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Arts for Art Tribute to Steve Cannon - September 6, 6:30pm


Get your tickets for Arts for Art’s Tribute to Steve Cannon

September 6, 6:30pm

The Clemente, 107 Suffolk St, NYC 10002

Arts for Art partners will be partnering with A Gathering of the Tribes to present a special evening of tribute performances to Steve Cannon (1935-2019). A writer, teacher, mentor, supporter of artists, and jazz lover, Cannon was a Lower East Side icon and fellow organizer who created a community of poets, writers, and artists in his home. Steve Cannon was a longtime supporter of AFA, both performing at and helping curate poetry for the Vision Festival starting with its inception in 1996.

6:30pm Opening by Melanie Goodreaux and Patricia Nicholson

6:45pm Poetry

Yuko Otomo // Lydia Cortes // Edwin Torres // Steve Dalachinsky

7:30pm William Parker's What It Is

William Parker - bass, composition / Patricia Nicholson Parker - dance, text

James Brandon Lewis - tenor sax / Devin Brahja Waldman - alto sax / Melanie Dyer - viola Val

Jeanty - electronics, percussion

8:30pm Poetry

Anne Waldman // Julie Ezelle Patton // Tracie Morris w/ Elliott Sharp and Graham Haynes

9:00pm Sun Ra Arkestra

Steve Cannon, Whose Townhouse Was an East Village Salon, Dies at 84

Steve Cannon at his townhouse in the East Village in 2014 as he was preparing to move out. He had overseen a salon there, opening his doors and welcoming artists, musicians, poets and others to join a conversation that meandered for decades. Credit: Adam Golfer | NYTimes.com

Steve Cannon at his townhouse in the East Village in 2014 as he was preparing to move out. He had overseen a salon there, opening his doors and welcoming artists, musicians, poets and others to join a conversation that meandered for decades.
Credit: Adam Golfer | NYTimes.com

By Colin Moynihan

For years, Steve Cannon, a writer and publisher, maintained an open-door policy at his three-story Federal-style townhouse in the East Village of Manhattan, creating a salon that welcomed a revolving cast of visitors to join a continuing conversation.

Painters, poets, musicians and composers showed up. So did a grab bag of others who wandered in, some by pure chance. And presiding over it all was Mr. Cannon, who had lost his eyesight to glaucoma in 1989.

Mr. Cannon died on July 7 at 84. A half sister, Evelyn Omega Cannon, said the cause was believed to be septic shock following hip surgery at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Manhattan.

Mr. Cannon bought the townhouse, on East Third Street between Avenues C and D, in 1970. In the early 1990s he started a literary magazine there, A Gathering of the Tribes, along with an art gallery. Writers like Paul Beatty and Miguel Algarin contributed to the magazine.

The publication and gallery reflected the grit and creativity of the neighborhood in the 1990s, when the East Village, not yet gentrified, was still a bastion of the avant-garde.

Something always seemed to be happening at Mr. Cannon’s place. Annual festivals honoring the great jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker were planned there. Ishmael Reed, one of Mr. Cannon’s longtime friends, read his work at the gallery. Members of the experimental Sun Ra Arkestra performed in the backyard.

The artist David Hammons, another friend, once painted a wall inside the gallery as part of an installation. Among the regular visitors was the cornetist and composer Butch Morris, an East Village neighbor who had created a form of large-ensemble music built on collective improvisation.

Read the full article here.

" The last New York bohemian " - El País, the main newspaper in Spain.

Steve Cannon, in the living room of his last home in New York, in December.  ACAUTHEN9

Steve Cannon, in the living room of his last home in New York, in December. ACAUTHEN9

By Mireia Sentis

With the death of the popular publisher, gallery owner and writer Steve Cannon, a way of life that seduced the less conventional artists of the Big Apple disappears

If the word "oxymoron" were a person, who would it be? How easy is the response to this children's game for those who knew the epicenter of the most productive clutter in downtown New York: "Steve Cannon!". This blind of panoramic vision directed To Gathering of the Tribes, organization founded in 1991, that included an art gallery, a publishing house for novice authors, a magazine and a seat - his own apartment - that fulfilled the function of the performance hall (concerts, performances , poetic recitals, book presentations), university classroom and refuge for anyone who wanted to converse, at any time of the day or night, with strangers who were converted from that moment and for always part of the Tribes family.

Professor Cannon, a true Hamelin, orchestrated all these activities from a dilapidated sofa that did not leave or sleep (the bedroom was a temporary shelter for artists who came looking for a place in the sun in the Big Apple), something he did when he felt like it , whatever happened at that moment in his room. On that island where there were no rules of any kind, they were going to smoke who could not do it in another covered place, to drink those who did it at the wrong time, or to face constructive as well as destructive criticism who needed to show or comment on an incipient creation in any discipline. Also, those who wanted to find out where the intellectual or artistic currents of the city would flow next. In that intergenerational, interethnic and international space to which books arrived, magazines and invitations at a dizzying pace, access to extensive information. In 2014, Cannon moved to a smaller place, in the same neighborhood, the East Village, where he continued with the magazine - already in digital format -, the publishing house and its activitygriot or transmitter of stories and knowledge for all.

Steve Cannon, who died on July 7 after stumbling on his stationary bike - "I was run over," he joked from the hospital - was born in New Orleans in 1935 . After living a couple of years in London among the group of writers known as Angry Young Men ( comprised of John Osborne, Harold Pinter, Kingsley Amis, Alan Sillitoe ..., he settled in New York in 1962. In 1969 he published a novel that would reach the category of worship: Groove, Bang and Jive Around (Enjoy, fuck and have fun out there), built in the style that his friend Ishmael Reed would announce as neohoodoo and published by Girodias, son of the editor of Henry Miller. The vicissitudes of a girl who runs away from home and lives the most extreme adventures are narrated with an accelerated rhythm, full of Southern lingo and poetic cadences. What should have been his second novel disappeared in a fire, and since then he opted for theater and poetry. At the present time he was working on a memoir that dictated to a tape recorder and he thought it was entitled Never Too Old To Blush (Never too old to blush).

Read the full article here.

Joe Overstreet, Purposeful Painter Who Made Space for Artists of Color, Is Dead at 85

Overstreet. Courtesy Eric Firestone Gallery | Artnews.com

Overstreet. Courtesy Eric Firestone Gallery | Artnews.com

“My paintings don’t let the onlooker glance over them, but rather take them deeply into them and let them out—many times by differ­ent routes,” artist Joe Overstreet once said, describing viewing experiences that can be variously harrowing and exhilarating. “These trips are taken sometimes subtly and sometimes suddenly.”

Over the course of a six-decade career that cut across artistic movements and unflinchingly addressed issues of racism and inequality, Overstreet established himself not only as one of the signal painters of postwar American art, but also as a vital organizer. As an African-American man working in a cultural sphere that has long marginalized non-white artists, he helped create exhibiting opportunities for numerous artists of diverse backgrounds at Kenkeleba House, the arts space he cofounded in Manhattan’s East Village in 1974.

Overstreet’s death on Tuesday night in New York at the age of 85, which was confirmed by Eric Firestone Gallery, his representative in New York, marks the end of a trailblazing life, and it comes amid renewed interest—both scholarly and commercial—in the artist’s relentlessly innovative work, resulting from museum exhibitions focused on the work of African-American artists and other artists of color.

Because Overstreet worked in a wide variety of modes, his art resists any simple summation. But he is best known for his incisive political works of the 1960s and his “Flight Patterns,” the gloriously colorful abstract pieces—inspired by Tantric drawings and Navajo sand painting—that he began making in 1970 on shaped canvases that he attached to walls, floors, and ceilings by running ropes through holes at their edges so that they appear to be floating or flying.

“I was making nomadic art, and I could roll it up and travel,” Overstreet said of those stretcher-free works. “We had survived with our art by rolling it up and moving it all over. I felt like a nomad myself, with all the insensitivity in America.”

Joe Wesley Overstreet was born in 1933 in the small town of Conehatta, Mississippi, about 60 miles east of Jackson, and wanted to be a painter from an early age. Speaking with an interviewer a few years ago, Overstreet noted that he was then 78—and quickly added, “I’ve been trying to be a painter for probably 70 of those 78 years.” He credited his rural upbringing with shaping the direction of his work. “Because I had experienced beauty and freedom in nature, I could recognize it in art,” he told Barry Schwabsky in a 1996 profile in the New York Times, and in some of his work, he drew on Choctaw iconography that he first saw growing up.

Read the full article here.

Monumental plan for trans activists

Sylvia Rivera at age 18 in New York City. (Photo by Kay Tobin/NY Public Library) | Thevillager.com

Sylvia Rivera at age 18 in New York City. (Photo by Kay Tobin/NY Public Library) | Thevillager.com

By Gabe Hernan

Transgender activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera will be getting a monument in the city, with the proposed location in the Village at the Ruth Wittenberg Triangle, Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray announced on May 30.

The monument is part of the She Built NYC project, which honors pioneering women. It would be the first permanent public artwork in the world to honor transgender women.

Ruth Wittenberg Triangle is blocks away from the Stonewall Inn, now a national monument and where Johnson and Rivera were key figures in the Stonewall Uprising of 1969.

In 1970, Johnson and Rivera cofounded STAR, standing for Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries. The group provided housing and support for L.G.B.T. street youth, including transgender sex workers.

The first STAR House was in Greenwich Village, and was the first L.G.B.T. youth shelter in North America. STAR was also the first organization in America led by transgender women of color.

Rivera and Johnson were advocates for many causes and marginalized groups, including homeless people, H.I.V.-positive youth, young people of color marginalized in the broader campaign for L.G.B.T. rights, and people with disabilities. They fought for all people to have proper access to healthcare.

Rivera died from liver cancer at age 50 in 2002. She lived on New York’s streets from a young age, after running away from her grandmother at age 11 due to her criticism of Rivera being gender-defying, according to a She Built NYC bio. Rivera worked as a child prostitute before being taken in by a community of drag queens. She told The Villager that she had lived for a time on the Greenwich Village waterfront.

Rivera brought back STAR in 2001 to campaign for the city’s Transgender Rights Bill and inclusion of transgender protections in the state’s Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act, or SONDA.

Read the full article here,

Camille Billops, Who Filmed Her Mother-Daughter Struggle, Dies at 85

Camille Billops in 1994. She was an internationally recognized artist, but she gained the most attention for a movie she made about giving her daughter up for adoption. Credit: Steve Walters | The New York Times

Camille Billops in 1994. She was an internationally recognized artist, but she gained the most attention for a movie she made about giving her daughter up for adoption.
Credit: Steve Walters | The New York Times

By Katharine Q. Seelye

Camille Billops knew from a young age that she did not want to be a mother. And when she had a baby, she gave her up for adoption, when the girl was 4.

Ms. Billops would go on to become an internationally recognized sculptor, painter and filmmaker. She held salons and created extensive archives of black cultural life in New York over several decades.

But Ms. Billops, who died on June 1 at 85, gained the most attention for a movie she made about giving up her daughter. She was resolutely unapologetic about the decision, even as society judged her harshly and wanted her to repent.

The movie, “Finding Christa” (1992), which she directed with her husband, James V. Hatch, documented Ms. Billops’s rejection of her daughter and their reunion 20 years later. Christa Victoria, a vibrant and artistic young woman who was raised by a loving adoptive family in Oakland, Calif., was welcomed back into the Billops fold.

Ms. Billops saw the lives of black women as endurance contests, struggles to survive abusive or alcoholic men, and children as part of the yoke that kept women from being free.

“I didn’t admire motherhood,” Ms. Billops said.

Ms. Billops was more interested in becoming an artist. She went to the University of Southern California to study art and occupational therapy. But she soon found herself pregnant. The father was a handsome Air Force lieutenant who said he would marry her — 500 wedding invitations were sent out — but who skipped town instead.

Read the full article here.

All best, and condolences to Camille Billops’s family.

Joe Overstreet, Painter and Activist, Is Dead at 85

Joe Overstreet with his painting “North Star” (1968). Joe Overstreet/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, via Eric Firestone Gallery, New York. - The New York Times

Joe Overstreet with his painting “North Star” (1968).
Joe Overstreet/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, via Eric Firestone Gallery, New York. - The New York Times

By Holland Cotter

Like many of his fellow African-American artists, he infused his work with burning political issues of the 1960s and ’70s.

Joe Overstreet, an artist and activist who in the 1960s took abstract painting into the sculptural dimension and later created a home in New York for artists who had been ignored by the mainstream, died on June 4 in Manhattan. He was 85.

His Manhattan gallery, Eric Firestone, said the cause was heart failure.

Mr. Overstreet belonged to a generation of contemporary African-American visual artists who came of age in the civil rights era and addressed the burning political issues of the day in a wide variety of forms and styles, from overt protest work to the subtlest geometric abstraction.

He was particularly notable for removing canvases from the wall and suspending them in space, giving painting a sculptural dimension. He saw such pieces as, among other things, experiments in how to situate art and viewers in physical space.

Mr. Overstreet’s work in the 1960s and ’70s coincided with debates about the direction African-American art should take. One side insisted that it should be direct in its political content; the other argued that cultural progress demanded that artists be free to choose their modes of expression.

Mr. Overstreet, who was deeply involved in the Black Arts Movement, negotiated the divide inventively. Even his most abstract-looking work had implicit political dimensions. His cultural references were often to non-Western sources, ancient and modern: Islamic design, African patterning, South Asian mandalas.

Read the full article here.

Meet Selear Duke & Acting Resume

Bio: I'm a model, actress, artist. I've had the chance to model on various fashion shows including Westchester Fashion Week, NY Fashionista, Society Fashion Week, various photoshoots. 

I've been honored to act in the award winning Street Theatre at The Theatre For The New City, Cyberbaby: the musical, Son of the Sun: musical, Dream Within a Dream and act in the Les Festival.

Ishmael Reed Tries to Undo the Damage ‘Hamilton’ Has Wrought

Lin-Manuel Miranda performs  Hamilton  in Puerto Rico, 2019.  (Photo by GDA via AP)  | TheNation.com

Lin-Manuel Miranda performs Hamilton in Puerto Rico, 2019. (Photo by GDA via AP) | TheNation.com

By Nawal Arjini

His new play, The Haunting of Lin-Manuel Miranda, is an extremely earnest attempt to show Miranda the many errors of his blockbuster musical.

Ishmael Reed has spent much of his career rewriting American history. His best-known novel, 1972’s Mumbo Jumbo, is an ironic reimagining of 1920s Harlem as the focal point in a centuries-old battle between two shadow forces: a group representing European institutional order, and Jes Grew, a virus/movement/pleasure-seeking principle originating among black artists. A subplot about the much-speculated black ancestry of Warren G. Harding ends with his assassination once he’s suspected of being infected with Jes Grew. More real-life figures, as well as barely disguised stand-ins for Madam C.J. Walker, Malcolm X, and Carl Van Vechten, turn up in the course of the quest for a long-forgotten text from ancient Egypt.

It’s all part of what Reed once called “artistic guerilla warfare against the Historical Establishment.” In Mumbo Jumbo, Reed wants his reader to question how—or even if—we remember the US occupation of Haiti, the many facets of the Harlem Renaissance, and precolonial African culture and philosophy. The establishment, as he puts it, is too invested in the supremacy of white culture, white institutions, and white heroes to notice the contrary currents of black art, thought, and social life running underneath. “They can’t tell whether our fictions are the real thing or whether they’re merely fictional,” Reed observes; hence he rewires the past, transforming a stand-in for Van Vechten, the exploitative white patron of Harlem artists, into a 1,000-year-old veteran of the Crusades in disguise. “This is what we want,” Reed says: “To sabotage history.”

The (justified) paranoia animating Mumbo Jumbo is the forebear of the ghosts plaguing the creator of the musical Hamilton in Reed’s latest play, The Haunting of Lin-Manuel Miranda, directed by Rome Neal at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe through June 16. In the two-act play, an Ambien-addled Miranda is visited by the historical figures from which Hamiltondraws, as well as the ones that it excludes: Ben, the enslaved man owned by Alexander Hamilton’s sister-in-law, and Ben’s unnamed mother; “Native American Man” and “Native American Woman”; an anonymous white indentured servant; a runaway from the plantation of Hamilton’s in-laws; and even Harriet Tubman.

A relentlessly cheery juggernaut, Hamiltonpromised to liven up the familiar textbook history, injecting song, dance, mild sexual intrigue, and—above all—color into the life of its subject. The Haunting of Lin-Manuel Miranda, by contrast, takes the play, its creator, the biography it’s sourced from, and the founding father himself to task; by the end of Reed’s play, we’re supposed to believe the ghosts have convinced Miranda of the error of his project.

Read the full article here.

Review: ‘The Haunting’ Has a Big Problem With ‘Hamilton’

Jesse Bueno, left, and Monisha Shiva in Ishmael Reed’s “The Haunting of Lin-Manuel Miranda” at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. | Credit: Tanja Maria (The New York Times)

Jesse Bueno, left, and Monisha Shiva in Ishmael Reed’s “The Haunting of Lin-Manuel Miranda” at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. | Credit: Tanja Maria (The New York Times)

By Elisabeth Vincentelli

Lin-Manuel Miranda is a character, and his hit musical is a punching bag, in Ishmael Reed’s didactic play about historical correctness.

In the four years since his musical “Hamilton” first opened at the Public Theater, Lin-Manuel Miranda has become one of America’s most successful and ubiquitous entertainers. There he is, serenading President Obama at the White House, triumphantly taking his show to a recovering Puerto Rico, portraying a chimney sweep in “Mary Poppins Returns.” And, in a true sign that he has made it to the top of the celebrity mountain, Mr. Miranda has proactively counterpunched potential critiques by playing comedic versions of himself, most notably in “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

One way we have not seen him, however, is as a lazy, gullible dumdum — which is how he is portrayed in Ishmael Reed’s show “The Haunting of Lin-Manuel Miranda,” currently at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe.

That’s actually a pretty sympathetic take, considering how little Mr. Reed thinks of “Hamilton,” which he accuses of, among other things, turning a blind eye to the Schuyler family’s ownership of slaves and soft-pedaling Alexander Hamilton’s elitist politics and his attitude toward slavery. Mr. Reed’s views are shared by a range of historians, but he is deploying them by using an art form, theater, that only sets up unflattering comparisons to Mr. Miranda’s work — at least judged purely in terms of form rather than content.

In the play, Lin-Manuel (Jesse Bueno), his senses possibly altered by Ambien, is visited by the kind of people left out of “Hamilton”: slaves, Native Americans, Harriet Tubman (Roz Fox). As if in a cross between “A Christmas Carol” and a trial at The Hague’s International Criminal Court, each of the witnesses lectures Miranda on the reality behind the audience-friendly Broadway razzmatazz. Mr. Bueno spends a large part of the show looking befuddled as his character is being schooled.

Read the full article here.

Alyssa Milano: Why the time is now for a #SexStrike

Photo: Alyssa Milano | CNN.com

Photo: Alyssa Milano | CNN.com

Calling for a sex strike as a way to protest restrictions on abortion has sparked a powerful response. Sure, it's been a mixed reaction, but it got the country talking about the GOP's undeniable war on women. And let's face it, with so much going on every day in the news, sometimes we need an extreme response to get national attention.

So now that we have your attention: Our reproductive rights are blatantly and systematically being stripped away before our very eyes. Abortion care is a normal and at times necessary medical procedure, but anti-choice activists have strategically chipped away at abortion rights and access for decades, with the hopes of overturning Roe v. Wade.

The attempts to treat women as second-class citizens have become increasingly brazen, and just last week Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed the "heartbeat bill," which bans most abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy. The bill also allows a fetus to be counted in the census, and can be claimed as a dependent minor on income taxes.

Georgia is the fourth state to pass a six-week ban this year, and is one of 16 states working to pass such legislation. None of these bans have yet to take effect, and while they will be challenged in court, they are part of an alarming trend.

Read the full article here.

Milan celebrates the genius of Leonardo da Vinci

Rendering of multimedial projection    Project by Culturanuova s.r.l. - Massimo Chimenti

Rendering of multimedial projection

Project by Culturanuova s.r.l. - Massimo Chimenti

Article by Chiara Isabella Spagnoli Gabardi

Milan is the city where Leonardo da Vinci stayed the longest, arriving in 1482 to work at the court of Duke Ludovico Sforza. The polymath’s presence permanently marked the history and artistic production of the city and the entire region of Lombardy. This is the reason why Milano celebrates 500 years from Leonardo’s death, with a series of events that will take place until January 2020, and will have the Sforza Castle as main hub.

The reopening of the Sala delle Asse, core of "Milan and Leonardo 500,” took place on  May 15th, presenting a rich and dynamic program of exhibitions and related initiatives. The restoration that began in 2013 has now come to completion, revealing a mulberry pergola, designed as a giant trompe l'oeil to turn the large room at the base of the Falconiera Tower into a representative hall for the Duke. It further portrays the mighty roots, known as the ‘Monochrome,’ named after its chiaroscuro painting technique. It is a remarkable graphic and pictorial depiction of the magnificent pergola made up of sixteen mulberry trees, characterized by detailed knotty trunks, landscapes, branches and leaves that keep resurfacing, thus changing the room’s perception.

Nature for Leonardo represented the subject of direct observation, investigations and the privileged topic of theoretical writings, paintings and drawings. This is why the natural environment is the prevailing theme in the Sala Delle Asse. Here, Leonardo painted a giant arboreal pavilion; with the mulberry tree — Morus in Latin — alluding to the nickname of Duke Ludovico Maria Sforza, who was given the epithet of Moro (Moor) by Francesco Guicciardini (one of the major political writers of the Italian Renaissance), because of his dark complexion.

The exhibition in Sala delle Asse, tributes the genius of Leonardo, catapulting it in the digital era, emphasizing how forward-thinking he was in terms of technology. Visitors begin their experience through the spectacular multimedia installation, "Sotto l'ombra del Moro. La Sala delle Asse,” (Under the Moro’s Shadow). Curated and conceived by Massimo Chimenti’s Culturanuova with the scientific collaboration of Francesca Tasso and Michela Palazzo, guests are immersed into a better understanding of the entire room and how it came into being. Projections and videos fill the vault and side walls, reconstructing Leonardo’s history with the ruler of Milan, allowing visitors to learn about the city’s history and the painter’s imitation of nature.

Rendering of multimedial projection    Project by Culturanuova s.r.l. - Massimo Chimenti

Rendering of multimedial projection

Project by Culturanuova s.r.l. - Massimo Chimenti

In these regards, Leonardo’s drawings are incredibly enlightening. For instance, the rooms of the Castello Sforzesco in Milan also host two other projects dedicated to Leonardo. In the Sala dei Ducali, the exhibition "Intorno alla Sala delle Asse. Leonardo tra Natura, Arte e Scienza" (Leonardo betwixt Art & Science), curated by Claudio Salsi, is a selection of original drawings by Leonardo da Vinci and other Renaissance masters showing iconographic and stylistic relations to the naturalistic and landscape decoration details found under multiple layers of limes in the Sala delle Asse. This scientifically and culturally significant exhibition was conceived by the Castle’s Direction in collaboration with some leading international museums, thanks to the loans from Her Majesty The Queen from the Royal Collection, the Musée du Louvre in Paris, the Kupferstichkabinett in Berlin, and the Gallerie degli Uffizi in Florence.

The indoor exhibit concludes with a multimedia tour, installed in the Sala delle Armi, designed by Culturanuova, with the scientific collaboration of Edoardo Rossetti and Ilaria De Palma: "Leonardo a Milano” (Leonardo in Milan). This show guides visitors through a virtual a tour of Milan, as Leonardo experienced it from 1482 to 1512. The itinerary features a geo-referenced visual map of what is still left of these places, both in the city and within local museums, churches and buildings: urban spaces, aristocratic mansions and churches, such as the Church of San Francesco Grande, Borgo delle Grazie, Castello Sforzesco, the ancient Porta Vercellina, Corso Nirone, and the thoroughfare of current Corso Magenta-contrada dei Meravigli- Cordusio.

The celebration of Leonardo da Vinci continues also outdoors in the courtyard of the Castello Sforzesco, with a real mulberry tree pergola in the Cortile delle Armi. This live reproduction of what Leonardo portrayed inside the Sala delle Asse, is a real architecture made of plants, designed and created together with Orticola di Lombardia. The aim is for it to grow through the seasons, as a permanent reminder of the polymath’s work, so that the millions of visitors who walk across the Castle courts every year can enjoy a different, and botanical point of view.

Jazz Film 'Bolden' Mixes Fact And Fiction To Capture A Legendary Bandleader

Photo: Bolden Where The Music Began

Photo: Bolden
Where The Music Began

Dan Pritzker's new film tells the story of Charles "Buddy" Bolden, a mythic jazz hero who burned so bright he burned himself out. Though striking and stylish, Bolden loses its grip in the final act.

Transcript (National Public Radio):


This is FRESH AIR. The new film "Bolden" tells the story of the legendary early jazz band leader Buddy Bolden. He's portrayed by Gary Carr, whose other roles include playing a mildly jazzy singer on "Downton Abbey" and a menacing pimp on HBO's "The Deuce." Our jazz critic, Kevin Whitehead, keeps a close eye on jazz movies and has this review.

KEVIN WHITEHEAD, BYLINE: Charles Buddy Bolden was the original jazz hero. A New Orleans cornet player at the turn of the last century, the African American Bolden was famous for playing loud and earthy blues, his shirt open to expose a red flannel undershirt.

Some called him King Bolden. He captivated women and eventually cracked up, spending the last 24 years of his life in a mental hospital. Bolden was jazz's first mythic figure, who burned so bright he burned himself out. Decades later, jazz researchers heard a lot of hearsay about him, which they duly repeated as fact, including stories later discredited. He hadn't, for example, parachuted out of a hot air balloon as a promotional stunt.

Director Dan Pritzker's film "Bolden" freely mixes fact and myth. In the movie, Buddy does jump from that balloon, and it makes up still more stuff. The framed story leaves plenty of room for riffing on the bare facts. In 1931, an older and adult Buddy thinks back on and tries to piece together his old glory days. It's a life scene in fragments, shifting back and forth between Buddy's dark present and brilliant past. Within 1931, it shifts between Buddy's gloomy hospital ward and a bright New Orleans ballroom. There, Louis Armstrong is doing a live broadcast, which Bolden overhears on a nurse's radio. Louis is well-impersonated by Reno Wilson. His growl is one more ghostly voice in Buddy's head.

Read the full review here.

Ishmael Reed's new Play "The Haunting of Lin-Manuel Miranda" Opens at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe

Ishmael Reed's new play "The Haunting of Lin-Manuel Miranda" will premiere at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in May, after four sold-out readings and coverage from the New York Times, New Yorker magazine, the Observer, the Paris Review and more. Like theater in the time of Bertolt Brecht or the WPA, Reed's new work (under the direction of multiple AUDELCO winner Rome Neal) challenges the narrative of commercial theater and mainstream historical accounts. According to historian Ron Chernow and Lin-Manuel Miranda, Alexander Hamilton was an abolitionist, even though the real Hamilton was involved in the slave trade in a variety of ways.His policy toward Native-Americans was "extirpation." Reed's play brings to the forefront those characters who are absent from “Hamilton, The Revolution": slaves, Native Americans, indentured servants and Harriet Tubman. Witness this David vs Goliath moment, as the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Reed and Neal speak truth to power via "The Haunting of Lin-Manuel Miranda

Click here for tickets.

Advance Tickets:$25

Door Tickets (If available): $30/$20 w/ Student ID