Sunday, October 29, 2006

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Critical Mass On a Mission

The city of San Francisco has an inordinate tolerance for all manner of street celebrations. In the spirit of revelling, revolutionizing, and reviling in the street, this town's inhabitants display an uncanny level of respect for progressive culture and politics. Since my arrival here, I've participated in more demonstrations, festivals, and gatherings than perhaps I had in the whole rest of my life. Well, that might be a stretch, but either way, I want to promote a vision of this place as being ground zero for blunt expressions and manifestations of the urban will to power. SF makes me proud to rep a wide array of causes celebres, social reforms, and illogical idiosyncratic illin' at all hours.

The fervor with which last night's Critical Mass rally barreled through the streets turned me gleeful. I was thoroughly humored by the massive outpouring of support for the cause of bicycle riding. Critical Mass started controversially in this city 14 years ago. Having expanded to countless cities across the globe, the gatherings on the last Friday of every month continue to pit bicylists against motor vehicles. The monthly battles seek to gain momentum for politics that de-prioritize the health and wellbeing of the dominant culture of the pernicious motor vehicle. Critical Mass rallies block the flow of traffic in the hopes of generating enough attention to foment some real change in how our cities are set up. Bikes not building bombs. Bikes not financing SUV boors. Bikes not buying morbid machines.
Over a thousand bike peoples riding.
Cars be gone.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

YouTube B-More Club Videos

On this post, I will ignore my usual rules about posting solely my own creations. In search of elevated B-More Club dance skillz, I scoured YouTube for the best and brightest of Baltimore's dance brigade. I'll see yall at the Mo's Tunnel (that's the name I've given to the fantasyland B-More Club that we'll be establishing to recover the old glory of B-More Club's Golden Age. Enjoy the videos!

Quintessential Rockin Off

Stop Snitching and Start Dancing

Crackheads and Winos in Northwest B-More Git Up

East Baltimore Got the Club Face

Monday, October 16, 2006

Benzino's Recent Video Footage

Elephant Seals Boxing Brutishly in the Pacific

Tourettes Without Regrets Freestyle Battle in Oaktown Featuring Victorious Tantra

Subcommandante Marcos Puffs the War Pipe in Mexico City on Election Day

DuPont Circle Brass Band in the Nation's Capital

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Frisco in the Fall

Youngsters at the SMART program know how to get HYPHY with the authentic Bay Area juice concoction. Meanwhile, the political season has shifted into high gear, with the local Democratic machine trying to boost support for a national electorally-based party that no longer has my support. Blue Angels soar, tumble, and roll in the skies just above San Francisco on October 7th. The thunderous booms with which the jets shoot through the air above caused a great deal of ire in this town. The Burning Man Decompression party (October 8th) featured some angry Black Rock City Department of Public Works volunteers, who are no doubt facing some difficulties readjusting to non-Burner civilization. Where can I get one of those Playa Restoration tshirts? Gooferman tore up the set with their renditions of circus funkified vibe. Speaking of tshirts at this juncture, Disarm Bush hit the campaign trail on October 5th at a high-octane World Can't Wait rally. Frank Chu, of 12 Galaxies sign infamy, rocked the Disarm Bush creation with gusto.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Peaceboat Cruise

I know that Peace is elusive these dark days. We don't seem capable of settling for some Pax Americana at this point in time. Now is the time to ruffle, rattle, and roll. With the recent ostensibly nuclear test in subterranean North Korea and the war rumblings in the skies high above the Persian homeland, this earth isn't so pacified today. Beyond the conflicts that embroil the United States, a number of other fronts are beckoning international attention: Darfur, Georgia, and Kashmir. Despite this constant chatter from the warmongers about new opportunities to assert imperial dominance, find new markets for weapons, seize control over hydrocarbon deposits deep underground, and creat so-called security for our affiliates abroad, there are those people on this green earth who still truly believe in the possibility of peace.

Peaceboat is making its way back to Japan via Maui. I recently boarded this ship in search of the peace nectar. The peace festivities are coordinated by a Japanase NGO, which organizes programs for the predominantly Japanese passengers on a Panamanian-registered ship that is Greek-managed. Seafaring life is conducive to spreading the peace gospel. I came to this realization while experiencing the pacifying providence of the Peaceboat with someone of Serbian nationality. We all know that America did not engage Serbia so peacefully towards the end of Bill Clinton's reign. For an American to attend an evening of Peaceboat festivities with a Serbian ex-pat, he would need to make amends for the terror unleashed upon this disintegrated Balkan nation-state from warplanes sent by a President who also "tried to kill Osama."

The Peaceboat works with 8 Peace Centers throughout Japan to promote solidarity with other civil society organizations that work towards human rights, international cooperation, and the end of violent conflict as a means to resolve human difference. In this time of utter chaos throughout the world, Peaceboat strives to challenge media organs to provide an alternative context through which to promote this other world that is entirely possible to attain. Japanese hip-hop freestyles combined with some visual presenations of the Peaceboat's international excursions made for a night of encouraging discussion on how to create anew this world of hatred, desperation, and war. Jah bless, and may the Peaceboat sail majestically back to the shores of Nippon.

Friday, October 06, 2006

SF Camerawork and the Other

Point and click back. I just attended the media opening of a local photo gallery that specializes in presenting visually stunning photography about historical events involving the "other." Entitled "Ghosts in the Machine," the photos dug back into the collective subconscious in several different parts of the globe. The pastiche format blended together an investigation of the current state of a frozen historical memory by placing this slice of time into the context of the present. The curious mix of historical truth and its concurrent possibilities forms a range of aesthetic options that become the postmodern photographer's menu from which to assemble a coherent artistic vision. Renditions of such hybrid reality between past and present reveal one's ability to transport oneself temporally into the landscape of a past epoch for the sake of re-inserting historical subjects into that window of extraordinary historical relevance.

The reason why the SF Camerawork exhibition struck my fancy relates to my penchant for sifting through collective memories in order to spit out frozen chunks of the past. These both delectable and horrific pieces of universal memory serve to re-engage our historical palates by facilitating the insertion of deceased souls into two-dimensional frames, by merging technical observations with an accurate depiction of the historical record, and by weaving together the ghosts of the past with the deliberations of the present era.

Perhaps one can never exhaust the possibilities of such play with historical snapshots and the human representations that can be attributed to a specific context during war, in the wilderness, or on the edge of civilized existence. The most notable parts of Ghosts in the Machine were depections of grave injustice that continue to afflict the survivors of bygone dimensions. The essence of constructing historical memory on the foundations of assorted archival footage and substantive subjective interplay is a nexus between peoples and between periods of time.

One set of photographically wise images of northern Scandinavia reminds us about the ancestors of the Lapplander (Sami) people who inhabit the vast expanses of snowy wilderness in the northern regions of Scandinavia. Frozen literally to the bark of placid birch trees, the faces of these Sami spirits remind us of the sovereignty once enjoyed by these folks over the land. Now there are competing claims to dominion over this land, and the nostalgic belief that these ghosts peacefully planted their life-seeds in these hallowed forests gives us hope. Perhaps we can be encouraged to dig through the images of our collective history to eke out an irreversible sense of rehabilitation of the old arrangement.

Another creative investigation into the events of the past was conducted by a Lebanese artist who sought to piece together the fragments of car bombs during the Lebanese Civil War that ravaged his country from 1975 to 1991. By documenting the cars that were nefariously commissioned to carry the hundreds of kilos of explosive matter into close contact with the tens of civilians whose lives were senselessly ended seconds later, the artist lends credibility and universality to the murderous act. The statement is elicited: thou might employ any motor vehicle to strap down TNT sufficient enough to send scores of unaware and undeserving human beings to their final resting place.

Syphilitic symbols comprise one of the other demonstrative sets of visual memory. One clever American photographer trekked down to actual Southern hospitals (infamously lacking in Southern hospitality but endowing with Southern death eventuality) where doctors infected black men with syphilis under the auspices of the Tuskeegee Experiment. This photo concept involves digitally inserting the cutouts of poor black farmers from the dirty dirty Deep South into scenes of medical shamefulness. As white nurses and doctors snatched up black male bodies with which to run sinister venereal disease tests, the syphilitic patients scream forth their sacrificial innocence - mere lambs set aside for gradual yet tormented slaughter. These images allow the viewer to share solidarity with sharecroppers whose fates the medical establishment threw into the vacuum of venereal vilification. The photo above is of a wooden cast of vertical, standing cut-outs of a WW1 vet who returned from the frontlines to a life of institutionalization.

The last of the photo sets on display that appealed to my historical interest was Dinh Q Le's highly technical presentation of Vietnam's ghosts, from Hollywood to the jungle. Weaving together the strands of interlocking photos with a process typically used for grass mat weaving, Le creates a quintessentially postmodern photo collage. The photos that link together Sergeant Pyle with the folk experiences of Vietnamese people during the sanguine conflict create a feeling of historical unity that bridges the American appreciation of the events in Southeast Asia with the visceral experiences of civilians caught up in the atrocious quagmire.

Monday, October 02, 2006


Originally uploaded by whodisan215.

Hamsa Lila Nikila balances the light of the universe on her dome piece.

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