Rock icon Lenny Kravitz expressed his dismay over black media outlets in a recent interview, claiming they have largely ignored him, and revealing that “to this day,” he has never been invited to a BET event or a Source Awards.
“To this day, I have not been invited to a BET thing or a Source Awards thing,” Kravitz toldEsquire, “And it’s like, here is a black artist who has reintroduced many black art forms, who has broken down barriers — just like those that came before me broke down.”
“That is positive. And they don’t have anything to say about it?” Kravitz, who has an upcoming double album, “Blue Electric Light,” added of black media outlets.
The report also pointed out that Vibe magazine, which has featured prominent black artists in its pages since it first began publishing in 1993, waited nearly a decade before it put Kravitz on its cover.
Esquire also noted that rapper Jay-Z told the magazine, “There would be no Tyler, the Creator without Lenny Kravitz,” adding, “We need those moments of inspiration. That pushes creativity and opens up lanes for others.”
“Forty million records sold. Four Best Male Rock Vocal Performance Grammys — in a row. An MTV Video Award from the time MTV Video Awards still mattered. Concerts at the biggest venues on the planet,” Esquire reported.
While it remains unclear why black media outlets have largely ignored Kravitz, some might surmise that unlike other artists, he has not gotten political You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and X/Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.
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(CNN) — Start with two eight counts of slow, punch-drunk stomps, paired with sharp head twitches to the right. Next the arms come up; first straight, then a bit jazzy. There’s a series of tight pelvic thrusts before you clap your hands overhead, isolating your head movements as you drag one leg up to meet the other. After a brief shimmy, raise your hands again, now held like claws, from side to side — the move that everyone recognizes as “Thriller.”
December 2 marks 40 years since Michael Jackson released the groundbreaking music video, turning choreographer Michael Peters’ spooky, funky dance sequence into a worldwide sensation. The video, directed by John Landis, is more like a short horror flick: It begins with a 24-year-old Jackson transforming into a werecat and stalking his date, played by Ola Ray, through an eerie, foggy forest, only for a plot twist to reveal it’s a meta, movie-within-the-music-video scene — Jackson and Ray are watching their alter egos during a date night at the theater. As they walk home, though, they encounter a horde of the undead, and Jackson himself turns into a zombie just as the iconic performance begins.
These synchronized dance moves are the climax of the 12-minute scripted narrative. (The music video concludes with Ray woken by Jackson from a nap, as if it were all a dream — though Jackson has the glowing eyes of a werecat once again.)
While there are plenty of visual elements from the music video that have become iconic — particularly Jackson’s red moto suit — the dance sequence has become one of its most imitated aspects, with tight choreography that lends itself to viral social media performances today. Some of the top videos on TikTok include creator Dimitri Beauchamp performing the routine at home in Long Island to ring in fall, and Los Angeles dancer Enola Bedard staging a small boardwalk production for Halloween wearing a jacket like Jackson’s. Flash mobs and other events — such as New York’s annual Greenwich Village Halloween Parade — regularly perform the number.
Two months after Jackson died at age 50 in 2009, 13,597 people performed the dance in Mexico City, setting a Guinness World Record for the largest group to successfully take on the choreography.
Vincent Paterson, the video’s assistant choreographer, who went on to work with Jackson for over 15 years, credits the stylish ease of Peters’ most famous moves with why the dance has been copied for decades.
“People don’t have to look like trained dancers to have fun with the movement,” he said in a phone call.
“If we see somebody put their two hands like claws up from one side to the other, we immediately go, ‘Oh, Thriller!’” he said. “I think that made for such a memorable, memorable piece of choreography.”
Paterson’s role was to train Jackson and the dancers for four days in the studio before they filmed — but he also played one of the undead, wearing a shredded suit and tie in the music video.
“I thought (Peters) hit the target immediately,” Paterson recalled of seeing the sequence for the first time. “It was technical to a point. You couldn’t be too technical with Michael Jackson. He wasn’t an extremely trained dancer, but he could pick up things very, very well. But it had a great deal of technique. I thought that the intricacy of the rhythms was so fantastic.”
The third music video released alongside Jackson’s album of the same name, after “Billie Jean” and “Beat It,” “Thriller” debuted in the early days of MTV. It was the album’s final single, but it doubled the already sensational number of album sales, from 16 to 32 million by the end of 1983, thanks in large part to the hype generated by the music video. It premiered in movie theaters ahead of screenings of Disney’s “Fantasia,” became a record-selling VHS tape and is widely recognized as the greatest and most famous music video of all time, including by MTV, VH1, TIME and the Library of Congress.
“Thriller” proved to music industry leaders that the music video format wasn’t just “a gimmick,” according to Brad Osborn, an associate professor of music theory at the University of Kansas, and author of “Interpreting Music Video: Popular Music in the Post-MTV Era.” Instead, it was “a successful strategy for promoting album sales.” It was also important, Osborn added, because it “showed White record executives and people at MTV that there was viability in promoting music videos by Black artists.”
Stylistically, the video was risky too, Osborn pointed out. The album version of the song was only 6 minutes long, less than half of the video length.
One of the reasons the song was expanded was to “add extra time on that disco beat for the dance sequence to unfold — it’s looped over and over again,” Osborn said. The video version also forgoes the standard verse-chorus format, and the song’s structure, building up to a single chorus at the end after a minute and a half of wordless dancing.
“When Michael Jackson, after a minute and a half, looks at the camera and brings the chorus back — Thriller! — that is the one and only chorus we get in the video. It is nine minutes and 41 seconds into the song,” Osborn said. “It makes for this hugely climactic moment.”
But there’s a reason music videos rarely stray from the album formula, Osborn said — which is to engage you with a catchy chorus within the first minute or two. Thriller’s approach was, in theory, “actually a really terrible strategy,” he explained with a laugh. “(Producers) want you to hit the hook straight away. Waiting nine minutes until your chorus hook is just a terrible move — it is really remarkable that it works, to be honest.”
Peters rose to fame for his work with Jackson, Donna Summers, Lionel Richie and Pat Benatar — with Benatar’s commanding shimmying in “Love is a Battlefield” also debuting in 1983, for example — but he died in 1994, from AIDS, before he could see the full extent of the legacy of “Thriller.”
“Thriller,” as well as the earlier Jackson-Peters collaboration for “Beat It,” set the standard for so many highly choreographed pop music videos that have followed, as 1980s pop stars gave way to the boy bands and girl groups of the 1990s.
Artists like Jackson were “bringing so much dance to music videos at the time. I think it changed everything for choreography,” Paterson said, also citing the impact of Madonna’s performances. That decade “brought (young people) into dance studios because they wanted… a profession as a dancer, and they finally saw a way that it could happen.”
Today, Paterson still occasionally teaches “Thriller” moves. Five years ago, he performed with a large class at the Debbie Reynolds Dance Studios, where the original choreography was created, for the last time before the LA-based studio was demolished. (An offshoot of the studio has since opened in Burbank). Paterson filmed the segment for entertainment channel The Buzz.
“When we created ‘Thriller,’ we had an idea that it would be major,” he said in that video. ”I guess you could say viral before there was something called viral.”
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There are two teens standing in the central court of NGV International: a girl texting and, a small distance away, a boy with hands in pockets. They’re 12-foot tall and they’re black, and they’re on display as part of the third edition of NGV Triennial: the National Gallery of Victoria’s behemoth exhibition of contemporary international art and design, which opened on Sunday.
These titan teens, the work of UK sculptor Thomas J Price, are a distinctive choice for this central position. While they’re impossible to miss, they lack the spectacle of the colossal reclining Buddha (by Chinese artist Xu Zhen) that occupied this central spot for the inaugural Triennial in 2017, and the supersized swirling digital display (by Turkish-American artist Refik Anadol) in 2020. By contrast, Price’s statues feel anti-monumental; quotidian. They pose the questions: What is worthy of size? What takes up space – in public and in museums? How do these Big Important Things make us feel, as viewers? Is bigger actually better?
The moment feels emblematic of this latest edition of Triennial, and the show’s shifting nature over nine years. Having proved itself with record audience numbers, and cemented itself as a major event in the national art calendar, the Triennial – which is free to enter – can perhaps now try a little less hard; be more tangential, and playful.
There’s a sense of cheeky provocation in the giant thumbs up sculpture by UK satirist David Shrigley at the gallery’s street entrance, and in the two banners hanging over the building’s entrance: one features a photo of art prankster Maurizio Cattelan’s notorious banana work, the other a photo of UK artist Ryan Gander’s precocious animatronic mouse, its head poking through a tiny hole in the wall. (NGV doubles down on Catellan’s prank by giving the banana its own white-cube space; Gander’s talking mouse occupies an appropriately antiheroic corridor position.)
That’s not to say this year’s Triennial is not a Big Important Show. The numbers alone are overwhelming – almost 100 works or projects by more than 120 artists, designers and collectives, spread over the gallery’s three levels – before you even try to wrap your eyes and brain around the exhibition. (Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to “do the Triennial” in one visit.)
There are show-stopper moments and plenty of famous names: a text-based work by Yoko Ono on the north facade of the building and a participatory installation about mothers inside, a suite of freshly acquired works by Tracey Emin, and a collection of fantastical looks and accessories by Maison Schiaparelli. This year’s Instagram fodder will include Sheila Hicks’s giant blue yarn-like balls (the soft antidote to Ron Mueck’s giant skulls, of 2017) and Swiss artist Franziska Furter’s “weather room”: a hypercolour carpet depicting infrared satellite images of hurricanes, overhung with delicate strands of transparent glass beading that look like rain.
But the placement of Price’s teenage figures, at the centre of the Triennial, seems to represent shifting priorities, and the gallery’s responsiveness to worldwide conversations about representation in museum spaces – and specifically, black visibility.
This is backed up by a fulsome strand of excellent art by black artists, including works by US photographer Tyler Mitchell (who shot to fame aged just 23 for his history-making Vogue cover shot of Beyoncé) that “reclaim small moments everyday joy”; and two works by New York-based artist Derek Fordjour (also a favourite of Beyoncé), including his tour-de-force video work Fly Away, in which the puppet figure of a young black man attempts to not only survive but thrive while being manipulated by four white (and human) puppeteers.
Textile works also get hero placement in this year’s edition, reflecting a resurgence in the art form. Besides the Sheila Hicks work, a massive room on the ground floor is given over to Mun-dirra: a labyrinthine installation comprised of 10 large panels of woven pandanus that were created over two years by 13 women from the Burarra language group in western Arnhem Land, drawing on customary techniques used to make fish fence traps. Perambulating the channels of this installation, inhaling the grassy smell of the dried pandanus, I was transported; in a daydream moment, I imagined I was a fish.
Another standout among the major textile commissions is the epic, 40-metre-long narrative tapestry Conflict Avocados, by Mexican designer Fernando Laposse, which renders a remarkable real-life tale of environmental degradation, human exploitation and Indigenous resistance in disarmingly soft pastel tones, using pigments concocted from avocado pips and marigold flowers.
There are powerful smaller-scale works, too: losing my way in the rabbit-warren collection galleries of the second floor, I suddenly find myself face to face with a striking symbolist tapestry by US artist Diedrick Brackens, woven from hand-dyed cottons and featuring a black figure kneeling on a stark red earth, a strand of chain held between his upheld fists.
Painting is also out in force within this edition, from senior APY artists Iluwanti Ken and Betty Muffler to mid-career Melbourne painter Prudence Flint and Tehran’s Farrokh Mahdavi. There’s a preponderance of works by so-called “ultra-contemporary” artists (born after 1975), including British art-market stars Lucy Bull and Flora Yukhnovich, New York-based painters Chase Hall and Ilana Savdie, and Czech artist Vojtěch Kovařík.
Among overstuffed gallery spaces where things often jostle for the viewer’s attention, these paintings are often elevated by their presentation: Yukhnovich’s luminous work is juxtaposed with examples of the Dutch floral still life and French Rococo paintings that inspired it; Flint’s suite of uncanny domestic portraits is given a custom-carpeted nook of its own, and placed alongside striking 16th and 17th-century portraits of women by Flemish masters, a style that has informed her practice.
Among several impressive whole-room presentations, including installations by Japanese floral artist Azuma Makoto and Kosovan artist Petrit Halilaj, one of the most gorgeous is devoted to a suite of large, jewel-toned paintings by Melbourne-based artist Richard Lewer, depicting the biblical story of Adam and Eve. Within the darkened space, two sets of six paintings face each other from opposing walls, while the adjacent wall features a breathtaking 16th-century altarpiece painting of the Passion of Christ. At the centre of the room, two church pews have been placed back to back, for quiet contemplation.
As in previous editions of the Triennial, these moments when old and new art are smashed together are some of the most magical, with each work producing strange, thrilling vibrations in the other. New York artist Diana al-Hadid takes top honours with two major new sculptural displays inspired by (and incorporating) ancient and medieval objects and artworks from the NGV collection – including two knockout Renaissance paintings.
Laced with gold, dramatically lit and set within a figure-of-eight-shaped gallery space lined in dramatic black velvet, it’s a coup de théâtre moment.
Many of the Triennial’s weakest moments, similarly, come down to design and presentation. While many of the contemporary works are successfully incorporated into collection displays to revelatory effect (within the Chinese and South Asian collections, for example), there are a number of placements that feel baffling, even detrimental. Italian artist Diego Cibelli’s dramatic white sculpture of a throne made from fruit and vegetables feels lost at sea among impressionist landscape paintings and 19th-century portraits. Almost all the contemporary works installed in the much-loved, densely-hung Salon room feel overwhelmed (and consequently, underwhelming), including carved tree scenes by Natsiaa-winning Aurukun artist Keith Wikmunea and Vernon Marbendinar that rightfully should pop.
Next door, an exhilarating hang of vibrant canvases by Guatemala-based artist Vivian Suter threatens to overpower three striking but comparatively understated black-and-white paintings by Pitjantjatjara artist Timo Hogan, with no apparent logic behind the juxtaposition – a feeling compounded by the inclusion in the same room of a 19th-century English landscape by Constable and an 18th-century seapiece by Thomas Gainsborough.
In an exhibition this large, which represents a vast spectrum of art forms and aesthetics within a comparatively limited space, not every work can be presented to best effect. Inevitably, some will shine and others will not. Having spent hours navigating the labyrinthine NGV galleries to locate every work, my sense was that less art might mean more impact. Maybe bigger is not, in fact, better.
That said, you would be hard pressed to spend even 20 minutes exploring this Triennial and not be rewarded; with this much work, selected with love and attention by the NGV’s entire curatorial staff, finding great art is like shooting fish in a barrel. You simply cannot miss.
RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment
The Weeknd has donated $2.5 million from his XO Humanitarian Fund to Gaza relief efforts, which will equate to four million emergency meals.
Announced on Friday (December 1), the donation was made in partnership with the United Nations World Food Programme. The organization will assist in the delivery of 820 metric tons (approx. 1.8million pounds) of food parcels that could feed more than 173,000 Palestinians for two weeks.
In a statement, WFP’s Director for the Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Europe Region, Corinne Fleischer, said: “This conflict has unleashed a humanitarian catastrophe beyond reckoning. WFP is working round the clock to provide aid in Gaza but a major scale up is needed to address the desperate level of hunger we are seeing.
“Our teams need safe and sustained humanitarian access, and continued support from donors to reach as many people as we can,” Fleischer continued. “We thank Abel for this valuable contribution towards the people of Palestine. We hope others will follow Abel’s example and support our efforts.”
The Weeknd has been a Goodwill Ambassador for the WFP since 2021 and has donated nearly $2 million through his XO fund in that time.
Over the course of 30 shows overseas, Abel raked in $158.1 million with over 1.6 million tickets sold. The France shows in Nice and Bordeaux as well as Madrid were completely sold out, with those for concerts alone banking The Weeknd about $16million.
In a statement, Live Nation’s Touring President Omar Al-joulani told Variety that he was incredibly impressed with the record-shattering moment.
“It’s incredible to see the Weeknd hit this milestone less than halfway through his massive sold-out European run,” Omar Al-joulani said. “This historic moment in London shows the global fanbase he has cultivated over the years.”
According to Live Nation UK, the Grammy Award-winning artist “broke Wembley Stadium’s record for sales with their traditional concert set up with the stage at one end of the stadium with 87,000 tickets sold.”
The Starboy crooner isn’t done with the road just yet as he’ll be heading down under to Australia later this month for a slew of dates before hitting nearby New Zealand to wrap up in December.
RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment
MOMA’s new show “Artist’s Choice: Grace Wales Bonner—Spirit Movers” includes thirty-seven objects from the museum’s collection, many of them no larger than a sheet of typing paper. Yet the effect of the exhibition is hardly minimal—not when its centerpiece is Terry Adkins’s soaring, magnificent sculptural ensemble “Last Trumpet.” Set against the gallery’s back wall, the piece lines up four eighteen-foot-long brass horns that reach nearly to the ceiling, as if ready for a celestial choir. It’s one of many musical elements in a show that Wales Bonner, a fashion designer with a curatorial bent, calls “an archive of soulful expression.” A more expansive view of that archive is available in “Dream in the Rhythm,” a book that accompanies the show. Together, the exhibition and the book are the product of a sensibility that’s both sophisticated and intuitive, making connections across periods, mediums, and styles which are so unexpected that every object seems new. Born and based in London, Wales Bonner is the first person in her field who’s been invited by MOMA to organize an “Artist’s Choice” exhibition. In a sense, finding new ways to rework familiar materials is a big part of Wales Bonner’s job in fashion. Still, the wit and intelligence she brings to curation never comes across as an extension of her brand.
Michelle Kuo, the MOMA curator who oversaw the Wales Bonner project, has described it as “a deeply personal meditation on and around modern Black expression.” “Around” is the key word here. “Spirit Movers” is not a show of Black artists alone. Among the works drawn from MOMA’s permanent collection are lithographs by Jean Dubuffet, sculptures by Jean Arp, books by Richard Long and James Castle, a ring by Alexander Calder, and a fetish object by Lucas Samaras that began as a book but is now covered with pins and armed with a knife, open scissors, a shard of glass, and a razor blade. But the exhibition’s nimble braininess isn’t the result of some academic exercise, and neither the show nor the book strains to make cross-cultural and aesthetic connections. Her juxtaposition of Man Ray’s “Emak Bakia”—a sculpture sporting the polished wood fingerboard of a cello like an elegant erection—and Bill Traylor’s drawing of a man flipping over in ecstasy, feels at once surprising and inevitable.
RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment
The Arkansas Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, has announced the 2024 Governor’s Arts Awards recipients.
The recipients will be honored at a ceremony on March 8, 2024 in Little Rock.
Since 1991, the annual awards program has recognized individuals, organizations and businesses for their outstanding contributions to the arts in Arkansas. Recipients are nominated by the public, then selected by an independent panel of arts professionals.
“The Governor’s Arts Awards recognizes and honors the supporters, patrons and artists who have helped build and strengthen Arkansas’ thriving arts community,” said Shea Lewis, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. “This annual program gives us the opportunity to showcase their contributions to Arkansas’ arts and creative economy, improving the quality of life for all Arkansans.”
The 2024 recipients are:
Garbo Hearne of Little Rock, Arts Community Development Award
Garbo Hearne is the director of Pyramid Art, Books & Custom Framing and Hearne Fine Art. She has advocated for the advancement of African American culture through art and literature for over 30 years. Since 1988, Hearne has welcomed and promoted both local and national artists and authors to her gallery and bookstore, now located in the historic Dunbar Neighborhood of Little Rock. Hearne’s commitment to the promotion of African American art extends beyond Central Arkansas. The El Dorado native has organized and installed museum exhibitions at the Arts and Science Center of Southeast Arkansas in Pine Bluff and the Delta Cultural Center of Helena-West Helena.
She was appointed to the Arkansas Arts Council advisory board in 1990 by Governor Bill Clinton and reappointed by Governors Jim Guy Tucker, Mike Huckabee and Mike Beebe. She served on the council until 2013, including a tenure as chairperson of the board. She currently serves on the board of directors of the Mid-America Arts Alliance and the Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts. In 2014, Hearne spearheaded the creation of the statewide arts advocacy organization, Arkansans for the Arts. She is a member of the talent committee for the Six Bridges Book Festival, a board member of the Dunbar Historic Neighborhood Association and has been a key organizer in the Central Arkansas Community Kwanzaa celebration for over 30 years. Hearne is a certified member of the Appraisers Association of America with a specialization in African American fine art.
Virmarie DePoyster of North Little Rock, Arts in Education Award
Virmarie DePoyster, a native of Puerto Rico, is a multidisciplinary artist, educator and community leader whose work fosters creativity, healing and community engagement. DePoyster develops and implements art programs for adults and teens, as well as being a professional exhibiting artist. Since 2011, she has been instructing students as part of the Arkansas Arts Council’s Arts in Education Roster. She created a therapeutic art program for at-risk youth in rural Arkansas that ran from 2012 to 2018. She provided arts instruction to thousands of patients at The BridgeWay, an acute care mental health facility in Little Rock, where she saw firsthand the healing power of artistic expression. She has also facilitated professional development workshops and collaborated on Cornerstone Assessments through an artist-teacher partnership with The National Coalition for Core Arts Standards. In 2023, DePoyster started Healing Arts, a therapeutic art program for CARTI patients, caregivers and staff. Her dedication to the transformative power of art in both teaching and advocacy makes her an invaluable asset in the field of arts education.
General Mills in Rogers, Corporate Sponsorship of the Arts Award
General Mills in Rogers is a regional office of General Mills, Inc., an American manufacturer of branded foods sold through retail stores. Its local office has provided large-scale philanthropy along with employee volunteerism in the arts. General Mills has been a strong corporate partner of the Walton Arts Center for 21 years and has provided more than $4.8 million in corporate contributions.
General Mills is a leading sponsor of Masquerade Ball, the Walton Arts Center’s annual fundraising event supporting arts education initiatives. In addition, a pledge of $500,000 to the Walton Arts Center’s 2015 capital campaign supported the expansion of the performing arts center benefiting 100,000 annual patrons. General Mills pledged over $1.8 million to support the construction of the Walmart AMP music venue. The facility has become a premier destination for diverse, large-scale live music experiences in Arkansas. Walmart AMP named a portion of the seating area the General Mills Lawn. In addition, General Mills purchased hundreds of thousands of dollars in tickets to arts events for their employees over the years, boosting revenue for local arts organizations. General Mills of Rogers is a dedicated advocate for making Northwest Arkansas a destination for remarkable, world-class arts experiences.
Pam Setser of Mountain View, Folklife Award
Pam Setser is a traditional folk musician and vocalist. Born in Mountain View, she has been singing since she was 5 years old. She is among the last practitioners of the Ozark Mountain Dulcimers in Arkansas. Setser, a left-handed musician, also plays the autoharp, guitar, spoons and upright bass. Setser is a past winner of the Ozark Folk Center Musician of the Year Award and a repeat nominee in the Arkansas Country Music Awards. She has appeared on “Hee Haw,” “The Tonight Show” and “Nashville Now.”
Setser actively works to preserve traditional Ozark music through performing and teaching. She has served in leadership roles with the Committee of One Hundred at the Ozark Folk Center and with the Music Roots Program, which pairs school-age children with traditional instruments and mentors. She performs as a solo artist, but also with The Pam Setser Band, Apple & Setser, the Leatherwoods and Ozark Granny Chicks. Setser’s newest album, “Now,” is a mix of Americana folk, bluegrass, gospel, 1930s swing and country music. She participated in the 2023 Smithsonian Folk Festival, where she performed and gave interviews about the traditions and music of our region of the Ozarks.
Stephen Driver of Ozark, Individual Artist Award
Stephen Driver is an accomplished potter, mentor and retired university professor. He began his career as a production potter in 1973. Moving to Arkansas in 1976, he transitioned into being a university art professor and studio potter. Ten years ago, after retiring from teaching at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, he started building two large-chambered wood kilns. Most of the materials came from the old, historic Camark Pottery location in Camden, Arkansas. Wood firing has been a consistent thread in his professional work.
Driver has shared his knowledge of ceramics and building wood-fired kilns with local, national and international artists. He learned about wood-fired kiln pottery while he was an apprentice in York, England in the 1980s. He has worked and taught in Ecuador, China and the Republic of Korea. Driver holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Florida State University and a Master of Fine Art in Ceramics from the University of Georgia. His pottery had been exhibited nationally and internationally. He currently makes pottery and ceramic sculptures fulltime at his studio/home in the Ozark National Forest.
Gay Bechtelheimer of El Dorado, Judges Recognition Award
Gay Bechtelheimer is an artist, curator, educator and organizer of community art projects. For over 20 years, Bechtelheimer has been instrumental to bringing quality art experiences to El Dorado and the south Arkansas region. In addition to being a practicing artist working in pastel, watercolor and mixed media, she retired from a distinguished career as an art educator in the El Dorado Public Schools.
Bechtelheimer provided leadership and organizational skills to bring the “AstroZone: An Interactive Art Experience” to El Dorado. The project was the first traveling exhibition offered by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. The exhibition, funded by the Murphy Arts District, was viewed by over 5,000 attendees and was free to all. Bechtelheimer designed educational programs for students in conjunction with the exhibition. She also spearheaded the effort to relocate a historically significant sculpture relief series, Arkansas History, to the Murphy Arts District area. During the pandemic, she developed a series of virtual art talks and collaborated with the South Arkansas Arts Center to create educational lectures on notable artists and art movements throughout history, a program that is ongoing. She continues to lead a studio class for adults at the South Arkansas Arts Center. Bechtelheimer is a member of the International Women’s Forum and has served on the boards of the Arkansas Arts Council, the Mid-America Arts Alliance and the South Arkansas Arts Center.
Tony Waller of Bentonville, Patron Award
Thomas Anthony “Tony” Waller is a spirited voice for arts, culture and access in Northwest Arkansas. He is the vice president of Constituent Relations and Racial Equity for Walmart in Bentonville. In his position, he works to expand organizational outreach and social investments in diverse and multicultural communities. He has been an ardent supporter of the arts since making Arkansas his home in 2006.
He serves on the Walton Arts Center’s board of directors and their corporate leadership council. He has provided key leadership at more than 20 fundraising events that benefitted arts education initiatives and made personal financial contributions to the arts center. He is also a board member for Interform, a fashion and design nonprofit in Northwest Arkansas which sponsors NWA Fashion Week. His philanthropic and advisory involvement includes nationwide organizations. He was the first man selected to serve on the Asian Pacific American Women’s board of trustees and National African American Women’s Leadership Institute’s board of directors. Waller was taught early in life that to give real service you must add to the world something that cannot be bought or measured with money.
Charley Sandage of Mountain View, Lifetime Achievement Award
Charley Sandage is a storyteller, songwriter and native Arkansan. He is dedicated to promoting and preserving the stories and music of the Ozark region. He began his “Arkansas Stories” project, which includes songs about people and events in Arkansas history, in 1995. He collaborated with the Mountain View-based musical trio, Harmony, to write traditional Ozark string-band style songs.
Sandage produced three CDs with song subjects ranging from prehistoric Caddo people to the beginnings of rockabilly.
He is a regular contributor to Ozark Highlands Radio, produced by the Ozark Folk Center. The radio show, featuring Sandage’s segments about area history, lore and interviews with local craftspeople and musicians, is broadcast to over 125 stations nationwide. Sandage has a background as an educator, school administrator and a documentary producer for public television. He was the program director at the Ozark Folk Center State Park when it opened 50 years ago, and later a music programming consultant for the center. In later years, he performed in old-time string bands onstage at the Folk Center and on the historic court square in Mountain View. He continues to work with the Stone County Historical Society to create story and song presentations about the history of the region.
White Coat Black Art26:30Library on the Frontlines
Featured VideoYou wouldn’t expect to find an overdose response and prevention team at a library. But Edmonton’s flagship library is going next level to take care of some of its most vulnerable citizens. They also have a team of social workers and other programs. They’re meeting people where they’re at, and it’s making a difference.
Tabatha Plesuk spends her day responding to mental health crises and opioid poisonings, but the nurse isn’t based at a hospital or safe-consumption site.
Instead, she works at the Stanley Milner Library, the only branch in downtown Edmonton, which has seen a rising number of overdoses in recent years. Plesuk, who works with Edmonton Public Libraries (EPL) as part of a pilot program under the city’s Downtown Vibrancy Strategy, is equipped with Naloxone and works alongside outreach worker Blake Loathes.
“We see, like, everyone and anyone,” Plesuk, an overdose prevention and response nurse for Boyle Street Community Services, which supports homeless people in Edmonton, told White Coat, Black Art.
“We see youth — we’ve had like people as young as 14 years of age to somebody … who’s been houseless for 14 years.”
While the library isn’t designated as a space for people to consume drugs, staff are equipped and trained to respond to overdoses. Plesuk also provides basic health support, like wound care, to people who are facing homelessness.
She began working as a nurse at the library in August 2022. The pilot was developed, in part, to respond to an increase in security incidents and opioid poisonings around the library.
WATCH | Tabatha Plesuk on supporting vulnerable people at Stanley Milner Library:
Featured VideoTabatha Plesuk is a nurse based at the Stanley Milner Library in Edmonton. She provides health support and clean supplies to vulnerable people in and around the branch.
Libraries are responding more frequently to the needs of a broad population because they’re known to be a welcoming space. Branches across the country — including in Halifax and Calgary — have brought in support staff and social workers to supplement their standard offerings of books and movies.
“They’ve become, especially in core areas, sort of the last place people can go to get warm or to use a washroom or to sleep or to feel safe or to get on the net,” said Siobhan Stevenson, a University of Toronto professor who researches the expanding role of public libraries.
“They’ve become a real Mecca for that.”
Libraries taking on more responsibilities
Plesuk and Loathes do two rounds of the library and surrounding area, seeing between 40 and 60 people each day.
Her backpack is filled with medical and safer sex supplies, clean tools for using drugs — like needles and pipes — and importantly, snacks. Many of the items are donated, but Plesuk buys some with her own money keeping it within $100 a month.
EPL first brought in social workers in 2011 as more people sought refuge at the downtown branch.
Libraries can offer access to support services in a way that may be stigmatized elsewhere, says Sharon Day, EPL’s executive director of customer experience.
“We connect our community to the services and those resources and everything that they need to really live a fully functioning, vibrant, exciting life.”
But as the library welcomes all clients, Day says it needs to ensure it remains safe for all.
Many overdoses at Stanley Milner Library were occurring in washrooms. The library now employs attendants, and security patrols the main library and parkade, to ensure drugs aren’t being used on site.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of people identifying as homeless in Edmonton has doubled. According to EPL statistics, there were 99 overdoses across the system in 2022, with 70 per cent occurring at the Stanley Milner Library. Meanwhile, the library system reported nearly 3,000 security incidents as of Nov. 12, up from just over 2,600 last year.
“There are lots of things that draw people to a library,” said Plesuk. “If you are experiencing precarity of housing or if you use substances in general … the places that you are allowed to go use them are less and less all the time, and so people just end up here.”
That shift brings tension, however. Librarians want to serve the public, Stevenson says, but as clientele with more complex needs come into libraries, there are questions about how to best help them.
The message she’s heard from many librarians during her research is: “‘I didn’t go in to be a social worker. If I wanted to be a social worker, that’s what I’d have studied.'”
Stevenson says the increase in services provided by libraries is symptomatic of cuts to social services. Libraries are bearing the brunt while funding to their core services isn’t increasing, she added.
“The needs by these populations, people who didn’t used to necessarily use the library, it’s just skyrocketed, especially since the pandemic,” said Stevenson. “Libraries can be an important part of the solution, but they just require funding.”
Situation improving ‘substantially’
Plesuk acknowledges that the library isn’t the “best or most optimal” place for people to get support for substance use, but it offers two things: warmth and internet.
Being able to get online — especially for those without a phone — is essential to access applications required for certain services.
“My dad was houseless for a long time and passed away of an opiate poisoning,” Plesuk said.
“We had long conversations about how much better he did when he had access to a cellphone. Social isolation is really hard for people. It’s hard to attend appointments and things like that.”
WATCH | How Halifax is addressing homelessness:
Featured VideoIn addition to various shelters, 11 municipal sites were chosen in November for encampments. Each site will have a designated tent capacity monitored by city staff.
Coupled with Plesuk’s on-site support, Day says the situation has improved “substantially,” and staff are making fewer emergency calls.
As of Nov. 19, there have been 29 overdoses at the branch, and 56 in the system overall this year.
“It’s like a symbiotic relationship,” said Day, pointing to the various points that clients can access services.
“We have people … potentially going to the desk, be able to get support here. We have security, maybe providing them with support through the nurse or maybe somebody from our outreach team.”
The pilot project between Boyle Street Community Service and EPL is set to conclude at the end of December.
In a statement, the City of Edmonton says it’s looking at funding to “extend the important services that the overdose prevention and response team provides across our downtown communities,” including long-term support from the provincial and federal governments.
Despite the difficult nature of the work, Plesuk says it’s gratifying to be able to support the community.
“People are so kind, even though they are experiencing some things that I could never handle,” she said.
“And we just get to see community care every day.”
RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment
Miami Art Week brings dozens of international art fairs to the Magic City, blanketing the beach to Downtown from Dec. 4 to Dec. 10 in a full-scale sensory and social overload. The art-world elite and their A-list clients, including film, television, music and fashion industry movers and shakers, all migrate south to discover what’s new and socializing — perusing, buying, schmoozing, eating and drinking around town. The only thing more intense than the parties, the openings and the brand experiences is the traffic, which makes plotting a trajectory essential.
While the experience is often referred to as “Art Basel Miami Beach,” that is only one of the fairs — albeit the largest. Below, The Hollywood Reporter rounds up the best parties, exhibitions, artists, events (most are invite only or require advance tickets) during Miami Art Week. New events are being announced every day, so check back often for updates.
NADA Miami 2023 When: Dec. 5-9 Where: Ice Palace Studios, 1400 North Miami Ave. What: The New Art Dealer Alliance (NADA) presents more than 150 art galleries, exhibits and nonprofit organizations from more than 50 cities, including Paris, Beijing, Brussels, San Juan, Chicago and Memphis. More than 34 first-time exhibitors, as well as more than 85 NADA members, showcase their artwork. This year’s Curated Spotlight highlights assistant curator of the Public Art Fund Jenée-Daria Strand, who showcases a special section of galleries arranged and presented with TD Bank. Tickets: Visit NADA Miami 2023
Art Miami When: Dec. 5–10 Where: One Herald Plaza What: Located in the heart of downtown Miami, Art Miami is the city’s original and longest-running contemporary art fair with works by international modern and contemporary art galleries. Tickets: One Day pass prices start at $60 plus fees.
CONTEXT Art Miami When: Dec. 5–10 Where: One Herald Plaza at NE 14th St. What: Set at the waterfront location of One Herald Plaza, CONTEXT offers a remarkably powerful platform for collectors to discover and acquire fresh and significant works in today’s primary art market. Some of this year’s global art exhibitors include Art Angels, Band of Vices and AC Latin Art, among others. Tickets One Day pass prices start at $60 plus fees.
SCOPE Art Show When Dec. 5-10 Where: Miami Beach What: Discover more than 110 international art galleries and The New Contemporary at the 21st edition of the SCOPE Art Show. From mind-bending sculptures to transcendent digital art installations, the esteemed art fair boasts bright and bold works by acclaimed artists from around the world. Daily programming blends music, wellness and other art-adjacent interests. Tickets General Admission $60 plus sales tax
Art Basel Miami Beach When: Dec. 6–7, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (private); Dec. 8–10, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (public) Where: Miami Beach Convention Center, 1901 Convention Center Dr. What: Leading galleries from five continents show significant works by masters of modern and contemporary art, as well as emerging stars. Content is organized around a main show floor featuring art galleries exhibiting works by artists ranging from young talents to 20th-century masters; Meridians, a platform for large-scale projects that push the boundaries of the traditional art fair layout, curated by Magalí Arriola; Nova, galleries presenting works created within the last three years by one, two or three artists; Positions, young galleries showcasing ambitious solo presentations by emerging artists; Survey, galleries highlighting artistic practices of historical relevance; and Kabinett, curated selections displayed by galleries in a separate section of their booth, including thematic group exhibitions, art-historical showcases and solo presentations. TicketsBuy here
Aqua Art Miami When: Dec. 6–10 Where: Aqua Hotel, 1530 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach What: Aqua Art Miami embodies a relaxed yet energetic vibe with intimate exhibition rooms. Young, emerging and mid-career artists come together to present unique accumulations of inspired selections to enthusiastic art aficionados. Tickets: One Day passes start at $30 plus fees
Design Miami When: Dec. 6–10 Where: Miami Beach Convention Center, Convention Center Drive and 19th Street adjacent to Art Basel What: Design Miami describes itself as “a global authority for collectible design,” connecting the most influential creators through their famed fairs and online marketplace. For 2023, the prestigious art fair will feature exhibits by Lebreton, R & Company, PELLE, Mindy Solomon Gallery and ammann//gallery as well as design talks focused on such subjects as Healing Through Design, Natural Instincts and Queer Spaces. Tickets Design Miami ticket prices vary.
Untitled Art When: Dec. 6–10 Where: Miami Beach at 12th Street and Ocean Drive inside a custom-built, air-conditioned structure What: Untitled Art is an inclusive platform to empower the “wider art ecosystem.” Programming for Miami Art Week 2023 features new artists’ projects and performances, such as the de la Cruz Collection: “House in Motion: New Perspectives,” by Erick Antonio Benitez, the “Software for People v2” performance, and a series of panels led by a diverse assemblage of art connoisseurs. Tickets Single Tickets cost $55 plus fees and Multi–Day Tickets cost $90 plus fees
Pinta Miami When: Dec. 7–10 Where: The Hangar in Coconut Grove, 3385 Pan American Dr., Coconut Grove What: More than 50 galleries representing Latin American artists across the globe showcasing Ibero American culture; RADAR, explores solo or duo exhibitions by artists; and Giuliana Vidarte’s NEXT brings together 10 South American galleries arranged in pairs for collaboration and exchange. Tickets$20-$60 plus fees.
photoMiami When: Dec. 9, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. pop-up event Where: O Cinema, 1130 Washington Ave, Miami Beach What: photoMiami highlights international contemporary photography-based art, video and new media. It is the only photo-focused exhibition shown during Miami Art Week. Tickets: General admissiontickets cost $10 plus fees
Tuesday, Dec. 4
The Academy of Contemporary Art Awards Ceremony When: Dec. 4 Where: The Paris Theatre, 550 Washington Ave., Miami Beach What: Kicking off Miami Art Week, this landmark occasion marks the formation of the academy, underscoring its commitment to honoring excellence in contemporary art. The Academy of Contemporary Art brings together contributors worldwide who actively participate in the evolution of the industry. The flagship event of the academy is the Art Awards Ceremony, which distinguishes and honors outstanding artistic and technical achievements by professionals within the industry. Award recipients are selected by the academy’s voting members, ensuring a transparent and comprehensive process. Tickets: Invite-only
Starting Tuesday, Dec. 5
The Resy Lounge at Untitled Art by American Express and Delta SkyMiles Cocktail Party with Ayesha Nurdjaja (Dec. 5) Dinner with Gregory Gourdet (Dec. 6) Dinner with Virgilio Martinez (Dec. 7) When: Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m.; and Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m. Where: Untitled Art, Ocean Drive & 12th St., Miami Beach What: Resy, in partnership with Delta SkyMiles and American Express, has joined Untitled Art to present a food and beverage lounge experience each day for Untitled ticket holders throughout the week. At night, the beach-front pop-up oasis becomes The Resy Lounge After Hours and eligible Global Dining Access members can purchase tickets to a special three-night dinner series at Untitled Art.
Starting Wednesday, Dec. 6
Casa Dragones “Art-Tender” Series When: Dec. 6–10 Where: Collector’s Lounge, Miami Beach Convention Center, 1901 Convention Center Dr. What: Sure, Champagne and wine pair well with fine art, but you haven’t lived until you’ve sipped smooth, ultra-premium tequila crafted by Casa Dragones’ world-class mixologists and bartenders as you celebrate the art world. Specialty cocktails from their “Art-Tenders” — guest bartenders that include a roster of artists — including the “Art-arita,” a special Casa Dragones margarita. Visitors can also preview a new Artist Edition by Petrit Halilaj, a Kosovar contemporary artist. Life may not always be about tequila and art, but it should be.
Sommsation “Liquid Art” Experience When: Dec. 5–10 Where: SCOPE; 801 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach What: Sommsation, the wine experience platform and online marketplace, is the official Wine Experience sponsor of SCOPE Art Show 2023. Over the course of the six days, Sommsation highlights Liquid Art, celebrating “Art and Wine” and the craft of winemaking, tasting and buying. Tickets:Buy here
Starting Thursday, Dec. 7
PLAY by American Express Platinum When: Dec. 7–9, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m;special gallery unveil and cocktail hour with artists (Dec. 7, 4 p.m.) Where: On the beach of The Miami Beach Edition What: American Express unveils Play by American Express Platinum in partnership with PlayLab, Inc. and Mattel Creations, an interactive gallery combining art and nostalgia, and bringing together some of today’s most interesting artists to reimagine iconic toys as limited-edition collectibles and art pieces.
Friday, Dec. 8
Snow Beach Frozen Treats When: Dec. 8, 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Where: 1111 Lincoln Rd. What: What happens when internationally acclaimed artist Alex Israel and Michelin-starred chefs José Andrés and Dominique Crenn collaborate? Multi-course dinner menus, followed by Snow Beach Frozen Treats for dessert. After each dinner, an immersive movie-set-like pop-up emerges to serve unusual takes on classic frozen yogurt flavors and toppings. Don’t miss this opportunity to celebrate Alex Israel’s Snow Beach Frozen Treats installation with DJ Jazzy Jeff and Mark Ronson at Sunset Social, where you can enjoy a 360-degree view of the city if you are a Capital One cardholder. Tickets: Visit Capital One Dining for details on multi-course meal tickets.
Saturday, Dec. 9
Marriott Bonvoy American Express Seventh Annual Card Member Party & Pop-Up When: Dec. 9, 8–11 p.m. Where: W South Beach Pool What: Chef Kwame Onwuachi of NYC’s Tatiana and the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card Portfolio host the seventh annual Miami Art Week party with artist Kelly Dabbah, who will create and unveil new artwork and music by DJ D-Nice. Throughout the weekend, there will be additional experiences for attendees of Art Week, including a Marriott Bonvoy American Express pop-up in front of the W South Beach with mocktails inspired by a drink served at Tatiana, Design Miami’s VIP passes available for purchase and welcome gifts for guests of The Edition, Ritz Carlton South Beach and W South Beach.
Savor & Soul #TheAmexBrunch When: Dec. 9, 12 to 3:30 p.m. Where: The Miami Beach EDITION What: American Express hosts Savor & Soul: #TheAmexBrunch in collaboration with Blacktag, a global platform for Black creators and Black culture. The event is an immersive experience celebrating Black art, culture and community, featuring a menu handcrafted by Chef Akino West (James Beard Semi-Finalist) of Rosie’s Miami Beach. Tickets: Available exclusively from Resy beginning Dec. 6.
Starting Sunday, Dec. 3
RIMOWA X TYPOE When: Dec. 3–10 Where: RIMOWA Design District Store, 115 NE 40th St. Miami What: RIMOWA partners with local artist Typoe, who created a vibrant chandelier-inspired artwork that has become a permanent fixture in their newly renovated Miami Design District boutique. To represent how we build a world around us, the Miami-based artist chose a vibrant series of block shapes incorporating RIMOWA’s raw silver aluminum grooved sheets, contrasting the vivid palette of the abstract geometries.
Tuesday, Dec. 5
The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach – My Home When: Dec. 5 Where: Ritz-Carlton, South Beach, 1 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach What:The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach is welcoming Morris Lapidus My Home, an exhibition of artwork and furniture by famed architect Morris Lapidus. Considered a masterpiece of his signature MiMo style, the historic property was designed by Lapidus and originally opened 70 years ago as the DiLido Hotel in 1953. The hotel is celebrating the two anniversaries by honoring and exploring the creative genius who transformed the cityscape of Miami Beach. For the first time, The Bass Museum lends art objects and furniture pieces from Lapidus’ home to the Ritz-Carlton, South Beach. Among the objets d’art included in the exhibit at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach are Lapidus’ a glass dining room table; a coffee table he carved in the form of a Roman sculpture he discovered during his school days in front of the Plaza Hotel in New York City; six porcelain masks he modeled from clay in 1929, mounted on gold frames; light fixtures including a 20th-century chandelier he crafted to create the illusion of height in his dining room as well as a sparkling effect with cascading crystals and palm leaves that allow light to create designs on the ceiling; personal paintings; and more. Tickets: Free
The Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour, Miami – Our Legacy When: Dec. 5, 6 to 9 p.m. Where: The Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour, Miami, 10295 Collins Ave., Bal Harbour What: The exhibition from Israeli-born artist Ronen Azulay presents a deep and personal tapestry of Ronen’s family history, showing traces of the origins of a union that transcended tribal boundaries, a testament to love’s power to bridge divides. As Ronen examined his family lineage, he discovered an ever-changing world — one marked by escalating intra-Jewish tensions that necessitated the concealment of his roots. The mosaics are painstakingly assembled from cherished recycled fabrics and scraps of leather, generously bestowed upon Ronen by his community. Informed by his early career as a men’s fashion designer, his practice examines the role of the consumer in our world of mass production. Using repurposed cast-off denim, leather and textiles, Azulay’s work actively disrupts the relentless cycle of manufacturing and consumption. With his technical skills and informed eye, Ronen further processes and transforms the materials and incorporates found objects to create a new vernacular in his work. Tickets: Free
Starting, Tuesday, Dec.5
The Art of Hip Hop When: Opening Dec. 5; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Where: 299 NW 25th St., Miami What: In partnership with StockX, the inaugural exhibition at the permanent Art of Hip Hop space is entitled “From the Bronx to the Beach.” Showcasing rare vintage ephemera from Hip Hop’s first NYC DJ, Kool Herc, to Miami’s own pioneer Uncle Luke, the exhibition features the unsung heroes of Hip Hop culture: the photographers, album cover artists, graffiti writers and logo designers who are responsible for creating the visual identity of Hip Hop as we know it. See the works of Hip Hop photographers Janette Beckman, Mike Miller, Henry Chalfant, Matt Doyle, Lisa Leone, Joe Conzo and Daniel Hastings, alongside Hip Hop album covers designed by Cey Adams, Eric Haze, Slick, Kaws and more. Museum of Graffiti co-founder and curator, Alan Ket, collaborates with StockX to curate a collection of sneakers that further amplify the stories of the works featured in the exhibition. Tickets:General admission
“Topography of Memory” Art Installation When: Dec. 5–17 Where: Collins Park, 2100 Collins Ave., Miami Beach What: Audemars Piguet Contemporary’s new art commission by Sallisa Rosa features her largest ceramic work to date and her first solo project, displaying over 100 ceramic pieces all handmade by Rosa. The Brazilian artist’s ceramic collection includes an inspired piece constructed of delicate spheres suspended in the air and stalagmite totems rising from the earth. The immersive atmosphere invites attendees to explore and contemplate the artwork and even offers a meditative experience. Clay art is permanently molded by heat, so Miami seems a fitting place to embrace an art discipline wielding heat. Tickets: Free
At The Cusp of Midnight and Color, New Works by Melissa Herrington When: Dec. 5–10 Where: Scope What: Contemporary abstract artist Melissa Herrington from Los-Angeles based gallery, M Herrington Gallery returns to Scope Miami Beach 2023 with a collection of new national and international artists. Herrington exhibits eight new abstract paintings in her series, “At the Cusp of Midnight and Color.” These recent works blur the lines between mediums, forms and concept. She is known for investigating the ever-changing nature of the female form through abstraction. Additional artists that will be featured are Kristen Hart, Angela and Gabriel Collazo, Brett Loving and Chrys Roboras. Tickets: SCOPE attendees can visit booth D27 to view the works.
Starting, Wednesday, Dec. 6
The Art is Earth When: Dec. 6–10 Where: Eden Roc Miami Beach, 4525 Collins Ave., Miami Beach What: In efforts to reinforce the significance of ocean conservation, “The Art is Earth” delivers an augmented reality display transforming the Eden Roc Miami Beach lobby into oceans around the globe by activating still satellite images powered by Art House technology. Proceeds from art print sales benefit the PangeaSeed Foundation. Tickets: Free
Sean Kelly When: Dec. 6–10 Where: Art Basel Miami Beach, Booth D41; Meridians, Booth M10 (Hugo McCloud Solo Presentation) What: Sean Kelly showcases a dynamic selection of painting, sculpture, photography and works on paper from the gallery’s international roster of artists, including new Camouflage paintings by Anthony Akinbola; Jose Dávila’s signature cut-out photographs, which appropriate images from Richard Prince’s Cowboys series; Awol Erizku’s large-scale painting adorned with sports iconography of the Miami Hurricanes, which draws inspiration from the addition, removal and obfuscation of logos associated with street culture; lyrical abstract paintings by Janaina Tschäpe, canvases characterized by gestural mark-making and expressive surfaces; a new Kehinde Wiley painting, which blurs the boundaries between traditional and contemporary modes of racial representation situated within the traditions of art history portraiture; and Wu Chi-Tsung’s masterful Cyano-Collages, which blend traditions of Eastern “Shan- Shui” painting with Western photographic techniques to create hypnotic landscapes. Sean Kelly has been invited by Art Basel Miami Beach this year to participate in the inaugural edition of Access, a curated sale in which 10 percent of the sales price of Wu Chi-Tsung’s Cyano-Collage 182, 2023, will be donated to The International Committee of the Red Cross and The Miami Foundation.
Thursday, Dec. 7
Tequila Don Julio x Felipe Pantone When: Dec. 7, 12 to 4 p.m. Where: The Temple House, 1415 Euclid Ave, Miami What: Artist Felipe Pantone reimagines Tequila Don Julio’s latest campaign “Por Amor” (For Love) — a bold and vibrant “Love Letter to Mexico” in a one-day-only exhibition. “Por Amor” is crafted in collaboration with Mexican luminaries including celebrated photographer Thalia Gochez. Through new mediums and experiences, he invites viewers to perceive and appreciate the profound significance of capturing a nation’s soul and elevating it onto a global stage. Tickets: Registration is available here.
RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment
The Recording Academy, best known for its annual Grammy Awards to celebrate music, announced that half of its incoming member class is officially made up of people of color in an effort to create a diverse membership and voting body.
There are over a thousand members added every year across its three membership categories: voting members (professional musicians and creators), professional members (music businesspeople including writers, publicists, etc.), and GRAMMY U members (emerging music professionals).
According to a full breakdown provided to Billboard, the gender breakdown is as follows: 58% male, 32% female, 9% unknown, 1% non-binary or gender non-conforming, and less than 1% people who prefer to self-describe. This is a big difference from the organization’s 2021 numbers, where 48% of the 2,700 members invited were women. Its goal is to invite 2,500 female voting members by 2025.
As for the age makeup, 45% are 39 and under, 39% are over 40 and 15% are unknown.
And for the racial spread of new members, 37% are white or Caucasian, 27% are Black or African American; 9% are Hispanic or Latin, 5% are Asian or Pacific Islander, 2% are South Asian, 1% are Middle Eastern or North African, less than 1% are indigenous or Alaskan Native. 14% did not disclose any information and 4% preferred to self-describe.
It appears that the Recording Academy is on an upward turn when it comes to diversity. In 2022, people of color made up 44% of new members.
Despite these strides, the Grammys and musicians have a complicated relationship. The Weekndcalled out the ceremony and its voting body after his album After Hours was not nominated in any category. In a Billboard cover story, he said only ten Black artists have won Album of the Year as lead artists.
“When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions,” observes Claudius in Hamlet. And for Chicago theater artists, the last two weeks of November were particularly sorrowful, as three actors who helped shape and define the work that emerged here in the late 1970s and beyond—Marc Silvia, Debra Rodkin, and Ernest Perry Jr.—died within days of each other.
In the 1980s and ’90s, as that beloved entity known variously as “off-Loop theater,” “storefront theater,” and sometimes “fringe theater” was taking shape and planting even deeper roots in the local cultural ecosystem, Marc Silvia was one of its most reliable onstage presences. A cofounder of Econo-Art (along with Lynn Baber and Barbara Reeder), a company that focused primarily on new work, Silvia appeared in most of their plays between 1986 and 1990.
In the 90s, Silvia was a mainstay at Live Bait Theater and also appeared in shows with City Lit and now-defunct companies such as Cloud 42, Bailiwick Repertory (the predecessor of PrideArts), and Apple Tree Theatre in Highland Park.
In an email, Baber says, “I can think of no one who was closer to the top of the storefront theater scene in the 90s. And he was the guy that the storefront companies called to carry the show. Directors picked shows for him.”
Silvia, who moved to Los Angeles in 2001, died November 16 at 64 shortly after being diagnosed with lung cancer that had metastasized to his brain and liver. He had relocated to the west coast shortly after Maripat Donovan, cocreator (with Vicki Quade) and original star of the long-running hit Late Nite Catechism, moved there. Silvia first worked on the show playing a priest, and also designed the set and stage managed. He later directed the show in LA, along with subsequent sequels penned by Donovan. (Following a legal dispute with Donovan, Quade continues to run her own version of the Late Nite franchise in Chicago. Quade noted in an email, “Marc was the babysitter for my three kids from 1995 to 2000, before leaving to work on the Quade/Donovan productions of LNC in the LA area.”)
Silvia was more than a collaborator with Donovan in LA—he was also a neighbor and dear friend. “Every morning of my life he would come in and sit with me on the couch and we would laugh and talk about what was going on that day and what was going on that week,” Donovan told me in a phone conversation. “He was here every day. I don’t know what I’m gonna do without the guy, you know?”
Donovan notes that she first became aware of Silvia when he performed in Live Bait’s landmark 1994 production of Freud, Dora and the Wolfman. Based on case studies of two of Freud’s most famous patients, the show incorporated puppetry and songs to explore the interior lives of the title characters, with Silvia playing the man haunted by visions of wolves (and hoping to take a shit on the head of his analyst).
Live Bait cofounder and Freud playwright Sharon Evans wrote about Silvia’s performance in that show on Facebook. “He had to do a Russian accent, share the stage with a wolf puppet. (He did this lovely business where he would scratch the head of the wolf puppet—while he did his analysis with Freud.) He had to sing— he couldn’t sing but like Rex [Harrison], he spoke his way through his songs—with charm, impeccable timing and tragic flourishes.
“Once he told me, ‘I am Wolfman.’ And he was. At times tortured. A bit at odds with the conventional world he lived in. He was a true creative. Amusing, profound, and he dug deep night after night. Talented on so many levels. And what a laugh he had!”
Debra Rodkin, a founding member of Stage Left Theatre in 1982 (and their managing director for several years, before leaving the company in 1992), and a longtime ensemble member with Redtwist Theatre, died November 20 of cancer. Rodkin was 71.
Her death came as a shock to many who didn’t realize that she had been ill. Her former husband, Duane Sharp, with whom she had maintained a close friendship, told me, “She was diagnosed about three years ago. It started getting worse. This August she found out she had brain, liver, and bone cancer in addition, and that’s why she stopped performing. She was performing right through her treatments. She was a champion.”
Most recently, she appeared in Redtwist’s revival of John Pielmeier’s Agnes of Godthis past June. A graduate of the Theatre School at DePaul (when it was still called the Goodman School of Drama), Rodkin worked with a wide range of companies during her career, including the now-defunct feminist-oriented Footsteps Theatre, Shattered Globe, AstonRep, 2nd Act Players, Citadel, and Raven. She also worked as a talent agent with Stavins Talent Agency (originally known as Karen Stavins Enterprises) and, as Sharp noted, also had a flourishing career in voiceover and corporate work. I particularly remember her fine performances in two Martin McDonagh plays at Redtwist: The Beauty Queen of Leenane (when the company still called itself Actors Workshop Theatre) and The Cripple of Inishmaan.
Freelance director and former longtime Goodman Theatre producer Steve Scott noted on Facebook that he had worked with Rodkin off and on for nearly 30 years. “Smart and funny, passionate and warm, and a formidable presence onstage and off. One of the mainstays of Chicago’s non-Equity theater—the epitome of what I love about our community.”
Redtwist’s Facebook page collected tributes from many of their ensemble members, while noting that Rodkin was one of the first artists to join the company when it was founded by Michael Colucci and Jan Ellen Graves in 2003. “Over the next two decades, Debra would be a mainstay at Redtwist, always bringing her irreverent sense of humor and incredible passion to the rehearsal hall and the stage. She appeared in a dozen shows in Bryn Mawr’s tiny black box theatre, gracing our stage in almost every season since our founding.”
Sharp, noting that Rodkin’s love of dogs was equal to her love of theater (her beloved dog Lola died a couple of days before she did) suggested that memorial contributions could be made to either Redtwist or PAWS Chicago. A Chicago memorial will be planned for early next year.
Ernest Perry Jr.
On November 23, longtime Chicago actor Ernest Perry Jr. died. He was 76. Perry played dozens of roles at the Goodman, Victory Gardens, Court Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare, Northlight, and many other companies. He also worked outside of Chicago at regional theaters, including Actors Theatre of Louisville and the Arden Theatre Company in Philadelphia. Additionally, Perry collected numerous credits in film and television, including ER, Star Trek: Deep SpaceNine, Barbershop 2, Roll Bounce, Liar Liar, Rage in Harlem, Running Scared, and The Color of Money.
In Mark Larson’s 2019 Ensemble: An Oral History of Chicago Theater, Perry shared several stories about his earlier work in Chicago, including Lonne Elder III’s Ceremonies in Dark Old Men for Victory Gardens in 1978 and Goodman’s landmark 1979 production of Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman (which finally made it to Broadway in 1987 with Perry in the cast again).
Perry told Larson: “There was a great deal of talk about going to Broadway with it, but you know how those money people on Broadway are. They ain’t going to put no 32 actors on stage with live music. They wanted to cut it down, and Wole said, ‘No, it’s not going to happen. It took us from ’79 to ’87 to get it to New York . . . I think this show was a turning point. It was the greatest thing to ever happen to the city of Chicago and the Goodman Theatre. No doubt about it.”
Perry had been witness to the growth of the Black theater movement in Chicago, as well as some of the problems Black artists encountered with white critics. He also told Larson: “I can remember sitting in ’75 on the South Side arguing about, how can we get this together? Meaning, the Black Theatre Movement. Nobody had a space that was large enough to do some of the things we wanted . . . We was all trying to get together and we was arguing because the Reader had done a really botched-up review of a production of [Athol Fugard’s] Boesman and Lena, which we thought was fine but they didn’t. I just didn’t see the point of arguing about some white guy writing a review about Boesman and Lena and how ‘he don’t know nothing.’ We’re going to sit up here and spend an hour arguing over this? It doesn’t make any sense. What we need is to all come together, and that’s what Soyinka did. He brought 32 of us together and put us on the stage together and it was great.”
Any stage Perry appeared on became greater. Perry’s turn as Hambone in the Goodman’s 2015 revival of August Wilson’s Two Trains Running, directed by Chuck Smith, was particularly memorable. He imbued his character, who is broken yet still somehow visionary (a staple kind of figure in Wilson’s world) with rage and dignity.
Nambi E. Kelley, former Chicago actor and playwright who played Risa in that production, wrote on Facebook, “I first saw Ernest Perry on stage when I was in high school, a monumental, earth-shattering production of The Iceman Cometh starring Brian Dennehy at the old Goodman. So I was ecstatic to get to work with him on my second show at the Goodman. To say he was one of my theatre daddies is an understatement. Ernest was not only brilliant and hilarious, he also had unlimited knowledge of all things everything. You need help figuring out how to keep more of your theatre check up front, Ernest had advice on how many deductions to claim. You having a dizzy spell in the middle of a rehearsal, he shows up the next day with something to get you good.”
Perry was born and raised in Evanston and lived for several years in Austin. He was also a Vietnam War veteran and the father of three children: Mary (Darrell) Johnson, Jaisy Geans and the late Alison Perry. “As a father he was a fierce protector of his family,” Mary Johnson told me. “Very passionate and very protective of us. We were Black women. He was very proud of us and he thought it was very important that we understood our history and the sacrifices that were made just for us to have the liberty that we have.”
In a written memorial to her father for her business, Hello to Natural, Johnson noted that Perry “would always acknowledge and shed a tear every December 4th, for the late Fred Hampton, whom he knew and believed in. There were many deaths that stayed with him in the wake of so much social and racial injustice and he made it his mission when we were growing up that we learned about it all and respected the progress accomplished on the backs of so many other greats.”
A visitation and funeral for Perry will be held Saturday, December 2 beginning at 3 PM at Progressive Life Giving Word Cathedral, 4500 Frontage Rd. in Hillside. A celebration of life will be held later in the spring. The family notes that, in recognition of Perry’s military service, donations to Vietnam Veterans of America would be welcome.
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