Monday, August 31, 2009

Roxanne Shanté really gets revenge...


Back in the early 80's there was a young lady who came out in response to UTFO's Roxanne, Roxanne - several people tried in fact, but there was only one Roxanne Shanté, she killed it, and for the next few years she was a woman to reckon with, considered by many from the era to be THE female rapper with the best skills. Well time went on and she got swallowed up and spit out like the rest... A few years ago or more I ran into her on the street with a friend who knew her, she told us what she had been up to and we were blown away, now revealed in the New York Daily News, more of the incredible story:

Rapper behind 'Roxanne's Revenge' gets Warner Music to pay for Ph.D

Roxanne's revenge was sweet indeed.

Twenty-five years after the first queen of hip-hop was stiffed on her royalty checks, Dr. Roxanne Shante boasts an Ivy League Ph.D. - financed by a forgotten clause in her first record deal.
"This is a story that needs to be told," Shante said. "I'm an example that you can be a teenage mom, come from the projects, and be raised by a single parent, and you can still come out of it a doctor."
Her prognosis wasn't as bright in the years after the '80s icon scored a smash hit at age 14: "Roxanne's Revenge," a razor-tongued response to rap group UTFO's mega-hit "Roxanne, Roxanne."
The 1984 single sold 250,000 copies in New York City alone, making Shante (born Lolita Gooden) hip hop's first female celebrity.
She blazed a trail followed by Lil' Kim, Salt-N-Pepa and Queen Latifah - although Shante didn't share their success.
After two albums, Shante said, she was disillusioned by the sleazy music industry and swindled by her record company. The teen mother, living in the Queensbridge Houses, recalled how her life was shattered.
"Everybody was cheating with the contracts, stealing and telling lies," she said. "And to find out that I was just a commodity was heartbreaking."
But Shante, then 19, remembered a clause in her Warner Music recording contract: The company would fund her education for life.
She eventually cashed in, earning a Ph.D. in psychology from Cornell to the tune of $217,000 - all covered by the label. But getting Warner Music to cough up the dough was a battle.
"They kept stumbling over their words, and they didn't have an exact reason why they were telling me no," Shante said.
She figured Warner considered the clause a throwaway, never believing a teen mom in public housing would attend college. The company declined to comment for this story.
Shante found an arm-twisting ally in Marguerita Grecco, the dean at Marymount Manhattan College. Shante showed her the contract, and the dean let her attend classes for free while pursuing the money.
"I told Dean Grecco that either I'm going to go here or go to the streets, so I need your help," Shante recalls. "She said, 'We're going to make them pay for this.'"
Grecco submitted and resubmitted the bills to the label, which finally agreed to honor the contract when Shante threatened to go public with the story.
Shante earned her doctorate in 2001, and launched an unconventional therapy practice focusing on urban African-Americans - a group traditionally reluctant to seek mental health help.
"People put such a taboo on therapy, they feel it means they're going crazy," she explained. "No, it doesn't. It just means you need someone else to talk to."
Shante often incorporates hip-hop music into her sessions, encouraging her clients to unleash their inner MC and shout out exactly what's on their mind.
"They can't really let loose and enjoy life," she said. "So I just let them unlock those doors."
Shante, 38, is also active in the community. She offers $5,000 college scholarships each semester to female rappers through the nonprofit Hip Hop Association.
She also dispenses advice to young women in the music business via a MySpace page.
"I call it a warning service, so their dreams don't turn into nightmares," she said.
Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons said Shante is a shining role model for the rap community. "Dr. Shante's life is inspiring," Simmons said. "She was a go-getter who rose from the struggle and went from hustling to teaching. She is a prime example that you can do anything, and everything is possible."

"And Warner’s reaction to her great accomplishment will be to never allow that clause in a contract again, which tells you all you need to know."
(Thanks, Doug)

Heard about how rap legend Roxanne Shanté forced her label to pay for her Cornell Ph.D.? It never happened. - By Ben Sheffner - Slate Magazine.

Well she always could tell a good story, but i don't know whether to trust this guy 100% either... oh well.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

File under: Future Is Now Dept.

CBS Embeds a Video Playing Ad in a Print Magazine

In the latest example of finding media innovation where you’d least expect it, CBS is embedding a video player in a print ad in Entertainment Weekly that will serve up a buffet of its fall TV lineup.

The CBS foray into a print-digital alliance plays full-motion video at a crisp resolution. The ad, dubbed by CBS and partner Pepsi Max “the first-ever VIP (video-in-print) promotion,” works like one of those audio greeting cards. Opening the page activates the player, which is a quarter-inch–thick screen seen through a cutaway between two pages concealing the larger circuit board underneath.

The audio quality is equally good (extremely poor video shot by this reporter notwithstanding), but beware: There are no volume controls, and in a quiet environment, it’s quite loud. This is surely a intentional design feature, aimed at getting the attention of people nearby.

Unlike the wholly unsatisfying debut of the e-ink cover in Esquire magazine last year, this works.

The video-enhancement will appear in the September issue of Entertainment Weekly, but only in what sounds like a relatively small subset of the circulation: The promo itself will be in every copy, but the video portion only in some subscriptions delivered to New York and Los Angeles. It was released Tuesday to media outlets...
Here's what it actually looks like:

read the entire WIRED story here:

Saturday, August 29, 2009


The Cove begins in Taiji, Japan, where former dolphin trainer Ric O’Barry has come to set things right after a long search for redemption. In the 1960s, it was O’Barry who captured and trained the 5 dolphins who played the title character in the international television sensation “Flipper.”

But his close relationship with those dolphins – the very dolphins who sparked a global fascination with trained sea mammals that continues to this day -- led O’Barry to a radical change of heart. One fateful day, a heartbroken Barry came to realize that these deeply sensitive, highly intelligent and self-aware creatures so beautifully adapted to life in the open ocean must never be subjected to human captivity again. This mission has brought him to Taiji, a town that appears to be devoted to the wonders and mysteries of the sleek, playful dolphins and whales that swim off their coast.

But in a remote, glistening cove, surrounded by barbed wire and “Keep Out” signs, lies a dark reality. It is here, under cover of night, that the fishermen of Taiji, driven by a multi-billion dollar dolphin entertainment industry and an underhanded market for mercury-tainted dolphin meat, engage in an unseen hunt. The nature of what they do is so chilling -- and the consequences are so dangerous to human health -- they will go to great lengths to halt anyone from seeing it.

Undeterred, O’Barry joins forces with filmmaker Louis Psihoyos and the Oceanic Preservation Society to get to the truth of what’s really going on in the cove and why it matters to everyone in the world. With the local Chief of Police hot on their trail and strong-arm fishermen keeping tabs on them, they will recruit an “Ocean's Eleven”-style team of underwater sound and camera experts, special effects artists, marine explorers, adrenaline junkies and world-class free divers who will carry out an undercover operation to photograph the off-limits cove, while playing a cloak-and-dagger game with those who would have them jailed. The result is a provocative mix of investigative journalism, eco-adventure and arresting imagery that adds up to an urgent plea for hope.

to find out about screenings go here.

And don't for anything miss this clip "Freediving"

*** REMEMBER TONIGHT***!!!!!!!


Date: Saturday August 29th, 2009
Time: Doors Open at 7:00 pm
Place: Corner of Mission Inn and Lemon in Riverside
3485 Mission Inn Ave
Riverside, CA 92501-3304

Friday, August 28, 2009


Fascinating article in Scientific American that possibly answers why depression still plagues roughly 30-50% of all people, everywhere. Since the brain plays such an essential role in promoting survival and reproduction, and depression can debilitate so thoroughly, why hasn’t mankind simply evolved beyond it?

Well, according to Doctors Paul W. Andrews and J. Anderson Thomson, Jr., maybe it’s time we start considering depression a “useful” disorder. One which is, “in fact, an adaptation, a state of mind which brings real costs, but also brings real benefits.” The pair backs this up with some brain-confusing brain chemistry, then moves on to make some simpler sense:
This is not to say that depression is not a problem. Depressed people often have trouble performing everyday activities, they can’t concentrate on their work, they tend to socially isolate themselves, they are lethargic, and they often lose the ability to take pleasure from such activities such as eating and sex. Some can plunge into severe, lengthy, and even life-threatening bouts of depression.

So what could be so useful about depression? Depressed people often think intensely about their problems. These thoughts are called ruminations; they are persistent and depressed people have difficulty thinking about anything else. Numerous studies have also shown that this thinking style is often highly analytical. They dwell on a complex problem, breaking it down into smaller components, which are considered one at a time. This analytical style of thought, of course, can be very productive. Each component is not as difficult, so the problem becomes more tractable.

So, in a nutshell, depression’s nature’s way of alerting you of your need to “ruminate.” Miserable teenagers, take note: The next time your parents hassle you for being a non-eating, Cure...sorry, Horrors-listening recluse, stand up and defend yourself. As a child of the evolution, you’re not depressed, you’re just sorting shit out.

In Scientific American: Depression’s Evolutionary Roots

this entire post from Dangerous Minds

As soon as i read this post i was considering re-posting and adding the Black Flag song to the end. Then when I saw that the original author linked to the YouTube "Decline" version of the song I was blown away and certainly couldn't resist.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


if you didn’t have this. now you do.

Busy Bee vs Kool Moe Dee - Harlem World - 1982


(thanks to the King Ad Rock)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


After many long years on this subject i have decided my official statement is I am not PRO-Abortion but I AM PRO-CHOICE. (Actually I don't think anyone is Pro-Abortion, that's just some horrible phrase those bible thumpers made up to make people who make that tough decision sound bad). Having a kid really makes you think about this in a different way, I'll admit that, but women still need to have control over their own bodies, period.
from Kathleen Hanna's blog -

Women on The Waves is hands down the most successful blend of art and activism I have ever witnessed and finally someone is making a movie about them….I could write a blurb about it but it won’t be as inspiring as the trailer for the film is. Seriously check this shit out, it is beyond amazing
thanks, Kathleen!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"The Cold War Over the Hottest of Blood"

Founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Paul Watson wrote for the Huffington post:
They say the sea is cold, but the sea contains
the hottest blood of all, and the wildest, the most urgent.
-- D.H. Lawrence (Whales Weep Not)

As Animal Planet's highly rated show Whale Wars nears the end of its second season in the US and Canada, it has proven to have been a controversial action drama provoking emotions ranging from joyous support to enraged opposition.

Set at the bottom of the world in the remote and bitterly cold waters off the coast of Antarctica, Whale Wars documents the increasingly escalating confrontations between the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and the Japanese whaling fleet.

This Animal Planet show has stirred up controversy internationally with audiences taking sides either with whale defenders or whale killers. There is an additional controversy amongst those who side with the whales but condemn the tactics of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

What is important is that love us or hate us, people are watching the show and becoming aware of the issues and the annual drama in the great Southern Ocean.

Negative accusations range from the Sea Shepherd crew being incompetent to outright condemnation as criminals and eco-terrorists. There is no doubt that the show provokes emotions and more importantly it stimulates discussion and thought. These elements added to life threatening drama on board a ship set amongst icebergs, storms, whales, and penguins makes for a compelling and successful television show.

There are four major points of criticisms leveled against Sea Shepherd. First that the Sea Shepherd crew are not competent; second that Japanese whaling is legal and Sea Shepherd has no right to oppose it; third that the Sea Shepherd crew are "eco-terrorists;" and fourth that Sea Shepherd has not accomplished anything significant with its campaigns.

It is true that many of the Sea Shepherd crewmembers are inexperienced, but the fact is that these volunteers bring a passion to the project that cannot be found in a hired crew. The officers however are indeed experienced. The best evidence for competence is that after five voyages to Antarctic waters, Sea Shepherd has not suffered any loss of life, any serious injuries and we have not had any mishaps like fire, oil spills, groundings, or ice damage. The whalers have suffered three deaths, two by accident and one by suicide, a catastrophic fire that was the cause of one death, oil spills, and numerous serious injuries as a result of their whaling operation. The Steve Irwin may not be an ice class vessel, but none of the whaling vessels are either, and this last season the Yushin Maru No. 2 suffered significant ice damage whereas the Steve Irwin was not damaged at all.

The test of competence is in experience. In this hostile sea where Sir Ernest Shackleton lost his ship and Sir Robert Scott perished with his crew, the Sea Shepherd crew have proven themselves competent.

With regard to the law, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society operates in accordance to the principles established in the United Nations World Charter for Nature that allows for non-governmental organizations and individuals to uphold international conservation laws and treaties.

Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary is not endorsed by the scientific committee of the International Whaling Commission. Japan is targeting endangered whales in an internationally established whale sanctuary in violation of the terms of an international moratorium on commercial whaling. The Japanese fleet is violating the Antarctic Treaty by conducting commercial activity and refueling their ships south of sixty degrees. The Australian Federal Court has ruled that Japan is in contempt of an Australian Federal Court order prohibiting Japanese whaling activities inside the Australian Antarctic Territorial waters.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society intervenes against Japanese whaling operations because we are an anti-poaching organization and the only difference between whale poachers in the Southern Ocean and elephant poachers in East Africa is that the African poachers are black and poor. In Africa, the rangers shoot poachers. We merely toss rotten butter at them.

The Sea Shepherd crew is doing what governments should be doing, but refuse to do themselves, because of the threats of trade retaliation from Japan.

After five voyages to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, not one member of the Sea Shepherd crew has been charged for any crime in relation to Sea Shepherd activities. There has not been a single whaler injured by our activities. There has not been a single arrest warrant issued and Sea Shepherd crew are free to travel internationally. In fact, during more than thirty years of operations not one Sea Shepherd crewmember has been convicted of a felony and not a single person has ever been injured.

Of course, these days it does not matter if a person is defending whales or running for President of the United States, the accusatory word of choice is "terrorist." The word has become practically meaningless a result, with even the Dalai Lama officially classified as a terrorist by China.

If "terrorist" I be, then it is a strange sort of terrorist that I am. I've received a Presidential award from George H. Bush, the Amazon Peace Prize presented by the President of Ecuador, honorary citizenships from Key West, Florida and towns in Australia, France and Canada. I was cited as an "Environmental Hero of the 20th Century" by Time magazine in 2000, and I have been invited to meet with dignitaries like Prince Albert of Monaco, President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal, Vice-President Dr. Alfred Palacio of Ecuador, and I was invited to address Ministers of the Government of Brazil. In addition Sea Shepherd's Advisory Board includes former Australian Environment Minister Ian Campbell and former British Columbian Environment Minister Rafe Mair, two men of a conservative nature, not inclined to endorse "terrorism."

The objective of the Sea Shepherd campaign is to sink the Japanese whaling fleet economically. For the last four years we have cut the quotas and negated the profits of the industry. Up until Sea Shepherd interventions, the Japanese succeeded in killing their entire quota. Our intervention in 2005/2006 saw the quota fall short for the first time by 83 whales. Operation Leviathan in 2006/2007 and Operation Migaloo in 2007/2008 saw the quota cut in half at 500 whales and 484 whales respectively. Operation Musashi in 2008/2009 cut the quota by 305 and forced the whalers to extend their season by two weeks at great cost.

The financial statements for the Institute for Cetacean Research show liabilities of 2.1 billion yen ($23 million). The industry survives on government subsidies. The whalers admit they need to take 750 whales to break even. We have prevented that. Plans to construct a replacement factory ship have been put on hold for lack of capital to invest in upgrading the fleet.

We have the Japanese whaling fleet on the ropes financially and we intend to keep the pressure on until we shut this illegal industry down once and for all.

Some people may not agree with our methods but our clients are not people. We represent the interests of the great whales and as long as we are not causing injury to humans and as long as we are not in violation of the law, then our actions are justified.

If I were a "terrorist" or even a criminal, I would be in jail. It's as simple as that.

There are more than 1,500 whales swimming freely in the waters off Antarctica that would now be dead if not for our intervention. These are results that we are proud of that make all the risks worthwhile.

I am contributing a photograph from my Recognize collection for this benefit. Click on the flyer above to read the details better or go to the website.

(Paul Watson portrait above by Shepard Fairey)

(original article here in the Huffington Post)

(thanks to Peggy Oki)

Monday, August 24, 2009

MIles Davis' "Kind Of Blue"
just turned 50 years old

Here's a piece of a great article on the first jazz album that i ever liked, and still remains my favorite.
Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, which was released 50 years ago today, is a nearly unique thing in music or any other creative realm: a huge hit—the best-selling jazz album of all time—and the spearhead of an artistic revolution. Everyone, even people who say they don’t like jazz, likes Kind of Blue. It’s cool, romantic, melancholic, and gorgeously melodic. But why do critics regard it as one of the best jazz albums ever made? What is it about Kind of Blue that makes it not just pleasant but important?

On March 2, 1959, when its first tracks were laid down at Columbia Records' 30th Street Studio (the album would be released on Aug. 17), Charlie Parker, the exemplar of modern jazz, the greatest alto saxophonist ever, had been dead for four years, almost to the day. The jazz world was still waiting, longing, for "the next Charlie Parker" and wondering where he'd take the music.

Parker and his trumpeter sidekick, Dizzy Gillespie—Bird and Diz, as they were called—had launched the jazz revolution of the 1940s, known as bebop. Their concept was to take a standard blues or ballad and to improvise a whole new melody built on its chord changes. This in itself was nothing new. But they took it to a new level, extending the chords to more intricate patterns, playing them in darting, syncopated phrases, usually at breakneck tempos.

The problem was, Parker not only invented bebop, he perfected it. There were only so many chords you could lay down in a 12-bar blues or a 32-bar song, only so many variations you could play on those chords. By the time he died, even Parker was running out of steam.

When Miles Davis came to New York in 1945, at the age of 19, he replaced Gillespie as Parker's trumpeter for a few years and played very much in their style. A decade later, he, too, was wondering what to do next...

read the whole piece here Kind of Blue: Why the best-selling jazz album of all time is so great by Fred Kaplan

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Candy bar knock-offs for us!

Well take a look at the names and maybe you can figure which is which, Almond Joy, Three Musketeers, Milky Way and Snickers. All registered tradmarks and patents i'm sure, but these folks up in Oregon did a nice thing for us vegans with a sweet tooth.

go to the website to find out more, including who sells them in you area.

Don't forget your tooth brush...

By the way i first discovered these at my good friends, highly recommended, ALL VEGAN shop, Lula's Sweet Apothecary down here in the East Village.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Punk meets Islam for new generation in U.S.

(CNN) -- The guitarist stands in front of a mirror messing with his mohawk. The drummer strikes a wild tempo. The singer rips off his T-shirt and begins to scream the lyrics.

The Kominas say their music brings a unique perspective to the young generation of Muslim America.
2 of 3

They're young. They're punk. And they're rocking both their Muslim and American worlds with their music, lyrics and style.

"A lot of times people say, 'Oh wow, look, brown people playing music' [but] it's more than that," said 25-year-old Pakistani-American Shahjehan Khan, the lead singer for a Muslim punk band, The Kominas.

The Boston-based band is one of a handful of Muslim punk bands that emerged in the United States in the past few years.

The members of this four-person rock group with South Asian roots hold varying views on religion. One says he's an atheist; three others identify as Muslims -- both practicing and non-practicing. For them, punk music is a way to rebel against their conservative cultural upbringing and the frustrations of growing up a young Muslim in America.

"We aren't [just] some alternative to a stereotypical Muslim. We actually might be offering some sort of insights for people at large about religion, about the world," said 26-year-old bassist Basim Usmani.

Blending traditional South Asian rhythms with punk rock beats, they sing in both English and Punjabi. (Kominas means "scum-bag" in Punjabi, according to the band.) Their songs can be at once political, serious, satirical and insinuating.

Their risqué lyrics and provocative song titles such as "Sharia Law in the USA," "Suicide Bomb the GAP" and "Rumi was a Homo" -- a protest song against homophobia in the American Muslim community -- have drawn the attention of Muslims, non-Muslims, fans and critics alike.

"You sort of have to throw it in peoples' faces and be shocking in order to give people a different way to think about stuff," said Usmani.

"These punk, metal and rap scenes - so-called extreme music scenes -- are addressing issues that mainstream music doesn't," said Mark LeVine, a professor of Middle Eastern history at University of California, Irvine, who is also a musician and author of "Heavy Metal Islam."

"[Punk] allows them to rebel against society and their own culture at the same time," he said. iReport: Is Islam at odds with American values?

Before the Islamic punk movement in North America had a voice, it had a story. The Muslim punk scene began to gel in 2003 when novelist and convert to Islam, Michael Muhammad Knight self-published his book, "The Taqwacores" about a fictional Muslim punk scene in Buffalo, New York.

The book opens with a poem called "Muhammed was a Punk Rocker" and describes both conventional and unconventional characters including a Shi'ite skinhead, a conservative Sunni Muslim, a burka-wearing feminist punk and a Sufi who sports a Mohawk and drinks alcohol.

"The punk rock kids I would hang out with weren't even Muslim," 31-year old Knight recalls. "They were so fiercely individualistic -- I wish that I could be a Muslim in that way: not be ashamed of my confusion, not be ashamed of my doubts. Just be myself and be proud of who I am."

The popularity of the book, which Knight said was born out of a search to find his identity as a Muslim-American, grew in underground youth circles and online.

It didn't take long before real-life "taqwacore" bands like The Kominas began blooming across the country.

"It makes sense why punk has been the music of choice for young, politically active Muslims who are musical," said LeVine. "The straight edge movement in punk which was about no drugs, no alcohol, was clean yet very intense and political. It's a way for them to rebel against their families in some extreme ways yet still be ritualistically, 'good Muslims.' "

"Taqwacore" gave voice to many young Muslim-Americans who felt muted by circumstances and created an opening for bands like Al-Thawra, Vote Hezbollah, and Secret Trial Five -- an all-girl punk band out of Vancouver, Canada.

In the summer of 2007, five of the taqwacore bands organized a "taqwa-tour" of the northeastern United States. They played in city after city, traveling in a green school bus with TAQWA painted on the front bought by Knight for $2,000 on eBay.

This summer, The Kominas continue to strike a chord with audiences around the country, hitting cities from San Francisco to New York on a multi-city tour.

The taqwacore movement has also inspired two upcoming films - a dramatic feature film based on the book and a documentary.

Many conservative Muslims may peg young taqwacores as heretic for their suggestive and irreverent lyrics. But the musicians say they are just trying to show both cultures how broad the spectrum of belief can be.

Like many young adults balancing their religious beliefs with American culture, some young Muslims in the United States say it's a constant struggle to be accepted in both worlds.

"I had a lot of conflicted feelings growing up a Muslim in America," said 25-year-old Kominas drummer Imran Malik. "It was hard not being able to do the same things that everyone else around you is doing without feeling guilty about them."

Knight, who grew up with a Catholic mother and white supremacist father, converted to Islam when he was 16. He said his message is not one of blasphemy but rather an extension of his discontent with the rigid etiquette that dictates certain practices within Islam and the stereotypes of Muslims in American.

"Muslims haven't been fully accepted as Americans but the American experience hasn't been accepted as something that can contribute to the Muslim world," said Knight.

Knight said writing the book helped him and others connect through shared experiences.

"When I first wrote it, I felt like there would never be a place for me in the Muslim community and that has really turned around a lot," he said. "The book gave me the community I needed, it connected me to all these kids that were also confused and who also went through the things that I went through."

That connection is vital to taqwacore music, bassist Usmani said.

"The music is great, but the conversation is the key to all of this. The dialogue that we have inspired is really invaluable."

"I don't think Islam is ever going to go away, I'm just trying to see how it best fits in my life."

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Benefit for Jim "Red Dog" Muir
tonight in Los Angeles


Later this fall Shepard Fairey and I will be releasing a collaboration print of one of my classic photos of Jim as well, I'll post further info as soon as it becomes available.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A book that started a lot of this,
Finally coming to the big screen...

Pimp: The Story of My Life by Iceberg Slim (Robert Beck)

from Reuters

"Pimp" saga moves closer to film adaptation

By Borys Kit

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Robert "Iceberg Slim" Beck's 1969 autobiography, "Pimp: The Story of My Life," is on its way to the big screen.

Rob Weiss, an executive producer of HBO's "Entourage," along with producers Mitch Davis, Ryan Drexler and Andrew Left have acquired film rights to the best-seller.

Born into poverty, Beck became a pimp at 18 and rose to kingpin status in the Chicago underworld. He served several stints in prison, making one escape. After retiring from the business he became an insecticide salesman in Los Angeles. During a call to a college professor, Beck mentioned that he had been a pimp, and the professor encouraged him to write an autobiography. Three months later, Beck had penned "Pimp."

The book has sold more than 5 million copies and is the second-best-selling book by a black man, after Alex Haley's "Roots."

"The story is really the birth of the American inner city, and it's an incredible tale of overcoming oppression," said Weiss. "It speaks of a very specific time in America and its street culture. The book is filled with broken souls but shows how, in the end, Iceberg found a way to heal himself."

The quartet is looking for actors, writers and a director before bringing the project to a studio.

Over the years, many parties have tried to get a movie adaptation of the book under way, without much luck. One iteration was set up at Fine Line as a starring vehicle for Ice Cube with Bill Duke directing. Pras of the Fugees was trying to mount a film version as recently as 2004.

One stumbling block has been an ongoing lawsuit between the author's estate and the publisher (Beck died in 1992). With the suit recently settled, Weiss and Davis, who had been involved with the project earlier, partnered with investors Drexler and Left to pounce on the rights, acquiring them outright.

(Editing by SheriLinden at Reuters)

Ice-T gave me his own copy of this book way back in '87...
Not as important or as well written, but certainly as much as of eye opener as "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" (one of my all time favorite books).

(Thanks, Doug)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Nader on DN discusses Obama Deal with Healthcare Industry

Amy Goodman talks with Ralph Nader about the Obama admistration's sellout of healthcare reform to the industry insiders, 60 + years of a Pay-or-Die healthcare system continues ! Do we need ask why the general public is rebelling against Washington ?

Monday, August 17, 2009

"Running the World"

In case you missed it, I did 'til a few days ago - An instant classic from Jarvis Cocker.
At the 2006 Reading festival, the video for 'Running the World' was played on the main video screens of the main stage before the headline act, Muse, performed. This video contained a karaoke-like presentation of the song's lyrics to encourage the crowd to sing along.

(Thanks, M.G.)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Out of the city for a few days... and this is how i feel

actually i feel like this in the city most days as well ;-)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

"Get Down People"

...from 1969 LP "jan jan"

(Thanks, Basheer)

from Wikipedia
The Fabulous Counts were an American soul/funk group from Detroit, Michigan. They won local acclaim as an instrumental group and as a backing ensemble for visiting solo acts after their formation in 1968. Working with producer Richard Wylie, they released the instrumental single "Jan, Jan" on Detroit's Moira Records that year, which narrowly missed hitting the US R&B charts that winter. Their second single, "Dirty Red", passed without trace, but the third single, "Get Down People", hit #32 R&B and #88 on the US pop charts. A full-length, Jan, Jan (produced by Ollie McLaughlin), was released in 1969 on Cotillion Records, but the group left the label in 1971.

Signing with Westbound Records that year, the group went through some lineup changes, moved to Atlanta, Georgia, and changed their name simply to The Counts. They released three funk LPs under this name in the 1970s, and all three albums charted before the group called it quits in 1976. in 2009 the fabulous counts reunite back in the line up from 1976

Friday, August 14, 2009

Bad Brains website...
Now has some nice photos of mine up.

if you're a Bad Brains fan you'll like this page of photos from 1981-1983 i've contributed.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Good friend, great guy, Andy Kessler, dies...

(photo by Shelley Seccombe)

If skateboarding was a town, this guy was it's mayor.

Andy Kessler, one of the good ones, died monday night, "from cardiac arrest due to an allergic reaction to a wasp sting he sustained on Montauk, Long Island."

He was a really friendly guy, NO ONE could say anything wrong about this dude.

He was one of the oldest, if not the oldest skater in New York City holding it down real since the 70's. (see the classic shot above for evidence.)

Andy will be seriously missed by many, including myself. RIP.

(great photo by Ivory Serra)

Read further here:
at NBC News
at NY1
at BULLDOG SKATES message boards
at Gothamist
at RightFielder's
at NYTimes
and New York Surf too.

Update: Here's a great piece on Andy the New York Times just posted on the cover of thier on-line edition:
"The End of Falling"

Monday, August 10, 2009


Dr. David Scheiner (Obama's personal doctor for 22 years) talks with Bill Maher. - This is a really good look at the situation from a decent doctor's point of view.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

This shit is really making me sick to my stomach

from the
Beyond Beltway, Health Debate Turns Hostile

The bitter divisions over an overhaul of the health care system have exploded at town-hall-style meetings over the last few days as members of Congress have been shouted down, hanged in effigy and taunted by crowds. In several cities, noisy demonstrations have led to fistfights, arrests and hospitalizations.

Democrats have said the protesters are being organized by conservative lobbying groups like FreedomWorks. Republicans respond that the protests are an organic response to the Obama administration’s health care restructuring proposals.

There is no dispute, however, that most of the shouting and mocking is from opponents of those plans. Many of those opponents have been encouraged to attend by conservative commentators and Web sites.

“Become a part of the mob!” said a banner posted Friday on the Web site of the talk show host Sean Hannity. “Attend an Obama Care Townhall near you!” The exhortations do not advocate violence, but some urge opponents to be disruptive.

“Pack the hall,” said a strategy memo circulated by the Web site Tea Party Patriots that instructed, “Yell out and challenge the Rep’s statements early.”

“Get him off his prepared script and agenda,” the memo continued. “Stand up and shout and sit right back down.”

Read the whole piece here if you really want to get riled up. It's like when ignorance, and hatred with organization stole the election when they stormed the recounts in Florida. Might will win this fight too. It's a fucking sad day in amerikkka when pure ignorance and greed continues to rule. FIGHT BACK THESE DIMWITS!

Seven Reasons: Why We Need Net Neutrality Now!


By Tim Karr, August 3, 2009

On Friday, Reps. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) marched across Independence Avenue and up the steps of the Capitol Building to introduce a bill that could stand as the First Amendment of the Internet age.

The Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009 establishes the basic rules of the road for an open Internet. And its arrival couldn’t be more timely.

We are amid the greatest technological transition in our media since the invention of the printing press. An open Internet is driving this change. It’s a communications tool that, while still in its infancy, is already storming the gates of media’s old guard. But they’re not letting us in without a fight.

Traditional media fear a system that is more decentralized, participatory and personal. While their outlets still dominate, mainstream media are threatened by a generation of users who have embraced the Internet to control their information experience.

These users no longer passively consume the news; we actively participate in it. We no longer limit our civic involvement to watching television ads and reading editorial pages. We Google candidates to learn more, create our own political networks on Facebook, and use Twitter to stay on top of the issues we care about most.

As the Internet breaks down old political, economic and social barriers, it raises new concerns about free speech, control, privacy and equality.

The Internet Freedom Preservation Act will safeguard the basic rights of our emerging media democracy. It makes Net Neutrality the standard, locking in the network’s greatest strength: its ability to give everyone a chance to be heard – whether a little-known blogger, local environmental group or giant multinational corporation.

Without Net Neutrality, this democratic Internet could fall prey to the companies that deliver Internet services. For them our new found media freedom is a threat that needs to be controlled for commercial gain.

We must act now to pass this bill. Here are seven reasons why:

1. Economic Recovery and Prosperity

"The Internet has thrived and revolutionized business and the economy precisely because it started as an open technology," Eshoo said in a statement on Friday. The Internet is so closely tied to U.S. economic recovery that President Obama and Congress earmarked more than $7 billion to help build out more high-speed connections at a time when our economy needs it most.

Obama and Congress also recognized that the economy cannot benefit by building a closed Internet. The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act requires that all federally funded networks be services that meet "nondiscrimination and network interconnection obligations" – that abide by Net Neutrality.

"The Internet is an essential infrastructure," declares Markey and Eshoo’s bill. "The national economy would be severely harmed if the ability of Internet content, service, and application providers to reach consumers was frustrated by interference from broadband telecommunications network operators."

2. Free Speech

Freedom of the press extends only to those who own one -- or so the saying goes. It once rang true in a world ruled by newspaper chains, radio and television broadcasters, and cable networks. But the Internet has changed all that, delivering the press -- and in theory its freedoms -- to any person with a good idea and a connection to the Web.

This extraordinary twist to "mass media" has catapulted many an everyday YouTube auteur to celebrity-status, while turning ideas born in a garage or dorm room into Fortune 500 companies. It is the reason so many Americans are now passionate about protecting their free speech rights on the Internet.

The Internet Freedom Preservation Act would stop would-be gatekeepers from re-routing the free-flowing Web. “To meet other national priorities, and to our right to free speech under the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States,” the bill says, “the United States should adopt a clear policy preserving the open nature of Internet communications.”

3. Civic Participation

New media are more participatory and personal than ever before and have opened up new avenues for people to become involved with local, state and national politics. We saw it during the 2008 presidential election when tens of millions expressed their support for Obama and McCain via interactive Facebook, Twitter and e-mail forums. We are seeing it in 2009 from the streets of Tehran to the work of organizations like the Sunlight Foundation and the Center for Responsive Politics, which use the Internet as the means to open governments to public scrutiny and accountability.

This wave of digital empowerment is the gathering force for a healthier democracy, and it all depends upon a more open, affordable and accessible Internet for everyone. Expanding Internet access alone doesn’t erase concerns over what kind of information people will find when they get online. Net Neutrality guarantees that we all have an equal opportunity to play a part.

4. The Marketplace of Ideas

The Internet was the great surprise of the 20th century. Sir Tim Berners-Lee created the standard that opened the World Wide Web to everyone with an idea and a connection. At that time, few could imagine that this open architecture would fuel such a powerful eruption of economic, social and political creativity.

The Internet Freedom Preservation Act "will protect consumers and content providers because it will restore the guarantee that one does not have to ask permission to innovate," Rep. Markey said when he introduced the bill.

This is true regardless of your age, social status or location. Net Neutrality safeguards everyone’s fundamental right to an open Internet, making it possible for one person’s good idea to blossom into the next big business or, even, a movement of millions.

5. Social Justice

Broadband in America today is not equally accessible: Users are predominantly middle- or upper-class and live in urban or suburban areas. Poorer communities and communities of color, as well as communities in rural areas, have been largely left off the grid.

Imagine what it would mean, then, to provide a connection to disadvantaged areas without also extending to them Net Neutrality’s guarantee of openness. Dominant ISPs have argued for this exception, saying Net Neutrality prevents them from connecting more people. But it’s a false choice and far too high a cost to give network owners the power to shunt ideas percolating up from these communities to a digital backwater.

The Internet Freedom Preservation Act guarantees equal and unbridled access to the Internet’s engine of opportunity, leveling the playing field so that we all have a chance to be heard.

6. The Rise of the Gatekeepers

A high-speed connection is useful only if you can connect to everyone else online. Net Neutrality leaves control over your Internet experience with you, the user. Yet network operators are considering charging extra money depending on where you want to go and what you want to do online. Some are deploying technology that would sift through and filter the content that you share with others online. Such discrimination endangers the open and level playing field that has made the Internet so democratic.

As more of us rely upon a high-speed connection to do all things media – watch and make video, follow the news, listen to music, Tweet, email and call our friends – legacy media are too tempted to get in our way, steering us back via old channels where they make all decisions for us. But there’s no going back to the analog oligarchy. The Internet Freedom Preservation Act keeps the gatekeepers at bay.

7. The Obama Opportunity

Forces are coming into alignment for Net Neutrality. We have a president who is an outspoken supporter, congressional leadership willing to fight for an open Internet, and a pro-Neutrality chairman newly ensconced at the Federal Communications Commission.

Since the fight for Net Neutrality began more than three years ago, 1.6 million Americans have picked up the phone, signed petitions, spoken out publicly and written letters to urge their members of Congress to get behind Net Neutrality.

The tides have shifted. Still, giant phone and cable companies aren’t going away. They think they can squash our movement -- and over the past six months alone, they have hired 500 lobbyists in Washington to try to stop this bill.

This is our best chance to beat them back once and for all.

Friday, August 7, 2009


from good ole' Laura Dawn over at
I hate insurance companies who are trying to block real health care reform.

So I made another crazy ad with time in honor of one of my favorite weeks of the year:


But anyone who spends $140 million a quarter trying to block the Public Option, hiring companies to ship in fake protestors, and lining the pockets of for-sale-congressmen & congresswomen--while reaping BILLIONS of dollars in profits, while fully aware that 50 million Americans can't afford coverage while thousands more are denied coverage (or dropped unceremoniously when they finally NEED the coverage they've been paying for)

well we all know who the real sharks are. If you like the ad, please put it up on your facebook page or email it around or Twitter it! [see above]

and please: get in the fight for health care reform. We SHOULD have the Dem votes in congress to finally get health care reform. The Public Option is a GREAT first step--it gives everyone the chance to have affordable coverage while keeping the choice of private insurance if they want it. And if anyone tries to tell you that they don't want "socialized" medicine like the Public Option, tell them you really admire how they are going to not use Medicare when they hit 65 and instead continue to pay 7 - 10k or more a year for private insurance.

We SHOULD be pulling this off. But we're in the fight of our lives. The big insurance companies are obviously not going to give up those billions in profit, and they've got a couple of key Dems in their pocket. We need to put the pressure on those Dems to do the right thing.

So, please help us fight for the health care this country so badly needs, if you can, and I hope you enjoy the ad. And Shark Week. : )

-Laura Dawn

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Paul Krassner: "Who's to say what's obscene?" (video)

The latest episode of Richard Metzger's new online talk show (and blog)"Dangerous Minds" features...

...satirist, counter culture icon and all around iconoclast, Paul Krassner, author of the new collection, Who's to Say What's Obscene?: Politics, Culture, and Comedy in America Today. Topics include the definition of obscenity in today's America, the Obama presidency and what it means for political satire, Jon Stewart and The Daily Show's influence on younger people, the state of the "underground press" today and a lot more.
Dangerous Minds: Paul Krassner
(Thanks, Xeni, BoingBoing)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Punk, done well.

I was in Boston over the weekend for about 24 hours. Friday night i saw Shepard Fairey's show at the ICA (which was incredible). As was the closing party with Chuck D. performing. Before that I sat to be interviewed for the Shep documentary, with director Helen Stickler. Prior to that, just after getting off the train, i hung out with some really nice folks at the GLP creative studios, where i learned some interesting stuff about where digital photography is at right now.

On saturday morning before i left town i got to have breakfast and walk around town with my old friends Al and Nancy Barile. Al of course was the leader and lead guitarist of Boston's most important and influential hard core band S.S. Decontrol (he's doing fine!) But this post is about former Philadelphia scene den mother of Sadistic Exploits, Nancy Petriello Barile.

Since the old days Nancy has become an award winning high school teacher, who's had several articles written about her in the mainstream press. Here's one of my favorite USA Today clips:
At 35, she landed the job as an English teacher at Revere High, and since then, she seems to be making up for lost time. She attacks her job with the energy of a whirling dervish, using her easy laugh, infectious enthusiasm and creative teaching methods to push her students to succeed.

"Nancy's a constant innovator," says her department chair, Jonathan Mitchell. Barile works hard to make sure the students at Revere, many of whom come from struggling immigrant families and 63% of whom qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, stay interested in the subject matter and see the connections to their lives and the world around them.

In a discussion of Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles and Kate Chopin's The Awakening in her Advanced Placement English class, for instance, Barile illustrates a point about the female characters' predicaments through references to Hillary Clinton and Gwen Stefani.

One of her favorite lesson plans is called "old school/new school." Students choose a piece of poetry from the literary canon and compare it with the lyrics of a favorite pop song. "Recently a student did an amazing analysis of a Phillip Larkin poem with a song by the Smashing Pumpkins," she says.

Says Mitchell, "She shows her students that poetry is timeless and that it's all around them."...

She lives in Revere, not far from the school, and she walks to and from work, purposefully walking along the roughest streets of the neighborhood in which many of her students live. "I think she's crazy," Mitchell says with a smile betraying admiration.

But walking where gang gunfights and drug deals have transpired over the years has brought reassurance to students who live in the neighborhood, says Tany Ban, a former student of Barile's who grew up along Shirley Avenue in a tough part of town.

"I'd see her on the street — she was always part of our community, and she was a role model. She made me think to myself: 'There are other ways to go about your life. You don't have to be here.' "

For her part, Barile was determined to see Ban go to college. So she signed him up for a Kaplan SAT prep course and paid for it, presenting him with the registration packet one day at school. "She makes it so you have no choice but to better yourself," Ban says, laughing. After attending Boston University, Ban, too, is back at Revere High — as a math teacher.

"Nancy's the complete package," says her principal, David DeRousi. "There are some people who can see what kids need both inside and beyond the classroom, and Nancy has that gift."
And here's a few other pieces:
Christian Science Monitor
USA Today
Hat's off! Much love, and respect to my old friend Nancy.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Keith Olbermann Exposes Congressional Opponents of Universal Health Care

Once again Olbermann let's loose like we wish all newscasters would.

(Thanks, Webmaster

Monday, August 3, 2009

Fugazi 1989

Here's two great video clips (although pretty poor sound) i stumbled across taken the same day as my picture above and at the bottom. In fact you don't even have to look too close to see me. I always think it's cool to see the other perspectives, angles, and textures from the same day as my own work.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

(Design genius) Jonathan Ive
on The Key to Apple's Success...

from Business Week:
Jonathan Ive isn’t prone to making wild proclamations about design, his boss, Steve Jobs, or Apple, the company at which he’s led the design team since 1996. Indeed, he’s not really one for speaking in public much at all. So it was with a sense of keen anticipation that a group of 700 or so Londoners descended on the Royal Geographical Society in posh South Kensington to hear Ive in conversation with Sir Christopher Frayling, rector of the Royal College of Art.

During the hour-long chat, Ive touched on many themes and topics. The main takeaway for executives looking to try and copy Apple’s success? Don’t. Instead, Ive said forcefully and repeatedly, companies need to define their own clear, high-minded raison d’être. That should drive the actions and decisions of every employee, from the C-suite down.
For Apple, he outlined, the end game isn't commercial success. "Apple's goal isn't to make money. Our goal is to design and develop and bring to market good products," he explained. "We trust as a consequence of that, people will like them, and as another consequence we'll make some money. But we're really clear about what our goals are." This focus, he continued, has driven Apple to produce only a small number of high quality products. "We try not to bring out another product that's just different," he said. "'Different' and 'new' is relatively easy. Doing something that's genuinely better is very hard."

And while Ive was clearly careful not to point fingers or name names, he was critical of companies that continue to lay emphasis on "new" rather than "better," churning out products simply in order to survive, with no thought of the impact of such rampant production. "It never ceases to amaze me what it takes to develop and bring to mass production a product," he said. "If you don't care, it's just wrong to drag so many resources and so much of people's time through that process."

Ive also had bad news for anyone looking to foster a design or innovation-driven culture within an enterprise that doesn't at heart "get" it. Unless the disciplines are acknowledged and embraced as core values by every employee, they won't gain traction. "We don't have identity manuals reminding us of points of philosophy for why our company exists," he said of Apple's internal culture. "I'm sure those things are very well meaning, but if you have to institutionalize stuff, you end up chasing your tail." In other words, unless the commitment to innovation or design is authentic and heartfelt, rather than this month's short-term strategy to cater to a hot trend, it will be nigh on impossible to build a true, innovation-led culture (and emulate Apple's success.)

So what does Ive look for when interviewing would-be Apple designers? Belief, passion and a commitment to strive for perfection. "When I'm interviewing people to join the team, the discussions go like this: 'this was my idea, this is how it turned out in manufacturing, and it's rubbish, isn't it? But it isn't my fault'," he recounted wryly, before becoming serious. "There's a list of excuses and reasons why it was somebody else's fault other than the designer's. Now I understand that, I've been there, I've been frustrated beyond words with other companies when I was working independently. But when you've gone through a whole portfolio like that, at some point you have to say: 'if you really do care about the quality of what ends up getting made, wouldn't you find an answer, some sort of alternative, and somehow figure out a way to take your idea and do something with it?'" It was a great reminder that design is about much more than the studio and the drawing board. Designers need to be fully engaged in a company's overarching mission, and should be resolved to oversee every stage of a product's life cycle, from concept to shop shelf and beyond.

Ive's own commitment to the design process is precisely why, he said, if you don't like Apple products, then you and he have a problem. Well, he didn't put it exactly like that. In delicate Ive speak, this was, "We maybe would have a difference of opinion, but I can say it's that way because that's the way we wanted it to be. There's not an excuse." Now, I know Apple is too often touted as the poster child for successful design-led innovation, but really, how many other corporate design chiefs can make the same claim?

Saturday, August 1, 2009