Wanda’s Picks for September 2016

by Wanda Sabir

Formerly incarcerated actor Dameion Brown is Othello in Marin Shakespeare production

Dameion-Brown-as-Othello-in-Marin-Shakespeare-production-0916-by-Lori-A.-Cheung-web-200x300, Wanda’s Picks for September 2016, Culture Currents
Dameion Brown as Othello in Marin Shakespeare production

Actor Dameion Brown, playing the title role in the Marin Shakespeare Company’s production of “Othello,” is getting standing ovations since the production started. Still in previews, Brown, who told Marin Shakespeare Company Artistic Director Lesley Currier that he wanted to play the African warrior, “Othello,” has with this role seen a dream come true.

Since the MSC production of “Othello” opened Aug. 26 for previews, we learn that Brown is a formerly incarcerated or convicted person (FICP), just released after serving 23 years of a life sentence. Brown played Macduff in Solano State Prison’s “Macbeth” in 2015 under the direction of Lesley Currier as part of Marin Shakespeare’s Arts-in-Corrections programs funded by the California Arts Council and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

He is delighted to be giving back to the community through his work at Community Works West, teaching parenting skills with the EPIC Program – Empowering Parents In Our Community – and cultural awareness classes with an emphasis on anger management and conflict resolution. He is a case manager for transitional age youth (TAY), helping youth ages 18 to 25 realize they can make better choices about their lives. Visit http://marinshakespeare.org/tickets/. The performances are at Forest Meadows, 890 Belle Ave., San Rafael.

Access Via Exposure (AVE) and Reimagine! present ‘I Am San Francisco: Black Past and Presence’ exhibition

The City College of San Francisco Rosenberg Library will host a reception for the mixed media exhibition “I Am San Francisco: Black Past and Presence,” which will include a release party for “Power in Place,” the latest issue of Race, Poverty and Environment (RP&E), the national journal for social and environmental justice published by Reimagine! This event will take place on the third floor atrium in Room 305 of the library at 50 Phelan Ave. from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 22, 2016.

The public is invited to join us for exhibition viewing, refreshments, presentations and performances. San Francisco Poet Laureate Devorah Major will be performing excerpts from her play, “Classic Black,” which also looks at the history and contribution of Blacks in San Francisco. For information, contact Jarrel Phillips, exhibition curator and lead artist, at 415-350-2222, jarrelp@gmail.com, avesidea.org or reimaginerpe.org.

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

Charlie-Hintons-Solitary-Man-pelican-logo-225x300, Wanda’s Picks for September 2016, Culture Currents
This is the “logo” for Charlie Hinton’s one-man play, which he has performed from coast to coast.

The Berkeley Arts Festival is presenting Charlie Hinton’s “Solitary Man: My Visit to Pelican Bay State Prison” with jazz improvisation by Bill Crossman – director is Mark Kenward – for two performances: Friday, Sept. 23, 8 p.m., is a benefit for the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition, and Sunday, Sept. 25, 4 p.m., is a benefit for Black Lives Matter. The venue is at 2133 University Ave., Berkeley, between Shattuck and Walnut.

Charlie created “Solitary Man” based on letters and visits with prisoners in Pelican Bay SHU – solitary confinement. The play takes place in November 2014, a year after the largest prisoner hunger strike in history.

Pianist Bill Crossman will improvise music throughout the performance. Afterwards, we will have an update about Pelican Bay and the “security/welfare” checks that are waking up prisoners every 30 minutes in solitary confinement units throughout California. Suggested donation $5-$10, but no one will be turned away. For more info, go to https://www.facebook.com/solitarymantheplay/?fref=ts.

All Access 2016

Justice now! “All Access 2016” – Oakland for Abortion Rights – will be livestreamed at the New Parkway Theatre in Oakland, Sept. 10, 4:15 p.m. to 7 p.m. Visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1714749882123850/.

Join ACCESS Women’s Health Justice and Shanelle Matthews as we take over the New Parkway Theater to livestream the All Access 2016 event, a night of music and comedy taking place in cities across the U.S. to celebrate the vibrant majority of Americans who support an individual’s right to access abortion. With a headlining event in Cleveland, satellite events in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Miami and Chicago, and 30-plus local events across the country, All Access will show that we stand together to ensure equitable access to abortion in every community.

Livestream performances by Sia, Natalia LaFourcade, Leslie Jones, host Jessica Williams, and more. Tickets are $10.


Raissa-Simpson-PUSH-Dance-300x167, Wanda’s Picks for September 2016, Culture Currents
Raissa Simpson, PUSH Dance

Congratulations to Raissa Simpson on her MFA this spring and on her upcoming fourth PUSHfest, Friday-Sunday, Sept. 23-25. Ms. Simpson’s new work, “Mothership,” an Afrofuturism piece, was created in collaboration with composer Erica Mulkey. It will be performed in Program A only.

PUSH Dance Company presents PUSHfest, a mixed-genre – modern, ballet, hip-hop, ethnic and multi-disciplinary – dance festival that situates 18 mid-career and emerging choreographers in two different and exciting programs at ODC Theater, 3153 17th St., San Francisco, Friday-Sunday, Sept. 23-25, 2016.

There will be four shows: Program A: Friday, Sept. 23, at 8 p.m., and Sunday matinee, Sept. 25, at 4 p.m.; Program B: Saturday, Sept. 24 at 8 p.m., and Sunday evening, Sept. 25, at 7 p.m. Tickets for PUSHfest are priced $30 general admission, $28 in advance, $15 senior-student, $50 festival pass for both programs. They may be purchased at http://www.pushdance.org/festival.

‘White Man on a Bus’

“White Man on a Bus” by Bruce Graham will be performed Sept. 15-24 at the Flight Deck, 1540 Broadway, Oakland. For tickets, go to http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2580683. There will be a live video interview with the playwright following the Sept. 17, 8 p.m., performance. Tickets are $5 for youth, $15 for adults.

Ray, a wealthy white business executive, rides the bus through a struggling Black neighborhood and past the state penitentiary every Saturday. For many on the bus it doesn’t make sense. Why would a rich, white businessman give up his life of luxury to ride a bus? On his weekly ride, Ray befriends Shatique, a young African-American woman putting herself through school and battling to raise a son on her own. As they get to know each other, the threads that tie them together gradually unravel in a complex web of moral ambiguity, race, privilege and revenge.

Theatre Rhinoceros presents ‘The Brothers Size’

“The Brothers Size” by Tarell Alvin McCraney is directed by Darryl V. Jones in the Theatre Rhinoceros production Sept. 24-Oct. 15, 2016, at the Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson St., at Battery, in San Francisco. Visit www.TheRhino.org.

On the fly

Joyce Gordon Gallery’s 13th Anniversary Exhibition Season continues with “Artmatism and Geometic Abstraction: Bill Dallas and John Whitehead,” Sept. 2-Oct. 1. The artist reception and talk are Friday, Sept. 2, 6-9 p.m. – talk at 7 p.m. The gallery is located at 406 14th St., Oakland, 510-465-8928. Poetry at the Beat Museum in San Francisco, “Positive Change, By Any Means Necessary,” is for 100 Thousand Poets for Change, Saturday, Sept. 24, from 2 to 6 p.m. Charles Blackwell is one of the featured poets. Also at the Beat Museum this month is the Ninth Annual Beat Museum Poetry Festival, Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 17-18. The Beat Museum is located at 540 Columbus St. in San Francisco.

Brava presents ‘TYPE/CASTE, A Solo Show About Acting While Black (& Queer)’; learn more at http://www.rotimionline.com/Type/Caste. Written and performed by Rotimi Agbabiaka, it is directed by Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe at Brava Studio, Sept. 15-Oct. 1, 8 p.m., Thursday-Saturday. A queer Black actor dreams of a dazzling career on the American stage but will first have to leap over obstacles placed by an industry that isn’t always welcoming to applicants who are neither white nor straight.

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.