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Prince-Bythewood to Receive The Chicago International Film Festival’s Artistic Achievement Award and ...

Archive for February 28th, 2012

Study: Budget Reforms Jeopardized by Lack of Transparency, Public Input

Posted by Admin On February - 28 - 2012 7 COMMENTS

 

Government needs to include public, nonprofits and foundations to succeed

 

CHICAGO, IL – The lack of transparency and public input into the state budget could derail efforts to revamp Illinois’ budget and improve government efficiency, a new study says.  Researchers at American University in Washington D.C. compared Illinois’ new budget reforms to similar laws enacted around the country, and their research warns that new laws often fail to meet high expectations without a rigorous system of public input and transparency in place.  Donors Forum, a statewide association of nonprofits and grantmakers, says the report echoes growing concerns they hear from nonprofits across Illinois.

“Engaging the public and nonprofits and providing transparency isn’t just critical to getting the budget right, it is critical for building the legitimate public support that our governor and legislators will need to make big policy changes,” says Valerie S. Lies, President and CEO of Donors Forum.  “Many of the solutions being discussed in Illinois today aren’t new, but they’ve fallen short in Illinois and in other states in the past because policymakers failed to engage the public from the beginning.”

“Getting Budgeting for Results right is critical to making Illinois a better place for all of us,” says Consuella Brown, Donors Forum Policy Committee member and foundation executive at Woods Fund of Chicago.  “Philanthropy believes in a vision of a better world. Those values aren’t possible without healthy, strong community organizations addressing needs directly and advocating for the vulnerable.”

“We have to stop funding programs that don’t work so we can protect services that are making a difference in the lives of Illinoisans while still living within our means,” added State Senator Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge), Chair of the Budgeting for Results Commission.

The report recommends involving nonprofits and grantmakers in developing long-term strategic goals and the plans to implement them, as well as performance measures.  According to Donors Forum, the 500,000 nonprofit professionals working throughout Illinois today have tremendous expertise that the state lacks in strategic-planning, innovative programming, and measuring results.

 

 “Working together to align the goals, programs and outcomes measures of state government, nonprofits, and grantmakers ensures we don’t waste valuable resources on program administration that would be better spent serving the people of Illinois,” Lies added.  “If state agencies focus on the wrong outcomes while ignoring important ones, we will waste billions achieving meaningless measures.  We don’t want state government ‘Teaching to the Test.’”

Highlights from Other States

Researchers from American University’s Center for Public Finance Research compared Illinois to ten other states that have implemented similar budget changes.  While concluding that no one state offers a perfect model for Illinois, Donors Forum says they did find specific examples of reforms that will help Illinois enact major budget changes:

Broad Public Input: Washington Governor Chris Gregoire (R) created a 35-member Committee on Transforming Washington’s Budget to develop ideas for restructuring, costsaving, outsourcing and addressing service needs.  The committee included leaders from nonprofits, business, health care, local government, organized labor, education and environmental groups.  Governor Gregoire held public hearings around the state to identify the public’s priorities, and an online townhall meeting drew thousands of participants who submitted, debated and voted for their favorite ideas. 

Public Transparency: Maryland’s StateStat website provides a one-stop portal to relevant performance data, strategic plans and action plans for each of Governor O’Malley’s 15 priority areas as well as detailed reports of agency outcomes, outputs, caseloads, overtime costs and other relevant management data.  The reports are accompanied by the minutes of biweekly meetings with the Governor’s Delivery Unit that highlight emerging problems and plans of action.

Nonprofit Engagement:  Iowa relies on the input of nonprofit organizations to develop performance measures.  Those measures help agencies prioritize, make their operations more efficient, and guide resource decisions to expand or contract programs.  Although Iowa began using performance measures more than a decade ago, they are still struggling to develop valid and reliable measures of education and human services.

Recommendations for Illinois

 

Donors Forum developed a Report Card for state government based on the research.  Lies, Donors Forum’s President and CEO, said that while they recognize that Illinois is just beginning multi-year implementation of the reforms – and is ahead of other states in some ways – Illinoisans should set high standards for the budget process  if we want a high-quality budget.

“We applaud the leadership of Senator Dan Kotowski in enacting ‘Budgeting for Results’ and his leadership of the Budgeting for Results Commission, as well as Governor Quinn’s commitment to pursuing the common good transparently and with public input.  We know that there is a long road ahead that will require a renewed spirit of cooperation and trust between all leaders in government, business, philanthropy and the nonprofit sector,” Lies said. 

Donors Forum hopes to meet with Governor Quinn soon to discuss their recommendations, and they are meeting with other leaders from the nonprofit sector, lawmakers, business leaders, and civic groups to build support for improving public input and transparency in the coming weeks.

“We all have a shared interest and responsibility to ensure that our state is pursuing the common good efficiently and sustainably,” Lies said.  “Working together, we can not only overcome the state’s current challenges, but set a new and lasting course for prosperity for all Illinoisans and generations to come.”

The full report may be viewed online at http://bit.ly/DFStateBud.

About Donors Forum in Illinois:

Donors Forum (http://www.donorsforum.org) is a membership association through which Illinois grantmakers, nonprofits, and their advisors enjoy a range of resources for making their work even more effective. These include educational programs, networking events, public policy leadership, research, library services, publications, and more. Through Donors Forum, grantmakers, nonprofits, and philanthropy advisors connect, learn, and act together to strengthen their work and the people they serve.

About American University’s Center for Public Finance Research

Created in 2008, the Center for Public Finance Research (CPFR) offers research and education in public budgeting and finance, public financial management, public economics, and benefit-cost analysis at the local, regional, national, and international levels. To accomplish its work CPFR engages faculty from the School of Public Affairs and across American University, as well as scholars from the Washington, DC, policy community.

 

Budgeting for Results

Illinois State Government Report Card

Long-Term Institutional Commitment to Change

B

Illinois is only state to enact legislation. The Budgeting forResults Commission is a good start, but must be made permanent. The Governor should consider a cabinet levelChief Performance Officer overseeing an independent unitto assist agencies in strategic planning, and agency-levelperformance officers.

Public Input

C

The Commission needs deeper and more meaningful public input, and it should expand its membership to include more expertise from academia, nonprofits and foundations as well as geographically.

Transparency

D

Update Open Meetings Act and FOIA to ensure they reflecta commitment to a transparent and independently verifiedExecutive budget process.

Setting Strategic Goals

D

State started the process without a plan. As they move forwardstate agencies should involve third-party experts in developingmore specific objectives to avoid tendency to retrofit goals; alllevels of strategic planning should be transparent to the mediaand public.

Developing Agency Operating Plans

C-

The state should include non-governmental experts from academia, foundations and nonprofits in agency planning to: promote efficiency and innovation; validate operating plans over the objections of entrenched interests; provide transparency.

Create Valid and Meaningful Performance Measures

INCOMPLETE

Follow the Commission’s recommendation to include nonprofit expertise in developing measures to prevent agency low-balling and ensure transparency; Drop plans for relying on ROI/CBA, which is unsuitable for most “public goods.”

Align Resource Allocations with Goals

INCOMPLETE

Commission should follow through on reviewing mandated expenditures; cuts in state spending should be strategic – focused on the lowest priorities and greatest inefficiencies – not focused on the biggest programs “because that’s where the money is” or cutting across-the-board.

Independent Collection and Verification of Outcomes

INCOMPLETE

Program performance measures should be collected and reported by an independent third party, such as a foundation, not the agencies themselves; self-reporting agencies must be audited routinely by the Inspector General for performance.

Measures Impact Operations, Inform Allocations, Objectives and Goals

INCOMPLETE

Follow Maryland’s two-track approach: report both the detailed,meaningful information that program managers rely on to improve operations throughout the year as well periodic reporting of broader outcomes, all in a centralized website that is transparent to the public, media and third parties.
For more information, contact laurelosullivan@donorsforum.org                             Last updated 2/21/2012www.donorsforum.org/policy                                                                           Prepared by Donors Forum

Raleigh police attempts to pull in church…with liberty and justice for all?

Posted by Admin On February - 28 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

By Dr. Inetta Cooper

Raleigh, NC (BlackNews.com) — On Saturday, January 14, 2012, I rented the Glorious Church, located at 725 Glascock Street in Raleigh, North Carolina, where Bishop William Spain is the pastor, to have our annual national New Year’s celebration, which fell on Martin Luther King weekend.

We were unaware that police officers sat outside during the service. There were about 100 young adults in the midst of worship. Minister Cory Wiley, 34 years old, an up and coming minister, brought the word. Then the youth, in their way, went into musical praise. It was an awesome display of worship by our young people, in their 20s and 30s, the age which we lose them.

At approximately 10:15 pm, two caucasian police officers entered the sanctuary, unsolicited. The first officer unsnapped his gun holster and pepper spray, placing his hands on his gun, ready to draw, and stopped the music, shut down the service, and ordered everyone to leave the premises.

The officer was yelling and screaming, stating enough was enough and we had to leave. We were petrified, and immediately began to pray. They actually stayed until everyone left and made sure the church was locked. No one was fighting. No one was arguing. We were just singing! They said the neighbors were disturbed by the ‘noise’ and unknown to us, there has been a campaign to run this church out of the neighborhood by constantly calling the police complaining about noise. The neighbors call, during Sunday services, and choir rehearsals. The church can’t have revivals, youth programs, musicals, and has even been interrupted by police during a funeral!

Does this mean that the constitution applies to some, but not all? I have been accused of playing the race card; well, I play the card that I’m dealt. Raleigh’s finest would never have entered the First Baptist Church of Raleigh during their youth service with guns ready to be drawn, stop the service, disrespect the congregants, and order everyone out! NEVER!!! I said it and I stand by it. NEVER!!! This officer’s ostentatious display of disrespect for the House of God, disrespect for the people of God, and disrespect for the United States Constitution, is impudent to say the least.

The police officer clearly infringed upon our Constitutional right. We have four National events per year and this was the first of 2012. This incident was totally out of line, and to add insult to injury, admitted by a high ranking officer, in a January 23rd meeting, THERE IS NO POLICE REPORT! Only a police dispatch form documenting that the neighbor called the station, and that a car was dispatched to the address. Therefore, IF it IS, WAS, or WILL BE a city “noise” ordinance, what signifies noise? Dogs barking, children playing, sirens, or a church choir? The First Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding (prohibiting) the free exercise of religion, This is the United States, where we have freedom and liberties, so why did this officer enter the church ready to pull his gun and why did he order us to stop service and leave the premises, and why is there NO POLICE REPORT? Total injustice. This is unbelievable that in 2012, with a Black President, you would think we’ve overcome! Martin Luther King said: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” The pledge of allegiance to the flag says: “with liberty and justice FOR ALL”. Does this not apply to the little black church?

The world witnessed the importance of music in the black church during the recent funeral service of Whitney Houston. Many strengths and talents have been birthed by the Black church. We can’t let it be a thing of the past. The NPower International Ministry, Glorious Church and New Hope Church of Raleigh has formed an organization called, National Association for Religious Justice (www.NAFRJ.org). This association is interested in setting standards that will not tolerate such behavior against the Body of Christ according to the 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution. As long as praise & worship, is taking place in an established church building (not the home, hotel etc) law enforcement can not come into the church and ask anyone to leave unless it is a riot, fire, or threat to public safety. The National Association for Religious Justice, will fight for the rights and freedom to worship in the United States. No longer, can we (the Body of Christ), sit passively by, while the bureaucrats chip away at our right to worship. There is so much talent in the church yet to be discovered, but if we let them shut us down, that talent may never be shared with the world, ultimately bringing souls to Christ. Music is the way in which the Black church celebrates’ Jesus. Take away our music, and you impede our right to freedom of Religion.

The National Association for Religious Justice consists of the church helping the church, by fighting for the right to worship, without hindrances. The organization will pursue every legal option available, to ensure music and the Gospel is once again, free to be heard by all. The Black church is a beacon in our neighborhood and The Black church is responsible for many gifts being birthed, because of the music; Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, BeBe and CeCe, Fantasia, Ruben Studdard, and list goes on. The neighbors will not allow the Glorious Church to have choir rehearsals, revivals, or any kind of evening services, and during morning services the police are called. The police has even interrupted a funeral, because the neighbors said they were too loud!!! Additionally, The New Hope Church of Raleigh NC have had their services interrupted by police, and they constantly drive by on Sunday morning. The Faith Builders Church in Burlington has been taken to City Council because residents say they heard loud noises – shouting, music and “thumping – during the week and- Sometimes it’s during the mornings – like on Sundays -…

A Pastor in Ghana was arrested because he held church services with music; This would never happen in America you say? Don’t be so sure, unless we make our voice heard now!

To raise funds, I’ve developed an Ebook entitled: “Liberty and Justice for All?” It’s a full report of churches that are being cited for noise in the United States, which you can receive for any donation via our website, www.NARJ.org

Dr. Inetta J. Cooper is the founder of NPower Ministry and the co-founder of the National Association For Religious Justice (NARJ).

Former Gov. Edgar’s Demurral on Supermax closure contradicts his own recommendations

Posted by Admin On February - 28 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

(From Tamms Year Ten Organizing)

 

Ex. Gov’s Task Force Issued Warnings Even Before the Prison Opened: Danger of Long-term Isolation Was Known from the Start

 

CHICAGO, IL – The announcement last week by Governor Quinn that he will close Tamms supermax prison prompted one of his predecessors, Republican Governor Jim Edgar, to join the fray. He cautioned that the shutdown will have to be done carefully: “I would be very nervous about taking the troublemakers and putting them back into the general prison population.” Supporters of closure point out that these men will be not be in the general population, but sent to Pontiac, a maximum-security prison where all men are held in segregation and where death row prisoners were housed.

They also say that the former governor’s remarks contradict the intent of his own Task Force on Crime and Corrections that first conceived the prison in 1993. “Governor Edgar and his Task Force did their best to insure that the supermax would not torture prisoners with long-term solitary confinement,” said Jean Maclean Snyder, an attorney with the Tamms Year Ten campaign. “Unfortunately, it quickly became the very human rights catastrophe they warned against.” The statewide coalition has sought to reform the prison since its ten-year anniversary in 2008.

The Task Force Report, authored by Anton Valukas, established several guiding provisions that were never followed: that the supermax be used only for short-term punishment; that men must be moved quickly out, as well as in; that clear criteria for transfer be specified by statute; and that the supermax should not become a warehouse for human cold-storage. “The report called for humanitarian safeguards and none were put into place. It also warned that if Tamms became a facility for long-term isolation, it would be a violation of its mission,” said Stephen F. Eisenman, a professor at Northwestern University and spokesperson for Tamms Year Ten.

The Valukas Report clearly represented the risk to prisoners of long-term solitary confinement: “Reputable human rights organizations also have expressed legitimate and serious concerns about practices in existing super-maximum security facilities. The Task Force recommends that our Super-Max facility be required by statute to conform to certain requirements concerning constitutional and humanitarian safeguards. Since these highly restrictive environments, if misused, can create conditions tantamount to long-term isolation, the Department of Corrections will have to establish clearly defined rules and regulations to govern the admission and release of inmates from the Super-Max facility and to monitor its operation and administration closely.”

In his 2010 ruling on a landmark class action suit brought by the Uptown People’s Law Center, Judge G. Patrick Murphy determined that the prison in fact had no such objective rules or practices and that the due process rights of all men sent to Tamms had been violated. He ordered that prisoners be given a hearing before being sent to Tamms, and be allowed to present evidence contesting transfer orders.

The judge also cast scorn on the length of stays at Tamms, writing that incarceration there constitutes “virtual sensory deprivation.” He wrote, “Tamms imposes drastic limitations on human contact, so much so as to inflict lasting psychological and emotional harm on inmates confined there for long periods.”

The Task Force Report of 1993 also argued that the supermax be used “without exception” only to house those who “inflicted or caused others to inflict physical harm against staff or other inmates.” Instead, many prisoners have been isolated for years, even a decade or more, on a theory of preventative detention—that they may at some time in the future cause trouble. A 2009 report by the Belleville News Democrat found that at least one-half of the men at Tamms had not committed a crime in another facility and were thus being held in preventative detention. This included supposed gang leaders, jailhouse lawyers, and people with untreated, often severe, mental illnesses. (The incarceration of people with mental illness was the subject of another lawsuit, leading to the establishment of an expensive Special Treatment Unit for about 10 prisoners with psychotic or other profound mental illnesses.)

Tamms supermax is easily the most expensive adult prison per capita in Illinois. At a yearly cost of approximately $34 million, including payments to the medical provider Wexford, and a per capita cost of about $90,000 (as determined in the 2009 exposé by the Belleville News Democrat), it is 3 or 4 times the cost of a maximum security prison. With a prisoner to guard ratio of 1.4 to 1, (compared to 4.7 to 1 at the maximum security prison Menard), and a mental health worker to prisoner ratio of 1 to 35 (compared to 1 to 1,765 at Menard), the prison is a true budget buster.

Men at Tamms are held in solitary confinement 24 hours per day for years at a stretch, and sometimes a decade or more. They receive at most an hour a day of isolated exercise in a small, concrete pen. Cell doors are made of solid steel, perforated with small holes, making communication difficult if not impossible. The cells are designed so that each faces a bare concrete wall, and all meals are pushed through a hole in the door.

Asked to respond to Governor Edgar’s comments, Laurie Jo Reynolds, lead organizer of Tamms Year Ten stated, “I find it hard to fathom a Republican former governor criticizing a Democratic governor for cutting waste and abuse from the state budget. Tamms has been a fiscal and human rights disaster from day one, and if Edgar would re-read the warnings of his own Task Force report, he’d know why.”

Dr. Maya Angelou talks parenting, motherhood and education in an enlightening new interview with BECCASTONE.COM

Posted by Admin On February - 28 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

 

 

Washington, DC (BlackNews.com) — In recognition of Black History Month, BeccaStone.com had the great privilege of speaking with Dr. Maya Angelou, one of the literary giants and artistic treasures of our time. Dr. Angelou shared her thoughts on parenting, motherhood, education and lessons she learned as a child. Check out these must-read excerpts from BeccaStone.com founder Stephanie Phillipps’ chat with Dr. Angelou and then head over to www.beccastone.com for the full interview!

On learning the difference between being lovable vs. likable:

“My mother explained how lovable I was, maybe not so likable, but lovable. Sometimes my temper had to be controlled when I was young, but she told me I could control anything about myself and remain lovable.”

On becoming a teen mom at age 16:

“When my mother found out I was pregnant, she asked if I knew who the father was. I said that I slept with him one time. She asked me, ‘Do you love him.’ I said ‘No.’ She asked, ‘Does he love you?,’ and I said ‘No.’ In that case, she said, I will not ruin 3 lives. She did not put me down at any time and she loved my son. My mother liberated me to life by helping me to realize that I could raise my son.”

On the importance of educating children:

“My grandmother gave me one order that was two pronged: When you get, give. When you learn, teach. I’m every child’s teacher. I’ll stop at any time with anybody. Give the child enough education — education is imperative. And let them know that you’re always there, but don’t hold them in the house. Let them go. Encourage them to be self-reliant. Give them self-respect.

Beccastone is an interactive community and social network devoted to empowering mothers of Black children. Beccastone.com is a production of Genkast LLC, based in Washington, D.C. The Beccastone mark is the property of Genkast LLC. For additional information, please contact smp@beccastone.com or visit www.beccastone.com.

Photo Caption: Maya Angelou 

 

Weller Street Missionary Baptist Church celebrates the Ordination and Ministry of Rev. Omarosa O. Manigault

Posted by Admin On February - 28 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Los Angeles, CA - Weller Street Missionary Baptist Church celebrates the ordination of Omarosa O. Manigault.

 

The Rev. Manigault was ordained February 18, 2012 at the historical Weller Street Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles, CA. Rev. Dr. H.B. Hicks, pastor of Metropolitan Baptist Church, Washington, DC, preached the ordination sermon. Rev. K.W. Tulloss offered the charge to Omarosa.

 

Omarosa went before the Ordination Committee, comprised of prestigious ministers from around the country, led by the renowned Dr. H. Beecher Hicks, Jr.

 

Omarosa demonstrated that she was both theologically prepared and scripturally rooted.  The committee unanimously voted for her to be approved for ordination.  Rev. Manigault now has the authorization to serve and perform all standard Christian ceremonies including marriages, baptisms and funerals.

 

“This is the day that the Lord has made, I truly rejoice and am glad it is!  This was one of the most profound days of my life and my ministry.  How amazing I feel to serve God, I made a very personal decision to dedicate my life to the service of the kingdom of God. I intend to continue my seminary studies and to fully discover what God’s plan is for my life and ministry.” says Rev. Omarosa Manigault.

 

Omarosa grew up in the church in her hometown of Youngstown, Ohio and dedicates her life to her church and her community in the Los Angeles area.  Omarosa is currently enrolled in the doctorate of Ministry program at Payne Theological Seminary in Ohio.  She received her undergraduate degree from Central State University, Ohio and a Masters Degree from Howard University, DC.

 

Rev. Omarosa Manigault currently serves as Assistant Pastor at Weller Street Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles, CA. 

Four World and two Chicago premieres highlight Goodman Theatre’s 2012/2013 Season

Posted by Admin On February - 28 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

New season opens with David Cromer’s Goodman Directorial Debut, includes Jon Robin Baitz’s Broadway hit, Lynn Nottage’s latest work, The 35th Anniversary Production of a Christmas Carol and culminates with Mary Zimmerman’s World-Premiere Musical Adaptation of Disney’s The Jungle Book

 

Chicago, IL – Artistic Director Robert Falls announced Goodman Theatre’s 2012/2013 subscription season today, featuring four world- and two Chicago-premiere productions. The new season begins in September with Chicago native David Cromer’s revival of Sweet Bird of Youth by Tennessee Williams. Next up in the Albert Theatre are two consecutive Chicago premieres: Jon Robin Baitz’s Other Desert Cities directed by Henry Wishcamper, and By the Way, Meet Vera Stark by Pulitzer Prizewinner Lynn Nottage, directed by Chuck Smith. The season culminates with the world-premiere production of The Jungle Book, a new musical based on the Disney animated film and the stories by Rudyard Kipling, adapted and directed by Tony Award-winner Mary Zimmerman. Three Goodman-commissioned plays take the stage in the Owen Theatre: Black n Blue Boys/Broken Men, written and performed by Dael Orlandersmith, directed by Chay Yew; Christopher Shinn’s Teddy Ferrara, directed by Evan Cabnet; and The Happiest Song Plays Last by Quiara Alegría Hudes. The 2012/2013 Season also includes the 35th annual production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, directed by Steve Scott. NOTE: one play in the Albert Theatre (in spring 2013) is to be announced. Call now to subscribe to the Goodman’s 2012/2013 Season: 312.443.3800; online subscription sales (GoodmanTheatre.org) start March 6. Individual tickets go on sale beginning in August.

“I am proud to announce this season of extraordinary cultural and aesthetic diversity, ranging from a solo tour de force performance to a large-scale world-premiere musical work. And I am particularly thrilled that three Goodman-commissioned works are on tap,” said Artistic Director Robert Falls.

“Sweet Bird of Youth, one of Tennessee Williams’ most poetic, funny and tragic works, finds a perfect match in David Cromer—whose recent unforgettable rendering of A Streetcar Named Desire at Writers’ Theatre demonstrated his remarkable affinity for Williams. I worked with David as an actor in my 2002 production of Long Day’s Journey Into Night, and now am excited to feature his work as a director here for the first time.

“While I was directing his Three Hotels at Williamstown Theatre Festival this past summer, playwright Jon Robin Baitz and I began discussions about producing his searing Other Desert Cities at the Goodman. This scintillating play about a family pushed to the brink is the perfect fit with our season. To direct, we warmly welcome back Henry Wishcamper for the Chicago premiere of Jon’s terrific drama, dubbed ‘the best new play on Broadway’ (The New York Times).

“I am delighted to welcome back Lynn Nottage to the Goodman for the first time since her Pulitzer Prize-winning Ruined. In her sly new satire, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, Lynn pulls back the curtain on old Hollywood. Chuck Smith, whose grace and dexterity with Lynn’s work was clear in his 2006 hit production of Crumbs from the Table of Joy, directs.

“The Albert Theatre season culminates with a world-premiere musical adaptation of The Jungle Book from the incomparable Mary Zimmerman. Drawing from Rudyard Kipling’s riotously entertaining and highly sophisticated fables and the beloved 1967 Disney animated film, Mary uses her signature style of collaboration with her company of actors and creative team to create a piece that is certain to enchant audiences of all ages.

“Three remarkable new plays take the stage in the Owen Theatre this season,” continued Falls. “Black n Blue Boys/Broken Men, the latest work from the fiercely talented Dael Orlandersmith, starts in September. Next, Pulitzer Prize-finalist Christopher Shinn brings his gripping new drama Teddy Ferrara; finally, The Happiest Song Plays Last by Quiara Hudes—a Tony Award nominee for penning the book for the musical In the Heights—concludes the season in the Owen.”

About the Plays and Artists in Goodman Theatre’s 2012/2013 Season All titles, artists and dates are subject to change. In the Albert Theatre – one play still to be announced.

Sweet Bird of Youth

By Tennessee Williams

Directed by David Cromer

September 15 – October 21, 2012

Into the tiny resort hamlet of St. Cloud, Mississippi, drifts an improbable couple: the Princess Kosmonopolis (née Alexandra Del Lago), a Hollywood legend fleeing the disastrous premiere of her latest epic, and Chance Wayne, a young actor-turnedgigolo who has brought his new benefactress to his hometown in hopes of reclaiming his former glory—and an ex-girlfriend whose powerful father forced him to leave town years earlier. But when a youthful mistake surfaces that threatens Chance’s plans, he and Alexandra must confront their crumbling dreams. Laced with humor and Williams’ “characteristically gorgeous lyricism” (The New York Times), Sweet Bird of Youth is a sensual, haunting theatrical journey.

Other Desert Cities

By Jon Robin Baitz

Directed by Henry Wishcamper

A Chicago Premiere | January 12 – February 17, 2013

When Brooke Wyeth arrives at her parents’ Palm Springs mansion on Christmas Eve with the manuscript to her tell-all memoir in tow, she unearths a devastating family secret and throws her parents into a panic that threatens to rip the clan apart. With biting wit and razor-sharp insight, Other Desert Cities “has the appeal of a Broadway hit from another age” (The New York Times).

By the Way, Meet Vera Stark

By Lynn Nottage

Directed by Chuck Smith

A Chicago Premiere | April 27 – June 2, 2013

This “sharp-toothed comedy” (The Wall Street Journal) offers a glimpse into the life of Vera Stark, a headstrong African American actress who begins a career in the 1930s when her only shot at success lies in stealing small scenes in big Hollywood blockbusters. Seventy years later, film buffs are left to reflect on the life and legacy of this controversial star, whose eventual fame and fortune came at the price of perpetuating dangerous stereotypes. Hilarious and poignant, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark paints a vivid picture of the cultural climate that shaped this mysterious screen queen—and wonders whom, in another time, she might have been.

The Jungle Book

A New Musical Based on the Disney Animated Film and Stories by Rudyard Kipling

Adapted and Directed by Mary Zimmerman

A World Premiere | June 21 – July 28, 2013

The jungle springs to life in a kaleidoscopic song-and-dance-filled musical that chronicles young Mowgli’s adventures growing up in the animal kingdom. Based on Rudyard Kipling’s time-honored children’s tales and the classic Disney film, this world premiere promises to be an event not to be missed. “We entrust this beloved title to Mary Zimmerman, a great American theater artist, and Goodman Theatre, one of the country’s cultural treasures, knowing that it’s found the best possible home,” said Thomas Schumacher, Producer and President, Disney Theatrical Productions. “We cannot wait to see what The Jungle Book becomes in their extraordinary hands.”

JPMorgan Chase is a Premier Sponsor of The Jungle Book, and ComEd is the Official Lighting Sponsor.

IN THE OWEN THEATRE

Black n Blue Boys/Broken Men

Written and Performed by Dael Orlandersmith

Directed by Chay Yew

A World-Premiere Co-Production with Berkeley Repertory Theatre

September 29 – October 28, 2012

In an arresting one-woman show, Pulitzer Prize finalist Dael Orlandersmith transforms into five unforgettable male characters whose outward dissimilarities belie their inescapable link: a traumatic past plagued by a cycle of violence and abuse. From Coney Island to Manchester, England, and back, Orlandersmith brings to life a series of harrowing stories that weave together each characters’ friends, family, lovers and counselors into an explosive narrative that uncovers the darkest corners of humanity—and shatters notions about predators and their victims.

Teddy Ferrara

By Christopher Shinn

Directed by Evan Cabnet

A World Premiere | February 2 – March 3, 2013

It’s Gabe’s senior year of college and his future looks bright: he runs the Queer Students Group, he finally has a single room and he recently started dating a great guy. But when a university tragedy occurs that makes national headlines it ignites a campus firestorm and throws Gabe’s world into disorder. When new evidence surfaces, Gabe discovers that the events surrounding the tragedy aren’t as straight-forward as they seem, and he is forced to question popular assumptions—and his own life’s contradictions.

The Happiest Song Plays Last

By Quiara Alegría Hudes

A World Premiere | April 13 – May 12, 2013

At the dawn of the Arab Spring in an ancient Jordanian town, an Iraqi War veteran struggles to overcome the traumas of combat by taking on an entirely new and unexpected career: an action film hero. At the same time, half way around the world in a cozy North Philadelphia kitchen, his cousin is taking on a heroic new role of her own as the heart and soul of her crumbling community, providing hot meals and a place to sleep for the needy. Set to the joyful sounds of traditional Puerto Rican folk music, this poignant new play from Tony Award nominee Quiara Alegría Hudes (In the Heights) chronicles a year in the life of these two kindred souls as they search for love, meaning and a sense of hope in a quickly changing world. Hudes is the proud recipient of a 2009 Joyce Award for Theater to develop a new play drawing on the cultural heritage of traditional Jíbaro music. The Joyce Awards support the dreams of diverse artists and communities to work together to create new work and engage new audiences. The Happiest Song Plays Last was developed at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s 2011 National Playwrights Conference.

Goodman Theatre, “the leading regional theater in the nation’s most important theater city” (Time), is a major cultural, educational and economic pillar in Chicago, generating nearly $300 million in economic impact over the past decade in its state-of-the-art two-theater complex on North Dearborn Street. Founded in 1925 and currently under the leadership of Artistic Director Robert Falls, “Chicago’s most essential director” (Chicago Tribune), and Executive Director Roche Schulfer, Chicago’s oldest and largest not-for-profit resident theater has welcomed nearly two million patrons to productions and events—including 10 festivals celebrating playwrights such as David Mamet, August Wilson and Horton Foote, as well as the biennial Latino Theatre Festival—and served legions of students through its Education and Community Engagement programs (including the FREE Student Subscription Series and other interactive programs). The Goodman has earned more than 90 awards for hundreds of productions, including the Pulitzer Prize for Ruined by Lynn Nottage—one of 25 new work Goodman commissions in the last decade. Ruth Ann M. Gillis is the Chairman of Goodman Theatre’s Board of Trustees and Joan Clifford is President of the Women’s Board. American Airlines is the Exclusive Airline of Goodman Theatre. BMO Harris Bank is the Major Production Sponsor of A Christmas Carol, and Aon Corporation is the Corporate Sponsor Partner. Visit the Goodman virtually: watch artist interviews, view production photos, catch the latest news and more at GoodmanTheatre.org. Like us on Facebook.com/GoodmanTheatre; follow us at Twitter.com/GoodmanTheatre; and peek behind the scenes at YouTube.com/TheGoodmanTheatre.

18th Annual Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards to be held today

Posted by Admin On February - 28 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Prestigious Awards Honor Community Development and Architectural Achievements in Chicago’s Neighborhoods

 

CHICAGO, IL – As Chicago grows in stature on the national and international stage, it is challenged to build a new kind of future that expands opportunity and maximizes the impact of investments in technology, architecture, art, education and community. To celebrate the innovators and the doers that are taking Chicago forward, Local Initiatives Support Corporation Chicago (LISC Chicago) will recognize the best community development projects at the 18th annual Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards (CNDA) on February 28.

The event will be held February 28 at Chicago Hilton & Towers, International Ballroom, 720 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.

Special guests are Mayor Rahm Emanuel; event chair Wim Elfrink, Cisco Systems; Richard H. Driehaus; and 1,400 community development leaders and elected officials.

The agenda is as follows:

3:00 p.m. – Forum: “Five Big Ideas for the 21st Century City.” Presenters will showcase their five best ideas for taking Chicago into the next century

4:30 – Awards Ceremony

6:00 – Reception

Wim Elfrink, executive vice president and chief globalization officer of Cisco Systems, will chair the event, which honors both organizations and individuals for their contributions to community development and architecture in Chicago. The theme of this year’s event—“Building the 21st Century City”— underscores the necessity of investing in Chicago’s future to make it a globally competitive and culturally vibrant city.  

Managed by LISC Chicago, CNDA is Chicago’s oldest and largest community development awards ceremony. The event will also feature the presentation of the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Awards for Architectural Excellence in Community Design— marking the 15th year of the awards. More than 1,500 community development leaders and elected officials are expected to attend the ceremony, held at Chicago Hilton & Towers. 

The day’s events will begin with a forum in which four of Chicago’s “thought leaders” will present their ideas for making Chicago a truly 21st century city. Using a fast-paced and innovative presentation style, four of Chicago’s thought leaders will rapidly present their own big ideas for the 21st century city, displaying 15 images for 15 seconds each. The forum, moderated by David Doig of Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, will feature presentations from Theaster Gates, University of Chicago; Alicia Gonzalez, Chicago Run; Melissa Harris, Chicago Tribune; and Daniel O’Neil, Smart Chicago Collaborative. Using an exciting presentation format, the forum will also call on audience members to offer their own big ideas.

At the ceremony, ten awards will be presented to the local architects, community leaders and developers behind some of Chicago’s most innovative facilities and programs. Award categories include: outstanding community strategy; outstanding non-profit and for profit real estate projects; outstanding affordable rental housing preservation; special recognition; architectural excellence in community design; and the friend of the neighborhoods award.

The Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards were established in 1995 to bring visibility and focus to community-based development in Chicago. Through the awards, CNDA’s sponsors hope to increase the interaction and cooperation among the business, government, real estate, non-profit and philanthropic leaders who are engaged in making the city’s neighborhoods better and stronger.

This year’s awards are generously underwritten by: Allstate; Bank of America; BMO Harris Bank; Charter One; Chase; The Chicago Community Trust; CISCO; Citi; LISC/Chicago; Northern Trust; PNC; Polk Bros. Foundation; The Private Bank; The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation; StateFarm; US Bank; Applegate & Thorne-Thomsen, PC; Brinshore Development; Camiros, Ltd.; Chicago Bears; Chicago Community Loan Fund; Cole Taylor Bank; Community Reinvestment Fund; Enterprise Community Investment, Inc.; Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago; Fifth Third Bank ; FirstMerit Bank; The Habitat Company; Holsten Real Estate Development; Illinois Housing Development Authority; Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP; MB Financial Bank; Matanky Realty; Miner, Barnhill & Galland, P.C.; National Equity Fund; Reznick Group; Teska Associates, Inc.; Urban Development Fund, LLC; Urban Partnership Bank; and The Walsh Group.

For more information, visit www.lisc-cnda.org or email cnda@lisc.org.

Loretta Devine leads all-star cast in Don B. Welch's "My Brother's Keeper"

Posted by Admin On February - 28 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS


Loretta Devine leads the all-star cast of “My Brother’s Keeper”

Los Angeles, CA (BlackNews.com) — “Prolific Hit Writer-Director, Don B. Welch has done it again! After the overwhelming national success of “The Bachelorette Party”, “The Divorce” and “The Bachelor Party, he returns to the Los Angeles main stage with what some may deem, his most controversial and stirring piece yet, “My Brother’s Keeper” (MBK). “My Brother’s Keeper” is being presented by Don B. Welch Productions and will be live at The Wilshire Ebell Theater, in Los Angeles, March 30 thru March 31, 2012.

The all-star cast is led by Emmy Award winner and five-time NAACP Image Award winner, LORETTA DEVINE, eight-time NAACP Image Award nominee, VANESSA BELL CALLOWAY, NAACP Image Award winner, VANESSA WILLIAMS, Popular television actors, FLEX ALEXANDER, (“One on One”) CHICO BENYMON,(“Half & Half”), ERNEST L. THOMAS (“Everybody Hates Chris”) and supermodel/actor, JASON OLIVE (“Tyler Perry’s For Better Or Worse) and R&B star “SHANICE WILSON” who will perform “live” on stage.

The story surrounds two blood brothers (“Skylar & Storm”) who own and operate the family business – Legends nightspot in L.A. Recent events and unforeseen circumstances pit brother against brother in what may be the battle of their lives. “Will lies, lust, greed, betrayal, and the success of “Legends” be the downfall of this family dynasty?

Actors, Vincent M. Ward, Tasia Sherel, Azur-De, Amy Holland Pennell, Theresa Ford, Ky Ziegler, Kristy Flores, Leland White & Todd Anthony round out the powerhouse cast.

Writer-director, Don B. Welch is hoping “MBK” will follow the success of his nationally known productions, “The Bachelorette Party” and The Bachelor Party, which has been turned into a hot national selling novel and DVD film respectfully.

The music is Hot! The dancing is electric, and the story is unforgettable.

Tickets are on sale now at all Ticketmaster locations, the Ebell Box office and Inglewood Tickets at 310-671-6400.

 

Woody Guthrie turns 100; portoluz is celebrating with a star-studded concert to mark the occasion

Posted by Admin On February - 28 - 2012 1 COMMENT

 

Tom Morello headlines centennial concert to be cultural capstone during week of G8/NATO summit in May

 

The non-profit arts organization portoluz has produced a once-in-a-lifetime concert honoring the legendary American Folk hero Woody Guthrie. On Saturday May 19, 2012 portoluz will present: This Land Is Our Land, a centennial concert celebration of the legendary Woody Guthrie. The concert will take place at the Metro, 3730 N. Clark Street Chicago.

This Land Is Our Land a centennial concert celebration of the legendary Woody Guthrie is part of the year- long series WPA 2.0, a brand new deal – a festival about art and work organized by portoluz. portoluz has organized a mini-festival of cultural events taking place around the city during May and this concert will be the closing highlight of the festival.

Featured on this extraordinary program are a roster of nationally renowned and stylistically diverse artists who will pay homage to the godfather of folk music in this three hour songfest. Headlining the all-star cast is Tom Morello, one of the nation‘s most vaunted guitar players and among the prestigious coterie of contemporary folk heroes. From the Eastern European influenced renditions of Woody Guthrie classics as voiced by the Klezmatics to the gut-bucket blues of Toshi Reagon, to the Spanish language versions of Deportee as played by Chicago‘s own Son del Viento, to the 1970‘s era anthems Page 2 portoluz Woody Guthrie Concert more  of Holly Near and the indie-rock phrasings of Jon Langford and friends, this evening promises to celebrate the wide range of influences and enduring legacy of our national troubadour, Woody Guthrie. The Illinois Labor History Society is a primary co-sponsor of this event.

EVENT SUMMARY

portoluz presents:

This land is our land, a centennial concert celebration of the legendary Woody Guthrie

Saturday May 19th

Metro 3730 North Clark Street Chicago, IL Metro telephone: (773) 549-4140

Doors 7pm

Concert 8pm

Tickets $26-$56

open to ages 18+

Metro web-site and advanced tickets: www. metrochicago.com

Tickets on sale: March 9, 2012

portoluz website: www.portoluz.org

FEATURED ARTISTS:

ï‚· Tom Morell

 The Klezmatics 

ï‚· Holly Near

ï‚· Toshi Reagon

ï‚· Son del Viento

ï‚· Jon Langford

ï‚· Bucky Halker

ï‚· Kevin Coval

ï‚· plus additional guest artists

The artists will perform their own material and selections from the Guthrie cannon and perform as their individual ensembles as well as in combinations unique to this concert.

portoluz organized this event to take place during the planned G8/NATO summit in order to celebrate the joyful expression of protest as voiced through the power of participatory culture. Like many enduring heroes of the twentieth century, Woody Guthrie is emblematic of our country‘s coming of age. A hobo, a union organizer, a friend of the down and out, Guthrie wrote and sang the stories of the 99%. This Land is Your Land, is one of this country‘s national anthems- expressing not only the beauty and glory of America‘s abundant natural wonders but asserting our right to be its stewards and ramblers.

ABOUT WOODY GUTHRIE

Woody Guthrie, born on July 14th, 1912 in Okemah, Oklahoma, is widely regarded as America‘s greatest folksinger. He wrote over 3,000 songs in his lifetime, including ―This Land Is Your Land,‖ which became America‘s unofficial national anthem, and such standards as ―Pretty Boy Floyd,‖ ―Pastures of Page 3 portoluz Woody Guthrie Concert more

Plenty,‖ ―Going Down The Road,‖ ―Hard Travelin’,‖ ―Jesus Christ,‖ ―I Ain’t Got No Home,‖ ―Deportee,‖ ―Roll On Columbia,‖ ―Vigilante Man,‖ ―Do Re Mi,‖ ―Tom Joad,‖ ―Union Maid,‖ ―1913 Massacre,‖ ―This Train Is Bound For Glory,‖ ―Oklahoma Hills‖ and ―Riding In My Car.‖

Read more about Woody Guthrie: http://www.woodyguthrie.org/biography.htm

ABOUT THE SERIES WPA 2.0, A BRAND NEW DEAL

In 2011, the ten-member program committee chose WPA 2.0, “A Brand New Deal” as an overarching theme for multi-disciplinary programs. As we recognized that the entire paradigm that was developed in the last century as a response to industrialization and the Great Depression was under varying degrees of attack- from arts education in public schools to collective bargaining, we thought it might be a good time to look at the conditions that gave rise to The New Deal reforms and explore what parallels might be relevant today. portoluz developed this instigation as a kinetic and contemporary ‗take‘ on a meme by utilizing a variety of cultural production to explore the Great Depression of 1929, the WPA and role of the ―cultural worker‖, and the current recession. By riffing on history, re-mixing archival ephemera, commissioning and curating a wide range of voices, portoluz seeks primarily to emphasize and inspire solutions that respond to today‘s worldwide economic and social crisis.

The members of portoluz are not per se, historians or academics but lay volunteers toiling in a variety of disciplines, and who believe in maintaining and expanding the public sphere. We believe that the power of art and the radical creative imagination must be at the center of any civilized society – not as an afterthought (or from the crumbs of corporate profits). We are passionate about intellectual inquiry, and contribute our resources to building a sustainable, inclusive, enfranchised society. It is our intention to produce cultural programs that empower, that provoke and instigate more involvement, more awareness, more participatory democracy and result in a just distribution of resources.

WPA 2.0 A brand new deal May Festival Highlights

2-May Film Wild Boys of the Road Portage Theater 4050 N. Milwaukee
4-May Film The First Season Chicago Film Makers 5243 N. Clark
11-May Film Chicago Protest Shorts Chicago Film Makers
May 11 Visual art Occuprint exhibition Uri-Eichen Gallery 2101 S Halsted
16-May Film Bound for Glory Portage Theater
17-May Film Killing Floor and Finally Got the News U of C
18-May Film Soundtrack to a revolution Chicago Film Makers
May 19 Music This Land is OUR Land, a centennial concert celebrating Woody Guthrie Metro 3730 N. Clark
25-May Film Globalization double Feature Maquilapolis: City of Factories & A Killer Bargain Chicago Film Makers

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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