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‘Black Soap’ set to stage season ender

The 2014 season of Flo Roach’s “BLACK SOAP,” Memphis’ own black soap opera, has given audiences an up close and personal look at the hijinks of the family and friends of millionaire patriarch Marvin Chambers, who introduced his new fiancée, threatened to change his will, and was hospitalized after being found unconscious the next morning.

Marvin, it has been revealed, is seriously allergic to shrimp.  Now his new fiancée – a former stripper – is about to make a life-changing confession to his son, M.J., with whom she shared one night of booze and passion some 15 years ago. 

Is this a case of chickens coming home to roost?  And who poisoned Marvin?  The answers will be revealed in “BLACK SOAP VI,” the concluding episode in this season’s three-part storyline.  

Written, produced and directed by Florence (Flo) Roach, “Black Soap VI” stars Ben Greene (Marvin Chambers Sr.), Carolyn Kent (Renee), Lonnie Coleman (M.J.), Laverne Bobo (Aunt Trudy), Rick Bobo (Richard), Nadine Burton (Pastor Hopson), Patrice Campbell (Tina), Brenda Deener (The Maid), Kenneth Farmer (Mason), Derek Hunter (Anthony the Butler), Mose Yvonne Nicholson (Pam), Sandra Bray (Detective Anderson), Aundra M. Segrest (Detective Lancaster), Wanda Shaw (Ms. Frankie) and others.  Courtney Franklin is music director.

“Black Soap VI” will be on stage Oct. 17-19th at the Buckman Performing and Fine Arts Center at St. Mary's Episcopal School, 60 Perkins Extended (38117).  Show times are 7 p.m. on Oct. 17-18th and 3 p.m. on Oct. 19th.

Tickets for the stage production, which is presented by Ettaro Theater Company and Ettaro Fine Arts Foundation, are: Advance, $20 for general admission; $35 for VIP reserved seating. Tickets purchased at the door are $25 general admission and $40 VIP.  VIP tickets are only available for the opening night performance and the ticket price includes both the show and a reception with food and drinks. The reception begins at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 17th. 

Tickets also are available online at www.floroach.com.  For more information, call 901-331-3515.

(The two previous episodes in the 2014 storyline can be viewed online at www.blacksoapopera.com.)

  • Written by Tri-State Defender Newsroom

‘Take one’ Weekend beckons filmmakers and creative types

Local filmmakers and creative types have been extended an Oct. 10-12th invitation to hook up for a “crazy, challenging, and exciting weekend of non-stop filmmaking” dubbed “Take One.”

The event will be FuelFilm’s latest iteration of its “48Hr Film Launch” and reflects a partnership with MEMFIX: EDGE – a one-day, community-driven effort to imagine an invigorated Edge District, roughly defined as the area within a quarter-mile radius of the Marshall Avenue/Monroe Avenue intersection.

MEMFix events have been used throughout Memphis to temporarily activate streets, blocks, and neighborhoods. The goal is “creating vibrancy and demonstrating new possibilities for our communities”

FuelFilm’s Matt Bieckert and David Merrill said via a news release that novices and experienced filmmakers and actors will have the opportunity of collaborating on one of five film projects, using equipment and locations provided by FuelFilm.

“We’re really excited about our partnership with MEMFix: Edge because the Edge District is such a vibrant community with so many incredible stories. Stories we’d love to see on film! That’s why we’re encouraging participants to keep their concepts Edge-local,” said Bieckert and Merrill.

Those needing inspiration can visit Kudzu (603 Monroe) every Monday night at 5:45 p.m. until “Take One” Weekend to hear historians and history buffs share some of their tales about Edge district.

Because the Edge District is historically known as a place where things are made – music, beer, guitars, art, food – the MEMFix celebration is designed to promote that same spirit. Livable Memphis and its various community partners are working with local businesses, residents and other stakeholders in the Edge to develop temporary re-designs of Marshall Avenue and activation of various vacant storefronts. All the while there will be presentations of live music, mobile food and retail, and other programs and activities representing the potential of the area to visitors from Memphis and beyond.

MEMFix: Edge will take place on Saturday, Oct. 18th from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. To sign up, visit: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/take-one-weekend-filming-in-the-edge-tickets-10165859359?aff=estw.

  • Written by Tri-State Defender Newsroom

Tyler Perry the ‘dad’ and the mogul stir feedback


Tyler Perry is always in the news. Whether it’s the latest box office feature or a brand new television show, the guy is everywhere. The latest news regards him becoming a dad! There has been quite a bit of positive feedback and some that is, well, not so. Of course, the not-so positive is tethered to the point that he is not married.
Let’s be realistic, the guy really doesn’t owe us anything when it comes to what we feel is a moral issue. Tyler Perry is an actor, playwright and filmmaker. All we should expect from him is his product. And if we’re not fans, we shouldn’t expect anything.

Debut novel ‘No Less Worthy’ is perfectly titled


All of what lies ahead for newly self-published Memphis author Dorchelle T. Spence is of course unpredictable, but a building block for success is the clarity of the gripping opening scene in her debut novel “No Less Worthy” (UrbanEdge Publishing, 2014).

To be introduced to the market with a downtown book party this week, it is available for sale at $12.95 at urbanedgepublishing.com. Spence hopes the book becomes an inspirational series aimed at the coming-of-age young adult market.

  • Written by Tony Jones

‘Sarah Vaughan’ comes to Hattiloo


The Hattiloo Theatre in Overton Square provided the perfect backdrop for an “almost fall” evening of art and jazz last Friday (Sept. 19th).

The atmosphere was eclectic and simply elegant. The VIP guests sipped chardonnay, merlot and cabernet sauvignon and dined on smoked salmon, spiced shrimp, and pasta salad. The lobby was transformed into a gallery of art provided by local artists 1225 Cristalynne (Dupree), Frankd Robinson, Sir Walt, Malika Collins, Peggy Van Buren and Danny Broadway.

  • Written by Nona N. Allen-Special to The New Tri-State Defender


Tavis Smiley

First interview – Tavis Smiley
The legacy and brand of The New Tri-State Defender (TSD) expanded this week with the launch of TSD Television.

“Through TSD Television we will be bringing to you exciting digital video content to include news broadcasts, community and celebrity interviews and dynamic new shows that both inform and entertain,” said TSD President/Publisher Bernal E. Smith II.

  • Written by Tri-State Defender Newsroom

“Black Angels Over Tuskegee” – a journey of discovery

black angels
The house lights fell, inviting a dominant spotlight to focus on the medium built, black guy who playfully rubbed his hands together as if recently learning of a secret and wanting to tell it to the hundreds of patrons at The Orpheum Theatre on Tuesday night. 
The bald narrator (Thaddeus Daniels) was given the name “Man,” recounting the events, experiences and emotions in “Black Angels Over Tuskegee” of six men – historically known as the Tuskegee Airmen – who would become some of the first African-American military pilots in World War II. 
  • Written by Kirstin L. Cheers-Special to The New Tri-State Defender