Tag Archives: harlem

“What Happened to the Brother on the Block? (The NY Horror Vol.1)” – Spoken Word Recording

“What happened to the brother on the block? He turned into a Starbucks!”

Inspired by the Twilight Zone, the comedy of Pryor & Mooney, Theater of the Absurd, & the Folkways Spoken Word Recordings, this darkly-poetic satire about corporate-friendly gentrification in “21st Century Urbana” was recorded in one take in May 2010 and was mixed by Isaiah Singer, who applied spare musical arrangements and sound effects to support the “surreal midnight vulnerability” of Kangalee’s reading. The result is a perfect introduction to Dennis LeRoy Kangalee’s dramatic spoken word and fiction.  It was the first installment in a series detailing the gross bizarre suburbanization of NYC and, of course, led to his theatrical realization of “Gentrified Minds(The NY Horror Vol.2)” which includes an abridged version of this story via his now abandoned persona, the ‘Nomad Junkie’. .

Read an excerpt of the original story here.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Chase Bank Murder

The climax from my 2011 performance of “Gentrified Minds” in which the Nomad Junkie invokes the refrain from my earlier short story, “What Happened to the Brother on the Block?” — my surrealist tale about corporate friendly gentrification..one that has become more and relevant, especially in light of the sinister times we live in, the demise of community, and the psychopathic behavior of JP Morgan Chase & Co. With a nod to Gil Scott Heron, Lou Reed, and the spirit of the NYC protest poets — this was punk theater all the way…

*

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tourists in Harlem…

The Nomad Junkie’s comedic interlude about ignorant, annoying, and ultimately racist tourists assaulting Harlem and “inner-city” enclaves. Written & performed by Dennis Leroy Kangalee, directed by Nina Fleck. This excerpt is from the 2011 premiere of “Gentrified Minds” at the Downtown Urban Theater Festival at the Manhattan Movement & Arts Center.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What Happened to the Brother on the Block? (The NY Horror Vol.1) [story excerpt]

Brother on Block (original)
…And as he stood on the footbridge, overlooking the L.I.E, making his way over the foliage slithering through the cement that still managed to breathe outside of LaGuardia – he turned to face the Shea Stadium he always passed on his way home in his youth, instead he was confronted with a garish gleaming light that spat wasted electricity through the famous Rockefeller octagon – only it was the glaring red of the otherwise impotent graffiti, below, that caught his eye, which innocently asked: Which way to New York?

Leroy had the Church of Scientology on one side and JP Morgan Chase bank on the other.

He knew he was in trouble.

But he figured if he couldn’t find salvation in one, he could always find it in the other. After all, the other, and more ancient, religions had failed him interminably and maybe now it was time to get with the program: money or outer space.

“Fuck it,” he thought, “I’m ready for it. Bring on the aliens.”

He knew it wouldn’t matter, that no extra-terrestrial invasion would change a thing – regardless of whether we were or weren’t demons from another moon-planet or the swapped saliva under Tom Cruise’s armpit. His mother, ironing clothes when he came home from school, holding up and shaking the iron every time L. Ron Hubbard’s commercials came on – the volcanic eruption, the flowing lava on the screen: “What the hell did Dianetics ever do for Black folks!” she’d cry and as soon as the sales pitch vanished and Oprah’s face filled the screen – she would calm back down.

She was frantic for understanding and honesty and generosity. Especially when it concerned money. Other people’s money. This was probably why he felt as foreign from the Capitalists as he did from the Scientologists, but he’d better get with the program – quick – or he’ll be destroyed. Cause if the Aliens from Hollywood don’t save him, then money will. And if that doesn’t work there is always death. Because when you’ve got a bank you can’t join and a church you can’t believe in, then your options don’t seem that great.

“No, couldn’t be,” he said to himself every morning, “this couldn’t be the end…”

He knew it was, or could be, or would be and it scared him. He was desperate to make a connection.

On his first day back the adrenalin pumping only crystallized his prey. He turned on his heel, looked down the block, hoping to find another brother from Back in the Day.

One, named Creepy, was the type of brother you take for granted.

Creepy Fist

He was a record-keeping device with veins. Some kind of anthropological scout in the form of a camera that pumped blood.

He knew everything about Harlem and had seen all the changes. Which is why whenever he saw Leroy – he’d raise his fist:

“So long, so long, since I’d seen a man —

not a son with a gun, but a man with a hand.”

And of course no one ever listened to him. He was not a prophet (he always said things would get better). The looming shadow that lurked over the corner he frequented proved that. The residents of his neighborhood had grown tired of his hallucinations and desired coffee instead.

Or at least that’s what the land developers said.

They had replaced the Brother on the block with a Starbucks and it was just the beginning of a very quick extermination.

Starbucks
*

[An alternate version was originally published in “The Nerve Lantern”; then revised in the performance piece “Gentrified Minds: The NY Horror Vol.2”. This excerpt is from my spoken word text which can be heard here.]

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: