Be More…

I spend more time on social media than on this blog. I could be more consistent here as I am there. So here are a few of my thoughts and notices re recent events from Freddie Gray’s death, to the marches, and the riots in West Baltimore as shared on social media. [Edits as needed]

April 29, 2015
The mixed blessing in Baltimore is no shots were fired.

People set up community activities yesterday. Schools were closed. The libraries were open. Performers took to the streets. Community organizers moved as many people possible at 9 PM to meet the curfew. There was a little scuttle and tear gas at 10:30, but not what we saw Monday.

All that to say Baltimore has always had a certain “can do” spirit. It’s just been beaten out of them due to extreme poverty, neglect, and systematic racism. Add drugs. “The Wire” was the warning shot sent by the series’s creators to show the impact of all this on urban communities. Unfortunately it wasn’t received in a way that made leadership pro-active. “The Wire” became just another entertaining gritty HBO series. Some people will argue that it hurt the city — as you can see it is always referenced when you say “Baltimore”.

But I believe the true B’more spirit will prevail. And they need help.

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April 28, 2015

Quote of the Day: “If our society really wanted to solve the problem, we could, but it requires everybody saying this is important … and that we don’t just pay attention to these communities when a CVS burns. And we don’t just pay attention when a young man gets shot or has his spine snapped.” President Barack Obama

…which I believe connects in some way with what was discussed during this interview with David Simon by the President in March:

This one went viral:
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Certainly We Can Be More Better than we’ve been!

All that “Jass” in DC’s U Street/Shaw Neighborhoods (April 19)

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Ellington, Shaw & U: The House that “Jass” Built

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“Irresistable Jass” is how E.K. Ellington aka “Duke” Ellington promoted his small band of DC musicians in the Washington phone directory — available for school dances, embassy parties, country clubs, cabarets and house parties.

Ellington, Shaw & U takes you on an historical journey of the city blocks — the people, places and communities — “jass” built from Ragtime and the Blues to Swing, Bebop and Latin Jazz.

By the end of the tour, you’ll have more music to add to your playlists, and places to revisit again.

Eventbrite - Ellington, Shaw & U: "Jass" Walking Tour

BensNextDoor11 AM Meet Up at Ben’s Next Door for Brunch and an Introduction (1211 U Street, NW, next door to Ben’s Chili Bowl). Closest Metro: U Street Staion, Green and Yellow line.  Take 13th Street exit). Be sure to select your brunch preference from the walking tour selections with your ticket order.

12:15 (approx.) Walking Tour – U Street, 14th Street and Shaw; a visit with the Duke Ellington School of the Arts at the Garnet-Patterson Middle SchoolEllingtonSchool_loog

2 PM  (approx.) Beer tasting at Right Proper Brewing Company  at 624 T Street at (site of Frank Holliday’s Pool Room aka the “school of jazz”). Right Proper makes beers named for jazz giants on the premises. Right Proper is close to the Shaw/Howard U Metro station, Green and Yellow Lines.

 

Recommended gear:   bottled water, comfortable walking shoes, hat, sunglasses.  

Tour will take place “Come Rain or Come Shine”.  Also please see “The Fine Print” below.

Ticket price includes a $10 donation to the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. Founded in 1974, the school is dedicated to guiding 9th to 12th grade students through a full academic course of study and an arts major: Dance, Literary Media and Communications, Museum Studies, Instrumental or Vocal Music, Theatre, Technical Design and Production, or Visual Arts.

THE FINE PRINT

CANCELLATION POLICY: All sales are final. Tour will be rescheduled in the event of extreme circumstances and emergencies, i.e. weather. All registered attendees will be contacted with information about the new date. Information will also be available online.

Ticket price includes a pre-select menu of food and tastings at Ben’s Next Door and Right Proper Brewing Company. Additional food and beverages must be purchased by ticket holders separately. Be sure to bring proper identification for beer, wine etc. purchases.

Your Tour Guide:  

MichonBorn in Washington, DC, writer/producer Michon Boston is a licensed tour guide specializing in experiences focusing on DC’s arts and cultural landscape. Michon is an alumna of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts majoring in instrumental music. Michon’s also a graduate of Oberlin College where she received a Bachelors degree in English. While attending Oberlin she took courses for credit at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music including private violin instruction and jazz performance. The jazz program was under the direction of the late Wendell Logan. Her student research of Black Women at Oberlin College received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Today, Michon adds published and produced playwright to her bio. She’s founder of  Michon Boston Group working with filmmakers, festivals, cultural organizations, and campaigns to make an impact using creative cultural strategies. 

A Light Goes Out on the Hilltop

Ethelbert Miller is a globally recognized and published poet, board chair of the Institute for Policy Studies and, until today (I suppose), was Director of the African American Resource Center at Howard University. Ethelbert and I often swapped blog content and posts. He was one of the inspirations and mentors for this blog.

I’ll never understand why they call today “Good Friday.” My God, My God!

Media That Matters

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This week the Center for Media and Social Impact kicks off its Media That Matters (Feb 19-20) conference at American University. This year’s focus is on impact, especially the impact of documentaries from award-winning PBS series like P.O.V. and Independent Lens. The Washington, DC forum below and several others in major cities are part of a “PBS National Listening Tour.”

The impetus for the “Listening Tour” with PBS executives was a decision near the end of 2014 by New York PBS station WNET Channel 13 (also a national producer of PBS series Great Performances, American Masters) to movie independent documentary series P.O.V. and “Independent Lens” from prime-time on their primary channel to their WLIW Long Island digital channel on Mondays at 10 PM with a rebroadcast on the primary channel at 11 PM on Sundays. How does it feel to be forced out of Manhattan and moved to Long Island? Independent filmmakers were (you guessed it) outraged.

Fortunately WNET put the breaks on the decision until May and agreed to hear filmmakers and the public’s stories about the impact of documentary films in their lives and in community — many of these docs have been featured on this blog.

If you’re in Washington, DC this week – or stuck here for the weather – feel free to check into the Media That Matters event below on February 19. If you’re in New York February 23, WNET, PBS and series executives will be holding a similar forum from 2 – 5 PM at the SVA Theatre in Manhattan.

Has a community screening of “Independent Lens” or “POV” film changed the way you look at the world?

Has a particular film captured your voice and your struggles?

If so, we need your help!

Please attend the D.C Media That Matters event on Thursday, February 19 (details below)

This is a FREE Event – RSVP Eventbrite

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Public TV and Independent, Point of View Documentary

Thursday, February 19
6:30 – 8:00pm
Malsi Doyle & Michael Forman Theater
2nd Floor, McKinley Building
American University Campus

Does public TV need independent and underrepresented voices? Do independent and underrepresented voices need public TV? When WNET contemplated moving Independent Lens and POV off the prime-time schedule in December, it triggered a nation-wide protest. WNET and PBS restored the series to the schedule until May, and promised to hold a listening tour. At this public hearing, viewers, organization heads, and filmmakers talk with public TV executives. Join them!

DISCUSSANTS

Moderator: Melissa Houghton, WIFV*
Tamara Gould, ITVS
Eliza Licht, POV
Ivana Jackson, WHUT*
Marie Nelson, PBS
Bernardo Ruiz, Quiet Pictures (“Los Graduados/The Graduates”)
Rick Schneider, WETA
Stephen Segaller, WNET
Andy Shallal, Busboys and Poets*
Joseph Tovares, CPB
Larry Unger, MPT

Read Variety article for more information and background for these public forms in several cities.

If you’re willing to make a short personal testimonial in front of the panel, contact indiecaucus[at]gmail[dot]com.

See highlights from the forum in San Francisco:

“Black Life/White Light” exhibition (February Call for Submissions)

Performance artist SHELDON SCOTT writes…

BLACK LIFE/WHITE LIGHT
April 1st -30th, 2015
Opening Reception- Friday, April 3rd 7pm-12 midnight
ReCreative Spaces
1613 Rhode Island Ave NE
Washington, DC

“Black Life/White Light” is an exhibition featuring White artists responding to the Black Lives Matter Movement. This all-media, national show will survey the ways White artists have engaged and supported the fight to preserve and protect Black Lives. Artists are asked to submit previously un-exhibited work created after 2012. Works selected by Curator Sheldon Scott and Assistant Curator Deirdre Darden will be exhibited at ReCreative Spaces Gallery in Northeast Washington, DC.

Submissions for review will be accepted from February 1st till February 22nd, 2015. Please email samples (blwlcall[at]gmail[dot]com) of works (5 Max), a brief bio, and statement and or image of the piece you would like to submit for placement in the show.

ReCreative Spaces, in partnership with The Menkiti Group, is creating a place for communities to gather and share their passion for art of all kinds. Currently located at 1613 Rhode Island Ave NE, we offer monthly gallery shows, weekly classes, performances, and private rehearsal and event rentals.

For more information and a full calendar of events please visit: recreativespaces.com

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