Bibbs Film On Pleasant Wins Hawaiian Festival Honors
Touring artist and filmmaker, Susheel Bibbs has won yet another festival award for her PBS film MEET MARY PLEASANT (Mother of Civil Rights), a documentary that chronicles the life and legacy of Mary Ellen Pleasant, the San Francisco activist-entrepreneur now called the Mother of Civil Rights in California. Just announced was the Gold Kahuna Award for Excellence in Filmmaking at the 2010 Honolulu International Film Festival.
The Festival will take place April 24th and 25th, 2010 in Honolulu, Hawaii at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort and Spa, and the award will be given at the Closing Night Awards Ceremony to be held April 25th. In the announcement, the festival informed wrote,
“Our judges felt that your film demonstrated superior and standout filmmaking and is deserving of our most esteemed award. Your film was among the very best of the several hundreds of films submitted from over 30 countries around the world. Only a select group of projects in each competitive category are selected to be honored with this prestigious award.”
By Sally Douglas Arce
Artist: Lorraine Bonner, “ In Her Hands.”
Two Oakland women sculptors combine forces to create a landscape where raw emotions are front and center. Susan Almazol and Lorraine Bonner, who both live in Oakland, depict anguish, surrender, yearning, joy, oppression, tranquility and empathy in their ceramic and mixed media sculptures. Bonner, a physician for more than 30 years, is African American. Almazol, a retired college professor, is Filipino American.
“Landscapes of Our Souls” opens Friday, June 5, at the Joyce Gordon Gallery, 406 14th St., Oakland, with a reception from 5:30 p.m.-9 p.m. The exhibit by these seasoned sculptors will be on display through June 29. A special event, “Conversations with the Artists,” is from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 18. The gallery is open Wednesday to Friday noon to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 1-4 p.m.
“Landscapes of Our Souls” is a far-reaching examination of universally shared emotions, identity, and the complexity of contemporary existence by two artists of color. Bonner’s ceramic sculptures draw upon her experiences of childhood trauma, the ancestral and present day suffering of her own African and Native American people, and the deep insights of feminism to expose the unbroken threads between all levels of oppression
Artist: Lorraine Bonner, “We Are Freed by the Hands of our Children.”
Almazol uses the metaphor of a woman’s legs to tell her story of injury, emotional paralysis, and healing. Her ceramic busts and masks speak of fury and loss, as well as rapture and acceptance.
“I came to artistic expression initially through the portal of loss and grief,” says Almazol, a retired Santa Clara University professor.
In her art, Bonner tackles difficult issues in order to engage the viewer in the recognition of their own deep pain.
“So often we deny our own suffering and the suffering of the world,” says Bonner, a physician for over 30 years and an Oakland resident.
For information call (510) 465-8928 or visit www.joycegordongallery.com
A reception and awards ceremony will be held Saturday to announce the local winners of “An Artistic Discovery,” an annual Congressional art competition that recognizes emerging high school artists throughout the country.
High school students from Albany, Berkeley, Castro Valley, Emeryville, Oakland and Piedmont are competing in this year’s competition. Congresswoman Barbara Lee will host the ceremony, which will be held May 16 from noon to 2 p.m. at the Chiodo Art Development Studio at 1933 Peralta St. in Oakland.
The first-place winner will receive three airline tickets compliments of Southwest Airlines to attend an awards ceremony in Washington D.C. honoring An Artistic Discovery 2009 winners from around the country.
The winning entry will also be displayed in the halls of Congress for one year.
The awards ceremony is being held at the Chiodo Art Development Studio owned by renowned artist Mario Chiodo, creator of the “Remember Them Project.” The project depicts 23 humanitarian leaders who made significant contributions toward global peace, freedom and human rights over the past 150 years.
This year’s Cinco de Mayo Festival in Richmond, hosted by the 23rd Street Merchants Association, was a huge success, according to organizers. Despite the damp weather, over 30,000 people from around the Bay Area attended the event, which featured three music
stages, a dancing horse show, team members of the San Jose Earthquakes signing autographs and over 60 vendors.
The festival highlighted the 23rd Street shopping district as more people are coming to become aware of this hidden gem that exists in the East Bay, said the organizers, who
thanked the City of Richmond, police and fire departments, Chevron, Mechanics Bank and Sims Metal for their support and cooperation. Photos by Gene Hazzard and graphics by Alapi Bhatt.
- This year’s Cinco de Mayo Festival in Richmond, hosted by the 23rd Street Merchants Association, was a huge success, according to organizers. Despite the damp weather, over 30,000 people from around the Bay Area attended the event, which featured three music stages, a dancing horse show, team members of the San Jose Earthquakes signing autographs and over 60 vendors. The festival highlighted the 23rd Street shopping district as more people are coming to become aware of this hidden gem that exists in the East Bay, said the organizers, who thanked the City of Richmond, police and fire departments, Chevron, Mechanics Bank and Sims Metal for their support and cooperation. Photos by Gene Hazzard and graphics by Alapi Bhatt.
The largest exhibition of Western art by Black artists ever assembled opens December 20 at the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville, Georgia.
“The Black West: Buffalo Soldiers, Black Cowboys and Untold Stories” features 65 works of art by 16 contemporary African American artists. Visitors to the museum can view the exhibition through March 22, 2009.
“The Black West” is an important and groundbreaking exhibition because it tells the often overlooked story of Blacks in the West through the art of contemporary African American artists. In addition to the stories of Black cowboys and buffalo soldiers, the art chosen for the exhibition focuses on the complete African American experience in the West, encompassing Black explorers, lawmen, rodeo stars, outlaws, and women. Read more
By Terri Schlichenmeyer
Courtesy of the Post Newspaper Group
“Renegade for Peace & Justice” by Congresswoman Barbara Lee
c.2008, Rowman & Littlefield $24.95, 223 pages, includes index
No doubt, you were glued to the news for much of the fall.
Even if you never once paid attention to politics, this year’s election and all that went with it had you near-hypnotized. Though you don’t exactly have a warm feeling for politics-as-usual, you couldn’t get enough this year. Come March, though, you’ll probably slide back into that old familiar level of political indifference, just because you don’t feel like paying heed anymore.
Would it make any difference if you knew somebody in Washington had your back? Read the new book “Renegade for Peace & Justice” by Congresswoman Barbara Lee, and you might breathe a puff of relief. Read more
By Donald O. Greene
Alameda County Arts Commissioner
The Joyce Gordon Gallery celebrates the completion of its fifth year and the beginning of its sixth year with a special holiday bazaar featuring more than 17 artists, including painters, photographers, and sculptors.
The salon style exhibit will focus on affordable art for the holidays, a benefit silent auction. and a community gathering on New Year’s Eve. Bids for the silent auction will start at the opening night Dec. 7.
A percentage of the auction sales will benefit the 8th-grade class of Northern Light School in Oakland.
The Joyce Gordon Gallery, at 406 14th St., reflects the social and cultural diversity of Bay Area and international artists. The aim of the gallery is to respect the creative pursuits of the individual and seeks to make such work accessible to a broad audience. The gallery is open to the public Wednesday through Friday, 12 p.m.. – 7 p.m; Saturday and Sunday, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
The gallery is also available by appointment for private events and showings. Purchasing original art would make a perfect holiday gift for someone you care about.
Happy holidays art collectors and lovers.
Rafiq Bilal, a pillar of the Bay Area community, died on Wednesday, Nov. 30 after one month in the Intensive Care Unit at a local hospital.
Born in 1942, Rafiq’s full name was Rafiq Abdul-Malik El-Bilal.
With the Nu Upper Room, located near the Fruitvale BART station, he provided a space for young people to gather and explore arts, activism, and social justice.
Many of the greatest local artists got their start or were shaped at the Nu Upper Room – Goapele, Martin Luther, Saul Williams, Mohammed Bilal, Kimiko Joy, Will Power, Midnight Voices, Michael Franti, Ledisi, Hieroglyphics, Robert Henry Johnson, Housing Authority. DJ Mind Motion was spinning at the Upper Room years before being on KMEL.
In a few months, his friends and family will be hosting a celebration in memory of Rafiq. It was one of his last wishes, according to family members. Read more
Choreographing the Folk: The Dance Stagings of Zora Neale Hurston
by Anthea Kraut
University of Minnesota Press
320 pages, illustrated
Book Review by Kam Williams
“Although I studied ballet and modern from an early age, jazz dance was my greatest love… In these predominantly white spaces, no mention was made of the African-American origins of the idiom… It was not until my junior year at Carleton College… that I confronted the racial dynamics that went unspoken in those suburban jazz dance classes… It became clear just how much jazz dance, that quintessentially American form, owed to African-derived traditions… Why had it been so easy to participate in and become passionate about a dance form without learning its history?
As I continued my study of American dance history in graduate school at Northwestern, my interest in ‘invisibilized’ histories only deepened. I learned that Zora Neale Hurston had staged a concert with a spectacular Bahamian dance finale about which little was known. What began as a quest for information about Hurston’s theatrical revues gradually expanded as I uncovered connections between Hurston and a number of leading dance figures.
To a great extent, the recovery project also became a case study of invisibilization – an attempt to understand the conditions that enable certain subjects and performances to be forgotten – as well as an inquiry into the implications of restoring those subjects and performances to the historical record… For Hurston’s stage work… did play a role in the composition of American dance as we know it today.”
Excerpted from the Preface (pages ix-x)
Oaklandish has created the Oakland Innovators Award, a fund that offers annual grants to organizations and individuals who are doing pioneering work in the community. The award is meant to offer recognition and financial support to local programs that exemplify the values of innovation and progress in all areas of civic life, including arts, education, technology and business.
Oaklandish began as a covert public art campaign designed to bring a sense of history and culture to the underutilized public spaces of this city. Eight years later, it continues that legacy by encouraging local artists to create their own Oakland-centric works in the public realm.
Local innovators are invited to apply for a grant of up to $5,000. Total grant fund is currently $25,000. The application due date has been extended to Dec. 8. Download the application and guidelines at: http://www.oaklandish.com/COMMUNITY/community.html
The public is invited to attend a rare and wonderful opportunity to hear the only authority on Jack London’s Poetry, Dan Wichlan, at the Alameda Main Library, Oak at Lincoln, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 6-8 PM. The event is free.
Dan Wichlan, author of “The Complete Poetry of Jack London”, spent 20 years researching all known depositories and databases of Jack London material. He will speak on his seminal book of exploration and discovery into the literary genesis of Jack London . He will also present information on the connection between Jack London and Robert Louis Stevenson.
This event is a must for teachers, students, historians, literati and the general public and is sponsored by Alameda Island Poets Chapter of the statewide California Federation of Chaparral Poets, Inc.
The host is Mary Rudge, Poet Laureate of Alameda. Time permitting, an Open poetry reading will follow.
Oakland dancer and choreographer Ron Guidi founded the Oakland Ballet in 1965, 18 years after the California’s first African American Ballet troupe, the Los Angeles based “Ballet Americana” premiered their first performance.
In the years since Guidi, has become known as a maverick in the dance world and it’s his openness and insistence that dance be accessible for everyone that has lead to such a diverse company.
“I know people perceive ballet as this white art but that wasn’t my experience growing up” said Omar Shabazz who danced full time with the company for nearly 10 years. “I grew up in a multicultural company. It was like a family and my best friends.” Read more
By Jorge Portugal L.
Side-splitting, tear-rolling, stomach ache inducing, raucous laughter will be the order of the night beginning at 7:30 PM this Oct. 20.
The James Moore Theatre at the Oakland Museum, (10th and Oak) will be the place to be. An impressive array of comedians headed and hosted by Mark Curry, star of ABC’s extremely popular sitcom series “Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper”, will do their stuff. Mark C. is a local son who made good. Born and raised in Oakland, Mark C., working with Councilwoman Desley Brooks, just did a comedy show, “Day on the Green” for about 2500 people at Arroyo Viejo Park – one of many events he’s done in support of the community.
Sponsored by Pacific Gas and Electric, this series will be presented every Monday night for a bunch of Mondays. The humor will be targeted for the 18 and over bunch (blue supporting green?). A children’s program is also in the planning.
There will be a no-host bar. The cover is $20. Tickets can be purchased at the door, or online at www.markcurrycomedy.com. For more information call 510-433-9800.
By Mary Rudge
The first and only Black Captain sailing from the West Coast, Captain William T. Shorey, was frequently front page news. Jack London heard Captain Shorey’s stories in person, when Shorey was at home in Oakland, and, from the time he was in the third grade, Jack sold papers with these stories. Selling newspapers was a way even very young children earned money. In a video display, at the African American Museum and Library, Ida Johnson-Dunson tells that when she, at age 6, with her brother, age 7 lived on Pine Street, they sold newspapers at Pine and 7th Street where the Railroad met the Ferry at the Mole. Jerri Lange, TV personality and author of “Jerri, a Black Woman in Media” also recounts learning the importance of the media when selling papers as a child.
People, all over California, loved reading about the exploits of Captain Shorey and his courageous wife and children who went with him on his whale hunting voyages.
Captain Shorey’s daughter, Victoria, at age 9 years old wrote her own account of going with her family on a whale hunting voyage, describing life on board ship, where they went weeks at a time without seeing land and she missed her friends back in Oakland. She told of the horrible smell as pieces of whale were boiled in huge caldrons to get the oil. It smelled so strong, there was a saying that “ships that could not yet see a whaler could smell one.” Read more
Saturday, October 11th, 6:30 p.m.
Jewell Parker Rhodes
Yellow Moon, A Novel
In Rhodes’ superb sequel to 2006’s Voodoo Season, a wazimamoto, or African vampire, “a ghost, a creature from the past” stalks Dr. Marie Laveau, a 21st century medical doctor, modern voodoo practitioner, and descendant of the legendary Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. Haunted by the unquiet spirits of the vampire’s victims, the young doctor vows to stop it with the help of her new boyfriend, a New Orleans police detective, and her boss, Dr. Louis DuLac. As the blood of the victims nourishes the vampire so it can completely assume human form, Marie must summon all her powers to vanquish it. This hypnotic thriller is a great read!
By Natica Angilly
Young people of the First Step Ministries will present Biblical poetry and praise dance at the Dancing Poetry Festival in San Francisco, on Saturday September 27, at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in the Florence Gould Theater. Beginning at noon and continuing until 4, the festival presents eighteen diverse performance groups who have dedicated new works to the concept of poetry and dance working together in exciting presentations.
The First Step synchronized team, directed by Rev. Rickey Rich’ard-Walker, brings children of different cultures together as a faith based community with performance outreach. Praise dance, modern ballet, ethnic, masked and poetic dances are all energized by well known and emerging performance groups. Poetry favorites and new works of poetry will premier in colorful pageantry. The fifteenth annual festival is created by Artists Embassy International, a non profit outreach organization dedicated to cultural understanding for over 50 years, and Natica Angilly’s Poetic Dance Theater Company with poet Richard Angilly and dancers, dedicated for over 30 years solely to poetry and dance as a unified art form. Read more
By Gy Green
“I am my brother’s keeper.” Having all heard this proverb many of us don’t even know our neighbors. Let me state unequivocally, “Knowing who is in your neighborhood helps create a family which begins in your home and extends throughout the community bringing about accountability in each other because we tend to care more. Thus, the reason for “Neighborhood Jam”, an event to celebrate the unity, responsibility and security generated when neighbors come together.
Gregory Joe Bledsoe, one of the neighbors, will perform at the event. He is an Oakland public school teacher, musician, poet, creator of Oakland Street Peace Festival and lead vocalist for Gregory Joe Bledsoe and Source of Light, his band. He is also a proud recipient of the Peace Award. He performs what he terms as the 3-M’s; Mind-Moving-Motivational music, specifically designed to uplift one’s spirit and give It the freedom to dance. Bledsoe formed Gregory Joe Bledsoe and Source of Light to bring educational and entertaining music, poetry, and song to his own classroom as well as Bay Area audiences. Read more
Creativity is becoming unique, memorable, surprising, and always challenging yourself. To experience this wonderful journey, you must come to The 2008 Dancing Poetry Festival is on Saturday, September 27, from Noon to 4 PM, at the California Palace of The Legion of Honor in San Francisco. For information and tickets please call 510-235-0351 or check our website at: www.dancingpoetry.com.
The desire to achieve the extraordinary, and your success in fulfilling that desire, may be in knowing a few easy secrets. These old dance secrets may serve as guidelines to help you to become a gifted strategist in all the realms of creative endeavor and innovation. They have been known to be helpful in changing perspective. Consideration of outcome, impact and consequence is now the hottest topic of our new philosophy of “green”. A natural connection to ourselves and to the relevance of our creations can be more deeply felt. Common dance dynamics, otherwise known as use of energy forces, may be just the secrets needed to be re-discovered ! Read more
By Natica Angilly
September 27 at the San Francisco Palace of the Legion of Honor marks the annual convergence of international, national and local poets, dancers, musicians and arts enthusiasts who share the love of language that moves in the grace of dance. Establishing an annual festival environment to expand the challenge of dance motivated by poetry, and to open the doors to inter-cultural poetry and dance in order to gain a greater understanding of the world’s poetic thoughts, the “poet and the dancer” Richard and Natica Angilly, Artists Embassy International, and the first poet Laureate of Alameda, Mary Rudge, created the annual Dancing Poetry Festival. Author, co-founder and poet Richard Angilly has won many poetry awards and has been featured at many poetry events. He serves as facilitator, visual artist, performer, and poetry ambassador. He is president of the Ina Coolbrith Circle, the poetry organization founded by California’s first Poet Laureate, and hailed as the oldest poetry society in the United States. Along with his dedication to poetry events, Richard is the guiding energy that propels and co-directs the Dancing Poetry Festival, lending his voice in performance. The festival was founded fifteen years ago in the spirit of expanding participation and collaboration of arts. Read more
Librarian of Congress James H. Billington named singer/songwriter Stevie Wonder—who burst on the scene in the early 1960s as a musical prodigy, and whose dance hits and love songs segued over the years into thoughtful commentaries on the joy and injustice in our world—as the recipient of the Second Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. The award presentation will take place in the Great Hall of the Library on Feb. 23, 2009.
As an added distinction to this year’s Gershwin Prize, the Library has offered, and Wonder has accepted, a musical commission. He joins a group of eminent composers who have received Library commissions, ranging from Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein to Paquito D’Rivera.
“The Gershwin Prize was created to honor an artist whose creative output transcends distinctions between musical styles and idioms, bringing diverse listeners together, and fostering mutual understanding and appreciation,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. “Stevie Wonder’s music epitomizes this ideal.”
The first Gershwin Prize was awarded in May 2007 to Paul Simon. Read more
By Natica Angilly
The fifteenth annual Dancing Poetry Festival to be held September 27, at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, will feature eighteen short, diverse, international dancing poetry presentations. Dance choreography by many artists with costumes, music, occasional sculpture and props are used to help define a visual image, tone and essence of the poetry. The expanded environment for poetry to become a theatrical dance experience helps to expand and create an entire new form from the pairings. Among the featured artists this year is Oakland’s multifaceted Hip Hop Poet “Paradise”.
Paradise (aka Richard Moore) will be performing with dancer and saxophone accompaniment. The music will be by Adrian Gormley, who goes by his performance name of The Ambassador of Trouts; the dancer will be Mike Smith, who does that Hip Hop dance called “Pop Locking”, whose robotic moves go great with this poem.
Paradise has worked on, facilitated, and produced many events in Oakland, which include: producing the world’s first Poetry & Poetry Film Festival at the Parkway Theater in Oakland; performing one man shows; and creating many regularly held poetry readings. Read more
Proceeds from a new musical production, entitled “Take Me Back! The Musical”, will benefit Girls Incorporated of West Contra Costa County. Girls Inc. is a non-profit agency that serves girls from 6 to 18 years old in the Richmond community.
The musical debuts September 19th and 20th at 8pm at the Knox Theatre, Contra Costa College campus, 2600 Mission Bell Drive in San Pablo, CA.
The musical is based on a local Bay Area R&B group, originally named Onyx (Wendell & AJ Basey, Malvin Scott, and Cornelius Weekly), who recorded and released the music in the 70’s with some success in Europe. The original songs and music were written by local writer/producer Marty Dahl. The musical is directed by David Sonnier, who grew up in the Richmond area, and the writer/producer Karen Victoria Basey, also heralds from the Richmond area. Read more
Tuju Taksu Masked Dance Theatre will performs at the Dancing Poetry Festival on September 27 at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco.
By Natica Angilly
The fifteenth annual Dancing-Poetry Festival on September 27th at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, is from noon to 4PM. This year’s program includes 18 diverse international groups selected during a broad search for contrasting & distinctive talents. The three Grand Prize winners will be premiered on the Florence Gould Theater stage . Of the many candidates, forty other prize winning poems will also be honored.
One of the international performance groups to be featured is Tuju Taksu, a performance troupe using masks by a Master Balinese mask maker, Ida Bagus Oka. Read more
“This Republic of Suffering” by Drew Gilpin Faust
c.2008, Knopf $27.95 368 pages
Review by Terri Schlichenmeyer
Watch the news, open a newspaper, turn on the radio, visit a newsstand, eavesdrop on conversation at a local restaurant – wherever you go, it’s hard to ignore the fact that American men and women are losing their lives on foreign soil.
If you’ve got a loved one in Iraq, read on – but with caution.
No matter where a soldier dies, he or she leaves someone at home, someone who dreads getting a visit from a uniformed chaplain or grim-faced officer. But almost a hundred fifty years ago, if you lost a loved one to battle, you may’ve never gotten closure on your loss. No body, no personal effects, no confirmation, and no grave to visit. In “This Republic of Suffering” by Drew Gilpin Faust, you’ll read about death on the battlefields of the Civil War.
In early Victorian times, Americans believed in “Good Death”; that is, a death where one gave up the soul “gladlye and wilfully” and resisted worldly attachment. Death was, in today’s context, almost romantic in its sentimentality.
“Dying,” says Faust, “was an art.” Read more