Sunday, June 22, 2014

Saturday, June 21 Reflections on Frameline38 and Angelique Kidjo in Concert at CIIS drafty

Angelique Kidjo was wonderful! She mixed her uplifting musical performance with talk about the plight of girls in Africa and women around education and control of their persons and destinies. She shared worries about her girls whom she is putting through secondary school in Mali whom she has not heard from as the areas where they reside are those occupied by “insurgents.” We contemplated this for a moment as all thoughts referenced the girls in Northern Nigeria kidnapped and still at large months later. The song Kidjo sang was of a girl about to be married off to a man old enough to be her grandfather, her new daughters the same as she. Quite a few songs spoke to this conundrum between sexuality and power and how despite the inequities, African women keep rising.

About two thirds through the concert, Kidjo had everyone on his or her feet— the music that infectious coupled with a tight rhythm ensemble from Chili, Senegal/LA, and New York—bass, guitar, drums and African percussion—Kidjo in one of her beautiful gowns, mini skirt with tails, beautiful legs in sparkling stockings—perfect for her seated Cajon solo, just after an outstanding set up by the drummer. All the men sang and the guitarist danced with her as well.
I don’t think I have ever been at a concert with Kidjo where she danced through the audience before she invited people onto the stage to dance with her percussionist—but not only did she kick off the solo, she then encouraged all those on stage to solo as well. There were two children who were naturals.

She sings of Shango on Eve, which is the orisha who came up during the reading for 2014. She also has a song for orisha, which she sang as an encore following a blind woman's singing to her on stage a Kidjo song.
Afterward she signed CDs and posters and chatted with fans.  I reminded her of our conversation and found out that Angela Wellman was the interviewer before me who went over her time (smile). It was good to see Sister Wellman, who is completing her doctorate degree. I learned that Adeeba Deterville received her Masters Degree in Psychology that afternoon at Sofia University.

Black photographers: Hubert Collins, Jonathan Eubanks,
producer, co-writer, Don Perry, Lewis Watts,
Louise Eubanks (painter) in front of Victoria Theatre
photo: W. Sabir
Earlier that afternoon in San Francisco at Frameline 38 friends and I saw the wonderful Through A Lens Darkly:Black Photographers and the Emergence of People, dir. Thomas Allen Harris. It was well received and a few of the local photographers interviewed were in the audience: Jonathan Eubanks and Lewis Watts. Don Perry, co-writer and producer was there to answer questions from the audience and will be a part of a panel discussion Tuesday afternoon, June 24, 2014, 3:30-5:00 p.m.: Past (Im)perfect: Filming Queer History at the Roxie Theatre. It is free.

Unfortunately, there was just the one screening Saturday, but there will be a theatrical release in New York and then throughout the country, including the SF Bay.

Dyke Central Posse: Director, Florencia Manovil (left)
photo: W. Sabir
As we chatted the line began to form for the screening of Dyke Central, a really fun film made of 4 episodes about lesbians in Oaktown. Several of the cast were outside and I was so excited to meet them and tell them how much I loved the film and their characters—I am such a fan of the director’s work. She is such a good writer. You don’t have to be gay to love the work (smile).

I might go see the film in the theatre at the Elmwood on Tuesday, June 24, we shall see.

Angelique Kidjo had a lot of competition tonight—Frameline38 has it going on this weekend—I really wanted to see Yves St. Laurent, 7 p.m. at the Victoria too, just one screening. I hope it opens somewhere. Tomorrow is Smokey Robinson and Patti Austin at Stern Grove at 2 p.m. Arrive early— At 6:30 at the Castro Theatre is Blackbird, which is also a Frameline38 selection with a lot of famous actors in the cast— Mo'Nique plays the mother of a young man who is gay, member of the church choir, Isaiah Washington portrays his father. . . . Monday night, June 23, 7 p.m. at the Roxie Cinema is Al Nisa:Black Muslim Women in Atlanta's Gay Mecca, dir. Red Summer, just in time for Ramadan (smile). Lesbian Muslimahs? Hum. Really?

I hadn’t known that Meshell Ndegeocello is a lesbian and a mother too. The film is really heartwarming. It seems that the way the sisters see it, Allah doesn’t have a problem with their sexuality, the public does. These women were brave to share their stories and since the film has aired some of their lives have been threatened and endangered.


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