Monday, January 28, 2013

The Pox on me, Midnight Cowboy, Midwest vs New Orleans fashion, The return of the Fringe Suede Jacket???

Another thing that sucks about Chicago is it's bland uniformity.  A few weeks ago I wrote about today's "white boy beard and flannel movement, representing the threatened id of white male masculinity.

One reason why I love New Orleans is that so many of Her denizens of every age outfit themselves in lagniappe of all manners of cloth and color schemes, combined with kaleidoscopes of the most garish accessories, top hats, bowlers,vests, chains, boots, gloves jewelry, etc.

I remember meeting one women who fancied hight top Chuck Taylors and white prom dresses dinged and yellowed with age and numerous machine washings and dryings, at Igor's Check Point Charlie where one can drink, eat a spicy sausage sandwich,  dance to Zydico, and do laundry all at at the same time. 

New Orleans second stores are also literal time machines to retrieve some of the most interesting garments from eras long long faded and gone.

The Famous Funky Monkey Clothing Exchange  

A desi representing in the Marigny

He's forming a band with Nicolas Cage

The east coast, although considerably downscaled compared to Nola,  also like Chicago has their share of white hipsters and scenesters.  But there are also a lot of people, straight-up doing their own fashion things. And generally these people start trends often times borrowing from the other continents including, Africa, Asia and Europe.

Harlem, New York City 
In terms of fashion, Chicago just stumbles behind at best. And if a trend gets embraced, Chicago will run it into into the ground, which says something about midwesterners. Indeed, Chicagoans are typically far more comfortable in beige pants and a polo shirts.

Chicagoans are big on beige
Besides for Chicago, I've never walked into a bar or restaurant where damn near every one is wearing the same "uniform", which I find really creepy.  Logan Square's own Long Man and Eagle ( I call it The Hipster Hunting Lodge) is an exemplary example of this.  Personally, I like Long Man and Eagle and was there last week, but it's ridiculous how many adults feel so comfortable in the same fashion uniform as every body else. I remember looking around at every one basking in their own conformity safe and sound.

Besides for grammar school, Iv'e always embodied the New Orleans mode of doing my own thing.

Two years ago I brought  a brown suede fringe jacket that I always wanted.

Thinking back on it, I think it was connected to when I had a serious case of the Chicken Pox as a child.  I don't remember the rash, except two red bumps on the instep of my foot that looked like they were made by a child vampire. 

Salem's Lot/Vampire Child.

 What I really remember, was the full on hallucinatory dreams that occurred several times a day and night where a small malevolent dark pebble appeared before me, hovering in the air.  Soon, It would begin to vibrate while growing slowly. As the vibrations increased with greater intensity, the whole room would shake with it. And the virus also created some weird sensory distortions inside me were I could taste the pebble in my mouth. I felt some bizarre symbolic connection with the pebble that continued to vibrate making a mechanical droning sound until it reached the the size of a large boulder still floating air were it would bounce while making a smashing sound. It not only wrecked my mother's bed room ( now became my sick room because my dreams caused  me to fall out of my smaller bed that she then slept in) and caused all the surrounding buildings to collapse on my block.

I could see the deviation outside by looking out from a collapsed wall on of our third floor apartment, and would have to be restrained by my mother as a screamed and fought, knowing that I was responsible for countless of deaths including my friends due to the "earth quakes" I caused by the malevolently pebble that I was some how connected to mentally.  Once my mother even called my younger cousin who lived downstairs to appear before me to show she wasn't keeping his funeral from me that I claimed she attended after he died in the rubble. Afterwords he promptly went down to the corner and told every body that his older cousin had gone insane and was dying. Then my mother had to fend of the neighborhood coming to "check in on me". My mother didn't admit them to contain the virus, but I learned later that my best friend even worse his suit that he wore to his cousin's funeral.

Finally my Mom , deeply exhausted, called my very southern aunt Murk. Murk still lived in Englewood and had been "doctoring" me by phone- as she always had since we moved off her block.  My Mom told her she was taking me to the emergency room.  Murk told her that Cook County Hospital's weighting room would only make things worse and that my uncle Mike was driving her over directly. Murk had never been wrong so my Mom apprehensive agreed to wait.

When Murk arrived, she carried me into the bathroom, although she was very attractive with a gold tooth and shapely figure, she was at least six, all most as tall as her giant of a husband Mike, and she had man's strength. She placed me into the bathtub that she and my Mom had already filled with hot water and cooked oat meal. After I soaked a bit, she added a strange brown pouch filled with some mixture that turned the water dark green and pinkish, and smelled really really bad.  Afterwords she oiled me down with something that smelled both sweet, tar-ish and like cedar wood that made my skin tingle. My uncle Mike arrived again. He had dropped my aunt off and went to get  provisions, Harold's Chicken, whiskey and some other medicinal ingredients. While we all ate, my aunt lectured my Mom on the ills of "white folks medicine" while my uncle Mike made faces at me getting me to laugh. My aunt then told my Mom that I needed to stay up for a few more hours but that she -who hadn't really slept for a week-, should go sleep in her own bed and that I would be fine in the morning. My Mom wouldn't budge so Murk escorted her to her bed room.

While my Aunt and uncle played cards in the kitchen and drank whiskey while 
I  -starting to feel better- got to watch TV in the living room all by myself. The only thing on was Midnight Cow Boy.  It was the first real "grown up" movie I'd ever seen and it haunted me.  And I remember being greatly puzzled by Jon Voight's strange suede fringe jacket

A couple of hours later my aunt brought in what turned out to be one of her famous hot toddies, that immediately put me to sleep. That night I dreamed of the dark New York City that I'd seen in Midnight Cowboy. It was both mysterious and melancholy.  But for the first time, the pebble and it's destruction were gone although I can still "taste" that rough and metallic pebble even today. I awoke around noon in my own bed. My aunt and uncle were gone and had cleaned all traces of their visit. I watched cartoons while my Mom slept for a few more hours. She'd taken the last three days off from work and was able to go back the next day. I had one more day off of school to make sure I was completely cured.

From time to time I would see that fringe Jacket and think back on those crazy days when I was so disconnected from the world and felt surrounded by death which for some reason the fringes of the jacket remind me off, dangling seemingly precariously from the body of the brown skin jacket.

 The people who wore it always seemed cool and mysterious. Two years ago I brought one. I really liked it. It reminded me of a blanket made of buffalo skin, not that I'd ever seen one before.

The last person I'd actually seen wearing it was this feminist women from Colorado who I went to school with on the east coast years ago. When I showed my purchase to the women that I was with at the time, she looked at it alarmed with a slack jaw. She hated it and called it "gay".  This led to the jacket being banished to my  back closet for another year.  My next girl friend was equally dismissive, she told me it made me look old and silly. I came really close to cutting the fringes off because the suede was so cool, but I just couldn't  bring myself to deface my jacket like that. The fringes seemed to be a necessary part about it. So it sat for another two years.

The funny thing was had I lived in Nola or New York I would have thought nothing of wearing it.

I've been wearing this jacket for the last six months and I love the way it hangs on my shoulder and the way it sounds like a large tarp when I lay it down.  My friend who owns a bar in my neighborhood told me he has a black one that he use to wear back in art school, he said he was going to start wearing his but his wife who happened to be at the bar roundly and soundly  rejected the idea so he said he was gonna give it to me, which she immediacy approved.

I get lots of compliments and the cool thing is I have not seen any one wearing one. Until two weeks ago.

 As we were sitting at his bar a regular who I never really spoke to walked over wearing "my" jacket, clearly new.  I gave her a dirty look and she just smiled at me. My friend laughed and told  the bartender to give her a free drink I gave him a dirty look too. But I guess if my fringe jacket does catch on to these drab midwestern plains then so be it at least I can say I did my small part to make people seem less drab in Chicago

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Space Created by Django, The N Word, The Niggarati,

I'm looking forward to seeing Django Unchained.  I wanted to see it Christmas Eve, but it was pulled in the wake of the Newtown Massacre.  It will be at the new Logan Theatre soon. I'll walk there and have a drink at the new snazzy bar inside the theatre afterwards, which seems the proper way to go about this. But oh, how my neighborhood has changed.

"Logan Theatre Unchained"
There's been a lot positive reviews from Black intellectuals and activists. Others, lead by Spike Lee 
( who stated he has no planes of even seeing it) have been caustic and inflammatorily negative,  outraged that a white man would dare trespass with movie cameras into the collective memory of chattel slavery to share his perspective.

Brother Spike
What's really behind this "outrage" is the shame of the Black communities's inability and lack of political will to finally force ourselves and America, to phycological process slavery as a collective.  Which is why Spike is bucking off shots wildly at every aspect of Django Unchained while opening old wounds of division in the Black community.  Like the use of the word "Niggah" or "Nigger", depending on the user's color. 

 Now, what should be a much needed debate on the legacies of Chattel Slavery in America, has been reduced to stereotypical Niggahs "Beef'n", 

1967 Chicago Mayoral Candidate, 1968 U.S. Presidential Candidate, Black Activists, and Comedian Brotha Dick Gregory, came out of retirement to defend Django Unchained, demonstrating his continued relevance by effectively using modern urban warfare tactics ( gleamed from Gangsta Rappers) by uploading a You Tube video to the general public dissing Spike, calling him a "Punk" and interestingly enough, a "thug".  I'm just glade Dick is starting to get up in years, cause it looked like he was about to assemble his crew and "come see" Spike. 

Don't, come around Redding,using the N' Word! 

Holding Spike down, is Black progressive radio talk show host Brotha Rob Redding Jr of "The Redding Report", who flagellated himself and his callers, to the point of such high pitched frenzy and thick foamy froth, that while castigating those of us  who use the "N word",  the generally nuclear charged Redding, ran out of steam, during the last hour of this three hour show, barely crawling past the finish line.

Note The" Wu Wear" 

Timberland aka Timbz

This "Battle Royale" caused Quentin Tarantino- who is a unique combination of cinema-graphic wizard and intellectual Wigger-  to lace up his Timbz and with relish jump in the ruckus, saying among other things that his "use of the word Nigger was historically accurate".  His utterance of the actual word Nigger ( in the white form) incited even more hysteria amongst the belligerents whom have now now transformed themselves into the term coined by Zora Neale Hurston, "The Niggarati".  

50 Cent sent his du-rag to Q. in solidarity
I'm sure Quentin is having fun as the first, white boy, to instigate the a National Beef since Tupac created the East VS West Coast feud! 

All I gotta say is, this here, be some Nigga Shit.  I'm serious. Quentin is one of the few white people to actually give Black people something as a race in a long time.

The Liberation of Dachau 1945 
After WWII America made sure the Jewish People received Reparations from Germany.

After the WWII, because of this Government's ilegal round-up and internment of Japanese Citizens into prison camps, they too received Reparations. 

The Allies bombed Germany to it's knees during WWII.  Afterwards America rebuilt Germany and the rest of war torn Europe, with the Marshal Plan.

The First Nation People got casinos as reparations for the American Government's Holocaust against them.

Yet with irony worthy of the most exemplar Ancient Greek Tragedy, instead of using the Casino's effectively, the gambling, hotels, booze,and drugs, etc, to take back half of America, while addicting a good twenty percent of the white population to the above vices,  (payback for the blankets with the small pocks), those knuckle heads chose to mimic the very same capitalistic behavior, which placed them on reservations, in the first place.  

Which  is why besides for a few wealthy chiefs, most of the First Nation People are still broke, stuck on the same wretched reservations in the middle of Nowheres America.  Forget pollution, If Iron Eyes and his horse were around to see this, they'd both be crying!

Add caption

Mexico before American Aggression 

Now illegal Hispanic immigrants and their home countries are getting their Reparations, in the form of American citizenship. I call it payback from Uncle Gringo Sam's use of war to snatch half of Mexico and it's gun boat diplomacy that stripped Latin America of it's resources, killed it's people, and set up puppet dictators for continuous exploitation and oppression.  

What it mean to be imprisoned inside the slave ship haul 

Abraham Lincoln, before being assassinated, planned to monetarily "compensate" Black folk for our 200 years -plus- years of toiling as chattel. He also anticipated the bottomless gusher of hatred that would be directed against us, as a free race.  He therefore wanted us to leave the America, we built.  

There storm of physical and civic violence unleaded by white America after the civil war meant no time for Black healing, let alone a collective time to process the centuries of evil done to us, and the wounds deepened.

The unstable Black Family originated during slavery 

Immediately post slavery, white and Black leadership demanded we forget slavery in the hopes of lessoning white rage and violence. Yet, this violence continued from slavery as a form of the maintenance and furtherance of Jim Crow Segregation. Today we remain shackled and mired in Slavery's legacy, because of the lack of phycological, emotional, and intellectual processing, combined with historical  "forgetting" that has occurred over the years, and continues.  This has disconnected most Black people from the image of our bodies having ever been in slaved, while the ugliness continues to fester and grow inside, over coming us, as we blindly pick at the wound, not knowing why we hurt. Yet we act out our hurt, filling up the graveyards and the jail cells, turning the Prison Industrial Complex into a major growth industry.

 Now her comes Quentin. Hell, he not only has a Black name, but a Black Chicago westside name, and, he's given Black  people the first open space to talk about slavery since The Movie Roots. He also created this space big enough to trip and trick white people into the conversation, which they've always avoided.  

But Quentin's been in training for this Moment ever since he dropped "Pulp Fiction", which drastically changed-up the portrayal of Black people in Hollywood movies.  In Pulp Fiction, the "Leading Man" was both a Black, Sam Jackson, ( semi famous then) paired with the famous John Travolta, who instead of the being the lead man, was the dopey side kick.  Jackson was articulate, funny, and equally lethal.  He also lived through the movie's end and turned over a new leaf in life. Travolta got wasted walking out of a bathroom.  Even today, Black men in movies very seldom live as in life.  

Maccellus Wallace and Bruce Willis join forces to get Medieval on Zed 
Quentin went even deeper, with the brutal rape of Black crime boss ( another strong Black Male Character) Mr. Marcellus Wallace by a white supremacists named "Zed".  Mr. Marcellus had his brutal revenge by escapting and then " calling some hard pipe hitting Niggas"  to "get the pliers and the blow torches" to get "medieval" on Zed.  As a feminist, I'd never make light use of the word "rape" as a metaphor. But in this case Quentin used it as commentary on the Black male experience in white America, and I think his use was highly apropos and creative as an outsider looking in with care. And as you can see the use of the "N word" was frequent in this and his other movies with Black characters.

Then Quentin dropped "Jackie Brown". Pulling the great Pam Grier out of retirement to star as a Black women who's deep beauty and intelligence, isn't enough to insure her happiness in white America.  So there she is, an aging stewardess stuck at a discount third rate spring break two way shuttle Mexican Airline, caught between a ruthless murdering drug and guns dealer  ( played by Samuel Jackson), who pays her to occasionally smuggle drugs into the country, and a ruthless DEA Agent who sets her up to catch Jackson. But Jackie Brown aint no body's fool.  She plays them both and escapes free and clear with enough cash to buy a new life in the tropics with the  assistance of Max, and honest mellow bail bondsmen with a soft spot, also getting old in the game.  Max originally was paid by Jackson( so he can kill her) to bail her out and ends up falling in love with her the moment she walks out of jail. Quentin uses another major leading white male character as a minor character, Robert De Niro, who's not only is a bumbler, but also an old dumb stoner who spends more time in prison than out, he also gets wasted.  

Ouentin is the only white director out there that gives black characters the complexity and depth that they have in real life and he allows them to lead.

In Ivy tower world of academia, the word "space" is bantered about by academics in love with the sound of their own voices.  Especially, when pronouncing words like "space".  In actuality, "space" is their "buzz word" to put the listener(s) on high alert, that a ground breaking concept is forthcoming, and  it behooves the listener(s) to prepare to marvel at the gifted profundity.  Twenty years ago "space" needed to be create in the ivy tower, but today as long as it's not pro NAMBLA pictures of men molesting boys, the ivy tower has infinite "space", as opposed to tier two and three colleges and university, and most public schools, where "space" is particularly finite. 

Mostly "space" in the Ivy tower ends up being like those brotha's in the hood, putting fancy rims on hoopties and personally I'm a lot more sympathetic to the brotha's with them hoopties. 

The Ring Shout

The space to talk about slavery is both rare and extremely difficult to create. Black folk at best have been conditioned not to process and contextualize the experience.  At worse we consider it a necessary evil that allowed Black people to "escape" from a barbaric land called Africa, which of course this is  both specious and insane. While many Americans continue to live in ignorance, still it's common knowledge how slavery and then colonialism stripped Africa of it's greatness living it as the wreck it is today.  The actually creation of a genuine "space" is a painstakingly complexed processes, especially in America that systematically creates spaces for consumerism and violence, racism, sexism, poverty, etc.
 Space also cannot exists for the sake of space, space that is not used does not exist.  A shelter for abused women is not a safe space if abused women are not able to access it. Space that empowers is finite and often times the oppressed and the manipulated have to be tricked and forced inside of it, for their own good. Too often the movies about slavery do not get the Black people who need to be empowered, inside their for totally different reasons.

For instance, I'm a double fisted reader, two books at a time. But for me, movies, (also as opposed to dramatic theatre), only have entertainment value, i.e. horror, action and maybe Sci-fi. I didn't see Beloved because I read the book. The same with the Secrete Life of Bee's. Personally, most movies about the Black experience, especially slavery, are overwhelmed with catastrophic sadness, which is the Black experience. But because of the necessary shortness of movies, little time can be spent creating what necessarily goes with the catastrophic, deep dark wells of faith, love, and humor, which without, we wouldn't have survived slavery. And as fucked up as this sounds, I bet in the Hellish hauls of the slave ships some Richard Pryor mother fucker was making a joke about the food and the rats. Cause that's what Black folks do. It's in our soul.  And there was prayers and songs. And on the deck when those evil whites made us dance to get circulation, we turned it into the "Ring Shout" creation a space for the ifi which is the reason why most of us were able to go back down to the Hellish hauls every time we were were brought up on deck. As oppose to the few, who for equally good reason made the decision that it was time to journey on to Orun, flinging their mortal coils sometimes with babies, into the sea for the waiting sharks who followed these boats all the way to the new world because this happened frequently.

But the visceral experience of catastrophic sadness created by movies are good for white people. They need to get these "spiritual baptisms" as well as and they need to read the books. I was born into the baptism so I don't need the soaking any more. But I need the books to be able to write, speak, and translate it. 

A lot of working class and poor Blacks also need to see these movies, although, they've e also been baptized into it the catastrophic. But like most of Black America, they've never been given the intellectual and culturtual space to process it. With these movies they'd be able to both stand on the outside of themselves and see themselves as part of the Black collective.  Most Black people, from the Ex cons and the street entrepreneurs, the baby mamas, the janitors, the cops and nurses aids, bus drivers, and preachers, as the poor and the working class, know very little about slavery and think it has little bearing on their lives. Again, this is the process of forgetting that began as soon as we were free. But in these movies there is no action, no sex appeal, and no graphic violence, so they don't go see them and they would be the primary beneficiaries. 

Ice Cube Before Friday(s) when he had an A.K

Quentin changed all this. As oppose to the hero, being the Black person who's abel to suffer stoically through the most abuse, in Django as Ice Cub sang "Freedom Got an A.K"( AK-47 assault rifle). And these Blacks are not hapless victims of history but people who rose up and extracted furious vengeance and this act-ionized movie has created a wider of space.

Another part of Spike's beef with Tarantino that white male access draws major Hollywood money.
This is more Niggarati bullshit. Poor Black folks and working Black folks end up having to cry broke when they go broke. Spike Lee is Spike Lee is not broke as an artists. He's just allowed himself to be come a petulant lazy Black man who's lost his vision as a once powerful voice. 

This is the problem with the Niggarati and the Black Bourgeoisie. They're  suppose to our Brothers( and Sisters) Keeps. Why has Spike never attempted to organized the Niggarati? Why is it that he's quick to call out Quentin for doing what Black folk should be doing, but not quick to harangue all these Black million and billionaires, like Jay Z, Puffy, Michael Jordan Kobe Bryant,  Beyonce, Tiger Woods, Bill Cosby, Oprah, Bill Clinton( he he) Will Smith, etc, into a collective force of good in the Black community? 

What's  ironic it that it was Spike Lee who popularized the concept of Black Reparations by naming his film production company and his Afro-centric clothing store "Forty Acres and A Mule".
Instead of being petty, Spike should use Django as the starting point for a New Black Movement calling for Reperations.

Today we have a Black President that gives the Black community, nothing but symbolism and like the rest of our  Black political leadership, he continues to us as political props, instead of advancing our interests. Now Spike wants to get all up in Quentin's face for doing something positive?  

This is some Nigga Shit!   

The Niggarati instead of beef'n with each other over Quentin and beef'n with Quentin, The Niggarati 
needs to join ranks under one banner and proclaim it's time for Black people to cease being "America's Problem" and that imprisoned Black bodies, will not, be the solution, to the America's economic decline as part of the Prison Industrial Complex. Therefore it's time to give Black America Reparations,   
We need to rush into this space created by Quentin and expanded  The Reparation's Movement based upon Three Hundred Years of Slavery and One hundred years of Jim Crow. Spike needs to request that Obama show Django in The White House. If Woodrow Wilson can show Birth of A Nation in the White House that helped codify Jim Crow into national politics, why can't President Obama show Django? 

Dave Chappelle and the "Pretty White Girl" united to address Race
We all know Obama's not going to show it, but the request will generate heat on him expanding the space. He will have to respond if the Niggarati get behind this. I say lets drag President Obama into the space. Lets get Quentin who's spoken at length about The Prison Industrial Complex as the New form of Slavery, on board. 

We have to be resourceful, like when a Dave Chappelle got the "pretty white girl" to sing all the true things about race that he wanted to say to America, but no one would listen precisely because he's a Black Man. Quentin can be our white voice.  

                                                     Farrakhan Speaks on Django

What's deep is this move has struck such a cord in Black America that Minister Louis Farrakhan leader of The Nation of Islam and it's military wing, The Fruit of Islam has also endorsed the movie and could  be a powerful organizing voice as well, as a warning voice to white America in conjunction with Quentin's white voice. 

Minister Farrakhan not only enjoyed Django but said it was a "preparation for the Race War in America" So who does white America wanna deal with the Pretty White Girl or Minister Louis Farrakhan?  

And finally as to the N word. Black folks against using it, needs to let it go. It's too late.  Black people have made art of nearly every thing including the N word. Out of a word that meant hate injected it with love, we made if funny and sad. It's now firmly anchored in the Black vocuabulry lexicon, so let this bone go, have enough to deal with.


See, nigga first was used back in the Deep South
Fallin' out between the dome of the white man's mouth

It means that we will never grow, you know the word dummy
Other niggas in the community think it's crummy
But I don't, neither does the youth 'cause we
Embrace adversity, it goes right with the race

And being that we use it as a term of endearment
Niggas start to bug to the dome, is where the fear went
Now the little shorties say it all of the time
And a whole bunch of niggas throw the word in any rhyme

Yo, I start to flinch, as I try not to say it
But my lips is like the oowop as I start to spray it
My lips is like a oowop as I start to spray it
My lips is like a oowop as I start to spray the