Kay Bourne Arts Report – Issue #61

September 22nd, 2008  |  Published in Kay Bourne Arts Report


by Kay Bourne
(Guru and Superproducer Solar)

535 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #61This year’s edition of the annual JOHN COLTRANE MEMORIAL CONCERT explores the jazz giant’s relevance to rap.

“The African American expressive culture is a continuum,” points out music scholar EMMETT G. PRICE, III, one of the producer’s of the concert. As the author of the investigative history “Hip Hop Culture” (2006) and the newly published “Encyclopedia of African American Music,” Price has given a lot of thought to the flow of Black music from generation to generation. Even so, the notion of hip hop at the annual event commemorating the jazz icon takes some getting used to.

Established in 1977, the 31st JOHN COLTRANE MEMORIAL CONCERT’s “A Tribute to ‘Trane” with GURU of Jazzamataz fame takes place Saturday, SEPTEMBER 27 at 8 pm at Northeastern’s Blackman Theater, 360 Huntington Ave. It’s the opening program for Northeastern University’s Center for the Arts. (October will see a conversation with Broadway show phenomenon Stephen Sondheim with vocalist Kate Baldwin.)

Guru’s Jazzmatazz with Superproducer Solar with DJ Doo Wop, Brownman on trumpet, and David Scott on keys, guitar, flute, sax will doubtless please the some 200 students from the Cambridge and Boston public schools and the little ones of the Roxbury-based Paige Academy who are given free seats every year at the concert as part of an on-going program associated with the JCMC performance. For the past 16 years, the producers of the concert go into the schools as an effort to incorporate music into the regular curriculum. Currently, the JCMC is put together by ethnomusicologist at Northeastern and professional musician Leonard Brown and Price, a music professor at Northeastern who also chairs the African American Studies Department. Hip hop stiffens young people’s spines, the way jazz did to youthful listeners of the 50′s and 60′s.

Early on, filmmaker Spike Lee saw Guru’s intersection with jazz. Lee hired Guru’s Gangstarr duo to compose a piece, “Jazz Thing,” for the 1991 film starring Denzel Washington as an inventive sax player, “‘Mo Better Blues,” which looked at the travails of jazz greats trying to create under the commercial constraints of nightclub performances.

Guru has also earned his jazz stripes beginning with the popular CD “Guru’s Jazzmatazz” an experimental fusion of hip hop and jazz” (Chrysalis) issued in 1993. The album which featured the playing of vibist Roy Ayers, trumpet player Donald Byrd, and keyboardist Lonnie Liston Smith, among others, (and which was dedicated to Guru’s parents, Judge Harry and Barbara Elam of Roxbury where Guru grew up), embarked the young artist on a trajectory that simultaneously pleased the worlds of rap and jazz. As a result Guru’s Jazzamatazz has been booked into numerous jazz festivals world wide, most recently this May at the Hague.

At last year’s JCMC, Price read aloud lyrics from the devotional “A Love Supreme,” (1967) which is probably the most revered of Coltrane’s recordings. Coltrane has said of the piece that it was his attempt as a reformed junkie at spreading the news that human transformation is possible. Coltrane’s son the post bebop saxophonist Ravi Coltrane (named for sitar player Ravi Shanker) and poet/playwright Imiri Baraka were the featured guests.

The year before, DeAma Battle¸ founder and artistic director of Art of Black Dance and Music, wore her Mama Africa costume when she danced in the opening number of the 29th JCMC, Coltrane’s “Kulu se Mama.” His tribute to mothers was arranged by Sa Davis and sung by Stan Strickland in the concert that had as its theme “An African Legacy.” The very first JCMC was held in the Friends of Great Black Music Loft on Lincoln Street in Boston’s leather district near South Station. In 1986, the concert moved to Northeastern. The list of guests who’ve performed over the years is a who’s who of the jazz world from McCoy Tyner, Pharoah Saunders, Yusef Lateef, and Frank Foster to Terri Lyn Carrington, Alan Dawson, Danilo Perez, and Brother Blue. The evening will be hosted by Eric Jackson, whose influential “Eric In The Evening” jazz programming on WGBH radio, 89.7 fm, Mondays through Thursday nights is a must listen for lovers of the music.

“We’re in the 2000′s now,” says Price about bringing Jazzamatazz into the mix of celebrating the Coltrane. “Coltrane is unifying, and you hear in hip hop music many of the elements you hear in Coltrane and, for that matter, the sweep of Black music: improvisation, call and response, and the repertoire of standards anyone of a professional level in music should know.”

John Coltrane Memorial Concert website

by Kay Bourne
536 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #61Harlem’s poet laureate Langston Hughes once observed of pianist RANDY WESTON‘s playing that when he plays “a combination of strength and gentleness, virility and velvet emerges from the keys in an ebb and flow of sound seemingly as natural as the waves of the sea.” As with so much that Hughes wrote, truer words were never spoken.

You can hear for yourself when Weston returns with his AFRICAN RHYTHMS TRIO to the Boston area after a lamentable absence, to perform at the BERKLEE BEANTOWN JAZZ FESTIVAL, Saturday, SEPTEMBER 27. The block party, with its multitude of class acts from the jazz spectrum goes from noon to 6 pm on three stages over six blocks along Columbus Avenue, starting at Mass. Ave. Along with the Weston combo, are Javon Jackson with Les McCann, Andre Ward, and Gold Sounds with James Carter, Cyrus Chestnut, Reginald Veal, and Ali Jackson, among other performers.

Weston, who was born in Brooklyn in 1926 and maintains that family home to this day, gleaned his musical influences from the neighborhood and the borough of Manhattan, players such as Count Basie, Nat King Cole, Art Tatum, and, of course, Duke Ellington. Monk was his greatest influence: He was the most original I ever heard,” Weston recalls. “He played like they must have played in Egypt 5000 years ago.” The pianist has always held a connection to Africa close to his heart and from 1969 to 1972 he lived in Morocco where he ran a night club, African Rhythms (the name of his trio).

It was in the 50′s that Weston wrote many of his best loved tunes, “Saucer Eyes,” “Pam’s Waltz,” “Little Niles,” and “Hi-Fly” (his greatest hit). Weston, who is 6’8,” says the song is a “tale of being my height and looking down at the ground.”

Weston has a long history of playing in Boston. In the 60′s, for example, he performed in a club in Harvard Square (now the House of Blues) that promoters had fixed up as a huge tent with a draped canvas ceiling.

It was when he performed at Lennie’s-on-the-Turnpike that his connection with Elma Lewis began. One of her music faculty invited Weston to perform for the children at the school in Roxbury. Weston was thrilled when he and his trio came a week later and found the music teachers had had the children listening to his music intently and draw their impressions of the tunes which were displayed throughout the building on Elm Hill Avenue in Roxbury. “It was beautiful,” said Weston in a recent phone conversation. “The kids knew us!”

In 1981, Miss Lewis arranged for Weston and his African Rhythms to perform at Symphony Hall with John Williams conducting. Among the musicians in the Weston group was tumba player Big Black who in 1974 had played those outsized conga drums in Zaire during training camp for Muhammad Ali as he revved up to box George Foreman in the renowned match known as The Rumble in the Jungle.

Randy Weston African Rhythm Trio will perform his own compositions at the BeanTown Festival, as he has always done. For more info about the master pianist and his upcoming performances click on his photo above to be connected to his website.

The Beantown Jazz Festival also offers a Target Family Park with fun activities for the kids, including face painting, photos, and an instrument “petting zoo,” where the children can try out musical instruments. On the Friday night before the block party, Berklee offers an all-star drum summit at its performance center featuring Boston’s own Terri Lyne Carrington who is now on the faculty at the music college. For ticket info visit the Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival website or call 617-931-2000.

Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival 08 website

by Kay Bourne
539 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #61The lyrics and story-line for JEROME KERN and OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN‘s musical play “SHOW BOAT” were meant to trouble the complacent waters of white racism. Written nearly 80 years ago in 1927, long before the big push to rid the country of Jim Crow laws oppressing Black Americans, one of its story line, for instance, follows how Julie is hounded from her acting job on the Cotton Blossom show boat after a sheriff comes to arrest her and her husband because she is Black (she’s passing for White) and he is not. The story, which begins in 1907, continues up until what was then the present day.

Lyricist Hammerstein’s most memorable offering in the arena of social justice, however, was a single song: “Ole Man River,” which expresses the oppressive work and daily life of a Black laborer, Joe, from his point of view.

In the NORTH SHORE MUSIC THEATRE’s production of the American masterpiece “Show Boat,” opening SEPTEMBER 23, bass baritone PHILLIP BOYKIN sings the song that now seems as ageless as the flow of the Mississippi River that was to Joe the symbol of his endless toil.

Boykin is uniquely prepared to sing the role at NSMT. To begin with, Boykin developed a one man show that he did awhile, portraying Paul Robeson who first performed the song in the 1928 London production of the show and again in the 1932 Broadway revival, and even recorded it with Paul Whiteman‘s orchestra back in 1928. Robeson’s is the most famous rendition of the song, which has been covered by many musicians and musical groups including bass singer Melvin Franklin of The Temptations who sang it at most concerts. (It eventually became his signature song.) Even Judy Garland sang “Ole Man River;” one of the few female singers to attempt the song she gave it a powerful rendition in her television show in 1962.

The song was first performed in the original stage production, December 27, 1927, by Jules Bledsoe (who a year earlier had sung James Weldon Johnson‘s Negro sermon “The Creation,” set to music by Louis Gruenberg who scored it for baritone and eight instruments and conducted by Serge Koussevitsky at Symphony Hall in Boston).

Beyond the Robeson interpretation Boykin performed, however, Boykin was coached for the role by none other than William Warfield, who sang it in the 1951 film version of “Show Boat,” another rendition that became very famous. Warfield also sang “Ole Man River” in the 1962 studio recording and in the 1966 Lincoln Center revival of the show.

Boykin feels fortunate to have met and worked with Warfield, first at the public South Carolina Governor’s School for the performing arts where Warfield served on the board of directors (and which Boykin attended as a teenager for the five week course then available, it’s now nine months) and later in master classes.

“He gave me little tricks to how to sing ‘Ole Man River,’” says Boykin, who went into detail on one of the hints Warfield gave him.

“I was singing ‘What does he care if the world’s got troubles?’

“He told me, ‘Joe wouldn’t speak like that with ‘t’s. Swallow your ‘t’s. Joe didn’t have that education.” (Joe’s speech is one of the troubling aspects to the character for some African American singers today. Boykin says, “I feel as an artist I am responsible for putting this piece of history on the stage. Joe is physically strong and does heavy work. He becomes like that river but because of his race, he can’t complain.”)

Boykin sang Joe in a recent national tour of “Show Boat” and looks forward to his stay in Beverly where he’ll be singing the role through OCTOBER 12. NSMT audiences will be delighted to have Boykin back for the way he sang the role of Caiaphas, the high priest, in last season’s “Jesus Christ Superstar.” Wearing a conical hat that rose a foot and half above his head like a huge lamp shade, he threw himself into the menacing part of a religious leader who thought Jesus was getting too popular. His mighty bass rendition of “Jesus Must Die” sent chills through the house.

Boykin’s bass baritone is unusual for its wide range. He can sing both deep baritone and have high notes as well which he says he developed from singing in the church. “In gospel there are not many bass roles so I learned to sing first tenor, alto and tenor. For example, I can sing ‘Maria’ from ‘West Side Story.’

“I’m glad to be back at North Shore, and doing Joe” Boykin comments during a moment between rehearsals when he talked to this writer by phone. “It’s the first theater I’ve performed in that is in-the-round. That’s fabulous for an actor and the audience alike. Everyone can see what you’re doing as an actor. You can get very intimate with the audience. You connect with the audience.”

The North Shore Music Theatre website

by Josiah Crowley © 2008
(Photo by Lisa Rafferty)

540 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #61In a recent interview with Metro Stage Company’s co-founder/ Executive Producer CHRISTOPHER TEAGUE, KBAR’s Josiah Crowley asked why a former D.A., who is now a criminal defense lawyer with his own firm, would start up a theater and what was the theatre’s purpose.

Josiah Crowley: How did your interest in theater start?
Christopher Teague: I’ve been involved in theater since I was a child. In fact, I produced and directed my first show when I was in fifth grade, and I’ve been involved in theater (both backstage and onstage) since then. After college, I decided to go to law school, and that was when I pretty much stopped doing theater. I put all of my energy into school and then into starting my career. After a few years, I realized I wasn’t very happy and decided that picking up a hobby might help. So I auditioned for a play.

JC: Is musical theater in particular what you prefer?
CT: I have always been obsessed with musical theater. That’s not to say I don’t love straight plays too, though. So far, Metro has only done musicals and that will probably continue for the immediate future. But as we continue to grow and expand, it seems very likely that we will be increasing our season and adding a straight play.

JC: Tell me about the background of your theater company, its origins, what went into forming it, keeping it going.
CT: Robert Case and I started Metro in 2004. I had just gotten back into theater. Bob had graduated from Boston Conservatory’s graduate program and was working in arts administration at Emerson College, but he wasn’t sure if he wanted to move to NYC to try to make it as an actor. Starting Metro was a great way for us to feed our passion for theater while keeping our day jobs. We also felt that there should be more professional opportunities for non-equity actors in Boston. So we set out to create a professional theater company in Cambridge. We also felt strongly that there should be a community component to the company. Since day one, we’ve worked to partner with nonprofits and help them raise money. Every time Metro makes a profit (which is never a guaranteed thing!), we donate a portion of it to charity. In fact, we developed our January fundraiser called Heart and Music as a way to raise awareness and funds for other charities. This past January, we partnered with AIDS Action Committee and donated half of the Hearts and Music profits to them. We also partner with nonprofits in other ways, such as donating tickets to their clients and staffs. Our primary goal is to make theater as accessible as possible.

JC: Tell us a little about your day job as a criminal lawyer.
CT: After law school, I worked as a law clerk and then as an Assistant District Attorney in Boston. I now run my own law practice, focusing primarily on criminal defense. The great thing about doing criminal law is that there is never a dull moment. I’ve prosecuted (and now defend) a variety of cases ranging from DUI to indecent assault and battery to drug distribution to domestic violence.

JC: Your take on Stephen Sondheim‘s work in general and in COMPANY in particular.
CT: I’m a huge Sondheim fan. His musicals are challenging musically and thematically in a way that a lot of musicals aren’t. We have the good fortune of working with some of the most talented actors and singers in Massachusetts, and a Sondheim show really puts them through their paces. I love the intimacy of his shows. His focus on the individual (and less on a grand scale plot/theme) really fits well with our company, our theater space and our audiences. COMPANY is about one man’s attempt at human connection, and it’s as relevant today as it was when it first debuted in 1970.

JC: Metro Stage’s long-term goals?
CT: With theater companies closing and the current economic climate, we feel extremely grateful to be heading into our fifth season. As we look toward the future, we hope to increase our presence in the Boston/Cambridge area. Our number one goal is always artistic excellence. But that goal does not exist alone. It is vital to our mission that we make theater accessible and raise awareness and funds for charities. We are constantly striving to produce a better product for our audiences. And we will continue to do so. That will mean raising money to increase the technical aspects of our shows and to hire directors, music directors and actors (including, eventually, Equity actors) who are at the top of their game.

The Metro Stage Company’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s COMPANY at Cambridge’s YMCA in Central Square, 820 Mass. Avenue opened SEPTEMBER 19 for a two weekend run. For more info phone 617-524-5013 or visit the Metro Stage Company’s website.

Metro Stage Company website

by Kay Bourne
(Anna Deavere Smith as Elizabeth Streb. Photo: Michael Lutch.)

541 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #61ANNA DEAVERE SMITH is up to her old magic – letting us see the human behind the issue, the soul beneath the scowl, the person inside the label.

Through her documentary-style theater where she takes all the roles, Smith has brought us to the table as equals among equals if only for those minutes when we sit in a darkened theater. She made this humanizing of horrific events famous by her revisiting Brooklyn after clashes between Jews and Blacks in “Fires in the Mirror” and L.A. ignited by an incident between a Korean storekeeper and her Black customer, “Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992.”

To her mind, it’s a continuum. “For eight years I have been having a very long conversation,” she says.

Now she wants us to comprehend other people’s pain and, how, in heaven’s name, they stood up to the grinding of body and soul with grace. “LET ME DOWN EASY” runs until OCTOBER 11, on the American Repertory Theatre’s Loeb Stage, 64 Brattle Street in Harvard Square.

Conceived, written, and performed by Anna Deavere Smith all alone on that vast stage, the show is directed by Eric Ting, associate artistic director at Long Wharf Theater where he recently directed Lydia Diamond’s stage version of Toni Morrison’s debut novel “The Bluest Eye.”

From interviews done in places as various as war torn Rwanda, absorbing the stories of people devastated by genocide, to grand rounds at Yale School of Medicine where interns learn about diagnosis from staff physicians, an ear cocked always for compiling the personages she’ll reenact, Smith has explored “the idea of resilience.”

The actress took a brief respite from rehearsals recently to talk about this new project.

“We don’t live forever,” says Smith flatly, but it’s “grace in the face of the darker possibilities, when a person does something that is kind, where suddenly there is beauty and balance” that fastens itself on the retina of Smith’s memory. She thinks back to the person who told her, “grace is courage.”

She thinks of artists who stayed the course even as they near death. “(Franz) Schubert writes two of his greatest pieces before he dies. He knew he was going to die. He had suffered and he created in face of that reality.”

Every religion speaks to such passages in life; Smith has been reading the Koran, the Bible, and Asian writings and listening to spiritual leaders from all of these disciplines, some of whom will appear in “Let Me Down Easy.” She mentions a rabbi who talks about the “I and Thou” concepts in the essay on existence by the philosopher Austrian-Israeli-Jewish philosopher Martin Buber where “for a moment we can believe we have a piece of someone else in ourselves.”

Smith’s presentation at A.R.T. will be unlike any she has done to date on this subject and, like the magical intimacy of improvisational jazz music, only heard here, even if she takes the theme elsewhere. The piece differs from past topics, she feels, in that it’s “less political.”

Different but alike because “Let Me Down Easy” is meant to awaken our empathetic impulses just as the nights about social upheaval and racism plugged us in to other people’s quarrels and puzzlements. As the doctor told Smith, when she had presented some of her cameos from grand rounds visiting patients, “this reminds me of why I went into medicine. I was interested in human reaction, the engagement that allows us to do our work.”

American Repertory Theatre’s website

by Josiah Crowley © 2008
542 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #61Local author ROBERT PARKER (who lives in Cambridge) – best known for his Spenser detective novels – as a change of pace, wrote the Western novel APPALOOSA. It’s been adapted to the screen by ED HARRIS, who produced, directed, adapted, and stars in this old-fashioned opus about redemption, sin and morality in the Old West.

Harris, a four-time Oscar nominee, does a fine job per usual in the lead as the conflicted Virgil Cole. Jeremy Irons has fun hamming it up as the corrupt sheriff; Viggo Mortensen is passable as Harris’s cohort in the troubled Western town. Renee Zelwegger, however, is out of her element in Western garb, as the not-so-innocent lass in the story.

Harris creates a good ambience with this film: the viewer thinks he’s back at the old Saturday matinee of childhood, watching John Wayne defend all things moral. This film is a lot more politically correct than past Westerns: the Indians are not the bad guys – rather, the sheriff is the most corrupt character in the film. The pacing of the film is solid enough (originally, Harris shot a 3-hour version!) and it’s not a bad way to spend an evening, though not all that memorable. Like many Western stories, it’s not as exciting as one would hope. Just 2 stars here.

Appaloosa – the movie – website

543 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #61TIM REID (“WKPR in Cinncinatti”, “Sister/Sister”) will be in town on SEPTEMBER 27 and 28 to do a book signing of his new book “TIM AND TOM.” Saturday at the Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival from 1-3pm at The Color of Film/ACT Roxbury’s booth. Then Sunday, SEPTEMBER 28 at Jamaicaway Books in Jamaica Plain, he’ll read an excerpt as well as book signings beginning at 5pm.

TIM AND TOM tells the story of that pioneering duo, the first interracial comedy team in the history of show business–and the last. TIM REID and TOM DREESEN polished their act in the nightclubs of Chicago, then took it on the road, not only in the North, but in the still-simmering South as well, developing routines that even today remain surprisingly frank–and remarkably funny–about race.

Tim and Tom will be on hand to sign books available for purchase, at the TCOF/ACT table.
TIM AND TOM official website

544 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #61What is a circus without animals?! Sensational, if it’s CIRQUE DU SOLEIL’s “KOOZA” at the Bayside Expo Center through OCTOBER 19.

Think of the gripping beauty in the 2001 NE Patriots versus the Oakland Raiders football game in the driving snowstorm that won the local team their division championship. The athleticism against the slippery odds, the strangeness of seeing the players behind a transparent veil of flakes.

That’s the aesthetic of the Montreal based touring production of international super athletes in spangled costumes who serve up thrills and chills through astounding feats of daring do and spectacular physicality: a “Chinese chairs” routine where Yan Deng Bo nonchalantly balances atop a 23-foot! stack of chairs he’s delicately built; “a wheel of death” routine that has Carlos Enrique Marin Losita and Angelo Lyerzkysky jogging and leaping around two gigantic wheels as they spin ever faster. Breathtaking. All of this is set to the music of a lively small orchestra and vocalist.

There’s also a trio of raucous and hilariously rude clowns and a peeing dog who fill in between the scary trapeze acts, the mind blowing contortionists, the clever pickpocket, (yes, I said pickpocket), and so forth.

This company grew out of an unaffiliated congregation of street performers who apparently remember their roots, at least in this Boston visit. The popcorn is free. The porto potties are clean, plentiful, and comfortable. There is a gala, yet easy going atmosphere to the proceedings from the easy parking, the “red carpet” entrance to the Hersey kisses-shaped tent afforded everyone, and the flowers given many of the visitors to the pleasant treatment at the hands of ushers and vendors alike. Just the sort of treatment street people would most appreciate.
Cirque du Soleil Official Website

by Robin Saunders
To help keep you warm as the seasons transition from summer to autumn, here’s a top 20 list of jazz singles for your listening pleasure, compiled by Anastasie Carter of The SOUL of New England Entertainment Group:


Watch jazz videos selected by SOUL OF NEW ENGLAND airing on my weekly music video show, ROOTZ TO RHYTHMtv, Tuesday nights, 10 – 11pm along with the best selection of urban videos, including R&B, JAZZ, HIP HOP, WORLD MUSIC and REGGAE, on BNNtv, Boston Comcast channel 23. Jump in front of my camera this weekend at the Beantown Jazz Festival, and who knows, may be you’ll be on ROOTZ TO RHYTHMtv too!

Patrice Williamson, John Kordalewski and Bill Lowe at Restaurant Laura
545 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #61Every Thursday night between 7 – 10:30pm, enjoy dinner and jazz at RESTAURANT LAURA, located at 688 Columbia Road, Dorchester. The line up for the next few weeks is:
September 25 – Diane Richardson (vocals), John Kordalewski (piano)
October 2 – Jazz Report
October 9 – Patrice Williamson (vocals), John Kordalewski (piano)
October 16 – Diane Richardson (vocals), John Kordalewski (piano)
October 23 – Candida Rose (vocals), John Kordalewski (piano)
October 30 – Diane Richardson (vocals), John Kordalewski (piano) For more information call Restaurant Laura at 617-825-9004. ALSO, SAVE THE DATE: The Makanda Jazz Project, led by John Kordalewski, comes to the Dudley Branch Library auditorium NOVEMBER 8, 2 to 5 pm, free and open to the public, with world renowned trombonist Craig Harris, a former Makanda Ken McIntyre student.

Join Richard O’ Bryant and Prof. Emmett G. Price III as they honor the rich legacies of Northeastern’s African American Institute and the Department of African American Studies while also sharing with Administrators, Black Faculty, Staff and Alumni the ambitious vision for the future. RECONNECTIONS: Honoring the Past and Casting the Vision for the Future this Friday, SEPTEMBER 26, 6:30pm at AAMARP, (the African American Master Artists in Residence Studios) 76 Atherton Street Jamaica Plain for a wine and cheese reception. For information call NU’s African American Institute at 617-373-3143.

Siege the Day! September 27, 10am-12pm. Sun Goddess Paul Revere and William Dawes warned us. The British were on the move and Roxbury responded! Explore Roxbury’s vital role during the Siege of Boston and travel by trolley to retrace the route local militia took from Roxbury to Dorchester Heights in 1776 to force the evacuation of the British. This tour is in honor of the Freedom Trail’s 50th anniversary and is co-sponsored by the Boston National Historical Park. Space is limited. Tickets are $25. Trolleys depart Back Bay Station at 9:30am and Roxbury Heritage State Park at 10am.

The Ladies of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Boston Alumnae Chapter with the men of Eta Phi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. present THE BOSTON BOATRIDE, MIDNIGHT CRUISE this Saturday, SEPTEMBER 27 on the luxurious SPIRIT OF BOSTON CRUISE SHIP, 200 Seaport Boulevard near the World Trade Center with 4 levels of entertainment, Level 1, a live jazz band and VIP lounge, DJ Chubby Chubb spinning old school, hip hop, R&B, calypso and reggae on Levels 2 & 3, and the moonlight deck on Level 4. Boarding time, 11pm, sailing 11:30 – 2:30am, for more info visit www.thebostonboatride.com

10th Annual ROXBURY OPEN STUDIOS, a celebration of visual artists living and working in Roxbury, is OCTOBER 4 & 5. The theme for 2008 is ArtRox! This year is also the biggest yet. For the first time, Fort Hill will have 7 sites: the Dillaway-Thomas House, The First Church in Roxbury and 5 other studios. For information on this year’s new locations, and new attractions, such as the touring Roxbury Open Studios by bike, the interactive exhibit with Sidewalk Sam and Art Walk, visit the Roxbury Open Studios website here. And for more information, call ACT Roxbury at (617) 541-3900.

Art Walk during Roxbury Open Studio’s OCTOBER 4, 1pm-2:30pm. Walk with Candelaria Silva, former Director of ACT Roxbury, on a guided tour to the Fort Hill studios and group shows. This opportunity to explore Roxbury Open Studios with one of its founders is not to be missed. To reserve your space with a $5 donation to Discover Roxbury, click here. For more information, call Discover Roxbury 617-427-1006. This event is co-sponsored by ACT Roxbury.

THE DRUM EXPERIENCE PROGRAM‘s “Play It, Say It, Sway It” starts Saturday, OCTOBER 4 and runs every Saturday 12 – 1:30pm at Dudley Branch Library, 65 Warren Street, Roxbury, MA. “Play It” with DRUMS: Learn to play African drums, learn the history of rhythms and broaden your knowledge about drums in relation to various cultures. Taught by percussionist Salim Rahman, Open to all ages. “Say It” SPOKEN WORD: What did Zora said to Langston? Poetry, Presentation, Creative Writing, Individual Expression. Open to ages: 8 to 18, taught by Fulani Haynes. “Sway It” DANCE: Learn about meditation and dance origins from Africa and Latino countries. Taught by Ilanga, open to all ages. This program is free and open to the public. Call 617-427-8320 for further information.

SAVE THE DATE: Friday, OCTOBER 24…No need to head out west for the hottest live, underground R&B, SOUL and JAZZ artists, starting next month, ORGANIX SOUL Boston debuts at the Braintree Sheraton, 8pm to 1 am, the last Friday in October. So keep checking the Organix Soul Springfield website for updates on ORGANIX SOUL Boston information, in the next couple of weeks.

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