Eb and Flow's Posts
|My name is Ebony Hairston. I'm a KDHX volunteer and a writer; I record my life on instinct. I love the world and I love reading and writing. My blog will specialize in covering museum happenings, the visual arts, theater, and occasionally jazz or spoken word and literary events.|
The night glowed as the talented, Saint Louis-curious international film community closed out the 18th Annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival with a party on November 22, 2009 at the Moonrise Hotel.
Open-minded and opinionated filmgoers of all kinds lit up the evening with sparkling conversation beneath the additional star power of the Chihuly chandelier.
For me, one of the festival standouts was Bollywood Beats, an example of a recent wave of Indian talent. Directed by Mehul Shah, the film features actress Mansi Patel and Bollywood star Pooja Kumar (a native of Saint Louis). Another exceptional film, now making the rounds of mainstream theatres, is Up in the Air, a George Clooney and Jason Reitman (the writer and director of Juno) project shot principally in Saint. Louis. This festival winner is one to keep an eye on, for sure.
This Thanksgiving I find myself thankful for the people and the ideas that will hopefully bring us closer to the peace and prosperity we pray for every holiday. There are many people all over the area who have been working tirelessly to make their communities the best that they can be.
Tracy Panus, Media Relations Officer for the St. Louis County Police Department, spoke with me to address current worries about crime rates and the violence between the police and members of the public.
“[It's a] matter of respect going both ways. We’re trying to keep people safe. People are generally good. [There needs to be] a measure of respect that people are trying to go about their business,” said Panus.
According to Officer Panus, communication is a key element to law enforcement. She has spent time interacting with the public as an officer.
“Communication is one of the most important skills we have as police officers,” says Panus. “Most interactions are very brief, and people tend to make quick assessments of the police because of those interactions…that affects whether [they say something when they] see something that they should report. Our communication skills are essential to our job.”
Paula Rhodes went to high school with me in Saint Louis. She was a cute, smart, well-liked student, and the section editor for the Hazelwood Central yearbook her senior year. She went off to study at the University of Missouri, and remained active in theater. After attending a state school, she’s become even more state-of-the-art. The Missouri native now lives in Los Angeles, where she is working on a new project called Final Cut, an online horror movie production company. Paula brought me up to speed in an e-mail conversation.
What made you get into the horror genre?
I love many a genre, but when my co-creator, Cathy Baron, and I got together to brainstorm a web series, I had a horror film script I’d written that we realized we could easily web-ize. Plus, between the two of us we’ve died something like ten different ways in various horror films (you can check out our credits here and here, so we felt that we knew our way around the world of fake blood. :) We knew some amazing SFX artists, plus we recognized the increasingly dark trend in what audiences were into. Just look at all the vampires flying about the airwaves.
This past weekend, I backpacked across Europe, Africa, and all over the world, all in the beautiful space of Tower Grove Park. This year’s Festival of Nations, presented by the International Institute, was perfectly laid out for easy browsing and conversational flow. It was a gorgeous sunny day, with great food, crafts like “henna hands,” cool music, and tons of friendly people. I’m sure there were more people this year than ever before. The International Institute is known for welcoming the people of the world to St. Louis, and the people of the world always welcome us back.
I was lucky to be a greeter this year, and had a great experience. I had time before my shift to watch Scottish log tossing, which was fun and very impressive to see, and then talked to the folks in the crafts tent. They had just finished a Latin American dance, followed by Mr. and Mrs. Hickman demonstrating German lacemaking. Mr. Hickman even let me try. I admired the delicate examples: flowers, wedding scenes, and such on display. He said proudly that his wife, a widely recognized lace master artist, was his teacher. She was a pleasure to meet!
Then it was on to African tie-dye, and I spoke with an expert in the art from Sierra Leone. We talked about the languages of Africa and how they compare to ebonics, and he displayed the pieces he had brought with him. Other highlights of the afternoon included vases and soft, bright sherbet-colored clothes from India. It was all so beautiful, but much of it was too expensive for me to purchase this year.
I wound up the afternoon with a bit of Somalian food — missed the Argentinean food, which some people said was a stand out — and even tasted Scottish liquor for the first time! They added water to it in a little cup for me, which I guess is how you drink it. Strong stuff! The Scottish booth also had tons of books to look at and wool weavings in tartan patterns.
All in all, it was a wonderful experience. Thank you to the people of the International Institute for throwing such a unique event.
North Carolina Afrobeat band the Afromotive performed live at the Magnolia Avenue Studios this past July, and Ebony Hairston, the KDHX Blog’s newest contributor, was in attendance. Photos by Chabel Caler Jiménez.
“Music is universal. I played with different bands, funk, jazz, mixed bands. Life is a big city and we are a village,” Adama Dembele of the Afromotive explained. Demebele learned the ajembe from his father and has played all his life. He hails from the Ivory Coast and has been traveling with the Afromotive for around two years now.
The sound of this band makes you feel like you just took a vacation to a heavenly riot of drums. Its improvisational wall of sound features guitars, trumpets and keyboards. Coolest people ever; everyone speaks and sings in a multilingual groove. Thank you, or (E-ne-che) for taking time out for the KDHX audience.
The Afromotive – 7/8/09
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