Tuesday, March 1, 2011

the reception honoring Griffin

The showing on the 27th in Mansfield was part of a larger ceremony celebrating Mansfield's designation as a "literary landmark", one of only five in Texas. O Henry's (sp?) home is one of the others. Griffin is in good and elite company. The ceremony where the plaque was unveiled was at the Mansfield library. The fire marshal gave a head count of 328 while looking the other way (the capacity is supposed to be 250). He probably cut some slack because former first lady Laura Bush was part of the festivities. She brought a crowd as well as Secret Service and snipers on the roof. Don't know when Mansfield has seen more excitement. Their 2-person SWAT team was looking pretty edgy. My attempts to be blase went by the wayside early. Mrs. Bush has undeniable star power and considerable charm. She had me from the moment I realized she had actually watched the program. She even asked questions about Laura Crawford (Krueger) who worked with me as associate producer. Mrs. Bush wondered if this was the same Laura Crawford she knew from Houston. I told her it wasn't while thinking,"I can't believe she read the credits". She was equally gracious with the Griffin children, suggesting they take pictures together. I'll include some of the pictures later.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

the jewel in the crown

Today's showing in Mansfield ranks with the best I've had with "Uncommon Vision". The setting had so much to do with it. It was in the Farr Best Theater located on the Main Street of Mansfield. The theater is about 20 yards from where Griffin was hung in effigy some fifty years ago. Today the theater was full of people proud to claim Griffin as a role model and favorite son.
The Farr Best is an old theater in the best and classic sense. Griffin went to films here. One could look out in the audience and it's not hard to imagine a full house for a Saturday matinee. This was a Sunday matinee and happily we had a full house. A full house which included African Americans. For much of Griffin's life African Americans weren't allowed.
The projection was superb. The floor was sticky. Aren't they always in a theater. The Griffin family was there. People laughed in the right places (they love the Lyndon Johnson line in Texas) and clapped in the end. A good day and that doesn't count the dedication of Mansfield as a literary landmark by the American Library Association. I think John Howard would've smiled and maybe laughed.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

the second leg

Last night was the second leg of my so-called triple crown. The showing was at the Unitarian Church on Payne Street in Louisville. It's a beautiful place. The showing was in keeping with the mellow, hospitable surroundings. A receptive audience responded well to Griffin's message of compassion and embrace of all humans.
More later. On way to Fort Worth and my ride is here.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

first leg of the triple crown

There are three showings in the next four days and I'm dubbing them the triple crown of diversity. Today there was an afternoon showing at the Louisville Bar Association headquarters. It's part of their observation of Black History Month. It's an honor to be part of it.
When the screening began the audience numbered about 25. When the lights came up an hour later maybe 45-50 people were there. I commented that typically the audience shrinks the longer a show goes on. In the spirit of full disclosure there was an awards ceremony for students afterward so that might have had something to do with the growing crowd. I'll take them anyway they come.
Question of the day came from a young student asking what Griffin would've thought of Hiroshima and the arms race. I'm always reluctant to speak for a defenseless historical figure but I assured him that Griffin was against the arms race in the 50's, 60's and 70's. He may have written on Hiroshima but I have not read it.
Tomorrow night I'm with a Buddhist group here in Louisville.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

an interesting link


My friend Jennifer Branson directed me to this link about a young white student who attempted to duplicate a "Black Like Me" journey in 1998. I'd like to learn more about Joshua Solomon's experience.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

last night in Columbus

2/16/11- Enjoyable showing at the St. Martin des Porres Center in Columbus, OH. The Center offers a cross-section of programming to the Columbus community and I appreciated being invited back by Christina Butler, the director. I came up short in the q&a when asked what African American writers might have influenced Griffin. Beyond Dr. King I didn't have much to offer. I need to do my homework better as I'm sure there were several.
Finished in time for the start of the Ohio State game (vs. Michigan State). It's obvious this is a football town. All the news this morning was about Art Schlichter, the old OSU quarterback getting caught in another scam.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

the Washington D.C. showing

The showing in Washington Tuesday was a highlight of the Uncommon Vision barnstorming tour. Many highlights in one evening actually. The showing itself was held at the E Street Cinema. A good facility and a great crowd. I'm sorry for those who weren't able to get a seat. (I wish they could've come to Monday's screening at the library.) After the screening one of the event hosts, Congressman John Lewis, spoke briefly. Among other thoughts he stressed the importance of remembering the struggles of the civil rights era. To have this great man in attendance was very moving for me. He was patient and obliging with all of us who wanted pictures taken with him. Jessica Yellin of CNN conducted a Q & A which also was very enjoyable. Thankfully no hardball questions so I was able to hold up my end of the conversation. Some I couldn't answer, such as what Griffin's wife thought of his being on the road so much. I can give my best guess but that's about it. Questions from the audience were also lively- a mix of the technical from filmmakers, some politically oriented from others and then some on Griffin's spiritual dimensions.  The primary host was the Faith and Politics Institute, www.faithandpolitics.org/ . They did a great job of gathering a stimulating mix of people and coordinating the event. Afterward we went to a reception at the Coco Salon and kept the stimulation going. And of course the event wouldn't have happened at all without the sponsorship of AT&T. Verizon can whisper sweet nothings all they want but I'm sticking with AT&T. Many thanks to Tanya Lombard.
So Mr. Griffin goes to Washington and I think he was well-received.

With Rep. John Lewis at the Washington showing