HaitianfireflY: Hope & Inspiration Arts Festival Draws Hollywood
HaitianfireflY: Hope & Inspiration Arts Festival Draws Hollywood
Hey Everyone! My introduction about who I am and my current projects is directly below this article.
Arts Festival Promotes Hope, Inspiration & Triumph Over Adversity
By Jacques Fleury: The Haitian Firefly
In the midst of political and racial cacophony, comes an event that is sure to bring some much-needed peace and artistic harmony that is sure to lift the human spirit with gaiety! A four day celebration beginning Thursday April 26th and ending Sunday April 29th, 2007 aptly titled “Hope and Inspiration: a performing arts festival celebrating courage, strength, and personal triumph in the face of homelessness, addiction, mental illness and incarceration.” This fabulous occasion is sure to bring joy and laugher to mitigate the often-unrelenting melancholy that permeates the lives of those living in poverty and aggrieved with ignominy. Essentially, this event is very close to the heart and mission of Spare Change News, which is to inspire people to crawl out from under the dark claws of misery and misfortune and rise to the height of their potential through perseverance and hard work. The event will feature a plethora of dynamic performers including myself, former band leader of Saturday Night Live G.E. Smith and Jimmy Tingle from Jimmy Tingle’s Off Broadway Theatre in Somerville among others.
The following interview was conducted with one of the event planners Bob David and this is what he had to say:
Jacques Fleury: Tell me about how the event was conceptualized and who originated the idea of the "Hope and Inspiration" festival and why?
Bob David: It started out several months ago as an agreement between Julie Lichtenberg, director of the Performance Project from Northampton, MA, Fred Smith, Director of Program Development at St. Francis House, and Robbie McCauley, theater professor at Emerson College that the Performance Project would come for a weekend to put on a series of performances and workshops for St. Francis House and Emerson College. Marshall Hughes, Director of Visual, Performing, and Media Arts at Roxbury Community College agreed to offer the Main stage Theater at RCC for the performances and some of the workshops. It was originally planned for the last weekend in March.
Fred Smith had the idea of broadening the scope of the event, inviting other artists to be involved, and calling it a festival and conference around the issues of homelessness, addiction, mental illness, and incarceration. I have experience working with people dealing with these issues, so Fred asked me to help organize the event.
We already were a bit behind the 8-ball in terms of timing, then some complications arose: the Performance Project would not be able to perform due to some difficulties cast members were experiencing, and my own father died. Fortunately, And Still We Rise! Productions, who were to be part of the event, had already booked dates for Roxbury Community College Main stage Theater for April 26 and 28 for their own independent performance. Since I also work directly with And Still We Rise! Productions, it was not hard to move the whole festival a month back to that weekend.
We continued to enlist performing artists. Since the Performance Project would not be performing as originally planned, it became exclusively a St. Francis House and Roxbury Community College event, and it became a “festival” rather than a “festival and conference.”
I wanted a name for the festival that would capture the essence of what it was going to be about. A few of us brainstormed. It took a couple of weeks for me to come up with “Hope and Inspiration!” with the subtitle of a “performing arts festival celebrating courage, strength, and personal triumph in the face of homelessness, addiction, mental illness, incarceration.” It’s a broad subtitle, but I feel the name and subtitle really fit what we are trying to do.
jf: How did you get the performers, particularly the ubiquitous Jimmy tingle and the even more ubiquitous "The Haitian firefly" on board? Are all the performers some how connected to homelessness, mental illness, addiction and incarceration?
B.D: The premise here is that every performer either has personal experience with one or more of the issues state above, or their work speaks directly to them. By suggestion, word of mouth, etc., we have enlisted the performers. I have been in touch with Jimmy Tingle over other things, as he has been interested in And Still We Rise Productions. Being in recovery himself, he understands and supports what we are doing. I had just read The Haitian Fire’s column in Spare Change News a few days previous before the editor of What’s Up Magazine referred him to me as a possible participant. I’m very glad to have him onboard with the festival!
jf: Who are your sponsors so far?
B.D: So far, since we have been so late getting out the publicity, only St. Francis House and Roxbury Community College. I’m sure every service organization in the city supports what we are doing in name; but financial sponsorship is another thing. We have not solicited at all. We do, however, have a format for individuals or organizations that do want to sponsor. By donating above the suggested admission donation amount, you can actually reserve spaces for others who cannot afford a donation.
jf: Is this the very first time this event is taking place? Do you have any monetary expectations or crowd turn out? Have you've been able to reach mainstream media?
B.D: Again, we are late with the publicity. We are in the process of contacting the media. This is indeed the first event of its kind that we are aware of around here. We hope to make it an annual event. And we’re hoping for a big crowd! The RCC Main stage Theater holds 500. Our Friday evening event is in the Dance Studio, where seating will be much more limited, so we recommend emailing us to make a reservation for that evening.
jf: Is this some type of fundraiser for St. Francis House?
B.D: We are not doing this festival to raise money for St. Francis or any other organization. We simply want to put on a great event for people of the city. Some of the performers require payment, and we hope to be able to offer all the other performers some sort of honorarium. There are additional production costs, of course, which we are keeping to a minimum. We really are just hoping to cover all costs for the festival. Anything raised above that will go towards next year’s festival. That’s the plan at the moment.
jf: Tell me a bit about the history of St. Frances House. When was it founded and by whom? How long has it existed? What population does it serve? Does it provide drug and alcohol abuse and mental health counseling services? Does it provide education and employment training to help the disadvantaged return to the work force and take active leadership roles in their respective communities?
B.D: Founded in 1984, St. Francis House is a nonprofit, nonsectarian day shelter committed to a tradition of compassion and concern for each individual who walks through its door. The largest such organization in New England, it serves more than 800 men and women every day of the year. St. Francis House believes that homelessness is an experience, not an identity. In that spirit, it provides a safe, caring, respectful, and dignified refuge for its homeless brothers and sisters.
St. Francis House provides its guests with continuous and comprehensive care in the form of basic and rehabilitative services that overlap and build on one another: Services include meals, clothing, daytime shelter, medical care, mental health and substance abuse counseling, job skills training, and transitional housing. The goal is to help guests establish lives independent of shelters and institutions.
St. Francis House relies on partnerships with community members and local organizations to develop the needed resources to serve the poor and homeless in Boston. Together, it believes we can shape solutions to the injustices we see.
jf: What type of impact do you wish to make by having an event like this? What do you want participants to learn from the festival?
B.D.: We want people to be moved to a greater awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the struggles of homelessness, addiction, mental illness, and incarceration. We want people to be moved toward political action. And we want people to enjoy themselves, be entertained, laugh, and mix with others who care about the issues. I think each evening and day segment of the festival is packed with meaningful stuff. I want each person to come to the entire festival, because all of it is going to be great! We really have a stellar lineup!
For Questions, reservations or sponsorship information email:
For performer biographies and schedule updates
My name is Jacques "thehaitianfirefly" Fleury! I am a poet, Columnist, freelance writer producer and host of the LIVE local TV show aptly titled "Dream Weavers w/ Jacques" at Cambridge Community Television (CCTV) on Ch. 9 on Thursdays at 5:30pm eastern time. The show is also on the net same time at: cctvcambridge.org and click on webstream! I am always looking for guests!
I just published my first professional poetry book with Warbler Books titled: "Sparks in the Dark: A Lighter Shade of Blue, a poetic memoir by Jacques thehaitianfirefly Fleury !! It's anticipated to be released in the Spring of 2007. It has been hailed "Prophetic!" by Doug Holder of Ibbetson Street Press! It will be availlable for sale at: www.warblerbooks.com, the Grolier Poetry Book Store, The Out of the Blue Gallery both in Cambridge, MA. And it is also being considered for inclusion as part of circulation by the Director of Cambridge Public Libraries. There are poems both in French and Creole translated in to English of course.
I will be fauturing at Dire Literary Series with Timothy Gager at the Out of the Blue Gallery 106 Prospect St. Cambridge. MA. March 2, 2007 starting at 8 p.m. $3 to $5 dollar donation.
At "Open Bark Poetry Series" with Debbie Priestly at the Out of the Blue Art Gallery April 14th, 2007 8 p.m. $3to $5 dollar donation.
At Harvard University "City Night Poetry Series" May 5th. Further details To Be Annouced.
Also at "Stone Soup Poetry Series" with Chad Parenteau June 11th, 2007 at the Out of the Blue Art Gallery 8 p.m. $3-$5 dollar donation.
For more information please contact me.
I am having a book release party on June 16, 2007 abetween 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the Out of the Blue Gallery 106 Prospect Street across from the whole foods in Cambridge, MA. There will be samplings of Haitian cuisine, music, a possible rafle and much more...For more information go to: www.outoftheblueartgallery.com. or call jacques at: 617-714-3037! I would love to talk with you!
Also Should you have any News Tips or if you have any questions about my poetry, my writings, live appearances or my TV and internet show, please contact me: email@example.com or (617) 714-3037.
Please feel free to link this bog to other interested parties. Merci.
Sparks in the Dark : A Lighter Shade of Blue Book Biography
Jacques Stanley Fleury, a.k.a. “The Haitian Firefly”, was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He is a poet, freelance writer, journalist and columnist. He holds a degree in Liberal Arts and aspires to achieve a subsequent degrees in creative writing from the University of Massachusetts and Emerson College. His works has been published on the Internet and also in The Boston Haitian Reporter, Spare Change News (where he hosts a column), Whats Up Magazine(where he hosts a column), Somerville News, The Bridge and The North Cambridge Alewife, where he hosts yet another column at: www.thealewife.com. He has featured his poetry at such prestigious venues the caliber of Walden Pond, Squawk Coffee House at The Harvard Epworth Church, Harvard University, and the Out of the Blue Gallery. He is the host and producer of the LIVE TV and Internet show “Dream Weavers w/ Jacques” at Cambridge Community Television and resident poet and Publicity Coordinator for the Annual Urban Walk for Haiti to benefit the ubiquitous Dr. Paul Farmer's Partners In Health (PIH) to aid Third World Countries Haiti, Peru, Africa and Russia. Fleury’s desire is to shine as brightly as he could so as to leave a memory and light. His first professional publication “Sparks in the Dark: A Lighter Shade of Blue” (published by Warbler Books) appears to accomplish this desire. Shine he does as he intrepidly and passionately weave a tapestry of poetry that keeps the reader on a tight-rope trajectory that navigates between the familiar and optimistic, through his veracity and wonderment. Eschewing pentameter for prosaic and sometimes playful compositions he masterfully weave in and out of subjects that cut deep in the psyche and emerges as the armchair philosopher/activist. This anticipated book will reveal more of his talent that is likened to a Quasar from a distant galaxy, whose light is so strong that although viewed on rare occasions, the brilliance of this galactic body is able to pierce the darkness of the cosmos from light years away from the earth and become memorable to all who view it despite the rarity of its appearance. Catch a glimpse of this quasar--Jacques Stanley Fleury’s poetry. He is currently working on a memoir, vis-à-vis his infinite journey from Haiti to America. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. You can contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lynette Laveau Saxe
Biographer,Educator/TV show Host/Producer
CEO of The Laveau Look and International Express Liquidations
I am the Official Poet and Publicity Coordinator for this walk. The Walk will be on Saturday March 31st at St. Paul Parish Church 29 Mt. Auburn St. Cambridge,MA. Registration 12/12:30 pm. 3 Miles along the scenic Charles River! All proceeds will go to "Partners In Health",a Boston based charity organization which was founded by Dr. Paul Farmer of Harvard Universtiy to aid Third World Countries like Russia, Rwanda, Lima, Peru, and Haiti. The Book "Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure The World" by Tracy Kidder details Farmers work in Haiti and won the Pulitzer Prize. Come for the dance lessons, musical and poetic performances, Haitian market place and more...Come Walk With Us!
"In the last two few years, 100% percent of money raised for this walk have helped equip operating rooms, provide community health education and medicine, construct reliable shelter, instill water/food programs and raise the standard of living specifically in the Central Plateau, specifically Boucan Karre and Cange."
Scroll down to view full article: "Local Community to Walk for Haiti" and even further down to view the poem i was commissioned to write for the walk titled "Walk for Haiti, Walk for Humanity."
You can sponsor me to walk with anything from $5.00 dollars and up. Just write "Sponsoring Jacques Fleury" on your checks or money orders made payable to: Partners In Health Walk for Haiti, 641 Huntington Ave. 1st Floor, Boston, MA. 02115.
Local Community to Walk for Haiti’s Poorest
By Jacques Fleury: thehaitianfirefly
A great man once said “Life’s most urgent question is: what are you doing for somebody else?” In this maligned “Me” society, we often forget about the less fortunate than us while we accumulate more “stuff” that we don’t really need. We must take advantage of opportunities to land a hand to help pull Third World countries like Haiti out of misery and such opportunity has arrived in the form of The Fourth Annual Urban Walk for Haiti!
Haiti is not too unfamiliar with being in the spotlight. And it’s usually for something scandalous that is often infused with an undercurrent of negativity. With its political travails and social and economic unrest, the American news media just can’t seem to get enough of Haiti’s calamities. You must have heard the popular adage “No news is good news.” Well it does not have to be true today, because, for a change, there’s good news about Haiti and Dr. Paul Farmer!
“Dr. Farmer is known for his support of a Preferential Option for the Poor, a central Tenet of Liberation Theology” writes Walk for Haiti Publicity Coordinator Karen Fritsche. She goes on to say that “His approach to practice in Haiti, Peru and Russia has its basis in ethnographic analysis and real world practicality. Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Could Cure the World by Tracy Kidder details Farmer’s work in Haiti and abroad…” The ubiquitous Dr. Paul Farmer is an avid supporter of Haiti and he wears many hats. He is a Harvard University professor, a practicing physician, author and founder of Partners in Health ( PIH.) Partners in Health is a Boston based organization that supports in part Dr. Farmer’s hospital in Haiti, which is free to all patients.
Ms. Fritsche, a French teacher at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, related the story of how the walk for Haiti begun involving one of her former students. Gerald Mc. Elroy, then a 10th grader, told Ms. Fritsche that he wanted to help Dr. Farmer. Gerald suggested to Ms. Fritsche that the French Club should launch a walk to raise money and help support the philanthropic initiatives of Dr. Farmer. She said she thought it was a good idea and wanted to give it some thought, but Gerald said abruptly “You have to do it!” She asked why? To which he responded “I’ve already charged $400 dollars on my father’s credit card on T-Shirts for the walkers, aren’t they lovely? I designed them myself.” According to Ms. Fritsche, her reaction was both exhilaration and apprehension of what young Gerald’s actions implied.
So began the Annual Urban Walk for Haiti, which have been going on for the past three years. It is a community event aimed at raising money and awareness for the western hemisphere’s poorest country. Gerald, who today is a student at Yale University, remains vehemently involved with the walk on a variety of levels, including constructing and maintaining the website www.urbanwalkforhaiti.org.
Ms. Fritsche emphasized that absolutely 100% percent of the proceeds from the walk would go to the projects that are housed by Partners in Health in the Central Plateau, which is North East of Port-au-Prince, one of Haiti’s poorest areas. “If we can’t see God in the poorest of the poor, we will never find him” says Fritsche.
According to Andrew Marx, manager of Communications for PIH, the health care system in the Central Plateau, which has a total of seven hospitals, is said to be so superior that they have a waiting list of patients from the capital Port-au-Prince and Miami! “They even have ‘Accompagnateurs’ or Social Workers” says Marx. “Their roles is to make sure that their neighbors have access to help when they need it, a sort of outreach to provide health education, Directly Observed Therapy to insure that they take their medications, have enough to eat and monitor their general living conditions.” He also added that those “Social Workers” are often illiterate but are provided with the proper training.
PHI also provides aid to Guatamala, Peru, Mexico, Russia, Rwanda hospitals and feeding programs. The Clinton Foundation was looking for a successful program to fight Aids and drug-resistant Tuberculosis in poor countries. PHI is the model utilized by the World Health Organization in the fight against Aids and multi-drug resistant Tuberculosis. The walk has raised nearly $57000.00 dollars last year and this year they are hoping to raise enough money for the upkeep of eight schools, 1200 kids, increase teachers salaries, books, school fees, uniforms and food. Ms. Fritsche is aware that some may say that PIH by definition should be geared towards just health care but she also emphasizes that education and food are both necessary to be considered healthy. “In Haiti, kids are dying as young as 20-years-old because they have no way to make a living. They succumb to malnutrition, aids and prostitution.” This event has gone beyond the involvement of the French club to a broader spectrum of eager participants including Harvard, Yale, MIT, Boston University, 15 high schools and fifteen church groups from a multitude of cities including by not limited to Somerville, Cambridge and the Greater Boston area. Last year over 1000 marched and this year “We’re expecting more people to join us!” said Ms. Fristche.
Individuals are invited to bear witness to greatness in local communities. Come celebrate the music, dance lessons, poetic and musical performances, and crafts at the pre-walk party at St. Paul’s Parish in Cambridge. Come and familiarize yourself with an unfamiliar country. The walk is on Saturday March 31st at 29 Mt. Auburn St. Cambridge, MA. Registration is between 12 and 12:30 p.m. It’s a three mile walk along the scenic Charles River. I am the resident poet, Publicity Coordinator and a walker looking for sponsors, just write “sponsoring Jacques Fleury” when writing your checks from $5 dollars and up to: Partners In Health, 641 Huntington Ave. 1st Floor, Boston, MA. 02115.For more information on becoming a walker or a sponsor, please call (617) 432-5256 or visit: www.urbanwalkforhaiti.org!
The Spiritual Life, A Column that appears in Whats Up Magazine by Jacques Fleury: The Haitian Firefly
Haitian Women in America: Mothers/Breadwinners/Survivors
Pull Quote: “My mother is a brave soul. I informed her that probably most conservative Christian Haitian women would not be willing to give me this interview. I told her that both Haitian men and women would most likely condemn her for exposing their business, but none of this fazed her. ‘They can all bite me,’ she laughed. ‘Let me be the one to yank the covers off their shame!’”
Marie-Evelyne Toussaint was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. She has been in America since 1984 and she currently lives in Somerville, Massachusetts where she works as a professional health care worker.
Many Haitian Women in Haiti are terribly oppressed, both economically and psychologically. I know this first hand, having grown up with five women in Haiti and observed their often delicate task of living under the toes of oppression; the male bullies who limit them to being subservient and objectified.
Having evolved from the roots of oppression, most Haitian women are basking in their newfound freedom in America and are growing out of the limitations once set upon them by many of the men in Haiti. Here, they are branching out to succeed and become independent. Yet they still have to deal with their former oppressors, the Haitian men who refuse to see and accept them in their new roles as heads of their own families.
I interviewed Marie-Evelyne Toussaint, my mother, about her experiences with Haitian men in both countries, and this is what she had to say.
“In Haiti, men are the boss,” she said. “Women are more afraid of their husbands than they are of their own fathers. You have to obey them like a child or risk getting beat-up. When a man marries you, you become his property.” She went on to talk about the socioeconomic conditions in Haiti that set the stage for this oppressive ideology. “Corruption is the cause of most of this malediction! A woman can get an education and still not be able to find work unless she’s willing to compromise herself sexually. In Haiti, if you’re not from a middle class family, you often marry for financial security and not love. So most women find themselves living in misery and often seek love elsewhere by having extramarital affairs.” She claims that a typical male in Haiti does the same, though, usually with three women: a wife, a mistress and a girlfriend. And they all have to learn to get along simply out of necessity! So in order not to lose this economic support, the women learn to share the men they are involved with. “Tout moun ap vive,” she said, which translates, “Everyone gets a piece of the pie.”
My mother, however, did not want to focus on just the negative things about Haitian men. “The good things about Haitian men in Haiti is that if they come into a family, they not only provide for the woman they are involved with romantically, but the entire family! They are often very amorous, gallant, great dancers and funny! Boy can they tell a story!”
In America, however, the roles change. Most Haitian women work two to three jobs to support their families and are protected under the law from the threat of sexual harassment. “In America,” my mother said, “Haitian men can’t boss me around any more. I now have the power to provide for myself!”
She explained a popular phenomenon called “Tyouel” or “Kept Man” in English. When an educated Haitian male who is new to the U.S., referred to as a “Just Come,” has trouble finding professional work because of the language barrier, he will often find a working professional Haitian woman (who are often Nurse’s Aids or Nurses) and offer to be her “Tyouel” rather than work menial jobs. “What that means is that they are willing to rock your world sexually,” my mom explained. “They make love to you with a French accent! Haitian women love to listen to intellectuals speaking French, especially in bed! What woman doesn’t?” She went on to say, “In my life, I have yet to meet a better lover than a Haitian man!” I found myself cringing as I wrote down this scandalous bit of information from my own mother. “When they love you, they love you for good!” She went on, “For me the love of a Haitian man is unmatched! They are the best lovers in the world!”
So then I asked her, “How do you know? Have you slept with all the men in the world?” She responded, “No, but I can only imagine!” I then asked her another obvious question: “So how come you’re not with one right now?” She paused and then said, “Because all the good ones are married or taken. And I don’t want to support a ‘Tyouel’ right now. I don’t want to ‘take care’ of anybody except me.”
My mother is a brave soul. I informed her that probably most conservative Christian Haitian women would not be willing to give me this interview. I told her that both Haitian men and women would most likely condemn her for exposing their business, but none of this fazed her. “They can all bite me,” she laughed. “Let me be the one to yank the covers off their shame!”
This interview with my mom showed me that in America, some Haitian women no longer feel the need to be trapped in bad marriages in order to have some sense of identity and financial security. Through various conversations with my mother about her Haitian women friends, though, I have learned that some choose to live under the control of their husbands, due to their more traditional belief that the man should be the head of the house, while the woman should take on a more domestic role.
Speaking for myself as part of the younger generation, I graciously embrace the new paradigm of a two-income household and sharing the responsibilities of raising a family. I, as a young Haitian male, do not want to oppress anybody, and I suspect that there are many like me. Today in America, some Haitian women are finding their truest identities outside of oppression and are living fruitful lives that include, but are not limited to, being mothers, breadwinners and essentially survivors! The following poem sums it all up.
Mother from My Mother Land
Mam mam ki soti lan te mouen
An ode to my mom in Creole (from Sparks in the Dark: A Lighter Shade of Blue)
Mouen vle di jodia ke ou gain ou bote
I want to tell you today that you have a beauty
Ki pap joue, especialmen avek bagaille ki led
That don’t play, especially with things that are ugly
Ou se ou manman ki kanpe an ba rote gason qui
You are a mother that stands under the height of men that
Oppresse, rote gason ki blesse, rote gason ki tu ye,
Oppresses, the height of men that cuts, the height of men that kills
ou sou kon ou envlop ki porte nouvelle espiration
You are like an envelop that carries news of inspiration
Nou lil avek attention
We read it with attention
Nou lid avek animation
We read it with animation
Nou lil avek xeux revolution,
We read it with the eyes of revolution,
Nou toute pres pou moutre nous chemen
We are all ready to be shown the way to
Liberte, fraternite, chemen ki fe gason lib
Liberty, fraternity, the way that sets men free
Chemen ki fe nou pres poune kouri le route la
The way that makes us want to run when the road
Commece pren di fe!
Starts to catch fire!
Che men ki menen nou nan te ameriken!
The way that takes us to the land of America!
Copyright © 2007 by Jacques Fleury: The Haitian Firefly All Rights Reserved
On Thursday Feb. 8th, 2007 former Governor candidate Grace Ross and City Counselor Marjorie Decker will appear on "Dream Weavers w/ Jacques" 5:30 p.m. eastern time to discuss Black History Month and the important of dialogue regarding race in the community and within our families. The show will repeat Friday at 12:30 am eastern time. So tune in!!!
Haitianfirefly: We Need Black History Month
By Jacques Fleury
In the face of Michael Richards’s startling racial tirades, we need to view this as an opportunity to begin dialoguing about the ails of our broken society. We need to view this as a harbinger of the racial disharmony that continues to divide this country. I once heard that “What you pay attention to grows stronger” and in this case, we must pay attention to our true feelings about race within our families and local communities.
In this attention deficit disordered world, we need to focus our awareness on respecting each other by continually commemorating one another’s long legacies and continuous contributions to modern society. We need to understand that Black History Month is not just about Black history. It is about American History within the context of African-American contributions to the U.S. population.
I grew-up as part of the middle class in Haiti (contrary to popular beliefs, there are more than just the poor and the poorer in Haiti). My mother and I lived in an inherited house left for her by my grandparents. My father was a property owner, avid businessman and entrepreneur who divided his time between living in the U.S. and in Haiti for business purposes. However, when our economic situation began to plummet, my father attained a five-year-visa for me to come to the U.S. as a tourist in 1984.
Today, I am a published poet (just published my first poetry collection with Warbler Books aptly titled: Sparks in the Dark: A Lighter Shade of Blue) a freelance writer, columnist, producer and host of my own Television show “Dream Weavers” at Cambridge Community Television (CCTV).
Similarly, civil rights pioneers who came before me also overcame the scourge of racism and oppression to achieve personal success. Man like Frederick Douglas who rose-up from the roots of slavery to become a dedicated self-educated academic, political leader and adviser to presidents. He too proved that it could be done!
Today during Black History Month, we are celebrating the courage and resiliency of the prophets who became martyrs because of their prophecy; namely Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, who eloquently stated that “The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood.”
In Paul Farmer’s book: “The Uses of Haiti”, English historian E.P. Thompson writes “Isolated within intellectual enclaves, the drama of ‘theoretical practice’ may become a substitute for more difficult practical engagements.” In other words, we often fall into the trap of spending most of our time talking about what’s wrong with the world and little time doing something about it, particularly when it comes to injustices in third world countries like Haiti!
Dr. Carolyn L. Turk, an African-American woman and Deputy Superintendent of Cambridge Public Schools stated that “…these celebrations are…needed and should continue, but I am also a strong advocate for the contributions of African Americans to be recognized…throughout the year, across content areas and to be inclusive of local community history. Knowledge of our past helps connect us to our present and provides hope …for the future…if we are to continue to build on the [legacies of those who came before us].
Shani Fletcher of Teen Voices Magazine said, “Quite literally, Black people built this country, and our communities’ contributions are a major part of its culture.”
Leroy Cragwell, chair of the Cambridge African American Heritage Trail Committee, simply wanted the Cambridge community to do one thing in honor of Black History Month, to “Support our old new Mayor Ken Reeves.”
The fundamental nature of Black History Month based on these spectrum perspectives is to respect and celebrate variety and inclusiveness of all people, build on the prophetic and heroic legacies of our ancestors who fought for our freedoms today, recognize that Black History Month is essentially American history despite racial diversity, acknowledge an honor the contributions of African-Americans, advocate for change in our public schools to include more Black history in their curricula, and lastly, support local heroes like Cambridge Mayor Ken Reeves!
The Spiritual Life
A Column by Jacques Fleury: The Haitian Firefly
Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places
Do you yearn for unconditional love in your life? Do you find yourself looking for love in all the wrong places? Well, I can empathize, because I have also looked for love where I should not have.
We all want unconditional love and acceptance in our lives in order to reach our most basic goal: happiness. In my life, I have sought the often-conditional love of humanity and have also sought succor within the deceiving and confining walls of material superficiality to make me feel worthy. In today’s society many people, like myself, seek self worth outside of themselves, thus creating the illusion that they are happy and are worthy of being loved. However, this inept concept has recurrently been proven to be a fallacy. The question then is, “Where do we go to find the warm embrace of unconditional love and acceptance as we seek shelter from our highly mechanized society?
While participating in the often-mundane tasks of daily living hoping to find something to get excited about, I came an invigorating and refreshing book called Life of the Beloved: SPIRITUAL LIVING IN A SECULAR WORLD by Henry Nouwen. This book has helped bring me the closest I ever have to feelings of self-actualization by achieving the highest accomplishment: the acceptance of myself and my fellow human travelers, and with this acceptance boundless love!
I once heard that if you want to change the world, do what makes you come a-live! Coincidentally, Nouwen writes to a friend who was sleep walking through life and experiencing a crisis of faith, which caused him to put his dreams aside and live an unfulfilling spiritless and loveless life. Nouwen explains how we often get in our own way by contending, “…the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity or power but self-rejection”. He goes on to say that “self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the ‘Beloved’.”
I couldn’t quite understand what Nouwen meant by the idea of being the “Beloved.” I know that at certain points in my life, I have felt loved if only for a short delicious moment based on something I’ve done to deserve it. Yet, as I kept reading through Life of the Beloved, it occured to me that what Nouwen is saying is that to be the “Beloved” is to be loved unconditionally by something greater than mere humanity.
In recalling the defining moments of my own life, there have been times when I kept myself from being and becoming the Beloved by comparing myself to other people. Essentially, I surrendered to feelings of envy, jealousy, hatred, anger, and vengefulness. I felt unworthy and inadequate for who I am and ultimately for who I felt I should be. This then brings me to Nouwen’s idea of being “chosen.”
Being a black male from Haiti, I have always felt that I have to “prove” myself. I never felt “chosen” for my own unique set of gifts—that there was no one else like me in the entire world. For example, you may be chosen to be a better speaker, whereas I am chosen to be a better writer and so forth. We are all gifted in some way, and essentially there is room for all our gifts to grow and blossom on this earth. However, I did not know that then, and so I eventually bowed to the opinions of others for validation.
People look at me and at least at first glance judge me. First, because I’m Black, second, because I’m from Haiti. On being Black, they attribute to me all the stereotypes of a typical “homeboy” from the Ghetto. On being from Haiti, they bury me in poverty-stricken ideologies ascribed to third world countries. Naturally, because of my self-imposed feelings of inferiority, I allowed these fallacious assumptions to make me question who I am by constantly being on the defense. It was like venting the flames of the never-justifiable self-doubt that coincidentally co-existed with self-hate. Fittingly I started to hear the haunting and bitter voices of scorn in my head hissing words like “prove that you are worth something; do something relevant, spectacular, or powerful. [Only] then you will earn the love you so desire.”
So, I began to look for love in all the wrong places: in the gym to build that perfect body, at college to hone my intellectual capacity, in a career to pay for that apartment in the city and in a relationship with the right “lover” who would make me the source of everyone’s envy. Naturally, none of it made me feel loved or worthy of being loved. I soon realized that I was chasing an illusion! In reality, there is always someone with a better body, education, job, apartment and lover to make he/she the source of my envy.
Eventually, I fell into a deep depression, mostly due to dissatisfaction, and the loss of all the things I thought would make me not break me. As was necessary, I had an epiphany to rebuild my life and reality in its truest sense and initiated the process of coming closer to my most authentic and fabulously lovable self! Now I will spend the rest of my life getting out of my own way by undoing both my self-injurious behavior and what I previously thought to be the insurmountable negative and effects of a prejudiced society.
The road to love can be paved with disappointments and disillusionments, mainly because we fail to recognize love’s tender and empathetic offerings when we see it. Essentially, we need to understand that love can often come from someone of whom we least expected it. Love is not boastful, selfish, nor conditional. We can spend the rest of our lives waiting to love ourselves and for others to love us, or we can choose to claim our Belovedness; that we are loved, respected and accepted because of who we are and not in spite of it. Only then will we know the ultimate love: the unconditional love of God.
Somerville Artist Gives
Us Something Diffrent
By Jacques Fleury
When Mia Champion was asked what she wanted to be when she grows-up, even at the tender age of six, she boldly stated “a part-time doctor and a part-time artist.” Today, she has proven that dreams can come true because she is both a doctor and an artist living in the Somerville area.
Mia’s empirical excursions as a scientific researcher and editor have afforded her with a distinctive comprehension of the various fields of biological research that are illustrated in her exceptional paintings. The molecular processes that are causal to an assortment of diseases, and in some paintings the survivors of these afflictions, are represented in this collection. Her works possess a generous amount of veracity and wonderment.
She has made her mark as a trailblazer proving that brains and beauty can co-exist harmoniously through the bright language of her innate creativity. She posses an elegant yet keen artistic and scientific voice. Her paintings are rich in color and her desires to both educate and entertain are readily apparent. Her works proffers a fluid language that effortlessly traces the lilt and flow of her artistry, which softly invites us to come along on her imaginative and scientific journey.
Her talent is likened to a Quasar from a distant galaxy whose light is so powerful it permeates the darkness of the cosmos and become embedded in the minds of all who are fortunate enough to view it’s luminosity. Much like the morning, her light filters through our window, and we are the better for it. I was able to catch-up with her during her current show, “All That She Sees”, at the Out of the Blue Gallery and asked her some questions.
Jf: When, where and why did you start painting?
Mia: When I was six-years-old and adults asked me what I wanted to be when I grew-up, they were always slightly shocked when I replied with absolute certainty a “part-time doctor and a part-time artist”, especially since there are not any medical researchers or professional artists in my family. Back then; girls were not encouraged to pursue science and math. Although I routinely sketched and painted as a child, I didn’t do it seriously. One afternoon, after a 5-hour college chemistry lab class, I was walking pass a bookstore that had art paper and charcoal sets for sale and the artist in me woke-up! I am mainly a self-taught artist and started drawing faces and form with charcoal and switched to painting. Now most of my pieces are oil paintings, however I have a small collection that are mixed-media works with pencil, charcoal, acrylic, paper collage, and digital software.
Jf: Where do get your inspiration?
Mia: The unique languages of science intrigued me. I found that focusing on ‘the big picture’ by visualizing the concepts made it easier for me to absorb all the necessary information. I realized that this was a useful way of learning and could be a tool for communicating [complex] scientific concepts to the general public. I received my PhD in genetics from UC Davis. While in Kansas City, I met a group of designers and trying to communicate my work to them and my family inspired me to complete my first science art pieces. Over the years, I have been inspired by a diverse collection of master artists. I feel that my art has been most influenced by Renaissance artists, such as Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci, who highly valued the synthesis of science, art, geometry and nature. Fortunately, I have also been influenced by my travels. The most memorable was a bike trip from Vienna to Prague, that enabled me to stop at numerous, and remote monasteries and castles that houses rare collections of art.
Jf: How does your art connects to the community?
Mia: I am dedicated to educating the general public and inspiring an awareness of scientific discoveries in order to facilitate an understanding of bedside applications. I feel that this will empower us as a community so that we can make informed decisions today so to ensure a better tomorrow for our society.
Jf: Where do you see your work going in 5 years?
Mia: I hope that my work continues to evolve in order to communicate the scientific discoveries and medical issues of our times in an effort to inspire education, discussion and voter participation. I also plan to continue donating a percentage of all my profits from art sales to different organizations, like The Children with Diabetes Foundation, dedicated to helping those members of our community who are suffering from illness.
To view samples of Mia Champion’s artwork, visit: www.twistedhelixdesigns.com.
East Baltimore Muse
Friday, January 26, 2007
LIFE IN THE MONASTERY
TEACHING TAI CHI CHUAN IN TAIWAN
by Afaa Michael Weaver
Taipei, Taiwan, is usually a very busy city, and it especially comes alive, at least for me, at night when all the neon signs are lit and a ride through the city in a taxi is mesmerizing. Or a night spent in the night markets with all the food and goods and the loud music of life is more than your sensors can process at times. There is the stinky tofu, so named for the smell it makes when it is being fried. However, disturbing the smell, I love the stuff. You can buy it at any time of the day. The city sits in a basin with the mountains of the northern end of the island surrounding it like a natural wall. The "pei" part of Taipei means north, and this is the northernmost metropolitan area of this island country that I first visited five years ago, almost to the day as I shipped out to do a Fulbright at National Taiwan University on January 22, 2002, just five months after 911. I feel awkward marking time after 911, but I won't hit the delete button. I'll just leave it here and tell a little bit about why I left Taipei and went into a monastery for a while during my most recent time in Taiwan and China.
This is the dormitory where I lived while at the monastery. It is the He Han Temple and Monastery in Hualien, Taiwan, on the eastern coast of the country, a place where my friend Dr. Yu Hsi, the poet, novelist and playwright, is the director and teacher. A monk himself, Dr. Yu Hsi pursues the mission of the monastery, which is to promote Buddhism through art. So it is a small artists' retreat as well, a lovely place, with the sound of birds calling before dawn, so many birds it seems they could never be counted. Then there is the sound of the Pacific, which is just across the street.
I had moved to Taiwan to study Chinese in the immersion way for eight months. At the Taipei Language Institute, a private school with branches in other places in Taiwan and in China, I studied in tutorial fashion for two hours every day. With just myself and the teacher, it was intense. I had two teachers, and the teacher for the first hour is the lady who encouraged me to write poems in Chinese, which was equivlanet to taking me by the hand and walking me into the language. I had studied at Simmons College for free with my faculty audit for two years before going, but there is nothing quite like immersion, and this lady took me to the deeper waters. She had to stop teaching to return to other business, so I was left alone at the gateway. It was the Chinese New Year when everyone goes home to their families. I went to the monastery where I was welcomed with open arms.
Sitting on the grounds of the monastery, I could see the sun forming a mirror on the surface of the ocean, and I would sit sometimes at the foot of the statue of Guan Yin, the goddess of mercy, and think over my life. I had grown weary of poetry, weary of the careerism, all the struggle to be known, the young poets battling for space in the margins of anonymity, and I had grown fearful of the power of poetry. Life in the monastery seemed so serene. I thought seriously about staying for the rst of my life, but then I would take my cell phone and call across the ocean to family and friends to check in with folks. Home would beckon, but the convenience of the phone at times became another reason for staying inside the walls. I could always call home.
This is a lookout point near the monastery gate. Dr. Yu Hsi asked me to move into the monastery and teach Tai Chi Chuan to the monks, most of whom are women, and I emailed my Tai Chi teacher to get his permission. He said I could teach anyone who wanted to learn. So I moved there in May, 2005, for a period of five weeks, and our outdoor classroom was near the lookout point. The monks were the best students. Teaching them was a joy. Some days after class, I would climb the hill and just stand there and look out over the ocean, stand and listen to the endless drumroll of countless tons of water, our origin. A few times Dr. Yu Hsi and I went for walks around the monastery and we would run up the hill like two big kids, laughing and panting for breath at the top.
This statue of Guan Yin is where I would sit, in a pavilion to the left of the grand lady. One story is that she reached enlightenment, but when it was time to enter paradise she opted to stay in the world to help those who suffer. So thus she is the goddess of mercy. It is a long climb up the hill to where she is, and a few times Dr. Yu Hsi and I made the loop a couple of times, racing to see who was in the best shape. We are the same age, both of us born in the year of the Rabbit. Two rabbits we were, one a dedicated monk and one who plays with the idea, one Chinese and one African-American.
Eventually, I returned to Taipei city and to my Chinese classes, to the three hours of homework.
Taipei, Taiwan, is a busy city. Back there from the monastery, I dioscovered that the news of a black man teaching Tai Chi Chuan in the monastery had spread like wildfire. I listened covertly to two little old ladies one day as I was walking to the subway after class. They saw me and began to talk in Chinese about the wonder of this thing, that I was "elevated." However, it was another day of class and I was worn out. I came back to my flat at the top of the apartment building where I lived and stretched out on the bed, in the afternoon sun, and listened to my radio. It's interesting to me to think of who we are and what we take with us when we travel.
Posted by Afaa at 4:52 PM
Labels: environmental concerns, spirituality, tai chi chuan
Academy of American Poets
Alexander Street Press
Simmons International Chinese Poetry Conference
Afaa M. Weaver (Michael S. Weaver) Poet, Playwright, Fiction Writer, Editor, Translator (contemporary Chinese poetry) Cave Canem Elder, and Professor of English at Simmons College... The author of nine collections of poetry including MULTITUDES, MY FATHER'S GEOGRAPHY, STATIONS IN A DREAM, TIMBER AND PRAYER, and TALISMAN, my tenth collection, THE PLUM FLOWER DANCE, will be published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in early 2008 in the format of a reader. Alexander Street Press provides online access to some of my plays.
View my complete profile
JON HEINRICH is an AMAZING artist of the highest magnitude! His photography often resemble paintings. The photographs he takes of nature and earth dwellers are captivating. They show beauty in it's most simplest form, but if you look closer, you will see the intricate complexities of the heart's eyes. Jon's photos dress our eyes with earthly elegance: from mountains to flowers, from animals to carnivals, Jon makes us want to preserve what beauty we have left. Since the planet seems to be in a slow erosion process. His art transcends the bleak and the ordinary to reveal something we all live for: HOPE!
So check him out at the Out of the Blue Gallery on August 11th, 2006! Come for the art, the music and the ambience! Come & let Jon take you on a journey of self discovery through his artistry! Because, in art, we often see ourselves and our own yearnings for un-mitigated beauty, our own yearnings for something more. Jon gives us that something more...
Because of his wide array of experiences, Heinrich has a spacious range of creative versatility and is able to build rapport with a large variety of clients to truly capture the splendor of nature and to uncover the person behind the image. I invite you to check out his photography portfolio online at www.jonheinrich.com
Jon Heinrich Photography
Sky Energy to Earth Collection
Opening Reception: Friday August 11, 2006 7-10pm, show runs through August 24th
Through film and digital photography, Heinrich captures the natural mystic energy that permeates all human experience. The essence of light, energy and earth reflect Heinrich's philosophy that the more you intentionally direct your life towards making the world a better place, the more beautiful it becomes. Human revolution begins with the individual.
Please join us for the opening on August 11th where special musical guest Brian O'Connell, featured on the unique 12-string Touch Guitar, will greet your ears with a mesmerizing futuristic folk meltdown laced with ambient nightmares and majestic soundscapes. Special guest Jonah Morreale on didgeridoo will join O'Connell in musical splendor.
Jon Heinrich got his first Nikon for graduation from Colorado State University in 1998, just at the cusp of life when things begin to happen. Since then he's been experiencing the world for what it is and capturing his most beautiful experiences to share with his fellow beings.
Music photography combines Heinrich's passion for seeing new places and collaborating with artists. Together, the two yield telling images of those driven souls who have made the most of what life has to offer. In addition to shooting live improvisational performances all over the country, there is nothing like the local art scene in Boston. As the epicenter of jazz emanates creative vibrations, Boston's visual art community is also strongest of anywhere in the motherland with more open studios than any other city in the nation. Heinrich has spent the last three years documenting this cultural revolution as staff photographer for Meniscus Magazine. (meniscusmagazine.com)
In addition to freelance portrait photography and documenting live events, Jon's penchant for catching living motion and light is at the core of his fine art photography.
On top of freelance assignments and Meniscus Magazine, Jon is working on the Translation project with fellow artists Rachael Wilcox (starvingartistgallery.org/) and Andreas Gmür (andreasgmur.com). Exploring an artistic dialogue between different media, the project communicates the portrait of a human being from photography to ceramic relief mask to oil painting. “A single human expression will be transported and translated through photography, sculpture, and then painting, creating an evolution of understanding between both ourselves and the different mediums,” explains project founder, Rachael Wilcox.
On the other side of the brain, Heinrich works on executive-level corporate communications programs at CXO Media, publishers of CIO and CSO magazines. As a project manager, he leads international marketing campaigns consisting of nearly every type of media from print to webcast, and is practiced in getting high-quality creativity out the door within tight schedule constraints.
GREEN RAINBOW PARTY GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE Grace Ross is scheduled to appear on 'Dream Weavers w/ Jacques" on Thursday July 20th ,2006 at 5:30 pm eastern time on channel 9 in Cambridge. The show will also be broadcasted LIVE on cctvcambridge.org at the same time, just click on webstream! The show will repeat on Friday July 21st, 2006 at 11pm eastern time both on channel 9 and on cctv! Please feel free to call in with questions!
Sunshine on a Cloudy Day
Grace Ross has been a life-long activist working with diverse, low-income leaders to abolish poverty and on progressive causes from nonviolence, the environment, and international solidarity to anti-racist struggles, women’s rights, union organizing and gay/lesbian civil rights. She grew up in New York, came to Harvard for college and graduate work and found her home in the streets and primarily low-income communities’ struggle for survival and justice. She is a white lesbian living in Worcester.
“In this time when so many of us have been made to feel despair and disempowered, our campaign is a call of renewal in the struggle for peace and justice, we cannot wait for leaders elected through our present corporate-driven system to fight for these ideals. We will fight for our dreams as we call on the people of this Commonwealth to fight for theirs. We must show our faith in ourselves and begin the process of building the road to a new beloved Commonwealth."
Every four years in Massachusetts we are faced with the duty of who our leaders should be, and every four years from the corporate parties we hear the same empty promises, the same band-aid solutions to problems that would require surgery, and the same hollow proposals that aren't followed-up on and don't speak to real people.
We are facing ecological, economic, and social dilemmas in our lifetimes that the world has never before seen, and we need a new kind of leadership that isn't interested in making the change later, but making the change NOW.
Grace Ross and Wendy Van Horne are those kind of leaders. Isn't it time that we elect leaders who respect and work to include ALL people, regardless of where, when, or how they were born? Isn't it time we elect leaders who admit that we are in a global environmental crisis and whom are already taking steps to reverse the damage humans have done? Isn't it time we make the change right now? Help us make the change!
REX TRAILER is known to many in Boston! He was on the Television show called BoomTown which aired on WBZ-TV Channel 4 and ran from the 1950's until the 1970's. I was informed that it was the longest running show in Boston, Massachetts. Some of his famous fans include Jay Leno, Tom Bergeron and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, whom also appeared on the documentary ! There is a documentary that has been made about him and it will be screened at "Jimmy Tingles Off Broadway Theatre" in Sommerville, Massachusetts on July 19th, 2006. The director of the documentary Michael Bavaro and Mr. Trailer are tentatively scheduled to come on my TV show "Dream Weavers With Jacques" Channel 9 in Cambridge, MA. and on CCTV's website at 5:30 pm eastern time on July 13th, 2006! The show will be repeated on Friday 11pm eastern time both on TV and the net! Please tune in for this most exciting event. Mr. Trailer is apparently a TeleVision icon in Boston and a plethora of people are anticipating this rare TV appearance!
Jimmy Tingle’s OFF BROADWAY Theater
& TrailMixx Pictures present:
“Rex Trailer’s Boomtown” Film Screening & Reunion with Rex Trailer - Wednesday, July 19th at JTOB
- Part of the 50th Boomtown Reunion Tour Celebration -
One Wednesday, July 19, Rex Trailer will appear at Jimmy Tingle’s OFF BROADWAY Theater in Davis Square, Somerville. At 6 p.m. RedBones provides a complimentary Bar-B-Q buffet to kick off the reunion celebration. Enjoy the buffet while meeting Rex and cast members of the “Boomtown” movie. Here’s a chance to say hello to a legend, be a part of the reunion tour, and have your photo taken with Rex.
At 7:30 p.m. the one-hour version of the documentary film, “Rex Trailer’s Boomtown” will screen, followed by a panel discussion with Rex, filmmaker Michael Bavaro, and special guest cast members. Rex will give out prizes to Boomtown trivia fans. The DVD will be on sale along with other memorabilia for Rex to personally autograph.
Hosting the evening’s festivities will be Jimmy Tingle, who appeared on the show as a boy, and was picked by Rex as the Pony Express guy. Join Jimmy as he welcomes his childhood hero.
It’s been 50 years since Boomtown came to Boston, and since 50th anniversaries come around only once in most of our lives, please celebrate with us.
“Rex Trailer’s Boomtown” premiered on WBZ-TV in Boston on April 28, 1956. Every Saturday and Sunday the show aired from 7am to 10am and lasted for nearly 20 years when it signed off in 1974.
The documentary film of the same title aired as a broadcast special on CBS-4 Boston on June 18, 2005. The film was nominated for a 2006 New England Emmy Award for best historical drama and the broadcast is now part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Television and Radio in New York. Relive an age of innocence, “WANTED” posters, and live one-take TV in this moving documentary about Boston’s beloved cowboy and pioneer of children’s television. The comprehensive film has been described by Jim Braude on New England Cable News as “a colossal documentary.”
The film features interviews with 100 grown-up “Boomtown” fans including: Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino; television stars Tom Bergeron, Jay Leno, Mike O’Malley; and comedians Steven Wright, Lenny Clarke, Jimmy Tingle, Tony V, Brian Kiley, Eddie Brill; local television and radio celebrities Juli Auclair, WHDH-7; Frank Avruch, WCVB-5; Steve Burton, CBS-4; Gene Lavanchy, FOX-25; Jordan Rich, WBZ Radio and Paul Sullivan, WBZ Radio; as well as Ernie Boch Jr. of Boch Motors; Barry Tatelman, of Jordan's Furniture; Vin DiBona of Vin DiBona Productions; and many others.
The film is told through the memories of these individuals, interviewed from Boston to California, eager to honor Rex.
“Boomtown”, a Western-themed television show, was a weekend staple for the 4 million children who watched on WBZ-TV in Boston and reached into most states of New England. More than 200,000 kids appeared live on the show during its run. The 3-hour show offered music, games, storytelling, cartoons, environmental education and life learning lessons.
“Rex Trailer’s Boomtown” Film Screening & Reunion with Rex Trailer
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
At Jimmy Tingle's OFF BROADWAY Theater in Somerville, MA
Schedule of Evening Events:
6 p.m. - Texas Bar-B-Q with Rex provided by RedBones
7:30 p.m. - Screening of “Rex Trailer's Boomtown”
8:30 p.m. - Panel discussion with Rex, filmmaker Michael Bavaro, and cast members
Jimmy Tingle’s OFF BROADWAY Theater
255 Elm Street, Davis Square, Somerville MA
(near Red Line Davis T)
Admission: $ 25
- includes RedBones buffet at theater, and screening & panel to follow –
For tickets: 1-866-811-4111
For Theatre Information Please Contact:
(617) 591-1616 or jtoffbroadway.com
Rex Trailer Bio:
Rex Trailer grew up in Texas and learned his cowboy skills while spending summers on his grandfather’s ranch. The ranch workers were rodeo riders who advised the young Rex to stay away from the “rough stock” and stick to rodeo performing.
With that sage advice, Rex learned trick riding, rope tricks, bullwhips, and marksmanship. As a rodeo performer, he met Western movie star Gabby Hayes at Madison Square Garden in New York. Hayes took Rex under his wing and hired him to work at his Catskills summer ranch for kids. Hayes realized Rex was a natural with kids and encouraged him to break into television as an on-air personality.
In the fall of 1947, Rex moved to New York City and applied to the Dumont Network but no on-air positions were available. He knew working from the inside would be more beneficial so he accepted a job as a production coordinator and worked his way up to producer and director. One day, Rex heard of a casting call for a cowboy to host a new kid’s show. Rex landed the job as the host of the Oky Doky Ranch and began his career in children’s television on the Dumont Network.
In 1950, the Westinghouse Broadcasting Company offered Rex a contract as their on-air children’s personality at their WPTZ station in Philadelphia. From 1950 to1955, Rex was the host of three shows, “High Noon with Rex Trailer,” “Riding the Trail,” and “Rex Trailer's Ranch House.” With 13 weeks left on his contract, Westinghouse sold the station to NBC. He was offered to play out his deal at their stations in either Cleveland or Boston. Rex chose Boston and that 13-week contract would last nearly 20 years.
On April 28, 1956, “Rex Trailer's Boomtown” premiered on WBZ-TV in Boston. The show was an instant success. Every Saturday and Sunday morning “Boomtown” was on the air live for three hours. More than 200,000 kids would appear on “Boomtown” over the years and over 4 million watched from home. The show offered entertainment, educational games, films, cartoons, and outdoor adventure.
As the demand of network airtime encroached on the local television markets, “Boomtown” signed off WBZ-TV in 1974. Westinghouse then developed a program called “Earth Lab,” a science show for kids and teens and chose Rex as the host. He took off his cowboy hat and explored other worlds that were of interest to him such as NASA’s space expedition. The show was nationally syndicated and enjoyed a successful run in the mid-1970’s.
In 1977, Rex found his current home at Emerson College teaching on-camera performance and television production. Many of his students have gone on to great success in news and entertainment. Rex has written and recorded many songs over the years and still enjoys performing at personal appearances and parades with his horse Goldrush. He is president of RTV Productions in Waltham, Massachusetts producing commercials, industrials, and documentaries. Rex is currently developing a new educational, family-interest television show.
The recipient of numerous honors and citations, Rex Trailer received the 2005 Governor’s Award at the New England chapter of the National Television Academy. He was also awarded the MASS IMPACT award at the 2005 Boston Film Festival for this documentary film titled, “Rex Trailer’s Boomtown.”
CAMBRIDGE MAYOR KEN REEVES has been re-scheduled to appear on my CCTV Be Live Television show "Dream Weavers w/ Jacques" on May 25th due to scheduling difficulties, 2006 Thursday at 5:30pm on Channel 9 and on CCTV's website which is mentioned above! Some of the questions I have submitted to the Mayor's Personal Assistant Bernard Hicks are: What are some of the duties of a Mayor? What are some of the current issues needing immediate attention? What has the mayor accomplished in the past and what are his current ambitions for the betterment of the city of Cambridge? Please watch and call the number on the screen with questions for the Mayor! I hope that the community utilize this opportunity to get involved with the city officials elected to represent them in office!
Recently, I was invited to be the performing poet and also served as a publicity agent for the Third Annual Urban Walk for Haiti! My article on the walk was published in "The Boston Haitian Reporter", "The Bridge", "Sommerville News" and in my column on the online version of "The Alewife" newspaper! It was estimated that a thousand people were in attendance and that we raised close to $50,000.00 dollars and counting! We had art vendors, music, dance and general AMBIENCE! My mom was there joyfully selling my poetry book! The weather was awsome! We walked to raise money to build a new school in Haiti and to support the ubiquitous Dr. Paul Farmers Boston Based Organization for Haiti called Partners in Health (PIH) designed to provide much needed medical aid to the poor in Haiti. DR. Farmer has two hospitals under his name in Haiti free to all patients! The book written about him "Mountains Beyond Mountains" is a NewYork Times best seller! Farmer himself wrote a book titled "The Uses of Haiti" which I have in my library and I think is essential to all who are curious about America's foreign policies, some of which gravely affects Haiti! Thank you to all who supported the walk! Hope to see you all next year with your walking shoes in hand!
HERE IS THE POEM I EXCLUSIVELY WROTE FOR AND PERFORMED AT THE WALK!
Walk for Haiti, Walk for Humanity!
By Jacques Fleury The Haitian fireflY
Today, we celebrate the presence
And participation of the youth culture
The next generation for a brighter future
All joined together so that Haiti and optimally
Humanity can be better!
When I left Haiti I could not stop
From looking back in my rear view mirror
Leaving behind all the beauty and horror,
And I remember thinking to myself
There has to be more to life than constant strife!
So now I got poems burning on my breath
To cure misery and death like Partners in Health!
But I must emphasize,
Haiti for me was not all about death and debris!
It was also about beauty.
I remember staring in stupor
The dance of the Caribbean wind
Over the blue eyed sea a crystallized lagoon
Rising and falling with the grace of a ballerina,
The deep green elegance of palm trees,
Picnics by moonlight and sweet memories of mangoes,
The sounds of laughter resounding from the young
As they run about playing hide and seek,
A game adults knew very well in the face of
Domination and intimidation!
So now I got poems burning on my breath to
Cure misery and death like Partners in Health.
When I revisit these memories,
I can't decide whether I want to
Or whether I want to
I remember those who lived under
The roof of tragedy!
I often forget that I was lucky!
I lived a sheltered life since we
Were considered middle class.
Women had very few choices,
In Haiti, the heterosexist macho male culture
Does not make things sturdy for mothers
Defying gravity to rise above economic scarcity,
So they often turned to God for spiritual energy.
So now, I got poems burning on
My breath to cure misery and death
Like Partners in Health.
When I lived in Haiti,
Black outs were as constant as
The pain in the eyes of mothers
Watching their children starving.
Then the moon descended like a
Familiar friend to keep shadows in misery company.
The children would all run around happy just to be.
Their carefree laughter inviting the winning shapes
Of eternity in their haunted voices.
Then shadows of the world would appear
Attired in fear the message was clear:
There must be something better than this!
So I like to remember the tropical sea
A blue hue at the end of Carfou on
Jean Claude Duvalier Avenue where we lived,
Coconut trees swaying with the wind
to the rhythm of beauty and brutality!
The sky separated in two: black and blue,
Under black skies, the moon hovered like
Halos over Haitian heads restless spirits
Searching through the night with darkness riding
Heavy on their backs
So they often sang their misery away
Their music bending the night to make
Room for a little light,
I listened to them sing their songs of
hope and inspiration:
"De Galilee, sa nap gade,
De Galilee, sa nap gade,
Jesus ki paret la, sa nap gade,
Lap retounin enko, sa nap gade"x2
I remember crying when I saw this sight.
I am sorry to have seen.
But glory has a history of curing misery!
And so I wait for Haitiâ€™s endless nights to turn
Into endless days,
And so I wait for Haitian children to shine like
The colors of May,
And so I wait for Haiti's hungry to be fed,
And so I wait for Haiti's sick to be cured,
And so I wait for Haiti's sun to shine like
The glossy innocence in the eyes of a child,
And so I wait.
With poems burning on my breath to cure misery
And death like Partners in Health.
So today let's all walk and sing
until our voices ring ripples in the Caribbean sea,
so today let's all walk and sing until Haiti is
set free from torture!
set free from horror!
set free from hunger!
A great man once said
"I fed the poor and the call me a saint
I ask why they are poor and they call me a communist,"
I say release all Haitian birds!!!
I've learned that some birds are not meant to be caged,
Their colors are just too bright!
The cross roads of time is on our side!
There will come a time when holy generosity
will fall from the sky,
there will come a time when the land of scarcity
will become the land of the plenty!
There will come a time when Haiti will reclaim it's
Original vision of bliss and beauty,
There will come a time when Haiti will be set free!
But for now, all I got is poems burning on my breath
To cure misery and death like Partners in Health.
Yet still I am compelled to listen to the sounds in the trees,
To the somber voices of our ancestors
Feeling compelled to say something to our generation
So pay attention!
Listen closely to the absent songs of democracy!
Go up to the hills of Haiti and there you will hear
Clearly hidden meanings humming in the wind,
So listen closely to the temptations of power,
So listen closely to the maltreatment of your brother,
So listen closely to the maltreatment of your sister.
No blood needs to be shed for Haiti to be fed!
On Haitian terrains we got mountains of pain
Dancing in the rain.
But one day, Haitian children will wake up to
Shiny silver mornings and hummingbirds singing
Promising a glossy wire string strong enough
To pull Haiti out of misery,
A glossy wire string strong enough to pull
Haiti back into its original grace and beauty.
Yet still I got poems burning on my breath
To cure misery and death like Partners in Health.
So thank you for walking, with each step
Haiti is brighter,
So thank you for walking, with each step
Haiti is stronger.
So thank you for walking to better the lives of the living!!!
COPYRIGHT 2006 BY JACQUES FLEURY ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.