Sunday, 25 January 2015

Quote of the Week - Bjork

"If you can make nature and technology friends, then you can make everyone friends; you can make everyone intact. That’s what women do a lot—they’re the glue between a lot of things. Not only artists, but whatever job they do: in the office, or homemakers. Biophilia was like my own personal slapstick joke, showing I had to reach so long—between solar systems—to connect everything. It’s like the end scene in Mary Poppins, when she’s made everyone friends, and the father realizes that kids are more important than money—and [then] she has to leave [crying]. It’s a strange moment. Women are the glue. It’s invisible, what women do. It’s not rewarded as much." 

This whole article/interview in Pitchfork by Jessica Hopper is more than worth a read. I can't wait for the whole version and can't wait to hear Bjork's new album - Vulnicura.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Quote of the Week - Williams

"Understand that although the divide and conquer tactics of pitting black against white, christian against muslim against jew, can bring worthwhile debate and heightened understanding, it doesn't take much to realize that the true and only fight is against that which has kept women subjugated to men, and poor subjugated to rich. The sooner we understand this without brandishing overtly blind-siding terms like "terrorist" "lazy" the sooner we realize that we are all, in fact, on the same team and that the movement towards a more educated, better fed society should not be side-lined by such petty constructs as race, identity, and that which has kept many groups disenfranchised, silenced, and in debt." 
~Saul Williams
I am forever grateful to Saul Williams. Something changed for me when I saw Slam at Sundance that first time and that second time - yes, twice in one festival. I don't know that I knew what it was, or even that I know now, but it was a signpost on the journey to finding voice.

Williams' voice is breath-givingly clarifying -- connected to source, heart, intellect and the world simultaneously. I've seen him enthrall a roomful of youth poets hanging on his every word and I've seen him celebrate the same poets as they took stage to share their truths. His voice remains a clear channel to his being, to our consciousness.

Today, MLK Day, I woke with no voice. Only heavy heart. Guantanamo and the going on fifteen years of detainments of hundreds of men very much in my thoughts after reading of the Guantanamo Diary. How could we allow this in our name? How could we let this live in shadow so long? How could we hold no one accountable for the thousands of lost days in each man's life?

I woke heavy. I woke tired. It is MLK Day but all the quotes have been quoted. Dr. King is popular for inspiring, Selma is in the movie theatres. And yet, has there been meaningful change?

Since the shooting of Michael Brown, well, things have been heavy and tired. We have begun to add up the injustices, to tally the accountability. We are finding ourselves at odds with how to proceed and who belongs to which fight. We are working on being good allies - men to women, white to black, privileged to oppressed, Christian to Muslim. We don't even have the language for this yet. We are building it brick by brick. Like walls.

Yes, we have been divided by others, but we also divide ourselves, and I have wanted to say this. But I also understand why we are, so I haven't said it. We all want to speak for ourselves. We all want to come to our own voices. None of us anymore wants telling what is good for us or what our place is. Yes, we all must speak for ourselves, but we all must work together. Together together. Not in name only.

Williams' piece contains words we need now. We have learned so much from the Indian struggle for independence from the British, from the civil rights movement, from South Africa. This moment we are in, is a different struggle,  a new one. It requires different words to facilitate tremendous community-building. It requires us to see through the limiting beliefs of those who choose to define us as other. Defining any living being as other is not the way forward.

Remembering MLK to me means continuing the work, following the steps from awareness to accountability to change. There is clearly so much further to travel on this journey.

(Image - Shepard Fairey in Wired)

Monday, 12 January 2015

Quote of the Week - Gyllenhaal

"I've noticed a lot of people talking about the wealth of roles for powerful women in television lately. And when I look around the room at the women who are here and I think about the performances that I've watched this year what I see actually are women who are sometimes powerful and sometimes not, sometimes sexy, sometimes not, sometimes honorable, sometimes not, and what I think is new is the wealth of roles for actual women in television and in film. That's what I think is revolutionary and evolutionary and it's what's turning me on." 
~ Maggie Gyllenhaal, Golden Globes

The Honourable Woman was one of the best things I've ever seen - anyone saying she didn't deserve this probably hasn't watched it. It is a taut thriller along the lines of the original State of Play, but with in the context of the Middle East conflict. It is daring television.

Thanks to Mother Jones for this quote - I watched the Globes via Twitter - much better and less time consuming.

Go write some zesty roles for women today!

Monday, 5 January 2015

Why Wrestling Isn't Fake



adjective: fake

not genuine; imitation or counterfeit. 

“She got on the plane with a fake passport"

by Bunmi Hazzan

So let's get the obvious out the way first. It's staged, it's theatrical, scripted and outcomes are predetermined. Wrestling is a lot of things,  but ‘fake’ is not one of them.

Fake is something that pretends to be something else. In wrestling there exists a concept called Kayfabe (like the 4th wall for those familiar with theatre). The general idea is that a wrestler maintains a character at all times in order to make the story they're involved with believable.

Sound familiar? It should; politicians do this all the time. Way back in the olden days, breaking Kayfabe was a very serious offense. Wrestlers could find themselves in a lot of trouble with promoters, maybe even lose bookings. Back then, they absolutely were trying trick the audience. These days (at least the last 20 years) Kayfabe still exists, but for the sole purpose of telling a story. Wrestlers aren't required to act as their characters when doing interviews outside the company. Sound familiar? It should; actors do this all the time.

“Theatre, movies, politicians, they're all make believe as well.”

Yes, they are. But think about the last time someone was talking about a film they saw, and you felt the need to ask them “You do know it's fake, right?”

The movie fan, just like the theatre-goer, book reader, and wrestling fan, knows from the beginning that he or she is being told a story; no one is really trying to fool anybody. In fact, you can very easily find shoot (unscripted, out of character) interviews on official promoter's websites. There is no trickery here, wrestling is what it is:  it's entertainment -- a soap opera set in a wrestling ring. It's not pretending to be anything else, therefore, it is not fake.

Now, allow me to debunk a few myths:
  1. Wrestlers do actually hit each other. 
  2. Blood is, the majority of the time, actual blood. 
  3. Even when everything goes to plan, injuries can still happen.
Most wrestlers spend many years training. Although action inside the ring is staged, outside the ring, what they do is all them. When a wrestler gets booed, they're booing his/her years of practice, tryouts, speech training, writing, creativity. Which is fine, when said wrestler is deliberately trying get heat (angry crowd reaction). But when they're not, that could get you right in the feels (could hurt ones feelings, that's not wrestling jargon, just Internet slang). What they say, how they perform, and how the crowd responds, they are as real as anything.

Championships aren’t won, like say in a boxing match, but neither are they given to just anyone. Championships are awarded, as in wrestlers earn the title by how they perform, their work ethic, and crowd reaction, among other considerations. In other words, no matter what it seems like, it's a highly competitive industry. The final product you see is the result of passion, desire, sleeping in their car because all their money was spent on lessons, blood, sweat, mistakes, failure, repeat, learn, improve, never give up. 

To call that fake is an insult.

BH the Uncivilised, some call me Bunmi Hazzan, but a time traveller has many names. I've existed for over 10,000 years and lived over 9000 lives. Travelling through time, space and multiple dimensions and writing about my experiences and observations. Or, in other words, I analyse art, and create art. The driving license I hold in this realm claims I have residence in London, England. The truth is I spend most of my time in upper regions of my cerebral cortex. I am, that poet.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Quote of the Week - Hell

"We must have a culture that embraces attempts at the unsolvable and therefore we must also celebrate failure." 
~ Stefan Hell, Nobel Laureate Chemistry, 2014
Failure. We hate it.

But what if it's the only way to get to a new place, idea, or process? What if failure is the only road map we have to success?

Exploration, experimentation, and essentially getting lost in the weeds is what has moved civilization forward at every turn. Following your gut, your heart, and your intellect, no matter where they lead, even when you appear to be going far astray is perhaps the one human quality that makes us an interesting species. Aiming high and not giving up is what Hell is embracing here. Scary, but it is a formula proven to win.

It's the first Monday of 2015. Make it count. Fail up.

Thanks to Andreas Grant for this one!

N.B.: I couldn't verify this specific quote, which comes from Nobel Minds, which is not posted online yet, but it's similar to the tone he took in his Banquet Speech.