Lots of late nite chats recently with Lisa Schamess - editor, writer, teacher - living in Washington, DC. Lisa's blog spans the cultural landscape and is richly linked. Her website does, too. Observer and poet of things urban, Lisa found my little neighborhood blog earlier this year and is using some of my material for a major policy paper by a national organization that focuses on Buffalo, NY. Due out in a few weeks. She keyed into something I'd written at what I consider - perhaps future observers of things Buffalo, will too - to be Buffalo's turning point, those very dark times back in early 2005 when Artspace and Performing Arts could have gone south, and didn't. Very, very intelligent decisions. Lisa quotes from a February 11, 2005 post.
Citizen blogger David Torke recently commented on the $28 million construction of the new public high school in the Masten neighborhood, the Buffalo Academy of the Visual and Performing Arts, noting, "The transformative quality of the decision to locate BAVPA here in this little corner of Masten should not be underestimated. It is the long awaited bridge between the two Buffalos…. the connection between Buffalo's East side and the already well developed arts, educational and retail neighborhoods of the West side."Long intro, yet the reason for this post - while chatting about Vergara's work recently, Lisa mentioned the work of photgrapher William Christenberry. Here's a piece from NPR, August 3, 2006. Make sure to listen to the 8 minute interview.
The connection back to the work of Camilo José Vergara is Christenberry's sense of timing and place. He returns annually to the same spot adding a deeper sense of meaning as the landscape is transformed. Stuff we may sense and don't see yet it resonates with me as I observe the rapidly changing "hollowing out" and shifting street scapes in my neighborhood and other parts of Buffalo's East side. While most of his work is focused on southern heritage issues and Hale County, Alabama in particular, the deeper connection to Vergara is through Christenberry's collaboration with FSA photographer Walker Evans in Of Time and Place. Stir James Agee, one of my favorite American writers, into this mix. Really, very good.
Make sure to check out Borrowed Light [amazon reviews], Lisa's first novel. I'll be making the full report Lisa is working on available here, towards the middle of the month.
Artspace Archive • Annals of Neglect • BAVPA • Where is Perrysburg? • Broken Promises...
Writing the City • Woodlawn Row Houses • Tour dé Neglect - 2006 • faq • my flickr
buffalo olmsted parks conservancy