Kay Bourne Arts Report – Issue #11

April 6th, 2006  |  Published in Kay Bourne Arts Report


by Kay Bourne
Back Row L to R: Shani Brown, Alexis Byrd, Carolyn Davis, Dhernita Wornum;
Front Row, L to R: Billy Reeves, 5 Book Club Members: Shyan Brown (9), LaNeece Byrd (9), Angel Hunter (10), Zariyah Davis (9) and NaShaya Wornum (8 1/2); Kimani Brown.

74 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #11The girls rushed eagerly into the kitchen with their blank answer sheets and pencils in hand. Taped around the room were questions that the young host had made up relating to the book for this week, “Little Divas” by Philana Marie Boles.

The first meeting of the book club for third graders and their moms was held at Shyan Brown’s home in Roxbury and organized by her mom Shani Brown. “Can we use the book to check the answers?” one of the girls called out. That was okay, Mrs. Brown assured the young readers.

Back in the living room, seated in a circle, the girls first passed the papers to the person next to them. Shouts of “Yes!” rang out as check marks were given for right answers. The questions ranged from “What are the names of the three main characters in the book? (hint: they are all girls)” to “Name two reasons why Cassidy was upset with her father?” (Answer, she disliked it when her parents were fussing and got a divorce and she didn’t like her father’s new girl friend.)

The girls were enthusiastic about the book and some had liked it so well, they read it twice. There were little prizes for the most right answers and party favors which included small notebooks to use when reading the book for the next meeting. The girls also discussed a name for their book club which they plan to vote on when they get together again in a month’s time. The next book is “What You See Is What You Get,” a paperback based on the “That’s So Raven” TV series.

by Kay Bourne
70 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #11How do you choose a book that your child will like and is appropriate for the child? The Children’s Book Council in New York has some points to keep in mind for various age levels.

For Babies and Toddlers, remember that very young children are attracted by brightly colored pictures of simple objects and like to look at other babies and faces. They respond well to good rhythms.They like board books, cloth books and books with textures and sounds.

Nursery School and Kindergarten children enjoy Mother Goose and books depicting familiar experiences. They like to listen to stories with slightly complex texts and effective word repetition. They enjoy pop-up, interactive and manipulative books.

In the Early School Years from ages 5 – 8, they enjoy being read to and reading to you. Look for picture books with strong storylines and character development. Third graders are often able to handle stories of some complexity, such as “Little Divas.” The vocabulary should be familiar with some challenging words.

Older children from 9 – 12 have ideas about the kind of story they want to read, so make your selection with your child in mind. Some children’s books have become classics and are part of the general knowledge your child is expected to have. Remember a fine book is not necessarily the most lavish or most expensive book but is designed, illustrated and written well.

Take your time choosing for your child because a book is an unlimited investment in the human mind and spirit and deserves thoughtful attention.

The BLACK BOOKS GALORE! series are an excellent resource, written for African American parents, by African American parents: Donna Rand, Toni Trent Parker, Sheila Foster. The above, pictured guide reviews 500 children’s books, organizes them by age groups and defines them with various key indictors, such as “contains Caribbean dialect”, and includes quotes from featured books. Click the book above, to order it.

Also see BLACK BOOKS GALORE! Guide to Great African American BOOKS ABOUT BOYS

by Kay Bourne
72 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #11IRENE SMALLS says that she became an author in kindergarten. Kindergarten was especially important because there were no books in her family home and noone read or told her stories. But, in kindergarten, five year old Smalls was taught the beauty of language through, song, games and dance. “Reading was a thing that you do that is loud and fun.” When Smalls was told that she wasn’t a good writer in junior high, high school and college she always remembered the magic of Kindergarten. Years later when she lost her job and had to find a new job, a chance reading of a Boston Globe article about Little, Brown Publishers lead Smalls to create her first story: that she was a fabulous writer and that Little Brown must publish her.

Well, Little, Brown said “yes” and the rest is history. Irene Smalls is the author of fifteen books and travels the country sharing her melee of fun and literacy.

Her new book, MY POP POP AND ME is a celebration of the love between a grandfather and a grandson. It is the story of a young boy and his grandfather spending the day together baking a favorite lemon cake. This book is a companion to her earlier story “My Nana and Me.” Both books are filled with activity, song and things to do. Both books available through Amazon.com and Barnes & Nobles.com.

To contact Irene Smalls, giver her a call at (617) 266-0262 or e-mail her at Ismalls107@aol.com

order MY NANA AND ME here

by Lisa Simmons
75 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #11Coota has thoughts of becoming a rap star, but those thoughts are changed when his mother takes him from Roxbury to spend time down South with his grandmother, Miss Mattie, a retired school teacher who does not own a television, won’t call him by his nickname “Coota” and insists that he read.

HAYWOOD FENNELL, SR.’s self- published book, COOTA AND THE MAGIC QUILT, is the first in his “Coota Experiences” trilogy. COOTA AND THE MAGIC QUILT engages young readers as Coota meets a new friend at the library, Cheryl, a sightless girl, but one who can “see” the importance of history, respect and how to communicate in a dignified manner. “Coota and the Magic Quilt” is intended for middle school aged students, and comes with a Teacher’s Guide written by Dianne Christine Yarborough, that is separately priced and can be used to teach not just youth, but adults as well.

Fennell has taken his book and created a Coota Literacy Enrichment Pilot Program. The purpose of the program is to fuel an interest in reading and to get children thinking about the importance of communications between themselves that is respectful instead of using racial and ethnic slurs. In addition, the program hopes to increase interest in literacy and bridge the literacy gap. Order COOTA AND THE MAGIC QUILT here

76 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #11Sixth grader KHALIL FLEMMING plays the hero, Charlie Bucket in WHEELOCK FAMILY THEATRE’s staging of “CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY” with co-founder of the company, JANE STAAB as the eccentric Willy Wonka. CHARLIE opens this Friday, APRIL 7 at 200 The Riverway on the campus of Wheelock College and runs until May 14.

What happens when five children find the five golden tickets that would make their wishes come true and win the chance to tour the mysterious chocolate factory? “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” is based on Roald Dahl’s classic tale of a greedy boy, a spoiled girl, a gum chewer, a TV addict, and the humble, but hopeful Charlie Bucket.

Recommended for ages 4 and up. Phone 617-879-2300 for more info about the affordable show, school vacation week’s schedule of matinees, and other show times. Purchase CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY tickets here

L to R: Justino ‘Tiny’ Andrade, CLAIRE ANDRADE-WATKINS and Matthew ‘Tia’ Santos
77 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #11 The Providence premiere of “SOME KIND OF FUNNY PORTO RICAN?” A Cape Verdean American Story explores the untold tragedy and scandal of how a vibrant community of immigrants from the Cape Verde Islands was broken up by urban renewal.

Three generations of Cape Verdeans were forcibly displaced in the 1960s and 70s from the Fox Point neighborhood of Providence, Rhode Island, where Andrade-Watkins grew up.

The filmmaker narrates the movie, which gives the documentary intimacy, since it is truly her story come to the screen. Now an associate professor of Visual and Media Arts at Emerson College, Dr. Andrade-Watkins was a 1995-1996 Fulbright Scholar in Cape Verde, an experience that further informs her film.

The full-length film opens this Friday APRIL 7 at 7 pm at the Columbus Theatre, 270 Broadway in Providence, R.I. where it plays for the rest of the weekend at various screening times. For more info you can contact Donald Mauricio at 401-421-2920. Ticket Information

78 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #11The HALEY HOUSE BAKERY CAFE invites you to its first art opening, on Friday APRIL 7, 5 – 8 pm. The “BLOWED AWAY: Trouble in the Lowlands” exhibit features artists, writers and activists: WALTER CLARK, BENJAMIN GREENBERG, Project HIP HOP Crew, L’MERCHIE FRAZIER, LOLITA PARKER, Jr. and AMANDA SAVAGE, as they present stories and images from the Gulf Coast.

For more information call Bing Broderick at 617-445-0900.The Haley House Bakery Cafe is located in the parking lot at 2139 Washington Street, Roxbury. visit the HALEY HOUSE CAFE BAKERY website

41 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #11The Color of Film Collaborative, Inc. & ROOTZ TO RHYTHM tv thank all who attended our Special Event, The Official dvd & cd RELEASE PARTY of the film ONE LOVE, in March at RCC where we had the co-star of the movie, CHERINE ANDERSON as our special guest, along with Boston’s talented reggae performers: IGINA, D!ARRYVAL and ANDREW G.

Here are some comments from those who attended the screening: “…Thank you for opening that movie to the Boston community. It was REALLY good! Hopefully, more quality movies like that will come out of Jamaica and marketed abroad…” “Fantastic. I loved it.”

“…a complete experience to come to a public setting and see a Black love story that ends on a positive note with such talented young people…” “…Better than The Harder They Come…”

“It was really an immense pleasure to attend the ONE LOVE event. I enjoyed watching a bunch of our young, Black people show-casing their talents. Also, I enjoyed the movie, including the young woman from Jamaica who played the lead role…She was wonderful…” “…Proud to be a Jamaican tonight.”

The Official ONE LOVE dvd and cd are the first of many quality, independent films and products available to you, through TCOF. Hopefully, these remarks will move you to support this independent film by ordering your own Official ONE LOVE dvd for $20 and Official soundtrack for $16 by emailing an order to robin@coloroffilm.com. As the only distributor to donate proceeds from sales of the Official ONE LOVE product to The Jamaica Hurricane Relief efforts, we ask you to take up this cause with us, leave the bootleg copy at the barber shop and get an OFFICIAL copy for your home library, from The Color of Film.

16 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #11THE COLOR OF FILM joins the First Weekend Club ©, sponsored by the Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center (BHERC) to promote the idea to Boston movie goers, the importance of going out to see a movie on the first weekend of its release, which is the crucial Hollywood moment. Club members pledge to support movies on the first weekend of release, and encourage other filmgoers to do the same. The Club is designed to financially advocate approval of African American themed films, in addition to those that portray people of color in a more diverse, three-dimensional way. The importance of BHERC is seen in its national appeal. Since its inception, club membership has increased to more than 37,000 filmgoers, with chapters in Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, North Carolina, Oakland, Philadelphia, Pittsburg, Sacramento, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, D.C. and now, Boston, with the efforts of The Color of Film.

To join the TCOF/First Weekend Club, email your name and phone number to robin@coloroffilm.com with First Weekend Club in the subject line.

61 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #11Please join The Color of Film on Tuesday, APRIL 11, 6:30pm, at The Boston Public Library, Copley Sq. Branch, or on Thursday, APRIL 20, 6:30pm at Roxbury Community College’s Media Arts Center, for the screening of SALEM MEKURIA’s documentary on DOROTHY WEST, “AS I REMEMBER IT” as part of TCOF’s “Monthly Screening & Staged Readings Series.”

“AS I REMEMBER IT” explores this rich history through Dorothy West’s eyes and words. We see the Boston of “THE LIVING IS EASY”, the Vineyard of Dorothy’s numerous articles, and short stories; we relive her intimate memories of the Harlem Renaissance; travel with her to Russia; and meet some of those brilliant women who refused to be crushed under the double yoke of rampant racism and sexism. Weaving this story with extensive archival film footage, photographs, correspondence and news clips of the Harlem Renaissance, Russia and early Boston, “AS I REMEMBER IT” presents a story that is not only fresh but stimulating and enlightening.

SALEM MEKURIA, is Associate Professor of Art at Wellesley College. A filmmaker, Professor Mekuria teaches art history and studio courses in film history and video production. Mekuria, originally from Ethiopia, now based in Boston, is an active film producer, writer, and director whose work is exhibited internationally. For a number of years, she worked with NOVA, PBS’s premier science documentary series, and with numerous international film productions focusing on issues of African women and development. She has produced several award-winning documentary films and a video installation. Her work-in-progress includes a feature film screenplay and a video installation project for the Ethiopian millennium celebration in 2007.

62 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #11On Friday, APRIL 7, The Bank of America’s Celebrity Series presents South Africa’s SOWETO GOSPEL CHOIR, after a sold- out performance in February of 2005. This encore special will be held at The Boston Symphony Hall, 8pm, as part of their 46-city US tour. Call CelebrityCharge at 617- 482-6661 or click the image on the right, to go to the Celebrity Series website for ticket information.

The remarkable life and stellar career of legendary singer, NAT KING COLE comes to the Stoneham Theatre in UNFORGETTABLE: THE NAT KING COLE STORY, from MARCH 30 until APRIL 15, featuring Broadway star, MONROE KENT III as Nat King Cole, the beloved superstar whose tremendous appeal transcended the boundaries of race, culture and geography. Call the Stoneham Theatre Box Office at 781- 279- 2200 or go to www.stonehamtheatre.org for more information.

The Sweet Mother Tour (SMT), a global youth movement with a mission to use the tools of popular culture to present empowering images of Africa & the African Diaspora, will host its first annual Conference & Benefit Concert at Harvard University entitled “Youth and the New Pan-African Renaissance: Rebuilding Africa for the 21st Century,” in partnership with various student leaders from Harvard, UMass, Simmons and BU this weekend. On Sat. APRIL 8, the SMT will host a Benefit Concert featuring the Diaspora Funk Movement (DFM) spearheaded by critically- acclaimed Boston-based groups Soulfège (www.soulfege.com) and THE FOUNDATION MOVEMENT (www.foundationhiphop.net). Joining them will be slam-poet IYEOKA (www.iyeoka.com), featured on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, and closing out the night from NY, DJs FABIAN ALSULTANY and DEREK BERES of GLOBESONIC SOUND SYSTEM (www.globesonic.com). All proceeds from the SMT Benefit Concert will go to the Selula Sandla AME Village, a home for HIV orphans in Swaziland; and Liberty Hall, the former offices of Marcus Garvey, today a youth center teaching cultural literacy and computer skills to children in the toughest ghettoes of Kingston Jamaica. The SMT Benefit Concert will be broadcast live to a global audience at www.sweetmother.org. Concert details at www.BostonsOwn.com.

On Thursday, APRIL 13, COMMUNITY CHANGE hosts a free film screening of “Class Dismissed: How TV Frames The Working Class” and discussion with filmmaker PEPI LEISTYNA, 6:30 – 8:30pm at UMass Boston’s Campus Center, Room 3540, to discuss why media activists must be connected to a larger movement for economic, racial, and social equality. Moderated by John Grebe of WZBC’s “Sounds of Dissent.” Leistyna’s film breaks important new ground in exploring the ways in which race, gender, and sexually intersect with class, offering a more complex reading of television’s often one- dimensional representations. It also links television portrayals to negative cultural attitudes and public policies that directly affect the lives of working class people.

The FAITH QUILTS PROJECT and GRAND EXHIBITION, plus a weekend of performances will be at the Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont Street, Boston, APRIL 7-10, 2006. All events are free. The Faith Quilts Project was founded by fabric artist Clara Wainwright (the Founder of First Night) to help diverse communities of faith around Boston to gather together in conversation and creativity. Fifty-seven Faith Quilts will be on view in the Grand Exhibition. Within the circle of quilts, there will be a number of events that explore faith through a variety of art forms, as well as opportunity for dialogue. For info call 617-971-9340.

63 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #11A $1000 cash prize and a staged reading of your play await the winner. AMERICAN REPERTORY THEATRE (A.R.T.) in Cambridge announced a new playwriting contest “DISCOVERING JUSTICE THROUGH A.R.T.,” which the Harvard Square based theater says it intends to make an annual event. The contest is co-sponsored by DISCOVERING JUSTICE, a group interested in civic education.

Here are the rules: The winning entry will be an historical, educational theater piece suitable for students in grades 8 – 12, with interest for adult audiences as well. The one-act play will be at least 45 minutes in length, but no longer than one hour, and will be able to be performed by no more than 5 actors.

You must chose between two topics for your script: 1) The 1781 case of slave Elizabeth Freeman, known as Mum Bett (pictured above) and the 1783 case of Quock Walker and their significance in eventually abolishing slavery in Massachusetts; or 2) Shay’s Rebellion which was against unsettled economic conditions and against politicians and laws which were grossly unfair to farmers and working people in general.

Should the winning play win lots of applause, then a fully staged version will be produced at the Zero Arrow Theatre and then go into residence in the John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse or the John Adams Courthouse (home of the Massachusetts Supreme Court), both in Boston. The play will become a part of a program to connect students with their nation’s legal history. Deadline for submission is Sept. 1, 2006. DISCOVERING JUSTICE website for details

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The Color of Film Collaborative is a non-profit organization that supports and fosters the individuals and organizations in the creation of diverse images of people of color in film, video, theater and other media, by providing artists with opportunities to exhibit, distribute and find funding for their work, as well as provide a supportive environment where they can share and develop their ideas, their vision and their work with their peers. About Us

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