Picture-taking was technically prohibited— I couldn’t help myself.
The point of “Funky Turns 40” was to celebrate all the realistic, positive black characters that revolutionized Saturday morning cartoons in the 1970s. The Museum of UnCut Funk had dozens of original cels from Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, The Jackson 5ive, Josie and the Pussycats, Billy Jo Jive and the like.
I talked to one of the curators, Loreen Williamson, afterward; she told me this impressive cel collection got started back when she first discovered animation galleries. It was easy to buy cels of, say, the Looney Toons or Disney cartoons— but to find cels from famous TV series with black characters, she had to dig deeper.
“To find cels from shows with all black characters it’s a little more difficult. It takes a lot more work. But it’s possible,” she said.
She contacted studios directly and used her own art world connections to get her hands on cels with some of the characters she loved, like Fat Albert— characters that changed the face of television when she was growing up.
“You know, prior to the 70s black characters were very derogatory,” Loreen said. “But in the 70s they started changing. They were no longer mammies. They were colorful, fun characters who were more true to what black people looked like and acted like and talked like.”
“I don’t think people think about how revolutionary that was.”
A few more days
A final Hi meeting
The local neighborhood bar has a quiet time between six and nine. It is a place that specializes in coffee, beer and seasonal menus. There is just enough of each for a satisfying snack and effective buzz. After the time when the laptop lids close and before the social gatherings start -- there is a sort of twilight*. Often this time is a fugitive ground rife with creative inspiration and meditative work -- of the kind that results in personal reward.*twilight may refer to civil, nautical or astronomical variety depending on your social or terrestrial condition
A man positions his mouse on the edge of his browser window. He clicks, holds and drags the viewport first left then right. The content of a video game promo micro site responds and adapts to the available space. To the man, this is more delightful than the game itself.
A man laboriously moves his piano down three levels onto the subway platform. Classic vocals and strided chords -- he played so well I swore he was blind. Oblivious to the heat on that August stage, he was most in touch with his audience -- whom he elevated with his music.
A woman should do exactly as she pleases no matter what a man may think.
As the Dalai Lama once said, "It is a time when there is much in the window, but nothing in the room."
"No one understands me," she said. Her grandmother was silent for a minute. It seemed she was searching for an answer in the star speckled sky. "But no one understands anyone in this world, darling. We are all unique. It is what gives us a sense of wonder."