Lynne d Johnson

 

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10.12.03 04:02 PM

since i've been MIA

Other than the usual grind (with a few new responsibilities), the teaching, and some writing here and there, I have been extremely busy going places and doing thangs. The following recollection of events are probably not in chronological order, but at least you'll get the gist.

Some time ago, a work mate and I went to see Thirteen, a movie about a young girl gone bad who is begging for attention. I didn't see it so much as shock and awe, but it did have me stuck for quite a few days. Having once been thirteen myself, and having a thirteen-year-old niece, who I am still contemplating about taking to see it, the movie brought up some very horrifying rembrances of my own youth while scaring me about what a young girl might go through as she journeys to become a woman. Leaving the theatre, I was moved by the emotional ranges that the film was able to take me through. Not only did I wonder about family dysfunction, but dysfunction in the world in general. For me, the movie packed a lot of socio-psycho-cultural punch. Yes, it was spotty at times and incomplete and disjointed, but it's impact was significant and real. It's interesting that we don't think about mental illness as it affects everyone at one point or another, we look at mental illness as something only left for "crazies" who have episodes, take meds, or see a shrink. I used to work with children and families, and the movie simply reminded me that not many of us are totally well. As I said, I was stuck for a few days after watching it, turning all kinds of thoughts about in my mind. It's really hard to understand those teenage years. For parents, the best thing to do is to dole out some tough love, and hope and pray that those kids will be alright. It's better that parents raise their kids, than the streets, or radio, or cable box, or video games, or chat rooms. Know your kids, be highly involved in their lives. Remember that at one time, you were a kid yourself.

The work mate and I decided to take in another movie together, given the way that Thirteen moved us. Casa de los Babys, had pure quality potential, if not for it's socio-cultural premise alone, then at least for its stellar cast. Not. First I was in utter disbelief of the generic South American geographical depiction in the film. Could we at least stop being so American and give the country a name? An identity? Something? I found the film a complete bore, struggling to decipher its messages. The messages were clearly there as it should have been evident, the script just didn't fulfill its promise nor bring any of what could have been interesting to light.

What's beef? I'll tell you. Beef is a QDIII project that should have been theatrically released instead of going straight to DVD. Perhaps it's the fact that he plans to release four more volumes of Beef that it didn't work out that way. The piece, at first, sets up some historical bacground of artistic competition, and then ventures into hip-hop battles. This was one of the clearest depictions I've seen to date. It also provides sincere analysis of some of the current beefs that have received lots of mainstream press ink, with objective and balanced accounts. There you have members of Murder Inc. going back-and-forth with Fiddy, to explain the details of why there exists so much drama between the two camps. Explanations behind beef as marketing ploy and fight for artisitic superiority, a la Jay-Z .vs Nas, also show up in the production. There is just so much real insight here, it's amazing. In essence, Beef presents the real deal, separating the bullshit from reality. You get schooled on what's real beef (which ultimately leads to real violence) and what's industry beef (it only happens on records). A lot of rappers, who we have come to believe as hardcore, only have an on-recording persona that is nothing like who they really are. It was also amazing for me as I got to spend a little time with Supernatural, whom I hadn't seen in years. As a matter of fact, a lot of the film's cast was there to show their respect and support. Even saw Selwyn Hinds of The Source and 360hiphop fame, who I hear will be in the next release. One of the highlights of seeing this film, during the 2003 Urbanworld Film Festival was that I got to talk to QDIII. At some point, I'll get to pen a real review of the film loaded with lots of his feedback. I also met a body guard/security type, who came in really handy, as you'll read a little further down this lengthy-ass post.

I'm going to keep dealing with films here, since I've seen quite a few lately. Oh, there are so many mixed emotions about Tarantino's Kill Bill Vol 1. As a martial arts, anime, and comic book fan, I have to say I took the film for what it was. I was not offended by the violence, because I understand all the genres that were fused together to make this cinematic masterpiece. Someone I know, questioned T's value, or at least representation of the value, of Asian life. You know I really mean lack of value, don't you? Others of course felt that there was in fact too much got damned violence. I personally loved the film, if not for the DiVAS (Deadly Viper Assassination Squad) alone. Who said women don't kick ass with fierce aplomb? Cynthis Fuchs at Popmatters viewed the film through vastly different lenses than my own, but nonetheless her points are relevant. RZA's original score, and T's musical picks, offer the film a pulse that perfectly matches its action. At the end of the day, perhaps my vision is a little blurry and I should care more about the violence, but its choreographed so well that it pays homage to the genres it fuses together instead of merely paradoying them.

There has also been some partying going on for me. Not major partying, but just a few events and hanging around the 'hood in a few lounges. There was a party for Kevin Powell's new book Who's Gonna Take the Weight: Manhood, Race, and Power in America that I attended. At first, I didn't understand the party. But then I remembered I had been to one of these for one of his books before. They are actually that, parties. You don't get to hear him read or discuss the book, nor do you get to ask questions. But you do get an opportunity to give him dap. When I entered, because of the woman singing, I mistook it for a boho affair. Not that I have anything against granola or backpacks, that's probably closer to who I am at heart than what people take me for. It just didn't make sense. And not that the actual party made sense, once the DJ kicked the classic hip-hop, funk, and soul, that had mucho folks showing off their dancing skills. As I started dancing, I realized that what a book party is all about, is a celebration of the author and his accomplishments and I took it as that. If I want to hear more from him about the book, then I should attend one of his readings. But I think I need to finish reading the book first, so I come at it informed.

The clique I rolled with that night decided they wanted to do more partying. We made our way to some joint, of which now the name escapes me. We left as quickly as we arrived. The whole red rope, selective entry, throwing away people's cigarettes (b/c smoking is banned in NY spots), was a little much. Then we made our way to APT, but nothing was happening there. As a final resort, we decided to find the spot where Mark Ronson's record release party was being held for his
Here Comes the Fuzz
. I'd seen the "Ooh Wee" video, and decided the rest of the album was worth taking a listen to. So we pull up to the spot, and of course it's another one of those selective entry deals. Just as we were about to turn away, a security guard (I told you he was going to reappear), in black with headphones on makes his way outside and says "Let her and her people in. She's important." Ok this is so pretentious. NYC is so pretentious. But I wasn't mad at it working for me that night. It was late, Mark Ronson wasn't there, if he had ever been. There were more people in the roped off VIP section than out on the dancefloor, so it was soon a drive back to BK.

Now of course you don't now know everything that has gone on in my life since I last posted, some things remain personal. But a fellow blogger (diarist as I'd prefer to call him) asked that I please start writing something here again. Hopefully this will suffice until I can get everything on the new site just right and fully loaded.

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