E. Patrick Johnson is a widely published author on the subjects of race, class, gender and performance. His award-winning first book, Appropriating Blackness: Performance and the Politics of Authenticity (Duke University Press, 2003), dealt with cultural, social and political battles over origin, ownership, circulation and performance. Johnson is also a performing artist. He toured with his one-man show, Strange Fruit, around the country between 1999 and 2004. He is currently performing staged readings of his book Sweet Tea, which is based on the oral histories of black gay men of the South. He is working on an anthology of black queer performance texts and researching queer sexuality and performance in the black church.
This post-show discussion immediately followed the performance of American Ethnic, a spoken word and hip-hop infused exploration of how the media shapes the way we see race, gender and ourselves. American Ethnic was written and performed by hip-hop theater artist Usman Ally, NEA Award-winning performer Idris Goodwin and three time HBO Def Poetry Jam performer Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai. It was directed by Remy Bumppo Artistic Associate Nick Sandys.
Remy Bumppo's thinkTank features short dramatic works with a focus on provoking timely conversation about a social, political or economic issue in which Chicago citizens have a stake. A post-show discussion follows, led by speakers from the community representing various viewpoints on thinkTank's theme. Past topics include immigration (2007) and national security (2008).
Recorded Thursday, March 12, 2009 at The Greenhouse Theater.