WHAT TRUTHS ARE SELF-EVIDENT? On the Fourth of July in 1967, some American college students decided to see if people would sign a petition which read, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…"
THE MOVIE AT THE END OF THE WORLD: THOMAS McGRATH is one of seven of our films now in play on public TV in Minnesota.
A MAN WRITES TO A PART OF HIMSELF: ROBERT BLY is another.
A first for a Minnesota filmmaker, a retrospective of seven films by Mike Hazard is playing on public television in Minnesota and North Dakota.
All featuring writers, the seven films in the series are:
A Sampler of Minnesota Poets: Robert Bly, Michael Dennis Browne, Louis Jenkins, James Moore, Margaret Hasse and Phebe Hanson (1975/15:30)
A Man Writes to a Part of Himself: Robert Bly (1978/57:30)
The Movie at the End of the World: Thomas McGrath (1981/56:56)
American Grizzly: Frederick Manfred (1983/28:16)
With Reservations: Jim Northrup (1996/28:42)
Eugene McCarthy: I'm Sorry I was Right (2001/28:35)
Cold Mountain: Han Shan (2009/28:15)
Four of the films have been already nationally telecast on PBS. This may be a record for an independent Minnesota filmmaker.
This lively video was created by all the kindergartners at Hillcrest Community School in Bloomington, Minnesota. Media Mike Hazard directed in concert with the teachers, Amy, Trista, and Ally. The production was made possible by the PTSA.
Mike Hazard was a fiscal year 2012 recipient of an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is funded, in part, by the Minnesota State Legislature from the State’s arts and cultural heritage fund with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.
A PINT-SIZED CHILD
A pint of raspberries rests
in the lap of a pint-sized child.
Lolling in her stroller, she’s
living in the lap of luxury.
“Don’t eat them,” Mom says,
as the little one begins eating,
too much; we laugh until
we grow red as raspberries.
Free for all, come see ROUND DANCE during the St. Paul Art Crawl, Friday 6-10pm April 27, Saturday 12-8pm April 28, and Sunday 12-5pm April 29, 2011 at Lowertown Lofts, 255 Kellogg Boulevard E, St. Paul.
Born in 1943, Roy Chester McBride began his literary career at Magnolia Colored Elementary School in Magnolia, Arkansas 1948. After learning his abc's and starting to read "Dick and Jane" and other great books of that period, Roy was bitten by the writing bug. Performing the written word was a skill he developed early.
"That voice" for which he is known was frequently invited to recite Bible verses at area churches of various denominations. After World War II was resolved, Roy's family and lots of other families left the South and headed for the booming North.
By way of Chicago and Milwaukee they finally put down roots in Muskegon, Michigan, where his interest for writing was encouraged by his elementary teachers--especially by Mrs. Ruth Anderson who encouraged him to keep his writing in a folder.
"We moved a lot...I don't know what happened to my writing folder." Life went on. Roy wrote stories like "Dick and Jane," only better....
On July 17, 1968, Roy motored out of the Motor City as Detroit began to burn in the riots. He arrived in Minneapolis by chance. While working in the mail room for a magazine, he spent every lunch and break reading. His work colleagues, Macalester College graduates, recommended that he visit Mac and consider applying. Roy did attend Macalester for three years in the early 70's and had a transforming social and academic adventure.
As one of the very few African American students writing poetry and performing, his professors invited him to parties to meet all the touring writers of that time. Roy met LeRoi Jones (now Amiri Baraka), Raymond Patterson, James Wright, Robert Bly, Sonja Sanchez, Etheridge Knight. The poet’s life began.
The poet's life ended in Minneapolis on July 29, 2011.
“All of Roy’s poems are love poems.” Paulette Myers-Rich, artist book maker and publisher of Roy’s book Love Poetry
“He has a buffalo heart.” Maureen Skelly, writer
“He is the pastor of the street poets. He is the John Coltrane, the Miles Davis of poetry, The Love Supreme of poetry.” Kevin O'Rourke, writer
"This is fantastically funky." Chuck Olsen, media maestro
"A beautiful piece: so Roy-like, with circularities and humor and rhythms and open faces and good humor." Margaret Hasse, poet
“Roy is the master of time and spaces.” Louis Alemayehu, poet/Ancestor Energy
“A POET POETS is a vivid video word ride with Roy McBride. A labor of love, I videotaped Roy on the fly starting in 1986. Recordings were made at The Loft, Roy’s famous poetry salons, a poetry in the schools residency, various poetry slams, impromptu poetings, intimate family get-togethers, a theatrical performance with Heart of the Beast Theatre on Lake Street, the print shop of the award-winning artist book maker Paulette Myers-Rich and the poet’s summer home, Dandelion Ranch. I love the joy of Roy.” Mike Hazard, director
Free for all, come see SNAKE PIT in the St. Paul Art Crawl, Friday 6-10pm October 7, Saturday 12-8pm October 8, and Sunday 12-5pm October 9, 2011 at Lowertown Lofts, 255 Kellogg Boulevard E, St. Paul.
Here's one poem:
A SNAKE STICKS OUT IN THE GARDENER’S MEMORY
An Anaconda in the Amazon amazed the man who approached warily.
Sluggish with a deer stuffed in its thirty foot length,
a third out of the water in the jungle, the snake was going nowhere.
The man’s name is Juan. The snake has no name, just “anaconda”.
Juan, who was teaching Spanish to the gardener sharing this story,
said he slipped up close, and touched the enormous serpent,
like Adam touching God in Michelangelo’s Sistine ceiling.
The snake’s eyes opened and closed, aware, unable to move.
Sluggish with the huge image, we ponder it for a moment.
I recite Pablo Neruda for her: “And deep in the huge waters,
the enormous anaconda lies like a circle around the earth,
covered with ceremonies of mud, devouring, religious.”
The gardener has a poetry group yet has never heard of Neruda.
She tells me on a trip into Latin America, I think it was Honduras,
she met a grandmother who upon hearing she liked poetry
walked home, which was a hike longer than an anaconda,
and came back with a gift of a book of her own poems.
Stuffed with the delicacies of life, we can barely move. We blink.
Co-directed by Mike Hazard and Deb Wallwork, the music is by the internationally renowned pipa player Gao Hong and animations are by John Akre. A project of The Center for International Education, the film has been supported by the Outagamie Foundation, the family of John W. Brower and the Bush Foundation.
Deb Wallwork writes, "Cold Mountain is a rollicking, tasty film filled with poetry, colorful characters, Zen wisdom and witty commentary. The film gives us glimpses of that mysterious--some say crazy, some say enlightened--figure, Han Shan, who left the dusty world to become a hermit and a poet, and in so doing wrote the intimate and inspired lines that speak to us today.”
Mike Hazard adds, "One way to look at the film is to see that literally everyone and everything in the film is channeling the spirit of Han Shan: the Mandarin of Jin Hua, the trickster animations of John Akre, the street singer, the rice thrashers, the Butterfly Woman, the four poetical guides, the monks in the temple kitchen, the bats in the cave, Gao Hong's pipa, even the cicadas compose a richly layered portrait of Cold Mountain."
Hazard and Wallwork are veteran documentary filmmakers with a dozen national releases on PBS between them. Their most recent collaboration, C. BECK, was Grand Prize winner of the Independent Lens Online Shorts Festival produced by ITVS.
A BAT IN HEAVEN
I'm a bat in heaven
today for Halloween.
I want to bless & be
blessed by a bat I killed
like a bat out of hell.
As violence begets violence,
& peace makes peace,
so a little bat came to me
in a dream recently
& gently kissed my elbow.
Grateful as hell,
today for Halloween
I'm a bat in heaven.
THE CASE FOR MASKS
No no, I don't want to know
about some obscure mask
in a natural history museum.
I am not going to believe
any mask moved on its peg
while the other 30 in the case
were stiff as tourists. So what
if you rapped on the glass
and leaped up and down
and you couldn't make it
shake until all on its own,
it was poetry in motion.
No no, I don't want to know.
A CASE FOR MASKS
Told as a kind of argument with myself, this poem is a true story about a visit to the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Literally, it tells a story about a display case for masks and something which happened which I can't for the life of me explain. Metaphorically, it makes a case for how its collection is the unpredictable face a museum shows the world.
"If you look, you will see things," Hazard likes to say. "You have to look to see."
This short will be featured in the Bicycle Film Festival at the Riverview Theater in Minneapolis at 9pm, Thursday July 9, 2009.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
GREY MATTERS is the last in a series of studies of the spectrum, color by color. Like RED EYE, AGENT ORANGE, FOOL'S GOLD, THE EVERGREEN MAN, THE BLUEBIRD OF HAPPINESS and SHRINKING VIOLET, it is a multimedia montage of poems, pictures and profound objects by yours truly, Media Mike Hazard.
Free for all, come see GREY MATTERS in the St. Paul Art Crawl, Friday 6-10pm April 24, Saturday 12-8pm April 25, and Sunday 12-5pm April 26, 2009 at Lowertown Lofts, 255 Kellogg Boulevard E, St. Paul. Or call 651.227.2240.
THE WAR WITHOUT END
Crickets sing the fall away.
The computer whines whenever it is on.
White noise, it is.
In a black hole, we are.
Lately, I don’t even want a piece of me.
A strident black crow struts.
He beaks the grass for breakfast.
I beak the bird like a poem, a feast.
Shoveling black Tiger Jack's white snow
in the midst of the first blizzard of the season,
I thought about how he prefers to call himself a Negro.
I scraped and skimmed that concrete fact, row on row.
When I was almost through, it was time to begin anew.
Black & white: a wise crow in the cold snow.
Black & white: history deeper than deepening snow.
Black & white: in old photos bold stories show & tell
of civil rights and wrongs, of heaven and hell,
of blacks and whites singing as one under the sun.
Shoveling black Tiger Jack's white snow
in the midst of the first blizzard of the season,
I thought about how he prefers to call himself a Negro.
This is a video about my old neighborhood in Philadelphia, Longford Street, one of the first integrated housing developments in the country. It was created as part of the Precious Places project of Scribe.
His poems about boxelder bugs buzz with the generous and crazy energies of Issa's insect haiku.
"The bug's Latin name is several times as large as itself: Leptocoris trivittatus."
THE BOXELDER BUG PRAYS
I want so little
For so little time,
A south window,
A wall to climb,
The smell of coffee,
A radio knob,
Nothing to eat,
Nothing to rob,
Not love, not power,
Not even a penny.
Forgive me only
For being so many.
I used to love teasing him about his fierce hatred of television. I likened his piano to a tool: Technology. He brooked none of it.
Click to read an article by David Bengtson on this theme.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
KISS, IT'S THE SOLSTICE. Kiss, it's the Solstice.
Light a candle.
Marvel at a miracle.
Ponder a parable.
Look for an angel.
Strum an instrument.
Hang an ornament.
Hum some hymns.
Sidle slow & glow
by the mistletoe.
Roll home video.
Muse on the mystery
of the lowly pine tree
and a tiny, tiny baby.
Pray for peace.
Jingle bells. Jingle bells.
Open, open your ears
Make merry the merry
music of the spheres.
This is a poem for the season, composed by Mike Hazard.
Friday, December 12, 2008
MR. POSITIVE is a poetic video portrait of an amazing fellow named Carl Bentson.
Winner of Honorable Mention at the Fargo Film Festival and Audience Favorite at Big Water, MR. POSITIVE will play in the 2008 MNTV series on Twin Cities Public Television.
Channel 2: Sunday, December 14, 10 pm (For those with basic cable in St. Paul, TPT 2 is on channel 23; in Minneapolis, it is channel 2.)
Channel 17: Saturday, December 20, 10 pm (For those with basic cable in St. Paul, TPT 17 is on channel 17; in Minneapolis, it is channel 13)
Check local listings for other cable systems, over the air digital and so on. MR. POSITIVE is the second show in the program.
This short is also in the line up for the Film Anthropist screening on Sunday, December 14, 2008 from 3-5pm at the Riverview Theater, Minneapolis.
This documentary by Mike Hazard and Emily Rumsey shows how Bentson lives a good life with a disability which is never actually defined. Like spokes of a wheel on his legendary bicycle, Carl is at the center of a network of support which makes our world go around.
One student at the school where Carl works says, "His favorite word is yeah." Yeah.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
LOCAL COLOR is a collection of camera works clicked by Media Mike Hazard within easy walking distance of the Black Dog Cafe. The show is on exhibit at the Black Dog, 308 Prince Street, St. Paul, through Sunday November 2, 2008. Call 651-228-9274.
"My camera comes with me whenever I go for a walk. Things happen. People, buildings, parades, plants, and a fair number of just plain peculiar photo ops present themselves. Things click," Hazard says.
"I am inspired by the naturalist, poet and parson Gilbert White (1720-1793) who wrote, 'It is in zoology as it is in botany: all Nature is so full that that district produces the greatest variety which is the most examined.'
White wrote this after living his whole life in one neighborhood, Selbourne, England. He wanted to see and name everything that lived. Towards the end of his life he realized he was never going to identify all the birds, beasts and bugs who lived right under his nose. There is always more than one can see.
The point is, the more you look, the more you see. Every neighborhood is like that."
The artist gratefully acknowledges the support of a Bush Artist Fellowship which has made LOCAL COLOR possible.
Monday, October 6, 2008
MEDIA DADA is a multimedia portrait by Media Mike Hazard of his daughter.
MEDIA DADA will play at the St. Paul Art Crawl October 10-12, 2008 in the fifth floor atrium of Lowertown Lofts, 255 Kellogg Boulevard E, St. Paul.
Here is a poem from MEDIA DADA.
THE WEE ONE WONDERS
Where does outer space go?
Did dinosaurs turn into monkeys?
Dada, can I watch you sexing?
I said my prayers after Gramma's treatment; why is she getting sicker?
Don't you know watching TV is my hobby?
When can I get keys?
Does a camera take pictures when you are not looking through it?
Can I use the f word?
How does the Easter Bunny lay all those eggs in one night?
Do you think there is one of you that is good up in heaven and one of you that is bad in the underworld?
Why do we have to pay to live, if these are our bodies?
Who made God?
There are lots of things in this world we don't know, do we?
MEDIA DADA began as a video made to show and tell the kids at my daughter's day care center what her daddy does for a living. Now 21 years in progress, the length will always stay the same, but new images and sounds will be added as life evolves.
PULLING DUCHAMP'S LEG was made with kids once upon a time one Saturday morning at the Walker Art Center to complement an exhibition called DUCHAMP'S LEG.
MEDIA DADA plays with the playful ideas of the Dada artists, using chance and peace as sources of power. Here is another piece of MEDIA DADA.
My kid freaked yesterday. A tank wheeled onto the schoolyard at Central High, recruiting.
She got it. At the school with a zero tolerance policy for weapons of ass destruction, a killing machine parks.
In her face, the soldier told her her right to go to a public school, to wear long hair, was because of his tank. The Pentagon thinks it wrote the Bill of Rights.
In her face, the history teacher tells my child she is free because of our tank. Two men, one teen.
War is my job, that's what I do.
No, you are an army recruiter. You are parked here following orders. You are promising the moon to kids who dream big with little means.
With raw poise, like our children, we have to stand in the way of the tank.
Called Past Success and Future Possibilities: A Discussion with Media Reform Pioneers, these three engaged veterans of civil rights and media activism bore witness to and helped shape more than half a century of U.S. media policy.
Together--Stoney, as independent filmmaker and professor of film and television at NYU's Tisch School; Pinkston, as broadcast journalist and the first African-American news anchor at WLBT-TV, the Jackson, Mississippi, CBS affiliate; and Johnson, as writer and former FCC commissioner--provide a unique complex of views on social change, from the inside out. Stevie Converse, Free Press Communications Coordinator, moderated.
This session featured a video history of the landmark WLBT case, in which Dr. Everett C. Parker and other concerned citizens ultimately moved the FCC to revoke the station's license--the first and only time a station lost its license for failing to serve the public interest. It was this case which established the right of American citizens to testify at federal regulatory hearings, the right of standing.
Another clip shown at the session documents the history of the public interest in American media. Excerpted by Media Mike, both clips come from ON TELEVISION: PUBLIC TRUST OR PRIVATE PROPERTY, written and directed by Mary Megee for On Television, Ltd. Aired on PBS from 1988 to 1992 and first distributed by Charles Benton’s Films Inc., this documentary is available through California Newsreel. Megee [firstname.lastname@example.org] is currently developing a 20-year update on the issues.
Working with George Stoney and Charles Benton, we have begun a documentary video portrait of the 95-year-old media activist, minister and professor who has never given up trying to change the world. "The bad guys hope the good guys will get tired of being good before the bad guys get tired of being bad,"ï¿½ Parker jokes.
Guided by a strong sense of ethics, Parker seeks to irritate and worry the media establishment. He is a professor of telecommunications at Fordham University and founder and treasurer of the Emma Bowen Foundation.
Indeed, Parker's sense of ethics is a golden thread which has guided his many good works and good life as activist, minister for the United Church of Christ, professor, organizer, PR guy, gadfly, author, broadcaster, film producer, philosopher and father.
Born, raised and educated in Chicago, Illinois, Parker is most famous for organizing the successful revocation of the television license of WLBT-TV in Jackson, Mississippi, on the grounds of institutional racism. That mission began when he asked Martin Luther King in 1962 how he might help the cause of civil rights. King answered, "Do something about television." Parker did.
In a struggle that took 17 years, the ultimately successful case established the right of American citizens to participate in federal regulatory proceedings, the so-called right of standing. It is no exaggeration to state that all the public interest, environmental, communications and civil rights actions which follow in the courts have been enabled by this decision. The story of that successful citizen action is still a potent and inspiring model for us all.