Shout Out: Lou

Lou has been working with media mentor Alex Glustrom on a regular basis on some of Alex's documentary projects. We are so ecstatic to see Lou take the initiative of connecting with a Big Class mentor and jumping right into the field of filmmaking. Lou will also be graduating this year and will go on to UNO for photography. So proud. 

Teen Summit recap

Syzygists attended the New Orleans Museum of Art teen summit this past Saturday Feb 27th. Three of our young poets—Z'monte, Tyra, Donte— performed original poems to an audience of teens from across the city! They also gave the NOMA feedback as to what makes a successful youth program. 


FIREWORKS PUBLISHED!

Written by high schoolers for high schoolers, FIREWORKS is a hand-bound, hand-silkscreened book that celebrates the words and artwork of over 20 New Orleans high schoolers! Contact aubrey@bigclass.org


Shout Outs

Props to Donte who killed his NOCCA audition, Lou who has consistently working with filmmaker Alex Glustrom and applied to be an intern with Studio Be, Sylvia who earned a scholarship to Loyola, Nia who began working with Backyard Gardening Network, Rain who will be paid by the arts council to film their Super Sunday festivities, and Brittany who turned 18! 

Workshop #3

This past workshop our council — and seven non-council teens— had their fourth workshop with an amazing group of adult mentors. Our topics of conversation revolved around the emotions and idea of "failure" that we feel during the creative process, and the benefits of collective and collaborative media-making.

Southern Letterpress' Jessica Petersan helped our four young female writers turn their poem—written with board member Kelly Harris—into a beautiful piece of art. WWNO's Mallory Falk worked with Sylvia and Alex to finalize a guiding project question, write interview questions, and set up scenes. Jason Foster and David Bear worked hands on with Rain to storyboard his short film, and Ariya Martin and Elena Ricci — of the collective Southerly Gold—took 10 photographers on a walking tour of the neighborhood. 

Council Meeting #4

We had some awesome guest speakers at this past council meeting. Author Tom Wooten  shared his insights into perspective and bias in the interview process, and led a writing exercise on tips and tools when interviewing.

Artists and educators Jebney Lewis and Chris Staudinger opened our ears to the importance of sound to the cultural fabric of the city, and led a writing exercise on how sound triggers  memory and thought. 



Workshop #2

Our council members had an amazing workshop with the following mentors:

Independent radio producer Nina Feldman and narrative filmmaker Samuel Cooper. 

Syzygist Spotlight: Z'monte Harris

Age 16, attends Sci Academy. He is a writer, photographer, and when he takes pictures he sees the world in a totally different way.  

This is Z'monte's poem Small World, that he read at the Alvar Library Zine Fest

Society finds ways to trap the kid, trapping the kid, it did.  Brainwashed his whole way of life, but the kid wasn't afraid to fight. In a world full of lies and fakes, society made the kids life a big mistake.

Walking through the city with all his friends, laughing and smiling , in a city of sin. The kid took a wrong turn down Canaland was welcomed to his death from the demons of hell. The friendsleft him in the street, dead and on his way to the sky's peak.

The ghostof the kid still lurks the night, trying to  find people to haunt within his sight. Society has gone vivid. Killing people just to make their own way of living. It's sad when you realizehow he people living. Finding ways to grind just to feed their children. The kid couldn't believe his vision. People crying for help but the all the heroes missing. Its funny when you know that this is all realistic. To live in a small world that has gone ballistic .

Check Out: Alexander's Op-Ed

Make America Great Again

Make America great again. Make America “Great” again. Why is it that when I think of what makes America “Great,” it’s now my thought that what makes us “Great” is that our citizens know how to use guns. “Great” is what I think sarcastically when I walk in the door and see my parents watching the live coverage of yet another shooting in our “Great” country.

7 of 5. Ante up. I hear the quiet dealer in the back of my mind say. He waits, wanting me to pay out and leave so that he’ll have his money for the night.

“Great” would be not having students’ jaws broken due to minor disputes. “Great” would be not having abortion clinics shot up in the name of a so called god. “Great” would be not having to walk the streets every morning, fearing for my life because crime is now so common that when we see another mass shooting over the news, our thoughts are not of fear, but of disappointment and disgust. So is America truly “Great”? Is it what we all think it’s up to be?

As I’ve spoken before, in the city of New Orleans, there is an illusion of safety. “Why do you say that?” I hear you ask. Well my dear reader, I can tell you this: how can you call it safety when there have been multiple shootings in the past month in the high traffic areas of tourism? God forbid we fund the police force so that we have more officers with proper training so that not only are the tourist areas protected, but all of New Orleans. That is why we have block parties shot up. That is why we have one of our most populated streets attacked. That is why we have high death rates.

And yet, we need more guns. Because Guns don’t kill people. People kill people. Say that to the victims. Say that to their families. Tell them that it wasn’t a gun that killed their daughter, their mother, their father, or their son. That it was just a person with a weapon. Because guns don’t kill people. It’s just that certain sound they make.

 

Publishing Party for Open Studio

Sylvia represented Syzygy at Big Class' Open Studio reading event at the Community Book Center. She cohosted with Open Studio programs manager Miss Mwende, introducing our sister program's young authors and entertaining a room full of family and supporters; local activist and artist B-mike was a surprise guest at the event! We are so excited that she will be hosting New Orleans Youth Open Mic in the upcoming year. 

Council Meeting #2

Huge thanks for writer Garnnette Cadogan  for sharing a beautiful essay with our council, and teaching them to utilize point of view, tone, and individual perspective in their writing and their voice. Film scorer Andres Feliciano screened his collaborative film Paper City  and the council began identifying the roots of—and drawing lines between— social/urban issues of injustice within New Orleans and within other cities.