Tag Archives: push

a brooklyn love story: story1: florence and the machines

dear readers,

announcing the launch of a daily story to highlight a song, in prose and free form poetics, set live and in full effect in brooklyn, new york. winter, 2011. the snow, the breath, the jackets, the sweat. between you and me? the fellas never stood a chance. she was that bad. that sweet, that sporty, that sad. for this life there was never anyone gladder. cept all the leaders who led the way before-n-after.

story 1: florence and the machines.

he could whirl you on the dance floor
he could get down on a groove
he could be so patient
and like hella sweet
but smooth

lets say his name was islam
he work in the neighborhood
the cafe now the bar
i like how he smile
and plus i remember when i walked into the cafe
and he was taking a break
and reading this science fiction book that like
was bigger than the bhagavad-gita

where im from in india
one of the regions is uttar pradesh
and our ancestral village
which ive been to
is called madhuban

where im from in india
this town called gorakhpur
we got one of the best printing presses in the
long, vast, and so so current history of india
gita press

but i digress

islam and me could talk about so many things
and i like that
and he gives me gentle, sexy space too
damn boo

so whatever so then he walked me home this one night
and we watched george lopez on the couch
he put his arm around me, it was comfortable
we snuggled

but at the bar beforehand
me and him was up dancing
when no one else was
this is a white bar, mainly
relatively new to the hood
but mad appreciated
we love you syc

let me get back quick

spinning and rocking and
conjuring up the spirit
the girl, she so sick
she dance like a flick
and he was slick kick

up the dick
up it
cup the dick cup it

i can’t lie
i think about him
specially after he came through to
the comedy cabaret segment of my show
last sunday at solos
he smiled
and i like his smile so

romance in brooklyn
as beautiful and varied as i am
as the world is
as india is
as islam is

i wouldn’t trade this life
i gotsta get paid this life
hear the angels calling
hear the dirt crawling
feel the freedom ring
in every one of us a valiant king

***

another brooklyn story manana. see you then kids.

peace,
roopa sings

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back to life, back to reality: not your average oscar post

dear readers,

i went to a oscar party last night with some salga heads at comix, a laugh spot in the meatpacking district. one of the hats i wear: i’m a nyu film head. and i got that good oscar commentary, that good shit. like, hooray for the horror montage! i love you more than rainbows baby? we LOVE you too. and, my red carpet reflection: isn’t america stunning, peacock pretty, and increasingly self conscious of itself, sucking in its belly, in rented ware, fake laughing, make-up caked over the war, you can tell by all that pomp, all that pus, we gotta push, dig deeper, to get/back to life.

roopa’s oscar reflections:

1. Generational Rifts: everyone talking a lot about age and youth, making digs, i’m like age gracefully, please be proud to still be alive, so we can continue to strive too. make room and pave the paths too. step aside so we can glide too.

2. Mic Wrecks: so we all saw that white woman grab the mic from the black man and act a wreck. is she gonna need to apologize on jay letterman? is public opinion going to turn on her like it has turned on kanye and lil mama? i thinks not. why not?

3. Celebrity is a Vulture: all that glitter all them dresses, folks sure did look nice. but at what price? do we even understand the effect of celebrity culture on our societal minds? what does it mean for us to believe that there are people worth more than we are.

4. Zoe’s Dress: okay, given that, zoe’s dress was so fabulous. the tiers of contrasting purples until it hit black, oh my gods, how fly!!

5. Samuel L. Jackson Ain’t All That: mo’nique accepts the well deserved award (she played the hell out of that role, even if you do think the academy shouldn’t award such protrayals of black women) and the “neutral” camera flashes to sam jackson’s dismissive face. lords have mercy, what kind of social divisive shit was that/was not accidental/was not cool/was not surprising.

6. Blue Dress Crew: I like how all the Precious folks wore they blue dresses, go girls!

7. Why is America Still Afraid of Being Smart: the casual comments about what “those scientists do” to make our movie going experience shine, and about cinematography being all heady makes me wonder how to integrate art with intellect when there are so few mass appeal folks encouraging such integration.

8. I heart John Hughes, “You will be happy. You just won’t know it.”: How prophetic and self reflexive, I mean, isn’t that the perfect subtitle for some of those moments on the red carpet? Hughes’s film, The Breakfast Club helped me tap into suburban angst, it gave me a way to clash in the school institutions, it showed me models of how to be in this society. So. Crucial. The montage of his work ended with a mesmerizing clip of a conversation between Kevin Bacon and Alec Baldwin, they are in the fly 80’s grey tuxedos, sitting in a convertible, about happiness: “Am I going to be happy,” asks Kevin Bacon. “You will be happy,” replies Baldwin, “you just won’t know it.” And ain’t that the plague of the rich.

more to come. but before i leave:

i’m on that soul to soul medicine this morning. remember back to life? me and my girl keisha i did a dance to that song for a talent show in the 7th grade, challenger junior high school in mira mesa california. there are so many nice things about choreography and dance but one of the best is that you get so familiar with the music, it enters your bones like marrow and you let it. you gotta hear it over and over, know it, so so well. i remember back to life like i remember you.

love,
roopa

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film review: precious (by a survivor and for all my survivors)

have you seen precious?  reading group anyone?

haven’t seen it?  see it.  yeah you,

see the movie.  cuz its not just the movie. it is the scene before the movie. its saturday night, union square, im at cosi’s, waiting for my folks, across the way from the theater. its is the groups of women, the femmes, the butches, the black women, the stunning fat girls, the two white women at the bar like, “top us off, please, we’re trying to get drunk before this movie.” it is the red and black book clutched in the hands of the young woman with the empire braids crossing the street, the young asian man on the subway platform, the older white woman smashed on the morning q train. it is gabourey sidibe on the cover of the sunday new york times magazine. it is the word that is never on lips and rarely on minds: incest.

it is visibility, visible. in black and red paperback. in sold out sold out sold out blinking red against the black saturday night marquee.

gabourey sidibe as precious

i saw “precious” this past saturday. “precious” is the movie adaptation of sapphire’s novel, “push.” push is told from the perspective of precious, a victim of family violence in many forms, including horrific incest. the novel, and the movie, parallel her healing process with her learning how to read and write at an alternative school. in this way, precious/push is a commentary on how learning heals. it is a pedagogical work, it comments on teaching and learning by and for and with oppressed populations and deserves to be contextualized in the line of other people we give props to who have shaped this field, including the urban work/youth speaks favorite, paulo freire.

i recommend that you see the movie. it works, it works on many levels. mo’nique is amazing. in fact, everyone did they part. if you scared that its going to be too much, please don’t worry. this tyler perry and oprah winfrey backed film is hard hitting but with an eye on mass appeal, there are enough spoonfuls of sugar to help the medicine go down. in some ways the movie is a bit too saccharine. on the other hand, in a society where most don’t talk about incest, much less tell their own survival stories, a slight nod towards disney-fication may exactly what the mainstream doctor ordered. for me, it would have been helpful too have felt at least once like i was falling, like i was hopeless, like there was no net and this would never, ever stop. because that’s how it feels when you going through it. in precious, i generally felt the presence of a net that would catch me the viewer before i fell too far or too hard into hopelessness.

but hopelessness is a real part of the experience. as a survivor of incest, i can say that while you’re going through it, there is almost no balance. it can feel like the abuse is everything. and it can feel like it is nothing, like nothing wrong is happening. then, if you lucky and if you strong, you keep cracking light in the concrete of your experience, until you, your seed has air to breathe, the soil it needs, to grow.

while director lee daniels did not go by the book in some core ways (in the movie ms. blue rain is light skinned, no locks and tyler perry’s missionary christiandom is obvious in a few distracting scenes), in most ways he lets the audience see the world how precious sees the world. when she is being raped, she sees in non-linear montage. when precious shows up to school after bearing beatings, verbal abuse, and sexual abuse at the hands of her mom, we see how her vision and hearing is cloudy, disjointed.

i’m over here on the 6th floor of tisch. just got out of ed guerroro’s film class on horror and sci-fi. he offered this definition of hegemony: hegemony is how the ruling class manufactures consent to their rule.

precious and push tell a story that is not often told, and less often heard. so maybe, just maybe, when we tell our true stories, we stop consenting to the kind of rule asks us to check the safety of family life at the door to the store, the school, the job. by telling my story, by learning every day new things, i am actively breaking down the hegemony that surrounds me with silence.

go see the flick man.

peace,
roopa singh

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