Teesee’s Town

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Actor Richard T. Jones (Why Did I Get Married Too?), Ragtime pianist MacArthur genius Reginald Robinson, Marshall High’s “winningest” coach Dorothy Gaters and ComEd exec John Hooker receive high honors at eta Creative Arts Foundation&rsq

Actor Richard T. Jones (Why Did I Get Married Too?), Ragtime pianist MacArthur genius Reginald Robinson, Marshall High’s “winningest” coach Dorothy Gaters and ComEd exec John Hooker receive high honors at eta Creative Arts Foundation’s annual benefit on Saturday, cited for Upholding the Tradition, theme of Gala 2010. The event, from 7 p.m.- midnight at eta Square is chaired by Greg Hinton of U.S. Cellular and Catherine A. Smith of Motorola Inc. Coordinating chairs: Alice Smith Jones and Patricia Rayborn. The fundraiser takes place throughout eta and under a tent on the grounds. An abundant soulful buffet by Fanfare Catering, live and silent auctions, dancing to a live band, drumming and dancing by Muntu Dance Theatre, live entertainment and other spirited activities make it a “must-attend” late summer event. Call (773) 752-3955. “We cannot afford to contribute to the erosion of tradition which is the life blood of a people,” Abena Joan Brown, eta president, said. “Rather, we must uphold our common values, morals, customs and with general culture which sustains us.” Board chair Nancy McKeever added: “As we approach our 40th season, we invite everyone to support us so that we can continue our tradition of providing quality programming in a quality setting located in the community – and of telling our story ‘in the first voice’.” Honoring the Genius of MJ – Scholars, arts advocates, journalists, musicians and music industry execs discuss the musical, cultural and social dynamics that made Michael Jackson the most imitated and sought after entertainer of all time when the Center for Black Music Research at Columbia College Chicago hosts “Genius without Borders: A Symposium in Honor of the Genius of Michael Jackson” at various locations on and off the South Loop campus, Sept. 24-25. The biennial event, free and open to the public, is the second in the series that debuted in 2009 with a celebration of Ray Charles. “This symposium will shed a different light on Jackson’s accomplishments and contributions to all genres of music,” says Dr. Monica Hairston O’Connell, CBMR director. “The time is right to view his impact through a scholarly lens and to look at the influence his time in Chicago had on his musical maturation.” Ed Eckstein, entertainment exec, documentarian and son of legendary vocalist, and matinee idol, Billy Eckstein, will lead a panel in the Harold Washington Library’s Pritzker Auditorium. “It’s All About the Music: An Insider’s Look at Michael Jackson’s Art” on Sept. 24, 7:30-9:30 p.m., will feature music industry insiders who worked with Jackson, including Greg Phillinganes who directed his Bad and Dangerous concert tours. With outside-the-box papers like The Alchemist: Michael Jackson and His Magical Pursuit of White Power presented by Gregory Tate and Smooth Criminality: Racial Phantasmagoria & Black Fugitivity in Michael Jackson’s (Dancing) Body Politic presented by Princeton Univ.’s Daphne Brooks, there’s nothing staid about this scholarly observation of the Jackson phenom. Offered in association with the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago and the college’s alumni association, another aspect of the MJ weekend will be a re-creation of the choreography of his Thriller video as taught by Amansu Eason, a dancer with Chicago’s Muntu Dance Theatre, which will mark its 10th anniversary that same weekend with a free day-long event titled 1306: Ten Years Later. CBMR will auction an iconic photograph of Jackson by noted photographer and Columbia College Chicago grad Vandell Cobb. Bidding instructions are available at http://www.colum.edu/GeniusWithoutBorders. Proceeds will go to  Columbia’s Photography Dept. for student scholarships. After graduating from Columbia in 1975, Cobb worked 31 years for Johnson Publishing Co. as a staff photographer for Ebony and Jet. His photos have been used on numerous magazine covers and in feature stories. In addition to Jackson, Cobb’s subjects have included U.S. presidents from Reagan to Obama, world leaders such as South Africa President Nelson Mandela and Hamas leader Khaled Mashal, and sports and entertainment figures such as Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Earth, Wind & Fire, Oprah Winfrey, Mary J. Blige, Aretha Franklin, Alicia Keys and Stevie Wonder. Bids will be accepted by phone only and will close at 5 p.m. on Sept. 24. Attendees will be able to offer live bids immediately prior to the announcement of the winning bidder at noon on Sept. 25. Winner need not be present. Corporate sponsors include the Chicago Defender, State Farm, NBC 5 Chicago and WVON Radio. Although admission is free, pre-registration is required and space is limited. To register and for the most up-to-date schedule, visit  http://www.colum.edu/GeniusWithoutBorders. Tickets ($20) for “It’s All About the Music: An Insider’s Look at Michael Jackson’s Art” in the Pritzker Auditorium at the Harold Washington Library are available only at http://www.ticketweb.com. Visit http://www.colum.edu/cbmr or contact the center at (312) 369-7559. Milestones – Happy 15th anniversary to Mr. and Mrs. Michael House (Doris; he’s president of the Chicago Defender). And Prof. and Mrs. Christopher Reed (Marva) have celebrated 40 years of “togetherness.” He’s an author and retired history prof (Roosevelt Univ. and the U. of C.) … Janet Conner, proprietor of the Marmon Grand, 2230 S. Michigan Ave., will be “the birthday girl” Saturday, 9 p.m., at “The Old School/New School Extravaganza: An Appreciation for Chicago Public School Teachers,” hosted by Salaam Production’s Education Committee, headed by John Muhammad. Donation: $5); music provided by Mellow Khris … Happy b’day to Lutonya M. Lang, Sheila Lucas, Rosalyn Morganstein-Atchison, Allen Dennis Edge, Demetrius Patterson, Damon Smith, Robyne Robinson, Doris House, Jean Ann Durades, Valeria Phillips, Bruce Montgomery, Jeneba Koroma and Sydney C. Evans … Sorry to learn of the passing of yoga instructor, Rosalia Holt, 86, who taught yoga at Trinity United Church of Christ for over 40 years. Service for the mom of five, grandmother of eight and great-grandmother of several others is Friday noon (wake 11 a.m.) at TUCC, 400 W. 95th St. Rosalia, how great was thy faithfulness! Film Focus – North Lawndale Employment Network premieres a documentary, Vanishing of the Bees, at Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 N. Central Park, on Sept. 15, 6 p.m., to aid the work of North Lawndale’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Sweet Beginnings LLC.  Sponsored by Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance, it includes a reception, pre-film panel, the screening and Q&A. Tickets are $35. The film addresses the mysteries of the increasing disappearance of honeybees, a vital species in the global ecosystem. Known as Colony Collapse Disorder, this phenomenon has created a crisis for beekeepers around the world in an industry responsible for producing apples, broccoli, watermelon, onions, cherries, almonds and hundreds of other fruits and vegetables.  As healthy beehives seemingly disappear overnight without a trace, the $15 billion annual beekeeping industry remains in jeopardy. Panelists: John Hansen, Sweet Beginnings beekeeper and past president of the Ill. State Beekeepers Ass’n, and Julio Tuma, beekeeper for Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance. Deborah Crable, radio-television personality, moderates. Vanishing of the Bees follows two commercial beekeepers as they strive to keep their bees healthy and fulfill pollination contracts around the country. Filming across the U.S., in Europe, Australia, and Asia, the documentary examines the alarming disappearance of honeybees and the greater meaning it holds about the relationship between mankind and earth. Scientists and organic beekeepers also offer theories on the issue. As manufacturers of chemical-free urban honey, Sweet Beginnings is a social enterprise business that provides opportunities for formerly incarcerated men and women to establish a work history, learn productive work habits, and gain marketable skills as a stepping-stone to further employment and career advancement. Employees cultivate bees in apiaries in North Lawndale and market urban honey and honey-infused bath and body products that are sold under the Beeline label at 10 Chicago area Whole Foods Markets, several specialty boutiques, including Mark Shale on the Magnificent Mile, farmers markets, local fairs, and online at http://www.beelinestore.com. Call (773) 638-7060. Copyright 2010 Chicago Defender

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