While the weather gets cooler, the fall Harlem arts and culture scene is heating up with several exciting events featuring international and local talent. When it comes to music the Apollo Theater is offering a Thanksgiving Celebration starring Faith Evans and Tank on November 24th. Evans will perform hits from her Grammy Award winning catalogue and will be joined by songwriter and producer Tank, along with rising singers Luke James and Bridget Kelly. Here’s hoping that we also get a surprise appearance from Evans’ docu-series “R&B Divas” co-stars too.
Although Stevie Wonder probably won’t physically be in the house for Uptown Nights at Harlem Stage, his musical spirit will certainly be present during Robert Glasper’s Songs in the Key of Life event on December 13 & 14. Grammy-nominated jazz, hip-hop and R&B performer, Glasper will lead an all-star lineup to reinterpret Wonder’s classic body of work.
Listening to the aforementioned performers will likely make you want to get on your feet and dance. But if you’re more of a wallflower then observe the dancers at Ballet Hispanico when the dance company returns to the Apollo Theater on December 1. You can expect them to put a contemporary spin on Cuba’s danzón, Argentina’s tango and 1980’s Spanish pop.
From dance to comedy, Sinbad returns to the Apollo stage on December 7 for a night of jokes that won’t make you cover your children’s ears. But you may want to make it strictly an adult’s only affair when Chris Tucker performs at the venue on December 13 and December 14.
Cultural traditions are sometimes no laughing matter as they can have both negative and positive influences on the individual and society. Addressing these dynamics is the Art in Flux Harlem forthcoming exhibition “Echoes From Afar: A Time to Keep & A Time to Let Go.” Artists of various disciplines will present work in response to the short film, “Siri Oko Fo (Mending Fences)” by Ebbe Bassey.
Continuing to tap into provocative subject matters, Art in Flux Harlem also presents “Art Speaks!” which addresses concerns about race and identity. It is collaboration with The Movement Theatre Company’s latest play, "Blacken the Bubble.” You’ll definitely want to check out the work of visual artists Andre Woolery, Margaret Rose Vendryes and Ivan Forde.
The season would not be complete without a major theatrical celebration or two. On Monday, October 15 First Corinthian Baptist Church will host the Impact Repertory Theatre 15th Anniversary Gala featuring founders Voza Rivers, Jamal Joseph, award-winning music veteran Nile Rodgers, Oscar and Grammy nominated singer-songwriter, Charles Mack and more. The Audelco Awards keeps the momentum going with their 40th Anniversary-Ruby Jubilee on Monday November 19. The organization will honor people of color in the theatre world with nominated shows including “A Time for Love” (National Black Theatre), “This Way Forward” (HADLEY Players), “Growing Up Gonzales” (Reel Players and Poets Club, Inc./Toptia Prods.), “Hurt Village” (Signature Theatre Company), “Renaissance in the Belly of a Killer Whale” (National Black Theatre) and more.
Finally, this Friday October 12, the independent film, “Middle of Nowhere,” arrives in theatres. The film explores the inner world of a woman as she is separated from her incarcerated husband and tries to salvage her marriage and self-identity. The film is already receiving praise and its director/screenwriter, Ava DuVernay made history as the first Black woman to receive the coveted “Best Director” prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012.
As always, you can expect coverage right here of these events and more throughout the season.
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 scene in Harlem and beyond and is written by Souleo, founder and president of event/media content production company, Souleo Enterprises, LLC.