Our performances this weekend were phenomenal. I had such a great time. Everyone pulled through and really gave their best and were just absolutely amazing. I got to work with some fierce, fierce artists including D'Lo, Dulani, Florinda Bryant, Jaclyn Pryor, Shia Shabbazz, Amanda Johnston, Krissy Mahan, Virginia Grise (of the Panza Monologues), Erika Gonzalez, Rosalee Martin, Bianca Flores, Kristen Gerhard, Alyssa Harad, Courtney Morris, and Lisa Moore.
Beautiful, beautiful people.
We did our second performance at the Off Center, right here in Austin. It's a great space, and though it was an adjustment from our UT-Austin rehearsal spot, it was fun to work in. We were on the set for Decameron Day 7: REVENGE, and that was fun to work with as well. Virginia set up two altars (in each space) and we went through everybody's pieces. The way that Laurie choreographed it was, as Florinda called it, like spinning on the turn table - overlapping pieces to see how they fit together. We also had a series of movements to work with as we moved through the performance. We sat in a semicircle, and as people performed in the center, people sitting along the edges worked on movements. It was incredible.
We're off to San Francisco this weekend for Passover. Then on May 6th and 7th, Wura and I will be performing Serving Desire at the Center for African & African Diaspora Studies. More later.
peace and love
Monday, April 10, 2006
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
March winds have given way to April humidity and spring. Spring - I am remembering what Spring feels like. NYC hasn't had spring in the past couple of years, and so this is my first continental spring in a long time - since 1999!
Laurie Carlos has been in town these past two weeks. We've been working with her on movement and our upcoming The Austin Project performance, scheduled for this Saturday at UT and at the Off Center. It's been daily and intense work. For example, taking what we've written and breaking it down into a series of present moments that are elicited by different people simultaneously - how to explain it? It's within the jazz aesthetic, and so in order to understand what's going on, it's first important to let go of linear thinking, melodies & harmonies as "pretty" things, and it's also important to think of the body, including the voice as an instrument. And so we're using the instrument of our bodies - our hands, eyes, feet, bellies, butts, everything - to move through space and time. Each movement has to be a total integration of our experiences not just of each others' work, but of our own experience within each others' work and within the world. Simultaneously, we're using our voices in syncopation harmonic dissonance - so there's a harmony, but the harmony is based in non-linear time, and the listening takes place within each person.
It's exciting, it's unlike anything I've ever done and it's blowing me out of the water. I've been contemplating what it means to be brilliant and vulnerable in our work (collectively, individually), and to hold the responsibility of all of that. Laurie always says, women will heal the world and make it whole. And, I think a big part of that is finding wholeness/integrity within ourselves. At least, that is part of the lesson of what I'm learning.
The work for the Austin Project has been so intense, that I've only been able to work on a few other things. Friends have been in town, and that's been lovely. I got to discover Barton Springs with H.A. and that was gorgeous. Next to the Springs there is a hiking path and a riverbed, which is dry at the moment. We all walked through the cedar grove, and down the riverbed looking at rocks and plants - spring wild flowers popping up through the grass. Wu and I discovered that the fossils in the riverbed are over 100 million years old. Yeah - I barely understand what a hundred years looks like.
We ushered for a local ProArts production of Kissing the Goodbye, staged at the State Theatre here in Austin. It's interesting - the show made me think about the need for critique of people of color's creative work. In other words - it's so important to think about the context of a work, the purpose, the delivery and the integrity of a work in order to understand its implications. Between that show, and the show of Black Women Artists at the Dougherty Arts Center here in Austin, I think it's very possible to begin a dialogue that looks at the energy, dynamics and presence of works by artists of color in central Texas. And again, the implications of this work at this moment in history.
On a final note for today, I am excited to be getting the cover for Erzulie's Skirt soon. Once I have it, I can post it on my website. Yay!
Posted by Ana-Maurine Lara at 11:08 AM