Tuesday, December 29, 2009
2009~The End of the Year...
but the road continues on......2009 in the rearview mirror....2010!!...so, as those who know me well might tell you, Im something of a bibliophile, a reader if you will...cue Bill Hicks bit..."Looks like we got ourselves a reader." So, I thought I'd post some of the books I read this year along with some music to accompany each book..sounds exciting, huh?
~Jeff Chang's "Cant Stop Wont Stop" is the book every hiphop historian wishes he couldve written. I mined this book for source material while writing my own short piece on hiphop and found Chang to be my guiding light through the rough and tumble boroughs of New York City. Chang, along with Robin D.G. Kelley, stands as the archivist and interpreter for the embattled hiphop nation.
B-Boys-Rock the House
~Aliester Crowley, the Great Beast, was a truly unique individual who engaged in all sorts of strange occultist activity. He was into yoga and the Kabbalah way before Madonna made such things en vogue...I first heard of Crowley over 10 years ago; I tracked down a book of his (Magick Without Tears, I believe) and found it utterly incomprehensible...this biography by Martin Booth entertains and informs...perhaps I'll revisit Crowley's work this year if time permits....
~A number of years ago, I was afforded the pleasure of meeting Dagoberto. We sat at the same dinner table at the wedding of a mutual friend. I knew he was a writer, but had yet to read any of his work...too bad b/c, as it turns out, he writes about the same three cities Ive called home---Los Angeles, El Paso and Austin. For me, reading Dagoberto is like reading a letter written by some not-too-distant relative. His English/Spanish word use and his subject matter seem ever-so familiar. I almost expected him to write at some point about Chicos Tacos in El Paso, or El Tepeyac in E. L.A. I will definitely be on the lookout for more from Dagoberto this coming year.
Grupo Fantasma-Cumbia del Coyote
"If He Hollers Let Him Go" by Chester Himes may very well be one of the great pieces of African-American literary art in America...Whereas Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and others appear in highschool textbooks, Himes gets left out for some reason (interracial sex)...whatever, I ran through this book in a few days, hungry for more from the mind of Himes. His books can be tough to find (at least where i shop), so if ya find one grab it.
Jay Electronica--Exhibit C (one of the best hiphop tracks of the year)
Rick Strassman's "DMT: The Spirit Molecule" found me; I was in the bookstore looking about, and there it was. I bought it, obviously, and devoured it (not literally-but you knew that). Strassman is a researcher at some university in New Mexico who began performing experiments with volunteers who he would give DMT to. The volunteers would undergo incredible experiences, many of them claiming that they felt as if they had died and left their body for good. The DMT users returned to their bodies safely, telling of strange realms filled with amazing colors, shapes, patterns, music, machines, and the tale of an occasional alien presence. Cool.