Wash's hosts Rewind- Live Radio Show, bringing back sounds of Motown with several local talented performers.
Despite the terrible storm that knocked power out in Atlantic County over the weekend, on Saturday night, June 30, the'Rewind - Live Radio Show' went on as planned at Pleasantville's Wash's, one of the few businesses around that still had power.
A patient audience waited through delays and technical problems for music and dance from the 1950s, '60s and '70s, and we were not disappointed by the display of talent which performed "portrayals of legendary artists." A woman who called herself "Bubbling Brown Sugar Baby" played MC for the evening imitating the nuances of radio hosts in years gone by.
Unlike days of old, however, we were also able to enjoy the Atomic Bomb Dancers, a young dance group that demonstrated the Bop, the Twist, the Lindy Hop, the Running Man, Disco, break dancing, Hip-Hop and more. The first singing group was none other than the Temptations, and I swear you would have thought you were back at the Steel Pier or the Apollo in New York City.
These guys clearly studied every movement, step and gesture of the legendary Motown male vocalists.
Impeccably suited, they started off the night with "I Wish It Would Rain" and came back later to perform "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" and "Ball of Confusion."
If you ever have a chance to see The Sons of Abraham, who also perform songs by Blue Magic, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles as well as the Stylistics, you are in for a real treat. They brought back so many memories of when I was a teenager in the 1960s and early '70s. Local musician Judah Dorrington portrayed Stevie Wonder singing "My Cherie Amore" and "I Wish," complete with an Afro and sunglasses (for the '60s) and then with braids, sunglasses and a dashiki (for the '70s). She did a fantastic job too as she was escorted to and from the stage rocking from side to side just like the famous entertainer. Between acts, Bubbling Brown Sugar Baby, complete with poodle skirt, cardigan and bobby socks — for the 1950s — and a sparkling, black gown with elbow-length gloves for the 1960s, gave us historical facts about each solo artist or group's climb to fame, place on the Billboard 100, number of hits and millions of records sold. Al Green and Donny Hathaway were portrayed by a talented young singer named Isaiah Volkens; Martha and the Vandellas and the Raelettes (Ray Charles' back-up singers) were portrayed by sisters Denise, Melissa and Annie Mason, each quite talented in her own right.
I couldn't get over the wigs, outfits and white pumps they wore. I did not remember that in 1964, "Please, Mr. Postman" was the first Motown song to reach Billboard 100's top single chart. Soulful vocalist Vickie Jones portrayed Odyssey, Dorothy Moore and Gladys Knight and did a very good job demonstrating her versatility by bringing us from "Native New Yorker" to a jazzy "Misty Blue" and finally "I've Got to Use My Imagination." Bubbling Brown Sugar Baby quizzed the audience about what was happening in the U.S. during the times when these groups were so popular --- sock hops, segregation, integration, the Vietnam War, the Black Power movement --- and invited audience members to share their own memories and thoughts about past decades.
Although all of the entertainers were very good, I think Ricky Jones of the Sons of Abraham stole the show as Smokey Robinson inviting everyone to sing along on "Ooh, Baby, Baby" and as one of the Temptations.
We could not believe how the words to "Ball of Confusion" are still hot topics today --- only one talkin' 'bout love is the preacher, only one interested in learnin' is the teacher, eve of destruction, wars, drugs, taxes...and the band played on.
Turiya S.A. Raheem was born and raised in Atlantic City. Currently an English teacher at Atlantic Cape Community College, she loves to describe her neighborhood as “the other Atlantic City,” because it was not the casino-resort mecca most people know today. It was a place with a “cozy, down-home feeling” as she describes in her 2010 book, Growing Up in the Other Atlantic City: Wash’s and the Northside.
Though the night was filled with spoken-word talent of all genres, children and young adults also spoke passionately about being bullied and the challenges of growing up in a society that glorifies violence but complains about the proliferation of violence and guns in our neighborhoods.
Last fall, Sisters Together Against Racism (STAR) invited a speaker to inform us about human trafficking in our area and to see if there was anything that we could do to help stop the spread of this fast-growing criminal enterprise which is so prevalent in our society today. We recently found out that we could help by posting important numbers in the bath stalls of women’s restrooms, numbers alerting authorities and numbers that can be called anonymously. We were shocked to find out the large numbers of victims in our area. New Jersey’s close proximity to New York City , its many farms and its long coastline make it a good place for people to exploit immigrants and farm workers, many of whom are children. Our many recreational and resort areas with massage parlors, spas and other types of “pampering” facilities also exploit people who may not have proper working papers for legal employment. Most STAR members didn’t know that trafficking had to include force, fraud or coercion. Often girls and women are kidnapped or tricked and their passports or other identifying documents are taken away from them. They may have thought that they would have legitimate employment...
George Jackson opened the Steel Pier in 1898, less than 50 years after Atlantic City’s incorporation. He was followed by owner Frank P. Gravatt, a showman who realized the public’s appetite for an eclectic mix of entertainment in one location at one price, 25 cents.
This year’s Multi-Cultural Heritage Festival weekend gave us an early start to what Mayor Langford anticipates as a great summer season.
Well, MJ is gone and Diana can’t make it to Atlantic-Cape Community College, but there will be some phenomenal local talent performing on June 8 and 9 at the Mays Landing campus in the Walter E. Edge Hall.
Generally, shoppers said they were satisfied, but in a way that reminded me of Santorum’s endorsement of Romney: Could be better yet definitely better than no supermarket at all.
It seems that our nation has once again been reminded of people’s fears when it comes to black men, young ones in particular. What I’m ashamed of, however, is admitting my fear of white men, young ones in particular.
If the mayor does run again, she will play a major role in campaigning, because she enjoys urging people to get-out-the-vote, making them feel a part of something special and taking ownership.
Jacob Lawrence Day in Atlantic City