Date printed: Fri 17th Jan 2020 1:05pm PST
The Beautiful Ones A Celebration of His Memoir, Life and Art
NYC The Town Hall presents / Mon Nov 18th
Prince: The Beautiful Ones, a tribute event to celebrate Prince’s legacy and the launch of his memoir THE BEAUTIFUL ONES.
Featuring performances by the NPG + special guests...
WITH: Spike Lee
Co-Author Dan Piepenbring
Editor Chris Jackson
Tix start @ $65
Tickets On Sale Fri, Nov 1st At 12pm
All ticket sales include a hardcover copy of THE BEAUTIFUL ONES (Penguin Random House).
All proceeds from the event go to Harlem Children’s Zone
Who's going ?
Great event for a great cause in a great venue. And you get the book.
This is terrific! I love how the proceeds are going to the Harlem Children's Zone. Very lucky people that get to attend this. I'm so jealous. Enjoy!
We'll be there!
[Edited 11/8/19 17:18pm]
And the MUSIC continues...forever...
Just got tix!
This is what you want...This is what you get.
Front row, just like back in the day for Prince concerts!!!!
Take a train, take a plane, take a walk, I'm going!! Minus the plane. Bit of a trek, but I'm on my way. Meeting my cousin there, which, to be honest, will be a stretch for her. But, that's another story... Wish I'd org noted some of you who are going. It would be fun to meet. But, no time... I'll be in row m orchestra, wearing a red coat... sitting next to someone who looks like she's never heard Prince b4!
Just popped head in on the soundcheck and the fellaz sounded great!
Should be a cool night of celebration
So, seeing The NPG do a Flawless version of Money Don’t Matter Tonight( complete with background harmonies) was the thing that I didn’t know I. NEEDED to see. It was a beautiful night.
This is what you want...This is what you get.
From 'The Ladder' to 'The Cross,' Prince's Legacy Endures Through His Friends and Music at a Town Hall Tribute
Edmonton, AB -
Mod Goddess of the SNIP & BAN Making Moves - OF4S
Ohh purple joy oh purple bliss oh purple rapture!
REAL MUSIC by REAL MUSICIANS - Prince
"I kind of wish there was a reason for Prince to make the site crash more" ~~ Ben
Co-sign! I teared up a little.
if it was just a dream, call me a dreamer 2
the comments and reviews. Please keep 'em coming.
A bit overboard. I hope I don't put you to sleep... (trying to respond to poppys request for more)>>>
Rainy evening. More misting than heavy rain. Forgot my umbrella and wasn’t really wet, despite walking from Grand Central, when I arrived at The Town Hall.
Out front: A man calling out, “Do you have an extra ticket?” Earlier in the day, I’d noticed that there were lots of unreserved seats for the celebration on The Town Hall website. When the show started, the place was packed.
By the way, this venue has an interesting history. https://thetownhall.org/history Social justice issues mix with the arts, across the decades.
3 entrances were opened to the street along the long bank of doors. Ticket scan; body scan; and IN. Stacks of books. Hustle and bustle in the foyer. Everyone expectant, in a good mood. Dressed to the nines. Creative clothing. Love symbols. Hair coifed. Lots of purple accessories.
Employees filter through the crowd, bringing more stacks of books to replace those taken from the fast depleting piles, distributed to the crowd’s eager hands. My first reaction when handed my copy of 'Prince, the Beautiful Ones': wow, heavy much?!!! Noticeably heavier than your average book of the same size. I had to catch it before I dropped the unexpected weight.
It wasn’t till we were headed to the interior, the actual entrance to the theatre orchestra section, that I turned back for a second and saw a concession stand back in the foyer that I’d missed. They were selling a hoodie with ‘Trayvon’ written in large letters across the front, among other consciousness-, awareness-raising items. I wanted to go back but the tide of people carried us in.
The table was selling items from the company Liberated People. From the website: “Liberated People is a lifestyle brand designed to inspire people to act.” Here’s the link: https://weareliberated.com That is one of the projects of Gbenga Akinnagbe, the founder and managing director of the company and also the director of the evening's events at The Town Hall. Akinnagbe is an actor with an interesting resume. I think he was the one who spoke during the celebration about the Harlem Children’s Zone and what Prince’s philanthropy has meant.
FYI, my account isn't the exact order of events. Maybe, others can correct/add/elaborate.
Overall, stage dark. From stage left: music, talking drums, fill the theatre. Shadowy figures move onto the stage in the darkness. They are Talu Green and Co., African drummers. Two men with djembes; another with a stand alone drum struck with two hand-held wooden rods that were also used as percussion instruments by striking one against the other. I don’t know the name of that drum. Another man with a marimba-type instrument. There’s a short clip of Talu Green & Co. on YT (look for poster ‘checkerphil’.) There are a total of 4 very short clips on that channel, maybe a minute each.
The NPG quietly walk on after the African ensemble has played for several minutes. Tony M, quietly dressed in a sweater, pants; Morris Hayes wearing his uniform coat with gold braid; Levi Seacer dressed in black shirt and pants and black fedora; Sonny T, also in black; Les Cleveland, who studied with John Blackwell, on the drumset; Kenni Holmen, sax and flute; MacKenzie, lead singer for the NPG, hair in an afro, wearing a shimmery, metallic shirt. The band moves into ‘When Doves Cry’ with Talu Green & Co. accompanying.
Nothing Compares 2 U… duet with MacKenzie and Shelley Nicole.… nice emotional chemistry. Sexy MF: Tony M gets the crowd in the mix. When Doves Cry (duet with B-Slade and Marcelle Davies-Lashley… nice). Money Don’t Matter 2Night (MacKenzie). The Cross (MacKenzie). DMSR (Mumu Fresh). For Purple Rain, all the guest artists sang together. Powerful. The YT poster I mentioned above has short clips/excerpts of all these except NC2U. For Purple Rain, B. Slade and MacKenzie sang with intense passion, along with the female guest artists: Marcell Davies-Lashley, Mumu Fresh and Shelley Nicole. Also, at some point during the evening, Martika’s recording of Love Thy Will Be Done was played. I didn’t know anything about any of the guest artists… so, I’ve been looking them up. Here’s a link to videos on B.Slade’s website:
By the way, he was dressed in high fashion: a cool, broad-striped suit, with matching coat and pants.
Check out some of his videos. Pretty cool. Background in the church. Also, MacKenzie has that strongly in his past, I’ve read. That thread of commonality amongst many black American artists appears often. A friend of mine, a musician, Caribbean-born, also has that thread. Maybe, it derives from an inherited trait, an ease with words, an ease with song-writing and rhythm, both in speech and musicality, that works in both professions. If I recall correctly, that thread was common to members of Prince’s bands, too. Morris Hayes. Josh Dunham. Who else?
Just to say, it's worthwhile looking at all the guest artists' bios, even though I neglected to post links to the women artists.
Back to The Town Hall: Above the stage, a large overhead screen with still photos of Prince projected on it, a slow-moving slide show with images appearing for minutes at a time. Also, projected on the screen at points: some concert footage of Prince.
Interspersed with the music: speakers, a poet.
Spike Lee recounted the story of receiving the symbol guitar and carried it aloft across the stage. He invited everyone to his next block party in honor of Prince.
De Angela L. Duff announced the next Prince symposium, spring 2020 at NYU, to focus on 40 years of Dirty Mind and 30 years of Graffiti Bridge. She criticized Warner Brothers for not putting more focus on a milestone anniversary of …. Anyone remember which album??? Maybe, Dirty Mind. She also mentioned how great it would have been if Piano and a Microphone were released at the same time as the memoir.
Greg Tate read the entirety of this eulogy (link below). He spoke beautifully, in a stream-of-consciousness style, without pauses. Interspersed with his crafted lines, selected excerpts of Prince’s songs:
The people behind me murmured, “less talking, more music.” Imagine they were disappointed when stuffed chairs appeared on stage and the panel convened to discuss the book: Spike Lee, De Angela Duff, Dan Piepenbring, Chris Jackson (editor for the book); Greg Tate leading the discussion. You can see the entirety of that panel talk with the link luv4u posted, above. De Angela Duff said she wished the images in the book were larger, that the spiral-bound hand-written pages were “at scale”, rather than requiring a magnifying glass. Chris Jackson mentioned Prince had wanted a 'handbook', something that would fit in the hands, not gather dust on a coffee tabel. Spike Lee spoke about Prince’s music in his films. Girl 6. Blackkklansman. It’s worth it to hear their reflections, appreciations and criticisms of the book.
The brass band marched up to the stage from the back of the auditorium, passing the audience, through the aisles. They played on stage for a while. As portrayed in the proper review that luv4u posted, the brass band had a quality reminiscent of a New Orleans jazz funeral procession. The musicians were from all backgrounds, however.
I liked the flow of the evening: some talking, some music. Although, more music from the NPG would have been nice… yeah. btw, the band has a rigorous schedule right now. They'd just come from Texas, where they'd performed the 16th and now they're off on a tour of Europe. All-in-all, NPG plus guest artists: what an impressive bunch of performers, singers, speakers, musicians. Everyone, interesting, accomplished, artists/activists all (or most).
If I were to say anything negative: For me, the sound system was set just a sliver too loud. Also, the miking for the voices was sometimes off. For example, Levi Seacer played a solo and I couldn’t hear his scat singing, even though Tony M was holding the mike for him. Also, I wished that Sonny T had had an opportunity to solo. He looked to be waiting for that opportunity and I wanted to hear him. Then, the evening ended and the appreciative audience departed.
[Edited 11/24/19 16:06pm]
Oh barnswallow! Thank you SO much for taking the time to write down your account. I am thrilled and will be spending time with the links. This is the kind of Prince stuff I come to the org for.
Thanks for the appreciation. I spent some time on that! Also, thanks for sharing some of your story. Your comment makes me think: "No one understood the Parade better than he did." Would you elaborate what you mean? I know Prince's heritage, all 4 of his grandparents, were born in Louisiana. Also, it makes me think of the song Christopher Tracy's Parade. I can't recollect the context when the song occurs in the movie UTCM. Even the name of the album, 'Parade'. I hadn't made that association.
Date printed: Fri 17th Jan 2020 1:05pm PST