"Jean-Michel's paintings contain spiraling active forces, and these forces are a constant. One force is script. Nothing makes him more righteously angry than to get this question, 'Tell me about your graffiti.' What Jean-Michel did was not graffiti. There were statements, there were epigrams, and he wanted you to see them so he wrote it out always in capital letters. That is one current always flowing."
"'One night, it was almost closing time and a dude grabbed the conga then started chanting: ‘Aguacero de mayo [‘May showers’].’ I wrote: ‘Perhaps this has reference to the religions in Cuba.’ Cut thirty years to 1985: I’ve been assigned to interview Toni Morrison, who said, ‘My mama said you should jump out in the first showers in May’—and I froze. Lydia Cabrera, the queen of Afro-Cuban anthropology, wrote: When you prepare the prenda, the Kongo charm, one ingredient may be rain from the first showers in May; it comes direct from God.'"
"Parts of these chapters were written on the tables of Jean Michel Gamme and Jean-Pierre Vuillermet's Union League Cafe in New Haven. I was equally welcome to write at Caffe Adulis, where the three Eritrean brother-owners — Sahle, Fiere, and Gideon Ghebreyesus — even went so far as to twist dials to cast extra light on my table. Similar courtesies were extended by Jeff Horton at Scoozie's Restaurant and John Clark at Zinc. All of these restaurants are in New Haven."
"'Rap has really begun to get around the mainstream culture,' said Robert Farris Thompson, a professor of African and Afro-American art history at Yale University. Hip-hop words from what was once an underclass subculture are now common parlance among America's youth. 'Rappers are persons of words, and those words are getting into the language,' said Professor Thompson."
"A painting of a pheasant hangs above the coat closet. The molded ceiling, large glass windows and red-veined marble exemplify traditional refinement. Even the structure of the Union League Cafe reinforces the aura of tradition that defines the New Haven landmark. Carved above the fireplace is an inscription reading, 'This club house stands on the… Continue reading ‘Tradition’ lives on at Union League, by Rachel Engler