Brooklyn Boheme is a documentary about the black arts community that thrived in Fort Greene/Clinton Hill, Brooklyn from 1970s to 1990s. Read more
This project was successfully funded on February 5, 2011.
About this project
I moved into Fort Greene, Brooklyn on Brooklyn Day 1985. I was already an established music critic/historian, but moving into this area in downtown Brooklyn would change my life just as would scores of other young black and Hispanic artists. The area already had a rich artistic legacy of going back to when Richard Wright composed much of his landmark1940s novel Natiev Son in Fort Greene Park. In the 1970s, just as white flight was changing Fort Greene's ethic balance, jazz musicians like Betty Carter, Cecil Taylor, Slide Hampton and Bill Lee were buying brownstones in the neighborhood. I was lucky enough to move into the area in the wake of another wave of jazz musicians, all in their 20s, were moving in with Branford Marsalis and (briefly) brother Wynton, the most famous of the bunch. Turned out I was renting a duplex around the corner from Spike Lee, a wanna be filmmaker I'd met once through a friend. Spike's breakthrough film, She's Gotta Have It, not only put him on the map, but shown a spotlight on the community of young artists already there and made Fort Greene/Clinton Hill a magnet for emerging actors, musicians, visual artists and designers from all over the country. Rock star Vernon Reid, comedian Chris Rock, actress Rosie Perez, visual artists Lorna Simpson and poet/actor Saul Williams were just a few of the wave of talent that would be seduced by the beautiful brownstones and the feeling of artistic community. A vibrant spoken word scene would develop out of the Brooklyn Moon restaurant, while a group of female artists would form an influential avante garde theater group known as Rodeo Caldonia. I lived through all this, was inspired by it, watched my peers make great art and was saddened as both success and gentrification changed Fort Greene forever. With my directing partner Diane Paragas I'm making Brooklyn Boheme to capture the excitement and spirit of the brilliant artistic community I was so proud to be part of.
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Pledge $1 or more
Everyone who donates will be listed as a "thank you" in the closing credits.
Pledge $25 or more
You'll get a "thank you" in the credits. Plus autographed copy of either Nelson George's essay collection Buppies, B-Boys, Baps & Bohos or his memoir City Kid, both of which contain lots of material about the artists and life style in Fort Greene/Clinton Hill in the '80s and '90s.
Pledge $50 or more
You will receive one of the autographed books plus a copy of either of two HBO films I was involved with: Everyday People, which I executive produced and that deals with a gentrifying neighborhood, and Life Support, which I directed and co-wrote and stars Queen Latifah. Both had many scenes shot in Fort Greene/Clinton Hill.
Pledge $300 or more
You'll be invited to a black arts walking tour of Fort Greene/Clinton Hill in summer 2010 hosted by Nelson George and have lunch in the hood with him and co-director Diane Paragas.
Pledge $500 or more
3 backers Limited (7 left of 10)
You'll get a dvd and a book plus a seat at the Brooklyn premiere of the film and an invite to the after party.
- (30 days)