One Castle

Recent Articles

Austene Van ascends in role of Aida




Austene Van, a brilliant performer, has long been outshone by fellow stars Jevetta Steele and Regina Marie Williams. But not because she’s, per se, a lesser talent. However, Steele saw her profile incredibly heightened by a stint in her autobiographical hit Two Queens, One Castle at Mixed Blood Theatre and Williams saw hers receive a tremendous boost when she performed in  Dinah Was…at Penumbra Theatre Company. I’ve written on more than one occasion that Austene Van, —while for years enjoying the enviable success of not needing a day job and being able to make a rock solid living at theatre — sings beautifully, acts her hips off and can trip the proverbial light fantastic hadn’t come across just the right vehicle to distinguish her as a leading lady. Well, she found one in the form of Aida, which had a recent run this past January in downtown Minneapolis at the Hennepin Theater Trust’s Pantages Theatre. It’s fairly understandable why Austene Van — to those for whom the name doesn’t ring quite the same bell as does Steele or Williams — has been a harder fit for the Cinderella slipper, despite the fact that she’s a Penumbra company member and mainstay on the venue’s stage. Continue Reading →

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Documentary confronts us with the grim realities of Black AIDS

By Dwight Hobbes

Contributing Writer


Released earlier this year, Endgame: AIDS in Black America (PBS-DVD), produced and directed by Renata Stone for WGBH/FRONTLINE, is an important documentary for the subject alone, keeping up awareness of a medical crisis many choose not to think about, much less candidly discuss. Stone also is producer of The Age of AIDS 2006’s award-winning FRONTLINE (PBS). Endgame brings sobering information. One bit of unwelcome news: Phill Wilson, head of the Black AIDS Institute, states at a World AIDS Day convention, “If Black America was a country unto itself, it would have the 16th worse epidemic in the world. Today in America, two-thirds of new cases of HIV among women will be Black… Seventy percent of the new HIV cases of youth will be Black.”

These facts alone are compelling reason to know more about the health issue of HIV than simply because you don’t want to catch it. Continue Reading →

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