Bringing the Art to the Audience is our popular series of staged readings and more, which, for the last two seasons, featured readings at the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD), the African American Art and Culture Complex (AAACC), The Eastbay Center for the Performing Arts in Richmond, The Oakland School for the Arts, The Contemporary Jewish Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Oakland's Eastside Arts Alliance and Joyce Gordon Gallery.
Admission to most Bringing the Art to the Audience events is free. All LHT season subscribers will enjoy free access to all Bringing The Art To The Audience events! (Non-LHT-subscribers and non-MoAD-members must pay regular MoAD admission to attend readings at MoAD.)
Watch this page for dates and times.
by Barry "Shabaka" Henley
Mingus Remixed is musical exploration of the life and myth of composer and jazz bassist, Charles Mingus, examining the final moments of his life. According to conductor Gunter Schuler, — Along with Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, was the greatest Jazz composer of the 20th century. Mingus's intricate, complex, compositions in the genres of jazz and classical music illustrate his ability to be dynamic in both the strings and the swing.
Mingus truly was a product of America in all its historic complexities. His mother, Harriet, was half black and half Chinese, and his father, Charles Sr., was half black and half Swedish, making Mingus a true reflection of the hybrid nature of our divided nation.
Mingus Remixed is a tribute presented in cabaret style, telling the unknown story of one of America's greatest composers. The setting is Mingus's deathbed, January 4, 1979, which exists in the parallel universe of the Cosmic Note Jazz Club. We find Charles in a wheelchair, age 56, taking his last 10 breaths before dying of ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease). In his crossing over he must come to terms with life, death, art, and the blessing and burden of blackness, in a world of white supremecy.
We celebrate Mingus with his music and original compositions, and the fiercely beautiful dancing of Robert Henry Johnson. The musical quartet on stage, is led by Piano man and composer Muziki Roberson and sound designer and composer David Allen Jr., while our protagonist, Mingus, is being portrayed by yours truly, Barry Shabaka Henley.
Mingus says, "It is last call; I call the last tune, my last ten breaths. We begin at the ending and move forward. I am dying, Papa Elegua, here I come." We look forward to sharing the last ten breaths of the life of an American musical treasure.
— Barry "Shabaka" Henley
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Bringing the Art to the Audience is made possible in part by grants from the California Arts Council and the Sam Mazza Foundation