Embracing Eatonville at UMMA Off/Site

EMbracing EatonvilleEMbracing Eatonville

There is still time to visit the photography exhibition Embracing Eatonville at the University of Michigan Musuem of Art Off/Site (through March 18th).

Located in Orange County, Florida, Eatonville was the first incorporated African-American community in the nation. Today, it is perhaps best known for its annual showcase of arts, literature and culture that celebrates native daughter Zora Neale Hurston.

The current exhibition "celebrates the spirit and character of Eatonville through the work of contemporary photographers Dawoud Bey, Lonnie Graham, Carrie Mae Weems, and Deborah Willis, each of whom have created a new body of work for this exhibition as they explore the importance of place to individual and collective identity".

History Bits - African-American Artists

Introduce kids to African-American history through visual arts. Two books that overview African-American artists since slavery are In Praise Of Our Fathers And Our Mothers: A Black Family Treasury and Wake Up Our Souls. Three youth level biographies with color illustrations of the artist's work are Romare Bearden a collage artist; Don't Hold Me Back with poetry by Nikki Giovanni and art by Winfred Rembert; and Faith Ringgold.

If you wish to find names of African-American artists you can use our database called Biography Resource Center and use the "biographical facts search".

Ann Arbor is getting krump!

Tommy the Clown and the Hip-Hop Clowns are coming to Ann Arbor as part of the 2007 Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Symposium, an annual series of events honoring the life and vision of Dr. King at the University of Michigan. Tommy the Clown invented clown dancing and has since offered membership in his dance team to youth as an alternative to gangs. They will perform a tribute to Dr. King, Wednesday, February 7th at the Michigan League Ballroom at 7:30pm.

If you want to learn more about an incredible new style of dance, check out Rize. This exhilarating movie documents the origins of krumping and clown dancing in South Central Los Angeles.

Ann Arbor's African American Community to be Discussed

In honor of Martin Luther King Day, local authors Carol Gibson and Lola Jones will be presenting an introduction to the history of the African American community in Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County at the Sunday, January 14 session of 'Sunday Edition' at the Downtown Library at 2:00 pm. Their presentation will be based on their new book Another Ann Arbor, a photographic survey of the history and contributions of African Americans. The program will include a selection of the images from the book. Additional information about the local African American community can be found at the Another Ann Arbor web site. The 'Sunday Edition Program' is free and open to all.

Little Rose brings the thunder!

Looking for a fun western tale to share with your little one? Try Thunder Rose by Jerdine Nolen and illustrated by Kadir Nelson. This is the inspiring tale of a precocious little girl who chooses her own name, wrestles a bull into loyalty, and rides the thunder right into the sunset. Rose is no ordinary girl, nor will she stand to be thought of as such. She is a strong heroine with a brave song. Jerdine Nolen and Kadir Nelson continue to offer wonderful books with positive, diverse and glowing images of African-American children.

"Daughters of the Dust" at the Michigan Theater

Eli Peazant: "What're we supposed to remember, Nana? How, at one time, were we able to protect those we loved? How, in Africa world, we were kings and queens and built great big cities?"
Nana Peazant: "Eli, I'm trying to teach you how to touch your own spirit. I'm fighting for my life, Eli, and I'm fighting for yours. Look in my face! I'm trying to give you something to take north with you, along with all your great big dreams."

Originally released in 1991, Daughters of the Dust tells the story of the Peazant family, an early 20th century African American family trying to make the difficult decision to migrate north or remain on the Sea Islands off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia where they have maintained their Gullah language and culture. Director Julie Dash creates a stunning portrait of three generations torn between maintaining tradition and the prospect of a new life. Daughters of the Dust won the Sundance Film Festival award for Best Cinematography in 1991. It will show at the Michigan Theater this Thursday, October 12th at 7:15pm and again Sunday, October 15th at 6pm.

Alice Coltrane Quartet Comes to Ann Arbor

Jazz fans won't want to miss the performance of the Alice Coltrane Quartet at Hill Auditorium on Saturday, September 23. Sponsored by the University Music Society, the concert features Alice Coltrane, her son Ravi, Charlie Haden, and Roy Haynes and celebrates the legacy of the late jazz great John Coltrane. Tickets can be purchased online, by phone, or in person at the Michigan League Ticket Office.

Idlewild

According to Sunday's Ann Arbor News, Idlewild, the new film opening this week, is named after the famous Lake County Michigan resort, otherwise known as the Black Eden of Michigan in the 1920s and '30s and the Summer Apollo of Michigan in the 1950s and '60s. Idlewild, Michigan, hosted great jazz acts in its day, including Duke Ellington, and was the vacation spot of choice for such black luminaries as Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston. Even W.E.B. Du Bois owned a home there. But the film itself is set in Georgia and its "Idlewild" is a small-town speakeasy. It does take place during the same period and features the music of OutKast (a bit of a historical stretch, but oh well). So far, reviews are mixed but Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gives it an A-.

You can read more about the real Idlewild in Idlewild: the Black Eden of Michigan by Ronald J. Stephens.

Barry Harris: The Spirit of Bebop

Barry Harris

Monday, June 5, 7:00-8:30 pm Downtown Library Multi-Purpose Room

Come see this fascinating documentary of jazz innovator Barry Harris. This film, by Edgar Howard, also pays homage to jazz luminaries like Parker, Monk, Bud Powell and Dizzy Gillespie. Jazz scholar Lars Bjorn will introduce this 55 minute film and lead a discussion afterwards.

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