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Arts & Theater

July, 2016

South Jersey Caribbean fest celebrates 16th anniversary

Music: The South Jersey Caribbean Cultural and Development Organization (SJCCDO) recently celebrated its 16th Annual South Jersey Caribbean Festival at Wiggins Park at the Camden waterfront, across from Philadelphia. Comment

Celebrating Jean-Michel Basquiat’s life and work

Arts & Theater: A non-descript two-story building in NoHo, the area between the East and West Village, is covered with paste and stencil art. An anomaly to a gentrifying East Village, this building at 57 Great Jones Streets, a symbol of a bygone era, was the site where painter, collagist and musician Jean-Michel Basquiat lived and created work for five years until his death in 1988. Comment

Roy Pierre & Associates return to Eastern Parkway

Arts & Theater: Over a span of some 40-plus years, Roy Pierre & Associates has participated, in one way or another, in cultural events and activities related to the West Indian Labor Day Parade. Comment

Empowering artwork exhibit to run at children’s museum

Arts & Theater: Children come out to play and learn about culture and history too. The Sugar Hill Children’s Museum in Harlem will showcase two exhibits on July 14. The exhibit will display artwork from two artists — work meant to empower and instill pride in children, as an escape from today’s climate that is marred by violence they probably do not understand. Comment

Dingolay Mas fired up to revel on Parkway

Arts & Theater: Costume designer Rachel Hall said she created her themed “Green” — one-color costume collection of costumes in just one month to dress-up an expected 300 revelers when Dingolay Mas parades on Eastern Parkway on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 5. Comment

June, 2016

Art and social justice on Broadway

Arts & Theater: On a recent Monday when Broadway theaters are “dark,” the Ambassador Theatre at Times Square was packed with lovers of the written and spoken word and social justice activists to hear a conversation between Sonia Sanchez and two other renown writers. Comment

Redemption dance

Arts & Theater: Get up, stand up! Stand up for gay rights! A Caribbean dance festival springing into Dumbo on June 11 will use the music of Bob Marley to call out anti-gay attacks on the musician’s home island. Comment

Costumes parade depicts Guyana’s history, culture

Arts & Theater: The history of Guyana’s journey over the last 50 years, its beauty and multicultural heritage were displayed in a spectacular kaleidoscope of colorful costumes as revelers danced along the streets of Georgetown on May 26, during the country’s Independence celebration. Comment

Street carnival begins Caribbean Heritage Month

Arts & Theater: Dozens of onlookers gathered around Central Library on Wednesday to watch rhythmic performers dancing to the sounds of Haitian drums to mark the start of Caribbean Heritage Month. Comment

Bankra Caribbean Folk Festival in Queens

Music: Keith Williams Park (Formerly Liberty Park) entrance at Liberty Avenue and 173rd Street in Queens comes alive this summer when Braata Productions stages the colorful Bankra Caribbean Folk Festival on Saturday, June 18, 2015. Comment

Haiti re-invents its visual heritage

Arts & Theater: PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) _ Youvensky Despeignes used to spend hours a day at home drawing pencil-and-ink abstractions on cheap notebook paper, his aspirations as a painter frustrated by a lack of opportunities in Haiti where a rich artistic heritage has suffered decades of decline. Comment

May, 2016

Garvey’s ‘Up! Up, You Mighty Race’ Art Exhibit in Harlem

Arts & Theater: Mira Gandy, a visual artist who lives in Harlem has physically elevated the words of Jamaican immigrant Marcus Mosiah Garvey by displaying a colorful weave of his “Up You Mighty Race,” speech high above the heads of ordinary citizens — on a lamp pole for all to admire and ponder. Comment

Oliver Samuels’ ‘Guilt Trip’

Arts & Theater: Everybody’s “Caribbean” Magazine presents the magical and hilarious family play, “Guilt Trip” on May 28–29 in New York City. After more than 350 performances in Kingston during the 2016 Jamaica theater season and nominated for nine Actor Boy Awards (Jamaica equivalent of Broadway’s Tony), Guilt Trip premiered in Toronto, Canada and St. Kitts and Nevis to launch the international tour. Comment

Celebrate Haiti

Music: Community2Community (C2C) will kick off its 6th Annual “Hope and A Future” — A Celebration of Haiti (HAAF) on Saturday, May 14, 2016 at noon. The event, which takes place at BRIC Arts Media House, 647 Fulton St., Brooklyn, NY, will end at 5 pm. Comments (1)

One monkey in a comedy stew

Arts & Theater: The Harlem School of Arts Theatre Department is launching “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show” a consistently hilarious, emotionally stirring and beautifully written satirical comedy directed by Artistic Director Alfred Preisser. Comment

Two months of Haitian arts and culture

Music: Haiti Cultural Exchange is hosting its second Biennial Celebration of Haitian Arts & Culture, an inter-disciplinary two-month springtime festival that began May 1 and run until June 30. Comment

JAMAICAN LIONESS

Arts & Theater: Jamaicans have always found a place in the cast of the “Lion King,” Broadway’s most profitable musical. From 1994 when the animated film classic starred James Earl Jones, Whoopi Goldberg, Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Robert Guillaume, Cheech Marin and others, Jamaican Madge Sinclair voiced the character Sarabi. Comment

Africans, Caribbeans Color The Great White Way

Arts & Theater: It was no surprise that “Hamilton,” — a hip-hop musical about a Caribbean-born, founding father and the first treasury secretary — would sweep top nods for Broadway’s best honors. Tuesday, the enlightening production about Charlestown, Nevis-born Alexander Hamilton won 16 Tony nominations, a feat no other musical has ever accomplished. Comment

ARTs East New York celebrates its new space

Arts & Theater: On Thursday, April 21, ARTs East New York (AENY) celebrated a sparkling and expanded new home. Community activists, electeds including Council Member Laurie Cumbo, and developer Martin Dunn cut the ribbon for the new headquarters, community space and art gallery at Livonia Commons. Comment

April, 2016

Sign painter beautifies Georgetown

Arts & Theater: Sign painter, Andrew Allen was born in Georgetown 50 years ago, the exact year Guyana attained independence from Great Britain in 1966. So in a fitting tribute to the land of his birth and the Golden Jubilee, the painter said he wants to make a contribution and is calling on the Guyana government to commission him to paint murals for the upcoming week of celebration. Comments (1)

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Light bites  & art

Arts & Theater: Visual artist Fudd, known for his contemporary abstract paintings with a gritty urban influence and Chef Nina B. are presenting their inaugural event, The House that Art Built a gallery exhibition combining food and art on April 30 at The Living Gallery located in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Comment

Sandy Wills’ story

Arts & Theater: Author, Speaker and Veteran Television Journalist Cheryl Wills from NY1 News is telling the powerful story about her enslaved ancestor who fought for his freedom as a soldier during The Civil War. Her great, great, great grandfather was the amazing Sandy Wills Comment

Caribbean in Motion showcases animators to the world

Arts & Theater: An exhibit that brings to the United States a contemporary sample of animation and animated video art that showcases the potential that Caribbean animators offer to the world is being shown at the headquarters of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in Washington, D.C. Comment

Caribbean Playreading Series in NY

Arts & Theater: Award winning Jamaican actress and singer Dianne Dixon has joined a stellar lineup of actors from across the Caribbean for the Braata Productions Caribbean Playreading Series to be held at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center (JPAC) in Queens, New York, from April 22 – 24. Comment

Haiti artists forge reputation with art made of junk

Arts & Theater: PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) _ Amid a maze of car repair shops in Haiti’s gritty capital, Andre Eugene pitches a shredded tire he found atop a towering sculpture he built out of rusty engine parts, bed springs and other cast-off junk. Comment

March, 2016

Phagwah brings Spring to Richmond Hill, Queens

Music: The vivid colors of spring were everywhere on the streets of Richmond Hill, Queens last Saturday, when Caribbean nationals celebrated the festival of Phagwah, to welcome the dawn of spring, a season of joy and love, and signifies good over evil. Comment

‘Bacchanal’ re-launches original Jamaica Carnival

Music: Calypso and soca music lovers in Jamaica will go back to the future on April 3 with the re-launching of Jamaica Carnival. Missing from the cultural calendar since Byron Lee, its founder died at age 73 in 2008, it seemed as if his brainchild died with him. Not so said his daughter Julianne Lee. Comment

Dance your way to fitness, Carib style

Arts & Theater: A vision written down with a due date is no longer a dream; instead, it evolves into a goal. Just a year ago, Candace Thompson envisioned a dance collective to support and celebrate Caribbean American dancers in the Diaspora. Today, the Dance Caribbean Collective is still catapulting forward with new elements including fitness dance classes, bigger shows and more. Comment

SVG Garifuna group hosts National Heroes Day

Music: Marsena Ballantyne, the Sandy Bay-born president of the one-year-old, Brooklyn-based Garifuna Indigenous People of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Incorporated (GIPSVG, Inc.), has described as very successful last Saturday’s staging of the group’s inaugural National Heroes Day celebration in Brooklyn. Comment

The Robert Glasper Trio

Music: The Robert Glasper Trio will be performing at the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College on Saturday, March 19, 2016 at 8 pm. The group will perform selections from their 2016 GRAMMY Award-nominated album “Covered” along with some of Glasper’s original compositions. Comment

Poet laureate among black writers honorees

Arts & Theater: The Center for Black Literature at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College (CUNY) says former U.S. poet laureate Rita Dove and literary pioneer Charles Johnson will be among honorees at the 13th National Black Writers Conference (NBWC) at the college. Comment

Quilting for a charitable cause

Arts & Theater: The multi-purpose sanctuary of Church of the Holy Apostle in Manhattan was humming with activity — it was a modern day quilting bee. Groups of women and one man sat at circular tables in the hall, needles in hand stitching or knotting hand-made quilts of all sizes destined for others. Comment

Walking tour of sculptures of women

Arts & Theater: Artist, historian and activist Lulu Lolo has taken on the mantle of drawing attention to how few New York City statues and monuments are dedicated to women. In New York City, there are 150 public statues of men and five of actual women who are not symbols — Statue of Liberty or fictitious characters — Alice in Wonderland. Comment

Dominicans and Haitians – bridging the gap

Arts & Theater: The Dominicans Love Haitians Movement has joined the ranks of creative Dominicans in artistic collaboration with Haitians reaching across the contentious boundary that separates the two populations of the one island, Hispaniola. Comment

Tackling identity by using art

Arts & Theater: Conversations of identity, culture, and what it means to be an American intersect in private amongst cultural groups. There are those who cling to their roots, ignoring their ties to being an American, and those who navigate the various layers of what comprise their identity. Comment

MASTERWORKS REDEFINED

Arts & Theater: The Dallas Black Dance Theatre returns to New York for its fifth season of self-produced performances on April 22–23, 2016 at the Ailey Citigroup Theater, located at 405 West 55th St., New York, NY 10019. The “Masterworks Redefined – New York” series will showcase the energetic dance artistry of the repertory dance company that is turning 40 in its 2016-2017 season. The National Endowment for the Arts designated Dallas Black Dance Theatre as an “American Masterpiece Touring Artist.” Comment

SVG Garifuna group hosts inaugural National Heroes Day

Arts & Theater: With inordinate national pride and identity, the Brooklyn-based Garifuna Indigenous People of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Incorporated (GIPSVG, Inc.) is hoping to tap into nostalgic celebrations by hosting, for the very first time, a grand National Heroes Day spectacle in Brooklyn. Comment

February, 2016

More than a myth Belafonte lives his legacy

Music: Depending on the prism an individual looks through to define Harry Belafonte, any number of definitions could apply to his legacy and storied creative and humanitarian career. Comment

EVENING OF POETRY

Books: Poetry lovers filled to standing room BRIC House’s performance space last week for the Stoop Series event “We Be Darker Than Blue.” Performance poet Mahogany L. Browne guided a full program of word-art which culminating with featured guest Sonia Sanchez. Comment

‘Art Connect’ sheds positive light on Laventille

Movies: No matter where you are in the world, there is always a neighborhood, section, or block in a particular place that carries some sort of bad reputation. Comment

‘Zingay’ navigates spirits and laughter

Arts & Theater: The Caribbean has many stories about spirits and black magic. Those stories take center stage — literally — in the play “Zingay,” manifesting in Fort Greene on Feb. 20. Comment

‘GREATEST SHOW’ TAKES A HIT

Music: Recession, crime, the deadly H1N1 (swine flu) and the threat of the Zika virus all combined threw a damper on this year’s Trinidad and Tobago Carnival, dubbed the “Greatest Show on Earth.” Comment

‘College Colors’ tackle race issues

Arts & Theater: Trinidadian-American Ricardo Khan, the co-founder of the Tony-Award company Crossroads Theatre Company tackles many new and brewing issues in his company’s spine-tingling home-coming production, “College Colors.” Comment

Art in DUMBO features First Thursday Gallery Walk

Arts & Theater: Art in DUMBO has announced DUMBO’s its First Thursday Gallery Walk, scheduled to take place Feb. 4, from 6 to 9 p.m., featuring exhibition openings and other special events. Comment

January, 2016

Caribbean creatives among Outsider artists

Arts & Theater: New Yorkers who hadn’t hunkered down last weekend trudged through the storm to the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea, Manhattan where booths of unusual art in the warmest of atmospheres welcomed hardy art lovers to the 24th edition of the Outsider Art Show. Comment

Poem chosen for Guyana’s Golden Jubilee

Arts & Theater: James Richmond’s poem “The Golden Jubilee – One People One Nation One Destiny” was chosen by the Georgetown-based Golden Jubilee Anniversary Committee to a signature poem to honor the yearlong festivities leading up to May 26, the day Guyana became independent in 1966. Comment

Step Afrika! comes to Brooklyn

Music: Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College continues its 2015-16 season on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016 at 2 pm with Step Afrika! The dancers of Step Afrika! use their bodies as instruments, combining traditional step choreography with other styles including tap, modern, and hip hop to create an enthralling, high-energy performance. Comment

DOING IT HER WAY

Arts & Theater: Staying the course in the theater industry is a challenging and arduous endeavor for actors. For instance, Caribbean actress Cicely L. Tyson whose religious parents hailed from Nevis in the West Indies was harshly criticized for refusing to accept any acting role. Comment

Dr. Maya Angelou art collection auctioned

Arts & Theater: Dr. Maya Angelou, nee Marguerite Ann Johnson, was known for her civil-rights activities, her compelling first non-fiction bestseller “I Know Why The Cage Bird Sings” (1969), her famous gracefully-penetrating poem delivered at President William Jefferson Clinton’s 1993 inauguration “On The Pulse Of Morning” and the Presidential Medal of Freedom 2010 bestowed upon her by President Barack Obama, during and emotionally-charged ceremony. Comment

Activist poet seeks change

Arts & Theater: Despite a new year emerging with a sense of a clean slate, there are many still feeling upset and unsettled following clashes between African Americans and police across the world. Comment

A JAZZY CLASSIC

Arts & Theater: Welcoming in the holiday season last week, the Dance The World Nutcracker Festival performed at The Secret Theatre, an intimate (99-seat) performance space off a loading dock on 23rd Street in Long Island City, offered a most unusual spin on the holiday favorite. Comment

Misty Copeland making history for the little brown girls

Books: “This is for the little brown girls,” says Misty Copeland. On the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House, she became the first black woman to perform “in Igor Stravinsky’s iconic role for the American Ballet Theatre,” a renowned dance company. Comment