Check out of Snippet of Strange Fruit Redux the latest one act play by our very own Founder Afrika Brown. #Broadwaynottoofaraway
Check out of Snippet of Strange Fruit Redux the latest one act play by our very own Founder Afrika Brown. #Broadwaynottoofaraway
Cut N’ Mix explores the work of artists experimenting with collage and collage techniques in ways that expand the gestures of cutting paper and mixing various mediums together. It takes as its point of departure some of the concepts from Dick Hebdidge’s series of essays collectively titled Cut N Mix: Culture, Identity and Caribbean Music, published in 1980. In this text, Hebdidge explored the variations of Caribbean reggae and dancehall and other related styles of music as emblematic markers of Caribbean ideas of nationhood, belonging, and the making of culture. The artists included in the exhibition range from established artists who are veterans of collage to new generations of artists experimenting with this malleable medium.
Participating Artists: Elia Alba, Jesse Amado, Blanka Amezkua, Javier Barrera, Maria Berrio, Cecilia Biagini, Michael Paul Britto, José Camacho, Karlos Carcamo, Nat Castañeda, Gaby Collins-Fernandez, Matias Cuevas, Rafael Ferrer, Roger Gaitan, Carolina Gomez, Javier Ramirez/NADIE, Carlos Gutierrez Solana, Hector Madera, Glendalys Medina, Alex Nuñez, Catalina Parra, Carlos Rigau, Hernan Rivera Luque, Linda Vallejo, Rafael Vega and Eduardo Velázquez.
Cut N’ Mix: Contemporary Collage will be on display from July 22, 2015 – October 17, 2015. For more information check out http://www.elmuseo.org/cut-n-mix/.
No one truly knows what the day holds as they prepare to step out their front door. Burgeoning Bed-Stuy artist Nathan Strange is poised to be the next sensation of the New York City art scene, but a common trend plaguing our society may prevent him from doing that.
Written by Afrika Brown, STRANGE FRUIT REDUX is a series of poem monologues mixed with music and socio-political pop culture sound bites that reflect the fears and frustration of the modern black man and stars Bryant L. Lewis. STRANGE FRUIT REDUX is making its premiere at Manhattan Repertory Theatre‘s 10th Anniversary Event.
Manhattan Repertory Theatre was created in 2005 by Jennifer Pierro and Ken Wolf. Manhattan Repertory Theatre produces full-length plays, One Act Play competitions, and monthly short play events. Since 2005, Manhattan Rep has produced over 1000 full length plays and over 500 short plays. Manhattan Rep is committed to the artist, to creating a context of creativity and support a clean and professional environment. Manhattan Rep celebrates unbridled creativity, not judgement, and believes that a script is not a play, just the map for a creative team to bring it to life.
Playwright, poet, author and journalist, Afrika Brown is known for writing riveting lifestyle and entertainment features. In 2006, Brown published Sepia Sapphire, a collection of poetry. In 2007, Brown’s weekly chapter series Diary of a Break Up was featured by Universitychic.com. In 2009, she founded F.A.M.E. NYC Magazine. In 2014 Brown’s one act play, THE OUTING, was featured in Open Hydrant’ Urban Waves Festival, Manhattan Repertory Theatre’s Summer Short Play Festival and The Strawberry Festival.
Manhattan Repertory Theatre‘s 10th Anniversary Event runs from July 15th to 16th at 9 p.m. Ticket reservations can be made at firstname.lastname@example.org. Manhattan Repertory Theatre is located at 303 West 42nd Street #3.
Few jazz artists have the legacy of Ravi Coltrane. To say jazz is in his blood is an understatement; he is jazz royalty. His father, John Coltrane, created the quintessential jazz opus with Love Supreme and is actually a saint. His mother, Alice Coltrane, was a jazz pianist, composer, harpist and organist who led her own band and accompanied her husband.
Extending the legacy given to him by his parents, Ravi is an accomplished post-bop saxophonist. Since 1998 he has released six albums as a band leader, the last being Spirit Fiction in 2012 on Blue Note along with dozens of appearances as a sideman on various artists’ albums ranging from Steve Coleman to Flying Lotus. He is also the co-owner of RKM Music.
Although this winter has been one of the harshest in recent history, Coltrane’s appearance at Jazz Standard got February started on a smooth, sublime note. The Ravi Coltrane Quintet, comprised of Coltrane on tenor sax, Ralph Alessi on trumpet, Aaron Parks on piano, Bob Hurst on bass and Jeff “Train” Watts on drums, were featured at Jazz Standard from February 3-8. The set included five numbers; the first was Ornette Coleman’s Bird Food. The second was Word Order from Coltrane’s 2000 album From the Round Box. The third was a piece titled Between Lines. The set concluded with For Turiya a piece written for Alice Coltrane and Thelonious Monk’s Brilliant Corners with arrangements by Jeff Watts. The Ravi Coltrane Quintet played the role of shamen. They enchanted us with soothing, intricate layers of melody. Hearing Coltrane live with the accompaniment of Parks, Hurst, Alessi and Watts was magical. Overall it was like a hot toddy on a frosty night – warm, soothing with just the right dose of kick courtesy of Watts’ arrangement of Brilliant Corners. It swung with a bit of a hip hop beat and would make a perfect sample. As for Coltrane, he has successfully carried the legacy of his family all while carving a lane for himself. He has truly earned the moniker “renaissance man.”
Most clubs don’t live up to the illustrious names that their owners bequeath to them. Jazz Standard is the exception, it is the prototype of what jazz spot should be – intimate, comfortable and filled with melody. Located at 116 East 27th Street, any jazz buff can walk down a flight of stairs and treat themselves to a plate of barbeque and night of legendary talent and the best new artisans of jazz.
Since the beginning of mankind, humans have kept records of events. These narratives shape our civilization. People turn to the history books to learn about the past, understand the present and possibly predict the future. But visual art can sometimes render words unnecessary. Such is the case of Ken Kaminski and his paintings that chronicle the events of 911, the recovery period that continues to unfold and indeed the period before September 11, 2001. Through hues of purple, yellow, red, blue, black, white, and through the style of Abstract Expressionism, Ken Kaminski retells a story that is permanently etched in the minds of everyone in this nation.
Last August Kaminski’s 9/11 Paintings were featured at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Edward Williams Gallery. This exhibit offered viewers a pictorial on canvas spanning from the airplanes slicing through perfect blue skies, to the chaos and destruction of the twin towers and ultimately their demise. And like history, the lessons of the past can and sometimes do repeat themselves. With Kaminski the story of his 9/11 work has come back around again and although the plot is slightly altered, the impact is just as potent. On January 31, Kaminski’s Recovery Paintings exhibit opened at Walter Wickiser Gallery. The exhibit is comprised of seven paintings: Baghdad (1991), Wounded Towers (2002), Collapse (2011), Intersection (2011), Intersection 2 (2011) and Ghost Towers (2011). On the crisp white walls of this Chelsea gallery, Kaminski’s paintings and the story they convey take on new life.
The tale begins with Baghdad. Geometric shapes burst from a tawny plain. Waves of red and black anchor the bottom to the painting. In a way these impressions look like oil and blood that has been shed for that oil. Dead center is a bull’s eye. If a history buff was inclined to trace back the events that led to 9/11 one would have to make a stop at Baghdad, in fact, some might argue it was the first ground zero.
Wounded Towers goes straight to the center of that horrible day. As the towers bend, slowly yielding to their fate, bold colors of red, white, blue, yellow, green and black entangle the surface. Between the brushstrokes and paint Kaminski smeared with his fingers, the agony of the fuming towers is consciously and unconsciously evident. While I viewed this painting last year, this time I was able to see a under case “p” resting in the middle. When I saw it I was gobsmacked. Why haven’t I seen it before? P…pain, and why haven’t I ever used that word to describe that day?
Collapse is an overwhelmingly tumultuous piece. You can see the tower being taken asunder in copious shades of blue and black and streaks of yellow and orange and a splash of red. As with Wounded Towers a “p” appears in the center of the painting. It’s dark and sweeps over you like a tidal wave.
Intersection and Intersection 2 return once again, and more directly, to the geometric shapes that are present in Baghdad only these shapes are surrounded by thicker, darker hues. The dense globules of paint reminded me of the soot that covered the surrounding area of Ground Zero or the heavy plumes of smoke that hovered over the smoldering remnants for days. Like its title these works act as a conduit linking what was to what is and the possibly of what might be.
Ghost Towers is a piece with spiritual dimensions. In this work Kaminski pays homage to lives lost on 9/11. In total, all of these works tell a distinct story about history from a very distinct point of view. But chronicling modern events using paint and canvas is only one of the narratives this exhibit tells. The other signifies the title of the exhibit itself, Recovery Paintings. Although Kaminski has fused sociopolitical themes into his work previously, the paintings that were influenced by the events of 9/11 were his therapy – a way to reconcile the horror and enormity of a moment in time that continues to affect us. Indeed his recovery has become our recovery and as we continue to look back on 9/11 while trying to navigate our present and future, Kaminski gives a starting point that can be used in our healing as we continue to record and create history.
Written by Afrika Brown, F.A.M.E NYC Editor and Founder
Tears etch scars down my cheeks
Fresh blood, new death each week
Black bodies and Blue justice gone viral
New day but its HIStory we rival
We scream no justice, no peace
We create footsteps in the streets
Covering the prints of elders before
But what really lies at the core
Is it my melanin?
The place I live in
The coiled roots of my dome
Or the fact that this land was never my home
We contribute to the prosperity of red, white and blue
But Uncle Sam don’t give a damn ‘bout folks with my hue
Occupy Wall Street, Hands Up –Don’t Shoot
And while we “die-in” stores, corporations still get loot
Weren’t we sick and tired with Fannie Lou Hamer
Technologies advance with frozen minds, it don’t get no stranger
Are we the problem or the solution?
The cure or the pollution
Maybe we are everything you see
Cause this land made for you and me
Is a whore born out of hypocrisy
A blind lady holding up scales
The bitch is deaf too and dead men tell no tales
Seventeen watching Rodney King
Twenty –two years, new video, same sting
Can you see the ring I’m trying to paint?
Full circle of blood smeared and stained
With the crimson of Mike Brown, Sean Bell, Trayvon
Amadou, Anthony Baez… do I have to go on?
No, I don’t need to go any farther
Cause the tombstones go past Eric Garner
Unarmed man blasted in a project stairwell
And still you don’t think Jim Crow ain’t alive and well
Dead black men just pictures on your TV
Not too different from black men swinging on trees
They called them strange fruit
KKK, zealous pigs, identical boot
Bearing down our larynx
Shouting NEXT GENERATION…NEXT
So I can’t trust the boys in blue
Or the boys in blue
And red bandannas who
Fit the criminal profile
But wait…we all fit the profile
Of being descendants of the three-fifths lifestyle
Cause when these laws were being made
My great-grandparents were slaves
For a country made for you and me
It’s been slow in spreading equality
And while the twentieth century is written about in books
The new millennium carries the shadow of a familiar look
And while CNN tries to discover who really is the foe
I say it’s just the ghost of SAMO
If you’re a fan of Sex and the City’s fab four, you’re going to love this. One of the oldest slot machine makers in the world, IGT, developed a game that carries with it the commercial license of HBO’s hit romantic comedy. Fans of the show will feel at home playing it, as they will find a lot of recognizable slot machine reel symbols that are actually based from the characters, setting, and theme of Sex and the City.
The Sex and the City slot machine is a colossal success at the Resorts World Casino in Queens. An article by New York Mag, stated that some of the guests even came all the way from Manhattan when they learned that Sex and the City slot machines were being offered by Resorts World.
“I came just for this game,” said Janis Savit, a jewelry designer that the New York Mag interviewed for their Sex and the City slot machine feature. “It was more fun than doing work.”
Perhaps the success of slot machines can be attributed to how they change along with the times. No longer the traditional coin-op and lever machine, these slots have become the money-spinners of casinos thanks to their high-definition graphics, surround sound entertainment, and progressive jackpot features. According to data, the slot machine business is so successful that not only is it a $160 billion industry, but companies that offer it online are also doing very well. Cryptologic,the operator of the first online casino brand in 1996 InterCasino, is still in operation and has recently optimized their games to HTML5 in order to make their titles playable on many gaming platforms. In the U.S., the online gaming market is predicted to be valued at around $73 million by 2015.
Sex and City is the epitome of a modern slot machine. Apart from the 5-reel interface, the game offers bonus rounds and huge jackpots to players who are patient enough to hit them.
The bonus features of the game also carry with them the identity of the show that millions of Americans have come to love. For example, when players hit the “Shoe Closet” feature they will be able to see stylish shoes that the Fab Four wore at some point in the show. Another bonus feature of the game is called “Simply Fabulous” and features Charlotte wearing an engagement ring. In this game, players need to select four engagement ring boxes that would reward them credits in the end.
Click here to learn more about the Sex and the City slot machine game.
One of my favorite childhood fables was the story of Henny Penny. What always stuck with me was the repeated use of the phrase, “The sky is falling.” It was the first time I was ever confronted with a tale that dealt with hysteria. How could I had known that one day I would feel driven to scream those exact words, but when I saw the twin towers ablaze and the mayhem that was unfolding in real time as we helplessly watch on TV, I felt like that manic chicken wrought with panic and fear. September 11, 2001 is a mental scar I’ll always carry with me.
As intense as the memories are of that day, I can scarcely remember any color with the exception being the perfect blue sky that offered the delusion that nothing that terrible could befall us. What I remember most are the feelings that coursed through me at rates so fast I could barely record them, terror firmly placing a grip around my neck, anxiety tapping Morse code up and down my arms, disorientation mushrooming in my brain and grief taking possession of my heart. I returned home from my job, where we had to evacuate because of a bomb threat, turned on my TV and laid down on my bed to hear the sounds of faint whistles from dying firemen. I felt absolutely defeated.
The tragedy of 9/11 left this country reeling and sent us all on our own journeys as we tried to reconcile what happened. Ken Kaminski’s journey took him to the canvas creating a series of work that spans well over a decade. Using the template of abstract expressionists like Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock and Emerson Woefler, Kaminski has attempted to record the events and emotions of that day as well as the recovery period that continues to shape us. His efforts also allow those who are too young to remember 9/11 the ability to witness the emotion of that day.
FAMERS I am here to report that his endeavors are wildly successful. I had the pleasure of viewing a few of Kaminski’s 9/11 paintings at the Edward Williams Gallery, located at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Hackensack campus. The exhibit includes eight selected works that brilliantly convey the events of that day brightly expressed in various hues. The exhibit begins with Blue Sky Day – triptych. This three panel painting brings you face to face with speed of these flying bombs and the majestic sky that it corrupted. With each panel the viewer sees the countdown of the planes getting closer and closer until it hits making its bloody and destructive impact.
911 The Moment It Happened is an eerie mix of color. The space surrounding The World Center no longer is colored in blue like the atmosphere painted in Blue Sky Day, instead the blue is muddled with streaks of different colors showing the chaos that followed the impact of the first plane, represented in an explosion of oranges and reds bursting from the side of the tower. Streams of black cover one of the towers like a foreshadowing of despair to come.
Blindsided shows the line of fire going straight into one of the towers then blasting out of the other side. Crippled from the blow, the tower bends and the pain is obvious. All that is missing is the scream, but if you remember the sound of the planes hitting the towers, then this painting will ensure that the awful roar of the plane echoes in your ears. Blindsided is an acute observation of a drive-by.
Twins! is a stoic, almost haunting, vision of The World Trade Center towers before 8:46 a.m. September 11, 2001. They were proud and victorious, a symbol of might and power. They represented everything that was great about The Big Apple. In Kaminski’s painting they appeared alive and vibrant again instead of frozen as they are in photographs. The yellow background also contributes to the energy of the piece. It makes you long for the nostalgia of what used to be. If this painting were a song, it would be called The Way We Were.
Wounded Towers is a kaleidoscope of disorder. The colors vividly capture the confusion permeating the area as people scrambled for safety and the bent, smoldering towers desperately tried to remain the symbols of glory that they once were, a last valiant effort before they ultimately disintegrated into dust.
Collapse is engulfed in a blending of hues that bring chills to the spine. The voices of those who were lost don’t just whisper, they shriek. It shows the true potential of visual art. There are no words necessary, this painting is one of the most telling portraits of pain and suffering that I’ve ever saw. If someone wanted to understand the mood of the country when the tragedy of 9/11 occurred, all they would have to do is view this painting.
Considering this year will mark the 13th anniversary of 9/11, I believe Kaminski’s exhibit couldn’t visit the New York metropolitan area at a better time. It allows another way for us to remember and venerate a day that will forever be a part of our history. Kaminski’s work carries with it a raw, emotional ambiance. It pulls you in. No matter how hard the visuals may be to look at, Kaminski’s work burst past your pupils and forces you to deal with whatever memories or residual feelings you may have buried. For as much as Kaminski’s work is steeped in tragedy, it is also immersed in the resilience of the city of New York and its people. Yes, the sky did fall, but we didn’t get mired in the pain. We stood atop the ashes; we rebuilt and honored those we lost. The 9/11 paintings are not only powerful and healing; they are a testament that when an artist creates from his or her soul the work that is generated is timeless.
To learn more about Ken Kaminski and view more of his work check out, http://www.kenkaminski.com/. Kaminski’s 9/11 Paintings will be on display at the Edward Williams Gallery, located at 150 Kotte Place, Hackensack NJ, until 9/26/14. Gallery hours are 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturdays.
Photos and Video: F.A.M.E NYC Editor
The Phantom of the Opera is a Broadway staple. It’s one of the productions that tourists come to New York City to see. Last year it celebrated its 25th anniversary on Broadway making it the longest running show in the history of The Great White Way. With grosses over $800 million, it’s the most financially successful theater production to date. In May The Phantom of the Opera made history once again by adding the first Phantom of color, actor Norm Lewis.
The Phantom of the Opera began its epic run on Broadway in 1988 and after 26 years it still packs in the crowds. One might think that after all this time this musical juggernaut might have lost its steam – what with all the new productions dealing with more modern issues – but there is a reason why classics never die. If you haven’t seen The Phantom of the Opera, I’m here to tell you that you should and I have five good reasons to back me up.
The Phantom of the Opera intertwines this theme into the beauty and the beast subplot. The Phantom in all his grotesque glory loves Christine Daaé, a beautiful young soprano. So much so that he will kill to ensure her success at the French opera house. She is his muse and musically they do share a connection, but his disfigured face and criminal behavior prevents her from conceiving of the possibility of returning his love. Another complication for The Phantom is the reemergence of Raoul, the Vicomte de Chagny, Christine’s childhood playmate and first love. Everyone has their favorite fables about unrequited love. Wuthering Heights…Gone With the Wind… The Phantom of the Opera definitely ranks up there with the greatest love stories told on stage or screen.
There is a new Phantom in town and his name is Norm Lewis. Stepping into a role as iconic as the Phantom can be quite the undertaking, 25 years and several other Phantoms before you, and every die-hard Phantom fan has their favorite. But Lewis holds true to magic and sinister nature of the Phantoms before him. In fact, he adds another dimension to the story of a brilliant man forced to hide in the shadows of an opera house because of the way he looks and is driven mad by the isolation and rejection.
Sierra Boggess has been playing the role of Christine Daaé in various productions since 2006. She first played the role in a production of The Phantom of the Opera in Las Vegas. She played Christine in the sequel to Phantom, Love Never Dies. On Broadway, she reprised the role in 2013 for a six-week engagement. In March, it was announced that she would return along with Norm Lewis. As soon as Boggess utters the first note you can tell how familiar she is with the role. Her voice fills the Majestic Theatre with a power and tenderness that can be felt from the orchestra to the mezzanine. If you are not a fan of opera, Boggess will make you one or at the very least you will have a greater appreciation for the craft.
The music of The Phantom of the Opera was composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber with lyrics written by Charles Hart and additions from Richard Stilgoe, who also wrote the book with Webber. The music and lyrics are one of the reasons why The Phantom of the Opera is the most successful theater productions on Broadway and around the world. Just hearing the entrancing number “The Music of the Night” is enough to fill seats or the beautiful exchange between Raoul and Christine in “All I Ask of You”; the music and lyrics captivates the audience from beginning to end and gloriously illuminates the genius of Andrew Lloyd Webber.
From the lavish sets and costumes, the music and lyrics, to the performers, The Phantom of the Opera harkens back to a time when going to the theater was a complete transformation into another world and the audience felt lucky to be a part of it because it was happening live in front of them. The pageantry and opulence of The Phantom of the Opera holds a mirror to the mediocre productions that somehow get backing and land on Broadway and says, “Tisk…tisk…tisk. This is how you create theater.” Simply put, they just don’t make ‘em like this anymore and no matter your age or generation quality is quality. And the fuel that runs The Phantom of the Opera is excellence.
Photos by Matthew Murphy
Stone Hubbard (Salome) Stone is honored and grateful to play the role of Salome in the production of THE OUTING. Stone is also known for his role as Bontemps in The Devil, Kerry in Damaged Goods, and Manolo in The Odd Couple. Stone studied acting at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts before moving to Los Angeles to pursue his career. He is also a talented designer with a specialty in handbags. He loves live music and good company. Stone wishes to thank his Mom and Victoria for their unyielding love and guidance.
Chablis Quarterman (Jizelle) Chablis is a freckly, 21-year-old, half Puerto Rican, half English native New Yorker. She studied Theater at LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, and has been performing stand-up comedy around the city for the past two years. She is excited to be a part of Manhattan Repertory Theatre Company’s festival.
Eileen Ryckman (Jasmine) originally from Michigan, Eileen has performed on stage in such plays as 12 Angry Jurors and The Water Engine. She has also worked on a number of short films and has an acting credit on Celebrity Ghost Stories. She has studied acting at T. Schreiber Studio and NYU. Eileen is also a marathon runner having officially completed three 26.2 mile races including the 2013 New York City Marathon.
Iman Ward (Robin) Iman is a Southern California girl now calling New York City her home. She is a recent graduate from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in the Studio Acting program. During her training, she’s been blessed with the opportunity to play the roles of: Veronica in The Motherfucker With The Hat, Helena in Alls Well That Ends Well, Rose in Fences, and Young Laveer/Laveer in Long Time Since Yesterday. Prior to her training at AMDA, she extensively studied improvisation at The Second City, which led to her own improv troupe playing on the theater’s main stage weekly. Iman is now currently studying at The Pearl Theatre by instructor Dan Daily.
Natalie Birriel (Train) Natalie is so excited and grateful to be working on such a significant and beautiful piece of theatre. Theatre credits include: Christopher Ashley’s Dram of Drummhicit at La Jolla Playhouse, Three Sisters:Awake at New York Theatre Workshop, Man Hat Wife, Baldwin New Play Festival, Marisol(ws) at Williamstown Theatre Festival. Natalie possesses a MFA from UC San Diego and sends infinite love and gratitude to my family.
Luis Reyes Cardenas (Director) Off-Broadway: Fools in Love; Manhattan Ensemble Theater/BAM. NY: Balm in Gilead, Barefoot Theatre Company, Tempest Toss’d,NYMF. Playwright: Last Exit in New York, Aint Gonna B E Z, Play the Papers for Lupe, Boys Like Me. Film: Shakespeare High, Executive Producer, Kevin Spacey. Regional: The Drowsy Chaperone, Evita, Tommy, Big River, Little Shop of Horrors, Angels in America. Producer: FutureFest, FNAM, Co-Artistic Director/Founder of Open Hydrant Theater Company/Director of SNFI Individual Events at Stanford University. www.openhydrant.org and www.shakespearehigh.org.