Colorlines

Hari Kondabolu is Really Excited About His New NYU Artist Residency

Hari Kondabolu is Really Excited About His New NYU Artist Residency

Brooklyn-based comedian Hari Kondabolu is the 2014-2015 artist-in-residence at New York University’s Asian/Pacific/American Institute and he’s excited about his new gig. From his official statement:

During my years performing in New York City, I have found myself constantly looking for performance opportunities to experiment with new ideas and create longer, fuller pieces. While there are, of course, many open mic nights across the city, they have time limits and do not always have people in the audience. Occasionally, I may slip in a few new jokes during longer headlining sets around the country, but this is not always the most conducive way to present material in-progress and safely fail. In addition, some of the things I want to work on are more long-form (like stories) and are not always best told in a stand-up context. As a result, I often end up flying back to Seattle (where I began my stand-up career) to develop new work in a theater I rent out every few months. This is obviously not ideal since I live in New York City, my hometown.

This residency at the A/P/A Institute at NYU will give me just the space and time I need to publicly workshop ideas I’ve had for years, but have not had the opportunity to explore. These ideas include material for my stand-up act; essays and stories for publications, radio, or live performances; live and video sketches; and short films.

In many ways, it’s coming full circle for the comedian, who was rejected from NYU back in 2000 after missing the application deadline in order to prep for his first stand-up gig. The kickoff event for his new residency will take place at NYU on October 15.

(h/t Angry Asian Man)

Crime Writer Rachel Howzell Hall Explores South L.A.’s Gentrification

Crime Writer Rachel Howzell Hall Explores South L.A.'s Gentrification

Rachel Howzell Hall spoke with NPR’s Code Switch team about her new book “Land of Shadows.” It’s her fourth novel and is set in her hometown of Los Angeles, where black homicide detective Elouise “Lou” Norton tries to solve the case of 17-year-old Monique Dowler in a rapidly gentrifying part of town. 

“I want people to realize that, one, there’s a story in this part of Los Angeles and that there are heroes in this world, just as there are villains,” Hall told Code Switch’s Karen Grigsby Gates. “And a lot of times, [in] L.A., you see Echo Park, you see Hollywood, but you don’t see Southwest Los Angeles, and you don’t see cops who have great compassion like Lou does, and cops who come from the areas in which they patrol. So I want people to not make assumptions about this city and about the people who live here.”

You can hear Hall’s interview and read an excerpt of the new novel over at Code Switch

Hilton Als Speaks of ‘Ghosts in Sunlight’ to Graduating Class

Hilton Als Speaks of 'Ghosts in Sunlight' to Graduating Class

Hilton Als, essayist and longtime theater critic at The New Yorker, gave the commencement speech to this year’s graduates at Columbia’s School of the Arts. He manages to perfectly capture hope and loss as he experienced it as a student there during the dawn of the AIDS pandemic:

I wonder if you, like me, feel, just now, like a ghost in the sunlight, awash in memories as your life shifts from student to professional, and your professors become your colleagues. I’ll pull rank now—but just for a moment—and say that my ghosts are probably older than yours. I mean almost Madonna old, and her 1980s music is there in my reminiscences along with so much more as I recall that the majority of my ghosts became just that during the AIDS crisis, which I first read about while I was a student at Columbia—in 1981 or so. I met those now gone boys at Columbia some time before I met you. In memory they wear what they wore then: Oxford button-downs, and they smoke and gossip in the sun that always makes the steps of Low Library—the very steps you’ve sat on yourself—look like a sketch in a dream. Tomorrow was faraway then. And then it wasn’t.

Read more at the New York Review of Books

PBS Explores Gender, Fashion and ‘the Right to be Handsome’

PBS Explores Gender, Fashion and 'the Right to be Handsome' Play

A new segment by PBS’ Ivette Feliciano explores how and why clothing for gender non-conforming people is on the rise.

(h/t PBS)

Robin D.G. Kelley on Palestine: ‘A Level of Racist Violence I’ve Never Seen’

Robin D.G. Kelley on Palestine: 'A Level of Racist Violence I've Never Seen'

Back in 2012, UCLA professor and public intellectual Robin D.G. Kelley did an interview with Mondoweiss, a website devoted to covering American foreign policy in the Middle East, about his experience as part of a U.S. delegation to Palestine. His comments offer some perspective on how even in time so-called peace, violence and destruction in the region are commonplace.

We went to Hebron, and visited and talked to Palestinian merchants, and witnessed a level of racist violence that I hadn’t even seen growing up as a black person here in the States (laughs), I have to say, and I’ve been beat by the cops. The level of racist violence from the settlers is kind of astounding. We visited Aida refugee camp just north of Bethlehem, and we went to Bethlehem as well. On my own, I went to Nablus and visited the Balata refugee camp. We also went to Haifa, and we met with a group of Palestinian-Israeli scholars and intellectuals to talk about the boycott.

Read more.

NPR’s Michel Martin Does Not Want You to Check Your Privilege

NPR's Michel Martin Does Not Want You to Check Your Privilege

As NPR’s “Tell Me More” gets ready to air its last episode on August 1, host Michel Martin took to the pages of the National Journal to spell out how conversations about women in the workplace ignore race. She references Anne-Marie Slaughter’s popular 2012 essay in The Atlantic “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” explores the jobs women of color have in today’s workforce, and then finally lands on it’s not all that useful to “check your privilege:”

Women of color have a long history of making a way out of no way, of rising out of circumstances many would consider impossible, of finding hope and purpose in the most difficult circumstances. Surely these are strengths that should be brought to bear on these issues, and surely there is a way for white women to join us in this struggle. There is a saying that is popular on some college campuses right now: Check your privilege. As I understand it, it’s mainly aimed at advantaged white people who are being admonished to recognize their advantages, especially ones they take for granted. I won’t presume to speak for all women of color so I will speak for myself: I don’t care about that. I don’t want your pity, and I can’t use your guilt. I don’t want my white female colleagues to “check” their privilege. I want them to use it—their networks, their assets, their relationships—to form a united front with women of color, and to help improve things for all of us.

Read more at National Journal

(h/t National Journal via BuzzFeed)

Brooklyn’s MoCADA Is Asking Its Community for Help

Brooklyn's MoCADA Is Asking Its Community for Help

Brooklyn’s Museum of Contemporary African Diasporic Arts is facing hard times. James E. Bartlett, the institution’s executive director, made the following appeal this week to ask community members for support to help it stay afloat:

We’ve been lucky to have the support of so many fantastic foundations over the years, and we are very grateful for their ongoing commitment to cultural arts. Our funders are model philanthropists who continue to stand by our growth and innovation. But it is not enough to rely on foundations and government grants to stay afloat. We are in danger because we are a small, Black organization and wealth inequality continues to be a very real challenge in the community we serve. We operate without an endowment or major individual donors, making us vulnerable to funding cuts. If a funder decides they no longer want to support the arts (as often occurs), we have to cut free programming, or even staff. That’s why we’re asking you to take action now.

The museum, which was founded in 1999, has set up a fundraising page in an effort to raise the funds. 

Listen: Otis Brown’s ‘The Thought of You Part 1’ Feat. Bilal

Listen: Otis Brown's 'The Thought of You Part 1' Feat. Bilal
Otis Brown III often stays in the background. A sideman and drummer for Esperanza Spaulding, he’s about to release a solo album “The Thought of You” on September 23. The album features folks like Robert Glasper and Bilal. Here’s “The Thought Of You Pt. 1.” 

* This post has been updated.
TAGS: audio music

Remembering Jazz Greats in ‘Last Stop on the 4 Train’

Remembering Jazz Greats in 'Last Stop on the 4 Train' Play

Where do you end up when you ride New York City’s northbound 4 train? Woodlawn cemetery. It’s the final resting place for legends: Miles Davis, Duke Ellington and Max Roach.

MC John Robinson, radio DJ Thomas Simmons and jazz vocalist T.C. III documented their journey north while exploring the genre’s history. Check out the first in a two-part series of “Last Stop on the 4 Train.”

It’s Finally Here: Watch the Trailer for Aaron McGruder’s ‘Black Jesus’

It's Finally Here: Watch the Trailer for Aaron McGruder's 'Black Jesus'

Aaron McGruder’s highly anticipated new show “Black Jesus” finally has a trailer. The show premieres on Adult Swim on August 7, but for now, here’s a taste of what to watch out for, with an appearance from John Witherspoon. 

Watch This Woman Perform a Monologue to Beyonce’s ‘Single Ladies’

Watch This Woman Perform a Monologue to Beyonce's 'Single Ladies' Play

Nina Millin and The Beyoncélogues FTW!

From Jezebel’s Hillary Crosley:

The time Millin tackled “Single Ladies” and “Best Thing I Never Had” and while they aren’t as scary as “Mine,” they are also funny. Very funny. My favorite line? “I up on him, he up on me” which Millin delivers as if it was “Et Tu, Brute?” Enjoy “Single Ladies” above and check out “Best Thing I Never Had” below.

 

 

TAGS: beyonce video

Questlove on Black Folks and the Contagious Culture of Hip-Hop

Questlove on Black Folks and the Contagious Culture of Hip-Hop

In an interview with Time Magazine, Questlove answered Nolan Freeny’s question “Are you pro or anti Iggy Azalea?” by defending the Australian rapper’s hit “Fancy” as the “song of the summer.”

Here’s the thing: the song is effective and catchy as hell, and it works. Just the over-enunciation of “hold you down”? [Laughs]It makes me chuckle because all I can see is my assistant holding a brush in the mirror and singing it.

I’m caught in between. And I defend it. I see false Instagram posts like, “She said the N-word! She said the N-word!” I’ll call people out — “Yo, don’t troll.” I know you’re ready to give your 42-page dissertation on theGrio about why this is culture vulture-ism. You know, we as black people have to come to grips that hip-hop is a contagious culture. If you love something, you gotta set it free. I will say that “Fancy,” above any song that I’ve ever heard or dealt with, is a game-changer in that fact that we’re truly going to have to come to grips with the fact that hip-hop has spread its wings.

And to tell the truth, I was saying this last year, I don’t think it’s any mistake that four or five of my favorite singers are from Australia. Like between Hiatus Kaiyote, there’s a bunch I can name for you right now, but I don’t think it’s a mistake that a lot of of my favorite artists are coming from Down Under. A lot of them more soulful than what we’re dealing with now. When you think soul music and Aretha Franklin and the Baptist-born singer, that’s sort of an idea in the past. As black people, we’re really not in the church as we used to be, and that’s reflected in the songs now.

I’m not going to lie to you, I’m torn between the opinions on the Internet, but I’mma let Iggy be Iggy. It’s not even politically correct dribble. The song is effective. I’m in the middle of the approximation of the enunciation, I’ll say. Part of me hopes she grows out of that and says it with her regular dialect — I think that would be cooler. But, yeah, “Fancy” is the song of the summer.

Read more at Time and Gawker

Actress Emily Rios Talks About Coming Out to Her Mexican Family

Actress Emily Rios Talks About Coming Out to Her Mexican Family

Emily Rios, the 25-year-old actress who stars in FX’s “The Bridge” and had a role on AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” recently opened up about coming out to her family. Rios was born in Los Angeles and raised as a Jehovah’s Witness in nearby El Monte. In an interview with AfterEllen, she said that she’s proud to take on queer roles.

I’m gay, personally, so being Mexican and a lesbian — this is why I love the character because I deal with the same type of things with my own family,” she said. “Mexican-Americans especially — because this generation, we come into America and your family wants to be proud. You want to come to this country and say ‘This is what I have to show for it. I brought my family and we’re living our better life.’ For my family, my mom didn’t want me to live a difficult life. She brought me here for a better one so she’s like ‘Your coming out…I don’t want this to be this. I want you to be comfortable.

I want it to be an incidental thing, which is what happens in our everyday life,” Rios said. “I wanted to make sure the whole lesbian aspect wasn’t this whole coming out story and the character wasn’t going to be made more flamboyant in any sort of way.

Read more at AfterEllen

This Is What James Baldwin Wrote About Israel and Palestine in 1979

This Is What James Baldwin Wrote About Israel and Palestine in 1979

In an article that originally appeared in the September 29, 1979 issue of The Nation, James Baldwin wrote that “Jews and Palestinians know of broken promises.”

But the state of Israel was not created for the salvation of the Jews; it was created for the salvation of the Western interests. This is what is becoming clear (I must say that it was always clear to me). The Palestinians have been paying for the British colonial policy of “divide and rule” and for Europe’s guilty Christian conscience for more than thirty years.

Finally: there is absolutely—repeat: absolutely—no hope of establishing peace in what Europe so arrogantly calls the Middle East (how in the world would Europe know? having so dismally failed to find a passage to India) without dealing with the Palestinians. The collapse of the Shah of Iran not only revealed the depth of the pious Carter’s concern for “human rights,” it also revealed who supplied oil to Israel, and to whom Israel supplied arms. It happened to be, to spell it out, white South Africa.

Read more at The Nation

Eric Garner and Spike Lee’s ‘Do the Right Thing’

Eric Garner and Spike Lee's 'Do the Right Thing'

What’s become clear in the aftermath of Eric Garner’s death is that NYPD chokeholds, though officially banned, happen all too often. There have been more than 1,000 complaints of officers using the tactic in recent years. But its influence in our cultural memory is strong, as Spike Lee demonstrated when he edited footage of Garner’s death with the pivotal scene in his 1989 film “Do the Right Thing” when cops kill Radio Raheem.

Over at Shadow and Act, Tambay A. Obenson wrote that the video is “essentially holding up a mirror to reality, emphasizing how much his art seemingly imitates (or maybe I should say, reflects) real life - still, some 25 years later, since that film’s release.”

 

Saul Williams Opens Up About ‘Holler If You Hear Me’ on Broadway

Saul Williams Opens Up About 'Holler If You Hear Me' on Broadway

Saul Williams, the star of the musical “Holler If You Hear Me,” spoke with Rolling Stone this week about why he thinks the show wasn’t a success. The show closed after only one month and 55 performances on Broadway. But Williams was quick to point out its accomplishments:

Could you foresee at all that Holler If Ya Hear Me would close this early or was it a surprise?
We’ve known what was going on all along. Every day at rehearsal, Kenny Leon was saying, “Let’s be very clear with the fact that this play is probably going to be hated coming out the gates.” We see how full or empty the house is every night. Twenty-six thousand people have seen the play and, of those people, we’ve had fucking standing ovations every night and tremendous support from the people that have seen it. But the producer, Eric Gold, said to me, “We expect that the first two months are going to be really difficult.”

Why do you think more people didn’t come out to see it?
One of our producers came in really angry because he had spoken to one of the TKTS people [who man Broadway ticket-selling booths] — not saying she was a producer — and asked them, “What about Holler? Should I see that?” And the response of the person who is supposed to guide tourists to plays was like, “It’s a bit of a downer. It’s not necessarily as fun as” whatever other play they mentioned. Then she approached another one and that person was like, “Oh, it got really bad reviews.” We started a street team at the last minute to counter those TKTS people who are really supposed to be promoting everything on Broadway. I also cannot go without saying that there was something deeply embedded in a lot of the reviews that went deeper than just a dislike of the play. 

Read more at Rolling Stone. 

African Dances, From A-Z: The Best Thing on the Internet Right Now

African Dances, From A-Z: The Best Thing on the Internet Right Now Play

Because it’s Wednesday, and we all need something fierce to look at, watch this awesome video of contemporary African dances. 

(h/t BoingBoing)

TAGS: dance video

A Look at the U.S. Marches Calling for and End to Violence in Gaza

A Look at the U.S. Marches Calling for and End to Violence in Gaza

Across the United States, thousands of people have taken to the streets to call for an end to the Israeli war in Gaza that’s claimed more than 600 Palestinian lives. Here’s a look at what’s happened already in three cities.

Chicago

gaza2_072314.jpg

Photo credit: Scott Olson/ Getty Images

gaza3_072314.jpg

Photo credit: Scott Olson/ Getty Images

gaza4_072314.jpg

Photo credit: Scott Olson/ Getty Images

San Francisco

gaza5_072314.jpggaza6_072314.jpg

Photo credit: @Savannahh_h_
gaza8_072314.jpgPhoto credit: @SafeenS

Detroit

gaza9_072314.jpgPhoto credit: @ewajasiwicz

gaza10_072314.jpgPhoto credit: @hdgremix

gaza11_072314.jpgPhoto credit: @aarifah_asifee

An Asian-American Woman is Coaching in the NBA’s Summer League

An Asian-American Woman is Coaching in the NBA's Summer League

Meet Natalie Nakase, a former UCLA women’s basketball standout who’s spending her summer breaking down some of the NBA’s gender barriers. From the New York Times

Nakase, the Clippers’ assistant video coordinator, is trying to earn credibility in the coaching profession the same way: by proving her worth. She landed a spot as an assistant coach on the Clippers’ bench during the two-week N.B.A. Summer League here, a first according to the Clippers and a step toward her goal of becoming an N.B.A. coach — something no woman has ever accomplished.

“I don’t want to just coach,” Nakase said. “I want to win championships.”

There’s only been one woman to coach professional men’s basketball in the United States, Nancy Lieberman, who coached in the NBA’s developmental league in recent years. Read more

TAGS: Gender NBA Sports

Janet Mock Clarifies New Role at Marie Claire, Won’t Be ‘Trans Correspondent’

Janet Mock Clarifies New Role at Marie Claire, Won't Be 'Trans Correspondent'

Janet Mock made news this week when it was announced that she’d accepted an offer to become a contributing editor at Marie Claire. So what, exactly, does that mean? Mock explained to Poynter

“I’ll also give my perspective on beauty, and pop culture, and politics, and not just be thrown into a corner as the trans correspondent,” Mock said in a phone interview. Editor-in-Chief Anne Fulenwider said that Mock will be writing about her own experiences but won’t be limited to them. She was drawn to Mock, she said, because she’s a “phenomenal writer, speaker and thinker.”

“I’m certainly not discounting her transgender identity; I think that’s really important and that’s what makes it so topical right now and what’s given it a lot of attention,” Fulenwider said, “but at the center of this is the story of a woman finding herself, and those are the stories that really resonate with young women.”

Mock’s first piece in her new role will be a personal account of the women and girls she’s met while on the road promoting her memoir “Redefining Realness.” It’ll appear in the magazine’s print issue this fall. 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23