devorah major and
Brian Freeman with the
Destiny Muhammad Trio
Presented by devorah major and SFIAF (duration 75 minutes)
These performances of Classic Black were made possible in part by the generous support of the the LEF Foundation, the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, Community Futures Foundation and the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation.
Ellen Sebastian-Chang directs Third SF Poet Laureate and performance poet devorah major’s Classic Black featuring the author and actor/poet Brian Freeman with musical accompaniment of the acclaimed Destiny Muhammad Trio. Classic Black uses a series of persona poems and stories to have 19th century African-Americans tell their own stories of struggle and survival in pre-Civil War San Francisco. Freedom fighter Mary Ellen Pleasant, carriage house owner, political powerhouse George Washington Dennis, and escaped enslaved African Archy Lee are among the characters who tell their own stories. This is a world premiere of the work that turns poetry into theater, history into pleasure.
devorah major is a trained actress and former dancer who approaches poetry as both a written and performing art. She has performed solo, in one woman plays, in traditional theater and multi-genre theater and as a spoken word artist with musicians both nationally and internationally. Among the venues in which she has performed are the Eureka Theater, Oakland’s Paramount Theater in Trade Routes, a symphony commissioned by the Oakland East Bay Symphony composed by Guillermo Galindo, with spoken word and chorus by devorah major, at University of California Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz, and the Yerba Buena Center and Cowell Theater. As a part of Daughters of Yam (a poetry performance duo with Opal Palmer Adisa) she has performed at Lincoln Center’s La Casitas Festival, the San Francisco Jazz Festival, Brava!, Venue 9 and the the Oakland Ensemble Theater performing excerpts from and/or full length poetry/drama presentations. She has four published volumes of poetry, three chapbooks, two novels and a number of stories and poems in anthologies and periodicals. The third Poet Laureate of San Francisco devorah major is also featured on a number of poetry and poetry jazz CDs.