The Washington Post’s Peeps Show/Contest has become one of my favorite spring traditions. And this year is no exception in terms of creativity and talent. I never thought Peeps were food in the first place. Always left them in my Easter basket. My favorites were the chocolate anything and the colored eggs. This year the winning Peeps diorama went to an Arlington pair (girlfriend and boyfriend) for their rendition of the 2009 animated film “Up.” Check out the full story on the Washington Post.com.
My “Copyright Criminals” screening community partners The Future of Music Coalition and Words Beats & Life Inc. have teamed up to present “If I Ruled the Blogesphere” Saturday, April 3 from 4 to 7 PM at Busboys and Poets (2021 14th Street, NW). The event will feature prominent hip-hop bloggers in a dynamic conversation about how artists are gaining traction online, the impact of technology on music promotion and how bloggers and artists can raise awareness about important issues in the hip-hop community and beyond. It’s free for WBL Cipher members; $10 for non-members. Register or get more information here.
And the “Copyright Criminals” documentary now has a “Classroom” version available for FREE from ITVS. Check it out here. TREME premieres on HBO April 11th
Unfortunately, I don’t have HBO. I’m not crying about most of the other offerings on cable. But I’ll have to be patient, or depend on the kindness of Undercover Black Man and his colleagues on the team for the new David Simon series “Treme” which premieres in April. Great write up in The New York Times Magazine March 21st. I cringe thinking HBO programming executives had to be sold on Mardi Gras Indians with the woo-woo-woo thing. (sigh!) But buzz is generating. “Treme” is a new drama set three months after Katrina in a community just outside New Orleans proper, primarily populated by musicians.
Next FOOD & FOLKLORE – April 19 at Eatonville Restaurant – “Sophisticated Ladies and Food of the Harlem Renaissance”
I believe I’m introducing A’Lelia Bundles Monday, April 19th at 6:30 PM for Food and Folklore at Eatonville Restaurant (2121 14th Street, NW). A’Lelia is the great-great grand daughter of the pioneering hair care entrepreneur and African American millionaire Madame C.J. Walker; and the great grand daughter and namesake of A’Lelia Walker, a socialite, hostess and “It Girl” of the Harlem Renaissance. (Zora Neale Hurston was one of A’Lelia Walker’s artistic guests and admirers.)
The theme for the Food and Folklore event is food and parties of the Renaissance and a nod to the Arena Stage production of “Sophisticated Ladies” starring and choreographed by Maurice Hines opening April 9 (two tickets will be given away as a doorprize). The cost is $45 (plus tax and gratuity). The price includes a prix fixe 4 course “rent party” menu served “family style” and thematic drink specials. Reservations required. Call 202-332-6432 or email foodandfolklore[at]eatonvillerestaurant.com for more information. Don’t you just love the graphic by Michael Chan?
SYMPOSIUM: Cuba in the World: Literature, Politics, Performance
Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting Ariel Fernandez at the Future of Music Policy Summit. Ariel’s working on a new documentary “Hip-Hop in Cuba: a Revolution Within the Revolution.” He sent me an email to let me know that he’s in DC this week for a very interesting event at George Washington University presented by the department of English. Ariel will present his project on Friday. Check it out!
Cuba in the World: Literature, Politics, Performance
October 8 and 9, 2009
George Washington University
Thursday, October 8, 8 p.m.: Reading and Discussion with Novelist Mayra Montero
Marvin Center, 3rd-Floor Amphitheater, 21st Street N.W. between H and Eye Streets
Mayra Montero, an award-winning novelist and renowned journalist, is the author of Dancing to “Almendra,” The Last Night I Spent with You, and many other works.
Moderator: H.G. Carrillo, George Washington University
Friday, October 9: Symposium
Marvin Center, Room 405, 21st Street N.W. between H and Eye Streets
10:30 a.m. to noon: Political Presents
“‘Justice and Humanity Before the Nation’: Is a Post-Bellum and Post-National Cuban Republic Possible?” José Buscaglia-Salgado, SUNY-Buffalo
“Pánfilo, Ojama: Reflexiones Sobre Raza y Nación en la Cuba Contemporanea/Reflections on Race and Nation in Contemporary Cuba.” Yesenia Selier, Writer and Performer, NYC
“Washington and Havana: Prospects for Normal Relations in the Obama/Raúl Era.” Peter Kornbluh, National Security Archive
Moderator: Antonio López, George Washington University
1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.: Cultural Conditions
“Staging the Racial Past.” Jill Lane, New York University
“Hip-Hop in Cuba: A Revolution Within the Revolution.” Ariel Fernández, Writer and Producer, NYC
“Love in the Temporarily of Diaspora: The Post-Cuban Mode in Cristina García’s A Handbook to Luck.” Ricardo Ortiz, Georgetown University
Moderator: José Esteban Muñoz, New York University, and Wang Visiting Professor in Contemporary English Literature, George Washington University
7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.: Documentary Screening, La Lupe: Queen of Latin Soul (Filmmaker Ela Troyano Present for Discussion)
Ela Troyano is a Cuban-American filmmaker and documentary artist living in New York.
SO YOU KNOW YOU CAN DANCE? MAURICE HINES IN TOWN FOR WORKSHOPS AND AUDITIONS
Dancer, choreographer, and Broadway legend Maurice Hines is in DC next week to give two master classes and hold open auditions for the Arena Stage production of Duke Ellington’s “Sophisticated Ladies” (opening in April 2010).
The master classes are for advanced dancers with background in jazz, hip-hop and tap. The classes are FREE and will be in two locations on Tuesday, October 13: 12:15 to 1:30pm – Howard University (2455 Sixth Street, NW); 3:30 to 4:45pm – the Duke Ellington School for the Arts (3500 R Street, NW).
The OPEN dance audition for “Sophisticated Ladies” is Wednesday, October 14 at the Lincoln Theatre (1215 U Street, NW). Men and women of all ethnicities with strong jazz, ballet and tap background are welcomed to audition. Registration for men begins at noon with auditions from 1:00 to 3:00 pm, and registration for women starts at 2:00p.m. followed by auditions from 3:00 to 5:00pm. Individuals interested in pre-registration may e-mail résumé and headshot Jamil Jude at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (202) 554-9066, ext. 284. [Serious] Walk-ins welcome. (Note: I added “serious.”)
THE DAY AFTER COLUMBUS DAY AT THE WHITE HOUSE – FIESTA LATINA
I’m sure it’s no accident that Columbus Day falls within Hispanic Heritage month. Without Columbus, let’s face it, there would be no Hispanic Heritage. Afterall, he was on an errand for Spain. How you interpret the outcomes depends on where you are now 500+ years after the encounter.
WETA is taping a special concert at the White House Tuesday, “Fiesta Latina” for “In Performance at the White House.” Another quick turn-around for WETA as the concert will air nationally on PBS October 15. Guest artists include George Lopez, Gloria Estefan, Los Lobos, Jimmy Smits, Sheila E, Marc Anthony, and others. There’s also a guest chef: Maricel Presilla who specializes in Latin American foods. Her restaurants, Zafra and Cucharamama are located in Hoboken, NJ. Love the music on her restaurant sites. For an historical assessment of how the Columbus’ voyage changed the way we encounter and are encountered by our environment including food, a good book is The Columbian Exchange by Alfred W. Cosby originally published in 1972.
REV. PETER MORALES, FIRST HISPANIC PRESIDENT OF THE UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST ASSOCIATION
Sunday, October 11 Rev. Peter Morales will be in the pulpit at All Souls Church Unitarian in Washington, DC (16th & Harvard Streets, NW). Rev. Morales is the first Hispanic president of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). Unitarian Universalism combines two denominations–Unitarianism and Universalism–with a history that goes back several hundreds years in Europe and its emergence in the U.S. in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Rev. Morales will join the National Equality March with UUA congregations and the Standing On the Side of Love campaign. You can read Rev. Morales’ endorsement of the march here.
BEN ALI, Founder of Ben’s Chili Bowl No true blue Washingtonian doesn’t know about Ben’s Chili Bowl or hasn’t met one of the Ali’s. The now world-famous carryout restaurant’s founder, namesake and owner Ben Ali joined the ancestors last night. He died of natural causes in his home. He was 82. Ben’s Chili Bowl was founded in 1958 by Ben and Virginia Ali in a former silent movie theater. Ben immigrated to the U.S. from Trinidad and attended Howard University.
The Chili Bowl is known for it’s famous chili dog and half smoke. It also had a reputation for being a gathering place for local punditry from all walks of life and as an after-hours spot for musicians and Howard University students. I don’t think they would take offense in being called a “neighborhood joint.” Ben’s Chili Bowl survived when U Street went into urban decline from white and black flight to the suburbs and after the 1968 riots. When the lights of “Black Broadway” went out, Ben’s were still bright and the chili dogs and fries were still being served up. Ben Ali was a constant neighbor and made the Chili Bowl community space. His most famous customer and friend is comedian Bill Cosby who started frequenting Ben’s while courting a young DC woman named Camille. Though this year a President Elect’s visit may have topped a Cosby siting.
Since Ben Ali’s illness, Ben’s Chili Bowl has been managed by his family including his wife Virginia, and sons Kamal and Nizam. They recently opened a sit down restaurant next door, simply called, “Next Door.” This blogger extends sympathies to the entire Ali family –our good neighbors.