In celebration of American writer, expatriate and civil rights activist, James Baldwin’s 90th anniversary of his birth, Pasadena City College and The Jackie Robinson Arts and Humanities Lecture Series kicks off its 2014 season on Thursday, January 16th in the Creveling Lounge from 5pm-9pm on the campus of the college. This engaging, educational and entertaining literary salon will be guided by performance artist, educator and cultural architect for public engagement, Charles Reese.
Reese brings famed artist-activist, James Baldwin to life at this literary reading performance and lecture salon through selected excerpts from the critically acclaimed Off -Broadway play, James Baldwin A Soul On Fire by the late playwright, Howard B. Simon (1962-2000); call and response songs from the civil rights movement; and coupled with some archival footage from the play version circa 2000. Additionally, there will be an open conversation on the Baldwin/Kennedy Secret Summit of 1963 and the role of artist as activists. Q&A coupled with a book signing is also a part of this literary salon experience.
Dr. Christopher Jimenez Y West, history professor and curator of the series at Pasadena City College says, ” We are very honored to have Mr. Reese as a part of the Jackie Robinson Arts & Humanities Lecture Series. He is a walking storyteller/griot who brings an inter-active blend of literary art, education and discourse to enlighten our diverse student body about a great American writer.”
Reese (along with Tony Award nominee, Forrest McClendon) is known in the global theatre community for originating the role of Baldwin in the Off-Broadway production of Howard Simon’s James Baldwin A Soul On Fire. David DeWitt of The New York Times stated in his review of the play, “…funny, thrilling and wise, buoyed by the passionate performance of Charles Reese in the title role.” Reese recently completed his first published essay in a new book volume,”James Baldwin: Challenging Authors” for Furman University/Sense Publishing which is scheduled to be released in time for James Baldwin’s 90th birthday celebration in 2014.
Currently, Reese plays the character of Jalil Baldwin (the feisty uncle and chef) in the upcoming newly scripted television series, “Basketball Wife” which was adapted from the web comedy series, “WHO…” created by Emmy Award winning writer, director and producer, Michael Ajakwe, Jr.,(www.facebook.com/BasketballWife).
Join Charles Reese and The James Baldwin Literary Salon along with the students, faculty and the community at large on the Pasadena City College campus–Thursday, January 16, 2014 in the Creveling Lounge from 5:00pm – 9:00pm. The campus address is 1570 E. Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena, CA 91106. The Jackie Robinson Arts & Humanities Lecture Series is FREE and Open to the Public. For more information, please call, 626.585.7236. www.pasadena.edu.
1. PCC Promo Card, Courtesy of Pasadena City College
2. Charles Reese, Courtesy of Janice Tunnell
3. James Baldwin, Artwork by Roy Thinnes.