The White Woman Is Burning (c) 2010, Mitsuko Brooks
Okay. So the comedy train keeps chugging. Went Sunday visiting yesterday, which was an absolute pleasure, and hung out with two friend-girls and their respective crews. During my visit with Firelei I met the amazingly talented Mitsuko Brooks and she introduced me to the comedy stylings of Aziz Ansari. I love the cultural mish-mosh that he represents: An Indian Good Ol' Boy from South Carolina. As a fellow southerner I celebrate this hybrid of Americana (represent).
Then after a delicious lunch of sauteed shrimp, fresh spinach and artichoke hearts, I book it to the city to connect with my gurl Bettina Goolsby. And after a a few glasses of wine, Thai food, a closet purging session and a dose of celebrity chit chat we tumbled into her neighbor's place for a viewing of Basketball Wives. One word: Scandalous. More eye crack. RealityTV is the devil.
There are several Tony Roberts out there. The actor, the Welsh football player, the race car driver, the sportscaster — but the one that is the funniest and looks the best in a jaunty cap is Tony Roberts, of course! He's a featured stand-up onRussell Simmons Presents Stand-Up at The El Rey, premiering Sunday, July 11 at 11pm / 10c. He answered some questions about the show's host JB Smoove, told some backstage stories from The El Rey and describes his worst heckle. Read on to see how Tony Roberts one Tony Roberts can get.
Russell Simmons is a mogul (author, yogi, producer, philanthropist, hip hop pioneer) — which of his projects is your favorite?
"Def Comedy Jam," Run DMC and the work he is going to do with Tony Roberts in the future.
Describe JB Smoove in three words.
Gift from God. (God Damn Fool!)
Any stories about shooting the show at the El Rey?
Comedian Brandon "Hot Sauce" Glover had on a shirt that he was going to perform in and it looked like the lining of James Brown's coffin. I made fun of him so bad that Russell gave him the outfit he wore on the show.
Describe the worst club you ever performed in.
The worst club I ever performed in wasn't a club at all. I once told jokes in a laundromat in Mississippi and got paid $1200 in $5's.
The El Rey is a beautiful theater. What do the bathrooms look like?
Like the architect had a fight when it was time to do the bathrooms and Mexicans took over without the permit and the only thing they had on their mind was Home Depot.
Click past the jump to read the rest of the interview.
If you could request DJ Cassidy to play one song, which song would it be?
"Come As You Are" by Nirvana.
What's the dumbest heckle you've ever heard?
I was in the middle of a sex joke and an old lady was gripping her purse and she yelled out, "You can bet Jesus didn't laugh at that one!"
What would be the title of your biography?
I'm not sure what the title would be but the theme song would be "Superbad."
Who should play you in the movie about your life?
"The Slumdog Millionaire" dude so it can be funnier.
What's the most inappropriate thing that makes you laugh?
Old people falling down.
If you were a scientist and could create a super funny mutant — what three comedians' DNA would you use? Sinbad, Earthquake and Damon Wayans.
If you weren't a comedian, what would you be doing?
Gynecologist for the stars.
American football is big business. The National Football League makes anywhere from 11.5 billion dollars to 14.7 billion dollars annually and continues to exert significant influence on the buying public. Professional football has become a cultural signifier that effectively propagates persistent images of race, class, and gender. These mascots take many forms, one of which is the NFL cheerleader. A ubiquitous element of every game, I am inspired by the possibilities for abstraction that the still images of these performers provide. I am currently developing a series of 32 images that offer another symbol for the teams represented by the NFL.
I was chatting with Michael Paul Britto today and he shared a wonderful piece of insight about his practice with me:
"When I am creating work I am playing a kind of MEMORY game with myself. One 'card' will flip over in my brain- a kind of random snippet from my past- and the Art making is a product of flipping the corresponding 'card'. Making, finding, imagining the possible connections."
Within the space of my own pop cultural obsession I can completely relate to what Michael expresses. The latest connection being 'Four Females' as a sitcom device. There are definitely some connections that I want to explore here for my next collage series. I am first considering the repeating motifs (i.e. The sexpot, the bubblehead, the mother hen, the smartass...) that reveal themselves in each of the shows I've selected. It's a veritable Venn Diagram played out on our television screens.
"AIGA, the professional association for design, stimulates thinking about design, demonstrates the value of design and empowers the success of designers at each stage of their careers. AIGA’s mission is to advance designing as a professional craft, strategic tool and vital cultural force. Founded in 1914, AIGA remains the oldest and largest professional membership organization for design, and is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) educational institution."MORE
I guess I can't say enough that I'm so happy we got to connect. Right now, we are in a competition to win seed money to develop our initiative as a non-profit organization. We've already developed a business plan, preliminary board of directors and short and long-term goals. We are ready to take our project to the next level and do justice to a project of this scope and importance. So, this competition is right on time. We'd love it if you voted for Live Unchained here:
You simply need to register (don't worry you won't receive a ton of annoying e-mails) and then click "I Agree" next to our project. You have to maker sure you click "I Agree"--some people simply clicked "Like" thinking they voted, but if you don't see your name, the vote didn't count.
Also, if you can leave a comment that would help out as well.
We're the underdog, but we know we got this. If you could help us spread the word by encouraging people to vote that would be a big help. Come April, we'll all be winners!
Tonight I GoogleChatted with my favorite academic, Abosede George. She's brillant, funny, gorgeous - and ultimately super-supportive of creativity. One of the things we discussed is the responsibility that artists, particularly artists of color, have with regard to contributing to the historical record. So much of our practice is based upon the ephemeral, those momentary flashes of inspiration or those seemingly coincidental commonalities between colleagues. But, however these moments are categorized, I believe that it is our duty to assume future significance. Dr. George emphasized that the artist must "explore opportunities to speak about their own work, to ensure that their careers are not only built on the critique and documentation of others". Admittedly, academics, critics and journalists are going to have lots to say, it's their job. But I can't help feeling empowered by fact that, in historical terms, my voice will be a part of the chorus.
I am continually reminded of the importance of connections and community. Just this this Sunday and Monday I was acquainted with a virtual friend, as our connections through Facebook and the Blogosphere, manifested themselves in the real world. Regina Agu is an emerging artist from Houston who offers figurative and abstract representations of memory through her art practice. She is featured in the current exhibition of the Textile Arts Center entitled missing/Missed, curated by Scott Henstrand. It was such a pleasure to support Regina and be inspired by the respective artists as they shared elements of their process. The exhibition will be on view until February 24th with additional programing scheduled for January 31st (Video Screenings) and February 7th (Poetry).
I am honored and humbled to have been included... Many thanks to KATHRYN BUFORD & MIRIAM MOORE, the founders of Live Unchained, for reaching out. Here's to COMMUNITY!
"Kenya (Robinson) is an artist you should know, love and respect; We do, abundantly.
In doing this interview, I was very impressed with the eloquence and creativity with which she expressed herself. While many conceptual artists have been considered too intellectual or un-relatable, Kenya stands outside that box and any other people could try to put her in as an artist, woman, African American and proud Brooklynite. Kenya’s sincerity and self-awareness comes through in visual and performance art that stems from her curiosity, concern and striving for empowerment." READ MORE
A few months ago I was browsing some of the hometown crew on Facebook and came across this image. I am so inspired by what this picture represents: a multicultural majority. Kudos to The Chestnut Firm for serving as an example. Perhaps this is what the redistribution of 88% looks like...
“What I envy about the '70s was society. I think that society was at its best in the '70s. The blood, sweat and tears of the '60s and the '50s paved the way for a decade of true openness with people actually having a desire to get to know one another, a desire for opportunity, and to make opportunity for others. I think that’s been lost. It’s not so much gone back, it's actually worse than before. Now the mind-set is, "We tried it. It didn't work. So fuck it.” As opposed to, "No, you never actually tried it. The first opportunity you got to stop, you stopped. The first excuse that came along, you took it and ran." So what happened was, people abandoned very quickly the ideology.
Affirmative action is so typical of the kind of mentality talking about, the runaway mentality. The fact that people would actually think that affirmative action could be biased against a white person is just ludicrous. It is ludicrous. The fact that the mainstream media has supported that ideology just shows you the lack of true intent on the part of our society to change. They say that affirmative action is set-asides. What they don't talk about in terms of set-asides is that what's set-aside is not let us say, twelve jobs out of a hundred. That's one way-to look at it. The other way to look at it is eighty-eight jobs out of a hundred have been set-aside for white males and twelve for white females, Black males, Hispanics, Chinese, Indians. So the set-asides that need to be addressed are not the twelve; they are the eighty-eight.
The truth of the matter with affirmative action is that the quotas as haven't even been filled. There's not one corporation America that has fulfilled those quotas. There's no
upper management in any Fortune 500 company that has any marginal percentage of any minority. Not one, and that’s with government regulation, that's with laws. Now remove that and are we to think that it's going to grow, it’s going to get better? No, I think we're in a very dangerous time right now.”
As an armchair academic, wacky subject matter is often the mental jumpstart necessary to initiate my creative work. Tim Handorf suggests a few courses that uniquely fit the bill...
"Part of the fun of college is getting to take all sorts of random courses you’d never even dreamed existed when you were still in high school. Even if you’re a pre-med major or more interested in engineering than the humanities, you still have room in your schedule to take a course or two studying Eastern religions, ancient philosophies, or even Lady Gaga. Here are 20 completely ridiculous liberal arts courses that really exist at American universities, and that we hope you have time to take." MORE
Last weekend I got the opportunity to collaborate with a dear friend and amazing artist, Sara Hart. The shoot was originally conceived to make images for The Kitchen's upcoming Spring brochure, but quickly turned into a kind of Digital Performance. Although the images are documentation of live action, the performance becomes a unique product of digital capabilities. I am adding "Digital" to my media listing (along with sculpture, sound, and performance); I'm looking forward to discovering what that means in my studio practice. See below for an early experiment...
"Most people see art as something complicated, incomprehensible and unnecessary. Artists are often treated as "harmless fools". Why is this? Because art is always a new occurrence, it is original and it causes anxiety and therefore people are often ill-disposed towards it. A layman likes to say: "Even though I don`t know much about art I at least know what I like." But these aren`t actually their own preferences as their habits and the conditions they live in have made them like certain things and dislike others. We like the things we know and don`t trust the unknown. The past (which we know) seems better from the unpredictable future. We think of art in a similar way. Such thinking leads to the isolation of an artist who likes to penetrate new grounds of imagination." MORE
"Would you like to participate in an artistic experience? is a project about involving the other asparticipant in a set of protocols indicative of the effects, conditions and possibilities of contemporary art. Would you like to participate in an artistic experience? starts with the offering of a painted steel object (125 x 80 x 18 cm) to be taken home by the participant (individual, group or collective), who will have a certain period of time (around one month) to realize an artistic experience with it. Although the physical object is the actual element which triggers the processes and starts up the experiences, it in fact brings to the foreground certain sets of invisible lines and diagrams concerning all kinds of relations and sensorial data, making visible networking and mediation structures.MORE
Audience theoryis an element of thinking that developed within academicliterary theoryand cultural studies. With a specific focus onrhetoric, some, such asWalter Ong, have suggested that the audience is a construct made up by therhetoricand therhetorical situationthe text is addressing. Others, such asRuth MitchellandMary Taylorhave said writers and speakers actually can target their communication to address a real audience. Some others like Ede and Lunsford try to mingle these two approaches and create situations where audience is "fictionalized," as Ong would say, but in recognition of some real attributes of the actual audience." MORE
Don't cater to the audience. Inspire the audience. - Ken Danby
The easiest kind of relationship for me is with ten thousand people. The hardest is with one. - Joan Baez
The artist... tells his audience, at the risk of their displeasure, the secrets of their own hearts. - R.G. Collingwood
You make an open-ended proposition and the audience completes it somehow. That's what you hope an artwork to be – a constantly living thing. - Cornelia Parker
If what you have to say is from your deepest feelings, you'll find an audience that responds. - Irwin Greenberg
When an audience does not complain, it is a compliment, and when it does, it is a compliment, too, if unaccompanied by violence. - Mark Twain
To have great poets, there must be great audiences. - Walt Whitman
I am in the process of re-conceptualizing my performance for The Kitchen (April 29-30) and I've been thinking a lot about groups of people, the importance of gatherings, and the notion of the Audience. I am not sure where this all will lead, but I am enjoying the inherent connection (and tension) between the artist and the audience. I am also investigating gatherings in the American context, especially as they have been codified by the Bill of Rights.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
"Some Assembly Required features work by a variety of artists who work with bits and pieces of their media environments, giving something back to the cultural landscape from which they so enthusiastically appropriate. The genre is young, despite examples dating as far back as 1961, when James Tenney constructed a tape collage borrowing heavily from cut-up fragments of a recording by Elvis Presley. Both provocative and surreal, this style continues to evolve and to challenge."
"People are fascinated with how things work. From incredibly high-tech items like plasma TV's to remarkably mundane objects that we use every day - toilets, Kleenex, toothpaste - every object has a story and an incredible process behind it.
Some Assembly Required will take our host on a worldwide journey to participate in the process of making and manufacturing the items that makeup our everyday life. Along the way we will learn the little known facts about what it takes to design and mass-produce products and get insights into how these things work. And through our host and his interactions with people behind the building process, we'll see the often dramatic, funny, ingenious solutions people come up with to make products bigger, better, cheaper, or quicker."
"Today’s prefab movement has captured the spirit and imagination of a new generation of architects and home buyers, who together have championed a variety of modern modular dwellings that challenge preconceptions about “prefab” homes as cheap, cookie-cutter structures of last resort. This exhibition presents a variety of approaches to prefab—from houses owners can build from a kit of parts, such as Rocio Romero’s LVL House, to those that arrive fully assembled like the diminutive one-room version of weeHouse by St. Paul-based Alchemy Architects. Among the featured projects are the glimmering sculptural metallicTurbulence House by Steven Holl; Black Barn, a pitched-roof, modern adaptation of a Viking longhouse designed and produced by Pinc House of Sweden; and the playful system of Lazor FlatPak by Lazor Office of Minneapolis. Whether Michelle Kaufmann’s Sunset Breezehouse, which adopts a variety of ecological approaches to living and building, or the precision and craft of Marmol Radziner’s Desert House or the customizable configurations of Resolution: 4 Architecture, such houses better parallel the lifestyles of their owners, who desire more flexible living spaces and want to speed the pace of the building process without sacrificing the quality of materials or construction. For more and more people, prefab meets the conditions that make the dream of owning a modern home a reality."
"(some assembly required) specializes in the creative design of 3-D paper sculptures and the manufacture of rubber stamp sets, stencils, dies, and die-cut paper kits for building them. The products are enhanced by this website which displays samples of finished pieces and paper engineering projects."
"If you absolutely love splendid vocal harmony, Some Assembly Required is what you are looking and listening for. Lynn Stephens is the 2006, 2008 & 2010 Virginia State Champion female vocalist and Leo Szydlowski is an award winning song writer and the 2010 Virginia State male vocalist. Ronnie Harlow has played bass and guitar with a number of bands over the years. Doug Cherrington is a full time musician, song writer and teacher. Influences include the Rice Brothers, Claire Lynch, Emmylou Harris, the Louvin Brothers and many other traditional and contemporary Bluegrass artists. When you see SAR perform you will immediately recognize the unique song and harmony arrangements. They deliver their material with feeling for the songs that has been noticed by the studio and mastering engineers that worked on their latest project. Countless people have said how they relate to the music and how moved they are by a performance."
"This is the first instalment of "Some Assembly Required", a column that will be published monthly here on Current Intelligence. I'll be tracking a range of emerging technologies including (but not limited to): DIY manufacturing, robotics, urban informatics, interface design, sensor technology and developments within related, rapidly evolving fields. The topics slated for discussion here won't be tethered to product release schedules. It's also highly unlikely that I'll use this space to conduct video autopsies of highly anticipated consumer-electronic devices designed in Cupertino, California."