Jazziest Messiah yet this weekend at Auditorium Theatre

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The Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress, presents Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz Gospel Messiah honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Saturday, 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, 3 p.m., for its seventh year, featuring soloists, Alfreda Burke, Rodr

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The Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress, presents Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz Gospel Messiah honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Saturday, 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, 3 p.m., for its seventh year, featuring soloists, Alfreda Burke, Rodrick Dixon and Karen Marie Richardson, as well as the citywide Too Hot choir to create the jazziest Messiah yet!

This year, Too Hot packs the stage with more than 200 musicians, including a few famous Chicago favorites. Saxophonists Jim Gailloreto, Pat Mallinger and Greg Ward team up with trumpet player Dave Spencer, along with Tracy Kirk and Steve Berry on trombone to form a powerhouse jazz combo. Tickets range in price from $72-$30. Call (800) 982-ARTS (2787).

Presidential Politics – Gen44 hosts pals and supporters of President Barack Obama this Wednesday, Jan. 11, at an Obama Victory Fund Concert with actor Hill Harper and a performance by Grammy-nominated R&B artist Janelle Monße at UIC Forum. Tickets: $44 (gen’l seating), $1,000 (VIP section). Also on tonight’s agenda, a “top-dollar” reception ($7,000 -$20,000) for President Obama in the Hyde Park-Kenwood home of Stuart and Evonne Taylor. Among the prestigious host committee: John Rogers Jr., Cheryl and Eric Whitaker, Les Coney, Susan McKeever, Alan and Sophia King, Jesse Ruiz and others. And then there’ll be a $35,800-per couple din-din later in the North Side home of a major supporter of Democratic organizations and campaigns.

Movie Must – The film, Red Tails, about a crew of heroic African American pilots in the Tuskegee training program in World War II, opens nationally on the big screen Jan. 20, and it just aught to be on the absolute very top of your “must see” list. A special “by invitation only” showing was hosted for hundreds of movie-goers by filmmaker George Lucas (remember “Star Wars”?) and his girl friend Mellody Hobson, president of Ariel Investments, on two screens at Chicago’s AMC River 21 East Theatre and followed by an after-glow in the adjacent Lucky Strick Bowling Lane. Lucas so believed in the film that he put up $79 million of his own to finance Red Tails.

The film based on actual events and directed by Anthony Hemingway, an African American, co-stars an award-winning cast: Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Nate Palmer, David Oyelowo, Elijah Kelley, Ne-Yo, Tristan Wilds, Michael B. Jordan, Clifford Smith and Leslie Odom Jr., several of whom attended the preview.

The Tuskegee Air-men were the first African American military aviators in the U. S. armed forces. During World War II, African Americans in many U.S. states still were subject to the Jim Crow laws. The American military was racially segregated, as was much of the federal government. The Tuskegee Airmen were subject to racial discrimination, both within and outside the army. Despite these adversities, they trained and flew with distinction.

Red Tails is a heart-warming, heart tugging family film – highly, highly recommended!!! You owe it to yourself to see it.

Gourmet for Good – Join Fox 32’s Robin Robinson and Chef Cliff Rome (of Rome’s Joy Catering fame) on Monday, 1-5 p.m., for Charity Dogs: Honoring the King Dream, a $25 fundraiser at H-Dogs, 4655 S. King Dr., to benefit Clara’s House, a West Englewood shelter for women and children. On the menu: mouth-watering gourmet hot dogs paired with boutique beers. Visit hdogschicago.com or call (773) 633-2978. Co-host: Universal Records’ Carter Russell.

Annual Tribute – “The Journey, The Dream” – the annual tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., by The Chicago Sinfonietta, founded by Maestro Paul Freeman and now under the baton of Maestro Mei-Ann Chen, music director, is the highlight of the 2011-12 season – Sunday, 3 p.m., at Wentz Concert Hall at North Central College in Naperville, and Monday, 7:30 p.m., at Sym-phony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave. The program also features Nicole Mitchell’s world orchestral premiere of Road to Victory; Jeri Lynn Johnson, guest conductor; and Apostolic Church of God Sanctuary Choir. Call (312) 236-3681, ext. 2 or (312) 284-1564.

Newsy Names – Condolences to the family of John Holmes Sr., retired Chicago Police Dept. sketch artist, retired Cook County Sheriff investigator and former DuSable Up-per Grade Center teacher, who died Saturday. A memorial service is planned … WVON’s Melody Spann-Cooper keynotes and ABC 7’s Karen Jordan emcees Friday’s Interfaith Breakfast at the Hilton Hotel honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and hosted by Mayor Rahm Emanuel … Sympathy to Dolores Robinson Caldwell (Mrs. James) on the loss of her sister, Odessa Robinson “Queen” Pugh. Her funeral was Saturday at Christ Temple Baptist Church in Markham … Congrats to Judy Lindsey on being named Chicago Public Media’s vice president of philanthropy. She joins CPM’s senior management staff after 12-years as the director of development for the U. of C.’s six libraries.

Happy b’day to Betty Clawson, Dudley Cosmetology Univ.; Cheryl Pearson Mc-Neil, Nielsen Inc.; Twyler Jenkins (oops belated!), Karen Pride, Tobia Thurman, Cynthia Washington, Kim Coles, Blanche Mc-Knight Barber, “Cuz Jeanette” Conrad Ellis, Diane “Bambi Love” Preacely, Marilyn White, Allison Perkins, Barbara Holt, Robin Rice-Foster, Raynard Villa Hall, Tommie Williams, Reginald Hayes, Walt Davenport, Dr. Valentin Berman, Damon Williams, Porter W. Myrick, Julius Harris, Gerald DuBose, Doug-las Goard Jr., Veronica Vickkii Williams, Tony Wakefield, Michael Hampton, Keith Conner, Flyy Barbie Fambro, Michelle D. Thi-bodeaux-Rathel, Ama-zon Smiley, Judge Ar-nette Rhinehart Hub-bard, Jocelynn Stone, Dr. Angelique Sue Thomas, Mary J. Blige, Yvonne Brown and Van Robinson.

To Good Health! – Dr. Terry Mason, Cook County Hospital’s chief medical officer, is leading the 10th annual Restart4Health, a free series that provides info and support to improve eating and lifestyle habits in weekly group meetings, Tuesdays, Jan. 17 and 24, 6:30 p.m., at Trinity United Church of Christ, 400 W. 95th St. An advocate of healthy living, Dr. Mason believes many of the health issues our community are best addressed with TLC, “total lifestyle change.”

Each year, after what he calls “the season of gluttony” (Thanksgiving – New Year’s Day), Dr. Mason goes on a meat fast.

He does not eat anything that “walks, hops, swims, flies, slithers, has eyes and a mother and father.”

The benefits of the dietary and lifestyle changes promoted by include weight loss, lowering blood pressure, better health and longer life. This year, there’ll be an increased focus on helping to stop smoking, which, he says, is at the root of 20 percent of American death rates.

History Tours – Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans, of the Circuit Court of Cook County, invites us all to the Black History Month Courthouse Tours of the Daley Center, 50 W. Washington, Feb. 6-10, co-sponsored by the Black Women Lawyers’ Ass’n of Greater Chicago, Cook County Bar Ass’n, Illinois Judicial Council and The Chicago Bar Ass’n.

The tours, part of the court’s year-round Community Heritage Month Courthouse series, offers a sense of day-to-day operations of one of the nation’s largest unified court systems.

Highlights: a trial in progress, an informal presentation by a Circuit Court judge and a chance to meet with bar association reps. Call Melanie Wheeler, community liaison, (312) 603-1927 to reserve a day and time for your group.

Copyright 2012 Chicago Defender

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