Work and More Work

So I have been away for a minute, and my hits per week look a mess. I know I owe many of you a phone call but please DON’T DESERT ME CHILDREN! Not when I need you the most!

*SIGH*

Seriously, things have been really insane with my paid gig, and also with putting things together for this book launch. Check out the finished website for Letters From Young Activists. The book is already available at your local bookstore. If we’re doing a book event in your town, please support the event by bringing some folks and buying your book from that bookstore. If there’s no book event in your town, please email me at kenyon@lettersfromyoungactivists.org so we can work something out. In addition, if you know book clubs, or university professors who teach stuff on Politics, any of the ethnic studies (Af-Am/Black, Latino/Chicano/Asian-Am, Native Am & Arab/Middle Eastern), or social movements, please hip them to the book as a possible teaching tool.

Lastly, I am also about to join the Clamor Magazine team as the Culture Editor. I think it will be a really great opportunity to shape a section of a magazine, give some folks an opportunity to cut their teeth in writing, and learn the magazine publishing thang for…who knows what may lie ahead…!!!

So those are some things I am up to. Stay tuned…

GO SEE "Black Folks Guide to Black Folks"

:::SUCKA FOR LIFE:::Black Folks Guide to Black Folks:::


[For a text version click here.]
THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT.

BLACK
FOLKS GUIDE TO BLACK FOLKS

one woman. one neighborhood. one love.

Written and Rocked by Hanifah Walidah

Original Music by Hanifah Walidah

Produced by Wabi Sabi Productions and in conjunction with Trust Life
Relases and The Hip Hop Theater Festival, Black Folks Guide to Black
Folks, a play heralded across the country from press and audiences of
every make up as ‘groundbreaking!’ will make its New York debut at the
Producer’s Club this Octobe rfor 3 weeks only!

Go To Show Details and Ticket
Information and Discounts


“More
over Anna Deveare Smith – there’s a new queen of solo performance in
town…”


The Boston Globe

“Amazing…Transfixed!…A comedic tour de force” –
SF Chronicle


ABOUT
THE PLAY

In Black Folks Guide to Black Folks, Hanifah Walidah becomes an entire
neighborhood of characters linked together in a polyrhythmic mesh of loves
and life lessons. In particular, Black Folks Guide approaches the topic
of homophobia in the black community by remaining true to the familiar
as it blurs the lines and giggles in the faces of sexuality, health, love,
faith, and fear.

Black
Folks Guide initially debuted in Oakland, CA in 2002 and has since been
commissioned by the 4th Annual NYC Hip Hop Theater Festival, Harvard,
Stanford, Depaul, The SF International Arts Festival, National Black
Arts Festival, Seattle Langston Hughes Theater, National Black Theater
Festival, Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, the Boston Theater
Offensive Festival. Fall 2005 marks the official debut of the piece
in NYC for a 3 week initial run at the Producer’s Club on Broadway.

"Inspiring,
Uproarious, Sincere…an impeccable performance" – East Bay
Express

The
place is Around-the-way, USA. The folks who live on this block are family,
friends and everyday faces. There is Dee who runs the neighborhood day
care and takes care of everyone’s child as her own takes care of her.
There’s the Cheatam clan who runs the Friday fish fry where you can
always find the men in the family playing a game of spades. There’s
Top Pop the elder (nobody knows how old exactly), Brother Kwan, a young
father who just joined the Fruit of Islam, Uncle Hump Dump who often
speaks of his ‘main man Pete’ and Cuzin’ Puddin’ who
is a social worker and Top Pop’s favorite manchild. Just down the block
is Lynn who sells incense, books and loves ladies with pretty feet.
Across the street is the Church of Love Everlasting with Pastor Ebonise
Preeds, whose son Louie is also dealing with his own loves and loss.
And lastly there is The Last Stop, at the end of the block, where Ms.
Invincible stands on a soap box which reads "Say Yo’ Peace"
and speaks to the one who counts the stars.

“A
gap tooth Zora Neale Hurston” – SF Bay Guardian


ABOUT
ARTIST, HANIFAH WALIDAH

Hanifah Walidah, a native New Yorker, is a sincere voice and breathtaking
story teller whose rubberband face embodies every word of her stories.
At one time known as poet Sha-Key, she is revered as a key architect
and pioneer of the modern fusion of hip hop and poetic verse co-founding
early poetic collectives The Vibe Khameleons and The Boom Poetic whose
artistic mark on the NYC poetry scene profoundly influenced then emerging
artists Sarah Jones, Saul Williams, Liza Jesse Peterson and others.
Her 15 year career
in music
has had her perform, record and collaborate with such artists
as The Brooklyn Funk Essentials, The Crystal Method, German Grammy-Award
Winning Producer Mousse T, The Roots and Mike Ladd. She received the
1999 NYFA Fellowship in Poetry and recently released the critically
acclaimed CD ,hip hop opera, “Adidi-the
Untold Story
” featuring Saul Williams, Mums The Schemer and
music by Earl Blaize of Antipop Consortium. This fall will introduce
her sophmore album "Once Upon It Is" which features music
from Black Folks Guide to Black Folks. More recently she was appoointed
musical director for the upcoming hiphop/spoken word adapatation of
The Wiz, enitled "What It Iz" debuting in 2006. ‘

“A
mischievous mix media millennium whip, Hanifah speaks with passion we
associate with Zora Neale Hurston and Amira Baraka.”

– Ntozake Shange


SHOW
INFORMATION

Theater: The Producer’s Club

358 44th Street (between 8th/9th aves)

A/C to 42nd Street (Exit 44th St.)

Dates:
October 14-30 – For 3 Weekends Only!

Times: Fri. 8pm, Sat. 2pm/8pm, Sun. 2pm

Tickets: 20 In advance, $25 at Door, $15 Seniors

SPECIAL DISCOUNT if you recieved
this email from anyone of our sponsors Sucka For Life Members, Hip Hop
Theater Festival, Black Pride NYC or Ubiquita NYC. The discount
is only for the first weekend
and can be purchased at www.theatermania.com
with the following discount code: org999


ONCE
UPON IT IS
is a full
length CD of original music featured in and inspired by the one woman
show Black Folks Guide to Black Folks. Listen to songs from the album
here.
No plugins need.

Check out www.blackfolksguide.com

Become a Sucka For
Life
?

Visit our sponsors: Hip
Hop Theater Festival
, Wabi Sabi
Productions
, Ubiquita
NYC
, New York State Black Gay
Network
(email), Black Pride NYC, Sucka
For Life

TICKETS
ON SALE NOW !!!

This
is a Trust Life Release || Artwork: HWAR
|| Contact:
suckaforlife@trustlife.net

****************************************

SUCKA FOR LIFE

Temporary Relief of he Multi-Talented Blues

****************************************

A Trust Life Release

****************************************

 

Lazy Blogging, Part 2

So while I am plugging away at a zillion different things, I thought I’d point you to my first blog post, which was done when I had far few hits per week. So, if you didn’t get it the first time, check this out…

Bohemians.Basquiat.Brooklyn Museum
So, yesterday was “First Saturday” at Brooklyn Musuem. For my out-of-town fans (or non-bohemian New Yorkers), the first Satuday of every month is a free day at the museum, complete with film screenings, symposia (or whatever the plural of symposium is) musicians, and DJ’s for a dance party. The theme usually centers around on of the exhibits, and since there is a current exhibit of Jean Michel Basquiat’s work (Google it, children! I ain’t hyperlinking every reference, so get used to it!), this month’s activities centered around all things of a Negroid (American, Haitian and Puerto Rican) nature, especially NYC-based stuff – old school hip-hop, for example.

In any case, if you are a NYC bohemian, this is the place to be on the first Saturday of the month! If it’s a Black artist, then the Black-boho’s show up in full force (narrowly beating out the Europeans and the Japanese. Yeah, I said it!). I haven’t seen that many afros and locks and earthtone clothing since, well, my last birthday party! LOL!

So, not to be outdone by the other Black bohos, I stepped into my shower, got lathered up in Dr. Bronner’s Castille Soap (the almond scent), and shampoo-ed my snatch-bald head in Nature’s Gate Shampoo & Conditioner. Toweling off, I dipped up some Queen Helene’s Cocoa Butter Lotion (cuz part of being a Black Bohemian means keepin’ it real!) and once I was greased up sufficiently, added another Black Boho fragrance – an oil – Egyptian Musk.

Lastly, I slid into my super-baggy khaki cords (cuz despite it being May, it is still cold as all hell in NYC for some reason), cream-colored dashiki (fly enough to be a real boho, but with plenty rips and tears to keep my street cred), and a brown polyester leisure suit-style jacket with faux pearl buttons. I threw on(What am I saying? Bohos never throw anything on. Everything’s a part of the drag!) Some copper bracelets and a big ass clunky orange-stone ring. The shoes? Not-so-pristinely white chunky K-Swiss.

My boo picked me up, looking just as boho-fly, and we went to buy some chicken wings and fries from the Halal Chinese restaurant, which we finished in the van before hitting the steps of the museum.

As much as I hate (or claim to) these type of seen-and-be-seen type of events, there is something I like about playing dress up, looking like somebody you’d wanna fuck and going out to make other people warm for your form. Art be damned! LOL!!! Seriously, it is somewhat self-affirming–considering that as a black boho fag who came out at the height of homo-thug hype and the down-low disaster–to be able to see yourself in other people, even if it is full of it’s own bullshit and contradictions.

So, in the midst of this scene of has-beens, wannabees and will-be-somedays, I am also here to actually see the exhibit. I am not an art aficionado – not fine arts, anyway. But I know that Basquiat is one of a handful of painters that I really feel. And I wanted to see his work in person. So, after walking up 5 flights of stairs, and waiting in a line for about 20 minutes (the line was backed up 5 rooms on the floor, but moved surprisingly quickly), my boo and I enter the exhibit.

The exhibit is on two floors of the museum. And since Basquiat’s work is not still-life fruit bowls nor quaint country scenes, two floors of walking through a Basquiat show is no easy feat, emotionally. Amidst the tourists and the bohemians (some with children!) and trying to move at a pace also comfortable for my boyfriend (completely unfamiliar with both Basquiat and his work), I tried to engage every piece as if I was alone with it. Museums, for all their pristine sterility, are designed so that you can, in theory, solely focus on the painting, and not your environment. This is extremely difficult when the place is teeming wih people, and the museum has spent hundreds of thousands to create and promote the “environment” of “First Saturday”– which has nothing to do with the art itself, but more about getting consumers to identify or aspire to the lifestyle they attach to that environment. And lets face it, many people go to First Saturday not because they can’t afford the $8 suggested donation every other day of the month, but because of the carnival-like atmosphere that this monthly event creates. In short, it’s a meat market for the up-and-coming.

I wondered, what Basquiat, wherever he was watching from, was making of all this. I thought he was loving the attention, as he definitely wanted desperately to be considered among the greats. He must have also hated the arrogance that surrounded such affairs. I thought I heard him laugh out loud when a kid around 9 years old ran up and slapped the gold tooth of some skull he’d painted, while the whole gallery gasped in utter horror, and shooting daggers at the Japanese mom for not having more control over her rambunctious (and half Black!) litte boy. For that moment pointed to the hypocracy of the whole event – a bunch of bourgie ass people mad at a young Black boy for doing what children do, and yet gawking at the gritty, unpretentious work of a poor Black sexuallly ambiguous junkie who died so tragically young — which is the way white people tend to like Blacks — dead at a young age. Bird. Billie. Bob.

For us Black bohemians, we were there, desperately wanting to see ourselves in his work, but uncomfortable (if not pissed) at having to be exposed to the work of our own geniuses in settings like these. But we also come with our own bullshit, too. Many of us in that room were having our sick and perverse fantasies of being the next Black messiah slung on some stark white walls in such a place, long after our death. Is this the best we can hope for? Isn’t this sense of isolation (and desperate loneliness that accompanies the Black Messiah syndrome) what Basquiat himself was trying to deal with, both in his own life, and his study of the lives of Bird, Joe Louis, and others he painted about?

So, in attending an event to feel a sense of community with my fellow Black Boho Brethren and Sistren, ironically, I end up confronting my own isolation. I think this is what I got from Basquiat’s life and work (and from the pleasure of seeing it here, amongst my fellow Black bohemians); being wealthy and famous does not make us free.