Harlem gets a makeover and Danny Simmons meets the Culture Crasher
Souleo | 7/6/2012, 10:51 a.m.
The famed 125th Street is getting a makeover but to see the results you will have to look upward. Last week, the 125th Street Business Improvement District, the Harlem Arts Alliance and Harlem Community Development Corporation unveiled the new banner designs for the fourth annual "BID on Culture" banner program. The winning designs were created by visual artists, Laura Gadson, Soyca Mphahlele, Tomo Mori, Justin West and Marivel Mejia. The banners reflect this year's theme of, "Harlem: A Cultural Legacy," which is meant to celebrate the cultural impact and legacy of people of the African-Diaspora on the history, culture and development of Harlem.
One untold story of the African-Diaspora is the experience of lesbian, gay and bisexual slaves. This hidden topic is brought to life at Faison Firehouse Theater in the play, "Accept 'Except' LGBT NY." The play which is presented by APAC, Inc., Collaborative Efforts and Fais-One Productions Inc. tells the story of two gay twenty year olds running from the law; a male from the plantation era (18th century) and a female from the penitentiary era (21st century). The performances are vivid and fully realized by teen spoken word artist/poet Cynthia Keteku, known as Ceez Liive and Sean Phillips. The powerful and thought provoking play, directed by Tony award-winner George Faison, reminds us of how far we have come and yet how much further we have to go when it comes to social justice. For playwright, Karimah this production is one step to hopefully changing hearts and minds.
When it comes to moving hearts and minds, the CULTURE CRASHERS know how to do it. At the 54th annual Fulton Art Fair, at Robert Fulton Park in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Solomon Hicks and Georgie Exinord performed a moving opening for celebrated visual artist/poet, Danny Simmons. Hicks wowed the crowd by flipping his guitar backwards over his head and effortlessly performing the jazz classic, "Body and Soul" while Exinord kept things soulful with a faithful rendition of Des'ree's "You Gotta Be."
One thing you must be when it comes to business is resilient. That's the advice Shante Bacon, Founder/CEO of the communications and marketing firm, 135th Street Agency had to share when it came to best business practices. Bacon offered her insights at The Network Journal's 40 Under-Forty Achievement Awards ceremony, which hosted some of the most accomplished individuals across various professional sectors. "I think that you cannot take the disappointment and hard knocks personal," she advises. "Be ready to take them, dust yourself up and come back for more always."
If it's more visual artistic stimulation you're seeking be sure to attend the opening night reception of "eMerge: Danny Simmons & Artists on the Cusp." The exhibition will feature the works of renowned visual artist, Simmons and nine innovative and visionary contemporary artists from New York City and London repurposing everyday materials like teabags, thumbtacks and buttons into elaborate works of art. Co-curated by myself and Lisa D. Hayes, Esq., manager of Strivers Gardens Gallery, the opening will be held Thursday, July 12 at 6 p.m at Harlem's Strivers Gardens Gallery at 300 West 135th St.
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This article is courtesy of our partner The Harlem Arts Alliance
The Harlem Arts Alliance is a not for profit arts service organization celebrating 10 years of service to a prestigious list of members such as the Apollo Theater, the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, Columbia University, Harlem Stage (Aaron Davis Hall) and over 850 more cultural/arts institutions and individuals. The weekly column, Harlem Arts Alliance Presents: On the "A" w/Souleo, covers the intersection of the arts, culture and entertainment in Harlem and the greater NYC area.
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