Monday, August 14, 2017

Destiny Muhammad plays Alice Coltrane, a musical libation and salutation

Destiny Muhammad, Harpist from the Hood treated her East Bay family fans to a concert celebrating the Sonic legacy of Alice Coltrane. The tenth anniversary year of her ascension, it is fitting for such tributes to take place, this one, the second this year. Her ensemble for this concert Sunday afternoon featured once again: Ranzel Merritt on tenor sexophone, Ruth Price on drums, Rebecca Kleinmann on flute, Giulio Xavier Cetto on bass and Laura Klein on piano.

There were two sets, the second was graced by the presence of Archbishop Fanzo King, Queen Mother King and other members of the Church of St. John Coltrane. Destiny, dressed in white with a beautiful coral colored robe. Near her harp was an altar with a photo of Alice Coltrane and a bowl of tangerines and a lit candle. There were two other altars on either side of the stage, candles lit, lilies in shallow bowls on white stands.

Ruth's drums in front of the acoustic piano -- Laura and Destiny directly across from one another and as they played, it was as if there were two Alices in this wonderland. Ranzel and Rebecca were directly in back on stools and bassist, Giulio was to Destiny's right. The intimacy of the musicians added to the tight arrangements and performance.

The Destiny Muhammad Project (minus Ruth).


Laura Klein

Ruth Price and Ranzel Merritt

Rebecca, Ranzel, Giulio, Ruth and Destiny (missing Laura). 

Destiny conducting

Taking a bow: Ruth, Laura, Ranzel
With compositions taken from three albums in her first concert this year at SFJAZZ, this concert also included Alice Coltrane's work from a McCoy Tyner album recorded on Blue Note. This was after her husband passed and Destiny said the work was almost a reconcilitation between the two artists who both loved John Coltrane.

The maestro shared stories like this throughout the hour and a half set. The full house whispered and shouted their appreciation as Ranzel channeled Pharoah Sanders, Ruth pushing and driving -- the two artists reaching heights we could only look on in awe. Destiny featured Laura often, Alice Coltrane first a pianist whose work spanned multiple traditions-- straightahead, blues and gospel . . . . the band rocked with Laura in the lead -- her hands all over the keyboard as her body traversed the space as well. When I walked in Giulio was laying the ground for the classic Journey into Satchinanda. On this and other tunes, it was lovely hearing Rebecca's additional interpretations.

John Coltrane bought his wife a harp, but made his transition before it arrived. Influenced by the harp, Destiny told us its influence on Coltrrane created what he called sheets of sound.

I think one of the songs Laura played was Turiya and Ramakrishna. Another was a song written when her husband died from music he'd started but hadn't completed. The song is called, Something about John Coltrane. When Destiny mentioned the selections some folks in the audience went wild.

Destiny closed wirh A Love Supreme, her lovely voice singing the recitation we were invited to repeat, which we did.

All photos: Wanda Sabir

Here is a link to an interview with Destiny, followed by an interview with Ranzel on Wanda's Picks Radio, Wednesday, Aug. 9. 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

A Warrior Bends Her Knee in Prayer

False Starts
by Wanda Sabir

I’d been watching a sliver of new moon on the western horizon Monday evening

It was dark on the beach. I was looking for a stick, yet kept picking up seaweed tublars instead, until I found the perfect implement to write her name in the sand
I wrote her name big—

 I wrote her name B-I-G-big in the sand
As crescent moon slipped beneath a blanket of clouds

Offering salutations and supplications . . . to dear Dhameera
for a life well-lived



I am at Lighthouse Mosque for El Hajjah Dhameera Carlotta Ahmad's Janaazah or prayer service Wednesday afternoon. I learn later this place is where the Black Panthers and radical Christians met, now conscious Muslims meet. It was a Black House, a space for social justice. Brother Jerome showed me the image of Malcolm X he’d painted decades ago. The shape of El Hajj Malik’s head with iconic glasses is still visible beneath layers of yellow paint. We see its outline on the exterior wall just below the circular stained glass window. 

The masjid is on the other side of the freeway overpass on 42nd Street below Telegraph. I park by someone’s home, sofa inviting . . .  the living room near a trailer bus. It smells like urine in the street.  I wonder about the people in this neighborhood, Jesse Douglas Allen-Taylor’s article fresh in my mind, the forum on homelessness in the City of Oakland at Allen Temple last week resonating too.

Brother Raouf explains the Muslim funeral prayer to guests inside Lighthouse. He explains the three Takbir or Allahu Akbar[1] salutations, and the supplication between each one: recitation of Al Fatihah or the Opening chapter of the Qur’an, Durood-e-Ibrahimi
 a prayer for the prophets, then at the third Takbir, a prayer for the deceased, yet to be born and the ancestors: her mother Betty Opal Simon Johnson and dear Mark Simon, younger brother preceded her.

Dhameera's Janazah is also a prayer for the community. The Janazah prayer concludes with As Salaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullah or God’s Peace and Mercy on everyone present and those absent too.

As the women pray outside on the lawn, the mosque full, my grandson Legend has tears in his eyes as he leans on his mother TaSin’s chest. He feels the sadness. The hearse pulls off, Khalilah and I walk to my car and head to 5 Pillars Farm in Livermore for the burial.

Stuck in traffic we reflect on Dhameera and others we will see soon: Brother James, Sister Elretha, Sister Ummus Salaama, Brother Zareef, Sister Nabeehah, Brother Saladin. . . .

Dust to dust.

There are more cars at the cemetery than I have ever seen before.  It is also hotter than ever before too. There is a cooler with water for us.  I welcome its refreshing sweetness.  Later I pour a bit for Dhameera on the ground as Brother Raouf speaks as family shovels the dirt on her form and then the bulldozer dumps the rest of the soil on the site.

Father seated, daughter, Veronica, to his left. 
I sprinkle three rocks. We move closer together. Her father, Joseph (Bunny) Simon, Sr., 
seated at her feet.

Dear Dhameera
What can I say
Words disappear at the thought
of your gentle passage into
Fajr
Dawn’s early light two days ago

Your Brother Imams bless your head and feet with recitations from the second chapter of the Qur'an: The Cow or Sura Al Baqara [2] (1-5): 


"Alif, Lam Meem [3]

This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allah --

Who believe in the unseen, establish prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them,
And who believe in what has been revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what was revealed before you, and of the Hereafter they are certain [in faith].

Those [have right] guidance from their Lord, and it is those who are the successful.
Yes, whoever submits [her] face in Islam to Allah while being a doer of good will have [her] reward with [her] Lord. And no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve." 

I change the Al Baqara (85-86) recitation at your feet, for other verses here:


"Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or west, but [true] righteousness is [in] one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, those who ask [for help], and for freeing slaves; [and who] establishes prayer and gives zakah; [those who] fulfill their promise; and [those who] establishes prayer and gives zakah; [those who] fulfill their promise when they promise; and [those who] are patient in poverty and hardship and during battle. Those are the ones who have been true, and it is those who was the righteous" (2:177).


But among them is [she] who says, "Our Lord, give us this world [that which is] good and in the Hereafter [that which is] good and protect us from the punishment of the Fire" (2:201).
Dhameera, Saadat, Azizah, Yusuf and his wife; and Nisa


Birds dip their wings, as the sun burns memories
Etched in flesh
Dhameera too dear to forget
Shadows fall on
Rendered darkness
Sweetness lingering on her frail form beneath mahogany earth
Lumps of earth
Children and family bid farewell
Her name sketched on a plaque
“Dhameera Ahmed”
January 11, 1950-July 24, 2017




Azizah and Nisa (front),
Yusuf and Ismael (rear)

Married 41 years

Her anniversary a day of black liberation
Juneteenth
Brother Saadat + Dhameera
4 children:
2 daughters
2 sons;
Brothers
A Sister
A dear father
Grandchildren
Nieces
Nephews
Friends




I remember meeting her 40 years ago. She was holding Nisa’s hand.
Nisa was my student at Muhammad University of Islam No. 26
Smart
She had a sweet lisp
Later I would have my first child on Dhameera’s birthday
Bilaliyah and Azizah would play together with YaSin and Sharifa and other children
Bilaliyah . . . Dhameera . . . Ashay!

She like the other warrior women, was my big sister, and like big sisters didn’t hang out with me
A school principal, she and Dr. Intisar Sharif brought Montessori education to the Oakland Public Schools. I remember her work at Yuk Yau Child Development Center in Chinatown.

I remember her work at the Oakland Unified School District with Sister Warrior El Hajjah Nabeehah Sabree Shakir (1949-2015)

She was Marilyn Buck’s friend, Yuri Kochiyama’s, Sekou Abdullah Odinga's, and friend to so many others political prisoners and prisoners of war locked up, but not locked down.
Can’t Jail the Spirit  was her gift to me.
Can’t bury spirit either.
Spirit rises.

She was at San Francisco State when the student strike for Black Studies occurred. She raised her fist for Black Power as a member of the Black Panther Party.  The San Francisco native was one of the honorees at the 50th Anniversary exhibit: All Power to the People at the Oakland Museum of California.

She organized the Lighthouse Mosque Community to serve meals to the adults living at a hotel on Jackson Street in downtown Oakland. The hotel residents had food Monday-Friday, but nothing on the weekend. I remember how excited she was one Sunday when she and Brother Sadat set up the luncheon smorgasbord so that the residents could make their own lunches and how much that pleased them.  Choice not charity. Dignity not dependency.

Sadaqa is giving without strings attached.

We went to the Oakland International Film Festival’s 50th Anniversary of Alex Haley’s Roots and sat near the Black Panther Party section of the house. We also went to see Danai Gurira’s Eclipsed and had plans to see Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s An Octoroon together. I wish she’d been able to go with me. I would have liked to hear what she thought of it. We’d had plans to see Daughters of the Dust at her house with friends. I know they had fun at the sleepover. Her schedule was so busy, with family trip to Yosemite for Mother’s Day, Brother Saadat’s birthday early July, Spa Sundays and saline treatments on Thursdays. We also missed Shifting Movements: Art Inspired by the Life and Activism of Yuri Kochiyama (1921-2014). Just couldn’t fit it all in.

We spoke often and TaSin would share her greetings with me on Fridays when she saw Dhameera at Juma Prayer. She would always say, “When are you coming to visit me? I miss you.”

I wish she’d been able to attend the Muhammad University High School Reunion (1974-1975), that would have been nice. I did text her a photo I saw of her as a younger woman in an album that Sunday afternoon.

I will miss her. Dhameera Carlotta Ahmad (née Carlotta Basseau Simon) was a huge presence in a world that is shrinking. I am happy our paths were one at some point and shared many subsequent intersections.

Her burial was on Oya’s day [4]. Oya, guardian of the cemetery, spirit of the winds or transformation and change.

I wore a blue dress, the color of Yemanja [5] and on my earlobes brass cowrie shells with the Akan Adinkra: Kwatakye Atiko, a symbol of bravery and fierceness, in honor of the warrior woman: Yeye Dhameera Ahmad. [6]

                                                       Ashay, Ashay. . . Ashayo




Here is beautiful tribute Brother Khalid Al Waajid produced:













[1] God is Great!

[2] In addition to these verses of Surat-al-Baqarah, it is recommended for those present at the grave-site to remain for a while reciting other surahs and verses of the Qur'an such as Surat al-Fatiha, Surat-a;-Ikhlas, Surah YaSin, Ayat al-Kursi, seeking forgiveness and supplicating (dua) for the deceased
   (http://islamqa.org/hanafi/daruliftaa/8570/reciting-verses-from-surat-al-baqarah-after-burying-the-deceased).


[3] http://quran.com/2


[4]
Oya is a “proud, self-willed woman. She is described as a tall, comely women, who at the same time is a fierce, bearded Amazon. She is called a woman who grows a beard (becomes more fierce than a man) on account of war [or danger]. The beard is symbolic of transformation (Gary Edwards and John Mason, Black Gods; Orisha Studies in the New World p. 94).

[5] Yemanja: mother goddess, the “personification of motherhood’ (Edwards and Mason Black Gods, p. 85).

[6] Kwatakye Atiko symbolizes the “hair style of an Asante war captain,” the “symbol of bravery and valor.’ ‘This symbols is said to be a special hair style of Kwatakye, a war captain of old Asante.’ The symbol has come to represent bravery and fearlessness. It is also given as an earned title to any brave [daughter] of an Akan community.” W. Bruce Willis, The Adinkra Dictionary

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

SF Mime Troupe 2017 Opens with "Walls" at Dolores Park in San Francisco

SF Mime Troupe 2017 “Walls,” A Review
By Wanda Sabir


What makes SF Mime Troupe the award-winning theatre it is, is its amazing work which is always topical and timely. Its current production, July 1-Sept. 10, “Walls” is no different. Playwright Michael Gene Sullivan, SF Mime veteran’s new work looks at federal immigration policy from George W. Bush and William Jefferson Clinton to Barack Obama and Donald Trump. The quartet has much in common, each president responsible for policies which criminalize its immigrant population. Surprisingly, we hear President Obama often on the issue, his tenure one of the more draconian against immigrant populations. “Walls” looks at the xenophobia such scapegoating fosters, along with hate crimes masked by pseudo-patriotism. Heavy? Yes, but the pacing, excellent direction, cast, Mime Troupe humor, stunning songs and surprising rumba, make the medicine easier to swallow.









At center, in “Walls” is a love story between ICE agent L. Mary and recent arrival Zaniyah Nahuatl (Marilet Martinez) who trembles every time she thinks about the crossing from Mexico into America. Zaniyah lives with Mary who wants her to stay hidden.  L. Mary wants to keep her girlfriend safe, while Zaniyah Nahuatl wants to earn some money to send to her mother back home.  While L. Mary is at work hunting down illegal immigrants – the case load ever increasing, at home, Zaniyah cooks and cleans and takes care of the house.  Zaniyah speaks to her mom often on the phone and though justifiably paranoid ventures out into the neighborhood to shop at Somali immigrant, Bahdoon Samakab’s store.

The two hit it off immediately, dancing around the store as they swap immigrant stories. Samakab (Rotimi Agbabiaka) is a successful businessman whose income supports his immediate family and relatives at home in Somalia. He is not illegal or undocumented, yet neighbors in the community who once befriended him over his 25 year tenure, now treat him with scorn because he is Muslim and an immigrant. As Samakab juggles hard work and financial responsibilities, he complains to his mother whom he speaks to daily about his son who loves all things American except honest labor.

Lastly there is Irish ICE agent Cliodhna Aghabullogue (Lizzie Calogero), who is vigilant in ridding the nation of terrorists and criminals. Cliodhna thinks she has to divorce herself from her homeland to be authentically American, a land and people she loves, perhaps more than they love her.

The drama takes place on the backdrop of a crippled Lady Liberty: her head sits on stage with weather vane crown and one foot. The scale is missing as is any semblance of compassion. When “Walls” reaches its climax, Cliodhna says to Zaniyah that she is not interested in her story or reasons for being in America. It is not surprising that when the tables turn, the same agency, ICE is unsympathetic to Cliodhna as well. If ever, Martin Niemöller (1892–1984), prominent Protestant pastor’s statement of regret over his inaction and support of Hitler’s regime is apropos: “[when] they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”  L. Mary too has much to atone for when “Walls” concludes.

As the audience at Dolores Park packs up, we wonder what our country would look like if such immigration policies didn’t exist. “Walls” certainly put a damper on what could have been a day of jubilation for the home team (smile). However, until the walls come tumbling down— visible and equally impermeable invisible ones, this nation will not know freedom and Frederick Douglass’s question will remain unanswered. Visit sfmt.org or call (415) 285-1717, to find out when a performance is coming to your neighborhood as this free community theatre makes its rounds in Northern California with multiple stops in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Sacramento, San Lorenzo, Richmond, Mill Valley, Point Arena, Merced, Petaluma, Ukiah, Davis, etc.

Most shows start at 2 p.,m. with music at 1:30 p.m. There are post show discussions July 8 at Live Oak Park in Berkeley, and July 26 at Mime Troupe headquarters in San Francisco; August 12 at Glen Park in San Francisco and August 26 at Willard Park in Berkeley; and Sept. 3 at Dolores Park in San Francisco. Listen to a recent interview with actor Marilet Martinez (Zaniyah Nahuatl) at Wanda’s Picks Radio.


Wanda's Picks Radio Friday, June 30, 2017

This is a black arts and culture site. We will be exploring the African Diaspora via the writing, performance, both musical and theatrical (film and stage), as well as the visual arts of Africans in the Diaspora and those influenced by these aesthetic forms of expression. I am interested in the political and social ramifications of art on society, specifically movements supported by these artists and their forebearers. It is my claim that the artists are the true revolutionaries, their work honest and filled with raw unedited passion. They are our true heroes. Ashay!

1. Amy Mueller, Artistic Director,  joins us to speak about the 40th Annual Bay Area Playwrights Festival, July 13-23. (Early Bird special extended to 6/30). Amy is an award-winning director and producer of original theater for over thirty years, and is a leader in the national new play development sector. Since taking the helm of Playwrights Foundation in 2001.Her directing credits include Berkeley Repertory Theatre, San Diego Repertory Theatre, ACT Seattle, A.C.T. Arizona Theatre Company, Cutting Ball Theater, Crowded Fire Theater and many others. She is the mother of two beautiful children.

2. Rebroadcast 8/29/2014 show

3. Marilet Martinez (Actor) is a bilingual actor, teaching artist, fight choreographer, improviser, physical theatre deviser, puppeteer, certified Zumba instructor and SF native. She first worked with the San Francisco Mime Troupe in 2003 as a work shop student then went on to understudy for the company in 2011. She has also taught for the Youth Theater Project. Marilet has performed with ACT's The Strand, Cal Shakes, Berkeley Rep's Ground Floor, Theatreworks' New Works Festival, Word for Word, PCPA Theatrefest, Shotgun Players, Crowded Fire, African-American Shakes, Woman's Will, Teatrovision, Shadowlight Theatre, SF Playwrights Foundation, and more. She is a company member at Impact Theatre and an associate artist with Cutting Ball Theatre. Marilet dedicates this show to her abuelitos and abuelitas for teaching her how to be brave.
SFMT's Walls opens July 1 at Cedar Rose Park in Berkeley.

4. Rebroadcast: Pricilla: Queen of the Desert, at Theatre Rhinoceros: May 27-July 1, joining us are: Charles Peoples III (Adam/Felicia), AeJay Mitchell (Choreographer). Shows are at Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson St., (at Battery St.) SF.


Friday, May 26, 2017

This is a black arts and culture site. We will be exploring the African Diaspora via the writing, performance, both musical and theatrical (film and stage), as well as the visual arts of Africans in the Diaspora and those influenced by these aesthetic forms of expression. I am interested in the political and social ramifications of art on society, specifically movements supported by these artists and their forebearers. It is my claim that the artists are the true revolutionaries, their work honest and filled with raw unedited passion. They are our true heroes. Ashay!

1. DJ Spooky joins us to talk about the SF Silent Film Festival's screening of Body and Soul, dir., Oscar Micheaux | USA, 1925 | 93 m., Friday, June 2, 7 p.m. at the Castro Theatre in SF

2. Gianna & Fely Tchaco,14th Annual Berkeley World Music Festival 6/10-6/11 (various locations)

3. Desiree Rogers (Deborah) & Jeunee Simon (Henrietta Lacks) join us to talk about Theatre First's production of HeLa at Live Oak Theatre through June 17.

4. Pricilla: Queen of the Desert, at Theatre Rhinoceros: May 27-July 1, joining us are: Charles Peoples III (Adam a.k.a. "Felicia"), AeJay Mitchell (Choreographer). Shows are at Eureka Theatre215 Jackson St., (at Battery St.) SF. Previews which begin 3/27-3/31 are pay what you wish.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Wanda's Picks Wednesday, May 24, 2017

This is a black arts and culture site. We will be exploring the African Diaspora via the writing, performance, both musical and theatrical (film and stage), as well as the visual arts of Africans in the Diaspora and those influenced by these aesthetic forms of expression. I am interested in the political and social ramifications of art on society, specifically movements supported by these artists and their forebearers. It is my claim that the artists are the true revolutionaries, their work honest and filled with raw unedited passion. They are our true heroes. Ashay!
1. Graham Lustig, Artistic Director, Oakland Ballet, joins us to talk about "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at Odell Johnson Theatre at the Laney College, June 1-3 at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, June 4, 4 p.m. at Laney as well.

2. Cherie Hill, Artistic Director, IrieDance, joins us to talk about her new work.Terrestrial Footprints Part 2, June 2 & 3 at Alena Museum, a West Oakland space for African Diaspora art, 2725 Magnolia Street, 8 p.m.

3. Laura Elaine Ellis , executive director of the African & African American Performing Arts Coalition and co-director of the Black Choreographers Festival curates: Soul to Soul: An Artistic Response to Baldwin and Coates, 6/3 and 6/10, a collaborative piece which draws on the writings of James Baldwin and Ta-Nehisi Coates to illuminate contemporary issues related to race and social justice at odc.dance/wddf and 415-863-9834. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Wanda's Picks Special Broadcast

This is a black arts and culture site. We will be exploring the African Diaspora via the writing, performance, both musical and theatrical (film and stage), as well as the visual arts of Africans in the Diaspora and those influenced by these aesthetic forms of expression. I am interested in the political and social ramifications of art on society, specifically movements supported by these artists and their forbearers. It is my claim that the artists are the true revolutionaries, their work honest and filled with raw unedited passion. They are our true heroes. Ashay!

1. Andrew Wood, San Francisco International Arts Festival
founded the Festival in 2002. Prior to that he had over 10 years experience as a presenter and an artist manager working at places such as ODC Theater, Life on the Water, the Ethnic Dance Festival and the San Francisco Mime Troupe.

2. Eugene Redmond, Da-Dum-Dun: Annual Tribute to Miles Davis, Henry Dumas, and Katherine Dunham. Three artistic giants who greatly impacted this city and the world will be honored Friday, May 19, 2017, at 6:30 pm in the Multipurpose Room of Building “D” on the Higher Education Campus of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE), 601 J.R. Thompson Dr., East St. Louis (62201).Three artistic giants who greatly impacted this city and the world will be honored Friday, May 19, 2017, at 6:30 pm in the Multipurpose Room of Building “D” on the Higher Education Campus of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE), 601 J.R. Thompson Dr., East St. Louis (62201).

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Wanda's Picks, Wednesday, May 10, 2017

This is a black arts and culture site. We will be exploring the African Diaspora via the writing, performance, both musical and theatrical (film and stage), as well as the visual arts of Africans in the Diaspora and those influenced by these aesthetic forms of expression. I am interested in the political and social ramifications of art on society, specifically movements supported by these artists and their forbearers. It is my claim that the artists are the true revolutionaries, their work honest and filled with raw unedited passion. They are our true heroes. Ashay!


Ayori Selassie




















1. Ayori Selassie
Selfpreneur and Salesforce
https://www.techplayground.in/

Ayori Selassie joins us to talk about "A Taste of Oakland" and the Tech Playground featured there, this weekend, May 13, 12-6 p.m.

Ms. Selassie is the creator of Life Model Design, a methodology used to solve complex life problems using design thinking. As the inventor of Life Model Canvas® (a framework to design your life), Selassie is a globally recognized thought leader, entrepreneur, philanthropist and innovator. Selassie currently works as a Product Marketing Manager on Einstein at Salesforce delivering artificial intelligence for everyone. Selassie leverages over eighteen years of software engineering, technology and consulting experience serving as a trusted adviser for startups and medium sized businesses.


Alo Billingslea, director.
Photo: Paul Kuroda


















2. Aldo Billingslea, director, of 
Samm-Art Williams's Home, at Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, Friday, May 12, 7 p.m. in the Burial Clay Theatre, 762 Fulton Street in San Francisco. Home, at Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, Friday, May 12, 7 p.m. in the Burial Clay Theatre, 762 Fulton Street in San Francisco. Aldo Billingslea, “HOME” Director, has mounted full productions of Lorraine Hansberry Theatre’s, A Raisin in the Sun for Pear Avenue Theatre and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the Goodwill Shakespeare Company in Summerland, British Columbia. At Santa Clara he has directed Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, Love’s Labours Lost, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream along with the Shadowbox, The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window, The Odd Couple, The Good Doctor and Pentecost and Brian Thorstenson’s Welcome to Claradise. As an actor Aldo has performed at TheatreWorks, Marin Theatre Company, the Aurora Theatre, the Magic Theatre, A.C.T., and with Shakespeare Festivals of: Arabia, California, Dallas, Marin, Oregon, Santa Cruz, and Utah




Akubundu Amazu-Lott
For tickets and information.























3. Akubundu Amazu-Lott, All African Peoples Revolutionary Party, joins us to speak about African Liberation Day, May 27, 2017, 11-5 at Tassaferonga Park. Theme: "African Youth Organizing Against All Settler and Neo-Colonial Regimes: From DRC (Congo), to Standing Rock and Palestine!"


As a youth living in Los Angeles, CA, Akubundu Amazu-Lott experienced first hand being profiled by the police. On at least a half dozen occasions he was pulled over at gun-point by the LAPD. This experience contributed to his understanding that African people in America were treated as second-class citizens.  He made his way out of Los Angeles to San Jose State University. There he participated in sports (football) and received his B.S. in Business Administration and his Master of Urban Planning.

As an undergraduate student athlete he experienced racism on the field and in the classroom.  His resolve to change the situation of African People in particular and humanity in general lead him to join several progressive organizations including the Black Student Union (SJSU) and the Pan African Student Collective. He was introduced to and joined the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party (AAPRP) in 1979 and is currently a member of the Central Committee. It is through his extensive study of Pan-Africanism and the struggles of oppressed people globally that he remains motivated to work for positive change. 

He was formerly an adjunct professor at San Jose State University in the African-American Studies Department. He taught classes on The African/Black Family, Economic Issues in the African-American Community, MLK and the Civil Rights Movement, Urban Policy and Inner City Residents, and more. Additionally, he has been a guest speaker on numerous university campuses throughout California. He has lead  groups of students to Haiti, Belize and most recently Cuba to meet with grass-root organizations. This life changing experience has lead to continued work to change U.S. policy in Haiti, as well as an ongoing working relationship with groups in Haiti.