“The Revival” and the Life it Brings
The beauty of last Friday night in Brooklyn would bring you to life if the wine, the women and the word did not revive you. As the sun set, women of all styles and shapes grew to gather outside of the gates. Walking from each direction, I watched as new faces appeared and familiar faces sporadically and unexpectedly rounded the corner. Family is the word we use in identification of individuals belonging to the queer community. Family was exactly what was present. We were there to celebrate words—and women—and then words from women, about women, to women and because of women all in the presence of women (and some gentlemen). Dynamo Jade Foster and her organization Cereus Arts kicked off the third annual “The REVIVAL” in Bed-Stuy and first timers met with Revival followers in awaiting the opening of the doors. The Revival is an evening event of poetry, music and community for queer women writers, allies and lovers of words. The night promised beauty, ambiance, enlightenment, and enjoyment all in the act of sharing stories and sharing space.
Freebrook Mansion sits on the corner of Stuyvesant and Decatur in Bed-Stuy and was the ideal warm living room scene to set the evening off. Mandatory is the pact of safe space and so The Revival is held in large houses like this, think—large, comfortable living space. Think—literary salon. The bottom level of the mansion offered complete hardwood floors to an open foyer that met a two-directional master staircase to a next level that we did not occupy. Separated by large, open thresholds were two rooms, one large and one smaller in size, that offered seating for about fifty and the option of a plate and a glass of wine (with a drink ticket). When I walked in, I first met fifty or so red Miss Jessie’s gift bags awaiting the future guests. Goodies! I bore a box of greeting cards from another supporter of the poetry tour, Aesthetically Spoken, which I proceeded to distribute amongst the sea of bags. In the larger room, teammates perfected lighting and pre-show filming caught the performers before they debuted the stage. Everything was set. The doors opened.
And the women came.
In the blink of an eye, the rooms filled. The chairs slowly but surely were completely occupied. Aromas from incense drifted into the air and swirled around the many bodies there to support and partake in the celebration. The night unfolded and the language of poetry and song lyrics dripped in the expression of fear, frustration, lust, disappointment, desire and love. Guests, in chairs and on window ledges, on laps and perched on the floor, waved hands and expressed agreements to the poets that kept the energy pulsing between the walls. The packed house was locked in until the very last word and I heard groans when the show finally came to a close.
The Revival continues to grow and reach a larger audience each year. Poets & Writers, Al Sura Foundation and the Fire & Ink Black Gay Writers Conference sponsor the current tour. For the duration of the six cities are poet and Cave Canem fellow, t’ai freedom ford, folksinger B. Steady and DC arts icon Solsis. Each city will also feature the work of a local poet or two. This year in Brooklyn, fans and newcomers enjoyed the performances of Lambda Literary fellow, Charan Morris. Offering a change to the queer night scene if only for one night, this event is necessary. Critical to the continuation of our own legacy, as women and as writers of our own stories, we must convene in celebration of what we know and from which we have come. This tour touching Brooklyn, Toronto, Chicago, Atlanta, Durham and DC does just what it implies—it revives! Long live The Revival.
You should go, trust me!
Remaining Tour Dates: Oct 9-Chicago, Oct 11- Atlanta, Oct 12- Durham, Oct 13-DC
Tickets on Sale: cereusarts.eventbrite.com
Review from a first timer: “This will be an event I will go to yearly. All that talent in one room did something to me.”
Review from Brooklyn supporter: “I am so happy I came. This was such a good time. Every thing just made the event what it was.”
Very special thanks to Jade Foster and Cereus Arts for the opportunity to be on the team and spread the love on my other teams: Dynamo Magazine, Aesthetically Spoken, and Corset Magazine. We are family.
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