Felicia Boswell (Felicia) & Bryan Fenkart (Huey) tear up the stage during a performance of “Memphis.” (Paul Kolnik photo)
It was a night of music and love at the press night for the musical “Memphis.” If you’re not familiar with “Memphis,” it’s inspired by the life of real-life Memphis DJ Dewey Phillips, who is thought by many musical historians to be the person most responsible for integrating American radio from 1948-1958.
The musical takes place in the smoky halls and underground clubs of the segregated 1950s, where a young white DJ named Huey Calhoun falls in love with rock and roll and an electrifying black singer. The music was “stomp your feet” good, and the dancing was sassy and fun. All I have to say is, if you’re looking for a fun night go see “Memphis” while you can! “Memphis” runs through this Sunday, Dec. 23 at the Citi Emerson Colonial Theatre.
The Institute of Contemporary Art is now showcasing an exhibit called “This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s.” As someone who grew up in the ‘80s, I was looking forward to remembering those experiences. However, the exhibit didn’t really move me. The only connection I felt was brief, and it was through the faint sounds of what I thought was Run DMC, but was actually music from “Wild Style,” the first hip hop movie for all those in the know.
Various rooms displayed impactful moments in time, from a huge painting of former President Ronald Reagan to images highlighting the AIDS epidemic and the beginning of corporatization in America to the issue of gender. The exhibit seemed cold and clinical. It felt disjointed to me and there was no warmth to it. Or at least, it didn’t warm me. Maybe that was the point.
What did catch my eye was this massive and colorful image of an African American woman with blond hair and colorful clothes. The piece of art is called “I’ll Still Be True” and it’s by Mickalene Thomas, a New York-based artist. She creates these dazzling pieces of art featuring African American women that are bold, colorful and striking. This exhibit is worth visiting and it’s on display at the ICA until March 3, 2013.
I finally made my way over to Orinoco restaurant in Brookline Village for my long overdue indulgence of Venezuelan food. The restaurant is really warm and inviting and draws you in with glass-blown ceiling lamps that cast a warm glow. My evening began with an Arepa, which is a traditional Venezuelan grilled corn pocket sandwich. It’s approximately the size of an English muffin and it can be filled with beef, chicken, cheese or pork.
Of course, I opted for the pork version that included slices of tomato and cheese coupled with the restaurant’s highly addictive mojo sauce. Next up was the entrée of Pabellón Criollo, which is a dish of shredded beef, white rice, black beans and plantains — such a simple and hearty meal. And of course, I couldn’t resist the side dish of crispy Yuca stick with another side portion of the most amazing mojo sauce, ever!! Dinner wouldn’t be complete without dessert of their yummy flan topped in caramel. It was absolutely divine and the meal wouldn’t be complete without a shot of Venezuelan espresso.
As the year winds down, all the big box-office movies are being released for the Oscars. It so happened I did see one of the most-anticipated movies of the year, “Les Misérables.” I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. I was quite surprised because I saw the stage production when it was in town last year and I couldn’t understand why people loved the show. It didn’t resonate with me and I was confused about who the characters were and who they were singing to. Now, after seeing the movie version, I totally get Les Mis.
The movie version stars Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean; Anne Hathaway as Fantine; Russell Crowe as Javert, and Amanda Seyfreid as Cosette, and they are absolutely wonderful! They brought the characters to life for me in a way that the play didn’t and couldn’t. The acting and singing were superb and, of course, the heartbreaking storyline of Fantine and Cosette made me cry. Anne Hathaway has got chops — what a pure delight! It’s a good movie to see with the family on Christmas Day and it’s a reminder to us all to be thankful during this holiday season.
If you’re a fan of photography, the Multicultural Arts Center in Cambridge hosts an exhibition by artist Lucy Cobos titled “Impressions of the Voyageur” beginning this Friday, Dec. 21 and running through April 5, 2013. “Impressions of the Voyageur” is a collection of photographs taken by Cobos of her travels throughout Massachusetts photographing hulls of boats over a two-year period. The exhibit is free and open to the public.
On Monday, Dec. 31, 2012 from noon to midnight, First Night presents its annual day-long festival of art, music, film, dance, ice sculpture and more. First Night will showcase 1,000 artists in 200 exhibitions and performances in locations all over downtown Boston, from the Waterfront to the Fenway. For more information, check out www.firstnight.org.
The Huntington Theatre Company presents Ralph Ellison’s epic “Invisible Man” from Jan. 4 to Feb. 3, 2013 at the BU Theatre located at 264 Huntington Avenue. Tickets can be purchased online at huntingtontheatre.org; by phone at 617-266-0800; or in person at the BU Theatre Box Office, 264 Huntington Ave.
Celebrity Series of Boston and World Music/CRASHarts presents Savion Glover performing the Boston premiere of “SoLe Sanctuary” on Saturday, Jan. 12 at The Boston Opera House at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $40 and are available online at www.ticketmaster.com, by calling The Boston Opera House at (800) 982-2787, or at The Boston Opera House box office, 539 Washington St., Boston.
The Wilbur presents legendary artist and songwriter, Smokey Robinson in “The Up Close and Personal Tour” on Wednesday, Jan. 16 for one show at 7:30 p.m.
If you would like me to cover or write about your event, email me at email@example.com.