Saturday, July 20, 2013

91 year old drummers. NO BIG DEAL.

Friday, July 19, 2013

For all those hippies who don't care to ruin your records. Here's a way of playing them. Dope.

Put a little skate edit up of my homie Abe at the Martha's vineyard skate park. Thanks to Follen for the epic video title!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Good quiz to check out put on by the pew research group. Decided to take it to reveal if I should brush up on my current affairs. See how you rate among the 1,000+ Americans that took it. Yeah I missed two questions. Wish I missed zero. 

“PROPAGANDA”, a documentary about capitalism, imperialism, mass manipulation of western culture for the purpose of commodification, and how it permeates every aspect of the lives of blissfully ignorant, borderline zombie masses.. Supposedly "leaked" from a duo of North Korean defectors. 

Can't say this shit is wrong though. Our capitalist society at it's finest. I really don't have to say anything about North Korea as I think the country speaks for itself. Yet, this video is pretty on point. I should also mention this only part 9 of a 10 piece film. Below is the entire film. The host quotes Noam Chomsky a bunch so right away you know it's going to be quite interesting..

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Can't.Resist. One of the best movies ever.

I'm going to start out by saying don't read this post if you don't like reading people trying to untangle their thoughts. We all know the world is filled with fucked up shit, but every now and then a culmination of events happen that force me to re-examine my own understanding of things. To articulate and express them in word form is the equivalent of curing the mental and social constipation I've experienced the last few days.

I highly recommend seeing the movie "Fruitvale Station." I saw it alone last night at the Angelika theatre admist a packed house. A lot of people have  remarked on how "freaky" the timing is of the movie release which coincides perfectly with the acquittal of George Zimmerman. The logical side of my brain doubts either event planned to manifest on the same weekend. However, there is another part of my brain that personally feels things always happen for a reason. But you can look at it however you want. Ultimately the sad, depressing truth is that both events carry the same message that has rang true for generations of disenfranchised citizens that have come before us. After this weekend's verdict, President Obama remarked, "And in the wake of the verdict, I know these passions may be running even higher. But we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken."

By simple definition, laws are in place as a system of rules and guidelines that ultimately serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Criminal law deals with conduct and behavior "harmful" to social order in which the guilty party may be punished, imprisoned, or fined. Time and time again, our judicial system has proved to undermine and jeopardize the integrity of this existing  social order we have in America.  Many people would love to believe that the social order we fight to preserve in this country, prosecutes all criminals equally under the fullest extent of the law. That any individual which seeks to harm, injure, or take the life of another individual, will be punished "swiftly" and "justly". Unfortunately, our fundamental interpretation of "social order" continues to be maintained at the expense of hypocritical, gross injust rulings disproportionately served to people of color when their lives are taken by "light" skinned aggressors who statistically receive inadequate accountability and punishment for violent and murderous behavior. 

Being raised in San Francisco and having family hailing from Oakland, the story of Oscar Grant III  definitely resonated immediately. The bay area is a diverse melting pot with it's own rich tradition of protest and activism, but it's geography is also plagued with corrupt police politics and beyond poor inner city reputations. In Nov 2010, 150 protestors gathered to march against police misconduct and the minimal sentencing the B.A.R.T. police officer received for killing Oscar Grant. 150 of them were unlawfully detained and arrested for "unlawful assembly." They were subsequently detained and held in abusive conditions ranging from overcrowded holding cells to buses. Women were forced to pee in cups for pregnancy tests. That moment in history brought to you by the Oakland Police Department.

In 2009 when Oscar Grant was murdered riding B.A.R.T., I found it easy to relate to those pissed off passengers on the train witnessing first hand this small gang of "law enforcers" make shift detaining their "suspects" as they dragged and cuffed these individuals against a wall. Any time you handcuff an individual without telling them why, tactics of intimidation have already been set in motion. But when it comes to all crooked law enforcers, "resisting arrest" while you are under perhaps "false arrest" is always their go-to method of justified provocation. The police can basically report you are doing the exact opposite of what you are doing and because police departments across the country are notoriously insular, it is no wonder why court rooms easily become an extension of institutionalized corruption and bias.  

Watching police use excessive force is not an uncommon occurrence as growing up entirely in cities my whole life, this is the kind of behavior that is ubiquitous with law enforcement everywhere. In Oscar's case, it was in those moments of him being helplessly handcuffed, face held against the floor, that someone with a registered weapon paid to ensure public safety, shot him in the back like a fucking dog in the street. Straight up.

 Watching the movie unfold in New York City instantly transported me back to the bricks of EMB where I have personally experienced fireworks by the clock tower, and the familiar turnstiles of B.A.R.T. My upbringing is definitely represented by an era of downtown skateboarding filled with hella Nickatina, Cellski, hella Mac Dre, hella big t's, baggy ass jeans and hoodies, undercover police in hawaiian shirts, normal shitty cops, and of course the presence of hella weed. For me, it was natural to find a lot of cultural parallels to the movie.

Ryan Coogler, the 26 year old director of "Fruitvale Station", was deeply affected by the incident after viewing the footage of Oscar Grant being shot on the internet. Looking at the footage, he realized it could have been him. At the bottom of this post I've included a link to an interview with writer/director Ryan Coogler released by Weinstein films. Oscar Grant was 22 years old that at the time of his death. He might have had a troubled past as the movie truthfully depicts, but as the camera follows Oscar around the day of his death, he was just like anybody else trying to turn his life around for his family and for himself. Whether he was an outstanding citizen or whether he was an ex-convict who had served his debt to society, he was still a human being that was pulled off a train, abusively restrained, then murdered in public.

When people try to assassinate the characters of victims by imploring any kind of device to sway the public that somehow an expired, non-perfect life deserves an inferior interpretation of the law, it leaves me with a feeling of deep disgust.

Not only do we lose lives so tragically, we as the public often lose sense of the victim's humanity once the media and defense lawyers fill in the blanks for the angry mob mad libs when using these events to address everyone in America's personal problems with race. But beyond race, it's about the humanity that is lost which is what is so fucked up to me. There is no humanity in a judicial system that registers statistically harsher sentencing for people of color while the opposite is true for another group of people. 
When any killer is allowed to virtually walk free, most people get pissed. Nobody will argue that it is legally okay to go around and shoot people just because you feel like it. But when it comes down to a question of "self defense", you can shoot to kill someone basically at any point. it's a totally different ball game in that court room when there is such little evidence to contradict Zimmerman's "self defense" claim. Nobody in the world will ever know a truthful account except Zimmerman, so armed with little evidence to disprove the possibility Trayvon was defending himself during an attack, the jury ultimately decided that Trayvon deserved to die that night. 

Forget race, if you stalk and end up killing an unarmed teen in the process, even if both people are defending themselves in an unscripted encounter, the law has spoken to this entire country that it is legally acceptable if somebody dies in the process. Even if that somebody is a child in the eyes of the the law, the adult in this situation who acted out of vigilantism who should have logically been held with more accountability, was instead completely acquitted by Lady Justice. The argument of self defense would cue any ignorant American civilian that any black man or person of color should be considered and can be considered a physical threat. So why stop now?And why not go looking for trouble since the law is clearly on the side of those who are willing to create hostile, deadly environments for the sake of a self defense argument. Will Florida and other states with similar laws now encourage vigilante serial "self-defenders" to eradicate people they don't like? Shoot first, justify senseless killing later.

On the other hand, the other way to be eradicated from the planet, is if you are profiled and accused of "resisting arrest" or being "uncooperative" while cops apply excessive force, and you end up getting shot in the back, later dying from your injuries. In this situation, Lady Justice will reward your badge carrying killer a mere 11 months in jail. Again, somebody paid to uphold the law and "ensure public safety" who is legally armed with weapons to do so, should be logically tried with the most accountability in any situation. But again, whatever seems logical proves to not count for shit. White, black, yellow, brown, or striped, many of us have had personal experiences or know somebody that has experienced or been exposed to police brutality, miscarriages of justice, or even institutionalized forms of injustice and inequality within society.

Ideally, justice should serve everybody equally in the eyes and capacity of the law.  Unfortunately, laws in America have notoriously been interpreted to only benefit a small group of the population. It has  become increasingly obvious that more laws are aimed to take away individual rights in favor of police state gestures of "national security."It has also become clear that while systematic oppression exists all over the world, you better keep your eyes open and your camera phones out. Had those people on B.A.R.T. not captured the killing of Oscar Grant on their phones, would Ryan Coogler have felt just as compelled to make this movie in particular? 

Every eye that is open and every shred of footage that brings light or challenges the moral high ground of a shitty situation,  is another chance at hope for reform. With reform comes opportunity to polish this insanely large turd the world has been dealt. All we can look at are the things that we do have, and what we do have is evidence that life is indeed worth fighting for otherwise we wouldn't get so pissed when it gets taken away from us so easily. And what we also have is the ability to combat the negative with the positive, always. I guess without hope how can one expect change? The other night when the movie drew to it's closing credits, I jumped out of my seat practically running to the exit so I could avoid having my tear soaked face being seen in public. As I scurried through that dimly lit theatre aisle towards the exit, I could see that there were other people variously moved by the movie as well. I guess that shouldn't have been a surprise since after all we are all just humans beings trying to make sense of this crazy world we live in.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

HAYWARD -- A woman was arrested Saturday after allegedly jumping on stage at a music festival and attacking a legendary musician after he dedicated a song to Trayvon Martin, according to police and eyewitnesses.
The woman, who police identified as 43-year-old Dinalynn Andrews Potter of Barstow, apparently yelled, "it's all your fault" before shoving 73-year-old Lester Chambers, his family said Sunday.

STEVIE! Taking action towards changes that need to be made to take a stand for real justice in this world. Thank you to Indira for posting this on facebook.

Gavin Brown’s enterprise
620 Greenwich Street
New York NY 10014
July 11 – August 10, 2013 
Gavin Brown’s enterprise and Johan Kugelberg/Boo-Hooray Gallery, together with Afrika Bambaataa, the Universal Zulu Nation, and Cornell University Library announce the public archiving of one of the most important record collections in the history of hip hop:

The Afrika Bambaataa Master of Records vinyl archive. 

From July 11 through August 10, Kugelberg and his team will be organizing, cataloguing, and documenting Afrika Bambaataa’s peerless vinyl collection at Gavin Brown’s enterprise, Monday through Friday between 12 – 5 PM. Visitors are encouraged to stop by, hear some great music and see how the cultural artifacts of this important strand of American history are preserved.

Open archiving, like an archeological dig or a group of students viewing biological research in a museum, is an important and rarely seen part of the process of documenting history. Before the Afrika Bambaataa archive moves to its permanent home at Cornell University’s Hip Hop Collection in the Fall of 2013, Johan Kugelberg and Gavin Brown’s enterprise offer visitors a unique opportunity to experience what is arguably the most important gathering of vinyl in the history of hip hop while it is sorted, organized, archived (and DJ'd) in full view of the public. 

I stumbled into this while checking out the art show in the front of the gallery which is also quite good. These are the things that get me so fucking siked on living in New York City. I am vowing to return to really give the proper time needed to fully enjoy this rare chance at not only listening to these records, but also checking out obscure, out of print, cover art spanning the last few decades. Thanks to Nord for the link to the gallery site!

Monday, July 15, 2013

In a country ruled by "laws" rather than justice, I am glad Asiana is suing KTVU for airing their racially offensive list of Asian pilot names. Maybe now they can finally find that "summer intern" they're blaming everything on.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

I'm not surprised many people were unfazed at the not guilty verdict. This is the America that we live in. Racial profiling, public executions, and acquittals thrive in 2013. And yet it is our duty as Americans to spread our forms of "liberty" and "justice" to the rest of the world.

“Justice? -- You get justice in the next world. In this one you have the law.” 

William Gaddis
“A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.” 
― Thomas Jefferson

“I believe that there will be ultimately be a clash between the oppressed and those who do the oppressing. I believe that there will be a clash between those who want freedom, justice and equality for everyone and those who want to continue the system of exploitation. I believe that there will be that kind of clash, but I don't think it will be based on the color of the skin...” 
― Malcolm X

“Couldn't help but make me feel ashamed to live in a land where justice is a game.” 
― Bob Dylan

“True peace is not merely the absence of war, it is the presence of justice.”
― Jane Addams

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
Martin Luther King, Jr. 

In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same.
Albert Einstein 


Just another day in the racist United States of America. You can shoot kids in the street and get away with it with literally zero legal accountability. They'll even give you your gun back. Meanwhile in another Florida court, a black woman gets sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot to ward off her abusive spouse. Her defense also used the "stand your ground" policy except she gets twenty years. She didn't even fucking shoot anybody.

“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.” 

                                                                                      ― Benjamin Franklin