Kay Bourne Arts Report – Issue #18

Contents

ROXBURY’S ROOTS IN COMEDY

SHAKESPEARE IS ALIVE AND WELL IN ROXURY

KONG SPOTTED IN TOWN – (TIX GIVEAWAY)

COMEDIANNE WANDA SYKES IS PROFILED

RAGTIME and CAROLINE OR CHANGE EXTENDED

THE ZION TRAIN HITS DORCHESTER JUNE 10

LIVE AND BECOME ENCORE

TO BE OR NOT TO BE MUTANT

ONE LOVE DVD’s ON SALE

PLANTING MOON POW-WOW & WEEKEND FESTIVAL

UPCOMING EVENTS

SAVE THESE DATES!


ROXBURY’S ROOTS IN COMEDY

by Kay Bourne

2b4aa7d9ecc0d863a7853f1e0c53e734.100.124 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #18 One of Hollywood’s favorite comedic stars came to the silver screen straight out of Roxbury.

When ALLEN CLAYTON HOSKINS, Jr. acted in his first “Our Gang” shorts as “Farina,”he was only one years old. Born Aug. 9, 1920, Hoskins appeared in over 105 of the entertaining films over a nine year period making the transition from silent film to “talkies.”

Hoskins acted in more of the “Our Gang” comedies than any one else, and he and the chubby Joe Cobb were the most popular of the child stars in the series both with audiences and the movie executives.

The head of the studio Hal Roach once said that “they were both excellent and so well behaved too. But I think Farina particularly was one of the finest natural actors we had in the Gang. He could cry great big tears in just a few seconds. You’d think his heart was breaking then they’d cut the camera and he’d be back playing again.” (This quotation, along with much of information for this profile, came from “Our Gang/The Life And Times of the Little Rascals” by Leonard Maltin and Richard W. Bann, Crown Publishers Inc, 1979.)

Arguably, Hollywood’s first black child star, Allen Hoskins’s last contract for the series gave him $350 a week, more than any other kid (even Jackie Cooper) was earning at the time. Most of the children started at $30 a week.

Many years later, when the “Our Gang” film shorts played on television, the name of the series was changed to “The Little Rascals.”

An allusion to the “Our Gang” comedies provides an important moment in the musical about American society at the start of the 1900′s, “RAGTIME,” the superb production, nearing the end of its run, this Sunday, at New Repertory Theatre in Watertown.

Hoskins found some work in the movies after “Our Gang,” however, the war intervened. “Time” magazine juxtaposed “then and now” photos showing a tiny Farina with melting grin beside a husky, close cropped Army private Allen Clayton Hoskins.

After World War II, Hoskins returned to Hollywood but found he couldn’t get steady enough work in films, so he changed careers.

To separate himself from his Farina celebrity and establish a new identity as a licensed psychological counselor, he moved near San Francisco. There he became supervising director of adult workshop programs at the Alameda County Association for the Mentally Retarded.

Married and with six children, Hoskins also founded a company for creative projects called Alfran. In 1975 he was inducted into the Black Filmmakers’ Hall of Fame. He died of cancer five years later, at age 59.

Purchase RAGTIME tickets here


SHAKESPEARE IS ALIVE AND WELL IN ROXURY

by Kay Bourne. photo by Michelle Aguillon

513115a680821cf1adcc3f4eab8a5297.109.124 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #18Michelle M. Aguillon’s rollicking production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is lots of fun – - – and commendable for the clarity she has brought to a story that’s a hilarious muddle.

You have only one more weekend to enjoy this light hearted fare at the Roxbury Center for the Arts at Hibernian Hall. Tickets are only $15 with seniors and students $13. Group rates are negotiable by contacting michelle@hoveyplayers.com. The show is a joint production between the newly renovated RCAHH and Hovey Players.

There’s a morning matinee Friday, MAY 26 at 10 am and evening performances MAY 26 and 27, at 8 pm. For more information go online to Roxbury Center for the Arts, below, or call 781-893-9171. This is the debut season for plays at Hibernian Hall which ACT Roxbury hopes to make steady fare for the Dudley Station area.

Shakespeare’s popular comedy takes place in Athens in a nearby forest, doubtless, sweetly smelling of the pines that give the city a wonderful fragrance.

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