Five months into the year already! My, how time flies, but we are just getting started on all there is to see and do around this wonderful world of ours. Here are a few ditties to get you going for the month of May.
- “Journey of Hope in America: Quilts Inspired by President Barack Obama” (Chicago), Through May 9: Incorporating folk art, traditional and other quilting styles, “Journey of Hope in America: Quilts Inspired by President Barack Obama,” showing at the DuSable Museum of African-American History in Chicago, provides a unique look at the historic significance of the presidential election of 2008. Designed to bring the art of quilting to a broader American audience, the exhibit includes almost 100 works by some of America’s best-known fiber artists, including Adrienne Yorinks, Sandra German, Burley Leak and Jim Smoote, just to name a few. (773) 947-0600, www.dusablemuseum.org
- “Living in Limbo: Lesbian Families in the Deep South” (Birmingham, Ala.), Through June 11: Presented by the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, “Living in Limbo: Lesbian Families in the Deep South” is a contemporary photography exhibit “that honors the complexities of lesbian family life” and celebrates “commitment, caring, and family for everyone–a world without Limbo.” (205) 328-9696, ext. 203, www.bcri.org
- “Rotimi Fani-Kayode: Nothing to Lose” (New York), Through July 28: This is the first solo New York exhibition of Nigerian-British artist Rotimi Fani-Kayode. According to the folks at the Walther Collection Project Space, “Fani-Kayode’s photographs interpret and present sexuality across racial and cultural differences, and vividly merge his fascination with Yoruba ‘techniques of ecstasy’ and homoerotic self-expression through symbolic gestures, ritualistic poses and elaborate decoration.” The exhibit, encompassing large-scale color and black-and-white portraits, are powerful, provocative and drawn from his final bodies of work prior to his untimely death in the late 1980s. (212) 352-0683, www.walthercollection.com
- Fiji 2012 International Jazz and Blues Festival (Port Denarau, Fiji), May 10-13: This year’s festival will feature close to 100 jazz and blues musicians from Australia, the United States, England, New Zealand and, of course, Fiji, including Dej Vu, Kevin Borich, Lenora Helm, Billy TK Jnr, Tom Mawi, Paul Ubana Jones, Warwick Murray, Phil Broadhurst and the Julie Mason Band, just to name a few. Another welcome aspect is that the festival is free, excluding the gala dinner and festival finale. (00649) 534-2020, www.fijijbfest.org
- Bay Area Black Comedy Competition & Festival (Oakland, Calif.), May 18-20: Hosted this year by Don “DC” Curry, the Bay Area Black Comedy Competition & Festival is recognized by some as the largest, longest-running live showcase of urban comedians in the world. Created in 1986 “as a means of leveling the playing field for African-American and other minority Bay Area standup comedians,” it has since expanded into a multicultural comedy showcase that has served as the springboard for some of the biggest names in urban comedy, film, TV and music, including Sherri Shepherd, Jamie Foxx, Craig Robinson, Chris Tucker, Sheryl Underwood, Mike Epps and many others. The event also features daytime symposiums, workshops, industry panels and other activities. www.blackcomedycompetition.com
- Barbados Gospelfest (Barbados, West Indies), May 19-27: Celebrating almost 20 successful years, the Barbados Gospelfest features some of the best local, regional and international gospel artists, with a strong emphasis on incorporating and reflecting numerous elements “of the cultural reality of the Caribbean.” Activities include a Gospelfest Dance Conference, Thanksgiving Service, Hymn Speak and a Gospelfest Platinum Celebration with Grammy winner Larnell Harris, plus performances by DJ Nicholas Tye Tribbett, Sister Marshall, Promise and others. (246) 426-5128, (246) 228-0981, www.barbadosgospelfest.com
- 35th annual Atlanta Jazz Festival (Atlanta), May 26-28: Regarded as one of the finest, largest free jazz festivals in the country, the Atlanta Jazz Festival, which grew from a weekend-long festival into a monthlong celebration, is an Atlanta area favorite. The festival is the crowning event of a month of jazz celebration. Each year, the festival features numerous local, regional and international jazz artists. This year features the Tito Puente Jr. Orchestra, Roy Ayers, Grace Kelly, Cyrus Chestnut, the Robert Glasper Experiment, Kathleen Bertrand and Johnny O’Neal, among a bevy of others. Every day throughout the month, an array of events will go on, including live jazz in Underground Atlanta, Fiesta Atlanta in Centennial Olympic Park, concerts at the Loews Atlanta Hotel, jazz at the High Museum, numerous jazz performances at a variety of clubs, restaurants, parks and other venues around town and three days of music over the Memorial Day weekend at Piedmont Park. (404) 546-6820, www.atlantafestivals.com
Lysa Allman-Baldwin writes for numerous online and print publications, including as the cultural travel writer for www.Examiner.com and as a senior travel writer for SoulOfAmerica.com, an Afrocentric travel website.