PHOTOS BY BRADLEY LEACH
Dancer, writer, and director Weléla Mar Kindred radiates peace and warmth. Her presence is like a hug. I met her in Paris a few years ago, and my life has been all the sweeter because of our meeting. Last year I invited her to spend a week with me in a mini-residency. Each morning I woke to gentle music, and she would make me tea and lead me in quiet morning rituals. I guess it was I who benefited from the residency. Weléla is the choreographer and artistic director for LVMB (pronounced LAMB), a sensual dance theater “where performers experiment with conceptual ideologies and explore the human story,” and during our tea-sharing, she taught me a lot about her life as an African-American woman in France. She opened up my imagination and introduced me to new and challenging ideas (and to the poetry of Yasiin Bey). Before she left Paris, we shot a photo series with Bradley Leach. Since then Culture Keeper contributor Linda Swan has spent time formally interviewing Weléla, the fruit of which we’ll publish next week.
-- Jonathan Randall Grant, Culture Keeper Creative Director
Bradley Leach is a Paris-based narrative and fashion photographer and videographer with a fetish for the ‘80s-‘90s, 35mm film, and grunge lifestyle. His photos often portray an emphasized sense of vibrant colors and utilize harsh, on-camera flash to achieve a playfully rebellious result.
A VIDEO REPORT BY BILL DIEM
In a Culture Keeper first, at least in recent memory, we bring you a recipe! In a video report narrated in French (never fear, non-French speaker, we’ve included some English text for you), Bill Diem takes us from the market to the kitchen to a dinner table surrounded by friends ready to enjoy the evening’s star dish. Along the way he sheds some light on the history of this representative of France’s reputed culinary traditions.
STORY AND PHOTOS BY MAHBOOB FAIZI
In the newest installment in our roving View From Here series, Mahboob Faizi takes us to a quiet spot near Kabul, Afghanistan. With this article, we’re excited to add a new language in our Sans Frontières series of articles published in multiple languages. Mahboob has written for us in both English and Dari, which is the version of Persian spoken in Afghanistan.
TEXT BY DONNA FORD
PHOTOS BY SARAH CONNER
Donna Ford lets us come with her to revisit a poignant season in her life that continues to resound nearly two decades later. We’re happy that through the photography of Sarah Conner, who is currently in the Guatemalan community that was so formative for Donna, we’re given extra glimpses into the scenes of this place.
PHOTOGRAPH BY JC JOHNSON & STORY BY KAMI L. RICE
A real life scene turned miniature through the magic of photography has inspired a tiny fictional tale that invites you to discover the other stories hiding in this image. Explore the world with us and let your imagination play along as you do.
STORY BY HEATHER M. SURLS, WITH TRANSLATION HELP BY MARADI AYED ALHAWARI
PHOTOS BY HALA MAHMOUD
Our resident correspondent in Amman has been working on this story for ages. As she ran into road block after road block, we thought we might have a mysterious mini-series on our hands, complete with legends, cracked-open doorways, and classical Arabic to decipher. But our intrepid writer persisted and now brings you a delicious story of the power of a multi-generational love affair with books.
POEM BY E. AMATO. TRANSLATED TO GERMAN BY ZISKA KILLAT. IMAGE BY JOANNA WINOGRAD.
E. Amato once overheard two people conversing in Spanish on the Tube in London, and the musical quality of their exchange captured her attention. So she listened in, though she is not a Spanish speaker. Among the few recognizable words were “la luna.” And thus, this Spanish moon gave birth to a poem recounting the conversation E. Amato imagined her fellow commuters were having. “La Luna” comes from E. Amato’s chapbook Will Travel and has been translated to German by Ziska Killat.
STORY AND PHOTOS BY CAT NORMAN TAHIROVIĆ
Cat Norman Tahirović is particularly gifted at learning of the hidden treasures of her adopted home in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Here, she takes us on a stroll to one of them, in the newest installment in our roving View From Here series.
COLLABORATION BY KAMI L. RICE, OLIVIER PEYROUS, AND JC JOHNSON
Since part of our Culture Keeper team is based in France, it seems appropriate to bring you a Culture Keeper take on one of France’s biggest news stories in the waning weeks of 2018: the Gilets Jaunes (“Yellow Vests” or “Yellow Jackets”) movement that made it into foreign news outlets when the protests turned violent in Paris. We’re not a breaking news outlet by any stretch of the imagination, but we are in the business of offering a bit of cultural context where we can. Which is what we seek to do here as we experiment with a new-to-us storytelling format that we hope to perfect over time.