Tuesday, February 26, 2008

JOSE JAMES in nublu

One of my favorite new jazz singers, Jose James, is in nublu on Thursday. Not to be missed!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Watching the Youtube video of Mos Def’s frustrated reaction to the absence of mainstream media coverage of the Jena 6 rally last September, I was thinking about the effectiveness of this relatively new media in getting the message out there. With its egalitarian, easy-access technology, Youtube is slowly revolutionizing the ways visual information is distributed, and people are beginning to use it effectively as a political tool. A case in point, the Jena rally clearly demonstrated just how closely the success of grassroots activism is intertwined with the support of the media. To have a voice means that you have to find a way to be heard - or nobody will listen.

To find out more about getting your voice out there, go check out the Fifth Annual NYC Grassroots Media Conference at Hunter College CUNY, hosted by the NYC Grassroots Media Coalition (NYCGMC). The conference theme – Speaking Truth to Power: MEDIA JUSTICE IN OUR COMMUNITIES – invites media makers and community organizers to discuss the idea of “Media Justice”, and to explore ways to implement it. Media justice activists will address a range of related issues, including under-representation, lack of access, racial bias, the connections between media justice and visual literacy, and the role of the arts, and complimentary strategies for making change on the streets of NYC. To register and find out more, click here.

Sunday March 2nd, 2008 9am–6pm
Hunter College, North Building, 68th Street and Lexington Ave. (Enter from street or directly from 6 train.)

If you miss the panels, you could still catch participants to network and build at the AFTER PARTY.

Mo’s Caribbean Bar and Grill
1454 2nd Ave. at 76th St.
6pm (1⁄2 off drinks after 7pm)


Thursday, February 21, 2008


To counteract the alarming shortage of public art programs, increasingly these days women are taking matters into their own hands to make real and lasting changes in the lives of inner city youth. Let’s face it, most public schools are underfunded, teachers are underpaid, and students often feel underappreciated or straight-out neglected. Female artists with grassroots background recognize the importance of reaching out to kids to remind them that their voice matters and to show them that their dream of becoming poets, MCs, visual artists, or performers can in fact translate into reality.

Renaissance woman and true revolutionista at heart, Caitlin Meissner is living her dream of being an artist on a big mission. Spoken word poet, educator, and graphic designer by trade, Caitlin makes things happen. Building on her long-standing involvement in activism and her natural ability as a community builder, she has been successfully running Lower Eastside Girls Club’s Saturday Performance Series, which fulfills two objectives: it showcases today hottest female poets, singers, and artists in an intimate, free-to-all setting while fulfilling the Girls Club’s mission dedicated to “build ethical, entrepreneurial, and environmental leadership” for the next generation of female movers and shakers. Last week, I connected with Caitlin to talk about the series. Here is what I learned.

"The Saturday Performance Series, housed in the Lower Eastside Girls Club’s Art+Community Gallery, started in a wonderfully organic way. I was assigned to help run the “Girl-Made & Fair Trade” Gift Shop, La Tiendita (“The Little Store”), which occupies the front of our non-profit office space. Since the gift shop was new and “off the beaten path,” it seemed natural to bridge my performance world with my work life and try to bring in shoppers via an “audience.” So I called on every woman I knew who made music and performed poetry to come and play live. Luckily, it wasn’t too hard to convince my folks to share with us (after all, we do have an incredible mission) and thus, though a side note, the series began. Sometimes the place was full, and other days there was an a mere embarrassing five bodies in the seats. Either way, the word spread like wild fire and the Girls Club saw the incredible potential in what was happening. It was a fine day when our Executive Director, Lyn Pentecost, gave me the green light to make this minor, essentially volunteer job, into my real job! With business cards boasting the title “Performance Series Coordinator” and a grant from the Department of Cultural Affairs secured, we began a real, growing series!

Now, the series works in two parts: a community performance open and free to all far and near, and a closed Girls Club Members-only workshop, which connects the performers with the girls in an intimate facilitated Q&A setting. The mission reads: The Lower Eastside Girls Club Saturday Performance Series, now in its second year, is a weekly afternoon performance series, open to the public, free-of-charge and featuring all-women line-ups of musicians, singer-songwriters, MC's and poets. This project is dedicated to upholding the Girls Club's mission of offering free and innovative cultural programming to Girls Club members, connecting the Girls Club to the greater community, and supporting women in the arts.

Through the series we hit on a number of important goals: offering a high quality cultural experience to low-income girls and their families; connecting girls with working artists, poets and musicians
through “VIP Luncheon” series before each performance; providing entrepreneurial training opportunities to Girls Club members through the adjoining café and gift store; making the Girls Club Art+Community Gallery and Café a downtown cultural destination for a socially conscious audience; providing female artists a welcoming environment in which to perform comfortably, try out new pieces and work with an all-women staff; and earning income through our café and gift store during Saturday performances.

We’ve been told, over and over, that the series sports an undeniable vibe. The girls contribute their incredible energy, our performers are top-rate, and the audience ever-thankful. Some of the wonderful women to bless our space this season include Honey Larochelle, Pyeng Threadgill, The Piper Jane Project, Maya Azucena, Shelly Nicole’s Blakbushe, Erika Rose, HeaVy, Tamar-Kali and so many more!"

This Saturday, you can check out some of New York City’s dopest female acts: 2007 Grand Slam Champ of the Nuyorican Poets Café, Aja Monet, who has been a favorite of both spoken word devotees and Hip-Hop crowds alike, performing alongside of singer-songwriter, Maritri, whose bittersweet lyrics over her landscape of piano, cello and guitar will take you to an inner space for reflection. The musical of THE OSLO on the 1's & 2's will also be in the house.

Lower Eastside Girls Club’s SATURDAY PERFORMANCE SERIES Presents:

3:30pm, February 23, 2008
@ Art+Community Gallery
56 East 1st Street (btw 1st & 2nd Aves)
New York, NY 10003

I suggest you go early as seats get filled rather fast. Did I mention it’s free?

For more info and schedules, visit the Girls Club online or email Caitlin Meissner for more info at development@girlsclub.org
Listen to podcasts of past performances here.
SOURCE: TRACE blog at www.blog.trace212.com

ALONG THE SAME LINES, read a fellow blogger and educator's assessment of public high schools today in New York Times blog here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Monday, February 18, 2008

ACT LIKE YOU KNOW: this week's picks

BROOKLYN, NY: SPUTNIK's all-star line-up this week:DJ PREMIER & DJ Spinna


SATURDAY in Boston: FRANK 151 & undergroundhiphop.com presents

Saturday, February 16, 2008

GETTING HIGH ON DESIGN: elevator-design takes you to the next level

a few months ago, i had a collaborative project with one of my favorite designers, nick aka elevator-design. the project led to a friendship and continued mutual inspiration. nick can put a flip on retro textures and aesthetics to come up with something completely fresh and most likely convincing even to those whose visual taste is limited strictly to the latest design fads, whatever those might be. because of work like his that i am a firm believer in that graphic design is a form of art, even if art fundamentalists want to argue otherwise.

you can check his website for more eyecandies, and link up with him on myspace.

Friday, February 8, 2008


Happy New Lunar Year, everyone...it's the official beginning of the year of the RAT! According to those in the know, a Rat Year is a "time of hard work, activity, and renewal. This is a good year to begin a new job, or make a fresh start"....that is exactly how mine began.

I feel truly blessed to have two of my interviews just come out this week. If you're interested, check out the links below...you should check out the sites even if you don't want to read me going on...

(Photo: Sallomé Hralima, DOPE SWAN's liaison, artist relations & membership)

WISHTANK, a Journal of Intellectual Freedom, is dynamite...you can read about RZA & chess, Banksy and other cool stuff. Thank you, Garrett and the Wishtank staff for this!! Here is the link to the interview.

And then there is DOPE SWAN, a community art organization based in New York...it is the real deal, and I'm exited to get on board as their curator/visual education coordinator. DOPE SWAN is a community arts organization focused on providing outlets that support and engage emerging creative talents within the visual and performing arts. Through collaborations with underrepresented artists and partnerships with educators, activists and community leaders, DOPE SWAN works to strengthen the connections between art, livelihood and community.We're going to make some dope things happen...watch out BK! This is the link to the interview.

I would also like to highlight my beautiful soul sister, Sallome Hralima, who is an artist/ educator/ healer/ visionary and one of DOPE SWAN's pillars (see photo above). Sallome has been running a weekly discussion panel for youth in Brooklyn, called The Stoop. Women like her continue to inspire me to keep on believing in and working toward positive change. She has been recently featured on SHADES Magazine. Check it out!

(Photo: members of the Stoop with spoken word artist, Aja Monet)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

STARKS LACES: give your kicks some love

admittedly, i love details. i've been on the hunt after new laces for a while. just when i least expected, i found these babies. unless you're Questlove with a room-seized sneaker collection, you might find yourself getting bored of your old kicks...now you can give them new life with these fly laces...check them here.

ERYKAH BADU's secret concert tickets!!!

check HERE for more details.

SOLIDARITY: Call For Entries!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Got soul? Hermosdef aka Hermann Deza is your man. The Paris-born photographer with roots in West Africa's Ivory Coast brings a uniquely fresh visual aesthetic of the urban jungle. Imagine being hit by the smell of roasting spices and burning wood after you've been starved for days. Yeah...that's the kind of soul-food he is offering for you. His fashion and music photography will feed your lust for soulful freshness. One of photographers' main challenges is the be able to keep their awareness in the absolute moment, as they have to be ready to take a slice out of that streaming sense of reality --a frozen image of life- that will be powerful enough to make a lasting trace on our memory. To be able to capture the most intimate moments of human expressions --- like the unmasked soul when the heart flows out through a song or a poem--- takes someone who is really attuned to his own source of creativity and loves his subjects. Hermosdef clearly got what it takes. His portraits are pieces of soul. Raw and beautiful. Check'em at his website.

Hermosdef is part of the photographic collective, Organic Soul Crew and Jazzeffiq, French hip-hop group fed on Dilla's Donuts (you can download their track through the Jazzeffiq link). Link Hermosdef on myspace. [thanks for the pix H!]

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

WAXPOETICS Book Launch Party: FEBRUARY 13, 2008

Wax Poetics & powerHouse Book Launch Party

Hosted by Larry & Fonce Mizell w/ DJ Moni Wednesday, Feb 13th 6-9 p.m. @ The powerHouse Arena

In case you don't already know, Waxpoetics is a bimonthly music mag focusing on hip-hop, jazz, funk, soul, reggae, disco, and Latin music. It is THE source for crate diggers, vinyl affictionados, and anyone with a passion for quality music with soul.


This week is a special birthday week for two of the most influential figures in music history: Bob Marley (February 6) and J-Dilla (February 8...incidentally, also my dad's birthday). Two of my musician friends, Nappy G and Sarah White are also celebrating their birthdays this month. Aquariuses definitely got something special going for them. Happy birthday, fam!

Rare Form presents

Friday, February 8th, 2008 @ Southpaw
125 5th Avenue (btw Sterling & St. John's)
Brooklyn, NY | www.spsounds.com
Doors open 10pm, 21+ w/ ID please

The event will feature live art by Slang, and the beautiful Fly Lady Di. This is also an opportunity to support a great cause, as the proceeds go to benefit the Alliance for Lupus Research, so don't miss it if you're in town.


Obama has a posse...

Monday, February 4, 2008

EXPOSE YOUR ART! ----artists needed

My friends at the Enormous Room,
one of Cambridge's sexy nightspots just sent me this... great opportunity to showcase your art.

ARTISTS, GRAPHIC DESIGNERS and PHOTOGRAPHERS we'd love you to submit some JPGs (sized at or around 720x420) of your work. The images will be projected on our video screen and shown in a slide show format. Be sure to include your contact info in the corner of your jpg. Either your logo or in an easily readable font, so you can be reached if anyone is interested in your work. Please keep in mind that this is just a way for you to promote yourself and for us to have cool and interesting images to display to our patrons. The images you send will only be used for this purpose alone and for nothing else.