February, 2011 - Volume XVIII Issue II - Circulation..... Plenty!


This Month Pledge to: Honor Your Ancestors! Learn Something New! Support Black Businesses ! Support Cultural Events! Celebrate Your Freedom! Connect with Your Family! Teach Someone About Your Heritage! Donate or Volunteer to Help Haiti!

This issue of The Crystal News is dedicated to: Louise Gordon and Larry Washington.   Aunt Louise was the last of a small group of my grandmother's friends who hovered like angels to help my grandparents raise three of my siblings and me.   The cat's meow,  her great affection for felines was only surpassed by her kindness to humans...   I remember peering across the street at those groovy, pastel suits Larry Washington and the other members of "The Brighter Side of Darkness" wore, posing on his front lawn for a photo session as half the neighborhood proudly watched.  Last year Larry came to support a project I was directing.  He was singing again and we talked about performing together one day...  I am still inspired by the first real "star" I ever knew...

Stage Aurora Gets Colored...
Stage Aurora Theatrical Company announces open casting for FOR COLORED GIRLS WHO HAVE CONSIDERED SUICIDE/ WHEN THE RAINBOW IS ENUF by Ntozake Shange. FOR COLORED GIRLS..., a series of poems, collectively called a "choreopoem," was nominated for a 1977 Tony Award for Best Play.
Seeking females  - ages 21 and OVER.  The auditions will be held at the Stage Aurora Performance Hall located at 5188 Norwood Avenue, Jacksonville, FL 32208 on: Saturday, February 5  and Sunday, February 6 from 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.   Please note that offensive language will be edited from this production.* Bring a headshot and resume * Be prepared to do a 1-2 min monologue and read from the script * Prepare an a cappella song - 32 bars (not all characters sing) * Be prepared to learn a dance routine.  The production runs March 18 -20 and 25 -27, weekends only. For questions, call Stage Aurora at (904) 765-7372.

Bronzeville Commemorates National Black HIV/AIDS Day w/ Free Testing & Stage Reading

February 7, 2011 marks the 11th anniversary of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. To commemorate the day, the Bronzeville Community Theatre Company (BCTC) will offer free on-site HIV testing at West Point Baptist Church, 3566 S. Cottage Grove in Chicago for 6-9PM. The evening's activities will also include a play reading of "...so goes a nation" written by N. LaQuis Harkins of Fire,Tears and Ink Productions and "The Court Room" by Oba William King of JustUs Arts & Education. BCTC Founder Keisha Nickole says,
"...Black people still need to communicate and learn more about the effects of this virus and disease."  According to a 2008 report by the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, in Illinois alone, of the new reported AIDS cases approximately 49% were are African American. In Chicago, the result is a staggering 56% of new HIV/AIDS cases.  The February 7 event is Free and Open to the Public. Sponsorship is still needed for this event and DONATIONS will be accepted. For more information, please call Keisha Nickole at (888) 228-7790. If you would like to VOLUNTEER please contact LaQuis Harkins n.l.harkins@gmail..com.

 DTH Honors NYC Councilman Robert Jackson
Ensemble members in Adagietto No.5 Photo by Rachel Neville   Don’t miss February’s Sunday Matinée Celebrating Our Roots, honoring Robert Jackson, Councilman, and celebrating 42-years of Passion, Power and Perfection from Dance Theatre of Harlem on February 13th. Co-hosted by DTH Alumni Valencia Yearwood and Keith Thomas, with performaces by DTH Alumna Dionne Figgins, Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble, Dance Theatre of Harlem Professional Training Program, and Cassandra Douglass of Manhattan School of Music.  Dance Theatre of Harlem, Everett Center for the Performing Arts, 466 West 152nd Street, New York, NY , 10031-1814 (between Amsterdam and St. Nicholas Avenues) (212) 690 - 2800 The  Program will be followed by a meet the artist reception. Refreshments will be served. Ticket Price: $18 Adults, $14 Seniors & Children (12 and under).  10% discount with college I.D.  Advance Tickets Available For Purchase Here 

Afri-Ware Holds Down the Cultural Fort 

Nommo - libations at Kwanzaa
Even before the economy went downstream, many independent bookstores were struggling to stay afloat.  After I published Natural Woman / Natural Hair, I met many wonderful sellers of books like Zahra's Books N Things, 900 N. La Brea Ave, Inglewood, CA (310) 330-1300; Respect for Life Bookstore, 725 W. 79th St., Chicago, IL (773) 488-7122; and  ME Jah Books 401 Naamans Rd, Claymont, DE (302) 793-3424.  But Afri-Ware Books, 266 W. Lake St. Oak Park, IL (708) 524-8398, is my favorite.  More than a bookstore, it is a heartfelt drum, a soulful gathering of culture, lovingly positioned to uplift, and inspire a people so in need of such a place that its doors closing would be criminal.  Afri-ware owner, Nzingha Nommo, encourages new writers, young artists, and independent manufacturers.  She  hosts as too many book signings (recently Pam Grier, L.A. Banks and Chicago legend Herb Kent), and cultural celebrations to mention. May her place and all like it survive ten generations and ten more.    Starting this month, please support worthy independent businesses!  (Pictured: 2010 Kwanzaa Ceremony. Photo by Derek Grace)

Mahalia Leads ART's 10th Season
Amun Ra Theatre (ART) will open their tenth season with Mahalia, A Gospel Musical, by Tom Stolz, from February 25th - March 13 at ART, this a tribute to the late, great gospel warrior who captivated the nation and audiences around the world with her distinctive soulful voice and effervescent delivery.  This production will feature ART favorite Vera Warrick (The Colored Museum, Black Nativity) in the title role.   ART's 10th Anniversary season also includes:  The Old Settler by John Henry Redwood May 13th - May 29th; Jar The Floor by Cheryl West September 16th - October 2nd; and Ain't Misbehavin' by Fats Waller December 2nd - December 18th.  This will be the last season to see adult actors domineering ART's stage.  The theater plans to transition to one for young performers next year.  For Season Passes, Click Here or call (615) 329-4228.  Amun Ra Theatre, 2508 Clifton Avenue, Nashville, TN 37209
  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Chicago Filmmakers in the Pan

The works of Chicago filmmakers Darryl Pitts and Mark Harris will be among the selections at and at the  19th Annual Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) in Los  Angeles February 16-23, 2011. Pitts' Kiss and Tell, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbpEcTw48vM, which made it's West Coast Premiere at an International Service Project fundraiser hosted by the Century City Alumnae and Tau Delta chapters of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, is an uplifting documentary feature narrated by Sheryl Lee Ralph, that highlights the positive images of Black Love on the Big Screen and takes an insightful, poignant and sometimes humorous look at Black Cinema from the actors, directors and producers that have been responsible for their creation.    

Harris' Black Butterfly, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKwp-UtCgJM, which premiered in Chicago, tells the story of Ariel Simms, a young woman who overcomes sexual molestation and other obstacles, to focus on her dream of trying out for the US Olympic swim team. Kiss and Tell screens on Mon, Feb 21@3:15pm; Wed, Feb 23@4:30pm.  Black Butterfly screens on Tue, Feb 22 @8:40pm and Wed, Feb 23 @4:10pm.    Culver Plaza Theaters, 9919 West Washington Blvd,  Los Angeles 90232.  Children of God starring Margaret Laurena Kemp will screen on Sun, Feb 20 and Mon, Feb 21 (not a Chicago filmmaker, but Ms. Kemp was a Chicagoan for a good while).  For tickets to these or any PAFF film or other festival event, Click Here or call (310) 337-4737. 

Habitat Salutes La Chanteuse
Habitat for Humanity San Fernando / Santa Clarity Vallies  (HFH SF/SCV) presents, Salute to the Chanteuse at Chez Habitat, their annual builders ball. on Friday, March 11, 2011 at the Universal Sheridan, 333 Universal Drive, Universal City, CA   The event will include dinner, dancing and entertainment featuring Marion Ramsey, and will honor  Greg Lippe and Los Angeles  Mayor  Antonio 
Villaraigosa. Other attendees include Holly Robinson-Peete and HFH SF/SCL Women's Empowerment Build Chair, T'Keyah Crystal Keymáh.  For Tickets, Sponsorships and Tribute Journal Advertising, call (818) 884-8808 or visit  www.HumanityCA.org/events.


Television reporter Rochelle Ritchie of WPTV-TV in West Palm Beach, FL let her straightened hair go natural, allowing viewers to see her transformation process. "Making the decision to go natural was not an easy one, especially being a black female reporter," Ritchie said.  But "The Big Chop," which she included in a story on women going natural, was both a personal and a ratings success.  Speaking of Natural Woman / Natural Hair (we were?) to place a relevant ad in the new edition of the T'Keyah Crystal Keymah's book on natural hair (pictured above), email us.

  @-----------------      @-----------------     @-----------------

Kudos to:

Rev. Dr. jeff Obafemi carr on the completion of his book, Leave God Alone, He's tired of you bothering Him; Irma P. Hall, for snagging a terrific mention in Matt Zoller Seitz the article on Harry's Law;  "Good Fellas of Baltimore," an inspiring weekly reality TV show airing on Fox 45, WBFF in Baltimore on Saturday afternoons at 1 pm beginning February 12, 2011 -- and online at http://www.goodfellasofbaltimore.com/; Rochelle Ritchie, for inspiring woman to celebrate their natural beauty.  Go on girl woman!


The Crystal News respectfully acknowledges the life and transition of: Theoni V. Aldredge, Bernadine Dennin, Anne Francis, W. Louise Gordon, Gwen Johnson Magwood, David Kato Kisule, Jack LaLanne, Dorothy Stanley, Gail Summerville, and Larry "Hound Dog" Washington.    We  are  blessed  to  have  known  their  warm  hearts,

bright smiles and good works.  We are inspired to follow their brave and noble examples.


Have you hugged someone you love today?

The Crystal News - http://thecrystalnews.blogspot.com/ 
T'Keyah Fights City Hall - http://tkeyahfightscityhall.blogspot.com/ 
Keymah Presents - http://keymahpresents.blogspot.com/ 
www.tkeyah.com - Where Crystal visions come to life!