Monday, May 18, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Sundays are my favorite, when the parrot in the apartment below squawks that the sun is up and therefore I should be as well. 2 hours, 2 earplugs and a sleeping mask later, I roll out of bed and walk a few blocks to the little farmer's market on Melrose Place, picking up some fresh fruit and flowers (the only things I can afford on that stretch of street). I walk up to Santa Monica for a Trader Joes hit (gluten-free granola! It's the little things that make celiacs happy).
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
As I prepare physically to board the plane on Wednesday, packing sunscreen, contacts and camera, I am reading as much as I can to prepare mentally and spiritually for my first experience in Africa. As I wrote last week, our focus is to tell the story of how Life in Abundance (L.I.A) provides family for street kids: structure, tutoring, caring and support for those who are alone. As I'm reading the beautiful, powerful "They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky: The true story of three Lost Boys from Sudan," I am reminded of collective cultures and different ways family look around the world.
Monday, May 11, 2009
A couple weeks ago I had a weekend of seeing symbolism and peacocks. As I researched the symbolism, I read that Flannery O'Connor, one of my favorite authors, raised and wrote about peacocks. Today a friend posted this L.A. Times story about peafowl running free in the L.A. neighborhood of Victor Heights:
"But life for the birds is different in Victor Heights.
Residents in this working-class section of L.A. west of Chinatown treat the peafowl like just another neighbor, albeit a noisy, disruptive and temperamental one. The few thousand humans who live here have grown to accept the birds' 4 a.m. squawking, their trampling of plants and flowers and their oversized eggs occasionally left on porches to hatch.
"You come to get used to them," said Clay Bush, who moved to Victor Heights in 2000.
At times, neighbors are acutely aware that the birds live in their midst. To avoid hitting them, drivers make sure to maneuver slowly on the area's steep hills. Children collect their feathers. And almost everyone seems to love watching their bizarre mating dance -- often performed in the middle of the street -- in which a male, feathers fully extended, sashays sideways toward his beloved." ~ By Cara Mia DiMassa
I found a tattoo site that gives a little more symbolism: "Sufi legend describes the creation of all living creatures from droplets of sweat from the body of the Peacock. In China, the Peacock represented divinity, rank, power and beauty. It was also reckoned that a woman could get pregnant if a Peacock glanced at her!" (I'll avoid eye contact.)
VanishingTattoo.com also gave me a couple of ideas for my tattoo... I like the more spare, black and white ones. What do you think?
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Saturday, May 09, 2009
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Just two weeks and one quick R.E.I. trip for bug spray away from boarding the plane that will take us from Los Angeles to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (via Detroit, Amsterdam and Khartoum Civil, Sudan). I'm thankful for the excitement and mindfulness surrounding this trip, from family, friends and strangers in the Trader Joes' checkout line. It's humbling to see pieces of a dream come together, the opportunity to see a part of life in Africa, to be a part of a documentary team, to share the stories of people and a place through words, music, and picture that come together in the magic of a film.
As we've discussed the short (short!) time we'll be on the ground, we've begun to imagine how the stories may play out. Of course, with documentary filmmaking, part of the fun is not knowing exactly what you're going to capture, what the final story will be. It's a true test of being open to the moment and giving up pre-conceived notions. In light of that, here's a skeletal outline of a story vision, the questions we'd like the film to ask.
Dereje, one of the LIA staff who works with the street kids leaves his own family every week to travel by bus over 130km to the capital, Addis Ababa, to serve these kids with no family. We hope to explore how "family" has different meanings, nuances and frames. What is life like on the streets in the slums for kids? What community do they find, both in the Life in Abundance (LIA) program and outside it, in the city? What do the kids see and hope for for their future? What are the colors in their daily life, what makes up the bright hues and the shades of grey? What is family when you've lost yours?
Keep checking here for updates and photos / stories after we land. If you'd like to help with the cost of making the film and invest in the work being done there through the awareness raised by the film, please click here to donate online. It's tax deductible, and you get your name in the "thank you" credits at the end of the film! I'm still a bit short of the funds for the plane ticket, with any extra money raised going towards a bit of salary to help with rent / food, so if you'd like your donation to go towards my ticket, scroll down to the "You Choose" option and type in: Rebecca Snavely Ethiopia documentary.
Sunday, May 03, 2009
Civil Rights, The Rainbow Tribe: What every woman should know about Coretta Scott King (and Josephine Baker)
Excerpted from Anna Belle's essay:
"Not many people are aware that Coretta Scott King was also a visionary when it came to Civil Rights, and unsuccessfully fought to expand the movement to include women’s and gay/lesbian rights. A little known fact is that she also tried to tap Josephine Baker to head this expanded movement. Perhaps, considering her long list of accomplishments, we should petition Congress to make the third Monday in January Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King Day.
"Coretta Scott King was already heavily involved in the budding Civil Rights movement when she met Dr. King. They are both on record as saying they fell for each other precisely because their values were so in sync with one another. She had already long been a member of the NAACP, and was subjected to an eye-opening experience with racism at Antioch College, where she pursued her B.A. in music education.
"Perhaps it was her love of music and performance that caused her to approach Josephine Baker about heading up the expanded Civil Rights movement she envisioned, and which Dr. King himself had spoken some about before his death. In addition to class issues, which Dr. King spoke about, Coretta Scott King saw that women’s rights and gay/lesbian rights were also civil rights. She wanted the Civil Rights movement to embrace those issues as well, but encountered resistance she correctly feared she could not overcome. The King family had long been friends with Baker and her unusual family, and Coretta Scott King was aware of Baker’s rather progressive views.
"Throughout the time that the Kings were fighting for civil rights, Josephine Baker had led her own public campaign to end racial hostility and racist treatment. In addition to her campaign against the Stork Club in New York, and her refusal to ever perform before segregated audiences, she was committed to living a life that modeled racial harmony. In that effort, Baker adopted 12 children of various ethnic backgrounds, she said as a way to show that people of different backgrounds could live together as brothers and sisters. She called her family “The Rainbow Tribe.” She was so well-known for her civil rights work in America at the time, that in 1963 she was the only woman to speak at the March on Washington, which she did wearing her French Resistance uniform and medal, with Martin Luther King, Jr. at her side."
Read the full essay here.