Fun for All at the FAITA Awards
- Indian Comics Irregular #170
As I've done for the past 12 years, I attended the First Americans in the Arts (FAITA) awards ceremony this month. Despite a few technical glitches, I enjoyed the show. Among the highlights:
* My first viewing of "Raccoon & Crawfish," the animated Oneida legend. My verdict: good but not great.
* The Native and political humor of Charlie Hill, who served as MC. Best line: "America's going, 'Gee, are we ready for a black president?' I say why not? We already had a retarded one."
* A "Long Walk Through Hollywood" video in which Hill and actress Kateri Walker searched for signs of Indians. They met one Navajo and found the Walk of Fame stars for Will Rogers, Jay Silverheels, Johnny Cash, and Kay Starr (Iroquois).
* Performances by Keith Secola, Leon Thompson and the Northwest Experience, and Chauntal Lewis and her dance group Fem.
* A video tribute to the actors who died in 2007: Julius "Josh" Drum ("Thunderheart"), Billy Ray Dodge ("Dr. Quinn"), and Floyd Red Crow Westerman ("Dances with Wolves").
As I wrote in Newspaper Rock (http://www.bluecorncomics.com/newsrock.htm), the only thing that puzzled me was the awards themselves. Last year produced a bumper crop of Native movies: "Four Sheets to the Wind," "Mile Post 398," "Imprint," and "Turquoise Rose." Yet they earned only one award between them (to Sterlin Harjo for directing "Four Sheets"). What's up with that?
For more on FAITA, including pictures of the show, go to http://www.bluecorncomics.com/faita.htm .
Dances with Teen Angst
In February I saw "Teaching Disco Square Dancing To Our Elders: A Class Presentation" at the Autry Museum's Wells Fargo Theater. Written by Larissa FastHorse (Sicangu Lakota), this play is a coming-of-age tale. As I wrote in my review (http://www.bluecorncomics.com/disco.htm):
Three Lakota youths have only a few days to complete their school assignments. Kenny, the potential dropout, must demonstrate how to disco. Martin, the good boy from a bad background, must teach people to square-dance. Amanda, the brown-skinned girl with white parents, must interview some elders.
Best friends Kenny (Noah Watts) and Martin (Robert Vestal) decide to aid newcomer Amanda (Tonantzín Carmelo) and combine their presentations. If you wonder how these presentations could possibly fit together, well, so do they. Whether the threesome will help, hinder, or hurt each other remains to be seen.
Not surprisingly, everything works out in the end. It's a fine play, especially since it's only FastHorse's second produced work. Give it a look if it ever comes to your area.
You can read about "Teaching Disco" and other Native plays at http://www.bluecorncomics.com/naplays.htm .
Lots of Links
Since I constantly post items in Newspaper Rock, I generate a lot of links. To help readers, I sometimes collect them on a single page. Here are my recent roundups of links:
* Indians on "The Simpsons": http://www.bluecorncomics.com/simpsons.htm .
* All about Adam Beach: http://www.bluecorncomics.com/abeach.htm .
* Creative Spirit film competition: http://www.bluecorncomics.com/crtvsprt.htm .
* Native documentaries and news: http://www.bluecorncomics.com/nadocs.htm .
Blue Corn Comics