My Earth Day got off to a wonderful start when I saw ConEd's "The Power of Green" iPhone app selected as "What's Hot" in Apple's App store. Did I mention the app was developed by my boyfriend Philipp Kuecuekyan? Nice.
On Monday, The Arabesque Festival opened at The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. The three-week program will present the latest in theater, dance, music, film, and more coming from the Arab World. Performers include outstanding Somali hop-hop artist K'NAAN and Heather Raffo performing The Sounds of Desire with Amir El Saffar, a jazz trumpeter and Iraqi santoor player. I saw Raffo's wonderful one person show 9 Parts of Desire about two years ago and definitely would love to see her perform along with a live musician.
And if you like to shop, visit the souk — marketplace — where you can purchase jewelry, handbags, and textiles.
Last night, NewsHour with Jim Lehrer profiled three artists living in Cairo who are participating in this years Arabesque Festival: modern dancer Karima Mansour, jewelry maker Azza Fayma, and Lebanese/Egyptian artist Lara Baladi.
To view a dance performance by Mansour, and to learn more about these three artists, visit NewsHour's website.
Today is Fat Tuesday and I thought I would mark the occasion by posting info on how it is celebrated around the world.
Celebrations in New Orleans are underway as we speak with the crews, floats and musicians marching through the streets of New Orleans. The The Times-Picayune website Nola.com is providing full coverage of the parade and all of the city's festivities throughout the day.
Samba schools, costumes and endless music. Welcome to Rio de Janeiro's Carnaval. What most consider ground zero for all Carnival celebrations, Rio's citizens do not hold back. It takes months to plan and it shows. Check out Jornal do Brasil's website and Rio-Carnival.net for details.
Trinidad Carnival Diary is a wonderful place to find out information regarding Carnival in Trinidad. The blogger, Saucy aka "The Sauce", provides excellent behind-the-scenes details including the bands, putting together the perfect costume and more. What won me over what her recipe for how to prevent the rhinestone's in your costume from snagging your stockings. Please check her out!!!
Though most of Cologne's carnival activities peaked yesterday on Rosenmontag (Rose Monday), there is plenty to do before Ash Wednesday. Kölntourismus will direct you as to where to go.
Check out the website Toronto-lime.com for a partial listing of Carnival celebrations taking place throughout the world.
It's been a long time coming. The Rwandan theater company Urwintore has brought their production of The Investigation by Peter Weiss to the
United States and I've been waiting for the chance to see this production for myself for sometime now. Originally produced in 1965, the play is based on transcripts from Frankfurt's war crimes trials of German citizens who worked at Auschwitz during WWII. Urwintore's production has been adapted by Jean Beaudrillard, conceived and directed by Dorcy Rugamba and Isabelle Gyselinx.
Urwindtore's production was first performed in Rwanda in 2005 and later performed in London in 2007. After wrapping up performances in Chicago last week, Urwintore brings their production to the Alexander Kasser Theater in Montclair, New Jersey February 5 - 9. The production will be performed in Kinyarwanda with English super titles.
Music New York City
Image of musician Angelique Kidjo courtesy of Afropop.com.
Film Boston The Boston African FIlm Festival will be taking place February 6 - 15 at The Museum of Fine Arts. This year's screenings include Cheik Doukoure's Paris Selon Moussa (Guinea/France, 2003, 96 min.) and Ngozi Onwurah's Shoot the Messenger (Nigeria/UK, 2006, 100 min.).
Medicine for Melancholy opens this Friday. Written and directed by Barry Jenkins, the award winning film has been nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards, and is the winner of TK at Sundance With San Francisco as it's backdrop, the film has been described as "a love story about a one-night stand told through two African-American twenty-somethings dealing with issues of class, identity, and the evolving conundrum of being a minority in rapidly gentrifying San Francisco- a city with the smallest proportional black population of any other major American City." Wyatt Cenac of The Daily Show and Tracey Heggins are the films two stars.
The movie opens in NYC January 30th, Detroit February 13th, Seattle February 20th, San Francisco and Los Angeles February 27th.
Check out the official website for music from the movie, two short-films by Jenkins called My Josephine and Little Brown Boy, a fierce T-shirt and a photo contest with a $1000 prize. Also, don't forget to look at the films Facebook page for the latest information.
Jazz legend Duke Ellington will grace the flip-side of commemorative quarters representing the District of Columbia. Today, the U.S. Mint released the coin as part of their 50 state quarter program (the Duke Ellington coin is the first to be issued in 2009). The quarter reads, "DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, DUKE ELLINGTON and JUSTICE FOR ALL".
Ellington was born in Washington D.C. April 29, 1899 and later moved to New York in 1923.
If you would like to get your hands on these, the wait to get them at your local bank could be a few weeks. Your best bet is to order directly from the U.S. Mint at 801 9th Street NW in D.C. or it's website.
Music Johannesburg Johannesburg International Mozart Festival continues through February 3rd. The festival will feature South African Violinist Zoe Beyers and German pianist Florian Uhlig. A series of workshops, master-classes, lectures and community based programs are also part of the festival.
Art Johannesburg The African textile exhibition Tranformed Fibres opens at The Kim Sacks Gallery January 31st and runs through February 28th. Kente, Dida, Indigo, Fante, Yuroba, Baule, Nupe, Kuba, Fulani, Mbuti, Ewe, Hausa and Bamileke will all be represented in the show. The space is located at 153 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood (27-11/447-5804).
Last night's NewsHour with Jim Lehrer featured a report by Jeffry Brown about art in today's New Orleans and after watching it, my boyfriend and I started thinking it would be a good idea to travel and check it out.
Going Home by artist Willie Birch courtesy of the blog Newsgrist.
L9 Center for the Arts was started by artists Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick who have been documenting the city of New Orleans for 30 years through their work, according to NewsHour. In the report Calhoun said, "We see this space as a light for the community. What we're
doing here in L9, as artists, we take in our space. We have art. We've
got painters coming in. We have photographers, filmmakers, people who
just want to come and help. So we're going to make sure that we have a
space that's vibrant in the community."
Today, the Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College, CUNY announced that Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison will be the honorary chair of the 2010 National Black Writer's Conference. Taking place March 26 -28, 2010, the conference will be held at the Medgar Evers College campus in Brooklyn, NY. The theme of the conference is taken from John Oliver Killens book And Then We Heard the Thunder: Black Writers Reconstructing Memories and Lighting the Way.
Morrison's books include Beloved, The Song of Solomon, The Bluest Eye, and most recently A Mercy.
Like many people across the country, my boyfriend and I are planning to travel to Washington D.C. January 20th to witness President-Elect Barack Obama being sworn in as our country's 44th president. And, like the other 3 to 5 million making plans, there are many looming questions:
Where to stay? (Is there anything left?)
How to get there? (Rent a car for the day from NYC or take the train so we don't have to worry about parking?)
What time should we arrive?
How close can we get and what events will be going on in D.C. to mark the occasion? (Does it really matter, though? We just want to be part of this important day.)
There is no need to ask why go. It's just a given to us that we should be part of this historic day. That decision was decided election night and the desire to attend was intensified knowing that the national day to celebrate Martin Luther King's birthday is the day before. Now we just need to figure out the logistics. Below are a few details about the big day. See you there!
Inauguration theme: A New Birth of Freedom (commemorates the 200th anniversary of President Lincoln’s birth)
Location: West Front of the U.S. Capitol
Gate open at 10 A.M.
Musical prelude begins at 10 A.M.
The President will be sworn in by 12 noon. (From the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies website: Amendment XX to the U.S. Constitution states that the term of the President expires at noon on January 20.
Image of Earl Stafford of the People's Inaugural Project courtesy of CNN.com.
Please look at the following websites to find up-to-date information about the Inauguration
Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies: Provides scheduling, parade, traffic, weather, and general logistic information (this includes parties and balls): inaugural.senate.gov/index.cfm
Virginia businessman Earl Stafford plans to help people attend the inauguration through the People's Inaugural Project organized by his non-profit The Stafford Foundation. His guests will stay at the Washington D.C. JW Marriott Hotel in addition to attending several inaugural events. According to the website Marketwatch, Stafford said in a statement, "The People's Inaugural Project offers the
underprivileged in our society a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to come
to our nation's capital and join in the watershed inauguration of
President-elect Barack Obama. It's a historic investment for our
Expedia.com has dedicated a portion of its website to inauguration travel. Here you'll find travel tips, hotel information, free activities and trivia tailored for Washington D.C.'s big day.
November is my favorite time of the year. There seems to be a holiday celebration every week, plenty of good food and chances to catch up with family members and old friends. And, of course, there is the New York African Diaspora Film Festival which begins this Thursday at it's regular haunt, Film Anthology Archives. For over two weeks, you will get the opportunity to see an extensive collection of films from the diverse voices of the African Diaspora.
Known for including a large and diverse selection of films, the festival's programs include special nights dedicated to Egyptian, Senegalese and Moroccan cinema. On December 12 and 13, ADFF will host several panel discussions including Production of African, Latin Amercan and Carribean Cinema and A Conversation with Mohammed Soudani.
Films in this years festival include Soudani's Waalo Fendo, Where the Earth Freezes (1998, Senegal/Switzerland), Youssour N' Dour: Return to Goree (2006, Senegal/U.S.A./Luxemburg/Switzerland) Charles Barnett's Namibia (2007, Namibia/U.S.A.) and the documentary Congo: White King, Red Rubber and Black Death by Peter Bate (2003, UK/Belgium/Congo).
Will there be a party? Well, to kick off the festival, organizers will host an opening night dance party following the screening and Q & A of Giancarlo Esposito's Gospel Hill (USA/2008) starring Angela Bassett, Danny Glover and Julia Stiles. There will also be catered receptions following the screenings of 13 Months of Sunshine, Prince of Broadway, Choas, Where are You Going Moshe, the Women's Indie Night program and the documentary The Black List. I have this films campanion book, The Black List by Elvis Mitchell, which came out earlier this ear so I am really looking forward to seeing it come to life on screen.
In addition to Film Anthology Archives, the festival will hold events throughout Manhattan at locations including Clearview 62nd Street Theater, Symphony Space
Thalia Theater, Riverside Theater at Riverside Church, Teacher's
College at Columbia University and the Schomburg Center for Black
For ticket information and a complete schedule check out the official website for ADFF.
The Afro-Punk festival has come and gone, and if you missed it, there is always next year. Sadly, I didn't make it to the film screenings and the skate park, but I did attend the outdoor concert held in Fort Greene Park Saturday, June 12th. That afternoon I took in a mix of top-rate sounds, art and fashion. The park was filled with stylish concert-goers and some even brought their equally hip children sporting afro's and mohawk's.
A major highlight was when Imani Coppola's Little Jackie took the stage and electrified the audience with the bands song "The World Should Revolve Around Me". I didn't get a chance to see all of the bands but also on the lineup were Tamar Kali, The Dirtbombs, The Noisettes, Burmuda, and Sophia Ramos. Check out a New York Times piece about the band here.
Below are some of the photos I took that afternoon (to view an enlarged version just click on each image).
Hope to see you at the Afro-Punk Festival next year and please support Afro-Punk by purchasing the film. Not only does the film talk about African-Americans who love punk music but it also ties the genre to black community historically through discussions on the development of rock music. (Think of music pioneers like Chuck Berry, Jimmy Hendrix and Bad Brains.) It is one of my all-time favorite films and my boyfriend surprised me with a copy of it two weeks ago. THANK YOU!
A panel from an art instillation at the Afro-Punk Festival in Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn.
THE PASSAGE PROJECT is a book and documentary theater piece combining text, video, and music; a meditation on the diverse voices that exist within Africa and the diaspora. These stories reveal how geographic location, culture, socioeconomic status and language directly shape identity. Ultimately, THE PASSAGE PROJECT serves as an exploration into human nature that people of all cultures can relate to by transcending traditional ideas of race and identity.
The photographs help put the stories into context by illustrating each storyteller’s experience.
(All photographs by Trina Michelle Robinson)