Jubilee! A Tribute to Guy and Candie Carawan (screening)

Carawans-FreedomSingers-for web

The Carawans’ work will be celebrated at 5:30 p.m. Friday, April 10, at East Tennessee History Center, 601 S. Gay St., in a program presented by the Knox County Public Library’s Tennessee Archive of Moving Image and Sound. The program will include a photo exhibit featuring Robert Yellin’s photographs for the Carawan’s 1966 book “Ain’t You Got a Right to the Tree of Life?”; music performed by the Carawan’s son, Evan and music friends Nancy Brennan Strange, Dan Gammon, Steve Horton, and George Reynolds; and videos with rare footage of the Carawans and their projects and a screening of “The Telling Takes Me Home,” a documentary on growing up in the family by the couple’s daughter, Heather Carawan. Admission is free. (Excerpted from Knoxville News Sentinel article by Wayne Bledsoe.)

Posted in Events

Screenings at the Appalachian Studies Conference

ASA better logo

Many Mountains, Many Musics is the theme of the 38th annual Appalachian Studies Conference at East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN. The Telling Takes Me Home will screen on Friday March 27, 2015 at 10:15 a.m. and again on Saturday March 28, 2015 at 2:30. Friday’s screening will be followed by a Q&A with the producer. Visit the website for more information.

Posted in News

Screening at Marshall University


As part of the Women’s History Month Film Festival, The Telling Takes Me Home will screen on Friday, March 13, 2015 at noon at INTO Marshall University. Sponsored by Marshall Libraries, Appalachian Studies Association, INTO, and Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Gender in Appalachia.

One John Marshall Drive • Huntington, WV 25755 • +1 304 696 INTO (4686)

Posted in Events

KQED Screening: Keeper of the Beat


Keeper of the Beat: A Woman’s Journey into the Heart of Drumming by David L. Brown, (Associate Producer – Heather Carawan) is an hour-long documentary filmed on four continents about the life and music of Barbara Borden, an acclaimed drummer, composer, teacher and peacemaker. The film tells the story, in eloquent words and toe-tapping music, of a woman whose love of drumming has given her courage and inspiration. Borden’s identity unfolds as she grows from a little girl in love with drumming to a world-class percussionist practicing “drumbeat diplomacy.” The film screens on KQED, Channel 9 in the San Francisco Bay Area on July 6th at 6:00 p.m.


Posted in Events

The Joy of Drumming and Documentaries


I just finished teaching a Documentary Film Studies course at Pierce College for three consecutive quarters. By this time of year I am usually ready for fantasy, action-adventure movies, cartoons… anything to take my mind off the depressing content that I show in my class! Don’t get me wrong; I try to inspire my students to take action; they laugh at the absurdity of Michael Moore’s Sicko and we debate whether Banksy and Mr. Brainwash are actually the same person (If you haven’t seen Exit Through the Giftshop, I highly recommend it) – but let’s face it, most documentaries are real downers.

NOT so, with the film by David L. Brown that I most recently helped on as an Associate Producer. Keeper of the Beat: A Woman’s Journey Into the Heart of Drumming is a true joy to watch. This was especially true when I attended the premiere at the Mill Valley Film Festival last October. Barbara Borden, the amazing woman drummer and film’s subject, is based in the Bay Area and the crowd that came out to see her was rowdy and mightily enthused. They clapped throughout the film, they laughed and gasped at key moments. And when Barbara Borden came onto the stage to play for them at the end of the film, the audience erupted in gleeful applause. Any tedium that I might have experienced, in the months I spent licensing the bounty of women’s music for this film, instantly fell away and I was completely caught up in the excitement of the evening.

I’m sorry that I can’t recreate that moment for you and, like Barbara, use the drum to build bridges across cultures through time and space. But I invite you to see this film when it screens on KQED, Channel 9, in the Bay Area on Sunday July 6th at 6:00 p.m. Bring a pot to bang on or stick some spoons in your pocket. You’ll want to play along!

Posted in News

July Past and Present in Tennessee

Blackberry Hillside

Blackberry Hillside

Memory hangs thick as kudzu in summer

Green fields

Holston river

Sultry nights

a park bench on a golf course

Partings in the wee hours

Broken hammock

Hound dog


total concept charades

a bowl of sordid chocolate mousse

honeysuckle stars above

Open space

but held in this humidity

a handful of friends

soon to be scattered




Posted in Photos

Seeing Green

I just finished teaching a documentary studies class at Pierce College here in Washington. I am ready for some serious summertime escapism, now that I’m done with the academic quarter. I left my students with one of my favorite images from my own graduate studies, most of which are fading all too rapidly:

Stan Brakhage (1933-2003), experimental filmmaker, asks us to imagine the act of seeing before we have access to language. He envisions a baby crawling across a field of grass. How many shades of green can the baby see, before he knows the word, “green”? The idea is that before we come to recognize the shades in our crayola crayon box – forest green, yellow green, fern and granny smith apple… there is an infinite sea of green. Language limits us. Brakhage hoped that filmmakers would use the medium to break open our vision and find new ways of seeing.

I find this hard to describe to my students, especially after seeing – last week-end – the new Star Trek movie, Into Darkness, in IMAX 3D. It was a feast of visual pleasures, but also an assault on the senses. I’m not sure that’s what Stan Brakhage had in mind. With their smartphones, tablets, earbuds and tweets – my students are bombarded with images: stills, movement, words and ads filling up multiple screens. And yet they were patient, for the most part, with the documentaries that we screened in class. They came up with cool ideas for their own imagined film proposals. I am inspired by their desire to dive a bit deeper than the superficial screens.


Spider, Wolf Creek, OR

Spider, Wolf Creek, OR

Puyallup River, Tacoma, WA

Puyallup River, Tacoma, WA

Golden Given Rd E, Tacoma, WA

Golden Given Rd E, Tacoma, WA

Andrew's pine tree, Tacoma, WA

Andrew’s pine tree, Tacoma, WA

Capitol Hill mural, Seattle, WA

Capitol Hill mural, Seattle, WA

green mosaic

green mosaic


Gog-Le-Hi-Te wetlands, Port of Tacoma, WA

Earnest, Gog-Le-Hi-Te wetlands

Earnest, Gog-Le-Hi-Te wetlands

Posted in Gallery, Photos