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March 27, 2005

another B-Girl event!

I can't find a website for this but I've heard of some of these b-girls. After the peer pressure to join myspace [mj, found this flyer on there], I'm starting to see the value in it.

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March 25, 2005

female flavor - @ the point, bx

FEMALE FLAVOR at The Point, The Bronx

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2ND ANNUAL WOMEN IN HIP HOP FEMALE FLAVOR CONFERENCE (BRONX) 1 pm - 9 pm @ The Point 940 Garrison Avenue Bronx, NY 10474.

Session 1 Concurrent Workshops: 1 pm -3:30pm Creative Writing & Filmmaking with Chica Luna's Sofia Quintero & Elisha Miranda. Honoring Your Creative Voice with Toni Blackman. Snap, Pop & Lock with Snapshot & Wanda of Tru Essencia.

Session 2
Workshop from 4 - 5:30 pm: Minding Your Business: How to Make Your Art Your Career with Marla Teyolia (Luminating Works). 5:30-6:30 pm Pat's Kitchen Dinner Party in honor of Pebblee Poo, with an introduction by Henry Chalfant; unveiling of Pebblee Poo Installation. 7-8:30pm Open Call Female Flavor Talent Showcase, hosted by La Bruja! To attend a workshop, dinner party or to perform in the talent show: register now at femaleflavor@gmail.com, 718.542.4139x28. The dinner and Talent Showcase welcomes an audience of all genders and backgrounds.

Workshops are for females only and no artistic experience is necessary. Attendance: $15 for 2 Workshop Sessions/$5 donation for Talent Showcase (no one will be turned away for lack of fees). www.thepoint.org. Info courtesy of Angelika Peacock and Patricia Wang.

Images by MARTHA COOPER from last year:
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SHOUTS to: my lil bro eli for connecting me with vivian wen li who sent me the footage of these ladies painting that will be in the video installation at B-Girl Be , opening April 22nd at .

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March 24, 2005

ladies droppin' science

FEMALE HIP-HOP! these ladies in germany are really putting it down!

they put together this amazing pdf. called "droppin' science" go to their site and download it!

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It's beautiful when...

i haven't been taking many flicks lately. used to shoot something everyday. mostly family stuff, daily life documenting. with the stress of school, home and life it's understandable. still, i was exploring my space (no, im not a believer - i crumbled under the peer pressure [desdamona, mj and jamie], and i am finding a lot of "real" friends from the world). in fact, i found that some of my photos are out there and looking dope:

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shouts to neb luv!

also many props and respect to D-Nice! Remember him?!? well this rapper has turned photographer and I'm loving it! He's got beautiful photos of Nore, Evil Dee and so many more.. peep it/

March 23, 2005

B-Girls!

if u peep Peppa's blog, you'd see a sneak peep of Martha Cooper's flicks for We BGIRLZ of some of the lovely Cali b-girls. Like this one:

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Martha Cooper has agreed to give us a sneak peak for B-Girl Be Visual Expo. I can't wait!Just wish I could finish editing the video installation.

People have been generous with footage (some more is en route), and folks like Sarah White (Traditional Methods) who are making pieces for the looping soundtrack.

I'M HYPED!

SEEKING: DIGITAL IMAGES > GRAF GIRLS

SEEKING: DIGITAL PHOTOS OF GRAF WALLS PAINTED BY WOMEN AROUND THE WORLD

for B-Girl Be: A Celebration of Women in Hip-Hop VISUAL ARTS EXPO, opening April 22nd at Intermedia Arts. The gallery and event run April - June 2005. I am producing a projection of walls (and buses, trains, planes, any public spaces) painted by women around the world that will loop in the gallery for the two-month long event. High resolution images preferred (300 dpi, but will accept 72dpi and up). There is no limit on the number of submissions per artist. 

>> Please LABEL IMAGES (or note in body of email) - artist name and location of wall (city/state/country).

>> EMAIL images by APRIL 1 to: raim0007@umn.edu
or mail a CD to:
Intermedia Arts
Attn: B-Girl Be / Rachel Raimist
2822 Lyndale Avenue South
Minneapolis MN 55408

For more info on the event check www.intermediaarts.org/bgirlbe.html

March 18, 2005

Every Mother's Son

with tears still in my eyes and a heaviness weighing in my heart, i type. for all the pain and suffering that is unnecessary and at the hands of those who are supposed to protect us, i will always stand up.

every mother's son has affected me so profoundly.

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The film is made Kelly Anderson and Tami Gold, two Film/Media professors at Hunter College. There is hope. I will get back to work...

Feminist Media Making

We've done it - we've funded and installed the new Feminist Media Center (FMC) in the Women's Studies Department! 16 emacs (with fast processors to do web, graphics, word processing, and bio of women labs) and 3 G5's to do all of the above plus final cut. I'm excited. Part of my vision and mission is about teaching and creating opportunity.

My hope is that my students will take what I offer and leave me in the dust. At every screening of Nobody somebody asks "Are you gonna make another?? A new, updated..." and I respond, "why don't you?? Pick up the camera and do it, and do it better than I did" So PLEASE MAKE SOME MEDIA LADIES!!!

Shouts to Favianna - a lady who is doing her thing. She does amazing graphics, posters, art... I'm buying this for the home and the FMC.

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And now I feel so special cuz the NY Times says the a cinema degree is a new M.B.A. [read more here]. Well, with two degrees from UCLA film school I should be golden!

March 14, 2005

Transformations

I'm always feeling so blessed when a new netflix arrives! I remember living at a time when I would have to literally borrow, beg and steal to get access to films that weren't Hollywood action films. So now that I can list docs that get mailed to me automatically (my waiting list is hundreds of films long) and then a send one back and a surprise arrives (cuz I've forgotten what's on my list).

Today's surprise - what a blessing! A Panther In Africa

Official Synopsis:
On October 30, 1969, Pete O'Neal, a young Black Panther in Kansas City, Missouri, was arrested for transporting a gun across state lines. One year later, O'Neal fled the charge, and for over 30 years, he has lived in Tanzania, one of the last American exiles from an era when activists considered themselves at war with the U.S. government. Today, this community organizer confronts very different challenges and finds himself living between two worlds - America and Africa, his radical past and his uncertain future.

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I just finished watching the piece and so many things are floating in my head, in my body, in my heart - love, committment, heart, relationships, community, struggle. This is the story of a Kansas City man who once aspired to be a street hustler. In the piece he speaks very candidly about his former life as a pimp exploiting young women, his life (shotgun in hand) with the Black Panther party, his conviction for transporting guns across state lines, his flee to Africa, his life in Tanzania as a community organizer...

There are some scenes that stay with me. His beautiful wife, Charlotte, left the US at 19 with him. She seems at peace and at home with him in Tanzania now 30 years later. She runs the whole organization, and acknowledges her blessings. In one scene she is ill, with bronchitis and malaria (they contract malaria 2-3 times per year) and still she sees the positivity and wouldn't trade her life to go back to Kansas City. They left loved ones, he has children, and a life but they have built something transformative together.

In another scene they bring two young African-American men from Kansas City (one says something like, "I didn't think I'd get this cuz I didn't have the best grades, I was in jail...". They seem overwhelmed upon arrival. After some days they seem to find their rhythm, rapping for the African audience, and teaching them to ball. There are many things said and also much that goes unsaid.

Later in the film Geronimo Pratt arrives, builds a house with his beautiful wife and has blessed the O'Neal farm with a deep well that gives water to many. The Panthers mission to build and transform communities is there.

I sit and meditate on what we can do to build, rebuild and transform ourselves. How can we live and breathe positive energy? How can our education (and my own role as an educator) be transformative? I used to read bell hook (critical and feminist pedagogy - Teaching to Transgress, Teaching for Community, and her inspirations like Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed - and try in my everyday practices to teach to transform here and now. This seems increasingly difficult as the structures around me (yes the U) becomes increasingly corporate.

Unfortunately, many of my students run through the classroom with a checklist (you know the list of requirements to graduate), enrolling (for the most part) to get credit and keep it moving. The motivator is only money. I love expensive things (and things more expensive than most) but money is not my motivator, it is simply a means to an ends.

I am alive, living and breathing to be taught and to teach. In tenth grade a teacher, Fred Isseks, saw something in me. He cared enough to tell me to take his class. He put a camera in my hand and I've never put it down. I do what I do because I want to tell stories that haven't been told (or at least told the way that I see it). I try to listen for the silences, the pauses, the screams, and the energy of luv life.

So being on spring break - vacation?!? - nope. I'm hitting the Final Cut Pro. It's getting close....

March 10, 2005

WE > Can't Stop! Won't Stop!

This Tuesday was International Women's Day. To celebrate Desdamona, me [Rae], and MJ [hip-hop journalist, former editor of The Source, Complex, Stress, and 4080 hip-hop mags] hosted "B-Girl Radio" on kfai for Speak out Sisters! International Women's Day. We played Mystic, Ursula Rucker, Invincible, Lauryn Hill, Erykah, Queen Latifah and so many local Twin Cities ladies - Sarah White [formerly of Traditional Methods], Dessa of Doomtree, Pavielle, and Desdamona. You can hear streaming versions of the show on kfai. It was a great experience (although I hate to hear my voice and I get nervous speaking in public). We even had callers - one [a man] who asked if we had a regular show.

Also last weekend Jeff Chang (!!!) came to speak at Intermedia Arts. His book is amazing! You need to cop this:

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It was a long evening - I screened keepintime [a short by photo B+] and freestyle: the art of rhyme [a feature length doc by organic]. Tiana [my 7yr old] was buggin out, grabbing the mic out of my hands, but that's how it goes sometimes. After I sat back in my seat, Jeff leaned back and said, "My son does the same thing". I really do need to get it moving on this hip-hop moms movie. Well, I've been thinking more and more that it needs to be a hip-hop parenting flick. Rarely, if ever, do we get to see our lives and our stories reflected on screen. That's what I do what I do.

This Saturday I'll be in Milwaukee for Women's History Month, Women Without Borders Film Festival. I'll be speaking at 7 & 9pm I think. Who knows. I'm not in charge of my schedule when I travel. I just go and try to build with as many people as I can.

Last night I got a call from a young woman in Milwaukee from Gumbo TV [an Emmy award-winning youth produced TV magazine show with 100,000 viewers] produced throught the Strive Media Institute.

Strive's mission:
Strive Media Institute’s program enhances the business world, not only by preparing students for media-related careers, but also by giving them the reading, writing, and communication skills they need to succeed in any profession. Through partnerships with existing industry professionals and local university faculty, Strive Media Institute has developed a comprehensive curriculum in three fields of mass communication: print journalism, integrated marketing communications, and film and video production. Using mass media as a tool, Strive Media Institute prepares students for careers as future journalists, editors, producers, and communications professionals by teaching them interpersonal communications skills that will transfer to any career field.

I plan to build with these students and see what's what. I'm really interested in not teaching in the academy and rather building or working with an arts organization to create spaces for youth to create. My dream is a building that has a TV studio, edit suites, recording booths, theater for screenings, poetry, and performances, art gallery... not unlike Intermedia but with a bit more technology. I think there's hope for me and my dreams...

So now I better write my papers because that's what's paying the bills and helping me keep hope alive.

March 4, 2005

future faculty?

This is pretty much dead on (unfortunately) so I wonder why I am here so that the road will leave me there... probably with little to nothing.

Dear Adjunct Faculty Member

I've hit PhD student burnout. it's strange for me - I've always loved school, found the positive in all of my classes (for the most part), and been an absolute over-achiever. Even now, I love most of my classes (especially Theater 5117 - Performance & Social Change [about Boal's Theater of the Oppressed)], but today my migraine kicked in and I couldn't get my work done.

Overall this term (my 5th semester) I can't seem to get motivated to get the work done. I am falling asleep trying to do the reading, finding my mind wandering, thinking about all the other things in life I am working to accomplish. I know I've got so many more "exciting" things to do right now - B-Girl Be, working the Jan Mandell and St. Paul Central HS's Central Touring Theater, edit Stillwater prison poets, doc, take photos, watch films, play with my daughter - but I've set this goal of a Phd and I need to complete it. But how?

How can I re-focus? All of my friends and loved ones have offered suggestions (and good ones):
1. Don't check email [i get waaay caught up in checking emails and then doing whatever has been asked of me, and before i realize it im gone, i emerge exhausted]
2. Say "NO!" to "free shit". [aka "fuck u pay me"] but I don't really know how to say no when someone is asking me to share my time, energy, insight, experience... how do you say no???
3. Go underground - no phones, no IMs, no emails, no TV, no nothing (maybe an ipod to have a soundtrack). How??? Don't remember how to do this

I could go on and on but I won't. I'll try to crack open Pedagogy of the Oppressed and try to write a paper about how and why this is all relevant in this time and place. 2005. How did we get here?


the hype is building!

from the startribune -

LADIES IN DA HOUSE
>
> Wednesday's "Commingle" fashion, art and music show at the Fine Line
> sounds like a lively affair, but it's also a fundraiser for an
> upcoming event that really has people talking: the B-Girl Be Summit.
>
> Planned for June at Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis, the festival will
> be an all-female hip-hop showcase. If you know anything about
> mainstream hip-hop, you know that women have mostly been relegated to
> dancing behind some ugly guy rapper and acting as if he's hotter than
> diamond bling. B-Girl Be will fight the trend via female rappers, DJs,
> artists, poets, filmmakers and leaders.
>
> "Our hopes are to involve as many women from the hip-hop community as
> possible," said spoken-word artist and chief B-Girl Desdamona, who
> helped curate the women's nights in Intermedia's "Encyclopedia of
> Hip-Hop Evolution" series.
>
> Those nights proved to be some of the most popular in the series and
> set the summit in motion.
>
> For now, the work is mostly in fundraising and getting the word out.
> Wednesday's show will feature "urban-inspired" fashion and art and
> performances by Delicious Venom, Jistoray and Desdamona (7:30 p.m.,
> $12-$15). Look for other events and ways to support the summit soon.
>
> Meanwhile, one of the rising women in the local scene, poet and rapper
> Dessa, celebrates the release of her Doomtree CD, "False Hopes," with
> Cecil Otter at the Triple Rock on Saturday (5 and 10 p.m.).
>

Take Back The Music!

Hip-hop Portrayal of Women Protested
Movement grows into national 'Take Back the Music' campaign

By Rose Arce
CNN
Thursday, March 3, 2005 Posted: 10:51 PM EST (0351 GMT)

Editor's Note: The following report includes graphic language that some readers may find disturbing. Reader discretion is advised.

(CNN) -- The hip-hopping street party was in full swing, college kids talking, laughing and listening to the music.
Asha Jennings, 21, wasn't joining in. She and her girlfriends were confronting college party-goers in Atlanta, Georgia, challenging them about what they say is a nasty cultural shift, the transformation of hip-hop from a musical forum into a misogynic rant.

Jennings and her group pushed men -- and women -- at the party to think about how their support of the hip-hop industry perpetuated images that hurt the black community.

"I want people to start thinking critically about how these images affect black women today," said Jennings, a Spelman College alumnae and now a law student in New York.

"We're telling people [black women] are bitches and hos and sluts and not worthy of respect," she said. "And that's exactly how society is treating us."

It all began last April when Jennings organized a cancer fund-raiser at Spelman, where Jennings was a senior at the time, and invited hip-hop artist Nelly, whose sister has leukemia. Someone pointed out his video "Tip Drill" and Jennings was upset. Here are some of the lyrics:
"I said it must be ya ass cause it ain't ya face I need a tip drill." A "tip drill" is an unattractive woman who has sex for money.
"Now mama girl you gotta friend that don't mind joinin' in
Now baby girl bring it ova let me spit my pimp juice."
"You lookin' good in them shorts but they look better on the floo'."

Jennings and other Spelman co-eds threatened to protest the event, and Nelly cancelled. The movement grew, and suddenly Jennings and her friends found themselves part of a national campaign called "Take Back the Music" -- sponsored by, and featured in the pages of, Essence magazine.

Essence magazine is partially owned by Time Warner, the parent company of CNN.

The movement has sponsored two town-hall forums and had another planned for New York in March. It was also the topic of a National Public Radio program, and an ongoing column by Stanley Crouch, who writes for the New York Daily News.

The image created by these kinds of lyrics is an image of women that "tends to be objectified, degrading, very stripper-like. And it's not that that is wrong, but it becomes wrong when there's no other quality or image that we have to choose from," said Michaela Angela Davis, the fashion and beauty editor of Essence.

The problem, said Davis, is that the image of the black woman portrayed in many hip-hop videos has become the pervasive image of black women. And, according to Essence research, the main consumers of hip-hop are young, affluent, white men. She fears that society as a whole is getting a "sick" image of what black women are all about.

"That sickness is becoming the psyche of young women. Who they are in this culture, where they fit, what their value is, or their lack of value, because if this is the only image that they see of themselves in a pseudo-glamorous way, meaning if they look at a fashion magazine there's no girl that looks like 'Tamico on the block' [an average black girl], but in the videos there is," she said. "But they see them in this one objectified way and it's hurting them."

On Nelly's video, men throw cash at women's crotches and, in one scene, a man swipes his credit card through a woman's buttocks.

Nelly's representative did not return CNN's phone calls, but in comments made to Essence in the past about Jenning's movement, he said: "I respect women, and I'm not a misogynist. I'm an artist. Hip-hop videos are art and entertainment. Videos tell stories; some are violent, some are sexy, some are fun, some are serious. As for how women are shown in the videos, I don't have a problem with it because it is entertainment...

"No one knows what a particular woman's situation is, what her goals are. Being in that video may help her further those goals. Several women who have been in my videos have gone on to do TV appearances and movies. No one can dictate other people's choices and situations."

At an Essence-sponsored forum at Spelman in February, industry executives were asked why this has become hip-hop's female side. Bryan Leach of TVT Record and Michael Llewellyn of Black Entertainment network walked into a hornets' nest, where hundreds of young women accused them of making money by deriding them.

"Again at the end of the day those that tune in on to our network ... are doing so by choice. If there is something that you see that you don't want to see, simply don't watch," Llewellyn told the women. "I am not a gardener, but I am not leading a crusade myself against Home and Garden simply because I am not a gardener. Simply, I just don't garden."

Both of the executives acknowledged that the bottom line is business and that hip-hop is making fast, big money. But many of the women said they aren't after censorship -- they're after diversity. They want to see different images of women.

"I have to sit in front of these young men and women everyday who buy these CD's, who don't look at me as competent, as good as them," said Jennings. "They look at me like a tip drill, so I have to stand up and over-exert myself to prove myself, and that's not fair."

The young women also say they won't be silenced by their black male peers, many of whom accuse them of just helping out a culture that derides black men.

When Jennings and her friends shot back, one young black student from Morehouse College blamed it on the women who agree to appear in the videos, commenting: "If you have females constantly perpetuating the images that they talk about in those songs you just can't sit here and get mad at the men, you know what I'm saying."

But the women pressed on. If hip-hop is to form the image of black women in popular culture, these women insist they'll have a say in it.

March 2, 2005

images from yrs past

i was looking through some things online (procrastinating from reading and writing papers actually), and i came across some of the work that i did when i was in LA. i worked with this beautiful choreographer & company of artists - hae kyung lee & dancers. i recall filming knee deep in water in an elaborate fountain in downtown LA. water shot at least fifty feet into the air above our heads. that piece is online --> ancient mariners.

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if you are intrigued, view the clips:

http://haekyungleeanddancers.org/video.htm

if i recall correctly - i filmed and edited the following:
silent flight II
ancient mariners
shadows of the spirit
cross the wounded galaxies
voices from the deep

i don't miss much about LA - friends, the beach, le petit greek on larchmont, jerry's deli [the matzoh ball soup!] and filming hae & company...

getting too busy

TUNE IN: B-GIRL RADIO
Tues March 8 3-4pm
celebrating international women's day
www.kfai.org

i haven't been blogging as i should. just posting where i will be. recently "nobody" has screened in sweden (popcorn festivals plus), and this week is germany. there are also classes across the US and in Canada that are using the film in women's studies, feminist studies and in hip-hop coursework. if u need a copy for your library or want to rent -
http://wmm.com/catalog/pages/c516.htm
they do have a community rate for purchases so don't get discouraged by the high academic rate, they are a great feminist distributor....

so upcoming
march 12 at univ of wisconsin, milw
women's month film festival

april 7 university of chicago
hip hop & feminism conference

june 4 intermedia arts, minneapolis
as part of B-Girl Be: a celebration of women in hip-hop

and then hopefully some work screenings of other work -
am editing (when i find the time between 4 classes, curating B-Girl Be, working at IT Fellow for Women's Studies at UMN, living, breathing, and mothering...) doc about Stillwater Poetry Group (SPG). AMAZING! i've shared some rough cuts at Macalester College, UMN, and at some corrections education conferences. well received!

i was also shooting Central Touring Theater HS company from St. Paul, MN Central HS - also AMAZING kids. will update more as i get it together

so for all you bugging me to blog, here it is!!!

more later,
r