PREVIEW Anyone who heard "Big Brother Beat" on De La Soul's 1996 album Stakes Is High (Tommy Boy) was soon saying, "Who's this kid Mos Def?" Still, it's hard to believe that, 13 years later, the radiant voice on that track would become the ubiquitous scion of that good old Native Tongue can-do.
Mos Def can turn up simultaneously in a movie (his next project is a film version of Iceberg Slim's Mama Black Widow) and on a television show (you catch him on House last a few weeks ago?), yet still find time to cameo on other people's albums, Read more »
REVIEW Yinka Shonibare's 1998 photographic essay Diary of a Victorian Dandy, Member of the Order of the British Empire runs like clockwork.
At 11 a.m., Shonibare the nobleman is shown waking and then donning a nightcap in his gilded bedroom; he's surrounded by four ruddy-cheeked buxom maids and a pale, thin butler, who each cater to his every whim. At 2 p.m., dressed in a three-piece blue-gray suit, he tends to business in his private library. Read more »
Men dress up. Yes, we do. We dress like animals: peacocks, roosters, cats. We dress like weapons: blades, pistols, and straps. Men dress up. Always have. Always will.
Something has been happening in men's fashion lately, an evolution that's taken place underneath just about everyone's noses. For the longest time it was assumed that men's fashion was about function over style, resulting in an array of boring, drab clothing. Read more »
MIXING IT UP: TAKING ON THE MEDIA BULLIES AND OTHER REFLECTIONS
By Ishmael Reed
Da Capo Press
Ishmael Reed is one of the most prolific writers, seers, and pundits of the 20th and 21st centuries. The author of nine novels, six books of poetry, six plays, and four books of political essays has been a constant presence and persistent thorn in the sides of various official experts. Read more »
Barry Jenkins' Medicine for Melancholy was one of the biggest successes of this year's San Francisco International Film Festival, but it almost didn't happen.
"We shot the movie fast and thought maybe we could pass it around to friends," Jenkins says. "I started cutting it and said to myself, 'This is really coming together. Fuck it, let's try to get it into the San Francisco International Film Festival.' I looked on the website and the deadline had already passed. Read more »
PREVIEW The 2008 San Francisco Jazz Festival's Vanguard Series is screaming. There, I said it. Both neophytes and adepts need to turn out this week for what will be personal milestones those moments of "aha" and inspiration you'll want to crystallize in something stronger than words starting with mystic saxophonist Archie Shepp at Herbst Theatre Thursday. Considered one of the inventors of avant-garde jazz, Shepp blended blues, spirituals, and free-form music into a sound that transcends classification. Read more »
PREVIEW The taboo has always had a special place in my heart. As a pre-adolescent, I was given a list of banned books from a rogue librarian and I hunted down and read every one of them. It may have seemed odd to find an 11-year-old black boy reading the likes of John Rechy's City of Night (Grove, 1963) and William Burroughs' Naked Lunch (Olympia/Grove, 1959), but these verboten tomes, along with the librarian's free beer and porn, served as an illicit gateway out of my little coal-mining town into the larger, lustier world. Read more »
REVIEW Amid impoverished rural segregation, my parents were part of the first bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala. While my father studied Frantz Fanon and tae kwan do in Okinawa, my mother went on to be a probation officer in Los Angeles during the Watts riots. I was born in a riot-torn Washington, DC, around the time my father helped take over the administration offices of Howard University. Read more »