Review of, Welcome Distractions: Accessible Poems for Time-Strapped Humans (Autonomedia, 2018)

Let's be perfectly clear. Carol Wierzbicki's Welcome Distractions: Accessible Poems for Time-Strapped Humans is a terrific book of poems of/for our time. A book, dare I say it, of terrific female-take poems of and for our time, that will last, that should be required reading for all. And fun. And you will gasp: Yes! she nailed it.

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Ocean’s 8: The quirky little street kid to the Ocean’s big brothers

Some film introduce you to characters that stay with you hours afterwards or are so profound you only find more genius in it with every viewing. Ocean’s 8 does neither but it knows what it is and that’s pure unadulterated, a fun, breezy comedic break from the heavy cloud of a chaotic political climate, and viewed at the movie theater, escape from the blistering sun. Ocean’s 8 is the playful younger, street kid to it’s heavier three big brothers. In the theater someone joked that it was called Ocean’s 8 because they couldn’t find 14 actresses as this not a pre-quel ,but takes place after Ocean’s 13.

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“For the Artists, by the Artists: a Visit to the Nachalat Binyamin Market”

I’ve been wearing the same necklace for five years — a dove, wings stretched, perched inside a silver triangle; its wings, beak, and the points of the triangle outlining a Magen David, a Jewish star. Five years ago, I bought this necklace from an artist on Nachalat Binyamin, a bustling artisan market at the heart of Tel Aviv, Israel. Adjacent to the famed and always-hectic fish market, Shuk haCarmel; a ten minute walk from one of Israel’s hippest beaches; and polka-dotted with restaurants selling a wide range of authentic cuisines, Nachalat Binyamin is an Eden for artists, as well as for the admirers who patron their work.

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Review of Ishmael Reed's - "Conjugating Hindi"

All little stories when they grow up want to be Ishmael Reed novels. They know that the nonpareil knowledge, freedom, and fun will be exhilarating. It’s the only place where in one paragraph you can bump into James Baldwin, John Waters, Chester Himes, Frank Zappa, Murphy Brown, Mary Richards, Beyoncé, Stephen King, Amiri Baraka, Edward Albee, Andy Warhol, and Snoop Dogg (11-12). You are privy to grappling with European and Indian mythology. You also get to visit art galleries and museums because plentiful graphic images are often part of the package. As Loop, a character in Reed’s 1969 Yellow Back Radio Broke-Down, expresses it, “No one says a novel has to be one thing. It can be anything it wants to be (36).” In Conjuring Hindi, Reed’s eleventh offering, the author reinforces this statement and buckles everyone in for a wild ride.

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Small Screen Grandeur: Ava DuVernay’s Queen Sugar

It's been said before and will probably be said for many more years to come - we are in the golden age of television. All of which began like a trickle with a few A-list dwelling actors taking on roles in shows where the storylines had a cinematic prowess and solid direction. At the time television was starved for depth amidst the extremely popular reality show boom of the 2000s - but scales were tipped by the presence of dramas like Mad Men (a career defining moment for actor Jon Hamm), Weeds (starring Mary Louise Parker), Damages (starring Glenn Close but including many guest stars by actors like Ted Danson and John Goodman), and House of Cards (starring Robin Wright and Kevin Spacey). Television no longer belonged to sitcoms and sketch comedy and by 2018 the aforementioned ‘trickle’ caused a dam to break and networks clamoring to present equally worthy TV to their viewers. A necessary move to ensure their place in the market especially in the face of mega producer - the streaming service Netflix, that produces shows around the clock, thus keeping viewers constantly engaged, interested and subscribed to the service and killing network competition.

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Q&A WITH BRENT JONES: AUTHOR OF GO HOME, AFTON AND THE NEW AFTON MORRISON SERIAL THRILLER SERIES

A Disturbed Vigilante Children’s Librarian in Pursuit of a Violent Sexual Predator. A small town librarian with a dark side, Afton, twenty-six, has suppressed violent impulses her entire adult life. Impulses that demand she commit murder. Go Home, Afton is the first of four parts in a new serial thriller by author Brent Jones. Packed with grit and action, The Afton Morrison Series delves into a world of moral ambiguity, delivering audiences an unlikely heroine in the form of a disturbed vigilante murderess.

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VENTICENTO - A Series of Not-So Classical Nudes

Van Der Plas Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of Venticento, a show of classically-inspired nudes on canvas, wall and paper by Russian-American artist Phil Rabovsky. Taking its name from the quattrocento, or Italian High Renaissance, Venticento is a twenty-first century look at the humanist tradition, bringing out ways this tradition has idealized, standardized, and appropriated the female body as a cultural symbol. Parallel to this critique, the show also sees in humanism the remains of something valuable—a faith in our own agency and ability to access truth that is missing from the politically-disoriented postmodern world. Politics, humanism reminds us, is not just about resisting power. It must also build polities. In light of recent events, Venticento asks if it is possible to reclaim a positive image of our own power, and believe in civilization once again.

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Native American…or Indian…or whatever you call us - "There There" book review

The first time I revealed in a public place that I was Native (American) I was in 4th grade. It was part of the usual Elementary multicultural day celebration and I was asked to stand in front of the class and present my culture. I spoke simply and stated I am an American Indian” and presented corn bread as my potluck contribution (as if corn bread is some national identifying Native food.) Before I could sit back down in my seat I was heckled at from a child across the room “INDIANS ARE EXTINCT -- LIKE THE DINOSAURS! You’re a liar!” It was the first time I questioned my identity, am I a liar? Am I not Native? What does it mean to be an American Indian?

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Meet the 11-Year-Old Girls Whose Music Wowed the Philharmonic- New York Times

It was the kind of debut most musicians only dream of: a world-class orchestra, tens of thousands of listeners. At its outdoor parks concerts last week, the New York Philharmonic performed works by two 11-year-old girls, Camryn Cowan and Jordan Millar — newcomers to the world of composing. They won over the crowds, who gave standing ovations. Anthony Tommasini of The New York Times gave them an effusive review. “Audiences were clearly blown away and delightfully surprised,” said Deborah Borda, the Philharmonic’s president and chief executive.

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Review: Beyonce, Jay Z Push Empowerment with Art in Apes**t Video, The Carters Album

Most musicians film videos on private jets, boats and dance clubs. Hip-Hop Icons Beyonce and Jay-Z used famed Paris-based Louvre Museum as the backdrop for the hit single “Apeshit” video. Beyonce and Jay-Z just released the best music video of both careers spanning two decades of Hip-hop and R&B. There hasn’t been a video with this kind of interesting detail captivating audiences since TLC’s “Waterfalls” released in 1995.

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Review of Eve Packer, Foss Park: Poems

Eve Packer continues her photojournalistic exploration of New York (and her own emotional interior landscape) in these spare, eloquent poems. Many of the poems have dates, and some are even time-stamped, giving the impression of journal entries. In this way Packer marks events in the news, the seasons, the deaths of friends, and the closing of mom-and-pop businesses with a nod to the passing of time—a reassuring constant when so much else seems to be in flux.

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A year since Grenfell, and no answers

One year ago, decades of austerity, mismanagement and neglect came to a lethal conclusion in the Grenfell Tower block in west London. The inferno, wrote Claire Armitstead, was an “appalling reminder of how contemptuously many of London’s poorest citizens have been treated over decades of privatisation and mismanagement.” That such an atrocity could occur in 2017 in a Royal Borough running huge revenue underspends is a cruel irony, one matched only by the response to the tragedy, which has been criticized for showing the same callousness, racism and institutional failure that allowed conditions in Grenfell to become so dire—and which continue to characterize life for so many others in the capital.

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BUMPO

On June 19, 1986, I was home from college and taking a history class in the summer session at the local junior college in my hometown.  It was around 7:30 p.m. and the instructor was lecturing about the importance of the civil war.  Yada yada yada…  I simply didn’t feel like being there.  So after a few minutes had passed, I got up from my seat and quietly walked out of the room.  I went to my mother’s house, which is where I stayed in the summer awaiting the fall semester to begin.   I arrived at home to find a note on the kitchen table from my mother.

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