Coffee Rhetoric: urban nature
Showing posts with label urban nature. Show all posts
Showing posts with label urban nature. Show all posts

February 28, 2014

Revisiting the Film: Little Senegal

Updated review. Originally posted December, 2011


Last night while in the throes of insomnia, I decided to lull myself to sleep with a mini-movie marathon of sorts via Netflix. I watched and stopped several films before deciding on one: Little Senegal.  This film left enough of an indelible impression after I finished watching it; I was up until about 4:00 AM this morning mulling it over.
The Netflix reviews were ambivalent at best, suggesting it was dull, uninteresting, and that the acting was "wooden", however, as far as I'm concerned this reaction is par for the course from folks who don't have an emotional or vested interest in these types of films unless it's palatable and more along the lines of ‘magical negro’ fare with a white savior trope.

Little Senegal, a 2001 film directed by French-Algerian filmmaker Rachid Bouchareb, was far from uninteresting. It explored elements of the African Diasporic, immigrant experience and was somewhat reminiscent of Haile Gerima's film Sankofa, in that it charts the history and effects of the Atlantic slave trade. While the main character in Sankofa— a self-absorbed, black fashion model living in the present-day— is forced back in time to a plantation in the West Indies, to experience the horrors of slavery and learns the importance of community and advocacy; the protagonist in Little Senegal, an elderly man named Alloune, researches his heritage and those of his ancestors who were kidnapped and sold into American slavery, prompted by his own curiosity.

June 24, 2011

In Which Coffey Has Much To Do!

I have a lot on my mind and have a few pressing topics I've been dying to weigh-in on however I'm grappling with sinus (again) and throat issues and can't really think clearly enough to run my mouth via my computer, effectively. I've also been besieged by unsettling images of having to sleep next to whoever my partner will be, while they listen to me snore horribly due to these said chronic sinus issues... but I digress...
I've also got quite a bit on my plate and have attended or will be attending a few events in the coming days. It is a great time to be in Hartford this summer, so Kanye-shrug at anything contrary you may have heard, because people have no clue what they're talking about. Trust me on this. 
This past Friday, I had the privilege of being able to attend this year's Juneteenth Celebration Gala thrown by The Amistad Center for Arts and Culture at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. This required me to find and buy a dress I didn't entirely hate and wear it (without having to double up on Spanx) and condense my belongings in a clutch (a difficult feat, as I only shoulder carry-on luggage sized purses).
The well-heeled were in great form as they got crunk in their formal regalia to the DJ's set list of Luke Campbell, Jay-Z, Beyonce and contemporary pop-folks of the like. I must say, it was amusing watching political power-players and Black society types thrusting their hips, pumping their fists, and chest pumping in their formal wear as Uncle Luke challenged everyone to "Shake Them Daisy Dukes!" Compelling and fun stuff. I was particularly fond of the Lemon-Basil Martini as one of the featured drinks and could use another right now.
This Friday, as in later on today, I'm hoping to be able to attend The Gil Scott-Heron REVIEW in Reflection at The Hollander Building downtown, presented by arts and culture initiative, Center Without Walls and Hartford-based theater company HartBeat Ensemble! There is an awesome lineup of spoken-word poets and jazzologists scheduled to perform and despite my weepy sinuses, swollen throat, and the wet weather I plan on being in attendance from 7pm to 10pm. 
And since they're determined to keep it crunk - (Yes, I like that word... And?) - since bringing their originally penned play Flipside to the Hartford masses, HartBeat Ensemble will also be presenting a stellar poetry showcase July 8th also at The Hollander Building at 410 Asylum Street, downtown Hartford. More on this event coming soon, but keep the date open, because ten of Connecticut's dopest poets and spoken-word performers will be bringing creative REALNESS to the space. There will also be a pre-performance shindig with BBQ (vegetarian fare as well) and booze. Pre-party festivities are from 6:30 -7:30pm and the showcase is from 8 -10:30pm. 
So if one of your mealy-mouthed colleagues complain that there's nothing to do in Hartford and to avoid mushing him/her in the face with an open palm, patiently tell them that this summer, things are going down (basement) in the HartBeat and recount these events to them. 

April 19, 2011

Coffee Buzz: Arranka!

Dani Arranka (center) w/ party revelers
Anytime I've asked friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and even my sister if they've any idea who local talent, Dani Arranka is, I'm generally met with the same incredulous answer: "You don't know who DANI ARRANKA is??? EVERYONE knows Dani!" to which I reply somewhat furtively and regretfully, "I don't. Perhaps I'm the only one..." I know and have worked with Dani's sister and at her suggestion, have watched his Polo Club performances via YouTube in the past, so I've heard of him and his work  but wasn't acquainted with him socially, but I still felt like I was amongst those in-the-know via osmosis but alas, this simply did not suffice. My one brief encounter involved my recognizing and stopping him at Dish in downtown Hartford last year, during which I was on a date and Lady Gaga just happened to be in town at the Excel Center. He was amongst the daring Little Monsters milling about, dressed in their Avant-Garde and fiercest finest, and I recall him being gracious and very receptive to me... a stranger... intercepting his flow, despite not having any idea who I was. Beyond that interlude, I was determined to find out more about Dani Arranka... and so I hopped on an opportunity to attend his Born Day Party/Music Video premiere at Real Artways this past Saturday... accompanying a friend and local socialite who'd gotten the Facebook invite to show up and look fierce and by extension I took this to mean I also got an invitation, so off I went!
Dani Arranka gets the crowd hyped
As expected, Dani's supporters, friends, family, and even Hartford Mayor, Pedro Segarra turned out to wish Dani Happy Birthday and view what was seemingly the long-awaited premiere of his music video to the infectious, electro-dance-pop song, Be Like Me. The tune is a manifesto for those who are "confident, driven, and fashion forward with that 'I don't care' attitude" Dani explained. Watching Dani float around the gallery in a stylish, flowy green dress ... Euro-kissing and greeting his guests appreciatively, it suddenly became clear just who Dani Arranka is... The quintessential, post-modern performance artist who's an amalgamation of Pete Burns  (pre-plastic surgery), Gaga, Lady Miss Kier, and just a dash of Madonna, mixed with a heaping helping of his own sound and method of style. He definitely lives up to Arrancar! Which loosely translates to"starting" in Spanish... or perhaps to "take off"... and he's definitely slated to take flight... particularly since the likes of RuPaul's Drag Race personalities are jamming to his tune during their performances. Definitely an illustration and true testament to just how dynamic and diverse Hartford's arts and entertainment community is. The Be Like Me music video is a visual tour de force co-directed and edited by Wameng Lor along with photography studio, The Terrible Child (who got their feet wet directing for the first time in this instance). "I thought to myself, it would be interesting to have the video be a 70's horror inspired video about a high fashion cult who kidnaps me, because they believe if they eat me, they will turn into me. Which happens at the end of the video with the main girl. Wameng Lor and The Terrible Child are amazing visionaries!" Dani Arranka explains.  Just see it for yourself and make sure to peruse YouTube for more of Dani Arranka's work!
 


March 31, 2011

More Coffee Buzz: Flipside!

© HartBeat Ensemble
I know my posts on Coffee Rhetoric have been somewhat few and far between and mostly riddled with buzz, buzz, Coffee buzz posts and local events, while being low on the ranting, below-the-belt quips about the ills of humanity, and what have you ... but it's only because so much has been going on in my home city of Hartford and I've been anxious about featuring cool local people, places, and things I've come to enjoy and be excited about. 
The primary event that has been keeping me busy is my blogging for local, professional theater group, Hartbeat Ensemble. They're a talented group of actors and have been a staple in Hartford for a long time, performing their originally penned plays in the park, on the main-stage, and via outreach programs. They're unique in that they write their own original work; most of which creates awareness about social issues affecting the Hartford community. No they aren't Broadway heavies or some large Hartford theater group with a giant budget to work with, but they definitely live up to their name and are worth the weight in theater gold.
Afforded the opportunity to watch them rehearse, argue, cuss, and sigh exasperatedly as they hashed out the elements of the script, I've been writing behind-the-scenes posts to their blog; providing insight into what will prove to be one of their most exciting main-stage plays... Flipside. The action will take place in a recently acquired performance space downtown; the newly rehabilitated and multipurpose Hollander Building at Asylum Street, on its ground floor, which means passers-by have probably had the opportunity to peek in the windows, perhaps prompted by curiosity. 
© HartBeat Ensemble
The play is based on actual interviews with two real people, and tells the story of a chance encounter between a Hartford teen named Bo and an undercover narcotics agent named Nick. Flipside features spoken-word poetry, storytelling and rhythmic choreography to depict the complexities of drug use and trafficking in our communities and challenges the current War on Drugs policies. 
The play was originally workshopped at Manchester Community College while it was a work-in-progress last year, and will finally come to fruition as a full production April 28-May 21. All performances are Thursday, Friday, & Saturday and will begin at 7:30pm. Tickets are $20 with a discounted price of $15 for all seniors, students, & Let's Go Arts members. April 28 is Community Night and is FREE!
©Rabbit Ears Media
If I'm being honest, it's rare (for me anyway) to have had the opportunity to see the blood, sweat, and tears it takes to literally build a production... live and in person. I'm generally used to bearing witness to the finished result of a play, like the rest of the audience so it'll be particularly special for me to finally see Flipside in its finished form with the rest of you... after having seen the behind-the-scenes drama. 
** For additional information, read witty and insightful posts over at hartbeatensemble.org/blog 
and see the documentary videos filmed by Rabbit Ears Media at HartBeatEnsembleTube ! I love gratuitous plugs... I get to talk about the things *I* enjoy, particularly if I have some sort of involvement in it. And yes, ... yes I will write/guest blog for you and yours as well, for cash and other prizes. That is all. 



March 26, 2011

Coffee Buzz: Rabbit Ears Media

Check out Rabbit Ears Media's video montage/advert for Real Artways' upcoming Odd Ball fundraiser. It honestly makes me want to fork over the $65 admission fee to attend. And be sure to "like" the Rabbit Ears Media fan page on Facebook. It's great work! Comment, comment, comment... let him know what you think of his cinematography and more importantly, enjoy the rest 


Oddball at Real Art Ways from Helder Mira on Vimeo.

March 16, 2011

Bus Tale: A Rant

Aside from rolling my eyes at those Negative Nellies and Neds curling up an upper lip to sneer at any number of downtown Hartford's positive steps towards improvement, I've noticed- (for a while now)- another trend amongst Connecticut's resident Hartford booers and hissers... Disdain towards people who take public transportation. While taking the T might seem like a normal occurrence for many a Bostonian and utilizing MTA is par for the course for most New Yorkers, I've found myself constantly needing to defend myself for choosing not to drive, to people from my home state... and why should I have to? I'm a product of the urban landscape and hopping a bus to get to school (especially after having missed the yellow bus) or to get wherever else I need to go has always been a normal part of my life. I've never needed to rely on anyone to take me anywhere I've ever wanted or needed to go. The moment people have noted me needing to dash off to catch the bus they automatically launch into a host of reasons why they can't offer me a ride... shuffling their feet as they express regret ; "Oh, I'd offer you a ride, but I need to go pick up my son/daughter" or "Sorry, I can't drive you, because I've gotta get to my Zumba class, plus I'm not going in that direction."  In which case (after a *blank stare*), I point out to them in a matter-of-fact tone, that I never asked them for one to begin with, much to their dismay... because after having been gently glove-slapped across the face, I've had those very same people DEMAND that I take a ride from them the following week or insist on knowing how I managed to find my way to some social event sans a car. And don't get me started on the dates that have ended on a sour note, because some jerk automatically assumes he'll have to become my personal chauffeur... Umm, really?? If they could be so lucky to be taken on what would make for an interesting and titillating ride ;-p 
One of the primary reasons why I think people here find taking the bus so repugnant has a lot to do with classism. Yes... I said it. Residents currently living or who have grown up outside Hartford's perimeter, in suburban and rural areas either move to Hartford or some equivalent CT city and embrace being able to utilize public transportation or they don't know the first thing about how mass transit functions at all and so will harbor and add to an already discriminatory attitude towards Hartford dwellers, for apparently not only are most of us niggers, spics, drug users, unworthy of happiness, insignificant, sad, incapable, gun toting thugs, uneducatedtrash or whatever other myriad of insults they hurl on the Courant comment boards and amongst their neighbors, but according to the memo (I must've purposely missed it), only CT's lower class/losers/minorities ride the bus, can't afford to drive a car, and are probably unemployed. No  self-respecting employed professional would ever dream of boarding a bus with the riff-raff *(drips with obvious sarcasm)*  EVERYONE should want to drive a car everywhere and MUST enjoy doing it.  It's impractical to take CT Transit. It's a lame system... Notwithstanding that it's still better than many other ones or even exists for that matter... it's still laaame! and so the foolery of the arguments go. 
Once while on a semi-date- (and after the schlub stopped blathering on about his visits to his therapist and how evil his ex-wife was)- I was asked, "What if your mother has an accident and needs to get to the hospital?" I reminded him that my sister lived close by, has a car, and generally most people would probably dial 911 in the event of an emergency. My answer was fruitless and unsatisfactory;  "How do you GET anywhere?" he kept demanding to know... "I get to where I WANT to go without incident. 9 times out of 10, I've no desire to frequent any rural parts of CT. What would be the point? What use would I have for Enfield or Wallingford... Is it hopping out there?" It went back and forth until I grew bored and until I discovered he grew up and still lived somewhere on the shoreline and drove into Hartford for work every morning. Made perfect sense. Not only was he a self-important ignoramus but he had no sense or concept as to how the metropolitan mind works. Furthermore, I opine that those CT residents who have the most contempt for the bus and people who ride it don't understand how to utilize the system and have never taken mass transit in their adult lives. That's my argument and I'm sticking to it. The sole point they try to argue is; that public transit riders are shit out of luck and can't navigate as easily. I say it's just the opposite. I can't count how many people I know, who actually LIVE within the boundaries of Hartford/Hartford County, panic when they're having car troubles. They'll convulse and explode into a sweaty, sticky mass as if they're in the throes of a sugar rush when faced with the prospect of needing to ride the bus... mostly because they don't know how to nor do they understand the way the schedule or routes function. 
Listen, if you want to drive everywhere, be my guest, but don't unfairly judge other people because they choose to bus (or bike) to work or wherever else. Contrary to popular belief, it's an extremely convenient and cost effective way to get around... waiting and all and many people do it because that's their preference. It's no more inconvenient than having to maintain the cost of having a car.  Whether you have faith in mass transit- (and yes sometimes hopping in a car can be convenient)- or not, it still would benefit car seat warmers to at least learn the system "In Case Shit" (© Chris Rock) happens. Not every bus taker needs or even wants a ride from you nor are people who choose to take advantage of public transportation in this state, poor, uneducated bottom feeders (I've seen how some of you act in the comfort of your cars when you think no one's paying attention...).  Rarely ever would you see or experience that level of stereotyping over taking the bus or subway in NYC or any other major city. At the end of the day, when your car gets totaled and you feel lost, confused, and discombobulated over not knowing how you'll get around... what does that make you? Rant over. 

March 07, 2011

These and Those: Winning

It's Monday.  I've got my second wind and refuse to acknowledge the prospects who've messaged me on the dating site I haven't(?) re-activated.
In the meantime, I remain dateless but too busy to care, as I'm still hard at work trying to make a proper name for myself as a writer for hire (and yes I wrote "proper"... forget what you've heard on the street).
Ideally, I'd love my week to chug, chug, chug along without having to hear or read about the self-inflicted disintegration of a self-entitled, overpaid, haggard looking White man actor in need of a long nap, but alas, the media storm continues to rain down on the masses like an unexpected and unwanted golden shower shortly after a sexual interlude... and no that has never happened to me, nor am I anticipating it to anytime soon...
In the meantime, I'm still perfecting the art of schmoozing... even if it means pretending to care while some middle-aged, drunk but rich wine bar regular complains how badly his whole entire body hurts, as this bodes poorly for me and my endeavors. On the flipside of the coin, it does mean interacting and fostering partnerships with other local artsy types.
Check out man about town, filmmaker and video producer, Helder Mira's (of Rabbit Ears Media) interview with artist Rashaad Newsome, whose featured work is currently on display at the Wadsworth Atheneum as part of their Matrix series, and offer your feedback. I've been working a little with Helder, helping document the process of play-in-the-making, Flipside, and he is extremely talented (and single, ladies ... and did I mention his name is Helder?) But I digress...
I have yet to find the time to go see Rashaad's work, but I simply MUST! I've been hearing a great deal about this exhibit and would hate to let the opportunity slip through my fingers. I'm definitely trying to win (sans this elusive tiger blood), and take advantage of all the awesome event unfolding in the city of Hartford without spreading myself too thin...  Anyway, see Helder's vid.









March 01, 2011

See You On The Flipside

I feel like I haven't posted here in forever! These "I've been neglecting my blog" posts are starting to bore me. But I swear it's for a good reason. I've still be busy with the theater group HartBeat Ensemble, writing for their blog and learning the in's, out's, and frustrations of PR & Marketing. But thus far it has been so rewarding. I popped my press release "cherry" and did a relatively decent job of not effing it up even though I sent out an initial press release with the wrong time and even was able to get a mention on Frank Rizzo's Hartford Courant blog
This gig is a lot of work and causes me to take deep inhalations and exhalations of breath... because it challenges me as a writer. I'm developing a more disciplined routine, which I lacked before (there're still a few kinks to iron out) and I'm learning consistency... produce, produce, produce. I'm becoming even more of an insomniac, which is a price I'm willing to pay to expand my portfolio and raise my profile as a freelance writer for hire. It also gives me the opportunity to sit in wine bars (I do my best writing there) and observe folks and all their scandalous ways... more fodder for Coffee Rhetoric, and boy do I have fodder. In the meantime, if you're a Hartford resident and are in the area this Thursday evening, please stop by The Hollander on Asylum Street, downtown Hartford for HartBeat Ensemble's fundraiser: The 2nd Annual Improv Idol. Read the details here. And while you're at it, read my hard work dammit. All proceeds go towards funding the on-going production of their play (the one I'm currently blogging about), Flipside. It's only $10 and I figure if folks can pay that much for one of those disgustingly sweet and tangy Appletini's (a drink that's the bane of my bar existence), then they can fork it over for a good cause and get a good laughing watching some of Connecticut's best improv troupes perform against one another for the title of CT's Improv Idol. 
I'm also stoked that massive, dirty, and depressing looking snow banks are slowly melting away and spring is slowly caressing my cheek with soft, gentle kisses. It's also effing disgusting to see the final reveal after the snow has completely melted in various spots in the city.  Anyway, I'll be back... 

January 27, 2011

These and Those: Winter Whinge

Things are moving forward... Life has given me a much needed break and decided to jabbing at me with low blows and sucker punches. We're working in-tandem. Me and life, life and me... Slowly moving in a similar direction, and this pleases me. The way the east coast is getting slammed with back-to-back snowstorms isn't very pleasurable, however. Everything can't sync ... and I'm okay with that... but it's downright depressing. Perhaps the sky has parted, dumping massive amounts of snow in the northeast pto signal the fact that the universe is aligned with my chi? Yes, I'm that self-important. My delusions of grandeur knows no bounds. 
In all seriousness, I've been busy... and busy is always a good thing. I'm hoping to be in the thick of things once spring rolls around. The spring will find me able to move freely down the street without experiencing the tension of hunching my shoulders and back against the cold, frigid air, as I take giant strides over massive snow banks, slush ridden puddles, and patches of black ice. My joints won't feel as stiff, my hair and skin won't shy away from its usual suppleness... spring ... spring... SPRING... I'm looking forward to it. My blogger gig at with the Hartford based theater group has bled into a PR/Marketing position that I hope not to flub. This is a balancing act I'm glad to juggle. The blogging aspect of it is going really well... the reception has been good. 
In the meantime, I've many other things I need to rant about.  A lot of ratched-ness (read: wretchedness) is unfolding in my midst... things that're 'SMDH' worthy... Stay tuned... Oh yes, and if you feel so inclined, please join the Coffee Rhetoric fan page on Facebook. I need to justify not deleting it and to help compensate for the flaky one or two who drop in and out of that particular social networking circle, like selfish lovers. That is all. ;-)
P.S. in a crazy test of my sanity and karma, I battled against the rage of the snowstorm yesterday... bloated, and weighed down further w/ my lovely, giant Sri Lankan handbag/case I feel compelled to stuff to capacity and lug around, and an umbrella in my quest towards CVS Pharmacy for tampons, Motrin, and other female-like provisions. Imagine my surprise when I found that I did not have my wallet in my purse. Despite the frosty air, I broke out into a sweat. Suddenly my coat and scarf began to constrict my breathing... I stumbled outside, fighting the elements, and made my way back down the street to re-trace my steps. ... I felt hotter... and so was about to cut my loss... The heat of my stress was almost too unbearable and I just wanted to go home out of the blizzard... but I needed the means to purchase armor against my impending, monthly doom. I could feel the pressure of its inevitable arrival on the cusp of cumming... What the hell would I use?? I pressed on and saw the free, downtown Star Shuttle rumbling up the street... The last place I pulled it out at clicked, and I flagged it down. I explained to the driver that I'd lost my wallet, and that it may very well be on his shuttle, and politely asked if I could run on and look... and look I did... There it lay in all its grand purple Coach-ness... on the seat I'd vacated moments prior... unscathed, untouched, un-ransacked... Thank you Karma... Now THAT.is.all...  

January 17, 2011

Taxi Tales: The Return of Eubanks ...

The weather here on the northeast has been absolutely dreadful. We got slammed with snow... beyond belief. Even by New England standards it was massive. I suppose it was finally our time this year. In any event, there was one particular afternoon due to piss poor plowing efforts I found myself needing the services of the Yellow Cab Company. A day where I couldn't fathom traveling via public transportation and just needed to get to where I needed to go, without standing out in the frigid air. I just was not in the mood. The snow accumulation was overwhelming and trudging through it proved to be an annoying hindrance to my mobility as it was.
This time around, a yellow van bearing the YELLOW CAB logo, rumbled in front of me. A larger vehicle seemed very fitting considering the elements. I hopped in, grateful to be out of the cold and in spite of the strong smell of onions and spicy ground meat. I reiterated my destination to the driver. He turned around, mouth full of Jamaican beef patty... orange, flaky crust crumbs in the corners of his mouth and said, "I'll take you wherever you need to go!" Suddenly, recognition crossed his face... "I remember you! Yup! Remember I dropped you off someplace, umm... where was it... I remember because I recall you getting called at the last minute, to go there for a meeting... at the um... Where was it??" 
I frowned, perplexed, because I had no recollection as to who he was... when suddenly I got hit with a horrible dose of recollection... I groaned inaudibly... for dear Goddess it was Eubanks!!! Keeper of lucrative corporate secrets. I rolled my eyes and hurriedly scrambled to put on my large, dark shades... hoping to mask the dismay in my eyes (I like a relatively silent ride). 
"Oh. Right." I said dryly. 
Eubanks immediately started in on the opaque, round-about theories and rhetoric... picking up where he left off from before. 
"Yes, I remember you said you were a writer..." he continued. 
"Um, yeah... right" I answered reluctantly. 
"Yeah, because I have all of these ideas, but I don't really know how to reach the people at the top!" He said... gobbling the last of his Jamaican beef patty. My stomach grumbled as he crumpled the wax paper sleeve in his hand... 
"I need a sweet, nice woman... with a good manner about her... to write letters for me and make phone calls for me. I need someone who can get passed the secretaries, because I can't ever seem to get beyond that point!" 
"Hmm. Interesting." I answered ... disinterested and not up to the task. 
"Well... I need... Well, I don't like to tell too much of my business and plans. I'm not sure if you're like me. And I don't want to give too much away, especially to them CEO's, because that's how they make their money... that's how they get rich. Know what I mean?" Eubanks said. 
"Right. They steal ideas." I answered half-heartedly. 
"Right!" He exclaimed. "What I need is a nice young woman, with a sweet voice, who can talk her way passed the secretaries and appeal to the CEO's. I don't want to reveal too much because the ideas I have could make you millions." 
I sighed, then suggested, "Yes. It's best that you don't reveal any of this stuff to me. I don't know a thing about how corporate America works... or even how to navigate it. I've been working for non-profits for most of my work history. So go ahead and keep it to yourself... Ummm... what route are you taking exactly? This ride seems awful longer than necessary." 
"Yes, but you can write, and you seem like you can sweet talk your way with CEO's. I need someone to write letters..." 
I interrupted Eubanks, and reminded him... once more that I know virtually nothing about CEO types... "I'm really not that sweet." I said emphatically. I'm guessing the same, dry monotone I speak in most of the time was lost on him. 
"OK, I'll tell you the companies specifically trying to reach... You know, I'm not just a cab driver. I hold a lot of secrets and info..." He continued on with his proposal...
"Right." I answered. Unfazed. 
"The two companies I'm interested in cracking are Chrysler and American Airlines." 
"Hm. Never heard of those places. Don't ring a bell. Sorry." I lied.
"Information is not free nowadays." Eubanks just kept proposing... emphatically... "You have to pay for information these days." 
"Google costs nothing. I'll be if you punched the name of those foreign sounding companies, I've never heard of in my life, you'd find contact info." I shot back.
"Yeah. Right." Eubanks answered. 
The rest of the ride was silent. I arrived at my destination... and thrust cash at him, and scrambled out... 
"What time you coming out of that building?" Eubanks asked.
"I'll probably be there all day and late into the evening." I lied. 
"You sure you don't need me to drive around another way? You're the Queen of Sheba. You call the shots." 
Without hesitation I answered, "Nope," and got out... but not before Eubanks handed me a small stack of YELLOW CAB cards...
"Call me if you get out early." 
I accepted the cards... but not before letting a couple of them flutter inconspicuously to the floor of the cab. 
I have a feeling this Eubanks chapter is to be continued... 

October 12, 2010

Coffee Buzz

Summer in Hartford is always aflutter with different events and activities, but Fall (one of my favorite seasons) is just as active and presents a wide range of events for folks to enjoy. Anybody who still pisses and moans about there not being anything to do here needs to stay just stay home and log into the Yahoo! Chatrooms or Chat Roulette and fap all by their lonesome, because you're obviously just as ill-informed as the people who solely exist in that world, while wonderful and sexy things unfold around them. ...

Local, Local, Local! ...
Salute Restaurant, downtown Hartford, 100 Trumbull Street- Pacific Northwest Wine Dinner, November 1, 6:30-9:30PM: Salute is a wonderfully run, Italian style, price friendly restaurant with outstanding Happy Hour prices. This is their first first wine dinner. Please call to reserve your spot! 
Also, Hartford's local theater group HartBeat Ensemble is currently prepping for their holiday production, Ebeneeza. They're currently looking for a girl, between 7-11years old to cast as the "child Ebeneeza." Please contact them for more details. 
Hartford Stage Company presents: Antony & Cleopatra, Oct 8 -Nov. 6
Harriet Beecher Stowe Center- Salons At Stowe, Oct. 14 5pm-7pm, Topic: Engaging Neighbors, Building Communities, Free
Hooker Day Parade, downtown Hartford- Help celebrate the Founder of Hartford, Thomas Hooker. This parade will be even more extraordinary
Mark Twain House, Hartford- Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours, selected dates in October
Happy Hours!!Bocca Rossa, downtown Hartford, Koji, downtown Hartford, McKinnons Irish Pub, downtown Hartford

You'll love this! Trust me...  

N'Dambi's Pink Elephant (released last year, this month but still great!) 


(She made these awesome hoops w/ the colors of the African flag and runs a cool and very informative blog here. I covet these pillow cases!)






October 04, 2010

Coffee Buzz

 Local Happs ...

Connecticut Historical Society's Exhibit Opening- Connecticut Needlework: Women, Art & Family 1740 - 1840 Oct. 4 -follow-up One-day conference on Oct. 30
www.Hartford.com
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art presents- Silk City Film Fest, Oct. 7-10
-Read more about the SCFF here
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art info 
Greater Hartford Marathon, downtown Hartford, Saturday Oct. 
Hartford celebrates its annual Hooker Day Parade, Saturday, Oct. 23
Spirits at Stowe: An Otherworldly Tour, Fri's and Sat's this October only, Harriet Beecher Stowe Center
Happy Hour (downtown Hartford)
(c) Coffee Rhetoric


Salute Mon. 3:30 - close, Tues. - Fri. 3:30-6:30
Bin 2281/2 Priced on wine bottles every Monday

Bocca Rossa  (Mon, Wed, & Fri) 4:30 - 6:30  
  • $5 wines
  • $3 drafts
  • $4 house martinis
  • $3 appetizers
  • $10 flights of 3 wines of your choosing

For Your Own Good ...
www.lesnubians.com
Look out for Les Nubians' new album, Nu Revolution 
Watch: Gaspar Noe's, Enter The Void
 Guilty Pleasure read: Charlotte Carter's dark and twisted love story  'Walking Bones.' I re-read this about every other month.




(c) Coffee Rhetoric

Boutique De Bandeaux- Couture Hair Accessories  

September 20, 2010

Socialite Diaries: In Which Black Hartfordites Have Preferences






In-between frequenting my favorite haunts, interacting with people, people watching, collecting numbers on cocktail napkins and listening to a crass Bostonian explain the merits of buying a fancy, sparkling truck that's "big enough to fuck in," and then asking me "So you wanna fuck me?" in the same span of space and time, I often take advantage of quiet moments and mull over the activities and things that make me happy and excited. I mentally brush off the b.s. complaints that there isn't anything to do in Hartford, CT as visions of good times I've had, both solo and while in good company, dance around in my head.  

While not a sprawling metropolis like New York City, Hartford is a pleasant place full of surprises despite rumblings to the contrary, with enough offerings to sate someone open enough to enjoy themselves and not continuously compare the small New England city to New York... an argument as fruitless as comparing apples to grapes. Nay sayers who constantly cry and moan about how there isn't anything to would find that if they just DID IT and kill the pessimistic and negative attitudes, there would be more of it TO DO. The beauty of being a native of this city is that at the end of the day, Hartford residents could care less where other folks are from, so for those transplants who wax nostalgic about how much better their city is to ours... the argument is an empty effort, as we'll kindly suggest you make haste and move back there. Hartford is nicknamed The Hartbeat for a reason...The people who live, play, and raise their families here and want to see it continue to thrive and grow, are passionate about its offerings and make sure to nourish its growth as a cool place to be, by making positive contributions and participating. 
Moooving on, as an open-minded Black woman who enjoys the arts and most things wine related as well as the finer things in life I can't afford, I often wonder what other ones of mi gente who reside in Hartford are up to as I nurse my wine and look on earnestly at my surroundings. Are they sipping wine and listening to music like me? Are they laughing off a loud Boston traveler looking to rock the Casbah in his truck? or are they side-eying questionable outfits and behaviors ... laughing raucously over a snifter of Hennessy? 
A local woman and fellow writer who goes by the name Ruby Phoenix has taken the time and effort to get at the root of what some of the Things Black People Do In Hartford involves, via her aptly named blog of the same title. Fortunately for us, it's not a strategically documented log comprised of shootings, drug activity, petty thefts, and car jackings; besides, the Hartford Courant has already taken on the role of clocking that information, ensuring that those outside the perimeter stay far away... as they point and throw major shade our way from their suburban enclaves. No ma'am... Ruby Phoenix features a series of events and  urban hang spots where wonderfully smelling Black people like us aren't packing heat; Opting to take in some performance art, poetry, dancing, or simple chilling with cocktails while ogling an attractive assortment of patrons ... dressed in the trendiest, sexiest, or most bohemian chic fits. 
Jessie, Al, Angela and Barack would definitely approve her message. Get into it ... 

September 14, 2010

Progress

The core group of people who've followed this blog from the beginning and have read about me crying, laughing, brooding, grieving, fumbling towards ecstasy, waxing nostalgic, in addition to all of my dating disasters know that amidst all of this foolery lies a starving literary artist and social media personality. I put a lot of hard work into Coffee Rhetoric and would like to experience the recognition that comes with all of the effort... which includes me not having to work a string of thankless jobs, under the supervision of some miserable hag, and finding contentment freelancing and doing things for myself.  I also don't want to be the sole nutcase out on the ledge all by myself, and so would like to write about other interesting people, places and things, especially those who are/which are local. 
Bocca Rossa - 942 Main ST, Htfd, CT
This phase finds me at my most ambitious. The hunger has involved me stepping the ante up on networking and schmoozing... something I've always had an aversion to.  I've always likened schmoozing to flirting... I mean, it is a derivative, non? In any event, I'm reserved when it comes to both and am never one to approach a person first. Usually animated when prompted. I always felt that schmoozing involved acting in a disingenuous way, to get something from someone... and in essence it is. So imagine my surprise upon realizing I can be myself and still network with interesting people who're receptive to my creative endeavors.
I've been going out more and trying to develop contacts to help me along on my journey. I've basically become like the harried accordion player in The Wind Journeys
No people are better to network with than bartenders, because they hear everything and are essentially masters at being in the know. The past year and this current, I've met some truly outstanding and personable bartenders who've hipped me to some really interesting people, places, and things. The two cute bartendresses, Rachel and Sarah, at downtown lounge, Bocca Rossa, have truly been amazing. From buying me a glass of fruit infused grappa to making stellar recommendations... they're awesome. Rachel was instrumental in introducing me to a notable or two, supplying them with a brief synopsis about my creative endeavors as well as giving me insight on some interesting events I'm going to try to insinuate myself in at. 
cognac & amaretto 
I definitely see myself becoming a semi-regular there. On top of having a great wine and spirit list, good locally made sausage, a great chef, and playing outstanding music that had me feeling nostalgic - (Neo-Soul, down-tempo, acid house, acid jazz) - and made my delicates quake excitedly - (because the stuff is right up my alley and isn't played anyplace else I can think of in the area) - they offer up a wicked Tomaresca and Malbec.
blurry pic of sauteed clams in a spicy broth
Also, where else where I happen upon a patron who'll lecture me on the importance of having men eat out my hand and knowing my worth (Kanye shrug) or be able to knock over and break a glass of wine on the bar, after gesticulating wildly upon hearing a friend's disturbing stories about his dysfunctional relationship, without getting major shade thrown in my direction?
Bocca Rossa, I see you now... and I'll be back... til we meet again.
** Read my Yelp review 

March 24, 2010

Bus Tales: Umm, Er... I'm not sure

Today's society illustrates that we not only live in a multifaceted world complete with racially ambiguous people, political fence straddlers, and omnisexual revelers, but gender ambiguity factors into this ever increasing equation as well... 
This afternoon, while en route to my mother's house, my interest was initially piqued by the intimate yet loud details of a petite young woman's cell-phone conversation...
"Yeah! I know she's mad I left the apartment on Sumner Street, but I'm sorry, that shit was just disgusting! It smelled like pure DOG! I was like HELL NO! I really don't care!! She has such a nasty attitude. I don't know how she got my fucking cell phone number!! I changed my number for a reason! Don't let me have to give her baby's father her number!! And she wonders why he doesn't wanna deal wit her ass! ... " 
When two teenagers, shoulders bogged down with book-heavy backpacks stumbled onto the bus. Initially I thought they were both young teenaged boys, They both had on the uniform and look typical of most young men living in urban areas... trendy, yet baggy jeans, Timbaland-lite footwear, large polo shirts, caps pulled down low over their heads, and mouths hanging open...thoughts laden with the superficial... no doubt. Bored with petite woman's conversation, I began to listen to the two young men sitting across from me, until I noted the heavier set guy's voice...  His? voice was husky and deep... almost as if its tone were contrived. Intrigued, I looked up and noted he? had extension braids pulled back into a bun at the nape of his? neck and a baseball cap pulled down low... his? eyebrows were also groomed into an arch. He? spoke about girls to his? smaller boned friend... "Yeah, I saw her sitting in class. I was trying to talk to her... It's a good thing there's a such thing as Twitter! " she? laughed to her? friend... who was looking down and busy punching away on his? phone's qwerty keypad. 
Small boned friend wore a striped tube cap pulled down over his? head... and noticeably sparkly studs in each pierced ear. He? was undoubtedly a boy... until he? looked up and out the window and proclaimed in a high-pitched teen girl's voice... "Oh look! That's *insert girl's name here* walking down the street! The one in the pink boots!" 
"Who is that?" his? husky voiced friend asked, looking towards the object of his friend's attention. 
"That's the girl I was telling you about! I was trying to talk to her earlier!" 
I grew more confused, and tried as best as I could to study their features without being overt and rude about it... Small boned went back to busily typing on his... um, her? phone's keypad... on Twitter. "How do you spell 'committed'? Does it have one 't' or two?" 
"Com-mi-TED... One 't' " the huskier one offered, after sounding it out. I cringed and was tempted to interject and say "There're TWO 't's' in committed." but opted to mind my own business. Still intrigued by the fact that I had no clue whether or not either of them had been born girls, I listened to them giggle about their female classmates... notably the ones they thought were the cutest... Then they pulled the wire that rings the bell to stop, for Albany Avenue and departed. 
The moral to this little anecdote is that I guess it doesn't matter. They're being who they choose and want to be... However, I'm still bothered that 'committed' was tweeted incorrectly. That is all. 




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April 22, 2009

I'm Thirsty...

... and I've been strongly advised to boil the tap water before I drink it. Well, I did and it isn't cold yet!
And to think of all of the hundreds of times I joked to my bottled water guzzling friends, "What's the point? We live in America. The water is fine!"
Now, they say that rotifers and copepods aren't harmful, but I'm not willing to risk the risk... so I'll stick to this here gin... until my boiled water cools down.

April 20, 2009

Update- Tales from the Darkside and Home Improvement

Conversations that transpired while walking around my neighborhood this past Friday:

Encounter 1: Lady buffalo stancing outside Family Dollar and Carlos's Supermarket: " 'Scuse me MISS. You got a dolla'??" Me: "Nope." Lady: "How about fifty cent? You got ANY change?????" Me: I shook my head emphatically and hurried inside towards my destination for Folgers and flip flops.

Encounter 2: While walking from Green Apple produce market

Man: (standing next to disheveled Black woman: "Scuse me Miss... you think you can give me and my friend here some money...." Me: Shook head emphatically and hurried inside.

**I come back outside from store**

Woman (beggar's friend), in a slow, drug induced drawl: "Scuse me... MISS. Can I have some..." Me: Shaking head so hard my neck pops, as I hurry down the street towards home... Woman (yelling after me): "Well, you got a CONDOM den??"
Encounter 3: The best friend (Cat to those not in the know) visits. After settling in, we head back out at around 10pm... Cat, being the genius that she is... parks TWO WHOLE BLOCKS away! We stand and wait outside, in the mild night air, waiting to cross the street...
Condom Lady approaches... head lolled to the side as she lumbers over, like a corpse out of Night of the Living Dead: "Scuuuuse Me. Ladies... Ya'll got aaaany money I can..." Cat and I in unison: "NO!" We run out into busy traffic, desperate to get away from Condom lady. Bitch is lumbering towards us at a clip now!
We make it. I verbally abuse Cat for parking so far away!! And Onward Life has been somewhat busy. I'm still... still... settling into my apartment. It is starting to feel a lot like home, however. With several free acquisitions, a few priced next to nothing accents, switching things around and figuring out (through trial and error) what works in this particular space, things are starting to come together. I now have a king sized bed and board (sans frame, but not dire) today. I'm excited. The bed is huge. Bedding will be costly, but I plan on NOT paying more than 30 dollars for king sized bedding.

Check out what's going on thus far

Oh and I also acquired this amdist the madness.

January 17, 2009

Are Witch Titties Really THIS Cold??

It's bitter cold, and my mood is just about neck and neck with this blasted weather. It is definitely days like these that make me curse being born and bred in New England. I blame Canada. In any event, I can't seem to warm up. I can't relax in the confines of my home, because it's freezing. It's a to-the-bone type of chill that is simply inescapable, regardless of how many layers you hide under, how high you crank the heat up, how much Vicks Vaporub you slather under your nose, and how tight of a fetal position you curl up in!! I can wish for man to cozy up next to, but he'd be of no use to me, because he'd be shivering and complaining right alongside me. He'd touch me, and I'd probably shrink away from his touch, due to his hands being ice cold.
How depressing. Last night, bundled up and on the cusp of a nervous breakdown because the bus driver decided to take his sweet time letting pulling up to the stop, my fingers were frozen almost to the point of no return. This is with insulated leather gloves on, a wool coat, and a wrap. Settled within the warm confines of the bus, I glowered angrily at the driver, then I gingerly peeled my gloves off gasping at my blue tinted fingertips!
This is the kind of weather that forces people to walk stooped over as they pull their layers tighter to their bodies muttering and cursing under their breath and to be pissy drunk until they slump face forward on the bus, because the pain of the cold is too much for them to bear. The kind of havoc that wrecks plans, dispositions, and heating bills! As discomforting as I find hot, humid, stagnant air to be, I'd definitely take that kind of summer over this any day. I find it easier to keep cool. Keeping warm? Not so much. I'll admit the cold air has been great for my pores, but sidestepping people sneezing and hacking into the brisk air, and stepping over globs of spit and phlegm on the sidewalk doesn't do anything to soothe my soul or my mild germaphobia. I'm finding myself eating a myriad of strange things for breakfast, in a desperate bid to warm up from the inside out (atomic fire balls and coffee anyone?) Pressing lunch time errands go ignored, because I simply can't bear the thought of going out into the frosty air. As kinky as this may sounds to some, every morning and every evening, I cover myself, neck to toe in thick body butters and generous globs of Vaseline... a vain attempt to keep my skin supple, moisturized, and protected from the ash dying to attach itself to my skin! I'm a greazy woman this winter! And I'm loving every second of it as I'm triumphing over the ashiness. It's an especially mad, cruel, winter or at least it has been these past couple of weeks. The city of Hartford, CT seems allergic to plowing the snow piles properly, making it rather difficult to navigate the curbs and cross the street. Today, a blind woman fell over a pile of snow as she gingerly stepped off the bus, swinging her stick wildly into the air trying to find her way. The bus driver simply looked on from the perch of his seat, as the woman struggled to her feet and dusted herself off. A friendly passenger ran out to tend to her, "Okay, she's up on her feet, let's get going," I heard a dry teenage voice mutter impatiently from the back of the bus. Empathy is officially dead, folks. Nothing left to
do but mull over looming debts that need to be paid and drown my
winter blues in a sea of red wine. piping hot mugs of black coffee, and strong, spicy teas.

February 15, 2008

... Didn't You Know This?

That wretched, waste of time and money holiday... the one that starts with a V and shall remain nameless, is finally done and over with.
I always find it amusing when couples wait once a year to do something thoughtful and sexy for one another, before settling back into the routine of being jerks to one another. I smirked on the inside as a co-worker discussed how mean and cold his siggy other acted toward him, prompting him to consider calling it quits over the past weekend, before she called apologizing... all sweetness and light. Bitch knew that V day was on the horizon, that's why. Word on the street is that he got her an assortment of lovely gifts anyway.
I rolled my eyes as I listened to the frazzled bartender at restaurant Hot Tomatoes, sitting in wait for my lunch as he complained about the dozens of reservations overwhelming the restaurant for the evening... "people don't realize, we'll be extremely busy and they expect to be in and out in like 45 minutes!"
"Call me jaded, but I don't understand what all the fuss is about..." I opined. "It'll be done and over with in hours, and couples will go back to clawing at one another's throats on the 15th. But perhaps I'm just saying this, because I'm single..."
"Yeah..." he agreed before throwing up his hands at the ringing phone and rushing to answer it... Another hopeful patron probably wanting a reservation, no doubt. And then there was that attractive, young, sharply dressed and perfumed Hispanic couple I passed on the street later on that evening, after clocking off from work... arguing en route to Hot Tomatoes, as girlfriend struggled in her pointy-toed stiletto boots, to keep up with her agitated boyfriend, as they stomped to their destination over melting snow piles.
Ask me how deep my scowl furrowed, as I shook my head at the tacky assortment of plastic hearts, pitiful looking single red roses individually wrapped and contained behind cellophane plastic (for a whopping 5 to 10 bucks a pop), white teddy bears holding red heart pillows with the words "I Love You" painted on the front, and other stupid bric-a-brac vendors were hoping to hawk to desperate last minute shoppers, who didn't have time to order that delicious (and pricey) flower shaped cantaloupe bouquet from Edible Arrangements.
The most infuriating moment, however? ... Walking into CVS Pharmacy and discovering every last bit of fucking chocolate... every box of Hershey's Pot O' Gold (on sale for $3.88) sold the eff out!! The inconsiderate vultures. I wanted to push the shelves over in blind, white hot fury, but instead purchased a pack of cellulose facial sponges, black liquid eyeliner, and gum and stormed out into the damp, dark winter malaise, in a moue of glossy indignation and disgust.
The bitter ramblings of a young woman, never having been in love and cynical about the complex maze of dating? Perhaps. Or maybe just realistic and an staunch advocate of consistency in genuine behavior and emotions, just 'cause... not prompted by some corny holiday, that dictates you should go broke buying someone's affections once a year.
This morning, as I made my way to the entrance of my place of employment I came upon a sad looking, red, heart shaped mylar balloon, with Betty Boop on the front... flirty and dripping hearts lying on the ground. Dejected on February 15th. The last remnants of the previous day already forgotten and only remembered to begin with, due to some overwhelming sense of obligation. Half deflated and out of place in the backdrop of a crisp, bright, wintry-white morning as people hurried around it, rushing about in long, black winter coats... faces grim as they clutched their oversized Starbucks cups as if the 14th never happened. Clutching my own dark roast, I stopped and looked down at it. I shook my head. That pretty much summed up V-day. I stepped on Betty's face with my favorite pair of calf boots and rushed in to start my day.
P.S. to the man whose phone number I accepted a couple of weeks ago, because I thought you were genuine... TEXTING a response to someone's voicemail message, after "hoping" that they'd call: "Thanks! Talk to U Later" and then following up by calling at odd hours: 7:30 AM as you're getting in your car (I heard you unlocking your door), calling and then hanging up sans leaving a voicemail, texting "Are U up??" @ 12:20AM on a week day are NOT the proper ways to woo someone for a date and is rather dubious. Been there, done that... and the shirt I have to prove it? I use it to clean around the house. Strikes one, two, AND three. You're out!

December 03, 2007

Unusual

This afternoon around lunch hour, I stomped down the street. The weather was frigid and rather grey and wet. There were slushy patches of harmless ice in strategic spots, on the asphalt. As I walked, I came upon a cluster of people standing in the middle of the sidewalk, spectating. Getting ever so closer, I saw a huge hawk in the crowd's midst... perched on top of a pigeon's carcass. Feasting and watching the crowd warily. As if warning them not to get too close. Not due to any hallucinogens or illegal substances, I've been known (in the company of me, myself, and I) to hallucinate or think I've seen something, that turned out to be a figment of my sick and twisted imagination. So I continued on with my gait... thinking lunch hour traffic had simply stalled for some ridiculous reason. Closer, I discovered the hawk was indeed, very real. At once mesmerized and intimidated, I made sure to do a wiiiiide semi-circle around the bird, as I didn't want to get too close. The people oohed and ahhed. "Enjoy the rest of your lunch!" One man shouted at the bird, as he left the crowd of spectators. One woman in a beat looking fur coat lit a cigarette and sneered, "Ugh. That's disgusting." I felt like reminding her that the food chain worked in mysterious, natural, and necessary ways, and that the spectacle was no more disgusting than her dingy fur coat and the heavy, dark bags under her eyes. But instead I just shot her an annoying look. Finally tiring of being the center of attention and having its lunch break disturbed, the bird spread it's massive wings, flew through the crowd (which seemed like the equivalent of flipping a figurative bird), and then up and away, causing the onlookers to gasp, duck for cover, and then part like the Red Sea. I wanted to pull out my cell phone and snap a picture of the anomaly, but was too chicken-dookey to get that close and risk being attacked by the large, winged creature. So I stood a ways from the crowd, and looked on from a distance. Anyway, I snapped a pic of myself instead and stole image of the bird from the internets.