Teesee’s Town

Spencer Leak Jr., of the funeral home dynasty fame, has taken on the awesome task of chairing the 100 Black Men of Chicago’s 13th Annual Benefit Gala on May 1 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago Hotel.

  Spencer Leak Jr., of the funeral home dynasty fame, has taken on the awesome task of chairing the 100 Black Men of Chicago’s 13th Annual Benefit Gala on May 1 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago Hotel. Mentoring in The New Decade kick-starts with a 6 p.m. reception followed by dinner and the awards program. The 2010 honorees are George Brooks, president, UPS, Chicago Region; Brandon Smith, senior marketing manager, Sam’s Club; Quintin Primo, chair and CEO, Capri Capital Partners; and Herb Kent, “The Kool Gent,” V-103 radio personality. Honorary chairs are Mayor Richard Daley and Dr. Wayne Watson, Chicago State Univ. prez.

    Other highlights: an “all-the-way-live” performance by Terisa Griffin, popular vocalist and recording artist, aka “The Empress of Soul,” and deejay dancing music by Teri Hunter. Tickets: $155 (if purchased online at www.100BMC.org or from a member) and $200 at the door. The 100 Black Men of Chicago was formed in 1994. Its members share a common goal of providing youth with educational and mentoring opportunities with emphasis on young African American males.

    10 for 10 – A retrospective of 10 Congo Square Theatre Co.’s hottest plays will be presented in staged readings over two weekends, April 23–25 and April 30–May 2, in celebration of its 10th season. It kicks-off with August Wilson’s Piano Lesson and closes with Chadwick Boseman’s Deep Azure. The performances (Fridays and Saturdays only!) will be at Chicago Center for the Performing Arts, 777 N. Green. Guests can mingle with cast members in casual cocktail fashion; enjoy a glass of wine and nosh while helping celebrate “Ten Years of Excellence.” Tickets are free; a $10 donation is encouraged. Call (773) 296-1108 or visit www.congosquaretheatre.org.

     CSTC, which produces theatre spawned from the African Diaspora as well as other world cultures, has garnered numerous awards. Its production of Wilson’s Seven Guitars earned three Jeff Awards; other recognitions include Boseman’s Jeff-nominated world premiere of Deep Azure, Javon Johnson’s The House That Jack Built and Ali, for which Derrick Sanders, co-founder and former artistic director, received a Black Alliance Theater Award for best direction. CSTC’s production of The Talented Tenth received two BTA awards, one for best performer for ensemble member Ron Conner. 

     A number of Congo Square’s ensemble members will return for the festivities: Daniel Bryant, Aaron Todd Douglas, Ericka Ratcliff, Ann Joseph, Aimee Bryant, Alexis J. Rogers, Ron Conner, Allan Gilmore, TaRon Patton, Anthony Irons, Will Sims, Monifa Sims, Bakesta King and Sam Roberson, artistic associate. This season is sponsored in part by Chicago Community Trust, Macy’s, Target, Exelon, Joyce Foundation, Arts Works Fund, Allstate, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Mesirow Financial and Michigan Avenue Magazine.

Lights! Camera! Action! – Chicago’s own Common and Queen Latifah co-star in the movie, Just Wright, which will premiere here on May 14 “at a theatre near you.” Here we have an opportunity to support our “homie” by making this a “block-buster” opening. Next night, the Professional Women’s Network  (Common’s mom, Dr. Ann Hines, is a charter member) co-hosts an exclusive $25 per person benefit screening at ICON Theatre on Roosevelt Road. If any other groups, churches, etc. want to host their own private screening as a fundraiser, “Think Common” and call (773) 295-1915 or log on www.thinkcommon.com … Next for PWN, their annual scholarship cruise aboard the Spirit of Chicago on June 27.

     The Old Ball Game – African American Greek Night on May 7 at U.S. Cellular Field promises to be one to remember as the Chicago White Sox play host to the Toronto Blue Jays. Amid to the excitement of the game will be the Sox’s special tribute to the heritage of Black Greek-letter organizations (fraternities and sororities). Festivities will include a Greek pre-party with unlimited food and drink and a chance to win prizes. The first 500 guests receive free themed T-shirts. The White Sox promise to make this event even more special this year with a spirited inter-alumni competition, awarding the top ticket-seller the an opportunity to throw out the game’s first pitch and other prizes. For more, including how to purchase group or single tickets, visit www.whitesox.com, or call Michelle Flowers Communications Group, (312) 228-8800.

    Newsy Names – Hal-le-loo-yer!! Good buddy Agis Bray is back home under the watchful eye of his ever-lovin’ Irby Inez. He’s been in rehab after suffering a stoke in late December … Dr. Michael Bennett, formally of the Egan Urban Center at DePaul Univ.; Prof. Jonathan Jackson of Kennedy-King College, and Dr. Carol Adams of DuSable Museum are panelists when Southwest Youth Collaborative presents The W.E.B. Project: Investing in Our People/Calling on the Talented Tenth on Friday, 6 p.m., at Blanc Gallery, 4445 S. King Dr. … The Defender’s Earl Calloway and Ada S. McKinley Youth Services’ Henry Ray picked up distinguished Thurgood Marshall pins from the National Conference on Small Businesses at Jackson State Univ. in Jackson, Miss. … Congrats to Louanner Peters, former deputy guv of Illinois, who’s now chief of staff and district director for Cong. Bobby Rush, D-1st. … Dr. Helen Davis Gardner chairs Saturday’s 21st Annual Scholarship Luncheon & Card Party at the Oak Lawn Hilton hosted by the Chicago chapter of National Women of Achievement Inc. Besides prizes for bridge, whist and bingo, there’ll be specialty vendors for shopping. Sign in before 11:30 a.m. for extra points. Call (773) 752-5006.

     Milestones – Happy b’day to Randy Crumpton, Spencer Leak Sr., Patricia Epps, Melody McDowell, Gloria Bell, Bert Allen, Jenny Rand, Dawn Posey, Marion Brooks, Dorothy Tucker, Muriel Clair, Hazel Bond, Dr. Eric Whitaker, Tina Andrews, Mary Emerson, Clarabelle Claiborne, Dennis Snipe, Nemi Johnson, Leah Stewart McGregory, Randle Wje (Wilma Jean Randle), Sharon Collier-Davis, Joyce Weathington and Harry Mays … And 54th anniversary wishes to Kenneth and Dr. Frances Dawson. 

Copyright 2010 Chicago Defender.

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