Monday, March 26, 2007

Bagels with the Bards

Several months ago, I joined a crew of local poets who meet on Saturday mornings for coffee and baked goods. The group, founded by local poets Doug Holder and Harris Gardner, are a boisterous bunch of coversationalists with whom to swap stories and talk shop.

Thanks to the efforts of Molly Lynn Watt (editor) and Steve Glines (designer), we now have Bagels With The Bards: Bagel Bard Anthology, Volume 2 available at The work of over fifty poets, including myself, are represented.

Bagels With The Bards:
Bagel Bard Anthology, Volume 2

Introduction by Afaa Michael Weaver
Edited by Molly Lynn Watt
Designed by Steve Glines

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Upcoming Performances with i Sebastiani

Buon Giorno, you lucky people!

Over the next three weekends I will be performing with i Sebastiani, the commedia dell'arte troupe I joined this past November. In what amounts to "theatrical hazing" the capocomica and the artistic director have decided to have me play a different character every week. So without further ado, here is the schedule:

Saturday, March 17th, 10am to 6pm:

The Barony of Carolingia presents:

Vision of the Twelve Goddesses Performed by the Carolingian Dancers.

Vision of the Twelve Goddesses was a court masque authored by Samuel Daniel in honor of James I's ascension to the throne of England in 1604.

With an original Anti-Masque by i Sebastiani. (I will be in the role of Arlecchino.)

Music by The Renaissonics.

RSVP and period dress recommended

March 23-25, Framingham, MA: i Sebastiani in Dressed for Love:

Friday, March 23rd, 7:30pm
Saturday, March 24th,7:30pm
Sunday, March 25th, 3:00pm

(I will be playing the role of Flaminia )

Framingham Community Theater
Turenne Auditorium
214 Concord Street,
Framingham, MA 01702
(508) 875-5218

$12 at the door, $10 in advance

Sunday, April 1st, Noon- 4pm, Washington, D.C.: i Sebastiani in Dressed for Love (The shortened version):

(I'll be in the role of Pantalone.)

An opening reception for:

Italian Women Artists from Renaissance to Baroque

National Museum of Women in the Arts
1250 New York Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20005
202-783-5000, 1-800-222-7270


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Poem at Boston City Hall

Once again, one of my poems was selected for exhibition at Boston City Hall as part of the Mayor's Prose & Poetry Program. The previously unpublished poem "Sine Waves and Canadian Geese" was one of 44 selected by guest juror Charles Coe and can be found on the third floor by the South Elevators.

Of course, this will only affirm G. Tod Slone's view that I am part of the literary establishment. (Charles Coe, in his work with the Massachusetts Cultural Council has also been the target of Slone's attempts at cartooning, though I find it interesting that when Slone finally decided to lampoon an African-American writer, he deliberately left Coe faceless.)

Boston City Hall is in Old Scollay Square, accessible by way of the Government Center, State Street, and Haymarket Subway Stations. The current selection of poems will remain on display until May, 23, 2007.

Boston City Hall
One City Hall Plaza
Boston, MA 02201

Boston City Hall is open Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5:30pm.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Three Things That Make This Curmudgeon Happy

As of late, when I do publish a blog entry, either here or on another site, it tends to be a polemic or an account of some quarrel in which I have been engaged. So be it: conflict is the basis for both comedy and tragedy and thus makes for a compelling read. However, today I will share with you three relatively new things in my life that make me happy just to demonstrate that I am not a complete curmudgeon.

Back in November I joined the commedia dell'arte troupe, i Sebastiani. Commedia dell'arte is an improvisational comedic theatrical form that originated during the Italian Renaissance, but over a couple of centuries, became popular throughout Europe, leaving its mark on Western theatre. It uses masks, slapstick comedy and a collection of stock characters. This past December I played the role of Pedrolino, a clever servant. In the next month of shows I will be playing Arlecchino, a maddingly foolish servant from Bergamont, and Flaminia, a lusty convent girl. Cosmic Spelunker Theater always drew upon our peculiar conception of commedia, but outside of the briefly lived Teatro Commedia, I had never actually played any of the traditional stock characters. The group is a great deal of fun to work with, and I appreciate the collaborative atmosphere-- everyone has good suggestions and no qualms about sharing them.

For a number of years, I had been attending concerts by kathak dancer, Gretchen Hayden, and the students of her school Chhandika. This past October, however, I decided to become a student. Kathak is a classical dance-theatre form that developed in Northern India and Pakistan. I became very attracted to kathak in part because, like other classical dance forms of India, incorporates elements that remind me of the corporeal mime that I have studied for years, and is also very much tied in with India's sculptural, storytelling, and mythological traditions. What gives kathak its unique identity amongst other schools of Indian classical dance is that because of geography, it developed into its modern form in the courts of the Mogul period, and so has elements of both Hindu and Muslim aesthetics. On the other hand, it is rhythmically sophisticated with incredibly intricate footwork that, owing to my lack of background in percussive dance (or percussion in general), means that I have to concentrate on those elements and not the more mimetic aspects that come naturally to me. Unfortunately, due to my performance commitments to i Sebastiani, I won't be able to perform in the Chhandika student show this year.

Off and on, I have been also been taking ballet classes. I had tried to start some years ago, but I was sidetracked, but for the past year I have been more disciplined, studying with Anna Myer. If I keep this up, I might even be a real dancer in a few years.

What is most exciting is that I would not have been able to imagine myself doing any of these things a decade ago.