Tuesday, August 26, 2014

This Is the Day: The March on Washington

Author/Photographer: Leonard Freed
Publisher: Getty Publications

This Is the Day: The March on Washington is a  photo-essay by photographer Leonard Freed documenting the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom of August 28, 1963, the historic day on which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech at the base of the Lincoln Memorial. This book commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the historic march that ultimately led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The black and white photos in this book are so powerful that they don't need text. It shows the waiting, the crowds gathering, the mix of Americans that were there on August 28, and finally the rubble of  a crowd of thousands who came and then suddenly left on their buses, leaving the pamphlets and other human rubbish behind. 

Freed photographed from the grounds, walking amongst the people who came to listen. It's an odd way to write about oneself, but I love the sentence that say:
He photographs the rainbow of blackness that floats above prescribed definitions of beauty and intelligence. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

New Orleans Requiem by D.J. Donaldson

Author: D. J. Donaldson
Publisher: Astor + Blue Editions
Rating: 4.5

Andy Broussard is the lemon ball popping New Orleans Chief Medical Examiner, and Kit Franklyn is his criminal psychologist who are trying to quickly solve a series of gruesome murders even as they are hosting a conference for other medical examiners, psychologists and criminologists.

There's something appealing about setting this fast-paced story in New Orleans. I have been fascinated with New Orleans post Katrina, from the cuisine, the music and the mystery of this place. Perhaps it's my HBO GO marathons of Treme. New Orleans, after this, is definitely on my bucket list.

The murders are appealing. A missing eyelid. A newspaper with cut letters spelling something and nothing. A countdown of the letters from KOJE to KOJ. A race agains the clock. Mesmerizing.

Finally, as someone who went to college thinking that I wanted to be a medical examiner, and ending up as an English teacher, I truly appreciate the massive amount of detailed research that Donaldson puts into this novel. This is the first time reading this series, but Broussard and Franklyn are so likable that I definitely will be looking for more books with these characters.  This is one of the best mysteries I've read in a while and if you've ever read Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpatta novels this is the perfect YA equivalent.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Kumu Hina Film Review

For LGBT week, my local theatre in Hilo, Hawai'i is showing the film Kumu Hina about a hula teacher who has transitioned from a male to a female and it follows her for a year as she brings her husband from Fiji and works with a girl in her school who would like to lead the high school boys' hula class.

I think the interactions and relationships in this movie are a ray of hope for young kids who feel like they're in the middle. In Hawaiʻi, and for Hawaiians, aloha is not a tourist greeting, but a way of life and a way of living with each other on an island. The aloha in this film is a model to change the world.

aloha ke kahi i ke kahi (love one another).


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