by Chris Garlock
You’ve got just two more chances to see – and hear – “Love Songs from the Liberation Wars,” the original labor jazz opera by local composer Steve Jones. Tomorrow night’s show is sold out, but there are still tickets available for tonight’s show and tomorrow’s matinee. Jones calls it an opera but “Love Songs” is also part musical, part revival meeting and all inspiring. It’s nominally about a historic strike led by African-American women at the R J Reynolds factory in Winston-Salem, North Carolina during the 1940’s but it’s also a reminder of how far we’ve come – and just how far we haven’t – since the days of racist Jim Crow segregation. And “Love Songs” – not surprisingly, given its title – is also a good old-fashioned love story, not just about love between characters, but about love of country, love of justice. Jones mixes jazz, blues, gospel, pop and folk music, which is performed with unrestrained gusto by a cast that includes professional and amateur actors and the DC Labor Chorus, all under the expert direction of Elise Bryant, who also directs the Labor Heritage Foundation, the non-profit cultural arts organization that works to strengthen the labor movement through the use of music and arts, and which is sponsoring the production. Do yourself a favor and go see “Love Songs,” it’s just the shot of inspiration you’ve been looking for.
photos by Chris Garlock
Weekend Labor History*
*selected; click here for complete postings
President Martin Van Buren issues a broadly-applicable executive order granting the 10-hour day to all government employees engaged in manual labor - 1840
Cowboys earning $40 per month begin what is to become an unsuccessful two-and-a-half-month strike for higher wages at five ranches in the Texas Panhandle - 1883
Cesar Chavez born in Yuma, Ariz.- 1927
Construction begins on the three-mile Hawk’s Nest Tunnel through Gauley Mountain, W. Va., as part of a hydroelectric project. A congressional hearing years later was to report that 476 laborers in the mostly black, migrant workforce of 3,000 were exposed to silica rock dust in the course of their 10-hour-a-day, six-days-a-week shifts and died of silicosis. Some researchers say that more than 1,000 died - 1930
President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs legislation establishing the Civilian Conservation Corps to help alleviate
suffering during the Depression. By the time the program ended after the start of World War II it had provided jobs for more than six million men and boys. The average enrollee gained 11 pounds in his first three months - 1933
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Steve Jones' jazz labor opera about a historic strike led by African-American women at the R J Reynolds factory in Winston-Salem, NC opens tonight at the ATU's Tommy Douglas Conference Center in Silver Spring (see Calendar at right). "Love Songs" tells the inspiring story of an early victory against Jim Crow segregation in the 1940s, through a mix of jazz, blues, and folk songs performed by a cast that includes professional and amateur actors and the DC Labor Chorus under the direction of Elise Bryant. The production is sponsored by the Labor Heritage Foundation, a non-profit cultural arts organization that works to strengthen the labor movement through the use of music and arts. photo: at last night's dress rehearsal; photo by Chris Garlock/Union City
Updates to affiliate social media page
The Metro Washington Council’s affiliate social media page has been updated once again with additional Facebook pages for Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) locals 689 and 1764. Affiliate or allies with new websites or social media updates, please let us know at [email protected].