Breitbart News, Donald Trump’s Pravda, Is in Crisis


Earlier this year, reporter Lee Stranahan was in the White House press room when another journalist asked him which outlet he worked for.

“Breitbart News,” Stranahan answered, recalling the exchange in a recent phone conversation.

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The other journalist laughed, thinking this had to be a joke. Breitbart, after all, was largely known, whether justly or not, as a hothouse where the alt-right tended to its most outlandish, paranoid creations: Clinton conspiracy theories, anti-immigrant fearmongering, garden-variety misogyny. One of its story tags was “black crime.” The tag is no longer used, yet it remains attached to a half-dozen stories on the website, the last published just over a year ago.

Tradition rules journalism as much as it rules golf, and tradition dictated that the White House press room was for upstanding men and women who’d gone to Columbia Journalism School, putting in their time at the Palookaville Weekly Citizen before earning a coveted spot in the newsroom of The Washington Post or The New York Times, or some other publication that deserved to be in the White House because its mission was sober reportage, not click-bait about “lesbian bridezillas” or “trannies.” Breitbart had no business being there because it would eagerly publish—has eagerly published, in fact—articles about “lesbian bridezillas” and “trannies.”

And not just a couple of such articles either: Breitbart’s editorial outlook is not imbued with cultural or political conservatism. Breitbart’s guiding principle is that of the tabloid: If it bleeds, it leads. Especially if the bleeding is caused by an illegal immigrant or some “globalist” Democrat crafting the New World Order on her porch in the Hamptons. This was (and largely remains) a lurid vision of America, terrifying yet enchanting, like one of those 1980s crime blockbusters with weird racial politics and lots of explosions, not to mention at least a couple of scantily clad blondes in search of a musclebound savior, preferably one wearing a sweat-stained American flag bandana.

But there Breitbart was, the outsider suddenly in the inner sanctum of American power, the unpopular kid unexpectedly crowned prom king, sought out by all those who’d once mocked him. Its chief executive, unkempt ultra-nationalist Steve Bannon, is now Trump’s chief strategist. He brought Breitbart staffers with him to the White House, including self-styled terrorism expert Sebastian Gorka and establishment tormentor Julia Hahn, in what The Hill called “the Breitbartization of the White House.”

And even as President Trump was supposedly draining the political swamp, his White House granted Bannon a retroactive ethics waiver that allowed him to keep talking to Breitbart staffers, in seeming violation of federal rules. 


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President Donald Trump (L), seated at his desk with National Security Advisor Michael Flynn (2nd R) and senior advisor Steve Bannon (R), speaks by phone with Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, January 28, 2017. Reuters

Whatever you think of Breitbart’s unabashed distaste for Democrats and centrist Republicans, or its famously incendiary headlines—“Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy,” “Bill Kristol, Republican Spoiler, Renegade Jew”—it is inarguable that the site helped elect Trump, in large part by mercilessly shredding every Republican opposed to his candidacy while touting his immigration plan (i.e., the border wall) and making the darkest possible insinuations about Hillary Clinton and her supposedly corrupt coterie. So there Breitbart News was on November 8, shoulder to shoulder with Trump in the electoral trenches, firing away at the Democratic firewall. It crumbled that night, and the plains of the Midwest lay open for the taking. So did the Oval Office.

And that’s the problem Breitbart faces today, a problem similar to the one plaguing the Trump administration: Being an outsider works only when you’re on the outside. Breitbart’s (potential) troubles have been compounded because it sold Trump to its readers as our guy. Bannon had once wanted that guy to be Alabama’s Senator Jeff Sessions, now the U.S. attorney general. Instead, he got an ideology-averse pseudo-mogul, difficult to control but easy to convince. It’s hard to know how much of Breitbart’s support of Trump was a ploy for clicks, but it certainly presented a convincing portrait of an economic nationalist whose business savvy was matched only by his xenophobia.

The sale was made, but as has been frequently the case with Trump, the buyers have started to suspect they may have been played for fools. Breitbart (and, really, the entire right-wing media establishment) is now faced with a bungling chief executive who has embraced NATO and Goldman Sachs, largely ditched his plan for a border wall with Mexico and, during a speech in Saudi Arabia, didn’t utter the words that have been the touchstone of Republican foreign policy: radical Islamic terrorism.

What’s to be done about this? Breitbart doesn’t have a particularly rich tonal register, its voice reverting most frequently to outrage, derision or disgust. It is incapable of hitting the complex notes of regret, or even of measured concern. If you wanted nuance, you’d probably be a Weekly Standard subscriber.

“They are an outlet that has a very, very large stake in the success of President Trump,” explains Ben Shapiro, who left Breitbart during the presidential campaign, after Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski roughly grabbed Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields. After the incident, Breitbart sided with the Trump campaign over its reporter’s easily verifiable claims. Shapiro, founder of The Daily Wire and host of a popular right-leaning podcast, says that under Bannon, Breitbart had become “Trump’s personal Pravda.”


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White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Trump advisor Steve Bannon adjust their ties as they walk from Marine One to board Air Force One as they depart Milwaukee, Wisconsin, April 18, 2017. Reuters

For Breitbart, the potential spoils of playing the role of a state propaganda organ are great. The dangers are greater still. In February, Alexa, which ranks the popularity of websites, scored Breitbart as the 29th most visited website in the nation. This was an astonishing achievement for a news organization founded a decade ago in a Los Angeles basement, unknown to most Americans until the Trump candidacy ceased to seem like a political sideshow. Breitbart celebrated the achievement with typical bluster, touting its digital supremacy over both ESPN and PornHub. By the beginning of 2017, Breitbart had more unique visitors than Politico, more total traffic (that is, both visitors and page views combined) than The Washington Post. Breitbart had beaten not just the pornographers but also the journalistic elites who’d scorned it for years.

But much like Trump himself, Breitbart News may have expended too much energy on gloating. Breitbart has fallen to 63rd in Alexa’s rankings (its ranking was actually much lower, in the 270s, but after Vanity Fair published that figure, Breitbart complained to Alexa and had its ranking somehow recalibrated). SimilarWeb, a company that uses Google Analytics to analyze web browsing patterns, found that Breitbart had 128 million total visits in November, but that the number has since dropped to 78 million total visits in April. That is still an amazing feat, one that places Breitbart well above most other news organizations. Yet some in the media wonder whether the high watermark of the site’s relevance was the election in November.

Right-wing sites like the nascent Heat Street and Tucker Calrson’s more established Daily Caller have shown themselves to be more nimble in their coverage, less tied to the White House and more willing to conduct genuine journalism. Traffic numbers aside, those are the sites I visit when I want to understand what the right is thinking.

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Web popularity is fleeting, especially so when tethered to the fortunes of one exceedingly volatile, temperamental head of state. Alex Marlow, 31, the site’s Berkeley-educated editor-in-chief, has said he won’t allow for Stalinist shows of loyalty in his newsroom (the newsroom is mostly digital; writers tend to work from home). “When we feel like the president is not honoring the pledges he made to the public, he’s going to get critical coverage,” he told NBC’s Today in March.

Breitbart’s attempts to detach from Trump have been minor. For the most part, the site has either pulled its punches or directed them elsewhere. Much like the president, Breitbart is adept at transferring blame, usually to hapless White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, to whom almost unimaginable powers of ruin have been ascribed; the modestly more competent chief of staff, Reince Priebus; or the team of “globalists” (an epithet that, to some, has anti-Semitic connotations) who’ve pulled Trump toward centrist positions that could yet rescue his presidency but alienate his base.

“Any attempts to separate themselves from Trump will result in an immediate collapse of their traffic,” warns Shapiro, “and will not result in any additional mainstream credibility.”

That credibility won’t be easy to come by, especially from a Washington press corps predisposed to sneer at Breitbart as an unsophisticated arriviste, one that has consistently put click-getting ahead of truth-telling. In March, the Standing Committee of Correspondents denied Breitbart a congressional press pass. Hadas Gold, a media reporter for Politico, explained at the time that committee members had questions about Breitbart’s monetary ties to right-wing activists Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah, which the site has generally downplayed. The committee seemed to also frown on the fact that Breitbart’s newsroom was a Capitol Hill townhouse, known as “the Breitbart Embassy.”

News organizations are funded by all sorts of individuals, some of them perhaps unworthy of the high-minded journalistic enterprises they sponsor. And though I’ve never been to the Breitbart Embassy, I doubt it’s all that different from your average Manhattan newsroom, with its abused coffee machine and even more abused bathrooms. Regardless, the correspondents’ committee felt these to be signs of Breitbart’s pervasive amateurism. “The whole thing suggests to me that they’re just not ready for a credential,” a committee member told Politico.

At the same time, Breitbart’s much-touted plans to expand into Europe, proof of its newfound relevance, seem to have been more talk than anything else. In February, Politico reported that “difficulties in recruiting journalists, questions about which language to use and a desire to make a high impact on launch have all slowed down efforts to establish French and German editions.” In the course of my reporting, I also heard that domestic bureaus weren’t nearly as well staffed as Breitbart wanted readers to believe.


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Milo Yiannopoulos addresses the media during a news conference in New York City, February 21, 2017. Reuters

Right around the same time, Breitbart cut ties with its most prominent writer, expert provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos —or “MILO,” as he is called on the site, like a European soccer deity—after it was revealed that he’d made comments supportive of pedophilia.

After the London Bridge attack at the beginning of this month, Breitbart reporter Katie McHugh made Islamophobic comments on Twitter (“There would be no deadly terror attacks in the U.K. if Muslims didn’t live there”). She was promptly fired, in what may have been a sign of how sensitive Breitbart News has become to accusations that it promulgates right-wing extremism. The firing instead exposed it to criticism from those very extremists, some of whom are now calling the site “Cuckbart,” using the far right’s favorite term (i.e., “cuck,” from cuckold) for weak-kneed members of its clan.

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The site’s gravest problem may be the wholesale flight of advertisers, who have been pressured by anti-Trump forces to disassociate themselves from any outlet friendly to his administration. “Breitbart ads plummet nearly 90 percent in three months as Trump’s troubles mount,” read the headline of a Digiday story by Lucia Moses that detailed the site’s deepening financial woes.

The campaign against Breitbart is being led by a group that identifies itself on Twitter as Sleeping Giants. At the time of this writing, its online spreadsheet of advertisers that no longer buy ads on Breitbart includes 2,178 entries, from German flagship airline Lufthansa to Zeus, a beard grooming company. A visit to the Sleeping Giants feed finds a tweet at the founder of tech company Taboola, which apparently advertises with Breitbart: “Do you love money more than tolerance?”

The Perils of Access Journalism

Perhaps no man has a more complex relationship with Breitbart than Lee Stranahan, one of the most polarizing and unusual figures of the alt-right, which brims with unusual and polarizing figures. He has quit the site twice and been fired once, because of clashes with editors. But having been originally hired by Breitbart News founder Andrew Breitbart, Stranahan sees himself as a Breitbart purist, a “reader’s’ advocate” who will rescue the organization from its own trolliest impulses, returning it to its original mission, which was to…well, that’s actually not entirely clear.


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Conservative journalist Andrew Breitbart speaks at a news conference in New York, June 6, 2011. Reuters

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“I take that legacy really seriously,” Stranahan tells me while talking about working for Breitbart, whose founder died in 2012, effectively leaving the site in the hands of Bannon, a slovenly, self-styled intellectual with a visceral feel for the kinds of stories that would animate the far right, the stories mainstream conservative publications like the National Review would never publish.

“It’s why I kept going back to Breitbart,” Stranahan says. (None of the several current Breitbart editors contacted for this story responded to a request for comment. Nor did Breitbart Chief Executive Larry Solov or the company’s spokesperson, Chad Wilkinson.)

These days, Stranahan hosts a radio show for the Sputnik news agency, the Kremlin-funded outlet that has been friendly to Trump. He also runs an online journalism school and The Populist, a news outlet. His sensibility remains edgy and outré, tending to be angry and suspicious. Those can be helpful qualities for a reporter, allowing Stranahan to spot big stories the mainstream media may have missed, most notably the Pigford farm loan scandal, which allowed some African-American farmers to collect $50,000 federal compensation payments after falsely claiming discrimination by the federal Farm Service Agency. But those same qualities could be ruinous if you’re trying to cozy up to the White House in hopes of getting first-rate access.

Stranahan is also adept at Periscope, the video-based social media platform owned by Twitter. After his latest departure from Breitbart in March, he posted a 23-minute video in which he called himself Breitbart’s “crying mom” and “stern dad,” saying the site was in need of “tough love.” Congressional Republicans were in the midst of their first, and unsuccessful, attempt to bring the American Health Care Act (AHCA) to a vote, in a push led by House Speaker Paul Ryan but supported by Trump. The bill, which would weaken President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act without abrogating it, was toxically unpopular with the American public, so Breitbart had deemed it Ryancare, thus implicitly absolving Trump of any responsibility.

Stranahan, himself a Trump supporter, would have none of it. “Donald Trump has been actively supporting this bill,” he said in the Periscope video, arguing that the responsibility for the AHCA ended with the president. Breitbart pretending otherwise would only mean disaster for Breitbart.

“You’re making yourself look bad to the outside world. You’re pandering to the worst elements of your readership, who will just go along in complete denial, in complete total denial, that Donald Trump might have actually made a mistake,” Stranahan said, his voice far closer to pain than bitterness.

“It’s a bad move,” he warned. “It’s bad move journalistically. It’s a bad move politically.”

Stranahan tells me what the site lacks most is responsible leadership. “You got people running things, in editorial positions, who are 30 years old,” he says. The reference is clearly to Marlow, the editor-in-chief.

Stranahan’s greater nemesis is Matt Boyle, the 29-year-old White House editor, with whom he reportedly clashed. A Bannon protégé who lacks his mentor’s dark intellectual pretensions, Boyle is reportedly disliked by some on the right, including former colleagues at The Daily Caller who are said to have widely mocked him behind his back. Boyle was recently the subject of a mostly unflattering profile in the Washingtonian in which a former editor, Jonathan Strong, happily went on the record to say that Boyle “has two modes: murder and blow job.”


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White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer takes a question during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, May 30, 2017. Reuters

Personal rivalries aside, Stranahan’s greater point is that access journalism is not real journalism, that playing publicist to the president ultimately does the president little good while squandering long-sought journalistic credibility. Nor can it be said that Breitbart News has capitalized on that access in the way it must have intended. In February, it landed a White House interview with Spicer, which was broadcast on Facebook Live. The reactions were brutal, with The Washington Post, for example, calling it “the most awkward thing ever.”

It was a Trumpian predicament, a classic Rodney Dangerfield moment of respect maddeningly withheld at the moment when it was so plainly deserved.

Alt-Right Theater of the Grotesque

“They’ve had a lot of growing pains,” says Will Sommer, a writer for The Hill who publishes a newsletter on conservative outlets, Right Richter. “It’s easier, if you’re a site like Breitbart, to be in the opposition,” especially if your roster was stocked with iconoclasts like Stranahan and Bannon.

So what now?

Now, you have editor-at-large Joel Pollak explaining that when Trump pushed aside the prime minister of Montenegro during the recent NATO summit, he was merely asserting American supremacy. And you have reporter Daniel Flynn defending Montana politician Greg Gianforte, who’d assaulted a journalist, for “the good politics of body slams” Gianforte practiced in Bozeman.


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U.S. House of Representative elect Greg Gianforte delivers his victory speech during a special congressional election in Bozeman, Montana, on May 25, 2017. Reuters

It’s hard to say whether this is what Breitbart readers want or what Breitbart is most capable of giving its readers.

It may simply be that Breitbart was never equipped to become the sober, Wall Street Journal -like publication Marlow seemed to promise after helping to elect Trump. The site was started by Breitbart as “a streamlined news portal for information junkies seeking access to every single story produced by the major newswires,” as writer Greg Beato described it in a 2009 post for Gawker. Beato pointed to the not-so-secret formula for Breitbart’s success: aggregate wire stories in a way that would earn links from the Drudge Report, the traffic behemoth where Andrew Breitbart had once toiled with the site’s founder, Matt Drudge. Beyond any motivating ideology, the site has been sustained by Drudge-friendly links that consistently drive web traffic. That is as true today as it was eight years ago: SimilarWeb’s analysis shows that 53 percent of all outside referrals to Breitbart come from Drudge. That may seem like a high number, but it actually represents a precipitous drop of 28 percent since March.

After Breitbart’s unexpected death, Bannon sharpened the site, turning it into a high-volume theater of the grotesque, the “platform for the alt-right” that most Americans came to know during the presidential campaign. The hiring of figures like Yiannopoulos signaled a more combative stance on cultural issues; Gorka gave the site its strong anti-Muslim edge, while Hahn, a young University of Chicago graduate, came to so closely mirror her boss’s vituperative attacks on the Republican Party’s centrists that she came to be known as “Bannon’s Bannon.”

“Bannon built a far-right-wing media sledgehammer, an enforcer of orthodoxy that its fans praised for its swagger and that its critics labeled xenophobic or worse.” That was the colorful description offered by The Washington Post as Bannon moved from the Breitbart Embassy to the big white mansion on Pennsylvania Avenue. The audience was—and remains—younger and more sophisticated than that of Fox News yet animated by the same resentments: the Clintons, Mexico, Muslims, Goldman Sachs, Lena Dunham.


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A Jewish boy looks at clothes for sale at the Breitbart booth at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, February 23, 2017. Reuters

Breitbart can’t pivot away from right-wing click-bait to sober, deeply reported news any more than Trump can pivot away from paranoid tweets, self-pitying broadsides against the media and weekends at Mar-a-Lago. Trump, at least, has daughter Ivanka to keep him in check, or so they say. With Bannon gone, it’s hard to see anyone at the Breitbart Embassy overseeing the kind of radical editorial overhaul that would make Breitbart more like the Journal and less like World Net Daily.

At the same time, the president it helped elect has an approval rating below 40 percent, making the daily job of selling his policies even more difficult. Breitbart remains an ally, though. If it has anxieties about Trump, it isn’t quite ready to share them just yet. That’s because while Drudge provides the traffic, Bannon provides the access, the interviews and “exclusives” that are the meat of Breitbart’s reporting. Anger the president, and the gates to the White House might close. That has made it difficult for Breitbart to honestly ascribe Trump’s shortcomings and failures to Trump himself.

“They’re failing to grapple with news of the day,” says The Hill ’s Sommer. “Eventually, your audience starts to get disillusioned.” 

This is true not only of Breitbart but of an entire right-wing media ecosystem still largely unwilling to call out Trump on the plainly unrealistic promises he made. Sustained illusion thus becomes the best antidote to creeping disillusion. So in the Breitbart world, the jobs have all come back from China, while “the illegals” have all gone back to Mexico. The administrative state will be deconstructed, just as Bannon promised, until there are so few bureaucrats left in Washington they can share a single Uber out of town. NATO, NAFTA, NEA: They are all dead, or dying, cowering in the last dank dungeons of the “deep state.”

Stranahan isn’t optimistic about the long-term success of this approach for Breitbart. “I would not be surprised if their readership goes down again,” he says of the site he once loved but no longer recognizes.

“It sounds douchey,” Stranahan tells me, “but I’m always right.”


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CJ Burton

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Worth Discussing Race Matters

… to protect and support the African American community.  In 2006, the United … ;noted its concern that while African Americans constitute just 12% of the … with our failure to treat racism as a curable American disease … RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News

The Gantt Report: The White House Cat House The White House Cat House


By Lucius Gantt

     When some men want to lie and cheat they go to a Cat House. A Cat House is a good place get freaky, grind and tap some behinds!

     Historically, international Cat Houses have been the destination of choice for ballers, crawlers, pick pockets, peddlers and passport carrying panhandlers.

     Cats that live and work in international Cat Houses wear the finest erotic cat suits and lingerie, or undergarments for females and males.

     Some people in America believe The White House has become the biggest Cat House in the world!

     The political whores in The White House don’t wear lingerie, they wear dark colored three piece suits, with or without the usual vest, accented by red or blue neck ties.

     If you think you got a first class sexing at the international Cat House, that screwing can’t even compare to the way citizens of the United States are being banged at The White House Cat House!

     Residents and workers at the house at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue intend to screw you out of your health care coverage, screw you out of your health care benefits, screw you out of your voting rights, screw you out of your education benefits, screw you out of your social security benefits, screw you out of your disability, screw women out of their rights to make child birth decisions, screw American allies out of long time defense agreements, screw Hispanics out of immigration rights, screw labor unions out of long time labor agreements and screw African Americans out of equal rights and justice!

    Yes, the biggest liars and the biggest cheaters are finding their way to The White House Cat House.

   The prices are appropriate and fair at the ordinary Cat House but it costs much more to get that thing you want at The White House Cat House.

    How about a million dollar campaign contribution, a multi-million dollar real estate transaction or a billion dollar bank loan from a foreign bank that may or may not be under United States economic sanctions.

Hmmm! Don’t forget you might also get business regulators to back that thing up, polluters to ignore climate change or the military industrial complex to make more bombs, build more planes and predators and christen bigger and better warships if you pay the boss to get your costs! (Yeah I wrote it right)

   It’s not such a good idea to have your children making decisions at the international Cat House or The White House Cat House.

    Inexperience at a Cat House is bad for the business. When you spend your money at a Cat House you want to be serviced by someone that knows what they are doing. You want someone to please you with sweets, not tease you with tweets!

    If you don’t like what happens in the Cat House you have to clean out the litter box!

     At the White House Cat House you have to fire or impeach the political pimp, the madam and the person that is the Screwer in Chief!  (Buy Gantt’s latest book, “Beast Too: Dead Man Writing” and from bookstores everywhere. Contact Lucius at And, if you want to,“Like” The Gantt Report page on Facebook.)


A Nonunion ‘The Wiz’ is Casting Actors for a Run in NYC

A Nonunion ‘The Wiz’ is Casting Actors for a Run in NYC

Photo Source: YouTube

Welcome back to our guide for what’s casting in New York City! As usual, we’ve scoured the landscape to bring you information on all the best projects in film, theater, and television, based on information from the most reliable sources. This is show business we’re talking about, though, and as quickly as a play can bring down its curtain, a project can end before it’s even begun; that said, here’s what you can currently look out for!

Ease on down the road, New York actors! A nonunion production of the soulful musical, “The Wiz,” is casting for an upcoming NYC production, and we have the details you need to know—including how you can apply.

The tuner, produced by The New York Black Arts Festival, Inc., seeks African American actors for six principal roles including Dorothy, Tinman, Scarecrow, and the eponymous Wiz himself.

The production will rehearse this summer on evenings in New York City. The run is slated for July 8–16 at the Oberia Dempsey Theater in Harlem 

If hired, expect to be paid $75–$100/performance, with your travel expenses also covered. 

Keep following the yellow brick road: apply for “The Wiz” through Backstage right here (where you will also find audition materials!).

Be sure to check out more gigs for New York actors in Backstage’s New York City audition listings

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RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Political art comes to the fore at Catharine Clark Gallery

Published 1:19 pm, Wednesday, June 14, 2017

While all corners of art now seem unavoidably shadowed by politics following the presidential election, the Catharine Clark Gallery was initially unsure about assembling a show focused on political response.

“For us, we were thinking, ‘Well, does it really make sense to have a show that is dedicated to that when so many of our artists are already thinking about these themes?’” says Anton Stuebner, the San Francisco gallery’s associate director.

Yet the seemingly daily intake of “fresh horrors” since President Trump took office, Stuebner says, indicated that many of these existing concerns had come to a head, the culmination of which is now reflected in the gallery’s current exhibition, “Juncture.” The show runs through July 22, featuring work, old and new, in various forms by several artists reflecting on an open-ended theme of politically engaged art.

To start, take Stephanie Syjuco’s “Phantom,” a blackened, thinly transparent American flag that hangs at the front of the gallery’s entrance, created after Trump’s travel ban to express the pall cast over American ideals of inclusivity.

Subsequent works don’t all deal in such political immediacy — though in the Trump era, the tide shifts quickly.

Deborah Oropallo’s “Smoke Stacked,” a video montage depicting a progression of superimposed photos of oil refineries, set to a terrifying score, for instance, adopts an added omen following Trump’s recent move to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement.

Then there’s Oropallo’s “Made in USA,” a nylon rug lined with images of war weaponry and phalluses that considers not only the hand of patriarchy in warfare, but also the changing history of the Afghan war rug it imitates. The Afghan people “started making these rugs with our weapons in them,” Oropallo explains. “Our drones, our air force, and all of that. And what was happening was, the soldiers were then buying them as souvenirs to take back to America, which I find disturbing.”

On a local scope, Indira Allegra’s “Woven Account” features newsprint detailing Bay Area hate crimes (“People think it doesn’t happen here, but it does,” she says) hand-spun into a stretch of cloth. Another featured Allegra work, “Blackout,” uses a similar form of weaving, but with digital rendering, to explore police violence. The specter of politics in her art, however, saw no dramatic shift following the election, she says.

“My world hasn’t changed,” says Allegra, an African American artist based in Oakland. “The only thing that’s changed is that more people believe me now.”

While “Juncture” might have been spurred by the current Trumpian moment, it is not purely framed by it. The takeaway, Stuebner says, is to consider the ongoing nature of these political struggles and conversations.

Brandon Yu is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email:

“Juncture”: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. Through July 22. Catharine Clark Gallery, 248 Utah St., S.F.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Media Briefing Today: Actor & Humanitarian Danny Glover’s “93 Days” @ SF Black Film Festival XIX

Media Briefing today at the San Francisco Veteran’s Building will give media an outline of the festival that opens with Danny Glover’s Nollywood film, “93 Days,” Thursday & a sneak preview today of French Film, “Mariannes Noires.”

Actor & Humanitarian Danny Glover Opens SFBFF XIX June 15, 2017 in San Francisco

Actor & Humanitarian Danny Glover Opens SFBFF XIX June 15, 2017 in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCOJune 14, 2017PRLogMedia Briefing & VIP Screening at San Francisco’s Veterans Building Hosted by Cesar Chavez American Legion Post 505

Who:          Kali Ray, Co-Director San Francisco Black Film Festival, Katera Crossley, Co-Director;Robin Bates Founder and Executive Director and Constance Bryan, Assistant Director of Maison Noire Américaine; Writer/Director of “Mariannes Noires,” Mame-Fatou Niang; Eddie Ramirez, Founder and Executive Director of San Francisco Veterans Film Festival and OneVet One Voice representing the Cesar Chavez American Legion Post 505; and invited guests.

What:          Media Briefing for the San Francisco Black Film Festival outlining films and filmmakers and the distribution of media credentials; VIP Reception & Film screening with sneak preview of “Mariannes Noires” by Writer/Director Mame-Fatou Niang who examines the issue of racial identity of Black Women in France.

Where:          San Francisco Veterans Building, 401 Van Ness Avenue,
San Francisco, CA, 2nd Floor, Room 210

When:          Wednesday, June 14, 2016, 5:30 p.m.-6:00 Media Briefing: Open to All Media.  No reservation required for the media briefing.

6:00 p.m. -9:00 VIP Reception & Film Screening: Open to Media with reservations and invited guests.  Email media reservations for VIP Reception & Film Screening to by June 4:00 p.m. today.  Subject line: VIP Reception.

Why:          The San Francisco Black Film Festival, founded by the late

San Francisco Arts Impresario, Ave Montague, is a growing brand that increasingly gives a platform for emerging multicultural filmmakers and established Hollywood filmmakers to display work reflecting the African Diaspora and to interact with each other as the festival stimulates tourism.  SFBFF goes beyond entertainment. The evolving brand as it increases tourism will ultimately become an economic engine for workforce development to train and employ youth and transitioning workforce adults. Visit for more details.

Venues to date for San Francisco Black Film Festival XIX:
The Former Yoshi’s @The Fillmore Heritage Center,  The African American Arts and Cultural Complex, DeYoung Museum, SPUR, The Marines’ Memorial Club and Hotel, and The San Francisco Veterans Building.  “Healing the World One Film at a Time,” The San Francisco Black Film Festival different venues give its audiences a “Tour of San Francisco.”

Sponsors to date are California Arts Council; San Francisco Arts Commission; Comcast; PG&E; Film Bread; Rainbow Grocery; Comerica Bank; DeYoung Museum; SPUR; African American Arts and Culture Center; Marines’ Memorial Association; P. Harrell Wines; Fillmore Jazz Festival; Westin St. Francis Hotel; The San Francisco Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women; Dolby Laboratories; National Coalition of Black Veteran Organizations; Cesar Chavez American Legion Post 505; The San Francisco Veterans Film Festival; Maison Noire Américaine; The San Francisco Bay View Newspaper; Block Report Radio; KPOO Radio; LaHitz Media; The Village Project; Shelly Tatum Presents; Ink Tip; San Francisco Juneteenth; Jackson Street Productions; and Wright Enterprises.

Special Thanks to Comcast for Commercials Open For All Media Use:…


Editors & Reporters: RSVP to by 4:00 p.m. today, if you will attend the VIP Reception and Film Screening following the briefing.  Pre and post interviews are available with all participants. There are evergreen story possibilities beyond the events of the festival.

“An Intimate Night with Danny Glover” Opens the Festival and Screening of “93 Days” at the Former Yoshi’s Jazz Club at the Fillmore Heritage Center, 1330 Fillmore Street in San Francisco.

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Congratulations Warriors! You Told the Cavs “Not Today!”  Now Take Your Seat with Danny Glover@San Francisco Black Film Festival XIX

San Francisco Black Film Festival XIX Will Continue Memorial Day Tribute with a Veterans and Father’s Day Salute, June 18.

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Before The Rumble In The Jungle, Music Rang Out At Zaire 74

South African legend Miriam Makeba performing at Zaire 74. The performances of the African artists on the 1974 music festival’s lineup have been unearthed for a new live album. Courtesy of Stewart Levine hide caption

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Courtesy of Stewart Levine

South African legend Miriam Makeba performing at Zaire 74. The performances of the African artists on the 1974 music festival’s lineup have been unearthed for a new live album.

Courtesy of Stewart Levine

In the fall of 1974, George Foreman and Muhammad Ali met in the country of Zaire, now called the Democratic Republic of Congo, for the legendary boxing match known as “The Rumble in the Jungle.” Although the Rumble had to be postponed until later that autumn, a related promotional event went on as scheduled and turned out to be similarly momentous: Zaire 74, a music festival where some of America’s greatest black artists played alongside Africa’s leading talent to an audience of tens of thousands.

Documentaries and albums chronicling that festival have concentrated on the American performers, such as James Brown and B.B. King. The African artists have not received the same shine — and disputes over money and control, which kept a tight lid on concert footage, have not helped. Except for the South African legend Miriam Makeba, these musicians were all Congolese, including rumba maestros Franco and Tabu Ley Rochereau.

But now their performances can be heard, many of them in full, on a new live album titled Zaire 74: The African Artists. It was produced by South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela and American record producer Stewart Levine — the same men who organized that festival in Kinshasa more than 40 years ago with the aim of making the world more conscious of African music.

Read on for highlights from Ari Shapiro’s interview with Masekela and Levine, and listen at the audio link to hear the full conversation and snippets of music from Zaire 74: The African Artists.

Hugh Masekela and Stewart Levine, more than 40 years after they joined forces to organize Zaire 74. Courtesy of Stewart Levine hide caption

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Courtesy of Stewart Levine

Hugh Masekela and Stewart Levine, more than 40 years after they joined forces to organize Zaire 74.

Courtesy of Stewart Levine

Interview Highlights

On what organizing the festival was like

Hugh Masekela: From the time we started to organize the festival, until after the festival, it was very hard work. I think we both lost about 20 pounds each. … It was the first thing of its kind and it was very exciting, the artists were excited. The Congolese audience had never been to anything like it. And actually nobody had ever been to anything like it.

Stewart Levine: You must remember one thing: The African artists had never played in front of such a large audience. So they were incredibly inspired. And the audience knew them better than they did James Brown, and they were out to cut James Brown. [Laughter.]

On rediscovering the recordings that would become Zaire 74: The African Artists

Levine: I refer to it as musical archaeology because we in fact had never heard these performances. They were recorded while, like Hugh says, we were running around trying to help get this thing organized and put up onstage. So when we opened these tapes up about a year and a half ago, we were stunned. We were mesmerized. Because with all due respect to the American artists, who were great, these guys were out to do it in front of their own people. You have to realize this was a big moment for this country, and a big moment for these performers. So you really do have this music being played at its highest level. We were lucky to have had these tapes. When we opened them, we just decided maybe after 42 years, we should remember the plot, which was to introduce this music to the world. So it’s never too late, I guess.

On the poignancy of these performances seeing the light of day only after the musicians’ deaths

Masekela: Louis Armstrong has been dead for a long time, but people still listen to his music. One thing that is great about the music is that you can be dead and [it can] become popular. You can get known whether you are alive or not. Music lasts forever.

Levine: If we didn’t think that these things were relevant and vibrant, then we wouldn’t have released it, period. If they sounded like field recordings from the ’20s, we wouldn’t go near it. But they’re hot! They’re energized. We caught it. It was the golden age of multi-track recording, it was 16-track recording. They hold up, and besides just being a piece of history, it’s a great piece of recording. I don’t mean technically, I mean the recording is great when it captures the moment, and there you have it. These artists become alive when you put the needle down. Here they are!

Web intern Karen Gwee contributed to this story.

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N.Y.C. Now Casting: ‘Mamma Mia’ + 2 More Acting Gigs

N.Y.C. Now Casting: ‘Mamma Mia’ + 2 More Acting Gigs

Photo Source: Shutterstock

How can you resist the opportunities in today’s roundup? A Nantucket production of the smash hit musical “Mamma Mia” is looking to fill immediate replacement and ensemble roles. Plus, ease on down the road to an upcoming production of “The Wiz,” and a music video seeking female talent!

Theatre Workshop of Nantucket is seeking a male actor ages 30–49 to play Bill, a supporting principal role, starting immediately. Talent must be able to use an Australian accent throughout the performance. There are also ensemble roles available for male talent aged 21–29. The production rehearses June 13–July 7 and runs July 8–Aug. 26 in Nantucket, Massachusetts. Pay is $350 per week, plus housing, travel stipend, and transportation.

Two female actors ages 18–32 are needed to play lead and supporting roles in an upcoming music video. The production shoots June 17 and 18 in NYC, with a two-day shoot for the lead actor and a one-day shoot for supporting actor. Pay is $750 per day for both roles.

Casting is underway for an upcoming production of “The Wiz,” the African American musical retelling of “The Wizard of Oz,” at the New York Black Arts Festival. Male and female talent aged 18–38 are sought for several lead and supporting roles, including Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tinman, and the Lion. The production rehearses summer evenings at 6:00 p.m. in NYC and runs July 8–16. Pay is $75 to $100 per performance (no participation fees required), plus travel expenses.

Check out Backstage’s New York City audition listings!

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Chuck Berry’s son, Charles Berry Jr., on his father’s musical and political legacy

When Chuck Berry died on March 18 at the age of 90, he left behind many things, including a legacy of inventive guitar riffs, genre-pioneering songs and a flair for narrative songwriting that explored and entertained the fledgling North American teen culture of the 1950s. He also left behind Chuck, his swan song and first studio album in 38 years. The recording features his only son, Charles Berry Jr., on guitar. The Globe and Mail spoke with him about his father’s views on race, reputation and Keith Richards.

Did your father consider songs recorded for this album as a final statement? Specifically, the songs Darlin and Eyes of Man are quite thoughtful.

This stuff was recorded over a very long period. My dad was in late 60s and early 70s when he started it, after Rock It was released in 1979. With those two songs, as opposed to something like Little Queenie, you’re getting the reflections of a man who had actually lived a long life. With age, he became more philosophical and more reflective. I think it was just the next logical step for him.

For many people, your father will be remembered as the man they saw in Taylor Hackford’s 1987 documentary, Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll. Was he portrayed fairly in the film? He came off as a bit cranky.

At the end of the film, my dad said something to the effect, “Whatever they write about me, I want it to be real. I want it to be true.” So, cranky? I don’t know about that. He wanted things done his way, because it was a movie about him. His perspective was, if you’re going to make a movie about him, then you’re going to have to listen to how he wanted himself to be portrayed.

The scene with Keith Richards and your father arguing over his amplifier is fascinating.

Keith said, “Wait a minute, that’s how it’s going to sound on the record.” My father says, “Well, that’s how Chuck Berry plays it. It’s how I want it to sound. It’s my sound.” It was nothing against Keith. He had nothing but praise for Keith. He would say, “That guy and the Rolling Stones made us a whole bunch of money, keeping my music alive. I’m not mad at him.”

Chuck Berry's final studio album Chuck Chuck features his only son, Charles Berry Jr., on guitar.

Chuck Berry’s final studio album, Chuck, features his only son, Charles Berry Jr., on guitar.

Joe Edwards

In the film, with Little Richard, Bo Diddley and your father, the matter of race came up. Did he speak with you about it?

We did talk about race relations, about when he was a child and when he was starting out. And living in segregated St. Louis. He told me how black artists couldn’t go through the front door of the very venues they were playing. He also told me that he took it as a challenge. He thought, “I bet you I could do this. I bet you I’m going to play in the Fox Theatre one day. I’m going to challenge you to prevent me from doing this.” The vast majority of my dad’s songs were about having fun and challenging people to have fun with him. That’s how he got around a lot of the challenges of being a black man in a very segregated country. And it worked.

In the 1950s, he was playing more to the white teenage culture than the black teenage culture, wasn’t he? The civil-rights movement was just getting started.

No. I beg to differ on that one. Every teenager had fun, one way or another. Blacks suffered the consequences of a segregated America, but the song School Day was universally appealing to any teenager. Everybody could relate to School Day or Carol or anything like those songs. My dad’s poetry was relevant to everybody.

Speaking of poetry, Bob Dylan called your father the Shakespeare of rock ‘n’ roll. Was there any one particular accolade or accomplishment your father was most proud of?

That’s a tricky one. His favourite song to play, or the one he made a point of playing, was Johnny B. Goode. But he never bragged about himself. As boisterous as he seemed, he was a humble cat. He rarely talked about himself in terms of his achievements. But he was very proud when he received his Kennedy Center Honors. And you could tell that his heart was just going to jump out of his chest when he found out that NASA was going to put Johnny B. Goode on the Voyager spacecraft. He thought, “I’ve got stuff going into outer space. I guess I’ve made it.”

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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