Monday, May 08, 2006

The Divine Lorraine Hotel
Built in 1894, during North Philadelphia's gilded age. This Victorian landmark has fallen into despair since it’s closed permanently in 1994. The Lorraine's chic location, opulent style, and monumental size signaled to Philadelphia's elites that this building uniquely combined the luxury, comfort, and fashionable lifestyle that they expected with the new apartment high-rise building type. Because of its height, mass, and grandeur, the Lorraine is extremely prominent in its neighborhood of lower North Philadelphia.

Ever since I came to Temple 2002, Ive always been fascinated why such an piece of beautiful architecture was rotting. As you walk down the street so of North Philadelphia you can tell that this was once a place of great elegance. The now shoddy and decayed brownstones are fine works of art with detailed exteriors, towering beams and commanding a breath taking presences in the midst of economic insecurity and academic prosperity. North Philadelphia saw the plight that many urban communities experienced during the late 20th Century. Redlining, Racial Discrimination, White Flight, and Riots caused the seemingly irreversible urban economic decay. In 1964, a racially motivated riot completely destroyed what is now Cecil B. Moore Ave. and permanently closed many business; hence initiating the neighborhood’s current state of depression.

My neighborhood narrative was a trip though time. A walk down North Broad Street is a day dream through a time and place of great culture, affluence and promise. The Divine Lorraine Hotel alone was the headquarters for Father Divine, leader of the International Peace Movement and became the first integrated hotel in the US. During its prime it hosted international dignitaries in its elaborate 10th Floor banquet hall. The Uptown Theater located on Broad and Susquehanna Ave., hosted the likes of the Temptations, Otis Redding, and James Brown. For my neighborhood narratives, I wanted to share with the class what I envision as I walk from my house on Fairmount to campus. I take a trip down memory lane, I envision the beautiful brownstones of the 1880s, the jazz lounges of the 1920s, the civil rights movements of the 1960s, the immersion of crack-cocaine of the 1980s, and the urban blindness of the 1990s.

During the hustle of a busy North Philadelphia afternoon, we took a moment in front of the Divine Lorraine Hotel to take this trip. The hotel was famous for its many banquets that remained to be a ritualistic component of the hotels existence, so what better way to assist us with our journey but through music. Close you eyes and loose yourself to the sounds of Duke Ellington, Chuck Berry, The Miracles, and Marvin Gaye. Try to think of the phenomenal history of the neighborhood...

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The One About an Interesting Map
So i guess we had to find interesting maps !?
What i wanted to do: I remember in high school i saw the most ridiculous, hilarious, and interesting map. I think one of my friends put it up on the wall. It was titled, " If the South Won the Civil War" It was a great satyr on how different this country is. I couldnt find it....BOO HOO. So in the mean time i give you the infamous map - Which i find interesting on many levels.

...The Historian is back - another fascinating thing is history and how our "great" forefounders thought, below is a Spanish Map of The World, 1544.....When it comes to mapping my life, i really try to connect to my roots. Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti I feel that my culture and past maps who I am today! A piece of me lies right there in the middle of that map, the very rich and now turbulent west indies, THANK YOU COLUMBUS !!!!
Check out that map of vicotry !!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Urban Beautification…

I would consider myself as an idealist, a dreamer even. I like to take charge and be responsible for everything. My friend Mo calls me her littler renaissance man – some might call it the Napoleon Complex. Hold up, I’m getting to the point. The assignment was to place something, an element of your self somewhere in the city. Honestly, I’m too busy to travel off to a designated area in the city so I decided to do an area I see almost every day – The beautiful urban decay of North Philadelphia.

On the corner of 15th and Cambridge St. there’s a building that looks like it would be a perfect back drop for an episode of The Wire or a Dave Chappelle skit about crack heads. Attention All Directors!!! If you need a very depressive urban decay setting chose this block! As bad as I talk about it, I comfortably walk down this block almost everyday – Ha- Again LYING to myself, I walk down this block in fear of my possession, I’m such a materialistic but it’s only because I’m poor.

Put your self in the place – I wanted to bring beauty to this block or this particular building. Many questions came about. How did it get like this? What happened to the glory of North Philly? How is the city allowing all this trash to congest the city? So I wanted to bring beauty to this disgusting place. My initial concept was to leave a single rose there, to signify hope, promise or even the past. Instead, I decided to choose a candle. I love the aura of candles, its calm, tranquil, elegant, and sexy. My napoleon complex urged me to take charge in restoring this magnificent building to its former glory – If I could I would do this for all of North Philly. Today is the second day of African American Heritage month, it’s been almost 200 years since Emancipation and if our “black” communities look like this where is the hope for the future? What happened? I pretend to be a historian, always question or curious about the past – How did this place used to look like?

So, I’m planning to leave a tea candle in a glass holder in the middle of the debris, hoping that just a touch of elegance will bring it back to its glory….I’ll let you know later what it’ll look like.

She Said What.....?

Being the nosey person that I am, nothing is greater that catching the end of a phone conversation, I love private cell phone conversations. With an active imagination such as mine, I like to imagine what particular conversations were about...hhmmm I wonder:

Throughout the course of my week, I experienced a couple troubling situations; For example in one telephone conversation - I had some boy problems, yup. My friend told this boy that I like, that I liked him and he completely freaked out. Another conversation, I was desperately trying to recollect what I did during my intoxicating weekend.

The best part of catching cell phone conversations is the nature that such private and intimate conversations are taking place. Cell phones have given us a comfort zone that we have greatly taken for granted. As soon as you confirm that incoming call, we are beamed into our imaginary telephone booths. A prime example is the conversation involving alot of alcohol over the weekend. I learned the drinking limit of a certain individual, as well as all the embarrassing things that goes one with that certain individual and all this as I waited to deposit my check at the PNC Bank.

Emptying Out my Bag :

Here are my pants to change in, its like under someone desk. My bag is like a portal office. Starting with my pant which we sitting in my actual office in the Student Center and I decided to take them home. We’ll start with my Marketing packet; I’m taking a marketing Capstone class in which we have to put together a marketing campaign for Subaru. It’s a real cool class and I expect to learn a lot. I was bought in to do the graphics and help with the creative aspect of things. Next is a packet for the American Marketing Association, I’ve been working or their chapter reports and plan. Its not that important because they haven’t paid me yet for me work - Those losers, sike - One of my good friends is a member of that Org.

What else, hmmm… the scribbling. I’m in the process of realizing part of my dream, of having a multimedia company. Off course with my Napoleon complex and over achiever mentality I would like to be on top, to get my own recognition for my work instead of getting it behind someone else’s name. For the mean time, I’m collaborating with a friend who already has a company established. I’m looking to learn as much as I can, then split ways and do my own thing. Depending how things work out. So, these sketches are LOGO designs I’ve been working on for “my” company.

I want to become a teacher for a little bit. I woke up one day and decided that the best way to give back especially to the black community is to teach. I thought about the impact my teachers had on me, like Sarah Robinson, Sean McGinty, Sarah Chase, Valerie Vasti, Christine Douglas. Essentially all my past teachers had a share in molding me into the person I am today. I feel that I be an effective teacher and positively impact others like I was impacted. The BIG yellow envelope is my study guide for the Massachusetts Licensure Exam. Still haven’t really studied because I’m a slacker. Blank CDs, there’s always something I got to back up. What office doesn’t have a ream of blank CDs, I wouldn’t be complete without it, you never know.

MY UMBRELLA! I think it rained a couple days ago. I’m always on the go, and I walk everywhere, so I must carry my life in my bag. Most of the time I don’t get home until real late, and I never get a chance to go through my bag. In the morning I grab it and go, start that vicious cycle of being busy and running around and wondering where the time went. Most of the time I stop to talk for two minutes and that turns to two hours of getting nothing accomplished. Last is my planner - I try to stay organized, but who am I kidding - IT NEVER WORKS !!!