Get Your Culture On! Must-See’s And Do’s This Weekend In Providence!

3 Mar

I think it’s always good to go beyond the cultural spaces you continually find yourself in.  Cross over to another part of town.  Explore a new artist’s work. That’s how I expand on my experience of the world, how my life becomes more full, more rich.

So much going on here in Providence this weekend culturally, and white folks, if you keep thinking you need to get out beyond the white bubble you’re living in, here are some opportunities to enter new spaces, explore new artists’ work, and ponder current matters of art, race and racism.

Invisible Upsouth, Thursday, March 3 – Sunday, March 6, 2016, with Christopher Johnson and Vatic Kuumba, Wilbury Theatre, 393 Broad Street, Providence (Tickets: $10 – $15)

Wilbury Theater Group

Invisible Upsouth, The Wilbury Theater Group

I was excited when local, yet nationally-acclaimed poet and arts educator, Christopher Johnson, told me he was selected to write, direct and act in his first play. You wont’ want to miss (I’m going this weekend)  Christopher’s play, Invisible UpSouth a New Works Program play commissioned by  The Wilbury Theatre Group

Christopher wrote and produced the play along with poet, Vatic Kuumba.  The play, inspired by the important classic, Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, is described as..“part reflection, part conversation, and part examination on living in [what we’re told is] a post-racial society. But what does “post-racial” mean to the people who suffer under conditions of “everyday” racism? What does modern-day poverty look like in our community? Who holds the power in the power structure? What is considered a riot? How is an act, a verb, a word, changed depending the culture associated with it – with the race engaging in it? 

Invisible UpSouth aims to challenge the way traditional theater-going audiences think about race and humanity and how they move through the world. One can be well-educated and still blind to the world around them. How do we help people to start to open their eyes?

The play runs through March 6, 2016, with performances tonight, Thursday, at 7:30 pm, as well as Friday, 3/4,  and Saturday, 3/5 at 7:30 pm, and matinee, Sunday, 3/6 at 2:00 pm.  Tickets available through the website at:


Transforming & Transformative, poet/memoirist, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Friday, March 4, 2016, 5 – 7 pm, The Providence Athenaeum Salon Series, 251 Benefit Street, Providence (Free)

Reginald Dwayne Betts

Reginald Dwayne Betts

I consider myself lucky to have heard about Reginald Dwayne Betts some years back, to have met his wonderful wife, Therese, when she interned with us at the hospital I work at, and most of all, to sit in a writers’ workshop on memoir Betts led at The Grub Street Muse and the Marketplace conference in  Boston a few years ago. The Providence Athenaeum (I finally learned how to spell athenaeum by heart), built in 1836 is a beautiful jewel of a library, and so a lovely space in which to catch one of their salons.  I will be in the audience tomorrow night for this, and if you’re local, I think you won’t want to miss it either:

Poet/Memoirist Reginald Dwayne Betts

5pm reception, 5:30pm program, followed by book sale & signing

SALON: Poet Reginald Dwayne Betts discusses his work.

Betts is the author of two collections of poetry, Shahid Reads His Own Palm (2010) and Bastards of the Reagan Era (2015), as well as an award-winning memoir, A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison (2009), which detailed how a poetry anthology given to him in prison, The Black Poets, changed his life by empowering him to begin to write poetry himself. The poems in his newest collection describe the experiences of the men he got to know during his eight years of incarceration, and trace his arduous path from a living in prison to graduating from Prince George’s Community College, the University of Maryland, and the MFA Program at Warren Wilson College, and finally to Yale Law School, where he is now a student.


Finally, I’m looking forward to getting over to this event produced by the Africana Studies Department/ Rites and Reason Theater at Brown University, which is open today through Sunday, March 6, 2016. Friend, Diagneris Garcia, the department’s Administrative Coordinator, hipped me to this–thanks, Nery!:

MOJOSCAPE: A Meditation on #BlackLivesMatter

An installation of poets’, musicians’ and other artists’ collaborative expressions on what the #BLM Movement means – or doesn’t mean – to them. FREE and OPEN to EVERYONE.

DATES: Wednesday, March 2nd 2016 thru Sunday, March 6th 2016
HOURS: 12pm – 4pm
AND by Appointment – Email
Churchill House, George Houston Bass Performing Arts Space, 155 Angell Street – Providence


MOJOscapes: A Meditation On #BlackLivesMatter

MOJOscapes: A Meditation On #BlackLivesMatter


The site promoting MOJOscapes says to..Come alone, bring a friend, enjoy your lunch – view and reflect, engage in conversations, and perhaps create spontaneous art.







photo credits:

Invisible Upsouth poster image:

Reginald Dwayne Betts by

MOJOscapes: A Meditation On #BlackLivesMatters by







2 Responses to “Get Your Culture On! Must-See’s And Do’s This Weekend In Providence!”

  1. Sherry Gordon March 7, 2016 at 4:40 pm #

    Dear Wendy Jane,

    Hello, there, my so, so very dearly special and dearly precious sister and friend who you are For Always so, so very much, Wendy Jane!!!!!!! Wow, I’m just so, so very proud of you, sister, and just so, so very thrilled and overjoyed about the wonderful opportunity you and the others had to truly experience some great cultural spaces beyond the white bubble, sisterfriend!!!!!! Wow, I’m so happy and pleased that you, my sweet white sister Wendy Jane, and the others had this so very blessed opportunity, and what great and sheer joyous fun this was I know for sure and such a learning and opportunity for even more knowledge and racial awareness, my so, so very dearest friend!!!!!! I am just so, so very proud of you, Wendy Jane, and for all of the others, sister!!!!!! Finally, I’m able to very, very joyfully respond to this absolutely beautiful blog post article of yours with my very heartfelt, detailed, and very thorough comments to everything the way I usually do, my so very dear friend and sister!!!!!!!! I haven’t been home that much and I’ve been away from my computer-darn, I’m usually at home much more often than this and at my computer more often, sisterfriend-UGH!!!!!! What a joy and blessing to see your nationally acclaimed friend, Christopher Johnson-he sounds just so marvelous and so cool here! What a splendid opportunity to see all of the others and how so very awesome here, sister!!!!!!!!! Reginald Dwayne Betts sounds like a very powerful and talented person, and what a fantastic joy and pleasure it must have been for the others to have the sheer joy and delight as they eagerly enjoyed Mojoscape: A Meditation on #BlackLivesMatter. Wow, I would love so and like so to see these goings on in my Iowa City, Iowa, Wendy Jane!!!!!! What so, so very cool and powerfully astounding goings on which occurred this weekend in your absolutely awesome Providence, Rhode Island!!!!!! Sister, your Providence, Rhode Island sounds like it must be a so very cool and a greatly spectacular tourist attraction which I wish that I could visit someday, sister!!!!!! Wow, wow, wow and wow and wow and a zillion wows here, sisterfriend!!!!!! Sister, this is an absolutely amazing blog post article of yours, Wendy Jane, and I so, so very much love and like this a whole bunch, sister!!!!!!! Yay!!!!!!! Yay for you Wendy Jane yay!!!!!!! Yay for this very stupendously remarkable blog post article of yours and for your other magnificent writings, Wendy Jane!!!!! Yay!!!!!!

    Sister, YOU, Wendy Jane, are my very, very joy and blessing, and your very superbly super blog post articles and other writings are such greatly immense and sheer joys and blessings to me, sister, as I know that they are also to your other very, very many other grateful and very appreciative readers, my friend!!!!!! I feel just so, so very energized, uplifted, and inspired just by the blessed joys I have responding so, so very heartily to this beautiful, beautiful, beautiful blog post article, sister!!!!!!!! Yay!!!!!!

    Sister, please have a Very Marvelous and a Mighty Fine Monday, and may all of your days be so, so very especially blessed, Wendy Jane!!!!!!! YOU, my friend, are just the very greatest and the very best, and so are your brilliant blog post articles and other fabulous writings, sisterfriend!!!!!!! Yay!!!!!!!

    Very Warmly and Sincerely For Always, my so, so very sweet white and Jewish sister and friend who you are For Always so, so very much, Wendy Jane, with such Peace and Love To You For Always, my so, so very dearly special and dearly precious sister, with such Blessings and Even More Blessings To You For Always, my friend,

    Your lesbian black sister and friend For Always in the very spirit and solidarity, Sherry Gordon

    • Wendy Jane March 7, 2016 at 4:45 pm #

      Hi Sherry,

      Thanks for stopping by as you always do. You are right on target as you describe the people behind this past weekend’s events, and it would have been cool to attend them with you! Glad that you have been out and about. I’m working on writing my reflections on Invisible Upsouth, and later a post on the Reginald Dwayne Betts event.

      Stay well, my sisterfriend in solidarity!

      Wendy Jane

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