Insight News

Oct 10th

40th anniversary of Marvin Gaye's landmark What's Going On album celebrated with super deluxe edition and events

40th anniversary  of Marvin Gaye's landmark What's Going On album celebrated with super deluxe edition and eventsOn May 21, 1971, Motown Records released an album unique to its vast, already classic catalog: a suite of protest songs, railing, albeit softly and with an undeniable groove, about the planet’s woes and the pain of war.  With What’s Going On, Marvin Gaye forever changed the sound and subject matter of popular music, influencing and inspiring every generation since.  Formerly Motown’s reigning smooth-faced, smiling, mass-appeal artist, this album was Gaye’s departure for the bearded, brooding, reflective, angry artist he would become.  His first self-production, the album was written, sung and solely produced by Gaye.

McBride, Parker connect funk, jazz idioms

McBride, Parker connect funk, jazz idiomsFunky music connotes dance, high energy, rebirth, or experimentation. It temporarily relieves internal strife, worries and fears, with rhythmic twangs of guitar strings, meteoric drum beats, reverberations of a horn, or the sound of hypnotic vocals. When you envision funky music, you might see images of James Brown doing the splits, or George Clinton dismissing all rules of the normal and taking music to another level. On Sunday, May 22, 7:00pm Piper Jaffray Jazz at Minnesota Orchestra Hall presents, Foundations of Funk, featuring Maceo Parker and A Christian McBride Situation, will give you a taste of funk ranging from its roots to present day interpretation.

Dr. Henry Gates on his Dad and his New PBS Series

Dr. Henry Gates on his Dad and his New PBS SeriesProfessor Henry Louis Gates dominated the national news for much of the summer of 2009 after being mistaken for a burglar and handcuffed for breaking into his own home. President Obama eventually intervened to defuse the tension by inviting both the professor and the arresting officer to the White House for a glass of beer by the Rose Garden.

But prior to the media circus surrounding that ‘Beer Summit’, Dr. Gates was already well known as a tenured Professor at Harvard University, as well as director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research. He is the author of Faces of America, which expands on interviews he conducted for his critically acclaimed PBS documentary series of the same name, and Tradition and the Black Atlantic: Criticism in the African Diaspora.

Hot Jazz at da Funky Butt

Hot Jazz at da Funky ButtMany never stop and question where some of their favorite past times have come from; that hour of expression that birthed a movement or a genre that feels effortless as it graces the scene today. For Jazz Music, unbeknownst to many, the journey has been one of challenge and risk. And thanks to writer Jean Calvit, we’ve been given the opportunity to see how it all began.

Interact Theater’s current production, “Hot Jazz at Da Funky Butt,” a piece written by Calvit and Dario Tangelson, and directed by Calvit, the companies artistic/executive director, explores the beginning of this musical staple with a piece sure to open your eyes, and incite your ears to engage in the perils that surrounded a once forbidden genre.

Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure

Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure“If they’re being honest, most people who have ever succeeded in any human endeavor will tell you they learned more from their failures than they ever learned from their successes… Failure is an inevitable part of the human condition… Through my scars I have been blessed to arrive at a place I never imagined... When you take the time to learn your lessons, when you use those lessons as stepping-stones to climb even higher than you were before, you transcend failure—you ‘fail up.’ In this book, I detail 20 of the most impactful lessons of my life… I’m a witness. You CAN fail up!” (Excerps from the Introduction, pgs. ix-xvii)

Artists heat up skillets and ovens in support of the Obsidian

Artists heat up skillets and ovens in support of the ObsidianCharles Bibbs from Los Angeles, California, is an accomplished Fine Artist, entrepreneur and philanthropist who has always believed that we are the keepers of our culture, and as such, has spent much of his time working towards developing a cohesive, energized African American Community. He is arguably the most commercially successful Black artist working in the country today.

Bibbs along with local artists Loretta Day, Nate Young, Ernest Arthur Bryant III, Richard Amos, Esther Osayande, Aziz Osman, Shirley Robertson, Charles Caldwell, Tobechi Tobechukwu and LaDonna Funderburke are participating artists at the Obsidian Arts presentation, Artists Who Cook 2011.

Review: Madea’s Big Happy Family

Review: Madea’s Big Happy FamilyHold onto your wigs and fat suits, folks, because Tyler Perry is back in drag as America’s sassiest granny. But don’t make the mistake of attributing the Madea franchise’s enduring appeal to the loudmouthed hussy’s bodaciousness alone, since she’s as much beloved for her timely sermonizing as for all that trademark tomfoolery.

While undeniably upping the ante in terms of sheer frivolity, this sixth installment is also grounded by a bittersweet storyline. At the point of departure, we find Madea’s niece, Shirley (Loretta Devine), being informed by her physician (Philip Anthony-Rodriguez) about a resurgence of the cancer that she’s been fighting for the past seven years.
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