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Friday, September 22, 2006


Yesterday, in our rehearsal for the September 29th Oakland Museum show, my director said:

I think you can now consider yourself an actor.

I was like:
What?? Why?????

Actor, like Dancer, is a title I don't yet dare claim. Every rehearsal shows me the universe of craft I'm just taking my first baby steps in.

But, according to my director, I've come a long way. From:

Poet who floats all over the stage


Slam with Poses

(a phrase that stung like a taser the first time she used it, in Vienna. Even though I totally got it, and totally agreed with her. Now it makes me laugh, it's a running joke between us)

to this new place where I:

1) Don't float
2) Have a conscious sense of language - interpretively, not just sonically
3) Am capable of taking stage space
4) Am present physically
5) From that place of physical presence, do the thing I'm going to do
6) Am technically conscious while doing the piece


what's in your Pepsi

According to the official Pepsi site:
Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, phosphoric acid, caffeine, citric acid and natural flavors


If you're in India, though, you get a free shot of pesticides and toxic chemicals with every swig. Double yum!

The government of Kerala recently used these findings to ban sales of Coke and Pepsi throughout the state. Yesterday, Coke and Pepsi won their legal battle to overturn the ban.

And rightly so. Legislators across the world need to get the message loud and clear. Their job is not to protect their citizens from poisoning. Their job is to exercise constant vigilance against any threat, however minute, to the profits of giant multinationals.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Robin Morgan hugged me tonight

at the Bay Area welcome reception for the Women's Media Center. She loved the question I asked (in the open Q and A with the Board) about the (in)visibility of older women in mainstream media. I told her how her books, her work, discovered when I was 18, changed my life. Jane Fonda, on the stool next to her, said:
Robin's books changed all our lives!

Gloria Steinem, on the stool next to Jane, said: The three of us have been consistently upping the average age of women in the media for the last 20 years.

Did I mention Helen Zia was there as well? How often do you get to bask in the combined glow of so many of your heroes? With yummy canapes thrown in?

Roe Restaurant hosted the reception free. So if you're planning an event, check out their gorgeous upstairs gallery. And tell them you appreciate their support of the Women's Media Center.

Zionism and ethnic cleansing

The lead article in today's Counterpunch, by former CIA analyst, Kathleen Christison, delves into Israel's history of ethnic cleansing, both of Palestine and more recently, Southern Lebanon.

Racism has always been the lifeblood of Israel. Zionism rests on the fundamental belief that Jews have superior national, human, and natural rights in the land, an inherently racist foundation that excludes any possibility of true democracy or equality of peoples. Israel's destructive rampage in Lebanon and Gaza is merely the natural next step in the evolution of such a founding ideology. Precisely because that ideology posits the exclusivity and superiority of one people's rights, it can accept no legal or moral restraints on its behavior and no territorial limits, for it needs an ever-expanding geography to accommodate those unlimited rights.

turning into a dragon

is how a friend of mine described the growth of Migritude. Despite your best efforts to make it a nice tame domestic bonsai.

Right now, the dragon is unfurling new wings. She's in motion - unstoppable, exhilarating, terrifying.

Today, we have the first rehearsal with Vidhu Singh. She's going to read the voice of The Mother, at the Oakland Museum next Friday, and record the part for us to use as voiceover in the final show.

Next week, Parijat arrives, to begin work on the movement.

Am I apprehensive about whether my own work can match the skills, experience and craft of these amazing professionals?


I'm fucking terrified.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

if you feel that everything is under control

you're just not driving fast enough.

Mario Andreotti, Formula One driver

I came across this quote today in the unlikeliest of places. Billy Collins' introduction to the The Best American Poetry 2006, which he edited. It (the quote, not the anthology) captures exactly where I am as we careen towards the Oakland Museum performance next Friday.

I love a lot of Billy Collins' work. But I can't say his selection really gripped me. Other than the delighted surprise of seeing he'd included Race, a piece on drag car racing, by my friend, Bao Phi. And a gut-wrenching poem by Alison Townsend: What I Never Told You About The Abortion.

Monday, September 18, 2006

"feminine products"

sets my teeth on edge. As does every mincing euphemism for the truth of women's bodies. As does all language that treats periods as something to be cleaned up - feminine hygiene, sanitary pads.

The worst example I ever saw was in a supermarket, I forget where. The sign over the tampons and pads aisle read Ladies Needs. I was seriously tempted to run up and down the aisles yelling:


Listen to me tonight

on Africa Today, hosted by Walter Turner on KPFA 94.1FM in the Bay Area.

Download the podcast of the show here.
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