A great shot of the cast of Miracle at St. Anna. Laz Alonso, Omar Benson Miller, Spike Lee, Michael Ealy, and Derek Luke. Looking sharp fellas.
Filmmaker Spike Lee will be speaking and signing copies of his book tonight (Feb 9, 2011) at Rutgers University in NJ as part of the Writers at Rutgers reading series. Admission is free to the event held at the Livingston Student Center Multipurpose room, in Piscataway. Info online here.
As the saga of New Orleans’s rebirth continues, so does director Spike Lee’s documentation of it. If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise, which premiered Aug. 23 on HBO, is his second four-hour documentary about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, following 2006’s Peabody Award–winning When the Levees Broke.
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Executive Director of Habitat-NYC Josh Lockwood, Chairman & CEO of Southern Wine and Spirits Harvey Chaplin and filmmaker Spike Lee attend the ABSOLUT BROOKLYN launch at the Habitat for Humanity Bed-Stuy Build Site on June 9, 2010 in the Brooklyn Borough of New York City.
In his last college lecture for the school year, renowned filmmaker and director Spike Lee spoke words of encouragement to hundreds last night at the University of Arizona’s Centennial Hall.
With successful films such as “Do The Right Thing” and “Malcolm X” to his name, the director came out looking relaxed in white Jordan Spiz’ikes and a polo shirt over a long-sleeved shirt, and asked, “Is Brooklyn in the house?” Lee, 53, made no effort to conceal his love for his hometown, wearing a New York Yankees cap.
Lee began by discussing his path to filmmaking. His mother dragged the young Lee to art events. “I was kicking and screaming,” Lee said. “Now I’m glad she brought me.” It was this early exposure to art, he said, that created the foundation for him to pursue filmmaking.
Lee then went to the historically black, all-male Morehouse College, claiming to have been a terrible student. “I was a C student … I didn’t apply myself,” he says.
Consuela Lee, a jazz pianist who fought to establish an arts school for children in rural Alabama on the grounds of the moribund academy founded by her grandfather, died Dec. 26 in Atlanta, where she had lived since 2007. She was 83.
Her death was confirmed by her daughter, Monica Moorehead; her mother had Alzheimer’s disease, she said.
Ms. Lee was a classically trained pianist who recorded distinctive arrangements of compositions by Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin and others, playing in a style influenced by the likes of Mary Lou Williams and Art Tatum. She studied music at Fisk University in Nashville and Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., and had a long career teaching theory and composition at historically black colleges including Alabama State University, Hampton Institute (now Hampton University), Talladega College and Norfolk State University.
By the late 1970s Ms. Lee had returned to her hometown, Snow Hill, just south of Selma, Ala., determined to awaken the legacy of her grandfather William J. Edwards.
In 1893, armed with a degree from Booker T. Washington’s Tuskegee Institute, Edwards had founded a log-cabin school in one of Alabama’s poorest areas. . By 1918 the school, known as the Snow Hill Institute, owned 24 buildings on more than 1,900 acres and had between 300 and 400 students pursuing both academic subjects and vocational training. Edwards retired a few years later, but the school survived until 1973.
Ms. Lee’s notion was to resurrect the spirit of her grandfather’s enterprise by creating a performing arts school for local black children. For the right to open the school, she negotiated with the Wilcox County Board of Education, which operated the buildings on a 10-acre tract of the former campus that is owned by the state. What became known as the Springtree/Snow Hill Institute for the Performing Arts opened in June 1980, running daily after-school music programs and summer programs for nearly a quarter-century.
Consuela Edmonia Lee was born in Tallahassee, Fla., on Nov. 1, 1926, but grew up mostly in Snow Hill, graduating from the Snow Hill Institute. Her father, Arnold W. Lee, was a cornet player and the band director at Florida A & M University. Her mother, Alberta G. Lee, was a classical pianist and teacher.
“When I got to Fisk, and this was the odd thing about black colleges, they didn’t want us to play jazz, which they thought quite a cut below Bach, Beethoven and Chopin and the boys,” Ms. Lee told The New York Press in 2001. “They wanted us to concentrate on the Europeans. Of course we’d play jazz anyway.”