Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Kwanzaa Celebration at UMass Campus Center

Tonight The Malcolm X Cultural Center and The University of Massachusetts, Amherst and People of Color United and Amherst Regional High School presented their Community Kwanzaa Celebration. The celebration was scheduled from 6-9 p.m.

Me, Andrew, Katelyn, Kasey, Mike and Eric got there while keynote speaker and UMass Professor John Bracey was giving a speech to the attendees. Katelyn interviewed Bracey, check it out here.

Concluding Bracey's inspirational speech, students from UMass and Amherst High lit candles for each of the seven symbols of the Nguzo Saba (the seven principles of Kwanzaa.) Mike reported on the history and origins of Kwanzaa, if you want to know more, check it out here.

After the light ceremony performers took to the stage. Here is a video of the Cape Verdean Student Alliance dancers.

Two poets from ARHS, Briana Figarella and Kindyl Tolson spoke and a UMass Grad, Denise Daley. A drummer performing in the West African Tradition, Backa Niag performed. Niag got the crowd clapping. A singer from ARHS, not noted in the program performed. After him, the UMass Gospel Choir sang Psalm 23.

Eric talked to the crowd, check out what he reported here.

People found that the symbols and colors come together and create a greater impact, “The music and songs are nice, but it is the symbols and lessons we have learned from our past that makes this such a great holiday, “said Simone Williams, “People need to be reminded that our struggles are not over, even with a black president coming into office.”

Andrew was live twittering the event, check it out here.

Then it was time to bless the feast. Kasey covered the decor and the Karamu (feast) here.

See the event in photos here.

Love Is A Mixtape

My friend Mike let me borrow a book of his called "Love Is A Mixtape" by Rob Sheffield recently. It was a short and sweet read, only took me about 2 weeks. The chapters were generally short and each started with the track listing of an actual mixtape of his, then he would reflect on that time in his life.

Sheffield is a former contributing editor for Rolling Stone where he wrote the column Pop Life.

The story really centered around Sheffield's relationship with Renee Crist, a fellow rock critic. Their story was adorable. After I finished I googled Rob and Renee and to my surprise found a couple pictures of Renee via Google. In the book it said she had dark curly hair, in the picture I can see it's very much like mine!

This is Renee with a different boyfriend, Jimm, not a very good pic of either of them, but the other pic of Renee and Rob together was really rather tiny.

I really related to the way Sheffield related music to events and times in his life. Many songs just really bring me back.

I suggest this book to everyone!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas Time at Burlington Mall

My Thanksgiving break was pretty low key, a lazy holiday followed by get togethers at my friends' apartments. Not the most exciting idea for a blog post, but I decided to write about my trip to the Burlington Mall on Sunday.

This is the mall that I lived and worked at in high school. I spent two seasons working as counter help and a waitress at Brighams there, I worked a Christmas season at their American Eagle and I spent a few years doing part time work at their Lord and Taylor during my college years. I have a lot of memories of being a semi-mall rat here also.

You can never really go home though, the same mall is quickly becoming a suburban Newbury Street. Within the past year stores like Nordstroms, Betsey Johnson, Lush Cosmetics, Free People, Jasmine Sola and Burberry have moved in alongside Sears, Brighams Ice Cream and Bath and Body Works.

Within the past year the latest Kevin James, star of King of Queens, flick "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" was filmed there. The mall is up and coming now and it's very strange to walk through it now.

While I was there I admired the Christmas Window displays and took trips down memory lane with my friend Sarah. I came across one specific store I hadn't yet even heard of.

Ruehl, I found out, is a fairly new division of the Abercrombie and Fitch company. The clothing seems to be exactly the same. I don't see the point. The outside of the store is made to look like a brown brick type building that you'd see on a city street. Inside it's as dark as a dance club with some low mood lighting. There was no sign of Christmas inside or outside their windows.

The mall was bustling, especially since it was rainy. But when I was inside the Gap, I couldn't help but think it should have been busier though.

P.S. No one tell on me for taking pics inside the a store. Not allowed y'know, couldn't resist though.
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