Live Ideas is a yearly humanities festival at New York Live Arts featuring lectures, panels, performances and a full range of artistic responses. Past festivals include The Worlds of Oliver Sachs and James Baldwin, This Time!
Details for the next festival will be announced over the coming year.

The Year Of James Baldwin

A City-Wide Multidisciplinary Celebration of James Baldwin

April 2014 – June 2015

A consortium of cultural organizations from throughout New York City is uniting to declare 2014-15 The Year of James Baldwin on what would have been the great American essayist, novelist, playwright, poet, and activist James Baldwin’s 90th year (he was born in Harlem on August 2, 1924). The principal conveners of this multidisciplinary festival will consist of copartners Harlem Stage; New York Live Arts; and Columbia University’s School of the Arts. Other participants will include the Vera List Center at the New School, New York University, the Harlem Book Fair, and others to be announced.

The Year will launch April 23 to 27 with the second annual installment of New York Live Arts’ Live Ideas festival, this year entitled James Baldwin, This Time! with twenty events spread over five days. It will culminate in the spring of 2015 with major programming at the Harlem Stage Gatehouse. Events throughout the city will celebrate this often overlooked American writer who is arguably the most profound and imperative voice of the twentieth century.

For more infomation on upcoming events click here


Select panels and readings from Live Ideas are recorded each year. Visit New York Live Arts on youtube to view our archive. (more…)

schedule & tickets



Imani Uzuri

Composer and vocalist Imani Uzuri is an eclectic interdisciplinary artist who creates internationally. The Village Voice says "Imani Uzuri is a constant surprise...seamlessly combining jazz, classical, country and blues motifs into highly personalized compositions.” Uzuri is currently composing a new musical inspired by the works of Philadelphia Poet Laureate Sonia Sanchez. In 2013, Uzuri premiered her first orchestral composition Placeless at Ecstatic Music Festival and was subsequently named by The New Yorker as one of the emerging “female composers edg[ing] forward”. Recently receiving her M.F.A. from Goddard College in Interdisciplinary Arts with a special research focus in early American sacred music, Uzuri has been invited to guest lecture on Negro Spirituals at Vassar, Harvard and the Apollo Theater. Starting Fall 2014 she will be a M.A. candidate in African American Studies at Columbia University.


    Harry Ford

    Harry Ford is honored not only to re-join Patricia but also to breathe life into this titan of a man’s work. Off-Broadway: Romeo and Juliet. Regional: Williamstown: A Month in the Country, The Valley of Fear, Architruc, After Robert Hutchens, When You’re Here, Lydie Breeze. NYC: Macbeth, Restoration, The Cherry Orchard, Now You See It (Now You Don’t): Orson Welles, Ready or Not, The Humans Are in Trouble, Arms and the Man, All My Sons, King John. Film: “Skiptracers.” Education: B.F.A. from SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts and recent M.F.A. from NYU’s Tisch Graduate Acting Program.


      Ruben Santiago-Hudson

      Most recently Ruben Santiago-Hudson performed August Wilson’s solo show How I Learned What I Learned for The Signature Theater. Santiago-Hudson received a Tony Award for Best Featured Performer in August Wilson’s Seven Guitars. Other Broadway credits include Stick Fly, Gem Of The Ocean and Jelly’s Last Jam. Off-Broadway credits include The Delacorte Theater, The Signature Theater, Public Theater, 2nd Stage Theater and NY Theater Workshop. Santiago-Hudson played Captain Roy Montgomery on the hit ABC show CASTLE for three seasons and co-starred in the AMC drama LOW WINTER SUN. Santiago-Hudson starred opposite Halle Berry in Their Eyes Were Watching God, he also Executive Produced, wrote and appeared in Lackawanna Blues for HBO based on his award winning play. Lackawanna Blues received several honors including Emmy, Golden Globe, Humanitas, National Board of Review, Christopher and an NAACP Image Award. Santiago-Hudson’s many Theater awards and honors include The Lucille Lortel, OBIE, Outer Critics, Dramaleague, Joe A. Calloway Directing Award, Audelco, Humanitas, Helen Hayes and Clarence Derwent awards. Ruben received Distinguished Alumni honors from Binghamton University as well as Wayne State University and Honorary Doctor Of Humane Letters degree from Buffalo State College.


        Karen Finney

        Karen Finney is an independent consultant working with political and corporate clients in the areas of political and communication strategy, message development, media training, crisis communications, branding, thought leadership development and public affairs. Finney brings more than 16 years of experience in national politics and campaigns ranging from the Clinton Administration to New York State, to the Democratic National Committee; as well as the public and private sectors where she worked to improve public education and lead corporate branding and business development projects for one of America’s leading children’s media companies. Finney most recently served for four years as the Spokeswoman and Director of Communications at the Democratic National Committee where she helped guide the DNC’s communications and media strategy for Howard Dean’s “50 State Strategy”, re-branding the Democratic Party, the successful 2006 Congressional elections and DNC strategy for the 2008 presidential campaign. Finney served in the Clinton White House as Deputy Press Secretary to then First Lady Hillary Clinton and as Deputy Director of Presidential Scheduling for President Clinton. She has also worked in a number of high-profile campaigns, including Hillary Clinton’s successful bid for the U.S. Senate as Press Secretary in 2000, and Director of Communications for Elizabeth Edwards during the Kerry/Edwards Presidential Campaign in 2004.

        Photo: MSNBC


          Patricia Cruz

          Patricia Cruz began her term as Executive Director of Harlem Stage in 1998. Ms. Cruz is member of the Board of Directors and is responsible for overseeing Board Development, long range planning, fundraising and program development. The highlight of her tenure has been the renovation of the Gatehouse for use as Harlem Stage’s new home. Cruz serves on the board of The Urban Assembly and the CalArts Board of Overseers. She is a past Board Member of The Andy Warhol Foundation. She is also past president of The New York Foundation for the Arts and ArtTable.

          Photo: Chester Higgins


            Margo Jefferson

            Margo Jefferson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning cultural critic. She has been a staff writer for The New York Times and Newsweek; her reviews and essays have appeared inNew York MagazineGrand StreetVogueHarper's and many other publications. Her book, On Michael Jackson, was published in 2006. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Rockefeller Foundation /Theater Communications Group grant. She has also written and performed two theater pieces at The Cherry Lane Theatre and The Culture Project.


              Thomas Cannon

              The young dramatic baritone called “strong and striking” by Opera Today, is currently an artist fellow at The Music Academy of the West. Thomas Cannon has continually gained recognition in technically demanding Bel Canto and Verdian roles, since completing his studies at The Juilliard School. He sang at Carnegie Hall in 2013 as a soloist in Verdi’s Requiem, to benefit victims of Japan’s Earthquake; while preparing Conte di Luna (Il Trovatore) at Arizona Opera.

              Cannon was in residence with Arizona Opera for the 2012-‘13 season. Opera Today praised his “talent for characterization” in the role of Antonio (Le Nozze di Figaro). He was also seen as Gregorio (Romeo et Juliette) and Sciarrone (Tosca). In addition to Conte di Luna, Cannon left AZO fully prepared with Il Conte (Le Nozze di Figaro), Enrico (Lucia di Lammermoor), and Germont (La Triaviata) which he returned to cover in 2014.

              Cannon was a young artist at The Glimmerglass Festival in 2012 where he stepped into the role of Aronte (Armide). This was a highly stylized French baroque opera performed in collaboration with Opera Atelier of Toronto. Opera News commended Mr. Cannon’s “forceful, throbbing voice.” In the same year he performed as a soloist with The Cecilia Chorus of NY, singing Mozart’s Vesperae Solennes de Confessore and Shubert’s Stabat Mater (D. 383).

              In 2010 – 2011, Cannon made a debut at Dallas Opera, singing Imperial Commissioner (Madam Butterfly). He performed a host of concert and oratorio work, including: Mozart’s Requiem, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solenelle, and Handel’s Messiah. He spent the summer of 2011 performing at the International Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv-Israel; where he reprised the role of Mr. Gobineau (The Medium), his very first onstage role. This performance followed his debut at Opera Roanoke, where he sang the role of Sharpless (Madam Butterfly).

              Cannon has been a featured artist at; The Dallas Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, Chautauqua Opera, Santa Fe Opera, The Crested-Butte Festival, The Chautauqua Institute, Opera North, Opera Roanoke and The International Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv. As a recitalist, he has been called “expressive,” and an “emotional hotwire” Oberon’s Grove. He is a noted dynamic competitor; garnering awards from: The Dallas Opera Guild (Encouragement Award), Chautauqua Opera (Guild Award), The Anna Sosenko Foundation, West Palm Beach Opera (Finalist), Opera Birmingham (Encouragement Award) and The Metropolitan Opera National Council (Regional Finalist).

              Cannon grew up in the small town of Hahnville, Louisiana. He is the oldest of three children and took to music at an early age; playing piano, trombone, and eventually focusing in on drums/ percussion and singing. He went on to graduate with degrees in voice from Baylor University (2006) and The Juilliard School (2008), on full scholarship. Notable teachers include: Nico Castel, Joan Dornemann, Mignon Dunn, Marlena Malas and Sherrill Milnes.


                Yayoi Ikawa

                Born in Tokyo, Japan, but raised musically in New York, Yayoi Ikawa has performed, recorded and/or toured with many world renowned musicians such as Reggie Workman, Michael Carvin, Howard Johnson, Gerry Hemingway, Richard Bona, Billy Hart, Billy Harper, Lenny Picket, Butch Morris, Frank Lacy, Charles Fambrough, Daniel Bernard Roumain and Tyshawn Sorey. Ikawa’s debut recording Color Of Dreams displays original compositions that reflect visions through her life. In 2008, Ikawa started “The Bridge Project,” creating a musical dialogue between New York and Japanese musicians in an experimental environment. She has toured with her projects in US, Japan, Italy, Costa Rica and Slovenia. As a composer, Ikawa received a commission from Modern Music Society of Tokyo, Japan to write for their eighteen piece jazz orchestra in 2008.  Ikawa’s orchestral work for film premiered at Lincoln Center in 2007.

                Ikawa holds a master’s degree in Jazz performance/composition from New York University and a bachelor’s degree from The New School University Jazz and Contemporary Music Studies department. She also holds a bachelor’s degree from International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan.


                  Daniel Roumain

                  Daniel Roumain’s acclaimed work as a composer and a performer has spanned more than two decades, and has been commissioned by venerable artists and institutions worldwide. Proving that he’s “about as omnivorous as a contemporary artist gets” (New York Times), Roumain is perhaps the only composer whose collaborations span the worlds of Philip Glass, Cassandra Wilson, Bill T. Jones, Savion Glover and Lady Gaga.

                  Roumain made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2000 with the American Composers Orchestra performing his Harlem Essay for Orchestra, a Whitaker commission. He would go on to compose works for the Albany Symphony (Harvest for Baritone Voice and Orchestra); the American Composers Orchestra (Call Them All: Fantasy Projections for laptop, orchestra, and film); the Boston Pops Orchestra (Woodbox Violin Concerto); the Dogs of Desire Ensemble (Grace for Two Sopranos and Chamber Orchestra); Carnegie Hall (Five Chairs and One Table); the Library of Congress (Numerical Music); and the Stuttgart Symphony (We March!: Concerto for Guitar and String Orchestra premiered by Eliot Fisk). Additionally, Roumain’s music has been performed by the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Cincinnati Symphony, Des Moines Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Memphis Symphony, New Haven Symphony Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony, New World Symphony, Noord Nederlands Orkest and the Vancouver Symphony, among many others. Dancers, Dreamers, and Presidents is a 2010 Sphinx Commissioning prize and was performed by the Detroit Symphony, Nashville Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic, Virginia Symphony and other member orchestras of an esteemed consortia.

                  Roumain was the first artist to be awarded Arizona State University’s prestigious Gammage Residency, “a three-year commitment to an extraordinary performing artist that includes performance, creative time and resources, intensive training for ASU students and local artists and engagement with many of the local communities.” His outreach and residencies have garnered extravagant praise and long-term relationships with countless universities, orchestras, and performing arts centers including the Berklee School of Music (Boston), More Music @Moore (Seattle), The Academy – a program of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School and the Weill Music Institute, PACE University and the Tribeca Performing Arts Center (New York City), the University of North Carolina (Raleigh) and Vanderbilt University (Nashville). He has served as Chair of the Music Composition/Theory Department and Composer-in-Residence at The Harlem School of the Arts; Music Director for the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company; Assistant Composer-in-Residence with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s; Visiting Professor at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music; Artist-in-Residence with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra; and is currently the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center Artist-in-Residence (University of Houston), and a Center for Art and Performance Resident Artist at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).

                  From 2007-2011, Roumain was a Next Wave Artist-in-Residence at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), resulting in three commissioned works in One Loss Plus  (2007); Darwin’s Meditation for the People of Lincoln (2008); and Symphony for the Dance Floor (2011). In 2011, a new work for the Atlanta Ballet (Home in 7), in collaboration with the choreographer Amy Seiwert and the poet Marc Bamuthi Joseph, was followed in 2013 with a new work for the Boston Children’s Chorus (A Boy Called King) with the same creative team.  Roumain has performed at The Macau International Music Festival, Ten Days Festival in Tasmania, Central Park SummerStage, 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, and the Sydney Opera House.

                  For the 2012-13 season, Roumain created The Collide, in collaboration with the singer/songwriter Laurelyn Dosset. A commission from North Carolina State University, the project included the creation of 11 songs and 1 instrumental as musical portraits of selected cities in North Carolina.  The work travelled across the state to Wilmington, Davidson College, Appalachian State University, East Carolina University and Raleigh. Additional performances in 2013 included Woodbox Beats & Balladry (Minnesota State University); the premiere of Woodbox Violin Concerto (New Haven Symphony Orchestra); Clas/sick Hip-Hop with the dancer/choreographer Rennie Harris (Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco); Filter (South-Miami Dade Cultural Center for the Arts and Emory University); and the premiere of En Masse with the University of Houston Spirit Marching Band (University of Houston). In January 2014, Roumain made his debut with the Sacramento Philharmonic performing his Woodbox Violin Concerto with Maestro Michael Morgan.

                  Roumain earned his doctorate in Music Composition from the University of Michigan under the tutelage of William Albright, William Bolcom and Michael Daugherty.


                    Mykal Kilgore

                    Mykal Kilgore can currently be seen in MOTOWN The Musical (Broadway.) Other theater credits include: Hair (Broadway), Freckleface Strawberry (Off-Broadway) and The Book of Mormon (1st National Tour). Mykal has performed as a soloist at Joe’s Pub, Roseland, Birdland, The Laurie Beechman Theatre and The Kennedy Center. You can also hear him on the album's #LoVE by Lyons and Pakchar, Cosmos by Slow Knights,  Scott Alan's "LIVE" and  Make Me Believe In Hope by Bright Light Bright Light!


                      Jumaane D. Williams

                      Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (D-Brooklyn) represents the people of the 45th Council District in Brooklyn, having originally been elected in 2009, and re-elected in 2013. Williams serves as Deputy Leader of the New York City Council, and chair of the council’s Committee on Housing and Buildings. One of his most significant priorities as chairperson is to fight for the development and preservation of affordable housing options for low and moderate income New Yorkers – income-targeted housing.

                      Williams is co-chair of the council’s Task Force to Combat Gun Violence, a co-founding member of the Progressive Caucus, and a member of the Black, Latino, Asian Caucus. Williams was a lead sponsor of the Community Safety Act (“CSA”), which protects New York City residents of all backgrounds against the abuse of Stop, Question and Frisk by the New York Police Department by establishing the departments’ first-ever Inspector General end an enforceable ban on bias-based profiling. Williams also helped pioneer participatory budgeting in New York City, a revolutionary approach to civic engagement. As an initiative to bolster community engagement in the 45th District, he is pushing to establish the Shirley Chisholm Community Center, a full-service facility providing recreational, educational and social opportunities for youth, seniors and families.



                        Sanford Biggers

                        An LA native currently working in NYC, Sanford Biggers creates artworks that integrate film/video, installation, sculpture, drawing, original music and performance. His works have appeared in venues worldwide including Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Whitney Museum and the Studio Museum in Harlem, as well as institutions in China, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Poland and Russia. He has had solo exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, SculptureCenter, Mass MoCA, Ringling Museum and Massimo De Carlo. His concept group, Moon Medicin, has performed at Art Basel and the Hammer Museum. He is the recipient of awards and grants from the American Academy in Berlin, Greenfield Prize, William H. Johnson Prize, Creative Capital Foundation, Creative Time, New York Percent for the Arts, Lambent Fellowship in the Arts and New York Foundation for the Arts, among others. Biggers is Assistant Professor at Columbia University’s Visual Arts program and a board member of the CUE Foundation and SculptureCenter.

                        Photo: Sanford Biggers, 2010, photograph by Zachary Larner


                          Ulrich Baer

                          Ulrich Baer, is Professor of German and Comparative Literature and Vice Provost for Faculty, Arts, Humanities and Diversity at NYU.

                          A widely published author, editor and translator, Baer has published extensively on poetry, photography and issues in contemporary art and culture. He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, NYU's Golden Dozen Teaching Award (twice), a Getty Research Fellowship and an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship. Among his books are Remnants of Song: Trauma and the Experience of Modernity in Charles Baudelaire and Paul Celan; Spectral Evidence: The Photography of Trauma; the anthology 110 Stories: New York Writes After September 11; Rainer Maria Rilke: Letters on Life (translator and editor); Beggar's Chicken: Stories from Shanghai, and The Rilke Alphabet.


                            Eisa Davis

                            Eisa Davis is the author of Bulrusher, Angela's Mixtape, The History of Light, Ramp and Flowers Are Sleeping, and has performed in Passing Strange and on The Wire. Her honors include two Obies, the Herb Alpert Award in Theatre and being a finalist for the Pulitzer in Drama. Davis currently lives in Brooklyn. 


                              Laurie Anderson

                              Laurie Anderson is one of America’s most renowned - and daring- creative pioneers. She is best known for her multimedia presentations and innovative use of technology. As writer, director, visual artist and vocalist she has created groundbreaking works that span the worlds of art, theater and experimental music.

                              Her recording career, launched by O Superman in 1981, includes the soundtrack to her feature film Home of the Brave and Life on a String (2001). Anderson's live shows range from simple spoken word to elaborate multi-media stage performances such as Songs and Stories for Moby Dick (1999). Anderson has published seven books and her visual work has been presented in major museums around the world.

                              In 2002, Anderson was appointed the first artist-in-residence of NASA which culminated in her 2004 touring solo performance The End of the Moon.  Recent projects include a series of audio-visual installations and a high definition film, Hidden Inside Mountains, created for World Expo 2005 in Aichi, Japan. In 2008 she completed a two-year worldwide tour of her performance piece, Homeland, which was  released as an album on Nonesuch Records in June, 2010. Anderson’s solo performance Delusion debuted at the Vancouver Cultural Olympiad in February, 2010 and toured internationally throughout 2011.  In 2010 a retrospective of her visual and installation work opened in Sao Paulo, Brazil and later traveled to Rio de Janiero.

                              In 2011 her exhibition of all new work titled Forty-Nine Days In the Bardo opened at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia. In February of 2013 she debuted her piece Landfall, a performance with the Kronos Quartet.  She is currently artist in residence at CAP in UCLA in Los Angeles and EMPAC in Troy New York.  Anderson lives in New York City.

                              Photo: Tim Knox


                                Brenda Dixon-Gottschild

                                Brenda Dixon-Gottschild is the author of Digging the Africanist Presence in American Performance: Dance and Other Contexts; Waltzing in the Dark: African American Vaudeville and Race Politics in the Swing Era (winner of the 2001 Congress on Research in Dance Award for Outstanding Scholarly Dance Publication); and The Black Dancing Body – A Geography from Coon to Cool (winner of the 2004 de la Torre Bueno prize for scholarly excellence in dance publication). Her most recent book, Joan Myers Brown and The Audacious Hope of the Black Ballerina-A Biohistory of American Performance, was published in 2012. She received the Congress on Research in Dance Award for Outstanding Leadership in Dance Research (2008) and the International Association for Blacks in Dance Outstanding Scholar Award (2013). A freelance writer, consultant, performer, and presenter and former consultant and writer for Dance Magazine, she is Professor Emerita of dance studies at Temple University.


                                  Che Gossett

                                  Che Gossett is a black gender queer and femme fabulous writer and activist. They are a contributor to Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex (AK Press, eds. Nat Smith and Eric Stanley), The Transgender Studies Reader v. II (Routledge Press, eds. Aren Azuira and Susan Stryker) and Queer Necropolitics (Routledge Press, eds. Jin Haritaworn, Silvia Posocco and Adi Kuntsman). This past summer they had the honor of being part of a phenomenal delegation of archivists and librarians to Palestine. They are currently working on a biography of queer Japanese American AIDS activist Kiyoshi Kuromiya.


                                    Toshi Reagon

                                    Toshi Reagon is a talented, versatile singer, composer, musician, curator and producer with a profound ear for sonic Americana--from folk to funk, from blues to rock. While her expansive career has landed her comfortably in residence at Carnegie Hall, the Paris Opera House &  Madison Square Garden, you can just as easily find Toshi turning out a music festival, intimate venue or local club. Reagon knows the power of song to focus, unite and mobilize people. If you've been lucky enough to be in Reagon's presence, you know you can't walk away from her without feeling better about yourself as a human being. She aims for nothing less. Reagon has been the recipient of a New York Foundation of the Arts award for Music Composition, The Black Lily Music and Film Festival Award for Outstanding Performance and she co-composed music for two Peabody award winning films. She is a National Women's History Month Honoree, and is the 2010 recipient of OutMusic's Heritage Award. Her collaborators include Lizz Wright, Chocolate Genius, Robert Wilson, Ani DiFranco, her band BIGLovely and her mother Bernice Johnson Reagon. Reagon’s current touring projects include “Celebrate The Great Women of Blues and Jazz,” a 16 piece all women’s ensemble of some of New York’s best Instrumentalist and vocalist,  the Opera, “ Zinnias- The Life of Clementine Hunter," directed by Robert Wilson, libretto and music by Bernice Johnson Reagon and Toshi Reagon, book by Jacqueline Woodson and “The Blues Project,” a Collaboration by Dorrance Dance and Toshi Reagon and BIGLovely.

                                    Reagon created the Words* Rock* & Sword: A Festival Celebration of Women's Lives as a way to learn and be connected to the powerful work and skills coming from the Women in her community. The festival brings together, Musicians, Film Makers Heath Educators, Dance Instructors, Activist, Community Organizations and everyday brilliant people. It is open to all. Check Festival schedule on the website bellow for venues and times. September, 14-21 2014.



                                    Nadine George-Graves

                                    Dr. Nadine George-Graves (BA, Yale; PhD, Northwestern) is Professor of Theater and Dance at the University of California, San Diego. Her work is situated at the intersections of African American studies, gender studies, performance studies, theater history and dance history. She is the author of The Royalty of Negro Vaudeville: The Whitman Sisters and the Negotiation of Race, Gender, and Class in African American Theater, 1900-1940 and Urban Bush Women: Twenty Years of Dance Theater, Community Engagement and Working It Out as well as numerous articles on African American theater and dance. She is currently editing The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Theater. She is also an adapter and director. Her recent creative projects include Suzan-Lori Parks’ Topdog/Underdog and Anansi The Story King, an original dance-theater adaptation of African American folk stories using college students, professionals, and 4th graders. She currently serves as president of the Congress on Research in Dance (CORD).



                                      Kathleen Chalfant

                                      BROADWAY: Angels in America (Tony and Drama Desk nominations), Racing Demon, Dance With Me. OFF-BROADWAY: Wit ( Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League, Connecticut Critics Circle, and Obie Awards), Tales from Red Vienna, Miss Ovington &  Dr. Dubois, Somewhere Fun, Red Dog Howls, Painting Churches, Family Week, Vita & Virginia, Dead Man’s Cell Phone, Spalding Grey: Stories Left to Tell, Bloomer Girl, Nine Armenians (Drama Desk nomination), Far Away, Twelve Dreams, Henry V. OTHER NY CREDITS: The Vagina Monologues, True History and Real Adventures, Phaedra in Delirium, Iphigenia and Other Daughters, Endgame, The Party, Sister Mary Ignatius..., The Investigation of the Murder in El Salvador. LONDON & LOS ANGELES: Wit (Ovation Award), Red Dog Howls. SELECT REGIONAL THEATRE: Guthrie, Yale Rep, Long Wharf, Yale Repertory Theatre, Arena Stage, Hartford Stage, Mark Taper Forum, ATL, Sundance Lab. FILM: Isn’t it Delicious?, R.I.P.D., The Bath, In Bed With Ulysses, Lillian, Duplicity, The People Speak, Lackawanna Blues, Perfect Stranger, The Last New Yorker, Second Guessing Grandma, Dark Water, Kinsey, Laramie Project, Random Hearts, A Price Below Rubies, Murder and Murder. SELECT TELEVISION Recurring on “The Americans,” “House of Cards,” “Rescue Me,” “The Book of Daniel,” “The Guardian,”  “Jo,” “Law and Order” and “One Life to Live”; also “Elementary,” “Mercy,” “Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight” (HBO), “Benjamin Franklin,” “Lackawanna Blues” (HBO), “Georgia O’Keeffe” (Lifetime), “Voices from the White House” (PBS), “A Death in the Family” (PBS), “Storm of the Century”. AWARDS: 1996 OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence, 2004 Lortel Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance. She has received the Drama League and Sidney Kingsley Awards for her body of work.


                                        Vijay Iyer

                                        Grammy-nominated composer-pianist Vijay Iyer (pronounced “VID-jay EYE-yer”) was described by Pitchfork as "one of the most interesting and vital young pianists in jazz today," by the Los Angeles Weekly as “a boundless and deeply important young star,” and by Minnesota Public Radio as “an American treasure.” His most recent honors include a 2013 MacArthur “genius” fellowship, an unprecedented “quintuple crown” in the 2012 Down Beat International Critics Poll (winning Jazz Artist of the Year, Pianist of the Year, Jazz Album of the Year, Jazz Group of the Year and Rising Star Composer categories), a “quadruple crown” in the JazzTimes extended critics poll (winning Artist of the Year, Acoustic/Mainstream Group of the Year, Pianist of the Year and Album of the Year), the Pianist of the Year Awards for both 2012 and 2013 from the Jazz Journalists Association, the 2013 ECHO Award (the “German Grammy”) for best international pianist, the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, the Greenfield Prize, a spot on GQ India’s list of “50 most influential global Indians,” and cover features in Down Beat and JazzTimes magazines. A polymath whose career has spanned the sciences, the humanities and the arts, Iyer received an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in the cognitive science of music from the University of California, Berkeley. A committed mentor to emerging artists, Iyer has joined the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University as the first Franklin D. and Florence Rosenblatt Professor of the Arts, and directs the Banff Centre's International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music.

                                        Photo: Bart Babinski


                                        Aisha Karefa-Smart

                                        Aisha Karefa-Smart was born in New York City and raised in a house where famous African-American writers, artists and musicians often congregated. Her uncle, the late James Baldwin, when not busy writing his next novel in the South of France, often had all night literary and political "jam sessions" with other world famous black writers such as Amiri Baraka, Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison. Influenced by the high level of art, African-American, African and European literature and culture that Aisha grew up experiencing, Aisha went on to perform in various plays and musicals as a member of Dr. Glory Van Scott's Children's Theater, The Harlem Theater Company and The Falcons Dance Troupe in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Karefa-Smart is also professional Event Planner who has organized events and meetings for some of the top Fortune 500 Companies which include: Sybase, Context Integration, and Ernst & Young. She also worked at Columbia University's Institute for African-American Studies on The Malcolm X Project where she helped to organize lectures, conferences, interviews, and book signings for the such Black Luminaries as Paule Marshall, Sarah Jones, and Carl Hancock-Rux. Karefa-Smart is the author of Dining While Black: A Guide To The Art Of Modern Dining, a how to and etiquette guide for African-Americans.


                                          Tonya Pinkins

                                          Tonya Pinkins is a 3-time Tony Award nominee for her performances in Caroline or Change (Winner: Obie, Audelco, Lortel, Garland, NAACP Theater and LA Drama Critics’ Awards; Nominee: Olivier, Dramaleague, Drama Desk, Outer Critics’ Circle Award), Play On and a Tony Award winner for Jelly’s Last Jam (also Drama Desk, Outer Critics’ Circle, Monarch, Clarence Derwent). Other Broadway: A Time To KillThe Wild Party, Radio Golf, Chronicle of A Death ForetoldMerrily We Roll Along. Off-Broadway: Milk Like Sugar (2012 Lucille Lortel Award; Playwrights Horizons). Film/TV:All My Children, As The World Turns, Army Wives, 24, Criminal MindsEnchantedFading Gigolo, Newlyweeds, Home, Hostages.


                                          André De Shields

                                          In a career spanning forty-five years, André De Shields has distinguished himself as an unparalleled actor, director and educator. A multiple Tony Award nominee, Mr. De Shields is the recipient of Florida Atlantic University’s 2014 Making Waves Award, the 2012 Fox Foundation Fellowship/Distinguished Achievement, the 2009 National Black Theatre Festival’s Living Legend Award and the 2007 Village Voice OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance. His body of work includes Broadway, Off-Broadway, Regional Theatre, Feature Films, Television, Distinguished Visiting Professorships and Public Speaking. He most recently created the role of “Senior” in the world premiere of The Fortress of Solitude at the Dallas Theater Center. A multiple Tony Award nominee, Mr. De Shields is best known for his show stopping performances in four legendary Broadway musicals: The Full Monty, Play On!, Ain’t Misbehavin’ and The Wiz

                                          Photo: Lia Chang


                                            Patricia J. Williams

                                            Patricia J. Williams is the James L. Dohr Professor of Law at Columbia University.  A recipient of the MacArthur "genius" fellowship, she authors the column "Diary of a Mad Law Professor" for The Nation Magazine.


                                              Wrenn Schmidt

                                              Wrenn Schmidt -  Broadway:  Come Back, Little Sheba (MTC).  National tour:  Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? with Bill Irwin and Kathleen Turner.  Off-Broadway:  The Master Builder opposite John Turturro (BAM), Be a Good Little Widow (Ars Nova), Beyond the Horizon, Sive (Irish Repertory Theatre),  Jailbait (Cherry Lane Theater), Katie Roche, Temporal Powers (Mint Theater Co.), Phantom Killer (Abingdon Theatre Co.), Caesar & Cleopatra (Resonance Ensemble), Crazy for the Dog (Jean Cocteau Repertory).  Film:  Our Idiot Brother,Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer (“The Projectionist’s Best Performances of 2010, NY Magazine), How to Follow Strangers, The Necklace, and Javelina.  Upcoming film:  Christopher Denham’s Preservation and Mary & Louise.  TV:  “The Americans” (recurring), “Boardwalk Empire” (recurring), “Blue Bloods”, “Body of Proof”, “Mercy”, “Law & Order” and “3 LBS”.  Training:  SCGSAH and Meadows School of the Arts, SMU (BFA).

                                              Photo: Susan Shacter


                                                Meena Alexander

                                                Meena Alexander is an award winning poet who has published seven volumes of poetry most recently Birthplace with Buried Stones (TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press, 2013). Her poems have been anthologized, translated and set to music. She is currently working with the artist Nell Irvin Painter on a poetry-art collaboration based on her Darfur poems. Alexander was born in India, raised there and in Sudan and educated in Britain.She has published a critically acclaimed memoir Fault Lines. Her works include The Shock of Arrival: Reflections on Postcolonial Experience and Poetics of Dislocation. Her awards include those from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, Fulbright Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Arts Council of England and the American Council of Learned Societies. In 2014 she was named a National Fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla. She is Distinguished Professor of English at The Graduate Center and Hunter College/ CUNY.

                                                Photo: Marion Ettlinger


                                                  Kyle Abraham

                                                  Kyle Abraham, New York Live Arts’ 2012-2014 Resident Commissioned Artist and 2013 MacArthur Fellow, began his dance training at the Civic Light Opera Academy and the Creative and Performing Arts High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He continued his dance studies in New York, receiving a B.F.A. from SUNY Purchase and an M.F.A. from NYU Tisch School of the Arts.

                                                  Abraham was named the 2012 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award recipient and the 2012 USA Ford Fellow. In December 2013, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater premiered Abraham’s work, Another Night at New York’s City Center to rave reviews. Rebecca Bengal of Vogue wrote, “What Abraham brings to Ailey is an avant-garde aesthetic, an original and politically minded downtown sensibility that doesn’t distinguish between genres but freely draws on a vocabulary that is as much Merce and Martha as it is Eadweard Muybridge and Michael Jackson.”

                                                  Abraham received a prestigious New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award for Outstanding Performance in Dance for his work in The Radio Show and a Princess Grace Award for Choreography in 2010. The previous year, he was selected as one of Dance Magazine’s 25 To Watch for 2009, and received a Jerome Travel and Study Grant in 2008.

                                                  His choreography has been presented throughout the United States and abroad, most recently at On The Boards, South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, REDCAT, Philly Live Arts, Portland’s Time Based Arts Festival, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Danspace Project, Dance Theater Workshop, Bates Dance Festival, Harlem Stage, Fall for Dance Festival at New York’s City Center, in Montreal, Germany, Jordan, Ecuador, Dublin’s Project Arts Center, The Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum located in Okinawa Japan, The Andy Warhol Museum and The Kelly-Strayhorn Theater in his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA.

                                                  In addition to performing and developing new works for his company, Abraham.In.Motion, Abraham recently premiered The Serpent and The Smoke, a new pas de deux for himself and acclaimed New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award winning dancer and New York City Ballet Principal Dancer Wendy Whelan as part of Restless Creature at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.

                                                  In 2011, OUT Magazine labeled Abraham as the “best and brightest creative talent to emerge in New York City in the age of Obama.”

                                                  Photo: Carrie Schneider


                                                    Nikky Finney

                                                    Nikky Finney was born in South Carolina, within listening distance of the sea. A child of activists, she came of age during the civil rights and Black Arts Movements. At Talladega College, nurtured by Hale Woodruff’s Amistad murals, Finney began to understand the powerful synergy between art and history. Finney has authored four books of poetry: Head Off & Split (2011); The World Is Round (2003); Rice (1995); and On Wings Made of Gauze (1985). The John H. Bennett, Jr. Chair in Southern Letters and Literature at the University of South Carolina, Finney also authored Heartwood (1997), edited The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South (2007) and co-founded the Affrilachian Poets. Finney’s fourth book of poetry, Head Off & Split was awarded the 2011 National Book Award for poetry.


                                                      Robert Krulwich

                                                      Robert Krulwich is an American radio and television journalist. Formerly an Economics and now a Science Correspondent with NPR, he is also the co-host (with Jad Abumrad) of Radiolab, a nationally distributed radio and podcast series that explores new developments in science for people who are curious but not usually drawn to science shows. Radiolab won a Peabody Award in 2011. Krulwich has been awarded the Extraordinary Communicator Award by The National Cancer Institute as well as an AAAS Science Journalism Award. Krulwich earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Oberlin College and a law degree from Columbia University and was for many years a correspondent with ABC News, between his two long stints with NPR.


                                                        Five Mualimmak

                                                        Five Mualimmak was released /exonerated in 2012 after 12 years in prison, five of them spent in solitary confinement. Since then he has been working with the Incarcerated Nation Campaign, providing reentry services for those coming home from incarceration, monitoring of those incarcerated in solitary, and in the general population. Mualimmak is a member of the Campaign to End the New Jim Crow and also the Jails Action Coalition (JAC) which monitors the NYC jail system. (JAC recently enforced a system of rule-making for the first time in NYC jails). Mualimmak is a core member of the New York & New Jersey Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement (CAIC), which are the largest statewide networks of advocacy organizations, activists, lawyers, formerly incarcerated individuals and family members of those incarcerated and in solitary, working together to change solitary confinement. Mualimmak is a community organizer and a part of the New Jim Crow network speakers’ bureau. He travels to colleges and universities to speak about the issues of solitary confinement, mass incarceration and the components of the prison industrial complex.


                                                          Nathalie Handal

                                                          Nathalie Handal's most recent books include the critically acclaimed Poet in Andalucía, which Alice Walker lauds as “poems of depth and weight and the sorrowing song of longing and resolve,” and Love and Strange Horses, winner of the 2011 Gold Medal Independent Publisher Book Award, which The New York Times says is “a book that trembles with belonging (and longing).” Handal is a Lannan Foundation Fellow, winner of the Alejo Zuloaga Order in Literature 2011 and Honored Finalist for the Gift of Freedom Award, among other honors. She writes the literary travel column The City and the Writer for Words without Borders.

                                                          Photo: Ram Devinenip


                                                            Carrie Mae Weems

                                                            Carrie Mae Weems was born in Portland, Oregon, in 1953. Weems earned a B.F.A. from the California Institute of the Arts, Valencia (1981), and a M.F.A. from the University of California, San Diego (1984), continuing her studies in the Graduate Program in Folklore at the University of California, Berkeley (1984–87). With the pitch and timbre of an accomplished storyteller, Weems uses colloquial forms—jokes, songs, rebukes—in photographic series that scrutinize subjectivity and expose pernicious stereotypes. Weems’ vibrant explorations of photography, video and verse breathe new life into traditional narrative forms: social documentary, tableaux, self-portrait and oral history. Eliciting epic contexts from individually framed moments, Weems debunks racist and sexist labels, examines the relationship between power and aesthetics and uses personal biography to articulate broader truths. Whether adapting or appropriating archival images, restaging famous news photographs, or creating altogether new scenes, she traces an indirect history of the depiction of African Americans of more than a century. She has received honorary degrees from Colgate University (2007) and California College of the Arts (2001). Awards include the MacArthur Fellowship (2013); Anonymous Was a Woman Award (2007); Skowhegan Medal for Photography (2007); Rome Prize Fellowship (2006); and the Pollack-Krasner Foundation Grant in Photography (2002); among others.


                                                              Jamaica Kincaid

                                                              Jamaica Kincaid was born Elaine Potter Richardson on the island of Antigua in 1949 and during her early years excelled through a traditionally British colonial education, though following the birth of three brothers (and the illness of her stepfather), she was taken out of school and presently sent to New York to work as an au pair to support the family back home.  Her vividly idiosyncratic response to all things New York endeared her to New Yorker writer George Trow, who began featuring her in the “Talk of the Town” pieces through which she in turn came to the attention of the magazine’s editor, who soon began featuring her own writing.  Changing her name to fend off criticism back home, she went on to become one of the premier voices in the great American conversation (wry, angry, hilarious, never less than fiercely penetrating) through a wide variety of writerly approaches: stories, novels, reportage, essays, polemic (At the Bottom of the River, Lucy,  The Autobiography of my Mother, A Small Place, My Brother, and many more).  Along the way, typically improbable, she became a consummate gardener and garden writer (My Garden Book).  She is currently a professor in the African American studies program at Harvard University.


                                                                Laura Flanders

                                                                Best-selling author and broadcaster Laura Flanders is the Strong Local Economies Fellow at Yes! Magazine, and a contributing writer to The Nation. She hosts "The Laura Flanders Show" on GRITtv, an online channel she founded in 2008 to give meaningful attention to marginalized experts, "the most important thinkers and doers you'll never see on TV." She’s a regular guest on MSNBC and the author of several books, including the New York Times best-seller, BUSHWOMEN: Tales of a Cynical Species (Verso, 2004) and Blue GRIT: True Democrats Take Back Politics from the Politicians (Penguin Press, 2007). Prior to founding GRITtv, Flanders was the host of "The Laura Flanders Show on Air America Radio and the founder and host of "Your Call" a daily call in program on public radio, KALW in San Francisco.


                                                                Meghan O’Rourke

                                                                Meghan O'Rourke began her career as one of the youngest editors in the history of The New Yorker. Since then, she has served as culture editor and literary critic for Slate as well as poetry editor and advisory editor for The Paris Review. Her essays, criticism, and poems have appeared in Slate, The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, The Nation, Redbook, Vogue, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, and Best American Poetry. O’Rourke is also the author of the poetry collections Once(2011) and Halflife (2007), which was a finalist for both the Patterson Poetry Prize and Britain’s Forward First Book Prize. She was awarded the inaugural May Sarton Poetry Prize, the Union League Prize for Poetry from the Poetry Foundation, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, two Pushcart Prizes, and a Front Page Award for her cultural criticism. One of three judges chosen to select Granta’s Best Young American Novelists in 2007, she has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony and a finalist for the Rome Prize of the Academy of Arts and Letters. A graduate of Yale University, she has taught at Princeton, The New School and New York University. She lives in Brooklyn, where she grew up, and Marfa, TX.


                                                                  Matt Brim

                                                                  Matt Brim is Assistant Professor of Queer Studies in the English department at the City University of New York's College of Staten Island. Professor Brim’s research focuses on 20th- and 21st-century queer American literature and culture and on queer pedagogy. His book, James Baldwin and the Queer Imagination (forthcoming from the University of Michigan Press in November 2014), offers a sustained queer theoretical examination of Baldwin’s fiction, positioning the author as a paradoxical rather than quintessential figure in queer black literature. His current project is titled Queer Pedagogy/Queer University. Brim also co-edits the journal WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly, published by the Feminist Press at the CUNY Graduate Center.


                                                                    Patricia McGregor

                                                                    Patricia McGregor is a Harlem based director, writer, and deviser of new work. Recent credits include Marcus Gardley’s The House That Will Not Stand (Berkeley Rep) Spunk and Winter's Tale (Cal Shakes) Becky Shaw (Roundhouse) The Mountaintop (Philadelphia Theatre Company), and the world premier of Hurt Village (Signature Theatre Center). Other directing credits include Fela! (Associate Director, Broadway), Holding it Down and Blood Dazzler (Harlem Stage) and In The Cypher (Nuyorican Poet's Cafe). McGregor has worked at venues including BAM, Second Stage, The Public Theater, The Kitchen, The O'Neill and Lincoln Center Institute. She is the co-founder of Angela's Pulse, which creates choreoplays and fosters collaboration among diverse communities in order to illuminate under told stories, infuse meaning into the audience experience and animate progress through the arts. McGregor attended the Yale School of Drama where she was a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow and Artistic Director of the Yale Cabaret.

                                                                    Photo: Erik Pearson


                                                                      Colm Toibin

                                                                      Colm Toibin's novels include The Master, Brooklyn and The Testament of Mary. He is Irene and Sidney B. Silverman Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia and a Contributing Editor at the London Review of Books.

                                                                      Photo: Phoebe Ling


                                                                        David Leeming

                                                                        Upon graduating from Princeton University in 1958 as an English major with a specialty in American Civilization, David Leeming taught at Robert College in Istanbul for five years. There he met James Baldwin, who offered him a position in his office during the civil rights period of the 1960s while Leeming was pursuing a Ph.D. at NYU. In 1966 Leeming accompanied Baldwin back to Istanbul. While there, Baldwin completed Tell me How Long the Train’s Been Gone, a novel which he dedicated to Leeming. Through Baldwin, Leeming met Beauford Delaney with whom he maintained a close friendship. Between 1969 and 1995 Leeming taught in the English department at the University of Connecticut, where he continued to pursue an interest in African American studies. During the seventies and eighties he and Baldwin remained in close contact, and at the end of his life Baldwin asked Leeming to sort his papers and authorized him to write his biography. With NEH and Schomburg support, Leeming completed the Baldwin biography for Knopf in 1994, and in 1998 Oxford University Press published his Amazing Grace: A Life of Beauford Delaney. Leeming is also the author of many books on mythology, including the Oxford Companion to World Mythology.

                                                                        Photo: Leopold Quarles


                                                                          Diedra Harris-Kelley

                                                                          Currently Co-Director of the Romare Bearden Foundation, Diedra Harris-Kelley first joined the Foundation in 1996 advising on care of their collections. She offered a unique perspective on Bearden’s work being a formally trained artist and niece of the artist’s wife. In 2006 she accepted the position as Program Associate managing the collection, and organizing exhibitions and public programs for the Bearden gallery.

                                                                          Harris-Kelley earned a B.A. in Art from California State University, Long Beach and a M.F.A. from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She taught at New York University, Parsons School of Design Studio Program and conducts workshops and lectures on Bearden. She is the author of “Revisiting Romare Bearden’s Art of Improvisation,” published in Uptown Conversation: The New Jazz Studies (Columbia University, 2004); and was a member of the curatorial team of Jazz at Lincoln Center (2009-2012)


                                                                            Maya Wiley

                                                                            Maya Wiley is the Counsel to the Mayor of the City of New York.  Ms. Wiley advises the mayor on legal matters involving City Hall and the executive staff, as well provides counsel to the Mayor on the legal aspects of policy and administrative matters. She also spearhead special projects, such as efforts to invest in New York's technology infrastructure and expand broadband access across all five boroughs.

                                                                            Ms. Wiley was the Founder and President of the Center for Social Inclusion. A civil rights attorney and policy advocate, she has litigated, lobbied the U.S. Congress and developed programs to transform structural racism in the U.S. and in South Africa.

                                                                            Prior to founding the Center for Social Inclusion, Ms. Wiley was a senior advisor on race and poverty to the Director of U.S. Programs of the Open Society Institute and helped develop and implement the Open Society Foundation - South Africa’s Criminal Justice Initiative. She has worked for the American Civil Liberties Union National Legal Department, in the Poverty and Justice Program of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. and in the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. Ms. Wiley previously served on the Board of Directors of Human Rights Watch, the Institute on Race and Poverty at the University of Minnesota School of Law and the Council on Foreign Relations.  She is the former chair of the Tides Network Board of Directors. In 2009, Ms. Wiley was named a NY Moves magazine Power Woman. She was also named as one of "20 Leading Black Women Social Activists Advocating Change" in 2011 by The

                                                                            Ms. Wiley has authored an article, “Talk About Race Right:  the Why and How of Persuasive Race Talk” for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies 2012 Focus magazine. She is a contributing author to the 2012 Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity’s (PRE) Critical Issues Forum, Vol. 4 and to the National Urban League's 2006 State of Black America Report. Ms. Wiley  also authored a chapter on race, equity and land use planning (“Smart Growth and the Legacy of Segregation in Richland County, South Carolina”) in Growing Smarter: Achieving Livable Communities, Environmental Justice and Regional Equity (The MIT Press: Cambridge, MA, 2007).  Recently, Ms. Wiley was interviewed in the book Beyond Zuccotti Park: Freedom of Assembly and the Occupation of Public Space (New Village Press: Oakland, CA, 2012) in which she talked with Professor Ron Shiffman at the Pratt Institute about race, civic engagement and Occupy Wall Street.  Ms. Wiley also has been featured as a guest and panelist on MSNBC political commentary programs All in with Chris Hayes, Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Up with Steve Kornacki, Melissa Harris-Perry, NOW with Alex Wagner and The Cycle.

                                                                            Ms. Wiley holds a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Dartmouth College.


                                                                              Edward Hirsch

                                                                              Edward Hirsch, a MacArthur Fellow, has published eight books of poems, including The Living Fire: New and Selected Poems (Knopf, 2010), and five books of prose, among them A Poet’s Glossary (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014).  He lives in Brooklyn.

                                                                              Photo: Julie Dermansky


                                                                                Steven G. Fullwood

                                                                                STEVEN G. FULLWOOD is the publisher of Vintage Entity Press. He is also co-editor of several anthologies, Black Gay Genius, Think Again and To Be Left With the Body, and the author of Funny. His articles, essays, poems and criticism have appeared in Black Issues Book Review, Lambda Book Report, Vibe, Library Journal and other publications. Additionally, Fullwood currently serves as the assistant curator of the Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library.

                                                                                Photo: Donald Agarrat


                                                                                  Yusef Komunyakaa

                                                                                  Yusef Komunyakaa’s seventeen books of poetry include Taboo, Dien Cai Dau, Neon Vernacular (for which he received the Pulitzer Prize), The Chameleon Couch, and TestimonyA Tribute to Charlie Parker. He has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Memorial Award, and the 2011 Wallace Stevens Award.  His plays, performance art and libretti have been performed internationally, and include SlipknotWakonda’s DreamNine Bridges BackSaturnalia, TestimonyThe Mercy Suite, and GilgameshA Verse Play (with dramaturgy by Chad Gracia). He teaches at New York University.

                                                                                  Photo: Laren McClung


                                                                                    Thelma Golden

                                                                                    Thelma Golden is Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem, an art museum founded in 1968 whose mission is to serve as the nexus for artists of African descent locally, nationally and internationally. Golden began her career at the Studio Museum in 1987 before joining the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1988. In a decade at the Whitney, she organized numerous groundbreaking exhibitions including the 1993 Biennial and Black Male and served as Director of the Whitney Museum at Phillip Morris.  She returned to the Studio Museum in 2000 as Deputy Director for Exhibitions and Programs, and was named Director and Chief Curator in 2005. While at the Studio Museum, Golden has organized many notable exhibitions including Chris Ofili: Afro Muses 1995-2005, Black Romantic, Freestyle, Frequency, Glenn Ligon: Stranger and Gordon Parks: A Harlem Family 1967.  Under her leadership, the Studio Museum has gained increasing renown as a global leader in the exhibition of contemporary art, a center for innovative education and a site for diverse audiences to exchange ideas about art and society.

                                                                                    Golden holds a B.A. in Art History and African American Studies from Smith College and honorary doctorates from the City College of New York (2009), San Francisco Art Institute (2008), Smith College (2004), Moore College of Art and Design (2003) and was awarded a Barnard Medal of Distinction from Barnard College in 2010. Golden is currently a member of the Committee for the Preservation of the White House and was appointed to the position by President Barack Obama in 2010. She also serves as the Manhattan Vice-Chair of the Cultural Institutions Group. Golden is an active guest lecturer and panelist speaking at institutions both nationally and internationally about contemporary art and culture. Born in St. Albans, Queens, Golden currently resides in Harlem.

                                                                                    Photo: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders


                                                                                      Rachel Cohen

                                                                                      Rachel Cohen has written essays for The New Yorker, The Guardian, The London Review of Books, The New York Times, The Nation, The Threepenny Review, The Believer, McSweeney’s and other publications, and her essays have been anthologized in Best American Essays and in the Pushcart Prize Anthology. Her first book, A Chance Meeting: Intertwined Lives of American Writers and Artists (Random House, 2004) is a series of thirty-six linked essays about the encounters among thirty figures in American history during the long century from the civil war through the civil rights movement; it won the PEN/Jerard Fund Award, was a finalist for the Guardian First Book Prize and the PEN/Martha Albrand Award, and was named a notable book of the year by the Los Angeles Times and by Maureen Corrigan on National Public Radio. Her new book, Bernard Berenson: A Life in the Picture Trade (Yale, 2013,) investigates the development of a great art connoisseur who began life as a penniless Lithuanian immigrant and made his career in the world of Gilded Age finance and prejudice. Cohen is a member of the regular faculty of the creative nonfiction program at Sarah Lawrence College, and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


                                                                                        Fran Lebowitz

                                                                                        Pur veyor of urban cool, witty chronicler of the ”me decade” and the cultural satirist whom many call the heir to Dorothy Parker, Fran Lebowitz remains one of the foremost advocates of the Extreme Statement. She offers insights on timely issues such as gender, race, gay rights and the media as well as her own pet peeves – including celebrity culture, tourists and strollers.

                                                                                        In a recent interview in the New York Observer, Ms. Lebowitz holds forth on NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, “We don’t have time for Bloomberg...there are certain things that are in the public sphere and certain things that are in the private sphere. ...What people eat? It’s their own business. Bedbugs he should take care of. That’s a public health issue. Did you ever hear anyone say, ‘Do you like New York?’ ‘No, too salty.’ ”

                                                                                        Lebowitz on multiculturalism: “It’s pathetic. Of course the world is diverse. And the differences always express themselves. It’s much more important that you emphasize similarities . . . there is practically nobody willing to identify themselves as American anymore because everybody is too busy identifying themselves with the area of their lives in which they feel the most victimized.” On aging: “At a certain point, the worst picture taken of you when you are 25 is better than the best picture taken of you when you’re 45,” and “What everyone says when you turn 60 is, ‘It’s better than the alternative.’ If the only thing worse than being 60 is death, that’s pretty bad.”

                                                                                        That is Fran Lebowitz off the cuff. Her writing -- pointed, taut and economical -- is equally forthright, irascible and unapologetically opinionated. Fran Lebowitz’s first two classic books of essays, Metropolitan Life and Social Studies, have been collected in the Fran Lebowitz Reader. She is also the author of the children’s book, Mr. Chas and Lisa Sue Meet the Pandas. She recently broke a ten-year writer’s block and is back at work on her novel, Exterior Signs of Wealth. A documentary film about Fran Lebowitz, Public Speaking, directed by Martin Scorsese, premiered on HBO in November 2010.


                                                                                          Hank Willis Thomas

                                                                                          HANK WILLIS THOMAS is a photo conceptual artist working primarily with themes related to identity, history and popular culture. He received his B.F.A. from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and his M.F.A. in photography, along with an M.A. in visual criticism, from California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco. Thomas has acted as a visiting professor at CCA and in the M.F.A. programs at Maryland Institute College of Art and ICP/Bard and has lectured at Yale University, Princeton University, the Birmingham Museum of Art and the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris. His work has been featured in many publications including Reflections in Black (Norton, 2000) 25 under 25: Up-and-Coming American Photographers (CDS, 2003) and
                                                                                          30 Americans (RFC, 2008). Thomas’ monograph, Pitch Blackness, was published by Aperture in 2008. He received a new media fellowship through the Tribeca Film Institute and was an artist in residence at John Hopkins University. In 2011, Thomas was a fellow at the W.E.B. DuBois Institute at Harvard University. He has exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the U.S. and abroad including, Galerie Anne De Villepoix in Paris, Annarumma 404 in Milan, the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, among many others. Thomas’ work is in numerous public collections including the Museum of Modern Art New York, the Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the High Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. His collaborative projects have been featured at the Sundance Film Festival and installed publicly at the Oakland International Airport, The Birmingham International Airport, The Oakland Museum of California and the University of California, San Francisco. Recent notable exhibitions include Hank Willis Thomas at the Cleveland Museum of Art, Strange Fruit at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Picture Windows: Hank Willis Thomas in collaboration with Sanford Biggers at the International Center for Photography, and The Istanbul Biennial. Thomas is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery in New York City and Goodman Gallery in South Africa.

                                                                                          Photo: Andrea Blanch


                                                                                            Ed Pavlić

                                                                                            Ed Pavlić’s next book will be Who Can Afford to Improvise?: Music, Lyric, and James Baldwin’s Political Aesthetic. His most recent books are Visiting Hours at the Color Line (2013), But Here Are Small Clear Refractions (2009) and Winners Have Yet to be Announced: A Song for Donny Hathaway (2008). Others include Paraph of Bone & Other Kinds of Blue (2001), Crossroads Modernism (2002) and Labors Lost Left Unfinished (2006). His prizes include the National Poetry Series Open Competition, the American Poetry Review / Honickman First Book Prize, the Writer of the Year Award from the Georgia Writer’s Association and the Darwin Turner Memorial Award from African American Review. He is Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Georgia in Athens.


                                                                                              Charles Anderson

                                                                                              Charles O. Anderson is currently based in Austin, Texas where he is an associate professor of African Diaspora Dance Studies and the M.F.A. coordinator in Dance at The University of Texas at Austin. He is artistic director of dance theatre X (dtX), an afro-contemporary dance theatre company, which he founded in Philadelphia in 2003. Born and raised in Richmond, VA, Charles earned his B.A. in Choreography and Performance from Cornell University and his M.F.A. in Dance from Temple University. He has performed in the companies of Ronald K. Brown, Sean Curran, Mark Dendy and Miguel Gutierrez among others. His work has been presented nationally and internationally and has earned recognition by numerous grants and organizations such as the Pew Fellowship in the Arts, one of “25 to Watch” by Dance Magazine and one of ‘12 Rising Stars in the Academy” by Diverse: Issues In Higher Education Magazine.

                                                                                              IN MY OWN WORDS:  I am an artist-activist-educator with an intellectual bent- I am a kinetic storyteller. I am moved to create dance theatre that bear witness to human experiences through the cultural lenses of the African Diaspora (yes-there are many cultures that comprise the Diaspora!). I am committed to working with traditional and contemporary boundaries of African derived movement. At the same time I am committed to subverting, confronting and challenging deeply entrenched, two-dimensional public perceptions of work for the stage that stands on African and African American aesthetics. My goal is to create work that gives testimony. Testimony is the declaration of truth integral to the African-American oral and literary tradition, going back to the slave narrative and folk practices. Testimonies can give praise and they can boast. They can also attest to suffering and injustice. The ultimate goal is to move the audience.  To testify is to tell the truth; it is a form of story-telling based on the personal truth of the teller(s). It is used to allow the storyteller to connect with those who hear the testimony, as well as to a higher plane of being.


                                                                                                MWallace 2013

                                                                                                Michele Wallace

                                                                                                Michele Wallace, born in Harlem in 1952, is a feminist author and daughter of artist Faith Ringgold. In 1979, at age 27 (after having first met and interviewed James Baldwin in 1978, making him and David lifelong friends), she published Black Macho and The Myth of The Superwoman (republished by Verso), a book in which she criticized black nationalism and sexism. Her attention to the invisibility and/or fetishization of black women in art, film, and television has inspired new critical thinking about race and gender in visual culture. Her other books include Invisibility Blues: From Pop to Theory, (Verso, 1990, new edition 2008) and Dark Designs and Visual Culture (Duke University Press, 2004), in which many of her previously unanthologized essays are collected. Wallace earned her B.A. (1974) and M.A. (1990) in English from The City College of New York and her Ph.D. in Cinema Studies from New York University in 1999. She is also a Professor of English, Africana Studies, Women’s Studies and Film Studies at The CUNY Graduate Center and the City College of New York, where she joined the faculty in 1989. Wallace continues to maintain and contribute regularly to several blogs, including Soul Pictures: Black Feminist Generations and Black Macho and The Myth of the Superwoman Revisited, both of which look at the careers of the women in her family, Talking In Pictures, a blog on race in photography and Michele's Movie Talk, a movie blog and her website. In 2008, she founded the Faith Ringgold Society to study and document the art and career of her mother Faith Ringgold, and has written extensively on this subject.



                                                                                                  Colman Domingo

                                                                                                  Colman Domingo is an award winning actor, playwright and director. Mr. Domingo, as an actor, has starred on Broadway in Passing Strange, Chicago, Well and The Scottsboro Boys and has co-starred in films such as Lee Daniel’s The Butler, Steve Spielberg's Lincoln, Spike Lee's Red Hook Summer, Passing Strange, Miracle at St. Ana, King of the Bingo Game, Hairbrained and Newlyweeds among many others. He is the author of Wild with Happy, A Boy and His Soul and Up Jumped Springtime. He is currently under commission from The American Conservatory Theater (The Brothers) and his writing his new play Dot. His plays have been produced at The Public Theater, The Vineyard Theater, Theatreworks, Philadelphia Theater Company, Baltimore Centerstage, The Tricycle Theater (London), Theater Rhinoceros and Thick Description Theater. The artistic work of Mr. Domingo has been honored with a Tony, Drama Desk, Drama League and What’s on Stage nomination. His work has won the OBIE, Lucille Lortel, GLAAD, Connecticut Critics Circle, Bay Area Theater Critics Circle and two Audelco Awards.


                                                                                                    Roberta Uno

                                                                                                    Roberta Uno is the Senior Program Officer for Arts and Culture at the Ford Foundation. She was the founder and artistic director (1979-2002) of the New WORLD Theater at the Fine Arts Center of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a professor of directing and dramaturgy. Founded in 1979, New WORLD Theater earned a national and international reputation as a visionary institution dedicated to works by artists of color. Her directing and dramaturgy credits focus on new plays, interdisciplinary work, and solo performance. Her publications include The Color of Theater: Race, Culture, and Contemporary Performance; Unbroken Thread: Plays by Asian American Women; and with co-editor Kathy Perkins, Contemporary Plays by Women of Color.


                                                                                                      Rich Blint, Ph.D.

                                                                                                      A scholar and curator, Rich is co-editor (with Douglas Field) of a special issue of African American Review on James Baldwin (forthcoming Winter 2013); contributing editor of The James Baldwin Review; co-curator (with Ian Cofre) of the exhibition Bigger Than Shadows; and curator of the exhibition series built environments, an initiative conceived to engage contemporary issues in fine art concerning aesthetics, value, difference, and public space. A frequent interlocutor with artists across the genres, Rich has taught courses and guest lectured at Hunter College, Vassar College, and NYU. He currently serves on the Adjunct Faculty for the Masters Program in African American Studies at Columbia, and sits on the boards of Vanderbilt University's Issues in Critical Investigation: The African Diaspora, and The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at the Graduate and University Center, CUNY.



                                                                                                        Lawrence Weschler

                                                                                                        Live Ideas Curator

                                                                                                        Lawrence Weschler, Director Emeritus of the New York Institute of the Humanities at NYU, is a graduate of Cowell College of the University of California at Santa Cruz (1974), and was for more than twenty years (1981-2002) a staff writer at The New Yorker, where his work shuttled between political tragedies and cultural comedies. He is curating James Baldwin, This Time! in conjunction with Bill T. Jones. He also curated the inaugural Live Ideas festival The Worlds of Oliver Sacks in 2013.

                                                                                                        His books of political reportage include The Passion of Poland (1984); A Miracle, A Universe: Settling Accounts with Torturers (1990); and Calamities of Exile: Three Nonfiction Novellas (1998). His “Passions and Wonders” series currently comprises Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees: A Life of Contemporary Artist Robert Irwin (1982); David Hockney’s Cameraworks (1984); Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder (1995); A Wanderer in the Perfect City: Selected Passion Pieces (1998) Boggs: A Comedy of Values  (1999); Robert Irwin: Getty Garden (2002); Vermeer in Bosnia (2004); Everything that Rises: A Book of Convergences (2006), and most recently Uncanny Valley: Adventurer in the Narrative(2012). Mr. Wilson was shortlisted for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Everything That Rises received the NBCC award for criticism in 2007.

                                                                                                        Mr. Weschler has taught, variously, at Princeton, Columbia, UCSC, Bard, Vassar, Sarah Lawrence and NYU.

                                                                                                        Alongside his role as director of the New York Institute of the Humanities (2001-2013), he concurrently held the position of Artistic Director of the Chicago Humanities Festival from 2006 through 2011 (and is still actively engaged there on an emeritus basis). He is also a contributing editor of McSweeney’s and the Threepeeny Review, curator at large of the DVD quarterly Wholphin, and art wrangler for the Virginia Quarterly Review; (recently retired) chair of the Sundance (formerly Soros) Documentary Film Fund; and director of the Ernst Toch Society, dedicated to the promulgation of the music of his grandfather, the noted Weimar émigré composer. He is currently launching a new monthly column on visual culture, “Pillow of Art,” in The Believer magazine.


                                                                                                          Dianne McIntyre

                                                                                                          Time is Time

                                                                                                          Dianne McIntyre is “one of modern dance’s reigning diva’s” as quoted in Time Out New York in 2012.  As a celebrated dance artist her performing, choreography, directing, and original theatre pieces are produced for concert dance and music, theatre, film and television.  A strong presence in the New York City dance scene since the 1970s her company Sounds in Motion/Dance Visions, Inc. ran a popular studio in Harlem and toured internationally.  Known for her live collaborative works with renown musicians in genres of jazz, blues, soul,world music, and avant garde, (Olu Dara, Butch Morris, Cecil Taylor, Lester Bowie) she also finds inspiration working with writers and directors (Ntozake Shange, OyamaO, Regina Taylor, August Wilson, Jonathan Demme, Avery Brooks, Des McAnuff, Woodie King, Jr). Her extensive theatre choreography - Broadway, Off-Broadway, Regional US and London West End.

                                                                                                          Awards include John S. Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, NEA, NYSCA grants and fellowships, AUDELCO and Helen Hayes theatre awards, Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts Degrees from SUNY Purchase and Cleveland State University, Emmy Award nomination for HBOs “Miss Evers’ Boys”.  She also choreographed the film “Beloved” based on the novel by Toni Morrison

                                                                                                          Her recent and present projects include choreography for Sweet Honey in the Rock’s fortieth anniversary tour, for The Ohio State University and Sarah Lawrence College dance students and a solo for Roxane D’Orleans Juste “She Who Carries the Sky” with the Limon Dance Company – New York City premiere at the Joyce Theater April 29.

                                                                                                          Ms. McIntyre’s mentors include faculty of The Ohio State University, Gus Solomons jr, Louise Roberts and Richard Davis.


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                                                                                                            Bill T. Jones

                                                                                                            Executive Artistic Director

                                                                                                            BILL T. JONES, a multi-talented artist, choreographer, dancer, theater director and writer, has received major honors ranging from a 1994 MacArthur "Genius" Award to Kennedy Center Honors in 2010. He was inducted into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2009 and named "An Irreplaceable Dance Treasure" by the Dance Heritage Coalition in 2000. His ventures into Broadway theater resulted in a 2010 Tony Award for Best Choreography in the critically acclaimed FELA!, the new musical co-conceived, co-written, directed and choreographed by Mr. Jones. He also earned a 2007 Tony Award for Best Choreography in Spring Awakening as well as an Obie Award for the show's 2006 off-Broadway run. His choreography for the off-Broadway production of The Seven earned him a 2006 Lucille Lortel Award.

                                                                                                            Mr. Jones began his dance training at the State University of New York at Binghamton (SUNY), where he studied classical ballet and modern dance. After living in Amsterdam, Mr. Jones returned to SUNY, where he became co-founder of the American Dance Asylum in 1973. In 1982 he formed the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company (then called Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane & Company) with his late partner, Arnie Zane. In 2010, Mr. Jones was named Executive Artistic Director of New York Live Arts, a new model of artist-led, producing/presenting/touring arts organization unique in the United States that was formed by a merger of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company and Dance Theater Workshop.

                                                                                                            In addition to creating more than 140 works for his own company, Mr. Jones has received many commissions to create dances for modern and ballet companies, including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Boston Ballet, Lyon Opera Ballet, and Berlin Opera Ballet, among others. In 1995, Mr. Jones directed and performed in a collaborative work with Toni Morrison and Max Roach, Degga, at Alice Tully Hall, commissioned by Lincoln Center’s Serious Fun Festival. His collaboration with Jessye Norman, How! Do! We! Do!, premiered at New York's City Center in 1999.
                                                                                                            His work in dance has been recognized with the 2010 Jacob's Pillow Dance Award; the 2005 Wexner Prize; the 2005 Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement; the 2003 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize; and the 1993 Dance Magazine Award. His additional awards include the Harlem Renaissance Award in 2005; the Dorothy B. Chandler Performing Arts Award in 1991; multiple New York Dance and Performance Bessie Awards for his works The Table Project (2001), The Breathing Show(2001), D-Man in the Waters (1989) and the Company's groundbreaking season at the Joyce Theater (1986). In 1980, 1981 and 1982, Mr. Jones was the recipient of Choreographic Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and in 1979 he was granted the Creative Artists Public Service Award in Choreography.
                                                                                                            Mr. Jones was profiled on NBC Nightly News and The Today Show in 2010 and was a guest on the Colbert Report in 2009. Also in 2010, he was featured in HBO’s documentary seriesMASTERCLASS, which follows notable artists as they mentor aspiring young artists. In 2009, Mr. Jones appeared on one of the final episodes of Bill Moyers Journal, discussing his Lincoln suite of works. He was also one of 22 prominent black Americans featured in the HBO documentary The Black List in 2008. In 2004, ARTE France and Bel Air Media produced Bill T. Jones-Solos, highlighting three of his iconic solos from a cinematic point of view. The making of Still/Here was the subject of a documentary by Bill Moyers and David Grubin entitled Bill T. Jones: Still/Here with Bill Moyers in 1997. Additional television credits include telecasts of his works Last Supper at Uncle Tom's Cabin/The Promised Land (1992) and Fever Swamp (1985) on PBS’s "Great Performances" Series. In 2001, D-Man in the Waters was broadcast on the Emmy-winning documentary Free to Dance.

                                                                                                            He has received honorary doctorates from Yale University, Art Institute of Chicago, Bard College, Columbia College, Skidmore College, the Juilliard School, Swarthmore College and the State University of New York at Binghamton Distinguished Alumni Award, where he began his dance training with studies in classical ballet and modern dance.Bill T. Jones's interest in new media and digital technology has resulted in collaborations with the team of Paul Kaiser, Shelley Eshkar and Marc Downie, now known as OpenEnded Group. The collaborations include After Ghostcatching - the 10th Anniversary re-imagining of Ghostcatching (2010, SITE Sante Fe Eighth International Biennial); 22 (2004, Arizona State University’s Institute for Studies In The Arts and Technology, Tempe, AZ); andGhostcatching - A Virtual Dance Installation (1999, Cooper Union, New York, NY).

                                                                                                            In addition to his Company and Broadway work, Mr. Jones also choreographed Sir Michael Tippet's New Year (1990) for Houston Grand Opera and Glyndebourne Festival Opera. HisMother of Three Sons was performed at the Munich Biennale, New York City Opera and the Houston Grand Opera. Mr. Jones also directed Lost in the Stars for the Boston Lyric Opera. Additional theater projects include co-directing Perfect Courage with Rhodessa Jones for Festival 2000 in 1990. In 1994, he directed Derek Walcott’s Dream on Monkey Mountain for The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, MN.

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