Saturday, July 29, 2006

Apocalypse No! An Indigenist Perspective

Major food for thought. I highly recommend this article. It's lengthy but worth the time. It would be interesting to discuss this at The Conversation sometime.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

5 more ideas...

Thanks Laurie for the song download, loved it! As far as the performance/Art in action count me in as a collaborator. I have a digital video camera (commercial quality) that we would have access to. Although I did not verbally share with the group last Sunday, know that I am so thankful for all the voices at the table and am honored to be a part of this group. My ideas for where we go from here were: 1. Begin white privilege education with younger children, ie. 3rd grade . 2. Educational workshops on media literacy and media justice issues in the schools and community venues. 3. Strike up a conversation with at least three people you suspect may be blind to the realities of contemporary racism. (ie. don't just preach to the choir) . 4.Invite at least two new guests to the Conversation within the next month. 5. Ask an elder (any race) what their experiences with Racism have been.
Look forward to sharing next Sunday morning with you all.

A Song in the Heart of Good People...

I was listening nostalgically to an old David Rudder (Trinidadian singer/songwritier/Calypsonian) song and thought I'd share the chorus with you as it kind of expresses my feeling about "The Conversation" I'm also including a link to an mp3 recording of the actual song. We'll see if that part works.

Day of the Warlord
David Rudder

Ina these times of the warlord
They say it is the day of the warlord
They want you put your hands in the air
These people want you surrender
Ina this day of the warlord
They say it is the day of the warlord
Understand where you are
They say now he is the new superstar (no no no no no no no no no NO!)
But even in this loud desperation and raging despair
We got to let them know we ain’t takin’ it so
We got to survive, keep our living alive
We got to tell them no, tell them no, no, no, no, no
A song in the heart of good people
Tell them the voice of good people
Tell them good people say so

Get the song here

The Conversation

The Conversation: "Conversation "

I want to follow up to our conversation Sunday in regards to mixing performance and conversation.

I really love the idea of performing arts becoming an aspect of conversation, dialogue and transformation and I may have an avenue for this to happen sooner rather than later as an opening salvo so to speak. I'm hoping that Ros aight be open to this idea in regards to excerpts from one of her works as well. Yes, Ros, I am putting you on the spot, but your talent demands as such--plus --I kinda like it.

Last fall, I organized a 27 hour Marathon for Peace which featured a multitude to spoken word artists, dancers, poets, musicians, speakers and even massage therapists and counselors to examine the impact of the war and implications.

The event was exhausting and exhilirating, and as it concluded it seemed that the spirit the "word" as a foundation for further work should be explored. At that moment, we advanced the idea of creating a performance company under the umbrella of "The 28th Hour" which would invite collaboration between spoken word and al other art forms including dance, music, visual arts, video, and other media/disciplines.

This month, we were able to collaborate with a dance company to complete two works: Beyond and Prior--A Response to 911 and beyond and The Thirteen Hours: A Contemplation of Nuclear Conflict or Transformation. The collaboration happened under the umbrella of Barefoot Studios, a beautiful dance studio owned by a couple from San Francisco who are very open to partnerships and collaborations and want their studio to be a cental point for performing arts. The studio holds 75 on any given evening for performance so it could be an intimate setting for performance and conversation afterward.

These pieces are now ready for a new performance along with a set of others to be determined.

The whole event would be called The 28th Hour--A Performance and Conversation. The performance event would be followed by a faciliated conversation by Dexter and/or whoever the group designates, perhaps with snacks and beverage. The intent would be to delve into the material raised by the performances in a welcoming atmosphere while reinforcing the wonderful of the activist community we are forming. the two night event could also function to promote our ongoing dialogue on Sundays and perhaps bring new members to the table.

All of this would happen aproximately two months after the Race and Pedagogy Conference was done and folks had the chance to recharge their batteries.

Knowing how profound a writer Ros is, I would love to see her work become a part of the evening. These need not be finished works, but could be sneak excerpts. I am deeply interested in her Katrina monologues. The challenge would be to include some other form of media beyond the spoken word. This could be slides, video excerpts, even movement--all to be decided. But I guarantee that between Ros' work, my own with BQ dance and others, we would have an evening of rich material to draw from. I'm thinking that performances would be held on a Friday and Saturday evening and that we could determine who might facilitate. We might even take some excerpts from Dexter's book and set them within a performance vein if this made sense.

I'm thinking that we look at a November weekend, the year anniversary from the Marathon for Peace and gather as the conversation family to attend and co-host the event.

In the long run The Conversation could sponsor/host at least one performance each year which lends itself to conversation and interaction. Could be more.

I will be singing this Sunday and giving a talk at a Unity Church in Centralia the week after that, but would love to explore the possiblities and as always look forward to being with you in a set of tables that can be recognized by their stretch marks.

Love you all--


Monday, July 24, 2006

"Separate and Unequal" Brokaw "Special"

This program was billed like this: In “Tom Brokaw Reports: Separate and Unequal,” Brokaw traveled to Jackson, Miss., for an in-depth report on race and poverty. Jackson struggles everyday with the issues of race and America.
Want to know what I learned from it? That the problems in the black community of Jackson, Mississippi (and by extension, the rest of the U.S.) are caused by:

  • Youth who don't know how to succeed even when they have potential
  • Too many fatherless families
  • The unhealthy influence of the evil rap music
  • So many teenage pregnancies (see 2nd bullet above)
  • Lack of personal accountability

Now, I admit--I didn't have high hopes for a Tom Brokaw special on race and poverty, but I did expect that such a special would at least touch on the roots and causes of the whole, separate and unequal problem. But guess what, after an hour, all I got was the same old, tired pathological "analysis". Brokaw mentions that during integration, blacks were able to move into formerly all-white suburbs and attend formerly all-white schools, but that now, 50 years later, the suburbs and schools are all black. Does he give us one iota of explanation for this? NO! Instead of helping the viewer see how white flight, (oh no--our property values are going to go down, and oh no--our children are going to have to sit next to "them") resegregated everything, he spends all his time getting his subjects to tell us earnestly that it really comes down to personal responsibility. I was sickened.

Once again I was reminded of Tim Wise's statistic--that 80% of white America lives in communities where there are no people of color. It's no wonder that we have so far to go when programs like this not only do not give an accurate analysis of the causes of the problems, but basically give those white people every justification for the racial isolation they seek.

I'm thinking of writing to Tom Brokaw and suggesting that he watch "Ku Klux Klan: A Secret History", which does an excellent job of tracing the history of white supremacy and it's political, legal and extra-legal manifestations right up to the present day. Believe me, it has a lot more explanatory power than the nonsense put out in his "report".