Global Village – 02/04/11
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Dominic Hoffman with “Off the Beat” cultural events
Ethnic Heritage Ensemble - Kahil El'Zabar performing at MUSICIANS INSTITUTE - JAZZ BAKERY MOVEABLE FEAST
|11 AM||Ali Hassan Kuban||Habibi|
|11:10 AM||Ahmed Mounib||أحمد منيب|
|11:16 AM||Ali Khattab||Notas Mediterraneas||Al Zarqa||Nuevos Medios|
|11:27 AM||Tania Maria||Batebola||Intimidade||Blue Note Records|
|11:32 AM||Pecadora||Falsas Juras||Uma Prova de A,mor||Universal|
|11:33 AM||Luiz Melodia||Cruel||Bis (Disc 2)||Latin|
|11:38 AM||Pacha Massive||Cruisin'||All Good Things||Nacional Records|
|11:41 AM||Yas & The Lightmotiv||Le Temps||Yas & The LIghtmotiv||Holistique|
|11:50 AM||Caves||When You Were Partying, I Was Dying||Birth|
|11:51 AM||Otto||Cuba||Condom Black||Import [Generic]|
|11:59 AM||Anna Ternheim||Damaged Ones||Leaving on a Mayday||Verve Forecast|
|12:02 PM||Fleck & Fish Finger||Rude Profile||Generation Bass Presents: Transnational||Six Degrees|
|12:10 PM||Hakim||Ya Shok||Hakim Greatest Hits||HWMC|
|12:12 PM||Gal Cista||2 de Fevereiro||Polygram Int'l|
|12:23 PM||Lia Ices||Daphane||Grown Unknown|
|12:36 PM||Royal Philharmonic Orchestra||Three Pieces in Old Style||Gorecki:Symphony No. 3, Op. 36||Regis|
|12:39 PM||Paula du Gelly||Papillion 3|
|12:44 PM||Paul McCartney||Day Tripper||Good Evening... New York City||Hear Music|
|12:57 PM||Sergio Mendes||Day Tripper||Herb Alpert Presents Sergio Mendes||A&M|
|12:59 PM||Vinicius Cantuaria & Bill Frisell||Mi Declaracion||Lagrimas Mexicanas||eOne Music|
|1:15 PM||Amadou et Mariam||Coulibaly||Remixes|
|1:21 PM||Ana Tijoux||Mar Adentro||1977||Nacional Records|
|1:25 PM||Vanity Theft||My Cup Runneth Over||Get What You Came For|
OFF the Beat with DOMINIC HOFFMAN
I went dancing at the Zanzibar Club in Santa Monica. I like to dance. Since it was Hip Hop night and I’m kind of a funk music guy this was perfect. I only lasted about forty-five minutes because every time they played a song I liked, I would get into a groove and the DJ would change the song. It’s a phenomenon that happens now in clubs where the DJ is the attraction. Every fifteen or twenty seconds another terrific song played, introduced by scratches and sound effects. I simply couldn’t keep up. My body movements began to resemble an apoplectic marine mammal. And that was my truncated musical experience for the week.
Two non-musical discoveries I thought interesting … a literary magazine called Laphams Quarterly and an HBO documentary called Smash His Camera. Perfect compliments to the Award season that sweeps through this city invading every sensory perception we have. The Oscars, the Golden Globes, SAG, WGA, DGA…seems like a good time to examine celebrity and its manifestations.
Laphams Quarterly is a literary magazine that concerns itself with history. Published to correspond with the seasons, the topic of this winter’s issue is the history of celebrity. And what it manages to do is to make a strong case for the existence of a fame driven society since the very beginning of society. The layout and contents of this magazine would be considered a work of art if we weren’t already so jaded by our inundation with really terrific looking publications. So many magazines, so little time. On the purely visual side, it’s filled with beautiful reproductions of paintings and photographs. All of the images, and there are many, augment the essays, poems and charts that make up this publication and put me in mind of a very sophisticated literary comic book. The breath of contributors runs the gamut from Cicero to Matt Damon. The format is attractive, compartmentalized, and completely reader friendly. You can read any number of fascinating essays, none of them long, all of them pithy. Unfamiliar, but noteworthy poems are scattered throughout. There are charts that measure, in hilarious but oddly credible ways, the fame of different people from different millenniums. In the various essays, each voice speaks with clarity and, with erudition and heart, observes fame and it’s consequences in its time. Cicero observes that ‘people are more prone to the visual than to the auditory,’ so he resolves to keep his image in their presence. Charles Lindbergh gives a vivid and somewhat terrifying account of when a million people stood waiting for him as he touched down in Paris. James Baldwin describes in heartbreaking prose Sidney Poitier’s obligation to fame as he rises in film eminence, the lone Negro, responsible for all the hopes and dreams of that community. There are as many flashes of brilliance as there are snatches of humor. Lewis Lapham, the magazines publisher and founder, accomplishes the hat trick of creating something that’s as informative as it is entertaining, as important as it is frivolous. It is no wonder. He was editor of Harper’s Magazine for just shy of thirty years. An experience that in no way diminished his ambition, as there is no category that could contain all of the characters in this epistle. There’s a letter from T E. Lawrence (of Arabia) to George Bernard Shaw. Excerpts from Mark Twain, Thomas Aquinas, Plato, Miguel de Cervantes, Nikki Sixx of the Motley Crue, the list goes on, all of them addressing the subject of fame. Sound bites appear intermittently from the likes of Osama Bin Laden: “There is no dialogue, except with weapons.” Sammy Davis Jr. opines that; “Being a star made it possible for me to get insulted in places where the average Negro could never hope to go and get insulted.” Another quote; “Anyone who idolizes you is going to hate you when he discovers that you are fallible. He never forgives. He has deceived himself and he blames you for it.” Elbert Hubbard wrote that in 1901.
Of course the rules of the fame game have changed completely since the advent of television. I’ll leave the last word for Lapham who wrote the opening essay and makes this stunning observation: “The camera sees, but doesn’t think. Whether animal, vegetable or mineral, the object of its affection doesn’t matter; what matters is the surge and volume of emotions it engenders and evokes; the floods of consciousness drawn as willingly to a bloodbath in Afghanistan as to a bubble bath in Paris.
The film I saw was called SMASH HIS CAMERA, which is what Jackie Kennedy Onassis told her bodyguard to do to the photographer when she had had enough of his stalking her. The photographer in question is Ron Gallela, the prototype of paparazzi photographer who gained fame and not a bad living from capturing the images of famous people. He was punched out by Marlon Brando (forfeiting a few of his teeth), sued by Jackie Onassis, and given an unfriendly finger by a veritable who’s who of celebrities. He was an invasive, single minded and fairly accomplished photographer whose passion and commitment would not be denied. Name a celebrity. Gallela has filmed them in minutia. No doubt anyone listening to this show has seen some of his photos, as many of them have become iconic cultural images from the sixties, seventies and eighties. The lawsuit that was filed by Onassis against Gallela is discussed and debated in the film, and was closely followed at the time because it signified an important interpretation of the first amendment. Onassis won the lawsuit, but it was a Pyrrhic victory that did more for Gallela than for Mrs. Onassis. Someone in the movie maintains, “Ron Gallela was the price tag of the first amendment.” The implication being that freedom is neither free, nor trouble free. At any rate I found it an entertaining film, which posed complex questions regarding personal privacy.
A final relevant and related note. This week there has been the backdrop of a historical revolution taking place in Egypt. People are literally fighting in the streets to change their government. We watch the revolution on television as if it was, and I guess it is, something taking place at a distance. I used the word backdrop because that is what it is. I believe this weekend’s Superbowl is the front and center event here. A new celebrity has however emerged from Egypt’s revolution in Al Jazeera, the international news network. A reminder how fickle and unrelenting fame is.
"GLOBAL VILLAGE" on KPFK 90.7 FM or www.kpfk.org,
for a LIVE INTERVIEW with
KAHIL EL'ZABAR & the ETHNIC HERITAGE ENSEMBLE
Hosted by SERGIO MIELNICZENKO, Producer - Global Village
Friday, February 4th - One show 9:00 pm
General - $25 / Student Rush - $15
Ethnic Heritage Ensemble
Kahil El'Zabar -perc
Ernest Khabeer Dawkins -sax
Corey Wilkes -tpt