Archive for the ‘Arts’ Category
By Manuel Mendoza, Dallas Morning News
As she gives an informal tour of Dallas Black Dance Theatre’s new Arts District headquarters, founder Ann M. Williams points out the geometric designs on the floor. The shapes echo dance movements, which she felt would benefit her company members as they walked around the building.
That kind of attention to detail has kept the troupe going for 32 years, the city’s oldest continuously operating professional dance company. Last year, after renovations were completed on the old Moorland YMCA, the company moved in a few blocks from where it will begin performing this fall, the new Wyly Theatre at the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts. Read the rest of this entry »
by Patricia Cohen, New York Times
Morgan Monceaux drew his first portrait of a black American president in 1990.
It was Warren G. Harding.
“I had heard he had black ancestors,” Mr. Monceaux said, sitting in the cluttered living room of his row house here. He has drawn every one of the presidents, using oil pastels with found objects like campaign buttons, lace, neckties and coins. A handful, including Abraham Lincoln and Rutherford B. Hayes, are drawn as African-Americans or multiracial. (Ronald Reagan’s copper-colored skin is just a tan, Mr. Monceaux explained.) Read the rest of this entry »
by Stacy Dodd, Variety
Tamala Jones (“Castle”) has booked a role in Paramount comedy “Up in the Air.” George Clooney stars for writer-director Jason Reitman. Filming is under way in St. Louis. Jones will next be seen in Dimension laffer “Janky Promoters.”
by Michael Speier, Variety
Herbie Hancock has been named the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s creative chair for jazz and will begin a two-year tenure starting with the 2010 season.
Hancock will succeed Christian McBride, who has held the post since 2006. He will oversee jazz programming at the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl.
The Bowl also rounded out its summer season at Monday’s announcement, filling in some of the TBA dates. Read the rest of this entry »
by Justin Davidson, New York Magazine
In the first days of Honor!— Carnegie Hall’s three-week festival of African-American culture—the robed and turbaned soprano Jessye Norman stood near the altar of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine and, with priestly pomp, flung the gilded phrases of Duke Ellington’s sacred music toward the echoing nave. Ellington and God were the evening’s ostensible honorees, their glory magnified by an impressive cast of jazz musicians, choristers, dancers, and string players. But this was Norman’s night and Norman’s festival, and she was not about to let anyone forget it. When a diva says Honor!, it’s followed by a silent “me.” Read the rest of this entry »
by Eagle Staff, Kansas.com
An assistant to the curator of the Southern Art Conservation in New Orleans was named Thursday as the new executive director of the Kansas African American Museum.
L’Oral Evans Birden, who also sits on the board of directors of two New Orleans art institutions, is scheduled to assume leadership of the nonprofit organization later this month.
Birden holds a master’s degree in museum studies from Southern University in New Orleans, and has extensive experience in museum administration, programming and artifact conservation, according to the museum’s board of directors.
The museum at 601 N. Water St. is dedicated to identifying, acquiring and preserving documents that are reflective of African American life and culture.
For E. Faye Butler, it’s still a little surprising when she belts out songs onstage and receives the audience’s warm response. She’s a classically trained actor who built her career on musicals, but singing was never part of the plan.
The Chicago native was more interested in performing Shakespeare classics, but after graduating from theater school, Butler found jobs for black actors were limited. She was often offered parts as maids and washerwomen, roles that she wasn’t interested in. So she began singing in musicals, the bread-and-butter of the theater industry, and hasn’t looked back since.
Butler is starring in the title role of the Center Stage production of Caroline, or Change, a Tony Award-winning musical that opens Wednesday and continues through Jan. 18. She plays Caroline Thibodeax, an African-American housekeeper for a Jewish family. The musical, written mostly by Tony Kushner, takes place in November of 1963 and mixes blues, gospel and Jewish melodies. Butler says she owns this part, even though it is the role of a housekeeper, something she would have turned down when she started her career. But she says the story is a reflection of the times – the turbulent ’60s – when the country was on the precipice of change. It’s a theme that Butler says she can relate to the present day. Read the rest of this entry »
SOURCE: Black News
Expatriate painter Ealy Mays, who is also a guide for Walking The Spirit Tours of Black Paris, is the sole African-American artist featured in the wildly successful Obama in Paris exhibition.
“I was astonished more than anything that there was no representation by African-Americans beside myself,” comments Texas-born Mays. “The gallery owner is missing the point.” While Paris’ African-American community numbers upwards to one thousand, less than a handful survive as full-time artists.
The exhibition began as a fundraiser for the presidential candidate on October 6th at Dorothy’s Gallery in the trendy Bastille district. Due to its popularity, and Obama’s win, an extended exhibition continues until January 26, 2009. Read the rest of this entry »
by Marjorie Kehe, Christian Science Monitor
There was no poet at the inaugurations of George W. Bush but Barack Obama is returning to the tradition started by John F. Kennedy who famously asked Robert Frost to share the stage with him in January of 1961. Obama’s choice for inaugural poet: Elizabeth Alexander.
Alexander may not be a household name but in the world of poetry her credentials shine bright. Today many in the literary world are reacting positively to Obama’s choice.
Alexander, who was born in Harlem in 1965, teaches at Yale. She has published four volumes of poetry, including “American Sublime” which was shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize in poetry in 2006. She is also the author of two collections of essays. Last year, she won the $50,000 Jackson Poetry Prize. Read the rest of this entry »
by Susan Adams, Forbes Magazine
Hanging in Robert Johnson’s den is an oil from the 1930s by an African-American artist named Palmer Hayden. The painting depicts a black American businessman getting his shoes shined.
The subject is nattily dressed in suit and spats, a little like Johnson himself, who is sporting a crisply pressed blue shirt and a shiny yellow tie.
“That painting represents pride and dignity,” says Johnson. “I identify personally with this work.”
Johnson may be known for the low-budget comedy routines and booty-shaking music videos that drove the success of BET, the cable channel he founded that turned him into America’s first black billionaire in 2001.
But in his private moments he is moved by art that documents the struggles and achievements of black people in America. Since the early 1980s Johnson, 62, has assembled some 250 pieces by 19th- and 20th-century African-American artists. Read the rest of this entry »
by Sue Ellen Ross, Post-Tribune
Joyce Martin of East Chicago is proud to be associated with the nation’s oldest African-American women’s organization.
The National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs Inc., developed in 1896, is the umbrella organization for many offshoots.
There are two clubs based in East Chicago — the Women’s Improvement Club and the Ladies Excelsior Art Club.
Martin belongs to the latter. Read the rest of this entry »
Keith Gilyard, an award-winning poet, biographer and distinguished scholar in English studies at Penn State University, will deliver the 2008-09 John F. Eberhardt Lecture at the University of Kansas.
Gilyard will speak on “Literacies of a Lifetime: Literature, Ethnicity, Code” at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct 6, in Alderson Auditorium at the Kansas Union. The public lecture is free and is sponsored by KU’s Department of English. Read the rest of this entry »
by Lawson Taitte, Dallas News
A Soldier’s Play holds up very well 26 years after winning Charles Fuller the Pulitzer Prize. In fact, its story of a black man who lunges toward his goal despite extreme opposition seems remarkably timely.
Seen at a special Thursday performance honoring veterans, police officers and firefighters on the anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks, this is the first production by an ambitious new company, African American Repertory Theater. Veteran stage and movie actor Irma P. Hall is the artistic director; her co-founders are William (Bill) Earl Ray and Regina Washington. The venue is the Corner Theatre in DeSoto’s town center. Read the rest of this entry »
by Jenny Mayo, Washington Times
The last play Daniel Beaty brought to town was “Emergence-SEE!” (now called “Emergency”) a one-man show that focused heavily on the importance of black Americans maintaining connections with their past.
Now he’s back with the world premiere of his first ensemble production, “Resurrection,” a work that looks more intently at the problematic present experienced by many black men while also delivering a formula for a more promising future. It’s the season opener at Arena Stage, a venue that has nurtured this play since its first public reading at the District’s Busboys & Poets restaurant last summer. Read the rest of this entry »
by Christina Kearney, Washington Post
Even as the United States has the opportunity to elect its first black president, prominent American author Toni Morrison says black college students today are not as focused on racial issues as their predecessors.
“In racial division, they are not interested. They are sort of bored with it,” said Morrison, the first black woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature and a Princeton University lecturer. “They don’t even want to talk about it.”
Morrison and other leading black Americans talk about black culture in a new HBO documentary airing on U.S. television this week, called “The Black List Vol.1,” featuring interviews with 23 successful black Americans from varied backgrounds.
by Tamie Dehler, TribStar.com
The Gullah Geechee people embody a unique African American culture made up of the descendants of West African slaves. They occupy the islands and coastal regions of the eastern United States from Jacksonville, North Carolina, to Jacksonville, Florida. The largest groups live in South Carolina, where they are called Gullahs, and in Georgia, where they are called Geechees. Their culture and language represent a unique blend of African and American elements.
by Marla Miller, MLive.com
Even art exhibits need a test run.
And, thanks in part to a Muskegon Museum of Art board member’s connection with the Mott Foundation in Flint, the Muskegon museum is serving as a launching pad for an exhibit of African-American portraits that will tour nationally.
That means those who view “Looking Ahead: Portraits from the Mott-Warsh Collection” will be the first in the country to see the exhibit of 26 works portraying the African head in representational and conceptual portraiture. This area’s reaction to the exhibit will help tailor the works that tour the the country.
by Brooks Robards, Martha’s Vineyard Times
The Martha’s Vineyard African-American Film Festival, now in its sixth year, was launched in 2002 by Run and Shoot Filmworks (RSF), the husband-and-wife team Stephanie Tavares-Rance and Floyd Rance III. Their company statement explains: “We wanted to create a haven where filmmakers of color could convene, share ideas, and showcase their works in a beautiful setting.”
Black Womanhood Film Festival
Located in the Arthur M. Loew Auditorium.
The Hood presents a special evening featuring three significant films that explore women’s identities and self-image in Africa and its diasporas. Intermission refreshments provided by Tastes of Africa.
“Fantacoca” from “Africa, Africas” by Agnes Ndibi presents the disturbing cultural phenomenon of skin bleaching in Cameroon and the challenge it poses to notions of black pride and identity. (23 minutes)
“Perfect Image?” by Maureen Blackwood exposes stereotypical images of black women and explores women’s own ideas of self worth. (30 minutes)
“Black Women On: The Light, Dark Thang” by Celeste Crenshaw and Paula Caffey explores the politics of color within the African American community. (52 minutes)
Offered in conjunction with the exhibition Black Womanhood: Images, Icons, and Ideologies of the African Body, on view through August 10, 2008.
Co-sponsored by the Fannie and Alan Leslie Center for the Humanities, the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding, the 2008 Summer Arts Festival, and the Allen and Joan Bildner Endowment for Human and Intergroup Relations.
by Annette Espinoza, Denver Post
Vincent Bursey listened intently Saturday as artist Barrett Ohene explained the meaning of the Adinkra tribe symbol “Gyenamy” that Ohene used in one of his silk thread art pieces at the Denver Black Arts Festival.
After hearing that the West African symbol meant “I fear no one but God,” the Bursey family bought a large, intricate, brown, white and beige silk piece that depicts African women with hands outstretched holding various symbols.
by Eve Kushner
San Francisco Chronicle
In the 19th century, photography inflicted a certain amount of pain. Cameras were expensive, so few people owned one. Those who wanted portraits had to sit in studios for long periods with their heads clamped so they wouldn’t move. No wonder people were rarely smiling in old-timey portraits.
Photography has come a long way, and the Museum of the African Diaspora is focusing on the big picture. The museum’s current exhibition displays early photographs, such as tintypes and daguerreotypes, as well as photographs on linen, wood and felt. The 90-plus images in the exhibition include depictions of slavery, 20th century civil rights conflicts, African American soldiers and family life.
On Saturday, June 7th, 2008 AMBI(R) Skincare will present the "Black Women in Film" program at the 9th Annual Hollywood Black Film Festival in Beverly Hills, California. The exhibition will feature independent film projects that celebrate the unique talents of gifted female filmmakers, artists, writers and executives of color. "This program is an incredible forum for discovering and celebrating female talent that so often goes unrecognized," states Denna Singleton, Product Director of AMBI(R). "We are proud to celebrate the outstanding talent that exists in this industry, and empower women to achieve their professional dreams." The "Black Women in Film" program is one of the events being held in celebration of black cinema at this year's Hollywood Black Film Festival. Beginning June 3rd and running through June 8th, 2008 some of today's biggest stars and industry tastemakers will descend upon Hollywood to celebrate black cinema and the triumphs of established black filmmakers, popular film and TV stars, writers, producers and directors. The 6-day Festival will offer a well-deserved spotlight to up-and-coming talent in independent filmmaking by showcasing their work among hundreds of industry influencers. Tanya Kersey, Founder and Executive Director of the Hollywood Black Film Festival states, "In the spirit of celebrating the creative vision of the Black film community, we pay homage to the voice women of color have lent to Black cinema, and we are pleased to have the support of AMBI(R) in honoring these visionaries." The "Black Women in Film" program at the Hollywood Black Film Festival will begin at 5pm at the Writers Guild Theater located at 135 South Doheny Drive in Beverly Hills. The following films will be screened during the showcase:
-- "Mista Nice Guy" -- "A Baby Way Jamerican" -- "An Incident in the Life of a Slave Girl" -- "Love Conquers All" -- "Steep" -- "Murdering Mama's Boy" -- "Whistle Lesson"
The showcase of films will culminate with a reception at Siren Studios at
9pm, located at 6063 West Sunset Blvd in Hollywood. For more information
about the Hollywood Black Film Festival, or to RSVP as a media guest, please
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About the Hollywood Black Film Festival
HBFF, dubbed “The Black Sundance,” is an annual, six-day celebration of
Black cinema, serving as a forum to showcase the talents of Black filmmakers
and enhance appreciation for Black filmmaking. HBFF’s mission is to foster and
develop the vision of independent filmmakers by bringing their projects to the
attention of the filmmaking industry, media and mainstream audiences through a
public exhibition and competition program. For more information visit
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