On the 50th Anniversary of Dr. King’s Assassination, Wednesday, April 4, we need to stop and reflect on the many landmark movements which began 50 years ago like hip hop—
Though its articulation is grounded in African Diaspora linguistic performance body-politic, an embodied black politic which is holistic in its presentation as it is grounded in spirit, hip-hop like other African aesthetic traditions has imprinted itself on American and other youth cultures especially style and attitude. The flavor that is black culture whether it is speech or how one tips her hat is so embedded in a racialized cultural landscape that is antithetic black life in all forms—blackness is still BAD, to be avoided, yet Blackness is a commodity exported, carried in purses and found on most household shelves cold and room temperature.
If the Black Woman is God, then Black people are Gods too. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said it first in Student Enrollment No. 1. “We are the maker, the owner, cream of the Planet Earth, God of the Universe. Now in the Student Enrollment the role of God was referencing black men exclusively; however, in 2018 it’s another story altogether. It was another story when in Kemet, black women ruled as pharaohs and queens. Patriarchy is a misstep black people need to eliminate from its collective vocabulary because consciousness does not support such attitudes.
For the Oakland Museum of California to showcase such culture in an exhibit entitled: RESPECT: Hip Hop Style and Wisdom now through August 2018 is to elevate this conversation and its creators to a level unprecedented. It is not as if hip-hop needed validation; however, for some—the 1 percent, such presentation means audience shift like Loma Prieta toppled bridges, redrew lines, erased entire geographies.
With RESPECT elevated as an aim and lens through which the gaze is primed and aimed, Trumpites & Company are now interested. Media marketing has expanded its base. Perhaps attitudes will now shift in positive ways? In Martin King’s speech “Where Do We Go from Here,” he quotes theologian Theodore Parker: “‘the arch of moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice’”
Literacy is never a waste and to become literate in hip-hop, is to become literate in the Black Arts and Black Power movements interlocking discourse. It is a retelling of the same story—the “forced migration” of millions of African people renamed “redlining,” “imminent domain” and “gentrification.” These descendants of other migrants moved en masse from another continent to this land, only to become trapped in urban enclaves or nouveau dungeons a.k.a. prisons.
Like “jazz” named by others to describe a creation which shifted the earth on its axis so that folks had to hold tight when gravity released its claim on earth— the same is true for hip hop, a new name for the historic rumbling that is black urban culture. It’s the same people driving the machine, each generation passing the torch forward and back—Sankofa is an attitude, a direction and value. Its innovative Afrikan folk tradition branding —Ashay!
Though hip-hop resonates globally, especially as an expressive arts vehicle for disenfranchised communities—those people paved and storm-fenced and walled from view—it is a creation born out of bondage, black bondage in Garvey’s Jamaica taking root in Queens, New York traveling south and west where folks were diggin’ ancestral vibrations. Not monolithic, this creative expression expansive as were the four elements: rap a.k.a, MCing or rhyming, d-jaying & turntabling, graf or writing, b-boying “which encompasses hip-hop dance, style, and attitude, along with the sort of virile body language that philosopher Cornel West described as ‘postural semantics’” and a fifth element “knowledge” or wisdom according to Africa Bambaataa. who in an interview said his success as the godfather of hip hop is “all based on funk and spirituality. You treat people with greatness and greatness will come back to you” (McCormack).
From the cypher – the African Village, the ubongi where the town gathers to converse, solve disputes, develop solutions – to the turntable where Morse code signals altered the universe permanently, to the graf or writing code, before coding became a thing—black folks have always been transcendental in their assessment of reality. The style and the musical lyricism continued in the African folk tradition: blues, jazz . . . freestyling another name for Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Kwame Ture, Ella Baker, Sojourner Truth, Muhammad Ali, Dick Gregory, Marcus Garvey, President Thomas Sankara, Winnie Mandela, Queen Hatshepsut and so on.
There is so much to see and watch and listen to and experience at the OMCA’s RESPECT: Hip-Hop Style and Wisdom—all I can say is visit often. There are talks and other family friendly activities planned from Yoga to Chess to the Barbershop Talks.
There is a stand with books—“wisdom” where a mic invites dialogue. The exhibit space opens with the Dojo—recorded interviews, films, and more unchartered space where if anyone is inspired to “break” – he or she can. There is a chess game set up, plus lots of cushioned benches are spread throughout the connected galleries so patrons can comfortably watch the extended videos which are a signature aspect of curator Rene Guzman’s style. He likes open and accessible. If anyone recalls the Black Panther exhibition just last year. RESPECT continues the story. Adisa Banjoko, a.k.a The Bishop and Susan Barrett, connect the visual, material and spiritual culture cross genres, cross generations. These are the Panthers and their Panther cubs. Hip hop certainly owes much of its context and relevance to the work started by revolutionaries who waged counterinsurgencies, domestic battles which cost many their lives and freedom to date. Those legacies continue today on the 50th Anniversary of Lil Bobby Hutton’s assassination two days after Martin King’s. Don’t miss the program April 7, 1-5 p.m. at Bobby Hutton Park, (a.k.a. deFremery Park), 18th and Adeline Streets in Oakland, (916) 455-0908, ItsAboutTime/BPP Facebook. Hip-hop resonates with other dominant nations because the oppressive stench of racism and white supremacy leaks into their kitchens from beneath sinks where pipes are shot full of holes like NAFTA and other trade(r) agreements.
Some of my favorite aspects of the exhibit are reflected in the largess of the work: even the gowns are supersized—it is as if giants wore them. The films and testimony, music and art give patrons a grounding in the work. There are so many wonderful photographs by renowned artists and new artists too. The collages are great too. I just wish the photographers had been able to also have videos or a code connected to the work so patrons could dial into hear the backstories. I will have to give a more in depth review once I have read everything and watched all the films and spoken to the consulting curators: Adisa and Barrett. Stay tuned. In the meantime, I have interviewed two exhibitors: Traci Bartlow, choreographer, dance historian, entrepreneur, in this exhibit photographer who has two collages and Amanda Sade whose large poster sized portraits and other work speak to the colors and vibrancy of hip-hop style, its artists and people. Listen to a conversation with both artists on Wanda’s Picks Radio show, March 28 and Eric Arnold, journalist, historian, documentarian, activist, who created the Hip-Hop Atlas of the Bay (45 spots) on the same show. He closes it out.
As I walked around during the press opening I would eavesdrop on conversations between artists and others who had relationships with people pictured in the framed work. I love the inclusion of Nijel Binns’s marquette or statuettes of the Hon. Marcs Mosiah Garvey, Min. Malcolm X and Tupac Amaru Shakur – it is just one place among many others where hip hop forefathers are connected to this artistic child of the Revolution. (Listen to an interview with the sculptor on Wanda’s Picks Radio Show March 14).
I heard many people who know a lot more about hip hop culture than I do, speak about what is absent or left out. I don’t know how anyone saw everything in one afternoon and I was there for four hours. There are also several places where patrons can add their stories to the archives. It will take multiple journeys through the material to completely grasp the magnitude of RESPECT: Hip Hop Style and Wisdom. http://museumca.org/exhibit/respect-hip-hop-style-wisdom
Flow: Hip-Hop Yoga-Mindful Movement on 1st Fridays @ at OMCA: 4/6.5/4.6/1.7/6.8/4
Chop It Up-Barbershop Community Conversations @OMCA:4/28 (Hip-Hop & Entrepreneurship); 5/26; 6/30;7/28
Cypher Sunday-Rap, Dance, Beatboxing @OMCA: 4/1 &15; 5/6 &20; 6/3 & 17; 7/1 &15; 8/12
Hip-Hop Trivia-Test Your Knowledge@ OMCA: 4/20; 5/18; 6/15; 7/20
Mic Check/Checkmate-Chess Games@OMCA: 4/11; 5/9; 6/13; 7/11
Plug ‘n’ Play—Live DJ Sets@ OMCA: Every Friday, April 6-August 10
Queens: Women, Chess, Hip Hop, Friday, April 6, 7-8:30 p.m in the Great Hall, Level 2. The conversation and interactive chess event inside the exhibition RESPECT: Hip-Hop Style & Wisdom, features Rochelle Ballantyne and Jennifer Shahade with Adisa Banjoko, Hip-Hop Chess Federation founder and writer of Bobby, Bruce & the Bronx. A rising star, Stanford graduate Ballantyne is the Black female closest to achieving chess title of “Master.”
Also Friday, April 6: The Women’s Music Festival- A Night at the Oakland Museum (6-10 p.m.) which includes a panel on Women in Hip-hop panel at 8 p.m.
As part of the 2018 Women in Music Festival, this special ticketed event includes access to RESPECT: Hip-Hop Style & Wisdom and WIM’s first-ever panel discussion on women in Hip-Hop. Tickets are $20 (including admission) and are available for purchase through the Women in Music Festival website. Get tickets
Later in April, Kevin Powell: The Education of Us Tour, Friday, April 20, 7-8:30 p.m.
Weekend Tours of RESPECT: Hip-Hop Style and Wisdom
There are tours scheduled on Saturday and Sundays, 1-1:45 p.m. beginning April 7-8. The tour is included with the museum admission and the $4 charge for special exhibitions.
BLACK GODS MATTER Lecture, with renowned Yoruba chief priest Babalawo Araba Awodiran Agboola, of Oworinsoki Kingdom Lagos, Nigeria
Babalawo Araba Awodiran Agboola, of Oworinsoki Kingdom Lagos, Nigeria. Araba Agboola’s family have been Babalawo’s (Ifa Priests) since the beginning of time, tracing all the way back to the times of Orunmila, the chief architect of the system we know as Ifa. His father, Araba Ifasina Agbool was the Araba of Lagos, and a major force in the resilience of African traditional religions in the face of colonialism and cultural genocide.
His lecture, Saturday, April 7, 6-9 p.m., at Piedmont Avenue Elementary School, 4314 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, will cover the following topics: What is Ifa?What is an Orisa?Is it “voodoo and witchcraft”? Tools for how to begin and maintain African spiritual practices. How to build a relationship with your ancestors.There will also be time for a Q & A session.
This family friendly night will also feature an Orisa inspired concert by Sistah Iminah and friends. A $20 love offering is asked, however no one will be turned away for lack of funds. YOUTH ARE FREE.
Araba Agboola is a living encyclopedia of African oral history that has been passed on for thousands of years, the Odu Ifa. He made history as the first college gratitude Babalawo in Nigeria and has traveled the world continuously educating thousands of people in Nigeria, Brazil, Venezuela, throughout Europe and across America. This is a rare opportunity and we are honored to have him come to Oakland during his 2018 World Tour.
BAMPFA’s African Film Festival
The Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive’s African Film Festival 2018 continues this month with “Green White Green” dir. by Abba Makama (Nigeria 2016), Thursday, April 19, 7 p.m. The Festival has two May screenings, Wed., May 2, 7 p.m. “Africa and the Diaspora: Short Films, featuring the work of four directors, with director, Carlos Javier Ortiz, We All We Got and A Thousand Midnights (USA), in person that evening.
Listen to an interview on Wanda’s Picks Radio (March 2, 2018) with Senegalese director, Mamadou Dia, whose work Samedi Cinema (2016), celebrates the passion two boys have for film and what it takes to raise the funds to see a show. Other films that evening were shot in Burkina Faso and Jamaica by directors Cedric Ido’s Twaaga (2015) and dir. Lebert Bethune’s Jojolo (1966). For tickets and information visit: https://bampfa.org/program/african-film-festival-2018 BAMPFA is located at 2155 Center Street Berkeley, (510) 642-0808
America ReFramed, in its new series looks at Incarceration and Recidivism
For three consecutive Thursday evenings (8/7c p.m.) beginning April 3 with “Milwaukee 53206,” dir. Keith McQuirter’s film; “Beyond the Wall,” dir. Jenny Phillips and Bestor Cram’s on April 10 and in Annelise Wunderlich and Richard O’Connell’s film: “The Corridor,” airing April 17, the award-winning weekly documentary series, hosted by Natasha Del Toro, America ReFramed looks at mass incarceration, recidivism and trauma.
After the screenings on The World Channel, the films are then made available to audiences on the website: worldchannel.org America ReFramed is about access, engagement and action. Christopher Hastings, Executive producer, says that each series is chosen for its relevance to communities perhaps silenced by such inequities as those visited here— social justice inequities within the judicial and criminal corrections systems. “The Corridor” is about 5 Keys School housed at the county jail in San Francisco. Education is a proven pathway to freedom.
Audiences will witness how within the system of corrections, rehabilitation is not supported in a concrete way whether this is Milwaukee where the zip code 53206 is a ticket to a life behind bars or we are looking at men returning to Lowell and Lawrence, Massachusetts. We witness young men, one underage without housing, addicted to drugs—men who have fallen between the cracks in a system too inflexible to respond to immediate often urgent needs. We also see how race limits or denies men and women who have proven they have changed an opportunity to fully participate in society. 90 percent of those locked up come home, yet barriers to employment, housing, and other supportive government services keep parents estranged from their kids and estranged from full access as citizens to their democratic rights. For information about the program, visit: http://worldchannel.org/programs/america-reframed/
Boots Riley’s Coup at the San Francisco International Film Festival with his film: “Sorry to Bother You” screening in San Francisco and Oakland, April 12
Happy Birthday to Raymond Lawrence “Boots” Riley! What a way to start a new solar revolution—b. April 1, 1971, than with a first feature: “Sorry to Bother You” that is centerpiece for the San Francisco International Film Festival 2018. I hadn’t known Boots was a film major. Certainly, his lyrical poetry for the Coup and Street Sweeper Social Club, fill an aural canvas—the live soundtrack bumping the ante “higher” as it dances these concepts into unsuspecting minds whose bodies wake up in the middle of a slide into critical thought BAM!
Boots is a political activist and artist with a tested literal and philosophical work that keeps the volume on blast— His film screens twice in one day, at 6:30 p.m. at the Castro theatre in San Francisco and at 8 p.m. at the Grand Lake theatre, two art deco landmarks, classy upscale venues—a fitting setting for a film that examines place, gender and opportunity. “According to Riley, ‘Sorry to Bother You’s’ Oakland location is a key element of the film, ‘The story and my understanding of the world and everything springs out from this geographical spot’” (San Francisco Chronicle). Boots is very much a man of the people, people who stand up and make things happen. Son of a veteran of the Civil Rights Movement, Walter Riley, Esq., on the 50th Anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination, “Sorry to Bother You,” looks at how what we do to fit in—ethical compromises, can come back to haunt us.
“Sorry to Bother You” centers on an Oakland-based telemarketer named Cassius Green who discovers a magical key to professional success. It takes on such topics as racism and corporate greed — some (film) buyers felt its satire was deft, while others griped that it juggled too many ideas.
“Annapurna, which specializes in auteur-driven fare such as ‘The Master’ and ‘Detroit,’ was pretty blunt about its love for the picture.
‘We f—ing love this movie,’ the studio said in a statement.
“The film stars Lakeith Stanfield (“Get Out”), Tessa Thompson (“Creed”), Armie Hammer (“Call Me by Your Name”), David Cross (“Arrested Development”), and Terry Crews (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”). Boots, director, already had the album written with music featured in the film (Variety).
“Nearly as deranged as it is politically engaged, Boots Riley’s sui generis “Sorry to Bother You” is the kind debut feature that knocks your socks off, tickles your bare tootsies with goose feathers for a while, then goes all Kathy Bates in the final stretch, ultimately taking a sledgehammer to your kneecaps. What, there’s no category on Netflix for movies like that? Too bad: The Oakland-based rapper isn’t waiting for permission to speak his piece, pioneering a new form of wildly inventive, highly confrontational satire that dares to question the system, pitting an immensely likable black actor (Lakeith Stanfield) against the fat-cat capitalists (represented here by a coked-out, sarong-wearing Armie Hammer) responsible for inventing a new 21st-century form of slavery” (Debruge).
San Francisco International Film Festival: April 4-17 Picks con’t.
https://www.sffilm.org/2018-sffilm-festival/ or call (415) 561-5000.
The Rescue List dir. Alyssa Fedele and Zachary Fink April 6, 11, 12. April 11 there will be a panel discussion afterward facilitated by Human Rights Watch.
Lake Volta in Ghana is the largest man-made lake in the world; it is also notorious as a locale for forced child labor. Bay Area filmmakers Zachary Fink and Alyssa Fedele’s beautifully shot documentary charts the courageous efforts of a local safe house to rescue the kids, give them schooling and therapy, and prepare them for reintegration into their families. Though it contains many intimate and moving moments with the children, the star of the film is real life hero Kwame, who initiates several dramatic rescues.
Visit SIFF Festival Highlights: https://www.sffilm.org/2018-sffilm-festival/spotlights/festival-spotlights
Also don’t miss: Tre, Maison, and Dasan, three boys who all share something in common – one of their parents is in jail. Denali Tiller, dir., doesn’t just document the tale of so many children (1 in 14), she allows the children to participate as lead storytellers in a story they want to share with the world. What is powerful about these kids is how they continue to hold onto their dads and mom, despite the turmoil such love wrecks on their lives. These kids choose to visit their parents who in some cases were in prison when they were born which means the child never knew their parent as a free person. One father asks his son if there are victims on both sides of the equation. The boys wear the microphones while visiting with their fathers and mother. When one hears that prison disrupts everyone’s life “Tre, Maison and Dasan” illustrate how this is true. The film is screening April 8, 10, 13.
“Wrestle” shot in Huntsbille, Alabama: April 6, 9, 10.
The last film, “The Judge,” dir. Erika Cohn. Screening, Apr. 6, 7, 13.
Judge Kholoud Al-Faqih became the first female appointed to any of the Middle East’s Shari’a courts in 2009, challenging longstanding traditions and customs of women’s roles in society. Constantly battling controversy over her position, Al-Faqih offers guidance, mentorship, and support both in and outside the courts. In this intimate portrait, director Erika Cohn captures the determined and compassionate judge as she strives to achieve justice in a system that so often does not favor women.
On the Fly:
7 week South African film series at the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) begin April 18 with MAMA AFRICA, a documentary on Miriam Makeba. All programs begin at 6:30. https://www.moadsf.org/blog/born-free-film-looks-at-post-apartheid-south-africa-april-18-may-31/ Meklit Hadero @ SFJAZZ April 6; 16th Annual Oakland International Film Festival April 3-7 Visit http://www.oiff.org/ Film: Making a Killing: Guns, Greed, & the NRA, Sat., April 14, 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the Alameda City Council Chambers. It is a free screening, not suitable for small children. Watch the trailer on bravenewfilms.org/makingakilling; Joining Forces Against Policing and Jails in San Francisco: A Half Day Summit against the Prison Industrial Complex, Sat., April 7, 10 AM to 3 PM at City College, Mission Campus, 1125 Valencia Street. For information email@example.com 510-444-0484 nonewsfjail.wordpress.com; No to US Wars at Home and Abroad, Oakland, Sunday, April 15, Spring Action: March and Rally, 11 AM-12:30 p/m. Assemble and Rally at Lake Merritt Amphitheatre 12th and 4th Avenue on Lake Merritt Blvd.; 12:30 PM March from Oscar Grant Plaza near 14th and Broadway. For more information visit Facebook.com/endwarsspring2018 ; SF WAR Walk Against Rape April 7, 10 a.m. registration and program starts at the Women’s Building in SF, 3543 18th Street.
San Francisco Bay View Fundraiser
Solitary Man: A Visit to Pelican Bay State Prison performed by Charlie Hinton and Fred Johnson is Saturday, April 21, 3 p.m. at the Black Repertory Group Theatre, 3201 Adeline Street, Berkeley (near Ashby BART). Following the performance there will be a panel featuring torture survivors, attorneys and allies. Donation is $10-20. Visit sfbayview.com and Facebook:/solitarymantheplay
Destiny Arts’ presents: “Evolve,” April 6-15 @ Laney College Theatre
This year, EVOLVE will take thousands of audience members on a journey into The Museum of Forgotten Truths. Along with the teenage members of the Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company, their 9-12 year old counterparts in the Destiny Junior Company, and a group of 16 grandmothers, the performance also features the work from an array of guest artists, including: Suzanne Gallo of the internationally-acclaimed vertical dance company, BANDALOOP, performers from Molodi, a body percussion troupe from Las Vegas, Keith Terry, artistic director of Crosspulse and producer of the International Body Music Festival, Risa Jaroslow, artistic director of Risa Jaroslow & Dancers, and Samara Atkins and Jenay Anolin, artistic directors of Mix’d Ingrdnts. Show times: 4/6, 4/7, 4/13, 4/14: 7:30pm; 4/10: Field Trip Shows: 10am and 1:30pm; 4/14: 2pm (1st of two shows); 4/15: 5pm Visit: https://destinyarts.org/get-involved/events-calendar/
Bay Area Book Festival April 28-29
The Future is Female at the fourth annual Bay Area Book Festival (BABF) as the popular, internationally recognized two-day celebration of writers, readers and the written word in downtown Berkeley expands its longstanding commitment to the power of women in print with special thematic programing and adds a pre-Festival conversation. BABF has established a new membership group called Women Lit to support programs at the April 28-29 Festival (including a special Women Lit members’ salon at the Festival with leading women authors), present year-round public events and private salons, foster networking and community among Bay Area women, and engage the public around female authors and woman-focused issues and topics: www.baybookfest.org/women-lit-overview/ and www.baybookfest.org/women-lit-about/.The Festival takes place at multiple locations in downtown Berkeley.
SF State’s Going Global Museum opens April 26
San Francisco State has a new venue to showcase its extensive collections of cultural items — including the mummies from the University’s Sutro Egyptian Collection. The Global Museum opens its debut exhibition “Going Global: From San Francisco to the World” on April 26. The admission-free show will remain on display through May 2019.
Three beautifully painted sarcophagus lids will greet visitors in the museum’s main gallery. In an accompanying room opening in the fall, visitors will be able to view the two intact mummies.
In the works since 2014, the Global Museum is 1,922 square feet — nearly double the size of SF State’s old museum. Permanent collections include several thousand items of art and material culture from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Egypt and Oceania, spanning the ancient world to the 20th century. Highlights include the mummy Nes-Per-N-Nub, once a high priest of the Temple of Karnak. His remains occupy a triple-nesting sarcophagus, one of only three in the U.S.
Adolph Sutro, San Francisco mayor in the 1890s, purchased the mummies and displayed them at the Sutro Baths until the mid-1960s. George K. Whitney Jr. donated them to SF State in 1964.
EastSide Arts Jazz Series April 2018
The series begins Friday, April 6, 2018 – 7PM with the incomparable Avotcja as she presents ON THEIR SHOULDERS WE STAND #3: poets and musicians pay homage to the artistic brilliance of our Ancestors, a benefit concert for the Eastside Cultural Center’s Youth Arts Programs featuring some of the Bay Area’s best: THE TROUBLE MAKERS UNION, NANCY HOM, FRANCISCO HERERRA, BILL VARTNAW, BOMBALELE, DUOMUXA aka Marci & Ricardo Valdivieso, THE SALT PEOPLE w/Kaylah Marin, Kevin North, Val Serrant & Henry Mobley, MARIA MEDINA THE WORD WEAVER RUMBERA . . . and many more
The following week headliner is Marshall Trammell & Warrior Ethos, Friday, April 13, 2018, 7pm – Warrior Ethos: Nommo “a secret, exclusive screening of a fantastic new film focusing on one of our favorite musicians” and discussion session after the film. Saturday, April 14, 2018, 8pm – Warrior Ethos: Listening Sessions – Mutual Aid Project reunion performance.
Closing out the series on April 20-21, 8pm is the legendary David Murray – one of the very best jazz musicians playing, makes a rare Bay Area appearance – coming to EastSide for two nights. Get advance tickets this event will sell out! All events are held at EastSide Cultural Center, 2277 International Blvd, Oakland. For more info at www.eastsideartsalliance.org
Save the Date: May 19,2018 – 11am – 7pm – 18th annual Malcolm X JazzArts Festival – As we all gather together at this annual festival to regroup, to build, to feed our souls, and to acquire knowledge we embrace the theme for this year’s festival: A cultural reconstruction for third world self-determination.
John Santos presents: Puerto Rico Del Alma! (Puerto Rico Soul!)
The collaboration takes place over three workshops, community gatherings at La Pena Cultural Center, April 21, culminating with a concert at SFJAZZ, April 22.
Plena workshop with Taller de Plena con los Maestros:Tito Matos, Juan Gutierrez & Jerry Medina. The workshop will highlight the richness of this popular music form rooted in the rich history, politics and activism shaped by the daily lives of Puerto Rican working class people, Saturday, April 21st, 4:30 – 6:00, La Peña Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, $25. Please bring panderetas and güícharos if you can. There will be a limited # to share.
Its main instruments are the pandereta, an Islamic-derived frame drum held in one hand and played with the other, and the güícharo, a gourd scraper of indigenous Taino origin. Three visiting master musicians will conduct this workshop: Juango Gutierrez is the founder and director of the landmark, Grammy-nominated Pleneros de la 21 (NY 1983) that claims the longest history of presenting traditional Puerto Rican Music in the US among active groups. Hector “Tito” Matos is a force of nature as a virtuoso panderetero, founder and director of the powerhouse, Grammy-nominated Viento de Agua (NY/PR 1997), as well as a leader of the movement that has researched and resuscitated the plena among Puerto Rican youth in recent decades. Also participating will be legendary Puerto Rican band leader and vocalist extraordinaire, Jerry Medina, who was a founding member of the iconic group, Batacumbele in 1980.
Saturday evening, April 21, is a Puerto Rico Report / Reportaje de la isla, co-presented by Tito Matos & Defend Puerto Rico, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. also at La Peña Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley. Cost: $15 – $50. It is also a fundraiser for Tito’s reconstruction work and uplifting of Puerto Rico in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria that caused such widespread destruction in September of 2017. The other beneficiary is Defend Puerto Rico that is conducting considerable relief work on the island. Tito will give us up-to-the-minute information about the state of the island and the spirit and amazing efforts of the island’s inhabitants, friends and family to survive, resist and rebuild. The Bay Area’s own Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi and Frankie Ramos are intimately connected to this bi-coastal organization. An update on their urgent work will also be presented.
Closing out the weekend is Rhythms of Resistance with The John Santos Sextet with Special Guests, Sunday, April 22, 2:00 at SFJAZZ, 201 Franklin St, San Francisco, (866) 920-5299.
ROBERT MOSES’ KIN presents: DRAFT
Robert Moses hosts an annual project of solo performances of collaborative artists created with brief encounters with the choreographer. This year the program is April 13-14 at 8 p.m. and April 15 at 5 p.m. at Dance Mission, 3316 24th Street, San Francisco. On this same program, Moses will perform his classic solo work, Blue Guerilla (1995). I can’t remember the last time I saw Moses dance. This is a rare treat, especially after witnessing the extraordinary work in his 23rd Annual Season featuring Bootstrap Tales, a work that looked at foster care youth who age out of the system and often end up on the streets of San Francisco and elsewhere. Tickets are $25. To purchase visit Brown Paper Tickets or call: or 800-838-3006 or www.RobertMosesKin.org https://vimeo.com/groups/contemporarydance/videos/55455443
 It has been years since I taught classes on Tupac Shakur Legacy: Nature or Nurture/Choice or Destiny; Women in Hip Hop; and the History of Hip Hop. I am rusty (smile).