Saturday, August 16, 2008

What's News? Better Black Television?

LOS ANGELES, CA, Aug 15, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) -- Percy Miller (formerly Master P) announces the launch of Better Black Television (BBTV) a family friendly network that will provide positive content for a black and brown culture that will appeal to all races with a goal to bring people of color a choice when turning on their television.

The content on the channel will contain a wide arrangement from health and fitness, animation, financial planning, reality TV, sitcoms, dramas, movies, responsible hip-hop music and videos, politics, sports and entertainment news, educational children's shows as well as teen and family programming. Production has begun and will be based out of California, New York, Louisiana and Florida. In addition, BBTV is in the process of purchasing local cable channel affiliates across the country.

Dixon Museum and African American Folk Art

MEMPHIS.- The Dixon is proud to host Ancestry and Innovation: African-American Art from the American Folk Art Museum. Featuring the inspired creations of visionary African-American folk artists, the show is drawn entirely from the impressive holdings of the American Folk Art Museum in New York. Since 1961, this institution has been one of the nation's leading resources for the preservation, study, collection, and enjoyment of America's great folk art traditions.

Among the exceptional works in the show are nine full-sized quilts, folk art's most appealing and accessible form. The vivid Diamond Strip Quilt pieced and sewn by Lucinda Toomer (1888-1983) at her Macon, Georgia, home when she was eighty-seven years old was the first quilt to enter the permanent collection of the American Folk Art Museum. It is now one of the icons of twentieth-century outsider art. Ancestry and Innovation: African-American Art from the American Folk Art Museum also features the famous Pig Pen Quilt by Pecolia Warner (1901-1983), an artist whose remarkable design sensibility has clear affinities with African textiles she had ever seen.
The popular Clementine Hunter (1886-1988), and expressionist painter of simple southern traditions, who lived nearly all of her more than one hundred years on the Melrose Plantation in Natchitoches, Louisiana, is well represented. As is David Butler (1898-1997) and his delightful sculptural forms, which he improvised form painted tin, wood, and wire in his home in Patterson, Louisiana.

Possibly the most extraordinary objects in the show are the huge painted constructions by Thorton Dial, Sr. (born 1928) and his son, Thorton Dial, Jr. (born 1953), of Bessemer, Alabama. The senior Dial's The Man Rode Past His Barn to Another New Day and the younger Dial's only slightly smaller King of Africa aptly demonstrate folk art's capacity for heroic scale and subject matter.

Monday, August 11, 2008


Black Pioneers Art Exhibit

Hands up anyone who studied the life of John T. Gayton in school. Dr. Nettie Asberry? William Owen Bush? Dionne Bonner didn’t study these historical pioneers, and she’s hoping to change that through art.

The Tacoma painter has just completed the 13th in a series of oil paintings of African American pioneers of Northwest history – of whom Gayton, Asberry and Bush are three. Bonner will exhibit all of them in the hallways of The Evergreen State College Tacoma, beginning Saturday. It’s an ongoing project for the artist, and one that she’s tied together with her own education and that of others.

“The history (of these pioneers) is so huge throughout the Northwest,” says Bonner, whose most recent work is a street mural on the intersection of Pine Street and Sixth Avenue in Tacoma. “It’s something I’m really excited about discovering, and I love to get it on paper.”

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Sam Jackson Presents . . .

Oscar-nominated actor Samuel L. Jackson will introduce a new art exhibition by motion picture hairstylist Robert L. Stevenson on Sunday, August 17th at 2:00 p.m. at the Museum of African-American Art, located at Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw Mall, Macy’s 3rd Level, 4005 Crenshaw Blvd. in Los Angeles. Entitled “Head Trips: Art as Seen Through the Eyes of a Hollywood Hairstylist,” the exhibit will display Stevenson’s collection of forty, limited edition lithographs in pen and ink. Stevenson has served as Jackson hairstylist for films for the past 13 years.

An Emmy award-winning hairstylist, Stevenson began pursuing art late in life. In the last four years of his forty year film career, his creative talents began to flow as a pen and ink artist. Stevenson “Head Trips” collection includes contemporary portraits of men, women and children in caricature with intricately drawn hairstyles and hair related accessories. The drawings are completed with bold, bright Prisma Color art markers.

Funding Children through the Arts

The G. R. N’Namdi Gallery, which has exhibition spaces in New York, Detroit, and Chicago, is reaching eastward for a second season, extending its charity endeavor to a month-long art series at the Walk Tall Gallery in East Hampton. Having participated in Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation “Arts for Life” benefit at Russell Simmon’s East Hampton home last July, the N’Namdi Gallery representatives Jumaane N’Namdi and Alaina Simone sought to make their philanthropic vision a reality through its second straight season of the Hamptons Summer Art Series, which runs this summer through Sunday, Aug. 10.

This season’s art series is comprised of five charity exhibits co-hosted by the N’Namdi Gallery crew and Wendy Wachtel, proprietor and curator of the Walk Tall Gallery. Admission to these receptions is complimentary, and part of the proceeds of the art sales go to the Long Island nonprofit organizations featured at the art series receptions.

Out-sider Art

Raised a Southern Baptist in rural Georgia, Durwood Pepper grew up listening to how being gay is evil, as interpreted to him through Bible scriptures.Now an Episcopalian living with his partner, Jim Taflinger, in Gainesville, Ga., Pepper is a meat manager at a grocery store by day and a folk artist in his free time.

He doesn’t shy away from sometimes incorporating the same religious themes that once denounced who he is into his art. His work includes angels made from metal cans and crosses made from tin.“I do a lot of religious pieces — from pieces about Lent to angels and devils,” Pepper says. “It’s the way you’re brought up, but I know Jesus doesn’t hate me.”

Passion for art paves path for diversity director

Executive Q&A: James Threalkill
If Nashville has a Renaissance figure, James Threalkill may well fit the bill.

Growing up in Nashville's public housing projects in the 1960s, Threalkill was recruited by legendary football coach Bill Parcells to play wide receiver at Vanderbilt University, where Parcells was defensive coordinator from 1973 to 1974.

Threalkill's dreams of playing professional football were dashed, however, after suffering an injury in his second year playing for the Commodores. So he turned to his other passion: art. A serious painter from the time he was 13, Threalkill established a reputation as an artist regarded for his ability to capture compelling lifestyle scenes.

In 1995, he took a mural program for youth that he pioneered in Nashville to students from Soweto and Johannesburg in South Africa, where he was able to spend time with Nelson Mandela. "Truly one of the most incredible moments of my life," he said.

Threalkill later went to work for then-Mayor Phil Bredesen as a liaison to the arts community, and later as a diversity coordinator on the project to build the riverfront stadium where the Tennessee Titans play.

For the past four years, Threalkill has worked as a diversity director for Skanska USA, a global construction firm whose projects include construction of the new $1.2 billion Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., the recently completed $100 million Nissan North America headquarters here and a $1.3 billion renovation of the United Nations building in New York.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Diversion

1. Put your Itunes/ music player on Shuffle

2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.


After you’ve answered all of the questions, tag 5 other people and then let them know they’ve been tagged to do the meme themselves!

IF SOMEONE SAYS “IS THIS OKAY” YOU SAY? Change Me – Reuben Studdard


WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GUY/GIRL?If I Should Lose You – Andy Bey

HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY?What They Do – The Roots

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE?I Need a Man – Grace Jones

WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?Bright Mississippi – Thelonious Monk

WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU?Things Ain’t What They Used to Be – Oscar Peterson Trio

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR PARENTS?Baby Can’t Leave it Alone - Olu


WHAT IS 2+2?Come Away with Me - Incognito


WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PERSON YOU LIKE?Higher Love – Rahsaan Patterson

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY?Speak Your Heart – Liz Wright



WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU?Me Bote de Guano – Buena Vista Social Club

WHAT WILL YOU DANCE TO AT YOUR WEDDING?Chante’s Got a Man at Home – Chante Moore





WHAT SHOULD YOU POST THIS AS?Could 9 – Rahsaan Patterson

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

$1.8 Million African American Museum for Nashville and More!

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean has approved $1.8 million in Metro funds to be used on pre-development work for the Museum of African American Music, Art & Culture.

The funding is part of $10 million the Metropolitan Government of Nashville committed to the African American History Foundation of Nashville Inc. for the construction of the museum planned to be built at Jefferson Street and Rosa Parks Boulevard in North Nashville.

The foundation will be reimbursed by the city for pre-construction expenses, including architectural and engineering services, up to $1.8 million.

The remaining funds will be authorized when the foundation completes other fundraising efforts needed to support the $30 million project.

Designer Agnes B. Mixes Design and Collecting African Art

Dressed in black silk and gold slippers, the 67-year-old French designer is scouting for smokes at a reception on the riverside terrace of London's Somerset House. She is the sponsor of the work displayed inside: a photo-video installation by photographer Massimo Vitali and filmmaker Mike Figgis.

Fashion, it turns out, is just a day job for the woman born Agnes Trouble. Her Galerie du Jour near Paris's Pompidou Center shows works by an array of artists and photographers, including most recently Jean-Baptiste Bruant and Robert Estermann. Her 11- year-old film production company Love Streams Agnes B. Productions has backed some 50 films and documentaries.
Agnes B. is now set to shoot her first feature film, a road movie that she scripted herself about a little girl who climbs into a red truck and befriends the lonely old Englishman driving it. She was inspired by a true story reported in the newspaper.

Workers repair museum items damaged in flooding

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Even after two cleanings, Nancy Kraft still caught a whiff of that distinctive floodwater smell from the "Popular Czech Polkas" record as she loaded it onto the turntable. "You can get a headache," Kraft, the head of the University of Iowa Libraries preservation department, said of the smell. "Our workers wear masks with charcoal filters when they handle them for cleaning." But it was all worth it when the record crackled to life. "This is great!" Kraft exclaimed. "This job is kind of like a hidden treasure hunt you don't know if you're going to uncover it or not."

The preservation department at the UI is handling restoration efforts on thousands of items from the African American Historical Museum and Cultural Center of Iowa and the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, both of which suffered extensive damage in June flooding in Cedar Rapids. The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art's collection also was affected.

At the UI's Oakdale Campus, items including vinyl records and wooden sculptures were carefully rinsed and stacked in a makeshift "dirty room" in hopes of controlling the environment to prevent further mold or other damage. There, they wait to be worked on. It will take months to get through all of the items, Kraft said 7,000 books, 3,000 records, hundreds of manuscripts, dozens of statues and even a few outfits of clothing. It's easier to face if it's dealt with a day at a time. "You can't hurry this," Kraft said. "Some of these items are irreplaceable. You try one thing on something that's a duplicate. If that doesn't work, you try something else."

American Masters of the Gulf Coast

Walter Anderson, George Ohr, Dusti Bonge and Richmond Barthe - all Mississippi-born art heavyweights - had more in common than a bundle of creative vision. They all hailed from Mississippi's Gulf Coast and produced art with an impact way beyond home state borders.

A new exhibit of 41 works by these artists will travel the state through January 2010. American Masters of the Mississippi Gulf Coast opens at its first venue, Lauren Rogers Museum of Art in Laurel, on Friday.

The show, organized by the Mississippi Arts Commission, is the second in its American Masters series, a National Endowment for the Arts initiative to acquaint Americans with the best of their cultural and artistic legacy.

Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love

FORT WORTH, Texas — An exhibit that is apt to disturb some people, delight others and make almost everyone think about the complex issue of race relations is on view at the Modern Art Museum. Called "Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love,” the show contains room-size black cut-paper silhouettes, film animations, light projections and more than 100 works on paper.

Capturing our attention immediately is a 13-by-50-foot 1994 tableau of silhouettes, the first word of whose title, "Gone,” conjures, at least initially, visions of Margaret Mitchell's epic Civil War-era novel. It is only on closer inspection that we become aware of sexual undertones implicit in the activities of some of the monumental composition's flat, dark, cartoonlike characters. A Southern Belle seems to have someone under her full skirt as she leans forward to kiss her beau, whose sheathed sword nearly touches the behind of a young black girl who may be strangling a goose, for example.