the Bike Kid (working title)

A still from The Bike Kid, the forthcoming romantic thriller short film set in the 1980’s.

Cave

July 29, 2012

Cave

A still from THE CAVE- an interactive, immersive theatre experience at the Frontrunner Gallery in Tribeca.

Lefty

July 29, 2012

Lefty

A still from a “Waiting for Lefty” a play by Clifford Odets set in 1930’s American Depression.

get comfy

February 24, 2012

get comfy

Name Poem

February 23, 2012

Saguaro

Earth’s secrets hardest won,
sprung from rock and cracked-dry earth
lay coiled in my cupped palm
hidden until
stillness
when coyote songs float miles.
I bloom under star beams
slicing through light years of atmosphere
to the cold resting quiet of desert plane
Settling in the absence of dew,
space between space.

I bloom for no one.
I am Truth spoken in a burst of flaming pigment
to the cool, stark impartial power of night.
I am the name, unspoken which calls itself.

I’ve been teaching Social justice to a group of Bronx 6th graders through the Women’s Housing and Economical Development corporation since December. This class is super fun and the students are really vibrant. I’d be teaching social justice through the lens of applied theatre, but realized the youth were more into reading and discussion so in response, I began bringing in more text. This livened our sessions, considerably. This month being Black History month, we began the month’s course learning about the experiences of kidnapped Africans on their way to the auction block. Then we moved to emancipation and right on to segregation, focusing on the efforts of Civil Rights leaders like MLK, and especially on youth organizing that inspired action which involved the NAACP and culminated in Brown v. Board of Education and the end of “separate but equal.”

This Monday we read about the students of Moton High School, led by Barbara Johns, who organized a strike for a better school and discussing strategies the youth employed to achieve the change they wanted. Tuesday we began our session by making a community map of the school, creating symbols for classrooms and library, gymnasium, etc. Then I read about the health, safety and quality of their school experience, and students could write responces on red or green post-its which they put up on the wall to compare their reactions to those of their classmates. A statement might have been, for example, “I feel safe on my way to, from, and during school.”

Next we took the conversation back to the issue of schools in the 1950’s. I showed the students several photos depicting black school rooms and white school rooms and asked the youth to make some observations about what they saw.

“The students in this class don’t have shoes.” Tiana noted.I prompted her to guess why. “Maybe they’re poor.” “How does that compare to what you see in the other classroom, folks?” Comparatively, the class noted, the other students seemed rich. (Still, no one has pointed out what to me is the glaringly obvious factor of skin color.)

I drew their minds back in time to the article we’d read the day before about segregation and the fact we’d come upon that each black student in segregated schools was allotted half the amount allotted to educating white students in the same district. Now they connected that these pictures were of segregation and the students in the two classrooms weren’t ALLOWED to be taught in the same class.

Our foundations in place I asked them now to imagine (all the students in this class are youth of color) that they were like the students in the picture of the segregated classrooms. They they went to school but weren’t provided with a desk, a notebook, or pencil. I asked them to think about preparing for a test. They observed the difficulties of having to remember everything the teacher teaches. They pointed out that they wouldn’t be able to study without notes. They connected to that it would be difficult to graduate high school and there was little chance of college. I asked them what sort of job they could get. McDonalds was mentioned. They could identify that the jobs they would be eligible for didn’t make very much money. I could see the lights coming on. And this is the moment that made me most excited. One of the girls blurted out, “you can’t study for the test without notes and then when you go home your parents probably can’t help you because they didn’t get an education, either.”

Elated, I congratulated them on their hard work thinking about difficult questions and as we packed up our things I asked them to leave thinking about one last question- “Segregation ended in the 50’s. How many white students are at your school?”

Even if it hadn’t become overtly apparent, these students were beginning to make connections to the cyclical nature of the problem. If the legacy of the Civil Rights movement is to continue, if we are to push toward exposing the Institutionalized Racism hidden behind the veils of the War on Drugs and Standardized Testing it will be the resistance from the children at whom those racisms are aimed. These children are well armed- They are smart. If we can keep them fed and thinking, I have hope for a more equitable future.

I have believed too long in sinking ships,
have too many times,
made myself the unrelenting honey bee
of lost coordinates.
I’ve chased dead-end jobs
and full time loves
and wandered onto sinking ships

While standing starboard again, startled
suddenly somethign just occurred to me-
should they strip it down to just the wood
this ship would still a worthy vessel be.
For I am filled with eagerness and hope
and although I may grow weary
I am full to brimming
with or without the sea.

So if un-sea-worthy deemed,
and chopped me down to bits of firestarter-
the hottest licking tongues of flame would be
Proof
of the burning, seeking, searing fire inside me.

Occupy Wall st.

October 19, 2011

A question to the United States of America:
In the spirit of revolution why don’t we just impose a limit on the 1%- the wealthiest person in a job place or network can only make x amount more than the lowest paid person working there. That x amount is determined by the quality of life of the lowest paid person in the organization. When the CEO wants a raise, the minimum wage might then be raised, as well. Accountability in action, is it not?

“Look, look! This is a divine moment! The caterpillar is dying and the butterfly is being born. the coffin of one is the cradle of the other. But at this moment, though the caterpillar has died, the butterfly is not yet been born- so there is nothing. I am photographing nothingness.”

From page 38 of The Spiritual Journey of Alejandro Jodorowsky

‘Leonora added, “We, too, should open ourselves as the chrysalis opens, to emerge completely new our hair prickling like rays of light, unimaginably other.”‘ – Jodorowsky38

-from The Spiritual Journey of Alejandro Jodorowsky