Sunday, November 6, 2016

work-in-process: recap of our Oct 15th messages from mamaship presentation


The creative team that gathered around our Oct 15th show SLAYED DOWN THE HOUSE!

I couldn’t be happier with the collaborative process that's building out the music for Bring the Beat Back, my black gay sci-fi music theater piece.

I’m still beaming with joy from how everything turned out with our work-in-progress presentation on October 15th, hosted @ REUNION (a studio space operated by Kristen Kaza and Elijah McKinnon).

What’s Next? I’ve got plans coming together for an NYC presentation in April 2017.

Between now and then I’ll be hard at work:  integrating some amazing musical material into the text of the play, and exploring ways to leverage all this content beyond the live experience, possibly including a mixtape release, a music video release, and/or curated listening / dance party events.

So I'm gonna be busy.  But in the meantime…

SHOUT OUT AND HUGE CONGRATS TO THE CHICAGO SQUAD!

Myra M. Boone – who co-produced the whole she-bang!

Me and Myra
Photo by Nikki B. 

 
avery r. young has embodied the character of the captain as he created music for mamaship megarhythmic. He worked closely with Lamar "Juslove" Smith to lay down original vocals over some funky grooves. 
  





And for the live presentation, avery brought in three more vocalists, filling out the funky soundscape,Tina M. Howell, Kameco Dodd and Marcus Davis as THE KREW.





“The Krew” of mamaship during the performance.


Meanwhile, ALEXA GRÆ has embodied the character of Dayton MacNamara Black, the protagonist of the play.

Prior to the show, Alexa joined me at Collaboraction Studios' Vault performance space, as we filmed Dayton solo pieces with filmmaker Jessica King (King is a Fink Productions). 



We then projected that footage via "two way tv" during the Oct 15th presentation. 








To give people a little more feel for the narrative, we also had one comedic monologue in the mix.



Kyra Jones played Trudy Tru Boo MacNamara Black (Dayton’s sister).



And there's more thanks to go around, in particular:

Esther “fempow” Alegria created the lqqks with an assist from Angie Perez.

Hijo!












Hijo Pródigo. – who laid down an awesome soundscape vibe for the entire evening.





Myra, Me and Jessica King from King is a Fink!
Photo by Nikki B.



Julie and Jessica from King is a Fink!
A Pic of the Squad - Photo by Nikki B. 


Missed the show on Oct 15? Subscribe to the mailing list at thebeatisback.com to stay in the loop!





CREDITS

Photography by Nikki B. 

REUNION (venue host)
Collaboraction Studios (venue host)
Under the Spell Productions, Inc. 

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Aymar Jean Christian, Ph.D.

This project is partially supported by an Individual Artist Program Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, as well as a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency through federal funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.  

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

COMMANDER D MAC P’s PERSONAL LOG | JUST BEFORE LAUNCH





messages from mamaship is going in its own, thrillingly original creative direction. And I'm excited to get this thing off the ground.

a bit back, avery r. young was chilling on the couch at my place after some dinner and conversation with aymar.  i mentioned a black sci-fi kind of vibe that informed a lot of my work as a playwright. next thing i know avery’s commenting about how folks always bowing down to Sun-Ra for all that afrofuture. but if you really wanna know what’s going on, you need to be talking about George Clinton Parliament Funkadelic and all of that.



I played that comment cool at dinner.  but in the back of my mind collaborative energies were activated at full power!  I was thrilled to hear avery voice that opinion, because FUNK is a huge element of my own aesthetic, particularly with bring the beat Back. so, of course, P-FUNK is what I’m all about.

And now, a few months later we are about to do this show together.

and when you set out to create new work like this, you gotta know where you’re coming from.  now I do love me Sun Ra (don’t be surprised if you spot a few callbacks to the Arkestra!) 





But folks need to recognize… while SPACE IS most definitely THE PLACE, you gotta have a FLASHLIGHT to signal the sweet chariot to SWING LOW and let u RIDE…

and Sun Ra and George Clinton are just two of the heavyweights in the rich tradition of afro-futuristic vibes in black music.

the well is deep and we’re about to put some new material in the mix!


I couldn’t be happier about what avery and alexa and the other collaborators have created as we build this musical world.  









so the whole team is blasting off tonight! 

mamaship loadin’ two by two, children, and that’s the way it’s gonna be.





Monday, October 10, 2016

bring the beat back: my story behind messages from mamaship


Me - at the very first performance of the project in 2009.
Bring the Beat Back is a black, gay, sci-fi music theater experience.   
And it’s evolving into something more queer and afro-futuristic than its prior iterations.

I’m very excited about where it’s headed.

This Saturday October 15th, an exciting roster of collaborating talent (on stage and behind the scenes) will join me in a work-in-progress presentation:  messages from mamaship.



messages from mamaship builds on all of the hard work that’s gone into Bring the Beat Back off and on for the past few years.


THE TEXT
I wrote the original draft of the play in 2009 during my playwright’s residency with Andre Lancaster's Freedomtrain Productions in Brooklyn. The residency culminated in two staged reading performances, directed by Christopher Burris.


2009 Reading
Front Row: Christopher Burris, Fatimah Quander and Shydel James
Second Row: Penny Danielle Tinsley, Johnny Ramey and Jerome Braggs

Lee Avent, Vandit Bhatt and Yours Truly
2009 Photography by Sabelo Narasimhan

After a break, in 2012, Bryan E. Glover's Earthseed Visions hosted a private reading (also directed by Burris) to kick off the next phase of creative development.  

The story reflects my personal challenges and contradictions as a black, gay man coming of age in the early 21st century, refracted through a digitized, psychedelic, groove-centered theater prism.

This is why Bring the Beat Back is so important to me, and also what sets it apart as a one-of-a-kind theatrical experience.


THE GROOVE GOES ON
Since moving to Chicago, the project has kicked into high gear!

In 2014, I partnered with Alinka and Shaun J. Wright of TWIRL RECORDINGS  to explore the project’s relationship with house music. (Shaun J. Wright also put together the looks for the 2009 performances, btw.) 

And last year, after an intense planning period here in Chicago and New York with Bryan E. Glover and Rhonney Greene (Under the Spell Productions' Artistic Director), I set things in motion for what’s happening now.

The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events awarded me an Individual Artists Grant this year for Bring the Beat Back, giving us a much needed boost in funding. 

I activated resources with my sister’s team at BLKBOX to develop a visual motif for the project.

And I established a collaborative partnership with producer Myra Boone and two lead artists here in Chicago to focus on the music:  avery r. young and alexa grae.

avery r. young and alexa grae

This Saturday we’re going to share what we’ve come up with, testing the new material on its feet and hopefully building momentum to future presentations.

I have a lot more to say about what’s happening, including shout outs to everybody who has helped carry the project this far. But in short, I couldn’t be more thrilled. I’m so grateful to be at this point.  

So I’m sharing now to say THANK YOU!




 MESSAGES FROM MAMASHIP!

a live presentation exploring the world of Derek Lee McPhatter’s
afro futuristic music-theater work in progress

featuring
avery r young
Tina M. Howell
Kameco Dodd
Marcus Davis
  Kyra Jones

with
 Alexa Grae
(via Two-Way TV)

and
Hijo Pródigo
on the 1’s and 2’s

mistrexx of Lqqks: ester “fempow” alegria  video: King is a Fink


Produced by: Derek Lee McPhatter & Myra Boone


7:30 PM @ Reunion  - 2557 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60647








bring the beat back: the story behind messages from mamaship


Me - at the very first performance of the project in 2009.
Bring the Beat Back is a black, gay, sci-fi music theater experience.   
And it’s evolving into something more queer and afro-futuristic than its prior iterations.

I’m very excited about where it’s headed.

This Saturday October 15th, an exciting roster of collaborating talent (on stage and behind the scenes) will join me in a work-in-progress presentation:  messages from mamaship.



messages from mamaship builds on all of the hard work that’s gone into Bring the Beat Back off and on for the past few years.


THE TEXT
I wrote the original draft of the play in 2009 during my playwright’s residency with Andre Lancaster's Freedomtrain Productions in Brooklyn. The residency culminated in two staged reading performances, directed by Christopher Burris.


2009 Reading
Front Row: Christopher Burris, Fatimah Quander and Shydel James
Second Row: Penny Danielle Tinsley, Johnny Ramey and Jerome Braggs

Lee Avent, Vandit Bhatt and Yours Truly
2009 Photography by Sabelo Narasimhan

After a break, in 2012, Bryan E. Glover's Earthseed visions hosted a private staged reading (also directed by Burris) to kick off the next phase of creative development.  

The story reflects my personal challenges and contradictions as a black, gay man coming of age in the early 21st century, refracted through a digitized, psychedelic, groove-centered theater prism.

This is why Bring the Beat Back is so important to me, and also what sets it apart as a one-of-a-kind theatrical experience.


THE GROOVE GOES ON
Since moving to Chicago, the project has kicked into high gear!

In 2014, I partnered with Alinka and Shaun J. Wright of TWIRL RECORDINGS  to explore the project’s relationship with house music. (Shaun J. Wright also put together the looks for the 2009 performances, btw.) 

And last year, after an intense planning period here in Chicago and New York with Bryan E. Glover and Rhonney Greene (Under the Spell Productions' Artistic Director), I set things in motion for what’s happening now.

The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events awarded me an Individual Artists Grant this year for Bring the Beat Back, giving us a much needed boost in funding. 

I activated resources with my sister’s team at BLKBOX to develop a visual motif for the project.

And I established a collaborative partnership with producer Myra R. Boone and two lead artists here in Chicago to focus on the music:  avery r. young and alexa grae.

avery r. young and alexa grae

This Saturday we’re going to share what we’ve come up with, testing the new material on its feet and hopefully building momentum to future presentations.

I have a lot more to say about what’s happening, including shout outs to everybody who has helped carry the project this far. But in short, I couldn’t be more thrilled. I’m so grateful to be at this point.  

So I’m sharing now to say THANK YOU!




 MESSAGES FROM MAMASHIP!

a live presentation exploring the world of Derek Lee McPhatter’s
afro futuristic music-theater work in progress

featuring
avery r young
Tina M. Howell
Kameco Dodd
Marcus Davis
  
with
 Alexa Grae
(via Two-Way TV)

and
Hijo Pródigo
on the 1’s and 2’s

mistrexx of Lqqks: ester “fempow” alegria  video: King is a Fink


Produced by: Derek Lee McPhatter & Myra R. Boone


7:30 PM @ Reunion  - 2557 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60647