2014-15 The Year of James Baldwin - A City-Wide Multidisciplinary Celebration
New York Live Arts hosted a light breakfast and media briefing on Wednesday, January 15, 2014, to declare 2014-15 The Year of James Baldwin, which will launch April 23 - 27.Curated by celebrated non-fiction writer Lawrence Weschler, in collaboration with New York Live Arts Executive Artistic Director Bill T. Jones, this five day festival-the second annual Live Ideas-will include lectures, panels, performances and a full range of artistic responses to the enduring pertinence of the work of the American essayist, novelist, playwright and social critic.
The six panelists at the breakfast Bill T. Jones Executive Artistic Director of New York Live Arts; Jean Davidson, Executive Director & CEO of New York Live Arts; Lawrence Weschler, celebrated non-fiction writer; Patricia Cruz, Executive Director, Harlem Stage; Rich Blint , Associate Director, Office of Community Outreach and Education, Columbia University School of the Arts; and Aisha Karefa-Smart, niece of James Baldwin, were intimately connected to James Baldwin's style, work, and spirit and equally bonded by one of Baldwin's most remarkable traits, his ability to transform hatred into love.
Among the highlights of the festival are the theatrical world premieres of Nothing Personal, based on the 1964 collaborative book by James Baldwin and Richard Avedon, directed by Patricia MacGregor and starring Colman Domingo ; New York previews of Carl Hancock Rux's play Stranger On Earth, featuring vocalist Marcelle Davies Lashley; award winning composer STEW's Notes of a Native Song; choreographer Charles O. Anderson 's Restless Native; and the world premiere of choreographer Diane McIntyre's Time Is Time. Also featured during the festival are an original video installation, inspired by the writings of Baldwin, by contemporary visual artist Hank Willis Thomas; and the speaking program "Jimmy At High Noon," featuring poet Yusef Komunyakaa; critic, essayist and memoirist Hilton Als; playwright and actor Tarell McCraney and others reading Baldwin's work and discussing its impact.
Lawrence Weschler states, "he is always with us, but silent," and I believe the panelists have convened to revive the vociferous energy of Baldwin to wake us up as Bill T. Jones cries out from the podium "Get America in the Room!"
For a full schedule of events, please visit: newyorklivearts.org/liveideas.