Saturday, December 31, 2016

Welcome 2017 in the Crazy House Called America

Fences: Abdul Alkalimat replies to Marvin X's Notes on Fences

Your review is very favorable, but there are other points to make as well.

1.  Recognition of the beat down can lead to no hope for a better future
and Troy seems to fall into that camp, just can't escape the beat down
cause the odds are too great against you

2.  Troy ends up estranged from his best friend who tried to pull his coat

2.  The one escape was represented by the son who joins the marines,
although the other son continues to play hiss music while in prison

3.  The sister who finds her 18 year marriage and her sacrifice has not
satisfied her man who felt he had to father a child outside of his
family because the other woman made him laugh ends up seeking relief
from the sisters in the church - can that be her solution?

I guess these and more points lead me to question the role of art in its
representation of the Black experience.  Making our pain beautiful just
doesn't do it for me.  We need catharsis, we need a glimpse of what we
can be not held back by only what we have been.

We need to judge art by the criteria of a freedom aesthetic, and I know
you agree with me on that!


Marvin X notes on Fences, a film directred by Denzil Washington, based on the play by August Wilson

A powerful father and son scene, Fences. Father's and sons need to view this film together!
This image released by Paramount Pictures shows Jovan Adepo, left, and Denzel Washington in a scene from “Fences.” (David Lee/Paramount Pictures via AP)

Let's begin with the story itself, Fences, part of the ten play cycle August Wilson created based on life in the ghetto of Pittsburgh, PA, where he grew up. I like to compare Wilson with playwright Ed Bullins who hailed from Philadelphia PA. There is no lack of depth in the story telling of both playwrights but Ed Bullins' North Philly dramatic narratives has more sordid stories and  wretched language than Wilson, perhaps this is why Wilson was an On Broadway success while Ed entertained the Off Broadway crowds and the Black Arts Movement Theatre audiences.

But as per linguistics, Denzil's film utilized the word Nigguh more than any other term from the Black Arts Movement linguistic catalogue. But he was so skilled with the term due to his consummate acting that in the deep structure of his articulation we can hear motherfucker, bitch and host of other choice words from the basic vocabulary of North American Africans.

We congratulate Denzil Washington for bringing August Wilson's play Fences to the giant screen. Since we'd seen the play, we were somewhat familiar with the material. No one can touch Denzil's acting and his lead role in the film may garner him an Oscar or maybe an award from the Black Arts Movement. It was wonderful watching his acting, noticing every twitch of his lips, glance of his eyes, stares and the many silences he expressed to emphasize a point or emotion.

We are certain having that powerful August Wilson script made Denzil's work as actor and director much easier, and that of the other actors as well.

Fences is an absolutely riveting story of Black life in Pittsburgh in particular and America in general. We all know the pervasive racism and discrimination we've endured over the last half century, in particular, and the four centuries in general. Fences tackles the dreams deferred (Loraine Hansberry) and I Too, Sing America (Langston Hughhes). There is discussion of why a black man can't drive a garbage truck, why must black men only pick up the garbage? The main character is bold enough to complain to the boss but for his complaint he is rewarded with the driver's job, suggesting we must be assertive and transcend fear and passivity. Fedrick Douglas told us power concedes nothing without a demand, it never has and never will!

In the August Wilson story telling tradition, the film faithfully weaves its way through generational family trauma, mental illness, alcoholism, abandonment and abuse. It attempts to teach about parental responsibility but contradictions kill the moral pronouncements of the lead character in the eyes of his friend, wife and sons.

The son feels terrified because he feels the father is misplacing aggression upon him because of the father's failure to realize his dreams, so he tries to advise the son to lower his vision, not end up with shattered dreams.

The climax is when the husband informs the wife he has a woman pregnant. And then proceeds to tell her what a wonderful time he shared with the other woman. We heard women in the audience gasp! As men often do, he continued his confession about how the other woman made him laugh. Of course his wife of 18 years wanted to know why he didn't think she might want to have a good laugh with another man! Here the patriarchal mythology went wild. The husband did not dare challenge his wife's assertion of her human desires similar to the husbands. Those addicted to the Mythology of Pussy and Dick (Marvin X) can't imagine what is good for the goose is good for the gander! Ironically the baby mama dies in the hospital and the father brings the other woman's baby home to his wife who accepts the child but utters the most poignant line in the film, "Well, I got a baby but you ain't got no woman!"

We appreciated all the actors, especially the actress who portrayed the wife, and the young son was excellent and the child raised by the mother came across in flying colors especially in her interaction with the young son who come home to attend his father's funeral but had to be convinced by the child in a sing-song rap the two performed together.

This is a most beautiful film about family relationships and responsibility, especially for men and young men. It is about the need for men to recognize women are full human beings as they are, with dreams, aspirations and goals. Men need to wake up and smell the coffee!

Being true to the August Wilson script, the film contained its mystical moments throughout. The mentally ill brother of the husband was excellent as the guide who prepared the family for the pearly gates, even as he suffered with brain injury from serving in America's imperialist wars. The film was an excellent depiction of how a family accepts a mentally ill relative. Since I know no Black family who does not suffer such a personality, it will do well for all families to see this film. Thank you so much, Denzil and the entire cast. Thank you ancestor August Wilson for your wonderful play about Black Lives Matter! Black Love Matters!
--Marvin X

Denzel Washington treats August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ with dignity

by Jake Coyle, Associated Press |
The blue music of “Fences” sings with a ferocious beauty in Denzel Washington‘s long-in-coming adaptation of August Wilson’s masterpiece of African-American survival and sorrow.Transfers from stage to screen often serve up only a pale reflection of the electric, live-wire theater experience. But Washington, in his good sense, has neither strained to make August’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play particularly cinematic nor to “open it up” much from the confines of the staged setting. What we have, instead, is a meat-and-potatoes drama, delivered with full-bodied, powerhouse performances and an attuned ear to the bebop rhythms of Wilson’s dense, musical dialogue. The 1957-set “Fences” surely doesn’t call for anything like a Stanley Kubrick treatment. Just give us the words and the people, with passion.
Fences Denzel Washington
This image released by Paramount Pictures shows Jovan Adepo, left, and Denzel Washington in a scene from “Fences.” (David Lee/Paramount Pictures via AP)

“Death ain’t nothing but a fastball on the outside corner,” says Troy Maxson (Washington), a 53-year-old garbage man in Pittsburgh’s Hill District. Primarily from the hemmed-in backyard of his brick house he pours forth a torrent of rage, bitterness, pride and anguish.
“Fences,” part of August’s celebrated 10-part, decade-by-decade Century cycle, ought to have been made decades ago. It nearly was once, but Wilson’s insistence that a black director make it was deemed impractical by a backward Hollywood.

So Washington’s “Fences,” the first big-screen adaption of any of Wilson’s plays, is righting a wrong. The upside to the timing is that it would be difficult imagining better performers than Washington and Viola Davis, who starred together in a 2010 Broadway revival.

Wilson claimed to have never seen or read Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” before writing “Fences,” but the two works are undeniably linked in their grand, wrenching portraits of bone-tired mid-century American men coming to the realization of how little their lifetime of work has gotten them.

Maxson, an illiterate former Negro League baseball star who spent 15 years in prison, is a nine-to-five, blue-collar patriarch in loud revolt against a life that’s ground him down. With almost unrelenting bombast, he’s at war with the racism that’s boxed him in his whole life, with the changing world around him and with his own mortality. Feeling the devil near, Maxson is building a fence to keep him out — though there are other reasons he’s closing himself off. “I ain’t goin’ easy,” he swears while clutching a bottle to an imagined but palpably present devil. No one would doubt his resolve.

The other characters operate in reaction to the verbal force that is Maxson. First and foremost is his wife, the demure but formidable Rose (Viola Davis), who gradually moves from the kitchen toward the center of the film. She’s a figure of devotion whose own pains and regrets don’t spill out until her climactic speech: “I planted myself inside you and waited to bloom,” she tells Maxson. It’s a knockout moment, delivered by a blistering Davis with tears and snot smeared across her face.

The heart of the drama, though, is its father-son story. Jovan Adepo plays Cory, whose college hopes rest on his football skills. Maxson lectures him again and again: “The white man ain’t gonna let you get nowhere with that football noway,” he tells him.

Washington’s performance is titanic, surely one of the best of his career. Maxson’s deluge of dialogue — all its tale tales, braggadocio and pain — just flows out of him.

Washington keeps almost entirely to the play’s settings, but the most notable exception is its first scene where Maxson and his friend Jim Bono (a soulful Stephen McKinley Henderson) ride on the back of a garbage truck, up and down Pittsburgh’s hills, while Maxson rails against the lack of black drivers.
It’s an indelible image, and perhaps “Fences” could have used a few more such flourishes. The other obvious visual attempt — a handful of wordless montages — is a misstep, out of sync with the rest of the film. “Fences” may never lose the look and sound of a play, but Washington’s close-up focus on the characters only heightens the dignity Wilson bestowed on them.

“Fences,” a Paramount Pictures release, is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for “thematic elements, language and some suggestive references.” Running time: 139 minutes. Three and a half stars out of four.

Friday, December 30, 2016

No North American African descendant of African kidnap victims should ever celebrate New Year's Day

                             Nat Turner's Bible

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl - Chapter 3, The Slave's New Year's Day Summary & Analysis

This Study Guide consists of approximately 46 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.

Chapter 3, The Slave's New Year's Day Summary and Analysis

In this short chapter one learns about the slave auction and hiring day which occur each year on January first. The slaves live in fear of this annual event, which sends people powerlessly into unknown horrors and tears apart families. Linda laments how children (sometimes very young ones) are sold away from their mothers, never to be seen again. She tells of a woman with seven children who lost all of them to a slave trader one New Year's Day. Throughout the book, one will see several similar mentions of children permanently separated from parents and husbands separated from wives, since the law offers no legal sanction or protection for these familial bonds between slaves.

+Chapters Summary and Analysis

Thursday, December 29, 2016

How do I feel on the loss of my brother

 Ollie Jackmon, Soldier, Black Liberation Army, American Gulag, aka Department of Corrections

People ask me how I feel
ain't tryin to feel
don't want to feel
deny feel
silence feel
medicate feel
do you feel his vibration in his house
damn right I feel his vibration 
had to leave
vibration too strong
after a lifetime of missing him
together in the end
in 33rd
loved him
said he didn't know love
sister debbie made him know love died in her arms, died in the arms of love
got to know love in the end
what else matters God is Love
my favorite song Nature Boy say,
"The greatest thing
you will ever learn
is to love
and be loved in return...."
--Marvin X


West Oakland nigguh don't give a fuck
west oakland nigguh
so what bad and good luck
west oakland prescott elementary
lincoln theatre
don't give a fuck
cambell village
pennywell gang
harold campbell
heroes of my youth
ward brothers
alvis billy ray ward
tribal oakland
nigguhs move east
harlem of the west no more
bart station moderism
main post office moderism
where the people made west oakland live
culture business art sports where
negro removal ethnic cleansing gentrification
west oakland closer to sf than sf mayor jerry brown said
witch doctor supreme
brought ten thousand whites colonial children hipsters to occupy oakland
seize west oakland closer the sf than sf
hipsters march black lives matter
buy houses of black lives matter
displace black lives matter
smiling faces first friday black lives matter
occupy oakland black lives matter
displace oakland black lives matter
fire fire fire fire fire
white art matters
hipsters matter
developers matter
Black lives don't matter!
Ax somebody
Better ax somebody Houston TX Negroes say
Better ax 'em!
--Marvin X

I remember 7th Street West Oakland
up and down the street
7th and Peralta jazz blues
Lincoln Theatre jazz blues black films news
Lorraine's greasy spoon
hamburger heart attack fries
Pear's Cafe
turkey wings
Perry's Shoe Shine
dad got us ready for shined shoes church rounds  
Church of God in Christ Holy Ghost Sinners Temple
St. John's Baptist on Market Street
Down's Memorial where dad membered
Rev. Cecil Williams tenured on the way to Glide
Moon's Records
Scott's Keys
John Singer's
Pullman Porters Union Hall
Slim Jenkins with Josephine Baker Earl Father Hines
Esther's Orbit Room
BARN funky buffet

Pine Street ho stroll
16th Street AMTRAK station
tell ho i'm writer
you ain't no writer nigguh
Ho Hotel by hour
Army  base
Naval Supply Center
7th Street
Bumper to bumper cars
bumper to bumper nigguh weekends
7th and Campbell Jackmon's Florist
Granny in window
watch nigguh weekends
fascinated by street nigguh love
soldiers sailors nigguhs fightin stabbing killing
club let out pussy time
hammond b3 organ  jazz pussy
jimmy smith pussy
hammond b 3 jammin up down 7th
Arthur Prysock Man Ain't Supposed to Cry'
name of my first autobiography at 18
nigguh ain't lived writin autography
nigguh please
get a life then write autobiography

my life was music
musicians in theatre
dancing through the aisles
Donald Garrett
Dewey Redman
Monte Waters
Earle Davis
wailing jazz blues black classical sounds
harmonizing Fillmore Street rhythms
musicians on street playing car sounds
cars honking call and response
musicians freeing us from freedom
Donald Rafael Garrett bassist leading actors to freedom
jazz is  you
go black actor go
Ed Bullins
Marvin X
Actor Danny Glover
Papa's Daughter
by Dorothy Ahmad
Danny got ready for Color Purple
same theme same dream
Dewey gave birth to Joshuah
Joshuah transcends daddy sound
son did same to me on tennis court
beat my ass and laughed all the way
no more tennis for me.
like Merritt College basketball team 1962
gave it up driving into hole for layup
tall Mack nigguhs ain't elbowing me
fuck that shit
let me play tennis
beat white boy ass
what nigguhs know bout tennis 1963
throw down racket white boy
tennis nigguhs on the scene
where you at Oakland
Slim Jenkins
Earl Father Hines jazz
Josephine Baker jazz
jet magazine weekly negro jazz
ebony world of make believe jazz
Pine Street ho stroll jazz
you ain't no writer nigguh ho said jazz
Ho I write I write I write
you want some pussy
good writin ass nigguh
write my story
good writing ass nigguh
write my ho story
suck and fuck story
7th Street 6th grade ho story
write that nigguh
wit yo good writing ass
--Marvin X

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Doug Carn ‎– Infant Eyes 1971 (FULL ALBUM) [Soul Jazz, Fusion]

Jean and Doug Carn were the voice of the black love 60s. Doug and Jean warmed our hearts with love songs of  partner love family love that sustained us into the turbulent 70s, those years after the USA destroyed the Black Panther Party and other remnants of the Black Liberation Movement. Doug and Jean sustained us in critical  moments of transition accompanied by despair! Here was a beautiful artistic couple full of African talent that soothed our hearts to the ultimate. Infant Eyes is a classic of that time in our history when black was beatiful, when we would be insulted if we came into town and checked into a hotel room rather than staying with our friends. Yes, staying at a hotel might be considered a civil rights achievement by those addicted to civil "rites" (Sun ra, Black Arts Movement) but the consciousness community would consider it an insult to come into town and not stay with friends and revolutionary comrades.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Kwanza Sacramento

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Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Kwanzaa Worldwide

Sacramento’s first Kwanzaa

Sacramento’s first Kwanzaa was held in 1971 as an outgrowth of Shule Jumamose, a free Saturday School founded in Oak Park by a group of African American parents and students at Sacramento State College, now CSUS.    A core component of the school’s philosophy was the importance of culture and history to the development and success of African American people. 

Kwanzaa, as founded by Dr. Maulana Karenga of Southern California, fitted Shule Jumamose’s   commitment to traditional African values of family, education, community responsibility, and self-improvement.  Based on the Nguzo Saba, seven guiding principles – Unity (Umoja); Self Determination (Kujichaguilia); collective work and responsibility (Ujima); Cooperative Economics (Ujimaa), purpose (Nia); creativity (Kuumba); and Faith (Imani) – the founders of Shule Jumamose adopted Kwanzaa as the major cultural observation and formed a committee to implement it.

The original Kwanzaa committee was comprised of Shule Jumamose’s founders Bertha Gaffney Gorman, Martha Tate-Glass  (Reid), and the late Cheryl Fisher, Stan St. Amant and Byron Robertson, and other community activists that included Tchaka Muhammed, Roy Willis, Ramona Armistead, Lujuan and the late Leslie Campbell and late Aisha Yetunde (Barbara Darden). 

The Sacramento Kwanzaa Committee closely followed the seven principles that Dr. Karengaa deemed critical to the success and strength of an African Americans cultural observation.  Kwanzaa programs emphasized the education of Black children, honored the ancestors and focused on values represented by the seven principles.   Committee members raised money, solicited donations, and donated their own resources to provide the major portions of the food served at the “feast”.  The community was only asked to bring desserts, salads or vegetables (no pork).  

The committee alternated the observations between Oak Park and Del Paso/Strawberry Manor. Using Fairbanks school, church halls and various community centers.

Overly ambitious in its efforts in its first year, the Kwanzaa Committee held celebrations the entire seven days, from December 26 to January 1, rotating from Oak Park, to the South Area and Strawberry Manor.  While the effort was successful in getting the word out about this new and positive observation in Sacramento and generated local news coverage, it almost wiped out the committee.

The second year the committee was more realistic and scaled its Kwanzaa activities back to three days at three different locations in the central city (Oak Park), the South Area and the North Area (Strawberry Manor).

By the third year the Sacramento Kwanzaa Committee observations had grown from a few dozen people to several hundred participants at each celebration. 

As Kwanzaa evolved from a “fad” to a serious observation, diverse people began to bring their own interpretation to it.  The media wrote about it, people held Kwanzaa celebrations in their homes; public schools held Kwanzaa observations, and entrepreneurs began holding Kwanzaa events.  After about 12 years, around 1983, the Sacramento Kwanzaa committee simply burned out.

Kwanzaa as a community observation was dormant in Sacramento for a few years but took on new life sometime in the 1990s and has continued since under the umbrellas of various organizations and groups.

By Bertha Gaffney Gorman and Martha Tate Glass

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2016 Kwanzaa Celebrations in Sacramento
Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Kwanzaa
All events are free. Please bring food for the potluck (karamu) at the Dec. 27-Jan.1 events)

December 27 - 6:00pm-9:00pm, (6-6:30 Drum Circle) – Kugichagulia - Umoja Productions, 23rd Annual Children's Kwanzaa, Roberts Family Development Center, 770 Darina Way, Sacramento. Contact: Mama Maia, 821-6466
December 28, - 6:30pm-9:00pm - Ujima - Black United Fund of Sacramento, Sacramento Area Black Caucus and Brickhouse Art Gallery & Complex, 2837 36th St., Sacramento. Sorry no vending at this celebration!! Contact: Bertha Udell,
December 29 - 6:00pm-9:00pm -  Ujamaa - Wo'se African Community-Wackford Community Center, 9014 Bruceville Rd. Elk Grove. Contact: Imhotep Alkebulan, or 486-4664
December 31 - 3:00pm-4:30pm -  Kuumba - Fenix Drum and Dance Company-Del Paso Heights Library, 920 Grand Ave. Sacramento. Contact: Angela James, 205-3970
 New location:-December 31 - 6:00pm-8:00pm – Kuumba - Kwanzaa Celebration- Robbie Waters Library, 7335 Gloria Drive @ Swale River Wa,Sacramento, Ca. 95831. Doors open: 5:00pm, Kwanzaa celebration begins : 6:00pm.. Contact: Marshall Bailey, 519-4199
January 1 - 4:00pm- 7:00pm – Imani – 13th Annual Kwanzaa Celebration-Center for Spiritual Awareness, 1275 Starboard Dr. West Sacramento. Contact: Rebecca Davis, 317-6042