Performing Arts

‘Baseball Dreams,’ story by Cuban American novelist, is coming to the stage

Featured in “Baseball Dreams,” by Cuban American novelist Ana Menéndez, are mother and son actors Nicole Quintana, as the Daughter, and Anthony Quintana, as the Boy.
Featured in “Baseball Dreams,” by Cuban American novelist Ana Menéndez, are mother and son actors Nicole Quintana, as the Daughter, and Anthony Quintana, as the Boy. Photo provided by What If Works.

Learn about a bat, a ball, a boy with a dream, and the unforeseen legacy left behind for a girl when “Baseball Dreams” by Cuban American novelist Ana Menéndez comes to life on stage.

The short story, from Menéndez’s collection, “In Cuba I was a German Shepherd,” will be presented by What if Works, a not-for-profit community organization that offers young artists in theater, film, and music an outlet for social change.

“It is wonderful being able to realize her writing on stage. She is a truly inspirational writer. It’s like curating a multidimensional poem!” said Artistic Director Phillip Church, who is also an associate professor in the Department of Theatre at Florida International University.

This is “a simple, elegiac story, a parable filled with human conflict and compassion,” Church said. “What if Works seeks to sustain the work word-for-word while delivering an indelible experience through the intersection of spoken word, drama, music, movement and video.”

“It’s just the biggest thrill working with Phillip,” Menéndez said. “It’s such an honor.

“I wrote this story almost 20 years ago and to have an artist like Phillip Church (whom I’ve known and admired almost as long!) take a new look at it and find it worth his attention is especially lovely. It’s really a simple story about baseball and girlhood, but beneath that, it’s also about the ways that history makes and unmakes us. Phillip’s gorgeous, sensitive production gets at all that with an inspired set and marvelous actors who channel the promise and disappointments of a seminal era in Cuba’s history.”

Menéndez, a former Miami Herald journalist, is a program director with Academic Affairs at FIU.

Performances of “Baseball Dreams” will be 8 p.m., Sept. 13-14, at the Seminole Theatre, Homestead, 18 Krome Ave.

Tickets are $12 for general admission, $10 for seniors, veterans and students. “Golden Tickets” available on request. Call the box office at 786-650-2073 or visit www.seminoletheatre.org/baseball-dreams and www.whatifworks.com.

In conjunction with “Baseball Dreams,” and in partnership with Miami Dade Public Schools and the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, What if Works will offer writing workshops in middle and high schools. The results will be seen in the “Literary Stage & Screen Youth Festival” in June 2020.

Art After Stonewall

Celebrants across the nation are honoring the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprisings of 1969, a pivotal event that changed the world’s awareness of the gay rights movement and the LGBTQ community.

On the first anniversary of the police raid on the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, activists in New York organized the Christopher Street Liberation March to conclude the city’s first Gay Pride Week. Thousands of people lining the street to watch joined the procession that would eventually take over 15 city blocks.

Now, everyone can learn about that time at the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum FIU, Sept. 14 through Jan. 5, 2020, when Miami hosts the “Art after Stonewall, 1969-1989” exhibition. Miami is one of only three U.S. cities to present the museum show.

The free opening reception is set for 5-7 p.m., Sept. 14, and the public is invited to attend at 10975 SW 17th St. There is a lecture before the reception at 4 p.m. by show curator Jonathan Weinberg.

Due to its monumental size of more than 200 artworks, the exhibition will encompass the second floor of the museum including the Frost Art Museum’s Grand Galleries.

This is the first national museum show to survey the impact of the LGBTQ civil rights movement on visual culture.

“When the police raided the Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969, that night’s events changed the course of American history,” said Jordana Pomeroy, director of the Frost Art Museum FIU. “Art after Stonewall brings to light the evolution of the modern LGBT movement and its undeniable impact on the art world.

“The exhibition acknowledges the guts and grit of these artists, gay and straight, to make declarative and public visual statements about gender and sexuality in a predominantly homophobic world. The Frost Art Museum FIU is honored and delighted to bring to Miami the tour de force Art after Stonewall, which encompasses the passion, energy, and excitement that inspired the art world at this time.”

Artist and art historian Weinberg, along with Daniel Marcus and Drew Sawyer, has put together an exhibition that will be displayed for the first time under one roof. The previous showing in New York was split up between two venues.

“Art after Stonewall is all about using art for empowerment and community, making visible queer identities in a myriad of fabulous forms,” Weinberg said.

Learn more at https://frost.fiu.edu/exhibitions-events/events/2019/09/art-after-stonewall.html

Brandeis Showcase

“What’s next in the fight against Anti-Semitism and how we can build allies and become part of the solution” is the topic for speaker Brian D. Siegal at this year’s Brandeis Fall Showcase.

Siegal will discuss the situation in America and lead a group discussion on how we can all be a part of the solution. Young and old, Jewish and Christian, everyone is invited to join in to discuss how to play a positive role.

The showcase starts with coffee and conversation at 10:15 a.m., Sept. 17, at Temple Judea on U.S. 1 and Granada Boulevard. The program will be followed by a luncheon catered by Michael’s Catering. Cost is $45 per person.

Siegal serves as the director of AJC’s Miami and Broward regional offices.

To RSVP, call Phyllis Walker, 305-253-4662, or Barbara Bulbin, 305-274-0206.

If you have news for this column, send it to CHRISTINAMMAYO@GMAIL.COM

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