SIMPLE TO COMPLEX, LIKE LIFE ITSELF : CHUS + CEBALLOS @ BIJOU BOSTON 06.14.13

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At Bijou on Friday night the Madrid-based DJ team of Chus and Ceballos dropped a masterly, three and a half hour set on a dance floor as crowded as always happens when this duo comes to town. They did not disappoint. Their set moved straight ahead, a long train ride as metaphor for the long ride that is life itself. We grow up from the simplicities of childhood to the ever more quizzical disputations and demands that pressure us as we come of age. At Bijou, Chus and Ceballos worked just that sort of narrative and message.

The music advanced from basic blues, bottom rhythms to overlay blends, then to overlays with streaks added and conversations; then to rhythms themselves more streaky and complicated, alongside top-octave sound effects intensely varied. The duo’s mixes, too, progressed from simple to not at all simple. DJ Chus, as inspired a shape-maker as any, bent and twisted the music, stuttered it, fade-knobbed it, and bounced it from one mode to another with intensifying aggressiveness.

His mixes touched skin and bit deep. From one-two-three on the fingers, the rhythm and scream of Chus’s work inexorably pulled the dancers beyond control into its vortices of ambition, doubt, wants, needs, dreams, and siren calls variously lovely or fatal. It was a sweet sound at first, then sparkly, cool as a crush.

As always, they worked two mix boards and two PCs; and, as always, it was Ceballos who cued up tempos and tracks — and mixed the basics — and Chus who crafted the complication. Ceballos mixed his stuff using headphones, Chus shape-shifted almost always without them.

Because Chus and Ceballos have been doing their work for a long time;  because as house music has grown up, so they too have grown, with and by way of the music. And thus their life narrative was theirs as well as one for the Bijou fans. To make the point quite clear, they tooled into their set a great many tracks from their personal journey, including Todd Terry’s “Can You Feel It,” 1972’s disco classic “Soul Makossa,” and a drastic re-work of The Fog’s 1994 “Fired Up.” Also in their flashback mix were the venerable house track “Preacher,” samplings of Danny Tenaglia’s “Elements,” the monologue from Victor Calderone’s “Let Me Set You Free,” Queen’s scream from 1980’s “Another One Bites the Dust,” and — a staple of Chus and Ceballos sets — portions of two Celeda sides, “Music Is the Answer” and “The Underground.”

In addition, they slid all sorts of throwback voices into their mix, plus some segments of 1978-ish reggae toasting. And of course their basic choogle recalls that of Creedence Clearwater doing the Bayou slop. Their past is, as one expects, 40 years, at least, extensive and wide-ranging. They used all of it at Bijou.

None of these memory sweeps dominated their rhythmic progress. Their own more recent tracks, including the dreamy “Partenza” and the samba-fierce “Quimera.” (co-produced with Marcello Castelli), assured as much.

Rhythm dominated, persuaded, tossed the dancers . Choogle became  rumble, strut, sizzle and stutter. Upper register screams jazzed the beat; screeches lit it up. And then — in the final forty minutes or so, Chus and Pablo blew samba beats past talk which lifted the samba onto a babble of many percussions running across each other’s path.

This sounds like a heap of blues, and for Pablo and Chus, the blues it was. But it also sounds like an exciting adventure; Chus and Pablo’s long set was an exciting sonic adventure for sure. One that the Bijou crowd could not get enough of or adequately respond to except by yelling and dancing and raising their hands in stunned astonishing.

—- Deedee Freedberg / Feeling the Music”

RATING : sublime

MASSACHUSETTS : NO ENDORSEMENT YET FOR US SENATOR

Markey ... Gomez

 

Ed Markey (D)               Gabriel Gomez (R)

In twelve (12) days Massachusetts voters will elect anerw Senator to go to Washington in place of John Kerry, who resigned to become Secretary of State.

Twelve days, and we at Here and Sphere are having a peck of trouble trying to decide who to support. For the Republicans there is Gabriel Gomez, who has never held any elective office, seems unfamiliar with the issues, and appears reluctant to advance any issues that matter to anyone who’s not a politics junkie. For the Democrats, there is Ed Markey, 37 years a Congresssman, who knows the issues cold and says only too clrearly how he will vote: as a Massachusetts Democrat. And this we of course like.

But Markey could vote his views just as well in his Congress seat. Indeed, it puzzles us why Markey is, at this late stage in his career, surrendering 37 years of seniority — clout which benefits Massachusetts — to become a very junior Senator. By not electing him to the Senate, our state retains the advantages of Markey’s seniority.

That alone gives us reason to advance the candidacy of Gabriel Gomez. But we hesitate, because to the extent that we know anythying at all about what kind of Senator he might be, we don’t like it. For example :

He has a “plan to reboot Congress,” but his procedural reforms do not mention the only one that really matters: curbing the filibuster.

On abortion, he says he has no litmus test for Supreme Coiurt nominees, but he wants to write into law a 24-hour “waitng period” for wpomen seeking abortion procedure. Siuch a waiting period may be advisable as a matter of medical. ethiocs, but writing it into law intrudes lawyers and courts upon decisions that only a woman and her doctor(s) have competence to decide.

On gun control, he opposes a federal assault weapon ban — a ban that our previous Republican Senator, Scott Brown, supported.

He is for repealing Obamacare, which has given as many as 50,000,000 uninsured people — mostly of very limited income — health insurance. Whatever its other merits or drawbacks may be, universal health insurance enables people to get well and thus not cost our economy the impediment of workers taking sick days or even extended health absences. Not to mention the loss of income to such workers, almost all of whom cannot afford to forego even one week’s pay.

On taxation and the budget, Gomez thinks it OK to discuss eliminating all kinds of current income tax deductions, including the mortgage interest deduction, upon which most homewoners depend when budgeting their monthly mortgage payment.

Gomez’s stated positions — albeit in most cases worded vaguely and often walked back — would be sufficient grounds for rejecting his candidacy and endorsing Markey’s. Except that it’s not at all clear that Gomez would follow through on any of his stated positions were he to be elected. His vagueness and waffling force us to view him as either a very shifty advocate, or to wonder if he simply doesn’t know what he is talking about. Or is he asking, “Trust me to do the right thing, and I will do it” ? Voters rightly feel manipulated by this Hobson’s choice.

Still, Gomez is, as many Massachusetts voters are saying, “a new voice.’ Two debates have broken his newness in, sometimes to the good. He is spurning the national GOP’s right wing and its loony views; he would surely be a vote for comprehensive immigration reform; and there remains one more debate with Markey, at which Gomez can ramp up his issues advocacy, maybe.

Given our feeling that Markey can do more for Massachusetts by retaining his seniority as a Congressman, we’ll give Gomez this one last chancve to tell, us why he is ready to be a Massachusetts Senator and not just an amateurish twist in the wind of favor versus unfavor.

—- Michael Freedberg for Here and Sphere

MASSACHUSETTS : TIME TO RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE

Denise Provost

St. Rep. Denise Provost (D-Somerville)

It’s been years since Massachusetts raised the minimum wage it will allow firms to pay their workers. Our state’s minimum sits at $ 8.00 an hour, and that’s nowhere near enough for a family of two minimum wage workers to pay the most basic living expenses in many parts of our State. Rents in particular have increased dramatically in the greater Boston area. So has the cost of fuel oil and gasoline. Even fares on the MBTA have risen 50 percent.

Two bills, H 1757 and H 1701, have been filed, by Representatives Cabral (D-New Bedford) and Provost (D-Somerville), that will raise the pay amount. Cabral’s bill raises the minimum to $ 9.00 an hour this year and $ 10.00 the next. Rep. Provost’s bill is more radical. It raises the minimum immediately to $ 11.00, to $ 11.50 in 2014, and $ 12.00 in 2015. Both bills, along with companion Senate bills filed by Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton), now stand before the Masschusetts House and Senate’s Joint Committee on Labor and Employment. Hearings have been held. The proposals all raise the minimum wage for tip-receiving workers from $ 2.63 an hour to $ 6.30.

Already the opposition has begun. The Massachusetts Restaurant assocaition, predictably, is complaining. So are other small business lobbying groups. We disagree with the opposition and support the more radical of the two proposals. We think that $ 11.00 an hour is neither too much nor a detriment to Massachusetts businesses.

Minimum wage wotrkers fo not remove their income from the economy. They do not stash it. Even at $ 11.00 to $ 12.00 an hour they will need to spend every dollar — on vital purchases they must now defer: clothing for the kids, car repair if they have a car, otherwise maybe a car purchase; summer camp for the kids, maybe a new cell phone to replace the old or broken one; maybe even a dog for the household — because dogs make happy those who they live with (and happiness is a good thing for people’s health. Happiness cuts down on employee sick days). All of these deferred spendings, now able to be spent upon, represent an increase in business for the firms that provide such goods and services; business that Massachusetts firms cannot now get becasuse minimum wage workers don’t have it to spend.

Two other objections to Rep. Provost’s radical minimum wage raise merit response:

First : $ 11.00 and $ 12.00 an hour may be vitally needed in greater Boston, where rents are impossibly high and everything including food and transport costs more but in outlying cities of the state it’s quite generous. To which we respond ; actually, even in outlying cities the greaster raise is needed, because ( a ) workers commute longer distances ( b ) live far away from medical care and so — because for many minimum wage families, a car is beyond budget — may need taxi fare; and ( c ) often have larger families than in socially more single-life Boston and thus have a much larger clothing and household supplies budget.

Second : the higher raise is likely to cause fast food retailers, in particular, but also very samll businesses of all kinds, to simply lay off people. The evidence of past raises, though, is that businesses do not downsize; they simply increases prices. Which in turn leads, as has been pointed out, to higher costs for people living on retirement income — costs not easily absorbed. That is true; but Social Security payments include a cost of living increase. It isn’t as great an increase, in percent, as Rep. Provost’s 38 to 50 % raise, but it Is something.

For all of these reasons, we at Here and Sphere support Rep. Provost’s minimum wage increase. People who work full-time shouldn’t have to liver in poverty.

— The Editors / Here and Sphere

ONE QUESTION ( SHE’S ) TO SHY, OR GROSSED OUT TO ASK….

Man-Cestry

ONE QUESTION ( SHE’S ) TO SHY, OR GROSSED OUT TO ASK….

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I AM MAN……..

“HEAR ME ROAR” would just be way to cliché — so instead I will say

” How you dooooin?”…Now that the girls have giggled and thrown up in their mouths, I can happily begin my first post for Here and Sphere.

Woman are funny, disturbing, wildly attractive, and insanely annoying creatures. They have brilliant minds, and Jedi tricks — their super powers are kind of awesome — also THEY PISS ME OFF TO NO END.

However: without them life would SERIOUSLY be a GIANT boring sausage fest, of gaming, messy houses, unshaven…..well…EVERYTHING….and TOTAL BOREDOM.

So in the spirit of these brazen, self – starting, and completely  bewildering Goddesses…. <—-(hoping I scored points there, though doubtful) — I give a peace-offering of sorts. INFORMATION, yup that’s right…. I may even break guy code here — so hopefully no one puts a hit on me. IF I live to see another day, MEN — Will at some point thank me….. I PROMISE…

HERE IS A QUESTION, WOMAN WANT ANSWERED — BUT ARE TO SHY TO ASK:

Q. Numero Uno) Why in the hell does it take so damn long for a guy to take a crap?

A. Well my lovely Fast Crapper’s, and power pusher’s of the world;                  1.) WE ENJOY THE DAMN SILENCE. The reason that porcelain god is called a “Throne” is — for when we sit upon it We are one again King of OUR castle.  ”If” we share a domicile, that means that at some point…..YOU WON. We surrendered our hearts and spare key, to the woman we knew should be ” Our Queen”. 

2.) The Solace of the “poop room” helps us to think…. ( Yes we really do that thinking thing….smart-ass) It’s a “Turd World Country” but it is rich in plushCottonelle butt paper. Plus there are hand-towels..neatly folded and perfectly placed hand-towels (that we KNOW we are NOT supposed to touch — since they are simply there to look pretty.)

3.) THERE ARE NO RULES…Other than the hand-towel NO-NO!!!! In the “Palace of Poo” we men are FREE. We are allowed by human-ism, and possibly god given right — to obnoxiously fill the air — with our rancid man-ufactured, possibly toxic, tear-inducing ass perfume. AND THERE…..It is acceptable….even encouraged.

4.) Finally and most honestly –IT FEELS GOOD….. There I said it.. After all we worked hard for that feeling of accomplishment. After stuffing our faces behind the backs of our beloved queens, and slowly digesting our gluttonous bounty — it feels GREAT to know….. OUR CRAP STILL WORKS……….

mancestry3

Your Friend: Lost in Mans-lation

Heather-Isms

AM I WRONG FOR THIS, SHOULD I APOLOGIZE? OK seriously :
It is before 6 AM, I am up but that is not the point.
The point is WHAT BUSINESS does a frickin’ telemarketer have calling me before the looser birds start singing? Oh let me guess it’s afternoon in your cuntry right? F U
….so here is how this convo went…..
Telemarketer: ((in annoying peppy voice))—- “HI is this Hayther Cornwall”?
Me: (( unimpressed i haven’t even had coffee yet voice))–“NO IT IS NOT , this is Heather Cornell” …and proceed to spell it…”H.E.A.T.H.E.R as in ARE YOU SERIOUS????”….You get the idea I’m sure.
TELEJERK: “WHEEL I HAVE AN EXCITING EDUCATION OFFER FOR YOU,” (begins to ramble about continued education at some random school I’ve NEVER heard of….)
ME: “Excuse me cheer captain, can I ask you a question?”
Teleasshole: ((Cheery as ever))” WHY OF COOOUUURSE.”
ME: SOOOOO your a telemarketer correct?” ” how long?”CheeryB’***: “Why yes I am” “and 12 years this July” ( clearly proud of herself)

Me: So then if this” college’ish thing you speak of is so great, WTF are you calling me for from your minimum wage job?” ” shouldn’t you be all rich and ha I (stuck it to the man) by now?”…

.” P.S. it’s 6 am where I am!!!!”Slightlylesscheerychick: ((((SILENCE)))

ME: ” MMMHMM that’s what I thought” ” HAVE A FKTABULOUS DAY” (( IN MY CHEERIEST 6AM VOICE))
(((CLICK)))))
Facepalm WOOOW happy Sunday face people !!
— Heather Cornell , direct from sleepy bed
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THE WAY HOME : EXITING SUBSTANCE ABUSE, PART 1

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FIRST STEP : TOWARDS A CULTURE OF TREATMENT, NOT PUNISHMENT

We see them on a daily basis — the disheveled, homeless person wandering the streets. For most of us, a first reaction to seeing our fellow human being in such a state is, “what set of circumstances brings a person to this condition?”

Or, “I have heard that this is a lifestyle choice. But why would anyone willing choose to live this way? “

This to many of us is the face of addiction and alcoholism.

Living on the streets and not seeking shelter is a choice often made by those who use drugs or alcohol.   Most shelters turn away people seen to be under the influence; yet to those who continue to “use,” enduring the perils of nature and dangers of living on the street is a price worth paying .

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, those who estimate the cost of drug and alcohol abuse peg it at over $600 billion annually.  Breaking this huge amount down, we find $ 193 billion spent for illicit drugs, the same amount for tobacco, and $235 billion for alcohol.  From these immense dollar totals alone, we can conclude that substance abuse is not limited only to unfortunate men and women living on the margins of our society.

About drug and alcohol abuse, the National Criminal Justice Reference Service states this:

“Many Americans believe that drug abuse is not their problem. They have misconceptions that drug users belong to a segment of society different from their own, or that drug abuse is remote from their environment. They are wrong. Almost three quarters of drug users are employed.

“A majority of Americans believes that drug use and drug-related crime are among our nation’s most pressing social problems. Indeed, about 45 percent of Americans actually know someone with a substance abuse problem.”

Imprisonment dogs the substance abuser in America. Our nation’s Bureau of Justice Statistics indicates that the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the free world.  We imprison 743 of every 100,000, compared to 96 out of 100,000 in England and Wales and 71 per 100,000 in France.  The Center for Economic Policy Research says that 60 percent of all US prisoners are incarcerated for non-violent crimes.

Much of that 60 percent goes to prison for relatively minor crimes – because “three strikes” laws require lengthy mandatory minimum sentencing no matter what..

A criminal-system response  to the disease of addiction arises from our society’s perception that substance abuse is a moral failing rather than a medical condition.  By no means am I suggesting not holding people accountable for their actions. But accountability in the case of substance abuse should emphasize treatment and recovery.

The cost to our society  of substance abuse goes well beyond dollar figures.   Those afflicted with drug problems fill our emergency rooms, kill people through accidents and contribute towards violent crime.  Violence often arises from the intoxicating effects of drugs and alcohol.

We need to seek out and find alternatives to the familiar but wasteful, crime and punishment approach toward the scourge that substance abuse puts upon our civil society.  We do not punish people with diabetes, lactose intolerance or cancer.  We treat them.   Addiction is recognized as a mental illness, and often, in some cases it is a combination of both mental and physical ailments..

There are many collaborative efforts being forged to create a culture of treatment for drug abuse as a  chronic condition rather than one of punishment.   In upcoming blogs I hope to highlight and bring attention to those who are pursuing this course.

— John Shea III / The Way Home