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‘Barber Shop Chronicles’ Gives Black Men Control of Their Story

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It is a joyous play, yet you’re talking about really serious, fundamental issues.

Isn’t that how humanity has been able to survive thus far? By trying to beautify the ugliest parts of ourselves, to try and make it digestible so we can laugh our pain away? But it’s also what I found. The men were just laughing whilst talking about really crazy issues. I had one rule: If a topic comes up three times in three different countries, then it has to go into the play.

What came up three times?

Conversations about leadership. Relationships with our loved ones. Legacy of language and the politics of that; in Nigeria, it was about pidgin English. We discussed tribal politics. We discussed masculinity itself — what it meant to be a black man. Father and sons. Immigration and the legacy of that is definitely discussed throughout the entire play.

Poetry came first for you, then theater?

Yeah. I started performing poetry everywhere, and I did it a little bit too much. Things came to a head when I was at the Glastonbury Festival. It was one of those horrid Glastonburys where there’s just rain and thunderstorms and flooding from the first day. I remember trying to read poems in this tent, which was caught in the wind, and it was rocking and shaking, and the audience were drunk or high, or both. So I came back to London intending to only work in places where audience came to sit quietly and be told stories. That’s why I moved into theater.

Were you surprised when “Barber Shop Chronicles” became a hit?

We were all surprised: the director, the entire cast. 2017 was really horrific. Every other day there was a black man who had been killed by American police, and we just saw those images of dead bodies, and the same narrative was being pumped about “He wasn’t an angel.” What I think audiences were screaming out for were shows that showed black men as they were. We’re entirely complex beings, and the play just showed the complexity without any apology at all. And I think that’s why it worked, and why it continues to work.

Do you think of yourself as British? Nigerian? Citizen of the world?

When I’m in Nigeria, they let me know I’m not Nigerian. I walk through markets, and they can smell it off me. They can see it in how I walk. Here, I can be Nigerian amongst the diasporans. But I am definitely not British. I don’t have a British passport, and the British public won’t let me ever consider that I am British — because of things like Brexit, because of things like racism. If anything, I think I am a citizen of the world. Which, according to Theresa May, means I don’t belong anywhere. And I’m sort of O.K. with that, I think?

Barber Shop Chronicles

Tuesday through Sunday at the Harvey Theater, Brooklyn Academy of Music; bam.org.

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361 Days of Christmas – The New York Times

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Deep in the huge stockroom of Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, a holiday supercenter about 80 miles north of Detroit, a man named Jason was assembling a 17-foot Santa. Each body part, painted bright red and black, hung from a hook in the ceiling like a cow carcass in a meat locker.

Wayne Bronner, 67, the chief executive of Bronner’s and one of nine family members associated with the company, stood next to the smiling, rosy-cheeked head — it was almost as tall as him — to explain that this model would be marketed through the commercial sales department.

So somebody was going to buy this 17-foot Santa?

“Oh, yes, definitely,” he said.

That Santa is just one example of the Christmas bounty available at Bronner’s. A major node of what might be called the Christmas industrial complex, the store, in Frankenmuth, Mich., ships merchandise to every continent. It provides countless props to Hollywood. And it is open 361 days a year.

Some two million visitors come annually to peruse the gewgaws and trinkets at Bronner’s — which boasts the square footage of two football fields and is marketed as the biggest Christmas store in the world — in addition to 20-something surrounding acres of trumpeting angels, Christmas trees and wise men on camels. (Santa is everywhere but also, obviously, on the roof.)

“Oh gosh,” said Esther Reynolds, who had driven three hours from Fostoria, Ohio, with her friend Phyllis Chaney to visit. “I’ve been coming here since way back when, probably the ’90s.” The pair was shopping for Ms. Reynolds’s “great new grandbaby,” for whom they had collected, “a Christmas baby book, some nutcrackers and an Ohio State ornament.” Ms. Chaney was also getting ornaments for her children and her children’s children — “and my son has three new pets,” she said, “so I got each of them one.”

Wally Bronner, Wayne Bronner’s father, entered the Christmas business in 1945, seven years before Wayne was born. He had been working as a sign painter and was asked to prepare some Christmas panels for a nearby town. The work was admired, so Wally started selling Christmas items year-round. “People thought he was kind of loopy,” Wayne said. Nevertheless, the business grew. In 1954, he opened a salesroom, and then in 1966 and 1971, two more.

Around the same time, some business leaders in Frankenmuth, Wally included, decided they could attract tourists by emphasizing the town’s German heritage. “The town became Bavarianized,” Wayne recalled. They installed chalet-like facades on buildings and hosted large German-themed festivals. Other residents followed suit and now the town is something like a Bavarian amusement park, a kitsch German-American response to Colonial Williamsburg. It’s very merry and bright.

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An Interiors Photographer Shares His Favorite Images of the Decade

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As a young man, the Irish photographer Simon Watson thought he’d like to be a painter. Today, his affinity for that medium is still evident in many of his photographs. His portraits and interior images, especially, suggest the influence of Northern Renaissance painters. “I choose lenses based on how van Eyck would see something,” Watson says of the Dutch artist. “I’m a big fan of side window light and I love depth and darkness. I guess that’s a little more Vermeer-y.” As a photographer for this magazine, Watson has turned a painterly eye to 12th-century Austrian castles, Brutalist German factories and 19th-century Irish tenements. For each story, Watson says, he tries to find “a sort of penumbra — the light between dark and bright — where the image comes alive. I like to embrace light as it falls. I’m not afraid of the shadows.”



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How to Cook Zarda (Sweet Rice)| Simple Zarda Recipe | Style Desire

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Wellcome to my channel. Learn how to make Zarda recipe in your kitchen easily. Zarda is a very famous dish among the Pakistani and Indian people. Watch this video and make this recipe of Sweet Rice at home easily.

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