Archive for the '2010' Category

Welcome to Odysseys!

Don’t Drop Dead on Stage:
A Performing Artist’s Guide to Retirement

By Idris Ackamoor


IDRIS ACKAMOOR is the founder and Executive/Co-Artistic Director of the San Francisco performance company Cultural Odyssey. He is an alto saxophonist, multi -instrumentalist, composer, actor, tap dancer, administrator, filmmaker, and director. In short “a true renaissance man”! He founded Cultural Odyssey in 1979 as a vehicle to support his work as a performing artist.

From the “starving artist” trenches in the 70’s to his present day success and very real prosperity Mr. Ackamoor is living proof that an artist need not “sell his soul” for monetary and career success nor have a “real day job” in order to augment what are usually meager earnings from performing. As well, a musician need not be in a major touring rock and roll band in order to make a considerable income.

“Don’t Drop Dead on Stage: A Performing Artist’s Guide to Retirement” charts Mr. Ackamoor’s rise from the days when he had to “pawn” his instrument to survive, to unqualified awards and financial success including two “Lifetime Achievement Awards”, fully funded retirement accounts, hefty savings accounts and CDs, and a salary and benefits package rivaling what is normally reserved for the corporate sector.

The book is a frank discussion of his triumphs and challenges as he navigates the difficult terrain of the performing arts ecology. Through self-discovery, research, and “common sense” Mr. Ackamoor reveals information concerning social security, pensions, retirement accounts, investment strategies, health issues, and benefit packages in an easy and understandable manner. Read, peruse, and “each one teach one” to guard against “Dropping Dead on Stage” as the audience thunderously applauds!

Go to Retirement Guide

Onward and Upward

Cultural Odyssey’s 2010 -2011 Season promises to be spectacular!  Idris Ackamoor and his 70’s groundbreaking jazz/world music ensemble, The Pyramids, will have a European Reunion Tour featuring the original members of the band.  The Pyramids will perform in Holland, Germany, France, Denmark, and Italy during December 2010!! The Cultural Odyssey production of Three Women of Calypso will tour to four cities in America directed by Rhodessa Jones and musical direction by Idris Ackamoor.   Be a part of the globalization of Cultural Odyssey with continued activities in South Africa, Trinidad and the Caribbean, Europe, San Francisco, and throughout America.  Support Cultural Odyssey and journey with us “In Search of Human Culture”.

The Pyramids

Visit us on My Space at The Pyramids European Tour!


Idris Ackamoor and Rhodessa Jones perform in "The Love Project"

Joanna Haigood performs in "The Breach"

Rhodessa Jones (right) performs in "The Medea Project: Dancing with the Clown of Love"

Click to view performance photos

This year marked Cultural Odyssey’s 30th Anniversary!!  In celebration of Black History Month and National Women’s Month Cultural Odyssey presented a 30th Anniversary Celebration of New Works Thursdays through Sundays, February 4 – March 14, 2010. All performances were at the Buriel Clay Theater at the African American Art & Culture Complex located at 762 Fulton Street, San Francisco.  The opening Anniversary Celebration was the San Francisco premiere of The Love Project that ran February 4 – February 14, 2010. Cultural Odyssey’s world premiere production of The Breach ran February 18 – February 28, featuring dancer/choreographer/aerialist Joanna Haigood, actress/singer Rhodessa Jones, and actor/musician/composer Idris Ackamoor. Cultural world premiere production of Dancing with the Clown of Love ran March 4 – 14, 2010.   In addition, Cultural Odyssey curated a 30-year retrospective of posters, artwork, and memorabilia in the Sergeant Johnson Gallery of the Culture Complex that coincided with the performances.

click to view Mayor Proclamation

click to view Mayor Proclamation

The impact and success of the Anniversary celebrations on Cultural Odyssey has been enormously significant! The resulting publicity that has been generated has been incredible! The artists of The Breach were featured on the cover of the Bay Area’s most significant theater magazine, Theater Bay Area, as well as the cover of the San Francisco Arts Monthly.  A major glowing review ran in the San Francisco Chronicle. There was also a three-page preview in the Theater Bay Area magazine featuring The Medea Project show “Dancing With the Clown of Love”, and there was a feature on Rhodessa Jones in the San Francisco Chronicle, as well as many television and radio interviews including a feature on Black Renaissance TV. There was also a feature interview that aired on KCBS radio over a two-day period.  In addition, The Mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom, proclaimed February 13, 2010 as CULTURAL ODYSSEY DAY

Certificate of Honor

click to view Certificate of Honor

Equally significant, The Honorable Senator Mark Leno, of the 3rd Senatorial District issued a California Senate Resolution commending Cultural Odyssey on the occasion of its thirtieth anniversary! As well, The San Francisco Board of Supervisors issued a Certificate of Honor in recognition of “thirty years dedicated to the San Francisco’s cultural life by providing jazz music and theatrical performances accessible to all.”

Click to read press

The audiences for the performances were remarkably diverse!  Cultural Odyssey partnered with many social service organizations including participants at Walden House, WORLD (Women Organized to Respond to Life-threatening Disease), Renaissance Youth Movement, Ferguson Place, AILP – Baker Places, Inc., Good Shepherd Grace Center, and Glide Memorial Church. We were able to offer free tickets and subsidized tickets through support from the Zellerbach Family Foundation.


Click to view poster

click to view Artistic Being press

The California Arts Council’s DOJ Presenting award supported a California tour of “Artistic Being”, which featured Idris Ackamoor on alto saxophone, tap dance, mbiras, a variety of percussions, and invented instruments.  As well, Frederick Harris was the principle accompanist on drums and piano. There were also several engagements when other musical guests joined the duet.

Renting a cargo van, Ackamoor and Harris hit the road to perform at a variety of rural venues and arts councils including the Lassen County Arts Council in

Susanville, Sierra County Arts Council (performing in Sierraville at a school auditorium and in Downieville at the Yuba Theatre), El Dorado Arts Council in Placerville, Healdsburg Jazz Festival in Healdsburg, Mammoth Lakes Arts Council (performing at Rafters Club & Restaurant and the Mammoth Elementary School), Miners Foundry Cultural Center in Nevada City, and for the Antioch Music Foundation (performing at the Delta Performing Arts Academy in Antioch).  In addition, to kick off the tour Artistic Being performed in San Francisco at the DeYoung Museum and the African American Art & Culture Complex.

The CAC DOJ Presenting grant was a life-changing project! As a jazz artist it was incredibly moving and inspirational. Through the assistance of the CAC Cultural Odyssey received an email list of arts councils around California.  Cultural Odyssey then prepared an e-marketing piece seeking presenters who would like to book a free performance of Artistic Being that would also be free admission for the their constituencies.  The response Cultural Odyssey received from the e-marketing piece was amazing!  Within a 72-hour period the tour was booked for a solid three weeks!!