Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Working Women Organizing for Equality in New York City
Jane LaTour
Palgrave Studies in Oral History

Availability: Now In Stock
From Palgrave Macmillan
Pub date: Aug 2008
304 pages
Size 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
$94.95 - Hardcover (1-4039-6758-X)

"Webster sought a remedy ...that resulted in a change in the interview process [for the Plumber's Union]. "My main point," she said, "was to get those discriminatory interviews knocked out."
She reached an agreement...that resulted in a change in the interview process. The simple, streamlined interview that Ward went through was the result of the charges that Webster filed. ...She felt she'd fulfilled her commitment to breaking down barriers. ...[S]he explained...: "I wanted it changed. I felt like the something I could leave with in good conscience. But it was still true that a lot of the guys of color couldn't get into those unions; a lot of the women couldn't get in those unions."

In Webster's home on the Lower East Side, a new generation is growing up and getting a different perspective on gender and work. Her young son Lee gets to see his mom at work, building a new room for him. "My son sees me and he thinks all women do construction work..."

A "Bowery Bossa Nova"

Review of Steve Elson's "Mott and Broome"

This is music for these times. It’s the Bowery and everywhere. You recognize it, a memory, and you try to follow, but it has already gone on to the next moment. All this richness, all these textures and tones and nuance. Emphatic playing. Saxophone insinuates itself into your mind; angry, screaming,  joyful or sorrowful, or just plain beautiful. It resonates, it’s physical. The lyrics join forces with the music: fresh, forceful, tender. You have to listen. Heartache, joy, the details of lives fully lived. There is no hiding out here. The music is pure, full. It’s sexy out loud.

“I Haven’t Got Time to Dream”, romantic and truthful. No irony. Listen to that “Bowery Bossa Nova”- swoon. “Cartoon Love”, “A Day at the Beach”: quirky, happy, sweet, and honest. And the hushed plea of “Mott and Broome”. It’s about us, about trying as hard as you can, as openly, as fully as you can. With no apologies. Everything matters in these songs. They overpower you with what’s possible while keeping your feet planted (though tapping) on the rock solid earth.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The dark side of rezoning.

The Villager 
To The Editor: Volume 78 / Number 20 - October 15 - 21, 2008

Re “As lawsuit looms, no end to talk on rezoning” (news article, Oct. 1):

Adding to the impact on the neighborhood of more high-rise luxury buildings on Chrystie St. are the shadows that are cast on narrow Sara Roosevelt Park, which abuts it. This park serves communities from Canal St. to Houston St. It is the backyard, vacation spot, country home and, in the summer, the “air conditioning” for those who live in nearby tenements. If you create a chasm of 14-story buildings, you choke off the sunlight that plants and trees require to grow. You also choke off the open sky, which people require to live well.

In this economy, we can’t afford to have our parks be window-box amenities for empty luxury apartments and tourist hotels. We will need our parks to become models of sustainability, where we harvest solar power, plant green roofs and oxygen-producing greenery, reclaim rainwater runoff and compost and show our citizenry how to recycle trash.

We are going to have to live within our means and build an economy that isn’t about tourism or disposable wealth.

K Webster
Webster is co-chairperson, M’Finda Kalunga Community Garden