This past month Mondo Bizarro has been focusing on the Race Peace planning for our residency in the spring here in New Orleans.
Race Peace is a project of Mondo Bizarro and M.U.G.A.B.E.E. (Men Under Guidance Acting Before Early Extinction), under the mentorship of Junebug Productions and Roadside Theater, which blends multi-disciplinary performance techniques with interactive dialogue to incite conversations about race and racism. Race Peace explodes the myth that civic transformation only takes place at City Hall. We believe that true racial progress starts here – in small gatherings around the country. At each of our workshops, we use art-making as a tool for renewing conversations about race. Through art and performance, we provide an opportunity for people to experiment, celebrate and explore common bonds; to debate their differences and pursue solutions to ongoing problems. The event will take place in February at the Ashé Cultural Arts Center. Details for the event will be public in the near future.
We have also been working on our next event for our I Witness Central City project to share with the neighborhood community what our latest finished stories are.I Witness Central City is a Story Mapping project that seeks to open up these living and breathing personal histories to a wider audience via live performance, digital story maps and a new cell phone walking tour. Kids growing up in Central City today might never know about the jazz funeral that the Free Southern Theatre held for itself in 1980 or who painted the murals of civil rights workers under the I-10 overpass. We believe that every story contains a vital thread of our collective memory, and through sharing these narratives we come to better understand our history, community and neighborhood. We plan on having an event with performance, food and a showing of the stories.
We have also been working on a project documenting the Mardi Gras Indians with N.O.N.D.C. (New Orleans Neighborhood Development Collaborative). A proposal to see if this collaboration can work will be sent out soon.
-Melisa Cardona, AmeriCorps VISTA
To learn more about Mondo Bizarro, please visit their website at http://www.mondobizaroo.org