“Right now we could probably rename 85% of produced American theatre White Dudes, White Dudes, and More White Dudes. This kind of imbalance shuts down both existing audience and potential audience. Those who are not directly affected by this don’t see a need to talk about it. Those of us who are affected are often scared to talk about it. Finding work in the theatre is already difficult; add being a woman, add being a woman of color, add being a transgender person of color (which I am not, but we as allies must rep for each other), add being someone who wants to talk about inequities. Suddenly pointing out the obvious becomes dangerous. This is how a problem that could be easily solved remains.
And yet, here comes my optimism, I believe that innovation in theatre lies in underrepresented voices. In the theatre one of the great fears of representing works by people of color is that you will lose audience. Being Mixed is, by its very nature, inclusionary rebellion. We are made by people who chose love over habit. Perhaps if the theatre took a break from purely habitual creation it would surprise itself.
We don’t create art for singular answers. We have standardized testing for that. We create art to beckon the future and illuminate the past. We create art because parts of ourselves are hidden and we want to be seen. We sit in a theatre to feel connected to other humans. In a movie theatre you lean back to take in the whole picture. At a play, you lean in. You lean in to get closer to the touchable wonder in arms reach. In an art form that is so much about connection, how can we exclude?”–Khanisha Foster Twitter: @khanishafoster
We are thrilled that Miss Jessie’s, a leader in curly and natural hair care products, is a sponsor of the Mixed Remixed Festival! Miss Jessie’s curly hair products are well-known throughout the hair care industry and are considered the leader in kinks, curly hair and waves. They have been featured in numerous popular publications including O, The Oprah Magazine, Allure, Essence, Lucky, Marie Claire, WWD and Elle, in addition to appearing on NBC’s The Today Show. Celebrity fans include Alicia Keys, Joss Stone, Halle Berry, Keri Hilson, Rhianna and Randy Jackson to name a few. Miss Jessie’s continues to be a market innovator in the naturally curly hair segment and is excited to keep bringing out new products! Learn more at www.missjessies.com. Miss Jessie’s will provide hundreds of festival attendees with their special Multicultural Curl Packets! —Heidi Durrow
“Me, too,” I heard myself say. And with that, I knew that the class would be anything but routine. Until that moment, I had always told a neater story about my identity. I was, simply put, black. And about my mother being white? That had been irrelevant for me and my “one drop rule” generation.” — Professor Martha Jones via CNN Read the full essay here.
Check out this New York Times piece about the representation of interracial families on television. “Television is still both a barometer of social change and an evolutionary force that can help change cultural attitudes. So it’s hard not to wonder whether the simple lack of depictions of normal, mixed-race families and well-adjusted biracial offspring in popular culture is in part responsible for the reaction to the Cheerios commercials,” writes Jenna Wortham. I count Parenthood as a good example of a dynamic interracial family. And even though Modern Family is a comedy, the heart of the show about an interracial family is good! What do you think? —Heidi Durrow, Festival Founder
We are proud to report that the Mixed Remixed Festival is supported by Poets & Writers, Inc. through a grant it has received from The James Irvine Foundation. Poets & Writers, Inc., is the primary source of information, support, and guidance for creative writers. Founded in 1970, it is the nation’s largest nonprofit literary organization serving poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers. The national office is located in New York City. The California branch office is based in Los Angeles. Poets & Writers has been invaluable to me personally as an emerging writer and festival producer. Thank you Poets & Writers. Now if you haven’t heard about this resource, it’s time you checked it out www.pw.org!–Heidi Durrow
January 22, 2014 (Los Angeles)–Mixed Remixed Festival Storyteller’s Prize Honors Comedy Central’s Hit Comedic Duo Key & Peele and National Book Award Finalist Susan Straight. [pdf].
The Mixed Remixed Festival will present the annual Storyteller’s Prizes to Comedy Central’s hit comedic duo Key & Peele and National Book Award Finalist Susan Straight on June 14, 2014 at 6:30pm at the Japanese American National Museum in downtown Los Angeles, 100 N. Central Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012. The event is free and open to the public. A hosted dessert reception will immediately follow the awards presentation and live performance. The Storyteller’s Prizes will be presented as part of the Festival’s dynamic live performance which features some of the best comedians, musicians and spoken word poets. Reservations—which will open Feb. 14, 2014—are strongly encouraged.
The Storyteller’s Prizes are awarded each year to artists, scholars and activists who have shown a dedication to celebrating and illuminating the Mixed experience.
The 2014 Storyteller’s Prize recipients are:
Comedy Central’s hit comedic duo Key & Peele
Originally hailing from New York, Jordan Peele moved to Chicago, where he performed at both Second City Chicago and ImprovOlympic. Peele then crossed the pond to Amsterdam to work with Boom Chicago Theater, but was lured back to the States by a starring (and Emmy-nominated) role on five seasons of MADtv. Currently, he plays Dr. Brian on Adult Swim’s Children’s Hospital, and has also appeared on TVs RENO 911! and Love Bites. Peele has appeared in such movies as Little Fockers and the upcoming Wanderlust.
Keegan-Michael Key got his start in comedy at Second City Detroit, and later moved on to their Chicago company where he received awards for his writing and performance. While still in Chicago, Key made the jump to TV, starring in Fox’s MADtv for six seasons, and scoring recurring roles on shows like RENO 911! and Gary Unmarried. Key can also be seen on the big screen in movies including Role Models, Due Date, and Just Go With It.
Susan Straight was born in Riverside and still lives there with her family. She has published seven novels and one middle-grade reader. Highwire Moon was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2001; A Million Nightingales was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in 2006. Her short stories have appeared in Zoetrope, The Ontario Review, The Oxford American, The Sun, Black Clock, and other magazines. “The Golden Gopher,” from Los Angeles Noir, won the Edgar Award in 2007; “El Ojo de Agua,” from Zoetrope, won an O. Henry Award in 2007. Her essays have appeared in the New York Times, Reader’s Digest, Family Circle, Salon, The Los Angeles Times, Harpers, The Nation, and other magazines. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to work on Highwire Moon, and a Lannan Prize was an immense help when working on Take One Candle Light a Room.
We’re so excited that Crystal Chan’s wonderful YA Book, Bird, about the Mixed experience is out NOW! Check out what Crystal has to say about the writing of the book in this great video. And then start counting down the days to the Festival because Crystal will be reading at the Mixed Remixed Festival on June 14, 2014. We can’t wait!
We were so jazzed to learn about this Swiffer ad featuring a real interracial family! We hope you’ll check it out! Go Swiffer!
— Heidi Durrow
We’d like to thank Pitfire Artisan Pizza, 108 W 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012, for the generous donation! Pitfire Artisan Pizza is conveniently located downtown close to the Mixed Remixed Festival headquarters at the Japanese American National Museum. It’s a great place to grab a delicious meal when you’re downtown and an easy walk from the festival site! Find out where there is Pitfire Artisan Pizza location near you!–Heidi Durrow