Friday, August 19, 2011

Waiting for Giovanni - James Baldwin

How many of you know who James Baldwin is?

James Baldwin was one of America's most prominent Black Gay authors of the 20th century.

James Arthur Baldwin (August 2, 1924 – December 1, 1987) was an American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and civil rights activist.

Baldwin's essays, for instance the booklength essay No Name in the Street, explore palpable yet unspoken intricacies of racial, sexual, and class distinctions in Western societies, most notably in mid-20th century America, vis-à-vis their inevitable if unnameable tensions with personal identity, assumptions, uncertainties, yearning, and questing.[1]

His novels and plays fictionalize fundamental personal questions and dilemmas amid complex social and psychological pressures thwarting the equitable integration of not only blacks yet also of male homosexuals—depicting as well some internalized impediments to such individuals' quest for acceptance—namely in the novel Giovanni's Room, written well before the equality of homosexuals was widely espoused in America.[2] Baldwin is best known for his novel Go Tell It on the Mountain. - Wikepedia

Sometime in early January of 2000, I was bouncing in and out of college and one semester I decided to stay home to work at the now defunct TGIF in Jack London Square of Oakland.

While there, I was fortunate enough to meet and work with so many nice people and one of them happened to be William Hunter, a young aspiring Black Queer actor. When I met this William, he was brimming with this fierce Shakespearean larger than life persona and you could just tell there was something special about him.

Flash forward to August 19th, 2011., on the BART train home, I was reading the B.A.R. *Bay Area Reporter* and guess whose picture I saw in the calender feature section, that's right, Miss William Hunter herself and he's playing the lead role in Jewelle Gomez's adaption of James Baldwin's book, "Giovanni's Room" .

The adaption play, "Waiting for Giovanni" , is based on the life and times of James Baldwin.

Here's the promo pic for tonight's opening show with William holding his hands over the typewriter.

Once in a great while you'll hear an actor say, "I was born to play that role" . I heard Beyonce say that about her role in Dreamsgirls and I also heard Whoopi Goldberg say that about her role in the Color Purple.

I can honestly say that William Hunter was born to play James Baldwin. Ohhh... I just got chills writing that.

I am so looking forward to watching tonight's opening show at the New Conservatory Theater in SF. That's right, I got the last ticket to what is sure going to be a smash hit on Broadway.

Trust me, William can do no wrong tonight. All he has to do it show up and give it!

Go William!


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