bell hooks and gloria #blkgrlswurld

bell hooks @ the New School | 2014

For the past couple of years the New School has invited the esteemed author Gloria Jean Watkins also known as bell hooks, to host a week long series of talks and lectures as a Scholar in Residence ($$$) lol. This year the line up was pretty exciting with conversations taking place for public consumption and featuring some of bell’s most well known colleagues like Gloria Steinem, Cornel West and Samuel Delany.

With the life and times of New York City whirling me around, I was only able to attend the talk with Gloria Steinem and the closing conversation with filmmaker Arthur Jafa. I caught the livestream of her talk with Cornel West as well, which was very entertaining and reminded me alot of past family reunions at my grandmother’s home in Chicago.

Anyone can recognize that these great writers and social activists of our time have been important leaders for civil rights and equality within the past 50 years. And with the generational shift towards the politics of the 2000s it comes as no surprise that most of these intellectuals are not happy with the progress that’s been made. In many ways the legal rights of women, children and people of color have reverted backwards to conditions worse than the time of folks like bell hooks and Gloria Steinem.

I consider these points a given under the conditions of any person not thinking they’d live long enough to see if the groundwork of their legacies could sustain for decades to come.

What truly surprised me in listening to these brilliant minds was my realization that they were members of an entire age demographic I’ve had little to no exposure to. Aside from one Granny I still get to visit about once a year. At this point you might be thinking, so what? You don’t know alot of old people, big deal. Sure, it may not seem that bad, but I believe the disconnect to previous generations is why my people (Americans between the ages of 18-30) lack a foundation in community, history and personal identity.

I’m sure you’ve heard some old person declare something like this before, muttering on about kids today lacking respect for their elders- you’ve likely also seen a young person like me roll their eyes at such statements. What makes this lack of elderly exposure relevant is how hard I’ve been finding it to listen to the advice of this older generation, mainly because of cultural disconnect. I feel that if I had spent more time around this population I’d have more respect for them and actually be able to consider their thoughts on things more earnestly. As it stands I don’t always get where they are coming from and often find myself skeptical of their perspective even though they have years of life experience.

Why do we doubt them? First of all, I know I speak for many of us in regards to having young family trees. The one Granny I’ve ever known just turned 80 and outlived her 9 siblings. She’s likely to become one of the only people to make it past age 65 in my family lineage for generations to come. (we’ll cover healthcare another day) Every year my cousins are becoming grandmothers in their 30s and 40s. With the cultural norms of the African American diaspora being what they are, my parents come from estranged families of the 1970s where brothers didn’t talk for decades, mothers often introduced long lost “Uncles” and fathers were unclaimed whispers hidden in group photos on the living room mantel.

So what can we do? Listen.

We’ve got to try to listen to the wisdom of these great thinkers, even if we don’t agree with their perspective at times. When I am next presented with an opportunity to hear the perspective of someone older than my parents, I will listen hard.

#blkgrlswurld, 2014

View the bell hooks/Gloria Steinem lecture at the New School here

Christina Long Art, 2014 MFA SAIC #blkgrlswulrd Alesana

Chaos is a Ladder Tour Concludes at Webster Hall

Published on Webster Hall’s Blog September 30, 2014

The heavy bass of melodic post-hardcore metal shook the foundations of The Studio at Webster Hall due to the return of the band Alesana on Saturday, September 27, 2014. A sextet that has been rockin’ out for a decade, the band concluded a two week tour with friends Megosh, The Funeral Portrait, The Things They Carried, and From The Depths.

Performing in Webster Hall’s most intimate space, The Studio, allowed fans to have a closer interaction with the musicians as they leapt across the stage and swung from the rafters. Known for bringing exceptional energy to every performance, this show illustrated their natural talent for inspiring the audience with its positivity and celebration. The size of the crowd never matters, you can always tell Alesana is there to have fun and put on a great show.

Christina Long Art, 2014 MFA SAIC #blkgrlswulrd Alesana

Alesana performs at Webster Hall, NYC Sept. 2014

These days little metalcore bands for young crowds sprout up quickly, featuring auto-tuned albums, gelled black hair and really, really tight jeans. Alesana is not one of those bands. With the lighter vocals of Shawn Milke contrasting with the heavier screams of Dennis Lee, the band has a dedicated following across the globe known as Alesana Army, holding in its membership many young New Yorkers.

Throughout the show people chanted lyrics back at lead vocalist Shawn Milke with true conviction. Among the crowd, the movement of arms and legs was not the old sport of moshes and crowd surfing, but more about a community expressing their joy of the music and their personal resonance with the lyrics. The performance of their latest song, Nevermore, was a special treat to witness.

Christina Long Art, 2014 MFA SAIC #blkgrlswulrd Alesana

Alesana and friends celebrating the end of the tour at Webster Hall

I sat down with band members Shawn Milke (lead vocals, guitar) and Dennis Lee (screamed vocals) before the final performance to discuss the conceptual elements in their previous albums and what we might expect from their upcoming album that’s still in production. The album will be the third installment of a rock opera trilogy inspired by classic literary works like Edgar Allan Poe and Dante Alighieri.

How do you feel about making it to the end of this tour, here at Webster hall?

SM: It’s always bittersweet because what we do is really unique and special and we’re so grateful we can do this.

DL: It is bittersweet because the tour family is like your cousins and brothers, it’s a real family reunion when we get together [like this.]

How have literary classics influenced the band’s more conceptual albums?

SM: It’s exciting to hear [younger] fans say they weren’t really into reading, and then realized we’ve based our work on famous literature, and now they [like to] read.”

What are your thoughts on how artists and creatives can sustain a practice for the long term?

SM: It’s about putting [the] art first. If you put the art ahead of [everything] it will always be the driving force and therefore sustain…we could potentially play for the next 20 years because we put the art first.

 What sort of literary works have inspired your upcoming album in the Annabel trilogy?

SM: The next album will be intense…Madeline L’Engle and her sci-fi works like A Wrinkle in Time [are important].

DL: Parallel universes and multiverses…Time travel is something so intricate in so many ways…we’re hoping to try and come up with our own twist…that’s all we can say for now, it’s definitely the youngest [literary] work we’ve explored for an album.

With a passion for meaningful lyrics and putting their love of music first, I can’t wait to discover what Alesana will create next.

Written by Christina Long, MFA | Guest Writer for Webster Hall, NYC

Bio: Christina Long is a Harlem based designer who manages a music zine titled #Blkgrlswurld

Christina Long Art #blkgrlswurld 2014 christinalongart.com

Chevelle’s NYC Show

Chevelle came through Manhattan last week so there was No way I was missing this show. This band started it all for me over a decade ago (trying hard not to feel old right now, lol)

Anyways, back in high school, I didn’t know anything about hard rock or metal aside from the Pop stuff Linkin Park was up to. Chevelle’s song “The Closure” changed it all for me, I’d never heard anything like it and wanted more immediately. Ever since, I’ve caught them at least once on any annual tour they’ve done and am thrilled to see they’re still making music after 15 years. *Can we take a moment to appreciate all the artists out there who actually sound as good live as they do on the album?* Yes!

The show at Terminal 5 in Manhattan was a great set, featuring some old and new songs. The band ended a little abruptly though and it definitely surprised the crowd. Not sure if that was just a time constraint or what but it left the majority of crowd begging for an encore that never came. I was also surprised to see so much crowd surfing- now that my people are getting older and considering this was still hard rock, I hadn’t expected anyone to attempt such expression. Must have been all that good music :)

I really look forward to these guys staying in the scene for years to come and hope they head back this way soon. xoxo #blkglrswurld

Pete Loeffler of Chevelle at Terminal 5

Pete Loeffler of Chevelle at Terminal 5

Dean Bernidini of Chevelle at Terminal 5

Dean Bernidini of Chevelle at Terminal 5

Christina Long Art #blkgrlswurld 2014 christinalongart.com

Afro Punk Fest ’14

:) One of the benefits I was looking forward to when arriving in NYC earlier this year was attending Afro Punk fest in Brooklyn. In summers past my sister and I would stare at instagram and twitter accounts at our kitchen table in rural Michigan as people that looked just like us posted awesome photos of a place that for us looked like a Rockin’ Emerald City.

I checked out the 2 day fest this August and immediately felt at home, walking amongst my alternative music folk with wonder and excitement at all the beautiful people. I didn’t have prior familiarity with bands playing over the course of 2 days, but I came away completely sold on a few for sure-buying up albums, t-shirts and the lot.

Valerie June, Afro Punk Fest 2014, Brooklyn NYC

Valerie June, Afro Punk Fest 2014, Brooklyn NYC

One artist that stood out to me was Valerie June.  As I stood at the front of her stage peering at the guitar and banjo, I had no idea what I was about to hear. Then came the deep Tennessee accent and the pluck of a bass guitar. Folk music? YES! I had been hankering for some down-home tunes lately and songs like “The Hour” and “Workin’ Woman Blues” were exactly what I needed.

Upon the recommendation of a friend I stopped by The Internet’s show and again was pleasantly surprised. Lead vocalist Syd was smoother than Robin Thicke, making the ladies in the crowd lose it a few times. With as much head-banging as I do, I don’t mind alil R&B every now and then- Which leads us to Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings!

I’d heard of Sharon Jones at past events but never took the opportunity to see her live, it was definitely the best performance I saw at the fest. Her energy was so bright and wild it immediately reminded me of other Soul greats like James Brown or Aretha Franklin, singing out until someone has to come out and carry them off stage from exhaustion. Jones called her gospel style wailing Shouting which was great since where I come from we call it Kick Ass Metal. Lol. But hey, good music is good music.

As a seasoned veteran of Chicago’s Lollapalooza, I’m happy to see so many different kinds of music at this fest because it allows people of color to express the Many alternative sounds we enjoy making, each of them as underground and DIY as 1980s Punk. Like Lollapalooza these festivals become an opportunity for music sub-cultures to mix and mingle, discovering new sounds and making new friends.

Sharon Jones and Dap King, Afropunk 2014 Brooklyn, NyC

Sharon Jones and Dap King, Afropunk 2014 Brooklyn, NYC

Afro Punk Fest 2014, Brooklyn, NYC

Afro Punk Fest 2014, Brooklyn, NYC

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#blkgrlswurldZINE Open Call 2.0

The theme for Issue 2.0 is “Sci-fi Girl”

Do you know a Sci-fi Girl? Tell us about her in this month’s Zine!

Submit Art or Questions to blkgrlswurld@gmail.com

Deadline is September 30, 2014 | 7p.m. Eastern Time

This project is FREE because we hate paying to participate in things.

The Zine will be a free digital download shared on Twitter, Facebook and our sites on tumblr & wordpress. Art should be 8.5in x 5.5in. The 8 page book can be printed and folded with standard 8.5in x 11in paper. That way you can print/trade/share as many as you like.

*Artists are welcome to submit multiple times*

Please note, some entries may be posted on the #BLKGRLSWURLD website, but may not be featured in the Zine. Artists will be credited throughout.

##

#BLKGRLSWURLD is a team of ladies who love to write, photograph and draw all things Hardcore Metal and AfroPunk in New York City, Detroit, Chicago and anywhere else in-between. This includes footage from live shows, festivals, interviews with bands, fashion, comic books and DIY Culture.

The project is international and open to anyone who supports women in Rock and Hardcore Metal- Be it on the stage or in the crowd!

Have questions or an idea? Email us at blkgrlswurld@gmail.com

BLKGRLSWURLD, zine, print,hristina long art

Words on Walls Event, Featuring the Mighty Third Rail. #UrbanWordNYC

Events from Around the City

Been running around so much there’s no time to really verbalize (or literize) it all. For now take a Look!

Christina Long Art #blkgrlswurld 2014 christinalongart.com

Charles Gaines “Grid” Show at the Studio Museum of Harlem, 2014

Christina Long Art #blkgrlswurld 2014 christinalongart.com

Charles Gaines “Grid” Show at the Studio Museum of Harlem, 2014

Christina Long Art #blkgrlswurld 2014 christinalongart.com

Words on Walls Event, Featuring the Mighty Third Rail. #UrbanWordNYC

Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC | The Roof Garden Commission Dan Graham with Günther Vogt, April 29–November 2, 2014 -All photos by #blkgrlswurld

Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC | The Roof Garden Commission
Dan Graham with Günther Vogt, April 29–November 2, 2014 -All photos by #blkgrlswurld

Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC | The Roof Garden Commission Dan Graham with Günther Vogt, April 29–November 2, 2014 -All photos by #blkgrlswurld

Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC | The Roof Garden Commission
Dan Graham with Günther Vogt, April 29–November 2, 2014 -All photos by #blkgrlswurld

 

Christina Long Art #blkgrlswurld 2014 christinalongart.com

Lead Sails Paper Anchor? Yes!

Have you heard the wonderful news?! Atreyu is coming back! If you don’t know these guys then you’ve missed a significant piece of the post-hardcore metal story. It’s been years since they’ve been on tour, but I still listen to them everyday. This September they’ll be rocking heads at the Aftershock Fest in California :D Sweet!

In recent news girls were representing at the Acheron this weekend and I soon realized why. Female lead band “Show of Bedlam” was the cause for sure, their set was on lock with great vocals, swooping synth sounds and progressive atmospheric effects. Check them out on Instagram below.

I’m also thrilled to see my boys Chevelle later this month, not to mention Brooklyn’s Afro Punk Fest…more to come on these events soon. #metalcoresummer xoxo

Show of Bedlam @ Acheron, 8/2014

Show of Bedlam @ Acheron, 8/2014

Noothgrush at Acheron, 8/2014

Noothgrush at Acheron, 8/2014