Thursday, 14 August 2014

EDITOR'S PICKS: What's buzzing on the culture radar this week

ALBUM: Few divas in the history of Broadway have the multi-octave range and respect reserved for the incomparable Audra McDonald, who won an unprecedented sixth Best Actress Tony Award this past June, thanks to her "spellbinding tour-de-force performance" as Billie Holliday in Lanie Robertson's Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill, which recounts events from the late chanteuse's life. In July, P.S. Classics released the 28-track cast recording, which finds McDonald breathing full-bodied life into interpretations of such Holliday classics as "Strange Fruit", "God Bless the Child" and "Tain't Nobody's Business If I Do."

BOOK: Before you know it author and pioneering journalist Barbara Blake-Hannah will have enough self-published books to form her very own library collection. The writer of such critically praised releases as Joseph and Growing Out: Black Hair and Black Pride has just published in digital format her newest effort, The Mirror Has Its Secrets, a fictional chronicle of the experiences of a young girl who is kidnapped from her native Africa and transported to Jamaica to toil as a slave. Published by the Blake-Hannah-run Jamaica Media Productions, the novel is available via

FILM: Some 10 full-length features will be vying for the coveted Audience Award at this year's Caribbean Tales International Film Festival (CTFF), returning to its Toronto home base from September 3 through 13. The Mighty Sparrow will be the guest of honour at the glitzy opening night gala, where Geoffrey Dunn's The Glamour Project Again! Sparrow and Superior on the Hilton Rooftop (about two of calypso's most iconic patriarchs) will have its world premiere. Log on to for the complete schedule.

ICON: If you are one of Beres Hammond's countless North American fans, news of his tour's arrival in your neck of the woods is sure to bring a smile to your face. The big man of lover's rock has embarked a month-long concert series that will see him criss-crossing the continent from August 2 (he opened at Gaylord's Resort in Orlando, Florida) to the 30th, where he'll connect with fans at Jannus Live in St. Petersberg, Florida. Among the other notable stops: his August 17 date at Toronto's Sound Academy and the North Carolina event on August 26 at the renowned Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh.

MOVER AND SHAKER: An extra-special shoutout to Dr. Stephen Vasciannie, Jamaica's man in Washington, who recently got the nod as Chairman of the OAS Committee on Judicial and Political Affairs, whose functions include guiding and assessing the work of the OAS on matters concerning the promotion of international law, human rights education, and human rights protection in the age of terrorism. Ambassador Vasciannie, who taught courses like Introduction to International Law at UWI Mona over a decade ago, is a former Head of the Department of Government and Principal of the Norman Manley Law School. 

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