28 April 2006

participants needed: performance art

My friend, and talented artist, Ayanna Jolivet McCloud is creating a performance piece for Diaspora Vibe Gallery. She sent this to me and others requesting participants for this piece. Let her know, directly, if you are interested. Her email address is archipelaga@gmail.com.

Loosing Ground, 5 x 7 inch, Digital Print(2005) from a peformance at Diaspora Vibe

PLEASE FORWARD & POST to artists, students, and community members:


Artist Seeking Participants for Performance Installation at gallery on
Friday, June 9, 7-9 pm and rehearsal on sat, May 13, 1-2pm. Looking
for everyday people, performers, artists, actors, non-creative types,
mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, all ages, body types, genders.
Prefer people of color. All participants will receive photo
documentation and an immeasurable amount of gratitude from the artist.
This is a very simple and very inactive performance. Participants are
asked to simply lie on the gallery floor and stand up every 15
minutes. The performance is for 2 hours. This is nonpaid, but is truly
a unique experience to put on your resume and a great way experience
art. Participants will be acknowledged in online catalogue.

To participate send name, email, phone to: archipelaga@gmail.com

About Performance:
Goofer Dust is a performance installation by Ayanna Jolivet Mccloud
exploring memory, time travel, and Afro-Diasporic ritual. In this
newly created work, images, video, sound, and live bodies are
interwoven to reveal rituals of dreaming and the inconsistencies of
time. Using the body as an ephemeral object, Goofer Dust, frames the
body's relation to time, space, itself, nature, the community and the
celestial. Goofer Dust will be presented as part of the Off the Wall:
Experimental Lab Series at Diaspora Vibe Gallery on Friday, June 9,
7-9 pm. An online catalogue with images and text will be presented on

25 April 2006

Amber Sharp's "Triple Minority" - Best Short In MGLFF

At it's east coast premier, this was the first film I have seen at this year's Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival that truly caught my attention. It was definitely a relief, in a way, since I am her official "Miami Host." I have to say that after watching the films in the Shorts Program, What Girls Like, on Sunday evening that I was beginning to wonder if the short format is viable. On Monday at Cries of Freedom, the Shorts Program for films by African American women, I was thrilled to see some great pieces.

Amber Sharp wrote and directed "Triple Minority." This 15 min short is about a Black woman named Clair who seeks to negotiate familial ties, religion, and years of ostracism from family and church brought about after she "comes out of the closet." Her partner, Rebecca, has a powerful role in the film as confidant and heroine - unwilling to lose her love to society's norms.

Amber Sharp, Photo from Triple Minority Website

When speaking with Sharp, she explains that this film is not autobiographical, but of course, there are elements "which I can relate to, as most Black women can." In the Q&A following the film, she explains that she comes from a "dysfunctional family and had to learn to just leave the garbage behind." In this film, Clair tries to deal with her family's dysfunction at the encouragement of her partner, Rebecca. Eventually, though, she does chose herself and her love for Rebecca over family and church acceptance in a bittersweet ending that had me nearly in tears. Despite the short nature of the film, it is easy to get emotionally involved with the characters and wish them well when it's over.

Interestingly enough, the title "Triple Minority" comes from a scene that was ultimately cut. Coming from the film program at University of Southern California, "we had strict time limitations . . . every film had to be 12 1/2 minutes." Her partner and producer, Seema Gaur, explains that Sharp had to petition for the extra time to extend her film to 15 minutes. After comparing this film, with other shorts, I tend to agree with those strict time limits. It forces the filmmaker to narrow in on their artistic voice and the actual story they want to tell. As Sharp says, "get in, tell the story, get out . . . that's pretty much how I am anyway."

As for what she'll do next, Sharp plans to write a television series and is already busy working on a pilot. She tells my partner and I that we might end up being part of composite characters in an upcoming project. Wow! That's great. Can't wait to see us on the big screen. Although we probably won't be able to tell which character we are, since as most writers do Sharp takes a little something from someone interesting and blends that into a character. Gaur,also a middle school therapist, commends her style and the "way her mind works . . . it's fascinating . . . you know, tonight, she'll go back and get right on her laptop and start writing."

I am fully impressed with the work of Sharp thus far, and look forward to whatever she pursues in the future.

23 April 2006

missing miami already

It won't be for another few months until I leave town for Ann Arbor, but I'm already pining away for that sabor Miami. It's something that's hard to explain until you've experienced it, and even then it's easy to take it for granted once you've got it. Miami is unlike anywhere I've ever been - sort of a awkward combination of everything I've ever seen in another country. It doesn't come together easily by any means. People are angry here, people can be hostile towards those who aren't from the same country, but every now and again there is a break through.

Today on a stroll down Lincoln Road after my yoga class, I overheard two men talking, in Spanish (I'll write it in English):

"Can I have one of those," one man says pointing to the other's cigarette.
The other man reaches to his pocket to give him one, and says,"What country are you from?"
"I am Bolivian," the man replies.
"Oh, I am from Uruguay," he smiles and lights the cigarette for his new compatriot.

While simple, this kind of exchange made me smile. Two men, who don't know each other, share something. In the process they learn where one another are from. Even if this exchange never moves beyond knowing the others' country of origin, something is gained - a knowledge that there are so many people living in Miami who are from somewhere else and each has their story to tell.

Miami truly fascinates me and I will miss so many things about it's sabor (flavor).

And the list begins: (in no particular order)Let me make a disclaimer: this is by no means comprehensive, and I am not including anything which specifically deals with missing certain people...trying to stick to experiences.
1. The sunrise over the Julia Tuttle Causeway
2. Arepas in any grocery store
3. Israeli cheese has just appeared in the "new" Publix on the Beach
4. Sweaty yoga (just cause it's hot outside)
5. Cuban spanglish
6. Brazilian Portuguese
7. Sports beach (3rd and the sand)
8. Yoga on the beach
9. the Boardwalk and the Sweat Sisters
10. 30 min flight to the Bahamas
11. driving to Key West
12. Ethnic Bakeries (Haitian, Jamaican, Argentinean, Jewish, Cuban) run by those people
13. Creole radio on NPR
14. the Venetian Causeway
15. Palm Trees
16. Cafe con Leche from anywhere, not just a cuban restaurant
17. preparing to hunker down for a low-grade hurricane
18. the hurricane kit my hunny has so dutifully prepared
19. south pointe park and the pier
20. that Epicure has turned from a store for little Jewish old ladies into a gourmet market for everyone

More to come. . .

18 April 2006

job posting: education outreach - fairchild

Not much time to write, but I got this email about a job and it seems great. Here's the email I received:

Dear Educators,

Many of you know Bridgette Michaels -- a valued colleague in the Fairchild Challenge program. She has worked tirelessly with Netiva Kolitz to coordinate the High School Challenge over the past two years. We are sad to announce that Bridgette will be leaving Fairchild to move with her family to Anapolis, Maryland. Bridgette is a much respected colleague, and she will be missed.

This leaves us with a position to fill, and an opportunity to infuse the program with new talents and perspectives. The position description for an Education Outreach Coordinator is attached. The person in this position will work closely with Netiva Kolitz to coordinate the High School Challenge program, and will work fluidly with the rest of the Fairchild Challenge team, as well. Please help us spread the word, and forward the attached position description to interested colleagues.

We plan to have the candidate selected by the end of May, so please don't wait if you know anyone who might be interested. Questions can be directed to Dr. Cynthia Klemmer, Manager of the Fairchild Challenge program, at (305) 667-1651 x 3354 or cklemmer@fairchildgarden.org.

Thanks very much for your help in getting the word out!


Cindy, David, Netiva, and Eva
The Fairchild Challenge Team

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
10901 Old Cutler Road
Coral Gables, FL 33156-4233
(305) 667-1651 x 3354

10 April 2006

lila downs rocks miami

Lila Downs, Mansion, South Beach, FL, April 9, 2006

Last night Lila Downs performed to a disappointingly small audience at Mansion on South Beach. The lack of turn out, though, is not a reflection of her talent as an artist. Put on by the same folks (Easton Bravo Productions) who organized last year's Latin Funk Festival, the line up also included local bands like Locos Por Juana.

Downs' combination of intellect and artistry lend to an experience for the mind, ears and eyes. She sing melodies which incorporate socio-historical knowledge, while using her body to express the many characterizations of the songs - from protagonist to lazy politicians. She consistently enagages the audience in Spanish and English and leaves little doubt in my mind that we have yet to see the last of Lila Downs in Miami.

For more information on Lila Downs check out:
her interview and sound clips on NPR

07 April 2006

Art Blogging Forum . . . a bust? not necessarily

Last night's Art Blogging Forum at the Miami Beach Library was a good start to a conversation that artists and bloggers should be having. And, in an interesting twist to the typically cyber-world, we had the conversation in person!
It was definitely more of a panel than a dialogue and only a few audience members managed to get any words in edge wise. I think most were concerned about the strict time limitations which was made VERY clear. "The library is closing at 8:30, so we need to end promptly at that time." In fact, the library does not close until 9:00 PM. While I was unable to continue on to Parilla's for more discussion, I am glad that I went to listen in on the start of the discussion about Art, Blogging, Intention, Responsibility, Media, and more.

A few statements remained on the forefront for me, mostly because I disagree with their inherent assumptions:

1) Art is a free-for-all, and consequently art blogging is a free-for-all.
2) Blog v Print Journalism - how they are similar.
3) An artist uses the content of blogs (their own or others) to inform their art.

Today I will address #1 Art is a free-for-all, and consequently art blogging is a free-for-all.

Art is in NO way a free-for-all. I am an artist and I certainly don't feel like a kid running wild in the playground. If art was in fact a free-for-all, then art would really have no standards of quality or artistic integrity. Additionally, this statement does not take into account the systems at play in the world of art making, namely museums, critics, money, etc. These systems of power hamper the free-for-all nature which is a false belief about art making, viewing, selling.

Art blogging - not a free for all either. I don't consider myself an art blogger, as I typically write about whatever random thing I feel like. However, those that do consider themselve "art bloggers" certainly wouldn't just "have at it" with no sense of structure. Or, if they do, I am certainly not reading them because it would just be too annoying to read through poor grammar, sentence structure and incoherent thought patterns.

Where there is some freedom is in the nature of blogging. For one, it's FREE. Yup, nice perk. I can get on here and say what I want with minimal effort. So, it enables me to be more free than on my website. On the website, I have to plan and present myself well. But, again if it was just random rattlings of my mind and boring explanations, then there would be no readership. And, those that consider themselves art bloggers need to have some readership, or it becomes merely a journal.

At a later date, I will address points #2 and #3.

For a detailed account of last night's forum, visit Greener Miami. Rebecca took pictures and created a live blog for the first hour.

Other sources for thoughts on the panel:
Critical Miami
Art Blog
Tu Miami (en espanol)