1. SOMI’s “Wildflower Blues,” “Prayer to the Saint of the BrokenHearted,” and from her live album, “Waiting in Vain” and “If the Rains Come First” and her renditon of “Shoulda Been” –she is liquid poetry….
2. Gregory Porter’s “Illusion,” makes the rocks wish they could they could cry, “Pretty” (thank god, we finally have a true jazz ballandeer with a sweetness that covers his sound), “1960 what” (WTF), and “Our Love” makes me wanna snatch a man off the streets and marry him just so I could walk down the aisle listening to that…I rest….
3. Kurt Elling’s “Time to Say GoodBye”, “Ballad of the Sad Young Men”, “The Waking” …uh, most anything he records w/his pianist laurence hobgood
4. Ron K. Brown’s “Dancing Spirit” and “Grace”
5. Dayton Contemporary Dance’s “Children of the Passage
6. Jhumpa Lahiri’s “Interpreter of Maladies” and “Unaccustomed Earth”
7. Camille Brown’s “City of Rain” and Camille Brown dancing “Evolution of the Secured Feminine”
8. Soledad Barrio just walking across the stage is breathtaking and her company Noche Flamenco…perfect ferocity and grace….
9. Pedro Almodovar’s “Volver” y “Talk to Her”
10. Concha Buika’s “Oro Santo” con Javier Limon, “Nostalgia,” “Jodida Pero Contenta” and any other time she opens her mouth to sing is a good time to pay attention…
11. Cassandra Wilson’s rendition of “Sky & Sea” and the New Moon Daughter Album
12. Audra MacDonald & Brian Stokes Mitchell’s “Wheels of a Dream” and most anything from the original Broadway Production of Ragtime
13. Vanessa Aspillaga in the Broadway Production of “Anna in the Tropics” Some man in a mask stole the Tony from her late at night when she was asleep…this is the only reasonable explanation for her not receiving the Tony…don’t get me started….
14. Jimmy Smits’ Benedict in the Shakespeare in the Park’s production of “Much Ado About Nothing”
15. Ruben Santiago Hudson’s McCarter production of “Gem of the Ocean”…I never knew August wrote a love story to our people until I saw this production
16. Stephen McKinley Henderson’s “God is a bad motherfucker” in the Broadway Production of King Hedley
17. Caroline Stephanie Clay in most anything….I mean I wish I could get more specific, but she is an unsung bright light everytime she steps on that stage….she got truth like some people got the holy ghost…
18. Tanya Hamilton’s “Night Catches Us” spanning the horizon of a forgotten Philly neighborhood in decay and finding the fire flies creating a canopy of light, beauty and silence before the dawn and the chaos of being black all day long under a white sun….
19. The Wire Season II – Stringer Bell’s (Idris Elba) seduction of Donette…what! not just heat, craft…craft…
20. Loretta Devine and Gregory Hines’ last scene in “Waiting to Exhale”…the vulnerability and tenderness of a woman missing all her beauty and a tender man to remind her…left me breathless….sad that she could not see herself, glad when she did…a mirror of my own struggles….
21. Scandal’s Oliva Pope (Kerry Washington) & The President (Tony Goldwyn’s) scenes where they just take one minute to look at each other and finally just to hold each other…the sweet spot is the never giving in to the heat, the emotions…allowing them to just be there still in each other’s presence…truly splendid…
22. Dwanna Smallwood in Ailey’s “Cry” and “Love Stories”
23. Javier Bardem & Penelope Cruz in “Barcelona” speaking only Spanish and without Woody Allen and those other random white people not speaking Spanish…so weird…but Javier and Penelope were an epic love story…true, sad, splendid in their mistake making and wonderfully human….
24. Marcus Gardley’s Michael-Jackson-Loving Priest in “Dance of the Holy Ghost”, and The Mississippi River as a Black woman carrying slaves to freedom & his grits-eatin’-Jesus in “Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi”….they are so not ready for a post black shakespeare writing in the iambic pentameter of the Black Church…fuck’em, do you, Marcus, ’til they catch up…