Kay Bourne Arts Report – Issue #70

April 24th, 2009  |  Published in Kay Bourne Arts Report


by Kay Bourne
(pictured: Frank Wilkins)

613 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #70New to Boston, jazz music lover PAULINE BILSKY heard countless stories of this city’s past as a jazz mecca. The 20′s. The 30′s. The 40′s. The fabled history was intriguing, yet, looking around it seemed to her, the story isn’t over by a long shot.

To promote the notion that Boston sports an admirable number of outstanding jazz performances nowadays, she and some like minded individuals put together JAZZBoston! The non-profit gets the word out about opportunities to hear the music. “We spread the word to keep jazz going,” she says of its mission. “We build audiences for jazz and we foster and expand opportunities for jazz musicians.”

Their big effort is the annual JAZZ WEEK, which this year runs from APRIL 25 through MAY 3. With a theme of “What’s Your Jazz?” to underline the fact that there’s something going on for just about any taste, Jazz Boston has put together a calendar of events scheduled during this time period. To those nostalgic for the past glories of Boston as a jazz happy town, it may come as a pleasant surprise that Jazz Week lists some 200 events, only a very few of which the organization itself puts on. For a complete view of the goings on you can go online to www.jazzboston.org.

“I think it’s great that the jazz community has come together to make a big statement with jazz,” comments jazz music publicist notable SUE AUCLAIR who represented the Newport Jazz Festival among hundreds of events in the region for more than 20 years. “Ever since the Boston Globe Jazz & Blues Festival stopped happening, the Boston jazz scene has been splintered. Now, JazzBoston seems to be unifying all the sources of live music and creating a wonderful week-long celebration.”

To dip into the cornucopia of opportunities, the opening Saturday, APRIL 25, features, among some 16 events, big name CYRUS CHESTNUT at Scullers Jazz Club; “Blues After Hours” – the 4th annul musical tribute to MAI CRAMER at the Regent Theater in Arlington; a “Salute to Duke” with MARK HARVEY and the AARDVARK JAZZ ORCHESTRA at Newton South High School Auditorium, a lively event co-hosted by HavanaClub and SalsaBoston, “Jazz Meets Salsa”, that includes dance lessons so everyone can get out on the floor.

There are a host of free events during Jazz Week from panels to performances from discussions with the legendary GUNTHER SCHULLER to a chamber jazz trio featuring outstanding vocalist DOMINIQUE EADE at the Malden Public Library and on to the marvelous KURTIS RIVERS QUARTET which plays at the VFW Post in Dorchester on Sunday evenings. The Volvo Ocean Race at Fan Pier has joined in as well with three evening jazz concerts on Boston Harbor.

One of the Jazz Boston events is a series of six talks at the Boston Public Library which kicks off with musicologist EMMETT PRICE III, chair of the African American Studies Dept. at Northeastern University, a musician in his own right and the author of some highly regarded books about hip hop and other black music styles. With “Jazzin’ The Generations: How Life’s Lessons Can Be Shared Through Jazz” Professor Price leads an interactive discussion on how jazz conveys the principles of leadership and citizenship and reveals the importance of tradition. That Monday, 12:30 talk is followed in the next days by the screening of the much touted jazz film, the Boston premiere of “Music Inn,” a vocal showcase led by master pianist FRANK WILKINS, a celebration of Duke Ellington’s 100th birthday, an introduction to jazz for the very young, and a talk about the globalization of jazz education.

Among the local jazz luminaries performing during Jazz Week is vocalist (and arts administrator) SHELLEY NEILL, who performs Friday, MAY 1 at the Multicultural Arts Center, 41 Second St., East Cambridge for two sets in the evening. “I am a vocalist and a jazz presenter who loves jazz music!,” says Neill. “During Jazz Week I will have an opportunity to work with three really great musicians, LASLO GARDONY, YORON ISRAEL, and RON MAHDI in a fabulous setting, The Jazz Club at the Multicultural Arts Center, and be part of a week-long series of events that actively encourages people to get to know and appreciate America’s most original music.”

Hungry for more? Boston chefs are on board too with special prices for jazz inspired dishes in two course lunch and dinner menus. For more details check the Jazz Boston on-line site.

JazzBoston and Jazz Week website

by Kay Bourne
(pictured: Akiba Abaka photo credit: Rick Tousignant)

614 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #70DICK FLAVIN, who said that it wasn’t until he was 72 that he got his first play staged, was sky high at winning Best New Play/Small Stage at the 12th ANNUAL INDEPENDENT REVIEWERS OF NEW ENGLAND (IRNE) AWARDS night, Monday, April 6. His bio of the late Speaker of the House from Cambridge, TIP O’NEILL and debut play, “According To Tip,” was staged by New Repertory Theater in Watertown with KEN HOWARD in the title role. Mr. Flavin was already well known in the Boston area as a longtime sportswriter and commentator. Later in the evening Howard won Best Solo Performance/Small Theater for playing the role of the beloved politician.

“Never give up! Never give up! Never give up!” the excited late bloomer thespian author advised the nearly four hundred theater artists and their supporters who crowded into the Boston Center of the Arts (BCA) for an evening filled with thrills for actors, directors, producers, costumers, music directors, choreographers, and lighting and sound designers vying for the 46 awards. The fourteen critics voting for the prestigious awards that particularly focus on the local theater scene and its artists include KAY BOURNE, who was among the presenters at the ceremony. The awards recognized outstanding work in 2008.

An astonished MICHELLE DOWD, who won Best Actress for a Drama/Small Theater for her work in Zeitgeist Stage Company‘s production of EDWARD ALBEE‘s “Seascape,” had thought she was such a long shot among the five nominees she hadn’t prepared an acceptance speech. She said extemporaneously that by casting her in the unusual drama about a man and his wife meeting up with evolving creatures from the sea that director DAVID MILLER had answered “an actor’s call for a challenge.” She also noted that the playwright himself had reserved the right to personally approve the casting of each of the roles. Originally directed by the playwright himself, “Seascape” won Albee his second Pulitzer Prize.

“We have no money but we do have a lot of heart,” exclaimed AKIBA ABAKA, artistic director of the Up You Mighty Race Company who won Best Director/Small Company for their production of “In the Continuum” about the AIDS pandemic. It was Abaka’s first win after ten nominations over the years.

“This is a tremendous honor,” she continued. “Thank you! Thank you to the members of the Independent Reviewers of New England for recognizing In the Continuum. At times you were the only people in the audience, and for that we are very grateful.” In her thanks to the current administrators of the BCA where UYMR is a resident company, Abaka also recognized former BCA head LIBBY SHUFRO. “for always seeing and chipping away at the statue within the stone.”

The Kenneth A. MacDonald Award for Theater Excellence was presented to JOE ANTOUN of Centastage for producing original works by local writers for eighteen years. Best Visiting Production/Small Theater Company went to “Camp Logan” (African American Theatre Festival-Our Place Theatre).

Official Website of StageSource

by Stephen Hemingway
615 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #70One time I was with ALEX HALEY drinking. It was in his gathering period during the time as he was writing ‘Roots’. He told me that every race has a history. That’s the real difference between Whites and Blacks. Whites try to forget theirs and can’t. Blacks try to remember theirs but can’t.

Then the question came up, ‘suppose you were both white and black, what then?’ Now forty years later comes the answer from this wisp of a writer DANZY SENNA who is from both sides of the toast and she is kind enough to let us into her nightmare.

“Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), is a memoir you can’t forget. On one hand, you want to call 911 and report her brown father for years of violent spousal abuse and on the other you want to slap her pale mother for experimenting with love on a barely formed human being. But you don’t. You just read on, captivated on the divan in the den. So much so that in the morning your wife asks you: “Where did you sleep last night?”

In spite of the title (taken from an unrelated blues song), and the time defying structure, the book is naked life. The author’s first book ‘Causasia’, was extremely well received. That was a decade ago and although it was somewhat biographical its beauty was unmistakably fiction.

For the 1960′s, Danzy’s parents were the perfect couple. Her father CARL SENNA was dashing, raw, looked like Billy Dee, and wrote like Richard Wright. He was culled out of the housing projects with a history of Catholic abuse and Southern DNA. Her mother FANNY HOWE was a blonde, petite, poet-novelist from a Boston-Cambridge Brahmin family whose talent always surpassed her common sense.

For a time the couple became one of the symbols of integration for the Boston press before they had the issue of ‘busing’ to dehumanize. All too soon alcohol consumed Carl and bitterness overcame Fanny.

From this fertile ground of mistrust and disappointment, three, very normal, children sprouted. Luckily for us one of them is talented enough to share their experiences, understanding that inter-racial marriage is not about who gets married but what the couple produces. “What about the children?,” that worn out, demeaning question posed to inter-racial newlyweds, maybe right on.

Danzy observes: “(with) no motherland in Africa and in Europe to shift our gaze. There is only, always and already, the failure of this nation and of their union, from which we three emerge, bruised and battered but still breathing. This our homeland.”

As the Black part of Danzy dug into her history she found a story that the White side of her would never, should never want to forget. It is a lesson for America.

DANZY SENNA is scheduled to visit the Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston Street, May 26, at 6pm to promote this new book.

Where Did You Sleep Last Night information

by Candelaria Silva-Collins
(Jill Scott and Idris Elba)

616 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #70As an aficionado of the award-winning novels in the “No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” series, I have been waiting to see them come to the screen. The HBO TV series, starring JILL SCOTT as Mma Ramotswe, owner of No. 1 Ladies’ Agency, is as gentle and uplifting as the series itself, even when it veers from the original novels.

The novels are written by ALEXANDER McCALL SMITH, a Scottish-born author and lawyer who grew up in Zimbabwe near Botswana and attended college in Botswana. He writes lovingly of Botswana, an African country with a lot of stability and modernity, and is uncanny in his ability to capture a woman’s way of thinking. He firmly sets this series and characters in the 21st century while paying tribute to a longing for the traditional ways that are passing, especially in the city, Gaborone, where the agency is located.

When I heard that the casting for the series was beginning, I had my own idea of who might best play Precious Ramotwe. My thought was that LORETTA DEVINE would be great since the actress NELL CARTER, a truly traditionally-built woman, as Mma Ramotswe is repeatedly described in the novels, has passed on. The casting of Jill Scott as Mma Precious Ramotswe troubled me initially but, it turns out, she embodies the character and carries it off skillfully. Ditto for ANIKA NONI ROSE as her sharp-tongued secretary Grace Makutsi and LUCIAN MSAMATI as JLB Matekoni, owner of Speedy Motors. They nail the personalities and tics described in frequent detail in the nine novels of the series.

If I have any complaint, it is with the Hollywoodization of the settings and the clothes of Grace Makutzi. In the novels, the ill-fitting shoes and thick glasses of Grace are a recurrent theme as is the dust and heat of Botswana. In the series everything looks so pristine that the heat appears conquered instead of a persistent force with which to be reckoned. The series also speeds up the progress of the attraction between Mma Ramotswe and JLB Maketoni too swiftly and has him involved in her work from the beginning, something that took quite a while to occur in the novels. But, this mangling with and veering away from the original dynamic story line, character descriptions and setting is standard for television and film adaptations of novels. Happily with this television version, the essence and spirit of the novels shine through.

The pilot also introduces a character that never appears in the nine novels published thus far, BK, gay owner of The Last Chance Salon a business that abuts the detective agency. As played by DESMOND DUBE, BK works as a character, because he is friendly, pleasant, nosy and accepted despite his sexuality, which emphasizes the point that Gaborone is a contemporary city.

The pilot captures the love Mma Ramotswe has for her father, a successful cattle rancher who teaches the young Precious to use her eyes, ears and memory, advises her to be patient, and gives her a sense of justice, all of which will prove necessary to her work as a detective who solves the problems and mysteries of her countrymen and women.

The pace of the two-hour pilot is a bit slow. I watched the first two episodes with two friends, one of whom has read the books and the other of whom hasn’t. Both of them enjoyed it despite it being “a little slow.” In my second viewing, I found the pace appropriate because the story unfolds rather than being hurled at the viewer.

The respect and love for this vibrant, contemporary and stable African country is as evident in the HBO series as it is in the novels. Mr. McCall Smith has said that he will finish the series in eleven novels, nine of which have been published. The novels are eagerly awaited by fans who will, I believe, embrace the TV series. The series offers a treat for viewers unfamiliar with the novels as well because it shows African people in a full-range of humanity something HBO did successfully with “The Wire”. I predict that the “No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” will be another success for HBO.

Official Site of HBO’s No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency

by Kay Bourne
(pictured: Javelle Stephens)

617 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #70A blithe African American teen from Chicago boards the bus for a small town in Mississippi to spend the summer months of 1955 with relatives – he returns in a casket, the casualty of Jim Crow mores. Fished out of the Tallahatchie River where he’d been thrown with a 70 pound cotton gin fan tied to his body with barbed wire, he was identifiable only by a ring he was wearing that had belonged to his father. In the brutal killing his face was beaten into a pulp, one eye gouged out.

SUKARI JONES‘ heart rending retelling of the EMMETT TILL story, “The River is Me,” with music by MICHAEL WARTOFSKY was given a staged reading at Berklee School of Music recently. The workshop production, sensitively directed by A’LISA MILES, as part of a concert series at the college, had such theatrical power it cries out to be given a full production and, at the very least, the original music, a stirring mix of contemporary blues, rap, hand clapping, and jazz, deserves to be issued as a recording.

Regarded as a leading event fueling the Civil Rights Movement, The Emmett Till story has inspired many poems, songs, and plays from “Dreaming Emmett” by TONI MORRISON to KANYE WEST‘s reference in “Through the Wire” and BOB DYLAN’s “The Death of Emmett Till” and, locally, a play from JACQUI PARKER, “Dark As A Thousand Midnights,” with its theme that the death of Emmett Till “makes every Negro child precious,” to name but a few.

Even so, the emotionally involving “The River Is Me” stands apart. Jones and Wartofsky’s music drama develops from the personality of young Till himself rather than the sociology of the situation. What makes “The River is Me” more than an outrage is its depiction of an imaginative child whose dreams of becoming a comic book illustrator collide with a vicious oppression of a people, and through a sickening tragedy, the child truly becomes the super hero he once drew.

The Berklee workshop benefited from a superlative cast with a strong performance from JAVELLE STEPHENS singing the central role of the playful Emmett Till who is accused of the pre-Civil Rights crime generically referred to as “reckless eyeballing” a white woman. Store keeper Carolyn Bryant pertly sung by LAUREN TENNEY, with whom Till supposedly flirts, is a dreamer of another sort who longs to have beauty in her life such as lipstick her husband can’t afford to buy her or fashion magazines. The third lead in the musical drama, touchingly portrayed by TAVONNA MILLER, is Mamie Till, who demands that the coffin lid be open so the world can witness the mutilation of her son (the papers estimate that some 100 thousand people attended the funeral and the newspaper photos of the maimed boy shocked the world).

Another stand out performance came from DAVID WYATT who sang the role of Emmett’s conciliatory great uncle Moses Wight who comes into his own as a righteous individual when he identifies the murderers at the trial. As with several of the other performers, Wyatt had a second role to sing as well, his being one of the children Emmett plays super hero games with at the swimming hole.

In an interesting bit of casting done extremely well, WIL VIOZZI plays both one of the few White friends of the Black kids and Carolyn’s economically strapped husband who believes he must teach Emmett a lesson for speaking flirtatiously with his wife.

With Emmett Till’s lynching, however, the river he once played in and where his body was dumped becomes a specter of the horrors of the segregated South. That, not obsequiousness, is really the lesson learned in the powerful “The River Is Me.”

by Josiah Crowley © 2009
618 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #70SUGAR
Directors ANNA BODEN and RYAN FLECK have hit it out of the ballpark with their second film, SUGAR. A powerful look at the immigrant experience, SUGAR is a great follow up to their first film, HALF NELSON (which contained RYAN GOSLING‘s Oscar-nominated performance as a teacher in an inner city school who has a secret life as a drug addict).

An incisive look at a Domincan Republican native who moves to the U.S. to play professional baseball (15% of U.S. major league players and more than 30% of minor league players are Dominican Republicans), SUGAR is not only an accomplished film, but has a unique story to tell. The filmmakers, in Boston recently to promote their film, said they were looking to “tell the stories of the guys you never heard of – not stories of the superstars”. They have met their goal, and also produced a wonderful film that holds the viewer from its opening. SUGAR takes us on a journey with twists and surprises as we follow someone learning a new language and difficult adjustments to a completely different world. Unlike a major studio film, SUGAR takes unpredictable turns in its storytelling. Anchored by a fine performance by non-professional actor ALGENIS PEREZ SOTO in the title role, SUGAR is a sometimes painful, at times wistful – but always powerhouse – film. Not to be missed.

First time film director CARY FUKUNAGA is an exciting new talent. With his first feature, SIN NOMBRE (“Without a Name”), the director makes a stunning entrance into films. A Sundance Festival winner for Cinematography and Directing (as well as nominated for the Grand Jury Prize), SIN NOMBRE is an excellent film concerning the journey of several illegal immigrants as they make the treacherous journey from Central America to Mexico (they will eventually attempt to go to the U.S.., but that’s a different film).

Some first-time filmmakers show potential talent or great promise. Fukunaga does more: he delivers first time out of the gate with a raw, intense story. Viewers are enraptured as we watch these characters, desperate to make a better life for themselves, as they deal with the Mexican gangs who rule this world; beatings, rapes and homicides occur on a regular basis.

The film, shot on location on a miniscule budget, its cast made up mostly of non-professionals, has a compelling story, phenomenal cinematography and a fluid tone that draws the viewer in from first reel to last. If it’s an intelligent, exciting film you’re looking for – get to SIN NOMBRE. This is one ride you don’t want to miss.

Remember those “Creature Feature” films – often made in the ’50′s – you saw on local tv as a kid? (Think CREATURE OF THE BLACK LAGOON, IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE). Bad dialogue and unintentional laughs emanated from these films. Well, five-time Emmy nominee R.W. GOODWIN (writer-director-producer on THE X-FILES) returns to those days with his first-class, delightful homage to those cheesy low-budget movies, including tacky special effects and a cheap-looking monster.

Far from being a spoof, ALIEN TRESPASS is a fun, affectionate look at those long-ago movies, as well as 1950′s America. In the Eisenhower era, America was a world that may have appeared civilized to some people, but underneath the rigid social mores, good manners and seemingly perfect suburban lives were many repressed emotions. In those long ago films, repressed rage often appeared in the form of a “monster” from another planet. A monster, more often than not, that may have scared you as a kid, but made you laugh while watching these films as an adult. Still, the original, low-budget versions of THE WAR OF THE WORLDS and THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL are a lot more entertaining than the recent, high profile remakes.

Featuring ERIC McCORMICK (WILL AND GRACE) as our hero, great character actors ROBERT PATRICK (THE TERMINATOR) and DAN LAURIA (THE WONDER YEARS) and a cast of young, unknown (and very likeable) Canadian actors to fill out the cast, ALIEN TRESPASS is a great escape from our current world of economic insecurity. Looking for a few good laughs and escapism? Make your reservations on this ALIEN TRESPASS immediately.

by Lisa Simmons
619 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #70EARTH
The movie EARTH, which opened appropriately on Earth Day, April 22, is a beautifully shot film that follows three animal families on their annual migrations.
The journey for each of them is long and perilous. Not for the faint of heart, EARTH tells the truthful story of how animals live and die on earth. While it leaves much of the gory details to your imagination, the documentary does take you right up to the point of a bloody kill. The G rating had me believe that the Disney version of life would prevail. I was wrong. EARTH does have some wonderfully sweet moments that kids will love, just make sure they understand that on earth all living things go through the cycle of life.

The humanistic SOLOIST chronicles the relationship between a mentally ill, musical genius who is befriended by a high powered journalist looking for a story. Based on a true situation, the compelling film recounts the lives of NATHANIEL AYERS (Jamie Foxx) and STEVE LOPEZ (Robert Downey Jr.) Foxx and Downey, Jr. deliver amazing performances.

Throughout the 109 minutes you are taken on a journey of a complicated friendship that is punctuated perfectly with a musical score that could tell the entire story if the dialogue did not exist. What is nice about this movie is that it does not get bogged down in sentimentality and sappy moments. The director adeptly uses the issues surrounding homelessness and mental illness to educate, as well as entertain and leave the audience thinking about their encounters with the homeless and mentally ill.

Certainly a movie you should see, and see it this weekend if you can. First weekends of any movie are important to the “Hollywood” numbers which determine whether a movie will stay around for awhile.

by Bridgit Brown
(Steve Wallace, The Ambassador of Urban Soul)

620 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #70If you like natural soulful vocals accompanied by an entourage of real instrumentals, then you would have enjoyed THE REVELATIONS featuring TRE’ WILLIAMS at the last ORGANIX SOUL Boston mixer that took place on Friday, March 27. ORGANIX SOUL Boston premiered last October and it is now yet another unique hotspot on the Boston night scene landscape. These special evenings present live music by some of R&B, JAZZ and Soul’s most talented independent rising stars from across the country, as well as spoken word performances, food, drinks, and an intimidate sit-down atmosphere.

The audience was charmed by baritone lead vocalist TRE’ WILLIAMS supported by vocalist RELL who performed songs that seemed to mirror the deep soul of the 60′s and 70′s while giving it a twist of contemporary expression. These latter-day men of true soul music are ushering in its revival. Williams and Rell stormed the evening with a verve that pumped up the crowd even after the curtains went down. They returned to the stage, generously dousing the house with a few more sweet and fiery tunes.

Williams, a native of Daytona Beach, Florida has performed at Motown at the Apollo, and contributed his voice to several rap-game artists, including a rift on NAS’ Hip Hop Is Dead.

RELL, a native of South Carolina, was the first R&B singer to sign with Roc-a-fella Records. He then went on to work with a cadre of megastars including Kanye West, Dr. Dre, Raphael Saadiq, and Mary J. Blige.

For more like this, check out the next ORGANIX SOUL Boston live music showcase featuring New York’s STEVE WALLACE the Ambassador of Urban Soul on vocals and keys plus MONET on flute and vocals, backed by TARRAH REYNOLDS on violin and GARY FRITZ drums on MAY 24, at the Holiday Inn, Randolph. Doors open 8pm, showtime is 9pm sharp. For more details about the event, log on to the ORGANIX SOUL Boston website.

ORGANIX SOUL Boston info

(pictured: Semenya McCord)
622 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #70The jazz standard “I’ll Be Seeing You In All The Old Familiar Places” took on amplified nostalgia April 8 at Scullers. Friends from far and wide crowded into the club to wish vocalist SEMENYA McCORD a happy, happy, happy birthday but she gave them the present with a high spirited performance that rocked the house.

621 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #70Theater to lower your blood pressure. The tale of one man’s journey to enlightenment, “THE BUDDHA IN HIS OWN WORDS” is performed as a one man performance at the South End’s Boston Center for the Arts (BCA). Conceived and performed by EVAN BRENNER, the play is his version of the life of the Buddha which he assembled from the original text. The remaining performances are, Fri, APRIL 24 at 8pm followed by two performances on Sat. APRIL 25 at 3pm and 8pm. For more info click HERE or phone 617-933-8600.

Friday, APRIL 24 ORGANIX SOUL Boston at The Holiday Inn, 1374 North Main Street, Randolph, MA. (next to Lombardo’s), starts promptly at 9pm and features from New York: MONET on flute and vocals STEVE WALLACE the Ambassador of Urban Soul a pianist, guitarist and vocalist. Networking & prize giveaways 8:30 – 9 pm. LIVE Music Showcase 9 – 11pm. For details click HERE. KBAR READERS get $5 off the ticket price: by entering “KBAR” as the discount code when ordering tickets on line, before 5pm HERE.

WHEELOCK FAMILY THEATRE’s CHARLOTTE’S WEB family play runs until MAY 10. By JOSEPH ROBINETTE based on the book by E.B. WHITE, directed by JANE STAAB, scenic design by MATTHEW LAZURE, lighting design by JOHN MALINOWSKI, costume design by LISA SIMPSON. Ticket information HERE

Annual Spring Fundraiser Celebrating Black History and Women’s History. Edward L. Cooper Community Gardening and Education Center, Inc. presents SISTER VERDAYA MITCHELL-BROWN in a one woman show as IDA B. WELLS, A Champion for Justice. Ida B. Wells was a Journalist, Civil Rights Activist, Leader of the Anti-Lynching Movement, a co-founder of the NAACP, Women’s Right Organizer, and an Advocate for Education and Economic Justice, happening Saturday, APRIL 25, 34 Linwood Street Roxbury. Reception: 5-6 pm. Show $10.00 at 6:15pm. Show and Reception is $20.00. All proceeds will benefit the Edward L. Cooper Community Gardening and Education Center, Inc. For information, call: 617-442-1577.

Widow Son Lodge Presents The Mother’s Day All Men’s Fashion Show & Swimwear Revue featuring performances by Liberation Music/ MGR Recording Artist, MWALIM and R&B Vocalist LORI DOW on Sunday, MAY 10 5-9pm at William Reed Auditorium 24 Washington Street, Dorchester Tickets $25, info: Michael Pearson 617-548-8826.

COMMUNITY CHOIR COMPETITION, Winners to Sing at Boston Performances of THE COLOR PURPLE at the Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre in June. Boston area choirs can sign up for the Community Choir and are invited to enter videos online HERE, where viewers will vote for their favorites through Wednesday, April 29. The grand prize winner will perform in the lobby of the Wang Theatre prior to the Wednesday, June 17 performance of THE COLOR PURPLE. Runner up choirs will have the opportunity to perform on alternate dates during the two-week engagement, Tuesday, June 16 through Sunday, June 28. All choirs competing will receive special ticket benefits.

Join others in support of MAHA, Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance at the 1st A TASTE OF DORCHESTER on Thursday, APRIL 30 from 6 – 9pm in the IBEW Hall in Dorchester. For more information call Jennifer at 617-822-9100.

Beginners SABAR DRUM classes, 3 – 4 :30pm every Sunday taught by dynamic master Sabar drummer Babacar Moha Seck, $10 per class, at the YWCA, 7 Temple Street, Central Square, Cambridge, MA. For Info call 617-602-7320. If you have your own sabar or djembe drum, bring it.

HALEY HOUSE BAKERY CAFE presents a special ART IS LIFE ITSELF event with a COLLARD GREENS COOK-OFF on Thursday, MAY 7, bring in your pot and enter by 6:45pm. Special guest BRYANT TERRY, eco chef, food justice activist and author of VEGAN SOUL KITCHEN will judge the entries. Winner received autographed copy of TERRY’s VEGAN SOUL KITCHEN.

WORLD MUSIC presents SIDI GOMA, The Black Sidis of Gujarat, from India on Sat. MAY 2 8pm in the Somerville Theatre, 55 Davis Square, Somerville. Tickets $28 for info call 617-876-4275, or click HERE. The mysterious, little-known Sidis are the descendants of Africans who traveled from East Africa to India over the last 1000 years. Sidi Goma ensemble of 12 drummers, dancers and singers perform devotional music and dance of the hidden community of Sidi of Gujarat, India.

Filmmakers Collaborative presents the MAKING MEDIA NOW Conference on JUNE 5. A day filled with workshops on making media in today’s digital age, distribution, marketing and more. To sign up and for more information click HERE. This is not to be missed for aspiring and experienced filmmakers.

The Museum of Afro American History Needs your Vote. The museum is one of 25 historic sites in Greater Boston selected to compete for a grant of $1 million dollars available for historic preservation, and the site with the most votes will receive the grant. You can vote every day until MAY 17. For info click HERE.

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