Category Archives: Art

OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network unveils trailer of new original series ‘Greenleaf’

08d9dc235611d33eaeb125f86a684017OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network recently revealed an extended trailer of its new, original drama series “Greenleaf.” The series comes from Lionsgate and Emmy-nominated writer/producer Craig Wright who worked on the hit shows, (“Lost,” “Six Feet Under,” “Brothers and Sisters”). The series follows the story of the Greenleaf family and their Memphis megachurch. The story is intense, very enthralling and set to lure audiences in for a thrilling ride each week.

On April, 20, 2016 in NYC, the cast of the Greenleaf held a press screening and panel at the Roxy Hotel. Also on the same date, the cast which includes (Keith David, Lynn Whitfield, Merle Dandridge, Lamman Rucker, Kim Hawthorne, and Tye White) were available for second panel as part of the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival talk series lineup. Members of the production discussed their roles and were elated to share the first episode with the audience.

Photos used with permission from OWN TV Network

Photos used with permission from OWN TV Network

OWN will launch with a two-night premiere on Tuesday, June 21 at 10 p.m. ET/PT and Wednesday at June 22 at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET/PT on the OWN Network. Afterwards, the series will regularly air on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The trailer can be viewed here.

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Author Salman Rushdie & Rob Milazzo at the SVA Theatre on April 9, 2016

280b37144c35332098b156b837e6d484On Saturday, April 9, 2016 at 8pm The Modern School of Film’s founder Robert Milazzo hosted the celebrated author Salman Rushdie, the creator of twelve internationally esteemed novels, including MIDNIGHT’S CHILDREN (Booker Prize), SHAME and THE SATANIC VERSES – as he revisits three films that have inspired his journey as a transcendent literary force.

Rob Milazzo addressed the crowd by sharing what programs SVA Theatre and The Modern School of Film has during the year. This program is one of the many that venues such as these have each. Upon the conclusion of the address from Milazzo, he gave an abbreviated introduction for Salman Rushdie.

Upon taking the stage, it was clear that the two film lovers had equal admiration for one another. Right away, Milazzo asked Rushdie about some of his work then they naturally transitioned in to discussing some of the films he admired. During the talk, Mr. Rushdie discussed the films Satyajit Ray’s PATHER PANCHALI, Spielberg’s RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, and Wes Anderson’s THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL.

For the IN: PICTURES, the audience were treated to clips of each film, along with an in – depth discourse with Mr. Rushdie on how cinema has shaped both his work and the continued legacy of this master of genre, form, and modern storytelling. The audience which was full of filmmakers seemed to be fully engaged as well as a bit starstruck from the work and advice given by Rushdie in his responses and reviews of certain films.

Although, the talk ran a bit late, the audience did not seem to mind since there were a few questions that followed. The School of Visual Arts has been a leader in the education of artists, designers and creative professionals for more than six decades. With a faculty of distinguished working professionals, dynamic curriculum and an emphasis on critical thinking, SVA is a catalyst for innovation and social responsibility. Comprised of more than 6,000 students at its Manhattan campus and 35,000 alumni in 100 countries, SVA also represents one of the most influential artistic communities in the world.

For more information on the SVA Theatre visit, their website. In addition, the website for the Modern School of Film‘s website is also a great resource for similar programs.

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Tony and Grammy Award winner Heather Headley joins the cast of The Color Purple

4e586697289503979d49eb67cdb8c1c9There is a good news, but also a little bit of sad news so perhaps it is bittersweet news for theater goers. Beginning on Tuesday, May 10, 2016, Tony and Grammy Award winner Heather Headley will assume the role of Shug Avery in John Doyle’s critically acclaimed production of the Broadway musical, The Color Purple.

This is Ms. Headley’s first appearance on Broadway since winning the 2000 Tony Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical for her performance in Aida. Grammy and Academy Award winnerJennifer Hudson, who made her critically-acclaimed Broadway debut in the role of Shug Avery, will complete her six month run on Sunday, May 8 and will give her final performance that afternoon.

“These last six months have been nothing short of a dream come true. I have found an extended family in the cast of The Color Purple that will go far beyond my commitment on-stage,” said Jennifer Hudson. “I owe so much to the Broadway community and our audiences. My heart is full as I say to Broadway,‘until we meet again.”

“I was privileged to see John Doyle’s production of The Color Purple and was completely moved and bowled over by his beautiful work and this brilliant company,” said Ms. Headley. “I am humbled to be joining this immensely talented group of actors. I can’t think of a better way to return to the Broadway stage than in this extraordinary show, helping to tell Alice Walker’s story.”

Heather Headley made her Broadway debut in the role of Nala in the original Broadway cast of Elton John and Tim Rice’s Tony-winning musical, The Lion King. While still in The Lion King, Heather was asked to audition for the title role in the writing duo’s next Broadway venture together, Aida. Her portrayal of the Nubian princess Aida won her the 2000 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical as well as the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical. Heather continued her musical success on the pop charts with her 2002 debut album. The opening title single became Heather’s first #1 hit, topping the dance and R&B charts and earning her a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist. In addition to her independent release of Only One In The World, in 2009 Heather released Audience of One, for which she won a Grammy Award for the Best Contemporary R&B Gospel Album. In 2012, she made her London stage debut in the West End production of The Bodyguard, for which she was nominated for an Olivier Award.

The show has received rave reviews with Hudson in the role and Shug Avery and will continue as Headley assumes the role in May 2016. For more information, photos, and videos of the production please visit the Color Purple website.

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Apollo Walk of Fame induction of Jazz icon Charlie ‘Yardbird’ Parker

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The official induction of Charlie “Bird” Parker into the Apollo Walk of Fame.

In anticipation of the New York premiere of Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD (April 1st and 3rd), a co-production between the Apollo Theater and Opera Philadelphia, the Theater celebrates its jazz legacy by inducting the iconic and influential jazz saxophonist, Charlie “Yardbird” Parker, into the Apollo Walk of Fame.

The ceremony included presentations recognizing Charlie Parker and photo ops with Apollo President & CEO, Jonelle Procope; legendary instrumentalist, composer, arranger and educator Jimmy Heath, who played with Charlie Parker; Opera Philadelphia President and General Director, David B. Devan, opera star Lawrence Brownlee, who plays Charlie Parker, and quite a few other guests.

The Apollo’s Walk of Fame honors legendary performers who have helped shape the American music landscape and built the Apollo into one of the world’s most enduring cultural institutions. The plaques are normally installed underneath the Apollo’s marquee on 125th street, alongside plaques for numerous Apollo legends including Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Smokey Robinson, Michael Jackson, and Patti Labelle, among others.

e5f93e729ad1bb12b22e2be7d85de4f7Parker had a rich history with the Apollo and performed at the Theater many times, beginning in 1943 with the Earl Hines Orchestra— which included Dizzy Gillespie. During his many engagements at the Apollo, Parker further developed his bebop style and also experimented with classical and other musical forms. Even after his death in 1955, he left a rich influence in the world of jazz and in music overall.

This Charlie Parker induction event, is only one of the many that the Apollo Theater holds throughout the year . As many may know, the Apollo Theater is a not-for-profit organization and currently in the midst of fundraising for its 21st Century Apollo Campaign., created to extend the institution’s role in fostering artistic innovation and in building appreciation of American culture around the world. For more information, visit the Apollo website.

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The Universal Hip Hop Museum Fundraiser at Barclays Center March 26, 2016

c53b8558edbebe052eb181c5a988cc68If you are a lover of music, perhaps Hip Hop is a music of choice. Hip hop as music and culture formed during the 1970’s when block parties became increasingly popular in New York City, particularly among African-American youth. Since that time, Hip Hop has increasingly grown and become popular in the United States and all over the world. This genre of music has become so ingrained in our culture that it has influenced so many people.

The music has inspired fashion, movies and many young people. There are various awards shows only featuring hip hop artists and within the years, it is definitely safe to say that hip hop or what some call rap music id hear to stay.

Writer, Judith Davis and Rapper Roxane Shante at the Hip Hop Museum fundraising event. in Brooklyn.

Writer, Judith Davis and Rapper Roxane Shante at the Hip Hop Museum fundraising event. in Brooklyn.

On Saturday, March 26, 2016, the Universal Hip Hop Museum host a fundraiser and party in Brooklyn, New York at The Barclays Center. The party was host my none other than Cynthia Horner, the Editor-in-Chief of Hip Hop Weekly. Horner may also be known as former Editorial Director for the classic RightOn! Magazine.

Also, in attendance was hip hop legends Kurtis Blow and Roxanne Shante. They were on hand for press pictures, but the audience was also treated to a rare and awesome performance by Kurtis Blow. Blow is known for rap anthem such as: “The Breaks,” “Basketball,” “If I Ruled The World,” and “AJ Scratch,”just to name a few.

The performance and the house band together go the crowd in the mood to enjoy themselves and even donate to the cause. The Universal Hip Hop Museum has Kickstarter campaign for all who are interested in contributing. The purpose of the music is to preserve the proud history of hip hop, educate a worldwide audience on the five elements of Hip Hop. It is also created to honor the trailblazers who paved the way. With immersive exhibits, live events, impactful educational programs, and a powerful new expression of the art form by keeping hip hop at the forefront of our global audience.

Writer, Judith Davis and Legendary Rapper Kurtis Blow at the Hip Mop Museum Fundraising event in Brooklyn.

Writer, Judith Davis and Legendary Rapper Kurtis Blow at the Hip Mop Museum Fundraising event in Brooklyn.

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S.W.A.N. Day Screening and Reception on March 26, 2016 at SVA Theater

3140aacb7147a2c932e0297eb2de1324On Saturday, March 26, 2016, NYWIFT, SAG-AFTRA, School of Visual Arts Film department, African-American Women in Cinema, Women in the Arts & Media Coalition, Women Make Movies, andHerFlix sponsored a screening at the SVA Theatre of the documentary BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez in recognition of S.W.A.N. SWAN stands for Support Women Artists Now and is an annual event on the last Saturday of March that celebrates women artists. This screening was held as the closing event of the 18th African-American Women in Cinema (AAWIC) Festival.

The BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez documentary is produced and Directed by Barbara Attie, Janet Goldwater and Sabrina Schmidt Gordon. Sabrina Schmidt Gordon was on hand after the screening to discuss the film and answer any questions from the audience.

BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez offers unprecedented access to the life, work and mesmerizing performances of renowned poet and activist Sonia Sanchez who describes herself as “a woman with razor blades between my teeth.” A leading figure in the Black Arts Movement and inspiration to today’s hip hop spoken word artists, Sanchez for over 60 years has helped to redefine American culture and politics as an activist in the Black, women’s and peace movements.

The late great Maya Angelou called Sanchez “a lion in literature’s forest” while spoken word artist Bryonn Bain credits her with paving the way for his generation, “She not only opened the door, she blew off the roof.” Sanchez revolutionized poetry by incorporating street language, a unique performance style and collaborations with jazz musicians. Sanchez’s contemporaries Ruby Dee, Amiri Baraka, John Bracey, Jr., Haki Madhubuti and Nikki Giovanni joined by such newer voices as Talib Kweli, Ayana Mathis, Jessica Care Moore, Bryonn Bain and Questlove present impassioned readings of and insightful commentary on her fearless verse, including her raw love poems.

BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez is the second documentary produced by Attie, Goldwater and Gordon. Their previous collaboration, Mrs. Goundo’s Daughter (2009), recounts a Malian mother’s fight for asylum in the U.S. to protect her two-year old daughter from female genital cutting/mutilation. Supported by ITVS and the Sundance Documentary Fund, Mrs. Goundo’s Daughter was broadcastnationally on public television’s Afropop: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange series in 2011. It has been shown at film festivals throughout the world, including the Human Rights Watch Festival and Silverdocs, and was named Best Social Documentary at the Addis International Film Festival in Ethiopia.

The BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez documentary aired on PBS on March 8, 2016. For more information visit: Attie & Goldwater Productions.

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The Metropolitan Playhouse presents “Walk Hard” by playright Abram Hill

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Photo used with permission from The Metropolitan Playhouse

Great theater can always be found on and off Broadway in New York City. Another great play currently on stage is Walk Hard. WALK HARD is an adaptation of Len Zinberg’s novel “Walk Hard-Talk Loud,” and premiered in 1944 at the American Negro Theater. After its successful run, the play was produced by Gustav Blum at the Chanin Auditorium on 42nd Street in 1946.

The work follows the story of a young man working as a shoeshine boy in 1939, The young man is nineteen-year-old Andy Whitman whose ambition is limited only by the color of his skin. He is bright, industrious, but black, and his daily struggle makes make him quick with his temper and his fists. When he catches the eye of a boxing manager in a street fight, Andy is soon a rising star in a fast-paced game. But it is a game of devil’s bargains, played with dubious partners, and some rules never change when a black man looks for respect in a white world.

 Born in Atlanta in 1910, ABRAM HILL moved to New York as a teenager and studied at City College, earned his BA at Lincoln University, and did graduate work at Columbia. He began his career as an assistant in Lincoln’s drama department in 1938, and in that same year became a consultant to the Federal Theater Project. He continued working in theater until his death in1986.

The production is directed by IMANI, Artistic Director of RACCA (Richard Allen Center for Culture and Art), recipient of an AUDELCO Award in 2010 for direction and a Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation George C. Wolfe Fellow in 2014-14. Recent work includes “Mirrors/Mississippi Goddamn,” “Snow,” and “Eartha and Me.” She is also an instructor in Black American Drama and Documentary Theater at SUNY Purchase.

The production introduces New York actor JOSHUA DAVID SCARLETT as Andy, and stars GABRIELLE ARCHER, BEETHOVAN ODEN, CRAIG ANTHONY BANNISTER, MICHAEL BASILE, CHRIS KRAUSE, KIM YANCEY MOORE (“A Raisin in the Sun,” with Danny Glover at Roundabout), JOY SUDDUTH, VANESSA SHAW (“Eartha and Me,” “Welcome Home, Marian Anderson”). SEAN MICHAEL BUCKLEY, FRANK ANDERSON (NYIT Award winner for “The Return of Peter Grimm”), PETER TEDESCHI (“Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” “The House of Mirth”). Set design is by ALEX ROE. Lighting by MELODY BEAL.

Costumes by NYIT Award winner SIDNEY FORTNER. Sound by BILL TOLES. Stage Manager is WILLIAM VANN CARLTON. Assistant Director is LAVONDA ELAM.

METROPOLITAN PLAYHOUSE, now its 24th season, devoted to Hope, explores America’s theatrical heritage through forgotten plays of the past and new plays of American historical and cultural moment. The show runs from February 19 – March 20. General admission tickets are for $25. For more information, visit the Metropolitan Playhouse website or call: 1-800-838-3006.

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Actor Forest Whitaker shines on Broadway in Hughie

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Photo used with permission from Hughie on Broadway

With this being Whitaker’s first Broadway run, audiences were especially interested in seeing how well he would translate from film to the stage. The New York Times calls Forest Whitaker, “one of the pre-eminent actors of his generation. Whitaker is a magnetic actor” and the Chicago Tribune says “Forest Whitaker is one of the best actors of our generation.” CBS says “Whitaker doesn’t so much play roles as inhabit them” and Variety calls Whitaker “an acting force.” This is very apparent in his portrayal of this down and out gambler.

As theater buffs may know, the play is set in the summer 1928 in New York City. Beyond the bright lights of the Great White Way, a small-time gambler and big-time drinker returns to the faded hotel he has made his home. He encounters a new night clerk at the front desk and as the early hours of the morning give way to another dawn, he continues to chase the American Dream in order to survive. HUGHIE is a rarely seen theatrical masterpiece that beautifully explores redemption and offers a unique insight into the human condition.

Hughie first premiered on Broadway in 1964 with Jason Robards in the role of “Erie” Smith. The role of “Erie” has been played by illustrious actors such as Burgess Meredith, Ben Gazzara and Al Pacino. Now Forest Whitaker can be added to the list of those playing this interesting an complex role. Forest Whitaker quickly makes the role his own and keeps the audience’s attention as he unveils his character.

Tickets for Hughie range from $25 – $149, and are available at: HughieBroadway, Telecharge (212.239.6200), or directly at the Booth Theatre box office. Please note, the show only has a strictly limited engagement so if one waits to long, they may miss the show.

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“Smart People” on Broadway at The 2econd Stage Theater in NYC

9b89c18c832d77c5b1dfaa0172622516Thought provoking plays on Broadway are always a treasure. The stories often leave the audience with so much to think and talk about even if the subject is one that is quite uncomfortable. This seems to be the case for “Smart People”, new play by Lydia R. Diamond (Stick Fly), helmed by Kenny Leon (The Wiz), the Tony Award®-winning director of the 2014 revival of A Raisin in the Sun.

Within the context of the story, there is the quest for love, achievement and identity. This is universal subject, but the underlying question is what role does race play in the story of our lives?

 The journey is set on the eve of Obama’s first election, and deals with four Harvard intellectuals that find themselves entangled in a complex web of social and sexual politics. The interactions are provocative and funny but will leave many to question if things have gotten for the better to worse in America. The cast includes:

Mahershala Ali who is best known for his role on the award-winning Netflix series “House of Cards,” as lobbyist and press secretary Remy Danton. On stage, he plays Jackson, a smart and charismatic doctor working hard to help others, set goals and prove his place in this competitive medical world. He is sometimes frustrated by his superiors.

Joshua Jackson who is well-known for many movie and television roles, but probably most notably for when he came on the scene in the hit TV show “Dawson’s Creek.” He takes on the character of Brian. As a part of his research study, he takes on the stereotypes of race in society. During his research, he soon discovers that many of his findings are some of the things he actually feels himself.

Anne Son has acted and can be seen on various television shows such as “My Generation and “Fargo”, She plays the role of Ginny. She is the very intelligent. sexy, shopaholic doctor who wants to help others and also fight the stereotypes she sees that are imposed on her by others. She is a bit abrasive, but her heart is in the right place.

Tessa Thompson plays Valerie and is best known for her lead role as Dear White People” and “Creed.” She is a beautiful and artsy grad student/actress who is still figuring her way out. Her parents want her to strive for more, but acting is her passion. She has to deal with her studies, her parents and finding herself in the world.

They are lead separate lives for a while, then circumstance happen and they come together as two, then finally as four at a dinner setting. This meeting of the four causes secret thoughts and prejudices to erupt. The play is perfect for this particular time and racism seems to be out front and center even in this Presidential Race. Audiences will leave with many thoughts and may even have to look within themselves to see what they indeed feel about others.

For more information on the play, visit the 2econdStageTheater website.

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Director Lee Daniels set to direct Apollo Theater documentary film

aff8e8d7f528ad963d6b15a8b1833a64The history of the Apollo Theater, located in Harlem New York is known all around the country and even in the world. Now, there will be more of an opportunity for people to learn about this legendary theater that has launched the careers of many great entertainers.

Oscar nominated director Lee Daniels, who is know for films such as (Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Precious, Monster’s Ball, Shadowboxer, and creator and producer of the Fox hit series Empire) will direct the documentary feature film entitled THE APOLLO THEATER FILM PROJECT – the authorized history of New York’s famed Apollo Theater. The project was recently announced by The Apollo Theater and White Horse Pictures’ Nigel Sinclair and Jeanne Elfant Festa.

In the spirit of the Apollo Theater’s tradition of active audience participation and in support of this documentary, Lee Daniels and Jonelle Procope, President and CEO the Apollo Theater, are jointly making an appeal to members of the public, audience-goers, and fans for film footage, home movies, photographs or other memorabilia that may have been accumulated by members of the community in the course of its more than 80 years of live performances. Just like with the well-known Apollo Theater amateur night, the audience has the opportunity to actively participate.

gradient 12688017_10153931785299485_1549845637527461926_nAccording to Daniels and Procope, “We are asking members of the community who have been to the Apollo, who may have parents or grandparents or other family members or friends who have done so, to help us find any material – audience footage, photographs, or other memories that we can use in our documentary film. In addition, an Apollo Theater Documentary website has been established. for anyone who wants to submit. We will, of course, respect everybody’s ownership of their property.”

This exciting project is produced by Nigel Sinclair who has been responsible for projects such as:(GEORGE HARRISON: LIVING IN THE MATERIAL WORLD, END OF WATCH) and Jeanne Elfant Festa (FOO FIGHTERS: BACK AND FORTH), White Horse Pictures’ Director of Features and Head of Documentaries,under her Piper Cub Productions banner. For additional information, and other events, visit the Apollo theater website.

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