Category: Entertainment Written by CNN
by Breeanna Hare
(CNN) -- "Downton Abbey's" bringing on a roster of new cast members for its fourth season.
The addictive British series has tapped Gary Carr (TV's "Death in Paradise" and "Bluestone 42") to portray a "charming and charismatic" jazz singer named Jack Ross - "Downton's" first recurring Black character.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 May 2013 17:21
Category: Entertainment Written by Genea Webb
by Genea L. Webb
For New Pittsburgh Courier
The last time Charlie Wilson performed in Pittsburgh, he was doing it for the ladies. This time around he’s focused on mothers.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 May 2013 10:24
Category: Entertainment Written by Genea Webb
PLAYWRIGHTS GAB CODY and LORI ROPER in SCENE FROM PLAY
Racial oppression, exclusion, belonging, and interracial marriage were just some of the issues being looked at in “The Sisters Grey,” a play written by playwrights Lori Roper and Gab Cody.
“We talked about the mythology of racism and we both hope to omit racism and show people how absurd it is. We want people to examine their own life,” Roper said.
“The Sisters Grey” tells the tale of two sisters-in-law one Black and one Jewish who both feel that their family histories require retribution and sacrifice from others.
The idea for the play was developed after Cody and Roper met at the 2011 Dramatist Guild conference and started sharing their own experiences of exclusion and belonging in their own social circles.
“Both characters have an ancestry of slavery, but there are moments in the play that are funny and absurd because we know the ridiculousness of racism and we handle it in a very funny way,” said Cody, a Pittsburgh resident and Point Park University teacher who also works as a filmmaker, storyteller and producer.
According to Cody and Roper, “The Sisters Grey” is a multi-ethnic, interdenominational work. In addition to an honest discussion about race, it unravels the unspoken complexities that occur within female relationships—especially interracial ones. Cody and Roper believe their production is the next logical step in the examination of the African and Jewish Diasporas.
Pittsburgh audiences were treated to the production when the August Wilson Center for African American Culture gave the playwrights a page-to-stage development deal that included a writing residency, a round table discussion and a work shop production of the “The Sisters Grey.”
“Pittsburgh was a great launching pad for this kind of work because it speaks to the communities in Pittsburgh,” said Roper a professor of English literature at Essex County College in Newark, who founded the Atticus Theater Workshop, a writing lab for aspiring playwrights. “We are grateful to Mark Southers and the August Wilson Center for African American Culture for providing the opportunity to workshop and develop this play.”
Following its debut in Pittsburgh, Roper and Cody plan on launching “The Sisters Grey” in New York City and later in New Jersey.
“We’re really happy that we’ve created a story that is brave enough to discuss this issue of race and the conflicts surrounding it,” Roper said. “We’re proud of the work we have created. It’s authentic and we won’t shy away about how important it is.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 May 2013 09:58
Category: Entertainment Written by Ashley N. Johnson
WORKING TOGETHER—Orlana Darkins-Drewery and Gary Gunter vow a continued commitment from WAMO to the community.
Giving the listeners of Pittsburgh’s only urban station what they want and a commitment to the African-American community are just a few of the things new WAMO100 General Manager Gary Gunter discussed at an editorial meeting with the New Pittsburgh Courier on April 26.
“This is an opportunity to lead a great station and be a part of a great heritage property like WAMO…I’m a radio man. I bleed radio, wake up radio, radio 24/7. It’s in my blood and it’s what I do,” said Gunter. “The old WAMO was great and did great things,” said Gunter. “But at the same time I want to make sure the format, and the music, and the program is true to urban.”
Gunter became the new general manager of WAMO in April after former General Manager Laura Varner Norman was relieved of her duties in March, after being with the station since its return to the airwaves in 2011. It is unknown why Norman was let go. Tim Martz, of Martz Communications Group, WAMO’s owner, was contacted numerous times for comment, but failed to respond.
Gunter said as general manager he plans to make sure that the station is laser focused on their target, which is African-Americans ages 18 to 34, and that they are satisfying their listeners. While he knows the station “will not be all things to everyone,” he is committed to making sure that the older demographics’ needs are met as well.
“The trick is to find a way to mesh the two without stepping on your main focus and being able to offer the older end of the demographic what they want and need. We’re looking at different things within the programming and content to be able to include them as well,” he said.
While he is currently in the assessing and evaluating phase and has no plans for any changes to programming as of yet, Gunter said he does, however, plan to tweak some of the station’s music. “We are trying to make sure some songs don’t fall in that don’t sound like a fit.”
WAMO, which can be found at 100.1 FM and 660 AM, currently includes programming such as the syndicated “Rickey Smiley Morning Show,” followed by weekday on-air personalities DJ Boogie, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; The Mayor Mike Jax from 3-7 p.m.; Tito XL from 7 p.m.-12 a.m.; and weekend personalities Miguel Lopez, Sharmyn and inspiration with Brother Marlon.
Recently, WAMO added a program called “Future Flavaz,” which plays music from local artists every Monday during the Tito XL segment. “We want to show our support of local artists,” said Orlana Darkins-Drewery, director of marketing and special events for WAMO.
Although Gunter is excited about where he can take the station, he does realize there are some challenges to face along the way. “It’s just rising above that and bringing value to what we bring to the table,” he said. One of those challenges is the weak signal, which can often be unclear in certain areas of Pittsburgh. Gunter said that is something they’ll have to deal with for now, until another plan is comprised.
As dedicated to its listeners as WAMO is, Gunter said WAMO is still and will be just as committed to the community.
“Every urban related show has come through WAMO, whether through advertising and/or both advertising and promotion, so that has not changed, including our commitment to the community,” said Darkins-Drewery. “That part of it will not slow down and has no plans of doing so.”
Along with its continued support of community events and organizations, WAMO is open to new ventures. During the meeting a new partnership was established between WAMO and the Courier. “Together we can accomplish more things. We are all focused on the African-American community,” said Gunter.
Gunter was also asked how the increase in demand for Internet radio, such as satellite radio, Pandora and iHeart radio, effects radio. He said, “There’s so many choices, that’s why we have to be so laser focused to the lifestyle, the need of the listeners. There are a lot of different choices, but when it all boils down you always need a local feedback from radio. The power of radio, just having that local immediacy and relevancy is what is going to be there at the end of the day.”
Prior to joining WAMO, Gunter served as the general sales manager of Radio One Baltimore stations WWIN-AM/FM, WERQ-FM and WOLB-AM, and director of integrated marketing for Clear Channel Radio in Chicago, where he created and developed integrated marketing programs for their six top radio channels.
He is a graduate of Southern Illinois University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree, and a graduate of the National Association of Broadcasters Executive Development Program for Radio Broadcasters from Georgetown University and was awarded the NAB Executive Radio Mentor Fellowship.
(For more information on WAMO visit www.WAMO100.com.)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 May 2013 09:22
Category: Entertainment Written by Courier Newsroom
The August Wilson Center for African American Culture presents the “Pittsburgh: Reclaim, Renew, Remix” Exhibit from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. at 980 Liberty Ave., Cultural District. This exhibit is designed to herald the contributions of artists, musicians, dancers, sports and literary figures to Western Pennsylvania’s African-American Culture. Visitors will be given the opportunity to create a video collage of the region’s story from their perspective. For more information, call 412-258-2700 or visit www.AugustWilsonCenter.org.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 May 2013 09:50
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