ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


Home    ChickenBones Store (Books, DVDs, Music, and more) 


What are these roles we play as sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, lovers, husbands, wives,

elders, ancestors? What is the music and dance in the silence of the wind? The actor must prepare

himself/herself before appearing on stage. There is a prepping, a meditation, a oneness with the wind.



Books by Marvin X

Love and War: Poems  / In the Crazy House Called America / Woman: Man's Best Friend Beyond Religion Toward Spirituality

*   *   *   *   *

Toward A Reader's Theatre
In memory of Quentin Easter

By Marvin X


We're looking good. I have some thoughts on the Reader's Theatre, but the very concept of theatre is a communal experience or ritual. There is no way the individual can survive in theatre, even the greatest "one man show" is far from a one man show—the "one man show" needs the technical crew, light man, sound man, director, stage manager, costume, make up, house man, promotion team, advance man, bookkeeper, etc. So there is no one man show.—Parable of the Reader's Theatre

This is a peripatetic theatre, a way to teach literacy and literature. It is a restoration of the oral tradition, as ancient as the Nile River and the mighty waters of the Congo. The Academy of da Corner Reader's Theatre is classic guerrilla theatre, on the move, striking here, there, unannounced. It is theatre of the people, dealing with critical issues, life and death matters of the heart, soul and body, offering radical solutions always, revolutionary solutions, no Miller lite here. No soft shoe, no shuffle. This is raw dope, uncut, paramedic theatre. We went there in the Black Arts Theatre, Black Educational Theatre and Recovery Theatre, especially. People cried like they were at their mama's funeral, crocodile tears. No suit and tie theatre, this is butt naked drama, no sittin still but run out to the street screaming at the reality of their lives in the mirror.

This is surgery for the broken hearted and broken minds. There must be detox and recovery from addiction to colonialism and neo-colonialism. It is theatre of action, of healing, recovery and discovery. Who are you and what is your purpose? Why are you breathing precious air, drinking precious water? What is love? What is the self? What is communal? What is time? What is history? What is infinite? What are the possibilities of life?

What are these roles we play as sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, lovers, husbands, wives, elders, ancestors? What is the music and dance in the silence of the wind? The actor must prepare himself/herself before appearing on stage. There is a prepping, a meditation, a oneness with the wind. This is not theatre of ego. It is theatre as healer, as doctor in the house, but the doctor must heal himself/herself. Don't come on stage sick to death with ego. The people don't want to see ego, they want to see themselves to heal themselves, don't make them sicker than they already are. To heal is to show compassion, love and patience.

In short, this Reader's Theatre is a continuation of our most ancient dramatic tradition, from that Nile Valley Osirian drama of resurrection through the revolutionary black arts, to recovery theatre of the present era. We shall perform in public and secret, in the city and in the country, in the woods, in the forest, among the trees, hills and quiet waters, but also on the street corner, in the ally, jail, prison, dope house, hoe house, your mama's house!

We are the guerrilla, ever on the move, jabbing, stabbing, hitting, running, appearing, disappearing, the shadow, the ghost, the mirror on the wall.

12 May 2010

*   *   *   *   *

Quentin Easter, S.F. theater co-founder, dies—April 30, 2010Quentin Easter, co-founder and executive director of the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, died Wednesday of cancer in San Francisco. He was 53. "I am heartbroken to learn of Quentin's death," said Carey Perloff, artistic director of the American Conservatory Theater. "He was a real force of nature in the Bay Area theater scene for over two decades. His generosity of spirit and artistry will be sorely missed."

Born in Baltimore, the youngest of five children, and a graduate of Princeton University, Mr. Easter co-founded the Hansberry in 1981 with his longtime companion, Artistic Director Stanley E. Williams. Their small San Francisco storefront operation soon grew to become the premier African American theater company in the Bay Area and eventually in the state.SFGate

*   *   *   *   *

Lorraine Hansberry (May 19, 1930 – January 12, 1965) was an African American playwright and author of political speeches, letters, and essays. Her best known work, A Raisin in the Sun, was inspired by her family's legal battle against racially segregated housing laws in the Washington Park Subdivision of the South Side of Chicago during her childhood.Wikipedia

*   *   *   *   *

Lorraine Hansberry Theatre (LHT) was incorporated in San Francisco in 1981. The Theatre was established to present high-quality, professionally directed plays by America's foremost African-American playwrights and to provide employment and career-building opportunities for local actors, directors, designers, and technicians of color, and foster youth development and cultural enrichment through instructional workshops and special outreach programs.LHTSF

*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter


#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

*   *   *   *   *

1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

By Charles C. Mann

I’m a big fan of Charles Mann’s previous book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, in which he provides a sweeping and provocative examination of North and South America prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus. It’s exhaustively researched but so wonderfully written that it’s anything but exhausting to read. With his follow-up, 1493, Mann has taken it to a new, truly global level. Building on the groundbreaking work of Alfred Crosby (author of The Columbian Exchange and, I’m proud to say, a fellow Nantucketer), Mann has written nothing less than the story of our world: how a planet of what were once several autonomous continents is quickly becoming a single, “globalized” entity.

Mann not only talked to countless scientists and researchers; he visited the places he writes about, and as a consequence, the book has a marvelously wide-ranging yet personal feel as we follow Mann from one far-flung corner of the world to the next. And always, the prose is masterful. In telling the improbable story of how Spanish and Chinese cultures collided in the Philippines in the sixteenth century, he takes us to the island of Mindoro whose “southern coast consists of a number of small bays, one next to another like tooth marks in an apple.” We learn how the spread of malaria, the potato, tobacco, guano, rubber plants, and sugar cane have disrupted and convulsed the planet and will continue to do so until we are finally living on one integrated or at least close-to-integrated Earth. Whether or not the human instigators of all this remarkable change will survive the process they helped to initiate more than five hundred years ago remains, Mann suggests in this monumental and revelatory book, an open question.

*   *   *   *   *

The Persistence of the Color Line

Racial Politics and the Obama Presidency

By Randall Kennedy

Among the best things about The Persistence of the Color Line is watching Mr. Kennedy hash through the positions about Mr. Obama staked out by black commentators on the left and right, from Stanley Crouch and Cornel West to Juan Williams and Tavis Smiley. He can be pointed. Noting the way Mr. Smiley consistently “voiced skepticism regarding whether blacks should back Obama” . . .

The finest chapter in The Persistence of the Color Line is so resonant, and so personal, it could nearly be the basis for a book of its own. That chapter is titled “Reverend Wright and My Father: Reflections on Blacks and Patriotism.”  Recalling some of the criticisms of America’s past made by Mr. Obama’s former pastor, Mr. Kennedy writes with feeling about his own father, who put each of his three of his children through Princeton but who “never forgave American society for its racist mistreatment of him and those whom he most loved.”  His father distrusted the police, who had frequently called him “boy,” and rejected patriotism. Mr. Kennedy’s father “relished Muhammad Ali’s quip that the Vietcong had never called him ‘nigger.’ ” The author places his father, and Mr. Wright, in sympathetic historical light.

*   *   *   *   *

The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

*   *   *   *   *

Ancient African Nations

*   *   *   *   *

If you like this page consider making a donation

online through PayPal

*   *   *   *   *

Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues

1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        


*   *   *   *   *

The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

*   *   *   *   *

The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

*   *   *   *   *

*   *   *   *   *

ChickenBones Store (Books, DVDs, Music, and more)






posted 14 May 2010




Home  Marvin X Table