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Saturday, January 20, 2024

BODY AND SOUL: Olaiya Olayemi: Alive in All Senses

olaiya olayemi (photo courtesy of the artist)

 a smiling dark-skinned black woman with pink faux locs and red glasses. pink lip gloss adorns her lips.


Body and Soul podcast next welcomes artist and educator olaiya olayemi who shares her view that resisting grind culture and living a sustainable life necessitates time for rest, play, and pleasure.

Listen to her episode, Alive in All Senses, here.

olaiya olayemi is an antidisciplinary artist, radical educator, pleasure anarchist, and erotic witch. she creates texts, images, sounds, and movements. she currently lives in philadelphia, pa.

Monday, January 8, 2024

BODY AND SOUL: Dr. Nina Angela Mercer: Mythologies of Erasure

Dr. Nina Angela Mercer (photo: Fabiola Jean Louis)

A headshot of a caramel-honey-skinned Black woman who is looking directly into the camera. She is wearing her dark brown hair in many long twists. She is also wearing a maroon crocheted hat that has saffron and sky-blue accents crocheted into a panel at the edge of the hat. She is wearing deep maroon lipstick. She is not smiling fully, but she looks content. She is outside in daylight.

Dr. Mercer in Invocation for José Antonio Aponte, a video poem (photo: Toshi Sakai)


A black-and-white photograph of a caramel and honey-brown Black woman holding two tree branches in front of her face. The branches frame her face so that parts of the top and bottom of her face are covered by the two branches she holds. Only her eyes, cheeks, and nose are visible in the dim light. Her hair is engulfed in shadow. But her hands and collarbone are also visible. She wears a black dress with a v-neck collar. She has on a silver necklace with two charms hanging from it--one charm is a lapis lazuli gemstone, the other is a small silver bow and arrow.

Next on Body and Soul podcast, we visit with playwright and scholar Dr. Nina Angela Mercer who draws from family roots in Washington, DC and her lifelong fascination with mythology and world-building to examine how the stories a society or community tells about itself too often promote marginalization and erasure of history.

To listen to Part One of her Body and Soul episode--Dr. Nina Angela Mercer: Mythologies of Erasure---on Spotify, click here. And you can find Part Two here.

Gypsy and the Bully Door at Georgetown University, 2023

Dr. Nina Angela Mercer is a culture worker, scholar, and interdisciplinary artist. Her plays include GUTTA BEAUTIFUL; ITAGUA MEJI: A ROAD AND A PRAYERELIJAHEEN BECOMES WINDCHARISMA AT THE CROSSROADS; A COMPULSION FOR BREATHING; MOTHER WIT AND WATER-BORN; and GYPSY AND THE BULLY DOORShe also collaborated with Urban Bush Women as writer and performer in HAINT BLU. Nina’s writing is published in The Killens Review of Arts & LettersBlack Renaissance Noire; Continuum: The Journal of African Diaspora Drama, Theatre, and PerformanceA Gathering of the Tribes Magazine OnlineBreak Beat Poets Vol 2: Black Girl MagicAre You Entertained? Black Popular Culture in the 21st CenturyPerformance Research JournalRepresent! New Plays for Multicultural Young People; and So We Can Know. She is currently a community engagement fellow at The Woodshed Center for Art, Thought, and Culture at Georgetown University's Racial Justice Institute. She is also the executive director of Ocean Ana Rising, Inc./OAR. For more information, visit her at

Sunday, December 31, 2023

InfiniteBody Honor Roll 2023

 InfiniteBody Honor Roll 2023

Eva Yaa Asantewaa
Fantasia Barrino-Taylor as Celie in The Color Purple
Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project

Margot Robbie in Barbie. (photo: Jaap Buitendijk/Warner Bros.)


Welcome to my annual end-of-year round-up of cultural moments--not so much a Best-Of. More of a Here's What Meant A Lot to Me!

As always, you'll find some Better-Late-Than-Never items I've caught up with--like the first one, Justin Kurzel's 2015 film, Macbeth, with its searing performances and cinematography.

I also want to acknowledge and give huge thanks for the contributions of my guest speakers for Body and Soul podcast--Lisa La Touche, devynn emory, Maxine Montilus, george emilio sanchez, Samar Haddad King, and Vicky Shick, and so many more. Catch up with this series on Spotify here.

Clearly, the 2020s continue to compete with one another for which year will be voted the most challenging. But even as our times become more dire, the arts continue to testify for human qualities and contributions still worthy of celebration and emulation.

As we approach the New Year, I wish you the clarity, strength, and courage to envision, create, and make a meaningful difference in 2024 and beyond.

Ceasefire now. Free Palestine.

-- Eva Yaa Asantewaa

Justin Kurzel's Macbeth


Macbeth (2015), directed by Justin Kurzel (Netflix)

All Quiet on the Western Front (2022), directed by Edward Berger (Netflix)

Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project (2022), directed by Joe Brewster and Michéle Stephenson (Sundance Film Festival 2023)


Danielle Deadwyler, star of Till

Roberta Flack

Till (2022), directed by Chinonye Chukwu (Amazon Prime Video)

American Masters: Roberta Flack, directed by Antonino D'Ambrosio (PBS)

The 1619 Project, various directors; executive produced by Nikole Hannah-Jones (Hulu)

Empire of Light, directed by Sam Mendes (HBO Max)

The Yanomami Struggle, curated by Thyago Nogueira, The Shed (February 3-April 16)

The Heisenberg Variations: Imagination, Invention, and Uncertainty, by Jennifer Finney Boylan, Julia S. Phelps Annual Lecture in the Arts and Humanities, Harvard Radcliffe Institute, February 16

Ron Carter: Finding the Right Notes, directed by Peter Schnall (PBS)


Still from Women Talking


We Are the Middle of Forever: Indigenous Voices from Turtle Island on the Changing Earth, editors:  Dahr Jamail and Stan Rushworth (The New Press, 2022)

The Elephant Whisperers, directed by Kartiki Gonsalves (Netflix)

Women Talking, directed by Sarah Polley (2022)

Remember This, directed by Jeff Hutchens and Derek Goldman (PBS Great Performances)


left-to-right: Deepika Padukone, Shah Rukh Khan, and John Abraham, Pathaan, Yash Raj Films


Pathaan, directed by Siddarth Anand (Amazon Prime Video)

Reggie, directed by Alexandria Stapleton (Amazon Prime Video)

Te Wheke, Atamira Dance Company, The Joyce Theater, March 29-April 2

A.I.M by Kyle Abraham, The Joyce Theater, April 4-9

Next at The Kennedy Center: Ballet Hispánico’s Doña Perón, PBS, streaming April 14-May 12

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, directed by Laura Poitras, streaming on HBO Max

Trisha Brown Dance Company, The Joyce Theater, May 2-7

No Bears, directed by Jafar Panahi, streaming on The Criterion Channel


Author Robert Caro and editor Robert Gottlieb in Turn Every Page


Jeremy Strong, at left, and Brian Cox in Succession

Turn Every Page: The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb, directed by Lizzie Gottlieb on Amazon Prime Video (2022)

John Mulaney: Baby J, directed by Alex Timbers, streaming on Netflix

Mother by Eiko Otake, Green-Wood Cemetery, May 7

Kazunori Kumagai: Tap Into The Light, Gibney, May 11-13

The Light We Carry: Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey, directed by Linda Mendoza, streaming on Netflix

Top Gun: Maverick, directed by Joseph Kosinski  (2022), streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Cette maison, directed by Miryam Charles (2022), streaming on The Criterion Channel

DanceAfrica 2023: Golden Ghana: Adinkra, Ananse, and Abusua, BAM, Artistic Director Abdel R. Salaam, May 26-29

Succession, created by Jesse Armstrong, streaming on HBO Max

ear for eye, directed by debbie tucker green (2021), streaming on The Criterion Channel

SciGirls Stories: Black Women in STEM, directed by Adja Gildersleve, Maya Washington, and Bianca Rhodes, streaming on PBS, June 1-29

Little Richard: King and Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll, directed by James House, streaming on PBS, June 2-30

Jury Duty, directed by Jake Szymanski, streaming on Amazon Prime Video


L-r: Jean Millington, June Darling, and June Millington of Fanny (photo: Marita Madeloni)


Fanny: The Right to Rock, directed by Bobbi Jo Hart, streaming on PBS, May 22-June 19

Assembly: Center for Dialogue and Exchange in the Arts, Danspace Project, June 9-10

Purple, Sydnie L. Mosley Dances, Lincoln Center's Summer for the City, June 9-25

Open Working Rehearsal, The Met Orchestra, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin with Angel Blue and Russell Thomas, Carnegie Hall, June 22


Taylor Mac's 24-Decade History of Popular Music (Max)
The film Nimona, adapted from ND Stevenson's 2015 graphic novel

Vir Das: Landing, directed by Vir Das, streaming on Netflix

Taylor Mac's 24-Decade History of Popular Music, directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman,  streaming on Max

Call Me Kate, directed by Lorna Tucker, streaming on Netflix

Nimona, directed by Troy Quane and Nick Bruno, streaming on Netflix

Not My Enemy, directed by Kehinde Ishangi (2022), streaming on Vimeo


Authors Anita Kopacz (above) and Viola Davis

Shallow Waters by Anita Kopacz (Simon & Schuster, 2022)

Finding Me by Viola Davis (Harper Collins, 2022) 

Oppenheimer, directed by Christopher Nolan


Kit Conner (left) and Joe Locke of Heartstopper

Heartstopper Season 2, streaming on Netflix

The Lincoln Lawyer, Seasons 1-2, streaming on Netflix

Barbie, directed by Greta Gerwig (2023)

The Half-God of Rainfall, by Inua Ellams, directed by Taibi Magar, at New York Theatre Workshop, July 14-August 20

Wayne Shorter: Zero Gravity, directed by Dorsay Alavi, streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Tree and Serpent: Early Buddhist Art in India 200 BCE-400 CE., Metropolitan Museum of Art, July 21 -November 13

Pepón Osorio: My Beating Heart/ Mi corazón latiente, The New Museum, June 29-September 17

María Magdalena Campos-Pons: Behold, Brooklyn Museum, September 15, 2023–January 14, 2024

The Blue Caftan, directed by Miryam Touzani (2022), streaming on Amazon Prime Video and Criterion Channel

Lupin (Season 3), streaming on Netflix


David Byrne of Talking Heads in Stop Making Sense

Edisa Weeks in 3 Rites: Liberty

Stop Making Sense (Restored), directed by Jonathan Demme

3 Rites: Liberty, by Delirious Dances/Edisa Weeks, October 12-15

Silver Dollar Road, directed by Raoul Peck, streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Performer Ty Defoe

Author Héctor Tobar

Embracing Duality: Modern Indigenous Culture (starring Halluci Nation, Martha Redbone, and Ty Defoe), Next at The Kennedy Center, PBS

Deadloch, written by Kate McCartney and Kate McLennan, streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Our Migrant Souls: A Meditation on Race and the Meanings and Mythsd of "Latino," by Héctor Tobar (MCD Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2023)

Nyad, directed by Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, streaming on Netflix

The Bear (Season 2), streaming on Hulu


Colman Domingo as Bayard Rustin in Rustin, streaming on Netflix

Stamped from the Beginning, directed by Roger Ross Williams, streaming on Netflix

Community of Parting, directed by Jane Jin Kaisen (2019), Vimeo

South to Black Power, directed by Sam Pollard and Llewellyn M. Smith (2023), Max

Maestro, directed by Bradley Cooper (2023)

Danzantes del Alba, Teatro Línea de Sombra, NYU Skirball Center, December 3

Lesbian Poetic Traditions: Judy Grahn, Julie R. Enszer, JP Howard, and Alicia Mountain, Live from NYPL, December 6



Park Eun-bin of Extraordinary Attorney Woo

Teo Yoo and Greta Lee of Past Lives


Renaissance, directed by Beyoncé Knowles-Carter (2003)

Leave the World Behind, directed by Sam Esmail (2023), steaming on Netflix

She Said, directed by Maria Schrader (2022), streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Julian (2022) and Moth (2023), films by Kate Weare and Jack Flame Sorokin

Past Lives, directed by Celine Song (2023), streaming on Amazon Prime Video

The Color Purple, directed by Blitz Bazawule (2023)

Extraordinary Attorney Woo, directed by Yoo In-shik, streaming on Netflix from 2022

Visible Mending, directed by Samantha Moore, The New York Times, Op-Docs.

American Fiction, directed by Cord Jefferson (2023)

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