‘To give a feeling of connection and relevance’

Royal Festival Hall Gala Celebration 5

[…]
"Everything in life is about personal relationships – including the way
one feels about music. I want to create as many
opportunities for people to have that 'aha' moment – give people the
chance to really connect with the composers." […]

[…] "Musicians, like actors and writers, can be maddeningly inarticulate
about what they do – because they do it, not talk about it. Marin is that rare exception. She has such a lucid, human
understanding of music that she can explain something the way that
others might tell you about certain items on the wall of their living
room." […]

"Marin Alsop breaks the glass baton," Elaine F. Weiss, Christian Science Monitor, Sept. 26, 2007

Music exists partly to challenge those authorities (i)

Sinead O'Connor Rivers of Babylon (live)
Sinead O'Connor - Fire On Babylon
Sinead O'Connor - Downpressor Man / None a Jah Jah Children
Sinead O'Connor - War

[…] In order to understand the
dynamics of reggae, however, a clear understanding of Rastafari must be
grasped. Reggae is an auditory representation of the experience of
Rastafari which is based on the mystical union of the human and the
divine. Rastafari, like many syncretized religions of the African
diaspora seeks a unity (
inity) of the personal, social, and intrapersonal aspects of being. This inity is expressed in the concept of InI,
which depending on the context, could refer to the individual, the
community, or divinity located in the personage of His Imperial
Majesty, Haile Selassie I, Jah Ras Tafari. Everything begins and ends
with
InI.
As Dawes explains, “Rastafarianism represents a fundamental break with
traditional and conventional Judaeo-Christianity. It redefines the
meaning of deity and recasts the figure of God in terms that are
antithetical to colonial representations of the Christian godhead. By
establishing a god in Haile Selassie, Rastafarianism breaks away from
the patterns of conventional Christianity that operate in Jamaica and
brings into being a new and very elaborate series of modern myths”
(98). Rastafari’s insistence on the validity of individual experience,
the indwelling god, “I,” whose union with the ever living God, “I”,
provided an
intellectual and experiential basis
to its claims. There was no difference between “I” and “I”. The
Cartesian mind/body split and the “I” and “Thou” of Buber were
obliterated. As Dawes further states, “This lends to reggae a defiant
but complex mythology and offers the reggae influenced artist an
approach to art that allows for a dialogue between the political and
the spiritual. Essentially, this quality in reggae defies much of the
binarism that characterises much of western discourse” (99). In other
words, the
legitimacy of a reggae influenced artist’s work would be based on her depiction of the experiences of the landscape, peoples, religions and cultures of the Caribbean or Plantation America […]

That's from Geoffrey Philp's "Reggae, Rastafari and Aesthetics" (via Planet Grenada) and it went well for me this evening with Spinner's "Sinead O'Connor Gives a Lesson in 'Theology'"

Give this post a soundtrack

[…] The mini-fad for referencing turn-of-the-'90s hip-hop may just be
an accident; the samples Pretty Ricky, Lloyd and Musiq Soulchild employ
have been mined by other artists, including Nelly and Ini Kamoze.

But
by vocalizing these hooks instead of just interpolating them, the
younger artists claim a legacy. Lloyd and the members of Pretty Ricky
were barely in grade school when Salt-N-Pepa and PM Dawn were at their
peak; Musiq probably admired De La Soul as a teen. This music echoes
forth like a favorite children's story, a hint of a more innocent, if
not simpler, time.

Perhaps the pumped-up Lotharios of today
want a break from all the bump and grind, and dream of eroticism as a
realm that celebrates not just performance, but as Prince Paul said,
bodies of all kinds.

"The talk turns suggestive," Ann Powers, Los Angeles Times

[…] During her '90s crusade against rap's habit of degrading women, the
late black activist C. Dolores Tucker certainly had few allies within
the hip-hop community, or even among young black women. Backed by folks
like conservative Republican William Bennett, Tucker was vilified
within rap circles.

In retrospect, "many of us weren't
listening," says Tracy Denean Sharpley-Whiting, a professor at
Vanderbilt University and author of the new book "Pimps Up, Ho's Down:
Hip-Hop's Hold On Young Black Women."

"She was onto something,
but most of us said, 'They're not calling me a bitch, they're not
talking about me, they're talking about THOSE women.' But then it
became clear that, you know what? Those women can be any women." […]

"Has rap music hit a wall?" Nekesa Mumbi Moody, Associated Press

[…] Local hip-hop artists Boots Riley from the Coup and rapper and producer
Kirby Dominant express reservations about hip-hop university classes. "One
time, someone came up to me, and said, 'I know so-and-so, they're a professor
at Harvard, they're a big fan of your work,' " Riley says in a phone interview.
"But that doesn't impress me more than any other people feeling that way. I
don't need to be validated by academia because that presupposes that academia
is a pure endeavor and not guided by market forces, which is not the case.

"Anthropology, for instance, was all about studying the natives so they
could figure out how to control them. Again, the natives are being studied."

Dominant, a UC Berkeley alumnus who actually attended the much-publicized
class on Shakur in the late '90s, says that he finds value in hip-hop studies,
provided they take the long view. "With hip-hop and all black music, you can't
talk about the art separate from a lot of other things," he says. "You can't
talk about hip-hop as an art form without talking about the people, the
economics, how and why it was made. You have to be pretty thorough." […]

"Academic hip-hop? Yes, yes, y'all" Reyhan Harmanci, San Francisco Chronicle

Popozuda and circumstance

“The reasons are purely aesthetic, not medical, especially for women. They want to get thin no matter what, all
because of images from north of the Equator. It is a cruel cultural
imposition on the Brazilian woman.”


Dr. Elisaldo de
Araújo Carlini, "a professor at the Federal University of São Paulo
."

“To be fat used to be considered wonderful in Brazil, because it
showed that you eat very well, which is important to Brazilians. That you have three meals a day and eat
meat and beans, calmly, at a table with friends and relatives, means
that someone is taking good care of you.”

Roberto da Matta, "an anthropologist and newspaper columnist who is a leading social commentator."


“Those huge breasts you see in the United States, like in Playboy, were
always considered ridiculous in Brazil. But there is now more of a
tendency than before to want breasts that are a bit larger — not to
make them huge, mind you, but more proportional as part of a body that
is more svelte and more athletic.”

<

p style=”text-align: right”>Ivo Pitanguy, "the
country’s most renowned plastic surgeon."

“This abrupt shift is a feminine
decision that reflects changing roles […] Men are still resisting and clearly
prefer the rounder, fleshier type. But women want to be free and
powerful, and one way to reject submission is to adopt these
international standards that have nothing to do with Brazilian society.”

Mary del Priore, "a historian and co-author of 'The History of Private Life in Brazil'"

Larry Rohter, New York Times, "In the Land of Bold Beauty, a Trusted Mirror Cracks"

Vox Hunt: A Favorite Song from ’06

Audio:  Share one of your favorite songs from 2006.

Pitchfork: There was a track written about on Pitchfork recently, "Something Isn't Right", the first track on Scale,
and the writer, Mark Pytlik, said that you could tell in a few moments
it was a Herbert track. And I think that's true; despite how different
your records sound from each other, there is something there, a thread
through them. I know that at various times you've talked about music as
a way of getting away from ego, but I do feel like there is something
you can't get away from. I'm not sure exactly what it is; to me it
seems like a rhythmic sensibility that informs your work, a swing that
sound like Herbert. Are you aware that a part of yourself is in there,
regardless of the materials you're working with?


MH: I'm not. I'm really not. I know I have patterns and I've always
tried hard to avoid them. There are definitely certain things in my
music, if I'm looking back, "Well, that was a period where I was
experimenting with a certain kind of chord structure or a certain kind
of sound." I've tried really hard, but I'd be hard pressed to tell you
what that sound, what that tangible sound of "me" is. I think rhythm
is, when you talk about rhythmic sensibility, quite perceptive in that
I like to have at least one thing that is at least common or familiar
to the audience. Other than rhythm, the only thing I could say is that
I take a great deal of pride in every single sound I use. I'm always
making sure that I'm not using a pre-set or something that everyone
else has done. I try to be original in every piece of music I do, and
of course I probably fail every time.

Pitchfork: Let me ask you– that moment in "Something Isn't
Right" where he sings, "Do you re-mem-ber?" First time I heard that it
reminded me of "September" by Earth Wind & Fire. I was sitting with
my wife and I asked her, Do you think that's a direct reference to that
song, or is it just a few notes that sound similar?

MH: There is a very slight reference there. It's a reference to the
11th of September because that's what the Earth Wind & Fire tune
was called. I almost had it "Do you remember? The 11th of September?"
But there was no way I could possibly put that in.

Pitchfork: So that's the kind of reference you're talking about, where you embed those kinds of things in the music.


MH:
Exactly. And the record's full of them in different places. It's
kind of like, trying to use every weapon in your arsenal to point
people in a certain direction.

All ye know on earth, and all ye need to know

[…] There is one moment in my teenage years when I remember being
ethnically accepted. I was shopping for a television with my father at
Price Club, when one of the salespeople, who was Latina, mistook us for
her peers and graciously — in Spanish — told us that the TV we were
interested in would be on sale in two weeks. It seemed as though she
was giving us the inside scoop because we were comrades, members of the
same club. Luckily, I'd taken about five years' worth of Spanish, so I
got the gist of what she was saying. We came back in two weeks and got
the TV for 15 percent off. And it felt great. […]

Kevin Sintumuang's "The Curly Cue"

[…] The 34F does not mess around. It might look like the curtains, but
it is made of chicken wire and upholstery. You would lose a fight with
this bra. It is the Rambo of bras. But for all its toughness, it still
exudes a come-to-Grandma sexiness.

Still, it's mine now, and I am
at peace. And not, as some people think, in pain. I am architecturally
sound — tall and broad-shouldered and hippy enough to have basic
structural integrity, with triangulate distribution of weight-bearing
loads. The edifice is sturdy. The center can hold. So, no, there is no
need for surgery. There's only one way out of this, and that is down. […]

Rachel Manteuffel's "Getting an 'F' in Biology"

[…] So, on the one hand, I'll never know what Julia Roberts looks like.
On the other, I loved when, during a viewing of "Erin Brockovich," my
wife leaned close and said, "Oh, I wish you could see what they've done
with Julia Roberts's cleavage." I admit that I will always have to
imagine Ms. Roberts's achievement. But I do have a good imagination. I
don't mind the work.

I get turned on by your accent, your
fragrance, your laugh, your enthusiasm for almost anything. Strictly
speaking, I don't even know what my wife looks like. Instead, I live
for the thrill of the touch of her lips, and my hands are privileged to
see her. My wife lives in a luminous blue corona of light, and that is
good enough for me. […]

Stephen Kuusisto's "The Beauty Myth"

[…] What's more, beauty is now a mass phenomenon, almost as ubiquitous
as electricity or water. Hard to remember, but high-speed, high-quality
color printing is only about 50 years old (the same is true for color
television). Our world, in which ordinary people view hundreds of
lifelike, full-color, drop-dead gorgeous images daily, is entirely the
product of that brief period. For most of history, ordinary people saw
few, if any, deliberately beautiful images in their entire lives.
Paintings and sculptures were for palaces and cathedrals; most human
beings until recently lived on farms or in isolated villages. If they
visited town and saw a beautiful statue in the square, the sheer rarity
of that experience would heighten the sense that this beauty was in no
way related to their common lives.

Now, movies and television
give us beauty as an everyday experience. We watch stories set in
offices, schools, hospitals, neighborhoods just like the ones we
inhabit ourselves. We're encouraged to relate as peers to the beautiful
people who act out these stories. That's my life up on the screen! Or,
I feel as if Julia Roberts and I could be best friends. Or, why can't
the boys at my school be more like Zack and Cody? Other media, using
still more beautiful models (airbrushed and Photoshopped), cheerfully
explain to us how to eat, exercise, dress and groom so that we can be
beautiful, too. […]

David von Drehle's "Looking Good" (with discussion)

[…] So, at this very moment, how do I appear to myself?

It's the
morning after my rendezvous in the kitchen with Stephen. In the door
mirror of our home office, I stand straight, feet together and
shoulders back. I see an attractive woman in a white linen blouse and
an apple green cardigan that fits her full bust to a T. The blazer
drapes gracefully over her waist. The skirt will soon sway like the
perfect pendulum over her ample hips. The sweet chocolate open-toed
wedgies on her feet keep her balanced. The look she gets from her
husband makes her late for work.

Carla Broyles' "A Well-Rounded Woman"