Retirement Revelry – A fave media brutha and NBC5 broadcast vet, gets his “come-uppance” May 16 when the Museum of Broadcast Communications hosts “A Salute to Warner Saunders,” celebrating his retirement after a four-decade-plus tenure. Friends and fans from media, politics, business and community circles are expected to converge on the Fairmont Hotel, so says Bruce DuMont, museum founder, president and CEO. An honorary committee is currently in formation, and among its members: Melody Spann-Cooper, Diann Burns, Jesse White, Stella Foster and Teesee.
Warner, who has 19 Emmys and numerous other national and local accolades, is a member of the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame, the Chicago Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ Silver Circle and has been president of the Chicago Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists. His series from South Africa in 1990 on the historic prison release of Nelson Mandela culminated in the documentary, "South Africa: What Happens to a Dream Deferred?" Warner came to NBC5 from CBS2 where he was director of community affairs and host of Common Ground.
The former public school teacher, youth worker and boys club exec has taught at the National College of Education (now National-Louis Univ.), Malcolm X College, Northeastern Illinois Univ. and Indiana Univ., where he was voted “teacher of the year” for two consecutive terms. (And I remember when he wrote a column for the Chicago Daily Defender.) Warner signs off May 29 after his 10 p.m. newscast. After retirement, he’ll share his knowledge with major corporations on “Diversity in the Workplace” between frequent jaunts with his wife, Sadako, to their condo in Hawaii. Visit www.museum.TV.
Delta Doings – Chicago icon, ambassador, curator and patron of the arts, Nicole Smith, founder of Nicole’s Gallery, will be honored when the Chicago Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority hosts its seventh annual art exhibition, Gallery D’Estee, Friday, 7 - 10 p.m., and Saturday, 2 - 8 p.m. at D’Estee Inc., 4525 S. King Dr. Themed the “Audacity of Art,” this year’s collection with Joyce Owens as the featured artist, will no doubt top previous years in terms of attendance and sales. Admission is free.
Nicole has been in the art business for 20-plus years. Her gallery in the River North area is widely known as the premier venue for Haitian art in the Midwest. Other prominent artists, including Samuel Akainyah, Andre Guichard, Debra Hand, Abiola Akintola and Floyd Atkins, will be on hand with their lithographs, pastels, oils, sculptures and photographs. The annual weekend is headed by the chapter’s Arts and Letters Committee, which is chaired by Pamela Hamb and Linda Murray.
Heritage Happenin’ – Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., pastor emeritus of Trinity United Church of Christ, author and authority on the Black church experience, keynoted a Black History Month observance honoring Absalom Jones, the first African American priest in the Episcopal Church. The 26th annual celebration, “Speaking Truth to Each Other,” at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 3801 S. Wabash, the mother church of Black Episcopalians in the Diocese of Chicago, was sponsored by the Chicago Chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians.
Also during the month, the Rev. Wright spoke on “Who is My Neighbor” at the University of Chicago’s Rockefeller Memorial Chapel presented by the Race & Religion Workshop, Center for the Study of Race, Politics & Culture, Organization of Black Students and Rockefeller Chapel and co-sponsored by U. of C.’s Divinity School and Council on Advanced Studies in the Humanities & Social Science. The huge chapel was a few seats shy of SRO!
Curtain Call – The world premiere of "I Gotcha (The Story of Joe Tex and The Soul Clan)," written by Joe Plummer and David Barr, and produced and directed by Jackie Taylor, founder and executive director of Black Ensemble Theater, continues BET’s “Season of Men.” "I Gotcha" is about Joe Tex (played by Lyle Miller), a legendary soul singer who was torn between stardom and his devout dedication to the teachings of Elijah Mohammed. The amusing, provocative look at Joe Tex during the most critical part of his lifetime identifies with both his strengths and weaknesses through music: "Skinny Legs and All," "Show Me" and "Hold On to What You Got" while not forgetting the legends who made up the Soul Clan and featuring some of their most famous hits: Solomon Burke’s "Cry to Me," Wilson Pickett’s "Midnight Hour" and Ben E. King’s "This Magic Moment."
Contact BET’s box office, (773) 769-4451 or Ticketmaster, (312) 902-1500, www.ticketmaster. com for showtimes and tickets. All performances are at Black Ensemble Theater, 4520 N. Beacon.
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