Monday, August 11, 2008

RNR Radio; travels and writing

Since my last post much has happened. I have travelled to White Earth Reservation in northern minnesota to interview Ojibwe artists; i have most recently been in Boston and Portland Maine for other work; and the end of August I will travel to Bemidji, Minnensota to interview more Ojibwe artists.

It is interesting that going on to the reservation we arrive with a handful or artists names and then by the 2nd day we are up to 30 to 40 names of artists. It is true that we, as native people, are artists; and also true that we don't necessarily separate our art from our daily lives, Artists working at their kitchen table or garage is commonplace for their studio.

Native artists also comment frequently about their artistic ability being a gift; or a gift of healing - this is how they cope with hard times, hard lives, desperate situations - and the creator blesses them with a means to keep moving forward.

We have also started rehearsals for our first Raving Natives Radio play. Adventures at Camp KaKeeKwaSha and the Magic Musky Casino! Just the rehearsals have been great fun - with the exciting new talent of three young people doing radio theater for the first time. I am hoping to be able to post photos in the near future.

My play: Friends.... is being published in a women's anthology out of New Brunswick..

I have two poems in the book County Lines published by Loonfeather Press
a short story coming out in a Milkweed anthology
it is good to be published - especially when trying to make a living at this thing called writing.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

taking a break - a playwriting workshop and a radio development discussion

it has been a while since i posted here. I spent one week in Kira Oblensky 'curious words' workshop. This workshop was exactly what i needed - it validated my process for writing, my style of writing text when creating plays and gave me new courage to not be swayed when certain things that i try to do as a playwright get called into question.

an interesting tidbit. one of the younger participants used the word Pepto-Bismol to personify a peony. kira talked about how this younger generation does use brands and marketing techniques in ways that we who are of a different generation may not. i am reminded of the young parents who are naming their children Noxema, Armani, Nautica, Timberland, Canon, Del Monte, and L'Oreal. New technology and the shrinking of the globe as well as the rapid proliferation of ideas is giving rise to additional means of labeling, naming and interacting.

we also were reminded, encouraged to utilize the insertion of stage directions to solidify what we as playwright intend to happen within our scripts - ah - this was a relief.

raving natives radio had a preliminary script development meeting. we discussed casting of character and timeline for which we hope to have first show ready for podcast.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Talk at Migizi

I met with students at Migizi communications yesterday and talked about being a native playwright. It was very encouraging to see their interest; to have them read from my script Bring the Children Home and see the acknowledgement on their faces and in their voices that they, as young native people, understood the story - understood the context of the story. They also wrote songs on a moments notice and a handful were brave enough to read them out-loud. I talked with them about the need for native actors; as playwright we can write for stage but when it comes to production we need native folks up there playing the parts.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Raving Native Radio

Alright!! check out this site:

Working with Ananya Dance

this past month i have been working with Ananya Dance company, writing poetry for a dance piece.

It has been amazing watching the discipline these women have to create dance - all women of color

DAAK, Call to Action
Shows: June 12-15, 2008, Thursday - Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 7pm.
Post-show discussion Friday and Saturday
Venue: The Southern Theatre, 1420 Washington Ave. South, Minneapolis 55454
Box Office 612/ 340-1725 Tickets: $19 (includes $2 building preservation fee)

DAAK, Call to Action, responds to aggressive lands rights violations in several communities across the world. The project seeks to create relationships between transnational and diasporic communities through the sharing of the stories of women affected by such violations historically and currently. Testimonies from the Native communities of Leech Lake and Lower Sioux Reservations- where women are leading the Truth and Reconciliation Project in an effort to re-write the history of this state, a project particularly potent as the Sesquicentennial Commission proceeds with its plans to celebrate 150 years of MN's statehood without acknowledging the history of ethnic cleansing, genocide, and land appropriation that lies underneath our feet- will inform the project. We will also learn about the struggles of activists and artists in government-designated "special economic zones" in West Bengal, India, where agricultural land is being appropriated violently from poor farmers by the state in order to sponsor global industrial projects; and from the maquiladoras of Tijuana and Juarez, Mexico, where once again women are being forced to work in factories established on land violently seized from their communities. The piece will end with a "call to action" to audiences, inviting them into awareness of the trauma suffered by communities endangered by environmental racism, as well as the innovative ways in which they resist these phenomena. The piece itself will articulate the struggle over land rights through the innovative use of space and by imagining different relationships between bodies and land/ground.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

show is over

spirit in the house is over - at least our part of it - we had a good run. tonight raphael - singer, songwriter, recording artist (formerly of NYC) joined the show for two closing songs - folks loved him!! i saw a small crowd around him at the end of the show.
kohl performed superbly and added a new short piece for the last two shows
sigwan had to leave early today to do a video shoot for some thing to do with the city of minneapolis, i think. she also got lots of good encouragement about her acting. many folks commented that the federal parolee added to a larger understanding of the whole border issue.

so on to new and different writing and much better working relationships

Monday, May 26, 2008

spirit in the house - stands alone

we have had two shows at spirit in the house for Stands Alone featuring kohl miner in his storytelling series; and sigwan and kohl in borders uncrossed. kohl tells funny and poignant stories of his life as a gay native man. the second half of the show showcases sigwan as a young girl dumped by coyotes on the border - it also includes the initial scene of the native american federal parolee

yesterday sigwan answered questions about her acting; her opinion of her involvement and take on the border show she was originally cast in and let go from

yesterday we were honored to have big name guests in the audience: Juliana Pegues who wrote Q&A which is running at Mixed Blood theater in Minneapolis; and Bao Phi who stars in Q&A (sigwan is a big fan of Bao)

also Elizabeth O’Sullivan who wrote and stars in a show here at the fest: Witnessing to a Murder
Two women meet briefly in a hallway. Gunshots kill one of them send the other crashing through the boundaries that separate her from horror and from the voice of God.