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December 31, 2007

It's Time for the Spirit Awards!

My favorite thing about being an IFP member is the voting privileges.

This year some of the films are streaming online. I can (again) be the movie watching fool that I was before life beyond film school got too busy. I also am going to re-activate my Netflix for this special occasion. They automatically used to automatically populate your list with the nominated films. Just added all the nominated films that are available. A good number of the films I can't wait to see aren't available to view online [yet] or available for Netflix. = (

I don't love watching award shows but I love watching films. Netflix is going to dominate my *free* time.

IFP rocks.

December 30, 2007

Starting My Virtual Ghostbox - Entry #1

I mentioned the book ghostbox: a memoir in my last post. One of the tips of the book is to get a box that has some significance. Walt, the author, collects shoe boxes because they are handy. He uses a shoe box from the shoes he wore for his wedding. I don't like shoe boxes. I have so many things, that I'll probably use a banker box and maybe decorate it with words or images.

I've decided to start my ghostbox, and finally have conversations with the ghosts that sit on my shoulders, collect dust on my shelves, and dance in my dreams. I've decided, at least in part, to share these reflections in stream of consciousness reflections here on my blog. Maybe I'm not *really* ready to share all of the stories but I find that the only way to really get started, is to jump in and start. I've decided I'll film, scan, and digitally document the pieces that will go in my physical box. Maybe putting all the pieces together will help me move along the physical process, and through this I'll find the emotional connections to my memories, history, and identity.

In the book these are the passages that I've underlined; I feel a connection to these words:

- British sociologist Paul Gilroy says, "we make our identities, but with inherited resources and not under conditions of our own choosing." (116)

- the power of sharing ghost stories, even with strangers... (123)

- Ghostboxes help us write and organize ghost stories. Specifically... (1) help us understand the conditions that produced the initial traumas; (2) allow us to rectify mistakes we've made as a result of those traumas, to atone for our roles in perpetuating discord; and (3) aid in efforts to create new knowledge and processes to live as more complete individuals. Mental health professionals teach us that when traumatized, the body shuts down some of its functions to protect the overall health of the person. We can use ghostboxes to help restart those systems and really experience life's possibilities... maybe for the first time. (10)

-The ghostbox first taught me to stop denying the existence of ghosts, then it helped me me learn to productively hear them.

First entry: Killer Cancer Cells, circa 1995
Envelope marked: Patient: Ana Raimist / Dr. Armstrong
Contents: Slides of Samples from my mother's cancer diagnosis

I found this envelope in December of 1998 when my brothers and I cleaned out my parents home in Middletown, NY. I was in my old bedroom (well, the first of my old bedrooms, I moved to my brother's bigger rooms when they went off to college), and on the bottom shelf of the old, brown bookcase was this envelope. I had a huge pile of things that shipped to my home (in LA at that time). I quietly and sort of secretively slipped this envelope into a box. I don't know why I hid this from my brothers, I just felt like I wanted this piece of my Mom. I hate(d) those cancer cells for eating away at her, for taking her away from me. Today I take them from the filing cabinet where they've sat for 9 years...


I've never opened them, and actually looked at them until now.

December 29, 2007

The Courage in Self-Portraits

One of the things I'd like to do during this "break" is to go to the Walker's Frida exhibit. When I was in Mexico City (1997), I was blessed to visit her home, Casa Azul. I was taken by the energy in the space, the gardens, and the view of gardens from the window where she liked to sit and paint. I was so inspired. I wish I could look out her window today.

I think I've always been captivated by her courage. It takes fortitude to expose your self, your afflictions, your pain, and even your face. How can someone expose so many details of their life? Why did she paint so many portraits of her self? How did she feel sharing those images with the world? How would she feel now that her image has inspired numerous Halloween costumes? The thing is, once you create it and share it (which is the click of a couple buttons now), you can't control what happens.

I love to watch other people's digital self portraits like the self-portrait projects:

Living My Life Faster - 8 years of JK's Daily Photo Project from c71123 on Vimeo
Visit his website:Jonathan Keller

Visit her website:AhreeLee

Visit her website:RachelCreative

More than just a photo a day, she uses this project as a creative outlet, and a document that she is alive. Of her work, she writes:

Is it art? I’m not sure what anyone else will think but to me it is, along with being a diary, a document of life with CFS/ME, a personal insight into coming to terms with my chronic illness, a sketch of life gone by and with it good and bad

Here's the NYT on the topic:
1998 article: "ART; Documenting an Outbreak of Self-Presentation"
2007 article: "Look at Me, World! Self-Portraits Morph Into Internet Movies"

I like to use some of the stories of gender, identity, and memory in my GWSS classes, like this one:

and this digital story:

I have wanted to do some digital stories, or maybe even a documentary about my life for many years now, but I hate exposure. I guess on some level, I'll share enough on this blog (although a recent comment asked why I don't write much on here any more). Truth is, I was busy living life, and life's struggles, and didn't want to expose any more of pain while I was immersed in it.

I stayed up all night reading this:

This book is a memoir by Walt Jacobs, Chair of Af-Am, and one of my students at IFP. [I hope it's okay to share this detail. I'm guessing since you were willing to share your ghosts/ghostbox with the world, you wouldn't mind if it share our connection...] So Walt is learning how to use video to tell his [powerful] life stories. He found comfort in sharing the details of his talismans, while exposing his innermost thoughts, worries, idiosyncrasies, family secrets, and pain. This is not an easy thing to do.

As I (re)read the book from cover to cover [I'm not sure why I couldn't sleep last night], I thought about my own stories, my ghosts, my demons, and the stories I've kept bottled up inside. Maybe it's time to make my own ghostbox, and unleash the stories. Just need to find the courage...

December 28, 2007

Friday Poetry Blogging - YouTube Bootleg Edition

Ursula Rucker - What A Woman Must Do

Jessica Care Moore - I'm A Hip Hop Cheerleader

Suheir Hammad - Not Your Erotic, Not Your Exotic

Mayda Del Valle - To All The Boys I've Loved Before

December 27, 2007

FREE EVENTS: Frida Kahlo @ Walker

Performing Gender: Identity, Ethnicity, and Sexuality in Frida Kahlo and Onstage
Target Free Thursday Nights

Thursday, January 17, 2008
7:00 pm, Walker Cinema
Free tickets available at the Bazinet Garden Lobby desk from 6 pm

Frida Kahlo’s primary form of artistic expression—the self-portrait—allowed her to use images of her body to comment on her daily experiences as a Mexican of mixed ethnicities, a woman, and an artist. This self-representation became an important act of performance that defined her life. At this performative discussion, Edén Torres, professor of Chicana feminist studies and chair of the Chicano Studies Department at the University of Minnesota, interviews drag queen/University instructor Esmé Rodríguez (a.k.a. T. Kupin) on the staging of gender and identity in her work and in the art and life of Kahlo.

There are also LOTS of FREE EVENTS at the Walker:
January 5, 2008
10:00 am to 3:00 pm

December 19, 2007

Call for Presenters

2008 Arts for All Conference
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Battle Creek Middle School,
2121 North Park Drive
St. Paul, MN 55119
7:50 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Click HERE for more info

Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) 7th Annual Arts for All Conference is a professional development training for educators, administrators, parents/guardians, community members, artists and arts organizations that work with educators and youth in Saint Paul Public Schools, other districts, or in the community. The ultimate goal of the conference is to provide participants with visual and performing arts knowledge, skills, tools and the beliefs necessary to create high levels of student learning and engagement, improve instructional quality and encourage personal artistic growth.

The conference provides approximately 25 inspiring sessions which assist over 200 participants in learning in the arts, through arts integration and about the arts. This year’s keynote speaker and special session presenter is J.F. Kennedy Center presenter Deborah Brzoska.

Content Focus:
Visual Arts, Music, Theater, Dance, Media Arts and Literary Arts as well as arts subject areas integrated with other subject areas.

District Goals:
Sessions will support SPPS district goals of ensuring high academic achievement, raising expectations for accountability, accelerating the path to excellence, strengthening relationships with community and families and/or district strategy and action step "C8": Expand and integrate (visual) arts and music (performing arts) experiences for all students.

Participants will take active roles as learners to:

* engage in lively and in-depth explorations of music, dance, theatre, visual, media, literary and integrated arts;
* explore the interrelationship between art forms and curriculum;
* expand their knowledge of artistic and arts education practices, strategies, issues, resources and policies to ensure student learning;
* discover, create, make, contribute, observe, analyze, connect, converse, respond, revise, improve, reflect, apply, learn, celebrate and renew.

Spirited and interactive sessions in the arts. Master Clinic Intensives designed for specific grade levels and arts areas. Inspiring keynote speaker and workshop leader Deborah Brzoska. Fabulous door prizes from businesses, vendors and local arts organizations. Vendors of arts education and art-making materials, resources and services. Delicious continental breakfast and lunch. Clock-hours and in-service credits.

The Conference It is sponsored by Saint Paul Public Schools, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, Clear Channel School Arts Project, East Side Arts Council (ESAC) and the U. S. Department of Education AEMDD grant program (Arts ABLE). It is facilitated by the ESAC and SPPS Center for Professional Development and is in partnership with Minneapolis Public Schools through the J.F. Kennedy Center's Partners in Education Program. (Food is sponsored by Ordway Center and other private funds).

There is no cost to attend for SPPS staff, SPPS Site Council or School Support Organization chairs, leaders and members (PTA, PTO etc). Minneapolis Public School (MPS) staff are also invited to attend at no cost (fee paid by MPS). Non-SPPS affiliated are invited to attend for a nominal fee of $18. Presenters are invited to attend breakfast, lunch and workshop sessions at no charge. Please check back soon for registration process and specifics. .

Keynote Speaker and Session Leader:
Deborah Brzoska is a nationally recognized leader in arts education who has worked with schools and arts organizations internationally and in nearly all fifty states. She is a former dancer and choreographer as well as the founding principal of an award-winning arts-centered public school in Vancouver, Washington. Deb is a specialist in creative school reform and served as school designer for the Small Schools Project, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She is a national teaching artist for The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, specializing in assessment, arts integration and professional development of teachers, school leaders and teaching artists. Deb has presented arts education workshops from Cairo to Pago Pago and currently supports arts education efforts in the state of Hawaii. She has written about arts education for The Kennedy Center, Columbia College, the Arts Education Partnership and The College Board. Deb Brzoska Areas of Specialization:

* Leadership training
* Arts curriculum and assessment
* Reflective practice: developing professional learning communities
* Strategic planning with schools, districts and arts agencies
* Arts integration: research, theory and effective practice
* Designing and sustaining arts-based schools
* Developing community arts partnerships: models and methods
* Literacy and the arts
* Professional development for teachers, principals and teaching artists: workshops, seminars and institutes

December 18, 2007

IFP: Winter Offerings

More Info: IFP website

Introduction to Video Production – Learning the Techniques*
Instructor: Rachel Raimist
Wednesdays, Jan. 23–Feb. 27, 6:30–9:30pm
Reg. deadline: Jan. 16
Tuition: $235/$195 members
Max. enrollment: 12 students

This section is designed for all skill and interest levels - beginners, video enthusiasts and more experienced students needing a refresher course. Students will learn about aspects of production from camera, lighting and sound, to editing strategies, film festivals and distribution. There will be screenings, discussions and exploration of various film forms and genres, and an examination of stylistic images. Students will learn the basics of filmmaking through in-class exercises and have the opportunity to develop, shoot and edit short projects individually or as a group. Tuition includes camera rental and editing time in IFP’s edit suite (iMovie or Final Cut) for use outside of class time.

Advanced Video Production – Shooting the Short Film*
Instructor: Rachel Raimist
Wednesdays, Mar. 5–Apr. 9, 6:30–9:30pm
Reg. deadline: Feb. 27
Tuition: $235/$195 members
Max. enrollment: 12 students

This course is designed for students with some filmmaking experience who have the desire to produce a short film. Students should have some experience with camera, sound and lighting equipment. You’re encouraged to come to class with a short script (up to 8 pages of narrative, documentary or experimental) that will be used for the duration of the course. You’ll learn how to revise scripts, prepare production materials (budget, storyboards, shooting scripts, etc.), cast actors, and other aspects of pre-production. We’ll study directing the camera, directing actors and creating visuals that communicate the director’s vision. Students will select scripts to collectively shoot as a group or proceed with individual projects. Students will crew shoots, act as production teams for one another and edit projects using Final Cut or iMovie.

We’ll conclude the course by screening our work. Students are issued editing time to be used in IFP’s editing suite outside of class time to help ensure project completion by the end of the session. Students are expected to provide their own portable external hard drives for storing their projects. Tuition includes equipment rental and editing time.

Digital Storytelling for Women
Instructor: Rachel Raimist
Saturdays, Mar. 22–29, 9am–6pm
Reg. deadline: Mar. 15
Tuition: $235/$195 members
Max. enrollment: 4 students

Storytelling is a tool for preserving memory and history, learning, entertainment and healing. It is in the telling of our stories that we discover our connections with others and the world. Our stories reveal the truths about ourselves and our community; they reflect our experiences and point of view. We are the stories that we tell.

This workshop gives women the tools to tell their stories using digital media (video, still images, sound and artwork) edited on a computer. Students will individually produce a short video (5 minutes and under). Through the process we’ll examine modes and power dimensions of storytelling, and topics like truth, authenticity and responsibility. This class is perfect for women who are creative writers, filmmakers, photographers, visual artists or creative thinkers.

This is a hands-on, Mac-based computer intensive workshop. Students do not need to know how to use particular editing software but do need be comfortable using computers. There will be a lunch break each session.

*IFP Certification credit is available.