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Paul Mooney & Dick Gregory
Thursday 07/30
Paul Mooney & Dick Gregory @ The Howard Theatre
$49.50 / $55
Paul Mooney Mr. Paul Mooney was born in Louisiana and grew up in Oakland, California. As a youth, he literally ran away from home and joined the Charles Gody Circus, going down in history as the first African-American ringmaster. He was always writing comedy. He says “When I was Ringmaster, I was doing jokes I thought were funny.” Mooney’s first professional gig in comedy was with Richard Pryor. He wrote most of the hilarious routines for Pryor’s Saturday Night Live appearance, co-wrote material on the groundbreaking Live On Sunset, Bicentennial Nigger, and Is It Something I Said albums, as well as Pryor’s film Jo Jo Dancer. As head writer for the Richard Pryor show, he was responsible for the national television debuts of Robin Williams, Sandra Bernhard, Marsha Warfield, John Witherspoon, and Tim Reid. As head writer during the first year of FOX’s In Living Color, also debuting the young Jim Carey, he also created the characters Homey the Clown, and the brothers Tom and Tom, to name a few. He co-starred with Damon Wayans and Jada Pinkett-Smith in the Spike Lee film Bamboozled. Paul Mooney came into his own with his controversial debut album Race & Masterpiece continues to stir anger, laughter, and thought. His latest DVD's, Analyzing White America, Know Your History, It's the End of the World and his latest release currently on Showtime, The Godfather of Comedy, Mr. Paul Mooney. “I always drop history” he explains “It’s knowledge; There’s always a message in my comedy and you may not get it that night - it’s like time bombs. It’ll get you a week later. You’ll understand.” Dick Gregory An activist, philosopher, anti-drug cruasder, comedian, author, actor, recording artist, and nutritionist, Dick Gregory was on the frontline in the '60s during the Civil Rights era. Today he continues to be a "drum major for justice and equality." Born in 1932 in St. Louis, MO, his social satire has drastically changed the way white Americans perceive African Americans. After beginning to perform comedy in the mid-'50s while serving in the army, Gregory first entered the national comedy scene in 1961, when Chicago's Playboy Club (as a direct request from publisher Hugh Hefner) booked him as a replacement for white comedian, "Professor" Irwin Corey. His tenure as a replacement for Corey was so successful - at one performance he won over an audience that included Southern white convention goers - that the Playboy Club offered him a contract extension from several weeks to three years. By 1962 Gregory had become a nationally known headline performer, selling out nightclubs, making numerous national television appearances, and recording popular comedy albums. Through the '60s, Gregory spent more time on social issues and less time on performing. He protested on numerous occasions and participated in marches and parades to support a range of causes, including opposition to the Vietnam War, world hunger, and drug abuse. He demonstrated his commitment to confronting the entrenched political powers by opposing Richard J. Daley in Chicago's 1966 mayoral election. He also ran for president in 1968 as a write-in candidate for the Freedom and Peace Party, a splinter group of the Peace and Freedom Party, and received 1.5 million votes. His activism continued through the next several decades, into the '90s. In response to published allegations that the C.I.A. had supplied cocaine to predominantly African American areas in Los Angeles, thus spurring the crack epidemic, Gregory protested at C.I.A. headquarters and was arrested. In 1992 he also began a program called Campaign for Human Dignity to fight crime in St. Louis neighborhoods. Although Gregory's steadfast commitment has limited his opportunities to perform, he's still found ways to share his powerful and often comedic message with audiences across the country. In 1996, he took the stage stage with his critically acclaimed one-man show, Dick Gregory Live! The reviews of the show compared him to the greatest stand-ups in the history of Broadway. In 1998, he also spoke at the celebration of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., prompting President Clinton to declare: "I love Dick Gregory, he is one of the funniest people on the planet." Although Gregory announced in 2001 that he had been diagnosed with lymphoma, he was able to battle the cancer into remission with a regimen of diet, vitamins, and exercise, spreading awareness of the fact that cancer is indeed curable. The new millennium has found Gregory continuing to write, perform, and shape public opinion. "I've lived long enough to need two autobiographies, which is fine with me," he laughs. "I'm looking forward to writing the third and fourth volumes as well."
Stephanie Mills
Saturday 11/07
Stephanie Mills @ The Howard Theatre
$69.50 / $75
Stephanie Mills is one of the most distinctive voices in contemporary music whose onstage energy and power inspires standing ovations wherever she performs. She is a legendary Grammy and America Music Award winning recording artist with five best selling albums and ten Billboard #1 singles. Career History Over the span of 35 years illustrious career, Stephanie Mills has distinguished herself as an actress and performer. Stephanie‘s critically acclaimed appearances in shows like the four-time Tony Award -winning “The Wiz” have assured her of her consistent and loyal fan base. Stephanie hails from Brooklyn, New York and grew up singing in her home church. Her vocal abilities became evident by age nine. For six consecutive weeks, a young Stephanie won the amateur night at the acclaimed Apollo Theatre. She then went on to do her first Broadway musical, "Maggie Flynn". She then did classical tv shows such as "Captain Kangaroo" and "The Electric Company". Ms. Mills signed with 20th Century Fox Records in 1979. While working with producers James Mtume and Reggie Lucas, Stephanie recorded "WhatchaGonna Do With My Lovin" and by 1984, she had climbed the charts with major hits: "Sweet Sensation", "Never Knew Love Like This Before" (a gold single), "Two Hearts" (a duet with Teddy Pendergrass), "Keep Away Girls", "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore?." Stephanie scored three best selling albums in a row with "WhatchaGonna Do With My Lovin", "Sweet Sensation', and "Stephanie" in a span of just two years. Stephanie has an insatiable appetite for singing. It is one of the things she loves to do. She says it makes her happy and she looks forward to putting out new music in 2014. She hopes her music will make her fans as happy as it has made her!
Strunz & Farah
Sunday 08/16
Strunz & Farah @ The Howard Theatre
$25 / $30
Strunz & Farah, performing together since 1980, have created an entirely new expression for the acoustic guitar. From Costa Rica and Iran respectively, Jorge Strunz and Ardeshir Farah have brought the cultural riches of their native lands to their highly virtuosic, rhythmic, and improvisation-rich original instrumental compositions, profoundly influencing guitarists everywhere. The duo's music is perhaps best described as original international acoustic improvisational guitar music, world guitar, or ethnojazz. Their style is saturated with their cultural roots, which include Afro-Caribbean, Latin American folk, flamenco, and Middle Eastern music, and it draws heavily from the jazz concept of improvisation. The first meeting between these two musicians in 1979 marked the first time that Latin American and Middle Eastern music came together on the guitar. The travels of his diplomat father brought Strunz to the United States, while Farah arrived as a student of architecture. Farah came to see Strunz perform with his Latin jazz group Caldera and decided to meet him. Upon meeting, it was instantly obvious that the two were brothers of the guitar from opposite ends of the earth. They quickly prepared a repertoire, began performing, and recorded their first project, Mosaico, in 1980. Although record companies at that time were not ready for this exotic new music, jazz radio embraced it, and world/jazz industry pioneer Richard Bock got the duo signed to the prestigious jazz label Milestone, on which Strunz & Farah cut the records Frontera (1983) and Guitarras (1984). These records defined world music on guitar years before the world music category even existed. Since their genre-defining beginning, the duo has continued releasing complex and beautiful albums, most of which have been on Selva, the duo's own artist-friendly label. Notable efforts included Primal Magic (1990), which won Billboard's World Music Album of the Year award, and Americas (1992), which won a Grammy nomination. Both albums spent months on the top of Billboard's World Music chart. In addition to their own recordings, Struntz & Farah have collaborated with dozens of renowned world, jazz, and classical musicians, including Dr. L. Subramaniam, Ashish Khan, Heyadeh, Manoochehr Sadeghi, Bijan Mortazavi, Jihad Racy, Edwin Colon Zayas, Stanley Clarke, Hubert Laws, Liona Boyd, Joan Baez, and Jackson Browne. Their latest album, Journey Around the Sun, came out in 2011.