The News Tribune logo

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

More Brain Clearing Needed

Just watched Classified X
a challenging documentary written and narrated by Melvin Van Pebbles. He took me way back in film history... back to the Tarzan movies of the forties when my Black sisters and brothers were all running away from the great White hero who kept them from rioting and killing, to that moment in those treasured moments in Shaft when my Soul Brother hero proudly walked away from the White'Black skull duggery which had been destroying the neighborhood.
I thank God for the wonderful work Denzel Washington has done in films like Malcolm X, Inside Man, and The Great Debater. I have cried and clapped and talked about him for days at a time.
After seeing Classified X I see that I have been missing films where Black human beings fail, succeed, and keep trying. Far, far
different from films that shamed/frustrated/angered me from the time I was seven years old in Texas until the films of the eighties, nineties, and today.
Check out Classified X. It's well worth your time.

The Sun-Catcher Tree

One day last year my friend, Jan Buday, gave my daughter a glass bead she had made.  Anna immediately held it up to the light coming in her window, and pronounced it a "Sun-Catcher."  Well this gave Jan the idea to make Sun-Catchers for people's windows, and they are a hit!  They were little drops of happy colour during the cold, grey winter...oh, they were little drops of happy, anytime.

Last year I hung the few we had on our Solstice-Yule-Christmas tree, looking so pretty with the white lights becoming little suns.  It was then I had the idea of a tree full of Sun-Catchers, and our year-long project began.  Each month, instead of a wee thrift store splurge, I bought a few of Jan's beautiful creations.  On special occasions, my family bought me some; other friends bought them for me too...lucky me!

My friend, Shelly Ely, had given me this 3D Dreamcatcher, a long time ago, and it seemed perfect for hanging Sun-Catchers from.  A beautiful mobile began to take shape in the window above, and to the right of, my desk.  Each morning I stood in front of it, facing the east and the rising sun.  From here I could begin calling the day in, my gratitude reflected in happy drops of colour, taking fire from morning light.  Each month I went to Jan's studio and chose a few more, always keeping the tree in mind.

So my friends, come and see this beautiful tree with me.  It glows with the creations of an artist friend I am proud to know and support.  It glows with the creative eye of my son, who led the tree-trimming so well, and the love in our home.  I hope you enjoy the pictures...and may we wish everyone in the world, a little peace, love, and the glow kept within our heart, knowing the light returns.

Our completed tree.

Now that's a Sun-catcher!
Heavenly beams!
Up close.

Towards the top.

Our card to you, neighbours!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Candy Canes, Strings of Holiday Lights Brighten Year's End At Fife, WA City Hall

Above: As the year 2011 rolls toward it's final conclusion at Fife City Hall, local citizens and their families might consider a quick stop to view the lights and enjoy a group photo opportunity at the foot of this cheery and celebratory homage to the holidays while taking a small moment to contemplate all the blessings of the season. Photo copyright 2011 by Mizu M. Sugimura

Friday, December 16, 2011

Fife, WA - When Local History and Popular Media Universes Collide

I'll be up front. There was a time when I spent much of my free time immersed in the Star Trek fan universe - which included going to a movie or two. To be exact, I went to almost all of them. Years later there are still select scenes which remain deeply engraved in my memories.

One in particular from Star Trek: The Voyage Home (1986) when Admiral Jame T. Kirk and Vulcan's Mr. Spock finding themselves back in twentieth century San Francisco attempt to raise some quick cash while on a mission to save a pair of Humpback whales by reselling a pair of prescription antique spectacles that the Admiral received for his birthday from his former first officer.

Recently it just tickled my fancy when I learned that the man who played the part of the antique shop dealer has a direct connection to the City of Fife, WA, where I've been spending a good deal of time enjoying numerous opportunities to study and view the interesting and well-thought exhibits at the Fife History Museum, 2820 54th Avenue East, (253)896-4710.

Yes. I am a nerd. But it's moments like this when one universe in your life collides with another and the Serendipity which is life on this planet strikes a clear note. Happily this phenomenon is not limited to the mentally engaged and socially awkward. Having been personally aware since primary school days that my budding personal interest in United States and family history was not equally shared by many of my peers - of whom a famous slogan "History is dead" was attributed to an entire generation I'm glad to observe I'm not completely alone.

However I am occasionally lead to wonder if old classmates are able to relish with the same feeling as I the way so many wonderful people and events from your past have a unique way of coming back from a totally unexpected angle, allowing us the privilege of seeing something play come around in a full circle and re-enter our lives.

In this case an actor playing a bit part on the big movie screen turns out to be directly related to the same William Hutchinson Fife, who prior to the Panic of 1893 was said to possibly be the richest man in Pierce County and his son Spanish-American War hero, William J. Fife, an attorney from Tacoma, whose surname was bestowed on Fife, WA a growing settlement at the northwestern tip of Pierce County.

They in turn were respectively the great-grandfather and granduncle of actor Joseph "Joe" William Knowland. Joe is the son of William F. Knowland, who served in the United States Senate between 1945-1959, including a stint as the Senate Majority Leader for two years during the early to mid fifties. William F. Knowland in turn was the son of Oakland, CA publisher Joseph R. Knowland and his first wife, Elinor J. Fife. Elinor was sister to William J. Fife and daughter to William H. Fife.

Now anytime Fife residents have the opportunity to view an entertaining film as Star Trek: The Voyage Home; review how important legislative decisions were made during the Eisenhower Administration; or analyze how community institutions and resources came to be in the early days of Tacoma - it will be difficult not to be aware of the vibrance, industry and character delivered by members of this pioneering Pierce County family.

Needless to say, the Fife's of Tacoma are nowhere alone in offering area residents some interesting stories . Current exhibits at the Fife History Museum touch on life and day-to-day experiences of individuals and families pulled dsfrom the ranks of the majority Swiss, Italian, Japanese and Scandinavian immigrants and settlers. And all generations continue to benefit from the rich treasury of resources and history patiently gathered and cataloged under the stewardship of a dedicated and hardworking team of volunteers.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Tacoma's Holiday Zoolights Transform A Clear Winter Night!

Above and below: Photos copyright 2011 by Mizu Sugimura.

If Gulliver stumbled upon the Point Defiance Zoo last night, he'd be fortunate to catch a panorama of Tacoma and the South Sound in miniature during the popular holiday season show Zoolights! More details at this link.

One of my dearest friends and I bundled up and headed for the park (despite being well past a few decades since our childhood) enjoyed the crisp air, holiday light artistry as well as the sights and sounds of several generations of area families happily enjoying an evening of viewing to savor for holiday seasons to come.

A few of the regular exhibits were available for viewing during the evening stroll. Most popular I'd say are the resident sharks whose interior aquarium home with large glass viewing screens attracted constant crowds despite the muliple colors and patterns of all the seasonal attractions outside.