Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St. Patrick's Day 2007

St. Patrick's Day Parade - WDC
Constitution Avenue, NW,
Sunday, 11 March 2007

Something New

When I first heard of 'Something New' which was when it first came out I did not think that I would enjoy the movie. However, after watching it last Sunday on TV, for the first time, I found it an enjoyable film. And, as a result, would decide that during the spring 2007 season, at least, once a week I would try 'something new'.

So, when shopping, at Safeway on Tuesday evening I purchased an avocado, a tomato, and a package of jalapeno sandwich wraps. Though I've delt with avocado as well as wraps in association with catering I had never purchased either for home use.

Not all that fond of avocado but, in the spirit of 'something new', I returned home and made an avocado with tomato dip. Quickly, sauteed some chicken strips while microwaving two jalapeno wraps and within minutes was sitting at my dining room table trying my first 'something new'.

Which was two jalapeno wraps filled with chicken strips, fresh herb greens and an avocado tomato dip. With mashed potatoes on the side.

Able to eat only one I saved the second until the night day. Which I ate for lunch.

My second major attempt of a sandwich wrap would be on Friday evening when I fixed myself a jalapeno sandwich wrap filled with fresh herb greens, fresh shrimp sauteeed in butter, and a mango, tomato, clantro salsa. Red beans with green and red bell peppers. And adente asparagus drizzled with butter.

Had I gone out last night in connection with my Friday Nights in Washington DC series, perhaps, I would have found not only 'something new'. ut, also, something hot!

The above photo is part of my ongoing Me, Myself & I photoset.

Ya know what I'm saying ...?

DJ Tony Moran's debut at the 2007 Black Party

The Saint At Large annual Black Party returns to NYC next weekend when at 10 pm on Saturday night, 24 March 2007, the Roseland Ballroom open its doors for the Rites XXVIII: Holy War The Black Party.

I am proud to say that Frank Gramarossa and I were amongst its first guests a few weeks after its Septmeber 1980 opening. Add to that fact, the March 1987 Black Party invitation featured an image of me by close friend Robert Mapplethorpe. And some of protest images were on display, last year, in the bathroom lounge area. See my SOME HANDS - Black Party Exhibit - NYC 25 March 2006 vidoe.

This year’s theme is a colorful amalgam of contemporary sports, theatrically staged as a gladiator-style holy war. Music for the 18+ hours will reflect the testostorone-infused, Hi-NRG pace of a NASCAR race that builds to a sexually-charged climax. Continuing its well-established formula of introducing sexy European talent to the dance marathon, Michael Marx, a leading Parisian DJ will make his first American appearance opening for international superstar DJ/Producer Tony Moran who will be making his own Black Party debut.

Visit for more information.

The above photo of DJ Tony Moran was taken during the 2007 Winter Party's Sunday Beach Party in South Beach Miami.

Let It Flow!

Spring, particularly, in Washington DC ... is my favorite time of year. The photo to the left of Steve Lee and a friend was taken during the 2007 Winter Party at The Beach Party in South Beach Miami.

When capturing folks 'dancing and celebrating life' as was the case at The Beach Party, it is my practice to engage in what I refer to as MOVEMENT-CHOREOPHOGRAPHY. More examples may be found at 2006 Smithsonian Folklife Festival or Planet Arlington - World Music Festival or 16th Annual Jazz Festival 0r 2006 Adams Morgan Day Festival.

So, in the process of moving about and dancing with, yet, photographing the crowd, at the Beach Party, I would say "Please ... 'no posing'. Just, let it flow ...!".

Representing the end of the Winter 2007 season I snapped my final photos Winter Party 2007 Project on the platform of the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport WMATA Station when returning home from Florida to WDC on Thursday night.

Three days later, I launched my Spring 2007 in WDC Project with the Washington DC St. Paddy's Day Parade. And each day since then, from Monday through Thursday, I took the streets, capturing what I referred to as the March 2007 Spring Fling.

When finalizing my Winter Party 2007 Collection, yesterday, for donation to Stonewall Library & Archives and reflecting on the absolute joy that I had photographing the Beach Party I decided that "... let it flow ...!" would be my Spring 2007 motto in a similar way as my end of year and new year themes were Deliver Me and Progression, respectly.

Let it flow is a, yet, another example of my positive energy and proactive measures in moving forward. And, the one thing, that keeps holding me back is that god damn ... racism that I experience ... as a black male!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Alan Pollock, from Detroit, joins encampment on the National Mall

Gearing up for this weekend's protest commemoration of the 4th anniversary of the start of the US led war on and occupation of Iraq, 50 year old Alan Pollock, of Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice, arrived in Washington DC on Monday, 12 March 2007, to launch the then planned week long Encampment to Stop the War on the National Mall.

Called to action by the Troops Out Now! Coalition the encampment, situated on the very east side of the National Mall at the east Reflecting Pool and across from the US Capitol's West Lawn, coincides with Congress' week long debates over President Bush's request for an additional $100 billion for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Throughout the week, and usually in collaboration with other anti-war activists who will converge onto Washington DC to commemorate the 4th anniversary of the war in Iraq as well as the 40th anniversary of the historic 1967 March on the Pentagon, against the Vietnam War, participates of the encampment have staged and organized several direct actions, most, in close proximity to the US Capitol complex.

Though officials have agreed to permit the encampment from 12 - 19 March 2007, Alan Pollock says that he and several encampment participates may not leave until their demands have been met. It was a little more than 2 years ago and after Katrina that Alan began to get involved in the movement against social and economic injustice.

Moments before reaching the Encampment to Stop the War I happened upon a lone demonstrator on 3rd at Jefferson Street, from Sacramento California, who referred to herself as Grandmother "Dee" holding a counter protest against the encampment. She said that she, too, is against war but now that we are there it would be wrong to cut off the funds. According to Grandmother Dee, one of her grandsons recently was deployed in Iraq. So, while on vacation for almost a week in WDC she and her husband visited the Arlington National Cemetery.

Saying "I had no idea that people were holding protests to cut off the funding ...!" Grandmother "Dee" explained further that '... I, simply, had to do something ...' before she and her husband departed from the city, at around 2:30 pm, for the airport and an afternoon flight back to the west coast. It was then almost 1:30 pm.

I suggested to Grandmother Dee that she should check out Code Pink for Women to learn more about the real issues and, the reasons why "some people are holding protests to cut off funding and to bring the troops home."

Click above image to view Alan Pollock at the Encampment photos and March 2007 Encampment to Stop the War photosets.

Visit Encampment sites at their blog or My Space.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

My trip to Frager's Hardware

The I began writing this photoessay almost two weeks ago, and between capturing March 2007 Spring Fling, the March on the Pentagon, Spring in Washington DC and sending out photo cds of my 2007 Winter Party Festival project I am just now completing it.

A day or so after my return from Fort Lauderdale in November I observed, late one night, that the kitchen light fixture was hanging from the ceiling. Though I don't know exactly when it happened I do recall thinking, at the time, that it was not hanging when I left for Florida on 15 November because, just before leaving the apartment, for my Florida trip, I made sure to turn off all lights and other such things.

It was on that same night, during the first weekend of December, that I remembered that whenever I return to my apartment after a trip to Florida or New York or a weekend out on the town ... that when I turn on the lamps or light switches, in my apartment, it is not uncommon for bulbs to blow.

Similar to when upon returning from a trip, or a night out on the town, that it has been the practice of some to find reasons but more excuses to visit my apartment or telephone me. Almost as if they live vicariously through me.

At the time, I contemplated contacting Arthur, a reputable and an excellent contract worker, but thought it best to wait until I had several things for him to fix. That time would come a few weeks ago when just after just visiting the bathroom, I smelled something that reminded me of an electrical fire. I quickly looked around at the lamp with three bulbs near my computer and then checked the bathroom light which in recent weeks had been acting weird.

It was then that I realized that the dimmer had black smoke around its edges.

Though the damn thing had never before quite worked right, in recent weeks, it had actually turned the 3 light bulbs all the way off as opposed to reducing them to a low dim (which is what it had done since my move to the apartment in November 2001).

After some checking, I realized that if I turned the switch off and unscrewed all three bulbs that it would be ok. But, if I turned it on the smell would resume.

I telephoned Richard to ask if he had Arthur's number which I could not locate in my files. At the time, Richard was "out on the town". So, I was not able to telephone Arthur until a day or so later - which, at the time, I left a message on his voice mail.

Since, after a few days, I had not heard from Arthur, who is a very busy contractor, I contacted the maintenance department downstairs. Upon inspection, they informed me that whoever installed the bathroom light switches as well as the kitchen light fixture had done a very poor job.

A matter that I have had to confront pertaining to several scenarios since my move to this apartment in November 2001.

A day or so before my 01 March 2007 departure for the 2007 Winter Party workman from the building replaced the bathroom dimmer with a regular switch. Which was fine with me. And began the process of reinstalling the light fixture in the kitchen. Which had never before been properly installed but, had, simply, been nailed into the sheet rock.

Which explains why I found it hanging from the ceiling in early December and, perhaps, why, over the years it often dimmed or blinked on its on accord. Like the bathroom light, and so many other things associated with this apartment, it just never seemed to 'work right'.

When the workmen began their work, at the end of February, I was in the process of gearing up for Florida. During which time I, literally, had to prepare myself for the racism that I may would experience, as a black man, at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and on the flight down. And, then, while in South Florida. Which would be even more intense at the airport in Fort Lauderdale and on the flight back. And, over the next few months, in my apartment and in my community, once I had returned home.

I say this because it is not unlike how I felt when on Monday afternoon, 12 March that I had decided to take a subway ride to SE WDC to Frager's Hardware to pick up a halogen bulb.

I began my trip to Fort Lauderdale on 1 March 2007 with an incident at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport which I am still in the process of writing "I Will Not Be Silent!". To make a long story short the essay expresses that "people expect for me, a black male, to always explain to them exactly what I am doing and where I am going and why!".

I expressed further, in the essay, that it has never been my nature to walk around "being too concerned" about what white people nor house negroes or law enforcement folks project in their minds about me - or black males.

When entering the airport, I inquired of the nice white lady behind the information booth "what are the restrictions pertaining to photographing" at their airport. She said that photography was permitted throughout the airport, except at or of the secuity gates. Which I suspected.

So, I took a few photos of the artwork in the lobby. Which, I, also understood would attract attention. But, not allowing racism to affect my interests I took pictures, in accordance with the information that had been provided to me. Cognitive, of the fact, that my every move was being watched.

Once through the security check point and at the Spirit gate I inquired of several security staff what where the restrictions for photographing. I was told by two TSA that I could photograph 'whatever my heart desired' as long as I stayed clear of the security gate.

Which is what I did. So, when a black policeman walked up to me and demanded 'let me see your ID ..." and said further, "I had a complaint from someone that you made them feel uncomfortable."

I said, "Sir, if you are referring to the white man who I asked to 'stop overseeing me' and to those who I said "I'm not your nigger ..." if truth be told "they made me feel uncomfortable by interferring with me and my photography." I said, further, "their reaction and your behavior is the exact same that I encounter everywhere that I go. And at museums from white tourists and black security guards and black staff.

I explained to the black policeman that as a 53 year black man who, over the years, practiced integration "I ain't got the time to be concerned about what people think or project about me!".

Because, in the past, it has been my experience "what ever it is that they have conjured up in their heads and minds - about black males - has absolutely nothing to do with me. Nor, the truth". And, yet, but ultimately, has always resulted in not only the negation of and racist discrimination against me but when you consider that my relationships, historically, have often been entwined with whites the institutionalized racism and blatant discrimination that I have experienced at each moment in time and throughout any given relationship - and by design - has resulted in a disparities between my white friends and I.

And, though I was often told to "just be silent" and that "it will be ok" the negative reinforcement was contrived to condition black males to walk around 'feeling that his every move is being watched' . And, indeed it is.

I first visited Fragers as well as District Lock & Hardware, in November 1978, which was when I joined forces with Herb Lehner Enterprises, a real estate development firm on Captiol Hill. And, while I understood, then, the racism that I may have experienced from businesses on Captiol Hill the fact that I am still experiencing the exact same racism from businesses that I have frequented for almost 30 years is not unlike the exact same racism that I've had to confront each and every day throughout each and every relationship that I have experienced, over the years.

During my 12 March 2007 Trip to Fragers Hardware, on Capitol Hill I could not help but reflect on "Then and Now". And that, as a 53 year old black man who practiced integration, I have less freedoms now than I had then.

As I walked along Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, ... taking pictures ... I reflected on the day before when photographing the WDC St. Patrick's Day Parade that I saw several groups celebrating with shooters.

If I were to drink on the National Mall, in a bar or at home or, if I sold or did drugs the way the white people that I have known did and do ... it would be 'against the law'.

My trip to Frager's Hardware was not unlike to my trips to Staples. Or to Fort Lauderdale, NYC, San Francisco, Chicago, Fire Island, Baltimore, Southern Maryland. Or, anywhere that I go.

This photoessay was completed on Monday, 26 March 2006.