It is an extraordinary time and, as history demonstrates, times of unpredictability and flux are when tried and true forms for human expression are broken and expanded. Think Brahms, who ribboned his melodies across bar lines, shaking off the constraints of measured beats, helping to move out of the Classical and into the Romantic periods of musical expressionism. There’s the painter Agnes Martin who carried her compulsive grid making over decades into pure illuminations of the ineffable – representations of “beauty, innocence, happiness,” blurring the line between Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism. NPR’s first Program Director, Bill Siemering who created a new magazine form he dubbed All Things Considered in 1971 and opened the way for headline news of national concern – a violent turn in a Vietnam war protest – to sit alongside uniquely defining American moments happening, for example, in a barber’s chair in Ames, IA. Continue reading
AIR’s Localore: Finding America production in New Orleans, “Unprisoned: Stories from the System,” presented a live storytelling event in March as part of a fantastic on-going series called BYO…Bring Your Own. There were 9 storytellers — ex-cons, men on parole, girlfriends/sisters/mothers of men in prison. The audience of 300 was mostly white Millennials. Eve Abrams is our lead producer embedded at WWNO, and Lane Kaplan Levinson is the brain behind the series. New Orleans is called ‘the incarceration capital of the world.” African Americans make up 60% of the population of NOLA, with a prison population that is 85% black.
It was an extraordinary evening. Continue reading
I’m just becoming familiar with Brazilian educator and philosopher Paulo Friere and his Pedagogy of the Oppressed and was writing to Bill Siemering this morning, sharing some thoughts, sharing some here.
I’ve been thinking about love as the anchor for social change. Radical love. I’ve been inspired by Hodari Davis, program manager at YouthSpeaks, and also the writing of Paulo Friere who Hodari turned me on to…my colleague Adriana Gallardo shared references. And also Ken Banks’ ideas about what motivates change. You wrote about him in an email to me some time ago. I believe we need to be more forthright in claiming love as central to the change we seek. Friere wrote (from page 6 of his book) … Continue reading