During intermission while watching An Octoroon (written by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and directed by Judith Moreland) at the Fountain Theatre, an old white woman randomly came up to me and asked what I found so amusing in this play. First, I had to get over the shock that a live human being was touching me (without permission) and getting up in my face to ask this question because after all, this was my first time watching a play with a live audience (albeit in an outdoor theater) in 16 months. Second, what WAS I and primarily all the other POC audience members laughing about?Continue reading “A Los Angeles Theatre Review: ‘An Octoroon’”
In my years of doing interviews and roundtables and Q&A’s for the various films we’ve made, there is one question that recurs. No matter the length of the piece or the tone of the room, eventually, inevitably, I am asked about the white gaze. It wasn’t until a very particular interview regarding The Underground Railroad that the blindspot inherent in that questioning became clear to me: never, in all my years of working or questioning, had I been set upon about the Black gaze; or the gaze distilled.Continue reading “A ‘Gaze’ into the Soul of ‘The Underground Railroad’”
Because in the age of a Trump presidency, Dylan Roof and #BlackLivesMatter, white power fantasies are exactly what we need.
When I heard Abrams was developing a graphic novel adaptation of Octavia E. Butler’s Kindred I was of two minds. I wasn’t sure if one of the most important books in the history of literature could be accurately represented in the graphic form. Even though I’m a rabid comic book fan, I felt a comic version of the novel would somehow cheapen it. But it was John Jennings and Dr. Damian Duffy, and I trust them implicitly. They have a decade plus relationship and have put out some of the most interesting and innovative comics work during this time.
They’re geniuses, and this isn’t hyperbole. This book here illustrates the genius of their partnership.
Nate Parker stars in the Nat Turner biopic film, Birth of a Nation. While most true story adaptations include a few embellishments, don’t go into this expecting anything remotely accurate. After having done some research, very little of what is presented in this film can be found as historical fact. What Parker has created is a sloppy, amateurish, slavery pain-porn film, rife with Christianity overkill. It’s a mockumentary of Nat Turner’s legacy and tries to trick its audience into thinking this is an actual part of history.
In watching The Birth of a Nation I was a little destroyed. There’s so much to unpack. Nat Turner is a legendary figure in the Black community — a former slave who removed his own shackles. It’s a story I’ve wanted to see on screen for a long time. The reviews out of Sundance were huge. Then, news of Nate Parker rape charges and acquittal broke. I debated a long time about whether or not to cover the story when I came to TIFF. Eventually, I decided that a film this prominent and this culturally invested couldn’t be ignored. I have mixed feelings about what I saw. I’m going to take it slow.
Vitals: Freedom – The Underground Railroad is a cooperative board game for 1 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, with a playing time of about 1 to 2 hours. Designed by Brian Mayer, a Library Technology Specialist, and published by Academy Games, Freedom allows players to work together as a group of abolitionists in the 1800’s. The goal is to attempt to end slavery in the United States by raising support for the Abolitionist Movement and helping slaves move through the Underground Railroad to freedom in Canada. The goal is difficult to accomplish and people and events can have negative impacts. There are also slave catchers roaming and reacting to movements of slaves on the board, hoping to catch runaway slaves to send back to the plantations.
Thoughts: Before becoming a parent, I organized game nights with friends frequently. Now while still regularly getting together with a gaming group to socialize, eat food, and be merry, my children and I also play games quite often. Beyond the social interaction, games are a great way to teach children different skills such as spacial reasoning, reading, math, dexterity, and logic. Games can also be a great way to teach history.