Spend Presidents Day Weekend (February 16-17, 2013) with authors, activists, politicians, academics, theater and visual artists, filmmakers and members of the community to examine the complex mix of issues and attitudes, history and ideology, personal relations and political calculations that create our contemporary understanding of Race in America.
The anchor for the weekend is the Theater J production of David Mamet’s Race. In addition to our Opening Plenary and various panel discussions, each performance of Race will have a provocative talkback immediately following the show. All ticket holders are welcome to participate in the talkback or tickets to the talkback can be purchased separately.
Schedule of Events
Saturday, February 16
4:00 pm Prologue & Opening Plenary
Jackie Robinson Steals Home & Other Meditations on the Presidency
presented by E. Ethelbert Miller, poet and director of the African American Resource Center at Howard University
A multi-media think-piece on the backlash against the Obama Presidency, using as its model the audacity of the first African American in Major League Baseball’s unforgettable act of stealing home in the 1955 World Series against the NY Yankees and the outrage and inspiration it provoked.
A Second Term for the First Black President: Considering the Impact of Race at the Midpoint of the Obama Era
The re-election of President Obama has not inaugurated a post-racial era so much as highlighted a nation still deeply divided on attitudes towards race. What will such divisiveness bring, as America continues to become more diverse? How will the experiences of the first term inform what is coming in the second?
• Rabbi David Saperstein, Director, Religious Action Center
• Michael Steele, MSNBC Political Analyst, first African-American chairman of the Republican National Committee
• Jenee Desmond-Harris, White House Correspondent, TheRoot.com
8:00 pm Performance
Race by David Mamet, directed by John Vreeke
9:30 pm Panel Discussion
Race & the Law: How Far Have We Come?
Civil Rights attorneys reflect on the social advancements achieved through the courts during the heyday of the Civil Rights Movement and the work still to be done, in a contemporary landscape.
Moderator: Nan Aron, Founder and President of The Alliance for Justice
• Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, Delegate for the District of Columbia
• Jim Murphy, Civil Rights attorney
• Lynn French, an attorney who teaches the History of the Civil Rights Movement at University of Virginia, she is Executive Director of Hope and a Home
• William L. Robinson, the Olie W. Rauh Professor of Law, founding Dean of the District of Columbia School of Law
• John C. Brittain professor of law at the University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law.
Sunday, February 17
11:00 am Jazz Brunch
Enjoy the works of Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman in a live performance by the DUBTrio with a selection of bagels, schmears and other brunch favorites prior to the screening of White: A Memoir in Color
12:00 pm Film Screening
White: A Memoir in Color directed by Joel Katz
"Adoption almost immediately brings up issues around race. There is nothing quite like having to identify what race child you are comfortable raising to make you look more deeply into your own identity.” So says filmmaker Joel Katz, the son of white, Jewish, immigrant parents and whose father was a professor at Howard University during the turbulent civil rights and black power period, an experience that challenged the elder Katz’s attitudes towards US race relations. The filmmaker confronts his own racial attitudes as he and his wife become adoptive parents to a mixed-race child.
1:00 pm Post-Screening Discussion
Transracial Adoption & Biracial Identities: Families Speak
Moderator: Karen Finney, MSNBC Political Analyst
• Joel Katz, documentary filmmaker
• Peter Edelman, professor Georgetown University Law Center and former member of the Clinton Administration
• Janice Goldwater, Executive Director of Adoptions Together
2:30 pm Panel Discussion
A Place on the National Mall: The Politics of Representation
The National Mall will add another museum in 2015. What does the addition of The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture say about how we recognize and tell the stories of different racial and ethnic groups in America?
• Kinshasha Holman Conwill, Deputy Director of the National Museum of African American History & Culture
• Kevin Gover, Director, Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian
• Gonzalo Casals, Deputy Executive Director of El Museo del Barrio
3:00 pm Performance
Race by David Mamet, directed by John Vreeke
4:30 pm Panel Discussion
Race and the Law in An Age of Scandal
David Mamet's play presciently foreshadowed the infamous Dominique Strauss Kahn affair of 2011. Our discussion recounts the incendiary controversy ignited by that public scandal, and so many others, where race, attraction, and sexual aggression meet.
• Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele, multimedia journalist who wrote extensively on the Duke Lacrosse rape scandal
• Shawn Armbrust, Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project
• Aderson B. Francois, Supervising Attorney of the Civil Rights Clinic at Howard University
7:00 pm Panel Discussion, part of A Continuing Talk on Race (A.C.T.O.R.)
The Cultural Politics of a City's Comeback
This discussion is part of A.C.T.O.R (A Continuing Talk on Race), an open discussion series hosted by Busboys and Poets.
Moderator: Pamela Pinnock, founder of A.C.T.O.R. at Busboys and Poets
• Clinton Yates, journalist Washington Post/The Root
• Sheryll Cashin, professor at Georgetown University Law Center and author of Moving Toward a Culturally Dexterous Washington and The Failures of Integration
• Sheldon Scott, playwright, actor, and manager of Marvin's Restaurant
• Amy Alexander, author Uncovering Race: A Black Journalist's Story of Reporting and Reinvention
• Garance Franke-Ruta, senior editor at The Atlantic, where she oversees the Politics Channel
7:30 pm Performance:
Race by David Mamet
9:00 pm Closing Panel Discussion
To Praise or Pillory: The Case For (or against) David Mamet
This discussion begins a multi-week debate about the enduring relevance of the works and words of David Mamet. A closing evening of scenes, speeches, and closing arguments will take place Monday, March 4 at Round House Theatre.
Moderators:: Ryan Rillette, Artistic Director of Round House Theatre (producer of the concurrently running Glengarry Glen Ross)
and Ari Roth, Artistic Director of Theater J
• Joy Zinoman, director, former artistic director of Studio Theatre
• Javier Rivera - Assistant Professor Theatre/Music Theatre at American University
• KenYatta Rogers, director, educator, and actor in Glengarry Glen Ross
• Jennifer Nelson, former producing director, African Continuum Theatre