Monday, December 25, 2006

A sad day for music...

"Disco is James Brown, hip-hop is James Brown, rap is James Brown, you know what I'm saying? You hear all the rappers, 90 percent of their music is me," --James Brown

and you know what? He's right.

I only got to see him once. It was a free show at the River to River Festival in Manhattan a few years ago, with Antibalas, the hardest Afrobeat soldiers in the world, opening up for him. It was an amazing experience. First, Antibalas was amped up and played a sick set. And then there was James Brown. Wow. What an incredible set. So much energy. I can't move like that now, never mind when I'm nearly 70.

We'll miss you, Godfather.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

And we wonder why we've got a serious climate crisis?!

Seriously. Momma K checks the progress of her order on Fed Ex. Not known for pulling punches, the following conversation ensues:

Momma K: Those fucking morons.
Me: What?
Momma K: Well, (product deleted) will be arriving today, but it could've been hear yesterday. They're assholes.
Me: Why?
Momma K: Look at the tracking sheet
Me (scanning tracking sheet): arrives chicago, 12/14, arrives Dubuque IA, 12/15, arrives Chicago, 12/16... whoa. That's stupid.
Momma K: Chicago to New York, by way of Iowa?
Me: maybe Fed Ex is running for president.

For those keeping score, that's 360 extra miles for no good reason. And we wonder why we have a climate crisis?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Come to New York for New Year's, even though I won't be there.

I'm going with Knucklehead down to see her family for New Year's. They're great, and they're always really good to me. But I also hope she understands how much I love her:
12/27-31: The Preservation Hall Jazz Band @ Jazz Standard
12/28-Fishbone @ Knitting Factory
12/28 -Talib Kweli and Soulive @ Nokia
12/29- The Greyboy Allstars (REUNION!) (WITH ?UESTLOVE on DRUMS!) @ Nokia
12/29- Los Lobos & Gov't Mule @ Beacon
12/30- Rebirth Brass Band @ BB Kings
12/31- James Brown @ BB Kings

i love you, baby.

Monday, December 04, 2006


Always a smile
even when delivering the
most serious of news,

the most thoughtful life advice,
the bluntest objections.

I knew Yoda.

For two years, I sat next to him,
listened to his baritone
deep with laughter,

about stories of El Rei playing
bar mitzvahs,

about truck routes that always take an hour
talking smack on corners

and kicking ass organizing workers.

My Yoda
was a Black Puertoricano
who lived off Fordham Rd,

mere blocks from where I ran about
under watchful grandparents' eyes.

Almost took up smoking
just to have an excuse
to hang with him and Cap'n Sunshine
under the awnings on 48th St.

introduced me to the shredded clothes of Hell's Kitchen,
Told me about dancing at the palladium,
and warned me about paying a price
too high
for my heart pockets.

And no matter how he was,
he was always fantastic.

he took pride in it,
being fantastic.

It was his calling card.

He was fantastic, even if he was miserable
or if he wanted to punch you out,
if you asked him how he was,
he'd just smile and say

if you were a foe,
he wanted you to know
he was really doing well,
especially if you didn't like him.
he wanted to use
as a weapon
to pierce plastic pleasantries.

but if you were friend,
it was as if he hoped
by saying fantastic and smiling,
some of fantastic
might infect you too.

Puerto Rican Yoda
left this earth,

although i bet if you could find him
find him watching star trek somewhere,
or replays of his favorite final four games,
and asked him,
he'd smile.
and still tell you


Please hold all major life events for a day or two (or three weddings and a funeral)

talk about a deluge. In the last 30 hours, I've found out about three people close to me getting engaged and one dear mentor passing on. And all this while celebrating two birthdays and researching flowers and hotels for a wedding. You can call me captain life cycle if you want.