Sunday, November 14, 2010

'Ptah The El Daoud' by Alice Coltrane

     I have always loved Alice Coltrane's second offering, "Ptah The El Daoud" because it personified pressure to me.  Gut-feelings and nudges translated into sound.  Listening to this album, I feel as if I'm caught in a predicament!  Once I hit the play button, the tree limbs begin to sway suspiciously and my intuition begins to whisper.

     The opening track, 'Ptah the El Daoud,' has always sounded meteorological to me.  On piano, the bandleader, Alice Coltrane creates an atmosphere of caution.  Drummer, Ben Riley, imitates the thunder swelling within the thick skies.  Giving Pharaoh Sanders my right ear and Joe Henderson my left, the horn section becomes as dense as the humid air before a storm cracks open.
     The second piece, 'Turiya and Ramakrishna,' is all about escalation.  Temperature subtly rising, logic softly dissolving in the warm water of desire.  The key changes flirtatiously, as if the seduction was taken up another notch.  The perfect chaser, the spacious 'Blue Nile' comes in third with soft horns and dreamy glissando from Alice's harp. Trickling.  Tickling.  Titillating.
     The storm finally hits with the final track, "Mantra".  It takes me back to watching a tornado as a child and being both amazed and scared by its power.  Giant trees bending and bouncing like the catail grass... Typically grounded objects floating in mid-air in slow motion...  Mesmerizing.  Frightening. Spellbinding.  Weathering a storm is, indeed, a beautiful experience.

Please listen for yourself!
I'd love to hear what you guys think of

Saturday, November 6, 2010

"For Colored Girls" - My Experience

     Watching "For Colored Girls" filled me with regret.  I regretted each and every time I revised my writing, revised my speech, to come across 'real'.  To keep my actual thoughts 'realistic' to the reader, I've dumbed down my sentences, unraveled my symbols and inserted slang.

Regret has never felt so beautiful.

      The language.  The eloquence.  The emotional delivery.  I beamed with pride from the opening credits to Kimberly Elise's closing monologue: poetry falling from black lips felt so real!  Reciting scripture in the alley ways of New York.  Serving metaphors alongside barbecue and soda.  Articulating tightly wound incantations while struggling with groceries.  This all felt natural.
     This was a heavy film, full of dark tragedies and secrets; the beauty of the script sliced through the shadows.  Full of brilliance and promise, I now feel so hopeful about the future of cinema and literature.  "For Colored Girls" marks the merge of the urban experience and more sophisticated means of expressing it.

Beyond entertaining, I found it challenging.
 I felt challenged to reverse my revisions,
and confront my complications.

I urge everyone to watch this film.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Lush Life: Fernet Branca

"It's your job...To like the things everyone else hates."

     My favorite drink in the world: Fernet Branca!  Yes: it tastes like a mentholated punch in the teeth.  Yes: there isn't enough cola in the world to dilute its bitterness.  But, I love it.  The taste reminds me that I am, in fact, living.  Mint shoots through nostrils and ears; my face goes numb.  What other beverage could have this effect?
     Composed of a myriad of herbs, barks and roots (not to mention, 40% alcohol), this Italian liquor is magic.  I have never had a hangover, no matter how much I drank!  I may have awakened with less friends and court dates, but I've never awakened with so much as a headache.
     When I first discovered Fernet, I became an evangelist for it.  Introducing all of my friends and family with a shot.  Many of them thought I was trying to poison them.  Only a few actually survived and felt its effects.  After a while, I grew weary of wasting my good drink; it's $27 a bottle.  At this point, I am convinced that only the sophisticated can acquire and appreciate this beverage.  To confirm this theory, whenever I order this at the bar, the bartender takes a shot with me!  Fernet Branca is like a secret handshake.

If you are brave and high-brow
Try Fernet Branca yourself
You'd love it after the second shot...