“It’s not about what you got…it is how you freak it.”
Our walks be-get our thoughts – which then can be-come steps of action. In my B-Side Docs about Seattle vignette produced as part of MTV’s $5 Dollar Cover Seattle, I had the opportunity to take a walk with musician Gabriel Teodros to places not typically highlighted on Seattle tour maps. The sixth cut from his album “Love Works” starts with the lyric, “We got a lot of work to do.” Indeed, taking a walk with Gabriel is work but just like the beat driving his song there is the tickle of a piano line which be-speaks hints of play and fun.
The beauty of the B-Side series (click on Seattle Scene) is that it uncovers hidden spaces and experiences in the Pacific Northwest. This collection of short films produced by local filmmakers complements the bands profiled in the $5 Dollar Cover Seattle series directed by Lynn Shelton.
When I first met Gabriel, we were working together in an after school program. He said to me, “I am a high school drop out that teaches high school learners.” This comment took me aback. I spend my days working at the University of Washington’s Master of Communication in Digital Media program, sussing out how digital media can help create better environments for learning, business, and social interaction.
Each Gabriel Teodros show is a like a family swap meet of beats and flows. It inspires the question: hip hop moves masses but is it a movement that amasses movements that make a difference? Taking a walk with Gabriel, I discover two movements I’d like to receive more structure and direction:
1) Global gatherings of people to grow that sense of shared experiences in order to reawaken common people’s common sense, by building bridges of understanding through exchange of story that becomes knowledge of self and community.
2) Local leadership that nurtures the exciting learning work that goes on in after-school programs, playgrounds, basements, community centers, gardens, and streets so that it shapes what goes on in classrooms in more culturally relevant ways and shortens the distance between informal and formal learning environments.
Taking a walk with Gabriel helped me to understand that if we are gong to do a better job developing such environments, we need better connection points between entertainment, community, innovation, and entrepreneurship. At the MCDM we are embarking on a new walk to develop a network of content creators, technologists, entrepreneurs, and community leaders who collaborate on projects that support innovation, storytelling, a sustainable economy, and strong social capital. We are calling this new adventure Four Peaks. Four Peaks seeks to address an urgent need: how to connect idea generators with technology innovators in a way that establishes our region as a living, breathing communications and media laboratory for the 21st century to the benefit of its citizens, and the world.
Given the many challenges that we face today, we have much to learn from Gabriel when he says, “it’s not about what you got…it is how you freak it.” Taking a walk with Gabriel is about the work of play.