Monday, January 30, 2006

Leading the way...

Never make the assumption that people in Canada are like Americans, they are not. It’s not a right or wrong thing but one of perspective and priorities. One of the clearest moments was during Toronto pride when I was helping pass out flyers for Detroit’s pride celebration and we were asked why do black people have to have their own pride? While my black companions tried to give a smooth explanation of why it’s just different, I more adamantly gave the poor guy a short yet poignant American history lesson (Something I do quite often living up here;-) While I could appreciate the point of view of the gentleman with the question, the moment illustrated that there is always an opportunity to learn more about another culture. For the last decade there has been a solid pride movement in the city of Detroit. It is one of the fore runners of the black gay pride movements that have been cropping up all over the country. Tonight I have and interview with one of the people who started the more formal pride movement in Detroit and who year after year, like a constant gardener, has grown it into one of the biggest and most well organized events in the country. Not only that but he has taken steps with his peers around the US and Canada to create a global black pride organization. I'm talking with Johnny L. Jenkins Jr (Jy) who shows us there is always strength in numbers.

Epiphany: Ok Jy, thanks for coming on for the interview...

Jy: Thanks for having me.

Epiphany: I understand you currently work for your self? So tell me a little bit about your business NoirAmerica.

Jy: Yes, I've been freelancing for over five years now. I established NoirAmerica to work on creative projects for myself, as well as for my design clients.

Epiphany: What's the hardest part of working for yourself/running your own business?

Jy: I Have to wear many hats, and I always need to be aware of my environment and moods. It get's hard to set the boundaries between business and personal. One day I'll have some

Epiphany: So would you recommend working for yourself to everyone?

Jy: Most definitely. The independence is refreshing and inspiring. You view the world from an empowering perspective, which helps a control freak such as myself push into new frontiers as a creative professional and social scientist.

Epiphany: What words of advice would you have for a young person looking to start his or her own business?

Jy: Have a passion for it. Observe those folk who are successful in the industry or field you'd like to make a mark, then develop a plan of action. That plan of action should result in a good business plan. Then surround yourself with positive people who will support your vision despite any challenges.

Epiphany: Wow! Some great advise!
Epiphany: Moving on to Detroit Black Gay pride: Hotter than July (DBGP: HTJ) how long have you been involved with the movement in Detroit?

Jy: Since I started my coming out process in the early 90's. I became active in a group called Men Of Color Motivational Group in Detroit. From this group Detroit's Hotter Than July was formed as a pride event. I've been fortunate to be in a lead role as an organizer for pride for the past 10 years.

Epiphany: What got you interested in taking on the central role for all these years?

Jy: The possibilities that a spark of pride can instill in a community. My personal development as a black man on a journey to become secure with his sexuality. I decided a long time ago that organizing HTJ! was as much about my personal development as well as that of the community I serve. Each year I've been in an enviable position to observe the progress of a community struggling to empower itself, and to be a part of the fight for human rights and equality.

Epiphany: Well that sounds like a very holistic approach what has been your biggest success to date?
What has been the biggest challenge to date running HTJ?

Jy: My most proud moment is the fact that our community has been able to make Detroit's Hotter Than July the oldest black same-gender-loving pride in the mid-western United States.

Epiphany: and the biggest challenge?

Jy: The biggest challenge has been keeping ego and negative energy in check. Mine as well as others. Encouraging more folk to get involved in the process. It's about collective work, once folk get that fact they take more ownership of pride. I guess that's the other big challenge, the fact that we even need it. Which I strongly believe we do. I'm hearing from young adults in our community who knew about HTJ when they were in high school. Something positive can come from that type of influence.

Epiphany: What will HTJ 2006 look like?

Jy: A lot more polished is the plan. After ten years it's time for the Black Pride Society (BP Society), formally Detroit Black Gay Pride Inc., to take things to the next level. I anticipate an increase in partnerships, high profile talent, and possibly a mini-film festival. We'll also focus on more youth and elder participation. Health and wellness will be a major focus as well. Our HTJ! 2006 theme is "I'm Coming Out Eyes Wide Open".

Epiphany: Fantastic! is this part of taking it to the next level? Is this part of the "International federation of black prides"?

Jy: Well it's Detroit's strategy to improve the quality and significance of our pride. Detroit is a head of the curve when it comes to advocating for SGL rights, nurturing collective works and implementing a plan. We want to develop the local SGL voice (inclusive of all black SGL groups in southeast Michigan), while the Federation is looking to connect all the black SGL prides into a international network of organizers and communities. It's very ambitious, and I'm proud to say that Detroit has been a charter organizer in establishing the mission. There are already black prides across the country that follow our model.

Epiphany: Must be very satisfying being on the forefront! Where do you see the next five years with the pride movement?

Jy: Currently there are 35 prides in the United States and Canada. South Africa will come online in 2007. I foresee that number moving towards 50 with more black prides established in Europe and North America. Over the next five years we plan to build up the capacity of each black pride to service it's community successfully by setting goals and benchmarks for regional, national and international programs.

Epiphany: We here in Canada along with a handful of other countries in the world, South Africa as well as The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and the state of Massachusetts have made Gay Marriage legal, even a larger list of countries offer civil unions... How long before you see the rest of the US follow suit?

Jy: a quarter of a century. I have to sound pessimistic, but there's a lot of bridge building, which must happen before evangelical ignorance will give sway. Sexuality has proven to be such a successful political wedge; the device will be used until the masses are educated thoroughly about issues relating to it. I "hate" to sound...

Epiphany: How much of an issue is gay marriage for the black gay community?

Jy: Only a blip on the radar. Our issues are economic and health. Same-sex marriage is hard to grasp when everyday life issues take precedence. Where still coping with simply being black. Our sexuality will always take second place. Even associating it with basic human rights and equality somewhat falls on a deaf issue. Folk got to eat, and SGL folk continue to maintain families even though evangelicals would like to believe otherwise. Ignorance is bliss.

Epiphany: true that! What get you up in the morning?

Jy: Ambition to experience life as it's thrown at me. A desire to continuously improve the person I am. I'm learning to appreciate the journey as oppose to getting to some final destination. Death is the only destination, and that's not something I'm ready to

Epiphany: What will you be doing in 5 years?

Jy: I'd like to have my M.F.A., afford a staff for NoirAmerica, and introduce more of my artistic work into the universe. I definitely want to get back to traveling outside of the United States.

Epiphany: Sounds like a good plan!... Well I for one would like to thank you for all the years of leadership on HTJ, It’s been great seeing it grow and gain popularity.... Anything else you’d like to say before we conclude?

Jy: Thanks for giving me the opportunity to express myself, and for being supportive. Detroit's Hotter Than July wouldn't be a success without you. Our community appreciates the history and legacy you've caught via your lens. Also thanks for the station breaks in Toronto when I needed some peace of

Epiphany: Thanks it’s been an honor capturing the emergence of greatness! Thanks for coming on!

Jy: Peace & Blessings!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

A Word About Digital Art

Sometime images don't always come out the way you anticipated. Either the light was not right, the background was not just the way you thought it would be... What ever the reason, it stand to reason that some pictures get passed over for some small reason... Such were some of the pictures I took of Mycal noir off the south east side of Belle Isle, a fairly large island in the middle of the Detroit river. In the case of these images it was the sun.. we had gotten to the site too late in the morning and the sun was nearly overhead. The images while perfect in pose and composition just dint have the best light. As well the view across the river was of Windsor Canada, a perfectly nice little boarder town but geographically flat and some what dull.

The images I took sat for a period until I was looking at a book on digitally composed images and I began to be intrigued with dusting off some of my older stuff. In the images tonight I took the images taken that day and I composed them with a sunset island background from Tahiti I had in a travel book... Gone was Windsor. With some adjustment to the color and hue I then ran both images through the water color filter in photoshop. The results are images of Mycal a world away from Detroit!
Im working on some new images which I will post as soon as I complete them. Until then Enjoy!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Lord Byron

The better days of life were ours;
The worst can be but mine:
The sun that cheers, the storm that lowers,
Shall never more be thine.
The silence of that dreamless sleep
I envy now too much to weep;
Nor need I to repine
That all those charms have pass'd away,
I might have watch'd through long decay.

The better days of life were ours, was never more true then the days I hung out with Byron. Having been in the life for more than a few years Byron came into my life as the type of friend who would help me develop into something more polished than I was. Lets be honest, being "in the life" comes with more than its share of drama and pain which sometimes seem to be matched by equally great heights of joy and happiness. Byron became somewhat of a foster parent to me, teaching me more of the rules or code that comes with carrying ones self as a proper gay man. For many years I worked in Detroit's Renaissance Center on Detroit's waterfront. Byron ran the Olga's kitchen on the food concourse and on many evenings he would feed me while listening to all of my stories of man to man woe. It seems silly now but then I was seriously considering the long term implications of being "in the life". Eventually Byron moved into the same Palmer Park apartment building and we began to go out to the clubs together, his favorites being Todd's and the Music Institute down town. I would watch intently on how Byron would carry him self in public and in the club... and I learned allot! On the dance floor Byron would often dance alone with as little as possible on. He would become entranced by the beet of the music often stomping as part of his dance in a near tribal trance. My fondest memory was a trip to Cleveland Ohio with or friend Perry in tow.... What an amazing time!

Byron has since passed away.. but I often hear his voice in the back of my head, when confronted to the challenges of life!
The images tonight seem appropriate as they book end our trip to Cleveland... Starting a three day weekend with all the energy possible and returning barely able to cope, Byron lived his life to the fullest.

Yet how much less it were to gain,
Though thou hast left me free,
The loveliest things that still remain,
Than thus remember thee!
The all of thine that cannot die
Through dark and dread Eternity
Returns again to me,
And more thy buried love endears
Than aught except its living years.

Selected portions from a poem entitled "And Thou Art Dead, As Young and Fair", first published in 1812.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Bringing Some Color to Our World....

My interview on sunday brought some excellent responses and so I am continuing tonight with an interview with a fellow Detroit artist Eugene Harris Jr., known to most of us by Geno! I remember back in the 60's my mother bring home materials from the craft store to do decoupage! On a much different level Geno has been creating works for about four years now and I have to tell you the first time I was at his loft I was taken in by the color and warmth his art-form and stile brings.

Decoupage has a long and fascinating history that can be traced back to a variety of styles from many distant countries. Over the centuries it boasts many famous practitioners including Marie Antoinette, Madame de Pompadour, Lord Byron, Beau Brummel and more recently, Matisse and Picasso. As far back as the 12th century, Chinese peasants were creating paper cutouts in vivid colors to decorate windows, lanterns, gift boxes and other objects. This Chinese practice and expertise with scissors is thought to have come from Eastern Siberia, where cutout felt figures and designs were decorating objects in the tombs of Siberian nomads. The tombs date back to before Christ. Decoupage is a 20th century word which comes from the French word decouper meaning to cut out. Paper cutouts are reassembled and designed and then glued to a painted or gilded surface. The most traditional technique includes applying 30-40 layers of varnish which are sanded to a beautiful smooth sheen. However, cutouts may also be applied under glass or alternatively raised to give a three-dimensional appearance. With such a long and varied history, it is not surprising that decoupage is still evolving with new styles.

I'm happy to bring you my most recent conversation with this talented brotha!

Epiphany- Well first of all welcome Geno to EpiphanyNoir.... I’m glad to finally get you on!

Geno- Thanks so much for having me.

Epiphany- So how long have you been an artist?

Geno- Well I have been doing this form of art now for 4yrs.

Epiphany- When you say this form of art you mean decoupage?

Geno- Yes decoupage!

Epiphany- Thanks and for those who don’t know what is decoupage?

Geno- It is the art of affixing paper, pictures and small items to a flat surface.

Epiphany- Yes I can see that quite vividly in some of your work... What kinds of images do you put on the wood?

Geno- Well the images that I create are abstract, and that comes from tearing and ripping the paper in different shapes and sizes until I get the desired affect.

Epiphany- Yes with quite beautiful results.... do you seek out unusual papers to use… they seem quite vivid?

Geno- Actually I use a Japanese tissue paper called "Unryu" which comes in a rainbow of colors and textures.

Epiphany- Wow is it expensive?

Geno- Initially when I was purchasing the paper from a local art store it was expensive but with the advent of the internet, I can order the same paper on line at a discounted price.

Epiphany- Kewl! Now when you start a piece how long does it take before you are completely happy?

Geno- It varies from piece to piece, because I don't really sit down with a design in mind, it really starts with the color and grows from there, some pieces take days while others can take a couple of weeks depending on how technical I decide to get.

Epiphany- Interesting technique... I know you have had some shows in the Detroit area, how has the response been?

Geno- I honestly have to say in that area I have been truly blessed. Since I have been doing this I have sold my works consistently, at each show I have sold a minimum of 6 pieces, which is tremendously, well for an up and coming artist.

Epiphany- Yes that amazing! What do you think is the selling point of your work? Is it the medium you use or color or???

Geno- I think that it is the richness of the colors after the coating is applied.

Epiphany- Yes I agree that’s what gets me each time! They could be hung anywhere and add that needed touch of color...

Geno- I agree!

Epiphany- Now I know in the past you have talked about having a group or artist collective, what’s that all about?

Geno- Well I started a group called "The Poor Man's Art Collective" which is an ever-changing group of emerging artist, using what I call guerilla tactics to put our artwork out there to the masses because of the difficulties in getting into established galleries being and unknown artist.

Epiphany- You say guerilla tactics, what does that entail and why?

Geno- What I mean is, the group of artist that I find, we come together and pool our resources, find a space, rent it, decorate it, promote it, and do the show ourselves. We are in your face so to speak because if you had to wait on a gallery to "allow" you to show your work, your work may never get show, so we took that aspect of it into our own hands and it has been working very well.

Epiphany- So there is force in numbers essentially?

Geno- I can agree with that, but even more so there is force in your will and desire to succeed and not to wait on someone to help you along do it for yourself, but if you have one or more people that are like minded and willing to do the work, the force is amazing.

Epiphany- Fantastic... sounds like lots of cross-motivational stuff there! What inspires your work? Is it life, love what?

Geno- Life and Love (or maybe lack of the later), LOL! I think that anything that really affects my life inspires my work.

Epiphany- I feel ya, especially on the lack of the later! Detroit seems to be simultaneously gearing up for success with a new downtown and the super bowl coming in a couple weeks and the downturn in the automotive industry... Does Detroit it self have an effect on your work?

Geno- I would say that Detroit has an effect on me because of its diverse and creative people, since being involved in music since I was 7 and now doing the art I have been surrounded by many creative people and it has fostered my growth into the artist I am today.

Epiphany- Detroit does have a rich history! What do you see your future in Detroit... do you want to branch out?

Geno- I really want to make some real noise here in Detroit before I branch out, but eventually I want to take on NYC, Chicago and Atlanta.

Epiphany- Yeah I can see your work doing real well there... do you see your self using the same media?

Geno- Yes, although my technique has evolved a bit and I also design tables (primarily coffee table and end tables) with my art piece being the tabletop, but with a resin coating for durability.

Epiphany- Oh wow! Furniture seems to be a natural extension of your work!

Geno- Yeah, and it has gone over really well, at my last show I sold a table to a local News Anchor, Charles Pugh, FOX 2 news, its been amazing.

Epiphany- What would you tell a young brotha out there who was thinking about getting into the arts?

Geno- Well I would say this: Be steadfast and immovable with your belief in your talent, realize that there will be critics and as the young people would say "haters" and just keep moving, perfect your craft and if you have difficulties showing your works, make a way to show them yourself.

Epiphany- That’s great advise...!

Geno- Thank you.

Epiphany- What’s in the near future for you, any shows?

Geno- Well currently I am gearing up to do a Charity Auction with some of my pieces next week, and I’m working on new stuff as I am trying to plan a big show in April or May of this year.

Epiphany- What’s the charity?

Geno- I don't have the full name of the organization but it is for a mentoring program for young men and women in Michigan.

Epiphany- That’s kewl, it’s always good to give back to the community.... So do you have a website and or an e-mail if folks are interested in your work?

Geno- I most certainly do have an email address, my website won't be ready until summer. My email address is:, I can be reached there day or night.

Epiphany- Great! Any parting words?

Geno- Just that if you have a talent, believe in yourself, buckle down and do the work. There is an audience out there just waiting to see you!

Epiphany- Awesome… and on that note Thanks for coming by!

Geno- Thanks so much for having me on.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

More For You....

As in my previous post "Something For You!", and what I hope will be a regular follow on, I have created a couple new computer wallpapers for you! But there is a hitch... Blogger seems to re-size them from the proper size for a wallpaper! So If you want one of these for you computer, feel free to make a comment at the bottom of this post, including your e-mail and I will send you the correctly sized image!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Mr. Smith's Been to Washington!

Photographs, my photographs tell stories about people, and most of the time if I got it right, they do it all on their own. But thats the goal of a good photographer isn't it? As I build this blog I am begining to branch out and tell the stories of other people who have impacted my life... Its my hope that through my friends I may yet learn more about myself. Tonights post I am going to interview my friend of almost 15 years, Lewis Smith. I first met Lewis through my friend Montrice. Lewis had returned to Detroit from school and had conspicously arrived at Montriece's right at dinner time!

(This is my first ever photo of Lewis, clearly helping Monty clean his plate;-) Who could blame him given Monty's cooking skills. My initial impression of Lewis was that he was a comedian! And he had me in stiches from the get go... Over the last almost 15 years I have found him to be far more serious and driven, and ya he's still funny as you will see:

Epiphany: ok before we start is there anything off limits.

Lewis: I'll let you know it when I know it, ok??

Epiphany: LOL ok kewl!
Epiphany: Ok Lewis, we have known each other for over 14 years
did you know that !?!

Lewis: That's right!

Epiphany: yes time fly’s when your around good people.

Lewis: I thought about that a few months ago and how nerve wrecking you were with that instamatic camera you had. LoL

Epiphany: Yeah always with my camera… that’s why the call me snap shot!
Epiphany: Ok well I’ve told you already but you’ve been somewhat of a hero to me.

Lewis: LOL
Lewis: Really? I'm humbled. Why?

Epiphany: seriously... you lived and in DC and you worked in the halls of congress... what was that like for you?

Lewis: It was humbling. Especially when you think about the fact that African-Americans really are chocolate chips on the Hill.

Epiphany: true that! What was the most interesting thing to happen to you while you were in DC?

Lewis: Hmmm . . . that's good question.

Lewis: I was a Legislative Assistant to Congressman Sandy Levin and I think the thing that I like most and always took seriously was the fact that I helped to mold his policy. I'd meet with lobbyists and constituents, and I was responsible for making sure that the Congressman was well informed on the issues.

Epiphany: I remember when we came to DC and you gave us the grand un official tour of the capitol building, you seemed to know all these facts about history and the process, have you always been good at American history and politics?

Lewis: Not on purpose. It's just one of those "interests" You're born with. I was glued to PBS last week watching the special on Ronald Reagan, and I love to read "The Nation". I must admit I am one of those CSPAN junkies. I think it stems from my parents though. My father would make my sister and I watch 60 Minutes and I remember my mother, father, sister and I going to a rally in downtown Detroit for Jimmy Carter's first presidential campaign in 1976.

Epiphany: Ok is it ok to talk about life style in this interview before we go on?

Lewis: Sure

Epiphany: Ok well I guess when I said you were one of my hero’s it went deeper than that... Your black, and gay and doing the nations business which is so American... but do you think that the country is accepting of you as a person… given all that you are and have done?

Lewis: Honestly Chris, I've been blessed. Strange how this relates, but it seems that because my family has been so accepting of me and I've been open about my sexuality in every facet of my life, I have to be careful not to take it for granted. Even in relationships I sometimes take it for granted that I will have Thanksgiving dinner with his folks, he will have a picture of me on his desk, his mother and I will become good "Judys" or I'm looking forward to talking to his pastor. And I have to be mindful that everyone can't do what I do. But again it goes back to the values that were instilled in me.

Epiphany: Yes I have to admit there are two sides of Lewis I have witnessed, the serious taking care of business side and the ki-ki judy side… and with you it seems so together in one seamless package.

Lewis: Thanks. I truly try to make me better everyday and I do fall short but I don't stop. Like Audre Lorde said I have to define myself for myself.

Epiphany: When I was at your home in DC I loved to look at the school picture of you in as a child in your African Dashiki in front of the black board... you seem early on to have an great sense of self identity as a black man, who instilled this in you?

Lewis: My mom and my dad. In our Archie coloring books, my mama would color everyone brown and put afros, cornrolls or afro puffs on all the characters LOL.

Epiphany: Hahaha Awesome!... I’ve always liked your Mom!

Lewis: Plus there was also the Black art, books, magazines in the house. So we were surrounded by it everyday.

Epiphany: You quit Washington a few years back to come back to Michigan, what was the inspiration there?

Lewis: I wanted to return to law school. I had done a year at the University of Detroit prior to moving to DC but dropped out ( I was making too much money for a 25 year old! lolol). I came back to Michigan for two reasons. No school accepted me in the DC area and I was missing my nieces and nephews growing up. God works it all out though.

Epiphany: So you have always said, you wanted to be a lawyer, how long have you wanted that and why?

Lewis: Smile. I love this anecdote. When I was 7, I was watching television and I saw a Black judge on the screen. I would like to believe it was Thurgood Marshall but I can't remember. I told my mother, "Look Mama, that's what I'm going to be when I grow up!" To which she responded " Well Lamont (my middle name) you'll have to be a lawyer first." I told her "then that's what I'll do!". And ever since then I've pursued it. As you know I'll be taking the Bar Exam next month.

Epiphany: That’s a great story, but as a lawyer what do you want to accomplish?

Lewis: The thing I love most about the law is that it truly is for man and not man for the law. It brings so much order to our lives that it's not something we in developed countries even think about anymore.

Epiphany: That’s true... but given your government experience would you ever want to run for office one day?

Lewis: Maybe. I really think that that's something I am being prepared for. People don't realize that politics affect each of our lives everyday.

Epiphany: Oh I think many do understand now in this current Bush era...

Lewis: LOL, Let's hope so.

Epiphany: what do you think of the brother from Illinois Barack Obama

Lewis: He seems decent enough. I haven't looked at record since he took office so I can't really comment.

Epiphany: Can you see him going to the white house one day?

Lewis: I think the first minority president will be a Republican (I've bought a copy of Hillary vs. Condi, which I'm going to read in March).

Epiphany: Really a republican!... Do you think Condi has enough game to pull off?

Lewis: If it comes down to her and Hillary yes. But it will come down to the money and where the special interests are willing to put that money.

Epiphany: I’m wondering what the implications would be for a woman president who might have to deal with Muslim countries given their stance on women... it could inflame relations...

Lewis: It probably will. but this is America do you really think we care?! Ha!

Epiphany: Not if we are going to live up to our American ideals… Probably not.
Epiphany: So Lewis what kind of lawyer are you going to be?

Lewis: I actually like what I'm doing now which is municipal law. That's deals with city, townships and counties. I write ordinances, analyze how national and sate policy and laws affect the city. And I also may investigate various city departments for City Council. I just want to do it from the private sector so I can make some money to pay off my student loans. LOL.

Epiphany: I know that’s right!

Lewis: You know Chris, in June I'll celebrate 20 years in politics and government, who would have thought it?

Epiphany: That is a great accomplishment and I know you have worked hard for it! Lewis if you could say something to a young teen who is black, and gay who thinks that they are never going to be anybody what would you tell them?

Lewis: The same thing my "Big Ma" (grandmother to some) told me when she found out I was gay at 18: "Don't worry about your Mama and Daddy. Go on and be who and what you got to be; just put God first in your life and make your life what you want it to be! You want a piece of sweet potato pie?"
Lewis: LOL, That’s an honest quote Chris.

Epiphany: I can see where you get your optimism from Lou!
Lewis: It hasn't been an easy ride Chris but I've been blessed to do everything I've wanted do; not always how I'd thought it would be but I've done it none the less.

Epiphany: Speaking of God, he seems first in your life which is good!... but the right would say that religion and being in the life doesn’t square with each other...
what would you say to them?

Lewis: The same thing my mother told me "Just remember what Jesus said a bout gay folks!"

Epiphany: what was that?

Lewis: That was her point exactly . . . not a word!

Epiphany: HA! Great ! Love it!
Epiphany: OK, so we are getting close to the end here, what does Lewis like to do for fun?!

Lewis: Read, dance, workout, hang w/friends, Scrabble, golf . . . I miss acting but I'll get back to it one day soon.

Epiphany: Yes you are good at all of those things... any last words for the world before we conclude?

Lewis: Thank you for this opportunity Chris; you are a good man. In closing, I would just like to say that even though my family is accepting of me (and my two cousins) some one walked through that door first before me. I love to hear the stories my mother and her sisters tell of my great-great aunt Joyce Ann in the 50's. she wore men's clothes, always had a "girlfriend, and demanded that everyone call her Chico. LOL. Not that we need to go that far but know that the world doesn't change unless we make it change. Be blessed!

Epiphany: And on that inspiring comment! Thank you Lewis! and good luck with the bar exam!!!

Lewis: Thanks!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Wanna See my Jewels?

Ten years ago I purchased a fantastic carved box in Detroit's Greektown from an African importer with whom I had struck up a friendship with. I had been looking for a box because I like everyone had begun to amass trinkets both intrinsically valuable and personally valuable. A couple times a year I pull out my Jewels to clean them and to take a moment to travel down memory lane. I snapped a picture last week as I have been dyeing to show you my Jewels!

Ok here goes:

A. 1976! Remember the Bi- Centennial;-) No it wasn't about the 100 anniversary of being Bi! It was the The USA's 200th birthday! There was a traveling americana museum exhibit which travelled all over the country via Amtrak! They had a commemorative coin that my mother purchased for me...
B. 24k Gold Cufflinks! cause every man should own a pair! Actually I stood up in my friend Bob's wedding and since his family was so well to do, the wedding party gifts were a bit nice....
C. My boi Tony from Trinidad sent me a Fab-u-lous silver bracelet for Christmas this year!!!!
D. 14k Irish Heart and Crown wedding band... I had given this to someone very special many years back... His name was Perry. I had dated him for a few months albeit a bit too platonically and we ended up having a big argument over the sex life or the total lack there of, I just couldn't figure it out because he clearly loved me!. We parted ways, but a month or so later I wanted to apologize for some of my words and I found out he was in the hospital... I waited till he returned home to talk to him... When I did finally see him he clued me in that he not only HIV but that he was dealing with full blown AIDS... I was struck by the fact that all of our arguments had centered around the lack of sexual contact and I was in awe of his selfless act of abstinence so I would not get hurt... I invited him to live in my home with me and on his birthday I gave him the ring. He passed away a few years later and his mother surprised me with the ring after the funeral.
E. A souvenir from from a coworker who went to visit family in Trinidad!
F. After ten years of running the Ford Motor Company Research Department, I got a promotion to a new department to my surprise my team pulled their moneys together and got me a wonderful gold pocket watch!!! I was blown away!
G. Working for GM for five years gets you a lapel pin! At the time I worked for the Buick, Olds, Cadillac division!
H. More bobbles from the Caribbean! this bracelet is from another coworker who went to Jamaica.
I. The cork from a bottle of Dom! opened on new years eve of the new millennium!
J. My Kenneth Cole necklace watch from a kewl gay men's store just off of Dumont Circle in Washington D.C.!
K. My Rolex...nuff said!
L. Another commemorative coin from the anniversary of the Liberty Bell. The kewl part of this is the mettle the coin was made from was from some of the left over ingots used to craft the original bell.
M. OK I'm a geek ok! this is my 30th anniversary Star Trek pocket watch from Fossil!!!! I only wear it in the privacy of my own home and a few conventions (come on now, you know you watch it too ;-)
N. A proofed coin depicting the birth of Jesus... a gift from my grandfather.
O. My freak colors! pride necklace!!!
P. A retro pin depicting a globe and three elliptical rings... very sci fi!
Q. My Parker fountain pen... I paid $375.00 for this pen in 1993... and have been offered twice that since then, I think I'm gonna keep this one!
R. My golden eagle lapel pin I got for achieving my master coaching status.
S. Brass ankle bracelet from the shrine of the Black Madonna in Detroit.
T. My Ford 100th anniversary lapel pin.
U. So I am a Leo and I got this necklace from my good friend Steve Gaskil on my 37th birthday!
V. Gucci! Another Leo necklace made from proof silver... Love wearing this one in the club!
W. Yet another lapel pin, this one give to me by then Mayor Walter Moore of Pontiac...
X. A kewl looking but practically useless pen, made for looks obviously...
Y. Miscellaneous beads
Z. My silver ring I had made by a french silver smith in the beaches area of Toronto, engraved in the ring is the word EPIPHANY (more on the significance of that later)
1. My Grandfathers tie clip...
2. A 1901 Silver Eagle, again another gift from my Grandfather.
3. Why does the US still flirt with the $2.00 bill, this one from the day they were re-issued in 1976...
4. A silver bracelet form the Detroit Art fair in 1995.
5. More beads from my brother Perry.
6. Mom's pearls.....shhhhhhhh! don't tell :-)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Finding Character

For the most part I've concentrated my images mostly the people in my life... People have character and therefore offer me something to pull into my camera. But there have been moments from time to time when I am traveling and get caught up by the local architecture around me. Monday I was in Montreal for the day... A five hour train ride from Toronto, Montreal is a french speaking city in the province of Quebec. As I arrived into the down town core it was clear that there had been a major snow fall the previous evening and still falling then. Once I completed my business I had a couple hours and decided to walk around old Montreal to snap some shots of the buildings both old and new. The day was coming to an end and there was very little light left. Many of the buildings were still lit up with the lights of the past holiday season and combined with the was easy to see the attractive lure of this very european city full of character!

You can click on the images to show them larger.... Enjoy!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Harry on the Runway!

Going through some old photos from back in the day.. found these three from a fashion show held in a warehouse in the Eastern Market district. Eastern Market is where everyone goes on the weekend to buy the best meat, produce and flowers straight from the farmers and distributers who service Detroit. Its can also be a place to see and be seen so it was perfect to organize a fashion show there. I would often work the runway as a photographer for the organizers... Harry often walked the runway for obvious reasons... Thought I would post these three images! Enjoy;-)

My Island...

2005 saw the premier of Michael Bay's film called "The Island" staring Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johansson and Djimon Hounsou. The basic premise of the film has the main characters, clones grown for extra body parts played by Ewan and Scarlett running for their life from the evil people who made them! The chase leads them into a futuristic city out west, but in actuality is a composite of LA and my home town Detroit! Many of the scenes were shot in downtown Detroit with many of the prominent buildings visible and shown in a very futuristic light. One of the more intense scenes is a car chase which ends in the 15th street train station's grand hall. Nothing needed to be added to the urban decay that was meant to be represented. As you know from previous posts that many of my photographs come from the same location... there is an erie grace and beauty in this grand building in its final days and years of decay. Tonight I have attached some screen shots from the movie... notice the grand arching windows shown and the image of Meechie against the same window (shown for scale) 15 years ago when most of the glass was still in the frames. Ironically I would use the train station for my shoots because it was an island from all else in Detroit..where I could easily pose many of my nudes with out attention or distraction.