Inside the National Museum of African American History & Culture

MUSEUM EXHIBIT

President Trump visited our nation’s newest national museum today and provided a few remarks afterwards, a video of which can be found below. I have not yet visited the museum so I spent some time learning a bit about it. I found several interesting videos that provide a narrative insight alongside a look inside the museum; however, I feel this non-narrative video accompanied with a groovy soundtrack from JUKEBOX DC speaks best to me about what the museum is all about, and what I look forward to seeing when visiting in person.


 

 

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The “Good Old Days”

We all have our stereotypes, prejudices, and other indelible insensitive and less-than-helpful outlooks on life regardless how hard we might try to suppress them or convince ourselves otherwise. Often, these insensitive outlooks on life and our inability to suppress them put very heavy assumptive blinders around our thinking.

And narrowly-focused thinking can, while unintended, often lead us into insensitive and hurtful acts of behavior.

And its in this such context that I muse upon the “good old days…”

Continue reading “The “Good Old Days””

Shackled To History

Back in the wonderful Nineties (Nirvana, 2Pac, The Matrix, Fight Club, etc…), I took a break from my normal Navy telecommunications gig to spend a few years in a special assignment as an Equal Opportunity Advisor.

To become qualified as an EOA, I had to attend three months of very intense and in-depth training at the military’s Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute at Patrick Air Force Base in Cocoa Beach, Florida.

Let’s just say becoming an EOA is not the typical choice of an extremely White and WASPy dude like myself; so, due to the lack of other white, WASPy dudes like myself enrolled at the institute, it was one of those rare times in my life where I was in both the racial and gender minority for any significant amount of time.

Continue reading “Shackled To History”

LEAVE IS LIVE! | PLEASE DONATE & SHARE

This is it, my friends. The moment I’ve been waiting for where things finally begin to get real for me.

And by real I mean from now until the end of the filming of LEAVE at the end of October, it looks like it’s going to be one mad rush of new and exciting experiences.

Awesome.

I would like to introduce you to the cast and crew of LEAVE. For now, you may see them and everything LEAVE is about here >> LEAVE: A Short Film.

After things slow down, I will introduce them to you personally here.

I would also like to thank all the good folks who donated to my website campaign here. Please check out the list and try to support them as awesomely as you support me. That campaign has officially ended and all donations will now be managed through IndieGoGo. I will use the funds raised here to get me across the country. I’m so grateful for the support.

I will introduce my final website donor to you, Author Anna Kopp, on Friday, October 14, 2016. Her work looks amazing. Stay tuned!

Today, I am heading on an anniversary getaway to New England with my lovely and loving wife. Shortly after I return I will get on the road again with my sons and drive cross-country to LA for the filming LEAVE.

I’ve decided to fire up my barely-used Instagram account and, beginning today as I head to the hood of some of my favorite authors, I will be photo-blogging my journey along the way and during the filming. Please follow along if you’d like (icon on the sidebar). I would love to have your company.

Cool?

Ice cold!

LEAVE: A Short Film

 
 
LEAVE, A Short Film

HEY WHAT ABOUT ME?! | A Relating to Humans Women’s Issue

HEY WHAT ABOUT ME?!
Exploring the Mind of a Man Who Didn’t Give Me His Card
by pixie

FROM THE WOMEN’S ISSUES ARCHIVE
 
I recently went to a conference with my fiancé – one of those social affairs where everyone is given a name tag and you’re expected to mix and mingle with the crowd. An awkward moment with a stranger got me thinking…

For a brief couple of minutes during the conference coffee break I was left alone. Next to me, I observed a quiet, bashful middle-aged man fumbling through his conference materials and we caught each other’s eye for a moment. I smiled, being polite. He returned the smile and extended his hand to introduce himself.

We went through the usual ice-breaking questions of what we do, why we were there. The banter was friendly and a connection was made. Moments later my fiancé rejoined me. Seeing that I had made a new acquaintance, I introduced him to Mr Bashful and they went on to talk about themselves, dutifully going through similar introductory questions. Mr Bashful at one point reached out for his business cards and gave one to my fiancé, then proceeded to store his business cards back into this pocket.

I was taken aback and thought to myself, “Wait, what about me?!“

So I said to Mr Bashful, teasingly, to remind him of the etiquette faux pas he just committed, “Oh, how come I don’t get a card?“

Alarmed at his own mistake, he immediately made a comeback. “Oh I am so very sorry!“ quickly fumbled through his pockets to get his stack of business cards, and embarrassingly passed one to me with the usual two hands as a gesture of respect.

It was a small incident, but one which demonstrated how we each may have prejudices against certain people. These prejudices are mostly hidden, but occasionally let themselves out the bag through accidental gestures.

I don’t know why Mr Bashful didn’t give me a card and practically ignored me the moment my fiancé stepped in. It could have been a myriad of reasons: his nervousness in front of women, his thoughts that guy to guy conversations are more appropriate, seeing more value in building a relationship with my fiancé instead of me. I don’t know, I can only guess. My guess is that he has certain views about women which inadvertently influenced his behaviour – a small gesture of neglecting to give me his name card, despite me having been the one who first struck up a conversation with him.

I felt a bit brushed off, but forgave the small mistake. It’s not the first time this happened. Not long ago at a wedding an older surgeon similarly extended his business card to my fiancé but not me, despite having spoken to both of us.

I’m not timid and shy – no – that wouldn’t have been the reason why Mr Bashful passed me by. Our conversation before my fiancé arrived was cordial, witty, and appropriate. We had made contact but the conversation quickly shifted to “men only” the moment my fiancé arrived, and I was ceremonially excluded at the business card round. The next time, I should conduct a social experiment: if I presented myself as an independent woman, and was by myself during a similar occasion, speaking to a similar man, would he treat me differently? My hypothesis is I would be given a business card if I were alone!*

In summary, my hunch is that the forgetting to hand me a business card (I was standing right there!) had to do with the following reasons:

  • Mr Bashful perceived me to be taken, someone else’s – he saw my fiancé and I as a single unit, and to give my fiancé a business card would suffice. I was covered.
  • Mr Bashful subconsciously believes that business cards are a male matter.
  • Although he ordinarily tries to be “equal” in giving both men and women his cards, this time he had a slip of the mind and forgot his manners.The fact that he was genuinely embarrassed when he was called out revealed that he too thought the omission was inappropriate.
    It could have been both reasons above. Or Mr Bashful could have simply forgotten – an honest mistake. I can only hypothesize at this point.

Or, I could just email Mr Bashful and ask, since I now have his name card…!

What about you? Have there been instances where you were brushed off, forgotten or neglected because of your sex, gender, race, age, or any other reason?

Have you forgotten to give your business cards to certain persons in a social setting? Or worse, was the omission purposeful?

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*it would be hard to come up with scientific conclusions, since it’s hard to control the main variable, i.e. the male subject: Mr Bashful could have been a unique case; another man in the same social situation may have given me a card
 

pixiedustbeach.wordpress.com


All submissions to the Relating to Humans Women’s Issues feature will be profiled on the blog all throughout Women’s History Month. Please share your creative expressions discussing Women’s Issues by submitting them here.

With a Vision to Create a Cinematic Work of Art that both Entertains and Inspires a Discussion for Positive Change, your support will be key to the success in Kurt’s and the Crew’s effort to bring their “Women’s Issues” short film to the screen.

To be notified when their Indigogo Campaign to raise the funds needed to produce the film goes live, please sign up here.

 
 

Did you ever think it would really happen?

You know, I did. I really did.

I had always believed that eventually the US Congress would open up all combat-related assignments to females.

But I didn’t really think it would happen this soon…

And it was never within the realm of my imagination that it and the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell could have happened in the matter of one presidency.

Damn… I sure am going to miss President Obama.
 


 

G.I. JANE was released in 1997.

Our short film LEAVE is set in 1995, when Congress first opened up some combat-related assignments to females, including assignments to warships, and it is about one warship’s all-male crew’s reaction to the arrival of its first female sailors.

I’m sure you can just imagine exactly what their reaction will be…

Hopefully the brave service women now accepting the first combat and special warfare assignments will receive a much better reaction and reception…

 
 

#OscarsSoWha??

What a night at the Oscars, eh?

Big night for diversity and sexual assault awareness.

While it’s no longer cool for us to say “boys will be boys”… I believe it’s still within the legal PC bounds of good taste to say “Chris will be Chris.”

He did a pretty good job of calling out all the major inequality themes re: Hollywood that’s been on everyone’s minds and tongues for the past few months. Though he did go a little easier on the Establishment and a lot harder on Jada than I expected.

I thought his most pointed call-out wasn’t a race issue but a gender equality issue when discussing the absurdity of having both a Best Actor and a Best Actress category. “It’s not as if they are running a track and field event and Robert De Niro has to say, ‘Whoa, I better slow down my acting so Meryl Streep can catch up…” It’s worth your time to search for and watch Rock’s opening monologue. It should be easy enough to find.

I was pretty bummed when Lady Gaga didn’t win the award for Best Song (or whatever the official nomenclature is) after her highly emotional and powerful performance of “Till It Happens To You.” But when Sam Smith gave his amazing acceptance speech calling on for equality and encouragement for the LGBT community I was like, okay… he’s cool.

But to me, Lady Gaga’s performance was definitely the highlight of the night and one of the most moving performances I’ve seen in a while. At least since her performance of the US National Anthem at the Super Bowl… which was also quite impressive. She’s quite the talent, that’s for sure.

As far as the movie stuff goes, I can’t really comment much because until I see the Oscars I never realize how many movies I haven’t seen throughout the year.

I’m happy and unsurprised that Leo won for Best Actor. Pretty impressive speech he gave re: The Environment. Of course it was a given he would speak about environmental issues knowing how passionate he is about the subject. And it also makes sense to discuss it seeing how critical Nature was to the success of his film. [See: The Revenent: It’s Really Good (for a laugh)]

I’m less happy that Tom Hardy did not win Best Supporting Actor and very surprised that, if Tom didn’t win it, they didn’t just give it to Sly Stallone for sentimental reasons (it certainly wouldn’t be for any acting reasons). As a former Intelligence Community (oxymoron, I know…) guy, I have been meaning to see The Bridge of Spies so I cannot judge the dude who did win. I cannot even judge him based on his past performances because I don’t even have clue who he is (although there is a tinge of familiarity so I’m sure I’ve seen him in this or that).

As for Best Actress… didn’t see “The Room” or is it just “Room,” but just based on the clips shown Brie Larson looks like a worthy winner. As for Best Supporting Actress… didn’t see “The Danish Girl” but Alicia Vikander is definitely the “It Gal” of the moment so I assumed she would win.

While Mad Max swept all the technical and nitnoid whatnot awards, I thought for sure The Revenent would sweep the Big Three. It got two with Alejandro González Iñárritu winning Best Director (two years running now), and Leo’s win, but missed on the biggest of all.

Haven’t seen Spotlight, the winner, yet. I’m still waiting on it to hit Redbox and then I’ll have to wait until Redbox texts me a free movie night before I do. Yeah, I’m cheap like that.

As far as the presenters go… it seems that there is a budding bromance between Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling. They were quite funny together and could make a pretty good living as a comedic duo.

And did anyone else get confused between Kate Winslet and Patricia Arquette? Did they look like copies of each other because they were sharing the same pair of glasses? Or are they secretly Pond Crossing Twins?

Speaking of Patty Arquette, you should check her out on twitter and see the work she’s doing with the #EqualMeansEqual documentary that is in the works. As you probably know she’s a major, outspoken proponent for Women’s and Gender Equality Issues. She believes because she called out Hollywood last year in its poor record of equality in pay between men and women that she has lost several potential acting gigs from it. Check out the good stuff she has going on at @PattyArquette at the tweet machine.

As typical, Sasha Baron Cohen provided the most cringe-worthy moment. His “Ali G” skit is no longer fun(ny), as it now comes off to me only as being stale and rather desperate.

Still, all in all I thought The Oscars overall was a great show. One of the most entertaining in a long while.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what impact all the awareness to diversity this year will have on next year’s nominees.

Aaand… that’s a wrap.