When Johnny Thunders endorsed Jesse Jackson’s presidential bid in song
08:51 am

Let it be said that I had this, at least, in common with Johnny Thunders: we both supported Jesse Jackson’s candidacy in 1988. I was just starting the fourth grade, and Johnny was getting ready to graduate from the planet Earth, but we were both willing to forgive Jackson’s offensive characterization of NYC as “Hymietown” and his prudish condemnations of “sex-rock.”

This video of Thunders’ impassioned plea to the American soul comes from September 4, 1988, the last day of the Hotpoint festival in Lausanne, Switzerland. The DNC had come and gone, with Bill Clinton’s windy nomination and Michael Dukakis’ narcotizing acceptance speech. No matter: Johnny Thunders still liked Jackson’s chances, and if he was discouraged by Dukakis’ nomination or Bush’s subsequent election, he gave no sign. He kept “Glory, Glory” in the set in 1989, and when he entered the studio in 1990, Thunders was still stumping for the Rev.

Here, weeks before the first broadcast of the Willie Horton ad, Johnny Thunders sounds like a schoolboy telling the Swiss festival crowd why he’s for Jesse Jackson. Then he “takes them to church”:

Okay! Well, I’m from America, and we’re having a presidental—presidential election. And I think, uh, the only person that I think is worthy of being a president of America is Jesse.

Oh, Jesse!

Oh, Jesse, Jesse Jackson!

Ooh, Jesse, Jesse, Jesse! etc.

More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall
08:51 am
Neil Gaiman, Jesse Jackson and ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic read ‘Green Eggs and Ham’

Author Neil Gaiman, known for the Sandman comic book series, the teleplay and novel Neverwhere, and the book and film Coraline, among many other wonderful works, has made an amusing video of himself reading aloud from Dr. SeussGreen Eggs and Ham. There’s probably a rich lode in the notion of Gaiman/Seuss mashups, but this was done for charity:

I promised WORLDBUILDERS that if they made it to $500,000 raised I would read Green Eggs and Ham ob video. They did, so I did. I hope you enjoy it.


It’s fun, but it doesn’t touch Jesse Jackson’s infamous read of the book on Saturday Night Live in 1991:

Another winning contender in the Green Eggs and Ham-off is “Weird Al” Yankovic, whose response to a fan letter asking him to read the book on TV is hilarious:

I will not include Ted Cruz in this roundup. This is Dr. Seuss, we need to keep this dignified and respectful, please.

Via Metafilter

Posted by Ron Kretsch
12:40 pm
Black Woodstock 1969

While hippies enjoyed “three days of peace and love” in Woodstock, another equally important music festival was staged in Harlem. What’s become known as Black Woodstock was a series of concerts, held at 3pm on Sundays, at Mount Morris Park, between 29 June and the 24 August, 1969. The Festival was headlined by B.B. King, The Staples Singers, Nina Simone, Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder, Sly & the Family Stone and attended by over 100,000 concert-goers.

The concerts came soon after the Watts Riots, and the assassinations of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King.  At the time, the local NAACP chairman likened Harlem at the time to the vigilante Old West. The NYPD refused to provide security for the Festival, which was provided instead by the Black Panthers, some of whom had been indicted of a bombing campaign across Manhattan.

Black Woodstock was a mix of religious gathering, rock concert and civil rights rally, as the black community was encouraged to take power into its own hands, most notably when Reverend Roebuck Staples, of the Staple Singers, injected a sermon into his performance:

“You’d go for a job and you wouldn’t get it. And you know the reason why. But now you’ve got an education. We can demand what we want. Isn’t that right? So go to school, children, and learn all you can. And who knows? There’s been a change and you may be President of the United States one day.”

The Harlem Festival was filmed by television producer, Hal Tulchin, who hoped to sell the footage to the networks. None of the networks were interested, which says much about the politics of the time, and the fifty hours of filmed material has since been kept under lock and key. The odd snippet has been sneaked on to You Tube, and Nina Simone licensed film of her performance for a DVD release, but why the whole concert has never been released or even shown on TV is a damning indictment on America’s media. As Alan McGee asked last year

Why is Black Woodstock still sitting in the vaults? For me, this is not just a concert, but a valid historical document capturing the height of the black power movement, positivism and the tension within their community. I remember a poignant Simone quote from 1997 when asked why she left the US: “I left because I didn’t feel that black people were going to get their due, and I still don’t.” It’s hard to disagree with her when a cultural event as significant as Black Woodstock has been gathering dust in a vault for over forty years.



Posted by Paul Gallagher
08:05 pm