What’s Your Tale?

Patricia McGregor’s magical, family-friendly production of Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale begins previews tomorrow, culminating the 2013 Cal Shakes season with a profusion of music, movement, miracles—and Triangle Lab activities.

Visit the memory wall to collect an object and tell us what memory it evokes.

Pick up song lyrics at the Triangle Lab activity sign (also inserted in your show program) so you can sing along during the performance.

Stop on the entrance path to see video of spoken-word performances by RAW (Richmond Artists with Talent), part of a Triangle Lab workshop exploring the impact of loss and healing through art.

On October 1 and 11, one hour prior to the performance, join storytellers from The Shout—led by Rami Margron—in the Grove Talk Grove to hear and share stories about faith and forgiveness.

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Our Hallowed Ground – The Love Balm Project on Oscar Grant

Come see Artist-Investigator Arielle Brown’s work at Fruitvale Station this weekend. This is the fourth installment of her Love Balm Project, and includes testimony from Oscar Grant’s family.

Our Hallowed Ground is a series of site-specific performances based on the testimonies of Bay Area mothers who have lost children to violence. These performances, curated by The Love Balm Project, will take place in the spaces where the young men were murdered to commemorate their life, the memories that their mothers and Grandmothers still carry, the communities that witnessed their death and the sanctity of the ground on which they stood. Come join us on our hallowed ground to bear witness. Join us at Grant Station—Fruitvale Station—to hear and see a life-changing experience. We will honor Trayvon Martin, Alan Blueford, and many others with a vigil and speak out as to what you can do in this movement of change.

When: Saturday, August 24, 2013
Where: Grant Station, a.k.a. Fruitvale Station
Time: 4pm Love Balm Project, Music, Vigil, Speak-out
Contact: OGF Director Sis. Beatrice 510-599-6357

 

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Our Hallowed Ground – A Reflection – Anita Wills

Artist-Investigator Arielle Brown’s Our Hallowed Ground is a series of site specific performances of testimonies of Bay Area mothers who have lost children to violence. This series of performances curated by The Love Balm Project, is an experiment in how a collective of artists and community organizers can collaborate to create impactful theatre that meets local communities in the spaces where violence has been perpetrated. 

Here is participant Anita Wills’ reflection on her experience with Our Hallowed Ground.

OUR HALLOWED GROUND

In Honor of Kerry Baxter Junior

On Saturday June 1st and Sunday June 2nd, we held performances of The Love Balm Project-Our Hallowed Ground.  I felt the spirit of my grandson Kerry Baxter Junior, come through and kiss my right cheek.  The sky was so blue, the breeze so soft and sweet, and everything seemed to have life and meaning.  That is the effect the performance and sharing of Kerry’s life and passing had on me and those in attendance. Kerry Baxter Junior was my oldest Grandson, who was shot and killed in front of St. Anthony’s Church in Oakland CA.  He was nineteen years old when his life was taken, a young man with his life in front of him.

My memories of growing up in Pennsylvania include my Mother, Father, siblings, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, and my Grandparents on both sides.  We were a large family and that does not count the extended play cousins, and others who made up our clan.  There are a lot of good memories and some not so good; it was the difficulties of life.  Yet, nothing in my history prepared me for the death of my grandson.  I remember my mother-in-law whose son was killed on a Railroad Track when he was twelve.  Every year she went to his gravesite and took flowers.  I saw the sadness in her eyes and felt her pain after seeing pictures of him as a young man.  Another son died in Police Custody when he was in his twenties, and her pain doubled yet she did not complain.  Her strength in the midst of so much loss had me asking where it came from.  Now I know that it is something deep within us, that we draw from to continue living our lives.

The night the call came about my grandson being killed, I felt that pain, and it took me to my knees.  Now I know how she felt and feel the same pain as birthdays, Holidays, and family gatherings come and go.  It is a pleasure to be in the Love Balm Project and for a moment bring my grandson’s memory to life.  Kerry Baxter Junior’s life was taken on January 16, 2011; in East Oakland California; in front of Saint Anthony’s Church on a Sunday.  His younger brother Kmani reminds me of him in his mannerisms, and sometimes I have to stop myself from calling him, “Kerry”.  Kerry was his older brother (by six years), his best friend, and confidante.  We have some wonderful memories to hold us until; we too shall pass that way…,

It is hard to watch Cat Brooks reenact me in the performance. She plays the part so well that she embodies me and those feeling of loss and anguish surface, yet again.  The question in my mind is, how would Kerry want to be remembered?  He was always smiling and full of energy.  Kerry loved music, maybe not the kind I liked, as I reminded him, but his own beat and style.  It is important for those of us still living to show up and share the life and passing of our loved ones.

I understand the Love Balm Project and its mission even more, now that I am a participant. It was cathartic to be there at the Hallowed Ground, where my grandsons’ life was taken. It is somewhat like, “Facing Down the Evil”.  We went there like soldiers and boldly stated that Kerry was a living, breathing, Soul, who was loved, and is missed.  We made a Liar out of the “Devil”, as the Church folks would say.

I am honored to share this project with Oscar Grants Family and the other families whose children like Kerry Junior, faced an untimely death.  Thank you to all of those who made this possible and played a part in my healing process.

Visit Arielle Brown’s blog for more testimonies, reactions, and information on future performances.

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Stories in a Bottle from American Night

June 9 -1June 1 - 3

Each night, we invited audience members at American Night to share a story in a bottle.  We’ve been gathering the stories and sharing each night’s collections on the blog. Here are some highlights.

Here’s the question they’re answering: On the bottle, write a one-sentence story of a departure, a journey, or an arrival in which you or a family member left something behind, crossed a border, or started a new life.


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Click here to see the archive of all bottle message submissions.

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Stories in a Bottle from American Night – 6.23.13

Each night, we’re inviting audience members at American Night to share a story in a bottle.  We’ll gather the stories and share each night’s collection here.  

Here’s the question they’re answering: On the bottle, write a one-sentence story of a departure, a journey, or an arrival in which you or a family member left something behind, crossed a border, or started a new life.

Moved west from the east coast, June 73: Moscone/Milk assassinated. 35 years later, still here. Next bridge: to a post-carbon world.

My grandparents were immigrants 3 times. 1933 Poland to Paris to follow an intellectual/political movement. 1940 Paris to New York to escape Nazis. 1990 New York to Tel Aviv to be closer to family and grow old in a warm climate

My grandparents came from Italy in the early 20th c. My dad went to college on the GI Bill. I became an immigration lawyer. It’s all connection.

Grandparents—left Russian and Poland for America and worked hard to make a better life for their children and grandchildren

Daughter Juli lost her passport and after a 3 day stay over in Marseilles, France’s American Embassy and a new passport—found it in her suitcase.

My grandfather died and we had to leave him

Being in a foreign land means people-wanting to know your story intimate but tiring, too

In 1938, a Russian refugee from China came to San Francisco with only her two young sons and no language skills and built a family and a heritage

We’re all immigrants

I defy the military complex by being a peace demonstrator having been arrested 30 times

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Stories in a Bottle from American Night – 6.22.13

Each night, we’re inviting audience members at American Night to share a story in a bottle.  We’ll gather the stories and share each night’s collection here.  

Here’s the question they’re answering: On the bottle, write a one-sentence story of a departure, a journey, or an arrival in which you or a family member left something behind, crossed a border, or started a new life.

10-2-99: Arrival as a new wife to our apartment <3

In 1896, my grandfather left Sicily on the Tartar Prince, landed in NY and went to California to work as a fisherman and raise a new family in USA

I moved to Switzerland after graduating high school, college, and postgraduate…after getting a great job assignment…I couldn’t speak any other language except English…I never felt so dumb

1980, nurtured with the traditional values of Southern Indiana, which I gratefully left behind in a solo journey to the West that had lasted 30 years and continues toward truthful values with Marcia

Crossed the border into Mexico with a caravan—which split in three different directions; I didn’t know if I’d ever see my friends again!

My great, great grandfather and great grandmother immigrated from Italy to NYC to start a business and (at least this was my great grandfather) to escape being drafted

Aug 2007—Moved from Utah to Berkeley and found a Big Red!

My name is Miguel Buerra. I left El Salvador in 1990 because the civil war I became American citizen about five years ago and I have my parents still living there.

Hayden Payne was a struggling high school student who graduated Venture school graduating with honors he plans to major in business at Las Positas

When my mother crossed the border, she left her country, her family, her language, and her past. Then, she went back for a visit before she died.

My grandparents came from Lithuania, outside Vilna, a Shtetl, one side settled in Newfoundland and I came to USA as a child. But my biggest migration was to the promised land of Bay Area

I brought 2 children to California in 1961 today they made their contributions to music and education and my grandchildren are on the road to enriching the environment trying to help the planet

We departed for Thailand at midnight and the next day when we arrived in Bangkok it was my birthday

In 1968, I left England for a postdoctoral job, already a green card holder, lost the woman who saw me off, and stayed.

After 41 years of teaching I am retiring and embracing art, travel, and new horizons

My grandfather, Vito, jumped ship off the Italian navy when they were docked in New York

My grandfather jumped ship in Philadelphia to become an illegal immigrant back in the 1920s

I left the old country, to start a new life on a farm—it was a quarry

On a trip back from Africa, I experienced culture shock on the arrival of my home country, where I expected it on arrival in Africa

I left my 2 countries behind, where I was born and lived to adopt USA as my final one

Travelling with students crossing the border south to build homes in Tijuana, Mexico

I crossed the border into East Germany when the wall was still up. Scary—dog, police, searched the train

I crossed the Atlantic Ocean and left behind a 1000 year old town and lifelong friend and my family

I am related to John Adams, our 2nd president

A girl and a boy are posing with their bicycles in front of a “Belgium” sign

My father came from Germany at age 7 in 1907. He learned English in 2 months and refused to speak German to his family

I left behind my favorite bike ride when we left New Mexico, and I miss the wind and the freedom it gave me.

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Stories in a Bottle from American Night – 6.21.13

Each night, we’re inviting audience members at American Night to share a story in a bottle.  We’ll gather the stories and share each night’s collection here.  

Here’s the question they’re answering: On the bottle, write a one-sentence story of a departure, a journey, or an arrival in which you or a family member left something behind, crossed a border, or started a new life.

Moving to Uganda for the semester, the airline damaged my bad. I waited by the conveyor belt for my luggage, but it never arrived. Finally I see a clear plastic bag with my belongings, but my chocolate was missing! Airport officials were spotted eating a very similar looking Hershey’s symphony bar later.

Like bees following the scent of honey, we swarmed to the meeting spot. The spot is a barred section of the border, barred like a jail cell. I was told it was to keep us safe but learned we were being kept out. I am a criminal in an unpromised land. I’m guilty until proven innocent. I was desperate to see him, to touch him, to see how his facial stubble looked like a trail of ants. Never fully touching him. How could I be close to him when that damn fence made him look like a criminal. Maybe I looked like a criminal in his eyes. I kissed him on the back of his hand, hoping for forgiveness, he in return kissed my forehead, telling me to be good. He then performed a motion I’ve only seen my grandmother do. He blessed me and kissed my forehead. Until next year.

H-1 visa in hand, I embarked for the land of dreams with a hastily thrown together suitcase (I had 2 days notice), and my guitar. My guitar got a little smashed en route, but not my dreams

I got held up for hours at the border because my first name was spelled incorrectly on my passport

This is not my story, but everyday my friend’s student who is in 4th grade, crosses the border from Tijuana to San Diego.

Traveling by buses in Central America, crossed the border between Honduras and El Salvador by walking across the bridge between the two countries

My late husband refugeed out of Czechoslovakia in the early 80s, walking over the Alps into Austria. He spent 6 months in a refugee camp in Austria, then came to California sponsored by a friend of his father. He was a wild and crazy Czechoslovakian guy, but loved American. Even when he made fun of it

Dear Cal Shakes, My wife is leaving me, after fourteen years of life together in California, for New Jersey, and I am not sure if I can live up to the image of a “California girl” without her help picking out shoes

Crossing the border into Romania in 1982, the guards, seeing that I was an American, said, “do you have any guns, bibles, pot, or playboys?”—then they took my car apart

At 25, I drove from East Coast to West, ostensibly for school, but really to leave my heterosexual self behind and come out as queer

Having left her homeland of historicized Czars, palaces, and political world renown, my wife left Russia five years ago, foregoing family, possessions, and the safety of familiarity to pursue a life in the US with this man who vowed his eternal love to fulfill her happiness

My wife and I left the upper-middle class expectation of living in a large single family home, sold/liquidated more than ½ of all our possessions and moved to a simpler life in a 695 square foot one bedroom condo

1963, the year President Kennedy was shot, I sat in class and, having no vocabulary, I did not understand the crying and tears of my new classmates after the PA announcement that day in November

I grew up 7 miles from the border, near San Diego. The national dialog so often vilifies Hispanic people. But there are so many “legal immigrant” And regardless of status we are all just people…

My grandma moved here from Italy with her parents and was given my grandpa in marriage when she was 16 because he was a grocer and could feed all of them

I crossed an ocean to a far off land of war and found a friend who would only live a short time

Grandfather, grandmother, uncle, and sweet dog Rocco! All in 2 years. How do I grieve, how do I celebrate life, how do I carry their spirit

We need more walls and fences, like the ones between West and East Germany. It held up so well 🙂

When I was in high school my dad lost his job. We had to move and couldn’t afford a house. But we used to have a sailboat, so we bought another one, 43’ long. We sold everything and lived on the boat for 1 ½ years

From Austria to escape the Holocaust in 1938, to start a legacy of Jewish mothers

Crossing from Hungary into what was then Yugoslavia, our car was heavily searched and we 4 22 year olds were surprised and concerned for our safety….-1979

From Merced to Bay, the valley to the mountain—no hot summer nights

I remember the extraordinary security while travelling from Norway to France one week after September 11, 2001.

Right now I am leaving middle school to go to high school. I am 14 now, Caucasian, and love to read books. I have no idea what other people go through to get here to America, but I do know how hard it is to leave places, people, and ideas behind. To be honest I am scared. Most of my friends are going to a different school. All I know is that someday I’ll be laughing at these memories (Laughing happily because of me)

Always bring your kids’ birth certificate, even if you are just crossing from Buffalo to go to Niagara Falls in the winter. The border guard was only assured after asking my daughter, “Is this your mom?”

The surgeon said “it’s a girl!”

My grandparents were told to take one suitcase and report to the train station where they were put in a cattle car and deported from Germany to Poland

Leaving Poland, crossing an ocean to escape conscription and a baby boy is born in New York…healthy, happy, and safe

I moved to California in 1980 and said goodbye to a sad, unhappy life, and hello to sunshine

I travelled to the land of bluegrass–Kentucky—and was disappointed that the grass was green. I lived there for 12 years and never saw a blue blade.

I was amazed when I learned that my maternal great, great grandfather lied about his age so he could join the Civil War, where he joined the US cavalry to fight Sioux Indians. He was from Ireland where his land had been taken.

Dear Cal Shakes, Ian says that I should include the part about my husband telling me, very unhelpfully, that “everyone is leaving you—at least you still have me”

I left WI in 1983 to come to CA with my boyfriend to start a new job and life, crossing many state borders in the process. Best move I ever made

I am 19 and I went as an exchange student to Colombia. I didn’t speak Spanish very well but was staying with a family who only had one member who somewhat spoke English. To say the least…it required me to adapt quickly

At the age of 8, my mother woke me up one morning to inform me that we were packing the car and driving from Detroit to Los Angeles to build a new home. She had had it with my father. Left him and started a new life for us all

My mother arrived as an immigrant from Mexico in 1968. She was a lawyer, a poet, a Spanish literature teacher, but could not support her four children in Mexico. She died of cancer in 1972 having brought all her children to the US. My baby sister is still in Mexico.

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Stories in a Bottle from American Night – 6.20.13

Each night, we’re inviting audience members at American Night to share a story in a bottle.  We’ll gather the stories and share each night’s collection here.  

Here’s the question they’re answering: On the bottle, write a one-sentence story of a departure, a journey, or an arrival in which you or a family member left something behind, crossed a border, or started a new life.

I have crossed two borders in my 12 years of life. The 1st one was our trip to Cabo San Lucas when I was 7. My second time was going to Porta Vallarta, Mexico.

1916 Ireland to Wales to Lithuanian ship to Ellis Island. $99 to Chicago. $99 to LA. My grandfather chose LA and I am grateful!

I moved 2 kids overseas. we lived in 6 countries in 5 years. Crossed over many borders, Australia, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Korea, China, Japan, London, Paris, Germany, Italy, Montreal

We crossed the border on foot into Cambodia, on the train from Thailand we hit a cow and I took a photo of everyone looking out the window.

A love for life and love to all animals be kind

I came from England

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Stories in a Bottle from American Night – 6.19.13

Each night, we’re inviting audience members at American Night to share a story in a bottle.  We’ll gather the stories and share each night’s collection here.  

Here’s the question they’re answering: On the bottle, write a one-sentence story of a departure, a journey, or an arrival in which you or a family member left something behind, crossed a border, or started a new life.

I enjoyed being a girl, but I feel better now that I’m a boy

My Russian Jewish grandmother’s first languages were Yiddish and Spanish

Mama left South America on a ship, stopping n Europe, then arriving in New York where she met my Dad, and now here we/I are/am

Relief: I crossed a border when I slipped through time in a car that flew over a cliff and I can walk

Left Chile on those dark days early on ’73, Argentina, Brazil, Panama, Guatemala, Mexico, and USA where I found home in Berkeley. Left many things behind but got many new things back…plenty of friends and…La Peña

I came from Mexico with my parents as a kid. I first saw Culture Clash in the 90s and I now have an MFA in theatre. Thanks for the inspiration!

Even at the age of six I knew as I stepped into that Greyhound bus that the ride held more than a simple destination, it held hope, esperanza

My crossing was only from Massachusetts to California and though I am happy here, I miss the land where all of my family are buried—the land, trees, round hills, familiar birds of their nest.

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