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Duke Lives On At Ellington

‘Duke Ellington didn’t consider himself a jazz musician.

He said he was a musician who played jazz. And what a musician: pianist, bandleader, composer of more than 1,000 songs including standards like “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” “Satin Doll” and “Sophisticated Lady.”

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Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington was born 116 years ago today in Washington, D.C. And it may just be that Ellington lives on most profoundly, every day, at a public arts high school that bears his name. The goal of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts is to give a free arts education to very talented students in the D.C. area — young people who might never have the benefit of private lessons. The school celebrated its own 40th birthday last weekend.

We have a saying: If you have to be an artist, this is the place to be,” says Davey Yarborough, director of jazz studies at Ellington for 30 years.

Most of the students at Ellington are African-American. They had to pass rigorous auditions and interviews to get in — to study not just jazz, but also classical music, dance, drama and visual arts, along with a full academic program. The graduation rate is 99 percent, and 98 percent go to college, some on full scholarships.

Senior Angela Whittaker is attending the Berklee College of Music in Boston this year.

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“I knew if I went to this school, I’ll come out and be something incredible … and help me shape myself into something I’ve always wanted to be,” Whittaker says. “And I didn’t think I could achieve that. Duke Ellington gave me hope that I actually could.”

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Last Night at the American Documentary Film Festival in Palm Springs

The power of Documentary Film was a raw reality in Tom Donahue’s, ‘Thank you for your Service’ – An insight to PTSD and how America is letting their soldiers down.

Sometimes we are not aware of mass causes because we assume they are being taken care of. Case and point in the heart provoking, educational, and fundamental facts provided to lend a hand in the spirit, strength, and political stand we must provide to support the men that fight for our well being.

To be released in theatres on September 9th. Please share the benefit of this film with all.

Tom

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Sicario – Welcome to Juarez

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Nothing will make sense to your American ears…  but in the end you will understand. – Alejandro Gillick

Directed by Denis Vileneuve, Sicario is a thrilling cinematic experience that leaves you feeling grateful to go home to your abode of safe, peaceful slumber. Co stars Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and the riveting Benicio Del Toro deliver strong performances in this Oscar contender. Much adoration for the musical composition by Johann Johannsson who set an ambience forever memorable in soundtrack history.

Sicario opens with a nightmarish look at the battle between U.S. law enforcement and the Mexican drug cartels along the Arizona border. While tracking leads in a kidnapping case, FBI agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) and her team make the horrific discovery of a mundane Arizona home that has been serving as a cartel graveyard. The trauma of that event stokes agent Macer’s burning need for justice, making it easy for a gleeful and mysterious middleman named Matt (Josh Brolin) to recruit her onto his covert anti-cartel task force.

Long before Kate even knows what’s what, she finds herself sitting beside an even more mysterious veteran named Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro) and hustled onto a plane bound for the bowels of Juarez, Mexico, to hold her own with some of the cartel’s scariest men. As soon as the plane touches down in Juarez, Kate watches as the rules of law, order and justice so common to us all, melt away before her very eyes. Men like Matt and Alejandro know how dirty the hands must get in order to stop the cartel, but Kate can not truly accept or believe this world really exists, never mind being thrown into the middle of it.

In time Kate sees things she should never have seen becoming  a victim of circumstance and situation she has no power over. It leaves us all wondering where it all might end here, there and everywhere. Sicario opts to raise awareness about the very real war being fought along the US southern borderlands, and forces the frightening consideration of all casualties  left in its wake. At a glance one tangible plot about a Juarez family, seems vague at first, but by the end of the movie, they bring it back around to the main plot line to create a final scene that has nothing to do with our main characters, but speaks volumes about what the themes of their journey and conflicts mean to a real world situation.

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Fabrizio Belardetti Photos From The Heart & Soul

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A picture says a thousand words then leaves us to wonder where they come from. Who is the artist and what inspires them to seek and capture images that have the ability to imprint on the human spirit in a way one never expected. In this journey called life even art has rules but the beauty in that is letting the heart break them when the timing feels just right. Do what you love – love what you do and always allow your ambition to match your ability. Then the stars have the opportunity to align just as they are meant to and the rest can be captured in a perfect moment to be enjoyed forever.

Get to know what inspires this Italian born, now living in the heart of Vancouver photographer – Fabrizo Belardetti

Home is where your story begins… please tell us a little about yours.

My story begins in Bologna, Italy, where I was born in 1976. I was quite an exuberant kid, very curious but a bit shy.
I remember I loved to play Lego, especially during the winter, and playing outside with my friends in the warmer months.
Bologna is the food capital in Italy. I remember watching my grandmother preparing “tortellini in brodo” on Sunday morning, what a display of knowledge and talent!
You need slim fingers and great skills to create the most amazing food out there. I learned how to cook healthy and delicious food, and I will never forget their gestures.
My academic background is scientific, as I graduated in Medical Biotechnologies, and took a Master’s Degree in Bioinformatics.

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