Sunday, January 30, 2005

Saturday morning I was still recovering from Thursday's night dance fest; I really didn't get to sleep that early Friday night and a friend called early Saturday morning. But it was a beautiful day and I wasn't planning to enjoy it only in bed. Downtown I ventured to San Francisco Modern Museum of Art (SFMOMA) for an Artist Talk by Kara Walker who is known for her socially political silhouette pieces. The themes of her work cover race and slavery in America she's considered somewhat controversal. Unfortunately the lecture was soldout, darn art students, so we made our way to Union Square there's a cafe on the square and it's a great place to people watch. While I was negative on the Union Square upgrade and new design I have to admit the square is now more inviting to people and truth be told while I would walk through the old square I never hung out.

After coffee we headed down to Sutter Street to check out the gallery scene. Sutter Street is one of my favorite streets to walk. It's full of galleries, theatres, interesting shops and the residents are pleasant. The street always feels safe and I've walked the Sutter many evenings just to enjoy the pleasant sites.

First stop was Hotel Des Arts, it's an interesting spot , local artists decorate the rooms with their work. The wall are decorated with mini-murals and art pieces are also for sale. The hotel is a gallery, Hotel Des Arts is a simple hotel with a nice concept its' location is good, small rooms but neat. Afterward we headed to John Berggruen Gallery off Sutter to see Timothy Greenfield-Sanders XXX 30 Porn-Star Portraits. Ok my friend wanted to checkout this exhibit but I was game. I found the photographs somewhat interesting you're trying to interpret something about these individuals by viewing matching photographs one a nude juxtapose with one of them fully clothed. But they're actors/performers who work in the nude I wasn't completely convince the pictures exposed much about the individuals except they're very comfortable nude.

Next stop Hang Art, another space on Sutter Street, the galleries focus is local and new artists. I really enjoyed this gallery it is a large comfortable space and the prices are affordable.

We finished at the San Francisco Museum of Craft+Design the museum was in between exhibits but was still open to the public. It was kind of cool seeing the museum in transition, it felt like some type of deconstruction piece with bits and pieces of exhibits coming and going. Their next exhibit NOUVELLE NUPTIALS: New Visions in Wedding Traditions is opening next week I'll return to checkout the completed exhibition.

Afterward, we continued walking on Sutter until we found a cafe with a good window seat. We ended the evening with pleasant conversation and sugar cookies.

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Didn't make it in this Saturday another injustice!

The Hotel Des Arts - Art Room Funky living SF Style


Friday, January 28, 2005

I woke up this morning singing a Madonna dance tune after about 4- 5 hours of sleep. This was good residue from an exhausting Thursday which started with a deep teeth cleaning which left my mouth aching for half the day and no I don't smoke. Afterward I continued to work, had a beauty salon appointment, a three hour evening Unix Security class, and finished the evening hanging at two clubs Rasseles and the Cat Club .

10:00 PM Thursday the San Francisco streets were wet but the showers had shorten, it appeared that the storm was dissipating. When I headed out to Rasseles I wasn't sure what to expect but my main goal was to find live music and a comfortable spot to chill. Rasseles met these basic requirements the Afro Cuban band Descarga was playing smooth Latin sounds. The clubs' mood was pleasant but not jumping, it was a slow night. My friend desired a more lively venue with dancing and we found it at the Cat Club.

The Cat Club was the direct opposite of Rasseles, packed with people their wasn't a band but two rooms with DJs spinning tunes from the 80's primary New Wave with a little mixing of pop and Hip-Hop rhythms. While Rasseles had an older mixed crowd the Cat Club was filled with 20's year olds who were dancing their butts off or performing an exhibitionist sleazy fantasy. I was people watching as much as I was dancing, it was lively, interesting and fun and the DJ's were doing their New Wave thang. If you're looking for a place to dance on Thursday night and you like 80's New Wave music the Cat Club is a good choice. If your mood is mellow and you're hankering for live music and a fireplace then Rasseles should be your choice. Both are good it's a choice thang they are both pleasant ways a spend a rainy Thursday night.

Made it to bed around 3:00 AM, on Friday I was a zombie ghoula girl but at work who would notice?


Thursday, January 20, 2005

Martin Luther King's Holiday - Monday January 18 - This holiday is usually very quiet for me. I like to read some of Kings writings and I usually don't go to public celebrations. However this year I didn't stay at home and remembered King in a difference way I BARTED over to Oakland to the The African American Museum and Library . To the showing of , Shirley Chisholm Unbought and Unbossed. The film will be showing on POV in February please watch. It's a wonderful documentary that gives insights into Shirley Chisholm, the film focus is Chisholm's 1972 campaign for President and airs her political philosophy, strategies, supporters and detractors from the larger society and the Black community.

After the film, there was a panel to discuss the film and a course the current political climate. Congresswoman Barbara Lee was on the panel, she was mentored by Chisholm. Prior to meeting Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Lee had never voted. Lee is one of the few politicians that I trust at this moment. She will always have my respect to voting against the WAR in Iraq, another woman of integrity like her mentor.

Watching the documentary I remembered a joke Redd Foxx made about Shirley Chisholm, he said that while he generally preferred black women over white women, he sure as hell would take Raquel Welch over Shirley Chisholm. One reason I remembered the statement is how hard my father laughed at this ignorant and sexist joke.

The lack of political support and respect Black Woman receive from our community is one of the reasons that Condoleezza Rice is politically the most powerful Black woman in the country today. It's frightening to think the Bush family is more loyal and rewarding to their female ideological warriors than so-called progressives.


Sunday, January 16, 2005

I'm still on my movie run - met a friend this morning to see Clint Eastwood film Million Dollar Baby. This is one of those films that makes me wonder Am I hyper racially-class sensitive? The first half of the movie is a nice tribute to boxing and life. The performances by Swank, Eastwood and Freeman are all well done. Actually while watching the film I thought Hillary Swank deserves the Oscar. (Assuming entertainment business politics doesn't get in the way) The acting is wonderful and script/direction works so well in so many places.

But the film - makes this twist where instead of boxing we get a WWW match. I don't know why they decided to portray a boxing match that you would never ever see, something completely illegal - just silly. I don't feel audiences are so dull that you have to hit them over the head to prove your point with manipulative dramatics.

Also, Swank's family and her top boxing opponent are such caricatures in the film. They felt like some type of weird stereotypes validating that the poor suck. This is where I thought maybe I'm hyper-sensitive to film images. Swank character was so good (she really portrays an idea. Eastwood surrounds her with a Celtic mysticism. But the poor and those of African heritage (excluding Freeman) where so bad - it bothered me on a gut level. One of the first images we see of Freeman is being called Nigger but a white man of limited intelligence, which he handles, with wisdom of patience. Isn't this a cue of good Negro to the white audience? Like the fake boxing those elements of the film left a bad taste in my mouth.

But these are my criticism, maybe one day I'll get to chance to ask Mr. Eastwood why did he make a potentially great film just good?


Saturday, January 15, 2005

On Martin Luther Kings birthday I wanted to talk about the book I just finished reading Blue Rage, Black Redemption by Stanley Tookie Williams.

I found out about Tookie almost by accident, I heard the film Redemption starring Jamie Foxx was showing at the San Francisco Black film festival. I went to see it partially because it was a free screening and partially to see Jamie Foxx and Lynn Whitfield an actress I wish was more visible.

The film is about Stanley Tookie Williams one of the co-founders of the Crips, who while on Death Row at San Quentin has been nominated several times for the Noble Prize of Peace and Literature for his children books. The film and book are about his life transition from gangster to introspective peaceful man who reformed himself from the gangster mentality.

The hook for me to read Tookie autobiography was in the film Sportman Park was mentioned. I took swimming lessons at Sportman Park (now named Jessie Owens) as a child spent many summer days there. Living in the Black community I obliviously knew about the Crips. But gang violence never felt that bad until the late 1970's - early 1980's when the cocaine trade/war started. I wanted to find out how our worlds were parallel.

There were many parallels Washington High school, were I took drivers ed was Tookie first High school and the place the Crips originated. The Rialto Theatre on Imperial Hwy was a neighborhood theatre where I watched Sinbad films on Saturdays. But it was the place Tookie and some of his homies conjugated. George Clinton Concert at the Forum, seeing the Mothership Land. I was there. No self respecting teenager missed that concert even a nerdy Catholic School Girl like me.

Well I found the tries but our lives were so difference and took such difference paths. Stan Williams is in death row in prison and now reaches out to children to encourage them not to make the choices he did. I went to college, got a job and live a modest but comfortable life in San Francisco not too far from San Quentin.

Within his book he describes the factors that direct African-American children to failure. Poor economic options, lack of community support, institution within the community that don't support it's resident like schools and police and the embracing of self-hate which manifest itself in so many ways in the Black community Black on Black violence the most notorious.
While our lives where different I also knew the police were not supportive or helpful in our community. I remember my high school boyfriend trying to protect me from the police one night who greeted us in silence with a high beam search light, my boyfriend was walking me home. I also remember many neighborhood stores for years didn't have Black employees even though the neighborhood was African-American. The white folks working in those stores didn't live in our neighborhood. I also remember being discourage to attend college in elementary school by a woman who gave our class a test (not a teacher - I believe she was doing something for graduate school) and pronounced that none of us needed to aspire or prepare for college. I'm still amazed by this woman's arrogant and ignorance. These were my experiences Tookies were much worst. Yet he has transcended his environment and the role society has prescribed for him.

Stan Williams, also allows us into his head sharing his struggle in the prison system to find himself and dedicate himself to creating peace. He also shares with us the people who have provided him support throughout the years. I had never considered volunteering in a prison but after reading his book I realize the need to support individuals who want to get a grip on their lives and make productive change.
Read his book and let's all think how we can make our communities more supportive for our youth and peaceful.


Friday, January 14, 2005

Well the rains finally stop but boy it's cold. Ok it's not snowing and cold to me is 40 degrees but this is all this Californian knows...I took advantage of the dry evening to stroll up Nob Hill this evening by walking up California Street. I'll bring a camera next time it's a pleasant but hilly walk from downtown to the Tenderlion. My goal was the Lumiere theatre to see the Ousmane Sembène film Moolaade.

This film is powerful story about 4 girls who refuse to participate in their purification ritual (female circumcision ) they receive protection or Moolaade from Colle (Fatoumata Coulibaly) a village woman who had previously refused to have her daughter circumcised. Her act to protect the girls sets in motion a power struggle between tradition and change within the village.

The film captures provincial village life, religion as a tool to control people and the influence of globalization among people. The film also shows how people make brave decisions that can have an effect on their and others lives. But it also shows clearly these actions do not happened without consequences.

The film works on several levels, aesthetically it doesn't feel Western. Its' pace gives it an quiet almost real time feel; the cinematography is subtle and elegant. The story unfolds slowly but builds with a tension. It's messages stays with you it's a film that makes you think.

I've just seen two very good films based in Africa within the last month Hotel Rwanda and Moolaade both portrays brave individuals in environments that are not very forgiving. I wonder how these films work with African audiences. As good as both films are they still fit into our perspective of the continent as a basket case.

The females elders who perform circumcisions


Sunday, January 09, 2005

This weekend was really wet, but it didn't completely stop me from getting outside. Saturday went to a Capricorn party - it was fun danced, chatted and slipped a little wine. Ok maybe I slipped more than just a little, Sunday I was lagging.

Went to see House of the Flying Daggers, at the Galaxy in San Francisco, matinee with Entertainment discounts coupons. I still can't get over the price for movies, our tickets were $6.00 that's reasonable. Zhang Yimou is one of my favorites directors, Raise the Red Lantern is one of my favorite films, it's visually beautiful and the film has a layered plot. Yimou films are known for the challenging themes and imagery.

Flying Daggers felt like Hidden Tiger with a dash of Matrix. The film was gorgeous but the execution of the story didn't emotionally capture me. I felt distant watching the film and my empathy for the characters was mild I didn't feel their pain. Except imagining one of those flying daggers also the film a tribute to martial arts films wasn't that fun. They should have named the film Flying Daggers, Groping Men.


Friday, January 07, 2005

Yesterday, was spent in the dentist chair, hair salon and work. Fortunately I got a call to see Hotel Rwanda it was showing at the AMC in Emeryville.

It's strange to see a movie about genocide. A true event where 1 Million people were killed in 100 days. It's hard to fathom killing at such a level. The film is rated PG-13 so the level of violence presented in the film doesn't really capture what Rwanda must have felt like when neighbor was killing neighbor. But the film didn't need to become a horror movie visually.

The film's focus is the story of Paul Rusesabagina who saved over 1000 individuals through his skill of negotiation and quick thinking. Don Cheadle plays Rusesabagina, his performance was elegant; he portrays a man transforming as the world around him changes so cruelly and dramatically. The film also captures how the West ignored the Rwanda genocide but sowed the seeds for genocide through colonalisation. I wouldn't call it an enjoyable film but one people should see. The tragedy needs to stay in our memory and should be told in every medium possible.

If you want to read about the Rwanda Genocide I can recommend "Samantha Power's "A Problem From Hell America iand the Age of Genocide". and Philip Gourevitch "We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families."

Also Frontline, The Ghost of Rwanda is very good. I believe the program is online for viewing.

We may be in the image of God but we're surely enveloped in the body and mind of the beast.


Monday, January 03, 2005

Thank goodness for friends, I was in the process of oversleeping big time Sunday morning. If the phone hadn't rung I would have slept throughout the morning/afternoon. Maybe the pitter patter of rain lulled me into a deep slumber.

I rushed to meet an acquaintance at the Legion of Honor it was the last day of the Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya exhibit. Heed my words, try not to visit museums on the last day of an exhibit. The crowd was crazy, it was very difficult to look at the pieces. I was lucky to hook up with a docent who gave an overview of the exhibit. I think she ended early because some of the rooms were almost impossible to walk through. Afterward I was able to cruise the exhibit with a little insight.

This exhibit focused on the City of Palenque and the warrior culture of the Mayans. There is so little still known about the Mayans that I wonder how much presented about Mayan culture was speculation. But I did learn that the word cigar is Mayan in origin. I couldn't help but think about societies, how they collect wealth, practice militarism, and a course eventually fail. One thing interesting about the Mayan is their "God L" is the prince of the underworld as well as a the wealthy god of commerce and trade. With all their interest in trade and wealth they culturally recognized the abuse of excessive commerce. But who knows if this concern was actually acted on.

The Legion of Honor is one of the most beautiful museum in San Francisco its' location provides wonderful views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the California coast. The museum is a grand marble house very stately. It also houses a substantial collection of the sculptor Rodin works.....including the well known Thinker.

Walking in the rain with my museum partner we headed to the Bok Choy Garden a neighborhood veggie restaurant in the Richmond District. It's not a fancy place but the service is friendly and the food is veggie hearty and reasonably priced. It was a full pleasant day to start the New Year.


Sunday, January 02, 2005

New Years in San Francisco was wet and rainy, winter has hit the Bay Area, guess it's time for an umbrella.

On Saturday evening after strolling through the Haight and downtown, I made my way to Bart and headed to Berkerley, I was invited to the Berkeley Repertory Theatre to see Polk County a play written by Zora Neal Hurston and Dorthy Waring. A course Zora the women she's one of the most interesting writers from the Harlem Renaissance do I really need to say more?
Polk County is a musical comedy about Black country folks living in Polk Country Florida. The play is set in the 1920's in a Saw Mill Camp the characters live, love, make music, fuss and fight. Polk County provides an enjoyable night of theatre, if you're looking for something profound you might have some issues with the script. It's a light theatre piece, the country blues music is very good and the writing with it's folk dialect and wit is full of lines that had me laughing out loud. It's the first time I saw the dozens on stage (in a literal sense). The performances were well done I especially enjoyed Kecia Lewis as Big Sweets her strong performance and beautiful voice filled the theatre.

A couple of comments on the Berkeley Rep. it's close to public transit, the theatre is clean, spacious and comfortable, it's an enjoyable space.


Saturday, January 01, 2005

Hopefully 2005 will be better than 2004. With the War, Election and Tsunami it wasn't a sad year. Personally it wasn't a bad year but I want to accomplish more in 2005. I had a lot of fun in 2004 but I want to take on some
challenges. Should I state some of my resolutions?

What the heck
1. Lose weight - keeping it off is the hard part.
2. Prepare a will - must protect my asset
3. Set goal for 5 years career and finance
4. 100 mile bike ride - time for the century
5. Date more men this year.
6. Volunteer more this year.

That's enough to keep me busy, I'll come back to this page next year to review on my resolutions and comment on my success.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com