Thursday, April 22, 2010

Affecting Social Change in "Langston and Nicolas" and Tagging Sharks

Tune in Sunday, April 25 2010 (5a-6a PST)
Southern California Experience with LaFern Cusack
710 ESPN Radio Los Angeles
Listen live online HERE:

"Langston and Nicolas"
Two men - one voice
Directed and Produced by NAACP Theatre Award Winner Nancy Cheryll Davis and Co-Staring Brian Evaret Chandler and Armando Ortega.

Towne Street Theatre presents "Langston and Nicolas", the fascinating story of poets Langston Hughes and Nicolás Guillén - Havana, 1930.

Young journalist Nicolás Guillén harbors dreams of becoming a poet. Langston Hughes visits Havana in search of a composer for a new opera. After Nicolás interviews Langston for a local newspaper, the two men inimitably bond.

Langston’s keen interest in black Cuban life impresses Nicolás, who guides him to a vibrant Afro-Cuban club, uncorking an unquenchable thirst. Meanwhile, their union also profoundly empowers Nicolás—perhaps he can speak for black Cuba the same way that Langston is speaking for black America? Hughes leaves Cuba, but their deep connection is kept alive through letters (to the discovery and disdain of Guillén’s wife). A fever dream inspires Guillén to write poetry marrying the vernacular of contemporary black Cuba with the native musical style of Son(mirroring Hughes’ poetic mesh of African-American vernacular and Blues music).

The play explores their friendship over the next thirty years—covering the Spanish War, the Cuban Revolution and the Civil Rights movement—to Hughes’ death in 1967. As with all friendships, theirs is a tapestry woven of joy, conflict and demands from each other—some that are met, some that are not.

Nancy Cheryll Davis
An alumna of American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco and Lincoln Center Directors Lab West, her directing credits include “Nevis Mountain Dew,” “Passing,” “Madwoman of Chaillot”, “Five on the Blackhand Side,” “30 Love,” “Medals,” and more.

Also an actor, she won the NAACP Theatre Award for “Passing” which she also conceived and has appeared in the films “Menace 2 Society,” “The Court Martial of Jackie Robinson,” “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka,” “The Five Heartbeats” and “Hollywood Shuffle.”

As Founding Artistic/Producing Director of Towne Street Theatre, L.A.’s premiere African American theatre company, she has executive produced all 35 shows in its 17-year history.

James Mercer Langston Hughes
(February 1, 1902–May 22, 1967) was an American poet, novelist, playwright, short story writer, and columnist. He was one of the earliest innovators of the new literary art form jazz poetry. Hughes is best-known for his work during the Harlem Renaissance. He famously wrote about the Harlem Renaissance saying that "Harlem was in vogue."
What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

                             ---Langston Hughes

"Nicolás Cristóbal Guillén Batista (July 10, 1902–July 16, 1989) was an Afro-Cuban poet, journalist, political activist, and writer. He is best remembered as the national poet of Cuba. Guillen made an international mark for himself with the publication of Motivos de son. The work was inspired by the living conditions of Afro-Cubans and the popular music of son. The publication consisted of eight short poems that were composed using the everyday language of the Afro Cubans. The collection stood out in the literary world because it emphasized and established the importance of Afro-Cuban culture as a valid genre in Cuban literature."
Founded in the aftermath of the 1992 Los Angeles riots with the belief that we could affect social change through our art, the Towne Street Theatre's mission is creating, developing and producing original work that is reflective of the African-American experience and perspective for theater and film.

In order to further illuminate the role African-Americanartists have played in the history of the American theater, we also produce a series enitled "Black Classics," dedicated to the work of playwrights seldom produced, such as Loften Mitchell, Alice Childress and Steve Carter.  Towne Street Theatre's mission of affecting social change is extended with our commitment to developing the next generation of theater artists through our children's programming.  on Facebook.

"Langston and Nicolás" 'Two voice'  Written by Bernardo Solano. Conceived and directed by Nancy Cheryll Davis. Commissioned by Towne Street Theatre and Robey Theatre Company. A Towne Street Theatre production. Produced by Nancy Cheryll Davis, Nancy Renee, and Nathaniel Bellamy. Choreography by Nancy Renee. Musical director: Dane Diamond. 

This show runs through May 2, 2010 at: Stella Adler Theatre, 6773 Hollywood Blvd. 2nd Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Box Office: 213 - 624-4796. Parking is available across the street in the Hollywood/Highland Center, $2 for 4 hours with Stella Adler validation.
For more information: on Facebook.

Tune in Sunday, April 25, 2010 (5a-6a PST)

Southern California Experience with LaFern Cusack
or listen live online HERE:

The Shark Ladies Would Like to Take You On A Shark-Tagging Expedition
Iemanya Oceanica's, Laleh Mohajerani, President/Executive Director and Patty Civalleri, Executive Vice President/Board of Directors.

Laleh and Patty tell us how we can 'Tag' Sharks in the wild and how you can take part in the Great Shark Race 2011!

Iemanya Oceanica
is dedicated to the worldwide conservation of sharks, rays and their habitats. They achieve their mission through research, environmental education and the promotion of sustainable management policies and marine protected areas.

  "Sharks have been given a very bad reputation. In reality, there are over 400 different shark species in our oceans of which very few (such as the bull shark, great white shark, and tiger shark) can be potentially dangerous to humans. The likelihood of being attacked by a shark is less than being hit by lightening. The average number of shark attacks worldwide is approximately 50 per year with the majority being non-fatal attacks." If you want to learn more about shark attacks and behaviors, go to

Adopting a Shark is a fun and unique way to get involved in shark and ray conservation. AdoptaShark is an excellent program for adults and kids because everybody learns A LOT about sharks and the oceans. When you adopt a shark, your donation is contributing towards the purchase of new tags for continued research on the movement of sharks. You will learn about your adopted shark and will be able to see tracking maps of your shark, depending on when and how the shark was tagged. As we learn new information about your shark, we will pass it on to you via our website. The shark's tracks depend on the type of tags used to track them, so for example, if your shark was tagged with acoustic tags, the track might only show a few days of movement. (more)

If you have donated to this program, you have already taken your first step towards participating in shark conservation. We need your help to be able to do this important work and we are very grateful for your support.

The first step towards achieving change is through educating yourself and others about sharks, their conservation status and the importance of their survival in the ocean. You can help by avoiding eating or using shark products, such as shark cartilage pills, shark meat, shark liver oil, and shark fin soup. Research sea food sources to make sure you are supporting sustainable fisheries.

Finally write to you government representatives and urge them to support and prioritize ocean conservation and the creation of marine protected areas. Our ocean resources are finite and we must act now to ensure that our children and grand children enjoy them as well. For more ideas about protecting sharks, visit  Sharks in Danger 

Next Shark Tagging Trip Scheduled for July 1 - 5, 2010
Sign up NOW to SWIM with the SHARKS!
Join our Science and Research Team as we travel to Bahia de Los Angeles
to tag Whale Sharks for research, education and ocean preservation.
Space is extremely limited - only 20 seats available.

Click here for Tagging Trip details and Application

Shark Photos by Iemanya Oceanica and Adopt A Shark.

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