General

Harvesting Community with CSArt

By Mary Tinti   |   Tuesday, June 19, 2012
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June 19, 2012




CAMBRIDGE, MA - On June 12, a friendly group of artists and art enthusiasts gathered at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education (CCAE) to celebrate the commencement of this year’s Community Supported Art program.

A brilliant concept whose tagline is “Invest in local artists, reap a harvest of art,” CSArt is one of a gazillion great ways that the worlds of sustainable farming and contemporary art seem to be colliding lately, and this one is literally in your backyard!

Borrowing a few basic principles from community supported agriculture, CSArt matches nine local artists with 50 shareholders who, at the end of the season, will acquire a bounty of limited edition, original artwork for the bargain price of $350. That’s NINE works of art…produced by talented artists from the Greater Boston area, that will nourish your mind and creative urges in the same way that farm-share produce fills your body with healthy, organically grown goodness. The art will be doled out in phases at three different shareholder harvest parties this fall, gatherings meant to cultivate new friendships as much as they do new collectors.

Oh, and did I mention that CSArts is also super entrepreneurial? Shareholders reap the benefits of starting or adding to their art collection and have the pleasure of knowing that their support provided an opportunity for these artists to get paid for their work, receive a great deal of exposure, and connect with the CCAE for business tips and networking opportunities to enhance their practice.

Artists like Will Whelan, who plans to create a series of swirly, process-revealing prints by transforming discarded, all-but-obsolete phone books into his impromptu sculptural blocks; Melissa Chao, who will channel her bookbinding prowess into fabricating a series of hand stitched journals – treasures whose pages beg to be filled with tales of everyday neighborhood adventures; and Kristen Belton Willis, who will fabricate rag dolls (sure to become family heirlooms) inspired by the strength, smarts, and courage of escaped slave Mary Walker, whose family owned the very house that is now home to the CCAE on Brattle Street.

There are still some shares available, but take my word for it, they won’t last! Visit the CCAE website today and don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to get in on the arts harvest action. And be sure to swing by the CCAE in July to check out this year’s exhibition of harvested art, which will be on view through early September.

Sounds delicious, doesn’t it?

For more information, please visit:
Community Supported Art 2012
Cambridge Center for Adult Education
42 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA  02138
(617) 547-6789

Image Caption:
Eight of the Nine participating artists in CSArt 2012. Photo Credit: Mary M. Tinti

Poetically Speaking: The Legacy of The Last Poets

By Bridgit Brown   |   Thursday, June 14, 2012
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June 15, 2012

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Abiodun Oyewole of The Last Poets at the Grammy Awards in 2006. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

BOSTON — On May 19, 1968, three poets stepped up to the mic to recite their verses to the rhythm of percussive thrusts, and from that day forward the art of spoken word was altered. The poets had no idea that they were about to make music history. None of them had given what they were doing a name, but each wanted to create an opening in the Black Arts Movement for their chosen form of expression. The poems were hip and the drumbeats were infectious. Words over beats would become a powerful social force for African-American and Latino youth, paving the way for social and political messaging through beats and rhymes.
 
No discussion about the history of Rap or even about the history of contemporary Spoken Word is complete without mentioning The Last Poets. Clive Campbell, better known as "Kool Herc" or The Father of Hip-Hop, said the vocal style of rap is owed to The Last Poets’ cofounder, Jalal Mansur Nuriddin, the Grandfather of Rap.
 
On June 16th, Abiodun Oyewole, Babatunde Don Eaton, and Umar Bin Hassan of The Last Poets will be stepping up to a mic as part of the international observance of Juneteenth (June 19), the day in 1865 on which slaves in the state of Texas were emancipated from slavery. This was two years after slavery was officially abolished in the United States, on January 1, 1863 (another reason for us to celebrate New Year’s Day!).
 
Juneteenth honors African-American liberation and this year in Boston it will be done through poetry and spoken word. There are other Juneteenth activities taking place, but this one caught my attention because I've been following Jesse Winfrey a/k/a Catch Wreck since he was a high schooler, and I’ve been waiting to hear some fresh lyrics from him. I’ve also been meaning to check out Sofia Snow, another rising young star on Boston's spoken word scene. Veteran poet Jamarhl Crawford, and newbie Neiel Israel will bless the mic with their lyricism, too. Jeff Robinson, a saxophonist, and host of The Lizard Lounge Poetry Jam, will accompany this verbal explosion of FREEDOM with his tunes.
 

Abiodun Oyewole on how a poet helps define a Revolution

I was fortunate to catch Abiodun Oyewole before the show and to get his take on Juneteenth, revolution, Hip-Hop, and the use of the n-word in Rap. He also recited “If We Only Knew What We Could Do,” an original poem about hope. 


Abiodun Oyewole says Hip-Hop is a wonderful vehicle, if used well
 
 

"Understand the origin of the N-word," says Abiodun Oyewole, poet of a Revolution

Get tickets for The Last Poets: Live in Boston on The Blackstonian website.

Baroque Strings At Sanders

By Arthur Smith   |   Friday, February 10, 2012
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Baroque Strings At Sanders It’s been a good year for the Boston Early Music Festival. Most lauded for its biennial June performances, the group also presents a strong line-up of concerts throughout the year. This season it’s been the finest classical series in town, with quite a roster of established and newer stars (in the latter category is countertenor Philippe Jaroussky, who gave a knock-out BEMF performance in October: get a taste via YouTube as he wins a French Grammy in 2007). On Sunday, February 5 BEMF brought the baroque string ensemble “Europa Galante to Sanders Theater in a performance directed by founder, violinist Fabio Biondi. The concert wove together both well-known and obscure baroque and early classical works, all delivered with the combination of ardor and accuracy that is one of the group’s many virtues. For anybody who fears that early music shows might be a parade of audible footnotes—“look! we play this trill this way in Scaccia, but this way in Bach, thrilling, huh?” Biondi and his band are a great tonic. Instrumentation, techniques, and tempo are in the historical tradition, but phrasing is vibrant, and attacks are nuanced, even personal, and above all the music comes across as alive, not curated. Familiar works fared best, with a Haydn rarity, "The Concerto for Violin and Harpsichord in F," Hob 18:6 a particular prize. Paola Poncet’s keyboard style captured the wild imagination of the piece (at least from my second row vantage point, friends further back in Sanders couldn’t hear her) and an argument for Haydn not just as a classical master but as a bridge between baroque and classical styles found compelling evidence. A suite from Handel’s opera "Rodrigo" included wonderful inward looking moments in a softly spoken Sarabande, and hypnotic Passacaille. The Bach Double Concerto, played by violinist Andrea Rognoni and Biondi, who also soloed in the Haydn and other works, was a more equivocal pleasure. It had a strikingly lovely center movement, Largo ma non tanto, those famous overlapping voices and suspensions even more heartbreaking than usual. But the opening and closing movements had some problems: ragged unbalanced ensemble playing; contrapuntal musical lines that weren’t coordinated (or in non-music critic speak, a alarming sense of just “sawing away.”) But these, and some tuning problems hear and there, were momentary lapses in a concert that succeeded handsomely overall. BEMF continues to go from strength to great with performances by Sequentia and The Tallis Scholars upcoming in March. Strongly recommended!

Review: Europa Galante at Sanders

By Arthur Smith   |   Friday, February 10, 2012
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Baroque Strings At Sanders

It’s been a good year for the Boston Early Music Festival. Most lauded for its biennial June performances, the group also presents a strong line-up of concerts throughout the year. This season it’s been the finest classical series in town, with quite a roster of established and newer stars (in the latter category is countertenor Philippe Jaroussky, who gave a knock-out BEMF performance in October: get a taste via YouTube as he wins a French Grammy in 2007).

On Sunday, February 5, BEMF brought the baroque string ensemble Europa Galante to Sanders Theater in a performance directed by founder, violinist Fabio Biondi. The concert wove together both well-known and obscure baroque and early classical works, all delivered with the combination of ardor and accuracy that is one of the group’s many virtues. For anybody who fears that early music shows might be a parade of audible footnotes—“look! we play this trill this way in Scaccia, but this way in Bach, thrilling, huh?” Biondi and his band are a great tonic. Instrumentation, techniques, and tempo are in the historical tradition, but phrasing is vibrant and attacks are nuanced, even personal. Above all the music comes across as alive, not curated.

Familiar works fared best, with a Haydn rarity, The Concerto for Violin and Harpsichord in F, Hob 18:6, a particular prize. Paola Poncet’s keyboard style captured the wild imagination of the piece (at least from my second row vantage point; friends further back in Sanders couldn’t hear her) and an argument for Haydn not just as a classical master, but as a bridge between baroque and classical styles found compelling evidence. A suite from Handel’s opera Rodrigo included wonderful inward looking moments in a softly spoken Sarabande, and hypnotic Passacaille.

The Bach Double Violin Concerto, played by violinist Andrea Rognoni and Biondi who also soloed in the Haydn and other works, was a more equivocal pleasure. It had a strikingly lovely center movement, Largo ma non tanto, those famous overlapping voices and suspensions even more heartbreaking than usual. But the opening and closing movements had occasional problems: ragged unbalanced ensemble playing; contrapuntal musical lines that weren’t coordinated (or in non-music critic speak, an alarming sense of just “sawing away.”) But these, and some tuning problems here and there, were momentary lapses in a concert that succeeded handsomely overall. BEMF continues to go from strength to strength with performances by Sequentia and The Tallis Scholars upcoming in March. Strongly recommended!

The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975

By Kim McLarin   |   Friday, October 7, 2011
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The most moving scene in The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975, a striking new documentary about the Black Power Movement, is one in which Stokely Carmichael sits on the couch and gently interviews his mother, leading her to voice aloud and for the cameras what she seems reluctant to articulate: that racism has severely constricted her life.












The scene is moving because of the great tenderness Carmichael The Uncompromising Revolutionary displays toward his soft-spoken mother, and because in that and other scenes in this engrossing movie we see Carmichael as he is rarely elsewhere seen: relaxed and smiling, joking around with friends, even singing a song. What the scene reveals is not that Carmichael was a far more fully-rounded human being that he is usually portrayed, which should go without saying, but just how often American history seeks to flatten and even demonize black men who stand aggressively in the service of black liberation. What the scene reveals is how effective such flattening almost always is, even among those of us who think we know better. What stands revealed is seeing Stokely smile is not him but us.

Black Power Mixtape is a fascinating compilation of interviews, news accounts and melancholy images from the fertile, fevered years of the Black Power Movement. Shot by Swedish journalists, who traveled to America to see for themselves – and interpret for their countrymen -- what the heck was going on over here, the snippets together offer a fresh and compelling look at a time not so long ago but already calcified in public knowledge.

I plan to make my undergraduate students see it, those studying African-American literature. When asked about Stokely Carmichael they come up blank (sigh). But when asked to toss out adjectives for Malcolm X or the Black Panthers or just about any other black activist or writer who called for an immediate end to black oppression they hand me these: extremist, angry, violent. About Rosa Parks they know only that her feet were tired. About Martin Luther King Jr. they only know he had some kind of dream, one involving being able to sit in a restaurant with white people. Problem solved.

This short and fierce movie can’t fix all that; it makes no pretense of being a comprehensive look at a wide-ranging and disjointed movement that spanned everything from Pan-Africanism to black cultural nationalism to Marxism, and beyond. But it does serve as a bracing corrective to America’s tendency to reduce complicated people and complicated times into two-dimensional stick figures, with gentle heroes and hostile villains and nothing in between. The interview with a pale but radiant Angela Davis in prison is alone worth a hundred cheap and sentimental movies like The Help.














This movie also makes you think. What in retrospect may seem naïve or misguided – namely, revolution -- in the moment of these tapes seems breathtakingly possible. As Dr. King said in his groundbreaking 1967 “Beyond Vietnam” speech, mentioned here but far less enshrined in the American imagination than that dream one, “These are revolutionary times.”

The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975
Directed and written by: Göran Olsson
Produced by: Annika Rogell, Story AB
Co-Produced by: Joslyn Barnes & Danny Glover, Louverture Films

Currently running at the Kendall Square Cinema
One Kendall Square
Cambridge, MA  02139
(617) 499-1995

Ron LaRussa biographical sketch

By Ron LaRussa   |   Thursday, September 15, 2011
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Ron LaRussa is the Director of WGBH Interactive.  He manages the department’s ongoing production of interactive media related to WGBH-produced national television programs and curriculum-based educational initiatives. He is also responsible for the creation of new content initiatives specifically for interactive media, and research and development in new technologies and interactive content formats. Prior to joining WGBH, Ron was Director of Programming Business Affairs for Continental Cablevision, then the nation’s third largest cable operator (eventually acquired by Comcast) where he handled carriage negotiations with broadcast and cable networks and helped manage Continental’s ownership stakes in cable networks such as E!, The Food Network, Speedvision and the Golf Channel. Ron began his career in radio, practiced law in New York and Boston and produced for television before entering the cable industry.

About General

ArtSceNE news and comment

About the Authors
Mary Tinti Mary Tinti
Mary is a Koch Curatorial Fellow at the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum. On her blog, Dress For Sports, she says, "I love innovative public art, creative design, and unique intersections of architecture, sculpture, and installation.  And I love stumbling upon cool collisions of art and everyday life." Mary has a Ph.D. in art history from Rutgers University.

Bridgit Brown Bridgit Brown
Bridgit Brown is a graduate of the MFA program in Creative Writing at Emerson College ('98). She was a Fulbright Lecturing and Research Scholar in Cote d'Ivoire, West Africa, and her writing has appeared in the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Bay State Banner, Color Magazine, BasicBlack.org: Black Perspectives Now, Colorlines of Architecture, Exhale Magazine, Ibbetson Street Magazine, and Somerville Review.
Arthur Smith Arthur Smith
Arthur Smith is the former editor of WGBHArts. Executive producer for digital education at WGBH, Arthur, an amateur pianist and singer, was previously a freelance classical music reviewer for the Washington Post for 9 years. He has also worked at an opera company, and ran the information service and publications programs for OPERA America, the national service organization for the art form.  Since 1991, he has been the program annotator for Vocal Arts DC, a classical song recital series based at Washington's Kennedy Center. 
Kim McLarin Kim McLarin
Kim McLarin is the author of the critically-acclaimed novels Taming it Down, Meeting of the Waters and Jump at the Sun, all published by William Morrow. She is a former staff writer for The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Greensboro News & Record and the Associated Press. McLarin has also written for TheRoot.com and Salon.com.
Ron LaRussa Ron LaRussa
Ron LaRussa is the Director of WGBH Interactive.  He manages the department’s ongoing production of interactive media related to WGBH-produced national television programs and curriculum-based educational initiatives. He is also responsible for the creation of new content initiatives specifically for interactive media, and research and development in new technologies and interactive content formats. Prior to joining WGBH, Ron was Director of Programming Business Affairs for Continental Cablevision, then the nation’s third largest cable operator (eventually acquired by Comcast) where he handled carriage negotiations with broadcast and cable networks and helped manage Continental’s ownership stakes in cable networks such as E!, The Food Network, Speedvision and the Golf Channel. Ron began his career in radio, practiced law in New York and Boston and produced for television before entering the cable industry.


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