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.
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.
STORY BY JANE POTTHAST
In a holiday season full of the wonder of childhood delight mixed with the hopes and burdens of adults, our contributor Jane Potthast stumbles upon a favorite painting from childhood and wonders whether it holds something new for her now.
ARTICLE BY MIRTHE SMEETS
ENGLISH TRANSLATION BY SOLKO SCHALM
Before being translated to English for our Culture Keeper audience, Dutch journalist Mirthe Smeets’s interview with painter Solko Schalm was first published in Vers Beton, a Dutch online magazine focused on engaging the people of Rotterdam in understanding their city as it changes and develops. Rotterdam is the Netherlands’ second largest city and Europe’s largest port. Enjoy this interview with one of its artists!
STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAMI L. RICE
This week we’re joining the ranks of media outlets offering longer-read stories, because sometimes we all need a break from the sound-bite version of the world. So lean back, kick off your shoes, and tuck into this reminder of the less flashy ways the world’s countries interact with each other. No need to wait to be appointed as an ambassador, for you already are one.
STORY BY KORI WINTER
One recent Friday, Kori Winter Hutchinson, an American who has by now lived half her life in southeast London, was so struck by just how beautiful and fascinating her normal commute is that she made note of it. As a result, we all get to step inside this little slice of London life, and with Kori, we find hope there.