Dhaka, July 8 (UNB) – Fine arts department of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy arranged a tribute seminar program on Monday afternoon in its National Art Gallery auditorium, in remembrance of three of the country’s most notable and influential artists- ‘Potua’ Quamrul Hassan, S M Sultan and Qayyum Chowdhury.
Presided by country’s renowned dramatist and BSA director-general Liaquat Ali Lucky, the programme weas attended by artist Qayyum Chowdhury’s wife Tahera Khanam Chowdhury, country’s renowned artist Hashem Khan, eminent writer and researcher Mofidul Haque , DU fine arts’ Dean artist Nissar Hossain, eminent art critic Moinuddin Khaled, artist Mostafa Jaman and artist Shaon Akand. BSA’s fine arts director Ashraful Alam Poplu was the welcome speaker at the event.
Mofidul Haque, Mostafa Jaman and Shaon Akand respectively presented and read their treatises on the lives and creative works of artists Quamrul Hassan, S M Sultan and Qayyum Chowdhury. Each presentation was followed by discussion on the presentations.
Artist Hashem Khan discussed Mofidul Haques’s presentation on ‘Potua’ Quamrul Hassan, critic Moinuddin Khaled tackled Mostafa Jaman’s essay on S M Sultan and artist Nissar Hossain discussed on Shaon Akand’s presentation on Qayyum Chowdhury.
The speakers recalled their experiences about the legendary artists and shared their viewpoints about their majestic artworks, focusing on how those have portrayed and impacted the nation through times. They also conveyed their gratitude to BSA for arranging such event.
The seminar was a part of the ongoing seminar series titled ‘Smrity, Satta, Vabisshyat’ (Memory, Existence, Future). Several departments of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) are currently arranging this series of remembrance programs, in association with the Ministry of Cultural Affairs.
Dhaka, Jul 8 (UNB) - Legendary West Bengal singer-songwriter, film director, and actor Anjan Dutt reached Dhaka on Monday to stage his play “Salesman’er Shongshar” on July 11.
The information was confirmed in a Facebook post by Sajjad Hussain, the author of Anjan Dutt biography “Anjan Jatra" and coordinator of the stage show.
He said that the popular singer had reached Dhaka by air in the afternoon with his team for a stage performance.
He also told the press that the venue of the production will be the auditorium of the Mohila Somity Mancha at Baily Road.
Two stagings of the play will be held on the same day, at 5.30pm and 8pm at the same venue.
The play “Salesman’er Shongshar,” directed by and starring Anjan Dutt, is an adaptation of Arthur Miller's famous play “Death of a Salesman.”
Anjan Dutt plays the lead role of Willy Loman in the play. It was first staged in Kolkata in January this year.
The national award winning filmmaker directed the “Byomkesh Bakshi” film franchise. As an actor, his first film was “Chalachitro” (1981), directed by Mrinal Sen, for which he won the best new actor prize at the Venice Film Festival.
The prominent figure acted in Aparna Sen's hit film, “Mr. and Mrs. Iyer.” while in 2018 he featured in Swapnasandhani's new play “Taraye Taraye,” as Vincent van Gogh, under the direction of Kaushik Sen.
One of Bengal’s most accomplished cricketers, Dutt’s filmography also includes, as director, “The Bong Connection,” “Chalo-Let's Go,” and “Ranjana Ami Ar Ashbona".
New York, Jul 8 (AP/UNB) — Martin Charnin, who made his Broadway debut playing a Jet in the original "West Side Story" and went on to become a Broadway director and a lyricist who won a Tony Award for the score of the eternal hit "Annie," has died. He was 84.
He died Saturday at a White Plains, New York, hospital, days after suffering a minor heart attack, his daughter, Sasha Charnin Morrison, told The Associated Press.
"He's in a painless place, now. Probably looking for Cole Porter and Ira Gershwin," Morrison wrote Sunday on Instagram .
Charnin was a keeper of the "Annie" flame, protective of what he created with songwriter Charles Strouse and book writer Thomas Meehan. The 1977 original won the Tony as best musical and ran for 2,300 performances, inspiring tours and revivals that never went out of style.
Charnin attributed the success of "Annie" in part to its sweet optimism and its message that things were going to get better. After all, it was written during a period of instability, he told The Associated Press in 2015.
"We were living in a really tough time. Right in the middle of Nixon. Right in the middle of Vietnam. There was an almost-recession. There was a lot of unrest in the country and you can always feel it and a lot of depression — emotional depression, financial depression. We wanted to be the tap on the shoulder that said to everyone, 'It'll be better.'"
"Annie" nearly didn't make it past the Goodspeed Opera House in Connecticut in 1976. But Charnin brought in noted stage and film director Mike Nichols, who signed on as a producer, and helped him revise the show.
With Andrea McArdle replacing Kristen Vigard as the red-haired moppet Annie and Dorothy Loudon added as Miss Hannigan, the production went on to open in New York in April 1977 with a bang.
The musical contained gems like "Tomorrow" and "It's the Hard Knock Life." Charnin's lyrics, which earned him and Strouse a Tony for best score in 1977, are playful and moving: "You're never fully dressed/without a smile" and "No one cares for you a smidge/when you're in an orphanage."
The 1982 film version, which featured Carol Burnett in Loudon's role, was not nearly as popular or well-received. A stage sequel called "Annie Warbucks" ran off-Broadway in 1993.
The original show was revived on Broadway in 2012 and made into a film starring Quvenzhané Wallis in 2014. Charnin, who won a Grammy Award for the "Annie" cast album, found shards of his work also included in Jay-Z's 1998 Grammy-winning album "Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life." His song "Tomorrow" has been heard on soundtracks from "Shrek 2" to "Dave" to "You've Got Mail." In 2016, Lukas Graham used parts of the chorus from "Annie" for his "Mama Said" hit.
"'Annie' has touched generations and each one of the generations that it has reached has a very fond, distinct, specific memory of it. Because they love it — they don't like it, they love it — they pass that memory on like a baton in a relay race," Charnin said.
Born in New York, Charnin initially set off on a career in fine arts. He was an arts major at The Cooper Union when a friend invited him up one summer at an adult camp in the Adirondacks to wait on tables and act as an extra.
"I got bit," he would say later.
Charnin gave up a huge fellowship to go to Rome to paint in favor of life as a struggling actor. One day, he read that director Jerome Robbins "was looking for authentic juvenile delinquents" in an open call.
He went along among 2,000 wannabes, which became 200, then 20 and finally two. "I was one of the two," he said. That's how he made his Broadway debut as a Jet in "West Side Story" in 1957. He later played a waiter — and was a standby for Dick Van Dyke — in "The Girls Against the Boys" in 1959.
Three years later, he supplied the lyrics to the show "Hot Spot," with music by Mary Rodgers. He also wrote lyrics for "La Strada," a musical based on the Fellini film, but it closed after opening night.
Charnin had better luck with "Two by Two," in 1970, that had music by Richard Rodgers, who also directed. The show was a retelling of the story of Noah and his ark starring Danny Kaye and Madeline Kahn. The lyricist then became director of "Nash at Nine," a short-lived revue based on Ogden Nash poems. He was nominated for several Emmys for directing variety shows for NBC, winning for "Jack Lemmon in 'S Wonderful, 'S Marvelous, 'S Gers."
Charnin's reputation as a polished stage figure got him hired as the director of the new slapstick and envelope-pushing show "The National Lampoon Show," starring Gilda Radner, Bill Murray and John Bellushi.
NBC executives went to see the show at the Time-Life Building and wanted to do a TV show like it. Around that time, Charnin had gotten the rights to the celebrated comic strip character Little Orphan Annie and declined the offer to direct the new NBC show. That show became "Saturday Night Live."
Richard Rodgers and Charnin teamed up again in 1979 for a musical version of "I Remember Mama," which featured Liv Ullmann. Charnin was also either lyricist or director for "The Madwoman of Central Park West" (1979), "The First" (1981), "A Little Family Business" (1982), "Cafe Crown" (1989), "Sid Caesar and Company" (1989) and "The Flowering Peach" (1994).
Charnin was an old-school lyricist who considered modern lyrics "mind-boggling overwritten." He hated sloppiness (like, for example, when "mine" was rhymed with "time.") "They don't rhyme and they never will, no matter how you finesse the sound."
"I grew up at the feet of the Oscar Hammersteins and Alan Lerners of this world who, to my knowledge, never made a false rhyme in their entire writing careers," he said. "Go to the books of lyrics of Irving Berlin, show me one place where those kinds of fake rhymes exist?
"I don't think for a single, solitary second that 'Annie' opens any new doors to how to write lyrics. But I think it is a reminder of how lyrics are written. There are no fake rhymes in 'Annie,'" he said.
Charnin's career returned again and again to "Annie." He directed 19 productions of the show, including national tours and shows in the Netherlands and Australia. He led a new version on an American national tour in 2015. He was very protective of it and messing with "Annie" meant messing with Charnin.
"When you add a layer of behavior or you change lines or sequences, you are really disturbing the piece," he said. "It's like taking a skeleton apart, putting it together again, but the third rib is now the fifth rib. Uh-uh, because you won't walk straight."
He said he loved the casting process for "Annie" and developed a knack for finding new talent. Charnin gave such future stars as Sarah Jessica Parker, Molly Ringwald, Sutton Foster and a 5-year-old Catherine Zeta-Jones their starts.
While Charnin allowed some changes to "Annie" to different audiences — in England, he changed a reference to Lou Gehrig to the better known Babe Ruth — Charnin was loath to mess with much else.
He was irked by the last Broadway revival in 2012, in which the creators played up wrenching economic stress, layered on thick New York accents and didn't have the dog Sandy arrive as the final Christmas present.
"They aren't really big things unless you have allowed those little things to metastasize and build. It starts with a little heartburn and it ends up with a need to buy a ton of Prilosec. There are little choices that some directors make that go against the grain of what the show is about," he said.
"I have a responsibility to the audience," he added. "They've come for a reason. They haven't come for a new interpretation."
With remakes, tours and productions all over the world, Charnin never saw his best-known work fall out of favor. He noticed that the appetite of "Annie" would increase during elections.
"'Annie' is riddled with joy, tempered by some satire, some sarcasm," he said. "Being optimistic is really not a bad thing to be. If you took it out of the equation of how you'd live, I think everything would be 'The Hunger Games.'"
Alaska, July 8 (AP/UNB) — Princess Daazhraii Johnson grew up eating dried salmon and moose-head soup — foods labeled weird by other kids who had no understanding of her culture and traditions.
Now the Fairbanks woman and other Alaska Natives are presenting their world to a general audience with "Molly of Denali," the nation's first-ever children's series featuring indigenous leads. The animated show, which premieres July 15 on PBS Kids, highlights the adventures of a 10-year-old Athabascan girl, Molly Mabray. Her family owns the Denali Trading Post in the fictitious community of Qyah, whose residents are both Native and non-Native.
"We have an opportunity with this show, with 'Molly of Denali,' to inform and to show us in a positive and respectful light," says Johnson, creative producer of the series and a member of an Athabascan group, Neets'aii Gwich'in. Her family has roots in Arctic Village, Alaska, but she grew up all over the state, she says, including summers spent with her grandmother in the Gwich'in village of Fort Yukon.
Native Americans voice the indigenous characters in the series, which is co-produced by Boston-based WGBH and animation partner Atomic Cartoons in collaboration with Alaska Native advisers and script writers.
Molly is voiced by 14-year-old Sovereign Bill of Auburn, Washington. Bill, who auditioned for the role after hearing about it through a Seattle-based Native youth theater group, is a member of the Muckleshoot Indian tribe in Washington and the T'ak Dein Taan clan of the Tlingit tribe from the southeast Alaska community of Hoonah.
Bill said her mother was deeply touched by one of the stories in the hour-long premiere: a look at Molly's grandfather, who left his traditional drum with a friend way back in his youth. Molly goes on to find the friend and drum in another community, using clues in an old photo of her grandfather and his friend to search the internet. It turns out the grandfather had given up singing along with the drum after he was sent away — as scores of Native children once were — to boarding school, where students were prohibited from practicing their tribal songs amid language suppression efforts. The story ends with the grandfather reconnecting with those cherished traditions.
Bill said her maternal grandmother also had been sent away to boarding school. Given her family's background, Bill's mother was nearly brought to tears because of the story's "good message," the teen said.
"It's able to pass on that message through a kind and loving and kid-friendly way," she said. "But it's still teaching and it's still giving those important values."
As for Johnson's childhood food favorites, dried fish makes an appearance in the show. What about moose-head soup? "Not yet," Johnson says with a laugh.
Following the longer premiere, the 30-minute show will run mornings seven days a week, according to WGBH executive producer Dorothea Gillim. PBS ordered 38 half-hour episodes besides the premiere, with 13 episodes set for the first rotation. Each episode also includes a short video featuring real Alaska Native children living life in a vast state populated by multiple Native groups with their own diverse cultures and languages.
Gillim said she long wanted to do a show featuring a store that's a social center for locals, like a local store of the Rochester, New York-based Wegmans grocery chain was for her growing up in that city. And WGBH co-creator Kathy Waugh always wanted to do one on an outdoorsy girl. The store became a trading post when the creators decided to place it in Alaska after hearing that then-President Barack Obama visited the state in 2015.
PBS gave the green light for a pilot on the concept. That prompted the non-Native creators to reach out to indigenous experts in Alaska, creating a team of cultural advisers for the pilot and, ultimately, the series.
"We knew immediately that we needed to partner with Alaska Natives to develop it so that it was truly authentic," Gillim said.
Among those ongoing advisers is Anchorage resident Rochelle Adams, a Gwich'in Athabascan linguist who still lives part time in the tiny Yukon River village of Beaver in Alaska's interior, where people continue to live a subsistence lifestyle, hunting for moose and black bear. In 2016, Adams and other advisers met with Gillim for two days in Fairbanks in what Adams describes as an intensive time fleshing out the characters and their community. Adams said she hopes the series educates the world amid so many misconceptions about the state and Alaska Natives.
Each episode contains two stories introducing children to various cultures, people and places through Molly, her dog Suki, her Native friend Tooey and African-American friend Trini, whose family moved to Alaska from Texas. To reflect the community's fictitious location near Denali, North America's tallest mountain, Molly's family is Gwich'in, Koyukon and Dena'ina — three Athabascan groups among 11 with ties to the region, Adams said.
That level of storyline attention is a long way from Adams' childhood, when she never saw anyone like her or her family depicted in pop culture.
"All I saw was people that didn't look like us," she said. "So working on this has been such an honor for me."
New York, July 8 (UNB) - Actor Cameron Boyce, best known for his role as the teenage son of Cruella de Vil in the Disney Channel franchise "Descendants," has died. He was 20 years old.
Boyce, who played Carlos de Vil in the "Descendants" movies, died Saturday at his home in Los Angeles, according to his spokesperson.
An official cause of death has not been announced, but his family released a statement Sunday saying Boyce "passed away in his sleep due to a seizure that was a result of an ongoing medical condition for which he was being treated.
"The world is now undoubtedly without one of its brightest lights, but his spirit will live on through the kindness and compassion of all who knew and loved him. We are utterly heartbroken," the family statement said.
According to his bio on the Disney Channel, Boyce was born and raised in Los Angeles. He was a dancer who got his acting start in commercials, then television and film. Boyce starred alongside Adam Sandler in "Grown Ups" and "Grown Ups 2," and other film credits include "Mirrors," ''Eagle Eye" and the indie feature "Runt." He also starred in the upcoming HBO series "Mrs. Fletcher."
"Descendants 3" is scheduled for release in August.
His spokesperson said Sunday that Boyce was also a philanthropist who used his celebrity to advocate for those without a voice, including the homeless. Last year, he was honored for his work with the Thirst Project, bringing awareness to the global water crisis and raising more than $30,000 for the organization to build two wells in Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland, in efforts to bring clean drinking water to the region.
In 2017, he received a Daytime Emmy Award with Disney XD for his participation in the series "Timeless Heroes_Be Inspired," in honor of Black History Month. He appeared alongside his grandmother Jo Ann Boyce, one of 12 black teens known as the Clinton 12 who were the first to integrate into public school in Clinton, Tennessee, according to his Disney Channel biography.
A Disney Channel spokesperson released a statement Sunday saying that from a young age, Boyce dreamed of sharing his artistic talents with the world and was fueled by a desire to make a difference in peoples' lives through his humanitarian work.
"He was an incredibly talented performer, a remarkably caring and thoughtful person and, above all else, he was a loving and dedicated son, brother, grandson and friend," the statement said. "We offer our deepest condolences to his family, castmates and colleagues and join his many millions of fans in grieving his untimely passing. He will be dearly missed."
Walt Disney Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Robert Iger tweeted Sunday: "The Walt Disney Company mourns the loss of #CameronBoyce, who was a friend to so many of us, and filled with so much talent, heart and life, and far too young to die. Our prayers go out to his family and his friends."
Several of Boyce's co-stars reacted to his death on social media Sunday.
Sandler tweeted : "Loved that kid. Cared so much about his family. Cared so much about the world. Thank you, Cameron, for all you gave to us. So much more was on the way. All our hearts are broken."