Monday, June 16, 2014

Thanks @balbert13! Lemon Andersen was a great way to spend a Sunday in New Haven. Great Suggestion.

My first graduating class in Louisville was the class of 1998, and I must admit, "That generation had great talent in music and art." Yesterday, Gordon Skinner's manager and filmmaker, Bob Albert, invited Chitunga and I to see a special performance of Lemon Andersen who was performing at the International Festival of Arts & Ideas at Yale University. After a morning of office work, a solid run on a beautiful day, we checked out Gordon Skinner's show space @PopUp55 on Church Street. After we closed up the studio, we headed over to see Lemon Andersen's one-man show.

From the website,
Performance artist, playwright, and Tony Award winning performer and poet Lemon Andersen’s one-man journey towards self discovery in County of Kings flows from hard-edged drama to street poetry: the show is a vivid portrait of his adverse yet often humorous coming-of-age experiences during 1980s and 90s Brooklyn. 
Andersen’s story taps a loving relationship between a mother and son, neighborhood mores, young romance, juvenile crime, addiction, and ultimately, redemption and personal triumph. Variety described the show as "electrifyingly fresh and unquestionably moving.”
Listening to his 90-minute spoken word montage was one way to relive 1993-2000 as Andersen passionately recited script from his childhood, first relationships, street life, imprisonment, and discovery of poetry as a way to communicate - a performance that was produced by Spike Lee and that was born out of Russell Simmon's Def Poetry Jam. For years I taught his work to kids in Louisville, and to see him do his thing live was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Leaving the theater, I realized we witnessed a true genius, an artist, who found voice in spoken word and stage performance. His best pieces, I felt, were those written from the perspectives of those he group up with who Lemon brought into character while describing his vision to speak his story. The afternoon made me feel fortunate to live so close to Yale and to the festival.
Afterwards, we grabbed some Thai Food and met up with artist Gordon Skinner who is busy reinventing his next series of paintings, collages, and drawings. Being around such talent simply makes me crave more creativity in my own world.

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