Catch Pippa Bennett-Warner in London’s Donmar Warehouse’s “King Lear” thru June 5th

Pippa Bennett-Warner stars as Cordelia in Donmar Warehouse's production of "King Lear."

Pippa Bennett-Warner is cast as King Lear’s youngest daughter, Cordelia, in Donmar Warehouse’s London stage-production of Shakespeare’s “King Lear.” The production is sold-out for most shows, but you can see if there’s a cancellation or individual seats.

“King Lear” runs through June 5 at the Harvey Theater.

Read the NY Times glowing review of “King Lear”…click here

Call for Performers/Artists/Poets: Momma’s Hip Hop Kitchen


(Deadline May be Extended)

Are you a FEMALE MC with a slick flow, crazy style, and great stage presence? Or are you a FEMALE VISUAL ARTIST, SPOKEN WORD POET, or DANCER?

Are you also politically conscious and inspire others through your work?

If so please apply for Momma’s Hip Hop Kitchen, Vol. 4: Let’s Get Active!

We are looking for conscious female rappers/artists/dancers/poets, etc… Who are interested in performing on Saturday March 5th, 2011 at Hostos Community College in the Bronx for Momma’s Hip Hop Kitchen, Vol. 4: Let’s Get Active!

If interested please apply by clicking the link for “Group Application 2011 ” or “ Single Artist Application 2011 ” under the “ Vol. 4: 2011 ” tab on our website! (Or you can just click the highlighted links)

**LAST DAY TO APPLY IS JANUARY 18TH, 2011** (Deadline May be Extended)



Momma’s Hip Hop Kitchen, Vol. 4: Let’s Get Active!

Date: Saturday March 5th, 2011

Time: 2-5pm

This event is FREE and open to all ages.

Location: Hostos Community College – Main Theater- 450 Grand Concourse, Bronx, New York

(You can take the 2,4,5 to 149th Grand Concourse or buses: BX1, BX19)

Contact Info: Kathleen Adams and Lah Tere

Description of Event:

Momma’s Hip Hop Kitchen Volume 4, “Let’s Get Active!”will be honoring International Women’s Month on Saturday, March 5th, 2011 at Hostos Community College in the South Bronx. The South Bronx was just ranked the UNHEALTHIEST of New York’s 62 counties. This community is plagued with ridiculous amounts of poverty, unemployment, diabetes, hunger, obesity, dirty bodegas, HIV/AIDS, reproductive injustice, and lacks access to good fruits and vegetables, schoolyards, playgrounds and gym classes in schools. This year we will be addressing some of these health disparities that affect women of color by using hip hop to initiate dialogue, inspire action in supporting healthier nutrition and physical activity, and ultimately increasing community involvement among women and their families.

Announcement: Recording and Interviewing Workshops on Dec. 9th

Davia Nelson of The Kitchen Sisters is conducting another round of basic recording and interviewing workshops in San Francisco on Thursday, December 9th from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM and from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM.

The three hour workshop is for people who want to acquire and hone their skills for an array of projects–radio, online storytelling, oral histories, audio slide shows, family histories, and other multimedia endeavors. Both workshops will cover the same information so please only sign up for one session.

We will cover miking techniques, sound gathering, use of archival audio, how to make interviewees comfortable, how to frame evocative questions that make for compelling storytelling, how to listen (which is harder than it looks), how to use interviews in conjunction with images, field recording techniques, recording equipment and more. The workshops are customized to fit the projects you are working on.
People who attend come from radio, newspapers, photography, oral history, historical societies, farms, music, writing, libraries, web design and beyond. The groups are always lively and good contacts are made.
The fee is $115. Of course, there will be a snack. The workshops are held in Francis Coppola’s historic Zoetrope building in North Beach. The address is 916 Kearny Street (at the corner of Columbus).
If you, or someone you know is interested, email and let us know which of the two workshops you would like to attend.
See you there,
The Kitchen Sisters
The Kitchen Sisters Productions
916 Kearny Street
San Francisco, CA 94133

JOBS: General Manager (Internship) – Lorraine Hansberry Theatre

Lorraine Hansberry Theatre
San Francisco, CA

Job Announcement Link:

Do you consider yourself a jack of all trades? Have you always had a desire to shape and run an organization? Do you enjoy leading a team, multi-tasking and creatively problem solving? Have people often told you you’d be the perfect fit to be the “face” of a company? If so, the General Manger Intern position may be an ideal fit for you.

The General Manager is responsible for operational management of Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, working with the Artistic Director and Board of Directors to fulfill the mission and vision of the Theatre. Functions include fundraising, preparation of an annual budget for Board of Director approval, acting as organization spokesman, staff and volunteer oversight, budget management and government liaison. The General Manager also works with the Artistic Director to ensure marketing and logistics (production and event based) are successfully executed.

• Practical knowledge of business operations, infrastructure and project management.
• High integrity and ability to handle matters with discretion and confidentiality.
• Ability to design, interpret and implement policies and procedures.
• Aspire to grow company’s awareness and foster and maintain new funding sources.
• Commitment to furthering the mission, vision and values of Lorraine Hansberry Theatre.
• Experience in a non-profit setting (within a performing arts or arts organization), ideal.
• Desire to make a long-term commitment.

• In conjunction with the Artistic Director and Board of Directors, develops long-range strategy, fundraising budget and sets annual goals; responsible for organizing meetings, and preparing and distributing communications.
• Raise awareness of the organization in the Bay Area to broaden subscriber and funding base.
• Provide strategic direction to improve operational functions, office organization, and continuity planning; includes creating and implementing policies and procedures, work plans and timelines.
• Manage marketing plan, including media, public relations, volunteer coordination, partnership development and materials updates and distributions; work with staff and external vendors as needed.
• Negotiate or manage negotiations for salaries, artist contracts, commission and licensing agreements.
• Manage LORT bargaining agreements with AEA, SSDC and some USA; attend meetings and generate forms and correspondence to Unions as needed.
• Work with Controller to manage general operating, production and event based budgets, expenditures and reports; includes co-production agreements, royalty and general vendor payments, staff and office expenses, grant, donor, sponsor, Box Office and subscriber revenue, and insurance requirements.
• Conduit for Theatre information; Supervise staff, organize and facilitate weekly staff meetings.
• Oversee basic human resources functions, including performance appraisal process; Understand employer requirements in California and consult with out-sourced human resources firm as needed.

• Bachelors Degree required.
• Minimum 6 years progressive experience, required.
• Flexibility; available to work evenings and weekends as required.
• Ability to prioritize, multitask and meet goals independently, and under tight deadlines.
• Strong creativity and ability to problem solve with limited resources.
• Proven track record of providing strategic and fiscal oversight and execution.
• Experience developing and maintaining relationships with philanthropic, government and private sector sources, ideal but not required.
• Experience in a non-profit setting, (within a performing arts or arts organization), ideal but not required.

• Internship requires a one (1) year, full-time commitment – July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011.
• Standard Office Hours for the internship are Monday-Friday, 10 am to 5 pm.
• Office is located in the Union Square district of San Francisco, easily accessible by public transportation.
• Intern will supervise two (2) direct reports and two (2) independent consultants.
• Intern will report directly to the Artistic Director.
• Intern will receive a stipend.
• Upon completion of the one (1) year internship, the candidate may be eligible to assume the General Manager position with full salary and a competitive benefits package including medical, paid vacation, sick and holiday leave.
• Relocation coverage will be considered for qualified applicants.

• Submissions must be received no later than June 4, 2010.
• Please submit cover letter, resume and 3 references to
• Email subject line should read General Manager Internship.
• No telephone calls, faxes or USPS deliveries please.
• Only qualified candidates will be contacted.

SEW Productions Lorraine Hansberry Theatre (LHT) was founded to present high-quality, professionally directed plays by America’s foremost African-American playwrights; provide employment and career-building opportunities for local actors, directors, designers, and technicians of color; and foster youth development and cultural enrichment through instructional workshops and special outreach programs.

For more information on the organization, please visit our website at

Lorraine Hansberry Theatre is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Job Details: go top
Categories: Arts/Culture/Humanities
Experience Required: 6 yrs
Preferred Degree: Bachelors
Locations: go top





San Francisco

Contact Information: go top
Contact Name: Joey Price
Visit to Email Resume:

JOBS: Program Manager, Curatorial Practice – California College of Arts

FULL-TIME (37.5 Hours/Week), EXEMPT
JOB # 1999
Posted May 2010

Founded in 1907, California College of the Arts (CCA) is noted for the interdisciplinary and breadth of its programs. It offers studies in twenty undergraduate and seven graduate majors in the areas of fine arts, architecture, design, and writing. The college offers bachelor of architecture, bachelor of arts, bachelor of fine arts, master of architecture, master of arts, master of fine arts, and master of business administration degrees. With campuses in San Francisco and Oakland, CCA currently enrolls 1,800 full-time students. Noted alumni include the painters Nathan Oliveira and Raymond Saunders; the ceramicists Robert Arneson, Viola Frey, and Peter Voulkos; the filmmaker Wayne Wang; the conceptual artists David Ireland and Dennis Oppenheim; and the designers Lucille Tenazas and Michael Vanderbyl. For more information about CCA, visit

The Curatorial Practice Program Manager works directly with the program’s chair and is responsible for the daily and longer-term administrative operations of the Curatorial Practice Program (CURP). Specific duties include managing the program budgets; preparing class schedules; coordinating visiting faculty itineraries; advising students and scheduling reviews; managing the admissions process; managing the production of CURP publications and website; overseeing maintenance of the program database; coordinating the program’s events and field trips; overseeing the PLAySPACE gallery, and providing general administrative support to the program chair.

REPORTS TO: Assistant Director of Humanities & Sciences

DEPARTMENT: Graduate Curatorial Practice Program / San Francisco


• Manage CURP budgets and perform all related bookkeeping tasks.
• Assist the Chair with the preparation of the annual budget request.
• Coordinate/schedule department meetings and events, as well as faculty/student retreats.
• Develop/maintain systems and procedures to document graduate curricula.
• Manage Work Study students to ensure the regular update of databases, maintenance of the CURP website archive, and documentation of all program activities.
• Organize and maintain program files and file retrieval systems.
• Manage the Teaching Assistantship program for CURP.
• Along with the Chair, represent the program at Graduate Council and divisional meetings.
• Facilitate information exchange and communications with other programs and offices across the college, particularly other graduate programs, graduate admissions, Advancement, the Wattis Institute, Facilities, and the Business Office.
• Oversee dedicated CURP spaces, including the homeroom.
• Work with other program managers to problem solve and facilitate graduate programming and office procedures, including communicating with staff, students and faculty on school and divisional functions.
• Oversee the student-run PLAySPACE gallery, including coordinating its graduate student directors, budget, and events.
• Perform other duties as required.

• Provide logistical support and advice to faculty on policies, procedures, and class scheduling.
• Assist the Chair with curriculum development, scheduling, and with preparing materials for the hiring and promotion of faculty.
• Manage the travel, accommodation and scheduling for all visiting faculty.
• Coordinate hiring arrangements for visiting faculty (visas, schedules, and contractual letters).
• Manage all hosting requirements in San Francisco for visiting faculty.
• Manage the scheduling of independent student meetings with visiting faculty.
• Develop/maintain systems and procedures to document the curriculum and faculty, including the archive website.
• Ensure course syllabi, readers, and bibliographies adhere to program goals/standards.
• Research into and acquire relevant books and images for CURPR archive.

• Coordinate the Curatorial Practice Program final Exhibition Project, reception and catalog, and the exhibition and gallery reception.
• Work with other graduate program managers and Graduate Exhibition coordinator in the production of the reception and related events.
• Manage the production of CURP’s “Curating Now” marketing brochure.
• Partner with other program managers on grad-wide events including Orientation, all-grad BBQ and Open Studios.

• Coordinate class scheduling with Academic Affairs office and reserve campus space for program use.
• Schedule all graduate student reviews, including thesis reviews in spring and mid-first year reviews in the fall. Coordinate review committees, liaising with faculty members and external thesis mentors.
• Coordinate CURP admissions committee and work with graduate admissions on processing all CURP applications for review.
• Schedule program admissions interviews.

Relevant and successful previous administrative experience in a demanding office environment, excellent communications and interpersonal skills; demonstrated interest in art/design; proficiency in MS Office Suite; creative, proactive, and analytical problem solving skills; ability to follow direction and work independently; ability to manage multiple tasks and priorities/deadlines efficiently with frequent interruptions. Must be highly organized, self-motivated, and detail oriented. Willingness to work occasional evenings and weekends. Bachelor’s degree and experience in an educational setting preferred. Experience using and supporting Datatel Colleague or similar ERP software preferred. Knowledge of fund raising/development desirable.

SALARY: $45-46,000 / annually, and includes a comprehensive benefits package.

Applicants are invited to submit a letter of interest, resume and the names and telephone numbers of three professional references to:

California College of the Arts
Human Resources (Job # 1999)
5212 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94618-1487
Fax (510) 594-3681

Application Deadline:
Screening begins immediately and will continue until the position is filled. NOTE: If you wish to be notified of the status of your application for this position, please provide a current email address on your resume or cover letter.

California College of the Arts is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from individuals who will contribute to its diversity.

Oliver Stone Wants to Film Tony Award Nominated Musical “Memphis”

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

(Take the Poll at the end of this post!)

The New York Times reported that Justin Timberlake –who’s from Memphis, Tennessee– wants to make a film version of the Tony Award® nominated Broadway musical “Memphis,” starring singer/actress Montego Glover. Legendary director Oliver Stone has also shown interest in turning the musical into a film.

For those who aren’t into musicals, you’ll be surprised to know that Broadway is getting “souled” up lately, with such successes as “Fela!” and a revival of August Wilson’s “Fences,” starring Viola Davis and Denzel Washington.

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Timberlake is said to be interested in the lead role, but a leading lady hasn’t yet been discussed.In true Stage/Book/Television-to-Film style, they may just go the usual route and cast someone who isn’t necessarily an actress or a  stage singer. (It won’t be the first time.)

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Or, Oliver Stone may decide to “keep it real” and cast someone with a stage background to bring the miscegenation storyline to life.

Who Would You Cast?

FLASHBACK: 1997 Interview with Dorothy Dandridge Biographer Donald Bogle

If you aren’t familiar with Donald Bogle’s work, then you’re missing out on one of the quintessential biographers and researchers of the documented history of African Americans in film and television. His books include Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies & Bucks: An Interpretive History of Blacks in American Films, Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams: The Story of Black Hollywood, and Brown Sugar; Eighty Years of America’s Black Female Superstars.

In this 1997 interview with PBS’s Charlie Rose, Mr. Bogle is joined by two legendary actresses: Ruby Dee and Cicely Tyson (making a rare appearance… replete with leather gloves).

All three guests are discussing Donald’s 1997 book, Dorothy Dandridge: A Biography, as well as an intense discussion about the actress herself and Black actresses in Hollywood.

Whitney Performs; Fences Opens; Tribeca Premieres; and More!

April has been a busy month for film premieres, events and glam gatherings! From the opening of the late-August Wilson’s drama “Fences,” starring Viola Davis and Denzel Washington, to Whitney’s shaky comeback, we have the latest photos of the latest glam gatherings!

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Madea is the Only Black “Woman” That Can Open a Film?

“…when you think about a black woman who can open a film, I mean they will green-light the film because of her presence in the film — you know there’s only one person, and that’s Madea.”

Atlanta, Georgia’s, online publication “Rolling Out” wrote an insightful article about the dearth of roles for Black women in film. Of course the article was highlighting the Black Women in Film (formerly, Black Women Film Project) luncheon featuring some of Hollywood’s leading Black actresses in film and television. The article outlined a number of concerns with the roles of Black women –something the IBWFF has also been highlighting for years.

The rub was to promote how much work there is in Atlanta, as well as how much Tyler Perry’s films and studio have impacted roles for African Americans. Personally, my mother’s family has been in Atlanta for over four generations, so I always took for Black achievement and success for granted –i.e., it was something you did, not something you undermined, like in many urban centers.

For many African Americans, Atlanta is a burgeoning, Black metropolis for actors and performers. Tyler Perry’s studio is another example of ingenuity, need fulfillment and entrepreneurship, in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Sadly, the strength, purpose and vision of the luncheon was cut short by the closing statement by Roger Bobb, executive vice president of Tyler Perry Studios. After actress Terri Vaughn’s impassioned plea about roles for Black women in Hollywood, and after outlining the impact of such a worthy luncheon, one small statement seemed to dismiss and undermine everything that was just presented.

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The statement?

“…(W)hen you think about a black woman who can open a film, I mean they will green-light the film because of her presence in the film — you know there’s only one person, and that’s Madea.”

Wow. Did he just state that a Black man dressed as a Black woman is the only “Black woman” who can open a film?

Tyler Perry as Madea

Oh, but he did add, “Now you do have some exceptions — Halle Berry and Queen Latifah. But after that, the list goes way down.” Goes down? Goes down to what? Zoe Saldana? Angela Bassett? Gabrielle Union? Alicia Keys? Beyonce? Mo’Nique?

I respect the work (and jobs) that Tyler Perry Studios provides; however, I wish that Mr. Bobb had edited his words more carefully, especially considering that he just attended a luncheon where Black women in film were discussed for over an hour and a half.

Maybe he was taken out of context, who knows? But please, Black women in film are “dissed” enough… we don’t need to be dissed at our own events.

Read the article:

Am(erykah)’s Artistic Statement

Okay, let’s cut right to the chase. Erykah Badu’s video “Window Seat” has been heating up Facebook pretty much for the past couple of days. I was hit with an onslaught of links and “whadya thinks?” since March 29, 2010. To say the least, people were “vexed,” distraught, titillated, mortified and stupefied.

Comments ranged from questioning her sanity, to outright anger, and to kudos.

Though Miss Erykah is one of my favorite music (and performance) artists, I hadn’t taken two minutes to watch the video because I’m just not one for a hard sell (no pun intended). I like people to get all of their nutty comments, talk show appearances and morning show battles out of the way before I actually feel compelled to view something objectively.

In this case, it was the subject matter that was so compelling that I had to finally watch: the perceived exploitation of the Black woman’s body, and controlling the image of the Black woman’s body. (What could it hurt, right? Plus it’s free, so stop complaining.) I click on the one of many links and sat, and sat, and sat.

First, I wasn’t that blown over by the song itself. It was pretty standard, and I felt it was more of a “filler” song. There were no vocal pyrotechnics, or note gymnastics, but it was listenable.

I started getting that Coldplay feeling like, “Oh, here we go again. Another film school experiment in an attempt to make some big –albeit undecipherable– artistic statement.”

For those who haven’t seen the video, Ms. Badu is in the same location as President Kennedy when he was assassinated in Dallas. (OK, keep that point in mind.) Dallas is also Ms. Badu’s hometown. (Point number 2.) The film is grainy and shaky. (Nothing good can come from that given the first point.) The camera is unflinching and Erykah is never out of view.

But wait… there’s more!

As Miss Erykah is walking down a busy Dallas street, she is slowly taking off clothing. By the time she takes off her top, you’re pretty sure it’s going down a slippery slope. (No pun intended, again.)

Yes, she strips down to nature’s own scuba suit… in public. And, no, there was no permit to for the filming.

In the end is a simulated assassination.

Wow. I didn’t see that coming… given the first point. But for many Am(erykah) it was just a little too much.

As someone who still cringes at nude scenes in film, I was a little floored, and somewhat impressed that she dropped it like it was hot. One side of me thought, good for her! The other side thought, now that was just unnecessary.

Of course people are outraged, including the City of Dallas. Folks in Texas don’t take to kindly to public nudity, especially when it’s filmed.

Talk shows, including the “Early Show,” went 5150. (That’s city code for “crazy.”) Morning co-host Maggie Rodriguez almost lost her breakfast while spewing out her distaste for the video, even bringing President Kennedy and how Ms. Badu disrespected the assassinated President. (Maggie, chill the f– out.)

My own mother had an interesting (and funny) comment, “You can’t expect a child not to be traumatized by seeing a nekkid Black woman… or man!” (Of course it was said in the humor.) We laughed because it was definitely in the humor of one of my favorite Mel Brook’s movies, “Blazing Saddles”: “Excuse me while I whip this out!” Aaaaaagh!

It also brought to light a bigger issue: How does America (still) respond to the Black body?

Erykah responded via Twitter to everyone’s ire:
@fatbellybella character assassination due to mob mentality/ groupthink is the theme of the window seat video . The message is encoded.

OK, I got that, but I think that a deeper message about the Black body, America’s perception of it, and the fear, fascination and loathing it still possesses for people who never have an opportunity to see it in a positive light.

Hopefully the video will deliver a larger message and start a larger dialogue. Read Natalie Hopkinson’s take on the video and the Black woman’s body at “The Root,” and visit Erykah Badu’s Twitter account for her deeper insight into the controversy.

Momma’s Hip Hop Kitchen presents Back to Our Roots!

Momma’s Hip Hop Kitchen (MHHK) is a multifaceted hip hop event designed to showcase women artists, especially women of color. MHHK serves as a social justice community-organizing platform that educates and empowers women of color on issues that impact their lives, including HIV/AIDS and reproductive justice. Our mission is to create a dynamic interactive exchange and safe space for all women of color to express themselves through their art.

Invitation From the Event Organizers:

MHHK Volume 3, Back to Our Roots, will be honoring International Women’s Month by bringing together educators, students, environmentalists, djs, emcees, b-girls, poets, visual artists, dancers, healers, pastors, organizers and activists to collectively express our solidarity with women’s rights!
We hope that you can join us at this free and family-friendly event. Local organizations and businesses focused on these and/or related issues are encouraged to participate by tabling or simply attending.
When: Saturday, March 6th, 2010 @ the Hostos Center for Arts and Culture 450 Grand Concourse (at 149th St.) Bronx, NY (Main Theater)

Time: 2-5pm

This event is FREE and open to all ages.

For more information about the event, please visit our website @ or email hiphopkitchen[at] Organizations interested in tabling can register at

T’Keyah Crystal Keymah stars in “Crowns” February 27, 2010

T’Keyah Crystal Keymah is best known for her role on the ground-breaking sketch series, “In Living Color,” with the Wayans Brothers. She’s worked in a number of other television, stage and film roles since then.

On February 27, 2010, Ms. Keymah will return to the stage in the role of Mother Shaw in “Crowns,” at Florida A & M University.
[picappgallerysingle id=”6283783″ align=”center”] The Florida A & M University Essential Theatre and the FAMU Lyceum Series Present Crowns by Regina Taylor based on the book by Michael Cunningham and Craig Marberry. This production features FAMU students, faculty and graduates of its music and theater programs including famed alum T’Keyah Crystal Keymah who plays Mother Elsie Shaw. The show is a family friendly, vibrant and moving gospel-infused musical about faith, family, fellowship… and hats!

T'Keyah Stars in Crowns at Florida A & MFriday, February 26 at 7:30PM; Saturday, February 27 at 2PM and 7:30PM and Sunday, February 28 at 2PM – Lee Hall Auditorium, 1601 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. on FAMU’s campus. Shuttle buses will run from the east side of the Bragg stadium parking lot to Lee Hall every 15 minutes starting at 6PM on Friday and Saturday and at 12:30PM on Saturday and Sunday.

The first 450 FAMU student tickets per show are free (tickets must be reserved in advance), Thereafter FAMU students: $5.00, Non-FAMU Students: $7.00, Seniors: $12.00, General Admission: $15.00, Preferred Seating: $25.00. To purchase tickets or for more information, go to or call (850) 561-2425 or (850) 599-3413.

The Business of Show Biz: Career Intensive for Actors

Only a very small portion of an actor’s time is spent acting.

The successful actor spends the majority of his or her time pursuing work. The business of acting is this pursuit.

While there exists a dizzying array of acting classes, it is difficult to find a class or workshop that covers the work getting, marketing tips and techniques that are the tools for building a career.

Without these tools it is possible to continue acting every now and then as a hobby indefinitely. However, if building a career is your goal this workshop is for you. In this class you will:

*Create an effective Picture and Resume
*Organize your life around your goals
*Avoid industry scams
*Meet with a SAG/AFTRA franchised Talent Agent
*Learn to market yourself and more

8 Wednesdays, March 3 – April 28

The Phoenix Theater Annex
414 Mason Street, San Francisco

11am – 2pm


  • Before 2/17/10 $250. per month Early Bird Special!
  • After 2/17/10 $275 per month
  • Register early, class size is limited
Velina Brown is a busy stage, screen, and voice over actor, with credits at the Tony and Obie award winning San Francisco Mime Troupe, ACT, Berkeley Repertory Theater, and the Magic Theater among others. Recent screen credits include Trauma, Bee Season, Maladaptive, and Milk.

For the past two years she has also been a career advice columnist for Theater Bay Area Magazine.
(415) 928-0592

Alvin Ailey’s Judith Jamison Preparing to Move On

For all of you danceophiles and balletomanes, you’ve watched that quintessentially American modern dance company, The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (click link for videos and more!), flourish, wane, and then flourish again over its 40 year history. The company started in 1969, under the leadership and artistic vision of dancer and choreographer Alvin Ailey. His company was revolutionary for its time because: 1) there were virtually no modern dance companies with Black dancers, 2) he used Black dancers in his company and 3) though the dance vocabulary was strictly from the modern genre, he infused the dances and the body language with Black vernacular themes and movements.

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From his company, Judith Jamison became the Ailley’s version of a prima ballerina. She was not the usual dance type of that time (or this), which was short, waif-like, and, invariably, white –or passably white. Ms. Jamison was tall and lithe, curvy, and dark-hued. She was also a strong, aggressive dancer who attacked each movement. Audience members seemed to understand that her dance was speaking to a much larger issue than just movements.

[picappgallerysingle id=”2622406″]Mr. Ailey created a dance to highlight her essence and her long limbs, and it became a standard dance for the company, and can still be seen today. She performed the solo Cry, which was supposed to be a piece within the larger dance called Revelations. Her performances brought audiences to their feet, and her fierce dancing spoke about the struggles and life of a Black woman –a topic that was never approached previously.

The Ailey company also produced such renowned dancers as Carmen De Lavallade and Masazumi Chaya, in addition to Ms. Jamison.

Unfortunately, in 1989, Mr. Ailey passed away. The company faltered while it tried to get its foothold. There were struggles regarding the direction of the company, and who should lead. During that same year, Ms. Jamison became the Artistic Director of the company.

Under her direction, the company grew, and continued Mr. Ailey’s vision, while also acquiring a new, state-of-the-art facility on West 55th Street.

According to AOL Black Voices, the company has been seriously searching for a new director for the past three years. Ms. Jamison is trying to gradually move on, while she is committed to a seamless process of knowledge transfer. From the same article, she states, “This company is about past, present and future, and I’m seriously reaching into the future,” she shared. “I am not going be around here forever. I want 50 years more for this company, and while I am here, I really want to do this process.”

Regardless of who they select, the vision of Ailey has been in capable hands for 20 years. Hopefully, the vision will continue, as will the spirit of Alvin Ailey, himself.

South African Union Threatens to Boycott Jennifer Hudson


Last month Jennifer Hudson announced that she will play Winnie Manikizela-Mandela in the Equinoxe Film WINNIE (due out in 2011). The Creative Workers Union of South Africa (CWUSA) promptly issued a statement to South African newspaper The Citizen protesting the fact that a South African was not cast in the role, and locals haven’t been sought to star in or work on the film. The union is composed on South African creatives, including filmmakers, actors and musicians. Renowned South African theater actor John Kani pointed out that, “the problem was not Hudson playing Madikizela-Mandela, but the lack of respect and acknowledgment for local creatives.”
Ms. Hudson’s casting also highlights a recent trend toward casting entertainers and singers as actors. Actress Nia Long –in response to Beyonce Knowles starring in yet another film– even went as far to state, “It’s just not about how talented you are anymore. It’s about, ‘How much box-office revenue will this person generate?’ ” But Ms. Hudson is not alone in the push toward entertainers, especially African American entertainers. She’s one of many in a long line that includes Ludacris (CRASH, GAMER), Alicia Keyes (THE NANNIE DIARIES, SECRET LIVES OF BEES), Ice Cube (FRIDAY, BARBERSHOP), Eve (BARBERSHOP, TRANSPORTER 3), and a host of others.
This brings up several issues that have been plaguing Africans/African Americans in film: 1) The right to accurate representation, 2) the dearth of roles for Blacks, and 3) trivializing the “craft” of acting. The movie industry in the United States is focused on the business of show business, and rarely do African Americans have the luxury to present “art” that doesn’t “make money.”  If African Americans in film can’t bring in an audience, then Hollywood –and some Blacks in film– will not bother to cast them in other films, or back films starring them. This is part of the reason why Hollywood continually brings in entertainers, and not actors.

Middle-America more readily recognizes Ludacris than it does Ruby Dee.

However, the entertainer-as-actor is not new to Hollywood. Many films have starred “entertainers” in non-musical films just to attract audiences. Nat King Cole in ST. LOUIS BLUES, Diahann Carroll in CLAUDINE, Eartha Kitt in ANNA LUCASTA, etc. Granted, all of the aforementioned –other than Nat King Cole– were also stage performers, and have starred in plays. Some will argue that Ms. Hudson received an Oscar® for DREAMGIRLS. Others will argue that the role wasn’t a stretch since it was about an R&B singer who doesn’t fit the mold of a successful lead singer of a girl group.

In regards to representation, African Americans have been battling Hollywood for decades. How we’re presented in film impacts how we’re received in public. Image and media strongly impact perception. A “repeated” image can destroy self-esteem, social gains and cultural acceptance. Starting with such films as D.W. Griffith’s BIRTH OF A NATION, Blacks have understood the power of the moving image. Many of the roles in BIRTH OF A NATION were white actors in “blackface” –a demeaning and intentionally hurtful practice of “blackening” an actors face with burnt cork or shoe polish and acting out Black stereotypes for entertainment. It was in part due to the lack of accurate representation that such filmmakers as Oscar Micheaux and Tressie Sauders filmed their own films starring Black actors in human, believable –and even comical– stories.

When the Civil Rights Movement gained steam in the United States in the 1960’s, African Americans took representation even further. Diversity in how actors looked was pushed (no more “paper bag tests” for Black actresses), and “authenticity” was expected (see Abbey Lincoln and Ivan Dixon in NOTHING BUT A MAN).

During the Black filmmaker renaissance in the late-1980’s and early-1990’s, the deluge of Black directors, actors and films, were the norm.

Children raised, or born, during this time period have always assumed that’s how Hollywood looked. Jennifer Hudson is one of those young adults. She would have been an adolescent when the Black filmmaker renaissance blossomed.  In regards to her role as an actress, it will require her to look deep and dark into the recesses of human indignity and violence to truly understand the impact of apartheid-era South Africa. Hopefully, she’s grown beyond her comments that she “didn’t know who the BeeGees” were when she was asked to sing their songs on “American Idol.” The Bee Gees? Really? I also hope that she breaks the acceptance of many young adults to totally disregard any history that pre-dates their adolescence.

Growing up, I was always aware of things that pre-dated me–including music, performers, film, etc. It wasn’t something I considered as “old,” and, therefore, negligible –like clothing. If she and Hollywood are going to stand by their decision to cast her in the role, then let’s hope that she takes the role seriously, and makes a concerted effort to improve her craft by researching Ms. Madizikela’s history, her life, and the era (and country) that produced her. And most importantly, let’s hope that Hollywood and Equinoxe Films respect Black actors in South Africa enough to heavily involve them in the process.

Looking for Talent!! Conscious female rappers/artists/dancers/poets, etc…

DISCLAIMER: This event is NOT sponsored or hosted by the IBWFF. This is a re-post. As with any audition or casting call announcement, you are strongly encouraged to use your best judgment in attending an audition or casting call. It is your responsibility to contact local authorities if you suspect illegal activities, exploitation or violence from the hosts, attendees or other parties in attendance


Are you a FEMALE MC with a slick flow, crazy style, and great stage presence? Or are you a FEMALE VISUAL ARTIST, SPOKEN WORD POET, or DANCER? Are you also politically conscious and inspire others through your work?

If so please apply for Momma’s Hip Hop Kitchen, Vol. 3: Back To Our Roots, Environmental Justice, Education Equality

We are looking for conscious female rappers/artists/dancers/poets, etc… Who are interested in performing on:
Saturday March 6th, 2010
at Hostos Community College
in the Bronx
Momma’s Hip Hop Kitchen, Vol. 3: Back To Our Roots, Environmental Justice, Education Equality

If interested please apply by:

  1. Going online to
  2. Click on “Vol. 3: 2010”
  3. On the left hand side of the page you will see the link “Participant Application
  4. Click that link, and apply!

Please email if you have any questions


Description of the Event:
Momma’s Hip Hop Kitchen Volume 3, Back to Our Roots, will be honoring International Women’s Month by shedding light and creating awareness on Environmental Injustices and Educational Inequalities and their impact on women of color.
Momma’s Hip Hop Kitchen will bring together women of color educators, students, environmentalists, djs, emcees, b-girls, poets, visual artists, dancers, healers, pastors, organizers and activists. We will come together through a hip hop showcase to express our solidarity with women’s rights!

The South Bronx is a community that has been in constant resistance, seeking justice in education and the environment. It is a community resisting pollution, asthma, toxic wasteland, and budget cuts for art, music, and gym programs. It is a community that lacks access to healthy fruits and vegetables, adequate health care and after school programs. The South Bronx’s need for reproductive and sexual health education is highly reflected in its high levels of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections.
In place of access to healthy alternatives, the South Bronx has an over abundance of jails and prisons.

However, the South Bronx is not lost. It has experienced a period of healing through leadership guided by community organizations and collectives. This leadership has lead to the creation of new parks, food co-ops, recycling programs, and successful cultural community centers. We have won many amazing victories as a community!
Join us as we fuse our energy, our politics, our ancestry, our traditions, art, song and dance into a brew for Environmental Justice and Education Equality.

Turn Up the Heat and Let the Soul Simmer, as We Stir this Soup for the Hip Hop Soul!


Momma’s Hip Hop Kitchen, Vol. 3: Back To Our Roots, Environmental Justice, Education Equality
When: Saturday, March 6th, 2010
Where: The Hostos Center for Arts and Culture
450 Grand Concourse (at 149th St.) Bronx, NY
(Main Theater)
Time: TBA (most likely 2-5pm)
This event is FREE and open to all ages.
for more information about the event, please
visit our website @
or email

Kathleen Adams and Lah Tere, Founders of Momma’s Hip Hop Kitchen

Momma’s Hip Hop Kitchen (MHHK) is a multifaceted hip hop event designed to showcase women artists, especially women of color. MHHK serves as a social justice community-organizing platform that educates and empowers women of color on issues that impact their lives, including HIV/AIDS and reproductive justice. Our mission is to create a dynamic interactive exchange and safe space for all women of color to express themselves through their art.

Janelle Monae makes an appearance at MTV’s Woodie Awards

ATLien Janelle Monae has been rocking the scene lately making a number of appearances at such underground events as New York’s Afro-Punk Festival, and elsewhere.

In 2008, she was featured in Interview Magazine as an up-and-comer. However, most folks may recognize her –in a less alien appearance– from fellow ATLiens OutKast’s movie IDLEWILD, even appearing on the soundtrack. Like creative, independent funkstresses before her, Miss Janelle has run across a lot of stereotypes that try to impede her progress as an artist. According to her Interview Magazine feature, she states, ““It’s unfortunate that a lot of people think African-American female artists are monolithically R&B this-or-that …I don’t have to do anything by default.”
Janelle Monae Presents "The Soul Collective" In 2009, was re-imagined and reworked to her current persona as a renegade alien who’s in love with an earthling on her creative album “Metropolis.” The incredibly lush orchestration of Ms. Monae’s music are a wonderful accompaniment to her lilting, bird-like vocals that are reminiscent of Edith Piaf and Marilyn McCoo, all wrapped up in one funky, Mothership package! On Friday, December 4, 2009, Miss Janelle appeared on MTV’s (literally) hot mess of an award show, the Woodies. Nominees –which included Ms. Monae– were selected by college students, who are the barometers of cool.
Not only was Ms. Monae nominated, but she even let her funky android out to present one of the awards!

Miss Janelle isn’t finished, and her epic album has more to go! Also, check out her label Wondaland Arts Society.

Survey for Artists: Due November 23, 2009

Attention Artists!


San Francisco Arts Commision: Cultural Equity Grants

Please take 15 minutes to complete the Survey by Monday, 23 November 2009
or, forward to artists you know.

We want to make sure your experience is represented!

Is the recession over in the Bay Area, or still going strong? How are these
economic times affecting artists around San Francisco?  The conditions that
artists face in this current economic climate should be understood and addressed.

The Artists and the Economic Recession Survey invites you to share your
experience. It is being conducted by Leveraging Investments in Creativity
(LINC), a ten-year national initiative to improve conditions for artists,
in partnership with the San Francisco Arts Commission, the San Francisco
Foundation, and the East Bay Community Foundation. The survey is being
supervised by Princeton Survey Research Associates International.

Completing the survey takes about 15 minutes and is offered in both English
and Spanish.

To complete the survey, please click on the link that follows or type the
survey website address in your browser. Survey web site:

There is strength in numbers and LINC has been working with artists and
organizations around the country to distribute the survey. We want to make
sure we reach the widest range of artist voices possible, especially
artists who may not be part of formal organizational networks. Reaching as
many artists as possible improves the quality of this important research,
and better equips everyone who advocates for artists and the arts.

So in addition to completing the survey yourself, we would appreciate your
forwarding this to every artist you know.

Your participation in our survey is completely voluntary.  If you have any
questions about this survey, please contact

For Colored Girls; Rumored for the big screen

Post-“Precious” there’s another rumor circulating about the dynamic duo producers Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry: They will be producing a screen version of radical poet Ntozake Shange’s Obie Award-winning choreopoem, “for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf.”

Rumors are also circulating that superstars Halle Berry, Lynn Whitfield, Angela Bassett, and Jill Scott will star. There are even murmurings that the queen herself –no, not First Lady Michelle Obama– will star in the production. Oprah Winfrey is not new to the big screen, and her repertoire and film roles have only grown increasingly intense with each new film.

Who will deliver this ginormous project? Lionsgate. It would only make sense considering that the Wonder Twins jumped on the “Precious” train, and catapulted the indie-film to new heights.

Halle Berry attends Keep A Child Alive’s 6th Annual Black Ball hosted by Alicia Keys and Padma Lakshmi at Hammerstein Ballroom on October 15, 2009 in New York Cityjillscott

Can they do it for such a raw, real piece of work like “For Colored Girls”? Again, the casting seems a little off, but apparently that’s what it takes for a film to have any chance for survival. Big names, and bigger supporters.

The poem doesn’t give any wiggle room for glamor, perfect hair or guarded emotions. If you remember the poem, it deals with serious issues surrounding Black women, including infanticide, and other hot-button issues.

Hopefully, this project will come to fruition and whomever is selected to star will bring the same unpretty grittiness that the original poem demanded.

Sesame Street’s 40th Anniversary

If you’re younger than 45 years old, then PBS perennial “Sesame Street” is probably a huge part of your youth. “Sesame Street” was a huge change from

19th Annual NAACP Theatre Awards

Sesame Street alumna Tatyana Ali

Raul Julia

Sesame Street alumnus Raul Julia

baby-boomer children shows in that: 1) It was set in the inner-city, and not the suburbs; 2) children of every hue were represented; and 3) the neighbors on “Sesame Street” looked like the integrated neighborhoods that most post-integration Americans were looking for.

Desiree Casado

Desiree Casado

"Sesame Street" 40th Anniversary Temporary Street Renaming

Sonia Manzano

Sesame Workshop's 7th Annual Benefit Gala

Sesame Street alumnus Roscoe Orman

“Sesame Street” was also one of the first children’s shows to feature African American, Puerto Rican, and Caribbean kids and adults in the 1970’s who weren’t junkies, living in violence-plagued communities, or cracking jokes about “honkies.” People on this show actually spoke to one another, shared front stoops, and sang happy songs that anyone was welcomed to sing with them.

So here’s those vanguard neighbors who helped to usher in Elmo, Takalani, and others who brightened our day… especially the ever hopeful and sensitive Big Bird!