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Arts & Theater

July, 2014

Celebrating Haitian Culture, a huge success!

Music: “There is momentum and excitement when you have a festival with an abundance of events,” says a slightly exhausted Regine Roumain, director of Haiti Cultural Exchange (HCX) that recently wrapped up its six-week 25-event “Selebrasyon!,” a cultural extravaganza celebrating Haitian arts. Comment.

First Black ‘Phantom’ arrives on Broadway

Arts & Theater: History continues to name African-Americans in achieving, first-time positions on Broadway. This time, the honor goes to actor Norm Lewis who is currently starring as the principal character in “The Phantom of the Opera,” Broadway’s longest running show. Lewis stepped into the demanding role after the musical opera’s 26-year run at the Majestic Theater. Comment.

Revelers seek to ‘Raise the Bar’

Music: Detailz Mas Camp is relentlessly working to make its sophomore year of participation on Eastern Parkway for the Labor Day celebration a memorable one for its revelers. At the helm is Trinidadian born Michael “Mr Detailz” Dubois. Comment.

GWOKA’S RHYTHMS

Music: A spirited debate marked opening ceremonies of the 27th annual Gwoka Festival, July 9-14 in Sainte Anne, Guadeloupe. In particular, the news that Gwoka (Creole word for large drum), once the expressions of an oppressed people is now under consideration for an UNESCO world heritage designation. Panelists and members of the public weighed in on the direction of the music, some seeing it as an opportunity for economic development others concerned about its role as independent voice. Comments (1).

Kamarley ‘Da Big Show’ left the city talking

Music: Last year, as Caribbean-American Heritage Month approached its sunset with a Caribbean-American open air concert featuring Mighty Sparrow, Lima Calvio of Byron Lee and the Dragonaires, and Val Adams, then Calypso King of Grenada, who had the Borough Hall, Brooklyn crowd rollicking. This year, as the ninth year of the celebration culminated on June 26 at Columbus Park, Borough Hall, it was the six-year-old Kamarley, who held his own among the likes of Antigua’s Soca Queen Claudette “CP” Peters, T&T’s Sherma Andrews and Panama’s Magaly. The six-year-old excited the crowd with the quality of his Reggae and Soca renditions, and artistic synchrony of body language and musical rhythm which belie the tenderness of his age. Comment.

HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME

Arts & Theater: Nearly 18 years after his violent death, rap icon Tupac Shakur is having a major impact on the lives of inner city youth through the Broadway show based on his lyrics and poetry. The 150-minute show is being staged at the Palace Theatre, 1564 Broadway. Comment.

Two hefty servings of Caribbean comedy

Arts & Theater: Two superstars of Caribbean comedy, Trevor Eastmond of Barbados and Sprangalang of Trinidad and Tobago, will share the spotlight Saturday evening, July 19, in a special comedy showcase presentation designed to treat fans to generous helpings of the crackerjack material that has made the two headliners household names on the comedy circuit. Comment.

Dingolay set for an ‘Epic’ day on The Parkway

Arts & Theater: Dingolay costume band unveiled its Mas Camp with an “Epic” array of bedazzling costumes to attract masqueraders to its themed white one-color band, set for Sept. 1 on Eastern Parkway. Comment.

Queens Borough president honors ‘Impressions’

Arts & Theater: Newly elected Queens Borough President Melinda Katz applauded Artistic Director of the Cambria Heights Impressions Dance Theatre Ms. Verna Walcott-White, for motivating and enriching the lives of children by promoting skills that enhance multicultural and creative dance. Comment.

‘Demerara Gold’ at Dorothy S. Theatre

Arts & Theater: Classically trained Guyanese born Ingrid Griffith, will bring her satirical act to the stage of the Dorothy Strelsin Theatre in New York City when she debuts her one-woman “Demerara Gold” on July 17, 18, and 19 at 6:00 p.m., 8:00 p.m. and 6:15 p.m., respectively. Comment.

COLOMBIA’S ‘HAT TRICK’

Music: FIFA kicked everyone else to the curb by naming Colombian pop star Shakira, the headline closing performer at the July 13 ceremony, which will mark the end of Brazil’s World Cup soccer competition. Comment.

Wingate gets high with Caribbean culture

Music: George Wingate High School in Brooklyn came alive last Friday with a grand celebration of Caribbean culture. The New York Police Department’s (NYPD) Community Affairs Bureau and New Immigrant Outreach Unit partnered with the New York Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Consular Corps and the Brooklyn-based West Indian American Day Carnival Association (WIADCA) in staging a spectacular show in commemorating Caribbean American Heritage Month. Comment.

Luciano Returns to Coney Island Boardwalk

Music: By Kingsley Dougan, Comment.

June, 2014

‘Impressions’ Dance Recital at JPAC

Arts & Theater: Artistic Director Verna Walcott-White, and founder of Impressions Dance Theatre said she is proud of the incredibly milestone her students have reached over the last year of instruction, and look forward to the company’s 12th Annual Dance Recital set for Sunday, June 29 at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center (JPAC), at Jamaica Avenue and 153rd Street. Comment.

LICAH Festival

Music: Now in its fifth year, the annual Long Island Caribbean American Heritage Festival is back as strong as ever to regale attendees with a smorgasbord of Caribbean cultural fair. Comment.

Guyanese actor awaits new big role

Movies: Sean Patrick Thomas, the son of Guyanese immigrants, is ready for his next big role after an euphoric performance in “A Raisin In the Sun,” the Tony Winning Best Revival Play that captivated audiences during a sold out, four-month run at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. Comment.

Journey to Excellence Ceremony

Arts & Theater: Looking from the outside, the white stucco building framed with a chrome-gated entrance seems nothing more than a building wedged on a busy street. But looking up to see a cross, it would be clear that the building is a church. Inside, there’s a relatively small, furnished hall with 200 plush, red chairs, and an adjoining room -- separated by a glass-enclosed wall, for additional seating. Comment.

‘So What?’ about the Environment

Arts & Theater: An art exhibit called “So What?” focusing on the environment, which was created entirely by students from two Bedford Stuyvesant schools is sure to make an impact beyond the walls of the Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Arts [MoCADA] where it is on display. Comment.

Messages of Hope for a Brighter Furure

Arts & Theater: Trinidad and Tobago superstars David Rudder and Machel Montano on June 6 joined artists at the UN in a global message of hope for a better future in the year 2015 and beyond. Comment.

Live FIFA World Cup broadcasts at SOBs

Music: Football fans will not have to sacrifice watching delayed games from Brazil the way they were forced to in 2010 when South Africa hosted the FIFA competitions. On this go-round SOBs (Sounds of Brazil) in Manhattan promises live coverage from June 12 until July 13 when the competition ends. Comment.

Three-pronged approach to expand Garifuna arts, culture

Arts & Theater: As we conclude Garifuna Arts & Culture Appreciation Month in New York City, in honor of UNESCO’s proclamation of the Garifuna Language, Dance and Music as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, we’d like to share our plan to make New York City the epicenter of the Garifuna Arts & Culture Economy. Comment.

May, 2014

Guyanese actor achieves Hollywood fame

Arts & Theater: Award winning television and screen actor, Sean Patrick Thomas said a disciplined Guyanese upbringing definitely moulded him into the person he is today. “My family lived in Wilmington, Delaware where we were considered different in our neighborhood because we were the only black people, who were Guyanese,” said Thomas, whose success brought him to the bright lights of Broadway in the role of Asagai in a “Raising in the Sun.” Comments (3).

MS. BUM-DELICIOUS 2014

Arts & Theater: The main stage at Hedonism 11 in Negril has been home to some of the most provocative pageants on the planet. But Negril’s super-sexy, all-inclusive beach resort has just announced the mother of all pageants- the Ms. Bum-Delicious Pageant 2014 that will take place on property from Aug. 31 to Sept. 7, 2014. Comment.

New Dance Studio Opens in Flatbush

Arts & Theater: 2014_05_21_Cynthia King Dance Studio.jpg Young Dancers Showcase Photo Courtesy Cynthia King Dance Studio Comment.

Friends of a B‘klyn Park with a Community Agenda

Arts & Theater: Friends of Wingate Park, a volunteer non-profit organization in Flatbush, Brooklyn formed in 2011 primarily to engage Brooklyn youth in activities aimed at maintaining a healthy physical environment, is today in the vanguard of the citywide effort to stem gun- and gang-violence. Comments (1).

SELEBRASYON!

Music: “We’re celebrating our fifth year anniversary!” Haiti Cultural Exchange Director Regine Roumain proclaims as the six-week series –Selebrasyon! (Celebration!) gets ready to kick-off this weekend–19 separate events showcasing Haitian arts. Comment.

The Fabulous Miss Marie’

Arts & Theater: “The Fabulous Miss Marie,” an Ed Bullins’ play directed by Woodie King, Jr., is being featured at the Castillo Theatre, located at 543 West 42nd Street in Manhattan and will run until May 18. Comment.

Long Is. Carib-American Heritage Festival

Music: Get ready for the Long Island Caribbean American Heritage Festival. Comment.

April, 2014

Bacchanal begins in Jamaica

Music: With the resurrection of Jesus Christ a basis for celebration, Easter signals Bacchanal Carnival in Jamaica. While a majority throughout the Eastern Caribbean revel through a pre-Lenten celebration, Jamaicans reverse the observance by enduring abstinence of worldly habits for 40 days but at the end resurrect from the drought and famine by launching into carnival mode. Comment.

RAISIN’ BACK ON BROADWAY

Arts & Theater: Much ado about Denzel Washington’s return to Broadway focused on his age and a question as to whether the 60-year-old could convincingly portray 35-year-old Walter Lee Younger, the lead character in Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin In The Sun.” Comment.

Thirty-five years of colorful kite making

Arts & Theater: Georgetown, Guyana resident Trevor Smith sits on the sidewalk at the corner of Camp and Regent streets - one of the busiest intersections in the capital to sell his colorful designed kites. Comment.

Spotlight on Trinidadian panist Caldera Caraballo

Music: One of the most fabled of the Trinidadian steelpan exponents transitioning to the New York scene decades ago, Caldera Caraballo, whose exploits included a stint in Harry Belafonte’s touring troupe, will be the focus of attention at the next collaboration of the Trinidad & Tobago Folk Arts Institute and Medgar Evers College’s School of Professional & Community Development on Friday, May 2. The forum reviewing the often trail-blazing career of Caldera Caraballo will take place in the Mary Pinkett Lecture Hall on the Medgar Evers College campus, from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Comment.

May Day debut for ‘Taboo Yardies’ docu

Arts & Theater: After years of anticipation, Jamaican filmmaker Selena Blake recently announced the opening of her much talked about documentary about Jamaica’s homosexual community titled “Taboo...Yardies.” Comment.

Vanessa Williams: Great time ‘After Midnight’

Arts & Theater: Vanessa Williams took time out of her busy schedule to talk to this writer about her role in “After Midnight” which she presently appears in until May 11 with Dule Hill as her leading man. After Midnight is at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, located at 256 West 47th St. (Between 8th Avenue and Broadway) in Manhattan. She replaces Toni Baxton who was featured until recently with Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds. Comment.

Brooklyn quilters display their artistry

Arts & Theater: Recognizable Brooklyn scenes — the Brooklyn Bridge to the Aquarium, each in fabric square blocks in a quilt, greeted quilters and fans as they entered the downtown Brooklyn exhibit. This weekend, at the NY Marriot, more than 500 attended the “Brooklyn Squared” 2014 Quilt Show that displayed the skilled and loving work of members of The Quilters’ Guild of Brooklyn. Comment.

LOVE, Above All Things

Music: By Lem Peterkin Comment.

‘Mother Goose’ love reigns

Arts & Theater: Many New York City parents and children are very concerned about children getting a well-rounded education. Some children instead of training in various sports or running home to homework and video games are getting arts education after school. Fortunately, for those who want to follow in the footsteps of off-Broadway and Hollywood actors, actresses, singers, dancers, playwrights and poets in the dramatic theatre arts programming, there are opportunities at the historic Billie Holiday Theatre on 1368 Fulton St. Comment.

PBS Series on Educational Crisis Wins Peabody Award

Books: NEW YORK (April 4, 2014)—The National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) documentary series, “180 Days: A Year Inside An American High School,” which shines the spotlight on the nation’s educational crisis, has won a Peabody Award, the Pulitzer Prize of electronic media. Jacquie Jones, the executive director of NBPC, will be presented the award on May 19th at the Peabody Awards ceremony at New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria. Comment.

PBS Series on Educational Crisis Wins Peabody Award

Books: NEW YORK (April 4, 2014)—The National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) documentary series, 180 Days: A Year Inside An American High School, which shines the spotlight on the nation’s educational crisis, has won a Peabody Award, the Pulitzer Prize of electronic media. Jacquie Jones, the executive director of NBPC, will be presented the award on May 19th at the Peabody Awards ceremony at New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria. Comment.

ATLANTIC MUSIC EXPO

Arts & Theater: Song saturated with soudade, humor, and irresistible dance rhythms are as omnipresent as ocean breezes on the Islands of Cape Verde. In April it is the destination of industry professionals and music lovers for the Atlantic Music Expo and Kriol Jazz Festival in Praia on Santiago, largest of 10 islands that make up this country. Draw a line from Europe to Brazil or Senegal to the Caribbean and you pass through the Cape Verdean Islands. Its location and historical importance in the slave trade makes it an ideally suitable environment to bring these elemental cultures together. In its music can be heard echoes of zydeco, blues, fado, and influences of zouk and kompa. Comment.

Dancehall comedy

Arts & Theater: The awaited end to this year winter season couldn’t come sooner for Caribbean nationals living in the tri-state area. With the long anticipated wait of Jamaican’s young and talented comedian Keith “Shebada” Ramsey returning to the area, the rainy weekend could not stop theater lovers from returning to their local venue in Brooklyn and Bronx for their belly wrenching, tear dropping laughter. Comment.

Caribbean cultural group stages ‘Pantomime’

Arts & Theater: Of all the locations to experience authentic theater on the international day named for it, Brooklyn scored cool points by inviting Derek Walcott, the first Caribbean writer to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature to witness his own “Pantomime” acted by one American and one Caribbean. Comment.

March, 2014

2014 AFUWI Awardees

Music: Famed international opera star Jessye Norman was awarded this year’s Bob Marley Award at the 17th American Foundation for the University of the West Indies’ AFUWI legacy awards benefit gala held recently in New York. The recipient of the award, sanctioned by the Marley family, is given to an individual who has demonstrated a lifetime of excellence and commitment in vocational, philanthropic and humanitarian pursuits; and whose sphere of influence goes beyond national boundaries impacting the world at large. Comment.

Machel Montano sets another record

Music: Trinidad and Tobago Merry Monarch reigned for two days as Carnival dubbed the “Greatest Show on Earth,” kicked off with Fantastic Friday, followed the next day with the crowning of the National Panorama Champion and the Calypso Monarch on Carnival Sunday night Dimanche Gras show at the Queen’s Park, Savannah, Port of Spain. Comment.

February, 2014

Children’s show for Vincy storm relief a success

Fashion: Organizers have described as a major success a recent children’s fashion/talent show in Brooklyn aimed at raising funds for the pediatric ward of the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH) in St. Vincent and the Grenadines that was affected by the freak Christmas storm last year. Comment.

Vincentian cultural tribute to Grenada

Arts & Theater: One of the leading Vincentian cultural groups in the United States has joined in the celebration of Grenada’s 40th anniversary of political independence in Brooklyn, greatly impressing the audience with its performance. Comment.

Arts program for NYC public schools

Music: The Town Hall (123 W. 43rd St.) and Con Edison recently presented their annual Black History Month celebration for public school children with free performances by percussionist and Grammy® winner Jeff Haynes. Sponsored by Con Edison, the shows were presented to children in grades 3-8 from participating New York City schools as part of their school curriculum to introduce students to the arts. Comment.

Al Johnson’s new solo exhibition

Arts & Theater: Acclaimed visual artist Al Johnson recently opened his latest exhibition of mixed media paintings “The Room Of Wonders” at La Maison d’Art Gallery (259 W. 132nd Street) in Manhattan. Comment.

AILEY II PREMIERS ‘ALCHEMIES’

Arts & Theater: Ailey II, the youthful and gifted second company of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, returns to its home, the Ailey Citigroup Theater, from April 2 - 13 for a highly anticipated 40th anniversary season – the second led by Artistic Director Troy Powell. For two weeks, audiences will experience 14 performances featuring two dynamic programs, which come on the heels of a successful North American tour to more than 30 cities and an array of critically acclaimed performances in Germany and France. Comment.

WOODIE KING’S PLAY FEST

Arts & Theater: On Friday, Feb. 7, 2014 Woody King, Jr.’s National Black Touring Circuit in conjunction with Voza Rivers/New Heritage Theater Group kicked off the 2014 Black History Month Play Festival with a press conference and star studded reading of Ossie Davis’ play, “The People of Clarendon County” at Aaron Davis Hall, City College of New York. Comment.

SINGING FOR FREEDOM

Arts & Theater: Spoken-word vignettes segway into acapella song in the production of “Thokoza, I Sing for Freedom” that reopened its weekly run, now, every Sunday at 5:00 p.m. at the Jackie Onassis Theatre on 120 W. 46th St. Comment.

Jean- Léon Destine

Arts & Theater: As part of the 92nd St. Y’s “Friday at Noon” series, “Homage to a Legendary Choreographer: Jean-Léon Destiné, Tribute to a Master” was presented on Friday, Jan. 24. Comment.

LITERARY PROGRAMS

Books: This year, to celebrate Black History Month, the Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College (MEC), CUNY, will present a host of informative and inspiring events celebrating 10 years of honoring the literature of people of the African diaspora. Comment.

January, 2014

THREE LITTLE BIRDS

Arts & Theater: NEW YORK (AP) — A snowy, frigid New York is about to enjoy a blast of Caribbean warmth courtesy of Jamaica and its most favorite son, Bob Marley. Comment.

First Saturday at The B’klyn Museum

Music: Brooklyn Museum’s Target First Saturdays’ presentation of dance, music, film, fashion co-sponspred by CARIB Being, presents a diverse group of artists of the African Caribbean Diaspora on February 1, in celebration of Black History Month. Comment.

An entertaining evening in ‘Winter Wonderland’

Arts & Theater: Despite a pall that was cast on the Vincentian community in the United States over the unexpected Christmas tragedy and destruction at home by a freak storm, the Brooklyn-based St. Vincent and the Grenadines Nurses Association of New York, Inc. still sought to put on a very brave face in staging its inaugural Winter Wonderland Entertainment Evening. Comment.

Marley’s ‘Three Little Birds’ premieres in NYC

Arts & Theater: A song about Bob Marley’s three backing, songbirds – The I-Three – is now a musical production and heading to a Times Square theater one day after his 69th birthday anniversary. The lyrics he penned and named “Three Little Birds” was transformed into a children’s book written by his eldest child Cedella and it is that version that is slated to open at the New Victory Theater on Feb. 7. Comment.
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