Amoeblog

Proto-rap -- a look at black soul and jazz poetry for Black History Month

Posted by Eric Brightwell, February 4, 2013 05:10pm | Post a Comment

INTRODUCTION




in my freshman year of college I remember being hipped to the Last Poets by another temporary housing refugee. He basically told me that they were rap music before rap music. This was back in 1992, a year after CERN released the World-Wide Web and when most music was shared via cassette tapes or compact discs. There was no Napster or YouTube and in Iowa, there weren’t a lot of copies of obscure, 1970s, militant, black spoken word records floating around so for years I could only wonder what they and other soul and jazz poets sounded like. Today there’s no reason anyone with access to a computer can’t check them out so for Black History Month, here’s a brief introduction to the ones that I’m familiar with. (If there are others, please let me know in the comment section).

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Happy February -- here's your line-up of month-long observances and ways to celebrate with music, movies and games

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 30, 2013 06:27pm | Post a Comment

IT'S FEBRUARY

 

Gloomy Day 1565 Artist: Pieter Bruegel (1525?-1569)
Gloomy Day 1565 by Pieter Bruegel, the Elder

As with all of the months of the year, even short February is packed with its share month-long observances. There are well-known observances, obscure ones and frankly some ridiculous ones whose very existence annoys me. If you live somewhere with a temperate climate in the Northern Hemisphere then by now you might be well over winter and in need of some levity. If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, of course, it's summer and you're hopefully outside getting stink blown off. If you’re staying indoors, here’s a list of February’s month long observances and some of my favorite films relevant to the subject. What are yours?

 

AMD/ Low Vision Awareness Month

There are quite a few TV series and films where blindness has been a plot point. I bet that there are dozens, perhaps hundreds of other good films to enjoy in February but here are a my recommendations: the Zatoichi (???) series, Wait until dark, The Color of paradise (??? ??), and See no evil (aka Blind terror).

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Krazy Kat - One of the kolossal komics in the kontinuum debuted 13, October, 1913

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 13, 2012 06:23pm | Post a Comment

INTRO TO KRAZY KAT

Krazy Kat

On 15 October, Google paid tribute to Winsor McCay's comic, Little Nemo in Slumberland, which debuted on that date in 1905. It was a beautiful tribute to one of the greatest comic strips of all time. Just two days earlier, though not celebrated by Google (I don't expect them to honor something every day), was the anniversary of another of my all-time favorite strips, Krazy Kat, which debuted in 1913 -- although some of the characters dated were introduced in George Herriman's earlier strip, The Dingbat Family.

IMMEDIATE IMPACT

Krazy Kat wasn't widley popular although it was hugely influential and afforded serious criticism as early as 1924, when Gilbert Seldes's article "The Krazy Kat Who Walks by Himself," was published. Fan and poet E. E. Cummings wrote the introduction to the first book collection of the strip.The Comics Journal placed it first on its list of the greatest comics of the 20th century. Charlie Chaplin, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, H. L. Mencken, Jack Kerouac, Pablo Picasso, and Willem de Koonig were also avowed fans of the groundbreaking series.

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The 17th Central Avenue Jazz Festival

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 31, 2012 03:05pm | Post a Comment
THE CENTRAL AVENUE JAZZ FESTIVAL


Central Avenue Jazz Park 


Every year for the past 17 years, during the last weekend in JulyLA residents and visitors are treated to the preeminent jazz event on the West Coast with The Central Avenue Jazz Festival. It’s free and open to the public – last year, 35,000 attended. The focus, of course, is live music but there are also craft and food booths. I've been meaning to check it out in the past and this I year finally did.


LOCATION OF EVENT

The Dunbar Hotel
The Dunbar in 2012 and Central Ave - A Community Album


A BRIEF BIT OF BACKGROUND ABOUT SOUTH CENTRAL


Malcolm X Way - South Central, Los Angeles Jazz Mural - South Central Los Angeles
          Intersection of Malcolm X Way and MLK                                A Jazzy mural at Alondra's Bakery

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Black History Month Leap Year Review: the Good, the Sad & the Bizarre

Posted by Billyjam, March 2, 2012 11:40am | Post a Comment

Among the "good" of this year's Black History Month was Robert Glasper's excellent
Black Radio album on Blue Note released Feb 28th, 2012


Maybe it's because this is a leap year that Black History Month 2012, which ended two days ago, seemed a little out of whack. Or maybe it was because it was a Black History Month that started on a really bad note when, on the morning of Feb 1st, the tragic news that Don Cornelius of Soul Train fame had taken his own life was the first thing we were to read about. That was bad enough but this tragic news came hot on the heels of the world losing a string of other black music/cultural icons, including in just the preceding two weeks both Etta James and JImmy Castor.  And then, of course, ten days later, on the eve of the Grammys, the whole world was taken aback with the shocking news that Whitney Houston had died at age 48. Not exactly a great time to joyously celebrate black history!

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