Friday, June 1, 2012

REAL HALLELUJAH TRUTH WITH REAL SPENCER MOON. In March 2012, I got my signed copy of Spencer's memoir, Reel Talk: A Cinemoir, at the Pine Lake Art Salon in Pine Lake, Georgia (and blogged about it here). It wasn't until the end of May that I got a chance to read it, and when I did, I was elated, surprised, challenged, and changed. Most of all, I was deeply impressed by Spencer's heartfelt authenticity. 

Hallelujah for BEING REAL, for honoring the AUTHENTIC SELF and being a CREATIVE SOUL! Spencer Moon courageously accomplishes this worthy objective of AUTHENTICITY and CREATIVITY in his memoir, Reel Talk: A Cinemoir. In 331 pages (with an additional 50 pages in appendices) Spencer interweaves his creative JOURNEY with history, cinema, music, civil rights activism, and the cultural shifts he experienced as an African American man living in Detroit, San Francisco, and Atlanta from the 60’s to the present.
SPENCER MOON AT AGE NINE. Born in Talladega, Alabama in 1948, Spencer was raised by his single mother in Detroit and then went to college at Wayne State University. (Early photos of Spencer Moon are taking from the Facebook page he has established for Reel Talk.)

One thing is very clear when reading Spencer Moon’s PILGRIMAGE—he is a serious SEEKER, one who is unafraid of grappling with the UNKNOWN. His voracious appetite for ideas seems to only compete with his love of humanity. In his memoir, Spencer inserts synopses of the movies he is seeing at each stage of his development. As each page turns, the reader begins to see how his analytical mastications of the movies are fodder that fuels his SENSIBILITIES and AESTHETICS and makes him the man he is. 
1976 SPENCER MOON. A 26-year-old Spencer (center) with Antioch University film classmates in San Francisco.

Having thoroughly explored the African American experience through cinema in the writing of his first two books, Reel Black Talk: A Sourcebook of 50 American Filmmakers and Blacks in Hollywood: Five Favorable Years in Film & Television, in his third book, Reel Talk: A Cinemoir, Spencer allows the reader to see how his extensive and eclectic cinemagraphic experiences have resulted in his becoming a citizen of the world, making him a man who sees beyond the filters of his own race, gender, nationality, and socio-economic background. Spencer Moon is definitely a SPIRITUAL ART PILGRIM on a magnificent “LUNAR” JOURNEY.
1982 NATIONAL BLACK MEDIA COALITION/WESTERN REGION MEDIA CONFERENCE. Spencer, who is sitting to the left of the woman speaking, was active in organizations supporting and advancing Black media.

What a privilege it is to peer into someone else’s life and to learn from their unique individual experiences. Spencer opens up his complex intellectual JOURNEY as honestly as he can for his fellow humans’ curious perusal. After reading his book, I am overwhelmed by his veracity and vulnerability. What am I to do with his pulsing heart that he has placed squarely in my hands? How often does someone offer you their TRUTHFULNESS (This honest expression is definitely the goal of yours truly, Hallelujah Truth)? Interestingly, the AUTHENTICITY of his “cinemoir” has generated more questions than I had before I started reading Reel Talk!

 Here are some of them:

1. After having met Spencer in 2009 and reading almost 400 pages of his memoir, I am still left asking, who is Spencer Moon, past, present, and future? Is it possible to grasp an understanding of a complex human being?

2. How can I learn to be more analytical on a social, political, and cultural level when viewing movies? Do I need some kind of structure?

3. How can I get a better understanding of African American cinema? How would that understanding change my perception and relationships of the African Americans I encounter every day here in Atlanta? Or alter my overall comprehension of American culture at large?

4. What movies have been the building blocks of my intellectual and aesthetic foundations? Can I name them and explain their influence?

5. How has the way race and gender is portrayed in the movies impacted what I—a blue-eyed blonde female—think and do?

Those are just some of the questions Spencer’s book has generated, but let’s look at what I do know about Spencer RIGHT NOW after having read his memoir, Reel Talk: A Cinemoir: I know that I trust this man completely. He is sincere, compassionate, and passionate. He backs up what he says with powerful authority.

And I am learning this Spencer’s AUTHENTICITY as his story moves into my own. Read on…


IN THE BEGINNING was the Artist Conference Network (ACN), a coaching community for the arts. I met Spencer Moon when he joined our Atlanta ACN group in 2009. I had been a member since 2002. In this supportive network for artists, we establish goals which drive our creative work.

As a visual artist, my goal at the time Spencer entered our group was to create my art joyfully and naturally with the ease of a “cat napping.” I had grown tired of working “hard” at drawing and painting and wanted to see what it was like to make art resulting from my morning meditations free from judgment and full of acceptance. My mantra became: NOT GOOD. NOT BAD. JUST IS. In conjunction with this goal of effortlessly making art, I developed my ideas about 15 minutes of creativity every day--NO MATTER WHAT—which gave birth to this blog, Coffee With Hallelujah.  

Spencer’s ACN goal was to complete the first draft of Reel Talk: A Cinemoir, which he accomplished in less than two ACN years, which are divided into three goal periods. Then he left us with the theme song, "Happy Trails," from Roy Rogers and Dale Evans and his perfect attendance record of ACN meetings, and he was gone from our coaching community.

IN THE MIDDLE, I saw little of Spencer. He came to art openings to support ACN members including me, and he attended some ACN completion meetings bringing potential new members. But what lingered with me was Spencer’s statement about my art after I had shown it at one of our ACN meetings when he was still a member:

“You should make a movie of your work.”

I found what Spencer said intriguing yet did not pursue what he meant. I let it drop. At the time, you could say, “I didn’t know WHO was talking to me.”

HALLELUJAH TRUTH PRESENTING WORK (MARCH 2012). In my typical fashion when I show my art, I control the amount of time that viewers can spend looking at my work. I like playing around with "ownership" of my images. I don't make the work in order to be applauded or condemned. Instead, I engage in the process of creating the images and sharing them with others in a way to give the the ESSENCE of my SOUL rather than the product emanating from it.

THE LINE UP.  I chose six random pads of watercolors from my morning meditations of Coffee with Hallelujah and presented them at the ACN conference weekend. Here, fellow ACNers dutifully prepare to "flip" at my command!







WELL YOU GET THE IDEA.  I assumed that Spencer had seen the cinemagraphic possibilities for my work through this kind of presentation at other ACN meetings when I had shown my work. I don't know for sure and will have to ask him.

AT THE END OF THE MIDDLE, just as Spencer had supported me and the exhibition of my work, when he was invited to read his newly published autobiography, Reel Talk: A Cinemoir, at the Pine Lake Art Salon, in March 2012, I was there to applaud his accomplishment and get a signed copy. In addition, I decided to blog about this celebratory event, which had me digging more into Spencer’s life and body of work. This task was made easy because in preparation for the release of Reel Talk: A Cinemoir, he had established a website and Facebook page.

In our exchanges surrounding my blog entry about the debut of Reel Talk, Spencer once again encouraged me to make a movie. He emphasized, “You have a facility with images and words. That’s what movies are made from.” These words echoed in my head!

THE END (AND THE BEGINNING OF BEING A FILM MENTEE). The end of March 2012 brought our Atlanta ACN weekend. This is the time of year that we ACN members dig deep and come up with new visions that stir up new CREATIVE goals. With an intake of breath and great courage, I took on the goal of making a HALLELUJAH TRUTH MOVIE. Soon thereafter, I contacted Spencer to inform him of my goal of making a Hallelujah Truth movie and asked him to help me. At our first arranged phone call, he asked me to get out a pen and paper so that he could give me the first two of ten lessons to make a movie…

With JOYFUL GLEE, I discovered that I had miraculously found a MENTOR in SPENCER MOON! This is the BEGINNING of another JOURNEY for Hallelujah and she has found another PILGRIM to SOJOURN with! He is AUTHENTIC and CERTAIN that I can make a film, far more than I am….Hallelujah for taking CREATIVE SOULS into the unknown!

That’s Coffee With Hallelujah! SOUL BLOG with me and tell me about your JOURNEY and who you are TRAVELING with. What unknowns do you want to EXPLORE! Let’s celebrate and share!

No comments:

Post a Comment