Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Mid-Week Rush

One Night. One Voice. One Message. "HIV and AIDS wasn't just a gay disease, it's a human disease and always was a human disease..." Sheryl Lee Ralph. The centerpiece event of World AIDS Day 2009 featured Tony Nominated, Screen and TV star Sheryl Lee Ralph in her tour-de-force one woman show, "Sometimes I Cry" before a captivated audience last evening. In earlier post I had mused about obtaining tickets to the event and was pleasantly surprised as I was afforded the chance to catch this moving presentation held in the spacious Lucy Cabe Theater at the Wilwood Performing Arts park. Ralph took to the stage in complete darkness, appearing into the spotlight with a taped mouth, starkly gazing into the audience then suddenly snatching the tape from her mouth signifying the "silence" which some affected or infected individuals covet in this health dilemma. Ms. Ralph moved effortlessly as she reminisce of her Dreamgirls Broadway days, while citing the many deaths of friends and co-workers. "I witnessed the sickness and death. It was a sad time in America." she recalled. As a co-witness to that carnage, I concurred with her sentiments and at this point I knew that Ms. Ralph was going to bring it home. And she did just that. The show is centered around three characters from her own personal "sistah" chronicles which detail the "loves, lives and losses of women infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. She vividly describes an incontinent moment of a business/socialite, the harsh realities of a young women caught up in the foster system and the next door Sunday school teacher whom gets a second lust for life as a widow finds herself facing an HIV diagnosis. Each story is extremely frank and in your face artistry which Ms. Ralph dressed in all black uses unlike a ninja master. After the conclusion, she entertained a Q & A in which she mentioned about her travels, observations and her hopes for the future. I was simply thrilled that this presentation was offered in a joint venture with the Arkansas Department of Health and Minority Health Commission along with the Diva Foundation helmed by Ralph. Even though the "stories" were female centric, the message " care about yourself first!, should resonate across the board. As I surveyed the crowd, It was apparent that many of those hard to come by tickets had made it into the hands of predominately African American women which is not out of context since the show comes from a female prospective, but what did catch my attention was the fact that some of these attendess seemed to have secured "many" tickets of the reported 600 tickets distributed. In my seating area, one such lady had tickets for the much of row and commanded seats while fielding her cell phone with directions for those apparently lost in transition. After her guest arrived, I was further bemused when a one individual said," who's Sheryl Lee Ralph?" It was priceless. All this aside I didn't feel out of place nor did some of the other brothers in the house ranging from banker Charles Stewart to Dr. A. Williams. A big high-five along with capital Kudos to all involved in bringing this type of programming to the city. I want to also thank Mr. K. D, "D" and those gracious ladies on the door who provided a warm welcome from the onset. It's this type of event that I suggest that if you missed this one, you certainly should get to the next outing. In one final note, I had not been to Wildwood even though I had plans to do so. The theater is state of the art and I look forward to returning for their schedule of events. Simply put there's not a bad seat in the house as many of them are dedicated to prominent locals including my own seat which was in honor of none other than Jack Stephens. In the meantime, "Get the facts. Get involved. Get Tested. For more information click it to: or 1.800.CDC-INFO (232-4636)

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