Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Amiri Baraka at RIT 12/13

We have not left an age of hypocrisy... this is not a post-racial age.
We live in a country where hope and wish monitor the news...

We are free to vote for the mediocrity of our choice...
and then we wake up one day and say, "oh shit -- you mean I am that person..."
The name of the black character in the play is "Clay" -- molded, shaped, wound up with music lessons, the right exposure to this and that to fit into society...
When does qualitative flip to qualitative?
What ghost of the future do you see?

When Clay drops his “outside” this is part of his main speech:
“I am sober and pious and sane and I will murder you!”

background of the 50's and carry over of time, place, conditions of Frederick Douglas who refers to whites as "soul thieves".
what were the Averill Harrimans doing? “

General discussion:
We know stuff we don't know we know. In writing the Dutchman, Baraka was finding out what he knew, but didn't know. He had spent the evening with Guston and Motherwell and the art school gang, and stopped at Cooper Square and the 5 spot, and sat up all night writing. It became clear to him he didn't want to be caught in Greenwich Village playing a part that dismissed what the world was dictating to him.

What a name for his poetry book:”Preface to a 20 volume suicide note.”
Langston Hughes wrote back to him in Green Ink -- Hail (hell). I understand your color.

What keeps talking to you? What insists?
the idea of aiming -- it's what we're doing all the time, whether we have the arrow in our hand, the target set up, -- just be at the top of your time. That takes study. Constant aim.

Everytime people's lives change, the music does too. Look at the Slave Songs, the blues, Rap...
Slave. "I might be wrong, but I won't be wrong always."
In Africa, the songs are singing words to space.
a drum kit is a one man band --
anecdote of man playing a kit and he hears a series of drums answering, saying what are you all (thinking there are many people) saying? We can't understand.

We have a rhythm-driven language.

Read "Digging"
and "The music"

Influence of Ravel on Ellington;

How persist against disillusion? Unity and Struggle.
People will clothe you in their rationale. Politics are in everything.

What makes people tick? Poli - tics

Goal: have as many positive memories as possible.

I’m glad I went. It’s cool to meet a “cat” like him!

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