Note: This post has been updated.
Some December treats from Georgia and South Carolina are coming to DC this month.
David Pleasant’s “Drum Folk” at the Anacostia Community Museum”
Since August, Word, Shout, Song:Lorenzo Dow Turner Connecting Communities through Language has been on exhibit at the Anacostia Community Museum. The exhibit has been extended through July 2011.
Sunday, December 12 (2 PM), master percussionist/composer David Pleasant presents “Drum Folk,” a participatory workshop and discussion that highlights the sounds, movements, and histories of coastal and Sea Island Gullah-Geechee culture.
Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum
1901 Fort Place Southeast
Washington D.C., DC 20020-3298
Wendy Perron, editor of Dance Magazine wrote:
“… music man extraordinaire David Pleasant gave us a total rhythm experience… he kept us on the edges of our seats by going from subtle rhythmic changes into a frenzy of total body involvement. His inventiveness and wit were dazzling… He uses the tambourine the way a tap dancer uses his feet: you can’t tell exactly when he’s striking, but you hear incredibly complicated sounds. Using his body, a tambourine, a harmonica, and Roberta Berman’s totem-like sound sculptures he worked himself into a state of being possessed… In between instruments he told us how African American music and dance derived from slaves who were forbidden to use drums… Pleasant makes visible the human spirit that generates both music and dance.”
In 1993 Pleasant created “RiddimAthon! Inc.,” a performance and teaching method developed from a synthesis of African, Caribbean and African-American musical traditions featuring Gullah (Georgia and South Carolina’s Sea Island) culture. His rhythm-effects vocals and drum-voice-body techniques have been featured in numerous theatrical and broadcast programs including: “Reading Rainbow” (PBS), MTV Unplugged; “ABC Nightline/Primetime”; Nickelodeon, Disney Channel and others.
David’s been featured on this blog before. Recently he’s been performing in Rome and they’re diggin’ it. I hope more Americans will get more excited about home grown artistry.
Gullah Themed Food and Folklore at Eatonville Restaurant
Gullah Cuisine’s Charlotte Jenkins is coming up to DC from Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina to join Eatonville Restaurant’s new chef, Garret Fleming (the secret’s out) in the kitchen for a special feast, Sunday, December 19th. Menus is TBD by Mrs. Jenkins. I’ll have some more of her fish head stew. The 4-course meal will include a book signing. Charlotte Jenkins’ Gullah Cuisine: By Land and By Sea is a collection of stories and recipes taken from Frank and Charlotte Jenkins’ lives and traditions in and outside their Gullah family kitchens. The narrative for the book was written by Fleming’s godfather, William Baldwin. There’s always a connection.
Purchase tickets here.
Check out this post featuring Charlotte Jenkins in her restaurant on the Eatonville Restaurant Food Stories blog.
Update: Charlotte Jenkins will sign her book at the Anacostia Community Museum, Saturday, December 18 at 11 AM.
Latoya Peterson, owner and editor of Racialicious, a blog that keeps tabs on the intersection of race and culture joins Clayton LeBouef for the Q&A following the film. The film is FREE and open to the public. Dinner service will be available.
Black presidents have been a television and movie staple for years, hopeful looks forward to the day that was realized in January 2009. But in 1972, a black president was just as unheard of in entertainment as it would have seemed to most of America in reality. — Ian Buckwalter, DCist
Amazingly, the film predicted the future: Things do not go smoothly for the nation’s first fictional black president, either. We hope that President Obama will consider attending a screening or two to take some solace in this fact, at least. — Washington Post Express Night Out
Starting November 26, this blog may experience some interruptions due to necessary site maintenance. If all goes well Eclectique916.com hopes to be back on-line and updated by November 29.
I defer this post to my 2008 Thanksgiving post – still one of my favorites. Here’s the link.
Last year I enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner with my family at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. We almost missed having turkey due to the crowds. In keeping with that spirit, I share this news forwarded to me by my sister Rose from WAVY-TV10 of Norfolk, VA:
Nansemond Indian Tribe to get land
Suffolk gives green light to Mattanock Town
Updated: Thursday, 18 Nov 2010, 12:58 AM EST
Published : Thursday, 18 Nov 2010, 12:49 AM EST
SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – The City of Suffolk made history Wednesday night. Elected leaders agreed for the first time in Virginia’s modern history to give locally owned land to native residents, without a lawsuit.
Nansemond Indian Chief Barry Bass told council members, “Mattanock Town will give Nansemond people land that was once the site of one of our villages, and can once again become our sacred home.”
Chief Bass has worked toward creating Mattanock Town for about a decade. He and several other speakers said it will bring the Nansemond heritage back to the city. Mattanock Town would include hiking trails, picnic areas, Pow Wow grounds, and a museum.
Several speakers urged council to give land at Lone Star Lakes Park to the Nansemond Indian Tribal Association (NITA) for the authentic village.
“Please support Chief Bass and the project he’s planning to do,” Catherine Jones of the Chuckatuck Civic League said.
Members of the Nansemond tribe trace their roots back to the 1638 wedding of Captain John Bass and a woman named Elizabeth, who was the daughter of a Nansemond Chief.
Assistant Indian Chief Earl Bass explained during a public hearing that “before English settlers arrived, the land that is now Suffolk belonged to our ancestors. The Nansemond Indian tribe has not owned any of their original land on the water since 1650.”
The project is expected to draw tourists to Suffolk. Native American education will also be available which would help Virginia students fulfill Standards of Learning requirements.
Jesse Bass, a member of the Nansemond Indian Tribal Council said, “If the Nansemond history and culture are not preserved and taught to others, all of our children will grow up learning what my generation was taught, and that’s nothing.”
Council members voted in favor of the plan 7 to 1.
Mayor Linda Johnson told the crowd she had “never been more proud of a vote.” Later she told WAVY.com, “I think this is going to put Suffolk on the map. It’s what they deserve, it’s the right thing to do, and I’m just really, really happy.”
Leroy Bennett who represents the Nansemond Borough voted against the Development Agreement and land transfer.
After the public hearing, Bennett asked if there were plans to upgrade the roads leading up to the property where Mattanock Town will be located. Bennett said he had concerns about traffic and safety.
City Manager, Selena Cuffee-Glenn explained that there are currently no development plans outside of Lone Star Lakes Park, so restrictions or requirements were not a part of the deed transfer discussion.
There is a list of requirements NITA must comply with for the deed transfer to be complete. On the list are prohibitions of gambling and casinos, as well as an agreement that NITA will fund any improvements to the property.
Lone Star Lakes Park is nearly 1100 acres of undeveloped property, including wetlands, in the Chuckatuck section of Suffolk. Mattanock Town would cover approximately 70 acres, of which NITA contends only 44 acres would be buildable. The rest would be preserved and used for nature and environmental education and scenic overlooks.
An existing cabin at the park the city currently rents to the public will eventually become NITA’s property. However, staffers announced at the council meeting Wednesday that the City will honor all existing reservations through August of 2011.
Any and all posts, rants and raves about the film adaptation of Ntozake Shange’s choral poem, for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf, have gotten just what’s coming to them…attention, retweets, ping backs, Facebook recommends. I remember many moons ago, a young Shange, hot off the success of her “for colored girls” Broadway run, gave the commencement address at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. She was accessorized from head to toe–I mean little girl barrettes and gummy bear colored jelly bean sandals. [That's what they wore in those days.] I often wondered how those jelly bean shoes survived hot NYC asphalt in August without sticking to your feet. Shange strutted up to the microphone and her first words were….
“Let me tell you about life!”
In Genesis, the first words are “Let there be light.” For some reason, the first words of Shange’s graduation speech, sent my mind into a darkness of indifference. I suppose we were both of our ages. Though she was probably light years ahead in life experiences than I, for some reason, I felt there was still many more life lessons ahead of us to learn. For all the success and raves about “for colored girls….” at that time I was asking for the light especially for graduates who were about to embark on the next chapter.
I never saw the play. I read the poem, and on paper, I could say Shange definitely had a gift for language. There was a strong desire to be the light or find the magic in life. That’s probably what drew me to her first novel, “Sassafras, Cypress and Indigo.” First words:
Where there is a woman, there is magic.
Need I say more? This is a book about 3 sisters (something about 3 in stories about sisters) in the South Carolina Lowcountry. They are all artists. Sassafras writes poetry and weaves; Cypress dances; Indigo makes dolls. Sassafras and Cypress move about the map; Indigo stays put with the old ways and the magic. I read it many years ago when I was a cloth doll maker, and like Indigo, I used to play the violin. The book is a combination of poetry, prose, letters, recipes. Not perfect fiction, but perfectly yummy.
Recently, I tripped up on a book of Ntozake Shange’s food writing in the volume If I Can Cook/You Know God Can published by Beacon Press in 1999. The forward was written by culinary anthropologist/writer Vertamae Grosvenor who authored (now out of print), Vibration Cooking: The Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl and Vertamae Cooks In the Americas Family which was a PBS series. I use Vertamae’s recipe for ground nut stew. I’ll never forget when I asked her whether I should get fresh ground peanut butter, she responded “Use Skippy.”
I don’t own a copy of Shange’s If You Can Cook, but again, it looks like a yummy read. I’ll give Shange’s first words to a chapter title: “What’d You People Call That?” followed by a quote from one of Edwidge Danticat’s short stories in Krik Krak. In this volume Shange appears to have woven together recipes, and stories of collard greens, cornbread, Middle Passage, Brazil, and music, producing another Shange feast. Though I’m not one to lift up the virtues of pigs tails or feet, I do respect their cultural and sometimes culinary significance. Will If You Can Cook make you fat or phat?
There’s something intoxicating about being magical or living in a magical reality. For some it’s a life raft or even compass for a complex life of ebb and flow. For others the desire for magical living can be like a house of mirrors, reflecting the beauty and grief of past, present and future simultaneously, with no exit signs.
Sure thing, we can’t get the rainbow without the rain. The magical must come to some peace with the plain and simple. Rainbows also cannot be seen without the light. Even in darkness, be like Harriet Tubman – follow the North star. And that is good.