Archive for arts

Strange Fruit

Posted in Culture with tags , , , on July 10, 2013 by substanceandstyledc

fruitvale-station-posterWhen the film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival it captured both the Grand Jury Prize for dramatic feature and the Audience Award for US dramatic film. More than that, it captured the hearts of everyone who saw it. And as the saying goes, ‘what’s on the heart is always on the tongue.’ In this case, the movers in shakers in cinema can’t stop talking about the brave and honest artistry of director Ryan Coogler’s tracing of the last few hours of the life of Oscar Grant in his film Fruitvale Station.

Fruitvale Station, opening in Washington area theaters July 19, follows the true story of a 22-year-old Bay Area resident who wakes up on the morning of December 31, 2008 and feels something in the air. Not sure what it is, he takes it as a sign to get a head start on his resolutions: being better son to his mother, partner to his girlfriend Sophina, and being a better father to Tatiana, their beautiful four year-old daughter. Crossing paths with friends, family and strangers, Oscar starts out well, as the day goes on, he realizes that changes are not going to come easily. His resolve takes a tragic turn, however, when BART officers shoot him in cold blood at the Fruitvale subway stop on New Year’s Day. Oscar’s life and tragic death would shake the Bay Area – and the entire nation – to its very core.

Simply Beautiful Film

Posted in Culture with tags , , on June 26, 2013 by substanceandstyledc

tnance_filmWest End Cinema brings the much talked about debut film An Oversimplification of Her Beauty to Washington audiences June 28 – July 4. Following the June 28 7:20pm and June 30 5:00pm screenings, the director Terence Nance will pop in the theater via Skype for a Q&A session.

The film documents the relationship between Terence and a lovely young woman as it teeters on the divide between platonic and romantic. An Oversimplification of Her Beauty blurs the line between narrative, documentary, and experimental film as it explores the fantasies, emotions, and memories. See the trailer below.

The Hampton Years

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , on June 1, 2013 by substanceandstyledc

the-hampton-years-imageAs part of its inaugural Locally Grown Festival Theater J is presenting the world premiere of The Hampton Years. Written by Jacqueline E. Lawton and directed by Shirley Serotsky, The Hampton Years explores the development of African-American artists, John Biggers and Samella Lewis while under the tutelage of Austrian Jewish refugee painter and educator, Viktor Lowenfeld during their time at Hampton Institute – now Hampton University - during WWII. As the play unfolds it reveals the dreams and travails of young artists in a still segregated society while examining the impact of World War II on a Jewish immigrant and his wife finding shelter in the US and his controversial influence in shaping the careers of African American students. The Hampton Years runs through June 30.

Dance, dance, dance!

Posted in Culture with tags , , , on January 18, 2013 by substanceandstyledc

EvidenceThis year, February is a month to explore and enjoy dance for arts lovers in the Washington. Friday, February 1 Ron K. Brown brings his Brooklyn-based dance company Evidence back to George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium for a program that includes On Earth Together, comprised of Stevie Wonder songs. February 5 – February 10, now under the direction of Robert Battle, America’s cultural ambassador to the world, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater returns to the Kennedy Center for its annual engagement featuring a combination of captivating new work and enduring classics. And not to be missed is the area debut of a new collaboration between choreographer Bill T. Jones and SITI Company’s Anne Bogart. In A Rite, these two artists have deconstructed the original score of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring to create a provocative meditation on the power of singular new works of art to alter the way we think.

A Beautiful Sound in the Neighborhood

Posted in Culture with tags , , , , , , on January 3, 2013 by substanceandstyledc
Jessye Norman

Jessye Norman

The National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) is making U Street, Howard University, Shaw, and Logan Circle the focus of its free community engagement activities in January 2013. Between January 8 and 14, members of the NSO are breaking into small ensembles to perform chamber music and educational activities as requested by community organizations. The NSO has worked with approximately 20 partners in these communities, and has agreed to fulfill more than 30 activities requested by the neighborhoods. Venues include the Lincoln Theater, Florida Avenue Baptist Church, Howard University’s Cramton Auditorium, Whole Foods and Dahlak Eritrean Restaurant.

The culminating event in the will be a concert by the full NSO at Howard University’s Cramton Auditorium, January 14, at 7 p.m. which will be led by NSO Music Director Christoph Eschenbach and NSO Principal Pops Conductor Steven Reineke. The celebrated soprano Jessye Norman, a graduate of Howard University, will perform, and the program will include the Washington premiere of George Walker’s Sinfonia No. 4, co-commissioned by the NSO. Events are free but some do require registration in advance. View the full schedule here.

Community Forums on Arts Funding in the District

Posted in Culture with tags , , , on November 2, 2012 by substanceandstyledc

Election Day isn’t the only time to weigh in on what is going on in your community. Help shape the landscape of art grants in Washington, DC.   On Thursday, November 8th and Wednesday, November 14, 2012, the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) will host open forums to receive feedback from the District’s arts community on upcoming plans for the increased arts budget for FY 2013. The top priority of the forums will be to discuss the agency’s new grant program, the Arts Stabilization Grant (ASG).

The Arts Stabilization Grant (ASG) is one-time funding to support cultural organizations that have demonstrated a long-term impact within the District of Columbia. The program provides general operating funds to arts and humanities organizations whose primary function is exhibition, presentation or training in the arts and humanities.

The forum on November 8th will take place at the University of the District of Columbia in Building 44, Room A05. Attendees are encouraged to take Metro due to parking restrictions. The nearest metro rail station is Van Ness (Red Line). The following week, the DCCAH will host its second forum on November 14th at the new DCCAH office at 200 I (Eye) Street, Southeast, in the conference room. The Navy Yard Metro station (Green Line) is two blocks from to the office. Public transportation is encouraged because of limited street parking. Photo identification is required to enter the DCCAH office building. Both forums will begin at 6:00 PM and will run until 8:00 PM.

In preparation for the forums, the DCCAH released a survey for members of the D.C. arts community to participate in. To take part in the survey, here. For more information, contact Ebony C. Blanks.

5 Reasons to Head to DC Theaters this Fall

Posted in Culture with tags , , , on August 23, 2012 by substanceandstyledc

The fall 2012 arts season will bring a breath of fresh air to the Washington theater community, and also a number of works featuring African American actors. With a mixture of dramas and musicals, familiar favorites and new work, offerings that appeal to old and young, several theaters are offering five very good reasons to visit them during the first half of their season.

Ralph Ellison’s groundbreaking novel that shined a penetrating light on race in America, Invisible Man, first published in 1952, has been adapted for the stage by Oren Jacoby and opens September 5 at the Studio Theatre. The show was first mounted last season at the Court Theatre in Chicago receiving tremendous praise and attention from audiences and became the highest grossing drama in that theaters history. The Studio Theatre production is the Washington area’s premier and is being directed by Christopher McElroen, a co-founder of the Classical Theatre of Harlem.

In late September Fly, written by Trey Ellis and Ricardo Khan lands on the stage of Ford’s Theater. Directed by Mr. Khan, Fly explores the lives of four Tuskegee Airmen that helped to break barriers of segregation in the United States military during World War II. Fly is the second in a series of productions being presented through the Lincoln Legacy Project, an initiative by Ford’s Theater to use the stage in fostering dialogue around the issues of tolerance, equality and acceptance.

As the holiday season approaches, the musical reigns supreme. Arena Stage makes your foot tap and soul sing with the world premier of Pullman Porter Blues, written by Cheryl L. West, who also wrote Before It Hits Home, Jar the Floor and Holiday Heart. In Pullman Porter Blues three generations of men from the Sykes family are all porters on a train heading from Chicago to New Orleans in June 1937 and the audience gets to take that ride with them on a journey through conversations about race, hope and reality, laced with 14 original and classic blues songs.

The Broadway musical that made stars out of Jennifer Holiday, Sheryl Lee Ralph and Loretta Devine and an Oscar winner of Jennifer Hudson, for her film portrayal of Effie White, Dreamgirls comes to the Signature Theatre in November. An exciting score that everyone can sing along to with characters in search of success and love that everyone can relate to, Dreamgirls is an American theater jewel that always shines.

And because theater is truly for everyone, children can’t be left out. Imagination Stage’s popular production of P.Nokio: A Hip-Hop Musical will run again from September 29 – October 18.  A modern take on the tale of Pinocchio with a hip-hop twist, P. Nokio learns the power of truth. Through fun music, rhymes and dance it is an incredible lesson any kid can cheer about and it is a great introduction to the theater for young arts lovers in the making.

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