What an amazing night of words and exploration of identity. Initially I chose the theme for the night because it sounded provocative for October being that is the month of Halloween and Dia del los Muertos. Then one of my readers mentioned that she wasn’t quite thrilled with the ‘bitches’ part of theme and it pushed me to think more deeply about how these words – and others like them – affect people’s perceptions and understanding of identity and culture. The idea of how words define and/or confine identities or the construct of identity became the real theme for the night, and the readers who shared their work pushed boundaries and claimed space in an amazing way. They literally bent and re-constructed words and created pieces that cast light on how words can otherize or become talismans of our identities and cultures. The use of music gave the night even more texture as each reader selected a song that characterized the word about which they wrote. This musical musing contextualized the words and brought them even deeper meaning for the audience. From Blanca’s fresh take on La Llorna, a witch figure from Latin culture, to Dr. Nzinga’s claiming and reframing of the word bitch, we explored a range of identities that forced listeners to, I hope; rethink how they see others who might be quite different from them. I hope those who came began to re-imagine their relationship with the words that confine and define their realities.
And here is the playlist we played that evening!