Figured I'd start Mondays, from now on, with a list of things that happened over the weekend that we didn't write about here, and are worth a mention.
– The NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) awarded a tidy $100,000 sum to Steppenwolf Theatre to support the world-premiere production of a play called Head of Passes, by playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney. We've given you a heads-up on McCraney and his work more than a few times on this blog, for those who weren't already aware of him. Even though he works primarily in theater, and this is primarily a film blog, he's definitely a talent to keep an eye on, especially given how fluid movement between worlds has become these days. Like Katori Hall, he's making his mark in the theater world, which should only help his transition or entre into the film world. You might remember that he has teamed up with Barry Jenkins (Medicine For Melancholy) on a triptych feature film about Liberty City that is being produced by Borscht Corp (who were also behind Barry's short film Chorophyl). You may also remember that he's working on a new adaptation/interpretation of William Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, BUT, with what we could call a twist: it'll be set in Haiti, in the 1790s, in colonial Saint-Domingue on the eve of what would become a successful Haitian uprising against French rule, led by one Toussaint L'Ouverture. So this NEA award is only further reason to keep an eye on Mr McCraney, who we should be interviewing soon.
– Jill Scott guest-starred on Fringe, playing a character named Simone, described as "an incredibly intuitive woman, an oracle-like person," who will help Olivia (Anna Torv) in an early Season 5 episode. Any Fringe fans? Did anyone watch? How did she do? Here's a clip:
– In reaction to recent S&A-documented Afro-Swede protests of depictions of black people in new film titled Little Pink And The Motley Crew, as well as their calling on the rest of the Diaspora to denounce those racist depictions, here's a recent video-taped conversation on that exact subject. Featuring Art Curator Shantrelle P. Lewis, illustrator/designer Dubelyoo Wright, and academics Ylva Habel, Barakat B. Ghebrehawariat, and Fahamu Pecou. Note, the conversation didn't happen over the weekend, but I first came across it over the weekend.
– As I announced on the S&A Facebook page, I finally saw Django Unchained on Saturday. There's an embargo on reviews till the 12th, I believe, so look for reviews from Sergio and I later this week most likely.
– If you're not already reading the Black Women In Brazil blog, which we've linked to a few times on this site, you should subscribe. Some good, informative, enlightening content on the Afro-Brazilian experience that's likely foreign to those of us who don't live in that country. 2 pieces I read this weekend on that site that I thought were worth sharing. First: Black (negro) or African descendant (afrodescendente)? What's in a term? and second, Blond ambition: Brazilian Media's Manufacturing of the white woman as standard of beauty. Essentially, the discussions we are having here in the USA aren't so unlike those they are having in Brazil. Our experiences/struggles are familiar and connected.
– And speaking of Django Unchained, Rialto Pictures is re-releasing the original Django (minus the "Unchained" – Sergio Corbucci’s 1966 film) in select theaters starting on 12/21, just 4 days before the Quentin Tarantino's film opens nationwide. If you haven't seen it, I encourage you to do so! Especially on the big screen. No, it's not a slave revenge narrative, nor is Tarantino's film a remake of Corbucci's film, as some folks wondered over the weekend, when I mentioned this on Facebook and Twitter. They actually don't have a whole lot in common, except for the name, and Django (played by Franco Nero in the first film) is on a revenge mission as well, driven by the love of a woman. He's a drifter who drags around a coffin that hides a super-duper machine gun inside of it. By the way, as the trailers show, Franco Nero makes a cameo in Tarantino's film. And the Django theme song from Corbucci's film is also used in Tarantino's. Details on Rialto's re-release here: http://bit.ly/RjOrCL
– The LA Film Critics Association gave it's BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR award to: Dwight Henry, for his performance in Beasts of the Southern Wild. He was the only black talent to win anything.
– In an interview with EOnline, Samuel L. Jackson said that he'd love to return as Mace Windu in the next installments of the Star Wars movie franchise – even as "a 1-armed ghost," or "hologram."
– Did you watch CNN's Black In America hour-long documentary report which aired last night? I tuned in. I learned that I'm still very much black. How about you?
– Also last night, on OWN, Oprah Winfrey visited the set of ABC's hit TV drama Scandal, and sat down with star Kerry Washington, the show's creator, Shonda Rhimes, and also Judy Smith, the real-life inspiration for Kerry's character, Olivia Pope. I watched that as well. Not a bad show. Glad I tuned in. I was most interested in listening to whatever Shonda Rhimes had to say, since she so rarely ever gives interviews, and has this somewhat secretive life. I don't think the full episode is online, but you can watch a bunch of clips from it HERE.
– And finally, the poster for Michael Bay's action-comedy, Pain And Gain, starring Dwayne Johnson, Mark Wahlberg and co-starring Anthony Mackie, debuted. It's embedded below. The film will be out in 2013.
That's it! Happy Monday!