Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wanda's Picks July 18, 2012

Today's show was special. It's is not everyday that one has an opportunity to publicly acknowledge an old friend who is still keeping the social justice via arts torch lit. Everyday should be Paradise, not just October 7 in Oakland (smile). Visit

Richard Moore a.k.a. Paradise joins us to talk about the Oakland World Fair kick-off Sunday, July 22, 2012, in Berkeley at 1701 University Avenue at 3 p.m. It is also the 40 year San Francisco Bay Area Poetry Family Reunion. Artists are encouraged to drop by and meet old friends. A prelude to this certainly was the reading at the Lakeview Library where poet laureates like Alameda luminary Mary Rudge and Berkeley luminary, Adam David Miller not to mention Nina Serrano whom I'd just seen at the Luggage Store Gallery in a celebration of Third World Writers, presses, and publications (smile).

Randy Weston was marvelous this past weekend--two days of grace. I saw Ruthie Foster one night and Weston Friday and Saturday. I missed Roy Haynes at Stanford Jazz Festival that Sunday night, as well as the Tunisian pianist at Yoshi's San Francisco. I missed Nitin Sawhney and Meshell Ndegeocello last Sunday afternoon at Stern Grove too. Yep, missed Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo, but they are in Southern California this weekend. At Stern Grove, don't miss the E-Family. I will (boo hoo hoo).

ABPsi, the Black Psychology Conference is this week and I will be there for the final four days, otherwise I would be at the opening ceremonies for the 10th Annual International Black Women's Film Festival, Friday-Saturday, July 20-21. All the screenings are free. I don't know how Adrienne Anderson does it, but she is literally surpassing last season's festival which in itself was phenomenal. Visit

Academy Award Winning actress, Octavia Spencer, The Help, is special guest opening night, 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm at the Kaiser Center Theater & Foyer 300 Lakeside Drive (2nd floor at the top of escalators) Oakland, CA 94612.

The following morning, the Festival moves to San Francisco's Main Library where from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm guests can feast on a variety of films in both Koret Auditorium & Latino/Hispanic Room (Lower level) 100 Larkin Street San Francisco, CA 94102.

I was honored to speak to four witty, wonderful black directors, actors and producers this afternoon: Alfred Robbins who is a cinema savvy veteran--his films have made it to bootleg (smile), while maverick playwright Tamu Favorite, whose 10 Steps Backwards formally known as 'The N Word,' is now making the rounds as a treatment short, Harriet Returns--Favorite, cast as Harriet Tubman (smile). Stay tuned for the feature which received the Reel Sisters Spirit Award 2011. Favorite said the creative team's goal is to submit their film in a festival a month. The list is at 14 to date, August 2011 to now. They have surpassed their goal.

Keisha Ansley couldn't make it, but her Executive Producer, Tiffany Black could and did all the way from her native Florida. Black's first film, Call for Back Up! stretched her in many differently ways, none a strain like writing the film score:

Chasing the next opportunity, Black mentioned living bi-coastally, with plans for Atlanta, on the horizon. The two directors Black and Robbins started networking on the air (smile).

Too bad most, if not all, the directors I spoke to are going to be in town this weekend. Thank goodness such wit transcends space and time. As one listens to these artisans converse about their work one is inspired and more determined to get out this weekend if at all possible to see the work.

Alessandra Pinkston decides to try her hand on the other side of the creative process, that is, the writing and directing aspect of performance. Her first film is a thriller, starring her. I don't remember why Pinkston cast herself; perhaps it is like one's first book project--it comes out looking like its author. No one asks, is this your child (smile):

Robbins said he cast himself, because he was reliable and cheap, but to hear him talk about his other film projects with all-star line-ups, first call actors who show up with Equity House cards covered (as in disguised), I am sure he was being modest or vain (smile): &

We close with an excerpt of an interview with James T. Lane, who is wonderful in his role as Ozie Powell in ACT-SF's current production of Scottsboro Boys. Lane and I have a frank talk about many of the whirling issues connected, not to the story, which all agree needs to be told, but in connection to the artistic choices the creative team takes in its minstrel framing of perhaps the worst judicial travesty in American history post-slavery. We connect Scottsboro to Trayvon Martin and to San Francisco Bayview's Kenneth Harding, a young man (19) gunned down a year ago on a MUNI bus over a $2 fare. See

Lane and I talk about his career and tenure on Broadway, especially his work with symphony orchestras. We conclude with ways ACT-SF can mobilize its audience in civic work connected to the criminal system, especially with regard to California youth.

I open with Napoleon Revels-Bey, who talks about being a percussionist and his gig Friday, July 27, 7-11 p.m at Floyd Pellom's 57th Street Gallery, 5701 Telegraph Avenue, Berkley (510) 654-6874. I met Revels-Bey at Randy Weston's first night in Oakland. As the long hand approached the bewitching hour, Professor Weston was holding court in his dressing room counseling youth, affirming those a bit older as he tried to eat his sorbet. Visit

Music: Revels-Bey's "Up U Mighty (Nation, You Can Accomplish What You Will--Hon. Marcus Garvey)."


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