Teesee’s Town

Toni Morrison, Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, and Oprah Winfrey, Chicago icon who through the power of media has created an unparalleled connection with people around the world, will appear in conversation at the annual Carl Sandburg Literary Aw

Toni Morrison, Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, and Oprah Winfrey, Chicago icon who through the power of media has created an unparalleled connection with people around the world, will appear in conversation at the annual Carl Sandburg Literary Awards Dinner on Oct. 20 sponsored by the Chicago Public Library and the Chicago Public Library Foundation. Held at The Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt Rd., on UIC’s campus, the event begins with 6 p.m. cocktails and then an elegant 7 p.m. dinner. The awards and conversation are sure to be one of the fall season’s most highly anticipated events. Sponsorship for tables of 10 begin at $10,000 and single tickets –– now are you ready for this? –– are $1,000 or $2,500. Event co-chairs: Cheryl Mayberry McKissack, president and CEO, Nia Enterprises, and Chicago Public Library Foundation board member, and Jim Tyree, Mesirow Financial’s chair. Morrison, author of nine novels and three children’s books and one of the most provocative and respected novelists of our time, receives the Carl Sandburg Literary Award which is presented annually to an author whose significant body of work has enhanced the public’s awareness of the written word. Her novel, Beloved, was awarded the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for fiction and in 2006 was named by the New York Times Review as the best novel of the previous 25 years. Winfrey produced and starred in the 1998 film based on the book. Morrison became a professor at Princeton Univ. in 1989 and in 1993 received the Nobel Prize in Literature, the first African American to be so honored. Past winners include Henry Louis Gates Jr., Kurt Vonnegut, Nikki Giovanni, Tom Wolfe, Salman Rushdie, David Mamet, John Updike, et al. CPL recently announced that Morrison’s most recent novel, A Mercy, will be the 19th selection for Chicago’s citywide book club, One Book, One Chicago. For more info and or to buy tickets, tables or sponsorships, visit chicagopubliclibraryfoundation.org or contact Rebecca Spence, event coordinator, (312) 201-0930 or rspencecplfoundation.org. Congrats – to a fave media brutha, Clarence Waldron, Jet mag’s senior writer, who picks up the coveted 2010 Legacy Award from the National Association of Black Journalists at month’s end at its annual national convention in San Diego. Waldron is being honored as “dean of Black reporters in entertainment and the arts” for his stellar writing and reporting for the past 28 years at Jet. NABJ is also recognizing him for developing key business relationships with a wide array of entertainers and newsmakers throughout the years as well as helping to launch the careers of various noteworthy stars. Through his reporting and writing, celebrities such as Whitney Houston, Luther Vandross, Anita Baker, Steve Harvey, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Kirk Franklin and many others obtained their first cover story via Jet. Dream On! – Dr. Billie Wright Adams, revered pediatrician who’s been practicing for some four decades, healing, educating and maintaining the health of young children as a partner in Pediatric Associates, is one of three honored as “A Dream Maker” Saturday noon by the Women’s Board of Bronzeville Children’s Museum. It all happens at the Annual Kwanzaa in July Dream Makers & Dreamers Awards Luncheon at the Oak Lawn Hilton. Other Dream Makers honorees: Bril Barrett, master tap dancer and creative director of MADD (Mad About Dance), which teaches the art of tap; and Amadeus Reams, of TAM Entertainment and Dream Makers Society, who works within the Chicago Public Schools with students as young as 10 years, instilling visions, dreams and expectations of careers in the field of entertainment. And being cited as “Dreamers,” Khary York Armster, a sixth grade honor student at McDade Classical School, a pianist and orator; China Gray, a freshman at Chicago High School for the Performing Arts, a vocalist and pianist; and Kamari McElroy, another McDade honor student, a pianist. These youngsters have been trained by Patricia Pike, director of Pike’s School of Music and a retired schoolteacher. Afternoon highlights: an Afrocentric Marketplace, at 11 a.m., a traditional libation ceremony, raffle give-aways and performances by the awardees. The mission of the Bronzeville Children’s Museum, 9301 S. Stony Island, is to educate and expose children to the rich contributions, culture and heritage of African Americans, people of Africa and its Diaspora through activities, interactive exhibits and program, says Peggy Montes, museum founder. Call (773) 721-9301. Coming Up! – One of the most memorable cultural events of the season is just around the corner! Muntu Dance Theatre’s 2010 Summer Concert & Gala, Cultural Bridges: The Pearl Primus Project, is Saturday, 7 p.m., at the Harris Theater for Music & Dance, 205 E. Randolph, followed by a lavish reception under a starry summer night on the Rooftop Terrace in Millennium Park. Gala chairs: a trio of our community’s cultural icons, Amina Dickerson, Angela Pace-Moody and Sandra Rand. The dance concert will feature two company premieres, A Negro Speaks of Rivers and Hard Time Blues, both signature works by Dr. Pearl Primus. A Negro Speaks of Rivers was originally choreographed by Dr. Primus in 1944 and premiered by her company in 1945. Muntu Dance Theatre is the first African dance company to receive and perform Dr. Primus’ works. Muntu has been awarded an American Masterpieces Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in support of this project. Primus focused on matters of oppression, racial prejudice and violence. Her efforts were also subsidized by the U.S. government who encouraged African American artistic endeavors. In 1944, she interpreted Langston Hughes’ The Negro Speaks of Rivers and in 1945 created Strange Fruit, based on the Lewis Allan’s poem about a lynching. Hard Time Blues is based on a song about sharecroppers by folksinger Josh White. A limited number of tickets are still available – single VIP tickets, $175; American Masterpieces tickets, $250; and concert only tickets, $25, $35 and $50. Call Muntu at (773) 241-6086. Curtain Call – What just likely will be Chicago’s musical theatre event of the summer, Elton John and Tim Rice’s amazing production of Aida, starring veteran Chicago actor Rashada Dawan, has opened at Bailiwick Chicago Theatre, 1909 W. Byron, and continues through Aug. 1 on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m. Aida is the story of a high-ranking Egyptian soldier, engaged to the Pharaoh’s daughter and next in line for the throne, who falls in love with the Nubian slave Aida. When he discovers that she is the daughter of the King of Nubia, each is forced to choose between love for country and love for each other. With a driving pop-rock score, the story challenges audiences to consider the question: “What would you sacrifice for eternal love?” In its first Chicago production since the national tour, Bailiwick Chicago’s production features stunning choreography by the modern dance company, Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, a six-piece band and a cast of 20 talented actors, singers and dancers. It is directed by Bailiwick Chicago Collective member Scott Ferguson, with co-musical direction by Jimmy Morehead and Collective member Robert Ollis. Original choreography was created by Kevin Iega Jeff, artistic director of Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, and Gary Abbott, associate artistic director. This is the first production of Aida to be produced in Chicago since the original that moved to Broadway starring Heather Headley in 1999. Headley won a Tony for her Broadway performance. Tickets ($25-$35, based on the date and time of the show) can be purchased online at www.bailiwickchicago.com or by calling (866) 811-4111. For group sales tickets of six or more, there is a 10 percent discount using the promotion code AIDAGROUP; ask for group sales when calling the box office. Happy B’day – to Michael House, Defender president; Mavis Staples, Jerome Butler, Gerri Patterson, Larry Mohn, Helen Sinclair, Onjalee Lashay, Cedric Gay, Santita Jackson, Anita Green, Ansel T. Johnson, Kimberly Carmen, Patricia Andrews-Keenan, Musette Henley and Mr. and Mrs. Melvin Bell (Mary L.), parents of the Defender’s Exec. Director of Finance Carol Bell. Copyright 2010 Chicago Defender.

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