Wednesday, September 26, 2007

"Whom am I to invite?" asked the night raven.
"Well, to the grand ball, anyone can come," began the old elfin lady. "Even human beings are invited; that is, those who have some small talent akin to ours: such as being able to talk in their sleep. But the party tonight is to be more select; only those of the highest rank are to attend. I argued with the elfin king about the guest list, for in my opinion neither ghosts nor spooks should be on it..The old merman and his daughters, the mermaids, must be the first ones you invite. They don't like to be where it's dry, so tell them that they can count on having a wet stone each to sit on, if not something better. (...) Then there are the graveyard sow, the Hell horse, and the three-legged church monster; it would not do to forget them. They belong to the clergy; but that is their profession, so I shan't hold it against them. Besides, we are all related, and they visit us regularly."

--excerpt from a Hans Christian Anderson story on page 283, of a 1067 page collection. I do love social gossip and ranking so I found this story particularly fabulous.

Justin and I are not seeing each other right now, Rebecca just moved to LA, Andrea is camping in some Kkk southern Illinois town and I've been feeling bored and lonely for days. I've been alone, filling my time by reading...fairy tales.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Day of Atonement

In Israel Yom Kippur is called 'Day of the Bicycles' by seculars. Because religious jews don't drive cars kids all over the country ride their bikes on the highway. Cool. A picture here of a different celebration.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Mix CD hot off the Press

Dear Friends and Readers: I just compiled a hot mix cd meant to introduce or remind listeners of some excellent talent and post/present pop culture. If you'd like a copy please contact me and I'll send you one. Here is the Summer 2007 PlayList + Notes. Each track has a link.

1. Sophisticated Boom Boom--The Goodies--I made a performance art piece out of this at a "Great Lakes Exploring Society for Young Women Event". I led participants in a series of ice breaker games and then taught them the 'sophisticated boom boom'. From a great collection of Girl Bands from the red bird label "go girls".
2. Conga Twist --The Revels--I'm way into surf rock and couples dancing.
3. Cha Cha Slide--DJ Casper--Casper invented this for his Baley's Total fitness class...the video is cool b/c it shows chicago. This is kind of the local electric slide...I see little kids in day camps doing the cha cha slide.
4. Filthy Riddim--Lady Saw--Lady Saw is one of few female reggae artists. She has been ban in certain parishes of Jamaica b/c they think she is too lewd. Maybe she is...but I also think she's a feminist and the only lyrics I really under stand are 'honey please before you catch that modern disease...' which I assume is reminding people about safe sex and condoms.
5. Dos Locos--Monchy Y Alexandra--another party hit, this is a Puerto Rican dance beat for "bachata" a really hot and very close couples dance.
6. Al Jazeera--Spencer Kingman--this song could have been written in one of my poetry classes in Madison (and I'm embarrassed to say I like the lyrics). Graham and I saw him open at the Hideout (coolest club in Chicago)...he started here and then like most talent thought he had to go to NYC.
7. Ain't No Sunshine--Rahsaan Roland Kirk--one of the more radical jazz men. A blind flute player who changed his name and made awesome music...check out his album 'Blacknuss'. There's a youtube video of him and John Cage..and he makes Cage seem conservative in every sense of the word.
8. Fatal Flower Garden--Nelsons's Hawaiians--I love the lyrics in this song...really I like any creepy old folk song...they're the kind of tradition I'm happy to pass on.
9. A Minha Menina--Os Mutantes--this is my favorite group right now. They are a psychadelic rock group from the 60's in Brazil. Their music is full of everything...and it was made during a political dictatorship!
10. Let's Make Love and Listen To--CSS-- this band is pretty hot now...and to make the cd flow better,they're from Brazil too.
11. Orange Claw Hammer--Captain Beefheart--I'm tempted to say this is the kind of music I want to make.
12. Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood--Nina Simone--She is rock and roll, tears it up, creative, and emotional.
13. My Moon My Man--Feist--she seems like the new cat power, a little weak compared to Simone...but how can we deny gain rough points it is rumored that Feist is friends and lives with Peaches in an apartment in Paris.
14. Sugar Baby--Doc Boggs--another gem from the Anthology of American Folk Music.
15. track 06--Ray Charles--this is burned from a burned cd so I shamefully do not know the name of this ...the best song on his best of album. This song is almost too sexy...the grunting at the end?
16. Sexists Exist--Graham and Dave--I feel lucky to have such talented and forward thinking friends

Monday, September 03, 2007

CPS--Just Go!

Chicago is dotted with signs these days with "CPS--Just Go!". Just Go is evidently the new slogan of the Chicago Public School System. Just Go?

This is horrible. Do they think they can fool kids with being semi like a Nike ad? Our generation was raised with ads like fairy tales...we may not know what is completely true vs fake, but we do know a quality story when we see it.

All the signs do is remind students that there doesn't seem to be a good enough reason to go to school in least not one good enough for them to put on thousands of signs across the city. And it reminds students of what dim-wits are running the Chicago Public Schools, or at least their marketing department. Attendance is such a problem in CPS they have special awards/prizes for pupils who attend the first 2 weeks of school. They get corporate sponsorship to give away Ipods and Sox tickets.

With all this in mind, did I ever tell you about the High School I visited in Little Village (a Mexican Neighborhood West of Pilsen)? I was asked to teach a drivers ed class about how to share the road with bikers. This was great. I can't believe how drivers are not required to learn anything about how to share the road with bikers! (We are slowly getting it required for taxi driver certification in the city.)

The school is new, big and beautiful with lots of natural light. The drivers ed teacher was a really cool woman who seemed like she was skilled in Martial Arts and some how communicated this to myself and the students. The classroom we were in was covered in pictures of Che Grevera and masked Zapatistas. There was a big poster that I think I recognized from one of the side bathrooms in lothlorien, it read "the US, Exporting Terror since 1940, Panama, Honduras, Iran, Grenada, Iraq...." I don't remeber the exact date on the poster or all the countries listed, but I do remember being like "holy shit" the US government is paying for these kids to learn this. Awesome. Of course they are teenagers and it was drivers ed on the last week of school before summer vacation so I had a really hard time getting them to pay attention. As I was trying to get a shy girl in the back to tell me how a motorist should aproach a biker at a stop sign when they want to turn right "Get Up Stand Up, Stand Up for your Rights" started playing on the loud speaker. Yes, Instead of a bell, at this school they play Bob Marley between classes! I was so impressed that someone actually was changing what I thought had to be burned into youth as a fake edition of Zak Morris meaninglessness . . . The community is organized against bad traditions and I like to think they are raising a subversive army of young Chicanos who while change the country, move it from our entrenched manifest colonialism.

Then I go to Tilden and meet kids who can't read... and I realize I'm one of the only teachers who realizes Eugene can't read. What should I do to help him? I am ashamed that I don't really know the answer. Am I able to help change things for the better or would I just be a missionary. I really like the idea of 'change for us, by us'. I know that I am not really part of the oppressed 'us' (being a woman and semi jewish may help me understand what it means to be treated differenetly or semi-hated, or not completely considered a person; it is by no means the same as being a young black man with a single mom on the south side of Chicago). "For Us By Us" also sounds like something Social Darwinists and Capitalists believe as they claw to the top... I should stop making excuses and call Eugene's mom ( I have her phone number in my spiral notebook). I should talk with her about her son's learning disability and see what I can do to help or what resources I can find for him.