There’s something about Los Angeles. Could be the hog-wild people, the aggressively blue skies, the electrifying espressos, or the record-breaking September temperatures (113F a couple days ago!), but like so many dramatic narrators before me, I’m comfortable here. Gathering together my story of the On the Move workshops has been taking most of my writing time, but I’ve been finding worthwhile activities and uncanny correlations wherever I turn. Like these two :
Category Archives: United States
Last week, I got to go to school. When I first walked in to the larger and newer office of the afterschool program, I noticed old caricatures of all the staff members in black marker on white paper, taped up on the wall. I scanned the faces until I found the one that had claimed to be me, two and a half years ago… and I still don’t see the resemblance. GLO is the afterschool program where I worked during the endless San Francisco winter of 2007-2008, and the site of my latest On the Move workshop.
Even better, with a feat of mathematical magic the site coordinator and I arranged for my workshop to target the 3rd grade Ultimate Tigers, once upon a time the kindergarten Bumblebees of 2007-2008. The first day of my workshop was a reunion with the students who have shaped the majority of the past two years for me, and they are bigger and brighter than ever. With only two short sessions, we made a Kaavad for the class instead of a banyan tree, telling some travel stories of the group.
I love what happened last week.
I do have a few more words about Detroit. The city itself really impressed me. I know, I know, that the influx of 20,000 people who care passionately about whatever it is they do, and care passionately about the lives of other people, is going to change the feel of a place in a way that I enjoy. I was told repeatedly that the city, at least the downtown was different that week – but the thing is, it was Detroit people telling me so. Everyone I met was curious, and friendly, and proud, and mostly a little annoyed that they hadn’t heard about the USSF to take part. We needed more media outreach for all our talk about media.
Have you heard about the Heidelberg Project? It’s a two-block stretch on Heidelberg Street in Detroit, whose vacant lots piled with trash between a few rattling houses were transformed into a socially and environmentally conscious space for public art beginning in 1986. An artist named Tyree Guyton returned to his childhood neighborhood to clean out the debris and build it into symbol, color, sculpture, concept, polka dots : art.
The place was beautiful. Although portions of the project have twice been demolished by the city, it is voluptuous with discarded materials restructured and re-imagined and with its definite aesthetic. I see it as an example of the potential in post-urban spaces for innovation. Maybe places like Detroit have a opportunity to create a kind of community that hasn’t existed before, as an urban culture relaxes into open physical space?
I also see it as a perfect example of how I prefer to engage with art – and how I prefer art to engage with me. I want art to step up to reality, strike up a conversation, establish a relationship and move in to stay. Of course I like it to have an interesting story to share. What I’m realizing right now is that I’m interested in precisely the intersection between media and art; how does art express its story? How can media make use of symbolism and beauty?
Those questions were at the heart of what I found at the US Social Forum, and I’m looking for more. Thoughts comments ideas interesting links?
I am so impressed;
I hope this student walk-out is being celebrated over the seas in that tri-state area where I was born and bred. I know from personal experience that it’s not easy to draw public attention to the frequent rounds of educational budget cuts in the United States, and it’s definitely not easy to get The New York Times on the beat. If you know any high school students over in Jersey, pass on my respect.
In the life of a large jet, there are some events that call for a major overhaul, such as new technologies, newly designed yet perpetually velour upholstery, new flight paths bouncing the plane cheerfully along those neat arcs from airport to airport.
We’ve got the beginning of a new chapter – two. The long belated Emily Dickinson page is finally up. I’ve managed to pick up lemon eucalyptus oil but I’m still searching for dental floss, and my plane lifts out of Philadelphia this Saturday evening.
I am so monumentally excited and terrified. Thank you to everyone who was a part of this summer – you made it awesome in that real way. And come tomorrow, I’ll be satisfied if I can catch that fast train and ride.