". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Saturday, January 30, 2010

He Hit The Moment

The Pasta is Perfect.

Just sharin'.

How to $pend a Winter $aturday in Manhattan

To the bank to get quarters for laundry and some cash.

Raffetos:  home made pasta, pesto, smoked mozzarella, imported parmesano and olive oil.

Gourmet Garage:  breads, NY Extra-Sharp Cheddar, bananas, zuchini, portobellos, avocados, arugala and tomatoes.

Soho Wines:  red wine, white wine.

Augies:  3 lbs coffee, ground.

Morton Williams supermarket: red leaf lettuce, chicory, mustard greens, okra, green cabbage, parsely, 5 lbs. potatoes, two kinds of beans, non-sodium bouillon, soy milk, cow milk, honey, peanut butter, beef, chicken sausage with basil and sundried tomatoes.

Chinatown:  4 kinds of tea, wontons, shrimp, chicken, pork and vegetables.

None of these places is located next to each other.  This is all on foot and carried by hand.  So you see why it took almost 4 hours -- and I walk FAST.  I walked particularly fast today since the temperature when I went out first was 12, got to up to 16, and then fell back down to 12 before I got back from Chinatown.

I don't think I need to work out today.

Now it's time for Phil Schaap and Traditions in Swing, tonight a celebration of the birthday of Roy Eldridge, who, would be 90 years old today, to open a bottle of the wine, and start the prep for the pasta and salad dinner to come. Just hangin' here with mi papi on a chill night at the end of January, 2010.

This shows our age since no one under 40 listens to the radio.  It's mindboggling to understand that for the class, we are going to have to instruct our students in what radio was.

Friday, January 29, 2010


Go to the Chairman's blog, to see the description of the official roll out of Postmambism in academia.

Not to mention, um, the lovely things he says about Vaquero.

With which I agree.  I would, wouldn't I?

18 Degrees

Nor shall things warm for several more days.  I'd hoped we would miss these temperatures this year.

More cheerily -- the students are terrific!  Among them they speak roughly 3.4 languages, if you fold Cantonese Chinese  into the majority Mandarin Chinese.  The students diversity ranges from three different Asian regions through the Caribbean.  Missing are any members from Africa, though the born in the U.S.A. students include Afro Latin and African American students.  This is going to be a good spring semester.

O, and for some reason the NFL believes it OWNS "Who Dat?", that its employment anywhere except on merchandise peddled by the NFL is copyright infringement. They also seem to believe they own gold and black.   See Jaquetta White, The Times-Picayune.  Damn, why do corps want to ruin the fun in everything?   I suppose I've just infringed by typing those words here.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Decompression Avoids Depression

I need to decompress from an enormously fraught couple of weeks, not to mention teh cough that hangs on, because I am getting deeply depressed.  Also this coming week is going to be a killer.  The course begins, right after the teach-in for Haitian history and culture.

So I shall stop reading Jonathan Littell's The Kindly Ones. This massive novel is brilliantly written. But I have no idea how he was able to write it without needing to stop periodically and throw up, or maybe kill himself. This novel is an inconceivable achievement -- getting inside the mind of a high nazi officer who is involved with the ever-escalating scope and number of nazi atrocities in WWII. Its structure, like the methodology of the nazi evils, is methodical, organized and carefully bureaucratized, with all the details punctilliously  recorded, to ensure no one got blamed for doing or not doing what they were told. There must be some good reason for this award-winning literary novel. But I can't continue reading it. Why must this central consciousness be a homosexual? Would Dr. Maximilien Aue be less evil if he wan't a homosexual?  I can't  read this before going to bed.

I've finished Bliss Broyard's One Drop: My Father's Hidden Life -- A Story of Race and Family Secrets, which is a memoir of NY and NO we're using for the course.  Her father was Anatole Broyard, long time book critic for the NY Times  and Book Review.

I've begun Daniel Boone: An American Life.

I read several Mario Puzo novels last year. Without redeeming literary value of any kind they take no time at all; in paperback they are just right for the subway.*  Though Puzo never finished The Family himself, he and a collaborator worked on it before he died. This novel of the Borgias reads as if it were being written a screen play. This would make a most terrific historical movie.  This winter I'm watching the films that were made from the Puzo novels. I suppose this is like what I used to do back in the 80's and 90's when things just got to be too much. I headed out to Brooklyn, to the heavy metal club, L'Amour, just to make my ears bleed. Sometimes your nerves need that. But I'm frailer now, so I resort to dvds instead.

Like the entire world, I have indeed seen The Godfather before, though a long time ago. Though it seems  unlikely, Vaquero and I went together to see Godfather III when it came out. I've watched The Godfather II (1974) for the first time in which Robert de Niro plays the young Vito Corleone; the old man version in The Godfather, as the world knows, was played by Marlon Brando. So much of Viggo Mortenson as Aragorn in Jackson's LOTR reprises de Niro's in body and head stance as Vito Corleone, a perfectly still body that contains infinite capacity for effective violent action, that one wonders about actorly influence. What is different though, is the deadness of Vito Corleone's eyes when he goes for the needed kill, as are Al Pacino's eyes, playing Vito's son and successor, Michael Corleone. Aragorn's eyes are always filled with a warm light. However, in his later roles of violence, that deadness is nearly there, as in A History of Violence. So far though, Mortenson's eyes still possess soul when his characters kill.

I've also watched one and half seasons of The Sopranos this winter. It is inferior to both the Godfather films and The Wire, by so much. But it does distract one. The Sopranos also flatly states several times in several ways -- at least so far -- that it owes its very existence to the Godfather films. It so much lacks the heft, the weight, the seriousness of the old days. The difference between the stone, wood, gold and marble of the old ways, the old faith, of Italy and New York, and the prefab materials of contemporary New Jersey and movie-mad priests. In other words Coppola, with Puzo, created a mythos and legend for Italians in the New World.** The population of The Sopranos' characters, er writers, are acutely aware this is so. So are our other brands of U.S. gangsters, but that's another story -- and a whole bunch of other films and lots of music.


* Unlike The Kindly Ones, which has a great deal of literary value -- at least many people believe this to be so, The Puzo novels make put a great deal of emphasis on honor and loyalty and family love, so there is comfort and less despair -- at least if one can forget that organized crime depends on a state and populaton that is mostly law-abiding, with non-corrupt institutions. When the state, people and the institutions become as ruthless, brutal and corrupt as the criminal organization the entire ediface defaults to warlordism.  Or fascism, which wasn't very friendly to the Sicilian Our Thing, supposedly.  In any case corruption breeds corruption -- see Our Own Nation.

** This is something I hadn't thought about much prior to living in New Orleans, a purely mobbed up city run out of the same southern Italian migrant waves that brought NYC the Godfather.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Hope For Haiti Televised Benefit Concert Tonight

The three city concert will be broadcast tonight, at 8 EST.

It will be internet broadcast also.

We're off to view it with some Haitian friends.

Love, c.

Lwa Save Us

That stupid ignorant neocon Michelle Martin of national public rhetoric's Tell Me More had on the NPR house religious 'expert' to tell us about vodou.  The 'expert' seems not to have known that it is NOT voodoo.  For starters.

This is beyond disgusting. But it's part of the whole cloth out of which coverage of Haiti is cut.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

How 'Bout That SCOTUS, HUH?

Pay for play, the law of the land.

As darthvader pulled off the biggest heist in the history of the world, he's probably now the most powerful person in the world.

Air America is off the air -- bankruptcy.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Postmamboist Bobby Sanabria Big Band


FB LOUNGE 172 E. 106th Street (between Lexington & 3rd Avenue)
NYC, NY 10029 / (212) 348-3929
Every Wednesday / Shows at 7:30 & 9:30pm
$20, $15 w/ student ID or WBGO FM Jazz 88 membership card

Monday, January 18, 2010

Homeless Haitians to Get Housed In

Guantánamo? Note the connection of this with ICE and other security apparatus.

One wonders if any of those proposing this recalls that Haitians were incarcerated in Guantánamo, not that long ago -- for the crime of being HIV positive.

Incidentally KBR is deeply interested in the need to build more detention centers to keep Haitians out of the U.S., or hold them when they get here.  That's a lot of fed dollar$ HeeHaw!

Who Wants Looters? We Do! When Do We Want 'em? Now!

I have been listening to radio reportage from all over the Americas and Europe on the situation in Port au Prince. I've been surfing newspapers from the Americans and Europe online. No one is talking looters. They talk about how the U.S. military isn't allowing any Haitians in or out of the airport, only more U.S. military, U.S. citizens and journalists. They speak of re-routed and detoured portable hospitals, food and water, equipment to dig through the rubble.

But they are not talking about looting and violence. Rather, I hear them marveling at how orderly the people are when finally some of them are getting some rice and beans, lining up peacefully, putting young children and women at the heads of lines. I also hear them reporting on European aid and relief orgs' bewilderment that they aren't being allowed to do what they're there to do -- as if doing it isn't just about impossible already.

It's only via U.S.A. primary faux noose commentary that I ever hear about threats of looters and violence. And how many more military are arriving to 'prevent social disorder.'

However, capitalism rolls merrily along. Luxury liners are still docking at private beaches near Haiti's devastated earthquake zone for holidaymakers to enjoy the water, complicated cocktails and cookouts.
I expect nothing in Haiti to change from this at all, other than more misery, more homelessness, more violence of every kind to be visited on the people.  Though, of course, somebody-bodies are going to do very very very well out of the donated millions in money and supplies (though not the average Haitian).  Why?  Because I have seen and heard every bit of this before regarding Haitian crises, and still no sewer systems, no electrical grid, no highways, no functioning government, only U.S. military supported thug kleptocracy that gets very rich.
I see first hand among my friends the stupendous ability of Haitians to work, their work ethic, their hunger to work. The most effective aid that has arrived in Haiti is from Haitians who have come to this country and become citizens (they know other ways to get into the country than the port and airport at Port-au-Prince). They could build their own country all by themselves, thank you, if they were allowed to. But that's never been allowed to happen before, so I don't expect it to happen anytime in the looming future.  After all, we demand Haitians to do what we'd never demand of ourselves, particularly we banking folks.  Yes, IMF, I am looking at you, among others.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Why No Aid Distribution in Haiti

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates states that he is refusing aid air drops in Haiti because they would cause rioting.  He says further that nothing is going on via the airport etc. for reasons of  'security.'  So it is better that Haitians dies of thirst, starvation, exposure and injury than the 'peace' be disturbed by giving them the same.  And that looting thing I was writing about in the previous post, well though Gates seems profoundly to be promoting riot and looting by denial of aid, so far, nothing remotely like that is going on among the Haitian people.  Gotta do something about that, by golly, thinks our Sec of State, or else Cubans gonna be bringing in even more of themselves, and then, Chavez will arrive, and the satan of communism will invade Miama!

Remember people, so called primary media reporting by U.S. A. sorts for U.S.A. outlets must be regarded as extremely unreliable sources for providing your information needs -- until proven otherwise.

You can find it here, as well as below.



By Roger Annis

January 15--Evidence of monstrous neglect of the Haitian people is mounting following the catastrophic earthquake three days ago. As life-saving medical supplies, food, water purification chemicals and vehicles pile up at the airport in Port au Prince, and as news networks report a massive international effort to deliver emergency aid, the people in the shattered city are wondering when they will see help.

BBC World Service reports that Haitian officials now fear the death toll could rise to 140,000. Three million people are homeless.

BBC reporter Andy Gallagher told an 8 pm (Pacific Time) broadcast tonight that he had traveled “extensively” in Port au Prince during the day and saw little sign of aid delivery. He said he was shown nothing but courtesy by the Haitians he encountered. Everywhere he went he was taken by residents to see what had happened to their neighbourhood, their homes and their lives. Then they asked, “Where is the

“When the Rescue teams arrive,” Gallagher said, “they will be welcomed with open arms.”

CBC Radio One’s As It Happens broadcast an interview this evening with a spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross. He said he spent the morning touring one of the hardest hit areas of the city (the district was not named), in the hills that rise from the flat plain on which sits historic Port au Prince. “In three hours, I didn’t see a single rescue team.”

The BBC report contrasts starkly with warnings of looting and violence that fill the airwaves of news channels such as CNN and are being voiced by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates. He was asked by media in Washington why relief supplies were not being delivered by air. He answered, “It seems to me that air drops will simply lead to riots.”

Gates says that “security” concerns are impeding the delivery of aid. But Gallagher responded directly to that in his report, saying, “I’m not experiencing that.”

Describing the airport, Gallagher reported, “There are plenty of materials on the ground and plenty of people
there. I don’t know what the problem is with delivery.”

Nan Buzard, a spokesperson for the American Red Cross, was interviewed on the same BBC broadcast about the problem with aid delivery. She implied that there were not, in fact, many supplies at the airport to be moved, that many of the planes that have been landing were filled with people, not supplies.  When pressed by the BBC host why aid was not being moved into the city, Buzard conceded she was “surprised” that it was not being airlifted in.

The BBC’s is not the only report to contradict exaggerated security concerns. The daily report on the website of Doctors Without Borders one day after the earthquake said, “Some parts of the city are without electricity and people have gathered outside, lighting fires in the street and trying to help and comfort each other. When they saw that I was from MSF they were asking for help, particularly to treat their wounded. There was strong solidarity among people in the streets.”

An e-mailed report received by the Canada Haiti Action Network describes a city largely bereft of international aid. “Thus far,” it reports, “the rescue teams cluster at the high profile and safer walled sites and were literally afraid to enter the barrios. They gravitated to the sites where they had secure compounds and big buildings.

“Meanwhile, the neighbourhoods where the damage appears to be much wider, and anywhere there were loose crowds, they avoided. In the large sites, and in the nice neighbourhoods, and where the press can be found, there would be teams from every country imaginable. Dogs and extraction units with more arriving, yet with 90% or more of them just sitting around."  “Meanwhile, in the poor neighbourhoods, awash in rubble,
there was not a foreigner in sight.

“News crews are looking for the story of desperate Haitians that are in hysterics. When in reality it is more often the Haitians that are acting calmly while the international community, the elite and politicians have melted down over the issue, and none seem to have the remotest idea what is going on.”

The report says that most of the staff of the U.S. embassy and US AID complex (located a stone’s throw from the oceanfront) have fled and buildings are largely empty, even though the streets in the area are clear.

Yesterday, BBC broadcast an interview with Mark Stuart, a director of an orphanage in Jacmel, a city of 50,000 on Haiti's south coast, 50 km south of Port au Prince. Aerial footage showed catastrophic damage. Stuart appealed for international relief, saying that food and water supplies would soon run out and no aid whatsoever had arrived.

An article on the website of a Chicago publication says a trickle of aid arrived today but the road between Port and Prince and Jacmel is impassable.
Roger Annis is a coordinator of the Canada Haiti Action Network in Vancouver. He can be reached at

Yeeeesssssssss my precioussssssss, we wants our lootersssssss, yesssssss we doesssssssssss.

Yeeeesssssssss my precioussssssss, we wants our lootersssssss, yesssssss we doesssssssssss.
So much of the public response to this catastrophe is disquieting, to say the least. I am speaking further than the vile and determined ignorance in particular, on the part of those who really should know better, like megadweeb David Brooks, but by those who believe they know our national history. They too prefer in the end to blame the victims, to wear a blindfold when it comes to the responsibility on the part of this nation and others for the wreckage.

That's why they don't see anything wrong with the bodies bullldozed into mass graves without any attempt to photograph the faces for later recognition, because, yannno it will be worse if we don't. Regretable, perhaps, but nothing to get ourselves heated about. Only irrational people like Haitians are upset by this. Bad for public health (since when has Haiti's pubic health -- or our own national public health, for that matter -- mattered to the U.S.A.?) However, those who actually work in public health say there is no proof that dead bodies, per se, cause disease.

Nevertheless I'm told in tones that one uses to an unreasonable child that my concern about this behavior indicates that I'm "too emotionally involved and am not seeing straight." Such behavior has nothing to do with racism or colonialism. It's because there's nothing else to do.

There's no infrastructure there! No government! No organization! And so many bodies! You can't do anything else. Too bad, but, well, that is how it is. I'll send another check to Doctors Without Borders -- which, by the way, aren't allowed to fly into Haiti's only functional airport because it is controlled by the U.S. military and the U.S. military isn't allowing them in. (Shades of New Orleans -- assistance and supplies kept out of the city at gunpoint -- remember?) They have to go to the DR and truck the personnel and supplies across the mountains instead. How long before our looters and other criminal elements start highjacking? (We must have our looters, and even will bring them into being, if needs be ....

Funny, these same people didn't say that of me when it was Katrina's disaster of the levees destroying New Orleans. Then one and all were more than willing to throw the blame where it belonged. But they saw what happened to New Orleans as a consequence of a particular moment in U.S. history and believed if bushcheneybrownies etc. were gone nothing like this would happen again. But what happened in New Orleans is part of the continuum of our national policies that are also executed in Haiti.

Haiti's condition, like New Orleans' isn't something that has happened in an isolated moment of history, but is yet another disaster for Haiti in a continum of U.S. and neo colonialist policies and power. Which means we're all responsible, to the degree that we've ignored Haiti and what our nation does there and has always done there. But we want to believe that sending a check to Doctors Without Borders absolves us of any personal blame or responsibility, and additionally, it allows so many of us to re-blame the victims. Thus we must have our looters and our homicides -- our 'breakdown of law and order.' When it has been this nation's policy to have no law and order in Haiti other than what it chooses to underwrite and enable -- empowering thugs to keep the population in line.

None of us without food or water for going on 5 days, no home, no NOTHING, with our loved ones dead and dying and lost all around us, would ever get unreasonable much less irrational or ever consider lashing out. It's all right to throw a Haitian's relatives into a mass grave with no photograph that might tell her and the grieving remainder of the family where they might be. But not our relatives. That's different. They are nice respectable Americans, not a poor blameful disaster victims in Haiti (or, in fact as so many said and still say, in New Orleans).

And we will continue to refuse to see why Haiti has no infrastructure, no functioning government, no organization -- hardly even hospitals -- that most of the functioning health care in Haiti has has long been provided by the medical people of another poor Caribbean nation, Cuba -- nor shall we in this country even mention that this is so, because Cuba like Haiti, made a deal with the devil.

Why it is particularly important for Haitians to know where their dead are, read Madison Smartt Bell's Haiti in Ink and Tears: A Literary Sampler in today's NY Times Week in Review.

You will also wish to read John Maxwell's column in the Jamaica Observer.  JM is a grand old life-time Jamaican activist, a big stick in the eye of destructive capitalism in Jamaica and throughout the Caribbean.

-- Remedial Haiti 101.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Haitian Earthquake

M's immediate birth family have regrouped and reached her. But at least one of her aunts is dead.

The woman who is the vignette on the cover of The World That Made New Orleans, has lost many family members. Also the house she was building with every penny she has been saving for 15 years. It is now dust.

Madison's in touch now, and his people are mostly all right, physically.

E's family is still not in touch at all.
FF's daughter has checked in, but his son is missing.
Nothing from Boukman Eksperyans.

On and on.

Bodies are being bulldozed into mass grave.

Even in Tsunami photos were taken of the dead. Nothing for Haitians. Nothing for New Orleans. They are black. Send 'em, down. Doesn't matter.

African diaspora peoples. If there is ANYTHING at all that is pan-African, pan-Caribbean, it is the respect for the ancestors. This is obscene.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Larry Hama, Marvel Cartoonist, Celebrity Postmamboist 003

Postmamboists care about Haitians and Haiti.

Who wears Postmamboism? Larry Hama, that's who, Marvel Cartoonist, writer, band member THE KOTICS.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Haitian Art, Haitian Music, Haitian Culture, Haitian Religion, Haitian People

I keep thinking of the artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat, who was the first Haitian I met, who was my introduction to Haitian culture. It was the first window that opened to me of Afro-Caribbean, or at least African-Caribbean culture in Diaspora. He'd be working so hard right now to help, if he were still alive
Soon after I met LoLo and the members of his Boukman Eksperyans group, then Richard Morse and Ram. Lolo is a houngan. He provided my first introduction and instruction in Vodún
Now there are Michelle and so many others.

Ed Schultz -- On Top of the Haitian Earthquake Catastrophe

The Ed Schultz Air America radio program has a list of reputable organizations for help.

His program today is really ON TOP of the catastrophe, with informed figures and Haitian specialists reporting the progress of what's going on with orgs around the world tryiing to help, the history of Haiti, everything.

Ed Schultz hasn't know much if anything previously about Haiti. His astonishment at learning that 75 percent of adult Haitians don't have jobs has left him boggled. And, bless his heart, enraged. You hear him attempting to track through how a population in this condition, that literally lives from day-to-day, can be on this nation's doorstep. To him this is incomprehensible.
What is also interesting is what is not being mentioned by anyone in connection with the wreck that Haiti is, is the history of Haiti and French colonial status whose economy was entirely slave-based, and the subsequent racism practiced against Haiti by everyone from Jefferson on. That this is the consequence of refusal to recognize a black state's integrity with refusal to trade, or have any relationship with this state other than as a subserviant, client, under white imperialist thumbs.

Strongest Earthquake Ever Recorded in the Caribbean Basin

It was a 9, rather than a 7, as initially reported.

Many of us didn't get much sleep last night.

Information is hard to get, particularly after Richard Morse's batteries died (he owns and lives in the famous Hotel Olaffson, and is the head of the Haitian music group, Ram). His tweets were  the closest to real information a lot of us had.

To make an emergency donation to Oxfam:

A worse problem than raising money is going to be the lack of organizational infrastructure with which to coordinate and distribute aid. How do you get drinking water to two million people? A number of people seem to be ready to go down as volunteers, as per the comments on

No word yet of the situation of the Cuban doctors who are in Haiti on an ongoing basis.

The best composite source I've seen is the "The Lede" blog at the New York Times -- too long and too many widgets to copy into an e-mail -- with updated information about resources for information and contributions, as well as tweetlinks, pictures, video, etc.

There is a State Department number to call for information about family members in Haiti: 1-888-407-4747. I don't know how useful that will be.

There is a site set up to collect information:

It doesn't have a lot of material yet, but it reports that the P-au-P airport is functioning. On the other hand, CNN's Anderson Cooper reported that a helicopter he was in almost collided with a small plane -- that is, there is no functional air-traffic control.

There have been numerous aftershocks. An explanation of the tectonics underlying the quake is at

Photographer Daniel Morel's twitpic blog, if you can bear to look at it, is

There's also a flickr feed:

For vodouisants, Tuesday was Dantor's day, today, Wednesday, is the day of Papa Ogou.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Haiti - Earthquake

Our Friends.
O Our Friends.

Even though I hope this latter is way overblown.

7.0 earthquake hits Haiti sparking tsunami watch.

Eric Rohmer 1920 - 2010

Passed away at age 89.  I loved his films.

Through sheer serendipity a few days ago I picked up a dvd of Chloe in the Afternoon, which I haven't seen in quite some time.  Maybe I'll watch it tonight in memory of this film maker who never stopped loving young love.

My Night at Maud's.  Was there ever a film like it?  Or like his last one (2007) Les amours d’Astrée et de Céladon?

I wonder what he did in the war.  There's never any mention of his activites I've seen between his boyhood and his first appearance in the film world, in 1947 or so.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Postmamboism Has Arrived in Manchester

The Food, Music and Justice blog has gone Postmamboist!

The blog's blog is here.

Apparently the blog's creators are working to make a New Orleans - Manchester connection.

No trackback buttons on the site. It looks to be a subscription kind of thing for music and videos.

Heh. Last night it was Big Sam's Funky Nation at Sullivan Hall. New Orleans and NYC, baby.  A friend was in town who is on the music faculty at Williams & Mary College. She got good and warm. Can't get real like that in Williamsburg. Heh

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Report on Simon's Tremé From Larry Blumenfeld

In the Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Simon takes on a daunting task in capturing the not well understood and somewhat insular subcultures he's chosen as his focus. With any success, he can achieve something mightier too—an understanding of the essential role musicians play in New Orleans's social order and recovery, as well as the embattled position they often find themselves in. Mr. Simon, a master at portraying systematic dysfunction, will no doubt turn a lens on the curious and combative relationship between the city's culture bearers and its power brokers. (In 2007, Social Aid & Pleasure Clubs took the city to federal court over raised permit fees, for instance; Mardi Gras Indian assemblies have suffered police intimidation.)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Who Wears Postmamboism 002?

Vaquero writes:
Here's our new celebrity model [artist, Michael Zwack]. There will be more. If y'all will indulge me, I'm having fun with this . . . though I'm running out of 2XL . . .

To see what Michael Zwack's work looks like when it's been digitized, reduced to a small size, and lit up on a flat screen -- it's very different from seeing the real work -- go to

My favorite is
I highly second V.'s idea that you click on the links to get a glimpse of Michael's art.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Political Disagreements When You're All On the Same Team

An interview with David Simon.

My take-away is this:

There would be a series of planning sessions. First, at the beginning of every season, we did a sort of retreat with the main writers, the guys who were going to be on staff the whole year. We’d discuss what we were trying to say, but we were really having a current-events/ideology/political argument. The writers didn’t all think the same. We weren’t in lockstep on the issues of the day, whether it was the drug war or public education or the media. So we had to discuss the issue as an issue first. Never mind the characters, never mind plot.

In order to get the season's shows written, the team of writers had to come to accomodation with each other, somehow, even though they didn't agree on everything. In order to do that it had to be recognized that all the people in the room had the same objectives, the same goals -- which were to write the damned best season they could write. They were not enemies. They saw differently. Which ultimately made for better writing because it could not be one dimensional, when there were so many different perspectives. Woo.

Those of us who are equally horrified by what's happened in this nation via the neocons and righttwingers, etc., and where the teabaggers are determined to take us -- and what this means for the future of us all: we still must not get personally angry with each other because we see things differently in terms of the dems as a party and this administration. We must come to accomodation, because the objective isn't either the Dems or Obama, but saving the nation. Maybe the world. Pretty grandiose, right? But then, considering the sort of fiction and entertainments so many of us are involved in, grandiose r us, right?

BTW, my other takeaway from this interview was that both guys, Simon and his interviewer, were engaged in mutual wanking, all rahrahrah about their he-manism, and how they could have just whacked that guy who cut in line at a -- KaChing! -- Pogues show.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Who Wears Postmamboism

At some point this year we are hoping to start lines of design made in Haiti, by Haitians. Lots of sequins. Sequins = mirrors, behind which are the faces of the the divine. In the meantime we're working on the second design.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Lord Byron on Daniel Boone

A friend provided me the Lord Byron verses concerning Daniel Boone, in response to the essay.  If reading these line about this subject by this author isn't cognitive dissonance, it's very like. From Don Juan:

Of all men, saving Sylla the man-slayer,
Who passes for in life and death most lucky,
Of the great names, which in our faces stare,
The General Boone, backwoodsman of Kentucky,
Was happiest among mortals anywhere,
For killing nothing, but a bear or buck; he
Enjoy’d the lonely, vigorous, harmless days,
Of his old age, in wilds of deepest maze.

Crime came not near him; she is not the child
Of solitude; health shrank not from him, for
Her home is in the rarely trodden wild,
Which, if men seek her not, and death be more
Their choice than life, forgive them, as beguil’d
By habit to what their own hearts abhor —
In cities cag’d. The present case in point I
Cite is, Boone liv’d hunting up to ninety:
And, what is stranger, left behind a name,
For which men vainly decimate the throng;
Not only famous, but of that good fame,
Without which glory’s but a tavern song;
Simple, serene, the antipodes of shame,
Which hate or envy e’er could tinge with wrong;
An active hermit; even in age the child

Of nature, or the Man of Ross run wild.

‘Tis true, he shrank from men even of his nation,
When they built up unto his darling trees;
He mov’d some hundred miles off, for a station,
Where there were fewer houses find more ease.
The inconvenience of civilization
Is, that you neither can be pleased, nor please.
But where he met the individual man,
He show’d himself as kind as mortal can.

He was not all alone; around him grew
A sylvan tribe of children of the chase,
Whose young, unwaken’d world was always new;
Nor sword, nor sorrow, yet had left a trace
On her unwrinkled brow; nor could you view
A frown on nature’s, or on human face.
The free-born forest found, and kept them free,
And fresh as is a torrent or a tree.

And tall and strong, and swift of foot were they,
Beyond the dwarfing city’s pale abortions;
Because their thoughts had never been the prey
Of care or gain; the green woods were their portions
No sinking spirits told them they grew gray,
No fashion made them apes of her distortions.
Simple they were; not savage; and their rifles,
Though very true, were not yet us’d for trifles.

Motion was in their days; rest in their slumbers;
And cheerfulness the handmaid of their toil;
Nor yet too many, nor too few their numbers;
Corruption could not make their hearts her soil;
The lust, which stings; the splendor which encumbers,
With the free foresters divide no spoil.
Serene, not sullen, were the solitudes
Of this unsighing people of the woods.

Happy 2010.  This time, 2000, I was in Havana.  It looks like our opportunities for returning to Cuba are regressing again, like so much has regressed since the stated objectives out of this administration a year ago.