Wednesday, October 24, 2012

...I didn't feel sorry for him; I cheered for him...

Viewer Review
LEMON | an episode in Season 3 VOCES

My original intention was to watch the program Lemon with a professional eye. My goal was to pay more attention to the quality of the program from an aesthetic point of view. However that changed in the first few minutes of watching. I found myself almost immediately engrossed in Lemon Andersen's story. I could see him working the streets of Brooklyn as a teenager and falling into the familiar story of forgotten youth. This guy wears his emotions on his sleeve - and that immediately presented him in a sympathetic light. He wasn't a typical street thug; or at least what so many of us assume is a typical street thug. He showed his passion and hopefulness in his writing and rhyming. It didn't take long see his story, wonder how I would or could survive what he'd been through, and see how he overcame odds that would put anyone into a jail cell or a coffin. I found myself simultaneously watching the program and searching Lemon Andersen on Google. It was a profound story that made me happy for him and empathetic to those who don't get the chances he got because they don't have the talent he does.

From the very beginning, I felt the grittiness of Brooklyn. I felt the depressiveness of the projects and of the people who live there who almost seem to resign themselves to the fact that this is their lives and the goal isn't to get out, but rather to get through the night without harm. I also found the footage taken in the theatres and on the streets did the opposite. They showed a hopeful New York where creativity is king. I saw people believing in one person to the point that they found ways of helping him realize his dreams and telling his story. What I found most impressiveness is that this hopefullness was displayed in a very real light - there wasn't any fluff. I could feel the anxiousness that those telling the story felt when there was doubt that this story would be told - and that once it was told - would be welcomed by New Yorkers.

This was an engaging program and what I liked the most about it is that it was about a mostly unknown individual. While sympathetic, I didn't feel sorry for him; I cheered for him. More stories like this need to be told. I look forward to seeing where this program will go.

Joseph Marks
KLRN Viewer


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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hispanic Heritage Month | Riding From The Heart

It’s said that during the Mexican Revolution, women soldareas rode in circles, kicking up dust to lure federales into traps. These adelitas, or women of the revolution, are the inspiration for Escaramuza, an event added to traditional Mexican charreadas 20 years ago.

Charreadas, which are similar to rodeos, evolved from competitions between vaqueros and their haciendas in old Mexico. Escaramuza, which means skirmish, is the only women’s event in today’s charreadas. Eight women wearing flowing dresses, wide-brim hats and riding sidesaddle on horses weave precision, strength and beauty into a fast-paced dance that is both sport and art. They train for years to perfect a four-minute routine that dazzles crowds in dusty arenas. One wrong move, in a split second, can mean a loss.

“This work is not easy,” says an instructor for Las Azaleas, a team of first-generation Mexican American hosewomen in California. “To have good results, there’s no other thing than work. Nothing else.”

“Riding From The Heart” follows Las Azaleas on a two-year odyssey to represent the United States at the National Charro Championships in Guadalajara, Mexico. Like their instructor said, the path wasn’t easy for this close-knit team of friends and family. They paid with sweat, fears and even some tears to reach elated peaks. In the end, something happens that they didn't expect.

The film is part of VOCES 2012, a four-part series celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month.

Have a look: