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14 Oct

Interview w/ Vincent Ahehehinnou from Orchestre Poly Rythmo de Cotonou

by Ban Ban Ton Ton   Benin`s Orchestre Poly Rythmo De Cotonou have been playing and recording for nearly five decades. Combining West Africa`s Voodoo rhythms of the spirits with Pop and Psychedelia. They released hundreds of records in their own continent before being rediscovered by everywhere else via sublime compilations on Soundway and Analog Africa. Described as “the best Funk band in the world”, their name is often preceded by the justified prefix. T.P. “Tout Puissant”. “All mighty”. As part of the...
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14 Oct

Bowie, Jennifer Connelly & More Behind-the-Scenes in ‘Labyrinth’

by Dangerous Minds A candid moment between David Bowie and his look-alike stuntman Nick Gillard on the set of ‘Labyrinth.’ As Halloween approaches I’ve become more and more convinced that this year will bring a cavalcade of David Bowie fans dressed as various personas developed by the Thin White Duke over his long career. Even yours truly is planning on “becoming Bowie” on October 31st and I’m so committed to my quest to look like Aladdin Sane that I’m planning on dying...
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14 Oct

Abdullah Ibrahim: How Improvisation Saved My Life

by Nate Chinen | NPR/Jazz Night in America The music of pianist and composer Abdullah Ibrahim conveys an extraordinary depth in stillness. More than perhaps any other improvising artist, he knows how to turn the solitary act of introspection into a communal experience that's both transporting and immersive. There's a history behind that sorcery, which you could say was hard-won. Ibrahim grew up in apartheid-era South Africa under the name Dollar Brand, one of the most prominent members of that country's first generation...
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11 Oct

Chris Ofili’s Frustrating, Profound ‘Paradise Lost’

The artist’s new exhibition, at the David Zwirner gallery in New York, is a controlling show, one that minimizes the viewer’s ability to walk around the gallery’s space freely. Photograph by Maris Hutchinson / EPW Studio courtesy the artist and David Zwirner New York / London   by Doreen St. Félix | The New Yorker To approach a Chris Ofili painting is to make peace with one’s own smallness. For the last twenty or so years, the British artist has accumulated entire universes on his canvases,...
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5 Oct

From Tupac to Lorca: Finding the “Soul” in Hip-Hop & Literature

by Alejandro Nava | University of California Press Taking its name from a song by Bobby Byrd and James Brown, Eric B. and Rakim released a single in 1987, “I Know You Got Soul,” from their albumPaid in Full. By sampling the funky rhythms and throbbing drums of James Brown’s signature sound, the rap looks backward to soul music while at the same time looking forward to a new age that will put on wax many of the hip-hop generation’s distinct...
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5 Oct

How Bullwinkle Taught Kids Political Satire

Culture critic Beth Daniels argues the cartoon moose even allowed viewers to reckon with nuclear war by Beth Daniels, Zócalo Public Square | The Smithsonian "Mr. Chairman, I am against all foreign aid, especially to places like Hawaii and Alaska,” says Senator Fussmussen from the floor of a cartoon Senate in 1962. In the visitors’ gallery, Russian agents Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale are deciding whether to use their secret “Goof Gas” gun to turn the Congress stupid, as they did to...
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5 Oct

Angel Rich, “The Next Steve Jobs”

BusinessWomen Angel Rich, from Washington, DC, has developed a very innovative app called Credit Stacker that teaches students about personal finance, credit management, and entrepreneurship in a fun and engaging way. The app is so popular that 200,000 people downloaded it to their smart phones and tablets within just two weeks of it's launch. Even more, Forbes has named her "The Next Steve Jobs". Remarkably, the app has been named the "best financial literacy product in the country" by the Office of...
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5 Oct

‘Sunrise, Sunset’ by Edwidge Danticat

Illustration by Bianca Bagnarelli The New Yorker It comes on again on her grandson’s christening day. A lost moment, a blank spot, one that Carole does not know how to measure. She is there one second, then she is not. She knows exactly where she is, then she does not. Her older church friends tell similar stories about their surgeries, how they count backward from ten with an oxygen mask over their faces, then wake up before reaching one, only to find...
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5 Oct

Harlem’s Woodstock 1969

(What a sick lineup--and FREE! There's supposedly 50 hours of footage floating around somewhere--I hope it gets released as they keep promising.) by  Richard Morgan | The Smithsonian Stevie Wonder Ethel Beaty-Barnes, then an 18-year-old fresh from her high-school graduation, still remembers what she wore to the Sly & concert in Harlem in 1969: a floral halter top and matching bellbottoms, her hair in a sidebun. "It was so overcrowded. People were sitting in the trees. It was boiling hot but not one...
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5 Oct

The Hi-Fi DIY of Colombia’s Bass Lords

Alex Alema, DJ and owner of the Timbalero Picó, with a coveted 45. Image: author by Taliesin Gilkes-Bower | Motherboard Late nights street dances have gone down on Colombia's Caribbean coast since at least the early 1950s, when picó sound system culture was born. It's 2 AM on a Sunday on the outskirts of Barranquilla, Colombia, and hundreds of revelers are dancing in the streets to the rhythms of three competing picó style sound systems. Up close, each picó is loud enough to drown...
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4 Oct

Massive ‘David Bowie IS’ Exhibit @ the B’klyn Museum in 2018

'David Bowie is' exhibit in Barcelona. Photo via David Bowis IS BCN by Craig Hubert | Brownstoner The Brooklyn Museum posted a bright orange square to all of their social media accounts Tuesday, teasing a big announcement they would be making the following day. As many speculated, the cryptic message was a sign that “David Bowie is,” the vast international touring-exhibition about the famed glam-rock singer, who passed away in January 2016, would be coming to the museum in March, 2018. David Bowie is… coming...
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3 Sep

‘Rampage Sound’ Doc on Notting Hill Carnival Sound System Culture

Performers take part in the Notting Hill Carnival in 2016 (Picture: Getty Images) by Rebecca Lewis | Metro https://youtu.be/2k3KlE9649A Notting Hill Carnival is preparing for its 51st year of banging the steel drums, dancing your heart out, and celebrating the multitude of cultures and experiences available in Britain. But the carnival also has another history, that of the UK sound system culture, and a new short documentary featuring the likes of Trevor Nelson, Rodney P and Boy Better Know member Jammer, and pulled together by...
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3 Sep

Alice Coltrane’s Songs of Bliss

by Andrew Katzenstein | NY Review of Books Alice Coltrane and her son Ravi with a photograph of John Coltrane, September 4, 2004 (J. Emilio Flores/Corbis via Getty Images) When the saxophonist John Coltrane was asked in 1966 what he hoped to be later in life, he replied, “I would like to be a saint.” He would be canonized by the African Orthodox Church in the 1980s, but John wasn’t the only holy person in his family. His widow, Alice Coltrane, who had...
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2 Sep

First Black Shakespearean Actor Ira Aldridge is Honoured

Ira Aldridge, stage name F.W. Keene, died in 1867 Coventry & Warwickshire, BBC The UK's first black Shakespearean actor is to be honoured with the unveiling of a blue plaque in Coventry. Ira Aldridge was given the job of manager at Coventry Theatre after impressing the people of the city with his acting during a tour in 1828. The impression he made during his time there is credited with inspiring Coventry's petition to Parliament for the abolition of slavery. His life, 150 years after his...
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29 Aug

A View by David Byrne: Eliminating the Human

Drawing by Andy Friedman by David Byrne, Guest Contributor | MIT Technology Review We are beset by—and immersed in—apps and devices that are quietly reducing the amount of meaningful interaction we have with each other. I have a theory that much recent tech development and innovation over the last decade or so has an unspoken overarching agenda. It has been about creating the possibility of a world with less human interaction. This tendency is, I suspect, not a bug—it’s a feature. We might think Amazon...
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22 Aug

Frutopia Commercials Scored by Kate Bush & the Cocteau Twins

by Dangerous Minds If I say the word “Fruitopia” to you, there’s a decent chance you’ll respond with some comment about the 1990s—the savviest among you might even say “1994” specifically. Fruitopia was the brainchild of a marketing head at Coca-Cola named Sergio Zyman—he also brought the world the overt GenX pandering elixir OK Cola right around the same time. The fruit-flavored tea concoction was a clear attempt to move in on the territory staked out by Snapple, and while Fruitopia...
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