WISE WHY'S Y'S WITH AMIRI BARAKA (LIVE)
An Evening of Spoken Word, Jazz and Dance Theater
E.G. Bailey adapts Amiri Baraka's Wise Why's Y's, an epic journey through the history of Africans in America, and a perfect blend of avant-garde poetry with the griot consciousness. Paying homage to Langston's Ask Your Mama, William Carlos William's Patterson, and Melvin B. Tolson's Liberia alike, it attempts to articulate the history of a people or a place. Wise Why's Y's questions and answers broad themes of history and cultural identity.
Tru Ruts' Freestyle Theatre presents this evening of provocative Spoken Word, Jazz and Dance. The event will be held on Saturday, October 15th at the Southern Theater, 1420 Washington Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55415. 8:00pm. Tickets are $7 in advance. More information at www.truruts.com.
'To appreciate 'Wise', you've got to know some history or else the references will be too arcane to figure out....Baraka is in his Monk mode playing all he knows by playing less.' - Kalamu Ya Salaam
Internationally renowned poet, playwright, musician, jazz critic and novelist, Amiri Baraka, along with a collective of dancers, musicians, and spoken-word artists, perform at the Southern Theater in this fresh adaptation by Bailey of his book Wise Why's Y's, a provocative yet honest conversation about race, class and identity. Baraka is widely recognized as one of the most important artists of the 20th century, contributing to not only poetry, music, theatre and fiction but also as a tireless activist for change.
"When you look at the scope of his work, what is apparent is the constant moving, the constant evolution of thought and technique. He has created masterful works, creating as fluidly within foundations for the Beat movement or the fires the Black Arts Movement, as he does now within this synthesis of jazz and poetry." - E.G. Bailey
Bailey collaborates with choreographer Aneka McMullen, to thread movement as an essential element that transforms the language of the text into an added character. The dance ensemble also includes Leah Nelson and Julie Warder. The musicians include Kevin Washington, who leads an ensemble of Chris Cox (Trombone), Anthony Cox (bass), and Truthmaze (percussion). Set design contributions provided by dynamic Twin Cities visual artist, Ta-Coumba Aiken. Also performing with Baraka will be J. Otis Powell, a stalwart of the spoken word community.
This highly experimental evening is a work in progress that Bailey has envisioned with plans to develop it into a multi-layered spoken word theater work. Though unique in its own right, the project carries influences of the Langston Hughes Project's Ask Your Mama, Sekou Sundiata's 51st (dream) state, Alvin Ailey's Revelations, Bill T. Jones' Last Supper at Uncle Tom's Cabin, and will be developed into a large scale project seeking to cross boundaries and help ignite a dialogue around race and class in this 21st century.
"The reason that we are celebrating Baraka in the new millennium is that he is a poet who not only knows how to hunt, who shoots straight to the heart, but who also understands that the poems he gives us are only glimpses of something that has already happened…That when reading Baraka's work, we must take perhaps the most potent play of language he's given us to heart. Imamu suggests, "I'm am You"--Imamu--"I'm am You." Whether we are white, black, brown, red, or yellow, we must read his work as if we wrote it, say it like we mean it, and sing it like we think it should be sung." - Joseph Heithaus
Tru Ruts' Freestyle Theatre: Excavating the possibilities of theater through music, spoken word, dance and performance.
Thanks to our media sponsor, The Liberator Magazine (www.liberatormagazine.com). Also thanks to Insight News.
This project is supported in part by the General Mills Foundation, The Art and Martha Kaemmer Fund of HRK Foundation, and the Jerome Foundation. It is also funded, in part by the McKnight Foundation's Next Step grant, and by the Minnesota State Arts Board through the arts and cultural heritage fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the Legacy Amendment vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.
When & Where
Tru Ruts Endeavors is a multi-disciplinary artistic enterprise ranging from a record label, theatre productions, a radio series, visual art exhibits and film productions. It has been a major innovator + trailblazer in the Twin Cities often producing shows to sold out audiences and critical acclaim.