A little over a week ago I filed my first dispatch for WNYC’s new website. It’s a piece about the possibility of a multicultural thong swap. The essay includes the following four sentences:

You don’t need to be so precise with mythic time.

“I’d like them more if the white men were wearing the red thongs and bodypaint, and the black guys had on jeans and polo shirts,” I said.

World music festivals will pay good cash for groups from “remote” places whose presence reinforces the idea that our planet is still filled with the kind of mystery that allows indigenous traditions to continue without interference from cellphones or multinational corporations.

So you take off your sneakers and hoodie, and put on the facepaint.


  1. kudos – culture jamming meets steampunk orr…just…”better” fun? There iss a great line in ‘Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch’ frum neil gaiman and terry pratchett that goes “Offer people a new creed with a costume and their hearts and minds will follow”…maybe apt, and a way to get the fuck over the negative aspects of “thinking too much” about musical exchange, and having fun with a POSITIVE, real (self-) critical, engaging, fun dialogue while were all still here to share in it…

    chop down those dichotomies being the only acceptable answer to “how to start??”

  2. it always fascinated me to see africain groups performing with traditionnal outfits in shows even if they’re not playing traditionnal music. in daily life they wear the same thing as me, but for the show they wear traditionnal outifts, the same as certain of us having a “costume” to perform.

  3. yeah, i guess ive always been fascinated by “costume” in performance sense anyways – like our best “pop” stars (and pop consumes all rockismcockismmachismogenderbendingsignifyingblingblingingalienetc) help us get into the more magic ‘liminal’ space of performed music, so its not surprise when we dress up to perform (daily lifffe?) buttttt…is it inherently more “icky” or troubling 4 us to unpack “race” in the context of performance costume than it is for us to say, ‘dissect the fuck’ out of Lady Gaga’s sexuality/gender (everybody can ask her about her genitalia but we PONTIFICATE on a Prince Zimboo rather than asking the obnoxious questions on what he is playing at, or what were throwing on him?)

    i dunno…i really liked the piece, and i def am excited (?!) to see how the next, emerging generation of truly international/mashup’d “pop stars” (thats not a fame/lame indicator noun eithrrr) display/flaunt/peacock and self-create their musical images once the near exclusivly male-dj-with-a-passport-and-hypster-hype types fade back into PRODUCER roles (yeah i know that may be a rockist way of looking at traditional performer/recorder roles in this post-kanye wurld, but yawn, even kanye is no Prince, if were honest about kanye’s “performance” abilitiez) and the focus in or bloggyworld shifts to the performer/mouth/body in motion?

    can i lovingly request a follow-up piece in 6months??

  4. Sorry folks but I think global club music folks taking shots at ‘world music’ performers in traditional clothes has become too knee jerk predictable. I want to know why you folks are not taking shots at those All Tomorrow’s Parties events that pride themselves on their alleged creative booking but rarely include global tech or world music or r’n’b or reggae or a million other non-rock genres (except for 1 or 2 token acts)

Leave a Reply