Dallas Penn recaps Fela v. James Brown in bklyn.



"Internets Celebrity" Dallas Penn recaps a "Fela Kuti vs. James Brown" party held this past weekend at the Brooklyn Museum Of Art in New York City.

My guess is that half of the folks there, were there to loose themselves in some soul, while the other half was there to "look like" they were loosing themselves in soul.

That's the bittersweet reality of Brooklyn these days -- on the sweet side: Fela Kuti and Octavia Butler are mighty popular; on the bitter side: Fela Kuti and Octavia Butler are mighty popular, and at events like these, thus far, there's no real indication that folks are actually hearing the music and reading the words and truly digesting it all with the spirit of resistance and warning in which they were produced.

It's that same old familiar conundrum of existing in today's capitalist America -- is it better to see one hundred Che Guevara t-shirts unaccompanied by the revolutionary spirit, or is it better to see a revolutionary spirit unaccompanied by one hundred Guevara t-shirts?

Hopefully, our generation hasn't answered that question. Because if we have, and if the historical indicators are worth anything, it would seem we've answered the question wrong.

I'm all for the parties -- I like to throw a few myself -- but where's the concrete communal followup?

Party promoters, ask yourself, who is cosigning on your "vacation time"? I know the elders, and the institutions, that cosign on mine. And they provide their signatures because they recognize the work being done after, and before, the party. For every party you organize, there needs to be a study space. No question. I wrote a poem:

What EXACTLY can I build with people
who I might not even LIKE,
that I met at a party with no real mission?
so it's a celebration
with oppression as my dance partner
because he likes Fela too now.
What brought us here?
Brooklyn white-middle-aged-gentrifiers.
And independent-artists alike?
A nostalgia for a soul that belongs to yesterday?
Where's our soul?
Or have we given up trying to find it?
Settling for fun.
Divorced from courage?
No courage.
without a hard decision.
No faith
without a hard decision.
A land of luxury, now?
Positive intention.
And positive "vibes".
is "good enough"?

We're a human development centered cooperative, producing in part through the generous and faithful contributions of our North Star members. Choose your membership: Annual ($36), Monthly ($3), ($5), ($10), ($15), ($30), ($70), ($200), ($500), ($1000).