D. Scot Miller

Emory Douglas

GOLDIES 2009 LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Bringing the militant chic of the Panther image to the masses
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arts@sfbg.com

As a teenager, Emory Douglas was sentenced to 15 months at the Youth Training School in Ontario. It may have been the best thing for him — and the worst thing "the Man" could have done. In the prison printing shop, he discovered a gift for print and collage he would later use as the minister of culture for the Black Panther Party. From 1967 until the party disbanded in the 1980s, his iconic graphic art marked most issues of the newspaper The Black Panther.

Douglas brought the militant chic of the Panther image to the masses, using the Read more »

Sugar Pie DeSanto

GOLDIES 2009 LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: The "Queen of the West Coast Blues" stays gung-ho
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arts@sfbg.com

It's a sunny afternoon, but the lights are low and moody at Duke's R&B in Oakland. Sugar Pie DeSanto sits at a table with her manager, James C. Moore of Jasman Records. Her 74th birthday is four days in the rear-view mirror. A fresher, harsher anniversary has her deep in thought. "Gotta be gung-ho," she says. "If you aren't, then you're a deadbeat — and I hate a deadbeat."Read more »

Foxy lady

Victor Pelevin serves up a sexual odyssey starring russian super werewolves
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A Hu-Li appears to be your run-of-the-mill lascivious 15-year-old prostitute in modern Russia. She does all the things professionals who cater to the discerning international pedophile do. What are those things? Well, she posts ads on the Internet that read:

"A FAIRY TALE CUM TRUE: Small breasts for big money. A little ginger kitten is waiting for a call from a well-to-do stranger. Read more »

Anti-doofus agenda

Amiri Baraka keeps it real about America in the Obama era
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arts@sfbg.com

LIT/MUSIC With influences ranging from the Cuban Revolution and Malcolm X to musical orishas such as Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Thelonius Monk, and Sun Ra, Amiri Baraka is renowned as the founder of the Black Arts Movement in Harlem in the 1960s that became, though short-lived, the virtual blueprint for a new American theater aesthetic. Read more »

See monsters

It's a Big Machine, it's a mean machine, it's a big, mean story by Victor LaValle
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a&eletters@sfbg.com

REVIEW Naomi Ophelia Lamar was my cousin, but my big sister. Six years older than me, she ran away from home at 16. Though we stayed in touch, too many years of no contact had changed us both. We tried but could never close the distance. Last year, they found her body in a Dumpster in Birmingham, Ala. She'd been stabbed over 30 times. Her husband had done it. Afterward, he drove to the nearest bridge and threw himself off. She was the grandmother of three. I sat in the bathroom screaming, "We are not garbage!"

Bizarre and horrible things happen. Read more »

De La Soul is alive

Two takes on 3 Feet High and Rising, 20 years later
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CHECK ONE Last night, I played De La Soul's 3 Feet High and Rising (Tommy Boy/Warner Bros., 1989) for the first time in years. I couldn't stop laughing.Read more »

A distant memory

In Attica Locke's Black Water Rising, the surprises extend beyond suspense
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a&eletters@sfbg.com

REVIEW I was cautious when I got the galley for Attica Locke's first novel Black Water Rising (Harper, 448 pages, $25.99). Read more »

Now you see him

A last look at "William Kentridge: Five Themes"
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It takes a lot to get your head around William Kentridge. His nebulous existence in the world of modern art makes him a slippery figure, able to exist between things we can name. Read more »

Uptown Thursday night

AFRO-SURREAL: Camp Lo bring the wordplay, elegance, and Bronx bravado
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AFRO-SURREAL PREVIEW Fuck all that. Camp Lo's Uptown Saturday Night (Profile, 1997) is one of the most slept-on albums in the history of hip-hop. Period. Innovative well beyond its years, Uptown Saturday Night introduces the Camp Lo aesthetic — a combination of exquisite wordplay, foppish elegance, and Bronx-style bravado mixed in with a fearsome frivolity. Read more »

Call it Afro-Surreal

AFRO-SURREAL: Black is the new black -- a 21st century manifesto
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I'm not a surrealist. I just paint what I see. — Frida Kahlo

THE PAST AND THE PRELUDE

In his introduction to the classic novel Invisible Man (1952), ambiguous black and literary icon Ralph Ellison says the process of creation was "far more disjointed than [it] sounds ... Read more »