TOMORROW: Audre Lorde Project Celebrates 10 Years

M. Jacqui Alexander & Colin Robinson To Speak on June 1st

ALP is excited to announce that M. Jacqui Alexander and Colin Robinson have joined the program for June 1st, Living a Legacy – ALP Celebrates 10+ Years.

(And since this is my blog, I am proud to announced that I, KENYON FARROW, WILL BE HOSTING THE FUNCTION!!!!)

Buy Your Tickets for living a legacy Today!

Buy on-line at www.alp.org, use the ”Donate Now” Button to donate the amount of your ticket(s). use code ALP10 as the Designation for your gift. RSVP at rsvp@alp.org.

* * *

The Audre Lorde Project Presents:

living a legacy:

Celebrating Action, Imagination and Struggle

Join us in honoring 10 years since we opened our doors.

Learn how it all started and where we are headed!

friday, june 1st 2007

6:00pm Food and Gallery

7:30pm Performers and Speakers

ticket info

$25, $50, $75, $500, $1,000

Reservation and Questions:

rsvp@alp.org or 718-596-0342 x15

Buy on-line at www.alp.org,

use the ”Donate Now” Button to donate the amount of your ticket(s). use code ALP10 as the Designation for your gift.

hosted by:

Kenyon Farrow

performances by:

Lavender Light Gospel Choir and House of Ninja

speakers:

Joo-Hyun Kang

Robert Vázquez-Pacheco

Colin Robinson

Bran Fenner

Shash YázhÍ

Lidell Jackson

Sung E Bai

M. Jacqui Alexander

location:

Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church

85 South Oxford Street, Brooklyn, New York

directions: http://www.alp.org/directions.php

host committee:
Achebe Powell • Alvin Starks • Amu Ptah • Atif Toor • Bran Fenner • Carmen Chiong • Carrie Davis • Cathy Cohen • Chandan Reddy • Christine Lipat • Colin Robinson • Dean Spade • Debanuj Das Gupta • Don Kao • Ellen Gurzinsky • Eve Rosahn & Marian Banzhaf • Glen Francis • Imani Henry • Javid Syed • Jesse Ehrensaft-Hawley • John Manzon-Santos • John Won • Joo-Hyun Kang • Jorge Irizarry • Julia Beatty • Karina Walters • Katherine Acey • Kenyon Farrow • LeiLani Dowell • Leslie Feinberg • Lorraine Ramirez • Mara Keisling • Mark Reyes • Mohan Sikka • Nguru Karugu • Regina Shavers • Richard Burns • Rickke Mananzala • Shash Yázhí •Sheila Stowell •Soniya Munshi • Sophia Silao • Sung E Bai • Svati Shah • Vanessa Agard-Jones • Yul-san Liem

* * *

the “we’re-still-fabulous” after-party
10+ years of organizing!

friday, june 1st, 2007
Southpaw 125 Fifth Avenue & Sterling Place, Brooklyn.

Doors open at 11pm.

we spinning R&B, electroclash, hip hop
DJ Ang
DJ Andre the __________
DJ Designer Imposter

$5 w/event ticket
$10 w/o event ticket

more info. call 718-596-0342 x10

NYC PRIDE Update: The Parade and Pier Party are On!

So a few weeks ago I jumped on a story that NYC PRIDE, as organized by Heritage of Pride, Inc., was cancelled. I was wrong. Someone from their organization posted this in the comments under that blog entry:

To clarify, NYC Pride WILL be proceed as planned!!! It is the street festival that has been cancelled.

The people who volunteer at HOP do so because they believe in the importance of celebrating the LGBT community. Making Pride happen takes allot of work. We decided to do this because we refuse to be told what to do by the city, when it is obvious that the city is more than capable of supplying the services it says it can not on Saturday June 23rd. We are standing up for ourselves, our events, and our community.

So I got it wrong. The PRIDE March and the Pier Dance are going on as planned. It is only the street festival (known as PRIDEFEST) they were trying to move to Saturday, and move it up to Chelsea. So go and get your PRIDE on on Sunday, June 24. I emailed HOP and asked them to send me a statement saying PRIDEwould still go on, but they haven’t responded. I will be in Portland, OR that weekend giving a panel for my book, Letters From Young Activists: Today’s Rebels Speak Out” at the Universalist Unitarian General Assembly. Too bad I am missing Portland’s Black Pride by one week.

I am not sure I would have attended NYC PRIDE this year anyhow. I can’t stand the NYPD bull pens that pack people in and herd us like cattle with no way to determine which direction I want to head in. For those of you unfamiliar, you cannot cross any street to get to where you must go. You have to follow their prescribed street pattern-no matter how out-of-the-way it takes you. How can you have a parade (or a march or rally or demonstration) about liberation and be stuck in a bullpen and subjected to intense policing and surveillance?

I am surprised no major rioting or incidence have happened. I have been in those bullpens and it is extremely dehumanizing, and it puts every on edge. There simply is no way to feel empowered or to celebrate under such conditions. I am sure they know that.

Beanie Sigel: Upclose and Personal w/ Fellow Rapper

MediaTakeout.com, my favorite entertainment gossip site, just linked to this Youtube video of Beanie Sigel seen standing just behind this other rapper (who is rapping behind the cheesiest house music track I ever heard), who seems to be trying to press his lips up on this other guy’s face (just a few days after Sigel tried to insinuate that Kanye West and Pharrell Williams might be gay). Some might call it kissing. You be the judge.

Drug Resistant Staph Infection May Be An Epidemic in Black Chicago

Today’s Chicago Tribune reported a story about a drug resistant bacteria that seems to be spreading through black communities in Chicago, largely because of prisons, and over-crowding in housing projects. The report on the spread of the bacteria called MRSA comes from a new article published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The Tribune Reports:

MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, a potentially virulent bacteria that doesn’t respond to several antibiotics used to treat common staph infections.

People struck by the bug frequently develop painful skin boils or abscesses and, in rare circumstances, deadly pneumonias, blood infections and other life-threatening conditions….

…Until the late 1990s, MRSA was found exclusively in hospitals. When Chicago researchers reported finding the bacteria in previously healthy, non-hospitalized children in 1998, they were met with disbelief. But after further investigation, it became clear that a new type of superbug, known as community-associated MRSA, had evolved.

According to the story, MRSA was a staph infection most likely found in hospitals. Hospitals, while they try their best (let’s just assume that) to be sterile places, bacteria do live and thrive in hospitals, and people do sometimes catch secondary infections while in the hospital for some other treatment. Somehow, the bacteria has migrated out of the hospital, and has since turned up in Cook County Jail, and then in the largely poor black West Side Chicago neighborhood.

Jails and prisons are horrendous places in general, and they certainly are places where infectious disease are apt to spread–large numbers of people living in close quarters that are often unsanitary, with little access to medical treatment and care.

Housing Projects are horrendous places in general, and they certainly are places where infectious disease are apt to spread–large numbers of people living in close quarters that are often unsanitary, with little access to medical treatment and care.

Am I saying that projects and prison/jails create somewhat similar conditions? Draw your own conclusions.

Also prisons/jails and lack of affordable and adequate housing have made for highly transient urban black populations. And instability /migrations drives the risk of all kinds of infectious disease, including HIV/AIDS. Not enough is made of the highly transient nature of black America, and its link to risk of all kinds of health problems (of which I include inter-community violence–people can act out violently against people for whom they don’t feel any connection or accountability).

The one thing I am a little leery of about this is that according the story, researchers have begun calling this new drug resistant infection “community-associated” MRSA. I understand that it is a new and more potent strain of the bacteria, but something about the phrase “community associated” can take on racial undertones about the nature of the infection, because it is mostly present in blacks.

In addition, the Tribune story refers to it as a “superbug” a term that the news media and health journalists (I think) ought to not be in the business of using. The media started calling the 2005 case of the NYC patient who had a multi-drug resistant (seemingly) rapid progression HIV infection as a “super-strain” or “super-bug” — which a recent article in the Journal of Infectious Disease proved to be a false claim. Though this patient was a white gay male, the media created this “superbug” story–without exercising the proper amount of skepticism, and unneccessarily further stigmatized gay men.

I am currently reading a new book by Harriet A. Washington called Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation On Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present. Washington has a great analysis of how diseases get racialized that bear some relevance in the danger of labeling things “community associated” and “superbugs.”

Does Your Mama Know?: 4 in 10 Americans Have Gay Family/Friend

The Pew Research Center just released a new study showing 4 in 10 people in America has a gay or lesbian family member or close friend.

So you’re asking “so what?”

Look children. This blog can’t be all shits and giggles. Sometimes I gotta give you the news.

From Pew:

In the past four decades, growing numbers of gays have come out of the closet and into the mainstream of American life. As a consequence, 4-in-10 Americans now report that some of their close friends or family members are gays or lesbians, according to a recent national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

About half of all women, young people, college graduates, political liberals and mainline Protestants say that someone close to them is gay, the survey found. But significantly fewer men, conservative Republicans and older Americans report that a good friend or family member is homosexual.

An analysis of survey results suggests that familiarity is closely linked to tolerance. People who have a close gay friend or family member are more likely to support gay marriage and they are also significantly less likely to favor allowing schools to fire gay teachers than are those with little or no personal contact with gays, the poll found.

What was interesting to me also was that the numbers seemed to be about the same across race, geographic region, and religion. The biggest disparities were across age, and religious affiliation–younger heteros knew more queers (excuse me. GAYS and LESBIANS), and Conservatives knew fewer.

Summer Sizzles in NYC

Say “Summer Sizzles in NYC” with a lisp! Cute huh?

Summer is the only reason to live in NYC. Why in the hell else would you chose to live with astronomical rent, filthy subways and a profound lack of trees (outside of the parks)? What makes NYC worth all the drama, is that period between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

People are outside, and wearing very little. New Yorkers are the hottest people in the US as a whole–and not that fake Miami/LA paid-for hotness. I’m talking realness, honey. The other thing that makes NYC summer so hot is all the free outdoor music, theater and dance!

Here’s what’s up!

NYC Summerstage, the biggest and most well-known of the outdoor festivals, held in Central Park, opens June 8 with a benefit concert featuring Joss Stone and Common. That one you gotta pay for, but the other highlights I am loking forward to are:

6/15: Cassandra Wilson & Olu Dara

7/06: Ronald K. Brown /Evidence Dance Company & Full Circle Productions

7/11: Femi Kuti & DJ Rich Medina

8/09: The Black Crowes

8/12: ANGELIQUE KIDJO!!!!, Zap Mama & K’naan

That’s just a taste kids! I think this is the best overall schedule they’ve had in years. But you gotta check out the full schedule on the website. The dance companies in particular this year at SummerStage look phenomenal.

The City Parks Foundation brings concerts to some of the smaller parks in New York City neighborhoods in all 5 boroughs. The acts often rotate parks, so if you didn’t catch em in one place, you can go to another. Some of my pics in this series are:

Brooklyn

Von King Park
7/19: Arrested Development

Brower Park
7/11: Roy Ayers

Manhattan

Jackie Robinson Park
8/8: Biz Markie / DJ Lovebug Starski
8/15: Leela James + DJ

Marcus Garvey Park
8/16: Dwele

Lastly, is Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park, the “other” park in NYC.

6/29: Groove Collective, Ravi Coltrane & Craig Harris

7/5: Isaac Delgado, Xiomara Laugert (DON’T SLEEP) & Pistolera

7/20: Bobby “Blue” Bland & Catherine Russell

7/26: Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company

8/11: Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars, Sekouba Bambino, Stella Chiweshe, Shiko Mawatu, Baye Kouyaté et les Tougarakés

In addition to these, check out Fort Greene Parks Summer Soul Summit Music Parties, Public Theater Shakespeare in the Park(Romeo & Juliet, Midsummer Night’s Dream), and see what the Classical Theatre of Harlem (Electra) is serving up this summer.

*Swoon*

I’m gonna need a gentleman caller (or two) to accompany lil ‘ole me to all these events!

Any takers? LOL!

Blackface Drag Queen Feels Regret. Almost.

If there has been a crusade I have held in the last few years, it has been to permanently shut down Chuck Knipp’s blackface drag character, Shirley Q. Liquor. (I dont’t even like posting this photo, but I think it helps people understand exactly what we’re talking about.)

Jasmyne Cannick, who lead a most successful campaign to stop Knipp’s LA performance in February, blogged yesterday about an article in the upcoming June issue of Rolling Stone about Shirley Q. Liquor, the black southern woman on welfare with 19 kids, as it is performed by white gay man, Charles “Chuck” Knipp, who moonlights as a nurse and Quaker minister.

*eyes roll*

Although the online version is not the full article, the online version was surprising for three reasons.

  1. The number of celebrities who have hired Shirley Q.–from actress Sela Ward, the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy cast and country music star Dunn of Brooks & Dunn.
  2. Knipp does well on Shirley Q. gigs & mammy knick-knacks–to the tune of $70,000-90,000 per year.
  3. Knipp regrets that his performances create an environment for white people to laugh at blacks.

To the last point, Knipp says:

“Wealthy white people are starting to hire me for private parties, where I play the raisin in a bowl of oatmeal,” he says. “From the way they interact with me, I can see that my being there as Shirley makes them feel it’s acceptable to openly mock black people in a way they otherwise would not, and that does cause me to have second thoughts. If what I’m doing is truly hurtful, then I need to stop.”

Well I am glad he realizes that. But I guess the mounting protests over the last 5 years of mostly black people (and in NYC, whites and other allies of color) hasn’t mattered at all to you? So it took white people to make you stop and think about what you were doing? It doesn’t make me pity him. It makes me understand the ways black people (either physically or sybolically–in the case of mostly non-black people “performing” blackness) are just fodder for a conversation about white people–their anxiety, their suffering, their “humanity.” In other words, black people’s collective pain, anger, and frustration mean absolutely nothing to white people, unless it’s in solidarity with some other groups’ pain–which is why the white gay orgs are always looking for a black minister to support their poltical aims–yet they never get behind issues that impact blacks a a whole, queer or not.

Hmmm…

The article concludes with him doing his normal schtick of him defending his performance to bring about racial healing. To be fair, I am not sure when he said this to the reporter–before or after expressing regret for the implications of his performance. Lecia Brooks, Director of Education at the Civil Rights Memorial Center in Montgomery, AL told Rolling Stone:

“I was incensed to see all these white folks nonchalantly giggling at a white man in blackface drag,” says Brooks, who is black and a lesbian. “It’s amazing to me that even the rampant homophobia in the South doesn’t put a dent in the sense of racial privilege presumed by the white gay men who patronize this clear example of racism and misogyny disguised as entertainment.”

Couldn’t be better said. The question for me is, does Chuck Knipp feel bad enough to give up that $70K hustle?