It was an evening on December 28th I’d could have stayed in with a nice glass of chardonnay, a good book and curled up in my afghan on the sofa. Instead I ventured into the cold, drove my thirteen year old barely heating truck to the Pillsbury Theatre and saw “The Love Project”. A series of art vignettes inspired by the poetry of Maxie Rockymore and produced by Obsidian Arts.
According to the Love Project program:
“Thirteen artists working in differing mediums choose to celebrate Kwanzaa 2012 with you by agreeing to embrace and push forth their interpretation of a love poem. Each chose one of the ten love poems by Maxie Rockymore to infuse with additional artistry, movement, sound and new energy.”
For an hour and half and with varying degrees of success with their interpretations, these thirteen artists danced, sang, used spoken word, visual and film art. Nothando Zulu, storyteller, did an interpretation of a poem specifically written for her. The poem starting with and repeating the lines “Girly why your refrigerator so full,” was skillfully delivered with comic timing and audience participation. Dancers, Kenna Cottman and Dave Marcotte, performed a crowd pleasing duet of their interpretation of the poem “Two Rugs”, with a sensual infusion of hip hop and African/modern dance, to reveal the push and pull of a love relationship. Another duet of a poem, “Happy Birthday”, sung by Peggy and Anthony Brewer had an audience member asking after the performance where he could purchase a CD of the song. Unfortunately one isn’t available. Visual artist, Christopher Harrison, in a poignant monologue delivered on stage with several power point slides of his paintings as a back drop described how this poem, Marvin’s Butterfly inspired the use of color in his work.
I think with more rehearsal time the other poetry interpretations could have been more successful.
Here’s Maxie Roxymore’s poem Two Rugs:
We walked over each other,
Kicked dust in each other’s eyes,
made the other trip and fall.
Refused a good forgiving scrubbing.
Sat at the feet
of other people’s tables.
Let our secret moths eat us up.
Overall, I’m glad I traveled to the Pillsbury that night to see a melding of artistic expressions come to life on stage. I want to see more from this talented group of African American artists. I’d like to see more support from the African American community too.
Obsidian Arts: Mission and Goals
Obsidian Arts participates in the global dialogue about black visual culture by working with artists and curators to penetrate, examine, and enliven both historical and contemporary ideas. Operationally Obsidian Arts advocates and supports the creation of art by artists, the research of art by curators and historians, and the communities’ access to the social utility of visual arts.
©2013 Debra J. Stone