We are continua.
My own roots are in a river of art that carved liberatory space; art created through acts of daring and compassion by artists and by communities who participated in and supported it.
My trunk is the body of my experience making live art (theatre, music, performance art), writing and teaching in many communities and circumstances with a host of powerful collaborators.
My branches reach toward the third thing, toward the spaces between and beyond-sounding the blue note.
The stories and the languages we inherit can feed us, but if we, in turn, do not make our own, we will be caged by the past. We must gestate, birth and raise new language and tell new stories to achieve liberatory space. That is our responsibility.
Free your own and others' imagination and the rest will flow, like a river. A river meant for rooting.
Usually, a question calls out to me. The piece I make is my response. I don't work alone. So, I consider the question, then invite folks around who I feel will be the right people to dance with as we seek answers, and ultimately, more questions. Sometimes, that means I write, sometimes perform, sometimes devise from the sidelines. The piece lets me know. And then, we figure it out.
Some of my work is like the geeky, nerdy date that talks too much then spills the water on the table. Some of it is all poetic heat, mad skills, all in your face and then it's time to go home (haha). Some of it, I hope, is a little bit sexy and flips the beauty to reveal the soul. Some of it, is rite, ritual, prayer. All of it is meant for sharing.
I have played for audiences nationally and internationally, and had as much meaningful experience playing for an audience of three people (with three of us on stage) in a dusty blackbox in Austin as I have for a loud crowd of 800 in London. I don't for one second believe that there is "an" audience. Each is distinct, comprised of multiple perspectives, insights, biases, and needs. Time and again, limited expectations, from without, about who will be interested in or "able to access" performance art, dramatic structures rooted in abstraction, and/or charged subject matter have been summarily disproven-the people I've been told won't "get" my work, not only do get it, but offer me the most meaningful feedback.
What you put into rehearsal shows up onstage. I belong to a crew of artists with an insane work ethic, who are also profoundly invested in being, and helping one another to be, present, available, and balanced. Respect is at the center. And risk is always necessary.
The rich precedent of artistry that comes from Black American Culture is a central artery in my work. And, too, the dynamic redefinitions rooted in Womanism & Queerness annealed me as I came to better understand my voice. The process of imagining freedom, then manifesting it (socially, politically, personally and aesthetically) has literal impact and metaphoric resonance. And, I have, like many others before me, with me, and soon to join me, had to negotiate the tension between authentic expression of impulses from within and the battle with distorted and caging narratives that come from without.
Love crosses time and space and permeates; what is loved is central, never marginalized; and, too, there are stark differences between sharing and selling, sharing and buying, sharing and owning. From one perspective, much of my work as an artist, and the work of many of my peers, has lived in the margins, or "underground". That's not my perspective. Love the work to make it central; love the people to make them central. Appreciate what gets shared before and beyond any transaction.