Fifty years ago, in a speech at Illinois Wesleyan University, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a speech that responded to the Watts riots of the previous year with a carefully calibrated appeal. In its suggestion that part of the solution lay in the economics of the time, King’s call today sounds sadly familiar.
“We must build a great America. It cannot be built on violence. It cannot be built on riots. And everybody must work hard to build a climate and to change the conditions that make for the bitterness and that make for the agony that cause individuals to turn to this kind of self-destruction,” he said. “ … In spite of the difficulties ahead, in spite of the fact that we must work hard, I still have faith in the future. And I still have faith in America, because I love America, and I believe that we will continue to build a coalition of conscience that one day will solve this problem.”
Two years later, the civil rights leader and advocate for nonviolence was dead, his assassination sparking a new wave of riots in major cities across the country.
In Oakland during that tense summer of 1968, two photographers, German-born Ruth-Marion Baruch and Louisiana native Pirkle Jones, took a series of pictures of a “Free Huey” rally. The gathering was organized by the Black Panther Party for Self Defense in support of one of its founders, Huey Newton, awaiting trial in the shooting death of a police officer (his conviction was overturned in 1970).
One of the remarkable things about these pictures is their focus on the crowd, the majority of which are not radicals in ominous black shades, but neatly dressed, middle-class families, perhaps encouraged by the Panthers’ grassroots work on issues such as education and health care.
When some of the photographs taken by Baruch and Jones were put on display last year in the exhibit “The Summer of ’68: Photographing the Black Panthers” at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, the show was scheduled to run through Nov. 29. But the response to the pictures was so overwhelming that the Norton extended the exhibit through this Sunday.
On this three-day weekend, when coalitions of conscience gather and conversations are had about the way forward, there may be something to be learned in looking back at “The Summer of ’68” at the Norton Museum. At the very least, it’s a reminder that we’re all in this together.
Closing events for the exhibit begin with the Norton’s Art After Dark series on Thursday (Jan. 14), which includes a lecture on the history and enduring relevance of the Black Panthers by David Ikard, professor of English and director of the Africana Studies program at the University of Miami. The talk, called “Beyond the Hype: The Black Panther Party and Radical Self-Determination,” begins at 6:30 p.m. Info: Norton.org.
EYES WIDE OPEN
Many of Ani DiFranco’s incisive contributions to the debate over the past two decades seem to grow only sharper with time. In “Subdivision,” a 2001 song about the grim future created by gentrification and institutionalized racism, she offered a simple solution: “What will it take for my country to rise? First we admit our mistakes, then we open our eyes.” DiFranco performs 8 p.m. Saturday at Fort Lauderdale’s Culture Room. Hit the link for the Ani DiFranco interview. Tickets: $25. Info: CultureRoom.net.
DIANE AND MAGDA
A couple of other righteous babes will perform Saturday night, when the Diane Ward Band will be joined by special guest Magda Hiller at the Luna Star Café (775 NE 125th St., North Miami). Hiller will go on around about 9 p.m., followed by Hollywood resident Ward and her band (Jack Shawde, Debbie Duke, Bob Taylor and Jeff Renza). Cover is $10 (Luna Star is cash only). Info: Facebook.com/DianeWardMusic.
ANJELAH JOHNSON’S STEVE HARVEY MOMENT
Comedian Anjelah Johnson, who you may have seen Tuesday on the CW's "MadTV" 20th anniversary reunion show, and who you are about to see at the Fort Lauderdale Improv at the Hard Rock in Hollywood, has always seemed to have much more going on than meets the eye. And, as a former Oakland Raiders cheerleader, there’s a lot that meets the eye. This week she tweeted a link to a video of comic and game-show host Steve Harvey with the words “I love @IAmSteveHarvey so so much.” The video, picked up by “Family Feud” cameras during one of the candid, between-episode chats Harvey has with the audience, does not show the affable funnyman you might expect. Looking quite somber and a little weary, Harvey tells the audience “I want to share something with you,” and proceeds with a selfless 5-minute soliloquy that encourages listeners to get to work making the life they want to live. Part neighbor, part preacher, with stagehands milling around behind him, Harvey tells stories of friends who, through determination and discipline, turned small businesses detailing cars and cutting grass into million-dollar livelihoods. He urges the rapt audience to take their god-given skills and make things happen, to take a chance, or as he calls it, to “jump.” “That’s the only way to get to that abundant life,” he says. “You’ve got to jump, man.” It’s good stuff (watch it here), so thanks, Anjelah. Catch her Improv show Friday-Sunday (two shows each night). Tickets: $32-$75 (two-drink minimum). Info: FTL.Improv.com.
The thoughtful and talented (and twice Grammy-nominated) young choral ensemble Seraphic Fire will offer “Amazing Grace,” “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” and “Ev’ry Time I Feel the Spirit” performances of “The American Spiritual: An Expression of Pure Joy” at 7:30 p.m. Friday at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Coral Gables (sold out, with wait list), 8 p.m. Saturday at All Saints Episcopal Church in Fort Lauderdale (nearly sold out) and 4 p.m. Sunday at All Souls Episcopal Church on Miami Beach. Tickets: $40. Info: SeraphicFire.org.
It’s been nearly 10 years since Wanda Sykes’ first HBO special, “Wanda Sykes: Sick and Tired,” which gave voice to the topical humor that is right at home now in her recurring role on Gary Trudeau’s Amazon Prime show “Alpha House.” Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Friday for Sykes’ April 17 performance at Hard Rock Live at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood. Tickets cost $64, $49 and $34 at MyHRL.com, all Ticketmaster outlets, including Ticketmaster.com and 800-745-3000. More info: WandaSykes.com.
Did we mention that tickets for Florence and the Machine’s upcoming Miami concert go on sale 10 a.m. Saturday? The May 13 concert at AmericanAirlines Arena will open the North American run of their How Beautiful tour, because we’re cool like that. Tickets cost $27.50-$77.50 at all Ticketmaster outlets. Not a minor detail: Opening acts are Grimes and Of Monsters and Men. Info: Ticketmaster.com, FlorenceAndTheMachine.net.
ORANGE YOU GLAD ...
You may feel obligated, as a Floridian, to attend Friday’s release party for Due South Brewing’s Hopicana Rye IPA, a newly canned beer touted for its local sourcing of Florida oranges and honey from an apiary minutes from the Boynton Beach brewery. It really is your civic responsibility. The event begins at noon and includes food from Munchie's Snack Shack food truck from 5 to 10 p.m. Info: Facebook.com/DueSouthBrewing.
Beer, it’s what’s for breakfast. At least it is on Sunday at Riverside Market (608 SW 12th Ave, Fort Lauderdale), where the Blue Waffle Brunch will pair the fluffy, blueberry-spiked planks with a side of Wild Blue, the sweet lager from Blue Dog Brewing (ahem, Anheuser-Busch). You got a better way to start your Sunday? Proprietor Julian Siegel, who will be serving from noon to 1 p.m., promises “you won’t be able to unsee” this event. … Breakfast, it’s what’s for beer. Next weekend, on Saturday, Jan. 23, Riverside will team up with Craft Beer Cartel and Terrapin Beer Co. (of Athens, Ga.) with an all-day breakfast and, beginning at 7 p.m., some of Terrapin’s comfort beers: Moo-Hoo Chocolate Milk Stout (on tap), Cinamon Rolled Wake-N-Bake, French Toasted Wake-N-Bake, Maggie's Blackberry Cobbler, Tiramisu-Hoo, Liquid Lunch Peanut Butter and Jelly Porter. They’ll also be serving some of the French-press coffee that Terrapin infuses into its Wake-N-Bake beers, if you’re into that kind of thing. Info: Facebook.com/RiversideMarket.
POCKETFUL OF SUNSHINE
Like its name, the Sunshine Music Festival seems to glow with an uncomplicated warmth also reflected in the lineup that Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks manage to create each year. On Sunday at the Mizner Park Amphitheater in downtown Boca Raton, you’ll find Tedeschi and Trucks joined by the Indigo Girls, Trombone Shorty, the Revivalists, Karl Denson and the Hard Working Americans, among many others. Todd Snider, no slouch himself, still can’t believe is he’s in a band with the likes of Dave Schools (Widespread Panic). Sometimes, Snider says, he’ll just kick back onstage and watch Hard Working Americans do their thing without him: “Most of the time I feel like I’ve got a front row seat in the audience, except I get to sing.” Hit the link for the full Todd Snider interview and information on the Sunshine Music Festival.
HOT HOT HEAT
The weekend’s other essential listening comes from the psychobilly gospel according to the Reverend Horton Heat, newly collected on his band’s latest album, “Victory Lap.” The mosh pit that the trio typically inspires will happen Friday night at the Culture Room, where they’ll be joined by Nashville Pussy, Unknown Hinson and Igor & the Red Elvises. Yeah, that's right. Tickets: $22. Info: CultureRoom.net.
Reminder, the genre-bending pianist and producer Marco Benevento will open the Rhythm Foundation's new series called Seaside Sessions 7-11 p.m. Saturday at the North Beach Bandshell (7275 Collins Ave., Miami Beach). Tickets cost $25 in advance. Hit the link for the Marco Benevento interview. The Seaside Sessions also include concerts Jan. 23 by young New York-based trumpeter Christian Scott and a Jan. 30 show by DRKWAV, an experimental electronic trio of John Medeski, Skerik and Adam Deitch. Info: RhythmFoundation.com. Because you can never get too much Christian Scott, on Jan. 22 he’ll perform at the Arts Garage in Delray Beach. Tickets start at $25. Info: ArtsGarage.org.
So “The Revenant” is being compared to “Jeremiah Johnson,” which starred Robert Redford as a mountain man on a mission in the West. Redford this weekend pops up in a different kind of Western, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” which was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar 40 years ago, seemingly a destiny that awaits “The Revenant.” You can catch the comedy-drama “Butch Cassidy” in more than 650 theaters nationwide, including a dozen in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties on Sunday, Jan. 17, and Wednesday, Jan. 20, at 2 and 7 p.m. each day. The screening, part of a Turner Classic Movies series of classic films, includes commentary by TCM host Ben Mankiewicz. Info: FathomEvents.com.