Angela Davis and Anthony Brown (from the SFIAF Web site)
This year the title of the San Francisco International Arts Festival (SFIAF), which will begin next Thursday, May 24, and run through Sunday, June 3, will be Down by the Riverside: 50 Years Celebrating the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The half century cited in that title involves taking stock of how civil rights have progressed and regressed since King’s assassination on April 4, 1968. “Down by the Riverside” will also be the title of a composition by Anthony Brown, which will be given its world premiere as part of the Festival. The full title of Brown’s piece is “Down by the Riverside: Requiem for a King.”
Brown composed this piece for spoken word with both instrumental and vocal accompaniment. He will lead his own Asian American Orchestra, which will be joined by the vocal quintet Voices of A Dream. The spoken text, taken from a speech that King gave exactly one year before his assassination, will be presented by Angela Davis.
“Down by the Riverside” will be preceded by another Brown composition, “GO FOR BROKE!” Brown wrote this to salute the Nisei Veterans in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the February 19, 1942 signing of executive order 9066, which forced over 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry into internment camps during World War II. This composition also involves spoken word as part of the performance, and the speaker will be poet and activist Janice Mirikitani.
These two pieces will be separated by an intermission, and the entire program is expected to last 100 minutes. It will begin at 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 26. The venue for SFIAF is the Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, and this particular concert will take place in the Cowell Theater. Tickets are being sold for $22.50, $32.50, $42.50, $52.50, and $62.50. They may be purchased online through an SFIAF event page, which shows where seats at the different price levels are available. Further information is also available by calling 415-399-9554.