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April 21, 2008
of note

  Brooklyn Bridge  2007 julien de bock. 

of  note

 celebrates the arts, culture, and history of our distinct yet intersecting diasporas. It is a space where art meets activism, empowerment, and social  responsibility.

Editorial Director
Grace Aneiza Ali

Executive Editor
Sandrine Colard

Photo Editor
Julien de Bock

Book Editor
Clarence Haynes

In this Issue
The Haunt of Fears
Prospero's Monsters
Troubled Goods
War, Racism, & the University
The Urban Ghetto
Covering Conflict
Language for a New Century
Dance: Women of the World
Dance Theatre of Jamaica
Creatively Speaking
Up the Yangtze
Youssou N'Dour
Zakir Hussain
Emeline Michel
Zora Returns to Harlem
Country Girl

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Here at of note, we are committed to applauding institutions, programs, and individuals who are themselves dedicated to celebrating and promoting people of color in the arts. In last week's issue, we highlighted the Tribeca Film Festival for its exhaustive inclusion of filmmakers of the diaspora.

This week we turn to the literary arts and salute the PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature. Writers from diverse points of the globe whose words speak to the universality of the human experience will descend on New York City from April 29 to
May 4.

The theme of this year's World Voices Festival is Public Lives/Private Lives. It
begs us to ponder the questions, "How do we draw a line between our private and public selves?" and "When must we tell private stories for the public good?"

We are living in a time where activism and philanthropy are becoming more and more fashionable. A time where it is getting increasingly difficult to find the heart and soul of social justice causes behind the sound bites, press conferences, and glamorous fundraisers.

As artists, advocates, and public citizens working towards social change, we often question, and rightly so, what activism truly means. In that process of questioning and defining, it  so imperative that we not lose sight of personal integrity - that we remember that activism begins and ends with our own private lives. 

Grace Aneiza Ali


Gentleman Jigger
A Novel of the Harlem Renaissance
By Richard Bruce Nugent

Published for the first time in 2008, Gentleman Jigger was written between 1928 and 1933 by Richard Bruce Nugent, a well-known member of the Harlem Renaissance literati. Nugent, who died in 1987, was deeply concerned with being true to his art and writing honestly about sexual expression. As such, he is credited by his friend and the head of his estate, Thomas Wirth, as being the first African-American to have a published work that celebrated homoeroticism. The magazine that presented the poem "Smoke, Lilies and Jade" was Fire!!, which Nugent started with several other contributors, including Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Aaron Douglas.

The satirical Jigger follows the adventures of Stuartt, a gay boho from a well-to-do Washington D.C. family who makes his way to New York City to become part of its vibrant arts scene, later on becoming romantically involved with mobsters.

While the novel isn't necessarily the easiest of reads in terms of its sprawling narrative and the self-absorbed sensibilities of its protagonist, it's a landmark work for dealing with the subject of African-American homosexuality in an era where such discourse was taboo.

May we be inspired.

Clarence Haynes


Anton Kannemeyer
The Haunt of Fears
On view through May 17

The Haunt of Fears, an exhibition of new works by Anton Kannemeyer portrays an influential new South African brand of biting socio-political satire. Here Kannemeyer elaborates on the tradition of comic art to voice more complex concerns in response to an ever changing cultural and socio-political landscape in southern Africa.

Jack Shainman Gallery
513 West 20th Street
New York, NY 10011

Yinka Shonibare, MBE
Prospero's Monsters
On view through May 17

Yinka Shonibare, MBE is a painter, photographer, filmmaker, and installation artist. His art is influenced by both the cultures of Nigeria, where he grew up, and England, where he studied and now lives. Shonibare emphasizes the complexity of cultural identity while arguing for a delicate balance between fantasy and the real.

The artist's work often concerns itself with the history of colonization and its ensuing struggles. The subjects featured in his work wear Victorian-style garments made from richly-hued African textiles- materials that were previously imported by the Dutch to Africa and have become so closely associated with the continent that they are assumed to be indigenous.

James Cohan Gallery
533 West 26th Street
New York NY 10001

Robert Colescott
Troubled Goods: A Ten Year Survey

On view through June 7

Robert Colescott was the first African-American selected to represent the United States in a single-artist exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 1997.

Colescott is represented in numerous public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, as well as many private collections.

G. R. N'Namdi Gallery
526 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10001


Columbia 1968 and the World
War, Race, Activism, and the University
Thursday, April 24 - Sunday, April 27

This spring marks the 40th anniversary of the 1968 student protests at Columbia University. Columbia 1968 and the World reexamines those events from a wide range of viewpoints and in the context of what was happening in 1968 in the country and the world.

The conference will provide a chance for people who lived through that period to reconnect, reconcile, and reflect. And it will engage current students in a discussion about issues of war, race, and the role of the university-issues that are still with us 40 years later.

Columbia University
School of Journalism
2950 Broadway
@ 116th Street
New York, NY 10027                                                                                                                                                                            

Law and Order in the Urban Ghetto
Thursday, April 24 @ 5:30 pm

When Sudhir Venkatesh was a sociology grad student, he infiltrated one of Chicago's most notorious crack-dealing gangs.  He dicussess what he learned and how his method revolutionized the academic establishment.

Sudhir Venkatesh is a Professor of Sociology at Columbia University, whose reasearch is rooted in ethnographic investigation of urban neighborhoods. He is an award-winning author of several books, most recently Off the Books: The Underground Economy of the Urban Poor.

NYU Department of Social & Cultural Analysis
41-51 East 11th Street
7th Floor Gallery
btw University Place & Broadway
New York, NY 10003

Covering Conflict
Lynsey Addario and Elizabeth Rubin
Friday, April 25@ 7 pm

Photojournalist Lynsey Addario and writer Elizabeth Rubin discuss how conflict is covered in their respective fields.

Addario's recent bodies of work include women's issues in Saudi Arabia, social and political coverage in Iran, and the wars in Lebanon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Afghanistan.

Rubin  has traveled extensively writing about Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Russia, the Caucasus, the Middle East, Africa, and the Balkans.

Center for Architecture
536 LaGuardia Place
New York, NY 10012

Book Party
Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia, and Beyond
Friday, April 25 @ 6 pm

Language for a New Century celebrates the artistic and cultural forces flourishing today in the East, bringing together an unprecedented selection of works by South Asian, East Asian, Middle Eastern, and Central Asian poets as well as poets living in the Diaspora.

 The collection includes over 400 unique voices - political and apolitical, monastic and erotic, established and emerging - that represent a wider artistic movement that challenges thousand-year-old traditions, broadening our notion of contemporary literature.

Rubin Museum
K2 Lounge
150 West 17th Street
New York, New York 10011


The Dance Sampler: Women of the World
Saturday, April 26 @ 7 pm

The ladies strut their stuff as sixteen female choreographers, all New York-based and of varying ethnicities, showcase the world of contemporary ballet, modern and world dance in a four-hour dance extravaganza! Drop in any time to catch flamenco, tap, Indian and more!

Symphony Space
Peter Jay Sharp Theatre
2537 Broadway @ 95th Street
New York, NY 10025

National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica
Saturday, April 26 - Sunday, April 27

Since its inception in 1962, the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica has masterfully blended the lore, music, and dance traditions of Jamaica, Africa, and the American South with modern and classical ballet forms.

This always-popular jewel of the Caribbean, led by visionary artistic director Rex Nettleford, returns once again to Brooklyn Center with a new program of dance and music reflecting the soul of the islands.

Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts
2900 Campus Road
Brooklyn, NY 11210


Creatively Speaking
Friday, April  25 - Sunday, April 27 

Showcasing realistic, universal portrayals of people of color, this series includes premieres, sneak previews, enlightening and entertaining shorts, documentaries, and independent feature films. All programs followed by Q&As.  View complete schedule here.

BAM Rose Cinemas
30 Lafayette Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11217

Up the Yangtze
Opens Friday, April 25

Set against the backdrop of China's Three Gorges Dam project, which aims to harness the power of the Yangtze River to help meet the country's growing need for electricity, Up the Yangtze  examines the climate of political and social change in China through the lives of two young people. The project, due to be completed in 2009, is touted by the government as serving the need for more electricity, while at the same time alleviating the death toll caused when the river floods. But progress is never completely without cost; some two million people, many of them already living in extreme poverty, are being displaced by the dam as the waters rise.

IFC Center
323 6th Avenue
@ West 3rd Street
New York, NY 10003


Thursday, April 24 @ 11:30 pm

South African mindbenders BLK JKS create a multivalent, 360-degree view of Johannesburg Now: Afro-jazz riffs segue into tribal rhythms, which swagger through street-level sociology before exploding into hardcore bursts of noise, kwaai kwaito beats, and addictive rock hooks.

Joe's Pub
425 Lafayette Street
btw East 4th & Astor Place
East Village
New York, NY 10003

Youssou N'Dour
Foundation Benefit
Friday, April 25 @ 7 pm

Often hailed as "The Voice of Africa" Youssou N'Dour, a Grammy-award winning performer, absorbs the  Senegalese musical spectrum in his work, and often filters this through the lens of genre-defying rock or pop music from outside Senegalese culture.

In addition to his musical genius, Youssou is also a respected advocate dedicated to improving lives in his native country Senegal and across Africa through his work in the fight against malaria and other causes.  In commemoration of the first world-wide Malaria Awareness Day, Youssou comes to Joe's Pub to perform in a special benefit concert to raise support for his Foundation and to help further his advocacy efforts worldwide.

Joe's Pub
425 Lafayette Street
btw East 4th & Astor Place
East Village
New York, NY 10003

Zakir Hussain's Masters of Percussion
Saturday, April 26 @ 8 pm

The Work Music Institue presents a dazzling display of drumming with virtuosos from India's classical and folk traditions is under the direction of percussion legend Zakir Hussain, the premier tabla (kettledrums) player of his generation and one of India's most esteemed cultural ambassadors. 

The program features tabla solos and duets, sitar and sarangi, exhilarating ensemble collaborations, and a breathtaking segment with Meitei Pung Cholom, the dancing drummers of Manipur who are noted for their acrobatic choreography.

The Town Hall
123 West 43rd Street
btw  6th Avenue & Broadway
New York, NY 10036

Emeline Michel
Saturday,  April 26 @ 7:30 pm

One of the premier Haitian songwriters of her generation, Emeline Michel has captivated audiences world-wide with her combination of rhythms with social, political and inspirational content. Joining this evening will be another spectacular performance by Haitian- American composer Daniel Bernard Roumain.

A Collabrative Presentation with the Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concert Series.

Harlem Stage
150 Convent Avenue
@ West 135th Street
New York, NY 10031


Zora Returns to Harlem
Tuesday, April 22

Zora Returns to Harlem ignites the spirit of Zora's adventurous energy in Harlem while tracing the roots to this famous era to discover the legacy of perhaps one of the most inspiring and talented women of Harlem's rich history.

Starring Antonia Badon (2007 NAACP Winner)

The Harlem School of the Arts
645 St. Nicholas Avenue
btw 141 & 145 Streets
New York, NY 10030

Country Girl
Opens Sunday, April 27

The first major New York production in more than thirty years, The Country Girl is a classic backstage story. The title character, Georgie (Frances McDormand), is married to actor Frank Elgin (Morgan Freeman), once a great theatre star, now down on his luck. When Frank is offered a major role by hotshot director Bernie Dodd (Peter Gallagher), he has the chance to make a major comeback.

Read the New York Times article, "Driving Mr. Freeman Back Onstage."

Jacobs Theatre
242 West 45th Street
btw Broadway and 8th Avenue
New York NY 10036


For many of us, the arts are central and inspirational to our life, work, and activism. As people of color, we are making great strides in terms of our representation on the stage, yet we are not equally represented in the audience. Even when it is work celebrating our histories, experiences, and cultures - we are often scantily present in the theaters, auditoriums, galleries, etc. Out of that absence, of note was created. It is a publication whose mission is to inform the community about noteworthy events, with the larger goal of increasing our access to and participation in the arts celebrating people of color.   

of note

Grace Aneiza ali

Sandrine Colard

Julien DeBock

Clarence Haynes

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