As director of education for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) — and the only woman within Martin Luther King Jr.’s inner circle — Dorothy Cotton’s primary responsibility was overseeing the Citizen Education Program (CEP), a grassroots leadership program that proved to be one of the Civil Rights Movement’s most important contributions. As one of of SCLC’s secret weapons, the program encouraged community “elders” and leaders and their youth proteges to stand steadfastly against the intimidation of the Ku Klux Klan and the brutality of law enforcement while adopting the disciplines of non-violent and model citizenship — a philosophy that was designed to prevail over the rage and bitterness that dominated Black communities during the struggle.
Cotton’s memoir, “If Your Back’s Not Bent: The Role of the Citizenship Education Program in the Civil Rights Movement” (Atria Books, $25.00), takes its title from the famous quote by King that describes how a man cannot climb on your back and let you carry him unless your back is bent. It tells the behind-the-scene story of the critical preparation of legions of disenfranchised people across the South to work with existing systems of local government to gain access to services and resources to which they were entitled as citizens. They learned to demonstrate peacefully against injustice, even when they were met with violence and hatred. The CEP was born out of the work of the Tennessee Highlander Folk School and was fully developed and expanded by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference led by King until that fateful day in Memphis in April 1968. Cotton was checked into the Lorraine Motel at that time as well, but she’d left to do the work of the CEP before the assassin’s bullet was fired.
“Though unheralded, Dorothy Cotton was as crucial to the Movement as was King, (Rev. Ralph David) Abernathy and (Fred) Shuttlesworth in her dogged preparation of the ‘troops,’” explained the Rev. Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker, Pastor Emeritus of Harlem’s Canaan Baptist Church of Christ. “Dorothy Cotton was the engine that made it move to become a crucial part of the movement. It produced Fannie Lou Hamer and dozens like her and empowered them all across the deep South to produce an authentic grass roots revolution. This book tells the story that most chroniclers have missed because of their penchant for sensationalism and not actual historical facts that can be supported by intentional research.”
“If Your Back’s Not Bent” recounts the accomplishments and the drama of this training that was largely ignored by the media, which had focused its attention on marches and demonstrations. This book describes who participated and how they were transformed — men and women alike — from victims to active citizens, and how they transformed their communities and ultimately the country into a place of greater freedom and justice for all. Cotton shows how the CEP was key to the movement’s success, and how the lessons of the program can serve our democracy now. People, and therefore systems, can indeed change “if your back’s not bent.”
It’s a regal city steeped in enough beauty to keep any tourist mesmerized for days.
It’s Vienna, Austria, a city synonymous with history, art, the classics, and one of the best cities for food and fun anyone could wish for.
This is the city where the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Richard Strauss pours into the streets from dozens of cafes and restaurants. It’s the city where Sigmund Freud did much of his work that continues to influence learned individuals the world over.
And it all comes together in one of the most beautiful and sophisticated cities in Europe — perhaps the world — to create an unbelievable experience.
To begin with, you might want to visit Vienna’s famous Hofburg Palace that has housed some of the most powerful people in Austrian history, including the Habsburg dynasty, rulers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was the family’s principal winter residence, as the Schonbrunn Palace was their preferred summer residence. Both are stunning architectural examples and give insight into how the rich and powerful lived centuries ago.
Perhaps one of the best ways to see Vienna is to take a stroll around the Ring, a series of roads that surround the old city and forms a border around the area which contains many of the city’s most popular sites and attractions.
On a beautiful Viennese summer day, you can enjoy all the beauty on foot. On a rainy day, however, you can take a tram around the Ring, still getting to see the main attractions, including the Imperial Palace, the Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Fine Arts, the State Opera House and much more.
Try taking a stroll around the Saturday Naschmarkt, Vienna’s largest and most popular outdoor market, in existence since the 16th century. Today, you can buy fresh fruit and vegetables from around the world. There is also a flea market to enjoy.
Adjacent to the main shopping street, just across the street from the glorious Opera House and near the museums of Fine Arts and Natural History, Parliament, City Hall and other landmarks, stands the five-star Sacher Hotel, home to the legendary Sachertorte. A well-kept secret dating back to 1832, the Torte is probably the world’s most famous cake, loaded with enough calories to sabotage any diet — but well worth it. In fact, Vienna, known for its sumptuous food as well as its breathtaking scenery, is not the place to worry about dieting. Simply let go for the time you are visiting and enjoy it.
Why not enjoy a coffee break at one of Vienna’s famous coffee houses? They offer a great place to relax, watch the world go by, and feature a taste of the delights of Austrian baking, of which there are many.
But if Vienna’s cuisine is remarkable, so is everything else in this unique city. One night I was fortunate enough to attend a Verdi opera at the Vienna State Opera House. All aglitter with beautifully dressed men and women, the Opera House has a first-class reputation for opera performances and the Viennese Philharmonic. Women in long gowns and men in their elegant tuxedos fill the rooms both before and after each performance. Even if you don’t enjoy opera, you’ll surely enjoy having a peek at the Opera House which has existed for over 140 years.
Another day, you can change out of your finery and enjoy a ride on the Wiener Risenrad, a Ferris wheel at the entrance of the Prater amusement park in Leopoldstadt. It is now one of Vienna’s most popular tourist attractions.
Another popular attraction is the Spanish Riding School, the only one in the world that still practices the horsemanship of the Renaissance. Visitors can watch the Lipizzans in training and performances, as well as visit the stables and the baroque riding hall.
And if you have the time and you’re looking for a really romantic and unusual destination, take in the famous Vienna Woods, a popular recreation area with restaurants and wine taverns, as well as the beautiful blue Danube.
I promise you, this is a city you won’t soon forget. I know I haven’t.
In celebration of First Person Arts’ 10th Anniversary, the First Person Festival of Memoir and Documentary Art is taking over Old City for an unprecedented 11 days with theater, storytelling, documentary film, workshops, author readings and more — all inspired by real life experience. First Person Arts was founded in 2000 as Blue Sky by Vicki Solot, in response to the burgeoning interest in memoir and documentary art forms. Solot appreciated the resonance of real stories and recognized their value as a means of bridging cultural and ethnic divides. This year, one of the featured presentations is April Yvette Thompson’s powerful one-woman show, “Liberty City.” The story takes place at the end of the 1970’s Black Power Movement in Miami. Thompson weaves a rich story of family, race and the value of understanding one’s history while forging one’s own path.
“I originally started this as a research project on slave narratives, and I wanted to do a one-person show where I dramatized real slaves’ narratives," recalled Thompson. “I did a ton of research because I was interested in the first person art form, and I’m always interested in how history impacts people’s lives, politicizes them and forces them to take a stand in real life—and of course, being enslaved is one of the institutions that forced us to make some stands.”
Thompson credits span film, television and theater. She has appeared Off Broadway in the New York premiere of “The Exonerated,” which ran for a year and half and was named the No. 1 play of 2002 by The New York Times. She also starred in the television version for “Court TV.” Her film credits include “Phoebe in Wonderland,” “Accidental Husband” and “Bernard & Doris.” As a playwright, Thompson is currently working on part 2 of her Miami Trilogy of plays, that began with “Liberty City” and continues with “Good Bread Alley.” With chameleon-like skill, Thompson deftly brings to life the many people that shaped her experience, including her progressive, Cuban-Bahamian father and African-American mother. “I grew up in a household where my father was black-listed because he demanded that the fight continues and you have to bring Black businesses into the community” explained Thompson. “We need to tell this story. How did the ’70s became the ’80s? What happened to our leadership? What is it that they were asking for in the ’70s that was different and America was not willing to give — and what is the toll that it took on those families?”
The show climaxes with the infamous Liberty City riots and the journey a young girl must take to protect her family. “‘Liberty City’ is a history play and a memory play happening in real time but on the non-linear template,” notes Thompson. “It looks at real events through the eyes of interrelated characters whose responses have been shifted and sent through the sieve of memory and under the critical eye of the child of flawed and compassionate radicals of the ’70s whose sacrifices allowed her access to a world of unencumbered intellectual exploration of the very rights and ideas they fought to access. It is a meditation on how the voices of the past have guided me: their limitations, their scope and how they’ve led me to a clearer understanding of the politics of power, race, gender and culture.”
The 10th Anniversary First Person Festival of Memoir and Documentary Art runs from Nov. 10–20 and will feature April Yvette Thompson’s One-Woman Show Liberty City on Nov. 11–12 and Nov. 18–19 at Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 N. American Street.
Did the Maya believe the world would end in December 2012? In recent years, the media have been filled with claims that the ancient Maya predicted a cataclysmic event at the end of their calendar. Some believe that a celestial alignment will bring a series of devastating natural disasters. Others argue that this event will bring enlightenment and a new age of peace. As December 2012 draws closer, new predictions continue to emerge.
So, what did the Maya really believe? With “MAYA 2012: Lords of Time,” the Penn Museum confronts the current fascination with the year 2012, comparing predictions of a world-transforming apocalypse with their supposed origins in the ancient Maya civilization. The exhibition features more than 150 remarkable objects and is presented in partnership with the Instituto Hondureño de Antropologia e Historia of the Republic of Honduras. In addition to impressive, Classic Maya art and artifacts excavated at Copan, and towering replicas of exceptional ancient Maya monuments, the exhibition features interactive experiences that invite visitors to explore ancient and contemporary Maya.
“’MAYA 2012’ offers visitors a rare opportunity to view spectacular examples of Classic Maya art — some of which have never before been seen outside Honduras — and delve into the Maya people’s extraordinary, layered, and shifting concepts about time,” noted exhibition Curator Dr. Loa Traxler, an archaeologist who excavated at the site of Copan from 1989 through 2003.
The ancient Maya civilization has long fascinated scholars and the public alike. For 2,000 years, the Maya flourished in southern Mexico and parts of Central America, their grand cities featuring temple pyramids, palaces, ball courts and intricately carved stone monuments bearing royal portraits and a complex hieroglyphic script. They excelled in art, architecture, astronomy and mathematics — developing a calendar system that amazes and intrigues to this day. The Maya’s complex, interlocking calendar systems, which were based on an advanced understanding of astronomy and the night sky, are simply fascinating. Their most elaborate system, the Long Count, encompasses trillions of years and one of its important cycles comes to a close on December 23, 2012 (some scholars say December 21, 2012). This is the origin of the Maya 2012 “end of the world” phenomenon.
“Regardless of what some may say about the December 2012 Phenomenon, the people of Honduras are certain that this year provides us a unique opportunity to share a part of our history and culture with the world,” said Dr. Norma Cerrato, minister counselor of legal affairs, Embassy of Honduras. “Even though they abandoned this city many centuries ago, the legacy of the Maya lives on in Copa Ruinas today. It lives in the smiles of the people who live and work in this small town surrounded by ancient stories and tropical rainforests. It lives in the knowledge and fascination that hundreds of thousands of tourists experience every year. The Government of Honduras and the University of Pennsylvania have been working together to explore the wonders of Copna for almost three decades. MAYA 2012: Lords of Time is a celebration of this collaboration.”
“MAYA 2012: Lords of Time” is on exhibit at the University of Pennsylvania Museum from May 5th through January 13, 2013. Porfirio Lobo Sosa, president of the Republic of Honduras, joins Penn Museum Director Richard Hodges to cut the ribbon and open the exhibition to the public at 10 a.m., Saturday, May 5. An Opening Weekend Celebration, co-sponsored by the Mexican Cultural Center, features Mayan and Central American music, dance, weaving and craft demonstrations, and family craft activities in the Museum Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Timed tickets to the exhibition (includes admission to the Museum) are on sale by phone (888) 695-0888) or through the Museum’s website (www.penn.museum/2012).
SAO PAULO — Newly crowned Miss Universe Leila Lopes wants to help her native Angola further escape a history of war and impoverishment and said she plans to focus on combating HIV around the globe.
Speaking in a timid voice early Tuesday shortly after taking the crown in South America's largest city, the 25-year-old Lopes said that "as Miss Angola I've already done a lot to help my people."
"I've worked with various social causes. I work with poor kids, I work in the fight against HIV. I work to protect the elderly and I have to do everything that my country needs," she said. "I think now as Miss Universe I will be able to do much more."
Responding to questions, Lopes said that she has never had cosmetic surgery of any kind and that her three tips for beauty were to get a lot of sleep, use sunblock even when it's not sunny and to drink lots of water. She said her smile was her best weapon in the competition.
Asked about racism in light of the fact that she's one of the few blacks ever crowned Miss Universe, Lopes said that "any racist needs to seek help."
"It's not normal in the 21st century to think in that way."
Lopes is Angola's first winner. She beat out 88 other competitors to win the title during the 60th anniversary of the world's biggest beauty pageant. She replaces last year's winner, Ximena Navarrete of Mexico.
She deftly handled the interview question that is asked of the remaining top five contestants. She was questioned about what physical trait she would change if she could.
"Thank God I'm very satisfied with the way God created me and I wouldn't change a thing," Lopes said. "I consider myself a woman endowed with inner beauty. I have acquired many wonderful principles from my family and I intend to follow these for the rest of my life."
The first runner-up was 23-year-old Olesia Stefanko of Ukraine and the second runner-up was Priscila Machado of Brazil. The third was Miss Philippines and the fourth Miss China.
Contestants spent the past three weeks in Sao Paulo, trying to learn samba dance steps, visiting impoverished children and kicking a football around for cameras as the Miss Universe pageant came to Brazil for the first time.
Despite battling against a home-country favorite, Lopes won over the audience, speaking in the shared language of Portuguese. Angola, like Brazil, is a former Portuguese colony.
"She captivated the crowd and we were all behind her," said Brazilian Natalie Bursztyn, 20, who was in the crowd inside Credicard Hall where the event took place. "It was great that the judges also saw what the fans saw and gave her the crown. Her dress was beautiful and she knew exactly what to say when they asked her the question about her looks."
Another fan in the audience, Carolina Rocha, said Lopes' win was "well deserved, we were cheering for her all along."
"Her smile and her friendliness was what set her apart from the others," Rocha said. "She also answered her question very well. That likely helped her a lot."
U.S. broadcast journalist Connie Chung was one of the celebrity judges, and said before the competition that she was taking the contest seriously.
"I know my job and I'll be tough, but fair," Chung said. "You have to keep in mind that these women are not objects just to be looked at. They're to be taken seriously. I want to choose somebody I take seriously and the world takes seriously, too."
Paula Shugart, president of the Miss Universe organization, was hyped-up for the night.
"It's our 60th anniversary, it's a very big show," she said. "We're anticipating close to a billion viewers from around the world."
Shugart said it was fitting the globe's biggest beauty pageant be held in Brazil at this time, as the nation prepares to host some major events in the coming years.
"I don't think there is any doubt in the rest of the world's mind that Brazil is the place, between hosting the Olympics and hosting the World Cup," she said. "I love the fact we're going to kick it off. I always say we're the 'World Cup' of beauty."
The contestants must never have been married or had children and must be at least 18 years of age and under 27 years of age by Feb. 1 of the competition year.
The pageant, hosted by NBC "Today" anchor Natalie Morales and the Bravo network's Andy Cohen, was broadcast live on NBC and distributed to about 170 countries. The contest is co-owned by Donald Trump and NBC, and the celebrity judges included Chung and two prominent Brazilians, supermodel Isabeli Fontana and Indy race car driver Helio Castroneves.
Morales, who is half Brazilian, said that "what's most important is for the women to be beautiful inside and out."
For Cohen, the task of hosting was an easy one.
"It's a fun job. All I have to do is stand there, smile and scream the names of countries," he said.
Sharply dressed women and men jostled for chances to have their photos taken with stars on the red carpet. Some traveled from across the globe to support contestants.
There were no headline-grabbing gaffes going into this year's competition, as opposed to past years, which have seen controversies of various stripes. The show itself went off without a hitch.
Miss USA Alyssa Campanella, from California, failed to end a long losing spell for the U.S. in the competition. An American has not been named Miss Universe since Brook Lee won the title in 1997.
The pageant started as a local bathing suit revue in Long Beach, California, organized by a swimwear company. -- (AP)
Taylor Bright is more than just the typical 18-year-old college freshman. She is also a recording artist who is coming into her own as a pop artist with a purpose.
Bright has been acting since the age of 10 and songwriting since she was only 12. The Philadelphia native has a long list of theatrical credits, ranging from a national tour as part of a 30th anniversary production of “Annie” to local productions of “Annie Warbucks,” “13: the Musical” and Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Carousel.” Bright gave credit to her inner circle for being able to find balance between her professional commitments, school and just being a teenager.
“I always say that I don’t know anything different, since I’ve been doing it since I was so young, but I think a lot of it is just really balancing your time and balancing everything emotionally, time with your family and having a great support system,” Bright said.
She made her first studio recording when she was 14. She did a considerable amount of touring during that period, performing all over the United States as well as in Great Britain. Her latest offering, “Psycho,” off her EP “MixTape Love,” is not only another contemporary jam, but offers substance as well.
The “Pyscho” video was filmed on the West Chester University campus. In the clip, Bright is being followed by a male student who quickly evolves from prospective romantic interest to stalker. Stalking is an issue, which she felt was too often hidden, and which teens and young women, especially, should not take for granted.
“It’s a high-energy song, but it is about stalking, which is a serious issue. It’s a unique way to bring an important issue to people,” Bright said.
Bright shared what listeners have thought of “Psycho” thus far.
”People love it. People my age love it. People of all ages love it. They love the song. They love the energy,” she said.
“It’s something that they can move to, but it’s also something that they can pay attention to, pay attention to lyrically, and it’s definitely bringing awareness to the issue of bullying and stalking.”
RoboPop, a New York City-based songwriting and production company, helped to carefully craft Bright’s new sound. Dano, one half of RoboPop, spoke highly of the young artist.
“Taylor’s EP is a clear departure from her previous work, showing the growth and maturity,” Dano said.
“It’s been exciting to work with someone that has the kind of energy and star power Taylor does.”
Caesar Augustus directed the music video for “Psycho” and was just as impressed by Bright.
"We saw something very special in Taylor,” says Augustus said.
“She’s a very talented artist, and after hearing the track, we immediately knew this would be a great project to be a part of. We built a great team around her and she was great to work with. Not only can she sing, but she’s a great performer, too. It will be exciting to see how far she goes from here, and to know that we’re a part of it.”
Bright felt that the theme of “Psycho” would be able to resonate, especially since the matter has made national headlines in recent years because of teens committing suicide as a result of being bullied.
“I think everyone experiences bullying at some point. I think that’s why it’s so relatable to everyone. Everyone really understands the issue of it,” she said.
“Fortunately, I wasn’t bullied to the point that some kids are, which is devastating, but I can definitely relate to thee feeling that it’s important that people are able to understand and are able to talk about this issue.”
Bright offered advice to those who are dealing with the matter in their lives.
“I would love to go to any school and talk about the issue of bullying. I think it’s very important, especially for kids our age and those that are younger, to help them understand how this affects other people,” Bright said.
‘My advice is, please don’t blame yourself, and ask for help. I think the most important thing is to tell someone what’s going on. If kids don’t tell someone what’s going on, they take this pressure on themselves.”
Bright’s EP is available on iTunes.
Shortly after noon on July 16, 2009, Henry Louis Gates Jr., MacArthur Fellow and Harvard professor, was mistakenly arrested by Cambridge police sergeant James Crowley for attempting to break into his own home. The ensuing media firestorm ignited debate across the country. The Crowley-Gates incident was a clash of absolutes, underscoring the tension between Black and white, police and civilians, and the privileged and less privileged in modern America. In “The Presumption of Guilt: The Arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Race, Class and Crime in America” (Palgrave Macmillan, $25), Charles Ogletree, one of the country’s foremost experts on civil rights, uses this incident as a lens through which to explore issues of race, class and crime, with the goal of creating a more just legal system for all.
In the immediate aftermath of the Crowley-Gates incident Ogletree acted not only as counsel to Gates but continues to be special counsel to President Obama and adviser on police behavior to both Harvard University and the City of Cambridge.
“One of the most remarkable ironies to contend with is the fact that as we think about Professor Gates’ arrest, President Obama’s intervention, the public reaction and the broader issues of race, class and crime, we find ourselves at a critical juncture in history,” writes Ogletree. “We must rejoice in the fact that Americans were able to put aside race and elect the person they thought was the most qualified individual to serve as president. This celebration echoed from California to Massachusetts, from Florida to Virginia, from North Carolina to Ohio. While this is an important sign of racial progress, it belies the fact that we are still a long way away from achieving Dr. King’s dream of a society in which all people are judged by the content of their character, not by the color of their skin.
Ogletree is the Jesse Climenko Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and the founding and executive director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at the law school. He is the author of four books on race and the law, including the critically acclaimed “All Deliberate Speed,” and has received numerous awards and honors, including being named one of the 100+ Most Influential Black Americans by Ebony Magazine. Working from years of research and based on his own classes and experiences with law enforcement, the author illuminates the steps needed to embark on the long journey toward racial and legal equality for all Americans.
“If America can elect an African-American president, the thinking goes, how can we be accused of having a racially discriminatory society,” says Ogletree. “The mistaken assumption is that since we have achieved so much racial progress, we should discontinue all the efforts to address racial discrimination in the 21st century. Those who believe that we are in a post-racial environment are naive at best or racially insensitive at worst.”
“The Warmest December(Akashic Books, $15.95)” tells the powerful, deeply moving story of one Brooklyn family and the alcoholism and abuse that marked the years of their lives. Bernice McFadden’s vivid novel opens with: “Now and then I forget things. ... One day last week I forgot that I hated my father .... ” Narrated by Kenzie Lowe, a young woman reminiscent of Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John, the story moves fluidly between the past and the present as she visits her dying father and finds that choices she once thought beyond her control are very much hers to make.
“In reading Bernice’s work, particularly ‘The Warmest December,’ I wondered how much of it came from her actual life,” reflected her friend and fellow author James Frey. “On her own website, there is a banner across the top that says, ‘I write to breathe life back into memory.’ The book tells the story of a woman named Kenzie sitting at her father’s bedside as he slowly dies. She relieves, through memory, the horrific childhood she experienced at his hands, a childhood marred by alcoholism and extreme physical abuse. The narrative moves back and forth between Kenzie’s memories and her present life, one in which she has survived, but is struggling with her addiction to alcohol. It is a beautiful book, and my words about it don’t do it justice.”
McFadden is the author of seven critically acclaimed novels including the classic “Sugar” and “Glorious,” which was featured in “O, The Oprah Magazine,” selected as the debut title for the One Book, One Harlem program, and was a finalist for the NAACP Image Award. She is a two-time Hurston/Wright Legacy Award finalist, as well as the recipient of two fiction honor awards from the BCALA.
Set in Brooklyn, New York, McFadden’s birthplace and current residence, the author explains that she wrote “The Warmest December” “because children of addictive and/or abusive parents walk the thinnest line between love and hate, sanity and madness, life and death.”
Taboo is a founding member of the Grammy Award–winning group The Black Eyed Peas. In “Fallin’ Up: My Story” (Touchstone Paperback/ Simon & Schuster, $14), he teams up with Steve Dennis to share the inspiring story of his rise from the mean streets of East L.A. to the heights of international fame.
A Mexican-American with Shoshone blood on his mother’s side, the now internationally acclaimed artist defied expectations early on — first by rejecting the limitations placed on him by society, then by staying true to his dream of becoming a star.
Born in East L.A. in an area notorious for street gangs and poverty, Taboo was haunted by that environment, which seemed certain to shape his destiny. Yet, steered by his dreams to be a performer and assisted by fate, the young Taboo was thrown a rope when he discovered the world of hip-hop, where talent and love of the music itself transcended all. Supported by his one true champion, his grandmother, Aurora, Taboo chased his dreams with a relentless tenacity. He refused to surrender, regardless of what life threw at him — including becoming a father at 18.
“If you met me in the street and you knew nothing about the Black Eyed Peas and asked my name and where I was born, the reply could mislead you,” writes Taboo. “I’d give you my birth name: Jaime Luis Gomez. I’d tell you where I first grew up: a Mexican-American community in East L.A. That would probably surprise you, because you might, as many do, mistake me for an Asian. If I told you the projects I grew up in and you knew the Eastside, I’d catch that look in your eye and I’d say, yeah, that’s right — the neighborhood nicknamed after a street gang called Dog Town. These are the stamps of my identity, about as informative as markings in a passport. They tell you nothing about who I am or what my story is, and what it further explains to me, looking back, is why I never felt I belonged from day one. Don’t get me wrong: no one is prouder than I am of my Mexican-American roots, but these are merely my roots and national identity. This information doesn’t completely define me.”
But even after the Black Eyed Peas beat seemingly insurmountable odds and achieved stardom, it wasn’t all Grammys and platinum albums. Taboo delivers a searingly honest account of his collision with fame’s demons, including his almost career-ending struggle with drug addiction and alcoholism. He takes us deep into a world few of us can even imagine: a show-business heaven that became a self-made hell. But inspired by the love of his family and tapping anew into the wellspring of self-belief that had sustained him in the past, Taboo learns to keep his demons at bay, his addictions in check.
Full of intimate glances into the highest reaches of the music industry — including a visit to Sting’s castle, hanging out with Bono and U2, and, at 41,000 feet, the high-flyingest karaoke ever — “Fallin’ Up” takes readers on a revealing, personal journey through stardom — and one man’s triumph over adversity times two.
Now over 184 years old,The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) continues in its mission to “motivate people to improve the quality of life and create a sense of community through horticulture.” The first Flower Show was in 1829 at the Masonic Hall on Chestnut Street, where the well-known Christmas favorite, the poinsettia, was introduced. Over the decades, the event has grown dramatically to become the nation’s grandest Flower Show, attracting 250,000 visitors annually over an eight-day period. In 2012, the PHS will takes visitors on a whole new trip with Philadelphia International Flower Show themed: “Hawaii: Islands of Aloha.”
This year’s show will introduce a tropical experience that blends next stage digital technology with the natural beauty and rich culture of the islands and more. The islands will be celebrated in showcase gardens that highlight flowers, landscape, performances and art.
“This is a Show that will appeal to anyone who enjoys excitement, fantastic design and a full-tilt experience,” said PHS President Drew Belcher. “Whether you’re a Show veteran or a first-timer, you’ve never seen a Flower Show like this.”
New motion graphics will transform waterfalls into lava flows and sculptural forms into breaking waves. As visitors enter the hall, they will be transported to a new world, one with a multidimensional sensory experience amid a canopy of tropical flowers that rival the Pacific paradise. “We look forward to sharing the natural beauty of of our islands, as well as our Hawaiian culture and the aloha spirit of our people, on the East Coast,” said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority. “The week of events will expose attendees to the richness and diversity of Hawaii, and we hope they are encouraged to visit us after experiencing and learning about our special place.”
Other major exhibits will include floral volcanoes, cut-bamboo designs, surf shacks, Hawaiian vistas and a tribute to the memorial garden at Pearl Garden. Towering palms, green walls and a tropical plant canopy will immerse guests in the Hawaiian rainforests. A 25-foot-high waterfall will splash down into Pele’s Garden, an island of exotic flowers and plants where performers will conjure volcanic flames and the Fire Goddess.
The 2012 Philadelphia International Flower Show “Hawaii: Islands of Aloha” runs from Sunday, March 4 to Sunday, March 11, 2012, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 12th & Arch streets. For information and tickets, visit theflowershow.com. For behind-the-scene stories and previews of the Show, visit the Flower Show Blog, Facebook and Twitter pages.