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Mike Tyson calls Mpls ‘the center of the boxing universe’

But only for one night
 
 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Once known as “The Baddest Man on the Planet,” former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson was in town last week. The 5’-10” Brooklyn-born Tyson turned pro at age 18 in 1984, and two years later he became the youngest boxer to hold world heavyweight championship belts,  fiercely defending them nine times before getting knocked out by Buster Douglas in 1990. After that, however, his life went into a freefall, including three years spent in jail for a rape conviction. Following his release from prison, Tyson got back in the ring and fought several times. He still was a top draw. Continue Reading →

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A conversation with veteran actress Yolanda Ross

 

By Charles Hallman
Staff writer

 

Third in a multi-part series

 

Yolanda Ross made her lead screen debut in Stranger Inside, a 2001 HBO feature film that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. She made her stage debut seven years later as a member of New York’s Labyrinth Theater Company. Since then, the actress have appeared in a dozen films, and her television roles that has reached double figures as well, including five episodes of HBO’s Treme. She also had a couple of roles specifically written for her, such as a part in David Mamet’s The Unit. “I was shocked, thrilled, and thankful — I was really amazed,” said Ross in a recent MSR phone interview. Continue Reading →

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‘Ordinary African American woman’ LisaGay Hamilton has an impressive acting resume

 

 

By Charles Hallman
Staff writer

Second in a multi-part series

Despite her impressive filmography, LisaGay Hamilton humbly points out that her name isn’t a household one. “I’m an ordinary African American woman,” she told the MSR in a recent phone interview. “Personally I am not exotic looking. I’m not curvaceous… I just have to be really great — really, really good.”

Hamilton nonetheless pointed out that she tries not to take acting jobs “just to make money. Continue Reading →

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LisaGay Hamilton and Yolanda Ross star in new John Sayles thriller

 

 

By Charles Hallman
Staff writer

 

The first of a four-part series that takes a look at Black women in the movie industry

 

Go For Sisters, a John Sayles movie, made its local debut in Minneapolis December 13 at Landmark Theatres’ Lagoon Cinema. The film is currently scheduled to run for one week only. The 122-minute film (which is unrated, but not recommended for persons under 15 due to violence, drug scenes and strong language) is about two women, once friends growing up who then grew apart. They reunite after 20 years to find a missing son, with the help of an ex-police detective. Sayles said in his director’s statement, “I usually don’t write screenplays with specific actors in mind. Continue Reading →

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Monogamous: To Be or Not to Be?

The one thing you don’t expect to see in any of the Bible Belt states (where most have amended their constitutions to define marriage between one man and one woman) is an organization promoting polyamory. Last month at Atlanta’s Pride Parade the group Atlanta Polyamory Inc. did just that — and in the wide-open light of day. The result was the shock, awe, and disgust of a mixed group. Atlanta Polyamory Inc.’s purple-lettered banner read, “Polyamory: having simultaneous close emotional relationships with two or more other individuals.” While many religious conservatives might argue that the legalization of same-gender marriage and shows like HBO’s Big Love — about a fictional polygamist Mormon family — plant seeds to destroy the conventional family unit, we have to ask ourselves is monogamy a natural instinct in us or is it a social construct, which was obviously devised to protect and to regulate the institution of heterosexual marriage? To be non-monogamous in this culture carries pejorative and judgmental connotations for both heterosexuals and LGBTQs. Continue Reading →

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Even back in New York, Keith could not escape Lesli’s reach

 

The only thing Keith hated worse than taking off in an airplane was touching back down in one. He’d done this dozens of times but still couldn’t get used to it. As the ground got bigger and drew closer, Keith wondered, every single time, what would happen if they don’t put the brakes on in time. They did, of course, put the brakes on in time. Every time. Continue Reading →

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Local youth join international poets to hone Brave New Voices

 
Tish Jones cultivates next generation of MN spoken word artists
 

 

By Jamal Denman

Contributing Writer

 

Almost every practitioner of creative art, regardless of the discipline, will be quick to point out that they are motivated to do what they do for very personal reasons. One’s affinity for a particular art form is often connected to at least one emotional, enlightening, and/or life-changing experience. This is especially true for those who are into poetry and spoken word, art forms that give a voice and a medium of expression to many who feel that they otherwise would not be heard. These aspects of spoken word and poetry are what attracted artist and educator Tish Jones. They are what motivate her to create spaces for people — youth in particular — to discover the art of spoken word, as well as to develop and hone their skills and have opportunities to perform their work. Continue Reading →

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Gordon Parks film goes beyond Life photos, Shaft movie to reveal his life’s work

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

To call Gordon Parks (1912-2006) a Renaissance man might be an understatement to those who knew the late photographer, filmmaker, writer and composer. Born the youngest of 15 children in Fort Scott, Kansas, his father sent the teenage Parks to St. Paul to live with an older sister after their mother died. However he didn’t get along with his brother-in-law, who threw him out of the house, and Parks lived on the streets. Although he never graduated from high school, he nonetheless embarked on a journey that first began with playing piano in a brothel and playing semi-pro basketball to becoming an internationally renowned filmmaker. Continue Reading →

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Tracey Ashley: Witty comedian brought the heat to local club

 

There aren’t many things worth going outside for on a December night in the Twin Cities. Comedic ace Tracey Ashley is one. Homegirl truly got skills. This summer, Tracey Ashley opened for Dave Chappelle at the State Theatre and was a hit, delighting her fans and winning new ones with crackling fresh material. This night, I can’t wait to see her light the Acme Comedy Club up. Continue Reading →

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Local Black scholars screen, critique film on 1963 Children’s Crusade

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Re-enactments of true events in documentaries are common practice. University of Minnesota professors Rose Brewer and John Wright both were critical of the use of re-enactments in Mighty Times: The Children’s March, which won the best short documentary Oscar in 2005, during a discussion after its August 24 screening at the Glover-Sudduth Center in Minneapolis. The film was about the 1963 Children’s Crusade in Birmingham, Alabama, when thousands of Black children of all ages were arrested and jailed in seven days of protests. (See “Film on 1963 Birmingham Children’s Crusade gets free screening” in MSR Aug. 16-22 issue.)

First produced for HBO, the film used scenes that included actors and shot at locations outside of Birmingham. Continue Reading →

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