Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Women's History Month in Plainfield - Masjidullah and P.A.A.A.S.

As you all are aware, March is Women's History Month, wherein we honor the achievements, contributions, and struggles of women from a variety of backgrounds. This past week, it was my pleasure to serve as a panelist and guest speaker at two events in my wonderful home town of Plainfield. On Sunday, March 24, I was honored to serve as a panelist with Assemblywoman Linda Carter and Neighborhood House CEO Carol Presley at the annual Women's History Month event hosted by Masjidullah to benefit the Muslim Soup Kitchen, which is celebrating 30 years of feeding our community. The discussion focused on how we, as professional women in the public sphere, overcame (or are overcoming) obstacles to success. I was fascinated by the journeys detailed by my fellow panelists, and a lively Q and A with the audience followed the talk. I love attending events at Masjidullah, whose congregants always provide the warmest of welcomes. I honor and thank them. 

I visited the Plainfield Academy of Arts and Advanced Studies (P.A.A.A.S.) on Monday morning, March 25, to talk about women in politics and the relationship of politics to art. The talk veered toward a discussion of arts funding and budget cuts, especially in schools. I shared with the students some excerpts from an essay titled "The Sanctuary of School," by artist Lynda Barry. Although the essay was published in the early 1990s, it remains timely and resonates still (see the excerpt below). After I read the quotes, I asked the students for their thoughts, and I heard, LOUDLY and CLEARLY, their eloquent and deeply passionate responses, which can be summed up as: DO NOT CUT ARTS FUNDING. After the talk, we watched two outstanding performances of Shakespearean works by P.A.A.A.S. theater students, and I was honored to be presented with an embroidered shirt and a resolution from the State Legislature. 

I will be attending a number of other Women's History Month events, so I will post them!

All best,


Thursday, December 27, 2018

Happy Holidays to All!

I want to wish everyone the best during this winter holiday season. I will be posting a "year end" essay over the weekend as we prepare to enter the new year.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

"Black Nativity" Performances Today and Tomorrow!

Black Nativity. Photo courtesy of M.PoWeR Arts.
Tonight, Union County theatergoers can join me to enjoy the holiday musical classic Black Nativity, at the Parish Hall Theater, located at the First Unitarian Society of Plainfield, 724 Park Avenue in Plainfield. Performances continue today, Saturday, December 15, at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm, with the final performance tomorrow, Sunday, December 16 at 6:00 pm. 

In addition, theatergoers will also be able to purchase items at the Black Nativity Holiday Bazaar, which will be open throughout the show's run. 

Brought to you by M.PoWeR Arts, with the producing and directing team of Onyx Keesha and Danielle Tucker, with Chevan Thomas as Music Director and Quincy Pronker as Choreographer, this production of Langston Hughes’s “Gospel Song-Play” is a must-see for the holiday season. Tickets are still available--call (908) 912-4396 to purchase tickets. See the poster with the performance times and ticket prices below!
(cross-posted on my Freeholder Blog: http://freeholderrebecca.blogspot.com/

I hope to see you there! Support the arts in Plainfield!

Monday, November 12, 2018

"Black Nativity" Holiday Bazaar: Dec. 14 - Dec. 16--Vendors Needed!

In December, Union County theatergoers can enjoy the holiday musical classic Black Nativity, at the Parish Hall Theater,located at the First Unitarian Society of Plainfield, 724 Park Avenue in Plainfield. Performances begin on Friday, December 14, and continue through Sunday, December 16, 2018. 

In addition, theatergoers will also be able to partake in the Black Nativity Holiday Bazaar, which will be open throughout the show's run. If you want to participate as a vendor, call (908) 912-4396. More information is contained on the flier at right.

Brought to you by M.PoWeR Arts, with the producing and directing team of Onyx Keesha and Danielle Tucker, with Chevan Thomas as Music Director, this production of Langston Hughes’s “Gospel Song-Play” is a must-see for the holiday season. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

"The Colored Museum" Hits the Stage in Plainfield This Weekend!

This weekend, Danielle Tucker Productions and Onyx Keesha present The Colored Museum, George C. Wolfe's amazing and painfully funny comedy, which satirizes pretentious aspects of African American theatrical culture, at the same time skewering racist assumptions about black culture. 

Directed by Plainfield's own Danielle Tucker,* whose fine-tuned directorial skills are on display once again, the show will be presented at the First Unitarian Society of Plainfield's Parish Hall Theater (located at 724 Park Avenue in Plainfield) on Friday, September 21 and Saturday, September 22 at 8:00 pm, and on Sunday, September 23 at 5:00 pm

Tickets for the performance are only $18. To order, call (908) 912-4396 or click on the link: The Colored Museum - Tickets

The Colored Museum originally premiered back in 1986 at the Crossroads Theatre in New Brunswick before moving to Joe Papp's legendary Public Theater on Lafayette Avenue in New York City. Wolfe's play takes no prisoners, as he gleefully wounds the sacred cows of African American theater history, such as Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun, with "The-Last-Mama-on-the-Couch Play." 

I am looking forward to seeing this piece again, and I am glad that it's being staged right here in Plainfield. Danielle Tucker is part of a re-energized performing arts wave that is hitting Plainfield, and she is joined in this production by her frequent collaborator Onyx Keesha of M.Power Arts.

*Director Danielle Tucker most recently directed the sold-out performances of Annie, Jr., The Vagina Monologues, and August Wilson's Fences.

New 2nd Street Youth Center Grand Opening on Wednesday, Sept. 19!

This Wednesday, September 19, at 12:00 noon, the City of Plainfield, in partnership with Plainfield Avenue Urban Renewal, invites you to the Grand Opening and Ribbon-Cutting ceremony for the Second Street Youth Center (SSYC) at its new location, 200 Plainfield Avenue (at S 2nd St.). SSYC will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in the new space, which features a new Early Childhood Educational Center and an Agricultural and Food Education Center

I am really looking forward to this event, hosted by the SSYC Foundation, Inc., which will commemorate the center's longstanding commitment to Plainfield's young people as well as to the larger Plainfield community. A couple of years ago, I facilitated an 8-week college prep writing workshop for teens at the old location as part of SSYC's Youth Leadership Academy. I am looking forward to volunteering in the new location, as it was incredibly rewarding to be working with teen leaders on the cusp of adulthood. 

The SSYC continues to focus on the needs of the Plainfield community. As noted on its website, SSYC Foundation, Inc.

The Second Street Youth Center Foundation, Inc. (SSYC) is a multipurpose non-profit organization seeking to bring about better community relations by providing educational, vocational, cultural and recreational activities for youth and adults in this community.
Through these activities the Foundation strives to provide opportunities for self expression, the building of self-worth and an overall environment that fosters creative learning and enables people to reach their full potential. SSYC has become a recognized viable community service agency in the City of Plainfield. Each year multitudes of residents pass through this Agency as recipients of many types of services.

Friday, August 10, 2018

2nd Annual Plainfield Senior Swim Soiree at Hannah Atkins Pool!

For the second year in a row, the City of Plainfield will be hosting a great event for our older active adults! Sunday, August 26, 2017from 3:00 - 7:00 pm, the City of Plainfield is proud to sponsor the "2nd Senior Swim Soiree" for our seniors (AKA older active adults), also at Hannah Atkins Pool, located at 508-552 West 3rd Street.Registration is required--call (908) 753-3097! Bring your own beach chair, and come and enjoy water aerobics, card games, music, dancing, and food and drink. There will also be a Bathing Suit Contest (Best Cover Up, Best Designed Bathing Suit, and Most Colorful Bathing Suit) with prizes! As always, proper bathing attire is required! 

So...come on out and have some fun to mark the end the summer pool season!