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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Disney's The Lion King Comes to Philadelphia

A Review by Sojourner Ahebee and Cindy Phuong

On Thursday, March 25th, 2010 we attended Disney’s The Lion King at The Academy of Music as a part of the Kimmel Center’s Broadway series. The performance the actors and singers gave was spectacular! It started off with the birth of Simba or The Circle of Life dance number. We cannot put into words how magnificent the costumes and visual effects were. The whole animal kingdom came singing down the aisles of the Academy of Music creating a rush of excitement throughout the audience. The interaction between the performers and the audience really kept everyone focused during the performance and made us all hungry for more. The costumes combined with the choreography and singing just made it so difficult to leave at the end of the show.

But, can you just put the visual effects on the side for a sec? The actors/actresses were amazing and at some points when they were speaking Zulu, they portrayed the message clearly and with enthusiasm! The character young Nala, played by Jamariana Tribble had a voice so majestic, we almost forgot she was no older than 8 or 9. I love the song she sung, I Just Can’t Wait to Be King accompanied by Zazu (Tony Freeman), Young Simba (Elijah Johnson) and the ensemble. This song talked about Simba’s wanting to become king of the Pride Lands. This had such a catchy tune that we couldn’t stop our heads from bopping from side to side. Also, we could never forget our favorite character Rafiki, played by Ntomb’ Khona Dlamini. At first we were quite confused in the beginning, because we remembered Rafiki being a male character in the movie but, this became the least of our concerns because the actress did such an awesome job!

Our favorite song she sung accompanied by Simba (Jerome Stephen Jr.) was He Lives in You. This dealt with the death of Simba’s father Mufasa (Dionne Randolph). Rafiki portrayed an uplifting message the let Simba know his father would always be with him. This song dealt with a lot of my ( Sojourner’s)own hardships since I too have lost my father. I really appreciated the message in this song. Last but not least, our favorite goof -off characters were Pumbaa and Timon. They created much of the humor that the audience digested and enjoyed. Our favorite scene is when Timon asks Pumbaa if he knew what stars were. Timon told him they were fireflies stuck in the sky and Pumbaa answered by saying “Oh I always thought they were giant balls of gas traveling thousands of miles away”. This was so hysterical and created such a positive reaction from the audience. Pumbaa and Timon also sang “Hakuna Matata” which means no worries.

All in all this was a sensational performance full of surprises at every turn! This is definitely a must see production. Disney’s The Lion King will be at The Academy of music until April 24, 2010. Here is a link to the Kimmel Center website to learn more about this production.

Friday, March 26, 2010

National Liberty Museum's 2010 Caretoon Contest

The National Liberty Museum is always seeking ways to involve young people in activities that promote thoughtfulness about peace and tolerance and the people who choose to encourage others to be caring and accepting. One of these ways in which this phenomenal museum does just this is through its Caretoon Contest.
A Caretoon is an original cartoon that reflects a positive theme.

The National Liberty Museum’s Caretoon Contest was created after a Danish newspaper published a cartoon which caused many people to respond with violence. To channel this powerful art form for a positive purpose, the Museum started sponsoring an annual Caretoon Contest and invited the public to create cartoons which expressed themes of peace and celebrations of diversity.

This year’s theme is Heroes of Character. Through the generous support of the L.W. Pierce Family Foundation, 4 prizes of $500.00 each will be awarded. This contest attracts thousands of submissions from across the country and around the world.

For complete details as well as some examples of last year’s amazing submissions click the link below.

The National Liberty Museum
321 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Phone: 215-925-2800

Thursday, March 25, 2010

How Not to Write About Africa

It’s spring break and I am so HAPPY!!! I am equally happy to discover other Africans who are stepping up and inviting people to reconsider and examine their motives for viewing Africa and Africans as always needing to be rescued. Binyavanga Wainaina is a Kenyan writer, who used satire to address this very issue. Here is a video, narrated by Djimon Hounsou, of Wainaina’s How Not To Write About Africa.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Habib Koite and Bamada Perform Tonight at the Annenberg Center

Live music was a big part of my life in Cote d’Ivoire. Birthday parties, confirmations, funerals, weddings, baptisms, naming ceremonies-you name the event-there was music. My brother and I had our own balafons and koras that Mr. Yao’s musician friends made for us. It is so hard to describe the beauty and intricacy of the music of West Africa and how when I listen to it, memories from home come alive and dance in my head.

This evening, as past of the Penn Presents series at Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, you can hear this gorgeous music and know what I cannot convey in words. Come out and hear the formidable Habib Koite, a giant star from Mali and his band Bamada.
We are so blessed to live in a city where the world comes to us.

Give a listen and look to his music. Click this link.

Here are the details about this evening’s concert at 7:00 p.m.
You are in for a special treat if come by 5:30. As a ticket holder, you can participate in a pre-show chat with Habib Koite and sample some food from Mali. See you there.

Habib Koite and Bamada
Sunday, March 14, 2010
The Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
Zellerbach Theatre
3680 Walnut StreetPhiladelphia, PA 19104-6219
Phone: 215.898.6701

Friday, March 12, 2010

Go and See the Pennsylvania Ballet’s Carmina Burana

Reviewed By Sojourner Ahebee

Last night I had my first, genuine WOW experience at the ballet. You know I have been attending ballet performances for a while now and for the most part I have enjoyed myself. But yesterday evening, and I know this sounds corny, I was transported to a level of excitement and non-stop engagement that I had never experienced before. The Pennsylvania Ballet performance of Carmina Burana was absolutely BEAUTIFUL.

Just imagine Carl Orff’s music played by the Orchestra of the Pennsylvania Ballet combined with a live choir-The Philadelphia Singers Chorale( with three amazing soloists)-combined with the choreography of Matthew Neenan combined with the awesome, very modern execution of the Pennsylvania Ballet dancers combined with costumes just as fluid and lithe as the dancers combined with a set design and lighting that created pure magic. Thursday’s evening performance, at the Academy of Music, was just that; magical.

It was great to see all the dancers performed as a true ensemble and, believe me, you will not forget one dancer in particular- Jermel Johnson. This brother is incredible. Cindy and I enjoyed his performance as the candy cane in the Nutcracker. He is definitely developing a following in my circle and getting young people excited about going to the ballet.

Also performed as part of last night’s program was George Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments, which I enjoyed but it was not the same experience as with Carmina Burana.

LISTEN TO ME. Tell your mom, dad, nanny or pop-pop to take you tomorrow to see the Pennsylvania Ballet’s Program II of which Carmina Burana is a part. It closes after tomorrow. I guarantee you will an ah ha moment, an epiphany and know that magic is still around and to be had.

Here is the link to the Pennsylvania Ballet’s website for you to learn about upcoming performances and to subscribe. After seeing this program,you will want to support our ballet company-The Pennsylvania Ballet.


*Carmina Burana - Jonathan Stiles and Laura Bowman in Carmina Burana. Photo: Paul Kolnik
*Pennsylvania Ballet Soloist Jermel Johnson in Matthew Neenan's Carmina Burana. Photo: Alexander Iziliaev.
* Pennsylvania Ballet Company Members Laura Bowman and Jonathan Stiles in Matthew Neenan's Carmina Burana. Photo: Alexander Iziliaev.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Kiss of the Spider-Lady; Louise Bourgeois

March is Women’s History Month and I’ve decided to give a holla to women who are new to me. I’m also asking you guys to share with me some examples of cool women you think my readers should know.

I recently learned about an incredible sculptor named Louise Bourgeois. She was born in 1911 in France and immigrated to the States in 1938. She works in wood, rubber, bronze stone and other materials. She’s known for many things, especially her spider sculptures which I love. I would like to see her work in person. She has some work on exhibit at the Guggenheim in New York. I can start there.

Her work really speaks for itself. Here is a link to learn more about Louise Bourgeois.
The work above is Arch of Hysteria, Eyebenches, which are real benches you can sit on, and one of her many spider creations.