Wanda’s Picks for June

by Wanda Sabir

Haiti-2009-Zanmi-Lakay-Cite-Soleil-Photography-Workshop-along-with-Fondasyon-Kolezepol-Pou-Sove-Ti-Moun-leaders-by-Jean-Ristil-Jean-Baptiste, Wanda’s Picks for June, Culture Currents School is winding down for some of us, grades in or due. News agency CNN.com, Ted Turner’s baby which created the 24-hour news coverage model, celebrates its 30th anniversary June 1. Gemini is what’s happening as well this month. Happy birthday to all the twins – we are so wonderful!

I wasn’t able to get back to Haiti between spring and summer semesters, but I would like to go after summer session, July 30-Aug. 14. I am taking donations. Send them to Wanda Sabir, P.O. Box 30756, Oakland, CA 94604. I am sending donors a keepsake photo collage from trip 1. The fundraiser at the College of Alameda on May 18 was a great success, thanks to Maria Labossiere, Colette Eloi, Carolyn Brandy, Michelle Jacques and the ASCOA representative. The Social Welfare Club raised $170 for Jean Ristil’s organization in Cite Soliel.

I was thinking about my good friend Raymond Nat Turner, whose birthday is June 1, and found out that his mother, wonderful community organizer and activist in Southern California, like the mother of the Jackson brothers, Jonathan and George, Georgia Jackson – yes, Black women can raise strong, committed, conscious men – made her transition on his anniversary or birthday. So we want to wish her soul a safe passage on the river along the banks of forever after this and that and to Raymond and Ziggy and all her children, grands and great-grands, our condolences.

Libations for the Ancestors

On the second Saturday in June, June 12, is the International Libation for the Ancestors. It is an international remembrance that takes place nationally and internationally, the time synchronized. Locally, that time is 9 a.m. We meet at Lake Merritt at the fountain across from Merritt Bakery on the lake side about 8:30 a.m., so we can pour at 9 a.m. exactly. People are encouraged to wear white and bring instruments and/or songs, reflections, poetry to share. This libation in the San Francisco Bay Area is for people of African descent. For information, visit www.maafasfbayarea.com or email mail@maafasfbayarea.com. If you can’t get to the lake or to any other public events in New York or Philadelphia or Panama, just pour at the same time we do in California in the time zone equivalent. Also look at http://maafasanfranciscobayarea.blogspot.com.

I had an interview with some of the founders of the ritual in New York and another ritual event in Philadelphia last year in June. It was broadcast June 5, 2009. Listen at www.blogtalkradio.com/wandas-picks.

Program notes for that show: Today we’ll be talking about the Remembrance Ritual, which occurs next week, June 13, worldwide. African Diaspora communities pour libations at the same time for departed ones, especially those who were not mourned during the period called the European Slave Trade. We’ll be speaking to Osei Terry Chandler and William Jones. Chandler is founder of the Remembrance in Charleston, S.C. Jones is one of the organizers for the Remembrance in New York on Coney Island at Bay 18. Joining the discussion will be Oshunbumi Fernandez, host of the Odunde Festival in Philadelphia. Odunde means in Yoruba Happy New Year! All the Remembrance Rituals occur June 13 at 12 noon EST, which is 9 a.m. PST.

Students perform for justice for Oscar Grant and migrants

Students from City Arts and Technology High School have been studying police brutality, institutional racism and the killing of Oscar Grant over the course of a seven-day workshop. Their culminating project is the creation of spoken word pieces and a public reading at two Bay Area BART Stations. They will also be passing out flyers to inform the public about the case and letting people know how to get involved.

Oscar-Grant-protest-by-City-Arts-and-Technology-High-School-students-at-2-Oakland-BART-stations-060910-by-AP, Wanda’s Picks for June, Culture Currents As the murder trial of Johannes Mehserle begins in Los Angeles, the students will perform spoken word pieces under the theme: “We are All Oscar Grant!” on Wednesday, June 9, at 10 a.m. at 24th Street BART and at 12 noon at Fruitvale BART.

In San Francisco, another group of students from same high school will be speaking out and informing the public about Arizona Immigration Law SB 1070. This falls within a larger unit of study around the concept of “Universe of Obligation,” which challenges students to find their place in the larger world around them and decide where their responsibility lies.

Sia Amma’s ‘Uncle Sam’s Children in Africa’

Sia Amma will perform her “Uncle Sam’s Children in Africa” in “A Festival of New Voices” June 2-13, at the Marsh during a celebration of solo theatre pieces by up-and-coming artists. The performances are a culmination of a nine-month creative process that began with The Marsh commissioning six artists to create new full-length solo works and 12 additional artists to create shorter pieces. To see the line-up, visit www.themarsh.org or call (800) 838-3006. Wayne Harris has a short piece in the festival, along with Mia Pascal, Don Reed and many others.

Theatre Bay Area and Lorraine Hansberry Theatre present ‘Celebrating the Life and Work of Quentin Easter: A Tribute to benefit Lorraine Hansberry Theatre’

This event is a tribute to Lorraine Hansberry Theatre founding executive director Quentin Easter, who passed away April 28, featuring Mistress of Ceremonies Belva Davis and an evening of performances by notable Bay Area theatre artists and singers. A catered reception immediately follows the performance. The performance is Monday, June 14, 7 p.m., in the Novellus Theater, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 700 Howard St. at Third, San Francisco. Tickets are $10-$150. Call (415) 978-2787 or visit http://www.YBCA.org.

The Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti mixer

This mixer will be Wednesday, June 9, 5:30-7:30 p.m., at the Soluna Cafe and Lounge, 272 McAllister St. in San Francisco, near Civic Center BART. Brian Concannon Jr., director of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, will be there, along with the newest members of his staff – Blaine Bookey, Nicole Philips and Lily Friedman – and institute collaborators from Minnesota and Chicago. Join the conversation and build community around the work for human rights in Haiti.

On the fly

“The Great Integration” is finally here at ODC Theatre for two performances, June 18-19, and then on to New York for a Joyce Soho opening in July. I am so looking forward to the San Francisco Bay Area premiere of the hip hop chamber opera. Visit http://www.motionfest.org/donate.php. The Youth Speaks Slam Finals are in LA this year. Visit www.youthspeaks.org. Stanford Jazz Workshops are upon us. Visit www.stanfordjazz.org. Ask about scholarships. The San Francisco Opera has a summer season – http://sfopera.com/.

Angelique-Kidjo-of-Benin-performs-at-World-Cup-opening-concert-Soweto-061010-by-Gero-Breloer-AP, Wanda’s Picks for June, Culture Currents Don’t forget free concerts at Stern Grove Festival. Visit http://www.sterngrove.org/. Angelique Kidjo opens on June 20 and Maceo Parker also headlines this season, which continues through Aug. 22. Meklit opens for Rickey Lee Jones Aug. 1. There is a hip hop film festival at La Pena Cultural Center June 3, 8 p.m. Visit www.lapena.org. Also at La Pena this month are the Linda Tillary Cultural Heritage Choir June 18, 8 p.m.; Jovelyn Richards in “Mrs. Pat’s House” June 27, 7 p.m.; La Pena’s 35th Anniversary Party, Saturday, June 5, 12 noon to 6 p.m. At 9 p.m. Bomberas de la Bahia team up with Rebel Diaz for a fun birthday party.

The 12th Annual Healdburg Jazz Festival is June 4-13. Visit http://www.healdsburgjazzfestival.org/wordpress/. Saturday, June 12, Sean Reynolds will read from her novel, “Dying for a Change!” at Queer Fest 2010, held at the LGBT Center on Market Street, San Francisco, at 7:30 p.m. I found this really cool site with information for San Francisco families. Parents and families can get “family passes” for free tickets to activities like ferry rides and museum admission at SF public libraries. Call or visit your local branch library for information or visit http://www.sfkids.org/. Harmony Festival is June 11-13 in Sonoma County. Visit www.harmonyfestival.com. Lauren Hill is one of the headliners. Oakland Mayoral Forum is June 10, 6-9, at the First Unitarian Church of Oakland, 685 14th and Castro, Oakland. A reception follows. Confirmed are Don Perata, Jean Quan, Rebecca Kaplan, Terrence Candell, Greg Harland, Orlando Johnson and Don MacLeay.

Juneteenth 2010

Juneteenth is a festival celebrating African American Freedom while encouraging self-development.

In Oakland: For Juneteenth, the Omnira Projects presents “A Celebration of the End of Slavery … Roots of Freedom” at Lake Merritt June 19, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at the Boat House Picnic area, 562 Bellevue Ave., Oakland. The event will feature traditional African and Native American dances, as well as drumming from the First Nation drummers of the Black Native American Association. There is a processional at 10 a.m. with traditional bata drums. It is a free event and everyone is welcome. For information, contact Wanda Ravenell, (510) 436-0658 or omniraprojects@yahoo.com.

In Berkeley: The 23rd Annual Berkeley Juneteenth is Sunday, June 13, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Adeline and Alcatraz, three blocks from Ashby BART. Visit http://www.berkeleyjuneteenth.org/. For information, call (510) 655-8008 or email berkeleyjuneteenth@sbcglobal.net. This festival is free. The Juneteenth Festival in Berkeley was first organized in 1987 by several ex-Black Panthers, Cal alumni and community activists.

In San Francisco: San Francisco Juneteenth Festival is June 19-20 and includes a film festival this year. The 60th Annual San Francisco Juneteenth Festival is a Bay Area event that celebrates and shares African-American history and culture through music, performing arts, living history and other cultural activities. The Civic Center Plaza will be filled with food, arts and crafts, community booths and corporate sponsor areas. Live entertainment, a Healthy Living Fair and an Empowerment Fair will take place. Visit http://www.sfjuneteenth.org/.

San Francisco Black Film Festival is back Juneteenth weekend!

The San Francisco Black Film Festival will be a supplemental programmatic component to this year’s Juneteenth Celebration. Remember when the SFBFF was called the Juneteenth Film Festival when Ave Montegue started it?

Angela-Davis-Yuri-Kochiyama-in-Mountains-That-Take-Wing-by-C.A.-Griffith-c-QUAD-Productions, Wanda’s Picks for June, Culture Currents Starting Thursday, June 17, at the Sundance Kabuki Theater in Japantown, SFBFF12 will present “Mountains That Take Wing,” a documentary about political activists Angela Davis and Yuri Kochiyama. Friday, June 18, SFBFF12 will host a day of film screening at the Jazz Heritage Center’s Koret Screening Room in the historic Fillmore District, 1330 Fillmore St. Then, Saturday and Sunday, June 19-20, screenings are at the Opera Plaza Cinemas in downtown San Francisco, one block from Civic Center Plaza.

Lecture by Dr. Maya Angelou

Hailed as one of the greatest speakers of our time, Dr. Maya Angelou’s words have been a source of inspiration, comfort, encouragement and strength for millions of people around the world. A poet, playwright, producer, director, conductor, actor, best-selling author, social activist and three-time Grammy Award winner, she claims no single profession and excels at all she undertakes. Dr. Angelou is at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts, 255 Almaden Boulevard, San Jose, (800) SAN-JOSE or (408) 277-3535.

When I called to see if there were any discounted tickets for students – the range $39.99 to $75.00 – the answer was no. We called a number of times and got the same answer each time. It made me wonder who the audience is for the event and why when Black artists become internationally known and respected, the masses lose access. I had three students present papers on her and her work, students who hadn’t know her prior to this assignment. All of the students, including myself, are not of Dr. Angelou’s generation. I don’t know who the presenting organization, “Unique Lives and Experiences,” are but this Black life and that of my students, not all Pan African, are not a part of their equation. Whoopie Goldberg is a part of their fall season; maybe they will see this and rethink their logo.

Doll Lover’s Tea

American Black Beauty Doll Artists (ABBDA) presents the Doll Lover’s Tea at the Golden Tea Garden, 22630 Main St., Hayward, on Saturday, June 12, 12-2 p.m. Patrons are invited to a relaxing afternoon of some of our favorite things: dolls and tea! Wear your favorite hat and come ready for fun. Tea service will include over five different teas, tea sandwiches and more for $30 per person. Space is limited so get your tickets NOW! Call (510) 418-0555.

2010 San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival

There is a Special Festival Benefit Gala on Friday, June 11, at 6 p.m. Visit http://www.worldartswest.org/main/home.asp. The festival runs June 5 and 6, 12 and 13, 19 and 20, 26 and 27, Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre in San Francisco.

Week 1: Fua Dia Congo and Cultural Heritage Choir (Congo) World Premiere

Performed by the Mbeti people of Congo-Brazzaville, Nzobi ritual dances are a call for spiritual protection and purification and are accompanied by Linda Tillery’s Grammy-nominated Cultural Heritage Choir singing traditional Congolese music.

Week 2: Rara Tou Limen (Haiti)

Powerful rada drums begin this depiction of an initiate’s Kanzo ceremony into the Vodou tradition of Haiti, where dancing and drumming become a channel of communication with the Lwa – spiritual entities – and the ancestors.

Week 3: Afoutayi Dance Company (Haiti) World Premiere

Afoutayi-Dance-Company-of-Haiti, Wanda’s Picks for June, Culture Currents Through traditional poly-rhythmic drumming, call-and-response singing and ceremonial ritual dance, Simbi Dlo, the Goddess of Water, is honored in the hope that she will bring water to the community, in this powerful Haitian dance from the Vodou religion.

Week 4: The Chinyakare Ensemble (Zimbabwe)

Two powerful dances from Africa highlight aspects of the indigenous culture of Zimbabwe: Mhande is a Shona ceremonial dance to bless seeds and petition the ancestral spirits for rain, and Hoso/Amabhiza is a healing Ndebele dance for families displaced by colonialism to connect to what was left behind.

Imani’s Dream (United States) World Premiere

A rose that grows from the concrete … Thirty American inner-city youth overcome often difficult backgrounds to allow the lessons of life to plant new seeds and bring forth their true selves, expressed through their own mix of hip-hop and modern dance.

Las Bomberas de la Bahia (Puerto Rico) World Premiere

In a friendly challenge between dancer and drummer, this improvised interaction featuring intricate footwork and dramatic skirt flourishes speaks to the struggles of the Puerto Rican people – danced by the Bay Area’s first and only all-women bomba ensemble.

Frameline34: San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival

Frameline34: San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival screens June 17-27 at the Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St., and the Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th St., in San Francisco and in Berkeley at Rialto Cinemas Elmwood, 2966 College Ave. The Frameline Box Office is located inside Superstar Satellite, 474 Castro St. between Market and 18th; hours are 1-8 p.m. daily. Tickets are also available online at www.frameline.org and via fax at (415) 861-1404.

Unless otherwise noted, tickets for matinee screenings, Monday-Friday, 5 p.m. and earlier, are $8 for the general public and $7 for Frameline members, while evening and weekend shows are $10 for the general public and $9 for members. Castro Passes, good for admission to all screenings at the Castro Theatre, other than Opening Night and Closing Night, are available for $200. Weekday Matinee Passes, good for admission to all weekday matinee screenings starting at 5 p.m. or earlier at the Castro Theatre are available for $35.

Coloring Outside the Lines: Black Cartoonists as Social Commentators

Comic strips offer a unique form of social criticism and commentary. The best cartoons expose some truths and, to quote the Bible, “the truth will set you free.” Cartoonists must often be provocateurs. As cartoonist Keith Knight says, “Cartoonists are the court jesters of modern times. We can get away with things that others can’t because of our ‘cute’ drawings.” “Coloring Outside the Lines” features some of those “court jesters.” They share their experiences, inspiration and perspectives as social commentators and provocateurs. The exhibit, which run through June 17 at the African American Center in the Main Library, 100 Larkin St., San Francisco, features several Black cartoonists whose comic strips appear in newspapers across the country.

A related program, nationally syndicated cartoonists Darrin Bell (Candorville and Rudy Park) and Keith Knight (award-winning K Chronicles, (Th)ink and The Knight Life) and curator Kheven LaGrone discuss their art. Animated shorts by nationally-syndicated cartoonist Jerry Craft (Mama’s Boyz) will also be screened. The discussion will be moderated by Thomas Robert Simpson, founder and artistic director of AfroSolo. The discussion is Sunday, June 13, 1-3 p.m., Main Library, Lower Level, Koret Auditorium, San Francisco.

‘Goodbye Solo’

“Goodbye Solo,” winner of the International Critic’s Prize for Best Film at the Venice Film Festival, will be broadcast on POV June 1. Solo is a Senegalese cab driver working to provide a better life for his young family. William is a tough, Southern good old boy with a lifetime of regrets. One man’s American dream is just beginning while the other’s is quickly winding down. But despite their differences, both men soon realize they need each other more than either is willing to admit.

Through this unlikely but unforgettable friendship, “Goodbye Solo” deftly explores the passing of a generation as well as the rapidly changing face of America. Perhaps the title takes its theme from the fact that despite our interconnectedness and symbiotic inclinations as a species, human beings are in fact for the most part traveling solo and each step places us closer to the ultimate soliloquy, death. The Senegalese taxi driver meets a depressed man who pays him for a unique favor, one the driver doesn’t want to accept.

Do all of us have a price – selling out not really selling out, just a way to offer oneself over to the highest bidder? So are we all slaves to capital? The film moves slowly and kind of grows on viewers, who at the end of the film have more questions than answers. Visit www.kqed.org and check listings for broadcast time and channel or POV.org for national listings.

Fierce Sistahs!

Lenn-Keller-curator-photographer-archivist-of-‘Fierce-Sistahs-The-Activism-Art-Community-of-Bay-Area-Lesbians-of-Color-1975-–-Present’-0610, Wanda’s Picks for June, Culture Currents Check out another art exhibit, “Fierce Sistahs! The Activism, Art & Community of Bay Area Lesbians of Color, 1975 – Present,” which will be at the San Francisco Main Public Library’s Hormel Center until June 30. Visit http://www.gbmnews.com/gbm/articles/review-fierce-sistahs–.html.

Bay View Arts Editor Wanda Sabir can be reached at wsab1@aol.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 6-7:30 or 8 a.m. and Fridays at 8-10 a.m., can be heard by phone at (347) 237-4610 and are archived on the Afrikan Sistahs’ Media Network.