Monday, June 30, 2014

Slept on Soul (new column @ soulhead.com)


soulhead.com Launches Slept On Soul by Michael A Gonzales 
Monthly Column Debuts July 1

(JUNE 30, 2014) NEW YORK - Respected music critic and journalist Michael A. Gonzales will launch a new column, Slept on Soul, July 1 on the popular music website soulhead. Debuting with singer Chico DeBarge’s post-prison gem Long Time No See from 1997,the monthly column will revisit great soul records audiences paid little attention to when they were originally released.
“I’ve loved many albums that, for some reason, didn’t connect with listeners,” Gonzales said. “And Long Time No See represents the kind under-the-radar record I’ll be spotlighting. It displayed a mastery of style, honest lyricism and musical depth, but inexplicably nobody seemed to care about it.”
soulhead founder Ron Worthy said, “soulhead exists to uplift classic artists and shed light on the best in new music. Michael is an exceptional journalist who is enthusiastic about everything he covers. He’s been a contributor to our site for the past year, and his colorful, confident style connects with our readers. We know our readers will love it!”
Gonzales has written about popular culture for over twenty years. He has penned features for, among others, Wax Poetics, New York, XXL, The London Telegraph, and Pitchfork Review. He is a frequent on-air contributor for TV One’s popular Celebrity Crime Files.
soulhead® is an music lifestyle community targeting passionate music fans looking for unique and relevant content that enhance their lifestyle. Focusing on urban music, including new and classic soul, funk, jazz, and progressive electronic, the site offers reviews of albums and concerts, free mp3 downloads and streams and rare interviews and movies. The soulhead® brand was conceived by Ron Worthy, new media visionary, product developer and disc jockey, and is wholly owned by Buzzworthy Media Ventures, LLC of Brooklyn, New York.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Here Come the Warm Jets

Back home, in Harlem building where M. lived on the sixth floor, he turned on the stereo and put on a bulky pair of headphones. A few weeks before, for his eleventh birthday, his hip mother bought him a copy of Brian Eno’s strange debut Here Comes the Warm Jets.
“He’s way better than Elton John,” she said as he stared baffled at the album cover. Knee deep in his David Bowie, Kiss, Queen phase, he had never heard of Eno, but dug his hair and mascara. The warm buzzing guitar soaring through the title track like a fighter jet frightened him.
It took a few listens before his young mind started to comprehend Eno’s bugged-out brain. The man was crazy, no doubt, M. thought as epic guitars glided between majestic notes, lyrics slowly faded in, incoherent babble was buried in the music. What M. could understand, at least to his Catholic sensibilities, appeared to have spiritual undertones.
“Father, we make prayers on our knees,” the voice murmured. “Dawn enter here, for we've nowhere to be, nowhere to be, nowhere to be. Father drowned we're on our saints/paid to appease though we've nothing these days, nothing these days.”
From the moment M. heard "Here Come the Warm Jets," airplanes and prayers were eternally connected in his head. Years later, when he was the music critic for Blur magazine, he wrote an essay on Eno that a few people read, but he still believed was brilliant. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Black Pulp News (2014)

‘BLACK PULP’ A PHENOMENON, PUBLISHER ANNOUNCES SECOND VOLUME

In April 2013, Pro Se Productions, a Publisher known for balancing tales hearkening back to classic Pulp Fiction with stories pushing the boundaries of modern Genre Fiction, released a title that caused a ripple in the Genre Fiction and Pulp communities.  BLACK PULP is a collection that takes the wonderful style of Pulp Fiction, established in the early 20thCentury, and wraps it around fully realized black heroes and heroines, something that was not done in Pulp’s classic era. This best selling collection features work from a variety of authors, including bestselling authors Walter Mosley and Joe Lansdale as well as notable authors such as well known crime author Gary Phillips, Imaro creator Charles Saunders, Mel Odom, Christopher Chambers, Gar Anthony Haywood, Ron Fortier, Kimberly Richardson, Michael Gonzales, D. Alan Lewis, Derrick Ferguson, and Tommy Hancock.

Co-editor of BLACK PULP, crime novelist Gary Phillips observed, “While revisionism is not history, as the films Django Unchained and 42 attest, nonetheless historical matters find their way into popular fiction. This is certainly the case with New Pulp as it handles such issues as race with a modern take, even though stories can be set in a retro context.”

Pulp fiction of the early 20th century rarely, if ever, focused on characters of color and the handful of black characters in these stories were typically portrayed stereotypically. BLACK PULP brings some of today’s best authors together with up and coming writers to craft stories of adventure, mystery, and more -- all with black characters in the forefront.

Black Pulp offers exciting tales of derring-do from larger-than-life heroes and heroines; aviators in sky battles, lords of the jungle, pirates battling slavers and the walking dead, gadget-wielding soldiers-of-fortune saving the world to mystics fighting for justice in other worlds. Various outlets, including the Los Angeles Review of Books and The Huffington Post, covered the release of BLACK PULP and positive reviews continue to stack up. “BLACK PULP,” Pro Se Productions publisher and Black Pulp co-editor Tommy Hancock, "has been a phenomenon for Pro Se.  Not simply because sales have been spectacular for the resources available to us, but also because this title has brought awareness of the company to many writers, whole communities that we’re happy to be associated with.  And it’s not simply because it’s a great book with fantastic talent telling unbelievably good stories. It’s more about discussion, about bringing new stories into this classic style, individuals and entire groups getting a voice in a way they didn’t because of society in the early 20th Century.  New Pulp is what we call this type of fiction because of the chance to blend the best of the past with the sensibilities of today. You really see that with BLACK PULP and the impact it’s had.  And we want that to continue. It’s why there will be a BLACK PULP II and other similar volumes as well.”

Currently, ASIAN PULP is in development from Pro Se and will, like its predecessor, feature Pulp stories, this time with Asian protagonists.  ASIAN PULP is slated for a mid 2014 release. BLACK PULP II is currently being developed as well. Many of the authors in the original volume are returning, as well as new names.   BLACK PULP II is scheduled for late 2014/early 2015 release.

The collection that started it all, BLACK PULP features a new essay on the nature of Pulp, both classic and modern, by award winning bestselling author Walter Mosley. The other writers contributing original works to the anthology are: two-time Shamus award winner Gar Anthony Haywood, two time Award finalist Kimberly Richardson, Dixon Medal winner Christopher Chambers, critically acclaimed novelist Mel Odom, Spinetingler Award nominee Michael A. Gonzales, and award winning leading New Pulp writers Ron Fortier, D. Alan Lewis, Derrick Ferguson, Charles Saunders, Tommy Hancock, and Chester Himes award winner Phillips. This collection also features a classic story by Joe R. Lansdale, winner of the Edgar Allan Poe award, and multiple Bram Stoker awards.

BLACK PULP is available now from Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/d8wjtph
and via Pro Se's own store at https://www.createspace.com/4248056! It is also available via Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords as an Ebook, with format and design by Russ Anderson. With a pulse pounding original cover by artist Adam Shaw and stunning cover design by Sean Ali, BLACK PULP delivers hair raising action and two-fisted adventure out of both barrels!

For more information concerning BLACK PULP, BLACK PULP II, or ASIAN PULP, including interviews and review copies when available, email Morgan Minor, Director of Corporate Operations at Pro Se at directorofcorporateoperations@prose-press.com.
For more information on Pro Se Productions, go to www.prose-press.com. Like Pro Se on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ProSeProductions.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Louder Than a Bomb: On Amiri Baraka and the Black Arts Movement

Photo: Amiri Baraka and Larry Neal

Yesterday afternoon writer Amiri Baraka died at the age of 79. This past summer, while attending a uptown party for my friend Florence Tate at Graham Court, I had the pleasure of meeting him in person for the first time. Over the years, we'd been in the same room together, and I even interviewed him (thank you Fayemi Shakur) when I wrote about Nina Simone for Wax Poetics. 
As a music critic, at least most of the time, I'd devoured not just Baraka's classic Blues People (1963), but also his plays, poems and sometimes wild ramblings.  
      When my editor Miles at Ebony.com first proposed that I write about the Black Arts Movement, I thought about those long ago days when I was a messenger in 1982 and found a copy of the collection Black Fire, which Baraka edited with poet/critic Larry Neal. While I had spent my youth reading Marvel comics and Harlan Ellison/Kurt Vonnegut paperbacks, at nineteen I was rediscovering my Blackness through music and books. Discovering Black Fire at some used book store, this tome included the works of Ed Bullins, Stanley Crouch and Sonia Sanchez. Without a doubt, the writings in Black Fire put me on a completely different path of literary communication. 
      Their's was writing that wasn't afraid to scream or explode like textual time bombs. Absorbed by the funk and fury of the contributors, I carried that thick ass book around for months. When I put out the call yesterday to my writer friends that I was penning a piece on the Black Arts Movement, my buddy Robert Fleming sent me a passionate statement that expressed how many of us felt about the elders that paved the way for us to do our thang.  I
      "One of the reasons I went into writing was the Black Arts Movement, especially the work of Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Larry Neal, David Henderson, Calvin Hernton, Don L. Lee, Ish Reed, Tom Dent, Broadside Press and Third World. I still have some of the publications and magazines from that time. They inspired me to write poems and short stories. As I got older, I came to know some of the writers and artists. 
      "I spent time with Herndon in Ohio and Dent in New Orleans. Larry Neal was a favorite of mine. I worked with Nikki Giovanni as an editor on the news magazine, Encore. I corresponded with Baraka and later got him to sit for a fully length interview for a magazine, Black Issues Book Review. We'll miss his vision and fury. I don't think that period, the Black Arts Movement, is well represented in the libraries or the book stores because of the politics, emphasis on nationalism, and the anti-minstrel aspects of our culture. We were proud to be black then.
    "Now, we chase the dollar will do anything to get it. We are not afraid to shame or humiliate ourselves. The young folks could learn a lot from that era and the work that represented it. We should revisit the books and art from the Black Arts Movement." 
      Indeed, I couldn't agree more. While there are thousands of books about the Beats or all the folks who chilled at Gertrude Stein's, the Black Arts Movement gets little love.  Yet, even if the literary world chooses to act as though the Black Arts Movement wasn't worthy, for some of us that black fire is still burning.

[VINTAGE VISION]
Baraka and the Black Arts Movement

Friday, September 13, 2013

Abel Ferrara (New York City Moments #2)


Recently I was working on an essay for the upcoming One More Robot number 12 (http://issuu.com/onemorerobot/docs/issue11) about one of my favorite filmmakers, the always gruff Abel Ferrara. While The King of New York (1990) and The Bad Lieutenant (1992) are two of my favorite films, I also have a soft spot for Fear City (1984) which co-starred underrated Billy Dee Williams as a Times Square cop with a nasty attitude trying to solve the murder of Times Square strippers.

One of the things I’ve always loved about living in New York City is how we can often run into our cultural heroes on the street, in restaurants or in the living room of some Greenwich Village dwelling weed dealer. That said, in 1996, I had the pleasure of meeting Abel Ferrara at a wrap party for Spike Lee’s Get on the Bus.

The party was at a midtown Manhattan nightclub called the Supper Club and when I saw him, he was standing upstairs looking like Ratzo Rizzo from Midnight Cowboy with his arms wrapped around Annabella Sciorra. In pure fan boy style, I walked over to him and began gushing about how much I loved The King of New York and The Bad Lieutenant.

Looking like he was high on something, he shook my hand and mumbled, “Thank you, man,” in a voice that reminded me of Tom Waits. There was a small pause and then Ferrara asked, “You want to come with us over to the bar.” For the next half-hour, he, me and Sciorra stood at the bar talking like old drinking buddies.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crown Achievement - Photos - EBONY

Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crown Achievement - Photos - EBONY

Monday, August 12, 2013

Rise of the Funky Divas - Entertainment & Culture - EBONY

Rise of the Funky Divas - Entertainment & Culture - EBONY