The Root: How did your collaboration with Jay-Z begin?
Dream Hampton: Jay and I met over the phone. I'd reviewed his debut album, Reasonable Doubt,for the Village Voice and situated the record in what I considered ourgenerational zeitgeist: the billion-dollar crack industry. It was mycontention that back then in the '90s in New York, when everyone wasself-defining around hip-hop, selling crack had been as, or more,definitive: It included intergenerational schism, hyper-capitalism andcartoonish misogyny.
Boys were able to act out a fantasy of being a provider -- first byhelping their single moms with utility bills, later by takinggirlfriends on trips to the mall. I was interested in patriarchalpower, and the setback in intergender dynamics this crack-cash created.
I'd invoked all of that in a Voice review, and Jay, who thought I was a dude, asked to speak to me. He thanked me for the review and toldme he felt understood. I said, "Yeah, I'm from the east side of Detroitin the '80s; if there's one thing I understand, it's drug dealers."
"In ten years, 50 percent of the world will live in cities. The home is something that becomes an emotional incubator and resuscitator. It is not about tricks but about the way in which you reorient a person’s perceptions by focusing on water or on a tree or on a texture of a wall, making the home a meditative space."
Love, crave, dream of this house by the inspiring architect David Adjaye.
More from interview with him here, at New York Magazine.
“Unlike the ideas that we believe, myths are ideas that possess and govern us by means that are not logical, but psychological, and so rooted in the depths of our soul, where even the light of reason struggles toreach.
This is because myths are simple ideas that we have idolised because they are comfortable, they don’t create problems, they facilitate our judgement; in a word, they reassure us, removing any doubts concerning ourworld view, which unstressed by a succession of questions, calms our blessed consciences.
Free of all risk of interrogation, they confuse the sincerity of acceptance with the depth of sleep”.
Beinecke Library of Rare Books and Manuscripts at Yale, via Lily Diamond.
I spent many, many hours here. Watching the light shine through the marble walls, and staring at the Isamu Noguchi garden from the downstairs windows.
Just taught in Holland at the University of Utrecht. Scheduled to speak in Sweden next week.
So happy to see Yoko's Peace Tower in Iceland. Can't wait for Summer 2011 workshop there! Watch the unveiling and send a wish.
IMAGINE PEACE TOWER is an outdoor work of art conceived by Yoko Ono in
memory of John Lennon. It is situated on Viðey Island in Reykjavík, Iceland, and is dedicated to John by Yoko at its unveiling on October 9th 2007, John Lennon’s 67th birthday.
And here is a fascinating article about Yoko's life before John.
After we flew across the country we
got in bed, laid our bodies
delicately together, like maps laid
face to face, East to West, my
San Francisco against your New York, your
Fire Island against my Sonoma, my
New Orleans deep in your Texas, your Idaho
bright on my Great Lakes, my Kansas
burning against your Kansas your Kansas
burning against my Kansas, your Eastern
Standard Time pressing into my
Pacific Time, my Mountain Time
beating against your Central Time, your
sun rising swiftly from the right my
sun rising swiftly from the left your
moon rising slowly from the left my
moon rising slowly from the right until
all four bodies of the sky
burn above us, sealing us together,
all our cities twin cities,
all our states united, one
nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
I spent some time today reading Hemingway's gorgeous memoir, A Movable Feast. I breezed through it in college, really appreciating it now.
A particularly lovely paragraph:
You got very hungry when you did not eat enough in Paris because all the bakery shops had such good things in the windows and people ate outside at tables on the sidewalk so that you saw and smelled the food. When you had given up journalism and were writing nothing that anyone in America would buy, explaining at home that you were lunching out with someone, the best place to go was the Luxembourg gardens where you saw and smelled nothing to eat all the way from the Place de l'Observatoire to the rue de Vaugirard. There you could always go into the Luxembourg museum and all the paintings were sharpened and clearer and more beautiful if you were belly-empty, hollow-hungry. I learned to understand Cezanne much better and to see truly how he made landscapes when I was hungry. I used to wonder if he were hungry too when he painted; but I thought possibly it was only that he had forgotten to eat. It was one of those unsound but illuminating thoughts you have when you have been sleepless or hungry. Later I thought Cezanne was probably hungry in a different way.
Nice interview with Tish Pearlman.
Interesting development, reported in Publisher's Lunch today:
Big Publishers Move to Broad Delay of eBook Releases
With delayed publication dates the only real weapon in publishers' arsenals in fighting back against the $9.99 price point for high-profile new releases in ebook form, experimentation is getting ready to turn into policy in the year ahead. The WSJ reports that Simon & Schuster will delay ebook releases for about 35 "leading titles" early next year, and Hachette "has similar plans in the works." Meanwhile, we're aware of at least one other big six publisher contemplating the same kind of policy for the first quarter of next year.
S&S ceo Carolyn Reidy tells the Journal: "The right place for the e-book is after the hardcover but before the paperback. We believe some people will be disappointed. But with new [electronic] readers coming and sales booming, we need to do this now, before the installed base of e-book reading devices gets to a size where doing it would be impossible."
Hachette ceo David Young adds: "We're doing this to preserve our industry. I can't sit back and watch years of building authors sold off at bargain-basement prices. It's about the future of the business."
What Is Seized
In the wedding photos they wear white against the murky dark oftrees. They are thin and elegant. They have placid smiles. The mouth of the father of the bride remains in a short, straight line. I don't know who took these pictures. I suppose they are lies of sorts, revealing by omission, by indirection, by clues such as shoes and clouds. But they tell a truth, the only way lies can. The way only lies can.
Another morning, I heard my parents up early in the bathroom, my dad shaving, getting ready to leave for school.
"Look," he said in a loud whisper. "I really can't say that I'll never leave you and the kids or that I'll never make love to another woman--"
"Why not?" asked my mother. "Why can't you say that?" Even her anger was gentle, ingenuous.
"Because I don't feel that way."
"But ... can't you just say it anyway?"
At this I like to imagine that my parents met each other's gaze in the medicine cabinet mirror, suddenly grinning. But later in the hospital bed, holding my hand and touching each of my nails slowly with her index finger, my mother said to me, "Your father. He was in a dance. And he just couldn't dance." Earlier that year she had written me: "That is what is wrong with cold people. Not that they have ice in their souls - we all have a bit of that - but that they insist their every word and deed mirror that ice. They never learn the beauty or value of gesture. The emotional necessity. For them, it is all honesty before kindness, truth before art. Love is art, not truth. It's like painting scenery."
These are the things one takes from mothers. Once they die, of course, you get the strand of pearls, the blue quilt, some of the original wedding gifts - a tray shellacked with the invitation, an old rusted toaster - but the touches and the words and the moaning the night she dies, these are what you seize, save, carry around in little invisible envelopes, opening them up quickly, like a carnival huckster, giving the world a peek. They will not stay quiet. No matter how you try. No matter how you lick them. The envelopes will not stay glued.
Excerpted from Self-Help.