This is where thoughts become things.

Hi, I'm Daniela. Welcome to my personal lair on the Internet. This is where I write about storytelling, activism, technology and pop culture. Sometimes I post videos. I update my lair when the mood strikes me. Follow me on Twitter for daily updates (@dcap).

Tag : 2009

Brain Leaks: She Chose This Dark Place

I’ve been working on this short story for a while. I am attempting to encapsulate a moment in my life that led me on a particular path.

One evening, five years ago, I witnessed something that I could never forget.

I go back to this story from time to time, so I’ve decided to share it with anyone who’s dropped by. All comments welcome.

outsider art

One foot in front of the other takes her from day to night, facing the wind, fists shoved in the pockets of her ratty wool coat as she exhales fish guts and moldy fruit.

New York is behind her, across the bridge, a smoky sky thatched with dark windows and diagonal hallways, strangers who pressed against her with eerie familiarity, cold fingers lingering as they graze her sides. The buds nestled near her eardrums pump a menacing drone that makes them scatter, parted the sea of unfamiliar faces when she reached the Williamsburg bridge, a golden stain over the horizon. She walked into the sun and did not look back.

She chose this dark place, soundless against the cacophony of voices and clanging of glasses, forcing her thin body through the crowd to the front of the stage. A circle of light pools in front of her and she almost reaches to touch it, imagining it feels like the skin of a warm peach. She doesn’t. A neglected ball of hunger festers in her belly. The ground is sticky beneath her, littered with the remains of ancient fliers. She reaches down to touch them instead, a crop of still crisp angles prickling her fingertips as she rips off a laminated chunk. She holds it up to the light and sees a watery smudge in the shape of a man. She drops it.

They parade in front of her, one after the other, with booming voices she scarcely remembers as they exit with a flourish of pumped fists, scattering discs that rain into the crowd. She catches a few, slips them in her purse she now regrets bringing, a painful nuisance that digs in her side with each frantic wave crushing her inward, forcing her forward. Why does she carry so much with her? The air becoming thicker with smoke, stinging tears rush to her eyes, the stage swims.

Somewhere, people who never feel alone are dining together, they are laughing and smiling, she sees this very clearly in her mind and feels something rising in her throat. She turns to leave.

Mic check, one two, one two. A clear, female voice echos above her.

Now she’s dripping with sweat as hungry eyes blink and light the darkness of the room like stars, her own glued to the phoenix in the shape of a woman.

a burnt sky scorched the earth flesh
at the same time the murderous text arose like a phoenix with the glow of death

The light is beginning to seep through the crack bricks heralding daybreak, but no one leaves. She’s drenched in her own sweat, baptized in a steady stream of words that don’t make any promises but swear to continue, never stopping, even when the mic is dead and a raspy whisper is all that remains.

She steps out into the sunlight, clutching the phoenix’s gift that for a moment was pressed in both their hands. It’s not even real gold – painted tin in the shape of a door knocker but she clutches her prize on the bus all the way back to her tiny room in a Washington Heights tenement.

On My Radar: Afro-Punk 2009


BAMcinematek and Toyota present

The 5th Annual Afro-punk Festival

featuring Film, Music, Art, Skateboarding and Independence

July 3 – 8 in Brooklyn, NY

Thanks to BFF, I’ve been going to AP shows since 2005. Last year I did a feature on the Afro-Punk festival and community for MTV News. It took six months to pull everything together and was a great learning experience.

Aside from the opportunity to interview inspiring musicians like Tamar-Kali and Janelle Monae, I was able to meet artists of all mediums and make several new friends.

Check out my news brief below and article, then feast your eyes on this year’s lineup.

Afro-Punk Festival 2009
Free and open to the public, Afro-Punk Festival 2009 will spotlight some of the most exciting young artists and bands from the US and abroad, presenting live music and films every night throughout the festival, along with several other key events including:

4th July
Pure Hell
Whole Wheat Bread
American Fangs
Game Rebellion
The Objex
Joya Bravo
& more

5th July
Living Colour
Earl Grey Hound
Tamar Kali
The London Souls
Apollo Heights
& more

6th July
Saul Williams
Janelle Monae
The Dallas Austin Experience
Elevator Fight
Chewing Pic’s
Peekaboo Theory
& more

The festival will once again feature an eclectic film program, co-curated by BAMcinématek with Matthew Morgan and James Spooner. Like last year, there will be a skate park and Afro-Punk Block Party with DIY vendors.

I’m dissapointed that this year’s festival won’t be national, but considering the economy it’s a blessing that this event will be happening again in the first place – and still free to the public!

– press release via Girlie Action

Five Things You Missed At The 5/2 Bat For Lashes Show @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg

On Saturday night, Natasha Khan, creator and enchantress behind Bat For Lashes, played the Music Hall Of Williamsburg and blew the crowd away with her range (she’s one of few artists who sound the same live as they do on their albums) delicate dance moves and journey-through-your-grandma’s-attic set design.

>>More Bat For Lashes Photos In Bashira Webb’s Flickr Set<<

The former pre-school teacher’s last Brooklyn tour date to support Two Suns held a special meaning for me; I’ve been a fan since Fur & Gold and her Donny Darko-inspired video, but had never seen her live before.

What delighted me from the moment Natasha stepped on stage was that she lacked all of the snobby, jaded affectation that I’ve grown accustomed to at BK shows. With her genuine performances and limited but beguiling stage banter, she gave everyone in the crowd permission to smile, to love good music – openly – because it’s cool to care about things too, you know?

There are plenty of reviews up about the BFL tour, but here are some things you missed if you weren’t at Saturday’s show:

1) Lewis & Clark Made Everyone Want To Take A Nap/Buy More Beer

After gracing the stage at 9ishPM, Lewis & Clark explained that they had been asked to “calm the crowd.” They did a fab job … maybe a little too fab. My feet fell asleep, I wished I had a blanket nearby or at least a chair and although I appreciated their masterful and dramatic chamber rock, I was secretly glad when their set was done.

I guess I’m not a low-key kind of girl at live shows – but I would definitely listen to them if I was trying to snooze after a picnic in a park, which holds genuine value for me.

2) Scary Hipster Fart

Perhaps the lukewarm reception to Lewis & Clark wasn’t entirely in their control; Right before the show started, someone epically farted in the first two rows of people crowding the stage … It was not me, but I report this for thoroughness (journalistic integrity). But seriously, who does that? I’ll tell you who – Dirty, dirty hipsters. Like this one.

3) The Most Perfectly Shaped Heiny In All Of Creation

Although the house requested no flash use, people did indeed light up the night to capture Natasha Khan’s amazing zebra inspired bodysuit and her even more impressive fanny. I am in no way attempting to objectify/detract from her musical skills, but just imagine for a moment, all her talent manifesting as a perfect, perky bottom that 1000 years of pilates wrought – that is the back that baby got.

I overheard several butt specific conversations after the show, held by pining boys and admiring/jealous/horny? girls.

She makes my butt look like I’m dragging around two deflated beach balls.

4) Natasha Khan Intermittently Blowing Into A Wooden Box

I wish I had a photo to share. Was I the only one fascinated by this? I don’t know what the box was, but every once in a while she would blow into it and then move it about like an accordion. It made ghostly noises and now I’m kind of obsessed with figuring what it was. If you know, please share the deets.

5) The Four Mary Statues – Sign Of The Apocalypse?

Virgin Mary

In addition to a wolf blanket, a plethora of christmas tree ornaments and a few scary glowing dolls thrown in for good measure, Natasha had four eerie little Virgin Mary dolls propped right at the front of the stage. If I had thought of it before writing this post, I would have asked folks in the crowd what their significance was – why 4? Why not 5, or 3? Perhaps seasoned BFL attendees know the answer, but alas, I do not. I prefer to think of it as a sign that we share similar tastes

Two Suns is available now on Amazon for under $12 bucks. If you purchase it, you will be helping to chip away at an increasingly depressing deluge of bad music that is currently saturating the market.

The economy sucks, but do yourself a solid and purchase Two Suns. Anyone who can turn Daniel from The Karate Kid movie into a haunting song about adolescence and young love deserves major props.