It’s Back To School Week in NYC!

Written by Adam Heimlich on . Posted in Arts & Film, Posts.

I hope you’re taking
notes. Here, I’ll write it in bold for you:
. But
don’t expect to be spoon-fed like this after graduation. It’s not
like there’s, say, a glossy magazine that tells people who lack critical
faculties where to go and what to do. (Think they’ll do a feature this
week on the 10-day
San Gennaro
? 9/9-19
on Mulberry St.)

The Heimytown faculty spent
its summer on a research sabbatical, excavating notices about edifying events.
What we discovered will shock you: Starting this Friday, there will be, at the
Goethe Institut,
a display of pencils from the private collection of Count Anton Wolfgang von
Faber-Castell. "
World’s Most Beautiful Pencils
(in celebration of Faber-Castell’s 150th year of business in the U.S.,
9/10-18, 1014 5th Ave. at 82nd St., 439-8700) includes the oldest known pencil
in existence and pencils used by Ulysses S. Grant and Otto von Bismarck, respectively
(the pencils used by both of them weren’t all that beautiful, I guess).
Count Anton Wolfgang von Faber-Castell will not, unfortunately, be on hand to
receive thanks from America’s students. Just remember, children, that he
who owns these pencils is not only (maybe) the man who made SATs possible–he
was also (perhaps) the inspiration for Sesame Street’s beloved Count.
Talk about your Masters in Education.

Another great teacher who
reminds me of a Muppet is Flavor Flav of Public Enemy. Flav laughed like the
Count during "Welcome to the Terrordome," but it’s the less terrifying
"Fight the Power" that represents P.E. on the
compilation of political hiphop

selected by Flav’s partner, Chuck D, for Rhino. Louder Than a Bomb
hits stores this week, and it’s a text you can dance to, with classic cuts
like Stetsasonic’s "A.F.R.I.C.A.," B.D.P.’s "You Must
Learn" and Paris’ "Bush Killa"–which might prove relevant
again very soon–riding shotgun with Dr. Dre’s "The Day The Niggaz
Took Over," Common’s "I Used to Love H.E.R." and Jeru the
Damaja’s "You Can’t Stop the Prophet" (Pete Rock Remix).
The latter features a Count-like laugh by Jeru’s nemesis, Mr. Ignorance,
that chills the spine. Jeru’s Black Prophet character was, of course, endowed
with "super-scientifical powers" when "struck by knowledge of
self." God I love that song.

And it’s true about
knowledge of self giving you power. Let me take a second to tell my own people
that for those who don’t know squat about our culture and heritage, the
American Jewish Heritage Organization’s annual High Holyday services for
beginners will be held on
Yom Kippur
at the
Loews Tower Theater.
(Sat. 9/11, 10 a.m.,
3rd Ave. at 72nd St., 439-8754; Yom Kippur service 9/20 at 10 a.m., same location.)
No tickets or reservations necessary, and you might run into someone you recognize
from Mount Sinai, where all Jewish souls gathered back when God gave the Torah
to Moses. Or maybe that’s just the guy who works at your drycleaners–I
dunno, you tell me.

Saturday is also the National
Day of Art to Stop the Execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal
holiday almost as old as Rosh Hashana but not quite. Let’s just say that
if poetry readings freed prisoners, Mumia would be as unleashed as
by now. (Lenny, incidentally, will perform his Nissan
sport utility vehicle commercial and other songs Weds., 9/8, at
Square Garden
32nd St. at 7th Ave., 465-MSG1, $35-65.) I don’t want to sound like I’ve
been hanging out with Mr. Ignorance, and I’m against the execution of Mumia
because I’m opposed to the death penalty, but I can say with certainty
that free-Mumia activists as a whole don’t cut it as educators. None of
the many I’ve heard from over the past few years even tried to convince
me he didn’t kill that cop. I’m supposed to join in telling the world
he didn’t do it just because he writes books and wears dredlocks. I don’t
think that’s what Chuck D meant when he said "follow for now."

Chuck included my all-time
favorite underground rap act on Louder Than a Bomb, and they’re
also down for the Mumia cause–knowing, I hope, a hell of a lot more about
it than I do. I’m talking about
Righteous Teachers
, the reggae-hybridizing Five Percenters
from Trenton who made some of the hottest, least compromising hiphop of the
pre-Wu-Tang era but never got much credit for it. They’ll perform Friday
night at a show for Mumia at
opening for Dead Prez, who are renowned for their live act, and Heltah Skeltah,
along with one of the scrappiest underground rappers of the moment, J-Live.
(Fri., 9/10, 161 Hudson St. at Laight St., 386-3600, $15.) Not what my rabbi
wants me to be doing on Erev Rosh Hashana, but at least it’s a benefit.

This is the week that Lincoln
gets under
way with its new season, and while there is an event there I want to highlight
let me first list all the advertisers in Lincoln Center’s Sept./Oct. stagebill:
The Mall at Short Hills. Range Rover, Lancome Lipstick. United Airlines. It’s
a haiku, you see. Now for that event: on Tuesday Nat Hentoff moderates a "Jazz
Talk" between George Avakian and Teo Macero on "
Recorded Legacy of
Duke Ellington
(Tues., 9/14, 7 p.m. at Lincoln Center’s Kaplan Penthouse, Rose Bldg.,
10th fl., 165 W. 65th St., betw. B’way & Amsterdam Ave., 875-5599.)

During the last year, Hentoff’s
Voice column offered the most compelling arguments yet raised against
school choice. The reporter actually documented the existence of several excellent
New York City public schools that would likely lose funding under the proposed
voucher plan. It’s hard to argue with what works.

That’s exactly what a group
called the American Menopause Foundation is trying. Declaring September "Menopause
Awareness Month" (for those keeping score at home, a Heimytown pause for
review: July was Hot Dog Month, and August was Anal Sex Month), this cabal of
doctors sent out press releases apparently designed to coerce magazines into
scaring menopausal women away from self-medicating with herbs. They offer an
easy-to-read table titled "herbal medication toxicity," with column
heads, "Common Name," "Botanical Name," "Purported
Use" and "Toxicity." So reading across for, to take an example,
"Passion Flower," it goes, "Passiflora caerulea," "Sedative"
and then "Seizures, hypotension, Hallucinogen." Such bullshit! Pharmaceutical
companies get not only doctors, but reporters, too, to slander their relatively
safe, cheap and effective competition! For me, this–the medical/pharmaceutical
monopoly–is our time’s big issue, linking education with the health
care crisis, racism (the drug war stems from it), the death penalty (why would
a state so bad at deciding what substances are okay for citizens’ consumption
be any better at determining who should die?), school violence (the pharmaceutical
co.’s don’t want you to know about Harris and Kleibold’s prescriptions–while
it’s obvious from their musical taste that those two needed a bonghit)
and neocolonialism.

You won’t see me bringing
this shit up at the annual symposium of the
Menopause Foundation
(9/13, 5:45 p.m. at Hotel Intercontinental
Astor Ballroom, 111 E. 48th St., betw. Park & Lexington Aves., 714-2398,
$50 incl. buffet dinner), because I’ll still be hungover from trying to
save Mumia. But here are two facts. When the American Medical Association achieved,
through an act of Congress, their monopoly on the right to practice medicine
in the U.S., they were bloodletters. Write this down: bloodletters. Secondly,
there are time-tested herbal treatments for the discomfort associated with menopause
(and a lot of other ailments) that are at least as potentially beneficial as,
yet far less likely to do harm than, the pill products pharmaceutical companies
so effectively hardsell. Read books by Dr. Andrew Weil to learn more.

Now that I sound like a
card-carrying member of the hemp movement (there’re actually very few of
those, because they tend to smoke their cards), I might as well promote
Alternatives Century Bike Tour
, which
is on Sunday. Chose from 35-, 50-, 75- or 100-mile routes, all featuring rest
stops at zoos and parks, with refreshments donated by Ben & Jerry’s,
Krispy Kreme, Gatorade (now there’s a nutritious meal) and others. At the
end you get a free massage, courtesy of FingerWorks, and an organic cotton t-shirt,
courtesy of Patagonia. It’s $40 to participate ($45, day of tour)–call
629-8080 or check to sign up.

I agree with Transportation
Alternatives that cars are the public school administrators, the American Medical
Association, of our city streets. There’s an institution of utter nonsense
illegitimately ruling the public indoors in New York as well–it’s
called the cabaret licensing law. I’m happy to report that one former "no-dancing"
bar recently made its way through the labyrinthine trials of this absurd statute.
will mark the occasion in the most appropriate way, "hold[ing] a party/gathering
so joyful and full of dance that unreasonable ordinances and archaic laws will
be reduced to a bitter memory." It’s a 48-hour marathon, starting
with the
party (deep house) on Friday, getting more into techno all day Saturday with
Matt E. Silver and Khan, Dirty and Rebecca Swift of Temple Records, then "
(jungle) on Saturday
night, with DJ Wally, Cassien, Seoul and others, then the "
n’ Easy
crew (featuring Kienyo & Tomo) riding out Sunday with triphop and abstract
beats. (9/10-12, 418 W. 14th St., betw. 9th Ave. & Washington St., 206-1590
or, $10.) On that note, be aware of Friday night’s set by
DJs Tayla and D.R.S., of the UK’s Goodlooking records, offering a rare
Stateside dose of the "rolling" (i.e., jazzier) jungle style they
do over there. That’s at the "
the Clouds
party at Speeed,
and it’s a benefit for AIDS awareness charities. (9/10, 20 W. 39th St.,
betw. 5th & 6th Aves., 252-4480, $12.)