NEWS: Affirmative Reaction by DNA Comedy

DNAComedyflyerfinalDance+Comedy+ Improv+People of color? Enter DNA and the solution to your plans for this evening. Read on to learn about Denae Hannah’s brainchild and what you can expect at tonight’s show.

Go out, support the show, and lets continue diversifying the improv world!

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SPOTLIGHT: Upright Citizens Brigade Diversity Program

Upright Citizens Brigade has been changing my life recently. They have a great weekly line-up of shows at their Chelsea, East Village, and LA locations. Improv has never been more fun to watch!

Photo Credit: Upright Citizens Brigade

Photo Credit: Upright Citizens Brigade

The great thing about UCB is that they are always looking to increase diversity. On the website they write, “For people who are curious about our goals, we’re currently looking to increase our diversity of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identification, age (over 35), and differently-abled performers. We’ve started collecting information about our current student population through surveys so we’ll be able to keep track of any improvements we make, and also keep an eye on attrition rates.”

Good for them! Hopefully more training centers and theaters will start similar programs. For more information about the program, check out the UCB diversity page.

Have you taken any improv classes lately? What are some of your favorite studios?? Leave a comment (via the link under the title above).

BEYOND THE STAGE: The TriBeCa Film Festival

The TriBeCa Film Festival starts today and it’s going to be great.  Join in conversation with Tracy Morgan, Mira Nair, Whoopi Goldberg, and many, many more!  Most of the events are sold out, however, they are encouraging people to wait in the standby line to get their chance to see these great films and engage in these informative conversations.

Photo Credit: Tribeca Enterprises LLC

Photo Credit: Tribeca Enterprises LLC

See the complete schedule and experience this cool festival!  We’ve highlighted a few events, and you should check them out!
Tribeca Talks® Pen to Paper: Putting the “I” in “Film”
When: Saturday 4/20  1:00 PM
Where: Barnes & Noble 33 E 17th Street at Union Square
Description: Hosted by Barnes & Noble. “Write what you know” has always been a mantra, but “film what you know”? How can direct personal experiences translate to audience-friendly, relatable pieces on screen? How much of our “all” should we bare?

Tribeca Talks® After the Movie: Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic
When: Wednesday 4/24 6:00 PM
Where: SVA Theater 1
Price: $25
Description: This moving portrait of legendary comedian Richard Pryor chronicles his life from his troubled youth in Peoria, Illinois, to his meteoric rise as one of the most respected comic actors of the 20th century. Often misunderstood during the height of his celebrity, the late superstar has never been profiled this extensively. Marina Zenovich’s revealing and entertaining film lays bare the demons with which he struggled and reminds us just how daring and dangerous artistic freedom can be.

Are you attending the festival?? Let us know what you’re planning on seeing by leaving a comment (via the link under the title above)!

SPOTLIGHT: Marie’s Crisis

Broadway lovers, are you sick of karaoke bars and fighting for your turn to sing “Take Me or Leave Me” from Rent amidst a bunch 0f  Billy Joel and Journey wannabes?  Well, there’s a place for you.  Broadway sing-along bar Marie’s Crisis will allow you to let out that suppressed belt you have inside.

Photo Credit: Literary Manhattan

Photo Credit: Literary Manhattan

This bar has everything from “it’s your moment to shine” solos and “come on don’t be shy” group songs.  The piano players are amazingly talented and know the music to most Broadway musicals.  Even Arts in Color was surprised by their diverse repertoire.

One YELP reviewer writes, “The piano player tickled the ivories all night long with favorites from The Sound of Music, Annie, Chicago, West Side Story and all the other classics. Every person in that bar was having a great time- not one single person without a big goofy grin on their face.”

Marie’s Crisis is located at 59 Grove St (between Bleecker St & S 7th Ave).  Check it out and sing your little heart out!

Watch this video and get a flavor for what Marie’s Crisis is all about!

Have another spot in the city you like to frequent?? Let us know by leaving a comment (via the link under the title)!

BEYOND THE STAGE: Those Guys that Dance on the L Train

Over the past month I have noticed an increased excitement on the L train.  No- not because the hipsters have started wearing bright colors and smiling, but because I have seen at least 7 dance performances in between the L train Bedford and 1st Avenue stops.   These performances consist of a team of 3 young gentlemen, two dancers and a DJ, dancing, flying and breaking it down on the L train.  I haven’t lived in NYC for an entire year yet, but I am wondering is this a new movement?  Or is this an annual spring awakening in NYC?

Photo Credit: Agaton Strom

Photo Credit: Agaton Strom

 

These performers are great.  They have talent, ambition, and are willing to put on a good show for a buck.  They are super polite to everyone, as they explain the necessary audience safety precautions to moms, kids, and other passengers.  Plus, they have great one liners.  “Cops don’t like us cause their daughters do,” and I always get excited when I hear the initial “Ok! it’s show time, show time, everybody get ready for show time!”  I really think these performers have a great thing going on, and I’m interested to see what becomes of this creative art form.  These kids need to be heard and seen!

Arts in Color wants to know more about these young gentlemen.  If you have seen any of their performances or know more about them let us know!

SPOTLIGHT: Quiara Alegría Hudes

Earlier this year, Quiara Alegría Hudes took home the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play Water by the Spoonful. This play, the second of the Elliot Trilogy, examines the intersections of addiction, family drama, and social networking. It most recently played at Second Stage Theatre.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/The Hartman Group, Joshua Lehrer

Photo Credit: AP Photo/The Hartman Group, Joshua Lehrer

Quiara Alegría Hudes is most famous for having written the book for In the Heights, for which she was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Narrating the everyday struggles of her characters,  Hudes gives voice to the Latin community through her eccentric characters and captivating stories.

This month, The Happiest Song Plays Last, the final play in the trilogy will premiere at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. If you’re in the Chicago area, check it out!

 

 

BEYOND THE STAGE: Skylar Diggins

It would be silly for our blog that is dedicated to spotlighting minority artists to not acknowledge other forms of entertainment that go unnoticed by the majority– women’s basketball.    In the midst of March Madness, Arts in Color would like to spotlight a college women’s basketball player currently piquing national interest.  Skylar Diggins has come to fame in recent years due to her incredible talent as a member of the Notre Dame women’s basketball team.  A leader on the court, a role model to young girls, and a student amidst all of that, Skylar Diggins manages to maintain a high level of class despite her high-profile as a popular college athlete.

Photo Credit: Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Photo Credit: Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Ms. Diggins has proven to be popular among her fans.  She has over 320,000 followers on twitter, and serves as a huge source of inspiration for many young women.  She has even caught the attention of rapper Lil Wayne, who has come to South Bend, IN to see her play and has even worn her jersey during concerts.

Photo Credit: AP Images

Photo Credit: AP Images

In 2011 and 2012, the Notre Dame women’s basketball team finished second in the NCAA championship.  This season, Skylar Diggins and the Lady Irish have advanced to the Final Four after beating Duke last night 87-76. This is the team’s third trip in three consecutive years to the Final Four.  Here’s hoping this year will be their year.  Good luck!

Take a look at the video (below) to hear Skylar talk about her fans, pursuing a degree in Business Management, and the importance of having a Plan B. Don’t plan on catching the game? Let us know who your favorite minority athlete is in the comments section below!

SPOTLIGHT: Cornerstone Theater Company

Cornerstone Theater Company is based in Los Angeles, CA and is dedicated to producing theater with and for the community.  This very concept is what makes Cornerstone so unique.  A typical production at Cornerstone combines professional artists with members of the community. The members of the community all have vary in levels of theater experience, ages, and cultural backgrounds.   Furthermore, the themes of their plays tackle topical issues that the community is currently facing.  Since its inception in 1986, Cornerstone has “commissioned more than 50 playwrights, produced over 80 new works, trained over 2000 students in our methodology, and worked with tens of thousands of people across the country.”

“Any theater that has a result in mind is not having a conversation.”

– Michael John Garcés, Artistic Director

Image Credit: Cornerstone Theater Company

Image Credit: Cornerstone Theater Company

Its vision statement says it all. “We envision a world transformed through the recognition that every individual has the capacity for creativity and each has a story worth telling. We believe that theater can catalyze dialogue around crucial issues and bring together disparate communities. We believe that conversations about the urgent issues of our times must include many voices and diverse perspectives.”

Its current cycle of plays, The Hunger Cycle, consists of new work that addresses the issues of hunger and social justice.  This cycle will span over six years, and nine plays will be produced.  Tonight through April 13, Lunch Lady Courage is playing at the Cocoanut Grove Theatre in Los Angeles.  Check out the trailer for Lunch Lady Courage and get a taste of what Cornerstone is all about (below).

BEYOND THE STAGE: Bow Down Bitches

Beyonce. . . need I say more to get your attention.  She has been killing it recently with her Super Bowl performance, the birth of Blue Ivy, her HBO documentary, and her recently announced world tour, “The Mrs. Carter Show.”   However, the girl who once seemed like ‘a girl that could do no wrong,’ is now getting heat for a clip of her new song “Bow Down.”  In this clip, Beyonce sings “Bow Down Bitches,”  and, as a result, has created heated dialogue among members of the music industry.

Photo Credit: Sony Entertainment Music

Photo Credit: Sony Entertainment Music

Wendy Williams is talking. Keyshia Cole is annoyedNicole Scherzinger is taken aback.   A lot of people feel like the Queen Bey has done wrong.   How could such a strong woman of her stature have lyrics as degrading as that?!  She teaches girls that they can “Run the World,” but now she’s telling them to bow down? Did she think of her audience? Did she think about all of the young girls who look up to her?  Has Queen Bey lost her Halo?!

See what Wendy Williams has to say.

Yes, Queen Bey is a role model.  She is a strong woman and young girls look up to her- I mean, even I look up to her!  She’s awesome, fierce, entrepreneurial, confident, and beautiful.   However, it’s important to acknowledge that Beyonce is a human being.  Beyonce was once a little girl with a dream of becoming a singer, and was probably told no more times than any of us have even tried.  Beyonce is also an artist, and art reflects life.  So, although, Beyonce’s lyrics are known to be empowering, can she not reflect on her journey of becoming this great icon?  Is it fair to limit what we want to hear from artists?  Should they not have freedom to express their emotions?  Let us know what you think and check out this creative and hilarious “true meaning” of the song.

Without further ado- “Bow Down”

 

 

SPOTLIGHT: Caridad Svich

Caridad Svich is an accomplished Latina playwright, songwriter, editor, and translator. Born in the United States, Svich is of Cuban, Argentine, Spanish, and Croatian descent. On her website, she describes her work to include themes of “wanderlust, dispossession, biculturalism, bilingualism, construction of identity, and the many different emotional terrains that can be inhabited onstage form the basis of my plays and other writing projects.” An amazing voice for the latin community, Ms. Svich’s work resonates with all cultures and peoples.

Photo Courtesy of Caridad Svich

Photo Courtesy of Caridad Svich

Her new play En el tiempo de las mariposas (In The Time of the Butterflies) and El amor en los tiempos del cólera (Love in the Time of Cholera) are both currently playing in New York City at the Repertorio Español. Repertorio Español is located at 138 East 27th Street (between Lexington and 3rd Avenues).

To learn more about Caridad Svich visit her website at www.caridadsvich.com and check out these plays at the Repertorio Español to get a taste of her work:

BEYOND THE STAGE: HBO Girls– The Voice of Our Generation

This past Sunday night marked the end of HBO Girls‘ sophomore season leaving the viewers wondering when we’ll get our next dose of Brooklyn girl gab.  With the episode entitled “Together,” the season finished with a balanced ratio of relationships (both romantic and platonic)  looking like they were either going to solidify into passionate love or crumble into a million pieces. Yes, that’s right, even the love lives of the women of Girls are unpredictably messy.  Yay- gender issues!

Photo Credit: HBO

Photo Credit: HBO

I have to give Girls credit- I believe gender issues are an important topic to cover in mainstream media.  And, it’s so rare for a story about female sexuality to actually be told from the perspective of a female (I mean, Sex and the City was created by this guy!).  However, despite the commitment to highlight the common gender issues of many young adults, I have to wonder– where are the minorities in this world?

Photo Credit: HBO

Photo Credit: HBO

Donald Glover had a brief, and insignificant, appearance on this season of Girls. His plot line involved something along the lines of the brief, rebound love interest of Lena Dunham’s character, Hannah, as she distracted herself from past lover Adam. The end.

Lena Dunham’s character Hannah proclaims, in a now infamous quote from the show, “I am the voice of my generation. Well, maybe a voice.”  Hopefully the future seasons of Girls will include more artists of color of this generation.  I mean- the show is set in Brooklyn (a vibrant and diverse borough of New York City)!  Making this show more diverse will not only provide more jobs for artists of color but will also illustrate the Brooklyn everyone in the world knows and loves.   Until then, I’ll have to agree with the second part of this infamous quote- she’s “a voice.”  But I’m hoping the actual voice of our twenty-something go-getter generation does a better job of painting a more diverse Gen Y.

TAKE A LOOK BACK: August Wilson

Playwright August Wilson chronicles the African American experience through his plays and is considered to be one of the most influential playwrights in American Theater.

Photo Credit: Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Photo Credit: Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Wilson’s biggest accomplishment is his cycle of ten plays– one for every decade in the 20th century.  Nine of these plays made their way to Broadway– the most famous being Fences and Radio Golf.  Many of the plays in the cycle have reoccurring themes and characters and narrate the past struggles of black Americans that still ring true in today’s society.

In an interview with Bill Moyers, August Wilson discusses what it means to be black.   I find this to be an interesting conversation, especially when Wilson declares that the most valuable blacks are the “warrior spirits” in prison.  He continues by dismissing The Cosby Show as an accurate illustration of black American culture since he believes this famous television family has white values. Watch the interview and join our discussion– August Wilson on Blackness.

Also- check out: All of His Plays

 

Source:NYTimes.com Obituaries