Monday, December 31, 2012

Wanda's Picks Radio Show Special: On Freedom

Our first guest is Aundre The Wonder Woman. She is featured tonight at Brave Theatre, in San Francisco along with other funny women (smile). Brava Theater Center is located at 2781 24th Street, San Francisco.Call (415) 647-2822 and visit

She began her comedy career at Steve Harvey's Comedy House in Dallas, Texas. Steve described the defense attorney as “A new comic with a funny way of saying things." Since that time, she has been named Oakland's funniest comic on the strip, the funniest woman in Half Moon Bay. She took first place at the San Francisco International Comedy Competition. In 2008, she received the "Stand-Up for Justice" Award  from Death Penalty Focus, A national Death Penalty Abolitionist Organization for her work against the death penalty. Aundre The Wonder Woman is featured in two documentaries aired on PBS in March 2011: "Inside Out" and "No Tomorrow."

We close with an interview with Theresa Shoats, political prisoner, Russell "Marron" Shoatz's daughter, who has a new book out on PM Press early 2013.

Theresa Shoatz
has been a community organizer for over 20 years. Donating her time to the Human Rights Coalition of Philadelphia (HRC FED UP!), Decarcerate Pennsylvania and Scientific Soul Sessions, she has fought tirelessly for her father’s freedom during his two decades in solitary confinement. She worked for eight years in the Philadelphia public school system and founded an after-school programme to counsel youth battling homelessness, parental drug use, gang-related violence, gender issues and sexual abuse. She has been a pillar of support to the families of incarcerated men and women in her community, organizing and executing trips to prisons for relatives to meet their loved ones and exercising an “open-door” policy in order to counsel community members on the traumas brought about by mass incarceration. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Graterford Prison Chapter recently honored her dedication to families and communities throughout Philadelphia. More at:


Friday, December 28, 2012

Wanda's Picks Radio Show

Ayotunde A. Akindele, business man, activist, Pan African speaks about Chapwati Great Zimbabwe Leisure Resort and a petition on to remove the United States sanctions on Zimbabwe;

Bill Doggett
, a is respected and experienced Exhibitions Curator and independent archivist based in Oakland is  inspired by the life work of the legendary archivist and curator, Arthur Schomburg, whose collection established New York’s Schomburg Center Doggett’s goal is to create a educational outreach resource with his archive of rare ephemera and recordings.Doggett has curated three well received exhibitions in San Francisco: The African American Concert Singer 1900-1963, Porgy and Bess: From Broadway to San Francisco for San Francisco Opera; The Underground Railroad: Songs of Hope and Freedom, The Civil War@150 years and now a historic exhibit commemorating the 150 anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation Jan. 1, 1863-Jan.1, 2013--The Journey To Freedom: Emancipation Proclamation@150 Years.The exhibit covers The Transatlantic Slave Trade, Slavery in the US and The Emancipation Proclamation (Jan.-Feb. 2013) at the Bay View Opera House in San Francisco, with an artist reception Feb. 2.

Larry Vann, drummer has been performing professionally  since 15. He draws from a deep well of musical influence, including gospel, blues, funk, jazz and soul and has toured and recorded with a medley of celebrated artists, including THE WHISPERS, ELVIN BISHOP, MARTHA REEVES, THE MARVALETTES, BUFFY SAINT-MARIE and many more. Honors & awards include: The Blues Society’s West Coast Hall of Fame, “Blues Drummer of the Year ” and The Jazz Institute’s “Man of the Year” award. He has also been honored to serve as a Governor on the governing board of the San Francisco chapter of The Recording Academy.  He celebrates his birthday tonight with a CD Release and Concert at the 57th Street Gallery in Oakland. Visit

We close with an interview with Vixen Noir aka Veronica Combs about her reinvention as a vocalist with an EP dropping, "Dangerous," Jan. 29, 2013.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Wanda's Picks Radio Show: Habari Gani? UMOJA!

We open the show with Ann Chinn, Executive Director of Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers (MPP), an organization that began this year to Commemorate the nearly 2 million Africans who perished in the Middle Passage of the transatlantic human trade;

Research and identify all ports of entry for Africans during the 350 years of the transatlantic human trade and then Sponsor remembrance ceremonies at each of more than 175 middle passage ports in 50 nations of North, Central, and South America, the Caribbean, and Europe; Plan final ceremonies on the east and west coasts of Africa by 2020;

Baba Achebe Hoskins
, member, The Brotherhood of Elders Council speaks about Kujichagulia or Self-Determination, Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012, at the Malonga Center, 1428 Alice Street, Oakland. He is a 2011 City of Oakland Humanitarian Award Winner, a father, cultural worker and playwright. Baba Achebe currently facilitates a Transformative Manhood Group which is made up of fifteen elders who conduct a weekly, multi-ethnic intergenerational “Critical Thinking” session for between ten and twenty youth, thirteen to twenty five years old.

Artist, Activists: Malik Seneferu and Brotha Clint join us to talk about the Kwanzaa 2012 kick-off in San Francisco today at 12 noon at City Hall. Visit

We close with a conversation with Adimu Madyun and Ayodele Nzinga Ph.D. who talk about Warrior Spirit Art Experience this Saturday, UJAMAA or Cooperative Economics. The evening features: "WolfHawkJaguars: A Band of Hunters" at the 57th Street Gallery, 5701 Telegraph. The Cleansing starts at 5 p.m., show 8:30-11 p.m.


Music: We run out of time and don't get to play all of the Hunter Poetry songs we start such as Cowrie Shells and Nothing Else Seems to Matter, but listen for them on Friday's show beginning at 8 a.m.

Guest Bios:

Ann L. Chinn, Executive Director

Ann L. Chinn, executive director of the Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project (MPP) is a self-described community activist. Ms. Chinn's work has included children and family advocacy with Washington D.C. government and work as a retailer, textile artist, and organizer of a collective artists' market. She has also written an extensive family history in collaboration with family members.

As facilitator and founder of the project, she writes, “My professional career has encompassed many avenues: municipal and federal civil service, community organizing and training, owning a small business, producing textile art, and writing. Those are simply the principal roads with branches into more personal interests of cultural anthropology, history and travel.

“During the next decade I am completely devoting myself to this undertaking as the fulfillment of a vocation and a promise. Only once in a while is a person fortunate to know clearly the purpose of a life; for me this project is that. Having put it aside, asking the ancestors to wait just a little bit longer for 25 years, I am keeping my commitment to remember them.

“What is unique about the project is that it demands from each of us the personal acknowledgement of losses and contributions within the struggle to survive enslavement. No matter whether our relationship to the horror was as the victim, as the perpetrator, or as indirect beneficiary, it is a shared arc of history that needs to be physically marked. This project reinforces, and in some cases reestablishes, our humanity as we begin to honor our dead in the Atlantic.

“I was born and raised within a loving, diverse family whose history in this land spans more than 300 years of Tidewater Virginians, New England patriots, and District of Columbia and Georgetown residents. I attended public and parochial schools, Mt. Holyoke College and The George Washington University. In this life my treasures are three children and three grandchildren, a daughter by marriage, three grandchildren, a patient spouse, numerous relatives, wonderful friends, and four acres of land on St. Helena Island, South Carolina.”

Achebe Hoskins


Achebe Hoskins has been active in the cultural and performing arts since the age of six. He is an actor, vocalist, storyteller, gumboot dancer, videographer and acting coach. He has written and directed five full-length plays and written over two hundred one acts, sketches and skits. Achebe is the founding director of the Bay Area Performing Arts Collective and has produced, directed and collaborated on over eighty five productions in the past 25 years.

Achebe is a skilled craftsman in the designing and building of theater sets. He has also developed himself in the area of special effects and has honed his skills as an illusionist into an exciting and entertaining performance that has delighted audiences of all ages.

2011 City of Oakland Humanitarian Award Winner Achebe Hoskins is a father and grandfather who has raised seven children as well as assisting in the rearing of several nieces and nephews. He has been a social father mentoring scores of children and young adults throughout San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley. His ongoing community work with youth has earned him the title of “BABA”(Father in Kiswahilli).


Achebe Hoskins is currently employed by The Mentoring Center as a Project Director, Reentry Specialist and Case Mentor. Achebe services a contract with the City of Oakland in collaboration with The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to give pre and post release services to twenty four young men annually returning to the City of Oakland. Achebe is also a Certified Anger Management Specialist servicing a large number of clients each year.

Achebe currently facilitates a Transformative Manhood Group which is made up of fifteen elders who conduct a weekly, multi-ethnic intergenerational “Critical Thinking” session for between ten and twenty youth, thirteen to twenty five years old.




Memories of my childhood play a tremendous role in my approach to creating art today. In my early years my mother a single parent lived in fear for my health due to the environmental hazards of San Francisco’s Hunters Point district. I suffered with asthma. Therefore, my innate interest to drawing and painting became that of a marriage over sports modeling my pursuit for constant spiritual mental and physical elevation. Having siblings among others as viewers of my work challenged me to go beyond my limitations. I remember my late grandmother a Barber and tailor sewing for hours at her machine after coming home from work. I would sit at her feet and draw on a paper bag with a pen, marker, crayon or a number two pencil.

Art is an absolute liberation of my imagination, a tool I use to communicate and share my “inner-light.” I have regular memories of my childhood working at the local super market, helping elders with their shopping bags. Receiving tips helping my grandmother in her barber shop by sweeping up the hairs to find money mysteriously hidden in large clumps. At the end of each service, those who knew me would say, “Keep up the good work and never stop doing your art.” From these experiences, I have learned the treasure of focusing on minuet details. Eventually, I realized in my artistic process that I too would hide treasures.

Living with this artistic expression is ritualistic in act and meditative in thought. Many times in the midst of creating, I experience dejavu. The realization of a single moment is obsolete only until it is captured by a memory of a stroke; a thought or pause for observation that I have discovered represents reincarnation of that tangible moment. Because of this, the very act of creating fine art is imparted with the relationship and responsibility I have with THE CREATOR. “The purpose of my existence.”

I also feel it is my duty as self taught artist to have an internal dialog with the viewer and in many cases the ancestors, where at this point I find inspiration for artistic expression. Fathering my child, serving my community, drumming, martial arts, poetry, philosophy and ancestral facts (history), all helps with the enhancement of my expression, to captures the Black, experience in America. I enjoy manipulating dry water-based paints, oil pastels, ink pen, found objects or assemblage. Book illustrations, portraiture, and public art projects have brought me closer to my community. The purpose of my compositions is to elevate the social, political, environmental and spiritual issues of people deeply challenged by oppression. This has been my greatest enrapture.

Kenya and Haiti are places for instance that influence the bold and dramatic colors in my works. Henry Ossawa Tanner, Aaron Douglas, John Biggers and Jean-Michel Basquiat (to name a few) has inspired my artistic direction. Being an artist and growing up with-in low-income housing projects, surrounded by the early stages of Hip-Hop, had an immense impact on my ability to create freely. Although this bold life style of music, poetry, art, dance, and intense research today seems barbaric. It nevertheless has influenced me to be boundless in my creative efforts to deliver messages of empowerment to the indigenous peoples of the world.

Brother Clint Sockwell II

Brother Clint describes himself as a Griot and a Speaker. He has worked with the San Francisco Unified School District since 1995 and created and implement a service organization, which is a continuum for manhood from boys to men referred to as: Community Intentions.

He recently retired as the Elementary Adviser at Cleveland Elementary School in San Francisco, California. Where “Peacemakers Rule the Playground” after nine years. Having worked in the schools for more than a decade, has afforded him the opportunity to meet thousands of children in the Bay Area where his presentations of the concepts of the Virtues of Maat & Nguzo Saba are included in the memories of not only the children of San Francisco, but also children and educators throughout the Bay Area. 

His collaborations with the San Francisco Alliance of Black School Educators, the IRISE Initiative, BAYCAT and Cable 29/ AccesSF has afforded Brotha Clint the acumen and opportunity to teach and inspire youth to believe in themselves, have faith in their dreams and aspire to achieve them.

He says he has faith in the children and hope for the community, because he is truly our brother. 

Ayodele WordSlanger Nzinga, Ph.D.

Ayodele WordSlanger Nzinga has been called a renaissance woman. She is a director, playwright, poet, performance artist, artist-educator, and a scholar-activist.

Ishmael Reed describes her as tour de force. Marvin X says her performances are orgasmic. and she is one of the best in the Bay. The late Pri Thomas called her one of the best poets of our time. 

Nzinga is the founding Director of The Lower Bottom Playaz and The Sister Thea Bowman Memorial Theater located in West Oakland CA has provided Oakland with 11 Theater Seasons and her Troupe The Lower Bottom Playaz are the life behind the footlights in the theater the press describes as one of Oakland's treasures.

Nzinga holds an MA & MFA in Writing and Consciousness and a Ph.D. in Transformative Education and Change. Her motto is: I create therefore I am. Now in the states for the last five years Adimu Madyun is making headway with his controversial award winning film Operation Small Axe.

Wolf Hawk Jaquar

As a solo artist, his latest manifestation as WolfHawkJaguar, we'll see the artist staring in the film Hunter Poetry and recording the soundtrack. The film centers on his musical journey through the African Spiritual Tradition of Orisa. Adimu has been blessed to share the stage with artists such as The Abyssinians, Gyptian, Saul Williams, Pressure, Norris Man, Dead Prez, Slim Kid Tre of Pharcyde, Thandiswa Mazwai and Zion I.  WolfHawkJaguar is a dynamic stage performer with a fresh new sound that is guaranteed to uplift the masses! To hear the warrior sounds:

Friday, December 21, 2012

Wanda's Picks 21 December 2012

A New Beginning Has Begun

We broadcast Dec. 20, 2012 show again this morning featuring Taiwo Kuchichagulia-Seitu, Chief Luisah Teish and Georgia Horton.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Taiwo Kujichagulia-Seitu's "Go Tell It" on Wanda's Picks Radio

Today we have a special broadcast of an interview with Taiwo Kujichagulia-Seitu, playwright, who tells us about her labor of love, a musical written about Harriet Tubman's rescue of her brothers Christmas day 1854. Go Tell It is opening Friday-Saturday, Dec. 21-22, 2012 in Oakland at Kid's N'Dance, 38th and MacArthur. Visit on
Kujichagulia-Seitu, MBA
is a professor, entrepreneur, coloratura soprano and dancer.  As a former professor on the music faculty at Berkeley City College, Taiwo taught choir and music history. Her academic background includes a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance, a Master of Business Administration in marketing, and graduate studies in vocal performance. Taiwo has performed professionally for 20 years both singing and dancing. Taiwo arranges African American Spirituals, for performance and study, and lectures on their development, correct historical context and the coding found within. As such, Taiwo was recently honored as a Negro Spirituals Heritage Keeper by the Friends of Negro Spirituals. Taiwo is also a founding member of two dance companies: N’soromma African Drummers and Dancers (Prairie View, Texas) and Lyric Dance and Vocal Ensemble (Oakland, California). From 1999 – 2002, Taiwo served as the first female co-chair of the National Congress of Economic Development Commissioners under the direction of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America. She served on the coalition’s national board of directors during the same period. Taiwo’s professional experience includes teaching, copy-editing and writing. She is co-owner and COO of Osun 07 Fashions LLC, an apparel manufacturing company located in Oakland, California. 

We have a surprise guest Cheif Luisah Teish of Ile Orunmila Oshun, drop in to talk about Creation Eve at JFK Arts and Consciousness Bldg. in Berkeley, CA, 7-9 p.m. this evening, Dec. 20, 2012. 

We close with another prerecorded interview with Georgia Horton (June 2012). She talks about the New Plantation, California Corrections --CDCR.

Music: Wadada Leo Smith and Sweet Honey in the Rock.

Show link:

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wanda's Picks Radio Show Special: A New Beginning
Today we speak to several artists about the New Beginning heralded by the end of the Mayan calendar, Dec. 21, 2012. First we speak to Dance Brigade founder, Krissy Keefer, musician/educator, Carolyn Brandy and poet/activist, MamaCoatl about "Voluspa: A Ghost Dance for 2012," two-night ritual dance performance that pays tribute to past and present struggles and works towards renewal.

Featuring work by Dance Brigade, Grrrl Brigade, NAKA Dance Theater, Danza Xitlalli, John Jota Leaños and others. Each evening ends with a healing circle, December 19-20, 2012; Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30pm at Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th Street, San Francisco CA 94110, (415) 826-4441.
We then speak to Ahkeel Mestayer, who is 17 years old and a Senior at School of the Arts High School in San Francisco where he studies Percussion. Ahkeel has been playing music with Loco Bloco since he was in 1st grade.  Currently Ahkeel is a member of Loco Bloco's Youth Apprentice Program, a performer in our Performing Ensemble and has served as the Assistant Musical Director for Night Wakes Dawn.

Edris Cooper Anifowoshe
is one of the artistic directors of the play which looks at is a musical, theatrical exploration of the beliefs and prophecies initiated by the Mayan culture surrounding December 21, 2012 and a questioning of the New Age controversy over its meaning.  Night Wakes Dawn focuses on reuniting with our ancestors and reconnecting with ancient wisdom to guide us in making life decisions and affecting positive change.  Visit

We close with a conversation with frequent guest Michael Gene Sullivan who is "Freddie Fillmore" in Marin Theatre Company's "It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play" through Dec. 23, 2012, adapted by Joe Landry and directed by Jon Tracy, from Frank Capra's film starring James Stewart (1946). Visit

Photo: Michael Gene Sullivan and ensemble (photographer, Ed Smith)

KRISSY KEEFER / DANCE BRIGADE Dance Brigade is sumptuous dancing, biting, intellectual, insightful wit, and provocative originality. This dynamic multi-racial troupe of women proves that socially relevant dance can be technically brilliant, as well as exuberant with down-home hilarious fun. This company dances at full throttle. Artistic Director, Krissy Keefer explores the intersection between art and social issues with fierce inventiveness and a deft comic touch. Her content driven choreographies are a high-energy blend of ballet, modern dance, jazz, song, text, sign language and explosive Taiko drumming. The company has created over 10 full-length concerts of contemporary dance theater including Pandora’s Box, Ballet of the Banshees, Cinderella, Queen of Sheeba, Cave Women, Spell, The Revolutionary Nutcracker Sweetie and The Great Liberation Upon Hearing. For these productions, they received numerous grants and awards. Dance Brigade resides in the heart of the Mission District in San Francisco at Dance Mission Theater, where they operate a 140-seat theater, dance studios, adult and youth classes, Grrrl Brigade and produce groundbreaking events. In 1984, Krissy Keefer and Nina Fichter, original members of Wallflower Order, founded Dance Brigade to create and perform dance-theater that addresses the complex problems of contemporary American women.

Artistic Director Krissy Keefer co-founded the Wallflower Order in 1975 as the nation’s first feminist dance company. Wallflower toured the nation for almost a decade, and staged many original pieces before large, enthusiastic, and predominantly feminist audiences. They developed a new kind of modern dance-theater that was stylistically rooted in martial arts, athleticism, and social justice. As the Wallflower Order’s members went their separate ways, Keefer and Fichter created the Dance Brigade to carry forward their activist vision. Their original works continued to explore social issues such as war, poverty, breast cancer, women’s history, death and dying, and spirituality from a feminist perspective.

In 1998, Dance Brigade began to operate Dance Mission at 24th and Mission Streets in San Francisco. At Dance Mission, they created an affordable 140-seat theater and rehearsal space for San Francisco dancers and artists. They expanded the Adult and Youth Dance Programs to include a full range of dance classes in Hip-Hop, Salsa, Bhangra, Brazilian, Bollywood, Afro-Haitian, modern, ballet and more. Some of the groundbreaking events Dance Brigade has presented and pioneered include the SkyDancers, Women on the Drum, Women Against War, and the Manifest!val for Social Change. Each year Dance Mission helps emerging artists launch their professional careers through the biannualChoreographers

Showcase and the Down & Dirty Dance Series. In 2004, the Grrrl Brigade was formed as an intensive dance/leadership development program designed to provide high quality dance training, performance opportunities, and a sense of self-empowerment for San Francisco's girls ages 9 to 18. This program began with 10 girls and has now over 60 girls participating.

Krissy Keefer has a long history of collaborating with a wide array of artists, companies and non-arts community groups. In the highly successful 2002 & 2008 productions of Women Against War at the Herbst Theater, she brought together prominent feminist activists, veteran feminist musicians, both established and emerging dance companies, and Grrrl Brigade. In 2006, Dance Brigade performed as the Greek chorus in San Jose Repertory Theatre’s production Euripides’s anti-war play, Iphigenia at Aulis, directed by Timothy Near.

Keefer served as co-director and choreographer for this production. In 2008, she also worked with feminist scholars and students in the New College Women’s Spirituality Masters’ Program and with Quan Yin Healing Arts Center to create “The Valencia Street Project,”honoring 30 years of local feminist history and institution building through original dance theater and public education events. Keefer’s latest work on death and dying was a fiery interpretation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead called The Great Liberation Upon Hearing. The performances were enthusiastically received by sold out audiences at both Dance Mission in February 2009, at Laney College in Oakland in November 2009, Dance Theater Workshop in New York in July 2011 and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco in November 201 as part of Dance Brigade’s 35th Anniversary Season. Dance Brigade was recently a guest artist in the Spring Festival, performing in Cairo, Egypt and Beirut, Lebanon in May 2012.

MamaCoatl is a barrio songstress, poet, performance activist, and spiritual healer who comes from the Yaqui people of the Sonora desert. Based in the Mission district, her work explores sound, ritual and cultural activism as power sources for public health. MamaCoatl received an M.A. in Women Spirituality from New College of California and MFA in Creative Inquiry. In 2006 MamaCoatl brought International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls to San Francisco after performances in Mexico and Peru. The event has become an annual celebration of healing and nonviolence including sixteen days of action, “artivism,” healing and education in the Mission district’s community.

Carolyn Brandy has been drumming for over 40 years. She has been instrumental in bringing women to the spirit and healing of the Drum. Carolyn is the Artistic Dreictor of Women Drummers International and co-creator of the Born to Drum Women’s Drum Camp. Shw was the founder of the Bay Area’s favorite marching band, Sistah Boom in 1981. IN 1976, Carolyn co-founded the popular band, Alive!That troured the nation for almost ten years and has four recordings to its credit. She has worked in the Bay Area for many years as a composer, performer, teacher and cultural worker. She is an expert in the folkloric drumming styles found throughout the island of Cuba and is a practitioner of the Yorubabased
religion, Regla de Ocha.

Music: We open with the title track for Voluspa: A Ghost Dance for 2012. We close with Vijay Iyer's The Village of the Virgins (Duke Ellington).

It's a Wonderful Life with Michael Gene Sullivan at MTC on Wanda's Picks Dec. 19, 2012

It’s a Wonderful Life, A Radio Play has been extended to Dec. 23, 2012 at the Marin Theatre Company in Mill Valley.  I don’t think I have ever seen the parking lot as full as it was the Saturday evening I attended. It felt like a real show with the host chatting with the audience before air time, applause signs lighting up when it was time for us to clap, and a variety of voices and sounds produced right in front of us. I could imagine how the footsteps sounded to those at home who couldn’t see one of the radio cast walking two empty shoes by hand over corn flakes (smile).

It’s a Wonderful Life is a statement most of us never question until our lives unravel and one considers alternatives like suicide or death. A friend said the premise reminded her of In Time (2011), writer-director Andrew Niccol’s film where people are given a finite amount of time for their lives based on status and class. The poorer members of this society try to steal time from those with time in abundance.  Sometimes one can have too much time on one’s hands literally—think about it. A person who has seen 100 good years might not want to spend another 250 years on the planet.  Then there are others who are trapped in a literal time zone, because they don’t have enough time to leave or travel. All currency is time. So in It’s a Wonderful Life when time is reversed and the protagonist realizes that certain events would not have taken place had he not been born, he is so happy when he gets his life back. Sometimes it’s not possible to take two. The first run is the only take.

The set was so interesting—microphones, equipment or props for the radio show—the commercials between dramatic segments were fun, especially the one about shampoo. The fine cast (5) shifted well between characters, playing multiple characters at once. There were photos of famous artists on the walls of the studio. Unlike the film starring Jimmy Stewart, Joe Landry’s Live Radio Play adaptation of Frank Capra’s film by the same title, seemed to develop the supporting characters more, whether that was the state employee whom the villain bribed or protagonist George Bailey’s youngest child who got a flower at school, his Uncle Billy who lost the company payroll to villain Old Man Potter, George’s dad, Mary, his wife. . . . who goes away to college and then returns home to George and his fun, yet meddling mom.

But perhaps the reason why the holiday tale felt so new has a lot to do with the story’s form which points to the immediacy of the genre, theatre—a radio play at that. Before the show starts, Michael Gene Sullivan’s "Freddie Fillmore" is talking to the audience, prepping it on a song, answering questions and kidding around.  Then the house lights dim and the lights blink on the set “Applause,” signaling time to settle down for the show. Unlike those listening at home, we have the privilege of watching the actors on the set which is entertaining within itself—tight, they have to quietly maneuver between and around each other as they shift hats from actor to sound designers or engineers—chorus, conductors and cheer leaders.  

It’s a Wonderful Life tells us to count our blessings every day, especially on those days when we’re overdrawn on life and we’ve lost the keys to the safety deposit box where memories are kept.  Michael Gene Sullivan is perfect as "Freddie," the host of the show. A natural, Sullivan’s work with the San Francisco Mime Troupe, a 25+ year old history of political theatre in the park, is at home with Radio Play, a show that shares much of the same Mime Troupe theatrics.

It is not a musical, yet there is music on the show—Michael’s timing is superb, whether that is as Uncle Billy stumbling out of the office drunk and knocking something over or as the villain, Trotter, rubbing his hands together when he thinks he has finally gotten the best of George. 

Don't miss closing week, Dec. 20-23, with two shows on the weekends. Tickets are also discounted. Visit or (415) 388-5208. The theatre is located at 397 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley, CA 94941.

Michael Gene Sullivan closes the Wanda's Picks radio show this morning. Visit