Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Jewel Parker Rhodes (archived show from Sept. 9, 2011)

Jewell Parker Rhodes Sept. 9, 2011

8 AM: Jewell Parker Rhodes is the award-winning author of Voodoo Dreams, Magic City, Douglass’ Women, Season, Moon, Hurricane, and the children’s book, Ninth Ward. Her writing guides include: Free Within Ourselves: Fiction Lessons for Black Authors and The African American Guide to Writing and Publishing Nonfiction. Jewell is the Virginia G. Piper Chair in Creative Writing and Artistic Director of Piper Global Engagement at Arizona State University.

Her book, Voodoo Dreams; was cited as “Most Innovative” Drama in the 2000-2001 Professional Theater Season by the Arizona Republic and she is currently at work on a theatrical version of Douglass’ Women.

Her work has been published in Germany, Italy, Canada, Turkey, and the United Kingdom and reproduced in audio and for NPR’s “Selected Shorts.”

Her honors include: the American Book Award, the National Endowment of the Arts Award in Fiction, the Black Caucus of the American Library Award for Literary Excellence, the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award for Outstanding Writing, and two Arizona Book Awards. Rhodes is the Virginia G. Piper Endowed Chair of Creative Writing at Arizona State University and Artistic Director of Piper Global Engagement.

8:30 AM – 9 AM: Claude Marks & Yusufu L. Mosley

Yusufu holds two degrees, a BA in sociology, and an MA in political science with an emphasis on social ethics. He is also a longtime community activist and has worked with various community organizations designed to advance the liberation struggle. Currently, Yusufu works in the social justice field and is a member of several professional organizations related to the criminal justice field in the Chicagoland area.

Yusufu is a trained and certified as a Circle Keeper in Restorative Justice (RJ) field. He has completed 80 hours of Restorative Justice sponsored by the Community Justice Institute and Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention of Florida Atlantic University; 16 hours training for Community Panels for Youth at the Children and Family Justice Center of the Northwestern University School of Law; and, 120 hours of Peacemaking Circles for the Living Justice Institute of St. Paul Minnesota and the Center for Reconciliation in Chicago, Illinois.

Claude Marks is a former anti-imperialist political prisoner and is the Project Director of The Freedom Archives, a political, cultural oral history project, restoration center, and media production facility in San Francisco.

Under his direction, The Freedom Archives has released several recent documentary CDs and videos combining restored historical audio and contemporary interviews.

Commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Attica Prison Uprising

Friday, September 9th - 7pm Sharp
518 Valencia Street - San Francisco
Attica - The Restored 1974 Film

Discussion with:
Azadeh Zohrabi - Hastings Race & Poverty Law Journal
Dennis Cunningham - Original Attica Attorney
Manuel La Fontaine - about connecting the dots to
Georgia, Ohio and California prison strikes

Prison unrest in the United States hit a boiling point on September 9, 1971, when inmates at Attica State Prison after months of protesting inhumane living conditions rebelled, seizing part of the prison and taking 35 hostages. The uprising was met with a military attack and the murder of 43 people after NY State troopers assaulted the prisoners. Attica - released 3 years later - is an investigation of the rebellion and its aftermath, piecing together documentary footage of the occupation and ensuing assault. Especially significant today as prisoners from Georgia, Ohio, California and other states fight for their human rights in the face of increased imprisonment and the brutality and torture of long-term solitary confinement.

$10 Donation - $5 youth - No one turned away
Sponsored by the Freedom Archives & the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement

Catch this 8-minute video

9:00 PM: Rohina Malik & Raelle Myrick-Hodges

Rohina Malik (Writer and Performer) is a Chicago-based playwright, actress and solo performance artist. She is a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatist, and an artistic associate at the 16th Street Theater. She was born and raised in London (UK) of South Asian heritage. Her one-woman play Unveiled, had its world premiere at the 16th Street Theater, where Rohina performed to sold-out houses and received critical acclaim. Unveiled received a second production at Victory Gardens Theater, a third production at Next Theater/Evanston. Rohina is thrilled that Unveiled is having its fourth production here at Brava. She workshopped her play Yasmina’s Necklace with the Goodman Theatre in their New staged Series in Dec 2009, directed by Henry Godinez. Her third play The Mecca Tales, which is a Goodman commission, had a staged reading June 2011, directed by Ron OJ Parsons. Rohina recently completed a one year residency at The Goodman, as a member of The Goodman Theatre’s Playwright’s Unit. With the success of Unveiled, Rohina has been invited to perform at High schools, middle schools, Universities, Churches, Mosques, Synagogues and other venues. You can contact Rohina at

Raelle Myrick-Hodges (Director) studied literature at Ealing College (London) and theatre arts at the University of Southern California. In early 2008 Raelle Myrick-Hodges was appointed as the second Artistic Director in Brava’s 22 year history. As founder of Azuka Theatre in Philadelphia, Raelle presented several world and regional premieres and was a NEA/TCG awardee. Raelle has had the opportunity to work at The Public Theater, MudBone Collective, Aurora Theater, McCarter Theater, Philadelphia Theater Company, Berkeley Rep (Education Dept.), Magic Theater, Playmakers Repertory Theater, Arden Theater Company among others. She has had the chance to work with several artists including Geoffrey Arend, Meryl Streep, Jeffrey Wright, Harold Perrineau, Liev Schreiber, Doug Hughes, George C. Wolfe, Suzanne Lori-Parks, Larry Gilliard Jr., Kirsten Greenidge, Ryan Templeton, Charlayne Woodard, Frederick Weller among others.

9:30 AM: Lenora Lee, Francis Wong

Event: Asian Improv aRts, API Cultural Center & CounterPULSE in association with Chinese Historical Society of America Museum, and Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation present: Reflections by Lenora Lee Dance with Kei Lun Martial Arts & Enshin Karate, South San Francisco Dojo, featuring media design by Olivia Ting, music by Francis Wong, text by Genny Lim, and videography by Ben Estabrook.

The piece is inspired by stories of three generations of men as they realize their identity and community as Chinese Americans.

Thursday - Sunday, September 8th - 11th, 8pm, (panel discussion September 10th) also featuring "Pretonically Oriented V. 3" by FACT/SF CounterPULSE, 1310 Mission St @ 9th St, SF, CA 94103 Even though they are sold out, there are tickets available at the door. Arrive early to get on the wait list. Tickets are $20 at the Door

Live Performers: Lenora Lee, Marina Fukushima, Ronald Wong, Dale Chung, Raymond Fong, Yukihiko Noda, Jon Iiyama, and Collin Wong.

Additional Artists on Video: Corey Chan, Nolan Chow, Junichiro Nakanishi, Keith Soohoo.

Music score by Francis Wong with Kei Lun Martial Arts, Tatsu Aoki, Karen Stackpole, Melody Takata. The Asian American Arts Centre, New York City has given generous permission for the use of excerpts from "Uncle Ng Comes to Gold Mountain" performed by NEA Heritage Fellow Ng Sheung Chi (Uncle Ng).

The mission of Lenora Lee Dance (LLD) is to give artistic voice to the experiences of Asian Americans. Deeply rooted in the Chinatown and Asian American communities of San Francisco, LLD pursues this mission through the creation and presentation of interdisciplinary dance works integrating movement, music, video projection, and text that tell untold stories of family, community, and transformation in facing the challenges of building a life in America.

For more information,,, or email

Lenora Lee (choreographer / dancer) is a native San Franciscan and has been creating and performing work since 1998. She has been an integral part of the San Francisco and New York Asian American contemporary dance and creative music communities, as choreographer, dancer, and Managing Director of Asian American Dance Performances, as dancer and taiko artist with Gen Taiko, as Co-Artistic Director for the Red Jade Collective, as artist-in-residence at the Japanese Cultural & Community Center of Northern California, the Chinatown Beacon Center, and in the SFUSD, as Co-Artistic Director of Lee & Wang Dance, and most recently as Project Manager for Asian Improv aRts. Lenora has directed, choreographed, and produced her own works performing nationally and internationally.

Her projects have been sponsored by Mulberry Street Theater’s Ear to the Ground commissioning with generous support from the Jerome Foundation, CA$H, a grants program administered by Theatre Bay Area in partnership with Dancers’ Group, Zellerbach Family Foundation, Performing Arts Assistance Program, Lighting Artist in Dance Award, a program of Dancers’ Group, Asian Improv aRts, Footloose Presents AIM: Artists in Motion, and by Generous Individuals. “Japanese drumming (taiko), tai chi, gung fu and karate, forms I study, bring me to tradition and to cultures I have a great affinity toward and ancestral roots in. What becomes woven into the fabric of my dance is the body’s understanding, in the muscle memory, of what it is to be in confrontation, defense, as well as in harmony, with fiery velocity. Moreover, the dance is informed by the body’s understanding of what it is to be the driving heartbeat of song and community spirit.

My movement vocabulary is also influenced by what are distinctly American art forms: modern dance, sign language, contact improvisation, and jazz music. It is within the detailed narrative gesture of the hands colliding and collaborating with the striking physicality and partnering within contact improvisation vocabulary, where a dynamic visceral language develops, one that is reflective of intimate connection and storytelling. In addition to pursuing the creation of choreography and collaboration with musicians/composers, I have been pursuing the integration of forms such as video projection, large scale visual art, even public art, in informing the synthesis of my work, as well as in providing the frame for the exploration of key themes in my body of work. These themes include the questions: What is my role within the lineage of my family history? How do our experiences within the Chinese Diaspora interweave to manifest a collective narrative? What place does this narrative have in the forming of community within our increasingly complex global trans-cultural and dynamic social ecology?”

Francis Wong
Few musicians are as accomplished as Francis Wong (composer / sound designer), considered one of "the great saxophonists of his generation" by the late jazz critic Phil Elwood. A prolific recording artist, Wong is featured on more than forty titles as a leader and sideman. For over two decades he has performed his innovative brand of Asian American jazz/creative music for audiences in North America, Asia, and Europe with such with such luminaries as Jon Jang, Tatsu Aoki, Genny Lim, William Roper, Bobby Bradford, John Tchicai, James Newton, Joseph Jarman, Don Moye and the late Glenn Horiuchi. But to simply call the Bay Area native a musician would be to ignore his pioneering leadership in communities throughout Northern California. Wong's imaginative career straddles roles as varied as performing artist, youth mentor, composer, artistic director, community activist, non-profit organization manager, consultant, music producer, and academic lecturer. Wong was a California Arts Council Artist in Residence from 1992 through 1998, and a Meet The Composer New Resident in 2000-2003. In 2000-2001 he was a Rockefeller Next Generational Leadership Fellow. He has also been a guest member of the faculty at San Francisco State University (1996-98) and at University of California at Santa Cruz (1996-2001).

Music: Aaron Neville's "So Many Tears" on Hurricane Katrina Relief Benefit CD; Michael Franti & Spearhead BOMB the World "Remix;" Thaddeus Edwards's "Prelude to Peace;" Liz Wright's "Fire."

I am always nervous before the start of a show. I always feel under prepared and this morning was no different. I'd planned to get up three hours before the show and only got up two hours earlier (smile). In the middle of editing and running between rooms picking up files and copies I had unexpected company arrive--

I schedule my life around my show. I don't teach on Fridays and don't schedule work or appointments on Friday either because I usually spend the rest of the day recuperating from the show afterwards.

I was so looking forward to speaking to Jewell Parker Rhodes, such a phenomenal writer--she is a study within herself. Her work is so intentional: her character's integrity and sense. She spoke about the communal aspect of African healing. I like that. In Rufisque this is what I experienced, an experience verified by Joy Degruy Leary, Ph.D., who said that black people are communal, when we are ill the healing takes place in community--it is participatory. I witnessed this first hand when I was invited to several healings where there were drummers and everyone in the village knew the healing songs, the dances and the rhythms even the one who was sick.

I was so excited about our interview, when Mrs. Rhodes Parker responded to my email request for an interview with a yes, I smiled for two weeks at the thought.

Each one of her novels is such a wonderful journey, I want to revisit them now. In Voodoo Dreams after reading the trilogy: Voodoo Season, Yellow Moon and Hurricane, I got background information on characters I'd met tangentially in the other subsequent novels. How does one discuss five novels in such a finite span of time-- half an hour? Not well, yet if audiences got a feel for the author and a curiosity about her work, then I am happy. I could have just talked about Hurricane and perhaps next year we can so just that along with Ninth Ward, but the way Rhodes Parker personifies the watery goddess--names her and her entourage is quite fantastic. Oya's wrath, the water's curse on the west and its capture of her children gems on the ocean floor (August Wilson).

Last night at Brava's Regional Premiere of Rohina Malik's "Unveiled," directed by Raelle Myrick-Hodges tells stories of women beyond the veil, the veil a metaphor for hypocritical and racist responses to women who veil after 9/11. Most of these women, I think all of them, are non-Arab.

Not the first to visit this topic, Malik might be the first to tell these stories from the perspective of women, from a housewife and an attorney in Chicago to a rap artist in London. The five women are unique and yet they are the same, their loss or pending loss is one which can be avoided if at the end of the play, one unveils.

One character speaks about the scarf or hijab --ritual covering she wears in contrast to the political veil bigoted Americans don to justify discrimination based on religion: Islam. When Timothy McVeigh set of these bombs, all Christians were not subsequently vilified another character states.

I thought back on 9/11: where I was that morning and days later when I found out that a friend of mine, a stewardess scheduled to fly that day to DC, but didn't. Masajid were evacuated for safety.

At Laney College where I was teaching, we received bomb threats for months after that fateful day. It became a routine we never got used to: seeing the sheriff at the door with the announcement to evacuate.

Yesterday in class one of my students spoke about a friend of hers, a blind man who survived the World Trade Center bombing with his dog--amazing! He now lives in Alameda. Another student in that same class spoke of a bomb threat at her child's school: Skyline High in Oakland. She was there picking him up and told me she wouldn't be able to make it to class.

I recalled a series of photos my daughter made depicting the different faces of Muslim women. No one was immune, women who covered their hair, anyone who looked like the stereotypical "Arab," was suspect, when Islam is a faith with a diverse constituency.

Islam is the largest and fastest growing religion in the world. TaSin was absent and asked me to read a poem at an exhibit at Pro Arts when Betty Kano was director.

As I was speaking to my last guests Lenora Lee and Francis Wong the program kicked me off. This is the second time I have been on the air and all of a sudden I was disconnected and got a busy signal in the middle of the show. This is within the past three months. Luckily my two guests called me back.


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