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Flatbush between DeKalb and Willoughby
An inter-generational modern day civil rights round table dialogue re-examining the relevance of the moral, social, political, educational and human rights issues of 1963 versus 2013. Utilizing a staged reading of the critically acclaimed Off-Broadway play, James Baldwin: A Soul On Fire, which bears witness to the lesser-known secret meeting between James Baldwin and Robert F. Kennedy in New York City circa 1963.
Shani Jamila is an artist, cultural worker and staunch human rights advocate. Her career and studies have taken her to thirty five countries over five continents, a journey that is reflected in her artistic production, community work and media commentary. Throughout her travels, Shani has spoken about African American culture and history at global gatherings like the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Switzerland, the Association for Women’s Rights in Development in Turkey and the World Social Forum in India. Her international experiences and cosmopolitan perspective deeply inform her work as a collagist, fiber artist and creative writer. Her work has been published in Race, Class and Gender; Black Renaissance Noire; Sometimes Rhythm, Sometimes Blues; Colonize This!; Words. Beats. Life: The Global Journal of Hip Hop Culture; Of Note Magazine; Global Connections to a Cultural Democracy and The Encyclopedia of Sociology.
David Leeming is a graduate of Princeton University (B.A.) and New York University (Ph.D.). Between 1964 and 1967 he worked as an assistant to James Baldwin. He remained close to Baldwin over the years. In 1994 Knopf published his James Baldwin: A Biography, on the preparation of which Baldwin had cooperated fully in the 1980s.
Robert O’Hara has recently released his Film Writing and Directing debut, The Inheritance. He received the 2010 NAACP Best Director Award for his direction of Eclipsed by Danai Guiria. He received a 2010 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play for Antebellum and an OBIE Award for his Direction of the World Premiere of the critically acclaimed In The Continuum at Primary Stages. He wrote and directed the World Premiere of Insurrection: Holding History at the New York Shakespeare Festival, the piece received the Oppenheimer Award for Best New American Play and was subsequently published by both TCG and Dramatist Play Service. He Directed the World Premiere of Brother/Sister Plays (Part 2), Co-Production at McCarter Theater/ New York Shakespeare Festival. His recent Stage Directing: Tough Titty, Magic Theater; Eclipsed, CTG/Kirk Douglas Theater; A Life In The Theater, Alliance Theater; and, Brother Size, City Theater. His new play Etiquette of Vigilance was produced in the Steppenwolf First Look Festival 2010. ACT/Zeum recently produced his play, Good Breeding. His play, Bootycandy, under his direction, was presented at the Woolly Mammoth Theater. He is currently an Adjunct Professor at NYU/TISCH School of the Arts.
Forrest McClendon is honored to be reunited with longtime friend Charles Reese, with whom he appeared in the Off-Broadway production of Howard Simon’s James Baldwin: A Soul On Fire (New Federal Theatre). Forrest received a 2011 Tony Award nomination for his Broadway debut as Mr. Tambo in The Scottsboro Boys, a role he first created at the Vineyard and Guthrie theaters, and reprised at the Philadelphia Theatre Company. A lover of new plays and musicals, recent readings/workshops include John Jiler’s Revolution (Actor’s Studio); Carlyle Brown’s Nobody, No Time (The Playwrights’ Center); Robert O’Hara’s Bootycandy (Wilma Theater); and, Stefanie Zadravec’s The Electric Baby (PlayPenn). For more information go to www.ForrestMcClendon.com.
Charles Reese is a professional working performance artist, educator, and consultant in television, independent film, micro web series and theatre. Reese is currently a series regular on the hit comedy web series, WHO (available only on www.ajakwetv.com). He is best known in the theatre community for his critically acclaimed Off Broadway performance in the title role of James Baldwin: A Soul on Fire. David DeWitt of The New York Times declares, “A Soul on Fire is funny, thrilling and wise buoyed by the passionate performance of Charles Reese in the lead role.” Reese is the official USA affiliate for The Collectif James Baldwin in Paris, France. James Baldwin: A Soul On Fire written by the late playwright, Howard B. Simon (1962-2000), marks Reese’s first editorial/publishing endeavor for the HB Simon Literary Canon, in association with Azaan Kamau/ Glover Lane Press. Reese served as a special guest panelist at the 42nd annual Congressional Black Caucus Authors Pavilion 2012 in Washington DC. For more information go to www.JamesBaldwinASoulOnFire.com.
Jessica Lynne and DéLana R.A. Dameron reflect on ways they make a home, creatively, wherever they are.