Short films are making progressive waves this past year, especially one project by artist and filmmaker Angela Golden Bryan.
The documentary “Fireburn the Documentary” has won several rounds of applause and awards including the Chicago Indie Film Awards. Produced by Bryan, the film is a powerful profile on the human rights violations that occurred during the bloody Labor Revolt of 1878 on the Island of St. Croix – current day US Virgin Islands.
The documentary follows Bryan’s Amazon #1 Bestseller book “Fireburn the Screenplay” published in 2018 and it will air on PBS in 2022. It makes its global debut at various film festivals this year and was just awarded Best Documentary Short at the Chicago Indie Film Awards.
“Fireburn”is the forgotten story that centers around the event known as the Fireburn, which took place post-emancipation. The documentary looks at the inhumane treatment of the freed laborers, female empowerment, colonialism and the consequences of suppressing a person’s basic human rights. Filmed on the island of St. Croix, “Fireburn”is designed as a tool for cultural preservation and education. Storytellers, historians and artists share their knowledge of the event in order for audiences to gain a holistic view of the Fireburn. The documentary helps bring the story to a global stage and new audiences. The story was immortalized on March 31, 2018 in a sculpture in Copenhagen, and made world news headlines – as the first public monument of a black woman. The monumental, award-winning public sculpture, “I am Queen Mary” of the rebel queen who led the revolt, has been immortalized into a Danish history book’s cover by Forlaget Columbus.
Next up, the documentary has been selected for screenings in four major film festivals to date, including Chicago Indie Film Awards, International & Black Diversity Film Festival, New Haven International Film Festival, and Miami Independent Film Festival. Bryan and her team have been selected for the best Short Narrative and Documentary Under 30 Minutes at the MINDIE. The festival gives filmmakers a platform to showcase their work and gain recognition.
“Fireburn” has also been selected in two categories at the New Haven International Film Festival – Best Documentary Short and Black Lives Matter, African American History & Social Justice.The New Haven International Film Festival is Connecticut Film Festival’s culminating event showcasing a cadre of handpicked films in half a dozen venues throughout the state. Chicago Indie Film Awards is an IMDb qualifying monthly and annual festival, which celebrates and recognizes Independent indie filmmakers from all over the world. It celebrates its fifth year this year.
To produce the screenplay, the award-winning author and actress Angela Golden Bryan, who grew up on the island of St. Croix, US Virgin Islands, brought together a team of acclaimed experts in the film industry. The screenplay was directed by the award-winning director and cinematographer Joel Fendelman, who has written, produced and directed many narrative and documentary films, such as “Man on Fire” (which received an IDA Award). Actor, Marjorie Tingle, a Meisner trained actress and producer of numerous independent films, and producer, Steven James Tingus, one of the nation’s leading experts, advocates, and thought leaders for disability, aging, and health, and human services policy, and programs rounds out the team.
“Having grown up on the island of St. Croix, in the US Virgin Islands, hearing stories about Queen Mary and the Fireburn, I always knew that to be a part of our island’s history. Later in life, the event took on a new meaning for me when I learned that Fireburn was also a part of my family history; my great-great-great-grandmother, Moriah, was a teenager and took care of her younger brother and sister while her parents fought in the Fireburn,” explains Bryan. “The story of the Fireburn is a tale of our humanity and is still relevant today. It is my hope that this documentary will serve as a tool to understand the people and culture of the Virgin Islands while educating those unfamiliar with our history,” notes Bryan.
Bryan’s nonprofit, The Fireburn Foundation, Inc., received a major grant to assist with producing the documentary. In a statement from the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands, from whom the grant was given, Vice President and Director of Grants and Programs, Anna Wheatley Scarbriel stated, “Our goal is to bolster local humanities entities, as well as to enrich the lives of people throughout the territory through humanities, education, lifelong learning, and public humanities programming.”
Bryan commented, “My team and I are grateful for the grant, as well as all the support from our generous donors. We could not have taken this project from an idea to the screen without their help. Now we are able to share a pivotal event in the history of the US Virgin Islands with a new generation of islanders, as well as many others beyond the Territories. We are thrilled that it is being seen all over the world and look forward to bringing it back to the Virgin Islands as an award-winning documentary.”
To learn more Fireburn, please visit www.fireburndocumentary.com.
Ossie Davis’s Purlie Victorious Is A Satire On Fire
The cast of Ossie Davis’s 961 satire Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch, is helmed by Leslie Odom Jr. as a conniving preacher with a conscience and made into comic genius by Kara Young. This revival brings humor against a prejudice South whose injustices were a crime against humanity. They say that all good comedy is bore out of pain and this show aims to fight historic injustice with laughter.
The play tells the fictional story of Reverend Purlie Victorious Judson (Leslie Odom, Jr.), a dynamic traveling preacher who has returned to his hometown in rural Georgia, to save his small hometown church Big Bethel. He left due to a brutal whipping by the land owner Ol’ Cap’n Cotchipee (Jay O. Sanders) twenty years, but has come back to save his church, and emancipate the cotton pickers who work on oppressive Ol’ Cap’n Cotchipee’s plantation. He has brought with him Lutiebelle Gussie Mae Jenkins (the adorable Kara Young), to impersonate his long-lost cousin, Bee, and trick Ol’ Cap’n into handing over a five-hundred-dollar inheritance that he owes the family.
To pull off this scheme he needs the help of his sister-in-law Missy (Heather Alicia Simms) and his brother, Gitlow (Billy Eugene Jones) who is the Cap’n’s main singing and shuffling work hand.
However thanks to another Black member of Ol’ Cap’n’s household Idella (Vanessa Bell Calloway), who raised Ol’ Cap’n’s son, Charlie (Noah Robbins), as if he were her own, does the church and Purlie get saved with a brave act of defiance.
Davis wrote and performed this play at the height of the Civil Rights Era, when Martin Luther King, Jr. words were having an impact. He even attended the show.
Kenny Leon keeps this show at a fast pace, with wit and sarcastic humor abounding. He brings his exceptional cast to peak performances. Odom, Jr. (Hamilton’s original Aaron Burr), inhabits this preacher with conviction, fighting for justice and the rights of his people. Jones (Fat Ham and On Sugarland), brings a charm to Gitlow as he embodies those who had to bow low just to survive. Simms and Calloway ground the show with warmth and maternal longing. O. Sanders plays the Cap’n looking like a Tall Colonel Sanders, but sounding like Foghorn Leghorn. He is as amusing, as frightening as it is to look at the past. Playing his son, Robbins offers the hope of seeing and righting the wrongs. But it is Young (Cost of Living, Clyde’s) who walks away with her remarkable performance. Completely and utterly in love with Purlie, Young is a whirlwind of emotions and physical comedy. She is big and broad, all in one petite compact body. When she comes to tell of the misjustice done to her by the Cap’n she has us in the palms of her hands.
Purlie in a word is victorious.
Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch, Music Box Theatre, 239 West 45th Street, until January 7th.
Barry Manilow’s and Bruce Sussman’s Harmony Meets The Press Part 3
We told you how the cast and creative’s met the press. Then we played you some of the songs from the show. Today we’ll introduce you to the cast.
First up The Harmonists; Sean Bell, Danny Kornfeld, Zal Owen, Eric Peters, Blake Roman and Steven Telsey
The vocally winning Sierra Boggess was next on our list.
Chip Zien and director/choreographer Warren Carlyle shared insights.
Finally Julie Benko, Allison Semmes and Andrew O’Shanick.
Harmony begins previews at the Barrymore Theatre on Wednesday, October 18, ahead of a Monday, November 13 official opening night.
‘Poor Things’ Thrills at New York Film Festival
The 61st annual New York Film Festival started with a day of historical rainfall in the city, but it didn’t stop film lovers from coming out to experience the beloved affair.
A fantastic Main Slate selection in this year’s festival is the much-anticipated “Poor Things.” From auteur extraordinaire Yorgos Lanthimos comes this bold new projecting, which stars Emma Stone, who is brought back to life by a mad scientist. She plays a young woman who runs off with a lawyer on an adventure across the world. Free to explore, she finds her purpose as well as a sense of equality and liberation.
Based on the novel by Alasdair Gray, comes this feminist Frankenstein tale. This is part fairy tale and part horror story that all take flight with a delightfully twisted bang as we witness a women who gain control of her own body and mind. It is a glorious and edgy feast for the eyes all while passing along a poignant message of what it mean to be an individual. Power only comes with freedom to be you as the journey of Bella has us understand.
The Searchlight Pictures release screened to a panel of press and industry where Lanthimos was joined by cinematographer Robbie Ryan, costume designer Holly Waddington, composer Jerskin Fendrix, and production designers James Price & Shona Heath, with NYFF programmer Rachel Rosen.
The audience adored “Poor Things” and the lively conversation that focused on this meaningful piece of art screened at NYFF – take a listen for yourself here.
It was simply a divine way to kick off the film festival.
The Glorious Corner
SQUARE ONE SCORES — (Via Square One) As we near its publication date of October 3, 2023, Square One is excited to share the news that Booklist has given a positive review to Secrets of Successful Women Invenbtors.The review is now online and appears also in the September 15, 2023 print issue edition of Booklist (the flagship publication for the American Library Association). See below for an excerpted review quote: “[P]roves that America can indeed be the land of invention opportunities for women . . . includes inventing how-tos and remarks from experts on intellectual property, public relations, social media, funding resources, and the like. This inspirational tome on do-it-yourself inventing would make a great pairing with other related practicums.” —Barbara Jacobs, Booklist This is our second book with acclaimed writer and longtime Inventors Digest columnist Edith G. Tolchin, whose first book with us is Secrets of Successful Inventing was in 2015. About the new book and Ms. Tolchin’s longstanding experience within the industry, Shark Tank’s Barbara Corcoran has this to say: “Edith G. Tolchin has spent her entire career working with inventors. In Secrets of Successful Women Inventors, Edith highlights some of the greatest top-notch successful women inventors and reputable service providers, all eager to share their stories and advice. In her easy-going, personable style, Edith has gleaned the ‘cream of the crop’ from each of these impressive women. It’s a gift to anyone who’s ever had a winning idea but nowhere to go and no roadmap to birth their vision.”
Secrets of Successul Women Inventors will be available in both paperback and digital/eBook formats starting October 3, 2023 wherever books are sold.
Here’s the Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0757005241?tag=squareonepubl-20
THE MORNING SHOW — The Apple TV+’s 4th episode The Green Light was a somewhat scattershot one. As a faithful viewer since Season One, this third season -with essentially a whole new crew and series of writers- has been a season of the writers trying desperately trying to familiarize themselves with their characters.
This episodes does reference some past moments, with Mitch Kessler (Steve Carell) in particular. It also develops the relationship between Jon Hamm and Jennifer Aniston – in fact, after a rather odd rendezvous at Coney Island -of all places- they take Hamm’s helicopter (essaying an Elon Musk-like Paul Marks) to Cory Ellison’s (Billy Crudup) home in East Hampton and lands on the beach in front of his house, signaling that the Marks-deal to buy UBA is back on. As Ellison says, “Alex Levy brought home the bacon.”
There was one scene that besides being totally disturbing, I could’t quite figure out why it was there at all. Stella Bak (Greta Lee) was at a restaurant with two ad men, angling for a series of ad buys and they started drinking heavily. At one point Stella asked the waitress to keep her drinks coming, but with water. Then the ad men challenged Stella to see if she was really drinking and asked the waitress to lean over the table and lick up a spilled drink … and, giving her a $20,000 tip. The waitress did and later Stella collapsed with anger in her limo. In the post #Me To era, this scene was totally disturbing and totally not needed. Kind of disgraceful if you ask me.
But, disregarding that questionable scene, the episode was good and bodes well for the rest of the season.COCKER POWER — We received an advance copy of Mark Bego’s Joe Cocker: With A Lot of Help from His Friends (Yorkshire Publishing) and really enjoyed it. It’s Bego’s 68th book – after efforts on Michael Jackson; Bonnie Raitt; Sade; Madonna; Freda Payne; Sade; Billy Joel; Elton John and many others – and stands as one of his strongest.
Cocker may not be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – but he should be. The year Cocker died, Billy Joel interviewed in a documentary about the life of Cocker, admitted he hand delivered a petition to get him included in the hall before his death. The Hall refused and he has not been inducted.
That said, I continue to hear his version of “With A Little Help From My Friends” literally every day on NY’s Q1043.Bego adds: “The idea of writing this book about Joe Cocker first came about over a year ago when I was approached by a movie producer to write a screenplay about the life and music of this legendary singer. I became so engrossed with him as a subject that I was inspired to take it a step further and write an entire book about Joe’s often self-destructive life. In many ways, Cocker was like the Vincent Van Gogh of rock & roll … a genius, but self-destructive.”
With a tremendous foreword from Melanie – his Woodstock-compatriot – it’s a great read – and is out officially November 16. As an added plus, there’s a special launch event for this book which will be revealed next week. Stay tuned as it’s pretty spectacular.And Bruce Morrow (aka Cousin Bruce) gave the book a rave review on his Saturday-night pre-show video. Bravo!
I watched Saturday’s CBS This Morning and just loved it. Anchors Michelle Miller, Dana Jacobson and Jeff Glor were just terrific. In-between was another great Anthony Mason piece of U2’s opening at Vegas’ Sphere. Mason told me later on “it was absolutely jaw dropping. And U2 wasn’t even sharing their best stuff. When that shot of the desert filled the screen, and our TV camera couldn’t capture its depth, I could have sat down and stared at it for hours” …
RIP Don Famularo and Happy BDay Barbara Pepe!NAMES IN THE NEWS ––Anthony Pomes; Rudy Schur; Bill Amendola; Desmond Child; Maria Vidal; Shep Pettibone; Gerry Galipault; Joe Loris; Butterball; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Kent and Laura Denmark; Tyrone Biljan; Anthony Pomes; Robert Funaro; Maureen Van Zandt; Greg Evans; Bruce Haring; Dan Mapp; Rich Dart; John Billings; and CHIP!
Events For October
The Statue of Liberty’s birthday, Oktoberfest, Open House New York, pumpkins, Halloween and more wait for your attention this October.
Events this month include:
- An intimate “Evening with Brian Stokes Mitchell” (October 5).
- 2023 Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz International Piano Competition (October 14 and 15)
- Actress and creator of the “Red Table Talk” series Jada Pinkett Smith (October 16).
Magic Hour at the Moxy Times Square, 485 7th Ave, has pink theme’s right now it’s “Pink Pumpkin Patch.”
Open Streets Columbus Avenue, every Sunday from 68th to 77th street from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
- October 1, 2023
- October 8, 2023
- October 15, 2023
- October 22, 2023
- October 29, 2023
Until 10/15: Hispanic Heritage Month. Look for parades, events, film festivals, and more.
Until 10/31: OctoberFest the Loreley Beer Garden, 7 Rivington Street (between Bowery and Chrystie) will be serving sausages and pretzels as well as German beer from liter steins and boots. On Sundays at 3 p.m., there’s a delicious free pig roast. There’s also a haunted beer garden starting on 10/18.
Until, 11/1: The Color Factory has 14 immersive exhibits that engage all the senses in an exploration of the art and science of color. The museum works with local artists, designers and creatives to bring the designs to life. This Soho immersive art museum will present Haunted Hues, a Halloween-themed takeover.
Until 11/4: Blood Manor, haunted house’s 20th season at 359 Broadway. This year three new rooms, and brand-new costumes by designers from Abracadabra, Manhattan’s iconic Halloween store. Immersive experience, professional actors, set designers and makeup artists, with twisted characters and jumpscares at every turn.
Until 1/7/24: Manet/Degas, this exhibition examines one of the most significant artistic dialogues in modern art history: the close and sometimes tumultuous relationship between Édouard Manet and Edgar Degas. Born only two years apart, Manet (1832–1883) and Degas (1834–1917) were friends, rivals, and, at times, antagonists who worked to define modern painting in France. Through more than 150 paintings and works on paper.
10/3: Rooftop Cinema Club Midtown, 60 West 37th Street, will present Mean Girls, Rosemary’s Baby, Paranormal, The Exorcist, The Shining, American Psycho and other cult classics as well as Hocus Pocus and Halloween.
10/4 – 11/11:”Dreams of Dracula: An Immersive Masquerade Experience” recreates the classic Dracula universe as a brand new vampire theatrical adventure. Head to Musica NYC, 637 West 50th Street. Two floors and six rooms across 25,000 square feet for a heady mix of immersive theater, dance and decadent masquerade.
10/ 5 – 6: NYC pop-up “Love Me (Bar)Tender,” with Elvis-themed cocktails, music from Memphis bands and a photobooth. It’s sold out, but sign up here to get alerts.
10/6 – 8: The New Yorker Festival. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Misty Copeland and more. Live conversations, musical performances, and more, hosted by the magazine’s acclaimed writers and editors. The Festival brings together today’s most influential voices for a one-of-a-kind event in New York City.
10/12 – 15: The Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival has 80-plus events that include more than 500 chefs from around the world. Tastings, classes, dinners, late-night parties, drag brunches and demonstrations. Across the boroughs. This year, The Cookout, will celebrate hip-hop’s 50th Anniversary.
10/17 – 31: Black Lagoon is a Halloween pop-up cocktail bar at Pretty Ricky’s (101 Rivington Street). The experience features a curated cocktail menu of eerie Halloween-themed drinks created by Ramage and Hayes, macabre dens festooned with frightfully fun decor.
10/20- 27: Open House New York Weekend Festival. Access the city’s main buildings for 3 days. All sorts of buildings can be visited, from the very historic to modern apartments or industrial buildings that are scattered all over the five boroughs. There will be tours, lectures, performances and events around the meaning of architecture and urban design. All the information about this cool event can be found here.
10/27: The Balloon Museum is officially set to take over Pier 36 at The Seaport in 80,000-square-foot space, and is scheduled to run through January 14, 2024. You can expect a 4,000-square-foot ball pit, inflatable lava lamps and the sorts of infinity rooms that you’ll itch to post about on Instagram.
10/31: The Village Halloween Parade where zombies, ghouls, witches, monsters, giant puppets and more take to the streets for a night of costumed revelry. The parade rolls out at 7pm. Sixth Ave becomes most congested with spectators between Bleeker and 14th Sts, so we suggest setting up camp at either the head (Spring to W Houston Sts) or tail (14th St to 16th St) of the parade.
10/31: The Annual Pumpkin Flotilla at Central Park. As is gets dark around 6:30 pm, carved pumpkins are released into the Harlem Meer and will be float around for 30 minutes. The spectacle draws hundreds of visitors to the northeast corner of Central Park.
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