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Pop Star Mariah Carey Makes Grand Entrance for Vegas Show

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Mariah Carey is seen at her Official Welcome to Caesars Palace on Monday, April 27, 2015, in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Andrew Estey/Invision/AP)

Mariah Carey is seen at her Official Welcome to Caesars Palace on Monday, April 27, 2015, in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Andrew Estey/Invision/AP)

KIMBERLY PIERCEALL, Associated Press

LAS VEGAS (AP) — For anyone wondering what to expect from Mariah Carey’s upcoming series of Las Vegas shows at Caesars Palace beyond her 18 number one hit singles, her grand entrance on Monday provided a hint of what’s to come.

“No matter what, we’re going to make it into a festive moment darling. It’s an extravaganza,” she said Monday evening, backstage at The Colosseum.

The songstress arrived to the venue earlier to cheering screams at Caesars Palace’s entrance in a classic 1936 pink convertible trailing behind 18 mobile billboards bearing the titles of her number one hits including “Always be my baby” from 1996 and “Heartbreaker” from 1999. The gladiator-clad men took it from there, carrying Carey through the casino on a platform fit for Cleopatra.

The entrance marked her Las Vegas Strip arrival bringing her chart-topping hits to The Colosseum starting May 6 with performances through July on the same stage where Celine Dion, Cher, Bette Midler and Shania Twain have called home for their residencies.

“Everyone in Vegas, there’s a new girl in town,” she told the crowd of smartphone-filming fans gathered inside the casino.

Called “Mariah #1 to Infinity,” the show has 18 scheduled performances so far and has been timed with the debut of Carey’s newest breakup single and music video dubbed “Infinity.”

Listeners have already drawn comparisons between the song and the end of Carey’s marriage to Nick Cannon, the comedian and television host.

When asked what “Infinity” is about, the mother of young twins with Cannon said it was about loving oneself first.

“It’s kind of emancipating, a re-emancipation for me,” she said, referring to her 2005 album “The Emancipation of Mimi”.

Carey sang along to the new song on a stage inside the casino, at one point filming herself and the crowd with an iPhone.

The singer’s career hasn’t always put her at the top of the charts.

Her last album, “Me. I am Mariah … The Elusive Chanteuse,” was less than well-received.

She stands by the album, produced by label Def Jam before she returned to Sony Music, rather Epic Records, for the chance to work with Antonio “L.A.” Reid again.

“I think giving your last album to a label that you’re leaving is never a good idea because there’s just not that incentive,” she said, adding it’s a new world for selling albums.

“If you don’t go out there and promote it in the proper way and you don’t have 100 percent of the label behind you, it’s not going to work. It’s just the way it is.”

The Grammy winner, among the best-selling female solo artists of all time known for hitting the highest of notes, has also been criticized for recent live vocal performances.

Asked if her Vegas shows would include backing vocals in addition to her own, she said “I have so many overlapping parts and background vocalists and background things that there’s always some confusion in something about it,” but offered that if any confusion persisted, she would welcome anyone to hear her while she sings naturally around her house.

Carey said she’s getting ready to produce a new album, although she’s not sure what it’s going to be yet.

For now, her Vegas show will feature all 18 of her number one singles spanning 1990 to 2008. Tickets are priced from $55 to $250.

Devin Cole, 28, expects to be back soon to witness it. The Queens resident with a Carey collage on his phone hopped a flight to Las Vegas for the weekend when he heard about the Caesars event. Cole credited Carey’s songs for keeping him alive as he battled depression at 16 years old.

“She’s a lyrical goddess,” he said.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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IN MEMORIAM: Robert Farris Thompson, Renowned Professor of African American Studies

Prolific Professor Robert Farris Thompson truly embodied the term ‘Maestro de Maestros.’ He was an absolute giant in the field of Afro-Atlantic history and art, respected by his peers for his groundbreaking work and multiple major articles and publications, particularly the seminal “Flash of the Spirit” (1984) and “Faces of the Gods” (1993).

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Robert Farris Thompson. Yale University photo.
Robert Farris Thompson. Yale University photo.

TRIBUTE

By John Santos

We’ve lost a Rosetta Stone.

Prolific Professor Robert Farris Thompson passed in his sleep Monday morning due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease and having been weakened by a bout with COVID-19 at the beginning of the year. He would’ve completed his 89th year on December 30.

Born on Dec. 30, 1932, Thompson was a White Texan who spectacularly disproved the fallacy of White supremacy through his pioneering and tireless elevation and clarification of African art, philosophy and culture. He removed the blinders and changed the way that generations of international students see African art.

A U.S. Army veteran, he went to Yale on a football scholarship and earned a B.A. in 1955. He joined the faculty in 1964 and earned his Ph.D. in 1965. He remained on the faculty until 2015.

‘Master T,’ as his students and friends often referred to him, was the Col. John Trumbull professor of the History of Art and professor of African American Studies at Yale University.

Thompson was also an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the Maryland Institute College of Art.

He curated game-changing national exhibitions such as “African Art in Motion,” “The Four Moments of the Sun: Kongo Art in Two Worlds,” and “Faces of the Gods: Art and Altars of Africa and the African Americas.” The latter had a run at U.C. Berkeley in 1995 when local practitioners of African spirituality and musicians — including myself – demonstrated the powerful knowledge of tradition.

Thompson truly embodied the term ‘Maestro de Maestros.’ He was an absolute giant in the field of Afro-Atlantic history and art, respected by his peers for his groundbreaking work and multiple major articles and publications, particularly the seminal “Flash of the Spirit” (1984) and “Faces of the Gods” (1993). If he did not coin, he certainly standardized the term ‘Black Atlantic.’ He was a brilliant presenter, writer and teacher. But unlike many if not most academicians, he was also loved, revered and respected by the musicians, artists and communities about whom he wrote.

Initiated in Africa to Erinle, the deity of deep, still water, Thompson was hip, quirky and totally immersed in African and African-based music, dance, language, art and history. His lifetime of research, immersion and visionary work formed a bridge between Black America and her African roots.

Countless trips to Africa, the Southern U.S., the Caribbean and Central and South America informed his passionate work. He wrote about sculpture, painting, architecture, dance, music, language, poetry, food, the trans-Atlantic slave trade, African history, stolen antiquities, African spirituality, African retention, Brazil, Haiti, Cuba, Black Argentina, New York, México, mambo, tango, jazz, spirit possession and so much more. He recorded African drumming. He befriended giants of African diaspora music such as Julito Collazo, Babatunde Olatunji and Mongo Santamaría.

I first saw his writing around 1970 on the back of the classic red vinyl 1961 Mongo Santamaria LP, Arriba! La Pachanga (Fantasy 3324). They are inarguably among the deepest liner notes ever written.

He told me that he used our 1984 recording, Bárbara Milagrosa, by the Orquesta Batachanga, to demonstrate danzón-mambo to his students. I nearly burst into tears when he invited me and Omar Sosa to address and perform for his students at Yale, his alma mater, where he was a rock star. It was an unforgettable occasion for me.

He wrote wonderful liner notes on our 2002 Grammy-nominated production SF Bay, by the Machete Ensemble. He went out of his way to support and encourage countless students and followers like me. I was highly honored to count him as a friend as well as mentor.

He will be missed.

John Santos is a seven-time Grammy-nominated percussionist and former director of Orquesta Batachanga and Machete Ensemble and current director of the John Santos Sextet.

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Art

Poet Laureates Provides Poetry That Heals the Soul

The City of Richmond’s 2021– 2023 Poet Laureate, David Flores was joined by fellow poet laureates including Eevelyn Mitchell of El Cerrito, Jeremy Snyder of Vallejo, Ayodele Nzinga of Oakland and Tongo Eisen-Martin of San Francisco to celebrate Flores’ installation. Each poet shared some of their work with the audience. A laureate is a person who has been honored for achieving distinction in a particular field.

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The poet laureates are not connected as a group but are part of a community that supports each other with our craft.
The poet laureates are not connected as a group but are part of a community that supports each other with our craft.

By Clifford L. Williams

Poetry is a universal language…it’s the song of the heart that feeds the soul.

That was the message shared by five poet laureates from the Bay Area last week at a gathering to introduce the City of Richmond’s 2021– 2023 Poet Laureate, David Flores, during an Open Mic event at CoBiz Richmond, in collaboration with Richmond’s Arts and Cultural Commission.

Flores was joined by fellow poet laureates including Eevelyn Mitchell of El Cerrito, Jeremy Snyder of Vallejo, Ayodele Nzinga of Oakland and Tongo Eisen-Martin of San Francisco to celebrate Flores’ installation. Each poet shared some of their work with the audience. A laureate is a person who has been honored for achieving distinction in a particular field.

Flores, an 11-year former schoolteacher for the Richmond Unified School District, submitted a few poems and some of his writings to a panel of commissioners last May, who reviewed his work and eventually selected him as the city’s newest poet laureate.

“To me, this is an opportunity to really highlight poetry as an art form accessible to everyone in our city,” said Flores. “I will use this appointment to actively engage young people and adults to allow them the opportunity to not only hear art but to also inspire them to share their work.”

Flores said that since COVID 19, people have been disconnected and now need community bonding to express themselves through art and poetry. “As a poet laureate, I want to grow as an artist and share my work,” said Flores. “It’s fulfilling as a shared humanity to connect and inspire people and a way to spark communication with one another. Once you have that experience, you feel confidence and there’s no going back.”

The poet laureates are not connected as a group but are part of a community that supports each other with our craft. Laureates help to bring awareness of poetry and literacy through the arts to their respective communities during their two-year appointments. Each laureate goes through a process involving several steps, outlined by a panel of commissioners, who make the final selections.

“One of the main things we do as poet laureates is to encourage unity within our community through the arts,” said Mitchell. “Our specific responsibilities are to highlight poetry as an outlet to allow people to express themselves.

“As poet laureate, we put on events to encourage our community to become more involved and aware, and to be more unified in bringing awareness, unity, respect and love within the community. Because of the pandemic, we are all trying to figure out our new norm.

“With everything that has been going on for the past two years, I firmly believe it’s important that we as a community, and I as a poet laureate, need to bring harmony back into our lives,” she said. “It is my quest and priority to promote that. We are neighbors, we are friends, we are a community, and we need each other to survive.”

The general public can learn more about their city’s poet laureate events and activities by contacting their Arts and Cultural Commission.

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Bay Area

Skyline High Girls Volleyball Team Makes History

The team played in Orange County, taking on Santa Clarita Christian School in the California Interscholastic Federation Division 5 CIF State Championship match.

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The Skyline High School Girls Volleyball team
The Skyline High School Girls Volleyball team.

As the season comes to a close for the Skyline High School Girls Volleyball team, the members are celebrating that they went farther than any Skyline or OUSD/OAL volleyball team ever has. On the final day, November 19, the team played in Orange County, taking on Santa Clarita Christian School in the California Interscholastic Federation Division 5 CIF State Championship match. Skyline fell short 3 games to 1, coming in as runner-up. The photo above shows the team posing with their trophy after the match.

 

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