Kay Bourne Arts Report – Issue #28

December 8th, 2006  |  Published in Kay Bourne Arts Report

Contents
HOLIDAY SHOPPING IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
URBAN NUTCRACKER DAZZLES
TRIBUTE TO BENNY ANDREWS
DREAM SOLDIERS PROTECT DREAMGIRL
GROWING PAINS OF A BUBBLY BLACK GIRL
HIGH PRICE TO PAY FOR DIAMONDS
“CHILDREN OF MEN” TELLS STORY OF HOPE
LAUGH, CRY, BLUSH WITH LEGUIZAMO TELL ALL
Thousands Gather for Gerald Levert’s Memorial Service
ONE LOVE DVD’s
UPCOMING EVENTS


HOLIDAY SHOPPING IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
by Kay Bourne
(Pictured: Candelaria Silva and artist Bobby Crayton)
Photo by Kay Bourne

243 590x398 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #28Holiday Shopping is a breeze if you try the plentiful arts and crafts spots in Roxbury. A ‘Discovery Roxbury’ trolley tour did the walking for us last Saturday, and with ACT Roxbury’s director Candelaria Silva in the lead, we touched down in four desirable shopping locations.

Jamaicaway Books on Centre Street in Jamaica Plain is the ideal spot for purchasing fiction and non-fiction by authors of color, and all others, as well. There is also a wonderful array of art prints and handmade articles, from Kwanzaa sets to African American tree ornaments. Rosalind Elder, who also operated Treasured Legacy in Copley Place, has a considerably larger space here with lots of chairs so you can browse to your hearts content.

Set off from the large and airy gallery at the Piano Craft Building is a tiny shop, with choice items from artists who live in the building and others. Theresa India Young showed us the gorgeous wares. She, by the way, is a fabric artist who does a specialty line, Tassels by T. These delightful hand-woven ornaments can be put to work as hair adornment, clothing accents, drapery ornaments, wall hangings, or what-ever imaginative use you might devise.

The gallery itself will become a holiday bazaar in the weekends left in December with artists manning booths of their creations. And, in the same building at 791 Tremont Street, Ekua Holmes will be holding her Artful Gifts Open House, Saturday and Sunday, December 9 & 10, from 12 -6pm on the 2nd floor, Suite N200. Paul Goodnight, who puts together original art calendars annually, is sharing in this event. His Color Circle Art will be in Suite N102.

Waiting for a bus in Dudley Station? Stop by A Nubian Notion for a huge selection of Afrocentric greeting cards. There are cases of holiday art as well and CDs to insure you have a jolly, holly spirit.

Down the street, at the Roxbury Center for the Arts , ACT Roxbury’s home, you’ll find the ground floor has been transformed into a holiday store boasting arts and crafts from many of the community’s outstanding artisans. Located at next to the Dudley Street firestation at 182-186 Dudley Street, Suite 100 you can take your pick of Bobby Crayton’s Asiko Leather handcrafted bags, Monicka Hansan’s cards and prints, Darlene Smart’s etched glass (she’ll do commissioned designs as well), Bernadette Johnson’s jewelry, Sheila Springfield’s beaded jewelry, and more.

Below, please visit ACT Roxbury’s website, and for more holiday shopping ideas, see the “Roxbury is Rich” Holiday Shopping Guide section at the bottom right corner of that web page, or call ACT Roxbury at
617-541-3900 x2323
and request a copy.

ACT Roxbury website


URBAN NUTCRACKER DAZZLES
By Kay Bourne
(Pictured: Isaac De Los Reyes rehearses with guidance of Tony Williams for the flamenco style dancing in “Urban Nutcracker.” Isaac’s custom made leather boots have 50 tiny nails in each heel and another 30 or so little nails on the bottom of the toe.)
photo credit Kay Bourne

245 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #28“These are dark dances, dances of sorrow, as when there is a break-up with a girlfriend. It’s like being a bull fighter,” explains the young flamenco master dancer Isaac De Los Reyes, 26. He is a romantic. When he dances with his musicians, he says that the lyrics and the rhythms drive him and the stories bring him to tears.

The dance is exhausting. “There are moments when I can’t breathe. I give everything I have. It doesn’t matter if I kill myself.”

“But this is my life,” continues De Los Reyes, who rehearses six and seven hours a day, “and I am very passionate in life and flamenco is very passionate.” Isaac is the son of Ramon de Los Reyes and Clara Ramond, well known in Boston as flamenco dancers and choreographers. Isaac was born in Boston, living in Dorchester until age ten. His family moved back to his father’s homeland, Spain, when Isaac was a teenager. Following Isaac’s appearance in “Urban Nutcracker” he travels to do concerts in Hong Kong and then the Philippines.

Flamenco meets tap in this year’s “Urban Nutcracker” in a battle of the dancers: De Los Reyes vs. Khalid Hill, an original dancer in Savion Glover’s “Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk.” De Los Reyes says that flamenco differs from tap in that “there is more pounding. Flamenco is more on earth, tap is more in the air.” He says of the ‘battle’ that, “it’s going to be incredible. I feel the electricity already in rehearsals.”

The flamenco is the newest addition to a show that delights audiences with its mix of ballet, swing, hip hop, and urban tap, a Tchaikovsky classical score and Duke Ellington music. It’s the dream child of Anthony Williams, founder of Ballet Rox which presents the annual re-imagining of E.T.A. Hoffman’s classic Christmas time story.

De Ama Battle, founder and artistic director of Art of Black Dance and Music, says the ‘battle’ is “why I’m going to “Urban Nutcracker” this year. “I want to see how they put those two dance styles together, how the languages of tap and flamenco speak to each other. Just as the drum drives tap, so the guitar and the song drive flamenco that the dance reinterprets with his feet and castanets.”

The sixth edition of “Urban Nutcracker” is set for nine performances at The Back Bay Events Center , formerly known as The John Hancock Hall, 180 Berkeley Street in downtown Boston. The show opens December 8. Click the link below to visit the Urban Nutcracker website for more information and to purchase tickets, or call Ticket Fusion toll free at 877-548-3237.

Urban Nutcracker info and tickets


TRIBUTE TO BENNY ANDREWS
by E. Barry Gaither
(pictured: Benny Andrews’ illustration for children’s book “John Lewis in the Lead – A Story of the Civil Rights Movement” by Jim Haskins and Kathleen Benson)

250 590x514 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #28With a scraggly beard and screechy voice, Benny Andrew was a decidedly “populist” artist and activist. Born in grating poverty in the rural Georgia, he became a nationally important painter of a South, infused not with romanticism, but rather, with a critical edge. Like many other prominent Southerners that ascended to the national stage—Jimmy Carter, Eudora Welty, Bill Clinton, John Lewis—he knew both poor blacks and whites intimately, and never broke his bond with either. His colorful characters—aunts with fancy hats and farmers in overalls—are endowed with a humanity forged by hardship. As kudzu informed the world of poet James Dickey, sharecropping informed Benny’s. Yet despite the bitter exploitation and racial violence that attended sharecropping, Benny Andrews became a deeply caring man with a profound commitment to fairness and a keen, forceful dedication to justice. Andrews died of cancer at his home in Brooklyn, Friday, November 10, his wife Nene Humphrey said.

Active in New York, Andrews gained distinction for his drawings and his paintings. The drawings are noteworthy for their extreme economy. Without crosshatches or washes, his unadorned lines flow across the broad expanse of the paper capturing and concentrating the emotionality of his often-figurative subjects. Free of curvilinear elaborations that might obscure their directness, Andrews’ drawings achieve an uncommon expressive purity. They are the visual equivalent of an acapella voice that has distilled an ancient ballad and now delivers it with clarity and poignancy.

Andrews’ paintings are complex not just in how they are produced, but also in the critical perspective often embedded in their narrative. If his experiences growing up in the agricultural South of the mid-twentieth century acquainted him with rough materials—coarse cotton, splintered wood—he turned this to his advantage. He developed an approach to painting that some found brutalistic, wherein he would cut and paste raised pieces of canvas or other materials such as denim or steel wool to create his figures and lift portions of them from the pictorial surface. He would then freely paint over the relief portions uniting them with the flat ground. Sometimes, the additions would be angular, jutting out violently and giving the work an overall quality of intriguing but uncomfortable intensity. The hint of sculpture suggested by introducing relief to the pictorial plane is fully realized in three-dimensional works such as Man and his history where a variety of mixed media are used. Aspects of his art that demanded visual attention include his inventive choice of materials, and the raw physicality of his surfaces. Indeed, much of his work is as striking for its visceral presence as for its beauty.

Andrews remained fundamentally a narrative artist, participating in the rich Southern tradition of storytelling. His stories, however, were often counter narratives, critical of lies and political misrepresentations. His huge multi-paneled ‘Bicentennial Series’, shown at Roxbury’s Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists (NCAAA) in l975, directly attacked militarism, sexism, and racism. Iconographically complex, it introduced, among others, the War Bitch draped in the US flag while dragging poor young men off to the Far East when their real enemies were racism, poverty and sexism at home. Five years before, his Man and his history as shown at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) had posited that in order for Black people to gain the right to speak for themselves, they’d have to break chains, walk on the flag and seize the podium. Though identified with the Black Arts Movement and its battle against institutional racism, Andrews was equally vigorous in his assaults on other types of social, economic and political injustice.

When Afro-American Artists: New York and Boston opened at the Museum of Fine Arts in l970, Benny Andrews was among its artists. I was curator of the exhibition, in cooperation with Barnet Rubenstein of the School of the MFA, which at the time was the largest exhibition of contemporary Black art presented in a premier American museum. Almost immediately, critic Hilton Kramer attacked the show in the New York Times, asserting that its art was too political. Over the next month, a series of responses were published in the NY Times, including an eloquent, powerful one by Andrews. By this time, Andrews, along with Cliff Joseph and other associates, had formed the Black Emergency Cultural Coalition that was leading the fight for Black curators to organize Black shows in traditionally white museums. This effort was at the heart of the struggle to garner critical attention for Black art in the American mainstream. Widely recognized for his energy and directness in addressing the concerns of artists, especially African Americans, Andrews assumed the directorship of the Visual Arts Program of the Endowment for the Arts during the populist era of the Carter administration. Simultaneously, Andrews gave a great deal of his time to assisting the development of Black museums and galleries, and in helping build a tradition of African Americans collecting African American art.

Benny Andrews’ legacy will recall that he was an artist who forged a critical narrative art that, while often employing Southern imagery, commented on broad American issues ranging from racism to militarism; and that in his restlessness, he found the time and energy to organize and lead movements to transform American art and arts institutions, making them fairer and more representative. His impact will be measured not just by the extraordinary works that he has left for us to admire and ponder, but also for the challenge that his life posed in pushing each of us to be an activist for the causes about which we care passionately.

Note: L&S Video offers a 28 minute documentary on Benny Andrews, created and produced by artist Linda Freeman, narrated by actor Geoffrey Holder including interviews with Andrews. Click the link below for more information.

BENNY ANDREWS The Visibe Man – video


DREAM SOLDIERS PROTECT DREAMGIRL
by Kay Bourne
(pictured: Jennifer Hudson, Ellene Miles L.A. publicist for Ms. Hudson, and Wilfredo Newman, security.)

251 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #28In the next few weeks, Jennifer Hudson will likely achieve glittery stardom as audiences thrill to her sensational performance as Effie in the film version of “Dreamgirls.” Is an Oscar in her future too? Who knows? Right now, however, she is mainly known as a loser on a TV talent show, American Idol. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1617685/

So shortly, crowds will strain to get near Jennifer Hudson, but she’ll never again have the caliber of security she had in her recent, low-key visit to the Cambridge Galleria Shopping Mall.

Some fifty or so fans turned out for a morning event including the cast of a stage production of the Broadway musical “Dreamgirls” at Massasoit Community College in Brockton. That show at Massasoit’s Buckley Performing Arts Center opens December 8. For more info you can call 508-588-9100 x 1234.

Nobody pushed or shoved to get near Jennifer Hudson. Even so, Officer Wilfredo Newman, USI security, was at the ready. He wasn’t wearing a gun; he is deceptively slight in appearance. He was confident, however, that he and his fellow security officers were more than able to protect Hudson.

This corps of security officers are all military personnel. Newman has just returned from two years with the U.S. Army, the 399 Combat Support Military Medical Battalion. Another of the security officers mixing easily in the crowd, had just returned from Iraq where he was with the military police. Another member of their crew is currently serving his third term in Iraq and plans to return to USI security work in a year after his tour of duty.

“Today we’re here to protect Ms. Hudson and the mall,” said Officer Newman.

Massasoit Theater Company


GROWING PAINS OF A BUBBLY BLACK GIRL
by Nancy Hurlbut
(pictured: Viveca “Bubbly” Stanton (Stephanie Umoh) takes center stage during a Broadway audition)

252 590x882 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #28“The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin” is really an opera with a small amount of dialogue. The SpeakEasy Stage Company production at the The Boston Center for the Arts, well directed by Jacqui Parker, runs 100 minutes with no intermission and features the significant talent of Stephanie Umoh who plays the bubbly Black girl, Viveca. Ten other cast members play a total of thirty-two characters, many of which are not on stage long enough with enough of a through line to be identifiable. All of the excellent singing and dancing, ranging from ’60′s “fish” to ’90′s hip hop is however, set to music that has an annoyingly steady melodic register and beat. A live four-piece band is visible behind a screened cage.

This is the creation of Kirsten Childs, who has written the book, music, and lyrics. She may be telling her own story, the journey from compliant and objectified happy girl to energized, occasionally angry, and successful artist. It’s a wonderful path, but I feel it needs more punctuated intersections where Viveca herself makes decisions, and there are fewer manic character infusions. Also, the title tells the whole story which allowed me to snooze through some of the musical repetitions.

I hope Childs continues to develop this show that has resonance for so many women who struggle out of happy girl roles.

NOTE: “The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin” runs until December 9. See link below for tickets.
Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin info


HIGH PRICE TO PAY FOR DIAMONDS
by Lisa Simmons
246 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #28It is said that to many, a diamond is “forever,” a life time, but to too many more, it is a life. We are conditioned to believe that we need diamonds, that they symbolize love, honor, commitment and hope for a bright future, but do we ever ask where they come from, how they are found or who is finding them? Do we ask at what cost comes these beautiful stones? No, because if we asked those questions, we wouldn’t want to hear the answers. Diamonds are mined in Africa, with slave labor, and brutal and harsh conditions. It’s not pretty; in fact it’s down right ugly, painful and certainly, deadly. From the mine workers, to the smugglers, to the merchants in Europe, diamonds mean many different things, but the main thing a diamond means is money, and for that, people are willing to pay the price either in dollars or human flesh. BLOOD DIAMOND is a movie that tells this story about where diamonds come from, about the history of “conflict” diamonds and corruption of the diamond industry as a whole. It is a story with a strong social message: Think twice before you buy that “forever”, about the lives that were lost or stolen or crushed in order for you to buy in to the dream.

The story takes place in 1999 Sierra Leone, West Africa, one of the countries that border Liberia during a civil war. It is a beautiful country but in the midst of turmoil for control of it’s number one illegal export, diamonds. Here both diamonds and corruption are plentiful. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Danny Archer a white Rhodesian diamond smuggler with a past and soft spot for a family torn apart by this trade. Djimon Hounsou plays Solomon Vandy, a father and Mende fisherman who works hard to support his family and give his son a good education amid the corruption and instability of a warring nation. He is caught by the rebels, stripped from his wife and children and forced to work in a diamond mine. His only son is taken and turned by the rebels into one of them. This forced separation is where the story begins. Solomon, (Hounsou) while working in the mines finds a diamond so large that it could change the world of whoever possesses it. In an effort to keep it for himself, he buries it in the sand by a river of which only he knows. While in prison for smuggling, Archer (DiCaprio) meets Solomon and being the diamond smuggler that he is, realizes Vandy’s treasure and attaches himself to him in order to find this very valuable diamond. The journey they take in search of this diamond is both personal and pragmatic for both men. They learn a lot about themselves and each other.

As social commentary on the history and brutality of the diamond trade, BLOOD DIAMOND both informs and entertains. The incredible performances of DiCaprio and Hounsou, as well as the supporting roles of Kagiso Kuypers who plays Dia Vandy, Solomon’s son, make this film all the more worthwhile.

The film is rated R, mostly for the violent content in the film. There is certainly a lot of blood and gore, which is secondary to the actual story this film is trying to convey. At two hours and twenty minutes, it is a little long, but the action and adventure keep you watching, no matter how much time has passed. BLOOD DIAMOND opens in theaters December 8, 2006.

BLOOD DIAMOND official website


“CHILDREN OF MEN” TELLS STORY OF HOPE
by Lisa Simmons
(pictured: Claire Hope-Ashitey in “Children of Men.”

253 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #28If you have no idea what this movie is about or, better yet, if you had no idea a movie by this name was being released, check your movie listings because this is a P.D. James novel-turned-film you might not want to miss. For those of you who might be P.D. James mystery fans and followers of her main character Jury, this book CHILDREN OF MEN is her first, and so far, only attempt at science fiction and does not at all follow her very successful detective series.

Set in the year 2027, Britain is in an ugly state of lawlessness, nihilism, infertility, abhorable policies facing illegal refugees, and lack of hope for the future. (I know what you are thinking: sounds an awful lot like 2006.) It is up to one man, Theo played by Clive Owen and one woman Kee played by Claire Hope-Ashitey to save mankind from itself. That’s the simple version of a very complex and involved plot with a strong social message. A plot that centers on Kee, a young woman refugee who must get out of the country. Theo, through a series of events, ends up being the one who transports Kee on the treacherous journey. Treacherous, Theo finds out because Kee is 8 months pregnant and the only woman to be carrying a child in the past 19 years, she is the miracle the whole planet has been hoping for and oh, did I mention, she is an African woman.

“Life sprung out from, as far as we know, from Africa” director Alfonso Cuaron (Y Tu Mama Tambien, Harry Potter, Prisoner of Azkaban, and Great Expectations) says. He wanted to make a film that was a metaphor for the fading sense of hope of humanity, of a humanity that is completely careless about the consequences of their acts on the next generation. Through the dark, gritty war-torn cities, the lens of a hand-held camera, takes us on the journey with Theo and Kee and we understand how Cuaron uses his vision to explore the state of things as they are today and of the “very things that are shaping the first part of the 21st century, empowerment and immigration.” P.D. James was definitely on to something when she penned this novel some ten years ago. So much of it has relevance to what is facing this world today. “I wasn’t interested so much in making a science fiction film,” he says thoughtfully. He was more moved by what he felt the book stood for “a comment of the future of life, of the future of humanity.”

“I also didn’t want to make a movie that finishes when the lights come on,” Cuaron explains. He wanted to make a film whose ending is a beginning, that has new life and that creates dialogue and conversation as you are leaving the theater.

He has done just that, CHILDREN OF MEN gets you thinking about what our society is doing today to affect the generations who will come after us. Are we helping or hindering the possiblity of a livable world tomorrow? And, if we are doing the latter, then how do we change.

CHILDREN OF MEN official website


LAUGH, CRY, BLUSH WITH LEGUIZAMO TELL ALL
by Josiah Crowley
(pictured: John Leguizamo book cover)

244 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #28One holiday season, when his sons were young, John Leguizamo’s father told his sons Santa Claus wouldn’t be giving out any presents that year because he was depressed and suicidal: “He’s up on the roof right now. He’s gonna jump. You boys stay here. I’ll go up there and try to talk him out of it.”

John Leguizamo’s manic autobiography, “Pimps Hos, Playa Hatas, and All The Rest of My Hollywood Friends” (Ecco), is like reading the unedited scripts to one of his amazing one-man shows: by turns hilarious, sad, outrageous and more than a little bit rude. Those familiar with his shows, which have won a Tony, an Obie & other awards (MAMBO MOUTH, SPIC-O-RAMA, FREAK and SEXAHOLIC) are in for a delight as he details the family members & childhood characters who inspired his shows.

Those only familiar with the author’s up and down movie career (SUMMER OF SAM, THE SUPER MARIO BROTHERS) are in for a great surprise, as he details his experience of what it means to be Latin in a white society, with parents who came to this country from Colombia, in search of a better life, only to find themselves suffering from “toxic shame” about their place at the bottom of the social strata.

“Ricky Martin and J-LO hadn’t made it chic to be Latin yet.” Those who love his shows, will recognize his parents, teachers & multi-ethnic neighbors in the shows’ characters.

As a child, the only Latins he saw on TV were Ricky Ricardo and Speedy Gonzalez. Though a class clown, he never thought about becoming an actor until the teenaged John saw A CHORUS LINE on Broadway

“There was a Latin kid in the show. And she didn’t have a gun or a hypodermic needle in her hand.” … He saw possibilities….And ran smack into casting directors who saw Latins only as thugs/drug dealers/gigilos…Eventually, John wrote his first show – inspired by the solo shows of Whoopi Goldberg, Lily Tomlin and Eric Bogosian – MAMBO MOUTH, in part, because “we were like an invisible race in America.”

Critics and audiences embraced his work. Suddenly, the kid who had bit parts in stereotyped roles (“I am the only person in the history of cinema who murdered Harrison Ford” – REGARDING HENRY) was receiving praise and visits backstage from such luminaries as Arthur Miller, Raul Julia, John Kennedy, Jr., Olympia Dukakis and Al Pacino.

The book details his early attempts to make it in show business. Young Leguizamo studied briefly at The Actors Studio. The only time he performed a scene there, acting guru Lee Strasberg told him he had no talent, then went home and died that night. “I thought my acting was so bad that it killed Lee Strasberg.” In the early years, John hung out in early 80′s performance art venues (“where the cast outnumbers the audience and someone very unattractive is always naked”), performed in the NYC comedy clubs with other unknowns, at the time, by the names of Chris Rock, Ray Romano and Mario Cantone and got what he thought was a big break: Joseph Papp, founder of The Public Theater, cast him as Puck in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM. On opening – and closing – night, Leguizamo forgot all his lines.

Some of the book’s funniest passages concern his love/hate (mostly the latter) relationship with Hollywood, where “everyone is afraid” and “the therapists all know your movies and suck up to you”. He recalls his Emmy acceptance speech: “I don’t deserve this. I didn’t deserve herpes either.” He notes too that he has never received another Emmy.

And Leguizamo is not afraid to dis his colleagues.
Mickey Rourke: “Sleazy as hell.”
Steven Seagal: “A real ass.”
Of CARLITO’S WAY co-star &, briefly, his girl friend: “You really have to know Penelope Ann Miller to dislike her”.

There’s a hilarious scene where TO WONG FOO co- star, macho Patrick Swayze, fed up with Leguizamo’s ad-libs, pounces on him. The two stars are held back by crew members. And both actors are in full drag at the time.

Calling himself “the Charlie Chaplin of dysfunctional family comedy” he states: “Nobody was documenting us” in the culture at-large. His much-married ladies’ man father and party-loving ma wound up as characters in their son’s shows, and weren’t happy about it.

He tells us about his own womanizing, partying, volatile first marriage, meeting his “soul mate”, having two children with her. The book ends with his second wedding, to the woman he’d been with for eight years. He has matured as a male. Not afraid of commitment. No longer the rebellious teenager embarrassed by his parents, Leguizamo has grown up to marry a solid, strong woman who happens to be Jewish and comes from a family with plenty of issues of their own. The fathers of both the bride and groom were totally bombed at the wedding and, when the groom’s mother stood up to make a toast to the couple, she went on a twenty-five minute rant about how her son’s father – standing ten feet from her – had abandoned the family to “poverty” while he partied away…. A typical Leguizamo family get together!

Leguizamo describes what a great grandfather his dad is to his two grandchildren; perhaps, he – or Santa, if he’s recovered from his suicidal tendencies – will give Leguizamo’s book to the kids as a present: it would be a terrific gift for anyone interested in one man’s journey through a society who told him he was fourth rate, still struggling with issues, but succeeding as his own man.

Amazon.com


Thousands Gather for Gerald Levert’s Memorial Service
(This article and image to the left are reprinted from 19ActionNews.com 11/19/ 2006. Visit their website by clicking the image to the left or the link below for more info related to Gerald Levert’s life, music and memorial.)
254 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #28Cleveland, OH – Friends, family and fans gather to pay tribute to a local legend taken too soon.

A sea of purple invaded downtown today, as fans dressed in Gerald Levert‘s favorite color sang and danced under umbrellas waiting for Friday’s memorial service to begin.

The R&B sensation’s memorial took place to a packed house at Public Hall.

Fans from around the country in town to pay their final respects, as well as superstars like Usher and Jermaine Dupri.

Levert died from a heart attack at his Newbury home last week – he was 40-years-old.

Levert first gained fame back in 1986, as a member of the R- and-B- trio LeVert, which also included his brother, Sean. They quickly racked up hits like “(Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop) Goes My Mind,” “Casanova,” and “Baby I’m Ready.”

He was the son of O’Jays singer Eddie Levert.

19ActionNews.com flooded with over 500 condolences from fans across the nation.

In lieu of flowers, the Levert Family is asking that donations be made to the R&B Foundation. Checks should be written in the name of the R&B Foundation and forwarded to:
Mr. Andy Gibson
Trevel Productions, Inc.
13816 Cedar Road
University Heights, OH 44118
www.19ActionNews.com article


ONE LOVE DVD’s
198 590x834 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #28 Only a few more Official ONE LOVE dvd’s and cd’s featuring Ky-Mani Marley and Cherine Anderson are left!! Below are actual comments from some who attended TCOF’s Official ONE LOVE dvd & cd RELEASE PARTY in March 2006 at RCC, when the co-star, CHERINE ANDERSON attended as our special guest:

“Fantastic. I loved it.”
“…Proud to be a Jamaican tonight.”
“…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…”

“…Better than The Harder They Come…”
“…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…”

“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…”

The Official ONE LOVE dvd and cd are the first of many quality, independent films and products available to you, through TCOF. The ONE LOVE dvd is $20 and the soundtrack is $16 by emailing an order to robin@coloroffilm.com or visiting The Color of Film website .
Order ONE LOVE dvd and cd here


UPCOMING EVENTS
249 590x128 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #28Just two more weekends for BLACK NATIVITY. This year’s performances are dedicated to the memory of John Andrew Ross (1940-2006), and his 36 years of service as Black Nativity’s Musical Director. Performances at The Tremont Temple, 88 Tremont Street in downtown Boston are Fridays 8pm, Saturdays 3:30 and 8pm and Sundays 3:30pm. Tickets are $41, $32.50, $25 and $17.50 and available here. For general information, call 617-423-6000. For 15% off, organize a group of 20 or more and call 617-585-6366 and mention the promotion code “Go Tell It”. Also, there are a limited number of 50% off the $41 tickets offered through The Mayor’s Holiday Special .

The Sovereign Bank Music Series at Berklee continues with Grammy-winning bassist, producer, band leader, and film composer Marcus Miller, Friday, December 8 , at 8:15 p.m., at the Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston. Miller and two Berklee student groups he will have rehearsed throughout the preceding week will perform music associated with Miller’s extraordinary career. General admission tickets are $25; seniors $18.75 available at the Berklee box office or through Ticketmaster at 617-931-2000. For more information, please call Berklee Performance Center at 617-747-2261.

The Ron Savage Quartet, Walter Beasley and Berklee College of Music students will perform at a fundraiser for the music school run by Ron Savage at the Abundant Life Church, 47 Howard Street in Cambridge (off of Western Avenue) on Friday, December 8, 7:30pm, Adults $25, children free. Call 617- 864-2826 for more information.

CREATIVE SOULS HOLIDAY SHOP AT HIBERNIAN HALL, 182 -186 Dudley Street, Roxbury. Open Thursday, Friday and Saturday 11-6pm Come and Support Local Artists. (See the first article in this issue for other holiday shopping ideas.)

The Providence Black Repertory Company presents QUESTIONS? Conceived, created and performed by John Adekoje, Aaron Andrade, Cilla Bento, Nehassaiu DeGannes, Elizabeth Keiser, Donald W. King, Nadia Mahdi, Keith Mascoll, Don Mays, and Megan Sandberg-Zakian. Who’s at the party? Where does identity sleep, and how does it wake up? Where will rap end up? How do you live with guilt? And, most importantly, What’s on a black pizza? Don’t miss your chance to take a sneak peek at this new play in process by the Black Rep’s Affiliate Artists Workshop Company. Approximately 45 minutes long and will be followed by Q&A. Friday and Saturday, December 8 and 9, 8 p.m. ($5) Sunday, December 10, 3 p.m. (Pay What You Can!) For info, call 401-351-0353 x2 or email the Black Rep’s Box Office .

This weekend, December 9 and 10, Gift of Art/Artful Gifts in the studios of Ekua Holmes, second floor suite #N200 and Paul Goodnight first Floor Suite #N102 located in historic Piano Factory at 791 Tremont Street, Roxbury, 12-6pm. (See the first article in this issue for other holiday shopping ideas.)

Sunday, December 10, 6 – 7:30pm GYBSO‘s ICP – The Greater Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Intensive Community Program presents a FREE Holiday Concert at Roxbury Community College‘s Media Arts Center featuring The Boston Children’s Chorus and introducing ICP’s first year cello, violin, viola and bass students of color, ages 5 – 12.

TYG PRODUCTIONS presents FAMILY BEEF: LOVERS EDITION An evening of plays and monologues that take a peek at our inner tribal conflicts: at the way we kiss and make up . . . or not. December 11, 12 and 13 at 8pm at The Boston Playwrights Theater, 949 Commonwealth Ave, Boston. Tickets are $20 at 866- 811- 4111. There will be a talk-back at the end of every performance. Vincent Ernest Siders, founder and artistic director of TYG Productions can be reached at 617-541-1036.

“HALLELUJAH in “A” FLAT” a gospel musical, written by Shernie, comes to Boston for 4 shows only December 15 – 17 at RCC’s Media Arts Auditorium. Tickets are $25 in advance, $28 at the door and $15 matinee tickets for children. For information call 1-866-PRAISETHELORD.

Crossing cultural and geographical borders is the subject explored in paintings of Dorchester artist Lucilda Dassardo-Cooper on display at Thayer Academy in Braintree until December 15. Paintings in oils and watercolors depict the cultures of India, where she lived in the late 1990′s, and Jamaica, her native country, which she visits often. Regular gallery hours are 8 am to 3 pm, Monday through Friday. The Thayer campus is at 745 Washington Street, near the Braintree stop on the Red Line. For more information, contact Lucilda Dassardo-Cooper at 617-825-9760 or Anni McDonough, curator of Thayer Arts Gallery, at 781-843-3580.

Ms. Kausalya Srinivasan, a master teacher of Bharatanatyam Classical Indian Dance, has taken on the challenge to present the traditional Christmas story of the “Nutcracker” with classical Indian music and dance in an Indian-inspired “Nutcracker” on December 12 and 13, 8pm at Rondileau Campus Center Auditorium at Bridgewater State College, Bridgewater, MA Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the box office the night of the performance. For more information, call (508)531-2193.

Peace Boston 2006, Universal Zulu Nation and The Nation of Islam present THE HIP HOP DAY OF ATONEMENT on Thursday, December 14 at Muhammad’s Mosque #11 , Grove Hall, Roxbury. For all hip-hop pioneers, artists, dj’s, promoters and radio personalities to mobilize Boston’s Youth Peace Movement; Peace cd, Peace Boston Radio. To rsvp or for more information about December 21 PEACE BOSTON 1st Anniversary Celebration, call 617-230-0291.

After a successful run last May, “Song of Miriam” returns to Boston for December 14 at 7pm; December 15 and 16 at 8pm; and December 17 at 7pm at B.U. College of Fine Arts, Studio 109, located at 855 Commonwealth Avenue. Reservations are recommended: call (415) 706-2492.

Lowell’s local craftsman and artisans will display and sell their products in the main gallery of the The Revolving Museum, 22 Shattuck Street, Lowell, MA at the Holiday Artisan Bazaar on Sunday, December 17, 11am – 4pm. Free admission. Get some holiday shopping done while supporting the livelihood of local artists. Up to twelve different booths will feature a variety of media and styles. Artists interested in participating, please contact lmc@revolvingmuseum.org. For info call 978-YES-ARTS or visit the Revolving Museum’s website here.

OrigiNation’s Annual Kwanzaa Concert is Saturday, December 23, 3 – 5pm. Featuring the students from the 2006-07 Performing Arts Program, NIA Dance Troupe, Girlz of IMANI, IMANI Jr., Aleye Boyz Troupe, and Omekongo, spoken word artist. Tickets on sale now for $12 in advance, $15 at the door for adults and children. At The Back Bay Events Center (formerly known as John Hancock Hall) 180 Berkeley Street (corner of Stuart Street) with discounted parking at 100 Clarendon St. Garage with validated tickets. For more info contact OrigiNations
at (617) 541-1875
.

Call for Submissions from teen girls – TEEN VOICES is busy getting its next round of features ready, but, they need input from teen girls between the ages of 13 – 19. Visit TEEN VOICES for information and submission guidelines, or call Tori at 617-426-5505 x27.

Start the new year with Boston’s new community radio station, TOUCH FM, 106.1 fm at its Official Launch Party at Hibernian Hall, 182-186 Dudley Street, Roxbury, New Year’s Eve December 31. Tickets are $50 per person, which includes a full course meal provided by R&S Jamaican Restaurant. Tickets on sale now at A Nubian Notions, Skippy Whites, Funky Fresh Records and R&S Restaurant. For more information call TOUCH FM at 617-686-1377.

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About The Color of Film

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

Roxbury International Film Festival

Join us July 29th - August 1st, 2010 for the 12th Annual Roxbury Film Festival. Incredible movies will be playing and other events will be happening and more. Find out more

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In collaboration with The Haley House Bakery Café, the Color of Film Collaborative presents our ongoing film series, featuring independent cinema and delicious food. Read more...

The Roxbury International Film Festival



Now going into its 12th year, the Roxbury International Film Festival is proudly presented by The Color of Film Collaborative to promote productions of color. Find out more here...

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