Tag: Lincoln Center

VH1 Taps Ashanti, Keke Palmer, Amber Rose & More for Salt-N-Pepa Tribute Tonight on “Hip Hop Honors”

Sandra ‘Pepa’ Denton, DJ Spinderella and Cheryl ‘Salt’ James of Salt-N-Pepa attend the 2016 MTV Movie Awards at Warner Bros. Studios on April 9, 2016 in Burbank, Calif. (CHRISTOPHER POLK/GETTY IMAGES FOR MTV)

article by Adelle Platon via billboard.com

VH1 is pushing out another stellar tribute for Salt-N-Pepa at this year’s Hip Hop Honors. The network announced on Friday (July 8) that Ashanti, Amber RoseKeke Palmer and Dreezy will be paying homage to the first all-female rap crew, comprised of Cheryl “Salt” JamesSandy “Pepa” Denton and DJ Spinderella.

The ladies will be shaking their thang (SNP pun intended) alongside other surprise guests for the evening’s tributes to fellow honorees Missy Elliott, Queen Latifah and Lil’ Kim. As previously announced, Pharrell, Timbaland and Nelly Furtado among others will salute Elliot while Common, Da Brat, Naughty By Nature and more will be on-hand to hail Queen Latifah.

Pharrell, Timbaland, Nelly Furtado & More to Honor Missy Elliott at VH1 Hip Hop Honors

VH1 Hip Hop Honors will land at New York’s David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center tonight, July 11, making its comeback after six years.

Dominique Morisseau and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins Win 2015 Steinberg Playwright Awards

Dominque Morisseau (L) and Branden Jacobs
Playwrights Dominque Morisseau (L) and Branden Jacobs (photo via eurweb.com)

Playwrights Dominique Morisseau and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins were honored at the 2015 Steinberg Playwright Awards held at Lincoln Center Theater in New York City.

The Steinberg Playwright Awards are presented biennially to playwrights in early and middle stages of their careers who have distinctive and compelling voices and whose current bodies of work exhibit exceptional talent and artistic excellence.

Jacobs-Jenkins stuns audiences with laughter, intrigue and thought compelling plots that poke at race, class and culture in plays such as Appropriate, Neighbors, War and Octoroon.

Ms. Morisseau’s plays provide an equal literary and emotional landscape and they include: Skeleton Crew, Detroit ’67, Paradise Blue and Blood At The Root.

In attendance at the Steinberg Playwright Awards were past award recipients Rajiv Joseph and Lisa D’Amour; 2015 Steinberg Playwright Awards Advisory Committee members Jeremy Cohen, Kwame Kwei-Armah, Neil Pepe, Bill Rauch and Chay Yew; as well as Laura Osnes, Celia Keenan-Bolger, John Ellison Conlee, Michael Urie, Sarah Stiles, Geneva Carr, Wesley Taylor, Montego Glover, Lynda Gravatt, Mara Davi, Ashley Park, Stephen Henderson and many more.

article by LaRita Shelby via eurweb.com

Alvin Ailey To Make its Feature Film Debut Today in Theaters Nationwide

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 9.05.41 AM

The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has been amazing audiences around the world since 1958. However, even after almost 60 years in business, it is still breaking ground as a modern dance company.

On Thursday, Oct. 22, Ailey will be debuting its first-ever feature film as part of the Lincoln Center at the Movies series, Great American Dance. In movie theaters nationwide, audiences will have the chance to watch the Ailey company perform some of its most classic, popular pieces like “Revelations,” “Takademe” choreographed by Robert Battle and “Grace” by Ronald K. Brown.

Hosted by Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan, the film will also feature behind-the-scenes footage from shows and exclusive interviews with members of the company.

Considering that this is a one-night only affair, this event is the opportunity of a lifetime. The Ailey company is critically acclaimed for its brilliant choreography and innovative scores featuring some of the most loved and revered musicians in Black music including Duke Ellington, Roy Davis and Fela Kuti.  The entire show is performed to African-American spirituals, song-sermons, gospel songs and holy blues.

Interested? Check local listings (the show starts at 7 pm local time) here or here and check out the trailer below:

article by Monique John via hellobeautiful.com

New Rennie Harris Work “Exodus” Featured in Alvin Ailey Dance Season this June

Hip-hop Choreographer Rennie Harris
Hip-hop Choreographer Rennie Harris

“Exodus,” a new work by the hip-hop choreographer Rennie Harris, will be given its world premiere in June during Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s two-week season at Lincoln Center, the company’s artistic director, Robert Battle, announced on Tuesday.

The season, which will run from June 10 through June 21 at the David H. Koch Theater, will also feature the Ailey company premiere of “No Longer Silent,” which Mr. Battle created in 2007 for the Juilliard School. The company will also present new productions of “Toccata” by Talley Beatty and Judith Jamison’s “A Case of You” duet. Recent works, including “Odetta,” and company classics, including “Revelations,” will be performed as well.

Then the Ailey company plans to hit the road to appear at Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris from July 7 through Aug. 1 as part of Les Étés de la Danse, an international dance festival, and then, in September, it is scheduled to return to South Africa, where it had a memorable tour in 1997.

article by Michael Cooper via nytimes.com

Positive Influence Basketball: A League Whose Success Isn’t Measured in Points

The Positive Influence Basketball league has more than 800 players on 68 teams. They play for eight weeks during the summer. (BRYAN THOMAS FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES)

Behind Lincoln Center, at the heart of a semicircle of tall brick buildings with a dome of leafy trees, on the dull playground of the Amsterdam Houses, the basketball league playoffs were underway.

Youth basketball has been a tradition in this public space on the Upper West Side since at least the 1960s, when Samuel N. Bennerson II, whose name is engraved on a sign along the iron gate, created the Betterment League. The leagues that followed continued to voice their mission in their names: the Brotherhood on Urban Survival in the 1970s; Amsterdam Action in the 1980s; and Positive Influence Basketball, which the league’s commissioner and game commentator, Andrew Blacks, founded nearly a decade ago. Summer is the only time the league gets to play; its teams are essentially shut out of playing a winter season. The indoor basketball courts of nearby schools, Mr. Blacks said, have been booked up by adult leagues.

Most of the playground’s swings are gone. So is the sandbox, and the chess and checkers tables. The small jungle gyms, layered in paint, are chipped and rusted. Programs for teenagers at the Lincoln Square Neighborhood Center across the street dried up years ago.

But none of that mattered on a beautifully mild summer night as spectators hung by the fence. Others watched from cloth folding chairs on the sidewalk or courtside benches, including Rose Daise, a gray-haired woman known as Miss Rose. As legend has it, she has never missed a league game. “It’s my entertainment,” she said. “It’s good to see them doing something.”

Andrew Blacks, 38, grew up in the Amsterdam Houses. He founded the Positive Influence league nearly a decade ago. (BRYAN THOMAS FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES)

The Brooklyn-based Turbo Squadron, in blue, played Castle Athletics from Harlem, in red; both were 3-2. One team’s season would end that night.

“Oh, baby,” Mr. Blacks yelled as the ball sailed out of bounds. Four minutes 10 seconds remained in the two-point game. “Let’s get back at it,” he shouted, pacing the sideline.

Success for the league is measured outside of points. It is in the stacks of college acceptance letters; the teenagers who help keep the game books; the 14-and-under home team, the Amsterdam Sonics, who once brought back a Rucker Park championship, a high honor in playground basketball; peer mentoring; and the young men who show up from as far away as Albany with fresh confidence. The night before, with his team down by 15, a 19-year-old shooting guard from Harlem took over the game and scored 42 points to lead his teammates into the playoffs.

“I always tell them,” Mr. Blacks said of his players as he set up before the game last week, “ ‘It’s not about your last play. It’s about your next play.’ ”

The season ended last Friday with an awards ceremony on the court. Mr. Blacks handed out navy blue Nike sweatsuits and book bags adorned with the Positive Influence Basketball league logo to the top two teams.

The league will not return until next summer. During that time, some of the players will scatter, Mr. Blacks said, some of them for good. The league used to run winter games in the gyms of nearby Martin Luther King Jr. Education Campus and Public School 191, Mr. Blacks said. But in recent years, he said, those courts have continuously been booked by private adult leagues.

“The neighborhood was changing,” Mr. Blacks said, “but they were forgetting the youth here. They got more money than us, but we’re still here.”

Mr. Blacks, 38, is short and stocky, with an easy grin. He grew up in the Amsterdam Houses playing point guard in the Amsterdam Action Association and in the Public Schools Athletic League. Most people in the community know him as Peach, a nickname given to him as a boy by his aunt, he said, for the roundness of his head. He tours the world as a member of the production crew with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, a field, he noted, that he entered through a relationship he formed on the basketball court.

Edmon Archer, 68, founded a league at the Amsterdam Houses playground in the late 1970s. He coaches a team for the Positive Influence league. (BRYAN THOMAS FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES)

One summer, when Mr. Blacks returned home from college, he found that the league had ended and that the playground “was going to waste.”

He started the Positive Influence Basketball league with about 60 children from the Amsterdam Houses. The league has been funded through donations like backboards and rims from Spalding, coaches’ fees, fund-raisers, grants, offerings such as ice from a nearby grocery store and his own money.

The league now has more than 800 players on 68 teams. They play for eight weeks during the summer in six divisions that include elementary school students, high schoolers and college students. Most are teenagers from Manhattan, but they also come from the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island.

Mr. Blacks has watched many of them grow up. “They’re not my kids legally,” he said, “but these are my kids.” He added, “The main thing in this league is confidence and hope.”

This past season, the Positive Influence league had to cancel at least eight games because of rain. And in recent years, Mr. Blacks said, he has turned away hundreds of youths because he does not have enough court space.

At Martin Luther King Jr. Education Campus one recent evening, in an adult league, a team from a finance company in Manhattan played basketball against a pickup squad of solo players, organized by the Fastbreak NYC sports league.

Continue reading “Positive Influence Basketball: A League Whose Success Isn’t Measured in Points”

Alvin Ailey at Lincoln Center, First Time in 13 Years

This publicity image released by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater shows dancers performing in "Four Corners, choreographed by Ronald K. Brown, at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater in New York. (AP Photo/Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Paul Kolnik)
This publicity image released by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater shows dancers performing in “Four Corners, choreographed by Ronald K. Brown, at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater in New York. (AP Photo/Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Paul Kolnik)

NEW YORK (AP) — When Robert Battle first arrived at New York’s Lincoln Center years ago, he was a dance student with a scholarship to Juilliard. On his first day, he walked up to the building he thought was the school. It turned out to be the Metropolitan Opera House.

This past week, Battle arrived at Lincoln Center in a far different capacity — as artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, one of the most-loved dance companies in the world. He was bringing the company to its first engagement at Lincoln Center — one of the premier dance addresses in the world — in 13 years.

“This time I’m pretty sure I’m in the right place,” Battle, always ready with a smile and a quip, told the opening-night audience Wednesday at the David H. Koch Theater. “I saw my name on the poster outside.”

Battle, appointed two years ago, has the tricky job of projecting the gravitas needed to follow his famous predecessor, Judith Jamison, who held the job for more than two decades and carved a place in dance history, and at the same time injecting fresh life into the company, via new works and ideas.

Continue reading “Alvin Ailey at Lincoln Center, First Time in 13 Years”

‘The Girls In The Band’ Gets A 1-Week Theatrical (Untold Stories Of Women Jazz Instrumentalists)

From Shadow and Act‘s Tambay A. Obenson via indiewire.com:

Web-wide reactions to this when I first wrote about this film in late 2011 was strong; lots of excited folks curious and anxious to see it, and with good reason, given the subject matter.  And some of those same people (specifically those who live in New York City) will be pleased to know that it’s getting a 1-week theatrical run at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, from May 10 – 16, after a lengthy film festival circuit run.

So if you happen to be in or around NYC during those specific dates, and you’re interested in seeing the film, here’s your chance to do so (I suspect there’ll be other similar limited theatrical runs in other parts of the country; but no confirmation of that).

A quick recap:

Director Judy Chaikin’s documentary, The Girls In The Band, highlights the untold stories of women in jazz and big band instrumentalists, from the 1930s to the present day.

I’d say, for the average enthusiast, it’s likely an easier challenge to name women jazz vocalists than instrumentalists. Images like the one above probably aren’t the first to come to mind when most of us think of jazz music. And Chaikin’s doc hopes to influence that, with this poignant narrative, which includes lots of wonderful archival footage, telling the fascinating stories about the lives and careers of these trailblazing women who endured sexism, racism and diminished opportunities for decades, yet continued to persevere, inspire and elevate their talents in a field that seldom welcomed them.

The film also looks at the present-day young women who are following in the footsteps of those who paved the way for them in the male-dominated world of jazz.  For more on the upcoming theatrical run, visit the Lincoln Center website HERE.

Watch the trailer below:

GBN Historical Photo of the Day

Leontyne Price as “Cleopatra” in the 1966 production of “Antony and Cleopatra” by the Metropolitan Opera at the Lincoln Center in New York.

Black Muslim Designer Plucks Dominican Orphan From Obscurity To Model In New York Fashion Week

Nzinga Knight and Fior Mendez

Nzinga Knight and Fior Mendez at New York Fashion Week. (Photos: Getty Images)

Black American Muslim designer Nzinga Knight uses her designs to deliver a statement in fashion that few make: that a woman can dress modestly and still give full glamour. “My aesthetic was something really missing in the market,” she told the AFP news service.

The native New Yorker of Trinidadian and Guyanese decent started her clothing line in 2008 to bend the boundaries of feminine clothing. Mixing high style with the doctrines of her Muslim faith, “The look of my work is sensual, mysterious, innovative,” she stressed — without being overly revealing.

“It’s very distinct and can give me an edge,” Knight said of her fashion proposition.

Using the strength of her platform, Knight made another compelling — if unwitting — move: Launching a Dominican orphan’s modeling career.  By casting Fior Mendez, 22, to walk in her New York Fashion Week show last Friday at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Knight helped to make a big dream come true. Continue reading “Black Muslim Designer Plucks Dominican Orphan From Obscurity To Model In New York Fashion Week”

The Good Things Black People Do, Give and Receive All Over The World
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