1. I realize now that, as i've been doing these "bullet points" style posts for months now, i should have kept the numbers going instead of starting over at "1" each time. That would have been cool. Oh well.
2. Big shows coming up! I'll be performing at the downtown Minneapolis library this Saturday at 3pm, part of the "I Couldn't Live at Home" exhibit and performance series which examines community responses to children and youth in crisis. That same night, the Figureheads will be in town at the Dinkytowners-- i'm not on the bill, but i'll be there and it should be a great show. The next night, i'll be playing at the Candleabra with Broadcast Live, a hip hop band out of upstate NY. Next Saturday (the 13th), i'll be performing and facilitating workshops at the Youth Rising Twin Cities Youth Activism Summit. If you can't make it to any of that, be sure to come out to Club Underground on Saturday 10/20 to see me with the Scabs, Thosquanta and OBCT. That last one should be fun-- a punk/hardcore/genre-blending show with RollerDerby people everywhere.
So that's a library, a hip hop show, a youth activism conference and a punk show. That's gangsta. If you can't remember all this, check out the calendar at www.myspace.com/elguante.
3. As long as i'm promoting myself anyway, i'll mention that the album is just about finished and i'm aiming for a Halloween release date. I'm confident it'll be done by then, but the manufacturing may push that date back to early November. Either way, the first single will be out this month. Also, my book is now almost 100 pages of poetry, lyrics, essays, one-act plays and assorted writings. Look for that before the New Year.
4. Is there anything exciting going on in hip hop this month? I know Saigon is coming out (pass, thank you), the Wu (maybe), Lupe at some point (probably) but i'm drawing a blank now. I think making this album and writing this book has forced me to think so hard about what makes "good" music that i'm now able to hate on everything no matter what. Nothing is really exciting right now. Still haven't heard that Grayskul album yet though.
5. Did you know that season two of the Boondocks is starting up soon? And i don't have cable. Maybe when the album drops and i have a quasi-regular income i'll have to splurge.
6. Got robbed in a slam last night and i have absolutely no qualms saying it. It really doesn't happen as often as you might imagine, but every once in a while you just draw a weird group of judges, and it's like whatever. But i love my new material-- it's the best stuff i've ever written. Maybe not the most approachable, but definitely better than what i'd been reading at shows and slams. But that St. Paul slam is interesting. I know i have old, more cliche stuff in the arsenal that could win there, but i'm trying to avoid that temptation and just focus on the new, more creative material.
7. I've been getting into the schools here finally to do some poetry workshops, and those have gone very well. It's amazing to see how these kids respond to some of my stuff. I think it's important to challenge them, even the middle school kids, and am really looking forward to starting with the high schools this month. And that, to me, is what spoken-word is really about. Slams are fun and performances are cool, but poetry has really given me an avenue to work with kids and do something good in the community. I also can't wait to visit Madison and see how my old students as Memorial are doing.
8. Very interesting article on Teach for America at the New York Times: . Interesting because it deals with both the good and bad aspects of the program. While i don't think it's a monstrous demon that's killing the nation's children like *some" people i could name (wink), i do think it's definitely flawed. This article sums it up pretty nicely.
9. Another interesting article at Slate dealing with Wes Anderson and his film's casual racism. I love his style, and i think he's made a couple of great films, but this article is extremely valid and a must-read for Anderson fans: . I'd like to actually see the movie and be able to write about this more in-depth.
10. More brilliance from Jay Smooth, one of the few people in the universe i respect: