Jason Gardner was first introduced to New York Writers Coalition through a photography project. From Kingsbridge to Canarsie: reflections of 8 NYC girls was a collaborative effort by young teenage authors to describe their neighborhoods in New York. Through the alternative Urban Academy, project based learning gave the girls time to give tours of their neighborhoods through writing, photographs and interviews. This anthropological lens drew Jason to the project. As the documentary portrait photographer of the girls, he wanted to capture their unique independent spirits.
This is reflective of Jason’s interactive philosophy of photography as visual anthropology. Instead of a distant, objectifying approach, Jason takes the time to understand the behind –the- scenes, cultural context of a given situation. This participant-observer approach leads him into the homes and lives of traditional dancers and citizens. His close attention to authentic detail and story led him to be selected by the Brazilian Consulate to photograph Carnival. He extended the project to find additional meaning through the Diaspora of the tradition, including Trinidad and the Wild Mohican Mardi Gras Indians in his own country, New Orleans.
He feels the revelation of story leads to a fuller understanding across cultures and ultimately leads to a more integrated world. Getting behind the lives of individuals, be they musicians, travelers or business people shows the character of each person in a environmental setting that reflects their societal context. Jason is currently looking for new projects that highlight cultural interaction.
“I’d rather have a bottle in front of me, than a frontal lobotomy,” so said Dorothy Parker or maybe Tom Waits. This spoonerism, or the switcheroo of sounds, might hold some wisdom for writers. A recent study examining the connection between alcohol and creativity showed a 30% increase in creative problem solving after 40 young men drank vodka cranberry. Researchers hypothesize that alcohol lowers the “executive functioning” of the frontal lobe or that it makes you think less (um, yeah), which in turn may help the brain make creative associations.
While we don’t advocate alcohol as a cure for Writer’s Block, next month we’ll be getting creative with a Pub & Prompt Happy Hour at the Village Pourhouse as part of our kick-off celebration for the 7th Annual NYWC Write-a-Thon. What is the Write-a-Thon you ask? New York’s only all day writing marathon. Come to the Pub & Prompt Happy Hour to get inspired for the Write-a-Thon or stop by and cheer Write-a-Thoners as they prepare for the big event June 24. Bring a writing prompt and receive a free drink. RSVP here.
NYWC Write-a-Thon Kickoff Pub & Prompt Happy Hour
Wednesday, June 13 @ 7 PM
I knew there was some subconscious — yet good — reason I never faithfully wrote “Dear Diary…” as a teen. Between the menstrual moments and that first ill-fated May/December crush on a science teacher, some stories are better left off the page. Let’s call it self-preservation of dignity.
“At exactly fifteen minutes past eight in the morning on August 6, 1945, Japanese time, at the moment when the atomic bomb flashed above Hiroshima, Miss Toshiko Sasaki, a clerk in the personnel department of the East Asia Tin Works, had just sat down at her place in the plant office and was turning her head to speak to the girl at the next desk. At that same moment, Dr. Masakazu was settling down cross-legged to read the Osaka Asahi on the porch of his private hospital overhanging one of the seven deltaic rivers which divide Hiroshima; Mrs. Hatsuyo Nakamura, a tailor’s widow, stood by the window of her kitchen, watching a neighbor tearing down his house …” (more…)
Famed singer, record producer, song writer, leading actress, mother of Blue Ivy and overall Earth God, Beyonce Knowles added award winning journalist to her resume after receiving an award from the New York Association of Black Journalists. I always thought she was overrated and overexposed but apparently there is not anything she cannot master. The award was for an essay she wrote in Essence Magazine entitled “Eat, Play, Love” where she discusses her “break” from show business. She highlights moments in her solo career, focusing mostly on her travels while touring. After working so hard for so long, she makes the bold decision to go on hiatus for a whopping nine months to allow herself time to relax and seek inspiration.
As a music aficionado, I do understand that entertainers often have to endure struggles and setbacks in a business where competition can be defeating and success if often short lived. I would love to learn about more musicians’ stories, especially when told through their own lens.When researching autobiographies written by singers, I discovered only a few, especially from African-American artists. Here are some written accounts from artists I would actually be interested in:
1. Miles: The Autobiography, Miles Davis and Quincy Troupe
2. The Confessions of Rick James: Memoirs of a Super Freak
3. E.A.R.L.: The Autobiography of DMX
4. Secrets of a Sparrow, Diana Ross
5. Blues All Around Me: The Autobiography of B.B. King