Thursday, December 29, 2011

Where I am

"If we stand tall it is because we stand on the backs of those who came before us" Yoruba proverb

As Christie and I work to bring the piece together, I am also facing the coming together of becoming a mother. Eight months pregnant... a challenging space to be in ... I'm creating on 2 different levels and wanting to give my all to both. Some have pointed out that the work really has already been done. So now our goal is to find the connection and make the choice of what story we will pass on. And hopefully our work will make room for those who follow like the work of those who came before us.

Monday, December 12, 2011

TMTC: Images From Ladder Series Open Rehearsal

On Dec. 11 TMTC Ladder Series Artists had a open rehearsal for The Producing Artistic Leadership Team and fellow Ladder Series Artists. It was really exciting to see the work and amazing to see how these artists are tackling their own ideas. Here are some images from the open rehearsal:

Sunday, December 4, 2011

C & R: Thank you

We had the opportunity to explore and set choreography with dancers and a live drummer. Thank you to Pia Monique Murray, Nao Yamada, and Wahkiba Julion for sharing in the process with Christie and I yesterday!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

CJD- "Glass and feathers.."Contains Disturbing images..please be advised.

Let me start by saying...this blog contains some disturbing images and matter regarding the attacks of 9/11. Please be advised....

In exploring one of the more physical parts of the piece, "The Window Woman", I keep coming back to this haunting; the falling body. As the footage and news stories after 9/11 show, this was a reality of the day.

In dance, there can be few things more beautiful than a body in motion, and I thought that the medium of dance might be an interesting way of exploring this topic. But the bat cave...i mean, image bank/library. I came across the above.

It is Strange; when first saw some of these images, i thought they were macabre. I flinched. My friends inhaled through their teeth and turned their bodies in recoil. Mostly in memory. However, after spending some time with them, they look less like bodies about to meet an end, and more like bodies on the verge of something larger, with infinite potential. Like Icarus...rising.....frozen in time, in a free moment, they're kind of beautiful, no?

Given the choice to fall freely or go up in ash, what do you choose?

CJD: When Hip Hop and Sound Experimentation Collide...

Ahhh the magical Reggie Watts....I love this man, hard body. There is no bar he wont push, no corner of his voice he couldn't find in the name of truth and humor. Some people might call his work experimental, and I wouldn't disagree. It can be edgy and, at times, odd. However, it is so uniquely Hip Hop in it's innovation, aesthetics, purpose, and understanding of sound and it's functions. He inspires me, and a LOT of the transitions in "Tapes". I find that there is something hella fun about playing with this:

But, his partner in the storytelling is the fun part.

Ah, what a wonder you are, Kaoss pad ( the sickeningly fun piece of equipment used by Watts in his shows). I am fascinated by how Watts' solid understanding of this seemingly indecipherable board of buttons and sliders frees him into the structure of song to justlay down the backbone and play in the muscle and tissue of a song. It's amazing to be able to split your voice into parts and play on yourself; What does it even mean to sample yourself on a song you are rhyming over? Its like DJ meets shapeshifter. It's like an MC becomes a multiheaded beast. .....did I mention I love the supernatural?

I recently got to play on one of these fun pads; It was a complex experience. While the plethora of functions is, at minimum, overwhelming, it's fun and allows for ALOT of exploration of sound. In a play about how we hear, remember, and expel memory, it feels like a perfect match.

Needless to say, I'll be snagging one this week. Lets go!


Oh, and some other things about sound and dopeness:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

C & R: Inspiration for a Work in Progress

“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you
into action, and there is only one of you in all time, this expression is
unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and
be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how
good it is, not how it compares with other expression. It is your business to
keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even
have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware
directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is
pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is a queer, divine
dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others."- Martha Graham.
The picture shows a collage I made after reflecting on creation. We are all creators, but specifically it addresses ideas about the role of women in creation. There are no limits - we are always moving, shaping, transitioning...but maybe we limit ourselves based on what society has told us about ourselves. What happens when we express ourselves freely?

Friday, November 11, 2011

C&R: Installations, Mirrors & Things

During the Whitney Museum Biennial back in 2004, I was struck by the work of Yayoi Kusama. She creates installations and incorporates themes of repetition and mirrors. I walked into her reflective interior room - Fireflies on the Water (2002) (pictured bottom left) which consists of a small room lined with mirrors on all sides, a pool in the center of the space, and 150 small lights hanging from the ceiling, creating a dazzling effect of direct and reflected light, emanating from both the mirrors and the water’s surface. Really breathtaking and I'd love for our piece to have a moment when folks are transported to a space that allows them to go WOW!

Fireflies embodies an almost hallucinatory approach to reality toward a more ethereal, almost spiritual experience.Over the past three decades, Kusama has often revisited mirrored forms in her work, exploring notions of infinity, illusion, and repetition in discrete sculptures and room-size installations. I've included her Narcissus Garden - top center image. Google her work and watch a video or two...perhaps CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE for this upcoming piece...tune in next time

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

BKG: Inspiration #5

Artist: Adele
Song: One and Only

The bridge is what really inspires me.  It sounds like a new song.  And this idea of singing in a round--only you really need are those voices to change the mood, change the quality, change the tone.


Saturday, November 5, 2011

BKG: Inspiration #4

Artist: Jill Scott
Song: Quick

Promise it's the last Jill Scott (for now)

"Quick" again, provides a musical and poetic quality.  Lyrically, vocally, and musically Jill provides a raw song, that's still polished.

BKG: Inspiration #3

Artist: Jill Scott
Song: Here My Call

Yet again, Ms. Jill Scott provides inspiration, and you will continue to do so for a few more posts.

"Here My Call" sounds so "musical" for an R&B Soul album, and yet it still maintains it's genre, with a touch of gospel (and not because she says "God")--it's in the piano.  In many ways it feels  like a Jewel, Tori Amos standard.  Just a hair--just a touch--no?

BKG: Inspiration #2

: Artist: Jill Scott
Song: Le Boom Vent Suite

My girl Ms. Jill Scott has an album out called Light of the Sun.  I'm obsessed with this album because she really cracks open soul, and gets a little experimental, keep her poetic lyricism in tact.

The song Le Boom Vent Suite is a 9 minute song that seamlessly transitions from up tempo, to poem, to ballad.  It kind of feels like an opera!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

C&R: Four Years In the Making...

We just got off the phone with Jonathan McCrory, our TMTC mentor for this project. He has an extremely demanding schedule and in fact, folks, he's meeting our Vice President of the United States. TONIGHT! I thought I was fancy rubbing elbows with my magazine's cover stars. Simply wow. I highly recommend you learn about the show in DC premiering this week - I'm still learning how to blog, so follow this link:

I'm sitting here at my money maker - the day job - and it's a really cool gig. I plan parties, sip on cocktails and make clients happy. If you asked me four years ago if I would have known I'd be in this position, would I have said yes?

This is such a transformative process. At the opening of the conference call, Jonathan is running ten minutes late and I hear the vehicles whirring by...clearly he's in transit. Even so, I can feel his radiating pearly whites over the headset like infectious excitement and passion distinctive of his character.

He speaks, I jot notes on my desktop.

...It's true...what an exciting time to tackle womanhood. Bloggites - did you realize that my co-collaborater will be having a son? Go nudge her and wish her congrats; don't be shy. I'll wait while ya do...

Jonathan exclaimed: What an exiting time to be doing this project and tackling womanhood and babies! I look forward to you exploding on stage and finding your voices throughout this project. The big challenge will be that you are learning each other's've never worked together before. Together, you will find a mutual understanding and rhythm...

I want you to see who I am

The real me
The one beneath the surface
Take a look.
Take a peek.
Creep in.

I want you to see me with my hat off.

Do you see me smiling?
SmiLe FoR ThE CaMeRa

Sing it Louise:
let me entertain you.
let me make you smile.

Who do you think you are?

Are you thinking of me?
You better think…

Whatever you think of me, you’re wrong.

You think what?
That’s what you think about me.

Well, whatchu think?

Pero muchacha déjà de pensar
Y hazlo

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

BKG: Inspiration #1

Artist: Tuneyards
Song: Real Live Flesh

I was introduced to this artist by a friend of mine--the raw emotion, the use of vocals, the naked sound, is everything "love" in a relationship is.  It's pretty sometimes, it makes harmonies--and sometimes it just doesn't.  it's also hard, and takes work to piece together.  It's authentic, and speaks from a place that has no name.  sometimes it exists just in a sound. "ka ka ka ku kee kee ku ka ka ka" Enjoy.

I'm not your fantasy girl
I'm not your fantasy love
I'm not your fantasy flesh
That fits you like a tight glove

I know I've been away so long
You love me only in your dreams
But wake up
And see the whole line of what I'm giving

I know I've been away so long
You've loved me only in your dreams
Lucky for you, I do much better in real life

I know I've been away so long
You love me only in your dreams
Lucky for you, I do much better in real live flesh.

We are not what you wanted,
We are not what you asked for
Look at us
There's a pretty smile on a lion's roar

I know I've been away so long
and maybe you ca-ca-ca-can't remember
Look at me baby, look at me baby
No no dream will end if I scream

I know I've been away so long
You love me only in your dreams
Lucky for you, I do much better in real life

I know I've been away so long
You love me only in your dreams
Lucky for you, I do much better in real live flesh.


BKG: Love is a BROAD topic!


In a self-scripting class I said I wanted to talk about Love and my teacher--said, "that's too broad."

Bingo! I know it's too broad, that why I want to talk about it.
It's the one thing that everyone/thing needs, but not everyone knows how to give it or even receive it.  
Love often gets confused with lust, sex, jealousy, obsession, and a variety of scary words---but love is just love--(until it's not). Love is also NOT "Like".

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
(1 Corinthians 13: 4-7)

Such an overused verse-- available at every wedding ceremony--but it's truly the perfect definition of this "broad" word that dictates our every move.

We do things for "love", we don't do things for "love", we do things we don't "love".

Love is blissful.
Love is painful.

"Love" is what we go to see in the Movies and in Plays--even the most disturbing movies like "Saw 1"---at the end he cuts off his limb to be with his wife.  

"Happy" will be a piece that will attempt to dig into the deepest parts of love and bring it's complexities to light. Notice I didn't say understand it.  But if we can at least identify it, then maybe, just maybe understanding will be in the foreseeable future.

It's a love story---but #therealone.  #therawone.  we're gonna leave the sugar at home, cuz there's nothing to coat.  We're gonna be honest, and be liberated in the embarrassment, the awkwardness, the joy, and the tragedy that is the love between to individuals.  the will be words, there will be music, there will be name calling, and if we're lucky maybe someone will make up.  If we're lucky--maybe they won't


Monday, October 31, 2011

CJD: Corner Talk...

I admire Danny Hoch....and I think this piece has a lot to do with what "Tapes" wants to do.

The big question: How profound can we be as a whole society when the formerly silenced are given a mic?

Plus, this poem is dope. As is Hoch.

CJD: 8 days of listening.

So, there's a tradition in Yoruba culture that a child is not acknowledged with a name until the 8th day of life. That means, the newborn will go 7 whole days on the cusp between something a lump of needs and a person. This is the result of the realities of infant mortality, but also the high value of Legacy. It is only on the 8th day that the child will step into their name, one mulled over and chosen with weight and awareness. When that name is said aloud, the crying collection of organs becomes a lovely Imani, a charming Djasi, a strong willed John, a graceful Victoria.

Our names are the first definitions of us. We did not choose our names ( for the most part), but we are shaped and defined by them regardless.

As I have tore through the beautiful tragedy of 9/11 and memory for this play, formerly known as "Skyscrapers Over Broadway", I realized that I never gave "her" (my ambitious and complicated child/play) a proper chance to EARN her name. She came out the womb named and stamped. However, perhaps there is some merit to listening for 7 days, hearing how she feels in the ear, and let her name simply come. And so, when September 11th, 2011 rolled around, that just what I did. Listen.

Here's what I heard:
Blocked words
Ash grey
Hard Humor
Too Soon Jokes
The Right Questions

in the days following, i found myself watching and listening to friends, strangers, the voice of Ground Zero, I kept hearing the word "Tapes", as in recording devices, wax, literal voices on wax, tapes on the planes, tapes of the day. There is so much held in what we hear, so much exciting and new sound; We hold so much based on what we take in audibly, and sometimes, the right sound at the right moment can recall memories you never even remembered you had.

She named herself. "Tapes". I like it.


It's HALLOWEEN! Today we have permission to play and dress up like our alter ego. I'm Miss Gotham =) Below is an excerpt from a freewrite about being back in the rehearsal room.
... RAWR!
I am a firecracker!
look @ me!!
hold up a mirror & be the reflection
Today, I felt vulnerable - Oh my god
It's happening we're diving in
Just sloooooooooow down
Who is this person I'm working with?
I don't know her?
Here we go - diving in - no more dipping
my toe...Swooosh the water over my head
Swoooosh I'm swimming
I'm in my mommy's belly
There is a third person in the room
How do we celebrate our woman (cross out)
our community? how do we celebrate?

C&R: Working things out

The idea of the mirror... of reflection... of the lens through which we see ourselves continues to come up. Today we had a great conversation with Josh Young (Guggenheim Theater Technician) about how we might portray that idea in the piece. His openness and willingness to share his knowledge and experience was reassuring. I'm looking forward to what will come. I left the conversation appreciating the value of collaboration. Thanks to Christie for thinking of/reaching out to Josh and thanks to Josh for making himself available even at this early stage when we're still working out the shape of things!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

C&R: Do What You LOVE

This project is so important to Rajeeyah and me because we are embracing the NOW. We have given one another permission to create a piece of work and be at the forefront of our creative process.

Friday, October 21, 2011

C&R: Work in progress - The Beginning

The question arises: what have we failed to celebrate? As women, what are we overlooking each day? Aside from birthdays, promotions, graduations, anniversaries….what will we celebrate? How will we celebrate?
We talked about being a mirror for one another – that at this point in our lives we have been given an opportunity to see ourselves through one another. The things that we have asked for have been given...Moving reawakened the side of me that is not afraid, while speaking challenged the side of me that is. So this first day was about us…where we are, why we’re here and what we share.I thought it might have been about our mothers or women in general. But it was simply and beautifully just about us…in a dance studio in New York City.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

TMTC: Introducing 2011 Ladder Series Artists!!

Meet the 2011 artists for The Movement Theatre Company's [TMTC] Ladder Series. TMTC is excited to be supporting these artists as they spend the next 8 months developing their idea into a presentation in April. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

TMTC: What is the Ladder Series....

The Movement Theater Company’s Ladder Series is a development workshop dedicated to the creation of bold new theatrical works through dialogue and collaboration.

Ladder Series projects can begin anywhere—with an image, a song or a movement phrase. We are interested in what moves you, what makes you question, what inspires a closer look. Scripts are not necessary. Proposals can be submitted by artists from any discipline.  

Artists whose proposals are selected for the series are provided with an artistic team, rehearsal space and the full support of the TMTC Executive Board and membership. The workshop process culminates in a public showing.

Proposed projects should reflect The Movement Theater Company’s mission.