More often than not, time travel leaves one fatigued and spent… and yet every now and again the contrary occurs in staggering measure.
This past February, two hours north of home, I found myself black to the future… 1984 and 2000 simultaneously. And here’s how I got there… One of my favorite former Black Studies professors, Valorie Thomas, did the seemingly impossible, she arranged for the west coast premiere of Brother From Another Planet (decontextualized) … performed and perfected by King Britt and co.
Two years ago this sensory masterpiece premiered at the Blackstar Film Festival in Philadelphia, in which they not only visually reconstructed but re-scored the film live. Wha whaaat?! A brand new improvised version of this went down February 21st at my alma mater, across the way from my freshman dorm (year 2000).
That night DJ/Producer King Britt was accompanied by (1) visual artist (who’s manipulations were displayed on two hanging film screens) and (3) musicians (two guitarist and one pianist). Those in attendance filled every seat in the house, with several folks cozied on the ballroom floor. My experience was one of both recollection and newness. Memories of watching this film with my dad… at times laughing, were interrupted by King Britt’s pensive interpretations, through an overwhelmingly heavy-hearted lens. Over a month after the fact, I’m still trying to wrap my head around just how the company not only decontextualized film director John Sayles’ 1984 vision, but recontextualized the experience in such a way that each viewer’s response was undenyablly individual. As the music slowed then stopped, King Britt’s eyes lifted from his instruments.. he smiled at the orchestra and they smiled back. Genius. Like whoa.
Much love, Professor Thomas.
Forever your student, geeked out to the fullest,
Photo source: Brother From Another Planet (decontextualized), King Britt @ Pomona College | Starr Lopez, HBG
Slider photo source: http://kingbritt.com
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