The Week-ish: Art For The Greater Good
The Week-ish: Love Is A Dirty Word
As an independent filmmaker, I’ve always strived to make art that pushes for social progress. However, since the 2016 election I’ve wanted to take a more immediate approach.
Whatever the medium, it’s vital that creators use their voices to not only only tackle the current issues of the day, but also articulate an inclusive vision for the future. This week-ish features some of the creators, and some of the work that has challenged and inspired me to make films that drive our social conversations forward.
The Week-ish: Wonder Womxn
I began developing LOVE IS A DIRTY WORD in the summer of 2015, at time when the perceived abject otherness of blackness was being made visible in the most horrific fashion. The spectacle of black death gone viral was a wake up call and reminder—to be born black in America is to live with a heightened awareness of your “out of placeness” and the vulnerability that comes along with it. Safety can be real hard to find. And it got me thinking about my own complex relationship to love and home in Mississippi.
Our country is riven by lines that separate us into groups along race, class, gender, ideology. Given the sharp divisions it can seem silly to talk about love in the public sphere. I hope LOVE IS A DIRTY WORD will challenge audiences to consider how we might, as individuals and as a nation, hold our mess of seemingly competing identities—reconciled and unreconciled—into a peaceful whole.
Recapping the 4th Annual Level Ground Festival
This Week-ish is curated by Westley Garcia, a long-time Level Ground volunteer:
One of the things that I deeply believe is that as a dude, I need to work harder to stay educated and conscious of the challenges that womxn, and particularly womxn of color, experience as inhabitants of this country and this world.
This Week-ish goes out to all the womxn who surround Level Ground as a celebration of the amazing work you do in telling your stories!
The Week-ish: Intersecting Identities
Day-by-day recap of what we saw, learned, and experienced during the 2017 Level Ground Festival. Plus exclusive video interviews with some of our special guests!
The Week-ish: A Primer on Race in America
This Week-ish is curated by Julien Baker. Come see Julien at the 4th Annual Level Ground Festival on April 4 in Pasadena, CA. Tickets available here.
Despite more people engaging in social discourse around immigration, class, race, and gender politics, the collapsing of issues into red vs. blue and left vs. right leaves little room for the inevitable grey area and its web of overlapping and intersecting identities. Perhaps it is in recognizing and exploring these complex individual narratives that we can find our most powerful tools for dialogue that will transcend social barriers.
The Week-ish: Sundance Edition
This Week-ish is curated by Liz Lin, a writer and educator on race and culture and friend of Level Ground.
Race is rarely far from the national spotlight, but in the last few years, a slew of widely publicized police shootings and a highly racialized presidential campaign have pushed it right to the center. If you wanted to better understand race in America and you had only the internet at your disposal, here’s what Liz would have you read, listen to, and watch. (This primer intentionally focuses on black-white relations, since understanding this history is crucial to understanding nearly all racial dynamics in this country.)
A Conversation With Moonlight Playwright, Tarell Alvin McCraney
The 2017 Sundance Film Festival kicked off the year with films and conversations on topics of race, gender, sex, religion, politics, science and more -- basically all the things you’re not supposed to bring up at the dinner table.
Bethany Wearden Clarke, Manager of the Sundance Ignite Program (and Level Ground Member), curate this Week-ish to give us a look at a few of those projects and the conversations they hope to start.
HONY Followup with K.C. Bugg
Last week our Executive Director had the opportunity to talk with Tarell Alvin McCraney, whose play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue was adapted for the movie MOONLIGHT. If you haven't seen the film yet, it's 100% worth seeing so go do that now (or soon). We were blown away by Tarell's humility, depth, and curiosity about the world and his own story. Enjoy this conversation!
The Week-ish: 11 Days In
In early January, HONY (Humans Of New York) did a story on K.C. Bugg that went viral. Level Ground had the privilege of following up with K.C. to hear more about his story at the intersections of faith and sexuality.
The Year-ish In Review
Now more than ever we're aware of needing space for dialogue. We’re also aware that every Week-ish isn’t enough. So while we’ll keep sending The Week-ish, every, well, week-ish, Level Ground also wants to create space for conversation whenever you need it.
This means we're creating a Slack channel where our community can share, talk, and learn from one another. Now is the time to gather and discuss across our many differences of identities and beliefs. And this is a place for the Level Ground community to do it!
Fill out this brief form and we'll send you an email invitation to join us on Slack. Read on for The Week-ish.
The Week-ish: Film and Television Edition
2016 has been an interesting year to say the least.
We’ve experienced what feels like a disproportionate number of celebrity deaths, beginning on January 10, 2016 with the death of an artistic icon who made it OK (even cool) to be an outsider.
Then the Pulse Nightclub shooting on June 12 shocked us into remembering that being an outsider still leaves you vulnerable to hatred, attack, and unimaginable violence… even in 2016.
The Week-ish: What Now?
With the holidays fast approaching, that hopefully means time for some R&R. If you're looking to catch up on meaningful pop culture conversations, consider our recommendations for film, television, and podcasts that you may not have heard of yet and are certainly worth your time!
Thanks to the Level Ground Programming Team for putting this list together.
The Week-ish: Post Election
In the last few weeks, those of us in the U.S. have been forced to confront a reality many of us thought was all but dead. In the wake of an election that has lead to a skyrocketing of hate-crimes against people of color, non-Christians, and LGBTQ folks, we’re left asking, “What now?”
This Week-ish is guest curated by Level Ground Artist-in-Residence Leslie Foster. It is dedicated to sharing art that heals and inspires resistance and resources that will help prepare for the coming weeks and months.
This election has turned Americans against each other. Regardless of your vote, it's hard to deny the way it has divided families, broken up friendships, and turned neighbor against neighbor. So where do we go from here?
What do we do with this division? To be honest, we're not sure. It feels big. But for four years Level Ground has been practicing how to heal divisions. The divisions within ourselves. The divisions within families, churches, and communities. Even the big divisions between categories of people like "conservatives" and "liberals."
With this edition of The Week-ish we continue our commitment to confront division with conviction and civility, grace and empathy.
This edition of The Week-ish is guest curated by spoken-word artist, activist, and Level Ground friend EMILY JOY. In response to the #IntervarsityPurge last month we asked Emily to find encouraging, healthy dialogue that defies and challenges the exclusive "Believe and Behave" rhetoric that Intervarsity (and groups like them) posit towards people who disagree with them.
Meet Julien Baker, Nashville Festival Collaborator
One of our favorite things to find on the social media chatter is people asking good questions. This week-ish we've been inspired by seeing this question on the internet: Is my lived experience similar to yours or different from yours?
In particular, we've found people, brands, organizations, and celebrities exploring the question as it relates to gender identity.
Read on for all the internet dialogue we're dialoguing about from the week-ish.
Meet Brian Behm, Nashville Festival Collaborator
We "sat down" with Julien Baker and got real about the comfort of running errands, the energy of Pants Tour, and acknowledging the total story of another person.
We are so excited to have Julien Baker performing THIS FRIDAY as part of the Level Ground Nashville Festival. Reserve your spot here and be one of the 125 people to hear her sing and talk with us about faith, gender, and sexuality.
Meet Zack Nyein, Nashville Festival Collaborator
We "sat down" with Brian Behm and got real about the getting unstuck, listening, and how typography is bringing him hope.
Brian is participating in the Exploring Ritual Art Gallery in Nashville. Join us (and Brian!) for the 2nd Annual Nashville Festival. Learn more and RSVP here.
Meet Kristyn Komarnicki, Nashville Festival Collaborator
We "sat down" with Zack Nyein and got real about the Vols, church planting, and the enigmatic parables of a controversial rabbi.
Zack is participating in the Convicted Civility Dialogue during the Nashville Festival. Join us (and Zack!) for the 2nd Annual Nashville Festival. Learn more and RSVP here.
We "sat down" with Kristyn Komarnicki and got real about prevalent violence, raising three sons, working with Bee Nest Films.
Kristyn is moderating the Convicted Civility Dialogue during the Nashville Festival. Join us (and Kristyn!) for the 2nd Annual Nashville Festival. Learn more and RSVP here.