Celebrate Black History Month!
By Molly Fleming, Staff Writer
Black History Month continues this week with more cultural events and entertainment updates.
For starters, what better way to make a recognize the African-American influences on popular music in this country than a tribute to one of the late greats of jazz history, Mr. Thomas Fats Waller. Portrayed by Mr. Carl Cole (Mr. C) on the full-length grand piano, this theatrical performance entitled A Handful of Keys, will take you on a musical journey through the works of Waller. Mr. C is the best man for the task as he performed 29 of Wallers compositions without sheet music for NATs 30th season finale of Aint Misbehavin. Also performing with Mr. C are Andrew Cole (drums), Dianna Cole (vocals), Matt Ulery (upright bass) and Bill Doll (clarinet). A Handful of Keys takes place at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 25 at the Mendelssohn Club. It is a free performance, but tax deductible donations can be made out to Rockford Area Arts Council, which will benefit Mr. Cs 2003 Spring/Summer Youth Projects.
Dr. Arnando Gonzalez-Perez will host Other Voices: Rhythm, Language and Identity in Afro-Caribbean Poetry at the Montague Branch Library, 1238 S. Winnebago St., on Wed., Feb 19. Dr. Gonzalez-Perez, a professor at Marquette University and editor of Caribe, a literature and cultural magazine, will discuss Afro-Caribbean poetry, music and culture. The event begins at 6 p.m. and is free to the public. For more information, call 965-7606.
An Open Mic Poetry Reading with an African-American theme will be held at the Montague Branch Library, from 6 to 7 p.m. Mon., Feb. 24. Poems of any style are accepted, and all ages are welcome. Come to read, or just listen. Sign-up begins at 5:45 p.m., and the event is free. For information, 965-6731.
An Open Mic Poetry Slam (with the same theme) is being held at Rock Valley Colleges Woodward Technology Center Wed., rooms 141 and 142, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Wed., Feb 19. Its free and runs For information, call 921-4511.
A Chicago Cultural Trip will occur on at Sun., Feb. 23. The coach bus leaves Rock Valley Colleges Parking Lot #3 (facing Mulford Road) 9:30 a.m. Participants will visit The House of Blues to attend a Gospel Brunch, and the DuSable Museum of African-American History. The bus will return at approximately 7 p.m. The cost is $40 per person, which includes everything. For reservations, call RVC Community Education at 921-3900.
On Sat., Feb. 22, The Ethnic Heritage Museum is hosting a Black History Month Celebration with their usual standards of excellence in education and cultural appreciation. The celebration runs from 2-4 p.m. Call for prices and information at 962-7402.
That rounds it off for this week in Black History Month. Look forward to next week, which includes a lecture by Bobby Seale (the founding member of the Black Panther Party.)