Friday, September 29, 2006

Picture Show

Saw The Last King of Scotland today. I loved it and talked to the Harlem Baker about it off and on. But later I realized I loved the performances very much, and I loved the cinematography of the African landscape even more than where the film took me. I won't talk about the specific parts of the film that hints at it not being perfect, but I will give a clue.

The descent into the "chaos" mimics The Serpent and The Rainbow and for me that is where the objectivity that the film proposes in showing the decadence of Idi Amin and his destructive path starts to fall apart. It is very much about the carte blanche that the world gives a young European traveling to the third world, and its destructive force. It is not about the political situation that got them there in the first place.

I will leave it at that. Great Performances. And up to a certain point a great movie until the pin slips and we are left with another chaos of Graham Greene's scale and accidental white tourists' folly.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Further Delays in Our Departure


Got word from the large bureaucracy across the Hudson, I don't have a position, they screwed up my application. And they say I have to wait until June. Plus they had more applicants than positions open, so I have to wait.

I don't have time to wait.

Well, all the other applications are out and . . . I have to wait! I am pissed because I was offered my German job back the day I interviewed for this position. There is something about New York's gargantuan civil service departments that has always been hard for me to deal with. Add local politics on the block an in the boroughs, or the lottery system for affordable housing, and it all becomes mind boggling. But there are still reasons to be here.

I have about 6 pitch letters I plan on writing for Q & A's.

So, if I am terse with my blog postings over the next couple of days it is because of writing and reading . . . I got about 3 books circulating through my fingers.

Got to look forward.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

An Interuption to Our Normally Televised Program

Sorry, I have about 4 entries qued-up for edit. Between McGeevey, the lack of Coloureds in Harlem for President Clinton's blogging luncheon (who would have thunk it? Right?), another 2 job applications (one in the states, one for overseas), subsequent reading on local politics, the U.N. madness, war, my freelance gig and a real dive into my book collection trying to sort out what I can get rid of and what can stay, I have not had time to look over my entries.

I am striving to have them more polished before posting.

Time to turn things up a notch.

I will have much more to say in a couple of days.


Saturday, September 16, 2006

Deutschland Be-Bop, Talkin' Shop, and the Return of the Pop Princess

I have spent the last 3 days talking to people from Germany. Everyone is doing just about the same. Most of my friends there are straight and have families and that is cool, but Europe is odd. There is always the sense that any relationship is possible because people are far more mature and realistic about their inner emotional selves (it is how German's express their inner selves that leaves you wondering); but, you still are not a man unless you are married. Well, at least in Southern Germany. In the North it is a little bit different . . . but in all honesty, there seems to always be this distinction between places in every country of North and South. A linguist from Holland swears there are books on the subject. I don't need one though, I have grown up between the North and South all my life.

Speaking off marriages and real men, is Whitney really divorcing Bobby Brown? Maybe she caught a glimpse of her own reality show.

I love Whitney.

Anway . . .

talked to my friend, the north German musicologist. He is the only gay one in the bunch. We had a chat about hip-hop and how to put on a conference. He knows nothing about the first, but everything about the second. We had interesting conclusions. He said the problem is going to be the money. That seems to be the problem with all things in Academia. He also looked over a proposal I had given him. He said that he did not want to sound discouraging about my conference idea but blah, blah, blah . . .. Why do academics also try to make things so painless and are so concerned about ones feelings? I guess it has to do with one's need to nurture talent, but in the end, I have worked outside of the university system enough to want to just roll my sleeves up and work. There is something to be said about how we conduct business in the Ivory Tower. Something about the type of work we do and issues of objectivity and subjectivity keeps the lines fuzzy. Correction is alway so ephemeral, there is always something else to comment on 5 minutes from now. I guess I just have issues. I have been oscillating between the two worlds so long I become impatient with each one now.

The problem with Britney Spears is that she became a legend before the cards were marked by the judges. Aretha is the Queen of Soul, Whitney is the true Pop Princess and Mary is the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul. Now that Spears' teeny bop banter has been spliced to reveal that she is just an industrial strength sweet confection manufactured by the spin machine, I feel sorry for her. All those reviews and pop critic cats were feeding at the trough in the late 90's, hailing her as baby Madonna, when in fact she just pushed envelopes with her stylized videos and performances but few emotional buttons through her voice. Madonna was busy riding her ray of light into the middle aged afternoon sun, defiantly anti-cabaret (she left that to Celine Dione) and distinctly British (with a Scandinavian producer) when high pop critical society (shame on you Michael Musto and Rolling Stone) pushed Britney onto us with her Lolita sexuality causing every American father to hypervenilate during the MTV awards. I wished Whitney would get back into the saddle and do the Natalie Cole thing but faster and harder, pushing air up and through scared vocal cords, belting like a 1st alto at sister Mary Walker's family church off some dusty road between Bessemer, Alabama and a county line, looking 20 pounds heavier and fresher.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Cybersphere As A Portal To Grooving Ass

GeeeWhizzzz! I have all these blogs linked to my blog. I have started to check them out, and through them I have seen some have retired, while others are still blogging. I also found a long lost friend of sorts who I have to hit up this week when I go down town.

I also found an old friend that is now a jet setting producer. He just followed his dream and did not think that much about it, which is starting to be my motto of late. He goes to Norway and London all the time. He said that he wanted to produce a song with me before I left because my voice is very old, like 1950's scratchy Ben E. King or Sam Cooke. It is somewhat like that. It depends on what I sing. But it has been so long since I have sung regularly and it is hard for me to find a place to do it. I should find a gospel choir. I like gospel.

But I could care less. I found him, and that is the important thing. 3 years ago his world was turned upside down, as well as mine when our inner circle started to unravel under the strain of life. No details but, it was funky. I wonder about black gay men's shit. Or black bisexual men's shit. Do people really know what a tight rope this is in the community? But things are changing. I saw some New Orleans Bounce videos on Youtube. They are all self made, and the boys are really bouncing . . . like the girls on the videos that everyone detests. It was weird, I turn a half cocked eye at the girls with the gigantic asses like they have been pumped up with Afrosteroids, but the boys wiggling does something to me . . . as long as the onion is not too big . . . but big is relative . . . no?

Does this make me hypocritical? I look at the girls as being used, but I look at the young men and think . . . hummffff. Would I think about the women differently if I was 100 percent straight?

OK, I gotta go. It is the beginning of the weekend and I have to finish a couple of applications, finish the list of references I am making, catch up on my Publisher's Weekly back issues, and clean-up my list of blog friends on the right. I have not been as diligent in trying to read them all as I should, but I have been in transition. Funny, today listening to New Orleans Bounce and watching Booty Shaking and craving sweet, salty and greasy things . . . I all of a sudden missed The South. I like that anybody can be delectable there. It is a very, very nice feeling.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The B-Side Fest Continues

It is continuing today. I have been listening to Prince's B-Sides for about 2 days now. It is OK because I am slamming out applications for different jobs while I still waiting for a response from that unmentionable pack of slow ass civil servants a state over. Damn!

The day has been peppered with affirmations that my creative sap is rising, if not my survival skills concerning being a freelancer. I started to make a list of all the people I know. So, I am ready to play cards. If I have learned anything over the last 6 years it is that your prosperity in life depends heavily upon those that surround you. And, on the flip side, you can gauge your emotionally state through those you choose to be friends or lovers with . . . if your life is a revolving door. So it is important to chose the right folk or you might as well be alone.

OK. Enough of the soap box.

I saw Noah's Arc, Project Runway and Million Dollar "Something" tonight. So it is late, needless to say. I like these shows because they reflect the things I am going through creatively, sexually and financially. I guess it is best summed up by a need for a greater understanding in all of those areas and how I operate. Noah's Arc is cool, but it is more like watching a comic book adventure series like captain America or Bullwinkle from the '70's-- or a television novela -- than a serious drama. The way they collectively resolved the Guy storyline was boring. No! I am sorry it was sophomoric. They should have just not attempted to do it at all, but I am not that frustrated . . . let's march on to the next comic filled frame next Wednesday . . . though I am wondering if Noah's accident/conflict/crisis will bring a necessary character shift, which it must, through all common sense when it comes to good writing.

I want to see something unexpected on Noah's Arc, otherwise we will be left with two dimensional action figures of black gay life and love, which is not a bad thing with all that hot Nubian beauty they prance in front of the camera, but a little krptonite would be cute too. Maybe that is why I like the show, I am trying to figure out where I fit in, and I don't see it exactly. But the bigger question is why I am searching for myself on LOGO. I think it is being thrown back into a market driven economy where I should receive my subliminal signals of belonging and cues for what to buy at the mall through television. It has been almost 2 years since I have been back, and it is very difficult to resist the advertised candy.

And on Project Runway . . . Laura won! Great! I think she is a very interesting woman. My bet is that Uli will be kicked off in the next round. But who knows? It is so very much about what people like and don't like. It would take a total lack of judgment for the judges to kick Michael off, he could thread a wad of Dax hair wax on elongated buffalo tendons and call it charmeuse and dem bitches would love it. But I don't hate the brother, I love that they love him, it is just that the competition is so stiff now. Jeffery and Laura are impeccable to me too. Uli is just into the sun dress, that is all she can do . . . which reminds me to tell you guys something about Germany when I a bit well rested.

The last thing I want to mention is my post on August 25, where I said that my grandfather would have had no problem figuring out that ad. I have changed my mind. I wonder what he would have thought, seeing that I never meet him, I just grew up with the legacy of his activism around me. He was one of those armed deacons that guarded Martin Luther King when he visited Mount Olive Baptist church in Anniston, Alabama and he was big on urging people to pay the poll tax in order to vote. There is a part of me that understands what level of comprehension my grandfather's actions required, but then there is the question of sexuality, nudity, play, male bonding and the second World War. What would have been his perspective sans Derrida? That is the true question, and could I ever know for certain what his thinking dictated to himself internally verses what he expressed externally. I know that he was worried about raising soft men, but is that the same as a faggot? Is it being feminine or is it the fucking?

I wonder.

I have depicted him in fiction before, maybe I should try and sketch it out.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

September 12, 2006

On the morning of September 12, 2001 I was living in Tuebingen, Germany on Lazarettegasse in an apartment above a bike store. The entire building used to be a coffin workshop. It did not surprise me because there was a feeling that a little girl was always running through our house, between the toilet and my bedroom. I remember that morning because I woke up and realized that what I saw on television was not a dream. There was still that lingering feeling that the MGM Lion was going to pop up and I could turn off the television and get on with my life. Instead I went to the Deutsches-Amerikanisches Insititut, saw my co-workers, had a coffee and sat down to watch more television. It was fall, I was sad, I was teaching way too much for the money, I was preparing for ghastly commutes and I spent every bit of extra time I had with Das Experiment.

Tuebingen was like Nashville in the way that I always felt I had to get moving or I would be trapped. It was different than Nashville in that I found a great love (little did I know how it was going to fundamentally change me) and with love you can live anywhere. And that is the beauty of a relationship, it makes life more habitable.

I am such a romantic.

I think I am going to leave it at that. I am going to try and bash out an article that deals with Willie Ninja and the New York I seem to have lost. I drove up the Westside Highway to see that the piers near Christopher Street are gone. It looks like a water park in Chicago or Toronto. It just doesn't feel like New York. I was in Brooklyn this Sunday, and Fulton Street between the G and C train stops looks like Park Slope. Everything is so white and middleclass. Not a bad thing, but nerve racking none-the-less, that what I used to think of as some sort of spiritual resting stop. I used to eat at a resturaunt near there because I knew the cook and she used to lift my spirits up. I remember going their after a funeral, a young lady that sat two desks in front of me died of breast cancer, she was only 28. That meal and those smiles were just what I needed that day. Now I struggle to find the resturaunt on that block.

New York used to be accessible, now it is prohibitively expensive. I used to walk briskly down that same street because it was on the edge of crime land. Now it looks like HGTV adopted the block.


Enough of my ramblings.

I will write a bit more later.

When I am done banging out at least one timely article to sell to somebody.

I have started to get back in the groove.


One of the dangers of exile is that you miss all the hyped events and movies in your home country. Youtube came to my rescue again . . . this time it was Whitney Houston singing at the Michael Jackson tribute. Besides Usher looking weird with that wolf fur draped around him, Whitney did look like death moonwalking to your front door. Damn! Now I see why we needed an intervention.

I still think there is something epic in her life and how it mimics our current state of Black America. My stepmother's best friend and her husband came to have coffee and Sunday chat. I remember Peter saying "I miss the Cosby show. It depicted black folk as we really are." Yeah, I thought, but what about "the depiction" we slide with honey and rose filtered lenses to ourselves rather than what we want white folk to see? That would be a different show: Preppy black children smoking blunts and oblivious to their sero-status. We fault Whitney, but she mimics us and our values and what we ultimately do to our children through expectations. And that was when I realized that my parents wanted me to turn out like one of the Cosby kids, a doctor (doesn't matter, medical or intellectual) with an empty smile and an American dream, brandishing impecable sweaters. I had forgotten totally with whom I am living and what these guys want!

Maybe I can negotiate for more emotional space now. Thanks Whitney!