Sunday, October 12, 2014

Dear White People ... Justin Simien creates a film seeking a sincere dialogue about race


Issues of race, class and gender are never easy. And among them, the mere mention of race can inflame people's passions.


Dear White People.jpgDear White People, a film that started with a self-funded concept trailer for an immensely successful crowd-funding project, is getting a lot of talk these days, according to Web Pro News. The film is a work by a new and impressive director, Justin Simien. It follows characters on the fictional college campus of Winchester University as they interact in different racially charged situations. Dear White People centers around the character Samantha (Sam) White, played by Tessa Thompson, a provocative radio DJ who hosts a show called Dear White People.

Coming on like a fresh breeze amid the hot air that so often accompanies talk about race, "Dear White People" is both a conversation piece and a calling card, announcing writer-director Justin Simien, in his feature debut, as an invigorating voice, someone original from a new generation, according to the Los Angeles Times.

 From the recent events in Ferguson, Mo., to the media dust-up over an essay on television in the New York Times, the broad subject represents a minefield no matter the arena. The playfully incendiary satire of "Dear White People," set amid a racially charged college campus, takes it on, head-on, while diffusing tension with wit and humor.

 Cast of 'Dear White People' hopes the satire makes people think Cast of 'Dear White People' hopes the satire makes people think Saba Hamedy Opening Oct. 17 in limited release from distributor Roadside Attractions before a national rollout later this month, the film won prizes at the Sundance and San Francisco film festivals and was selected for the prestigious New Directors/New Films program in New York City. A companion book of essays written by Simien, with the lighthearted subtitle "A Guide to Inter-Racial Harmony in 'Post-Racial' America," will also be published this month. 

 Dear White People met with critical acclaim from critics upon its premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 100% rating based on reviews from 9 critics, with an average score of 7.1/10. Justin Chang, in his review for Variety, said that the film "provokes admiration for having bothered to ask some of the hard questions without pretending to know any of the answers" and praising the cast said that "Williams, Thompson, Parris and Bell all make strong, distinctive impressions, with Thompson perhaps the standout as the film’s sharpest and most enigmatic figure." Justin Lowe of The Hollywood Reporter praised the performances of cast, saying, "Thompson’s conflicted student activist, which she pulls off with practiced composure.

Williams manages to consistently dial up Lionel's nervousness and bewilderment throughout the film to a point of heightened tension that necessitates decisive resolution. As lovers, then rivals who must eventually seek mutual accommodation, Parris and Bell understand that for Coco and Troy, discovering humility is just the beginning of these characters' realigned journeys." He further added, "An edgy premise and memorable cast make for a potent first impression." Zeba Blay of Indiewire gave a positive review and said, "With its vividly drawn world and characters, the movie doesn’t presume to encompass the entirety of what it means to be black, but it does give one of the most entertaining and honest depictions of black life in a so-called “white” world in years."

Terence Johnson of ScottFeinberg.com gave a positive review to the film and said that "Dear White People is a perfect film for today’s generation".

Monday, October 6, 2014

Shirley Ringo is is running for Congress to be a voice for Idaho’s working families in Washington, D.C.

Shirley Ringo is a retired public school teacher now finishing her 14th year representing the people of Moscow in the Idaho House of Representatives. She is running for Congress to be a voice for Idaho’s working families in Washington, D.C., and to restore responsible leadership to the House of Representatives. 

Shirley is a teacher, an organizer, a public servant, and a proud Idahoan. Shirley's values are Idaho's values. Give everyone a shot at the American Dream. Reward hard work. Build an economy that's fair and lifts everyone up. Insist on accountability in government. And protect Idaho, the best place on earth, for future generations.

Shirley's a leader for all of Idaho. After 14 years in the Idaho House, her colleagues chose her to co-chair the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee -- even though she's a bright-blue Democrat in a deep-red state.

In my latest blog, Shirley takes the lead: Election 2014: Shirley Ringo Points Out Labrador's Severe Flaws.

There is also the glaring fact that Conngressman Labrador Agrees: Americans Don't Know What Republicans Stand For.

Therefore, Shirley Ringo will give Raul Labrador a Real Fight.


The doublespeak being spewed by her opponent, Raul Labrador, is bad for Idaho.  In 2011, Congressman Labrador cosponsored legislation that would direct the Department of Defense to transfer at least 10% of eligible military equipment to state agencies including a drone called the MQ-9 Reaper.

And in September, Democratic Congressman Hank Johnson (GA) introduced legislation called the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act after the horrific violence witnessed in Ferguson, Missouri. Congressman Labrador is a cosponsor on the bill.

“In an act of political expediency, Congressman Labrador has demonstrated what he will do get elected. One year he cosponsors legislation to arm law enforcement agencies with tactical military equipment like missile firing drones, and this year he cosponsors legislation to limit access to tactical equipment,” Shirley said. “He either has truly changed his views or he is playing politics.”

“I must point out that the legislation was penned by a Democrat, who had the foresight to seek
bipartisan cooperation,” Shirley said. “The leadership shown by Congressman Johnson is what Idaho needs. I support the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act, and I bring will high quality ideas to Washington D.C. and provide for bipartisan collaboration.”

Congressman Raúl Labrador is pursuing an extreme agenda, chasing the national media spotlight, instead of focusing on the challenges of Idaho's working families. Let's send Shirley to Congress, and send Raúl packing. The only way to do that is with an outpouring of grassroots support. It starts with you.

(Questions? Contact the Ringo campaign at 208-301-2272.)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

BREAKING: Book Release Party for Story about Historic Redwood Grill in Baltimore on October 15!

How many of y'all remember the Redwood Grill, the downtown Baltimore restaurant and nightlife spot owned by three fun loving and ambitious brothers, Antonio Rod Womack, Cleveland Jarrett and Edwin Avent during the late 90's. If you're like many people, you had a good time and created lots of memories!

Now, Womack, has written a book about "The Grill" called "Redwood" that's sure to become a best seller. He's having a book release party on October 15, 2014 at the Frederick Douglas Isaac Myers Museum, 1417 Thames Street, Baltimore, MD 21231 from 6-9 pm.
"Come out and join us!" they say. "Lets reminisce and have a good time! But before you do that post your best Redwood Grill memory below and/or tell me who should play me in the movie...LOL! See you at the party!"


Redwood is a gripping true story of a once successful and popular Baltimore restaurant known for its great cuisine, vivacious musical entertainment, radiant atmosphere, and lavish celebrity events. So what happened to the Redwood Grill? What caused its demise? The book dives into the incredible story of three young entrepreneurs who bought the business and worked tirelessly to make this restaurant the pinnacle dining experience.

The story takes many twists and turns, leading the owners through a maze of surreal challenges along the way. The conflict intensifies when they discover that they've been employing a serial killer.
A. Rod Womack

The journey is riveted with humor, intrigue, mystery, conflict, relationship, drama, and many takeaways for future restaurateurs. Just as the dust seemed to settle the entrepreneurs were challenged again by a charming and charismatic con-artist.

A. Rod Womack is a talented writer whose motivation and passion for storytelling distinguishes him from many of his contemporaries. Redwood is his first book. A. Rod co-owned his first company at 18 years old. His entrepreneurial experience spans numerous industries including; restaurants, real estate development, construction, concert promotions, and more.

 In 2010 he left the private sector and worked as a Business Liaison for Baltimore City Schools and was later appointed Managing Director of Food and Nutrition for Baltimore City Schools. His many years of experience as an entrepreneur, combined with his fascinating life experiences, bring an uncommon thread of realism to his material. His writing style has been called “uniquely visceral”. Womack’s love of writing has led him to the development of his next intriguing book entitled “Central Office”; which he promises will leave his readers craving for more.

Womack holds a B.A. Degree in Philosophy from University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

BlueStreak will deliver the "high lonesome" sounds of traditional bluegrass harmony at The Panida Theater

"Bluegrass has brought more people together and made more friends than any music in the world. You meet people at festivals and renew acquaintances year after year."-  Bill Monroe

Come on down to The Pearl Theater on Saturday, September 28 and enjoy a fabulous evening of live bluegrass music! The Pearl Theater is proud to bring you BlueStreak, a  five member bluegrass band featuring traditional bluegrass acoustic instrumentation with three part vocal harmonies.
BlueStreak represents one of the more veteran crews of the entire northwest bluegrass scene, with a unique sound anchored around the powerful vocals and guitar work of Doug Bond of Sandpoint, Idaho. Bob Asbury, (banjo) and Dave Hackwith on standup bass are experienced players from the long enduring northwest group, Custer’s Grass Band. Terry Ludiker, a household name in northwest acoustic music, plays fiddle and mandolin. Steve Bauer completes the circle with his unique arsenal of crisp mandolin chops. Steve began his playing career in the Fort Collins Colorado area, a hotbed of bluegrass in the seventies. Together the members of BlueStreak deliver the “high lonesome” sounds of traditional bluegrass harmony on a rock solid foundation of acoustic instrumentation.
- See more at: http://www.thepearltheater.org/?p=575#sthash.P3tDJu40.dpuf
Come on down to The Panida Theater  on Thursday, October 9 and enjoy a fabulous evening of live bluegrass music!
 

BlueStreak, a  five member bluegrass band featuring traditional bluegrass acoustic instrumentation with three part vocal harmonies,  represents one of the more veteran crews of the entire northwest bluegrass scene.

Their  unique sound is anchored around the powerful vocals and guitar work of Doug Bond of Sandpoint, Idaho. Bob Asbury, (banjo) and Dave Hackwith on standup bass are experienced players from the long enduring northwest group, Custer’s Grass Band. Terry Ludiker, a household name in northwest acoustic music, plays fiddle and mandolin. Steve Bauer completes the circle with his unique arsenal of crisp mandolin chops. Steve began his playing career in the Fort Collins Colorado area, a hotbed of bluegrass in the seventies. 


Together the members of BlueStreak deliver the “high lonesome” sounds of traditional bluegrass harmony on a rock solid foundation of acoustic instrumentation. 

More info: http://www.panida.org/event/poac-presents-bluestreak/

Come on down to The Pearl Theater on Saturday, September 28 and enjoy a fabulous evening of live bluegrass music! The Pearl Theater is proud to bring you BlueStreak, a  five member bluegrass band featuring traditional bluegrass acoustic instrumentation with three part vocal harmonies.
BlueStreak represents one of the more veteran crews of the entire northwest bluegrass scene, with a unique sound anchored around the powerful vocals and guitar work of Doug Bond of Sandpoint, Idaho. Bob Asbury, (banjo) and Dave Hackwith on standup bass are experienced players from the long enduring northwest group, Custer’s Grass Band. Terry Ludiker, a household name in northwest acoustic music, plays fiddle and mandolin. Steve Bauer completes the circle with his unique arsenal of crisp mandolin chops. Steve began his playing career in the Fort Collins Colorado area, a hotbed of bluegrass in the seventies. Together the members of BlueStreak deliver the “high lonesome” sounds of traditional bluegrass harmony on a rock solid foundation of acoustic instrumentation.
- See more at: http://www.thepearltheater.org/?p=575#sthash.P3tDJu40.dpuf
Tickets are $16 General and $12 for POAC Members.  They ar  $10 for 18 and under.

Doors Open 30 minutes before show

The Panida Theater  300 North 1st Avenue, Sandpoint, ID 83864 United States
Phone: 208-255-7801


If you know someone who doesn’t know bluegrass—a young picker, maybe—do that person a favor and gift him or her tickets to this Bluestreak performance. It will not only open new ears to some first-rate picking and singing, but may prompt that person to circle back for more.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Andy Warhol – The Complete Picture

I have been fascinated with high-art demigod Andy Warhol since David Bowie sang about him. His art took people to new arenas, and i have always been fascinated by his ability to draw in a wide variety of audiences. Even people who have never been inside a museum know his name.

9780811857215_p0_v1_s260x420Warhol was an American artist who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture and advertisement that flourished by the 1960s. After a successful career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol became a renowned and sometimes controversial artist. The Andy Warhol Museum in his native city, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, holds an extensive permanent collection of art and archives. It is the largest museum in the United States dedicated to a single artist.

Warhol’s art encompassed many forms of media, including hand drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, silk screening, sculpture, film, and music.

 He was also a pioneer in computer-generated art using Amiga computers that were introduced in 1984, two years before his death. He founded Interview Magazine and was the author of numerous books, including The Philosophy of Andy Warhol and Popism: The Warhol Sixties. He is also notable as a gay man who lived openly as such before the gay liberation movement. His studio, The Factory, was a famous gathering place that brought together distinguished intellectuals, drag queens, playwrights, Bohemian street people, Hollywood celebrities, and wealthy patrons.
Recommended Reading:
Andy Warhol’s Colors Board book – May 17, 2007 by Susan Goldman Rubin (Author) Learning about colors has never been so hip! In Andy Warhol’s imagination, horses are purple and golden monkeys wear pink baubles on their tails. Through Andy Warhol’s Colors, children willlearn their colors as they discover that in modern art, anything is possible.
Warhol has been the subject of numerous retrospective exhibitions, books, and feature and documentary films. He coined the widely used expression “15 minutes of fame”. Many of his creations are very collectible and highly valuable. The highest price ever paid for a Warhol painting is US$105 million for a 1963 canvas titled “Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)”. A 2009 article in The Economist described Warhol as the “bellwether of the art market”. Warhol’s works include some of the most expensive paintings ever sold.

What I appreciate most about this icon is that he was one of the most most prolific and popular artists of his time, using both avant-garde and highly commercial sensibilities.

Michael Strickland: Who is Tim Wise? And thoughts on racism and bigotry in Idaho

by Michael Strickland

Racism is the belief that a particular race is superior or inferior to another, that a person’s social and moral traits are predetermined by his or her inborn biological characteristics, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Tim Wise is oneof the nation's great fighters against it.

Tim Wise.jpgTimothy Jacob "Tim" Wise (born October 4, 1968) is an American anti-racism activist and writer. Since 1995, he has given speeches at over 600 college campuses across the U.S. He has trained teachers, corporate employees, non-profit organizations and law enforcement officers in methods for addressing and dismantling racism in their institutions.

In White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son, Wise demonstrates the ways in which racism not only burdens people of color, but also benefits, in relative terms, those who are “white like him.” He discusses how racial privilege can harm whites in the long run and make progressive social change less likely. He explores the ways in which whites can challenge their unjust privileges, and explains in clear and convincing language why it is in the best interest of whites themselves to do so. Using anecdotes instead of stale statistics, Wise weaves a narrative that is at once readable and yet scholarly, analytical and yet accessible.


In the spirit of anti-racism, below is my follow-up to a story from March 26, 2011.

Simply put, I was asked to leave a party in Boise, Idaho because I am Black. Some people claimed the incident never happened. Here are the details.

A columnist wrote:

About a month ago, a good friend of mine in Boise shared a disturbing and awkward incident he experienced. After being invited with five other friends to a private party, he was turned away after arriving, because he’s black. While there are worse things than being uninvited after arriving at a party, the incident was symptomatic of an underlying insecurity or animus based on race.

As my friend recounted the event, “The underpinnings of unfair discrimination are obvious.” Indeed they are obvious, and they speak volumes about the dearth of character and lack of humanity of the one who objected to his presence. My friend, Michael Strickland, who gave me permission to use his name and relate his experience, elaborated, “Racism is a cancer — it spreads.” Indeed it can, unless we proactively work to curtail it.

I genuinely hope everyone perusing this column is as repulsed by the insensitivity, abject stupidity and classless actions of one person against Michael as I am. I would further hope that each of you forward this column to anyone you know who may manifest similar tendencies to ostracize, diminish or exclude anyone based on something as superficial as physiological differences. Unlike some who harbor a somewhat fatalistic view of racists, presuming that they cannot be changed, I will forever be a believer in the fundamental goodness and teachability of mankind, regardless of socio-economic or cultural shortcomings that have stunted our growth regarding racist behavior.

A further discussion of racism is warranted here. Included below are some of my responses to my critics.

Michael Strickland says:
March 27, 2011 at 11:51 am 
The story of how I ended up in such a situation had to do with a highly unusual set of circumstances.
I was out with two friends. We went to another spot to meet one friend’s brother-in-law and his girlfriend. They were with a group of people. One member of the larger group invited “all of us” to a party at the house where he lived.

As it turns out, the inviter was a tenant who lived with relatives. One of those relatives was the one who asked all six of us to leave, and they made it clear why.

The inviter said something about a jail background for a couple of his relatives and he mentioned that they “do the white power thing.”

This incident occurred a couple of weeks in Boise. An Ada County Sherriff’s car was at the scene when we left, talking to one of the owners of the house. Police patrols know who is who and what is going on. Also, a call to their records department produced documentation of a noise compliant there, that night.

So for doubters, we can open up official channels (and the five friends who were asked to leave with me) for verification, if that will be helpful.

And again — ironically — whether anyone believes that this incident happened has absolutley no impact on the message ... There are numerous documented incidents that I am aware of, in the last year alone, that could have been used to write the exact same column.
More info on those is forthcoming.

Thanks to all who are speaking up.


I am glad that police believed the victim who said he was beaten by white supremacists at an Idaho Walmart:
Sept 1, 2010:
BOISE — A federal court has rejected an appeal from an Idaho man who was convicted of a hate crime for beating a black man outside a Nampa Wal-Mart.
http://www.ktvb.com/home/Court-rejects-Nampa-hate-crime-appeal-102010048.html

And see this from Idahopress.com -
“As the defendants left the store, prosecutors said, they discussed beating the man and made preparations for and attack. Investigators allege that when the man left the store, the suspects threatened him and called him racial slurs, and Bullard asked him what country he thought he was in.”
_______________

Celebrities often experience racism:

See: Racism Rears its Ugly head as An Indian-American Woman Wins The Miss America Pageant

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Tags: Michael Strickland, Michael Strickland Boise, Michael Strickland Idaho

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

JIM BRICKMAN Celebrates 20 Years In Boise With "Love Around The Piano" For One Night Only

“The pianokeys are black and white
but they sound like a million colors in your mind”
- Author Maria Cristina Mena

I love great piano. That is why it is so exciting that we can experience the sounds of award-winning hit-maker, pianist and recording artist Jim Brickman as he rings in the New Year celebrating his 20-year musical journey in the entertainment industry.

Nominated for two Grammy's, four certified gold albums and over 7 million albums sold world-wide, Brickman brings one of the most entertaining and romantic concert events of the year to Boise.

Performing live, Jim Brickman Love Around the Piano arrives in Boise at the Morrison Center on Friday, February 20, 2015 at 7:30 pm. Ticket prices are $49.00, $39.00 and $29.00 and available by calling 208-426-1110, or online MorrisonCenter.com. For event details, theater location and more details, visit JimBrickman.com.

Friday, February 20, 2015 at 7:30 PM 

Tickets available at:
Morrison Center Box Office, online at MorrisonCenter.com 

or call (208) 426-1110.

Brickman's engaging stage presence seamlessly blends mood and music to touch the heart in a special way, letting fan's imaginations take them wherever they want to go. With dazzling solo piano and star-studded vocal collaborations, Brickman will wow audience members with his hits including "Valentine," "If You Believe," "Love of My Life" and more. Jim Brickman Love Around the Piano strikes the perfect balance between musical intimacy, compelling storytelling and audience interaction.

"It's hard to believe 20 years have passed since I first stepped into the music industry with my first album recording. So many things have changed in that time, yet so many things have remained the same," says Jim. "Having created milestones through all my albums has helped me to watch myself grow as a person and a musician. Love for music has always been a constant in my life, and being able to share this journey with fans from all over the world when I perform is what I enjoy most!"

Jim Brickman has revolutionized the sound of solo piano with his pop-style instrumentals and star-studded vocal collaborations. With four certified gold albums he's sold more than 7 million CDs. Since the release of his debut album No Words in 1994, Brickman has released 40 albums and has the most appearances (30) on Billboard's Adult Contemporary radio chart.  Brickman also has the most No. 1s (19) in the 25-year history of the New Age Albums chart.  Brickman received top honors with two Grammy Award nominations, two SESAC "Songwriter of the Year" awards, the Canadian Country Music Award and the Dove Award presented by the Gospel Music Association.

Brickman's best-known compositions include the chart-toppers "Valentine," "The Gift," "Love of My Life," "Simple Things" and "Peace." He has established a reputation for his collaborations with many musical artists including Kenny Rogers, Martina McBride, Lady Antebellum, Johnny Mathis, Michael W. Smith, Kenny Loggins, Carly Simon, Collin Raye, Michael Bolton, Donny Osmond, Wayne Brady, Olivia Newton-John, John Oates and Herb Alpert.

Brickman is the host of a weekly syndicated radio show, Your Weekend with Jim Brickman, airing on 80+ stations across North America. He authored two best-selling books, Simple Things and Love Notes.

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Brickman began playing piano at the age of five, studying at the prestigious Cleveland Institute of Music where he was honored with a scholarship in his name in 2012.

Brickman champions many charitable foundations including The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, The Starkey Hearing Foundation and Autism Speaks. He is a strong supporter of PBS, filming four TV specials for the network - An Evening with Jim Brickman (2000), Love Songs and Lullabies (2002), Live from Disney's Magic Kingdom (2005), and Beautiful World (2009). Most recently, Brickman brought together the stars of the 70's for Celebration of the 70's.

For more information about Jim Brickman and Love Around Piano,visit www.JimBrickman.com. 

Located on the campus of Boise State University, the 2,037-seat VELMA V. MORRISON CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS  is Idaho's premier performing arts center. Nestled on the banks of the Boise River, with a panoramic view of the city, parks and foothills, the Center's 10-story stage house is a recognizable fixture of the Capitol's picturesque skyline. The realization of a life-long dream of Harry W. Morrison, and championed by his widow, Velma, the Center opened its doors on April 7, 1984. Today the Center is recognized as a major destination for arts and culture, annually hosting hundreds of live entertainment and arts education offerings that serve to enrich the lives of patrons of all ages. As a Boise State affiliate, the Center is a non-profit organization supported by ticket sales, facility rentals, donations and the generous support of the Morrison Center Endowment Foundation, Inc. For more information on our programs, or to find out how you can play an active role in our ongoing success as a donor or volunteer, please visit us at:  www.MorrisonCenter.com