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I was stirred with emotions upon viewing this SAM exhibit. I didn’t think leading up I’d be experiencing something like Kehinde Wiley and later proclaim, “It was the greatest art exhibit I may ever see in this lifetime!”. The vibrancy, scale and power emanating from these works just knocked me clean over. I felt empowered, like weights placed on myself and others (subconscious and conscious) for being different were being acknowledged, lifted and transmuted into this majestic “New Republic”.   

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It’s my understanding that we all perceive from different angles. And Wiley ignites a daunting list of perspectives to analyze. From identity to beauty, class, power, wealth, authority and who “fits” where, to name a few. I’ve taken in words from SAM (Seattle Art Museum, host to Wiley’s “A New Republic”, credits for these photos), the Complex Exchange talk with Cristina Orbe, Karen Toering, and Gabriel Teodros at NAAM, friends and Wiley himself. All have been engaging, weaving an ever more intricate web of energy and reaction.

For me, a recurring word that appears when I view these pieces is “blueprint’. One of Websters definitions states, “a detailed plan or program of action” and I quite like that. When I look at many of the 60+ pieces by Wiley at SAM, I take in this grand presentation of humanity. I’m either viewing people in this kind of ideal, celebrated (and natural in ways) form, or a theme gone awry, such as incarceration/confinement and death by devious means. Overall though, the exhibit leans to the positive side in my eyes. The program initiated in many of these works for humanity is one where individuality, love, self worth, strength and teamwork reign supreme.

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For those near Seattle, these are the last few days of the exhibit ending Sunday, May 8th. Tonight (Thursday May 5th) you can get in at half price for the Downtown art walk from 6-9 . Keep your eyes on Wiley online, to see where his galleries will be headed next. And salute to this masterful artist, you and your team have raised the bar.

Kehinde Wiley – Facebook Twitter

kehindewiley.com

– Jimi Jaxon

 

 

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A small handful of individuals have walked this musical path alongside me since near inception, and Null.dll is one of them. I’ve seen many artists friends come and go, both through this site and in my neck of the woods. A small amount have not only continued to create, but have continued to grow in their production quality and individual style. This fellow local producer out of the Seattle area is one of those people, quietly and steadily still on track. Back in January of 2012, my label 7 Deadly Records celebrated it’s second release, a single called “Certainty” by Null.dll. I followed this with a remix, which was the first complete re-imagination of a track I felt confident enough to put out there, as I was just getting the hang of Ableton. Here we are 4 years later, and I receive this new original track from my friend and label mate called “Pace”. It’s a privilege that after all these years, my artistic outlets are still holding to a certain quality level, where artists seek the label and blog for support. You won’t find me writing or posting about anything through these avenues that I don’t 100% love at the time. Friends or not, if I’m not totally down, I don’t lift it up. I’m super pleased with this short new track, and I’ve gotten word there’s an expanded release on the way. Who knows, you may see the finished product on a 7 Deadly release, or through Disco Droppings, who now does free releases when the energy is proper. Cheers to you Null.dll! This is a pleasure. 

Image courtesy of the genius, and friend of the site, Beeple

– Jimi Jaxon

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It’s been a little over two years since Abby stopped by Disco Droppings for a conversation. I’m very grateful she has returned! I observe so many discussions on subjects like the ones below, and it can be a trip to say the least. When I think about a contribution I can make, a big part is building a space for these ideas and energies to be demonstrated. Where distinct individuals can share, and readers can take it in at their own pace, in a site that isn’t difficult to look at. I aim to keep things clean and minimal. So, in we go with this hard-hitting investigative journalist: Founder of Media Roots, Former host of Breaking The Set, Board of Directors for Project Censored, Founder of The Empire Files and quite the artist as well. I soundtracked this feature to The Prodigy album, The Fat of the Land (very fitting I’d say)..

DD Who and/or what moved you the most this past year of 2015, and what message did they bring?

AM My partner Mike, he made me follow my heart across the country. It took a leap to adventure to NYC with me to partner in our show The Empire Files. His support and intelligence has pushed my vision to a whole other level.

DD I want to go back to a past interview you did a few years ago that could use another look. I especially love your conversation with Alex & Allyson Grey, who are said to be “the most prolific psychedelic artists in the world..” There are discussions of “inner sight” and “turning within”. How does this translate to the lens through which you see the world?

AM They are truly beautiful people. I think the most important human component is empathy. Instead of speaking about the horrors of the world in the abstract, we need to start humanizing others and putting ourselves in their shoes. Whenever I report an issue, I try to report it from the peoples perspective, through the lens of the oppressed and suffering.

DD What internal human imbalances contribute most to the external dysfunctions you witness and report on, in your eyes?

AM I don’t know about internal imbalances so much as external ones that force internal strife. We are living in an economic system that institutionalizes inequality and barbarism. Poverty is deepening at an increasingly rapid rate. The extreme consequences of living under the shadow of militaristic imperialism are playing out all around us, driving desperate people to commit crime, violence and terrorism. The propaganda that maintains US Empire breeds division, hatred and discrimination. Unless people can work together to challenge the power structure in the heart of this country, I fear the dysfunction of the system will lead to its violent collapse.

DD I feel this problem with unification. What’s holding us back from coming together? What veils need to be lifted?

AM Behind the veil is the common humanity that unites us all. From nationalism to “otherism”, myths are the glue that hold society subservient. These myths also work to justify untold unjust and criminal policies. I think most division in America is bred from a manufactured fear of what we don’t know or understand. The propaganda behind the endless ‘War on Terror’ is more convoluted and effective now. Many people I related to ten years ago have since followed an extreme Islamophobic trajectory. It’s scary. In times of strife, people’s fears will take hold and fascists will rise–it’s up to those of us that are awake to support and build each other up.

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DD How is life with Telesur, the host of your new show Empire Files? And how would you describe the energy of this show vs. Breaking The Set?

AM Every episode of Breaking the Set was like a punch in the gut of hard truth. For three years I was like a steam engine, with a team of only two people to churn out a daily show. The energy output was insane, and I knew that I couldn’t keep it up. I also knew that I wanted to embark on investigative documentary work, and with The Empire Files, I’m able to invest an entire week’s worth of work to provide important and timeless context to the issues of the day. Although the budget for the show is much less than RT, it’s been an invaluable experience to learn what goes into creating a show from scratch.

DD My favorite art pieces from you are the collages. “Ganesha Nagarani”, “Business Man’s Trip” and “Earth Awakening” really draw me in. There’s this chaotic energy, and at the same time a cohesion and melding together of many elements. How has this outlet been moving for you recently? If you haven’t been focusing on this area recently, are there other visual artists you find especially striking at this time?

AM “Ganesha Nagarani” is my favorite piece! I love creating captivating, psychedelic webs of cultural expression. I still only have a staff of two helping to create the weekly production of The Empire Files, so having free time for art is limited. I’m trying to set up a show while I’m on the east coast, which will force me to produce more. Out of all the art I’ve seen in NYC so far, there is very little cutting political commentary and I hope to inject some before I move on to the next place.

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DD About the election and 2-party system. I’m remembering my high hopes for Obama, going with that “choose the lesser of two evils”, and questioning that mindset later. What’s your take on the election this year, Trump, Clinton and Sanders? What is your option for people who may think, “there’s no other way that has a serious chance”? My gut says, why project barriers and give into limitations? But I struggle with what to align myself with.

AM I think this election cycle is fascinating and promising for many reasons. The entire Republican establishment backed a candidate that its voter base totally rejected. Only good things can come from the corporate duopoly splintering like this. On the Democratic side, I think Bernie Sanders’ support is significant. It’s more than just symbolism. Unlike Obama, Sanders has a decades long record of policy votes to stand behind. Hillary’s upset so far is about a visceral rejection of the status quo and shows Americans are hungry for significant change. Unfortunately, Bernie already pledged to endorse corporate criminal Hillary Clinton as the democratic nominee and not run as an independent, which would be disastrous and demoralizing to his supporters. If he loses the nomination, I hope his base rallies behind Green Party candidate Jill Stein. I always advise people to vote with their heart, because any vote for a candidate that doesn’t represent them is a wasted vote, not the other way around. The more we marginalize third parties the more the two-party dictatorship maintains its stranglehold over the already rigged election system.

 

DD And finally, what is your mission for 2016?

AM To forgive and learn from my mistakes, and to constantly strive to be a better, stronger person.

Abby Martin – Twitter Facebook

The Empire Files – Twitter Facebook Youtube

 – Jimi Jaxon

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Very recently I was a part of Intiman’s Launch Party for this campaign, DJ’ing alongside some other rad performers and speakers at the beautiful Canvas Event Space. As I took it all in, I was moved by their words, energy and plans for this years Theatre Festival. Their 2016 program will highlight Black female playwrights, while also encouraging more racial diversity on their stages. This fundraiser will fuel that program. My initial thoughts were, “I feel inspired, but, I’m not a part of the theater community, so maybe I’m not cut out to help with this.” I was focusing more on perceived differences instead of what brings us all together. As I reflected more, it was obvious that we are on the same team. A team of passionate individuals expressing themselves in a variety of ways, who believe in lifting up others, especially those voices that have been forgotten or overlooked. I know the power of the arts to encourage, empower and challenge accepted norms, at times more easily than mere conversation or debate. I have dedicated Disco Droppings, 7 Deadly Records and everything else that makes up Jimi Jaxon to those qualities. As a gay person of color myself, I feel drawn to their program, as a way to connect more with a part of my heritage in a new way. But, the benefits of the work Intiman is doing, and plan to do are for everyone. Regardless of your background, we can all relate as human beings, each with our own unique lens, more similar than we are different. The more we seek to build community and encourage conversation, the more understanding and harmonious coexisting we can generate. So with that, I’m happy to jump on as a Team Leader for this fundraiser. If you feel inclined to support, I have a page here where you can donate and let Intiman know I sent you there. This campaign runs till February 29, 2016!

*UPDATE* Numbers are in, $131,943 Raised!

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Intiman has been a part of Seattle for 45 years now, producing more than 200 American stories as well as brand new works. In 2012 they became a summer festival. Since then they have produced 12 plays (3 new), trained up-n-coming artists, employed artists and staff each year, and connected with over 45,000 audience members. This years festival will be curated by Andrew Russel (Producing Artistic Director) and Valerie Curtis-Newton (Head of Performance at UW School of Drama, and Artistic Director of the Hansberry Project).

Intiman – Facebook Twitter

intiman.org

– Jimi Jaxon

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Sphyramid – Soundcloud Facebook

– Jimi Jaxon