August 23, 2017
Marcus Gardley’s “black odyssey,” currently on stage at Cal Shakes in Orinda, translates the Black Holocaust into modern language. Gardley takes an oral history, Homer’s Grecian hero’s tale, then ruptures and reinterprets it so the folks submerged in the waters of confusion gain clarity. Those ancestors at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean are resurrected in “Ulysses Lincoln” – a hero and a warrior.
August 10, 2017
Don’t forget the legacy of the Hon. Marcus Mosiah Garvey (Aug. 17, 1887-June 10, 1940) this Black August. There is an annual program at Marcus Books in Oakland, Sunday, Aug. 20, 12:30-3:30 p.m. Happy Birthday to Karla Brundage (8/29), Cousin Jeffery Lewis (8/29), Gene Howell Jr. and to all the ancestors lost in the Great Storm – Katrina (8/29/2005), and to those still swimming home on rafts and other flotilla. Follow the light.
July 7, 2017
Each year, it is important to revisit this historic classic speech by the powerful orator, Frederick Douglass, delivered in 1852, stating, “This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. … You may rejoice, I must mourn.” Listen to James Earl Jones reading the speech. In the San Francisco Bay Area, Michael Lange and James Brooks with Angela Wellman’s Oakland Public Conservatory would perform the work with jazz artists.
November 4, 2016
The 50th Anniversary of the Black Panther Party Conference, Oct. 20-23, held at the Oakland Museum of California and in Bobby Hutton Grove at deFremery Park, was a huge success. To see the Vanguards of the Revolution saluted in such elegant surroundings at the banquet Saturday evening was certainly a fitting tribute to the legacy their lives concretely represent. Hats off to the committee that organized the conference.
January 2, 2016
August Wilson is considered one of America’s greatest playwrights, and the work that comprises The American Century Cycle, one of the outstanding achievements of the modern theater, is performed across the globe. But only Oakland’s premiere North American African theater company has performed the entire Cycle in chronological order. The Lower Bottom Playaz close the cycle with the timely production of the only play in the cycle that is told from the lens of developers. Wilson’s Hill District in Pittsburgh, Penn., and Oakland, Calif., 2015 hold a lot of common ground. “Radio Golf” continues through Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, 2 p.m., at the Flight Deck, 1540 Broadway, Oakland.
July 9, 2014
The Glide Memorial Church family worked wonders at the celebration of San Francisco native Maya Angelou’s life that she requested before she died. They juxtaposed carefully chosen visual moments with prerecorded Maya moments, which made her presence so palatable that the sanctuary lights came under the control of Spirit Maya and played with our collective vision – the room almost dark and the lights flickering off and on.
December 1, 2013
I was armed when I entered the darkened studio room on Yosemite in San Francisco’s Bayview District where Zaccho Dance Theatre resides. When I opened the black curtain and stepped into the darkened room, I stood still for a moment to let my eyes adjust and noticed chairs where a few patrons sat. I decided to wander through the huge open space.
October 31, 2013
Gina M. Paige explained that the organization, African Ancestry, started with Dr. Rick Kittles, genetic researcher at Howard University who was interested in isolating the gene that caused prostate cancer, one of the leading causes of death in our community. He found this research methodology applicable in other genetic detective research and so in 2003 African Ancestry was founded with Ms. Paige.
May 9, 2013
Congratulations to my nephew Wilfred Batin, 9 years old, who was one of two honor roll students from Rosa Parks Elementary School honored this year at City Hall. Happy Mother’s Day to all the women who deserve more than a day to honor them. Congratulations to all the college graduates!
March 8, 2013
Back when Mumia was a member of the Black Panther Party, he traveled west to work with the Oakland chapter – an important time in his evolution as a radical journalist. Now the story of his life and revolutionary times comes to The New Parkway Theater. Read about it and all of Wanda’s Picks for March 2013.
July 13, 2012
The parody currently on stage at American Conservatory Theater, “The Scottsboro Boys,” staged by director-choreographer Susan Stroman (“The Producers”), through July 22, 2012, takes a historic tragedy in American history and recasts it as buffoonery. Black America should not be surprised. Classic guilt is always re-envisioned in this paradigm. The boogeyman is always Black and male.
December 21, 2011
Wright Enterprises and LaHitz Media present “Our Media Matters” Theater Night in honor of Willie and Mary Ratcliff, publishers of the San Francisco Bay View newspaper, at the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre for their premiere of “REJOICE!” a wonderful nativity play, 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011. To purchase tickets, call the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre Box Office, (415) 474-8800, with the code “WE.” Treat your family and friends to a joyous evening and support the Bay View!
September 4, 2011
Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011, was the opening of August Wilson’s play, “Seven Guitars,” directed by Kent Gash, at the Marin Theatre Company. I hadn’t seen the play in about 15 years. Wilson was alive then and he was work-shopping his latest – play five in the eventual 10-play cycle – at ACT-SF with the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre in a co-production.
March 3, 2011
Women’s History Month and the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day March 8, 2011 – what a great month to toast the New Year. The name itself is an action, a call to action: MARCH – Move!
October 3, 2010
October is Maafa Awareness Month, a time to reflect on recovery from the residual impact slavery had on the Black community and how the centuries of free labor benefited everyone else. The ritual this year is Sunday, Oct. 10, 5:30 a.m., at Ocean Beach, Fulton at the Great Highway, in San Francisco. Maafa is Kiswahili for “great calamity, reoccurring disaster,” a term used to describe the Black Holocaust of the European Slave Trade and how the post traumatic stress syndrome shows up in our thoughts and behavior unwittingly.
July 5, 2010
Quentin Easter was certainly a man whom too many of us will miss, miss for his warm compassionate smile, unruffled presence and positive outlook in the face of tremendous stress and obstacles.
April 17, 2009
“Love on Both Sides of the Wall: A Two Way Struggle” plays at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek April 17-18, 6:45 p.m. The production is topnotch, the story of the forgotten Children of the Movement.
March 20, 2009
Guests on Friday’s Wanda’s Picks Radio are Tovi Scruggs, M.Ed., and Sharon Morrison Parker, directors of ASA Academy, who talked about an exciting conference next week: “MAN UP! First Annual Black Boys Conference: Extending the Arm of Brotherhood to Achieve Manhood” on Saturday, March 28.