Saturday, January 30, 2010


What I'm NOT going to miss about the ole block:

10. Abandoned mattress, chest of drawers, sofa, or useless appliance in front of my house.
9. The kids hitting up on everything, including my bushes. WTF?
8. Hearing the neighbors argue about whose turn it is to buy the rock, who lost the rock, or whose turn it is to hit the rock.
7. Multiple house parties going on at the same time where people hire whack ass djs to play their music so loud you can feel your hair shake when you're in bed. Oddly enough, I never see anyone dancing at these parties.
6. People sticking random trash in my hedges or hanging refuse on the fence. I found a hair piece once.
5. The neighborhood musical prodigy turned schizophrenic who used to live in a camper shell next door and drive me crazy with all his different voices....Okay, I think I'll miss him a little bit.
4. That weird dude whose always asking me for a piece of my plants.
3. People stealing stuff from my yard if I leave it too close to my fence.
2. Dog shit everywhere.
1. The drive by shootings!

What I will miss:
The view from the top of 17th St. That's my house on the corner.

The sunset from my kitchen window.

Friday, January 29, 2010

lil tavi

i love this girl! tavi gevinson is only 13 years old and she writes an amazing fashion blog called style rookie. she's got more creativity in her little finger than most grown folks.
Check out Style Rookie.

Retna x El Mac

via revok.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

RIP Greg Campbellock Jr.

damn. we lost alot of people today....

RIP Zelda Rubenstein

tangina lives on!

RIP JD Salinger

self portrait

self portrait, reflection from Larry Bell sculpture at After Ferus Galley.

See After Ferus Gallery project at Raise High the Roof Beam.

RIP Howard Zinn

I will never forget reading your work on Christopher Columbus in the 9th grade. You opened a door for me. Thank you Howard Zinn!

my new crib!

It's amazing what you get when you work up enough courage to ask the universe for it. After weeks of non-stop searching and rejection, we finally got a new place in West Adams. It came with everything we asked for: 1300 sq feet, laundry hook ups, garage, hardwood floors, huge closets, pet friendly, and in a decent neighborhood. AND it's $200 less than what we're paying now. Unbelievable!


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Definition of a Hater by Maya Angelou

A hater is someone who is jealous and envious and spends all their time trying to make you look small so they can look tall. They are very negative people to say the least. Nothing is ever good enough! When you make your mark, you will always attract some haters…That’s why you have to be careful with whom you share your blessings and your dreams, because some folk can’t handle seeing you blessed…
It’s dangerous to be like somebody else…
If God wanted you to be like somebody else, He would have given you what He gave them! Right? You never know what people have gone through to get what they have.

The problem I have with haters is that they see my glory, but they don’t know my story… If the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, you can rest assured that the water bill is higher there too!
We’ve all got some haters among us! People envy you because you can:

Have a relationship with God
Light up a room when you walk in
Start your own business
Tell a man / woman to hit the curb (if he / she isn’t about the right thing)
Raise your children without both parents being in the home

Haters can’t stand to see you happy, Haters will never want to see you succeed, Haters never want you to get the victory, most of our haters are people who are supposed to be on our side. How do you handle your undercover haters?

You can handle these haters by:

Knowing who you are & who your true friends are *(VERY IMPORTANT!!)
Having a purpose to your life? Purpose does not mean having a job. You can have a job and still be unfulfilled. A purpose is having a clear sense of what God has called you to be. Your purpose is not defined by what others think about you.
By remembering what you have is by divine prerogative and not human manipulation. Fulfill your dreams!
You only have one life to live…when it’s your time to leave this earth, you ‘want’ to be able to say, ‘I’ve lived my life and fulfilled ‘my’ dreams,… Now I’m ready to go HOME! When God gives you favor, you can tell your haters, Don’t look at me…Look at Who is in charge of me…’

Via Talib Kweli's Blog.

Rocky Rivera Album Release Party

Congratulations to Rocky!

If you haven't seen the video yet, you are hella late.

Friday, January 22, 2010

David Byrne & Fatboy Slim’s Imelda Marcos Tribute Album

From: Prometheus Brown

When I first heard about this project a month ago, I thought to myself, either David Byrne and Fatboy Slim don’t know or don’t care that Imelda Marcos was essentially a co-dictator of a third world country who suffered greatly under her and her husband Ferdinand Marcos’ regime. That her tens of thousands of shoes, a symbol of audacious glamour and wealth to hipsters like them, is for us Filipinos (and most normal human beings) a symbol of the poverty and repression their wealth was built upon. I didn’t want to lash out against a project I knew little about, so I waited to hear and see more.

Then this slideshow video promoting the album dropped, with quotes from David Byrne himself as he narrates an even more sugarcoated story than I could’ve imagined. It opens with a shot of young beauty-queen Imelda, followed with some revisionist history claiming that she was “forced to flee the Philippines” as if she were the victim. Then something about being fascinated with “the needs that drive powerful people” and how her story resonates and how she loved going to dance clubs in New York. All while her people starved and got jailed, tortured or killed for trying to do something about it. The slideshow doesn’t include that last part, of course.
(Read more.)

Urban Nature

Ubiquitous, 2009. Jar, tree. 35 x 70 x 50” 
via the daily what.
source naoko ito.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

New Banksy Film: Exit Through the Gift Shop

By: Esther Addley

He is better known for his work on brick, plasterwork, portable toilets and even, on one memorable occasion, an elephant. But until now the artist known as Banksy, in creating his satirical artworks, has largely stuck to the old-fashioned mediums of painting and sculpture.

Today, however, it emerged that the graffiti artist and cultural bête noire has branched into filmmaking, with the release of what is described as "the worlds first street art disaster movie".

Exit Through the Gift Shop, which will have its international premiere on Sunday at the Sundance film festival, is described by its creator as "the story of how one man set out to film the unfilmable - and failed", and by the festival's organisers as "an amazing ride, a cautionary modern fairy tale ... with bolt cutters".

Read more.
Trailer via

Capoeira Angola Roda

Come join the original Capoeira Angola Center of Los Angeles as we host our first roda of the year. We will be collecting cash donations and clothes for earthquake victims in Haiti.
For more info see our Facebook page.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Renters' Market Myth

This month, REIS a real estate research company, declared that the US is now a renters' market. What the company meant to say was that this is a renters' market for singles with stable incomes and impeccable credit. Currently, Los Angeles County's unemployment rate is 12.4% [1]. That's 2.4 points above the national figure. For Blacks, the unemployment rate is at a staggering 16.2% nationally.[2]  Most of my friends and colleagues are either unemployed, underemployed, defaulting on their credit, or anxiously awaiting their next check from the EDD.  If these are the demographics for potential renters in Los Angeles , then who exactly is filling these vacancies?

If you know me,  I've probably told you about a shooting, robbery, or drug bust that has happened outside my home. Hearing all the buzz about this being a "renters' market," and that rental prices are plummeting, we thought this would be a perfect time to migrate to greener pastures. It's true. The vacancies are everywhere. If you drive through the thickest parts of Koreatown in Los Angeles you will see "FOR RENT" signs on almost every building. But don't be mistaken. Landlords are not handing them out like free samples at Costco.

If you are a  family of three: Mom, Dad, and rambunctious 3-year-old baby girl, beware. For most landlords, this means wear-and-tear. Throw a cat in the mix and you are surely out of the running. If you are self-employed, be prepared to be put through the wringer. They will ask you for everything from bank account statements to returned checks for rental payments.  If you work in the construction business, which we all know has tanked due to the failed economy, forget about it.  They don't want you. Because of all the odds stacked against you, be prepared to submit numerous applications and pay at least $25 each time to do so. And one last thing, your credit report better be immaculate because, to landlords, pulling your credit is the body cavity search of their screening process. Unfortunately, for our family, this is not a hypothetical. This is us and finding an apartment has been far from easy.

According to a study by REIS, vacancies in the US have risen to 8% this past quarter. That's the highest that this country has seen in 30 years. [3] It would be logical to think that these vacancies would be filled by all the people who lost their homes recently. Instead it seems that people are moving back in with their parents or getting roommates. Given these circumstances, landlords should be bending over backwards to fill their vacancies, but this is not the case.

What reports overlook are renters who have been hit hardest by the economy. Whether they see this an opportunity to leave a bad neighborhood or have failed to make the rent one too many times, it is this demographic that is struggling to find a place they can call home.  If they can land an apartment, they lack the leverage  to negotiate sweet lease deals with months of free rent and waived security deposit--on approved credit, of course. More than likely, these are families, struggling to make ends meet, dealing with unemployment or underemployment, and have bad credit. It seems that the only options for this sector of the market are to live in neighborhoods that are unsafe in apartments with sagging ceilings and outdated plumbing. Only in these substandard conditions is there little scrutiny.

So back to my original question: Who is filling these vacancies? No one. In our search, we found that  one bedroom units  renting within the $1,200 range with hardwood floors, new appliances, and located in a relatively safe neighborhood are still on the market. Landlords of well-maintained, decent properties, seem to be willing to let these units remain vacant until they find that perfect single white female who works in downtown and doesn't plan to ever have children. Cats OK.

[2] Bureau of Labor Statistics (January 10, 2010) "Employment Situation Summary." Press Release. Archive copy at BLS 
[3] Kai Ryssdal, January 7, 2010, "Why Apartment Vacancies Are Rising." Marketplace.

Raise High the Roof Beam

I've been busy the past few days creating a blog for my man, who is a carpenter. Check out his new blog!

Monday, January 18, 2010

What If MLK was on twitter....

See full article at  Vanity Fair.

Rain Dance- Herbie Hancock

Libraries Keep MLK's Crucial Comic Book

From: Seattle pi
Posted by: Nancy Patton

"The comic book [is] the marijuana of the nursery, the bane of the bassinet, the horror of the home, the curse of the kids and a threat to the future."John Mason Brown. (American literary critic, 1900-1969)

In December of 1957 a comic book was published that really did threaten the future--at least the future of American segregationists. Carefully preserved in the special collections of several academic libraries, such as The Smithsonian Institution, Morehouse College, and Stanford University, The Montgomery Story, a 14-page comic book is, credited with being one of the most influential teaching tools ever produced for the Civil Rights Movement.

Read more.

To read the whole comic click here.
Via twitter @jsmooth995.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

in memory of aaliyah jan 16, 1979 - august 25, 2001

i was 14 when aaliyah came out with "back & forth". we were about the same age. singing about things that a 14-year-old shouldn't be singing about on her debut album, "age ain't nothing but a number", i thought i was grown listening her. the day she died i was waitressing at a pizza joint called giorgio's on clement street (one of the best pizza joints in frisco). i listened to "back and forth" on the way home from work and cried.

Friday, January 15, 2010

i love to singa by max fleischer

baby girl loves this right now.


Mexican collective, Tercerunquinto, explore the boundaries between public and private space in their contribution to the 2009 Shenzen and Hong Kong Biennle of Urbanism/Architecture.
via revok. source designboom.

What You're Not Hearing about Haiti (But Should Be)

From: Common 

By: Carl Lindskoog
 In the hours following Haiti's devastating earthquake, CNN, the New York Times and other major news sources adopted a common interpretation for the severe destruction: the 7.0 earthquake was so devastating because it struck an urban area that was extremely over-populated and extremely poor.  Houses "built on top of each other" and constructed by the poor people themselves made for a fragile city.  And the country's many years of underdevelopment and political turmoil made the Haitian government ill-prepared to respond to such a disaster.    

True enough.  But that's not the whole story.  What's missing is any explanation of why there are so many Haitians living in and around Port-au-Prince and why so many of them are forced to survive on so little.  Indeed, even when an explanation is ventured, it is often outrageously false such as a former U.S. diplomat's testimony on CNN that Port-au-Prince's overpopulation was due to the fact that Haitians, like most Third World people, know nothing of birth control.   

It may startle news-hungry Americans to learn that these conditions the American media correctly attributes to magnifying the impact of this tremendous disaster were largely the product of American policies and an American-led development model.    

read more.

Monday, January 11, 2010

RIP Art Clokey, creator of Gumby

From the Bay to LA: We Are All Oscar Grant

As the sun began to creep over the downtown skyline in Los Angeles, protesters began to assemble at the Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center on January 8, the site where Johannes Mehserle stood before Judge Robert J. Perry for the first time. A banner reading, “We are all Oscar Grant. The Whole Damn System is Guilty!” was stretched out as passers-by honked in support. The now iconic face of a smiling Oscar Grant was plastered everywhere on picket signs, posters, and stickers. Leaders on the bullhorn began to chant, “Oscar Grant was lying down! We want justice for the town!” If Michael Rains, defense attorney for Johannes Mehserle, thought he could evade the community that stands behind Oscar Grant, he was wrong. Rachel Jackson,  of the Oakland Assembly vowed at the press conference organized by the LA Coalition for Justice for Oscar Grant,  warned, “You can run to Los Angeles. You can run to San Diego. And we will be there because you can run, but you cannot hide from justice!”

This is to be the royal rumble of all police brutality cases to date. In one corner stands the defendant, Johannes Mehserle, the first cop in California history to be tried for murder while on duty. To his advantage, his case has been assigned to Judge Robert J. Perry. Judge Perry, who will bar all cameras from the courtroom, also presided over the case of Rafael Perez, the former LAPD songbird who was the central figure in the Rampart Police Division Scandal. Charged with stealing cocaine, reselling it, and framing innocent people, Judge Perry let Perez walk free after only serving 3 years of a 5 year sentence. The Rampart Scandal, which implicated Rampart division officers in cold blooded killings, the sale of narcotics, and bank robberies in the 1990s, and its successive cover up by the department itself and the media illustrates the landscape and culture in which the Mehserle trial is to be held. A fine-tuned and well-oiled media machine will definitely be a force with which Grant supporters will have to combat.

In the other corner, we have the growing community of supporters for Oscar Grant. As demonstrated by the Oakland Rebellion last January, they are a force to be reckoned with. Oakland organizer, Hannibal Shakur, stated, “It is was singly the consequence of collective community action that this police officer ever got charges in the first place.” The Mehserle camp will be under severe scrutiny and the people are prepared to cry foul should the defense throw any low blows. A change of venue out of Alameda County is perceived as a huge disadvantage to the Grant corner. As we learned from the acquittal of the cops that beat Rodney King, a change of venue is a get out of jail free card. However, in Mehserle’s case, his change of venue was not to a predominantly white town whose population was teeming with cops. Mehserle’s case was moved to Los Angeles, a city that still bears the scars of the LA Rebellion AKA LA Riots. Communities here are continually outraged by the terrorism of the
LAPD. Keisha Brunston, aunt of Deandre Brunston, the youth who was unarmed and shot 22 times by the LAPD in 2003, also spoke at the press conference. Her nephew, Deandre Brunston, was met with 80 rounds of ammunition during a standoff in which Brunston was armed with only a flip flop in hand. A police canine who was caught in the cross fire was air lifted by helicopter while Brunston, who was still alive, was left to die. It is the anger of community members in LA, like Keisha Brunston, that will help bring momentum to the growing movement that “is Oscar Grant.”
What we saw at the Criminal Justice Center was a convergence of the elements. Like cool wind and warm water, when you put the forces of The Bay and Los Angeles together, you will get a storm of epic proportion. Right now that storm is still brewing. Come weigh-in time in May, when the rumble is set to begin, you can expect the people to rain torrents on the Mehserle trial.

See all photos here.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


fasting for the new year

i've decided to clean my inner house. an infected tonsil, a lingering cough...something's got to be done.

I got the recipe from The Prescription for Natural Healing which is a bible in my household.

The recipe:
3 carrots, 3 kale leaves, 2 stalks of celery, 2 beets, 1 turnip, 1/2 head of cabbage, 1/4 bunch of parsley, 1/4 onion, and 1/2 clove of garlic.

I just had my first glass and I feel like I'm flying.

Saturday, January 2, 2010