Open Mic Night: Law Enforcement Reform

Open thread, y'all.

I've been trying formulate words about what's going on with America's police, and the post just isn't coming.  I start a draft and someone else gets gunned down (Dillon Taylor, Darrien Hunt...because apparently Utah is trigger-happy as hell).  I re-draft and someone gets tasered into a coma (his name is Bryce Masters).  Meanwhile, Chris Lollie can't even go to pick up his kids from daycare without getting arrested

Bar Patrons: what...the fuck?

See Also

Ferguson.  Kinda.


The Bar Loves Gigi

 ~ *~ Special Edition ~*~

In light of the recent Ethiopian New Year (September 11th), I figured I should give a shout-out to one of my favorite artists of all time.

I've been listening to Ejigayehu "Gigi" Shibabaw for well over a decade now.  She's known for fusing traditional Ethiopian singing styles with jazz.  The result is music from another dimension.  Her voice is powerful, solid, throaty and mutable.  A single wail will bring tears to your eyes.  A repetitive lyric will have you dancing in your seat.

Her 2001 album Gigi made her internationally famous, but a Gigi collection is not complete without at least Gold & Wax (2006) and her live album, Mesgana Ethiopia (2010).

It seems that like Sade, Gigi takes her time coming out with albums.  The music she has out now is more than enough to tide you over.


The Bar Loves Fatoumata Diawara

While drafting a new original series on Dark & Twisty, I scoured the web for dreamcasting inspiration and came across the beautiful, the mesmerizing, the impeccable Fatoumata Diawara of Mali.

Currently based out of France, Fatoumata's musical stylings and fashion sense are on a whole other level.  In addition to three albums she has eight films under belt, along with years of live performances as both a musician and a thespian.

Her voice? Sublime.


The Woman from Cheshire Avenue is Going on Sale 9/10/14

***Due to my screw-up, an update***

On September 5, 2011, Middle Child Press published The Woman from Cheshire Avenue, my first novella.  To celebrate its 3rd anniversary, we are marking down it from its usual $7.99 price to $2.99 for a month.  Also, it's getting a new cover:

So if you're planning on purchasing this book, I suggest you wait just a few more days.


The Bar Loves the Mvet

In trying times like these, we sometimes need the sounds of the ancestors just to get through.  From Koppo and Lady B:
Where is Cameroon?

About the size of California, Cameroon is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Nigeria to the north and west, Chad and the Central African Republic to the east, and Congo, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea to the south. Often called "Africa in miniature," Cameroon is one of the most geographically diverse countries in Africa, with hundreds of ethnicities, dialects, and traditions.

What is the mvet?

The Mvet is both an epic story and an instrument. It is present in the cultures of many African forest peoples related to the Beti/Fang tribes, including those in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of Congo. The oral history is characterized by an Ekang phase, which includes spiritual and mythological topics (such as Nzana Nga Zogo). Such stories honor village leaders, recount stories of heroism, and inspire communities. These epic stories are played with a traditional stringed instrument called the mvet. Constructed with materials found in the Central African rainforest, the mvet is made of a long bamboo spine, with one or more gourds that resonate when a player plucks its strings.

Where is the mvet played?

Traditionally, musicians played the mvet spontaneously in rural settings when men, women, and children gathered in villages at dusk at the end of a day's work. Today, the mvet continues to be played [albeit sparsely] during gatherings including weddings, funerals, and family celebrations. The mvet is primarily found among the Fang/Beti subgroups of the Bantu people in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of the Congo.

Get his album here.

See Also

List of West African Instruments
Purchase African instruments here


Don't Kid Yourselves

 As with everything Ferguson, there are no easy answers. But at this juncture, it's pretty clear Obama's presence would be a very risky political move.

...As we wrote Monday, the issue is already proving to be racially and politically polarizing -- much like the Trayvon Martin case -- with African Americans and Democrats much more skeptical of the police and the investigation and much more likely to believe race was a factor in what happened. Whites and Republicans see the situation in a far, far different light.

So when a polarizing African American Democratic president shows up, it's pretty much unavoidable that it would be seen as a nod to the protesters and their cause
. (Source)
Bar Patrons, I got words. Now, since I got quite a few, let me just do this in a list:

1 - Google "Law Enforcement Reform"

Google it now, and Google it just like that, in quotes.

*nods* I know.


The Bar Loves Brymo

I need to talk about something happy. I know I've talked about Nigerian artist Brymo in the past, but I have to say it again: I love, love, love this man's voice.  Brymo's voice has character; even if his lyrics aren't that deep, his voice alone more than makes up for it.

My favorite track of all.  Nab it here.


Deja Vu in Missouri


Um...If This is How You Handle Civil Unrest, Just Give Up Now

August, 2011, "United" Kingdom

LONDON -- As political and social protests grip the Middle East, are growing in Europe and a riot exploded in north London this weekend, here's a sad truth, expressed by a Londoner when asked by a television reporter: Is rioting the correct way to express your discontent?

"Yes," said the young man. "You wouldn't be talking to me now if we didn't riot, would you?"

The TV reporter from Britain's ITV had no response. So the young man pressed his advantage. "Two months ago we marched to Scotland Yard, more than 2,000 of us, all blacks, and it was peaceful and calm and you know what? Not a word in the press. Last night a bit of rioting and looting and look around you."


Riot in Missouri

On Sunday evening, there were acts of civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. These disturbances were in response to the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, who was shot multiple times by a police officer and whose body was left laying in the street for several hours. Witnesses to the event reported that Michael was shot without reason. The officer apparently shot him many more times once his body was on the ground. The police, have as expected, concocted a wildly ridiculous story to cover up the misdeeds of one of their own.

In response to the civil unrest, the commentariot class issues the 1) requisite condemnation of the "rioters" and 2) acts as though there is some great mystery for why people would take to the streets, "confront" the police, and "loot" businesses in their own community.

And of course, there will be an obligatory quote from Brother Doctor King that is taken out of context in order to condemn the "bad blacks" in Ferguson, Missouri.

The pressure to follow this public script is especially heavy for black and brown people.

I choose to deviate from those trite rhetorical norms.


The Bar Loves Khalif Boyd (@hey_khalifornia)

Patrons of the Bar, please welcome actor/model/director Khalif Boyd...living proof that God is not only a woman, but every now and again She gives with both hands.

*nods* Let the Church say, "Amen."

I first came across Khalif Boyd while watching David So's comedy channel on YouTube.  At first I thought he was cast because he was a friend, then because he was a friend who happened to be really friggin' pretty...and then I soon realized that main man here has got skills.

Boyd can fluidly adapt to various moods and display impeccable comedic timing.  Some will say, "Well, uh...yeah; he's an actor, K", to which I have no trouble replying that most actors are complete shit, regardless of their status.

Anyhoo, I wanted to share some of my favorite David So skits which feature our dear guest.  And then I'm going to share a bunch of pretty pics.

Shall we?