Wednesday 23 Apr

IndianGiver - Understudies

There’s a difference between being derivative and being inspired by something, a line a lot of artists can’t seem to find — or at least don’t care to.
04/22/2014 | Comments 0

Dustin Prinz - Eleven

Few musicians take the time to master their instrument in the way that Oklahoma City singer-songwriter Dustin Prinz has; he’s a guitar virtuoso in every sense of the word, and Eleven gives him the chance to show just how far he can push that skill.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Horse Thief – Fear in Bliss

Listening to Horse Thief’s previous release — the haphazardly melodramatic Grow Deep, Grow Wild — felt like a chore. Whatever potential the Oklahoma City folk-pop act demonstrated on the EP was obscured behind a formulaic, contrived and ultimately hollow cloud. But it at least offered a glimmer of promise for a band consisting of, frankly, five pretty talented dudes. Critics saw it; the band’s management saw it; its current label, Bella Union, saw it; and its increasingly fervid fan base saw it.
04/08/2014 | Comments 0

Colourmusic — May You Marry Rich

There’s always a sense of danger when debuting songs in a live setting and playing them well. Without having heard the studio versions, expectations are set according to the live incarnations. But capturing the breadth of free-flowing atmosphere and sheer volume on a disc, vinyl or digital file isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially for a band as vociferous as Colourmusic.
04/01/2014 | Comments 0

Em and the MotherSuperiors — Churches into Theaters

As titles go, Churches into Theaters is an apt descriptor for the debut album from Oklahoma City rockers Em and the MotherSuperiors. It’s a reverential record, one that shares the gospel of classic rock, blues and soul but embraces the need to refashion it for modern times, channeling The Dead Weather, Grace Potter and Cage the Elephant along the way.
03/25/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Thick with racial tension, shady...

Thick with racial tension, shady dealings, urban gardeners fight for South Central plot

Joe Wertz September 17th, 2009

In 1992, to soothe tensions after riots induced by the Rodney King verdict, the city of Los Angeles sectioned off a 14-acre garden plot, hoping to sow seeds of community goodwill that would over...


In 1992, to soothe tensions after riots induced by the Rodney King verdict, the city of Los Angeles sectioned off a 14-acre garden plot, hoping to sow seeds of community goodwill that would overgrow weeds of urban blight and anger.

In the decade after the garden was built, it blossomed at the hands of mostly Latino immigrants " dedicated citizens who transformed the South Central space into a fertile producer of vegetables and fruits for other low-income families.

The garden also served its original, ulterior function, acting as a catharsis and a rallying point for the community. But in 2004, when the city told gardeners they needed to vacate, it evolved from an earthy patch into a living illustration of the tangled roots of race, wealth and politics, and how identity and culture almost completely define our definitions of progress.

Documentary director Scott Hamilton Kennedy puts the camera at the center of the action, as convoluted as it is. "The Garden" depicts a messy story, one that involves property values, bureaucratic gatekeepers and supposed backdoor dealings with a land developer and a project protester " a Jew and a black activist, respectively " a relationship that directly injects race to the forefront of the South Central battle.

Kennedy doesn't work or fully vet every angle of the controversy, and it's obvious where he throws his cinematic support. Still, among the rash of recent films exploring sustainability, conservation and green activism, it's refreshing to see a story that's woven with real human conflict and issues that aren't conceived merely to philosophically "explore" the impact of man on the modern world with an act of cinematic masturbation.

"The Garden" screens 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art during the "Sustainability of Film," a seven-movie program that runs today through Sunday.

The event kicks off at 7:30 p.m. tonight with a screening of "Fresh," a film that follows farmers and business leaders hoping to create a healthier and more sustainable model for distributing and selling food. A short film about backyard farming and local agriculture, directed by Oklahoma City filmmaker Stefanie Gowdy, will screen afterward.

A buzzed-about 2009 documentary, "No Impact Man," will show at 8 p.m. Sunday. The film follows writer Colin Beavan, who declares himself an environmentalist and sets to work giving nearly everything up; taxis, TV, store-bought food and the like for a year " a sort of reverse version of Morgan Spurlock's "Super Size Me."

A panel discussion will close out the "Sustainability on Film" series on Sunday, after the 2 p.m. screening of "Earth Days," a doc that tracks the modern environmental movement. Tapped to discuss the panel's question of "Sustainability in Oklahoma: Where Do We Go from Here?," is Bruce Edwards, with the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma; Shauna Lawyer Struby of Sustainable OKC/Transition Town OKC; local architect Kenneth Fitzsimmons; Stephanie Jordan, chair of the Sierra Club's Cimarron Group Conservation Committee and co-chair of the local Buy Fresh Buy Local chapter; attorney Jim Roth, chair of the Alternative "Green" Energy practice group; and Jonathan Willner, an economics professor at Oklahoma City University. "Joe Wertz

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