ARTICLE22 'buys back the bombs' in creating jewelry in Laos

Maria Bianca Algieri at the 2019/2020 Article22 Bryant Park Holiday Shop Among the 100-plus kiosks at this year’s Holiday Shops open-air marketplace at Midtown Manhattan’s Bryant Park, ARTICLE22 stood out, both for its designated ethical accessories/sustainable fashion product and for the story behind it. After all, the Brooklyn-based supplier is named after Article 22 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which holds that every member of society has the right to social security--and is “entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indisp

Moscow-based BENU pen makers bring Russian history to contemporary design

BENU's "Royal Purple" Minima fountain pen In this day of all things digital, there’s still a sizable and growing market for fans of the antiquated fountain pen. Enter BENU a young and growing pen company based in Moscow and named for the Egyptian sunbird identified with the sun god Ra, creator of the universe and giver of life. “Periodically renewing itself like the sun, BENU is a symbol of constant changes, recurrence, renovations,” says Kate Dmitrieva, who launched BENU with Alex Semanin in January, 2016. BENU's Kate Dmetrieva and Alex Semanin “The name reflects our feelings about the history of writing instruments,” Dmitrieva explains. “Changing throughout centuries, in today’s digital wo

French group San Salvador wows APAP crowds with unique language and vocal style

San Salvador performs at New York Hilton Midtown during APAP San Francisco’s Riot Artists agency has a tradition of bringing some of the most intriguing and exciting artists to the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) conferences at the New York Hilton Midtown (among them, Dakh Daughters and Dakha Brakha, both from Ukraine), and this year it was San Salvador. Hailing from the town of Saint-Salvadour in southwestern France, the young, high-energy a cappella/percussion sextet compose and sing in the endangered Occitan language, spoken by only 100,000 people in France (as of 2012). As evidenced by two brief Hilton showcases (they also performed longer ones at Joe’s Pub, and Globalfe

Kangana Ranaut kicks Indian sport of kabaddi into Bollywood mainstream with 'Panga'

"Panga" trailer The latest entry in Bollywood movies empowering women through sports (including Aamir Khan’s 2016 Dangal, where he coaches his daughter to a wrestling championship, and Priyanka Chopra’s 2014 Mary Kom, where she portrays the Indian Olympics boxing medalist), Panga (“to mess with”) involves the popular South Asian contact team sport of kabaddi. Directed by Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari (India’s Filmfare Award winner for Best Director for the 2017 comedy Bareilly Ki Barfi) and released in the U.S. Friday, it stars multiple Filmfare award winner Kangana Ranaut as Jaya, a former top women’s kabaddi star, who gave up the game seven years earlier to marry and raise young son Adi, born premat

APAP session focuses on 'Resilience and Sustainability'

"Resilience and Sustainability" plenary session at APAP The appropriately titled plenary session Resilience and Sustainability: The Long Conversation at last week’s Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) conference at the New York Hilton Midtown featured several of the trade’s luminaries interviewing each other in a circular format, beginning with New Orleans-born performer/producer/cultural organizer Nick Slie conversing with jazz drummer/producer/educator/activist Terri Lyne Carrington. Invoking the conference “Risk and Resilience” theme, Carrington noted that “as a musician, we take risks every time we play--[and] live on the edge.” Resilience, then, comes with the territory.

Magnolia Sisters' Ann Savoy and Jane Vidrine step out with Cajun 'Louisiana Lullabies' C

"Petits Sans Mamans, Petits Sans Papas" Mainstays of Grammy-nominated Cajun music group Magnolia Sisters, Ann Savoy and Jane Vidrine have been performing together for nearly 40 years. Fais Do Do: Louisiana Lullabies is their latest release—a songbook/CD issued under their names, and a sequel of sorts to the Magnolia Sisters’ 2005 children’s CD Lapin, Lapin: Historic CHildrens’ Songs of Louisiana. “‘Lapin, Lapin’ means ‘rabbit, rabbit,’ and is my eldest daughter Sarah’s favorite record,” says Savoy, whose daughter grew up to be a Cajun musician and cookbook author, while her sons Joel and Wilson are top Cajun musicians who appear on Fais Do Do, and younger daughter Gabrielle is an artist/phot

Roberto Clemente a big hit at APAP

SEA display at APAP One of the most eye-catching displays at last week’s Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) conference at the New York Hilton Midtown was a big action figure of Roberto Clemente, the Hall of Fame Pittsburgh Pirate outfielder from Puerto Rico who tragically perished at 38 on December 31, 1972, in a plane crash on the way to deliver emergency aid to earthquake survivors in Nicaragua. The figure adorned the exhibition hall booth of bilingual arts-in-education organization Society of the Educational Arts, Inc. (SEA) and companion Latino Children’s Theatre in the U.S. Established by Dr. Manuel A. Morán and with offices in New York, San Juan and Florida, SEA create

Inspired by Tony Bennett's memoir, APAP exhibitor Jimmi Kilduff creates new 'Vintage Vegas&#

Jimmi Kilduff at APAP One newcomer to the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) conference this week at the New York Hilton Midtown’s exhibition halls was Jimmi Kilduff, who was promoting his latest tribute show, Vintage Vegas. The show relates the history of Caesars Palace’s legendary Circus Maximus showroom and features the music of Tony Bennett, Tom Jones and Frank Sinatra. It follows Kilduff’s preceding Rags to Riches: The Music and Life of Tony Bennett (he’s also done Sinatra to Buble: 75 Years of Swing and Mostly Broadway: From Vaudeville to Hamilton, from Stage to Screen, the Music and History of the Great American Musical tribute shows). Kilduff has established himself

Chubby Checker remains a big hit at APAP

Chubby Checker at APAP Perennially cheerful Chubby Checker had plenty of reasons to smile at his exhibitor’s booth this week at the annual Assn. of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) conference at the New York Hilton Midtown. But the big display piece next to him focused on the main one: After all these years, his 1960 signature hit “The Twist,” as of the week of Dec. 18, 2019, still tops Billboard’s Greatest of All Time Hot 100 Singles chart. “Of all the songs you’ve ever heard in your life, ‘The Twist’ is No. 1!” beamed Checker. “That includes Taylor Swift and everybody else!” Sure enough, Checker’s “The Twist,” which was written by R&B artist Hank Ballard and was a moderate hit when ori

Bollywood superstar Deepika Padukone's brave portrayal in 'Chhapaak'

Other glamorous movie stars have sacrificed their looks for a choice role, but none so courageously as Bollywood’s celebrated Deepika Padukone. In Chhapaak, the actress who has been named “India’s Most Beautiful Woman” (the Indian edition of People), “Most Desirable Woman” (The Times of India), the “World’s Sexiest Woman” (the Indian edition of FHM) and “Sexiest Asian Woman” (UK magazine Eastern Eye), transcends her beauty in her portrayal of a frightfully scarred survivor of an acid attack (chhapaak is “splash” in Hindi). Now 34 in real life, you hardly realize how good Padukone is, since she’s so natural—and credible--in showing the growth of her character as she transitions from a lovely

APAP Awards honor Ping Chong, outgoing APAP prez Mario Garcia Durham

From left: 2020 APAP Award of Merit for Achievement in the Performing Arts recipient Ping Chong, former acting chairman and former senior deputy chair of the National Endowment for the Arts Joan Shigekawa, and APAP president/CEO Mario Garcia Durham (Photo by Adam Kissick for APAP) The Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) honored artists, visionaries and advocates in the performing arts business Monday at its Annual Awards Ceremony, which celebrates individuals and organizations that have demonstrated a significant impact on the industry and communities they serve both in the U.S. and abroad. “We artists work because we must,” said Ping Chong, the APAP 2020 Award of Merit honor

Steve Miller and Eurhythmics lead 2020 Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees

SHOF 2020 inductees: (top row, left to right ) Rick Nowels, Chad Hugo / Pharrell Williams p/k/a The Neptunes, Steve Miller and Annie Lennox / Dave Stewart p/k/a Eurythmics. (bottom row, left to right) Ernie Isley / Marvin Isley / O'Kelly Isley / Ronald Isley / Rudolph Isley / Chris Jasper p/k/a The Isley Brothers, Mariah Carey and William "Mickey" Stevenson. Steve Miller, the Eurhythmics’ Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart, Maria Carey, and the Isley Brothers are among the Songwriters Hall of Fame (SHOF) 2020 inductees. Also being inducted into the Hall at the organization’s 51st Annual Induction & Awards Gala on June 11 in New York are: Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams of The Neptunes, Rick Nowel

Expansive musical note, sounded by APAP opener Chris Thile, echoed by closer Ben Folds

Chris Thile at APAP It was certainly unplanned, but Chris Thile, who opened the 2020 Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) conference on Jan. 10 with a couple solo mandolin pieces followed by a few pertinent words at the opening “The Power of Risk-Taking” plenary session at the New York Hilton Midtown, was echoed by Ben Folds, who followed his closing “Ben Folds on Art, Life and Music” plenary session observations (also at the Hilton, on Jan. 14) alone at the piano. The gist from both concerned this year’s conference’s overall “Risk and Resilience” theme, the “risk” part in particular. “We don’t challenge ourselves as artists,” Thile suggested, then submitted an effective if un

Folk Legacy Trio mines rich music heritage at APAP

Folk Legacy Trio (from left, Rick Dougherty, Jerry Siggins and George Grove, Saturday evening at APAP) Together just a couple years but with decades of experience going back to the folk revival era spanning the 1950s through the mid-’70s, The Folk Legacy Trio says they’re keeping that music going now because they’re so old they don’t want to learn new songs. But at their Saturday night (Jan. 11) showcase at the annual Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) conference at New York’s Midtown Hilton Hotel, they made those old songs (specifically, the Joe & Eddie version of “There’s a Meeting Here Tonight,” Gordon Lightfoot’s “Early Morning Rain,” the Everly Brothers’ “Let It Be Me”

Eclectic bandleader Dawn Drake brings new global shading to latest ZapOte album

If she’s not the busiest musician in NY, surely there’s none busier than Dawn Drake. The funky bassist-percussionist, vocalist and composer, averages up to three gigs a week (and as many as eight) in various settings--bandleader, backing musician, solo player and dance class accompanist for top companies like Alvin Ailey and Mark Morris. An Afro-Cuban/Brazilian percussionist (specializing in congas but deft on a panoply), she also teaches courses in Caribbean music at John Jay College, and has extensively promoted gender equality and women’s empowerment through music with such organizations as New York City Public School System, Brooklyn Arts Council, and even the U.S. Embassy for a project

Ken Waldman brings new APAP events to Don't Tell Mama cabaret

Ken Waldman Always a big hit at the annual Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) conference in New York with his acoustic music shows, Appalachian-style string-band music fiddler/entrepeneur and Alaska-setting poet/storyteller Ken Waldman is changing it up a bit this week with two different programs, both at Hell’s Kitchen cabaret club Don’t Tell Mama, on Thursday and Friday night. Instead of his traditional Thursday night “dress rehearsal” gig at Jalopy in Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood, where he would preview the Don't Tell Mama Friday night From Manhattan to Moose Pass roots music variety showcase, the Alaska-based Waldman, known affectionately as “Alaska’s fiddling poet,”

Centerline's Top 10 albums for 2019

Rhiannon Giddens performs "I'm On My Way" from her album "There is No Other" 1. Rhiannon Giddens, There is No Other (Nonesuch): It really was Rhiannon Giddens’ year, what with this haunting Joe Henry-produced album collaboration with Italian jazz musician Francesco Turrisi and an equally enthralling collaboration, Songs of Our Native Daughters (Smithsonian Folkways), with fellow North American female singer-songwriters (under the group name Our Native Daughters) Amythyst Kiah, Leyla McCalla, and Allison Russell. 2. Samantha Fish, Kill or Be Kind (Rounder): Then again, down and dirty blues-rock guitarist Samantha Fish had another big year, what with an album on which she poured it out on son