Kay Bourne Arts Report – Issue #12

April 13th, 2006  |  Published in Kay Bourne Arts Report


by Kay Bourne
80 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #12 SHANA TURNER was devastated when her older brother was killed, and as she grieved, she realized there were other sorrows in her soul as well. She responded through art and by bringing other young women in Dorchester with sadness in their lives into a group where they could voice their discontents.

The teen-aged founder and director of “Reflect and Strengthen” spoke April 9, on a panel, “The Artist as Cassandra: Searching for Direction in Responses to Tragedy.” This event in the Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts was staged as one of many activities to do with THE FAITH QUILTS PROJECT, an artistic reflection on faith, by Boston area quilters following the tragedy of 9/11.

“My organization was created,” said Turner, “to build relationships between young women taught to hate themselves and each other.”

Turner and the others have found that, “art is a way to claim our stories and to build a sisterhood. We do that through step dance, drumming, plays, writing a poem. We perform before audiences and this is when the transformation happens.”

Turner sees that same power of interaction of the people who sewed the fifty-four quilts that were created for The Faith Quilts Project under the artistic direction of Clara Wainwright. For more information about the exquisite wall hangings, click Shana’s image above.

Turner said one of her favorite quilts in the exhibit is “Hands of Faith” created by youth and adults of People’s Baptist Church in the South End, led by coordinating quilter L’Merchie Frazier, and pictured above. The quilt’s subject reflects on the faith of survivors of Hurricane Katrina and the faith of everyday people. Begun as an after school project for children, the quilters increased over the two year period to be an inter-generational group ranging from 7 to 80 year-olds.

The hands are symbols of healing and help, the dolls represent the people, and the houses at the top of the quilt invoke shelter from the storm. Included in the quilt are quotations from the Bible with the central reference “In my house there are many mansions.”

Turner said she is taken by the sense of unity the quilt projects and “the colors, the creativity, the spirit, and how the design goes from the bottom up.

“Visually, it’s just beautiful,” she said.

During school vacation week and until April 30, the quilts can be seen in various locations: Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists, 300 Walnut St. in Roxbury (which will have special programming Sunday, April 23. Phone 617-442-8014 for more info); the Boston Public Library in Copley Sq., the Great Hall in Codman Square, 6 Norfolk St. in Dorchester, and Cloud Place, 647 Boylston St. in Copley Sq. which will present an evening of poetry and music on Saturday, April 22, exploring Islamic and Jewish Visionary and Devotional traditions from the middle ages.

The grand finale of The Faith, Arts and Community celebration, presented by The Faith Quilts Project will be on Thursday, April 27, 7pm at The Trinity Church in Copley Sq. featuring a 12-piece ensemble of musicians, organized by Northeastern University’s music professor, Leonard Brown. The jazz mastery of John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme,” one of the 20th century’s great pieces of sacred music will be presented, free to the public. For more information about the various events, times and locations of The Faith, Arts and Community programming, call 617-507-3066.

by Kay Bourne
79 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #12It’s school vacation week, AGAIN, and you are asking yourself, AGAIN, “What are we going to do with the kids, this time around?” Well, THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, BOSTON , (MFA) has many activities planned out for you – to take advantage of during the week of April 18th – April 21st. (Closed on Patriot’s Day, April 17.)


Make Your Own Museum
Children find their inner architect by designing a museum of their own. A self-guided tour of special doorways in the MFA’s collection is followed by artmaking activities including sculpting mini Japanese courtyards and making stained glass windows.

Postcard Making and Exchange
Those age six and up can enjoy the 3rd Annual Postcard Exchange with children from the MFA’s sister Museum in Nagoya, Japan. Kids are encouraged to look at objects in the collection for inspiration, then design their own postcards. The theme this year is objects that signify luck!

Family Place
in the Lower Rotunda
Activities for the whole family including games, puzzles, and drawing are offered by museum instructors, launching kids into explorations of art from around the world.

Art InterACTions with the Underground Railway Theater at Noon and 1 p.m. in The Torf Gallery – Taking inspiration from the works on view in Degas to Picasso: Modern Masters, the Underground Railway Theatre generates fun for the whole family through informative improvisation.

Sidewalk Sam on Friday April 21, 10am to 4pm at the Huntington Entrance – Leave your own mark at the MFA by creating sidewalk art with Sidewalk Sam and his team around the Huntington Entrance driveway.

Art in Bloom Family Day “Young and Art” on Saturday, April 22, 11am to 3pm – The MFA invites children and families to share the wonder of Art in Bloom, when special activities for all ages will be offered throughout the galleries. Family Day will include activities such as Flower Theater with Kidstock, gallery crafts and activities, an opera for families, and drawing with Sidewalk Sam.

Vacation Week activities at the MFA run daily from 10am to 4pm, free for children 17 and under with a paid adult admission. For more information, call The Museum of Fine Arts at 617-369-3300 or visit the website, linked below.

MFA Spring Vacation info

by Lisa Simmons
81 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #12“Love of my people”, is what CHARLES MUHAMMAD said when I asked him why he created the URBAN MUSIC AWARDS. With over twenty performers, twice the awards AND an after-party to-end-all after-parties, it would have to be for the ‘love of something’ to keep him charged, because Charles Muhammad is not sleeping much these days, being the busy entrepreneur, that he is.

Understanding there is alot of musical talent in Boston that is not getting seen or recognized at other more mainstream Boston award shows, Charles Muhammad and a team of dedicated individuals said “it’s time for us to take charge of our destiny.” And charge forward they have. In just a few short months, they have worked to bring in some incredible talent, presenters, and urban energy to the Berklee Performance Center this Saturday.

As a Muslim, Muhammad is very committed to creating and supporting music that is clean, not vulgar, and that brings people together, not divide them. “Society,” he says “dictates the direction that we are going in. Sex sells, but sex doesn’t have to sell.” For him, he would like to see the industry go back to clean, where there was more music you could bring the family (the human family) to hear and see.

Having been in the music industry for over 30 years, Muhammad remembers the old Boston’s Best and Black. “It just stopped” he says and now he feels it is time to create something like that, again. This event will grow, he hopes, to a multi-day event offering seminars and workshops on how to create a portfolio of your work and learn how to market yourself as a musician.

It’s all good, clean, family entertainment. Better yet, leave the kids at home. Being the first weekend of school vacation week, and all, this may be the only night out to yourselfs.

1st ANNUAL URBAN MUSIC AWARDS, APRIL 15 at 6:30pm at The Berklee Performance, 136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA. Tickets are $25 and $35, available at Berklee Box Office, Ticketmaster and A Nubian Notions. The Official After Party will be at berries Boston, beginning 9pm, at 182 Dudley Street, Roxbury (at Hibernian Hall – next to the fire station). After party tickets are $20, or $10 if you present a ticketstub from the Urban Music Awards.

By the way, when you’re up late night or driving in the city between 12 midnight and 8am, tune in to Charles on PowerFM 102.1FM in Boston and PowerFM 101.3FM Metro South for the best slow jams around.

URBAN MUSIC AWARDS tickets at ticketmaster

75 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #12Young readers and future authors, ages 10 to 18, may participate in The “READING AND RHYMING IN HISTORY WITH COOTA” writing contest. Call 617-238-2460 to ask for an application. The deadline is April 30, and the prizes include US Savings Bonds and more.

COOTA AND THE MAGIC QUILT, is the first of the “Coota Experiences” trilogy by HAYWOOD FENNELL, SR., of Boston. Fennell has taken his book and created The Coota Literacy Enrichment Pilot Program, with the purpose of fueling an interest in reading and getting kids to think about the importance of talking to each other respectfully, rather than with the use of racial and ethnic slurs. The program is geared to increasing literacy and bridging the literacy gap.

Visit The Coota Experiences website, by clicking the book’s image, above.Order COOTA AND THE MAGIC QUILT books here

excerpts from The Harvard Crimson
84 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #12Last month, Harvard University’s president announced that families earning less than $60,000 a year will no longer be expected to pay for their children to attend Harvard College.

The newly expanded financial aid program, which will also reduce the contributions of families with annual incomes between $60,000 and $80,000, is expected to cover more than 1,500 students “nearly a quarter of the College in the next academic year,” Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, William R. Fitzsimmons and Director of Financial Aid, Sally C. Donahue stated, in a joint interview.

Harvard jumps to the head of a pack of top universities that are expanding financial aid for undergraduates from low- income and middle-class families.Harvard College Admissions Department

by Caldwell Titcomb
86 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #12The celebrated black jazz pianist and singer, NAT KING COLE (1919-65) is impressively brought to life by MONROE KENT III at the STONEHAM THEATRE, this being the finale weekend.

In a one-man play, written in 1995 by Londoners, Clarke Peters and Larrington Walker, entitled “Unforgettable: The Nat King Cole Story,” Kent is joined by guitarist Edison Herbert, pianist Jesse Hautala, and bassist Justin Gilbert to intersperse the text with some twenty musical numbers from Cole’s repertoire.

The son of an Alabama preacher, Nathaniel Adams Coles, as a teenager dropped the ‘s’ from his surname and was urged to take a new middle name from the familiar children’s song “Old King Cole.” In 1937, Cole as pianist, formed a jazz trio which gradually made headway in California.

In this show, the first act has a vanity table and clothes rack on one side, and an upright piano on the other, with the trio in shirtsleeves. Cole wears a dressing gown, and portrays not only himself as a child and adult but also his dad and his valet, moving smoothly from one character to another.

Kent makes it clear that “I’m just a pianist,” though he doesn’t actually play in this show. But he reveals that he is one marvelous singer, as Cole himself eventually did, when he co-wrote his first major hit, “Straighten Up and Fly Right,” inspired by one of his father’s sermons.

The play details how racist neighbors in Los Angeles burned N-I-G-G-E-R into the lawn of the home he bought in 1949. And he was briefly induced to whiten his face with lightening cream. He exits in Act I by proclaiming, “I gotta get this stuff off my face.”

In Act II, Cole’s increasing success is obvious from the fact that the upright has been replaced by a grand piano and all four performers are now formally attired in tuxedos. In November of 1956, the NBC network gave Cole a regular 15- minute television slot, the first variety show headlined by a African American performer. NBC increased the time to a half hour the following July. But sponsors stayed away, and the network, absorbing a loss, finally threw in the towel, in December of 1957. Cole’s recordings for Capitol Records, however, continued to sell briskly. (Capitol became known as “the house that Nat built”.)

The play does not hide the fact that Cole was a heavy cigarette smoker, which was doubtless the major cause of the lung cancer that killed him at the age of 45.

Among the songs that Kent offers us are “Sweet Lorraine,” “Yes Sir That’s My Baby,” “Smile” (by Charlie Chaplin, who was indeed a composer, as well as a performer), “Besame Mucho,” and “Paper Moon.” Nobody could surpass his rendition of Hoagy Carmichael’s “Stardust” in the first act, and with the guitarist moving to downstage center, “Mona Lisa,” in the second. It’s nice to be reminded of popular music with outstanding melody and harmony, features that were rare in ensuing decades.

As an encore, Kent performs the song that gives the show its name: the 1951 “Unforgettable.” I am old enough to have seen the real Cole. He was indeed unforgettable, and so is Kent.Purchase tickets to this weekend’s final performances here

83 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #12THE ROXBURY CENTER FOR ARTS at Hibernian Hall presents a lecture demonstration with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s KIRVEN BOYD, CLIFTON BROWN & ANTONIO DOUTHIT, next Wednesday at 7pm. This rare opportunity is free and open to the public. Families with children 5 years and older are welcome. For info call John at 617-541-3900 x2324.

41 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #12The 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 #12THE 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.

by Robin Saunders
61 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #12The lexis and language of DOROTHY WEST actually are ‘stimulating and enlightening.’ Ms. West is like that one favorite, great aunt you loved to go visit with your mother and grandmother, some Saturdays when you were a kid. Her recollections are humorous, thoughtful and thought provoking, reminiscent of a sweet, carefree, time-gone-by. Yet, some of her memories, sadly and strangely, resemble life, as some know and feel it, even now.

How has life and the pursuit of happiness and The American Dream changed, or not changed, since the early 20s 30s and 40s, for African American families and artists residing in Boston? Compare and decide for yourself, on Thursday, APRIL 20, 6:30pm at Roxbury Community College’s Media Arts Center, for The Color of Film’s screening of SALEM MEKURIA’s documentary on DOROTHY WEST, “AS I REMEMBER IT” as part of TCOF’s “Monthly Screening & Staged Readings Series” at RCC.

“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.

85 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #12CONCERNED BLACK MEN OF MASSACHUSETTS, Inc. invites you and your family to join its founders, parents and students for the 17th Annual Andrew J. Davis UNITY BREAKFAST on Saturday, APRIL 22, 9am – noon, at The Cambridge Center Marriott, Kendall Square. The celebrity guest speaker is RANDAL PINKETT, the winner of last season’s THE APPRENTICE with Donald Trump. Proceeds will benefit the Paul Robeson Institute for Positive Self Development, which provides academic and social enrichment to over one hundred young men weekly. For ticket information, click here.

Sixth 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. Staged at 200 The Riverway, Wheelock College and running until May 14. Recommended for ages 4 and up. Click here to purchase tickets, priced $16 to $20 and group discount for 15+. Call 617-879-2300 for vacation week matinee schedule and further information, or click here for Wheelock Family Theatre website.

WORLD MUSIC presents a family event on Saturday APRIL 22, 8pm and Sunday, APRIL 23 3pm at Berklee Performance Center with THE CHILDREN OF UGANDA. With boundless exuberance, pulsing rhythms, and songs of joy and hope, these 20 award-winning ‘Children of Uganda,’ ages eight to eighteen, perform an exhilarating program of East African music and dance, as ambassadors for Uganda’s HIV/AIDS and war-related orphans. Tickets available from the Berklee Box Office, Ticketmaster and World Music for $37 $32 and $28 Group rates also available. Call 617-876-4275 for more information.

63 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #12A $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

82 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #12The community is invited to attend the final, two-hour celebration at Northeastern’s John D. O’Bryant’s INSTITUTE, at the location we all know and will forever hold dear, 40 Leon Street, on Northeastern’s campus in Roxbury, this Saturday, APRIL 15 starting at 1pm.

After years of committed service to NU’s students of Color, and the neighboring African American community-at-large, The ‘Tute will be closing the doors of its stand-alone structure, in anticipation of its relocation within Building F, which is adjacent to the reminiscent, 40 Leon Street locale. For more information about the event, The Institute’s relocation, and services offered to students and community, call Director, Lulu Petty-Edwards at 617-373- 3143.

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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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