Tag Archives: BlackRock Center for the Arts

On Tour: Germantown, MD

13 Apr

March 26, 2017 | REAL BOY| Germantown, MD

When I arrived in Germantown, MD, I was welcomed by Krista Bradley, Executive Director, and Jason DeMarchi, Director of Education, at the Black Rock Center for the Arts, a beautiful Arts Center outside Washington DC. The space has three theaters and a wide range of programming that serves the diverse population of Germantown.

The local PFLAG group had adjourned their meeting early to come to the screening and by the time the film started, a sizeable crowd had arrived.

This audience seemed especially moved by the film, as many of them were parents of LGBT youth or were themselves trans or non-binary.

After the screening, I was joined for a Q&A by Sean Lare, a DC-based therapist and gender specialist in private practice, who brought a clinical point of view to our conversation. There were several trans and non-binary teenagers in the audience who asked for advice. One young trans man asked if his body dysphoria would ever go away. My heart went out to them in a big way and I was happy to hear they lived in a community with supportive schools and accepting parents.

I had several great conversations with people after the film, and was grateful to meet a longtime fan of my band, Coyote Grace, who, in his mid-50s, has just begun his transition and was deeply moved by the film and the music.

I left feeling tired, but so grateful to be there.

Post provided by REAL BOY protagonist, Joe Stevens, who joined On Screen/In Person filmmaker Shaleece Haas on tour

On Tour: Germantown, MD

28 Nov

November 20, 2016 | Love Thy Nature | Germantown, MD

“Certainly anyone can spend time outside, but joining a group like the Montgomery County Parks and Recreations offers opportunities for community connections, educational activities, and nature play.”

On my ride from West Virginia to Maryland, I couldn’t resist but to drive through one of my favorite U.S. parks – Shenandoah National Forest. I took a little hike up a mountain that got me dodging rocks for a little bouldering experience. How fun!

Germantown was my new On Screen/In Person destination where I was to present Love Thy Nature at BlackRock Center, a vibrant arts organization. Our host, Krista Bradley, planned a pre-screening tour of the beautiful (and very artistic!) new park adjacent to BlackRock, where naturalist Jenn Scully from the Montgomery County Parks and Recreations took a small group of us on a discovery tour of local flora and fauna.

Even though the wind was blowing hard and the air was quite chilly, that didn’t stop our group from having the best of times! I was delighted to get to know Krista and her rich background supporting the arts, as well as Jason, who brings his love of nature (he studied global ecology) to his work as an education program manager at BlackRock. Ultimately, Jenn got us all giggling with natural stories and park discoveries. She pulled out from her bag remains of some local critters— rattle snakes’ skins and the fur of a red fox!

The screening ignited curiosity among audience members who wanted to know the best ways to be active locally and how to get kids involved in nature activities. Many of the questions went to Jenn who offered details on the many ways the community can get involved and join nature-connecting and nature-restoring activities.

I’m always excited to see when a screening of Love Thy Nature provides an opportunity for audience members to connect with their local groups for outdoor fun. Certainly anyone can spend time outside, but joining a group like the Montgomery County Parks and Recreations offers opportunities for community connections, educational activities, and nature play.


Special thanks to Krista, Jason, and Jenn for hosting Love Thy Nature at your beautiful center, sharing your fun and artsy park, and joining forces to inspire Germantown folks to get outdoors!


Post provided by touring On Screen/In Person filmmaker Sylvie Rokab

On Tour: Germantown, MD

24 Oct

October 23, 2016 | You Belong to Me | Germantown, MD


You Belong To Me screened at the BlackRock Center for the Arts on October 23, 2016. The Center is in a darling planned community with numerous stores, homes and cultural opportunities.

I was happy to see the beautiful facility and people waiting on line to get into the theater. I met Dennis McKinney before the screening and we went over the format for the question/answer session which usually takes on a life of its own.

The film was well received and there were many and great questions. The audience was made up of Caucasian and African Americans about equally. The reception was very gratifying to me as a producer.

Post by On Screen/In Person filmmaker Jude Hagin

On Tour: Germantown, MD

21 Sep

September 18, 2016 | Sweet Dreams | Germantown, MD

“People watched the film while sitting at cafe tables cabaret-style, which seemed to add to the intimacy.”

image-1In the leafy outskirts of Washington D.C., the BlackRock Center for the Arts hosted Sweet Dreams and paired the film with an ice cream social and drumming performance from the fabulous D.C. based women’s drum troupe, Bele Bele. People watched the film while sitting at cafe tables cabaret-style, which seemed to add to the intimacy. During the Q&A, a young woman from Rwanda got up to thank us for making a film that shows the positive side of her country and widens the discussion about the country’s history and progress. “When I tell people that I am from Rwanda, people shake their heads and tell me how tragic it must be coming from there. I tell them ‘No, our country is beautiful and doing well.’ ” Claudine, 9 months pregnant, joined the drummers after the film, thinking they might help her hasten her delivery! Bele Bele brought extra drums and invited the audience to drum with them, and suddenly Rwanda and the women drummers of Butare felt much closer.


Post by On Screen/In Person touring filmmaker Rob Fruchtman.

On Tour: Germantown, MD

11 Feb

February 6, 2016 | Winding Stream | Germantown, MD

Black Rock 1

The Winding Stream played at BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown, Maryland this afternoon. Once again, another beautiful venue, terrific staff and receptive audience on the On Screen/In Person tour.

Black Rock 3

I was greeted by Executive Director Krista Bradley who seemed as excited as I was at the nice turnout for the film. She had arranged for Erica Ginsberg, the Executive Director of Docs in Progress and filmmaker in her own right to interview me and field questions for the Q & A portion of the event. We had an extensive and lively discussion.

Black Rock 5

Black Rock 2

Among the folks attending the event were long-standing friends from the area as well as some filmmakers and music scholars. I was especially happy to see one of our film’s advisors, Kip Lornell of George Washington University in the audience. Kip provided me with a great deal of background on the history of Lesley Riddle, the African-American musician who helped A.P. Carter collect songs for the Carter Family to record. Lesley was a Piedmont blues guitarist who is also credited with teaching Maybelle Carter many different styles of playing. I like to say that just as many people thought producer George Martin was “the fifth Beatle,” Lesley Riddle is the unsung “fourth Carter.”  As a very young man, Kip had sought our Mr. Riddle in Rochester, NY and interviewed him about his work with the Carters at a time when very few people thought to reach out for this man’s crucial perspective. This research helped me form a better picture of this Lesley Riddle and his pivotal role in the Carter story.  I think it’s interesting to think about how if not for the presence of mind of folks like Kip, voices like Lesley Riddle’s can be lost to history.  I also think it’s fascinating to think about how the work of so many people over decades can inform a film. Work Kip did over 40 years ago surfaces in our film today. I’m really grateful for the scholarship of people like Kip, the late Charles Wolfe, Ted Olson, Peggy Bulger and Bill Hartley. Their scholarship means the world to people like me.

Black Rock 4

Post by On Screen/In Person touring filmmaker Beth Harrington.

On Tour: Germantown, MD

10 Nov

October 17, 2015 | Small, Small Thing | Germantown, MD

This weekend’s trip was down to Maryland for a screening at the BlackRock Center. My husband joined me for this event because he’s from Maryland, and managed to get some old high school friends out to the screening.

BlackRock is a cool venue, it’s a multi purpose arts center, not a traditional movie theater. As such the audience was seated around tables.


The Q&A was hosted by a woman who used to work with the UN and now focuses on sex trafficking. The questions were very thought provoking. The audience was quite diverse, and there was international element which brought the conversation to a broader scope. Women’s rights and gender based violence are hardly isolated to Liberia, or any one country. Post screening a group of us went out and continued these conversations well into the night!

Post by OSIP touring filmmaker, Jessica Vale.

On Tour: Germantown, MD

11 Mar

March 8, 2015  | Still Dreaming | Germantown, MD

For my 5th stop, I’m in Germantown, MD at The BlackRock Center for the Arts. It is a beautiful multi-purpose arts facility that would be the envy of any town. It strikes me that it is an unusual place. It seems every municipality should have something like this, as it does a public library and a post office. Does your town have an arts center that is participation oriented, instead of solely performance oriented? Doesn’t it seem that this kind of arts learning hub for people of all ages and means should be ubiquitous? Instead, I think what’s more common is lots of little non-profit arts organizations trying to make it in their own pocket of town, if they even do exist.

BlackRock is bright and inviting, with a gallery, a beautiful and versatile theater/dance space, and many rooms for creating art of all types. There is a lively feeling of community, with folks of many ages and walks of life passing through. Today, there are classes going on, a gallery opening, and my film screening. Each activity lends energy to the other. This place really feels right to me.

One of the film’s guest panelists, Brandi Rose, Program Director for Arts for the Aging, based in Rockville, MD, said she loved the facility and wished that her organization had such a space. Serendipitously, Krista Bradley, ED for BlackRock said she loved AFTA and wanted to do more work such as they are doing. AFTA engages older adults in health improvement and life enhancement through the arts. They train working artists to work with elders throughout the DC area.

3-8 Group Photo

Karen Webber Gilat, AFTA artist, Krista Bradley, ED BlackRock Center for the Arts, Jilann, Brandi Rose, Program Director, Arts for the Aging

My fingers are crossed that perhaps another wonderful community alliance is in the making.

Post by OSIP touring filmmaker, Jilann Spitzmiller.
To listen to a podcast interview with the filmmaker, click here.

%d bloggers like this: