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Author Archives: Janet Gillespie

About Janet Gillespie

A Pacific Northwest native, I am a life-long dancer/choreographer and social justice activist. For me, the visual and performing arts, film, fiction and non-fiction, are necessities, not luxuries, for they show me the world in new and often surprising ways, expanding my understanding, exercising my imagination, and through their creative power, convincing me that another world is, indeed, possible. I am currently teaching writing, foundations of social justice and dance and culture courses at two local colleges, and it is my great pleasure to bring some of the vibrant artists of the 99% to the Occupy Boston Radio listeners on THE BRIDGE: ARTS FOR THE 99%.

Books of Hope audio link

You can down load the audio file of the Books of Hope interview/poetry reading here  You can find a complete description of the Books of Hope interview/poetry reading here
Find more information on the Books of Hope writing program for Boston youth here

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2012 in podcast

 

Upload Audio | Listen to Audio | two fierce & creative artists | YourListen

If you missed my interview with Valerie Stephens and Helen Elaine Lee, you can listen to it here:

Upload Audio | Listen to Audio | two fierce & creative artists | YourListen.

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

September 28 (Friday) on the Bridge: Two Fierce & Courageous Artists

Guests today on The Bridge are Valerie Stephens and Helen Elaine Lee who travel into some of today’s most troubling issues and transform what they find into art.

First we’re going to hear from Valerie Stephens, who will talk with us about her one woman show, The Mammy Diaries, where she explores the reality, the myth, the caricature of the complex and multidimensional stereotype of Mammy, whose presence is still threaded through our society today.  Valerie will perform The Mammy Diaries on October 4 at the Multicultural Arts Center in Cambridge. Go to www.multiculturalartscenter.org and click on events for more information.  To learn more about Valerie and her work as a vocalist/bandleader, story teller, educator, and performance artist, visit her website at www.valeriestephens.com

Helen Elaine Lee is going to speak with us about her novel, Life Without, which tells the stories of ten people who are incarcerated in two neighboring prisons in the United States.

Through her early career as a lawyer and currently as a novelist and educator, social justice has been a central part of her life from her childhood on. “Justice” she says, “is a fiction for some of us.”

She has written two novels from the points of view of those inside. She will discuss and read from Life Without on our 9/28 show on The Bridge, and we will hear about the second of these novels, The Hard Loss, in a later show.  Check back on this blog for dates & details.

Helen says she had to “earn the stories” she tells, so she has spent many years as a volunteer in medium security prisons, teaching storytelling and creative writing. Listening to the voices and the stories of those inside, she was often struck by the “survival of dignity, generosity, and self interrogation” of her incarcerated students.

She is currently Associate Professor of Fiction Writing in MIT’s Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies, and she is a member of the Board of Directors of PEN New England and directs its Prison Creative Writing Program

You can read three of the stories from Life Without online at:

“Alphabet,” in Prairie Schoonerhttp://prairieschooner.unl.edu/?q=alphabet
“Pomegranate,” in Solstice Literary Magazine, http://solsticelitmag.org/pomegranate/
“Back in the Day,” in Callaloo: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/callaloo/summary/v031/31.2.lee.html

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Upload Audio | Listen to Audio | Interview: Mammy Diaries | YourListen

Upload Audio | Listen to Audio | Interview: Mammy Diaries | YourListen.
Dear Friends of The Bridge: Arts for the 99 % — I’m having technical difficulties uploading the 9/29 show featuring two fierce and courageous artists Valerie Stephens and Helen Elaine Lee. Because Valerie Stephens will perform her one woman show The Mammy Diaries on October 4 (Thursday) I want to make sure you have a chance to hear her discuss this compelling and challenging theater piece. So I’ve uploaded that section of the interview here.

In The Mammy Diaries, Valerie explores the reality, the myth, the caricature of the complex and multidimensional stereotype of Mammy, whose presence is still threaded through our society today.  Valerie will perform The Mammy Diaries on October 4 at the Multicultural Arts Center in Cambridge. Go to www.multiculturalartscenter.org and click on events for more information.  To learn more about Valerie and her work as a vocalist/bandleader, story teller, educator, and performance artist, visit her website at www.valeriestephens.com

And check back soon for the full program on THE BRIDGE as soon as I get the technical stuff figured out! AND I hope to see you at THE MAMMY DIARIES on October 4!

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Upload Audio | Listen to Audio | lou jones: final exposure | YourListen

Upload Audio | Listen to Audio | lou jones: final exposure | YourListen.

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

The Bridge: Arts for the 99% — July 27 — Lou Jones discusses his photo essay FINAL EXPOSURE: PORTRAITS FROM DEATH ROW

If you’ve ever wondered about the power of art to change minds and hearts, join us on The Bridge on Friday July 27 as Lou Jones, renowned Boston photographer, discusses his photo essay Final Exposure: Portraits from Death Row. For six years, Lou navigated the multiple complexities of the prison system to photograph death row inmates without barriers, without restraints, each in his or her own special environment. With his camera, Lou got closer to these individuals than their lawyers, and even their families. These intimate portraits capture each inmate’s distinct humanity, exposing the death penalty, in ways that words cannot, as a cruel and inhumane punishment. Final Exposure has changed viewers’ understanding of the death penalty, compelling many to believe, as Lou says, “murder, to address murder, is not a solution.”

Listen as Lou Jones describes the political agenda of the death penalty, the unfairness of the criminal (in)justice system regarding the death penalty, and ultimately how his photo essay Final Exposure: Portraits from Death Row, leads viewers to revise their thoughts and feelings about the death penalty.

View these photographs for yourself by clicking on “Final Exposure” at www.fotojones.com. 

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Friday June 22, On The Bridge: Arts for the 99% – Be inspired by the young poets of Books of Hope….

  In his essay Artists in Times of War, Howard Zinn writes    “…it is the job of the artist …to think outside the boundaries  of permissible thought and dare to say things that no one else will say.” * Yes, of course, but where in our current world of standardized testing and limited access to opportunity do our urban youth get the space and encouragement they need to become the artists Howard Zinn envisions? One place is Books of Hope (http://booksofhope-ma.org), a writing and literacy empowerment program located in the Somerville Housing Project that encourages urban and immigrant youth to develop their own voices through writing poetry. The young artists of Books of Hope do more than creative writing however; in addition to writing and performing their poetry, they also publish their own work and sell their books on the Mystic Ink Book Tour, inspiring other young people to read and to write their own poetry.

Listen to Soul Brown, Director of Books of Hope, describe this inspiring project, hear readings of four dynamic and vibrant poems, read by their youthful authors, and listen to a discussion of poetry, life, and art by these four young poets, moderated by Janet Gillespie. The work of these youth is ferociously honest and imaginative, full of life, and yes, hope. Their voices may inspire you to “…think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare to say things that no one else will say.”

Let us know what you think!

This program was previously broadcast on The Bridge on May 25, 2012.

*Zinn, Howard. “Artists in Times of War.” Artists in Times of War, New York: Seven Stories Press, 2003. 14. Print.

Listen to Books of Hope on The Bridge here:

Upload Audio | Listen to Audio | The Bridge Books of Hope | YourListen.

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2012 in Uncategorized