Harlem Stage Announces Spring 2023 Programming Featuring THE VICKSBURG PROJECT World Premiere & More

The season will also feature Black Arts Movement: Examined, Uptown Nights: Nikara Warren Presents Black Wall Street and more.

By: Dec. 13, 2022
Harlem Stage Announces Spring 2023 Programming Featuring THE VICKSBURG PROJECT World Premiere & More
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Harlem Stage has announced full programming for Spring 2023, continuing its Black Arts Movement: Examined series examining the 1960s/70s cultural movement led by Black artists, activists, and intellectuals - and similarly bridging history and the present throughout the season's other multidisciplinary offerings, ahead of the organization's 40th Anniversary celebration in the 2023/2024 season, which kicks off June 5 at the Harlem Stage Annual Gala. The Black Arts Movement: Examined series, conceived by Associate Artistic Director/Curator-in- Residence Carl Hancock Rux, and programmed collaboratively with Cruz and Managing Director Eric Oberstein, began in 2022, and greatly expands in the coming months with music, poetry, dance, theatrical readings, film screenings, and a three-day conference featuring panels, discussions, and performances. Just as the series is devoted to deepening and unpacking understandings of the Black Arts Movement, other events throughout the season push artistic boundaries as they offer probing and revelatory revisitations of the past.

Two evocative interdisciplinary projects invite contemplations of history's haunting pervasion of our present. 2023 kicks off with the world premiere of the exploded song cycle The Vicksburg Project, presented by Harlem Stage, produced by Mabou Mines and piece by piece productions, and created by Eve Beglarian, Karen Kandel, and Mallory Catlett, and tracing the Mississippi city's painful history through the experiences of women and gender-expansive residents across two centuries (January 12-14). Bessie and Herb Alpert Award-winning dancer, choreographer, and Harlem Stage WaterWorks Established Artist nia love presents UNDERcurrents (May 4-6), a multimedia performance and research platform that asks: "What remains of the Middle Passage as force, gesture, and affect?"

Honoring history-making authors, Harlem Stage brings words spoken by James Baldwin and written by Ralph Ellison into visceral performance this season. In a vital, trenchant, and exploratory revival of historic discourse, Harlem Stage, in collaboration with the american vicarious, presents Debate: Baldwin vs Buckley, directed by directed by Christopher McElroen, and restaging the televised 1965 debate between James Baldwin and William F. Buckley, Jr. (March 9-10). In a special collaboration between Harlem Stage, National Jazz Museum in Harlem, and Maysles Documentary Center, acclaimed actors will read excerpts from Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, part of a yearlong celebration of the 70th anniversary of the novel's publication, and an unprecedented partnership among six Harlem arts organizations, also including The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Ralph Ellison Memorial Committee (February 17).

Harlem Stage's beloved live-and-digital monthly music series, Uptown Nights continues February 11, with vibraphonist, composer, arranger, and educator Nikara Warren performing her debut album Black Wall Street; on March 11, with saxophonist and composer Lakecia Benjamin in a special performance and album release celebration co-presented by Harlem Stage and Carnegie Hall; and, on April 21, a celebration of acclaimed jazz drummer Louis Hayes' forthcoming album release and his naming as National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, with the Louis Hayes Quintet.

Black Arts Movement: Examined reconsiders the movement's film, poetry, music, theater, dance, and visual arts, while asking: "what is the relationship between art and politics and what is the role of the politically conscious artist?" The series seeks to reawaken a nuanced critical discourse regarding Black aesthetics, while challenging, clarifying, contextualizing, and questioning the evolution and legacy of a controversial arts movement and its impact on Black arts institutions today. The series poses pertinent questions about art's socially transformative potential, and the values and challenges of understanding our present through the past.

Playwright, journalist, librettist, novelist, poet, and screenwriter Thulani Davis and Pulitzer Prize-nominated trumpeter and composer Wadada Leo Smith will join for an evening of poetry and music alongside Smith's Kikuyu Ensemble, engaging with Davis' works, Nothing But the Music and The Emancipation Circuit, January 27 & 28. Visionary tap dancer Michela Marino Lerman's Love Movement will perform and re-imagine Max Roach's 1960 album We Insist! Freedom Now Suite (spawned from a collaboration with singer and poet Oscar Brown, Jr.), on February 24 & 25, in an evening dedicated to the Black Arts Movement's music. The movement's theater will be explored in a reading of excerpts from Adrienne Kennedy's pivotal Funnyhouse of a Negro (March 24 & 25). The movement's contributions to dance will be represented through Harlem Stage's signature dance series, E-Moves, this year featuring work in conversation with the Black Arts Movement, curated by Jerome Robbins Award-winning dancer, choreographer, and Harlem Stage alum Stefanie Batten Bland (April 13-15). A free Zoom event on April 20, featuring scholars Michael Sawyer and Tavia Nyong'o in a conversation moderated by Harlem Stage Artistic Director & CEO Patricia Cruz, will examine the impact and legacy of visual arts during this period. Two connected film screenings presented in collaboration with Maysles Documentary Center - one of Stephen Winter's docudrama Jason and Shirley (May 11), and one of the 1967 experimental documentary that inspired it, Shirley Clarke's Portrait of Jason (May 20) - create a vital dialogue about art and exploitation. The series will culminate in a three-day conference, Black Arts Movement: Then and Now (May 18-20), featuring a keynote address by poet, music critic, and arts administrator A.B. Spellman, as well as panels, discussions, essays, and performances, featuring pioneers and visionary artists including Nona Hendryx, Sonia Sanchez, Henry Threadgill, Stew, Toshi Reagon, and more. Hapo Na Zamani, an installation performance co-presented with Park Avenue Armory, curated by Carl Hancock Rux, Tavia Nyong'o (Park Avenue Armory Curator, Public Programming), and Grammy Award-winning guitarist and songwriter Vernon Reid, with contributions from celebrated artist Carrie Mae Weems, will conclude the conference on May 20.

Black Arts Movement: Examined emerged from conversations between Patricia Cruz and Carl Hancock Rux - not only about the Black Arts Movement itself, but about how it might offer a bridge to an exploration of Black art and activism in contemporary America. Cruz says, "Carl and I spent many hours discussing the parallels between those times 50 years ago to the police killings of Black men, women, and children and the continued oppression that inspires the Black Lives Matter movement of today. The ultimate parallel is the creative response of contemporary artists, looking back and creating forward. As an organization that sits proudly at the intersection of art and social justice, this examination of an arts movement born out of resistance exemplifies the mission of Harlem Stage."

Carl Hancock Rux says, "This series pays tribute to the groundbreaking writers, poets, visual artists, musicians, and intellectuals who attempted to situate their work within the political, economic, social, historical, and artistic context of Black Americans. Employing roundtables, public dialogues, and screenings, Harlem Stage also intends to explore controversial areas of tension between the intellectual, ethical, and commercial imperatives of the Black Arts Movement, its scholarship, and the professional demands many of its leaders imposed upon artists, and whether or not the Black Arts Movement's libertarian, racism-countering goals were ever truly achieved."

Spring 2023 Programming Schedule and Descriptions

The Vicksburg Project: World Premiere

Presented by Harlem Stage

Produced by Mabou Mines & piece by piece productions

Thursday, January 12, 2023 - Saturday, January 14, 2023 | 7:30PM

Saturday, January 14, 2023 | 2PM

Harlem Stage Gatehouse

PRICE: $35 / $25

The Vicksburg Project, presented by Harlem Stage, produced by Mabou Mines and piece by piece productions, and created by Eve Beglarian, Karen Kandel, and Mallory Catlett, traces the experiences of women and gender-expansive people in Vicksburg, Mississippi, a small city pivotal to the painful history of our country. How can we speak honestly about what happened in this place that haunts us still?

The texts of The Vicksburg Project are constructed from historical diary entries, letters home, newspaper accounts, live interviews, and original writing by Karen Kandel as well as poetry by June Jordan, Thylias Moss, and Lucille Clifton. These materials are spun into intimate songs and confessions inspired by everything from parlor music of the 1860s to traditional blues of the 1920s to freedom songs of the 1960s, and from Wagnerian lushness to solo uke strumming to a capella chant.

The Vicksburg Project resurrects deeply researched stories from the Civil War, Jim Crow, and the Civil Rights Movement, and integrates the creators' own experiences as women - black and white, straight and gay, the descendants of enslavers and the enslaved. The Vicksburg Project acknowledges the humanity in every person's story. Join us at Harlem Stage for this stirring world premiere run.

Black Arts Movement: Examined

Part III: POETRY

Music & Poetry: Thulani Davis + Wadada Leo Smith

Friday, January 27, 2023 & Saturday, January 28, 2023

TIME: 7:30PM

Harlem Stage Gatehouse

PRICE: $35 / $25

Playwright, journalist, librettist, novelist, poet, and screenwriter Thulani Davis and Pulitzer Prize-nominated trumpeter and composer Wadada Leo Smith, perform an evening of poetry and music alongside Smith's Kikuyu Ensemble. Harlem, a Futuristic vision: a Historical and Cultural Oasis and a Sanctuary for the Spiritual Rebirth of America engages with Davis' works, Nothing But the Music and The Emancipation Circuit.

Davis, an interdisciplinary scholar, mentored artists including writer and musician Greg Tate, and collaborated with artists including Laurie Carlos, Jessica Hagedorn, and Ntozake Shangé. She also wrote for The Village Voice for more than a decade, becoming a Senior Editor for the publication. Davis is one of several women poets connected to the Black Arts Movement, whose work continues to breathe impressionistic life into the Black Arts Movement's sonic-social history.

For the last five decades, Smith has been a member of the historical and legendary AACM collective, one of the pioneering ensembles of the Black Arts Movement. He distinctly defines his music as "Creative Music," and his diverse discography reveals a recorded history centered around important issues that have impacted his world. Smith is a recipient of the 2016 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award and the Hammer Museum's 2016 Mohn Career Achievement Award.

Presented in collaboration with Blank Forms.

Featuring:

Wadada Leo Smith, Trumpet & Digital Piano

Thulani Davis, Poetry Recitations

Ashley Walters, Cello

Erica Dohi, Piano & Electronic Keyboard

Pheeroan akLaff, Drums

Uptown Nights: Nikara Warren Presents Black Wall Street

Saturday, February 11, 2023

TIME: 7:30PM

Harlem Stage Gatehouse

PRICE: $35 / $25

Vibraphonist, composer, arranger, and educator Nikara Warren is a true Brooklynite. Born and bred in the eclectic and electric enclave, her family, her friends, her band, and her musical pedigree are a microcosm of the county at large. Granddaughter of world-renowned jazz pianist Kenny Barron, daughter of a half Trinidadian soca/dancehall lover father, and a classic 90s "Brooklyn 'Round the Way" girl mother, Warren is taking vibes to the people with her infectious compositional sense, her post-modern patchwork of influences and cultural signposts, and her fearless musicality. Her bold quest comes from being well-versed in the vibraphone lineage, but seeking to adventure beyond it. Music critic Kira Grunenberg states, "Nikara Presents Black Wall Street doesn't project its versatility and creative range through scholarly jazz arrangements or covers chasing perfectionism. Instead, it offers original music converged around a stylistically fluid foundation."

Warren's debut album, Black Wall Street, represents a convergence of Nikara's personal, cultural, familial, and musical journeys. Here, she explores abstract sound-collage, hip-hop, jazz, neo-soul, Afro-Latino and Afro-Caribbean rhythms, and more. The through-line here being for Nikara - it's all dance music. Her vision is cohesive but eclectic - just like how people's identities are a product of their varied heritage and associations.

Featuring:

Nikara Warren, Vibraphone & Raps

Craig Hill, Saxophone

Alonzo Demetrius, Trumpet

Parker McAllister, Electric Bass

Corey Sanchez, Electric Guitar

Axel Tosca, Keyboards

David Frazier, Jr., Drums & Sampling Pad

plus Special Guests

Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man: Readings + Listening Party

Presented in collaboration with The National Jazz Museum & Maysles Documentary Center

Friday, February 17, 2023

TIME: 7:30PM

Harlem Stage Gatehouse

PRICE: $25 / $15

In this special collaboration, Harlem Stage, National Jazz Museum in Harlem, and Maysles Documentary Center present dramatized readings of Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, as part of a yearlong celebration of the 70th anniversary of the publication of Ellison's seminal novel, and an unprecedented partnership among six Harlem arts organizations, also including The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Ralph Ellison Memorial Committee. The evening will highlight selected excerpts from the work, read by award-winning actors, including Stephanie Berry, Ty Jones, and Carl Hancock Rux. Throughout the program, a curated selection of recordings from Ralph Ellison's personal record collection will be played. This will surround and set the tone to honor and revisit this quintessential work of American literature.

The U.S. National Book Award for Fiction recipient in 1953, Ellison's Invisible Man served as a vital social commentary. Expanding on the social and intellectual hardships African Americans faced during the early 1900s, the overarching theme of the novel centers around self-identity, expression, and individuality as an African American. Time Magazine included the novel in its 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005 list, calling it "the quintessential American picaresque of the 20th century."

Black Arts Movement: Examined

Part IV: MUSIC

Max Roach's We Insist! Freedom Now Suite Reimagined feat. Michela Marino Lerman

Friday, February 24, 2023 & Saturday, February 25, 2023

TIME: 7:30PM

Harlem Stage Gatehouse

PRICE: $35 / $25

As part IV of the Harlem Stage series Black Arts Movement: Examined, Harlem Stage presents tap dancer, Michela Marino Lerman's Love Movement, who will perform and re-imagine Max Roach's groundbreaking 1960 album, We Insist! Freedom Now Suite.

In 1959, acclaimed jazz musician, Max Roach, embarked upon a collaboration with singer and poet, Oscar Brown, Jr., on a suite of songs commissioned by the youth movement of the NAACP to commemorate the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation. What resulted, We Insist! Freedom Now Suite, marked a decisive shift challenging jazz music conventions, as its sentiments conveyed a growing impatience with the lagging pace of the American civil rights movement, and demanded a turn toward global anticolonialism. Released on Candid Records in 1960, featuring Roach, and singer Abbey Lincoln, and a host of noted musicians, the music quickly became a global phenomenon.

Winner of the 2019 Hoofer Award, Michela Marino Lerman is a globally sought after tap dance artist, performer, choreographer, bandleader, educator, and all-around creative spirit. The Huffington Post has called her a "hurricane of rhythm" and The New York Times has called her both a "prodigy" and has described her dancing as "flashes of brilliance." Quincy Jones has said she is an "absolute tap dancing star who knows her roots." She was proudly mentored by some of the masters of tap dance including Gregory Hines, Buster Brown, Leroy Myers, Peg Leg Bates, Marion Coles, and Mable Lee. Love Movement, Marino Lerman's ensemble, is a hybrid of the highest levels of musicianship and hoofing. At Harlem Stage, Marino Lerman pays tribute to this groundbreaking album, selected in 2022 by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

Featuring:

Tap:

Michela Marino Lerman

Orlando Hernández

Roxanne King

Band:

Russell Hall, Bass/Music Director

Charenee Wade, Vocals

Ebban Dorsey, Saxophone

Jeff "Tain" Watts, Drums

Miki Yamanaka, Piano

Debate: Baldwin vs Buckley

Presented in collaboration with the american vicarious

Thursday, March 9, 2023 & Friday, March 10, 2023

TIME: 7:30PM

Harlem Stage Gatehouse

PRICE: $25

"Is the American Dream at the expense of the American Negro?"

This was the topic on February 18, 1965 when an overflow crowd packed the Cambridge Union in Cambridge, England, to bear witness to a historic televised debate between heavyweights James Baldwin, the leading literary voice of the Civil Rights Movement, and William F. Buckley, Jr., a fierce critic of the movement and America's most influential conservative intellectual.

The stage was set for an epic confrontation that pitted Baldwin's call for a moral revolution in race relations against Buckley's unabashed elitism and implicit commitment to white supremacy. This historic clash reveals the deep roots and lasting legacy of racial conflict that continues to haunt America.

Harlem Stage presents the american vicarious' Debate: Baldwin vs Buckley, directed by Christopher McElroen and called "unmissable!" by Vulture, in the intimate setting of the Harlem Stage Gatehouse, restaging the historic debate to place Baldwin and Buckley's words, which still resonate 55 years later, within the voice of contemporary artists Teagle F. Bougere (Broadway's The Tempest with Patrick Stewart, A Raisin In The Sun with Phylicia Rashad, and Ivo van Hove's The Crucible) as Baldwin and Eric T. Miller (HBO's Mare of Easttown and Mope at The Ensemble Studio Theater) as Buckley, with Spencer Hamp and Charlie O'Rourke.

Cast and Creative Team:

Directed by Christopher McElroen

Produced by Erica Laird

Featuring: Teagle F. Bougere (Baldwin), Eric T. Miller (Buckley)

with Spencer Hamp (Haycock), Charlie O'Rourke (Burford)

Video design by Adam J. Thompson

Artist in Residence: Jaymes Jorsling

Run Time: 60 minutes

Debate: Baldwin vs. Buckley was originally produced in 2020 and broadcast in partnership with BRIC.

Carnegie Hall Citywide

Uptown Nights: Lakecia Benjamin

Phoenix Album Release Show

Saturday, March 11, 2023

TIME: 7:30PM

Harlem Stage Gatehouse

PRICE: FREE

In a special collaboration, Harlem Stage and Carnegie Hall co-present virtuosic saxophonist and composer Lakecia Benjamin. This album release show celebrates Benjamin's fourth studio album, Phoenix, out January 27, 2023 on Whirlwind Recordings. Produced by multi-Grammy Award-winning drummer and composer, Terri Lyne Carrington, Phoenix is a deeply personal and expansive album of mostly original compositions, and featuring a star-studded lineup of guests, including Dianne Reeves, Sonia Sanchez, Angela Davis, Wayne Shorter, and Georgia Anne Muldrow.

Benjamin shares, "When we came out from the pandemic we weren't allowed to be broken." There is no question that Phoenix marks yet another stratospheric rise for an artist who resolutely knows what she wants to say and how to say it, all the while honoring her mentors and the traditions that have come before her. The New Yorker proclaims, "The alto saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin plays jazz that is sprinkled with the rich flavors of funk and soul - she's a crafty traditionalist who remains in step with the rhythms of the young generation." Benjamin, born and raised nearby in Washington Heights, returns to her roots for a joyful evening of new music with a transcendent band.

Presented in collaboration with Carnegie Hall.

Black Arts Movement: Examined

Part V: THEATER

Readings + Conversation: Funnyhouse of a Negro by Adrienne Kennedy

Friday, March 24, 2023

TIME: 7:30PM

Harlem Stage Gatehouse

PRICE: $25 / $15

Funnyhouse of a Negro by Adrienne Kennedy, recently acknowledged as one of America's seminal playwrights, was a play written during the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. It represented a radical departure from the naturalistic theater of the time and provided performance opportunities for a long list of actors who became the iconic talents of the decades that followed. Readings of excerpts of this groundbreaking work will be presented at Harlem Stage, interspersed with conversation moderated by Harlem Stage Associate Artistic Director/Curator-in-Residence Carl Hancock Rux, providing further context on the impact of the work and its relationship to the Black Arts Movement. Featuring discussants Woodie King, Jr., Trezana Beverley, and Jonathan McCrory, and actors Stephanie Berry, Patrice Johnson Chevannes, Trezana Beverley, Ty Jones, and Toussaint Jeanlouis.

Black Arts Movement: Examined

Part VI: DANCE

E-MOVES

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Friday, April 14, 2023

Saturday, April 15, 2023

TIME: 7:30PM

Harlem Stage Gatehouse

PRICE: $35 / $25

For over 20 years, Harlem Stage's signature dance series, E-Moves, has brought together phenomenal choreographers, artists, musicians, and dancers of color to showcase their choreographic visions and pull audiences into an exploration of movement and message. The Black Arts Movement: Examined series inspires this year's program, curated by Jerome Robbins Award-winning dancer, choreographer, and Harlem Stage alum Stefanie Batten Bland, and featuring works in conversation with the Black Arts Movement. The evening showcases choreographers experimenting with and responding to the legacy of the past while creating dances that lean into the future.

Black Arts Movement: Examined

VISUAL ARTS

Dive Deeper with Tavia Nyong'o & Michael Sawyer

Thursday, April 20, 2023

TIME: 7PM

Zoom

PRICE: Free

During the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and early 70s, many artists of color responded to the racial and economic oppression, the assassinations, the discrimination, and the continuing affront to their humanity with art works - in music, dance, poetry, theater, and visual arts - that affirmed their humanity. Some of these artists joined groups while others made work alone in their studios that were identity-affirming and insistent in their call for social justice. Some of these works were considered a part of a Black Nationalist aesthetic.

This special Black Arts Movement: Examined presentation on the visual arts features two scholars, Michael Sawyer and Tavia Nyong'o, in a free Zoom event and discussion moderated by Harlem Stage Artistic Director & CEO Pat Cruz that will examine the impact and legacy of the visual arts during this period and the resonant artistic responses to the Black Power and Black Lives Matter movements.

Uptown Nights: Louis Hayes Quintet

NEA Jazz Master + Album Release Celebration

Friday, April 21, 2023

TIME: 7:30PM

Harlem Stage Gatehouse

PRICE: $35 / $25

Called "one of the chief architects of modern jazz drumming" (JazzTimes), Louis Hayes is one of the leading jazz drummers of all time. Born and raised in Detroit, Hayes was always surrounded by music, and after starting on piano as a child, his father gave him a set of drums at age 10. Mentored by a cousin that noticed his talent, Hayes went on to establish himself on the Detroit scene, working with artists including Yusef Lateef and Kenny Burrell. He moved to New York at the young age of 18 to join Horace Silver's band, and he continued on to work with a who's who of jazz legends, including John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins, Cannonball Adderley, Oscar Peterson, Dexter Gordon, McCoy Tyner, and many more. As part of the Uptown Nights series, Harlem Stage celebrates Hayes' forthcoming album, to be released on High Note, as well as his being named a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master in 2023, which will be officially bestowed on him just a few weeks prior to his arrival at the Gatehouse.

Featuring:

Louis Hayes, Drums

Steve Nelson, Vibraphone

Abraham Burton, Saxophones

David Hazeltine, Piano

Dezron Douglas, Bass

WaterWorks Established Artist: nia love UNDERcurrents Premiere

Thursday, May 4, 2023

Friday, May 5, 2023

Saturday, May 6, 2023

TIME: 7:30PM

Harlem Stage Gatehouse

PRICE: $25

Bessie and Herb Alpert Award-winning dancer, choreographer, and Harlem Stage WaterWorks Established Artist, nia love, and her collaborators present the premiere of UNDERcurrents. This multi-media performance and research platform invites audiences to probe the seam between catastrophic history and quotidian memory and tend the textures of generational care. It pivots on the question, "What remains of the Middle Passage as force, gesture, and affect?"

These queries are explored through the thematic elements of water and doors. The point of departure for captive Africans into the Middle Passage is described as "the door of no return." Conjuring the continual resonance of this world-making and breaking threshold, UNDERcurrents is a participatory audience experience with an immersive installation that is activated by performance.

Black Arts Movement: Examined

Film Screening: Jason and Shirley

Presented in collaboration with Maysles Documentary Center

Thursday, May 11, 2023

TIME: 7:30PM

Maysles Documentary Center

PRICE: $15 / $7 Suggested Donation

At Harlem Stage's Black Arts Movement: Then and Now Conference, Harlem Stage and Maysles Documentary Center (MDC) co-present Portrait of Jason, a 1967 experimental documentary by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Shirley Clarke that features Jason Holliday, a self-described black cabaret performer, houseboy, and gay sex worker who seamlessly weaves together tales about the highs and lows of his life while becoming increasingly inebriated.

The week prior to the conference, Harlem Stage and MDC screen Jason and Shirley, the 2015 docudrama by Stephen Winter inspired by Portrait of Jason. In this reimagining, Jason Holliday (played by Jack Waters) competes with Shirley Clarke (played by Sarah Schulman) over the documentary film she makes about his life, during a marathon 12-hour shoot in her apartment at the legendary Chelsea Hotel. Join us for what Richard Brody of The New Yorker called "one of the year's finest films," and an "anguished view of the power relations, societal conflicts, and cruel sacrifices from which Clarke's film arose."

Run time: 77 minutes, followed by conversation with the Director, Stephen Winter.

Black Arts Movement: Examined

Part VII: Black Arts Movement: Then and Now Conference

Thursday-Saturday, May 18-20, 2023

Harlem Stage Gatehouse

PRICE: Assorted

Inspired, imagined, and curated by Harlem Stage Associate Artistic Director/Artist-in-Residence, Carl Hancock Rux, the Black Arts Movement Conference is a three-day event featuring a keynote address by poet, music critic, and arts administrator A.B. Spellman, panels, discussions, essays, and performances, featuring pioneers and visionary artists including Nona Hendryx, Sonia Sanchez, Henry Threadgill, Stew, Toshi Reagon, and more, as well as a closing-night concert co-presented with Park Avenue Armory, curated by Carl Hancock Rux, Tavia Nyong'o, and Vernon Reid, with contributions by Carrie Mae Weems.

Employing roundtables, public dialogues, and screenings, the convening will explore controversial areas of tension between the intellectual, ethical, and commercial imperatives of the Black Arts Movement. In conversations between pioneers of the Black Arts Movement and a contemporary generation of artists and scholars, the Black Arts Movement Conference centers itself within a dialogue that is both historically and culturally relevant in our ever-changing world.

Conference Schedule and Event Descriptions:

THURSDAY, MAY 18, 2023

5:00PM - 5:20PM - Keynote Address: A.B. Spellman

The Black Arts Movement: Then and Now Conference opens with a Keynote presentation delivered by poet, writer, arts administrator, and activist, A.B. Spellman, who was a college friend of Amiri Baraka and an important member of the Black Arts Movement. His book, Four Lives In The Bebop Business, has been a standard text on jazz since it was published in 1966. Spellman went on to serve as Director of The Expansion Arts Program at the National Endowment for the Arts, which funded arts organizations that were in and of inner-city, rural, and tribal communities; he retired as Deputy Chairman in 2004 to return to poetry. Spellman's address at Harlem Stage will examine and focus on the Black Arts Movement, its development, and impact on today's cultural climate and conversations.

5:30PM - In Response featuring Quincy Troupe & David Henderson, moderated by Pat Cruz

Noted poet, essayist, journalist, and Miles Davis biographer Quincy Troupe, and David Henderson, writer, poet, acclaimed biographer of Jimi Hendrix, and participant in the Black Arts Movement, respond to A.B. Spellman's Black Arts Movement overview, giving further elucidation to the movement's aesthetic, development, internal and external tensions, and critique of Cultural Industry. In a response moderated by Harlem Stage Artistic Director and CEO Pat Cruz, the authors also explore the movement's relationship to the larger Black Power Movement, the AfriCOBRA movement, and Black cultural abstraction as resistance, while offering a fundamental re-evaluation of its complicated relationship with political insurgency and the larger Black community.

6:00PM - Q&A / Open Discussion

7:00PM - Reception

FRIDAY, MAY 19, 2023

10AM - 11:30PM: Black Masculinity featuring Felipe Luciano, Stew & Brent Hayes Edwards, moderated by Jonathan McCrory

Felipe Luciano, poet, activist, journalist, former member of The Last Poets and founding chairman of the Young Lords Party; Stew, Tony, Obie, and Drama Desk award-winning singer, songwriter, and playwright, and Harlem Stage alum; and Brent Hayes Edwards, Columbia University Professor of English and Comparative Literature, in conversation with moderator Jonathan McCrory, Obie Award-winning, Harlem-based artist and Artistic Director of Dr. Barbara Ann Teer's National Black Theatre, examine the anxiety-ridden discourse of racial authenticity and the articulation of misogyny and homophobia often deployed by the Black Arts Movement in service to a masculinist vision of Black liberation principles and its constitution of "real" Blackness. Delving deeper into the rhetoric of the Black Arts Movement's most bombastic heteronormative assertions of Black masculinity and its more subtle black female subjugation, the panel interrogates the semiotics of Black authenticity and the Movement's relationship to a new wave of social activism, thus creating emergent Gay Liberation and Women's Rights movements.

12PM - 1:30PM: Music & Struggle with Toshi Reagon & Nona Hendryx

Revolutionary activist and iconic art-rock, new-wave goddess Nona Hendryx (Joe's Pub Vanguard Award recipient, GRAMMY/Emmy-nominated vocalist, record producer, songwriter, musician, author, and Ambassador of Artistry in Music for Berkelee College of Music) joins award-winning singer/songwriter/composer/activist Toshi Reagon (Alpert Award Fellow 2022), to discuss the radical power of music in the lives and work of Black women and music's contribution to the Black Arts Movement from a feminist perspective.

Tackling social issues, love, and politics, these groundbreaking musicians discuss how music influenced their lives and helped them address urgent social issues as well as helped shape their collective modes of political Black consciousness, artistic production, and feminism. From blues, jazz, soul, funk, and R&B to hard rock, new wave, and new age music, they take a critical look at how Black women have historically negotiated intersectionality, feminism, activism, and critical thinking as well as maintained agency against male dominant power structures (including that of the Black Arts Movement), in order to contribute a socially conscious womanist perspective to its to long-lasting legacy.

1:30PM: Lunch

3PM - 4:30PM: In Conversation: Sonia Sanchez & Carl Hancock Rux

Harlem Stage Associate Artistic Director/Curator-in-Residence Carl Hancock Rux interviews Sonia Sanchez: distinguished Academy of American Poets multi-award winning poet, playwright, journalist, activist, seminal Black Arts Movement figure, first Presidential Fellow at Temple University, and former Laura Carnell Chair in English at Temple University. Sanchez offers insight into her role as an artist, activist, and educator who became prominent during the Black Arts Movement, raising her voice in the name of Black culture, civil rights, equity, inclusion, women's liberation, and restorative justice.

7:30PM: Henry Threadgill + Craig Taborn + Dafnis Prieto (The Gatehouse)

Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and saxophonist Henry Threadgill's music and his many ensembles are always unexpected. In 2014 Harlem Stage presented a marathon retrospective of Threadgill's music and groups, curated by Jason Moran, entitled "Very Very Threadgill," which sold out in two days after it was announced. Once a member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), Threadgill has lived at the cutting-edge of jazz and improvised music his whole career.

For the second evening of the Black Arts Movement: Then and Now Conference, Threadgill brings an explosive trio featuring acclaimed pianist and composer Craig Taborn, and MacArthur Fellow drummer and composer Dafnis Prieto. Harlem Stage Artistic Director and CEO Pat Cruz dubs the trio, "Angels of Angularity": swinging and oblique, dense and loose. Get your tickets now for a rare and unforgettable evening of music featuring music by each of the composers.

SATURDAY, MAY 20, 2023

10AM - 11:45AM: Portrait of Jason by Shirley Clarke Film Screening

(In Collaboration with Maysles Documentary Center)

Described by Ingmar Bergman as "the most fascinating film [he] had ever seen in [his] life," Portrait of Jason is an experimental documentary by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Shirley Clarke. Filmed in one night over 12 consecutive hours on December 2, 1966, in the Chelsea Hotel apartment of its director, the cinema vérité film's sole subject, Jason Holliday né Aaron Payne (b. 1924-1998), is a self-described black cabaret performer, houseboy, and gay sex worker who seamlessly weaves together tales about the highs and lows of his life while becoming increasingly inebriated. What begins as a fascinating and often times hilarious performative documentary results in a heartbreaking portrait of a tortured soul, berated and provoked to despair off-screen with increasing hostility by the film's director and her then partner, actor Carl Lee.

Portrait of Jason was first screened in 1967 - its audience included Tennessee Williams, Robert Frank, Norman Mailer, Andy Warhol, Arthur Miller, Andy Warhol, Terry Southern, Elia Kazan, Ossie Davis & Ruby Dee, Rip Torn, and Geraldine Page. Clarke's film has since been praised as a brilliant experimental documentary about a marginalized subject and a ruthless exploitation of a Black man rarely given a platform to articulate himself in a racist and homophobic world.

12PM - 1:30PM: Poder Latino featuring Felipe Luciano & Bill Aguado

In this discussion, Felipe Luciano, poet, activist, journalist, former member of The Last Poets and founding chairman of the Young Lords Party, and Bill Aguado, Executive Director of En Foco, which supports fine art and contemporary photographers of color, and longtime Executive Director of the Bronx Council on the Arts, explore the Afro-Latinx cross-cultural influence on the intersection of European colonialism and the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, and the complexities of the Afro-Latinx relationship to the Black Arts Movement.

1:30PM: Lunch

2:30PM - 4PM: Crisis of the Negro Intellectual featuring Harmony Holiday, Michael Sawyer & Dominic Taylor, moderated by Margo Crawford

Historian Harold Cruse's controversial book, The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual, published in 1967, has been praised as a groundbreaking intellectual history of Black radicalism from the Harlem Renaissance to the Civil Rights Movement, as well as a monument of historical-critical analysis of the Black intellectual tradition and its many schools of critical thought and scholarly perspectives. The work has also been dismissed by some as a flawed and ruthless attack on Black intellectuals, artists, civil rights liberals, Communists, and Black Nationalists (Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Ossie Davis, and Lorraine Hansberry, among others) and what he deemed to be their inherently doomed integrationist approach towards American pluralism.

This panel, including writer, dancer, and experimental filmmaker, Harmony Holiday; Associate Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh, Michael Sawyer; and Professor of African American Studies and Theater at UCLA, as well as scholar of African-American theater and writer-director, Dominic Taylor; moderated by Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania, Margo Crawford, whose scholarship encompasses the Black Arts Movement and exploring new ways of understanding Black radical imaginations; looks at Cruse's critique of inclusive Black radicalism, then and now, and his prescriptive theorem that Black nationalism should be rooted in a Marxist approach to Black liberation principles.

4:15PM - 5PM: Closing Plenary: Carl Hancock Rux

Harlem Stage Associate Artistic Director/Curator-in-Residence Carl Hancock Rux offers closing thoughts at the conclusion of the Black Arts Movement: Then and Now Conference, reflecting on the conversations held during the convening, the impact of the Black Arts Movement and the seminal role played by Amiri Baraka, and how the Black Arts Movement will continue to influence current and future movements around Black culture and arts.

7:30PM: Hapo Na Zamani, Performance (The Armory), Curated by Carl Hancock Rux, Tavia Nyong'o, and Vernon Reid, with contributions from Carrie Mae Weems

Join us at Park Avenue Armory for Hapo Na Zamani (translated from Swahili as "once upon a time"), the star-studded culminating event of Harlem Stage's yearlong Black Arts Movement: Examined series and its Black Arts Movement: Then and Now Conference. This co-presentation with the Armory is an immersive transmedia installation event, fusing video, vocal performance, sculpture, sound installation, fashion, and movement as a radical reimagining of Black Art and Culture, Past, Present, and Future. Curated by Harlem Stage Associate Artistic Director/Curator-in-Residence Carl Hancock Rux, Park Avenue Armory curator Tavia Nyong'o, and GRAMMY Award-winning musician Vernon Reid, with contributions from celebrated artist Carrie Mae Weems, among others, this mega "happening" explores the contribution of Black art and culture in conversation with light, sound, and multimedia.

HARLEM STAGE ANNUAL GALA

Monday, June 5, 2023

Harlem Stage Gatehouse

TIME: 7PM

Harlem Stage Gatehouse

PRICE: Assorted

The 2023 Annual Gala kicks off Harlem Stage's 40th Anniversary. The evening will be a start to our yearlong celebration of the transformative artists we showcase and a forward look to the groundbreaking artists that will shape Harlem Stage's future.

Join them for the best party in town, including our awards ceremony, fabulous special guests, delicious food, and cocktails. To find out more information about sponsorship, purchasing a ticket, or making a donation, contact our Development Manager Julianna Friedman at: jfriedman@harlemstage.org




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