Every day, I find myself rummaging through my wardrobe to find pieces that I have yet to wear on the Harlem scene as I hop on and off A trains. If first lady Michelle Obama were to discover this about me she would call me mad. At least that’s what I gathered from celebrated style and beauty expert and author, Mikki Taylor during her signing of Commander in Chic, at Hue-Man Bookstore.
Taylor revealed to me that she too was once lost in the fashion closet. “I used to follow trends and I learned that we are more than a season of style whims,” she said. “I discovered my own sense of style through great trial and error.” With those words I was painfully reminded of my own experimental looks.
Choosing what to wear to “Opera is HOT” was less difficult than usual since I had planned my outfit far enough in advance. The event was presented by the Harlem Opera Theater and held at The Faison Firehouse Theater. The evening’s standout performers included Rodrick Dixon, Jasmine Thomas and Patrick Dailey.
Of course I couldn’t leave Faison without getting his views on the controversy surrounding the new production of Porgy and Bess, set to debut on Broadway in January 2012. While some believe that the legendary opera is an offensive portrayal of African Americans, Faison couldn’t disagree more. “Why do we keep trying to disown our past? Why don’t we embrace that and move on? We are more than that and we’ve got to do it. I am excited for it.”
In The Movement Theatre Company’s TMTC Harlem Nights: Wilson Revised, a vibrant crowd of theatre and visual art aficionados converged in The StudioMuseum in Harlem. Actors performed excerpts from and new works inspired by August Wilson’s series of ten plays, The Pittsburgh Cycle. It was a powerful afternoon of theater and actress Lynnette R. Freeman, thoroughly impressed playing Vera in an excerpt from Seven Guitars. Before leaving, I met the newest staff member of The Studio Museum in Harlem, Erin Gilbert. As manager of adult programs, audience development and community engagement, Gilbert expressed her vision for programming. “Moving forward we look to have more programs like this that uses the visual arts as a platform for interpretation and complements the black art experience and critique.”
Before the evening ended I headed downtown to the Beacon Theatre for the, “Cyndi Lauper & Friends: Home for the Holidays,” concert in support of Lauper’s True Colors Fund. Before I could even make it to the Beacon Theatre I scrambled to find something to wear. That’s when I recalled Taylor informing me that Obama accessorizes the same pieces. Heeding those wise words I decided to keep on my sweater, with a change of pants and shoes. Apparently, the first lady and I both do “repeat performances.” I’m just not sure I was supposed to do it all on the same day.
For more information on the Harlem Arts Alliance, visit www.harlemaa.org.
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