All Articles Tagged "arts"
Anna Deavere Smith — actress, playwright, and New York University professor — has been awarded the prestigious 2013 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, which comes with a $300,000 prize, one of the largest in the arts.
The 19-year-old award is named after the sisters and actresses who got their start during the dawn of film back in the 1910s. Past recipients include Robert Redford, writer Chinua Achibe, and filmmaker Ingmar Bergman. It’s given to “a man or woman who has made an outstanding contribution to the beauty of the world and to mankind’s enjoyment and understanding of life.”
Smith is known for her work in Rent, the cable program Nurse Jackie, and the network show The West Wing. She’s also made a name for what the New York Times calls “socially conscious” one-woman shows, such as Twilight: Los Angeles, about the violence after the Rodney King verdict. Smith also has a namesake program, Anna Deavere Smith Works, that cultivates the arts and social change. Smith was chosen from a list of 30 finalists, according to IndieWire.
“We agree the arts are important, and we are committed to providing our customers with a diverse lineup of programming they want to watch. As for Ovation, the majority of their programming is old movies, reruns and infomercials, not arts. Our customers seem to agree that Ovation’s programming can easily be replaced with similar or identical programming on other networks such as PBS and others, as we have had very little customer response to the removal of Ovation from our channel lineup. We don’t agree with any of the claims made from this supposed study; through the video and Internet services we provide to our customers, we allow them to gain much greater access to the arts, regardless of their race, income or geography.”Time Warner Cable customers: Do you miss Ovation?
Across the country, there are many museums promoting, preserving, and honoring the history and culture of African-Americans. With a focus on art, music, technology, history, and even firefighters, here are ten amazing places to check out if you want a little more culture in your life.
African-American Museum, Dallas, TX
As one of the only museums of its kind in the Southwestern United States, the African-American Museum in Dallas was founded in 1974 at Bishop College, a HBCU that closed in 1988. It ran independently starting in 1979, constructed a new facility that opened in, and houses one of the largest African-American Folk Art collections in the US.
Beyonce is on the cover of Jones magazine’s 2011/2012 Winter issue–their first-ever dedicated to entertainment and the arts.
Inside, King B discusses her contributions to music, film, and fashion, and where she stands now as one of the most celebrated artists of our time.
The issue hits newsstands Dec. 15. Tell us what you think about the cover!
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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The story of black people and the 2011 Tony Awards can be summed up in one word: musicals. Patina Miller has been refining her lead in “Sister Act” for years, both here and abroad. The three men nominated this year, Joshua Henry, Colman Domingo, and Forrest McClendon, all hail from “The Scottsboro Boys”, a show that proves popular appeal isn’t everything. Finally, Nikki M. James is a member of “The Book of Mormon”, which apparently is a lot more fun than the title suggests.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Fresh from Carnegie Mellon’s theater program Patina Miller gathered her bartending money, boarded a Greyhound and set out for New York. The first part she read for was Deloris Van Cartier, the lead character in “Sister Act”. She made understudy, but later, when the show headed to London, she was the star. The run lasted two years and when Whoopi Goldberg decided to bring the show to Broadway, Patina was the only actress to make the transition. Film may be next. Aretha Franklin is working on a biopic and after being turned down by Halle Berry, recently announced that Miller is in the running.
(AJC) — Mayor Kasim Reed has reversed his decision to cut the city’s Office of Cultural Affairs grants program by half, telling arts leaders Thursday that he’s restoring its full budget to $470,000. Reed acknowledged that the arts trim, as part of an attempt to close an overall shortfall of $17 million in the city’s 2012 budget, “didn’t sit right” with him. It didn’t sit right either with arts leaders and artists, more than 200 who held a rally at City Hall and spoke at a City Council budget hearing last week. “I’ve been thinking about it and then I realized, I was the mayor,” Reed said with a smile. “We’re going to restore every single penny.” A full Marriott Marquis ballroom of metro Atlanta arts and corporate leaders attending the Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund luncheon gave Reed a standing ovation.
(AJC) — The city of Atlanta’s support for artists and cultural groups appears heading for a significant cut, and the local arts community is preparing to rally.
(Washington Post) — A few days before opening in “Sabrina Fair” at Ford’s Theatre last fall, Susan Heyward found herself bawling in front of the cast. “At first I didn’t understand why I couldn’t stop crying,” Heyward says in an interview from New York. Heyward was playing the lead — the Audrey Hepburn part, if you think of the movie “Sabrina” — in Samuel A. Taylor’s 1953 Cinderella romance. Chauffeur’s Daughter Captures Heart of Rich Employer’s Son, goes the story, only Ford’s made the play about race by isolating Sabrina and her father as black figures in an affluent white milieu.
The script itself remained unchanged. But even though the characters did not mention the new theme, it was blatant. “It hurt so much to be in a world where something so elemental to your being was ignored,” Heyward says, explaining her sudden eruption. “I had to acknowledge that for Sabrina.” There may be power yet, then, in an idea that last seemed vanguard a couple of decades ago: nontraditional casting. Latinos, blacks and whites in Arena Stage’s “Oklahoma!” last fall, and now an African American version of Horton Foote’s 1953 “The Trip to Bountiful” at Bethesda’s Round House Theatre. The concepts don’t necessarily seem fresher than Arena’s “Pygmalion” with an African American Eliza Doolittle 20 years ago or an all-black “Waiting for Godot” on Broadway in 1957.
But Timothy Douglas, director of “The Trip to Bountiful” (best known as the 1985 film that won Geraldine Page the Academy Award for Best Actress), suggests that nontraditional casting is enjoying a renaissance. The flurry on Broadway in recent seasons has included Morgan Freeman in Clifford Odets’s “The Country Girl,” S. Epatha Merkerson in “Come Back, Little Sheba” and an all-black “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” — all 1950s plays, curiously, like “Bountiful.” “I don’t think we’re beyond it,” says Douglas, adding that the notion of the Obama era as post-racial is fantasy. “There is this other huge section, and I belong to it, that says no, the conversation just begins. So, on that level, nontraditional casting has a potential for even greater impact now.”
(New York Times) — After a 14-month Broadway run, “Fela!” could return to its origins. Producers for the Tony-winning show, which closed to an enthusiastic audience Sunday at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre, are in talks for a two-year international tour that would stop in the Nigerian capital of Lagos and include the summer festival circuit in Europe. The musical, which explores the life of Afrobeat pioneer and activist Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, is set in 1970s Lagos, home of Mr. Kuti, the hottest musician in Africa at the time. He became an international music star in the 1980s, releasing nearly 70 albums before his death in 1997. Nigeria has been touted by supporters and cast members as the penultimate stop for the production, but dollars, cents and venues are still in play.