I’ve become a believer in the eye test.
It goes all the way back to Thomas, the ever-doubtful disciple, who just
couldn’t bring himself to believe the testimony of his brothers in
faith following the Crucifixion.
He is American, old-school American, cut
from the cloth of the robber barons and cutthroat captains of industry,
the gamblers and the sometimes killers who did more than beg, borrow and
steal to get ahead and who weren’t losing any sleep over their actions —
nobody’s sleepless in the great American past.
Positively Cleveland offered me
the chance to experience the Indie Cleveland vibe (based around the
opening weekend of the 37th annual Cleveland International Film
Festival), so I signed on for the press tour, but I was skeptical. Would
it cramp my style, force me into a box of pre-packaged highlights with
little of my own vaunted trial and error?
Cincinnati is home to my body and my
head. After almost 13 years, I’m grounded here thanks to a strong
network of friends and family. But, my heart, well, let’s just say it’s
holding out. Home, for my heart, is all about those extra-special
intangibles, which in part come down to movie memories.
During my off-hours, I ventured out to
museums, theaters of all types, clubs, bars and the homes of friends and
co-workers who hosted parties and events. I never worried about being able to get anywhere.
I have lived in Cincinnati for close to
13 years and I’ve never been on a Metro bus. For the last few months
I’ve been thinking about this fact, and it bothers me because I’m not
sure where the problem lies. Is it Cincinnati or me?
issue with the idea of social media has always been that I’ve never felt
that my experiences or the running commentary in my head should define
any given moment in pop cultural history. I hear what I’m thinking 24-7.
I swear there are days when it would be
best to turn off the television, stay away from computers, the Internet
and smartphones, maybe just remain in bed with the covers firmly clasped
over my head to silence the ignorant noise spewing out of the mouths
(and from the furiously tweeting thumbs) of politicians, commentators
I met Father Bollman in 2001,
immediately after the April riots, at a community forum. He was among a small group of concerned
citizens who, during those troubled times, came to talk, to share grief
and anger, to take the first tentative steps toward building a united
city-wide coalition to address the escalating problems between the black
community and the Cincinnati police.
While contemplating the latest call for
the end of time, I realized that if, indeed, this truly is the end, then
I might be a bit more prepared to just sit back and say that it has
been one helluva ride.
As a judge for this year’s Black Reel
Awards, I am screening the shorts and features up for
consideration, and at the conclusion of each new film I catch myself
swelling with real pride because, through these independently produced
films, I feel like the reflection I’ve been seeking sharpens as the
frames settle into place.
Even those who don’t believe in the Bible as a source and guide from a
higher power would be willing to concede that the stories of Christ’s
social mission speak to a degree of efficiency and
discipline that could be a model, especially in today’s world.
With all the movements to instill a local and/or regional
focus on our consumer urges counter-balanced by the narrowing of our
reach, thanks to technology, what is the difference between local and global? What would 19th century hipsters think of the accessibility present in today’s world?