Beyond the Pure: Color Theory for the 21st Century: will have readings by writers of color on Tuesday, January 25, 2011, 7:00 p.m. at Intermedia Arts, 2822 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55408. A $5 suggested donation will help support the series.
The readings are part of the monthly Beyond the Pure Reading Series to engage artists and audiences in an evening of literary inspiration that is energy-filled, joyous and focused on community. It rotates readings from Queer Voices, a GLBT Reading Series; Color Theory for the 21st Century, Readings by Writers of Color, and Sounds of (R)evolution, the multi-disciplinary literary lecture series that explores local issues and communities through the words and stories of writers using their voices to inspire positive social change.
This month curators John Medeiros, Andrea Jenkins, Carolyn Holbrook and Marcie Rendon present featured artists, Saymoukda Vongsay, Stephani Maari Booker, Shannon Gibney, Madame MiMi, Lori Young-Williams, and Robert Karimi.
Saymoukda Vongsay (www.refugenius.com) is a queer Lao American poet and playwright who’s taken risks, often incorporating surrealism and speculative literature with hip hop and a no holds barred approached to Lao American history. She continues to work actively to support the work of Lao women writers and artists across the country to celebrate heritage, diversity, and community development.
Vongsay is a co-founding member of The Unit Collective of Emerging Playwrights of Color, author of No Regrets, Chair of the 2010 National Lao American Writers Summit, inaugural winner of the 2010 Alfred C. Carey Prize in Spoken Word from New York, recipient of a Loft Literary Center scholarship to attend Robert McKee’s Story Seminar, advisory board member of the 2010 MPLS Asian Film Festival, and was recently recognized by the Lao Professionals of Illinois for her literary accomplishments.
Lori Young-Williams comes from a working class family that believes in laughter, crying, and praying when times are good, or when times are bad. In 1992, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Human Relationships with an emphasis of family relationships.
With this background, Young-Williams writes with a focus on family and relationships. She is currently completing a MLS degree at the University of Minnesota focusing on the migration of Black families from the South to the North, in particular the migration her father’s family made from South Carolina to Philadelphia.
With two chapbooks, Williams is also published in Interrace magazine, Turtle River Press, National Library of Poetry, Quill Books, Dust & Fire and other anthologies. She has read in various bookstores, coffee shops, and spoken word events in the Twin Cities, including several collaborative readings with Sherry Quan Lee, Chinese Black White Women Got the Beat.
She was a participant in the 2008 Givens Black Writers Retreat, with mentors Sonja Sanchez and Carolyn Holbrook. She taught a 2009 writing workshop called Women of Color: Writing our Stories. She has also taught workshops, with Sherry Quan Lee about women writing their stories at the University of Minnesota, and for a Mankato poetry group last year.
Young-Williams is in the process of editing her final project for her masters and will have a reading at Intermedia Arts on March 26, 2011.Stephani Maari Booker (www.mnartists.org/Stephani_Booker), originally from Michigan and currently living in Minneapolis, is an editor of the African American newspaper Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder and holds an MFA from Hamline University of St. Paul.
Robert Farid Karimi is an interdisciplinary playwright/poet/multimedia humorist and storycook from San Francisco. He is a 2010-2011 artist in residence at Intermedia developing his new project Diabetes of Democracy, a Cooking Show focusing on type 2 diabetes in communities of color and beyond.
Karimi is a Creative Capital recipient, a National Poetry Slam Champion, a Def Poetry Jam poet, and creator of the critically acclaimed works: Self (the remix), Farid Mercury and the live comedy cooking experience: The Cooking Show con Karimi y Comrades, his performances have fed audiences across the Americas in theatres, grocery stores, backyards, and off Broadway.
A UCLA graduate, he has received awards from the NEA, Verve Grant, MSAB, MAP, and others. In 2009, he represented the city of Los Angeles at la Feria del Libro Internacional in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Booker’s creative work was published recently in the online journals, Blithe House Quarterly and Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette, the collection 60 Seconds to Shine: 221 One-minute Monologues For Women (Monologue Audition Series, Volume 2) edited by John Capecci and Irene Ziegler Aston (Smith & Kraus Inc., 2006), and the anthology Longing, Lust, and Love: Black Lesbian Stories edited by Shonia L. Brown (Nghosi Books, 2007).
Shannon Gibney is a writer, educator, and activist in Minneapolis. Upcoming publications include an article on Octavia Butler in “The Black Imagination”, “Science Fiction”, and “Futurism” anthology, and young adult novel “Hank Aaron’s Daughter.”
Gibney teaches at MCTC, and lives in the Powderhorn neighborhood with her husband, son, and dog.
Madame MiMi discovered the Art of Spoken Word through the African oral tradition, where proverbial talk is a high quality. In African societies, she finds her deepest roots in the Lunda tribe. Madame Mimi first started writing her poems in French as a teenager than later in English.
Mimi is multilingual and her voice and melodies are unique to most. She takes pleasure into playing with words and sounds in her own particular way and makes no apologies for defining linguistic through music in her terms.
MiMi’s father inspired her to play the guitar and she was influenced by artists such as Tracy Chapman, Billy Holiday, Zap Mama, Les Nubians. Growing up in France she admired Jacques Brel and Edith Piaffe as well. Madame Mimi marked her performance debut in the mid-nineties. She imposed herself as an avant-garde multi-talented artist in Land of the Lakes.
Hip-Hop came to MiMi’s life in the mid-80s when she was residing in Sarcelles, France. The new vibe had a great influence on her and many young Africans living in the H.L.M’s (urban projects of Parisian suburbs) who were looking to express their fight for identity.
In Minneapolis, MiMi co-founded a spoken word venue called DA Initiation (1998-2003) with MC TruthMaze, a platform that would give artistic exposure to artists of color.