Friday, March 22, 2013

Slam Season and other things that rhyme

From the mailing list:

EmojiHappy Spring!Emoji

Hi everyone,

Hope this finds you in warmer thoughts than it actually is outside. As we're moving into slam season with April being National Poetry Month, I have a few 'save the dates' for you and your calendar:

Tonight!- Friday March 22nd 2013
The Brooklyn College Slam Team will be competing in the Friday Night Slam at the world renowned Nuyorican Poet's cafe located at 236 East 3rd Street between Avenue B and Avenue C. It costs $10 for entry which includes a long wait outside. but if you're not a fan of freezing weather, a $20 VIP online booking gets you in before the crowd and out the cold. Come early/on time, things get crowded. Show starts at 10pm.

Tomorrow!- Saturday March 23rd 2013
The Art of Conversation NYC: The Tri State Women's Month Edition.
I will be featuring at this event, representing all of New York State and it only costs $5. From the event page: 

Saturday March 23rd 

Every 4th Saturday Of The Month
@The Five Spot 459 Myrtle Ave
Brooklyn, New York
Doors open 6pm
Showtime 7pm Sharp! open mic 7pm-8pm
Tri-State FEATURE 8pm-9pm

Nationals- CUPSI: The College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational- April 3rd-6th
The Brooklyn College Slam Team has been vigorously training for this national competition, and we need as much support as we can get from our well-wishers and the wider Brooklyn community. We do not have an exact schedule yet, but what we can promise is that all our bouts will take place between 6-10pm on the above dates at Barnard College at 3009 BROADWAY, NEW YORK, NY 10027. Events should be free and open to all the public You can reach out to me via email or phone to get the exact bout times as the competition gets closer. Hopefully we make it to final stage this year.

BC Slam team with TheWerdsman. by David Lewis.

One Act Play Festival at Brooklyn College- Thursday April 18th- Saturday April 20th
I'm pleased to announce that this semester I'm directing a One Act play on campus and it promises to be an impactful work, considering the chilling discoveries that have been happening our rehearsals this week. These plays happen in Room 316, Roosevelt Hall, Brooklyn College and are contribution based.

More updates on the workshopping of my one-woman show 'Cascadoo' coming soon!

Be well and have a great holiday/cleaning/poeming!



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Sunday, March 10, 2013

"... yea, the Trini girl with the accent from the slam team." end quote.

It's been an annoyance following me over the last week every time I acknowledge how I had not written here in such a long time. It's with an 11:05pm cup of coffee that I need to make work happen. I'm needing to relearn how to not always embrace the emotions surrounding things. Emotions are sometimes good compasses but they cannot be the only thing you listen too. I'm accepting more and more that the time will never avail itself to you. It is something that always depends on you seizing it and being an artist depends on grabbing time more than ever.

The one-woman show is moving with its own patience, and I surely need to relegate more time every week working with it, but I know that some of the uneasy and nervousness about it is my mind's own anticipation for an uncontrollable magic that is about to happen. My director is really engaging the piece and me here just noticing the unfolding of things and the ideas and poems and sensing how it is going to be the most beautiful plant that spring will blossom me. I am also directing a One Act that goes up in April at school, which thematically ties very closely into my solo show. Finding that script was a miracle in itself. It was one of those things that was bound to happen.

I've been thinking a lot lately about identity, (not only because of the gender class I'm taking this semester) in how my subconscious self has been awakening new ways of speaking and thinking about myself and who I consider myself to be right now. I recall a conversation we were having about Black Power in Trinidad in the 1970's when my artistic director, Camille said that after a while she gave up on wearing dashiki outfits and traditional Yoruba clothing usually associated with the movement, because she realized that the blackest part of her was her own skin. That no external thing could give a stronger indication of who she was than the embodiment of her own self.

That's mostly how I've been feeling about a number of things these days, particularly when it comes to a performance of gender and nationality. It happened today and it happened last week. It seems as though I've moved beyond having to identify myself as 'Trinidadian' when introducing myself to people. I tend to give my name and what I spend most of my time doing- schooling and working and writing. Also,this semester more than ever before, I've really tapped into exploring my 'feeling' side where I present myself in the way that I feel. If I feel like sweats, I'll wear sweats all week with bulky boy boots, I'd probably not comb my hair for a few days and don a wool hat to hide it. Winter is almost over and I haven't used my winter wedge heeled boots more than once, My sweater dresses have barely been touched (if at all) and my make-up kit looks as brimming as it did when I updated it last December.

That being said, more and more I'm interested in just being. It's not always easy to do that given social context, but the top of 2013 for me has been about being healthy, getting work done and being comfortably myself when doing it. There are parts of myself that I do not feel pressured to assert anymore. It might have to do with living in a huge city and constantly competing with people and always having to prove that you're the best this, or the best that, and I'm over it. I am inhabiting my body, and I've learnt that the truest parts of my identity will always be oozing out of me and there is no need to spotlight what is already glowing. I don't always need to call attention to my Caribbeanness and femininity to prove that they exist.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Top 7 things of 2012

2012 had certainly been a year of wholeness and fulfillment in a number of areas in my life. Here are the top seven things I am thankful for.

7. Mentorship.
At Brooklyn College, I've been able to come by a life-coach who is going to be an essential part of my work in 2013 and moving forward. In reading a small book on US Classroom Culture, they spoke about faculty out here being much more impersonal and distanced than in other countries. While I can swear by that fact for the most part, I've been blessed enough to come across professors and mentors who have a vested interest in seeing me succeed academically and in my creative work, (most of them being immigrant anyway). I have been finding myself through lunch conversations and office-couch sittings, one exchange at a time.

6. Future Work
 Making plans for 2013 had been one of the joys of 2012. Apart from planning and organizing conferences at school (one of which includes Spike Lee as the keynote speaker in February) and writing for a new African diasporic journal, I will be crafting and developing my first one-woman show as an independent study this spring. The show 'Cascadoo' will center on defining 'home' and how this definition is never fixed and changes by season and cycle. This has been a 5 year long dream about to materialize. Excitement is not even the word anymore.

5. Brave New Voices
BNV always makes it into my top experiences, every year. It was just beautiful being out in the Bay Area, I surely need to spend some time living and working there before exiling myself from America after studies are completed. The best parts for me this year were the one-on-one conversations with youth community leaders, activists and the elders of YouthSpeaks, in truly looking for ways to develop our home bases. For me this year, I honestly wasn't really about the poems, but working to facilitate the space for young people to engage each other, ask questions, develop solutions, all while having fun in a creative space. This year, don't ask me what teams had dope poems or which MC killed it, but ask me which individual or group of individuals allowed their actions and their ideas and their love speak for them and I will be able to tell you. Also, the Future Corps network is priceless in the training and spirit we are cultivated in. For 2013, I don't particularly see myself going to the festival itself, but sure as hell taking what I have learnt to Trinidad and wherever else it is needed.

4. Two Cents
In the same breath of youth and passion, spending time with the young people/young adults of the Two Cents Movement in Trinidad, was truly a heart warming experience, in just being able to sit down and have conversations, and create work. It was an inspiring moment to recognize that the work has miracle-loaved itself into a form that is in the hands of a younger group, willing to take it to the next level with a certain amount of devotion and group politic that had been lacking before.

3. Slam Team
We're at it again for 2013. The old 2012 team re-qualified for this year's Brooklyn College Slam team, and this group has constantly been a source of strength, inspiration, family and love in this last year. We're a family, with great moments, moments of brilliance, disagreements, pranks and occasional rachetery, but it has been a blessing to grow with this group and have a support system such as this one. We also absorbed Mega as part of the team this year and have the Nuyorican's Mahogany Browne as our coach, so it's bound to be beautiful in the next upcoming months.

2. Academia
By the grace and mercy of God, I was able to come by four scholarships from CUNY and Brooklyn College for a number of things including academic merit, activism and a fellowship for travel. These awards still do not completely pay for school (or even remotely so) but they have been essential to my being able to complete my studies and not have me drop out of school and go back home. God knows I need these things to survive in this country, and has made a way where there was none. These are my parents prayers in tangible form.

1. South Africa (duh!)
Being able to finally travel to SA to be with Ryan and to spend time at the Market Theatre Lab was everything I needed to know that God is in charge of my life and that he is the grantor of prayers and dreams. 2013 makes it four years that Ryan and I have been journeying together and it is with increased faith and strength that I have been able to live and be fulfilled by this love and this commitment. The opportunity arose, the chance was seized and it was just crazy how everything fell into place and with precision. God is in charge and I can only wait to see what beauty he has in store for us in the upcoming year.

The self-sufficiency and independence that 2012 had been able to teach me has surely been making me into the kind of warrior my ancestors had been hoping for me to become. The kind of revelations God has been giving me in the creation of this show and the encouragement of those around me has led me to believe that 2013 is going to be one for the archives. I have many people that I thank God for whose presence in my life has surely been essential to my growth, both home and abroad (wherever those two places are to me now). They have all been light and know who they are.

Praise the seed, praise the womb of things, praise the anticipate.