admin

Our second screening of Anomaly at the ADFF on Wednesday was a rousing success! Thanks to Gabriella for participating in the Q&A, and all of our friends & community that came out to support the screening. The audience laughed, nodded and cried in all the right places. :) We were so thrilled to see you there and hear your wonderful feedback! 

“Loved it!”

“I was so moved by your film and by all the subjects. Thank you for the years of hard work you put into Anomaly and eloquently weaving a story that all people of mixed heritage can relate to.”

Asian Arts Initiative

 

Next on the winter tour is Philadelphia. Join us Dec. 18th at the Asian Arts Initiative for “Hapa Happy: Celebrating All That is Mixed & Multi.” We’ll be screening Anomaly, and slam poet Thaddeus Rutkowski (featured in Anomaly) will be performing a set. The evening will be hosted by Yellow Rage–another Anomaly connection! Yellow Rage is Catzie Vilayphonh and Michelle Myers, who is also featured in Anomaly.

HAPA HAPPY: Celebrating All That Is Mixed & Multi

hosted by YELLOW RAGE & featuring THADDEUS RUTKOWSKI & “ANOMALY” by JESSICA CHEN DRAMMEH

Friday, December 18, 2009

7:30-9:30pm

Asian Arts Initiative

1219 Vine Street

Philadelphia, PA

FAMILY STYLE is a new family-friendly, positive space that honors Asian American artists and extended “family” from all communities and cultures. For the full event description, please visit:

We have a few cool links to share related to Anomaly’s world premiere Dec. 1 & 9 at the African Diaspora Film Festival:

-Check out the ADFF festival trailer, Anomaly is featured circa :37

-Thanks to Kasmore Rhedrick at Arts Engine, for his Three Qs and the Truth series

http://mediarights.org/news/three_qs_and_the_truth_anomaly

-Finally, a special thanks to our long-time community friends at Loving Day for Facebook, Twitter, and email updates

http://www.facebook.com/n/?note.php&note_id=189687771363&mid=179f1c6G57b27dddG118e6bdGa

Spread the word and see you tomorrow night at the theater!

 

Terence McKay, denied a marriage license by a Louisiana justice of the peace

Terence McKay, denied a marriage license by a Louisiana justice of the peace

This week, Keith Bardwell, a justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, refused to marry an interracial couple. You heard it right! Someone slept through 1967, the year the Supreme Court ruled that laws against interracial marriages were unconstitutional. The couple, Terence McKay and Beth Humphrey, went to another justice of the peace and were successfully married a couple days later. 

 

Bardwell said that he has many black friends that come to his home, that even use his bathroom. Bardwell was supposedly concerned that the couple’s interracial marriage would end in divorce. Civil rights groups are calling for Bardwell’s resignation. -JCD

10/17/09 update: Top Louisiana officials, including Gov. Bobby Jindal, have called for Bardwell’s dismissal.

Thad Rutkowski (one of the characters in Anomaly), has a daughter, Shay, of Chinese, Polish and Russian roots. Thad recently told me the following story. -JCD

 

Thad's daughter, Shay, at home in NYC

Thad's daughter, Shay, at home in NYC

Thad: This fall, Shay will be entering fourth grade at N.E.S.T. + M. (New Explorations in Science and Technology, Plus Math), a public school on E. Houston St. in New York City. One of her assignments [in third grade] was to write a biography of a family member, and she chose her maternal grandmother, whom I believe is descended from one of the Russian areas.

When her teacher read the bio, he said, “I thought your mother was Hungarian.”

“No,” Shay said.

“Then why were you in Hungary?”

“We were on vacation,” Shay said. (Actually, we’d gone because I had some readings in Budapest last fall.)

“So let me get this straight. One grandmother is Chinese, and the other grandmother is Russian?”

“Right.”

Loving Day Flagship Celebration in NYC

Loving Day Flagship Celebration in NYC

Loving Day celebrates the anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, the historic Supreme Court decision that struck down laws against interracial marriages. Loving Day fights racial prejudice through education and builds multicultural community. With events throughout the U.S. and internationally, including a flagship celebration in New York City, find an event near you or host your own!

Mildred and Richard Loving (Associated Press)

Mildred and Richard Loving (Associated Press)

Richard and Mildred Loving of Central Point, Virginia, married in Washington, D.C. in the 1950s and according to Virginia state laws at the time, were living “illegally” as an interracial couple. Their case went all the way to the Supreme Court and on June 12, 1967, interracial marriages were no longer illegal in states ranging from Delaware to Texas. While the fight for equality continues along many different social lines, what a long way we have come in 42 years! It’s compelling to see how constructions of the American family continue to evolve.

To learn more about the Lovings and Loving v. Virginia, visit:

US Supreme Court media on the decision

http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1966/1966_395

Loving Day educational resources

http://www.lovingday.org/learn

Marian Wright Edelman: Remembering Mildred Loving

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marian-wright-edelman/remembering-mildred-lovin_b_107292.html

090528-multiracial-hmed2p.300wWell it’s official! :) Multiracial Americans are percentage-wise, the fastest growing group in the U.S. See the MSNBC article.

There are a couple of points that stuck out to me:

The article cites that the number of multiracial Americans rose last year to about 5.2 million. The 2000 Census stated that there were 6.8 million multiracial Americans. What is this discrepancy?

Aside from numbers, though, are the political implications. This statement was a red flag for more debate:

“The significance of race as we know it in today’s legal and government categories will be obsolete in less than 20 years,” said William H. Frey, a demographer at Brookings Institution. “The rise of mixed-race voters will dilute the racial identity politics that have become prevalent in past elections,” he said.

Talking about mixed race people diluting something hearkens back to old-fashioned notions of mixed race diluting “pure” races. But more importantly, does Frey think that mixed-race voters are apolitical? Or that mixed-race voters don’t have involvement in racial identity politics? And can race as a construction become obsolete in 20 years? -JCD

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month! Here’s an official statement from Pres. Barack Obama.-JCD

“The vast diversity of languages, religions, and cultural traditions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders continues to strengthen the fabric of American society. From the arrival of the first Asian American and Pacific Islander immigrants 150 years ago to those who arrive today, as well as those native to the Hawaiian Islands and to our Pacific Island territories, all possess the common purpose of the fulfilling the American dream and leading a life bound by the American ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

During Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we remember the challenges and celebrate the achievements that define our history.

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have endured and overcome hardship and heartache. In the earliest years, tens of thousands of Gold Rush pioneers, coal miners, transcontinental railroad builders, as well as farm and orchard laborers, were subject to unjust working conditions, prejudice, and discrimination——yet they excelled. Even in the darkness of the Exclusion Act and Japanese internment, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have persevered, providing for their families and creating opportunities for their children.

Amidst these struggles, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have contributed in great and significant ways to all aspects of society…

I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 2009, as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. I call upon the people of the United States to learn more about the history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities.”

Read the full press release here.

Candid. Thought-provoking. Compelling. Anomaly interweaves the thoughts and experiences of the participants with the director’s narration, creating a rich tapestry of mixed dynamics. Unlike prior works on mixed race issues that focus on one ethnic mix, Anomaly is truly multiracial. Our participants come from many diverse backgrounds and multiple generations. Meet the voices and spirit of Anomaly here…

Gabriella Callender

Gabriella performing her song, "It's You"

Gabriella performing her song, "It's You"

 

“Genealogically, I’m multiethnic. Culturally, I’m African American, with European influence…  Once upon a time I used to say ‘I’m black’ because that’s how I was raised and to say anything other than black meant you’re trying to pass, and if you’re trying to pass then that is just it: you do not belong in our community, how dare you! It was a big taboo.”

Gabriella Callender is a singer/songwriter who was raised in Queens, New York, by an adopted family during the 1960s and 1970s. In Anomaly, she performs her autobiographical song, “Black and White,” which tells the story of growing up in a family where “it was all about the black and white.” In the film, Gabriella speaks about her adoption and journey of self-discovery to find her birth mother. To hear Gabriella’s work, visit the Mahina Movement website at www.mahinamovement.com.

Michelle Myers

Michelle on location in Philadelphia

Michelle on location in Philadelphia

 

“Epic memory awakened, I remember you: you are the land of my birth. I will return to you.” –from Michelle’s piece, “Arirang”

Spoken word artist Michelle Myers, who grew up in rural New Jersey, reflects on the intense alienation she experienced in her childhood from peers and the white side of her family for being half Korean. Through her work in the duo Yellow Rage and the collective Asians Misbehavin’, she confronts stereotypes and myths about Asian Americans in an outspoken, controversial way. She is also the mother of three mixed race children featured in Anomaly. To sample Michelle’s pieces, such as “I’m a Woman (Not a Flava),” visit www.yellowrage.com.

Pete Shungu

Pete on trumpet

Pete on trumpet

 

“I’ve found my way, comin’ from parents of completely different heritage/So I got a problem with you if you got a problem with interracial marriages…” –from Pete’s piece, “Third Eye-dentity”

Pete is a musician/poet based in Boston. His mother is Caucasian from Kansas, and his father African from the Congo. Showing a younger generation coming of age, Pete was born in the early 1980s. Like Michelle, he grew up in New Jersey, but found a more supportive family life for acknowledging both of his heritages. Through his poems and music, like “Third Identity” and “Other,” Pete challenges the social categorization of mixed race people, while exploring both sides of his rich family identity. Pete’s website is at www.afroDZak.com.

Thaddeus Rutkowski

Thad Rutkowski

Thad Rutkowski

 

Thaddeus Rutkowski is a spoken word artist and poet who grew up in central Pennsylvania and lives in New York. His work has appeared in numerous publications and he has been a resident at Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and Ragdale. He is a winner of the Poetry Slam at the Nuyorican Poets Café, and performs pieces like “White and Wong” in Anomaly. Thad identifies as biracial; his mother is Chinese, and his father was Polish American. Find out about his first book, Roughhouse, and his latest novel, Tetched, at www.thaddeusrutkowski.com.

Rona Taylor

Rona hails from the Bay Area and took one of the first people of mixed heritage courses in the U.S. at UC Berkeley in the 1980s. In Anomaly, she recalls her childhood navigating Filipino and African American/Native American heritages. Early on, she identified as a “world citizen.” She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and is raising two daughters and a son.

Additional participants include:

Sabrina Margarita Alcantara-Tan, Jazz Biancci, Ella Mei Yon Biggadike, Kiyomi Burchill, Brenda Gannam, Stephanie Nokes, Ajani Schuster,  Rebecca Schuster, and James Spooner

Key experts contextualize the issues:

Jennifer Chan
Former Adjunct Professor, “Asian Americans of Mixed Heritage” course, A/P/A Studies Program and Institute, New York University.

Jen Chau
Founder/Executive Director, Swirl, Inc., a national community organization founded in 2000 that serves the mixed race community.

Michele Elam, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of English, Director of African American Studies at Stanford University; author of Race, Work and Desire in American Literature and the forthcoming Mixtries: Mixed Race in the New Millennium.

Eric Hamako
Doctoral student in the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Social Justice Education Program. Eric has been involved in mixed-race community organizing since 2000.

Ann Morning, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Sociology at New York University, specializing in race and ethnicity, especially racial classification; the multiracial population; and demography. Fulbright Scholar and Ford Foundation Fellow.

Maria P.P. Root, Ph.D. (advisor)
Clinical Psychologist; Editor of The Multiracial Experience; Author of Love’s Revolution: Interracial Marriage and “The Bill of Rights for Racially Mixed People.”

That’s right! Spread the word to your contacts involved in media/audio. Thanks! Formal posting follows below. -JCD

Nyabinghi Productions is seeking a New York-based freelance post-production sound designer/mixer for a documentary film called Anomaly, which explores the lives of multiracial Americans. Designer must have experience with non-fiction films, own studio, and good references. The 47-minute documentary combines interviews, first-person narration, spoken word and musical performances, and archival materials. The film has a unique original soundtrack that is in place. Anomaly is intended for release this spring, to film festivals, colleges and universities, community groups, DVD/home video and more!

Check out our youtube clips and blog at:
http://anomalythefilm.wordpress.com/
http://www.youtube.com/user/anomalyJCD

Please send a cover letter and resume/CV to info@anomalythefilm.com. You must include:
-why the film appeals to you
-your general availability
-specify what audio program you have. It must be compatible with Final Cut Pro OMFs.

If you have an online demo reel, include a link to its location. Do not send attachments of demo reels.

This is a paid position on a flat/package rate.

We had fantastic recording sessions this weekend! Working with composer J. Armen, the score has taken shape to create a unique, unifying vision of music that complements the content and visuals in ANOMALY. He found some fabulous musicians for the score.

Gwen Mann on vocal tracks

Gwen Mann on vocal tracks

On Saturday, we recorded Gweneviere Mann, versed in styles ranging from a capella to vocal percussion. Her alto voice sounded lush belting out some improv over a track underscoring a scene about the troubling social constructions of race and anti-miscegenation fervor. And what a coincidence! She previously sang in a group that performed Arirang at a wedding. Gwen could be in an ANOMALY sequel :) — she had a very poignant story about encounters with the KKK in the New Orleans area (they didn’t know what to make of her Filipina mom who could not pass the brown bag test).

Alex Garcia on congas and J. Armen at the sound board

Alex Garcia on congas and J. Armen at the sound board

On Sunday, J. brought into the studio bass player Ariel de la Portilla and percussionist Alex Garcia. There’s nothing like a live upright bass and congas to set a jammin’ groove with Latin and jazz roots. Ariel and Alex were so willing to do take after take, we have so much more excellent creative material than we could possibly use. The inspiration for another film, perhaps?:) Mixed race history throughout the Latin American diaspora. (That’s redundant, isn’t it ;) )

Ariel de la Portilla on upright bass

Ariel de la Portilla on upright bass

In half a second, J. put Alex and Ariel’s tracks together with a track from Gwen from the previous day. Wouldn’t you know they lined up exactly? It made a perfect musical fusion as if all three were in the studio at the same time. And our clapping recorded at the end of a really hot last take made J.’s studio sound like the new Club Armen.

There’s nothing like the energy of talented live musicians or artists honing their craft, especially when there’s room for improvisation! I played a bunch of musical instruments in my childhood (no I am not going to post a picture from the 8th grade in my band uniform!) so it was very exciting to be back in a recording studio. I will, however, post some mp3s previews in the future — after they have received J.’s professional mixing and fine tuning! -JCD