18th Century Marrow Scoop
Inspired by the amazing Rob Walker’s Significant Objects Project, Carolyn Bess of Arts & Letters Live at The Dallas Museum of Art, commissioned four writers (I was among them) to create original short stories inspired by objects in the collection. (See Rob’s blog here Materially Untrue. ) We were invited into the vault where thousands of priceless artworks are stored in a massive underground city. It was overwhelming and thrilling. There were three compelling pieces that stirred my imagination. A painting by Mark Bradford, a woodcut by Käthe Kollwitz and an 18th century silver marrow scoop. Images swirled around in my head, but there was no clear story. In the week that followed my visit to the museum I learned that my friend, the artist Terry Adkins died. I wrote a draft of “Broken Beautiful” in less than 48 hours. His loss was an unexpected element. The story became a place to channel my grief and make peace with our unfinished conversations.
Winner of the 2014 Black Reel, Outstanding Independent Short, Black Girl Paris, the short film based on my novel was shown on HBO during the month of February. You can still watch it if you have HBO to GO.
Below is a link to a two minute reel for the film:
Trailer for Black Girl in Paris
Chef Edna Lewis, photographed by Karl Bissinger
The Southern Foodways Alliance commissioned me to write a tribute to beloved Southern Chef Edna Lewis for the Women at Work Symposium at the University of Mississippi in Oxford this past fall. Over several months I got to know her through her recipes and stories about growing up on a farm in Freetown, Virginia. Her recipe for carmel cake was a revelation and a dream. Detra Payne brought Miss Lewis to life at the conference in Mississippi. It was a real homecoming. See the video of the performance at the link below.
Dinner With Edna Lewis – 20 minute video
From Kiara C. Jones, Producer of Black Girl in Paris:
Congratulations to Director Kiandra Parks and the wonderfully talented Cast and Crew of her thesis film Black Girl in Paris!
Cultivated Films and Black Girl Productions are proud to announce that our film has been selected as a finalist in the 17th Annual American Black Film Festival.
Black Girl in Paris was filmed on location in Paris, France with a dedicated Parisian Cast and Crew. The film stars the extraordinarily talented, Tracey Heggins (Medicine for Melancholy, Twilight) and the amazing British Television starlett, Zaraah Abrahams and was visualized by award winning Director of Photography, Shlomo Godder. Black Girl in Paris was shot on Panavision Alga’s Platinum, 35mm camera on beautiful Kodak film with processing at Eclair and telecine at Technicolor Paris. Black Girl in Paris is a film by Director Kiandra Parks, Produced by Kiara C Jones. The short is based on a novel by the same name, by author Shay Youngblood for which we are are developing the feature length version of the film.
HBO Short Film Competition
Thursday, June 20
8:30 pm-10:30 pm
1040 Lincoln Rd Miami Beach, FL 33139
Five talented filmmakers compete for the prestigious 17th annual HBO Short Film Award.
Admission: Passholders Only
This Friday, June 21st from 6:30 – 7:30pm I’ll be collecting stories at the Dallas Museum of Art. See the link below for more infomation on the Art Block Party events all evening long. Hope to see you there!
Daniel Alexander Jones, Shay, Nick Slie at Theatre Communications Group (TCG) Conference in Dallas, 2013
Enjoyed mixing and mingling with old friends and new at the TCG Conference in Dallas. I witnessed Ayad Ahktar’s conversation with Gabriel Greene. Ayad’s first novel American Dervish won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. I watched him blossom as an actor in the Theatre Program at Brown University in the mid 90’s. It was great to see him in full flower on the stage of the Dallas Performing Arts Center. A pleasure meeting Nick Slie of Mondo Bizarro in New Orleans; spending some quality time with my friend for life Daniel Alexander Jones who will be performing in Austin as Jomama Jones at the Salvage Vanguard Theatre during July; seeing the wonderful actor, Marguerite Hannah who was the original Daughter in my first play, Shaking the Mess Outta Misery; laughing again with Abe Rybeck of Theater Offensive in Boston and giving birthday wishes to Reginald Edmund. I’m not done with theater yet.
Casually we call ourselves Art Book Club because we are mostly visual artists, art lovers, book lovers, writers and teachers of literature and because we haven’t been able to come up with a name we can all agree on that’s better than Art Book Club. It’s a privilege and an honor to be a part of this small community of smart, creative, funny women who are critical thinkers and deeply engaged in developing their craft and expanding their knowledge. Last session we read Susan Sontag’s REBORN: Journals and Notebooks 1947-1963, with an insightful introduction by her son David Rieff, who edited the book. When I first read Reborn a few years ago, I was surprised to discover Sontag’s complicated relationship with Cuban-American playwright, Marie Irene Fornes who I met when I was a graduate student at Brown University. From the age of 14 when the journals begin until her mid 20’s, the book chronicles Sontag’s amazing reading lists, ideas for books, her intimate vulnerabilities and complex relationships, her doubts and big questions. We spent nearly five blissful hours engaged in thoughtful conversation sparked by issues raised in the book about identity, craft, the private lives of public figures, and the function of a journal in our lives among other things. It prompted me to read Sontag’s essays, watch her interviews on Youtube and think seriously about what I want to happen with my 25 boxes of archive materials that include journals, letters and original notebooks and manuscripts from the age of 12 to the present. Why do you keep a journal and what do you want to happen to them in the future?
I love my work space. It’s almost like living in a library or inside of a book. One of my muses, a memory, a character who transforms, stands at the top of the stairs. Thank you Hiroko Kubo for taking this photo. This is where the dreaming and thinking happens, the other end of the studio is where I write, edit and sweat. It’s is like looking inside my brain, forbidden to enter.
Stacks of books to be read.
Stacks of library books.
My friend Elizabeth Andoh lives in Japan where she writes books, teaches classes and documents her love of food and cooking. Last year we made a connection in Japan for a nano second. We had brief, but quality time together at the TedX Austin conference a few months ago. At her invitation I took the Megabus to Austin. The conference theme was FEAR<Less. Elizabeth made a thoughtful and powerful presentation you can see on YouTube if you click on the link below. To my delight, she posted a response to my pickle post. This morning after a trip to the Farmer’s Market, I used her technique to prepare Moroccan Style Pickles modified from a recipe on the Bon Appetit website (http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2010/05/pickled_carrots_moroccan_style).
From all that fresh produce I created the evening dinner menu: beets for roasting, sauteed beet greens, edible flowers with arugula salad and mint for tea.
|From: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.comDate: Tuesday, May 7, 2013 Wish,wish,wish you could come back to Tokyo for the pickle workshop in june! for now:Next time you want to make a spicy, sweet-and-sour quick-pickle try salting the veggie first, it draws out unwanted bitterness and excess moisture, and makes the veggie more porous and therefore able to absorb other flavors later. You can do all that I describe below inside a heavy-duty resealable bag (instead of traditional Japanese pressure-applying equipment). When the veggie begins to sweat gently begin squeezing. Let the veggie sit in the brine created for at least 10 minutes, better 30 minutes. Drain. Add salt-wilted veggie to freshly made (still warm) sweet-and-sour sauce (1 part vinegar, 1/4 part sugar or other sweetener, pinch salt) in a glass jar. If you have some kombu to add to the vinegar mixture as you heat it up (stirring, to dissolve the sugar) it will taste even better. let your veggie marinate/pickle at room temp for 20-30 minutes to add spiciness add dried chili pepper, or black pepper corns, or sansho pepper corns (but NOT the powder) to the jar… or add some ginger juice (made from freshly grated ginger) then lid tightly and refrigerate. Most veggies (carrots, radishes, cucumbers, eggplants, squashes) will keep for 10 days to 2 weeks… though usually eaten before then!Enjoy! And come back to visit!!!!Best,
A Taste of Culture
Asking a writer, “What is your all-time favorite book?” is like asking a mother to name her favorite child. About 5 years ago when I was asked this question, I didn’t hesitate. Without taking a breath, I answered, “Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison”. Within 15 seconds I got a marriage proposal and two years later I was married by a ginger haired, female judge in the Iowa City Public Library, a place where you could check out framed works of art and children could play in a child sized house made of books. How is that for impact on your life? That’s why I’m considering taking the trip back to Stockholm, Sweden for the Anniversary Symposium on the works of Toni Morrison October 18 – 19, 2013 at Sodertorn University.
For more info contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
or go to the website: http://webappl.web.sh.se/toni_morrison_symposium