Posted at 12:00 PM on March 7, 2013
by Marianne Combs
Shá Cage is not afraid of taking on controversial topics.
You don't have to look further than the title of her latest piece for evidence of that.
N.I.G.G.E.R. (and yes, the line through the word is part of the title).
Cage says the seed for this show has been growing for years:
"I was invited to be a part of a performance in England over 7 years ago about black women from the diaspora and their hair. I was asked to create one piece representing my roots - the American South. I created a piece called 'Ma Becca' about slavery, women, love, and hair. That research inspired me to dig deeper around race and name calling. The "N" word kept coming up - in conversations, in readings, in songs."
Shá Cage in
N.I.G.G.E.R. at Intermedia Arts
But, Cage says, most of the information she found was heavily male focused. She became interested in exploring the term through the lens of a young black female who grew up with the word being used around her.
"I don't attempt to answer any questions but provoke new ones. I'm interested in the dialogue. That's where we learn more about each others story - outside of popular assumptions. Most of the characters in the piece are women so I'm interested in simply hearing their voices, their concerns, opinions, and outlooks. These are the ones that are often missing from the conversation."
N.I.G.G.E.R. features ten different characters and their stories, with each night of the performance slightly different. In creating the piece Cage has collaborated with musicians Chastity Brown and Chrys Carroll, choreographers Leah Nelson and Kenna Cottman, and artist/puppeteer Janaki Ranpura.
Tonight and tomorrow night, Cage says audience members will be invited to share their experiences with the "N" word in videotaped interviews.
"I'd love audiences to think about not just how the word is used in their lives but more so
how twe relate to our history, our culture, friends, family, colleagues, and all of that in the face of the constantly changing landscape of culture, race, and evolution. That sounds profound in some ways but the actual translation is 'just to think about the world you live in and the people that occupy space in it.'"
Cage says this weekend's performance run marks the second stage in a three stage development process as she continues to retool the show.
"My community being able to witness, respond and question [this piece] is vital to its development and my own development as an artist. Its an exciting/and challenging place to be."
N.I.G.G.E.R. runs tonight through Sunday at Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis. Performances start at 8pm and are recommended for ages 14 and up. The show is directed by Cage's husband, e.g. bailey.
The hounds are active this week, chasing down an upstart band of young classical musicians, a veteran gallerist and artist who's been making a mark for 25 years, and a local performance artist confronting and explaining the 'N' word.
(Want to be an Art Hound? Sign up!)
The movie "Django Unchained" reveled in its repeated use of the 'N' word. Local actor H. Adam Harris thinks we now need to do some serious work developing a deeper understanding of it. He's recommending "N.I.G.G.E.R.," a performance piece in which artist and McKnight Fellow Sha Cage uses puppetry, monologue, music and community interviews to unravel the "N' word. At Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis, Thursday, March 7 through Sunday, March 10.
Photographer Vance Gellert credits Howard Christopherson's creative exuberance, artistic craft and uncanny eye for talent as some of the reasons behind his 25 year reign as owner of Icebox Quality Framing and Gallery in Minneapolis. Vance says you can see Christopherson's impact in "The Icebox Years," a new show commemorating the gallery's 25th anniversary.
"The Degenerate Music Club." When Shahzore Shah discovered this group of young musicians he found their name and their mission to perform the most obscure classical music they could find...refreshing. Shazore, who's a member of the male vocal ensemble Cantus, says the group performs at unexpected venues too. The Degenerate Music Club is playing at Hymie's Vintage Records in Minneapolis, Sunday, March 10 at 6pm.
Art Hounds is powered by the Public Insight Network.(0 Comments)
This year's recipient of the Kay Sexton Award has helped many an author write their own books.
Photo: Minnesota Book Awards
The 330 acre estate offers residencies for writers and artists, and hosts several events each year for both writers and readers. Now in its 18th year, the center is the largest artist community in the Upper Midwest.
The Kay Sexton Award is presented at the Minnesota Book Awards each year to an individual for his or her contributions to Minnesota's literary scene.
Hedin has already won two Minnesota Book Awards for his writing. He edited Where One Voice Ends Another Begins: 150 Years of Minnesota Poetry, published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press in 2007 in honor of the state's sesquicentennial.
The 2013 Minnesota Book Awards take place on April 13 in Minneapolis.
Ah, the good old days of radio... the family gathering around the Zenith console in the living room after dinner, getting ready for the evening line-up of news, comedy and drama. On some nights you could hear your whole neighborhood laugh to the same jokes.
Jazz88 KBEM seeks to bring back some of that old time radio feel with Jazz Noir, a new radio series starring local acting talent.
The first episode, "Charles & Avon," is slated to be recorded live at the Artists' Quarter in downtown St. Paul on April 28. The Playwrights' Center and the American Composers' Forum both helped with this initial production, which features a score composed and performed by George Maurer.
According to a release, "Charles & Avon" is set in the Rondo neighborhood of St. Paul in the 1920s. Avon Davis, a self-taught savant jazz pianist, has spent her entire life helping her father run his boarding house. The boarding house soon becomes a focal point for the burgeoning Twin Cities jazz scene.
More details about the series will be forthcoming on the Jazz88 website.(3 Comments)