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Entertainment

Gina the dreamer

Beyond the Lights

Born on June 10, 1969, Gina Maria Prince-Bythewood studied film at UCLA before beginning her career as a writer for the TV sitcom, “A Different World.” In 2000, she made a noteworthy directorial debut with the critically-acclaimed “Love & Basketball,” which netted a dozen accolades during awards season, including a couple of NAACP Image Awards, a BET Award and several Black Reel Awards.

Gina’s next feature was “The Secret Life of Bees (2008),” which also earned its share of trophies, including Image Awards for Best Picture and Best Director. Here, she talks about making her third movie, “Beyond the Lights,” a romance drama co-starring Gugu Mbata-Raw and Nate Parker.

Kam’s Kapsules: OPENING THIS WEEK

Kams Kaps

Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun   

BIG BUDGET FILMS    

“The Best of Me” (PG-13 for sexuality, violence, brief profanity and some drug use) Romance drama based on the Nicholas Sparks best-seller of the same name and revolving around the reunion of a couple of high school sweethearts (James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan) for the first time in years when they return to their hometown for a friend’s funeral. With Liana Liberato, Luke Bracey and Caroline Goodall.   

“The Book of Life” (PG for mild action, rude humor, mature themes and scary images) Animated adventure about a young man (Diego Luna) who finds himself torn between fulfilling his family’s expectations and following his heart. Ensemble voice cast featuring Zoe Saldana, Channing Tatum, Christina Applegate, Ice Cube, Danny Trejo, Ron Perlman and Cheech.

WHAT’S HAPPENING MYRON?: Memphis was full of high-profile entertainment options this past weekend.

Myron

Ever woke up on a Monday morning and felt so tired that you were absolutely sure that getting out of bed was one of the hardest things you ever had to do? Of course you have, that’s what happens to most of us on Monday.

Occasionally, the challenge of Monday is muted by a mitigating factor – the lingering vibes and memories from a busy, soul-satisfying weekend like the one I just experienced.

Movie Review: ‘Dear White People’

Dear white people

The academics are tough enough at Winchester University, a mythical Ivy League institution. It’s too bad that black students there also have to worry about making themselves comfortable socially.

That’s precisely the predicament we find a quartet of African-American undergrads facing at the point of departure of Dear White People, a sophisticated social satire marking the directorial and scriptwriting debut of Justin Simien. Earlier this year, the thought-provoking dramedy won the Jury Award for Breakthrough Talent at the Sundance Film Festival. 

This ‘mom’ knows best: Sophia Livingston

Livingston
Sophia Livingston of Memphis will play Margaret Miles, a mom who can’t be fooled and a wife who knows how to out-flank her husband, in ‘The Suburban Itch,’ a comedy short which will be filmed in Memphis in coming weeks.
 
Livingston has wide experiences as a Mid-South actor, from feature films to local stages, including many productions at Hattiloo Theatre.  She portrayed Clairee Belcher in Hattiloo’s production of “Steel Magnolias” and was nominated for an Ostrander Award for her supporting role as Mrs. Pauline Breedlove in “The Bluest Eye.”
  
  • Written by Tri-State Defender Newsroom

A moment with ‘Mr. Wonder’

Stevie Wonder
The Consortium MMT honored one of the most legendary artists of all-time on Saturday night at the Cannon Center for the performing Arts, with Stevie Wonder receiving the Epitome of Soul Award and what amounted to the red-carpet treatment.
 
Every single aspect of the evening seemed fitting for a talent unparalleled in our time. There were piano cookies and cupcake records that accented the color scheme of the pre-reception area. The fall-orange tablecloth’s swayed in unison with the fire of the lit candles placed upon them. The Mississippi River was within view and rolling as if positioning itself for the arrival of a king.
  • Written by Kelvin Cowans

‘Black Soap’ set to stage season ender

The 2014 season of Flo Roach’s “BLACK SOAP,” Memphis’ own black soap opera, has given audiences an up close and personal look at the hijinks of the family and friends of millionaire patriarch Marvin Chambers, who introduced his new fiancée, threatened to change his will, and was hospitalized after being found unconscious the next morning.

Marvin, it has been revealed, is seriously allergic to shrimp.  Now his new fiancée – a former stripper – is about to make a life-changing confession to his son, M.J., with whom she shared one night of booze and passion some 15 years ago. 

Is this a case of chickens coming home to roost?  And who poisoned Marvin?  The answers will be revealed in “BLACK SOAP VI,” the concluding episode in this season’s three-part storyline.  

Written, produced and directed by Florence (Flo) Roach, “Black Soap VI” stars Ben Greene (Marvin Chambers Sr.), Carolyn Kent (Renee), Lonnie Coleman (M.J.), Laverne Bobo (Aunt Trudy), Rick Bobo (Richard), Nadine Burton (Pastor Hopson), Patrice Campbell (Tina), Brenda Deener (The Maid), Kenneth Farmer (Mason), Derek Hunter (Anthony the Butler), Mose Yvonne Nicholson (Pam), Sandra Bray (Detective Anderson), Aundra M. Segrest (Detective Lancaster), Wanda Shaw (Ms. Frankie) and others.  Courtney Franklin is music director.

“Black Soap VI” will be on stage Oct. 17-19th at the Buckman Performing and Fine Arts Center at St. Mary's Episcopal School, 60 Perkins Extended (38117).  Show times are 7 p.m. on Oct. 17-18th and 3 p.m. on Oct. 19th.

Tickets for the stage production, which is presented by Ettaro Theater Company and Ettaro Fine Arts Foundation, are: Advance, $20 for general admission; $35 for VIP reserved seating. Tickets purchased at the door are $25 general admission and $40 VIP.  VIP tickets are only available for the opening night performance and the ticket price includes both the show and a reception with food and drinks. The reception begins at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 17th. 

Tickets also are available online at www.floroach.com.  For more information, call 901-331-3515.

(The two previous episodes in the 2014 storyline can be viewed online at www.blacksoapopera.com.)

  • Written by Tri-State Defender Newsroom