Archive for race

Two shows, two reviews, two painful reminders

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changes smaller reviews

When I opened my morning paper, I came across two separate reviews of two very different shows: one live at the Hollywood Bowl ("Hair") and one a three-camera situation comedy on the Tee Vee Machine ("Partners"). It was striking that included in each of the reviews was a reminder of the sad state of affairs in this world. Maybe they should have reviewed "post racial America" and tragedies of war.

I was an usher at the original production of "Hair" at the Ivar Theater in Hollywood (godI'mold), and was completely and utterly swept away by that production. Anti-war protests were everywhere, bell bottom jeans were coming into fashion, and long-haired, pot-smoking, peace-loving hippies were a gentle, emerging force to reckon with. I wanted to be a part of the show, live the show, not seat audience members. It was a magical time, but also a scary one. I wore one of these proudly:

war is not healthy for children and other living things

Another focus of what seemed like perpetual protests was civil rights. One day, we dreamed, one day there would be equal rights for everyone regardless of color. In our idealistic vision, making a film like "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" would be a quaint period piece, not an expression of growing pains and hope or a demand for change.

guess who's coming to dinner

Those were the days, right? Sadly, those are still the days, right now as we speak.

Via L.A. Times theater critic Charles McNulty reviewing the '60s rock musical "Hair":

I worried that this co-opting of the 1960s — a criticism leveled at the musical at least since its Broadway premiere in 1968 — might be depriving a new generation of theatergoers the chance to connect to a radicalism that our own war-torn age could badly use. But the musical's tragic ending laid its punch. "Hair" is fun-loving but also serious-minded. I left humming "Let the Sunshine In" but also wondering how I could make a difference in a world once again going up in flames.

israel hamas warVia NBC

Via L.A. Times TV critic Robert Lloyd reviewing the premier of a new sit-com starring Kelsey Grammer and Martin Lawrence, "Partners":

A black actor and a white actor splitting top billing in a sitcom is enough of a rarity to be noted approvingly. And there are moments that suggest that the stars will find their footing. But for the nonce they're playing attitudes more than characters, and at times they seem to be in the same show only by virtue of sharing the shot.

end racism- hands

Splitting top billing in a prime time half-hour comedy between a black actor and a white one should not be a Moment of Happy rarity. Especially in 2014. It should be the damned norm. Sigh.

Let the sunshine in.

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Overnight: Flat Out Around the Isle of Man Racetrack

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Isle Of Man

This video is hypnotizing - I couldn't stop watching it. 153 mph / 243.23 kph in a Subaru WRX STI flat out!

From YouTube:

Check out the Full Lap of the WRX STI at Isle of Man.

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'Holler If Ya Hear Me', An Illuminating Look Back at Tupac

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Realize
You might associate Tupac with a hammer-hard beat and some vernacular you're not always comfortable with hearing in your mother's company, or as the symbol of what is feared about 'rap' ... you'd be underestimating the young poet.
There's a new Broadway Musical with Saul Williams at the Helm showing at the Palace Theatre in New York City and focus of a Morning Joe segment you don't have to cringe to get through,
Win win win.
tupac
Tupac was born into an activist family, he was nearly born in prison because his mother was an active Panther - and was a 'Drama Kid' himself, performing a role in Raisin in the Sun before he even reached adulthood.
There wasn't much time for gang hanging, banging or any of the violent 'gangsta' culture he is assumed to have stood for. Even died for.

 

Allow this footage to disabuse you of that notion, and there's an excerpted review below to add background and more nuance to the fascinating story of this young man's contribution to our culture. Willie Geist is a fair hand at the entertainment interview, and Joe Schmoe was happily absent. (I went to Fvx, to see Zerlina Maxwell, as mentioned yesterday. Still nauseous and Phenergen is never far away from the cable remote control.)

 

 

My eldest nephew is 23, and I've been hearing his woofer up close and personal since he learned to bike, then drive to our house, and right up to a couple of longish 'visits' - I'm really starting to see why he relates to the raw emotion, the deeply honest lyrics that cut across a lot of culture lines.
HANDLEIT
Wish I could take him to see this show. Broadway's not that far from Vermont.

 

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"Prejudice people are lazy and stupid and smell like ham butts. Without the ham."

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prejudice jon stewart daily show the amazing racism

Another snark-filled guest post by the one, the only Will Durst, who's having a little fun with a not-very-fun topic: prejudice, starring-- who else?-- Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling. Take it away, Will:

LAZY STUPID HAM BUTTS

Wasn’t what you would call the most favorable week for old white racist men. Then again, these weeks, not many are. How bad did it get for ancient intolerant Caucasian males? Bowling ball dropped on your little toe from a height of nine feet bad. Brazilian soccer stampede bad. Donald Trump testifying at your rent- hearing bad.

First, Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who patriotically refuses to pay grazing rights on government land, tried to stretch his 15 minutes of fame a few microseconds too long, expanding his realm of influence into the field of behavioral sciences by buttonholing a New York Times reporter: “I want to tell you what I know about the Negro.” He proceeded to execute a wonderful performance piece from a 1870s traveling minstrel show. Al Jolson would have been proud.

But, alas, the grizzled xenophobe denied any ironic context and the hemming and hawing that followed would have kept sewing circles in the state of Iowa busy for month. Even his posse of right wing militia supporters disappeared like dew on the sun.

Then, Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, was acknowledged to be the voice of an audio recording so racist, it made Mr. Bundy sound like the recipient of an NAACP Lifetime Achievement Award. An award about to be bestowed on the exact same NBA owner of which we speak. For the 2nd time. You can't make stuff up like this.

Since African- Americans make up 76% of professional basketball players, and figure prominently in the marketing and as consumers, you could say the NBA’s brand new commissioner, Adam Silver, (yes, it’s a Sterling- Silver thing) was encouraged to take swift action. You could also say carpet tacks make lousy dessert topping.

He banned the team’s owner from attending any games or entering any Clipper facility or participating in any business decisions of the Clippers or NBA. For life. Hope the guy lives to be 110.

He’s even prohibited from using the word clippers. From now on, the Sterling household will only stock nail- trimmers and beard- scissors in their medicine cabinet. “Remember Shelly, it’s my money holder. Not a clip.” For life.

When will everybody realize this whole black/ white thing is plain ridiculous? Nobody’s white. If we were actually white, we’d scare the bejesus out of each other. People would take to carrying around garlic and crosses and wooden stakes to wave and stab. Even albinos are an off- white. Beige. Tawny. Ecru. Eggshell. Desert Stone. And if you ever run into anybody who’s the same hue as that flesh colored Crayon in the big box of 88, be afraid. Be very afraid.

Conversely, no one’s truly black. If they were really black, they’d be absorbing light and we’d keep bumping into each other. Hell, the NBA Finals would be a blur. “And there’s David Lee and a bunch of other guys. I have no idea what’s going on. It’s up. It’s in. Yes!”

Although some founding fathers found support for their exclusionary views in the Bible, prejudice has always been hard to rationalize. Pre- schoolers know that if you take the time to get to know someone, you’ll discover a thousand reasons to loathe and despise them. On an individual basis. Prejudice people are just plain lazy. And stupid. Lazy and stupid and smell like ham butts. Without the ham.

Will Durst is an award- winning, nationally acclaimed political comic. Go to willdurst.com to find about more about his new CD, “Elect to Laugh,” the one- man show “BoomeRaging: From LSD to OMG,” a calendar guide to personal appearances and info about the documentary film “3 Still Standing” benefit to raise post production money at 142 Throckmorton on May 9th.

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Bundy and Sterling, short version: "Everybody knows who I am!"

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bundy and sterling

Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling seem to have something in common. Well, other than their bigotry and racism. And their ignorance. And their lack of self-awareness. And their arrogance. Bundy and Sterling actually have a lot in common. But per a couple of Los Angeles Times letters to the editor, Bundy and Sterling have the "Lookameeee!" Syndrome in common, too.

Here are the letters, because our voices matter:

Re "Banned for life," April 30

To any regular reader of The Times, none of the Donald Sterling mess should come as a surprise.

After seeing hundreds of his kitschy self-aggrandizing ads for his charity work, it should be clear that Sterling does not need money; he needs attention.

This entire fiasco has given him something worth far more than his $1.9-billion fortune. It has made him a household name, something his money could not buy.

He will not give up easily. He will milk the attention and publicity to the detriment of the Clippers and the city.

One day, he can have this engraved on his tombstone: "Everybody knows who I am!"

Doug Jones

Los Angeles

***

Re "A new Sagebrush Rebellion," Editorial, April 27

Renegade Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy's ceaseless self-promotion has become ever more incredible. He has claimed that federal authorities want to kill him.

Not so. What the government really wants is the money Bundy owes for grazing his cattle on federal land. Next best would be to have him languishing in jail until he pays up.

The last thing the government wants is Bundy dying in an epic gun battle; that would spur his supporters to portray him as a folk-hero martyr.

Far better for Bundy to remain unharmed with his assets tapped to satisfy government liens.

Dennis Alston

Atwater, Calif.

***

Supposedly rational middle-aged men parade around in the self-glorifying garb of elite combat troops and Old West lawmen. They wield assault weapons and mimic military jargon and tactics — as if such a wacky, potentially deadly display might lend credibility to the twisted views of an aging anti-government cattle rancher.

The grotesque affectations of Bundy and his assemblage amount to rank thuggery. These aren't patriots.

History surely will judge Bundy and his militia no less harshly than the Oklahoma City bombers or the Branch Davidians should deadly violence ensue in Nevada.

Christine Hagel

Orcutt

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Donald Sterling, you are "banned for life"

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donald sterling 2011

To Donald Sterling, a few million dollars is a drop in the bucket. Does it matter to him to be banned for life, because a fine is virtually meaningless.

Via The Hill:

The NBA on Tuesday banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life and fined him $2.5 million for making racially insensitive remarks that have roiled the political sphere and overshadowed basketball’s playoffs.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver also said he would encourage the NBA board of governors to force Sterling to sell the Clippers. That action would require a three-fourths vote by the league’s owners, and he said he would do everything possible to ensure it goes through. [...]

Silver said the ban would prevent Sterling, the owner since 1981, from attending practices or games. He would also be barred doing any business involving the team or be involved in any league activity.

UPDATE:

Silver said Sterling, in an interview, had admitted to him that the racist remarks on a recording released last week by the website TMZ were his. Silver said he would “do everything in my power” to see that Sterling was forced to sell the Clippers. “I fully expect to get the support I need to remove him,” Silver said.

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Do Cliven Bundy, Bill Kristol and Donald Sterling Speak For Chief Justice Roberts?

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KKKCrossRallyw259h204

Racism is a thing of the past. Just look at the Chief Justice Roberts's Court and his beliefs that racism no longer exists in the United States. Blacks and other minorities no longer need protections to their right to vote nor affirmative action.

How trippy is this guy? What bubble does he live in? Let's just look at the recent racist news.

The Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice John Roberts strikes down affirmative action in Michigan, claiming it would be racist to take race into consideration where inequality is the question.

Cliven Bundy, becomes an instant hero to conservatives. They gush over the man who's a scofflaw for refusing to pay court-mandated grazing fees for his cattle. The "Right" couldn't get enough of him until he took again to the pulpit to lecture America about the "lazy Negro" and how the Black race would be better off as slaves. (His words, not mine).

Then when this draws outrage, some of the right wingnuts and spokespeople tone down their love of the crusty old cowboy outlaw. Not all, but some. And I'll even credit Sean Hannity from distancing himself, not totally, but partially, over Bundy's race remarks.

Notice I said some right wingnuts. That's because there's always the reliable Bill Kristol.

Within hours of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling's racist comments to his Black/Hispanic girlfriend (whom he's openly seeing despite his being married), the ever 'balanced' Kristol stuck up for Sterling, urging caution. Remember, like the Chief Justice, Kristol isn't sure that racism really does still exist.

The Raw Story:

Conservative pundit Bill Kristol on Sunday urged people to judge NBA team owner Don Sterling by his “deeds,” and not to “go hysterical over two or three sentences” where he tells his girlfriend to stay away from black men.

Okay, Bill, let's not get hysterical over a few insensitive if not outright racist sentences. Judge the man by his deeds you say. How's this set of deeds float your boat?

The Los Angeles Times:

The racist comments purportedly made by Donald Sterling in the audio recording that surfaced Saturday via TMZ.com are the latest in a years-long string of racially-charged incidents linked to the real estate mogul.

In 2009, Sterling agreed to a $2.765-million settlement in a case that alleged discrimination against African-Americans, Latinos and others at apartment buildings he owned in Los Angeles County.

Are these the deeds you were asking us to use as judgment?

If  this man is anything short of a racist you might need to look in the mirror and take an assessment of yourself. You're a spokesman for ultra right conservatives. Are you speaking for them now? If so, you're just like Cliven Bundy, Donald Sterling and evidently Justice Roberts in having your head in the sand or up your ass. You're not seeing what the rest of the world knows is the truth. We have very little racial tolerance in the world, and the US is no exception. It would be much better for you and all of us if you'd use your platform to ease and ultimately someday erase racial inequality and hatred. Not fuel the fires with your ignorance.

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