I think it’s always good to go beyond the cultural spaces you continually find yourself in. Cross over to another part of town. Explore a new artist’s work. That’s how I expand on my experience of the world, how my life becomes more full, more rich.
So much going on here in Providence this weekend culturally, and white folks, if you keep thinking you need to get out beyond the white bubble you’re living in, here are some opportunities to enter new spaces, explore new artists’ work, and ponder current matters of art, race and racism.
Invisible Upsouth, Thursday, March 3 – Sunday, March 6, 2016, with Christopher Johnson and Vatic Kuumba, Wilbury Theatre, 393 Broad Street, Providence (Tickets: $10 – $15)
I was excited when local, yet nationally-acclaimed poet and arts educator, Christopher Johnson, told me he was selected to write, direct and act in his first play. You wont’ want to miss (I’m going this weekend) Christopher’s play, Invisible UpSouth a New Works Program play commissioned by The Wilbury Theatre Group.
Christopher wrote and produced the play along with poet, Vatic Kuumba. The play, inspired by the important classic, Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, is described as..“part reflection, part conversation, and part examination on living in [what we’re told is] a post-racial society. But what does “post-racial” mean to the people who suffer under conditions of “everyday” racism? What does modern-day poverty look like in our community? Who holds the power in the power structure? What is considered a riot? How is an act, a verb, a word, changed depending the culture associated with it – with the race engaging in it?
Invisible UpSouth aims to challenge the way traditional theater-going audiences think about race and humanity and how they move through the world. One can be well-educated and still blind to the world around them. How do we help people to start to open their eyes?
The play runs through March 6, 2016, with performances tonight, Thursday, at 7:30 pm, as well as Friday, 3/4, and Saturday, 3/5 at 7:30 pm, and matinee, Sunday, 3/6 at 2:00 pm. Tickets available through the website at: www.thewilburygroup.org
Transforming & Transformative, poet/memoirist, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Friday, March 4, 2016, 5 – 7 pm, The Providence Athenaeum Salon Series, 251 Benefit Street, Providence (Free)
I consider myself lucky to have heard about Reginald Dwayne Betts some years back, to have met his wonderful wife, Therese, when she interned with us at the hospital I work at, and most of all, to sit in a writers’ workshop on memoir Betts led at The Grub Street Muse and the Marketplace conference in Boston a few years ago. The Providence Athenaeum (I finally learned how to spell athenaeum by heart), built in 1836 is a beautiful jewel of a library, and so a lovely space in which to catch one of their salons. I will be in the audience tomorrow night for this, and if you’re local, I think you won’t want to miss it either:
Poet/Memoirist Reginald Dwayne Betts
5pm reception, 5:30pm program, followed by book sale & signing
Betts is the author of two collections of poetry, Shahid Reads His Own Palm (2010) and Bastards of the Reagan Era (2015), as well as an award-winning memoir, A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison (2009), which detailed how a poetry anthology given to him in prison, The Black Poets, changed his life by empowering him to begin to write poetry himself. The poems in his newest collection describe the experiences of the men he got to know during his eight years of incarceration, and trace his arduous path from a living in prison to graduating from Prince George’s Community College, the University of Maryland, and the MFA Program at Warren Wilson College, and finally to Yale Law School, where he is now a student.
Finally, I’m looking forward to getting over to this event produced by the Africana Studies Department/ Rites and Reason Theater at Brown University, which is open today through Sunday, March 6, 2016. Friend, Diagneris Garcia, the department’s Administrative Coordinator, hipped me to this–thanks, Nery!:
MOJOSCAPE: A Meditation on #BlackLivesMatter
An installation of poets’, musicians’ and other artists’ collaborative expressions on what the #BLM Movement means – or doesn’t mean – to them. FREE and OPEN to EVERYONE.
DATES: Wednesday, March 2nd 2016 thru Sunday, March 6th 2016
HOURS: 12pm – 4pm
AND by Appointment – Email email@example.com
Churchill House, George Houston Bass Performing Arts Space, 155 Angell Street – Providence
The site promoting MOJOscapes says to..Come alone, bring a friend, enjoy your lunch – view and reflect, engage in conversations, and perhaps create spontaneous art.
Invisible Upsouth poster image: www.broadwayworld.com
Reginald Dwayne Betts by www.amazonaus.com/media.wbur.org
MOJOscapes: A Meditation On #BlackLivesMatters by www.brown.edu