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Houston Breakthrough, October 1980
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Houston Breakthrough, October 1980 - Page 18. October 1980. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. May 6, 2021. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/1588/show/1578.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(October 1980). Houston Breakthrough, October 1980 - Page 18. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/1588/show/1578

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Breakthrough, October 1980 - Page 18, October 1980, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed May 6, 2021, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/1588/show/1578.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Breakthrough, October 1980
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date October 1980
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women
  • Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
  • Newsletters
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
  • Image
Original Item Location HQ1101 .B74
Original Item URL http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332724~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the UH Digital Library About page.
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Title Page 18
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File Name femin_201109_564o.jpg
Transcript ARTISTS Students making street films. -BY JANE COLLINGS- "The aim of the artists-in-schools film program is not to inspire these kids to be filmmakers, but to show them that something interesting is going on in their neighborhood," says Tina Brawner. With funding from the Texas Commission on the Arts and the Cultural Arts Council of Houston, Brawner teaches groups of kids 10- to 14-years-old the basics of filmmaking. The program took roots in the early 70's. Helen Foley, a high school English teacher, introduced film to a class of students, all of whom had failed English. If they couldn't communicate in words, perhaps they could in images. They did, and some of the films had heavy social comment. Foley recalls one film made by some black high school students: "They had a black heroine tied to a railroad track, and they simulated a train coming at her. A rescue attempt is launched, but at the crucial moment the screen goes entirely black. On the soundtrack someone says: That's the way the cookie crumbles.' The implication was that there is no rescue for the black in our society." The idea took hold, funding came along and the program became a traveling "film school." Brawner became involved in 1978 and has taught in west Texas (Alpine and Marfa) and at several Houston high schools. "Media literacy is regarded as a frill," says Brawner. "It isn't. It is basic to understanding this society. Media dictate the cultural norms and what politicians are in office." As well as demonstrating to the kids that they can have input into the society via a fairly sophisticated medium, the classes also get the kids into contact with their own surroundings. "The initial response of the students is: There's nothing happening here.' Or 'We don't know anyone interesting,' " Brawner relates. But that changes. The next big step is to let the students find out that they can talk to strangers. "It is up to them to make initial contact with their chosen film subjects," she says. Tina Brawner teaches film to 10-14 year olds. "I never knew how they got from one place to another so fast! Now I know they put two pieces of film together," exclaimed one fifth grader enrolled in the program. Brawner needs to introduce all the basics to the kids. While they are deciding on a topic, they are also watching documentaries in class and discussing their details. Initially, she observes, "A lot of young girls are very intimidated by the camera, while the young boys are always more aggressive about using the equipment." Brawner goes on location with the kids as they begin the actual shooting to see that everyone gets a chance to use the equipment; to see that mikes are turned on and cameras focused. One film made by Brawner's class centered around an interview with Donald Judd, an important contemporary artist. Judd moved to Marfa, Texas from New York to get away from the commercial art world. "If I had gone in as a professional filmmaker, I would not have had the same response that these kids had," says Brawner. In fact, she thought she would probably have been refused. "However, the eighth grade kids were classmates of Judd's own kids and he agreed to do the film." The film opens panning along walls to the ceiling, out the window—like a daydreaming student. It cuts to the interview. The questions which the kids ask Judd are naive and spontaneous. "Why do you call this art?" Judd found himself confronting the basic issues in the nature of art-making. "The kinds of film the 10-14 year- olds can make are quite different from the ones an adult would make. They haven't yet made a series of conscious decisions about what they are seeing," she says. Another class at Wheatley High School filmed their visit to a funeral home. The conversations of the students inside the parlor sounded like a group of teenagers browsing around a department store. "Oh, what a cute little coffin," one young girl says as she looks at a baby- sized pine box. "Ooh, I wish my bed was this soft," another says as she touches the satin upholstery of another casket. "What colors do they come in?" they ask of the funeral director. "Could I bring a body already in a coffin, and have it buried by you?" one young girl wonders. In another scene two girls are sitting in front of an open coffin, discussing how "nicely laid-out the body is." "They do such a nice job," says the first girl. "Yes," agrees the second: "If I die, I'd like to be prepared here, but I wouldn't want to work here." "As you can see," Brawner says dryly after the film's showing, "Kids say things that an adult would be too inhibited to ever ask." DANCE "Houston could be an open city." -BY DEBI MARTIN- It is a naive and romantic notion that art can be appreciated by everyone. Art audiences are not born, they are educated. For dance to be appreciated it must cultivate and educate an audience. The fever contracted in recent years by the popularity of the movies All That Jazz, The Turning Point, and Fame enlarged that audience. Jazz is easily popularized because it is entertainment-oriented and has a smooth sexy look. It is not surprising that a lot of disco dancers look like jazz dancers and vice versa. In ballet, an audience can follow a story-line or fairy tale as well as marvel at a spectacular execution of fouettes and leaps. Just as athletes set new records, ballet dancers exceed their predecessors in technical feats. But this is not the case with modern dance. Its lines are often ugly or not sexy at all, sometimes it intends to shock, not simply entertain, and significantly, most modern dance works are presented in abstract and esoteric form. This keeps the concert audiences small. Modern dance has not received the attention or popularity the other arts have. This is Texas and there are vast, wide open spaces artistically. As Farrel Debi Martin was a former dance critic for the UT Daily Texan. Dyde, a modern choreographer who has made Houston his home, puts it, "There are dances [performed here] that just can't be done in New York—open-ended, experimental works. There just isn't room for them in New York." In order for modern dance's possibilities to be realized in Houston there must be more than vision, there must be action. And the Modern Dance Council (MDC) is a group intent on acting as an umbrella for Houston contemporary dance artists. Roberta Stokes, one of the founders, said the MDC has a two-fold purpose: "to bring local dance artists together to cultivate and educate an audience." Although MDC has as yet no financial backing, it does have a well-balanced council representative of Houston's dance community: Roberta Stokes, Barry Moore, Janis Simonds, Mary Wolff, Barbara Day, Leslie Schlumberger, Julie Louis, Clare Duncan, Jack Carter, and Mary Martha Lappe. The MDC was formed in November 1979, and grew out of the Contemporary Arts Museum choreographers project which Roberta Stokes, an instigator of MDC, formerly headed. Under Stokes, CAM brought dance artists Bella Lewisky, Deborah Hay, and Austin's Invisible Inc. to Houston. Dance concerts were often performed in the museum. Some may remember that it was the Choreographer Farrel Dyde sees more open-ended, experimental works performed here 18 HOUSTON BREAKTHROUGH