Archive for Culture

Fierce Hi Heels at the Brooklyn Museum!

brooklyn musuem killer heels 2I really thought I was raising whatever back in the day when I graduated from “kitten” or “Cuban” heels to a 2 incher. Of course, seeing women prancing around on sky high stilettos today has put me in my place. I don’t /won’t wear them, but I think 6 inch needle heels are fierce and fascinating. The folks at the Brooklyn Museum think so too evidently. They’re putting on a show: ”Killer Heels: The Art of the High Heeled Shoe” until February 15, 2015.

“Killer Heels explores fashion’s most provocative accessory. From the high platform chopines of sixteenth-century Italy to the glamorous stilettos on today’s runways and red carpets, the exhibition looks at the high-heeled shoe’s rich and varied history and its enduring place in our popular imagination.”

Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe

Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, New York

Sidney Poitier – Author

“Those that stop their questioning at 75, 60, even 30, cut short their explorations and end up with permanently unfinished lives.” (From “Life Beyond Measure: Letter to My Great-Granddaughter”)

Wise octogenarian Sydney Poitier has been a natural treasure for quite awhile.

He’s won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a Grammy. He has had success as an actor, director, author and perhaps more importantly, as a man.

He’s condensed life lessons learned into books not just about his journey, but also about how he has learned to conduct himself in a sometimes difficult world.

 

Born in 1927 in the Bahamas, Mr. Poitier went to New York as a teen, taught himself to read, catapulted himself into an acting career and created a wonderful life for himself and his family. Not an easy road, but he did it with humor, grace, determination and a never wavering belief in him self. Great stuff!

“The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography”, 2000

“Life Beyond Measure: Letters to My Great-Granddaughter” 2005

 

August Wilson Plays on Webcast!

-August_wilsonMr. Wilson is one of my favorite playwrights. He wrote plays for every decade of the 20th century that would chronicle some part of the black experience in America. Through the use of his great ear for dialogue, Wilson was able to give us some insight into the daily life, both struggles and triumphs, of an assortment of universal characters that his audience could easily recognize. In 2005, August Wilson completed a ten-play cycle that is now being recorded to be enjoyed by future generations.

Tickets are sold out for just about all the live performances at the tiny Greene Space Theatre in NYC, however, the plays can be viewed online via webcast. I thoroughly enjoyed “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” a few days ago. True, the actors sit in seats in front of microphones, but they were so good and August Wilson’s stories are so compelling, that the imagination kicks in and provides the scenery and action. (For those of you not old enough to remember, we did this during radio programs all the time back in the day:)

“The Piano Lesson” is next on Monday 9/9/13 at 7PM EDT. The Greene Space site has a calendar of events, actor lists, etc.

August Wilson’s American Century Cycle

The Greene Space, 44 Charlton Street, New York, NY

BTW – the recordings are done in the order that the plays were written, not in chronological order as listed above.

 

The Los Angeles Black Book Expo (LABBX) * 8/17/13

LABBX LogoLABBX, the Los Angeles Black Book Expo, returns on Saturday August 17, 2013. This free event, at the L.A. Convention Center,  will have “authors, storytellers, spoken word and poetry performances, musicians, exhibitors, children’s book authors, emerging writers, publishers, booksellers, panel discussions, editors, book reviewers…” all in support of having a glorious reading experience.

LABBX 2013

L.A.  Convention Center – Saturday August 17, 2013

DVD: Mr. Belafonte!

Everyone knows who Harry is – just listening to a few chords of “Day-O” or “Ma-tilda” brings his handsome face to the mind’s eye. At 85, he is still attractive of course, but Harry Belafonte: Sing Your Song, a fascinating documentary out on DVD, fills in and rounds out the well lived life of the entertainer to be more than a man in a sexy shirt and tight pants. Besides being a singer, actor, husband and father, Mr. Belafonte is an activist, a pioneer and a humanitarian. A full life.

BTW:  There is a book My Song: A Memoir and a CD, Harry Belafonte Sing Your Song: The Music that also celebrate this man’s life and music.

 

Harlem Book Fair 2013

Happening this coming weekend is a  fantastic yearly event involving over 200 exhibit booths, music, panel discussions and children’s activities. Great way to spend a Saturday in the city!

 “The vision of the Harlem Book Fair is to partner with local and national leadership organizations under the banner of literacy awareness, affirming HBF as the nation’s largest African American literary event celebrating family literacy, community empowerment and community cooperation.“

 

 

 

 

 

2013 Harlem Book Fair

Saturday July 20, 2013

Schomburg  Center for Research in Black Culture

West 135th Street between Malcolm X Blvd and Fredrick Douglas Blvd

 

 

Chinese New Year 2013 – Year of the Snake

2013_snake_year_of-2Lunar New Year, February 10, 2013, marks the 4710th year in the Chinese calendar – the Year of the Snake.

Not as fiery and intense as 2012’s Dragon year, 2013 should be calmer and more practical with a tendency toward stability, security and comfortable elegance.

FYI: The Chinese Snake is considered to be aligned with the Western Zodiac sign of Taurus.

Gong Hay Fat Choi!

Happy New Year!

 

 

 

Honoring Elizabeth Catlett – Artist

eliz catlett photoThe Schomburg celebrates Ms Catlett, painter, sculptor, printmaker, activist (1915 – 2012), with music and poetry on Saturday January 12, 2013 at 6PM..

“Inspired by the Civil Rights era, the late Elizabeth Catlett became one of the world’s most treasured artists of the 20th century- defining the courage, hope and beauty of African-American life in America. Join notable scholars, poets and artists remembering her life and contributions!”

“Art must be realistic for me, whether sculpture or printmaking, I have always eliz catlet mother and child 3wanted my art to service my people—to reflect us, to relate to us, to stimulate us, to make us aware of our potential…. I try to tell young artists, black artists, that there’s a great need for their work. Some are only interested in doing what they want to do, not what people need.—Elizabeth Catlett”

 

 For My People: A Musical & Poetic Tribute to Elizabeth Catlett

Saturday, January 12, 2013  *  6PM – 9PM

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

515 Malcolm X Boulevard, New York, NY

(Sculpture: “Mother & Child”, 1959. Mahogany)

About That Mayan Calendar…

There has been lots of talk regarding the Mayan Calendar and its apparent end of days date, 12.21.12.  Last week, we celebrated 12.12.12 – a date thought by many cultures to be lucky, fortunate, blessed – best day to marry, to be born, etc. This week, we have the 21st of December, 2012. A date said to denote the end of the world because the Mayan calendar, prepared around 3000 BC, ends, suddenly. Hmmmm. mayan_calendar_S

I distance myself from “Dooms Day” scenarios and align myself with those in countries such as Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador & Honduras, where there will be joyous celebrations, with fireworks, on this date. They think of the following day, 12/22/12 as a beginning of the next phase – like a “sequel”. Perhaps, an opportunity to create something different than what went before. Exciting, but certainly not an ending. As amazing as the Mayan civilization was with all its accomplishments, I just assume that at the time their calendar was prepared, 2012 seemed a very long time into the future and due to the size of the rock (tablet size constraints)on which it was carved, they may have just ran out of room. (Yes, I’m being facetious, but you follow my drift – don’t send me any nasty tweets.)

I don’t know about you, but I would prefer to celebrate 12/21/12, while acknowledging the Mayans for all they have given us, which includes the chance for the world to start over.

See ya on December 22!

 

Gordon Parks at the Schomburg

I love the Schomburg, it always has something going on. Currently, it celebrates one of our most famous photographers and film makers with Gordon Parks: 100 Moments

This event “…celebrates a photographer who transformed the visual story of America with his ever-questioning lens, highlighting—in particular—the significance of Parks’s photographs from the early 1940s. 100 Moments focuses on Parks’s photographic practice of documenting African Americans in Harlem and Washington, D.C., during a pivotal time in U.S. history. These photographs were taken when both cities were going through significant changes—arising from post-WW II urban migration, the expansion of the black press, concern for children’s education, and entrenched segregation and economic discrimination. “

“Gordon Parks: 100 Moments” until December 1, 2012

 

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, 515 Malcolm X Boulevard, NY, NY

FYI:  The Schomburg Library was the vision of Arturo Alfonso Schomburg. Of African/ Puerto Rican descent, he recognized the need to consolidate the culture, history and art of people of color. His collection was absorbed into the New York Public Library system after his death in 1938. It became a part of the “Division of Negro History” at the 135th Street Branch.