April 23, 2010
It’s your last chance to see Marcus Gardley’s mythical epic “… And Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi” at Cuttingball Theater in residence at the EXIT Theater, 277 Taylor St., San Francisco, Friday-Saturday, April 23-24, at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 5 p.m.
April 2, 2010
Set on the banks of the Mississippi during the Civil War, “…and Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi” is a poetic journey of forgiveness and redemption inspired by the myth of Demeter and Persephone. This thought-provoking play combines traditional storytelling, gospel music and a wicked sense of humor to create a rich, imaginative world that allows trees to preach, rivers to waltz and Jesus to moonwalk. The run has been extended through April 25.
March 20, 2010
A two-hour excursion with Sistah Mona literally erased all my bumps, bruises and pain. The brown-skinned sister with a ponytail works like a jazz musician – freestyling, eyes closed – the body on the table talking to her as she skated along terrain avoiding blind spots, walls and other baggage that comes along the road well traveled.
March 17, 2010
The characters’ stories in Chinaka Hodge’s debut as a playwright, “Mirrors in Every Corner,” capture a sense of tragedy lurking near all of us. From Rodney King to Oscar Grant, Loma Pieta to urban removal, one sits on the edge of her seat waiting for the wrecking ball to fall.
March 14, 2010
Harper’s Ferry … freeing slaves … Virginia … hanging … white man – this is the extent of my knowledge of John Brown. I wasn’t aware that it was 150 years ago, on Oct. 14-15, 1859, that this happened, an event which many say forecast the Civil War and the emancipation of enslaved Africans. See the opera Sunday afternoon, March 14, 3 p.m., at the East Side Cultural Center.
March 13, 2010
Multi-layered with healing at its center, the large cast of “Dancing with the Clown of Love,” some infected, everyone affected, shared stories written over the past two years at the Women’s HIV Program at the University of California San Francisco – documented in a short film that opens the show. Hurry! The run closes this weekend.
February 27, 2010
Rhodessa, dressed in an orange prison jumper from South Africa (orange the universal prison attire, like a brand), appears with a whip. All the sensations: cold, hard, eerie darkness, unfamiliar sounds, smells, give the audience plenty to contemplate, especially those in the first two rows where the whip spinning in Rhodessa’s hand over our heads, which she then flicks, we feel, too close to our faces as its breeze and the sting of its impact hits the ground again too close for comfort. But this theme – the Black holocaust – is it supposed to be an idea that brings ease?
December 28, 2009
This year, as in many years past, Godfather of Comedy Paul Mooney has returned to his roots at the Black Repertory Group Theater in Berkeley for performances every night Dec. 26-31, with three shows on New Year’s Eve. Tickets are selling fast, so call right away: (510) 652-2120 or the hot line, (925) 812-2787. Listen to two hilarious Block Report interviews by Minister of Information JR with Paul Mooney.
December 21, 2009
Habari gani, everyone! Happy Kwanzaa! Here are all the Kwanzaa celebrations we’ve been notified of; if you don’t find one near you, host one yourself and tell us about it so we can add it to the list. Kwanzaa is an African American holiday based on the African agricultural celebrations and collective principles, which contribute to the unity and development of the African community.
December 3, 2009
Baba Kamau Seitu, jazz musician and cultural artist, is playing music with the celestial orchestra. On Saturday, Nov. 28, with literally dozens at his bedside, the drums opened the way for his transition. His Homegoing Celebration will be held on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2 p.m., at Wo’se Community Church, 8924 Holly St., Oakland.
December 1, 2009
Happy New Year, Blessed Eid Al Adha and Happy Kwanzaa. I’ll be back in February 2009. Check the radio show and my blog for updates. I’ll be traveling. Tune in to Wanda’s Picks Radio at www.wandaspicks.com over the next month, when I will be broadcasting from Senegal, Mali and The Gambia.
November 27, 2009
Always a singer as well as an actor, Loretta Devine is in San Francisco to take her act on the road, to develop a singing career, a first for the multi-talented lady. Her appearance at the Rrazz Room Friday through Sunday, Nov. 27-29, will mark her nightclub debut. This engagement is exciting, because not only will it be Ms. Devine’s first performance as a singer, she will be singing original music as well as work from the American songbook of love.
November 20, 2009
Keb’ Mo’, who grew up in Compton surrounded by blues – a name he doesn’t particularly care for, the blues often associated with sad stories and hard luck lives – didn’t really come into the music until his 30s. Just out with a new album, on his own label, Yolabelle International, “Live and Mo’” features six live tracks and four studio. The artist tells stories which reflect the American social and cultural landscape.
November 10, 2009
Love has everything to do with it, and “Precious” shows us that where there is love, there is no intent to harm or cause pain. Precious’ life was the antithesis of love; how many children and adults confuse pain for love until they learn better?
October 31, 2009
Maafa 2009 was chillier than usual, but our hearts were certainly no less warmed by the ancestors’ tight embrace as supplicants made their way through the Middle Passage to the Wolosodon rhythms, the slave march through the Doors of No Return to the beach where each person held a piece of string – symbolic of a connection … a philosophical connection to the homeland, family and history.
October 16, 2009
Can you imagine 45,000 people dying each month and hardly a peep from anyone in the age of the Internet? There is a media blackout about Congo and no worldwide resolution to end the conflict and carnage there. The purpose of the Break the Silence Congo Week is to raise awareness about the devastating situation in the Congo and mobilize support on behalf of the people of the Congo.
October 2, 2009
The Maafa Ritual begins before dawn on Sunday, Oct. 11, about 5:30-6 a.m., at Ocean Beach on the Great Highway at Fulton Street in San Francisco. Invited are Black people interested in honoring our ancestors who perished in the European Slave Trade and its aftermath via colonialism and other forms of genocide like incarceration, terrible occurrences or reoccurring disasters felt today. Maafa Awareness Month was founded and has been organized by Bay View Arts Editor Wanda Sabir for 11 years.
September 4, 2009
On the first night of her Aug. 20-24 Triumph Tour, our sister Cynthia McKinney put a face on Gaza, Palestine, I don’t think many in the audience had seen before – I’m speaking of African Americans who are not usually the target population of such media focus. McKinney was speaking at Oakland’s landmark Grand Lake Theater, kicking off her Gaza Solidarity Triumph Tour, a series of fundraisers for the struggling SF Bay View newspaper.
September 1, 2009
Next month the most important item on my agenda is Maafa Commemoration Month to reflect on the legacy of slavery and how everyone benefited from this human rights travesty except those who did the work. We began Aug. 30 with a successful Maafa 2009: Hurricane Katrina Fundraiser and Reportback, thanks to all the poets and the visual artists who donated art for the silent auction and of course to Tess and Yeme, the proprietors of Shashamane Bar and Grill.
August 1, 2009
Black August begins with a campaign for the acquittal of Francisco Torres, the only member of the San Francisco 8 still charged. Go to www.freethesf8.org for messages to phone or fax to Attorney General Jerry Brown, urging him to drop the charges. Cisco’s hearing is Aug. 10 if the charges aren’t dropped.