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Mary Monroe's Weekend Picks

Picture People
Mary Monroe

Sights and Sounds is your weekly guide to the Bay Area arts scene through the eyes and ears of local artists. During shelter in place, instead of recommending in-person events, we're offering ways to experience art and culture from home. This week, host Jenee Darden speaks with author and Oakland resident Mary Monroe.

  • The Joy Luck Club

Renowned Bay Area author Amy Tan first made a splash with this powerful novel about four Chinese mothers and their daughters set in San Francisco. The classic book, which was made into a film of the same name, offers an intimate portrait of mother-daughter relationships, immigrants' experiences and the San Francisco of years past.

  • Lady Sings the Blues

This iconic film about the life of legendary jazz singer Billie Holliday stars Diana Ross, Billy Dee Williams and Richard Pryor. Diana Ross' portrayal of Billie Holiday earned her an Oscar nomination and an NAACP Image Award. Even if you've seen it before, this is one of those films to enjoy again and again. And the soundtrack is also spectacular. Lady Sings the Blues is available on Turner Classic Movies June 25th or watch it on DVD.  

  • The Jeffersons

This classic TV series is about a black family that moves on up from a working class Queens neighborhood to the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The show is both funny and poignant, with deep insights into issues of race and class and memorable, thoughtfully portrayed characters. It's available on STARZ and the DECADES channel if you don't have cable.
Mary Monroe is a New York Times bestselling author. Her latest book is Across the Way.

Jeneé Darden is an award-winning journalist, author, public speaker and proud Oakland native. She hosts the weekly arts segment Sights & Sounds and covers East Oakland for KALW. Jenee has reported for NPR, Marketplace, KQED, KPCC, The Los Angeles Times, Ebony magazine, Refinery29 and other outlets. In 2005, she reported on the London transit bombings for Time magazine. Prior to coming to KALW, she hosted the podcast Mental Health and Wellness Radio.