Lynne d Johnson

 

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07.03.02 05:25 PM

backtrack

It was an almost typical Friday on June 28th. I went to work as usual, but was finally migrated over from a Windows NT PC environment to a Mac G4 OSX one. The machine is fully kitted with Adobe InDesign 2.0 and Macromedia Studio MX. I really love my new toys, especially the Mozilla Browser. They had to run some diagnostics on my new baby, so I ended up leaving work early.

Leaving work early turned out for the best, since the PC laptop I borrowed from a friend to run my Int'l Business Simulation software on was outfitted with a Windows 98 OS in Italian. It definitely took a moment for me to navigate my way through it. The software is for our Int'l Business course. My classmates and I are competing against one another in the beer industry (BTW, I found out Saturday that I am currently in second place. If I stay in the top two spots I get out of taking the final, so send all your positive energies my way.)

School was boring Friday night. I so wanted to not be there. Don't get me wrong, my classes can be somewhat enthralling, but after a long day who wants to be in school until 10 PM to return the next morning at08:30:00 AM? What made the night drone on was this Manufacturing Consent video we watched in our Media, Culture, and Society class. I love Noam Chomsky. He's up there with Marshall McLuhan and Neil Postman in my top cultural thinkers brain catalog. But listening to a man, who has no inflections in his voice and no tonal quality changes at that late hour can get kind of monotonous.

Saturday morning, school was much better. We met in Soho and visited with an artist who sells her work on the street. Later we went over to the studio of a commercial and art photographer who had some really interesting pieces. Then there was a long lunch break, since one of our classes had been cancelled for the day. I seized the opportunity and got myself involved in a little impulse shopping.

Adidas Spezial
I added a new pair of kicks to the Lynne d United Sneakers Collection. They are gold suede Adidas Spezial's with burgandy stripes. I also picked up a black wife beater that has Brooklyn 718 emblazoned on the chest in gold lettering. Afterward, I went back to school, but all I could think about was meeting up with my friends at Paradise Garage 25th Anniversary Celebration in Central Park.

Needless to say, since I was in school until about 5 it was too late to get into SummerStage. I did get to hear Grace Jones perform from the periphery. According to my girl Mel, who gave me constant cell updates, Grace was in rare form. I so wished I was on the inside. Instead I waited with some folks who I haven't hung out with in quite some time, until Mel, her date, and my brother were done watching Grace and listening to the DJs spin.

I had to hustle back to Brooklyn because I was supposed to go out on what could be considered a date. Although I'm still not quite ready to get involved, I figure the summer is as good a time as any to meet new people. Besides it is time that I move on. I won't go into many details here about the date, since I never know who is reading this. All I can say is that I ended up committing a dating faux pas and went to a club. Hey, I like to dance. What can I say? I do know that I want to kick myself in the head for grooving to Nelly's "Hot in Herre." It turned out to be a very late and fun night.

Pride Pic
I woke up way too late to make it to the Pride Parade, but I did catch the tail end of it all. The Village was more crowded than I have ever remembered. But I couldn't even catch any of the final festivities, as I was on to my next event for the evening.

Bilal Pic
Bilal was doing a jazz experiments and explorations show at Joe's Pub. You know how I feel about this man if you ever read my review of 1st Born Second on Sonicnet. It was obvious he was high, but I had no problems with that. The ensemble played some original material, to which it appeared Bilal was kicking some freestyle lyrics. He later performed a medley of jazz standards, which included "My Funny Valentine." At times he reminded me of Prince. The pitch and articulation of his falsetto are the reason for this. He often tranposed into this deep baritone voice that simply took my breath away. For the pure Bilal fans who were disappointed by this jazz performance, the show was closed out with "Sometimes." I think it's time Bilal does an Unplugged or at least a live CD. There are things he can accomplish in the live arena that I don't feel will ever be presented on a recording. The industry has stuck him in that R&B, hip-hop-ish ghetto, which really does nothing for the range of his vocal abilities.

Verve/Remixed
High off of Bilal's performance, I ran over to Tower and copped the Verve/Remixed joint. I have George to thank for hipping me to this compilation. Originally, I felt that Nina, Sassy, Ella, Billie, et. al., would sound extremely coopted swimming in a sea of lush house grooves, africanisms, and breakbeats. Quite the contrary. This disc is a seamless blend of the best of the old and the new.

Trace Cover
Monday came and I was feeling a magazine jones after reading George's post about the mags he had picked up on June 27th. I decided on TRACE, since it was their annual Black Girls Rule! issue. It features a fashion/portfolio section of the most beautiful black women working at the higher end of the fashion industry today. On the music tip, there are pieces on Blackalicious, Cee-Lo, and The Roots. Also featured are a host of articles on black women, including "Goddess: Why do black women fascinate people the world over?" "Skinny! A white girl's dream, a black girl's nightmare," and "The Aggressives: Venturing outside society's usual grasp of the feminine." I find the latter most interesting, as several years ago I wrote a piece for Oneworld about drag kings and baby dykes, who enter into competitions at balls for realness in terms of pulling off looking like men and boys. Due to some confusion at the mag at the time — the then editor, Toure was pulling out — my story got lost in the shuffle. So it was cool to see someone picking up on the topic now.

Monday evening found me at The Shadowbox Theater at Brooklyn's YWCA for a workshop performance by Coco Fusco. "The Incredible Disappearing Woman," is a play in which Fusco explores many borders, between North and South, men and women, art and life, and between life and death. Fusco was driven to create the piece when told the story about a performance that had taken place 25 years ago when an American man went to Mexico, rented a female corpse and had sex with her — as art. It was a compelling play, no doubt.

Toure Pic
Speaking of Toure, he has a collection of short stories coming out entitled, The Portable Promised Land. My boy Nick and I went to check out the book release party at Joe's Pub last night. For those of you who don't know, Toure has followed the tradition of Nelson George and Greg Tate, writing about black popular culture, particularly music, in a host of publications including, The New York Times, Playboy, and Vibe. And he is currently the hip-hop resident at Rolling Stone. I enjoyed the format, which featured readings from his book by a variety of artisans, including DJs, spoken word artists, and actors like DJ Mark Ronson, Liza Jessie Peterson, Mums the Schemer, and Michael Wright among others. Nick and I had to wait on line to get in, and Nicole Moore of The Hotness was behind us. She wasn't very thrilled at the idea of waiting on line for a book party, especially when she was expected to write about either the party, Toure, or his book.

Inside, the place was packed with New York writers and editors, as well as many from the music, fashion, and arts industries. Nick and I made our way to the bar, and I ordered a Mojito. It is my new fav, since I am off of all the flavored Martinis and frozen Cosmos. I said my what's ups to Selwyn Hinds, formerly of 360hiphop and The Source, and Greg Tate. We listened to the reading, and now I know I have to read the book before I interview Toure for Mosaic. His writing is bursting with wit, hip-hop, and Brooklyn and New York references. I think it will be an enjoyable read. Toure also has a bit of the poet in him. Something I had not realized before when reading his articles. The night also gave me the opportunity to give daps to Raquel Cepeda, the new editor of Oneworld. Again thanks to George, I peeped Cepeda's interview with Rebecca Walker discussing sex and hip-hop. Funny thing was she said she knew I would like it because she had thought of me. I didn't bother to ask her what that meant. Nick and I made the rounds, as Mark spun luscious funk, soul, and hip-hop beats. I spoke to Toure about our upcoming meeting, and then I was out.

If everything works out, I'm off to DC late tonight. So perhaps I'll have another one of these ridiculously long posts when I return.

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