Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Tim'm West Celebrates the 1st Anniversary of the Front Porch at Busboys and Poets in DC

Live in the DC/MD/VA area? Or are you going to be in the District on Thursday Dec. 1 (like me)? Then come hear/see/experience one of the best hip-hop artist around as Tim'm West celebrates the 1st anniversary of the "Front Porch." Tim'm has been recognized by everyone from Keith Boykin to Newsweek magazine for his fantastic talent. Normally held on the first Thursday of each month at Cafe Mawonaj in DC, the show will take place instead at Busboys and Poets.

Here are details followed by a word from Tim'm:

December 1 , 2005
Front Porch at BusBoys and Poets
Celebrate Our 1st Anniversary Show!
As Tim'm presents "The Front Porch"
family, flow, friends, funk
Busboys and Poets
14th and V Streets, NW
(near U Street Metro/Green Line)
Washington, DC
9pm FREE!!!!
December (World AIDS Day)
Monica McIntyre (Philly) with Marcia McIntyre
Ayanna Muhammad (Chicago)

Monica McIntyre is a talented cellist, vocalist, and lyricist who started playing the cello at the age of 7. Ms. McIntyre is originally from Hyattsville, MD where she studied classical cello for 11 years. Monica came to Philadelphia, PA to study Fashion Design at Drexel University. Her debut album Blusolaz was released in October 2003. Monica has performed at The Black Women's Art Festival 2003, Philadelphia Fringe Festival 2003, Soul Sista's Jukejoint GA 2004, The Philadelphia Underground Music Phestival (PUMP) 2004 and Women Against Abuse 2005. She was also featured in BInformed Magazine 2004, The Writer Blocks 2004, Philadelphia Arts Writers (PAW) 2004, MagnaPhone Magazine 2004 and The City Paper, PA 2004. Look out for Abuse, Monica McIntyre's newest project to be released in the Fall of 2005. She will be joined on December 1st, by her sister violinist Marcia McIntyre!

Ayanna Muhammad is a Chicago native who has become very active in the LGBT community. She is a model, actress, dancer, writer and performance artist who uses her talents as a platform to entertain and inform. In her latest and dearest venture as a spoken word artist, Ayanna has traveled the country sharing her words and experiences with her national LGBT family. As an educator, she has worked with groups of gay, lesbian and trans teens building a network of resources and providing safe spaces and activities. Her students have volunteered with HIV/AIDS organizations doing community education/ outreach projects and providing direct services to HIV/AIDS positive patients and their families. This spring, Ayanna’s first collection of poetry, Raw Sugar, will be published with a national tour scheduled for the summer of 2006. Ayanna is a member of a lesbian performance group, POW-WOW Poets, in Chicago.

And now an open letter to you from Tim'm:

Dear Front Porch Family,

Spirit moves in remarkable ways. Something was bugging me while teaching at school on Tuesday and I came home earlier than normal with a fatigue I couldn't explain. Soon after arriving home, I started getting word from several sources that Café Mawonaj, the site where I've been holding the monthly soul/spoken word/hip hop showcase "The Front Porch", experienced a fire over Thanksgiving weekend, leaving the equipment and kitchen damaged and the space, generally uninhabitable (details at the very end of this message). Please show them your support as they try to rebuild their space in a community that much needs their presence and sense of awareness.

I immediately thought about the relevance of celebrating one-year of the "Front Porch", a safe space where people embrace the intimacy and fellowship of "family", friends, and sharing, much like I grew up experiencing as a kid on Arkansas front porches. I thought about the Ayanna Muhammad and Monica McIntyre traveling from Chicago and Philadelphia, respectively to honor one-year of this tradition. The show would have to go on. Being a pretty resourceful guy who has performed in a variety of venues in DC, I thought about alternative locations in the NW area that would be just a few minutes away, in the event that people don't get this notice and have to rely on signs posted at Mawonaj.

I called Andy Shallal, owner of Busboys and Poets www.busboysandpoets.com, who I had the good fortune to meet on several occasions during poetry or literary events there. Busboys and Poets seems an ideal space for the event because of their teaching and activist bookstore, their excellent restaurant, as well as their dedicated space called the "Langston Room", named after Langston Hughes, who himself was a busboy and a poet while he lived in DC. The Langston room has been a inspirational repository for cutting edge performance, film, and literary showcases. Andy Shallal was incredibly understanding and sympathetic to the crisis at hand and permitted me to advertise our move to Busboys and Poets for the December Anniversary event!!! We begin the event at 9 pm rather than the usual 8 pm, so it is important that people get there promptly. The space is open so you are even encouraged to eat or grab a bite at the usual 8 pm and enter the space as soon as it becomes available. This will undoubtedly mean a shortened open-mic session, but you'll certainly have an opportunity to hear Chicago's Ayanna Muhammad, Philly's Monica McIntyre (who will again be joined by her sister, Marcia), and your host, that Tim'm guy. December 1st is also World AIDS Day, so I've asked that the features bring at least a piece of work that honors the occasion and our commitment to the cause beyond this date.

I ask that you spread the word to as many as you know about the change in location. Upon your arrival, I also encourage you to let the staff at Busboys and Poets know how grateful you are that they've opened their doors to us. I had already pitched moving the "Front Porch" to their space, but they couldn't, at the time, secure every first Thursday. Perhaps a strong show of support can help them reconsider that decision-- help them realize that there's no other space like the "Front Porch" (anywhere) and that supporting and preserving it, in a space committed to activist arts and education, is a match made in heaven.

Thank you for your indulgence, and I look forward to celebrating one year of the "Front Porch" at Busboys and Poets with you on Thursday evening!

Tim'm T. West

And from the Fratman1906, shem hotep!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Domestic Abuse and Violence in Gay Relationships (Part III)

Earlier, I provided entries on this topic from discussions with friends who have been victims of domestic partner violence within gay relationships. You have heard from Maxim and Tandy. Now hear the interview of a young man who observed violence between his friends and was involved in incidents of his own.

Fratman1906: Hello Libra03. Thanks for agreeing to talk with blog readers and me on this serious topic. As you know, I have posted on this previously after talking with some victims. You bring a different perspective, and I hope that your forthrightness will educate some folks who may be suffering right now and need a little push in the right direction. We have talked about domestic abuse. Let's start with your observations from having to go to an emergency room to be with someone who has been a victim. Tell us about that.
Libra03: It was weird to be an outsider looking in at this; it was almost like a dream. I knew that the two of them had a violent relationship but I didn’t know it was that serious. It all began over the two of them messing with the same boy.
Fratman1906: Did you know they were messing with the same boy? How did they find out about each other?
Libra03: I didn’t know that...well here it is.... the one who is more my friend is named Jason and has this friend from VA that he calls his little gay son, and who comes up from time to time. Apparently one time he came up and the two of them had a sexual encounter. Jason has a live in lover that he is off and on with named JM who found out about Jason and his buddy and in return decided he was going to get even and hook up with the friend as well.
Fratman1906: Did JM and Jason have fights b4?
Libra03: Of course but nothing of this severity that I’m aware of.
Fratman1906: Was one pretty much dominant over the other? That is was one constantly a victim and the other an abuser?
Libra03: No, both were equally as bad. Well, it all came out and the drama began. It was August, the night of Brooklyn pride and also JM's birthday
Fratman1906: How did the violence begin? Were they fairly even in size or was one much bigger than the other?
Libra03: Equal in size. Jason is a little shorter but overall equal. Jason promised JM that he was going to ruin his birthday. It all began with arguing in the club. Jason wore this t-shirt that read something like “I mess with only the best” or something like that. The two of them were arguing outside and in the club; mix that with drinks and it’s a mess. JM is also the person who throws parties at this nightclub called The City. Jason called the police and said that they were selling drugs in there and that it was over the allowed capacity. The cops came and closed the party. No one knew what had happened except me because I was there when he had called.
Fratman1906: Go on.
Libra03: So now party over...we were supposed to go over to their house in Brooklyn for more partying...Jason and JM house. While we were on our way there, we get a call asking where we were and I that is when all of the fighting began at the house. When we pulled up, there was an ambulance sitting out front with the back doors open. Then my buddy and I walkover there because he noticed a pair of timberlands outside the ambulance. We find Jason bleeding from his head. It was a mess...blood all over his clothes and everything. I was in awe and immediately asked what happened. He said that JM and his two friends came to the house and jumped him. So, we went to the hospital and he was given a staple in his head.
Fratman1906: Was this fight one of several physical fights that they had had aside from arguments?
Libra03: Yes.... but nothing of that severity; that was over the top. Apparently, JM came home, John had people over there, and the door was locked. He was upset about that and he told everyone to get out his house. Actually, JM’s two friend are the ones who told Johns friends to leave. When they left, John went to get his shoes to leave as well but John and JM got into it, and the fight began. Then John and JM's friends started fighting. Believe it or not, the two are still living together and I am sure still involved.
Fratman1906: That was going to be one of my questions, if they were together now.Libra03: Yep...they have a really nice place in Harlem but they have torn it up from all the fighting--holes in the walls and broken doors

To Be Continued As Libra03 tells of his own domestic violence...

Friday, November 25, 2005

Albuquerque Pride Logo Contest - Need Your Vote

Fellow blogger, Kenneth Winfrey, has submitted his logo design for the Albuquerque Pride 2006 Logo Contest. Voting is open to every one. He needs your vote (you don't have to live in New Mexico to vote). Let's help him by voting. Click his design at the right to go to the voting page. Shem hotep.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Failure of the Black Church

by Rev. Renee McCoy
"The Church must seriously work to develop ways of ministering to Black Lesbians and Gays, or else it must stop preaching an all accepting, all liberating gospel and calling itself a church. The good news of the gospel is that God's love is for all people unconditionally. "

I couldn't agree more. In NC, the NC General Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church took positions to deny affiliation to churches that accept openly gay members. They ignore the message of love preached by Jesus Christ in the New Testament and rely heavily on the Old Testament instead. As one minister so aptly points out, Christ never spoke on homosexuality.

Now, let's have conversation on this one. I am not trying to "expose homophobic ministers," but rather to have a true dialogue on the biblical interpretations that underly the homophobic rationale for exclusion and condemnation. Shem hotep.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


I know that I need to finish the post about my weekend in NYC. I had a small disaster at my condo last week when the toilet tank cracked (stop laughing) and pumped water all day throughout my condo. The insurance company had everything removed and stored in a "Pack-Rat" in my parking lot. I have been living like an itinerant for several days with neighbors and friends. My DSL will be back up this weekend. Meanwhile, this dial-up is too slow for my blogging needs. Stay tuned. Happy Thanksgiving and shem hotep!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Beyond a "Wicked" Weekend

We got a later start than planned on Saturday. That translated to trying to get into NYC to see the Broadway play, "Wicked," about 30 minutes after start time. Nonetheless, we settled into our seats and watched a very good performance. Go see it if you haven't already. It will definitely make you see the good/bad witches of Oz in a different light. Now anyone who knows me knows that I like to eat. So, we headed up to Harlem to hit Sylvia's Restaurant on Malcolm X Blvd. I recommend the smothered pork chops everytime. I can't seem to get around to trying anything else on the menu because I am so hooked on these tender, succulent chops that make you wanna suck the bone - (oops, is that a double entendre?).

Then it was on to Chi-Chiz to meet up with Maxim's new friend, Palmer. I really like the atmosphere and company of Chi-Chiz because I wasn't the oldest one there :-) And the easy interaction of young and old, hip hop and old school, was really refreshing.

From Chi-chiz, we head up to X El on W. 16th St. This is a very different mix compared to the Octagon. The interracial crowd is made up of straight and gay couples in an upscale atmosphere. There is a lot of dressing in black going on here. The music pumps but there is no room to dance. It is a good place to meet friends, have drinks and plan where to next.

After X L, I drop Maxim and Palmer at a crib in NJ and head back to my hotel. At 3:30 am, I am counting on getting a few hours sleep before heading back to NC. That was until I got this phone call in the parking lot and ...

Monday, November 14, 2005

A "Wicked" weekend in Oz! I need some rest.

Finally, something to blog about. This past weekend. Whew. I figure from reading my fellow bloggers that life in the community can be pretty interesting in some areas of the country. Well, as many times as I have been to NYC, I have not had one quite as adventurous (for me) as this one. First, it was a holiday weekend because of Veterans Day (VD) which gave me an extra day to travel. I usually try to do something predictably enjoyable such as taking in a play. The lucky winner for me was "Wicked" on Broadway.

I first learned of this one through lunch with my fellow blogger No4real4real last summer (thanks and a great big hug on this one to you). Since Labor Day weekend was already taken up with 2005 Atlanta Black Pride, the earlier I could go was VD. Most times I do these alone or with family. This time, I invited Maxim who luckily had the same holiday off from his job. We hooked up Friday and hit the Big Apple on Friday night. I need to digress a moment to tell you that Maxim knows the NY-NJ area well and took me to a little greasy eatery in West Orange called "Jimmy Buff's" that turned out to have some of the best sausage and potatoes in pizza pocket bread that I have tried (pocket bread? Yeah, that's what I said - lol).

Ok, after a quick "ho-nap" at the hotel, we headed to Christopher St. around midnight. Our first stop was at this gay bar called "The Hangar" where we met up with Maxim's college roommate, Reader. Reader is a transplanted Brooklynite who is actually from my part of the Old North State. He will 'read' you and tell you quickly about what he sees in you even when, as Maxim points out, "it ain't pretty." We also wait for Maxim's new interest, Palmer, who will be joining us throughout the weekend. Palmer comes in with Jazzi.

From The Hangar, we all headed up to the Octagon Club on West 33rd St in Manhattan. If you are looking for 20s to 30s year old hot boys who know how to party, this is a spot for you. The music was non-stop hip-hop and the models/dancers were off the chain. Those boys knew how to work it and, in the words of James Earl Hardy, they were JOOD. Since this was my first time (hell yeah, I'm a late bloomer), I pretty much watched the scene. Next time, lawdy- lawdy, I intend to party! Shortly after 5 am, we call an intermission to our activities. Btw, the best time to travel through the Holland tunnel is 5:30 am. No traffic at all, no back ups. We were alone. And I thought NYC was the city that never sleeps. Ha.

Anyway, I gotta do some other things right now, so I will continue with a part 2 about Saturday night, Chi-Chiz and X L Bar & Lounge. Shem hotep!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

America's High Tech "Invisible Man"

By Tyrone D. Taborn
You may not have heard of Dr. Mark Dean. And you aren't alone. But almost everything in your life has been affected by his work. See, Dr. Mark Dean is a Ph.D. from Stanford University. He is in theNational Hall of Inventors. He has more than 30 patents pending. He is a vice president with IBM. Oh, yeah. And he is also the architect of the modern-day personal computer. Dr. Dean holds three of the original nine patents on the computer that all PCs are based upon. And, Dr. Mark Dean is an African American.So how is it that we can celebrate the 20th anniversary of the IBM personal computer without reading or hearing a single word about him? Given all of the pressure mass media are under about negative portrayals of African Americans on television and in print, you would think it would be a slam dunk to highlight someone like Dr. Dean.Somehow, though, we have managed to miss the shot. History is cruel when it comes to telling the stories of African Americans. Dr. Dean isn't the first Black inventor to be overlooked. Consider John Stanard, inventor of the refrigerator, George Sampson, creator of the clothes dryer, Alexander Miles and his elevator, Lewis Latimer and the electric lamp. All of these inventors share two things:One, they changed the landscape of our society; and, two, society relegated them to the footnotes of history. Hopefully, Dr. Mark Deanwon't go away as quietly as they did. He certainly shouldn't. Dr. Dean helped start a Digital Revolution that created people like Microsoft's Bill Gates and Dell Computer's Michael Dell. Millions of jobs in information technology can be traced back directly to Dr. Dean.More important, stories like Dr. Mark Dean's should serve as inspiration for African-American children. Already victims of the "Digital Divide" and failing school systems, young, Black kids might embrace technology with more enthusiasm if they knew someone like Dr. Dean already was leading the way.Although technically Dr. Dean can't be credited with creating thecomputer -- that is left to Alan Turing, a pioneering 20th-century English mathematician, widely considered to be the father of modern computer science -- Dr. Dean rightly deserves to take a bow for the machine we use today. The computer really wasn't practical for home or small business use until he came along, leading a team that developed theinterior architecture (ISA systems bus) that enables multiple devices, such as modems and printers, to be connected to personal computers.In other words, because of Dr. Dean, the PC became a part of our daily lives For most of us, changing the face of society would have been enough. But not for Dr. Dean. Still in his early forties, he has a lot of inventing left in him.He recently made history again by leading the design team responsible for creating the first 1-gigahertz processor chip. It's just another huge step in making computers faster and smaller. As the world congratulates itself for the new Digital Age brought on by the personal computer, we need to guarantee that the African-American story is part of the hoopla surrounding the most stunning technological advance the world has ever seen. We cannot afford to let Dr. Mark Dean become a footnote in history. He is well worth his own history book.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

And The Beat Goes On.

Ok. I know I haven't really blogged about anything exciting in a while, but that's the way life is for us baby boomers. Not a whole lot happens that is exciting in any way. So, for what little bit is going on, here are my recommendations:

1. If you haven't seen Tyler Perry's production (up close and in person), go see it if it is in your area. My ex and I went last week to see it and I laughed until my jaws hurt. This show was Medea Goes to Jail and it was one hilarious show. At times, even Perry gets to laughing at himself as Medea and has to catch his breath. On the serious side, Tyler is a gifted actor and a great humanitarian. He is donating $1 million to his hometown of New Orleans for Katrina relief.

2. This weekend I am going to see "Men Cry In the Dark" being performed at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium. I will blog about it after the show. Stay tuned.

3. Y'all know by now that I am an absolute fan of my frat, Rashid Darden. If you haven't read Lazarus, then what are you waiting on? You won' t be disappointed. Help a brother out, here. This is his first novel and there is more to come.

4. Then read Down For Whatever by Frederick Smith. I did, and I am glad I did. Not only that, I had the opportunity and pleasure of meeting Fred in ATL during Pride (I still have a high from Atlanta Pride and can't wait for next year). Fred is down to earth, and I am hoping to get my alma mater to sponsor him for a book reading/signing in the near future.

5. Coming up, Maxim and I are going to see "Wicked" in NYC during the Veterans Day weekend. No4real4real told me about this play during our meeting in CT this summer, and since I am a Broadway junkie, I began making plans to get back to NYC and see it. Now is the time.

6. Speaking of No4real4real, he has been having some difficulties of late. Stop by his blog and show some love. He is one cool dude who will not let stumbling blocks get in his way. As he says on occasion, "He stomps with the big dogs." Holla at him.

7. Another blogger whom I consider to be really sharp on many issues is Kenneth Winfrey. He is self-employed (so give him some business), but if you keep up with Keith Boykin's website, Kenneth is a frequent (and eloquent) poster. Agree or disagree, you cannot take away from the intellectual prowess of this brother. Just look for the long responses to identify his observations (I am sure he will respond to this comment - "wink"). He also posts on Keith's blog and has started several interesting threads.

Ok. This got longer than I intended, but this is the word for now. Shem hotep.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The Bridge Builder

To those who are struggling or have struggled to articulate the cause of justice for L/G/B/T/Q men/women, I commend this poem (and especially to Keith Boykin - thanks for all that you do):
The Bridge Builder

An old man, going a lone highway,
Came at the evening, cold and gray,
To chasm, vast and deep and wide,
Through which was flowing a sullen tide.
The old man crossed in the twilight dim;
The sullen stream had no fears for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.
"Old man," said a fellow pilgrim near,
"You are wasting strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day;
You never again must pass this way;
You have crossed the chasm, deep and wide --
Why build you the bridge at the eventide?"
The builder lifted his old gray head:
"Good friend, in the path I have come," he said,
"There followeth after me today
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pit-fall be,
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building the bridge for him."

by Will Allen Dromgoole