Wanda’s Picks for February 2020

Brother Muhammad Hanif, Jimi Evins and Raymond Nat Turner at the poetry celebration Feb. 1 – Photo: Wanda Sabir

by Wanda Sabir

Happy Black History Month!

We get an extra day and we need it too to get our Black Joy parade gear picked out for Sunday, Feb. 23. It’s an attitude, not an outfit. 

He’s back! Robert Townsend’s ‘Living the Shuffle,’ directed by Don Reed

Robert Townsend’s “Living the Shuffle” is back at The Marsh Arts Center in Berkeley, beginning Feb. 1-29, Friday, 8 p.m., Saturday, 8:30 p.m., Sunday, 5:30 p.m. Visit Don Reed’s E-14th. It’s up Feb. 21-22, at the SF Marsh Main Stage, 1062 Valencia, and Brian Copeland’s “Not a Genuine Black Man,” Feb. 8, 5 p.m., at Marsh in Berkeley, 2120 Allston, Berkeley. For information or tickets, call 415-282-3055.

Read my review of Townsend’s work “Living the Shuffle” when he presented the work to sold out houses.

Raymond Nat Turner Day

Raymond Nat Turner is visiting from New York for several California events. First is Feb. 15, 3 p.m., at Plymouth Church of Jazz and Justice, 424 Monte Vista Ave., Oakland, $20, no one turned away. Celebrate “Raymond Nat Turner Day” Feb. 25, 6 p.m., Berkeley City Chambers, 2020 Bonar St. in the School Board Building; enter from 1231 Addison St. The proceedings will also be aired the same day on Radio Cable TV Channel at 6 p.m. Visit upsurgejazz.com.

‘We Keep Us Safe’ book launch

Zach Norris, executive director of the Ella Baker Center, is having his book launch for “We Keep Us Safe: Building Secure, Just, and Inclusive Communities,” Tuesday, Feb. 4, 6-8:15 p.m., beginning with a reception at 6:00, followed by the program at 6:30 and the book signing at 7:35. The location is Restore Oakland, 1419 34th Ave., Oakland 94601. Later this month, Feb. 12, 6 -7 p.m., Zach is in conversation with Fred Blackwell, SF Foundation CEO, at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, 110 The Embarcadero, 415-597-6705. The two men will discuss “Building an Inclusive America.” For those in D.C., Zach is kicking off his East Coast tour at Busboys and Poets Feb. 6.

Featured at the Feb. 4 event are Zach Norris, author and Ella Baker Center executive director; Venus Jones, actress, poet, author; Lateefah Simon, president of the Akonadi Foundation; Davey D, host of Hard Knock Radio on KPFA; DeVone Boggan, founder and CEO of Advance Peace; and Marlena Henderson, criminal justice and mental health reform advocate. Books will be on sale at the venue. Listen to an interview with Zach on Wanda’s Picks Radio: http://tobtr.com/11646241.

Artist and activist Rev. Daniel Buford retires after 30 years of prophetic ministry 

Don’t miss an opportunity to attend a casual community celebration and gathering with appetizers, music and artwork to honor Daniel Buford’s contributions to social justice in his 33 years of prophetic ministry in Oakland and the greater San Francisco Bay Area as he moves into life as an elder back in his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, where he will retire and concentrate on his sculpture. The event is Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020, 5-7:30 p.m., at COLORS Restaurant at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, 1419 34th Ave., Oakland.

Rev. Daniel Buford

Hosts Fania Davis, Ron Glass, Merle Lustig, Awele Makeba, Zach Norris, Rev. J. Alfred Smith Sr. and many others invite you to join them in recognizing Rev. Buford and his work as artist, sculptor, griot, prophet, minister and community organizer.

This is a sliding-scale ticketed event. ALL of the ticket sales will go directly to support Daniel’s retirement. You can also make a donation if you can’t attend. Appetizers and light refreshments will be provided by the hosts, a no-host cash bar will be available to benefit the new COLORS Restaurant and ROC United, and musical entertainment will be provided by Rashiid Moore. For tickets or to make a donation, go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/daniel-buford-recognition-and-benefit-tickets-87198207185. To listen to two recent interviews with Rev. Buford about his work and retirement plans, visit http://tobtr.com/11646239 and http://tobtr.com/11646241.

A conversation between two African scholars, Tony Browder and Dr. Runoko Rashidi

Uppity Entertainment presents Tony Browder and Dr. Runoko Rashidi in Restoring the Missing Pages of African History, at Impact Hub Oakland, 2323 Broadway, in Oakland, Saturday, Feb. 15, 6-9 p.m. The event will feature entertainment and African Diaspora merchants. For tickets, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/runoko-rashidi-anthony-browder-tickets-88726157325.

‘Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963-1983’ through March 15 at the deYoung Museum

The “Soul of a Nation” is featured at the deYoung Museum located in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco through March. There is one more free day Feb. 8. After this the only discounts apply to general admission; however, this special exhibit will have a cost. Visit https://deyoung.famsf.org/free-reduced-admission. There are docent led tours and special musical performances that are free with museum admission. Rockridge Library, 5366 College Ave., in Oakland, is hosting a discussion about this exhibit, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 6:30 p.m., oaklandlibrary.org.

Oakland Public Library celebrates Black History Month 

Don’t miss “Living the American Dream: African American Leisure Sites During the Jim Crow Era,” at AAMLO, 659 14th St., Oakland, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2 p.m. Visit oaklandlibrary.org.

“Make a Quilt Square!” With the African American Quilt Guild of Oakland’s Annual Demonstration and Workshop. Supplies are provided for all levels at the West Oakland Branch, 1801 Adeline St., Sat., Feb. 22, 1 p.m.

Golden Gate Library has a special presentation on Ruth and Eugene Lasartemay, one of the founding families of the East Bay Negro Historical Society (EBNHS). Their collections, now at AAMLO, were originally housed at Golden Gate Library. The program is Thursday. Feb. 13, 6 p.m., at Golden Gate Branch, 5606 San Pablo Ave.

5th Annual Local Authors Showcase at West Oakland Library, Feb. 29, 1 p.m., 1801 Adeline St.

Alameda Free Library Black History Month Events:

2/1 All Your Favorite Music is (Probably) Black

2/2 Black Youth: Exploring the Road to Success

2/3 Alameda Free Library Film Series: The God Given Talent

2/10 Art Talk: Soul of a Nation

2/12 Fourth Annual Author Series: Jenee Darden

2/18 Thoughtful Movie Tuesdays: Fences

Another Alameda Black History Month event: Alameda Island Poets Black History Reading, Wednesday, Feb. 5, to panels on Black Youth Success: https://alamedasun.com/news/black-history-month-events-start-next-week.

‘Living the California Dream’ book signing

Historian Alison Jefferson presents “Living the California Dream: African American Leisure Sites during the Jim Crow Era.” The California Historical Society in partnership with the African American Center of the San Francisco Public Library, presents a book talk and signing with historian Alison Jefferson, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 6:00 p.m., at Koret Auditorium, San Francisco Public Library, Main Branch, 100 Larkin St., San Francisco. The cost is free. 

Dr. Jefferson will discuss her new book, which explores how, as Southern California was reimagining leisure and positioning it at the center of the American Dream, African American Californians were working to make that leisure an open, inclusive reality. By occupying recreational sites and public spaces, African Americans challenged racial hierarchies and marked a space of Black identity on the regional landscape and social space – creating Black-owned resorts, communities, businesses and recreational culture that drew vacationers and participants from Northern California and around the state.

KQED African American History Month programming

See the schedule at https://ww2.kqed.org/about/2020/01/23/on-tv-black-history-month-february-2020/.

Monday, Feb. 24, 10 p.m., Independent Lens #2111 “Always in Season” (NEW): In 2014, African American teenager Lennon Lacy was found hanging from a swing set. His mother believes he was lynched. Stark inconsistencies and few answers from officials drive her to lead efforts in what has become an ongoing fight for the truth.

Tuesday, Feb. 25, 9 p.m., Miles Davis: American Masters #3109 (NEW): Discover the man behind the legend. With full access to the Miles Davis estate, the film features never-before-seen footage, including studio outtakes from his recording sessions, rare photos and new interviews.

Damien Sneed presents: ‘We Shall Overcome: A Musical Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’

Cal Performances at UC Berkeley presents We Shall Overcome, A Celebration of Martin Luther King Jr., featuring Damien Sneed, renown, award-winning, music director, conductor and accompanists for Grammy winning touring and recording artists, Thursday, Feb. 20, 8 p.m., at Zellerbach Hall. Sneed will lead an ensemble of five vocalists and a live band, joined by the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir in a program of timeless African American music, including traditional spiritual and contemporary gospel songs, soul, R&B, Broadway and jazz selections. For tickets visit calperformances.org or call 510-642-9988. Tickets are $28-$56 with half-price tickets for UC Berkeley students. For other discount information, visit calperformances.org/discounts. 

This event is in conjunction with UC Berkeley’s 400 Years of Resistance to Slavery and Injustice initiative, which started last fall. Visit https://400years.berkeley.edu/.

On the fly

Black Choreographers Here and Now 2020 runs Feb. 22-March 8. Ubuntu Theater Project opens at its new home, The Flax Building in Oakland, with “Macbeth,” an all-woman ensemble, Feb. 7-March 1. Art of the African Diaspora continues at the Richmond Art Center, 2540 Barrett Ave., Tuesday-Saturday, Richmond, 510-620-6772, with lots of satellite exhibitions throughout the great Bay Area. Visit http://richmondartcenter.org/exhibitions/art-of-the-african-diaspora-2020/. A film featuring Charles Curtis Blackwell, directed by Jeff M. Giordano, “The God Given Talent,” will screen at Alameda Free Library, 1550 Oak St., Alameda, Monday, Feb. 3, 5:30-8 p.m. Admission is free. The film will be followed by a Q&A with the director, Mr. Giordano, and star, Mr. Blackwell. 

History Keeps Me Awake

History Keeps Me Awake: Queer Voices in Repertory at TheatreFirst (T1st) Feb. 15-March 7, presents two plays: Skylar Cooper’s “A One Man Show” charts his course of transformation from a Baptist minister’s daughter afraid to tell her parents she liked girls, didn’t believe in God, and desperately wished to become a man, through the death of his mother that serves as the unexpected catalyst that sets Skyler on his path toward whom he’s always been. This work, dramaturgy by Lisa Evans, is in repertory with Elaine Magree’s “PUSSYGRABBINGREVENGE,” a seriously funny play about seriously unfunny things. Spanning 60 years, collective responses to sexual threats and violence are recounted and interrogated: Is it revenge, resistance, subversion or justice? What is justice? It’s at T1st in West Berkeley at The Waterfront Playhouse, 2020 Fourth St., Berkeley. Visit https://theatrefirst.com/tickets/.

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 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.