Archive for May, 2012

Report from San Diego

The JLP opening at the Museum of Photographic Arts was Friday night.  Today’s San Diego Union-Tribune has two nice pieces on the show, HERE and HERE.

Center for Documentary Studies Exhibitions Director, and co-curator of JLP exhibition, Courtney Reid-Eaton, and I attended.  MOPA’s efforts were impressive, drawing a sell-out crowd of 300+ to the opening on Friday night.  In attendance were Smith’s son, Kevin Eugene Smith, and his son, Ryan Smith.  Also there were Carey Rasmus, daughter of Smith’s daughter, Shana Smith Rasmus, and several members of her family.  Drummer Frank Amoss, a resident of Orange County, CA, and former resident of 821 Sixth Avenue, was also there.  Of course, Frank is featured in the Chaos Manor section of the book that involves a harrowing incident involving Sonny Clark.

Many thanks to MOPA Director Deborah Klochko and her staff for pull out all the stops:  Director of Exhibitions and Design, Scott Davis; Assistant Curator, Chantel Paul; Film and Public Programs Manager, Priscilla Parra; Marketing and Communications Manager, Kristine Page; and the rest of MOPA’s impressive personnel.

Here are a few snapshots by Courtney and me.  More to come.

Photo by Courtney Reid-Eaton

Photo by Courtney Reid-Eaton

A scene inside MOPA's gallery

A scene inside MOPA's gallery

Courtney making a point during our gallery talk on Saturday.

Courtney making a point during our gallery talk on Saturday.

Photo by Courtney

Sam signing books, photo by Courtney

Sam giving at a talk Friday.

Sam giving at a talk Friday. Photo by Courtney.

Courtney and I found time to attend a Dodgers-Padres game at the beautiful Petco Park.

Courtney and I found time to attend a Dodgers-Padres game at the beautiful Petco Park on Thursday night.

-Sam Stephenson

Comments (3)

JLP Opens in San Diego Next Week

single_alt_masthead

The JLP exhibition opens next week at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego.  There is a members opening on Friday May 18 and Sam Stephenson will give a public gallery talk on Saturday May 19.  For more information, click HERE.

Comments off

Scenes from Thelonious Monk Highway Marker Ceremony

The event on Friday May 4 at the Booker T. Theater in Rocky Mount was magnificent.  I was honored to be part of the program.  As I told the warm, engaged audience of a couple hundred, one of my passions is to reconnect jazz to the South (other than New Orleans, which in my opinion gets more than enough credit).  The people of Rocky Mount and the NC Department of Cultural Resources deserve some credit for their efforts in this reconnection, in particular Mavis Stith and James Wrenn, President and Vice President, respectively, of the Phoenix Historical Society.  It was also wonderful to spend more time with Thelonious Monk’s cousins Pamela Monk Kelley and Edith Monk Pue.  Their father, Conley Monk, was a first cousin of Thelonious, and Pamela is a family historian.  Monk’s son T.S. Monk contributed a video commentary, and Monk’s esteemed biographer Robin D.G. Kelley, an old JLP friend, contributed poignant remarks that were read by James Wrenn.  In my remarks I focused on my childhood and youth seventy-five miles east of Rocky Mount and some of the findings in my Oxford American article.  Here are some photos:

Early arrivals for the 5pm event.

Early arrivals for the 5pm event.

The Booker T. Theater on the Douglas Block

The Booker T. Theater on the Douglas Block, the black business district of Rocky Mount during segregation.

Monk family members gathering for a photo.

Monk family members gathering for a photo.

Pamela Monk Kelley, middle front, Edith Monk Pue, second from right.

Pamela Monk Kelley, middle front, Edith Monk Pue, second from right.

photo-37

Pamela being interviewed by local TV.

Pamela being interviewed by local TV.

-Sam Stephenson

Comments (3)

Thelonious Monk N.C. Highway Marker Unveiling

images

This Friday May 4 in Rocky Mount, NC I’m proud to take part in a couple of ceremonies to unveil a North Carolina Historical Highway Marker in honor of Thelonious Monk’s birthplace and childhood home.  HERE is a piece about the events from Rocky Mount’s Chamber of Commerce and HERE is a piece from the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.

Also, HERE is my 2007 piece in Oxford American about Monk’s return to North Carolina late in his career.

-Sam Stephenson

Comments (2)