Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Upcoming....Incoming....Two Foot Yard + Eisa Davis ( & a 'lil Passing Strange) + Nora York + Catherine Russell

Well, again I need to be about two or three people to catch everything coming up, riding fast and high like delicious sonics waves lapping past wiggling toes and caressing a bare neck and tickling the earlobes. But hey, you gotta name what you want before you can figure out how to get it, just like most of us gotta walk before we can run. So here 'tis:

•Wednesday, February 27th•
Catherine Russell
Sentimental Streak CD release show
Joe's Pub
This is going to be a fabulous show, no doubt
425 Lafayette Street (between East 4th and Astor Place)
New York, NY
$15 in advance, $20 at the door

My write up of Catherine Russell's January 2008 Joe's Pub show can be found here.

•Thursday, February 28th•
Burgeoning legend, Chicago-native, and AACM saxophonist & composer (the latest AACM generation folks--AACM Lives!/Long Live AACM!) Matana Roberts performs her Chicago Project.

Matana Roberts' Chicago Project @ The Jazz Gallery
290 Hudson Street
New York, NY
(212) 242-1063
2 sets: 9pm and 10:30pm
$10 for members/$12 for non-member

Reservations encouraged

Matana Roberts celebrates the release of her new CD Chicago Project from Central Control with her quartet featuring Matana Roberts - reeds, Jeff Parker - guitar, Josh Abrams - bass, Tyshawn Sorey - drums."
For more Info

• Tuesday, March 4•
Can't tell you how ticked I am to have a prior commitment on this date (especially since it's my Birthday! Consider yourself warned, gentle reader.)
Two Foot Yard

Who is Two Foot Yard?: "Tzadik recording artist
Carla Kihlstedt (Tin Hat, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, The Book of Knots) on violin and vocals, Marika Hughes (Charming Hostess, Vienna Teng) on cello and vocals, and Shahzad Ismaily (Marc Ribot, Secret Chiefs 3, Laurie Anderson) on percussion and guitar"

They'll be doing their thing with art song, pop song, etc., which rocking chamber music as we know it, or don't want to know it as the case may be. But that's the joy: they're using their chops to reconfigure the blasted thing--weaving punk, and old down home country love songs into the framework.

Kihlstedt is an intriguing composer, and a richly altering experience on violin and voice, and I've heard great things about Hughes (a cellist of African descent--where are they all?!) in her various musical incarnations, and this is the second time I've missed this mainly San Francisco-Bay Area-based trio's jaunt through NYC. Do I sound a little frustrated, gee golly, it's a stumper!
Joe's Pub
425 Lafayette Street (between East 4th and Astor Place)
New York, NY
More Info here

• Video of Two Foot Yard performing "Hold My Own" here and "Flash Flood" here at the
Clarice-Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland in 2005.
• Video of Two Foot Yard performing the haunting "Octopus" at The Earl in Atlanta, GA in 2005. Features Kihlstedt giving a lovely speech to the folks who were insisting on having loud drunk conversations in the performance space instead of at the bar. I actually like this the best of the three clips.

•March 9th•
Nora York: new performance work
Joe's Pub

Jazz, pop, art song, cabaret vocalist York performed segments of this collaboration with chamber musicians and bass/baritone (and lawyer?)
Kevin Burdette at BAMcafé Live last month to a full house that wouldn't let her leave without an encore of an Elvis Presley song. This is currently being developed for the stage with director JoAnne Akalaitis and artist Kiki Smith.

York performing her audience favorite "What I Want," her song about "ceaseless, endless, yearning.

•March 10th•
In the midst of her start turn in Passing Strange's Broadway run no less, you go Ms. Davis!
Eisa Davis
Joe's Pub

The multi-talented
Eisa Davis, playwright(her Bulrusher was a 2007 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, plus she's a Cave Canem Fellow, of course), composer, singer-songwriter, actor (she brought a sensual and intelligent stillness and vulnerability to Greg Pak's Robot Stories). Oh yeah, and she's Angela Y. Davis' niece, yeah that Angela Y. Davis (Eisa Davis' name is actually Angela Eisa Davis, but everyone calls her Eisa).

Eisa Davis will be bringing it, I'm sure to Joe's Pub--the time is NOW, people.

Passing Strange Broadway Rehearsals & Interviews:

Passing Strange
Belasco Theater
111 W 44th Street (between 6th & 7th Avenues)

A,C,E to 42nd Street & 8th Avenue
B,D,F,Q to 47-50 Streets & 6th Avenue
N,R,S,1,2,3,7,9 to 42nd Street & Times Square

Thursday, February 21, 2008

What I Missed, Someone Else Didn't...II + Black Banjo + Imani Coppola + Save 475 Kent Avenue

Bold As Love has been b-u-s-y folks, and with his own black rock progeny in tow he headed over to the Brooklyn Museum last weekend to check out Harriet Tubman apparently heeding an earlier "admonishment"--his words--found in this blog directed towards the talented Mr. Rob Fields. And yes, like many of us, he found that HT is no joke, and had a serious good time. You can read more about his take on that here, and check some nice photos as well (doesn't that glass window backdrop look great?). Apparently, HT indicated that their awaited album is coming out in 2008, dropped some science about black folk & the banjo and gave an update on the release of the Otis Taylor engineered Recapturing the Banjo album (Telarc, 2008--actually it's out now) and documentary (see video below) featuring Corey Harris, Keb' Mo', Alvin Youngblood Hart, Guy Davis, Taylor, and Don Vappie. This is hopefully gonna be a seriously deep year musically.

Excerpt from the Recapturing the Banjo: The Black Banjo Project documentary:

Bold As Love also hipped us to Imani Coppola's Little Jackie project, in month-long residence at Southpaw--through March 11. Did I know about this, dang, I did not. And I've been liking Coppola since 1997's underrated Chupacabra ("I'm A Tree," "Legend of A Cowgirl" oh yeah...). Looks like I missed guitarist/vocalist Honeychild Coleman's guest appearance on the bill, bummer. Plus, Maritri, whom I haven't heard of, is doing an interesting sounding monthly music series at The Cutting Room. All this and "Listening Post" yummies can be found this week at Bold As Love. Watcha waitin'for?

Passing Strange on Broadway

Mr. Fields reminded me that all of us in the NYC area, or visiting soon, need to get out to Stew's black rock musical, Passing Strange which has just made the trip from The Public to Broadway (aka the Great White Way--well not 100% thanks to Passing Strange among others--hee-hee, couldn't resist) where it's playing at the Belasco Theater. For those wondering at the title, no it's not a reference to racial "passing". More about the Shakespeare Othello reference of the title, and the show itself here. But that's not all, there's a Bold As Love brief write up (no spoilers), and a great podcast interview with Stew. Writer/anthropologist Maureen Mahon (Right to Rock) gives us an interview with Stew at EbonyJet.com (remember, if you can, when Ebony would barely include freaky Prince in it's pages?). Not to be outdone, not just one(with exhubertant endorsement by Spike Lee), but two hits from Bluegum on the show, with the classic quote: "Finally, a Color Purple for the rest of us!"

I concur, this was one of the best theater "experiments" I've seen in a long time. I'm using the word "experiment" because that what Stew calls the show and it's Broadway presence. But I don't mean "best" on the "experiment" continuum, but on the "theater" continuum. Although I do believe that theater is meant to be continually experimenting, reconfiguring itself, finding the best way to stage a story without always deferring to precedent--in this case rock musical theater precedent, i.e.: Rent, Hair, or Jesus Christ Superstar.

I was galvanized afterwards. I wanted more, more, more black rock, more black people exploring difference, and boundaries, and varied intersections with culture and creativity. The show just opens up your head, and your heart--to get all goofy and squishy about. Passing Strange makes you think, makes you groove, makes you shudder, makes you squirm, makes you laugh, makes you grieve, makes you hot, makes you holler, and then makes you do it all over again. Ain't nothin' but right about that.

For information on how to get discounted tickets go to this Bold As Love post.

Speaking of Supporting Artists...
475 Kent Avenue, Brooklyn: 200+ artists trying to keep their studios after City eviction:

Among the displaced artists from 475 Kent in Brooklyn, NY is master bassist Melvin Gibbs formerly of the Rollins Band and currently of the aforementioned Harriet Tubman. You probably know of one or more of the 200+ artists and their families who have been impacted by this situation, some who have lived there for a decade. Even if you don't, if you're an artist living in the NYC-Area it easily could you in this situation. For more from audiologo on the amazing and hardworking Mr. Melvin Gibbs check here, and on Harriet Tubman live at Joe's Pub in September 2007, check here.

The New York Times has been giving a solid amount of coverage to this situation (see links below) where the tenants are working with the landlords to bring the building up to code (a rare situation where the landlords are supporting the tenants). At this point only the sprinkler system needs repair, and the tenants are requesting permission to return to their homes while the work is done. To date this request has been denied.

Open Letter from 475 Kent Avenue resident & artist vibeke jensen:
Date: February 11, 2008

Dear Friends, New York-, national- and international arts community,

we are trying to save the building where more than 200 artists, my
neighbors & i lived and worked for 10 years!

for more information:


please sign our online petition to Mayor Bloomberg


please do so now. And PLEASE forward this to your friends.
We are trying to get thousands of signatures on his desk asap.

sorry for any cross postings.
vibeke jensen

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The Legacy of Haitian Writer Jacques Roumain: Saturday February 23rd

The special thing about "black" as Black British cultural critic Kobena Mercer pointed out about 15 years ago, is the term embraces the diaspora. OK, yeah, things can get crowded during "Black History Month. ." So, be grateful it's a leap year and we get additional day this year. Of course, since black is also a year-round reality there's no reason why anyone is limited to a mere month of acknowledgment.

• Saturday, February 23

The Legacy of Jacques Roumain
7:30 pm
@ The Brecht Forum
Co-sponsor: Haitian-American Cultural Development Network
451 West Street (West Side Highway) between Bank & Bethune Streets
New York, NY
Tel: (212) 242-4201
Email: brechtforum at brechtforum.org
Sliding scale: $6/$10/$15
Free for Brecht Forum Subscribers

The Legacy of Jacques Roumain
"An Evening of Music & Song, Poetry & Spoken Words Gordon Blaise, Jean Dumas Gay, Brunel Joseph, Rudgie Phadael, Michelle Samedi, Kettly Souffrant, & Reginal Souffrant

"Jacques Roumain (1907-1944) was Haiti's most celebrated writer; his output of poetry and verse was prodigious and his novel, Masters of the Dew (Gouverneurs de la Rosée), has been translated into seventeen languages. In addition to his literary work, Roumain was well-known and respected for his political activism, particularly his leadership in the struggle to end the US occupation of Haiti. He was instrumental in founding the Haitian Communist Party in 1934 and, as a result of his activities, was frequently persecuted, arrested and eventually forced into exile. Langston Hughes regarded Roumain as one of the greatest writers of the Americas, and had penned a whimsical, yet poignant, account of the only meeting he and Roumain had together, which took place on the deck of a tramp steamer, on which Hughes was a passenger, minutes before it pulled out of port.

"Join the Brecht Forum and members of the Haitian-American Cultural Development Network (HACDEN) in a celebration of the life and legacy of Jacques Roumainthrough music and song, poetry and spoken words."

A, C, E or L to 14th Street & 8th Ave, walk down 8th Ave. to Bethune, turn
right, walk west to the River, turn left
1, 2, 3 or 9 to 14th Street & 7th Ave, get off at south end of station, walk
west on 12th Street to 8th Ave. left to Bethune, turn right, walk west to the
River, turn left.
PATH Train to Christopher Street north on Greenwich St to Bank Street, left
to the river.
#11 or #20 Bus to Abingdon Square, west on Bethune
#14A or #14D Bus to 8th Ave & 14th Street, walk down 8th Ave. and west on
Bethune to the river
#8 Bus to 10th & West Streets

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Monday, February 18, 2008

What I Missed, Someone Else Didn't...

If you're like me and missed the Black Rock Coalition's show over at Brooklyn Academy of Music's BAMcaféLive this past weekend (chile, no!), part of the BRC and BAM's Black History Month, and officially #2 of 3. You can live vicariously through Bold As Love's write up, and wait with baited breath for Bluegum's take on it while they offer a Morrison-Obama moment. Plus Bold As Love has a great interview with Stew, newly of Broadway with his black rock musical Passing Strange, and a write up of the show (but with no spoilers).

• Friday, February 29th
Next up at BRC's BAMcaféLive series is Earthdriver (pictured right) and Swear On Your Life (whose lead singer, MilitiA's rasped howls on "Self Taught" remind me of Fetchin Bones singer Hope Nicholls' gutterals on the intro to 1989's "Love Crushing"). Interestingly, Earthdriver is a musical collective that considers itself "just as much a movement as it is a band." Read more about them here.
9pm FREE people

Get your PIPING, HOT, FREE Black Rock over here.

And apparently there's more to be revealed on the URB ALT front for 2008; and what's poppin' over at the Bold As Live series for 2008? We're waitin', anticipatin'. The year's just getting started, but a lot's cookin', ma chere.

If you don't believe me look at the line up for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (April 25-27, May 1-4, 2008) including: The Neville Brothers, Santana, MAZE featuring Frankie Beverly, Stevie Wonder, Buckwhet Zydeco, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Burning Spear, Ozomatli with Chali 2na, Lizz Wright, Barbara Lynn (I'm A Good Woman, You'll Loose A Good Thing; Texas lefty guitar player), Golden Comanche and Chief Iron Horse & the Black Seminole Mardi Gras Indians, Irma Thomas, Cassandra Wilson, Elvis Costello & Alvin Toussaint, Al Green, Keyshia Cole... I can't list the whole line-up here, it's too dang long. But do check it out...

Put Your Records On
Meanwhile....father and son ya Salaam of breath of life are creating virtual musical calls to various actions, proffering the following jukebox bounty and conversation for the week of February 18th:

"The Isley Brothers give us 16 slow jamz. The Coup give us street reportage. And Obama gives us hope ;>). I couldn’t resist saying that even though what we get is three songs promoting Obama featuring The Mighty Sparrow, The Bergevin Brothers with Reverend Pat Wright & The Total Experience Gospel Choir, and Will.I.Am with a huge cast of supporting artists. Be inspired to act."

Well, don't you have some place to be? I know I do.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

I Just Can't Help It...

Yep, I'm feeling that righteous yet pragmatic hope. Much of it due to Michelle Obama, but that's fine by me--clearly Barack Obama has the wisdom to listen to her since a recent Wall Street Journal article quoted him as saying: "She's too smart to run. It is true my wife is smarter, better looking. She's a little meaner than I am." (I'd like to think he was referring to her sarcastic humor, not a generally mean disposition). Admittedly, I was having some trouble with his waffling, and the whole campaigning with black southern homophobes (OK, still have a problem with that) before she took a more prominent role in the election. So just for the ease of access I'm putting will.i.am's "Yes We Can" Obama song below. Definitely an improvement over his "I Got It From My Mama" celebration of female intergenerational inheritance which focused exclusively on corporeal aspects of legacy. Too bad he wasn't talking about those various women's integrity, intelligence, creativity, leadership skills, athleticism, and/or artistry, to which a self-assured and sensual voice (instead of the eternally girlishly coy one in the song) could respond: "I got it from my mama." Would have been a great Camille Yarborough moment--but that's another conversation.

Speaking of other conversations. I was reading Maureen Dowd's February 6th New York Times column, "Darkness and Light." I've been appreciating Dowd's perspective on this election, and the Clinton force that is "Billary" as she's termed the election campaign partnership of Bill and Hillary, as well as the complex gender and partnership dynamics at play with any consideration of Hillary Clinton as president elect. But this column really broke down some key aspects of Hillary Clinton's relationship to power, and what may be at stake for nation in staying with the old versus reaching for the "audacity of hope." At then end of the column Dowd also addresses what Obama will have to do to prove he's ready to handle the Republican attack machine. Below a couple of striking quotes from Dowd:

"Hillary Clinton denounced Dick Cheney as Darth Vader, but she did not absorb the ultimate lesson of the destructive vice president:

"Don’t become so paranoid that you let yourself be overwhelmed by a dark vision...."

And later in the column she nails the key dilemma, and then compels questioning of what the true nature of that dilemma is:

"Better the devil you know than the diffident debutante you don’t. Better to go with the Clintons, with all their dysfunction and chaos — the same kind that fueled the Republican hate machine — than to risk the chance that Obama would be mauled like a chew toy in the general election. Better to blow off all the inspiration and the young voters, the independents and the Republicans that Obama is attracting than to take a chance on something as ephemeral as hope. Now that’s Cheney-level paranoia."

You can read the entire column "Darkness and Light," here.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Upcoming...Incoming March: Brooklyn Maqam Arab Music Festival + GIRLS ROCK!: The Movie

It's not March yet, but February is slipping by, so here are a few upcoming...incomings in the NYC area.

• March 2 -30, 2008
Brooklyn Maqam Arab Music Festival
Local Arab Music Legends and Legacies

The performance schedule for BAC's Brooklyn Maqam Arab Music Festival, the first-of-its-kind month-long music festival celebrating Brooklyn's diverse Arab music scene in concerts, symposia, and workshops, from March 2-30 has been finalized! Nearly 100 local musicians and groups representing music traditions from Egypt, Yemen, Palestine, Iraq, Morocco, Israel, Syria, Tunisia, and Lebanon will perform at a range of venues including nightclubs, theaters, and coffeehouses.

Don't miss your chance to experience the sounds of the popular Moroccan and Tunisian music traditionssha'abi and rai while dancing until dawn, sip an Arabic coffee with Cardamom at a local Arab restaurant in Bay Ridge, "jam" with a Middle Eastern percussion ensemble at a workshop, discuss the history and relevance of Brooklyn's evolving Arab music traditions with scholars in the field, and more!

The festival features Arab music legends such as Simon Shaheen and Fahim Dandan as well as emerging artists in a range of pan-Arab music styles from traditional and classic to fusion and jazz-infused.
(Image Above: Zikrayat members Tareq Abboushi, Dimitri Mikelis, Bridget Robbins and Sami Abu Shumays, perform classical repertoire from the Golden Age of Egyptian cinema, photo courtesy of the artists.)


Granted I have some mixed feelings about this documentary. It focuses on the Portland, Oregon Camp that started the Rock 'n' Roll Girls Camp phenomena at in cities across the US and Canada. While I was happy to see some Asian American girls rockin' out, the trailer shows the focus to be mainly on young white girls and one Asian American teen. Granted the little girl who is featured on the poster can really rock--she's like a baby Rob Halford (lead singer: Judas Priest), but without the black leather biker imagery, and with the look of actor Julia Stiles as a brown-haired six or seven year-old girl.

Still, I wanted to see the little black and Latina girls I know are out there rockin' in Portland, Oregon (admittedly not a "Chocolate City") and elsewhere. However, I can admit that making a showing at the opening weekend of this film is really important. And if you don't blink you will see some girls of African descent in the trailer. So check out the website and see where the film is playing near you. Plus it's a chance to see guitarist Carrie Brownstein rockin' out (for all those Sleater-Kinney fans). The filmmakers Shane King and Arne Johnson have put their money where their mouth is for this film, mortgaging their homes and raiding their retirements to fund the film and numerous folks have contributed funding as well. So remember the first weekend is make-or-break. If you don't go out an see it that first weekend, you may not get a chance to, until it maybe comes out on DVD.

NY, LA, San Francisco, Berkeley, Chicago, Portland and Seattle on Opening Weekend.

"THE MOVIE (rated PG)
At Rock 'n' Roll Camp, girls ranging in age from eight to 18 are taught that it's OK to sweat like a pig, scream like a banshee, wail on their instruments with complete and utter abandon, and that "it is 100% okay to be exactly who you are." They are taught by indie rock chicks such as Carrie Brownstein from Sleater-Kinney various lessons of empowerment from self-defense to anger management. At the end of just one week, all the bands perform songs they've written with their new bandmates for over 700 people. "Girls Rock!" follows several campers: Laura, a Korean adoptee obsessed by death metal; Misty, who is emerging from a life of meth addiction and gang activity; Palace, whose heavy metal sneer belies her seven years, and Amelia, an eight-year-old who writes experimental rock songs about her dog Pipi. What happens to the girls as they are given a temporary reprieve from being sexualized, analyzed and pressured to conform is truly revolutionary."

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Black Magic @ BAM: Civil Rights, HBCUs & basketball

Yes, a query eliciting title for sure, Black Magic, a new documentary by Dan Klores (Crazy Love, 2007) explores the Civil Rights era through HBCU basketball. It's having a sneak preview next Wednesday February 20th @ BAMcinématek

Black Magic (2008) 120min
Wed, Feb 20 at 6:40pm*
*Q&A with Dan Klores
Directed by Dan Klores
With narration by Samuel L. Jackson, Wynton Marsalis, Chris Paul

"This new documentary by Dan Klores (Crazy Love) explores the civil rights movement through the prism of basketball at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). The film examines “the blacklisting of players, the murder of innocent children, the pride of attending an HBCU, the psychological effects of desegregation and the long-term debates surrounding integration.”—Dan Klores.
Q&A with Dan Klores. This screening is free to the public.

"To reserve tickets in advance, email mbuchholz@BAM.org by 4pm on Friday, February 15.

"Available tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis on the night of the screening."

More information can be found here

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Monday, February 04, 2008

February 5th - Super Tuesday: •Vote•

One word: Vote.

Whomever you vote for, Democrat, Republican, Independent, etc., go to the polls and make your voice heard and make that voice count.

Pictured right Super Tuesday Map, courtesy Wikipedia: "Twenty-four states are holding caucuses or primary elections on Super Tuesday, 2008. Blue denotes Democratic-only caucuses (3), Red illustrates Republican-only contests (2), and Purple represents states holding elections for both parties (19)."

To quote from MuthaWit's recent blog entry, "Bullocks or the Ballot?":

"If you don't have health insurance. Vote. If you work your butt off but still find it difficult to make the rent or mortgage each month. Vote. If you want to insure that your children have a quality education no matter your economic status. Vote. If you don't think anyone should be able to tell a woman how to manage her body but a woman. Vote. If you want to know that your parents are going to have a check to live off in their later years...not a gimmie...but a check based upon money that they put into the social security system. Vote. If you think teachers, fire fighters and police should be rewarded WELL based upon the quality of their service. Vote. If you want to be able to breathe clean air(relative in NYC I know LOL) and drink fresh water. Vote. If you feel like you are spinning with no direction in life. Vote.

"Don't give up or give your choice away.

"Let the figureheads of this country know that we are watching, writing and wrestling them out of office if need be. We are the people...the government... and those figureheads are granted the privilege to represent our varied voices. If we don't tell them what we NEED they will give us what they want. This is not the time to be simple or silent."


And to keep the funky citizenship vibe going...

From Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings (with a bit o' help from Freedom Fries Productions): A lecture for George W., tips on active citizenry, and a call to vote via the funky throw-down, "What If We All Stopped Paying Taxes"(2004, but still completely relevant) :

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What is it about Friday, February 15th? NYC Funk-A-Rama!

OK so, somewhere somebody didn't do some homework 'cause the Beacon Theatre has Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings (pictured right) playing at 8pm on Friday, February 15th

Meanwhile Joe's Pub has Free Form Funky Freqs, the new power-funk trio formation comprised of Vernon Reid on guitar, Jamaaladeen Tacuma on bass and G. Calvin Weston on drums (pictured below) playing the same date at 9:30pm.

Admittedly these are quite different funk outfits. But who wants to have to choose one over the other? The world needs more high-quality, diverse types of funk, not less!

more funk,
more funk,
that's what I say!

And if you can get over to the East Village in time you can still have mo' funk, mo' funk!

Here's Sharon Jones & the Dap-King's video for their single 100 Days, 100 Nights:

They look a little staid in that video, so I'd suggest also checking out Ms. Jones fast-stepping and droppin' like it's hot in Cologne, singing, "How Do I Let A Good Man Down":

And another version of the same song, showing why music scholar and producer Jason King recently suggested that Macon, Georgia native Sharon Jones is the heir apparent to the Godfather of Soul. Check the intro from Jones's bandmates, the Dap Kings:

Free Form Funky Freqs doing their thing in Amsterdam, which evidences a more coolly-cerebral, jazz-funk approach:

Friday, February 15th a day with an embarrassment of funk riches...
Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings
Beacon Theatre
2124 Broadway (between West 74th and 75th)
New York, NY
$25, $35
for tix & more info

Free Form Funky Freqs
Joe's Pub
425 Lafayette Street
New York, NY
for tix & more info

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Friday, February 01, 2008

February 1st: Anniversary of Greensboro, North Carolina Woolworth's Sit-In

I'm under other deadlines so I'll just list some information on this historically germinal protest from other sites. An important milestone and undertaking in 1960 by some courageous young male first year students from the Historically Black University (HBCU), North Carolina Agricultural & Technical University which inspired similar non-violent protests throughout the South:

From "The Greensboro Sit-ins" at the Greensboro Historical Museum
"This student protest began on February 1, 1960, when four NC A&T freshmen shown in the mural photograph sat down at the downtown Woolworth lunch counter and tried to order something to eat and drink. They were told that people of their race had to stand up at another counter to eat. The young men stayed until the store closed, and students returned to sit-in the next day. This peaceful protest continued for nearly six months. Similar protests sprang up across the South. In July 1960, three local stores changed their policies to allow integrated counters that served people regardless of race or color. The successful protest did change local custom, but legal change, both locally and nationally, came with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The four original protesters were Jibreel Khazan (formerly Ezell Blair, Jr.), Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil, and David Richmond." (pictured above right; below left the original lunch counter now on permanent exhibit at the Smithsonian; below right, the commemorative statue of the Greensboro Four, and February One)

Endnote I:
• For more information, photographs, and a multi-media timeline check out: Greensboro Sit-Ins: Launch of a Civil Rights Movement
• The website for the documentary February One: The Story of the Greensboro Four
• For images of the Greensboro Four and subsequent protests in Nashville, TN; Orangeburg, SC; Farmville, VA; Jackson, MS; and Harlem, NY; see Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement - Images of a People's Movement
• For a narrative of the sit-ins of 1960s and biographies of the Greensboro Four see Lunch at Woolworths;
• Finally, a Greensboro Sit-in wikipedia page that needs some cleaning up, but nonetheless has some good links.

Endnote II:
(Pictured above right) The surviving members of Greensboro Four at a 2003 North Carolina A&T event honoring their contribution to the Civil Rights struggle with a statue commemorating their 1960 protest. David Richmond died of lung cancer in 1990; l-r: Jibreel Khazan, Joseph McNeil, and Franklin McCain. David Richmond, Jr. stood for his father at the event where the gentlemen were presented with photos of the statue. (photos: Sharonda Eggleton)

Endnote III:
North Carolina A&T is now North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University a part of the NC state university system (but is still referred to by it's former name) and still a part of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU).

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