Out & About Today Nashville Channel 5
Latest On Outvoices
Trending around OUTvoices
“The first study for the man who wants to be a poet is knowledge of himself, complete. He searches for his soul.”
This quote by 19th-century French poet Arthur Rimbaud is expressed in the film "Joshua Tree, 1951 : A Portrait of James Dean" by the character of Dean in a moment of self-reflection, and it accurately captures the spirit of the film. The movie was praised by audiences and critics throughout the LGBT film-festival circuit last summer, and it is being released June 4 on DVD and V.O.D. from Iconoclastic Features and Wolfe Video.
"Joshua Tree" ranks up there with 2009’s "A Single Man" as a compelling character study set in a decade preceding Stonewall. “Haunting” may be the word for this unforgettable rendering of the person once described by fellow icon Marlon Brando as “a young man trying to find himself.”
The production marks the debut of writer-director Matthew Mishory, who recalls that his father introduced him to Dean’s work when he was a child.
“I didn’t so much find this film as this film found me,” he said, acknowledging that watching Dean’s classic "East of Eden" counts among his earliest cinematic memories. “For whatever reasons, I think the film, the performance, and ultimately, the image of Dean as an actor and performer stuck with me, and subsequently, I wanted to make a film about him.”
In trying to explain why James Dean has fascinated so many people for so long, the director notes, “Dean fundamentally endures because he changed acting. The way he spoke and moved was in a totally new and different way for the time. … He also had fascinating and radical ideas about what acting could be. There’s also that ‘outsider’ element to his characters -- I believe it has become iconic as well.”
While doing the background study required for the script, Mishory didn’t merely view all of the actor’s pictures. He also contacted several people who knew Dean during the time portrayed.
“The first thing that struck me as interesting when I was doing the research was what a very short period of time Dean’s success really was -- he was well-known for only a few months, really,” Mishory said. “He died before his third feature was released. When you actually go back and speak to people and read through his historical records, you’re struck by the transient nature of his celebrity. That, too, was one of the reasons why I always wanted to tell a story about James before that period.”
His hours of study paid off. From the ambiance of the locations to framing the camera set-ups, the entire piece evokes a mythic time and place that was just on the outskirts of post-World War II Los Angeles.
The filmmaker draws an interesting allegory between the fresh-faced actor before he became a legend and Rimbaud, the poet who believed that in order to truly live life, one must experience all of life’s variety and excesses -- including love (with whomever or whichever gender was available).
“These studio men … they want a ‘special’ talent,” Dean says at one point. “They want something I have. … If they want me, they’re gonna have to pay.”
James Preston’s portrayal of Dean is refreshingly unusual, wisely abstaining from a direct impersonation of the mumbling, tightly wound movie star. Instead, he’s depicted as a pan-sexual bohemian -- fiercely intelligent, brilliantly artistic, but still not above using his considerable sexual charisma on anyone who might be able to advance his career, even as he protests being considered only in these terms.
However, it is Dan Glenn, playing a boy that Dean meets while both are studying acting at UCLA, billed only as Dean’s roommate, who gives the plot its anchor. Although the events don’t unfold completely from his perspective, he does supply each turn with an emotional grounding.
“The first day I spent with Jimmy was better than all the days I’d spent with anyone else put together,” the roommate exclaims. “It was as if I had seen in black and white my entire life, and suddenly I saw in color.”
Appropriately, Mishory and company cast most of the scenes in black and white, while inserting lurid jolts of Technicolor when seen from this roommate’s point of view.
“For me, style is substance,” Mishory says. “The way films are made and how they’re made is as much a part of them as any narrative aspect. This was a period that many of us imagine as almost having existed in black-and-white, so it was important that the finished product reflect this. The color accents are all about the subjectivity of the roommate. When we’re seeing Jimmy through his eyes, we do so in color. Think of it as his looking back on these moments with the rose-tinted lenses of memory.”
Also intriguing is the way that Mishory, as the writer, chose to leave several important characters – notably, the roommate, Robert Gant as “The Famous Director” and David Pevsner as “The Acting Teacher” -- intentionally un-named and vague, which increases the overall “mythic” quality even more.
“One of the ways we tried to subtly remind the audience that we were not just doing a project about James Dean but also about the society that created and shaped him,” Mishory said, “was by giving these characters their anonymous identities.” He said a few were based on real people or composites of several people. “It was so much more interesting, I thought, to allow for the possibility of a more general interpretation and to maybe even dare people to think about them in terms of the society in which they existed.”
At its heart, "Joshua Tree, 1951: A Portrait Of James Dean" is a love story told in perceptive and fleeting vignettes about the man and a relationship that simply cannot be -- exactly the stuff that most potent and memorable romantic yarns are made of. Yet always underlying the story is the dirty, gritty game of sexual politics that (many will tell you) still drives show business to this day.
“Audiences feel they’ve never seen a film quite like this one, and that’s what we set out to do: produce a film that’s really different,” its creator observes. “It challenges an audience to start a conversation.”
For more information, check out: www.joshuatree1951.com. To order online, go to www.WolfeVideo.com, or for video on demand, www.WolfeOnDemand.com. You can follow "Joshua Tree, 1951: A Portrait of James Dean" on Twitter at: @joshuatree1951.
Worldwide opera star Renée Fleming will perform in Kansas City on Thursday night, November 18, but the day before, she'll be part of a panel discussion for "Music and the Mind" — a conversation about how music affects the brain, cognitive development, healing and quality of life.
WHAT: Music and the Mind with Renée Fleming
WHEN: Wednesday, Nov 17, 2021
TIME: 4:00-5:30 PM
WHERE: The 1900 Building, 1900 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Mission Woods, KS, 66205
Music has a profound impact and the ability to shape 86 billion neurons in the brain for cognitive development, healing, and therapy. Science research has clearly shown that music therapy interventions can improve quality of life across nearly all neurological disorders. And there is tremendous public-interest in applying music to creative aging, childhood development, and community wellness.
But scientists want to know more.
Join soprano Renée Fleming and a distinguished panel of local Kansas City experts in neurology, music therapy, music and healing, and more for this cutting-edge discussion. Audience members will be able to participate in a Q&A following the panel discussion.
*Please note this Music and the Mind Event is not a musical performance*
As Artistic Advisor at Large to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Renée Fleming has spearheaded a collaboration with the National Institutes of Health, with the participation of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The Sound Health initiative explores and brings attention to research and practice at the intersection of music, health, and neuroscience. This collaboration has led to workshops at the NIH, and events and performances at the Kennedy Center. This initiative has also led the NIH to recently award $20 million dollars in funding for music and neuroscience research over five years.
As part of her advocacy, Fleming is also advisor to the recently launched NEA/UCSF Sound Health Network and co-chair of the Aspen Institute/Johns Hopkins NeuroArts Blueprint, both working to advance the field of arts and health.
This event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. Please call the Harriman-Jewell Series at 816-415-5025 to reserve your seat.
WHAT: Renée Fleming, soprano in recital
WHEN: Thursday, Nov 18, 2021
TIME: 7:00 PM
WHERE: Helzberg Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
COST: Tickets from $25.00 *discounts available for students, educators, first responders, active duty military and veterans with valid I.D.
Pair a glorious voice with a winning personality and you have a diva for the ages. Renée Fleming is a longstanding Harriman-Jewell Series favorite. With her many television and Broadway appearances, Fleming has been embraced by music lovers of all genres.
Whether singing at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, the Olympics, or Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee, Renée Fleming represents opera to the world. In addition to her numerous operatic performances, Fleming often works classic show tunes and the Great American Songbook into her recitals. Fleming’s trademark rapport with audiences will give her Kansas City performance a warmth that is personal and sincere.
Rob Ainsley is pianist for the recital. His diverse career as a musician, conductor, educator, and administrator has taken him to top organizations and colleges from coast to coast. He now serves as Director of the Washington National Opera’s Cafritz Young Artists and American Opera Initiative. Ainsley performed with Renée Fleming in The Metropolitan Opera’s August 2020 “Met Stars Live in Concert” that was streamed worldwide.
ABOUT THE HARRIMAN-JEWELL SERIES
Renée Fleming's recital will mark the 977th performance since the Series was founded in 1965. From free education events that allow interaction with musicians and dancers, to our free Discovery Concerts that are open to the community, the Harriman-Jewell Series continues to offer life-enriching opportunities for its community's youth and lifelong learners.
Whether you're spreading truth, information, or love, traveling abroad for humanitarian reasons can have risks. Detained American journalist in Myanmar, Danny Fenster, is to be released from jail, and to fly home soon. But it doesn't always end well for every foreign national attempting to do good in a foreign country.
The missionaries consisting of sixteen Americans and one Canadian kidnapped by the Haitian “400 Mawozo” gang on October 16, is extremely scary. The gang has threatened to kill the humanitarian Christians if a million dollar per person ransom is not fulfilled. The group consists of men, women, children and an eight-month-old baby.
These missionaries have sacrificed their time and paid their own way to go to the poorest place in the Western hemisphere to try to spread God’s love and save some souls. In turn, the missionaries are experiencing a nightmare like they’ve never imagined. They’re imprisoned and being threatened with a bullet in the head.
Most of us will never get over seeing journalists being beheaded and tortured in Syria and Iraq by the barbaric Islamic extremist group called ISIL. Burning people alive and beheading others were too graphic and gruesome to ever be forgotten.
Years ago, I traveled to a third world country on a “missionary trip” with others thinking it would be a nice break. I’ve never worked so hard in my life.
Sadly, the 17 missionaries in Haiti are undergoing a cruel experience that may end with the cost of their very lives. What are they thinking now? What is going through the minds of the little children who traveled to a world to help others and spread God’s love?
Haiti has been the site of years of humanitarian efforts. The United States and other countries have given billions of dollars to help Haiti. Sadly, hurricanes, political unrest, underdevelopment and extreme poverty have all made for a sad scenario.
How much money would the world have to give to Haiti to make life better for this nation? This is a question no one can answer because usually aid is a short-term solution. We spent a trillion dollars in Afghanistan and they aren’t any better off today.
Good missionary people went to Haiti with good hearts for helping others in the name of God’s love. They went to share a message they hoped would bring about change and better lives. They may now lose their lives.
Christians point to Jesus as the model for such missionary efforts. He came preaching and teaching in an effort to demonstrate and spread God’s love and it cost him plenty – his life, executed in public on a cross.
There are some Christians today who, like Jesus, are willing to risk their lives for the sake of others. Did these men and women literally go to Haiti taking their children with them truly believe they could be killed? Would they purposefully do this to their children? Who convinced these people that such a trip with small children was a good idea?
My goal here is to simply say, think about such trips to places like Haiti. Afghanistan, Iraq, Northern Nigeria and numerous others countries are not vacation spots. Foreign travel may sound exotic and adventurous but consider the possible cost.
Many missionaries and Christian workers have paid the ultimate price in order to spread the gospel of Christ. Only eternity will reveal what their selfless sacrifice has meant to those whose lives they impacted.
By chance, if you decide such an international trip is not for you, don’t feel bad. Consider helping in an American inner city, Appalachia or maybe your own neighborhood. Service at home is needed across America.
Let’s pray for the safety of these missionaries and for those negotiating their release. May God help them and all who may consider such endeavors.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Glenn Mollette is a graduate of numerous schools including Georgetown College, Southern and Lexington Seminaries in Kentucky. He is the author of 13 books including Uncommon Sense, Grandpa's Store, Minister's Guidebook: insights from a fellow minister. His column is published weekly in over 600 publications in all 50 states. Glenn Mollette has been on numerous International humanitarian and missionary group trips. Hear Glenn Mollette every weekday morning EST at 8:56 on XM radio 131. Editor-If you need to tweak or do a small edit for you paper or website that is okay. Please respond to this email if you need a picture for this column. Scroll down for additional biographical info. Buy his latest recording titled "Black Coffee" on iTunes. Learn more at www.glennmollette.com
The Black Trans Fund, incubated at Groundswell Fund, and Grantmakers for Girls of Color launched the Holding a Sister Initiative, the first-ever national fund explicitly dedicated to transgender girls and gender-expansive youth of color.
Dr. Monique W. Morris, president and CEO of Grantmakers for Girls of Color, and Bré Rivera, program director of the Black Trans Fund are together spearheading the Holding a Sister Initiative to bring attention and resources to organizations supporting trans girls of color, normalize concern and investment in their success, and create learning opportunities for cis and trans girls of color to move in deeper community with one another.
The initiative will award $1 million in grants in the first year, and will ultimately engage trans girls and gender-expansive youth of color in the decision-making process for selecting grantees on an ongoing basis.
While there has been an increase in donor attention to work led by people of color, it has yet to translate into significant gains in funding for trans and gender-expansive youth of color.
According to recent regional studies in Detroit, South Florida and New Orleans, trans women of color face higher levels of hunger, homelessness, unemployment, incarceration and discrimination. At the same time, the majority of this year's record-breaking anti-trans legislation are targeted to affect youth, including bills that prevent transgender athletes from playing in school sports and the "Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act." Research has show sharp rises in suicide attempts among trans youth during 2020 and 2021.
"The reality is transgender and gender-expansive youth of color require more attention, and resources to interrupt the staggering intersections of trauma and crises they experience," said Bré Rivera.
The initiative joins existing funding intermediaries who have been leading the work to resource trans communities and engage trans people in the direction and distribution of resources, including the Third Wave Fund, the Black Trans Travel Fund, and Fund for Trans Generations. As funding partners, the Black Trans Fund and Grantmakers for Girls of Color aim to expand and transform philanthropy's investments in trans and gender-nonconforming youth. The initiative will move resources to organizations serving and led by trans girls and young women of color. It will also amplify narratives that elevate the humanity, dignity and leadership of trans and gender-expansive youth of color, as well as the ways their experiences and contributions have been overlooked, minimized and targeted by oppositional and systemic forces, and larger social justice movements.
The Holding a Sister Initiative will be led by a manager, who will steward culture change through grantmaking, capacity building, narrative shifting and philanthropic organizing. The position is currently open for applicants.
About Grantmakers for Girls of Color
Fiscally-sponsored by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Grantmakers for Girls of Color (G4GC) works to mobilize resources and amplify transformative organizing work to dismantle systems of oppression led by girls and gender-expansive youth of color. Grantmakers for Girls of Color openly invites partners and stakeholders to co-create an inclusive space in support of girls, young women, and gender-expansive youth of color across programmatic issues and geographic areas. Learn more by visiting Grantmakers for Girls of Color.
About the Black Trans Fund
The Black Trans Fund is a groundbreaking endeavor: the first national fund in the country dedicated to uplifting and resourcing Black trans social justice leaders. BTF seeks to address the lack of funding for Black trans communities in the U.S. through direct grantmaking, capacity building support, and funder organizing to transform philanthropy. Learn more by visiting Black Trans Fund.