Culture celebrated
LGBTQ, Black History, and other arts events upcoming
by Al Sullivan
Reporter staff writer
Feb 11, 2018 | 2663 views | 0 0 comments | 138 138 recommendations | email to a friend | print
view slideshow (3 images)
Arts programs throughout Jersey City will highlight diversity in the next month. In the mix: A show about the visual legacy of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQ) experience on Broadway, Black History month celebrations, and tributes to Caribbean arts, Asian dance, and a piano recital celebrating a Russian composer.

HCCC celebrates LGBTQ on Broadway

The Hudson County Community College (HCCC) Department of Cultural Affairs and Curator James Crochet will celebrate the visual legacy of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQ) experience on Broadway. This exhibition of LGBTQ Broadway characters and costumes will be on display through March 2 at the College’s Benjamin J. Dineen, III and Dennis C. Hull Gallery, 71 Sip Ave., Jersey City, just a block away from the Journal Square PATH Transportation Center. It is open to the general public and there is no charge for admission.

On display are costumes, sketches, and accessories from award-winning costume designers such as Gregg Barnes, Jess Goldstein, William Ivey Long, Bob Mackie, David Murin, Arianne Phillips and David Zinn, created for iconic characters in shows like ”Cabaret,” ”The Boy from Oz,” “Follies,” “Grey Gardens,” ”Hairspray,” ”Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” ”Kinky Boots,” “La Cage aux Follies,” ”Mame,” ”The Producers,” “Rent,” and “Side Show.”

The Benjamin J. Dineen, III and Dennis C. Hull Gallery is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The gallery is closed Sundays and holidays.

More information may be obtained online at, by contacting HCCC Cultural Affairs Director Michelle Vitale at, or by phoning (201) 360-4176.

Asia culture displayed through dance

Also in the Benjamin J. Dineen, III & Dennis C. Hull Gallery, the HCCC Department of Cultural Affairs continues its year-long partnership with New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) by offering a taste of Asian culture celebrating the Lunar New Year with a talk and demonstration presented by artist Nai-Ni Chen, featuring colorful costumes, twirling ribbons, and dancing dragons in a dazzling explosion of energy and motion.

The event will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 13 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. There is no charge and it open to the general public.

The dances of Nai-Ni Chen fuse the dynamic freedom of American modern dance with the grace and splendor of Asian art. Organizers of the event say that her mesmerizing and dramatic contemporary choreography has gained recognition among domestic and international presenters and festivals.

“The Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company’s productions take the audience beyond cultural boundaries to where tradition meets innovation and freedom arises from discipline,” according to the HCCC release.

The company has mounted twenty national tours and seven tours abroad, and was recently honored with a distinctive grant award from both the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities and the Department of State to represent the United States in a seven-city tour arranged by the Tamaulipas International Arts Festival in Mexico.

Nai-Ni Chen dance productions have been presented in prestigious concert halls, such as the Joyce Theater in New York, Ordway Center in Minnesota, and the Cerritos Center in California. Internationally, Ms. Chen’s work was featured at the Silesian International Contemporary Dance Festival and the Konfrontations International Dance Festival – both in Poland – and the Chang Mu International Arts Festival in Korea and China International Dance Festival.

Theater company launches fundraiser in support of women of color

Thinking In Full Color (TIFC), a new theater company supporting women of color, is celebrating its launch with a fundraiser, “Bloom In Full Color,” for Women’s History Month.

TIFC aims to share stories by women of color through theater and educational events. The Jersey City-based company was born from In Full Color, an annual theater show produced by 68 Productions and Art House Productions, one of the region’s largest and most prolific arts nonprofits. After three seasons of sold-out shows, the project is branching out on its own.

Founder Summer Dawn Reyes said that in this political climate, it is more important than ever to give these women a voice.

“This may seem like just a theater show to many, but Thinking In Full Color is so much more. We give voices and faces to minority women’s stories,” Reyes said. “We embrace the differences that have otherwise divided us. We highlight the commonalities we all share. People of all genders and all colors laugh and cry when they see our talented women perform, because they see their humanity, and they are touched. If every person in America saw this show, I wouldn’t want to say that we would end racism, but you know what, maybe we would.”

Reyes, who is Asian and White Hispanic, says the program was originally created to foster diversity in the arts and encourage authenticity in the depictions of people of color in the media. It has, however, grown into something much more.

Aside from their annual stage show, TIFC also tours universities and community centers around the Tri-State area, reaching out to the young hearts and minds that will grow into the next generation of leaders.

Performers include Amel Khalil, Dena Igusti, Ali de León, Audrey Martells, Nancy Méndez-Booth, wendelin, Liliane Wolf, and our founder and director Summer Dawn Reyes.

All ticket purchases will go directly toward funding TIFC’s upcoming fourth season and all future programming. Those who wish to make additional, tax-deductible donations may also do so through Fractured Atlas. Thinking In Full Color is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions for the charitable purposes of Thinking In Full Color must be made payable to “Fractured Atlas” only and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Bloom In Full Color is on Wednesday, March 21 at 7 p.m. at LITM, tickets cost $40 general admission, and $55 admission + 2 drink tickets. All ticket levels include light fare from event host and sponsor LITM. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

Black History Month art exhibit in City Hall

A Black History Month group exhibition is on display on the 2nd Floor John Meagher Rotunda Gallery at City Hall, 280 Grove St., Jersey City.

The show features a hefty display of prominent local artists that includes Lorenzo Pickett, Genesis Tremaine, Phillip McConnell, Joe Gilmore, Stephen B. Ellis, Ibous Ndoye, Andrea Brook D’alessandro and others. For more information call (201) 547-4333.

Tribute to Frederick Douglass and Edwin Hawkins

“Remember, Celebrate, Inspire: A Black History Month Program Honoring Frederick Douglass & Edwin Hawkins” will be held at Feb. 17 at 6:30 p.m., at St. Paul’s Church (Episcopal), 38 Duncan Ave. (between Bergen Ave. and JFK Blvd.) The event will include music, drama, and remarks by a civil rights era speaker will draw on the legacies of the two great African-Americans. All are welcome. A free-will offering will be taken. For more information call (201) 433-4922 or go to

Shedding light on the Caribbean immigrant experience

A rare and unforgettable view into the struggles and conflicts of immigrant families – as seen from the perspective of a child – comes to Merseles Studios when Jersey City Theater Center (JCTC) presents the award-winning show, “Demerara Gold,” written by and featuring Ingrid Griffith.

Based on Griffith’s life story as a Caribbean- American, “Demerara Gold” is a story of a 7-year-old girl. After her parents suddenly get visas to the U.S.A, she is left to live with her two grandmothers in Caribbean Guyana. When she finally arrives in America to reunite with her parents, Ingrid finds her father railing at “this blasted life” as he lashes out at his family and her mother wrestling with her disappointments and a life burdened by a family secret. “Demerara Gold” tells a sweeping tale that is both farcical and tragic, shedding a bright light on immigration, the personal cost of assimilation and the trauma of domestic abuse.

Griffith will personify multiple characters, and take audiences on a multigenerational journey into an immigrant community too often overlooked by mainstream theatre. JCTC presents thematic series that are global in scope yet relevant to the community, explored through multiple art-forms, including theatre, music, and visual arts. “Demerara Gold” is part of JCTC’s current series: Truth.

“Ingrid’s play is about someone who talks truthfully about her origins, specifically about how someone coming from the Caribbean feels adjusting to our society,” said Olga Levina, artistic director of JCTC. “Jersey City is one of the most diverse cities in the country. We’re a city of immigrants. It’s important we learn the stories of different immigrant groups, and how it truly feels to be an outsider.”

“Demerara Gold” will be held on Friday Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. and Saturday Feb. 17 at 8 p.m. in the Merseles Studios, 339 Newark Ave., Jersey City.

Tickets: $$20 ($15 for students & senior citizens/photo ID required at door). To purchase tickets, visit:

Pegasus at Mana Piano Series

Russian pianist-composer Vyacheslav Gryaznov will close the first season of “Pegasus at Mana: Piano Series” with a virtuosic tour de force on Thursday, Feb. 15. First, he will perform his own transcriptions of beloved works by Russian composers Borodin, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, and the spiritual father of them all, Mikhail Glinka. Then, Mr. Gryaznov will perform his own combination of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s two versions of Sonata No. 2.

The reception will be held at 7 p.m. with the concert to follow at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $25. Mana Theater is located on the 1st floor of Mana Contemporary, 888 Newark Ave. in

Jersey City. For more information call (201) 604-2702.

Al Sullivan may be reached at

Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet