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Over the past 14 years, Living Jazz has provided FREE music education to Oakland public elementary schools serving high percentages of low-income families (Title One) through the Living Jazz Children’s Project (LJCP). Over 4,500 second and third graders have now benefited from LJCP and, as a result, have had the life changing opportunity to perform as the opening act at “In the Name of Love,” Oakland’s only non-denominational musical tribute honoring Dr. King, one of the many programs Living Jazz has produced since 1984. This year’s MLK Musical Tribute will be on Sunday, Jan. 20, 7 p.m., at the Oakland Scottish Rite Center.
Congrats to new San Francisco Mayor London Breed! Congrats to TheatreFirst for “Participants,” the kind of collaborative theatre project which should be the norm, not the exception. Make sure you check out the finale for the TF 2017-18 season: “Between Us” and “Just One Day” beginning Feb. 18. Listen to two engaging conversations with playwrights and actors about “Participants”: Dezi Soléy and Cheri L. Miller, Skyler Cooper, Nick Nanna Mwaluko, Carl Lumbly.
Coming of age in the ‘60s was a trying time for young African American men whose taste of power made it hard to relinquish their dreams of equality and true democracy shortly thereafter in the ‘70s during the Reagan years with the war on Black people, disguised as a war on drugs. Nonetheless Glen Upshaw did not let fear mitigate or guide his behavior. A peacemaker or violence interrupter, his job is to de-escalate situations before they happen or restore peace and safety in situations where violence has taken place.
2017 marks the centennial of the nation’s bloodiest race riot in the 20th century in East St. Louis, Illinois. Migrant Black people were hired to work as miners to replace striking white workers at the Aluminum Ore Co. The white workers stormed City Hall demanding redress from the mayor. Shortly thereafter, news of an attempted robbery of a white man by an armed Black man set off the reign of terror in downtown East St. Louis in which unarmed Black men, women and children were pulled from trollies and street cars and beaten and shot down in the street.
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.
This year, on the 150 anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, we all need to heed the words of Sister Jayne Cortez: “And if we don’t fight / if we don’t resist / if we don’t organize and unify and / get the power to control our own lives / Then we will wear / the exaggerated look of captivity ...” And don't miss Wanda's excellent, no holds barred reviews of “Django Unchained,” “Lincoln and “Red Hook Summer,” plus Dr. King birthday events listing and much more