Luv Doc Recommends: A Gil Scott-Heron Tribute & Juneteenth Celebration!
Gypsy Lounge, Saturday, June 18, 2011
Gil Scott-Heron, the self-titled "bluesologist" who is considered by many to be the progenitor of rap, was most famous for his spoken word poem "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," a blistering diatribe about war, racism, commercialism, and the media backed up by a conga percussion section. Most of the references in the poem are somewhat dated now, but the sentiments are no less true. The title itself seems a bit ironic, especially in these days when the ubiquity of digital video recording devices and the convenience of YouTube ensure than damn near everything is televised. The interwebs offer everything from sick, revolting snuff videos like "3 Guys 1 Hammer" to disturbing videos of U.S. soldiers killing Iraqi journalists to nasty, nauseating videos like "2 Girls 1 Cup," or that fascinating night-vision video of a hyena eating an elephant's ass. Some things are best done in the dark, right? There is also a mind-numbing array of highly popular, horribly insipid home videos like "Charlie Bit My Finger" (Really world? 330 million views? Really?), "Sittin on tha Toilet" (25 million), and "Leave Britney Alone!" (39 Million) – real cerebral shit that you would never get to see in real life unless maybe you work at a day care, clean restrooms at a bus station, or chaperone a drama club field trip. There are also plenty of big budget videos that get a lot of attention. For instance, Justin Bieber's "Baby" video featuring Ludacris to date has raked in more than half a billion views. Yes … that was half a billion. Are there even that many preteen girls and pedophiles in the English-speaking world? If you're tired of your obnoxious co-worker/friend tagging you in embarrassing, inebriated videos on Facebook, imagine how Justin (Justine?) feels about the paparazzi? Imagine not even being able to cop a roadside squat without hearing the whir of a few dozen autofocus telephoto lenses. Still, despite the exhaustive supply of useless dreck, there is plenty of intriguing, inspiring, and informative video being shown on the Internet – and not just on Infowars.com. Real, actual revolutions are being televised. The uprisings of the Arab Spring have been documented exhaustively – live-streamed in many cases – and to dramatic effect. Nothing like a heart-wrenching video of schoolkids with shrapnel wounds or protesters being massacred to drum up sympathy and support from the Western world. Given the events of the last few months, it could be argued that not only is the revolution televised, television is the revolution itself, but that erroneous title wasn't really the gist of Gil Scott-Heron's message. His assertion was that real revolutions aren't something that can be filmed because real revolutions are revolutions of thought … in how we perceive the world. When Gen. Gordon Granger read the contents of the Emancipation Proclamation from the balcony of the Ashton Villa in Galveston on June 19, 1865 – more than a month after the end of the Civil War and more than two years after the proclamation was to have gone into effect – many slaves in Texas still considered themselves just that: slaves. That revolution of thought was the impetus for Juneteenth celebrations in Texas and around the nation – one of which is happening this Saturday at the Gypsy Lounge when StrangeTribe Productions and Soul of the Boot Entertainment present A Gil Scott-Heron Tribute & Juneteenth Celebration, featuring DJ sets by DJ Sun, el John Selector (Thievery Corporation), and Felix Pacheco. Gil Scott-Heron (who died on May 27 of this year) deserves a tribute, and this certainly won't be the first or last, but it might be worth checking out. Bring your camera. You never know when the revolution is going to happen.