Sights & Sounds is your weekly guide to the Bay Area arts scene. Filmmaker Cheryl Fabio will be screening her documentary, Evolutionary Blues: West Oakland's Music Legacy at the African American Museum And Library In Oakland, on Friday, 11/10. She told KALW’s Jen Chien about three fantastic arts events happening around the Bay Area this week.
- Aja Monet: My Mother Was A Freedom Fighter — The Bodega at Duende on 11/10
- Ballet For Black & Brown Bodies — Starline Social Club on 11/11
- Token — Brava! Theater For women In The Arts on 11/16
Aja Monet will be reading from her new book, My Mother Was A Freedom Fighter, as part of the fifth annual Matatu Festival of Stories — an event that brings together conversation, experience, and expression of black artists in film, dance, theater, writing and more. Monet is an internationally established poet, performer, and educator, and she's the youngest individual to win the legendary Nuyorican Poet’s Café Grand Slam title.
In her poetry and songs, she poses questions about the power of the imagination and metaphor in how we engage with local and global issues. My Mother Was A Freedom Fighter is her first book, and it’s a collection of poems that explores motherhood, feminism, and civil rights. She'll be reading at The Bodega at Duende in Oakland on 11/10 at 8.pm.
FABIO: "It just jumped out the page, and I thought, 'God, I'd love to be able to go there!' For me a freedom fighter doesn't have to be this huge thing we hear about in history books. fighting for freedom can be a big act, it can be a small act, it's a consistent act."
Alyah Baker will be running her workshop series, Ballet for Black & Brown Bodies, as a single class at the Matatu Festival Of Stories. The workshop invites participants to explore the ways that gesture and movement transgress boundaries of race. Alyah Baker is a former member of Dance Through Time and ABD Productions who has trained and performed with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet of New York, Oakland Ballet, Richmond Ballet, and Carolina Ballet.
Ballet for Black & Brown Bodies is presented by the Matatu Festival as part of a series of workshops that navigate self-determination, wellness, sovereignty, and roadmaps to the future. Participants should arrive wearing clothes in which they are comfortable moving, stretching, and sweating, along with dance shoes or socks. The workshop will be at the Starline Social Club in Oakland on 11/11 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
FABIO: "This reminded me of Karen Brown, who used to run the Oakland Ballet ... I just wanted to see where that dialogue is right now and also maybe have an opportunity to maybe re-envision who I am and maybe do a little bit of movement too."
May Liang will be directing a staged reading of a new play by Lisa Marie Rollins, Token, as part of the 2017 Crowded Fire Theater Matchbox reading series. The play follows Hannah, a black woman adopted by a white family, as she tries to reconcile her biological lineage with her adopted family history. Along the way there are ghosts, magic, and buried secrets. Rollins is currently a Resident Artist with Crowded Fire Theater and Artist-in-Residence at BRAVA Theater for Women in San Francisco. The reading will be at the BRAVA Theatre for Women in San Francisco on Thursday, 11/16, at 7:30 p.m.
FABIO: "I'm very sensitive to the identity plight, the conflict, the politics of growing up in an adoption. There's just so much layering to that, and Lisa Marie is a great person to bring it to light."