Cross Talk: Film Edition

Cross Talk is a regular feature, highlighting three to seven items on some discipline taught at the college. We should all know more about what our colleagues know, teach, and love. Lifelong learning, blah, blah, blah, and all that jazz.

Lots of good stuff related to film out there. Here’s a small sliver of it:

~The oral history of Hoop Dreams (as published on Dissolve–a great Web site for writing about film);

~Henry Louis Gates talks about 12 Years a Slave and America; David Simon wrote some interesting things about it, too. And this was good, as well;

~Last year’s Jefferson Lectures honored Martin Scorsese;

~Also from last year, I collected a bunch of stuff about Django Unchained (here, here, here,  and Zero Dark Thirty (here, here ) and other Oscar nominees (here, ) and other stuff like portrayals of Lincoln, or unconventional story telling trends, or a documentary on representations of women in film,

~Check out a brief treatment (with examples) of the role of music in film and the ways that our perceptions of images are affected by what we hear;

~Enemy of the State is a great, great movie;

~From film class project to hit music video;

Cognitive Dissonance: Offensive Team Names Edition

Cognitive Dissonance is a regular Monday feature in which a post is presented that, if read, may provoke “a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth.” I hope these pieces will provoke thought, if not conversation.

Given that it’s the Monday after the Super Bowl and there are still lingering football conversations to be had and this one has a history of some controversy on this site, I thought I might toss this one out there today:

Did you see it? Do you care? Do you have any interest in the team’s activities to preserve the name? Or in the origins of the name?

Would you like to see a nuanced explanation of one somewhat-ambivalent Native American man’s analysis of the term and the controversy that makes connections to African-American culture and history?

I thought you might.

Monday Music

Happy Black Heritage Month (check it out here, here, here, here, or on campus starting Tuesday with a reading with award-winning fiction writer Dr. Amina Gautier, author of At-Risk (2011)–scroll down for more info on the event*.

As for the music, I heard George Higgs’ music thanks to the Music Maker Relief Foundation. Just goes to show you that you don’t need amps and fireworks to make soul-stirring music.


*Celebrate Black Heritage Month at HWC with Dr. Amina Gautier, author of At-Risk (2011)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 3:30 p.m. in Room 103

Dr. Amina Gautier is the winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction for her short story collection At-Risk. More than seventy-five of her stories have been published, appearing in Best African American Fiction, Glimmer Train, Iowa Review, Kenyon Review, North American Review, and Southern Review among other places. Her stories have won the Crazyhorse Fiction Prize, the Danahy Prize, the Jack Dyer Prize, the Schlafly Microfiction Award, and the William Richey Award as well as scholarships and fellowships from the American Antiquarian Society, Breadloaf Writer’s Conference, Sewanee Writer’s Conference, and Ucross Foundation, as well as artist grants from the Illinois Arts Council and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

Event Co-Sponsored by the HWC Creative Writing Club, the Black Heritage Committee, and the Office of Instruction. Contact Jacob Wilkenfeld (English) for more info.

HWC Music History

My colleague Kamran Swanson wrote by email last week:

While lying in bed and listening to WBEZ far too late into this morning, my ears piqued at the mention of Harold Washington College. The show ‘Eight Forty Eight,’ in conjunction with ‘Radio Host M,’ was airing a segment for Black History month, and playing a selection of tunes from black Chicago musicians. Ramsey Lewis and James Mack were mentioned, and James Mack was described as having been the music department chairman for 30 years at Harold Washington college some years back. The years were not given, and clearly we were still Loop College at least during the beginning of his tenure.

If you’re interested, you can listen to the production at the top of this webpage

There’s a lot of good music, and I recommend the entire 30 minute show. The timer counts down, and the Lewis/Mack section begins at -10:44.

Mack’s obit is here.

h/t to Kamran for the pointer!

Monday Music

Monday Music is a regular feature whose goal is to provide you with some music to get you fired up for another week of doing the yeoperson’s work of educating the citizenry.

I couldn’t decide which of these two songs (with the same title) was better. They both get me completely fired up and seemed appropriate closers to both Black History Month and the events (global, regional, local) of the last fortnight. So, I’m posting them both (in chronological order), and you can decide.

That’s right! It’s a two-fer!!

From the Isley Brothers (you’ll have to click on it twice to watch it on YouTube):

And Public Enemy (same with this one; click it twice, and you’ll jump to YouTube–and I should warn you: the opening of the video is, umm, provocative, but what do you expect from a Spike Lee Joint?):

New BHM Brochure Communicates Plenty

Apparently there is a new brochure providing the schedule for Black History Month events at the seven colleges (combined into one informational design). Sherry Ledbetter, librarian/awesome woman/Distinguished Professor/educational leader and more, saw the design and sent me an email asking how she could get a post up on the Lounge with her thoughts on the brochure, and I am delighted to share her thoughts. Here they are from her email to me:

This past Tuesday, February 8, 2011, I had the opportunity to view the Black History Month “Calendar of Events” brochure.  I was appalled and very insulted as an African American by the design.  The colors are not representative of Black History Month, which traditionally involves red, black and green–a combination which has very special meaning to those of us who came up during the Civil Rights Movement, and indeed, grew up in the South in the 50s, during the height of segregation and other types of brutality.  The desgn has absolutely nothing to do African-Americans and their struggle to gain equal rights.  (In fact, what do these colors represent?)

As far as I can determine, this design is District-wide, too; so what happened to all the hard work done by the HWC BHM committee?  There are several other minor problems:  the calendar is incorrect and the list of committee members is out-of-date and why have 2 programs on domestic violence?  Is there some hidden meaning in that?  These are extremely minor, especially when seen in the context of the meaning of this month. What more can I say?

Sherry Ledbetter–an offended black person.

I am pretty sure that this is the link to the piece of which she is speaking, but I could be wrong on that.

In any case, what are you thoughts? Heirapparent seems to like it (thanks for the link, by the way, Heirapparent). Sherry, obviously does not.

(For the record, so as not to seem like I’m dodging here, I’m inclined to side with Sherry on this one, and not just because I think the whole “one college” thing is a wrong headed canard that is much more about centralizing power, control and convenience than it is educational or student need. No, my objection lies in the very point and history of Black History Month and the educational philosophy of Carter G. Woodson, it’s founder, which is all about individual empowerment, self determination, ground-up educational movements, and local autonomy. I know that the District office isn’t taking away anyone’s ability to do anything, but in taking the work of others and re-doing it, in a way , without input or approval from the people who did the work locally, is to do exactly the sort of thing that Woodson talks about as being disempowering and  one form of mis-education in his most famous book.

One message that comes through loud and clear upon reading Woodson’s book is that it’s the hidden (or obscured) messages that do the most damage to those involved in educational environments. There are plenty of them in this project, I think, and, like Sherry, I don’t much like their content. I’m interested to hear the other side, though.)