January 2009 Archives
Among the many positive and necessary changes the Obama administration can make with your support is the reinstatement of cultural exchange between the US and Cuba --restoring a connection that shaped centuries of history and which invigorated the arts and humanized relations for a decade, until the Bush administration shut such positive activity down.
Not a single Cuban musician who intended to return to the island has performed in the U.S. since 2003.
(Here's a link to a Village Voice piece of mine about this situation that ran four years and a day ago; sadly, it is just as relevant today.)
And here's your chance to help change this situation, as part of a chorus of voices -- artists of all disciplines, scholars, journalists, critics, arts industry professionals, non profit arts presenters and supporters.
(I'm sure I'll steal from myself below in a future print piece, but I wanted to say this today):
On New Orleans, jazz culture, and a renewed America...
When trombonist Glen David Andrews sang "I'll Fly Away" during a memorial procession to honor tuba player Kerwin James in late 2007, on North Robertson Street in New Orleans's Tremé neighborhood, he ended up in handcuffs along with his brother, snare drummer Derrick Tabb. The charges, eventually dropped, included parading without a permit and "disturbing the peace in tumultuous manner," and the incident fit part of a larger pattern of intimidation and stepped-up regulation of time-honored black street-culture traditions in that city since Katrina.
Andrews offered up that same hymn near the end of Spike Lee's 2006 documentary "When the Levees Broke," changing up the final verse to state, "New Orleans will never go away." "A declaration," he called it, in a moment of existential doubt for an entire city.