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Thoughts on HBO’s “Brave New Voices”

For a couple of years after I left the national slam scene, I stayed involved with the Brave New Voices festival. And for a year or two, that festival seemed on track to become everything I’d always imagined the “adult” slam could be.

The first year I went as one of Providences coaches, and ended up totally dumbstruck by how great it all was. Huge cyphers outside every event (which I always see as a sign that the crowds are leaving charged up,) all night gatherings of kids in the rooms of the youth hostel… kids and adults taking turns reading stuff for each other out of notebookes until the sun came up…

I sat in the front row on finals night and heard some of the best work I’ve ever come across. Made eye contact a few times with saul williams, who was hosting, and shared multiple looks of “jesus christ. Are you hearing this?’

The competition that night ended with a team being in a position to win, and choosing instead to spontaneously invite every single youth poet in attendence onstage to chant ‘its not all about the competition’ and shut down the fucking show. Far and away the most incredible poetry show I’ve ever witnessed.

In the years since, I’ve watched the Brave New Voices festival be taken over by one of the organizations within it, Youthspeaks.

Youthspeaks’ annual budget is well over a million dollars at this point, and they’ve used the money and staff avaliable to them to completely take over BNV. The guy who runs Youthspeaks, James Kass, is literally Crackah Smiley. He sounds like Whitey McCEO talking to youth mentors and coaches about budgets in the backroom, then gets onstage in front of the youth on some “Yo yo yo you ready for some bomb ass poets or what yawl?”

Evil cocksucker. The result has been the introduction of big money into something that was meant to be about community and creating space for kids. Now it seems to have become another self contained creativity vacuum, where lame poets can get their ego stroked and play rockstar for an audience of equally deluded peers. Just like the “adult” slam.

So I shouldn’t have been surprised when Crackah Jimmy sold the whole show to Russel Simmons, who hasn’t let the fact that he barey understands what performance poetry is stop him from degrading it while banking off it for almost a decade.

The tragedy is that it becomes increasingly unlikely anyones going to have the kinds of exeriences that used to be found at those shows.

Jared and I have debated this within the past week actually, but I’m still pretty firm in my assertion that the good poets have all moved on from poetry slam, and any new good ones will do the same shortly. From where I’m standing, any poet that hangs around that scene is either delusional or addicted to having their ass patted. You win again, champ! 10!

So, felt the need to air that out. I have some friends in the community still, who I enjoy getting to see and talk to, but for the most part I’ll continue quietly hoping for the collapse of Poetry Slam International, Youthspeaks, and the sham national competitions they run.

May 05

Movie Time with Benjamin II

Well, some folks have approached and messaged me saying they watched and enjoyed the movies I posted up last time, so that’s reason enough for a sequel I think …

If you still haven’t seen the first batch, stop being a tool. See those movies. See these movies too. I’m only recommending the best of the best here, and all of these are worth your time.

1.) Apocalypse Now

Marlon Brando, Apocalypse Now

I know, I know. Obvious suggestion. You’ve already seen Apocalypse Now. You’re so beyond this suggestion. Well, be quiet. I have a game plan here. I need to make sure you’ve seen Apocalypse Now. If you have, maybe watch it again or just skip to suggestion #2. If you haven’t, then I’m just going to say a list of names and then you’re going to go out and rent this movie tonight. Ready? Francis Ford Coppola. Marlon Brando. Martin Sheen. Dennis Hopper. Laurence Fishburn. Robert Duvall. You should have the movie in your hands by now. Watch that shet.

NOW, here comes the napalm:

2.) Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse

Francis Ford Coppola, The Failure

“We were in the jungle, there were too many of us, we had access to too much money, too much equipment, and little by little we went insane.” -Coppola

One of my favorite movies ever, for a lot of reasons. Using behind the scenes footage, and narrated by Eleanor Coppola, this movie chronicles the making of Apocalypse Now, and “illustrates how production problems including bad weather, actors’ health and other issues delayed the film, increasing costs and nearly destroying the life and career of Francis Ford Coppola.”  Marlon Brando shows up on the set 50 pounds overweight with none of his lines memorized.  Coppola can’t finish writing the script cause it doesn’t really express his ideas.   Dennis Hopper drops acid and improvises all his lines.  Martin Sheen has a nervous breakdown and heart attack in the middle of filming.  Shots are interrupted so that “Coppola’s helicopters” can go fight a civil war in the hills.

I mean… fucking hell.  This movie is one of the all time great studies of obsession, ego, and life’s mimicry of art on an epic scale.  So good.  See this movie.

Honorable Mention: ‘Tropic Thunder’ riffs on ‘Hearts of Darkness’ in a way that I found cool and entertaining, and I really dug the way ‘Tropic Thunder’ was continually pulling the rug out from under the viewer … but I’m bein stingy with these here recommendations.

3.)  Sweet and Lowdown

Sean Penn, Sweet and Lowdown

Sean Penn does it again boyee.  Sage actually recommended this movie to me, and lent me this VHS a year or two ago.  It’s easy to see why certain parts of this movie appealed to Francis, and you might find some recognizable themes from papa’s music in the character of the fictional jazz guitarist Emmet Ray.  Written and directed stunningly by Woody Allen, who I don’t always dig.  This one is sad and beautiful in all the right places.  I highly recommend it.

4.) The Taking of the Pelham One Two Three (1974)one two three

If you want a doo-doo rhyme then come see me!

Recently, I was in Reno, killing time before picking Francis up at the airport.  I decide to waste a couple hours seeing “Sunshine Cleaners” at a Reno movie theatre.  As it turns out, I should’ve just scored some ketamine and chased it with a bottle of Nyquil.  On the way into the theatre to see this 2 hour suicide ad, I started noticing that all the theater personnel were wearing shirts that say “The Taking of the Pelham 123.”

And I says to myself… “huh?  Are they celebrating an anniversary or something?  Are they showing it here on the big screen?”

NOPE.

Turns out fucking JOHN TRAVOLTA stars in a remake of this fucking classic that’s about to be re-released.  Hell. No.

See the original.  It’s got a 70s funk soundtrack that will kick your ass.  It’s where Quentin Tarantino stole his criminals with color names idea from (Mr. Blue, Mr. White, etc.)  See the original or the Scientologists have already won.

5.)  Jesus Camp

Jesus

After seeing this movie, I sat down at my kitchen table and wrote “Joan of Arcadia” in one shot.  Recorded the song, as it appears on the album, within the hour.  I was effected by this flick.

The movie is a documentary about the “Kids On Fire School of Ministry” (heh.)  Which is run by Pastor Becky Fischer, who the entire first half of “Joan” describes.  “A smothering mother’s body, body like a black hole…”

Becky wants kids to be on fire for Christ like suicide bombers are on fire for Allah.  I’m not paraphrasing.  She states that directly in the course of this film.  It’s a well made, balanced documentary free of lame editorializing (ahem, Michael Moore.)  Lots of folks will have seen this one already, but for those who haven’t I recommend it strongly.

That’s all for now, suckas.

I’m trapped in fucking Humboldt County.

A cop just pulled me over and then told me all about his Grateful Dead cover band when I told him I was a traveling musician.

Get me outta hea before I turn into a hackey sack.

Love,

b

Apr 10

Blackpower.com Joins the Fight Against Justin!

Hell yessssss. It’s on baby! My poem has single-handedly turned the tide of public opinion! I’m bringin deadly back (go head b. dolan)

From Blackpower.com:

How Can Justin Timberlake Still Objectify Black Women And Get Away With It?

Someone please explain why Justin Timberlake continually gets a pass to fetishize and exploit the image of Black women. Right now. Because after watching him aggressively pulling on a chain wrapped around Ciara’s neck only to later use her bending body as a leaning post in her new video for “Love Sex Magic,”it’s getting ludicrously difficult to understand.

It been years since “Nipplegate” after which he distanced himself from Janet Jackson, cowardly allowing her to endure the overly harsh criticism alone. The outcry against his actions from those of us in the indignant minority was quickly overshadowed by an increase in album sales, multiple music awards and an increase in his Pop stardom miming Black music and culture. Instead of subjecting his next project with trepidation–let alone dismissal–nearly every “urban” club, radio station and music channel on the planet had the masses bumping to a song with a hook that’s about shackles, whipping and slavery.

From behind a wry smile and with his hair faded he actually tarnished a reigning, Black Pop star’s image arguably beyond repair by exposing her breast on national television and then built his street cred further by bringing sexy back, Middle Passage style. He’s transitioned from the post-racialist’s pop culture dream of somewhat harmlessly lusting after beautiful Black love interest in the video for “Like I Love You” into something more sinister. He uses the scapegoat of S&M edginess in which he is the aggressor, the dominant force, to subordinate his object of desire when she is Black.

He distanced himself from those undertones in using shackles (why not a different two syllable kinky word like handcuffs, Justin? Or latex, like the piece you tore off of Miss Jackson?) and whipping in the song by making himself the slave, and in the video by making lusty faces with a White woman. But all of the soft edginess and ambgious sexism and racism has become the central M.O. for him in the video for “Love Sex Magic.”

It’s not even his song but in the video he’s in the opening scene, pulling on a chained Ciara. Whenever the two are interacting she is doing all kinds of sexy acrobatics for him–crawling over him, stick out her ass for him to lean on, bumping him with her breasts–but he can barely be bothered to look her in the face half of the time…and he’s on screen a lot. She looks desparate, and he looks like a pimp. As the video progresses and their roles become more evident it gets more disgusting.

Yes, Ciara is grown and autonomous. So is Janet. But that just makes his ability to exploit their collaborations to the point that they are subjegated to his dominance, wittingly or not, more protestable. Additionally, it seems that at this point active defense, tacit approval, or even celebration of this behavior/persona is beyond ignorant and only subjegates women further. The “that’s capitalism” and “it’s just entertainment!” defenses also fall short because both are integral aspects of our shared culture and have impact beyond the superficialities of the music industry hustle and streaming videos online. Dig deeper than that.

So the question stands: Why does he still get a pass?

Here’s the video in question:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bx7cF8T4F44[/youtube]

Apr 03

Evel Knievel’s last interview, given days before he died.

Someone gave this to me the other night in Dallas, and I hadn’t seen it previously.  Thought it was good enough to share here.
Evel Never Dies
Before anyone ever dreamed of the XGames, Evel Knievel bet his life on every performance
By Pat Jordan

The greatest daredevil who ever lived is half-lying in an easy chair in a track suit, like Fidel in his hospital bed, struggling to breathe through a nose tube that’s connected to an oxygen tank in the living room of his small condo in St. Petersburg, Florida. At 69, he is a gaunt man with a wispy puff of white hair and taut, shiny, pale skin stretched over his high cheekbones. But that doesn’t mean he’s about to take crap from his bookie, who’s on the phone. “You telling me I didn’t take the Patriots?” Evel Knievel rasps. “I know who I took!” Minutes later he takes another call, from a man who  wants to “give” him a star on the Las Vegas Walk of Stars—for $15,000. “Not if I have to pay for it,” he says firmly, then hangs up, exhausted. How preposterous that someone in Vegas would charge him for a star. This January, after all, marks the 40th anniversary of one of the city’s greatest spectacles, his daring and disastrous motorcycle jump over the Caesars Palace fountain, the event that propelled him to super­stardom. He would go on to become one of the most famous men in the world. His motorcycle and riding costume are enshrined in the Smithsonian. A river is named after him, as is a biker convention in his hometown of Butte, Montana. When ABC listed its most-watched Wide World of Sports episodes, Evel Knievel specials placed 1st, 3rd, 7th, and 12th. No wonder he thinks Las Vegas, like everybody else, should pay for the right to use his name.

He is most famous for his death-defying motorcycle jumps and crashes, but mostly he’s famous for being Evel Knievel, the man who invented a sport, and himself. At a time when extreme sports and reality TV are more popular than ever, few remember that he founded both and bled for it as he did so. He was one of the first self-promoted celebrities, the man who, like his friend Muhammad Ali, shamelessly pronounced himself “the Greatest.” He redefined celebrity not as a means to an end but as a goal in itself. He inspired generations of fathers to say to their reckless sons, “Who do you think you are, Evel Knievel?” His godlike status makes it surreal to see him like this now, sucking up oxygen in God’s Waiting Room. “I’m dying,” he rasps. “This may be the last interview I ever do.”

He’s been dying for 42 years, first from his career, then from liver failure in the ’90s, and now from a rare lung disease, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. “How much can a human body endure?” he asks. “My immune system’s shot. The doctors gave me three years four years ago. I got this disease that’s so rare there’s no cure. I don’t know of anybody else who had it except Marlon Brando.” Which was always the point with Evel Knievel. He was always unique, and still is, awaiting death with a rare disease few other mortals ever had.

He created his image, and his life, out of the clay of Robert Craig Knievel, a wild kid from Butte, Montana. He was a good high school skier and hockey player, then a motorcycle racer, a bank robber, and—is it true?—a safecracker.

“What do ya mean, ‘is it true?’” he snaps, “I can still crack a safe with one hand tied behind my back. I’m not proud of it. But I was always against society.”

He became Evel Knievel in the mid-’60s when he asked a Norton motorcycle distributor named Bob Blair to sponsor him. Blair said he would, but only if he changed his name to Evil. Not eager to tempt God, he changed the i to an e. From that point forward, not even he would think of himself as Robert anymore. “It’s who I am,” he says. “I am Evel Knievel.”

To help sell motorcycles, he began jumping over “weird things”—a box of snakes, a lion, a tank full of sharks. (For the record: The term “jump the shark” originated with him, not the Fonz.) “I was happy he’d finally found a job he liked to do,” his wife, Linda—surely the most understand­ing woman in America—once said. When they divorced years later, she said, “He always thought there was something better out there and never stopped looking for it.”

He began looking for longer and more dangerous jumps, too, until, by the late ’60s, he was Evel Knievel, the greatest motorcycle daredevil the world had ever known, a man who was willing to jump over 13 double-decker buses, a 1,500-foot-wide canyon, the moon if he could find a rocket-propelled motorcycle powerful enough. He had balls the size of watermelons, which is why his fans loved him.

“It’s easy to be famous today,” he says. “People pay a million dollars to be recognized, but nobody cares about them. They cared about me because I did things other men were afraid to do. That’s why my fans identified with me. They were mostly working-class.”

His fans were also drawn to him because of the possibility of a crash, broken bones, failure, and death. They sometimes booed when he succeeded, shouting out, “That was too easy!” and cheered when he crashed. “My failures had a lot to do with my fame,” he admits. He once famously said, “I created Evel Knievel, and then he sort of got away from me.”

He meant that he let his fans dictate what he did. “They always expected more,” he says. So he gave it to them. Longer and more dangerous jumps: two cars, then 22 cars. It was said that during the height of his fame, grown men admired him, young boys wanted to be like him, and women wanted to sleep with him. He was tall and handsome in the country way, with prominent cheekbones and a high, swept-back pompadour, like a ’70s lounge lizard. He wore a white leather costume with red-white-and-blue stars and stripes and a flowing cape—a little gay actually, but understandable since the idea came from his friend Liberace.

Evel was dangerous, hard-drinking (his poison: a beer, tomato juice, Wild Turkey concoction called a Montana Mary), and sexual, every women’s bad-boy fantasy, which he embellished. He carried a .44 magnum and a gold-and-ebony hollowed-out cane with a sword in it. People wondered: Who was Evel Knie­vel real­ly? A flimflam artist, a crazy man, or a man of monumental courage? Maybe a bit of each. By the early ’70s, he counted Elvis, Ali, and Steve McQueen as friends. Books were written about him. Three bad movies were made about his life. He’s been featured in countless TV specials, and, Lord have mercy, this year Evel Knievel: The Rock Opera opened in Los Angeles to rave reviews.

Today Evel owns the rights to his name and image and is willing to put them on anything he can sell. He claims to have made $10 million over the past few years. To show me, he laboriously rises from his chair. Trailing his oxygen tube behind him like a tether to life, he shuffles toward his office, then suddenly gasps for breath. “You’re standing on my tube,” he mutters.

The office is a mess. Clothes strewn on a chair. Boxes piled high. Toys. Dolls. Caps. Tchotchkes everywhere. He points to a photograph: Evel in his white leather costume on a motorcycle while a slacker-looking kid in baggy shorts sits behind him, making a funny face, as if this posed picture with this fossil is a joke. Evel looks back over his shoulder, his eyes half-lidded, dismissive, a little threatening.

“That’s Tony Hawk,” says Evel, “the skateboard champion. I know him and Mat Hoffman, the bicycle stunt kid. I’m the father to them all.” He means he is the progenitor of all the extreme sports kids of today, the skateboarders who leap off walls, the actors who crash into walls in the Jackass movies, the contestants on Fear Factor.

“He’s a legend to all of us,” says pro skateboarder Danny Way, who jumped the Great Wall of China in 2005. “We probably wouldn’t have the opportunities we do without him. There wasn’t a lot of history of people doing 100-foot jumps before him. The motorcycles weren’t made for it. The ramps weren’t made for it. And he went out and just did it.”

Breathing heavily in little gasps, Evel shuffles back to his chair. “Things ain’t easy, buddy,” he says, struggling for breath. “It’s a compli­ment to me that all those kids come up to me. I always knew how to draw a crowd.”

Evel drew his biggest crowds with three jumps, all of which failed spectacularly, beginning with his Caesars Palace fountain jump on New Year’s Day, 1968. He cleared the foun­tain, but then his back wheel caught on the landing ramp, sending  him tumbling over his motorcycle, which then rolled over him.

“It was my worst injury,” he recalls. “I had a compound fracture of my left hip, broke my right wrist and left ankle, and had a severe concussion. I was unconscious 30 days. You know, I had a couple hundred jumps in my career, and I made most of them, but the ones they show over and over are the ones when I crashed.”

Which is not quite the truth. His most famous jump, in 1974, was meant to be over a 1,500-foot-wide abyss known as the Snake River Canyon in Idaho. That day would be immortalized on film and in the press as one of the most hyped events in sports—and one of the biggest fiascos. Fifteen thousand people showed up for the jump. People went to theaters to watch it on closed-circuit television. Then three quarters of the way up his takeoff ramp, Evel’s parachute prematurely deployed. He fluttered to the canyon floor below like the white petal of a flower.

He wasn’t hurt, but his image as a fearless daredevil was. The headlines the following day read “Evel Knievel Fails to Die” (right alongside: “Ford Pardons Nixon”). The presumption was, if he was stupid enough to self-destruct, then he was obligated to go through with it.

“The engineer made a mistake, and the chute deployed too soon,” he says. “It was heartbreaking.” When asked about the event’s credibility, he fumes: “I was on the cover of Sports Illustrated! What more do you want?”

To redeem himself, Evel set up a jump over 13 buses in London’s Wembley Stadium before a crowd of more than 70,000, for which he was paid $1 million. Like the Caesars jump, he cleared the buses but crashed on landing and suffered devastating injuries, including a crushed vertebra. Yet he managed to stand up afterward, wave to his fans, and say into a mike, “I will never, ever, ever, ever jump again.”

“I never thought I was a failure unless I didn’t try to get up after a crash,” says Evel today. “Kids come up to me all the time and say, ‘Once I was going through a really bad time, and I saw you crash and get up, and it inspired me.’”

Despite his Wembley proclamation, Evel made one last big jump, then retired. “I was tired of getting beat to death,” he says. But why did he punish himself in the first place?

“You can’t ask a guy like me why,” Evel snaps. “I wanted to fly through the air. I was a dare­devil, a performer. I loved the thrill, the money, the whole macho thing. All those things made me Evel Knievel. Sure, I was scared. You gotta be an ass not to be scared. But I beat the hell out of death. It would all go by so fast, in a blur. One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, four Mississippi. You’re in the air for four seconds, you’re part of the machine, and then if you make a mistake midair, you say to yourself, ‘Oh, boy. I’m gonna crash,’ and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.”

Evel spent the rest of the ’70s drinking, carousing, chasing women—in general living up to his wild-man rep, which he bolstered by taking a baseball bat to a former publicist to settle a vendetta. For that offense he served almost six months in prison.

“There were always 15 guys standing outside my cell for autographs,” he says. “I liked all of them. They were just them and I was just me.”

Once when Evel was on a work release detail with other cons, he hired 15 limousines to pick them all up in the morning and bring them back at night. When the warden saw cons getting into limousines, he had a fit.

“Boy, he was pissed off,” remembers Evel. “I told him, just because these guys were in jail didn’t mean they were bad. I was just trying to get them to feel part of the system. He understood then.” On the day of his release, inmates carried out Evel’s footlockers for him.

Evel took a financial hit from the prison episode when he lost endorsements, and he began making noises about resuming his career, about wanting to jump out of an airplane at 40,000 feet without a parachute. “The state of Nevada stopped me,” he says.

I ask Evel if he still thinks of himself as a tough guy. “Aw, I don’t know,” he responds. “I’m just me.” He still keeps a .44 magnum, and he gets up and shows it to me. “I’d rather have men fear me more than like me. Fear and respect go a long way. If a guy likes you, that comes with it.” He returns with a beer. “I was a bitter sunuvabitch when I was younger,” he says. Which brings us to his son Robbie.

In his 40s, Kaptain Robbie Knievel is the greatest motorcycle daredevil of his day, but  Evel and Robbie have a strained relationship. Robbie says his father is jealous because he’s successfully completed most of the jumps Evel failed at. He has not, however, attempted to jump the Snake River Canyon. “You don’t see no long line of guys trying to jump that canyon, do you?” Evel cackles like an old crone.

Robbie has said he was the only member of the family who had the guts to stand up to his irascible father. “That’s true,” Evel says. “I admire him for that. Robbie’s a better rider than I was. He started earlier, and he has better equipment. But I don’t think any daredevils today, including Robbie, had to bite the bullet like I did. It’s not so exciting to fans if there’s a 90 percent chance you’re gonna succeed.”

In fact, Evel’s publicity biography lists all his crashes proudly, while Robbie’s mentions only “three sprained ankles.” Robbie even pokes fun at his father in his recent Holiday Inn Express TV commercial. In it a motorcycle slams into a school bus. People come running, but the rider turns out to be a dummy. Robbie appears smiling, as if to say, “I wasn’t dumb enough to crash.” When a reporter asks if someone talked some sense into him, he says, “No, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.” The subtext: Evel Knievel is that dummy.

“I got my own commercial,” says Evel. “For a lunch box. It was on in a recent NFL game.” No wonder the kid’s been battling his old man all these years; the sunuvabitch never quits.

Before Evel says goodbye, he talks about how he found God a few months ago, in a hotel room in Daytona Beach. “All my life I was an atheist,” he says. “I’d tell people I didn’t believe Jesus could walk on water. Then something happened in Daytona. God spoke to me. He said, ‘Robert, you got to stop tellin’ people you don’t believe in me. I been takin’ care of you for years, watchin’ over you. I done everything for you. And you go tell people you don’t believe in me. You gotta stop it.’”

Evel puts his hands over his face, then sobs, “I told God I’d never insult him again.” So did St. Augustine, who also asked God to send him chastity. But Evel’s not quite ready for that. Maybe later, when he’s an old man.

Mar 27

New B. Dolan Video + Tour Starts Today!

Here’s a fresh leak from B. Dolan’s DVD project, finally viewable after 2 years of recording, hunting down footage, and editing.

This is the Evel Knievel performance that Dolan performed for a year before writing “The Skycycle Blues.”

The main performance shown here, at the 2007 Paid Dues Festival, took place a few days after B found out he was cancer free, after a 6 month melanoma scare. “Ladies and Gentlemen you have no idea how good it feels to be here.”

Also contained here is footage from a number of the shows referenced on the back of the “Live Evel” EP. Turn the volume up and watch this fucker in full-screen mode.”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnmIsR5jLWs[/youtube]

Below is a partial list of performances and workshops “The Direct Democracy Tour”
(Jared Paul & B. Dolan) will be presenting across the US STARTING TODAY.

Many of these shows will be intimate, spoken word type affairs, with poems and songs
being performed in a different format than usual, and lots of room for things like audience
Q&A, experimental & new pieces, and… you know… mind sex.

The workshops presented may be open to the public in some cases (check with the university for
more info). Jared & B will be talking in the workshops about their varied personal experiences with
social justice work, and providing workshop participants with
feedback on how to create dialogue and strengthen their own community efforts.

3/10 – D-Lounge – NYC 3/11 – University of Delaware, Perkins Student Center- Delaware

3/12 – University of Delaware (workshop)
3/13 – Prayers For Atheists w/ B. Dolan @ McKibben Loft – Brooklyn, NY
3/14 – Upstate Artist Guild/Social Justice Center – Albany, NY
3/17 – The Independent @ 501 Studios – Austin, TX
3/18 – Shannon Leigh Youth Arts Program – Austin, TX
3/21 – SXSW SFR Showcase – Austin TX
3/22 – Life In Deep Ellum- Dallas, TX
3/23 – Ephemeral Gallery – Baton Rouge, LA
3/24 – G.N.O.A.M. Artist Commune – New Orleans
3/26 – Taste of Art Cafe – Milwaukee
3/27 – First Ave w/ Cecil Otter & Sage Francis – Minneapolis, MN
3/28 – The Re-Evolution House – Ft. Collins, CO
3/29 – Mercury Cafe: Denver, CO
3/30 – Utah Valley University – Provo, UT
3/31 – BOING Collective – Salt Lake City, UT
4/1 – TBA – San Francisco, CA
4/2 – Tourettes Without Regrets! – Oakland, CA
4/4 – Speak Your Mind Festival w/ Sage Francis, 2mex, more – Reno, NV
4/5 – West Valley College: WVC Campus Theatre – San Jose, CA
4/6 – SubRosa – Santa Cruz
4/9 – Accident Gallery (HSU Workshop) – Eureka, CA
4/10 – Humboldt State University (KBR) – Arcata, CA
4/14 – Boise State University – Boise, ID
4/15 – Boise State (workshop)
4/17 – University of Washington – Seattle, WA
4/22 – UC-San Deigo, San Deigo, CA
4/25 – University of New Mexico: Fiestas! – Albuquerque, NM


Mar 10

Movie time with Benjamin

I dunno.. what the fuck do people blog about.

Wanna know some movies I like?  Ok here’s some movies I like.

“My Best Fiend” by Werner Herzog

An all time favorite right here.  Klaus Kinski is not fuck-with able.  Werner Herzog is his only equal.  Together they make sweet sweet german despair-porn.  Have I made myself clear?  This is everything a movie should ever be.  If it turned out the universe existed just so this movie could be made, I would find that reasonable.  I’m exaggerating, but I think it’s very good.

“All The President’s Men”

The story of how Watergate came to pass.  Richard Nixon is one of my favorite characters ever to live.  Speaking of which, another great movie about Nixon:

“Secret Honor” by Robert Altman

This entire movie consists of one 90 minute monologue by Philip Baker Hall, playing Richard Nixon getting drunk in his library.  Without ever leaving the room, this movie has wiped it’s dick with Oliver Stone and Josh Brolin by the 2 minute mark.   Some interesting Bohemian Grove talk in this too.

“Rope” by Alfred Hitchcock

Another movie shot in one location.  Hitchcock gets a lot of love, but I think this movie gets slept on. Stop sleeping, world.

“Barton Fink” by the Cohen Brothers

Alright, I concede.  I’m not too into the Cohen Brothers a lot of the time,  but this is the movie that comes closest to making me a believer in the hype.  As soon as I finished this movie I watched it again from the beginning.  That’s never happened before.  Maybe the illest climax ever recorded to film.  Bedframe prison bars.  See this movie immediately.

I could keep going, but it’s gonna take you at least a day to watch all these.  I don’t want to fill up your schedule.  You have work you should be doing.

But, watch this shit when you get a chance.  Report back here.  That’s all for now

Slumdog Millionaire was shite,

b

Mar 04

B. Dolan & Jared Paul Tour Dates Announced!

Below is a partial list of performances and workshops “The Direct Democracy Tour”
(Jared Paul & B. Dolan) will be presenting across the US this Spring. More dates
will be announced in the coming weeks. If you have any University contacts,
or solid promoters willing to make an offer, holla! Some dates may still be available!

Many of these shows will be intimate, spoken word type affairs, with poems and songs
being performed in a different format than usual, and lots of room for things like audience
Q&A, experimental & new pieces, and… you know… mind sex.

The workshops presented may be open to the public in some cases (check with the university for
more info). Jared & B will be talking in the workshops about their varied personal experiences with
social justice work, and providing workshop participants with
feedback on how to create dialogue and strengthen their own community efforts.

3/10 – D-Lounge – NYC
3/11 – University of Delaware, Perkins Student Center- Delaware
3/11 – University of Delaware (workshop)
3/15 – Syracuse University – Syracuse, NY
3/17 – The Independent @ 501 Studios – Austin, TX
3/18 – Shannon Leigh Youth Arts Program – Austin, TX
3/21 – SXSW SFR Showcase – Austin TX
3/22 – TBA – Dallas, TX
3/23 – TBA – Baton Rouge, LA
3/24 – G.N.O.A.M. Artist Commune – New Orleans
3/26 – Taste of Art Cafe – Milwaukee
3/27 – Substance Event w/ Cecil Otter & Sage Francis – First Ave, Minneapolis, MN
3/28 – The Re-Evolution House – Ft. Collins, CO
3/29 – Mercury Cafe: Denver, CO
3/30 – Utah Valley University – Provo, UT
3/31 – BOING Collective – Salt Lake City, UT
4/1 – TBA – San Francisco, CA
4/2 – Tourettes Without Regrets! – Oakland, CA
4/4 – Speak Your Mind Festival w/ Sage Francis, 2mex, more – Reno, NV
4/5 – West Valley College: WVC Campus Theatre – San Jose, CA
4/8 – Humboldt State University – Arcata, CA
4/9 – Accident Gallery (HSU Workshop) – Arcata, CA
4/14 – Boise State University – Boise, ID
4/15 – Boise State (workshop)
4/17 – University of Washington – Seattle, WA
4/22 – UC-San Deigo, San Deigo, CA

Stay tuned for more dates!

Feb 24

Funny story… breaking news

So, here’s a weird bit of scandalous information I’ve been hanging onto for a few months…

It involves one of my tourmates, a sadomasochistic fetish community, and a prominent conservative politician you may know.  Titillated?  READ ON.

Earlier this year, after playing an afternoon show in Chicago,  the tour i was on found itself in a pretty posh hotel, with no show scheduled for the next day.  This was our first night off in weeks, and everyone was pumped as we got there.

I arrive at the hotel on a mission to zone out.  Got some pizza.  Got some laundry to do.  Got my bag out of the van and I’m about to head upstairs.

Briefly, I notice that one of my tourmates, we’ll call him Grunge 65 le sac bastid, has struck up a conversation over cigarettes with a girl sitting on a bench outside.  I leave the two of them there and head in.

Focused on pizza and laundry.  Walking quickly through the lobby.  Only vaguely aware of anything unusual going on when I see a girl walk by in some dominatrix gear.  There’s bound to be at least one dominatrix in any big city hotel lobby, I’m guessing.  No big deal.

Sitting on a stool in front of the elevators is an heavy-set, 50 year old woman in a nurse costume with fishnet stockings.  She’s holding a clipboard and makes too much eye contact as I approach.  Why not.  Get on the elevator and head up to my room.

About an hour goes by, and my tourmate, who I’m sharing the room with, hasn’t come up to the room since we unloaded the van.  I’m thinking, “ya dawg.”  My pizza is in my belly.  I’m chilling and checking emails.

Suddenly, Grunge 65 le sac bastid comes barreling into the room, clearly fucked up and also stoned.

“Dude.  Dude.”

“Haha… what happened?”

“That girl?  That girl I was smoking the cigarette with?  She’s here with some kind of  S&M convention.  We just smoked a lot of weed in her car, and then I followed her into a conference room where a naked chick was suspended from the ceiling by ropes.  She just invited me to the gang bang in room 503!  Apparently room 402 is completely covered in plastic tarps and there’s a shitload of people in there pissing on each other!”

Yikes.

To make a long story short, Grunge 65 le sac bastid proceeded to have a long night of weird experiences with this girl, which may or may not have included a trip to the piss & slide.

HOWEVER,

The really weird part of this story was told to me the next morning.

Paraphrasing G65lscbastids’ account:

“I’m out in front of the hotel smoking a cigarette with this girl, and suddenly I see a black limo pull up.  Out of the hotel comes a guy that I saw earlier, in the suspension demonstration.  He looks vaguely familiar, and suddenly the limo makes me remember where I’ve seen him before.  He’s your ambassador to the UN…”

me: “JOHN BOLTON?!”

“Yeah, yeah that’s him.  So I asked the girl you know… ‘is he a member of your group?’ and she says ‘well we’re supposed to protect everyone’s names and be anonymous, but yeah.  he’s really into bondage.  teaches classes on it sometimes.’”

Another interesting bit of info obtained from this girl, was the fact that this whole S&M community is apparently made up of white Republicans.  Earlier in the night she’d hinted at the fact that the community was an “exclusive group,” (i.e. that no black person would ever be allowed to join it.)

So, there you have it.  As told to me by Grunge 65 le sac bastid:

John Bolton, the controversial former US Ambassador to the UN, belongs to an racist republican S&M community, and is something of an expert in bondage.

For those who need a refresher on who John Bolton is and was, check the attached video.

So you see, this isn’t earth shattering news.  Not front page of Knowmore.org material, but eyebrow raising nonetheless.  Blog-worthy maybe.  I hope your eyebrows were raised.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RuqNWG9sbuE[/youtube]

p.s. I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking it’s hypocritical of me to put John Bolton on blast while protecting the identity of my tourmate.   To which I’d say, get lost Timberlake.

Feb 22

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