Larry Levan: Genius of Time!

“Special” extends for a slow-rolling nine minutes, and it’s so expansive one could parallel park in its stereo field. The song is little more than a stately piano line, a synth that spumes like a squeezed juicebox, a rock guitar solo, handclaps so echo-y they seem to come down from heaven and the group harmonizing the title. With so few moving parts, one might imagine it grows tedious, but Levan manipulates everything so that each sound strides towards you and then veers away, cruising you yet remaining ever elusive.
As it continues to unfold, the song sublimates so as to be a mantra of uplift. In hindsight of the AIDS epidemic that would soon ravage the Garage’s audience and owner (not to mention Keith Haring, who designed the Peech Boys’s album cover), decades later it sounds more and more like a song of resistance and resilience in the face of impending death.

via Larry Levan: Genius of Time | Pitchfork


Freedom of Expression?

“…Insuring the freedom of expression necessary to nourish the arts while bearing in mind limits of public understanding and tolerance requires unusual wisdom, prudence, and most of all, common sense.”

National Endowment for the Arts, Independent Commission


Witnessing History (again) at Ground Zero As Red Cross Volunteer

The smoldering debris at ground zero transported the late Rolla “Bud” Crick back in time to August 1946 when he was a combat reporter for the Army Air Corps. He was on the ground in Hiroshima shortly after the atomic bomb dropped. Now at the World Trade Center, he would again be a part of history as an American Red Cross spokesman and volunteer.

“When 9/11 happened, I called my wife Eleanor and said, ‘You know, I was in Hiroshima after the atomic bomb and Yokohama after the blockbuster bombing. Now I’m standing here looking at this devastation on our nation’s own soil’” Crick, who died at age 95 in 2013, said, according to a report in The Oregonian, where he once worked as a reporter.  “I had the disheartening realization that this too was a man-made attack.”

via Remembering Red Cross Volunteer Who Witnessed History at Ground Zero | National September 11 Memorial & Museum

+Note: This made me both very thankful, and also terribly sad. Having met Crick several times when I worked for the Red Cross September 11th Project he was one of many dedicated & incredible human beings that came to NYC during its hour of need and really made a difference.


Just Give the World Love

Love’s In Need of Love Today [1976]

Stevie Wonder

Good morn or evening friends
Here’s your friendly announcer
I have serious news to pass on to everybody
What I’m about to say
Could mean the world’s disaster
Could change your joy and laughter to tears and pain

It’s that
Love’s in need of love today
Don’t delay
Send yours in right away
Hate’s goin’ round
Breaking many hearts
Stop it please
Before it’s gone too far

Continue reading

Race Riots

This is the day in 1935 on 125th Street in Harlem the phrase changed. Up until that point it had been anchored to a different meaning, and the one that some eighty years later we still hear being used in places like Ferguson & with the Baltimore Uprising.

$35,302,238.80,in damages by today’s standard (est. 2 million in 1935)
3 lives lost, hundreds injured in a full day of mayhem.

The Riot in Harlem of 1935 changed the paradigm. While its roots & causes were as the commission found afterwards deeply rooted in the very same issues and created a whole new usage of the term which was outlined by the sociologist Alan D. Grimshaw to proclaim the modern form of racial rioting:

  1. “violence directed almost entirely against property”
  2. “the absence of clashes between racial groups”
  3. “struggles between the lower-class Negro population and the police forces”

Later the eminent philosopher would state:

“the Negro is not merely the man who shouldn’t be forgotten; he is the man who cannot safely be ignored.”

— Alain Locke