LOS ANGELES — The GRAMMY Museum® Grant Program announced today that $200,000 in grants will be awarded to 16 recipients in the United States to help facilitate a range of research on a variety of subjects, as well as support a number of archiving and preservation programs.
“This year marks the 35th year that the GRAMMY Museum and Recording Academy® have partnered to provide much deserved funding for music research and preservation projects across the United States and Canada. During that time, we have awarded more than $8.1 million to nearly 465 grantees,” said Michael Sticka, President/CEO of the GRAMMY Museum. “As an educational and cultural nonprofit institution, we know firsthand how critical grant funding is in order to deliver measurable results and impact through our mission. This is why we’re proud to support these impressive projects that are at the intersection of music and science, and work to maintain our shared musical legacy for generations to come.”
Generously funded by the Recording Academy, the GRAMMY Museum Grant Program provides funding annually to organizations and individuals to support efforts that advance the archiving and preservation of the recorded sound heritage of the Americas for future generations, in addition to research projects related to the impact of music on the human condition. In 2008, the GRAMMY Museum Grant Program expanded its categories to include assistance grants for individuals and small to mid-sized organizations to aid collections held by individuals and organizations that may not have access to the expertise needed to create a preservation plan. The assistance planning process, which may include inventorying and stabilizing a collection, articulates the steps to be taken to ultimately archive recorded sound materials for future generations.
More information about the program can be found at www.grammymuseum.org.
Scientific Research Grantees
University of Southern California— Los Angeles
Nostalgia-evoking music can temporarily improve autobiographical memory in individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), but the associated neural mechanisms are unknown. This project aims to use personalized music to identify neural systems involved in music-evoked nostalgia using fMRI, in healthy younger and older adults. Findings will be the basis for music-based AD interventions by demonstrating how music-evoked nostalgia is preserved neurally across the lifespan.
University Hospitals Health System, Inc — Cleveland
The purpose of this study is to determine the feasibility and acceptability of: 1) a tailored music-assisted relaxation and imagery intervention; 2) biological sample collection; and 3) mobile device patient-reported outcome collection in adults hospitalized for pancreatic surgery experiencing acute pain.
Towson University — Towson, Maryland
This project will help to determine whether “hidden hearing loss” exists in student musicians and, if so, to use clinically relevant diagnostic tools to detect the disorder early so that music-induced overt hearing loss can be prevented. The project will also assess whether the hidden hearing deficits contribute to increased difficulties in auditory scene analysis/speech sound processing in musicians.
Texas Christian University — Fort Worth, Texas
Musical training is associated with increased neural prediction response to a critical note that indicates mode in a melody. This neural response suggests an enhanced prediction mechanism in those with musical training and may reflect acquired sensitivity to statistical regularities in the environment. The goal of this project is to investigate whether musical training is also associated with enhanced neural prediction responses in those with dyslexia, who may have deficits in prediction.
Stanford University — Stanford, California
This project evaluates different strategies to promote empathy between audio engineers and cochlear-implant users empathy-promotion. The goal is to understand the existing empathy structures, identify the most effective promotion strategies, and develop tools and clear techniques to assist both cochlear implant users and audio engineers in creating music that can be enjoyed by a more diverse audience.
University of Miami— Coral Gables, Florida
This innovative project will explore the use of infant-directed singing (IDS) for self-regulation in infants with prenatal drug exposure. These infants may be at risk for poor self-regulation, leading to difficulty managing arousal and emotions. Through a coaching intervention, mothers will learn how to use IDS to match or modify infant state. Findings will inform clinical practice to improve parenting skills in mothers with substance use issues.
Preservation Assistance Grantees
Bill Doggett — Bakersfield, California
Bill Doggett will conduct a professional inventory and preservation needs assessment for the Doggett Race & Performing Arts Collection. Under this project, an archival consultant with expertise in audiovisual archives and preservation management will conduct a site visit and physical inspection of the Collection and prepare a Preservation Plan for future action.
T. Christopher Aplin — Pasadena, California
American Indian Soundchiefs was a Kiowa-owned record label owned by Linn D. Pauahty – the earliest, longest-running such label launched with an ear toward Indigenous aesthetics. This project will help Mary Helen Deer, the Linn D. Pauahty Foundation and Kiowa Tribe review existing Soundchiefs record catalogues; compile and inventory instantaneous disc, 78s, reel-to-reel, and cassettes; and prepare these recordings for future digitization and preservation.
The Kealakai Center for Pacific Strings — Kailua, Hawaii
The Kealakai Center for Pacific Strings will synthesize a decade of primary data collection, interviews, research, and exhibit production to develop a digital museum and audio archive designed to share the largest untold chapter in the history of modern American music. The website and archive will illuminate the pivotal role that Hawaiian music has played in the evolution of popular music, a legacy of innovation, and global influence that endures today.
Arhoolie Foundation — El Cerrito, California
The Arhoolie Foundation will digitize Chris Strachwitz rare recordings of performances, festivals and concerts from 1950-2000. Artists include Lightnin’ Hopkins, Big Mama Thornton, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Flaco Jiménez, Ry Cooder, Lydia Mendoza, BeauSoleil, Clifton Chenier, Rev Gary Davis, Mance Lipscomb, Jesse Fuller, Rose Maddox, and others.
The Apollo Theater — New York
This funding will allow Harlem’s historic Apollo Theater to digitize, preserve and catalog more than 300 hours of video recordings of the theater’s famed Amateur Night program, spanning 1987-2016. These performances exist on obsolete, vulnerable media formats, and have mostly remained unseen since the time of their original recording. Amateur Night has launched the careers of numerous pioneering performers, and has ran at the Apollo since 1934.
Newark Public Radio (WBGO) — Newark, New Jersey
WBGO will digitize and make available to the public over 800 hours of rare jazz recordings from 1985-91 currently stored on at-risk DAT and Betamax tapes. Recordings include club and festival performances by some of jazz’s most iconic figures, as well as a trove of WBGO-produced, NPR-syndicated jazz programs. Recordings will be available online via the American Archive of Public Broadcasting, and onsite at the Library of Congress and GBH in Boston.
UC Santa Barbara — Santa Barbara, California
UCSB Library will digitize and make accessible recordings of the groundbreaking radio broadcasts of the CBS Symphony conducted by Bernard Herrmann in the 1930s and 1940s. Herrmann’s early career as a conductor is documented by 70 radio broadcasts on 200 lacquer discs held by UCSB.
Boston Symphony Orchestra — Boston
The BSO will preserve and make accessible 233 live concert radio broadcasts from 1979-1991 of John Williams conducting the Boston Pops. Recorded on quarter inch reel-to-reel audiotape, these historically significant tapes document his work with such artists as Marilyn Horne, Tony Bennett, John Denver, as well as his own film music yet are currently inaccessible. We will create preservation master files and access copies for public use both remotely and onsite.
Freight & Salvage — Berkeley, California
The grant to Freight & Salvage will continue preservation of recordings and sustain copyright research. This encompasses 70 percent of 2,500 recordings featuring historic musicianship collected over our 54-year history. Wrapping up the digitalization and documentation of analog formats, they will progress to transferring recordings dated 1989-2020 to include early digital formats, e.g., DAT and CD-R, thus archiving the remaining 30 percent of our collection.
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation Archive will digitize, preserve, make accessible, and disseminate approximately 400 audio and video recordings originally recorded on highly fragile formats made between 1989 to 2006. The recordings were made at the world-renowned New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and are comprised of superb interviews and performances in the genres of gospel, Cajun, zydeco, jazz, traditional jazz, Mardi Gras Indian, blues, R&B, international, pop, and rock by legendary and highly influential performers.
Review: In ‘Wakanda Forever,’ an empire mourns and rebuilds
Made in the wake of tragedy, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” reverberates with the agony of loss, piercing the usually less consequential superhero realm. Like someone going through the stages of grief, Ryan Coogler’s movie is at turns mournful and rootless, full of rage and blessed with clarity. In the fantastical Marvel Cinematic Universe where mortality is almost always a plaything, wrestling with the genuine article, in the death of T’Challa star Chadwick Boseman, makes for an unusually uncertain, soul-searching kind of blockbuster-scale entertainment.
It’s a fine line, of course, between paying tribute and trading on it. I did cringe a little when the Marvel logo unspooled with images of Boseman within the letters: Eulogy as branding. That “Black Panther,” a cultural phenomenon and a box-office smash, would get a sequel, at all, was momentarily in doubt after Boseman’s unexpected death from colon cancer in 2020. Radically reworked by Coogler and co-writer Joe Robert Cole, “Wakanda Forever” pushed ahead in hopes of honoring both Boseman and the rich Afrocentric world of the landmark original. In its admirably muddled way, it succeeds in both.
Part of the profound appeal of Coogler’s first “Black Panther” resided in its deft channeling of the real world into mythology. It fed centuries of colonialism and exploitation into a big-screen spectacle of identity and resistance. In an invented African nation, Coogler conjured both a fanciful could-have-been history and emotional right-now reality.
“Wakanda Forever,” which opens in theaters Thursday, expands on that, weaving in a Latin American perspective with a similar degree of cultural specificity in the introduction of the Aztec-inspired antagonist Namor (Tenoch Huerta), king of the ancient underwater world of Talokan. At the same time, Boseman’s death is poignantly filtered into the story from the start, beginning with off-screen death throes.
“Time is running out,” we hear whispered while the screen is still black. Shuri (Letitia Wright), T’Challa’s tech-wiz sister, is frantically trying to craft something in her AI lab to save her brother. But in a moment, their mother, Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), informs her: “Your brother is with the ancestors.” He’s laid to rest in a glorious, celebratory procession, carried through a multi-tiered channel of white-clad, singing-and-dancing Wakandans. It’s as stunning as anything Coogler has shot.
After this prologue, “Wakanda Forever” shifts to a year later. “Black Panther” took some of the spy-thriller shape of a Bond movie, and the sequel carries that on in a new geopolitical context. At the United Nations, the United States and France are pressuring for access to vibranium, the rare metal that Wakanda has built its empire on. Soon after, a U.S. military expedition discovers vibranium at the bottom of the ocean. But just as they’re celebrating, a mysterious tribe of blue underwater people, led by Namor, a pointy-eared monarch in green short-shorts with wings on his ankles, ruthlessly wipe out the entire expedition.
You can feel “Wakanda Forever” searching for a way forward in these early scenes. After such an anguished beginning, how much care can we summon for the whereabouts of magical ores? And more blue people? “Avatar,” you might think, has already laid claim to them. What steadies the film is Bassett. Her awesome presence leads “Wakanda Forever” through grief with a staunch defense of Wakanda that rebalances the newly king-less kingdom. She carries on.
What follows is a globe-trotting plot that draws the film away from perhaps its greatest asset in Wakanda but uncovers new places of latent power among historically exploited people. Shuri and Okoye (Danai Gurira), the Dora Milaje general, travel to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to seek the student (Dominique Thorne) who created a vibranium detector. In the Washington D.C. area, Wakanda’s friendly CIA officer (Martin Freeman) experiences new scrutiny from his boss, played by an unannounced comic actress familiar to Beltway politics.
But, mostly, a series of exchanges draw Wakanda and Talokan closer. Are they friends and foes? They are, at least, a captivating tweak to the mythology of Atlantis. Talokan, dark and watery, is no Wakanda, though, and there’s less hint this time of a larger society. Still, Huerta brings a magnetism to Namor. In many ways, he’s a corollary to Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger, a non-villain whose fury is in many ways justified. His anger appeals to the still-grieving Shuri who finds herself ready, after T’Challa’s death, to “burn the world.”
As in the first “Black Panther,” the question again hangs in the balance of whether, in a pain-ridden and prejudiced world, rage is the answer. This time, it applies to another powerful civilization, too. “Wakanda Forever,” where the role of Black Panther is passed down, is in more ways than one about the transfer of power.
Wakanda and Talokan are brought together a little haphazardly in conflict, as Namor pressures the African nation to join his brewing surface war. “Wakanda Forever” proceeds as a murky, middle-act film that may ultimately serve as a bridge to future “Black Panther” chapters. But along the way, there are countless marvels that Coogler conjures with returning magic-workers like production designer Hannah Beachler and costume designer Ruth E. Carter. How the Talokan are flung into the air by whales. The fierce friendliness of Gurira’s performance. Lupita Nyong’o is unfortunately less central here, but every time her Nakia (who has been laying low in Haiti) is present, she graces the film.
“Wakanda Forever” is overlong, a little unwieldy and somewhat mystifyingly steers toward a climax on a barge in the middle of the Atlantic. But Coogler’s fluid command of mixing intimacy with spectacle remains gripping. He extends the rich detail and non-binary complexity that distinguished “Black Panther” in sometimes awkward but often thrilling ways. “Wakanda Forever,” grappling in the aftermath of loss, ultimately seeks something rare in the battle-ready superhero landscape: Peace.
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” a Walt Disney Co. release, is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for sequences of strong violence, action and some language. Running time: 161 minutes. Three stars out of four.
Emmett Till movie shown in Black town pivotal to the story
MOUND BAYOU, Miss. (AP) — The tiny, all-Black town of Mound Bayou became a safe haven for Emmett Till’s mother as she traveled to Mississippi to testify in the murder trial of two white men who lynched her son in 1955.
Hundreds of people — a good portion of Mound Bayou’s 1,500 residents — turned out Thursday evening to watch the movie “Till.” The feature film is going into wide release across the U.S. this weekend after being in limited release since Oct. 14.
“This place, this city, is very sacred to the story of Emmett Till,” one of the filmmakers, Keith Beauchamp, told the mostly Black audience in the gymnasium/auditorium of Mound Bayou’s John F. Kennedy High School.
The screening happened days after a bronze statue of Till was unveiled about 50 miles (80.5 kilometers) away in Greenwood, Mississippi.
Beauchamp is one of the producers and writers of “Till,” which largely focuses on Mamie Till-Mobley’s reaction to the loss of her only child and her evolution into a civil rights leader. Her 14-year-old son had traveled from Chicago to Mississippi to visit relatives in August 1955, and white men kidnapped, tortured and killed him after accusations that he flirted with Carolyn Bryant, a white woman working in a country store.
Till-Mobley, who was named Mamie Bradley at the time of her son’s death, insisted on an open-casket funeral in Chicago so the world could see her son’s brutalized body. Jet magazine published photos.
An all-white, all-male jury in Tallahatchie County acquitted the shopkeeper’s husband, Roy Bryant, and his half brother J.W. Milam just weeks after Till’s body was pulled from a river. The two men later confessed in an interview with “Look” magazine.
Mound Bayou was founded by formerly enslaved people in the cotton-growing Mississippi Delta in 1887 as a freestanding community where Black people could thrive amid the hostility of the Jim Crow era.
NAACP leaders, including Mississippi’s Medgar Evers, coordinated with Dr. T.R.M. Howard, a physician and entrepreneur in Mound Bayou, to provide safety and security for Till’s mother in the town. Mound Bayou also provided shelter for Black journalists who covering the trial 35 miles (56.3 kilometers) away in Sumner.
The lynching of Till galvanized the civil rights movement, and it has reverberated for generations with Black parents who tell their children to be careful in a country that has not shaken racism.
One of the Till relatives who attended the screening Thursday was 65-year-old Joe Stidhum, born two years after Till was killed. He said his grandfather and Till’s mother were brother and sister.
Stidhum said his mother was always strict on him as his 10 siblings as they were growing up in Mound Bayou, but “she didn’t tell us her side of it until we got older.” He said he was about 12 or 13 before he learned about Till’s violent death.
“Once we got up into teens, that’s when my mom kind of explained to us why she was so protective of us,” Stidhum said after the movie.
The closest cinema to Mound Bayou is more than 30 miles (48.3 kilometers) to the south, in Greenville, Mississippi.
Nobody has ever been convicted in Till’s lynching. The U.S. Justice Department has opened multiple investigations starting in 2004 after receiving inquiries about whether charges could be brought against anyone still living.
The Justice Department reopened an investigation in 2018 after a 2017 book quoted Carolyn Bryant — now remarried and named Carolyn Bryant Donham — saying she lied when she claimed Till grabbed her, whistled and made sexual advances. Relatives have publicly denied Donham, who is in her 80s, recanted her allegations. The department closed that investigation in late 2021 without bringing charges.
Deborah Watts, another cousin of Till and co-founder of the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation, was among the people who found an unserved 1955 arrest warrant for “Mrs. Roy Bryant” earlier this year in a courthouse basement. In August, a Mississippi grand jury found insufficient evidence to indict Donham. Watts said Thursday that she still wants officials to serve the arrest warrant on Donham.
“Justice delayed since 1955 is justice denied,” Watts told The Associated Press. “Without any hate, malice or violence, we want the same thing any victim’s family would want, and that is that those that were responsible be held accountable. No one should be above the law.”
In March, President Joe Biden signed the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act. After the movie screening, Beauchamp told the audience that he is all for honoring Till’s memory, but he wants more.
“If we’re looking for racial reconciliation in this country, it’s not going to happen with a statue or a law,” Beauchamp said. “We have to have truth and justice.”
Some in the crowd, sitting on blue plastic chairs and bleachers, nodded and said: “Alright. Alright.”
Can the Rock steady the DC universe with ‘Black Adam’?
NEW YORK (AP) — In Hollywood’s superhero era thus far, there has been one particularly conspicuous absence: While a parade of big-name actors have taken their turns donning various spandex suits, Dwayne Johnson — arguably the biggest movie star in the world — has, until now, sat out the trend.
The Rock didn’t really need a cape to prove his powers. The 6-foot-5 260-pound actor was, in many respects, already a superhero in his own right: a skyscraper-climbing hulk, a shape-shifting demi-god, even a bulked-up tooth fairy.
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“I was always ready and open to playing a superhero,” Johnson said in a recent interview. “But it had to be right and it had to feel right. I had been approached before in the past about playing a few superheroes that, ultimately, I ended up passing on. They ended up going to the right actors to play them. I just waited.”
The fates have finally aligned in “Black Adam,” a debut so seamless that it could be called redundant. When Johnson was first trying on Black Adam’s suit, he had the muscle padding removed.
Johnson’s entry to the superhero business comes at a crucial juncture for the DC Extended Universe, which has been plagued of late by scandal and misfires. Ezra Miller, star of the upcoming “The Flash,” has been arrested twice this year amid reports of troubling behavior (in August, Miller sought treatment for what he described as mental health issues ). “Batgirl,” a $90 million movie completed for HBO Max, was summarily axed, prompting an outcry over its atypical cancellation.
Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav has promised a “reset” to the studio’s DC operations in an overhaul to implement a more Marvel-like 10-year structure and improve quality. At the fulcrum of these two eras sits “Black Adam,” which opens in theaters Thursday.
Amid such turmoil, it certainly doesn’t hurt to be welcoming in a movie star as popular as Johnson, who has 341 million followers on Instagram and is often forced to deflect questions about a possible presidential run. But just how much stability can The Rock bring to DC?
“I think the timing is actually perfect. What an opportunity we have,” Johnson said. “I have been saying for almost years now that the hierarchy of power in the DC universe is about to change.”
Before Johnson, not many saw Black Adam as such an axis-tilting force. The character, an ancient Egyptian created by Otto Binder and C.C. Beck, first appeared in a 1945 issue of Fawcett Comics’ “In DC Comics” and has generally been portrayed as a supervillain and foe to Captain Marvel (not the Brie Larson one).
More recent treatments have pushed Black Adam more toward antihero status, something the film, directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (“Jungle Cruise”), extends. Black Adam, summoned to modern day, is depicted as a reluctant hero who fears his own powers.
In one telling scene, Black Adam stops for a moment to watch a television with Clint Eastwood as the Man With No Name — an antihero model for Black Adam.
“He has been my inspiration from day one. My favorite actor and certainly one of my favorite directors,” Johnson said. “I’m happy to call Clint a buddy. That was my way of paying homage to him.”
How Black Adam would be introduced to movie audiences wasn’t always clear. Initially, Captain Marvel, also known as Shazam, and Black Adam were to debut in a movie together. After the scripting stage, Johnson and others felt the combined launch did a disservice to Black Adam.
“We did have a template for a really good idea, but ultimately both characters required so much space to properly launch them,” said producer Hiram Garcia. “We were just struggling in terms of bandwidth that the script could hold and in terms of tone, as well. Inherently, as you saw with how the ‘Shazam’ movie came out, that movie is just so differently tonally from how ‘Black Adam’ is.”
“Shazam!” starring Zachary Levi, was a goofy, well-received body-swap hit, grossing $366 million worldwide in 2019 (a sequel is due out in March). The ambitions for “Black Adam” are larger.
The film, made with a budget roughly twice that of “Shazam!” also introduces the Justice Society of America, a superhero team of Hawkman (Aldis Hodge), Doctor Fate (Pierce Brosnan), Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo) and Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell).
“I always felt like it was a matter of convincing our studio partners to try to look beyond the Justice League,” Johnson said. “I love the Justice League. But when you look past them, you open up the DC bible. There are so many cool characters you can tap into.”
It’s been a long haul to develop the film, tailor the part to Johnson and shoot the movie around COVID-19 delays. Johnson was first announced to play Black Adam way back in 2014.
“Easy and this process have not gone together,” Garcia said.
But the filmmakers were committed to giving Black Adam the proper launch.
“If Dwayne Johnson’s going to do a superhero, the powers better be A-plus,” said producer Beau Flynn.
Superhero films aren’t often described as a “passion project” but it’s how Johnson talks about “Black Adam.” He speaks about the character’s previously low profile like an underdog.
“No one gave him a shot,” he said. Unlike many of the best-known comic-book characters, Johnson is not taking on this role secondhand.
“No other actors had stepped into the boots of Black Adam,” said Johnson who professes a deep connection with the character. “I’m a very direct talker. Black Adam is very direct with his thoughts, too. The difference is: Black Adam will slap some people around. I might slap some people around but I’ll do it with a smile.”
As of this summer, Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy are running Warner Bros.′ revamped film division, though no new DC leader has yet been appointed. Zaslav has been seeking his studio’s answer to Marvel’s Kevin Feige to take the reigns. For Johnson, “Black Adam” is part of that new chapter for DC.
“I think you’re feeling this sense of urgency and the sense of excitement,” said Johnson. “This has been a great convergence of ‘Black Adam’ coming out and new leadership.”
Tracking reports have suggested that Johnson, 50, could be headed for his biggest opening weekend ever at the box office with “Black Adam.” But sounding a little like his WWE wrestler, Johnson is also eyeing his next opponent. Black Adam, he believes, is a lesser power to no superhero. He’s gunning for Superman.
“For five years, the most powerful and unstoppable force in the entire superhero universe has been idle on the sidelines. All that had to come to a new end,” says Johnson. “This is what I mean with this new era in the DC universe. Let’s get that hero off the sidelines and on the big screen.”