Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tuesday Afternoon in Grand Army Plaza: The 8th Annual Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival presents the Bodega Education Initiative - "Fortified" - at the Central Brooklyn Public Library

This afternoon we were in the Dweck Center of the Central Library at Grand Army Plaza for this year's Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival's Bodega Education Initiative,
"Fortified with Minerals and Vitamins" -- at least the intellectually nourishing kind: a daylong symposium dedicated to critical discussion and analysis of Hip-Hop music, culture and business. We had a terrific learning experience and a wonderful time that was also presented courtesy of the Brooklyn Historical Society.
We find it increasingly hard to make time to bore people who come across this website with our tediously detailed reports on events we go to, but today's events were videotaped, and they'll probably be made available online soon by the great folks at Brooklyn Bodega.
Wes Jackson, president of Brooklyn Bodega and executive director of the Hip-Hop Festival, took to the podium to discuss how the Education Initiative started a couple of years ago with an idea for a 2010 symposium on the life and legacy of J Dilla.
The first panel, "It Was Written," lasted quite a while, but it was nevertheless interesting, both in the participants' discussion and their answers to questions from the audience. Music industry veteran Marcus K. Dowling came up from D.C. -- among other things, he's part of Listen Vision, D.C.'s oldest and largest recording studio, writer for numerous publications, and web editor for Brooklyn Bodega -- served as moderator, but he also made interesting contributions.
The two panelists were two of some of the smartest men in Brooklyn, both of whom we've admired for years: Nelson George, the author of numerous books and articles on music, but not just on music -- we've taught his memoir City Kid to college students -- and Johnny Temple, head of the wonderful Akashic Books (which recently published Nelson George's The Plot Against Hip-Hop and wears many other hats, among them one of the people behind the Brooklyn Book Festival.
They talked about a variety of subjects related to hip-hop culture, publishing, the music industry, the D.C. go-go music scene, effects of technological innovations, nuts and bolts of being a writer, "industry sharks," the 1980s, and more.
The second panel we saw much of -- unfortunately, we had to leave for a few hours before coming back for tonight's films -- was moderated by Wes Jackson and consisted of Young Guru, revered as "The Sound of New York," widely known for sound engineering, production and A&R; Dart Parker, who's worked as a music engineer, A&R director and scout, and artist manager; and attorney Mita Carriman, whose firm has served as counsel to artist and companies, and who also does A&R, runs and writes about music and technology.
The panel's theme was "Divisions of Labor and the Super Artist," and discussed, among other issues, the "do-it-all" artist (somewhat different than the DIY ethos of early hip-hop and punk), and why professionalism and specialization of labor in the hip-hop world has a variety of advantages.
And we totally missed the important third and final panel, on "The End of 98.7 KISS and the Legacy of New York Radio Locally and Globally," with Bob Slade, Jay Dixon, and Fred Buggs, but we hope we can catch it on videotape later.
We were, though, grateful to be on hand for a lot of today's Bodega Educational Initiative -- even the part when an, um, eccentric older woman interrupted the proceedings and took the stage to perform an impromptu song of her own devise. We applauded, hoping that would inspire others to join us and mollify this nice crazy person to move on to her next appointment, which it did. Security guards were on hand to get her on her way. . .

No comments: