Monday, October 27, 2008

Planet XL Thursdays - Rick Wilhite & Theo Parrish!!

Now you know I'll be down there if I see Rick Wilhite will be playing!

This weekly night started two weeks ago, Theo Parrish and Rick Wilhite are starting it up. I missed the first week, but then headed down there with my good buddy, WhoDat. Planet XL is a new club that is in pretty good shape, although they're still fixing it up a bit. It's at 6452 E Jefferson. There are two levels, a nice dark wood bar, it's a cool place. WhoDat does her Wednesday radio show from there too. Netmusique,...yes! There were about 20 people down there at one time. WhoDat introduced me to almost everyone.

Some other nice parties are coming up at Planet XL. Halloween - WhoDat and Marcellus Pittman!! Then, on November 22 at Planet XL, Rick Wilhite is doing a show with Nu Bang Clan.

AND...Rick's album will be released next year in February!! I am so ready, I'm going to set aside money right now.

I have taken a small break from my lessons with WhoDat because I have been working on grant proposals (Mellen Foundation wants a dissertation chapter too – so that has been quite a challenge). But doing these lessons has heightened my awareness and understanding of what happens in a DJ’s set. It has also helped me “tune in” in different and more intense ways to the various sounds and their sources during a performance. It was so great to watch Rick. Some of these details that I include in my blog posts are for my own documentation purposes, but it's also for people who might not know what I am talking about when I say that the DJ "cues up a record." Some readers of my blog, but also of my dissertation and fieldnotes, might need more info. So here it goes... He puts a record on with the audio coming only into his headphones which he usually has around his neck and then picks up one ear to hold to his ear in order to cue up the record. He spins it to the spot he wants by putting his finger on the label in the center of the record and spinning it. Then he lets it go and adjusts the tempo. He might do this once or a few times to get it set up and then brings it in slowly, or drops it hard and loud into the other track that was already playing. He doesn’t put his fingers on the vinyl much when he is cueing up a track. It was pretty smooth to watch. The way I am learning is to put the record on and put the needle down at the beginning or near the beginning of the track (on a 12 inch or an EP). Since I don't yet know the records very well, I don't have any idea where else I might want to start the needle, so I just start from the beginning and listen. I listen and start counting the beat coming through the head phones while listening to the beat of the other track coming through the monitor and the speakers. Once I find the beat and count, usually in 4s, then I can catch the record (headphones track) on the 1 touching one or two fingers to the vinyl near the outside edge of it. Then I follow the beat of the other track (coming through monitors and speakers) and move the record (from headphones) back and forth in a scratching motion to the rhythm of the track playing through the monitor. Once I am confident that I have them matched or once I think they might be matched, I let the record go. Sometimes they are blended well, but usually they are not and I have to try again. If they go out of sync a bit I can use the lever on lower corner of the turntable to adjust the tempo slower or faster. I can also spin the record that is slowing down using the label in the center to speed it up. It’s good to write about this. I’m almost ready to start processing and analyzing beyond the surface level that I have been dealing with until now.

So, now back to my dissertation chapter on genre in Detroit!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Busy ... busy

Things have been pretty hectic for me lately. I have been working diligently on a grant proposal for my dissertation writing stage. Seeing as how I did not secure funding for the fieldwork period of this project, I am really getting serious about getting a grant!! Having a full time job and being a parent and doing doctoral field research has been pretty crazy, but I have been able to handle it and accomplish what I have wanted to accomplish within the time frame that I set out with initially. Writing a dissertation while working full time and being a parent, however, is not going to work out so well. Writing at night after a long day and an exhausted Mama brain will not work. So getting a grant is really what I need to do so that I can write this sucker and get moving on to the next stage of our lives.

That said, my blog posts will be slowing down at least until mid-November when two of the proposals are due. I'm sure you've noticed the slow down already! So I'll check you later...hopefully sooner.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Amazing and Timely article by Tim Wise

I cannot believe that I have never heard of Tim Wise until this week. I was reading a mothering blog that I love,, and she had a link to Tim Wise's blog,, and this amazing article on white privilege and racism. Not at all about techno or music, but race is a major issue in what I am doing here in Detroit. Enjoy!

This is Your Nation on White Privilege (Updated)

September 13, 2008, 2:01 pm

By Tim Wise

For those who still can’t grasp the concept of white privilege, or who are looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help.

White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because “every family has challenges,” even as black and Latino families with similar “challenges” are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.

White privilege is when you can call yourself a “fuckin’ redneck,” like Bristol Palin’s boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you'll “kick their fuckin' ass,” and talk about how you like to “shoot shit” for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.

White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action.

White privilege is when you can claim that being mayor of a town smaller than most medium-sized colleges, and then Governor of a state with about the same number of people as the lower fifth of the island of Manhattan, makes you ready to potentially be president, and people don’t all piss on themselves with laughter, while being a black U.S. Senator, two-term state Senator, and constitutional law scholar, means you’re “untested.”

White privilege is being able to say that you support the words “under God” in the pledge of allegiance because “if it was good enough for the founding fathers, it’s good enough for me,” and not be immediately disqualified from holding office--since, after all, the pledge was written in the late 1800s and the “under God” part wasn’t added until the 1950s--while if you're black and believe in reading accused criminals and terrorists their rights (because the Constitution, which you used to teach at a prestigious law school requires it), you're a dangerous and mushy liberal who isn't fit to safeguard American institutions.

White privilege is being able to be a gun enthusiast and not make people immediately scared of you.

White privilege is being able to have a husband who was a member of an extremist political party that wants your state to secede from the Union, and whose motto is “Alaska first,” and no one questions your patriotism or that of your family, while if you're black and your spouse merely fails to come to a 9/11 memorial so she can be home with her kids on the first day of school, people immediately think she’s being disrespectful.

White privilege is being able to make fun of community organizers and the work they do--like, among other things, fight for the right of women to vote, or for civil rights, or the 8-hour workday, or an end to child labor--and people think you’re being pithy and tough, but if you merely question the experience of a small town mayor and 18-month governor with no foreign policy expertise beyond a class she took in college and the fact that she lives near Russia, you’re somehow being mean, or even sexist.

White privilege is being able to convince white women who don’t even agree with you on any substantive issue to vote for you and your running mate anyway, because all of a sudden your presence on the ticket has inspired confidence in these same white women, and made them give your party a “second look.”

White privilege is being able to fire people who didn’t support your political campaigns and not be accused of abusing your power or being a typical politician who engages in favoritism, while being black and merely knowing some folks from the old-line political machines in Chicago means you must be corrupt.

White privilege is when you can take nearly twenty-four hours to get to a hospital after beginning to leak amniotic fluid, and still be viewed as a great mom whose commitment to her children is unquestionable, and whose "next door neighbor" qualities make her ready to be VP, while if you're a black candidate for president and you let your children be interviewed for a few seconds on TV, you're irresponsibly exploiting them.

White privilege is being able to give a 36-minute speech in which you talk about lipstick and make fun of your opponent, while laying out no substantive policy positions on any issue at all, and still manage to be considered a legitimate candidate, while a black person who gives an hour speech the week before, in which he lays out specific policy proposals on several issues, is still criticized for being too vague about what he would do if elected.

White privilege is being able to attend churches over the years whose pastors say that people who voted for John Kerry or merely criticize George W. Bush are going to hell, and that the U.S. is an explicitly Christian nation and the job of Christians is to bring Christian theological principles into government, and who bring in speakers who say the conflict in the Middle East is God’s punishment on Jews for rejecting Jesus, and everyone can still think you’re just a good church-going Christian, but if you’re black and friends with a black pastor who has noted (as have Colin Powell and the U.S. Department of Defense) that terrorist attacks are often the result of U.S. foreign policy and who talks about the history of racism and its effect on black people, you’re an extremist who probably hates America.

White privilege is not knowing what the Bush Doctrine is when asked by a reporter, and then people get angry at the reporter for asking you such a “trick question,” while being black and merely refusing to give one-word answers to the queries of Bill O’Reilly means you’re dodging the question, or trying to seem overly intellectual and nuanced.

White privilege is being able to go to a prestigious prep school, then to Yale and Harvard Business School (George W. Bush), and still be seen as an "average guy," while being black, going to a prestigious prep school, then Occidental College, then Columbia, and then Harvard Law, makes you "uppity" and a snob who probably looks down on regular folks.

White privilege is being able to graduate near the bottom of your college class (McCain), or graduate with a C average from Yale (W.), and that's OK, and you're still cut out to be president, but if you're black and you graduate near the top of your class from Harvard Law, you can't be trusted to make good decisions in office.

White privilege is being able to dump your first wife after she's disfigured in a car crash so you can take up with a multi-millionaire beauty queen (who you then go on to call the c-word in public) and still be thought of as a man of strong family values, while if you're black and married for nearly 20 years to the same woman, your family is viewed as un-American and your gestures of affection for each other are called "terrorist fist bumps."

White privilege is when you can develop a pain-killer addiction, having obtained your drug of choice illegally like Cindy McCain, go on to beat that addiction, and everyone praises you for being so strong, while being a black guy who smoked pot a few times in college and never became an addict means people will wonder if perhaps you still get high, and even ask whether or not you may have sold drugs at some point.

White privilege is being able to sing a song about bombing Iran and still be viewed as a sober and rational statesman, with the maturity to be president, while being black and suggesting that the U.S. should speak with other nations, even when we have disagreements with them, makes you dangerously naive and immature.

White privilege is being able to say that you hate "gooks" and "will always hate them," and yet, you aren't a racist because, ya know, you were a POW, so you're entitled to your hatred, while being black and noting that black anger about racism is understandable, given the history of your country, makes you a dangerous bigot.

White privilege is being able to claim your experience as a POW has anything at all to do with your fitness for president, while being black and experiencing racism and an absent father is apparently among the "lesser adversities" faced by other politicians, as Sarah Palin explained in her convention speech.

And finally, white privilege is the only thing that could possibly allow someone to become president when he has voted with George W. Bush 90 percent of the time, even as unemployment is skyrocketing, people are losing their homes, inflation is rising, and the U.S. is increasingly isolated from world opinion, just because white voters aren’t sure about that whole “change” thing. Ya know, it’s just too vague and ill-defined, unlike, say, four more years of the same, which is very concrete and certain…

White privilege is, in short, the problem.

Some cool shit

Tour of Submerge with Cornelius Harris, The Unknown Writer

Saturday, September 20, 2008

James and I got to go down there together because my mother was visiting and she took care of our kids. It was so nice to be able to do something research related with my husband! We had a really good time together and ended up exploring Detroit way more than I would have thought to do had I been by myself. I probably would have felt a strong need to get back home to the kids and wouldn't have wandered around the city.

Touring Submerge with Cornelius was great. He repeatedly referred to the space as a "living space" because of the constant use it gets by people in Detroit's electronic music community. It's a four story building that used to belong to a labor union. Submerge folks purchased the building around 2000, and renovated it completely. It was falling apart when they bought it, and they turned it into something amazing and beautiful. It is definitely not an empty, quiet space. There is a record store in the basement called Somewhere in Detroit. It is not open regularly, but it is open during the festival weekend on Memorial Day weekend in May. Otherwise, they sell music through Detroit Threads, a record store in Hamtramck. On the walls of the store are signatures and messages from people who have passed through. Cornelius handed me a felt pen and told me that Submerge exists because of the people who pass through here, so that is what the pen was for. It was really neat to sign the wall. Here is what I wrote: "I love Detroit. Thank you for the music. Denise Dalphond, the techno student." I was really excited, and honored, and grateful to be asked to write on those walls. There were lots of interesting things written on the walls. I saw Dan Sicko, author of Techno Rebels, signed the wall. That was cool.

Then we walked up to the second level, and Cornelius pointed out office spaces, Detroit Techno Militia office, and then took us into his office. He showed us the Detroit artists' work on the walls in the central stairway. And a large photo of Jeff Mills hands in the stairway! Submerge is just a solid, living dedication to Detroit people, culture, and history.

After James and I left, we went to get coffee and then to an art store near Wayne State to get some photo supplies for James. Then we went by the sports complex downtown with Comerica Park (Detroit Tigers, baseball) and Ford Field (Detroit Lions, football), and all the other amusement and restaurants in the vicinity. The parking lots are right on edge of the highway so that people coming to see game don't even have to drive in Detroit much at all. They can just drive from highway to parking lot and then back to the highway again. What a convenience for all those suburbanites to come into the city and not have to be bothered by the rest of Detroit. Yes, that is nasty sarcastic.

We did some more driving around the area, then on to Harmonie Park where Spectacles clothing shop is and Lolas – still need to go there. Friday nights are described as being reminiscent of the Music Institute.

Here's a couple of things that I still want to do and can't believe that I haven't gotten around to them yet:

Motown Museum

Record store outing

Museum of African American History

Detroit Historical Museum