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Spells, media and male feminists: new interviews

November 13, 2009


So now that Oakland Local‘s out of the gate and in the race I’ve been getting back into the swing of reporting after spending most of the year on marketing projects.   It’s amazing how a few months can add dust to your dancing shoes, but I figure I’ll be back to fighting weight and ready to clean off a place on the mantle for a Pulitzer by, um, realistically, next Tuesday.

But in the meantime I’ve been grabbing lots of impromptu interviews (which I’ll get around to posting soon) in addition to more structured dealies.   Lots of talk about art, media, journalism, and the general grappling with the WTF world that we do around these parts.   A lot of the interviews were for Oakland Local but of course my alter ego-The Long Winded Inquisitor-made sure to cover enough ground to be able to chop, screw and parse till my little editor’s heart is content.  I like the idea of a longer book project, but then so does everybody else, so we’ll see how that goes.

For right now just check a couple of edited pieces that I have up now. I’ll be posting more regularly and figuring out what to do with the raw (rawr baby) material.


Spells on the Wall– This is an interview with Oakland based curator, critic and artistic spirit Cicely Sweed.  I caught up with her on the eve of her new show, the awesomely spiritual “Mi Tierra, Mi Corrazon” a group show featuring 30 of the area’s most well known urban, street and graffiti artists.

Cicely’s an encyclopedic fireball of arts info and the interview lasted almost two hours.  We talked about everything from the spiritual aspects of art to the ways new media is changing the game to Oakland’s emerging visual art scene. This is only a very small snippet and I’m thinking of revisiting some of these subjects in a later piece.


No Spectator Journalism-JR Valrey’s a bit of an anomaly among mainstream journalists and that’s been a large part of his appeal during the 10 years.  While traditional media has always held to the (in my opinion BS) idea of objectivity in reporting and middle of the road skepticism, JR has turned all that on it’s head by being an unabashed, outspoken mouthpiece for people of color and other underrepresented communities.

Doing double duty as a journalist and also as the Minister of Information for the People of Conscious Committee (POCC), Valrey makes no apologies about his allegences noting that he’s a “Freedom fighter 1st, reporter 2nd.”  And while his no holds barred reporting hasn’t won him many friends in political circles, he’s built up a loyal following of listeners and media partners around the country almost totally independent of mainstream attention.  And as journalism institutions look around for new models of engagement, they might want to take a few notes from this one man media machine.  This is another one that’s way longer and more detailed than this interview suggests.  Look for more soon.


Men Can Stop Rape-As most people have heard, at the end of October a 16 year old girl was brutally gang raped in Richmond, CA. The tragedy has sent shock waves throughout the Bay Area community and there have been several discussions and actions around the event in the weeks prior. Oakland Local has been reporting on and contextualizing the story as it unfolds.

There seems to be the common misconception that rape is a strictly a women’s issue but I think that’s being just a tad bit simplistic.  Rape is a human issue and I’ve been conducting a virtual round table with prominent male activists in the area to see where they stand on the issue.  I’ve started with 4 simple questions emailed to about 15 activists. I’ll be updating the piece with their responses as they come in.  (Link will be up Friday)

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