2014 Summer Performing Arts Academy Teaching Artists Par Excellence: Paul Davis and Kabby Mitchell

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Kabby Mitchell

We are  extremely honored this year to count among our teaching artists two amazing gentlemen, Messrs. Paul Davis and Kabby Mitchell. They are teaching music and dance respectively in this year’s academy and serving as musical director and choreographer the summer musical, Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry. I sat down with these two gentlemen after an intense day of teaching to talk about their professional experiences as well as their perspectives on youth performing arts. It is a joy and pleasure to work with these gentlemen for this year’s Summer Performing Arts Academy, and it is our pleasure to share this with you.

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Paul Davis

NAK: What is your artistic speciality? And please share with us a little info on your professional trajectory to date.

Paul Davis: I am a singer/song writer and I am creative director. I have written musicals. I started off with singing and producing theater in the airforce and then studied piano at Seattle Central College where I met several African-American professionals in the arts and culture sector.  I am currently working as a vocal coach and as a choir director and coach with various churches and musical organizations. I am also the Executive Director of the Human Harmony Choral Academy.

Kabby Mitchell: I am a dancer, choreographer and educator with emphasis on the latter two. I was the first African-American to dance for the Pacific Northwest Ballet. I have also danced with Dance Theater of Harlem as well as the Netherlands Dance Theatre. I have also worked in Mexico with Televisa performing in Spanish and English.

NAK: In what ways do you see the performing arts having an impact on the  young people?

PD & KM: It assists them in building their personal creativity. It also gives them a level of discipline that they can transfer to other areas. You see the adverse affects of this when arts were removed the public schools. Many children completely tapped out because they didn’t have  an outlet that allowed them to build confidence, discipline and have a creative outlet.

NAK: What is most exciting about this year’s Summer Performing Arts Academy?

KM: I left a class where we dealt with the history of Jim Crow to teach choreography for a play like Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry. That is amazing! Because of my background in African-American studies, I am able to contextualize the history and events of that time as well as translating that into into choreography.

PM: I get to tap into my gospel roots. The kids are incredibly talented. With the right among of training, they will be able to become artists in their own right.

A Conversation with Rodney Greene of the Seattle Quare Arts Program

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I finally caught up with Mr. Rodney J. Greene  in the Seattle Office for Parks and Recreation who works with the who works with the Seattle Quare Arts Program a partnership between Parks and Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute (LHPAI). In the run up to tomorrow’s film screening and next week’s showcase in partnership with Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, Rodney was able to take some time to speak with me about the importance of this ongoing partnership and his vision for the progam moving into the future.

Negarra A. Kudumu: What is most exciting to you about the partnership between LHPAI  and Seattle Parks and Recreation, that has birthed the Seattle Quare Arts Project?

Rodney J. Greene: It is so vital that we have access to a place in our community that focuses on people of color, especially black people, in the arts. Being able to work with LHPAI gives our young artists of color an outlet that places the center of attention on them.

NAK: When you speak to the young people involved in this program, what are they saying about it? How is it affecting them?

RJG: They are excited to perform and work with our mentors and I can see them growing as performers all the time.

NAK: What can we expect from the upcoming showcase on June 18?

RJG: We have some great young performers who will be doing music and dance numbers. We are looking to make sure we have a poetry component as well.

NAK: What is your vision for the program moving forward?

RJG: Quare Arts Project is a pioneering program, and as far as we can tell, the only non-service based program in Seattle that specifically focuses on queer youth of color. We love the programs that provide basic services and health care, but we also need to provide things beyond that for marginalized groups. Ultimately, I hope Bearing Witness and Quare Arts Project become a central part of Seattle’s Queer Trans People of Color (QTPOC) community.

 

On Wednesday June 11th at the film Pay it No Mind: The Life and Times of  Marsha P. Johnson screens at LHPAI in the Grand Hall. Tickets are free on a first come first serve basis. Reserve your ticket here. The following Wednesday, June 18 is Bearing Witness A Queer Youth of Color Performing Arts Showcase in the Theater. This performance is also free, on a first come first serve basis and starts at 7 pm. For more information, visit the Facebook event page.

CALL FOR TEACHING ARTISTS: LHPAI Summer Performing Arts Academy

TEACHING ARTIST OPPORTUNITIES
Deadline: June 5, 2014 at 4 PM

Reporting to the LHPAI Arts Education Manager, LHPAI teaching artists will work collaboratively to provide an opportunity for artistic growth and development of Summer Performing Arts Academy students ages 6 – 19, in an educational environment culminating in two theatrical productions. More information can be found in the call here.

Please send a resume and cover letter detailing your interest and area(s) of discipline you are qualified to teach. The cover letter should include a statement commenting on your desire to work both for LHPAI and in the fields of performing arts and education. Your cover letter should be a reflection on the ways in which your personal philosophy of teaching in the performing arts aligns with your understanding of LHPAI’s approach. Send all materials via email to Kristi Matsuda by the deadline, June 5, 2014 at 4 PM.  Interested applicants should visit the LHPAI website at langstoninstitute.org to learn more about programs.

 

Bearing Witness: LGBTQ youth of color take center stage

The Seattle Quare Arts Program is a partnership between Seattle Parks and Recreation and the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute. This year’s program has several associated opportunities for youth to earn money during the summer.

For more details about the Quare Arts Program check out this article, Bearing Witness: LGBTQ youth of color take center stage.  See below for the details about the associated programs and to sign up.

Stay tuned for more information about the Seattle Quare Arts Program on the LHPAI blog.

Mother of George, Closing Night, Sunday May 4

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Is it fair to heap the pressure to bare a male child on a woman in a non-traditional society who is having trouble conceiving? In Andrew Dosunmu’s Mother of George we see this story play out not only between man and wife but between families all of whom are invested in the conception and subsequent birth of a male child.

Brought to life by the brilliantly talented Issach de Bankolé, made famous by director Jim Jarmusch, we witness on screen moments that are at times so private we feel like voyeurs. What does it mean to replicate traditional mores and values in a so-called modern environment? What are the choices available to a young married woman facing these challenges? Dosunmu’s film leads us into a world that may be unfamiliar due to tradition, but that is actually quite recognizable as an issue that young couples face every day.

Mother of George screens closing night, Sunday May 4, at 7 pm. Check out the trailer and get your tickets here.

Stay tuned to regular updates to the schedule and special events by visiting our web site and connecting with us through Twitter and Facebook. When you post to social media use our official hash tag which is #LHAAFF2014. Join us tonight, opening night at 6:30 pm for the screening of They Die By Dawn with special guest and filmmaker Jeymes Samuels. Immediately following the film is a filmmaker talk back and reception with music provided by DJ SASSY BLACK (Cat of THEESatisfaction)

Film passes give you greater access to LHAAFF. We offer an All Access Pass ($150) and a Friends of LHPAI Pass ($50). Tickets for individual screenings can be purchased by visiting our dedicated 2014 LHAAFF Brown Paper Tickets page.

See you at the movies!

Black Sci-Fi Night, Wednesday April 30

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Seattle is no stranger to top quality science fiction literature but this year, Langston Hughes African American Film Festival is proud to bring Black science fiction to you through the medium of film. Join us on We.dnesday April 30 at 7 pm for three amazing films from this genre: Secret Decoder RingSteamfunk and Rococoa: A Black Victorian Fantasy, The Man in the Silo, and the documentary Black Sci-Fi. 

Check out the trailer for Black Sci-Fi below and click here to purchase your tickets for Black Sci-Fi night.

Stay tuned to regular updates to the schedule and special events by visiting our web site and connecting with us through Twitter and Facebook. When you post to social media use our official hash tag which is #LHAAFF2014. Join us on TONIGHT April 24 at 5 pm for an opening celebration at LUCID Lounge with special guest Jeymes Samuels director of They Die By Dawn.

Film passes give you greater access to LHAAFF. We offer an All Access Pass ($150) and a Friends of LHPAI Pass ($50). Tickets for individual screenings can be purchased by visiting our dedicated 2014 LHAAFF Brown Paper Tickets page.

See you April 26!

A Revolutionary Life, An Independent Haiti: Toussaint L’Ouverture, Sunday May 4

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January 1, 2014 marked the 210th anniversary of the Haitian independence and to honor this remarkable historical event, the 11th annual Langston Hughes African American Film Festival is proud to bring you the Seattle premier of the film Toussaint L’Ouverture.

Set in colonial Haiti, known then as Saint Domingue, Toussaint L’Ouverture tracks the intellectual and revolutionary development of the man who set Haiti, on a successful course towards independence. Haiti is the first free state and the first, and only, État Noir (Black State) in the western hemisphere. With this film we learn about a country which served as an example for future revolutions throughout the hemisphere, if not the world.

Toussaint L’Ouverture screens on Sunday May 4 at 1 pm. It is preceded at 12:15 pm by a public lecture delivered by LHPAI Intern, Negarra A. Kudumu, MA titled “Toussaint L’Ouverture, Self-Determined: Lessons of Liberation from the Haitian Revolution”. Immediately following the film there will be a panel discussion with special guests Saheed Adejumobi, PhD (Global African Studies Program, Seattle University), Dr. Angela Gilliam (Faculty Emerita, Evergreen State College) and Jacky Gotin (Instructor, French American School Puget Sound).

Check out the trailer below and get your tickets here.

 

Stay tuned to regular updates to the schedule and special events by visiting our web site and connecting with us through Twitter and Facebook. When you post to social media use our official hash tag which is #LHAAFF2014. Join us on Thursday April 24 at 5 pm for an opening celebration at LUCID Lounge with special guest Jeymes Samuels director of They Die By Dawn.

Film passes give you greater access to LHAAFF. We offer an All Access Pass ($150) and a Friends of LHPAI Pass ($50). Tickets for individual screenings can be purchased by visiting our dedicated 2014 LHAAFF Brown Paper Tickets page.

See you April 26!

Raising Awareness Through Visual Arts: The Life of José Maria Capricorne, Monday April 28

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De Wonderboom, kunst van Capricorne (The Wondertree) tells the story of Curaçaoan painter José Maria Capricorne. Through this intriguing documentary we see how Capricorne has crafted a truly creative life while simultaneously clearing the path for future Curaçaoan artists to do the same. This is an intriguing resume of this artist’s life set against the complex social and political realities, past and present, in Curaçao. Co-director Tanja Fraai states,

Both [Langston Hughes and Capricorne] used art as a means to emancipate the people.

De Wonderboom, kunst van Capricorne (The Wondertree) screens on Monday April 28 at 7:00 pm.  Check out the trailer below and purchase your tickets here.

Stay tuned to regular updates to the schedule and special events by visiting our web site and connecting with us through Twitter and Facebook. When you post to social media use our official hash tag which is #LHAAFF2014. Join us on Thursday April 24 at 5 pm for an opening celebration at LUCID Lounge with special guest Jeymes Samuels director of They Die By Dawn.

Film passes give you greater access to LHAAFF. We offer an All Access Pass ($150) and a Friends of LHPAI Pass ($50). Tickets for individual screenings can be purchased by visiting our dedicated 2014 LHAAFF Brown Paper Tickets page.

See you April 26!