Thursday, March 28, 2013

Wanda's Picks Radio Show, Friday, March 29, 2013: "Ain't I a Woman

We close our March celebration of women with a look at the legacy of Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks, and Harriet Tubman. We start with a conversation with Avery Sharpe, a visionary composer, educator and musician whose work “Ain’t I a Woman” consists of compositions based on formerly enslaved abolitionist and women’s rights advocate, Sojourner Truth’s life, the title of the project taking its title from a speech she made at the Ohio Women's Convention in Akron, Ohio, May 29, 1851 originally without a title. Sharpe's recording was completed in December 2011 and he has been touring since then with Sharpe’s Jazz Sextet  featuring Onaje Allan Gumbs-piano, Yoron Israel-drums, Craig Handy-saxophones, Duane Eubanks-trumpet, Jeri Brown-vocals and of course Avery Sharpe-bass.

This tour includes a video show of Truth’s life. Sharpe joins us to talk about this phenomenal woman who still challenges us to rethink our notions of equality, justice and human rights not to mention values such as democracy and citizenship which are still compromised based on gender and race.  See 

Later in the show we continue this conversation with Paula M. Kimper, composer of  “Truth, a New Folk Opera about Sojourner Truth, the ex-slave, fiery abolitionist and women’s rights pioneer, with a libretto by Talaya Delaney, commissioned by Old Deerfield Productions and premiered in February 2012 at the Academy of Music in Northampton, MA. A chamber version conducted by the composer is now on tour. Linda McInerney, Mari-Yan Pringle,  Paula Kimper join us a little later in the show to talk about Truth, , an opera based on the life of Sojourner Truth. Linda McInerney, director/co-creator and co-conceiver, is also founder and Artistic Director of Old Deerfield Productions; Paula M. Kimper is composer and Mari-Yan Pringle, who sings the role “Sojourner Truth.” Visit and

Between the two Truth conversations is a prerecorded interview with scholar and author, Dr. Jeanne Theoharis about her latest book: The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks. It is not only the first sweeping history of Parks’s life, amazing a thought as that is, Rebellious shows us a woman who was not tired, was not reactionary, rather was a woman who had a long history resisting injustice, who on Dec. 1, 1955, chose to use her body to interrupt a system of injustice called Jim Crow or legal segregation by refusing to give up her seat. However, Rebellious shows quite eloquently how the Mrs. Parks on that bus was not new to rebellion, that this Mrs. Parks had in her own words have "protest in her blood" (Theoharis 51). 

The full interview will be broadcast April 3, 2013, 6 AM PT here on this dial.

We close with a conversation about the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument as the 399th unit of the National Park System (to open in 2015) with Robert G. Stanton, former Director of the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Senior Adviser to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C. The new national monument is located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and includes large sections of landscapes that are significant to Tubman’s early life in Dorchester County and evocative of her life as an enslaved person and conductor of the Underground Railroad.

These include Stewart’s Canal, dug by hand free and enslaved people, including Tubman, between 1810 and the 1830s. Stewart’s Canal is part of the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and, although part of the new national monument, will continue to be managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The new monument also includes the home site of Jacob Jackson, a free black man who used coded letters to help Tubman communicate with family and others.  The Jacob Jackson Home Site was donated to the National Park Service by The Conservation Fund for inclusion in the new national monument. Visit

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wanda's Picks Radio Show, Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Women's History Month is closing with a bang in Berkeley with "Just Like a Woman," a concert featuring an all-star line up of women vocalists and musicians among them Rhonda Benin, the show's producer, with Paula Harris, Terrie Odabi, Kellye Gray and the Lillian Armstrong Tribute Band  with musicial director Tammy Hall, at the Freight and Salvage. Visit

We close with an interview with Tobie Windham, a regular guest who joins us to talk about his latest role, "John," in Matthew Lopez's The Whipping Man opening at Marin Theatre Company March 28-April 21, 2013. Visit (415) 388-5200.

Music: Kim Nalley's "I Wish I Knew How It Felt to Be Free"; Keb'Mo's "Wake Up Everybody"; Karrin Allyson's "Spring Can Really Hang You Up," and Paula West's "Rolling Stone" (an excerpt)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Wanda's Picks Radio Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Jacquie Jones, director, producer, 180 Days
DC Met Principal, Tanishia Williams Minor
Raven Q., DC Met Student
DC Met Student and Teacher
Jacquie Jones joins us to speak about 180 Days: A Year inside an American High School, airing nationally on PBS March 25-26, 2015. The film follows a high five students at DC Met. Jones is the Executive Director of the National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) and the Executive Producer of DC MET. Since taking over leadership of NBPC, Jacquie has established herself as a leader in the evolving next-media landscape through innovative partnerships and initiatives such as the Katrina Project, the ground-breaking New Media Institute, the Public Media Corps and She was previously the Executive Vice President of ROJA Productions in New York City, a producer of high impact media for public television and museums. Jacquie is also a Peabody Award-winning producer and director of documentary films. Her credits include “Africans in America” and “Matters of Race” for PBS, “Behind Closed Doors: Sex in the 20th Century” for Showtime, and “The World Before Us,” for the History Channel. She has a BA in English from Howard University and an MA from Stanford University’s documentary filmmaking program. She has been a Revson Fellow at Columbia University and a scholar-in-residence at American University in Washington, DC. She currently serves as Vice Chair of the Integrated Media Association (iMA) board and on the Community Advisory Board of WHUT Howard University Television.

On the program website there is a place to share stories:


Clarence R. Cuthbertson, Ph.D., playwright, joins us to talk about "Tituba" and "Nat," which are at Black Repretory Group in Berkeley, CA, this Sunday, 8 p.m. The native New Yorker, is both an accomplished playwright as well as a percussionist. He has written over 19 plays of which 16 have been produced professionally. With an MFA in Dramatic Writing from N.Y.U., he has taught and directed theater throughout the United States and in the Caribbean.

Music: Robert Glasper
Raven and MLK Jr. Memorial

Link to show:

Wanda's Picks Radio Show, Friday, March 22, 2013

Curated by Karen Seneferu and Melorra Green
Up through May 30, 2013
Zena Allen's "Blue Wisdom"

"The Black Woman Is God," curated by Karen Seneferu is at the Sargent Johnson Gallery in SF, CA through May 30, 2013.  A self-taught artist that grew up in Oakland, California, receiving her BA in English from University of California, Berkeley she will speak about her interest in how individuals can be a part of mainstream society and maintain cultural integrity. In her academic hat Karen created a program that removed fear and anxiety for Foundational students called Take Flight at Berkeley City College, where she teaches. The program incorporates, art, technology, reading, writing and gallery visits. At the center of the program was the idea that narrative is art and art is narrative. Senferu's artwork is also a cross section of her teaching, which is every space has the potential for creative output, education, and healing. In other words, space dictates meaning; what enters into that space is dictated to by the meaning of that space or can transform the meaning of the space. She uses various mediums, such as installation, mix media sculpture, painting, and video to reveal the process of self empowerment and self- transformation.

Zena Carlota Pearl Allen
is a self-trained artist who uses the mediums of collage, painting, sculpture, and installation. In her art, which is currently a part of a number of exhibitions: Joyce Gordon Gallery in Oakland and Transformative Visions – One Life Institute at Studio One in Oakland, she explores universal themes of matriarchy, cultural knowledge and preservation that are cross-cultural in their significance. Her subjects are often women, relatives, and Indigenous deities of the African and Asian Diaspora.

Velina Brown
(Miss Flora in "A Lady and A Woman" at Theatre Rhinoceros in San Francisco through Sunday, March 24, 2013. Visit is an award-winning actress, singer/songwriter, and director whose artistic home for several years has been the San Francisco Mime Troupe. She performs regularly at several Bay Area Theatre companies including: American Conservatory Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, The Magic, TheatreWorks, Shotgun Players, SF Playhouse, and The Denver Theatre Center among many others. Film and TV appearances include Party of Five, Nash Bridges, Trauma, Final Witness, Bee Season, Maladaptive, One Way to Valhalla and Milk. Velina is also a coach and writes a monthly column for Theatre Bay Area Magazine called “The Business of Show Biz.”

Pictured left to right: Velina Brown as Miss Flora and Dawn L. Troupe
photo: Kent Taylor

Sina Mali Sina Deni; James Brown's Black Woman

Note: After announcements we rebroadcast Wednesday's show featuring Jacquie Jones, director, producer, 180 Days: A Year Inside An American High School, which airs Monday-Tuesday, March 25-26, 2013, on PBS, 9-11 PM ET. Check local listings. Visit We close this show with an interview with Dr. Clarence Cuthbertson whose plays, Tituba and Nat, continue on Sunday, March 24, 2013, 8 p.m. at the Black Repertory Group Theatre, 3201 Adeline Street, in Berkeley, (510) 652-2120

Show link in post title and here:

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wanda's Picks Radio Show Wednesday, March 13, 2013

  1. Deepa Dhanraj, Director/Producer

    Deepa Dhanraj is a writer, director, and producer living in Bangalore, South India. She has produced and directed numerous an award-winning documentaries such as her latest film, Invoking Justice, which is a part of CAAM Film Festival 2013. Other films are: Something Like a War (Channel 4); The Legacy of Malthus (BBC 2); Sudesha (Faust Film/ARD); Nari Adalat/Women's Courts; and What Has Happened to This City? Her films have been screened on BBC, ARTE, ZDF, CBC, and SBS. Her films have been invited to festivals such as IDFA, Berlinale, Leipzig, Oberhausen, Films deFemmes, Creteil France,Tampere, Vancouver, and Chicago. She has a special interest in education and has created video materials to address challenges faced by first generation learners.

    Bill Bell, jazz pianist, composer, arranger has earned the title "Jazz Professor" for completing over 30 years of successful University and College jazz teaching.  Before retiring in 2001, he was chairman of the music department at the College of Alameda for the last twenty years of his tenure there.  He was widely known for directing award winning jazz bands and small ensembles at both the College of Alameda and at Stanford.  He also held an adjunct position in jazz improvisation at the University of California, Berkeley. Retirement in 2001 has allowed Bill Bell to focus on his performance career which has expanded to include international venues as well as the production of three stellar CD’s: “The Jazz Professor” in 1995, “Just Swing Baby” in 2001, and most recently “The Feeling of Jazz”, July of 2009. He was awarded the Beacon Award from the San Francisco Jazz for outstanding contribution to jazz education and performance in 2005.  With a proven background in jazz education, he maintains a busy schedule of workshops and lecture demonstrations with his trio and quartet “The Jazz Connection”.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Miles Smiles in Oakland, CA

Wallace Roney
Opening night in Jack London Square, Miles Smiled on us. The evening temperate, soft breeze and a new moon above--perfect. The club was full, so full the line snaked down the hallway into the kitchen--well not quite, but use your imagination.

Wallace Roney (trumpet) with Darryl Jones (bass)

My friend had reserved seats, center stage second table from the front--perfect. I knew Joey DeFrancesco was performing with the super group, but I hadn't realized Wallace Roney was Miles incarnate. The man breathes Miles, channels his chops, yet stays in his body. Stockier than when I last saw him, his face however, still sweet, Roney would lay down the lines and then slip off stage or to the side while the other constellations did their orbit-thing--the rhythm section featuring Omar Hakim (drums) and Darryl Jones (bass) understated, yet present until it was time to lift the shades and shine. 
L-R: Joey DeFrancesco, Omar Hakim, Wallace Roney,
Darryl Jones, Larry Coryell

I didn't know the drummer or bassist, and while I knew guitarist Larry Coryell's name, I don't think I'd ever heard him perform before. Perhaps it wasn't time, but the stars were aligned tonight and everyone felt it on and off the stage.

Unlike the original recording which featured Davis's second quintet which featured saxophonist Wayne Shorter, pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Tony Williams, recorded at Columbia 30th Street Studio in New York City on October 24-25, 1966, this Miles Smiles featured Joey DeFrancesco on organ, so you know the place was smoking hot--ouch! The groove was so thick it had to find a seat. I'd catch a familiar line and then the men would take us on an extended trip, Roney called in to bring us back (smile).

Listening to Miles Smiles, the original now, I kind of like the Roney Super Group Special better--it was more funky and rocking--should I admit this, say this out loud (smile). Listen for yourself

Side one

  1. "Orbits" (Wayne Shorter) - 4:37
  2. "Circle" (Miles Davis) - 5:52
  3. "Footprints" (Wayne Shorter) - 9:46

Side two

  1. "Dolores" (Wayne Shorter) - 6:20
  2. "Freedom Jazz Dance" (Eddie Harris) - 7:13
  3. "Gingerbread Boy" (Jimmy Heath) - 7:43

Tonight's show opening night looked sold out, and the men played four or five long songs--the kind of musical journey where you have time to get somewhere, have a meal or something before coming back. The only song I could hum all the way through was Wayne Shorter's Footprints (smile).

I recognized Freedom Jazz Dance too (Eddie Harris). Omar Hakim is a phenomenal drummer.

I read that this album is the first documented use of a straight ahead jazz ensembles use of African rhythms. Who knew? Another note said that the men were a cohesive unit, pushing, inspiring, challenging one another--this was also true of the Miles Smiles ensemble. From Darryl Jones's quiet presence, smiles and rock steady beat, to Coryell's great solos that stretched the space even more sometimes than DeFrancesco, who would, pressing on organ pedals, open his mouth and music would pour from his lips. It was kind of amazing --I never located the wires. Hum.  

It was that kind of night.

After the bows and waves the men came back for an encore. Roney teased us with name that tune, not even a Miles, rather Cyndi Lauper's Time after Time.

What a fitting metaphor.

The men move on after tomorrow's two shows: 8 and 10 at Yoshis in Oakland.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Through the Looking Glass

The Mountaintop at TheatreWorks’s Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto
A Review

Lorraine Motel maid Camae (Simone Missick) jokes with
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Adrian Roberts)

Tracy Martin, photographer
When Martin King gave his prophetic speech the evening before the fated march with the Sanitation Workers in Memphis, Tennessee, Carrie Mae Golden, who lived just around the corner from the Lorraine Motel, wanted to attend, but her mother “was like ‘No. You know they gonna bomb that church. Haven’t you heard the rumors?’” And so 15 year old Carrie Mae, who had participated in the march just a week before that disintegrated into violence that left 16 year old Larry Payne dead, the reason King was in town in the first place, missed his speech, something she regretted the rest of her life.

It is amazing how ghosts, whether ideas or people or events have a way of wafting into existence when the time is right. Carrie Mae Golden’s story becomes the genesis for the awarding winning play, “The Mountaintop,” which after a successful run on Broadway and London, is back clothed in splendid wonder at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, March 6-April 7, 2013, after Memphis native, playwright, Katori Hall’s work had its initial staged reading at Bay Area Playwrights Festival many years ago.  I remember that Saturday afternoon at the Magic Theatre so well, what a premise to focus on, the space between Martin King’s return to the motel after his speech and the morning march. What was he thinking that night? Was he preparing a speech for the next day? What were his thoughts on the audience that night at the church?
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Adrian Roberts) receives an
unexpected visitor, motel maid Camae (Simone Missick)
Tracy Martin, photographer
Prophetic, King spoke of the mountaintop and the climb he might not complete, as he dismissed any thoughts that the journey was not without its rewards. Was he alone? If not, who was with him that night?

The Mountaintop is not the playwright’s mother's story. No, even though Carrie Mae’s name is creatively reconstituted as “Camae,” (portrayed by actress Simone Missick). Rather Mountaintop is a supposition based on the fact that if King visited the Mountaintop, then he must have seen certain things which let him know the race was not one he could complete, yet would be completed, because he’d placed such sturdy bricks on the road for others to follow.

The play opens with King, portrayed by actor Adrian Roberts, craving a cigarette, a Pall Malls to be specific, as he waits for his friend Rev. Ralph Abernathy to bring him a pack from the store. King paces as he rehearses lines in a speech he is drafting for the next day, his throat hurting as he sputters, coughs and whizzes.  He calls room service for coffee once he catches his breath, and when it arrives in the hands of the beautiful, spunky maid Camae, it’s over for King literally.

The chemistry is electric and the great leader and orator can’t seem to let the girl go (smile). The attraction is mutual, which is natural, King is a celebrity yet one whose feet smell, drinks, smokes her brand of cigarettes, Pall Malls too, and he is more importantly attracted to the pretty maid (smile).

One can admire, right?

As the two talk about the riot which brings King to Memphis, the death of the youth, Larry Payne, whom King feels such regret, what emerges is a man who is afraid, perhaps even terrorized from the stresses he has lived through: bombings, stabbings, imprisonment, and the incessant harassment, some of which his wife tells him about when they speak on the phone late that night.

How does King wade through this trauma? Does Camae ease the journey, and if so how?

What we see in Katori Hall’s Martin King is a man whose faith remains unshaken, his resolve to do God’s will as strong as ever, even when he doesn’t know where that path is headed. In the capable direction of the seasoned veteran Anthony J. Haney, himself a Southern transplant to Los Angeles, the two actors, Roberts and Missick, work their magic on stage. How does a young maid make this final evening of his life worth all the years of strife bearable? What could the two possibly have to talk, let alone laugh about as the thunder claps and the rain turns into snow?

Guests are in for a wonderful ride as Hall’s words ripple from the lips and tongues of such a wonderful cast. One just wants to wrap Camae up and take her home, her honesty and youth such a mirror on today: the place where dissatisfaction and impatience often collide when elders and youth meet one another across the aisle. Their goals are often the same, the path, at least the one trod by King, often philosophically at odds. In the Lorraine Motel that night though, King listens and even agrees at some point with Camae, a Malcolm X radical in an apron.

When asked how she came to her current position, Camae tells King she is good at cleaning up other people’s mess, even if she isn’t as good cleaning up her own. 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Adrian Roberts) laughs with
Lorraine Motel maid Camae (Simone Missick) in

THE MOUNTAINTOP, playing March 6 - April 7, 2013 at
at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto.

Credit: Mark Kitaoka
The space that evening is sacred—the cigarettes are frankincense, the balcony just a quicker stairway to heaven, Camae and King, two lingering souls looking for a way out of darkness.  Hall’s The Mountaintop challenges notions of spirituality in all its personae. There are miracles too. The mountain and the valley meet in that room as Camae charts King's ascension.

Katori Hall’s work looks at the everyday divinity of ordinary folks and places Martin King right there with them.  His greatness is not a greatness which is inaccessible or isolated, which means, those people left here once he reaches the apex of his sojourn can use him as an example and "keep on pushing."

Camae’s visit to Room 306 seemed predestined. What is it about the congregation of women at a prophet’s door as he opens it onto another? Think about Jesus and the three Marys.  In African spiritual systems, an angel or egun or orisha once walked the earth like us, so when one door closes another opens—the sphere a linear cylindrical—we do not step off, we step over. Is this what happens to King his last night here? Is Camae the bridge over King’s troubled waters? Visit or call (650) 463-1960.

The Harvey Milk Photo Center hosts: Revolutionary Artist, Emory Douglas

Earlier that day I was in San Francisco for Emory Douglas’s presentation at the Harvey Milk Photo Center, the talk a part of the Black Power, Flower Power: Iconic photographs by Pickle Jones and Ruth-Marion Baruch exhibition through March 23, 2013

It’s too bad the time or the talk conflicted with the screening of “Long Distance Revolutionary” at The New Parkway Theatre in Oakland, that afternoon with director, Stephen Vittoria.

Emory Douglas’s creative visual documentation or interpretation of the periods best known liberation struggle during the era that gave rise to the Black Power Movement, the Free Speech Movement and the Anti-War Movement, is unmatched. Douglas is a treasure and his work then and now both imaginative, inspirational and timely 45 years later.

As he showed slides of work chronicled in his now out of print treatise: “Black Panther: The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas,” edited by Sam Durant (2007), one caught a glimpse of the ever-evolving artist at work, his tools—wax, calligraphy catalog . . . displayed on the table where one could purchase posters, bags and magnets.  His passionate love for the people, which never wavered was illustrated in a recent piece created for Haitians which addresses the cholera epidemic linked to UN soldiers' contamination of the water supply. Douglas showed us reworked images like the cover image for Sonia Sanchez’s first collection of poetry that of a little girl with a spear, and others drawings of comrades still locked behind bars like Romaine  “Chip” Fitzgerald and A3 comrades, Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox.

His work looks like block prints, but they aren't. His portraits minimalist feats where lines parceled out sparingly speak volumes.

Douglas spoke about his time in Beirut and New Zealand. He didn’t talk about Argentina or Portugal much, I think the audience was rather spellbound, there was so much covered one didn’t know where to start the query when the floor opened for questions (smile). I wonder, in retrospect,  how Douglas came through the revolution seemingly unscathed.

I am sure this is just an illusion, that the lost of friends and comrades has and did take a tremendous toll on him. Perhaps it is his humanity that saved him. One hears often of how Emory visited comrades like the late Geronimo ji jaga here and abroad when after 27 years ji jaga was released and resettled in Tanzania.
Douglas's energy is so peaceful and calm. I wonder how he achieved this during active warfare and its subsequent aftermath. 

The enemy then was not always identifiable, despite the known FBI plan to create disunity and havoc, yet Douglas continued to draw, document and create. I loved his story about the United Farm Workers Union march by the Panther Headquarters in Berkeley and the BPP invitation to them to join them for lunch afterwards at the Oakland Community School where people like Rosa Parks spent significant time with the children.  The hundreds of marchers did and forged a relationship with the BPP that continued through the grape and strawberries boycotts and other actions. I remember not eating grapes for years in support of the boycott. My kids thought I was insane, but I explained the larger issue to them, that if those picking the crops were dying from the pesticides, then what would those same chemicals do to our bodies.

Emory Douglas showed us a Panther newspaper with his drawing of a head of lettuce and UFU logo on it.  The synergy between this historic link and the fact that co-founder of the union with Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta was speaking that same day at perhaps the same time as Emory in the city of Richmond, California’s International Women’s Day event was uncanny (smile).  Yet, when people hear about the BPP not much is mentioned about these types of solidarity building activities.

Amiri Baraka describes “Emory’s art [as] a combination of expressionism agitprop and homeboy familiarity.” He says in an essay, “Emory Douglas: A Good Brother,” a “Bad Artist,” “I always felt that Emory’s work functioned as if you were put in the middle of a rumble and somebody tossed you a machine pistol. It armed your mind and demeanor. Ruthlessly funny, but at the same time functional as the .45 slugs pouring out of that weapon.  . . . One of the two artists I most identify with the hottest revolutionary images used in Black Liberation Movement journals, Emory Douglas and the Nation of Islam’s Gerald 2X, with his ubiquitous ‘devil’ in Muhammad Speaks, with fangs hanging out of each side of his George Bush-like mouth, as I said in a poem, ‘used for sucking oil and blood,’ plus the little ‘devil’ tail sticking out of his hiney. Emory together with Gerald 2X were, without a doubt the baddest political graphic artists in journalism. As seemingly contradictory as their ideologies were (are) they were the substance of the goodness of a national liberation united front. A double-barreled art gun” (Durant 180-181).

Emory Douglas didn’t fall into the movement, he chose to be a part of an organization that uplifted his people and fought for political and social justice for the disenfranchised. He had skills which furthered the reach of the organization Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale founded. Having studied commercial art at City College of San Francisco and his work with Amiri Baraka and playwrights in the Black House, a place that nurtured a black literary aesthetic, Douglas who made the sets for the plays, designed fliers and was instrumental in all or most of the visual designs, knew how to make the newspaper look good when he met Newton and Seale, made a proposal, and was subsequently invited to join The Party its "revolutionary artist."

In the book, Black Panther: The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas, the artist says in an interview with the late St. Clair Bourne, that he wasn’t looking for fame, that his reward came from “the people.” If they got the message or felt he’d articulated well the situation at hand, that pleased him most.

Last fall I went up to Ashland to catch some of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, specifically Party People, a collaboration between Universes and ASF ( ) In the multimedia jaunt or reflection on the BPP, its successes and some of the internal madness that perhaps did not leak into the rank and file sections, but for those in the inner circles, like Emory Douglas, how did he keep himself from being sucked into a vortex that ground flesh and bones into paste? Is art such a humanizing force that it protects one from succumbing to anything antithetical to life and that which gives life?

I’d like to think so and when I look at the veterans of the Black Liberation Movement leadership like Emory Douglas, Kathleen Cleaver, Elaine Brown, Bobby Seale, Ericka Huggins, Mama Charlotte O'Neal—it seems that what was good continues, the madness left in the past. It would be interesting though to know the specifics of the purification ritual when I think about the youth, and their rites and passages--some stuck in alleys and tubes unable to see their way out—

Movement between historic moments is often traumatic; it would be useful to share survival strategies with the honored guard. How does one survive, let along recover from such systematic oppression? This is just one of the many ideas discussed between Martin King and Camae at the Lorraine Motel one wet, cold night in The Mountaintop.

After I left The Harvey Milk Photo Center, I went over to the African American Art and Cultural Complex, where I saw Black Women as God in the Sargent Johnson Gallery, 762 Fulton Street, San Francisco. If the title of the exhibition doesn’t knock your socks off, the actual art which is both ritual and celebration, will.

Curated by Karen Seneferu and Melorra Green, the exhibition features 21 artists who work in multiple mediums. "The Black Woman is God" exhibit is up through May 30, 2013. There is a companion exhibit at Gallery 1307 at 1307 Fillmore Street also in San Francisco, open Tuesdays to Saturdays, 12-5 p.m.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Wanda's Picks Radio: International Women's Day

Jennifer Phang, director
Today we speak to Jennifer Phang about her futuristic thriller, Advantageous, which is screening with Mekong Hotel as a part of CAAM Festival Sat., March 16, 4 p.m. at PFA and Sun., Mar. 17, at 2:10 p.m. at New People. See

In the film, Gwen is the spokesperson for a radical technology allowing people to overcome their natural disadvantages and begin life anew. But when her job and family are in crisis, will she undergo the procedure herself? Phang's presents an interesting premise. What will a mother sacrifice for her daughter’s future?

is an amazing playing out of the patriarchal system—and the look, a woman's look, "more universal" which means ethnic erasure. A true melting pot with benefits for the most visually assimilated. Gwen, a single mom, with school fees to pay, is suddenly too old to advance in her company and too Asian looking for that universal face. Visit

Stephen Vittoria, director of Long Distance Revolutionary: A Journey with Mumia Abu Jamal, opens at the New Parkway today (3/8-14/2013) with screenings at 4 and 7:30 p.m. Visit
Mumia Abu Jamal and Stephen Vittoria
At the end of the interview we play a commentary from Prison Radio. Recorded March 5, 2013, Mumia Abu Jamal salutes and remembers deceased President Hugo Chavez. Visit

We have a chance interview with Rachel West from "Global Women Strike" who tells about "The RISE out of Poverty Act" reintroduced last month by Congresswoman Gwen Moore (Wisconsin). There is an International Women's Day event planned in LA to stop the construction of a new women's prison. For other activities worldwide. Visit

Emory Douglas, Revolutionary Artist and former Min. of Culture for the Black Panther Party speaks about his travels and work, women and civil action. He is giving an artist talk at the Harvey Milk Photo Center, 50 Dubose Street, in San Francisco, Sat., March 9, 2013, 1-4 p.m. (415) 554-9522. Visit (upcoming lecture) and (for skateboards), and (posters and art) and (article)

Music: Judith Sephuma; Meklit Hadero; Archie Shepp; Chinakara's Tanzania.

Stephen Vittoria
Writer, director, and producer of the acclaimed new documentary "Mumia: Long Distance Revolutionary" Stephen Vittoria has been producing films for more than 30 years. His Los Angeles-based production company, Street Legal Cinema focuses on social and political documentaries that offer an alternative to usual mainstream fare. Stephen's last film was "One Bright Shining Moment: The Forgotten Summer of George McGovern" and he's co-produced documentaries with Academy Award winner Alex Gibney, including "Gonzo: The Life & Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson."
Emory Douglas

Emory Douglas was born May 24th, 1943 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has been a resident of the San Francisco, California, Bay Area since 1951. Douglas attended City College of San Francisco where he majored in commercial art. He was politically involved as Revolutionary Artist and then Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party, from February 1967 until the early 1980’s.

Douglas’s art and design concepts were always seen on the front and back pages of the Black Panther Newspaper, reflecting the politics of the Black Panther Party and the concerns of the community.

Offering a retrospective look at artwork created in the Black Panther Party, Douglas’s work has been displayed at the 2008 Biennale of Sydney, in Sydney, Australia, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, California, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and the African American Art & Cultural Complex, both in San Francisco, California, Richmond Art Center, Richmond, California, Station Museum of Contemporary Art, Houston, Texas.

His work has also appeared in the 2008 June/July volume of Art in America, PRINT Magazine, American Legacy Magazine and the American Institute of Public Arts.

Published In 2007, Black Panther: The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas provides a comprehensive collection of Douglas’s work.

Douglas’s exhibits include the Arts & Culture Conference of the Black Panther Party, October 17-18, 2008, in Atlanta, GA, and a major retrospective exhibit of past and present work at Urbis in Manchester, England, which ran from October 30, 2008 – April 19, 2009. Douglas had another major retrospective exhibit open in New York, July 21, 2009 at the New Museum of Contemporary Art. Thereafter Douglas did a forty day art in residence at the Elam International School of fine Arts, in Auckland New Zealand (Aotearoa), with a retrospective exhibitions of his artwork at the Gus Fisher Gallery. The exhibit traveled to Brisbane Australia for eight days for an art lecture and exhibit at Milani Art Gallery.

In 2010 Douglas invited to Beirut Lebanon Art Center, to give an artist presentation and a 3 day artist
In September 2010ouglas exhibited and led master classes at MAMA (Showroom MAMA), in Rotterdam, The

In 2011, January/February, Douglas collaborated with Aboriginal artist Richard Bell in Australia at Campbelltown Arts Centre in Campbelltown and Brisbane, Australia.

In March 2011, Douglas was invited to ZDB Gallery (associao ze dos bois), in Lisbon Portugal participated in program “All Power To The People,” which highlighted Douglas’s past works.

Douglas is highlighted on the March 2011 cover of JUSTAPOZ, Art & Culture magazine with a 19 page art spread inside.

In August, 2011, Douglas had a solo exhibit at Lazarides, The Outsiders Gallery, in London.

In September 28, 2011, Douglas spoke at the Institute of International Visual Arts or Iniva, "Significant Voices" series in London.

In September - October, 2011, Douglas exhibited at Nottingham Contemporary in the UK and presented his work at the Jean Genet symposium at Nottingham Contemporary, where he also led an artist workshop with youth from the community.

Douglas has prints of his artwork in the National Museum of American History, Civil Rights Division exhibition in Washington DC, titled: For All The World To See, which will be a traveling exhibition 2012 through 2013.

Also in the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, in Denver Colorado is an exhibition titled: West of Center: Art and the Countercultural Experiment in America, 1965-1967

In 2012 Douglas was invited to Mar del Plata, Argentina, to participate in TriMarchi a three day graphic designers conference giving a presentation while there.

In 2012 December, Douglas invited to EDELO art space in San Christóbal de la Casa Chiapas, Mexico, for an art in residency and exhibition titled, The Encounter: Black Panthers-Zapatistas. Seven different images ofDouglas’s art were embroidered by several Mayan women collectives emphasizing Zapatista symbols and Myan decorative patterns in the embroideries.

Douglas will be going New Zealand early May 2013 to collaborate on a mural project with Rigo 23 and Maori artist Wayne Youle at the 5th Auckland Triennial Art Festival.