Monday, June 9, 2008

Fresh Radioheady Goodness

New Radiohead song "Super Collider" performed live in Dublin.

Also, a cover of one of my favorite joints off the new Portishead album, "The Rip."

Radiohead just has this transcendental quality to their music that's so raw that it seems to melt away even the toughest person's layers and reduce them to infant-like awe. Cannot wait to see them in August.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

It Blows My Mind

This ridiculously fucking cool wall animation was created by BLU in Buenos Aires and Baden. The painting, filming and editing process must have been a painstaking several months.

My good friend beginnermind (respect!) posted the ending of this video on his blog a couple months back, but peep the full version.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Damn Damn Damn Damn

I was deeply saddened by the news that Shepard Fairey is losing his vision due to a lifelong battle with diabetes. According to reports he could be legally blind by the end of the year but his representatives are hopeful that he will be able to continue working.

This on the heels of a UCLA report in the LA Times linking "fast food neighborhoods" with obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Don't be fooled folks, this is a class issue. In what neighborhoods do you exclusively see fast food restaurants? While companies like Whole Foods (and don't even get me started on their role as a gentrifier) come into a community and establish health food as a luxury item, when it should have existed in the community in the first damn place, affordably.

Too many corporations, locally and abroad, exploit poor communities without returning anything. They get tax cuts while schools, health care and social services struggle because money's tied up in a war that is just getting oil companies richer. Meanwhile we're being told to shut up and buy stuff through more and more pervasive marketing campaigns. I'm sick and tired of this shit.

I'm not sure if I believe that Barack Obama is the one or anything ridiculous like that. But there's an undeniable feeling of a movement behind him. There's something that everybody behind him recognizes that they could each do and that's real. Because change doesn't just happen. We all have to speak up, blog or whatever, and struggle for it.

* * * *

Fairey started his career as a street artist with the "André the Giant Has a Posse" sticker campaign and grew to become an iconic voice of the disaffected masses with his omnipresent wheatpastings and the Obey Giant clothing. He often juxtaposes counterculture figures with a classic communist propaganda stylings to create a powerful political messages.

Fairey gained public notoriety recently with the "Progress" and "Hope" posters he designed for the Obama campaign, as well as album covers for Led Zepellin, Smashing Pumpkins and Black Eyed Peas. I personally love the subversive message that Fairey seemed to keep throughout his work.

His contribution to the Obama campaign is actually the first time I'd noticed sheer optimism in Fairey's art. In his own simple but distinct style, Fairey captures a complex and thoughtful Barack Obama. To me it was the next step for one of my favorite artists of our time.

*edit: Good news, Fairey "vehemently denied that he’s losing his vision" upon being contacted by Animal. He is open about his bout with diabetes and said that a bleed in his eye caused him to lose partial vision during a show in New York, but firmly stated that he can still paint and "do what [he] need(s) to do."

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Get Mad !

For anyone who is still stewing over the Sean Bell verdict, this speech from "Network" (1976) is so relevant today.

"We are all Sean Bell, NYPD go to hell!"

Friday, April 25, 2008

More Judiciary Fuckery

The verdict came in for the Sean Bell trial this morning. And not surprisingly, the three officers on trial for murdering Sean Bell were acquitted of all charges. The case was decided by bench trial (rather than by a jury) and despite the facts (50 shots fired at an unarmed man) the judge ruled in favor of the officers.

In 2006, Bell was shot over 50 times by the three plainclothes NYPD detectives the night before his wedding day. According to several accounts, the shooting resulted from an argument between one of the undercover officers and some of Bell's associates in a strip club that night. Witnesses stated that the officers never identified themselves as they approached Sean Bell's car that night with guns drawn. They then proceeded to light up Bell's car with 50 shots. 50 motherfucking shots - that means that the officers unloaded their clips and reloaded to an unarmed man.

The trial is emblematic of the long-standing antagonistic relationship between the police and communities of color. The shooting death of Sean Bell has inevitably been compared to the case of Amadou Diallo in 1999. Issues of racial profiling, police brutality and institutional violence need to be seriously addressed. The treatment of such cases only increases the tension between communities and the police, paving way for idiotic notions as the Stop Snitchin campaign. Such complete lack of accountability on the police departments is an outrage, it only serves to build tensions between many communities and the police in the area.

For anyone that wants to be heard or show support, a protest is planned for this afternoon at 5:30 in front of the Queens County DA's office at 125-01 Queens Blvd (between Hoover Ave and 82nd Ave). Come out and let them know what you think of this bullshit.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Another Hopemonger Post

A friend (thanks beginnermind) sent me this pro-Obama song that seriously rocks my socks. It's by FMB (Fire Magic Blood), which consists of Daedelus and Taz Arnold & Shafiq Husayn from Sa-Ra.

Download: Vote Obama (blatantly swiped from Keepin It Right Radio)

Sorry that Our Beats Rhymes and Life has seemed like more of a Barack Obama blog recently than one dedicated to social commentary and social justice. Dude is just so damn inspiring.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Senator Obama on Hip Hop

"Hip hop is not just a mirror of what is, it should also be a reflection of what can be." - Barack Obama