Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Black Arts Movement in San Francisco Theatre Festival

As we in the Black Arts Movement mourn and celebrate the transition of our sister, Barbara Ann Teer, to the ancestors, it is merely a coincidence--if you believe in such things--that the West coast BAM will perform a variety of works at the San Francisco Theatre Festival, Sunday, July 27, from 11am til 5 pm. It was a son of BAM, Geoffrey Grier of Recovery Theatre San Francisco who urged the producers of the festival to include elements of BAM and its descendants, so we have scenes from Geoffrey’s play The Spot, Ayodele Nzinga's Death by Love, Amiri Baraka's Sisyphus Syndrome, and Marvin X free-style monologue based on his book HOW TO RECOVER FROM THE ADDICTION TO WHITE SUPREMACY.

Grier and Nzinga are products of Marvin X's Recovery Theatre production of his One Day In The Life. Grier portrayed Black Panther cofounder Huey P. Newton and Nzinga co-directed and was the Crack Ho, in this docudrama of addiction and recovery based on the life of Marvin X.

His actors, as he urged them to do, have gone on to establish their own theatres in the BAM tradition of theatre as therapy and healing. Grier, after learning of Sister Teer's transition, called Marvin X to tell him her passing made him realize his mission that X tried to teach him for several years. He is rededicating himself to the original mission of X's Recovery Theatre. In fact, Grier's The Spot deals with blacks in the hood and those caught in the criminal justice system. Yes, a subject and problem in need of healing solutions.

Ayodele's subject is AIDS and how it impacts the family. Thus, these children of BAM are squarely in the tradition whether they know it or not. Sometimes artists get caught in their egos and forget the origin of their mission. Ayodele may be more humble than Grier in acknowledging their mentor, Marvin X. She is doing her PhD thesis on his role in the Black Arts Movement.

Other North American Africans in the Festival include Michael Lange (brother of Love Boat’s Ted Lange) and Afro-Solo, a black gay company.

If you can’t make the festival, catch Marvin X next Saturday, August 2, 4pm in Oakland at the African American Library/Museum, 14th and Martin Luther King, Jr., downtown Oakland. He will discuss and sign his latest book HOW TO RECOVER FROM THE ADDICTION TO WHITE SUPREMACY, A PAN AFRICAN 12 STEP MODEL. Call 510-355-6339 for more information. Call if you would like to know when the next Pan African Mental Health Peer Group meets.

The San Francisco Theatre Festival is at the Yerba Buena Gardens, 3rd and Mission, downtown San Francisco. The event is free.

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