Da Good and Da Bad
[and no dont ask me why i type like a teenager – cuz it should be obvious – i gotta have some fun while on this truth campaign dont i. it cant be all heavy politics and proper verb agreements and dotted Is and crossed Ts and because im a major fan of “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston – its one of me all time FAVORITE books. I was spelling on it with me Z yesterday – getting all misty eyed over Tea Cakes and his death and life and the last lines about throwing open the window and calling in her soul to come see. its a GRAND book largely because of the LANGUAGE and the PEOPLE. Real – even though its fiction so relax over my typing folks – u know i just do it to make me happy and cuz some of ya should not be so uptight on trying to PROVE to Hearing folks that Deaf folks can use proper English. Mine is better that alot folks. I do this cuz i can and so can u. and this is a blog folks – not an “article.”)
So Da Good as in Its Good to be Deaf
[AS in Deaf folks hit da BIG time and become visible in Popular Culture! ]
Pete Seeger, of “If I Had a Hammer” and “Where have all the flowers gone” fame was a walking for Occupy Wallstreet. I know it aint got a direct Deaf connection but since we are all connected – it does folks it totally does. And if u dont think what has been going on on wallstreet affects you well i got some swamp land in FLA and some specially packaged water u might be interested in buying
It connected – we all is connected folks. and most likely at Pete’s age he may have some Deafhood groove a going cuz with age comes Deaf gain and im sure he underSTANDS Deaf folks as the Clearwater festivals that he supported for all these years was (and i hope still is) super cool about having interpreters etc. He is an equality for all kinda guy
And the below is about the hammer we done are getting going – the Truth – we r putting the truths out there for all to see – IT’s DANDY to be DEAF. And this disseminating of the truth is gonna make it a wee bit harder for the propagandists who keep trying to paint
deaf as death (by the way i just learned that in Dutch the words for “deaf” and “death” also sound the same – coincidence???? this is why we need a new word eventually folks to – it will aid in changing our own and the public’s perception – but it should be created in universal sign first with nothing to do with the ear or the mouth)
so KUDOS to Pete for keepin’ on – and thank ya for giving me HOPE and joy and inspiration
i hope i will still do what i need to do do when im ninety-two too!
Wonderstruck by by Brian Selznick
Wonderstruck – its a GRAND book. Buy it – buy it now and guess why the author done made it? He has a partially Deaf brother so he done seen things and cuz he watched the documentary “Through Deaf Eyes” and it affected him. YA HOO! the power of media
(I cant tell you how many folks told me that NTD on Tv affected them or how the DPN Gallaudet protest of 1988 on TV affected them. And this is why AG Bell does so protest Deaf representation in the media. it is too dang beautiful and they no want “them” (the public to see and know this just how beautiful and precious the scourge people are) But thankfully cuz good Deaf folks (including their own members and DBC, NAD and AFA said yo AG Bell that Pepsi letter is bull#hit and bonkers – the AG Bell has been silent with the proliferation of Positive representation of Deaf ASL folks in the media – HA. u is so busted AG Bell and AVT. Nothing u can do to make ur speciality look classy and cool so u go for the “MIRACLE bull#hit” – so sad)
To learn more about WONDERSTRUCK – the storyline, the book and the author (and to see all the many many illustrations in his book) see this video (media – wow have i told u how much i love positive media?)
Deaf Jam by Judy Lieff
Deaf Jam on The Independent Lens of PBS – ya hoo. i havent seen it yet but from me friend who had a preview of it – she said its GOOD. It has ASL poetry / jamming and set in NYC. Features students from Lexington – the school that taught me the most as a newbie teacher. So ya hoo – me looking forward to it.
See Trailer, clips and Deaf History info
Check listing for when Deaf Jam will air in your area
The Hammer by Oren Kaplan
The Hammer – an independent film about Matt Hamill – professional wrestler. I havent seen this film yet either but will soon. Its getting GREAT reviews and looks like it has done a breakthrough so that is super cool. Fact that it has a large Deaf cast and is committed to showing Deaf folks in a favorable light makes me happy. (and of course there is the Rochester connection so SWEET!)
Check the listing for where to order a ticket to a theater near you
Versa Effect by Mark Wood
this is the SIXTH feature film by ASL Films so that is very significant. ASL Films have been dedicated to making films in American Sign Language with subtitles for certain screenings. I missed when Versa Effect was in town cuz i was at American University that weekend but from the folks who saw it they said it was one of Mark Wood’s best films to date. Most said its a imitation of some other “switcharo” films by Hollywood. That is pretty common for a disenfranchised group to imitate what is popular in popular culture in order to break through but usually the result is that it just appeals to the folks within their group because its by their cultural group but not necessarily ABOUT their cultural group. The ABOUT is pretty hot so i hope some day ASL Films will work its way to making a narrative film that represents the Deaf experience instead of all the twisty turny over the top storylines it is prone to. Of, By, and For they got down pat – now how to do the ABOUT. I think u can Mark Wood – it totally think u can – ya just need a script writer who knows how to tap into the uniqueness and universalism that make great visual storytelling. I nominate David Kurs. Smile. I know i know – u didnt ask me but there it is.
see http://aslfilms.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=110&Itemid=98 for info on the film Versa Effect and to find showtimes near you.
Ingelore by Frank Stiefel
Ingelore is an extraordinary documentary made by her son Frank Stiefel. Ingelore was a Jewish Deaf German girl during the Nazi era who was brutally attacked and fortunately was able to make her way to the U.S. in 1940. All the people i know who have seen the work, which aired on HBO on mother’s day and has been screened all over the world, use a common word to describe it – “POWERFUL.”
Bravo’s A Work of Art w/ Leon Lim
Leon Lim, Deaf artist from Malaysia, is on Bravo’s 2nd season of A Work of Art where 14 artists compete to be chosen for a solo show at the Brooklyn Museum and a cash prize of $100,000. Leon, an alumnus of RIT, is a very unique guy and a versatile artist so i hope he keeps from getting cut. A Work of Art airs every Wed night at 9 pm EST on Bravo.
To view video of Leon from the show go to: http://www.bravotv.com/work-of-art/season-2/videos/meet-leon
Alwright i will admit im a fan. Gosh and gush! Smile nah i aint THAT bad. I have seen Signmark perform live at NTID/RIT and RSD and seen Signmark present. Admirable – just simply admirable. Got heart and soul and seems mighty humble. That is champ. Im just incredibly glad Signmark is out there and exists and is doing good. I would not be all rah rah about their work if it did not have some really important lyrics – affirmation and resistance both.
Furthermore at the RSD gig – i was shocked. I thought it was gonna be a presentation with maybe a few performances thrown in and maybe a video shown or two but nope it was a performance FULL THROTTLE. We were given balloons upon entrance for vibrations. Blue Balloons. Ah the color BLUE for blue skies! Signmark even raps about the Deaf Man’s Blues, which is about audism not about woe is me i cant hear the birds sing. He also invited up some back up signers – they were super cute and one boy who knew all the lyrics was hopping all over the stage performing too – proud to the hilt to be…. DEAF. Mighty fine and even a wee-est thing with red curls galore made her way up to the main stage and was showing off her hands too. It was cute. We were ALL GUSHING. What’s more by the last set of sign songs they have EVERYONE up on their feet. EVERYONE even the oldest Hearing board members were moving their feet and waving their hands. I was totally loving watching folks in the audience. One older Deaf man in a suit was hugging his balloon and slowly swaying back and forth while bobbing his head up and down. so i thought – Well who has the power to do this? Reach YOUNG YOUNG wee things to much much OLDER folks. Who has the power to do this? Get Deaf (profoundly and profusely, semi- and partially, newly and with age Deaf folks) and Hearing folks to participate. Every BODY!
it just gave me joy. [remember folks resistance of oppression is the secret to possessing joy]
i think the Deaf world, allies, and even folks that have never even encountered Deaf folks yet are hunger to be engaged and active. To participate. At least that is what i have seen from Peter Cook and Kenny Lerner’s work and now with Signmark and the popularity of some of these films and books etc
I really love alot of Signmark songs – i wont lie to ya cuz they are very Deaf centered and he lets his core out to play for all to see. I even did some signing of the choirs from my seat in the back “My papa told me it would never be easy it would never be easy… My moma told me…” and “Whatcha doing over there – there’s a party over here… don’t let it stick to me. You haters dont mean #hit to me” (i confess that i have played that video many a times to save me and forge me forward) – “I STAND Tall, Proud back against the wall” “Actions speak louder than words, louder than words..” “Let your SOUL be your speaker box…” but the most moving one is “The Letter”
I LIVE IN A COMMUNITY SO TIGHT, WORLDWIDE
IN ONE BLINK OF AN EYE WE LOST ONE OF US
A LIFE TAKEN. AT AN AGE SO YOUNG. SO WRONG
OUR WORLD WAS SHAKEN
This is very true – i had read about the horrific kidnapping and murder of Emma Louise Agnew of New Zealand, i was devastated. When i learned of her murder’s life and i learned of hers and her Deaf family’s – my heart really tore and grieved so later to see her memorialized in this sign song by Signmark – it touched me deeply.
AND I’M WISHING AND I’M WISHING
YOUR HEART LISTENS YOUR HEART LISTENS
See video about Signmark’s upcoming US Tour
Info on the Signmark and his band at http://www.signmark.biz/site/en/home
(added) Deaf Folks on TV
i’m not a fan of regular TV programming and i dont generally follow it but i know lots of other folks do so ive added some items below
Gallaudet on MTVU
Quiet Campus premieres on October 24 at 12pm ET
ABC Switched at Birth
Big Bang Theory episode
Viva De’VIA thanks to Nancy Rourke. De’VIA stands for Deaf View / Image Art and was coined in 1989 by a group of Deaf artists committed to creating and examining artworks about the Deaf experience. Nancy Rourke is the most prolific artist committed to De’VIA presently. We have lots of grand ones – Dr. Betty G. Miller, the mother there of of De’VIA, Chuck Baird, the champion of De’VIA, Susan Dupor, the petite warrior, Ann Silver, the pop artist princess, and many more but Nancy Rourke has been the busiest lately and im so thrilled i could cry. So she has a NEW video out ILLUMINATING her work – ya gotta watch it folks cuz she adds some signifiers in the video to help illustrate things in her work and its priceless – simply priceless as is she. What she does with the Dandelion oe in the video gets me all misty eyed.
Nancy Rourke and Warren Miller have a show at the Dyer Arts Center at NTID Nov 2-Dec 16. Ya hoo!
Rochester is grand folks – yesterday i went to get coffee and the person behind the counter is signing away to a Deaf customer – another person is at the cash register for me – i sign. She does pretty fine too. then i go next store to the pizza place and the cashier there signs everything down to the last cent and im like DANG its GOOD TO BE DEAF. Then just now I see an former co-worker out walking his dog and i stop to say howdy (thinking now way he will remember sign – it was like 15 years ago he retired) and bang he is lifting his hands in the cold air signing away. We chat – im so happy to see him. He fumbles a bit here and there with recalling the hand-talk and is apologetic and i say “you are beautiful. no worries” he smiles.
Life is GOOD
Well now that ive reported on some of the latest and greatest good stuff to cross my path – ive decided not to report on the BAD cuz we all know the bad and some of you are determined to IGNORE the bad, some of you are determined to contribute to the bad (in what u do and what u fail to do) and some of you are truth seekers and STAND and are GRAND so ill just cover some of that stuff in the next blog entry.
The Butterfly Effect (Ryan Commerson and Alison Aubrecht) have a great series going re: Transgressing the Object – which is a grand use of media to examine the unexamined – the disabling of the Deaf via deaf education – see the latest ASL entry http://vimeo.com/30920873 – im not completely sure where they are going with this but i suspect its right to the doorstep of how the SYSTEMS condition Deaf folks into being disenfranchised so that the whole industries that have risen up around CURING the Deaf can sustain and glorify themselves (ie the specialists and professions that say it is better to hear and/or behave as hearing folks do – when in fact that is not TRUE)
Ryan and Alison’s work there is good and important and illuminating on the BAD
but for now ill leave us in this happy place while i skip to the beat of Signmark’s “Actions speak louder than words, louder than words” and i hopefully take a trip to the grand canyon of the East (yes yes i know we r totally lame to even call it that but heye we gotta take what we get and i can still enjoy despite cuz even if it is small in scale – its lovely and Fall and gorgeous)
PS: Geez its good to be Deaf – i have no idea why some folks r trying to “CURE” us.
Well I’ve got a hammer
And I’ve got a bell
And I’ve got a song
All over this land
I’ts the hammer of justice
It’s the bell of freedom
It’s the song about love between my brothers and my sisters
All over this land
~ from Pete Seeger’s If I had a hammer