Sunday, May 13, 2012

Collaborations! Pt. 1


I just got back from Atlanta. The whole experience was amazing. It has also given me A LOT to roll over.

I drove down on Friday for the initial rehearsal. I arrived about twenty minutes before the scheduled run through time, so I checked out the venue and sat in the audience to feel things out. The space was amazing. It’s a very intimate venue, but just has great energy. I soaked that up off the bat.

I finally had the opportunity to meet Jamie Horban, who put the production together, as well as Ms. Consuela, my collaborative partner. Consuela is a photographer (you can check out some of her work below), and, prior to Friday, she and I had only corresponded maybe three times. It was great to be able to put an actual face with the invisible person I’d been swapping e-mails with.

Honestly, the purpose of our meeting on Friday was just to touch base and talk about the technical aspect of our presentation. It’s very necessary, especially when there are at least ten other acts touching stage also as was the case for our show.

Right before we parted for the day, I mentioned that my poem wasn’t five minutes long, so Jamie gave me the option to perform two. As a result, I knew that I had a good bit of homework to do. Consuela photographed b-boys, and if I was going to do two pieces, I wanted them to make sense with the visual. That meant that I had to pick out a good theme AND match it up with another apt poem. All of that had to occur in less than twenty-four hours. So, I did what any professional individual would do. I went to my sister’s house (where I was staying), took a painkiller for my back (it’s a gift from a car accident I was in back in 2010), and crashed out.

The next morning, I got up, and since I had the house to myself, I got to work. I looked at my poem, and then decided that it would be cool to do something that would enlighten people about the other four elements that the Hip-Hop culture was founded on. I watched some really interesting and informative videos, sketched out some ideas, and then it hit me: I have a poem about tagging (or doing graffiti). Why not perform both poems and tie them together with a quote?

Over the course of the next two hours, I read lots and lots of quotes on breaking, tagging, and Hip-Hop culture in general. Eventually, I found one from none other than Russell Simmons (why didn’t I start with Russ?). It was absolutely perfect.  It reads, “The thing about hip-hop is that it's from the underground, ideas from the underbelly, from people who have mostly been locked out, who have not been recognized.”
With all of that out of the way, I started rehearsing the whole thing. I ran through the pieces a few times, made some notes on what to keep, what to dump, etc. and after about twenty minutes, I had a pretty definitive idea of how my performance would go once I was up there in front of the crowd. It was an extremely productive morning/afternoon.
Stay tuned for part TWO!!!

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