The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation says there is no solitary confinement in the state’s prisons. Many of the men in Pelican Bay prison’s Security Housing Units have been on twenty-three hour lockdown, alone in their cells, for decades. I wrote to them.
A few days after the execution date was confirmed, I received a message: Swearingen wanted me to watch him die.
Rio is a work in progress. The Maracana is finished and just needs a World Cup win to complete the script. But across town at the Joao Havelange arena, there has been no football for weeks.
Hancock is a musical pioneer of rare courage but to many jazz fans he will always be a sideman in Miles Davis’s second great quintet. He knows it, too. He quotes his mentor six times in an hour.
With hindsight, making a mixtape for Grandmaster Flash was a bad idea. “This is the wack part,” he tells me, a few seconds into Shack Up. “They’d be throwing water at the speakers if we played that part.”
The phone rings. Would I mind if he takes it? His daughter in California is worried about forest fires. “Well how far away is the smoke? I’ll buy you another house if it burns down, honey, OK?”