Wednesday, July 30, 2008

“Both Ways Barack” Tries to Put Candidate in Compromising Position

As you have probably already heard MTV has aired its first political ad ever, and surprisingly it was an anti-Obama ad. The new ad says Barack Obama “wants to have them all, both ways. He’s ‘Both Ways Barack.’ Worse than a flip-flopper.”

Is it just me or does anyone else seem troubled by conservative group Let Freedom Ring’s choice of terminology in the new “Both Ways Barack” political attack ads? To me the ad is both incredibly weak and incredibly affective and powerful in attacking Obama. While the flip-flopping argument is a pretty weak and easily dismissible accusation, by subconsciously associating Obama and his politics with the phrase “both ways” the Right is attempting to subtly discredit Obama’s masculinity and sexuality in the minds of American voters.

Similar to the criticisms that bi-sexual individuals regularly receive from both gay and straight people, the ad charges that Obama can’t be trusted to stick to a position (no pun intended) and is therefore deceptive and/or inexperienced. I also find it interesting that they apply the “both ways” label to Obama considering the media frenzy around brothers on the DL. Black men who go “both ways,” have been villainized and scrutinized in the mainstream media and part of me wonders whether the ad was trying to subconsciously tap into that dominant fear, resentment, and distrust, of Black men by using words associated with DL discourse.

Maybe I’m just being paranoid, but with that word choice I sincerely doubt that it’s just coincidence. Check out the ad for yourself...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Obama and Vogue

“America ... is ready for a black president, so why are we not ready for a black model?”
-Italian Vogue editor Franca Sozzani

The July issue of Italian Vogue, dubbed the “Black Issue,” flew off the shelves and is now in reprints. This is the first magazine in Condé Nast’s history to be reprinted to satisfy demand; it’s also the first issue of Vogue to go into reprint. According to Young, Black, and Fabulous Vogue gave word to US distributors to “keep this All Black Issue on the stands until AFTER the November elections.” Apparently, Vogue feels that this will throw foreign support behind the Obama campaign here in America.

While Obama would definitely be our most fashionable President, I'm having a bit of a hard time seeing what one has to do with the other. I think Vogue, like a plethora of other media outlets (CNN’s “Black in America” anyone?), is capitalizing on the current fetishization and commodification of all things Black. While I think the July issue of Italian Vogue is a landmark moment in fashion history, I wonder what the long-term impact of the issue will be on the fashion industry. For instance, many advertisers still used white models for the ads in the July issue because they felt that Black models wouldn’t sell, even in an all Black issue. I hope that rather than mere pandering, industries like fashion, television, film and music will actually make some changes and actively challenge systems of white hegemony in the media.

Here's a YouTube clip with images from the July Vogue...


Check out the trailer for Bill Maher and Larry Charles' new documentary Religulous. I'm fascinated because there's a segment with Jose Luis De Jesus Miranda, the Puerto Rican preacher who dons a 666 tattoo and thinks he is simultaneously Christ and the anti-Christ. I can't wait to hear what a conversation between him and Bill Maher sounds like.

Tony Dize Arrested

Reggaetonero Tony Dize was arrested on Sunday afternoon for marijuana possession. He was riding in the passenger seat when a cop pulled over his friend for tinted windows. When the officer asked for the drivers license and registration he noticed the scent of marijuana and arrested Dize and two of his friends.

via/ Lossip

Danny Glover’s Toussaint lacks "white heroes"

Actor Danny Glover is planning on making his directorial debut next year with an epic about Haitian independence hero Toussaint-Louverture. Glover recently told the press that he had difficultly finding financiers to back the film because there were not enough “white heroes.” Glover told Paris’ AFP, "Producers said 'It's a nice project, a great project... where are the white heroes?'" That’s a bit of a strange request considering the film is about the liberation of Haiti, the worlds first free Black republic and the first country in the western hemisphere to abolish slavery.

It was especially difficult to finding funding for the film in Europe, according to Glover, "I couldn't get the money here, I couldn't get the money in Britain. I went to everybody… The first question you get, is 'Is it a black film?’ All of them agree, it's not going to do good in Europe, it's not going to do good in Japan.”

That’s where Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez comes in. Glover received 18 of the 30 million dollars needed to fund the film from Villa del Cine, a new government-funded studio outside of Caracas, which is part of Chavez’s effort to combat what he calls “the Hollywood film dictatorship.” Chavez hopes that Toussaint will teach international audiences about imperialism and Western oppression and hegemony.

The film is set to star Don Cheadle, Mos Def, Wesley Snipes and Angela Bassett, and is being shot in Venezuela.

Many Venezuelan filmmakers and producers are not too excited about Villa del Cine’s $18 million investment in Toussaint. In an open letter the National Association of Film Makers and the Venezuelan Chamber of Film Producers said "It is Mr. Glover who should be bringing dollars to Venezuela."

I hope the film gets made and has a decent release/distribution because it an extremely important but often overlooked part of history. I also hope that the film is able to generate money for the Venezuelan film industry and help establish it as a progressive media powerhouse. Keep an eye out for Toussaint in 2009.

Props to for putting me on to this story.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Music Mondays 7.28.08

Jim Jones calls NaS a Dweeb
In an interview with globalGrind's Kim Osorio Dip Set's Jim Jones called NaS a dweeb for protesting Faux News. Jones tells NaS to get real and focus on the recession. I think its a shame that members of the hip-hop community might not see the necessity and value of NaS' actions. Check out the clip below.
via/ Bossip

Jowell & Randy f. Eloy and Zion - "Fuera del Planeta"
Puerto Rican Hipsterism pt. 2! Yes!

Bentley Fonsworth, Kanye West, & Andre 3000 - "Everybody"

Calling themselves C.O.L.O.U.R.S. (Cool Outrageous Lovers of Uniquely Raw Style), the three most fashionable men in hip-hop are out to turn Gs into Gents. I was surprised Bentley actually didn't sound awful.

Snoop Dogg - "My Medicine"

Snoop Dogg's tribute to the Man in Black Johnny Cash.

Tito El Bambino - "Vamo Pal Agua"
The ultimate summer jam!

Tony Dize f. Yandel - "Permitame"

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Bohemian Night @ No Parking

No Parking, a gay club in Washington Heights, holds a once a month open mic night with poetry, music, and dancing presented by Gay & Lesbian Dominican Empowerment (GALDE). The event was feautured in this weeks Time Out New York. Bohemian Night is held on the last Wednesday of the month. Bohemian Night MC Yoseli Castillo founded the event three years ago as an outlet for queer Latino/a artists. The event draws a predominantly Dominican and Puerto Rican crowd. The next Bohemian Night is Wednesday, July 30th from 7pm–10pm at No Parking.

No Parking
4168 Broadway (between 176th and 177th Sts)
Washington Heights
(Subway: A to 175th St, 1 to 181st St )

5 Summer Obsessions

I LOVE summer in New York City. There is no other time of year when there is so much cheap/free stuff (Shakespeare in the Park, Movies @ Bryant Park, Summer Stage, and so on). There is a ton of stuff to do everyday during the summers here, but I often find myself doing the same things because they are so quintessentially summer for me. Here the top 5 summer obsessions that have over run my life...

Movies @ Bryant Park
Monday nights in June, July and August you can see free movies in Bryant Park. The grass opens for picnicking at 5 p.m. and the films begin at sunset, typically between 8 and 9 p.m. A different classic film is shown every Monday, for a complete schedule check out

Dinner and Drinks @ La Esquina
This place is definitely fresa heaven, but don't let that detract from the fact that when you're sitting there having an elote callejero and a michelada you feel like god is personally smiling down on you.

La Esquina
106 Kenmare St
New York, NY 10012

Anything @ Shake Shack
People always ask whether the 45 minute to one hour wait is worth is and without doubt it is. The location is great, the shack burgers are amazing, the cheese fries are a godsend and the concretes are one of the best ways to cool down on a hot day after waiting an hour for a burger and fries. Plus it runs on wind power which is totally eco conscious and awesome.

Shake Shack SE Corner of Madison Sq. Park (23rd & Madison)

Brown Bagging a Beer @ Washington Sq. Park
I'm sorry but drinks are too damn expensive in NYC, so I'm a proponent of brown bagging beer. I usually do it right before dinner because I hate going to a cheap restaurant and having an outrageous bill because a friend and I had 2 beers. I'll also do it if I'm going out to a club so I can avoid paying $10 for a Bud Light (which should be illegal since it probably constitutes price gouging, no human being should have to pay $10 for a bud light). So before going out I'll buy a can of Tecate or a bottle of Presidente from the grocer, grab a brown bag and sit down and enjoy a beer and the (NYC) great out doors at Washington Sq. Park.

My all-time summer favorite....

People Watching @ Prince Street in SoHo
Regularly photographed by the Satorialist for GQ and proclaimed by Esquire to be the place where you see the most beautiful women on the planet, Prince Street is the gift that keeps on giving all year round, but is especially kind during the summer months (when people are showing a little ankle with their skinny jeans and vintage Gucci loafers). If you want to see the most beautiful and fashion forward men and women in the world just hang out on the corner of Prince and Broadway for an afternoon. Occasionally, when I'm shopping in the area I'll just look around and be thankful that I live in one of the most attractive cities on the planet.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Nas Takes on Fox News

So the hip hop community, and suprisingly much of the mainstream media, is abuzz with talk of Nas teaming up with Color of Change and Move On to stop Faux News' unfair and unbalanced attacks on people of color. There was a protest in front of the NewsCorp building in midtown on Wednesday where "famed hip hop artist Nas joined,, and lots of young sign-carrying protesters to demand that FOX News stop calling race-baiting attacks fair and balanced news" (racewire).

Nas delievered a pitition of more than 620,000 signatures and addressed Fox's, particularly Bill O' Reilly's , blatant racism on The Colbert Report. He also performed his song "Sly Fox". Check out the clip of Nas on the Colbert Report...

Fox News has a record of bullying liberal media and an aggressive anti-hip-hop agenda (remember the whole Stop Snitchin' fiasco?). Nas was caught in Fox's cross hairs for a his participation in a performance at VA Tech shortly after the shooting. Check out the full "Sly Fox" video which talks about O'Reilly's attack on Nas...

Bill O'Reilly responded to Nas' appearance on the Colbert Report as an attempt to boost record sales and then tries to flip the switch saying that Nas is racist because he wanted to give his new album the controversial title "Nig**r." Check out a clip from the show...

Please believe that Nas, Color of Change, and Move On are on point with their criticism of Faux News. Fox news will stop at nothing to promote their right-wing racist heteropatriarchial agenda. Fox News is so despicable that it will even stoop to doctoring photos to make rivals look "ugly" and and cartoonish in order to discredit them. The did it to New York Times writer Jacques Steinberg and editor Steven Reddicliffe. Check out the summary from Media Matters which broke the story:

During a segment in which Fox & Friends co-hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade labeled New York Times reporter Jacques Steinberg and editor Steven Reddicliffe "attack dogs," Fox News featured photos of Steinberg and Reddicliffe that appeared to have been digitally altered -- the journalists' teeth had been yellowed, their facial features exaggerated, and portions of Reddicliffe's hair moved further back on his head.

Check out the actual clip in question...

Check out MSNBC's Coverage...

Fellow Times writer David Carr was particularly outraged by the doctored photos and stood up to Fox and its dirty tactics. Carr also points out the Antisemitism apparent in the photoshopped photo of Jacques Steinberg, Carr notes:
“In a technique familiar to students of vintage German propaganda, (Steinberg’s) ears were pulled out, his teeth played apart, his forehead lowered and his nose widened and enlarged in a way that made him look more like Fagin than the guy I work with.” (For more Click Here)

Lastly, I want leave you with this ill doctrine clip which proves that no matter how many times O'Reilly tries to discredit Nas by saying his name wrong all he's doing is showing his bigoted immaturity and making himself look and sound like a fool.

Props to Nas, Color of Change and Move On.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I like my pants down low

In Flint, Michigan wearing pants hanging off your butt can land you in jail. The charge is being led by Flint Police Chief David Dicks who says wearing pants that sag below your waist is unsanitary and constitutes indecent exposure. The new ordinance also gives police probable cause to search "saggers" for weapons or drugs. Similar measures have also passed in In other places, mainly suburban areas. The measures impose monetary fines and even jail time in some cases. Check out the full article at Free Press.

It's crazy that the punishment for wearing a fashion born out of hip hop's fascination with prison culture is now actually punishable by jail time. I don't know why everyone seems to be obsessed with how low many Black and Latino@ youth are wearing there pants. I suspect it's because the fashion is catching on with white youth in suburban areas.

Baggy pants were even featured in the New York Times. CLICK HERE to listen to Times fashion photographer Bill Cunnigham talking about how the pants are dropping with the stock market (he's bugging).

Al Carajo con los Yankees

The hell with the Yankees. It pains me to say it because I've been a Yankee fan since I got my first mitt with Don Mattingly's autograph embossed on the leather. The Bronx keeps getting shit on and it kills me. First the Germans tell their soldiers to imagine they're shooting "Blacks in the Bronx" during training (don't believe me check out the link, props to Afronerd), to and now "our own" Bronx Bombers are turning their back on the community that made and supported them (back when they weren't the sell out dynasty that they are now).

It started with last week's All Star Game. Apparently people were too wrapped up in A-Rod's drama to remember to do ANYTHING for the residents of the Bronx during the event. After a number of non-profits reached out to the MLB to do activities in the area the organization basically told them to screw themselves. The Red Carpet Parade which is always held in the area surrounding the hosting team's stadium was moved from the Bronx to Midtown Manhattan for no apparent reason other than straight up bias against the boro and its residents. Even Bronx little leaguers got shafted, typically seats are made available at the homerun derby for local little league teams, but this was not done for Bronx little leaguers (and not to sound paranoid, but I think that's because these little leaguers are predominantly Black and Latino youths). Who hates on kids!? That's just wrong!

The Village Voice and the always on-point Juan Gonzalez attempted to shed light on the bias and ignorance that the All Star Game was promoting with it's actions. Comments about the Bronx being a war zone and/or a ghetto were not uncommon responses, check out this response to Gonzalez's article "The new Bronx is a dump, just like the old Bronx. It's dirty, lawless, and not a place to raise your kids." WTF!?

As if the bullshit and disrespect prevalent at the All Start Game wasn't bad enough, the new Yankee stadium is being built for enjoyment by the rich. In a Metro New York article by Patrick Arden (for full text click here) he highlights the ways in which it will become impossible for the average Yankee fan to buy tickets to a game, let alone the average Bronx resident. Assemblyman Richard Brodsky said at a state hearing on the matter that the Yanks are building a "stadium for rich guys.” What's more infuriating is that the city provided the Yankees with $930 million in tax-exempt bonds, which makes the new stadium a PUBLICALLY FUNDED PROJECT. Manhattan Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh wants publicly financed stadiums to make 7 percent of seats “affordable,” but who knows if what Kavanagh considers affordable is actually economically fesible for Bronx residents. The average ticket would go up from a cost of $28 to about $57. Many youth and Bronx residents were already priced out, a 50% increase in prices is truly a slap in the face.

I am sick of the constant disrespect that the Bronx and it's residents receive on a daily basis. Just like in 1977 the Bronx is Burning and just like last time the catalyst is is a result of anger and a racist and uncaring system, the only difference is that this time the fires are metaphorical. The Bronx is burning for respect, and the Yankees better wise up real fast.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Rick Ross C.O. Fiasco

So as many of you have probably heard has verified that rapper Rick Ross did indeed work as a Corrections Officer in Florida for 18 months. Ross, who has built his career on the idea that he was a big time coke dealer and hustler in Miami's Dade County attempted to deny the reports until TSG was able to obtain paystubs from the Florida Department of Corrections.

The backlash against Ross has been really harsh. The way that people are reacting to the news it makes sense that Ross would try to cover this up. In the long run I really don't get why people are bugging over this, Ross did what what every other rapper on the planet is guilty of doing: creating a commercially viable hypermasculine alter-ego. If you think Jay-Z and them were actually pushing weight and busting rounds you need to get real. Most of the rappers out there are no different than actors, and I don't mean that in a disparraging way, they're providing their audience with entertainment in the same way an actor in an action film would. This Rick Ross business is the equivilant of getting heated at Tarantino because he doesn't have bodies under his belt.

Cornell Dews astutely asks us to really consider the absurdity of this situation:

Has the COINTEL PRO infiltrated hip hop? I swear we’re working on some counter intelligence shit. As a community we’re thinking the wrong way; contrary to the right course; in the reverse or opposite direction, which is by definition counter intelligence. Check this out. We’re mad if you “lied” about knowing Noriega and the claim that he owes you a hundred favors. But we applaud if you do know Noriega from (we’re assuming) past dealings which meant that you was involved in drug trafficking that helped lead to the destruction of the same community from which we come. We’re mad if you “lied” about the money you made on the streets and the “bodies” you caught in the process, when in actuality you graduated high school and attended a historically black college on an athletic scholarship. Which we can derive meant you were a decent student athlete. We’re mad if you “lied” about going to prison, when instead you worked at one. Can’t yall see that we’re mad about the wrong shit?

For Dew's full post click here.

Personally, I like Rick Ross and I hope his career isn't destroyed over such stupid shit. Maybe he'll start talking about his experience as a C.O. I got to say though, it would be way more interesting to hear him talk about his experience as a black man working in the prison-industrial-complex, then the same old rhymes about guns, drugs, and women.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Puerto Rican Hipsterism

If you look at Nejo & Dalmata's new video "Mi Dia de Suerte/Un Call" it would appears as though the Puerto Rican diaspora has finally met its match with the hipster diaspora. I actually think the video looks very fun and retro and I like the song (the album is great, you should cop it if you don't already have it). I'm a big fan of Nejo & Dalmata because they're one of the only reggaeton duos who don't rely on the same tired r&b cantante/rapero combination. I'm definitely not feeling the way that Nejo is hosing off that girl in the "Un Call" video though.

Reconsidering Brokeback

So last week with all the hoopla about The Dark Knight and Heath Ledger’s posthumous performance as the Joker, a friend and I landed on the topic of Brokeback Mountain.

“So how do you feel about Brokeback?”

I confessed that I actually owned the film on DVD and enjoyed it quite a bit when I first saw it. I still think that the film has some of the most breathtaking cinematography I have seen in a long time. What I hated about Brokeback was the hyped up mainstream celebration of the film and the lack of critical race and sexuality analysis. For me, seeing the film in a theater packed with gay white men in Chelsea, I noticed the film became a collective moment for the predominantly Anglo audience to share their despair at the fact that there was no happy ending for the two white male protagonists.

In April I attended the Race, Sex, Power: New Movements in Black and Latino/a Sexualities Conference at UIC and heard a presentation by Jeffrey Q. McCune Jr. entitled “Brokeback Ain’t Black. The paper McCune presented spoke about the ways in which Brokeback reified the idea of coming out as necessary and the only route to freedom from the oppression of the closet (as if queers face no oppression outside of the closet). The film leaves you feeling that if Jack and Ennis had come out to themselves and others they would have been able to live an honest and open life with each other, ensuring their happy ending. McCune argued that because the two protagonist were white they were able to escape the stigmatization of the “Down Low” label. While Jack and Ennis see their secret moments at Brokeback as precious and their silence as necessary, contemporary audiences are provided cues in order to recognize their relationship as from another era. Because the film is set in the American West from 1963- 1983 their relationship is seen as quaint and antiquated. The film is historicized in such a way that it positions the timeframe of the film as a distant time where discretion and silence were the norms and violently enforced (as if that is still not the case for many queers of color and gender non-conforming queers). This allows contemporary audiences, and by extension society, to congratulate themselves on how far gay rights have come.

Check out this excerpt from "Probing the 'Brokeback Syndrome'":

One label Jack and Ennis rarely, if ever, get tagged with is “men on the down low,” even though they are married and have children, but still secretly sleep with men. Boykin, who is black and co-founder of the National Black Justice Coalition, a black gay rights group, says this represents a “racial double standard” since the relationship between Jack and Ennis is heralded as an epic love story instead of a threat to other people.

“It’s not really the term [down low] that matters, it’s what the term implies—and when you hear ‘down low,’ you don’t think good things, you think evil and deceptive,” Boykin says. “We’re more willing to consider the nuances of why [Jack and Ennis] are doing this, instead of seeing them as pathological the way we do with black men.”

For the full article click here

Brokeback succeeds in reinforcing the idea that the down low is unnecessary, antiquated, and ultimately wrong in contemporary mainstream gay culture. Black and Latino/a queer culture's attempt to embrace terms like “Down Low,” “MSM” (men who have sex with men), and “women who love women” as identities and markers are seen as aberrations rather than strategic attempts to redefine both mainstream gay culture and Black/Latino/a culture.

While I am set in the idea that Brokeback enforces and celebrates hegemonic mainstream gay male culture, my friend made me consider something positive about the way that white masculinity is dealt with in the film. He told me that what he really appreciated about the film was the way that Brokeback shows the way that hegemonic masculinity and heteropatriarchial society can crush a person. He cited the scene at the end of the film when Ennis is almost dancing with Jack’s bloodied denim shirt as a moment when the devastating effects of heteropatriarchy are made real. I agree with him that the film does show the brutality of normative hegemony, and succeeds in doing so through sparse dialogue, beautiful cinematography, and intense images of isolation which are more accessible to mainstream audiences.

I like Brokeback, and I think it is an important cultural artifact, but I also applaud academics and politicos like Jeffrey Q. McCune Jr., Keith Boykin, and others who are bringing critical race theory to the table in order for us to consider the impact of the film on the entire queer community.

Lazy Person's Guide to Eating Well

When you’re hitting the books, or doing whatever it is you do, until 4am it’s hard to remember to take the time to take care of yourself mentally and physically. I’m so that person who loves junk food and street food (Rafiqi’s Hallal Cart anyone?) and will reach for that when I’m stressed or in a rush. I’ve been trying to implement basic things in my life to make myself eat better. I’m a picky eater but doing some research I’ve realized that a lot of the food that I really enjoy eating (with the exception of broccoli which still makes me cringe like a toddler) are packed with nutrients. Here is a list I’ve compiled of 20 “Super Foods,” which are readily accessible and relatively inexpensive (except for Olive Oil which is expensive as hell, so my apologies).

1. Beans: You know my Puerto Rican ass was happy do see this on the list. Beans are a great source of protein and low in fat and calories. Beans help control your weight and blood sugar. I’m pretty sure that’s before you add the Sazon & Adobo though.

2. Blueberries: A real “brain food,” keeps your mind young as you mature. Rich in anti-oxidants.

3. Broccoli: Said to be the best food on the planet to prevent cancer.

4. Oats: Rich in fiber. Lowers cholesterol.

5. Oranges: Packed with vitamin C and one of the most readily accessible fruits for children. More vitamin C consumption can lower your chances of heart disease, cancer, and a plethora of other causes of death in this country.

6. Pumpkin: Phytonutrients keep your skin looking young and sexy.

7. Wild Salmon: Rich in Omega-3, wild salmon is a sure-fire way to lower your risk for a cardiac-related death. Make sure its wild and not farm-raised.

8. Soy: Packed with protein. Make sure not to over do it, too much soy can actually cause health complications.

9. Spinach: This leafy green promotes eye health and prevents cataracts.

10. Tea (green or black): Rich in anti-oxidants and the cheapest and easiest way to avoid cancer and heart disease.

11. Tomatoes: Helps men avoid prostate cancer

12. Skinless Turkey Breast: The leanest meat on the planet. Great source of protein.

13. Walnuts: Eating walnuts can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. High in Omega-3.

14. Yogurt: Boosts immunity.

15. Coconut Milk: Contains an antiviral, antibacterial fatty acid called lauric acid— the immunity booster babies get from breast milk.

16. Organic Grass-Fed Beef: Great source of iron, B vitamins, and zinc

17. Brazil Nuts: rich in the antioxidant selenium. Selenium is essential for sperm health, take note!

18. Cinnamon: the U.S. Department of Agriculture suggests that cinnamon regulates blood sugar, is an anti-inflammatory and inhibits cancer cells

19. Raw Honey & Molasses: If you use a lot of sweeteners try using this super healthy stuff instead. Unfiltered, raw honey contains phytonutrients and enzymes to aid digestion. Molasses is the nutritious byproduct from boiling sugarcane down to white sugar is a good source of iron and other minerals.

20. Olive Oil: Rachel Ray style…E.V.O.O. contains monounsaturated fats (reduce inflammation), phenols (cancer fighting anti-oxidants), and vitamin E. Cold-pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil contains more

Monday, July 21, 2008

Summer Mixtape Volume 1 - Opening @ Exit Art

This summer I've been interning at Exit Art an alternative arts space in New York City's Hell's Kitchen. This Thursday is the opening for the gallery's new show Summer Mixtape Volume 1: the Get Smart edition from 7-10pm.

Here's a description of the show:
Long after the cassette tape has become an obsolete relic of a clumsier analog era, the essence of the mixtape lives on through CDs and MP3 playlists. Summer Mixtape Volume 1: the Get Smart edition pays tribute to this vital form of popular expression with a group exhibition that compiles some of the hottest work from the New York area that the curators have seen all year.

The curators looked back through previous calls for submissions, canvassed other curators and artists for recommendations, visited dozens of artists’ studios, and saw hundreds of shows to wind up with the 27 artists that make up Summer Mixtape Volume 1. The works in the exhibition cover a vast array of themes and mediums, mirroring the diverse mix of sights, sounds and cultures on the streets of New York. The show also features a jukebox programmed specifically for the exhibition that includes mixtapes and cover art produced by the artists and some special guests.

The opening will feature premium lagers and treats from

I hope to see you there!

Summer Mixtape Volume 1: the Get Smart edition--Opening
Thursday, July 24, 2008
7:00pm - 10:00pm
475 Tenth Avenue (@ 36th Street)
New York, NY

Music Mondays

Ivy Queen's New Album Title
According to Blog de Reggaeton Ivy's new album will be called "Drama Queen." No word on when the album is set to drop.

Jowell & Randy Go Solo
I was damn near broken hearted when I was in Puerto Rico in January and Casa de Leones announced they would no longer record together. Now once again I'm a bit broken hearted that the next time I hear Jowell & Randy it'll be on separate albums. According to La Onda Tropical, the duo will work together in the future, but are going solo for a bit. Randy's new album will be called Romances de Nota.

Daddy Yankee's Film Talento de Barrio Premiering on Wednesday
As I said in an earlier post Talento de Barrio is premiering at the New York International Latino Film Festival on Wednesday. Here's a trailer to get you ready...

Kumbia Queers
How much do I love the Kumbia Queers! They performed in NYC last week as part of the Latin Alternative Music Conference (LAMC). If you haven't heard them check out their MySpace page: Queers Here's their video for "Chica de Calendario"...

Chosen Few 3: The Movie
The album is actually one of the hottest reggaeton albums I've heard in a minute. Check out the video for Jowell & Randy f. LDA "Entonces Esta Bien"...

I haven't seen the actually movie yet, but here's a trailer to give you an idea...

Julieta Venegas y La Mala Rodriguez Juntas!!
So I love La Mala and I like Julieta Venegas, but this unplugged version of "Eres Para Mi" knocks it out the park. The song appears on Venegas' much hyped unplugged album, and it's well worth the $15.99 at the Virgin Megastore just for this song. Check out video from the unplugged performance...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Tropic Thunder, Roberty Downey Jr. & The Legacy of Blackface

So walking to work a few days ago I saw a billboard for Ben Stiller’s new flick Tropic Thunder (release date August 13th), TV ads were also running non-stop all weekend. The media blitz has officially begun. A lot of the buzz surrounding the film is around Robert Downey Jr.’s performance in blackface as Kirk Lazarus/Sgt. Osiris. The film is supposed to be spoof on the Vietnam War movie genre (think Platoon and Apocalypse Now) and a satire about egomaniacal movie starts.

The first pictures of Downey in blackface surfaced in the March 14, 2008 issue of Entertainment Weekly, and the response has been fascinating to say the least. Most folks are rationalizing his performance by focusing on the fact that it’s Robert Downey Jr. (a REAL actor) and that it’s satire. A more interesting conversation taking place in blogs and on message boards is actually revolving around the idea that playing a different race is how you prove you’ve got chops as an actor. References to fellow cast member Jack Black who donned blackface in Be Kind Rewind and a bi-racial semi-afro’d Angelina Jolie in A Might Heart, abound to support the claim that blackface isn’t about being offensive, it’s about taking an artistic risk. Is playing Black going to be the new “gay for pay” road to critical acclaim?

I have extremely mixed feelings about the concept. I think that the film is actually a great satire on how far actors are willing to go for a role. Thing of all the insane things that actors put their bodies through for a role (think Robert Deniro in Raging Bull or Christian Bale in The Machinist), taken to the extreme what is to stop an actor from “undergoing a controversial procedure” to darken his skin to play the role “more authentically?” I feel, however, that rather than chops, what Downey is displaying is slight hubris. Clearly, Downey has balls for taking a role where he has to act in blackface, but are we expected to ignore the painful history of minstrelsy, blackface, and brownface in American cinema in order to give him, and ultimately Stiller, their dues?

I guess I’ll have to wait until August 13th to find out.

Hola Mexico Film Festival

In conjunction with the New York International Latino Film Festival, the Hola Mexico Film Festival will be screening the newest in Mexican Cinema. The Hola Mexico Film Festival promises to be more raucous than the NYILFF with a Opening Night Fiesta at the Gallery Bar catered by fresa hot spot La Esquina. There should also be more opportunities for Q&As with filmmakers which is always one of my favorite parts of a film festival.

Here are some highlights...

*All descriptions taken from

Llamando a un Ángel * Opening Night Fiesta (Calling An Angel)
July 23, 2008, 7:30 pm
“A mistaken phone call unites three characters who do not know each other, but respond to the same name: Angeles Flores Fuentes. The characters, confused by a desperate message of love, make decisions that change the course of their lives.”

La Zona (La Zona)
July 26, 2008, 8:00 pm
July 25, 2008, 1:00 pm
“In Mexico, the gap between rich and poor has created a separation both geographically and culturally. In this highly awarded film, Rodrigo Pla tells the story of a fenced-in Mexico City community that is broken in by burglars during one stormy night. After one of the burglars is trapped, the people from La Zona 'make justice' on their own terms. Pla weaves plot points to bring together the characters in a shattering final test of the connection between two unlikely allies.”

Malos Hábitos (Bad Habits)
July 25, 2008, 9:30 pm
July 26, 2008, 5:30 pm
“Bad Habits is the award-winning debut from noted Mexican up-and-comer, Simon Bross. A strong address of the vicious cycles of eating disorders, Bad Habits was inspired by the true story of a 17th century Mexican nun and her relationship with one endearing school girl whom she councils through first communion. The juxtaposition of deprivation and abstinence in the midst of plenty make for an intelligent film worthy of the accolade Best First Feature Film at the 2007 Montreal World Film Festival.”

Bajo Juárez: La ciudad devorando a sus hijas (Bajo Juárez: The City Devouring Its Daughters)
July 25, 2008, 5:30 pm
July 27, 2008, 3:30 pm
“In the city of Juarez, along the Mexico-U.S. border, hundreds of young women are either murdered or abducted year after year. As the crimes continually go unpunished, grieving parents are frequently forced to accept the devastating fact they may never know the ultimate fate of their beloved children.”

New York International Latino Film Festival

It's here! I've been waiting all year for this moment! This year's festival has a lot of buzz and some white hot films debuting. One of the most talked about films of the festival is PCV-1 which was the big story at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. The 85-minute film was shot in real time with no edits. PCV-1 should definitely be technically interesting if not technically interesting, but I'm sure it will be considering its based on the true story of a FARC hostage forced to wear a bomb around her neck during a kidnapping. Daddy Yankee is also premiering his film Talento del Barrio at the Festival.

Here is a short list of some of the films I'm excited to see...

Big Pun: The Legacy
Thursday, July 24 | 09:30 PM
The Directors Guild Theater
110 West 57th Street (Between 6th & 7th Avenues)

Celia the Queen
Friday, July 25 | 07:00 PM
The Directors Guild Theater
110 West 57th Street (Between 6th & 7th Avenues)

Saturday, July 26 | 02:00 PM
Helen Mills
137-139 West 26th Street (Between 6th & 7th Avenues)

PVC – 1
Wednesday, July 23 | 08:00 PM
The Directors Guild Theater
110 West 57th Street (Between 6th & 7th Avenues)

Talento de Barrio/ Talent of the Barrio (Not Subtitled)
Wednesday, July 23 | 07:00 PM
The Directors Guild Theater
110 West 57th Street (Between 6th & 7th Avenues)

The Ministers
Saturday, July 26 | 07:00 PM
The Directors Guild Theater
110 West 57th Street (Between 6th & 7th Avenues)

All of Us
1. Saturday, July 26 | 02:00 PM
Fordham University: Lincoln Center
113 West 60th Street (Between 9th & 10th Avenues)
2. Thursday, July 24 | 03:30 PM
Clearview Cinemas
1871 Broadway (at 62nd Street)

Estilo Hip Hop/ Hip Hop Style
1. Friday, July 25 | 04:00 PM
Fordham University: Lincoln Center
113 West 60th Street (Between 9th & 10th Avenues)
2. Thursday, July 24 | 09:30 PM
Clearview Cinemas
1871 Broadway (at 62nd Street)

Luchando (Fighting) / El Primo (The Cousin)
1. Friday, July 25 | 08:00 PM
Helen Mills
137-139 West 26th Street (Between 6th & 7th Avenues)
2. Saturday, July 26 | 12:00 PM
Helen Mills
137-139 West 26th Street (Between 6th & 7th Avenues)

Here is a clip from PCV-1...

For more information on the Festival, Films, and Times please check out:

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Boycott Case Farms, Support the Workers!

Before moving back to the Bronx in June I had lived in Northeast Ohio for the past five years while I studied and worked at Oberlin College. Many of my friends were active with the Immigrant Worker Project and not for profit group that helps Latino/a im/migrants living in rural Ohio navigate the American medical and legal system and fight for more humane and accountable work conditions. Ohio is the largest producer of eggs in the nation and the basic human rights violations and dangerous work conditions in many of Ohio's large poultry farms are well documented. Please support the workers at Case Farms in their struggle to create a more humane work place.



Today at 10am workers at Case Farms, poultry processor in North Central Ohio, walked off the job on strike. After voting for representation by UFCW 880, in a vote of 192 to 99 over a year ago, company just stalled and failed to negotiate in good faith.

The committee of immigrant workers from Guatemala and Mexico, and local workers from Ohio and Puerto Rico meet with the company for over a year. Instead of negotiating in good faith the company has fired union organizers, increased line speed and given raises to their non-union plant in North Carolina. The company’s final offer was a 12 cent increase for workers that have only one pay raise since 2001, of 35 cents! These are the lowest wages of any poultry factory in Ohio.

This is not negotiating in good faith this is an insult. Case Farms has a history of bad working conditions and questionable labor recruitment practices. (See the case of Castillo v. Case Farms of Ohio, Inc. 96 F. Supp. 2d 578 (D. Ohio 1999).

The workers of Case Farms have voted 294 to 12 to go on strike. At 10am on July 17th, 2008 workers began to walk off the line. These workers have risked everything for dignity and justice in the workplace.

We need your help:

  • Contact Case Farms and tell them to negotiate in good faith!
    • Case Farms - Processing Plant & Administrative Office
      1818 County Road 160
      Mail to: P.O. Box 185 (44690)
      Winesburg, Ohio 44690
      330-359-7141, telephone
      330-359-6482, fax

  • Send a letter of Support to the Workers!
    • Case Farms Workers Committee
      Care of: MIGUATE
      818 Boulevard St
      Dover, OH 44622
  • Ask your favorite local grocery store or fast food to not buy Case Farms products, to not buy products with the Establishment Number for Case Farms which is EST P (for poultry) 15724, it is included on any bag or box that they ship.

Immigrant Worker Project

PO Box 57

Wooster, Ohio 44691

Phone: 330-454-2220

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Crocodile Tears opening @ The Giant Robot Gallery (GRNY)

Crocodile Tears: Small Works of Art by Over 50 Artists
July 19 - August 13, 2008
Reception: Saturday, July 19, 6:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.

I really love absurdly tiny and insanely gigantic art works... I am extremely excited to see this exhibit.

Giant Robot Gallery
437 East 9th Street
Between 1st Ave. & Ave. A, in the East Village
New York, New York 10009
(212) 674-GRNY (4769)

Crocodile Tears will feature a large assortment small works that measure 5" x 7" or smaller. Each of the over 50 artists will be contributing two to five pieces in his or her own eclectic style. Mediums will range from painting to stitching to drawing to sculpture.

La Bruja @ The Nuyorican Poet's Cafe

That "Gatita Negra" video was wack as hell but she is still and amazing artist and performer.

Nuyorican Poet's Cafe
236 E 3rd St New York, NY 10009 Get Directions(212) 505-8183


"Poet, Writer, Actor, Hip Hop Reggaeton Artist, La Bruja is a gifted performer who has infused hip-hop and reggaeton with her irresistible blend of potent intelligence, hot sensuality and lyrical skill."

For more information: Nuyorican Poet's Cafe Homepage

Kehinde Wiley @ The Studio Museum in Harlem Opened Today

The World Stage: Africa, Lagos ~ Dakar is Kehinde Wiley’s (b. 1977) first solo exhibition at The Studio Museum in Harlem and features ten new paintings from his multinational “The World Stage” series.

His images of urban young black men play with and transform classic portraiture aesthetics creating a highly stylized and interesting commentary on hip-hop culture and black masculinity.

Studio Museum in Harlem
144 W 125th St (between Adam Clayton Powell Jr and Malcolm X Blvds)
Subway: A, C, B, D, 2, 3 to 125thSt

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

History Keeps Me Awake at Night: A Genealogy of Wojnarowicz

Tomorrow night I'll be hitting up the small Chelsea gallery P.P.O.W for the a film screening and reading event that is part of the "History Keeps Me Awake at Night: A Genealogy of Wojnarowicz" show.

The gallery will be showing four of David Wojnarowicz films:
Fear of Disclosure, Fire in My Belly, Heroin, and Manhattan Love Suicides. There will also be readings by authors who credit Wojnarwicz and his work as influences. The readers are Zachary German, Amy King, Sara Marcus, and Max Steele.

This event, and ultimately this exhibition, should shed light on not just how prolific of an artist Wojnarowicz was, but also the incredible influence he and his work has had on a number of young queer artists.

Readings and films at the David Wojnarowicz exhibit


555 W 25th St (between Tenth and Eleventh Aves)

Subway: C, E to 23rd St; 1 to 23rd, 28th Sts

For more information:

Let's go...

This is my first foray into the blogosphere. I'm going to try and update this regularly with my ruminations on popular culture, politics, and the art scene. It's on.