River See Research

2014 River See World Premiere @ Links Hall in Chicago 
A National Performance Network (NPN) Residency

River See Banner
Details HERE.

Sweet Inspirations

I feel that the foundation for River See research was laid during my research for delta dandi.. More HERE.

I am inspired by many artists including: Laurie Carlos, Robbie McCauley, Sekou Sundiata, Hannibal Lokumbe, Lawrence “Butch” Morris, Sekou Sundiata, Helga Davis and Daniel Alexander Jones. VIEW clips of some of their work HERE.

Listen HERE to Isabel Wilkerson, Pulitzer Prize winning Author of, “The Warmth Of Other Suns” (my favorite book of all time) on NPR’s Fresh Air.


This book chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life.

I LOVE: Jazz at Lincoln Center, Dizzy’s Club, San Francisco Jazz Center and Yoshi’s.

It is instructive to me/that many great jazz artists such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Dizzy Gillespie served as official U.S. Ambassadors of Jazz!

In 2004 Helga Davis Directed love conjure/blues. Being in the room with Helga/who has worked with Lawrence “Butch” Morris (who does CONDUCTION), I became obsessed with the idea of Conducting my work.

This clip features Butch Morris Conducting Poet Chorus at The Whitney Museum
(Helga is one of the performers)
Watch live streaming video from whitneymuseum at livestream.com

A great interview with Butch HERE.
Helga is currently a principle in Einstein On The Beach


Research for River See is still in progress…but so far includes:


A research trip to San Francisco’s Fillmore District was generously funded by a travel grant from The Theatre School at DePaul University. July 2011.


The Fan Who Knew Too Much: Aretha Franklin, the Rise of the Soap Opera, Children of the Gospel Church, and Other Meditations
by Anthony Heilbut
Alfred A. Knopf

Night’s Dancer: The Life of Janet Collins
By Yael Tamar Lewin and Janet Collins
Wesleyan University Press

Little Hot Mama: The Flossie Turner Lewis Story
By Flossie Turner Lewis and Paula Meseroll

The Dance Claimed Me: A Biography of Pearl Primus
By Peggy Schwartz and Murray Schwartz

Clark: The Autobiography of Clark Terry (George Gund Foundation Imprint in African American Studies)
by Clark Terry. Gwen Terry, Editor

Shout, Sister, Shout!
The Untold Story of Rock-And-Roll Trailblazer

Sister Rosetta Tharpe
by Gayle F. Wald

Harlem of The West
The San Francisco Fillmore Jazz Era

by Elizabeth Pepin and Lewis Watts

The Warmth of Other Suns
The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration

by Isabel Wilkerson

Harry Belafonte
My Song
A Memoir

with Michael Shnayerson

Shout Because You’re Free
The African American Ring Shout Tradition in Coastal Georgia
Twenty-five Shout Songs as Sung by the McIntosh County Shouters

Art Rosenbaum and Margo Newmark Rosenbaum

Singing In A Strange Land
C.L. Franklin, The Black Church, And The Transformation of America

by Nick Salvatore


Neighborhoods: The Hidden Cities of San Francisco-The Fillmore. A PBS Documentary. More Here.

Between 1965 and 1973, Duke Ellington created three massive works that he called/Sacred Concerts. Here is a clip from one:

More about Ellington’s Sacred Concerts HERE.

Jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams created Sacred concerts and performed Jazz Mass in the Catholic church.

The Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre performed to Mary Lou’s Music For Peace.

Hannibal Lokumbe is a huge influence in my Dreaming about “River See”. I got to hang out with Hannibal a bit in the 90′s in Austin. He graciously gave me tickets to see African Portraits (in San Antonio) and talked to me about his thinking in constructing, and touring African Portraits. The CD is available online…

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