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BrooklynBornThis blog started in my head when I listened in the 90's to friends who feared Brooklyn and newcomers who blogged about BK as if it barely existed before they arrived. Brooklyn as Tabula Rasa. My blog satisfies my need to hear and air feelings of B'klyn from the people whose life experience was born here. Also I hope to provide balance to some of the revisionist historical musings I've seen how Brooklyn and her residents used to be, we're still here. If we can all live as best possible while appreciating the past and neighbors we've inherited that would be great too.

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Isaac Hayes (1942-2008) End of an era?


wow I just heard...

Rest in Peace Issac Hayes.

This is the first time I'm writing in response to anyone's passing on this blog, but for me it's appropriate because much of what I write about relates to the passing of era's. I've been watching the Olympic coverage and more than once the commentators have remarked how much Beijing has changed in the span of one generation and how remarkable so much change so fast is. That comment reminded me generally of what's happening in Brooklyn these days at least in terms of what I knew growing up to what exists in my adulthood. As I watched the Olympic coverage a commercial in heavy rotation features Marvin Gaye providing soul background (for Nike propagandizing) in the form of footage from his singing the Star Spangled Banner (from the LA Forum back in '84).

What's remarkable about that Marvin Gaye performance is that it was one of the last appearances of Marvin Gaye prior to his untimely murder and arguably it's a prime example of African Americans cultural style fusing and invigorating classic Americana.

Marvin's life and music and murder has become the stuff of legend, and as I watched and thought of that I had to realize that many of the American Olympians weren't even alive when Marvin gave that performance. I found it hard to believe that I recall that period of time that some many others at this moment weren't even present for. All of this brought a thought I have considered for some time, that as much as Brooklyn, New York and the World are changing, it's really eras of time that are drifting glacier-like across a sea of time.

Marvin's end has always been viewed as too soon, before his time. But Isaac Hayes (even at a the youthful grown age of 65) seems to me more like a figure who lived a full life. And in my opinion he created and uplifted his time as an artist and ambassador as NBC News put it who "helped to invent a movement in American music".

Here in New York his distinct voice and cool flavor was no further away than a click of the radio, where he was a host for years on 98.7Kiss FM. And for me whether it was summer parties at Prospect Park, or birthday jams in the community room of the apartment building, Isaac Hayes music was another rich swatch the made up the fabric of my 1970's New York City.

I know a lot of people are familiar with Isaac Hayes as the "black dude on South Park" but if you really want to get a sense of the unique Rockstar originator and innovator he was, check this out it's the 1973 documentary "Wattstax" you'll see Isaac Hayes in his prime of creativity, fame and form. The shades, the bald-head, the chains, the swagger; watch Wattstax and you'll get a good look.

Barry White in 2003, James Brown two years ago, Isaac Hayes now. It all forces me to consider the passages of these men from our present as a sign of the shifting of eras.

Spirit be free Isaac Hayes. Check this if you're missing Isaac. Right on.

(added- If you're in the NYC area or maybe the internet provides 98.7 Kiss-FM is running interviews, songs all from the man himself intermittently today, since of course Isaac Hayes was host on 98.7)