luminaTO-african issues and the challenges of artistic response

toronto really is the centre of the universe, or, it has at least done a good job of carving that niche in the shadow of new york, which is the centre of the universe that already knows it and doesn’t need to broadcast it all the time. that being said, as our city grows, it’s nice to see that it’s relaxed a bit, and focused on being ill because it’s toronto, and not just new york lite (az, i see you as nas lite). so, while it’s kind of cheesy to have all these festivals suffixed in -TO, it’s done well nonetheless. so i slept through the opening concert honouring canadian divas jully black (as an aside, what’s with her jumping on the janelle monet bandwagon, jacking divine brown’s whole style a couple years back wasn’t enough? as a further aside, it was nice to see divine brown working as a lounge singer in the otherwise forgettable movie about amelia earhart starring hillary swank, the watching of which led me to fall asleep and miss the show that i’m currently describing), sass jordan, and melanie fiona-but i’m fully aware of the greatness of that uniquely canadian lineup shit. random, yet quaint-that’s us in a nutshell. i did manage to make it out to this sunday lecture, after a nice 51416 reunion with my favorite comedian and good times at the gladstone for the metrac event against police brutality and some third floor lovemaking at the gladstone with the photos of bamako in toronto and a certain lovely chaise that was trying to out-curve me. the style contrast between ngugi wa thiong’o (as an aside, a fabulous philly free library podcast of him discussing his autobiography, as introduced by sonia sanchez, was revisited prior to the penning of this post) and binyavanga wainaina made for an ambiance that evened out the previously perplexing experience of the george ignatieff theatre (the asian summit). in fact, i did not put the pieces together until the introductions, and i realized that wainaina must be my friend as we are slated to write together this december in kenya. i’m glad to have made eye contact with both of these amazing writers, and to have hugged it out with one of them (‘cuz i really don’t do that hand-shaking stuff). i feel it apt to leave with quotes from the talk:

first from ngugi wa thiong’o:

“languages have so much to offer each other. they’re like keys to different rooms, and those rooms are full of treasure.”

“nairobi in the 60s was one of the first (universities) to teach canadian literature.”

and a teeny snippet from binyavanga wainaina (whose article “how to write about africa” i first read in baobab magazine years ago):

“not a single tweet has come to my mind yet.”

“i started reading books at a young age and preferred it to real life.”

yes. that is why we’re gonna be on some homie for life shit.

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One thought on “luminaTO-african issues and the challenges of artistic response

  1. shoot! or was it n’dambi? they look so similar. usually i watch the credits, but i was in a rush to eject that one…

    it occurred to me when i saw this video-it’s really a shame when singers who can sang their asses off don’t hook up with songwriters that can truly capture their talents:

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