Sunday, April 26, 2009
We stay fly, no lie, you know this/
What up, party people? In the place to be,
Nah, who am I kidding? Blogs are not the place to be no more. Everyone and their momma is twittering away (literally; i'm expecting my momma to pop up on twitter anyday now... except I know that her attention span isn't attuned to the 60/60/24/7/365 internews cycle just yet) and the blogspots and wordpress accounts lie vacant. You know it's hard out here for a blog when your younger cuz rolls in all tiny and cute with teh microbloggin' in full effec'. We are primed for 140-or-less characters now: this is the txt/sms generation, after all. Gen teXt (if you use it, give props to the originator, word).
Anyways, if you don't know, now you know (you know?): I'm back on my b.s. (no Bussa bus... except maybe Bussa bus). And if you caught any of what I'm throwing out there, you're either Dallas, Rafi, Combat Jack, Prof. "Xavier" Conway, Sooey ajumah (ha! just playing 여동생), or Vic.
So then, for what it's worth: here's March through my camera. April to follow.
Waiting in Silliman to meet a student, I caught a sight of old glory, and I'm
not talking about the American flag.
Some faces on there I haven't seen in a minute... including a face that's
gonna be the visage of a married man soon.
Vic had a little mishap; son tore hisself up on the court! Still he pushes thru
like a champion. Or like a bawse (nah it never gets old!).
After kicking it (in all senses but literal) with Vic, I
headed over to Living Water rehearsal. Jesse was
wearing this jawn.
After a week traveling & singing with Living Water, I
headed back to New Haven for the span of a single
night (<12 href="http://www.greenecountyhabitat.net/">Greene County
Habitat for Humanity site, a 10-hour drive away in
Southwestern PA, for the next week.
KVE stickers, in front of HGS, York Street, New Haven.
pd sticker, in front of HGS, York Street, New Haven.
EGO86 sticker, in front of HGS, York Street, New Haven.
From the days back in the reign of terror... aka freshman and
sophomore years... relics still remain!
Josh snoozing on the lengthy drive.
After a week of moderate labor, lengthy rest, and plentiful church food,
we again made the (all the more grueling the second time) 10-hour trek
back via roadway from Waynesburg, PA, to New Haven, CT.
While we stopped for gas, it only made the best of sense that I would
have the worst of luck to select a gas pump that was actually and
openly rejected under the standards and statutes of the State of
At another rest stop; josh, burdie, and joe lee.
moh lei knocked owwwwwwt.
lill & kg.
Josh, pointing at the sleeping l & kg.
And after it was all said and done... two weeks on the
road, moving from place to place, singing and
hammering, and these remained:
A dog tag with a verse written on it, from the people of
Williamson First Baptist, in KY; ear plugs and spent
.22 cartridges from a nail gun in PA; an unused carry-
on luggage tag from the flight down to Louisville.
First Sunday back to New Haven! The occasion
warranted a fresh spring look.
Play cloths season 1 at 25% off... more true-to-size fit
than I'd expected from a streetwear line. The rumors
about quality are all true, though: definitely a dope
The items from my last night's picture weren't the only
reminders of my Spring Break touring; this blood blister,
acquired on the penultimate day of Habitat work,
lingered tenderly until I finally shed it, some weeks later.
In anticipation of my upcoming birthday, while I was
traveling, I ordered a BAPE tee off eBay from my man
Kalvin (a/k/a Monkey Monster clothing). This joint
arrived over the course of my travels, and I waited, a
good kid, until the-day-of before breaking in & flossing
Amy Jones needed to go shopping for some new shoes, and I, naturally,
felt obliged to provide an escort to downtown New Haven. For, you know,
The AJF5... Amy's brother has a pair of these back in Louisville... fire.
Then I discovered the baby shoes and it was all over... yo if I ever have
a little man running around, he is going to stay straight laced up!
These are the Skittles Dunk mini-highs.
More AJF action... XII's... greenbean? awh nawh.
Air Max boots? Wale somewhere out there shakin' right now, he's
fiending for these, i know it.
Ahhh with the premium tongue label! 熊猫, 中国文化
whaddddup? James Kim these are for your kid some
And on my way back to Vic's place, from a quiet dinner with a couple of
buddies, we ran across the last and dirtiest snow pile in the city.
Headed out the door jogging... still too cold to run in
anything less than 4 layers!! Dang.
Just noticed, as I was running along, that Yale installed some new green-
friendly energy sources, including windmills on the top of Becton, our
Sure, why not?
Later on, wandering around Old Campus with some of the boys, we
came across a vacant (and longtime so, hopefully) bathroom in CT
Knit ties are in this year, I'm calling it now.
And what's this????
On my way out the door I noticed a package at the front
door, addressed to me, from my boy Joe D (of NV$N
streetwear and internets fame).
He ain't lyin neither...
Joe is the king of vintage BAPE... he and I started kickin it back when I
copped a pair of 2003 (or was it 2001?) bathing ape selvage denims
from the kid... sonn is nasty with his game, he gets rid of more hot
gear than I think I might ever own, period.
Much appreciated, bro. Hope u figure out that MIDI controller & start
slayin em on the beats again!! Make sure Barry hollas at'chu!
SOLE sticker, corner of High & Elm, New Haven, CT.
Monday nights I generally head over to kick it with homeboy Justin and
his buddy Aaron... this night Aaron couldn't make it, but I whiled away
the night with my (expected-to-be) future roommates.
Justin fixed dinner... I am gonna have to learn from him at some point.
Josh was there, too, but the only pictures I got of him
were pretty much embarrassing shots of mad eating
going on, so I felt like sparing him the internets
celebrity of that.
Next to come: all of April, and I ain't talkin bout that reporter that hung with the Turtles.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
In other news, apart from the Living Water Spring jam going down tonight, I will also be speaking at a short panel discussion on hip-hop in China, as part of the Youth Forum on China-Africa Relations (YFOCAR) conference going down this weekend. I'll be discussing my background in hip-hop, experiences with my crew in China, and hopefully uncovering socioeconomic parallels between the adoption & flourishing of hip-hop in China and Africa.
More importantly, this marks the first time that I have ever been on a website as a "confirmed speaker". Pretty sure that I am both the least educated as well as, simultaneously, the least experienced on the list.
|Informal Discussion: Sino-African Parallels, Hip Hop in Africa and China |
Mohammad Yunus Rafiq
Branford College Common Room
The man with whom I'm sharing speaking time co-founded a Peace Village. For comparison's sake, let me remind you: I co-founded a rap crew.
Out of my league? Nah, right.
Dirty Paco, Slim Paul, Zhang Yi, Beibei... this one's for yall. 代表街头文化.
Living Water's Spring Jam - Glodo and the Lord of the Sings (yes JRR Tolkien) - is tomorrow... and while the dress code is strictly performance-formal, you know that I am going to be rocking just the pair of kicks for it...
These joints were formerly formally known as the "Made for Skate" dunk mid SB's a/k/a informally the "Send Help Mids", but from now on I am officially dubbing them the "Living Water" dunks.
Living Water presents...
Glodo and the Lord of the Sings
Spring Jam 2009
MIT's Cross Products
Saturday, April 25
Reception to follow.
Friday, April 10, 2009
[All credit goes to jopan, IV staff at Case Western.]
"Emotional booty call n.
"A late-night summons through telephone, online chatting, or text messaging to the opposite gender -- in reaction to felt emotional distress -- for the purpose of emotional consolation and attachment in a non-platonic, dependent manner.
"This is pretty self-explanatory. Emotional booty calls happen when you "think" you have no one else to talk to but that one person of the opposite gender that you semi-like, who will undoubtedly understand your situation/distress, and will absolutely have the right response/consolation. I think there can be healthy contact with friends when processing and/or problem-solving needs to happen, but only when the person has really determined their emotional boundaries and figured out whether or not they 1) have actually thought through the situation, and if they need to be calling someone else about it (or need to ask Jesus about it first); 2) if that someone must be a person of the opposite gender; 3) are emotionally "settled", rather than reaching for the phone the minute they feel an unhelpful emotion. To consider the other side -- how might one respond if they are on the receiving end of the emotional booty call?
"Emotional booty calls = unhelpful!! and really, it's selfish - self-pleasing, and self-centered."
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Children Bearing Gifts: the Relationship of Christians to Art.
Originally given at Café a Dieu, 04.04.2009,
The first personal encounter with art that I can recall comes from the age of ten, when my sister and I attended a class taught by a professional artist from our church. Once a week, we would pick up our sketchbooks and shoeboxes full of art supplies, be packed up in the back of our minivan, and dropped off at a church classroom. There, Mrs. Barrett would teach us about perspective, colors, or shading, then turn us loose, pencils and oil paints in hand. Our parents, as they arrived to pick us up, were be greeted by arms filled with paintings and sketches, the fruits of our labors and their monthly tuition checks.
Even now, returning home, I still occasionally come across sketchbooks filled with my youthful handiwork. Browsing through the artwork, I often wonder what my mother must have thought, every week, as her son returned bearing page after page of lovingly, painstakingly, and poorly drawn STAR WARS spaceships.
My mother has preserved sketchbooks that are literally filled, cover to cover, with illustrations of X-Wings, TIE Fighters, and the occasional attempt to illustrate the
By high school, I had begun to regard these drawings with a hint of embarrassment. It wasn’t that I had grown artistically; but I had grown ashamed of my youthful enthusiasm for Luke Skywalker. Recalling my younger artistic streak, I would wonder what could possibly have motivated my parents to store such pitiful things away so carefully.
Reflecting back now, I think I’ve begun to understand why my parents saved those drawings. It’s not that my art - in either content or execution - was of any aesthetic value. But they are still dear to them because of what they represent: memories of me running up to my mom after class, bearing my latest work, filled with the childish joy and simple pride of spending my youthful reserves of skill and energy to produce something just for her. And, while my mother has never been a STAR WARS fanatic, her love for me transformed my interests and delight into her own. For this reason, I think, my mother finds twofold pleasure in that artwork: first, as a symbol of her importance to me; and, second, as a genuine representation of me as I was at the time; my childhood interests and passions.
I suspect that the work of a Christian Artist is best performed when it stems from similar desires, turned towards God: beyond displays of ability, or the production of aesthetically stunning works, the Christian who finds herself engaged in Art is engaged in the same pursuit as that child painting, singing, or dancing for his loving parents: we are conveying, to God, His unequalled significance to us; and we are producing work that brings its audience into an honest encounter with the truth of our love and passions.
I. To convey to God our unequalled enjoyment of Him.
These may sound vague: what does it mean to tell God that He is of unequalled importance to us?
The first answer that springs to mind comes from the Protestant and Catholic catechisms, which open by addressing the goals of human existence: in the Reformed Church’s Westminster Shorter Catechism, the first question is asked, What is the chief end of man?, and this answer provided: Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever. Similarly, the Second Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church begins with a prologue that trumpets that “The Life of Man” has as its purpose “To Know and Love God”.
To Know God; to Glorify Him; to enjoy Him; to Love Him. If these are the primary ends for which we, as Christians, believe we have been created, how do we pursue them? How do we, limited, weak, fragile human beings, bring Glory to an almighty God?
In 1st Peter Chapter 2, Verse 9, the apostle writes that “you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, so that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” Receiving the love and care of a vast and intimate God uniquely enables us to bring Him glory by proclaiming in His presence our joy at having seen ourselves “called out of darkness, into His wonderful light”. We were once guilty of an infinitely terrible crime, and faced with an infinite punishment, the only escape from which comes by an infinite grace, which, having been received, evokes in us infinite gratitude and joy.
And, in just the same way that my youthful dedication to my parents led me to hand them the fruits of my artistic labor – poorly executed, but faithfully offered – our infinite gratitude to God finds its expression in faithfully handing Him the poor fruits of our lives: our paintings and poems, songs and dances. In every facet of our selves, including the artistic, it is right to find ourselves desiring, first and foremost, to bring God praise, by demonstrating the quality and abundance of our lives in Him. As we begin to understand what it really means to be saved by grace, this desire to respond in joyful gratitude begins to push out all the other competing desires and patrons clamoring for our attention and service.
But, there is an objection that can be raised to all this; after all, it may sound troubling to limit the scope of our artistic expression simply to those things which bring God glory. After all, why can’t we let art be free of such external constraints, let it simply be “art for art’s sake”?
Well, for one thing, love, even as it brings freedom, also necessitates limits. Any mutual love imposes on the lives of those whom it touches; but it is a joyful imposition! Yes, Love limits us; it limits us in our impatience, when we desire to withhold forgiveness; It restrains us in our jealousy, in our boasting, in our pride, and in our anger. Love, when truly tasted, makes us long to stare into its depths and lose sight of everything else as we contemplate and adore the object of our love.
II. To provide audiences an honest encounter with the truth we find surrounding us.
And also, by saying that our art should bring God glory, I don’t simply mean that the truths we convey have to be uniformly pleasant.
A natural part of becoming a Christian is that a man gradually finds himself peering into two worlds at once: the world that is “real-at-the-moment”, and the world of “actual reality.” The world of the moment is the world of suffering, of distance, of sin; but, being brought more and more sharply into focus as we grow more familiar with God, is the world as it actually was intended to be: a world of peace, of intimacy, of healing and loving unity.
This is what I mean by saying that it the second goal of the Christian Artist to provide the audience with an honest encounter of truth: God’s revelation of Himself – at once intimately personal and immensely large-scale – provides the Christian with two points of view, both of which serve the artist as inspiration. To limit the scope of artistic revelation to one or another of these viewpoints rings false: while our hope is sure and our faith secure, to claim that we can distill our experience of Christ into feel-good, pastel-colored images of serenity and passivity is a dramatic oversimplification. If we do so, we create kitsch, a shallow sentimentality that is the opposite of Good Art, because it has no connection to the complex experiences and dreams of the audiences we invite to partake in the artistic experience with us.
The opposite oversimplification – presenting the dire state of sin, while withholding a sense of overpowering hope – is equally poor art, for it is also untrue. As Christians, for whom “in all things, we are more than conquerors, because of Christ who loved us” (Rom. 8:37), it is disingenuous to pretend that our eternal well-being can be jeopardized by the passing and momentary ills of this world.
We Christians have space to discuss both despair and hope precisely because our hope can be counted on to endure. In the Christian life, there is room for both the sad truth of the fallen world as well as the glad tidings of the redemption that is beginning to shine through its cracks. After all, without death, resurrection is meaningless; but, without resurrection, death is simply a cold, inevitable end-of-story. So it is necessary to present, in our every creative work, the full trajectory of the Gospel, never shrinking from honestly portraying the total story of fallenness and redemption; but always hinting at glimpses of the Hope to overcome the despair, and the Comforter who seeks us out in our loneliness.
Art expresses the truth, hope, and passion that we have found, or want to find, in the world around us. At age 10, I found my passion in STAR WARS; and my art reflected that. But now, for today, and tomorrow, and increasingly as the days pass, that passion is focused on the being and character of God. And I hope that the work of my hands can come to daily reflect that focused passion more and more.
Once, I drew pictures of spaceships, and happily presented the results of my work to my parents. Today, right now, we are all creating, not just as artists, but as humans going about our daily lives. I pray that we can, one day, happily present the results to our Heavenly Father.
We're at a place called Vertigo
Lights go down and all I know
Is that you give me something
I can feel your love teaching me how
Your love is teaching me how,
how to kneel.
Bono: ''Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I've done a lot of stupid stuff''.
Assayas: ''I'd be interested to hear that''.
Bono: ''That's between me and God. But I'd be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. I'd be in deep shit. It doesn't excuse my mistakes, but I'm holding out for Grace.
"I'm holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don't have to depend on my own religiosity''.
Friday, April 3, 2009
Try as hard as my self might,
still brightens me.
that first year in college,
was a time when papers were turned in,
when Monday's reading was tomorrow's concern,
when questions were answered or set aside,
with lectures, finished, still not digested,
and all I had to do was walk down the street to Cutler's to buy a secondhand CD,
on the way back home, stop to check my mail,
then lie on my sheets, head held in palms, eyes looking past my ceiling.
And you see,
In high school,
was when tomorrow was Saturday,
and the day after that was Sunday,
and the day after that was not important
(Because in high school, I couldn't see three days into the future).
(And I still can't.)
And, you see,
I still can't see the future and
I can't be a freshman in college nor
do I have answers to make into papers or homework that can be turned in on Monday
Thursday, April 2, 2009
(image by the talented Gene Yang)
"This past Monday, on Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, on the eve of Barack Obama's inauguration, I discovered that the casting of the four leading characters for the upcoming live-action movie, "The Last Airbender" (based on the TV show, “Avatar: The Last Airbender”) had gone entirely to white actors. I want—no, need—to say something about this." - Derek Kim, New Day in Politics, Same Old Racist World on the Silver Screen
"intentionally or not, they are adding another chapter to Hollywood’s long, sordid history of Yellowface. By giving white actors roles that are so obviously Asian - and by stating from the get-go their preference for Caucasians - they tell Asian-Americans that who we are and how we look make us inherently inadequate for American audiences, even in a movie that celebrates our culture. Like the schoolboy who pulls up the corners of his eyes at his "Oriental" classmate, they highlight our otherness." - Gene Luen Yang, The Last Airbender Casting Controversy
""What frustrates us most is that you had this amazing opportunity -- you've got a nation of fans who love this quintessentially Asian story," says Kim. "This could have broken down every barrier in the business, proving you can have an all-Asian cast and score three blockbuster successes. Instead, we just get three more chances to cringe."" - Jeff Yang, Bent Out of Shape
To get involved or read more about the organizing going on around this issue, visit Saving the World with Postage or Racebending.com, where the letter-writing and protest campaigns are centered.