Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ferguson Decision




this is not a threat 
it is an equation 
when will this country learn that equity creates prosperity?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Red White and Blues (Colors)

new spoken word by The Fall Back Up feat Claudia Alick of Russel Simmons Def poets and much more. Spoke word poem discussing the outlook of race, religion, and views in the world today. Follow @thefallbackup and @claudiaalick on twitter and go to thefallbackup.com to support this track and much more. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cosby vs Crosby

Bill Cosby "allegedly" abused women and Bing Crosby "allegedly" abused his family.  These are very popular male entertainment icons so we have to use the words allegedly. There are people who came forward and said "I was abused", but the stories are shared late or not at all.  Believed by few. Silenced by power.  Powerful men privileged by a male dominated society are allowed to do awful things as long as they remain profitable.

Separating the art from the creator is hard if not impossible and usually the worst parts of the artist are lost over time.  The artist becomes even more beloved.  No one is fighting to have "White Christmas" removed from airwaves because Crosby's sons killed themselves. There are many people calling out to have The Cosby Show taken off the airwaves and its problematic.  Because if we lose "White Christmas"  white culture has many other films to replace it with...what do black people have if we lose "The Cosby Show"?

This is complicated because Bill Cosby not only created positive inspirational entertainment, but he most likely raped over a dozen women.  So it's a good thing that people are finally speaking up about this and calling to have him punished.  Yet there is an uncomfortable tinge to this call to bring him down.  It sounds like the same call we've heard before to destroy innocent black men. This is why so many black people (primarily black men) are defending him.  Others of us are split between wanting to retain beloved TV Shows like "A Different World" and the sick feeling we have knowing that the profit form this show was possibly used to silence abused women.

How easy is it to take a black icon down?  Very easy. It's swift, it's rabid and it's tinged with racism. As soon as a black person does something wrong they lose all cultural capital and it's all but impossible to get it back.  The same cannot be said about white celebrities.

We call this phenomenon the Crosby/Cosby Dichotomy.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Episode 3 of Hold on Wait For It

On episode 3 of Hold on Wait for it Claudia and Maia explore territory they’ve never explored before….a topic that runs for the entire conversation!...for the most part…

Welcome to a hardcore discussion of Women in Star Trek!

Highlights include delving into the intersectionality of race and gender (it’s hard being a mixed Vulcan!), leadership and lack of sex, Borg boobs, manic pixie dream girls from outerspace, being baby crazy for plot, Klingon PMS, criminality and female power, deadbeat dad’s with the wormhole aliens, a dabo girl with a heart of gold, Ferengi sexual harassment, scientists making bad decisions because of their lady parts, a high pitched defense of T’Pol, STTNG slut shaming, Guinan as the magic negro, and LGTBQ politics in the FUTURE!
We end with a special invitation. If you hear it be sure to respond!!
Typecast (Lorde "Royals" Parody)
Written and performed by Tess Paras
(feat. Haneefah Wood and Ayana Hampton)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

20 Something

This is one of the first poems I performed in Washington DC at an open mic.  I took this out of the vaut to see if I still liked it.  I think it's still got something.  I won the poetry slam with it!

20 something

I I I chattin to bright
I bartend at night
It’s my job to smile
Helps me make more money
See no one get’s paid for looking unhappy
Inside though I’m deep and dark and lonely
And forced to serve drinks and empty talk to a bunch of cattle
Not that I hate my clientele
It’s just that I know that I’m better than them
Hell I’m not my night job professionally
I’m a writer, well not professionally
But it’s not what we do for the money
It’s what we got ,what we got
And what we all got is deep aspirations right? Right?
Well, I’m a writer

And this is what I’m thinking about when the bell on the door makes that ring and
this girl comes sliding up in front of me
looking like a girl with tired eyes
in her suit, skirt, sneakers, and tie
looking like someone who might see the lies-
like I’m lying to myself-no
looking like a girl with a pretty accurate bullshit detector
looking like me
but a little bit better since I’m the one serving her
and the management makes me where this ugly apron

so she breaks it down disdainfully
“I came here for a drink I assume you’re the one to give it to me”
I could slap her in the face
‘cause she said this shit with irony
Irony the peace sign of our age
Irony gives her permission to be rude and amusing at the same time
How dare she break my reverie with her fucking irony
I was contemplating this room significantly

What’s a scene! Full of folks soon demanding … I can hear! Serve me! Calling!
Smokes laughing chipper loud! next rounds on me! Sweet…
They… over in corner- they have the capitol idea speaking politiki lounge pop-culture referencing
Spreading their intelligence like cheap currency so outwitting friends so embodying trends so cool right?

Opposite dickity dicks back in the light
He’s got his laptop hooked to the cord rental near the barista
He tappity taps as he cap cap caps another video enemy
He tries to make it look like he’s working on email
Over There he flash-plastic Summ money “got change” smooth he say
As he thrusts out his wad. Check the chick to his side. Eyes go wide
I inwardly sigh
Oh it’s so big Baby! She all blushed up breasts
she and he hands brush “buy you a drink?”
“Charge!” “OK!”
he pay she flesh plastic
he flash plastic
she and he he and she she and he he and she
money money money
so they… catching eye contact disposable incommin’ Slide plastic
they getting sloppy together they spend cash
and I got the lucky day cuz the tips will flow and the till will fill right?

So they scream mediocre so they imbibe to forget
So they get puffed up beat down get high drink a little too much
So I loosen my collar I can’t breath in this ugly apron and false smile
My attitude is becoming my uniform
Bartending is becoming my life
I work for tips
They show money, give money, pay
I sell drinks in order to write
They buy drinks in order to what?
I don’t know why they’re here!

And this girl in her suit skirt sneakers and tie
Says I wouldn’t mind having your job, it must be nice
And she sighs, and I no longer hear the irony
I hear that she’s tired from sitting on her ass all day in a cubical
And I realize that I’m feeling angry
Not at the futility
But at the fact that I don’t own it personally
I’m not unique what a tragedy
This girl and me
We agree on this reality
Our mutual situation the years after college
Working at some job we didn’t study for
To pay off the debt for things we don’t own anymore
We’re the same
Our degree is on our sleeve
20 something bound success validate me
and I give her drink and say don’t worry it’s on me

Monday, October 20, 2014

Loves Labors

The Loves Labours show is always so low key and full of good feeling. It's a big thank you for all the volunteers who give so much to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. It begins with yummy food and ends with yummy entertainment. This show featured some amazing singing, a rap about the entire season, a humorous modern dance number about the Tempest, and a sneak preview of American Night High. So grateful to our volunteers!


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Closing of the Green Show!

Final closing night with video art and music from David Molina. It's been a great Green Show season. Thanks to amazing staff, amazing artists, and our amazing audience. 115 awesome shows! Well done everyone!

Saturday, October 11, 2014


Awesome staff and volunteers!
Wonderful dance!
MC Diva Disaster!
Great music!
Coronation of the Queen!
Awesome audience!
Songs about gay marriage!
Actual gay marriage!
What a joyful show to produce!

Monday, September 29, 2014


So proud we were able to co-produce this piece of work at The Oregon Shakespeare Festival

In the gripping play TELLING the true stories of seven adult survivors of child sex abuse are woven together to create a tapestry of pain, secrecy & HOPE.

TELLING is part of Ping Chong + Company's Secret Survivors National Initiative to use theater to raise awareness around child sexual abuse.

Modeled after the original Secret Survivors production, social service organizations around the country (including OAASIS) participated in arts and activism training with Ping Chong + Company, and are now creating their own theatrical productions and projects, featuring the voices and experiences of survivors of child sexual abuse. These productions will become tools for community-based dialogue and galvanize action as part of the national movement to end child sexual abuse, of which OAASIS is an integral part of.

Using Ping Chong + Company's production of "Secret Survivors" as a model, OAASIS contracted with playwright Margie Boulé, to write a powerful play that is now having significant impact on the lives of those involved in its production, as well as audience members.

In a society in which one out of four girls and one out of six boys have experienced child sex abuse, it remains a secret rarely shared. In the gripping play TELLING, the true stories of seven adult survivors are woven together to create a tapestry of pain, secrecy, and ultimately, hope.

Using visual images, original music, movement, dance, and poetry, these brave residents of the Pacific Northwest share their personal stories of prolonged abuse by brothers, fathers, mothers, teachers, priests, babysitters, strangers and "friends" of the family. With courage, some trepidation and even some humor they step onto the stage, into the light, and recount experiences that changed their lives dramatically. Their stories are a road map to hope for other survivors.
Written by: Margie Boulé
Performers: Elise Bradley, Das Chapin, Cristi Dillon, Gabriel Mikalson, Gordon Romei, Carolee Horning, and Digene Farrar.
Design Team: Jamie M. Rea, Gordon Romei

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Hold On Wait For It episode 2

In episode two of Hold On Wait For It podcast sisters Claudia and Maia discuss looking sexy, the use of problematic language, taking offense, Sliders, Cleavant Derricks, Star Trek the Next Generation season 2 episode 5, Howie Seago, Common, Mackelmore, Eminem, Brooklyn 99, Stephanie Beatriz, Archer, Aisha Tyler, the murder of Jordon Davis, and race and ethnicity in the United States.

music feature: Black Eyed Peas- Let's Get It Started(ft Alvin and the Chipmunks and the Chipettes)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Luis Alfaro's St. Jude

Luis Alfaro, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Playwright-in-Residence, will perform his autobiographical play St. Jude on September 11 at 8 p.m. in the Thomas Theatre as part of the Festival’s four-day CultureFest celebration. The production is the final OSF Presents production of the season.

Tickets are $20 for OSF members and $18 for non-members and may be purchased online or by calling the Box Office at 800-219-8161.

In St. Jude, Highway 99 becomes an emotionally charged memory lane for Mr. Alfaro when his father has a stroke, compelling him to revisit the Central Valley of his childhood. As the family gathers around the ailing patriarch, the playwright conjures up memories of his youth—complete with an old-school slide show—from picking grapes to gospel-infused tent revivals family holidays to running away from home at 16. St. Jude is—in Alfaro’s words—“going from ‘what I am’ to ‘who I was.” It’s a remarkable journey rich with laughter, pathos and surprising revelations.

Paired with a 6:45 p.m. Green Show by OSF Ensemble-in-ResidenceUNIVERSES, this one-night OSF Presents performance helps kick off CultureFest 2014, a celebration of multiethnic heritage and the diverse work on the Festival’s stages that will take place September 11-14. Held every other year, among CultureFest’s 2014 offerings are play readings and discussions, multicultural Green Shows and Spanish open-captioned performances of three plays. More on CultureFest: https://osfashland.org/experience-osf/current-season/cultural-connections/culturefest.aspx

CultureFest FB invite: https://www.facebook.com/events/734749776568067/

Sunday, September 07, 2014

theater of cruelty is call and response

the theater of cruelty is call and response
I choose to sleep in a labyrinth of stairs
amongst black pleather  heels
and calves full of hot air
at night, the dreams of historians
the breakers delight, the poets ache
keep me awake
I negotiate the next steps of the revolution
while an african performance artist
weaves hip-hop into my hair

Monday, September 01, 2014

OSF Presents: Lisa Wolpe's Shakespeare and the Alchemy of Gender

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) will welcome Lisa Wolpe, LA Women’s Shakespeare Company artistic director and acclaimed Shakespearean drag king, to the Angus Bowmer Theatre on September 1 at 8 p.m. for OSF Presents: Shakespeare and the Alchemy of Gender.

Wolpe, who appeared at OSF in 2012 as Polina in The Seagull and as Jason, Chorus and Ensemble in Medea/Macbeth/Cinderella, returns to the Festival with this solo show that shares the story of a masterful performer rending the veil that separates genders, actors and audience, and the present from the past. Wolpe reveals physical and spiritual secrets of cross-gender performance and offers insight into the making of the Bard’s magic.

General seating tickets for this show are $18 for members and $20 for non-members and may be purchased in advance online, in person at the OSF Box Office, or by calling 800-219-8161. Due to the Labor Day holiday, web sales will close Sunday, August 31, and tickets will be available for purchase and pick-up at the Angus Bowmer Theatre door on Monday, September 1.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

My TedxFargo Talk

Ted is cool. Fargo was awesome. I want to do more Ted talks.

Thanks to all my collaborators. Bronkar Lee, Cornflower, Wind Woods, Cassondra Lindbloom Fetty, Jenny Graham, Michael Locher, Eduardo Placer, Ruy Iskandar, Cate E. Ridenour, Jess Carr, Donya K Washington, Claude Alick, J. Alan Paul Photography.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Dancibility at Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Thank you Emory for gracing us with your final performance after 25 years of work with Dancibility. The entire groups work was superlative.The Green Show was beautiful and moving as was your dance.

Monday, August 25, 2014


"poetry for the people by the people"
By the people in Ferguson, MO
Edited By Claudia Alick
August 23-24, 2014

From "Dada & Surrealist Art," by William S. Rubin, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York 1968

Among Surrealist techniques exploiting the mystique of accident was a kind of collective collage of words or images called the cadavre exquis (exquisite corpse). Based on an old parlor game, it was played by several people, each of whom would write a phrase on a sheet of paper, fold the paper to conceal part of it, and pass it on to the next player for his contribution.

The technique got its name from results obtained in initial playing, "Le cadavre exquis boira le vin nouveau" (The exquisite corpse will drink the young wine). Other examples are: "The dormitory of friable little girls puts the odious box right" and "The Senegal oyster will eat the tricolor bread." These poetic fragments were felt to reveal what Nicolas Calas characterized as the "unconscious reality in the personality of the group" resulting from a process of what Ernst called "mental contagion."

At the same time, they represented the transposition of Lautrééamont's classic verbal collage to a collective level, in effect fulfilling his injunction-- frequently cited in Surrealist texts--that "poetry must be made by all and not by one."

Editor’s note:  Ferguson, a suburb just north of St. Louis, drew national attention this month after white police officer Darren Wilson fatally shot an unarmed,18-year-old black man, Michael Brown, on Aug. 9. In the weeks sense the street have been filled with police violence, protest, looting, praying, press and productive work to make things better.

This poem was written in St. Marks Church, on the streets of Canfield Green, in art’s spaces in St. Louis, on the street.  Writers included children, protesters and volunteers from around the country, farmers, teachers, locals from the neighborhood, journalists, religious figures, computer programmers, politicians, activists, police, artists.

The people I met told stories of being jailed with no charges, ways to combat teargas and other forms of attack, being provoked, being afraid, being angry, being hopeful, organizing, what groups were against them, what groups were working for them, hearing about the death of Mike Brown online, seeing another black man shot by police at a different location, making art, making money, their poverty, their privilege, their confusion, their heartache, their impatience, their love, the reasons they were there, the reasons they cared.

Participants of the poem wrote after viewing only the previous line.  Handwriting was deciphered as clearly as possible.  Case and punctuation were retained for most part. No punctuation added. Spelling was corrected except where necessary for meaning.  Some line breaks added.  I wrote the first and last stanza.

A cacophony of voices
A movement of people
A cacophony of voices
A movement of people
A cacophony of voices

My love for my people is deep and strong
We must have no fear and keep moving on
And like a river erode the injustice that harms us
We pray for the little angels affected by the struggle
We pray for the families standing by each other with love
I pray, pray, pray for the mothers of little black boys

Race is part of the same embRACE, unity
The lack of Synchonisity     BRUTALITY     CONFUSING ME
Young children miming emotion at the site that ignited a movement
A movement where the rules bent
For a nation that lacks improvement

For our young
Is our future
Save them, SAVE THEM
Charges the negative
Rules and laws of the land
Please give our young people a chance
SAVE THEM, not kill Them
Injustice is not justice we need change in this land
Together we stand and we fear one man
So take your brother hand and hand each other to God loving hands
Justice and God for us all
Blessings and overflow are to be established by God
May God lift up the family of Michael Brown
As well as the many families victimized by police violence and our people in general

May the energy of shango!
Make a way out of no way
I don’t preach non-violence
I teach self-defense
Let’s continue to pray and participate in the peaceful protest for our community
This much is needed
Humanity is all
The quest for justice begins with us
Step by step, always forward
Moving forward, with are heads held high
Unity, Love, and Peace will Keep us
Black is beautiful, especially in large crowds
I shall not stop until justice is done
Until peace is restored and our youth are safe
We will continue to add water to a river of blood on our streets

Stay calm, and strong
Justice is coming!
But don’t get too calm,
Because this isn’t funny

God Is!!!
Peace, Hope and Love
Your Kingdom Beak Forth
Because no more broken bodies
No more broken dreams and better days
All we want is justice and new ways
My brownness is not a weapon
I am not meant for target practice
I practice with targets
Punctured paper with no soul
Break the Mold, We reach the goal
The gaze is intriguing leap
Is this true?  Is it honest? Is it me?
Who do I ask, to see myself?
Confusion, crowds, cheers and chants
I’m mentally drained
I can’t understand the lack of logic

So far the people in Ferguson are now walking
Together and helping each other helping the community
Now having a better understanding on what we
Mean when we say Justice No Peace
Justice on the police
And peace for us
And our family
And not just here

We live in different areas come from
Different walks of life
Despite all that we
Come together for equality
No Equality No Peace
We shall stand our ground until all needs are met
What’s right is right don’t panic a race for misunderstanding
Taking advantage of them and subconsciously enslaving them!
Strength is power
Power to the people
I’m a white girl from out of town, I know my place is in support, so my presence means more than my voice
Freedom justice and equality for all
Was the American promise
And it’s time to make due

So many voices spoke
Each one is true
A cacophony of voices

A movement of people

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Ferguson Moment Sunday Midnight

Danny, Katy, and I roll out on the streets of Ferguson for one last night to hand out some supplies and allow me to be in a last moment of physical solidarity. Usually this area is full f folks but the funeral is tomorrow and the family requested peace. A journalist and two police officers add to my collaborative poem. The police talk about their exhaustion, and I can sense a few of them have some deep anger. We give a small group of protesters camped out with tents and supplies some oranges and note pads. Katy gets a list of things they really need. I make some balloon animals . Some dude from Indiana was making them and it became part of their protest culture. Dude has since gone home but they are still making balloon art with words on it. It's a little surreal making balloon animals after midnight in the streets of Ferguson. The stories and viewpoints the men share are important and varied. These are young black men from the neighborhood who have been out since day one, they've been jailed, tear gassed, harassed. They are exhausted but continuing. 2 young white women just arrived from Chicago give me water. I collect more poetry. The night is calm but for the quiet constant presence of cop cars. We head back to the hotel. I fly home in a few hours. I am full of feelings.