Look Ahead: The hottest Seattle events for September 2019

From Elton John’s farewell tour to the “Downton Abbey” movie, our Seattle Times arts writers dish on next month’s most buzzworthy arts and entertainment events.

TOP 5 EVENTS IN SEPTEMBER

MUSIC

Elton John

The glamorously bespectacled superstar is hanging up his touring boots, bidding adieu with a massive 200-some-date trek running through 2020. Not that the endearing and enduring piano knight needed the signal boost, but this year’s hit biopic “Rocketman,” starring Taron Egerton as Sir Elton, re-amplified the legendary showman’s quintessential body of work. At press time, limited remaining tickets for the purportedly last-chance concerts started around $330.

8 p.m. Sept. 17-18; Tacoma Dome, 2727 E. D St., Tacoma; remaining tickets start at $332; tacomadome.org

Michael Rietmulder

THEATER

“People of the Book”

Jason is an Iraq war veteran who met Madeeha, his wife-to-be, during a house-to-house raid in a combat zone. He came home, became a celebrity after writing a bestseller about his experiences and is now getting together with his old friends Amir and Lynn. “People of the Book” is a world premiere by Seattle treasure Yussef El Guindi — and if it’s anything like his other work (“Threesome,” “Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World,” “Language Rooms”), expect nuanced, subtly psychological dialogue where people start by trying to smile and smooth over their differences, then hit stormy seas when one (or some) of them start to talk honestly about realities they refuse to euphemize. At its best, El Guindi’s dialogue can be as surprising and as thrilling as an action sequence in a summer blockbuster.

Sept. 6-29; ACT Theatre, 700 Union St., Seattle; $27-$47; 206-292-7676, acttheatre.org

Brendan Kiley

Laura Carmichael, left, stars as Edith Crawley, Maggie Smith as Violet Crawley, Hugh Bonneville as Robert Crawley, Allen Leech as Tom Branson and Elizabeth McGovern as Cora Crawley in “Downton Abbey.” (Jaap Buitendijk / Focus Features)Laura Carmichael, left, stars as Edith Crawley, Maggie Smith as Violet Crawley, Hugh Bonneville as Robert Crawley, Allen Leech as Tom Branson and Elizabeth McGovern as Cora Crawley in “Downton Abbey.” (Jaap Buitendijk / Focus Features)
Laura Carmichael, left, stars as Edith Crawley, Maggie Smith as Violet Crawley, Hugh Bonneville as Robert Crawley, Allen Leech as Tom Branson and Elizabeth McGovern as Cora Crawley in “Downton Abbey.” (Jaap Buitendijk / Focus Features)

MOVIES

“Downton Abbey”

I believe I was on record, a few years ago, as saying this movie would never happen. Well, knock me over with a tea biscuit: The Crawleys are back, and nobody’s more excited to see them (and their glorious home, Highclere Castle) on the big screen than me. Pretty much the entire cast of the popular six-season TV series has been reassembled — including, thank goodness, Maggie Smith as the hatpin-sharp Dowager Countess — and the costumes alone should be worth the ticket price. You can hear the theme music already, can’t you? It’s been a rough year; we all deserve some hats, fainting couches and Dame Maggie.

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Opens Sept. 20 in multiple theaters; advance tickets at fandango.com

Moira Macdonald

CLASSICAL MUSIC

Seattle Symphony Orchestra Opening Night

Thomas Dausgaard, Seattle Symphony’s new music director, leads his first opening-night concert in that role — a festive affair that starts with the “Maskerade” Overture by the maestro’s fellow Dane, Carl Nielsen. Russian virtuoso Daniil Trifonov joins the festivities for Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 4, and there’s also Strauss’ powerful “Also sprach Zarathustra.” Music lovers who opt for the opening-night gala package will follow the concert with dinner and dancing in celebration of the new Dausgaard era.

5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14; Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., Seattle; tickets from $58; 206-215-4747 (gala package reservations: 206-215-4868), seattlesymphony.org

Melinda Bargreen

VISUAL ART

“Girlfriends of the Guerrilla Girls”

In the 1980s, the anonymous Guerrilla Girls started agitating and culture jamming to shine a light on sexism and racism in the art world. Their most iconic image: A poster of a female nude (“La Grande Odalisque” by Ingres, 1814) with a gorilla mask and the text: “Do women have to be naked to get into the Met. Museum? Less than 5% of the artists in the Modern Art Sections are women, but 85% of the nudes are female.” “Girlfriends of the Guerrilla Girls,” now at CoCA, is a packed, powerful group show with a spectrum of moods: wry, amused, outraged, exhausted. Hanako O’Leary’s ceramics feature undulating vulvas and gleeful middle fingers; C. Davida Ingram’s photographs of people holding birds of prey are a striking study in beauty and captivity; and “The Evolution of Agent Yu,” a stop-motion animation by Deborah F. Lawrence and Rachel Siegel, is a cutting satire that challenges one’s face to grin and frown at the same time.

Through Sept. 21; Center on Contemporary Art, 113 Third Ave., Seattle; $2 suggested donation; 206-728-1980, cocaseattle.org

Brendan Kiley

MORE EVENTS

BOOKS

Sister Helen Prejean

Prejean, who many of us met through the movie “Dead Man Walking” (in which she was played by Susan Sarandon), is here with her new memoir, “River of Fire: My Spiritual Journey,” in which she writes of her childhood, her spirituality and her lifelong work as a social justice activist.

7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 9; Seattle University’s Campion Ballroom, 914 E. Jefferson St., Seattle; $35 (includes copy of book); 206-624-6600, elliottbaybook.com

David Guterson will read from his newest work, “Turn Around Time: A Walking Poem of the Pacific Northwest,” on Sept. 10 at Seattle Public Library’s Central Library. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)David Guterson will read from his newest work, “Turn Around Time: A Walking Poem of the Pacific Northwest,” on Sept. 10 at Seattle Public Library’s Central Library. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)
David Guterson will read from his newest work, “Turn Around Time: A Walking Poem of the Pacific Northwest,” on Sept. 10 at Seattle Public Library’s Central Library. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)

David Guterson

The Seattle native and Bainbridge Island resident won the PEN/Faulkner Award in 1995 for his debut novel, “Snow Falling on Cedars,” set in a 1950s Puget Sound region haunted by World War II. Though he’s published several novels and story collections since then, he’s recently turned to poetry, and will read from his newest work, “Turn Around Time: A Walking Poem of the Pacific Northwest,” joined by illustrator Justin Gibbens.

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7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10; Seattle Public Library’s Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., Seattle; free; 206-386-4636, spl.org

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

A longtime indigenous human-rights activist, Dunbar-Ortiz is the author of “An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States,” a landmark academic text that she has recently adapted, with Debbie Reese and Jean Mendoza, for middle-grade and young-adult readers. She’s here with that book, “An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People,” which is just out in paperback.

7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12; Third Place Books at Seward Park, 5041 Wilson Ave. S., Seattle; free, but ticket required for reserved seating (request in store; no purchase necessary); 206-474-2200, thirdplacebooks.com

Marilynne Robinson

It’s a joy when great fiction writers open up their minds to us in nonfiction essays, and Robinson — a Pulitzer Prize and two-time National Book Critics Circle Award winner (“Gilead,” “Lila,” “Housekeeping”) — does so in the collection “What Are We Doing Here?” in which she ponders the current political climate and the mysteries of faith.

7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13; Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., Seattle; $5; 206-652-4255, townhallseattle.org

Samantha Power

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author (“A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide”) and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations discusses her life and work in her new memoir, “The Education of an Idealist.”

7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16; Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., Seattle; $5; 206-652-4255, townhallseattle.org

Jim Mattis

Rescheduled from an earlier summer date, the retired general and former U.S. secretary of defense — a native of Pullman and a graduate of Central Washington University — will speak about his new book, “Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead,” in which he recounts his leadership roles in three wars.

Most Read Entertainment Stories

7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16; Temple de Hirsch Sinai, 1441 16th Ave., Seattle; $35 one person/$40 two people (each includes one copy of book); 206-624-6600, elliottbaybook.com

Tracy Chevalier

A lot of us know Chevalier’s name from “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” her mega-bestseller from 1999 (translated into 38 languages!), which was later adapted for the screen with Scarlett Johansson in the title role. Chevalier, an American who lives in Great Britain, has since written a number of other works of historical fiction; her latest, “A Single Thread,” takes place in Winchester, England, before World War II.

7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19; Third Place Books at Lake Forest Park, 17171 Bothell Way N.E., Lake Forest Park; free (ticket required for signing line, available with prepurchase of book); 206-366-3333, thirdplacebooks.com

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Malcolm Gladwell

The podcast host (“Revisionist History,” “Broken Record”) and bestselling author (“The Tipping Point,” “Blink,” “Outliers”) kicks off Seattle Arts & Lectures 2019-20 Literary Arts Series. Individual tickets are sold out but subscriptions to the season — which also includes Amor Towles, Jodi Kantor/Megan Twohey, Min Jin Lee, Carol Anderson and Luis Alberto Urrea — are still available.

7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 23; Benaroya Hall, 200 University, Seattle; subscriptions begin at $149; 206-621-2230, lectures.org

J.A. Jance

Seattle homicide detective J.P. Beaumont — who’s technically in retirement — returns to the game in “Sins of the Fathers,” the latest novel from bestselling author Jance.

7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 23; Third Place Books at Lake Forest Park, 17171 Bothell Way N.E., Lake Forest Park; free; 206-366-3333, thirdplacebooks.com

Jacqueline Woodson, author of “Red at the Bone,” will speak at Seattle Public Library’s Central Library on Sept. 24. (Tiffany A. Bloomfield)Jacqueline Woodson, author of “Red at the Bone,” will speak at Seattle Public Library’s Central Library on Sept. 24. (Tiffany A. Bloomfield)
Jacqueline Woodson, author of “Red at the Bone,” will speak at Seattle Public Library’s Central Library on Sept. 24. (Tiffany A. Bloomfield)

Jacqueline Woodson

The acclaimed author of numerous books for young people (and currently the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature), Woodson thrilled adult readers with her bestselling novel “Another Brooklyn,” a finalist for the National Book Award. She returns to adult fiction with her latest book, “Red at the Bone,” in which two families from different social classes are joined by an unexpected pregnancy.

7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24; Seattle Public Library’s Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., Seattle; free; 206-386-4636, spl.org

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Jonathan Safran Foer

Best known for his fiction, particularly “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” Safran Foer’s latest book is a nonfiction examination of the reality of human-caused climate change, called “We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast.” He’ll discuss the topic with local radio/podcast journalist Steve Scher.

7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25; Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., Seattle; $5; 206-652-4255, townhallseattle.org

Paula Becker

Becker, the Seattle-based local historian and author of the biography “Looking for Betty MacDonald,” here turns to memoir: “A House on Stilts: Mothering in the Age of Opioid Addiction,” about her son’s 10-year struggle with addiction.

7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26; Third Place Books at Lake Forest Park, 17171 Bothell Way N.E., Lake Forest Park; free; 206-366-3333, thirdplacebooks.com

Jayne Anne Phillips, Mira Jacob, Ruth Joffre

Writers Phillips (“Machine Dreams,” “Quiet Dell”), Jacob (“Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations”) and Joffre (“Night Beast”), with musician Sarah Paul Ocampo, kick off the Hugo Literary Series with a freewheeling conversation on the topic of “The Great Divide.”

7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27; Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave., Seattle; $25; 206-322-7030, hugohouse.org

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Moira Macdonald

CLASSICAL MUSIC

Seattle Symphony Music Director Thomas Dausgaard. (Brandon Patoc)Seattle Symphony Music Director Thomas Dausgaard. (Brandon Patoc)
Seattle Symphony Music Director Thomas Dausgaard. (Brandon Patoc)

Seattle Symphony: Dausgaard conducts Mahler

Mahler’s mighty Symphony No. 1 is a major orchestral milestone, and we’ll hear the interpretation of new Seattle Symphony Music Director Thomas Dausgaard in three performances that also offer Brahms’ mighty Piano Concerto No. 2 (with powerhouse Yefim Bronfman at the keyboard). This program marks the first “Masterworks” concert of the Dausgaard era.

7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19; noon on Friday, Sept. 20; 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21; Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., Seattle; tickets from $24; 206-215-4747, seattlesymphony.org

Olympic Music Festival

The summer’s not quite over yet, and over on the Olympic Peninsula, their music festival is still going strong this month. Artists include violinists Andrew Wan and Ray Chen, violist Yura Lee, cellist Matthew Zalkind, and pianists Julio Elizalde and Robert McDonald; the repertoire extends from Schumann’s “Davidsbündlertänze” to the Brahms Piano Quartet No. 3.

2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 1, and Saturday, Sept. 7; Wheeler Theater at Fort Worden State Park, 200 Battery Way, Port Townsend; $20-$40 (age 7-12 free with RSVP), olympicmusicfestival.org

The Esoterics present “Kvandal & Bäck: A Double Centennial”

You can always count on the Esoterics to “boldly go where no chorus has gone before,” and this time they’re performing works of two obscure but worthy Scandinavian composers upon the centennial of their respective births: Norwegian composer Johan Kvandal and the Swedish composer Sven-Erik Bäck. What do they sound like? Go and find out, when Eric Banks leads his group (now in their 26th season) in motets and other works of these two contemporary choral masters.

8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14; St. James Cathedral, 804 Ninth Ave., Seattle; $15-$22, theesoterics.org

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Melinda Bargreen

DANCE

Dancer/choreographer Ligia Lewis brings “Water Will (in Melody),” a gothic tale in a cavernous landscape, to On the Boards. (Maria Baranova)Dancer/choreographer Ligia Lewis brings “Water Will (in Melody),” a gothic tale in a cavernous landscape, to On the Boards. (Maria Baranova)
Dancer/choreographer Ligia Lewis brings “Water Will (in Melody),” a gothic tale in a cavernous landscape, to On the Boards. (Maria Baranova)

Ligia Lewis: “Water Will (in Melody)”

Earlier this year, Lewis brought “Sorrow Swag” and “minor matter,” the first parts of her BLUE, RED, WHITE triptych to On the Boards. Now she caps it off with the last and latest, “Water Will,” for four performers who “enact a gothic tale set in a wet, cavernous landscape.” Expect strange, dystopic beauty.

Sept. 19-22; On the Boards, 100 W. Roy St., Seattle; $12-$75 (advance adult tickets are $28); 206-217-9886, ontheboards.org

Brendan Kiley

Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer Lesley Rausch with former PNB principal dancer Karel Cruz in George Balanchine’s “Agon.” PNB opens its 2019-2020 season with “Agon” on a double-bill with Kent Stowell’s “Carmina Burana.” (Angela Sterling)Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer Lesley Rausch with former PNB principal dancer Karel Cruz in George Balanchine’s “Agon.” PNB opens its 2019-2020 season with “Agon” on a double-bill with Kent Stowell’s “Carmina Burana.” (Angela Sterling)
Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer Lesley Rausch with former PNB principal dancer Karel Cruz in George Balanchine’s “Agon.” PNB opens its 2019-2020 season with “Agon” on a double-bill with Kent Stowell’s “Carmina Burana.” (Angela Sterling)

“Carmina Burana” & “Agon”

Pacific Northwest Ballet kicks off its 2019-20 season with a study in contrasts: Kent Stowell’s more-is-more spectacle “Carmina Burana,” complete with singers and wandering monks and a massive golden wheel, and George Balanchine’s minimalist classic “Agon.” Of the two, the latter is worth the ticket price all by itself: Another of Balanchine’s brilliant collaborations with composer Igor Stravinsky (which began with 1928’s “Apollo”), “Agon” is alluringly spiky, with every move from its leotard-and-tights-clad dancers utterly unexpected. (In the breathtaking pas de deux, the woman goes into a supported arabesque — and the man drops to the floor, while still holding her hand.) The ballet premiered at Balanchine’s New York City Ballet in 1957, and still looks completely modern; it’s a ballet forever young.

Sept. 27-Oct. 6; Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St., Seattle; $37-$190; 206-441-2424, pnb.org

Moira Macdonald

MOVIES

Tickets are already on sale for:

Abbas Kiarostami retrospective

Four of Seattle’s independent arthouse theaters — SIFF, Northwest Film Forum, Grand Illusion and the brand-new Beacon — are joining forces to present a treat: eight different programs featuring the work of the legendary Iranian filmmaker Kiarostami. The programs include his 1974 debut feature, “The Traveler”; his 1997 Palme d’Or-winning “Taste of Cherry”; his acclaimed Koker Trilogy (“Where is the Friend’s House?,” “And Life Goes On,” “Through the Olive Trees”); and a collective of his little-seen early short films.

Sept. 14-Oct. 6 at SIFF Film Center (Seattle Center campus, near corner of Warren and Republican, Seattle), Northwest Film Forum (1515 12th Ave., Seattle), Grand Illusion (1403 N.E. 50th St., Seattle), The Beacon (4405 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle); $10-14 depending on venue; 206-329-2629; nwfilmforum.org

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Moira Macdonald

MUSIC

Death Cab for Cutie and Car Seat Headrest

It’s been a year of Seattle superbills for Death Cab, coming off 2018’s re-energizing “Thank You for Today” LP. After pairing with ODESZA up in Bellingham this spring, the indie-rock giants link up with fellow Seattle stars Car Seat Headrest — which released their “Commit Yourself Completely” live album this summer — for this two-night summer send-off at one of the metro area’s most scenic, laid-back venues. After making a cameo on Chance the Rapper’s new album, Ben Gibbard and crew unveil “The Blue EP” on Sept. 6.

6:30 p.m. Sept. 7-8; Marymoor Park, 6046 W. Lake Sammamish Parkway N.E., Redmond; $45-$59.50; marymoorconcerts.com

Gary Clark Jr.

The modern Texas bluesman rides into Chateau Ste. Michelle’s amphitheatre, poised to unleash his trademark solos and fusionist swagger from his politically charged new album. Clark pulls no punches while melding blues, rock, soul and even reggae across “This Land,” detailing the racism he faces as a wealthy black man in America on the searing title track. A welcome addition to the Woodinville winery’s summer lineup.

7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11; Chateau Ste. Michelle, 14111 N.E. 145th St., Woodinville; $55.50-$69.50; ste-michelle.com

Nancy and Ann Wilson of Heart come to the Tacoma Dome Sept. 4. (Jeff Daly / Invision / AP)Nancy and Ann Wilson of Heart come to the Tacoma Dome Sept. 4. (Jeff Daly / Invision / AP)
Nancy and Ann Wilson of Heart come to the Tacoma Dome Sept. 4. (Jeff Daly / Invision / AP)

Heart

Following some family tension that led to a multiyear hiatus, the Wilson sisters reunited this year for their first tour together in three years. During their time apart, the Seattle rock greats worked on independent projects — Ann Wilson cutting a solo record, Nancy Wilson forming her Roadcase Royale band with former Prince protégé Liv Warfield and several recent members of Heart. Heart is joined by fellow Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, plus pop-rocker Elle King, in kicking off a busy month at Tacoma Dome with shows from Iron Maiden (Sept. 5), Post Malone (Sept. 14), Sir Elton (Sept. 17-18), a make-up Bob Seger date (Sept. 21) and Pepe Aguilar (Sept. 27).

7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 4; Tacoma Dome, 2727 E. D St., Tacoma; tickets start at $34.50, tacomadome.org

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Huichica Walla Walla

Launched by Sonoma Valley winemaker Jeff Bundschu and Fruit Bats’ Eric D. Johnson a decade ago, the California-born mini festival pairing music and vino gets a Walla Walla edition, partnering with Washington’s Sleight of Hand Cellars. The small but strong two-day lineup features two sets apiece from Yo La Tengo, Robyn Hitchcock and Fruit Bats (solo), plus single sets from indie-rock fave Waxahatchee, garage rockers Allah-Las, Destroyer (solo), Titus Andronicus, Northwest vets the Minus 5 and more.

Sept. 13-14; Stella’s Homestead, 2194 S. Fork Coppei Road, Waitsburg; two-day passes $150, single-day $75-$100, basic camping $35-$50, wallawalla.huichica.com

Alice in Chains, with William DuVall (left) and Sean Kinney, play WaMu Theater on Sept. 20. (Katie Darby / Invision / AP)Alice in Chains, with William DuVall (left) and Sean Kinney, play WaMu Theater on Sept. 20. (Katie Darby / Invision / AP)
Alice in Chains, with William DuVall (left) and Sean Kinney, play WaMu Theater on Sept. 20. (Katie Darby / Invision / AP)

Alice in Chains

Fittingly, the grunge lords are winding down their touring in support of last year’s Northwest-imbued album “Rainier Fog” with a hometown gig. Last summer, Alice in Chains celebrated the new record with a release-weekend Seattle takeover, including an intimate show at the Crocodile, which counts drummer Sean Kinney as a part owner. “Rainier Fog” was one of the last albums recorded at Seattle’s fabled Studio X and earned the band its ninth Grammy nomination.

8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20; WaMu Theater, 800 Occidental Ave. S., Seattle; $62, centurylinkfield.com

Michael Rietmulder

THEATER

Ayo Tushinde (left) and Christine Pilar in “Bulrusher” at Intiman Theatre. (Naomi Ishisaka)Ayo Tushinde (left) and Christine Pilar in “Bulrusher” at Intiman Theatre. (Naomi Ishisaka)
Ayo Tushinde (left) and Christine Pilar in “Bulrusher” at Intiman Theatre. (Naomi Ishisaka)

“Bulrusher”

This 2007 Pulitzer Prize finalist by Eisa Davis concerns a foundling who was floated on a river in a basket (sound familiar?) and landed in Boonville, north of San Francisco. By 1955, she’s a teenager and an outsider: a clairvoyant and multiracial orphan in a largely white town — then a young black woman from Alabama shows up, bringing the reality of the Jim Crow South with her, and sets some things in motion. Davis wrote the play with a heavy dose of Boontling, a real-life vocabulary specific to that place, where “bahl” means good; “taigey” means manic; and grapevines are known as “fratty shams.” Directed by local great Valerie Curtis-Newton, recently of “Nina Simone: Four Women” and “The Agitators.”

Through Sept. 14; Intiman Theatre at Jones Playhouse, 4045 University Way N.E., Seattle; free walk-up tickets (guaranteed availability at every performance), $15-$40 advance reserved tickets; intiman.org

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“Is God Is”

In her script notes, Aleshea Harris describes “Is God Is,” about two twins on a patricidal road trip, as a revenge epic that “takes its cues from the ancient, the modern, the tragic, the Spaghetti Western, hip-hop and Afropunk.” It also won the American Playwriting Foundation’s Relentless Award, established in honor of Philip Seymour Hoffman and the fattest cash prize ($45,000!) in American theater. “There’re hints of the ‘Oresteia’ in there,” Vulture critic Sara Holdren wrote in a 2018 review, “right alongside ‘Kill Bill.’” Directed by Portland-based Lava Alapai.

Sept. 6-23; Washington Ensemble Theatre and The Hansberry Project at 12th Avenue Arts, 1620 12th Ave., Seattle; $15-$25; washingtonensemble.org

“Indecent”

In 2015, after 40 drafts in seven years, playwright Paula Vogel (“How I Learned to Drive,” teacher of Lynn Nottage and Sarah Ruhl) finally finished “Indecent,” her telling of the story behind the 1906 play “God of Vengeance” by Yiddish writer Sholem Asch. Asch’s controversial play was about the daughter of a brothel owner and how she fell in love with one of her father’s prostitutes. Vogel’s award-winning play follows “Vengeance” from its first salon reading (where the audience is concerned about the throwing of a Torah and whether its prostitution themes bolster anti-Semitism) to a 1923 Broadway production, with legal rockiness and a plot-perverting English translation. Directed by local great Sheila Daniels, known for delving into a work to build nuanced symphonies of onstage emotion.

Sept. 20-Oct. 26; Seattle Repertory Theatre, 155 Mercer St., Seattle; $36-$80; 206-443-2222, seattlerep.org

Brendan Kiley

VISUAL ART

Xenobia Bailey, Marita Dingus, Henry Jackson-Spieker, Nastassja Swift

Sculpture and installation work by four artists at Wa Na Wari, which artist and curator Elisheba Johnson describes as “a Black arts space in a gentrified neighborhood.” Featured: human-ish sculptures made of found materials by Guggenheim fellow Dingus; large, wool heads of black women by fiber artist/soft sculptor Swift; a room covered in buzzing magenta with portrait photos by “cosmic-funk” artist and ethnomusicologist Bailey; and more.

Through Sept. 22; Wa Na Wari, 911 24th Ave., Seattle; free; wanawari.org

Jed Dunkerley, “Mark and Joshua,” 2019, acrylic on canvas. (Courtesy of Linda Hodges Gallery)Jed Dunkerley, “Mark and Joshua,” 2019, acrylic on canvas. (Courtesy of Linda Hodges Gallery)
Jed Dunkerley, “Mark and Joshua,” 2019, acrylic on canvas. (Courtesy of Linda Hodges Gallery)

Jed Dunkerly, Cable Griffith

According to the old formula “comedy is tragedy plus time,” Dunkerly’s paintings were funnier a decade ago: tower cranes planting old-growth fir for a “vintage” forest, engineers shaping clouds for a “rain grid” in Nebraska. The humor lived in his cheerfully matter-of-fact visions of people “taming” their environment like a strong virus “tames” a mammal. Time has passed, the word “anthropocene” has taken off, and his newer work still has jokes (an eagle hunting in the lumber section of a Home Depot, titled “Woodland Creatures”) but is also queasy-making (a flooded city, with just the tips of skyscrapers shining in the moonlight, titled “The Glass Archipelago”). Some jokes are jarring because they’re “too soon.” Dunkerly’s are too near. Also up: Griffith’s lightly abstracted, gently glitchy landscapes (deserts, forests, big flowers radiating in the undergrowth), which look softly computerized, or like human pictographs of the nonhuman realm.

Sept. 5-28; Linda Hodges Gallery, 316 First Ave. S., Seattle; free; 206-624-3034, lindahodgesgallery.com

Brendan Kiley

Freelance writer Melinda Bargreen (mbargreen@gmail.com) contributed to this report.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

This gallery brings world-class art to the streets of Chicago

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A decades-old street art gallery in Chicago was beginning to fade, but now a new generation is transforming it into a world-class art district. Here’s their story — in their own words.

Lavar Hoard, Founder, The B_Line

The B Line is a gallery much like the Art Institute. In all, there’s about 250 murals under one central curation.

I lived in Fulton Market District for 11, 12 years now, and I would always walk by with a sort of curiosity about what these faded and cracked murals were. My curiosity grew to the point where I called up the train company Union Pacific I asked them what’s the deal with that project?

So in 1971, Ricardo Alonzo with walk from West Town to SAIC where he was going to school, where he would see these walls like I did. He was inspired to want to paint those because they presented themselves like a gallery.

It was really a community-focused project. There was a lot of racial tension in the city, but you had black artist painting next to latino artists and white artists.

After two years, we’re probably only 20 percent into this revival effort as I call it. Our goal is to do justice to the first street art district in this country, and to show a lot of different forms of art and to show how far street art has come in 50 years.

Jake Mertens, Artist

I’m from Lincoln Park. As a kid in Chicago, I don’t really remember seeing a lot of like public art other than you know, some of the like 1970s stuff on Hubbard on the B Line.

When I was getting into street art, before I started painting, a part of the thrill was hunting it down, like going to see the new stuff popping up in the city. And the B Line has been great about booking more and more artists from around the world, who are coming here to install.

As a local like me, as I’m sure it is to a lot of other people, it really really means a lot because you get to have a little more pride in your city, you know, and it’s a way to bring people together.

Lavar Hoard, Founder, The B_Line

Really, when you look at these walls, it presents itself just like gallery with each one of these buttresses dividing the walls. You’re gonna get like some high concept Mexican Street art, mixed with a something you might expect to see at the Art Institute, colorful abstract murals.. and you’re gonna get people of color.

We have to transform this grimy, shady looking, you know railroad tunnel and underpass into a thing of beauty and it’s a it’s a huge process. Today, we are cleaning up one of the many tunnels on the B Line. It’s been a hotbed for fly dumping furniture, dumping trash. We call the city, but they’re not – shall we say – quick, or don’t respond. We pick up the slack.

I walk these tunnels and these alleys and these streets every day. So do my artists and some of the people that help out in the community. So there’s always eyeballs in these forgotten spaces. That’s just one of the powers of street art that I found, is that the art itself can bring people together.

There’s a power to what we’re doing and if I don’t do it, who will?

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

ACH Clear Pathways in the process of fundraising to purchase the Kaufmann Center—permanent location for youth arts programs

TYIAN BATTLE, founder of ACH Clear Pathways. (Photo by J.L. Martello)

by Christian Morrow, Courier Staff Writer

In just 10 years, ACH Clear Pathways has gone from an idea to a nonprofit agency that employs art to enrich the lives of hundreds of children and youth in the Hill District. But one thing it always lacked—which became ever more pressing as the program grew—was its own building.

That may cease to be a problem very shortly, as ACH Clear Pathways is currently undergoing fundraising efforts in hopes of purchasing the Kaufmann Center building from the Hill House Association, the New Pittsburgh Courier has learned.

“We are in the process of closing on the purchase,” founder and Executive Director Tyian Battle told the Courier. “It will be done by the end of the year.”

When Battle’s son, Amon Cashmere Harris, died at age 7 from a rare heart condition in 2009, Battle knew she wanted to honor his memory by providing for local children. At the suggestion of a friend, she decided to start a nonprofit, and thought to do that through something Amon loved—martial arts.

THE KAUFMANN CENTER on Centre Avenue.

“And it took off from there. I can’t sing, dance or draw, but we have people who can. And I’m just blown away by the way our kids engage in arts,” Battle said. “This year is an amazing year for me because Amon would have graduated from high school this year. The stars are really aligning in heaven for this.”

By 2010, Battle had registered ACH Clear Pathways as a nonprofit charity. Almost immediately, it earned the backing of the United Way, and thanks to Battle’s tenacity and faith, it has enjoyed a meteoric rise to success. In addition to traditional studio and visual arts programming, ACH Clear Pathways now offers theatre and acting, music and vocals, dance, poetry and spoken word, and, of course, martial arts after school each day. There are 47 students enrolled for the coming year.

It also operates a six- to eight-week summer Creative Camp where students receive breakfast, lunch and a snack, attend field trips and complete community service projects and the visual arts projects they complete are displayed throughout the Hill District community.

But again, the lack of its own space was a problem. Battle operated from the Blakey Center until the Hill House ended its youth programming in 2012. She then moved to the Ammon Recreation Center until 2017, then to Weil School, and finally to the former Hill House Charter Academy space in the Kaufmann Building in July.

State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Hill District, was one of Battle’s earliest financial supporters and now serves on her board of directors. He also serves on the board of the Hill House Association, which has been liquidating assets pursuant to its bankruptcy filing earlier this year, and said the deal was a case of perfect timing.

“They had actually done a huge capital campaign and had raised a lot of money so they could build their own facility. They’d even purchased some property in the Hill,” he said.

TYIAN BATTLE, holding up one of the paintings being auctioned off during ACH Clear Pathways’ Creative Spark Flame Award Dinner, Aug. 16. (Photo by Courier photographer J.L. Martello)

But then Battle said the Hill House approached her about purchasing the Kaufmann Center building, which she knew from having leased the space on the ground floor had all the amenities needed—a classroom, studio, and thanks to a $1 million grant from the late Elsie Hillman, beautifully upgraded performance space. The auditorium inside the Kaufmann Center is named the Elsie Hillman Auditorium.

“I think it’s always important to help children grow creatively, artistically, because it helps them academically and socially, and our kids need that creative side nurtured,” said Rep. Wheatley. “That and Tyian’s passion and her personal story made me want to be a part of this. So, I’m all in and I’m very proud of how she’s stuck with it—people closed doors on her in the beginning. But she’s an example of what you can do when you have clarity of purpose and heart.”

Battle gives the credit to God for ACH Clear Pathways’ success (the “ACH” in ACH Clear Pathways are her son’s initials). As for the speed with which it has come about, she says that’s all relative.

“It doesn’t seem quick to me because I’m doing the work,” she said. “I have a strong faith and I don’t really even look at that.”

Now, assuming everything passes due diligence, she’s looking forward to filling that auditorium—not just with kids, but with performing artists and community members.

“We want it to remain a hub for artists and the community. We’re looking at programming for seniors, and we want to partner with advancing Black artists,” Battle said. “And we’ll have an event coordinator to schedule concerts, poetry slams, plays—we want it packed with events. The revenue is part of our strategic plan.”

This year’s students will celebrate their artistic accomplishments with two showcases; the holiday showcase, Dec. 20, and the spring showcase, May 19, 2020.

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RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Opinion: Jay-Z Can’t Roc With The NFL Unless Kaepernick Gets A Seat At The Table

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Jay Z at Roc Nation’s Manhattan headquarters on August 14, announcing a partnership between the sports league and the rapper’s entertainment company. Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Roc Nation hide caption

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Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Roc Nation

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Jay Z at Roc Nation’s Manhattan headquarters on August 14, announcing a partnership between the sports league and the rapper’s entertainment company.

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Roc Nation

Ever since Jay-Z announced a partnership between his Roc Nation entertainment company and the NFL — ostensibly to help the league step up its Super Bowl halftime show and amplify its social justice program platform — the whole thing has played out like a tragic blaxploitation flick. One powerful scene in particular from the era keeps replaying in my mind, like an eerie precursor to last week’s press conference and the resulting fallout. It comes from The Mack, that 1973 cult classic about an ex-con who turns Oakland into a pimper’s paradise while dodging both the clutches of The Man and the revolutionary angst of The Brother Man. With the opening notes of Willie Hutch’s “Brothers Gonna Work It Out” stirring in the background, Goldie the pimp (Max Julien) and his movement-minded brother Olinka (Roger E. Mosely) square off in a war of words pitting black capitalist against black activist — one thriving off the system’s inherent inequality, the other dead-set on dismantling it piece by unconscionable piece.

“You really don’t understand, do you?” Olinka asks in his red, black and green knitted beanie. “Hey man, don’t you realize in order for this thing to work, we’ve got to get rid of the pimps and the pushers and the prostitutes? And then start all over again clean.” Goldie, his wide brim tilted to the side, strikes back: “Nobody’s closing me out of my business,” he says. “Being rich and black means something, man. Don’t you know that? Being poor and black don’t mean s***.”

To pimp or be pimped, that’s the eternal question — and from the cheap seats, it’s hard to tell which role Jay-Z has cast for himself. When it comes to espousing the ideals of free market enterprise, there is no bigger cheerleader in hip-hop than the rapper born Shawn Carter, who has come a long way from Brooklyn’s Marcy projects. But when the oppressed find themselves sitting in the seat of their oppressors after two decades of musical chairs, that’s no anomaly: It’s the system replicating itself as designed. For his part, Jay-Z helped raise a whole generation of fans on a don’t-hate-the-playa-hate-the-game ethos of black capitalism that doesn’t even begin to account for how rooted the system is in white supremacy and inequality. Can’t knock his hustle, but the dangerous thing about Jay’s latest deal is that it comes at the cost of a struggle already in progress. Whatever his intention, he’s only succeeded so far in further polarizing the movement that made Colin Kaepernick a modern-day Muhammad Ali.

“I think we’re past kneeling. I think it’s time for action,” Jay-Z stated while announcing the deal last week, sitting alongside NFL commissioner Roger Goddell at Roc Nation’s Manhattan headquarters on Aug. 14, three years to the day after Kaepernick’s first protest. The partnership has effectively turned one of the NFL’s most vocal (and certainly one of its most powerful) critics into a paid contractor. Two years ago, Jay wore a Kaepernick jersey during his Saturday Night Live performance. Last year, he thumbed his nose at the league with the line, “You need me / I don’t need you,” on the song “Apes***” that he released with Beyoncé. And when he urged artists like Travis Scott not to entertain Super Bowl performance offers, the assumption was that he was motivated by the same social politics in doing so. Now, the deal he’s struck for an as-yet undisclosed amount has raised questions what his motives were before.

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“Jay-Z Helps the NFL Banish Colin Kaepernick,” sports journalist Jemele Hill headlined her piece for The Atlantic. Indeed, the quarterback continues to pay the price of daring to use the NFL’s platform to bring visibility to social and racial injustice in America. Jay claimed last week that he had had a conversation with Kaepernick before closing the NFL deal, but refused to share the details of their talk. Kaepernick’s girlfriend, radio personality Nessa Diab, called that “a lie,” saying that Kaepernick was “never included in any discussion” with Jay-Z or the NFL about their eventual partnership. An anonymous source close to Kaepernick told Jemele Hill that he and Jay-Z did talk, but “it was not a good conversation.”

It’s easy to imagine that conversation going about as well as the one between Goldie and his brother in The Mack. Reactions to the deal have been equally explosive, especially on social media where age-old arguments about black America’s best path forward for true liberation — be it market-driven or movement-driven — were reignited. “F*** Colin Kaepernick,” rapper Freddie Gibbs posted on Instagram earlier this week while making it clear that he’s riding with Jay-Z. (He later tweeted that he’d had an enlightening conversation with Jemele Hill, after she posted that his response was exactly what the NFL wanted.) Other vocal Jay-Z supporters have included Vic Mensa and Cardi B, but with the caveat that they both believe Jay’s involvement will ultimately help Kaepernick get back into the league. Roc Nation’s own J. Cole and filmmaker Ava DuVernay have been among the high-profile supporters of Kaepernick in the past week, while Carolina Panther Eric Reid, who was the first to join Kaepernick’s protest, called Jay-Z “asinine” for saying the time for kneeling has passed. On the day of the press conference, Kaepernick himself wrote on Twitter,”I continue to work and stand with the people in our fight for liberation, despite those who are trying to erase the movement!”

According to Jay-Z, his switch from staunch NFL critic to potential ally came not as an abrupt about-face but through a series of conversations with Goodell over the last several months. He credits Patriots owner (and President Trump supporter) Robert Kraft with helping to start their talks; Kraft has also played an active role in Roc Nation’s criminal justice reform initiatives, most notably as a supporter of Meek Mill. Plans for collaboration include expanding on the league’s existing Inspire Change initiative by adding a program of unofficial anthems (“Songs of the Season”) from select artists to be played during NFL broadcasts, a podcasting platform for players (“Beyond the Field”) and a visual album of Super Bowl halftime shows. Those plans have already been criticized as a platform designed to move player protests off the field, and it already seems to be having the subtle effect of silencing NFL players on the field. One day after Miami Dolphins player Kenny Stills criticized Jay-Z for “choosing to speak for the people, [as if] he had spoken to the people,” Dolphins head coach Brian Flores reportedly had his team play eight straight Jay-Z songs to open up practice.

Maybe it’s easy to forget due to the narrative being hijacked by critics, but Kaepernick was never protesting the NFL. He was protesting police brutality and racial injustice, and for good reason: Young black men in America are now more than twice as likely to get killed by police than their white peers, according to a recent study. Clearly, this stuff is bigger than football. What remains to be seen is how Roc Nation’s collaborations with the NFL will address these systemic issues, and actually help bring us past the time for kneeling. As it stands, the deal feels like the NFL attempting to invalidate Kaepernick’s sacrifice, without extending him the courtesy of a seat at the table. And its success hinges on Jay’s ability to leverage black cultural capital for the benefit of a league that has spent the last three years publicly devaluing it.

At one point during last week’s press conference, Jay-Z turned the questions on the reporters in the room, asking several of them: “Do you know what the issue is?” It was a rhetorical question, meant to highlight his belief that Kaepernick’s protest has already done the job of highlighting what’s at stake. But the real question is whether Jay-Z truly understands the issue. After receiving pointed criticism from Harry Belafonte for a lack of social responsibility several years ago, Jay’s done admirable work pushing for criminal justice reform, producing documentaries on Trayvon Martin and Kalief Browder, and bankrolling legal defenses for Meek Mill’s probation case and 21 Savage’s immigration case. But he’s also been known to oversimplify the ways that money, power and racism intersect to marginalize Americans who look like him.

This is the same black billionaire, after all, who encouraged a concert hall full of his own skinfolk to, “Gentrify your own hood / Before these people do.” The freestyle was meant to pay homage to Nipsey Hussle’s economic revitalization efforts in South Central Los Angeles. But it failed to contextualize how property values and racial privilege remain tethered together in ways that overwhelmingly leave black folks displaced and erased in the process. Nor did it mention his own previous role in that same erasure: The 1% minority ownership stake he held in the Brooklyn Nets helped pacify concerns about the future economic impact of Barclays Center, a development that has helped gentrification creep into Biggie Smalls’ old hood just a few blocks away.

Despite the criticism, there’s still room for the Roc Nation / NFL initiative to do impressive work. The current fallout is largely about optics rather than execution. And Jay does have a history of shaky rollouts: Remember the live-streamed Tidal launch, anyone? His streaming service has not only survived alongside big boys Spotify and Apple, it’s built up its own brand loyalty by catering to an urban demographic. (As a longtime subscriber, I should know.)

Only in black America are entertainment moguls tasked with being as astute in the political arena as they are in concert arenas. Every individual decision a black celebrity makes is weighted with the responsibility of representation. There’s a long history in this country of black artists being used to quell protests or co-opt movements; the question is whether Jay-Z fully grasps what’s at stake. You can’t be critical of the status quo — and the NFL definitely represents the status quo in this country — if you’re working to uplift it. The new deal shouldn’t let the NFL off the hook for mishandling Kaepernick, and Roc Nation shouldn’t be taken as a proxy for the people, even if its work does ultimately benefit the people. It’s clear that Jay-Z knows his worth, but hip-hop’s first billionaire must learn to wield his power in ways that don’t undermine the efforts of activists putting in ground work.

If you haven’t seen The Mack in its entirety, the ending — spoiler alert — is a revelation. Despite competing worldviews about how to uplift the black community, Goldie and Olinka end up linking to defeat their common enemy: corrupt cops. Resolving the distance between capitalists and activists is easier to romanticize on the big screen, but the truth is hustlers, club owners and entertainers helped bankroll and bail out the leaders of the civil rights movement, too.

Instead of sitting with Roger Goodell at last week’s press conference, Jay-Z should have been sitting with Colin Kaepernick. Even if their methods are different, we needed to see Jay working to reconcile the NFL’s relationship with the player who spearheaded the fight for social justice on the field before working to repair the NFL’s reputation off the field.

If the brothers gonna work it out, they’ve gotta stick it to The Man together.

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RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

The ambush and death of Michael Collins at Béal na mBláth in 1922

Michael Collins departed Dublin on August 20, 1922, beginning what would become his fateful final hours alive

When Michael Collins left Dublin on August 20, 1922, he was ill and feverish, and his doctor recommended that the trip be postponed. Had he merely been going on an inspection trip, it could have been delayed, but it appeared Collins had something more in mind.

Read More: Greatest quotes from and about Michael Collins

August 20, 1922

Collins’s convoy left Portobello (now Cathal Brugha) Barracks, Dublin, at 5:15 am on Sunday, August 20, and made its first stop at Maryborough Jail (now Portlaoise Prison), where Collins discussed transferring some of the prisoners there to Gormanstown camp to relieve the overcrowded conditions. He also spoke with some of the prisoners, including Tom Malone, about ending the Civil War. He asked if Malone would attend a meeting to “try to put an end to this damned thing.” As he left, he slapped one fist into his hand and said, “that fixes it—the three Toms [Malone, Tom Barry, and Tom Hales] will fix it.”

Then the convoy headed to Roscrea Barracks for an inspection and breakfast. At Limerick Barracks, the Officer/Commanding (O/C) of the Southern Command, General Eoin O’Duffy, met Collins and discussed his belief that the Civil War would soon be over and understood that Collins wanted to avoid any rancor. The convoy then headed through Mallow and spent that night in Cork City, where he stayed at the military HQ in the Imperial Hotel.

That evening, Collins met his sister, Mary Collins-Powell, and her son, Seán, and the rest of the evening was spent in consultation with the O/C of the area, Gen. Emmet Dalton. Dalton felt that “normality and law and order would not be too far off. We were in possession of the principal towns in County Cork. Michael Collins and I discussed this on the journey through West Cork.” Most of the escort spent the first evening in the Victoria Hotel.

A photograph of Michael Collins (RollingNews.ie)

A photograph of Michael Collins (RollingNews.ie)

Read More: The most amazing thing Michael Collins ever said

August 21, 1922

On Monday, August 21, Collins again visited with his sister, and then he and General Dalton went to the Cork Examiner to discuss the general Free State position on publicity with the editor, Tom Crosbie. Collins also visited some local banks in an effort to trace republican/IRA/anti-Treaty funds lodged during their occupation of the city.

First, they visited the Hibernian Bank, then the Bank of Ireland, then the Land Bank, and finally other smaller institutions to try to recover the funds. During July, the IRA collected £120,000 in customs revenue and had hidden this money in the accounts of sympathizers. At each bank, Collins told their managers to close the doors, and they would allow the banks to be reopened only if the managers cooperated fully. Collins had the bank directors identify the suspicious accounts, then he concluded that “three first-class men will be necessary to conduct a forensic investigation of the banks and the Customs and Excise in Cork.” He told William Cosgrave to consider three people but “don’t announce anything until I return.”

He and Dalton then traveled the thirty miles to Macroom where Collins met Florence O’Donoghue, who was in the IRA and was one of its leaders in County Cork in the War of Independence, but who was neutral in the Civil War. The first phase of the Civil War was ended, O’Donoghue later wrote. He and many others recognized at this point that the IRA/Republicans could not win the war and that Collins came south searching for peace. Collins was desperately trying to bring the War to a close, as well as trying to give some face-saving agreement to the leaders on the other side. It is thought that he asked O’Donoghue how to stop the War and to mediate for him. After lunch at the Imperial, they headed out to review the military in Cobh, and then returned to Cork in early evening.

Michael Collins at the wedding of Commander Sean McKeown (The Blacksmith of Ballinalee) and Miss A Cooney in June 1922 (Getty Images)

Michael Collins at the wedding of Commander Sean McKeown (The Blacksmith of Ballinalee) and Miss A Cooney in June 1922 (Getty Images)

Read More: Long-lost photo of Michael Collins taken hours before his death found in Dublin attic

August 22, 1922, The Fateful Day

Collins’s party left the Imperial Hotel, Cork, at 6.15 am on Tuesday, August 22. That day the convoy included the following:

A motorcyclist, Lt. John ‘Jeersey’ Smyth.

A Crossley Tender under the command of Cmdt. Seán (Paddy) O’Connell, Capt. Peter Conlon, Sgt. Conroy, Sgt. Cooney, John O’Connell and eight riflemen, Gough, Barry, Carmody, Coote, Edmunds, Murray, Caine, and McKenna.

Collins and Emmet Dalton in a yellow Leland Thomas Straight Eight touring car.

The driver was Private Michael Smith Corry and the reserve driver was M. Quinn.

A Rolls Royce Whippet armored car (A.R.R. 2), the Slievenamon. Capt. Joe Dolan was riding in the car. Jim Wolfe was the driver, Jimmy ‘Wiggy’ Fortune the co-driver. The Vicker’s machine-gunner on the armored car was John (Jock) McPeak. (He deserted on December 2, 1922, with Billy Barry and Pat and Mick O’Sullivan and took the armored car to the IRA; he said he did it for a woman. He was arrested in Glasgow in July 1923 and was imprisoned in Portlaoise where he went on a hunger strike). Cooney and Monks were the other members of the armored car crew.

The military detail was far too small for the protection of the Free State Commander-in-Chief, especially as they would be traveling through some of the most active anti-Treaty areas of south Cork.

The convoy went through Macroom towards Béal na mBláth about 8 am where it stopped to get directions, then through Crookstown, then to Bandon.

In Bandon, Collins briefly met in Lee’s Hotel with Major General Seán Hales, O/C of the Free State forces in West Cork. It is thought that Hales was informed of a meeting Collins had intended with Civil War neutrals in Cork that evening and that he had met with O’Donoghue and others the day before and discussed how an end to the War could be achieved.

At Clonakilty, the convoy stopped for lunch at Callinan’s Pub.

In the afternoon the convoy went to Roscarberry and Collins had a drink in the Four Alls Pub (owned by his cousin Jeremiah) at Sam’s Cross where Collins declared: “I’m going to settle this thing. I’m going to put an end to this bloody war.” But there is no sign he was open to compromise. Clearly, any hope he had of settling the Civil War would not be done at the expense of the Treaty. Collins told his brother, Johnny, that he would “go further with the British government once there was peace here.” His principal aim was to end the Civil War. He said “The British have given up their claim on us. When we begin to work together we can help those in the northeast.”

On the way back, Collins’s party passed by the burnt remains of his childhood home, Woodfield, and Collins pointed to the rugged stone walls. “There,” he said to Dalton, “There is where I was born. That was my home.” Still, Collins was as happy as Dalton had seen him. “He was able to let himself go, and also I think he felt things were now moving his way. He didn’t say much as we traveled along the flat road towards Bandon, he appeared lost in the myriad thoughts of a crowded and successful day.”

The convoy left the Eldon Hotel in Skibbereen at 5 pm and headed back to Cork. Collins met his great friend John L. Sullivan on this journey. The convoy detoured around Clonakilty on the way back because of a roadblock. It stopped at Lee’s Hotel in Bandon for tea. (It has never been fully explained why the convoy returned this same way they came out in the morning, however when the anti-Treaty forces left Cork city they blew up most of the bridges and cut most of the roads, so there were few passable ways to travel in County Cork.) There, again, he met Hales, who was the brother of Tom Hales, by coincidence a member of the ambush party. “Keep up the good work! ’Twill soon be over” was Collins’s parting salute to Hales.

On the road out of Bandon, Collins said to Dalton; “If we run into an ambush along the way, we’ll stand and fight them.” Dalton said nothing.

A photo of Collins just hours before his death.

A photo of Collins just hours before his death.

In the early morning of Tuesday, August 22, the ambush party met in Long’s Pub (owned by Denis “Denny the Dane” Long, the “lookout” who spotted Collins’s party as it passed through Béal na mBláth).

The men who assembled at Béal na mBláth were not a column, but officers trained in guerrilla warfare who gathered to hold a pre-arranged important staff meeting. When Florence O’Donoghue met with the surviving members of the IRA/Republicans in 1964, they said they were unaware that Collins was in the area until that morning. The plan to ambush the party was decided as part of the general policy of attacking all Free State convoys, not as a specific plan to ambush this convoy. They saw the opportunity to overpower an enemy convoy on its return journey and they decided to take up the challenge and ambush it.

The IRA/Republicans stopped a Clonakilty man, Jeremiah O’Brien, who was taking a cartload of empty mineral bottles to Bandon. They commandeered his cart and took off one of the wheels, blocking the road. In combination with the mine they were placing in the road, the ambush party knew the convoy would have to stop abruptly. The ambush party remained in place all day, but there was no action. In the late afternoon, a message was received that Collins’s party was in Bandon, but as it was thought unlikely that the convoy would come through Béal na mBláth a second time, they began to disassemble the mine and evacuate the position.

Michael Collins (Getty Images)

Michael Collins (Getty Images)

Read More: Evidence shows man who shot Michael Collins met him before ambush

The ambush of Michael Collins

Originally, the ambush party numbered between 25 and 30, according to varying sources. Some men stayed all day, others came and went as the day went on.

The ambush took place at Béal na mBláth (between Macroom Crookstown, about ten miles short of Bandon) just before sunset, at 7.30 pm. When the first shots were fired, Dalton ordered: “Drive like hell.” Collins countermanded the order just as he had predicted and yelled: “Stop, we’ll fight them.”

Collins and Dalton first fired from behind the armored car, and then Collins shouted “there—they are running up the road.” The Lewis machinegun in the armored car jammed several times, and when it did the IRA/Republicans took advantage of the lull in firing to move their positions.

Then, Collins ran about fifteen yards up the road, dropped into a prone firing position, and continued shooting at the IRA/anti-Treatyites on the hill.

Dalton said then he heard the faint cry “Emmet, I’m hit.” Dalton and Commandant Seán O’Connell ran over to where Collins was lying face-down on the road and found a “fearful gaping wound at the base of his skull behind the right ear. We immediately saw that General Collins was almost beyond human aid. He could not speak to us. …O’Connell now knelt beside the dying, but still conscious, Chief whose eyes were wide open and normal, and whispered into the ear of the fast-sinking man the words of Act of Contrition. For this he was rewarded with a light pressure of the hand. …. Very gently I raised his head on my knee and tried to bandage his wound but owing to the awful size of it this proved very difficult. I had not completed this task when the big eyes quickly closed, and the cold pallor of death overspread the General’s face. How can I describe the feelings that were mine in that bleak hour, kneeling in the mud of a country road not twelve miles from Clonakilty, with the still bleeding head of the Idol of Ireland resting on my arm.”

Later Dalton said: “it was a very large wound, an open wound in the back of the head …and it was difficult for me to get a First-Field-Aid bandage to cover it, you know when I was binding it up. It was quite obvious to me, with the experience I had of a ricochet bullet, it could only have been a ricochet or a dum-dum.”

Michael Collins at the Curragh Barracks in Co Kildare with Col Dunphy, Major General Emmet Dalton, Comdt-Gen P MacMahon, and Comdt-Gen D O'Hegarty in July 1922 (Getty Images)

Michael Collins at the Curragh Barracks in Co Kildare with Col Dunphy, Major General Emmet Dalton, Comdt-Gen P MacMahon, and Comdt-Gen D O’Hegarty in July 1922 (Getty Images)

Read More: One-fifth of Ireland populations turned out for Michael Collins’ funeral

After the ambush

The ambush was over in approximately thirty minutes, and before it ended, darkness had fallen so it was impossible to get off an aimed shot. No one in the anti-Treatyite party fully knew that Collins had been shot or that the convoy suffered any casualty. It was only when Shawno Galvin came back to Béal na mBláth that they got the first report of any casualties.

Collins’s body was first placed into the armored car, then transferred to the touring car for the sad trip back to Cork City. On the way into Cork City, Dalton stopped the convoy at a church in Cloughduv. Dalton asked where was the priest’s house? Getting directions there, they knocked on the door and the curate, Fr. Timothy Murphy, came to the railing. Seeing Collins was beyond hope, he turned to get the sacred oils, but Cmdt. O’Connell misunderstood this to be a refusal of his ministry. O’Connell pointed a pistol at him, but Dalton knocked it away.

As they approached Cork City they stopped at the Sacred Heart Mission at Victoria Cross. Here Fr. O’Brien administered the Last Rites to Collins.

Then the convoy headed back to the Imperial Hotel, where Dalton, Cmdt. O’Connell, Sgt. Cooney and Lt. Gough went into the Hotel to inform Maj. Gen. Dr. Leo Ahern and asked him to take charge of the body.

Dr. Ahern first examined Collins’s body when it was brought to the Imperial Hotel, and then at Shanakiel Hospital. He was the first doctor to examine the body and pronounced Collins dead. His examination found a large, gaping wound “to the right of the poll. There was no other wound. There was definitely no wound in the forehead.”

From the hotel, Collins’s body was taken to Shanakiel Hospital in Cork, where Dr. Michael Riordan was detailed by Dr. Ahern to examine and prepare the body, and they conducted the autopsy. Dr. Christy Kelly was present during a thorough second examination later and confirmed a huge wound on the right side behind the ear, with no exit wound. In contrast, Dr. Patrick Cagney, a British surgeon in the British army during the war who had a wide knowledge of gunshot wounds and who examined the body still later confirmed there was an entry wound as well as a large exit wound.

Eleanor Gordon, Matron of Shanakiel Hospital, and nurse Nora O’Donoghue cleaned and attended to Collins’s wounds and also later testified to the nature of the wounds. His body was first taken to room 201, then to room 121 after the autopsy where Free State soldiers guarded it until taken to the ship for transport to Dublin. In the afternoon, Cronin & Desmond Funeral Service performed their duties. Fr. Joseph Scannell, Army chaplain, and Fr. Joe Ahern recited the funeral prayers.

Michael Collins (Getty Images)

Michael Collins (Getty Images)

Read More: Pathé newsreel shows Michael Collins sign “his own death warrant” on this day in 1921

Back home to Dublin

The steamship SS Classic left Penrose Quay in Cork and brought Collins’s body from Cork to Dublin. General Dalton sent this handwritten telegram from the Cork GPO to the Dublin HQ:

CHIEF OF STAFF DUBLIN

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF SHOT DEAD IN AMBUSH AT BEALNABLATH NEAR BANDON 6.30 [sic] TUESDAY EVENING WITH ME, ALSO ONE MAN WOUNDED. REMAINS LEAVING BY CLASSIC FOR DUBLIN TODAY WEDNESDAY NOON. ARRANGE TO MEET. REPLY DALTON.

As the vessel sailed down-channel from Cork, it passed the assembled remaining British vessels, upon the decks of which the British sailors mustered, saluted, and the Last Post played.

Michael Collins in October 1921 (Getty Images)

Michael Collins in October 1921 (Getty Images)

Read More: The many faces of Michael Collins- dead 97 years today

The Éamon De Valera factor

Though he was within a few miles of Béal na mBláth on the day Collins was killed, Éamon de Valera had hoped to meet him, but no plan had been made. Moreover, de Valera was not involved in the ambush; he had little political influence on the IRA at the time and no military influence at all. By this time, de Valera was trying to bring the Civil War to a halt, as well.

Liam Deasy spoke with de Valera the night before and de Valera’s position was that having made their protest in arms, and as they could not now hope to achieve a military success, the honorable course was for the IRA/Republicans to withdraw. Deasy explained that there were over a thousand men in the area and they would not agree to an unconditional ceasefire.

The next day, de Valera went to Long’s Pub, and his efforts at a ceasefire were rejected again. The most reliable evidence indicates when de Valera went to Long’s Pub he also tried to prevent the ambush but was rebuffed by the IRA/Republicans. Liam Lynch, O/C of the IRA in the south-west, specifically had given orders that de Valera’s efforts to cease hostilities should not be encouraged.

Again, Deasy met with de Valera and explained to him that the men billeted in this area would consider Collins’s convoy as a challenge that they could not refuse to meet.

Despite rumor and innuendo, there is no evidence that de Valera was involved in the planning or the ambush being laid for Collins.

Later de Valera was quoted: “A pity. What a pity I didn’t meet him.” And “It would be bad if anything happens to Collins, his place will be taken by weaker men.”

Harry Boland, Michael Collins, Eamon de Valera, and Eamon Duggan in February 1922 (Getty Images)

Harry Boland, Michael Collins, Eamon de Valera, and Eamon Duggan in February 1922 (Getty Images)

Read More: How Eamon de Valera got involved with Michael Collins tombstone

The funeral of Michael Collins

On the morning of August 23, Richard Mulcahy, as Free State Army Chief of Staff, issued the following message to the Army:

“Stand calmly by your posts. Bend bravely and undaunted to your task. Let no cruel act of reprisal blemish your bright honor. Every dark hour that Collins met since 1916 seemed but to steel that bright strength of his and temper his brave gaiety You are left as inheritors of that strength and bravery. To each of you falls his unfinished work. No darkness in the hour: loss of comrades will daunt you in it. Ireland! The Army serves—strengthened by its sorrow.”

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Michael’s sister, Hannie Collins, with whom he lived when he first went to London in 1906, had long planned a holiday to Ireland in August. On the morning of August 23, she went to work at the post office in West Kensington. As she was about to enter her office she was stopped, taken into the superintendent’s room, and told there was a rumor that her brother had been killed. She said she was not surprised—during the night she had had a premonition he had been killed. “I know how unhappy he had been for so long—At the moment of death the load went…from his mind, so it went from mine.”

She went to see her friends, John and Hazel Lavery, but they were not home, so she went to board the Irish boat train at Euston Station. (The Laverys had already gone to Ireland where Sir John was painting.) Winston Churchill, having been told of Hannie’s distress by the Laverys’ butler, reserved a compartment for her and paid her travelling expenses. A newspaper reporter at Euston recorded that “Miss Collins, dressed from head to foot in black, was seen off by a lady friend. She was a calm but pathetic figure. She traveled alone.”

George Bernard Shaw wrote to Hannie:

“Don’t let them make you miserable about it: how could a born soldier die better than at the victorious end of a good fight, falling to the shot of another Irishman—a damned fool but all the same an Irishman who thought he was fighting for Ireland—‘a Roman to a Roman’…I met Michael for the first and last time on Saturday last, and I am very glad I did. I rejoice in his memory and will not be so disloyal to it as to snivel over his valiant death.

“So, tear up your mourning and hang up your brightest colors in his honor; and let us all praise God that he had not to die in a snuffy bed of a trumpery cough, weakened by age, and saddened by the disappointments that would have attended his work had he lived.”

In Dublin, Collins’s remains were taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital where Dr. Oliver St John Gogarty embalmed the body and had Sir John Lavery paint Collins’s portrait. Albert Power sculpted the death mask.

The death mask of Michael Collins (Getty Images)

The death mask of Michael Collins (Getty Images)

Collins’s body was taken to the chapel in St. Vincent’s on Thursday, August 24, then in late evening to Dublin City Hall for the public lying-in-state until Sunday evening.

Michael Collins laying in state in Dublin (Getty Images)

Michael Collins laying in state in Dublin (Getty Images)

On Sunday evening, his body was removed to the Pro-Cathedral where it remained under guard overnight. His funeral Mass was said in the Pro-Cathedral on Monday, with Dr. Michael Fogarty, Bishop of Killaloe, the principal celebrant assisted by several other Bishops.

The gun carriage on which the casket was transported to Glasnevin Cemetery had been borrowed from the British and used in the bombardment of the Four Courts in June. The Free State Government specially purchased four black artillery horses from the British to pull the caisson to Glasnevin.

The funeral procession for Michael Collins (Getty Images)

The funeral procession for Michael Collins (Getty Images)

Collins’s death was never officially registered, there was no inquest, and there was no formal, independent autopsy. When the Fianna Fáil government was to take over in 1932, it was said that many papers relating to Collins’s killing were taken from Portobello Barracks and burned by the order of the Minister for Defense, Desmond FitzGerald.

Collins died intestate, leaving an estate of £1,950.9s.11d, which passed to his brother Johnny.

Michael's brother Sean Collins at Michael's coffin (Getty Images)

Michael’s brother Sean Collins at Michael’s coffin (Getty Images)

Read More: Michael Collins and the Bloody Sunday massacre, 98 years ago today

Praise for the fallen Michael Collins

The British press acknowledged Collins’s part in the struggle for Irish freedom. The Daily Chronicle called him a “young and brilliant leader.” The Evening Press described his death as a “staggering blow.”

The Daily Telegraph wrote: “He was a bitter and implacable enemy of England while the English garrison remained in Ireland and Ireland was not free to govern itself in its own way. …The dead man, without a doubt, was the stuff of which all great men are made.”

The London Daily Sketch editorialized: “The hand that struck down Collins, guided by a blinded patriotism, has aimed a blow at the unity of Ireland for which every one of her sons is fighting.  Collins was probably the most skilled artisan of the fabric of a happier Ireland. Certainly, he was the most picturesque figure in the struggle; and in the rearing of a new State a popular ideal serves as the rallying point to draw the contending elements. The death of Collins leaves the ship of the Free State without a helmsman.

“Other sons of Ireland have risen from lowliness to eminence in the struggle, but Michael Collins, by his valor, his sufferings, his elusiveness during the more turbulent periods of the past, and by his own personal charm, bound a spell round the popular imagination and wove a romance which endeared him to his friends and inspired respect in his foes.

“Since the historic hour in the early morning of December 6…the progress of the new State has been dogged and delayed by a malignant Fate.

“The next phase in the life of the Free State is veiled by the tragedy of the present. The helmsman has gone at a moment when no haven can yet be decried.

“What is to happen now?”

Seven years later, Winston Churchill would pay homage to his one-time military enemy and political ally. He admired Collins but evidently continued to be ignorant of the ideals that had driven and permanently separated the two men: “He was an Irish patriot, true and fearless. His narrow upbringing and his whole life had filled him with hatred for England. His hands had touched directly the springs of terrible deeds. We hunted him for his life, and he had slipped half a dozen times through steel claws. But now he had no hatred of England.”

Shane Leslie wrote the following lines:

What is that curling flower of wonder

As white as snow, as red as blood?

When Death goes by in flame and thunder

And rips the beauty from the bud.

They left his blossom white and slender

Beneath Glasnevin’s shaking sod;

His spirit passed like sunset splendor

Unto the dead Fianna’s God.

Good luck be with you, Collins,

Or stay or go you far away;

Or stay you with the folk of fairy,

Or come with ghosts another day.

Brendan Behan’s mother, Kathleen, nicknamed Michael Collins her “Laughing Boy.” She and her first husband had both served in the Rising. In 1935, when he was twelve years old, Brendan wrote a lament to the “Laughing Boy:”

T’was on an August morning, all in the dawning hours,

I went to take the warming air, all in the Mouth of Flowers,

And there I saw a maiden, and mournful was her cry,

‘Ah what will mend my broken heart, I’ve lost my Laughing Boy.

So strong, so wild and brave he was, I’ll mourn his loss too sore,

When thinking that I’ll hear the laugh or springing step no more.

Ah, cure the times and sad the loss my heart to crucify,

That an Irish son with a rebel gun shot down my Laughing Boy.

Oh, had he died by Pearse’s side or in the GPO,

Killed by an English bullet from the rifle of the foe,

Or forcibly fed with Ashe lay dead in the dungeons of Mountjoy,

I’d have cried with pride for the way he died, my own dear Laughing Boy.

My princely love, can ageless love do more than tell to you,

Go raibh maith agat for all you tried to do,

For all you did, and would have done, my enemies to destroy,

I’ll mourn your name and praise your fame, forever, my Laughing Boy.

A statue of Michael Collins in Co Cork (Ireland's Content Pool)

A statue of Michael Collins in Co Cork (Ireland’s Content Pool)

Read More: Michael Collins was Britain’s second greatest foe after George Washington

*Joe Connell served in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, the NFL, and received a degree from Pepperdine University School of Law. His interest in Ireland, and particularly in its history, reflects his Irish heritage. In time he came to concentrate his research/interest on early 20th century Ireland—with a focus on the period prior to the Easter Rising up to the founding and early days of the Irish Free State. He is the author of the eponymous Dublin in Rebellion, Dublin Rising 1916, Who’s Who in the Dublin Rising 1916 and his most recent book, Michael Collins, Dublin 1916-1923. Connell is a columnist in History Ireland and has written several books for Kilmainham Tales. He is available to speak to groups in the U.S. and can be reached at Jeac7140@gmail.com.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Business at The Butler Is Its Own Art

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Early morning visitors to The Butler Institute of American Art might catch a few masonry workers tending to the grout on the facade of the building. They’re working on the final phase of a four-year capital project to make needed repairs to the building.

Past phases included the recaulking of metal coping joints, marble joints and aluminum windows. All told, the project costs some $350,000, says development director Rebecca Davis. Donations from area nonprofits, including the Youngstown Foundation, J. Ford Crandall Foundation, Walter E. and Caroline Watson Foundation and others, funded the project, she says.

Writing grants and courting funds from area foundations and corporations are among Davis’ primary responsibilities. Contributed income accounts for up to 45% of the museum’s annual revenue, and includes planned gifts and state, federal, foundation and corporate grants, as well as memberships, individual giving and major gifts, she says.

Two of the biggest components are through the Ohio Arts Council and the state capital budget, the latter of which must go toward capital improvements or new equipment, and not repairs or general maintenance. Davis is preparing the museum capital budget proposal for the fall, she says.

“We’re not quite sure exactly what we’re going to be asking for yet,” she says. “We may be asking for money for an expansion.”

Looking ahead, Davis says The Butler is planning a major update for its environmental-control system, which is important for preserving the artwork. “That will probably be part of our capital-budget ask,” she says.

In 2018, The Butler received $500,000 in state capital-budget funding, and $279,000 the year before. Past projects funded by state-capital monies include replacing the historic passenger elevator, adding air-conditioning to The Butler North education sanctuary, installing LED lighting and replacing the turnaround driveway to make it more accessible.

With any grant received, The Butler must measure and report the effect of the efforts, Davis says. Impact is typically measured by increased foot traffic and firsthand accounts, she says. In a report Davis is currently completing, she plans to reach out to Kevin Llewellyn, who had a retrospective exhibition at The Butler for the past year.

“I know I can take from his social media just how important it was for him having this exhibition here,” she says. “He’s from Columbiana; he’s in Los Angeles now. It had a huge impact on him personally, I know from just what he said in the media.”

Bringing in popular artists is critical to the ability of The Butler to court funding, she says. Attracting artists such as Llewellyn, Kim Novak and John Mellencamp demonstrates the museum’s efforts to reach a cross-section of the community, she says.

“You have diverse exhibitions with diverse artists to bring in a diverse audience,” she says. “You might have Mellencamp coming in and you can pull in people that have never come to the museum, but they want to come and see his work because they love his music.”

Funding from the Ohio Arts Council is “most important” because it goes toward operational expenses, she says, “which is probably the hardest grants to get” because the arts make up “a small piece of the pie” for available funds for nonprofits. Thus, The Butler relies on investment income from its $25 million endowment fund for operations, Davis says.

Rebecca Davis displays art by the late Clyde Singer, former curator of The Butler.

Investment income from the fund makes up 45% of the annual revenues of the museum and accounts for a third of its $2 million budget, which includes the salaries of its 22 employees. Another 5% to 15% comes from earned income, which includes cafe and gift shop sales, education-class fees, museum rentals and the annual Holiday Craft Show & Sale.

To ensure The Butler maintains good stewardship of its endowment and other funds, director Louis Zona meets with the 40-member board of trustees five times each year to discuss all financial matters, as well as the collection, membership, development and planning, outreach and ethics.

“We have a fairly diverse board with several skill sets that help us manage that museum,” says Board President Thomas Cavalier. “We’ve been fortunate that we have a nice endowment that is conservatively managed. That provides some income to the museum.”

In the 33 years Cavalier has served on the board, “I can’t recall a time when we haven’t balanced our budget. Dr. Zona does an outstanding job in managing that museum,” he says. “He doesn’t present anything unless it’s something that would be beneficial to The Butler. And he’s got a good handle on our finances and knows what we can and cannot do,” he says.

Having a successful financial track record is important to ensure the museum exists in perpetuity, he says, because it demonstrates to donors that their contributions are well managed, he says.

“A lot of museums in the country have gone out of business because they haven’t been able to manage their expenses and get the support of the community,” Cavalier says. “If you start to run into financial trouble, I think your donors tend to back away, too. People want to be part of a successful operation and The Butler certainly has been successful.”

The Butler hasn’t had to touch the principal of its endowment, relying instead on fundraising, contributions and membership fees, he says. Four banks help manage the investments of the fund, which has increased over the years, he says.

“Our endowment, we look at it as being very sacred,” Cavalier says. “In the past, when we’ve raised money, we’ve added to the endowment.”

Membership fees bring in “a couple hundred thousand dollars we can always count on,” Zona says. Some 300 comprise the Trustees Circle, which ranges from $300 to $3,000 in annual fees and includes a number of perks, including discounts at the gift shop and for art classes, reciprocal privileges with 14 Ohio art museums, recognition on a plague in Beecher Court, invitations to exclusive events at The Butler and other perks. About 1,000 make up the general membership, which costs between $50 to $100 annually, he notes.

Early in his career at The Butler, Zona learned the importance of maintaining strong connections with local business owners and influencers. The Butler has received some major gifts that were part of someone’s estate.

“You can’t count on that, but you try to be a good citizen. You try to make the museum accessible to everyone. And I think ultimately it pays dividends,” Zona says.

In the 1980s when Zona wanted to raise money for what would become the West Wing addition, a colleague recommended he speak with Chuck Schaff, a local business owner.

“He came in to walk around The Butler with me and he said, ‘Why do people come here?’ ” Zona recalls with a laugh. “I said, ‘Chuck, some people really like art.’ He said, ‘I’ll help you.’ ” 

Together, Zona and Schaff raised $4 million for the expansion project that was completed in 1987. The expansion includes the Hopper Research Library, Sweeney Children’s Gallery, Donnell Gallery of Sports Art and Beecher Court, as well as a kitchen and downstairs storage space, he says.

The Butler hosts about 120,000 visitors each year, a large number of whom are children. And while The Butler has become “quite a hot spot for teachers,” Zona recognizes the need to attract younger patrons.

“Every time we have a party for the Trustees Circle to thank them, there’s always somebody in the group who will come up to me and say, ‘Notice that all the hair is gray here?’ ” he says.

To attract the next generation of patrons, The Butler created its Young Collectors Group three years ago, Davis says. The museum hosts three annual events for residents 25 to 45 years old – some of whom have never been to The Butler – to get them familiar with the museum and drive an appreciation for the arts and collecting.

One event focuses on prints “because that’s a way to get into collecting,” Davis says. The event included speakers such as Jeff Byce, real estate broker, auctioneer and founder of ByceAuction Ltd., to discuss art auctions, and a representative from Sotheby’s to discuss how valuations work. In addition, local artists attend the events to sell their work and explain their processes.

The Butler has also partnered with Column & Stripe, the young friends group of the Cleveland Museum of Art, Davis says. The partnership brings patrons from Cleveland to tour The Butler.

“They were very impressed,” Davis says. “Some of them have been here before and they just wanted the tour with Dr. Zona.”

To keep to the founder’s vision of having a museum accessible to everyone, Zona wants to add a gallery of African-American art in the near future.

“In our community, 50% of the people that live here are African-American,” he says. “I’m seeing more and more African-American families coming through The Butler.”

Such an expansion would cost anywhere from $1.5 million to $2 million, “so, at this point it’s a pipe dream,” he says. “But we’ll see.”

Pictured: Louis Zona’s favorite painting at The Butler is Robert Vonnoh’s “In Flanders Field Where Soldiers Sleep and Poppies Grow.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

RiverArts Pop-up Exhibit Features Local Black Artists

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Work by five local black artists was on display in a pop-up gallery at the RiverArts education center over the Legacy Day weekend. — Photo by Peter Heck

For this year’s Legacy Day, RiverArts held a special pop-up, one-weekend-only, exhibit of local black artists in the RiverArts Education Center on High Street across from the EverGrain Bakery.  There was an impressive range of subject matter, styles, and format with photography, oil, pastels, sculpture, and multi-media. Among the featured artists was Sam Shoge who displayed his marvelous birds-eye drone photographs of Chestertown and Kent County. Shoge founded and manages Shore Studios which specializes in aerial photography.

Also, art by Kevin Harris was on exhibit with several of his powerful and evocative depictions of scenes from black history including a child in a cotton field and a hanging empty noose.  Harris uses plate glass for his canvas, which gives his work a special luster with a stark realistic look.  See more of Harris’s work at his blog here.

There were lovely nature scenes, most with young children, by Evelyn Young. Her work beautifully captures the joys of childhood.  Alan Johnson contributed both sculpture and paintings, including a striking portrait of Henry Highland Garnet.

Artist Samuel E. Moore had on display several scenes of local life, focusing on the bays and beaches that are so prominent in Kent County along with boats and green fields.  Moore is also known for his dramatic abstracts which you can see on his FaceBook page here.   Betty Smith’s work brought personalities to life as in her superb group portrait “Sunday Best.”

This exhibit was an excellent addition to the Legacy Day activities and a fine representation of the breadth and depth of talent in the local black community.  Look for these and other local artists throughout the year at RiverArts and the numerous other venues in and around Chestertown.

Photo Gallery from RiverArts Pop-up Exhibit of Local Black Artists 

Photography by Jane Jewell and Peter Heck

Sam Shoge with birds-eye views of Chestertown and Kent County

Artist Evelyn Young with her lovely stylized nature scenes. — Photo by Peter Heck

Artist Kevin Harris captured much of the African-American experience throughout history. — Photo by Peter Heck

Art by Samuel Moore — Photo by Jane Jewell

“Poised for Flight” by Evelyn Young 

“Lady on the Bench” by Samuel Moore 

“””

“Sunday Best” by Betty Smith 

A boy in a cotton field –  untitled painting by Kevin Harris 

An empty noose – untitled painting by Kevin Harris

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RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

How Kelsey Lu found her tribe among L.A.’s black art scene

Life in flux has defined Kelsey Lu’s 20s — ever since the artist got her break touring with Southern rap crew Nappy Roots around 2011.

A singer and classically trained cellist, she’s gained steady traction in recent years for her ethereal and haunting twist on pop.

In 2016, she released “Church,” her debut six-song EP recorded live with her cello and a loop pedal at a church in Brooklyn. She’s collaborated with experimental video artist Kahlil Joseph on short films. She’s worked with Solange, Kelela and Dev Hynes of Blood Orange, further cementing herself as part of a new wave of genre-bending black artists. And, in April, she released her first full-length album, “Blood,” through Columbia Records, home to superstar acts including Beyoncé and Adele.

Sitting in her manager’s Highland Park bungalow, Lu, 30, described her whimsical, folk-soul sound, which, she says, requires a sense of openness and patience. “My music isn’t something that you hear all the time. It is something … that has taken time and thought and effort into making it,” she said. “That’s something that, in mainstream music, is lacking nowadays.”

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But the shift is happening.

Since “Blood’s” release, Lu has been on a whirlwind tour, taking her to the experimental micro-city Arcosanti, Ariz., a Martha’s Vineyard art show, and overseas to the Sydney Opera House, among other places.

Lu wrote “Blood” over the course of a few years at spaces including the iconic EastWest Studios in Hollywood, and in the U.K. In that time frame, she also moved to Los Angeles — a city where, she said, she found her community.

“Blood” is Lu’s foray into bigger instrumentation and production. She calls it an ode to her home and her parents.

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At the woman-led festival Yola Día in L.A. on Aug. 18, Lu began her short and sultry set with “Blood’s” opening track “Rebel.” The song tells the story of her parents meeting in the 1960s. After playing the song’s rolling pizzicato intro, Lu began to sing — her cello and bow resting precariously in her left hand, while she gripped the microphone with her right:

“Then when you went to art school / Breaking hearts and all the rules / You met the man of your dreams / To society, he was unconventional / But you didn’t mind being outside.”

The song has a double meaning: As an interracial couple, Lu’s parents rebelled against the norms of society at the time, and Lu herself is something of a rebel — pushing back on the way she was raised and forging her own path.

Kelsey Lu

Kelsey Lu’s debut album, “Blood,” came out this year.

(Tyler Mitchell)

Born Kelsey McJunkins, music saturated Lu’s childhood in Charlotte, N.C.

Her father, a portrait artist and musician, blasted jazz while playing congas in his studio. Her mother played piano and took Lu and her older sister to the Charlotte Symphony, where she grew fascinated by the cello.

She followed her older sister’s footsteps and began playing the violin at 5.

Lu recalled the exact moment she knew she had to try the cello, at 9 years old. She was in the middle of her violin lesson, but a cello was “propped against a window,” pulling her attention, Lu said, her soft voice occasionally rising into a full-bellied laugh.

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“Just the moment I played it, I fell in love with it. Something about the way it just hit my body. The vibrations were so strong.”

Scarred by a karaoke session gone awry (it involved Jennifer Lopez’s 1999 hit “Waiting for Tonight”), Lu sang in secret while continuing her training in classical music. When she announced her plans to sing instead of playing cello for a high school talent show audition, her mother laughed.

But when she sang Etta James’ “At Last,” her mother began crying. “She was like, ‘I didn’t know you could sing.’ I was like, ‘Neither did I.’ ”

While Lu found solace in music, she also felt constrained by the strict boundaries and confines of the Jehovah’s Witness faith her parents enforced. At 18, she left home to attend the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem.

It was there that she found artistic freedom during late night sessions in empty practice rooms. “I started improvising over music that I liked,” she said. “And then I started collaborating with dancers and mixing music with other forms of art.”

Meeting like-minded art students continued to expand her worldview, but Lu also found the music conservatory setting stifling. After a year, she left school and began working at a restaurant, where she connected with local musicians.

“That was really what catapulted finding my own voice,” she said. While performing with a local rapper, she caught the attention of Nappy Roots, who invited her to tour with them for the next year and a half.

In between touring, she moved to New York in 2012, taking her cello, an iPhone and not much else. She began making songs on Garageband — her first, “Monster,” was created with empty wine bottles, cardboard ridges and the gentle meow of her sister’s kitten. She learned to use a loop pedal, a tool that gave her the power to layer her songs and perform live with her cello.

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By the time Lu moved to L.A., she had honed her identity as an artist. And importantly, found that her “creative health” spiked in the city.

She attributes that to getting tuned into the black arts community and finding her tribe at places such as the alternative art space Underground Museum.

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Film by Kelsey Lu and Alima Lee

When Kahlil Joseph first met Lu at the Underground Museum, he “assumed she was a big star,” the artist said by phone, calling Lu both “raw and refined.” Pretty quickly, he could tell “there was a deep soul but also an original voice that was all her own,” he added.

Late last year, Lu organized one of her favorite performances to date, an intimate show in a home designed by the late Paul R. Williams, a prolific black architect favored by Hollywood elite. Performing songs from the not-yet-released “Blood,” she was backed by all-black string players, including her older sister.

Being immersed in black art is important to her because it’s personal.

“Lifting up and showing just how diverse we are as people, especially in things like the arts and culture, where we’ve been either muted or we’ve been stripped and stolen,” she said. “So for me, it’s important to highlight the beauty and bomb-ness that exists.”

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Culture Report: Capturing Civil Rights Era Black Life in Southern California

Muhammad Ali Stokely Carmichael
Guy Crowder, “Muhammad Ali and Stokely Carmichael, Los Angeles, 1973.” / Photo courtesy of Tom and Ethel Bradley Center, CSUN.

A new photography exhibition opens this weekend in the San Diego Museum of Art’s Fleming Gallery, an admission-free space adjacent to Panama 66. “Black Life: Resistance and Resilience in Southern California” features the work of three black photographers working in Southern California during the second half of the 20th century.

Curator Gaidi Finnie, board chair of the San Diego African American Fine Art Museum, which collaborated with SDMA on the exhibition, gathered works by Guy Crowder, Harry Adams and Charles Williams from the vast archives in Cal State University Northridge’s Tom and Ethel Bradley Center.

Changing Lives and Changing Photography

“This was a community that was changing,” said Finnie. “It’s not the slavery period, it’s not the reconstruction period, but this is the civil rights period coming up to where we are today.”

The photography in the exhibition aims to showcase a wide range of black life — historically significant moments but also daily, simple life — in the period running from the 1950s to the late 1980s. Finnie subdivided the exhibition into categories including activism, sports, entertainment and lifestyle.

Magic Johnson
Guy Crowder, “Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas, and Michael Jordan, Los Angeles, 1989.” / Photo courtesy of Tom and Ethel Bradley Center, CSUN

More than an artifact, Finnie sees this exhibition as something very much alive, that continues to inspire. Plus, that period also encapsulated changes in the medium. “There was growth in photography,” he said. As photographers like Crowder, Adams and Williams were starting out, they didn’t have the luxury of photographing celebrities or prioritizing fine art photography.

“They had to do it to try to get paid and get someone to pay them, and there were no white publications paying them,” Finnie said.

Williams, a newspaper photographer, established the California School of Photography in order to jumpstart the careers of aspiring young photographers in the community, including Adams.

As the works in the exhibition approach the ‘70s, Finnie said, there are more pieces of famous sports figures and entertainers, and more fine art photography. As the photographers and the craft grew, so did their access to those subjects.

Black Art in a Major Balboa Park Institution

Harry Adams
Harry Adams, “Protest Car, Los Angeles, 1962.” Photo courtesy of Tom and Ethel Bradley Center, CSUN

“African American art is not an area in which this museum currently has a particularly strong collection,” said Anita Feldman, SDMA’s deputy director for curatorial affairs and education. Finnie and the San Diego African American Fine Art Museum had the “expertise but no venue,” Feldman said. The resulting exhibition is a collaboration and a joining of forces between institutions, along with the CSUN Tom and Ethel Bradley Center.

Finnie hopes that the exhibition — and its home in the free Fleming Gallery — will encourage San Diego’s black community and their visitors to experience the museum.

The Low-Cost Secret to SDMA’s 90 Percent Increase in Attendance

During roughly the last 5 years, SDMA has launched several programs that foster access to the museum’s collection and special exhibitions. The refurbished free Fleming Gallery also reaches a broader audience that includes people who might not otherwise enter the museum.

Fleming Gallery
Javier Marín sculptural installation in the SDMA Fleming Gallery earlier this year. / Photo by Julia Dixon Evans

In addition, the museum waives admission fees for school groups and youth, and their Friday night reduced admission ($5) is also free for college students. “We have definitely seen a great increase in attendance since we began these initiatives,” said Feldman. “Over 90 percent in the past 5 years.”

While the Fleming Gallery is separate from the museum’s primary space, it’s an expansion of the work into the community (along with their May S. Macy Sculpture Garden) and is integrated with Panama 66, a popular dining and drinking spot for locals and tourists alike. “I would argue that it is not off the beaten path,” said Feldman.

“Having an exhibition space that is free to the public is central to making the collection and our exhibitions more accessible,” she added.

“Black Life” is on display at SDMA from August 24 through December 1 and includes several special programs, like an opening celebration on August 29, a film screening of “Agents of Change” on September 13 and a conversation with Finnie and Keith Rice from the Bradley Center on October 26.

Third Annual San Diego Festival of Books

The Union-Tribune’s Festival of Books hits Liberty Station this Saturday, featuring Luis Alberto Urrea among a host of authors, literary stars and exhibitors. The day-long event is structured around panels and conversations, with plenty to do and see (and buy) outside of the panels, including author signings hosted by a variety of local bookstore tents. Last year’s festival attracted more than 20,000 book lovers.

The event is free, though each panel requires a $3 ticket to reserve a spot. Some panels are already selling out, and last year’s panels sold out completely. You can view a full panel schedule here.

(I’ll be part of a panel on writing fiction, along with novelist Samuel Halpern — aka the dad in the popular Twitter account “Shit My Dad Says” — and Kristina McMorris, moderated by Nina Garin.)

San Diego Festival of Books
Last Years San Diego Festival of Books. / Photo by Julia Dixon Evans

San Diego’s Imagineer, Storytelling and More Arts and Culture News

Gill Sotu
Gill Sotu will appear at “Be About It.” / Photo by Cliff Endsley

Closing Soon

Food, Etc.

White Claw
The Casbah is hashtagging about White Claw. / Photo via Instagram

What’s Inspiring Me Right Now

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Questlove set to executive-produce upcoming Broadway musical ‘Soul Train’

Questlove attends the 34th Annual Rock &amp; Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Barclay’s Centre in New York March 29, 2019. ― AFP pic
Questlove attends the 34th Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Barclay’s Centre in New York March 29, 2019. ― AFP pic

LOS ANGELES, Aug 21 ― The musical is slated to arrive in 2021 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the long-running music variety program, Deadline reports.

Although details about the play are still scarce, it will trace the personal story of Soul Train creator and host Don Cornelius, featuring more than 20 classic hits from the TV show’s tenure.

Among the musical’s leading creative team are director Kamilah Forbes, playwright Dominique Morisseau, and choreographer Camille A. Brown.

Musician Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson will also executive produce alongside Cornelius’ son Tony, CSI creator Anthony E. Zuiker, and Live Nation Urban president Shawn Gee.

“With many years of experience working directly with my father, I’m forever grateful and deeply humbled by the impact Soul Train has had on the culture at large both here and abroad. For 37 years, and with purpose, through music, dance and style, Soul Train brought Love, Peace & Soul to a national audience,” Tony Cornelius told Deadline.

The television series Soul Train, which left the air in 2006, played a significant role in US culture, showcasing the music and dance of influential African-American artists for an audience of millions.

Guest performers included James Brown, Tina Turner, the Jackson 5, Aretha Franklin, and Marvin Gaye, among others.

More recently, BTS Networks renewed the drama series American Soul, which is based on the Soul Train story, for a second season. ― AFP-Relaxnews

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment