Cville Series: Open Mic
Friday, August 11 | 7pm sign up
Ike Anderson and Shelby Edwards, hosts
Entry fee $5
Cash bar and snacks
Featured performer, Martin Hodges
Cville Series: Open mic showcases Charlottesville’s known and unknown talent. Sign up begins at 7pm and continues until the last performer has been heard.
August Wilson's Jitney
Friday, September 15 | 8pm
Friday, September 15 – September 25
Shows on Friday and Saturday 8pm
Sunday matinee 2 pm
The eighth play in August Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle is set in a gypsy cab station in 1977. Regular taxi cabs will not travel to the Pittsburgh Hill District of the 1970s, and so the residents turn to jitneys—unofficial, unlicensed taxi cabs—that operate in the community. This play portrays the lives of the jitney drivers at the station owned by Jim Becker.
We are rapidly introduced to the regulars of the station: recently returned Vietnam veteran Darnell (called Youngblood by the other drivers) who is attempting to build a new life for himself and his family, solid, easy-going Korean War veteran Doub, gossipy hothead Turnbo, alcoholic Fielding and flamboyant numbers runner Shealy, who is not a driver but who used the station’s phone as his base of operations. Conflict arises when Turnbo insinuates himself into Youngblood’s love life, telling Youngblood’s girlfriend Rena that he has been seen around town with her sister when he should have been at home with their young son. Despite his protestations of innocence, she accuses Youngblood, who has been acting secretly and has taken money needed for groceries to pay a vague “debt”, of cheating on her, which he has done in the past. Youngblood attacks Turnbo for causing trouble and Turnbo pulls a gun on him, threatening to shoot him, but station boss Becker intervenes.
Becker’s son, Clarence (nicknamed Booster) is released early from Prison after serving 20 years for the murder of his college girlfriend, who had falsely accused him of rape. Becker has not visited him in prison once during that span, furious that he sacrificed his life to provide for Booster’s future only for him to throw it away on needless revenge. Booster comes to the station anxious to reconcile with his father, but Becker refused to listen to him, furiously blaming him for his mother’s death, who died of grief after Booster was sentenced to death. Angry recriminations are thrown on either side and Becker disowns his son.
News arrives that the building housing the station is to be condemned by the city and the drivers resolve to fight the eviction. Youngblood admits to Rena that his secretive behavior has been because he has been saving up to buy a house, which her sister was helping him with as a surprise. Rena admonishes him for not his deception but acknowledges that he has changed, and they reconcile.
Tragedy strikes unexpectedly when Becker, who has taken a shift at the steel mill he used to work at, is killed in an industrial accident. Booster breaks down in agony on hearing his father is dead, but at the end of the play appears ready to take his place as the head of the Jitney station.
This version of Jitney is directed by Leslie Scott-Jones. The cast of characters includes Jim Becker played by Clinton Johnston, the well-respected manager of the jitney station. Fielding a driver, played by Derick Williams is an alcoholic, formerly a tailor who clothed Billy Eckstine and Count Basie. Turnbo played by Ike Anderson, notorious for being a gossip. YoungBlood played by David Vaughn Straughn, is a Vietnam Vet recently returned home to his girlfriend and two year old son. Rena played by Tiff Ames is YoungBlood’s girlfriend and the mother of his young son, Jesse. Shealy played by Damani Harrison is a flamboyant bookie who uses the jitney station as the basis of his operations. Philmore played by Wes Bellamy is a local Hotel doorman and a frequent jitney passenger. Booster played by Eric Jones, Becker’s son, who has just completed a 20 year prison sentence for murder.
Reading the Black Intellectual: Angela Davis
Saturday, September 16 | 10 am - 11:30 am
I’m no longer accepting the things I cannot change…I’m changing the things I cannot accept…Angela Davis
Saturday, September 16 | 10 am Angela Davis: An Autobiography
Saturday, October 14 | 10 am Women, Race and Class
Saturday, November 18 | 10 am Freedom is a Constant Struggle
Angela Davis: An Autobiography is not so much revealing as “exemplary.” Writing it was not an act of self-discovery; it was an act of political communication. Yet it is no prose poster. It takes its structure from her arrest, imprisonment, trial and acquittal and, for that reason and because the prison movement is her political work, it is sometimes the voice of Every Prisoner, a little familiar. But it is also a strong, idiosyncratic account of her childhood, youth and growth, and her choice of the Communist party as the agency through which to act. To the personal narrative she brings such precision and individuality that she reminds us out of what universal, bitter, private experiences the black movement coalesced in the first place. New York Times October 27, 1974
Women, Race and Class…Angela Davis’ book is a rare effort–a case study of the interaction of issues of race and class within the women’s movement in America. She carries out her analysis through a chronological unfolding of the position of black women, the majority of whom are also part of the labour force, within American society.She studies their transition from slavery to freedom against the background of a number of particular issues raised at different times by the women’s movement, namely the issues of female suffrage, of resistance against rapists, if the right to birth control and abortion, and finally of housework .The picture that emerges from her analysis reveals uniformly non-participation of black women on these issues in the feminist movement….Malani Bhattachrya
In Freedom is a Constant Struggle Davis illuminates the connections between struggles against state violence and oppression throughout history and around the world.
Reflecting on the importance of black feminism, intersectionality, and prison abolitionism for today’s struggles, Davis discusses the legacies of previous liberation struggles, from the Black Freedom Movement to the South African anti-Apartheid movement. She highlights connections and analyzes today’s struggles against state terror, from Ferguson to Palestine.
All reads will take place in the Alumni Room and are free and open to the public. Please come ready to participate–not all of our meetings will be lead discussions. Books can be purchased in the Alumni Room beginning July 27.
Study questions angeladavisbiostudyquestions
Reading the Black Intellectual: James Baldwin
Saturday, March 18 | 10 am – 1 pm
“Not every thing that is faced can be changed but nothing can be changed until it is faced…” James Baldwin
James Arthur Baldwin (1924-1987) was an essayist, playwright and novelist. In 1962 an article appeared in the New Yorker magazine entitled “Letter From a Region in My Mind.” This article would form the basis of his seminal work The Fire Next Time, published later that year. In1963 Sheldon Binn, reviewing the book in the New York Times, described it as a masterful attempt to translate what it means to be a Negro in white America.
Baldwin started writing Another Country (1962) in Greenwich Village in the 1940s. He completed the book in Istanbul as a result of a grant he received from the Ford Foundation.
Go Tell it on the Mountain is Baldwin’s earliest and most autobiographical work. It is defined by Baldwin’s painful relationship with his stepfather, David, a disciplinarian preacher from New Orleans who repeatedly told his stepson that he was ugly, marked by the devil. The novel addresses the issue of systemic racism.
Join us for coffee and conversation about this important work. Click here for questions to consider
All reads will take place in the Alumni Room and are free and open to the public.