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Pratt, Ice Cube, More Debut New Footage at CinemaCon

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F. Gary Gray, director of the upcoming drama "Straight Outta Compton," discusses the film onstage during the Universal Pictures presentation at CinemaCon 2015 at Caesars Palace on Thursday, April 23, 2015, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

F. Gary Gray, director of the upcoming drama “Straight Outta Compton,” discusses the film onstage during the Universal Pictures presentation at CinemaCon 2015 at Caesars Palace on Thursday, April 23, 2015, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

LINDSEY BAHR, AP Film Writer

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Chris Pratt left the CinemaCon crowd in stitches with his irreverent, high-energy and slightly racy comments at the annual conference of theater owners Thursday. The actor, there to promote “Jurassic World” along with director Colin Trevorrow, introduced a sizzle reel of new footage from the dinosaur epic.

In the extended reel, audiences got a glimpse at the hyper-intelligent female dinosaur who throws the amusement park into chaos. She kills people and her fellow dinosaurs without hesitation and dinosaur handler Owen (Pratt) must figure out a way to stop her.

Seth MacFarlane, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and Amy Schumer were also among the slew of surprise guests at the Universal Pictures presentation. The studio debuted unseen footage from many of their upcoming films, including “Everest,” ”Crimson Peak” and “Straight Outta Compton” to the audience on the closing day of the conference.

Ice Cube, on hand to promote the N.W.A. origin story “Straight Outta Compton,” praised Universal and its chairwoman, Donna Langley, for having the courage to make the film.

“We made it possible for artists to be themselves. That’s why we’re called the world’s most dangerous group,” said Ice Cube.

Raunchy clips were also shown from “Ted 2,” and “Sisters,” starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

“‘Ted 2’ is a movie you can take the whole family to … if your whole family is over 18 and addicted to drugs,” said MacFarlane.

“Everest,” meanwhile, focused heavily on the harrowing danger facing the climbers, like Jason Clarke, and the effect on their worried and distant families, including a tearful Keira Knightley.

Guillermo del Toro also showed some frightening footage from his gothic romance “Crimson Peak,” starring Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska.

“I wanted a theatrical, operatic spectacle that could be perhaps closer to a fairy tale in terms of how exquisitely designed it would be,” he said before showing the audience the trailer, which features a bathtub spout that pours blood.

The studio furthermore announced official release dates for the “Fifty Shades of Grey” sequel: “Fifty Shades Darker” will be released on Feb. 10, 2017, and “Fifty Shades Freed” on Feb. 9, 2018.

Vin Diesel was also in attendance to announce that the eighth installment in the “Fast & Furious” series will be released on April 14, 2017.

“This was a very personal movie and the stakes are very personal. We really love each other, we really are a family. We felt that in the movie,” he said, after a highlight reel of the “Fast & Furious” movies.

“It’s hard for me to even watch that clip and come out here without being emotional. But most importantly, I mean it from the bottom of my heart, that you guys, you help us make this special.”

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

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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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Activism

Samba Funk! to Hold Annual ‘Funkraiser’ in Honor of Founding Member Monica Hastings-Smith

Called MoniCarnival in memory of our beloved sister and founding member Monica Hastings-Smith, JOY 11 will feature live performances, DJs, vegan food, a youth zone, and a community bateria-style jam in a comfortable, indoor-outdoor space convenient for social-distancing.  

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Monica Hastings-Smith. Photo courtesy of SambaFunk!
Monica Hastings-Smith. Photo courtesy of SambaFunk!

By Daktari Shari, PsyD & Theo Aytchan Williams

SambaFunk! will present JOY 11, MoniCarnival, a funkraiser, celebration and party on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021, on the island located at 809 50th Ave. in Oakland. This year’s event is family friendly, starting at 2:00 p.m. with youth-specific programming.

Called MoniCarnival in memory of our beloved sister and founding member Monica Hastings-Smith, JOY 11 will feature live performances, DJs, vegan food, a youth zone, and a community bateria-style jam in a comfortable, indoor-outdoor space convenient for social-distancing.

Monica was an Oakland native born on Jan. 22, 1965. After a year-long battle with cancer, she took flight to the realm of the ‘Ancestars’ at the tender age of 56. Also raised in Oakland, Monica served as an artist, activist, educator, mother, mentor, trailblazer, guiding light, and contributor to local and far-reaching creative communities of and throughout the Afro-Diaspora.

A graduate of Bishop O’Dowd and the University of California, Berkeley, she was a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority and a co-founder of the Soul of Oakland. Monica participated in, partnered and collaborated with countless community organizations and schools including but not limited to Fogo Na Roupa, SambaFunk!, BoomShake, Manzanita SEED, and Urban Promise Academy.

SambaFunk!’s 11th Annual JOY Party, MoniCarnival will be a day party with live performances by Everyday Party, a musical duo Monica co-founded with Iwalani Venerable (@thesunflowerlioness) that offers music for young audiences; the soulful sounds of Kah Liberation (@kahliberationofficial); and the SambaFunk! performance ensemble including dancers, FunkTyme bateria and Funkternal band playing some longtime favorites also penned by Monica.

MoniCarnival will open with native son DJ Henroc spinning world rhythms and culminating with world-renowned Soul House DJ Patrick Wilson immersing the attendees in deep, soulful house music, inviting us all to take flight under the stars. Rounding out the evening will be a moving and grooving Community Drum Jam for Monica’s many percussion and drum friends to join together in harmony. All drummers are invited.

JOY 11, MoniCarnival also serves as the official launch for the 2022 Carnival season. “This is our biggest fundraising event of the year and largest family event since the COVID lockdown,” said SambaFunk! Artistic Director Theo Aytchan Williams. “I’m personally asking all supporters and well-wishers of SambaFunk! to show their support with their attendance and make a generous donation. Our goal is to raise $25,000.”

A portion of the proceeds from JOY 11, MoniCarnival will be donated to the Oakland Public Conservatory of Music, which offers affordable music lessons and learning experiences centered around African American musical culture to youth and adults of all ages.

Pandemic protocols will be observed with onsite PPE and sanitizing stations. Masks are required.

To purchase tickets and make donations for JOY 11, Monicarnival, please visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/joy-11-monicarnival-funkraiser-day-party-tickets-204311028787.

For additional details, contact us at sambafunky@gmail.com, visit our SambaFunk.com website, or give us a call at 510-451-6100.

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