Obama in 8 Seconds

16barak190I have never prayed for a president.
Not even for a second.
It has never occurred to me.
Let Love Rule for Obama has launched an initiative: a commitment to doing a daily 8 second prayer for President Obama.
8 seconds every day for the next 8 years.
I do believe in collective prayer.
Sounds doable.
Sounds necessary.
Especially after hearing his address to the joint Congress last night…

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Obama in Type

I love letterpress.
I love the uneven saturation of the ink on the paper.
I love the thickness of the paper.
I love the visible grain from wood type on the paper .
Then I came upon this Obama poster on Blogorrhea Junior.
The illustration of President Obama is comprised of letters and numbers and characters.
Nothing is completely random about their placement.
The artist, Kishore Nallan, embedded important dates and figures in the design relevant to the Obama presidency.
(“365” for the number of electoral votes he won, “Jan 20” the date of the inauguration and “53%” for the percentage of total votes won).
Even a bit of Obama’s New Hampshire speech make up the neck:
“Yes, we can heal this nation. Yes, we can seize our future. And where we are met with cynicism and doubt and fear, we will respond with three simple words – Yes, we can.”

The poster was created on one of the few platen presses in Chennai, India after 40 hours of laying the type by hand.

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This year also marks the 100th anniversary of the Vandercook Press.
I’m sure one or two of these presses are lurking around here in the Bronx…

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Songs In the Key of The New President’s Life

Odetta performing at the March on Washington.  She had hoped to perform at the Obama Inauguration.  She died last December.
Odetta performing at the March on Washington in 1963. She had hoped to perform at the Obama Inauguration, but she died last December.

Here are 44 songs for the day that Barack Hussein Obama becomes the 44th President of the United States.

Songs to be stuck in traffic on the way to DC by…
Songs to sing to on the bus, the train or the subway…
Songs to deflect hypothermia while shivering in the cold on the Washington Mall…

Songs to dance to at your own Neighborhood Inaugural Ball…
Songs to jam to in your living room on January 20th…

Songs marked with an asterisk * are apparently from Obama’s own iPod or from his sound engineer played during his campaign rallies, or songs that Obama has claimed are his favorites. I have no way, of course, to know if this is entirely true as this info has been gleaned from the interweb.

Many of the songs have a video of some sort that can be viewed on youtube. (I couldn’t find Odetta singing “We Shall Overcome”… if anyone does, please kindly send the link…)

And let me know what songs you would include!

Bronx Bohemian’s Playlist for the Obama Inauguration 2009:

Sam Cooke
“A Change is Gonna Come”

Odetta
“This Little Light of Mine”
“We Shall Overcome”
“Freedom Trilogy” is how Odetta referred to the three songs she sang at the March on Washington in 1963:
“Oh Freedom,”
“Come and Go With Me to That Land,” and
“I’m on My Way”

Donny Hathaway
“Someday We’ll All Be Free”
This song is so gorgeous, so moving and one I had not heard in a very long time.
Great choice discovered on the Obama Playlist of The F$%K It List
.
(Aretha Franklin also sings a version of this song)

Aretha Franklin
“R-E-S-P-E-C-T”
“Rock Steady”

Sly & The Family Stone
“A Family Affair”
“Everyday People” *

Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” *

Bob Marley
“Exodus”
“One Love”

Bob Dylan
“Blowin In the Wind'” *

India.Aire
“There’s Hope” *

Earth, Wind & Fire
“Shining Star” *
“Celebrate”
“Keep Your Head To The Sky”

McFadden and Whitehead
“Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now” *

The Isley Brothers
“Shout” *
“Climbin’ Up The Ladder”

James Brown
“I Got You (I Feel Good)”

Third World
“Now That We’ve Found Love”

Counting Crows
“Colorblind”

Emily King
“Colorblind”

Marvin Gaye
“What’s Going On”

Curtis Mayfield
“Move On Up” *

Kanye West
“Touch the Sky”

Edwin Starr
“War”

The Doobie Brothers
“Long Train Running” *
“Takin’ It To The Streets” *

Stevie Wonder
“Signed, Sealed, Delivered” *
“As”

Simon & Garfunkel
“Mrs. Robinson”

Staples Singers
“I’ll Take You There” *

Ben E. King
“Stand By Me”

Rolling Stones
“Gimme Shelter” *

Chic
“Good Times”

Sam and Dave
“Hold On I’m Coming” *

Jill Scott
“Brotha”
“Golden”

Bill Withers
“Lovely Day”

The Pointer Sisters
“Yes We Can Can”

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After reading my previous post about the Obama Inauguration, a dear reader sent me two links showing the front pages of newspapers across the US and around the world after Obama’s November win.  Looking at them gave me chills all over again. I can’t wait to see the covers the day after the Inauguration.

Ticket or No Ticket We’ll Be There to Congratulate President Elect Obama!!

Today's New York Times headline.
The New York Times front page the Wednesday after Election Day.

On January 20th, 2009 we’re going to Washington to witness President-elect Barack Hussein Obama become the 44th President of the United States!

I’d been walking around saying Oh I wish we could be there.
And then The Big Guy said Well let’s look into it.
So far, the only tickets we’re holding are our Amtrak tickets. (which were not cheap)

We have kindly requested our Members of Congress and U.S. Senators to toss our names into the hat for the free tickets to the Inaugural Swearing In and have been assured that our “requests have been well received.”

The way I see it is, really, who needs tickets?

I just want to be a part of the moment, standing under the same patch of sky as the Obamas, shoulder to shoulder with people eager to wish them well. I don’t want to watch this event on my TV from my living room. We’re taking binoculars and if I only see the Obamas from far, far afield, that is still OK with me.

I watched the Election Night festivities taking place in my hometown with envy. Looking at all those shining faces in Grant Park against the glittering Chicago skyline I’ve known all my life, (I even recognized a high school and a college chum in the crowd) I suddenly longed to be there with them. And when Obama took the stage and delivered his momentous speech, chunks of which I am still replaying in my mind, my longing swelled.

img_17871
Step In Lounge on Metropolitan Avenue in Parkchester, the Bronx and one of the few local businesses with an Obama sign in the window.

Back here, our Bronx nabe in the Parkchester environs was eerily quiet. I was stunned.
After Obama’s midnight speech we decided to go out to make a toast . As we walked the three blocks to the Step In Lounge, I whispered to The Big Guy “Where is everybody?”
I whispered because I felt I might wake up the neighborhood if I spoke any louder. No one was outside. It was the complete opposite to what we’d just seen on the news showing people dancing in the streets of the other boroughs. At the Step In, I even overheard someone seated next to us say, “Why is the Bronx so quiet?”.

I wondered were my neighbors quiet because Obama had won?
Or were they quiet because McCain had lost?
Was it apathy?
Did they think it a bit premature to get so excited about “Change you can believe in” but change they may never see?
Or were they just keeping their feelings close?

My neighborhood’s reaction, or rather lack of, on election night confounded me and made me downright angry. I was not sure on what side of the fence my neighborhood would put itself.

Leading up to November 4th, I never felt the sense of urgency and importance of this presidential election played out here. The Parkchester area never showed any obvious allegiance to either Obama or McCain — no signs , no posters in the windows of the businesses nor in the apartments and houses. Not too many people wearing buttons for either candidate. No one pressing pamphlets into my palm. A few times a lone woman had a table with Obama info at the Parkchester 6 train station. But she was not a regular sighting.

I’m trying not to be too hasty in my conclusion about my neighborhood folk. Since election day, I have noticed a few more Obama button wearers on Metropolitan Avenue. A lesson is to be learned here I am sure. This election has been extraordinary in so many ways that we can not possibly know or understand the meaning of what has happened to all of us. It may take many more days, maybe years longer than I’m allowing to figure out what that meaning is.