The weekend is fast approaching and the question on everyone’s minds is: how can I entertain myself and give back to the community?  Or maybe not.  This weekend, you really have two viable, new release options for film going: Godzilla or Million Dollar Arm. What this means is if you’re not a fan of giant dinosaurs because you saw Pacific Rim last year and hated it, and you’re not much of a sports fan, then you need an alternative for your entertainment this weekend.  Never fear, this critic has two suggestions.

A show of variety

First up is Eddie Goines and Friends Presents: The Time is Now.  I know, the title is long, but Goines has friends in some pretty high places.  For those of you who don’t mind spending $3 for an hour of entertainment at a laptop/tablet/phone nearest to you, then this is the show for you.  The Time is Now is a variety show featuring the talented styling of Goines (Showtime’s The Coalition) and some of his “friends,” like Chris Spencer, Guy Torry, Denzel Washington, Jay-z, President Barack Obama and Muhammad Ali. 

“Here’s the thing about the show: I love the show.  I’m very proud of it.  And, I feel like most or all people will enjoy it,” said Goines, a native of Lakeland, Fla., and a former footballer for the Seattle Seahawks, who used his own money to fund the entire project.  “This was without a doubt one of the hardest things that I have ever done. … But, to see the show, to hear people enjoy it, that makes it all worthwhile.”

Goines is currently shopping The Time is Now to the digital distribution markets like Netflix, Hulu and onDemand.  But, in the meantime, you can be one of the first to see this hilarious take on life in Hollywood and you won’t have to pay onDemand prices.  Once you’ve seen the show, tell your friends about it.  They’ll thank you later.


Jazz brunching with the literary set

If you’re more of a bookish type like myself and you love giving back to communities abroad, then the Literary Jazz Brunch on May 17 at the Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove is the way to go this weekend.  This brunch, featuring jazz by the Les Haber Quintet, will have four dynamic women authors (Patricia Schultz, Barbara Levenson, Victoria Moran and Elsie Augustave) showcasing their latest works. 

Augustave recently took time out of her busy touring schedule to share some thoughts on her book, The Roving Tree, and the Literary Jazz Brunch.

“It is the story of a 5-year-old Haitian girl from the remote country-side, adopted by a wealthy white-American family in Westchester and her quest for cultural identity,” said Augustave, a native of Haiti, a Howard University alum with degrees in foreign language and literature, and a Fulbright Scholar.  “I think it fits the purpose of the Literary Jazz Brunch because there are some descriptions in the book that depict deprived areas and the role of women in that society and the social oppression that they are subjected to.”

The literary community, like Edwidge Danticat and Essence Magazine, has deemed Augustave’s book a “gorgeous new novel” and “a beautiful, layered nuanced story” about a woman finding herself and the effects of racism, classicism and the identity struggles of adoptees who are transplanted to different countries.  The Roving Tree also sheds light on the trials faced by women in underserved areas who, at times, must make tough decisions to survive or provide better lives for their children, which makes it an important piece of the Literary Jazz Brunch.

“(The Literary Jazz Brunch) brings awareness to the more deprived women from the lower social scale and their struggle to survival,” said Augustave, who teaches French and Spanish at Stuyvesant High School in New York City.

The purpose for the jazz brunch isn’t just to eat good food and enjoy the music.  It helps fundraise for the Footprints Foundation.  Footprints is a nonprofit organization started by Lorna Owens, a South Florida attorney, life coach and author to aide and educate Congolese women with limited access to healthcare and everyday needs. 

Now that you’re in the know, you can let variety and brunching be the spice of your life for this weekend and you’ll feel good knowing that you did something to give back to others.