George Harrison - “Deep Blue” - soundcheck for the Concert for Bangladesh, 31 July 1971 (Courtesy: YouTube user Mini TV Box; available on the Concert for Bangladesh DVD)
Q: “You’ve drawn some strong statements from sorrow. ‘Deep Blue’ was very affecting, and since it was on the flip side of the ‘Bangla Desh’ single, it became a jukebox favorite in bars in the States.”
George Harrison: “I’m glad you noticed that one. You’re sure they weren’t just punching up the wrong side of the record? I got the impression people never heard a lot of these songs. When I was making All Things Must Pass in 1970, not only did I have Phil Spector going to the hospital and all this trouble, besides organizing the Trident Studios schedule in London with Derek & the Dominos - who many forget got their start on that record - but also my mother got really ill. I was going all the way up and down England to Liverpool trying to see her in the hospital. Bad time. She’d got a tumor on the brain, but the doctor was an idot and he was saying, ‘There’s nothing wrong with her, she’s having some psychological trouble.’ When I went to see her she didn’t even know who I was. [voice stiffing with anger] I had to punch the doctor out, ‘cause in England the family doctor has to be the one to get the specialist. So he got the guy to look at her and she ended up in the neurological hospital. The specialist said, ‘She could end up being a vegetable, but if it was my wife or my mother I’d do the operation’ - which was a horrendous thing where they had to drill a hole in her skull. She recovered a little bit for about seven months. And during that period my father, who’d taken care of her, had suddenly exploded with ulcers and he was in the same hospital. So I was pretending to both of them that the other one was okay. Then, running back and forth to do this record, I wrote that song. I made it up at home one exhausted morning with those major and minor chords. It’s filled with that frustration of going in these hospitals, and the feeling of disease - as the word’s meaning truly is - that permeated the atmosphere. Not being able to do anything for suffering family or loved ones is an awful experience.” - Musician, November 1987
Another clip from the rehearsal, of George and Bob Dylan running through “If Not For You,” can be found here.
“That is one loaded question. Personally? I’m indifferent with no strong feelings either way. However I fear quitea lot has happened between the two countries, and I think the problem is opposite. They would not like me.
A boy is born in hard time Mississippi Surrounded by four walls that ain’t so pretty His parents give him love and affection To keep him strong movin’ in the right direction Living just enough, just enough for the city
“Love is the most complicated thing in the world. Artists are the most eccentric people. So when artists fall in love, the passion must be special, beautiful and somewhat melodramatic. With feelings so strong and minds dazed, we guess their love stories are the greatest.
Meet artists Marina Abramovic. In the 1970s, Marina and her then boyfriend names Ulay broke up. But even until the end of the relationship, they chose to do it in an interesting fashion, just like true artists. They went to opposite ends of the Great Wall of China and walk towards each other in the middle. When they finally met, they gave each other one last embrace and parted ways. They never saw each other again after that.
More than 30 years later, Marina held a live art performance. She spent one minute in silence with complete strangers. They just stared at each other, probably getting inspiration or energy of some sort. But one particular man seemed to have captured Marina’s attention in a more special way because her reaction was different from the others. It turned out that the man at 1:30 was Ulay. It was their first time to see each other after more than 30 years, and the moment was so emotional and beautiful.
Love is the most wonderful ting in the world and even if some relationships don’t last and the feelings fade, the memories still remain. We shall keep it in our hearts and minds forever. Even though Marina and Ulay just stood there without saying a word, we are sure that they were able to speak with each other through their hearts. This is such a beautiful story!”
Hey Tena, seeing as you love horror movies so much, any recommendations for gory and really chilling horror movies? Sorry for the weird ask!
Not a weird ask at all! Gory and chilling…that might be trickier than it sounds, but I’ll do my best (WARNING–some of these contain some seriously disturbing, graphic content. If you’re not sure about a title, look it up before proceeding):
I could probably go on and on if given enough time, but I think this is a decent list to start with (sudden afterthought–check out pretty much any Lucio Fulci horror film. They tend to fit both criteria). When I finish compiling my list of extreme cinema, there will be many more within that list to choose from.
how are you studying for AP Chem? I'm incredibly nervous and trying to cram today and saw that you were also! thanks!!
how am I studying for ap chem: I’M NOT HAHAHA THE EXAM IS IN LESS THAN EIGHT HOURS AND I’M SO SCREWED
but yeah okay a quick rundown of what I’m doing:
reviewing all the chapters (quick glance to refresh brain)
memorizing and committing to memory (hopefully enough so that i can recite this in my sleep) all the things you need to know, like strong acids/bases, oxidation numbers, names for different compounds, solubility rules
i’m looking at FRQ responses that college board has released and just looking at them, figuring out why the answer was what it was (it’s a little too late for me to do the problems, so i’m just trying to see what’ll stick)
also, remember to take deep breaths and tell yourself, out loud ‘i can do this. i’m going to get a three and above. i will, i can, i am.’ positivity helps, not just psychologically but overall, you know?
i hope this kind of helps! sorry this isn’t more comprehensive, but bc the exam is so close (less than 8 hours for me, less than a day for others, i think!) there’s only so much you can do for last minute cramming!
good luck and may the curve be ever in your favor. xoxo
Christopher Williams, TecTake Luxus Strandkorb grau/weiß, Model no.: 400636, Material: wood/plastic, Dimensions (height/width/depth): 154 cm × 116 cm × 77 cm, Weight: 49 kg, Manufactured by Ningbo Jin Mao Import & Export Co., Ltd„ Ningbo, Zhejiang, China for TecTake GmbH, Igersheim, Germany, Model: Zimra Geurts, Playboy Netherlands Playmate of the Year 2012, Studio Rhein Verlag, Düsseldorf, February 1, 2013, (Zimra stretching), 2013.
In my photo of Zimra Geurts, who was the Playboy Netherlands Playmate of the Year in 2012, there are references to Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle, in which automobiles, women in bikinis, and topless models appear; as well as references to Harun Farocki’s film Ein Bild, which is about a Playboy centerfold shoot in Munich in the 1970s. Farocki’s film is really about the labor that goes into constructing an image, in that case one associated with male pleasure. The diagonal strip that says “Balcar” is a representation of the soft box light that was used in the Farocki film. Of course the stripes on the strandkorb konsul [beach chair], relate to the artist Daniel Buren. So what comes together in this picture is a montage of several elements: Playboy, Buren, Debourd, and Farocki.
Farocki has a strong place in that picture, stronger than I thought he would, but I think my picture gets to a different place than his film. I think Zimra has a different function in my picture actually, a more active function.
…It’s not only about the economy of her body, but also about her creating the opportunity to produce a new unexpected instructional model in the place where the viewer expects to encounter a familiar stereotype.
So the Brown Bomber was a minor “hero” who appeared in three JLA issues. By speaking the magic words “BLACK POWER”, he turned from a chubby white man to a a super strong black man for one hour.
If your wondering how this got by the editors in 2008, it’s because it’s a reference to a shocking/hilarious/WTF idea DC had in the 1970s. After seeing the success of Marvel’s Luke Cage, DC decided they wanted to create their own Black headlining superhero. The first idea was “Black Bomber,” a racist white Vietnam veteran who had been exposed to an Agent Orange like substance designed to help American soldiers “blend in” with the Native Vietnamese. He instead gained the ability to turn into a Black man when ever he was angry. So in essence the Hulk but racist. The idea was later described by comics historian Don Markstein as “an insult to practically everybody with any point of view at all.“ When the editor who had approved the Black Bomber left the company before the character had seen print, Tony Isabella, a writer with previous experience on Luke Cage, was given the task of retooling the idea. The end result was Black Lighting, DC’s first major African-American hero
Also if your wondering why bottom middle panel is blank and Vixen’s dialogue doesn’t make sense, that’s because the writer originally had the Bomber ask her it was OK for him to say “Ni**er.” The editors deleted that dialogue
The Moonlight Witch’s Top 10 anime of 2016: Part One
2016 has come to an end and it’s again the time for me to list my top anime of the year. This was a good year for anime with plenty of excellent shows that have found their way onto my permanent favourites list and lots of other good shows besides.
Picking ten shows to put on the list was difficult, ranking them even more so. There are plenty of shows I enjoyed this year that did not make the cut but I’m largely satisfied with my final list. I’m still not completely happy with the final rankings so take them with a grain of salt.
If you haven’t tried all of the shows on this list give them a shot! Some of these shows were extremely popular, others were virtually unheard of outside of specific niches of anime fandom. I watch a wide variety of different anime so this is quite a variable list, and not every title here will appeal to everyone. But all of the shows here are excellent and worth a look-see
As with last year, I’ve defined this list as shows ending in 2016, so shows which began in 2016 but are still airing are not eligible, while shows that began earlier but ended this year are. The list is also divided into three parts because of its length.
ReLIFE first caught my attention for an unusual reason: the bizarre airing schedule! Instead of being released in the typical week-by-week format ReLIFE was released all at once for anyone to view. I don’t know why the decision was made or what the shows final sale numbers were but I can’t help but feel the decision was a mistake. In the flurry of new releases few people will sit down to watch an entire show, and without discussion and attention reignited each week by new material ReLIFE was quickly left behind and forgotten.
And it’s a shame because while ReLIFE may not be the most attention-grabbing of shows it is nevertheless excellent. The show’s premise is kind of ridiculous - an adult becoming a teenager as part of a scientific study - but the premise isn’t really the point. The real point here is an endearing high school slice of life tale, told with a more mature and world-weary protagonist which switches easily between comedy and drama. Those are two contrasting elements that are very easy to mess up but ReLIFE handles the contrast with skill, allowing it’s interesting and well-developed cast to bounce off each other in ways that create tension or humour very naturally.
Some of the most interesting elements come from our protagonist. Arata Kaizaki is ten years older than the characters around him and at times it shows. Many shows feature “meddling” protagonists who attempt to steer the characters around them but Arata comes across as a very justified version, more emotionally developed than his classmates and aware that issues that seem all consuming to them may not be so important in the long run. The show also handles the struggles of an adult going back to high school in a surprisingly realistic fashion as among other things Arata forgets that carrying cigarettes around in his bag is no longer an unremarkable fact and discovers that his memory of high school mathematics is virtually non-existent!
I ended up enjoying ReLIFE a great deal - more than I expected going in. I was very impressed with its characters and storytelling, and would very happily anticipate a second season should one be announced.
9. Osomatsu san
Osomatsu-san was a slow burner for me - one reason why the completed shows rule in place. I enjoyed it from the start, but it was only in the second cour that I really started to appreciate the show and what it does - largely because that was where I started to understand the characters, their personalities and their interactions with each other.
Osomatsu’s characters are really it’s biggest strength. Each once of them has their own unique and well-developed personality, which bounces off the others in ways that can be entertaining, surprising or touching in equal measure. And every person who watches this will likely discover a character or characters they find particularly appealing or uncomfortably relatable. I myself was particularly drawn to lazy, cat loving Ichimatsu and the ridiculous, painful Karamatsu, but all of the brothers are entertaining and interesting in their own right.
Osomatsu’s other main draw is its humour. Humour is a hit and miss subject and what one person finds funny may leave another totally cold. Osomatsu’s style of humour is largely mean-spirited but with a certain amount of affection and love for its characters beneath it, and that may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But when Osomatsu is funny it’s really funny and more than once the show startled a laugh or a gasp out of me with a surprising moment. Osomatsu is patient with its humour and does not hold back - the show is completely unafraid to end a touching segment with a startling brick joke or to go entirely off the rails for the sake of humour (check out episode 18 for a spectacular example of the latter) and above all else the show is clever, setting up and foreshadowing jokes with careful attention to detail.
Osomatsu won’t be for everyone and it’s humour does miss the mark from time to time, but overall it’s a bitingly funny show with compelling, interesting characters and I strongly hope it gets a second season.
8. Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
Rakugo is probably the show on this list whose existence is the most surprising. Adult period dramas don’t get made much, largely because they don’t tend to sell well when they do. I don’t know why Studio Deen took a chance on Rakugo but I’m immensely glad they did because they delivered us one of the best anime of the year.
Rakugo is an extremely well told and mature work. In many ways, it feels much more like a prestige film or Shakespearean play than an anime, largely because it is centred around much quieter and more intimate subjects than most anime do, with a focus on characters who are much older than typical anime protagonists. In many ways, Rakugo is staged almost like a rakugo performance itself with purposeful and dramatic storytelling paired with expert camera work and shot framing. The show clearly doesn’t have the highest budget or the most staff, but it almost doesn’t need it - the direction and art design are strong enough to make up for those weaknesses.
Rakugo’s story is equally compelling. The show starts off in the 1970s with our apparent protagonist Yotaro but then cuts back to the story of his mentor Kikuhiko for almost the entire run. Kikuhiko’s story is beautifully told with deep multifaceted characters who bounce off each other in unpredictable but believable ways. The messy, painful love triangle between Kikuhiko, Sukeroku and Miyokichi takes up a great deal of the run with a strong focus on how the three of them are hampered from living the lives they should be by the backwards, restrictive society they live in. The best tragedies are ones in which the characters lives are ruined through inevitability and Rakugo understands that implicitly.
Rakugo is an extremely good and extremely rare type of show. It has a strong story, excellent direction and wonderful (and deeply flawed) characters. The second season airs in just a few days so this is an excellent time to give it a chance.
7. My Hero Academia
My Hero Academia was a show I was strongly anticipating even before it aired. I’ve always loved both superheroes and shounen tales and everything I had heard about the manga that this anime is based on was good. Needless to say, I was not disappointed.
My Hero Academia is not a particularly original story. There is nothing new about superheroes or powered coming of age stories. But this show doesn’t need to be telling a new story to be telling an excellent one. In fact given how played out this genre is it’s remarkable how fresh and new this show feels. It helps that this show is incredibly fun. Western superhero stories have heavily leaned on the dark and depressing side so seeing a show that relies on the fun and exuberance that can be found in superhero tales is deeply refreshing. The show is also bolstered by the fantastic production values and a colourful aesthetic courtesy of Studio BONES that emphasises the fun this show has to offer.
The most appealing part of My Hero Academia, however, is its wide cast of appealing characters. Midoriya is a likeable and sympathetic hero with well-written strengths and the show easily draws us into rooting for him throughout his journey. He’s also surrounded by a large and interesting cast, all with their own unique personalities and goals, from the aggressive but insecure Bakugou to cheerful, friendly Uraraka. It’s easy to see each different character as the hero of their own story and to imagine them carrying a show all by themselves and there are about a dozen different characters in My Hero Academia who I would happily watch a spin-off of.
I enjoyed this show so much that I immediately picked up the manga afterwards and I’m strongly looking forward to the second season which is going to adapt one of my favourite arcs from the manga. If you haven’t seen this show I highly recommend that you check it out before the second season airs this spring.
London-based architects Eldridge Smerin have completed a house overlooking a cemetery in London, UK. The four-storey house replaces one designed by architect John Winter in the 1970’s and uses the footprint of the original building. A sustainable environmental approach allows for not only the strong use of natural light and the benefits of solar gain from the south facing windows, but also includes natural ventilation techniques for summer cooling and a green roof.
Trieste is a city in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Northeast Italy. Once a very influential and powerful center of politics, literature, music, art and culture under Austrian-Hungarian dominion, its importance fell into decline towards the end of the 20th century. Today, Trieste is often forgotten as tourists head off to the big cities. It is, however, a very charming underestimated city, with a quiet and lovely almost Eastern European atmosphere, pubs and cafes, some stunning architecture and a beautiful sea view. Trieste is the capital of the autonomous region of Friuli Venezia Giulia with 201,261 inhabitants. It is situated on the crossroads of several commercial and cultural flows: German middle Europe to the north, the Balkans to the east, Italy to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Its artistic and cultural heritage is linked to its “border town” location. You can find some old Roman architecture, Austrian Empire architecture similar to styles in Vienna, and a nice Mediterranean atmosphere. The region of Friuli Venezia Giulia is officially quadrilingual (Italian, Slovene, Friulian or Eastern Ladin, and German), but the city itself is generally Italian-speaking; the local dialect is a form of Venetian. Surrounding villages and towns are often inhabited by mostly Slovene speakers.
During the 1970s and 1980s Trieste was the number one shopping destination for tourists from Yugoslavia. Local cuisine reflects the living traditions of the many populations that have passed through over the centuries. In the city’s restaurants you can find delicious examples of the local Austrian and Slavic tradition. Trieste has a strong passion for coffee: its inhabitants’ consumption per person is 2 x the national average. Across the countryside you can find a local tradition called “osmica”. Osmicas are wineries predominatly located on the Karst Plateau, small beautiful farms where you’ll find different kinds of home-made salami, cheese and ham, and a characteristic red wine. Opened for only certain months of the year, they owe their Slovenian name to the word “osem” = “eight”, as under the Austro-Hungarian Empire, farmers were allowed to open them for only 8 days per year. Trieste has a reputation of being one of Italy’s safest cities, possibly due to it being a border city and therefore formerly full of border police and other security services.
Efforts to describe gravity using the same techniques have, to date, failed. The study of quantum field theory is still flourishing, as are applications of its methods to many physical problems. It remains one of the most vital areas of theoretical physics today, providing a common language to several different branches of physics.
Ballerina Allegra Kent by Bert Stern, Kent’s husband, for Vogue, 1970.
“There were basically two women in the world that interested me, one I was married to, Allegra Kent, and the other was Marilyn Monroe.” But if Monroe left a strong impression and Kent the more lasting one, it was Stern’s interaction with all the women in his life that proved his constant inspiration.
“A lot of people refuse to do things because they don’t want to go naked,
don’t want to go without guarantee. But that’s what’s got to happen. You
go naked until you die.”
Nikki Giovanni is one of the best-known African-American poets who reached prominence during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Her unique and insightful poetry testifies to her own evolving awareness and
experiences: from child to young woman, from naive college freshman to
seasoned civil rights activist, from daughter to mother. Frequently
anthologized, Giovanni’s poetry expresses strong racial pride and
respect for family. Her informal style makes her work accessible to both
adults and children. In addition to collections such as Re: Creation (1970), Love Poems (1997), and The Collected Poems of Nikki Giovanni (2003), Giovanni has published several works of nonfiction, children’s literature and recordings, including the Emmy-award nominated The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection (2004). A frequent lecturer and reader, Giovanni has taught at Rutgers University, Ohio State University, and Virginia Tech.
Giovanni was born in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1943, the younger of two
daughters in a close-knit family. She gained an intense appreciation for
her African-American heritage from her outspoken grandmother,
explaining in an interview, “I come from a long line of storytellers.”
This early exposure to the power of spoken language influenced
Giovanni’s career as a poet, particularly in her propensity towards
colloquial speech. When Giovanni was a young child, she moved with her
parents from Knoxville to a predominantly black suburb of Cincinnati,
Ohio but remained close to her grandmother. Giovanni was encouraged by
several schoolteachers and enrolled early at Fisk University, a
prestigious, all-black college in Nashville, Tennessee. A black
renaissance was emerging at Fisk, as writers and other artists of color
were finding new ways of expressing their distinct culture. In addition
to serving as editor of the campus literary magazine and participating
in the Fisk Writers Workshop, Giovanni worked to restore the Fisk
chapter of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
Giovanni graduated with a B.A. in history in 1968 and went on to attend
graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia
University in New York
Giovanni’s first published volumes of
poetry grew out of her response to the assassinations of such figures as
Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, and Robert Kennedy,
and the pressing need she saw to raise awareness of the plight and the
rights of black people. Black Feeling, Black Talk (1967) and Black Judgement
(1968) display a strong, militant African-American perspective as
Giovanni explores her growing political and spiritual awareness. These
early books, followed by Re: Creation (1970), quickly established Giovanni as a prominent new African-American voice. Black Feeling, Black Talk
sold over ten thousand copies in its first year alone. Giovanni gave
her first public reading to a packed audience at Birdland, the famous
New York City jazz spot. Critical reaction to Giovanni’s early work
focused on her more revolutionary poetry. Some reviewers found her
political and social positions to be unsophisticated, while others were
threatened by her rebelliousness.
However, Giovanni’s first three
volumes of poetry were enormously successful, answering a need for
inspiration, anger, and solidarity in those who read them. She publicly
expressed the feelings of people who had felt voiceless, finding new
audiences beyond the usual poetry-reading public. Black Judgement
sold six thousand copies in three months, almost six times the sales
level expected of a poetry book. As she travelled to speaking
engagements at colleges around the country, Giovanni was often hailed as
one of the leading black poets of the new black renaissance. The prose
poem “Nikki-Rosa,” Giovanni’s reminiscence of her childhood in a close-knit African-American home, was first published in Black Judgement.
The poem expanded her appeal and became her most beloved and most
anthologized work. During this time, she also made television
appearances, later published as conversations with Margaret Walker and James Baldwin.
In 1969, Giovanni took a teaching position at Rutgers University. That
year she also gave birth to her son, Thomas. Giovanni’s work shifted
focus after the birth of her son and she made several recordings of her
poetry set against a gospel or jazz backdrop. In addition to writing
her own poetry, Giovanni offered exposure for other African-American
women writers through NikTom, Ltd., a publishing cooperative she founded
in 1970. Gwendolyn Brooks, Margaret Walker, Carolyn Rodgers,
and Mari Evans were among those who benefited from Giovanni’s work.
Travels to other parts of the world, including the Caribbean, also
filled much of the poet’s time and contributed to the evolution of her
work. As she broadened her perspective, Giovanni began to review her own
life. Her introspection led to Gemini: An Extended Autobiographical Statement on My First Twenty-five Years of Being a Black Poet (1971), which earned a nomination for the National Book Award.
In addition to writing for adults in Gemini
and other works during the early 1970s, Giovanni began to compose verse
for children. Among her published volumes for young readers are Spin a Soft Black Song (1971), Ego-Tripping and Other Poems for Young People (1973), and Vacation Time (1980).
Written for children of all ages, Giovanni’s poems are unrhymed
incantations of childhood images and feelings which also focus on
African-American history and explore issues and concerns specific to
black youngsters. Giovanni’s later works for children include Knoxville, Tennessee (1994), The Sun Is So Quiet (1996) and Lincoln and Douglass: An American Friendship (2008). Giovanni’s children’s book Rosa (2005) was awarded a Caldecott Medal and the Coretta Scott King Award for illustration.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s Giovanni’s popularity as a speaker and
lecturer increased along with her success as a poet and children’s
author. She received numerous awards for her work, including honors from
the National Council of Negro Women and the National Association of
Radio and Television Announcers. She was featured in articles for such
magazines as Ebony, Jet, and Harper’s Bazaar. She also
continued to travel, making trips to Europe and Africa, and her
increasingly sophisticated and nuanced world view is reflected in her
work from the period. Giovanni’s maturity is highlighted in My House (1972).
Her viewpoint, the black revolutionary which made her famous, now
includes a wide range of social concerns. Her rhymes are more
pronounced, more lyrical, and gentler. Family love, loneliness, and
frustration—themes which Giovanni had raged over in her earlier
works—find softer expression. When Giovanni published Cotton Candy on a Rainy Day (1978),
critics viewed it as one of her most somber works, full of emotional
ups and downs, fear and insecurity, and the weight of everyday
Giovanni’s next book, Those Who Ride the Night Winds (1983), echoes the political activism of her early work as she dedicates various pieces to Phillis Wheatley,
Martin Luther King, Jr., and Rosa Parks. As Giovanni has moved through
her middle years, her work has continued to reflect her changing
concerns and perspectives. The Selected Poems of Nikki Giovanni, 1968-1995 (1996), which spans the first three decades of her career, was heralded by Booklist
critic Donna Seaman as a “rich synthesis [that] reveals the evolution
of Giovanni’s voice and charts the course of the social issues that are
her muses, issues of gender and race.” Twenty of the fifty-three works
collected in Love Poems (1997) find the writer musing on
subjects as diverse as friendship, sexual desire, motherhood, and
loneliness, while the remainder of the volume includes relevant earlier
Giovanni continues to supplement her poetry with occasional volumes of nonfiction. In her collection Racism 101 (1994),
she looks back at her experiences of the civil rights movement and its
aftermath. The book is a rich source of impressions of other black
intellectuals, including writer and activist W.E.B. DuBois, writers
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Toni Morrison, Supreme Court Justice Clarence
Thomas, and filmmaker Spike Lee. In addition to publishing original
writings, Giovanni has edited poetry collections like the highly praised
Shimmy Shimmy Shimmy Like My Sister Kate (1996), a compilation of works composed by African-American writers during the Harlem Renaissance.
Two volumes, Blues: For All the Changes (1999) and Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea: Poems and Not Quite Poems (2002) mark the crossover for Giovanni from the 20th to the 21st century. Blues,
published after a battle with lung cancer and her first volume of
poetry in five years, “offers thoughts on her battle with illness, on
nature, and on the everyday—all laced with doses of harsh reality, a mix
of socio-political viewpoints, and personal memories of loss,” wrote
Denolynn Carroll of American Visions. Quilting includes, as the title suggests, “anecdotes, musings, and praise songs,” according to Tara Betts of Black Issues Book Review. In 2003, Giovanni published The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection,
an audio compilation. Spanning her poetry from 1968 to the present and
ranging in content from motherhood to Emmett Till. “On the page, much of
Giovanni’s writing seems rhetorical,” claimed Rochelle Ratner in Library Journal,
but “hearing her read, dogma is replaced by passion.” Bauers praised
the production: “The poems are worth the price all by themselves.
Giovanni reads with gobs of energy and enthusiasm. Hers is the poetry of
Giovanni has published no fewer than five books of poetry in the ten years since Blues. Her omnibus The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni (2003)
collects poetry from each of her eleven volumes of poetry and includes a
chronology and extensive notes for each selection. A review from Publishers Weekly noted
that Giovanni’s “outspoken advocacy, her consciousness of roots in oral
traditions, and her charismatic delivery place her among the
forebearers of present-day slam and spoken-word scenes.” Giovanni is an
avid supporter of slam, spoken-word and hip-hop, calling the latter “the
modern equivalent of what spirituals meant to earlier generations of
blacks.” Her writing continues to be accessible and impassioned in books
like The Prosaic Soul of Nikki Giovanni (2003) and Acolytes (2007), though critics have noted a certain mellowing in tone. Bicycles: Love Poems (2009) was a follow-up to her earlier Love Poems. “Love is kept in check by age and experience,” wrote John Stoehr for the Charleston City Paper.
“Giovanni doesn’t allow it to overwhelm her, as she did the righteous
indignation in her youth. Love requires trust and balance, she writes,
just like riding a bike.”
Giovanni has received numerous awards and accolades for her work
including multiple NAACP Image Awards, the Langston Hughes Award for
Distinguished Contributions to Arts and Letters, the Rosa Parks Women of
Courage Award and over twenty honorary degrees from colleges and
universities around the country. Giovanni has even had a species of bat
named after her, the Micronycteris giovanniae. Giovanni taught
at Virginia Tech during the tragic shooting in 2007 and composed a
chant-poem which she read at the memorial service the day after. Of the
poem, Giovanni said in an interview with the Virginian-Pilot “I
try to be honest in my work, and I thought the only thing I can do at
that point—because all I knew was that we are Virginia Tech. This was
not Virginia Tech.”
Her more recent works include Acolytes, a collection of 80 new poems, and On My Journey Now. Acolytes is her first published volume since her 2003 Collected Poems. The work is a celebration of love and recollection directed at friends and loved ones and it recalls memories of nature, theater, and the glories of children. However, Giovanni’s fiery persona still remains a constant undercurrent in Acolytes, as some of the most serious verse links her own life struggles (being a black woman and a cancer survivor) to the wider frame of African-American history and the continual fight for equality.
Giovanni’s collection Bicycles: Love Poems (2009) is a companion work to her 1997 Love Poems.They touch on the deaths of both her mother and her sister, as well as the massacre on the Virginia Tech campus. “Tragedy and trauma are the wheels” of the bicycle. The first poem (“Blacksburg Under Siege: 21 August 2006”) and the last poem (“We Are Virginia Tech”) reflect this. Giovanni chose the title of the collection as a metaphor for love itself, “because love requires trust and balance. In Chasing Utopia: A Hybrid (2013), Giovanni describes falling off of a bike and her mother saying, “Come here, Nikki and I will pick you up.” She has explained that it was comforting to hear her mother say this, and that “it took me the longest to realize – no, she made me get up myself.”
Chasing Utopia continues as a hybrid (poetry and prose) work about food as a metaphor and as a connection to the memory of her mother, sister, and grandmother. The theme of the work is love relationships.In 2004, Giovanni was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album at the 46th Annual Grammy Awards for her album The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection.This was a collection of poems that she read against the backdrop of gospel music.
She also featured on the track “Ego Trip by Nikki Giovanni” on Blackalicious’s 2000 album Nia. In November 2008, a song cycle of her poems, Sounds That Shatter the Staleness in Lives by Adam Hill, was premiered as part of the Soundscapes Chamber Music Series in Taos, New Mexico.She was commissioned by National Public Radio’s All Things Considered to create an inaugural poem for President Barack Obama. Giovanni read poetry at the Lincoln Memorial as a part of the bi-centennial celebration of Lincoln’s birth on February 12, 2009.
“Writing is … what I do to justify the air I breathe,” Giovanni wrote, explaining her choice of a vocation in Contemporary Authors.
“I have been considered a writer who writes from rage and it confuses
me. What else do writers write from? A poem has to say something. It has
to make some sort of sense; be lyrical; to the point; and still able to
be read by whatever reader is kind enough to pick up the book.”
It’s a bit weird to think I have watch all the Planet of the Apes movies (well, almost, I haven’t watched the 5th one, but I watched parts of it). Like, I don’t think most people even know there was more than one Planet of the Apes movie back in the 70s; and I’ve watched them all. I also watched all the new ones, in theaters to booth.
For the record there were five Planet of the Apes movies:
Planet of the Apes - the classic one
Beneath the Planet of the Apes - maybe you’ve heard of it, it involves mutants that worship a Nuke and the Earth is destroyed at the end
Escape from the Planet of the Apes - Okay, that happen, it has a strong beginning, a strong end and an unbearable middle; but my god the Premise! So basically Kira, Cornelius and some other guy take a spaceship to escape Earth’s destruction and end up in the past, the 1970s. The other guys dies, Kira and Cornelius become celebrities; then Kira gets pregnant and the world government freak out because they fear their existence is gonna destroy humanity. Anyway Kira and Cornelius are killed by the US government, but their son is saved by Ricardo Montalbán, so yay.
Conquest of the Planet of the Apes - Oh yeah! This is the good stuff! I watched this movie when I was a teen. I caught the ending of Escape one day on TV and they aired this one immediately after and I watched the whole thing because I had no idea there was more than one Planet of the Apes movie. It’s the future year of 1991, cats and dogs are extinct so people use apes as pets and servants. Kira and Cornelius’s son, now named Caesar, is in hiding with this adoptive father Ricardo Montalbán, but he gets killed by the government and Caesar ends up a slave. Anyway he leads the Ape Rebellion and humans bite the dust. It’s awesome. Also the one black guys tells him that he gets it, but can you maybe be nicer than humans? Caesar considers it
Battle for the Planet of the Apes - This one I haven’t watched, but what I understand is that some douche called Aldo tries to overthrow Caesar (he’s a proto-Koba) while humans are there, doing something. At the end there’s like peace between humans and apes; so like it wasn’t a time-loop, maybe? I dunno, I’ll get back to you when I have the time to watch it
And that’s the original Planet of the Apes franchise! It’s fun to watch even if the 2nd one is weird, and the 3rd one is dumb; and you know, the new ones are totally based on Conquest and Battle, so there’s that
“TM’s just like that. You do it
regularly, absolutely regularly, two times a day. And suddenly,
whether it’s two years down the line or four or five, you suddenly
realize it. Wow, this bad thing that used to plague me is gone.”
Walter Day enters my home photography
studio with a young man’s zest. He carries with him a strong energy
that seems to spread throughout the rest of the room as we sit down
to talk about his life in Iowa as a living legend in the gaming community. Transcendental Meditation brought
Day to Fairfield, Iowa in the late 1970’s, and his decision to move
there would ultimately be an anchor point to the rest of his life.
Day would soon open the now-famous Twin Galaxies arcade just a short
drive away in Ottumwa, and from there he would eventually become one
of the world’s leading gaming historians.
Tell us a little about yourself.
WALTER DAY : Well, my name is Walter
Day. I was born in Oakland, California and grew up in Anaheim a mile
or two from Disneyland. When I was fourteen or so, my parents moved
the family back to their hometown of Lynn, Massachusetts. That’s
where I went to high school. It was there that I first heard about
Transcendental Meditation, something that would become one of the
most important things in my life. It removed a lot of stress, a lot
of physical health ailments, it just made my life more dynamic and
FORGOTTEN IOWA: So, TM is what
brought you to Iowa in the first place?
WALTER DAY: Oh, yes.
Absolutely. Maharishi Mehesh Yogi, the founder of the TM movement,
said that people should come to this place in Iowa called Fairfield.
He said that’s where we’d do our group meditations, that it’d affect
how other people think, too. That’s what I’ve been doing for 36,
no, for 37 years now. It’s been an interesting experience to say the least. But the
Maharishi also said that we should do something to support ourselves
when we arrived here. Since I had just fallen completely in love
with video games, I decided to open up an arcade in
Ottumwa with a friend of mine. We called it Twin Galaxies. It was just one of those typical, old-fashioned
video game arcade of the early 1980’s. We’d only been open three
months when we had someone go for a world record on a video game.
You wouldn’t believe the trouble we found when we tried to verify the
score, that it was indeed the new world record. Turns out, nobody
was keeping track of the scores! We called up all the manufacturers
and magazines and said, “we’re keeping track of the scores.” We
just boldly said it like that. It was just some amazing stroke of destiny that
nobody argued it. They just said, “Wow, that’s great! We’ll keep
you in our Rolodex and refer to you when somebody calls about a new
high score.” It was less than thirty minutes after that call before Twin Galaxies
received our first phone call to report a high score in the
Nashville, Tennessee area. It started as fast as that. After a week,
we were getting a dozen calls a day. Before the year was over, we
started getting ninety to a hundred calls a day. And thirty-five
years later, Twin Galaxies still exists, owned by big Hollywood
producers. I’ve since retired from it.
Twin Galaxies, 1984.
FORGOTTEN IOWA: What made you
open the arcade in Ottumwa as opposed to opening it in Fairfield?
WALTER DAY: Well, first of all, the
video games were so expensive. An arcade cabinet cost the same as a
new car in the early 1980’s, numbers as high at $3,500 each. And
that’s in early ‘80’s currency! When we opened our arcade in
November of 1981, we had twenty-two brand new games in there. It
was essentially the equivalent of having twenty-two brand new cars
that we were responsible for the mortgages on. These companies had
to earn, a quarter at a time mind you, the money to pay back for the
debt owed on these machines. Anyway, there were these people called route operators that would decide
where the games would eventually go, what town and what venue, stuff like that. There was already an arcade in Fairfield
back then, and there were some odd rules about only having one arcade
per town dictated by these distributors, so opening an arcade here just wasn’t possible. It turns out that the only
town in Iowa that didn’t yet have one was Ottumwa. It was merely an
odd quirk of fate that it was a town that happened to be so close to
the one I lived in. We just grabbed a location there as fast as we could, rented it, and
the rest is history.
FORGOTTEN IOWA: How would you
say Iowa compares to the east coast or the west coast of America?
WALTER DAY: Well, Iowa is so
much a part of my heartbeat now because I’ve been here so long that I
don’t necessarily notice the qualities of it anymore. Iowa just is
me and I am it, you know? But recently, lots of people have come to
town from other places and they just love Iowa. They go nuts
over Fairfield specifically. Lots and lots of people who have come to
my video game events from out of town, out of state, the
non-meditators, they’re absolutely intrigued and amazed by Fairfield.
They think it’s one of the coolest, most remarkable places they’ve
ever been. They tell me that they can’t put their finger on what
it is, just that there’s something so different about Fairfield. And it
feels so good that many have talked about moving here and living
here. Some of them even commit to it and they come here, you know,
they live here today. Not necessarily coming to start doing
Transcendental Meditation, just because there’s something about this
place that they just love.
FORGOTTEN IOWA: What do you
think the biggest changes have been for Iowa and the people that live
WALTER DAY: Okay, well, from
the context of being a person that practices transcendental
meditation, the big group of us that arrived here to do this big
program together and meditate – we have always had the
understanding that culture will change. Culture will become
uplifted. Harmony will develop between all kinds of different groups
of people. We’ve become more peaceful. You know, the economics and
money could get better yet. Things like that, you know, but I think
even those things are beginning to happen slowly. Especially for Fairfield.
Especially here. That’s why all sorts of different organizations
like Mother Earth News, or the Smithsonian Magazine, have been declaring
this town an economic powerhouse. A cultural phenomenon. Just one of
those great places you never heard about that, when you do, you want
to come and live in. That’s not a hallucination. When we first came
here, there was a big division between the townspeople and the
meditators. They thought that, “Oh, some sort of Hindu cult is
going to take over the town.” But we began to have more and more
of a presence in the town, and they eventually realized that there
was no sort of takeover happening at all. What actually happened is
we all became integrated, and a lot of those townspeople started
meditating, too. A lot of them fell in love with the practice of Transcendental Meditation and started doing it themselves. So all
that stress between these two groups has gone away almost entirely
over the years. So, what else has changed? A lot of independent
small businesses have popped up here, I’ve read that this part of the
world is starting to be referred to as the silicorn valley. I think
we’re heading toward good things. It’s a good time to be an Iowan.
Walter and I would continue a
conversation that would jump all over the map, from video games to
life philosophies, as I set up my studio lights and we began our
photo shoot. Somewhere in that time, I began to feel like I’d just
made a good friend. And I suppose that’s the kind of guy that Walter
Day is. Friendly, inviting, warm, kind; the kind of person that felt
as genuinely Iowan as they come. He left my studio with two or three
large winter jackets on and with a spring in his step. Walter was off to
meditate and then to play his guitar for a little while.
If you’re coming from Bridgeport via I-95, take exit 24, turn right, then hang a left to go up Black Rock Turnpike until you see Burroughs Road. Take that right. Follow it down, past the house with the weird, light-up numbers, past the soccer field, and you’ll reach Fairfield Woods Road. Go right again, then take your first left at the stop sign onto Morehouse Highway. Follow Morehouse until the end.
The time I went this way with my boyfriend, Aaron, who was new to the area, he thought the only option at the bottom of Morehouse was to take a left. The route straight was obstructed by a locked metal gate covered with reflective orange tape. But I had a key.
Behind the gate lies a small, poorly-maintained road which leads around and down to a wooded area on the rear end of Lake Mohegan. It’s a manmade lake that was once a gravel quarry back in the ‘50s. The town of Fairfield bought the then-defunct quarry in 1961 and routed the Mill River to fill it up, ultimately making a pleasant beach area for the locals. Once the quarry was full of water and the sand was brought in, the townsfolk came in droves. Both sides of the lake would attract bathers and sunseekers of all types. The main part of the lake always had three lifeguards on duty, but at the rear end of the lake, where it’s fed by the river, there’s a deceptively strong current and no lifeguard stations.