4.24.2005

blitzkreig beat-bop.

Went to the Basquiat retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum. Insanely comprehensive and more-than-filling in it's scope. It ends on June 5, what are you waiting for?

Apparantly the Brooklyn Museum people are a bunch of fascists:
1. They made me check my bag, thus thwarting my attempt to discman-mix about 10 period-era hip-hop CDs into my domepiece while I viewed the works. More arguement for an iPod, I guess. No matter, I settled for the audio guided tour anyway (note: total ripoff, totally useless and full of completely wack music).
2. I wanted to remember the name of a painting so I could read more about it when I got home. I pulled out my cell phone to make a voice recording and within milliseconds, a museum guide scurried to me and told me "No pictures."
Meanwhile, my Luddie ass is holding the clunkiest, cheapest, shittiest cell-phone in history, which I'll be lucky if i can make a phone call on. I explained I was making a recording and she meandered off.
Two minutes later, she comes back and said "No recording. I talked to my superior and he says you can't record audio of the museum." God forbid a bunch of yuppies in their April sweaters end up on a Negativland album some day. I explained AGAIN what the fuck I was doing (mental note: bring a pen next time). And she runs off, frustrated. I later saw her talking to another grad-school dropout in museumwear and pointing at me.
3. They won't let you in without a shirt no matter how bad you have to use the can. (thanks to Ken Marino for that gag.)

The exhibit was well-done, even though the word "hip-hop" was mentioned a total of once. But for all the talk of Basquiat capturing the frenetic syncopation, frenzied streets and cluttered headspaces of hip-hop, I can't help but think that hip-hop never really capturing Basquiat's use of color. Take Boy And Dog In A Johnnypump. His left arm, strong and vibrant, his right arm limp and melting--the same duality of strength and vulnerability that fuels the best rap songs. The songs--same year, 1982 (forgive the obviousness of the choice, por favor)--that immediately come to mind is "The Message" and "New York New York", a perfect strength/vulnerability doubleshot. But if Melle Mel's arm were to melt, shit wouldn't bleed neon picks and Easter greens, it would be grays, blacks, browns (despite those suits the Furious Five would wear). I never noticed Basquiat's colors, and it made the static timbres of my attempted hip-hop mix look dead wrong. Shoulda brought Street Jams: Electric Funk Part 1 and called it a day. Cybotron bleeds pink for sure, y'heard?

Ah well. Here's what i TRIED to listen to before Broolyn Museum peeps shut me down.
1. Rammellzee and K-Rob - Beat-Bop (natch!)
2. Blondie - Rapture (Trivia: Basquiat's in the video somewhere)
3. Fab 5 Freddy - Change the Beat
4. Afrika Bambaataa & John Lydon - World Destruction
5. Afrika Bambaataa & John Lydon - World Destruction Remix
6. Melle Mel & Duke Bootee - Message II (Survival)
7. Treacherous 3 - Yes We Can-Can
8. Grandmaster Flash And The Furious 5 - New York New York
9. Rock Master Scott And The Dynamic Three - The Roof Is On Fire
10. Whodini - Five Minutes Of Funk
11. The B-Boys - 2,3 Break
12. Fresh 3 MCs - Fresh
13. Run DMC - Hard Times
14. Run DMC - It's Like That

But seriously, if you're gonna go, this is WRONG. Bring some Charlie Parker instead. My overthinking got me nowhere but a checked bag from the Museum Police.

1 Comments:

Blogger Marie said...

i know Basquiat is in the Rapture video (you can't miss him), but that Blondie song is the most embarrassing piece of junk to happen in popular music. "The man from Mars stopped eating bars and now he only eats guitars.. look out!" (insert interrobang here) If i was her mother I would have bitch slapped her. Shouldn't SOMEONE have notice how god-awful that song was before it got recorded? It's as if they were watching a car accident in slow motion, powerless to stop the impending catastrophe.

11:27 PM  

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