Thursday, April 30, 2009
Last year, I went to see Nobody's Perfect, the bilingual musical, at the Kennedy Center. Now, thanks to the Anonymous Comment left on my blog, the performance may be coming to a place near you!
The national tour of Nobody's Perfect will indeed be passing through California (in early 2010). A venue in the San Diego area has released one of the performance dates:
Link to info on Poway show
Performance dates for other venues should be announced soon.
In the meantime, if you want to get your Nobody's Perfect fix there will be a youth production in Los Angeles County in May and June 2009:
Link to info on Palos Verdes show
The Palos Verdes youth production has the same director (Deaf West's Coy Middlebrook) as the Kennedy Center version. It stars Alana Smith, a very talented young actress from the California School for the Deaf in Riverside.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Deaf American Poetry: An Anthology, John Lee Clark, Editor
Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: Gallaudet University Press; 1st Edition edition (March 15, 2009)
“The Deaf poet is no oxymoron,” declares editor John Lee Clark in his introduction to Deaf American Poetry: An Anthology. The 95 poems by 35 Deaf American poets in this volume more than confirm his point. From James Nack’s early metered narrative poem “The Minstrel Boy” to the free association of Kristi Merriweather’s contemporary “It Was His Movin’ Hands Be Tellin’ Me,” these Deaf poets display mastery of all forms prevalent during the past two centuries. Beyond that, E. Lynn Jacobowitz’s “In Memoriam: Stephen Michael Ryan” exemplifies a form unique to Deaf American poets, the transliteration of verse originally created in American Sign Language.
This anthology showcases for the first time the best works of Deaf poets throughout the nation’s history — John R. Burnet, Laura C. Redden, George M. Teegarden, Agatha Tiegel Hanson, Loy E. Golladay, Robert F. Panara, Mervin D. Garretson, Clayton Valli, Willy Conley, Raymond Luczak, Christopher Jon Heuer, Pamela Wright-Meinhardt, and many others. Each of their poems reflects the sensibilities of their times, and the progression of their work marks the changes that deaf Americans have witnessed through the years. In “The Mute’s Lament,” John Carlin mourns the wonderful things that he cannot hear, and looks forward to heaven where “replete with purest joys/My ears shall be unsealed, and I shall hear.” In sharp contrast, Mary Toles Peet, who benefitted from being taught by Deaf teachers, wrote “Thoughts on Music” with an entirely different attitude. She concludes her account of the purported beauty of music with the realization that “the music of my inward ear/Brings joy far more intense.”
Clark tracks these subtle shifts in awareness through telling, brief biographies of each poet. By doing so, he reveals in Deaf American Poetry how “the work of Deaf poets serves as a prism through which Deaf people can know themselves better and through which the rest of the world can see life in a new light.”
Monday, April 20, 2009
Deaf Subjects: Between Identities and Places by Brenda Jo Brueggemann Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: NYU Press (May 1, 2009)
In this probing exploration of what it means to be deaf, Brenda Brueggeman goes beyond any simple notion of identity politics to explore the very nature of identity itself. Looking at a variety of cultural texts, she brings her fascination with borders and between-places to expose and enrich our understanding of how deafness embodies itself in the world, in the visual, and in language.
Taking on the creation of the modern deaf subject, Brueggeman ranges from the intersections of gender and deafness in the work of photographers Mary and Frances Allen at the turn of the last century, to the state of the field of Deaf Studies at the beginning of our new century. She explores the power and potential of American Sign Language—wedged, as she sees it, between letter-bound language and visual ways of learning—and argues for a rhetorical approach and digital future for ASL literature.
The narration of deaf lives through writing becomes a pivot around which to imagine how digital media and documentary can be used to convey deaf life stories. Finally, she expands our notion of diversity within the deaf identity itself, takes on the complex relationship between deaf and hearing people, and offers compelling illustrations of the intertwined, and sometimes knotted, nature of individual and collective identities within Deaf culture.