The 10 Best Art Exhibitions of 2017

Artwork: Conceited (l.) and Keisha Johnson (r.) © Yesterday Nite aka Alim Smith

The beauty of an exhibition is that you must go to it. You must be in its presence for a personal encounter in real time and space. You cannot scroll, swipe, or post your way through it: you must be there, in the moment, to experience it in the flesh and receive its understanding, knowledge, and wisdom though perhaps never a word will be said.

In celebration, Crave has compiled a list of the 10 best art exhibitions of 2017 that take us from the turn of the twentieth century right up to the present moment, with historic exhibitions of African American art on both sides of the pond, as well as long-awaited retrospectives from the likes of Rene Magritte and Raymond Pettibon.

Emma Amos (America, born 1938). Sandy and Her Husband, 1973. Oil on canvas. Courtesy of Emma Amos. © Emma Amos; courtesy of the artist and RYAN LEE, New York. Licensed by VAGA, New York.

We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85

During the late twentieth-century, black women artists found themselves in their own space at the intersection between Civil Rights and the Women’s Rights Movements. There have been times it has seemed they were on their own, marginalized no matter what community they tried to claim as their own. And yet, they have known (97% no less) the truth of this nation and fought for the basic human rights they have been promised under the law.

The Brooklyn Museum of Art celebrated the radicals who told it like it was with the exhibition, We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85. Featuring the works of Crave faves Ming Smith, Carrie Mae Weems, Lorraine O’Grady, and Lorna Simpson as well as Elizabeth Catlett, Betye Saar, and Faith Ringgold, among many others, the show hones in on the way African-American women have used their voices to craft and cultivate complex and compelling conversations a round race, gender, politics, art, and history.

The exhibition will be traveling around the country over the coming year, and can see it for yourself at the California African American Museum, Los Angeles (through January 14, 2018); the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York (February 17 – May 27, 2018); and at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (June 26 – September 30, 2018).

Barkley L. Hendricks, Icon for My Man Superman (Superman Never Saved any Black People–Bobby Seale), 1969. Collection of Liz and Eric Lefkofsky.

Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power

On June 16, 1966, Stokely Carmichael stood before a crowd of 3,000 in a park in Greenwood, Mississippi, who had gathered to march in place of James Meredith, who had been wounded during his solitary “Walk Against Fear” in an effort to integrate the University of Mississippi. Carmichael, who had been arrested after setting up camp, took to the stage with fire in his gut. “We’ve been saying ‘Freedom’ for six years,” the newly appointed chairman of the SNCC announced, “What we are going to start saying now is ‘Black Power!’”

With those words, Carmichael did more than change the paradigm for Civil Rights, he transformed the language of race itself. Carmichael embraced the word “Black” while simultaneously making the case that “Negro” was the oppressor’s term of diminution and disrespect. Malcolm X, who had had been killed a year earlier, was also a proponent for the word “Black.” By the decade’s end, Ebony was using it exclusively, helping to guide the group towards a self-chosen identity that the rest of the nation came to use.

Why does this matter? Because we think in words; the very terms we use to describe the world, and the connotations they hold, inform our beliefs and perceptions, whether we realize it or not. “Black Power” began in the very naming of the act. It was a means of transforming identity from one that was given to that which was claimed.

Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power at the Tate, London, is a tour-de-force, showcasing more than 150 words by over 60 artists made between 1963 and 1983 including Romare Bearden, Dawoud Bey, Adger Cowans, Roy DeCarava, Emory Douglas, Louis Draper, David Hammons, Barkley L. Hendricks, Archibald Motley, Alice Neel, Lorraine O’Grady, Faith Ringgold, Betye Saar, Ming Smith, and Alma Thomas, among others.

The exhibition will travel to Crystal Bridges, Bentonville, AR (February 2–April 23, 2018) and the Brooklyn Museum, NY (September 7, 2018-February 2, 2019). The show is accompanied by a masterful catalogue published by the Tate/D.A.P., which features substantial essays that provide much-needed insights into this vastly underserved and broadly neglected period of art history. Read the full review.

Yesterday Nite aka Alim Smith, Roll Safe.

Meme Show: A Solo Exhibition of Works by Yesterday Nite

Over the past few years, the meme has become one of the most prominent, popular, and evocative forms of visual culture. A slice of life is lifted from the pie and reinserted by the public however they desire. Distilling an emotion into its purest form, a meme captures a sentiment far better than words ever could; recontextualized as a response to a new situation, a meme tells you everything you need to know in a single glance.

By and large, the meme has been treated ad disposable; its creators are rarely recognized or known. They are the great anonymous artists of our era, their contributions unrecognized. Perhaps the meme is too new, too fresh, too raw—but this is what gives it its power and speaks to artist Yesterday Nite aka Alim Smith, who has created a body of work inspired by the memes of Black Twitter.

Crying Jordan, Uncle Denzel, and Roll Safe are just a few of Smith’s spot-on portraits of your faves. While the memes are instantly recognizable, Smith has taken them to the next level by adding his signature touch: the hand of the artist and the eye of the Afro-Surrealist. In celebration of this incredible body of work, Meme Show: A Solo Exhibition of Works by Yesterday Nite went on view at the Chris White Gallery, Wilmington, DE.

In the spirit of art in the age of mechanical reproduction, Smith will be selling prints—but not originals. Those, he plans to take on tour with the air of bringing them to a top museum, where they rightfully belong. Read the full review.

René Magritte, La trahison des images, 1935, © Photothèque R. Magritte / Banque d’Images de l’ADAGP, Paris, 2016

René Magritte: The Treachery of Images

La Trahison des images (Ceci n’est past une pipe) is one of Belgian painter René Magritte’s most famous works. In English, the painting is known as The treachery of images, which depicts a sleek brown pipe with the words “This is not a pipe” underneath in French.

Naturally, it stops one dead in their tracks. Clearly this is a pipe we are looking at. But no, Magritte smiles with a sly grin. This is a painting. A pipe is an entirely different thing. This hangs on a wall. It is simply to be gazed upon for the pleasure of looking. Whereas a pipe, you stuff it, you hold it in your hands, set it aflame, and then draw it to your lips. While it might be a handsome object, its most important aspect is its function, one that is a matter of smoke and lungs, nicotine and blood, and that curious boost of energetic calmness that the drug so graciously gives.

Indeed, this is not a pipe. This is a painting calling itself out. The year was 1929, and it was quite unlike high art to take such a pithy view of itself. But Magritte had other plans for his life behind the easel. He abandoned the sanctity of art to use it as a means to deconstruct itself, creating a myriad of quixotic, romantic, sentimental, amusing, or tragic imagery.

In celebration, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt presented Magritte: The Treachery of Images, a fresh look of the legendary artist’s work. The exhibition combines famous and lesser-known works to reconsider the life’s work of one of the finest Surrealist painters to wield a brush. The exhibition, a reformulated version of the Centre Pompidou’s show earlier this year, is brilliantly catalogued in a new book from Prestel by Didier Ottinger. Read the full review.

LeRoy Neiman. Round 2, February 25, 1964. Mixed media and collage on paper.. Courtesy LeRoy Neiman Foundation.

Muhammad Ali, LeRoy Neiman, and the Art of Boxing

Muhammad Ali and LeRoy Neiman were a match made in heaven. When the two met here on earth, they changed the art of boxing forever. The exhibition, Muhammad Ali, LeRoy Neiman, and the Art of Boxing, at the New-York Historical Society celebrated their winning combination.

LeRoy Neiman (1921­–2012) began working as an illustrator for Playboy in 1954, just a year after the magazine launched, becoming a seminal contributor that gave the publication its look and feel outside of the seductive photographs. Neiman’s style, which could best be described as American Impressionism, was bold, rugged, and captivating, keeping painting and drawing fresh at a time when photography was replacing illustration in the print media.

Neiman regularly covered athletic events, and in 1964, he found himself at the World Heavyweight Championship between Sonny Liston, the title-holder, and Cassius Claw, the No. 1 Contender. In his seminal volume, LeRoy Neiman Sketchbook (powerHouse Books), Neiman writes, “The two black American prizefighters were about to play out their parts as only the times could have scripted them, a good guy and a bad guy. Only who was who?”

Neiman would soon find out, as he began a sketchbook to record all of the details of the march. Using pencil, charcoal, ink, marker, watercolor, and collage, Neiman compiled a singular portrait of the life of these two men as they prepared for the fight of their lives. Then, he captured the fight itself, in incredibly powerful images as Cassius Clay won the belt, making headlines around the world. Read the full review.

Edward Sherriff Curtis. The North American Indian. Portfolio 8, Plate 256. Chief Joseph – Nez Perce, 1909, Photogravure.

Edward S. Curtis: The North American Indian

American photographer Edward S. Curtis embodies the essence of heroism in a single word: sacrifice. He staked everything he had to create one of the most significant bodies of work, The North American Indian, ever made and died in obscurity for all that he gave. The Muskegon Museum of Art, Michigan, presented Curtis’s full oeuvre—723 portfolio prints—for what may be the first time ever.

Recognized at the largest artistic collaboration and photographic achievement in the history of the medium, The North American Indian presents a body of work made between 1906 and 1930 documenting the indigenous peoples of the land at a time when they were being systematically wiped off the face of the earth by the United States government.

The project, financed by J.P. Morgan, then the richest man in the world, was celebrated by The New York Herald as “The most gigantic undertaking since the making of the King James edition of the Bible.” In total, Curtis produced 20 volumes featuring a whopping 2,200 photogravures, that were sent to subscribers as they were published. Each portfolio contained 75 hand-pressed photogravures and 300 pages of text, which was accompanied by a corresponding portfolio containing at least 35 photogravures.

Unfortunately, by 1930, less than half of the intended 500 subscriptions were sold. By this time, Curtis had lost it all. He was broke and divorced. The public’s interest in the plight of the First Peoples had disappeared, and his work as a photographer was ignored and eventually forgotten. He died of a heart attack at the age of 84, at his daughter’s home in Los Angeles in 1952. Read the full review.

Photo: (left) Arthur Jafa, Jonathan, 2017, Wallpaper. Copyright Jim Kean/Marin Independent Journal. (Far wall) Arthur Jafa Mix 1 – 3 constantly evolving, 2017. Video installation, three screens.

Arthur Jafa: A Series of Utterly Improbable, Yet Extraordinary Renditions

One of the first things taught in art class is the concept of “negative space”: that which is the ever-present reality in which all things exist. It is the air we breathe but cannot see, the atmosphere that fills the void and holds the most complex and compelling forms. It is what you see when you actually look, when you focus on the very idea that absence is a presence all its own.

“How do we imagine things that are lost? What kind of legacy can we imagine despite that loss and despite the absence of things that never were?” American filmmaker, cinematographer, artist Arthur Jafa asks in his new exhibition, A Series of Utterly Improbable, Yet Extraordinary Renditions, at Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London.

Featuring the work of Ming Smith, Frida Orupabo, and Missylanus, Jafa has transformed the gallery into an immersive, hallucinatory experience that is driven by the desire to visualize that which has been erased: the history of Black America from the Middle Passage though the present day. As his ancestors have done for hundreds of years, Jafa draws upon what remains to elucidate the hazy and horrific history of life in the United States.

Jafa, who has most recently worked with Jay-Z to direct the music video for “4:44,” with Solange for “Cranes in the Sky” and “Don’t Touch My Hair,” and with Beyoncé on parts of “Formation,” is the first-name in videography. But his work crafting images of Black life has been going on for decades, whether collaborating with Spike Lee on Crooklyn or with his ex-wife Julie Dash on Daughters of the Dust, which is said to have inspired the look of Lemonade. Read the full review.

Ming Smith

Ming Smith is the quiet storm, her photographs evoking the soul of Billie Holiday’s music in photographic form. She has lived as an artist all her life, creating a body of work that captures the mysterious beauty of eternal truth. “Images outlive us,” Smith observes, and at the same time, without them, things disappear and the moment is gone. In this way, photographs become not only a work of art or an artifact—they become part of the collective consciousness that defines human experience.

“Something flows through you,” Smith explains. The photographer becomes a channel open to the world, transforming three dimensions into two then delivering them so that we may feel and understand their point of view. Smith’s perspective is as singular as she is. The first African-American woman to have her work collected by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Smith is a pioneer, an innovator, and a rebel imbued with ineffable elegance.

The freedom to create art on her own terms allowed Smith to create a style all her own, maintain her voice and vision, and preserve her artistic integrity. Her worldview can be seen in Ming Smith, an exhibition of 75 vintage photographs that span her entire career at Steven Kasher Gallery, New York. Here, there is a freedom of that which simply is: the freedom of existence as we draw breath. Smith does as she pleases, and what pleases her is the beauty of life in its delicate, eloquent, nuanced forms. Her photographs are timeless images of the ephemeral, the moments that hit us like a bolt of lightening from up above. Read the full review.

No Title (Lieutenant! There’s our), 2008. Pen, ink, and gouache on paper, 22 1/4 x 30 in (57.2 x 76.2 cm). Aishti Foundation, Beirut, Lebanon. Photography courtesy the artist and Regen Projects, Los Angeles.

Raymond Pettibon: A Pen of All Work

“I don’t make art with grandiose delusions. I do know there are limits to what art is capable of. That makes it all the more appealing to me. And I can do as I will whenever I choose,” American artist Raymond Pettibon has said, revealing the essence of the continuous appeal of his work. A populist without pretense who came up in the West Coast punk scene, Pettibon honed the D.I.Y. ethos of the era into a fine art career.

Now, in celebration of his phenomenal body of work, the New Museum, New York, presented Raymond Pettibon: A Pen of All Work, the first major museum retrospective of his work, currently on view through April 9, 2017. The exhibition takes America to task for its truths, providing a perspective that is equal parts poignant, witty, and subversive.

Pettibon, born in 1957, came of age as the idealistic impulses of the 1960s counterculture collapsed. In the void, punk came raging forth. Rejecting all systems of hierarchy, it posited the eternal truth: no one else is going to do it unless you do. Pettibon got his start playing bass in the group called Panis; he suggested they change their name to Black Flag and designed their iconic logo, featuring four black bars that combined the supermatist spirit of Kazmir Malevich with the graphic genius of Paul Rand.

From this prescient start, Pettibon’s work as an artist found its niche, creating zines and album covers that were so singular, Kim Gordon took to Artforum in the 1980s to sing his praises. Pettibon create a style that was entirely his own, one that evokes the mysticism of William Blake and with the raw nerve of Francisco de Goya, combined with the contemporary stylings of underground comix artists like Jay Lynch and Art Spiegelman. Read the full review.

Luke Willis Thompson, autoportrait, (2017). Installation view, Chisenhale Gallery 2017. Commissioned by Chisenhale Gallery and produced in partnership with Create. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Andy Keate.

Luke Willis Thompson: Autoportrait

July 6, 2016, had begun as so many other nights had for 32-year-old Philando Castile, a nutrition services supervisor at J.J. Hill Montessori School in St. Paul, Minnesota. Castile had gone out for a haircut, then to dinner with his sister before picking up his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds and her four-year-old daughter. The family of three had gone food shopping and were heading home for the evening.

It was just after 9:00 p.m. when St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez spotted the white 1997 Oldsmobile on the road and radioed into a nearby squad car, saying, “The two occupants just look like people that were involved in a robbery. The driver looks more like one of our suspects, just because of the wide-set nose. I couldn’t get a good look at the passenger.”

At 9:05 p.m. CDT, Yanez ordered Castile to pull over and approached the car. Forty seconds later, he shot Castile seven times at point blank range in an extrajudicial killing witnessed by millions on Facebook Live.

Reynolds had the presence of mind to film the incident from start to finish, showing the world the truth: what happens when a black man legally carries a firearm in the United States. Yanez asked for his license and registration. Castile informed Yanez that the information was in his wallet, and that he was carrying a firearm. He reached for his wallet to show the documents requested and Yanez freaked out. He became convinced that Castile was going to pull his gun, despite Castile’s dying words: he was following the law.

In November 2016, Australian artist Luke Willis Thompson reached out to Diamond Reynolds, with the assistance of Chisenhale Gallery, London, to begin a dialogue about creating a “sister-image” to Reynolds’ video broadcast. In April 2017, the work was completed: a silent portrait of Reynolds shot on 35m black and white film, presented in Autoportrait at Chisenhale Gallery, London.

The white cube of the gallery is painted black, while the film screens as a single image on the back wall. It is a simple, silent, poignant portrait of a woman the world has come to know as a heroine, a vision of courage, and a figure of composure that few possess within their soul. Read the full review.


Miss Rosen is a journalist covering art, photography, culture, and books. Her byline has appeared in L’Uomo Vogue, Vogue Online, The Undefeated, Dazed Digital, Aperture Online, and Feature Shoot. Follow her on Twitter @Miss_Rosen.

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African American doctors inspire Wiley Elementary students

African American doctors inspire Wiley Elementary students

By Yasmine Regester / December 22, 2017

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Dr. Alison Durham, Pediatric Medicine; Dr. Vanessa Haygood, Obstetrics and Gynecology; Dr. Josalyn Funches, Family Medicine; Dr. Tracy McLain-Scocuzza, Internal Medicine; and Dr. Tiffany Randolph, Cardiology. Photo by Charles Edgerton/Carolina Peacemaker

Dr. Alison Durham, Pediatric Medicine; Dr. Vanessa Haygood, Obstetrics and Gynecology; Dr. Josalyn Funches, Family Medicine; Dr. Tracy McLain-Scocuzza, Internal Medicine; and Dr. Tiffany Randolph, Cardiology. Photos by Charles Edgerton/Carolina Peacemaker

More than a dozen female doctors visited Wiley Elementary school on Wednesday to encourage students to pursue a healthcare profession.

Sponsored by The Greensboro Medical Society, the group of healthcare providers hopes to increase recruitment of underrepresented minorities into the medical fields through exposure to doctors that look like them.

“We wanted to come and let these young ladies know that they can become anything they want to be. We’re saying, ‘we believe in you and we want to pull you along with us,” said Dr. Nannette S. Funderburk, Ph.D., a psychologist and the secretary of the Greensboro Medical Society.

Wiley’s female students from grades Pre-K to fifth grade got an opportunity to interact with doctors from a variety of specialties — internal medicine, psychologists, dentists, podiatrists, orthodontists, surgeons and more.

Funderburk explained that part of the inspiration for the event came from an incident that made national headlines when a flight attendant questioned a Black female doctor’s credentials in a medical emergency situation.

Wiley is a majority minority school with African American students comprising 84 percent of the student body, eight percent Hispanic, two percent Multiracial, four percent White, and one percent Asian. Wiley’s principal, Tavy Fields, noted that exposure to different professions at a young age helps them to envision a world bigger than just their own neighborhoods.

“It’s so important for them to see themselves through people who they can relate to. Sometimes they may feel that certain things are out of their realm of opportunity, but they just need the exposure to it to see that anything is possible,” said Fields.

Fields said Wiley’s educators encourage students to think about their future goals such as college, careers and jobs. In the past, Wiley has partnered with area colleges such as N.C. A&T State University to bring professionals and students pursuing other occupations such as engineering to the school.

“We’re focused on creating more interest in the STEM fields because it’s such a diverse area that doesn’t have a lot of minorities,” said Fields.

At the end of the program, one girl from each grade was chosen by the faculty to receive a “white coat,” which in the medical field is given to medical students in a ceremony to signify the beginning of their journey to become healthcare providers and the practice in the medical profession. The young ladies at Wiley were chosen based on their character in and outside the classroom. Every student that attended the Women Doctors Day program received a stethoscope and a pearl necklace.

“We enjoy our careers,” said Dr. Vanessa Haygood, a Greensboro obstetrician-gynecologist. “I was you a few years ago wondering what to do with my life.”

According to a 2014 Association of American Medical Colleges study, African Americans comprise only four percent of the physician workforce in the U.S. “Our goal is to provide a visual for young Black women,” noted cardiologist Tiffany Randolph, MD, who stated she wanted to become a doctor after meeting her mother’s gynecologist as a child.

“It’s important that our young women of color see women who look like them in professional careers. Its hard work, but it absolutely can be done,” she added.


America’s Humanitarian Architect

It’s just before 9 a.m. on an overcast February morning. About 60 fifth graders at a Harlem charter school have just filed into a multipurpose room to hear architect Phil Freelon talk about his career-defining work on the National Museum of African American History and Culture, or NMAAHC, in Washington, D.C., the universally celebrated newest addition to the Smithsonian Institution. But before he gets to his lesson about the design—a brilliant, bronze-hued building that alights the Mall like a shining crown—he warms up the crowd by letting them in on a secret: He once played drums in a band with his brother, Gregory Freelon, a teacher at the school. The room’s energy perks up as students whisper; Phil has instantly connected to each of them. Now it’s time for the meatier part of his talk.

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Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of African American History and Culture [Photo: © Alan Karchmer/NMAAHC]

“What does art mean to you?” he asks.

Eager hands shoot into the air. “Art is a subject of creativity,” a boy says. “It’s expressing yourself,” a girl comments. Freelon gestures toward the room’s vibrant student paintings and explains that while art can hang on a wall, it can also have dimension, like a sculpture. Or even a building. He’s made the link to architecture.

“Design is like art, but it’s solving problems,” Freelon says. “It’s art that has a purpose to it.”

Now they’re hungry for more. After speaking about the NMAAHC’s influences–how the crown on a traditional African column influenced the structure’s shape, how the latticed facade riffs on cast-iron fences in the American South that were often built by slaves, and how the building’s angles are exactly the same as the Washington Monument’s peak–Freelon welcomes questions from the students.

[Photo: Arturo Olmos for Fast Company]

Some ask about the museum’s design, or its future. “Will Donald Trump end architecture and tear down the museum?” one girl wonders; Freelon reassures her it isn’t going anywhere. But most questions are about what it’s like to be an architect, how Freelon knew he wanted it to be his life’s work, and what he likes most about it. “It gives me pride to make a building that tells the story [about African-American history],” he explains. “Doing something you love doesn’t seem like work, it feels like fun.”

Freelon is riding a decade-long hot streak in his career. He’s designed nearly every major museum or public space dedicated to black culture in the United States, from the NMAAHC, in D.C., and the Center for Civil and Human Rights, in Atlanta, to the Museum of the African Diaspora, in San Francisco, the forthcoming Motown Museum, in Detroit, and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, in Jackson. He is the design director of Perkins + Will‘s North Carolina Practice and a member of the firm’s board, and was named by President Obama to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts in 2011 and served from 2012 to 2016. He’s unquestionably the most influential African-American architect practicing today.

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Center Civil Human Rights [Photo: © Mark Herboth Photography]

But in addition to designing spaces that celebrate diversity, Freelon is trying to design diversity and inclusivity into the very profession of architecture–which is stubbornly male and pale. According to a 2017 report from the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, 90% of architects identified as white, 5% as Asian, 2% as African American, and 2% as other. Only 19% are female. The percentage of African-American architects has remained steady at 2% for the last several years. It’s why Freelon is visiting a school where 100% of the students are from low-income and/or minority families to talk about his work; why, earlier this week, he spoke to his grandson’s second-grade class. By getting children interested in architecture at an early age, Freelon hopes to infuse his profession with a wealth of perspectives and voices.

“You look at music and you look at sports and you have all these great examples of African Americans who have had transcendent impact on other professions, but not architecture,” Freelon says. “Where’s our Miles Davis? Our Barack Obama? It’s because there isn’t critical mass. The profession, in general, is missing out on a potentially deep pool of talent and the world is missing out on great ideas and buildings that could be happening by virtue of that infusion of energy and creativity that we see in music or dance or almost any other profession.”

Freelon, who is 65, speaks softly with a slight southern twang. He’s got the demeanor of a professor, and, with his charcoal-gray suits and black sneakers, the look of an architect on the go. There’s an economy to his words—a reflection of his design sensibility, which derives its richness from having only the essential details and right references to make a building understandable and meaningful.

The first time I met Freelon was at the Center for Architecture, in New York City–the local American Institute of Architects chapter’s headquarters. He was speaking on a panel about diversity in architecture. “The very highest level in the AIA is the fellowship,” Freelon, who is a fellow himself, told the audience. “And that’s 4% African American. Think about that. That’s because those who go through the struggle and persevere are at the very top of the game. What this means, if you sort of read between the tea leaves, is if you’re a marginalized person, and you don’t have a mentor, you’re not going to get through. If you’re the majority race, the support system is there. If you’re running with the wind to your back, you don’t notice it. But if you’re running with it in your face, you really do notice it.”

[Photo: Arturo Olmos for Fast Company]

Freelon is trying to shift those winds, and promote diversity and inclusion through a multi-pronged approach. Earlier this year, the AIA issued new guidelines for equity, diversity, and inclusion, and many of its suggestions mirror the strategy Freelon has taken for years: better K-12 education outreach, financial aid for university students, and more aggressive hiring. He speaks to students of all ages about architecture, and gives speeches and appears on panels. In 2016, he established the Freelon Fellowship at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, a financial aid program for students from underrepresented demographic and economic backgrounds, which named its first fellow, Aria Griffin, this fall. But most importantly, he’s leading by example by structuring his practice to be as inclusive and diverse as he would like to see the overall profession become. His practice is about 40% women and 30% people of color. The managing director of Freelon’s practice, Zena Howard, is an African-American woman and has been working alongside him for 14 years.

Promoting diversity isn’t just about advancing progressive values and social equity–it’s a savvy business move, too. A 2015 McKinsey report found that ethnically diverse organizations are 35% more likely to outperform their competitors. For architecture, which influences virtually every aspect of our lives from our homes to our schools and shared public spaces, including a range of perspectives and voices in the design process has never been more critical. When architects communicate with and embody the population they serve, their buildings work better for people. (Perhaps it’s no surprise that Freelon’s buildings, including the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, have served as places of demonstration and collective action in 2017.)

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“I like having different perspectives at the highest level of the practice because it makes for better decisions,” Freelon says. “If I knew everything and felt like my decisions were better than anyone else, why have anyone else around? Having women, minorities, people from other parts of the world, and age diversity makes for better design, better decisions, and a more vibrant practice.”

[Photo: Arturo Olmos for Fast Company]

Freelon tells me this during a meeting at his office in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park, a suburban innovation hub. Freelon has worked out of this area since 1990, when he founded his own firm, the Freelon Group, which merged with Perkins + Will in 2014. It’s an understated building with glass walls, views of the surrounding trees, concrete floors, and exposed steel trusses. Dozens of study models line bookshelves in the cavernous space; plans for in-progress projects are tacked up on the walls, and a tidy library of material samples tucked in the back. His is the only private office in the building, an unfussy room strewn with papers, books, and magazines. He has a few antiques from his travels to Africa and South America perched on a long, low shelf and access passes to the Grammys propped up on a windowsill from when he was a guest of his wife, the jazz singer Nnenna Freelon, who is a six-time nominee of the award.

In early 2016, Freelon was diagnosed with ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease, and the diagnosis has thrown his impact on the profession–and the designers around him–into sharper relief. At a time when both citizens and organizations are waking up to the inequities that hamper social progress and the realization of great ideas, his career is a blueprint for making an industry more diverse and empowering people others to affect change through creative work. His legacy isn’t just about designing buildings–it’s about building people.


Freelon was born and raised Philadelphia and his family–which included artists and educators–fueled his creativity and his social perspective.

“I want to do something for my culture, for my people, and for my community,” he says. “Sometimes that means folks who are affluent and their children may already have privilege, that’s fine, but it’s also folks who may not have had the start that I had, with both parents at home, a very strong father. I want to help people who may have not had that. It’s always been on my mind. And my parents were the same way.”

Freelon recounts a story about one of his earliest memories with his grandfather, Allan Freelon Sr., who was an impressionist painter and the first African American to oversee the Philadelphia School District’s arts programing. “I couldn’t have been more than six or seven when we had a quiet moment together walking through the woods,” Freelon tells me. “At one point he asked me to stop and sit down next to him on a log. He asked me to close my eyes and just listen and experience the environment without using my eyes. And I still remember that because it may have been the first time that I was dialed into the environment around me in a different way, a conscious way, rather than just things coming into your ears and eyes and nose and not thinking about it–sort of just analyzing and being aware.”

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[Photo: Arturo Olmos for Fast Company]

His father, a sales and marketing professional, and mother, a school teacher and administrator, encouraged Freelon and his siblings to pursue what they were interested in creatively. Freelon and his brother used to build toy models their father bought for them on business trips.

“We would get little kits and we’d follow the instructions—like A clips to B, B clips to C—and glue on these decals,” Gregory recalled after Phil’s lecture at his school. “We made fighter planes and jets and military-type things and we’d sit in our room we had together and make them. Mine had fingerprints all over them and the decals were bent and crooked. Phil’s were always perfect.”

In high school, Freelon took a technical drawing class–which he liked because it involved artistic creativity alongside geometry, math, and physics–that introduced him to architecture, which he describes as a “compelling blend” of those subjects. He left Philadelphia when he was 18 to attend Hampton University, in Virginia, to study architecture. He quickly rose to the top of his class and eventually transferred to a more rigorous program at North Carolina State University. He then went to MIT and he earned his Masters in Architecture degree in 1977. Shortly after, he worked at architecture firms in Boston and Houston then returned to North Carolina to work in the Durham-based practice O’Brien Atkins, where he interned before graduate school, and hasn’t moved since. “I’ve been here so long,” Freelon says. “I’ve adopted North Carolina and it’s adopted me.”

It’s impossible to visit Durham and not encounter Freelon’s work. Historically, the city’s economy was based on manufacturing and Durham, in comparison to Raleigh and Chapel Hill, is known as the blue-collar town in North Carolina’s triangle. For generations following the Civil War, tobacco and textiles were the city’s primary industries. The city experienced a growth spurt in the first half of the 20th century, and many of its downtown buildings—including the one where Freelon and his wife resided for decades—were constructed during the Art Deco era. The city has been a hub of African-American entrepreneurship for decades (which grew from the Jim Crow laws in the United States, which forced African Americans to develop their own companies); downtown Durham was known as Black Wall Street. As the tobacco industry left, and urban renewal planning practices took over in the 1960s and ’70s, the city’s economy slumped. In the last few decades it has experienced a gradual rebirth, much of which is tied to Duke University’s growth and the thriving education and medicine industries.

Freelon’s work is primarily in the public realm—a by-product of his interest in architecture that enriches communities—and much of it runs parallel to the region’s upswing. In 1995, the Freelon Group, in collaboration with HOK Sport, completed a $16.1 million stadium for the Durham Bulls, the city’s triple-A minor league baseball team. Located in downtown Durham, the stadium is part of an adaptive reuse project that turned a former tobacco factory into a mixed-use development.

Durham Station Transportation [Photo: © James West/JWestProductions.com]

In 2008, he completed Durham Station Transportation Center, the city’s public transportation hub, which serves an estimated 4.5 million passengers annually. At the Raleigh-Durham airport, he designed the parking structure, which earned state and local AIA honor awards, and the General Aviation Terminal. Years later, his firm collaborated with architect Curt Fentress on Terminal 2–a 920,000-square-foot, $570-million structure that opened in 2011.

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“I have this feeling that everyone should have access to beautiful architecture, not only people who can afford custom homes or are going to a museum and can pay the price of getting in,” Freelon says as we’re driving to the Transportation Center, which despite being close to 10 years old, still looks fresh. Built into its sloping site, the two-story glass structure features a soaring atrium, custom metal benches, and a polished red-and-black terrazzo floor. “It doesn’t look like a bus station; it looks beautiful,” Freelon adds. “I’m happy that people get to experience that kind of uplift in their everyday lives.”

Durham County Human Services Complex [Photo: Perkins + Will]

In his work, Freelon has taken a humanitarian approach. One of the local buildings that’s most emblematic of his point of view is the Durham County Human Services Building. There’s no attribution to the quote emblazoned on a three-story votive wall near the building’s entrance, but Freelon authored the inscription: “Durham’s vitality is built upon the health of our residents and the capacity of our community to foster and enhance the well-being of every citizen.”

The previous public health department building was a windowless brick fortress–a building that was harsh and imposing with little interest in quality of life for the people who worked there or who came for services. Freelon’s design, on the other hand, puts human experience at the center. Completed in 2013, DCHS is home to public medical, dental, and mental-health services. The airy, energy-efficient building is wrapped around a central courtyard, which offers people who use the building a calm area to use while they wait for their appointments, and helps keep daylight enter the sprawling 277,000-square-foot structure.

“I wanted it to be a place that was dignified and welcoming and beautiful as a public space,” he told me when we visited the building. “And also for the people who worked here to be proud of it.”


While Freelon is widely respected among peers, what he’s recognized for most from the public is advancing diversity through museums and cultural centers dedicated to African-American history. Freelon’s success in this area is a function of his strength as a designer and communicator—but it’s also the result of shrewd business development by one of his closest colleagues and oldest friends, Lew Meyers.

Meyers has known Freelon for over 30 years, and Nnenna since she was in high school when he was her Upward Bound counselor. He started with the Freelon Group in 1997 as a business development consultant and later joined the firm full-time to become the head of marketing (and a shareholder). His role was bringing in new clients and projects, generating exposure for the firm, and talking up Freelon’s bona fides. He became Freelon’s right hand over the years; if they were a double act, he’d be the funny man to Freelon’s straight man. After retiring in early 2016, Meyers joined Downtown Durham Inc.—an economic development nonprofit—as its interim CEO.

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“Phil is sort of selfless,” Meyers, who was part owner in the Freelon Group, tells me. “My biggest problem with Phil was trying to sell him. I’d say, ‘Phil, damnit, I need to sell you! You need to do what I tell you to do!’ Because I think he’s bashful, I think he’s shy, I think if Phil had his druthers he’d probably be doing a little sketching, doing some fishing, doing some photography. When you think of a lot of the things that he does, they’re somewhat solitary. Phil is just a good person.”

To Meyers, how people network is one of the biggest challenges of making the profession more diverse. It’s a problem present in many industries, but it’s especially prevalent in architecture–and the business of architecture–since commissions are frequently based on reputation, word of mouth, and connections.

During lean times economically, a substantial part of Meyers’s role was staying active in community groups, attending conferences, and keeping his ear to the ground to stay abreast of potential commissions so that when a big project did come about, the people commissioning the building would immediately think of Freelon’s firm.

“The big problem is in the business world, there’s so much structural segregation: where people live, where they go to church, etc.,” he says. “If I was white and I wanted to meet [a potential CEO client], because I don’t live in his neighborhood, I don’t go to the same country club, I’d figure out where he went to church. If he went to Grey Baptist, I would be at Grey Baptist. That gives you a platform to meet. And that’s the problem with race. If I’m black and I go to that all-white church [they’d say], ‘Who in the hell is that crazy animal? Oh hell no, I’m damn sure not going to do business with him.’ That’s a little bit of an exaggeration, but that’s what I mean with structural segregation. Where do you get a chance to meet people? Because the good-old-boy network is that people do business with people they know. That’s logical. Business is risky. If I can reduce my risk because I know you as opposed to I don’t know her, I’m reducing my risk and I’d rather my friend make the money as opposed to someone I don’t know. That’s natural.”

Meyers’s networking strategy fueled the firm’s rise in the cultural realm. In the early 2000s, he attended a conference hosted by the American Alliance of Museums, a nonprofit professional association for the museum industry. At the conference, the Association of African-American Museums hosted a reception for their annual meeting, which was done on a nonprofit’s budget, to put it gently.

“I went to the reception and we were drinking cheap wine out of plastic stem glasses,” Meyers recalls. “There were two grapes, three pieces of cheese, and four crackers. So I told the guy who was in charge, ‘Look, this doesn’t work. This is embarrassing. What would it cost to do a first-rate reception?’ He said, ‘A thousand.’ I said, ‘As long as I’m with the firm, you can have the $1,000.’”

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With that offer, the Freelon Group became a sponsor of the Association of African-American Museums. “We hit that market at the right time in the sense that, why was there a proliferation of African-American museums? Because people of color were getting on city councils, and they said it’s my time,” Meyers says. It was at one of those receptions that he met someone working on the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD), in San Francisco. Freelon eventually won the commission in 2002.

Museum of the African Diaspora [Photo: © Todd Hido/Edge]

At the time, there were few nationally recognized museums focused on African-American history and the Freelon Group was completing two of them: MoAD and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, in Baltimore. Meyers enlisted the help of an outside publicist, Michael Reilly, and the two, recognizing that it was a category of museum that was poised for growth, orchestrated a large press push and got the coverage and national media attention they wanted for the firm’s work on both museums.

The Lewis Museum is located in downtown Baltimore, a short walk from the city’s waterfront. It celebrates the achievements of Maryland’s African-American citizens, and also tells their painful history. The museum’s design embodies this duality. The facade is mostly somber black granite, except for a zip of red and a yellow wall near the museum’s entrance. Inside, a vibrant vermillion interior wall becomes a multi-story sculptural feature that wraps around a dramatic staircase. For MoAD, which opened in 2005, Freelon and his team were presented with a challenging but prominent site in an area of San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood that’s become a mini cultural district. The architects called for an all-glass facade so that passersby can see the three-story tall mosaic mural of a young child’s face, which is composed of hundreds of photographs—a metaphor for the museum’s mission of highlighting the stories of different individuals and groups that are part of the larger diaspora. After the museum opened, it was covered locally in the San Francisco Chronicle and nationally in the New York Times.

“There was a potential for a market for African-American museums,” Meyers says. “I think we helped grow that market because we supported the trade group, we had high-visibility projects, and someone could say, ‘Oh look, if Baltimore has it, I need one.’ And so people were proud.”

Reginald F. Lewis Museum Of Maryland African American History And Culture [Photo: © James West/JWestProductions.com]

Because museums are big-budget projects, the boards commissioning them often go to architects who have shown that they’re able to work successfully at that scale. With two under his belt, Freelon was automatically on the radar of anyone else who was considering one.

In 2007, Freelon won his next big commission, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture, in Charlotte, North Carolina. The 43,000-square-foot museum’s tessellated exterior walls nod to West African textiles and the patterns from quilts sewn during the Underground Railroad’s era. Freelon helped convince the museum’s board to site the building in the central business district, a part of the city that was once the heart of the black community but was razed in the 1960s for urban renewal plans. This decision reinserts lost culture into downtown Charlotte and makes the museum’s subject matter more accessible to all of the city’s residents.

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The wins kept coming. In 2009, the Freelon Group won a competition to design the National Center for Civil and Human Rights (CCHR), in Atlanta, beating out higher profile competitors like Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Antoine Predock.

“Phil will often speak about bringing high-quality design to groups or communities that can’t normally afford high-quality design–they sort of get the leftovers,” says Kenneth Luker, a design principal at Perkins + Will’s North Carolina Practice who has been working with Freelon for 11 years and was a lead designer, under Freelon’s direction, of the CCHR. The museum’s form—two arcs that embrace a central volume—was inspired by the symbolism of interlocking arms in an iconic photo of Martin Luther King’s 1965 Alabama march from Selma to Montgomery. Designed to be a space for action, the CCHR’s site was inspired by great urban gathering areas, like Tiananmen Square, Tahrir Square, and the National Mall.

“I like to describe it as, we do architecture that matters,” Luker says. “It matters that it’s there and it would matter very much if it wasn’t there.”

To Luker, the significance of Freelon’s work was made more apparent through the Black Lives Matter movement and in the weeks and months following the 2016 election. His buildings–like the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights–were hubs for political demonstrations and helped enable action. Many protests began or ended at these locations and aerial photography of the demonstrations showed thousands of people congregating around them. “They very clearly mattered at that moment and you understood the impact and the meaning that they had to the community,” Luker says.

Architect and NMAAHC project manager Zena Howard—who was essentially the ringmaster coordinating the dozens of design, engineering, and construction firms involved with the museum, agrees. “These places became places of action because they were designed to allow people to gather,” she says. “They feel safe coming to this building or that building to have a voice and to participate in our democratic process.”


The connection communities develop to Freelon’s building is by design. A building that speaks to the people who use it, his philosophy goes, will ultimately work better for them and stand the test of time. He uses stories to ground each work: the symbolism of MLK in the CCHR’s silhouette, the reinterpretation of slave quilts for the Gantt Center’s façade, and the nod to African crowns in the Smithsonian’s form. Even if you don’t step inside one of these buildings to see the exhibitions that explain the narrative they physically represent, they become part of public’s collective experience.

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Emancipation Park [Photo: © Mark Herboth Photography]

Freelon also uses this storytelling approach in the public spaces he designs. Take his recent renovation of Emancipation Park, an 11.5-acre public space in Houston, Texas’s Third Ward, an historically African-American, underserved neighborhood. In 1872, local church groups led by a minister who was a former slave pooled together $800 to purchase the land and named it Emancipation Park to honor their newfound freedom. Due to segregation laws in the city, it was the only public park accessible to African Americans for decades. Until the 1960s, it had the only pool for African Americans.

After Houston awarded Freelon and his firm the $33 million renovation, but before any design work took place, he spent an entire year hosting workshops and informal get togethers like BBQs to hear what the community wanted the new park to embody. Lifelong residents in the area shared their personal stories about their connection to the neighborhood and park. As an especially meaningful and symbolic space, Freelon knew their input would be crucial for the project’s success.

Teri Canada, project manager on Emancipation Park, recalls seeing family photographs and reading news clippings the community shared. “People brought trunks of treasures,” she says. “Everyone wanted their family’s history to be part of the park.”

The project includes renovated fields, a new pool, and a new community center whose footprint is inspired by shotgun houses in the area. The flexible design can accommodate new uses over time, ensuring that the park can evolve along with the community. The sensitivity Freelon and his team showed on Emancipation Park represents the design approach they take for every project the practice takes on.

“Many of the projects we do are community based,” Anna Marich, director of visual communications at Perkins + Will’s North Carolina Practice, says. “They have a lot of community engagement and a lot of stakeholders. You have all of these components, but then you have someone like Phil who is a consensus builder. What encompasses his leadership style and his design style is really trying to unite different people and different mind-sets as they come to create one vision. So what makes that happen? A lot of that is Phil’s personality, and identifying and bringing together really strong individuals with different strengths to work toward a goal.”

Architecture is an industry where egos run rampant and the visionary genius is often lionized, but Freelon takes a more empathic and democratic approach. He takes his role as a mentor–to his staff, to his students, and to aspiring architects–very seriously, as it directly relates to the diversity pipeline problem.

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“A lot of what I do is facilitate other people–leveraging and enabling others, coaching and being a mentor,” Freelon says. “You want to create an atmosphere where people aren’t afraid to fail. And so I want people to take risks and to know that they’re not going to be fired, they’re not going to be chastised if there’s a failure or two along the way. You have to take some chances. I want to encourage that type of culture . . . [To achieve that], I think it’s important for staff to see their leaders as vulnerable people. This fearless leader, or someone who is afraid to express something less than total positivity about an experience, that happens a lot in our field. You’re going to make errors and mistakes and if I can show that’s not only tolerated, but also celebrated, as part of learning and growing, then that’s a good thing.”

As a rule, every time a parent cold-calls his office and says their son or daughter is interested in architecture and wants to learn more—which happens a few times every year—Freelon always invites them to his office. Either he or someone from the office will show them around and tell them about the work they do, why they pursued the career, and what it means to be an architect. This policy has directly led to getting more underrepresented individuals into the profession.

Edwin Harris–who worked on Emancipation Park, Freedom Park, CCHR, and the Smithsonian–was one such individual. He grew up in a rough neighborhood with underfunded schools in Richmond, Virginia. He liked drawing, and his grandfather suggested that he become an architect. Harris didn’t know anything about what the job meant, and he wanted to talk to some practicing architects to learn more.

“My grandfather reached out to a couple architects but nobody wanted to meet with me,” Harris says. “But then some guy named Phil Freelon did. He said yes. He didn’t know me from anybody, but he still allowed me to come to the office. If it wasn’t for him introducing me to the people I needed to know, I probably wouldn’t have gotten into design school. That was huge.”

After graduating from architecture school and gaining some professional experience at firms in the Raleigh-Durham area, Harris returned to Freelon to talk about a position at the firm. He got the job and worked there for nearly 10 years before launching Evoke Studio in February with Teri Canada and Billy Askey, also a former architect in Freelon’s practice. Harris is now a registered architect, a LEED-accredited professional, and a member of the National Organization of Minority Architects.

“What’s important to me is it’s not just one moment,” Harris says. “Overall, Phil is providing opportunity. It’s one thing to have talent, but if you don’t have opportunity to actually be able to use that talent it doesn’t matter. Phil is able to recognize someone’s abilities and say, let’s put that person in the position [to use them].”

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Canada became familiar with Freelon’s work during architecture school. She met him at a Chamber of Commerce meeting after she had been working for a few years and struck up a conversation about the type of work she was doing and what she hoped to achieve. Freelon invited her to visit his practice and eventually hired her. When she decided to leave Freelon’s practice to launch her own, he encouraged her.

“When Edwin says [Phil] gives you an opportunity, it’s true,” she says. “Up until that point [of joining Phil’s firm] I was working on small, local projects. I didn’t know what I could do, but he gave me opportunity after opportunity on national projects.”

Canada worked with Freelon for close to a decade and was appointed to Perkins + Will’s diversity council to help foster more inclusivity, an important part of her professional work. (Canada was one of the first five African-American women to become a registered architect in North Carolina, is a LEED AP, and is also a member of the National Organization of Minority Architects.) At Evoke Studio, she plans to create the same supportive environment she experienced with Freelon.

“I feel like the voice of African-American women has definitely been underrepresented in the architecture profession,” she says. “It was important that I saw what those ahead of me were doing and that I further what they were doing so I can do the same thing for whomever is coming up now.”

Freelon argues that reaching bright people at a very young age is critical, because it can help them get ahead earlier and focus their creative energy sooner. “It’s that saying ‘yes’ all the time so there’s a constant stream of people,” Freelon says. “I’m just happy I’m able to show them, through example, what a great career this can be.”

Pierce Freelon, the youngest of Phil’s three children (his daughter, Maya Freelon Asante, is an accomplished visual artist and his other son Deen Freelon is a communications professor), agrees that helping kids uncover their interests early is important. In 2014, he founded Blackspace, a youth education program in Durham and Chapel Hill that teaches digital media, writing, music, and social entrepreneurship. In 2017, he ran for mayor of Durham on a platform of equitable growth, intersectionality, nurturing the city’s youth.

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“It helps you find your purpose in life,” Pierce says. “My dad has known since he was young that he’s wanted to do architecture. Realizing and following your inner compass and feeling those butterflies and following the breadcrumbs to your passion are important things. It’s like finding your love in life. That’s one of the most important things a person can do. You spend so much time working, why not be working on something that’s fulfilling?”


Educational outreach and mentoring has been a mainstay in Freelon’s work, but recently he’s become a different type of advocate. After he was diagnosed with ALS in early 2016, he founded the Freelon Foundation to help raise awareness and research funding to help combat the disease. In April, he and his wife, Nnenna, hosted a benefit concert that raised $95,000 for the Duke University ALS Clinic. To date, the Foundation has raised $172,000 for ALS research.

Freelon’s diagnosis has accelerated some things that were already in the back of his mind, namely a succession plan for eventual retirement. He stopped teaching in 2016, but remains on the faculty at MIT’s School of Architecture + Planning–he’s become more selective about his speaking engagements and encourages senior members of his team to step up and take his place at the podium. He took a monthlong vacation last year, but when he got back to work, he was more energized than ever. Freelon and his wife have been planning a new home for over a decade. This October, they finally completed it.

“I’m looking at every day as a special moment and not thinking so far ahead, and thinking about things like retirement, travel, and time with Nnenna,” Freelon told me after we visited the house when it was still under construction in late February. “All those things are much more precious. Because I enjoy my work, and it’s meaningful work, it’s important to me, too, to continue to do that. So I happen to think about that balance. Part of you says, ‘To hell with work, I want to just live my life.’ But the other part of me says, ‘I don’t want to walk away from the Motown Museum and the other projects.’”

Freelon remains an indispensable part of Perkins + Will for his creative vision and dedication to design and the business of design. “Phil Freelon is a gentle giant of an architect,” Phil Harrison, Perkins + Will’s CEO, says. “He possesses an extremely uncommon combination of ambition, talent, and verve, while also being open, kind, and generous. He is a brilliant gentleman. Phil touches Perkins + Will at every level–a strong voice on our board of directors, our design board, and our research board. At the same time, he makes himself available to mentor Perkins + Will staff and others outside of the firm—the junior and the experienced alike. His designs speak for themselves and are some of the most exciting work coming out of Perkins + Will. I’m delighted to be able to call Phil my partner.”

[Photo: Arturo Olmos for Fast Company]

The North Carolina Practice is in a transitional moment as it readies itself for its next chapter. In mid-May, Freelon stepped down from his position as managing director (Zena Howard earned a promotion to the position), but he’s retaining his position as design director. In August, it relocated to a space in the North Carolina Mutual Building in Downtown Durham, a Brutalist tower which, at its construction in 1965, was the tallest building owned by African Americans, and is located across the street from the Durham Transportation Center. As Freelon’s ALS progresses, it’s likely that he’ll step back from the firm entirely. But because of his leadership and how he’s designed his practice, the hallmarks of what makes his work remarkable will endure indefinitely.

“It’s not like he holds the pen on all the projects; he made room for great design to happen” says Luker, who is likely to become design director of the North Carolina Practice when Phil decides to step back. “By doing that, he has built a practice that is sustainable. He didn’t build a style. Phil built an attitude. And he built people. And he brought people like Zena and myself and others in and made room for us to grow in our careers, nurtured that, and encouraged that. So I don’t like the term ‘the days after Phil.’ It won’t be, ‘He had a style and then that’s done.’ He has built a studio, he has built a culture, and he has built an attitude. That will carry on for many, many years.”

In parallel with his prolific career designing buildings, Freelon has designed a network of architects and creative leaders who are actively following his lead—and they are thriving. Perhaps one day, one of the eager fifth graders he spoke to that cloudy February day will be among them.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Leontyne Price, Legendary Diva, Is a Movie Star at 90

This represented a titanic shift from a painful event a decade earlier. NBC Opera Theater, a TV series that broadcast live opera stagings, had chosen Ms. Price to sing the title role of Puccini’s “Tosca” in 1955. This was “a breakthrough for me,” she said, before adding, almost as an aside, “My state didn’t carry it.” Indeed, many NBC affiliates in the South refused to show a program featuring a black Tosca and her white lover.

But racism was a reality for her from birth. When she was 9, her mother, celebrated for her singing in church, took the young Leontyne on a bus trip to Jackson, Miss., to hear the great contralto Marian Anderson in recital.

“She came out in a white satin gown, so majestic,” Ms. Price said. “And opened her mouth, and I thought, ‘This is it, mama. This is what I’m going to be.’”

Even though it was a concert by a distinguished black artist, the hall was segregated; Ms. Price and her mother sat in the “colored” section. Though just a child, she said she put this irony out of her mind. But even as Ms. Price argued that art “has no color,” she acknowledged that artists, of course, have origins and identities.

“One of the things about this extraordinary instrument that I have is the blackness in it, the natural flavor,” Ms. Price said. “It’s something extra.”

And something particularly appropriate, she added, when singing spirituals, which she called “black heartbeat music.” She speaks and sings with a Southern accent, she said, which gave her spirituals “even more of me.”

Barber, like so many, was captivated by her. At the recommendation of Florence Page Kimball, Ms. Price’s beloved voice teacher at the Juilliard School, he chose the young soprano, then 26, to give the premiere of his “Hermit Songs” in 1953. He wrote Cleopatra “for the timbre, the shadings — everything about my voice, which is not too shabby, actually,” Ms. Price said.

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Ms. Price as Aida at her farewell Met performance in 1985. Credit James Heffernan/Metropolitan Opera Archives

She still won’t hear a word against “Antony and Cleopatra,” though she knows how tough the initial reviews were. Most critics acknowledged the score’s beautiful moments, especially Cleopatra’s death scene, in which the character’s plaintive lyrical lines are capped by a chilling choral threnody. Still, whole stretches of the opera came across as splashy and grandiose, an impression reinforced by Mr. Zeffirelli’s overblown production. Barber revised the score significantly for a 1975 revival at Juilliard and that version has been slowly gaining attention.

He also adapted a concert suite of Cleopatra’s arias for Ms. Price. “I sang it all over the world, and I sang the hell out of it,” Ms. Price said. “I don’t think the opera was a failure. Finally — not totally — in time, Sam accepted that it’s great music.”

She hopes the film will call attention to the Met and Barber’s opera, and to his works more generally.

She spoke at length about his “Knoxville: Summer of 1915” for voice and orchestra, a wistfully beautiful musical setting of a James Agee text, with its description of a child’s memories of an evening at home. (“On the rough wet grass of the backyard my father and mother have spread quilts.”)

That poem “is like painting a picture of my hometown,” Ms. Price said, “and that’s the way I sang it.”

She recorded it in the summer of 1968, after the death of her father. While she performed the music in the studio, she “could see the lawn chairs made by my daddy,” she recalled. “He never finished the ninth grade, and he could fix anything, which was fabulous.”

Then she started singing the pensive child’s final line about the parents who provide so much love, “but will not ever tell me who I am.”

At first Ms. Price faltered. Then she shifted to a higher key and sang the phrase tenderly, right to me.

Continue reading the main story RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Out On the Town: D.C. arts & entertainment, December 21-27

Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) and Finn (John Boyega) in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Photo: Lucasfilm Ltd.

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME

Oliver (Armie Hammer) is an academic who comes to stay at a family’s villa in 1980s Italy. There, he strikes up a bond with 17-year-old Elio (Timothée Chalamet), one that changes both men’s lives as their desire for one another takes over. Luca Guadagnino directs the coming-of-age tale, based on the book by André Aciman, and critics are falling head-over-heels for its intellectual eroticism. Could it be this year’s Moonlight? Now playing. Area theaters. Visit fandango.com. (Rhuaridh Marr)

DOWNSIZING

The solution to humanity’s overpopulation problem? Shrink people down to just five inches tall. That’s the life husband and wife Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig choose in a comedy drama from Oscar-winner Alexander Payne (SidewaysThe Descendants), opting to live in an idyllic miniaturized community. Obviously, not everything is perfect, and critics are somewhat split over whether the ensuing dilemmas and realizations are worth watching. Opens Friday, Dec. 22. Area theaters. Visit fandango.com. (RM)

CASABLANCA

What is billed as the most popular and enduring screen romance of all time closes out the year as part of Landmark’s West End Cinema Capital Classics. The 1943 Oscar-winning drama, directed by Michael Curtiz (Mildred Pierce) and set in the throes of World War II, stars Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. Screenings are Wednesday, Dec. 27, at 1:30, 4:30, and 7:30 p.m., 2301 M St. NW. Happy hour from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $12.50. Call 202-534-1907 or visit landmarktheatres.com.

MIRACLE ON 8TH STREET: CHRISTMAS CLASSICS

The recently renovated Miracle Theatre in the Barracks Row section of Capitol Hill ends its run of holiday-themed favorites with a lineup including: Robert Zemeckis’ animated The Polar Express starring Tom Hanks on Friday, Dec. 22, at 3:30 p.m.; an early Christmas classic, White Christmas starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney, on Friday, Dec. 22, at 6 p.m.; Will Ferrell’s popular turn in the 2003 comedy Elf on Friday, Dec. 22, at 8:45 p.m.; and the James Stewart signature It’s A Wonderful Life on Saturday, Dec. 23, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $6 to $8. 535 8th St. SE. Call 202-400-3210 or visit themiracletheatre.com.

PITCH PERFECT 3

Much as Pitch Perfect 2 wasn’t as good as Pitch Perfect, expect this second sequel to have even less of the original’s wit and charm. Still, it should make for good holiday fun, as Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, and Brittany Snow return for more a capella fun. Opens Friday, Dec. 22. Area theaters. Visit fandango.com. (RM)

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

★★★★★

The Last Jedi, thrillingly directed by Rian Johnson, is not just magnificent, it’s spectacularly magnificent. It’s easily the best Star Wars since 1980’s Empire, and if it doesn’t quite match that film’s narrative density, it’s certainly not for lack of trying. Johnson has crafted a storyline that pays tribute to the past but also stares headfirst into an uncertain future, taking the story in powerful unexpected directions. The visuals are intense and strong, particularly during the final, dazzling 45 minutes. The score, by John Williams, has never been more potent or meaningful. The action is mind-boggling and masterful, and features a jaw-dropping lightsaber battle that is going to be nearly impossible to top. Fisher, in her last film role, brings an essential heart and warmth to The Last Jedi that is soothing and calming. Similarly, Hamill gives a finely honed, resonant performance and Last Jedi honors both the character of Luke, so vital to the series as a whole, and to the actor himself. Torches, however, have been passed, and Daisy Ridley’s Rey is the new centerpiece. Far be it from me to spoil the narrative’s ride, other than to say the ride is well beyond amazing. The film is two and a half hours long, making it the longest installment of the series. And yet, you never want it to end. Now playing. Area theaters. Visit fandango.com. (Randy Shulman)

THE GREATEST SHOWMAN

P.T. Barnum gave the world what would become the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, dubbed “The Greatest Show on Earth.” This musical drama puts Hugh Jackman in the title role as Barnum, portraying him as a visionary showman who launched a revolutionary touring circus. Surrounded by Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, and oodles of razzle-dazzle and period style, it’ll be easy to forget that those same circuses also ushered in a century of animal rights issues, forcing tigers, elephants and more to perform unnatural tricks across America. Perhaps just stay in and watch something on Netflix instead. Now playing. Area theaters. Visit fandango.com. (RM)

An Irish Carol at The Keegan Theatre — Photo: Mike Kozemchak

A CHRISTMAS CAROL

Craig Wallace returns as the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge in Ford’s Theatre’s production of Dickens’ Yuletide classic. The music-infused adaptation was originally conceived by Michael Baron. Closes Sunday, Dec. 31. Ford’s Theatre, 511 10th St. NW. Call 800-982-2787 or visit fordstheatre.org.

A CHRISTMAS CAROL: A GHOST STORY OF CHRISTMAS

Olney Theatre Center presents another seasonal run of the one-man portrayal of the Dickens classic by Paul Morella, who bases his adaptation on Dickens’ original novella and reading tour. Closes Sunday, Dec. 31. The Mulitz-Gudelsky Theatre Lab, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney, Md. Call 301-924-3400 or visit olneytheatre.org.

AN AMERICAN IN PARIS

The Kennedy Center presents the four-time Tony-winning musical from 2015 based on the classic film, directed by Christopher Wheeldon and featuring a magical George and Ira Gershwin score and a book by Craig Lucas. To Jan. 7. Kennedy Center Opera House. Tickets are $59 to $175. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.

AN IRISH CAROL

For the sixth year in a row, Keegan Theatre offers company member Matthew Keenan’s homage to Dickens, albeit with biting Irish humor and incisive candor. Mark A. Rhea directs a cast featuring himself plus Kevin Adams, Josh Sticklin, Timothy Lynch, Mike Kozemchak, Christian Montgomery, Caroline Dubberly, and Daniel Lyons. Closes Sunday, Dec. 31. Keegan Theatre, 1742 Church St. NW. Tickets are $35 to $45. Call 202-265-3768 or visit keegantheatre.com.

ANNIE

The sun’ll come out tomorrow and every day this holiday season at Olney Theatre Center. Forty years after composer Charles Strouse, lyricist Martin Charnin, and book writer Thomas Meehan teamed up for the feel-good musical about a determinedly optimistic little orphan girl, countless other, real-life kids have been inspired by the popular work to become theater performers (or at least theater queens) in their own right. The latest is Noelle Robinson, who heads a cast of 32, including Rachel Zampelli as Miss Hannigan, Kevin McAllister as Daddy Warbucks, and Wilson Jermaine Heredia as Rooster Hannigan. Extended to Sunday, Jan. 7. Mainstage, Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney, Md. Call 301-924-3400 or visit olneytheatre.org.

Christmas at the Old Bull and Bush — Photo: Chris Banks

CHRISTMAS AT THE OLD BULL AND BUSH

Catherine Flye’s cheery holiday tale centers on patrons at a pub telling corny jokes and singing British music hall songs and Christmas carols. Originally presented at the turn of the millennium by Arena Stage, some of the original cast members now take to Alexandria’s MetroStage for a toast to the holidays that includes sing-alongs and an abbreviated reenactment of Dickens’ Christmas Carol, plus a few surprises along the way. Closes Sunday, Dec. 24. MetroStage, 1201 North Royal St., Alexandria. Call 703-548-9044 or visit metrostage.org.

LES MISERABLES

The National Theatre plays host to a touring production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s Tony-winning musical phenomenon, featuring new staging and reimagined scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo. Now to Jan. 7. National Theatre, 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Call 202-628-6161 or visit thenationaldc.org.

LOOKINGGLASS ALICE

Go down the rabbit hole with the whole family in David Catlin’s contemporary retelling putting a fresh, modern twist on the Lewis Carroll classic tale. Jeremy B. Cohen directs. Closes Sunday, Dec. 31. Baltimore Center Stage, 700 North Calvert St., Baltimore. Call 410-332-0033 or visit centerstage.org.

MY NAME IS ASHER LEV

Virginia’s 1st Stage presents Aaron Posner’s imaginative retelling of Chaim Potok’s beloved novel about a young Jewish painter torn between his Hasidic upbringing and his need to pursue his artistic voice. Nick Olcott directs a cast featuring Andy Brownstein, Hyla Matthews, and Lucas Beck. Extended to Saturday, Dec. 23. 1st Stage, 1524 Spring Hill Rd. Tysons, Va. Tickets are $33. Call 703-854-1856 or visit 1ststage.org.

THE BOOK OF WILL

What if Shakespeare’s works had been lost forever? Ryan Rilette directs a Round House Theatre production of Lauren Gunderson’s hilarious and heartfelt story inspired by true events surrounding Shakespeare’s First Folio. Mitchell Hebert, Kimberly Gilbert, Maboud Ebrahimzadeh, Todd Scofield, and Michael Russotto are among the cast. Extended to Sunday, Dec. 31. Round House Theatre, 4545 East-West Highway, Bethesda. Call 240-644-1100 or visit roundhousetheatre.org.

THE LAST NIGHT OF BALLYHOO

Set amid the Atlanta Jewish community in 1939, Theater J presents the beautiful, comedic, and enthralling romance by Alfred Uhry, the writer of Driving Miss Daisy. A handsome Eastern European bachelor from Brooklyn throws the Freitag family asunder as they confront their own prejudices, desires, and beliefs. Closes Sunday, Dec. 31. The Aaron and Cecile Goldman Theater, Edlavitch DCJCC, 1529 16th St. NW. Call 202-777-3210 or visit theaterj.org.

THE PAJAMA GAME

In an unusual twist, artistic director Molly Smith turns over directing reins for this season’s Golden Age Musical to Alan Paul, who has proven his mettle with musicals at Shakespeare Theatre Company. Choreographer Parker Esse joins to try to rouse interest in this classic battle-of-the-sexes. Closes Sunday, Dec. 24. Mead Center for American Theater, 1101 6th St. SW. Call 202-488-3300 or visit arenastage.org.

THE SANTALAND DIARIES

An “unseasonably cynical” offering, The SantaLand Diaries is a solo show adapted by Joe Montello from humorist David Sedaris’ essay about his time working in Macy’s “Santaland.” Cameron Folmar stars as a gay, out-of-work writer who dons the costumes and proceeds to spill the beans about what goes on behind closed doors. Lynn Sharp Spears directs. Closes Saturday, Dec. 23. Drafthouse Comedy Theater, 1100 13th Street NW. Tickets are $20. Call 202-750-6411 or visit drafthousecomedy.com.

Strauss Symphony of America — Photo: Chris Lee

A HANK WILLIAMS TRIBUTE

The Birchmere offers the 21st annual tribute to one of the most heralded and influential country singers of all time, this year including performances by Robin & Linda Williams, Robbie Fulks, Patrick McAvinue, and Mark Schatz, in addition to the Grammy-winning lesbian couple Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer. Saturday, Dec. 30, at 7:30 p.m. The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. Tickets are $29.50. Call 703-549-7500 or visit birchmere.com.

ALL-STAR CHRISTMAS DAY JAZZ JAM

Among the many jazzy jingle balls on offer this season, it’d be hard to beat the Kennedy Center’s free Christmas Day treat, the All-Star Christmas Day Jazz Jam. The 19th annual event features host/vibraphonist Chuck Redd, drummer Lenny Robinson, trumpeteers Robert Redd and Tom Williams, bassist James King, and vocalist Delores Williams. Sunday, Dec. 25, at 6 p.m. Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. Free. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.

CATHERINE RUSSELL & JOHN PIZZARELLI

“A Salute to Billie Holiday & Frank Sinatra” is the focus of a concert by two leading contemporary jazz stars, teaming up for the first time. The daughter of swing jazz veteran Carline Ray and Louis Armstrong’s music director Luis Russell, Catherine Russell is a Grammy-winning vocalist who toured with David Bowie before going solo. She’ll transport audiences to the glory days of the genre with jazz guitarist, vocalist and bandleader John Pizzarelli, who has worked with everyone from the Boston Pops to Paul McCartney. Friday, Jan. 5, at 8 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Tickets are $40 to $95. Call 301-581-5100 or visit strathmore.org.

CYRUS CHESTNUT TRIO

“The best jazz pianist of his generation,” Time music critic Josh Tyrangiel wrote earlier this year about Baltimore’s versatile virtuoso Cyrus Chestnut, who 20 years ago portrayed a Count Basie-inspired pianist in Robert Altman’s film Kansas City. He returns to D.C.’s leading jazz venue for a weeklong run of shows with a bassist and drummer, culminating in New Year’s Eve performances, both offering a three-course meal — with a midnight glass of champagne at second seating — and featuring vocalist-led Integriti Reeves Band. Tuesday, Dec. 26, through Saturday, Dec. 30, at 8 and 10 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 31, at 6:30 and 10 p.m. Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Tickets are $36 to $41, or $116 to $166 for New Year’s Eve dinner/show packages, plus $12 minimum purchase. Call 202-337-4141 or visit bluesalley.com.

ELLE VARNER

It’s been five years since we had the pleasure of the charming debut Perfectly Imperfect from the R&B starlet, with her songs about getting drunk but still being responsible (“Refill,” “Oh What A Night”) and loving oneself (“So Fly”). We’re still waiting for her sophomore release, with the tentative title 4 Letter Word and preceded by the intriguingly high vs. low-spirited R&B burner “F It All.” Expect a sneak peek and an update on the forthcoming release when the 28-year-old chanteuse stops by for a post-Christmas treat. Thursday, Dec. 28. Doors at 7 p.m. The Howard Theatre, 620 T St. NW. Tickets are $32.50 to $70, plus $10 minimum per person for all tables. Call 202-588-5595 or visit thehowardtheatre.com.

GOOD FOR THE JEWS

Rob Tannenbaum insists his musical comedy rock band is good for the Jews — and not just in name. “What we’re trying to present is an evolved ideal, or an evolved representation of what Jews are about,” says Tannenbaum. Out are ancient Hebrew melodies and stereotypical songs about dreidels. Instead, there’s original songs evocative of many of the 20th Century’s best folk and pop songs, all written by Jewish Americans, from Bob Dylan to Paul Simon to Irving Berlin. Tannenbaum and bandmate David Fagin return to Jammin Java for a popular annual show. Sunday, Dec. 24, at 7 p.m. Jammin’ Java, 227 Maple Ave. E. Vienna. Call 703-255-3747 or visit jamminjava.com.

NICHOLAS RODRIGUEZ

Now that his work portraying Captain von Trapp in the national touring production of The Sound of Music is a wrap, the New York-based performer ventures down to Richmond for a New Year’s Eve cabaret. The focus is The First Time — also the name of his 2016 solo debut — and includes everything from a gospel jazz version of “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” to a sexy cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.” Sunday, Dec. 31, at 8 and 10:30 p.m. Richmond Triangle Players, 1300 Altamont Ave. Richmond. Tickets are $45 to $65. Call 804-346-8113 or visit rtriangle.org.

THE FOLGER CONSORT: SEASONAL EARLY MUSIC OF GERMANY

The lute/organ/viol consort Arcadia Viols and vocal ensemble Cathedra joins the Consort and its viol/violin-playing co-founder Robert Eisenstein for a holiday program of music from the 15th to 17th centuries, titled Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming. Remaining performances Thursday, Dec. 21, at 7:30 p.m., and Friday, Dec. 22, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 23, at 4 and 8 p.m. Folger Theatre, 201 East Capitol St. SE. Tickets are $50. Call 202-544-7077 or visit folger.edu.

THE ROOTS

What the Philadelphia hip-hop ensemble The Roots lacks in mainstream popular recognition they more than make up for in influence. Combining jazz and soul elements, their live shows are frequently touted as among the best in the business — and they’re also the house band for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Talk about a hard-working band. They return for a post-holiday show. Thursday, Dec. 28. Show at 8 p.m. Fillmore Silver Spring, 8656 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. General admission tickets are $69.50. Call 301-960-9999 or visit fillmoresilverspring.com.

THE SELDOM SCENE

Formed over 40 years ago in Bethesda, progressive bluegrass band Seldom Scene remains especially popular in its hometown region. They return for an almost New Year’s show at the leading venue in Maryland’s capital. Saturday, Dec. 30, at 8 p.m. Ram’s Head On Stage, 33 West St., Annapolis. Tickets are $35. Call 410-268-4545 or visit ramsheadonstage.com.

THE STRAUSS SYMPHONY OF AMERICA’S NEW YEAR’S CONCERT

Bernhard Schneider conducts the Strauss orchestra with soloists soprano Micaela Oeste and tenor Zoltan Nyari, plus dancers from the Kiev-Aniko Ballet of Ukraine and the International Champion Ballroom Dancers in the annual “Salute to Vienna,” inspired by the Austrian capital’s famed Neujahrskonzert and offering Strauss waltzes, polkas and operetta excerpts. Attila Glatz Concerts presents the 17th annual concert, this year offered a day before New Year’s. Saturday, Dec. 30, at 3 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Remaining tickets are $49 to $125. Call 301-581-5100 or visit strathmore.org.

THE WASHINGTON CHORUS: A CANDLELIGHT CHRISTMAS

New Artistic Director Christopher Bell directs the annual “A Candlelight Christmas,” featuring the 200-voice chorus singing familiar carols and holiday songs, plus audience sing-alongs and a candlelight processional. The Eleanor Roosevelt High School Chamber Choir and D.C. al Fine will join the chorus. Thursday, Dec. 21, and Friday, Dec. 22, at 7 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. $18 to $72. Call 202-342-6221 or visit thewashingtonchorus.org.

WHITE FORD BRONCO

“D.C.’s all ’90s party band,” cheekily named after O.J. Simpson’s notorious failed getaway car, sings through that decade’s songbook in all styles of popular music, and will close out 2016 at this area concert. The five-member ensemble consists of singer/guitarist Diego Valencia, singer Gretchen Gustafson, guitarists Ken Sigmund and McNasty, and drummer Max Shapiro. Sunday, Dec. 31. Doors at 9 p.m. Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW. Tickets are $50. Call 202-328-6000 or visit thelincolndc.com.

WICKED JEZABEL

Pauline Anson-Dross’ popular lesbian all-covers party-rock band Wicked Jezabel has been rocking — as well as raising money for various good causes — all over the region for a decade now. Next up is a concert to ring in 2018, along with DJ Sharon. Sunday, Dec. 31, at 9 p.m. JV’s Restaurant, 6666 Arlington Blvd. in Falls Church. Tickets are $50 and include hors d’oeuvres, party favors and midnight champagne toast. Call 703-241-9504 or visit jvsrestaurant.com.

MARYLAND YOUTH BALLET: THE NUTCRACKER

Artistic Director Michelle Lees choreographs a family-friendly, full-length production. Remaining dates Friday, Dec. 22, at 7 pm., Saturday, Dec. 23, and Tuesday, Dec. 26, at 1 and 5 p.m. Montgomery College’s Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center, 51 Mannakee St., Rockville. Tickets are $26 to $31 in advance, or $31 to $36 at the door. Call 240-567-5301 or visit marylandyouthballet.org.

STEP AFRIKA!: MAGICAL MUSICAL HOLIDAY STEP SHOW

The local percussive dance company dedicated to the tradition of stepping presents its annual holiday step show. The focus is on getting North Pole animals — polar bears, penguins — to step. And all to music by “Frosty the Snowman,” putting the needle on the record as special guest DJ. To Dec. 30. Sprenger Theatre in Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $18 to $40. Call 202-399-7993 or visit atlasarts.org.

THE MOSCOW BALLET: GREAT RUSSIAN NUTCRACKER

Dubbed the “Great Russian Nutcracker,” this version of the holiday ballet staple pays tribute to Marius Petipa, who developed the Nutcracker choreography — and, for good measure, that of Swan Lake — and is credited as “The Father of Russian Ballet.” The Moscow Ballet has been touring its Nutcracker in the United States for 25 years now, with an annual run at Strathmore. Friday, Dec. 22, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 23, at 2 and 7 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Tickets are $48 to $88. Call 301-581-5100 or visit strathmore.org.

THE WASHINGTON BALLET: THE NUTCRACKER

The Washington Ballet’s former artistic director Septime Webre first staged his twist on the family favorite 13 years ago, setting it in D.C.’s historic Georgetown neighborhood with George Washington as the titular figure and King George III as the Rat King. As always, the production sets up shop for nearly all of December at downtown’s Warner Theatre. Closes Sunday, Dec. 24. Warner Theatre, 513 13th St. NW. Call 202-889-5901 or visit washingtonballet.org.

Broadway, Hosted by Franqui French

BROADWAY, HOSTED BY FRANQI FRENCH

In its black box space, D.C.’s Drafthouse Comedy presents a new variety show featuring stand-up comedy, music and sketches by a diverse group of local female, minority and LGBTQ performers — and all hosted by a comedian who has shared the stage with DL Hughley, Todd Glass, Fortune Feimster, and Judy Gold, among others. Wednesday, Dec. 27. Doors at 8:15 p.m. Drafthouse Comedy, 1100 13th St. NW. Tickets are $5. Call 202-750-6411 or visit drafthousecomedy.com.

THE SECOND CITY: NOTHING TO LOSE (BUT OUR CHAINS)

Woolly Mammoth hosts performer Felonious Munk and a cast of Chicago’s sharpest comedians telling a hilarious and harrowing story of how one African-American man went from six years in a state prison to a six-figure job in corporate America to a new life as an activist and satirist. Anthony LeBlanc directs this new show from the creators of last year’s hit Black Side of the Moon… that combines sketch, stand-up, and music. To Dec. 31. 641 D St. NW. Call 202-393-3939 or visit woollymammoth.net.

THE SECOND CITY: TWIST YOUR DICKENS

The Kennedy Center offers another run of the comedy troupe’s irreverent and interactive parody twist on A Christmas Carol. The largely improvised tale is based on Dickens but adapted by former The Colbert Report writers Peter Gwinn and Bobby Mort. To Dec. 31. Kennedy Center Theater Lab. Tickets are $49 to $75. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.

WASHINGTON IMPROV THEATER: SEASONAL DISORDER

Washington Improv Theater’s annual holiday extravaganza features shows based on audience suggestions, showing you the good, the bad and the ugly of the season — all laughs to get you through. Each show is different, but all offer a grab bag of spontaneous comedy and long-form improv. This year’s show also includes Citizens’ Watch, an original production based on the TV series Broadchurch and featuring members from various WIT ensembles as well as new faces to the WIT stage, as well as performances by Chicago duo GIRLish and a special New Year’s Eve spectacular. Weekends to Dec. 31. Source Theater, 1835 14th St. NW. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door, or $30 for reserved, front-row seats. Call 202-204-7770 or visit washingtonimprovtheater.com.

Judy Chicago addresses a gathering of volunteers in the Dinner Party — Photo: Amy Meadow

AI WEIWEI: TRACE

China’s most famous and provocative international artist returns to the Hirshhorn with his newest project, centered on the themes of freedom and expression. The massive installation, which closes Monday, Jan. 1, spans 700 feet around the entirety of the museum’s second-floor galleries and features 176 portraits, each made of thousands of plastic LEGO bricks, of individuals whom he considers activists, prisoners of conscience or advocates of free speech. An accompanying graphic wallpaper spans the gallery’s entire outer wall, transforming symbols of surveillance equipment into an intricate design. The seriousness of the subject contrasts with the playfulness of the material, creating a dichotomy that characterizes the artist’s philosophy. Independence Avenue and Seventh Street SW. Call 202-633-1000 or visit hirshhorn.si.edu.

BOSCH TO BLOEMAERT: EARLY NETHERLANDISH DRAWINGS

A collection of the finest drawings by Netherlandish artists born before 1585 are now on display at the National Gallery of Art. Drawn from Rotterdam’s Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, works on display include: Studies from the circle of Rogier van der Weyden, two sheets by Hieronymus Bosch, six drawings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, and a selection of works by Abraham Bloemaert Now to Jan. 7. National Gallery of Art’s West Building, 6th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Free. Call or visit nga.gov.

DRAWING JUSTICE: THE ART OF COURTROOM ILLUSTRATION

A showcase of the Library of Congress’s extensive collection of original drawings by artists, commissioned during the past 50 years by newspapers and television stations to capture the personal dynamics of legal trials where cameras aren’t allowed. Artists in the exhibition include Howard Brodie, Marilyn Church, Pat Lopez, Arnold Mesches, Gary Myrick, Freda Reiter, Bill Robles, Jane Rosenberg, and Elizabeth Williams. Their drawings provided insight into the drama and impact of events in American law and influenced how Americans perceived race and race relations, religion, gender issues, political and corporate corruption, international relations, and the role of celebrities in society. Closes Saturday, Dec. 30. South Gallery, Second Floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. SE. Call 202-707-8000 or visit loc.gov/exhibits.

GREGORY FERRAND: IT IS YOU (AND ME TOO)

You’ve likely seen striking work by this artist before, particularly if you’re a regular local theatergoer. Mosaic Theater Company, GALA Hispanic Theatre, and Theater J have all commissioned Ferrand for illustrations capturing key characters in key scenes used to promote specific productions. In his first solo show at Maryland’s contemporary Adah Rose Gallery, the focus is on stylized paintings portraying subjects who feel isolated, alienated or alone — even if surrounded by those they love, and despite the ever-connected state of modern-day life. Opening reception with live music by the band Terraplane is Saturday, Nov. 18, from 6 to 8 p.m. Closes Friday, Jan. 5. 3766 Howard Ave. Kensington, Md. Call 301-922-0162 or visit adahrosegallery.com.

HOLIDAY STARKILLERS STRIKE BACK

Two years ago, local painter and mixed-media artist Andrew Wodzianski curated an exhibition of playful works from fellow Star Wars-inspired artists and pegged to the release of The Force Awakens. Now that the sci-fi juggernaut is back in theaters with The Last Jedi, Wodzianski has once again assembled another related “futuristic grandeur” show of paintings, photographs, and mixed-media sculptures by artists including Metro Weekly contributor Scott G. Brooks, Gregory Ferrand Artist, Chris Bishop, Jared Davis, J.D. Deardourff, and Steve Strawn. All artwork is for sale, as are hand-painted ornaments displayed on a Christmas tree with an X-wing Starfighter topper. Now to Jan. 20. Anacostia Arts Center, 1231 Good Hope Road SE. Call 202-631-6291 or visit anacostiaartscenter.com.

IMAGING FREEDOM: REFLECTIONS OF RESISTANCE AND JOY

A Black Artists of D.C. exhibition featuring 2D and 3D images by 12 artists declaring freedom through resistance, collected experience and past reflection. Daniel Brooking, James Brown, Jr., Summer Brown, Abiodun Eniyandunni, T.H. Gomillion, Francine Haskins, Esther Iverem, Magruder Murray, Alanzo Robles-Gordon, Russell Simmons, James Terrell, and Zsudayka Nzinga Terrell are all represented in the exhibition, curated by Rhea Beckett. Now to Jan. 14. District of Columbia Arts Center (DCAC), 2438 18th St. NW. Call 202-462-7833 or visit dcartscenter.org.

JUDY CHICAGO: VISUAL ARCHIVE, THE DINNER PARTY EXHIBITION

As part of its 30th anniversary celebration, the National Museum of Women in the Arts honors the iconic artist through establishment of a new archive and opening of a new exhibition. The archive, in the Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center, documents the artist’s work through photographs, slides, negatives, and printed ephemera spanning the 1960s through the present. As such, it captures fleeting performance pieces such as her pyrotechnics and dry ice works as well as exhibitions of drawings, paintings, sculpture and installations, including The Dinner Party. Meanwhile, the creation of that monumental and radical installation is the focus of a temporary exhibition. Closes Friday, Jan. 5. 1250 New York Ave NW. Admission is $10. Call 202-783-5000 or visit nmwa.org.

LUMIA: THOMAS WILFRED AND THE ART OF LIGHT

The Smithsonian American Art Museum presents a groundbreaking exhibition of 15 spellbinding, image-projecting light sculptures created nearly a century ago. This was a time, of course, well before technology made Thomas Wilfred’s colorful moving light creations an easy feat, and his contemporaries, including Jackson Pollock, László Moholy-Nagy and Katherine Dreier, recognized the Danish-American artist as an innovator. Yet the difficulty to maintain his sculptures is why, after faddish mid-20th century popularity, they’ve long been relegated to the storage archives of modern art museums, all-but forgotten along with the artist himself. With works shown together for the first time in nearly 50 years, Lumia, organized by Keely Orgeman of the Yale University Art Gallery, is helping to restore Wilfred’s works and reputation as a modern art pioneer. Closes Sunday, Jan. 7. Smithsonian American Art Museum, 8th and F Streets NW. Call 202-633-1000 or visit americanart.si.edu.

MAGGIE GOURLAY: ADAPTATION/MIGRATION IN THE ANTHROPOCENE

The National Zoo plays host to CulturalDC’s Space4: Mobile Art Gallery and the latest exhibition presented in a former 40-foot shipping container, running in tandem with ZooLights (see separate entry). In creating the immersive multimedia installation, local artist Maggie Gourlay was inspired by the exotic insect species that have migrated to the U.S. via commercial shipping containers and have become conservation threats. Closes Monday, Jan. 1. Outside the Visitor’s Center, 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW. Call 202-633-4800 or visit nationalzoo.si.edu.

PORTRAITS OF THE WORLD: SWITZERLAND

Once a year, the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery plans to showcase one portrait created by a foreign artist in an exhibition designed around that work, via a series intended to highlight the global context of American portraiture. The inaugural exhibition focuses on “Femme en Extase (Woman in Ecstasy),” a portrait of Italian dancer Giulia Leonardi by Swiss painter Ferdinand Hodler, complemented by a selection of works from the gallery’s collection featuring American dancers, notably Isadora Duncan, Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, Ted Shawn, and Ruth St. Denis. Now to Nov. 12, 2018. 8th and F Streets. NW. Call 202-633-8300 or visit npg.si.edu.

SPECTACULAR GEMS FROM THE MERRIWEATHER POST COLLECTION

Marjorie Merriweather Post had one of the most remarkable collections of jewelry of the 20th century. For its latest exhibition, her former estate displays and shares stories about more than 50 exquisite accessories from the late cereal heiress and the historic gems that went into making them. Leading designers Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Harry Winston and Verdura are represented in the collection, which includes pieces on loan from other museums and private collections. Closes Sunday, Jan. 7. Hillwood Estate, 4155 Linnean Ave. NW. Suggested donation is $18. Call 202-686-5807 or visit HillwoodMuseum.org.

THE ARTIST’S PROCESS: LANDSCAPE PAINTERS

Sketches and studies created by members of the Washington Society of Landscape Painters will be on display in an exhibition focused on the process of painting in the field and trying to capture the essence and important aspects of what might be included in the final work. A number of the final pieces will be exhibited alongside the rough and quick sketches. Through Jan. 7. The Athenaeum, 201 Prince St., Alexandria. Call 703-548-0035 or visit nvfaa.org.

BIER BARON’S 1ST ANNUAL CASK FESTIVAL

To mark its 7th anniversary, the subterranean beer hall has opted to launch an annual cask competition among roughly two dozen craft breweries from across the country. Attendees will receive a keepsake glass and the ability to taste and vote on the best cask, with the winning brewery earning the plaque “The Best in Cask.” Participating area breweries include 3 Stars, Atlas, DC Brau, and Right Proper from D.C., Denizens from Maryland, and Crooked Run Brewing, Heritage, Mad Fox, and RedBeard Brewing from Virginia. Saturday, Jan. 6, from 2 to 10 p.m. Bier Baron Tavern, 1523 22nd St. NW. Tickets are $27.37, or $69.57 for VIP including a food voucher for $20, a complimentary ticket to a future beer event or dinner and other swag. Call 202-293-1887 or search “cask festival” at eventbrite.com.

HANK’S PASTA BAR: SEASONAL SEVEN FISHES DISH

Chef Jamie Leeds puts her own spin on the celebratory Feast of the Seven Fishes, offering a country-style version of bouillabaisse, a bowl of white wine, herbs, thick tomato sauce and overflowing with seven types of seafood in one place: lump crabmeat, catfish, squid, shrimp, mussels, clams, and octopus. The stew is served with housemade linguine and available throughout the entire month of December. Located at 600 Montgomery St., Alexandria. Price is $34. Call 571-312-4117 or visit hankspastabar.com.

NELLIE’S HOLIDAY DRAG BRUNCHES

Shi-Queeta Lee will host even more festive brunch buffets over the holidays at everyone’s favorite gay sports bar. Expect a “special holiday performance,” and on Christmas Eve, the first mimosa or bloody mary is on Nellie’s. Sunday, Dec. 24, and Dec. 31, at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Also, Monday, Jan. 1, at 1 p.m. Nellie’s Sports Bar, 900 U St. NW. Tickets are $20. Call 202-332-NELL or visit nelliessportsbar.com.

GEORGETOWN GLOW

Now in its fourth year, this light art exhibition presented by the Georgetown Business Improvement District features eight displays by multidisciplinary artists. Billed as a way to “re-imagine the season of light,” the works, curated by Deirdre Ehlen MacWilliams and many presented in collaboration with Light Art Collection and the Amsterdam Light Festival, include: Aqueous by Jen Lewin of New York, an interactive, walkable landscape of meandering pathways in Georgetown Waterfront Park; Horizontal Interference by Joachim Sługocki and Katarzyna Malejka from Poland, a colorful cord structure connecting trees and light poles in Washington Harbour; Open Lounge by Géraud Périole, with 20 handcrafted chandeliers made of acrylic, plastic and rope hanging in Cady’s Alley; Glow Structural Remix by Robin Bell of D.C., a 15-minute looped video of historic imagery with holiday colors and shapes harkening the activities of the once bustling Old Georgetown Theater; and The Neighbors by OmbréLumen – Arthur Gallice & Herve Orgeas, four figures made of LED bent wires to create a clan of glowing people along Wisconsin Avenue. Additionally, Philips Color Kinetics has lit the smokestack at the Ritz-Carlton Georgetown and the C&O Canal bridge at Georgetown Park, and MHF Productions has strung white lights on nearly all the buildings radiating out from the main intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and M Street NW. Now through Jan. 7, every night from 5 to 10 p.m. Visit GeorgetownGlowDC.com for more information, including a free Curator’s Audio Tour set to music.

LIGHTS ON THE BAY

More than 70 animated and stationary displays depicting regional and holiday themes factor into the annual holiday show, featuring a two-mile scenic drive along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. A North Pole Village & Enchanted Fairy Tales is a new edition at this year’s event, a benefit for the SPCA of Anne Arundel County. On display every evening from 5 to 10 p.m. through Jan. 1. Sandy Point State Park, 1100 E. College Parkway, Annapolis. Admission is $15 per car, or $30 to $50 for larger vans and buses. Visit lightsonthebay.org.

NATIONAL ZOO’S ZOOLIGHTS

More than 500,000 colorful Christmas lights illuminate life-sized animal silhouettes, dancing trees, buildings, and walkways, plus a light show set to music, during this annual holiday event at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. All that, plus select animal houses will be open and displaying nocturnal creatures, including the Small Mammal House, the Great Ape House and Reptile Discovery Center. Every night except Dec. 24 and 25 until Jan. 1. National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free, courtesy of Pepco. Call 202-633-4800 or visit nationalzoo.si.edu.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Ink it in, 2017 has been a truly awful year in sport

George: So, attractive one day; not attractive the next?

Jerry: Have you come across this?

George: Yes. I am familiar with this syndrome – she’s a two-face.

Jerry: Like a Batman villain?

George: If that helps you …

The StrikeSeinfeld

Now that I’m back from the crawlspace, with the Festivus pole … WELCOME, NEWCOMERS!

Let me preface what’s comes next by just sayin’ – whether it was Batman villains or an even more sinister shadow that darkened your doorstep in 2017, WHAT A CONFOUNDING, CRAPPY YEAR IT’S BEEN (saying that, there’s still another whole week to suffer).

As you’ll recall, dear readers, many Christmases ago I went to buy a doll for my son. As I reached for the last one in the shop – so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realised, THERE HAS TO BE ANOTHER WAY! The doll was destroyed, but out of that a new holiday was born.

And ever since that day, I’ve gotta tell you we don’t really celebrate Christmas. We celebrate Festivus – a festival, for the restuvus. Now, for a while I was afraid that I’d be persecuted for my beliefs. But Festivus is all too real. I could prove it, if I had to … but it’s December 23; it’s Festivus.

So sometime today, long after you’ve scoffed the last of your spaghetti and meatballs (or maybe meatloaf, but who’s serving that up?!?!) – but before you all gather ’round the unadorned Festivus pole (because tinsel’s distracting) for the Feats of Strength – air your grievances. Complaints, about the thousand ways you’ve been disappointed, disenchanted and rendered a despondent wreck this past year. By those you’ve crossed swords with, or otherwise.

What gives with the “man bun”, and how that’s suddenly became a thing among footballers? It’s the hairstyle equivalent of the bro hug – no thought; no imagination.

And on that, WTF is the logic that percolates through the brain of anyone bowling up to a tattooist at 3am, seeking out some neck ink? I mean, I get the whole tattoo thing (someone showed me the simplest design of a breaking wave a couple of months ago – epic, in both elegance and beauty); at a pinch I can even see why someone might go the whole sleeve – Michael Ennis sports serious arm ink, and he’s doing OK.

But some pithy slogan on the neck? You ain’t hiding no neck tattoo, even on a cold day. I was in a courtroom earlier this year, and in the case before me there were two defendants protesting they understood nothing but Italian. Now perhaps it’s just me, but their neck tattoos in the Queen’s English told a different tale. But anyway, I digress.

Neck ink’s as good as gold so long as you’re trousering megabucks in your 20s, playing rugby league or punching on in “The Octagon”. But seriously, you ain’t even gettin’ past first base applying for a job as a slushie mixologist at 7-Eleven, if you’re sporting neck art. The AFL will bring in sleeve sponsorships before that happens. Problem is though, neck tattoos have become all de rigueur. Kind of like eSports (pausing there, if eSports one day makes it into the Olympics before darts, we should all give it up).

So I’ve got this simple enough idea. Now, you can’t just ban the neck tattoo – because banning stuff never works. But maybe the NRL, the AFL et al outta bring in a rule, requiring that all aspiring neck tattooees get the artistry done with a thick, black texta first off. Some clubs – Parramatta’s the perfect example – could even have a tattoo texta man (or woman) permanently on site. Anyone who wants some scribbles or misspelt words above the collar line, get it in black Artline. Run it up society’s flagpole for six months; see if it suits you. Just an idea.

But those same governing bodies should make it law, that having any neck decorations means you’re ineligible to have your face of one of those seven-metre cardboard heads, that somehow infiltrate footy stadiums these days. What gives there? Anyone? You can’t take a slab of KB within a five-kilometre radius of any stadium in the country (not just because they don’t brew the “Cold Gold” anymore), but a two storey Billy Slater mask is safe?

I was sittin’ there at the NRL Grand Final in October, minding my own business (while someone behind me, who’ll remain nameless, was giving me hot curry about having tiny ears). Around me a zillion and one people were handing out flags, doing their darndest to manufacture some buzz. Which was about as amazing as someone slipping “amazing” into every third sentence, just to make things amazing. You can only window-dress your life so much.

I get it, two out-of-Sydney teams and all of that. But where’d the massive heads come into the equation? I’d sooner do handstands over a DVD box set of the first series of Queenslanders Only dropping into my Festivus footy sock than I would again endure an ocean of humungous Cameron Smiths, eyes following me like thousand Thunderbirds puppets. Can’t some NRL marketing boffin just bring back the bomb machine from Kogarah’s Jubilee, circa 1994?!?!

And while we’re on How to Not Market a Sport 101 – what’s with the A-League’s Star Wars round, or the NRL’s Marvel Heroes round? An old sitcoms round (Diff’rent Strokes, Welcome Back Kotter or George & Mildred even), I’d get that. Or maybe a Karate Kid round, with each club wearing the colours of a different dojo. But seriously now, a Star Wars round is about as captivating as a Michael Clarke and Kevin Pietersen love-in in the Channel Nine commentary box.

But again – what an appalling year in sport. Point me out the SBS brainiac who dispensed with Paul Sherwen and Phil Liggett commentating (for Australian devotees, at least) on the Tour de France? Surely not the same bean counter who cut Gabriel Gaté’s budget, meaning he no longer visits the finest Gallic fromageries.

I’ve fallen asleep every July for however-many years, to the dulcet tones of Liggett and Sherwen ruminating over vision of even the most ruined of chateaux; but no more. Thanks, that makes as much sense as Jeff Horn even contemplating for five seconds even, the prospect of fighting Anthony “The (yesterday’s) Man” Mundine once in this lifetime.

And because it’s Festivus, that means it’s only a couple more sleeps until that other annual festival kicks off. You know the one, where it’s un-Australian to not want to give those tennis giants Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic a big ol’ bear hug. In 2018, it’ll be so, so different – our Bernie and Nick, they’re grown-ups now, and they’re gonna do us proud. Yep, can’t wait for that one, while I’m at the tennis supping on the overpriced, locally-brewed but foreign-labelled amber stuff.

As for Bernard Tomic, I dunno. Maybe he’s at the point in his career where he’s got about as much chance of winning another tournament as ‘Twiggy’ Forrest has of transforming rugby union into the national sport of Indonesia. I know Bernie’s got the yellow Lambo’ and so, so many millions; but he couldn’t smooth a silk sheet, if he had a hot date with a babe … Sorry, lost my train of thought. Isn’t this just THE BEST FESTIVUS, EVER .. .

Now, one more shake-hands-and-a-bro-hug, and then LET’S RUMBLE!

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Trump’s sabotage of Obamacare could impact your health

Throughout his campaign for president, Donald Trump said that one of his first orders of business as president of the United States would be to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. Fortunately, he has failed.

Here are the facts that everyone needs to know: The Affordable Care Act is alive and well, and you and your family are eligible to apply for, or adjust, your Covered California health coverage plan between now and Jan. 31.

During my seven years in Congress, I have listened to Republicans lament that if they were in charge of the entire U.S. government (meaning the House of Representatives, the Senate and the White House), they would immediately repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Then they got their wish last January and attempted to repeal health care for millions of Americans. After failing, the White House and Republicans in Congress began an effort to sabotage the system by reducing funding for outreach to alert people about the annual sign-up period and by reducing the amount of time people have to sign up for coverage.

We are fortunate in California to have another month and a half to enroll or to update our coverage plans. It is incumbent on us to go all out and make sure we sign up before the end of January. We must go out in force and sign up. We must call friends and family members in California and in the eight other states that have an extended deadline.

The effort to sabotage the health care system began immediately after inauguration day. Right after he took office, Trump’s White House instructed the Department of Health and Human Services to remove useful guidance about the Affordable Care Act, including benefits of the program and ways to enroll, from their website. A few weeks later, the White House proposed new rules for enrollment — tightening procedures and cutting the health law’s open enrollment period in half.

The White House has continued issuing statements citing death spirals and other doomsday prophesies with the intent to purposefully sabotage the Affordable Care Act and it has led to further instability in the health insurance marketplace. In August, the Trump administration decided it was safe to take a less covert approach to sabotage by overtly decreasing spending on promotion of enrollment from $100 million to $10 million as well as cutting funding from enrollment programs.

Perhaps worst of all, the White House has opened the door for the sale of plans with fewer benefits and protections, allowing health insurance companies to sell short-term plans that are exempt from requirements including hospital care, maternity care and mental health services. Those plans are also exempt from rules prohibiting insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions.

Covered California could be more affordable than you think. During last year’s enrollment period, eight out of 10 applicants qualified for financial help and for most people that meant they could find insurance premiums between $50 and $100 per month. In addition to possible financial assistance, free and confidential enrollment help is also available.

The cynical effort to destroy the Affordable Care Act is part of this administration’s larger agenda to erase from U.S. history the accomplishments of President Barack Obama. Trump would like his shrinking base of followers to forget the achievements of the first African American president, who served for eight years without a hint of scandal.

It is clear that Trump suffers from a profound inferiority complex — that’s the basis of his obsession with President Obama and his sabotage is a symptom of this complex. To combat his sabotage, Democrats in Congress have taken it upon themselves to promote enrollment efforts and ensure their success.

Be sure to take the time to learn about your options and if you have any questions about this open enrollment period, please do not hesitate to contact my office. Our system is strongest when we all participate. Fight back making sure you and everyone you know signs up for Covered California before Jan. 31.

Rep. Karen Bass is the congresswoman from California’s 37th District, which includes Culver City, Leimert Park, the Crenshaw District and parts of South Los Angeles. She is a new contributing columnist for The Wave.

 

William Warfield Scholarship Fund to Hold 41st Annual Benefit Concert Featuring 2017-18 Recipient

By Staff –

Jonathan Rhodes

Jonathan Rhodes

The William Warfield Scholarship fund will hold its 41st annual benefit concert Jan. 7, in an effort to raise money for the scholarship fund, and to celebrate the legacy of Warfield, who was a prominent African-American soloist and recitalist at the Eastman School of Music.

The concert will take place in the school’s Kilbourn Hall on Sunday, at 4 p.m., and feature this year’s award recipient, tenor Jonathan Rhodes.

The fund was created in 1977, “to promote opportunity for deserving African-American artists who are pursuing a career in vocal performance through advanced training at the Eastman School of Music, and to promote the life and work of William Warfield,” a press release stated.

The Mt. Vernon Missionary Baptist Church Male Chorus, along with director Thomas Green Sr.; Alexander Peña, founding director and lead teaching artist of the ROCMusic Collaborative; and soprano Taiiz Ocasio, from the Rochester City School District’s School of the Arts, will also perform during the event.

Rhodes, a sophomore vocal performance major at Eastman, is currently studying with Professor Anthony Dean Griffey, and previously made his performance debut in the premiere of “Memory Boy” with the Minnesota Opera’s youth program in the principal role of Kurz.

Rhodes’ ensemble experience includes the Eastman Chorale, the Bach Festival Society, as well as a touring choir with Hans Zimmer in 2017.

He was also the recipient of the Eastman Voice and Opera Department’s Freshman Jury award.

In addition, last November he also performed the role of Liberto in Eastman Opera Theatre’s production of Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea.

Outside of music, Jonathan is pursuing a dual degree in Political Science at the University of Rochester.

Past recipients of the scholarship have included soprano Julia Bullock, winner of the 2014 Walter W. Naumburg Foundation’s International Vocal Competition; soprano Nicole Cabell, winner of the 2005 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition; and bass-baritone Jamal Moore, who was featured with the University of Rochester a cappella ensemble The Yellowjackets on the NBC competition The Sing-Off in 2011.

Born in Arkansas, Warfield moved to Rochester with his family as a young boy, and attended Rochester city schools.

During his senior year in high school, he won the National Music Educators League Competition, and a full scholarship to the Eastman School of Music, where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the school in 1942 and 1946, respectively.

Warfield is best known for his portrayals of Porgy in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, and as Joe, the dock hand, in the movie Showboat.

He also won a Grammy Award for his narration of Aaron Copland’s A Lincoln Portrait, accompanied by the Eastman Philharmonic.

Warfield died in 2002, at the age of 82.

Individuals interested in attending the event may purchase tickets for $18 in advance, or for $20 at the door; $10 for students with ID.

Advance tickets are available online, at http://www.williamwarfield.org/.

Visit https://www.facebook.com/williamwarfieldscholarshipfund/ for additional information regarding the scholarship fund.

Click here to comment on this article on our Facebook page.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

SPENT Money APP offers a way to give and receive with last-minute holiday gifts, no shipping required and cash back

No stores, wrapping or shipping required, and the tickets or vouchers are instantly available, so you have plenty of time to enjoy the holidays!”

— Julianne Galvin, CMO of SPENT

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES, December 21, 2017 /EINPresswire.com/ — SPENT Money is hoping to avoid the stress of missing that last ship date this holiday season by highlighting some of the experiences that can be purchased as gifts through the SPENT Money APP. SPENT offers unique gifts plus the added benefit of earning cash back on any purchases made through the APP, on top of any rewards and loyalty programs that they are currently enrolled in – creating an extra cash back bonus.

With partners such as Groupon and Fanexchange SPENT has hundreds of fun and creative experiences for individuals, couples, families and groups – like go-cart racing for your nephew or cooking classes for your sister who just got her first apartment to scavenger hunts and ghost tours that can be enjoyed by the whole family or tickets to see Pink in concert, for the perfect date night. All you have to do is download and register on SPENT Money then shop through the app, to get up to 5% cash back for yourself…it’s that easy! No stores, wrapping or shipping required, and the tickets or vouchers are instantly available, so you have plenty of time to enjoy the holidays!

And to make the most wonderful time of the year even better, SPENT is giving an additional $10 cash back bonus to registered users when they make their first purchase at a participating cash back merchant throughout the holiday season.

“The gift of a day or night out to try something new is a great option, especially when it’s a shared experience,” states Julianne Galvin, CMO of SPENT. “They are terrific for last minute gifts – plus when you buy them, you get a little cash back gift for yourself. Now, I call that a great way to shop for the holidays!”

SPENT Money is an APP that is focused on enabling people to be smarter spenders, so they can maximize their money. Besides the amazing cash back, users can track and organize their spending keeping them in control of their finances.

SPENT Money and SPENT Travel are available on Andriod and iOS.

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About SPENT
SPENT launched in 2016, with SPENT Money, which solves the problem of expense management, with the added bonus of cash back. The product was originally designed for the needs of micro-businesses, freelancers, and contractors — professionals with some of the finest lines between personal and professional spend. But it works really well for anyone looking for a great way to manage their money, track their expenses and get cash back for the purchases they make.

SPENT, SPENT Money and SPENT Travel dba of Receiptless Software Inc.
12 E. 49th Street
New York, NY 10017
(646.251.8128)
For more information, please go to www.spentapp.com or www.travel.spentapp.com

Hilarie Viener
9173289739
email us here
Viener&Partners

RV Rental Options for Thomas Fire Victims

The Thomas Fire is on Track to Become California’s Largest Wildfire, Ever. VENTURA, CA, USA, December 21, 2017 /EINPresswire.com/ — California is used to wildfires, it’s a way of life, but these wildfires are becoming more intense due to the … RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News