Archive for the art & music Category

Happy Birthday to Bayard Rustin, Jorge Ben, and… to Me!!! (Sunshine Superboy!)

Posted in art & music, celebrities, culture, politics, race, racism, video with tags , , , , , , on March 19, 2012 by Sunshine Superboy

rustin march on washington

Its Mid-March! There are a couple truly stupendous March babies* (not babies anymore!) whom we ought to pause for a moment and appreciate. Lets get to it..!

Bayard Rustin was born 100 years ago, on March 17th! He is one of the dopest organizers, not just of American History, but of the entire 20th century, the world-over (IMHO).

His most visible achievement was organizing- as deputy director of mobilization and logistics- the 1963 March on Washington (in which Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the hallowed “I have a Dream Speech”, and at which a multi-racial coalition of singers performed- from Bob Dylan, to Joan Baez, and Gospel legend Mahalia Jackson- cuz thats how he rolled!) bayard rustinIt was Bayard Rustin who visited Gandhi in India, and cross-pollinated the Sattyagraha and Nonviolent precepts, bringing them to the US south and working closely with King among others. Rustin was a quaker, a singer, a socialist, and…wait for it… unapologetically the gay! (Hooray!)

It was for this homophobia latter identity that King was counciled to throw Bayard Rustin under the bus (in the parlance of our times), which is why he has been largely written out of mainstream and much African American history.

As our culture starts to warm to the idea of gender justice and queer liberation (we’re getting there…) Rustin is slowly being woven back into narratives and history of Civil Rights organizing in the 20th century.

On the deeply regarded Bayard Rustin:

Another force of brilliance I’d like to celebrate this week is the very much alive and kicking-ass, Brazilian Samba-Rock Godfather, Jorge Ben who marks his 70th birthday on March 22nd! Jorge Ben Jorge Ben makes me smile, move, shuffle my feet, and sometimes sigh in melancholy (see “Gabriela” where he openly weeps on the recording!) with his genius fusion of samba, bossa nova, soul and rock n roll. The execution is something you just have to listen to in full to appreciate.

As with most artists who where on their A game in the 70s, there are some awkward albums and singles that followed the apogee of their songwriting, but most of his albums are slam dunks from start to finish. Perfect for cooking brunch (a favorite pastime of yours truly), doing dishes, playtime with toddlers, or drinking on your back porch in the evening. Impress your date with your refined musical taste!

His lyrics “blend humor and satire with often esoteric subject matter” including politics of Black Liberation, and post-colonial dreams for Africa (again think 60s and 70s composer here). He intersected with the Tropicalia movement of Brazil, and his song “Mas Que Nada” (song/ video below), which was his first big hit in Brazil, remains to this day ‘the most played song in the USA sung entirely in Portuguese’. I seriously heart this dude.

Enjoy the song and slide show with some rando pictures of the 1960s (??!)

oh, and I’m not that important, but I just celebrated my birthday on March 16th so I just wanted to dredge up some homies of mine who I happen to think about or listen to every day because they are badass.

You look like a Rock Star and you shred like one too!!!

(…and many more!)
Sunshine Superboy

*ps- we also welcomed some amazing babies to our spinning planet this month (and more to come!) and I wanna holler to them too (especially you baby Marlowe xoxoxo)

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“Back to Skool” Map-Fest: Art and Embroidery

Posted in art & music, maps, maps & mapping with tags , , , , , , , , on September 23, 2011 by Sunshine Superboy

First of all- Huzzah for this, the One-hundred and Fiftieth post!!!

Today’s Back to Skool Map-fest subject is Art!!
Abstract-ish:

Collage and Embroidery:
antarctica collage embroidered antarctica THERE IS A PLACE WHERE IT NEVER GETS HOT- head south until you can’t anymore.

earnest emotional art O_o
watercolor map

Mass produced art! Globes for all!
globe production

Actually interesting:
potato map
A fictional location in Ireland from Marilyn Murphy who says:

“This is somewhat of a self portrait. When my grandparents immigrated to the United States from Ireland, the term ‘murphies’ was slang for potatoes, a common Irish name as well as a staple in the immigrants diet. If I had ancestors who were artists, I like to imagine that perhaps they worked on the creation of Celtic illuminated manuscripts. In this drawing, I laid out an imaginary neighborhood inspired by images in the Book of Durrow. I have also included my home state of Oklahoma in the upper right hand corner.”

Check out more of Marilyn’s work on her website

Photo-Cartography:
photo map on back

Fernanda created this image by printing a map of S√£o Paulo onto a photo of someone’s back. The map reads as a tattoo on the body addressing the importance of where people position themselves within their environment.

Totally Awesome!

Pier Gustafson describes his work:

A massive pile of overlapping books. The four open atlases display maps describing the four areas – each in a different way. The charming and exotic town names of North Carolina, the tangled highways of the Twin Cities (the key showing roads under construction, snow emergency routes and the ways to drive to ‘the cabin’). The zoomed in map of Oxford College, the zoomed out map of the Hub of the Universe.

Thanks for sharing, thanks for following, nice to have you back around…

Sunshine Superkid

don’t forget, we’re doing a subject/map a day for a full week!

Back to Skool: Kick-starting our Map-tastic Week from Art and Foreign Language, to Geography T-Shirts!!!

Posted in art & music, culture, humor, maps, Uncategorized, video with tags , , , , on September 22, 2011 by Sunshine Superboy

We were on a little “summer” “break” there for a spell (I use both words in quote, cuz it was already September, San Francisco doesn’t have a summer, and I hardly had a moment’s rest!), but we are back with a compendium of maps to keep your trapper-keeper in engorged! Hooray for overcompensation!!

US T-shirt map

We’ll post at least a map a day for the next week, marching right through some of our least (?) favorite school subjects- further proof that you can use maps in whatever area of study. Hooray again! (Sorry, I get excited about September. Its really a spectacular month, isn’t it?!).

Lets start with Geography:
A hilarious, if at times scary personal US geography tee-shirt design from our buddy pals at Threadless (they’re not a Black Maps sponsor….). We’ll start with another T-shirt model, and skip along to a zoom on the map itself.

US Threadless T-shirt Map

Hooray!

Sorry New England… erm, and the “corn” states ūüė¶
If it makes you feel any better, I’m from the Commonwealth of “Blah Blah History”

Threadless Map T-shirt

A tearful farewell to our last month of t-shirts. Come back for more Back to School Maps!

LoveAlwaysYrPal,
Sunshine Superboy

LOLZ. Can’t help myself…. Classic emo jam. Horrendous homemade video!

I Wanna be David Blair Black! R.I.P. This Strong Voice from Detroit

Posted in art & music, culture, politics, race, racism, video with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2011 by Sunshine Superboy

David Blair was a friend of mine, especially back when I was living in Michigan. Blair was a fierce soul, a talented crooner, a passionate poet, and a kindred black geek with deeply powerful politics.

This is a video from Blair’s performance at the 2009 Allied Media Conference. It took place mere days after Michael Jackson’s death.

What Kinda Black??!

“What interests me about [Jackson’s] life – and about writing about him – is that everything that he is calls to mind a discussion of race, gender, sexuality, poverty, stardom, rags-to-riches and age,” Blair told Between the Lines in 2009. “He’s a very American figure. I don’t think that all that Michael Jackson is could’ve been produced anywhere else in the world but right here.”

Over the weekend, renowned poet, singer and songwriter David Blair was found dead in his apartment. Blair, who was born in New Jersey but lived in Detroit since the 1990s, was a prolific artist. He earned a National Poetry Slam Champion title, performed with Urban Folk Collective and the Boyfriends, and taught poetry and songwriting in Detroit Public Schools. Performances took him throughout the U.S., Russia, Europe and South Africa.

Blair was also a 2010 Callaloo fellow, a 2009 Seattle Haiku Slam champion and the recipient of Seattle’s 2007 BENT Mentor Award for LGBT Writers. He was named best urban folk poet by Detroit’s Metro Times and best folk artist by Real Detroit Weekly.

His first book of poetry, Moonwalking, about the life of [Michael] Jackson, hit book shelves in April 2010. Although a cause of death has not been confirmed, Blair may have suffered heatstroke before he was found by a maid. No foul play is suspected. He was 41 years old.

He also made Emily Dickinson’s “Farewell” an African-American spiritual like Omigod. Here’s a link to the vimeo of it at Detroit’s Institute of Arts. And below is Blair’s performance at the TEDxDetroit fest last Fall.

Blair, buddy, we will miss you sorely…

Be at Peace,
Sunshine Superboy

Blair and the Boyfriends

Magnetic Fields… and the Lower East Side

Posted in art & music, maps, maps & mapping, science, video with tags , , , , , , , , on July 1, 2011 by Sunshine Superboy

today I saw this drawing of magnetic fields in the north…

which made me think of this gay band from new york

…and then I just had to share this Horizonless Projection of Manhattan from the Lower East Side (looking north)
Lower East Side- horizonless projection

…which is reposted from Here & There

Here & There is a project by BERG exploring speculative projections of dense cities. These maps of Manhattan look uptown from 3rd and 7th, and downtown from 3rd and 35th. They’re intended to be seen at those same places, putting the viewer simultaneously above the city and in it where she stands, both looking down and looking forward.

…cuz some days are just like that, you know?

Up & Up Cuz I Got Wheels, and You Wanna Go for a Ride,
Sunshine Supermagnet

Ain’t No Such Thing As a Superman: Gil Scott Heron, Action Comics, and Global Superpower

Posted in art & music, celebrities, comics, politics, race, racism with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 31, 2011 by Sunshine Superboy

This weekend, we lost the legendary badass Mr. Gil Scott-Heron at the age of 62.

Gil Scott-Heron was a Jamaican-American composer, musician, poet and author whose writings and recordings provided a vivid, and often stinging, commentary on social injustice and the black American experience; his declamatory singing style, allied to the overtly political content of his work, made him widely recognised as one of the inspirational figures of rap music.

Dude was only 18 when he wrote what is perhaps his best known piece The Revolution Will Not Be Televised– an attack on the mindless and anaesthetising effects of the mass media and a call to arms to the black community:

“You will not be able to stay home, brother/
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out/
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip/
Skip out for beer during commercials/
Because the revolution will not be televised
‚ÄĚ

Gil Scott-Heron’s Aint No Such Thing as a Superman

This reminds me of last month’s abdication by DC Comic’s Superman, of his American citizenship in Action Comics #900

The key scene takes place in “The Incident,” a short story in Action Comics #900 written by David S. Goyer with art by Miguel Sepulveda. In it, Superman consults with the President’s national security advisor, who is incensed that Superman appeared in Tehran to non-violently support the protesters demonstrating against the Iranian regime, no doubt an analogue for the recent real-life protests in the Middle East. However, since Superman is viewed as an American icon in the DC Universe as well as our own, the Iranian government has construed his actions as the will of the American President, and indeed, an act of war.

Superman replies that it was foolish to think that his actions would not reflect politically on the American government, and that he therefore plans to renounce his American citizenship at the United Nations the next day — and to continue working as a superhero from a more global than national perspective. From a “realistic” standpoint it makes sense; it would indeed be impossible for a nigh-omnipotent being ideologically aligned with America to intercede against injustice beyond American borders without creating enormous political fallout for the U.S. government.

… or within American borders for that matter. The truth is that rather than fighting for justice, Superman has always fought for the American Way, which encompasses a hegemonic cosmology of what exactly counts as ‘justice’ and ‘injustice’. Why did an inter-galactic super-being align himself with an imperialist Superpower in the first place? Oh yeah, he was raised in Kansas and indoctrinated (in the 40s and 50s of all moments!) into a fundamental belief in the supremacy of the American Way, and the perspective that US domestic and foreign policy was totally where its at.

Now while I understand that everyone (left and right) is getting excited (knickers in twist), about Superman’s renunciation of US citizenship, I want us all to think on the analysis of Gil Scott-Heron and keep a few things in mind:

1) The motivation for this move does not stem from a sudden realization that the US is a problematic imperialist power, and should therefore be counter-balanced in some way. Rather, Superman doesn’t want his independent actions to reflect poorly on US diplomacy. He is doing this to aid the State, not to critique it. J Edgar Hoover would have lobbied Superman to do the same thing, if he could, and if we imagine this as some parallel to our very real world, I’d bet Hillary Clinton had something to do with this abdication. Now Superman can show up in the streets of Tehran without his presence being tantamount to a declaration of war.

2) Clark Kent, our grand hero’s alias, remains a US Citizen, and therefore, all of this rhetorical posturing is empty. A super-being with the power to fly and the asylum of a Fortress of Solitude on a stateless continent of ice has little need for citizenship in any event, and certainly needs no assistance to navigate national borders. Beyond this, however, the very real powers of a US Passport, and all the rights associated with American citizenship are fully retained by Our Glorious Hero, so all of his “I’m a global citizen” bullshit is just that. I’d like to see Clark Kent go ex-pat and pursue citizenship in Palestine or Taiwan, or Tibet for that matter, and then Action Comics can claim some sort of political solidarity for what thats worth. What we should be asking ourselves is what is it that Kent’s US Citizenship allows Superman to do, that renouncing it entirely would not?

3) The power, legitimacy, and resource hoarding that once was unflappable behind the seal of American citizenship has dissolved somewhat in the 21st Century. Anyone, including Mulit-national corporation and the US State Department itself, wishing to maintain such command has made strategic shifts to re-brand from “American” to “Global”, “International” or “Worldly”. In the globalized, post-colonial world, power is hard-pressed to get away with much exertion of force or influence without waving some UN, World Bank, IMF, or “coalition” cred- and this is just Superman doing the same.

I won’t pretend for a minute that the editors at DC Comics are as savvy and strategic as all this. In DC’s attempts toward verisimilitude, however, they’ve come marvelously close to capturing the zeitgeist of global power, transforming Superman into just another heuristic for understanding the multi-lateral shifts of imperialist power.

In our own world, then, Scott-Heron remains correct that there ain’t nothing but a superman, afterall, what would an all powerful being need with a US Passport and a stable position in a major media firm in New York City?

Up Up and Awaaaaaaaaaay!
Sunshine Superboy

RIP Typewriters- the End of an Era

Posted in art & music, science, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on May 9, 2011 by Sunshine Superboy

Earlier this week, the last manufacturer of typewriters, throughout all of planet earth, ceased its operations. That is, the antique machines will exist only as such: relics of the past…

art from typewriter pieces

it’s an invention that revolutionised the way we work, becoming an essential piece of office equipment for the best part of a century.

But after years of sterling service, that bane for secretaries has reached the end of the line.

India-based Godrej and Boyce – the last company left in the world that was still manufacturing typewriters – has shut down its production plant in Mumbai, India with just a few hundred machines left in stock.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1380383/Worlds-typewriter-factory-ends-production-Godrej-Boyce-closes-doors.html#ixzz1LrwyrX6N

manual typewriter
Like many kindred punks, I held out hope that we could save typewriter production as we had the vinyl records industry, but alas, the old Remington has gone the way of the Polaroid. Fonts don’t do the trick, and no hipster app is capable of consoling the hole left in this doomed to die art of mixtape labels and crush art salutations.

“xoxo” will never read the same…

Clickity Clack,
Sunshine Superboy