sonja dumas’ continuum dance project (proud "we" for me) performs strange tale of an island shade @ the coco dance festival tomorrow+friday 8pm. strange tale… is a work we showed still-in-progress @ cottontree foundation and trinidad theatre workshop (little stuff + big stuff) earlier this year, it’s now done and one of my favourites i been in, up there with noble douglas’ why bach, why not? (totally different reasons). i love the movement and the text we explore, love the music used, and think it addresses shit we should all be thinking about…

COCO dance festival 2009
Contemporary Choreographers’ Collective
Featuring the choreography of Rachel Lee, Elvis Radgman, Makeda Thomas, Dave Williams, Abeo Jackson, Nicole Wesley, Sonja Dumas, Anika Marcelle and Northwest Laventille
Thursday, October 15th at 8:00 pm
Friday, October 16th at 8:00 pm
Queen’s Hall, St. Ann’s
All tickets $100
Available from participating groups and Queen’s Hall

walk good.

full disclosure: this post is, once again, excerpted from one @ sweet trini’s urban folk tales.

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life imitating art?

July 22, 2009

it’s been suggested of late that i modeled my trinidad noir protagonist on myself even more than i intended (clear+conscious choice) and pointed out later that i seem to be living my fiction. the very fictitiousness of the work suddenly comes under suspicion. i don’t argue because i don’t necessarily care what brings revelation, once it comes, inspiration attendant. but nobody should die in the real story…

meanwhile, in unrelated news, i hear grims get nominated for a cacique award for the yet-unblogged-by-me 2009 3canal carnival show joy+fire lighting design. he also designing lights for the upcoming 3canal show freedom.com; i stage managing and directing some, featuring members of the gutta crew. and in related news, since isoke’s griot productions came into existence to facilitate our gutta reading, we running with it, starting with a full production of gutta beautiful as soon as we can- big tings a gwan!- and want to create our 2nd (multidisciplinary) show from scratch (me+isoke as co- artistic directors)- we have a company burning for worthwhile projects and timing already sends collaborators our way…

after freedom.com but before gutta, i’m in something with continuum dance project- check it:

Continuum has Something for the Little and Something for the Big

Continuum Dance Project will present its second venture for 2009 entitled “little stuff & big stuff” at the Trinidad Theatre Workshop in Belmont on Saturday, August 8 and Sunday, August 9. There will be two performances each day – the “Once Upon a Caribbean Time” stories for children will take place at 4pm, and Experimenta, a series of solos and group works by the company, begins at 7pm.

 Artistic Director, Sonja Dumas, who is the writer and creator of the CD entitled Once Upon a Caribbean Time from which the children’s stories will be adapted, is equally excited about the prospect of encouraging budding choreographers in Experimenta. “There is always room for new thinkers and movers in dance,” she said, “and their efforts should be encouraged.” Dumas will also present two of her own works – Vapse and The Strange Tale of an Island Shade. The latter is a work in progress. Continuum Dance Project, which had its first public performance in 2004, is a creative laboratory that uses movement as its main tool of performance exploration in a contemporary context.

Admission to the Once Upon A Caribbean Time show is $30 for children and $20 for adults. General admission to Experimenta is $40. Reservations can be made by calling the Trinidad Theatre Workshop at 624-8502. Patrons are asked to pay at the door.

so, plenty wuk to get back to, not all mentioned here, but all good. but as we talking entertainment industry, a brief comment on the shabba ranks + buju banton concert in the savannah the other day before i go: plenty baby powder, limacol, marijuana, cigarette, hemp smoke- not enough buju.

walk good.

full disclosure: this post is excerpted from one over @ "sweet trini’s urban folk tales".

found ourselves a whitegirl for our staged reading of gutta beautiful, so we orn like boil corn.

i’m thrilled with the cast and starting to get excited about saturday, cornerbar 4pm:

gutta beautiful tells the searing story of lola, a young black woman who finds herself at a crossroads in love and life after discovering her own role in her man’s choice to surrender to popular culture and the drug trade economy. lola’s journey, as well as michael’s and her girlfriends suga sweet and orchid transcend time, exploring the history of love and life for people of colour.

"the play represents both the imaginary and fantastic landscape of our collective psyche and the hard-core physical reality of our daily lives,” says playwright, nina a. mercer.

cast: isoke edwards-najeeullah, tracey lucas, tonya evans, mandisa granderson, muhammad muwakil, nickolai salcedo, sophie wight.

parental guidance strongly suggested; mature content.

about the author: born and raised in washington, d.c. and now residing in new york, nina angela mercer is a playwright, essayist, fiction writer and visual artist. her play, gutta beautiful has been produced at d.c.’s warehouse theatre (2005), and for d.c.’s first capital fringe festival at the woolly mammoth theatre (2006). she received her m.f.a. from american university and studied transnational feminist literature of the 20th century in the english doctoral program at the university of maryland. she has taught at american university, university of maryland, and howard university, and is also the founder and artistic director of ocean ana rising, inc., a non-profit arts incubator and outreach project. nina is the proud mother of two daughters.

walk good.

ps: i eh forget mj, just don’t think we really need any more commentary.

casting+art

June 16, 2009

and now, the last words you thought you’d hear me say: i need a white woman.
i’m directing a staged reading of the excellent play gutta beautiful this month and have 1 role still uncast- i need a white female to read 1 of the characters, so any whitegirls or people in the company of whitegirls interested in acting, please let me know asap*- it’s a good role, dark humour, reading supposed to be month-end.
plus, darren cheewah’s 1st solo art exhibit runs (june17th, happy birthday chee!) this week until july17th @ the republic of sydenham art gallery, sydenham avenue, st.anns: wednesdays-fridays 10am-4pm, saturdays+sundays 10am-noon (621.3970 for private viewing appointments mondays+tuesdays) all pieces on sale! and when he done that, i should be finally getting new ink!
there’s an erotic art exhibit happening around town, too, i may read something for its spoken word/poetry event- more details as i have them.
on the other side, mourning the loss of a friend- i didn’t blog about $hok’s ill health because in the same weird way i couldn’t seem to see him, i didn’t know what to say about it. denial, i suppose, which evaporated yesterday when i saw him still+small, except for his gargantuan hands, in his casket and realised i was in much worse shape than previously realised. now i wish i’d written about him when he was still with us. but i can still say he was always entertaining, wildly talented, and will be missed. biglove sheldon, wherever you are, enjoy the music.
walk good.

*full disclosure: something very similar to this post is up @ sweet trini’s urban folk tales, which is where you can contact me (comment/email) with interested whitegirls*.

“take the yampee from a dog’s eye, put it in yours, and look through the keyhole at midnight,” to see lagahoo. or come to queens hall the weekend of may15-17 when lilliput theatre takes the stage.
this year’s production investigates local folklore through one of our lesser-known, more elusive characters, using traditional and contemporary storytelling to ask questions that nobody seems to have answers for anymore. do you know what to do when you see a lagahoo?
lilliput theatre’s lagahoo started as all their shows do, with a junior carnival band designed by merylle mahabir. from the concept that sparked the costume design, ideas were hatched and nurtured and developed into a script by the drama class, asking and attempting to answer questions about lagahoo and his contemporaries in today’s world. artistic director, producer and choreographer noble douglas and director wendell manwarren have led lilliput on a journey of discovery – discovery that today’s youth don’t know trinbagonian folklore as in times past, and discovery of the secrets and stories that await the brave soul willing to listen, maljo beads clutched tightly, just in case.
lagahoo is a shape-shifter versed in the dark arts, but little else is known about the extent of lagahoo’s capabilities. what we do know is that lagahoo could be anybody, your boss, your teacher, your friend, your family…maybe we all have something of the lagahoo in us, waiting to be released.
but when nobody whispers about lagahoo in the dark of night anymore, when nobody tells the stories, can lagahoo continue to exist? does the shape-shifter assume a new form in keeping with the times, no longer known as lagahoo but manifest as some new danger? what happens to folklore characters when nobody believes in them? do they simply fade away or do they strike back?

walk good.

been meaning since i settled, to post about “the state of things” back here in sweet trini but that seems to not be how i operate- the more i want to post about something, the less it happens. plus, “the state of things” not really my style, anyway.
but i at least wanted to say out loud that i’m (still) happy to be home. so many people wondered why i made this move, expressed doubts at my continued desire to be here, as though i didn’t come home while i was away and see for myself, as though i didn’t pay attention to the state of things while i was gone, as though i didn’t have the determination to do the things i always (repeat, always) said i intended to do, as though i never said i never wanted to leave in the 1st place, as though where i was wasn’t worse politically and otherwise, as though is enough to say “it have nuttin for we here” without making the effort to stick around and create something for we here- like they doh know me at all.
talk all you want about the crime+traffic + traffic+crime- i spent 10years in washington dc, sometime murder-capital-usa, 5 of them in the trinidad neighbourhood(dc); trinidad w.i. have nothing on traffic+crime i ent see already, from the bullet that buss through our window casing, cutting its less-than-parabolic trajectory through our bedroom, and lodged itself in our guestroom closet within the 1st 9months of owning (or rather, owing the bank for) our dc house, to war crimes committed by a gov’t that trusts it can make anything true by saying it often enough because it wukkin for them thus far. kidnapping may be (currently) bigger in sweet trini than trinidad dc but we lived in crime central, sharing our neighbourhood with the biggest dealer with the best stash in the city, bullet-studded turf wars, and swat teams, where police capture criminals (the few occasions they do) using their cars to bounce them down in the road. we learned the difference between firecrackers and gunfire by listening to it zinging by our doors+windows while ducking in the living room, knowing fully that bullets do sometimes strike the same place twice while luck might not. we even had the prerequisite pipers doing shit like breaking into a car to steal a box of dead on our street.
so i not saying everything sweet in trini but it still worth my time+effort to help make something more of this island with such potential, and if i fighting up somewhere, better fight up here where i still actually have hope for people, love for this place, plus navel string drawing tighter, pulling me to work to improve our lot instead of running to deceptively greener pastures that only offer more of the same, and worse, without our best weather and food and beach and music and mas and the sweetness that still here under the shit to soften the blows.
we sold our trinidad dc house in april and came home; a friend still living blocks from our (s)old place wrote me in mid-july that while: “…coming down mt. olivet [ave] one night last week from home depot…one of those rarer occasions when the traffic turning right onto west virginia [ave] was longer and backed-up so i took the left lane across west virginia to turn onto montello [our old street] and came across 2cop cars, at least 4officers. there was a car ahead of me, they were getting carded. officer asked me to see my id…i showed it to him and he said i didn’t live in the neighborhood and should go around. i said, what’s the problem? he said, with so many deaths in the area they were carding everyone going into the neighborhood and suggested i went around. i told him i know the neighborhood very well and would take my chances and he permitted me through. there were more cops sitting on penn [ave] who didn’t stop me and another cop @ the other end of montello near florida [ave]. it was the clearest i’ve ever seen montello of people. quiet and clear, and creepy. that park (the community center) down montello from 1425 [was our house] has a tree on the corner with all kinda memorial stuff from where one person was murdered. that was the only night i had to deal with the roadblocks, but saw the cop lights from down 12th [street] at least 1other night. otherwise i live just far away enough that the roadblocks didn’t affect me. so many killings (8 or 9) in the trinidad neighborhood in the last few weeks that the city set up a roadblock to monitor the neighborhood for 6days…”
and this was before the supreme court reversed the dc gun ban…he blogged about his experience, including heavy police prescence circling his non-trinidad block, and a washington post article explaining the police justification and justifiably angry civilian response; less than 24hours later a shooter opened fire in our old neighbourhood, wounding 7 and killing 1 (visiting minor), delivering an excuse to maintain the unconstitutional roadblocks in trinidad, dc.
i feel baddish for the couple that bought our house, but they can fight their fight on behalf of their people; i’ll be here fightin’ up with mine in sweet trini.
walk good.

disclosure: this post is also over @ sweet trini’s urban folk tales.

reading frenzy

December 12, 2008

trinidad noir reading went very well, even with my coming down with a cold the morning of, watching with horror what i thought was just morning sniffles develop into loss of hearing in 1 ear and the ability to breathe with my mouth closed. i even had a massive sneezing fit @ the venue while the 1st author read, so i was terrified until i was done that i’d just fill the microphone with sniffles, sneezes, snorting and other phlegmy phrases, but as soon as i apologised in advance for my sniffles and launched my story (after being pleasingly intro’d as “edgy”), i was somehow fine. people said i read well (plenty compliments for john on my vocal delivery) and have one of the strong stories in the collection, i was asked to sign books, and even had the pleasure of my mother telling me i was good (extremely rare), plus i pulled off a voice-over today, delivering 3 completely different takes in no time without sounding like i still can’t hear myself or breathe properly. so i feel like crap but work wukkin’…
walk good.

disclosure: this post is also @ sweet trini’s urban folk tales.