Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wanda's Picks Radio Show Special: A New Beginning
Today we speak to several artists about the New Beginning heralded by the end of the Mayan calendar, Dec. 21, 2012. First we speak to Dance Brigade founder, Krissy Keefer, musician/educator, Carolyn Brandy and poet/activist, MamaCoatl about "Voluspa: A Ghost Dance for 2012," two-night ritual dance performance that pays tribute to past and present struggles and works towards renewal.

Featuring work by Dance Brigade, Grrrl Brigade, NAKA Dance Theater, Danza Xitlalli, John Jota Leaños and others. Each evening ends with a healing circle, December 19-20, 2012; Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30pm at Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th Street, San Francisco CA 94110, (415) 826-4441.
We then speak to Ahkeel Mestayer, who is 17 years old and a Senior at School of the Arts High School in San Francisco where he studies Percussion. Ahkeel has been playing music with Loco Bloco since he was in 1st grade.  Currently Ahkeel is a member of Loco Bloco's Youth Apprentice Program, a performer in our Performing Ensemble and has served as the Assistant Musical Director for Night Wakes Dawn.

Edris Cooper Anifowoshe
is one of the artistic directors of the play which looks at is a musical, theatrical exploration of the beliefs and prophecies initiated by the Mayan culture surrounding December 21, 2012 and a questioning of the New Age controversy over its meaning.  Night Wakes Dawn focuses on reuniting with our ancestors and reconnecting with ancient wisdom to guide us in making life decisions and affecting positive change.  Visit

We close with a conversation with frequent guest Michael Gene Sullivan who is "Freddie Fillmore" in Marin Theatre Company's "It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play" through Dec. 23, 2012, adapted by Joe Landry and directed by Jon Tracy, from Frank Capra's film starring James Stewart (1946). Visit

Photo: Michael Gene Sullivan and ensemble (photographer, Ed Smith)

KRISSY KEEFER / DANCE BRIGADE Dance Brigade is sumptuous dancing, biting, intellectual, insightful wit, and provocative originality. This dynamic multi-racial troupe of women proves that socially relevant dance can be technically brilliant, as well as exuberant with down-home hilarious fun. This company dances at full throttle. Artistic Director, Krissy Keefer explores the intersection between art and social issues with fierce inventiveness and a deft comic touch. Her content driven choreographies are a high-energy blend of ballet, modern dance, jazz, song, text, sign language and explosive Taiko drumming. The company has created over 10 full-length concerts of contemporary dance theater including Pandora’s Box, Ballet of the Banshees, Cinderella, Queen of Sheeba, Cave Women, Spell, The Revolutionary Nutcracker Sweetie and The Great Liberation Upon Hearing. For these productions, they received numerous grants and awards. Dance Brigade resides in the heart of the Mission District in San Francisco at Dance Mission Theater, where they operate a 140-seat theater, dance studios, adult and youth classes, Grrrl Brigade and produce groundbreaking events. In 1984, Krissy Keefer and Nina Fichter, original members of Wallflower Order, founded Dance Brigade to create and perform dance-theater that addresses the complex problems of contemporary American women.

Artistic Director Krissy Keefer co-founded the Wallflower Order in 1975 as the nation’s first feminist dance company. Wallflower toured the nation for almost a decade, and staged many original pieces before large, enthusiastic, and predominantly feminist audiences. They developed a new kind of modern dance-theater that was stylistically rooted in martial arts, athleticism, and social justice. As the Wallflower Order’s members went their separate ways, Keefer and Fichter created the Dance Brigade to carry forward their activist vision. Their original works continued to explore social issues such as war, poverty, breast cancer, women’s history, death and dying, and spirituality from a feminist perspective.

In 1998, Dance Brigade began to operate Dance Mission at 24th and Mission Streets in San Francisco. At Dance Mission, they created an affordable 140-seat theater and rehearsal space for San Francisco dancers and artists. They expanded the Adult and Youth Dance Programs to include a full range of dance classes in Hip-Hop, Salsa, Bhangra, Brazilian, Bollywood, Afro-Haitian, modern, ballet and more. Some of the groundbreaking events Dance Brigade has presented and pioneered include the SkyDancers, Women on the Drum, Women Against War, and the Manifest!val for Social Change. Each year Dance Mission helps emerging artists launch their professional careers through the biannualChoreographers

Showcase and the Down & Dirty Dance Series. In 2004, the Grrrl Brigade was formed as an intensive dance/leadership development program designed to provide high quality dance training, performance opportunities, and a sense of self-empowerment for San Francisco's girls ages 9 to 18. This program began with 10 girls and has now over 60 girls participating.

Krissy Keefer has a long history of collaborating with a wide array of artists, companies and non-arts community groups. In the highly successful 2002 & 2008 productions of Women Against War at the Herbst Theater, she brought together prominent feminist activists, veteran feminist musicians, both established and emerging dance companies, and Grrrl Brigade. In 2006, Dance Brigade performed as the Greek chorus in San Jose Repertory Theatre’s production Euripides’s anti-war play, Iphigenia at Aulis, directed by Timothy Near.

Keefer served as co-director and choreographer for this production. In 2008, she also worked with feminist scholars and students in the New College Women’s Spirituality Masters’ Program and with Quan Yin Healing Arts Center to create “The Valencia Street Project,”honoring 30 years of local feminist history and institution building through original dance theater and public education events. Keefer’s latest work on death and dying was a fiery interpretation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead called The Great Liberation Upon Hearing. The performances were enthusiastically received by sold out audiences at both Dance Mission in February 2009, at Laney College in Oakland in November 2009, Dance Theater Workshop in New York in July 2011 and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco in November 201 as part of Dance Brigade’s 35th Anniversary Season. Dance Brigade was recently a guest artist in the Spring Festival, performing in Cairo, Egypt and Beirut, Lebanon in May 2012.

MamaCoatl is a barrio songstress, poet, performance activist, and spiritual healer who comes from the Yaqui people of the Sonora desert. Based in the Mission district, her work explores sound, ritual and cultural activism as power sources for public health. MamaCoatl received an M.A. in Women Spirituality from New College of California and MFA in Creative Inquiry. In 2006 MamaCoatl brought International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls to San Francisco after performances in Mexico and Peru. The event has become an annual celebration of healing and nonviolence including sixteen days of action, “artivism,” healing and education in the Mission district’s community.

Carolyn Brandy has been drumming for over 40 years. She has been instrumental in bringing women to the spirit and healing of the Drum. Carolyn is the Artistic Dreictor of Women Drummers International and co-creator of the Born to Drum Women’s Drum Camp. Shw was the founder of the Bay Area’s favorite marching band, Sistah Boom in 1981. IN 1976, Carolyn co-founded the popular band, Alive!That troured the nation for almost ten years and has four recordings to its credit. She has worked in the Bay Area for many years as a composer, performer, teacher and cultural worker. She is an expert in the folkloric drumming styles found throughout the island of Cuba and is a practitioner of the Yorubabased
religion, Regla de Ocha.

Music: We open with the title track for Voluspa: A Ghost Dance for 2012. We close with Vijay Iyer's The Village of the Virgins (Duke Ellington).


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