Experimental Art and Music takes in Wild Energies (July 15, 2018)

Wild energies suffused the Quarry this evening of experimental art and music. People had feasts of tabbouleh salads and falafel pitas, everything homemade with care and sold at an accessible price-point of five dollars a plate, as they waited for the show to start. Trevor started us off with a few poems that examine the culture of waiting for things that are missing due to losing family, and comedic bits about how waiting for his own desserts would be. Lara Fournier told an Anishinaabe story about Blackfeather and the Raven Clan. She displayed her fantastic art showcasing Ravens alongside the performance, and their bright oranges and yellows provided a  beautiful contrast to the earthy tones of the Quarry at dusk. They told the story through the flute, the drum, the storyteller, themself, and one other actor (Trevor) in a unique culturally appropriate manor. The story was that of a man who wanted to live among the ravens because the humans of his tribe didn’t understand him quite the way the birds do, and it was a riveting journey. Fournier’s story brought the themes of personhood and personal experience contrasted with empathetic understanding- the idea that one is always slightly removed from another person’s experience, but can still call them family. Teajai Travis brought his powerful words, with themes of experiencing cruelty and racism and finding resiliency and liberation through connection to ancestors. His poetry emphasized the themes of the night: reaffirming who you are and finding the ability to connect to other persons through self-knowledge. Travis corralled the crowd using his rhythmic beats, and brought us into his moment connecting the music of all four artists and an audience member. They played on and four audience members got up to dance to the hypnotic rhythms. Travis closed his set with the poignant reminder “You are all related”. This laid bare the theme of the evening: one can only connect with others once one knows oneself. Phil ended our evening with poetry of apparitions with surreal backing drums and music.

—Emmerson McIntosh