- Created on 02 January 2013
CHATHAM — Lawrence Calvin D'Antignac sees the writing on the wall — or, in his case, the paintings on the walls, reports DNAinfo.com
The founder and owner of the Woodshop Art Gallery, 441 E. 75th St., said many of his customers no longer travel to Chatham because of safety concerns to see his store's paintings, photographs, sculptures, frames and other woodworks.
So D'Antignac, 78, is opening a satellite gallery in Bronzeville at the St. Thomas Parish House, 3800 S. Michigan Ave.
The new locale — to be named the Radcliffe and Elliotte Hunter International Art Gallery — will feature different artists' work monthly. It's set to open February with creations from local talent Dr. Ausbra Ford.
"Bronzeville holds a higher-income population," said D'Antignac, who has run the Woodshop — which specializes in African-American, Caribbean and African works — for 38 years. "This used to be the place where all of [my customers] lived."
D'Antignac, a Chatham resident and pillar of the African arts community, named the new facility after his late first cousins. Radcliffe Walton Hunter, who died in 1998, designed and redesigned several buildings, including the St. Thomas Episcopal Church, which owns the Parish House, after a fire burned down the original structure. Elliotte Hunter was a well-known painter before he died in 1969.
"This is really something Calvin is doing," said the Hunters' sister, Rochelle Hunter-Miles, 77, a Hyde Park resident. "I admire him and I think it's about time something is highlighting my brothers."
The Parish House is just steps away from the home of the late Margaret Burroughs, who founded the DuSable Museum of African American history. And the South Side Arts Center is across the street.
Ford, who will be showing about 10 paintings and sculptures based on the Candomble religion of Brazil, said he's extremely excited for the new gallery.
"Bronzeville is very, very famous for its arts history," said Ford, a South Shore resident who is a retired professor from Chicago State University. "It will allow people to see other types of art."
Woodshop event planner Manvel Robinson hopes to have at least 100 people attend the opening night.
Robinson, 33, said many of the artists who will be showcased at the Hunter gallery receive little attention in the United States.
"They're known in their native countries, but not so much here," said Robinson, a Carver Military Academy Graduate and Roseland resident.
D'Antignac said he is certain the new gallery will be a success.
"The people coming will be the ones who can support what I do," he said.
- Created on 31 December 2012
(AP) — The New Year is bringing new savings for families visiting the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield.
Families who download a special coupon found on Facebook will pay a $10 admission fee for the whole family.
The deal is valid every Sunday for the month of January.
Officials say the family must consist of at least one parent and can include any number of directly related children.
The normal price of admission is $12 per adult and $6 per child.
Museum visitors can see one of the museum's permanent exhibit galleries, "The Tide Turns," which features a section on the 13th Amendment. That's the official act that abolished slavery and the central issue in the recently released "Lincoln" film.
- Created on 27 December 2012
Jackie Taylor, Founder and Executive Director of the Black Ensemble Theater, announces the Black Ensemble Theater's 36th Season of Excellence titled "Treasures and Tributes." The 36th season includes original musicals paying tribute to the Doo Wop era, Curtis Mayfield, Howlin Wolf, and Chicago's Golden Soul, reports Theatre in Chicago.
"After our record breaking first year in our new home with more than $2.5 million in ticket sales, we wanted a Season that would guarantee hit after hit. And we feel that with this astounding season of Treasures and Tributes, we will continue our enormous success. Music will continue to be the dominant theme of the Season offering the exciting genres of Doo Wop, Blues, Rhythm and Blues and Soul," says Jackie Taylor.
Jackie Taylor and her team of Associate Directors Rueben Echoles and Daryl Brooks have elected to make a change in the theater's usual tradition. Each play will be run as scheduled instead of extending for a lengthy time. Taylor comments, "We are in a new space and we want to continue pushing the momentum forward. In that sense we think it is important to concentrate on the variety of the productions rather than the length. This allows us to better promote our 5 Play Card while offering even more flexibility in its use over a subscription."
The Black Ensemble Theater's 36th Season of Excellence: Treasures and Tributes includes:
Doo Wop Shoo Bop
Written by Jackie Taylor, Jimmy Tillman and Rueben Echoles
Directed by Jackie Taylor
February 7, 2013-March 31, 2013
Opening: Sunday, February 10, 2013 at 3:00 p.m.
This melodic look at the Doo Wop era celebrates such iconic groups as The Platters, The Drifters and the Chantels (just to name a few). Since it first premiered in 1995 it has had several revivals because it is indeed a Black Ensemble Theater Treasure. You can't help but snap your fingers to the beat as we take a stroll down memory lane hearing those beautiful songs like Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, This Magic Moment and Maybe while exploring how the successful music of today is related to the magical era of Doo Wop. With the emphasis on Doo Wop music this is a production that brings the '50s into the 21st Century.
It's All-Right To Have A Good Time (The Story of Curtis Mayfield)
Written by Liz Catherine
Directed by Jackie Taylor and Daryl Brooks
April 25, 2013-June 23, 2013
Opening: Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 3:00 p.m.
Black Ensemble's first tribute of the season is the story of a musical giant. He was the master song writer of his time. From the music of the Impressions like "Gypsy Woman," "I'm So Proud," "Choice of Colors" to the movie hits like "Superfly," he was a genius of a musician, a dynamite songwriter and a loving human being. The music of Chicago's own Curtis Mayfield is known and celebrated all over the world.
Howlin At The Moon (The Story of Howlin Wolf)
Written by Jackie Taylor and Jimmy Tillman
Directed by Rueben Echoles
Starring Rick Stone
July 25, 2013-September 15, 2013
Opening: Sunday, July 28, 2013 at 3 p.m.
When it first premiered in 2003, Hedy Weiss of the Chicago Sun Times wrote "It's Rick Stone who consistently knocks your socks off in his terrifically sustained performance. And as he moves through Wolf's hits—"Red Rooster," "Goin' Down Slow," "I Ain't Superstitious," "Baby Please Don't Go" and more—it's the audience that begins howlin' loudest." And for our second treasure of the season, Rick Stone is coming back to do it again in this love story reflecting the life and times of one of the greatest blues singers the world has ever known - Howlin Wolf.
Chicago's Golden Soul
Written and Directed by Jackie Taylor
October 17, 2013-January 5, 2014
Opening: Sunday, October 20, 2013 at 3:00 p.m.The fantastic BE season will end with a combination of Treasure and Tribute. First produced
in 1998, this wonderful treasure of a production is a tribute to the music that put Chicago on the map as a national musical force. This Chicago celebration brings back the music of Jerry Butler, the Chi-Lites, Gene Chandler, Barbara Acklin and many, many more in this rollicking tribute to the music that made Chicago famous.
Black Ensemble Theater performance times are Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 3:00 and 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 3:00. Ticket prices are as follows:
Previews are $45; Tickets during the regular run are $55 (Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturday matinees) and $65 (Fridays, Saturday evenings and Sunday matinees).
The Five Play Card is a much more flexible way of becoming a subscriber to the theater's 36th Season of Excellence: Treasures and Tributes. The Five Play Card can be used for one person to see 5 plays or to bring 4 other friends to one show or in any other combination that adds up to five. The Five Play Cards issued in 2013 will be good for one year.
- Created on 28 December 2012
According to The Grio, the editors at Essence magazine have been hard at work this fall on a new tome celebrating first lady Michelle Obama's life and achievements. A Salute to Michelle Obama, available now in paperback, features an array of images of the first lady punctuated with essays penned by legendary black women. Yet, what makes it special are quotes from African-American female fans of Mrs. Obama interwoven through this compendium of her accomplishments.
"We reached out to women and asked, 'What do you believe has been the impact of Michelle Obama?'" Patrik Henry Bass, Senior Editor at Essence, told theGrio. He was inundated with streams of enthusiastic praise in response from the Essence audience.
"I was surprised, in a delightful way," he said of women's reactions.
As a means of demonstrating the positive reality of black women's lives, Bass' team at Essence showcased Michelle Obama as the epitome of their multifaceted natures. This is an important choice during a time in which, for many, "Fun has now been defined by some reality show where someone's getting a drink poured in their face and getting punched. A lot of margaritas and a fight," Bass lamented.
Through the Essence community's reflections on Michelle Obama, he hopes a woman can learn that, "Fun is volunteering. Being active. Fun is spending time with the family. Finding her spirit in church," as the first lady is shown. "Finding her spirit with the daughters, and reading, and sharing and giving. We wanted to capture that as well."
The third in a series about the Obama clan, A Salute to Michelle Obama, is distinguished by its focus on the first lady's impact on both the national and international levels. While the first book focuses on President Obama's inauguration, the second is about the Obamas in the White House. "So, the third book, naturally, with Essence being the premiere brand for African-American women, zeroed in on Michelle Obama and what her impact has been specifically to black women," Bass explained.
After starting this project in late August 2012, Bass was able to attract Angela Bassett and Dr. Maya Angelou to contribute. "Once [we had] Angela Bassett and Dr. Maya Angelou, Viola Davis, Lynne Whitfield and so many others came in rather quickly and were quite poetic about what they felt about the impact of Michelle Obama." Essence editor-in-chief Constance C.R. White is also among the voices of African-American luminaries.
Complementing this star power, Bass believes it is the quotes of women across America that make A Salute to Michelle Obama extra-inspiring.
"One of the editorial decisions that I made early on was to make sure that we heard from real women about what Michelle Obama means to them," Bass elaborated. "In between passages from Maya Angelou and Iyanla Vanzant, and quotes from Viola Davis and Angela Bassett (and all of those are original quotes), I wanted to hear what Michelle Obama means to everyday black women. Their quotes are inspiring because, although she is a celebrity, she connects so easily with women."
One woman quoted named Monica C., "nailed exactly what it is about Michelle Obama," black women love, Bass said: "Her 'confidence.'" While Essence readers note this as her best accessory, there are many more qualities its audience listed about this beloved leader.
"Her accessibility. Her being Mom-in-Chief," Bass enumerated. "This woman who manages her mother and her husband and her children and her demanding duties and does it not so much effortlessly — I believe there is some effort there — but based on what you see, and what these real women have pointed out, she gets the job done.
"The job of first lady — she makes it just as much about the individuals that she's meeting and touching in so many ways, and less about herself," Bass said appreciatively. "And that's just... I wish I had it!"
It is because the first lady, despite all her glamour, remains personable to millions that black women see her as their accurate exemplar.
Crafted before the election results came in, A Salute to Michelle Obama is also intended as a timeless testament to Mrs. Obama's consistency in setting and meeting her goals, ranging from her Let's Move exercise and nutrition initiative to her work with military families. As an outline of Mrs. Obama's track record of success formed from quotes by black women, A Salute to Michelle Obama is a colorful narrative telling her story in a way only Essence can.
"I believe that it's very, very important that we document and chronicle the story of the Obamas from an African-American perspective, because there are going to be so many perspectives on this historic presidency and second term," the Essence editor said. Bass added, "it's very, very important to know what black women thought about this time. And it's better to get it now while it's still fresh."
A Salute to Michelle Obama captures her softer side through detailing the first lady's fashion triumphs and capacity for playfulness. Still, the most important thing for Bass was showing Mrs. Obama, "being active and driving through those issues that she cares about."
The end result is an extension of the positive mission of this rare publications dedicated to celebrating and highlighting the African-American female perspective.
"When we think about Michelle Obama, she is not a singer, she's not an actress, she's not a talk show host, she's not a CEO, and yet, she represents so much of who the audience, of who the Essence reader, of who black women are — that goes unseen, undocumented, and unrecognized by media," Bass said. "And so the audience can say, 'This is who I am.' I believe that that's inspiring — to see a reflection, and to see the validation."
A Salute to Michelle Obama is currently available on newsstands in soft cover. A hardcover version will be published in January 2013.
- Created on 26 December 2012
Huffington Post writer, Katy Hall, shares her Kwanzaa experience and views in the following article.
A good friend of mine was in northern Illinois on business last week when someone wished her a happy Kwanzaa. The greeter was surely just trying to be inclusive—Elgin, Ill., has an African-American population of about 6.9 percent—so his experience with black people and their holidays was probably limited.
"OMG just got my first 'Happy Kwanzaa' ever from someone who clearly does not celebrate it. Thank you, Elgin, Illinois," my friend, a 30-year-old lawyer with Nigerian-born parents, wrote on her Facebook page. Like most African Americans, she does not celebrate Kwanzaa. She celebrates Christmas, but so do plenty of people who light the Kinara.
Kwanzaa, which runs from December 26 to January 1, was created by activist professor Maulana Karenga in 1966 to celebrate African heritage. Karenga has claimed that 28 million people worldwide celebrate the holiday, but only an estimated half-million to 2 million Americans do, according to Keith Mayes, author of Black Power and the Making of the African-American Holiday Tradition.
"It just no longer shows up in some of the places that it did 30 to 40 years ago," Mayes told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "You still have people who actually celebrate it. You have third generations of Kwanzaa celebrants... but Kwanzaa no longer has its movement which brought it forth, which is the black power movement. That movement has waned."
If Mayes—a University of Minnesota professor in African-American studies who is considered by national outlets to be an expert on the subject—has his numbers right, somewhere between 1 and 5 percent of the 40 million people in the U.S. who identify as African Americans celebrate Kwanzaa. Telling a random black person on the street "Happy birthday month!" is a safer bet than "Happy Kwanzaa!" But this time of year, people, white people especially, tend to toss the greeting at black people they don't even know.
Even Kanye West was reportedly wished a Happy Kwanzaa—by a TMZ paparazzo.
"I don't celebrate Kwanzaa, I celebrate regular Christmas," he replied, according to Current TV. Never mind that Kwanzaa is a secular holiday not intended to provide an alternative to Christmas.
In 2010 Sandra Lee, the blonde Food Network host of "Semi-Homemade," baked a "Kwanzaa cake" that had critics pointing out the problems with indiscriminate inclusiveness. Blogger Tami Winfrey Harris wrote:
Are you happy Kwanzaa-celebrating black folks? You have been "included" in a holiday baking segment on a popular cooking show. Never mind that Kwanzaa is not traditionally celebrated with loads of baking and that there is no such thing as a Kwanzaa Cake. Never mind that Kwanzaa was specifically designed to celebrate African American culture and that nothing about this cake, save the red, black and green candles, has anything to do with the traditions of the African diaspora.
One way to avoid embarrassment this holiday season: save "Happy Kwanzaa" for people who actually celebrate it, and leave the Kwanzaa baking to them, too.