Ascender Launches its' First Factual Series: 'Adrian Miller's Soulful Bites'

Ascender Communications, Inc. proudly presents our first factual series featuring James Beard Award-winning author and lecturer, Adrian Miller, ‘The Soul Food Scholar’ as he shares tasty morsels of stories from the history and evolution of Soul Food–America’s first fusion cuisine.

‘Adrian Miller’s Soulful Bites’ series takes fun, colorful approach to some seriously tasty—and controversial—facts about African American contributions to American cuisine.  features James Beard Award-winning writer, lecturer Adrian Miller, ‘The Soul Food Scholar’ sharing tasty morsels of stories—three minutes of less—that you’ve never heard about food you have probably always loved.

“Black culinary history and stories about the damaging effects of cultural appropriation of black cooking traditions are still not fully in the plain view of most African Americans,” says Senior Producer, Paul Grant.  “More and more has is being written almost daily on the subject. Yet, mainstream broadcasters are still resistant to invest in any series that explores the subject–even with the extensive amount of research and perspective that is being offered by black culinary historians. This project to fill that void by introducing short, entertaining factual stories into people’s social media timelines that might inspire them to take a deeper look.”

Adrian Miller’s first book, Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time was published by the University of North Carolina Press in August 2013. Soul Food won the 2014 James Beard Foundation Book Award for Reference and Scholarship. His second book, The President’s Kitchen Cabinet: The Story of the African Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families, from the Washington’s to the Obama’s was published on President’s Day, February 20, 2017. The President’s Kitchen Cabinet has been nominated for a 2018 NAACP Image Award for “Outstanding Literary Work–Non-Fiction.”

Adrian recently received the “2018 Ruth Fertel Keeper of the Flame” Award from the Southern Foodways Alliance (SFA) for his work on African American foodways and he is currently working on Black Smoke, a history of African American barbecue culture.

To follow ‘Adrian Miller’s Soulful Bites’, visit:

Visit his website: www.adrianemiller.com

 


ACRIA PSA series feat. Legendary Dionne Warwick

ACRIA PSA Series featuring the legendary activist, singer-Songwriter, and Dionne Warwick

Executive Producer: Deborah Levine (ACRIA)
Senior Producer / Director: Paul Grant
Producer : Tracey A. Grant
Director of Photography: Yul Sean Simmons
Post-Production & Motion Graphics: Ascender Communications, Inc.
Client: ACRIA / Black Women’s Health Imperative


Animation ‘At War With Ourselves’ screened at 2015 ‘NextNow Fest’ and PGAAMCC Gallery

The animated short ‘At War With Ourselves: The Battle of and for the Black Face Boy’  written and voiced by renown poet Nikky Finney screened at 2015 ‘NextNow Fest’ at the University of Maryland’s Clarice Smith Center and as a featured in a recent exhibition of the same title at the Prince George’s African American Museum and Cultural Center in North Brentwood, MD (PGAAMCC).

This early version of the video was co-produced with students from Cultural Keepers, PGAAMCC’s  after school arts education program at the Center for Visual and Performing Arts at Suitland High School.


When you are alone

You will remember the people more than the place.

When you are alone for days or weeks at a time, you eventually become drawn to people. Talking to randos is the norm. I’ll never forget the conversation with the aquarium fisherman, forest ranger, and women at the Thai market. It’s refreshing to compare notes on life with people from vastly different backgrounds.

When you meet fellow travelers, you’ll find they are also filled with a similar sense of adventure and curiosity about the world. Five days of friendship on the road is like five months of friendship at home. It’s the experiences that bond you together, not the place. A rule I followed that worked well: be the first to initiate conversation. I met some incredible people by simply being the first to talk.

Make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty.

Travel can be affordable.

Long term travel is different than a luxury vacation. The point is to see the world, not stay in a 5-star hotel. During the trip, I stayed on a strict budget. The goal was to spend no more than $33 per day on accommodations. After a year, I was able to spend only $26.15 per day by booking through HostelWorld and Airbnb. When I wanted to meet people, I’d stay in a shared room at a hostel. When I wanted to be alone, I’d book a private room with Airbnb.

Take the cost of your rent or mortgage + food per month and divide it by 30. This is how much it costs per day to live at home. You will find that it’s possible to travel the world for roughly the same amount. Or, if you live in an expensive city like San Francisco, far less.

English is a universal language.

I was surprised how many people spoke English (apparently 1.8 billion people worldwide). Places where English was less prevalent, I made an effort to learn a handful of words and phrases in the local language. Even though it’s passable, I do desire to learn another language fluently. You can only take the conversation so far when all you can say is: “¿Esto contiene gluten?”

It’s possible to communicate a lot without saying a word. For instance, I left my phone at a restaurant in Chile. I pointed at the table where I was sitting, put my hand to my ear like a phone, then shrugged — 2 minutes later, my phone had been retrieved.

Trust your intuition.

I learned to trust that tiny voice in my head a bit more. When you are alone in a foreign country and your phone is dead, you are forced to trust your intuition. Is this neighborhood safe to walk around? Is this person someone I should interact with? Am I heading the right direction? Intuition is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it becomes. It’s feels like a sixth sense when you’re able to read between the lines of a situation.

The world is endless. The world’s a tiny neighborhood. My fav people are the ones who can hold two impossible ideas in their heads.


Me Myself and I

Many years ago, I worked for my parents who own a video production company. Because it is a family business, you inevitably end up wearing many hats and being the czar of many different jobs. I mainly managed projects and worked as a video editor. On production, there were times that I was called on to work as an audio tech and was made to wear headphones on long production days. In those days, having a really good set of headphones that picked up every nuance of sound was essential to making sure the client got what they needed.

First impressions.

Naturally, my first impression of these headphones is based off of the look of them. They have a classic over-the-ear style that is highlighted by a blue LED light that indicates the power for the noise canceling. The padding on the ear pieces seems adequate for extended usage periods.
They are wired headphones, but the 3.5mm stereo mini-plug cable is detachable. Something else I noticed right of the bat was the very nice carrying case that comes with them. It has a hard plastic exterior with a soft cloth interior that helps to protect the surface of the headphones from scratches. I never truly appreciated cases for headphones until I started carrying them from place-to-place. Now I can’t imagine not having a case.

A perfect fit.

Once I gave the headphones a thorough once-over exam, I tried them on. As I mentioned, they have a classic over-the-ear style and just looking at them, the padding on the ear pieces seem adequate and the peak of the headband seemed to be a bit lacking, but you don’t really know comfort unless you try on the product. So, I slipped the headphones on and found them to be exquisitely comfortable.

It’s safe to say that because of my unique professional experiences, I’ve tested out a lot of headphones.

Quality.

Now that I had the headphones on my head, I was finally ready to plug and play some music. I plugged the provided cable into the jack on the headphones and then the one on my iPhone 6. Then I called up Pandora. I tend to have a very eclectic music purview and have many stations set up for different moods. From John Williams to Fallout Boy, the sound quality of these headphones was remarkable. There is an amazing depth of sound and incredible highs and lows that make listening to music a truly breathtaking experience.

In order to test how voices sounded, and the overall art of sound mixing, I pulled up Netflix on my iPad Air 2 and watched a few minutes of a movie to hear all the nuances of the film. None of them were lost. In fact, I ended up hearing sounds that I hadn’t heard before. Echoes…birds chirping…wind blowing through trees…breathing of the characters…it was very impressive what the headphones ended up bringing out for me.

I would highly recommend these to any sound mixing specialist.


I was recently quoted as saying, “I don’t give a shit” if Instagram has more users than Twitter. If you read the article you’ll note there’s a big “if” before my not giving of said shit.
Of course, I am trivializing what Instagram is to many people. It’s a beautifully executed app that enables the creation and enjoyment of art, as well as human connection, which is often a good thing. But my rant had very little to do with it (or with Twitter). My rant was the result of increasing frustration with the one-dimensionality that those who report on, invest in, and build consumer Internet services talk about success.

Numbers are important. Number of users is important. So are lots of other things. Different services create value in different ways. Trust your gut as much (or more) than the numbers. Figure out what matters and build something good.

Trust in your intuitions

Once I gave the headphones a thorough once-over exam, I tried them on. As I mentioned, they have a classic over-the-ear style and just looking at them, the padding on the ear pieces seem adequate and the peak of the headband seemed to be a bit lacking, but you don’t really know comfort unless you try on the product. So, I slipped the headphones on and found them to be exquisitely comfortable. Once I gave the headphones a thorough once-over exam, I tried them on. As I mentioned, they have a classic over-the-ear style and just looking at them, the padding on the ear pieces seem adequate and the peak of the headband seemed to be a bit lacking, but you don’t really know comfort unless you try on the product. So, I slipped the headphones on and found them to be exquisitely comfortable.

If no one hates you, no one is paying attention. If attention is what you want for vanity, confidence, or, hell — to make a decent living — then know that it’s not instantaneous. Every single person that you’re currently paying attention to, at some point in their lives, was in your exact position.

You need to be
true to yourself

Just like every other human on the planet, I have epically awesome days and days when life just shits on my face. And while I can’t stand most self-help (see: tired quotes over stock photography on Instagram), sometimes I need a little pick-me-up. And most of the time, in order to get out of a slump (because my brain leans more into math/science than anything else), I need to drop a logic bomb on my ass.

Yes, this is a long article. But here’s the thing — if you’re reading this in your inbox and are already like, “fuck this!” delete it. No hard feelings. If you’re reading this in a browser on a website, and you see how tiny the scroll-bar is because of how far you still have to scroll to get to the bottom, close this tab and go back to 140-character tidbits of advice. Still with me? Phew. Just had to weed out all the folks from points: #1, #4 and #8. Welcome friends, onward we go.

Remember to
never give up

If no one hates you, no one is paying attention. If attention is what you want for vanity, confidence, or, hell — to make a decent living — then know that it’s not instantaneous. Every single person that you’re currently paying attention to, at some point in their lives, was in your exact position. They kept at it and worked enough so that others started listening. Also know that if no one is watching, you can experience true freedom. Dance in your underwear. Write entirely for yourself. Swear like there’s a going-out-of-business sale on “fucks” and “shits.” Find yourself — not in some coming-of-age hippie way involving pasta and ashrams— but in a way that helps you draw your own line in the sand for what matters and what doesn’t. Do what you want to do, just because you want to do that thing. This will build confidence that will come in handy later.

Once I gave the headphones a thorough once-over exam, I tried them on. As I mentioned, they have a classic over-the-ear style and just looking at them, the padding on the ear pieces seem adequate and the peak of the headband seemed to be a bit lacking, but you don’t really know comfort unless you try on the product. So, I slipped the headphones on and found them to be exquisitely comfortable. Once I gave the headphones a thorough once-over exam, I tried them on. As I mentioned, they have a classic over-the-ear style and just looking at them, the padding on the ear pieces seem adequate and the peak of the headband seemed to be a bit lacking, but you don’t really know comfort unless you try on the product. So, I slipped the headphones on and found them to be exquisitely comfortable.

If no one hates you, no one is paying attention. If attention is what you want for vanity, confidence, or, hell — to make a decent living — then know that it’s not instantaneous. Every single person that you’re currently paying attention to, at some point in their lives, was in your exact position. They kept at it and worked enough so that others started listening. Also know that if no one is watching, you can experience true freedom. Dance in your underwear. Write entirely for yourself. Swear like there’s a going-out-of-business sale on “fucks” and “shits.” Find yourself — not in some coming-of-age hippie way involving pasta and ashrams— but in a way that helps you draw your own line in the sand for what matters and what doesn’t. Do what you want to do, just because you want to do that thing. This will build confidence that will come in handy later.


Top Deejay Headphones

First impressions.

Many years ago, I worked for my parents who own a video production company. Because it is a family business, you inevitably end up wearing many hats and being the czar of many different jobs. I mainly managed projects and worked as a video editor. On production, there were times that I was called on to work as an audio tech and was made to wear headphones on long production days. In those days, having a really good set of headphones that picked up every nuance of sound was essential to making sure the client got what they needed. Many years ago, I worked for my parents who own a video production company. Because it is a family business, you inevitably end up wearing many hats and being the czar of many different jobs. I mainly managed projects and worked as a video editor. On production, there were times that I was called on to work as an audio tech and was made to wear headphones on long production days. In those days, having a really good set of headphones that picked up every nuance of sound was essential to making sure the client got what they needed.

Naturally, my first impression of these headphones is based off of the look of them. They have a classic over-the-ear style that is highlighted by a blue LED light that indicates the power for the noise canceling. The padding on the ear pieces seems adequate for extended usage periods.

They are wired headphones, but the 3.5mm stereo mini-plug cable is detachable. Something else I noticed right of the bat was the very nice carrying case that comes with them. It has a hard plastic exterior with a soft cloth interior that helps to protect the surface of the headphones from scratches. I never truly appreciated cases for headphones until I started carrying them from place-to-place. Now I can’t imagine not having a case.

It’s safe to say that because of my unique professional experiences, I’ve tested out a lot of headphones.

John Williams

A perfect fit.

Once I gave the headphones a thorough once-over exam, I tried them on. As I mentioned, they have a classic over-the-ear style and just looking at them, the padding on the ear pieces seem adequate and the peak of the headband seemed to be a bit lacking, but you don’t really know comfort unless you try on the product. So, I slipped the headphones on and found them to be exquisitely comfortable. In order to test how voices sounded, and the overall art of sound mixing, I pulled up Netflix on my iPad Air 2 and watched a few minutes of a movie to hear all the nuances of the film. None of them were lost. In fact, I ended up hearing sounds that I hadn’t heard before. Echoes…birds chirping…wind blowing through trees…breathing of the characters…it was very impressive what the headphones ended up bringing out for me.

Quality.

Now that I had the headphones on my head, I was finally ready to plug and play some music. I plugged the provided cable into the jack on the headphones and then the one on my iPhone 6. Then I called up Pandora. I tend to have a very eclectic music purview and have many stations set up for different moods. From John Williams to Fallout Boy, the sound quality of these headphones was remarkable. There is an amazing depth of sound and incredible highs and lows that make listening to music a truly breathtaking experience.

In order to test how voices sounded, and the overall art of sound mixing, I pulled up Netflix on my iPad Air 2 and watched a few minutes of a movie to hear all the nuances of the film. None of them were lost. In fact, I ended up hearing sounds that I hadn’t heard before. Echoes…birds chirping…wind blowing through trees…breathing of the characters…it was very impressive what the headphones ended up bringing out for me.


Ascender Wins 2012 Telly Award for 'Enlisted'

We are winners!

Our first museum video installation opened as a part of the Prince George's County African American Museum and Cultural Center's (PGAAMCC) 'Coming Home'  World War II exhibition in North Brentwood, Maryland in, May 2011.

The exhibition, 'Coming Home: How the African American Experience in World War II Shaped the Culture of Prince George's County' explains how the full integration of the U.S. armed services during the second world war actually opened the a new widnow of opportunity for many African Americans to seek and pay for, higher education and gain new professional skillsets. This was eventualy contribute to making P.G. County, Maryland the most affuent, predominately black county in the nation.

PGAAMCC 'Coming Home' World War II Exhibition (May 2011)
PGAAMCC 'Coming Home' World War II Exhibition (May 2011)

'Enlisted', our 16-minute featurette, profiled the stories six African American soldiers from the  Washington, DC metropolitan areas--including a World War II, Korean War,  and two Vietnam War veterans-- and their collective experiences in service to their country.Watch the trailer for the video above. We hope you like what you see!