Now that the month of March has arrived, the gala invitations are coming in fast and furious, and it’s not too late to get your ticket for any of them.
Charles and I will join classmates and fellow alumni of Tufts University Thursday, March 24 at the fundraiser for Assemblyman Keith L.T. Wright (a Tufts alumnus), who, as you know, is running for Congress. The event is tentatively scheduled to be held at Solomon and Kuff, 231 12th Ave., at 133rd Street. Wright has represented the Central and West Harlem District 70 in the New York Assembly for a number of years with unwavering integrity, intellect and unparalleled commitment. Come out, support and vote.
The Greater New York Chapter of the Links will host their annual Women of Distinction Spirit Awards Luncheon and Fashion Show Saturday, March 26 at Pier 60, Chelsea Piers, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Franciscan Handmaids of the Most Pure Heart of Mary will host a Centennial Gala, 1916-2016, Tuesday, March 29, at the New York Academy of Medicine, 1216 Fifth Ave., at 102nd Street. This event promises to be special because of the lineup: host, David Ushery, WNBC TV news anchor; announcer, G. Keith Alexander, radio and TV personality; remarks, His Eminence Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York; Centennial Award presenter, Susan L. Taylor, founder and CEO, National Cares Mentoring Movement and editor-in-chief emerita, Essence magazine.
Honorees include Marc H. Morial, president and CEO, National Urban League; Wendy Oxenhorn, vice chairman and executive director, Jazz Foundation; the Rev. Al Sharpton, president and founder, National Action Network; and the Hon. Charles B. Rangel, U.S. House of Representatives, NY 13th Congressional District.
If that weren’t enough, musical performances will feature Melba Moore, Tony and four-time Grammy Award winner, and Carmen Ruby Floyd, Broadway actress and singer.
The New York chapter of the Continentals cordially invites you to their annual Woman of Distinction Awards Dinner, Dance and Fundraiser, April 1, 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., at Antun’s, Queens Village. Valerie Dargan will serve as mistress of ceremonies, with Dawna Michelle Fields and Carol Carpenter serving as event co-chairs. What they want to know is, can you come out and play?
Having the time of his life is chef and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson, who most recently opened Marcus’ Bermuda Restaurant at the famed Fairmont Hamilton Princess & Beach Club on the island of Bermuda. He’s been quoted as saying, “I’ve always loved visiting here. It’s so easy to fall in love with the beautiful scenery, the people and the culture.”
The menu, as you can pretty much imagine, features island fare that includes fish chowder bites served with rum aioli, and a fish of the day tartar with macadamia nuts and sea lettuce. Dishes designed for date night include fried chicken for two with grits, collard greens, barbecue short ribs for two with red slaw, sweet potato and a side of buttermilk onion rings. Sounds to me like you can take the man out of Harlem but you can’t take Harlem out of the man. Cocktails include the hurricane, made with rum, passion fruit, lemon and basil. “That’s the Bermuda way,” Samuelsson says with a twinkle in his eye.
If you’re traveling to Boston, be sure to visit the Museum of Fine Arts, where the “Portrait of an Obsession” exhibition, featuring works of Pablo Picasso from 1932-34, are on display until June 26.
If you’re traveling to London, then book a tour of legendary Jimi Hendrix’s home, where he lived in the late 1960s. Located in London’s high-end Mayfair District, the place Hendrix called home during the height of his career has just undergone a two-year renovation, and it is fabulous—so I hear.
The home, which has become a permanent exhibition, features rarely seen images of Hendrix, a reconstructed replica of his bedroom (Yeah, like we really want to see that.) and other little tidbits that made Jimi Hendrix, Jimi Hendrix. Among the artifacts on display is his Epiphone FT79 acoustic guitar, which he usually kept beside his bed (so I’m told). Also on display is a replica of his Bang & Olufsen turntable, which he played at top volume all hours of the night when friends such as George Harrison, Rashaad Roland Kirk and Billy Preston passed through.
His flat, as they say over there, resembles a three-story townhouse, much like you would find over here on the Upper East Side. It must have been a popular spot for musicians, because one of Hendrix’s most played records was George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah,” which Handel composed when he lived in the house next door 225 years before Hendrix arrived.
Although Hendrix was before my time, some friends introduced me to his music through an album he recorded with the Isley Brothers. To this day, certain songs remain stuck in my head: “I know you like to dance, but give somebody else a chance. I like to express myself. I know you like to grove, but you’ve got a nasty attitude. I like to enjoy myself, watch out you’re ruining my steps. Move over, watch me dance. I’m gonna show you, show you what it’s all about. Ahh but you wouldn’t know because you like plastic, plastic is your thing.” Hendrix interspersed the lyrics with some amazing chords—a sound that I’ve yet to hear duplicated.
A couple of months ago, I went to the post office at 96th Street and Third Avenue to get some stamps, and the clerk offered me a choice, which included stamps picturing Jimi Hendrix. She, even younger than I, told me her Jimi Hendrix story and I told her mine. It was an exhilarating exchange as only one can get when speaking of Hendrix. “Enjoy your Jimis,” she said as I left.
Also exhilarating is a new stamp featuring Sarah Vaughn, which will soon be unveiled by the United States Postal Service. I’ve kept a stamp of last year’s collection featuring Maya Angelou for posterity. I also have one of Langston Hughes and one of Malcolm X. Guess you could say I am becoming a stamp collector.
Until next week … kisses.