Some Wednesdays, Word Up is packed wall to wall toward the end of the afternoon. That’s when the Voices: Our Young People Speak theater/writing after-school program is in full swing, with sometimes up to 17 teenagers doing theater exercises smack dab in the middle of the place, in that free patch of ground to be had if you move all the chairs and the couch to the side, if you tuck away any errant crafts and books from the kids’ corner, if you neatly stash all the newly arrived used books toward the back of the stage.
“Man in boat!” facilitator Paula Gilovich yells, as everyone scrambles to grab hands with a partner and encase a third peer inside a boat made of rocking arms. “Jellyfish!!!”—and everyone drops to the ground like, well, jellyfish out of water. Alternating between these exercises, blood pumping, everyone then settles in the circle of chairs and lets a little bit of magic unfold in their notebooks. Questions, discussions, and occasional readings from Howard Zinn’s A Young People’s History of the United States ensue, notes are jotted—the groundwork for epics—and then the troupe gets up and shares on the modest Word Up stage.
And this is when the real crowd starts to emerge, when customers stop in their tracks and become an accidental audience: once you hear and see a brave voice projecting, telling it like it is across a room of friends and strangers, you can’t help but stop and watch.
Well, the fruit of this program—a published book of writing and the world premiere of Manifesto Supernatural—will take place at Word Up on Thursday, March 29 @ 7:30pm, with another performance at the Morris-Jumel Mansion on Saturday, March 31 @ 2pm. And we are very excited about that. Check out this page for more information on the program developed by People’s Theatre Project and Seven Stories Institute.
Now, sometimes things quiet down a bit after the teen sessions are over. But definitely not the case this week, with the return of the monthly inQbator series created by Hector Canonge, professor and dean of The Inwood Laundromat Language Institute, among many other things. Here is what’s in store for this second installment of inQbator:
QUEERED: WHAT’S TO BE DONE WITH XCENTRIC ART
a new book from Queering Yerevan
Readings: Shushan Avagyan & Nancy Agabian
Video: Arpi Adamyan
Wednesday, March 14, 2012, 7pm
I n Q b a t o r presents the reading presentation of Queered: What’s to Be Done with Xcentric Art, a recently published book by Queering Yerevan, a collective of queer women artists and writers from Armenia and the Armenian diaspora.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Shushan Avagyan is a literary translator working on her PhD in comparative literature at Illinois State University. She is the translator from Russian of Energy of Delusion and Bowstring by Viktor Shklovsky (Dalkey Archive), and from Armenian—I Want to Live: Poems of Shushanik Kurghinian (AIWA). She shares her time between the US and Armenia.
Nancy Agabian is the author of Princess Freak, a collection of poems and performance texts on sexuality and rage, and Me as her again: True Stories of an Armenian Daughter, a memoir on the influence of her family’s history with genocide on her coming-of-age. The latter was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award in LGBT Nonfiction and shortlisted for a Saroyan International prize. In 2010 she led a QY workshop, “Physical Translating”, on writing about the intricacies of mind and body; she will perform the piece that the workshop inspired, included in Queered.
Arpi Adamyan is a multimedia graphic, photomontage, and video artist living in Yerevan, Armenia. Her work has been shown at numerous exhibitions, among them, at the Armenian Center for Contemporary Experimental Art (2010), the 9th Gyumri International Biennial of Contemporary Art (2008), and the 6th Biennial E V + A: Exhibition of Visual Art in Limerick, Ireland (2006). She is one of the editors and designers of Queered.
For more info on Queering Yerevan: queeringyerevan.blogspot.com
inQbator is a monthly reading, spoken word, and performance art program series focusing on LGBT literature and culture. Created by artist, director of CINEMAROSA, Hector Canonge, inQbator supports Queer writers and artists by featuring their work and publications. The program is hosted at Word Up: Community Bookshop in Washington Heights, northern Manhattan.
More information: www.cinemarosa.org/inqbator
Submissions: inqbator2012 [at] gmail.com