(What Happened to the Brother on the Block?)
SPOKEN WORD RECORDING
[THE CLOSET MIX]
Inspired by the Twilight Zone, the comedy of Pryor & Mooney, & the Folkways Spoken Word Recordings, the Nomad Junkie's satire of corporate-friendly gentrification in "21st Century Urbana" hopes to inspire a new wave of folklore while following the tradition of protest art and rogue storytelling. As a performance text, it succeeds and works on the reader/listener in multiple ways and will be one of the featured texts in Ellen Redbird's re-vived Nerve Lantern literary magazine in March, 2013!
Engineered by Isaiah Singer and recorded in one take in May 2010 this bare-bones version became referred to as the "closet mix," implying its rustic-midnight mood-at home-feel. Naked & vulnerable, it is a perfect introduction to Dennis Leroy Kangalee's writing and the droll theatricality of his persona. It was the first installment in a series of short stories & recordings detailing the gross suburbanization of NYC.
Click on the dreaded Rockefeller Octagon below to hear the recording.
(And every time you pass a Chase Bank think of the Brother on the block...)
You can listen & read along to the excerpted text below.
Leroy had the Church of Scientology on one side and JP Morgan Chase bank on the other.
He knew he was in trouble.
But he figured if he couldn’t find salvation in one, he could always find it in the other. After all, the other, and more ancient, religions had failed him interminably and maybe now it was time to get with the program: money or outer space.
“Fuck it,” he thought, “I’m ready for it. Bring on the aliens.”
He knew it wouldn’t matter, that no extra-terrestrial invasion would change a thing – regardless of whether we were or weren’t demons from another moon-planet or the swapped saliva under Tom Cruise’s armpit.
His mother, ironing clothes when he came home from school, holding up and shaking the iron every time L. Ron Hubbard’s commercials came on - the volcanic eruption, the flowing lava on the screen:
“What the hell did Dianetics ever do for Black folks!” she’d cry and as soon as the sales pitch vanished and Oprah’s face filled the screen – she would calm back down.
She was frantic for understanding and honesty and generosity. Especially when it concerned money.
Other people’s money.
This was probably why he felt as foreign from the Capitalists as he did from the Scientologists, but he’d better get with the program – quick – or he’ll be destroyed. Cause if the Aliens from Hollywood don’t save him, then money will. And if that doesn’t work there is always death. Because when you’ve got a bank you can’t join and a church you can’t believe in, then your options don’t seem that great.
“No, couldn’t be,” he said to himself every morning, “this couldn’t be the end…”
He knew it was, or could be, or would be and it scared him.
He was desperate to make a connection.
On his first day back the adrenalin pumping only crystallized his prey. He turned on his heel, looked down the block, hoping to find another brother from Back in the Day.
One, named Creepy, was the type of brother you take for granted:
Some kind some kind of anthropological scout in the form of a camera
that pumped blood.
A record-keeping device with veins.
He knew everything about Harlem and had seen all the changes. Which is why whenever he saw Leroy - he’d raise his fist:
"So long, so long, since I’d seen a man --
not a son with a gun, but a man with a hand!”
And of course no one ever listened to him.
They had replaced the Brother on the block with a Starbucks and it was just the beginning of a very quick extermination.
The quotidian beat of an urban ghetto is the same as a suburban village…
original illustration by Scott Williams
Even the street lamps above have been tamed...
What Happened to the Brother on the Block???
© February 2008 by D.L.Kangalee.
Illustrations by Reid Schwartz & Scott Williams, where noted.
Learn more about spatial deconcentration and its horrible socio-political implications.
The original "Creepy"
A Note to the Other Artists Out There:
We're all just a mark on the cave wall.
Here today, gone tomorrow.
Feel free to contact me with feedback, comments, criticism, your own "NY Stories" and if you are a writer as well who records his own material, please share your work with me.
It is imperative that like-minded artists communicate and organize their talents and distribute their works amongst each other. Social Network sites, YouTube -- can be extremely helpful for artists but let's not allow Corporate America to dictate everything we do and how we do it. They all ready control how and where we live. Must they control our form, function, and themes as well? Think about it.
Reclaim the tools and use them before THEY use you.
How else can we grow?
Thanks for stopping by.
-- the Nomad Junkie
October 29, 2010
Copyright 2002-2012 Writings of the Nomad Junkie. All rights reserved by Dennis Leroy Kangalee.