Quit Bullshittin’: Recognizing Division And Building Solidarity in the Arts
The second weekend in the series explores the gaps in diverse arts expression and programming. Why is this lack of diversity culturally significant? How can we make more mindful choices about the kinds of art we make and consume?
Collaborating Artists: In The Spirit & Siete Lunas Nuevas, Avery R. Young, Boogie McClarin, Nikki Patin, Crystle Dino, Nicole Noland & Fathom DJ.
Avery R. Young is a writer, performer and teaching artist. He is a Cave Canem Fellow and his works have been published in AIMPrint, Callaloo, Spaces Between Us and many other anthologies and periodicals. He is also featured on Urban Audiology: The Art of Audio Truism and other compilations.
Watch him perform.
In the Spirit More than twenty years ago, Emily Hooper Lansana and Glenda Zahra Baker came together to form Performance Duo: In the Spirit. They have developed an extensive repertoire of stories that carry us on enthralling journeys. Each performance celebrates the power of the word to connect, uplift and transform. They have been recognized for their commitment to community and their vision for change. They have worked with people of all ages, faiths, and cultures from homeless shelters to universities. In each place they remain focused on the belief that creative expression can be an important vehicle for transformation. They have traveled across the country performing in Ohio, Massachusetts, Missouri, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Florida and many other locations. Notable performances include: The National Storytelling Festival, The National Association of Black Storytellers Festival and Conference, Dance Africa Chicago, The Field Museum, and The DuSable Museum.
Siete Lunas Nuevas is a teacher, healer, dancer, singer and performance artist. She holds a Masters degree in School Social Work from the Jane Addams School of Social Work at the University of Illinois and is also a certified bilingual language arts teacher. She currently teaches language arts for the bilingual program for Schaumburg School District 54. Siete is also a Yaya Mambo Nksisi, a priestess in the Palo Kimbisa tradition. She is grateful and thankful to her Godfather, Chief Baba Sabu Akoni Ifa Shola, for his continued mentoring and teachings of the ancestral and traditional ways of her people. Palo Kimbisa, which has its origins in the Loango kingdom and linked to the powerful Kongo Kingdom This deep ancestral calling, is where Siete’s work emanates from. It is rich in ceremony, song, tradition and most importantly, linked to the “very essence” of what drives Siete to do the work of song, dance and poetry that she currently does. She is one of the few in the Chicagoland area that is versed in the singing of the traditional songs in Palo.
Boogie McClarin is a philosopher, mover, writer, activist and pioneer in Chicago Underground House Dance culture. She has been celebrating, releasing, healing, captivating, inspiring and learning about life through urban folk performance for over 20 years. Committed to finding ways to share the message of love and freedom that root her Chicago House culture experience, without diluting the power of its movement/ /music/spirit, Boogie has spent the past decade studying the many ways that urban social dance has evolved in the United States and works to preserve the cultural and contextual significance of the dances, in addition to their technical nuances. She has worked with and trained with the best in classical and social dance forms, including Saladeen Alamin, Anna Sokolow, Joel Hall, Gesel Mason, Lisa Johnson Willingham, William Gill, Kirby Reed, The Urban Bush Women, Phaze II, Jorge Fabel Pabon, Robot M.A.F.I.A.and FootworKingz. Boogie McClarin creates unique and liberating dance experiences in clubs, concerts and classrooms with a broad range of artists and organizations and is excited to be a part of this new era in Chicago’s dance community.
Nicole Noland has been dancing for 17 years. Her training began with ballet and jazz techniques. Through her academic pursuits, Ms. Noland began incorporating her socio-cultural, spiritual and artistic interests; as a result, her dance training expanded into modern and cultural techniques including African, Caribbean, Haitian and Indian movement. Through academic and artistic pursuits, Katherine Dunham and Fela Kuti stood out and remain the strongest influences over Nicole’s artistic vision. Dance is a weapon, a tool of expression and empowerment. Nicole has trained in Africa, India, and South America; and performed with groups such as Tamboula Ethnic Dance Theatre, and Muntu Dance Theatre. As an instructor and choreographer, Nicole’s artistic vision incorporates the spiritual empowerment rooted in cultural dance with the expressive vocabulary of modern dance.
Crystle Dino is a visual/performance artist that recently graduated as a POSSE Scholar of UW-Madison with a degree in Art-Relief Printmaking. With a focus on themes of tradition, movement, and dislocation, she explores her Filipina identity through art and movement and sees this as the portal that brings her to the memories of her ancestry and acts as an account to echo stories of the forgotten, the unspoken, and the unknown.
Nikki Patin has been writing for over two decades. She has taught hundreds of workshops at high schools, colleges and universities on performance poetry, body image, sexual assault prevention and LGBT issues. Patin has been in six bands and opened for Jill Scott at the Metro in 2000. Patin was a member of Chicago’s 2001 Mental Graffiti National Poetry Slam team and was featured on the fourth season of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam. In 2004, Patin was voted one of Chicago’s six most fabulous 20-somethings by Chicago Tribune’s Red Eye newspaper. In 2006, Patin was voted one of 30 under 30 most influential LGBTQ people in Chicago by Windy City Times and took the gold medal in the Gay Games International LGBT poetry slam. In the fall of 2007, Patin taped a segment for “The Greatest Living Writers Project”, an online archive of performances and interviews by living writers that’s made available to over 8 million high school students. “The Phat Grrrl Diaries” is her first published collection of writing and design. Recently, she completed a two-month tour of New Zealand and Australia, collaborating with local artists and performing her 60-minute, one-woman show, “The Phat Grrrl Revolution.” Patin was nominated for “Best Standout Performer” in the Dunedin Fringe Festival and was featured in numerous radio, TV and print publications, including TV3, George FM and NO. Magazine (NZ). In May 2010, Nikki released her first album, “Bedroom Empire” on her own label, Phat Grrrl Revolution Records.
Fathom (fathem) DJ / music stylist to penetrate and come to understand. Coming from the rubble of what some consider a very trying time in the world of music, the universe inserts Fathom DJ. “My mission To be the conveyor of the feeling of good music regardless to genre.” With this in mind, Fathom’s set features a variety of soulful sounds to satisfy both radio listeners as well as those who delve deeper into the obscure. Roy Ayers, Kindred The Family Soul and Eric Robeson are just a few of the artists she has opened for through alignment with both commercial as well as private event planners and promoters. Fathom has maintained residencies in some of Chicago’s hottest night spots including Funky Buddha Lounge, Cuatro, Sinibar and Tantrum. Steadfast in continuing to build her brand, she is readying herself to enter the world of music production. Through music Fathom Dj is touching a wide audience of listeners and creating a following to secure a space as one of the planets most respected female djs.