What do an award-winning choreographer and a Mississippi bluesman have in common?
At first glance, not much, but this month, the two unite when the Fort Greene arts group 651 ARTS brings together Ralph Lemon and Jimmy “Duck” Holmes in a new performance and interview series featuring African-American innovators.
“We wanted to give artists an opportunity to engage with one another while looking for unique ways to partner with some of our Fort Greene colleagues,” said Anna Glass, who is managing the four-week “Live and Outspoken” series, which begins on April 27, with choreographer Lemon interviewing Holmes, who will also perform his unique style of Delta blues called Bentonia.
Other artists pairings to make note of throughout the series include poet and playwright Sonia Shanchez and choreographer Ron Brown (May 4), South African composer Hugh Masekela and musician Somi (May 11), and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage and actress/writer April Yvette Thompson (May 18).
The artists were brought together by disciplines, as in the case of Nottage and Thompson, or an inspired connection, as with Lemon and Holmes, who became friends while in Mississippi. And all, of course, are outspoken.
“All of these artists have very unique voices within their art form,” said Glass. “Whether or not you’re an artist, people will find something extraordinary and inspiring about the journeys these artists have taken to get to where they are today.”
“Live and Outspoken” kicks off April 27 at 7 pm at the home of Emmy-Award-winning writer/producer Tom Fontana (address given upon ticket purchase). Tickets $35. For info, visit www.651arts.org.