Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Theater Talks: Charles Fuller's "A Soldier's Play"

Many thanks to Roundabout and the Schomburg for a wonderful talk on Charles Fuller's Pulitzer Prize winning A Soldier's Play, which is making its Broadway debut under the direction of Kenny Leon. A Soldier's Play runs through March 15, 2020 at the American Airlines Theatre. Can't wait to see it!




Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Jason Moran - Jazz on a High Floor in the Afternoon


Earlier this year on the Blue Sea at Note 2019, I had the honor to experience Jazz pianist's Jason Moran and his band. I recall just sitting in awe of the MacArthur Fellow's virtuosity, happy to be able to observe him in an intimate lounge setting. With that memory, I paused each time I looked at a Whitney Museum email lingering in my inbox promoting Jason Moran's first solo museum show. I knew that I had to see and support the show. 

After looking through the series of performances scheduled over several weeks, I settled on Jazz on a High Floor in the Afternoon: Michela Marino Lerman's Love Movement. - a Jazz tap show performed inside an exhibit paying tribute to three legendary Jazz stages - midtown's Three Deuces, Harlem's Savoy Ballroom and Alphabet City's Slug's Saloon

The performance was truly clever. I enjoyed the tap, which I don't get a chance to see often, and I really got a kick out of seeing the Jazz club replicas, especially Slug's Saloon, which, by the way, on that same Blue Note at Sea cruise I watch I Called Him Morgan about Helen Morgan shooting Jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan in that club. That chair ain't knocked over for no reason.  


Jason Moran's trio The Bandwagon plays the Village Vanguard December 19-21. If you were able to score a ticket, enjoy!! The Whitney exhibit runs through January 5th. 

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Inua Ellams - Barber Shop Chronicles

I recently returned home from an amazing trip to Ghana, West Africa for the Year of Return 2019 - which was launched  to commemorate 400 years since the first enslaved Africans were forcibly brought the United States. It was my first time to the region. I took in Pan-Africanism and the Atlantic from the other side, learned about Asante history and culture, ate spicy foods that were not unfamiliar as they warmed my esophagus and stomach, marveled at beautiful colorful fabrics, and almost lost it in a slave dungeon at Cape Coast. Frankly, I did not want to come home and would have gladly stayed longer if I could. But that is not how my world works unfortunately :(

A few days after my return (that is, to the U.S.), I halfheartedly scrolled through marketing emails in my inbox and perked up when I saw a promotion for Barber Shop Chronicles by Nigerian-British playwright Inua Ellams. Hmmm...what is this (I wondered) - an opportunity to return to Africa through theater on the New York City Stage? 

The festive Barber Shop Chronicles takes place in barber shops across the African continent (Lagos, Johannesburg,  Accra, Kampala, and Harare) and in London, and wonderfully explores black male masculinity and relationships. It was absolutely refreshing to lose myself in these black men's stories, set to the bumping Afrobeat back drop. Kudos to BAM for bringing this to us, as part of Next Wave 2019!  I want more like this! 


Friday, November 1, 2019

More Sage Advice from "The Heiress'" Dr. Sloper

On Family:
Family feeling is very proper. There isn't enough of it in our city. 
 On Love:
I don't believe in love at first sight.  
On Cleverness:
You are good for nothing unless you are clever!

Sunday, October 13, 2019

MINDing My Health at 92Y


As Mental Health Awareness week kicked off last week, I enjoyed a day of panel discussions and break out sessions at MIND Your Health at 92Y. The day included an array of speakers such as Bob Roth, Cheryl Strayed, and Cynthia Germanotta, as well as doctors and experts such as Dr. Alka Gupta from Weill Cornell Medicine. MIND Your Health was designed to help us take a holistic approach to improving the quality of our lives.

Some notes from the day (in no particular order):
  • Talk about mental health. Eliminate the stigma. Mental health is just as important as physical health! Treat mental disorders as they emerge; if not, they will worsen...
  • Minimum of 7 - 8 hours sleep --> necessary (make your environment peaceful - put down the phone - dim the lights - set the right temperature - NO WINE!
  • Social connections and relationships --> critical
  • Find things in your life that release endorphins naturally
  • Practice gratitude and journaling. Create mantras
  • Practice mindfulness through meditation (those with untreated trauma - beware)
  • Talk to your kids - make time for family time!
  • Practice vulnerability - struggle is universal. you are not alone
  • Look into alternative therapies - cannabis, slime anyone?
  • Feed your brain. Mediterranean diet linked to good health and less depression. Eat more plant-based foods - eat fatty fish (e.g., salmon, mackerel and sardines) 2-3x per week - limit added sugars - take in 25-30g fiber daily. Eat slowly and enjoy your food
  • Reduce cognitive decline - avoid chronic stress and exposure to toxins and embrace physical fitness and social networks

Monday, September 30, 2019

Natasha Yvette Williams - Rescue, Relief, and Redemption!


I haven't been following Natasha Yvette Williams' career as closely as the gentleman I had the opportunity to sit next to at the elegant and cozy Feinstein's / 54 Below room on Wednesday night, but I'm sure pleased that I fixed my cabaret craving by attending her show. 

Mrs Williams, whose Broadway credits include Chicago and Waitress, is talented, funny, vulnerable and supportive. She charmed her friends and audience with musical theater, soul and gospel tunes and readily shared her stage with young talent she has met at the stage door, her Waitress cast mates, and the talented Saint Aubyn, who recently wowed me in Ain't Too Proud and blew me away with his Try a Little Tenderness on Wednesday. 

Mrs Williams cabaret show was an absolute blast and exactly what my spirit needed to get through the work week. 

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Ogresse - C├ęcile McLorin Salvant with L'Orchestre L'Ogresse



Maybe we could dance all night 
Under clouds of violet
Moving to melodies long-forgotten
Maybe if you held me tight enough, my love
Neither one of us would fly or fall

Friday, August 16, 2019

Quote by Aretha Franklin

Quote by Aretha Franklin in NY Post article - Beautiful little girl had it all:
No matter how successful you are, one day the applause is going to die down. The amens and the hallelujahs will be silent and even the money will stop flowing. When that happens, you’ve got to know who you are and what you’re going to do.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Pose - "Love's In Need Of Love Today" Episode

Really enjoyed the awesome Billy Porter and the performances on the recent Pose episode. Here is the cast performing "Love's In Need Of Love Today." Enjoy!!!






Harriet Tubman Biopic

The Harriet biopic trailer dropped this week. Harriet Tubman is one of (if not) the most important black women in American history. Featuring this American story on the big screen is WAY overdue.The film features some of my favorite artists today - Cynthia Erivo, Leslie Odom Jr. and Janelle Monae. However, the week has been bittersweet as there has been renewed online backlash regarding a British actress being cast as Harriet. And if you recall, David Oyelowo, a British actor, played MLK Jr. (another iconic black American) several years back. There was even more online outrage when a few of Erivo's old social media postings were unearthed and viewed as disparaging to black Americans. Despite this, I will go to the theater in November, buy a ticket, and support this important film about my sheroe (just like I supported the film Selma). But it is NOT lost on me that true art is political and decisions made matter. And no one in 2019 should act like America's history has been a fair and level playing field for all...