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Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /nfs/c04/h01/mnt/68209/domains/blog.augustwilsoncenter.org/html/wp-includes/theme.php on line 1109 August Wilson Center - Front & Center » General - “Amplifying African American Voices”
Hello All! For those of you who came out to the kick off of offCenter last week, thank you for coming! It was a great turnout and a wonderful evening.
I’ve got some good news for you all…there is only more great music to come. This week Dream Job performs at offCenter this week! Just watch the videos below, because their music speaks for itself. You won’t be able to resist the urge to come down the the August Wilson Center and find yourself a seat.
Don’t forget that Abay Ethiopian Restaurant is going to be catering and there will be a cash bar available too. In case you forgot it starts at 5:30 pm and will continue until 10:30 pm. Come early and get your seats while they last (we most definitely had a full house last Thursday).
Also keep in mind our question for the upcoming season “The black man is…?” There will be plenty of opportunities to respond at offCenter.
At a loss for what to do this Tomorrow? Ladies and Gentleman have no fear the August Wilson Center has the solution. This Thursday July 8th is the kick off of two new weekly programs held here at the August Wilson Center. I know…you’re so excited you can barely contain yourself! But just keep reading, there is more to come!
For the leisurely lunch crowd, check out Lunch On Liberty from 11 am - 2 pm this and EVERY THURSDAY through September 2nd. Bring your friends and soak up the sun on our patio, located at 980 Liberty Avenue. Bring your own lunch or enjoy food from Cory’s Deli, who will be grilling out on our patio for the month of July! There will be live entertainment and FREE WIFI to help enhance your lunching experience. This week Joy Ike will be playing the lunch set…so prepare yourself for some great music and good food!
Now for you late night hipsters, we’ve got you covered too. offCenter also starts this thursday with a second chance to hear Joy Ike perform from 5:30 - 8 pm. Followed by The Peace Project from 9 - 10:30 pm! There will be food provided by Abay Ethiopian Cuisine (who made a special menu for offCenter) for the month of July and a cash bar available as well. Food, drink, WIFI, great music, and a cool atmosphere. What else could a late night crowd want? There will also be opportunities to sign up for our mailing list (so you can stay in the loop) and to respond to the question for this coming seasons theme! You don’t want to miss it.
The Peace Project
The kick off starts TOMORROW with Lunch On Liberty and continues into the evening with offCenter! Don’t forget to come on down to the center and be apart of it. If by some chance you miss it (which you shouldn’t!) then remember that these programs run every Thursday through September 2nd, same place same time!
So you’re ready to go on your lunch break, brown bag in hand, the sun is shining, you have a spring in your step. Now the only thing left to decide is where to eat. Well let us make that choice easier for you. Come down to the August Wilson Center for African American Culture and sit out on our patio for Lunch On Liberty. Come and enjoy lunch with us!
When: 11 am to 2 pm EVERY THURSDAY, July 8-September 2 What: Bring your friends and soak up the sun by enjoying your lunch on the August Wilson Center’s patio, located at 980 Liberty Avenue, Downtown. Bring your own lunch or enjoy the tasty fare of Cory’s Deli, who will be grilling right on our patio each Thursday in July during lunchtime. While you are eating, relax and enjoy live entertainment each Thursday by various local artists! FREE WIFI
Joy Ike - July 8th
Jump-starting our Lunch On Liberty is Joy Ike–who will also be performing at offCenter later that evening.
Joy’s fans have compared her vocally to Corinne Bailey Rae and Norah Jones, stylistically to Fiona Apple and Regina Spektor, and have said that her ambiance is much like that of India.Arie and Lizz Wright. “. . . a voice and talent beyond her years. The depth of subjects she tackles in her poetic lyrics are perfectly complemented by a unique blend of neo-soul, with just the right dash of pop.” - NPR
The August Wilson Center is transforming its Cafe space every Thursday this summer to present some of the most dynamic live entertainment in the Pittsburgh region and beyond. Come out every Thursday to inhale an atmosphere filled with art and exhale entertainment right after work and into the night. Free every Thursday. Cash bar and food available for purchase.
First to grace the offCenter stage, July 8th, is the critically acclaimed Pittsburgh-natives, Joy Ike and her sister Peace Ike, of The Peace Project.
Joy’s fans have compared her vocally to Corinne Bailey Rae and Norah Jones, stylistically to Fiona Apple and Regina Spektor, and have said that her ambiance is much like that of India.Arie and Lizz Wright. “… a voice and talent beyond her years. The depth of subjects she tackles in her poetic lyrics are perfectly complemented by a unique blend of neo-soul, with just the right dash of pop.” - NPR
The band, launched by lead singer/songwriter and keyboardist Peace Ike, came together in 2009 to create a style that has yet to make an impact on the Pittsburgh music scene.
The Peace Project combines piano with rhythmic bass, smooth sax and rocking drum beats and electric guitar to create a rhythmically driven fusion of soul/jazz/R&B/rock and funk.
In late March, the August Wilson Center had the honor and privilege of hosting the 2010 National Romare Bearden Symposium, Romare Bearden in the Public Realm. Why Pittsburgh? Why the August Wilson Center?
Well for one Bearden spent some formative years in Pittsburgh, graduating from Peabody High School and living in East Liberty with his grandparents. Also, some of his works were inspirations for some of August Wilson’s plays. Bearden came back to Pittsburgh in the 1980s and designed a ceramic tile mural, Pittsburgh Recollections, for the
Homage to Mary Lou, 1984
Gateway Center subway station, Downtown. The piece is now appraised at $15 million. Over 22 national scholars and artists convened to discuss Pittsburgh’s influence on Bearden and the works that fall outside the studio. This included his cartoons, murals and printmaking.
Key moments of the conference included a conversation with novelist John Edgar Wideman, a Pittsburgh native who received early acclaim for his “Homewood Trilogy” and is now on the faculty of Brown University, and a keynote address from Mary Schmidt-Campbell, who was recently named vice chairman of President Barack Obama’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities and is dean of the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. Dr. Schmidt-Campbell has written a book on Bearden that will be published in 2011, the centennial year of his birth.
Joyce Baucum, a photographer and administrative assistant at the August Wilson Center, attended the symposium, calling it “enlightening…and intellectually captivating.” Below she recaps her experience at the two-day symposium:
There was such a wealth of information at the symposium, that I left wanting more and more information to continue learning about the fascinating life and art of Romare Bearden. The keynote speaker, Mary Schmidt-Campbell pointed me in the direction of Ruth Fine, Bearden biographer and curator of Bearden exhibitions. All of the panelists were experts in their fields of study and brought wonderful information to share about Bearden, the artist and about “Romie,” the friend. Grace Stanislaus, the Center’s former vp of education and public programs and Bearden Foundation’s former president and CEO, played a key role in the planning and implementation of the symposium. The panelists consisted of scholars, visual artists, art historians, art collectors, gallery owners, curators, a choreographer, August Wilson scholars, history professors, a Teenie Harris / Courier archives consultant, and a world-renowned author! So much intelligence and information was present, that it filled the room and made us want to learn even more.
Here’s hoping we continue the stream of intellectual conversations and exhibitions encompassing the Visual Arts here at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture.
If you have children, or know where you can get some I encourage you to secure your tickets–better yet–secure your day passes for the August Wilson Center’s International Festival of Children’s Films held March 6, 13 and 14.
Now I know you will take a look below and watch our fun festival “infomercial” of sorts, but let me make it very plain: By purchasing a $15 single day pass, your child will be entertained for basically an entire day. The films selected in this festival are films from around the world and will be sure to captivate your special little ones.
Some of the films in the festival include: Gettin’ Grown, Speedy Delivery, Gentle Planet, The Red Jacket and also Maharal which is co-sponsored by the Pittsburgh Jewish Israeli Film Festival.
Space is limited, so purchase your tickets today! This is perfect for your nieces, nephews, godchildren, children in your local church or other youth groups in the community. Come out and explore what your August Wilson Center has to offer your family.
The International Festival of Children’s Films is made possible through the generous support of the Alcoa Foundation, Allegheny Regional Asset District, the Buhl Foundation, The Heinz Endowments, McAuley Ministries, the Richard King Mellon Foundation, Pennsylvania Council on theArts, The Pittsburgh Foundation and Margaret Ritchie R. Scaife.
August Wilson Center fans, welcome another one of our new guest bloggers, Kieashia Edwell. An avid music and arts aficionado, Kieashia was very enthusiastic about reviewing the Center’s “Tribute to Phyllis Hyman,” held February 19-20 for 2 sold-out performances. The following is her very candid perspective of the evening. Please feel free to comment on how you viewed the evening. And check out the video clips of a couple of the awesome and LIVELY performances.
Walking into the August Wilson Center for the Tribute to Phyllis Hyman, I could not help but to notice that the place was alive! Everyone was dressed to the nines, the place was filled with so much energy-I knew then, this was going to be a show to remember. After scooting past a few people who had clearly had more than their fair share of wine and spirits, I made my way to the theatre, found my seat and got comfortable. An old soul myself, I’m familiar with such artists as Gladys Knight and the Pips, The Stylistics and The Temptations. So, I was ready to relax, hear the pianist (and musical director) Alton Merrell play that big black instrument, and groove to the rich sounds of the legendary Phyllis Hyman.
The house lights dimmed and there was a short intro by the emcee, KDKA’s Lynne Hayes-Freeland, who used words like amazing and
August Wilson Center's "Tribute to Phyllis Hyman"
wonderful to describe what the packed house was about to see. The band took their place as the stage lit up in front of me. In walked Laila Bey, Tamara Faulkner, Teresa Hawthorne and Deborah Moncrief singing an inspiring rendition of Phyllis’ “Just 25 Miles To Anywhere.” They were dressed with the same flare, style and pizzazz of Ms. Hyman herself. At the end of the song, a photo of the late songstress was projected on a large screen to spark our memory, and the ladies exited. The musicians transitioned into perhaps the most familiar of Phyllis Hyman’s jams. “You Know How To Love Me” was performed by Laila Bey, who gave a good vocal performance, but left a little to be desired. Although she possessed a powerful vocal range and looked beautiful, she lacked stage presence–something Phyllis was known for possessing. After quickly exiting the stage, Ms. Bey made way for Deborah Moncrief. The band then engaged the crowd with the slow and steady “No One Can Love You More.” Mrs. Moncrief belted out a spectacular version of the timeless ballad. With that soulful and strong performance, she made us all remember when we cried along with Phyllis as she pleaded with her love.
We were then taken back to 1978 by Tamara Faulkner and her lively version of “The Answer Is You.” The crowd ooh’d and aah’d as she swept herself across the stage. Her energy was contagious, and her vocal performance was brilliant. She connected well with the audience and even kicked off her shoes to replicate the famous performances Ms. Hyman was known to give. Tamara’s scatting and strong personality kept us enthralled in her presentation. It was then Teresa Hawthorne’s turn to show us her chops. Her version of “Betcha By Golly Wow” was somewhat nasal and frequently pitchy, but still entertaining. It was hard not to tap your foot to the well-known hit. More performances followed including a spectacular cover of “Living Inside Your Love,” “Be Careful” and “When You Get Right Down To It.” We were then treated to yet another moving presentation by Deborah Moncrief with “Living All Alone.” A cover of “Gonna Make Changes” by Tamara Faulkner closed out the first half of the show.
Upon returning from our little intermission, Deborah Moncrief took us back with a true Phyllis Hyman classic - “Old Friend.” It was another breathtaking performance by Mrs. Moncrief and subsequently earned her a well-deserved standing ovation. We then enjoyed Ms. Hawthorne’s third performance of the evening. Her rendition of “As You Are” wowed the audience and had few mistakes in pitch and tone. Laila Bey and Tamara Faulkner returned with their moving presentation of “Somewhere In My Lifetime,” and “Don’t Wanna Change The World” marking the later years of Ms. Hyman’s career. Perhaps the most memorable performance of the evening, Sonya Carter, of the three background singers, sang “I Refuse to Be Lonely” with such passion and strength that she earned a lasting standing ovation from the crowd. She did a near perfect job of capturing the raw emotion and meaning behind the song. I, for one, was amazed, and wondered how they could not use her as the lead for more of the concert’s pieces. The show concluded with the cast joining together for “In Search of My Heart.”
The August Wilson Center chose the perfect production to share with its members. The striking performances featured in this show had me tapping and humming all the way home. These remarkable singers truly captured the bold and sensuous qualities of Phyllis Hyman’s music. Overall, the night was filled with joy, laughter, and sheer wonder at the talent of the fabulous live band. I was enchanted by the booming bass and distinctive moan of the trombone. I think that Phyllis would have been pleased with the passion behind these voices, and the commitment to keeping her legacy alive.
If you would like to be a volunteer guest blogger for the August Wilson Center and blog about your experience at the Center’s programs and events, contact the Center’s Manager of Communications & e-Marketing, Treshea N. Wade at 412.338.8734 or twade@AugustWilsonCenter.org
We are encouraging all African American artists or artists of African descent living in Southwestern Pennsylvania to apply to be a part of a distinguished fellowship program that promises to nurture the creative soul within.
All applications must be postmarked or brought in to our office by Friday, February 26, 2010FRIDAY, MARCH 5, 2010. The entire application can be downloaded along with a FAQ from our Web site’s homepage. If you have any questions concerning the Fellows program, please call Shaunda Miles at 412.338.8733 for information.
Take a moment to listen to the following video message from Shay Wafer, the Center’s Vice President of Programs. Good luck!
Sensuous and sassy. Bold and brilliant. Earthy and ethereal.
Phyllis Hyman was all these things and more.
As a singer she was nearly unmatched in her ability to convey the depths of the pain and heartache of lost love. Phyllis, Philly-born and Pittsburgh-raised, could tackle pop and jazz standards as well as up-tempo R&B with equal aplomb. Yet it was the vulnerability of her ballads that most endeared her to fans, who took the journey with her to those lonely, dark places of which she sang.
The August Wilson Center is paying tribute to the late singer Friday, February 19 and Saturday, February 20 by producing a full concert of Phyllis Hyman tunes: 16 songs, 7 voices selected from an open audition and a 7-piece band led by the awesomeAlton Merrell. Friday’s show sold out in just a couple of weeks–here’s a tip:
Shay Wafer, the Center’s Vice President of Programs, and director for this event, took a few moments to talk withKQV’s Elaine Effort about the Tribute to Phyllis Hyman.
The interview is in three parts. Take a look!
Also–Don’t miss out on this free educational event!
African American Mental Health Forum
Saturday, February 20, 2 to 4 pm
August Wilson Center Education Center, Free
African Americans are at high risk for mental illness, but less likely to receive mental health services, diagnosis and treatment, says a 2002 Surgeon General’s report. This panel discussion explores the history of mental health issues in the African American community and provides steps you can take to assist others in their well-being. Panelists include: Dr. Charma Dudley, Clinical Director - Family Resources, Dr. Daniel Hall, Dr. Nelson Harris, Jeannie Hyman (sister of Phyllis Hyman) and Marguerita Matthew. For information, call 412.258.2700.