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New Baldwin Play-LA Weekly Pick of the Week

by pacifica radio archives Thursday, Jan. 09, 2003 at 10:26 AM
shawn@pacificaradioarchives.org (818) 506-1077 ext. 264. 3729 Cahuenga Blvd. NH, CA 91604

The Pacifica Radio Archives Benefit Performance of JAMES BALDWIN DOWN FROM THE MOUNTAINTOP A New One Man Play Written & Performed By CALVIN LEVELS Tony Award Nominated Actor Making his Los Angeles Theater Debut *Levels intense stage presence beguiles* Pick of the Week - LA Weekly

Pacifica Radio Archives

January 5, 2003

The Pacifica Radio Archives
Benefit Performance of

A New One Man Play Written & Performed By
Tony Award Nominated Actor
Making his Los Angeles Theater Debut

*Levels intense stage presence beguiles*
Pick of the Week - LA Weekly 1/3-1/9

Fundraiser Aims to Help Stem Deterioration Of
Rare Recordings, Including the Voices of Malcolm X,
Martin Luther King, Fannie Lou Hamer, Langston Hughes
Lorraine Hansberry and James Baldwin

LOS ANGELES (January 5)- - Pacifica Radio Archives is holding a special event -- a benefit performance of JAMES BALDWIN DOWN FROM THE MOUNTAINTOP, a new one-man play written and performed by Tony award-nominated actor Calvin Levels, depicting the rich, impassioned life of the great novelist, playwright, essayist and civil rights activist.

The fundraiser will be held Sunday, January 12, 2003, with performances at 2 PM and 6 PM with a VIP reception from 4-6 PM at the 4305 Village Theatre at 4305 Degnan Blvd. in the legendary cultural center of Leimert Park Village (near Crenshaw and 43rd Street).

The VIP Honorary Host Committee includes: Ed Asner, EsoWon Books Danny Glover, Dexter Scott King, Martin Landau, CCH Pounder, Mark Rydell, Susan Sarandon, Tavis Smiley, Rep. Maxine Waters, Howard Zinn & Michael Zinzun.

JAMES BALDWIN DOWN FROM THE MOUNTAINTOP is directed by ART EVANS and produced by Theatre Dreams in association with Ron Richards Production.

To order tax-deductible tickets call: (818) 506-1077 ext. 264. TICKET PRICES: 2 PM show -$50.00 and 6 PM show - $75.00 each. Ticket prices include a VIP reception 4 PM-6PM.

Proceeds will benefit the Save Pacifica Radio Archives Project, KAOS Network Youth Programs & Momma Di's Kitchen for the Homeless.

THE PACIFICA RADIO ARCHIVES is working to save more than 47,000 historic tapes that span half a century of radio programming. Considered by many historians and scholars to be one of the most important audio collections in the world, thousands of tapes in the Los Angeles-based Pacifica Radio Archives are in danger of permanent damage caused by aging. Internationally recognized sound preservation experts have advised Pacifica to conduct an immediate review of the endangered tapes and to transfer them to new mediums, such as digital audio.

The archives house rare recordings of internationally known writers, political activists, religious leaders and entertainers such as Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez, Malcolm X, Archbishop Oscar Romero, Fannie Lou Hamer, Paul Robeson, Pablo Neruda, Langston Hughes, Rachel Carson, Lenny Bruce and of course James Baldwin.

*It's a recorded history of the 1st Amendment,* said J. Brian DeShazor, the Pacifica archives manager. *Every American should understand it and appreciate it and help fund it. It is our collective history.* (Los Angeles Times November 18, 2002)

Founded in 1949 by World War II conscientious objector Lewis Hill, Pacifica Radio was created as the irst non-commercial, listener-sponsored radio station in the United States. The Pacifica Radio Archives was established in 1971 to house the audio-tape collection gathered from Pacifica Radio stations, KPFK-90.7 FM here in Los Angeles, KPFA-94.1 FM in Berkeley, WBAI-99.5 FM in New York, KPFT-90.1 FM in Houston, and WPFW-89.3 FM in Washington D.C.

JAMES BALDWIN DOWN FROM THE MOUNTAINTOP traces the turbulent life of the American writer recognized for his novels on sexual and personal identity, along with plays and sharp essays on the civil rights struggle. Baldwin returns from the ethereal realm and embodies a playwright-performer on the brink of failing miserably before an opening night Broadway audience. Baldwin, intent on setting the record straight, directly addresses the audience as he recounts various topics about his life.

They include his early childhood growing up in Harlem as a prodigious reader and fiery young minister; to his first sexual experiences and love affairs; to forming and destroying a relationship with his idol Richard Wright, author of Native Son; leaving America and moving to Paris; publishing his works, including his first novel Go Tell It On The Mountain; friendship and rivalries with the likes of Marlon Brando, Loraine Hansberry, Truman Capote, Norman Mailer, William Faulkner, Langton Hughes and many others; his sour relationship with the Actors Studio; his association with Dr. Martin Luther King , Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and the civil rights movement; up until his death at his home in the South of France. Baldwin, finally summoned back to the mountaintop, leaves the performer imbued with a passion that will change his life forever.

Calvin Levels portrays the performer-playwright and James Baldwin.This is Mr. Levels Los Angeles theatre debut. In New York he has appeared in OPEN ADMISSIONS the one-act at The Ensemble Studio Theatre, David Mamet’s THE SHAWL at Lincoln Center Theatre and OPEN ADMISSIONS at the Music Box Theatre on Broadway for which he received The Theatre World Award for Outstanding New Talent, and nominations for The Tony Award, New York Drama Desk Award and New York Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Actor in a Play. He has also appeared in numerous feature films television movies and series.
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