Kay Bourne Arts Report – Issue #13

Contents

ARTS, MENTAL HEALTH, AND THE COMMUNITY

SENSORY BEE BOP

RAGTIME SETS THE STAGE WITH A MIGHTY CAST

AKEELAH INSPIRES, DARES TO DREAM AND SOARS

OPERA, COMEDY & KIDS

BUY INDIE FILMS THRU TCOF

THE FIRST WEEKEND CLUB – NOW IN BOSTON

APRIL 20 – RELIVE THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE

UPCOMING EVENTS

PLAYWRITING CONTEST


ARTS, MENTAL HEALTH, AND THE COMMUNITY

by Nina LaNegra, founder, Roxbury Media Institute

left: RHONDA ROSS

69507b67b7c330cbeb98c67e1f3b123f.81.124 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #13 After battling depression for decades without telling anyone, public relations mogul, TERRIE WILLIAMS stopped suffering in silence. And she discovered that speaking out about her condition was a path to her recovery.

Recently she sat on a panel at the Harvard University Science Center, “Inform Your Mind. Fuel Your Spirit: Mental Awareness in the Black Community.” Other notables joining the discussion were Dr. ALVIN POUSSAINT, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School (and advisor to “The Bill Cosby Show,”) Dr. ALTHA STEWART, president of the American Psychiatric Foundation, and Emmy Award nominee actress, singer and writer RHONDA ROSS.

Ross said it came as a shock when she learned that the man she called “Dad,” was not her biological father and that while her sisters were bi-racial, she was not. Her mom, Diana Ross, told Rhonda, then age 13, that Berry Gordy was her “real” father.

Rhonda, who wrote about her adjusting to a new identity in “Essence” magazine last fall, said that sharing her story helps her find a wholesome life view and self esteem that had been shaken.

Williams, whose talent agency represents a who’s who in the entertainment business, now also works toward removing the social stigma attached to mental illness and bringing solutions to light. “Depression is at the root of so many issues in our community,” she believes: “In the way we over eat, drink, suffer from diabetes, heart diseases and other illnesses, have irresponsible sex, and kill each other. Suffering in silence gives our problems greater power over us.

A good resource for information and support is the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) that can be reached at www.nami.org. A representative attended the panel which was sponsored by the W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University. The event was funded by a grant from Eli Lily.


SENSORY BEE BOP

by Kay Bourne

4edb66032cfd628b8fdaa419894d4b97.124.71 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #13 “See, Hear, Feel the Music!” read the profoundly apt come-on for LISA THORSON‘s recent concert “JazzArtSigns.” As Northeastern faculty member, Janet K. Marcous so joyfully described the night, “it left me feeling incredibly happy and with a sense of freedom that I don’t often feel because I am deafblind.”

The capacity audience that wended its way that night, March 9, into the Wheelock Family Theatre (a sponsor with Very Special Arts of Massachusetts) had a sizeable component not seen often enough at art events. The word was out that individuals in wheelchairs were welcome as were the visually and hearing impaired and folks with other disabilities. Perhaps too, they identified with vocalist Thorson who is herself wheelchair bound. Then too Wheelock Family Theatre, now in its 25th year, has all along had the vision of making arts available to everyone.

“Tonight we’re going to have an elegant taste of what is possible,” said Wheelock Family Theatre producer Susan Kosoff. How right she was!

So with ASL interpreters Jody Steiner and Misha Derissaint in place on stage on a platform behind the performers and audio describer Vince Lombardi situated in the audience ready at the keyboard to transcribe what was said and sung so it could be read as running text on a lit marquee, the music began. Oh! and not to forget, also on stage was improvisational artist NANCY OSTROVSKY (pictured above) who stood before a huge canvas at the ready to paint her impressions of the sounds she heard in colorful and lavish acrylic splashes and sweeps.

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