Live Ideas Festival: James Baldwin This Time

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James Baldwin

[New York Live Arts Program Details and Schedule]

 

James Baldwin, This Time! April 23 – 27, 2014

Highlights include a Keynote Conversation with Bill T. Jones, Carrie Mae Weems and Jamaica Kincaid, the world premiere of Nothing Personal, starring Colman Domingo, a preview of Carl Hancock Rux’s newest work Stranger On Earth and a special evening with Stew exploring his new ‘Notes of a Native Song’

Also included are the New York premiere of Charles O. Anderson’s Restless Natives, the world premiere of Dianne McIntyre’s Time is Time, an original video installation by Hank Willis Thomas, and a concluding conversation with Fran Lebowitz and Colm Tóibín.

Inaugurating “The Year of James Baldwin,” a city-wide celebration in 2014 - 15 of the continuing artistic, intellectual and moral presence of James Baldwin, on the occasion of what would have been his 90th year, James Baldwin, This Time! will present no fewer than 18 events in an array of theater, visual art, dance, video and literature featuring such artists as Carrie Mae Weems, Jamaica Kincaid, Suzan-Lori Parks, Stew, Carl Hancock Rux, Colman Domingo, Fran Lebowitz, Colm Tóibín, Charles O. Anderson, Patricia McGregor and Hilton Als.

“New York Live Arts is proud to launch the monumental city-wide multidisciplinary festival The Year of James Baldwin with James Baldwin, This Time! and collaborate with such illustrious partners as Harlem Stage and the Columbia University School of the Arts,” stated Jean Davidson, Executive Director and CEO of New York Live Arts. “Bringing people, resources and big ideas together to examine the past and reimagine the future is important to New York Live Arts and we are incredibly thankful to the Ford Foundation and our colleagues at the Richard Avedon Foundation and the New School’s Vera List Center for Art and Politics for their support of our second annual Live Ideas festival.”

“After the success of New York Live Arts’ inaugural Live Ideas festival, The Worlds of Oliver Sacks, we are thrilled to shift the focus to another multifaceted generator of and magnet for ideas, James Baldwin,” said Bill T. Jones, Executive Artistic Director of New York Live Arts. “James Baldwin is a unique and indispensable voice in twentieth-century art and ideas. He continues to shed light on the painful truths of our society, engaging us as almost no other figure does in the intractable conversation at the intersection of class, race, sex and violence. There were other powerful artists and social justice thinkers in his era, but what set James Baldwin apart was his ability to address, in terms at once poetic and visceral, what we can only call ‘Americanism.’

Among the highlights of the festival are the world premiere of the theater work Nothing Personal, based on the 1964 collaborative book by James Baldwin and Richard Avedon, directed by Patricia McGregor and starring Colman Domingo; a preview of Carl Hancock Rux’s play Stranger on Earth, featuring vocalist Marcelle Davies Lashley; an intimate evening with award-winning composer Stew, who shares his creative process surrounding his new Baldwin inspired work, Notes of a Native Song; the New York premiere of choreographer Charles O. Anderson’s Restless Natives; and the world premiere of choreographer Dianne McIntyre’s Time is Time. Also featured during the festival are an original video installation, inspired by the writings of Baldwin, by contemporary visual artist Hank Willis Thomas; and the speaking program “Jimmy at High Noon,” featuring poet Nikky Finney, critic, essayist and memoirist Hilton Als, playwright and actor Tarell McCraney and others reading Baldwin’s work and discussing its impact.

James Baldwin, This Time! is curated by celebrated non-fiction writer Lawrence Weschler in conjunction with Bill T. Jones. "For all his time in exile, and for all of the time he spent dwelling on the agonies of difference, Baldwin always spoke in a radical, cleansing and prophetic voice from the standpoint of an American – his own word, endlessly repeated – reclaiming and reconceiving that term in a way that seemed especially relevant to the poisoned discourses of our own era,” stated Weschler. “That’s part of what we were trying to get at in titling our festival James Baldwin, This Time!  We can't wait to see the sorts of discourses it will spark.”

The 2014 Live Ideas Festival, James Baldwin, This Time! is being presented by New York Live Arts as part of The Year of James Baldwin in partnership with Harlem Stage and Columbia University School of the Arts Office of Community Outreach and Education. Other collaborators include: The New School and its Vera List Center for Art and Politics; the School of Writing; NYU; and others to be announced as the year progresses.

Live Ideas is made possible by The Ford Foundation. Additional support is provided by New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, The Samuel M. Levy Family Foundation and Theatre Development Fund.

Single tickets and festival passes ($175).

New York Live Arts

Tickets: FREE - $60

T: 212-924-0077 | www.newyorklivearts.org

219 W 19th Street, New York, NY 10011

Box Office hours: Monday-Friday 1 - 9pm | Saturday-Sunday 12 - 8pm

OVERVIEW OF EVENTS

VISUAL ART INSTALLATIONS

HANK WILLIS THOMAS (Video installation)

This innovative video installation, A person is more important than anything else…, will be driven by the cadence and intonation of James Baldwin’s voice, for Baldwin was also an orator whose delivery was almost as forceful as his ideas. Artist Hank Willis Thomas will weave audio, images, and video together in a fluid-moving, digital stream of consciousness that connects Baldwin’s 20th century discourse with the concerns and urgencies of the 21st. In recent years Thomas’s career has been surging throughout the world; in New York City he is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery.

Dates:  Ongoing throughout the festival

Times:  Ongoing throughout the festival

Tickets: FREE


WALL MURAL OF NEW YORKER  “LETTER FROM A REGION OF MY MIND”

The November 1962 issue of The New Yorker magazine (in which the piece Letter From a Region of My Mind first appeared later to become the basis for Baldwin’s great book The Fire Next Time) will be reproduced as a mural: the text, often a single streaming column, is flanked on all sides by advertisements incongruously hawking all manner of luxury goods.

Dates: Ongoing throughout the festival

Tickets: FREE

READINGS, LECTURES, PANELS & CONVERSATIONS

“JIMMY AT HIGH NOON” (A Series of Five Daily Readings)

Presented in partnership with Columbia University School of the Arts, this noon-time series features poets, actors, musicians, essayists and scholars reading from a range of James Baldwin’s classics, as well as discussing his impact on their lives and thinking. Speakers include poet Nikky Finney; writers Hilton Als and Darryl Pinckney; actors Jesse L. Martin and André De Shields; musicians Vijay Iyer and Jason Moran; and playwrights Suzan-Lori Parks and Marcus Gardley, among others to be announced at a later date. “Jimmy at High Noon” will be overseen by director Patricia McGregor, with dramaturgy by Columbia faculty member and Baldwin scholar Rich Blint.

Dates: Every day, Wednesday April 23 - Sunday, April 27

Time: 12:00pm

Tickets: FREE

Location: New York Live Arts Studios

BALDWIN’S CAPACIOUS IMAGINATION & INFLUENCE


MacArthur Award winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks (Topdog/ Underdog and The Death of the Last Black Man in the Entire World) discusses her years as Baldwin’s student with Roberta Uno, former artistic director of New WORLD Theater which staged a  ground-breaking Baldwin production. This conversation, moderated by Live Ideas curator Lawrence Weschler, will also feature playwright John Guare (Six Degrees of Separation and A Free Man of Color).

Date: Wednesday, April 23

Time: 2:30pm

Tickets: $15

Location: New York Live Arts Studios

OPENING KEYNOTE CONVERSATION

Featuring Bill T. Jones, renowned choreographer and Executive Artistic Director of New York Live Arts in conversation with visual artist and MacArthur Fellow, Carrie Mae Weems and celebrated novelist and essayist, Jamaica Kincaid (Autobiography of My Mother, Lucy, A Small Place). Approaching Baldwin from a range of disciplines, these highly accomplished cultural figures share Baldwin’s commitment to the necessary excavation of the dense, complex and contradictory history of the nation. From the stunning visual imagery of Weems, to the startlingly honest and demanding prose of Kincaid, this conversation reaches across genres to address issues of importance to Baldwin, but crucial for our own transformation--this time!

Date: Wednesday, April 23

Time: 8:00pm

Tickets: $60

Location: New York Live Arts Theater

BALDWIN & DELANEY

Rachel Cohen, whose critically acclaimed A Chance Meeting braids a sequence of seminal encounters across American cultural history, including Baldwin’s with both Richard Avedon and Norman Mailer, will read from a third chapter, focusing on the young writer’s life-transforming encounter with the sublime painter Beauford Delaney, at the latter’s Greenwich Village apartment. Following her reading, Cohen will engage Diedra Harris-Kelley, Co-Director of the Romare Bearden Foundation and Baldwin and Delaney biographer David Leeming, in a conversation about Delaney’s enduring importance in Baldwin’s life.

Date: Thursday, April 24

Time: 2:00pm

Tickets: $10

Location: New York Live Arts Theater

JAMES BALDWIN THIS TIME

Newly appointed Counsel to Mayor DeBlasio, Maya Wiley moderates a conversation on what Baldwin might have made of everything from the burgeoning prison-industrial complex and the recent gutting of the Voter Rights Bill through the Barack Obama presidency. Distinguished panelists include Lawrence Weschler, The Grio’s Managing Editor Joy-Ann Reid, Civil Rights Activist Five Mualimm-ak, and Brooklyn City Councilman Jumaane Williams.

Date: Thursday, April 24

Time: 5:30pm

Tickets: $15

Location: New York Live Arts Studios

AFTER GIOVANNI’S ROOM: BALDWIN and QUEER FUTURITY

This multi-disciplinary conversation examines James Baldwin’s mid-twentieth century novel as an opportunity to consider the possibilities for a liberating “queer” future on the horizon, but not yet in sight. The importance of Giovanni’s Room does not simply stem from its status as Baldwin’s sole novel on homosexuality but, also its subterranean yet searing indictment of the dangers of an enduring American innocence. Taking its cue from the late thinker and theorist José Esteban Muñoz, this panel seeks to envision “the then and there” of a not-yet-realized progressive future as one way to negotiate the often devastating realities of the “here and now.” Panelists include Kyle Abraham, Rich Blint, Matthew Brim, Laura Flanders and Bill T. Jones.

Date: Friday, April 25

Time: 2:00pm

Tickets: $10

Location: New York Live Arts Theater

BALDWIN’S NEW YORK

Author, educator and niece of James Baldwin, Aisha Karefa-Smart discusses her Uncle Jimmy’s New York roots in conversation with Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem; Patricia Cruz Executive Director of Harlem Stage; author, editor and curator Steven G. Fullwood; and authors Michele Wallace (Black Macho and The Myth of The Superwoman) and Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts (Harlem is Nowhere).

Date: Friday, April 25

Time: 5:30pm

Tickets: $15

Location: New York Live Arts Studios

JIMMY’S BLUES: DISCUSSING THE POETRY OF JAMES BALDWIN

Co-presented with The Poetry Society of America, this poetry event will feature conversations about and readings from Jimmy’s Blues by renowned American poets Nikky Finney, Edward Hirsch, Yusef Komunyakaa, Ed Pavlić, Meghan O’Rourke and Nathalie Handal.

Date: Saturday, April 26

Time: 5:30pm

Tickets: $15

Location: New York Live Arts Studios

A CONCLUDING CONVERSATION: LEBOWITZ & TÓIBÍN

Writer, sardonic provocateur and New Jersey émigré Fran Lebowitz (Metropolitan Life, Social Studies, etc.) and award-winning Irish novelist and essayist, Columbia Professor Colm Tóibín (The Master; The Testament of Mary; New Ways to Kill Your Mother, among many others) discuss Baldwin’s legacy and his remarkable and enduring impact on their own lives and vantages. Bill T. Jones joins the conversation as moderator.

Date: Sunday, April 27

Time: 6:00pm

Tickets: $15, $40

Location: New York Live Arts Theater

DANCE & THEATER EVENTS     


“NOTHING PERSONAL”

Not the least improbable aspect of Baldwin’s life was the fact that he and the photographer Richard Avedon attended high school together at Dewitt Clinton, in the Bronx (class of 1942), and co-edited the school’s literary magazine. A bit over twenty years later, the two joined forces once again in an exceptionally powerful melding of images and text, the 1964 volume Nothing Personal. Now, in a world premiere production, director Patricia McGregor, working with actor Colman Domingo (Passing Strange and Lee Daniel’s The Butler), brings the Baldwin/Avedon collaboration to life in a wrenchingly original stage adaptation.

Date: Wednesday, April 23 at 5:00pm, Thursday, April 24 at 8:00pm

Tickets: $15, $40

Location: New York Live Arts Theater

CARL HANCOCK RUX: STRANGER ON EARTH

A preview of a new work, Stranger on Earth imagines a chance meeting between writer James Baldwin and singer Dinah Washington at a Harlem jazz club in 1963. Drawing from Baldwin’s essays including Notes of a Native Son, Nobody Knows My Name and The Fire Next Time -- combined with Rux’s original dialogue and performed by Rux and Marcelle Davies-Lashley -- the work addresses issues regarding race, identity, music and the future of a world both artists are struggling to understand. This showing will include a talk back with the artists. (Stranger on Earth will premiere in February 2015 at the Harlem Stage Gatehouse.)

Date: Saturday, April 26

Time: 2:00pm

Tickets: $15, $35

Location: New York Live Arts Theater

STEW ON ‘NATIVE SONG’

In a dynamic and intimate evening, Tony Award (Passing Strange) and Obie Award winning artist, Stew, will share his creative process and his lifelong journey into the world of Baldwin for his new work Notes of a Native Song. This insightful evening will engage audiences through fragments of work in progress: songs, poems, sermons and projections, using the work of James Baldwin and the locale of Harlem as filters through which to view the role of black artists in America, as well as springboards from which to leap into future questions of black art. Notes of a Native Song investigates, at times interrogates, the relationship between art and the black community, and asks what exactly a black American artist owes to this notion of community. (Notes of a Native Song will premiere in June 2015 at the Harlem Stage Gatehouse.)

Date: Friday, April 25

Time: 8:00pm

Tickets: $15, $35

Location: New York Live Arts Theater

BALDWIN THROUGH DANCE:  Charles O. Anderson and Dianne McIntyre

New York Live Arts presents the New York City Premiere of Charles O. Anderson’s Restless Natives. Infused with a stunning sound score and original texts by poet Ursula Rucker, this work has been inspired by James Baldwin’s seminal work Another Country.

One of the First Ladies of Dance, Dianne McIntyre brings her soulfully embodied presence alongside a live musical score to the stage in the world premiere of Time is Time.

Date:  Saturday, April 26 at 8:00pm; Sunday, April 27 at 2:00pm

Tickets: $15, $40

Location: New York Live Arts Theater

CHRONOLOGICAL SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 23

12:00 pm JIMMY AT HIGH NOON

2:30 pm BALDWIN’S CAPACIOUS IMAGINATION & INFLUENCE

5:00 pm WORLD PREMIERE OF PATRICIA MCGREGOR’S “NOTHING PERSONAL”

8:00 pm OPENING KEYNOTE CONVERSATION


THURSDAY, APRIL 24

12:00 pm JIMMY AT HIGH NOON

2:00 pm BALDWIN & DELANEY

5:30 pm JAMES BALDWIN THIS TIME

8:00 pm WORLD PREMIERE OF PATRICIA MCGREGOR’S  “NOTHING PERSONAL”

FRIDAY, APRIL 25

12:00 pm JIMMY AT HIGH NOON

2:00 pm AFTER GIOVANNI’S ROOM: BALDWIN and QUEER FUTURITY

5:30 pm BALDWIN’S NEW YORK

8:00 pm STEW ON ‘NATIVE SONG’

SATURDAY, APRIL 26

12:00 pm JIMMY AT HIGH NOON

2:00 pm CARL HANCOCK RUX: STRANGER ON EARTH

5:30 pm JIMMY’S BLUES: DISCUSSING THE POETRY OF JAMES BALDWIN

8:00 pm BALDWIN THROUGH DANCE:  Charles O. Anderson and Dianne McIntyre

SUNDAY, APRIL 27

12:00 pm JIMMY AT HIGH NOON

2:00 pm BALDWIN THROUGH DANCE:  Charles O. Anderson and Dianne McIntyre

6:00 pm A CONCLUDING CONVERSATION: LEBOWITZ & TÓIBÍN

 

James Baldwin was born in Harlem in 1924. The oldest of nine children, he grew up in poverty. In his early years he preached the Gospel and worked for the New Jersey railroad before moving to Greenwich Village, where he wrote book reviews. He caught the attention of novelist Richard Wright, who helped him secure a grant with which he could support himself as a writer. In 1948, at age 24, Baldwin left for Paris, where he hoped to find enough distance from American society so he could write about it.

His first novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain―an autobiographical work about growing up in Harlem―was published in 1953 and has long been considered an American classic. Baldwin’s essays explored racial tension with eloquence and addressed taboo themes, including homosexuality and interracial relationships. Both Nobody Knows My Name and Another Country became immediate bestsellers. In the early 1960s, Baldwin returned to America to take part in the civil rights movement and began work on an explosive work about black identity and the state of racial struggle, the bestseller The Fire Next Time (1963). Baldwin’s clarion call for human equality in the essays of Notes of a Native Son, Nobody Knows My Name and The Fire Next Time became essential texts in the civil rights movement. After the assassinations of his friends Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., Baldwin returned to France, where he worked on the book If Beale Street Could Talk (1974). During the last ten years of his life, he produced a number of important works of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. He also turned to teaching as a new way of connecting with the young.

New York Live Arts is an internationally recognized destination for innovative movement-based artistry offering audiences access to art and artists notable for their conceptual rigor, formal experimentation and active engagement with the social, political and cultural currents of our times. At the center of this identity is Bill T. Jones, Executive Artistic Director, a world-renowned choreographer, dancer, theater director and writer.

We commission, produce and present performances in our 20,000 square foot home, which includes a 184-seat theater and two 1,200 square foot studios that can be combined into one large studio. New York Live Arts serves as home base for the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, provides an extensive range of participatory programs for adults and young people and supports the continuing professional development of artists. Our influence extends beyond NYC through our international cultural exchange program that currently places artists in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Major support for New York Live Arts is provided by: Bloomberg Philanthropies; The Brownstone Foundation; The Robert Sterling Clark Foundation; Con Edison; The Joseph and Joan Cullman Foundation for the Arts; Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art; The Ford Foundation; The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation; Florence Gould Foundation; Japan Foundation; Jerome Foundation; Lambent Foundation; MAP Fund, a program of Creative Capital; The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Mertz Gilmore Foundation; Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation; New England Foundation for the Arts; The New York Community Trust; Robert Rauschenberg Foundation; The Rockefeller Foundation NYC Cultural Innovation Fund; The Jerome Robbins Foundation; The Scherman Foundation; The Shubert Foundation; and the Trust for Mutual Understanding. New York Live Arts is supported by public funds administered by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. 

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