- The Washington Times - Monday, April 2, 2007

What’s going on

Hometown crowds are pouring in as a weeklong celebration honoring native son Marvin Gaye continues with a host of activities to mark the opening of park named for the late Motown legend, who would have celebrated his 68th birthday yesterday.

More than 1,000 guests turned out for Saturday’s kickoff of the first Marvin Gaye Music Festival at the new Marvin Gaye Park — formerly known as Watts Branch Park — at the intersection of Division Avenue and Foote Street in Northeast.

“We want the city to come out and enjoy both the park and the festival,” event organizer Dennis Chestnut said.

On tap today: a walking tour of the park from 10 a.m. until noon and a screening of the film “Dance Party: The Teenarama Story” at 3 p.m. Other highlights include a Ward 7 District Council candidates forum Thursday at 6:30 p.m., followed by a panel discussion on environmental issues (with an emphasis on the new park and the Anacostia River) at 8:30. An artists exhibit, featuring works from the Ward 7 Arts Collaborative, is scheduled for Friday from 6 to 8 p.m.

On Saturday, WPFW’s (89.3 FM) Cap ‘n Fly will broadcast his weekly “Oldies House Party Show” live from the park at 8 a.m. Live performances on two stages — including the park’s new amphitheater — begin at noon. The lineup includes vocalist Mark Green, the Blackbirds/Kilgo Jazz Ensemble, vocalist Kim Weston (who sang with Mr. Gaye on the 1966 R&B; hit “It Takes Two”) and the Marquees, Mr. Gaye’s former D.C.-based singing group.

Case dismissed

The Supreme Court yesterday declined to revive a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a woman who claims the late James Brown raped her nearly 20 years ago, Associated Press reports.

Jacque Hollander said in her suit that Mr. Brown — who died at age 73 on Christmas Day — raped her at gunpoint in 1988 while she was his publicist. She sought $106 million in damages.

On the move

With National Jazz Appreciation Month well under way, the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz yesterday announced its Commitment to New Orleans initiative, which includes the relocation of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance to the campus of Loyola University New Orleans from Los Angeles.

The initiative also includes ongoing school and community jazz education programs to help strengthen the school system; provide employment for New Orleans musicians; attract displaced musicians living in other areas of the country back to their hometown; and unite the city’s jazz, arts and cultural communities, officials said.

During yesterday’s announcement from the Big Easy, the inaugural New Orleans class performed alongside jazz legends Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and New Orleans native Terence Blanchard, the program’s artistic director.

“New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz — and jazz is what made this city the place we know and love,” said Mr. Hancock, chairman of the Institute.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff, Web and wire reports

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