Archive for the ‘denver’ tag
Community… from the Middle English comunete, Anglo-French communité, Latin communitat-, communitas, from communis, first appearing as a word in the 14th century. Defined as a unified body of individuals with common interests living in a particular area; an interacting population of various kinds of individuals in a common location; a group linked by a common policy; a body of persons or nations having a common history or common social, economic, and political interests exercising joint ownership or participation, a common character, a social state or condition.
Over the last couple of months we have been sharing some of the more interesting ways communities around the country and the globe sustain their members and themselves. Grounding community is not just about gathering a group of people who have common interests, as we see in the definition above, but also about having those people share a common experience. It is the act of being together that keeps us together in some very fundamental ways.
Last week, Deborah discussed the ‘dinner with a stranger’ experience Franke James and Mark Shouldice of Toronto engaged in, getting to know each other, for a charitable purpose. This started me thinking about the other ways in which communities can come together around common experiences. Starting this week for example, our very own CoCOA (Colorado Coalition of Artists) will be hosting their annual 2 week members’ art event through to June 16at the Poudre River Arts Center Gallery on North College Ave. The event is open to all current and new members of CoCOA with a $15 entry fee for up to 3 pieces! There will be three “People’s Choice Awards.” If you are interested in participating, drop off your work tomorrow Wednesday, June 3 from 10:30 to 2pm. If that time does not work for you, please feel free to email CoCOA to make other arrangements — firstname.lastname@example.org. Even if you have no work to share, drop into the Gallery to see all the wonderful work people are doing in the community!
From art in the community to books in the community– for the last 5 years, Mayor Hickenlooper has supported the One Book, One Denver program where the entire city reads the same book over one month, September usually, followed by another month of events around the book’s theme. One Book, One Denver is a citywide book club. The goal of the program is to cultivate a culture of reading in Denver, with objectives to build community and stimulate people to read. Denver and Colorado citizens, young and old, are encouraged to join others in the shared experience of simultaneously reading the same book and participating in related events. This year, instead of the mayor choosing the book, the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs (DOCA) has created a list of 27 options, ranging across genres for the community to vote on as the Book for Denver in 2009. There is a website where voters can read a summary of each book, hear the first one or two paragraphs read by Denver’s own Poet Laureate (I didn’t know there was one!), Chris Ransick, learn about the authors and vote (voting is open until June 15). Once voting ends and the winning book is determined, the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs will begin laying out the 2009 One Book, One Denver program for a September 1 launch. On that date, Mayor Hickenlooper will announce the winning book at a news conference and the associated FREE and FUN programming that will carry through October.
Here in Fort Collins, Fort Collins Reads has selected Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle for its 2009 one-city, one-book program. Boyle has written 20 books and will be touring internationally to promote his latest work, The Women. His visit to Fort Collins on Nov. 7-8 will be the culmination of numerous events focusing on his book and its message about immigration. Pick up a copy of the book, take part in the discussion, and hear the author speak. Moreover, for the first time in 2009, there will be a companion book for this event — Red Glass — by Laura Resau (of Fort Collins!!). Contact Fort Collins Reads at email@example.com with your questions and suggestions on how to get Fort Collins reading and talking. I am hoping to read both!
If book reading is not your scene, how about a Six Word Memoir? Yes, your story in 6 words! Apparently, Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in only 6 words. Here is what he wrote — “For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.” In 2006, SMITH magazine reawakened the idea of 6 word memoirs and asked their readers to contribute their own. They sent in short life stories by the hundreds, culminating in a blog, a series of books and a huge community of aficionados. These memoirs ranged from the bittersweet (“Cursed with cancer, blessed with friends”) and poignant (“I still make coffee for two”) to the inspirational (“Business school? Bah! Pop music? Hurrah”) and hilarious (“I like big butts, can’t lie”). What would you write for your memoir if only given 6 words?
Finally, music. Last month, I was reading Dan Pink’s blog (the author of a Whole New Mind amongst others…) and he was discussing the YouTube Symphony Orchestra. Yes, YouTube, that web video mogul, has an orchestra! Basically, late last year YouTube issued a musical casting call to all professional and amateur musicians of all ages, locations and instruments to audition for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra by submitting a video performance of a new piece written for the occasion by the renowned Chinese composer Tan Dun. A panel of first-class musicians selected the finalists and the 90 winners, who come from more than 30 countries, assembled in New York City to perform together at Carnegie Hall. You can see the results here…. it’s a beautiful thing!
We hope to build from some of these ideas over the next few months to create an engaging and engaged Fort Collins community. We would love to hear any suggestions you may have for events and activities in which we could all participate – please feel free to share below!
Art for all, all for art!
“Education is the vaccine for violence.”
I remember at the end of a meeting, a colleague asked me once if I was an academic or an activist. I was struck by the question, for at the heart of it, there seems like there should be a separation of the two. That they are somehow incompatible or at the very least, capable of distorting each other so that neither can be truly a reliable performance or identity. I wonder what Edward James Olmos would say if asked whether he is an actor or activist? After all, do those two terms not come from the same linguistic root?
Olmos’ early life was framed by the forces of the barrio in which he lived in East LA and a passion for baseball which would teach him the values that he would need to escape a common fate of most of the barrio brothers – life in a gang. As Olmos told a reporter from Time, “Inside this world, everyone was the same. We were all poor. And the only way to survive it was through a constant struggle of trying to be better today than you were yesterday.” To improve his own chances of getting out of poverty, Olmos would form a successful rock band, attend East Los Angeles Community College during the day and study during set breaks when they played the clubs at night. He would also fall in love with acting and yet, start a business delivering antiques to make enough money to live. Once the band broke up, he would deliver furniture during the day while working in experimental theatre at night, building his path to the TV shows and movies — the actor –he would come to be known as — Zoot Suit, Miami Vice, Stand and Deliver, The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez, Selena, American Me and others as he continues his performative work. Much of this work would reflect his values and commitments to the Hispanic community, especially its youth, and their future (the activist). By his own account, 94% of his time is spend working for free – trying to make life better for others.
Named by Hispanic Magazine as the nation’s most influential Hispanic American, Olmos is a U.S. Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, a national spokesperson for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, and Executive Director of the Lives in Hazard Educational Project, a national gang prevention program funded by the U.S Department of Justice. As he recently told Hispanic’s Katherine Diaz, “I would hate to look back on my life and only see myself as a person who made lots of money and was a star and made Rambo and Terminator movies. I have made my body of work something that I am proud of and that in 100 years, my great-great-grandchildren will go and see my work and say, ‘well, grandpa really did some extraordinarily different kinds of work.’”
Actor or activist? It seems more important to commit yourself to causes in which you believe and work to make your work serve them. We hope you will join us for what promises to be an extraordinary evening with Edward James Olmos entitled, “We’re all in the same gang”, on Tuesday April 28th, at the Lincoln Center Performance Hall, starting at 7pm. Tickets are $10 adult, $8 students/seniors (60+). A limited number of seats are available for a special Meet the Speaker ticket which includes preferred seating and a reception with the speaker afterwards.
Wherever you go, there you are.
There is much talk in globalization circles that we are moving closer and closer to the eradication of the nation-state and the rise of a global society and world system. It would be easy to say that those who propose such ideas are fantasists, yet there is no doubt that the world faces global issues, on a global scale, with no easy global solutions at hand. Many of these global issues have been wrought by the movements of people, their belongings, their cultures, their food and their homes. It’s funny what kinds of cultural diversity we celebrate and which ones we deem catastrophic. The Politics of Open and Shut.
Last year, as I tended to my garden at the University Village, my Indian neighbor was educating me on what he was growing in his plot. I asked him where he got the seeds to grow the spices and vegetables fundamental to his native cuisine. He said, “oh you know, my friend’s cousin sent them from India and we all shared them around.” He then told me how to cook them, what they are used with in the cuisine of Goa where he was from and later that afternoon, I went home and wrote my Indian colleague in New Zealand to learn some more. The Politics of OPEN.
This weekend, my colleague shared a story with me about a scholar who had lived in the Village for several years with his family (3 children, one an infant), and who at the end of his stay had tried to return to his home in Gaza, only to arrive in Egypt to find he did not have appropriate documentation and the border was closed under current circumstances. The family was then sent to Austria who did not know what to do and sent them to Jordan where they remain in a refugee camp and hope to return home one day. The Politics of SHUT.
Seeds travel. Stories travel. Images travel. People travel. Homes travel and sometimes unravel. My thesis research was conducted on the border of Arizona and Mexico, in a small town called Douglas on the US side and Agua Prieta on the Mexican side. Every day I would conduct fieldwork at the local high school, the soup kitchen and the post office (amongst other places). I watched people come across that border to get their mail, do their shopping, get something to eat and go to school. Then I saw them go home. My friends would tell me of the tunnel that ran under the border where drugs ran both ways. Holes you could drive a truck through. Packages of food and clothes left by charitable folks on either side for those who risk their lives to cross. They would also tell me of shootings in the alleys and disappearances; always calm, always matter of fact. This is what it means to live on the border, they would say. Borders. Outer edges. Lines. La Frontera…where you walk the line between life and death, figuratively and literally.
I would get on a bus to travel back to Tempe to see my advisor. “Make sure you carry your documents”, she would say. See, I’m an immigrant too. At Bisbee, or before, the bus would stop for a siren. Armed men would get on the bus, we would all produce our tickets and our papers; those of us who had them, that is. Every time, 3 or 4 people would leave the bus and get into a van, arms handcuffed behind their backs. I would watch them from my window as we drove away. Me, with my white face, shaking like a leaf.
Immigrant tales. They are as diverse as the people from whose tongues they roll. I admire people who have a clear position on immigration because my immigrant life has no clear position. That’s what makes discussing immigration difficult. But on Tuesday, April 21, at 7pm at the Lincoln Center, we hope to try and hear diverse voices on this most human and global of topics — the Politics of Open and Shut. Frank Sharry, of America’s Voice, a nonprofit communications organization dedicated to winning immigration reform and previously of the National Immigration Forum of Washington DC, one of the nation’s leading immigration policy organizations will engage our community in a lively dialogue on fresh perspectives on immigration as the 5th presenter in Beet Street’s Thought Leader series. Frank Sharry, himself, while pro-immigration reform, is the first to admit there is no easy answer to the country’s immigration challenges and he is accustomed to his views being contested. Described by some as a common sense voice of reason and by others as a controversial radical, we hope you will join us to entertain your brain and make up your own mind about this extraordinary speaker and topic. For more information about Frank Sharry and other Finding Home events, visit Beet Street.
We would love to hear what you think of the event afterwards! Just post a comment below…:)
Home is where they understand you.