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Wanda’s Picks for February 2016

February 4, 2016

by Wanda Sabir

Ninety years ago in 1926, Carter G. Woodson (Dec. 19, 1875-April 3, 1950), historian, scholar, author and maverick for Black self-determination, founded Negro History Week. In 1976 the name changed to Black History Month. Dr. Woodson was the first Black American of formerly enslaved parents to earn a Ph.D. in history – the second African American after W.E.B. Dubois from Harvard. His Association for the Study of African American Life and History was the institution or vehicle through which he published scholarship and research on Black Americans and the African Diaspora. He is considered the Father of Black History and his book, “The Miseducation of the Negro,” is still widely read and referenced.

The Black world mourns the loss of Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, shown here at the October 2014 Florida AMU Black Psychology Conference with Wanda Sabir, and celebrates her legacy. – Photo: Wanda Sabir

The Black world mourns the loss of Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, shown here at the October 2014 Florida AMU Black Psychology Conference with Wanda Sabir, and celebrates her legacy. – Photo: Wanda Sabir

Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, ashay!

Dr. Frances Cress Welsing (“Isis Papers”) made her transition Jan. 2, 2016. She was 80. The psychiatrist who challenged white supremacists on what she called “The Cress Theory of Color Confrontation and Racism (White Supremacy)” to look at their own melanin deficiency for what it is, “envy,” stirred and continues to stir the waters. She always stated theoretically that “Black lives matter,” the weight of this “matter or energy,” both tangibly and philosophically, the reason for the covert and overt attacks on our persons, way before the #blm movement. A politically savvy, congenial and accessible scholar and meta-physician, she will be missed, but her legacy lives on. Ashay!

Listen to two specials saluting her on Wanda’s Picks Radio: http://tobtr.com/s/8189109 (Jan. 27) http://tobtr.com/8189079 (Jan. 8). Memorial Services for Dr. Cress-Welsing were postponed due to a blizzard and transportation shut down until March 19, at Union Temple Baptist Church. The 40th Day Ascension Rites Ceremony will take place Feb. 11, 7 p.m., also at Union Temple Baptist Church, 1225 W Street, SE, Washington, D.C. Flowers and cards can be sent to Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, 7603 Georgia Ave., NW, Suite 402, Washington, DC 20012.

#BlackLivesMatter

The theme for the 26th Annual Celebration of African Americans and Their Poetry is #BlackLivesMatter. Join us at the West Oakland Branch Library, 1801 Adeline St., Saturday, Feb. 6, 1-4 p.m. For information, call 510-238-7352. There will be an open mic if anyone missed the rehearsal. The event is free and open to the entire community.

Invisible Black Male at Warehouse 416 through Feb. 28

Damon Powell has curated a wonderful exhibit featuring the work of Black men artists in “Invisible Black Male.” Special series of panel discussions all day on Saturday, Feb. 27. Opening night is Friday, Feb. 5, 6-10 p.m. The gallery is located at 416 26th St. in Oakland, 510-922-1653, https://www.facebook.com/Warehouse416/.

Charles Curtis Blackwell stands in front of his work at Warehouse 416, where “Invisible Black Men” is up through Feb. 28. – Photo: Wanda Sabir

Charles Curtis Blackwell stands in front of his work at Warehouse 416, where “Invisible Black Male” is up through Feb. 28. – Photo: Wanda Sabir

An exhibit called “Black Love” is at JanRae Community Art Gallery at the Women’s Cancer Resource Center, 5714 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, 510-350-1311, www.wcrc.org through March 24.

TAOLB, The Art of Living Black

The 19th Annual Art of Living Black at the Richmond Art Center through Feb. 27 features 75 Black artists. An artist reception will be held Feb. 7, 1-5 p.m., at the Richmond Art Center, 2540 Barrett Ave., Richmond, 510-620-6772.

Artist Talks are scheduled for

  • Saturday, Feb. 7, noon-1:30 p.m., features artists Valerie Brown-Troutt, Will Johnson, Karen Oyekanmi, Atiba Sylvia Thomas and Jim Dennis. Moderator is Stephen Bruce.
  • Saturday, Feb. 14, noon-1:30 p.m., features artists Dania Frink, Alix Magloire, James Knox, Julee Richardson, Hilda Robinson, Arthur Norcome. Moderator is Raymond L. Haywood.

TAOLB Open Studios, on Saturday, March 7, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., is a unique opportunity to meet a selection of artists and purchase their work in the main gallery. To learn more, see http://richmondartcenter.org/exhibitions/19th-annual-art-living-black/.

An Afternoon with Jerri Lange

Join Jerri Lange, professor of broadcast communications, author and lecturer, discussing her new book, “Empowering Black Women,” Wednesday, Feb. 24, 1-3 p.m., at the West Oakland Senior Center, 1724 Adeline St., Oakland, (510) 238-7016. Books are available for a $5.00 donation.

Regina Evans, Nina Causey and Zorina London were a part of the Human Trafficking Awareness Weekend at Black Rep. Ms. London flew in from China for her play, “A Night of Day.” Billie Holiday was trafficked as a child and exploited in other horrific ways as an adult. Ms. Causey portrayed Lena Horn. – Photo: Wanda Sabir

Regina Evans, Nina Causey and Zorina London were a part of the Human Trafficking Awareness Weekend at Black Rep. Ms. London flew in from China for her play, “A Night of Day.” Billie Holiday was trafficked as a child and exploited in other horrific ways as an adult. Ms. Causey portrayed Lena Horn. – Photo: Wanda Sabir

Regina Evans (“52 Letters”) and Venus Morris discuss sexual trafficking at Black Rep on National Sexual Trafficking Awareness Day, Jan. 11. – Photo: Wanda Sabir

Regina Evans (“52 Letters”) and Venus Morris discuss sexual trafficking at Black Rep on National Sexual Trafficking Awareness Day, Jan. 11. – Photo: Wanda Sabir

Theatre: ‘52 Letters’ at Regina’s Door

“52 Letters: A One-woman Poetic Stage Play,” bringing awareness to the issue of sex trafficking in America, Friday, Feb. 5, 8 p.m., will launch Eliza’s Pearl, an intimate and safe performing artist space for Black and Brown female artists to present their creativity. Space is limited so please purchase your tickets in advance at Regina’s Door, 352 17th St., Oakland, or online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2492844. For information, contact 510-423-8157 or evans.regina@gmail.com.

Phavia Kujichagulia and Ma’at presentThe Evolution of African-American Classical Music, Jazz’

Join Phavia Kujichagulia and Ma’at for an eclectic journey of creativity, ingenuity and revolution through the evolution of African-American classical music, Jazz, 2-4 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 20, at the Berkeley Public Library, third floor Community Meeting Room, 2090 Kittredge St., Berkeley, 510-981-6100. Featured are Achyutan on drums, Kash Killion on bass, Phavia Kujichagulia on trumpet, percussion and spoken word, Yemenya Napue, dance and vocals, Val Serrant, percussion, and Ron Williams, guitar and percussion: www.kujichaguliaphavia.com. This is a free event and all are welcome.

Dance in Revolt(ing) Times (DIRT) Festival 2016

Dance Mission Theater’s “'Dance in Revolt(ing) Times,” DIRT

Dance Mission Theater’s “’Dance in Revolt(ing) Times,” DIRT

Final week of DIRT features site-specific “Stories of Revolt” scattered throughout the Mission Saturday, Feb. 6, 8 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 7, 7 p.m., at Dance Mission, 3316 24th St., San Francisco. Amara Tabor-Smith’s new work premieres this week as well. It conjures the spirit of Sandra Bland to examine the general lack of compassion for Black women who are victims of police terror as well as other forms of violence. Smith uses Sojourner Truth’s seminal speech, “Ain’t I a Woman?” to analyze and question violence against Black women here and abroad. Program C also features new work, site specific by Krissy Keefer for Dance Brigade. For tickets, visit dancemission.com or call 415-826-4441.

Million Man March 20 years later film discussion

“Relive the Rally: A Family View of Highlights from the Million Man March and Justice or Else” will be screened Friday, Feb. 26, 7-9 p.m., free at the Altenheim Community Hall, 1720 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland. For information email bandzbolling@yahoo.com, kwalin.kimaathi@gmail.comz or info@wandaspicks.com. All those who went to the Million Man March 20 years ago and, more recently, October 2015, are invited to join us for the film and discussion on Feb. 26 and on Savior’s Day 2016.

Ubuntu Theatre

Ubuntu Theatre opened its 2016 Season with a superb production of Marcus Gardley’s “The Gospel of Lovingkindness.” Don’t miss “Exit Cuckoo” by Lisa Ramiez, Feb. 11-28. In its inaugural season, the theme is threatened homes. Visit http://www.ubuntutheaterproject.com/tickets. For a review of “Gospel,” visit wandaspicks.com.

Films on Independent Lens (ITVS)

“A Ballerina’s Tale” explores the rise of Misty Copeland, who made history as the first African-American female principal dancer with the prestigious American Ballet Theater. Get an intimate look at this groundbreaking dancer during a crucial period in her life on Monday, Feb. 8, 10:-11:30 p.m. ET. 

Stanley Nelson’s “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution” premieres on Independent Lens Tuesday, Feb. 16, 9-11 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings). For information, go to pbs.org/independentlens. To listen to an interview with the director, visit http://www.blogtalkradio.com/wandas-picks/2015/10/02/wandas-picks-radio-show.

Black Panther Party at 50

Celebration of the Life of Huey P. Newton is Feb. 13, 2-5 p.m., at the West Oakland Branch Library, 1801 Adeline St., Oakland, 510-238-7352.

An exhibit, “Richmond and the Legacy of the Black Panther Party,” is at the Richmond Museum of History, 400 Nevin St., 510-235-7387.

“(T)ERROR” premiers on ITVS Monday, Feb. 22, 10-11:30 p.m., on PBS. This riveting film is the first film ever to capture an FBI counterterrorism sting operation as it unfolds. “(T)ERROR” is the story of Shariff, a 63-year-old Black revolutionary turned informant. He is conflicted and troubled as he is tries to live a normal life, which, given his circumstances, is impossible.

Dr. Jeremiah Wright preaches at Rev. Cheryl Ward’s celebration of 37 years in ministry, Jan. 27. – Photo: Wanda Sabir

Dr. Jeremiah Wright preaches at Rev. Cheryl Ward’s celebration of 37 years in ministry, Jan. 27. – Photo: Wanda Sabir

The FBI’s use of informants to set up supposed suspects for arrest, the questionable evidence and the way innocent lives are disrupted just because a person is Muslim shows how far this government will travel on roads without pavement. We meet suspect after suspect who languishes in prison without due process. Even though innocent, the men take plea bargains to cut down on the time they feel they will serve anyway. Guilt or innocence is not a consideration when one has a Muslim name.

The directors film a press conference where there are hundreds of names of “terrorists” on FBI lists. The lists a form of character assault and slander, the FBI refuses to explain the list or respond to questions about the men Shariff implicates and, through his assistance, the FBI arrests and imprisons. Why Shariff agrees to being filmed is not clear; however, Lyric R. Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe certainly present an aspect of a story not often, if ever, explored.

“Wilhelmina’s War” premiers on ITVS Monday, Feb. 29, on PBS, 10-11:00 p.m. ET. Directed by June Cross, this is the story underreported and hidden. Do you know that South Carolina is the HIV/AIDS capitol for heterosexual transmission? Well, I didn’t. I also did not know that South Carolina numbers are larger than all the HIV/AIDS cases in San Francisco and New York combined, that of the 50,000 new HIV cases diagnosed yearly, half are in the South, especially rural communities like Williston, where we meet 14-year-old Dayshal, whose mother gave her the virus at birth.

Raised by her grandmother, Mrs. Dixon, Dayshal faces prejudice and stigma everyday of her life. Dayshal’s grandmother has been taking care of sick people all her life. She says she started as a child, taking care of younger siblings so she wouldn’t have to pick cotton in the fields. Mrs. Dixon’s husband has cancer, her mom is 92 and she has five family members, including Dayshal’s mother, Toni Dicks.

The film addresses the absence of not just care but resources to help people with prevention education and testing. South Carolina governor Nikki Haley rejects billions of federal dollars available through the Affordable Care Act, which would have addressed the inadequate Medicaid and facilities for communities like that where Dayshal lives. “South Carolina would have received $11 billion, the third highest amount of any state in the nation, [and] we turned it down,” South Carolina Rep. Joe Neal says. He is the only African American on the Ways and Means Committee.

He continues, “We have perennial poverty. Generational poverty. And it has a cumulative effect on children and communities. This would have been a big step in eliminating some of the impacts of that poverty.” More people die from AIDS than in any developed country. Those people are in the rural South.

Rev. Cheryl Ward (center) surrounded by cousins at the celebration of 37 years in the ministry, Wednesday, Jan. 27. – Photo: Wanda Sabir

Rev. Cheryl Ward (center) surrounded by cousins at the celebration of 37 years in the ministry, Wednesday, Jan. 27. – Photo: Wanda Sabir

Medicaid would only pay for certain types of drugs for Dayshal, so while elsewhere HIV patients are taking one pill, Dayshal has to swallow 10-11-12 twice a day. Every month Dayshal and her grandmother would have to drive 90 miles to the capital so Dayshal could see her doctor. Many times the gas tanks had just enough fuel to make it. They would get a gas stipend to drive home, but again, sometimes they barely made it, especially when the gas prices were high.

Programs which helped HIV/AIDS patients with rental or mortgage payments were cut, and if a person had a prison record, he could start digging his own grave. There might be medicine, but no housing or psychological support.

“Wilhelmina’s War” shows how predatory systems take advantage of vulnerable people like Dayshal’s mother, who died in hospice because the facility did not give her her medicine, nor did they feed her or give her water. After just three months Tony Dicks had fallen from her bed over 10 times and lost so much weight she looked like a scarecrow. As she suffered unnecessarily, Mrs. Wilhelmina, her mom, could not get her released into her custody.

Though illiterate, Mrs. Wilhelmina Dixon is resourceful and smart. She hosted a HIV/AIDS awareness and testing program and teamed up with local HIV/AIDS health advocates like Vivian Clark-Armstead, whose organization has the only mobile testing van in the state. Clark-Armstead, who lost a sister to the epidemic, and Mrs. Dixon visit the few churches which are open to educating their congregations about the disease and more than one pastor is surprised that the disease is at epidemic levels among Black women, who are 80 percent of the new transmissions, and heterosexual men. Ms. Clark-Armstead says: “If you are waiting for the government to help you, to ride in and save you, look at what happened during Katrina. We are going to have to save ourselves.”

Mrs. Wilhelmina loves her granddaughter with courage and wisdom, and even though we can’t imagine what it must be like to live in the backwoods without friends her age or support, we root for Dayshal because she comes from strong roots and as she grows older and continues to get the support from women in Positive Voices, HIV positive Black women, the filmmaker, June Cross and others, things will work out for her. Visit http://minaswar.wix.com/wilheminaswar#!videos/cb3i.

Venus Morris and Ayodele Nzinga, Ph.D., share a moment at the close of “Radio Golf,” the closing play in August Wilson's Century Cycle of Black History in America. The Lower Bottom Playaz is the only company in the country to have completed the cycle in chronological order. Jan. 3 was also the director’s birthday. – Photo: Wanda Sabir

Venus Morris and Ayodele Nzinga, Ph.D., share a moment at the close of “Radio Golf,” the closing play in August Wilson’s Century Cycle of Black History in America. The Lower Bottom Playaz is the only company in the country to have completed the cycle in chronological order. Jan. 3 was also the director’s birthday. – Photo: Wanda Sabir

San Francisco Indie Festival

The 18th Annual San Francisco Indie Festival is Feb. 11-25 at the Roxie Theater, Brava Theater and Alamo Drafthouse in San Francisco. Visit sfindie.com for film parties and sing-a-longs.

Lecture by Rick Lowe of Project Row Houses

The Cantor Arts Center is pleased to co-sponsor the Mimi and Peter E. Haas Distinguished Visitor Lecture featuring Rick Lowe, Thursday, Feb. 4, 5:45 p.m. Lowe is a Houston-based artist who has exhibited and worked with communities nationally and internationally. The event is free and open to the public; RSVPs are required. The reception is at 5:15 p.m.; lecture follows at the Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center, McCaw Hall, 326 Galvez St., Stanford University, Palo Alto.

Lowe is best known for Project Row Houses, a community-based art project he started in Houston in 1993. Further community projects include the Watts Housing Project in Los Angeles, the Borough Project in Charleston, the Delray Beach Cultural Loop in Florida, and the Anyang Public Art Program 2010 in Anyang, South Korea.

President Barack Obama appointed him to the National Council on the Arts in 2013; in 2014 he was awarded a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant.

Berkeley Black Repertory Group presents ‘Unforgettable: The Natalie Cole Story’ Feb. 12-27

National winner of Steve Harvey Neighborhood Awards, Ms. Dee Dee Simon acts and performs a living tribute fitting Natalie Cole’s legacy. For more information, visit m.deedeesimon.com or www.deedeesimon.com. For tickets, call 510-652-2120. For group sales, email Nataliecolestory@blackrepertorygroup.com.

African American Shakespeare Company presents George C. Wolfe’s ‘The Colored Museum’ Feb. 13-March 6

African American Shake continues its 21st year with its first time staging an American classic satire on race, George C. Wolfe’s “The Colored Museum.” The production features four directors collaborating to bring the 11 vignettes to life as a part of what Artistic Director L. Peter Callendar calls the company’s “season of purpose.” The directors are Velina Brown, L. Peter Callendar, Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe and Michael Gene Sullivan. The cast features Paige Mayes, Clara McDaniel, Aejay Mitchell, Tavia Percia and Todd Risby. Shows run Saturday and Sundays, Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. For information, visit african-americanshakes.org and for tickets: brownpapertickets.com/event/1641586

‘The Call’ by Tanya Barfield

“The Call” by Tanya Barfield, directed by Jon Wai-keung Lowe, runs Feb. 20-March 12 at Theatre Rhinoceros at The Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson St., between Front and Battery streets, in San Francisco. “The Call” is the story of Annie and Peter who plan to adopt a child from Africa, but when they receive surprising news from the adoption agency, their marriage is put to the test. Secrets from the past are exposed and this couple facing midlife is left with an unexpected choice. Politically charged, funny and tack-sharp, “The Call” is a startling portrait of cultural divides, casting global issues into the heart of an American home. Visit therhino.org/buy.htm or call 800-838-3006. Shows are Wednesdays-Saturdays, with previews Feb. 20-Feb. 24. Shows are 8 p.m. with a 3 p.m. matinee on Saturdays as well.

August Wilson’s “Gem of the Ocean” at Marin Theatre Company

August Wilson’s “Gem of the Ocean” at Marin Theatre Company

August Wilson’s “Gem of the Ocean” at Marin Theatre Company

August Wilson’s “Gem of the Ocean,” directed by Daniel Alexander Jones, continues at Marin Theatre Company through Feb. 14, 397 Miller Ave., Mill Valley. For ticket discounts, use code DATENIGHT to get buy one ticket and get one free ticket to bring a friend. The short link to the ticketing site is http://bit.ly/AWGemTix. Listen to an interview on Wanda’s Picks Radio: http://tobtr.com/8189113. Read a review: http://wandasabir.blogspot.com/2016/01/review.html.

‘August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand’

PBS’s American Masters episode on August Wilson, “August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand,” which premiered on Feb. 20, 2015, the 70th anniversary of Wilson’s birth and 10th anniversary of his death, airs again in February 2016 in celebration of Black History Month, underwritten by MTC in conjunction with this production of “Gem of the Ocean.” Check http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/august-wilson-the-ground-on-which-i-stand-full-film/3727/.

Book and art tour: ‘When We Fight, We Win!’

A book tour will be on the road in January and February for “When We fight We Win! Twenty First Century Social Movements and the Activists that are Transforming Our World” by Greg Jobin-Leeds and AgitArte, New Press (January 2016) with an interview and art by Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, Prison Radio correspondent. The tour stops in San Francisco with Noelle Hanrahan at Book Passage, Corte Madera, 7 p.m., and with Noelle Hanrahan again Thursday, Feb. 4, at Marcus Books in Oakland, 7 p.m.; Friday, Feb. 5, at Green Apple Books on the Park, 7:30 p.m.; Tuesday, Feb. 9, with Favianna Rodriguez, Cultural Strike, in San Francisco. Visit prisonradio.org or www.whenwefightwewin.com.

Charlie Hinton’s ‘Solitary Man: My Visit to Pelican Bay State Prison’

“Solitary Man” will be performed at various venues in San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose:

  • Saturday, Feb. 6, at the School of Arts and Culture, Mexican Heritage Plaza, 1600 Alum Rock Ave., San Jose. This event honors Leonard Peltier on the 40th anniversary of his illegal arrest.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 23, at 518 Valencia, San Francisco, 7 p.m., $5-20, no one turned away. This performance is sponsored by the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition to end sleep deprivation torture in Pelican Bay solitary caused by cell checks that wake prisoners up every 30 minutes and as part of protests against solitary confinement that take place statewide the 23rd of every month.

Black Choreographers Here and Now 2016

The Black Choreographers Festival presents the Next Wave Choreographers Showcase: New Voices/New Works featuring Gregory Dawson with William Fowler and Frankie Lee Peterson, Chris Evans with Byb Chanel Bibene and David Boyce, Cherie Hill, Wanjiru Kamuyu, Erik Lee, Joslynn Mathis Reed, Dazaun Soleyn, Phylicia Stroud and Jamie Wright, Feb. 20 – 21, Saturday and Sunday at 7:30 pm at Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St., San Francisco. Tickets are $10 – $30. For tickets visit brownpapertickets.com/event/2487396. Group discounts call 866-553-5885. For information: bcfhereandnow.com

I attended an encore production of “Snakes” by Chris Webb, directed by Awele, at Skyline High School. The production was outstanding. In the play, silver people find refuge in a town in America, yet over time, their novelty wears off and they are targets for bigotry and hate, abuse and violence. Set in a high school among their peers, “Snakes” allows its audience to witness an avoidable tragedy. The cast is excellent, with multimedia aspects to the production – newscasts, wonderful choreography and rap. Kevin Parker (Nero, left) makes friends fast, as he is smart and a great writer. Emmanuel Uyong (Mariq, right) is also an immigrant. – Photo: Wanda Sabir

I attended an encore production of “Snakes” by Chris Webb, directed by Awele, at Skyline High School. The production was outstanding. In the play, silver people find refuge in a town in America, yet over time, their novelty wears off and they are targets for bigotry and hate, abuse and violence. Set in a high school among their peers, “Snakes” allows its audience to witness an avoidable tragedy. The cast is excellent, with multimedia aspects to the production – newscasts, wonderful choreography and rap. Kevin Parker (Nero, left) makes friends fast, as he is smart and a great writer. Emmanuel Uyong (Mariq, right) is also an immigrant. – Photo: Wanda Sabir

‘A Shakespeare Valentine,’ ‘Harlem Renaissance’

Multi-Ethnic Theatre presents a two-part program, “A Shakespeare Valentine” and “The Harlem Renaissance,” celebrating true love and Black History Month. It features eight actors, four women and four men, with the words of 47 of The Bard’s sonnets to present stories of five couples. After intermission the same actors present great words from the Harlem Renaissance, poems and a story by Langston Hughes, “Thank You, Ma’am”; a story by Zora Neale Hurston, “Spunk”; and additional poems by James Weldon Johnson and others. Previews are Feb. 9 and 11, 8 p.m. The work opens Feb. 12, 8 p.m, and runs Feb. 12-27, Thursday-Saturday, 8 p.m., plus Saturdays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10-$40. Proceeds will benefit renovation of Trinity-St. Peter’s Church and the Gough Street Playhouse: www.wehavemet.org.

‘Yellow Towel’ by Dana Michel

CounterPulse, in partnership with Jess Curtis and Gravity present “Yellow Towel” by Dana Michel, Feb. 13 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. – exorcisms in technicolor. As a child, Dana Michel would drape a yellow towel on her head in an attempt to emulate the blonde girls at school. As an adult, she now revisits the imaginary world of her alter ego in a performative ritual free of cover-ups or censorship.

Blending austerity and absurdity, she digs into Black culture stereotypes, turning them inside out to see whether or not she can relate. We witness her allowing a strange creature to emerge from this excavation in a slow and disconcerting metamorphosis that we follow with fascination. Strongly influenced by the aesthetics of fashion, music videos, queer culture and comedy, Dana Michel quickly stood out as an emerging dance artist. With “Yellow Towel,” which was developed in Vienna, Brussels, New York, Toronto and Montreal, she explores new creation territories and most decidedly asserts herself as an artist to watch – a figure of the Montreal underground scene well worth discovering.

Andre Le Mont Wilson’s ‘The Black Dude Dies First’

Andre Le Mont Wilson is back with a new play, “The Black Dude Dies First,” at “Tell it on Tuesdays,” Feb. 23, 7 p.m., which celebrates the expression of individual storytelling and solo performance. Wilson performs stories at festivals, story swaps and open mics throughout the Bay Area. In “The Black Dude Dies First,” Wilson recounts his first performance on stage in a grammar school’s bicentennial production in which, you know … Tickets at the door are $8-$15. Though Wilson’s story is appropriate for the entire family, all performers’ work that evening may not be.

Wilson will perform the work at the 26th Annual Celebration of African American Poets and Their Poetry on Feb. 6, 1-4, at the West Oakland Branch Library. He will also host a Black History Month Event later this month: Friday, Feb. 19, 7-8:30 p.m., “400 Years of History Distilled into Stories,” featuring local storytellers Malcolm Grissolm, Linda Wright, Beverly Harris, Beverly Miles and Beverlee at the Storytelling Association of California’s Third Fridays at The Silk Road House, 1944 University Ave., Berkeley. For information, email awilsonpoetwriter@gmail.com. Tickets, $10, benefit the Storytelling Association of California. Seating is limited to 30 people. Purchase tickets at Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sac-at-silk-road-house-tickets-18832764305?aff=erellivorg.

‘Bridges’ at Berkeley Playhouse

Sister Njelela Kwamilele, who coordinated the film screening and reception for “Not for Sale: The Oscar C. Wright Story,” directed by Michael Lange, poses with her daughter, Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s Communications Manager Tasion Kwamilele. – Photo: Wanda Sabir

Sister Njelela Kwamilele, who coordinated the film screening and reception for “Not for Sale: The Oscar C. Wright Story,” directed by Michael Lange, poses with her daughter, Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s Communications Manager Tasion Kwamilele. – Photo: Wanda Sabir

Berkeley Playhouse is proud to present the world premiere commissioned work, Cheryl L. Davis and Douglas J. Cohen’s “Bridges: A New Musical,” Feb. 11-March 6 at 2640 College Ave., Berkeley, www.berkeleyplayhouse.org. In 1965, a young woman boldly joins a march to fight for her civil rights. Decades later, another young woman faces her own battle for equality. As their stories collide across time and distance, each must come to terms with who she is in the context of a changing and complicated world. Full of soulful melodies, “Bridges: A New Musical” is an empowering story that explores our country’s past and present – how far we’ve come, how far we have to go and the bridges we must cross to get there. For tickets: Box Office 510-845-8542 x351 or boxoffice@berkeleyplayhouse.org.

Tammy Hall plays California Jazz Conservatory

After a wonderful run in Petaluma with Sharon Scott as Mahalia Jackson, Tammy Hall is performing in Berkeley before heading overseas. So you don’t want to miss this rare opportunity to hear Hall create magic on piano as she celebrates the genius of Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder and Dr. Billy Taylor, Sunday, Feb. 20, 7 p.m., at California Jazz Conservatory, 2087 Addison St., Berkeley, 510-845-5373. Tickets are $18. With Hall will be Ruth Davies on bass and Darian Gray on drums.

Bay View Arts Editor Wanda Sabir can be reached at wanda@wandaspicks.com. Visit her website at www.wandaspicks.com throughout the month for updates to Wanda’s Picks, her blog, photos and Wanda’s Picks Radio. Her shows are streamed live Wednesdays at 7 a.m. and Fridays at 8 a.m., can be heard by phone at 347-237-4610 and are archived at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/wandas-picks.

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