Wednesday, June 26, 2013

"We're Not Very Good People"

So said Craig Wilder, Professor of History and Head, MIT History section.  By the end of the documentary, "The Central Park Five," I believed him.

The movie profiles the attack on the Central Park Jogger in 1989 and the countless tragedies that came out of it. Trisha Meili was victimized and beaten beyond recognition. Five teens were wrongfully convicted and sentenced to between five and fifteen years. The real perpetrator, Matias Reyes, continued to wreak havoc until he confessed to the crime in 2002. After years of wasting their young lives behind bars, the Central Park Five were finally released.

The crime was a brutal one, but there was no blood evidence.  There was no forensic evidence.  There was little evidence at all, but each conviction hinged on the video taped confessions of the alleged perpetrators. It's incredible to imagine how these young men could have implicated themselves so thoroughly and how a few minutes in front of a video camera could have destroyed their young lives, but that's exactly what happened.  The film gives some sense of the exhaustion, deception and false promises that could have resulted in the manufacture of their false confessions. Still, the viewer is still left wondering how in the world that could have happened?  How could so many smart people have been so wrong?

It's a movie that helps you learn the story that the media never really tells: what does it mean to have been wrongfully convicted?  How does it happen?  Where did we fail?  It's common to hear stories about people released from prison after years of incarceration for crimes they didn't commit, but it's so rare that you get the opportunity to hear how we got there and what happened next.  This movie takes the time to tell that important story  It's not pretty.  It's a story of human frailty, fear, race and politics, and it's a vital one we all should hear.

I hope we're good people, but this movie is an eye opener that highlights how we fall far short of the ideal.  There's no hope of our getting better without learning from mistakes like this one.

Monday, June 24, 2013


You know, I never wanted this blog to be about me, but the world is just a little too much with me right now.  It's not a bad place to be, it's just an in between sort of place.  I'm in a summertime limbo.  We've bought a new house...or almost bought a new house since closing is the end of July, and I'm still wrapping my head around it.

If it all goes according to plan, we'll be in North Stamford by season's end. So what does that mean? 

On the plus side it means:
- A bigger house for my growing boy to roll around in.
- A place for my parents to stay that doesn't cost a fortune (at last!).
- A walk of about 5 minutes to get to some of the prettiest parts of our fair city: the Bartlett Arboretum and Stamford Nature Center beyond.
- A wall of windows, which I've always wanted.
- An investment in my family's future.

On the minus side it means:
- A bigger, scarier mortgage.
- A bigger, scarier - but much more beautiful - piece of property to maintain.
- No more walks to Lorca, which I've grown to love.
- No more walks to Mill River, which has grown into a mid-city gem.
- No more walks to the movies or to dinner.

Ok, so we will sip, stroll, watch and eat again, but I don't want us to forget the lovely things we're leaving behind. 

In the short term, it means boxes and boxes.  I'm dreaming of boxes.  We haven't gotten our place on the market yet, and there are obscene numbers of boxes still to come.  I've been dreaming of future boxes stacking up over my head and up several stories of walls of windows.  Moving is awful, and I'm a little nervous about leaving a place that's totally imperfect, but that I've grown to adore.  We're not going far, but I'll still miss what's been close.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Art Attack

There is so much cool artiness in Stamford right now, it makes me feel like throwing a pot. First of all, sculptures have sprouted all over town from the Art in Public Places exhibit. The theme this year is abstractions, and they're all over the block - literally and figuratively. Which ones do you like?

I'm kind of digging David Boyajian's work.  It looks like stills of dancers pivoting on point.  The multi-colored Carole Eisner is too much for me to swallow, but the monochromatic ones put all the color in the movement, which is much lovelier.  David Hostetler is a bit to stark for me.  Kevin Robb's work seems to be just about to topple over, which gives you just a little refreshing breathlessness. Boaz Vaadia's sculptures seem to be made out of million year old mineral deposits, stalagmiting up the sidewalk as if we've been welcoming Jerry Springer since the dawn of time.

Not enough artiness? But wait - there's more!

Join your Stamford neighbors et al for Artwalk on Friday, June 14th from 6-9pm and Saturday, June 15th from 10am-7pm. My fabulous friend, MKS, has a very talented husband showing at the event. Artwalk will feature 95 artists all told, art for sale, galleries a'plenty, all sorts of mediums, refreshments, live music and not a nickel to get in. Should be swell, and you should be there!