We're halfway through Black History Month, and there are a number of events and initiatives in the local arts/entertainment sphere to celebrate and promote African-American culture and history. Here's a sampling:

• The Bronze Collective Theatre Fest — dubbed "A Week's Infusion of African Amerian Theatrical Arts" — returns for its fifth year next week with nightly performances Feb. 18-23, followed by a special afternoon program Sunday, Feb. 24 at the Multi-use Community Cultural Center (MuCCC), 142 Atlantic Ave., Rochester.

Produced by the Bronze Collective, which promotes black theater in the Rochester area, the festival will explore the roots and evolution of this artistic movement nationally and locally. The Feb. 24 inaugural forum at 2 p.m., titled "There's a Beale Street in Every City in America," will also touch on author and social critic James Baldwin’s contributions as a playwright to this genre. It will feature Dr. James H. Evans, Jr. and Dr. John S. Walker, pastors respectively of St. Luke Tabernacle Community Church in Rochester and Christian Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Henrietta. Both scholars are experts on the literature of Baldwin, whose novel “If Beale Street Could Talk” was recently adapted for the screen.

“We wanted a way to acknowledge how far we’ve come since our beginning, and this program — with an eye to the festival’s next five years --  fit the bill perfectly,’’ Reuben J. Tapp, a performing artist and educator, stated in a release. Tapp, local actor and director David Shakes, and playwright/director Curtis Rivers are the festival's executive producers.

Each night of the festival begins at 7:30 p.m. at MuCCC. They're as follows:

Monday, Feb. 18: “You Shouldn’t Have Told,” written by Anne L. Thompson-Scretching and directed by Gary D. Marshall.  A domestic drama about sexual molestation within a family.

Tuesday, Feb. 19: “Anansi Tales For The Holidays,” by (theatre} + {nafsi} For Youth Ensemble, brings popular folktales to the stage for the enjoyment of the whole family.

Wednesday, Feb. 20: “The Secret,” by Delbra Brown. Family bonds are on the edge of fraying when hidden personal matters surface following a grandmother's death.

Thursday, Feb. 21: “If Their World Was Ours,” by Rudolph Valentino. An engaged couple is faced with how to cope with an unexpected pregnancy caused by an angel from heaven.

Friday, Feb. 22: “2 + 2 = 7, or The Lesson,” by Grace Flores. A blues legend’s final gig may turn out to be a struggle for his very life.

 Saturday, Feb. 23: “No Bad News,” by Karen D. Culley. Regulating one’s own body can be a daunting task. This play chronicles the health issues women face in today’s society.

General admission is $15 in advance, $20 at the door. At the Feb. 19th performance of  "Anansi Tales For the Holidays, with a paid adult admission ($15 in advance; $20 at the door), one accompanying child is admitted for free. Each additional child is $5 for this family-friendly program featuring puppets and masks.

An all-access pass, granting admission to each of the festival performances, is on sale for a limited time for $50, available through Saturday, Feb. 16 at Mood Makers Books in Village Gate, 270 N. Goodman St., or by calling 585-271-7010.

• The Little Theatre, at 240 East Ave., Rochester, is hosting two black cinema series screenings this month for Black History Month: "Don't Be Nice" on Friday, Feb. 15; and "'63 Boycott" on Wednesday, Feb. 27.

"Don't Be Nice," screening at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 15 with a panel discussion to follow, is about an upstart slam poetry team comprised of five African-American, Afro-Hispanic and queer poets in their 20s, as they prepare for the national championships. (Tickets: $9.)

"'63 Boycott," at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 27 followed by a panel discussion, is a documentary about the Oct. 22, 1963 boycott by more than 250,000 students of the Chicago Public Schools to protest racial discrimination. It blends unseen 16mm footage with the participants' reflections today. (Free admission.)

The films are part of the Black Cinema Series, a monthly collaboration with the Rochester Association of Black Journalists.

• The South African vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo — who many American listeners heard for the first time on Paul Simon's "Graceland" album in the mid-1980s — has been active for more than half a century, has won five Grammy Awards, and has been dubbed by none less than Nelson Mandela as "South Africa's cultural ambassadors to the world." Ladysmith Black Mambazo will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, in Smith Opera House, 82 Seneca St., Geneva. Reserved-seating tickets range from $28 to $38, plus service fees. Details: http://thesmith.org.

And the winner is ...

Rochester's Jack Garner — who was for many years national film critic for Gannett News Service — will lend his expertise to handicapping this year's Oscar field. Garner will offer his take on the 2019 Academy Awards and predict the winners in the major categories at 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15, in Dryden Theatre at George Eastman Museum, 900 East Ave., Rochester. Tickets for the talk are $10 general-admission ($7 museum members, $5 students with ID) and are available at the door.

'Vintage' Valentine show

Vintage Harmonies, a New York City-based singing trio, will present the music of Cyndi Lauper, ABBA, The Supremes, Lady Gaga and many more Feb. 14-17 at Downstairs Cabaret Theatre, 3450 Winton Place, Brighton. Shows are at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 15-16; and 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17. Admission ranges from $30 to $33.