“To Quentin Tarrantino and others, on Django Unchained.” by Angel Brynner

” Dear Quentin,

I’ve respected the work of yours I’ve seen…but i have to admit that I haven’t seen it all because I was always wary of the White Boy who got screaming Nigger from the rooftops consciously written into his job description… by writing said job description.

Just like the white boys who shout-out their loves for the black-pimp life showcased in the cinema when I first touched down from heaven, it always smelled a little too off to be sincere.  I always guessed I just came at it a little off-center. I was raised by parents who saw those  original “blaxploitation” films from a place of awe at seeing someone who seriously looked like themselves up on the screen in broader-sourced roles before it got quickly rammed back by Hollywood into full-on insulting bamboozlery.

The white people who loved those campy archetypes and based their love of all things black on those false tropes never really dealt well with the myriad of black realities beyond those from this vantage point, one of which I absently was. And as a black woman who has been a bit U.N. relationally about life and love, they never read as much different from the Plantation owners of yore who loudly “loved their nigger chil’ren as much as their real ones had” with their wives, but couldn’t refer to them sans what was an adjective in their heads.

But I saw Django Unchained on Christmas.

I only made a point to after months of coming across Kerry Washington’s quotes as to why she took the role,  speaking to the rescued maiden aspect of things woven into the storyline never being a part that Black women have been allowed/gotten the chance to represent on celluloid.

I sat next to the male in a bloated white couple who, in a somewhat posh New Orleans theater hooted “You gotta love those lips” whenever Broomhilda got a beautiful close-up, his woman murmuring hollowly “yes…you do~”a few pained,thin-lipped beats behind him every time.

He was a caricature, down to the confederate coin ring on the finger of independence on his right hand, & he was right in his element, because the theater was full of his moneyed, Lady MacBethian kindred,ready for what they assumed, due to the pedigree your career has been built upon, was going to be a revisitation to the glory days of their inbred bloodlines.

And THIS is why i am writing this letter to you. Today. a few days out, when I understand what happened at the end of the film in that theater a bit more deeply, as the media tries to bustle up some angst amongst Blacks in 2012 to not go see this film.

I’m writing to thank your twisted, Wile. E Coyote ass for making this movie.

Because i don’t even feel…two days out…that you made it for “Us”- for the “us” that collectively has taken on many of the attributes of that time, and act out of them without any recognition of what in God’s name they are doing.

I think…two days later that you made it for them. The racist fucks who put down their money on the grounds of the “They say nigger 100+ times” press for the movie, who, as I stood up to leave, had ALL the dare i say “colour” drained from their faces as I chuckled and walked out, unable to move, clutching pearls.

Thank you.You’re fucking nuts.

But possibly in a Beautiful Mind way.

-AB

p.s., Thanks for letting the last shot be Hildy hoisting HER gun in silhoutte. And for Candie’s response when he found out she had run.

“Again??”

The subtle things you did,the mouths you had what lines fall out of…are the reasons you will be receiving your honorary brotha tee-shirt. Ownership of true roots of shit are a bitch. Even in revisionist allegorical tales.

Aight.

Done.

Have fun storming the castle.

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TO MY GYPSY CREW by Angel Brynner

Dear all my fellow travelers, gypsies and latter-day vagabonds out on the road this Christmas-
THIS IS A SPECIAL REQUEST. We all have various reasons for being on the road, some we don’t even recognize until years after that first step. Finding a home in the waves rising off of roads is a special, sweet experience that  we find our ways into then take to like fish to water. But it also quietly speaks to never feeling quite at home where we began. We’re just blessed enough to discover that is not always a bad thing lol.
This year, I have on my hearts the kids finding themselves shoved into this odd, beautiful lifestyle who haven’t yet witnessed its beauty. Those reeling from the shock of Home not being home anymore, if it ever was. Think of them as miniyous, a few years back at the beginning of your quests, with or without your respective road-warrior finesses…
It’s not always about money. A lot of us are reeling from not having as much of th…at on a day to day as it is. But if you have anything. iF YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO GIVE-new, gently used- but definitely usable- be it clothes, books, magazines, shoes, even suitcases you no longer use…can yall find your local Covenant House organizations and just quietly drop stuff off? And God knows, sometimes when you make space around you by releasing excess things around you, you give the very money you need space to flow into.
The need i got tagged with the other day was the staff reaction  to an old suitcase. It had never crossed my mind that is the big thing needed. But it instantly made sense. Some of these kids[ all aged 16-21] have been put out of their homes with nothing but the clothes on their backs.
GYPSY-CREW, This may or may not be your call too. Pray over it. & if you too feel moved, check out this link and track down a covenant house crew near wherever yall are…because i know yall are all over.
Merry Christmas

“The round-up, or the Rest of Miami Art Week and beyond(conclusion).” by Angel Brynner.

The BEST thing about being back on the beach for what turned into a full week instead of the three allotted days was the spritual experience of muscle memory across the board.

Not just in my legs due to walking the entire boardwalk and back like I used to for sport, but even in my heart. I felt present in Miami this time, in a way i had not been nine months ago after that one year and three months there. But even in the heart- which we know IS a muscle, and in the head, which, anyday now, some scientist will announce as one too.

To wrap it up, I skipped almost every party i’d been invited to after dark due to nothing but complete and utter exhaustion. From moving my body likei know to, to loving on myself with the foods i missed, to gorging on fresh ideas in art and happily gawking at the art of commerce connected to it, by the end of each day i was tuckered out like a child. So the two[very cute] party dresses i’d brought with me slept in my suitcase…as did my swimsuit, ironically.

In the end, outside of Design Miami, InK Miami is the fair that inspired me the most. In the end i did do Art Basel, and the caliber of the work is what you’d expect at Art Basel, but nothing quickened my pulse as an artist or an appreciator. I felt like wandering through the pristine galleries of a well-respected museum- which is not a BAD thing….but on a “make me dream,feed my soul art feast trip, its not the clip I was going for. Art Asia was small[housed alongside Scope] but also potent for me.  Scope itself had a frenetic beat to it, but as soon as you crossed the invisible diving line between the two shows you could feel the difference. I made myself go back to Art Miami& Context for a second time, and am glad i did-and this is the strangest series of posts for me because i’m consciously not revealing what it was at each show that wet which whistle.

In going back to Aqua, i ran into my old roommate from college again, and it was actually nice to just go exploring with another design chola whose eyes were bouncing off work in not exactly traditional ways. In checking out the neophyte Verge, I actually inspired some fashionistas to follow through on their nudge to check out NOLA. In going to Untitled and NADA on the last day, i became so grateful for the concept of a beach without any art whether i got in the water or not that i was beside myself.

It was gluttony. Pure art gluttony. In the most beautiful way.

The great thing about this restorative trip was being able to enjoy it for what it was. Loved seeing old acquaintances. Thoroughly enjoyed the open-door policy of new buddies made mid-view. But i was ready to sleep in my bed up in the attic studio over the haus  early on, which was a new one for me.

I had two comatose days of walking around like a seasalt zombie before I headed back to New Orleans, too exhausted to be game for Aerosmith in Tampa OR Nashville, unable to find the energy to be walking anywhere in Memphis. THEN i had three days off back at the ranch, which had me giddy in a completely different way.

But i feel like the best thing about the trip wasnt even the whole seeing art for arts sake thing. I mean, in other sectors, i found out how deep i loved and maybe sorta kinda gotta a sideways glimpse at how much i could possibly be loved-which is an artform in itself. But what i LOVED…was being on the road.

The click and whirl of wheel to asphalt, of train to track and wind to jet engine is what truly reset my clock. I HAVE to do that again if i am going to stay put with AOL for  a few more months. I came back on-point and aware of who i was on-point for. Which is a great way to end any year.

 

 

 

 

 

To Conneticut. To Portland. To Compton. To pray us out of our collective cowardice and insanity that lets it come to this time and time again.

I found this at: http://penitents.org/PFLA%20Prayer%20for%20Children.html 

A Prayer for Children

O Lord Jesus Christ, whose anger was once terribly kindled against those who hurt the children, we beseech You to bring to repentance all those who through cruelty, abuse or carelessness bring the innocent to harm.

We are among them, O Lord, and confess with sorrow and shame that every failure of our love in thought, word or deed immeasurably increases the sin of the world and the unhappiness of the children.

Lord, have mercy on us, increase our love and consecrate it, making it active in deed and prayer for all children in danger of body, mind or spirit, all who are hungry or homeless through war or disaster, children of broken homes, frightened or lonely children, children who look for love and do not find it.

What can we say, O Lord, what can we ask? They are the innocent sufferers for our sins, as You were in Your life on earth, united to You more closely than we can understand. Lord, have mercy upon them in their suffering, and have mercy upon us in our sin.

This is happening because of what we will not do. This is happening because of the smaller things we collectively turn a blind eye to in our lives, when we SEE people around us intending to violate those far enough away to not affect our day to day with their pain.

This is happening due to what we call our global commerce, what we traffick, worship and champion. It is in what we accept in our so-called art, the lyrics weakened people are seriously living their lives to the beat of, and is seen as our divine right as a country that only came into existence through rights to bear arms against clearly seen enemies 200 years ago.

Only now, we kill ourselves…we kill our children. with absence, with what we feed them emotionally and otherwise to escape truly parenting them, with what we allow them to ingest in our absence. We kill other communities around us by what we will only allow to set up shop Over there instead of within our township. 

Yet think we are not killing our own communities.

 But when one of our children repay the favor, killing those who still have the hope to be whatever it is they feel has been stolen from them by us, we shoot them dead “before it spreads.” All the while we are making it communicable via our media outlets, a ready show of our collective guilt. And then we cry as a country. Then forget.

In the past 20 years, our country has shoved many thousands of bodies of children under the rug that is draped across the floorboards of our beloved nation. We have a penchant for the decimation of our own offspring here that is quietly akin to Carthage, yet we get to pretend we don’t understand where they get this from. We rule out the depth of their humanity in our reducing them to consumers,worthy or otherwise. And we cry foul everytime some member of our gun-soaked society reaches for the power arms signify in this world we decimate day after day.

Will Conneticut’s senselessness shine anymore compassion on those who are shot down in the urban centers of our country day after day who are raised listening to the prepackaged big-business mantras of “violate and destroy” as their only lifelines?programmed? Will this country of disgruntled offspring ever recover from the one-note virus of ‘kill,kill,kill’ that was only to infect certain communities that has instead manifested across us all?

How cold has our love grown? Have you forgotten splashing The Portland Mall shooting all over the news nonstop in the 48 hours before this? what about Toronto? Colorado? Does the new spilled blood wash away the reckoning and repentance that should be on the heels of each outburst but never makes the evening news?

Is this the only road we have to a common ground?  

The war that begat this country has never ended. We turned on ourselves a long time ago when we let arbitrary factors define whether or not we could quickly look away from the carnage without it being politically incorrect.

If you have children, do more than hug them tonight. Strengthen them. Step up to the plate as adults. Face the collective cowardice and insanity this stems from so this can finally at least start to stop. 

We resort to guns because we cant deal with the pain we cause each other. We cant face what we do nor can we face what we have done.

How many of us have felt pushed there? To the point of feeling the need to arm ourselves for the worse due to the sicknesses we’ve seen others unable to cope with as they came for us? How many of us have joked about ‘going postal’ without dealing with the implications of there even being a colloquial term for that in our psyches? How much emotional hurt & violation are we consciously trafficking in on a daily basis? Without admitting, or even while relishing the pain and disruption of lives that finds root with each of us?

The boyfriend of a dear friend in Miami is screeching across the lines about the horror of this act, gun control, and the “better way” his homeland “did it.” But I know that this same man bashed and bruised the head of the one he claims to “Love” not even five days ago, and refuses to face what he did. Because he doesnt have to. Here. It doesnt have to connect because he has his constiuency convinced. He is cheered on in his sickness.

The person who almost pushed me to utilize my right to bear arms a year or so ago after years of stalking and bullying me- as others looked away, and i refused to fight back= literally just threatened the life of someone i adore with gun violence. ten days ago, after his threats didnt move a consciously unarmed me to not step back up to the Art Industry Life God called me to. Out of nothing but petty jealousy on his part.

He mistook my peace for fear and trembling, then lost his mind as HIS plans fell flat. And his definition of “true friendship” was publicly touted as “those who stand with me in my terrorizing and attempts to violate this woman who walked away from me.”

And yet he-Knowing that he just banally threatened a man with a bullet to the rib over a walkaway approved by god- is twittering tears alongside Obama. For his fans.

“As long as no one knows” is No Longer good enough.

I myself have repeatedly said “if it was Not for JESUS, I would’ve already shot my harasser dead.” But that’s not good enough.

quoting scripture is not enough.

“we have all fallen short of the glory of God-” is NOT Enough.

A pending apocalypse penned by a people[The Maya] who decimated the culture ahead of them[the olmecs], stole their calendar and then could Not predict their own self-inflicted genocide..speaking across baktuns to another twisted culture lost in what will become the annals of their own self-inflicted genocide…is NOT enough of an excuse either.

WE ARE ALL LIARS AND HYPOCRITES SHEDDING CROCODILE TEARS. Look around your life. see where you too have become numb to it. This violence, the little deaths meted out with no consequence.

And there has to be a better ending to this than a firefight in a hall of funhouse mirrors. We have to be capable of more.We have to say “Enough.” And then actually DO Something more than wait for the next outburst. We need to change.

If we as a country cannot fiscally exist without the money machine of guns, if we cannot live in a world without arming ourselves due to the efficiency with which we have armed everyone else…

We have no one to blame but ourselves.

The true enemy is us, and has been for a long time.

AOLAB CRESCENT ROLL/ Part THREE: In the artful garden of making and believing, day two.

Thursday didnt really begin until I was nestled in front of a lotus pool downing a makeshift iced latte at the botanical garden perfectly positioned between the back of Art Basel & the front of the Design Miami tents.

Sometime in the whirl of activity the day before, i’d wandered through the Jewish Holocaust Museum that the botanical garden shares a block with. I had ridden past that hand raised to the sky on many days, but was not prepared to be overwhelmed by what you truly get hit with as you take it all in from the base of it. The force of it is all hidden from the street by this wall the passerby doesnt even see, all focus on the raised hand and tranquil pools. The sculpture court will either blow your mind or break your heart.

But this day,Thursday, my flow was straight over into the Design District for my first ever viewing of the De La Cruz Collection. It was barely 12pm when our shuttle arrived, and the guy having all sign up for mailing lists prior to entry said that they’d already had 1000 visitors by noon. Out back in their courtyard they had complimentary bagels with cream cheese and lox, as well as elegant baristas making lattes and machiattos to spec.  I mentioned that it’d been said that 1000 had already been there when chatting with the one I ended up in front of for my second latte of the day.

“I believe it,” she laughed. “We’ve certainly been making espressos non-stop.”

The Collection is housed in a beautiful glass-walled building with three floors open to the public and ran the gamut from the social to the sacred, from the tongue-in-cheek to the profane. It was the first time in a long time that I actually felt like i needed to come back to a gallery to take it in for a second time, and that was even after spending a good hour within it. The collection just seemed to spiral upwards.

The rest of the early part of the afternoon was spent checking out the small boutiques and galleries that make up the push in the district. My favorite was Maison Martin Margiela. He’d been a favorite designer when i was in school, so to step into his space for the first time had me like a kid in a candy store. The runner up was a little jewelry and accessories boutique tucked in a courtyard named Turchin Love and Light that had converse sneakers in alligator and ostrich neatly tucked in back, as well as phenomenal bracelets, necklaces and just overall good vibes. Eventually, i hopped down to Wynwood on foot, something that you’d think was more straightforward to do than it actually was. I ducked back over to the fairs in front of Art Miami/Context and headed in.

In all honesty, i felt like i had overindulged in the design district. So much was a blur that, besides chellos and a few ribald Banksy moments, I knew i’d have to return on another day with a clear palette. I needed a walk, one without the whirl, click and buzz i’d brought myself over to witness in the first place. So i took it. Feeling better, when i next looked up, i was in front of the Rubell Family collection and went in.

Now there’s a bit of backstory to this: Last year, i’d headed out of Art Miami and was making my way down to Pulse, the Sobe planted me, operating NYC-style,  having no real gauge for how much land really stood to be covered between the two, nor how batshit the folks who  numbered the streets in Miami Dade really were. In the middle of finding this out the hard way[ read:LOST like  a mug], a guy had sauntered towards me  in the Best suit i’d seen on a man in like 15 years. And i mean he was WEARING that suit like either a despot or a king. It had reflexively fallen out of my mouth, Pavlonian, really.

“Nice Suit.” It’s the menswear savant in me. burst out like a sweet version of turrets, minus the “daaaaaaammmmn, that’s a-” that needed to be in front of that proclamation. Navy Blue pinstripe, stovepipe legs, crease so razor sharp it popped with each step he made-

He had grinned “Thanks. Lost?”

Yes, it was That obvious. Still aches the gypsy in me a bit to this day. I Told him i was heading to Pulse. He asked if i’d been to Rubell Family Collection yet. I said no. He implored me to go then went “Here- this’ll get you into Pulse, take a cab with what you were going to pay to get in.And PROMISE ME YOU’LL CHECK OUT THE RUBELL COLLECTION.”

Yes, this all took place on a corner of like one of those NW NE CT WTH is Wrong with these- somewhere around what should’ve been 25th street. And of course, due to the show at Deco, I’d never gotten up to the collection during Basel. But the seed to see it had been deftly planted.

He’d given me his Pulse VIP card. To this day i have no clue who this man was. he appeared like a mirage, dressed the way i dress my own angels in the books.But my proof that it really went down sits comfortably in my wallet to this day.

So anyway, onto the collection. To say that Rubell was the counterpoint to De la Cruz would be understating it. Where De La Cruz was light and airy, almost a floating world vibe to it all, Rubell had this dark resonance that, at times made me uncomfortable. It was as expansive, just in a totally different way.  Rubell was bedrock to De La Cruz’s floating world, and both are necessary to what i do as a writer. I didn’t have any favorite works at Rubell. But i was glad that i was slightly disturbed at times. It was great to be moved in that way.

Next thing i know, i was famished. So I headed down to Wynwood Kitchen, also for the first time.Yes, I am a muralist- I’d been to Wynwood a few times, but a muralist eating at a spot renown for its murals had just seemed too much while working on the AltoParaiso mural series. This time, I ended up breaking bread with another blast from the past: an elder statesman/nyc-hippie cool guy who I used to see running around Gatien’s clubs. Writer now. The food was phenom.

By this time I was almost Arted out. I kept missing the Downtown ArtTrolley, that calliope-like whistle noise from the Wiz playing in my head everytime it zoomed past me, and strolled down to visit some Brazilian Marble in an undisclosed lobby that had blown my mind in mere photos for the past few months. In all actuality, the marble being even more impressive in person made my day. I was officially done, inspired to the brim. I headed back beachside before my feet began to hiss and cry foul.

Dinner was at a favorite french spot named Otentic on Washington. Fresh, organic fare spliced together by one of the hottest chefs in town[married,babied and proof that there are sexy CUTE French men out there as well as the sexy Other kinds]. The chef here is the kind who, if he sees that you love what he does, you’re family. In a good way. i walked in, got a kiss and a glass of wine placed in my hand before i could settle all the way down, and the food, as per norm, took my breath away. I had a crepe stuffed with grilled and smoked salmon, cream and whatever else he opted to put in there that had me melting. This is the spot i used to rave about when it came to dessert. The Creme Brulee is the best ever had. It is a small space, barely 12 tables. Totally unassuming. But the food is divine.

I was supposed to go out for drinks and then a party with Zadok Gallery, followed by another beachside for an artist named Desi, but the rest of the night was spent otherwise occupied lol. But it was a GOOD night. Indeed.