AT THE HELM OF “TREEMONISHA”
INSPIRATION, PASSION AND DRIVE
DOUGLAS AND LINCOLN
THE SUN RISES BEAUTIFULLY
YOU CAN GO HOME AGAIN
ADRIFT IN MACAO: MAKES YOU THINK
DON WEST AND HAKIM RAQUIB’S SKETCHES OF SPAIN
PLEASURE & PASSION IN FOOD & FILM
AT THE HELM OF “TREEMONISHA”
by Kay Bourne
(photo: Cover of the original TREEMONISHA score)
You probably first heard SCOTT JOPLIN’s music when his rags were used as the score for the hugely popular film “The Sting” (1973) starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford as two con artists avenging a friend’s murder. The tunes adapted by Marvin Hamlisch from Joplin originals won the Oscar for ‘best film score.’ Just a few years earlier, pianist Joshua Rifkin recorded a selection of Joplin‘s rags on the classical label Nonesuch Records. In particular, “The Maple Leaf Rag” (named for a social club Joplin belonged to in Sedalia, Missouri) and “The Entertainer” (“The Sting”‘s main theme) caught people’s ear, and so there was a revival of this early African American composer’s music, whose style preceded jazz.
Throughout his life, Joplin longed to have his ragtime taken seriously, and his other music as well. His efforts to have his autobiographical opera, “TREEMONISHA”, written in 1911, staged in his lifetime had come to no avail, for example. Then the music for “Treemonisha” resurfaced in the 70′s to great excitement. There were two impressive arrangements, one from the African American, avant garde, classical composer and head of Tufts University Music Department, T. J. Anderson; the other from the head of New England Conservatory of Music, Gunther Schuller, which was performed by the Houston Grand Opera and went on to Broadway. Anderson‘s orchestration was premiered at the Atlanta Memorial Arts Center with Katherine Dunham‘s choreography and stage direction.
Now comes yet another version from Rick Benjamin who in 1985 discovered a collection of orchestra scores of the Victor Talking Machine Company in an abandoned warehouse. In this vast archive of original 1880s to 1920s orchestra sheet music (and silent film reels) were some orchestrations by Joplin. Benjamin has put together a production for the stage he believes closely approximates the theatrical conventions of the period in which Joplin wrote.
Joplin, who was born in eastern Texas sometime between June 1867 and January 1868, died, April 1, 1917, in New York City where he and his wife ran a boarding house for theatrical people. He was the subject of a U.S. postage stamp in the Black History series in 1983.
Opera Providence, now in its tenth season, is presenting the Benjamin orchestration for three performances. With stage direction by Lois Roach and choreography by Shaumba Yandje Dibinga, the opera will be played by a 13-piece orchestra under the direction of Gene Crisifulli. The storyline, set in 1884 Arkansas, is about the making of a Black leader, who as it happens is a womanÂ¸ Treemonisha. Joplin’s “Treemonisha” will be performed Friday, FEBRUARY 15 at 8 pm, and Sunday, FEBRUARY 17 at 3 pm. For ticket info you can phone 401-331-6060. The performances are at the 635 seat, Columbus Theater in Providence, R.I.
INSPIRATION, PASSION AND DRIVE
by Kay Bourne
He sees a ghost as a soldier on duty Marcellus in Shakespeare‘s “Hamlet.” He navigates a wheelchair after his street life has crippled him as the embittered Solo in John Adekoje‘s “Six Rounds Six Lessons.” Most recently, on the stage at New Rep, he postured as the narcissistic Austin Judge in Moliere‘s “THE MISANTHROPE”.
Young, Boston actor JASON BOWEN says that he has gained insights into the warps of his characters through his day job.
“My work at a psychiatric hospital (Harbor Hospital in J.P.) is definitely good for an actor. It’s been a three-year-long case study,” says Bowen, whose riveting interpretations has garnered him role after role, in rapid succession, in a city where African American actors can sometimes languish. He’s been offered an Equity contract which gives him his union card when he performs in Shakespeare‘s “THE TEMPEST” with Actor’s Shakespeare Project which opens MARCH 13.
Bowen, who grew up in Mattapan and Roslindale, was a school athlete when, on a dare, he tried out for a play his senior year – and got the lead (Joe Hardy in the musical “Damn Yankees”).
“That experience won me over right there,” he says. After Milton Academy, class of 2000, where his mother had placed him in the fourth grade, Bowen went on to Skidmore College where he earned a B.S. in Theater. Bowen adds that initially his mother “was not that excited” about his desire to be an actor; “it’s not a high paying job by any means.” Now that his career is “snowballing,” she’s more enthusiastic. “And she’s always been supportive, coming to my shows.”
Out of college, Bowen started acting with Ricardo Pitts-Riley’s Rhode Island based company, Mixed Magic Theater. It was Pitts-Riley who recommended Bowen to Actor’s Shakespeare Project (ASP) when the highly rated group was staging “Hamlet” directed by Ric Lombardo at the Strand Theater in Dorchester. (Pitts-Riley put in a gripping performance as a jealous king in the peripatetic ASP’s “A Winter’s Tale” a year ago at the Cambridge Multi Cultural Arts Center.) Bowen auditioned with a monologue from “Othello.”
Acting at The Strand was “cool” says Bowen, “a really good introduction into the world of Boston theater. And being a local kid it was nice. Growing up, you heard about The Strand.”
Bowen has played supporting roles, some larger than others. “Truthfully, it’s more challenging to tackle a minor role,” he says. “It’s really on you to give the character weight. Something you do or how someone in the audience takes what you do, may affect how they see the play.”
His favorite role to date is Solo from Company One‘s production of “Six Rounds Six Lessons,” which is set in contemporary times in a Black neighborhood. Bowen says “that’s the play I’ve connected to most. The crippled Solo sits in his wheelchair feeling misunderstood. He’s a gangster who got caught up in the gangster life and a bitter guy about the whole thing.
“In reality, he was a guy looking for a chance and now he wants more security which he feels should come from his brother. He feels his brother owes him. He’s playing the scape goat game. The younger people in the audience get something from it and maybe changes their perspective. I felt excited to tell my friends to come see the play. It’s one of my fondest memories.”
DOUGLAS AND LINCOLN
by Kay Bourne
(photo: Stephen Kendrick)
A Black man born into slavery. A White man born in rural poverty. “DOUGLAS AND LINCOLN”. A book talk with STEPHEN and PAUL KENDRICK, Thursday, FEBRUARY 28, 6pm, at the Boston Athenaeum looks at how a revolutionary Black leader and a reluctant liberator struggled to end slavery and save the union.
The father and son writing team who authored the excellent history “Sarah’s Long Walk” (Beacon Press) (about the struggle to desegregate the Boston public schools in the 1840′s) now follow the personal relationship between Frederick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln, as these giants of the 19th century found common ground.
Douglas first visited Lincoln at the White House in August, 1863. Well known for his autobiography and his internationally read abolitionist newspaper, Douglas laid out for the president his concerns for how the Union army was discriminating against Black soldiers. Douglas, often critical of the president in his speeches and articles was impressed by Lincoln‘s response. Their final meeting was at the White House reception following Lincoln‘s second inaugural address, where Lincoln told Douglas there was no man in the country whose opinion he valued more, and Douglas called the president’s inaugural speech “sacred.”
Published this month by Walker & Co., “Douglas And Lincoln,” a story of two unlikely allies, was written by Stephen Kendrick, senior minister of First Church in Boston, with his son, Paul Kendrick, assistant director at the Harlem Children’s Zone. The talk is free, but you’ll need to reserve a place by calling 617-720-7600.
The Boston Athenaeum is at 10 Â½ Beacon Street, across from the State House. The book talk is in collaboration with the African Meeting House.
THE SUN RISES BEAUTIFULLY
SEAN COMBS feels Walter Lee Younger’s anquish in Lorraine Hansberry’s drama “RAISIN IN THE SUN”, feels it to the bone. The vast distance of economic status and period of time evaporates between today’s wealthy rap music entrepreneur/ entertainer, worth an estimated $358 mil. when Combs is portraying the fictional Chicago South Side chauffeur from the 50′s who longs to go into business for himself.
Combs, who played Walter Lee on Broadway to acclaim and sold out houses, now repeats the role in the ABC TV movie. He has produced the film along with Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (“Chicago,” “Hairspray,” and “The Bucket List”). The movie is the first ever broadcast network film to be featured at Sundance where it got an enthusiastic response. In this TV version of “A Raisin in the Sun,” the Broadway cast has been transferred to the movie. Walter Lee’s mother is played by Phylicia Rashad and his wife by Audra McDonald, both of whom won Tonys in 2004 for their performances. Rashad is the first African American woman to win in the lead actress category and McDonald took home her 4th Tony. Sanaa Lathan plays Walter Lee’s sister.
Combs confides in a recent lengthy phone interview, “My favorite lines in the film are, you know, ‘ain’t she supposed to wear no pearls,’ (referring to his wife, Ruth). The movie airs at 8pm, FEBRUARY 25, the night after the Oscars.
“Yes, definitely,” he told KBAR, “I definitely felt his pain because I was going through that pain and I think – and I think everybody feels his pain because I think everybody is going through ‘to want to be somebody’ and you want to take care of your family.”
“I think that’s why so many people relate to this and especially to be able to tell this story from an African American man’s perspective so people could try to understand the pain and the anxiety that a lot of African American males are going through.”
“Or born into conditions where it’s like, their life is predestined for failure and so they’re born into all the statistics on what they’re going to become and how they’re not going to become anything. And that’s very painful,” he said.
Combs relates to Walter in other ways, as well, from his days growing up in Harlem. “My father was killed when I was three years old and I grew up in a house with three women, my mother, my grandmother and my sister. I went through those years of having to watch my mother and my grandmother work two jobs and not being able to take care of my family and the look on my mother’s face when I would ask for things and she couldn’t afford it.”
“And me just having a dream of being in the music business kind of related to Walter Lee’s dream of having a liquor store because when I had that dream, it was like, there were no young people in the music industry.”
“So everybody looked at me like, you know, I was crazy, just like, I guess they were looking at, you know, Walter Lee. And so some of the anxiety, the way you feel, the pursuit and the dream and how it, you know, you’re constantly hitting obstacles and it’s getting deferred and how you just have to keep that passion and motivation and can’t stop is something that I truly was able to tap into and relate from my life,” he said.
Working with Combs every step of the way was his acting coach, Susan Batson, a native Bostonian. Batson, whose mom was Civil Rights and education activist, Ruth Batson, got her early training with Boston Children’s Theater. Combs believes Susan has been a “blessing,” and for her part, when Batson ran an acting workshop at the Roxbury Film Festival last summer where she was asked about working with Combs, she compliments him on his professionalism.
Combs recalls meeting Batson who prepared him for reading a scene with Al Pacino who had the lead in Oliver Stone‘s contemporary football story “Any Given Sunday,” (1999). (Sean dropped out of the movie because of a scheduling conflict with his recording career.) “She was known for getting the best out of young actors and she became like a mother to me.” Batson runs Black Nexxus Inc., an acting studio and entertainment development company with studios in New York and L.A.
“She just really truly believed in me and she saw something special in me and she started going around and telling people that they should consider me, seriously, for roles. And she would just be very, very hard on me and she helped me through the whole process, even when I did Broadway, she was there with me almost every night. Every night after the show I would have a lesson so I could try to get better,” he said.
The professionalism that Batson praises Combs for, he believes tracks back to his childhood; “that’s the way I was brought up, and that’s one of the secrets of my success, is my presentation, and I think for some reason a lot of people are surprised by that and I guess I use it to my advantage because this is just the way I am. I wouldn’t have all these companies running successfully if I wasn’t a professional, but, you know, I come from the world of music and especially being a hip hop artist where people are known for the bling bling and the money and the champagne and all of those things, which would be very, very blown out of proportion because most of the time, I am just in my office or working in the studio. And when I do go out, a lot of things get magnified. But I know how important it is that when I am on the set, that people don’t want entourages around, which I don’t really have a big entourage anyway, but they don’t want entourages around and they want you to come on time and just ,I try to break down the stereotypes,” he said. “I try to treat people the way I want to be treated.”
Combs came to the role of Walter Lee Younger because of Susan Batson. “She told me, if you really want to get serious, I have the role for you. So she told me about possibly playing Walter Lee Younger Jr. in “A Raisin In The Sun,” and I was, like, there’s no way I can do that. I’ve never even been on a live stage.”
Batson had Combs read the play.” . . . it was a dream role for any actor. And so I just really jumped at the chance to do it without knowing, you know, how difficult and tough starring on Broadway was. But it was one of the most challenging thing I’ve every done as an artist and it, like, truly changed my life.” A Raisin in the Sun-tv production website
YOU CAN GO HOME AGAIN
by Lisa Simmons
Director MALCOLM LEE (“Roll Bounce,” “Undercover Brother,” “The Best Man”).
Lee brings a comedic, family-centered film to us for Black History Month. Heartfelt, at times, and slapstick at others, the film “WELCOME HOME ROSCOE JENKINS” works to keep us entertained as it tells us an important message: Stay true to your roots and never let anyone pull you away from your family, no matter how crazy they are.
MARTIN LAWRENCE (Roscoe Jenkins) redeems himself in this movie and his prior antics and silliness from the Martin Lawrence Show to bring us a more vulnerable, more mature (well, sometimes) character who learns from his mistakes. A shallow, Hollywood-type talk show host, Lawrence comes home to celebrate his parents’ (James Earl Jones and Margaret Avery) 50th wedding anniversary with his soon-to-be bride (Joy Bryant) the egotistical “Survivor” winner who has Roscoe wrapped around her finger.
An outstanding cast of comedians, including Mo’Nique, Mike Epps, and Cedric the Entertainer, the film has a number of howling scenes and one-liners you will find yourself repeating. Nicole Ari Parker plays the competing love interest for Jenkins who helps him see his true side and brings him back down to earth and eventually back to where he belongs.
ADRIFT IN MACAO: MAKES YOU THINK
by Josiah Crowley © 2008
For those who appreciate the joys of film noir, a great cast in a fun show or, simply, the supreme talents of the best local song and dance performer around, Kathy St. George, it was a special joy to see The Lyric Stage’s recent run of the musical comedy spoof, ADRIFT IN MACAO.
Written by Christopher Durang (last season, The Lyric staged a superlative production of the playwright’s comedy MISS WITHERSPOON) , with lyrics by Peter Melnick (Richard Rodgers‘ grandson), ADRIFT IN MACAO is what I call “a great January show”: silly, seemingly “mindless” entertainment to take one’s mind off the winter weather. Set in 1950′s Macao, the show involves drugs, murder, prostitution and government corruption. It also managed to make the audience think, as it addressed racial stereotyping, in this case of Asians, in American film without being preachy. It’s like watching a 1950′s detective movie on the late show, set to music and finely-tuned comedy by a great cast.
And what a cast! Leading man, Ariel Heller (a long time cast member of the local BLUE MAN GROUP), cast as Mitch ( a take-off on film noir staple, Robert Mitchum, who actually starred in a film called MACAO), Heller displayed matinee idol looks matched by great presence, comic ability and tongue-in-cheek machismo, as the tough detective. Aimee Doherty‘s beautiful voice was on display along with hilarious comic abilities in the role of the “good girl”. The afore-mentioned Kathy St. George (last seen knocking Boston audiences over with incredible work as Judy Garland in a 1-woman show ) nearly stole the show as the drug-addicted “bad girl” nightclub singer ; Brendan McNab, a last minute replacement for an ailing cast member, was terrific as Rick Shaw (it’s that kind of show) and attention must be paid to Austin Ku, recently moved to Boston: simply put, this guy is a star ! Look for him in upcoming productions.
A show like ADRIFT IN MACAO, which managed to address racial stereotypes in American film and present an entertaining fun night out – is often thought of as minor entertainment. But imagine such a show with a less than stellar cast or script. The Lyric Stage has triumphed, once again, with yet another fine production.
DON WEST AND HAKIM RAQUIB’s SKETCHES OF SPAIN
by Kay Bourne
(Pictured: Hakim Raquib’s DREAMSCAPE I)
After Gordon Parks so famously said that he picked up the camera rather than a gun, expectations have been that African American photographers take pictures with a social bite. Yet, as DON WEST and HAKIM RAQUIB’s show of photographs taken in Spain artfully demonstrates, the point can sometimes be aesthetic.
For West, the beauty is often stilling movement in that fraction of a moment that a photograph memorializes (“Flamenco Singer,” “Flamenco Guitar,” and “Flamenco Dancer”) or in observing the stillness of the ages (“Stair to Infinity” so hauntingly reminiscent of the slave castles in Goree Island, Dakar). And, in the case of Raquib, the beauty lies in choice outcomes from his experimentation with computer digital processing of photographs now a decade old (“Palace Compares (detail) La Alhambra,” 40.5X 56 in., pigment print, or, in another La Alhambra facade, “Dreamscape I, Patio de los Arrayanes,” 60 X 48 in., Mixed Media – a dream you can walk into as you gaze at this magnificent print with its rhythmic Arabic lettering).
“Sketches in Spain” has hung in the J.P. gallery of Northeastern University’s African American Master Artist in Residency Program (AAMARP), where both photographers are members. Now the display has been invited across the river to a few weeks tenancy, until FEBRUARY 29 in a gallery at the Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center (CMAC), 41 Second Street in Cambridge. There is abundant street parking and a nearby parking garage. CMAC is also a short walk from the Lechmere MBTA stop on the Green Line. The gallery is free and open to the public with hours during the day of 10am – 5pm and evenings and weekends coexistent with the many dance, theater, and music performances that go on in this large and handsome building that is a courthouse rehabbed into a home for the arts. For more info you can call 617-577-1400 or visit the MCAC website here.
The exhibit’s title is an apt reference to Miles Davis’ most lyrical album “Sketches of Spain,” recorded in 1959/1960 (which pairs the trumpet and flugelhorn player with Bill Evans who arranged the music and conducted). Often orchestral in feel, that is to say, “organized,” with Davis soloing in ways that are achingly beautiful to the ear, the compositions were largely derived from the Spanish folk tradition, along with a movement from Joaquin Rodrigo‘s “Concierto de Aranjeuz” and a ballet by Manuel de Falla.
Jazz critic A.B. Spellman calls the album “listening music that is pensive and penetrating. I would never discount music for prettiness if it has the kind of depth to it that is transporting, and “Sketches of Spain” certainly has that.” Well, ditto for the photography exhibit, “Sketches in Spain.” There will be an artists’ reception Thursday, FEBRUARY 21 from 6-8 pm.
PLEASURE & PASSION IN FOOD & FILM
by Robin Saunders
The Color of Film & The Haley House Bakery & Cafe invite you and your Valentine (whether a significant other, a good friend, a colleague, a cousin, sister or a brother) to DINNER & A MOVIE on Friday, FEBRUARY 15.
An evening of great food, great films and great conversation revolving around the theme of love and relationships.
The night begins at 6pm with dinner prepared by Haley House’s new chef, David Andrews:
- ‘Chef Romeo’s’ garden lasagne with portabello mushrooms, zucchini, baby spinach, red onion and asiago cheese – topped with bolognese sauce for meat lovers or mornay sauce for veggie enthusiasts
- ‘Lonely hearts’ of palm salad with feta and beets, served ‘on a bed’ of arugula with a white balsamic vinaigrette
- ‘chocolate passion’ brownies with softly whipped cream (and other delights)
Cupid has revealed that there will be two short films produced by Boston indi-filmmaker Jibril Haynes of Origin Nile Films entitled: MAN OH MAN and YOUR DAUGHTER’S FIRST DATE, as well as,
OXTAILS - Xavier subtly avoids eating his girlfriend’s meals out of fear that she might be adding “roots” or black magic to her recipes. At the local bar, his commitment-phobic friends reinforce his anxieties while others provide rational alternatives. Is “roots” alive and well or is Xavier overreacting? “Oxtails” redefines the old adage: the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.
QUINCY AND ALTHEA – are two married, bickering, 60+ year old Hurrican Katrina evacuees, who have returned to their flood ravaged New Orleans home. Despite the seemingly overwhelming task of reconstruction that lies ahead, the last thing on either of their minds is rebuilding. All Quincy and Althea want is a divorce.
MAYBE – When you’re looking for love, be careful what you ask for. Self-proclaimed pathological heartbreaker Indira Allai has once again ended a failed relationship. Struggling to determine the reasons why this one ended, she begins to dream about two different versions of her ex. Indira finds comic relief by submerging herself in this bizarre fantasy and recognizing that no man and no relationship is perfect.
Tickets are $25, available online, in advance at www.brownpapertickets.com. As those who’ve attended our last two DINNER & A MOVIE events will attest, this is an event not to miss.
Now at the Wheelock Family Theatre the musical “PETER PAN” initially starred Mary Martin as the boy who declares “I won’t grow up! I don’t want to go to school.!” Recommended for ages 6 and up, the production runs approximately two hours and 20 minutes. Peter wants a mother, so he flies the Darling children with big sister Wendy to his island where they can remain children forever. One of the drawbacks to this escape retreat is that the island is besieged by pirates. The tribe headed by Tiger Lily (played by Kerri Nichole Wilson) has been up-dated with advice from the Wampanoags. Playing weekends through MARCH 2 except school vacation week when the show is only matinees at 10 am. For more info phone 617-879-2300 or click here.
If you missed it in Boston, the BLACK REP in PROVIDENCE is proud to present THE BLUEST EYE, Toni Morrison‘s acclaimed bestselling novel adapted for the stage by Boston-based playwright Lydia Diamond, and directed by Don Mays. The show runs through MARCH 9th at The Providence Black Repertory Company, 276 Westminster Street. Tickets $20, and half-price for students or seniors. Thursdays 7pm, Fridays and Saturdays 8pm, Sundays 3pm is The People’s Matinee (Pay-What-You-Can), followed by a talk-back. For ticket info call 401-351-0353 x2 or click here.
The 12th annual presentation of the NATIONAL BLACK FINE ART SHOW (NBFAS), featuring original artwork by African, African American and Caribbean artists, runs FEBRUARY 14-17 at the Puck Building in SoHo, 295 Lafayette Street, (Houston & Lafayette) New York. This year’s lineup of participating dealers includes: Aaron Galleries (Chicago, IL), Peg Alston Fine Arts (New York City), Avisca Fine Art (Marietta, GA), Cernuda Arte (Coral Gables, FL), Dolan/Maxwell (Philadelphia, PA), Bill Hodges Gallery (New York City), Lusenhop Fine Art (Chicago, IL), G.R. N’Namdi Gallery (Chicago, IL and New York City), Panoptican Gallery of Photography (Boston, MA), Merton D. Simpson Gallery (New York City) and Sragow Gallery (New York City), among others. For information, click here or call 212-925-5257.
BOSTON CHILDREN’s THEATRE presents SNOW WHITE through FEBRUARY 24, based on the stories by the Brothers Grimm. Also featured in the play are a magic mirror, a poisoned apple and, of course, a handsome prince. For information call 617-424-6634 or click here
DELTA SIGMA THETA SORORITY INC., BOSTON ALUMNAE Chapter presents “AN AFTERNOON OF AFRICAN AMERICAN CULTURE FOR CHILDREN” on Saturday, FEBRUARY 23, noon – 3pm at United South End Settlements, 48 Rutland Street, free of charge, for children 6 – 12 years old. RSVP’s required. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Families will enjoy an afternoon of visual and performing arts with experienced artists. Snacks will be provided. For more information call Ms. Woods at 214-280-2442.
THE ENVELOPE PLEASE! Will McMillan and Bobbi Carrey with Doug Hammer on piano, WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 8pm After five sold out appearances, Bobbi Carrey and Will McMillan return to Scullers Jazz Club with THE ENVELOPE PLEASE, featuring Academy Award winners and nominees for best song in a motion picture. The list of best song winners and nominees includes most of the leading songwriters of the 20th century- Irving Berlin, Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen, Hoagy Carmichael, Henry Mancini and Randy Newman. Scullers Jazz Club, Double Tree Guest Suites Hotel, 400 Soldiers Field Road, for reservations call 617.562.4111.
FEBRUARY 23, at 6:30pm the ROXBURY ACTION PROGRAM presents RAPPERS EXCHANGE ‘WORDS ACROSS THE GENERATIONS’. Where young rappers and Ole School poets will come together to speak and view the world through the words and perspectives of the opposite generation. Is there such a thing as “good rap”? Do older writers have anything to say? Ole School will learn first hand by rapping themselves and the younger generation will breathe new life into the ideas of the past. Participating artists include: Shirley Owens Hicks, Valerie Foxx, Dr. Joseph Warren, Steven Clark, Paschal, Alexandria King, Youdre Zekou, music by BTI 617, Pelaiah Auset and others. At Putnam Hall, 10 Putnam Street, Roxbury, For info call Roxbury Action Program 617-442-4400.
Black Rep’s 2007-2008 FIRST LOOK reading series continues on Monday, FEBRUARY 25th, with ‘TROJAN BARBIE’ , a new play by Christine Evans, directed by Black Rep Affiliate Artist Nadia Mahdi. Trojan Barbie is a car-crash encounter with Euripides’ Trojan Women, where past and present violently collide as the dreams of women and their fierce hunger for life are played out in the larger context of war. The reading is open to the public at 7 p.m. Don’t miss this chance to see the Black Rep’s acting company take a first look at a new play – and let the playwright know what you think in a post-show discussion. For info, call 401-351-0353 x 2.
ROXBURY’S VISUAL ARTS HERITAGE an illustrated slide talk-Monday, FEBRURY 25, 6PM Dudley Branch Library, 65 Warren Street FREE, by E. Barry Gaither, Executive Director of the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists and long time leader in Roxbury’s vibrant art community. Roxbury has nurtured locally born artists including Lois Mailou Jones, Allan Rohan Crite, John Wilson and Richard Yarde and welcomed gifted artists from around the nation. Discover a century of art by Roxbury artists, learn about Roxbury’s place in the Black Arts Movement and appreciate the important and continuing role of Roxbury institutions in fostering the arts. Funded by the Fellowes Athenaeum Trust Fund.
The MUSEUM OF THE NATIONAL CENTER OF AFRO-AMERICAN ARTISTS invites you to a reception celebrating the exhibitions:
MALCOLM X: in action, Photography by Robert Haggins, Painting by Theodore Charron, Presented in cooperation with the Malcolm X/Ella L. Little-Collins Family Foundation; and
CALVIN BURNETT: 1921-2007. The reception is Sunday, FEBRUARY 17, from 3-5pm at 300 Walnut Avenue, Roxbury. Visit the website here or call 617-442-8614.
HOT LIKE FIRE, Boston’s Hottest Reggae Band celebrates its 19th Anniversary on Saturday, FEBRUARY 23, 10:30pm – 2am at The Western Front, 343 Western Avenue in Cambridge.
NEW ENGLAND CONSERVATORY presents its 28th Annual THOMAS A. DORSEY GOSPEL JUBILEE, FEBRUARY 16 at 7pm and FEBRUARY 17 at 4pm in NEC’s Jordan Hall, featuring on Saturday, The New England Spiritual Ensemble, The NEC Community Gospel Choir, Praise & Worship Dance Ministry of St. Paul A.M.E. and soloist Ida Kamrara, with special invocation by Rev. Martin McLee from Union United Methodist Church; and on Sunday, Angels Without Wings (children’s choir), Saxophonist/Flutist Bobby Tynes, The Mystic Chorale, Praise & Worship Dance Ministry and The NEC Community Gospel Choir. with Special invocation led by Rev. Dr. LeRoy Attles, Sr. of St. Paul A.M.E. Church. Tickets are $15. For info call 617-585-1260.
The MFA Film Program is proud to present The 8th ANNUAL BOSTON AFRICAN FILM FESTIVAL through FEBRUARY 29. Showcasing highlights from the New York African Film Festival and new releases from the California Newsreel, this festival combines dramatic features, compelling documentaries, and smart, short films. Thirteen new films, making their Boston premieres, are from nations throughout Africa including Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Nigeria, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Tickets: Members, seniors and students $8; general admission $9. Discount matinee prices (weekday until 5 pm; weekends until 12:30 pm) are $6, $7. To purchase, call the box office at 617-369-3687 or click here for more information.
THE ROXBURY DISCUSSION SERIES! at Hibernian Hall presents an evening with AMIRI BARAKA (poet, playwright, activist) on FEBRUARY 28 at 6pm, tickets are $5 and can be purchased two hours before the discussion, or online. Hibernian Hall is located at 184 Dudley Street, Roxbury. For info, visit the website or call 617-541-3900 x324.
CALL FOR TEEN ART WORK: “Let’s hook up” “Come straight home!” “Come to this party!” “Let’s get high” “Do your homework!”/ … Do these kinds of phrases constantly ring in your ears? In today’s fast-paced society we are all pressured to fit into a certain mold. We are told to be the best: the smartest, the fastest, the richest, the best looking. We are always dealing with stress in our lives from home, school, work, peer pressure, and family pressure. The Cloud Foundation ‘s Teen Visual Art Curators are looking for teen (ages 13-19) art on the topic of */STRESS/*. Do your artworks express stress? Submit your art to our show to share your experiences and point of view. Work selected for /Stress for Success/ will be exhibited at Cloud Place , a professional venue open to the public located in Copley Square, Boston. The opening reception on March 28th is free and open to the public. *Submission Deadline: March 3, 2008* * For information call 617-262-2949.
The MFA Film Program presents a 5-show engagement of Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth’s modern Mongolian epic KHADAK, FEBRUARY 15-21. Khadak introduces international film audiences not only to the beauty of the Mongolian landscape, but the monumental struggles between indigenous culture and modern economic and social pressures. Their cast includes non-professionals as well as stars of Mongolian cinema.
The Providence Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority invites you to a FAMILY event. **Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult** A 70′s SKATE PARTY (wear your best 70′s attire–afros & bell bottoms are welcomed). Saturday, FEBRUARY 23, from 9:30pm – 11:30pm at United Skates of America, 75 New Road, Rumford, RI. $12.00 includes roller skate rental. For tickets please contact Aronda Rodgers at 401-573-6300.
FOR THE CHILDREN, KEEP DR. KING’S DREAM ALIVE. “WE ARE THE DREAM” a musical cd designed for children aged 2 – 8. “Parents love it. They say the songs are hummable, singable and stick like Velcro.” The songs honor and celebrate motherhood, encourage self-worth and self-esteem, encourage achievement, discourage bullying, and encourage children to be dreamers! Written & performed by international recording star Brenda Lee Eager, presented by The Chumbies Get Smart Club, produced by Cornelia and Topper Carew. For more information click here.
The PROVIDENCE BLACK REPERTORY COMPANYpresents Trevor Rhone’s ‘TWO CAN PLAY’ for a 2nd performance run, this time in Boston, MARCH 14 – 16 at Hibernian Hall, 184 Dudley Street, Boston. The setting is Kingston, Jamaica – circa 1980, as bullets fly by their windows at night, Jim & Gloria fantasize about leaving their war-torn Caribbean nation to a new life in the United States. But when fantasy meets reality, their marriage becomes the first victim of American-style idealism. TWO CAN PLAY is a romantic comedy that takes a hilarious and revealing look at the perils of love, marriage and the American dream. Tickets are $20, and $15 for seniors and students. For questions or group discounts, call Jonathan at 617-541-3900 x324 or visit.
BOSTON YOUTH FUND SUMMER JOBS for Boston resident teens ages 15 (on or before July 6) and not yet 18 (on or before Aug. 15). To Register, call 617-635-4673 on FEBRUARY 19, 20, 21 between 10am – 2pm or FEBRUARY 26 4-8pm. For more information call the Boston Youth Fund at 617-635-4202 or click here.