The past year has electrified women across the globe: from Hillary Clinton’s groundbreaking run for the presidency, to the January Women’s Marches making up the largest recorded protest in human history, to women globally saying no to sexual harassment and abuse, women are rising. On December 3 at 6:30 PM, Karen Thompson presents a fundraiser in support of the We Want the Land Coalition, a not-for-profit whose sole purpose is creating space to support and empower all women and girls in continuing to raise their collective voices in these fraught and complicated political times.
Joined by a diverse collection of New York City musicians, this event will be a night of familiar and new acts, song and word, brought together in “a synergy of fierceness and power”, topped off by the talents of DJ Biggie Maules. Musicians Shelley Nicole’s blaKbüshe (with Shelley Nicole Jefferson serving double duty as Mistress of Ceremonies), Willa Mamet, Ganessa James, Judith Casselberry will be providing musical selections punctuated by poets R. Erica Doyle and E Nina Jay. Anchoring the night is the legendary playwright, singer, and performance artist, Taylor Mac.
We Want the Land Coalition (WWTLC) is a recognized nonprofit organization in the state of Michigan whose mission is to sustain and administer 650 acres of environmentally protected land in Walkerville, Michigan for the use and benefit of women and girls around the globe. By making The Land a venue available to individuals and groups who are dedicated to serving women and girls in their programming and events, WWTLC strives to empower, embolden, and educate women and girls in all aspects of their lives, both on and off The Land.
18 Whitwell Place
Brooklyn, NY 11215 (between 1st and Carroll Streets, off 4th Ave)
Nearest train: R-train, Union Street Station
$125 for Cocktail Hour and Show
$20 for DJ set only
About Taylor Mac Described as “a critical darling of the New York scene” (New York Magazine), Taylor Mac (who uses “judy”, lowercase sic, not as a name but as a gender pronoun) is a playwright, actor, singer-songwriter, performance artist, director and producer whose work has been performed at New York City’s Lincoln Center, The Public Theatre and Playwrights Horizons, London’s Hackney Empire, Los Angeles’s Royce Hall, Minneapolis’s Guthrie Theater, Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre, the Sydney Opera House, Boston’s American Repertory Theatre, Stockholm’s Sodra Theatern, the Spoleto Festival, San Francisco’s Curran Theater and MOMA, and literally hundreds of other theaters, museums, music halls, opera houses, cabarets, and festivals around the globe. Judy is the author of seventeen full-length works of theater, including A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, Hir, The Walk Across America for Mother Earth, Comparison Is Violence and many more. Mac is a MacArthur Fellow, a Pulitzer Prize finalist for Drama and the recipient of multiple awards including the Kennedy Prize, a New York Drama Critics Circle Award, a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, a Guggenheim, the Herb Alpert in Theater, the Peter Zeisler Memorial Award, the Helen Merrill Playwriting Award, 2 Bessies, 2 Obies, and the one judy is most proud to be associated with: an Ethyl Eichelberger Award. An alumnus of New Dramatists, judy is currently a New York Theater Workshop Usual Suspect and the Resident playwright at the Here Arts Center. www.taylormac.org
Shelley Nicole/ blaKbüshe — Soul/funk outfit blaKbüshe is fronted by Shelley Nicole, who dominates their live shows with a fierce stage presence. Armed with empowering anthems, like the “irresistible dance groove” (Curve Magazine) of their single “blaK Girls,” and a raw rock immediacy—which Shelley Nicole describes as “Nona Hendryx meets Black Sabbath”—blaKbüshe brings a brash, four-on-the-floor energy to every performance. www.blakbushe.com.
Judith Casselberry’s original love was music, and she has been a guitarist and vocalist her entire adult life, including a 1980 to 1994 stint as part of the duo Casselberry-DuPreé. She now performs with Toshi Reagon and BIGLovely. She has shared the stage with Sweet Honey in the Rock, Odetta, Stevie Wonder, Etta James and Elvis Costello, among others. Along the way, while still performing, Casselberry earned her bachelor’s degree (in music production and engineering) and then, a few years later, a Masters in ethnomusicology, during which she discovered a passion for teaching. She earned her doctorate in African-American studies and anthropology in 2008 at Yale University, and is now a professor of Africana studies at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, teaching courses on African-American women’s religious lives, music and spirituality in popular culture, music and social movements and issues in black intellectual thought.
R. Erica Doyle: Born in Brooklyn to Trinidadian immigrant parents, poet R. Erica Doyle earned a BA at Georgetown University, an MFA at The New School and an M.A. at New York University. In her poems, she engages themes of intimacy, hunger, and power through the body. Her first collection of poetry, proxy (2013), was selected by poet Maggie Nelson for a Norma Farber First Book Award. “Doyle’s most profound gift, in proxy: the relationship between the speaker and her body, a vehicle of desire that is simultaneously female and human,” observed Corrina Bain in a 2014 review of proxy for Muzzle Magazine, noting that Doyle often portrays intimacy in close, sharp focus, where “longing, regret, and some brutish physical facts are revealed, but the narrative surrounding them is more or less dissolved.” Doyle’s work has been featured in the anthologies Our Caribbean: A Gathering of Lesbian and Gay Writing from the Antilles (2008), Gathering Ground: A Reader Celebrating Cave Canem’s First Decade (2006), Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam (2001)and Best American Poetry (2001). Her honors include fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, Cave Canem and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and an Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice Lesbian Writers Fund Award in Poetry. Doyle lives in Brooklyn, where she facilitates Tongues Afire: A Free Creative Writing Workshop for Queer Women, Trans and Gender Non-Conforming People of Color. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/r-erica-doyle
Ganessa James — Singer, songwriter, guitar and electric bassist Ganessa James has 20 years experience playing bass in soul, funk,and rock music bands. Ganessa got her start on the independent music scene in Brooklyn, where, while playing bass for funk/rock band blaKbushe, she was tapped to join Saul Williams on a North American tour: playing stages from the Wiltern in Los Angeles to Coachella. She briefly served as the NYC bassist for the rock-funk diva artist JOI. She has toured internationally as a bassist, guitarist and vocalist with Tamar-Kali, Toshi Reagon and the Black Rock Coalition Songwriters Tribute. Ganessa is also one half of Onliest, a project co-created with her twin sister Tiffany James. Their performances feature harmony-driven duets laced with the impish, spontaneous quality born of a lifelong connection and obsession with music. She has collaborated with educator/activist Micia Mosely, choreographer/activist Maria Bauman (MBDance) and performed at Bronx Academy of Art and Dance, Brooklyn Art Exchange and recently played bass for the historic Women’s March on Washington. Ganessa’s solo acoustic EP Believer (available on iTunes) reflects an exploration of personal vulnerability in her songwriter’s journey. Inspired by the likes of James Taylor, Donny Hathaway, Ella Fitzgerald and Take 6, her EP–available on iTunes, Amazon, and CDBaby–is a suite of stunningly earnest acoustic love songs. www.ganessajames.org
E. NIna Jay is a Chicago-based poet, the author of Body of Rooms.
Willa Mamet grew up making music with her family and community in her hometown of Randolph, Vermont and, though she tried to major in music at school, it was just too far from the kitchen table. Too many rules, not enough Home. Today, that’s how she sings: with her heart on home and with a mix of folk, country, Americana and grassy soul. Willa makes her home in Oakland, CA, but comes Home to Vermont as often as she can.
DJ Biggie Maules‘s body of work is at https://soundcloud.com/biggiemaules