Sunday, October 19, 2008

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Taste of Soul and Asphalt

Greetings, all!

I don't exactly know when it started. I was a writer, you see, and my good friend and USC roommate, Renee, was the photographer. Then all of a sudden, digital cameras came out and I now take the camera with me everywhere.

It's like my 9 year-old nephew, who fell in love with my camera, once said: "I've got to click!" He uttered those words when I wrestled it from him one day.

My husband hates that I drag bags of equipment everywhere we go. So do my sons. But guess who they call when they need a picture? Yep, they call me.

So, I went to the Taste of Soul, Saturday, and I had to sneak my camera and voice recorder. Click here to see my 99 or more photos I snapped out there, shoulder to shoulder amongst the people. Three weeks before the biggest election of modern times, Obama-wear was everywhere, so I started shooting every Obama-influenced item I saw.

But the reason I titled this post "A Taste of Soul and Asphalt," was this: Kwaku and I walked all the way from King and Crenshaw where the 94.7 The Wave Stage was packing them in, past all those booths (saw G. Garvin, John Sally, the blues stage, and Michael Baisden, which were the attractions at The Beat's stages(now 93.5 FM) all the way to the opposite end featuring 102.3 KJLH's live stage at Rodeo Rd. Musta been 100 miles, or so it seemed.

Our other world traveling son, So Lynn, was working that stage, as he does at the L.A. Black Business Expo, and many other venues. On the way, as the sun beat me down, some lady handed me a bottle of Venom. I hate those kinds of names but knowing my son loves energy drinks and since they were free, I grabbed one and was on my way to give it to him. He had to be parched and fatigued, I reasoned.

When I got to the side of the KJLH stage, I noticed Wayne Brady standing in the wings. Next to him was my son, clipboard in hand, running things. I snapped a few shots of him at work. He noticed me and gestured for me to meet him at the back of the stage. Wow, I would actually get to see him! I turned, took one step, caught my foot in a sand bag holding down a wall frame, and down I went, face first into the asphalt--camera, audio recorder, energy drink and all, splayed all over the place. It was a horrifying slow motion. Stuff was flying everywhere as I thought to myself "Gee, I am no longer upright. I can't stop this! I have no control. I'm going down. Out here. With all these people watching!" And then I shuddered "YIKES! NOT THE CAMERA!" I had the long range lens on, too. And of course everyone who saw this awkward teeter and splat ran to help the now thoroughly embarrassed but hysterically laughing mother.

I caught my husband's eye who was some distance away and he had that "No you didn't" look on his face. Microphone, papers, credit cards, gum, change and camera parts were now littering the pavement. Strangers were picking up my stuff and in the midst of it all I heard the clipped Brittish accent of Kitty Davis Walker, long time friend and former Entertainment editor on Sunday Morning Live (my former talk show) say "Oh, my, Isidra. Are you alright?" There was the look of sympathy my scraped knees had been craving and we almost fell over again laughing at the sheer ugliness of it all.

By this time my son had made it to my side and assessed the situation. (He's a take charge kind of guy.) Seeing nothing was broken on me or my equipment, he took the only thing damaged--the energy drink, which was now fizzing over as if he were in a desert and just saw a mirage. Protectively, he gave me a "I don't care if she did fall in public, she's my Mama" hug and on cue, the MC announced "Coming to the stage--Wayne Brady!" so he flew back up to the stage.

As my blood settled back down from my ears and cheeks to wherever it normally is, Wayne Brady thankfully took the attention off me. As we listened to Brady's set, I hid behind my camera taking pictures. Brady was good, but then I knew that from all that singing on his TV show and "Whose Line is it Anyway?" which I loved to watch. But if he isn't the most unlikely black man in America who had somehow found his way home to the middle Crenshaw to launch his record, I do not know who is. It is all in the packaging so he actually fit the crowd, worked his butt off and thanked us for "letting me come and sing." Yes, I guess we did "let" him. "We"are so cool like that.

We missed the rest of the singers, because the sun had wrung us out to dry, so we made it ALL THE WAY back to King Blvd. where we had parked. The grand kids were coming over so we stopped at Walmart to get them some treats but by now the scrapes under my jeans were throbbing, and my back had fuzed. I told my husband I would sit on a bench and wait for him to shop because since I had strolled down the Shaw twice, strolling Walmart was out of the question.

The only thing I found to sit on was one of those electric scooter carts they have for usually elderly shoppers who need assistance. I have never ever used one before but since today I fit that description, I collapsed on one (there were two others unused). I asked a Walmart worker how much they cost to rent, just in case he was going to boot me off. He said they were free. Free? Man, I flipped the switch and was riding through Walmart! What joy! My back came back to life and, despite a few almost collisions til I got the hang of it, I was in shopper's paradise!
And the best part was employees were helping me get things off the high racks!

I am thankful that I do not need such a vehicle and promise not to make it a habit, but let me tell you, when there is help you gotta use it.

So I leave you the photos of my visit to Taste of Soul. Ironically, I had not planned to go but I ran into Muriel Jones (owner of Shabazz) at Walmart a few days ago and she told me she would have four booths out there. That's when I made up my mind to go because I couldn't wait til May when the Expo comes around to get my Red Snapper fix from Shabazz (Yes, she specializes in catfish, Shrimp and chicken, but you can ask for Red Snapper.)

I hope everyone else enjoyed their food and the sights, sounds and smells of the Taste of Soul.

Isidra Person-Lynn
PS: Don't forget to click the link for pictures! There are many. Click "Slideshow" and watch!

*Notes I cut out that explain:

Why photography? For anyone building websites and creating video projects, you know you will need a picture here and there to cover up glitches and illustrate points, so you may as well shoot your own.
My guru, William Byers, urged me to get a real camera (I had been using a lil Fuji which all all my photographer friends scoffed at). Michael Riddick told me about the Nikon D-50 which was a digital SLR that even I could use and my husband bought me one. (Now D-40's are all the rage, but mine has served me well for the past few years.)

**Kitty DavisWalker, who worked at Kedren forever, went on to host "On the Positive Side" with the late Muhammad Nassardeen for eons and now works with Anthony Samad on his Urban Issues Breakfast Forum. She is the development director at Union Rescue Mission.

Friday, October 10, 2008

5th Quarter Concert: Anthony Hamilton, Angie Stone, Lalah Hathaway

I loved this song so much, I had to bring it to you. Thanks to everyone one who came out and supported this great event. See you next year! Missed it? Signup for the mailing list at