Sunday, September 28, 2008

Nothing to Fear?

As the media-proclaimed "election of the century" draws closer I am becoming most fearful of the demographic largely ignored by the the polls because of their social status and level of education. These are the people that feel that voting doesn't matter because they feel they will be screwed anyway. This presidential race will be different because both sides have elements that have been considered victory killers in the past: A Black man on one side and a woman on the other. So, what's scary to me is the fact that this small sector of the population will probably come out to vote based on their biases instead of the actual qualifications of the candidates. These, often misinformed, potential voters will most likely be key players in what may be a close competition. There will be those who will vote against the McCain/Palin ticket simply because they don't think a woman should be anywhere close to being the leader of this country because "it's a man's job". There will be those who think that a Black man shouldn't run a major corporation much less an entire country.

Barack Obama will get votes because he is running on his confidence in himself as a leader and his career in politics. Unlike previous Black presidential hopefuls he is not using race to achieve his goals but is running on the content of his character. He seems serious about his commitment to real political change that will benefit everyone, not just Black people. John McCain will get votes because he promotes himself as more progressive in a party of conservatives, as someone less likely to toe the Party line and says he's willing to reach across the aisle for support. This is evident in his choice of a woman, almost as sure a vote killer as being Black, as his running mate.

Both candidates have their flaws and it will be up to the nation to decide. I think that this election will prompt more Americans to look beyond their notion about race and gender as qualifications for this country's leadership, to look beyond the packaging and see what's good inside the box. No one is really qualified to run a country. It's a job a person will know a lot about some things in some areas and less in other areas and, for the most part, will not have very long to get everything they promise done. Whatever their plans are for the betterment of this country they will have to negotiate the democratic process. No matter what the outcome of 4 years in office achieves the president will, in the eyes of the general public, be held solely responsible even though the entire legislative body, from the Senate, the House and the Supreme Court, should be held accountable. I would warn that, no matter the outcome of the election, it will still be politics as usual on Capitol Hill and there will always be an extremely vocal contingent of the disgruntled that will call for the expulsion of the new president because they didn't get everything they believe was promised them.

On the StudioMONDO turntable:
It's a Grace Jones kind of day!
Living My Life (Island, 1982)
Slave to the Rhythm (Manhattan, 1985)
Warm Leatherette (Island, 1980)
Inside Story (Manhattan, 1986)


Thursday, September 18, 2008

WWPD (What would PETA do?)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Album of the Day: "Beatnick Beatch" by Beatnick Beatch

Back in the 80s I was an illustrator in an ad agency and one of the benefits of being "in the biz" was the loads of free stuff that came in the mail every day. One such freebie that crossed my desk was from a company called Eva-Tone out of Clearwater, FL. Eva-Tone made thin, mailable vinyl promo records that were used to send audio presentations to clients. The "soundsheet" I got that day was a promo for a new magazine called FAD (Fashion, Art, Design) and the first cut on side one was "Beatnik Beatch" by Beatnik Beatch and it knocked my socks off with it's retro jazz/blues bass, stompin' brumbeat, synth-horn breaks and whiney yet tough-guy vocals. The title cut and the song "Maria" make getting a copy of this worthwhile if you can find it.
Years later I found the Beatnik Beatch lp in the cutout bin and was pleasantly suprised that the whole lp kicked ass, too. Later still, I heard Jellyfish's "Belly Button" and couldn't figure out why it sounded different yet so familiar. Too bad both Sturmer/Manning projects turned out to be one-shot wonders...


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Album Review of the Day: 5th Dimension "Portrait"

The coolest thing I know about this album is that the 5th Dimension played a singing group invovled in a mystery on a TV show called "It Takes a Thief" starring Robert Wagner. It was on that show that the single "Puppet Man" debuted. I imagine that helped it sell like hotcakes as the group was still riding high on the strength of "Aquarius". As for the album itself, the standouts are "Puppet Man", "One Less Bell to Answer", "This is Your Life" and the supremely cheesy (like a frozen pizza), faux-radical nod to the "younger folk" (i.e.: hippies and hippie wannabes) of the "Medley: The Declaration / A Change Is Gonna Come / People Gotta Be Free". Also, you gotta dig the sweet LeRoy Neiman cover painting and inside the gatefold sketches.

This was part of the soundtrack to my "rose coloured glasses" youth a few years before the end of the Vietnam War changed the culture of the US to one that was much less optimistic and more cynical.

I couldn't find a link to "Puppet Man" but this is my other favorite from Portrait from YouTube:


Friday, September 5, 2008

The Alchemy of Dreams


Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Other White Meat: Music Edition

I like Andy Williams as much today as I did when I was a kid. While most of my peers were crankin' Aretha Franklin and making the 70s the Golden Age of Motown, while The Byrds and Hendrix and "In a Gadda Da Vida" were the soundtrack to many a pot party, I was alone at home singing along with Andy.

Then I would go out to a pot party...