PW: Undesirable elements and an interview with Director Ping Chong

Charisse Loving, with Ping Chong and others of Secret History performance, warming up before rehearsal.
Charisse Loving, with Ping Chong and others of Secret History performance, warming up before rehearsal.

If you’re looking for something to do this weekend in Philadelphia, I know what it should be. My byline on PhiladelphiaWeekly.com about a performance commissioned by the Village of Arts and Humanities:

Secret History: The Philadelphia Story debuts this Friday at Old City’s Painted Bride Art Center. The play, written and directed by Ping Chong, a New York–based theater director, explores six teenagers’ first–hand experiences with conflict and violence. The catch? Some of them have never acted before. Read the rest here.

Read the rest, comment, buy tickets, go to the show, then come back and read below a Q&A with director Ping Chong that didn’t make it into the story.

Continue reading PW: Undesirable elements and an interview with Director Ping Chong

Casting objectivity aside and supporting a former professor

My last day working with the Village of Arts and Humanities on May 1, 2008.
My last day working with the Village of Arts and Humanities on May 1, 2008. One way I came to know Eugene Martin, second from left in front row. I wrote a letter on his behalf.

Journalists are supposed to stay uninvolved. I get this. I like this. But sometimes it doesn’t work.

Reporters are still people.

Eugene Martin, a professor and mentor of mine while at Temple University, is being forced out of his native Philadelphia’s largest research institution. Because of my close relationship with him, I felt I needed to get involved.

In my experience, there might be something to learn about potential bias and conflict for all young journalists.

Continue reading Casting objectivity aside and supporting a former professor

My last day at the Village of Arts and Humanities

AS ALREADY POSTED HERE, Thursday was my last day serving at the Village of Arts and Humanities in an academic way.

We worked on setting up and filming a scene for the latest film the teens were working on, and Prof. Eugene Martin surprised me with a cake. As touching as it could be, until, like any 13-year-old boy might, one of students broke through the Hallmark moment to shove cake in my face.

Photos of that to come, for now, if only just for me, a look back on my 16-month relationship with the Fairhill rec center at Germantown and Adler.. feel free to play your own sad music.

See some of our work here.

Goodbye Village: last day of classes of my college career

ANOTHER MILESTONE IN WHAT has been a full week.. with another day to go.

Last night I wrote the last school paper of, likely, my life.

Today is the last day of classes I will, perhaps, ever endure, assuming I don’t cave and go to back for a post-secondary education. That means, after a morning religion class, during which I will hand in the last school paper I’ll ever write, I will go to the Village of Arts and Humanities for the last time as part of an independent study.

That seems particularly strange because I have working with the high schoolers at the rec center off Germantown in Fairhill since January 2007, 16 months, three semesters, a summer, startling.

It’s a hell of class. We mostly work on media projects, filming, editing and more, but I’ve always been more into hanging out with active, young people. A real excuse to beat the hell up on 16-year-old Leon in basketball, as captured by Eugene Martin in the above photograph, at the Fairhill Park.

Now that is something I will most certainly miss. While I have gone there during the academic year and beyond, because I recently accepted a gig in Harrisburg that relationship will almost certainly slow.

A blog for the Village of Arts and Humanities

the-village-web-site.jpg

It is difficult for me to believe, sometimes, that it has been nearly 18 months since I first started working with the students at the Village of Arts and Humanities, a multimedia recreation center at 11th and Alder Streets in North Philadelphia’s Fairhill. It was last December when I first started working with high schoolers there on filming and video editing, coming into what was already a fairly established program.

Today, in working with the kids, I really got to thinking how we haven’t done enough to publicize their work, to let others see the short videos they’ve made.

So, in just a few short hours, ditching the outdated Web site of the nonprofit, together with a couple of the kids, we made a WordPress blog, outfitted with several of their videos uploaded on the class’s new Youtube account.

More to follow, but I’m awfully proud of the work and was surprised just how excited a few of them were to have their Myspace accounts linked. New media has teaching capabilities to be sure, but there are elements that seem to be needed.. like Myspace.