A Conversation With Maxine Waters @ Barnsdall 4/13/17

Maxine Waters knows how to command a room, even with laryngitis.

Taking the stage at the Barnsdall Gallery Theater in Barnsdall Park across from NBC’s Beverly White, Waters took questions from both White and the audience in attendance. A shorter meeting overall, the purpose of it appeared to be the congresswoman’s attempt to get voters engaged with the political process, particularly at a local level.

“I want people to get to know the county and state committees so that you too can be making those decisions,” Waters told the crowd.

With 27 years of political experience under her belt, Waters ranks as one of the most senior members of the current Congress, and has consistently maintained over 70% of the popular vote with each reelection. Since entering Congress at the height of LA’s crack epidemic, she’s witnessed the beginning of the Iraq war (which she shrewdly opposed at the time), the financial crisis of 2008, endured a political scandal threatening her name, and emerged from all a stronger congresswoman than before. Not only does she understand how to do her job, she also ensures it aligns with the needs of her constituents in the 43rd District, who she says are also behind her in calling for Trump’s impeachment.

“My constituents say ‘Go get him,'” said Waters, to the room’s overwhelming delight.

The event was held by the Los Angeles Press Club, a sign that Waters supports the media, something especially important at this time in history. Though much of this meeting consisted on her views of the current administration, it also provided a sense of awareness and inspiration for constituents who, like Waters, want to see our leaders pushed to accountability for their actions, something she’s all too familiar with. She answered questions on how to engage voters on the other side of the political spectrum, her opposition to the current cabinet, and whether or not she would run for the presidency, a question posed by a curious 12-year-old. Though she declined such aspirations, Waters used it to make a different point.

“No, I’m not going to run for president. I’m going to fix it so that you can run for president.”

Little Simz @ The Echo 3/20/17

Sold out. LA I’m so overwhelmed. Thank you so much 💙🇺🇸 | 📷 @Blairbbrown

A post shared by simztheperson (@littlesimz) on

Upon the small, simple stage of the Echo, Simbi Ajikawo, aka Little Simz, killed it, in overalls and a windbreaker no less, offering no restraint whatsoever. At only 23-years-old, Little Simz knows exactly what she’s doing, and everybody fell in right behind it. She enthusiastically orchestrated the crowd’s energy into her own, a maestro of the audience who wore sweat like a badge. “I’ve got two questions for you…” and you can guess what the second one was: “Do you wanna see a dead body?” Shortly after, she dove into the crowd, and everyone went wild. But for every riot Ajikawo started she matched with equally moving moments, including a dedication to her old neighbor with “God Bless Mary.”

She played everything from old standards (“Devour”) to her most recent album (“Shotgun”, “King of Hearts”). As it were, Ajikawo also received a gift from Fender that day, and showed us all her newest toy in its bright pink glory. Watching her riff her way through “Poison Ivy” felt like you were in on the jam session with her, Ajikawo’s face constantly in awe of the spectacle she reduced us (the crowd) to. Even knowing the effect she had on us, Ajikawo still did her damnedest to hype us all up, resetting songs with impunity if she felt our enthusiasm came up short. “Never ever wanna leave/Let me stay lit,” she wailed by the show’s end, echoing all our feelings about this tiny girl’s massive showmanship.

As she says, women can be kings, but Little Simz more than that: she’s a f*cking emperor.

Watching The Grammys Go South

Rough with the smooth seems to be the way we’re taking things now. Fascists run the government but citizens are more politically active than ever. Bees are going extinct, but manatees aren’t. Got your Coachella ticket, realized the owner is a hater. Every victory comes laced with an L, and while some we must swallow others we don’t deserve that luxury. The Grammys are one such mess we’ve failed to clean up, and music does suffer as a result. Continue reading Watching The Grammys Go South

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