Larry Kramer on the Origins of U.S. Inequality

At the time, Larry Kramer‘s 2004 speech, “Tragedy of Today’s Gays,” inflamed the LGBTQ community on his harsh rhetoric on sex and drug addition within the LGBTQ community.

Gay Activist & Writer, Larry Kramer at Cooper Union, New York City, November 11, 2004

Looking at his speech years later, what is most prescient is his focus on “the elite cabal” that has organized in the US since the early 70’s. Licking their wounds from Vietnam, the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, this “cabal” gathered and organized with lazar-like focus to shape an America to their beliefs. Those beliefs? Only people that look like them, are as rich as they are, can control the country. His message was not only for the LGBTQ community to stay focused and organize, but for anyone that believes in true democracy, voting rights, equality for all, to stay focused and get involved.

This portion of his speech could have been delivered last week and make perfect sense.

Surprisingly I was the only camera guy in the room. At the time I was working on a film, Rock Bottom: Gay Men and Meth, with Colin Weil and Joe Lovett, and wanted to hear Larry’s take on why so many gay men were self destructing after the acute phase of the AIDS epidemic had passed. This excerpt is from Kramer’s speech he delivered at Cooper Union, New York City, November 11, 2004.

The Genius of New York City

Or how to change your bad mood by celebrating the creativity of your fellow NYC travelers.

Moussa, Columbus Circle, New York City

It was that type of morning.

The meditation, coffee and two-three mile run wasn’t working.

The existential dread of work, life, city, was still there.

Until.

Crossing the street in a sea of black town cars ferrying the fancy from the east side to the west side, and vice versa, there in his #pedicab splendor, is Moussa, from #Senegal.

The morning dread evaporates as we laugh with each other.

#newyorkcity#newyork

Street Kids, A Retrospective: Tiffany and Nate #Black #Queer #Homeless #Trans Survive in #NYC

For Gay Pride this year we reexamine Tiffany and Nate.  They are black, homeless, queer and trans and have survived on the streets of New York City for years. 

As race riots engulf our nation it is important to look at basic human needs of shelter, education, healthcare, and so much more, that often elude this population. Until we address the systemic racism baked into every institution in our country, we will never move forward.

We post two seasons that consist of twenty six, 60-second video segments on certain aspects of their life. 

Warning, this is an unvarnished look into their lives with language and topics that might not be for everyone.

Season One: Tiffany and Nate, LGBTQ and Homeless on the NYC Streets

Small Business In the Time of COVID-19

Image of Yael Alkalay, Courtesy of Small Bevy

Like millions of Americans, especially New Yorkers, no one in their wildest imagination could fathom that New York City would shut down to all non-essential workers on March 13.

Millions of New Yorker City dwellers have survived 9/11, various financial crises, black outs, the AIDS crisis, but the COVID-19 pandemic seems to have a far-reaching and uncertain path of destruction that has the globe reeling.

Yael Alkalay, CEO & Founder, red flower, and Scott Kruger, COO & CFO, red flower talk with us on their thriving organic beauty and wellness business before mid March and after, and the steps they continue to take to survive in our brave new world.

Listen below on what life was like before and after mid March and how the Harlem-Columbia Small Business Development Center (SBDC) provided a much-needed lifeline to red flower.

What Do Kids Learn By Making Videos?

Our students at Brownsville Collaborative Middle School address their peers on what they learned about making videos at The Campus, an after-school program that teaches tech and media skills to kids in the Howard Houses in Brownsville, Brooklyn.  It is the first computer lab developed in public housing in the US.

Founded by Senator Jesse Hamilton (D),

Emoni Talks To Her Peers at P.S. 156

to address this systemic problem of inequality, Senator Hamilton assembled teachers and community leaders to bring tech resources to Brownsville.

We spent an academic year teaching kids about storytelling through photography and video.  Their stories and observations can be seen on their blog: Brownsville Visible

In addition to the blog,  check out the video below to learn what Emoni, Tyrese, Isiah and Kymani learned in making their stories.

To see the student videos, click on the links for the Brownsville Barber Guru and the interview with Local Hero, Brownsville Collaborative Middle School  Principal, Gregory Jackson.

Brownsville Media Lab Screens Films On Identity, Poverty and Police.

The Brownsville Community Justice Center and Reel Works screened films from the recent piloted Brownsville Media Lab program.

The screenings took place at the
New York Institute of Technology Auditorium
1871 Broadway @ 63rd St.

The filmmakers tackled tough issues they are grappling in their young lives like identity, beauty, race, police, violence, poverty and grief.  They felt a great sense of accomplishment and a stronger connection to the community by sharing very personal things they thought only they grapple with.

When asked what was the key thing he learned from the filmmaking process, Ray Graham said, “Patience.  I wanted to quit the lab two times because I didn’t think the film was coming together.”

Judging from the audience’s supportive response, Graham’s patience and the gamble to open up paid off, they learned they are not alone with their feelings and perceptions about living in Brownsville Brooklyn in these volatile times.

The Brownsville Media Lab runs simultaneous with other tracks that include the Young Adult Entrepreneurship track, Community Benefits Projects track and the Mark Morris Dance Group track. All tracks are to develop our youth and provide new career opportunities that at one time seemed unimaginable.

Missed the screening? Check out the videos below.

Continue reading “Brownsville Media Lab Screens Films On Identity, Poverty and Police.”