I stare at at bedcovers, rugs, saris, and other fabrics that I’ve been collecting and wearing for years. Even today, a week, later, I haven’t found the energy to unravel the cloth and rugs or to pick up the wisps of grass flitting on our floors.
It takes me an hour to collect all the fabrics, rugs, cushions, curtains, and saris from my home to pile them into my car so I can take them to Freedmen’s Town for VBB’s Homes and Histories production. At 10 am, Shadi, Carmen, Ariana, Angela, and i begin winding the materials. Just when I think we’ll run out of fabric, Yunuen arrives with her saris and bedcovers. My stack, combined with hers and some African cloth from VBB’s fall 2011 production are just enough for the 23 foot dome that arches higher than 14 feet high.
The production, packed with activities, ends fast, and at 4:30 pm, we start stripping the fabric and monitors so the dome can return to its skeletal form of iron rods that are then dismantled; I wasn’t there at 4 am when Jim, Eric and JJ began assembling the dome so we could decorate it. On the streets, Paul, Pruitt and Michael strip the photos. Residents on Wilson street want the photos to remain on the ground, while those on Cleveland want the “rubbish” cleared.
For more images go to VBB’s Flickr site.
Photos by Burnell McCray
Armed with a key to a townhome, I show up at Kenny’s home with collapsible chairs. By the time, Autumn, Pruitt and Kaneem arrive, I’ve already set up the chairs and am getting ready to Skype with Babette.
“This is going to be a different living room art,” I say, after the preliminary introductions. “We’re going to use the street as our space and we’ll also be doing something in the daytime—unlike other VBB living room art productions that take place at night.” I explain my rationale and everyone agrees. Even though Freedmen’s Town lies between Montrose and Downtown Houston, no one turns into the grid.
After we sign off with Babette, we walk down the street to see my friend’s driveway and also to revisit the Rutherford B.H. Yates Museum.
At the corner of Andrews and Mathews Streets, Pruitt to tell us that this was the spot where he and his family once lived. “Everything is completely different now,” he says.
We are gearing up for VBB’s season opener. The flinging of my chappals across the electric wires on Dowling Street is the formal launch of the project. Don’t miss the show – October 22, 2011.
VBB’s Honoring Dissent / Descent – November 7, 2009. I still haven’t fully processed the production. I think it’ll take some time. More than 300 people showed up to view and participate in the production and so many more from other cities sent warm wishes. Now, it’s on to the next VBB event: our 10-Year Celebration. Again, it’ll take time to process the work we’ve done over this past decade.
This short video is part of a project that I'm doing for a VBB production, Pakistan Live Broadcast.