Tagged Theater

Bay Area Native Hosts “Wedding Day” on TNT


By Sandra Varner


Dreams really do come true.

From humble beginnings to soaring above and beyond achieving her wildest dreams, Los Angeles-based, renowned wedding and event producer and designer Diann Valentine continues to turn fantasy into reality.  

This vivacious, innovative mastermind gives deserving couples the wedding of their dreams as the host of Mark Burnett’s highly anticipated TNT series, “Wedding Day.”  

Diann Valentine

Diann Valentine



Sought-after and admired, Valentine is the creative genius behind the jaw dropping weddings of Usher, Toni Braxton, Kelis, Lela Rochon and Boyz II Men crooner Shawn Stockman just to name a few.

Born in Oakland to a contractor father and mother who were both savvy real estate entrepreneurs, Valentine has always been pushed to settle for nothing less than her dreams.  The self-confessed “daddy’s girl,” credits much of her success to her father who always told her that she is “smart, beautiful and can do whatever [she wants] to do;” and her mother whose advice has never failed her, “when in doubt, pray,” two mottos that continue to guide her life.  

While attending Oakland’s Skyline High School, the overachieving Valentine was part of the debate team, active in student government, a school representative for the Oakland School District, and asked – for the first time ever – by her cousin to plan her big day.  Honored by and excited for the opportunity, Valentine got to work.  

She not only enjoyed the excitement and chaos of planning her cousin’s wedding; but found herself really good at it, too.  Not wanting to give up a good thing, Valentine formed her own wedding planning company called Memories, before she even had her high school diploma.

After graduation, Valentine went on to attend college at California State University, Hayward Campus, graduating with a B.S. degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing.  Throughout college, Valentine continued to prosper with Memories and through word of mouth, was hired by the Bay Area’s elite to plan their weddings and events.  

Her first celebrity wedding was for actress Lela Rochon (Any Given Sunday, Waiting To Exhale) to director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, The Shooter).  

All aspects of the wedding, from picking the linens to the final dance, were covered by the style and trendsetting bible, InStyle, which solidified Valentine as the expert of all things wedding.  Suddenly, hers opinion mattered to the vastly growing industry of wedding planning and she was now the “it girl” of the business.

Firmly entrenched, D. R. Valentine & Associates, Inc. was born and her reputation expanded.    Valentine’s dinner parties were featured in Essence Magazine and InStyle and sought-after by some of the biggest names in entertainment.

Valentine  will host “Wedding Day,” the newest lovechild of Mark Burnett, the mastermind behind the runaway hit series “Survivor” and “The Apprentice.”  Each episode of “Wedding Day” features Valentine and a team of dream makers, including famed food expert Alan Dunn, making the wedding day dreams of a deserving couple go from fantasy to reality.  

The show takes the wedding plans of the couple and throws limitations out the window as they seek good-hearted volunteers and tap into their creative craniums to really make the big day, truly magical.  

I have seen Valentine’s career soar having known her since the mid-90s; recently, we spoke about this dream of a lifetime opportunity.  Read the full interview at www.Talk2SV.com

A Look Inside Baraka’s Toilet

marvinxprofile.jpgBy Marvin X

By definition a classic is a work that withstands the test of time, fad, beyond the ephemeral. A classic theme deconstructs one or more of the eternal concerns of humanity, love, hate, life and death, or the problems of life that never seem to get solved even when the solution is quite apparent. The simple solution to hate is love, so simple we must revisit the question and solution from time to time.

Almost forty-five years ago, Amiri Baraka examined the themes of racism and homophobia in his one-act play The Toilet. The set is a high school men’s room, wherein he gathers a group of young men to decipher the meaning of love and hate. Mostly black, the young men appear to be at an urban manhood training rite.

We see a myriad personalities expressing themselves in the rhythm and rhymes of the time-there are no pants sagging, no grills in teeth, but they are there seeking to discover their manhood, racial and sexual identity. Read more

Dame Edna is Back for the Holidays

By Ilana Wherry

edna.jpgDame Edna, the lilac-tressed Australian giga-star is back in fine fettle in the city that launched her American career.

Creator Barry Humphries’ satiric characterization of a suburban Melbourne housewife has come a long way since her debut in 1955.

Ever the variety act, and enabled by strategic use of entertaining video clips bringing us up-to-date “Edna-ology”.

Edna sings, dances, performs monologues, gives us a sampling of her TV talk show, performs a wedding on-stage with willing audience participants, and introduces daughter Valmai (Erin-Kate Whitcomb), ably aided and abetted by pianist Andrew Ross.

Dame Edna is a hilarious family treat for the holidays. Come see for yourself and bring your friends, family and neighbors again and again.What a lovely gift for the holiday season from our favorite giga-star Dame Edna! Post Street Theatre, San Francisco, through Jan. 4.

Laney College to Present “The Piano Lesson” By August Wilson

By Post Staff

“The Piano Lesson,” an award winning play by August Wilson, will be presented next weekend by Laney Theater Arts and the Fusion Theater Company.
Performances will be held Thursday, Oct. 23, through Saturday, Oct. 25, as well as Thursday, Oct. 30, through Saturday Nov. 1, at Laney College Theater, 900 Fallon St., in Oakland. All shows begin at 8 p.m. General admission is $10 and $5 for students and staff.
An opening night Gala Student Scholarship Fundraising Reception will be held Thursday, Oct. 23, 6:30 p.m., at the theater. General admission for the gala is $20 and $5 for students and staff.
“The Piano Lesson” is about a brother and sister who are arguing whether or not to sell the family’s ancestral piano. The brother wants to sell it to buy land, while his sister insists on keeping it. The piano has the carved faces of their great-grandfather’s wife and son, who were sold in exchange for the piano during the days of enslavement. Read more

Dimensions Dance Theater Marks 35th Anniversary

Dimensions-anniversary.jpgCommemorating 35 years of arts and entertainment innovation, Dimensions Dance Theater presents Celebration, a collaborative retrospective that interweaves the company’s most inspired choreography from the past three decades and demonstrates the diversity of its dynamic movement styles. This historic 35th anniversary performance debuts at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 15 at the Oakland Interstake Center (near the Mormon Temple) at 4780 Lincoln Boulevard in Oakland.
Celebration is an ambitious, multi-media presentation featuring the combined efforts of twenty artists and excerpts from Dimensions Dance Theater’s most renowned works, including Panther, Rhythm Harvest (commissioned by World Arts West), Beneath The Baobab by Donald McKayle,(choreographer of Raisin and Sophisticated Ladies), Between Shores, Mudzimu (in collaboration with Banrara of Cuba choreographer Isais Rojas and African mbira musician Stella Chiweshe), Lifted, Sweet Savory Sunday (in collaboration with veteran R&B vocalist Linda Tillery and gospel singer Terrance Kelly) and Cross Currents, a recent collaboration with jazz percussionist and composer Anthony Brown. Read more

Opportunities for Artists

 $200,000 available to purchase artworks

The Alameda County Arts Commission is offering new opportunities for artists to have their work considered for the Alameda County Art Collection. Artists who make two-dimensional, low-relief, or wall sculptural artwork, and artists at all levels of professional development are invited to apply. More than $200,000 is available to purchase existing artwork and to commission artists to create new works of art. Through the Artwork Purchase Program existing artwork will be acquired and installed at County buildings.
The final selections must be approved by the Arts Commission Board. Applications for these opportunities must be submitted online through the CaFÉTM website, www.callforentry.org (search for “Alameda County”). A free technical application workshop will be held at the Alameda County Conference Center (125 12th Street at Oak, Oakland) on Thursday, April 3 at 1pm. Space is limited; call the Arts Commission Office to make a reservation. Read more