A multimedia performance of Langston Hughes' "Ask Your Mama: Twelve Moods for Jazz" comes to the UCLA Faculty Center on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 5-8 p.m. 

Hughes (1902-1967), an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and journalist, wrote "Ask Your Mama" as an homage, in verse and music, to the struggle for artistic and social freedom at home and abroad at the beginning of the 1960s. The poem features a conglomeration of musical cues drawn from blues, Dixieland, gospel songs, progressive jazz, Latin "cha cha," Afro-Cuban mambo music, German lieder, Jewish liturgy, West Indian calypso and African drumming. The poem and music performed simultaneously evoke memories of the Harlem Renaissance, the post-World War II beat writers’ coffeehouse jazz poetry world and the Black Arts explosion of the 1960s.

A reading of the poem will be accompanied with live music performed by the Ron McCurdy Quartet and a slide presentation of Harlem Renaissance-era photos. The evening will conclude with a discussion with McCurdy.

Hosting the event are professor emerita Claudia Mitchell-Kernan; UCLA Institute of American Cultures; Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA; African American studies professor Robin D.G. Kelley; UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture; musician John Densmore; UCLA Department of English; and UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.

This event is free and open to the public, but an RSVP is required.