Two colorful calendars for 2008 created in Jersey City put a spotlight respectively on architectural styles of Jersey City buildings, and on African-American cinema.
The Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy, a non-profit organization created in 1999 to preserve the city's historic resources, has come out with their sixth calendar, "The New Jersey City."
This year's calendar concentrates on newer buildings built from post-World War II to the present time.
For each month of the 2008 calendar, a different historic architectural style is showcased.
"The calendar this time is a bit of a twist as we look forward rather than looking back, as we usually do as preservationists," said Leon Yost, a Conservancy member and photographer.
The other calendar, "A Visual History of African American Oscar© Nominees - 2008 Calendar," was created independently by Jersey City native Renee Carson, a graphic designer.
This calendar showcases those African-Americans who been honored with Academy Awards, including Oscar recipient Hattie McDaniel and two-time Oscar winner Denzel Washington.
It also showcases lesser-known African-American contributors in the history of cinema such as Woody Strode and Gordon Parks.Tribute to the here and now
Paging through the Landmarks Conservancy's new calendar, one sees familiar structures presented in a fresh way.
It displays Greenville Hospital on Kennedy Boulevard, specifically sections of the nearly 100-year old hospital built in 1964 and 1971.
It also shows the Hudson County Administration Building on Newark Avenue, which opened in 1966.
They, along with other Jersey City buildings, were constructed in what is known as the "international style," a post-modern look that was encouraged in the 1950s and 1960s, and what Yost described as "clean."
"Clean lines with glass and steel or glass and concrete [were] used," Yost said. "The designs are cubist and rectangular."
Yost said there is also writing about the people behind the modern architecture, such as leading Modernist architect Michael Graves, who is responsible for designing Liberty State Park's Environmental Education Center and New Jersey City University's new Arts and Sciences building.
Both buildings are also featured in the calendar.
Yost said the calendar looks at "tomorrow's landmarks," especially those in the last 25 years of the city's burgeoning development.
"We're kind of looking future at architectural styles of the best new buildings, as most of them in the calendar are still standing," Yost said. "We also tried to find projects that will stand the test of time."
Yost also praised the various writers of the texts that compliment the photos. Conservancy members including founder John Gomez, NJCU Adjunct Professor Thomas Murphy, and others wrote the text.
As for the next calendar, Yost said it will look at Jersey City's neighborhoods, but it is still in the early stages. Whoopi and Cheadle
What do Whoopi Goldberg and Don Cheadle have in common? They are both African-American Academy Award nominees and were born in November. They also appear that month in the "A Visual History of African American Oscar© Nominees - 2008 Calendar."
The 28-page calendar, which came out in July, features color and vintage black-and-white photos of performers in their nominated roles. The calendar is peppered with interesting facts and trivia that touches not just on films but also television and other media.
There is mention of the first TV show hosted by an African-American (The Nat King Cole Show on NBC in 1956), the cowboy movie star Herb Jeffries, known as "The Bronze Buckaroo," and filmmakers from pioneering maverick Oscar Micheaux to current maverick Spike Lee.
Thirty-seven-year old Carson grew on Jersey City's Glenwood Avenue and is a graduate of McNair Academic High School in Jersey City and School of Visual Arts in New York City.
For him, the calendar was a "labor of love" that started in late 2005 and was completed toward the end of 2006.
"I was originally going to make it a 2007 calendar, but it was so close to the holidays and I travel a lot, so I couldn't get it to the printers in time, so I decided to make it a 2008 calendar," Carson said.
Carson, who currently lives near Lincoln Park in Jersey City, published the calendar under his one-man graphic design firm, By Hand Media, when he couldn't interest other publishers.
The calendar melds his love for cinema developed as a young boy and his 15 years experience as a graphic designer for clients such as CIGNA Healthcare and Time Warner. He also said the calendar is part of a larger project he is doing on African-American film.
What does he hope people gain from purchasing the calendar?
"People reading through the information in the calendar can see that someone from Jersey City or Paterson can achieve anything they want to do, that they don't have to settle," Carson said. "A Visual History of African American Oscar© Nominees - 2008 Calendar" is on sale for $13.99 at the website designed by its creator Rene Carson, www.blackfilmhistory.com, and at Amazon.com, as well as independent bookstores in the Northeast and Southern U.S. For more information on purchasing the "The New Jersey City" calendar for $12.99, call (201) 432-3272 or e-mail email@example.com. Comments on this story can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.