can't answer that question until someone answers for me: What is it exactly that the VP does every day?" When asked about Iraq, she said, "I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq."

She was elected governor largely because the incumbent was unpopular, and she's won over Alaskans mostly by using unprecedented oil wealth to give a $1,200 rebate to every resident. Now she is being praised by McCain's campaign as a tax cutter, despite the fact that Alaska has no state income or sales tax. Perhaps McCain has opposed affirmative action for so long that he doesn't know it's about inviting more people to meet standards, not lowering them. Or perhaps McCain is following the Bush administration habit, as in the Justice Department, of putting a job candidate's views on "God, guns and gays" ahead of competence. The difference is that McCain is filling a job one 72-year-old heartbeat away from the presidency.

So let's be clear: The culprit is John McCain. He may have chosen Palin out of change-envy, or a belief that women can't tell the difference between form and content, but the main motive was to please right-wing ideologues; the same ones who nixed anyone who is now or ever has been a supporter of reproductive freedom. If that were not the case, McCain could have chosen a woman who knows what a vice president does and who has thought about Iraq; someone like Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison or Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine. McCain could have taken a baby step away from right-wing patriarchs who determine his actions, right down to opposing the Violence Against Women Act.

to read the article, click here.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

terrence howard sings?

will oscar-nominated actor terrence howard's jazz debut CD shine through it succeed? who can say? one thing is certain: just because one has a great love of music doesn't mean that you can or should sing. it especially doesn't mean that you can or should sing jazz -- or call whatever comes out of your mouth "jazz" because you genuinely appreciate the genre.

here's an interesting quote from the new york times article about the album's release:

"When Mr. Howard would not relent [on his demand to produce the album himself], [Sony Label Group VP] Lisa Ellis gave him a modest prerecording budget, essentially in the hope that he would learn how difficult making an album is and agree to revisit the list [of producers] she had provided. Instead "he called me five days later and goes, 'Lisa, I'm done with the album.'"

they say musicians want to be actors and actors want to be musicians. this particular blackgrrl actor/musician/artist just wants to stay employed.

for your viewing pleasure, here's mr. howard's beautifully shot, overly-produced jazz (?) single sanctuary. enjoy.

Monday, September 01, 2008

i am NOT a vagina american!

i admire any woman in this day and age that has accomplished anything at all, irregardless of her political stance. but this vice presidential choice is flat-out ridiculous.

think about it: if mc cain wanted a woman on the ticket, he had many accomplished intelligent educated candidates to choose from -- candidates who have put years (and in come cases, decades) into their political careers, and have proven themselves on a national and international platform. any thinking republican knows who they are. elizabeth dole, for example -- BA Duke University, post-grad work at Oxford, MA from Harvard in education, Harvard Law graduate, worked under johnson and nixon. she's the only woman in washington, dc that's worked as a cabinet secretary for two federal departments (transportation and labor) under two presidents (reagan and bush). mrs. dole would have been a smart choice, someone that could realistically be vice president.

he could have picked secretary of state dr. condoleeza rice, put a black woman on the ticket and trumped them all! i will argue that there is no female in politics today with (the exception of madeliene albright) that is more educated or accomplished than she is -- BA political science Phi Beta Kappa, U of Denver, Masters in political science from the U of Notre Dame and then a PhD in political science from graduate school of international studies in denver at the ripe old age of 26 (!!!). nevermind the fact that she was/is a professor at stanford, or that she's an accomplished classical pianist or that she speaks spanish, french, russian and german. she was the first female, first african american, and the youngest ever to be appointed provost at stanford. and that ain't all.

now, that's vice presidential material.

who did mccain choose? the newly elected governor of alaska (only 20 months on the job), a state that's density in population ranks it as the 17th largest city in america (the school district in new york city handles more kids than the entire population of alaska); a former mayor of wasilla, a town with a population that's not as big as most college campuses; a self-described hockey mom of five, a former sportcaster and a failed beauty queen who by her own admission has no idea what a vice president does all day. no one seems to be paying attention to the fact that she is pro-life, that she believes in teaching creationism in schools, and that she has zip foreign policy experience (has she ever been to a foreign country? and please don't say canada -- that parallels bush the younger with only mexico under his belt as the newly nonelected president). She is also a lifetime member of the NRA. (protecting yourself with a handgun is one thing, but why should civilians own uzis?) remember: at 72, mccain is the oldest candidate for presidency, ever. if something happens to him -- and yes, he has health issues -- she'll be the leader of the free world. if that doesn't scare you, nothing will.

she's a force to be reckoned with like thunder curdles milk. clearly, it's going to take a lot more than a patriotic, gun-toting working mom to get us out of this mess.

i'm a lot of things but what i am not is a vagina american. i've never voted with my gender and i'm not about to start now. but i will tell you this: anyone who is all for this ticket deserves exactly what mccain and palin will turn this country into if they are elected: an arctic region covered with ice. and if they are elected, i will be more than happy to suffer through their four years in office, just to watch the people who voted for them get exactly what they deserve.