Lady Sings The Blues is the story of jazz singer Billie Holiday and is loosely based on her 1956 autobiography. The name of the film was taken from one of Holiday’s most popular songs.
Lady Sings The Blues is the story of jazz singer Billie Holiday and is loosely based on her 1956 autobiography. The name of the film was taken from one of Holiday’s most popular songs.
Lady Gaga has slipped her disco heels on for a cover of a Chic classic, and it’s as fabulous as you’d imagine. The singer has teamed up with Nile Rodgers for an updated version of 1979′s I Want Your Love, which soundtracks Tom Ford’s Spring/Summer ’16 collection. Read More »
The Caravans was started in 1947 by Robert Anderson. The group reached its peak popularity during the 1950s and 1960s, launching the careers of a number of artists, including: Albertina Walker, Delores Washington, Inez Andrews, Shirley Caesar, Reverend James Cleveland, Dorothy Norwood, Bessie Griffin, Josephine Howard, and Loleatta Holloway. For many years The Caravans was successful under the leadership of Albertina Walker, who proved to be formidable director and manager. The group based in Chicago toured the segregate south with elegance and élan, they also made frequent TV appearances during this time on shows such as TV’s Gospel Time and Jubilee Showcase. Read More »
In Saint Laurent’s 2015/16 Paris Menswear Fashion Show designer Hedi Slimane’s models strode from one pool of half-light into another, a collage of highly stylized, highly recognizable archetypes presented themselves like wisps. A fitted three-button caban, inverse-color Breton, and supertight jeans. A black jacket and polo-neck worn with supertight black jeans scarred by zippers. A grunge-touched high olive nylon bomber above a leopard sweater, plus black jeans (supertight). It’s probably best to stop specifying the tightness of the pants. Read More »
Alexander Wang said he started working on his new Balenciaga collection by thinking about Cristóbal’s original clientele. Wang’s shapes were straight out of the archives: a cocoon coat, rounded jackets with stand-up collars, bubble skirts—all of it decorated to the hilt with paste jewelry, like the ladies would’ve done back in the day, only with the real stuff. Read More »
Agon (1957) is a ballet for twelve dancers, with music by Igor Stravinsky and choreography by George Balanchine. The cast includes:First Pas de Trios- Peter Boal, Zippora Karz, Kathleen Tracey Second de Trios- Albert Evans, Arch Higgins, Wendy Whelan Pas de Duet- Darcey Bussell, Lindsay Fischer
And an excerpt from the Pas de Duet featuring Diana Adams and Arthur Mitchell
We’re Not Making Love No More is a song performed by contemporary R&B group Dru Hill. Written and produced by Kenneth Babyface Edmonds, it was released as a single from the soundtrack to the film Soul Food.
Southern Hospitality is the second single released off Ludacris’s album Back for the First Time, released in 2000 and composed by The Neptunes. Read More »
Hook and Ladder is a 1932 Our Gang short comedy film directed by Robert F. McGowan. It was the 116th (28th talking episode) Our Gang short released. Answering the Fire Chief’s request for volunteers, the Our Gang kids form their own firefighting squadron, complete with uniforms, a fire pole, a dog-and-cat-powered alarm, and a jerry-built fire engine. After a few false alarms and delays, the kids get the opportunity to put out a real fire, which they do with the expertise of veteran smoke-eaters. Read More »
It was Monday night, August 3, at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. At the track and field stadium, the gun sounded for the 400-meter semifinals. About 100 meters into the race, Britain’s Derek Redmond crumpled to the track with a torn right hamstring. Medical attendants rushed out to assist him, but as they approached Redmond, he waved them all aside, struggled to his feet, and crawled and hopped in a desperate effort to finish the race. Read More »
Cotton Comes to Harlem was the beginning of short period in American film that featured black actors in leading roles and the themes dealt with issues from the African-American microcosm. With a screenplay by Arnold Perl and Ossie Davis, and directed by Davis this action drama represents the black prospective. Much of the film’s humor is urban black comedy, which was groundbreaking in 1970.
Jazz notables Ramsey Lewis and Lalah Hathaway were on hand for a remake of the Bible Stories classic Don’t Forget To Remember. The effort earned Donald Lawrence a total of 7 Stellar Award nominations, and 6 wins. Read More »
By Walter Rutledge
Clark Center NYC will present a week of dance and related activities Monday September 28 through Friday October 2 at City College Center for the Arts, Aaron Davis Hall. The event is part of the “rebirth” of the Clark Center for the Performing Arts; the venerable New York City dance institution that closed 26 years ago. The new Clark Center NYC returns as a virtual dance center instead of a brick and mortar facility. Its mission is to not just honor past accomplishments but to offer opportunities to the next generation of dancers and dance makers. Read More »
By Adewale Adekanbi
Solexchange Sneaker Show NYC is back in New York this Saturday, September 26 at the Jacob Javits Center. The bi-annual sneaker extravaganza brings out traders, buyers and sneaker heads in search of vintage, limited edition and custom-made athletic footwear. Read More »
By Walter Rutledge
Camille A. Brown & Dancers opened the 2015 fall Joyce Theater season on Tuesday, September 22 with BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play. Inspired by Kyra D. Gaunt’s book, The Games Black Girls Play Choreographer/director Brown describes the one-act evening’s length, “BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play celebrates the unspoken rhythm and language that Black girls have through Double Dutch, social dances, and hand clapping games that are contemporary and ancestral.” The six member all female cast accomplished Brown’s vision through of series of three duets each exploring different aspects of life and society. Read More »
“I literally live and breath music i have nothing else in life besides sneakers and being from new york , you thirst for opportunity to shine on a big stage and wont stop until the world shares your vision.”- Jae Tips Read More »
By Adewale Adekanbi Jr.
Taz Arnold is a designer, producer and musician, who lives and works in his hometown of Los Angles, California. He is the founder of the clothing brand TI$A and released three full-length albums with the hip-hop performance ground The Sa-Ra Creative Partners. He has also produced music for artists such as Dr.Dre, Kanye West and Erykah Badu. In addition to his own design Arnold is an avid collector of vintage clothing including Benetton, Versace and Ralph Lauren Polo. Read More »
Geoffrey Holder’s Banda dance debuted in the 1954 Truman Capote/Harold Arlen musical House Of Flowers. Holder the Baron of The Cemetery (based on the Haitian Loa of Death Baron Samedi) and received both a performer and choreographer credit in the program. The Broadway musical takes place somewhere in the West Indies during Mardi Gras weekend. Read More »
By Tod Roulette
On May 8th, 1996 South Africa became the first country in the world to constitutionally prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. Photographer Zanele Muholi began to collect a series of images based on South African lesbians one year after the South African government legally recognized same sex marriage. It is against these political and historical firsts of granting rights that make the facts presented in Zanele Muholi: Isibonelo/Evidence the photography exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum until November 1, 2015 depressingly hard to accept. Read More »
Tell Me Something Good by Rufus and Chaka Khan was written by Stevie Wonder and released in 1974. The hit single peaking at number three in the United States on the Billboard Hot 100. It was among the earliest hits to use the guitar talk box. Read More »
Look at Me Now is a song Chris Brown, featuring American rappers Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes, released as the second single from Brown’s fourth studio album F.A.M.E. on February 1, 2011 Read More »
The Beverly Hillbillies is a sitcom originally broadcast for nine seasons on CBS from 1962 to 1971. The series is about a poor backwoods family transplanted to Beverly Hills, California, after striking oil on their land. This video is the 1st (first) episode. The series starred Buddy Ebsen, Irene Ryan, Donna Douglas, and Max Baer, Jr. Read More »
By Adewale Adekanbi Jr.
Mansory has touched the German manufacturer to unveil an upgraded Mercedes-Benz G-Class the Gronos Black Edition. Limited to only six models, the Gronos boasts performance enhancements due to its entire body kit being made from lightweight carbon-fiber. Finished with a matte black paint job, the machine is sat atop a colossal set of 23-inch rims. Of course being a Mansory motor, the Gronos isn’t all show and no go as it comes with a reworked 5.5-litre V8 with genuine racing components.
Nathaniel Cornelius “Nate” Robinson is a 5’9″ point guard that is the NBA’s first three-time slam dunk champion. Robinson was the 21st pick (New York Knicks) in the 2005 NBA draft. The has also played for Boston Celtics, Oklahoma City Thunder, Golden State Warriors, Chicago Bulls, Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Clippers. The Seattle native has proved that just being good is not good enough. Read More »
A short comedy film by Greg Glienna, the creator of Meet the Parents, A Guy Thing and Relative Strangers. Read More »
Regina Belle started her career in the mid-1980s. She received a Grammy Award for A Whole New World her duet with Peabo Bryson for the Disney’s 1992 animated feature film Aladdin. Belle released her debut gospel album Love Forever Shines on May 13, 2008 via Pendulum Records. The 14-track collection features guests Melvin Williams (of the Williams Brothers) and Shirley Murdock. Read More »
The Fendi 2015 fall/winter collection pushed the notion further by making every jacket and coat fully reversible. For a moment, Venturini Fendi even considered sending the collection down the catwalk one way, flipping it inside out, and sending the entire collection out again. “The collection looks completely different when it’s reversed,” she said. “It’s like the peekaboo effect in clothes.” Or like the brown suede coat that flipped to gray leather. Read More »
Le Sacre du printemps (1959) is a milestone in the history of dance, and choreographer Maurice Béjart approached the work with great courage. His version full of new meanings, physicality and sensuality became a universally recognized success. “Human love, in its physical appearance, symbolizes the act by which God creates the cosmos, and the joy it brings. Let this ballet be bare of all picturesque artifice, let it be the hymn to the union between man and woman at its deepest level, between heaven and earth, the dance of life and death, let it be as eternal as spring!” – Maurice Bejart Read More »
Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes were one of the most popular Philadelphia soul groups of the 1970s. The group’s repertoire included soul, R&B, doo-wop, and disco. Bad Luck (1975) the disco/R&B/pop single was a number one Disco/Dance hit for eleven weeks. The song also help establish Teddy Pendergrass as the break out artist. Richard Pryor conducted the Soul Train interview. Read More »
Sylvester (who lives in an apartment building next to Tweety’s yard) Tweety Bird singing and looks through the window with his telescope. Tweety sees him, grabs a towel, exclaims “I taw I taw a peeking tom cat!”, and shuts the door after saying “That nasty old peeking tom cat!”. Read More »
You can change your life by changing your way of thinking. Louise Hay explains this and it really does work you can create whatever you want in your life never give up. Read More »
Is This Free? Is a short film comedy. Read More »
“After 22 years, I’m still very humbled to play a part in people’s journey to get to know God’s love. It’s more than I could have ever imagined.”- Kirk Franklin Read More »
The Gucci style team may have pulled off a fashion record. They designed and produced the menswear runway show for next winter in five days, after outgoing creative director Frida Giannini left sooner than had been announced. Read More »
By: Adewale Adekanbi Jr
This is the “OVO” edition of the Air Jordan 10 Retro. They come in a summit white, metallic gold and white colorway. Featuring a white-based leather upper with stingray accents, gold branding, a full icy translucent outsole with gold flakes throughout and OVO branding on the insoles and bottom of the outsole. The “OVO” edition of the Air Jordan 10 Retro will release on September 12, 2015 at select stores worldwide. Retail is set at, $225. Stores in NewYork include Alumni, KithNyc, ExtraButter and Flight23 at Footaction.
Olurotimi Akinosho better known by his stage name, Rotimi, is an American singer-songwriter, actor and model. From 2011 to 2012, he starred as Darius Morrison on the Starz Network original drama series Boss. He has been added to the cast of Starz’ TV series Power as a series regular, in the role of “Dre”, the quick-tempered young protégé of Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson’s character.
Rotimi- Beautiful Music
ABADDON a poem of love and destruction. Inspired by relationships that test boundaries and go beyond the acceptable; relationships that reduce, erode and abuse until the spirit is consumed. Abaddon is a place of suffering and purification. Read More »
Tina Turner released The Best as a highly successful single on her 1989 hit album Foreign Affair. Edgar Winter plays the saxophone solo. Read More »
Soldier of Love is the first single and title track from the English group Sade. It premiered worldwide on 8 December 2009. The track won the Grammy for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals at the 53rd Grammy Awards ceremony. Read More »
Chariots of Fur is a seven-minute Looney Tunes short released in 1994 by Warner Bros. It features Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner and directed by Chuck Jones, who introduced the pair in 1949. This was the final Coyote/Road Runner short to be directed by Jones The title is a parody of Chariots of Fire. Read More »
By Walter Rutledge
To beard or not to beard? That is the question the modern man is asking himself. From the simple two-day stubble to facial mane, men are embracing the “hair on their chinny chin chins. O&A NYC Magazine brings you the guide to modern beard and the men who wear them. Read More »
Denzel Washington addresses a group of young acting students during the New York City/Broadway run of Raisin In The Sun. Read More »
This short film is a love triangle between a man, a ciswoman and a transwoman. It shows how love chooses no gender and has no boundaries. Read More »
With Labor Day- the unofficial end of summer just a day away its usually the time to spark up the grill or hit the beach once last time. This year Mother Nature has decided to keep the summer heat around a little while longer, so why not end our extended summer with a fun poptail. The Mudslide Poptail is a fun twist on a traditional mudslide.
18 oz. vanilla yogurt
1 banana, medium size (2oz)
3 oz. vodka
3 oz. Kahlua
3 oz. Bailey’s Irish Cream
3 tablespoons grated chocolate
1. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth, about 1-2minutes.
2. Freeze for about 1 hour or until mixture starts to solidify enough to hold a popsicle stick upright. Insert popsicle sticks and finish freezing popsicles overnight. To release popsicles run hot water on the outside of popsicle molds for a 5-7 seconds.
Get your mixing hands ready for this mudslide with a twist. We went and added a banana in the mix. The sweetness of the banana neutralizes any tang the vanilla yogurt body may have, and adds a bit of creaminess to the mixture. While we were at it, we also threw in some grated chocolate for added flavor and texture.
Bishop Hezekiah Walker is a popular gospel music artist and pastor of prominent Brooklyn New York megachurch, Love Fellowship Tabernacle. His choir, Hezekiah Walker & The Love Fellowship Crusade Choir has won Grammy Awards for Best Gospel Album By Choir Or Chorus twice: once for Live in Atlanta at Morehouse College (1994), and once for Love Is Live! (2001). Read More »
Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen has transmogrified history into a fashion statement. Her platform was uniforms. There was the obvious military association in army green and air force blue, epaulets and army pockets, and the diamanté medals that decorated the show’s finale. The words “truth,” “valour,” and “honour” were emphatically bold on jackets and coats. Read More »
Soldier is a collaboration between filmmaker Cinque Northern and Brooklyn born, street dance battle champion Storyboard P. The freestyle dance is set to Sade’s Soldier Of Love and shot in the Mojave desert. On Wednesday July 15 the New York Dance and Performance Awards (The Bessies), honored Storyboard P with the Outstanding Emerging Choreographer Award.
By Walter Rutledge
Earl Mosley didn’t choose to dance; dance chose him. Growing up in rural North Carolina Mosley was expected to farm the family land. After taking a dance class on a dare any expectations of living an agrarian lifestyle were lost to a career based in movement.
Mosley applied the life lessons from his upbringing to his dance philosophy. He believes that there is room to nurture the entire artist. Mosley has created more than a dance company, instead to establish a dance family.
The Hearts Of Men (presented as part of Ailey Extension) is a two-week workshop that brings together dancers and movement enthusiasts of different ages, disciplines and technical levels. The participant’s work with established teachers, choreographers and arts professionals culminating with two performances on Saturday, September 5 at 7pm and Sunday, September 6, 3pm at the Ailey Citigroup Theater. The philosophy is geared toward a return to artistic integrity.
A Conversation With Earl Mosley
In an age when texting has replaced face-to-face conversation, Mosley has decided to create an environment based on sharing and communicating. He has designed a safe haven where artists can not only work on their craft, but also find solace from another person who is or has experienced a similar problem or situation. In other words, you are not alone
The concept is not new it is really a return to another era, when dancers didn’t usually travel by airplanes it was the director’s station wagon that became official company vehicle, and it lodgings were motels instead of hotels. Thankfully it was an era when dance had intrinsic aesthetic value, and was not just a trick laden competition sport. Despite the hardships and challenge those dancers describe their performance experiences as “a family”.
The two performances this weekend will showcase thirteen works by ten choreographers, and feature eighty performers including an array of accomplished guest artists. The works presented will range from dance theatre to abstract, from complete choreographic statements to movement studies. The common denominator throughout will be a terpsichorean brotherhood expressed through movement.
Tickets are $25 Adult $18 Students we suggest purchasing online to ensuring seating at http://www.alvinailey.org/hearts-of-men-performance.
Heat Wave is a 1963 single penned by the Holland–Dozier–Holland songwriting team and made popular by the Motown group Martha and the Vandellas. It was released as a single on July 9, 1963. Read More »
By Walter Rutledge
The Frank Sinatra classic New York New York declares “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere”. For a brother and sister their dreams of dancing on stage at the legendary Apollo Theater are about to come true. Jelani and Arnese Britton (who reside in the Bronx) will get a chance to strut their stuff tonight at Amateur Night At The Apollo.
Jelani (age 24) and Arnese (15) have a special big brother little sister bond. The self-trained duo rehearse their routine in Jelani’s living room. His apartment provides them unlimited rehearsal hours, but lacks the space and mirrors that would help hone the dance.
The Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center Genex Program provided Jelani and Arnese studio time and an advisor for professional feedback. “Its been our mission for almost 40 years to assist new and emerging dancers, choreographers and dance companies”, says Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center Executive Chairman Alex Smith Jr. “Our Genex Program is designed to offer young artists one-on-one assistance and technical support.”
You could see the excitement on the dancer’s faces as they began rehearsing at DANY Studios on 38th Street in Manhattan. “This was our first time ever working in a real studio”, Jelani explained. “We were able to get a feel for dancing in a big space with mirrors. It is something I’ll never forget.”
Jelani, the choreographer, has wanted to one day dance on the Apollo stage for as long as he can remember. His sister Arnese dances at church and at school, but this is the first time on a public stage. “I can’t wait to dance at the Apollo, I’m a little nervous; but I know it’s a once in a lifetime experience and I want to have fun”, says Arnese.
The Apollo amateur night is the oldest continuous talent shows in the world. Ella Fitzgerald won the first Amateur Night in 1934, and received a prize of $25 and work for one week. The list of other Amateur Night winners include Billie Holiday, the Isley Brothers, Jimi Hendrix, and the Jackson 5.
The selection process for the The 81-year-old Amateur Night hasn’t changed, participants from all disciplines audition for chance to perform. Amateur Night At The Apollo remains an incubator for talent, and is also one of New York City’s most acclaimed live performances. The world-renowned weekly performances attract an international audience, who can either make or break a performer.
Jelani and Arnese hope to go to the next round and eventually win the Amateur Night competition. They are all ready winners for having the courage to turn their dreams into reality. Whatever the outcome they are performing tonight on the stage “Where stars are born and legends are made.”
For tickets for Amateur Night At The Apollo at $21, $27, $33 and are available in person at the Apollo Theater Box Office, online at Ticketmaster.com, and by calling Ticketmaster (800) 745-3000, for Groups Call (212) 531-5355.
Rabbit of Seville is a Warner Bros. Looney Tunes theatrical cartoon short released in 1950. It was directed by Chuck Jones and written by Michael Maltese. The cartoon, in a plotline reminiscent of Stage Door Cartoon, features Bugs Bunny being chased by Elmer Fudd into the stage door of the Hollywood Bowl, whereupon Bugs tricks Elmer into going onstage, and participating in a break-neck operatic production of their chase punctuated with gags and accompanied by musical arrangements by Carl Stalling, focusing on Rossini’s overture to The Barber of Seville. Read More »
Nobody’s Perfect is a song by hip hop recording artist and record producer J. Cole, released as the third single from his debut studio album Cole World: The Sideline Story. The song, featuring singer-songwriter and fellow rapper Missy Elliott.
J. Cole – Nobody’s Perfect ft. Missy Elliot
Wayne Dyer, the prolific self-help guru and motivational speaker, has died. Dyer’s family has announced on Facebook, “Wayne has left his body, passing away through the night.” More than 50,000 people shared the post Sunday evening. “He always said he couldn’t wait for this next adventure to begin and had no fear of dying. Our hearts are broken, but we smile to think of how much our scurvy elephant will enjoy the other side.” In 2009 Dyer announced he has battle with lymphocytic leukemia, was 75. Read More »
ANYA is a five minute animated film, charting twenty years in the life of a Russian orphan. It is a unique initiative with To Russia With Love to help raise funds for the charity Read More »
Charles Jenkins and Canton Jones team up to do a REMIX to the chart topping song AWESOME! Jessica Reedy, Isaac Carree, and Da Truth joins them as Gospel meets Hip Hop and R&B! Read More »
Miles Davis Quintet performed on Sunday, October 11, 1964 Teatro dell’Arte Milan, Italy. The quartet consisted of four musicians plus Davis: Trumpet: Miles Davis, Saxophone: Wayne Shorter, Piano: Herbie Hancock, Bass: Ron Carter, and Drums: Tony Williams.
Guillem by Sylvie Guillem is a documentary about the famous french dancer Sylvie Guillem. The film is writen by Guillem and directed by Françoise Ha Van Kern. Read More »
Pull Up to the Bumper was co-written by Grace Jones, Kookoo Baya and Dana Mano. The uptempo pop-dance song incorporating funk and R&B elements and sparked some controversy for its suggestive lyrics. Due to the figuratively describe sexual intercourse, it prompted some radio stations in the United States to refuse to broadcast it. Read More »
The animated parody of Anaconda by Nicki Minaj. Read More »
Janet Mock is a writer, transgender rights activist, author and the former staff editor of People magazine’s website. She underwent sex reassignment surgery in Thailand at age 18 in the middle of her first year in college. She came out publicly as a trans woman in a 2011 Marie Claire article, but took issue with how the author misgendered her by stating she was born and raised as a boy. Mock lives in New York City with her fiancé, photographer Aaron Tredwell. Read More »
Runaway is a charming story about a misunderstanding between a man named Stanley and his treasured 1950′s refrigerator, named Chillie. Set in present day, a sad event sends Chillie into a whirlwind of emotional turmoil, and as a result, he runs away. This charming CGI animated short film was created by the talented female team of, Susan Yung, Emily Buchanan and Esther Parobek at Ringling College of Art and Design. Read More »
The ministry of K & K Mime has expanded the horizons on how we spread the Gospel. Keith and Karl Edmonds began exploring the art of mime at the age of ten, as a means of church involvement. Much to their surprise, they’re artistic creativity was more than just a church activity… it was a ministry. Read More »
Malcolm X stated, “History is a people’s memory, and without a memory, man is demoted to the lower animals.” The documentary Rucker 50 establishes the collective conscienceless of the history of the now world-renowned basketball tournament/ phenomenon. The Rucker is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary and to mark this milestone Robert McCullough Jr. and Darryl L. Neverson have written and directed the film Rucker 50. Read More »
Christopher Nemeth was always Kim Jones’ favorite London designer. The way he mixed Savile Row and the street anticipated Jones’ own aesthetic. But, outside Japan, where Nemeth lived from 1986 until his death in 2010, he was largely overlooked. Jones set out to fix that state of affairs today. Utilizing to the max the creative muscle of Louis Vuitton, he saluted the man who was, on some level, his mentor. Read More »
By Walter Rutledge
Earl Mosley’s Hearts of Men Celebrates Dudley Williams August 10 and 11 at the Manhattan Movement Arts Center. The evening was a testosterone charged tribute to modern dance’s Lyric Crown Prince- Dudley Williams. Mosley presented fourteen works and vignettes. The large cast was predominantly male with the right “dash “of female performers, similar to the wisp of vermouth in William’s trademark classic dry Bombay Blue Sapphire Martini.
Mosley’s mission in many ways echoes the Black Live Matters movement. He has chosen to empower young people by developing artists of color. This noble undertaking included both neophytes and professional dancers and choreographers; the combination produced an evening rich in aesthetic integrity and artistry, and was a fitting tribute to the legacy of Dudley Williams.
Dyane Harvey- Salaam opened the evening by sharing her memories of Williams. Eleo Pomare (Williams high school friend) introduced the two. Harvey-Salaam and Pomare had a long-standing relationship; he was one of her mentors, and she his muse. Harvey ended with the audience calling Dudley Williams’ name multiple times in a chant to honor his memory.
Throughout the evening there were works that encapsulated the essence of Williams, an artist whose technical prowess was only superseded by his stage presence. It was his ability to touch an audience, and communicate with a single perfectly phrased gesture that allowed him to perform until months before his passing at age 76.
Germaul Barnes’ solo I Was Young Once conveyed a thoughtful yet bittersweet elegy to Williams. Using a montage of music for the soundtrack with the focal point consisting of edited excerpts from his 2014 Clark Center conversation with Jennifer Dunning. Barnes’ well-crafted work referenced signatures images from Williams’ performance repertoire including I Want To Be Ready (Ailey/Revelations) A Song For You (Ailey) Toccata (Talley Beatty) and Horton and Graham shapes from movement studies. Shawn Hawkins performed with great sensitivity and a sense of imbued reverence.
Audrey Lynch choreographed and performed Soul Space. The solo also used dialog and ambient music to tell a story of love and friendship. In this work Lynch narrated, and his soothing voice provided a gentle and profound accompaniment. The work used a strong upper body gestural vocabulary, which had an unabashed honesty and completeness. His presence and deportment was so strong he almost did not need the occasional (and well executed) extension, turn and jump Lynch sprinkled throughout the choreography.
Jamal/Darius, a duet choreographed by Mosley and performed by Jamal Story and Darius Crenshaw was a true delight. The two seemed to awake from a peaceful sleep and then perform a loving “good morning” dance. The work possessed a subtle sophistication, it was intimate as opposed to sexual. This was not an encounter, but a relationship. The duet was void of the expected angst and overt sexuality, instead these two accomplished artists communicated affection and mutual respect. This quality transcended gender and evoked the words of Nat King Cole “Just to love and be love in return”.
Joshua Beamish’s solo Adoration for Martha Graham Dance Company Principal dancer Lloyd Knight was art in motion. Set to Haydn’s Concerto in C Major for Cello and Orchestra the choreography seemed to emanate from the performer, fitting him like a tailor-made Savile Row suit. We never saw the choreography, we only saw the message expressed through the performer’s body. It was also refreshing to see Knight perform without his Graham armor; we got a chance to experience the versatility of this truly gifted artist.
The group works featured the young performers of Diversity of Dance with additional guest artists. These works ranged from vignettes, which expressed simple ideas and movement themes, to complete textural choreographic statements. Many of the works had strong Hip-Hop and vernacular dance influences. These works brought freshness to the performance and received immediate approval from the audience.
The most memorable ensemble work was Mosley’s Breaths set to a score by Eddie James. Clifton Brown (former Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT) principal dancer) and Matthew Rushing (Former Ailey principle and presently AAADT guest artist and rehearsal director) lead a cast of 18 dancers. Brown technical prowess and crystalline attack did not disappoint. Rushing, the central figure, performed in the role originated by Dudley Williams.
The male ensemble danced with a unified spiritual verve. And Rushing, a consummate artist, seemed to channel the late Williams. His performance was not an imitation rather an homage; honoring Williams in his own voice. Throughout, Mosley’s abstract narrative displayed strong choreographic structure and originality.
The concert was a celebration of the male dancer, and featured a bevy of young men honing their craft. Three standouts were Randall Riley, Isaiah Harvey and Daniel Moore. Riley’s physical appearance and height made him impossible not to notice, but his physicality made him a pleasure to observe. Isaiah Harvey’s clean line and technical proficiency was well-balanced by his on-stage intensity. And Moore’s assured and committed execution allowed his movement intent to immediately communicate to the audience.
In addition to the strong male presence there were also female performers who distinguished themselves. Imani Johnson has a powerful earth women quality that was equally effective in the Hip Hop material and the West African based movement. Aqura Lacey provides the perfect juxtaposition with her effervescent demeanor that charmed the audience without ever becoming overt.
Fana Tesfagiorgis is in her own stratosphere. Tesfagiorgis possesses that rare on-stage quality I describe as pure light. In Homer’s Iliad it is the quality that made King Menelaus launch his armada to retrieve Helen of Troy. She has an innate ability to make you want to watch her, even when she is doing nothing. This quality cannot be learned- it is a birthright, a gift from God.
The performance proceeds went to establish the Dudley Williams Scholarship Fund for student of the Hearts of Men and Manhattan Youth Ballet. This is a fitting tribute to Williams, passing on the gift of dance to the next generation of movers. If you had ever met Dudley Williams you soon realized he was a humble servant of dance.
Williams lived most of his life dancing, teaching and sharing his gift with anyone with an appetite for learning. A genuinely good and gentle soul Williams would have been proud of this celebration in his honor. And I am sure he is still dancing somewhere above the clouds.
Hearts of Men will hold a Summer Dance Intensive August 23 through September 6 as part of The Ailey Extension. The workshop is open to the public. For more information visit EMIAdance.org or email info@EMIAdance.org.
In Photo: 1) Dudley Williams 2)Earl Mosley’s Diversity of Dance 3) Shawn Hawkins 4) Darius Crenshaw and Jamal Story 5)Cameron Evans and Randall Riley 6) Fana Tesfagiorgis
Photo by: 2-5) Saya Hishikawa 6) Andrew Eccles
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough was written in 1966 by Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson prior to joining Motown. Simpson recalls “We felt like that could be our entry to Motown. Nick called it the ‘golden egg’.”The care-free, danceable, and romantic love song that became the signature duet between Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. The song set the tone for a string of Ashford and Simpson hits, which many consider the crown jewels of the Motown discography. Read More »
Mr. Magoo sets off to go to the movies but instead he goes to an airport by mistake and gets on a plain thinking it to be a theater.
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By Walter Rutledge
What do you do when you need to replace a Tony Award winning actor? You replace her with anyone Tony Award winning actor! And that’s just what George Faison did with The Wiz: A Celebration In Dance And Music, the concert version of the 1975 Tony Award winning musical presented in the City Parks Foundation SummerStage series August 12 through August 14.
Dee Dee Bridgewater, who won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance as Glinda, the Good Witch of The South in The Wiz, opened the concert on Wednesday, August 12 at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park. Due to prior commitments Bridgewater could only perform opening night. On Thursday, August 13 the production moved uptown to Marcus Garvey Park for two final performances and in true “The show must go on” style Tony Award winner Lillias White took over the role.
Again for a second night the audience began to arrive in the afternoon for the free performance and by show time the overflowed crowd spilled out of the Richard Rodgers Amphitheater. White did not disappoint she stepped into the role of Glinda and with an entourage of tuxedo clad men brought Dorothy and the musical home!
There is one final performance tonight. The evening begins at 6:45 with a master class by Darrin Henson. This is a free performance and seating is first come first served so you better arrive early!
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By Adewale Adekanbi
Marvin The Martian is the outer-space villain of Michael Jordan’s buddy Bugs Bunny of the Looney Tunes universe. On Saturday August 15th, Jordan Brand will create a landing pad for Marvin with this incredible Air Jordan 7 “Marvin The Martian” release, which features the character’s signature colors on the upper and mainly the multi-colored outsole. Just like how “Hare” dominated the month of May, expect a ton of Marvin themes throughout the rest of July and August.
By Walter Rutledge
The concert version of the 1975 Tony Award winning musical The Wiz debuted on Wednesday, August 12 at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park. The Wiz: A Celebration In Dance And Music directed and choreographed by George Faison marked the 40th Anniversary of the groundbreaking musical. Before the performance started Rumsey Playfield looked more like it was a rock concert than a dance performance; the overflow crowd began lining up mid afternoon for the free outdoor theatrical event.
After a brief introduction by City Parks Foundation SummerStage dance curator Danni Gee, George Faison took to the stage with classic Faison panache. He and former Wiz munchkin Phylicia Rashad co-narrated the concert version of the musical, which featured the songs and dance numbers from the original musical plus new choreography and staging created for this production.
The cast was a combination of young performers, many who have honed their craft under Faison, and original cast members returning in roles and cameos. Darlesia Cearcy (Dorothy) and Anita McKinney (Aunt Em) opened the evening with McKinney’s rendition of The Feeling We Once Had. The tornado dance followed creating a whirlwind of moment. Khalia Campbell wowed the audience as the Tornado Eye. The tall and limber Campbell reminisced the memorable performance of Broadway diva Evelyn Thomas who transported Stephanie Mills and the Majestic Theater audience to Munchkinland.
Ebony JoAnne had fun in the role of Addapearle, and her playful rendition of He’s The Wizard sent Dorothy on her journey to Oz. Her escorts Jahmal Chase, Martel Ruffin, Nehemiah Spencer and Devonte Jerome Wells were the funky yellow brick road quartet complete with trademark yellow Afros and poles. Throughout the entire performance the audience clamped and sang along.
It was evident that time had not diminished the popularity of the Charlie Smalls’ score. Dance Arranger/ Musical Supervisor Timothy Graphenreed and a six piece on-stage Wiz band featuring Edward Callahan (Keyboard 2) John Matthew Clark (Bass Guitar) Paula Green (Percussion) Jeremy Jordan (Keyboard 3) Segdrick Marsh (Drums) and Damien Sneed (Keyboard) kept the face paced production moving. While Oz Singers Chenee Campbell, Anitra McKinney, Matia Washington and Darryl Jovan Williams provided the background vocals.
Garry Q Lewis was an energetic Scarecrow, John Manzari’s strong tenor voice and tap dance acumen endeared his Tin Man to the audience and Reji Woods’ comedic cowardly Lion was entertaining. Inaya Day (the second Dorothy) cooled the audience with her soothing rendition of Be A Lion. One of Faison’s real gifts is showcasing performers strengths; Day also returned to sing Home and again proved a capable balladeer.
A new number, the Emerald City dance, is a sharp, lively and invigorated addition. The stylish sequence complete with emerald-green attire and copper-colored wigs had “Emerald City elegance”. Gate Keeper Devonte Jerome Wells proved a formidable triple threat with his strong dancing, stage presence and vocals.
The Poppies scene became an immediate audience pleaser when six ladies from the 1975 original production appeared on stage. Shirley Black Brown Coward, Paula Brown Douglas, Jamilah Halvorson, Alyson Williams, Joni Palmer and Gina Ellis strutted, posed and brought sexy back. This sextet of sexy sirens seduced the Lion with ole’ school charisma and swagger.
Another standout was Nehemiah Spencer as the Lead Monkey, which remains a pivotal role as the leader of Evilene’s bidding. Speaking of the wicked witch, Elaine Nicole Phifer attacked the role with great command. Evilene was mean (and clearly hungry), but her No Bad News and chant were definitely good news for the audience. Her eventual demise provided witty comic relief and was a clever transition to Brand New Day complete with full stage kick line.
Andre De Shields returned in his signature role as The Wiz. Complete with white jumpsuit, cape and platform shoes he played a major role in this production. De Shields seemed to enjoy performing the role almost as much as the audience enjoyed his performance. The proof was his show-stopping sustained vocals, swashbuckling super hero cape, which billowed across the stage with great aplomb, and De Shields’ three songs ranging from up-tempo, to ballad, then gospel infused lyrics.
Dorothy returned home with the helped of Glinda and an armada of white-clad dancers. Dee Dee Bridgewater floated on stage via the shoulders of four men in white tuxedos. Bridgewater’s impassioned delivery had the élan of an accomplished performer and again made us all “Believe”.
The Wiz celebrates 40, but this classic musical remains timeless. Faison continues to do what he has done for more than 40 years, to mold talented young artists- this is his true genius. Even before The Wiz Faison trained dancers, many of the returning artists met Faison as teenagers; and eventually became members of his dance company the George Faison Universal Dance Experience.
The number of artists who have experience “The Faison Boot Camp” and now have profession careers are as plentiful as the lights on Broadway. All speak of him with respect, admiration and great affection. Congratulation to George Faison, co-producer Tad Schnugg and The Wiz as they continues to “Ease On Down The Road”.
The production moves uptown to Marcus Garvey Park for two final performances Thursday, August 13 and Friday, August 14. The evening begins at 6:45 with a master class by Darrin Henson. Seating is first come first serve so please come early.
In Photo: 1) Reji Woods 2) Ebony JoAnne and Darlesia Cearcy 3) John Manzari 4) Darlesia Cearcy and Dee Dee Bridgewater
Michael Seto Photographer
TO READ MORE ABOUT -The Wiz: A Celebration In Dance And Music CLICK BELOW
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Michael Jackson – Smooth Criminal
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