When We Dream in Bittersweet Tongues + Irreversible Entanglements
In conjunction with the special exhibition, William Kentridge: In Praise of Shadows, on view through April 9, 2023, The Broad presents an evening of programming centered on the effects of colonialism on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) literature, language, and music. The evening features richly diverse poets addressing topics such as Chicana roots through the lens of Beat Generation influences, disabled and immigrant identities, and education for incarcerated youth, a solo bass performance, and a live performance of free jazz as a vehicle for Black liberation.
7:30 p.m.: When We Dream in Bittersweet Tongues, Pt. 2 of 2
“Since the colonization of countries and continents of color began, BIPOC narratives, storytelling, and storytellers have been relegated to the “other” space, to the "less important" and “invalid" places, thus re(dis)locating culture, cultural values, beliefs, voices, and identities. Reclaiming our BIPOC narratives and relocating the role of storytelling in our teaching and in our public and private sectors will not only challenge ingrained biases, but our narratives will enrich the world.” —Shonda Buchanan
Shonda Buchanan has guest co-curated When We Dream in Bittersweet Tongues, featuring poetry and performances that weave the thread of this storytelling into the fabric of Kentridge’s exhibition. South Africa, where William Kentridge was born and continues to live and work, is the focal point of his studio practice, which is inherently collaborative and expansive, spanning drawing, filmmaking, printmaking, sculpture, theater, opera, and installation addressing apartheid and other social wounds.
Bassist and meditation facilitator Curtis Robertson, Jr. will perform a live solo piece to set intention and open space for readings by poet, emcee, speaker, actor, and performance coach Matt Cuban Hernandez; Los Angeles Youth Poet Laureate Jessica Kim; and Los Angeles Poet Society founder Jessica M. Wilson.
When We Dream in Bittersweet Tongues, Pt. 1 of 2 takes place at The Broad on February 4, 2023.
8:30 p.m.: Irreversible Entanglements
Irreversible Entanglements are a liberation-oriented free jazz collective initially came together to perform at a Musicians Against Police Brutality event organized after the slaying of Akai Gurley by the NYPD in 2015. The band includes saxophonist Keir Neuringer, songwriter, composer, vocalist, poet, and educator Camae Ayewa (a.k.a. Moor Mother), bassist Luke Stewart, trumpeter Aquiles Navarro, and drummer Tcheser Holmes. Though free jazz with voice is an uncommon, the spirit and subject the band channels and explores represents a return to a central tenant of the sound as it was founded – to be a vehicle for Black liberation. As creative and adventurous as any recording of contemporary avant-garde jazz but offering listeners no abstractions to hide behind, Irreversible Entanglements create music that both honors and defies tradition, speaking to the present while insisting on the future.
ASL interpreters provided by Pro Bono ASL for the poetry segment of the evening
Tickets include one-time access to the special exhibition William Kentridge: In Praise of Shadows, through April 9 during operating hours. Access to Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirrored Room—The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away (2013) is not included and must be booked separately here. Please note that the museum galleries and The Shop at The Broad will not open during this event.
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Shonda Buchanan is a Pushcart Prize nominee, a USC Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities Fellow, and a Department of Cultural Affairs City of Los Angeles (COLA) Master Artist Fellow, and the author of five books, including the award-winning memoir, Black Indian. An award-winning poet, fiction, and nonfiction writer and educator, she has been a journalist for over 25 years, publishing in the Los Angeles Times, the LA Weekly, AWP’s The Writer’s Chronicle, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Indian Country Today, and The International Review of African American Art. President of Beyond Baroque Literary Art Center’s Board of Trustees, Buchanan is also a Sundance Institute Writing Arts fellow, a PEN Center Emerging Voices fellow, and a Jentel Artist Residency fellow. Finalist for the 2021 Mississippi Review poetry contest, her memoir Black Indian won the 2020 Indie New Generation Book Award and was chosen by PBS NewsHour as one of the "top 20 books to read" to learn about institutional racism. Shonda Buchanan is the newest fiction faculty member in Alma College’s MFA Program. Writing on Tongva/Chumash land, she is currently shopping her book of poetry about Nina Simone.
Matt “Cuban” Hernandez
Matthew “Cuban” Hernandezis a poet, emcee, speaker, actor, and performance coach from Jacksonville, Florida. He has toured as far as Abu Dhabi and nearly every major city in the United States and Europe, performing, teaching, and coaching poetry. A teaching artist for nearly ten years, Matthew has spent the last six years working in youth detention centers across Los Angeles County, currently serving as the Director of Camp Programming for Street Poets, Inc. In addition, he is a current Lead Teacher and Co-Founder of Spoken Literature Art Movement. Cuban has shared the bill with artists such as Wu-Tang, performed for platforms including BuzzFeed and NPR, and has appeared on the award-winning television show, Better Things. Hernandez is also a three-time Southern Fried poetry slam champion and an award-winning poetry coach. His favorite activity is making people feel great; sometimes he does this through hip hop and poetry.
Jessica Kim is a high school senior and disabled poet. She is the 2022 West Regional Youth Poet Laureate, the 2021 Los Angeles Youth Poet Laureate, and a 2022 Youngarts Finalist in Writing. Her poetry chapbook, L(EYE)GHT, was published by Animal Heart Press in April 2022 and explores her disabled and immigrant identities. Jessica's poems can be found online in POETRY Magazine, The Adroit Journal, and Frontier Poetry. She believes in the power of communal storytelling and social justice through poetry.
Curtis Robertson, Jr.
Curtis Robertson, Jr. is bassist, guitarist, songwriter, and producer. He has performed and recorded with Syreeta Wright, Robben Ford, Les McCann, Eddie Harris, Lou Rawls, Nailah Porter and many others. He is a Registered Nurse, meditation facilitator, Certified Yoga Instructor, and an organic gardener.
Jessica M. Wilson
Jessica M. Wilson is a Chicana Beat Poet born in East Los Angeles, CA. She has an MFA in Writing (poetry concentration) from Otis College of Art and Design. She has a BA in Creative Writing and Art History from UC Riverside. She is the Founder of the Los Angeles Poet Society and of Los Angeles Poet Society Press. She is an artivist and poetry teacher working with youth through California Poets in the Schools, and through Los Angeles Unified School District. She is a community organizer, open mic host, and published international poet. Her first book, Serious Longing, is published by Swan World Press in Paris, France. Her work has been included in a national campaign for Stand Up 2 Cancer which will be launched in April 2023. Jessica M. Wilson is the mother of 2 and a lover of 1. www.jessicamwilson.com | www.lapoetsociety.org | @europawynd | @losangelespoetsociety