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Monthly Archives: November 2016

“This Is Unreal”: Rep. John Lewis’ Acceptance Speech At 2016 National Book Awards

A visibly emotional John Lewis took to the podium at the 2016 National Book Awards to accept this year's prize for MARCH: Book Three, the last installation of the graphic novel series on the civil rights movement. Flanked by collaborators Andrew Aydin, his co-writer, and illustrator Nate Powell, Lewis shared the significance of the moment with the crowd. His brief acceptance speech, which brought tears to both Aydin and Powell, is worth a listen. Read More →

REVIEW: “Delicious Foods” Makes For A Very Satisfying Literary Meal

by Charles Ellenbogen Eddie has just escaped from the farm; Eddie also has no hands.Those are among the first two things we learn in James Hannaham's outstanding, tense and underappreciated novel, Delicious Foods (underappreciated despite winning the 2015 PEN/Faulker Award). Having established that frame, Hannaham recounts the events that led to that point using the voices of three narrators: Eddie, his mother Darlene and Scotty. I am going to avoid explaining who Scotty is.It suffices to say that Hannaham takes a risk here that in other hands might have come across as a gimmick; here, it works. Darlene, having lost her husband Nat to a brutal act of racist violence (an act for which Darlene blames herself), spirals downward and severs the relationship with her son.Darlene's obsession... Read More →

Watch Henry Louis Gates’ New Series, “Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise”

What if Martin Luther King Jr woke up and asked, "What happened since I've been gone?" The answer is the premise of "Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise" – the latest documentary series from Henry Louis Gates Jr.The two-parter premieres on PBS November 15 at 8 p.m., with Gates serving as host, executive producer and writer. There is also a companion book, "And Still I Rise," published in 2015. In the 50 years since King was assassinated, progress in Black America has been complex. African Americans have dominated sports, music and pop culture over the past few decades, but struggled since 1965 in the economic and political realms. "Black America Since MLK" explores this multi-faceted coin, examining mass incarceration, child poverty and police brutality alongside the election of... Read More →

“An Evening With Rita Dove & Friends” Captures 30 Years Of The Poet’s Greatest Verses

Each time poet and Akron native Rita Dove speaks in Northeast Ohio, she begins with an acknowledgement of home. Her trip to Cleveland this past September was particularly rich in the significance of place. "It's been like one huge family reunion," she said, smiling wide at the audience assembled at the Maltz Performing Arts Center on the Case Western Reserve University campus. More than 600 people sat entranced for "An Evening With Rita Dove and Friends," a celebration of the Anisfield-Wolf juror’s three decades of literary prominence. One of them was Harvard Sociologist Orlando Patterson, who said the following evening, “Last night I witnessed the extraordinary cultural presence of black America in our cultural life as I sat with the largest and most integrated audience I have ever... Read More →

Author David Livingstone Smith Speaks On Combating Dehumanization At CWRU

Philosopher David Livingstone Smith gave a lively preview of “Making Monsters: The Uncanny Powers of Dehumanization,” his forthcoming book, for an avid circle of listeners gathered at the Inamori Center for Ethics and Excellence in Cleveland.  The new work examines two cases of spectacle lynching – public events for which railroads put on extra excursion cars, tens of thousands assembled and crowds fought for human relics and nightmarish photos to commemorate the torture and killing of young black men.Smith, 63, is keen to know “what is going on under the hood here, in these acts pursued by sane, ordinary people...the same sort of folk you’d meet at an average PTA meeting.”The scholar, a professor at the University of New England, blends an examination of biology, philosophy... Read More →

Catch An Encore Screening Of Cleveland International Film Festival Hit, “Romeo Is Bleeding”

 The gritty documentary "Romeo is Bleeding" took home the top audience choice prize at this year's Cleveland International Film Festival. Now the festival is hosting an encore screening of the award-winning film at the Breen Center for the Arts on Cleveland's West Side.  The film follows 22-year-old poet and educator Donté Clark as he worked with youth in Richmond, California to mount an adaptation of "Romeo and Juliet" in the hopes of starting a dialogue about the gang-related violence in the community. Clark is a founding member and artistic director of the RAW Talent Creative Arts Program, which offers workshops in visual arts, theater and music production. But it's the spoken word component that provides the backbone for the documentary, as viewers watch the students tell a... Read More →
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